"Oh, Mom! Everyone has in-law problems! Big deal."

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by MidwestMom, Sep 22, 2009.

  1. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I need some feedback on this.

    My son has used me as his sounding board about this terrible marriage in which I believe his wife is going overboard trying to make my son feel like dirt. She is also refusing to get help for my grandson who was assessed and is delayed. And she is certainly not nice to me. She has called me up and yelled at me once and I put up with it for my son's sake.

    Question: How far do we go to put up with nasty in-laws? I know I have to see her for short intervals during the holidays. She will hang onto grandson and won't let me interact with him. I can deal with that. If she is rude, should I just take it?

    I was always nice to my mother-in-law, even when I couldn't stand her son. She was older than me and she'd always been nice to me. I have bent over backward to be a good mother-in-law to M. She doesn't like me anyway and I feel too tired from a lifetime of abuse to put up with more.

    But I can.

    How would you react to a twenty-eight year old daughter-in-law who you know has said that she "hates" you (although you really didn't do anything bad to her) and who has called you up to yell at you and who mistreats your own child?

    It sure makes me feel like taking the two kids who still live with me and go elsewhere for the holidays :tongue:. But I do want to see my son and grandson and, more importantly, my daughter who lives in Illinois and has nothing to do with this mess.

    I can have a short fuse and get stressed out easily, but I have also learned how to bite my tongue even when the fuse has exploded.

    Thoughts from the Wise Ones?

    Also, last night I told my son I can't be his sounding board about his bad marriage anymore. It's stressing me out and giving me sleepless nights. And no matter how bad it gets, he isn't going to leave her and she isn't going to leave him either, although I'm not sure why (suspect she is afraid to leave due to money, not because she loves son). Was that wrong? He's a very shy young man. I suspect possible Aspergers, but he has a social phobia at the least. But, truly, it is making me a nervous wreck to listen. What do you think about my being his sounding board? He's no kid. He's 31.
  2. Mattsmom277

    Mattsmom277 Active Member

    I'll respond to the last part first. I applaud you for taking yourself out of the position of sounding board with your son. I know it is instinct as a parent to listen to ALL your child has to say and their concerns in their life. However he is an adult and he is choosing this marriage. I understand a man (or womans) decision to stick to a relationship for childrens sake. However I do also know that it doesn't always turn out to have been the right decision, for the sake of the adults in a loveless marriage, or for the sake of the children. Its a difficult situation when things like this occur.

    I do believe that as an adult, your son has made his decision. Listening to him through, say, divorce proceedings. Being supportive of him during a transition from marriage to single and single parenting, that is so different. However I do believe no good can come from being caught in the middle of two adults in a marriage. ESPECIALLY when one is your child. I have heard so often in life the advice that adult children should NOT turn to their parents for support during marriage trials. Bottom line, as parents, we will hopefully try to see both sides, but we have obviously a stake in it on our own childs side most often. We are not objective. How could we be? Also, imagine when our anger gets us, how we vent about our spouses. People tend to have ALOT to say when angry or hurt or let down by our spouses. We don't often have ALOT to say about the wonderful moments. Or about our spouses good points. I've heard that we should not discuss our spousal issues with family etc. If they are bad enough, discuss with spouse, get counselling etc. It can cause our family and friends to believe only the shortcomings of our spouses, and not see the qualities that keep us in the relationship. In other cases, where the relationship should probably end, if it doesn't, family end up stuck. Kind of like you. Between a rock and a hard place.

    Leaving yourself out of the loop from this situation is probably better for your peace of mind. I hate to hear how stressed this all makes you. Your son should understand that you can't be there in that sense for him. He has other options if he needs to talk about this. A therapist would probably be a good plan, so he can figure out what keeps him there, if he wants this marriage, if he does what can he do to make it livable? If he doesn't, what can he do to end the marriage with dignity and still be a involved dad? What are his rights? Know what I mean??

    As for holidays, I think if you stop hearing your sons dialogue about his spouse, she will be easier to spend time with. Focus your time with them all on enjoying your son. Enjoying what you can of seeing your grandson. Smile to your daughter in law, greet her as you do your son and grandson. Show her the best side of yourself. Her personality or any issues with your son and their marriage, do not change that she is your lovely grandsons mother and always will be. Your grandson, and your son, will likely very much appreciate how you take the high road.

    Now I don't know what you mean about her being rude. If it is subtle, I would say ignore it. If it is blatant, I do believe it is your son who should speak to his wife about it. I wouldn't stand for my spouse being rude to my family. Nor would I stand my family being rude to my spouse. I believe it is his place to expect more and request more from his wife if she is acting in a rude fashion. That being said, even if she is rude, and even if he tries to get her to change and/or stop being rude to you, it may not work. She's her own person and we all know we can't change people. He should however be doing what he can.

    It sounds so sad to think of the way his marriage is going. I would focus on the fact that he's an adult. Many of us stay or have stayed in relationships that aren't working for various reasons. He chooses this, even if he is the one wronged in the relationship. But he also chooses to stay. Same as her. They both have their own set of reasons. Being out of the middle will be good for your sake. You can't change it anyhow.

    (((hugs))) I hope that these two adults, these two parents, do something to improve their situation. other than that, what you CAN control is your reaction to the animosity towards her. I'm sure that as much as you know she doesnt' like you, she is probably getting a vibe from you that you aren't exactly a fan of hers either. that can hurt, on both ends. So I say smile, show your best side, enjoy the time you have. Focus on why you are spending time with them all (son/grandson). You'll at minimum leave the visit less frustrated if you go into it with a positive attitude and refuse to have anything she says or ways she behaves, affect you. You arent there for her anyhow. You're there for the boys, and you're there for yourself.
  3. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Yes everyone has inlaw problems to some degree. Tony hated my mom but he did more for her than most son-in-law's would have ever considered have doing given the circumstances of our relationship. He felt it was somewhat important given the fact that we had children involved and we always lived within a short driving distance.

    I despise his brothers and sister. I dont go up to see them but am cordial if they come down here. If he had living parents I would make more of an effort and when his grandmother was alive, we lived here for her. That is why we moved to this godforsaken town - to take care of her in her elderly years. She was a nice woman even if she couldnt stand me because I was white...lol. She would never call me by my name...I was "theodores white woman". (Tony's middle name is Theodore and that is what his family calls him...ugh!)

    I do try desperately to get along with my daughter in law and her family because I know I have to be in her life for the next 18 years. Doesnt much matter if the marriage lasts that long but the kids will be kids that long. That is also why I am good to Keyana's mom. She has access to Keyana and can make or break my relationship there. You really dont have to be best friends with someone to have a surface relationship. I try not to get into how the kids are raised unless I really see something wrong. So far I dont see anything really obnoxious with Keyana. I do see some stupid stuff with Hailie and I point it out. I normally only do it to Jamie because Billie will invariable blame him anyway. She bugs us about that.
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the advice.

    Janet, I thought Tony was white by his picture...lol. Honestly. Why can't we all just get along? :tongue:

    In my case, it is J. who has chosen to be hostile to me, just as she has chosen to be hostile to my son. There is nothing I can do to make it work. One can't TALK to her because she refuses to discuss anything. I can be civil to her, but that won't make her any different. She wants the baby to herself and her family. Told ya...I bought George a bunch of clothes. Son says she refuses to let him wear the clothes I bought her. Weird, I know.

    My son just sent me an e-mail in response to mine about how I need to back out. He said "That is ridiculous." He doesn't get why I can't listen to his marital issues, especially since he isn't leaving nor is she (at least he doesn't think she is). But I can't do it. It's very stressful and I still have two busy kids at home to raise.

    If a divorce happens then I can of more emotional support. Right now, I honestly don't know what I'm supposed to say or do. So I'm not going to say anything because they are still together. Who knows? They may go this destructive dance for forty years!
  5. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    MWM....Tony is 3/4 Indian...isnt that silly...lol. His grandma was full Indian though and she was the most prejudiced woman alive. Funny thing though...she adored my oldest son...even more than she liked my younger two who were her own blood relatives. Odd woman. She never said my name but she would say Billy. LMAO.

    She thought because I came from...gasp...Richmond VA...it meant I was this big city girl and had done all this big city things. The rumor was that I was a stripper. OMG. Now granted I was no saint but a stripper? You would have had to see me when these rumors went around. At that time I was around 200 pounds. Yeah right...a stripper! None of them had a clue what my background was or if I had ever weighed any less...lmao.
  6. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    As far as the relationship, you are EXACTLY right. I thought about it when I read your last post but was waiting to suggest it to see if he was going to leave.

    Since he is staying his marital problems are best discussed with a therapist, pastor/priest, or other third party. No matter WHAT you say on the problems between a couple YOU will ALWAYS be the one blamed for whatever happens in that relationship. Period.

    I had what I thought was a great friend in high school. She felt somewhat self conscious because I went to college and she didn't, though I didn't throw it in her face in any way. Even she said that.

    When she got married I was the maid of honor. I came back from college on my own dime to throw her bridal shower. Did a LOT of things to help with wedding prep.

    A month before the wedding they decided, but did not announce, they wanted to call it off. I told her I couldn't get involved because I didn't know anything about marriage. I wasn't even dating anyone at the time.

    HE called me all upset to ask if she was seeing someone else, if she thought he was cheating, etc....

    ALL I ever said was "I can't really get involved. I won't tell you what she said, it is not my place and she might have just been venting. I won't tell her what you said, it is not my place and you might be venting. I want to be a good friend for a long time, and I want whatever the two of you decide is right for you. You need to talk to him/her."

    I told BOTH of them this. Six months later (after the wedding) I got a VICIOUS note in the mail about how I tried to tear them apart all the time (hadn't seen them since the wedding but spoke with them about every week on MY dime cause they were broke.)

    Neither would respond to a phone call or letter. It took 12 YEARS for them to speak to me again.

    Marriages will blow up on YOU if you get in between. I later found out that his mom kept telling them I was the cause of the break up they almost had before the wedding. SHE had been telling him that my friend was cheating on him with college guys because she worked at the university part time. He was home for the summer because he had just graduated college.

    WHATEVER you say to him, make it clear that he must talk to someone else to get info and support on this. If he chooses not to, it is HIS problem.

    Each time he brings up the subject of his lousy marriage tell him that you love him but cannot be his sounding board. If he continues then leave the room. Do not say anything, just walk away. Make it CLEAR that he is NOT to involve his minor age siblings in this. NOT to use them as a sounding board. It will confuse your 16yo and upset him and it will devastate your daughter. Call your older daughter and tell her what you have chosen to do and tell her it does not reflect whatever you decide for your relationship to him, that it is because he wants to vent and cry but not ever make things different. Tell her that it will just result in her being blamed for the problems if she gets involved BUT that you will respect her choices. You won't discuss your son with her on the topic of his marital miseries.

    It is only ridiculous to him because he wants to whine and not stand up for his son. in my opinion he is HURTING his son by not insisting she give him and his family equal time. If he wants to be a pansy about it, well, not something you can condone. Tell him some version of that, problem a nicer one, but it is what it is.

    As for putting up with her, it may not be a problem much longer. Son may decide, for the short term, not to let you have any insight into his life and grandson's life. It is petty and vindictive, but it seems to be the tune of this marriage. You can bet that he will tell her that you don't care/love him/etc... and cling to her and her relatives.

    IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT. If they do come for the holidays tolerate her as long as she is civil. When she starts to be rude or mean turn around and walk away. If she continues it pull son aside and tell him that he needs to make her stop or get her out of the house. The rest of the family and the holiday should not be held hostage by his marital choices. It is a sure thing she is nasty to the rest of the family. As soon as you refuse to tolerate it the other kids will step forward with what she says to them at other holidays.

    That is my opinion, FWIW. I am sorry this situation ever arose. But really, what good does it do to be nice to her if all you get to do is visibly see your grandchild? I think it would hurt even more not to be able to cuddle him, coo at him, play with him, even babysit or change a diaper. At least it would for me. After I told my bro that I could not babysit his daughter anymore because he dropped her off hours late or early, and picked her up hours late every time (like 9 or 10 pm without asking and often without letting me know he was going to be that late), he decided I couldn't even hold her "ever again". His wife pushed that cause she wanted to take my place in my parents' lives (told me this). It was so painful to not be able to even talk to my niece that I avoided family dinners, etc.... It took my mom stepping in and reading my bro and sister in law the riot act when they complained about me being "rude" and skipping the dinners to make them stop.

    YOU cannot step into this. Just stay out, and insist that she at least treat you the way she would a stranger who stopped to look at the baby.

    I am so sorry this is going on. Why can't people learn to share? Wasn't that the whole point of kindergarten? If there is any alcohol or sub abuse in daughter in law-pickle's family then YOU should hit up a few alanon meetings. It really will help. in my opinion you don't get to be that bizarre with-o some substance being abused.

  7. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I dont know how I got smart enough to know that I shouldnt call my parents to mitch and boan to them about any problems I was having with my relationship with Tony but I just somehow knew it was the smartest thing I could do. I didnt want them to know if we were having problems. I wanted them to think we were blissfully happy even if we could have happily killed each other! I dont get why so many people today want to share their dirty laundry to those closest to them so that everyone they know ends up hating their spouses. I really dont get it.

    The reason I dont particularly like either of the girls in my boys lives is because I know way too much about them. I know how much sex they have, I know their sexual histories, I know when they cough, I know when they go to the bathroom! I dont need to know these things. Much less I dont need to know when they are angry with my sons...or when my sons are mad at them. Why are either they or my sons calling me to whine to me? I am not gonna come fix it! I am too busy working on my life! I have a relationship that isnt all that and a can of peas myself. I have told them over and over again that when I get my own relationship going perfectly I will work on fixing theirs...lol.
  8. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    in my humble opinion, you shouldn't go anywhere, let alone far, with the in-laws. And you are right to stay out of your son's marriage. Your son should not be using you for a sounding board. That's what marriage counselors are for. Then you won't have a problem with the in-laws, and your son or daughter in law will never be able to point at you and blame your bad advice. Even if you give them no advice, someone complaining will always assume that you have answered.