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(92 Posts)
Lou2019 Thu 19-Sep-19 16:08:22

Wife of 36 years, happily married, three grown children, daughter 30 with two children, son 27 with fiancee and son 25 with fiancee it all sounds great doesn't it? We are a close family with mostly good relationships but oh how BAD the bad relationships have become. The youngest son's fiancee hates us, all of us, after living in our home for two years rent free because she couldn't live with her mother she is marrying our son on New Years Eve. Over the last two years our son who was working for the family business left, she had bigger and better things in store for him, he's suffered a lot with depression in the past and social anxiety. She pushed him into trying a job in the City she wants him to earn more money, it's not enough. Last year he collapsed with epilepsy out of nowhere, (I believe it's stress) , he has had separate terrible disputes with my daughter, her husband and my other son and last but no least me. The consequences of this behaviour are our son has distanced himself from all of us, accusing me of telling him he is weird and abnormal, but we have to accept that this is the girl he is choosing to marry. So this Friday we are off to family therapy to get to the bottom of it but as a 54 year old woman I am not sure how to behave, the fiancee won't be there, it's just me hubby and our three children. We all used to be such a close family as I am still with my daughter and my other son and both their partners, but I feel terrible day and night as there is something missing. I know I need to let go, and we need to accept our new daughter in law is his choice, how do we remain friendly and polite accepting of the situation?

Vuren Fri 20-Sep-19 10:35:24

I agree with the advice about sticking with it but I totally feel for you. It is SO hard as i know from my own experience. Take care

SparklyGrandma Fri 20-Sep-19 10:41:08

Lou2019 the family therapy is a very good idea and go with that..

However the old fashioned idea of pushing a man to earn more, do more beyond his energy or capabilities I have seen go pear shaped within my own family. If the DiL wants a fancier richer lifestyle, has she thought of earning it herself?

dragonfly46 Fri 20-Sep-19 10:43:53

Lou2019 it is such a good idea that you are having counselling as a family. I suggest during these sessions you stress how much you love your son and only want him to be happy. Whatever you do none of you should criticise in any way your daughter in law. If you do it will come back to haunt you and you will find you are estranged from your son also.
Try and find something positive in your DiL. She must have some good points or your DS would not be married to her. As someone said you must know her pretty well as she lived with you for 2 years.
I have made a real effort with my DiL over the last few years and it has paid off. I bend over backwards to praise her and tell her I love her. You may think this should not be necessary but I am doing this for me and my DS.
I wish you well.

Sandigold Fri 20-Sep-19 10:44:31

There are reaons your son was attracted to this young woman. Perhaps he did want freedom to live his life and make his own mistakes, if necessary? You have choices, and if you want to maintain relationships with him and his new family, letting go of your hopes and dreams may, sadly, be necessary. I think young people are more prepared to "ditch" close relationships that they don't feel comfortable in. Whether that's good or not is another thing. But unless you can shift your thinking, you may lose your son. Not easy.

BlueBelle Fri 20-Sep-19 10:46:23

kickas69 and all those that say the Family counselling sounds a wonderful idea It’s not family counselling its the AGAINST side of the family and to me sounds like they ll all be chewing over with the counsellor this terrible woman who has taken away their son and brother
Family counselling may be good if it INCLUDED the son and wife so they can air their side of this debacle

Goodbyetoallthat Fri 20-Sep-19 10:47:59

I am a little bemused as to why you are all going to family therapy?
My eldest daughter is married & without the marriage connection none of us would choose to socialise with her husband.
However he is her choice & we all manage to remain civil & pleasant (occasionally with a few internal eye rolls).
Whether we have sons or daughters our role is to try to raise them as responsible adults & then take a step back & let them make their own decisions.

EthelJ Fri 20-Sep-19 10:49:53

Good luck with the therapy. I would just go in with an open mind. Be ready to really listen, try not to be too upset if your son says things you don't like. Be brave. And all agree to try and understand each other.
Regarding your daughter in law. It must be very hard but just try and be supportive to your son she is his choice so she must have some good qualities. Try not to judge or question his choice.
Also I'm not a doctor but I don't think epilepsy can be brought on by stress.
I wish you well

lovebooks Fri 20-Sep-19 10:51:20

Epilepsy or seizures can be connected to anti-depressants. I know this, because it happened to my middle-aged son who is currently suffering from debilitating mental health problems. The seizures meant two years of not really being able to work at his highly-paid and demanding professional job where he'd been for over twenty-five years, so that hasn't helped either. His wife is much older than him, so no children, and she's been very loving and supportive - not easy. He contacts me rarely.

GabriellaG54 Fri 20-Sep-19 10:57:50

paddyann says it all in a nutshell.
I certainly wouldn't want to be 'absorbed' into a family business and you have no business being peeved that she wants him to find his own groove.
She is not taking your son away. Parents only have their children for a time. They aren't possessions.

GoldenAge Fri 20-Sep-19 10:58:56

The family therapy is a great idea. If you all give it your best, something good will emerge. Your feelings about your son's physical and mental well-being may be echoed by your other children and your youngest son may be persuaded to have individual therapy as a result. Clearly, he is making choices regarding his new life partner that none of you is happy about and I know you've had advice on this thread to stay out of that. However, I have seen many sons go down this path and be alienated from their parents and siblings by controlling partners who are playing out their own need for undivided attention. Frankly, they all end up being really unhappy as when they have their own children the controlling partner refuses his side of the family access to the children. In my opinion this needs to be tackled before it can get a strong grip.

SuzyWoo1957 Fri 20-Sep-19 11:14:12

Just be honest and open, the counsellor will have seen it all before

icanhandthemback Fri 20-Sep-19 11:14:24

Family Therapy is very good at balancing the two sides so that anybody at odds does not feel ganged up against. Sometimes this makes it feel that the therapists are taking an odd view but it usually means they are doing the balancing act well.
However, you might find that, whilst your other children are generally happy with you as a parent, they might feel that they have stuff to air which you might be unaware. This might highlight your faults as a parent which I can tell you can be very painful. If you feel that you can accept their perceptions and work on your relationships, you might find it very useful. If you are going to be extremely miffed by it all, it's not for you. I say this because from your post I sense that you feel that these sessions will put your son right and I don't necessarily feel this will be the case.
As for the epilepsy, you cannot make someone an epileptic. It may be that they exacerbate it but you are either epileptic or not. Blaming his fiancee will not help the situation.
It is hard to step back and let our kids fly the nest but we have to let them make their own mistakes. If things go horribly wrong, just be there to help them pick up the pieces without any sanctimony involved. Enjoy the best relationship you can with them even if it means biting your tongue and smiling when you feel like crying.
Do let us know how Family Therapy goes. I'd love to get my daughter to that but I think pigs would fly first!

GabriellaG54 Fri 20-Sep-19 11:18:17

He wasn't born to make his parents happy and do everything that they deem to be right fgs.
The mother is undeniably controlling. Family therapy because she thinks her adultson is being alienated from 'his family'? 😱👎
He's better off without the suffocating, cloistered family business his mother wants to foist upon him.
Get away...far far away.

EmilyHarburn Fri 20-Sep-19 11:19:49

Family therapy is really worth while. It will be a marvellous opportunity to explore, in a non threatening and non blaming way, whats actually going on and then to look at what you would wish was going on and if that is a reasonable wish or not.

You will come away from sessions relaxed with a good understanding of the dynamics underpinning things. It will be much easier for you to be calm about things and to observe elements you don't like without being drawn in emotionally.

I am sure you will find the sessions really helpful. It does not matter who attends, though it is nice if the different people would. However there are all sorts of possibilities in therapy to enable the situation to include the absent parties.

Good Luck.

CarlyD7 Fri 20-Sep-19 11:36:26

This reminds me of a friend of mine whose son married a woman who, clearly, couldn't stand her (it only came out after they married). From my friend's POV, she kept him away from them (and even if he came to family gatherings, she never did), persuaded him to "leave a perfectly good job near where they lived", go back to college, be more ambitious in his career,, and was keen for them to emigrate. From the son's POV (I later learned through someone-else), she was the excuse he needed to get some space in his relationship with his parents - they were kind and caring but this frequently crossed the line between Care and Control, and it was convenient for him to be able to put the blame for the distance on his wife, rather than himself. There is a reason your son has married her - which only he may ever know - but you have to trust that there is something in the relationship that he needs (maybe only at this time in his life). Go into family therapy with an Open Mind, don't be looking for someone to blame (a good therapist won't let you do that) and Listen properly as well as Talk - if you don't, then you may well lose him completely (just as my friend lost her son eventually - the only way he could get some distance from them was to move 200 miles away). Good luck.

Hm999 Fri 20-Sep-19 11:44:46

Good luck x

pinkquartz Fri 20-Sep-19 11:57:18

What i am thinking is not written to be mean but I think you have had life mostly on your terms, with the family and family business and your future Dil wants it to be different.

Her and your DS are entitled to go their own way and you have to accept this. They are entitled to make and shape their lives.

You are adding to the stress because your DS is well aware that leaving the family business it is not what you wanted.
Just love him and accept her.

Things will change they always do and then if their marriage doe falter you will be on good terms with your son. If the marriage goes well then you will enjoy them both.

I didn't like the man my daughter married so I have had my share of "sucking it up" !

luluaugust Fri 20-Sep-19 12:08:21

I feel sorry for your son, he has met the women he is going to marry, has some changes in his health, gets a new job - in other words grows up and you all want him to go to therapy?! What are you going to talk about, not his fiancee for a start surely. I would be very careful whilst therapy can be a useful tool you may find your other children and your DH come out with things you have never heard before and can't be unsaid. Soon they will be vowing to "forsake all others" do be careful for your own sake.

Pythagorus Fri 20-Sep-19 12:09:57

Things I have learned the hard way!

1. Accept her lovingly or lose your son.

2. You can’t control everything

3. The umbilical cord has been cut. Your children are grown and you need to let them be free.

4. Your ‘family’ are now making their own families. They will have their own traditions and ways of living.

5. You need to reinvent yourself. If your children have arguments, let them work it out themselves.

6. Sounds like you are having adjustment difficulties. Sounds like it is all too close for comfort.

7. It will be alright in the end if you back off.

Good luck! X

Goodbyetoallthat Fri 20-Sep-19 12:10:01

It is up to your children to choose their job & their partner.
I am not sure what good family counselling will do (especially if your future DIL is not part of it).

Madmaggie Fri 20-Sep-19 12:17:26

Lou2019, you must be very worried about your son's sudden epileptic episode, I hope he has received medical advise regarding it. It probably has nothing at all to do with his fiance but imagine how scared and worried she must have felt. Sometimes an isolated fit can occur but it needs can also affect his ability to drive legally. You never stop worrying and being concerned for your children even when they move on but it's a load you will have to carry, sometimes biting back comments & rising above hurtful comments & actions - and somehow doing it with grace. Don't say anything that will allow the door between you to slam shut and be forever bolted. Family mediation is good, be prepared for pride to be dented, rough with smooth. Don't accuse, go with an open mind, tell him you love him, be kind and listen. Don't say anything you will regret next week,month,years no matter how unfair you may feel it is. I sincerely hope it works. All very best.

grannygranby Fri 20-Sep-19 12:25:48

Well said ronsgranfranksgran you’ve absolutely knocked the nail on the head. I have come to accept it because it is true. A happy wife is a happy life to most men and I know my place. It is sad that I have one of those possessive DILs but she does make my son happy and that is the most important thing. The rejection from her is hard to take and it is best to try not to take it personally and if you always try to be the bigger generous person things just may get better in time, in the meantime grin and bear it.

Sb74 Fri 20-Sep-19 12:50:25

I think you should be proud to have brought up a man that stands by his future wife over everyone else. She should now come first even above his family. There’s nothing worse than a mummy’s boy but you have brought up a real man who is making his woman happy. Probably from seeing your happy marriage. Don’t ruin it now by being needy and unreasonable. I would apologise to them both and say you’ve just found it hard to accept that he’s grown up. I talk to my kids now about making sure they have a nice husband and wife when they’re older. I want nothing more for them to find happiness and be loved. The best way to have your son in your life is keep your views to yourself (unless life threatening) and make a friend of you dil. If he loves her, and it sounds like he does, you will not win. You stand no chance. You have to do the making up and being nice. Hard as it is.

Sb74 Fri 20-Sep-19 12:56:51

As hard as it is op I think you are causing your sons stress not his fiancée. You are guilt tripping him on leaving the family business. You should just say you’re proud of him and not to worry. You need to step back and take a look at your controlling ways which includes the idea of counselling. . You are probably causing issues between your son and his fiancée - are you that selfish and determined to have your own way you risk your sons relationship because it doesn’t suit you? I’m going to stop now because the more I think about your attitude the more annoyed I’m getting. Put your son first not yourself.

Tooyoungytobeagrandma Fri 20-Sep-19 13:50:36

This is more or less what has happened to our family except son stills stays in contact (when she's away etc). She also lived with us but as soon as engaged and got own house the lies started. She has narcissistic tendencies and has alienated all my sons friends and most of his family (aunts /uncles no longer invite them to family parties etc). She has ruined 3 family events by showing off and shouting/crying so as no apologies forthcoming and is no longer welcome. Ive just decided to keep my distance, not engage and enjoy my sons comosny when I see him, I dont neex the negativity. Good luck x