Estranged From Son & Dil

Every since my son met his now wife she has not tried to become part of our family. It appears it's been her goal to create "their" family to the exclusion of us. That would be fine if she did the same with HER parents and family. But NO - they are great and we're nothing. Mothers of sons are penalized for having sons - they cannot share the birth of their grandchildren or other events. Her mother is the important one. I fault my son for not having the courage to face up to her and say " try to be nice to my Mom - she's not here that often". My only goal is to enjoy the grandchildren and have fun with them. Take them on trips and have them visit with us. My son has not allowed me to visit on many occasions when I've been in town - giving lame excuses even putting training their dog before me. I have bit my toungue many times to not say anything critical - yet they don't hesitate to criticize my husband and I. . I don't know the reasons - whenever I ask - he says nothing is wrong and yet his wife told my husband she doesn't like me, I am beneath her and am not welcome in their home! No reason. I did a bad thing recently and didn't control my temper and wrote my son a poison pen email - I realize I shouldn't have but at this point I had nothing to lose - they were ignoring me and treating me terribly. My DIL unfriended me on Facebook so I can't see photos of the children. I resorted to Facebook because I had asked her to send me photos many times and she never did. Now I have no way to watch them grow. I'm trying to get over it but it's not easy. I tried to speak with him but he doesn't call back. I suppose I'll have to wait until perhaps they realize they made some mistakes in the situation.
61-65, F
13 Responses Sep 19, 2012

I'm sorry, but your expectations are totally unrealistic. The goal IS to start their own family, where you're now considered "extended family." Stop being so jealous, if her mother is included more often, it's probably because she acknowledges their boundaries and doesn't do things like expect them to drop everything when you're in town, unannounced. I would pick dog training over visiting with an overbearing mother in law any day. You can say that I'm being mean, but at the end of the day you're the one who wants the relationship. They obviously have written you off because of your attitude and actions. My favorite part is where you say they should realize they made some mistakes in the situation. I don't think you realized that they don't want you in their life. They're not the ones hurting, they're probably actually pretty happy you're gone. You blaming them is not going to get them back. You must learn to respect them, and show that you acknowledge their boundaries. Only then will they consider letting you back in.

I was trying to give a picture of why her parents are allowed in their family, but the MIL isn't. Boundaries, respect, and not bashing the DIL would be a good start. But like I said at the end of the day, it's the MIL that is hurting and if she wants to stop hurting, she is going to have to respect their boundaries and have a better attitude. She shouldn't expect them to "recognize" that they are wronging her, when she won't recognize that she is actually the one wronging them. Having a pity party and blaming others wont help. If she truly wanted to stop the pain, she would be proactive about it. I'm assuming at one point or another you had or have a mother in law. Would you accept her with open arms if she was critical of you, disrespected your boundaries and acted like she came first in your marriage? I hope not.

My DIL takes umbrage at the smallest things and will not
welcome any of our family into the house of my son and herself. We have all been ostracised. She won't speak to anyone in her own family either. Everyone in the family has tried to help and support my son and DIL when possible and they have had lots of financial help. MY DIL told me recently that she didn't like me and didn't want to see me anymore. I am not an interfering MIL and have done nothing to justify this. My DIL is from a different country and culture and seems to think it's OK to behave like this. I am very concerned for my son who is a kind and loyal man, but has to put up with her controlling influence to the extent of ostracising his family.

I realize this post is quite old and I hope you are still on the forum, LuLuF. You could be me and I could be you. It's amazing to me that so many of our stories are interchangeable. Of course I do not believe for a moment, as one of the posters here does, that so many of us have done the sort of egregious things that may truly justify our vilification and exclusion from our son's lives. With that said, I wonder if any of you have other family members that are in touch with your sons. My family is. My mother and sister say that my son has done nothing to them and they do not want to give up their relationship with him to take a stand and support me. I haven't seen my son in over a year and I think I am finally coming to terms with the likely possibility that I will never see him again (and even if I did our relationship will never be the same). What is keeping me from true happiness right now is knowing that my family continues to see my son and dil (my sister told me she went on a hike with them recently), while I am left out. My sister tells me she hopes that I "feel her love for me" but I don't. I just feel alone and left out. Have any of you experienced this?

I also have other family members with their heads in the sand. My DIL can turn every single thing into some kind of offense. My DIL "interprets" my intentions and re-creates her own perception as truth. She changes facts as needed to support her "perception" and my son blindly believes and supports every deception, even when my husband supports and verifies the facts that I present. A psychologist told my husband to keep the door open in case our son figures it out one day. They have limited communication, but it is on good terms. My in-laws were barely present in my son's life as he grew up and now they have readily replaced us as his parents. My husband will defend me (I'm the main target), but he isn't proactive. My other sons have little contact, but they are still on his good list. It's not their problem and nobody wants to talk about it. I haven't seen my son in almost 3 years. We were a close family, involved and loving parents and supported his goals to a high level of success. He was an amicable, honest, intelligent, peacemaker, inclusive, mature young Christian man who was highly respected in our community when he left for college. Now he just spews at me. I feel so alone and my family doesn't seem to understand what this is doing to me. My DIL can't even show simple common courtesy and it's okay for her to say any demeaning, condescending comment or untruth that she cares to pour down from her pedestal. My son joins the attack in full support, but if I dare defend myself, I am "playing the victim." She absolutely has no care to move forward, forgive, or even explain to me what I have actually done to her to receive such venom. No one likes how things are, but no one cares enough to simply stand up for what is right. They carry on their various relationships with him and I am reminded that I am no longer worthy of inclusion. I cry in church every Sunday, no matter how hard I fight it or try to distract myself. I have had to push him outside of my heart just to survive, and that is so opposite me. I try to be kind and find joy and humor in life--but depression overtakes me.

This is so familiar! At first she would attend some functions, slowly but surely she stopped. Now she's pregnant and has lied to get me out of his life.

Sorry for your situation. I thought the needier the kids are the more love you get. I guess that's only if you keep GIVING them money and things. I am trying to make my peace with myself but will never understand the situation since no one will TELL me - there is just avoidance. My husband doesn't give a damn and has caused problems that I am paying the price for - OH well. I guess I'm stuck with the situation. The only advice I can give you is to look for activities and people that make you happy and don't cause drama. Good luck.

I totally understand your situation, sounds almost like mine. I have only one son, 31 years old, and the daughter in law from hell, i have five grandkids, I have always helped her with money and anything she wanted over and over and over. Then i put her on my phone, big mistake, she rang up 500 dollar phone bill, which i just paid off. I had to cut it off, then i got horriffic emails calling me every filty name in the book, i cant even pronounce some of the names i have been called. i have not talked to my grandkids, she told me i am no longer a grandmother and go to hell. my heart is so so sad and i am fighting horrible depression and my son wont call me back either. i dont know what to do, but pray for all of them and ask God for help.

While visiting my Navy son in San Diego requested by his wife for my daughter and myself to attend his retirement party. The party took place and on our last nite being with my son we asked to stay all nite with them in their home instead of the hotel which we had been staying til his wife took out and made it very clear we were NOt welcomed in her home and called what she called a "Melt down". She made my son and my daughter and myself feel not wanted and todate 7 mos later she has never apologized to us and is the type of person whatever Karin wants her way or its the highway. I've discussed with my son and he states she cares about his family but sure has a funy way showing and we as his family feel like she's trying to separate him from his family. He knows too well how I feel and says we his wife and I need to talk but how do you talk to someone that wants nothing to do with his family or even apologizes to us. Please advise.

Your son is the only one who make things right. As you do not want to cause arguments between them there is a respect level that needs to be valued. It seems women of today are the \"my way or the high way types\". Not sure what happened to MEN. I believe if a man isn\'t good to his mother he isn\'t worth a damn. I raised my sons better than that. One is loyal the other is selfish. Although, the loyal one needs help - when he was married he was the one who got the kids to call and remembered holidays, etc. His wife claimed it was her - but now that they are not married - where are the calls??? Selfish, insecure witches!

I see quite clearly why you are so loved by the extended family.

Hellogoodnewsfirst. I'm confused about which post you replied to when you said, "I see quite clearly why you are so loved by the extended family." Which post were you replying to?

It is unrealistic for LuluF to believe that she isn't part of the problem if she calls her son selfish and her DILs selfish, insecure witches. She says mothers are penalized for having sons in her original post. But I suspect in her case, she is her biggest problem. I just think when she said, "I have bit my toungue many times to not say anything critical," in her original post, she thinks this is a virtuous thing she has done for her son and DIL, but this is really this just means she is constantly judging them. When the mouth is shut, the eyes still judges. A better situation is to be open, loving, accepting (not just the person, but their habits, customs, need to make their own nuclear family).

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Thank you all for your responses and support. It's nice to have a place to express feelings with people who are experiencing the same problems. I had hopes of obtaining a "daughter" when our sons married and instead received selfish - self centered ME ME's. We raised our sons to be caring, loving and respecful with lots of hugs. Not sure why they chose their spouses - they don't seem to fit. Our oldest is divorced - not surprised - the children are being alienated from us with the "village" of her family. Hopefully some day they will realize and remember the good times and come back to us. Our youngest granddaughter has been communicating a little - baby steps - don't care about seeing the DIL's but miss our sons and grandchildren. Some day!!! Keep the faith and love you all.

Let me break this down for readers. When your son marries, it is for him to leave his old family to start his own family. That means, you don't gain a daughter. You have to earn that daughter (even the daughter's mother had to do that). So, your expectations were already set to an unrealistic level. Then you say instead of a daughter, you RECEIVED selfish centered ME ME's. But let's be honest here, your son's marriage should be about him and her AND not about you... but right off the bat you made it about you and what you had to gain. If you raised your sons right, they will leave you and make someone else life complete. You just have to realize it is your husband that should make your life complete and not depend on your sons for the intimacy you really need in your life. So, your expectations and emotional neediness had led you to over judging your sons' families. (you recall that in your original post you said that you could have said so many critical things about her). I suspect that this feeling of loss of control has led you to say or do something other people find offensive. which leads you to less contact with your grandchildren. Saying you don't care about you DILs is a pretty good sign, you won't be seeing much of your sons and grandchildren. And you don't need to keep the faith, you need to get some faith and be less of a pain to be around. If you read all the posts and responses you've written, I can really sympathize for your children, DILs and grandchildren.

I am new to the forum. We also have a DILFH. We have a 3 year old grandson we've seen a handful of times. It is like our son can't take his "balls out of her purse" and quit being reined in from her at her beck and call. I am reading a book titled "A son is a son til he gets a wife." Not sure if anyone here has read the book, but it is written by Anne Killinger who has faced the same situation with her son. A real eye opener, one that I can relate to. I have much to share with all of you and, like you, need all the support and guidance I can get. Our son has estranged himself from dad and I. He was raised with love, good morals, hugs, etc. This has been one of the most excruciating experiences I have dealt with.

It's normal for a young couple to start their own family with their own traditions. You made a giant mistake in writing that email. Apologize for the email without any excuses and blaming and you may once again get to see your grand children grow up.

Thank you, anonmil, for saying pointing this out. The thirties generation seems to be extremely narcissistic, which includes a lack of respect for their elders and others and also a complete inability to be empathic, compassionate, or even caring. These young adults are totally absorbed in themselves and seem to behave as if they arrived here alone and raised themselves. Enough already with people shaming the parents and holding them responsible for fixing all rifts in the relationship with their adult children. This is not helping this generation in taking responsibility for their own behavior, being their best selves, or being and becoming healthy individuals that can contribute in a meaningful way to our society. In constantly pandering to them we are only reinforcing their very shameful behavior.

Anonmil - LuluF said that she sent a "poison pen email." and Ashka1 is saying that an apology is needed. I am pretty sure if someone is deeply hurt by the separation and desperately want reconciliation, an email like this is more like the last nail in the coffin. Is this not the truth? If someone, who you don't care for, sends a spiteful email, would it convinced you to reconcile? Whoever is the hurt one and whoever really wants the relationship to work should be the one that should start with an authentic apology. It's not about winning or losing. If you think like that you've already lost.

This sounds like where I am headed with my DIL. I have to also blame my son because he allows her to make the decisions and he abides by her wishes. They do not have kids yet and he does not seem to be in a hurry for them so I can only hope that she ends up riding into the sunset with someone else beforehand. I never thought I would wish for a divorce for one of my children......

I wish for the same thing. LOL!

No, I don't "force" myself on them. I would simply like to know what I have done that caused such an estrangement. I have looked into my self numerous times and know of a few things that could be perceived as negative - but nothing to cause such an attitude from the DIL or my son. They are just insecure and selfish. So be it! Can't change it! They hold the children hostage and like to feel superior. I will never beg to be in their lives. If they don't see any value - it's time to move on. It will always be a heartache - like losing a child - the pain never goes away. Thank you for your response.

Amen. Thankfully somebody understands this. And why are so many people rewarding their terrible behavior?

I know that this probably isn't what you want to hear right now, but they probably have a reason for what they are doing. You should try some introspective thought on your own behaviors. My own parents ended up getting a court order for my paternal grandmother to stay away from my siblings and me because they never wanted her around and she was trying to force herself into our lives, much like it sounds like you are doing to them. The key is that they have the right to not spend time with you. You can't force it, you can only try to give them reasons to want to.

Yes, yes, yes! You sound like a troll, michelleathome. If you are not, and you are really interested in the subject, pick up some books on the subject of narcissism. I really enjoyed \"The Wizard of Oz and Other Narcissists\" by Eleanor D. Payson. There is also a book entitled \"The Narcissism Epidemic\" by Jean M. Twenge. This is a serious problem and the solution does not lie with the parents.

If someone is telling you that there is more than you are considering and then you call them an internet troll, there is a reason why you have poor relationship with your DIL. Did you all love your MIL and give them respect and honor them and accepted the bull? For every book you quote, there are the same books that apply to yourself. You ladies need to understand that your DILs did not change your sons. It is something you are doing that is making your son agree with his wife. I can tell you that I spend a ton of times telling my husband to call his mom, to go out to lunch with her and he still doesn't. I remind him to call her on her birthday and send flowers on Mother's Day. Do you remember how your husbands were to their mothers? Men today are no different just because you raised them. You have probably been told what it is that you are doing that annoys everyone but you're too stuck on yourself to change. You need to change because not everyone loves a MIL who tells the internet that their DIL is selfish, narcisstic, conrolling, etc and then claims that they do nothing wrong to provoke the treatment they received.

Just because you worked hard for 20 years doesn't mean you can slack now. You need to learn how to be a respectable mother-in-law. The reason why you are the one that needs to change is because it is you who are hurt by the estrangement. If you don't change, you continue your own hurt. Did you have a wonderful MIL? Then emulate her. If you didn't, I bet you really loved her anyway and wanted her at your home every night, right? Elders need to be honored... that's BS. No one has to respect you because you are old. People respect you because you are open, loving, and see the good in others. Accept that your DIL is the number one in your son's life. Accept that it is her house and her rules and she knows what she is doing. And accept that she is a loving wife and good mother. You have to believe this to gain access to your extended family. You realize that once your son becomes old enough to marry he is your extended family, right? Stop scouring when you see her, stop sending hate spewing emails. Your emails tell your son how you really think and there is probably a lot of poor logic, judging, etc in it. Which just proves your DIL that her decision to exclude you were right on. You could have been the MIL that a DIL would say that she loved more than her own mother. But you chose a different path.