Gransnet forums


Very difficult DIL

(232 Posts)
CountessFosco Thu 06-Aug-20 19:06:16

Our DIL absolutely hates her mother! Her words, conveyed recently via our DS. By implication, this travels to us - DIL obviously has a major problem with the older generation. Every Sunday we Skype with DS and the girlies [11 + 9] but she never comes to speak to us, [not even for my birtday]. They were staying 2 weekends ago : suddenly she will disappear and go off upstairs and not reappear for 1-2 hours. My OH says to leave her - she will never change but it would be better perhaps if we could have a more congenial relationship. We find her behaviour disrespectful as we are always at great pains to include her in eveything.

sodapop Thu 06-Aug-20 22:19:18

I think your husband is right. Leave her to it otherwise you just create a difficult atmosphere. Enjoy the time with your son and granddaughters.

BlueBelle Thu 06-Aug-20 22:21:18

Your husband is right if she’s not comfortable with you it will only get worse if you don’t ignore it

Bibbity Thu 06-Aug-20 22:31:10

I don’t see anything wrong with what she has done.

She hasn’t Skyped you? She doesn’t need to. Maybe she’s taking that time to finally have a breather.

Those 1-2 hours? Probably stopping her from snapping.
3 kids and guests sounds like hell and I would go for a break as well.
She married your son. Because they worked well as a couple.
She isn’t obligated to maintain any of your expectations.

Loulelady Thu 06-Aug-20 22:35:11

Leave her as she is. Remain courteous and offer hospitality but don’t press her on it.
It is a good thing she feels able to go and read a book/ catch up in sleep or whatever when they are staying over. As long as she is able to “escape” she may well tolerate visits.
In observing other families I have noticed that this sort of behaviour is tolerated much less in DILs than in SILs, people don’t seem to mind their son-in-laws reading a newspaper or disappearing off to do x or y, but the expectation is that women will be present and amenable.
Enjoy the fact that you get plenty of time to chat with your son.

paddyanne Thu 06-Aug-20 23:03:38

Give her space she's not obliged to either like you or spend time with you.She married your son ,not his parents .She's entitled to live her life her way ,she's not stopping her husband and children from seeing you so there isn't a problem.Respect has to be earned in my experience,I got none from my FIL for years so he had minimum effort from me and only that because I loved my husband who loved his dad.FIL didn't like me from day one and it was very clear ,maybe your DIL feels that way about you.

anna7 Thu 06-Aug-20 23:14:06

It is a pity your dil does not have better manners but I agree with your husband. You can not force her to be what she is not so it is better to ignore her behaviour. I can quite understand why you find her behaviour disrespectful.

GagaJo Thu 06-Aug-20 23:19:03

You could be describing me. I don't get on with my mum and didn't get on with my mil. I had no problem with husband spending time with his family but really didn't want to be included. I'm an introvert and need time on my own. When you're a mum with a young family, there's very little time to yourself. Lovely to grab a bit when there are in laws around to be with the children.

Callistemon Thu 06-Aug-20 23:55:28

I thought the same Gagajo - perhaps she nipped upstairs for a rare bit of 'me' time or a nap leaving the grandparents time to have the girlies on their own.

Hithere Fri 07-Aug-20 00:03:50

I also don't see anything wrong with her behaviour. You are making a mountain out of a mole hill and will keep getting worse with your unrealistic expectations.

They visited and spent the weekend together, that is a great sign!
What is wrong with taking an hour or two for herself?

Her relationship with her mother is none of your concern. It is between her mother and your dil.

If her mother has the same values you do and shares the same definition of respect, I can see where the problem comes from.

Right now you have a cordial and civil relationship. Dont spoil it

welbeck Fri 07-Aug-20 00:08:02

if this is genuine, it follows a usual pattern of MIL being outraged or getting the hump because wicked DIL doesn't dance attendance upon MIL in the expected fashion.
this may have been a reasonable expectation in the court of queen victoria; but now, no way jose.

Bluebellwould Fri 07-Aug-20 00:10:26

Why don’t you make up a little box for her, with some scented candles, a new book, little fleece blanket for day time rests or some chocolates for her, something that you know she would like. Give it to her with love and kindness and suggest she have a little rest because you know she’s a good mum. Not patronising but kind. That might help starting to form a good relationship with her. As the older woman you have to gently let her know you care. Perhaps, as the relationship with her mother is so poor, she has never known a good mother’s love. That could be a place for you to fill. Do it gently and slowly and she might learn to reciprocate. Don’t get on your high horse saying she doesn’t do this and that. Perhaps she knows no better. I have 3 wonderful daughters in law and have a great relationship with them, though it took time and effort. No matter what I never complain or expect this and that from them. Every time I have problems or feel left out I think of my dreadful controlling mother in law.. I vowed never to do her wonderful brand of emotional blackmail. After all you catch more flies with honey.

Oopsminty Fri 07-Aug-20 00:13:45

I'd not have wanted to have zoomed with either of my mothers-in-law

Should there be an apostrophe in there?

Anyway, no, I think it's polite of her to allow you time with your son and grandchildren.

As for disappearing, again, as people have said, maybe it's nice for her to get some peace.

anna7 Fri 07-Aug-20 00:16:36

There is no problem with taking a bit of 'me time' but would she just not say something rather than just disappear. It seems a strange way to behave to me. Nothing to do with being male or female, if it was a sil rather than a dil staying at my house I would hope they would explain they were going for a lie down or to read for a bit rather than disappear and be left wondering where they had gone off to. However, I suppose we are all different and I certainly wouldn't rock the boat over something relatively unimportant.

Hithere Fri 07-Aug-20 00:18:01

"Perhaps, as the relationship with her mother is so poor, she has never known a good mother’s love. That could be a place for you to fill."
Oh please do NOT do this. Terrible, terrible advice.
We are talking about an adult woman (dil) who is already a mother. Not a child who is an orphan

Yes, you can catch more flies with honey- let your dil be and everything will happen organically.

NotSpaghetti Fri 07-Aug-20 00:42:13

Try to find the good in this person. Surely there must be something about her - after all, your Dear Son married her and has stayed with her and together they have raised a family.

Think about this.. does she work? Maybe she cooks? Does she seem to love the girls and your son? Perhaps she is a kind person, a loyal one? Maybe she’s witty, creative or has some other skill. Once you start to notice these things, I think you will warm to her, and then you’ll be off on a new, and hopefully, happier trajectory.

Good luck.

BibiSarah Fri 07-Aug-20 05:41:35

* . I'm an introvert and need time on my own*

I’m thinking along the same lines. That the DIL is an introvert and needs time out from situations.

Oopsadaisy3 Fri 07-Aug-20 07:12:25

Yet another MIL who feels ‘disrespected’ , leave the girl alone.

JuneRose Fri 07-Aug-20 13:08:25

I think it is normal to want to have a friendly relationship with one's daughter in law. Also, yes the girl married the son and not the family but surely it would be more pleasant for the son if his wife makes an effort to get on with his mum. Isn't that what families are all about? A bit of give and take all round?

Bibbity Fri 07-Aug-20 13:10:02

She is getting on with her MiL.
She stayed with her and doesn’t stand between the relationships of the husband and her children.

OP just wants her to bow before her.

Starblaze Fri 07-Aug-20 13:17:21

Leave her be. Hating her mum for probably good reason doesn't make her a mum hater or older generation hater. She probably is just self sufficient having grown up without support and doesn't need it. If she is polite to you, what's wrong with that? You didn't get the relationship you wanted but that doesn't mean she isn't comfortable with you. Accept her as she is and your relationship will be fine

timetogo2016 Fri 07-Aug-20 13:24:56

I agree with anna7.

bluebird243 Fri 07-Aug-20 13:25:07

Your DIL has had a difficult childhood by the sound of it. I did. I had a problem relating to my mother in law. She gave me no leeway to be myself and have my own feelings and needs. She kicked up at the middle name of our first son. My H fell out with her for a long time at one point.

My own DIL had an awful time of it with her mother and says all sorts about her. If you knew the story you would completely get it. But she also can't relate well to me. She tells me of incidents in the past to unburden herself, she knows I understand....then feels disloyal and distances herself from me wishing she hadn't said anything. It's difficult.

Cut the DIL some slack OP, as she sounds like she struggles maybe in ways you cannot understand, yet she does visit you, she does love your son and has given you GC. Leave her be, maybe one day there will be a natural breakthrough and you can find some common ground....but don't force it.

anna7 Fri 07-Aug-20 13:26:59

Where does OP say she wants her dil to 'bow before her. OP says she just wants a more congenial relationship. As JuneRose says surely a bit of give and take isnt too much to ask. It costs nothing to wish someone a happy birthday and just to be pleasant surely.

PetitFromage Fri 07-Aug-20 13:35:31

Don't overthink it - it's about her, not about you. And don't try too hard or put pressure on her. I think it is a good sign that she is sufficiently relaxed to go off on her own for a bit and leave her DDs with you. It's probably a treat for her to be able to have some timeout and a sign that she trusts you. Just be kind and natural and enjoy your time with your DS and DGDs.

Your DIL may well warm to you in time you don't force things. It sounds as though her trust has been broken in the past - not by you - so she finds it difficult to trust and relax. It will come, eventually, if you are patient.