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Daughter-in-Law
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An_216064 posted:
My daughter-in-law "Barbie" lies and twists things I have said, or not said, to my son which makes me look like the bad person. How do I handle this?

My husband and I have done a lot for both of them and I have tried to keep the peace with her so I can see my grandchildren and son. She has lied, stolen and made threats to me.

The last straw came when she lied to my son about me spending time with the children. I told both her and my son I did not want her at my house anymore and did not want to talk to her. They both came to my house to see my grandson but I just ignored her and when she tried to make conversation.

My son says I'm insenstive to her. I must say I am not a tactful person. But I will not lie, and I will tell you like it is. If I upset her I will apologize. My son does not know the things she has said or done to me. It seems like my son and his wife will wait a while and then act like nothing has happened.

We do not like each other. But it hurts and it feels like she is keeping them from me. My son is in Afganistan most of the time and I worry about him. I'm afraid my grandchildren will grow up and forget me.

Do I just take the abuse so I can see my son and grandchildren? Or do I just to let it go?
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cjh1203 responded:
It sounds like you're blaming all of this on her, but when you say that you ignored her when she tried to make conversation, that's just being stubborn and vindictive.

Your son says you're insensitive, and you say you are not tactful and "will tell it like it is". In my experience, people who brag about being tactless and "telling it like it is" take pleasure in hurting other people's feelings. They'll say something hurtful and then say, "I have to tell the truth, don't I?" That's so disingenuous. It's a way of saying they have no control over what they say and it's not their fault if it's mean.

Tact goes a long way to making smooth relationships. It's actually one of the most important things in any kind of relationship -- whether it's with a family member or a server in a restaurant.

You said that you told her and your son that you don't want her at your house, and then you complain that she's keeping your grandchildren from you. What is it you expect her to do? Shove the grandchildren through your front door and sit in the car until you're finished visiting with them?

I don't know the details of her lying, stealing and threatening you -- could you give examples?

You're putting your poor son in a terrible position, and your grandchildren can undoubtedly feel the animosity between you and your mother -- it's not fair to any of them.

Try talking to your son about this when you're not angry, calmly, and listen to what he says. Try to figure out if there's a way for you and your daughter-in-law to at least be civil to each other. She's in your family now, and there's nothing you can do about it. Your son and your grandchildren love her. For their sakes, try to take the high road and do your best to keep the peace. If you're nicer to your daughter-in-law, maybe she'll be nicer to you.
 
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cjh1203 replied to cjh1203's response:
"...animosity between you and your mother..."

I meant you and their mother.
 
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Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD responded:
One option is to "take the abuse" so you can see your son and grandchildren, but that will also include having much hostility 'in the air;" which is not good for anyone.

Another option is to try to work through the problems. You might want to talk with your son; or, more to the point, listen to him. If you try to understand his perspective (not just intellectually but emotionally), you can then feel more sympathetic to him. And, hopefully, he can then listen to you and be more sympathetic to you. It would help to share not just your hurt, anger, or other feelings; but also to acknowledge responsibility for your part of the problems (and hopefully he can acknowledge responsibility for his). The focus would need to be more on connecting and understanding, not on figuring out who is right or wrong. Then, if things go well, you might find a way to expand this better communication to your relationship with your daughter-in-law.

It would also help for you to get clear on what you really want -- e.g. to have them visit your house or to stay away. I can understand your conflicting desires, but remaining conflicted will lead to unhappy developments.

If you would like to approach the situation in a way similar to what I'm saying, but it all feels too unfamiliar; you might consider short-term counseling to help increase your odds of approaching this in an effective manner.
 
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3point14 responded:
"If I upset her I will apologize..." Alright, start with that right there. Apologize for ignoring her. You realize how immature that is, right? You don't have to be her best friend, and if she's lied to you and stolen from you you shouldn't be, but there's no reason not to have a civil discourse like adults. Once you let her into your home, even if you've said previously you didn't want her there, it was your responsibility to be a host. And part of that might involve small talk. If it means more to you to keep her out of your home than to see your grandchildren, you should have asked all of them to leave.

Why haven't you told your son the things she's said and done? Wouldn't it seem a lot more reasonable on your end if he knew what had gone on there? I see you say that he's deployed to Afghanistan and maybe you don't want to stress him out, but taking him out of the family dynamic is of course going to have detriments.

You need to evaluate what matters more to you, your hatred of this woman or your love of your grandchildren. Are you willing to not have a relationship with them just because you don't like her? Would it really kill you that much to bite your tongue and merely be civil?
 
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An_216065 responded:
I'm sorry but you sound just like my MIL. Anything and everything that happens is my fault. She is never in the wrong. What you need to realize is that any relationship is a two way street. You both have to put in effort to make it work. And if you're being mean and rude to her (by ignoring and not talking to her when she's at your house), thats not putting in any effort. And you can't expect her to be nice to you either. You should treat people the way you want to be treated ESPECIALLY your Sons Wife and your Grandchildrens Mother. And there's no reason to make your Son the middleman AND its not fair to him because she is HIS WIFE and you are his Mother. You are both adults and should be able to take care of things on your own without making him "take sides." If he's forced to take "sides" you do realize it has to be his Wife (at least in front of you); he lives with her. And by doing that you're probably causing for them to have arguments BECAUSE of you.
 
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An_216066 responded:
This article couldn't have come at a more appropriate time. I was just having a similar conversation last night with my son about how unfriendly and cold his wife is towards his parents. They have been married over 20 years, have two daughters. This has been going on since the start of their marriage. I bend over backwards to be friendly but that doesn't help matters. My son says I have to be more friendly. It is very difficult to be friendly to a person who does not want my friendship. She is extremely close to her mother (they talk every day) and that is alll the closeness she wants. Fortuntely, my situation is not as grave as the writer's but it still hurts.
 
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pinkypride56 replied to cjh1203's response:
If you have not lived with the loss of your son and grandchildren to a daughter-in-law you have no real information to post.Either thru immaturity, jealousy, insecurity or greed the woman has issues. There is no winning in this situation. Unless all parties want to make things work..nothing can work. I am seen as the "Bad" or "DIFFERENT" one. It is hard to protect myself. My son trusts her lies or her interprerations and is angry at me for "rocking the boat". The daughter-in-law can very easily keep the grand children away from grandma..even in the same house. I live 25 min away! At my home (once a year maybe) She monopolizes the children and won't let me interact. At her home (maybe once a year,maybe twice) She puts the child to bed..nap time..no matter what time I show up.. It is a very painful loss. Hope and death, hope and death, but they are still alive. I am allowing it to kill me.. you can die from a broken heart....just read WEB MD I see no answer except to walk away......
 
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cjh1203 replied to pinkypride56's response:
Why are you jumping on me? I didn't say anything that the original poster didn't say in her post. She said that she is not tactful, that she told her daughter-in-law she didn't want her at her house but then gets angry if she doesn't bring her grandchildren over, her son told her she is insensitive -- obviously, she is contributing at least somewhat to the friction.

My whole point was that the problems in the relationship may be a two-way street and it would be good for her to take a look at her part in it and see if there's anything she can do to try to make it better.

I'm very sorry about your situation, and I know it must be heartbreaking, but don't take it out on me.

I hope your son will come around and realize what they are doing to you, and stand up to his wife so you can be more involved in your grandchildren's lives. In the meantime, maybe talking to a counselor would help you deal with the pain of this situation.
 
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An_216067 replied to cjh1203's response:
totally agree. i have a sibling that goes through this, but she can't understand how it is her, and her mouth that causes problems. it's just not with a daughter in law, it is with her own other too. she says she has tried to change, but that is how she is. so , i guess she shall reap what she sows. it is sad.
just get over it. if you want your family, you have to accept the newer additions, and get along.
you catch more bees with honey, than vinegar.
 
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mama21cutie responded:
Just a thought, but maybe she isn't twisting things, maybe that's how she's hearing them, even if that's not exactly how you meant your words to come across. You admit that you are tactless, and that you tell it like it is; as another poster commented, I too have found that to be a common excuse used by people who are rude, insensitive, and generally intrusive, people who don't worry about decency, manners, or even common sense because they are "just being honest."

Your words may be more hurtful and more insulting than you're aware, and if you already have a difficult or negative relationship with your DIL, chances are she's hearing your words with a negative or judgmental connotation even when you mean them in a good way. You make it sound like your son is ignorant of the issues because you're trying to spare him; however, he is aware that there is a problem, or he wouldn't have told you you were insensitive, so I don't believe she's hiding everything, or trying to make you out to be horrible, especially as they continue to visit you.

You say that you'll apologize if you upset her, but there comes a point when "I'm sorry," has lost ALL of it's power, especially when it's repeated again and again in a similar situation between the same two people. It becomes a toss-away platitude for someone to get out of trouble without involving any real regret or personal contemplation.

If your son and DIL STILL came over so that you could see the children, then they were making an effort. By ignoring her, you just drove the wedge deeper between yourself and your son and his spouse. SHE now comes first in his life, and her opinions and feelings will come first with him. It truly is possible that she's aware of how you feel about her, plus your "tactlessness" and immature behavior all adds up until you're fighting a battle against yourself.

Your grandchildren, son, and DIL are all a package deal. You can't expect to have a big welcome or access to the grandchildren while you're vocally against their mother; I would not let my children spend time with someone who dislikes, disrespects, and judges others without ever seeing that a relationship requires effort and forgiveness on ALL sides.

I am a DIL without in-laws; we were forced to cut them out of our lives due to their lies, hostility and abuse, most of which stemmed from my MIL's need to control. She also claimed to be honest, but in reality, I think she was only honest in her head, in how SHE saw the scenarios play out; she could be caught in a lie by 5 different people, and she'd still swear it wasn't a lie. In the end, her abuse hurt too many people, and had been experienced for too many years; we wouldn't put our children through that.

By cutting her off, I don't feel like I won, and it wasn't the result I'd hoped for, but I will tell you now that it DOES happen, so accept your part in the problems, and do what you need to to reach out and fix things. If that means talking it over with a psychologist, learning how to address issues and frustrations differently, then do it, because setting up a war with the DIL will not get you the ending you want, and it may very well cost you your son and your grandchildren.
 
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Boyzmomee replied to pinkypride56's response:
What you need to realize is that your son is married. His primary relationship is to his wife and children, not to you. This is how it should be.

Yes, the daughter in law can easily keep her children away from anyone she chooses, they are her children and it appears that your son agrees.

This situation is really sad. Ask your son what you can do to improve the situation. You can only change yourself, not anyone else. Follow his advice and see if things improve.
 
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fcl replied to Boyzmomee's response:
Excellent post!
There's nothing inherently dirty about sex, but if you try real hard and use your imagination you can overcome that.
 
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PLBBWI replied to pinkypride56's response:
You cannot allow anyone to show you such little respect or treat you so badly. My daughter in law is manipulative, jealous and possessive, a self confessed drama queen (indeed we have never, ever been in her family's company when HER family have not commented on this themselves for some bizarre reason!!). Prior to this relationship my husband, son and daughter and her family have enjoyed close and loving relationships. Since my son met his now wife this has completely disintegrated. My daughter, son and grandson are wonderful, sharing their love and happiness with us. My son looks deeply unhappy, is not allowed to communicate with any of his family in her presence and we are now outsiders. They had not known each other long before they were married and had their first baby. They met, became parents to be and married within 4 months, I do not believe this was an accident; she knew that my son would Never leave once he had a child. WE found out about the birth of their first baby on Facebook. We have little communication with my son as they live with her mother, a lovely lady but as my son's wife is so insecure (self confessed), we rarely see their baby. My son is unable to challenge or confront his demanding and forceful wife; whatever she wants she gets, he has no say. However I have come to terms with this situation as I will not allow her OR my son to treat us so shabbily, with such disrespect and causing us such deep emotional pain. I am not so desperate for any relationship, if they wish to treat us with respect we will welcome them all with open arms. It is of course sad, however my son is now a man and it is his choice, I cannot change anything other than myself. Good luck.


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