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Daughter in law implying I am causing my son's anxiety.

(29 Posts)
Dorrain Fri 30-Dec-22 01:21:52

My son told me months ago he is seeing a therapist due to anxiety. When I asked him what he is anxious about he said his job, which he hates, and his new role as a husband. He earns less than half the amount his wife earns yet he does most things to keep the house running such as the shopping, cooking and cleaning. My other son told me recently that his brother is really down on his father who has recently moved interstate, we split over twenty years ago and rarely contacts his kids. Yesterday I went for brunch with him and his wife, he had covid over xmas so I didn't get to see them. His wife insisted he go and get some fresh air when he said he was feeling a bit off, covid hit him hard. She immediately brought up the subject of his anxiety and I mentioned his feelings about his job and she became quite aggressive and said no its not that but rather he struggles due to taking on everyone's problems. His best friend has recently left his partner and he often calls my son for support yet I'm certain my daughter in law was alluding to me. I have a close relationship with both my sons and was take aback. He returned to the table quite quickly and she seemed annoyed about that and changed the subject. My son has told me she regularly 'downloads' on him regarding her job and yet I've heard her be quite dismissive of him when he mentions problems he has at work. I'm always conscious of not offloading my problems onto him because I too suffer with anxiety and don't want to add to his. I'm unsure as to where to go from here, her tone and comments have really upset me.

Hithere Fri 30-Dec-22 02:01:43

Their home arrangements are honestly up to them, you clearly do not approve of them
It doesn't matter who earns how much, that information is irrelevant

I am not 100% sure why your dil had to bring up such a sensitive and personal conversation
I do not see in post a direct reason for you contributing to offloading on him

I would refuse to discuss this subject with her anymore in the future and be there for your son for support

Ohmother Fri 30-Dec-22 07:29:02

Sounds like a bundle of anxiety, projection and self blame in the family to me. Try to distract yourselves by taking up a hobby. I’m not meaning to be unkind but it feels to me as an outsider like a wasps’ nest.

argymargy Fri 30-Dec-22 07:36:31

While you mean well, I would suggest you “butt out” and provide support only when asked. Try to remember that anxiety is rarely rational, so trying to pin it down so that you can “solve it” is not going to work.

nanna8 Fri 30-Dec-22 07:42:56

Don’t take this on yourself. Likely there are many reasons for your son’s anxiety, hereditary being one of them. She has no right to blame you, anymore than you should blame her. It just is and the best thing to do is just be supportive and pleasant and let them sort their problems out themselves. This is an outsider talking, of course and you obviously know a lot more but I am just going on your post.

Allsorts Fri 30-Dec-22 07:59:54

Hithere, It was Dorian’s son who off loaded on her. She never bought the subject up with dil. It’s her son who cant cope at the moment with his worries. I cannot see how you are perceiving her judging them on their life style choices.
Dorian, all you can do is be an ear for your son if he brings the subject up and I’m sure you don’t give any advice, it always backfires however right or careful you are. It would be a very odd if you were not concerned.
I sympathise with you, you’re anxious yourself and knowing he’s struggling must be so hard, however he will find a way though it all.

Dorrain Fri 30-Dec-22 09:13:59

Thanks Allsorts and Nanna8 for your kind words. This is the first time I have posted on any sort of forum and to be honest I found the first two replies quite confronting.

glammanana Fri 30-Dec-22 09:42:43

Dorrain Are the couple just settling into a new marriage and finding their feet? I would sit back and let you boy come to you when he feels the need,my eldest boy kept his problems to himself for quite a while even though I could see what was going on, after he opened up and told me of the problems he was a different person all together .
Can you arrange to meet you boy on a one to one basis he may open up more to you then mine did.
Try not to worry too much he will find his own way flowers

Smileless2012 Fri 30-Dec-22 11:30:56

Try not to dwell on what she said Dorrain. Your son has told you the cause of his anxiety which his wife is probably aware of too, but rather than see that even inadvertently she may not be helping or even adding to his anxiety, she's putting the responsibility onto others.

This could explain why she waited for your son to leave the table before she said anything, changing the conversation when he returned.

Your son clearly feels comfortable talking to you about any worries he has so ignore any suggestion from your d.i.l. that you are responsible, and continue to be the listening ear that you are, and that your son needs.

Oopsadaisy1 Fri 30-Dec-22 14:00:55

Continue to be a place where your son can come and offload with his problems, but don’t tell his wife that he comes to you or calls you and don’t repeat anything he says to you in confidence, especially to his wife!
If she is his problem she won’t admit to it and won’t like you to know, so best to say nothing to her, if she tries to talk to you about your son, tell her you aren’t comfortable talking about him when he isn’t around and change the subject.

MissAdventure Fri 30-Dec-22 14:08:31

I would think perhaps your daughter in law is ensuring that people know your son is struggling.

Perhaps he is easily put upon (not by you, necessarily) and she wants to try and help him by reminding people that it is an ongoing situation.

pascal30 Fri 30-Dec-22 14:12:48

I think this might be your own anxiety that is the problem. You
say that she didn't accuse you, so I would take that at face value.
Far better to just be loving and supportive if they specifically
ask for your help. otherwise respect that it is their private issues

Dickens Fri 30-Dec-22 14:18:24


Thanks Allsorts and Nanna8 for your kind words. This is the first time I have posted on any sort of forum and to be honest I found the first two replies quite confronting.

Don't be put off posting. You will always get some "no-nonsense-tolerated-here" type of replies.

I think Oopsadaisy1 has it right. Don't discuss your son with his wife. Just be there for him. flowers

Hithere Fri 30-Dec-22 14:39:12

We don't recommend the son talking to his parents about issues with the wife.

Even if partners make up, the parents do nor forget their son/daughter was hurt by that person.

Norah Fri 30-Dec-22 14:42:52

If my daughters discuss problems with me - I just listen and say nothing except "hmm". I don't lay any blame on either my daughters or their spouse. For example: no judgments on who earns or who does housework.

I find neutral (no sides) the best place to be - in talks.

MissAdventure Fri 30-Dec-22 15:10:05

I don't know why two people who love this man can't discuss how best to support him.

Allsorts Fri 30-Dec-22 15:26:41

Dorrain, don’t be out off posting. Most of us don’t judge anyone, there are always those who think they are perfect and do and say always the right thing, perfect wives and mil, take it with a pinch of salt.
I do my best to never interfere but sometimes suffer agonies in case something I did or didn’t say was taken the wrong way, I tend sometimes to over analysis myself having had one ac estrange me, I think most of us do tge best we can at tge time and want to be friends with dil.

PoppyBlue Fri 30-Dec-22 17:12:00

100% Agree with Miss Adventure.

Your anxiety has made you think she means you.

He sounds like he's got a lot on his plate and is struggling to deal with his emotions.

Dunno what their wages has to do with anything.

VioletSky Fri 30-Dec-22 17:23:02

Is there anything you can do to take the load off him? I've been through the relationship issues and divorce of a close friend and as hard as it must have been for her, it was a lot on me. Your son may be giving touch of himself to his friend's problems.

Do you share a lot of your issues with him that could be diverted to a friend instead?

I wouldn't worry his wife is trying to get at you, I think more hoping you could help with the burden. His struggling to cope will be negatively impacting things at home and maybe she just wants your support.

Take the financial stuff off the table, that's definitely their business to sort out

CanadianGran Fri 30-Dec-22 17:54:39

It seems your DIL was willing to admit she was worried about him, or she wouldn't have brought it up. Even though the moment has passed, just let them both know that you support them however you can. Does your son drop by on his own, or call for at chat? Just listen to him and let him release some of his worries. Somehow let your DIL know that you support them, without trying to be too involved.

letitroll999 Sun 10-Sep-23 01:55:19

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letitroll999 Sun 10-Sep-23 01:56:02

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letitroll999 Sun 10-Sep-23 01:59:01

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Namsnanny Sun 10-Sep-23 02:32:36

This is an old thread letitroll999. Not that it shouldn't stop you from adding to it if you want, I suppose.

I'm afraid your 'advice' seems to say more about you than the op's problem.

I doubt she will come back after all this time to read it anyway.

letitroll999 Sun 10-Sep-23 02:54:02

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