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She said she wants me to get my own life and find interests for myself but I feel like I should be involved in their lives and help where I can. Is my DIL being insensitive?

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Forgive my crudeness, but I didn't want my mother "stirring the pot" when it came to my fatherly duties either. Particularly when I was setting up boundaries and enforcing them. She went around the house as if she had the right, and it didn't take long for the "But grandma said ..." out of my sons' mouth. I lost it. To make a long story short, those 3 kids have their own mother. I know you love them to death, but let her do her job.
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All of the details dont matter. It doesn't matter whos right or whos wrong. When you were a younger mom and if your mother in law moved in- and started upsetting your nesting ways- you would either tell her to back off or stay silent and build up to an explosion. Its your DIL's NEST- if you want to roost with her, i suggest you make your bedroom your space with a smile -until the tension blows over. IF YOUR SON TOOK MOMMYS SIDE, i would tell your DIL to kick you both to the curb. Im 60- i lived with my DIL and i knew my place- under the Queen. And i would never go to the King and ask him to side with me. Do you want your son divorced? I suggest you take the grandchildren off mom and dads hands often, help with chores, and look for "the lines" you should never cross. I lasted 6 months and departed on excellent terms. In fact, she did not want me to leave. That said- there were times she totally angered me- and i bit my lip until it bled. Dont pull out all your "score board"... they dont matter. Its your sons family and marriage and home and his Queen. You had yours and now you dont. Again, been there, its hard, but you are simply a guest in all respects. Be a respected and most of all, respectful guest!
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Dad just moved in with me and my wife after mom died. I moved him many states away. He is 80. He is still mobile so I am always on him about getting out to socialize. I invited him to my men's club to meet people and got him into a church I participate with. I got him to join a fraternal lodge which he is a national member of. He is slowly getting out there. The reason is my wife and I loved being empty nesters. I invited dad to live with us because that is what families do for each other and he could not live alone due to finance. But it is important for him to be social outside of my wife and I. I don't take him to any events as they are for my wife and I. I don't take him out to dinner because I cook every night and it is expensive. He is no longer a guest he is part of the house. It important for him to have a social life and do things on his own and find others to do things with. It is good for everyone involved.
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You take care as well. I will keep you posted!
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From my experience the emotional side of the spouse's experience of their spouse being enmeshed emotionally with their parent is like feeling like one is married to more than one person emotionally for they are always present in the background. Thus, to me, it's like one's spouse is in an emotional affair with another person. This may be too harsh or just my anger but that's how I've come to see it. I have talked about this feeling of being married to more than one person after she got her freedom from her mother. She could understand it and was sorry that I had felt that way.

Take care and I hope the best for you in your journey.
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I would describe it as cautiously distant. About 10 years ago, she got totally in touch with all of her anger toward her mother related to her mother's abuse. Now that was a scary experience!

Someone needs to write a book for mom enmeshed women. While it is more common to think of a mother making her son her emotional partner, a mother can do that with a daughter which my MIL did with my wife and shared with her details about her relationship with her husband that no parent should ever share with a child of either sex.
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Thank you Cmagnum! It is definitely an amazing thing to share your story. I was very shocked to find out you were a son in law that had experienced what I have. May I ask how your MIL & wife's relationship
is doing today?
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Tonnie,

I'm glad my advice is helpful. What I've shared was born of years that both my wife and I have spent in years of therapy dealing with our own "Mom issues" which in several ways parallels what you and your husband are in the middle of with his mom.

I've noticed that you are definitely not alone in dealing with these kind of issues over the last several days. There have been several situations with the same basic theme.
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Thank you Cmagnum!
Are you a therapist? Awesome advice! I wilI take your advice. I appreciate you! I will definitely keep you posted.
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Here's the broader picture of people seeking to use others as objects as some sort of substitute.

Healthy Relationships Don't Make Others into an Objectified Emotional Substitute
Here are some thoughts about having healthy relationships.

Don't objectify anyone in your life into some sort of emotional substitute for someone you no longer have or never had in your life.

Here is a list of possible emotional substitute objects that we sometimes want people to be for us that are unrealistic as well as unhealthy as well.

Sometimes, others looks to us to be the same emotional substitute objects that are unrealistic as well as unhealthy as well.

1. Substitute for a parent who is dead or the parent we never had in our own childhood.

Some husbands want their wives to be just like their mother or to be the mother they never had while growing up.

Some wives want their husbands to be just like their father or to be the father they never had while growing up.

Some spouses want their spouse to be both parents that they never had while growing up.

Some in-laws or friends want us to be the parent that they never had in their own childhood.

2. Substitute for the spouse who is dead or a replacement substitute for who a person is married to.

This tales place when the parent wants their adult child to fill the emotional void left by their spouse's death. (This is a form of adult child abuse and emotionally incestuous.)

This takes place when a parent makes their child their emotional partner. (This is a form of child abuse, i.e, emotional incest.)

Some in-laws or friends want us to be the spouse that they don't have now. (This can lead to having an affair.)

3. A substitute continuation of our childhood in which we expect our spouse to treat us just like our parent of that gender did.

Wives, your husband is not a continuation of dad who is going to treat you like his little girl.

Husbands, your wife is not a continuation of mom who is going to treat you like her little boy.

In light of the above, take one of the following options to keeping or restoring a healthy relationship.

1. Don't objectify anyone in your life into some sort of emotional substitute for someone you no longer have or never had in your life.

If you are in that much pain, please see a therapist.

2. If you are aware someone is objectifying you as a substitute don't take on that role. Instead have healthy boundaries.

Consider possibly even telling the person to stop doing that, if they don't get it by you not falling into that role.

You deserve to be treated as a person and not as an object of emotional substitution
.
Take care.
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The professional term for such a sick mother/son obsession is emotional incest. There are many mom enmeshed men whose wives have quite a hard time fighting their MIL's over for their hearts. Thus, the reason for books like The Emotional Incest Syndrome: What to do When a Parent's Love Rules Your Life, Silently Seduced: When Parents Make Their Children Partners, and When He's Married to Mom: How to Help Mother-Enmeshed Men Open Their Hearts to True Love and Commitment.. I would suggest reading the last book and gong over it with your pastor or with a trained therapist.
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Tonnie,

Good news! Thanks for getting back to us. This weekend plus a few days has had several posting on this DIL/MIL theme. Sometimes, we get themes in waves around here.

Keep working on boundaries and consequences. Like if the computer cannot be moved to a better place, then making it less accessible to you MIL by setting it up to open up beyond being just turned on only with the right code like I mentioned before. Plus, the code would need to be kept a secret from you MIL. However, she could get her own laptop or desktop and if you have a wireless home internet system be able to get online without using your home computer. If you go that route make sure to set up the home computer to not share files with other computers. Otherwise, she could use her's to go inside the home computer.

I wish you husband would stand up for you. His standing up would sure show your children a very good lesson by good modeling. So much parenting is far more caught than it is taught with words alone.

Take care and keep in touch.
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Partsmom, that can't be a normal thing to see your son as a husband when those are two different relationships. He is her son, not her husband. To me that is a sign of some sick fixation or obsession personality disorder. If she wants or need someone to fill the void of the ex husband she needs to find that in male companionship. Treating her son in this matter is the exact reason why he doesn't spend time with her. She needs a life, that simple. She is overbearing and exhausting and has worn out her welcome.
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Thank you soooo much Cmagnum for your support and encouragement! These post and all of the positive feedback has really helped me. I realized one day as I was walking around in the house that I felt like I could snap any day but decided to reach out to my pastor for help and I am so glad I did. I am not where I want to be but I am nowhere how I was and for that I am thankful. I have been diligently praying that God remove MIL out of our house so that way she has less access to us and she will have no other choice but to find her own life. One thing I have learned is to never treat my future DIL this way and it has also help me become a better mother, wife and friend!
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Tonnie,

Stay with us. I completely understand about having so much to say that your brain can't keep up. I've had times like that where my mind just went into overload and I could hardly write fast enough to keep up, but I kept on writing. I was very glad to see my therapist following those times. I don't think these experiences are like what someone would call manic, but are symptoms of being emotionally overloaded. You sound emotionally overloaded! Big time!

Keep sharing with us as you can and feel free to vent it all.
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Tonnie, if your MIL has been divorced 30 years, there's a good chance she sees her son as a substitute husband. (My MIL did this, his parents couldn't live together. But then we took FIL off her hands, so that gave us some distance. FIL pretty much took care of himself and wasn't much of a problem.) You need to work with your husband as much as possible, be as civil as possible with her with both of them, and don't let her get between you.
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Tonnie,

Your story is sounding more and more painfully like the story I think Babalou is referring to above where the wife was fed up after many years of dealing with her MIL and the husband did not realize there was a problem until she left to live with her sister 600 miles away and sent the message of her leaving while he was at work via another person.

From your statements about her and her daughters, I highly doubt they can talk any sense into her head.

The good news is that her action got his attention and he has dealt with where mom lives. It sounds like his wife is still open to working on the relationship, but there is much rebuilding to be done there which I think will take not only marriage therapy but him being in private therapy for his mom issues.

If you mean, you and your husband separating, I can understand that. It just might get his attention. Like I said, sometimes spouses hide behind their spouses' skirt or pants. It's too bad that you never knew your MIL very well, but that is in the past. If you have any children, I'd take them with me. They don't need to see such modeling of poor boundaries in marriage and in life.

If your MIL emotionally groomed your husband to be so overly helpful to your mother but is running from facing this by his current behavior, then he's the one needing the most professional help because he is in more of a position to change.

It does seem to be painfully true that it is in circumstances like this that we truly find out if our spouse is our adult partner or their parent's emotionally little child.

You are not by far the only wife who has had to fight her MIL for her husband and see the husband not fight his own war. Some change and some don't.
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Yes! Sorry for the running together of my words. Its like I have so much to say but my brain cant keep up. Lol.....I told him he needed to get her separate and he agrees. He knows it is wearing on me and as much as I love him, I cant continue to be stressed.
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You mean ýou and your MiL, right? Not you and your husband, I hope, although I will admit, we had one wife leave because her husband didn't seem to understand that she had burned out caring for his mom.

Would his sisters talking to him make a difference?
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Babalou, I dont know what my husband is waiting on. Its like he is waiting on the issue to go away on its own.































be involved because she is a difficult
person who is emotionally draining. The
list goes on and on.







her on the streets so I agreed to help him
help her. I didn't know she came with so
many issues. I have spoken to him numerous times about my feelings so he
knows. It has been very complicated and
the best thing is for us to be separated.
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Tonnie, if by "professional help" you mean a psychiatric eval, he should be encouraged to do so. She needs help and unless she's developing dementia, it is NOT to late for her to change her behavior.
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Sounds like MIL's been singing Frank Sinatra's song and found in old age that she's basically all alone singing "I did it My Way," What an empty place to be.

From your reports, I wonder where your husband is in all of this. It sounds like you have been fighting the boundary battles. She's his mom. Where is he?

How did she end up there?

Was he her only child wiling to take her in and possibly her favorite? Did he just do this unilaterally, or did he involve you in the decision?

Some adult children of controlling, manipulative parents just can't bring themselves to deal with things directly, and thus will hope their spouse will fight their war for them while they hide behind someone's skirts or pants. I hope that is not your situation.

At her age, her getting professional help is not likely unless she is really motivated to, which it does not sound like, or she becomes a danger to herself or to others.

It's time for a heart to heart talk with your husband about his mother, your marriage, and the well being of your family. Something needs to change without throwing anyone under the bus.

There's a reason that her daughters don't want her involved in their lives and there's a reason why she found it possible to be involved in her son's life. Whatever that is, it is her issue that has attached itself to your family and it is not a healthy attachment.
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Cmagnum, MIL & FIL lived with MIL's mother their whole marriage. MIL allowed her mother to run her house which was her choice so now she is trying to make up for it in my house. Its that simple! MIL is very aware of what she is doing and I wont allow her to have her way. Her daughter's (she has 4) wont even have her to their homes because they dont want to deal with her. She has basically given up on trying to be around them because she lives with us. My husband luckily doesn't get to see her because he works so much.
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She needs to be seen by a psychiatrist. Hey, I know that's my answer to a lot of problems on this forum, but it sounds as though depression and maybe a personality disorder are involved.
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Partsmom, I do understand the whole wanting to feel important but she has got to realize that she cant force it. One of the main reasons I dont allow her to help me more is because its all about what she
wants and me doing it her way. It is a very stressful outcome so I just omit her all together. Trust me I have tried but I would rather her just get her own life so she is not so focused on us. I have even told her about sewing opportunities and gave her pertinent info to help her get started but a whole year later and it still hasn't happened. I just dont know if I can help her. I think my husband needs to get her some professional help and they can guide her.
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So, did MIL get married primarily to escape living in her mother's house where her mother was so intrusive in her life? That is why some people get married. Her mother being intrusive in her life is her example not her excuse for being intrusive into your life while living with you. All this asks how did her children manage to escape her control and manipulation as adults, but except by a miracle?
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Babalou, mil lived with her own mother and she allowed her to intervene and be overly involved because she lived in HER house. I think she resented it so to make up for it she thinks she can do it to
me.....NOT! She has no love, respect or consideration for noone. She doesn't even think enough of herself to get her own life. She lives here with us and is content with being around us all day but we won't allow it. Her goal is to control and manipulate!
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As someone who has been on both sides of this situation, I don't think she's deliberately trying to annoy you as much as wanting to show her importance in the family. Early in my marriage, we wound up having dinner with my MIL every day for awhile, until she moved out of the area to babysit for my SIL. I remember thinking that it could have been a slap at my cooking, but I think she was trying to maintain her position.
One thing that I wish I had been able to do more of with my MIL is get family stories; which is something she may know that no one else does. You also said once that she mentioned liking to sew--she might do better if you could find a community group that does sewing projects, perhaps for a hospital or somewhere, and see it she could perhaps teach. Divert her from needing to be needed at home to being needed somewhere in the community.
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Tonnie,

I hope there was nothing private on the home computer that MIL could have snooped into?

Sounds to me like you are possibly dealing with someone who has an undiagnosed personality disorder. It really don't matter which one for boundaries with consequences are the response for either one. Good luck!
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Tonnie, is there a cultural element to this, as Babalou asks?
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