DIL cannot forgive my son

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-30-2007
DIL cannot forgive my son
15
Mon, 09-23-2013 - 10:37am

Hi, me again.  Well, I checked back to see when I posted about this, and it's been over a month.  Evidently my DIL still hasn't forgiven my son about this.  It was such a stupid thing to be mad about in the first place and then to tell others about it at the family reunion.  I cannot believe it, but she still brings this up and she's still mad about it.  Their counselor said that they won't get anywhere with the counseling until she can learn to forgive him.  To refresh your memory, it was a comment he made to her about her family being fake and they pretend to like each other.  She was the only one that heard it.  He has apologized over and over again.  How many times can you beat a dead horse????   My son is supposed to call me today and I'm going to suggest they go talk to their minister about how to forgive.  DIL likesthisminister so maybe this could help.  The counselor evidently has a crazy schedule that it's hard for them to get in without my son missing a bunch of work.  I'm thinking they'll have to find someone else who has a more flexible schedule.  It's too bad because this is a really good counselor, but that is why he's so busy.  I'm just sick about this, again.  I just feel like there's no hope for them if she can't grow up, learn to forgive, not make such a big deal out of little things, and move on.  She's still spending too much time at her mommy's when he is at work.  (Sorry about those words running together up above, when I tried to fix it it was eating the rest of the words, this has happened to me before anybody know why that happens?)  I'm making an appointment with my own counselor again.  I cannot bare the thought of my grandbaby living in separate households.  But, it seems, by the way she is behaving that she doesn't really care if they are married or not.  She has her baby and she has her life, and many things she does do not include my son either because he is working, or that she just makes plans without him.  What kind of a marriage is this?  I still think they should never have gotten married but too late for that!  My husband has gone so far to say that she planned this.  She just wanted a baby, and now she has one, so she has no use for our son.  Could he be right? 

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iVillage Member
Registered: 05-02-2014
Fri, 05-02-2014 - 7:30am
It's not your problem, it's theirs. But the one who started it was your son because his comment was rude and it concerns your DIL's family. With just one rude comment from your son, it will ruin a good bonding relationship between two families. To avoid further marriage crisis, http://marriagesavednow.com has some fail-proof ways to save their marriage.
Avatar for shirley_v
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-29-2000
Fri, 09-27-2013 - 1:16pm

Julsie, I am late to this discussion as I have been away for a while.  Anyway I have read all the posts in this thread now.  The one thing/sense/tone I have got from your posts about this is your sense of desperation - a desperation to 'fix' the problem between your son and DIL.  I am sure you won't disagree, actually.  I already know you would wish they solve their problems in their relationship and so that they are a happy family and that your DGD has a happy home (and that you won't feel that you 'lose' her to your DIL in a sense if the parents split up?). 

I think what others here have been saying is that YOU won't be able to FIX the problem despite all your efforts to give advice and act as a 'counselor' to your son in all this.  I get the feeling that the desperation you exhibit is behind all this desire to 'fix' things and well, maybe you just won't be able to.  Something you could consider and think about - to 'let go' in that respect...let go of the keen desire to help so much. 

Now there are ways to counsel, there are ways to listen and that's why there are professionals who do this for a living (with the hope that they do know their stuff!).  I get the strong impression from what you write that you are laying a lot of blame on your DIL and are feeling not just supportive of your son, but actually are feeling 'protective' of him (just as maybe you felt when he was bullied in school).  Counseling is being objective in seeing a situation.  I do wonder if you can be that objective in this case.  I have an older friend who has had a lot of life experiences and gained wisdom (as I see it, in her later years) and likes to counsel her young men and women friends - she's not a professional but I do see that she is enough 'removed' from them (i.e. not a parent) to look at what they tell her in an objective manner.  She also likes to focus on the person's behaviour - so that when they go on and on about 'what she did or what he did' (i.e. the OTHER person in relationship) in a given situation, she likes to bring the young person she's counseling back to where that person looks at their own behaviour in a situation...i.e. in other words, STOP BLAMING the OTHER person for your ills and problems (and expecting them to be different, better, more loving, more this, that or more whatever!).

I see that you are focusing and blaming A LOT on your DIL.  Whether she is responsible for this or that is besides the point...  I have said it before...there takes two to tango and it's no good to keep looking at the OTHER person as the problem in any situation.  I know, I know..in one breath you say this and that about her, and then in the next you say that yes, your DS is responsible too for doing this or that to contribute to the relationship problems. So then you want to give him some advice so he can go and do just what is needed to 'fix' their relationship woes.

We all make mistakes, so many of us have difficutlies in relationships in getting along with others - mostly because of our own hang ups, our own screwed up needs that we hope others will "all make better" in a relationship.  Your DS and DIL were attracted to each other at one time and saw something in each other that the other felt they needed and heaven knows so many of us (or all?) have gone through that early in the relationship "infatuation' period where we see the other person as always more wonderful than they really are! 

Compassion isn't a bad thing to have along with trying to see things in an objective light.  Maybe you won't be able to be objective.  Maybe you need to consider that you really can't 'fix' things in this desperate situation.  Maybe you can listen to your son but can you truly not take 'sides'? Assumptions, suppositions and conjecture about the other person, and the situation are dangerous if you even believe that they are the truth.  The can be false, they can be only PART of the situation and we can never really know all what the other person is truly feeling and thinking.  As my friend likes to say, "We only know this much (followed by two fingers coming very closely together to show how much!) about a person.  

I think what everyone here is saying over and over is that you personally cannot 'fix' things...you are trying too hard to do that and you need to step back - and if possible be more objective.  Perhaps your DIL and DS can't fix it between themselves.  You seem to imply that they would need a lot of effort and time at therapy to get to a place where they will resolve relationship issues.  But again...that takes two to be willing to work at it.  You have no real control over your DIL and your DS in this.  So it may work ..............or it may not. 

I guess that's as much as I can say without repeating myself.  That's my 2 cents!

Shirley

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-30-2007
Tue, 09-24-2013 - 10:34am

Hi Nora.  I know I need counseling with this, and I am getting it.  It's just crazy because before I go for my next appointment something else comes up in between and it throws me for a loop.  As I said though, I don't see any problem with my "interferring" in my other son's lives.  My middle son never tells me anything, and I mean NOTHING!  So, there's no possible way I can get in his business.  His fiance' is very mature and responsible for herself, unlike my DIL.  (and she's two years younger)  My third son's girlfriend is also polar opposite of my DIL, so I don't foresee any problems there either.  If DIL wasn't running to mommy, then she could get mad at my son for going to me for advice.  (I don't think she knows he talks to me as much as he does)  I know son and DIL need to grow up, but that isn't going to happen overnight.  I just think he needs a little extra help to get through this. I know you all think I'm not listening to you, but I am reading everything you say, and I am using some of your advice.  I just still feel right now that my son needs me.  I don't think your kids ever stop needing you even when they grow up.  I will talk to my counselor about this, but my appointment is not for another week.  I thought that when my son and DIL moved back to her hometown before they got married that it would be nice that she was closer to her family.  It is the worst thing that could've happened to their relationship.  My husband and I lived away from our families for the first three years we were married and I still say it is the best thing that ever happened to us.  But, the difference is is that both families were away from us, not one close and one further away.  I never had the close relationship with my mom that my two sons have with me, I cherish these relationships.  My mom also became ill with Parkinson's disease when we were first married.  I am the youngest of 6 and my mom was 40 when she had me so when she got the Parkinson's disease she aged very quickly and there was no way she could've helped me with anything.  Even though it forced me to grow up and be reponsible, I many times wished I could've turned to her for advice.  I did ask her for advice when my first son was a baby, but after that she became too sick to help with anything, either by giving me advice or by babysitting.  Anyhow, so all I can do is hope for the best.  That he finds a way to apologize so that she forgives him, and that they can figure out a way to get along. 

Avatar for nora_mcl
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-30-2011
Tue, 09-24-2013 - 9:44am

Julsie-I'm sorry that you do not see what you are doing is the exact opposite of what you say you would do. He isn't running home to you physically-but you are not encouraging him to settle things himself. Of course he isn't sharing with his friends-he's too embarrassed to be seen as a wimp to his friends or workmates.

Good Luck in managing his life, his brothers lives & whatever lies ahead for everyone in the family. I'm thinking that maybe you need the help & counseling to learn to let go. I know you feel a need to help, & you feel you are doing what is best for everyone-but if you were the dil-would you appreciate the interferrence? I would not-I'd want my dh to "Man up" & to learn to do what had to be done on his own. Even if I relied on my mother (& for the record-I didn't)-I suspect she'd be more independent if he was.

Nora

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-30-2007
Tue, 09-24-2013 - 8:34am

Well, he doesn't have the money to buy her an expensive gift, money is what they fight about the most.  He could buy her some inexpensive flowers.  I gave him some new ideas yesterday to try.  I know you all think I shouldn't do it, but if there's a chance what I say could save his marriage and save my grandbaby the heartache of being a child of divorce, then I'm going to try.  They would have to go to counseling every day for a month in order to make the progress they really need right now.  I consider myself an extra counselor since there is no possible way they can talk about everything and solve every problem that quick.  This is a desperate situation and there isn't time to just sit back and say "you can do this yourself"  he needs to do something right now! 

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-30-2007
Tue, 09-24-2013 - 8:24am

Hello Nora and thank you for your response.   Yes I do remember about your son and yes, that is something no parent should ever have to go through. That is something to be proud of, some marriages would break after going through something like that.  I don't know what would happen to me (us) if we had to deal with that.  I thank God everyday for my sons, their significant others, and my grandbaby.  Even if it seems like sometimes I don't "like" my DIL I do love her.  I just don't like her behavior.  As far as interfering in my other sons' relationships, it absolutely won't be a problem with my second son.  He tells me nothing!  Also, he has been with this girl for seven years, and I've never once seen them have a fight or barely a disagreement.  I'm pretty sure they don't fight when they're alone either just because I can tell what kind of relationship they have.  I have no worries about them getting married.  I am just as close with third son as I am to my first, some will claim he is my favorite.  I try hard not to play "favorites" but he is my baby and he has many accomplishments that I am very proud of.  He, however, does not tell me everything either.  We do talk, but not as much as my first son.  His girlfriend is quite different from my first son's so I don't see any of these kinds of things being an issue with them.  But, you see, my first son was teased, tormented and bullied in grade school and high school and so he always came to me.  I was his safe place.  I know he is an adult, and I'm not supposed to "interfere" but is it possible to be his friend as well as his mother?  He maybe doesn't want to talk to his friends and he really can't because if his friends tell their wives, well then this could get back to his wife.  I'm the only one he can confide in and I will not tell him to stop talking to me about his problems.  I am the only constant in his life right now.  I will not abandon him.  This is not the same as her relationship with her mother.  He does not call/text me in the middle of an argument.  Even if they lived a block away I would not allow him to come to our house or spend the night when they've had a fight.  I would tell him to go home and face his problems. 

Avatar for elc11
Community Leader
Registered: 06-16-1998
Mon, 09-23-2013 - 9:25pm

Mom_julsie, it takes trial and error. I don't think there is any one way to apologize to everybody for everything; or even one way to apologize to a spouse for saying something hurtful. It starts with being heartfelt because it comes across whether one is truly sincere or not. After that, he has to figure out what will work with her. If the first attempt doesn't work, then he comes up with something else. Like Sabr said, it might be flowers or an expensive gift---or him on his knees begging forgiveness. 

I think the best way that you can help him is to tell him that you have confidence that he can figure this out on his own. And then step back and let him do just that. 

Avatar for nora_mcl
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-30-2011
Mon, 09-23-2013 - 9:16pm

Julsie-nobody likes to see their children suffer-but when they become adults, we all have to step back & let them make their own mistakes & their own corrections-their own way. The longer you feel you should "HELP" the longer it will be before they learn to do it their own way. It sounds as if they both have some growing up to do-she runs home to her mother (physically)-he runs home to you (on the phone). I don't see that it is different in either instance-both mothers are doing their best to keep their kids as youngsters.

My dh & I don't argue much either-but not because we were made that way-because we've learned to adapt. And you are denying your son that right by constantly interferring. You have to be strong & say "I'm sorry-this is between the 2 of you". If you cannot do it for this son-you won't be able to do it for any of them. And that will be too bad, because someday you will look at the 3 of them & wonder why none of them are happy in their adult life.

Part of being a grownup is being able to accept your behaviours as being your own responsibility. In many ways, I guess we were lucky in that we lived 4 hours from my parents when we got married-I could not run home every time Mike & I disagreed. Our babies came fast & I had to work crazy hours to help provide for our family-which meant tempers were short, nothing like a lack of sleep to make tempers flare. But we learned to fight fair & to think of the other person & their feelings.

I don't know if you remember-but we have just gone through what no parent should ever have to go through-the death of our son. We are going through grief counselling now-& the counselor commented on how, through everything-shifts (mine), sickness, teens (4)& various other things & now Adam's death-we are still polite & caring. And I'm very proud of that comment-I was frankly surprised too-never thought about it before. But we also maintain the loving distance with our 3 married children. I know they argue (I've left the room when they do)-but not up to me to be involved any more than it was up to our parents to be involved when we did.

We care Julsie-we just think you aren't listening to us. Nora

Avatar for sabrtooth
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-1999
Mon, 09-23-2013 - 9:03pm

HE is a big boy.  It is up to HIM to figure out what to do to make her happy.  If he loves her enough, he knows what that is, whether it's 2 dozen roses, a Coach purse, or a vacation in Cancun. And he should know it without needing input from ANYONE.  LEAST OF ALL HIS MOTHER. 

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-30-2007
Mon, 09-23-2013 - 6:54pm

How he's handling things is obviously not working.  I would just like to give him some ideas as to how to handle it.  It's going to take a lot of counseling to even break the surface of their problems.  I'm just trying to help in the meantime so things don't completely fall apart.  Some people need help in how they apologize.  Face it, are any of us really good at it?   Apologizing can be hard and it is something you need to learn, but if you keep doing it wrong, it won't help anything.  That's all I was looking for here was if you guys had a better way to apologize.  I'm not that good at it either.  My husband and I don't fight that much.  I just thought maybe you guys had some insight and life experience that I could put with my own advice and help him out, but I guess I'm not supposed to help him. 

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