Controlling Daughter In Law

My DIL is selfish and entitled and has changed my sons relationship with me. I have limited contact with my grandson because they live a distance away. In the 10 yrs that I know her, she does not look directly at me when I talk to her and has never called me by my name or any name. She treats strangers on a more personal level . My son say she really does likes me and that she acts like this because thats her personality. Her body language says it all.
I saw the writing on the wall years ago before they had children. I observed the interraction she had with her own paternal grandmother. Her mother and her treated this elderly woman horribly by limited conversation and interraction during family get to gethers. My DIL said that her grandmother was never there for them and was self absorbed but I dont think that was the case . I think there was jealousy between my DILs mother and her paternal grandmother because of the relationship she had with my DILs father. I feel that both my DILs mother and my DIL have set up this senerio with me to continue the drama. Im not even invited to her mothers family get to gethers any more and I dont know why. Her mother watches my grandson daily and It appears to me she wants him out of my life. My son and DIL depend on her for baby sitting. I only got to babysit once. My grandson is 18 months and when I try to hold him my DIL clutches him to her chest. No wonder he is fearful to come to me. He senses her dislike for me.
I have always went out of my way to be nice to her. It seems I cant reason with my son any longer and that the once close relationship I had with him is gone.
Im not an overbearing MIL I call infrequently and do not place any demands on my son. I live a full active life but miss having a closer relationship with my son and his family. I just dont know how to make it better can someone give me advice
Buffy2050 Buffy2050
61-65, F
15 Responses Mar 28, 2013

I am so very sorry for the pain you are going through. Sadly, this is not uncommon. Frequently DILs are insecure and hostile to their partners mother and sisters. These women see you as competition for their husbands love and attention. They do not have the maturity to understand that your closeness with your son is what makes him such an excellent husband and father. They are too insecure and selfish to see the big picture. For these modern day DILs everything is a competition and every woman who is not her blood is a rival and competitor for the love and attention of her husband and children. It is sad, heartbreaking and will absolutely destroy your family. And there is nothing you can do about it. Nothing. If you fight her efforts to dominate you in a competition of her own making, then she will not rest until she has destroyed your relationship with your son. I have seen this behavior in at least 1/2 of the marriages I have seen. It has become much more common than it used to be as children seem to be growing up more entitled and self-help books encourage getting MILs out of your life. It's a tough time for mother's of sons. A very tough time.

My Dad once told me that no matter how he felt about his DIL, he would always be polite to her because the only thing he cared about was maintaining a relationship with his son. He said, no matter how mean, nasty, hostile or aggressive she acted, he would respond with kindness. He said he would never show her anything but polite kindness.

I think he was trying to help me. Because my SIL set out to destroy our family's closeness as soon as she got the ring on her finger. She told my brother that it was ok for her to friends with her sister but that it was wrong for him to be friends with his sister. She told him that she was afraid that she would never be as good old friends with him as he and I were. She told him that he had to stop talking to me. She told him that he was not allowed to call his mother ever again because she didn't like his mother. Obviously, they had a rocky start and after a year he told he was divorcing her. Sadly, he didn't change his locks and when she found out that it was as fun living in an apartment as in his penthouse suite condo; she moved back in even though he had moved on with a beautiful new girlfriend. His wife started a campaign to stay married and finally went to rehab for alcoholism. Being sober toned down some of her more violent diatribes and verbal and physical abuse. She guilted him into marital counseling, threatened to sue for alimony, begged, pleaded, raged. But I think the final straw was when his new girlfriend turned out to have a secret double life. He said he was giving up because the devil you know is better than the devil you don't know and he just couldn't get his wife to leave. I felt badly that maybe I had been to sweet to him and he hadn't learned how to fight for himself. But I decided that he was over 30 and I would have to keep my opinions to myself.

It was heartbreaking because he started giving in to her demands that he stay away from his family. He's been married 6 years and he can only call his family when he takes the dog for a walk alone or when he is driving alone. Even sadder is the fact that I know many people who have wives who also forbid their husband to have contact with their birth families. And it is clear that in our society, their is a self help pseudo-psychology movement which encourages women to prevent their husbands from having contact with their family, and sometimes their friends, also.

Even in this thread their are women speaking deprecatingly of men who have a closeness with their families as "momma's boys" and urge that a marriage is only possible if the man severs his ties with his birth family. The modern woman instead of respecting the bonds that have created her husband feel entitled to tear their husbands emotional lives to shreds in order to remake their men as obedient husbands who have no family other than their wife and any children she may bear. It's sad and pathetic that young women are so afraid of older females. It doesn't happen in other cultures outside of the U.S.

Around the world most cultures hold the man's parents in great esteem and treat them with respect. Only in the U.S. is the young wife free to disrespect her husband and his emotions and his family relationships. But the men put up with it. They let their wives browbeat them and ruin their families and isolate them. Part of the problem is that there is no support system for men. Women are constantly confiding in friends, family, therapists, whoever will listen to them. But men are expected to suck it up and be strong and not show their emotions. They are not given permission to express their emotions in our culture. The self help movements that many young women use to justify hurting their husbands emotional health support only women. There really is no place for men to express themselves.

So, please don't feel that you are alone in your grief over losing your son. We all lose our sons and brothers. Until our society evolves to treat men's emotions and connections as being as important as women's then their is no cure.

I would urge you to try to find a way to disconnect emotionally from your sons wife so that you can treat her as politely as a total stranger and feel nothing when she is cruel, manipulative, unkind or rude. You will find it easier to keep the doors of communication open if you disconnect your emotions from your son and his family. You will have to grieve for the loss of feeling love and connection but you will be able to keep the line of communication open and hope one day that he will miss you enough to reach out to you. It will never be the same for you, but at least you can finish the job of parenting by leaving him feeling loved.

I am so very sorry for the heartbreak and grief that you are experiencing. It sometimes gets worse before it gets better, but it will get better. Grief and loss never leave us but we learn to live with the pain. Be strong. You are always a mom. Your son will always love you. He just can't show it while he is married.

I have social anxiety and don't look people in the eye when I talk to them or use their first name. I also don't have a relationship with my paternal grandmother because her psychologically abusive behavior has contributed to my debilitating anxiety. You seem like a very judgemental person. Not everything is about you.

What we do to others we have already done to ourselves. One day your DIL will experience the same treatment that she dishes out. It is called k-a-r-m-a. It is a phenomena that touches "all". It is a phenomena that is never late. It is a phenomena that knows exactly how to exact overall justice.

No need to wait for the results. Live your full life as well as treasure what LOVE your son does throw you way.

Unfortunately, this is one of those areas in your life that you cannot control or change. Change will come, but now directly thru you.

Peace and Blessings.

I feel you. Honesty do - and I shed my own tears at night..before going to sleep. I am in our age range and similar circumstance - and all I can say encourage you - is keep reaching for support. Although this is terribly challenging, it can one day be very rewarding. They may not change, but there is always the hope that simple growing up will shed some new light.

I need some too. I really think it has more to do with insecure women on the wives part than anything else. I have a situation that is somewhat worse than yours. I really think the son sets the tone. When they allow this type of thing to go on it causes a lot of problems. You and I can not win for losing. The son needs to stand up and protect the relationship with his mother. We will be dead one day and you only get one. will his wife be there for him always? W
ho knows.

very true....I tell my son only have one mother and I have been with you for 24 years and she has been with you for 2 years...but he would throw me away to keep her.....I am heartbroken

Add a response...

Hi Buffy,

I had wanted to respond to your post before but couldn't figure out my log in info. :).

But, I read your post and personally think that you are a truly good example of what happens in a mil/dil relationship. Or, at least how I perceive that my own mil thinks/talks about me. The old saying about seeing the glass half full or half empty depending on your personality - seems to fit here. Your DIl is (in my opinion) seen by you as half empty. What I mean is this:

You make a lot of assumptions about her. Even, when she shares with you how she truly feels and opens up to you, you don't seem to believe her and come up with your own conclusions. The idea that she and her mom treat her gmil badly when she has personally confided with you that she feels the gmil treated them badly.

Everyone in life has their own personality, their own traits, their own opinions and their own feelings. When you make a friend and keep that friend, it is because you feel comfortable with them and you definitely do not feel judged. A friend will support you when needed because they know that no matter how they would handle something and/or no matter what they might feel about something they know that their friend needs comfort and support based on the way they feel and based on the way they think. It's a two way street. They give that comfort when needed and they receive that comfort when needed.

Here, your dil does seem to open up to you but you use that information to judge her. You actually keep track of how she talks to others and that she doesn't call you by your name. You sit in observance of her and then pass judgment on her and her mom. You make conclusions about her mother being jealous, about her mother wanting to exclude you from the grandchild's life, about your dil trying to keep him from loving you etc.

It almost seems (from an outsider's perspective) that you are very insecure about yourself in general. The advice I offer you is this: If you want to have that closer relationship then stop worrying about all this other stuff. Whether it is true or not, nothing will change by the worry. Instead, when your dil doesn't interact with you, go to her and try talking to her. Bring up some things you are interested in that you think she might be interested in. Talk to her about maybe helping out sometime and babysitting. Talk to her about how she is doing? What's going on in her life. Engage her in conversation and also give her time. It may take a while for her to feel that she can open up to you. But, when she does, do not judge her. Take her words at face value and show empathy and support.

I really wish DIL would not comment on this site....go to the DIL site

<p>I have read this and read all the responses. Presently going through a "breakup" with my son's family due to the DIL. It is reassuring to see that I am not the only one that has a DIL that basically has kicked her own mother, her previous MIL and now me out of her life. And with that, not allowing me to see my grandkids, and making it hard for my son to have relationship with me. It is extremely painful. I have tried hard for 3 years to have a relationship with her because she is my son's wife and grandchilds mom, but she and I don't have any basic core value's. She is all about herself. What ever pleases her, everyone has to live with! Not someone I would ever have a relationship with outside of her being the person my son married. Just don't see any caring and sharing going from her to him. Wish I wouldn't of moved so close to them, it would have been better to not know who she really is. Basically, I am heartbroken.</p>

Oh me too same exact situation....only I am living with my son and the evil DIL to be is staying with us for the summer and making my life a living the point I almost killed myself.....don't worry I didn't.....but I don't know how much longer I can take the abuse

My DIL has not come to our house in months, I'm good with that. In the last six months, I've only been to their house once, for about 2 hours. I'm good with that. She complains about in-law issues, but, to be fair, the only issues they've had have come from HER parents, not us - as they do far more things with her family. Removing ourselves from each other and keeping things civil has worked well. I just tell my son that we're here, we'll support them, we'll help them and go from there. We tried to get along, but hubby and I are just tired of the drama.

Hi Buffy,
My mom's MIL treated her terribley, and I witnessed it many times growing up. I saw how much it really hurt my mom, and when I became a DIL and my MIL and I didn't jive, I was hyper aware of every criticism, however small. I didnt want to go through what my mom went through, and for awhile I was extremely resistant to my MIL, because I felt like she didn't like me. Truth be told, she didnt, at first. We decided to go to family counciling, and now we have a great relationship.
You havent been in your DIL's life long enough to know what her family dynamics are like, so for the time being it may be best to accept what she says about her family as the truth, because she has had far more time with them than you have.
As for the child, for awhile it may help if you were to ask her every time you want to hold him, or interact with him. She may want your recognition that she is that child's mother, and doing that will help her feel like you respect that.
Your DIL may want a good relationship with you, and you with her. Think of ways you can show her that you want to have a good relationship with her. When you show her respect over a prolonged period of time, she may change her mind about you.

This is such a hopeful response.

I love how the MIL automatically 1) calls the DIL every nasty name in the book or 2) blames the DIL for the "change" in the relationship between the MIL/son.

It cant possibly be that your son is now a grown married man, in a new stage of his life with diffrent priorities. For some grown adults having the same close (overly enmeshed) relationship they used to have with their parents isnt (God forbid) their top priority in life.

*IF* your son is no longer interested in having the enmeshed relationship your pushing for perhaps you should ask yourself "why?" Most married men I know arent into being BFF's with their Mommies these days.

Yes, they are grown men, but any one (mother, father, aunt, uncle, or friend) does not like to see their son, nephew or friend) treated poorly. My DIL won't even let my son drive the car (no he doesn't drink and he is a great driver with the record to show it, she is controlling and this is just one small example). Yes, he could tell her he is "going to drive" but then he will suffer her "attitude" for too long. Someday he will see the light or maybe just live that life?? Not for me to decide, but I will not approve.

Totally agree with you here.

I agree blackdayinourlives. has to have total control. Only her side counts. I must say in my 60 years she has taken the cake. My grandchildren that we can't even take out to eat breaks my heart. She is mad at someone every week, loses friends and jobs. My son is not even allowed to call me. They spend every dime they get and then when we don't bail them out we are out for weeks or month. Plain evil!.

I have two of the wicked witches (DILs) and I can assure you SatansEvilDIL if these wives cared at all about their husbands they would have more respect for them than they do. Anyone who would pull their husband away from his family is selfish and controlling.

No kidding. Living thru it now! Agree with you.

THAT IS TOO BAD ISN't it...maybe if more men were BFFs with their mommies the world would be a better place.....

You represent the very common and typical insecure wife attitude which is to put down any man who has a strong emotional connection with his mother. It's very trendy now. But it lacks insight. When your husband has a beautiful connection with his mother that is what makes him a good husband and father. By trying to ruin the love and connection between mother and son, you are succeeding at establishing control over him but you are destroying his best qualities, the ones that attracted you to see him as a potential husband and father. The control probably makes up for the loss because power is very stimulating but someday when it is too late, perhaps when you are being ripped from your son's life, you will realize what a monstrous disservice you have done all in the name stroking your own ego.

4 More Responses

I'm sorry you're going through this. It seems your DIL is shallow, insecure, and jealous. Those are her failures and I don't see what you can do about that. Harden your heart, I guess, and hope she will grow up.

Serenity 100. How big of a stink did you make about the seat. Take a long hard look at your behavoir. Were you trying to cause problems because you felt you were no longer the main women in your sons life? and you are passive aggressivley making DIL the scapegoat. I belive that is what the problem is. stop playing the stubborn victim and make peace.

Yes, unconditional love might work, but from my experience too many times of being put in the "back seat" is a big sign of disrespect and you are not playing the victim, you are the victim..all you can do for now is "move away emotionally" and live your own life and maybe your son will fiqure it out someday and come visit.

I agree. This site taught me so much about one of my DILs, just by other DILs responses. The only DILs to respond to this thread were venomous, condescending, and unable to address the mil as a human being. This MIL is heartbroken, injured, she needed consoling. It's a difficult transition in one's family. It's hard under the best circumstances, but it's impossible when met with a DIL that is rude, selfish, and controlling. That's hard on a parent. Our children may have been born to separate from us, but we were made to keep them in our sights and love them. That doesn't change, because a stranger now insists her love is more important than ours ever was. These men are our children, even if they are grown, we don't magically stop loving them. Get over yourselves, wicked DILs. If tearing apart a family isn't selfish, I don't know what is.

So is trying to tear apart a marriage....Junnifer, I think everyone comes to the table with different experiences and expectations. I don't know fully what happened with you and your daughter in law, but I think that unless there is communications and good healthy boundaries on all sides, there will always be conflict. Also, there is a maturity issue. Am I the same person I was twenty years ago? Nope. I had to live and grow. The point I am trying to make is sometimes, you have to wait for people to grow up. You also have to release expectations of how things should be. If you complain, nag, and push-you may not get what you want because it will complicate things further. Let go....

The one thing that I keep thinking is how my DILs have sons now and they will get to the point of being a MIL one day. Hope I'm still around to see how that goes. I think Karma may come into play here.

Sorry, but you sound like a vindictive and spiteful individual. That may be why your DIL doesn't want much to do with you to begin with. Waiting around for Karma to slap her instead of getting your OWN life. Yep, you sound like a real peach....

2 More Responses

I think it is you that is jealous and your daughter inlaw senses your passive-aggressive. behavour. Your son has a wife and child now that becomes his priority. Please let the man leave and cleave.

I feel for you! My son got married 6 months ago and the problems started right away, as soon as she got him. I was mistreated at the wedding (seated n the back at the reception and omitted from official photographs!) though my son and I have always been very close and I was good to her as well, even having an engagement party for them. Now they dont speak to me, apparently because I dared to feel bad about where I was seated. I've seen professionals (social workers and psychs) to get advice. They feel she has mental issues and is insanely jealous of my sons relationship with me. I'm told that there's nothing I can do until hopefully he comes to his senses. it's horrifying and I picture one day with grandkids getting pushed aside like you. I could see at the wedding that her mother was part of the problem..jealous is a dangerous trait and we are victims. Although devastated, I'm told to ignore them and let them come to me. I guess I could be waiting a long time. The social worker told me "Face who your son is" - weak and selfish, I guess. Was looking forward to having a DIL but got a monster instead...well, at least I know now and changed the will. Information is power would hate to have found out when I was 80 and my son was my executor and power of attorney, those days are done...enjoy your life and let your son show who he is - good or bad! good luck!

You have a good attitude about a bad situation. These men go along to get along. They are weak, and they avoid confrontation. In fairness, these monster DILs are relentless and everything is an argument. They want their way, and their husbands are no match to the special kind of hell these controlling women put them through. It's as if you're mourning the loss of your son, it hurts the same, but with a special pang of hurt for the rejection. Some day, these jealous, controlling women will feel the same thing. Too bad they lack the empathy gene necessary to understand the pain their selfishness causes. Rest assured, no one so insecure is truly happy. Best luck to you.

Face it, DILs can be selfish, manipulative, and down right cruel. It's not your fault, and your poor son is at the mercy of her whims.

You said it!!..My son didn't "see her coming"..Now she has had his baby and got him hooked..I am so sad. He is so kind and loving and she just "bites" at him everyday with put downs,etc. He works hard and supports the family and bends to her every whim..Ugh..had to witness..and I can't anymore.

It's his life he has to work through. Your pain is real, but there is nothing you can do to alleviate it, buy guard yourself and try not to take it to heart.

serenity100, that is exactly what happened to my parents! They spent $30,000 to give their son and DIL the wedding that she demanded. She told my brother to make his parents pay for the wedding or she wouldn't marry him. She made the same threat to my mother. My parents borrowed the money by takin out a 2nd mortgage. Her parents refused to help pay. My parents believed that by making this sacrifice to make her happy, she would feel welcomed to the family and see how much kindness and generosity they wanted to lavish on her. They thought she would feel grateful and full of joy and love and happiness and warmth. Sadly, the result was the opposite. She seated them at the back of the museum they rented out, next to the kitchen door. She never thanked them. And she lied to everyone and said she had done the wedding herself and her dad had paid. She didn't even care that this was not believable. Everyone knew that only my parents would make such a sacrifice and have the means to do it. But she didn't care. She then forbade my brother to ever speak to his mother again because she had the audacity to request that there would not be a "money dance" to hit up people for cash after they had already shelled out for the expense of an out of town wedding and wedding gifts from an expensive registry. DIL told my brother that he had to choose between her and his family.

And her mother was also part of the problem! They were both attention seeking narcissists! Her mother danced all night in the center of the room, constantly twirling around and grabbing young men and making them dance with her. She never once danced with her older husband. While the daughter ignored my brother during the entire event and ran around telling people what a great party she had given "herself"! My parents were not allowed to be in any of the wedding photographs for the wedding they paid for. The DJ told my mother to shut up and go away when she asked him to play a mother son dance because the bride had instructed him not to listen to the groom or his family.

In addition, my mother had asked the couple to have an early wedding an dinner because my father had a terminal illness. The DIL deliberately arranged for the wedding dinner to not begin until 8pm in response. My father had to leave before dinner was finished. It was incredibly sad watching such a kind and noble man be publicly mistreated. DIL never so much as said thank you or hello. Really heartbreaking. My poor brother looked lost and abandoned. It was a tragic event.

My Dad was so kind hearted that all his sympathy went to my brother. Dad letter it all go and buried himself in his work helping run the federal job training programs and put together the board of directors for the L.A. Mayor, with his many lifelong friends, and spending time with me and my mom and my other brother. He never gave a thought to the monstrosity of a DIL he had to deal with. My poor little brother gained 100 pounds during his first year of marriage from eating to stuff his misery.

It's been six years; my Dad is gone; my mom is fading away with her mind slowly winding down. The hardest part for me was to watch my parents be mistreated by a 20 something narcissist. And the worst part was to have to learn that my brother was a weak, small and selfish person who has never done anything for anyone, who skated by all his life on his charismatic, affable, friendly manner, charming people easily. I've had to accept that my brother is not the awesome person I believed he was. He is a weak, mean, little man (not physical size!) who loves no one. And he's a really pompous ***. My mom can't even talk about him. She says that if she thought about what he has turned out to be she would be very depressed so she wants to pretend he is the same sweet son that he once was or at least seemed to be. She says she can't handle accepting he doesn't care. She wants to be filled with joy when she sees him.

When my dad died my little brother told me to put mom "away someplace where they will take care of
her". Thank god my parents had realized what he was like in time and had taken off from being their executor and off of their bank accounts.

You are very smart to detach from your son and his family.

When my brother married he was a lawyer with his doctorate degree and his wife was a sales clerk at a department store part time with a high school diploma. She was as dim as a rock. But sadly he learned that she had street smarts. Her alcoholism did not help because her violent rages were intimidating to him as he had never experienced that side of life.

When my dad died my brother turned on me. He told me to never call him again. He said he didn't want to know if mom was in the hospital or not. He said that he wanted nothing to do with us anymore. I went through years of grief at the double loss. But now after three years, I don't care anymore. It's over. And even though he has now decided to be friendly again, I couldn't care less. I am polite for my mother's sake, but I don't care about him. I try to imagine him dead to harden my heart so he can't get to me again. He wrote my mother that he wants to have no relationship with me and is working on achieving detachment. So I am working on the same. It is very much like a little death, but apparently this is what he considers healthy so I am letting my affection, love and attachment to him die. It's surprising how you can kill your love for someone if you try. I no longer have anything to talk to him about. I no longer miss him. I no longer care whether I ever see him again. It only gives me a wisp of pain, not the feeling of being split by a hatchet that his betrayal first caused. I don't even ate him anymore. I just think he's a joke and kind of pathetic. I'm hoping total indifference will come next.

2 More Responses