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Difficult dil

(51 Posts)
Aggy21 Sun 13-Dec-15 22:21:32

I am so fed up with my dil's attitude. It really gets me down. She was all sweetness and light when we first met her but once they were married and especially after having children she's become more and more distant, cold and unfriendly. My son seems oblivious to it, but then he's got used to her being so controlling over the years. She keeps the children on a very tight rein. Sometimes I wonder if she's on the autistic spectrum, but then I see her being all nicey and charming to certain others in the family. She is even more horrible to my dh than to me. I could never confront her because she would just get all flustered and deny anything is wrong and it could cause a rift which might never heal. I'd like to try a subtle approach. Any ideas? My younger colleagues at work say they'd love to have a young friendly mil like me so I can't be that bad! We've tried so hard to welcome her into the family and babysit and help out but this problem really gets me down.

elena Mon 11-Jan-16 14:15:49

SJO - that sounds so sad sad

Can I suggest you start a new thread?

Your question will be lost in this one.

angmhay Sat 09-Jan-16 18:36:51

Thank you for opening this discussion. I have the same concerns re my DIL. Over the years I try to accept that it will always be her Mother who is so much more involved with the GDs and always knows everything that is happening. But it is difficult and hurtful sometimes. Grin and bear it is my motto - what else can one do?! I am always needed during the long Summer holidays to have the GDs stay with me for weeks at a time, so I make the most of it.

SJP Sat 09-Jan-16 17:12:41

I have an ex dil who is very similar. Low esteem and once children came along, our relationship foundered. She and my son struggled with the demands of 3 small children but would not accept help, with catastrophic consequences resulting in the children coming under social services. I have probably made every mistake, a MIL could make, but in the end I found it difficult to tolerate her behaviour and whilst I tried not to confront, stay calm and not react, be positive it proved difficult. I hung on in for my son's sake and so I could maintain contact with his children but the persistent passive and sometimes overt hostility lead to me becoming ill with the stress of it all and I ended up in counselling. I have done flowers, apologised and forgiveness, but at our last meeting to support my son's contact with his children, she was extremely unpleasant to me again and whilst I held in together at the time, I had a tearful reaction and a sleepless night after. My counsellor has advised keeping communication to a bare minimum and remaining civil, but to have an escape route for time out if I find myself in circumstances where I am uncomfortable. Since this incident my son has informed me that I can now only see the children if she is present. I am in a good place emotionally now and cannot face all the potential stress again. Any ideas how to handle this.

Coolgran65 Thu 17-Dec-15 18:47:03

This isn't directed at anyone, it's just my own feelings.
Sometimes we can overthink things and this is one of my failings. I was feeling a bit maudlin recently about low contact from someone to whom I'd send short random emails - wondering why, had I done something ... etc. It was getting built up in my emotions but I said nothing to anyone about it as I didn't want to make a family issue.
Today I had a lovely email, and suggesting we arrange a Skype. I'm very glad I didn't do or say anything that could have caused a rift.

louisamay Thu 17-Dec-15 18:32:48

That does sound great Lyndie! Some of the grans on here would give their right arms to have a scenario like yours. You are fortunate indeed

Lyndie Wed 16-Dec-15 23:29:27

I have 4 children, 2 with partners and 3 with children. I have 6 grandchildren. Only my son lives close by but I see all the grandchildren, 6 of them, all the time. 4 young boys and 2 girls. They come in as a whirlwind. I have rules in my house and the kids have to stick to them. I have become the connector as they come to my house to meet each other and shared care. I discipline the grandchildren but with love. I have all 14 coming for Christmas. Often I am behind the scene doing all the work and it takes me days to get my house back together as they always stay over. But I love it when we are all sitting at the table, talking, laughing and having fun. What I am saying. I don't know if you could invite your other children along and their families, obviously I don't know if your son has siblings. Mine all communicate on Facebook. Reading it back it sounds like the waltons but sometimes things do get heated but somehow we sort it between us. No one is dealing with anything alone.

I hope this helps. I am so sorry to hear how difficult it is for you.

trisher Wed 16-Dec-15 23:24:14

I'm sorry for all the people who have problems with their DILs. Mine is lovely but of course has some ways I find difficult to deal with. What I always bear in mind is that she is the person my son loves and that it is obvious she loves him. My relationship with them and their family will always be second to that and if I am ever tempted to think badly of her it is that I focus on. Young women today have difficult and stressful lives and I think we need to give them space and consideration. Working, raising children and running a home is so difficult now. There are so many things to worry about. I suspect these DILs have picked up on the highly critical stance some of you are taking- you don't need to say anything, body language always gives you away. Step back, let your sons grow up and leave them to their families. You may find that they will come to you and you can build a better relationship.
Incidentally she may have photos of her parents around simply because she has the photos and your son hasn't provided any of you, (Not really her fault then).

mummyagain Wed 16-Dec-15 22:24:16

Mainly an issue since having children - what's your opinion on parenting choices she and your son have made? You probably don't agree with them, even think some of them are daft? I say this because I went through a tough time with my inlaws when we had our first lo (the first grandchild) and it was a bad case of expectations versus reality.

We get on much better now our lo is older but blimey it was difficult earlier in as they upset me on many occasions by completely ignoring what I wanted for my child.

Wha I'm trying to get at is that if you've found some of their parenting choices difficult to swallow they will have picked up in that. Could that be where some of the problem has came from?

Smileless2012 Tue 15-Dec-15 20:37:29

Thanks AggyflowersI hope it helps you to know that you're not alone, it helped me to find ladies on GN who were facing the same daily nightmare that we were, and still are.

I don't know what people mean when they say it's 'never black and white'tchconfused. If that means that there are faults on both sides, 6 of one and half a dozen of the other and that's why parents become estranged from their children, then that is not always the case.

Relationships are never straight forward, none of us are perfect and all do and say things that can cause upset but cutting your parents out of your's and your children's lives is a life changing and extremely damaging course of action for them, their children and their parents.

Unless their parents were abusive, there is simply no justification for such cruel behaviour, and when lies are told to seek to justify their actions then it is black and white; very black indeed.

She was welcomed into our family and loved. The night before their wedding I gave her my brides bible, that I'd carried on my own wedding day. It was the most precious gift I could have given and I gave it to her. I can only hope that if she didn't want it anymore she'd have given it back to me and hasn't thrown it away.

I thought she loved us too, that the kisses, hugs and good times we'd shared were genuine. Things began to change when she became pregnant. She would make silly accusations that I didn't pay much attention too because we were still doing the things together that we'd always done. It was only when it was too late that the extent of those accusations came to light, that I learned that she was systematically coming between us and our son with her lies.

I know her childhood wasn't easy, I knew her mother well for several years before she and our son met; neither of them had an easy time of it. Some of the things our son now relates to his own life are her experiences, not his.

We gave her our love, friendship, support and respect and she turned against us. We adored our son, not perfect parents by any means but we did our best for him and had the most wonderful relationship for 27 years.
We see our eldest GS with them and with the childminder. Now we are dreading that awful moment when we'll see one or both of them pushing our month old GS around the village where we all live. They'll pass us by as if we don't exist and we'll try not to let them see our hearts breaking all over again.

harrysgran Tue 15-Dec-15 18:14:19

Maybe you give her the impression you are the perfect mum and she feels insecure around you try to ask her advice on matters and let her see your insecurities maybe she feels she can't live up to your standards.

Jumbly01 Tue 15-Dec-15 16:56:52

From the other side, I always felt at a great distance from my MIL. I tried very hard to include her in all things family, invited her for Christmas, special celebrations and holidays only to always be rebuffed. Her daughter, who she ensured never married, was her only concern, her sons were never a priority. In the end I stopped trying and I think we got on a lot better. She never really welcomed any of her grand children and as an only grand parent I felt my children missed out terribly. As a parent, MIL and grand parent I hope not to repeat that pattern. We have endeavoured to offer our love, friendship and support to our SIL's and respect them for who they are and what they're giving to their individual families. They each respond differently which we accept unreservedly. It's never straight black and white and I have often wondered what made my MIL behave as she did. Maybe she couldn't really give love!

jeberdes83 Tue 15-Dec-15 16:19:06

Many years ago, we lived 1000 miles from my son & his family, and we were on a visit. We were very good guests, made our bed tidied up, cleared away etc---honestly! Anyway after about ten days, I felt we were no longer welcome and suggested to my son that we leave. He said no, there's nothing wrong, so we stayed however everything blew up and there was an awful row, and we were told that a week was more than long enough to visit. Bear in mind we had travelled 1000 miles. ( Not in UK of course) Thereafter when we went down, we spent a week with them and a week in a hotel . This was all about 30 years ago, we all live in the UK now. and although we are friends, I am always a little wary of dil!!

Aggy21 Tue 15-Dec-15 14:42:12

Smileless, I was moved by your story, sorry to hear about that and I agree with all that you said. And marmark, thanks for your sensible advice too.

Smileless2012 Tue 15-Dec-15 14:14:13

Thanks Leticia and grannybuy. I never expected to be a priority in my sons' lives, I just never expected to be discarded by one of them and for us to have our dream of being grand parents taken away; a dream we'd never realised we had until our 1st GS was born and only lasted for 8 months.

I know there are many parents estranged from their children and grand children, and many walking that unenviable tightrope as they try to keep their family together. My heart goes out to you all and I hope that what ever you're doing and who ever you're spending the festive season with, you will find peace and joy.

claireseptember Tue 15-Dec-15 13:35:12

Snap! My son also married that woman. Smile less , speechless, thankless and eyes permanently fastened to the floor. Kids on a tight rein, yes. These kids don't go outside. No trips to the park or swimming pool unless I take them (when allowed), their whole non school lives spent playing computer games which my dil also loves. She has loads of friends online but none in reality, which worries my son as well.
One thing I've noticed that might be useful for others is that her times of outright hostility and buttonedupness are punctuated by times where she does smile and chat to me on her terms and we even have an occasional laugh together . My son says she suffers badly with pmt. So I try now to keep an eye on the calendar , forewarned is forearmed, and as everyone suggests, I avoid saying what I'd like to say. Have bitten my tongue so often I'm amazed it hasn't got a hole in it!
Good luck to anyone in this situation!

Mumsyface Tue 15-Dec-15 13:28:36

All painfully familiar. Same here, DiL very nice and friendly for a few years, now barely talks to me. I looked after the children, then 18 months & 2.5yrs, for a fortnight when she hurt her back and the only thank you I got was "it's nice to eat a meal someone else has cooked". I hadn't really noticed until my son asked me, on the way to the airport (they live on Australia) if she had said thank you. I was quite embarrassed by the question as I didn't want to cause trouble and I genuinely just wanted to help and, of course, love spending time with them.

Maybe it's a common, or "normal" DiL thing...?

grannybuy Tue 15-Dec-15 13:19:12

Smileless is right. Parents don't stop being parents when their children have their own families, but unfortunately, we don't realise that until the time comes . . . when our children do have their own families. As parents, we feel that no one will ever love them as we do. Partners may come and go, but, mostly, parents stay the course. I remember it striking me that if one of my adult children were very ill or dying, I would no longer have 'priority', but might have to be on the sideline, so to speak. That made me so sad, but it is the natural pattern of life. Unfortunately, dils won't know how this feels until it happens to them. Having said that, it doesn't excuse downright rudeness and bad manners.

janeainsworth Tue 15-Dec-15 09:02:50

Thank you marmark no worriestchsmile

Marmark1 Tue 15-Dec-15 08:30:49

Then my sincere apologies janeainsworth.My mistake.

Leticia Tue 15-Dec-15 06:56:48

A very good post, Smileless2012.
I think that all you can do is concentrate on the fact that you do have contact and don't do anything that is going to upset that. Have fun with the children and try and get your son to be more chatty about them and their activities.

janeainsworth Tue 15-Dec-15 06:45:05

Thanks Coolgran.
Marmark I was replying to your general comment Some women will resent their MIL no matter who she is. Not referring to you at all.

Coolgran65 Tue 15-Dec-15 00:35:52

At you personally Markman1.

Coolgran65 Tue 15-Dec-15 00:34:34

I understood janeainsworth to be making a comment about some mums in general, and not specifically directed at you Markman1.

Synonymous Tue 15-Dec-15 00:34:31

Aggy - I do feel for you as it must be so difficult. flowers

And for all those in a similar situation. flowers

If only more mums would remember that one day the chances are that they too will be the mother in law! There is a reason for the old adage 'what goes round comes round'!confused

Marmark1 Mon 14-Dec-15 23:37:28

Janeainsworth,as you don't know me from Adam,how the hell can you make that comment?