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Not a Gma, but a DIL

(20 Posts)
Sparklers2020 Sun 13-Dec-20 20:19:14

Warning: long post
I’m a DIL. I’ve been with my husband for 10yrs, we finally got married this September- I’m in my late twenties and he in his early thirties- we have two DDs (9 & 4).
DH had a somewhat strained relationship with family before I came, he struggled with drug addiction (I didn’t, we got together when I was 19 and honestly thought all drug addicts lived under bridges or something, had no idea about functioning addicts with jobs and regular lives). We got pregnant right out of the gate, it was really hard for me. I was living on my own with friends and had two good jobs, then I moved back in with my moms so all my money could go to the obgyn bills (I was also naive about insurance and thought two insurances was just as good as going on my state Medicare system, either way I was putting my money where it needed to go).
My MIL was always wanting control, she wanted us to live with her, And she complained when I didn’t take her advice (she didn’t like the pediatrician I chose- he was both mine and my brothers pediatrician, as well as my DH oddly enough). Once I had our 1st DD it just got worse.
In the hospital she wanted to be there the whole time- would show up uninvited and stay for more than an hour at a time wanting to hold my baby the whole time. She was really jealous we where living with my mom, she wanted us to live 1/2 &1/2 to make it “fair” - one week at my moms house, one week at her house. She’d tell us both this in person at family gatherings then pout after my husband brushed off the conversation. (Definitely an issue in this story is that my DH doesn’t communicate tough topics well, and avoids them altogether.)
There are other examples, but in a nutshell: she wanted what she wanted and expected to get it or act like a victim. I say a victim, because it would come to light that she was composing about all these things to other members of the family.
When my 1st DD was a month old she sent me a text that was meant for my SIL- “daughtersname crying with OP again.” She also sent a message that we infuriate her as parents etc etc. I was devastated. She knew what she had done, I saw the text when I got home (I’m not on my phone a lot). My DH was still at their place, and his youngest sister apparently told his mom to tell him what had just happened. Her response to being caught talking bad about me was that she was taking us to court for grandparents rights.
When she realized two months later that she wouldn’t being seeing us until she apologized, we scheduled a time to sit together and talk. She told me that I was “crazy,” because “everyone talks shit about everyone.” I hadn’t been raised that way.
So that’s the first year of our relationship.
Since then it’s been one thing after the other. We’d see each other about once a month, sometimes every couple months. Most visits were extremely awkward, the ones that weren’t were particularly fun or anything. They made it clear I was only there because I had to be. I was going to school to be a teacher for four years after my daughter was born and they never asked about it, didn’t congratulate me when I completed my schooling. Were only disappointed when I got a job hours away out in the country where we had a house set up instead of a tiny apartment surrounded by concrete.
This past year was no better. We were planning a wedding, living life, and dealing with covid. One of my SIL was mad she hadn’t been asked quick enough to be a bridesmaid and said she was “Boycotting” the wedding. I hadn’t asked anyone yet and had ordered bridesmaid proposals through Etsy- when she was asked with all the other bridesmaids she said no. His other sister said yes.
I spent all year really really trying. I called his mom and sister updating them about things, texting them about their life, inviting them to every wedding event, dress search, everything. His one sister did indeed boycott our wedding, and the other one chose not to attend the bridal shower, get ready with us, or help set up wedding etc. she actually didn’t act like I was a bride at all (tell me I looked nice or complement the wedding in any way, she sat at her table on her phone.)
She text DH the next day that she had a “migraine.” It was reall obvious she was unhappy we were getting married.

So cut to why I’m on this page. After yet another event, MIL messaged my DH that I am disrespectful for having FIL walking my mom down the aisle at our wedding (they each held one hand of our youngest daughter) - MIL walked my DH. She said that she is always defending me to the rest of the family, and that FIL can “hide how he feels better that [she] can.” Then denied that implies they talk badly about me.

I’m toast. I’m not ready to dedicate to this relationship that has literally caused me so much anxiety over the years that I feel nausea and like I’m going to be pee myself before I see them.
My DH is able to make his own choices, but I’m not going to see or talk to them anymore. This basically makes us estranged- and they think of themselves as estranged from their son and grandchildren- he told her that he wasn’t working on relationship building for awhile because we are exhausted with this situation. She said she had no idea why- she feels like we’ve never told her the reasons.

This is only a small blip of the events and issues we’ve faced in these ten years. I guess it’s on my mind again because yesterday was my youngest daughters birthday, and I still get these natural signals to do thing for my MIL like send her the video I took of LO unwrapping gifts and being so cute. But I know if I send it then we’ll be back in the same boat on choppy water.

I’ve debated writing her a letter to spell out the way she’s made me feel for years and remind her of these events that really hurt me- but my husband says it’s no use and she’ll never understand, he says she’s always been like that.
I feel like I have no closure, and maybe sending a letter forgiving her for myself and explaining why I have to cut ties will help me feel that closure, but I also don’t want anymore drama. What would you do?

OceanMama Sun 13-Dec-20 21:12:18

I’m not going to see or talk to them anymore.
With everything you've written, this sounds like the best plan.

Do you think she will listen if you write a letter? I tried that one and MIL just ignored it. I think your husband might be right about this.

Chewbacca Sun 13-Dec-20 21:17:12

I wouldn't waste my time or energy in writing a letter; she'll only twist what you say anyway so what's the point? Just block her and get on with your own life. Job done.

Sparklers2020 Sun 13-Dec-20 21:25:00

I think he’s right too. We’ve had attempts at “heart to hearts” they don’t go super well. The last one was this July when I finally asked her to take down the pictures of his ex girlfriend, yes it took nearly ten years and a request for them to come down lol. That one makes me laugh.
No I don’t think it’ll actually work. I do have this fantasy that she’ll all the sudden get it- or she’ll share the letter with FIL or SILs and then they’ll get it. But that’s just wishful thinking.
Did you struggle with the feeling of closure? I feel like there is a little part of me living in limbo.

Sparklers2020 Sun 13-Dec-20 21:29:05

I’m trying to get on, oddly my husband seems to have moved along easily. He doesn’t seem to worry about it or have worries about being vilified to the rest of the family even though they only hear from her. I don’t want to tell them my side really- I just sort of wish they knew. I’m working on getting into a therapist to work through everything. I think I need help forgiving, and also not worrying about what the rest of them think.

Chewbacca Sun 13-Dec-20 21:37:38

Did you struggle with the feeling of closure?


OceanMama Sun 13-Dec-20 21:40:47

My husband has moved on easily from his parents too. I find the whole situation strange and part of me always feels a bit unsettled about it too. I think it's because I know the situation is wrong and it's in my nature to work things out with family. I can't do that on my own though. I would never say never, but have now accepted that I think we are past the point of any hope for the relationship. It still feels wrong and always will, but it is what it is.

I know my MIL has a lot to say about me to everyone. I don't care. Sometimes you just have to accept that you know what is true and that anyone who doesn't understand that there is another side to it all isn't worth the effort. I think it's easier to blame me (who made all the effort with her) than to have to face that her son is indifferent.

Sparklers2020 Sun 13-Dec-20 21:46:18

I envy that.

Hithere Sun 13-Dec-20 21:47:55

Anybody who threatens to take me to court for GPR because of despite is automatic cut off for me.

Hithere Sun 13-Dec-20 21:50:34

Spite, sorry

Sparklers2020 Sun 13-Dec-20 21:53:16

OceanMama, I think you just described how I feel better than I have been able to. I never thought about that, that it’s hard for her to accept her sons indifference. That would be hard. How long have you been estranged? Was it a process to be okay with it? I’m going to start counseling so I’m trying to be proactive about my mental health- it’s been one month but Thanksgiving and both my DDs birthdays were during that month.

OceanMama Sun 13-Dec-20 22:30:17

Sparklers, I will reply to your question later. I need to get on with some things right now but will be back.

Smileless2012 Sun 13-Dec-20 23:20:11

I would as the saying goes 'let sleeping dogs lie'. If you send her a letter she may see that as an invitation to respond.

Perhaps the act of writing a letter, getting your thoughts and feelings down on paper would help give you some closure; just don't send it.

Lolo81 Mon 14-Dec-20 00:28:55

Just to give another perspective here, perhaps the reason you’re struggling and DH isn’t is because of your differing family dynamics. Based on your post I’m assuming that you have a decent healthy relationship with your mum so that’s your normal in terms of how families behave. Look at the contrast for DH - his normal was totally different, so it could be that his overriding emotion is relief to escape from all the drama and hurt his mums behaviour causes him.
Write the letter for you, get it all out - that doesn’t mean you have to send it to her, maybe use it as an exercise in closure, forgive her for you.

BlueBelle Mon 14-Dec-20 06:08:50

This sounds very familiar

Elizabeth1 Mon 14-Dec-20 06:32:30

I would suggest if you’re going to write a letter do so then - burn it I personally think if you send it it'll just be like putting coals on the fire after all it’ll only be very subjective. Enjoy what family life you do have keep loving them all as they are. You’re very lucky with what you do have enjoy them while you can sorry that’s about all I can say on the matter. Except vent on line here in the bosom of your Gransnet friends who will always be a listening ear for you. Lots of love. flowers

Summerlove Mon 14-Dec-20 13:06:10


This sounds very familiar

Perhaps because it’s incredibly common for this to happen ?

Sparklers2020 Mon 14-Dec-20 20:41:37

Thank you all for your help! I will burn my letter, I’m still going to counseling to help Find forgiveness- after reading articles on the true meaning of forgiveness I have a long way to go.

Madgran77 Mon 14-Dec-20 21:11:43

Counselling is a good idea to help you sort out your feelings and move on positively. Writing things down and then burning it also might be helpful...and a counsellor would probably have other strategies for you as well

OceanMama Mon 14-Dec-20 21:23:18


OceanMama, I think you just described how I feel better than I have been able to. I never thought about that, that it’s hard for her to accept her sons indifference. That would be hard. How long have you been estranged? Was it a process to be okay with it? I’m going to start counseling so I’m trying to be proactive about my mental health- it’s been one month but Thanksgiving and both my DDs birthdays were during that month.

We have been (more or less) estranged for about 15 years. My MIL's choice though.

The main processes I went through to get to that point were:
-coming to the point, over about ten years, of realising that I didn't have to accept being treated badly by anyone, even family.
-That just because I am a woman, it's not my responsibility to manage his family's involvement with mine. I willingly would have until I achieved the point above and decided I wasn't going to accept it anymore. Then I handed back responsibility for organising DH's family visits and contact to DH.
-Accepting that if DH failed to initiate contact and visits, it wasn't my problem to fix.
-Letting go when DH didn't initiate contact and visits.

In honesty, I'm probably still not 'okay' with it. I accept it but I think it's a wrong situation. I'm more accepting and resigned to it. It's more in my nature to repair relationships, especially with such close family. I do accept that takes two sides though and it's not going to happen. Maybe it's always a process of some kind? Frankly, I think the whole thing is stupid and unnecessary and always will.

Talking about this further in counselling is a good idea. Maybe you could write your letter and show it to the counsellor as a starting point?