Question: Dear Luise: I love my daughter-in-law, but she is jealous of me. What can I do to let her know that I will always be my son’s mother and there is a big difference in a mother and a wife to a son? Kathryn
Answer: Dear Kathryn: This is a very tough situation because there really isn’t much you can do about it.
Jealousy isn’t something that can be dispelled by presenting logic to the jealous person. Jealousy is often a deep-seated, serious psychological issue that can require treatment by a professional. There can even be a degree of delusion involved. Your daughter-in-law may be misinterpreting the things you do and say and the chances of her getting that she’s off base may be slim indeed. Consequently, if she doesn’t see it as her problem or want to enter into treatment, your hands are pretty much tied.
It may be a very touchy subject with your son, as well. Is that true? If he didn’t see this coming before marriage, he may not want to see it now. From his viewpoint, he may see the “difference between a wife and a mother” to your disadvantage. For many men, marriage entails 100% loyalty to the spouse and there’s good reasoning behind that when a new family unit is established. I suggest that you don’t put him in the awkward position of having to make a choice.
If there’s any way to do it, tactfully, ask your daughter-in-law how you can fit in. It’s not going to be easy, but it’s going to be her call unless your son sees the problem clearly and attempts to help her, or better yet, finds help for her. Even if that happens, it could be a long, hard road ahead for everyone involved.
I’d also suggest that you see a counselor, yourself, to help you through the issues that may be coming your way. What happens when there are grandchildren, for instance? You may need professional support and guidance to help you learn to live with this very difficult situation as it unfolds. Blessings, Luise