Continuing discussion on estrangements

njtea

Anniebal, I'm starting this new thread (why can't iVillage get it's act together and start a forum on estrangements?) by copying and pasting your last post, I hope you don't mind:

"Thanks for sending the link imaginny. You know I read his book and I have to say that I thought he had unrealistic advice for parent's. One of the things he states is that one should never criticize your kids, never offer advice either. Now this sounds great and even correct, however it just isn't realistic. I didn't go around criticizing my kids, I tried to be a very positive parent. But I know there were moments when I may have said they they could have done something differently, and I don't know how one gets around that. That may be a mild form of criticism, but it is still criticism. I'm not sure how what type of criticism he meant, and I don't believe he elbaborated. As far as not giving advice, WOW that's a biggie! Isn't it natural to say "why don't you try it this way, it works for me." That is offering advice, but it's not telling them what to do, they still have the choice obviously. Another thing this guy plays down is that kids don't need to respect today's parents as did older generations. I'm sorry, I don't agree with that at all. If there is anything that is lacking today it is this feeling that our kids have of us being their peers. I like to be addressed as Mrs., and being told thank you and your welcome. Today's generation is all about themselves, and if we don't live up to their expectations then we don't see them. What happened to kids reaching an age where they realize that as parents we are not perfect, but that they love us anyway? This astounds me since I grew up with a mother who became mentally ill when I was age 8, and my husbands parents were both alcoholics until we were nearly on our 2nd child. Neither one of us ever stopped loving our parents, or seeing them. We may have been more select about what time of day we visited my husbands parents due to their drinking, but we still saw them regularly. Was I supposed to grow up and be angry that my mother wasn't there for me? Doesn't that sound like what today's kids would feel justified saying?

annibal"

You and I think alike on this entire subject. I believe that Coleman only encourages children toward estrangement and self-absorption.

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imaginny

Annibal & njtea, I am not going to defend or attack Coleman. I don't want to argue. As for books and support groups and anything, I am a fan of the approach of taking what you like and leaving the rest.

Annibal, We have more in common than our kids being protective of their spouses. My mother is mentally ill and has been ill throughout my life. Both of my parents were alcoholics and my father was addicted to gambling. Consequently, I have spent time at Al anon meetings and also in workshops and therapy groups for Adult Children of Alcoholics. I was never close to my parents in the sense of feeling as though they were people I could trust. I was more the parent than they were and they expected me to take care of them emotionally. However, like you, I was always polite to them. But I was not close to them. I am sixty-one now and I've been estranged from my mother for a few years. Not as many years as I've been estranged from my daughter. My father died in 1988. I had not seen him for some time before he died but we were not estranged. He was an active alcoholic and a gambler right up till his death at 75. He was a very sick man. As is my mother.

Like you I expect to be treated with some decorum by others including my daughter. I am astounded too to know that my daughter talks about both me and her father as though we were terrible parents. She has described us using terms that are disgusting. I don't understand this.

However, my daughter does suffer from a mental illness and it is entirely possible and probable that she sees the world through an entirely different filter than I do. She must see the world very differently because it is as though we have lived on different planets despite the fact that we did live together for 17+ years.

As for things like giving advice, I think that advice can be worded different ways and that some ways are less likely to cause a problem than other ways. I am one of those people who does not like unsolicited advice much. I've noticed that many other people don't like it either. So when I give advice, I try to word it like this, "If it were me, then I would do this." That way it tends to get people's backs up less.

As for my daughter, I didn't give her unsolicited advice and I was very much an emotionally supportive parent. She does not see it that way, of course. She sees me in some other bizarre way. But I know in my heart and mind that I was on her side in whatever she wanted to do and that I encouraged her to do the things she wanted to do.

Ginny

Here is a link that might be useful: Estrangements: The Website

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dirtboysdad

Anniebal, you have hit the nail on the head. That segment was only a promotion for his book which apparently is not selling well(he's been begging on his blog for people who have read his book to post reviews on Amazon). He's a 3rd rate author, out of a not-so-highly rated school for psychotherapy whose license to practice psychlogy in California was, until recently, in jeopardy.

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imaginny

dirtboysdad, Hmmmmmmmmm.

I read a lot of things on the internet, especially those by folks who go around carrying big chips on their shoulders.

I will note that Coleman is on speaking terms with his daughter. On that point alone, he has at least some credibility.

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njtea

If you're trying to imply, Ginny, that that was me who wrote as dirtboysdad, you are dead wrong.

HOWEVER, I do know who it is. He's credentialed and knows whereof he speaks.

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imaginny

njtea,

No. I was not implying that. I was implying that the person has a chip on his/her shoulder. However that is an interesting thought that you brought up.

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izzy_now

I am 68 now and it has been a long haul. I was 30 and my daughter was 5 when I was in a car crash that broke my back and after a year away from her, out of the hospital to begin again but in a wheelchair, I could tell all was not well. I suspect the mother/child bonds were broken when I just 'abandoned her overnight' for a whole Year.

She stayed with my 3 sisters at different times in a 2 month period, and I saw her once. One sister had her 2 days until the sister who didn't work, took her. I paid her and wrote all the time and she finally brought my daughter to the hospital. I was on a strycker frame. I so feared that this accident would cause a 'difference' in our relationship. A 5 year old is so sweet and loving and then a 5 going on 6 year old loses all her hugginess? 3rd sister had her for 2 weeks to outfit her for kindergarten (I paid) and then take her back to the caregiver who was like her second mother. She was there 9 months 'til I was releaased.

Life as a mother to a little one is not easy in a 'chair when the child's safety is concerned, at the beach and other such places when I was not able to run and save her, I became very nervous about her safety, so she had swimming lessons, baton, gymnastics, bible class weekeneds away in the summer, to meet other kids her age, under strict supervision.

I have no idea what went on in her mind. If she had a question I answered it, but I never asked her any right out of the blue.

She was a honour student from Grade 13, in 1983. That summer was away to work and she roomed with an old girlfriend of mine.

During this summer she met the man she married. She was 19 and he was 30. She told me about him and I was turned off---there was something wrong, and she was defensive when describing him. I think she beleived he was rich, but when he came to meet me, his truck was 10 years old and he had to buy new shoes for the visit. Ther visit didn't go well as I had already formed an opinion and I cannot remember what we taked about.

She went to University for that year '83-'84 and was married, for which I paid but she planned the whole thing and I was not even allowed a suggestion. This was down in his city and naturally, not all places were accessible for me and my w'chair. HJe asked to borrow 5,000.00 to fix up where they were to be married and I knew if I didn't come through, I would not be at their wedding.

The upshot of it all was a grandson for me in '86 and the fact that I never realized until about 5 years ago when I learned about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, that her problems all along were that she was being emotionally abused and didn't know it. He said and did things to me that I dared not react as his temper was a rager. Granddaughter in'89 and in '91 I was there for Mother's Day and 2 birthdays all run together and he got mad at me, thumped his fist on the table and said I was no longer welcome and could never 'set foot' on his property again. By now, he owed me $55,000.00

I was horrified and petrified and in total despair. I didn't cry about it until '93 and have been on anti-depressants ever since.

'92 another grandson about whom I knew nothing until he was born and a sister told me.

'94 my mother was dying and that is when she announced to the family, except me, that she was leaving him and she did. '96 divorced and went back to school and worked and received a degree and is now a midwife, but in the meantime, he took the eldest son and now she has lost a child. Father's N-istic influence had rubbed off so I have an N grandson too.

I have left her in my will as she is my child, but I hope when she spends the $$$$ she feels guilt with every penny.

My feelings for her now are as though she never existed and all of this is a fairy tale and I am just relating it to strangers. I still cannot cry!

Imagine. she is 43 now, kids are 21, 18 and 15.
I sure don't see any future there, so I am trying to plan my death with cremation and she knows nothing until she receives the Death Certificate in the mail.

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anniebal

Wow, I have so many messages I want to reply to. First off to njtea. I am glad you gave me the information on the good Dr. As I stated, I wasn't impressed with his book at all. Though he had some things I could agree with, there were just too many that I didn't. As far was whether or not to give advice or criticism, your exactly right as far as how it is stated. My entire problem sometimes raising my kids is that I was too open for suggestions. When I put some advice to them I was very much like you described, and still am. I always try to state something like, "you know, when I do that I find this way works for me." They may not even state that it is a good idea, or perhaps they'll state it is a good idea but never do it and that is entirely up to them. My youngest son who always was a bit defiant would usually reject an idea or suggestion, but is great at telling me later on that he tried my way and he really likes it, or that it works for him.

njtea, I am guessing that we have to post to this new thread now? Why can't there be a forum with the subject name of estrangements? I don't get it. That is something that really through me for a loop when I first discovered this discussion on the internet. When I came to this Garden site I was lost, but I finally did a search on estrangements and the discussion came up.

Imaginny, it is amazing how much people can find in common. It truly is an amazing world. I differ in my upbringing because though my mom was mentally ill and eventually completely withdrawn from the world, my dad was the greatest man in the world. He and I were always close (I'm the baby of three,) but he was simply amazing what he did to keep our family normal. My dad never stopped loving my mom despite her illness. He was true blue, and took care of her up to the end when she passed away at our home. He would hear nothing of having her in any facility, he took care of her even after she became bedridden. I can honestly say he loved her as much the day she passed away as when they married. Because of his strength, and my older sister (8 yrs older than I,) stepping up to the plate, my upbringing was as close to normal as possible. Of course one never gets used to your friends coming over and wondering what the heck is wrong with your mom. The thing is, is that when she was first sick no one seemed to know what was wrong with her. Finally in 1977 we did an intervention to get her into a very good mental hospital where she was diagnosed and treated successfully. Though this wasn't until I was 21, I am grateful I had her at least close to normal the rest of her life. Your story is sad imaginny, you really had a rough time and no wonder you attended alanon. My husband also attended those classes and read several books. The amazing thing about my husbands family is how close they remained as a family through it all. His dad passed away just over a year ago, and though he always had the self centeredness of an alcoholic, he was a much more loving man then while he was drinking. My husbands mom never admitted she was an alcoholic, and has managed to control it to late night drinking to this day. She does drink socially when applicable, but I haven't seen her drunk as she was in the old days. However if I call late at night I can tell she has been drinking. The woman is almost 80 years old and she still carries on this way. I can't believe her liver has held up all these years but it has. She is a wonderful woman other then her drinking. We tried hard as a family to get her to stop, but all she did was curb it. It's still far better than when she was drinking from dinner on.

Izzy now, that is so sad what happened to you with your car crash. Children are so vulnerable and need their parents so much that I can see how hard that must have been for her. You didn't mention a dad so I take it he wasn't in the picture? If so, that would have made it much easier on her. In life we are all dealt things that we have no control over, and you did the absolute best job that you could do. It sounds like you did a good job with how involved you kept her, yet making sure she was safe. Isn't it amazing how she met the narcisstic man? I never even new what that disorder was until this past summer as I mentioned in my previous post. I'm almost positive my DIL has this disorder, and if not that she definately has some personality disorder or she is bi-polar. She needs therapy and medication, neither of which she will ever agree to do, I'm sure. How dare you SIL get mad at you after you gave them $55,000 of your own money! He does sound like a lunatic and it's a good thing your daughter has finally gotten away from him. How sad you don't see your grandchildren, yet the way I'm feeling about my son and DIL right now is that it doesn't matter if they have kids if I don't have a relationship with the parents. My husband and I agree wholeheartedly on this point. I'm surprised you have left her in your will. We made major changes to ours over this incidence, but we also have a younger son who is loving, and normal! We laid out in strictest terms that my older son and his wife are to have nothing to do with any health decisions for my husband and I. I know exactly where they'd put us right now, and especially my DIL. Why will your daughter not see you even now after she has divorced her NPD husband? Has she never recognized how much money you gave to them to help them? I know my own son referred to our trip to Hawaii as a 'blip.' It made me sick to my stomach that we could spend $6000 taking them on an all paid 10 day vacation to Hawaii and this is what he thought of it. My problem and my husbands is, is that we can't get by the fact that he doesn't see any of her behavior as being odd! The very first time my son had her meet my husbands parents, we were out at a pizza restaurant and they joined us there. When they showed up, the girl acted just as she does with us: no joining in on the conversation, acts bored, doesn't laugh, etc. Yet my son was involved in the converstaion with his grandparents. I could see my father in law eyeing her trying to figure out what the heck was wrong with the girl. Later my son told me that his girl had her period, but then after that he confessed they had been fighting. I can't even count the number of times when we were first married that my hubby and I had a fight on the way to a family get together, and how we managed to walk in and act as if nothing was wrong. How can this girl not just pretend things are alright? This is what my youngest son stated the first night we got to Hawaii. He was furious and blurted out "Can't she just pretend she likes you guys!"

Every day is a nightmare, and though it has gotten easier, I still feel like it is just a bad draem, that my son couldn't possibly do this or think this way about us. I keep hoping he'll come to his senses and remember who we really are, and not the people she has convinced him of we are. I don't know how I"m going to go on the rest of my life never reconciling with him, yet I won't go back to the way it was. Three and a half years of groveling, bending over backwards, tip toeing around is enough. I just can't believe I've lost him. I cry so often over this, and I don't know when it will stop. I hurt so much that I want my family members to support us in how they act to my son. As far as I'm concerned, we came first. The family knows what she has done to him and us, so why would they even include them in their get togethers? Plus, they can't seem to not act like they absolutely love her! I think my son thinks that his parent's are the only ones who don't like his wife, when in fact nobody likes her but they are too polite to let on. How does one deal with this? Can't we expect our family members to support us in some way? They can all see how devastated we are by this separation, and their actions. I honestly believe that if this happened to either my brother or sisters kids I would call them up on the phone and ask what the heck was going on? I would try to get to the bottom of their thought process and encourage them to work out the differences, to go along some times just to keep the peace. Why can't I get the same reaction from our family members?

Sigh.

annibal

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izzy_now

annibal~~ Your daughter-in-law very well could be NPD. One thing they do is divide and conquer and it sounds, from what you have said that your son does what she says. An N is a dangerous, evil person to have around. The next step from full blown N-ism is to Psychopath. (That is Scott Peterson who killed Lacy and Connor.)I am not an expert in this but spent 4 of my later years with a Psychopath. The charming facade that was 'not him' was what pulled me into his web. After one is trapped the mask falls and one can see the difference but not know what is happening~~the ambient emotional abuse and the feeling that one is always to blame for things that go wrong, losing one's self-esteem to the point one feels this is the only place to be, that no one else will put a roof over your head and that it would be too embarrassing to let people know you voluntarily married/lived with a flat out lunatic.

I was raised in a dysfunctional family so was accustomed to that and not a loving life. My father was physically abusive and I fell for a man who was that also. He is my daughter's father and I left him when she was 2½. In 2½ years I was in the car crash and had lived alone (not counting raising her) until I was 58 and this Psychopath came into my life. I was ripe for charm and compliments and love (and Ns can spot these people). We moved 2000 miles away, ergo the 'divide and conquer from my family--siblings and already estranged daughter' He liked money.

I was nearly a nut case when I left him 4 years later, and one reason for the 4 years was that I needed an accessible apartment before I announced my leaving and finally it happened. Poof! I was gone and began to heal. The main way to begin healing from P/N-ism is No Contact. If you read any N or P Forum you will see that everyone agrees to that. Some people slip and go back as they think they will have back what the beginnning was like---but I realized just how false the beginning was--he was not at all what he presented and it all disappeared like a puff of smoke-- he didn't exist, just a prelude to the horror of abuse yet to come.

If you already know this and more, then I apologize for assuming you might not know, but I am laying a trail of my life and my daughter's and how they are parallel to a point.

When she met her husband to be, you see, being an observer, I spotted something wrong, but didn't know what. I was soon to realize he controlled and brainwashed her and did the 'divide and conquer' He was badly in debt, but never told her. He owed $250,000.00 when they married. That is why he needed money and wanting the best for my daughter I loaned, remember, loaned, (and kept track of every cent. )I later sued him, lost a bit on 'statute of limitations' but won in Court and the judge upped the Interest and ordered payment--well it came in small bits directly to my bank account, then he stopped, back to court, and the a garnishment of his wages and the last was paid about 3 years ago. That was my only 'win' with him. N's lie, cheat, put on phony acts for people, as they need others to admire them. I had NO 'help' from my dysfunctional family, as he never did them wrong and they didn't see/experience what I did. I thought they ought to speak their minds but that isn't the way my family worked.

If you live with an N long enough, you can take on their disordered thinking and I believe my daughter has some serious N-ish traits, after 10 years with him (and still with dealing with him and the children.) I also said the eldest boy lives with the N father and now has N-ish traits. This is if you don't know---I knew within 6 months what I had done but I was disabled-- so hard to escape. He never conned me out of any money.

I write this to see if there is any parallel in your son's life with what could be a narissistic wife.--Has she just tried the divide and conquer on you and your husband? Are there people you know who thinks she is great? Has your son taken on any N-traits?

Just as the world is changing regarding what we experienced, and then our children, and now grandchildren, more narcissistic-to-be children are being born, raised and parents have no idea what they are doing wrong to make this happen. It begins in early childhood.

I think my daughter's life was screwed up from the time of my accident--- "Mommy now wheels around and things aren't the same and why did she leave me?" --I don't know. She fantasized about her father until he became a Saint even though I talked to her about his drinking and beating me. She was ripe for an older man, and had just been following Charles and Diana-- ages 19 and 31, romanticized. I wasn't inside her head, but I had asked her to please not marry him until I had put her through university. If it was love it would last. She was brainwashed already and I didn't have a chance. Later I saw her depression, her despair, but she never once admitted she had been wrong.

I looked after the eldest from birth-4½ and the girl from birth - age 2 My! how I loved my grandchildren, but who are they now at 21 and 18 and I never did get to know the 3rd one at 15?

She telephoned me once to apologize for being on her husband's side when he dismissed me. She was sobbing so much she could scarcely talk. I believed she meant it, and all would be great, but an apology means nothing if nothing changes. She had already left him and was building her own life and I still was not part of it. Her houses were full of steps and upstairs bathrooms that were not conducive for me to visit---that works with everybody I know.

Now that I'm older I stick to a boundary that I go nowhere that is not accessible. Being 2000 miles away from family and daughter, I doubt I will see them again and there will be deaths and funerals that I will not attend and it will seem as though they are still alive.

Please let me know if this journey of Narcissism in any way matches part of what is causing all your pain/hurt/

izzy

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anniebal

Dear izzy, yes I believe my DIL has used the Divide and Conquer on just my husband and I. I don't know what that reason could be, but I don't think it will simply be limited to us either. I feel once we aren't in their lives (which we're not,) there will be others who get to close to my son that she will tramp on. I also feel that she will eventually trounce on my niece who she is very close to (the niece is on my husband's side of the family.)They got very close to her when they offered to babysit her children. To me this is just a ploy by my DIL to continue to fool the family into thinking it is us, not them. I am betting that next fall when I think my DIL will get pregnant, that my niece will also (who is going on her third and wants to start soon.) I feel once their babies are born that my DIL will become evil with our niece since no baby will be greater then theirs and she won't be able to restrain herself. Her true colors are bound to come out on other people, I just don't know when that will happen since most people in our family won't challenge her at all.

I do believe my son has taken on narcisstic traits. I believe he was always a bit of a 'me' person, but the transformation in his thinking has been phenomenal. For instance, I got together with him a week after a bad car accident I had and he lives only 20 minutes from me. My husband and I were having lunch with him and I asked my husband to drop me off first so I could talk to our son. I had hurt feelings over the fact that he knew his dad was out of town all week, yet neither he or his wife called to see if there was anything I needed. I actually couldn't believe he didn't just stop by. He knew I had a broken elbow and a terrible burn on my forearm from the airbag, not to mention amazing bruising from the seat belt and my knees were sore. This is something I would have been able to talk to him about years ago and he would have recognized what he should have done and admitted it. Now however it was completely different. Within 5 minutes of me getting there, he teared up and couldn't believe I was saying this to him. He was so hurt that I wasn't happy with the fact that he came straight from going home in traffic right to the accident scene. My son then took me to the hospital and also home, getting something to eat on the way. It wasn't that I was not grateful for what he did, it's just that my husband travels all week most of the time and I was all alone. My younger son was still up at college which was an hour and a half away. I just expected a little more from him in the way of helping that week. In five minutes time I was literally apologizing for ever bringing it up and asking for him to forgive me!

Just his thought process alone is irrational. He used to be stable and had great common sense. He knew how to act with his grandparent's and family members and was never pouty or quiet at get togethers. To think he doesn't recognize his wife's behavior is beyond belief. Either he loves her so much that he is willing to ignore it, or he doesn't see it. I don't know which is worse. Certainly by now with all that has happened he would think something wasn't right.

In truth I feel that my son reached a breaking point last summer when his wife refused to bend on addressing us as Dad M or Mom M, or by Mr. and Mrs. I think his anguish become so deep that he had to give in and be with her completely in order to survive mentally. My husband asked him if his wife ever offered to do as we requested, and he said no. At least he was honest about that, however he followed it up by saying he wouldn't let her either.

Just like you, we didn't have many if any say in the wedding, even the part we paid for exclusively such as the rehearsal dinner! I didn't even get to send out invitations to the rehearsal dinner since she went behind my back and did it herself and then claimed she didn't know. I knew she was told because my son told me so, yet when I talked to my son about it he offered up a stupid excuse stating she didn't get my phone message! He had told her this himself I know.

For some of my first cousin on the wedding list, I had to eliminate because I went over my alotted amount. However, we had told them one can go over by about 10% to account for people who wouldn't come. It didn't matter, I had to remove them mostly because my son stated he didn't know who they were. Even though I explained that this was my list, and that the people on it were my first cousins and the only way one see's these people later in life is at weddings and funerals (unfortunately.) In reality what they wanted was me to invite less so she could invite a couple of flaky waiters and bartenders from her part time job! I'm sure they've not seen these people since the wedding, but my DIL had to have her way....on everything!

I wonder if my son will ever recognize her behavior, or if he will just meld into her and they will go on their marry way. My hubby and I are trying to prepare ourself for the very real possibility that he will never be the same, never come back. Even if they break up we feel he would blame us for that, so it's a lose lose situation.

Annibal

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izzy_now

Dear annibal~~ Your first paragraph with the things you are thinking might happen, well you are on the ball with your thinking as they just might. However, even if DIL is not diagnosed as a Narcissist, I suppose we can call her one.

My SIL, being broke and an N, managed to put a down payment on a 100 acre farm with no buildings. There was just a one roomed cabin and that is where they moved to in 1987 when the baby was about 9 months old. There was no running water, telephone, or electricity. This was the plan, to build their own home,and live in the cabin. My daughter worked her fingers to the bone trying to fix up the cabin to make it liveable while SIL took off back to the city as a firefighter, and had all the amenities to shower and cook his meals at the station. She had to go into town to the YWCA for a shower. There's a lot more but now she was isolated out there and more and more isolated from family, finding a job, finding a sitter. She just seemed to work steadily and chopped off her hair, no makeup, no studs in her pierced ears, had to dress like a farmer, and went to town that way and I don't know what else, but finally asked me if I would come out to look after the baby so she could get some work done, around the farm, like chopping down trees and chopping wood (using a saw though) for the wood stove, going out with large containers to bring water back for drinking and cooking--oh it just makes me sick to think of those times. This is how I ended up as the sitter for them, 3 days a week, 7 hours a day, and I saw too much. I saw her banging her head against the wall and crying, yet she was still professing to love him. I felt that she just felt trapped and she was not open with me as I asked to to please not marry him. She had but one friend, her doctor, a woman. She was in effect, totally isolated and no progress was being made. Ns don't keep promises.

Ns have no empathy. I thought of that when you mentioned your son and your accident. DIL is doing a number on him, it appears, if he has changed. We never know what goes on behind closed doors.

Okay. I've run into trouble here as now I cannot see your message and don't want to lose this (I copied it and backed up and it said my message was posted but I don't see it. I just pasted this in the window under your message.)

We all have a bit of narcissism as it is normal to want to look your best when out in public (poor daughter was called "Sir" once at the gas station, as she is 6' tall too)
and when I am in public in a wheelchair, I want my makeup and hairstyle and clean fingernails filed. I try to keep my weight down and dress neatly because I usually receive a lot of looks and wouldn't want to be in curlers or knee high rubber boots.

I read a tendency for your son to be getting further away and more like DIL? I saw that with my daughter and read it as embarrassment, humiliation, and I had always thought that my disability was hard on her from age 6 onward, so we talked less and less but then I had two children to look after and I know she trusted me with them. The little boy climbed a pine tree and said, :Grumma! I stuck!: so I asked him which foot he put up there last and he said this one, so I said ok where was it before it was on that branch, show me. and he did, and I did that with the other foot, back and forth and talked him down--

Is your son co-dependant at all? If she has been controlling everything they do (Ns live to control everything), he might have reached a point that he feels he really needs her.

An N is an N is an N and will never change. Those who get stuck with an N can recoup thie losses by leaving and never setting eyes on an N again. It's sorry when there are children. The healing is terrible, and in the aftermath one realizes it is an experience that will stick to you forever in some way, just knowing there was so much abuse that went unrecognized. I am over the experience with the P more than I am over my daughter's N--because there are children and one is with him.

I would say that the more you stay out of it , the less you will be blamed if they split, but I won't say it as it sounds bossy!

I was never blamed for daughter's split(because I was banned 3 years before.) She came to her senses, realized the abuse, took the kids and left, but she is not the daughter I once knew, and only she knows why-- and I have a feeling the N-traits are with her.

I don't expect a reconciliation because sometimes I hate her for what happened, then sometimes I feel a tender spot for her, but mainly I just try not to think of her at all.

We are not alone and who ever said Life was fair?
Izzy

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anniebal

Izzy, there is no question that my son is dependant on her. This is a boy who always had a difficult time making decisions. I feel that it was a relief to him to have someone take the reins, but I've never seen him give up so much. He asked me this after the summer incident when we were attempting to reconcile, he said "you know I've always been terrible with making decisions, so isn't it natural that I would be happy or attraced to someone who could?" I told him that the decisions he had difficulty with were minor, and reminded him of all the difficult decisions he made on his own. I was hoping he'd see that when it counted he could come through, however I feel he has such a confidence problem that he just doesn't trust his own mind. I'm sure she was quick to catch on to this flaw in his personality and used it to her benefit. I don't know why he always lacked confidence, I've racked my brains about him growing up and all I can ever remember doing was praising him and telling him what a good job he did. I never belittled him, nor anyone else for that matter. Yet I saw my DIL belittle him a while back when we were all playing a game together. They were partners and he just didn't have a good game as he usually does. Every time he'd give clues she would get so frustrated. What really irritated me was that her guessing was way off also yet she blamed him and made him feel stupid in my opinion.

When they were engaged, and it was getting close to the wedding, my son and I had an arguement over him marrying this girl. I reminded him how he hadn't liked the way she treated her father when he had lost his job (to no fault of his own.) When he had come home from going out to dinner with them he sat down to tell me about his night out. He said how awful my DIL was with her dad in front of everyone. I guess my son told her afterwards that she shouldn't treat her dad like that, that it was wrong. That's when he was still my son in his thinking. Another time my son asked me in the car while driving if I thought it was right that my DIL could stay mad at her mom without speaking to her, for weeks at a time. This was when they were still dating. Instead of answering it right away, I turned and asked him what he thought. My son told me right away that he thought it was wrong. After he answered I told him I agreed, and that when two people are fighting (especially family members,) they need to sit down and talk it out so that they can reconcile. My son completely agreed.

Right before the wedding my son went to see my younger son at college and told him he was going to break up and wanted to know what his brother thought. My younger son told him he thought it was the right decision, and one of the things he told my older son is that no one he knows does not get along with mom and dad. My younger son told him what to expect when he got back and told her he was breaking up. He told him that she'll cry and carry on, that she'll make promises, etc.etc. so that my older son (with less experience,) would be more prepared. Well, when my son got home and went to my now DILs house, she was waiting with a phone book open of marriage counselors they could go to to resolve any issues. She promised him that would go to counseling and that their marriage was right and could be worked out. This kills me that they were already planning marriage counseling before they got married. Of course the therapy was to take place after the marriage and honeymoon. I did ask my son a few months after they got married if they had followed up on the therapy. He claimed they did, but something about the way he said it, didn't seem very firm. I have a feeling that it is my son who went to counseling since about six months after they were married he told me he was seeing a therapist, that he was depressed and was being put on anti-depressants. As far as I know he has been on meds ever since. When he first started I knew what he was taking, but as time has progressed we didn't talk about it anymore.

That's another thing. We used to always sit down and talk about issues in his life, even after he was first married. However the talks became less and less, and I understand that he had his wife he would discuss intimate subjects with now but the complete elimination of anything going on in his life seemed very odd to me. When I look back I can now see how he was drifting from us, but there don't think there was anything we could do to stop it.

You know we were never invited over to their condo since they were married! They had a dinner on the 1st of the new year the last two years (they've been married 2.5) where they invited all my close relatives and her parents. But how odd is that that they never invited us to dinner, or just over to visit? The only time we could do anything with them was when it was a birthday or other occassion and then we had to go out to dinner most of the time. I think I had them for dinner maybe twice but I'm not sure if it was even that many. His wife just never had time and he seemed completely at peace with not seeing us either. Some times i think he has a misconception of loyalty.

What you say about an N never changing is what I've read on the subject also. The question still remains for me if he will be able to stay sane and eventually find a way out. When I look at my DILs mother and father and how her dad is very withdrawn and barely participates in any conversation, I picture that happening to my son. My DILs dad suffers from either depression or bi-polar. I wonder if her mom is a narcisist? I think it is quite common for one parent to have been one in order for the child to grow up being one also, though I don't think that's the only cause. I usually have a very good feel for people and I told my husband from the start that her mom was not a really nice person. I felt she was and is a put on, and never liked us. I feel she and her daughter set up my son like a bug in a spider web. They realized what an honest and trusting young man he was, who had very high morals. They took advantage of him because they are cunning and manipulative and knew just what to do to get a man. Let's face it, if your that type of woman it isn't hard to figure out how to nab a guy.

In all the time that lead up to their wedding (a year and a half,) my DIL only ever came to one of my son's indoor soccer games. My son wanted her to come watch him very often but she could never come, she was always too busy. Yet I'd see all the other young men with their dates there cheering them on. The one time she came to a game and sat with me, she was either on her cell phone or grading papers. Wow, that was a fun time for us to talk and watch the game. I saw my son look over once to see if she was watching and of course she wasn't. I think I saw her glance up quickly 2 or 3 times the entire game. She never made an effort with me to talk or get along, it was always me thinking of things to bring up and talk about.

There were so many warnings that as my younger son put it, you'd have to be deaf dumb and blind not to know it was wrong from the start. Yet my son didn't heed any of the warnings.

You know as a child, my son would always cling to only one friend at a time. Many times he would be over bearing with that one friend and it cost him one of his closest friendships. I would always encourage him to call other people he was friends with but he lacked the confidence to do it, out of fear of rejection I guess. So I don't think it is that unusual for him to have found this girl and decided he was never letting go. I think he is too afraid of not being married since it was a very high priority for him. He has always been very sentimental and I think he wanted a marriage to complete his life. However he married the most self centered, insensitive girl he could possibly have found and basically just became the way she is.

I swear I'm not going to make it through these holidays. I have every stress and anxiety symptom in the book. Gnawing stomach, throat feels tight, head aches, sleeplessnes, worry.... I used to be on anti anxiety medication but have been being weaned off of it over the last 6 months. Thanks to a dr who didn't bother to know better, I was on a medication that one's body forms a dependance on when taken the way it was prescribed to me by the dr. Going of this medication has been hell, and I'm still only down to 1mg a day. The dr. I'm seeing to wean me off told me to stay at this dose another month until I get through these difficult days. I had so many side effects from quitting the med that it has been hell. Combine that with this and I don't know what's causing what!

Oh well. Now I've written another short book on my life. Thanks for reading and commenting, I appreciate your feedback. It is depressing that's for sure, as you know only to well. How long did it take you to reach the point you are at now? How did you get yourself through it?

annibal

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izzy_now

Merry Christmas, annibal

Your whole message is full of red flags about why she is likely and N and that he will either kow-tow to her for the rest of his life, unhappily, or happily, or will have a rude awakening one day and realize how family was trying to help him, 'all these years ago'.

I've been trying to think of an explanation as to how I manage feelings. My therapist says that I am disconnected from my feelings and that it happened because of things I couldn't process from a very young age, so I tucked them away---likely in something like the black box on an airplane.

I know in my head what has happened and what is happening but have no inner feelings about the event. I might use the words, 'I feel...' but it's more ' My brain tells me....'.

I have had too many traumas beginning with the beatings from my father. I was also the super-senstive one of the 5 children. I was about 15 when I realized I was different, living life robotically and doing what I knew other people were doing, so I just appeared normal.

I knew I loved my daughter's father, but since it didn't come from deep down, heart and soul, it was bound to fail, and perhaps he sensed that tendency in me and began drinking too much. He killed himself in 1979

Today is Xmas Day! I know that, but I am doing nothing about it, and it is just like any other day to me. I haven't celebrated Xmas since my daughter stopped coming to see me, so I stopped decorating and still don't.

I have a daughter and I loved her once, but I've put that away (in the black box?) so it's not here to dwell upon.

The car accident was traumatic, the banishment was traumatic, life with a psychopath was traumatic and I remember them all, but without inner feeling that would render me running, screaming into the hills, or being taken away in a straight-jacket.

I live alone so no one bugs me. I get along with people from work but I don't make them my intimate friends. Since I think of my siblings and daughter as 'toxic' to my well-being, I have erected an imaginary fence in my mind and they are on the other side. They are only allowed over to my side with my permission.

I expect DIL's mother is an N and her poor father. I can see you don't want that for your son's future. Can the other son help in any way, maybe by printing off some very effective N data, from the Internet, and have a talk with him?

Where are the others in this thread? Anyway, at least we know we are not the only ones, but it doesn't salve the wounds.

Will/Did you be see/ing both sons today?

I have re-runs of Y&R--nothing special to eat, just regular fare and it's just another day.

It's might sound like a sad. lonely life, but I don't feel that way. I decided to value my physical privacy and I do, and I enjoy it.

I have been bugged lately with nurses and therpists coming re Home Care for the after effects of a broken leg. I fell on Sept 4, cast off Nov 26, very bad break and huge swelling, plus a pressure sore on my heel from the first cast. I had a new cast almost every week, so the doctor could view my leg/skin. He said swelling would be gone in a YEAR!

ah well! I think I'm thought of, here, as the 'poster child for perfection'. even though I am not perfect. I just live while doing what I believe to be the right things---being good, prompt, meticulous with my work, friendly and humourous with people, only to come home to being alone (I always know the peace of aloneness is awaiting me) I don't complain and I am independant.

So do you have an idea of what I am like and does it sound weird? odd? robotic?

I'm am Pacific Time and it is just 11:22 a.m.

Best Wishes
Izzy

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njrealtor

What a sad discussion this one is. I have felt close to estrangement from my father for years, but have tried very hard to just accept him as he is. I have had discussions about it with my Mother - either I have to put up with how he is, or I have to cut him off because he seems incapable of change.

As I love him very much, I put up with the behavior and try to grin and bear it. At the minute I think we are going through quite a good patch really! : )

I wanted to give a little feedback on something Annibal wrote. Firstly it is very obvious how hurt you are and how much you care for your son. It also seems pretty obvious from what you have said that his chosen partner is less than ideal.

However, requiring your DIL to call you by your full Mr and Mrs names having already told her she could call you by your first names, is letting her know that you think she is worth nothing and has put your son in an impossible position.

You only have to watch Dr Phil a couple of times to know that in this kind of situation a spouse has to stand up for their spuse. That is who he chose, that is who he lives with.
You have mentioned several times that she is from a trailer park. I can see how this would be distressing for you, but there is nothing you can do about it except either grin and bear it, or make life so uncomfortable for them that they choose not to spend time with you.

By demanding that your DIL call you Mr and Mrs you have made it virtually impossible for you all to have a pleasant time together without discomfort. I am not at all surprised that you are approaching estrangement with your son. Why would they want to spend time with you if you make these strange demands?

Thank goodness I get on ok with my MIL and my FIL. I have to bite my tongue pretty regularly with FIL, but I do it because I know the relationship between DH and his Father is strained and I do not want to add to it.

I did meet DH's grandparents about 6 years ago. They were not welcoming to me at all - my background is just too different from theirs for them to understand. They were also very rude to my Mother who loves my DH. So guess what? We haven't been to see them again since then. Dh's grandmother is upset that she never sees us - well, she could have been nicer to me and nicer to my mother and now she doesn't see us. I am trying to encourage DH to go down to visit and I will go too. Hopefully she will make an effort to be nicer.

Thank goodness I get on with her daughter (my MIL) so well.

Also someone on the last thread had an issue with their daughter because they brought their dogs to her home. It made me realize that DH and I do that too. We have the most well behaved, gorgeous small dog and we take her everywhere with us. I was upset that my DH's aunt didn't seem to like her very much (everyone normally LOVES her). It didn't cause any proplems, but I was a bit hurt about it. Now I have realized that I don't think we ever asked - just showed up with her. Now we always call to check if it's ok and she is much more welcoming of the dog.

It's funny how people view things differently.

Good luck with your relationships in 2008 - and Annibal, try to put yourself in your son's shoes for a minute. It sounds like there has been wrong doing on both sides. Can you be the bigger person and accept his wife in order to keep your relationship with your son? I hope so much it works out for you because you obviously love him very much, even though you are disappointed in his choices.

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izzy_now

~~ and you njrealtor, Merry Christmas,

You must have a story on this topic?

I am interested in any N-ism that enters the picture, any 'divide and conquer'
just as
annibal and me. Any conclusions?

izzy

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anniebal

njrealtor, first off I feel you are being very judgmental without having read the entire book I wrote. I stated that we changed the rules to her calling us by our first names after she ruined a $6000 vacation. However, after a summer of arguing and getting nowhere, I told my husband that this was a bad idea and that I was telling my son she could call us whatever she wanted. I phoned him and we had a long talk and I explained that it was our exasperation over the vacation that caused us to take the name measure up. I explained we felt we weren't and aren't respected, and this was a message to that effect. However I also told him that it was not something that would accomplish anything, and that I wanted us to all put everything including the vacation behind us and try to start fresh. It was about a month after that they took us to breakfast for a whopping 45 mins for our first get together. It was my husbands birthday and we had a pleasant breakfast though just slightly awkward from the months of separation and ill feelings of course. However immediately after we left the restaurant my husband and I turned to each other almost in unison and said "I wonder what she'll say we did wrong now?" Well it was only thee days later when we got a phone call from our son who needed to talk to us about more issues. My son had us both on the phone so we could hear a letter he wrote with "all his issues." Seems he had to write them down as recommended by his therapist so he wouldn't forget anything. Now he starts nailing us with how controlling my husband is, and how we did this, and that, but the real clue to what I believe was behind all of it was, "you didn't included my wife in our conversation at breakfast." How does one not include someone in on a conversation? We went there with the hope that we could start fresh. We directed our conversation to both our son and his wife, yet only my son chimed in as usual. I think she may have said 3 words the entire conversation. This is a 25 year old girl that cannot join in. We made eye contact, we smiled and laughed and even hugged her.

When did I ever say she was from a trailer park, and why would I care? I never once insinuated that she was from any certain class of people, whether it be upper, lower, middle, etc.

You state that you bite your tongue to get along with your FIL since you don't want to estrange them or put anymore stress. Well this says a ton right there. My DIL does not care about our relationship with our son and she never has. It has been her objective since they got serious to alienate us from our son because we were so close of a family. This is both my husbands and my feeling, as well as everyone in our extended family as to why things happened the way they did.

You sound young, and obviously would have a problem if your in laws requested that you call them either Mr & Mrs or Mom or Dad, or Mom M, or Dad M? Tell me honestly that if your in laws preferred you address them this way that you wouldn't do it just to appease them?

When one doesn't get respect ever from a DIL, one tends to reach a breaking point and that is exactly what happened. How dare you say that his only loyalty lies with his wife! Perhaps if he wasn't such a chump he could tell his wife that his parents were upset and hurt over the vacation and just ride with the tide until things calm down. Perhaps she could have done this if she really loved him and if her excuse for the ruined vacation were valid. Surely she could have figured out how what happened would be very upsetting since we didn't know what was going on (and still don't since her excuse was a pathetic lie.)

Your very quick to jump to analysis here. We have done nothing but bend over backwards since he got with this girl. We have put ourselves in his shoes and that is why we have given in on every issue. It doesn't matter how much we give in, the girl comes up with new issues every single time and she will continue to do so. My son should be telling her that she is hurting the relationship between him and his parents and to just try to get along but he doesn't. What is it that you don't get. I don't want to hear another young person tell me to try and put myself in my sons shoes. My father in law didn't like me the first 2 to 3 years that we were married. Do you know how many people knew this - ZERO!!! Since I was able to smile and get along no matter what he said, and we'd leave and my husband would recognize his father's behavior and tell me how irritated he was and that was that! I didn't make a fuss out of love for my husband and his closeness to his family. What his father did wasn't abusive, or humiliating, it was just there. How come I could get along but my DIL can't? It's because she is a narcisist, lacks empathy, and wants total recognition for her superior qualities all the time. We couldn't live up to her expectations, nor did she want us to or would she have let us.

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anniebal

Izzy, in regard to your question about whether my younger son can do anything, I really don't know. My younger son is very much like me, very forgiving and has a difficult time staying mad at anyone. He doesn't like it when people are mad at him either, and I'm afraid he is awkward about how to approach his brother though he is very upset at what his brother's wife has caused in this family. I think someday he will say something, but I don't think my older son will listen anyway. My younger son did try to tell him before he got married that he thought it was a mistake. He totally supported my older son when he almost broke up with her before the wedding, so my older son knows how he feels.

I only saw my younger son as my older son had the nerve to take his wife and spend the day at my MILs for x-mas. We alternate years at each others families and this year was my side of the family. My son should have been with us at my sisters but he turned down the invite my sister sent via email. My son and DIL didn't even bother to send us a card, which we had done for them.

As far as giving my son information on the NPD personality disorder, I asked my son when we were having difficulties if he would please look into the NPD to see if he saw any traits that seemed familiar. Later he accused me of saying his wife had a mental disorder to which I replied that if I thought anyone had a mental disorder, illness, etc. I would try to help them, and that's all I was doing. But my brilliant son in all his infinite widsom told us a few months ago that he doesn't and never has kept anything from his wife, so this means he told her what I asked him to look into. Now that's someone who doesn't care if your wife ever likes your parents! How stupid does one get, or perhaps very naive! To think if I told my husband every off the cuff comment someone has made about him! We'd have no friends or family members. I would never tell my husband something I thought would hurt him. If I thought what someone said had validity then I would talk to him about it myself, but not bring the person who said it up for fear that he would not like that person anymore. But my son thinking it was a loyalty issue and one doesn't keep anything from their wife or husband has told her everything. Everything except what other people have said about her. Such as my neighbor who my son went to for advice since she counseled young people in her church. My neighbor advised him not to get married, that they had to many issues...but he didn't listen. My younger son told him, but nothing. My son has alienated a cousin that was like a brother to him because of my DIL. For some reason my son had to choose two best men for his wedding (something I'd never heard of!) He chose my son and his cousin. However his wife then told him that he couldn't choose two family members to be his best men, that one had to be a friend (what???!) So he now tell his cousin that he can't use him as the best man because of this rule, but that he still wants him to be a groomsmen. Well, my nephew is no dummy and was ticked off and his cousins new revelation. He had hurt feelings for very good reason and after that just stalled on getting into town to do a tux fitting. Pretty soon my nephew told my son that he couldn't afford the tux and that he should choose someone else, which he did. Then my son seats him at a table where no other family members are seated! They disgraced him since he didn't bow to their wishes. Does this give you any idea of what we've been dealing with???!!!!!!

She won't allow anyone to be too close to my son, period! We could break our backs trying (which we did,) and it won't matter.

She can go to hell and him with her (which is where they should end up with the way they've treated the people who loved him the most.)

annibal

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njrealtor

Annibal - I did read your whole story. Sorry you think I am judgemental - I was trying to give you support by offering a different point of view.

Apologies for the confusion - I had you confused with lostmama who has some very legitimate concerns about her son's behavior and about her DIL's commitment to her son. She is the one who mentioned the trailer park, not you. Apologies again.

Now to try and answer some of your questions.

DH and I are both in our 30s. Don't know if that's 'young' or not.

If my parents in law insisted that I call them Mom and Dad (this is so not me), I would thank them very much for the honor they are showing me, but I would continue to call them by their first names. If they insisted that I call them Mr amd Mrs...., I would do it and try and spend as little time with them as possible because I would feel so uncomfortable!

You say: "How dare you say that his only loyalty lies with his wife!"

WOW. Firstly, I didn't say that. I said that a spouse should stand up for their spouse. I also said that YOU have put your son in an impossible position.

The fact that you have outright called your DIL a b*tch is also not good news. Who do you really expect you son to stick up for in this situation? I can tell you that if my MIL ever called me something like that (which she NEVER would), my DH would stick up for me. If I didn't think he would then I would see him as less of a man. Likewise if I was ever crazy enough to say something like that to his Mother he would stick up for her. Strongly. As he should.

No wonder your DIL is withdrawn around you - she is probably afraid of what you will say or do. You SHOULD be bending over backwards to try and mend the rift.

"I don't want to hear another young person tell me to try and put myself in my sons shoes."

I am a 'young' person who has had a difficult family life my whole life. Yet I manage to keep a good relationship with both my parents. Perhaps we are just the kind of people you SHOULD be trying to listen to. We are the ones who care enough to fight tooth and nail to keep our relationships going and do what it takes to make that happen, even if it means swallowing a lot of pride every now and again.

You think it doesn't hurt that I have not seen either of my Father's last two homes? He lived in the last one for almost 10 years and I have never seen it. Why? His wife. Do I sometimes think that I would have less hurt if I just removed him from my life altogether? Sure I do. But I love him very much despite his faults and I do what it takes to keep a good relationship with him. He even called for Christmas this year so we are making progress! : )

Reading your last post I can't tell if you want a reconcilliation or not. Wishing them both to hell probably implies not.

I am sure that you are very upset about my post, especially as I do think you have placed your son in a 'no win' position. I wonder if you can think about what I have said and acknowledge your part in all this. If you do want to reconcille with your son, that could be an important first step.

I wish you lots of luck and all the best. I hope it can be worked out if that's what you want.

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izzy_now

Dear annibal

Did you read my post about how I handled the estrangement?

I just this morning remembered that for the first two years of not being in touch, I did write her a letter, twice a year. I never mentioned the estrangement, nor criticized either her or her husband. I wrote about other things and it would end up being a letter that just came from a mother to her daughter, about my volunteer work, wondering about the children, but never asked any questions. Asking a question, to me, means I expect a reply.

She never replied anyway, but then I would write another (they would be about 6 months apart, and update her on things again, nice friendly letters, so I was keeping in touch with her.

I felt I never had to include her husband in the Dear so-and so and so-in-so. I never mentioned him at all.

I feel an estrangement is not fully an estrangement if both do not agree-- just finding an excuse to not use the word. I did not agree. I kept in touch. But then I finally stopped---I am not sure, but it might have been just a little while after stopping that she telephoned to asked for my forgiveness.

Handwritten letters not typed ones--more personal.

--but she had changed from living with an N, and I feel filled with guilt.

--What do you think would happen if you did this with your son?

Just a thought.
I was pleased to see you had replied to njrealtor.

I am happy that Xmas Eve and Day are over, but I still got through them without feeling any sadness or aloneness. I have some cyber friends on another posting board--all women,then a man or two pops in now and again.

There have been some kerfuffles between some, but I stay out of the fray. There is always bound to be a difference of opinion now and again, and then one gets to know the other better and all is over.

Later
Izzy

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imaginny

Anniebal, I think that the scales always tip far to the side of the spouse or romantic partner when it comes to a conflict of any kind between parents and kids. Especially when you're talking about a young man who had had little experience in romance. Your son may be the sort who had resentments about his family that he never shared. He met an assertive, domineering, young woman with whom he felt comfortable talking about things that bothered him. He may have been bothered by things irrationally and unreasonably but he found a sympathetic ear. She was the sort who was easily slighted. To him it felt as though he had found a soul mate, someone who understood him as no one else could. She found someone who adored her, put up with her attitudes, indulged her moods, worshiped at her altar. She glommed onto him and became territorial. Some German Shepherds are less territorial than a personality like that. She saw his relationship with you as inconvenient and an obstacle to her having everything exactly the way she wanted it. Plus she has little interest in anyone and anything other than herself and her own concerns. Why, in her mind, should she try to have a conversation with anyone who doesn't interest her? She isn't interested in most people except if they can ease her way to something that she wants.
As you say, you can't win no matter what you do. You try and then it gets worse. You try and it goes further downhill. Finally you throw up your hands and say "the hell with them" but in the long run you will hurt and miss him and feel anguish even as you tell yourself that you are disowning him.
Some people's issues and disorder dovetail so perfectly. It can be called "falling in love" when really it is a "folie a deux".
Izzy may be right that she is an N.
You have more information about her attitude than I have about my SIL's. I don't know if that is because my SIL is devious and subtle or because he's not such a bad guy and it has more to do with my daughter than him.
I know that you feel angry now but, if you are like most mothers I know who are in this situation, you will miss him tremendously. Birthdays, Mother's Days, Christmases, Thanksgivings will all be difficult.
The question that I always have is whether it is better to have an imperfect dishonest crappy relationship with someone who can't reciprocate than to have an estrangement with someone who can't reciprocate? Either way it is painful to be the parent. Sometimes I think I'd do anything to have a relationship. Then other times I remember how frustrating it was when we were on speaking terms but still so distant.
And if your DIL is an N, there truly is no solution because N's can never ever be satisfied with anything. But telling him about her N-ness will not work. It won't matter who tells him anything about her. He has to figure it out for himself. If he does, then one day he will give you all an earful!
BTW, to njrealtor, one thing about those of us who are older than thirty is that we truly aren't all that different. We might look different than thirty-somethings but our minds didn't suddenly become something different when we turned forty or fifty or sixty or seventy. Unless we have dementia, we tend to remember being thirty-something and then we have what we learned at thirty-one, and thirty-two, and thirty-three, and thirty-four, and thirty-five . . . and so on. You might try thinking of talking to us who are "older" as talking to a version of yourself who lives in the future but has more patina than you currently have. When you are older, you won't be any different than you are now except you'll have more to remember and you might have learned a few more things than you know now. It's true! I promise! (I come from the generation that said, "Don't trust anyone over thirty!" which was well before we were all thirty!)
And to Izzy, Your story is heartbreaking! I am so sorry that you have suffered so much and been through such pain.
I have known some N's. I never get along well with N's. But my husband does get along well with N's because he is a very complimentary charming friendly person and they love to be flattered and charmed. Me, I am friendly but N's drive me crazy and I get fed up and it shows on my face and so they like my husband better than they like me. Which is okay because I don't like to be around N's much. Short amounts of social time are okay but beyond that, no thanks!
I am sorry that you and your daughter had the misfortune to have lived with N's.

Here is a link that might be useful: Estrangements: The Website

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izzy_now

Thank you imaginny,

Yes there has been a lot, but I'm able to deal with it better by leaving it all alone, and just look after me and ----right now, my broken leg and bumps and blisters on it having had a reaction, on the skin that was under the cast, from some skin cream given to me at the hospital.

Best Wishes

Izzy

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stephanie_in_ga

I am in my 30s, too. I follow these posts, but rarely have anything to add. I am sad for families who are going through this conflict and estrangement. I keep reading to just try to understand. To understand what turn the road takes that makes people who share so much turn away from the other. Do these conflicts start out as the common growing pains, grown offspring spreading their wings and wanting space, a change in parent/child relationships that everyone goes through... but then somehow spiral out of control?

Have you each given up on your relationships with your children? Do you think the relationship will never get back on track? You sound so hopeless, like you aren't really looking for solutions or a new approach, but that you're resigned to simply finding symathy.

I gotta go to bat for njrealtor, here. I don't think she was assigning blame. I think she and I read these posts with the some of the same thoughts. We don't see one side or the other as right. We're withholding judgement (and phsychological diagnoses) b/c we know we are only reading one side of the story, and there is always another side that is equally legitament. I just would not be the person that I am if I took a side without hearing all the sides.

Still, I offer my sympathy to you and to your children. All relationships take work, including parent/child ones. Once we're adults, we have to do some of that work, too. It's not not our parents' job anymore.

Sometimes I feel like I'm watching a train wreck as the DIL observing DH and his parents. I don't think my ILs have an inkling about how much stress their son feels when he interacts with them. He often tells me he would be fine if he stopped speaking with them completely. I don't believe he would be fine, and I don't think it's the right thing to do. So I answer the phone when his parents call and don't give him a choice in talking to them. They are not my pick for travel companions, but they are his parents and our children's grandparents. So if at some point he did stop talking to them, and my MIL were trying to understand, I can see how confused she would be. She would not see it coming, and might even blame me. Sometimes I want to call them and warn them. I want to say something to redirect this train, but I don't know what. There are no fights, really, b/c DH would not fight with his parents. But DH becomes a different person when he is around them. He doesn't like the way he changes, so he avoids prolonged time with them. Heck, I can tell by his mood in the evening if he talked to them while he was at work! I don't think they even suspect the way he feels, that they are damaging their relationship with him... and in turn their grandchildren. I do not doubt their love for DH and our kids, and I know DH does not either. His mother is actually quite doting to DH when we're with them. It's just their way of showing it sometimes, comes across as judgemental and critical.

Anyhow, the whole thing makes me sad. But I don't feel like it's my place, or that I'd even be heard. I don't really know how they see the relationship, if they would call it "good" or "bad" or "strained." To hear MIL talk, she seems to see it as it was when DH was at home, a teenager, 25 years ago. I think she feels I am responsible for our visits being short, that I don't tell DH they called. Really, it's his choice (actually, he'd not visit at all if I'd let him get away with it) and he waits days to return their phone calls. He's not intentially rude or mean, he's just trying to avoid the tension he feels when he relates to them. In a way, it's self-defense.

I'm not saying DH is all in the right and his parents are all wrong. Honestly, I think his behavior should be better. I just wish for all of them that they could learn to appreciate each other and just enjoy each other, accept each other "as is."

And I'm not saying this is how your children feel. No doubt a lot of the conflict is subtle, the kind of thing one would have to see first hand to understand. I'm just tossing my story out their in case a different perspective brings up anything helpful in understanding and finding a path to change.

Mending hurt relationships is the kind of miracle we can only bring for ourselves. I hope the new year brings change and healing so that, just maybe by miracles of hard work, this time next year will be different.

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popi_gw

Thanks for sharing your story, Stephanie, I found it very interesting.

POPI

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anniebal

Hi Izzy,

Thanks for your remarks. I like your idea of the letters, but at this point I'm not ready to attempt that. I think he needs more time away from us being completely isolated. I think he needs to drown in his wife's narcisstic behavior first. I'm hoping that without us in the picture at all (even letters!) that she'll start acting up on others since obviously this is how she gets her kicks. She feels superior when she does these things, and since N's have such little or no self esteem it is an outward survival mechanism.

We did send a Christmas card to them both, but got not card in reply.I was very sad that they wouldn't at least make that effort.

It will be some time before I make another attempt at our relationsip. Before Thanksgiving I sent my son a text message telling him that I was thinking of him and that I wanted him to know that he is always welcome in our home. I finished with telling him I loved him. I felt the need to do this since I sent him an angry letter when he didn't apologize to me for his harsh words. I was hurt, and still am, but I wouldn't let that stand in the way of us making amends if he would reach out a little. After that text message he did send me a very short reply stating "thanks"and that he loved me too. This made my day to read those words from him. The following week after Thanksgiving I saw him at my nieces b-day party and he did come up and greet both my husband and I with a hug and kiss (kiss to me.) Usually my husband would kiss him but he is very angry that my son wouldn't at least say he was sorry for his outburst to me. That evening I did give him hug and kiss good bye and told him I loved him to which he replied he loved me too. About two weeks after that get together I sent him both the song and the lyrics to "The living years." I wrote hima short note telling him that I thought this song had great meaning, and was worth him listening to. I mentioned that none of us know how long we'll be walking this earth, and life is just too short. I finished with telling him I loved him. I never heard anything regarding that email, and nothing since. I will not be writing anymore text messages, or emails for a very long time. I think the next move is his to make, and though I hurt greatly and miss him so much, I don't miss trying to tip toe around and watch every word that comes out of my mouth. I'm not a tactless person, yet this girl can twist and turn anything me or my husband says. For instance, after our fall out following our trip to Hawaii, I left her a message telling her that if she loved my son she would try to understand us and get along for his happiness. Next thing I know, I hear from my son that I was doubting his wife's lvoe for him!!! For the love of god, this was a figure of speech yet she managed to convince my son that that is why I said and meant. I'm telling you there is no winning with this woman!

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njtea

Stephanie, thank you for your wonderful post. I wish we all had children as mature as you are.

Having said that, I do have one caveat, which I think might be at the basis of many estrangements/family disputes. I believe that if a person has said/done something to hurt another member of the family that person should NOT be "stood up for" at any cost by his/her spouse. I truly believe that is a huge problem: I must support my wife/husband, right or wrong. If one has to support one's spouse "at any cost" there is a problem in the marriage.

I see it going on right now between my son and his wife and his father and his new wife. The wife did NOT make plans to Christmas Eve dinner, therefore my son and DIL did not appear and now his father, supporting his wife entirely, is very angry with his son and DIL because THEY did not follow through in confirming what was a very vague comment about possibly having dinner made more than a week before. Christmas.

Rather than getting angry at his son, his father should have said "yes, I realize that no plans were firmed up and that we should have done so. I'm sorry" End of problem.

If your spouse were your child who had made the mistake, you would not (or should not) support that child. He/she should take responsibility. Same thing needs to happen in a marriage.

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anniebal

I do agree with you njtea was far as realizing if there really is an issue to support one's spouse or not. Personally if I feel my husband is wrong and making an issue where there is none, I let him know about it. The only time I would want him to support me or vice verse is if it was clear that the son or daughter were thoughtless and new very well what the situation was. Being married allows us to have a balance, and that balance should be used when appropriate. No one should be supporting the other just because they are married, it is what's right afterall.

anniebal

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imaginny

Stephanie, I started with writing a long reply and sharing my own stories of two sets of ILs and two DHs and my daughter but it was sooooo long and not all that interesting a story. So I stopped trying to write it.

Thank you for sharing your story. I will shorten my stories to say that I have experienced and witnessed the stresses and strains of my ex-DH and my current DH with their respective parents. I think that most who are married for any length of time have witnessed these kinds of stresses at some point or have heard of them if their own family is so idyllic that it never happened to them personally. Neither of my DH's estranged themselves from their own parents although they both had issues with them for different reasons. I'm glad that they didn't estrange themselves. I have loved both of my sets of ILs.

Speaking for myself, the reason that I write a lot about my estrangement is not for sympathy although I can understand why someone might think that. The reason that I write about it is because I feel like the lighthouse in the night warning of rocks on which the ship may founder. When I was in my thirties, I can't tell you how impossible it seemed to me that there would be an estrangement from my daughter. My role as lighthouse may have no effect. This kind of thing is rarely foreseen.

I know now that there are things that we can't control as parents as much as we'd love to control them. Certain outcomes. Certain conditions. If we become aware of them, there is a chance that we can take action but a lot of times it doesn't matter what we do.

I can relate to the stories of other parents here because I know that for many people unexpected things do happen. Yes, there are ILs and parents who are hard to get along with and who are their own worst enemies and who end up estranged because of their irritating personalities, quirks, demands, and lack of insight. But it is surprising how many good parents, really good people, end up being estranged by grown kids who use estrangement as a cruel tool of punishment or for some other reason that makes little sense and has nothing to do with love and kindness.

Here is a link that might be useful: Estrangements: The Website

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izzy_now

Hello all

I just posted this on another Board where most of us are Reality B, with the knowledge and experience with Narcissistic Personality Disorder,N or P for Psychopath.
================================
I had another thought.

Let's say the N lives in Reality A/ disordered thinking and actions

Let's say that those who have had experience with Ns live in Reality B/see it, believe it, but are not Reality A

Then we have the third Group. Those who are not A or B are in Reality C/ don't see it, don't believe it, may never have to deal with it

Any race, colour or creed can produce A, B, or C
Any place in the world, rich or poor
Tall or short, fat or thin
Big feet, small feet
Any colour of hair

So now we need a name for these.

Izzy

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anniebal

Newest question for you all, what do we do when our son and DIL are at the same get together that we've been invited to? Everyone on my husband's side has stated that we shouldn't let them win, and they'd be winning if we don't show up. However, I don't want to make it easy for my son to see us. Nor do I want the chance of him just weaseling back into our lives without ever making amends for his behavior. Besides that, if they ever are going to be back in our lives there will have to be definite boundaries since I am through with apologizing, groveling, & trying to please people who cannot be satisfied.

I'd love your opinions on this situation.

Annibal

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imaginny

anniebal, I agree with your husband's side that you should go to the get together. I think that the idea of winning or losing might not be the best way to look at it because it continues the idea of a fight. I can see that you are very angry and that you want things to be put right. I can understand that. I don't think that your staying away from the event will make it harder on your son. It might even make it easier because he won't have to deal with anything.
If you do go, do you plan to not speak to them? Or to speak to them briefly and not in a particularly friendly manner?
I do know of a family reunion where my ex-husband and his wife and my daughter were all present and my daughter did not talk to them and they did not talk to her and everyone else apparently ignored the tension between them.
Anyway, if I were in your shoes, I would go to the event because not going sets a bad precedent for you and your husband as a pattern of behavior. How many events would you pass up before you'd go to something again? Assuming that they don't do what you want them to do.
I'd go and plan to have a great time no matter what they do. That's my two cents! :-)

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jankin

sorry to change tack but this is what has just happened to me and my husband:-
my middle daughter being widowed and with 2 children at the time 11 and 15 married again - a man from a very poor family abroad. She lived a mile or so from me - and since the marriage we had the children on different occasions when there was trouble between them and their stepdad. She had a little boy by him 4 years ago. Her husband has never worked - she always worked and they lived on her money and a pension fron her husband dcd. In August this year she lost her job and they had a quick and complete move to his home - sold up etc., (she had already mortgaged their house here to buy 2 properties for him and his family in their country.
Her daughter was an uni by this time her son 16- this sone hates his stepdad and wouldn't go with them so we tried - how we tried to give him a home with us - we are in our seventies and both have chronic medical conditions. Anyway she came home to us for Christmas and we wanted to talk to her about finding something better for her son - he was living in our caravan (UK caravans are not big) and had lost direction. The news that we were going to discus this leaked out from another of our daughters and before we had time to do anything middle daughter came in (we were out) packed her xmas case and everything she could, took the boy of 16, andleft messages that she has finished with us for good - we couldn't say goodbye to our 3 yr old grandson (completely cut off now) or our other grandson - we dont know where he is, Our grandaughter at uni wont answere phone, mid daughter has how gone back to Turkey.
We are devastated - any helpful ways & ideas of getting through this would be so appreciated. She has very nice properties abroad and neither of them work so she'll be fine - dont have to worry about her materially,

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stephanie_in_ga

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always preserves."
-- 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Annibal, I agree, go to the get together. You've been hurt, and I can see that you would want to protect yourself. But you should be there with your family/friends, everyone who is invited should be there. I believe rebuilding this bridge w/your son will not happen all at once, one big apology and every thing is normal again. It will take patience and time and small gestures given and accepted over time. If you don't go, you will miss a good time and maybe even one of those small gestures. If you worry about who wins and who loses, no one will win. You and your son cannot get through this if you avoid each other. You don't have to make it easy, but you don't have to make it harder, either. Live your life like you normally would and be open to even the smallest opportunity for a step toward resolution.

I think you should go, not b/c you "win" but b/c you want to be part of the event (assuming you do want to be part of it).

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anniebal

Thanks for your advice Stephanie in ga, and Imaginny. I belive you are right and I am going to do as you suggest. It is obvious my anger is showing when I am focused on winning. This isn't about winning, it is about salvaging a relationship and that definitely won't happen if we're never exposed to my son and DIL. I had always hoped that my DIL would become less insecure with us once she saw what a loving and accepting family we were. However, I realize now that it wasn't an insecurity as much as a dislike or us. She couldn't control us as she is used to doing with her own family and this outraged her. We were forgiving and always were apologizing so nothing she did forced us to be alienated. We just never anticipated the behavior she gave us in Hawaii, and we let it get the best of us. For us it was the straw that broke the camels back. We were 'mad as hell and weren't going to take it anymore,' as someone famous said in a movie once!

I'm glad that you all here are understanding of my feelings. I had a woman on yahoo groups tell me that no wonder my son picked out my DIL, because she is just like me! After that insulting remark she went to give some good advice, however it was very hurtful to be accused of being like my DIL. I may be attempting to control the situation, to try and force my sons hand into coming back to us, but it is out of desperation that I do so. I would never have posted this question if I wasn't prepared to take the advice. My DIL will never take advice, can't be criticized, lacks empathy, and thinks she is superior to everyone. I am not that person. In Mark Sichel's book he states that no one with a character disorder would even pick up his book or an;y self help book because they are not wrong. Well, I've been reading self help books my whole life! I'm always trying to fix what is wrong by fixing me, but this time it isn't about me or anything I've done wrong. I'm angry and hurt at my son's behavior and I guess in all honesty I did want to hurt him back. That is so juvinile that I can't believe I'm admitting it, but it is something I want to work on. I should use my relatives to my advanatge at seeing my son at least.

To answer your question imaginny, there is no tension expressed when we were together. We openly greeted them and then we all socialized doing our own thing. This is how I expect it will be at all times which is good. I certainly don't plan on making anyone uncomfortable by acting out any dramatic scenes. Thankfully I think my son can oblige also, and even his wife put on a good face. Maybe there's hope for her yet, but I doubt it. Still, good family values may rub off on her in time...perhaps? Or is this a pipe dream.

Thanks all for not wounding me with nasty insults as I received from another group (just one person though.)

annibal

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imaginny

anniebal, I quit a yahoo group in 2006 because of hostility expressed towards me. It was probably the same group. I had belonged to it from early 2004. It's funny (but not ha ha funny). You join a group hoping for support when you're in pain and then you encounter others who are even more skilled at doling out hostility. (If it was only one person, then you did well!) :-)

I'm glad you mentioned what Sichel said in his book. I had forgotten that statement.

As for feeling anger, I think it's normal to feel angry under these circumstances. The good thing is that once you are aware of your anger, you can choose how to deal with it and not let your anger control you. The fact that you are all still able to be cordial and civil at family gatherings is a good sign. Things aren't yet at the worst stage and maybe they won't get there.

If you can bring yourself to accept that your son is not quite whom you thought he was and that he is going to disappoint you somewhat, then you can deal with that reality. I think when we are unprepared and surprised that we react too much. (As I probably did in 1995. I didn't see it coming.) And that can result in things getting worse and worse.

If you are able to accept that your DIL dislikes you (and from what you have said I agree with you), then, if possible, it makes sense to treat her as kindly as you can but without compromising your own boundaries and needs. If you can be assertive and polite and civil and not worry too much about what she does and just do what you need to do, then that might be the best avenue to take. I don't think there is any way of controlling what she does. But she might possibly attempt to get along at some point just so that she doesn't look too bad by comparison. Assuming she wants to keep relationships with some in the family.

She sounds like "a piece of work". Do people still use that phrase? She sounds very difficult.

Do you know the Serenity Prayer? I say that when I need to deal with situations which are difficult.

Ginny

Here is a link that might be useful: Estrangements: The Website

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fuzzywuzzy

Referencing your comment, Anniebal, regarding giving advice to our children. That reminds me of a session I had with a therapist several years ago. It was a rescheduled session because the therapist could not keep the original appointment as he had got hung up at motor vehicles in our state.

When we finally did sit down, he told me a bit about what had happened at motor vehicles and why he had to reschedule. I'd had a similar situation years prior and another person had told me how to get around the problem. I'd recently shared that information with my son (who was 22 or 23 at the time) and the therapist got very harsh with me telling me that I never should have done that - I should have let him learn for himself. BTW, my son was NOT the reason I was in therapy. We had and still do have a very good relationship.

My response was: no way, someone else had told me what to do when encountering this situation and I was more than happy to share that knowledge with anyone and everyone.

This therapist and I had only one more session as I ended them after he had called my father, a very wonderful, kind and gentle person, "someone less than a man" for not divorcing my mother although he was extremely unhappy in the marriage. When I pointed out to him that people back in the 40's and 50's did not get divorced because they were unhappy, he refused to even consider that line of thought.

How some people ever get to practice pscyhotherapy is beyond me.

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anniebal

fuzzywuzzy, wow, good thing you dumped that therapist! Thisis just the thing I read about at Mark Sichel's site to look for in a therapist and run away from if you see it. How dare he tell you not to offer time saving advice for your son. Afterall, your son doesn't have to take it, but now it his choice. I offer advice to my son and then I drop it. Many times he has come back to me and stated how grateful he was that I told him what I had. Other times he has told me that he wished he had done what I suggested. Those times I smile at him and tell him how mature it is that he can admit that, but all of us go through those growing pains even to this day!

I can't believe the therapist also gave you that garabe about your father! Your right, how do some people get into this field, or why do they want to? My theory is is that they want to control other peoples lives. The good ones want to help people work out their issues, but the wrong ones have control issues of their own, don't you think?

I just had someone give me advice from another forum and this woman will not see her mother and father because they don't like her husband. I mean, come on, I could only take this estrangement thing if my parents had offended me and we didn't get along. There is always the chance of personality conflicts for whatever reason, and I'm supposed to disown my parents because my husband or parent's don't get along? I would never expect this from my husband, and I wuold never oblige such a request if my husband asked it from me. There is plenty of time that one can share with both, and still not have to be in the same place. As long as my parents were sweet to me and my kids, I can't believe my husband would ever expect me to give them up simply because they didn't like him. To me this is incredibly selfish, and it's just what my DIL is expecting from my son. Loyalties fall in both categories, not exclusively to one. If the parents are abusive then I can see her position, and I wouldn't want to be around them or certainly have my kids around them. However this is not the case. Talk about your child breaking your heart. Her parents are perfectly willing to just see her and the kids, but she won't do it because she and her husabnd are a 'unit.' Does this apply to ALL friends and family who don't like each other because if it does, one could see how pretty soon you'd be cut off from everyone!

This girl needs to grow up, just as my son does. Realize that there are important people in all walks of your life and none should ever keep you restricted from seeing other people who are important to you unless the reasons are extreme.

What do you think?

anniebal

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fuzzywuzzy

Anniebal, I think that often when a couple estranges themselves (and their family) from parents who don't care for the in-law, it's because one of the couple has reservations about the "other half" but can't admit to the parent(s) that they were right in their assessment of the "other half."

I see that in two estrangements of which I have knowledge, one in which the wife is most likely physically abused and is afraid of her husband. In order to literally survive, she has cut off all communications with all family members.

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anniebal

Fuzzywuzzy, I've thought about this with my son many times. In fact both my husband and I have talked about it. My son is so stubborn that we wonder if he hasn't realized we were right about his wife but that is all the more reason he is digging in to prove it isn't true. I know he would be humiliated at admitting his judgment was wrong, and I'm not sure that he wouldn't stay put to just protect his ego.

It is a different situation when your being abused as you mentioned about the woman you know. Her husband obviuosly is so obcessed and jealous over his wife that he can't share her with anyone. He probably goes into rages over attention she gets from anyone else, which means she has to protect herself as well as she can. I only wonder in these cases why they don't seek help, of course then you hear of some women who do and end up dead because the police couldn't give them the protection they deserved.

sad.

anniebal

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anniebal

Well, I've put myself out there to be rejected by my son...again! I'm almost done reading Mark Sichel's book and I decided what I already knew and that is if anyone is going to fix this it is going to have to be me. I text messaged my son last night to see if he will meet me soon, one on one for an idea I have about a new years resolution. I told him I wanted a yes or no answer, no maybe's (which he is good at doing, leaving thigns in limbo!) After I sent that text (which was late at night), I decided to follow it up this morning with another text asking that he please make his decision and let me know before today is over. In addition to this, I decided (out of worry that for some reason he wouldn't get the text message, which is ridiculous!), that I'd call him on the cell phone and hope he answer. I knew in my heart he would not, but one can always hope. Well, he didn't answer so I left him a nice message that I text messaged him 2x but that I just wanted to be sure he got the message so I decided to call. I told him what I wanted to do with meeting him alone, just he and I, and talk about a resolution to our problems. I again mentioned that I'd like an answer by tonight and if I didn't hear from him I would assume that he doesn't want to move in that direction right now. I also told him that no matter what his decision is, I will always love him.

I've waited all day for a message but have yet to receive one. Somehow I feel that he is even angrier since we didn't buy he and his wife gifts for Christmas. Never mind that we're not on talking terms, they have their expectations and when we let those expectations down we have wronged them and that is all that counts. We had sent them a Christmas card over two weeks before Christmas and talked that if we did receive a card back that we would buy them something to put under his grandmother's tree where he and his wife would be spending Christmas day. However, they didn't send us a card, didn't call for Christmas or New Years so we didn't buy them anything. I feel perfectly fine about our decision. If we have to buy them things to get their love then what's the point? If they weren't so selfish in all areas of their lives they would see that the relationship is more important than a gift, but I'm not sure with their thinking that it is more important...sadly.

I'm so afraid I won't hear from him, and yet I'm trying to brace myself for the reality that I probably won't. To think I only thought his wife was the selfish narcistic one, but now I know differently. I realize now how much I always gave in to him and tried to please him. In no way do I think he was anything like my DIL, but I realize now that they feed off each other. I think now that my DIL brings out the absolute worst side in my son instead of helping him to be better person.

It is sad when we realize something about those we love that we never realized until something has awful as this estrangement happens.

Still, I love him and would do almost anything if he would see me/us. Right now my husband doesn't want anything to do with him and told me that I'm just setting myself up to be hurt again. I know he is probably right.

anniebal

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anniebal

Well, I heard from my son in the form of an email later tonight. I thought he wouldn't reply at all, however his composition to me sounded awfully like my DIL and not my son.

It's sad actually since my son insulted me in a way I thought wasn't possible for him to ever have done by name calling in a burst of anger. I knew he didn't mean it, but it was so hurtful. He never apologized to me, and since then my MIL (his grandmother), has told him that he owed me an apology at the very least for what he said. Last time she mentioned it to him, which was just last week between Christmas and New Years, he told her that he was very hurt by a letter I had written him.

Yes, I did what everyone says you shouldn't do and hastily wrote a letter in hurt and anger spelling out almost everything we'd been through since the troubles began 3.5 years ago. I also got a few jabs in to that weren't necessary. Now I know to never send a letter in anger again. If anyting I will save it to draft and re-read it later to be sure I want to send it.

What got me so upset was that 5 days after the explosive event I still hadn't heard word one from him and the day before I wrote it he had come right next door to my neighbors to baby sit their kids (with his wife). This was so hurtful and upsetting knowing he came right there and couldn't stop by to at least say he was sorry for losing control and callimg me what he did.

But for as long as these issues have been going on, my son and DIL always manage to turn the tables rigght back to how they've been wronged. I always end up apologizing since no matter what I say they can turn it around and twist it to mean something completely different.

For example, last summer I had left my DIL a message on her cell phone since she wouldn't bother to pick it up to talk to me, and I stated that "if you love my son," et.etc. I hope everyone here would know what I meant when I said that to my DIL? Yet, when my son called me later on he was hostile and asked how I could question his wife's love for him!!!! I told him that it was a figure of speech, it wasn't meant to be taken literally, yet he didn't believe me since his wife had obviously convinced him otherwise and he fell for it once again hook, line and sinker!

Anyway, back to my short book again about this evening. The first thing he lead off with in his email to me was apologizing for what he called me and stating it was inappropriate. My message had nothing to do with him apologzing, about that night, etc. but it was a cheap way to be able to tell his grandmother that he has now apologized! If I complain to him about it then she and my son will turn it against me that I can't accept the apology! No matter what, I always lose.

The next thing he said is that he can't get together with me right now, that it is too emotional and that he'll let me know when he's ready. I wish I could write him back and tell him to not bother! This has cinched it for me tonight about where I (we) stand. I am not going to be at his beckon call, I am moving on just as the book and everyone on this site has suggested. I am going to start concentrating on me, my health, peace of mind, happiness, etc. I have a husband and another child who love and need me, as well as many loving and supportive friends and family members. If I could I'd tell him to get lost, but I'm over doing childish things like that (I hope!)

anniebal

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amyfiddler

NJ - I learned a few things from you, thanks -

I like your words, Be the bigger person. I've always believed that, and don't always put it in to practice - but when I don't, i'm sorry, and when I do, I'm happier.

I will implement today - my story outdoes many here, unfortunately, but this is no kind of contest, is it? :(

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jankin

Courage, resourcefulness, other family members, the world out there, compassion and a refusal to allow any negative thoughts regarding the conditions of the estrangement or 'what might be happening now" - I am trying all these areas and I know I have no responsibility for these adult people - I wasn't a perfect Mum - but my children are all adults now - we have all in past calm and loving situations discussed forgiven and loved - and now the best thing I can do for myself, my family, is to carry on without my middle daughter being 'here' but she is always in my 'heart' and nothing she can do will ever alter that.
I'm coming back world - and I wish everyone wlse in such circumstances the very best in their efforts to find some inner peace.
I have sent awat for one of the books but dont know whether I'll read it.
Love to all Mums
Jan

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xminion

Thank you to all you good people out there for posting on this subject. I have read everyone of these and previous thread posts.

From the other side of the issue, my husband and I are both
estranged from a parent. In both cases, IMHO, it is due to alcoholism in the parents, and in my father's case, a gambling addiction as well. He couldn't help much in raising us kids. I come from a big Italian family, 2nd generation, where family keeps contact with family NO MATTER WHAT, but my father seldom contacted us kids. Turns out, though married to my mother, he had another long-time serious girlfried he was living with. When my mother found out after 20 years of not divorcing him, she had a fatal heart attack.

The emotional and financial heartaches caused (unnecessarily) by these parents have left scars on DH and myself and our siblings. Both of us now have positions where we have significant contact with young adults and, this is what I have observed on the subject: As they say, "take what you like, and leave the rest......."

1) Read the book "Generation Me". It gives insight into the mindset of today's youth. Specifically, the 'self-esteem' approaches by schools, and, well-meaning but misguided parents have produced young adults that are not operating in reality. In particular, no matter how good the
parents were, it's never the 'best'

2) There are two types of only child. One stays very close to the parents, the other is quite lonely and gets married early to the first available person that comes along. Thier choice of partner often is not what the parents wants,and after a lifetime of the child being the center of the universe for the parents, escalates the possibility of estrangement.

3) Life is suffering and heartache from which nobody is immune. Approaching estrangement philosophically (as is Buddhism) can help. Do not let yourself get so troubled over estrangement that it affects your health. (Like my mother!)

4) 12 step programs work - if you work them. You simply can't control any adult's actions but your own. You can only tell the estranged person how you feel, that you love them and your arms and house are always open to them, (if that's how you feel). If they reject you despite your efforts - IT IS THEIR LOSS - NOT YOURS!

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imaginny

xminion, From my perspective I feel as though I've been on the same side of the coin that you have. My ex was from a traditional Italian family that also focussed on "NO MATTER WHAT" the family stays together. On my side my father was an active alcoholic as well as an addicted gambler. My mother was /is mentally ill and also was an alcoholic. In her later years she joined AA and stopped drinking but the mental illness remained. Yes, these things leave their scars as well as making those of us who have been through them stronger in some ways.

I like what you wrote a LOT and agree with it with one exception. Yes, when someone rejects you despite your best efforts, it is their loss. You're right. In theory you are right. If it is an acquaintance or a friend, then, yes, it is their loss and life goes on. BUT when it is our kid who rejects us, the loss is ours as well. Even if they are rotten, cruel, stupid, alcoholic, mentally ill, drug addicted, unempathic, criminal, etcetera, for some of us who are parents, the loss is felt on our side too. It may well be their loss. Someone pointed this out to me about ten years ago. I wish it felt as though it wasn't my loss too. But it does feel that way.

I know that it would be much better for me to accept the loss and go on. Not look back. Not mourn any more. Not obsess. I am thinking that I have to make myself do that. Just accept it and let her go. Take the 12 step approach and put her in the hands of a higher power.

I wish it were easy. and that I could just say, "Yes, it is her loss." And not think about her any more. But it sure does feel like my loss too. Even if she doesn't appreciate me, doesn't love me, doesn't care about me.

I've been a member of the 12 step Adult Children of Alcoholics program and also Coda. I say the Serenity Prayer regularly. I think your advice is excellent. But it is harder to feel that the loss is theirs when you are the parent.

Here is a link that might be useful: Estrangements: The Website

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njtea

I like the subtitle to "Generation Me" - Why Today's Young Americans Are More Confident, Assertive, Entitled and More Miserable Than Ever Before.

The author, Jean Twenge, is a very interesting person.

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rookins81

I have read all the posts on this thread and the posts from the prior threads. I was looking for a forum where people were experiencing estrangement of some sort.

I am perhaps coming from the other side of the coin here so to speak. I am the DIL. Before I am slammed just for saying that much I would like to briefly describe the situation.

My DH decided to cut off his parents 5 years ago. We have talked (if you can call it that) in between that time but have not seen them face to face since then. Without spending a day telling you why...in short DH was extremely fed up with the constant fighting, bickering, drama and guilt trips. We were both a mess and we knew our marriage would soon suffer from the stress alone.

I do not hate my in-laws. I actually mourned the loss of them in my own way. I wanted to become close to them, have more family, get to know them..more than they will ever know. Sadly enough my MIL made that impossible from the beginning...she saw me as just that girl who married her son..nothing more. So I let go of the idea of being close but was still civil and friendly. Really in the end she had issues more so with my husband. She was always very controlling and when he was married and started his own life she could not deal with it at all..she even admitted this at one point! Her inability to deal with her loss of control lead to him being pushed further and further away..until he did not want to see her or FIL and SIL at all. It became a toxic situation.

Now 5 years later...he truly forgives them in his heart. Even after how hurt he was and all the stress the situation caused. I forgive them too. I hope sincerely that some day a reconciliation is possible. On the same note I hope that the same patterns would not return. I know DH would make this clear to them..to MIL mostly..that controlling behavior will not be accepted at all. If this can happen I know we would both welcome them back into our lives. They now have a 2 year old grandson who I honestly hope can someday have them in his life...I really want that for my son and can put aside my past hurt to give it a chance.

My husband feels he is "ready" sometime in the near future to sit down and talk to his parents. We have given this a lot of thought and want to go about it the right way. We know in this situation we must acknowledge our fault in this estrangement, remain non-defensive, and not dwell on the past. A new fresh start for our son's sake and everyone would be the "proposal" I guess. It makes me nervous in many ways but I hope hope hope that they would be civil and willing. So since some of you are mothers..would you welcome your children back into your life if they made the first move?

My advice to anyone would be to remember this...no matter how much you flatten a pancake..there are ALWAYS two sides. I in more recent times have made this my mantra when I feel angry or resentful towards my in-laws. We both have our "side" of what happened. Maybe someday the bridge can be rebuilt.

Thanks for reading..

Rookins

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imaginny

Rookins, Under the circumstances that you describe, if I were your IL's, I would be excited and relieved and happy to hear from you. And would be willing to renew the relationship. I hope it works out for you all.

I have a different situation with my daughter than you have had with your IL's. In this situation, I don't know that I can trust my daughter again. I don't know what would make me trust her again. I doubt that she will ever call me to renew our relationship. If she did, I'd have very mixed emotions. In my case I would have a hard time forgetting and forgiving some of the things that have been said to me and about me. As far as I know, what she has said about her feelings is true and so there can be no relationship as long as what she said is true.

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sniffles07

Rookins, If I was your mil I would definitely want the reunion. I truely hope your husband can sit down with them, not to point the finger, but to try to at least to include them in your lives. They need that grandson and more importantly, your child needs them. I'm sure it will have to start out slow, but you'll have a feeling of peace for trying. I agree, there's 2 sides to every story. In a situation like this, everyone does or says things they shouldn't. I've been there, believe me. Good luck! :)

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rookins81

Thank you Ginny and sniffles for your replies and insight. I too hope it works out and we can start new with DH's family. We do not have a large family on either side so it is really tragic that there is this huge rift. My husband has a little hesitation only because of how things were 5 years ago but I have tried to encourage him to think about this all differently this time. A lot of time has passed, everyone most likely realizes what was lost, and as far as the controlling issue..we are different..have careers, a son, and a strong marriage and I think his mother will see that right away.

Anyway I will keep you posted on what happens...I am not sure when DH plans to meet with them but I really think he wants us to knock on their door and see what happens. In the past email and letters did not work very well..so face to face seems the best thing to really work this out.

Thanks!

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njtea

Rookins, have you and your husband learned how to counteract your MIL's behavior in a way that might "deflate" her and not allow her to control you?

You're right in saying that there are two sides to each issue, but you might be surprised to learn that one side could be that your husband allowed himself to be controlled by his mother.

Of course, as a child, it's difficult to take the necessary steps to act against one's mother in a productive way, but perhaps you could both learn to do so now.

Your MIL is not going to change, but YOU can change the way you react to her.

You might want to read "Emotional Blackmail: When the People in Your Life Use Fear, Obligation and Guilt to Manipulate You."

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rookins81

Yes my husband does realize he was controlled by her and allowed this. It was something that became a normal part of his childhood and young adult life. She did admit several times that she knows she has "control issues" and would work on them..though my husband was already pushed too far away at that point for things to be different. I realize now that the need to control other people is due to insecurity on her part and maybe her own childhood..but doesn't make her a bad person.

Any suggestions on handling controlling people? I will look into the book you suggested also. I do agree we can't change them but how we react...very true. I would hope that she realizes at this point what it got her in the end..losing her son, DIL and grandson whom she has never met. If she can at least respect our boundaries then I think we could all coexist nicely. Even despite all that has happened I actually like them as people..I did ever since I first met my husband. I guess I try to hold on to that and it also helped me forgive.

Thanks again!

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njtea

Riggins, I wish you were my SON-in-law! It's so refreshing to hear of a young person wanting to work things out with his parents, rather than just heaping scorn and blame upon them. You seem like a wonderful young woman and I hope things work out well for your family.

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imaginny

Rookins, I rooted around in my bookmarks looking for this url which I am including here for you. You might find it helpful. It is on assertiveness.

I hope all goes well. Something I learned a long time ago was that I can't change anyone else. But I can change myself and if we change ourselves, then we don't act the same way in situations as we used to act. Which means that others sometimes have to change the way that THEY act because of the changes that we've made to ourselves. So we can't change others but sometimes they HAVE TO CHANGE because we changed. I think that's kind of cool! :-)

Here is a link that might be useful: Assertiveness

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anniebal

Imaginny, I agree with you SOooo much on your point, being that it IS indeed our loss to if we are the parent's. No one can ever prepare you for the loss from your child rejecting you. As Sichel writes in his book, an estrangement is probably worse than a death in that in death it isn't a choice.

When one spends their entire life raising and loving their child and everything is fine and dandy until one day they meet someone and everything changes. O course, one expects things to change when they meet the love of their life, however one does not expect the person they meet to be an abuser who uses emotional blackmail to control your child. One cannot prepare for this abusive person's manipulative and cunning behavior, nor their belittling to your child. How can on defeat the abuser of your child, and the answer is we can't. We can only hope that in time our child will see the abuser for what they really are and leave him/her.

I've done many searches on abusive relationships and have no doubt that my child is in one, but he can't see it and has now been convinced of the awful things she has told him about us. I don't think it is outright obviuos either how she has told him, I think it has been a subtle, cunning style that has taken her nearly 3 years to finish. It worked like a charm for her though since now we no longer talk to my son at all.

I am crushed over this since my son and I were so close. To all you new married women on this site, I would just like to say that your husband's parents matter. It isn't or certainly shouldn't be the old saying that a son is a son until he takes a wife, but a daughters a daughter her whole life. Just what female can defend keeping her husband from seeing his parents, and how can it be justified? Would any woman on this site want her husband to keep her from seeing her family whenever she wanted to do it? Why is it that it's seen as unmasculine for a son to continue to have a close relationship with his parent's? All I can say is that if any of you young marrieds have a son, consider him growing up one day and walking out of your life for good because his wife has convinced him that this is the way it should be. You will have no recourse, nothing you will say will change his mind. He will struggle for a time to maintani a relationship with you, but if she is an abuser, she will suck him dry. He will no longer have any self esteem, he will be going to therapy and taking meds since she'll have him convinced he is the problem. Soon, he will quit talking to you as often, and will be very careful with what he tells you about his life. He won't invite you over to their home for dinner, ever, unless it is with other relatives for a get together. You can bend over backwards to win the affection of his wife, but it won't matter. No matter what you do, from being sweet, gift buying, apologizing for things you didn't do, etc etc etc. it won't matter. Soon he will be brainwashed and brain dead as to who you are and what meaning you had for him in his life. He will be convinced that his new love can take care of all his needs from then on, and that you really aren't the people he thought you were for 23 years.

I have a niece who has befriended the girl my son married. She is actually close to both of them since they were so gratious as to volunteer to babysit her young kids. My niece could never understand why we were't comfortable with my son's then girlfriend calling us by our first names. If someone you know doesn't respect you, or treat you properly you are not going to feel like they deserve to call you by your first names. One has to earn that respect, it isn't a given. Still, we ended up allowing her to call us anything she wanted just to make peace and bring harmony to a tense situation. This isn't what caused the tense situation either.

Just like rookins81 states about her husband's mother being a control nut, these are the same accusations we have received from our son about my husband and myself. It is hard not to be defensive when I hear someone stating such things, since so much is perspective. The younger adults now have a different view of life and people. The sense of entitlement is unrivaled I believe, and I have many, many friends and family members who talk about this twenty something generation. This is a generalization to be sure, but they seem to all have this respect problem. Not only that, they think everything should have happened yesterday and can't wait to buy the things they want until they can afford them. They are self centered (me generation,) and egotistical. It's as if they never grew out of the stage of child development when everything revolved around them, and they thought they were the center of attention on entering a room.

When I think of what we did to win this girls affection only to be slapped down time and time again, and finally have it result in complete estrangement it makes me ill. Even now I have tried so many times to mend the rift, only to have the last attempt turned down without even hearing my idea for a resolution. My husband now wants nothing to do with our son at all. He is hurt and angry and says he wants to move on. For him it is easier since I know he will be able to put him out of his mind eventually due to his hurt and anger, but for me it's another story. He is my child, and I remember what we had in not only my relationship with him, but in our entire family relationship of 23 years (that's when he married.) I just want to make it better, just as I did continually during their dating and beginning marriage.

I do see my son as having a part in this situation though. Since this all happend I have realized how selfish he himself is. I think back of how much bending over backwards I did for him, and how I tip toed around his moodiness. Seriously, I had a best friend who was a taurus and moodier than heck. When my oldest son was born during the middle of may, I dreaded the thought that he might be as moody and rigid as my friend was. I know many don't believe in horoscopes, and I don't believe in the daily ones, however there is something to be said about the month of year you are born and I could never be more convinced than now. My son was like my friend's clone. He was always moody, and demanding. However, that being said, my son was also thougtful and giving. He was always very sentimental, and loyal. We had so many great family vacations, nights out, lots of heart to hearts, etc. This is still very surreal to me. I'm afraid it will break up my marriage eventually. The stress, blame, hurt, & anger is almost too much for us to bear I'm afraid. I think of all we've been through and now how ironic it would be if we break up after 32 years because of the estrangement from our son. We did pull together for most of this, but lately it has been taking it's toll.

When our younger son was diagnosed with diabetes at age 3 (now 20 yeasr ago), I thought we'd never get through it. I thought we'd never be happy again, and it did seem like forever during those grade school years with all the dedication it took to keep him healthy. At that time, I read that when a child is diagnosed with an illness like diabetes, approximately 50% of marriages break up. The diagnosis is very much felt as a loss, thus the explanation for the break ups. Well, I can't believe that having a child leave your life, whether they are dead or alive, is any different. It is a major loss, and as I stated, blame, anger, hurt, etc. all come into play in this situation.

I tried to get my husband to read the Mark Sichel book but he doesn't like it. Perhaps he's not ready to take the advice, or hear of other hurtful situations. I know there were times when I felt I couldn't read about another rift since it hits home to much and starts the hurt up again.

Any others have any marital conflicts in my situation?

anniebal

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charro

anniebal, I am officially "estranged" from my daughter since Thanksgiving. She is a narcissist and very demanding. I finally had the courage to say "no" to her and her husband - long story, another post here.

You wanted to know if "any others have any marital conflicts". I can answer a resounding "yes". When my husband was alive, it was unbearable. He spoiled my daughter miserably, and she took advantage of that and really worked it. She could lie and when I would call her on it, she would call me every name in the book. Would my husband stand up for me in any of this? Never. In fact, he blamed me. Crazymakng behavior on his part. But you see, according to him, if we took a stand, "we might lose her". He could not see that both her and her husband were manipulating us.

Now that he is gone, I am left to pick up the pieces. It was, as I said to the others here in the other post, either my health or my sanity was going to suffer. So, I took a stand for me.

I wish I had an answer for you. Try to talk to your husband when things are calm. I tried; it didn't work with me. When someone is irrational, you just can't reason with them.

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njtea

Annibal, what I'm going to say is not something you want to hear but when I consulted a family law attorney about petitioning the court for grandparent visitation, as we talked she said one thing to me that has remained with me ever since.

She told me that her greatest fear is that some woman would come along and take her son away from her. Apparently, it's not uncommon at all.

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imaginny

anniebal. I haven't had marital conflicts about the estrangement although I think that my husband has been wonderfully patient with me over the 12 years of the estrangement from my daughter. He is not her father. He is my 2nd husband. We've been married for 21 years.

I have spent so much time on trying to understand estrangement, time that I could have used to do other things, that I wouldn't have blamed him if he had gotten angry at me. I know that he does not have a high opinion of my daughter.

Anniebal, from what you say about how your husband feels, that is pretty normal in my experience from hearing stories of estrangements. Fathers in general appear to distance themselves more and to accept their child's decision and move on much easier than most mothers do. I know of an estrangement that reminds me a lot of yours except that it is the daughter who has been "brainwashed" by a manipulative husband. The father, like your husband, is much more prepared to let her go than the mother is. Like you, the mother thinks about her a lot and agonizes over the situation.

In my own situation I don't talk about it much with my husband any more. There is nothing I can do about it. Talking about it makes no difference. The only way that my talking about it now might help is by talking with others who are experiencing something similar. I know my husband would listen to me if I wanted to talk about it but I think that he would secretly be fed up with the subject.

It would be tragic if your marriage broke up over this. I hope that doesn't happen. That would be terrible. Are you arguing over how to proceed and what to do? Or blaming each other?

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imaginny

Anniebal, I forgot about something that is worth adding. While the estrangement by my daughter has not caused me marital conflicts, it has caused serious marital conflicts in her father's marriage. My daughter estranged herself from them within the last two years after an argument that began between her and her stepmother and escalated. Her stepmother has stated several times that my daughter was ruining their marriage. This time my daughter estranged herself from them but they had had a serious fight almost 20 years ago that caused serious stresses in my ex's marriage and her stepmother had said the same thing then.

My SIL may play some role in this but it is impossible for me to find out for sure. Things did change after she involved herself with him but she chose him. I've never thought that he was abusive but I really don't know for sure. I think that he might be devious and may humor her but I don't know that he is abusive. I just don't know. I would doubt that he is physically abusive. He might be very manipulative. I am not in a position where I can find out what really went on or goes on now.

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sniffles07

When this happened with our daughter the 1st time, (lasted 3 yrs) at first my husband and I really pulled together, we were definitely closer and a united front. As time went on, we were still close but we were so hurt, it's so hard to describe..we talked less and became a little distant. Not that we were fighting, but we were so sad. Both depressed. I remember reading an article once about a child that had died, and the mom & dad split because when they looked at each other, they felt the pain. That kind of describes it. I clearly remember one night, lying in bed, and hubby said to me out of the clear blue, that he thought his heart was broken. That really made me cry when he said that. Not too long after that, we had a reunion with our daughter and things went great for a few years but several months ago, an estrangement happened again. This time we just let her go, and guess what! she came back. Things are not perfect,however, sil is not happy about it. That's another post!

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rookins81

Anniebal,

Perhaps you need to re-read my posts. You say that stating my MIL has control issues means we have a sense of entitlement. HMM sorry but I disagree. Especially since she herself has admitted to having control issues..and other relatives in the family notice it also.

You should also realize that I am not YOUR DIL. Not every DIL is nasty, selfish and rotten like you claim yours is. Also my DH's decision to stop talking to his parents was HIS decision completely. He knows I have always hoped we would patch things up with them. So I am hardly a brainwashing wife.

Just a word of advice...don't make blanket statements about "today's generation". We are not all bad kids who have no respect for our parents. I know plenty of people my age who respect and love their own parents..I for one and one of them! I actually also have good feelings towards my in-laws and sincerely wish them well and hope someday this nonsense will end.

All of your posts scream anger to me. I realize you are upset and I do not know your DIL or situation so I am not saying you do not have a right to be. But I also know that when we are very angry a situation will not change for the better. At the very least let the anger go for yourself.

I do not mean to come off denfensive but once you mentioned my name and my post and went off like you did I felt I had a right to defend myself. We DIL's are NOT all alike. I doubt you would appreciate me sterotyping all MIL's.

Rookins

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imaginny

sniffles, I feel like my heart is broken.

One thing I am angry at is mental illness. It is a cruel disease. A person might walk and talk and look normal and be able to function in a job. But it is like their own personalities are buried under something else and it isn't possible to communicate with them. They are alive and may be physically well but they are lost. I have lost two important people in my life to this disease.

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sniffles07

Imaginny,
I know where you're coming from, I really do. Even now, when I think back on things, it hurts. It changed who I was and who I thought my child was. I don't look at her the same, even when things are good. Not to mean I don't love her and want the best for her. But all trust is gone I think. I'm always wondering when the other shoe will drop.
I agree, mental illness is a cruel disease. I don't think my daughter is mentally ill, but she definitely has some issues as does her husband. She could benefit from counseling. Maybe she has a mild form of something? She's easily manipulated and I'm hoping as she matures, she will see that.

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anniebal

Hi Rookins81, I feel I need to clear some things up that you stated. First, I did state in my message that it was a generalization to be sure regarding the traits I mentioned. I don't believe everyone from your generation is selfish or has a sense of entitlement. Regarding the DIL issue, don't take my rant against my DIL as implying I think you are the same way, that is not the case at all. I guess some of things you said just hit a nerve with me and I apologize if I sounded as if you were accusing your MIL of false things. If your MIL has admitted to having control issues then I'm sure she does since I can't imagine admitting that if one doesn't. That being said however, I'm not sure I wouldn't admit to almost anything to have my son back in my life. Already I'm thinking of what I should apologize for, what I have done wrong, etc.etc. I konw this is typical behavior from the person who is the people pleaser personality. My son and his wife are injustice collectors to be sure, and I'm probably better off without him until he grows up (if that ever happens).

I am angry, hurt, & disillusioned. I do need to let the anger go and it has gone somewhat, but it's very difficult for me yet to be rid of all of it. Actually, right now I think I'm more hurt then mad.

Once again, I do agree with how I must have come across in my message posted and I hope this clears up my position.

Annibal

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rookins81

Annibal,
No hard feelings at all here. I can hear that you are angry...I could only imagine how much it hurts to lose a child. I know from my DH's standpoint it hurt him to lose his family too. In the end I think it was not one person's fault..we all equally contributed to the situation. And in the end all were hurt..and are missing out.

My husband is considering going to their house and talking to them (with me too) in a non-defensive way..and just stating lets start new..clean slate..for our son's sake. I really hope that is all it takes. I personally am at a place of true forgiveness. I read the "Secret" and "The power of intention"..and both have changed my entire outlook on life and people..highly recommend those books to anyone.

Even though my MIL said and did some hurtful things to me at one point (which I realize now was more of her issues with my husband not me) I forgive her. Beyond that I have been able to build good feelings towards her and am hopeful that a reconciliation will happen. I want this family legacy of estrangement to end..I do not want my son to even think it is normal.

So my suggestion (not that I am claiming to be an expert) is let the feelings of anger go. Focus on the good things about your son and DIL. As hard as that is it works..seriously. You will be surprised how you then open yourself up to forgive and that anger has no place in your heart anymore. I truly believe once we do this we eminate those good thoughts and welcome that back into our life. The first step towards reconciliation is forgiveness..completely. After that anything is possible.

Rookins

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charliev

I would like to thank everyone here for sharing their stories. It has been very helpful to see both sides of the story (parent vs. child).

I am in my mid-twenties and I am getting married very soon. As a result of the wedding planning I have had some of the worst fights ever with my parents and continue to feel that I am only moments away from an estrangement with my parents. My future wife and I have tried to take a very hard line with our wedding plans (doing things the way we want, and also paying for things) but we feel our plans are frequently criticized or challenged.

I find it very interesting that many of these problems started when the child gets married. From the child's perspective I feel I need to stand behind my spouse in these situations. I now see how this can be viewed negatively by the parents and can cause the parents to resent the spouse.

I would like to bring up a couple of things that my parents have done which has caused me great pain and makes reconciliation after a fight even more difficult. I read several people in the other thread who wrote letters to their child. Many of the things my mother has written to me have been very hurtful. The problem with writing things down (as opposed to talking) is that you don't have any other context clues to go on (facial expressions, etc). The other problem is that in my case I have saved many of these hurtful letters and e-mails. I find it difficult to let go of what has been said in the past, especially when I can go and re-read these notes. Had these comments been made in a spoken converstation I could have immediately addressed whether or not my mother was trying to be hurtful and with time I could have forgotten many of the things said. Another issue for me has been verbal and physical confrontation. My dad is probably the most guilty of this and during a recent argument I felt that any moment my father might hit me and he was screaming at me 6 inches from my face with his fists clenched. I know someone mentioned a while back about hitting her DIL and I just want to say that had my father escalated the argument to violence it would have been extremely difficult to return to their house.

For me the issue becomes at what point is forgiveness possible and do you also have to forget what happens. Right now I feel every time I get in another argument with my parents I cannont help but think back to the hurtful things they have told me. As a child I was constantly taught to avoid abusive relationships; how do I maintain a relationship with my parents if it is not healthy? I am truely terrified I am very close to loosing my relationship with my parents and I would very much like to avoid this while maintaining control of my life and not tolerating their inappropriate behavior.

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anniebal

charliev, I find it interesting about your situation. Did the problems start when planning the wedding or prior to? There is always much tensions over wedding plans. However, our problems with our now DIL started when he first dated her up until they were married 2 years! This is a total of 3.5 years of trouble. My DIL never respected us and it showed immediately. Men are very naive about women and their intentions. Any woman that wants a man can seemingly become anything that man wants in order to get him to marry her. My brother has told me at his work that he hears and witnesses woman doing this all the time. They rationalize that once they get the man then they will 'work' on the differences. This is an obscene but sad state of affairs that does happen regularly I'm afraid. Don't get me wrong, because I know there are a lot of great women out there who are very nice and are nothing but themselves. Also, I'm sure there are plenty of men out there that will go along with anything to get a girl to marry him. I doubt it is anything less than equal in this regard, however men do tend to be less pretentious. WHen I was young I always preferred boys and young men to my girl friends and this was due to the fact that they were genuine, and had very fun things to talk about instead of talking about guys, make up, clothes, etc. Those things just didn't interest me, nor did gossiping. Unfortunately, too many girls thrive on cutting down other girls, looking like little whores, and being downright nasty. I believe my DIL is one of those nasty girls. When her friends gave her the bachelorette party, many of my sons friends girlfriends were invited to it. During the party where they were in Chicago and bar hopping, her friends ditched her and the girls that stayed were my son's friends girlfriends. What does this say about her? I also noticed over the past few years since they've been married, her very best friend who she has known since childhood suddenly wasn't in the picture any longer. I guess my DIL didn't need her around anymore. That's what I think my DIL does to the things she tires with playing with, she just casts them away unless she ever needs them for something selfish. This is not a nice girl, but she does a great acting job and no one unless you knew her better would ever be the wiser until they are spit on and slapped down by her wickedness. I know this sounds extreme, but this is no lie.

I would try to sit down with your parent's and have a calm rational discussion. Hear their side of it and don't just discount it as your parent's trying to screw up your wedding. There are a lot of emotions here, and everyone has their idea about what should be done. Personally I stayed out of the wedding plans big time, but I still got criticized for the people we were inviting to the wedding. They gave me so many people I could invite, & told me to go 10-15% over that amount for no shows. Yet when we did that, I received a call from my son asking me why I was inviting people he didn't know! These were first cousins of mine that I never get to see anymore except at weddings and funerals, but he just didn't get it (or should I say his wife?) I had to change my list and take a cousin off that was very kind to my father while he was alive. My son knew this too but it didn't matter. As far as I'm concerned you have a right to stand by your parents. Don't ever think that if your parent's don't like your wife that somehow that means you need to make a choice to never see your parents again. There is no reason that a child cannot remain on good terms with their parents simply because there is a personality conflict. As long as your parents are not verbally abusive to your wife, whether with or without her, then you can have both relationships. Too many girls make the guy choose either her or the parents, but not both. In this case I say ask her if she is willing to give up her relationship with her parent's forever!

Your very correct with the emails being hurtful, and I myself am guilting of sending an angry one to my son after a very explosive evening in October that lead to our estrangement. After not hearing from him for 5 days, waiting to at least hear an apology for something awful he said to me, I wrote a lnog letter spilling everything that had happened in the last 3.5 years. I know the letter was hurtful (the truth does hurt), however I hope he did not hang on to and continue to read it. You have to realize that people say things in anger and hurt that they wouldn't ordinarily say. In addition, computers just make it so damn easy to spew your thoughts and click the send button, and one cannot take it back.

I encourage you to dump those old emails and not continue to hurt yourself over things you know you mom didn't mean.
Dump the emails and if anything talk to your mom (and dad) about the hurtful things said. Consider seriously if they have any validity. You know, just because you are engaged to what is probably a wonderful girl, doesn't mean she is never wrong or at fault. What person do you know that doesn't get caught up in emotions some times? You and your fiancee are probably very tense now too, which makes things even worse.

Communication is the key, don't stop doing it! Resolve to accept people the way they are, and try to convince them to accept the same about you and your girlfriend. Forget and forgive, which is something I am working hard to do myself. I reached out to my son many times to resolve this, but he doesn't want this now. Perhaps I won't be ready when he is, though I can't imagine ever not wanting him in my life in some way, shape or form. We can accept his wife, he just can't accept his wife not liking us and has taken it to a level I thought he would be incapable of.

anniebal

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anniebal

Rookins81, please know that I have forgiven my son and want to reconcile with both of them. I have tried many times to let them know that I can put the past behind us, and accept them the way they are. I am willing to let by gones be by gones but I don't get any sign from him or them that this is what they want. It is not us who has offended here, though I'm not saying there isn't blame on both sides. However, you have to know that we bent over backwards to please for 3 years and then the straw broke the camels back. One can only handle being mistreated for so long, but even when we reached our limit, we still extended an olive branch to reconcile, end the rift, and start fresh. You are not talking about a normal girl here, and I know that this sounds extreme, but it isn't. Talk to anyone who knows someone either in an abusive relationship (not physical, emotional), or a narcissist. There is no dealing with these types of personalities, about the only thing one can do is either kiss their you know whats every time you see them, or get down on our hands and knees and kiss the ground they walk on. Take a minute and do a search on abusive relationship behavior and you will see what we are up against. They work subtly at degrading their spouse, eliminating any of his/her self esteem and making his/her afraid to get them upset. It isn't about us, it is about them, and there is little one can do to change that. Forgive and forget is all very fine to say, but picture your son someday meeting up with an abusive person like my DIL and your son completely forgetting who his mom and dad are. You have no power, you can plead, cry, and bend over backwards to change things and it just doesn't work. Your left standing with a broken heart and no way to repair it. I can only wait and hope that one day my son can see what has gone wrong and correct the situation. I don't have much confidence this will happen. He is completely brainwashed by her tactics and it is beyond painful to go through.

anniebal

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charliev

anniebal,
Thank you for your comments. It is very comforting to talk to someone else about my problems.
Just to answer a few of your questions. Yes I did have problems with my parents back in college but I didn't feel as if I were going down a path of estrangement like I am now. Ultimately maybe what has changed is that I have gotten older and feel more comfortable about speaking up against my parents. Previously I felt that even if I felt they were wrong they had enough power over me that I needed to do things their way. Also I am now living in the same city as my parents which may add to the conflict since we see each other much more frequently. Another issue is that my mother seems to be having more and more trouble with what I would characterize as an anxiety disorder. Lately it has gotten so bad she is afraid to drive or even go out walking. It seems that for many of these posters on the board mental illnesses are involved in some of the estrangements.
Specifically, about the wedding my fiancee and I wanted a small wedding that we planned ourselves. We initially thought by paying for everything ourselves we would be able to avoid unsolicited advice. Boy were we wrong. Of course my parents (and her parents too) were all about telling us how weddings are "typically done." Since the parents seemed so eager to be involved we allowed my parents to take over the rehersal dinner. But this compromise never seemed to be acknowledged by my mother and other compromises (such as allowing her to invite a few friends whom I do not even know to the wedding) seem to have gone unappreciated. Now my mother is trying to place additional constraints on what we viewed as our wedding. My financee, who before the wedding got along with my parents very well, has within the last day or two started saying she is sad that she will not ever have a good relationship with my mother and that my mother is ruining her wedding. I am left in the middle. I would like to continue compromising with my mother on additional issues, in the hopes that she will calm down and be happy at the wedding, but I also have to balance the fact my future wife is upset that she cannot have her wedding the way she wants. My parents meanwhile see it as only me causing the problem since my finacee says it is my responsibility to interact with my parents.
My father's anger largely stems from the fact that my discussions with my mother typically degenerate into irrational arguments and therefore he is left with an angry/upset wife to deal with anytime I come over. It seems to me that he is failing to recongize my mother's mental instabilities and if I bring it up it looks like I am trying to attack her to get my way.
Like some of the other posters this is starting to take a toll on the relationships between my extended family. My sister (who lives with my parents) for the most part tries to remain neutral, but typically sides with my mother since she hears her side of the story more often. My grandmother who was witness to the big blow up fight at Christmas now tells me that I don't show my love to my parents enough. I truely do love my parents and I have spent a great deal of time in the past few years helping them. I have also prided myself on the fact that I am much more self-sufficient than my sister and don't need their financial help. But at the same time I not only want my wedding a certain way but I want to live my life a certain way and I don't know how to do what I want in life without continuing to upset my parents. I do want to try to get some professional help for my mother but I am not sure how to even go about this given our strained relationship.

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imaginny

Charliey, You are trying to make everyone happy and it isn't working. Your fiance has a point. It is her wedding (and yours) and it makes sense to have it the way that you want to have it. It almost sounds like the more you are trying to "compromise" with your mother, the worse things are getting. It is your wedding, not your mother's or your father's. It isn't like you will later get a chance to make it the way you want it. It is now or never.

It is possible to say no and be civil about it. You are having serious problems with setting boundaries. It can be done in a reasonable way. There is no way that you are going to make everyone happy. In this case, since it is your wedding, your priority would be yourself and your fiance.

Your parents, despite your mother's anxiety problems, will survive your saying no to their ideas about how they think it "should" be. They are adults. You are treating them as though they are fragile and will break.

Weddings can be stressful events for a family. There is no getting around the fact that some are going to be unhappy with the plans for the wedding. But who would you rather be happy with the wedding? Them or you?

There is no need to estrange anyone. There is no need to have a meltdown. Maybe this is a testing ground for you to learn how to stand up to your parents politely and let them know what you need, what you want, and where the limits are in terms of what you are responsible for now and what they are responsible for. As lovingly as possible.

You can't take care of your own boundaries and make other people happy at the same time. Your parents will figure out that you are an adult now and that these are your decisions. You are creating more problems by trying to make everyone happy about the wedding plans when that is not possible. Who do you want to be happy about the wedding? I hope that the answer is you and your bride!

And congratulations on your marriage!

Remember that "no" is a complete sentence. Repeat as needed.

And as for your mother needing professional help, that sounds like a good idea but if she isn't ready to hear that advice from you, then you might need to let her come to that conclusion on her own.

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anniebal

Charliev, first off let me state that having anxiety problems is not a mental illness. Many, many people suffer from anxiety, and some like your mom start not wanting to venture out of the home due to the fear that they will have a panic attack. Usually these fears are unfounded, but it is hard to convince them that it is just a sensation they are experiencing and that no one else knows what's going on. People in these situations feel like they are going to die, and then the fear just starts snowballing.

I think a mistake you made was inviting the parent's to get involved with your plans. How is are your fiancee's parent's behaving? Are they involved, and is it being more tolerated by your fiancee because that is her parent's? One is very tolerant of their own family, especially women. Many women I know want the man to give up almost everything to please them, disregarding any relationship their soont o be husband had with his own parents. Don't let your parent's become scapegoats. Your fiancee may see them as outsiders since she isn't close to them, but what she has to realize is that these are your parents and you love them just like she loves her.

If your parents to give you a wedding list then you should be content with whomever they wish to invite, it is their list. If you didn't want to give them the choice, then you should have told them that you and your soon to be wife would be controlling who was coming to the wedding. In that case however, both families would have to relinquish that control, not just yours.

You state your letting your parent's plan the rehearsal dinner, but according to wedding etiquette, it is the grooms parents job to do the task you mention. If they are paying for the rehearsal dinner then it is their decision as to how they want it to be. You may ask to have some input, but it is they who should be sending the invitations or calling people, them who should be picking the facility to hold it at, and them determining what will be served, the date, & the time of. Of course they should consult with you for the list of bridesmaids and groomsmen that will be attending, as well as her parents, siblings, etc. that will be invited.

Have you ever considered taking your sister's advice as to what she thinks would help the situation calm down? Perhaps since she still lives at home she would be able to help you out with some tips for handling your parents? Maybe she could even help calm your parent's down if you were able to get her to understand your point of view.

Are your parent's telling you to live your life too? If this is the case just smile and go a head and do whatever you really want to do anyway. I just don't get some of the young one's and how they deal with their parents now. When we were young and getting married, we also had many tensions getting adjusted to each others families. However, we never thought of alienating ourselves from our families over these issues. Many, many times we would just smile and agree and then go home and do it the way we wanted to do it from the start. Parent's like to give advice, but you don't have to be ungratious about it. Like I stated, smile and say thanks for their input and then go and do it the way you think you should.

I wouldn't get too hung up on your parent's wanting to be involved, this is typical behavior. Some times one has to grit their teeth and bear it since it isn't worth alienating yourself from the parents who love you over pre-wedding tension. Most of these tensions go away once the big event is over.

Anniebal

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charliev

I realize planning a wedding is stressful for everyone. But my parents behavior is becoming intolerable. We did not give them a number of invites to the wedding, rather my fiancee and I made our own list. My mother threw fit after fit about how she would have no one at the wedding she knew (we have a smaller family than my finacee), and we caved in and agreed to invite 3 personal friends of hers, none of which are even remotely close to me (my financee's mother got no control over the invites). I have tried to keep the converstations about the wedding very rational but they typically degenerate into an argument very quickly. My mother and father keep stating that while it is noble to try to make the wedding about me and my fiancee that in actuality it can't happen that way. Yes there have been disagreements with my fiancee's mother (she wanted to have the wedding in her church and we were uncomfortable with the church's particular religious denomination). Although perhaps her parents have been hurt or upset by our decisions they have not behaved like children and screamed and yelled, used profanity, and threated physical violence like my parents have. So while I can see in hindsight that I should have not given in on certain issues, intially I thought if I just gave in a little things would be more harmonious. Now I am reminded of that saying "if you give an inch..."
While it may seem that our issues are common to all wedding planning, I don't feel my parents behavior is normal or acceptable. When they try to argue with me in such a hostile way about a decision my fiancee and I have made I am left thinking that eventually I will have to scale back my relationship with them for my own sanity.
Anniebal, I have to disagree with your characterization of anxiety as not a mental illness. I do think that in my mother's case she does have such serious anxiety that it could be characterized as a mental disorder. Also frequently people with anxiety also suffer from depression, so often there is more going on then just worry. I strongly feel that my mother's irrational behavior stems from something she cannot control on her own.

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imaginny

Charliey, Screaming, yelling, and using profanity is unacceptable. If I were in a situation where someone, anyone, did that, then I'd have to end the discussion there and let them know that I would not discuss anything under those conditions. Then I'd ask them to let me know when they would be able to discuss things in a civil manner and I'd end the discussion. Assuming that I wanted to let them continue to discuss the matter with me.

Some decisions are not up for debate. Sometimes we can open ourselves up to problems by letting others discuss things with us when we already know what we want to do. Some things don't have to be up for discussion.

Maybe it makes sense to say, "I love you guys. But this is our decision. Thank you for all your concern and help. We will be okay. We want to do it this way. I need to go and take care of some things now. I'll talk to you later . . . about anything else but this." :-)

And also, "I can't discuss anything with you when you are screaming, yelling and threatening me. I love you but I can't discuss anything under these conditions. I hope you call me later when you calm down and can discuss things in a reasonable manner."

Your mother seems concerned about appearances. This may be a problem she has. You've known her for your whole lifetime so you can look back and see how much of an issue this is for her. This might explain some of her feelings and actions about the wedding.

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rookins81

Charlie,

Your situation sounds very similar to what my DH and I went through with his parents over 7 years ago. My MIL wanted a huge wedding to show off...it became obvious very quickly that was her desire. She even made appointments at the "Country Club" for us to meet with the event person in our town without asking us. She then told my parents at dinner one night that "this wedding is going to cost you guys".... but my DH and I did not want a huge wedding and planned to pay for most of it ourselves (and my folks gave us money). Things got very ugly very fast to where my MIL would not speak to my husband or me when I was at their house...she wanted it her way and that was that. Honestly my husband and I wanted to get married on the beach in California..just him and I then come back home and throw a reception for everyone to celebrate. That is more our style. My MIL had a complete fit when she found out that we were considering this option.

So... we ended up having a small wedding which DH and I planned ourselves..my parents wanted to chip in money which we were grateful for and we ended up letting MIL handle the flowers and reception. We ended up just talking to her about it and things calmed down. Once we let her have some involvement she was happy and backed off. Now looking back I am thankful for the things she DID do for us..the flowers were beautiful and the little touches she had at the reception were very nice.

My advice.... sit down with your mom and dad and your fiance. Talk to your fiance before hand and decide what you want to address with them. Remain civil and non-defensive. Be sure to highlight the good intentions they have and say thank you. Express how this is causing so much stress and you do not want things to be this way. Tell them in a nice way that this is your wedding and you have your own idea of how you want it to be..it is your special day. If you decide to let them be involved in part of it then tell them what it is they can do to help and be involved and what parts are up to only the two of you.

Resolve this now...before it gets out of hand and the hurt feelings last beyond the wedding day. Clear the air.

Good luck!

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njtea

I know this is a topic that is very serious to Charlie, but I must say that it has given me a good laugh as I remember the grief my MIL gave us when my now-ex and I married. At least once a week she threatened not to come to the wedding.

Then, when our son, her grandson, and his now-wife were planning their wedding, she did the same thing. His father and I were still married at the time and living on the opposite coast, so we weren't here to have a lot of input - but the grandma sure did.

I recall that the only time I ever stood up to her was the day before the wedding when there was an argument over when the cake (which she made) was going to be decorated. She wanted to put it off saying "it's my cake and I'll decorate it when I want to decorate it." I told her that it was our son and future DIL's wedding and she WOULD decorate it when they wanted it done. She then threatened not to come to the wedding and I said: "Good, stay home." No one had ever spoken to her like that before - she was stunned, but she decorated the cake and came to the wedding!

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anniebal

Charliev, I don't disagree with you at all regarding depression and anxiety going hand in hand. In fact, they are so unsure about what causes what that they many, many times they treat both conditions. However, even if your mom is severely depressed and anxious this is still not a mental illness. Anxiety & Depression are behavioural conditions, and there is a BIG difference. Mental illnesses are clinical conditions which have a biological basis. Imagine that all the people in this country who are either depressed, anxious or both would be referred as being mentally ill. WOW, now that would mean about half our country. Your mom could have a personality disorder also, again, it is a disorder not a mental illness.

This being said however, I'm not diminishing the severity her problems may be having on your wedding plans, and life in gneral for you right now. I have to agree with imaginny's advice. Screaming, yelling, etc. is not acceptable behavior. You just need to set some boundaries as someone else suggested. When your parent's exceed the limits of those boundaries then you simply explain that you are not discussing until they can be rational again.

Perhaps giving your parent's an inch was too much for them to handle, but again, I think the boundaries are key to getting along.

annibal

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imaginny

anniebal. Actually, my understanding of clinical depression is that it IS biologically based and that it is considered a mental illness. There are varying degrees of severity.

My mother has Borderline Personality Disorder and she most definitely is mentally ill. I have read that a good percentage of patients who seek treatment from professionals suffer from Borderline Personality Disorder.

I recall that the man who tried to kill President Reagan suffered from Narcissistic Personality Disorder (and perhaps other disorders too) and that he has been in treatment in a mental health facility for years.

Mental illnesses aren't rare. I think it's part of being human that sometimes we have problems with our brains. I've suffered from clinical depression. When the estrangement from my daughter began, that loss triggered a clinical depression for which I took medication for several years. So thus I have had my own problems with a mental illness too but the fact that I have had a mental illness doesn't mean that I am always ill. It is like having a cold. It can be treated and it can go away. But some mental illnesses are particularly nasty and don't respond well to treatment.

Ginny

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rookins81

I worked for a psychologist for several years while I was in college and learned quite a bit. Anxiety disorder, clinical depression and personality disorders are ALL a form of mental illness. They can all have different levels of severity but are definately considered mental illnesses by the medical community. So Ginny and Charlie I have to agree with you completely. Of course people can be treated through therapy, medication, or both and come out of these conditions...thus not forever remaining mentally ill.

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anniebal

I'm sorry, I guess I'm taking this more personal than I should but just do a search on the internet and you will find your answer regarding anxiety and depression being behavior problems. You may find them under mental illness, but that doesn't mean they would be classified as a true mental illness.

My mother suffered from a mental illness from the time I was 8 years old, so I'm very familiar with what constitutes a mental illness. There is a big difference between mental illness and mental health. In addition, anxiety, depression, & bi-polar are considered medical conditions since they are treatable with medication. A mental illness is diabling, it is not a behavior problem, it is much bigger than behavior. Hallucinating, hearing voices, withdrawal, regression, is Schizophrenia which is what my mother suffered from. Yes, they are all caused by imbalances in the brain, however some are treatable and some are not. When one suffers from mental illness they very often are not able to function in society, this is rarely the case for behavior disorders. Behavior disorders may be debiliating, but most often they are treatable with either medication, psycho therapy or both. A person with behavior disorders can function in society.

I took a 12 week course from our county health department that taught me about mental illness since I wanted to understand just what happened to my mom. Not only did it cover Schizophrenia, it covered other types of mental illness as well. The mental illnesses they covered were serious medical conditions that even when treated leaves the person unable to function alone completely.

I believe your mistaken as well that they can always come out of the condition. My mother came partially out of it, but never completely. There are severe forms of mental illness that may be treated but the people are not functional since they are so drugged up. This never changes unfortunately.

I believe my interpretation is correct, but if you want to classify it as a mental illness to be either depressed or anxious than so be it, I just don't agree with you and I am slightly educated in the area.

annibal

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amyfiddler

This looks like semantics to me.

I too am educated, so here's my input. Anything in the DSM is considered a mental "illness", in that it is a diagnosis necessary for classification and for insurance requirements.

There are obviously different levels of severity of anxiety etc - and though few of us would describe aunt edna who gets along well socially except for the fact that she chews her fingernails to deal with her internal anxiety and doesn't sleep well at night as mentally ill - but her anxiety whether it ever gets diagnosed, treated or not, is the same exact thing that cousin Sue is being medicated and treated for once a week in therapy, and has a diagnosis from the DSM written in her chart for. She has a problem, or a mental health issue, or an illness which is mental. Semantics.

In common language, however, if one refers to a person as 'mentally ill' unless we say it disparagingly as a joke, most of us assume that means a debilitating condition where anyone looking in could recognize severe problems.

So everyone is right. People can learn to cope with their mental challenges, and live functioning lives. People can also suffer their entire lives - it depends on the situation. Some people refuse medication, some refuse treatment, some never get adequate of either - and they suffer as do those around them.

We are all deficient some way or another - I have yet to meet someone totally, completely, mentally healthy. That goes for myself as well - Of course, the term 'mentally ill' connotates a negative image, so no one wants to be referred to as such - so we seldom use such a frame. However, to be sure, depression, anxiety, adjustment disorder, schizophrenia, all and everything diagnoseable, is a mental "illness" - once again, it's semantics.

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finedreams

anxiety and depression is mental illness, just not as severe. We don't look at it as illness because it is managable with medication but officially it is illness.

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glorygirl

Hello, I haven't been here for some time. Quite frankly, I am very very hurt right now and just need to "vent". I hope you don't mind, but I know this will be long.

I've stopped in about once a week only to read the new postings once in awhile. It's interesting to see the young(er) adults posting now about problems with horrible parents like Charliev's. So many families torn out there and I've been too biased, or too stuck in my own little world where the grown kids are horroble, to realize that there are parents who cause their kids grief like that. It is such a shame. I feel like starting a "Foster Club" where we can all adopt eachother and get what we need.

I'm not perfect. Never claimed to be. But I do know right from wrong. I understand the words and actions that cause pain. I am just as capable as any other human being, of causing pain; either intentional or not. But I can honestly say that I was the very best mother I could possibly be and the grace of God helped me be better than I'd even imagined. I loved them always. Never controlled for controlling's sake, only the very few times I felt their own choices (drugs etc.) would harm them. Just as I pulled them out of the street, at age 2 or 3 when they went running into it and I could see the car coming that they failed to notice.

I never abused them. Never. I protected them from harm, except that I lost that battle for awhile when their father kidnapped 2 of the 3 and abused them horribly for over 4 yrs. Each time I found and contacted them again, ther dad took off again and I had to start over. It took a lot of LOVE, sacrafice and $ etc. to keep working overtime even while sick to keep locating them each time he moved them again... I got them out, but not unscathed. The boys hadn't been to school for over 4 yrs., had head and body lice and were manlnourished with PTSD, Major Depression... They'd become violent to me. I held them, fed them, cried with and for them, nurtured, taught, talked, lived the example of Love.

My oldest son has had disabilities since birth. I spent much time meeting all of his many special needs, and never grudgingly. My only daughter, middle child, had gotten invollved in drugs for awhile and was extremely depressed in her early teens. She had been molested and I had no power to keep it from happening. Only to make it stop and have the man put in jail. She hated me for that and for all that the boys put her through those years. I left 2 abusive husbands, their dad and another man and I told her and taught her that women should not and do not have tolerate abuse. The 1st thing she did was run off with a very controlling and physically violent "man". She ran to me several times for refuge and I doctored her beaten body, took her to counseling and set her up with a women's center for resources to get out safely. I helped and supported her in becoming a pharmacy assistant. She just kept going back and then 'turned' on me at his insistence. He then made her lose her career and had totally brainwashed her.

My youngest son was born with brains. He's genuis IQ and though he was 4 yrs. behind grade level when I got him back from his father's and the school told me his testng shows he'd always be behind and need special education classes due (also) his emotional disturbance, I saw his potential. I worked w/ him every day and caught him up 6 grade levels in just under 3 yrs. so that he was ahead. He graduated HS with college credits and an Engeneering Degree in Computer Programming. He went directly into the Navy and is a Nuclear Engineer, Submariner and high ranking ofcr.

Though we were very close when he was young, he became increasingly secretive and cold to me beginning in his teen yrs. Once in the Navy, we kept fairly regular and 'more intimate' rather than the elusive teen he was and so I thought he was growing out of it. I was wrong. He just became so full of himself over these last 5 yrs. and began much verbal and cruel psycho. abuse. I did not "allow" or tolerate it. I called him on it all the time and let him know in very certain terms I wasn't going to be treated by him in that manner. He then contacted his estranged FATHER and within only 2 wks. my son was telling me that ~I~ was/am a horrible parent! ...That he believes his father on all accounts of his totally fabricated lies.

How? I'd like to know how? My son knows me. He KNOWS I've NEVER "done drugs" as his father did 24/7, but he started saying he truly believed that his dad never did anything wrong and that I was/am "the bad parent"!!! His dad never paid a dime in child support, but believes him when he says "I sent the check" and sends the msg. thru father "He'd like to know what you did with it". I offered to show court documetns proving all accusations false. My son LAUGHED and declined. He kept verbally absusing me with "You're stupid, a B****" etc. on the phone. Also told me that he "doesn't blame (father) for all the times he beat (me)" and in fact that ~I~ am "in the wrong" BECAUSE I RAN TO A NEIGHBOR'S HOUSE FOR MEDICAL HELP AND SAFETY after his dad beat me sensless when I was 7 mos. pregnant. (I lost the baby from the beating also).

The facts did not matter to my son. He sees it the way he does and also believes that his father has "completely changed now and gotten off drugs". That's great. Really, I'd suggest that for anyone and I'm so glad for my son's sake. But how does this suddenly mean that facts of the past are now fiction. None of it ever happened? I was the abusive one?

Finally, my youngest is engaged. (even prior to hooking up with his father out of the blue) I was so very happy. She seems to be a very nice young woman. I hadn't met her in person yet and my son was to bring her out for Christmas, but the months leading up to the visit were a quickly snowballing hell. He wouldn't stop. The unbelievably cruel abuse wouldn't stop and to top it off, one final straw...

One day his grandmther and I were talking and found out that virtually the only reason we (his G-Ma & I) stopped talking some years ago was because my SON WAS INTENTIONALLY LYING TO EACH OF US (about eachother; "she said/did.. but don't tell her I told you") WITH THE SINGLE GOAL OF DESTROYING our relationship and to get both of us to each focus on him and his needs and wants. He'd get $ or whatever from her, then come to me and say he was broke and needed $ The lies escalated from there to... Conspiracies he created were so complicated only a genuis could possibly destroy ther family so deeply for so long. Just shocking stuff. He worked hard to and really enoyed causing others to look bad so he looks better. He lost ALL of his many friends like that within last 2 yrs. of HS.

When I (and his G-Ma) found these things out, there were witnesses and they also told many other things. This was right b4 Christmas! (I'd wondered why he kept asking me how G-Ma & I were getting along and whether she'd be here to meet his fiance @ Holiday. I kept saying "Why would you ask, of course she'll be here")

Once this "final straw" came, his G-Ma told me she's NOT going to see him for Christams. When I called to tell him that, without telling him 'why', nor did he ask "why?". He had NO COMMENT b/c he KNEW he'd been found out. I was angry with this final blow also and, especially inlight of how the verbal/mental abuse had escalated so much over the last few months... I had to decide if I could handle his visit. Besides the obvious, I also have serious medical illness and this alone was taking a toll. I didn't know if I'd be able to cope w/it in person for 10 days without ending in hospital.

I decided to 'confront' him about the new revelation, how he'd torn his family apart on purpose and pitted us against eachother with the lies behind our backs. ***What I WANTED was an admission, true repentance, sincere apology and mutual agreement to try to work our relationship out in spite of it all. I needed to know he wasn't coming here for some 'final blow' plot. So I called him.

He was obviously expecting the call. All I could say was, "(name)- G'MA and I were talking and I have few ?'s to ask you." He screamed, "What!? Are you saying you don't want me out there for Christmas?! What are you saying exactly?!" I tried again to speak; "Well, I just think we need to talk before..." I couldn't finish the sentence. Somehow he knew we'd found out these things. Instead of an apology and some respect he immed. began screaming and cussing at me and blaming me for 'Not wanting to meet (his) fiance!' and "Well F*** YOU then! That's just fine I will ler her know! F**** YOU!!! I'LL NEVER SPEAK WITH YOU AS LONG AS I LIVE!". That was it.

I cried 'til no more tears could come. After Christmas, since my son refused to give me his e-mail and I have no way to write him where he's stationed, I e-mailed his fiance. She and I had e-mailed numerous x's since we met on the phone. I told her how much his G-Ma & I were looking forward to mtg. her and how we cried on Christmas day, unable to open gifts until very late at night b/c of our pain and grief. I told her how that I thought to just mail their gifts, but his G-Ma had taken my son's back already and so I was going to at least mail hers. (None of this was HER fault!) But then my mother said, "No, then he will jst be even more angry that we did that"... And told her that's when I realized she/his G-Ma was right b/c it's always about him... That we'd been "walking on egg shells with him for many yrs. now and how depressed it made me feel. I asked her to please let my son know that all I wanted to do was try to clear the air before they came, that I expected (or ata least hoped) he'd be man enough to admit what he'd been doing is wrong and abusive and to simply apologize so we could have a great Holiday and try to begin fixing the relationships... And how he responded when I tried.

In the letter, I begged for my son to please explain or at least apaologize so we can mend. I told of our PAIN and asked her to please forward it to him. I had to explain b/c I knew he'd said I "didn't want to meet her"... I didn't hear back. It hurts so much to wait for a child you've given your life for to call.

Last week, my oldest son w/disabilities called his younger brother and asked why he hadn't come for Christmas. I hadn't asked him to make the call. He was upset b/c his brother has refused to see him since he went into military many yrs. ago. He was very hurt also and told me the 1st thing his brother said was, "Why are you calling me?!" and continued to speak to him that way. He said, "I'll never speak to mom or you again. Or G-Ma- You're ALL messed up! Mom started a bunch of sh*t btwn. me and my fiance when she e-mailed that letter. She told 'lies' in there and I had to convince her that I've never been abusive to any woman before and that Mom had told us we could't come because she doesn't want to meet Amanda and Mom's got serious mental problems. Now she understands that, so she won't be talking to Mom anymore and she's not answering any letters and neither am I!"

His brother asked, "Well will you at least talk to me sometimes on the phone?" He answered, "Not until or unless you're no longer living with Mom". (Again, he never spoke w/his brother anyway and has treated him inhumane for having disabilities but NOW it is MY fault.)

He also said he took his fiance to meet his abusive father and his family instead. It's clear he did this not only to hurt me. He did it so she would be listening to the big crap of lies that her fiance's father (who's been completely estranged from him for 2 decades until recently) would certainly be telling about me... To discredit me and cooberate my son's stories.

I wnet to son's website today. He's into photography and had many pics on his main page of "MY FATHER", "MY FATHER'S FAMILY" and all of them standing together smiling with his new fiance. (THEY/EX'S FAMILY had not seen my kids since they were very young) HE ALSO REMOVED ALL PICS OF HIS FIANCE!!!

I've been used, abused, lied on and then disposed of... And ~IN EXCHANGE FOR~ that! People who abused and never cared about him or any of us even though they know the truth 1st hand of my ex's actions and character.

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glorygirl

***SO SINCERELY SORRY CHARLIEV... I TRULY DID NOT MEAN IT TO "COME OUT" LIKE THAT. I'm just a wreck right now and had NO intention of any insult or injury. Please forgive. This "is not me", I mean the me I usually am. Just having difficult time. Thank you and I will keep you in my prayers.

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jankin

Glorygirl
I can really feel your hurt - it hurts so much - a pain like reverse childbirth - when your child extranges himself/or in my case herself - see above.
I though I was going to get over it better than I am doing - I wasn't a perfect parent - my husband worked away a lot of the time and I had to do a lot of rearing on my own - I've been over this with my kids - - all now in their 40s seeon to be 50s - thought they knew from their own experience that it is a HARD job - we all forgave and hugged and loved - at least I thought we did but for my middle girl - what is so painful is that we were never told why she suddenly estranged herself - we'd been looking after her son and her daughter on and off for years while she was with her new husband who didn't like the children. - She had also come to stay to get away from him. But they upped and l;eft for his home country in the Med. in August - all her financial assets pensions etc went with him - the boy of 16 stayed with us. He was very unhappy about his Mum leaving - when she came back at Christmas to see him she knew that he was unhappy and that he needed her - perhaps she felt backed into a corner but there were no ultimatums - just that he eally needed her - his grades in school were very poor and he'd taken to lay in bed all day.
Although we havent seen her or the children since Boxing day we now know that she has been living close to us and that the boy is now settled somewhere in (we hope) appropriate accommodation - no-one will communicate with us - infor from other 2 daughters - that means that we should be able to have some closure - if the boy is OK - BUT we are both in our 70s not very good health and to realise that your own daughter will not care whether you are alive or dead is very very hard.
Still trying to get over it - every possible channel of communication is filled with our love for her and the children regardless - BUT it HURTS.

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anniebal

Glorygirl, I read your post with such sadness. I can feel your pain all too well I'm afraid. My son met a girl who has brainwashed him against us. She took any negatives he had in his personality and caused them to explode!

One just has to wonder what happens to their minds to change so deeply? I hear you saying that your son knew you, and that is something I could hear myself saying to my son.

We have to accept the fact that we were good parents and did nothing that would have purposefully hurt them. Any slights that happened were inconsequential compared to the overwhelmingly positive experiences of love, support, & guidance we showed them. I feel that my son is delusional now in his thinking. It's like your son who has told all those lies and now probably believes them. Your son's fiancee only has him to believe since she doesn't know you. I'm sure over time she may find out that he is lying and that may destroy their relationship. It also sounds like your son may have some of the same character traits as your ex husband, or his father? Unfortunately even bad things are inherited.

I feel my own son can't admit to seeing what his wife is and does without having to deal with the problem it would create for him afterwards. He doesn't want or can't admit who she is and what she is capable of doing. Instead, he would rather live a lie then admit he made a mistake. We'll just see how happy he can live his life, which I don't give much hope for. My son was always very determined, and didn't like being wrong. He has always had a hard time apologizing, and would anger very easily. The punishment never fit the crime.

Your son sounds so abusive to me that even though it hurts, you are probably much better off without him. He will continue to hurt you even if you do make up. His demands will never cease, and the only way you'll get along is to go along with his lies. You would undoubtably end up groveling to keep him happy, if that's possible at all.

I know you probably know what I say is true, just as I know it is true about my son. However, knowing it and accepting it are two separate things. It's hard to accept that we were once a family who loved each other very much, and have now come to this. There are days that I wonder if I'll ever see him or talk to him again? Life is short, and none of us know when are time will be up. I would just like the chance to chit chat with him even if it's meaningless to him. Some sort of connection is all I want, but he is controlling the situation now, not me. I've never been the one controlling things, it has always been him. Now he has the perfect cunning manipulative wife who is a genuis at control. She knows just what to do to fool people into believing she is this sweet caring person. It's absolutely sickening, but I feel sooner or later others will find out too. She already lacks any friends that she grew up with, and in fact, all her friends are people my son knows. I wonder how long they will be able to put up with her pretense? Soon I feel my son will have no one, but he will have no one to blame but himself either.

anniebal

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glorygirl

Thank you for your support Jankin and Anniebal. I would've been back on here sooner, but MY ESTRANGED SON CRASHED OUR COMPUTER (from thousands of miles away) IMMEDIATELY AFTER I MADE THE POST. So I wasn't able to get back on here until today.

Not sure if he did it in retaliation for the letter I wrote his fiance 2 months back or if he was monitoring me and read this post I made here on this board. It did happen the within hours of making the post here.

Actually it was his grandmother's computer 1st but it had problems when he moved in here and he offered to fix the glitches and also (on his own insistence) he added so much that he essentially built a new one from the ground up. That was for his own use and benefit. He's genius IQ and highly gifted in computer tech. So he built and revamped it with license in his name etc.

Last few yrs. of HS, he was the (only) District computer tech. for his school district. He also did this job all over town after school and about 8 to 10 boys came over in afternoons to take lessons from him and play games.

Although my mother (his G'Ma) paid for all the parts, He kept telling us that this was HIS b/c he built it. Of course he had the info. he needed to "spy", alter and finally crash it. We had to pay a great price to get new parts and have it rebuilt. We had extra security put on now and he doesn't have the IP address etc. This is just a small part of the price I've paid for LOVING my son.

Yes Jankin, it HURTS! It hurts worse than if he'd died. I can understand death. It's part of life and it's not the loved one's fault. It's not something they're doing to you. You don't have to search yourself and ask, "What did I do to cause him/her to make that choice?" b/c it's not a choice. You don't wait for the phone to ring b/c you know it's not going to be your son or daughter when it does. It's horrible pain and I wonder how many of us are out there. Is this the only site there is for a forum? If so, why arent't there even more posts. Are we just the "weak" ones that don't deal with it as well?

You are in your 70's and I can't imagine how you deal with this. I would call it "Elder Abuse"! My mother, nearly 70 calls it, "Alienation of Affection" and a "form of abuse". I'm not elderly but am (very) ill. It affects my medical issues horribly right now. I guess we just have to find our own way of coping. The pain can get so bad that it can wreak havock if we let it. I am a Christian and I rely on my relationship with the Lord and pray in the Holy Spirit daily. I remind myself that I've been through worse, much worse, and He always saw me through. There is another "side" where we can come out victoriously and go on with life. I have to find the way. I refuse to let this keep me down. But it is so severe, in some cases, I can imagine that it could lead to disasterous effects.

Anniebal... I do understand that this issue with the girlfriends/fiance's/wives poisoning our sons against us (or the other way around, the boyfriends/husband... our daughters against us. For me, that is (a little) easier to handle. That happened with my daughter. But here, my son was becoming more and more disrespectful and "distant" even before he found this girl. I feel she is the innocent (and igorant of the facts) bystander. In fact she is quite ignorant by nature, not just of this one issue-my son and his lies. I feel sorry for her and even worry about her as time goes by.

Your comment, "We have to accept the fact that we were good parents and did nothing that would have purposefully hurt them. Any slights that happened were inconsequential compared to the overwhelmingly positive experiences of love, support, & guidance we showed them." is something I truly needed to hear. I agree with you whole-heartedly. In fact, I'm going to write it down and post it in a prominent place to remind myself daily.

Also, you are right- He is abusive. I refuse to go along with his lies and "grovel". I will not apologize for it either.

Again, thank you both for your support and encouragement! You are all in my prayers.

PS- ANY BOOKS THAT ANYONE KNOWS OF ON THE TOPIC?
THANKS, GLORY

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jankin

Anniebel and Glorygirl

Thank you - both of you - I am managing pretty well most of time = my other daughters very supportive - this daughter has done this before on a lesser scale also on an issue to do with her husband who has been drip drip dripping away at her the family every since we welcomed him into it! All her friends - think she has been brainwashed by him mainly to get at her financial assets that he now has. He did tell me before they left for Turkey that if we did anything he didn't like he would 'destroy (our) family1. The thing that he has not l;iked is that her son of 16 needed her here and she has had to come back for a while - she is living locally but we have never seen her and her son who we looked after for so many years is also ignoring us - we were asked to intervene so many times to prevent violence between him and her husband - perhaps the boy - who has suffered psychologically is cutting himself off because he cant take any more - at least she is with him now.
I am determined that this will not make us ill - I will not let the family be 'destroyed' - I dont have such a strong as you Glorygirl but I do believe in prayer and asking for God's help.
I do follow some advice and occasionally send email or text simply telling her I love her - and I shall continue to do so - she will be 47 this year.
I thinkl she is bginnign to realise that she is trapped ina relationship with a man who doesn;t love her (he told me that she was only his 'best friend' that his one true love was his first wife - he used to whisper these little 'truths in my ears over the years - andI never told her as I din't want to hurt her. She now has no asssets whatsoever in this country - 2 houses and all the money in Turkey and belonging to her husband under Turkish law. Who else can she hurt but us?
It is so good to be in touch with you both
Thank you again
Jan

I expect you have seen the article below,

* Don't ever close the door. Even if the other person is unresponsive, send cards, gifts, e-mails whatever.
* "One person has to have enough courage and love to initiate contact," says LeBey. Being that person is incredibly difficult, but you can do it! (I know. I was that person in my family.)
* Once you begin communicating again, resist the impulse to rehash every detail of the situation that precipitated the estrangement. (This runs counter to what you might think, but trust me, she's absolutely right on this. Often there are so many currents that contribute to a break that the parties involved can't honestly say, "This was it." Why go over the broken ground and add more fuel to a fire that's died out. Move on.)
* Realize that "the aim cannot be to restore the relationship to that place where it was before, because the breach has changed it permanently."
* You must a premium on staying in touch with family members. When a break occurs, you lose a sense of who you are. The pain of estrangement cannot be underestimated. As LeBey says, "Not to be in contact with your parents or with your children is a profound loss because our families are so deeply bound to the sense of who we are in this enormous, chaotic world."

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anniebal

Glorygirl and Jankin, just some comments on your posts. First off Glorygirl, I'm so glad to hear someone else say that this hurts worse than if he had died. This is how I feel, and only after reading the book Healing from Family Rifts by Mark Sichel did I really realize that this is true. Sichel stated just what you said Glorygirl, that when someone dies it is 99.9% never a choice. However, when a person decides to never see us again, it is a choice and it is all their own. This hurts more than I know how to deal with. Every time I take a step forward, it seems I take 2 back! I know I'm better then I was, but I just can't get over my son's cold heart now. My youngest son went to his brothers for the Superbowl and stayed after everyone had left to talk to my son alone. He asked his brother how long this was going to go on. Of course he got a ridiculous answer of 6 months. Who knows how long they are going to stay not talking to someone? My younger son really told him that just because his wife and mom & dad don't get along, that that is not a reason that he can't at least stay in contact with us. My oldest son had told him that he and his wife are not emotionally ready yet! My youngest son then asked him what does your wife have to do with it, it's your parents! My younger son did a great job of talking to him, but told me afterwards not to count on it having done any good. I've learned to not count on anything anymore. I haven't heard my sons voice since Thanksgiving. When I reached out to him and left him a voice mail, I got an email back. It's as if he doesn't want to hear out voices, perhaps out of fear that he may miss us if he hears us? Maybe I'm just being optomistic there. His wife is an evil girl with nothing but control, divide, conquer on her mind. My son is brainwashed beyond belief. My husband and I are so hurt that I'm afraid that if/when my son ever does want to speak to us again that we will be cool to his request. I know I will never trust him again, never let myself be too close. The times when we were so close are gone forever and it is so painful. I'm trying so hard to move on but it truly is the hardest thing I've ever gone through. It's impossible to believe that your child that you knew and loved could ever do this to you.

Jankin, I can't get over what your daughter's husband used to say to you regarding his first wife. I also can't believe that he told you he would destroy your family if you didn't anything he didn't like. Wow, it sounds like he poisoned your daughter very effectively, and also sounds like quite a whacko himself.

I agree with no closing the door, but I don't know how long I can keep sending a card to someone who doesn't respond in any way, shpae or form. I'm tired of being the one who reaches out with no response whatsoever. I don't know this boy anymore, it's as if he isn't my son. I know I didn't raise him to be like this, ever!

I've also read that once we are back on speaking terms to not re-hash anything, to just start fresh. We tried doing that once before the real estrangement came into play. Yet afterwards we heard of all the issues my son still had with us. These were things we'd never heard before he met this girl of his.

I also know we will never have the relationship we had before, and most of the reason is I believe, that we won't trust our son ever again with our intimate feelings.

The rest of the family is frustrating for us since no one has ever said a word to my son about what is going on. I can't believe my husband and I wouldn't attempt to talk to one of our nieces or nephews if they hurt either on or both of their parents in a similar fashion. As far as my son is concerned, he is right, and has seen or heard nothing to the contrary. It's as if the entire family is enabling his bad behavior.

Anyway, thanks for that article with some tips. Right now I don't see us re-uniting for a very long time.

anniebal

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jankin

anniebal
You say -It's impossible to believe that your child that you knew and loved could ever do this to you.- and I agree it is this incredulity that makes one's head and heart spin.
We've never had an explanation as to why she went so suddenly - the last time we spoke was Ok - 2 days later she came here - we were out - took all her things - her son - the lovely little 3 years old as well - told my other daughter she was finished with us and that was that! Perhaps I'll never know - anyway we just have to come to terms with it.
I find the worst times are when I wake up think everythings OK usually after a dream of reconciliation - and then the toxic rumination starts.

You know I think that these alienators are using their nearest and dearests as 'reasons' for their own failures - they just cant and wont grow up and take responsibility for their own actions. They will not accept they we are 'human' just as they are - for them we are the scapegoats for their own often dire mistakes.
There are parents out there who have not been at all 'good' parents in the accepted sense - but they still have very close family ties with their offspring - so we must stop examining ourselves and even if we cant do it in person tell these ''kids' to GROW UP'
That's what I think when I'm thinking rationally
Best wishes
jan

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glorygirl

"The Effect of Society, Times and Ages OR Individual Temperment and Choices?"- Why are they so messed up?

I don't have anything to "say" today. I came here out of compulsion to read the threads, even ones I've read already. It's quite simply the pain that I think no one else can comprehend and though you're not 'here' with me in person, I'm feeling a bond just by stting here reading your words.

If it were the 1800's and our son's were off to war, it would hurt just as bad, but we wouldn't feel rejected on top of it. If our daughter's had gone galavanting off with her new husband in the day of no telephones, I would feel little loss. If I were in that day and age, even if my children cursed me to my face and took off and never reappeared, I still wouldn't feel this grief. I would just imagine that something happened and they couldn't contact me. But today, I cannot live this fantasy.

I don't know, maybe I can if I try hard enough! No, I don't think that would be healthy ;)

Did I mention that MY parents were horrible to me? I won't go into it. But they trutly were very neglectful and abusive. Both of them seperately, as they divorced when I was young.

The ironic thing is that I was the one to literally force better relations with them. Not between them, but with me and their grandchildren, for my children's sakes and also in hopes it would break a family cycle when y kids grew up. (Didn't work apparently) It took me years of tolerating the abuse (from a distance and with boundries) to tear down the wall of each until they gave in and learned to at least try to love. They later both told me that their only problem with me was that I reminded each of them of the other! (I reminded my mother of my father and my father of my mother) Absolutely rediculous!

Jankin says: "There are parents out there who have not been at all 'good' parents in the accepted sense - but they still have very close family ties with their offspring"... I've noticed and thought about that a lot actually. I'm beginning to think that either dysfunction is the glue that creats "loyalty" OR the people in really dysfunctional families just don't have the knowledge, self-esteem, coping skills... to be able to move off on their own unless they just have an inherent natural ability.

I don't know how I managed to get the ability to leave home at such a young age and "never look back" until I had my own babies and then begin calling both my parents demanding that they at least pretend to be normal people and act like grandparents to their grandchildren. But it worked to some extent. My father "faked it" totally, but my kids never noticed. My mother actually changed from the inside out and is still a loving person today, but it happened slowly over time/years.

I know a 90 yr. old man and talk to him every week for yrs. now. ("Mr. F.") He has 4 children, 9 grandchildren, 27 great grandkids and many cousins, nephews, nieces etc. I don't know this man's family well, but they seem "normal" enough to me and function at frequent get-togethers and formal reunions. I ask the old man, "What's the secret to family unity and peace"? He says, "Respect. Plain and simple respect. Society today doesn't understand that. But because we instilled it in our family early on and kept on the younger generation to keep it up, it seems to have worked."

Is that really "it"?! I taught my children respect, I thought. I know they didn't have the best of circumstances growing up, those circumstances which were beyond my control. I loved them also. Funny Mr. F. didn't mention, "Lot's of love, tolerance, vacations, opportunities..." That seems to be the thing today, "Give them whatever they want and bombard them with constant 'stimulation' and opportunities..." In my opinion, this idea is making this current generation (at leat the last 10 yrs.) even more selfish and out of control. Most don't even know what love or respect is, except that they seem to think even at this young age that it's all about money, fun and "me" at any expense to others. Society in general owe it to them.

What do you think causes children to grow up to abandon, reject, hate or disown their parents. (Aside from the obvious cases of severe abuse)

Also, do you think that these young ones are being brought up this way today because American society in general brought up the kids born in 70's to 80's in a wrong way as a general pervasive philosphy of society of that time? Or is it the bobardment of the media over more recent times?

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sniffles07

Glorygirl, I don't know what the answer is...
I came from a dysfunctional family (they are deceased now).
I was determined that my children would not grow up that way. Hubby and I stayed together (yes, we love each other) and worked hard. We did things as a family. Hubby and I rarely went out alone. We did family things. Both my kids were good students, had friends, and yes, were spoiled to a certain degree. We instilled in both of them a good work ethic and manners, etc. Yet, our daughter is like an alien to us. As soon as she married, the trouble started. She has said and did more things to hurt us that I dreamed possible. If someone had told me this when she was a child, I wouldn't have believed it. Both my kids were good kids growing up. Not that I think my daughter isn't a good person, but it's like it doesn't bother her at all to alienate us. She treats her in laws way better than us, and they are very dysfunctional. Go figure. She doesn't like her brother either. About the only time she graces us with her presence is when there's a reason she has to come here. (holidays, dropping off or picking up the grandkids, etc) I do think her husband is behind 99% of it, but what makes her go along?? She told me about a year ago that she felt like she didn't have a mom to talk to. I told her, I'm always here, I've always been here. I've figured out, it's HER that doesn't want the mom. No matter who does what, it's always MY fault. Why is that? If anyone figures it out...let me know. I've gave up trying to.

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anniebal

glorygirl and sniffles, I haven't been here in a while, but I really feel the need for support today. There is no rhyme or reason other than the fact that I dreamt about my son last night. It was a bad dream too, with us getting so mad at each other that there was pushing and pulling. Nothing like this has ever happened (the physical part,) so I don't know where that thought comes from other then the pent up anger and hurt inside of me. My husband doesn't want me to talk about it anymore, he says it's a broken record. I know he is right, and when I talk about it, it just stirs up emotion inside of him. Of course he can't really make me feel better since how does one explain your child totally cutting one off without so much as a peep from him. You'd think by the way things are, that he lived in another country rather than 20 minutes away. I know he/they have friends nearby our house that they go to frequently, and he never stops by. I bugged my husband enough a few weeks ago to break down and give our son a call. I thought that perhaps not hearing any word from my husband for months that this could be the saving grace. My husband called and had to leave a message on his cell phone (my son won't even pick up the phone and talk to us...ever!) His message was very nice, and sincere, yet he has heard not one word back from my son. Now our youngest son (who is 3 years younger then his brother,) saw my son for a superbowl party and stayed to talk with him afterwards. My son had great talking points, great rebuttals to his brothers silly comments, and yet nothing has changed. I don't know what could be more cruel then never talking to your mom or dad. I hear about what he is doing from people like my brother, who I've now had to make it clear to that hearing news about your own son from his uncle is too painful. We, like you state sniffles, raised our kids in a very close knit family atmosphere. We would go out on weekends to movies some times, but most of our time was overwhelmingly spent doing family activities. We coached teams, did birthday parties each year, showered them with love and affection. I know they are both spoiled, but not outlandishly so. Why is our younger son not as selfish and cold hearted as his brother? What did we do differently to cause such behavior? I try so hard to move on, but the hurt just lies underneath the surface and eventually works its way back out again. I ask myself the same questions over and over again, such as how can a son who was loved as much as he was, was never abused, and was treated with a great deal of respect, treat his own mom and dad with such coldness? Some times I think it's like his body has been invaded, and that it's really not him. I think how he doesn't miss us, and that he just goes on day by day never really thinking much about us, if at all. Meanwhile, this is probably going to kill me in some way since I can't rationalize it. I've tried blaming myself for everything and I still can't come up with anything concrete to justify this behavior towards us. I know his wife is very cold hearted, manipulative, cunning, lying, self centered, etc. I know she has brainwashed him, but I also know he has the ability to say to her that he is not going to behave in this manner. It's his mom and dad that she won't permit him to see, why doesn't he just tell her that you and my folks have issues, but I am still going to see my parent's occassionally and she doesn't have to come.

I do think our society holds a lot of blame as to why these kids think and behave the way they do. They have a very strong sense of entitlement, I saw some of those traits in my oldest son before he met his awful wife. As I have stated before, instead of bringing out positive qualities in my son, she has accentuated any negative 10 fold. She has convinced him that we are undeserving, that all that has gone wrong over the 3 years they've been together has been our fault, not his or theirs. She knows how to control her mother, and now she is teaching my son to do the same. She has convinced him I think that he doesn't need us, that all of his loyalty belongs to her and her alone. There is no respect, and there never has been. This girl used to come over to see my son, come in the back door and never yell hello to me and my husband! She would correct us if we said something improperly, didn't care about making sarcastic comments to something we were watching on tv. The list is endless, and what did we do about it? We tried to get along to please our son, since we loved him so, we didn't want to alienate him from us. How ironic. Why couldn't he ever see what she was doing to us, and why did it never occur to him to defend us?

I don't know how to get through this. Just when I think I'm doing better, then these feelings creep up all over again. I don't know if I could even take him back now with all that has happened. I know if it ever does come to that, that we will be careful not to get too close again. Afterall, the next thing they are going to take away from us is their future grandchild, and the hurt from that would be too much to bare. We will always be doing something that they find fault with, we can do no right no matter how hard we try. We've agreed that we're done saying we're sorry, done groveling, done giving them/her respect she/he doesn't deserve. Your so rigth Glorygirl when you said we need to tell them to grow up! The question is, can I live my life happily without him, and I just don't know if that's possible. I've heard of broken hearts before, but now I know just what it really means. I can now understand why some couples who lose a spouse end up dying within a short period of each other. The hurt is so deep that it's impossible for me to believe right now at least, that I will reach a point of carrying out my daily activities without him bouncing into my mind every few hours.

I saw a boy crossing the parking lot a few nights ago that at first glance had me thinking it was my son. Just the feeling inside of seeing him, the strong feelings of how much I love and miss him in my life...it was awful. I realized how much I miss his smile, his laugh, our conversations, and memories. I'll never share this again with him now. Even if their marriage doesn't succeed, I feel we will be the scapegoats again for that too. Nothing we do is right...ever.

Life has no answers for me regarding my son's cold heart towards us, no matter how much fault I try to find with how we raised him.

anniebal

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sniffles07

Anniebal, I hear myself in you, like I'm sure a lot do in here. It's heartbreaking and hugs to you! Thank God we have people in here to vent to. First let me say, I feel you are right about your dil. I feel the same about my sil.They are insecure people, manipulative, and jealous people. I do feel it will backfire on them at some point..and hope it does! You wonder how your younger son can be so different. Hubby & I have discussed this also. Our son is so different from his sister. He is mad about how she has treated us and him. He worries about us to friends. (They have told us) I feel daughter's actions have affected him in relationships. He doesn't have a lot of tolerance for the bs that his girlfriend tries occasionally.(we love her dearly, she's just not mature yet. ha) I think it's because of what he's watched our sil do. He's determined that things be 'normal', ie: visit parents, have extended family. And thank God for that!! Interesting enough, our daughter seems jealous of our son since she's married. Does that mean she's secretively not happy? I'm glad you have a younger son, he will help you get through the days. You just have to put 1 foot in front of the other. Our daughter stayed away from us for 3 years, and we weren't allowed to see the grandkids for 2 of those years. My husband said to me one night in bed...I think my heart is broken. That really made me break down...because I knew how hurt he was..I felt the same way. Even now, when daughter visits us occasionally, I don't trust her. I would like to sit down and talk to her about things, but feel it will push her away. I don't look at her the same. I feel a sense of loss. But on the bright side, at the present I am seeing the grandkids. I hold that thought in my head that I can not worry about her, because the grandkids are worth it. Hope this gives you some comfort, I know nothing helps much.

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sniffles07

ps
Anniebal, I smiled when I read how you watched the little boy crossing the parking lot. One time I sat in a department store parking lot for 30 minutes because I thought my daughter's vehicle was parked there. I just wanted to see my grandkids, even if it was from a distance. Pathetic huh. It wasn't her...

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dirtboysdad

Sniffles07, I've gone to a place where I knew my daughter and grandchildren would be just to see them. I even spoke to my oldest grandchild when I saw her without her mother.

I will do it again the next time I know where they will be.

My daughter saw me but would not speak to me. I wish the younger grands had seen me because that could have prompted questions from them about me, questions that would have put my daughter in a tough spot - and I am NOT above putting her in a tough spot.

I don't think the oldest told her I'd talked to her because I'm fairly certain I would have heard about it from her (or an attorney) if she had. She'll be 18 in less than a year and I plan on contacting her, through her high school, at that time. I'll send her a card with a check in it equal to all the checks I've sent for birthdays and Christmas that have not been cashed as well as an additional sum as a graduation gift. She may or may not choose to contact me then, but I suspect she might as we had a wonderful relationship. My therapist tells me that many grandchildren contact their grandparents as soon as they turn 18.

I believe that it is the spouse who is the root cause of the problems as he is as you describe Sniffles07: insecure and manipulative and that at some point in time he will get his!

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sniffles07

dirtboysdad, good for you for having the guts to do that! As time goes on, I'm getting braver and braver. I hate confrontation but am finding out I can survive it. On the bright side, I feel my daughter is defying sil on a few points. Like I said in an earlier post, we are seeing the grandkids now. I know he's not happy about that. He feels if she still sees us, 'she's not on his side', and he's all about how it looks. That tickles me. I know I probably sound like a troublemaking mil, but I'm not..I'm just fed up with the pettiness, hurtfulness, of it all. My hubby told daughter last summer it was just hurting the grandkids..and maybe it made her think? Maybe since she's getting older, she's maturing and thinking of someone besides the king she's married to? Also sil is mad at some of his family members & friends over different things..maybe she's realizing? Our oldest grandson even told us once, he's mad all the time! If it sounds like I hate my sil, I don't. I use to think the world of him, but this bs has changed it all. It's went on too long and I now see him for what he really is. I don't wish anything bad to him but I know how he operates now.
dirtboysdad, please keep us posted on what happens when your granddaughter turns 18, we all can use a happy story or advice.
Anniebal, I have a word for you, grief. I felt I was grieving when this happened for 3 years, and you sound like you are grieving also.

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dirtboysdad

Yeah, sniffles07, I can hardly wait for that birthday to come. If the oldest grandchild did not say anything about talking to me recently, I would imagine she knows she'd get in trouble for doing so and I would also imagine that she will not say anything to her parents when she gets my card. I'm trusting that she has a bank account so she can cash my check without having to go through her parents.

I will also ask her to not say anything to the younger ones as I am sure that would bring down the wrath of "God" (a/k/a her father) upon her. I wonder if she said anything to the younger ones about seeing me. I am thinking that she did not as I'm sure I would have heard about it.

I believe that so many of our kids need to be given a good shaking and, as another poster said, told to GROW UP! As I say that I also truly believe that many of those of our children who are married to the controllers, the manipulators are probably afraid of them in one way or another and don't feel strong enough to stand up for what they KNOW is right. I also don't think they have a clue as to what impact it is having on their children, especially if their children had a relationship with us in the past. To be suddenly cut off from grandparents has to have an adverse impact - made more so if the parents are either refusing to tell them why when they ask (and they do ask) or are lying to them about the reasons. Children, even very young children, know where their parents are lying or not being straight with them.

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anniebal

Everyone here is estranged from a loved one, and I would just like to know if by being estranged, you didn't have any contact with that person for a very long period of time? I need to know if most of these examples have a pattern of behavior? I know they do in the respect that the person cutting off the family is usually selfish, self centered, manipulative, cunning, etc. so do they also tend to carry out the same behaviors? How long did most of you go without contact before hearing something from your son, daughter, sister, brother, dad, etc?

I know I am grieving...grieving the loss of my son who has chosen not to be in my/our lives. It's that choice that is so unbearable! I can't rationalize it in my mind so I tend to keep going back to it being something I did at some time in his life. This drives my husband crazy and he says I won't be able to move on until I accept the fact that this is not my fault. But even if I accept it that I didn't do anything that would warrant this behavior, I still feel it would be incomprehensible that he could do this. I don't think I would be any less sad then I am right now, irregardless of who is to blame.

For those of you who have been dealing with this for a long time, do you remember when things started getting easier? By easier I mean, not crying, or thinking about it daily? Does it ever get to be like the loss of a loved one due to a death? I never thought I'd get over losing my dad since he and I were so close. But losing him to old age was certainly more acceptable, and I never had regrets that I didn't spend the time I wanted to with him (or felt that I should be doing.) I never had to deal with the fact that my father made a choice to die since he lived a full life and died of old age just as it was meant to be. I can now see why a suicide is so awful to deal with in a family. To imagine that your loved one made the choice to take his or her own life would be unbearable.

I don't know why I can't be happier knowing that my son is alive and well, but is just not choosing to have me in his life? I guess it is not being able to understand what I/we have done to have him reached this conclusion?

For those who have grandkids, did you all have them in your life at one time, and then have them taken away? My fear with our son is, is that someday when they have a child, that they'll reappear in our lives only to have them yank that child out of our lives to punish us once again for some crime we didn't commit. If I ever get past this hurt, I certainly can't bear the thought of going through a very similar if not the same amount of hurt losing a grandchild. I feel my guard will always be up, but I don't know how one keeps from loving their grandchild?

Thanks for everyone's kind support, it's great to know I can come here and vent and look forward to others advice and experiences. As everyone here knows, sharing the pain an experience is vital to learning to cope and move on (if that's possible!)

anniebal

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sniffles07

Anniebal, My experience started 9 years ago. Sil got mad & made several complaints about me & my son. I won't go into all them but he didn't like that fact that dd & I were close. DH went to talk to him and from that point on, all hell broke loose. We were estranged for 3 years (that time) and didn't get to see our 2 grandchildren for 2 of those years. During that time, I called dd occasionally, trying to work things out, and it always ended up with her screaming at me. I sent cards every holiday. No response. A friend of hers tried to intervene and it made sil madder. A friend of mine tried to intervene and that didn't help either. I ended up in therapy. This time ended with the birth of my third grandchild. DH ran into her 1 day and told her we wanted to see the grandkids. She met us and then came back into our lives. Eventually sil did too and everything was fine until a yr& a half ago. SIL got mad at dh & our son. DD still would visit us and we could have the grandkids until last summer. Then she avoided us & when we finally figured out what was going on, we didn't get to see the grandkids for appx 4 months. Now she is visiting again & everything is fine except sil is still mad and doesn't visit.
During the big estrangement, a lot of lies were told on me & dh & son. DD avoided all extended family, like cousins, etc.
It did get easier for me during the 3 years. I grieved, was mad, and very depressed for most of that time. About the time, I gave up, she came back into our lives.
Losing a grandchild (grandchildren) breaks your heart. I still hold resentment about that, although I've never mentioned it to her, because I'm afraid she stop coming around.
BTW, during the 4 months, we didn't try to call her, didn't send cards, she heard nothing. Since it didn't last as long, maybe it made her think? Not sure.
Also, sil is still mad and not coming around. I know he's not a happy camper. I just feel he'll try something to get her to stop visiting us. I'm always waiting for the other shoe to drop.
This changes who you are. I'm not the same person I was before this started. I don't trust her at all. I wonder how she could have did this. I can walk away from her if I have to, I found this out during that 4 months. That's a lot different from the 3 years when I was heartbroken. Not sure if that's a good thing or not.

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njtea

Sniffles, I think the screaming comes because your daughter can't face the issues she has with her husband, but she needs to be angry with someone, so she chooses you because you are "safe." She knows that you will always love her, whereas if she confronts her spouse, he might not love her anymore (he probably doesn't now, but that's a different issue) and leave her high and dry with 3 kids to raise. Or perhaps he is threatening her with loss of her kids if she files for divorce. I have reason to believe that happened with my daughter.

My daughter screamed at and has not spoken with those family members who told her she was being abused. It became quite apparent that we had struck a raw nerve with her with that issue.

A different penance has been demanded of each of us by the SIL/BIL/NephewIL - but none of us will cave because we know that he just wants to see us grovel and that, as in your case, as soon as we offend him again, the estrangement will be back on.

When my grands would come here, I would often measure their growth on a chart on the wall. After the estrangement I took a picture of that chart to prove that the kids had visited me often for the visitation case I was planning but which I was persuaded was not in the best interest of the girls. I have put copies of those pictures in each of the packets I am doing for the grands to receive when they are of age.

Shortly after the final estrangement, I had the inside of the house painted and transferred the chart to a board so that I could put it back up on the wall for when the girls were able to come again. Now, I don't think they will ever be back and so just this morning, I threw away the board with the marks on it. That's another step I have taken to resume a normal life.

You do get there, Anniebal, step by step by step.

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sniffles07

Njtea, sad to think our families have come to this..and all the hurt. I think our estranged children with the controlling spouses can't see the forest for the trees. Maybe someday the spouses will do something to trigger an eye opener for our kids. I know my daughter made the comment once that if she divorced it would be a fight to the death who got the kids. I figure he's threatened her with taking the kids. Apparently she doesn't trust me enough to tell me what's really going on.

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njtea

Sniffles, I have a friend whose daughter said to her "I would divorce him if I could, but I can't do it." My friend has not seen nor spoken to her daughter since then and it's been several years. For various reasons, I believe the daughter fears for her life if she would try to leave her husband.

I don't know what I would do if I thought my daughter lived in fear like that. Bad enough to fear losing your children (which in 99.9% of divorces will NOT happen) but to stay with someone because he might kill you if you leave.......I just can't imagine it.

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anniebal

I know that my now estranged son told his little brother a few weeks before his wedding that he wanted to break up with his fiancee and that the only reason he was still marrying her is because he was engaged! This says a lot about my son. He must have seen some of her personality traits but felt he was in too deep to back out. It could've been because of embarassment, or money (vested into the wedding plans since they paid for most of it,) or sheer determination to prove that what he had done was not a mistake. We often think my son is digging his heels in trying to prove something since he had so many red flags while he was dating and engaged, in addition to many instances of conflict.

My son clearly saw his wife's behavior on our big trip to Hawaii last summer which was the beginning of the end. Even though my son saw just how rude his wife was to us, how awful her behavior for the entire 10 days in Hawaii, it never occurred to him to defend his parent's and the money they spent bringing them along with us. My husband confronted my son a few nights before we left Hawaii asking him what was going on with his wife, and if there was something wrong. My son admitted noticing her moods, but didn't think it was important enough to stand up for us. All he and his wife had to do was apologize or explain why she had been in such a mood that she couldn't have a good time around us (though she was fine and happy with just our son and their friends who happened to be in Hawaii when we were.) I guess we were just not important enough for my son to take a stand for. What kills me is if my son would put his foot done and tell her that he isn't putting up with her behavior towards his parents, she would oblige. She is afraid of losing him. She is a very insecure person, with a very low self esteem (thus the narcissm to prove otherwise.) He has no idea how he could get her to act more pleasantly, he is afraid of her.

anniebal

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scarlett2008

I am new to this board and discussion. It has been 6 years since I have seen or talked to my son. I got separated from his father in 1996 and the divorce was final in 1999. My son was very unhappy with us getting divorced. He was almost 19 at the time. I reconnected with my son by phone for a brief time (2000-2001). I saw him only once during this time and I thought everything was going to be alright with us. In 2001 I got engaged and called him to tell him the news. This was the last time I talked to him. I called him numerous times and left him messages after that to give him the date of the wedding and to ask for his current address so that I could send him an invitation but he never called me back (I only got his voice mail). I called him a month after remarrying and he hung up on me. That really hurt me so I told myself I wouldn't call him anymore. About a week ago I tried calling him again as he has a birthday next month (his 30t). I got his voice mail again and so I left him a non-pressuring message but he never called me back. My ex and I had a bad marriage and he was very bitter when I left him. I am sure he has filled my son's head with mean and nasty things about me. My son has lived with his father on and off since our divorce and may still be living with him. I have sent birthday cards to my ex's house but I never know if he gets them. I am at a loss at what to do.

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anniebal

Scarlett2008, I wish I had answers for you. Six years of not seeing or talking to your son must be unbearable. If your husband was a jerk (which is probably why you divorced him - duh!) then I'm sure he filled your sons head that this was all your fault. How else can you explain that your son would take this position? Were you and your son very close before your divorce? I realize he was only 19, but surely that is old enough to realize that it takes 2 to tango? However, if your husband is manipulative, then he may be good enough at it to confuse your son as to what really happened, and who was at fault. Do you think he was bitter about you marrying again and that was his reason for hanging up? Do you have any other children, and if so, how are they taking it? Since you didn't mention any, I get the impression that your son may be your only child. It's always tragic to have this happen, but even more so when there is no other child to at least give you some reason to believe that it wasn't you, or me that caused the estrangement.

We have reached out to our son several times, the most recent being after Christmas. He won't answer his phone, so we leave messages. He doesn't call us back, but instead will email me and tell me that he isn't emotionally ready. In others words his wife, the self centered, manipulative, egotistical, evil person she is won't allow him to have us reconcile. This was her fault. If she had just faked the she liked us, we were willing to bend over backwards for her. But when she almost ruined are entire trip to Hawaii that we paid for completely, it was time we said something. Well heaven forbid that we speak up and tell our son that we recognized her moody, unreceptive behavior on our expensive trip. Even though my son stated he noticed her quiet moods, he obviously didn't get anywhere in talking to her (and that's if he tried, which is a long shot.)

Tonight my sister had a party for her husband's 60th birthday. She invited my son, which I was outraged about. I've decided that my family can either support me, or I won't be at their get togethers. NO ONE is holding him or his wife accoutable for just how awful he (and they) are treating us. This is my sister and brother, surely they would stand up for a sister that they loved? I know that if it was a niece or nephew of mine, I would be contacting them and at least talking to them about the situation and letting them know that until things are right between them and their parents, that the parents come first and therefore they will not be invited to any gatherings where the parents are invited too. This is called support, and could possibly get him off his high horse of self righteousness. For him to even have the nerve to continue seeing my brother, and going to my sisters shows you just how right they believe they are. And who has indicated otherwise besides us? While she is there, she puts on this fake act of being social and caring which is something she never bothered doing before. Heck, she didn't even bother coming to my sisters daughters baby shower and she was home the day it took place! She was never pleasant to my sister when she met her, yet my sister seems to have a memory lapse in these areas. Tonight they were all out in the kitchen just yucking it up with her as if she has wronged no one. I told my brother and sister that this is the last time I will be at an event where my son and his wife are invited. It is far too hurtful to watch the family carry on with them as if nothing is wrong, while my son and his wife essentially ignored us the entire evening. We got up and greeted them when they came in, but then they didn't even sit near us. They made sure to be somewhere else talking to other people. When we had cake, I made a point to sit at the table near them so that hopefully we might say two words to each other. But no, nothing was further from their minds. Finally when someone started asking my son about something, I took the opportunity to jump in and ask what he was doing. He told me the plans, to which I inquired for more details, and then told him how much fun it will be. Instead of asking me a question he had about me and my husband, he text messaged my younger son and asked him if me and my husband were taking a trip. My youngest son to his credit, text messaged him back and told him to ask me himself if he wanted to know. He did end up asking me his question, and I answered, and then that was it.

Sadly, this is the first time I greeted him with a very matter of fact hug and kiss. When he left I kissed him and didn't even realize until later that I didn't say I loved him. I greeted and said good bye to his wife with a hug also, but this time there was no emotion in it. I simply said hello and good bye followed by her name. It was a lackluster hug on her part, and I'm tired of putting effort into something that can't feel anything back.

My sister has agreed she won't invite him again with us there. I've already made this clear to my brother. I am done trying. No more phone calls, text messages, emails, etc. I no longer feel I need to see him, the hurt is just too great. I'm doing better now, and I need to stay on that course. It hurts more seeing him now then not seeing him. I don't even want to know or hear about what is going on in his life since I really don't care.

I wonder if a parent's unconditional love can be pushed to the limit and become conditional? I love him as a son that I used to have. The son I have now is dead to me. Even if he wants back in my life, I don't know if I will want him. I know I will never want his wife, ever. I despise her for what she has done to our family, and yes, it is her. My son should be able to have a say in what she is imposing on his life, yet he is to brainwashed in my opinion to do so. Maybe one day he'll wise up, but I'm no longer anticipating the date that it will happen.

The hurt is beyond compare, and some times I wish I could hurt him in the same way so that he could understand how I feel. But I know I'll never do that, and that I will just now completely stop trying, as he deserves nothing else.

People always say to still send cards, and gifts, and I just don't get it. That isn't going to change a thing, and he's made that obvious. Let him think we don't love him anymore, let him feel how empty that is. His narcisstic wife is to busy pretending to be superior to care what his feelings are and one day he will be lonely since she can never truly love anyone more then herself. Maybe then he will see, but maybe then, it will be too late to have his mom and dad back in his life.

anniebal

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scarlett2008

Anniebal,

Thanks for your response. Yes, my son in my only child. My son didn't want me to divorce his father so he probably didn't like the idea of me getting remarried. When I told him I had gotten engaged he didn't say "Congratulations" but he didn't say anything mean to me. My ex-husband was a total jerk. It's a wonder that I stayed with him for 20 years before leaving him. I'm sure that he has filled my son's head with lies and told him that I was the reason we split up even though I know I wasn't a perfect wife. My ex verbally and sometimes physically abused our son from the time he was 6 years old. I was afraid of my husband too even though he never hit me but he did verbally abuse me so that was part of the reason I left him. I stayed as long as I did because I felt that our son needed to have both parents raise him. Now I'm not so sure of that. His father has been a terrible role model for him. He taught him that yelling and violence are OK. My son and I had been very close until he started to do things that I didn't approve of (stealing money from us and buying marijuana). Of course my husband sided with him and not me. We never were on the same side. I was usually the one taking our son's side and trying to protect our son from his father's bad temper. When he was 18 I had to call the police because my ex starting hitting him and had him in a headlock and wouldn't let go. I was very afraid that he would kill him. The police took him to the station but they couldn't keep him. I like a fool said I wasn't going to press charges because I was afraid he would come back the hit him even worse and me too. Ratting my son out didn't help our relationship but I thought that he still loved me. I just think that with all the time that has passed and that he is older now that he would understand that I tried to make our marriage work but that I just couldn't take it anymore. I guess that either he doesn't understand and is still angry at me or that he doesn't know what to say to me now. I've tried to make it easier for him by sending cards and telling him I love him and not calling all the time pressuring him to contact me but it doesn't seem to be helping. His birthday is on Thursday (2/28) but I am not going to call him. The ball is in his court again. I can't continue to take the hurt. It's easier on me when I don't think about him constantly or contact him. Maybe my son does hate me. He did once try to choke me for no reason. I think he had a lot of hatred bottled up for his father and knew he couldn't take it out on him so he took it out on me.

I don't know how you do it, seeing your son and daughter-in-law and getting the cold shoulder. I couldn't do that. I hope things improve for you.

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sniffles07

RE: continuing to send cards (birthday, Chrismas, etc)
I sent cards for 3 years, and didn't hear a thing, didn't solve anything, nothing. Just my experience.

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sniffles07

I had a chance to visit with a good friend of my daughter's last week. We have never talked about the problems between dd & the family. The subject came up and my dd's good friend told me that she felt dd's hubby was very selfish & that his whole family was strange. She also told me that she asked my dd recently how things were going with us, and dd told her great! Interesting because we don't feel that way at all. Yes, we are seeing her and the grandkids, but it's not great. Although it's great compared to what it was, which was nothing. I wonder if dd really thinks that? Or it's a cover? If it is a cover, why to that specific friend? I know she's vented to her in the past several times. We went on talking about some of the specifics. I came away from the talk feeling good. Maybe that's the wrong way to feel but it let me know that EVEN my dd's friends think things aren't right with her marriage.

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njtea

Sniffles, I know exactly how you feel because it's the same way I felt when a friend told me that he felt my dtr's. household was the most unhappy he'd ever been exposed to. He worked there as a contractor for a few months. He said the tension in the air was very thick and as a matter of fact, told me things in direct opposition to what my daughter was telling me, i.e., that her husband came home for dinner every night with the kids before he went "back to work". My friend told me the kids almost always ate dinner without their father being present, even before my friend had left for the day.

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sniffles07

Njtea, I know it probably sounds like we're petty or spiteful. That's not it at all. It validates what we know to be true. That way we don't think we're crazy. LOL
It's sad though. Sad that our kids would live that way and try to make us think everything is great.

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anniebal

Scarlett, I don't know what could be going on in your son's mind, especially after his dad mistreated him. Even if he thought you were to blame for not leaving your husband, you'd think that he would come out with whatever it is that he's upset over. It's amazing to me that he can have a relationship with his father now after the way his father treated him. Although, it could be like the battered and abused wife syndrome, where they seem to want that person all the more. I think that happens from their self esteem being so shot to heck that they don't feel worthy, and feel that no one else would want them. How sad it is that we must be without our children that we loved more then anything else in the world.

Sniffles, I'm glad to hear you confirm what I stated that cards, gifts, etc. mean nothing. All it does is end up hurting us since we hope and pray for a positive response that never comes. Your daughter telling her friend things are great seems like a put on to me. Perhaps she doesn't want to discuss it with her friend if she feels her friend knows that things aren't good in her personal life with her husband and kids? If you had warned her about her husband at all, perhaps she doesn't want you to know things are not great at home. I some times feel that my son is trying to prove he was right by staying with his witchy wife. Now that they (my son and his wife) won't be invited to family gatherings where we will be in attendance, I find myself worrying over his mental health. I know he relies on the other members of family to make up for his loss of his parents. Maybe I'm fooling myself, maybe he isn't hurting as much as I think he is by not seeing us. I just know that she has hurt his self esteem, and self confidance,to the point where he doesn't believe he can do better. I believe he idolizes her because she projects a superior attitude to him, and belittles him when she gets the chance.

At the get together at my sisters the other day it was as if the two are conjoined at the hips. She doesn't let him go anywhere without her. This is par for the course with everywhere they go or visit. I'm sure beyond a doubt she is afraid to leave him alone, or let him socilize with just family for fear he will want to come back in our lives. Even his brother can't do anything with him alone. The only thing that ever happens is that they have my youngest son over for dinner, but my youngest son is never alone with his brother. The only time it's happened in the last year is Superbowl sunday when my youngest son asked his brother to talk alone. Since my youngest son brought a friend with (very wisely,)his brother's wife needed to keep him company in the other room while the two of them talked. She did manage to go by the room a few times though to make her prescence known. I've often thought that if my husband and I could catch him at the train going to work, or coming home before his wife is around, that maybe we could talk to him rationally. I wish I could just quit thinking about it altogether.

Scarlett, your so right in your feelings that it's better when we don't think about them too much or try to contact them. It sure creeps up on me though, when I don't even realize it. I still have these fantasies that he'll come to his senses, but I know he won't.

anniebal

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sniffles07

Anniebal, You said you know your son relies on other family members to make up for the loss of his parents. Maybe if he doesn't have those family members, he'll start thinking. Just a thought.
My daughter avoided all family when we were estranged for 3 years. I think she KNEW it was wrong, and felt guilty. After she made up with us, my cousin ran into her in town. My cousin told her she was so happy that things were resolved and she said my dd started crying.

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anniebal

Sniffles, this is why I finally told our family members to quit enabling my son by acting as if nothing has happened, that he has done no wrong. My son and his wife are so self righteous and bold that they go and see all our family members for visits, attend family get togethers, and no one acts as if he/she has done anything wrong! This last get together at my sisters was the limit. It was hurtful watching him ignore us while they carried on yucking it up with my sister, brother, cousin, etc.!! What type of family does this to their brother or sister? If they were my niece or nephew I would be getting together with them to let them know that I disagree with his/her behavior and that until things are back to at least a cordial level between he and the parents, that he would not be invited to our house for any reason. I would let him/her know that I loved them but that my first loyalty lies with his/her dad and mom. If they didn't understand that then it's too bad. We have gotten NO support from any of my son's aunts or uncles. For the love of god, the person who has spoken out the most is my sons near 80 year old grandmother (my husband's mom.) She has encouraged him to make up, to apologize for the awful thing he said to me, etc. My son just patted her on her leg and told her that everything would be alright, while all along he had no intention of changing anything. Recently my son sent out an email to everyone in the family and then some telling them that he may be on CBS Sunday morning since they are profiling his company and he had an interview with them. We of course were not on that email list, and the only reason I know about it is that he emailed his younger brother, who came to talk to me about it. My youngest son is gettnig fed up with his brother's behavior, and when he got the email he wrote him an email back. After congratulating him on possibly being on TV, my younger son told my son that he noticed that mom and dad weren't included in on the email announcement. Then he said that he couldn't believe how large the amount of people were that he included in on the email, only to not see mom and dads too. My younger son asked him he didn't think that mom and dad would enjoy hearing that their other son was going to be on tv, if he didn't think that would make us happy? In the end of the email he told my son that it was obviously a concious choice to leave us off the list, and that he knows the right thing to have done would to have been to include us in on his announcement. I was proud of my little boy, and I could hear and see the anger in him over how his brother is treating us.

See your daughter at least knew it was wrong, or felt too guilty to see other relatives with what was going on. My son and his biotch of a wife are bold, selfish, self centered, self righteous, immature, naive, etc. It blew my mind when my son and his wife went to see my brother at his home about a month after my bro had had some surgery. They took him out to lunch, and all the while my brother whom I am very close to (or thought I was,) never said one word to his nephew about this situation. I had known my son was going to see him at some point and asked if my brother could possibly talk to him about how my son is handling this. I told him it doesn't have to be confrontational, just a discussion about how my son needs to open up the lines of communication or nothing will be solved. Yet my brother did nothing, and I was incredibly let down. My sister who is the biggest wuss of a lifetime, has never said anything stern to my son about my treatment from him. NO ONE in either family has had the balls to say boo to him over this situation. I'm to the point where even though they are now not going to include him (so they say,) at get togethers where we are at(only because we requested it mind you,) that I have half a mind not to show up either. If this is the type of support we can expect from our family during a crisis, why bother with family? After seeing my sister in law the other day for coffee, I asked her if she noticed that we were the only ones on in my sons email that weren't included. She said yes, she did notice that. I told my husband, would it be too much to have expected that one of our sisters or brother would have written my son and stated they noticed we weren't included on the email notice? Would it have been out of line for them to do this? Wasn't that a great opening for them to do so? Couldn't this have opened up the lines of communication for them, and perhaps given them a chance to voice their opposition to the way my son is handling his mom and dad?]

It's enough to attempt to deal with the hurt this has caused us over our son and his wife, but to then not receive any support from the people who supposedly love,respect and support us is just too much!! I know what my husband and I would do, and I can't believe that they are so shallow, so afraid of hurting their own relationship with my son that they won't attempt to help us get our relationship with him back (the most important relationship of all of them!)

I refuse to watch the tv segment tomorrow since my son didn't have the decency to tell me himself. My son never wrote his younger brother back with any response, but obviously it meant nothing since that was 3 days ago and we never heard a peep from him.

I know this is his wife playing these hurtful games, since guys just don't think of these dirty little tricks. I knew too many girls growing up that acted like my DIL and I never befriended any of them. The one time I was a friend with someone who played dirty games, I ended it when I realized who she really was and just what she was doing. My better friends growing up have always been boys since they don't gossip, play games, aren't catty, and have interesting things to talk about. I'm not saying all girls are this way (thank god they are not,) but there are far too many of them. They put themselves up on this pedastal that they think they can rule the man's life, and if he doesn't comply then watch out.

We had a best friend of ours who got married, then he and his wife and child actually lived with us for about 3 months until their new home was finished being built. Mind you, we have an average size home and had two boys of our own at the time, but we still made room for them. After they got into their new home, we were invited out perhaps two times to see the house and that was it. His wife cut him off from us completely. She is rather an elitist, and I don't think we fit "her" idea of the right people. Our friend was the nicest guy that we could never have believed this was possible. Though he did attempt to stay in contact now and then, and even stopped by once, eventually we never heard from him again. How lonely he must be now, and I feel that this is how my son will end up. My son is allowing her to feed him this poison about us, allowing her to call the shots on when and if he makes contact with us, so he is responsible. Just like our friend had a choice, so does our son. To think my son could treat us this cold heartedly is hurt beyond compare. I've made up my mind that when/if he does call, that I'm not answering the phone. If he writes me an email, there will be no reply. He is going to get a taste of his own medicine since I have had enough. Let him wallow in his selfish wife's interpretation of love. I will not be kicked around again by him, and I will never feel the same way about him again. I know my crying is not over, and probably will never be completely, but I don't want a relationship with him anymore. It is just too hurtful now to even look at him. I'd prefer to remember him as he was before he met the the saboteur.

anniebal

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rookins81

Anniebal,

I read these forums since we were once (no longer) estranged from my husband's family. Luckily we were able to all sit down and talk and now the relationship is better than it ever was...it is so nice. And that is after 7 years of not speaking.

Anyway I just have to comment because I have read your posts on here and replies. Your bitterness just oozes from your posts....worse than I have ever seen/heard from anyone to be honest. I am not saying your son is innocent..or DIL for that matter. But I will say your attitude will never make things better. Ever. If you are this negative and angry calling them every name in the book..that negative energy will just radiate off you and affect everyone around you. You can't change your son or DIL...but you can change YOU.

We had a lot of disagreements with my in-laws but we realized that if we changed the way we thought/felt that maybe that was the first step towards something positive. No matter if they changed or not. And I must say it makes a big difference. When we sat down to talk there was no anger or name calling, yelling, or blaming.

I am willing to bet that your son and DIL do not want to come anywhere near you because they probably figure you will just scream and call them/her nasty names. That will never lead to reconciliation. Also your family members not going to bat for you....that is not their problem! You cannot expect them to cut-off, lecture your son and side only with you. How selfish. If they choose to remain neutral then just be happy with that. If you talk about your son and DIL in front of all them like you do on here...wow no wonder they do not want to be involved.

I know you are probably going to reply to this and slam me up and down..and well that would not surprise me after reading your hateful spewing on here. You already insulted me earlier on when I was first posting on there..without you even knowing me and misreading my posts. Your bitterness is unbelieveable. You even stated that ALL of "MY" generation is just selfish and thinks they are owed something. What a generalization if I ever heard one. I have met a lot of selfish acting older adults myself yet I don't generalize them.

Of all the estrangement/support forums and posts I have read over the years..yours disturbs me most. I hope other parents on here who are estranged from their kids don't follow your example of hate. And now in this last post you even talk about giving your son a taste of his own medicine. Wow..do you hear yourself? You will never get your son back in your life if this is how you think/act. I hope you will see it someday..that the anger will never make things better.

Rookins

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jankin

Oh Rookins
What pain there is in the world
We can all give and receive the balm of healing words - such hurt is here.

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anniebal

You have a LOT of nerve Rookins, and I really have to wonder just how many of my posts you have really read?!! I have never called my DIL or son names to their faces! When I get together with them at my sisters, or other relatives I am as pleasant as can be, there is no indication from me that there is anything wrong. I greet them with a hug, and hello and do the same when they leave.
I am the only one who has tried to open up conversation when we are at get togethers. Once I ask my questions to them and they answer, they never attempt to reply or strike up a conversation with me or my husband! All the while they are yucking it up with every other family member! Who are you to say my sister and brother shouldn't take my side? How immature and thoughtless of you to make this judgement and criticize me for things you have no idea about. IF you read my posts, you would know I have never said anything negative to my son or DIL to their face other than the night my son and husband and I had a blow up and I out of complete irrational angry behavior called my DIL a bad word. However, my son replied with an even worse bad name to his mother, for which he has never genuinely apologized for. Within days of me saying that to my DIL, I wrote her an apologized and gave no excuses for my behavior. I never heard one word back from either her or my son! I would have called her, but they won't take my calls. It was an awful night when that took place, and no one was innocent including my DIL. Yet I knew there wasn't an excuse, and even with my dislike for her, opened up to apologize for my inexcusable behavior. DO YOU UNDERSTAND, they have cut us out of their life! We have reached out continually, only to be struck down with either no reply from them, or a stupid one sentence email saying 'they' aren't emotionally ready! As my younger son said to his big brother, what this "they" about! This is your mom and dad, why is she interfering with you at least staying in contact with dad and mom? He asked him if he would put his wife through this, and expect her never to see her parents?!! Of course my oldest son nefver gave an answer!

You know what Rookins, you disturb me. You know how I picture? Just like many other in your age group...entitled! Parents should bow down to you. It is a generalization to say your generation, so I will re-state that as many in your generation. It is so wide spread, that there books written on this for your information. Look into the ME GENERATION.

Yes, I'm bitter, who wouldn't be after losing their son that they were incredibly close to up until the day he got engaged. It has been a downward spiral with this girl, and if it upsets you because your that age, all I can say is someday you'll understand. Someday when your child grows up and you can never imagine in a million years that you won't continue to be close in your relationship, and they dump you and don't care about your feelings. They become brainwashed by an emotionally abusive person who uses subtle ways to chip away at your childs self esteem, self confidence, and finally convinces them that their parents did them wrong. This is a princess we are talking about. I cannot even believe your immature, naive opinion. You disturb me! It disturbs me that anyone could jump to the accustations that you have, when clearly you haven't been reading all my posts!

You know what,you don't belong on here. You have no understanding of the situation, and you have formed opinions from out of nowhere. NEVER have I called them anything, or been anything but pleasant to them in front of my sister, brother, cousins, etc.

Please do me a favor? Don't reply to my posts. Personally I don't need the stress and aggravation of your uninformed, uneducated opinions. Seems to me that your pulling something of your hat, that perhaps you have done. Perhaps this is how you look at your in laws? How do you look at your own parents? Would you understand your husband expecting you not to see your parents anymore? Do you know how to empathize?

I;d love to know how old you are? I sensed the very first time I read your posts here, and your opinion to them. I won't apologize again for anything Ihave said to you now. Please find a young person site because you are both to young and immature to relate to these feelings.

How dare you!!

anniebal

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anniebal

Jankin, could you please elborate on what you meant with your comments to Rookins?

I'd like to know others opinions here who are on the same page as I am. I know others have releated to my story, and sympathized with the hurt. So please speak out here if you disagree with Rookins assessment!

anniebal

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sniffles07

I don't agree with Jankins assessment. This is a place we can come with anonymity to vent our frustrations. We can say things here that we can't or won't say to our estranged family members. It's a place to vent/listen/help & grieve. Anger is caused by frustration,fear, & hurt (thank you Dr Phil). I understand about the anger...I get angry and vent on this thread and to hubby & trusted friends, and say things I would NEVER say to my dd. Why? It's safe. Because I know as well as many of you, that we can't do that to our estranged children or matters would be worse. Anger has to be released however, or we just might blow up and make things worse.
Annibal, I know what you are saying that you treat your son & dil fine when you are around them. I've done the same thing. Treated them fine..because we don't want to widen the gap. That doesn't mean I won't vent in anger to someone close to me, because I'm frustrated by it at times. You have to get it out. We should be able to vent on this thread without fear of judgment. We don't all agree with every single persons thoughts or actions, we all have different stories, but we should all be supporting one another. I support you 100%!

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amyfiddler

Rookins-
Congratulations on mending your relationship. That takes maturity and a lot of self reflection.
It is a wise, happy, at peace person who looks in the mirror and makes changes with themselves, in their own hearts when they are dissatisfied with their lives and relationships.

You have some marvelous things to share - thank you
Amy

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anniebal

I have to commeent on the congratulation to Rookins. IT TOOK SEVEN YEARS! I have to wonder if Rookins was ever estranged from her mom and dad, or if everything on that side was just peachy? It does seem that it is usually the girl who takes their husband away from their family as if it is some type of given when a guy gets married. What kind of changes can one make Amy when your dealing with an injustice collector? I can give you the answer...there are none! No matter what changes one makes, it is never good enough. I have a feeling that if Rookins was able to mend their ways with her husbands parents then it was probably the parents who changed, not them! Just the little I've heard from Rookins is enough for me to come to the conclusion that she is a very judgmental person, and probably hard to get along with. While she is busy patting herself on the back for changing her mind, the real credit probably goes to the more mature in the relationship, and that is the parents.

Amy, you really think Rookins had some marvelous things to share? Just what are those once you take away her slamming me for coming to this site to be able to vent!?? There was the one sentnece about looking into her heart and realizing with a little change they could all get along, and that took 7 years to decide?!!

Mark my word, there is far more to that story then is being revealed here on this forum.

I don't know why I even considered Rookins comments the first time she posted them to me, since she is obviously very young and immature for her to draw the conclusions she did, and make hurtful accusations that were certainly not proven by any posts I have made. But then she probably didn't really read them all to begin with.

Read the book by Mike Sichel on Family Rifts and Estrangements and you will see how impossible it is to deal with injustice collectors. There is no pleasing them, no matter what. It is a constant cycle of give, while all they do is take.

I have a feeling a few people on this board our in the same age group simply by their reactions and comments.

anniebal

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jankin

Anniebel

I was disturbed when I read Rookins' post - the words were chosen to cause pain and hurt and so I guess they are from someone who carries much bitterness and hurt feelings within themselves and they are actually directed at someone else.- I felt as though I really wanted to make her a cup of healing 'tea' or caress her with healing oil.
Sorry if my response was read as ambiguous - you will see from the other thread on estrangements just how grateful I am to you all for being there and offering me a place to lay down my grief and misery - among those who have suffered in the same way.
It is difficult to judge another personality's words but I would say from reading Rookins' that she is in great pain - and is carrying round 'hate' ( a word she often uses) for someone much closer to her than you!
I would treat her post as a letting of steam at this 'person' and distance myself.
Love
Jan

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rookins81

I am not surprised by the comments. People called out on a behavior will react in such a way. So to clear your false comments made..

No I did not take my husband away from his parents as you assume...he cut them off and it was entirely his decision. Things were finally mended by him taking the first step and knocking on their door...and truly forgiving whatever happened in the past. So don't assume you know our situation. Now you know. Also, he made that step because I encouraged him time and again to do it. He knows that I hoped we would reconcile with them..but he had to be ready himself.

My post is hateful and mean? WOW. Actually it was only honest. I didn't call Anniebal names..that would be in fact hateful. My point was that I noticed all HER posts are full of hate and namecalling...this will never help things was my point. I called it as I see it.

Also Anniebal..you mention MY parents now? You are really trying to peg me as horrible aren't you? Actually I have never been estranged from my parents...and thing are peachy with them :o) We have a good relationship and I am grateful for that.

See I think you are trying really hard to peg me as a horrible person, DIL, wife....you want to think I am just like your DIL because I have a certain opinion.

And Jan who are you? Anniebal's other username? Seems odd your post. Saying I am in a lot of pain and am bitter. That couldn't be further from the truth. But I do see this from Anniebal's posts...one after the other calling her DIL the b word..along with other names..and her son too. Looking at it from the DIL/son side I know this will never bring her son back, that is what I was trying to convey here. Luckily my in-laws have been great and the relationship is better than before the estrangement..there is a new respect. No name calling, blaming, screaming, or nastiness had to take place for it to happen.

Oh well..opinion offered but not considered...and now I am labeled with false accusations. And I am the angry one? Hmmmm....

Cheerio!

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jankin

I live many thousands of miles away from most of you on this thread and will probably never meet any of you - our one common concern is the hurt of estrangement = and related matters of pain that, from your use of language Rookins, appears can never really be resolved.
Honi soi and all that.

Dont be so angry and defensive Rookins - all I know of you is what and how you write and it is to that only I respond.

Jan

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njtea

I agree with Sniffles that many of us come here to vent their anger with their estranged one. Sniffles I also agree with you (and Dr. Phil) that anger comes from fear or, as Yoda said: "Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering." (I have a bit of trouble tying it to frustration and hurt, but.....)

However, I have to agree that the amount of anger in Anniebal's post has been very disturbing. I would go even further and say that I, personally, don't think it is possible for her to keep that amount of anger out of her interactions with her son and DIL.

Rookins, if all of our children could look within themselves to find the answer to estrangements, how wonderful that would be. That, of course, does not absolve those of us who are the parents from looking inside of ourselves also.

I applaud you and your husband.

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rookins81

Jan,
I am not defensive but if you percevied that I was then there is nothing I can say to convince you otherwise. I was being honest with Anniebal..that her anger and hate is so obvious. I didn't call her names or the like..I was just honest. Somehow you think that equates to being bitter and being in pain? Strange. I actually spent a lovely weekend that included my once estranged in-laws and bitterness/pain was no where to be found on either side. Quite the opposite. They are another set of parents to me and I loved watching them interact with their grandson and my husband...it made me really happy inside and at peace. Finally our family legacy is forever changed..and in the best way.

Your perceptions seem to be really off...or you feel the need to project your own issues on to me because you can't accept honesty. Either that or you are Anniebal's lifecoach. I have no idea. Perhaps if you read ALL my prior threads from the beginning you would see that your assumptions are wrong. You would also see where right off the bat Anniebal jumped on me and misread my post right from the start. People only see what they want to... And for you and Anniebal that means seeing me as evil just because I am a DIL....no matter how different I am from your DIL's or how different my husband's situation is with his parents compared to your situation.

Thank you njtea...someone actually sees what I see. It is disturbing to say the least.

Cheers.

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rookins81

Anniebal.. you say I don't belong here and to leave the forum..I am immature and naive(interesting since those who know me say the opposite). You are adding to your list of namecalling towards me. Would you like to continue? Why are you so hateful? I think you must be imagining me as your DIL so now you can spew your hate on to me and pretend I am her. It is really sad. And to be honest I really hope things change for you..as I have said before. I wouldn't wish estrangement on anyone (for either side). My only advice is to let the hate go Anniebal and come from a place of forgiveness towards your son AND DIL..and maybe things will change.

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amyfiddler

Anni- it looks as if you are yelling at me. Not sure why? This thread IS for everyone, no one needs get tossed for expressing themselves either which way. Everyone's experience is different. To project your own issues on to others is fruitless.

I will say this. Everyone has a right to be angry. That doesn't mean it is the best way to reach your goals - other people have different ideas of how to reach goals. If this forum is ONLY supposed to be a dumping ground, with no constructive input on how to actually go about solving the problems, then what this thread becomes is a negative feeding ground for more anger. It does not serve you to simply dump repeatedly, and recruit forces to support your point of view without considering that there might be other ways to look at things. If you are not interested in solving your problem, then keep doing what you are doing.

There is a time and place for dumping, and this certainly is a safe place to dump. However, there comes a point when it becomes actually more destructive than helpful. Those who continue to cheer you on are not your friends. They only feed the bitterness, and that will not solve your problem

It is in your best interest to be able to come, dump, and then open your mind to other options - because clearly your path is not working.

There are estrangements in my family, I was curious to see how people handle it, and I am interested in knowing more about Rookins experiences. To turn the ship around after seven years is commendable. To look at yourself and make changes within first is respectable and honorable.

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jankin

Rookins I dont think you are evil at all where do you get that idea -
I dont know anyone here personally and I'm unlikely to ever meet any od you - I am not in a position to judge anyone - the honi soi reference is one we use here not to say that someone is evil but that they misinterpret things negatively - if I do it
and my husband will say to me 'honi soi' and vice versa.
Actually I dont hate anyone - I may have said that word when I was young but time buffers off the sharp edges of the word and the emotion' - hate is a killer.
I just found this a comfort place to be in my suffering - I know you only by what you write I repeat I only know you from the language you use.
I shant return here because there's enough conflict right now out there - and I'm surprised by the 'teeth' - may we Brits are just too laid back!
Best wishes to you and everyone else thanks for helping me
at a time of trouble.

I wont attempt swim the atlantic again.

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rookins81

Amyfiddler,

I can see you are at the same place of rational thinking and forgiveness. I do not know about your situation but would like to know more for sure.

I do not claim to be an expert by any means. Every situation is different also and I realize this. All I know is that we were once estranged from my husband's family and are not any longer. All I can offer is what worked and what didn't as advice. You are right we all have to look within to make a change. I looked within to see what I was doing to fuel the situation and when I reached a place of true forgiveness all the anger or hurt slipped away. I then decided to approach my husband to see if he would be able to do the same. Eventually in time he was and did! I really at this point don't care who was right or wrong and so forth. It is all trivial now. We only have this one life..one family. I watched my son play with his grandparents (my in-laws and my parents) this weekend and it was beyond moving to witness. I was so happy he has all this family. The past is now gone and we can move on to a positive future.

It may sound cheesy to some but really I used a lot of imagery and encouraged my husband to do the same. Power of Intention works. I imagined peace and forgiveness and actually envisioned them coming to our house and it being nothing but good...and when they did it was literally what I had imagined. It may sound like new age rhetoric but really I think our thoughts and emotions affect everything in our lives no matter what the other person does. Like when you meet someone for the first time and they immediately rub you the wrong way...it is their energy doing that. People can sense this. I knew that if we approached my in-laws and were defensive or bitter that they would sense this and in turn act in the same way. So instead I said outloud daily that I forgave them and wished for peace..along with envisioning it. My husband took a little more time to work through his feelings but he did...and this weekend he was able to just sit and talk comfortably with his folks without any issues being present.

I think we all changed in the end (unlike Anniebal's opinion that I did not change at all and am selfish and horrible). Life is too short. Embrace people even when they make you angry or you don't understand them. Sometimes that is all it takes to break down a wall between you and then the process of healing can begin.

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rookins81

I apologize if I misread your post to me. I must say I was taken back when you said I sound hateful and bitter in my post to Anniebal. I was really just alarmed at her words myself and it was only an honest reply to HER. That doesn't mean I am bitter about my own situation (or past situation now). I realize now that this is a losing battle with Anniebal..the fact that I am a DIL means she will never respect my opinion and will take every opportunity to peg me as bad.

You should not leave the forum at all.

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amyfiddler

The imagery technique is quite powerful. I believe I have used that at times, and it has worked. I'm going to apply it where it makes sense -

Thanks for your insights.

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amyfiddler

Honi soi -
I like that. Jankin, the atlantic is quite warm. Occasionally you have to watch for Jellyfish -

No need to leave upset. There is a place here for everyone.

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sniffles07

Good luck to you all...I'm out.

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amyfiddler

Darnit, I wish they would let us edit. That was my outside voice, wasn't it? Here is what the adult in me would like to say - LOL.

This looks to be a pattern - when people don't see things your way, you get angry, and then you abandon and reject. Consider the title of this topic, and you'll see consistency.

Try something new.

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anniebal

Well, well, the young against the supposed old I guess. The only time I came down on your rookins which is greatly exagerated, is when I stated that your generation is very entitled. To this you jumped down my throat, not the other way around. As for calling names, when I state I feel you are immature and naive, that is an opinion or judgment, certainly not name calling. Perhaps you need to review your english studies.

No one hear knows how angry I am, how I suppress that anger, how I handle myself in other situations so quit trying to act like you know that if I'm angry that I must not be able to hide it around son & DIL. That's completely ridiculous. I have never thought that just because you rookins are a DIL that you and my DIL are one in the same, I've never even implied it, so if you think that way it is the chip on your shoulder and no other.

Rookins states that it was her husband who estranged himself from his parents, that she had nothing to do with it. Yet, it was she and her husband that changed the way 'they' thought and things became at peace. I seriously doubt no matter what your role rookins, that you did indeed play a part in this play.

I can't wait for Amy and Rookins to get a little older and wiser, and then hear their opinions of the world. I thought I knew everything at their age, as do most people. There is a reason why they treat the elderly with great respect in Japan, and that is because they have lived life fully, and seen most if not all of what it has to offer. Only in this country do they attempt to hang on to their youthful looks as if that makes them any younger. It is how you feel inside, not out, that makes the difference.

It seems there has been a lot of misinterpretation in these posts, and there probably always will be. It is too difficult to judge from an email just what a persons emotional state is.

When I found this site I was thrilled because I am the type of person who keeps my anger and hurt inside. It was finally a place that I could voice anything I felt about the people who have hurt me since I can never say the things here that I would say to them. So for some of you to come to the conclusion that I must not be able to hide my hate when I see the people I love since I voice it so freely here, is quite a leep and simply stupid. I have been eating my DILs wrath since she started dating my son. I have done nothing but bend over, apologize and be pleasant. My husband has done the same, but hasn't hid his feelings quite as good as me when tensions were high. Yet we never did anything that would have led to the estrangement we now have. DIL has planted lies and brainwashed our son like a pro. If I can't vent here, then I possibly will show my feelings to my son & DIL, and that is something I want to avoid at all costs. It sickens me the conclusions some people can draw, and the hurt they can produce from those conclusions. If this is the type of posts that are going to be made after a person vents that is very hurt, very angry, and at her wits end on what to do to change the situation, then I will start writing a diary where I don't need to hear any hurtful and negative feedback regarding who I am.

anniebal

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rookins81

Amy,
This is insanity isn't it? It's not even worth it to reply to her posts anymore. I am done...

It is sad to see people who are so seething with anger that they cannot heal.

Bye for good..

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amyfiddler

I've been called young. Now that's insane...but I could get used to that - !!!! If only it were true.

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imaginny

Anniebal and everyone,
Message boards are great resources for support. However, they aren't a substitute for a professional therapist. I've seen division and conflict develop in another online group (Family Rifts) which is set up as a support on this same topic. People tend to project all kinds of things onto complete strangers. It is a sensitive topic and it is easy to read between the lines and find things that may or may not be there. I have seen it happen in other places that people start judging each other, arguing, and leaving the group as the arguments begin and the discussion gets more heated.

I think some people come to a board such as this and it becomes their main source of support. A board like this is not a substitute for a good professional therapist. The people that come here to discuss are just people who are hurting or have been hurt in the past. None of us are professionals. This is like a group therapy situation and things are playing out as they do sometimes in group therapy but there is not a professional here who can intervene and point out things that might bring the discussion back to a place where something productive can come of it.

Anniebal, I do think that you could benefit a lot by seeing a therapist. Not because I think that you need to be "fixed". But because you could benefit from the input and support of someone who was more neutral, more objective, and who would be less likely to get into a fight with you about how you are feeling and thinking. I think that you are hoping to get more out of this board than it can provide. There are limits to what an online support group can do and what is happening right now is a demonstration of that.

I wish you all the best and hope that in the long run there is resolution and healing.

Ginny

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imaginny

On the topic of enlisting support from family and others to try to convince the estranger of the error of their ways, I can't recall that I have ever seen it work out. I have seen it happen that anyone else who jumps into the situation and tries to change someone's mind, that they usually end up being estranged by them too.

I think too that it complicates things. The situation goes from the estrangement being only between a very few family members to being between many more as more and more are enlisted to take sides.

I say this because that is what I've seen happen. If enlisting the support of others worked, then I'd be all for it.

I recall one time that someone's brother did reconnect with the sister that he had estranged for years because he found a girlfriend who urged him to reconcile. But no one asked his girlfriend to do that. She did it on her own. If someone had asked her to do it, maybe it wouldn't have worked out the way that it did.

Sometimes, as hard as it is, it makes sense to learn acceptance and patience and stop fighting what is.

Ginny

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anniebal

To imaginny, I have been seeing a therapist off and on for 6 months. They have helped me a great deal, but when I'm not seeing them for a few weeks and something happens that is stressful in-between, I come to this board to vent and get others opinions on my situation. However, I don't come here to be judged by people who are not professionals. Just as one cannot hear voice inflictions in a written letter, the same goes for an email. It is just far too easy to mis-interpret who or what someone is saying or acting by reading an email or post.

My therapist has confirmed everything I think about my son and DIL. She is working with me to help me not obcess over the situation, which has been the most difficult part. It seems just as I'm doing better, that then I'm confronted with a situation such as seeing him/them at my sisters home. It was so hurtful to hear him in the kitchen with his wife yucking it up with anyone else but me & my husband. I don't care if he keeps up his ties with the rest of the family, what I care about is being there when he is doing it. The family isn't going to cut them out of their lives, they are simply going to suggest that they come see them a different day then when we will not be there. They are going to be sure to let him know that they love him, but that it is hurting his parent's too much to be at the same get together as them, and that we're going to avoid it whenever possible. I don't think this is enlisting them to get my son to change, that was never the plan.

Even my therapist stated that by the rest of the family continuing to see them and act just the same to them as they do to us, is a form of enabling. My sons aunts and uncles are not holding him accountable for bad behavior, at all. In this sense, it emboldens my son and dil to believe they have done no wrong, since if they were wrong, the family certainly wouldn't be so inviting and nice to them. I hope this makes sense, since it makes perfect sense to me. It's just like my husband whose parent's were alcoholics. We learned all about how the family enables this type of bad behavior and it isn't until that stops that the alcoholic is forced to face their problem.

All I want is the people who love me to at least appreciate how much it hurts to be at the same gathering as my son & dil when they don't acknowledge us. The only way he seems to be able to talk to us is if we speak to him, he never strikes up a conversation with us. It was my youngest son at the last get together that my son text messaged asking him a question about my husband and I. My youngest son text messaged him back saying that if he wants to know, to ask me himself. That was good thinking on my youngests part. I truly believe that my dil has given him some type of ultimatum about talking to us or seeing us. He won't even take a phone call, which seems really extreme.

My husband simply shook hands with both my son and dil at the last get together. When my son was leaving and they did approach everyone to say goodbye, my dil was going to make a curve by my husband in order to avoid his handshake. This didn't stop my husband however, and he extended his hand so that she couldn't avoid it. However, when she shook his hand, she turned away and had these pursed lips and angry look on her face. It really showed her true colors to say the least. I was glad that our youngest son witnessed the look on her face, otherwise we probably would have thought we were exagerating because of our bias.

As hard a time as I had with my husband's father when we married, I never made any faces or display of a lack of respect. His father was very hard to deal with because of his alcohol and control problem. I came from a very italian home where when we were mad we raised our voices, and even shouted at times. Later, the dust would settle and no one was upset, it was just the way things were. However, at my hubby's his dad and mom were from the south, and very strict (on top of being alcoholics, or from it.) His dad thought I was too wild I think, and my husbands little sister lead him to believe this. It took years for his dad to come to like me, but it was never an issue of even considering not seeing him or his mom. It was just a given that one see's each others parents.

Parents are people, they make mistakes, but it does seem today (generally speaking of course,) there are many young adults who have a very hard time with the parent's not meeting their expectations. I never heard of any estrangements growing up. The family had arguements and would walk away mad sometimes from their siblings, but next time there was a get together everything was as usual. I guess i just don't get the cutting people out of your life thing. I don't get not trying to get along, afterall, your only together with your married children 1/2 dozen times a year. Surely during these few visits they can all put their negative feelings about each other aside, and just get along for the day?

I guess I'm old fashioned.

I am trying to learn acceptance and patience, but this has been the hardest thing I've ever had to deal with, even exceeding the death of my father who I was so close to. I had an equally close relationship with my oldest son, as did my husband. We are a very kiss and hug family, and we did almost everything with our kids while they were growing up. We defintely put them first that's for sure. I think the problem came in when my son met my dil and she was not from a close family. Perhaps she felt threatened by our relationship (all of ours, not just mine.) There was certainly something that made her dislike us, and it was from almost the very beginning. We spent 3.5 years trying to please my son and his new wife until we took them on an expensive vacation only for my dil to be moody, sulky, and aloof without explanation. We finally boiled over at the last few days of the trip. My son saw her behavior, but didn't say or do anything in our defense. If he had, I think all of this would or could have been avoided. Yet, my therapist tells me that with her personality, it will always be something. She is so right, it is unbelievable. Until my son can stand up to her and say he's not going to take her treating his mom and dad in this manner, and that he still can have a relationship with us whether she likes us or not, nothing will change.

She almost certainly has a personality disorder, probably narcisstic. That is hard to impossible to deal with.

amniebal

PS...please know that I come hear to scream and let everything out that I can't do around anyone else except my husband since no one would understand. I'm really nothing but nice to my son and dil when I see them, and my youngest son told me he is so proud of how I act in front of them. I've asked him because i want to be sure I'm not showing negative emotion.

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amyfiddler

I recommend you show this thread to your therapist so she can understand your pain.

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imaginny

Anniebal, You wrote, "However, I don't come here to be judged by people who are not professionals."

Yes, I can understand that. No one else comes here to be judged by people who are not professionals too. You dislike being judged and I do understand that. However, you seem to be missing the fact that you are doing a whole lot of judging of others who post here. This is triggering a whole lot of irritation and anger by everyone who is feeling judged by you.

In another recent post you said, "As for calling names, when I state I feel you are immature and naive, that is an opinion or judgment, certainly not name calling." So you know when you are judging someone.

As for generations and estrangement, my FIL who is now in his eighties estranged his entire family many decades ago. My Italian MIL from my first marriage estranged her younger sister for something like 25 years over something petty. She was in her nineties when she died. There is an excellent book on estrangement, "Fragmented Families", which talks about estrangement in depth over the centuries. It is written by a woman in her seventies.

Estrangement isn't so simple as being the responsibility of one generation or another. Nor is it something that can be easily resolved under the conditions that you describe. It can't be pushed and pulled. It isn't black and white.

My post about enlisting others in the family to take sides was more about the idea of asking others to talk to your son and DIL than it was about asking your sister and others to invite you and your son to come at different times. I can see how that might make sense. However, as painful as it is to be present while your son & DIL are having a good time, if you are all there for family gatherings, the chances of things eventually getting smoothed over are higher than if you don't see each other at all. I have been told in the past that feelings won't kill us and that has been true so far in my life. Sometimes if you take the high road and remember that your feelings won't kill you, you can stand quite a bit.

I know this is painful and it would be infinitely preferable to find a solution in the near future. Sometimes we just don't have any choice in the matter. Pushing can make it worse.

Ginny

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anniebal

Hi Ginny. I see your point in my statement regarding judgment. However, that being said, I do not think I have judged others on here before they have judged me. Every time I have felt defensive, it is because someone has made derogatory remarks about me and my anger. I can say almost 100 percent that I would never have made negatives remarks if they hadn't been thrown at me first.

As far as enlisting help, we have asked that someone close to us talk to our son. However, no one has followed through. His grandmother has been the only one to try to get him to calm down and talk with us. My son manages to pat her on the leg and just put her off with his words that everything will work out.

Whether it strengthens the chance of us smoothing things out or not, I'm not going to expose myself to my son and his wife at get togethers. If that is what it takes, I doubt it would be much of a relationship anyway. My son has to quit being an injustice collector, realize the mistakes they have made, and really try to move ahead without dwelling on the past mistakes he feels we have made. Despite all our hurt, we've been willing to move forward with no mention of our past difficulties. Unfortunately they cannot do this.

That's interesting that you knew of so many estrangements. As I stated, I knew of none until my sister and I were apart for 2-3 years. My sister is also an injustice collector, much like my son and dil. I bent over backwards my entire life for her, but eventually she got so weird that we broke off relations for a while. Since we've been sisters again it has been much better, but she is also on meds to help her manage her issues. We'll never be really close, but we are happy to see each other, have normal conversations and genuinely care about each other. I just can't let my guard down again for fear I will be hurt again. I'm sure this is how it will be with my son if we do ever re-unite.

We have undoubtably taken the high road, and been the more mature (as we should be I feel.) The ball is in his/their court now, and once again I am working at moving on. Seeing him just sets me back, every time.

anniebal

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garden60

My adult son and I have always been close. When an old high school girlfriend resurfaced after 6 years (she dumped him before), they were engaged within 3 months, he drew out all his savings ($11,000) to buy a townhouse she and her step-mother picked out (she hates her biological mother) put her name on the deed; when it came to wedding plans, her step mom told us we were to split the bill but they would invite 120 guests and my husband and I could invite 60 guests. DIL was very demanding, calling me to tell me we should give them more $$ for the wedding than her parents,she" would decide where the grooms dinner would be, etc. Then my son and DIL sent us an email saying my other son is no longer in the wedding, we are not allowed to come to the grooms dinner/rehearsal and could not invite anyone to the wedding. At the wedding they had 185 guests, our side was 14 people he invited. 3 weeks after the wedding they came to our house told us we were not welcome at their wedding but nonetheless, were mad because we didnÂt stay for all of the reception/dance. She challenged our son to "tell your mother off". She swore, and they left our house with my DIL yelling at my husband and I "F _ _ _ You."

We invited them for Thanksgiving and Christmas, no response and did not show. Her plan was to pull my son completely away from his immediate family. He is afraid of losing her if he causes a riffle. I sent them an email saying we have all hurt each other but we are starting a new year, should offer and receive apologies and let me be the first to apologize (for not meeting DIL demands, ?). Anyway, no response. I called him 3 weeks ago to see if we could have lunch, got his voicemail, then he emailed me to say he has crohn's disease (surprise to me) and that he wants NO more emails, phone calls, birthday cards, etc. HE will let us know if and when he wants to connect with us again? Has anyone else been where we are?

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anniebal

Hi Garden60, your story sounds all too familiar to me. It sounds like your son is with the same type of woman my son married. Have you read Mark Sichels book on Healing Family rifts & estrangements? I recommend it even if it doesn't end up getting you back together, it will offer some perspective as to why this happens.

How is your younger son taking it after he was told he wasn't in the wedding? How close in age are they? It sounds like you met all their demands, which is very much like we did. We loved our son so much that we wanted to do anything to keep him happy, and if that meant giving in to outlandish demands, being criticized for things we didn't do, or mean to do, and apologizing countless times for crimes we didn't commit.

We also were restricted with the wedding plans. We were told we invited too many people (though we were in the amount they allowed us to have,) then we were told that I didn't need to invite some of the people on the list, that my son didn't know them so why would they be invited.

Your situation sounds even worse then ours however. I can't imagine that you were only allowed to have 14 people! Did you ever question this, or did they raise a fit when you did? How was this ever justified? Also, how did it come that you didn't get to choose the place for the rehearsal dinner, did they pay for it themselves? Do you know her biological parents at all? I wonder if she doesn't like her real mother because she has put her mom through the same type of things that she and your son put you through for their wedding.

It sounds like your dil set her sites on your son because she wanted to get married, but didn't want the family that comes along with it. Your son is probably a go along, like mine is. I have kept waiting for my son to tell his wife that she has gone too far, and I've been waiting for this since shortly after they were dating! Yet, he says nothing. She has completely brainwashed him against us. He will not even take our calls, or take up several offers we've made to get together, move on, put the bad memories in the past, and try to resolve things.

How long has it been since you've seen him, or since the blow out of your dil telling you to 'F' off? What did your son do when she said that to you. Our you married, or divorced? How is your (ex?)husband handling this?

It took us 3.5 years to reach the point we did last June, when my dil ruined the trip to Hawaii that we took them on, and paid for. It was arguing all summer, and finally things came to a massive head the 3rd week of October. We didn't see him/them for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Years. In early January I sent both a text message and voice message asking if he and I could just get together to talk things over, that I had some ideas about how we could reconcile the situation and move forward. A day after he got my message I received an email telling me he isn't emotionally ready to see us. He also used this occassion to give me a cheap apology for what he called me during our arguement in October. His grandmother had been telling him that he should apologize for what he said, even if we still don't see each other. Well, I opened the door for him on this one since now technically he apologized like his grandma wanted! It was awful and cheap.

Then when my husband decided to text my son and let him know that are neighbor who he is/was very close to is dying of cancer. We decided that he should know this, regardless of our relationship. My son sent a two sentence email to my husband thanking him for the information, and then another 'oh by the way' sorry to hear about the cancer on your nose! The skin cancer happened a month before his remark, and this again was a chance for him to appear to be doing the right thing. The question of course would be why he didn't contact his dad if he was really concerned?!!

Since then we were exposed to them in person at a gathering at my sisters. Though we were very cordial to them, they wouldn't strike up any conversation with us. Finally I butted into a conversation between my brother and son, just to hopefully get him to talk to me. Though he answered my questions, it was the shortest conversation ever. I hugged them both goodbye, though my husband would only shake their hands, and it was over. It is really difficult to hear your family laughing and carrying on with a woman that you feel has ruined your family relationship with your son. It was so hurtful that I told my sister and brother I won't do this again. Perhaps as some say it is an opportunity for things to eventually smooth over, but I don't see it this way. I know this girl all to well. I know what a liar and manipulator she is. I know she is narcisstic, and thus exhibits a superior attitude to make up for her low self esteem. I know my dil is not close to her own family, but I also know that her family jumps at the snap of their daughters fingers. I think my dil mom is the same as she is. The husband, or my dil dad is depressed, withdrawn, and barely participates in any conversation. My son told me before they were married that he told his wife that he never wanted her treating him like her mom treats her dad. My son had a million red flags, but didn't allow any of them to interfere with the plans. Now I picture him becoming like my dil dad.

Anyway, there are many of us here are where you are. Your not alone, but the hurt is so deep for me to this day that I am seeing a therpaist, and still frequent this board for support. The forum is great for venting, unless some people wish to form opinions about you based on that venting. I've never attacked anyone, but have in defense to negative comments about me, lashed back.

I'm interested in hearing more details from you. In the mean time, get that book, it does help.

anniebal

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allid72

I have been reading this forum having experienced estrangement in my own family. I must say I was hesitant to post but after reading the recent post I felt the need to. I think annebal and garden60 are the same poster. You can tell in the writing style and the too similar storyline. I think she wanted to continue a dialogue with herself. I have been a member of other forums and have seen this happen many times. Members will have several usernames they post under to get attention and start fights. They also call them internet trolls. It is unfortunate since it ruins the forum itself for everyone else.

Just had to point that out. I will not be posting my experience here now after seeing what this poster is up to unless she leaves the forum eventually. Seems almost everyone else here has good things to say.

Allison

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anniebal

amyfiddler, allison and rookins....your hardly worth the time I'm taking to respond, however I waste a few seconds. Your paranoid accusations, criticisms, unsupported opinions are not welcome here. People at this site need to count on others for support and understanding, and that's not what you have to offer. How dare you imply that I am posing as two people, or that someone is writing in support of me! If someone is writing in my defense it is because they feel so inclinded to do so. I don't need to create a duel personality so that I can shower myself with false support. I could careless if any of the three of you understand, or offer support to me. You don't belong on a forum that is seeking to help others and have others empathize with the immense pain that is resulting from our children's estrangement. Unfortunately, I feel the three of you are the cause of those estrangements. This would explain some of your hostile remarks, heartless comments, lack of empathy, and lies.

I truly hope you three will find another forum to go to where this is acceptable behavior.

I understand now why sniffles left, I just feel so badly that you three are the reason.

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garden60

A friend of mine who reads this post suggested I read about sniffles' situation. I guess I haven't read every post so didn't know she no longer shares herself.

To answer a few of the questions: 1) it is my younger son who is estranged; his older brother by 3 years has no communication with him since he told him he didn't want him in his wedding; 2) we didn't meet all their demands because it was my DIL making them, not my son and we said our son had to ask us for money, not her; 3) after the email telling us no guests, they asked us to meet with them at a park. My husband and I believe they sent their email too quickly telling us we were not involved any longer and our check would be returned, in the hopes we would plead with them to reconsider. We did not; we just told them we would go along with their wishes; 4) my DIL insisted the rehearsal dinner would be where she wanted it, we gave in and my husband dropped a check off with my son to pay for it, but then we told we could not attend. I recenlty found out they told everyone we refused to come (the minister commented that they are very immature and she is a drama queen); 5) we saw our son and DIL about 6 months ago when she was so verbally abusive in our home; 6) my husband says after the email from our son telling us he wants nothing to do with us to just leave them alone; he thinks she will leave our son and then he will reconnect with his family again; and 7) my family (small - I have 1 sister and my husband is an only child) want nothing to do with my son because of his nastiness.

Hope that answers your questions. I have huge support groups with family, friends, a Christian counsellor, but yet each day can be a challenge if I allow my thinking to stray to the typical mother thoughts "what if". I am working on living my life to the fullest, even if it means without my son. I count my blessing every day. My sister keeps telling me to not loose any brain cells thinking sad thoughts. She is right.

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imaginny

Allison, I read several boards on the topic of estrangement and I have read garden60's posts on one of those boards. I read the post on the other board suggesting to garden60 that she come here and read this board. Garden60 and anniebal are two different mothers.

I've seen it happen where someone will use two identities on a board. Or even three or more. But it's not happening in the case of anniebal and garden60.

Ginny

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njtea

Allison, so many of our estrangements are so very similar, especially in those cases when an estranged child is married to a controller, that it is easy to get posters and experiences mixed up.

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imaginny

I think the board is at its limit of 150 posts. I can try to start a new thread but don't know how to do it. I'll look to see if I can find out how. If I don't succeed, perhaps someone who knows how to do it will start one?

Ginny

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Some random thoughts about this from someone who is NOT young.

If my MIL wanted me to call her "mom", she'd be out of luck. Nope, sorry, get over it. If she wanted me to call her "Mrs. Last Name", I'd be fine with it--providing she called me "Mrs. Last Name" as well. I understand not wanting to be called by your first name, however, it's a foolish MIL who makes an issue out of it (even if you drop it later). Most ILs who don't settle the question to everyone's satisfaction, end up not calling their ILs anything. This works, even if it's a bit awkward.

Even if you pay for part of the wedding, or the house downpayment, or the vacation, or the baby gear, or whatever...YOU GET NO SAY. If you can't give a gift without strings attached, don't give the gift. The difference between a gift and a bribe is...what? The strings. The only legitimate stipulation you put on it is that is cannot be used for anything illegal. If you are making a business deal, (like house downpayment money to be used ONLY for a house downpayment--not for a new car, etc...), put it in writing. If you can't afford to lose the money, don't give it. If you can't give it without strings, don't give it. They will learn to refuse ANY gifts from you, and you will be left wailing: "I'm not even allowed to give my grandchildren a birthday present." Remember: it's not a present if you feel the gift entitles you to ANYTHING more than a thank you. If you do feel entitled to something in return, it's a business deal and you are required to state upfront the return expectations. Bait and switch is illegal and unethical. "I'll buy you a car, if you spend summer vacation with me" if fair; your adult child has the right to agree or not.

If you want a wedding done your way, get married yourself or remarry your husband. Other than that, shut up and leave it alone. It's not your turn, it's not your wedding, your opinions and preferences and taste don't matter. You have no more say in your child's wedding, than you have a say in MY child's wedding.

And that brings up the subject of rights, and I say this as the parent of an adult child--you have none. NONE. You may have some rights in certain circumstances, such as they live under your roof, so you set the rules of the household. But in truth, in reality, legally...you have NO RIGHTS. Wise parents don't forget this. Adult children in America have the right to completely abandon their parents and to shut them out in every way. You don't have the right to give them advice, to decide their medical treatment, to choose their careers, spouses, or domicile. You don't have the right to call, to visit, to spend holidays together, to expect repayment for all you did as a parent. As soon as you hear yourself saying, "I have the right..." or even THINK it, remind yourself that you are wrong. Yes, you are WRONG. And you are fooling yourself and setting yourself up for disapointment. A wise mother/MIL appreciates and is grateful for everything she receives from her adult children, even if she wishes it were more. The more you appreciate and the less you demand, the more you will end up with. We've all heard the story of the mother who spends a rare visit with her son whining that he doesn't visit more; and then wonders why he doesn't want to see her.

Also remember: in no relationship do both people care the same. There is always someone who cares more and someone who cares less. The person who cares less has the most power. When that well-established psychological rule of thumb is applied to intergenerational relationships, it mostly plays out that the younger generation cares less about the relationship than the older one. There are many reasons for this: older people have fewer distractions in life (careers, education, hobbies, friends, minor children, financial obligations, etc...) and value relationships more, and life tends to look forward not back. Your adult children are genetically programed to feel more attachment to their partner and their own children than to their parents. No amount of whining, manipulation, or guilt tripping will change that. Love for partner and children does not exclude love for parent, but it is important for parents of adult children to understand their place in their children's lives. It's a difficult change, because at one point you DID have all the power in the relationship and you WERE the most important person in your child's life. Some parents find the change in status to be liberating; many parents of adult children find the change in status difficult and frightening. They cling, they demand, they set up tests of loyalty, they try to manuevre proof that nothing has changed...and they lose out. It's a huge change to your life to bring a child into it...and it's an equally large adjustment to see them go. If you don't let go voluntarily, they will wrench themselves away violently. The closer you were, the larger the chasm. The parent has to let it happen. Once the boundary has been well established, and only until it's been established, can the adult child form an adult version of a close parent/child relationship. All parents think they've let go; many of those with trouble parent child relationships have not, and are fooling themselves.

"If you loved my son you would...", "If you loved your mother you would...", "If you loved your husband you would..." Sorry, that's just plain manipulation. Those sentences are generally completed by demands that have nothing to do with love. It is manipulation, it's CLASSIC manipulation, and even when people can't put their finger on what's wrong with it, they know it and feel manipulated. My MIL tried this; she wanted my husband's attention on our honeymoon. "If your wife loved you, she would let you spend time with your mother on your honeymoon." And I pointed out, "If MIL really loved her son, she'd leave him alone on his honeymoon." Yes, she huffed and puffed about how there was no doubt she loved him, but she never pulled that stunt again.

Remember: just because someone does not like you or rejects you, it does not make them an "N". Nor does disliking you make anyone mentally ill, defective, immature, unable to love (they are just unable to love YOU perhaps), jealous, insecure, immature or anything. Remember also, a famous characteristic of "N"s is the proclivity to label everyone else "N"s. If someone doesn't like you, it's probably for the same reason you don't like them: because of personality and flaws, and probably because of mistakes in the relationship. Apologize for the mistakes you made. If the relationship is important to you, mitigate the parts of you they object to when you are around them. If the other one is bothered by your excessive talking, talk less around them. You aren't OBLIGATED to modify your behavior around them, but then again, they aren't obligated to be around you. Dr Phil points out: people gravitate toward pleasure and away from pain. You cause your adult children pain, they will probably drift away. Conversely, if they've drifted away, you've probably caused them pain.

Another thing: adult children almost never become estranged without first trying to reason it out with their parents first. They will tell you what the problem is and ask you to do something different. You are a FOOL if you ignore this. This is the only way you are going to be able to fix the problem--listen and RESPECT the complaint and change. Dismissing their complaint will not fix it, minimizing it will not work, arguing about it will not work. If the complaint is so off the wall or outrageous, such as accusing you of sexual molestation, the problem is unfixable, and it is in your best interest to support the estrangement, or work through it with professional intervention. However, this is rare. Most adult children who have complaints about their parents strong enough to cut them off are not inventing things out of nowhere, they may be blowing them a bit out of proportion, but they have valid complaints.

If you are punitive to your adult children (ie, I don't like how they behaved on vacation, so you insist they call you a different name), do not be surprised if they are punitive to you. Don't scream bloody unfair when after you've given the grandchildren chocolate though being told not to, your adult children say you won't be seeing them the rest of the summer. If you give your kids the silent treatment, don't be surprised if you get it right back.

Words once spoken exist forever, you can't erase them by saying, "Everyone says horrible things when they are angry". Actually no, but even if it were true, words once said cannot be unspoken. Don't expect people to pretend you didn't say them. All you can do is apologize sincerely and stop saying hateful things. You aren't in Jr High School, so don't act like it. If you find yourself doing this too often, it's YOUR problem (meaning no one's making you do it), get a therapist and learn self control and healthier ways of expressing yourself. Remember, if you attack people you claim you love, they will eventually start to avoid you.

Any woman who tries to persuade your adult child not to marry is a HUGE FOOL. Remember your adult child knows everything about their potential spouse PLUS STUFF YOU DON'T--and they've still decided to marry. It may indeed be the biggest mistake ever, and you may be completely right. But you might as well commit hari keri than to argue, badger, and nag your child into not marrying someone they want to marry.

All parents of adult children need to know the difference between helping and meddling. The difference is: is your input wanted? If no one asked you, assume your advice or 'help' is unwanted. It's your job to ENSURE your contribution is welcomed. If you go ahead and 'help' and find out later it was not wanted, you were the one who was wrong. Your good intentions don't count. Just don't do it. Don't interfere, impose, advise, butt in, until you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that your participation is welcome. Arguing about whether or not someone should want your help is like arguing that someone should like brussel sprouts; if they don't, they don't. Nobody thanks meddlers, even well intentioned ones who are just trying to be nice. Nice people make sure they aren't imposing; well intentioned people listen to the wishes of others. Fools jump in where angels fear to tred. Let your children manage their own money, careers, education, decorate their own houses, raise their own children, and plan their own vacations and holidays. If they want to include you, great. But they don't have to, and you have no right to insist. And your wisdom, experience, and maturity don't mean as much to other people as you think--they are yours. Also remember you don't have to bail them out of their mistakes, but if you do, don't assume that gives you permission to take over their lives.

Don't expect everyone to fight your battles for you. If you are angry with your adult children, don't think everyone else in the family or the community should take up your cause. This is a strong indicator of dysfunctional relationships. It's call triangulation and it ALWAYS makes communication worse and problem solving more difficult. Other people have their own relationships and experiences with your estranged children, and it's not fair to expect them to sacrifice those relationships to make you feel better. If everyone has problems with the estranged adult child, don't be gleeful: you are the one who raised this difficult person, you bear some responsibility for how disappointingly they turned out. And if the estrangement hurts you, you still hurt no matter who agrees or disagrees.

Remember too, no one can MAKE your adult child ignore you. No one can steal your child, no one can turn them against you. Your child can contact you if he really wanted to. He would see you if he cared enough to. No matter how horrible you imagine your child's spouse to be, no matter how much pressure you think your DIL or Son-IL puts on your child to cut you off, the fact is there are always ways to keep in contact with you if they wanted. It's hurtful to acknowledge that your child chooses to participate in shunning you. But it's also the beginning of healing the rift. You can make all the excuses for your child you want (he's weak, he's scared, he's immature, he's brainwashed, he's a complete idiot, he's mentally ill too), but until you deal with the fact that he is choosing to reject you, you will not see his point of view, and without seeing his point of view, you can't fix a thing.

ANd finally, just because you put up with mistreatment and disagreeableness from your parents and in-laws does not mean, your children and in laws must put up with disagreeableness from you. Things change, and not putting up with disagreeable people is a positive change in society. If you are a certain age, it was completely acceptable for your father to beat your mother; now it's not, and the world is a better place for it (altho wife beaters usually don't agree).

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