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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?

Pythagorus Mon 30-Sep-19 11:22:37

Clearly a very common scenario! Mothers of sons and dils. Each one regarding the other as the bad guy!

Sadly dils haven’t always got the life experience to manage the situation well. So it’s down to the mother of the adult son. I have struggled over the years as a mother of an only son. But I have made huge progress! Painful progress! My tips are, pull back, don’t interfere, be supportive when necessary, get your own life going, your son has his family now and they come before you! Try and walk a mile in the dils shoes before criticising. You have to gain her trust and it may take time. My dil has just asked me to join them for Christmas! There’s a first! One more thing. My son married a girl with 2 teenage girls. My kindness to them has won my dils heart! Kill ‘em with kindness!

Summerfly Mon 23-Sep-19 12:08:07

So easy for everyone to tell you to pull back and let them get on with it. Fortunately I have been so lucky regarding my AC’s choice of life partners but it must be hard to cope with your situation and I feel for you.
My darling mum had the same problem with her DIL. She bent over backwards to make her welcome but she just didn’t want to be part of our fantastic family. Not once did she interfere but stayed calm and loyal to my brother. That really is all you can do. Sending you love and hugs. 💐

Coyoacan Sat 21-Sep-19 16:02:39

Oh, there are all types in this world and we cannot know very much from the few paragraphs the OP has written. But what we do know is that the OP needs to try to see the best in her future DIL, as long as she is her son's partner. And should there be grandchildren, then that will be forever.

Tooyoungytobeagrandma Sat 21-Sep-19 11:17:55

Please excuse aweful typing, wish this had edit function blush

Tooyoungytobeagrandma Sat 21-Sep-19 11:16:10

Willa45 our dil was very clever at worming her way into our family and struck up a very close relationship with our dd (who was very close to ds). She was treated like our own, invited to all family occasions and happily lived with us as was unhappy at home and struggled with her mother. We never put down her family and all joined in big mixed family parties etc. Once they got engaged she changed, literally over night, they had moved out by this time. Over a couple years my sons friends started to stay away despite them having partners and all going out/away as groups. One by one she upset them until they decided to stay away (3 groomsmen dropped out of wedding). Her iwn chief bridesmaid and one other dropoed out as well. She upset dd several times who said nothing to keep the peace, but now has strained relationship with both of them. As I posted previously she kicked off at some family events and spoiled them and said some hurtful things. Our ds spoke to us saying that her comments were just her joking and she just comes across wrong! Anyway they married and had children and she spends more time with her mother because her mother does a lot of childcare because dil finds it all too hard. Ds does most of childcare when he not working to give her a rest. We have gc 1 day a week as she had decided to try a job! My db (who works in the field) has watched carefully and says she has narcissistic tendencies and possible sociopath. She NEVER accepts responsibilty for her actions and it is always everyone else (her mother, her sister, dd, me etc) making her behave how she does. My son does struggle but is loyal, which is commendable, and remains so for the gc. I do think though that one day he will wake up and decide he's had enough. We keep our distance and say nothing as dont want to lose contact with gc. I akso feel that if oud ds stopoed buying all thd things she sets her heart on, she will move on to someone with more 💵. I have tead up on narcissists and tgey are very clever and manipulative to get what they want and cadt people aside when no longer needed, this suits her down to the groundsad

Madgran77 Sat 21-Sep-19 10:16:51

I agree with Fenton95

Fenton95 Sat 21-Sep-19 09:32:03


Feel for you. And, contrary to what some previous posters have assumed, you don't come across as controlling.

I have good friends who are in a similar situation and it is SO hard. I'm sure as your son has suggested the counselling, it sounds as if he wants to mend fences so it should be fruitful.

Yes, of course, there will be adjustments needed by all parties and there might be hard truths to hear but I wish you all the very best with the counselling. You deserve it.

Buffy Sat 21-Sep-19 09:28:43

P.S. I agreed with pinkquartz, you really need for your sons fiancee to join in the therapy but she'd have to be a very brave woman to do so as she must believe it's already 4 against 1.

Buffy Sat 21-Sep-19 09:25:08

I feel you have accomplished masses by getting all siblings to agree to go to family therapy. It shows that you all care and want to resolve the situation. If your son really, really loves his fiancee and feels her to be perfect he is going to be taking a lot of pummeling from the rest of you. It could push him even closer to her as he'll hear things he doesn't want to believe. She sounds so controlling I'm amazed she is 'allowing' him to attend the meeting. Take lots of tissues!
Good luck. Do post on thevoutcome.

Treelover Sat 21-Sep-19 06:01:43

I think that is very perceptive CarlyD7: '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" I sometimes wonder if the more inspiring etcetc and great the mother is, the more the children will opt for spouses that don't conform to the adoration. Harsh to good mums but perhaps necessary to the adukt children if they are to shine on their own. Take it on the chin.

pinkquartz Fri 20-Sep-19 23:24:52

OP after reading you later posts it looks like the complications are arising from your Dil's complicated past relationships with her stepmother and mother?In which case she will be projecting on to you issues she hasn't resolved with them. And then you have done nothing wrong and
there is nothing you can do apart from talk with her if she wants to.
while she projects her unresolved issues onto you it makes it easier for her but not everyone else.
I think the Therapy really needs her to be there to work.
Still a good idea to stand back and keep your good relationship with your DS he will need you whatever happens.

I wish you all the best.

Coyoacan Fri 20-Sep-19 21:19:23

I don't understand why we think we should like or even love the partners our children choose for themselves

It is indeed a problem, but when our children's partners end up being the parents of our grandchildren, we do have to try to see the best in them.

GabriellaG54 Fri 20-Sep-19 20:47:35

I don't understand why we think we should like or even love the partners our children choose for themselves.
In the beginning, they are random people who we don't know. Strangers.
We can't expect or be expected to like everyone. Our (your and my) AC have their own tastes in food, drink, clothes, friends, music, hobbies, films etc so why be upset if their choice of partner is not your choice for them?

blue60 Fri 20-Sep-19 20:09:45

I agree with Gonegirl on this one. Similar circumstances whereby my son listened to everything his fiance said. I tried so hard to like her, but she made it obvious to me that she didn't like me.

Anyway, there was a very harsh message from my son, and I decided at that point enough was enough. I just let them get on with it, I was so angry. I had no contact for a year and tbh I needed the break from all of their problems.

Our relationship is now back on an even keel; he is married to a different girl, an utterly wonderful person.

I'm not sure therapy will help, sometimes you just have to let go and hope things work out.

Jennyluck Fri 20-Sep-19 20:00:12

I think as a mother you can’t do right for doing wrong. My advise would be to take a step back and let them get on with it. Because your son will always choose his wife. Which is the way it should be, and hopefully you can be a close 2nd.
Everyone wants their children to meet someone nice and settle down, but sometimes it causes a divided family, which is heartbreaking. So tread very carefully.

Coyoacan Fri 20-Sep-19 19:26:16

During discussions I have had with my son since, he asked why I didn't point the things out and warn him?

Oh yes, when I got together with my abusive ex a friend of mine said it to me straight. Of course I fell out with my friend. When I finally split up and was going through all my ex's faults in my head, I suddenly remembered that all that was what my friend had pointed out to me.

Eva2 Fri 20-Sep-19 19:03:24

What a wonderful family you are to be going to therapy. I really admire you. I'm sure your therapist will help you through this. Trust the process not your emotions. Wishing you well.

BlueBelle Fri 20-Sep-19 18:46:49

willa of course that is a possibility but as we are talking about all the daughter in laws to be’s faults I would have expected to hear ‘we asked the fiancée to come too but as usual she didn’t cooperate so she’s not coming along’
It didn’t read like that at all but I may be wrong

Magpie1959 Fri 20-Sep-19 18:41:07

I've always had a really close relationship with my DIL, I was her surrogate Mum really, as she was estranged from her own family (her choice).
There were however, lots of things that I didn't like about her nature but I kept it to myself as he obviously loved her very much and they were happy.
Well unfortunately she has now shown her true colours and continues to put my son (and their two boys) through hell.

During discussions I have had with my son since, he asked why I didn't point the things out and warn him?
My reply was that he just wouldn't have seen through her because he loved her. If I had pointed out the really unpleasant side to her nature and the very hurtful things she did, we would have ended up estranged as well.

OP good luck with the family therapy. I doubt it will improve your relationship with your future DIL but hopefully you can get across to your son that your love and support will always be there when he needs you.

willa45 Fri 20-Sep-19 18:26:25

BlueBelle, unless I missed something to the contrary, have you considered that DIL herself may have chosen not to be there?

Nonetheless, family therapy can help everyone involved in the same way that Al Anon helps family members of alcoholics or Drug Rehab helps the families of addicts. Therapy can provide a more healthy perspective on key issues, so that conflicts can be resolved to everyone's benefit...therapy could also throw some intelligible light on DIL's behavior, even if she's not there.

Coyoacan Fri 20-Sep-19 18:14:55

it was our son's choice to go to counselling

I think family therapy can be really useful, though a lot depends on the therapist and the willingness of the participants.

Someone said that the family sounds normal. I'm sure it is, but family's can get into unhealthy dynamics. And I can't imagine that any therapist worth their salt would allow the session to descend into trashing the absent fiancée.

FunOma Fri 20-Sep-19 18:02:32

I highly recommend you read the two books by Dr. Jonice Webb about Childhood Emotional Neglect; how to recognize it and how to heal from it. I hope it is available in the UK. Find her on the web. She has info there too.

My 31 year old son who is not a reader, but is dealing with stress and addiction in his life, began leafing through it when I handed him the first book Running On Empty, and he has read it completely, recognizing himself in various examples. I am not a bad parent, and the author does not blame anyone (!) but apparently I have not fully attuned myself to my son's needs when he was a preteen, and when all attention began to focus on his three year older sister who began to suffer from depression. Anyway...loads of good info in it for recognizing and healing relationships between couples, but also parents and children!!

BlueBelle Fri 20-Sep-19 18:01:07

I m glad to read your further comments lou which I missed before I commented and glad that you aren’t the controlling family that you came over as in your first posts
May I now ask why the daughter in law is not invited to the counselling sessions, is it not important for the counsellor to be working with ALL of you involved in this tangle not just one side of it

hapgran Fri 20-Sep-19 17:48:55

Lizzle10- it might be better to start a separate thread with your concern...

Tedber Fri 20-Sep-19 17:45:45

Wow! I too can't understand why you need 'therapy' Sounds to me like normal family issues t.b.h.

Therapy may help if people have problems in a marriage for instance but for a whole family to go to discuss one sons choice in a partner and why he is distancing himself from the family sounds ott....sorry but it does.

When our children grow up they need to make their own choices/decisions. They won't always be what we want and maybe we can forsee problems, which may prove right, but they have to be allowed to discover this for themselves.

We, as parents, may be proved right. If you step back, give your son may come to that decision himself or he may find he is happier now than he ever was?

All you need to do as a family is be supportive. Let him know you are there if/when he needs you.

I feel uncomfortable reading you, his father, siblings are going to go to counselling to figure out....where he's gone wrong? Before you actually know IF he has? Doesn't make sense?

Yes, you want to keep the status quo but can't! His life, his choice.

By the way Lizzie10 please post your problem on a separate thread and you will get responses.