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Son, grandson, DinL

(84 Posts)
Nanapples Tue 11-Jun-19 00:07:06

Hi, I've just joined, because I need to share, but I'm limited where I'm able to. And among people outside family and friends, I feel, is the best place.

Anyway, basically, we have never got along with out DinL, but accepted she was our sons choice, and smiled our way over the years.

But, although they have been married for almost 13 years, and have a 9, almost 10 yr old son, our son has finally come to the realisation that his wife has been controlling him all along. She had jealousy issues with her own sister over the years, and eventually cut herself off from her own family, and tried to exasperate my sons jealousy of his sister, driving many wedges between them, which, thankfully, our daughter would mend over time. Apart from that, our son had many issues with her, controlling who he sees, and when, and making life difficult for him if he didn't toe the line. He has saved a number of Watsapp messages from over the years that back this up. And apparently she "accidentally" deleted their messages recently so it's just as well.

Our son, after talking with friends, has realised that his relationship with his wife is toxic, she ticks most of the boxes for a narcissist. And, a week last Friday he moved into a rented flat, she has since badmouthed him on Facebook, and to my brother, who I'm not terribly close to either. Not due to fallouts, but because we are very different. He seems to be listening to her more than us.

Anyway, it is finally accepted by our son that her weird "jokes" were just her way to put us down, and not just us interpreting her incorrectly.

Our son is connecting more with his sister, which he wasn't allowed to before. And after just spending the weekend visiting her, it wasn't overshadowed by the thoughts, "have I mentioned this to him?" "Will he have issues?" But, because we 3 are in a family room on Watsapp, he already knew, chatted with us, and is fine with it.

Since our grandson was born, almost 10 yrs ago, she's not had to go out to work, as out son is reasonably highly paid. He has tried to encourage her to go back to work, as she has a degree, they met at Uni, but she's shown no interest, even recently there was a recruitment fair locally, he sent her a link to, and when he asked her about it, she just said she hadn't realised that was what it was.

Now he's moved out, and considering divorce, she's starting to panic, she has no income of her own, and is starting to clutch at straws.

I know people will think I support him because he's our son, and I don't know her side, but, if anyone can take a moment to research any things regarding "living with a narcissist" you'll see how it was for him, and we can see the difference with him in just a few weeks.

Anyway, thanks for being here for me to share this. And if you have read this far, thank you again.

Sometimes you just need to offload, but there's not always a listening ear to share with. Especially when trying to explain that our 6ft5in son is in an abusive relationship with his 5ft1in wife. But, if the genders were reversed no one would question that it's an abusive relationship. one

stella1949 Tue 11-Jun-19 02:06:30

As a mother and grandmother, of course we always take our own children's side in these matters. It does sound as if your DIL has been a toxic presence in your son's life, and he has now moved on.

He needs to see a lawyer and to make sure everything is sorted with the upcoming divorce. Your DIL will certainly have to get a job now, since she can't expect to live off him any more ,and no divorce settlement would award her any maintenance money since she just has the one child who is at school.

Your son will also have to come to an agreement about custody of his son and maintenance for the boy. his lawyer can advise him about those matters.

In the meantime, the best thing you can do is to support your son but to keep out of any other matters involving your DIL. You don't want to jeopardize any contact that you want to have with your grandson - divorce can change your access to him so step carefully.

Best wishes to you.

BlueBelle Tue 11-Jun-19 08:20:00

Narcissistic is the new flavour of the month There seem to suddenly be many daughter in laws in this category
There’s always two sides to the story and you will only want to see the one, it’s natural but it may not be as one side-saddle as you see it

sodapop Tue 11-Jun-19 08:29:07

I agree BluBelle so many labels attached to behaviour now. As you say there do seem to be a lot of daughters in law with mental health problems out there.

Ginny42 Tue 11-Jun-19 08:41:10

Whatever the cause it's clear your son is unhappy in that marriage. They have been married for 13 years and any time cohabiting before the marriage will be added to that. That being the case, it's considered a long marriage and the normal starting point is a 50/50 share of all assets.

However, a priority for the judge will be a roof over the head of your GS, so that means a roof over her head too as I presume she's the main carer at present. However, the judge would also want to see that she is doing her utmost to find employment to maximise her contribution.

If your son is set on divorce he should seek legal advice, but also try to keep things as amicable as possible. The most important reason being so that his DS doesn't experience excessive conflict between his parents but also to save money. It's cheaper in the long run if they can sort things out between themselves then have it ratified by the court.

I can see how this is causing you a great deal of distress, but as Stella says, tread warily as to antagonise your DiL may have consequences with regard to access to your GS.

Iam64 Tue 11-Jun-19 08:54:09

It's possible your son and daughter in law may reconcile.
It's also possible they may be able to reach agreement about contact, residence and finances. I hope so because involving solicitors is expensive, though often very necessary.
Try not to let your dislike of your daughter in law be at the forefront here. She will always be your grandson's mother. Separation and divorce are always hard for children and the most important thing is that their parents do the best they can to be amicable, friendly and pleasant when they're together and when talking about each other.

Luckygirl Tue 11-Jun-19 09:22:51

However much you dislike your DIL, it is important not to voice this too vociferously as sometimes couples do get back together and these words cannot be unsaid. Also you do not want her to stand in the way of you having contact with your GC. I do hope this can be resolved with the least rancour possible.

Funny thing about the label.....there are an awful lot of "narcissistic" MILs and mothers on Mumsnet! grin

Septimia Tue 11-Jun-19 09:24:34

We've been through a similar thing. Details of that aren't important here, just advice.
Yes, try to keep matters amicable, take legal advice but do as much as possible between themselves, make sure that the residence/visiting arrangements for your GS (our GC are 50/50 with each parent) are acceptable and that all the financial and other arrangements are tied up firmly. Some flexibility is good if it can be achieved.
Haven't forgiven our ex-DiL, but we remain neutral about her with the GC.
Given what you've said, I don't recommend reconciliation. Our DS took time to recover but is much happier now.

EllanVannin Tue 11-Jun-19 09:25:33

If the SiL has a highly paid job then he'll have to be prepared to " pay out ". Some lawyers make a bee-line in forcing money from high-earners until their pips squeak and if your son isn't careful he'll lose out, property-wise and also maintenance too.
Equality still doesn't always exist where the law is concerned.

DiL could be bi-polar due to perhaps PND which may have been left untreated ? I suggest she visits her GP as her unwillingness to work could be more of a depressive state considering that she has a degree. A job would do her good ! Someone who uses facebook ( another curse ) to berate others definitely needs treatment, as it's not normal.

March Tue 11-Jun-19 09:35:51

I'm so sorry you're all going through this and I'm glad your son has realised how toxic his marriage has been.

I'd recommend a book on toxic relationships. It will give you good tips and advice on how to deal with someone with toxic traits.

Stay amicable. Smile and nod. Don't bite back to her. Support your son emotionally, I can bet he's a right mess!

Your DIL being a SAHM will be taken into account when the divorce goes through. She's been looking after the children so your son can work.

Obviously seek legal advice and maybe a counsellor for your son.

Missfoodlove Tue 11-Jun-19 09:47:47

If DIL has narcissistic personality disorder then you are in for a rough ride.
My mother suffers from NPD and although she is now senile and in a home I am still suffering due to all the lies that she has told about me over the years.
I have family members who believe I have been cruel to my mother when in fact it is the opposite. I have given her far more love and support than she ever deserved.
If I can give one piece of advice it is this. Your son must try and communicate with her via email it is important he creates a paper trail so that he can prove what he has written and have proof of her responses.
Anyone with NPD has the ability to lie very very convincingly, you will have to learn to turn the other cheek and hope that eventually people will wise up to her behaviour.
I wish you all luck.

March Tue 11-Jun-19 09:56:58

Agree 100% with everything missfoodlove has said.

Buckle up.

Iam64 Tue 11-Jun-19 10:08:08

If dil does have NPD I’d have expected more evidence of that over the years.
What happened that significant m.h. Diagnosis is now first point of call when discussing ‘difficult’ people.

paddyann Tue 11-Jun-19 10:34:42

there are TWO sides to every story ,my ex SIL's mother refused to believe he was a serial cheat even when faced with the evidence when he moved a GF into the family daughter promptly moved herself and their children out.Dont believe everything your son says ,take at least some of it with a pinch of salt.He may be your son but like most of us he wont be an angel .He will have to support his son though and you should encourage him to make sure the child doesn't go without anything just because he thinks his ex should have a job.The child isn't at fault and mustn't be used to punish either parent

Septimia Tue 11-Jun-19 10:41:20

Yes, you're right, paddyann and, despite what I said above, I don't think my DS was - or is - perfect. There were things he might have done differently, so I expect that is true in this case. As you say, the child is the important one in all this.

Bibbity Tue 11-Jun-19 12:17:35

Hi OP. I would urge your son to get sound legal advice ASAP.
Did they own the house they lived in during their marriage?

Good luck and the near future may be stressful but it does sound like everyone is going to be happier all around going forward.

agnurse Wed 12-Jun-19 04:52:21

This is exactly why a parent should never get involved in an AC's relationship, and an AC should never ask a parent to get involved.

A parent's instinct is to protect a child. That's okay. That's normal. That's what parents do. But it also means that by definition a parent is not an objective third party.

Your son definitely needs to get himself an attorney. He may also find counselling helpful - not necessarily to get him and his ex back together, but rather to provide an opportunity for his own personal growth.

Starlady Wed 12-Jun-19 06:55:28

So sorry about all this, Nanapples! Glad DS seems happier now, though, and that he is mending his relationship w/ his sister.

You (general) never know when a couple might get back together though. Iv known mums who scoffed at the idea that their DS might reconcile w/ his almost XW, only to be shocked when he suddenly did. Sometimes it's b/c of the kids, etc. But I agree, you can't possibly predict for sure, so please tread carefully for your own sake and GS'.

Also agree you should tread carefully, anyhow, as being openly against DIL could affect the amount of contact you have w/ GS after DS and DIL divorce and the dust settles, etc.

Hope DS gets a good solicitor and they are able to work out custody/visitation and finances in a way that's fair to him and DIL both. Whether DIL goes to work now or not, whether she "panics" or not isn't your concern, so please don't worry about it. In the end, she will probably have to find something and she will.

Not sure why DS was pushing her to work though if she wanted to be a SAHM (stay-at-home-mom) and his income is good. If she valued being a SAHM, she may have found his attitude pushy and controlling (NOT saying it was intended that way). Regardless, clearly, there has been rising tension between them for a while. So perhaps it's better if they divorce. Just hope they make it as easy as possible on GS.

Starlady Wed 12-Jun-19 06:58:40

"Now he's moved out, and considering divorce, she's starting to panic, she has no income of her own, and is starting to clutch at straws."

Do you mean she's trying to get him back somehow? If so, I see why you might be worried, after all, about her panicking. But he's a grown man and he will have to work this out his way. I'm sure he'll make what he feels is the best decision for him and his son. Please try to be supportive of DS w/o bashing DIL (if you can help it).

TwiceAsNice Wed 12-Jun-19 09:22:23

I divorced a very controlling man ( who always thought he was right and lied to others to prove it) I stayed much too long and left when my children were adults on the end. During the divorce he tried every trick to delay and thwart things it took a lot of time and a LOT of money before I was free and he ended up in a better position than me ( which is fine because now Im safe and happy) However be careful get a good solicitor ( first one ripped me off second one was fantastic) and be ready for a rough ride she won’t go nicely! Tell your son to make sure he has equal custody and get some therapy for his own peace of mind

Callistemon Wed 12-Jun-19 10:03:16

I didn't realise that there was a tick-box sheet for diagnosing narcissism, I thought that the diagnosis had to be made by a psychiatrist. Unless your son's friends have psychiatric training, they have no right to say that and to influence his decisions.

Ginny42, Iam64 and others have given sensible advice, and I would agree with those who say that you should not take sides - who knows if they may decide to stay together and work through this?

I would ignore FB too.

gillyknits Wed 12-Jun-19 10:14:43

I could have written your post Nanapples as my DS is in exactly the same situation but with one exception, he hasn’t moved out. This is because he doesn’t trust his wife to care for the children aged 9 and 6. She frequently leaves them home lone and when she is home she takes herself off to bed and leaves them alone. (I also heard this from my GC not my son so I’m not taking sides.)

Alison1963 Wed 12-Jun-19 10:24:22

Narcissism is real and DILs suffer with it and make family life hell. What we who are afflicted with DILs like this need us to be believed. Disbelieving or trivialising because it's not your own experience is cruel and thoughtless.

Twig14 Wed 12-Jun-19 10:26:55

Morning just read your post and I can understand how you feel. Our son married a Japanese woman we have two grandsons aged 8 and 3. I know there is a culture difference but DiL lived in America for a while n speaks fluent English. We found out by sheer accident they had married and we were not invited to the wedding nor was his sister and best friend. We have tried everything to get on with her. I send gifts over for them but never get a thank you. I had quite a serious operation recently and when got home our son faced timed me with the children she sat on the sofa on her laptop and never asked how I was. I know nothing about her not even date of her birthday. They have been over to stay with us but makes it obvious she doesn’t wish to be with us. Our son has changed he’s not the same and we know she controls him. It’s difficult he has two little children that he loves should he ever decide to leave he would lose access to the children. When he speaks to us on the phone he opens up and chats but if she is there he barely says anything. We live in hope things will improve. I really feel for you and understand what you are going through. Many friends have nice DiLs but not all are the same. Best wishes

tickingbird Wed 12-Jun-19 10:34:03

Whilst not disputing anything the OP has said, I do agree with other posters that there are so many people being labelled as narcissists these days.

It’s obviously the new buzzword and in truth there aren’t that many true narcissists about. However, there are many selfish, self centred and self serving individuals around.