Our Daughter-in-law is Cutting Us Out of their Lives

Question: Dear Luise: My son has been married a year and a half. We were excited for him and his new wife.  Everything was fine for a while. DIL got pregnant and began withdrawing from me.  She didn’t come to Christmas with our family nor to a family dinner in honor of she and my son for the baby. She used to call me frequently, now it’s never and she never answers when I phone them. I know she is very insecure and doesn’t have any close friends but I never offered opinions and we didn’t intrude on their privacy.  So I really don’t know what happened.  I have asked my son what the problem is and he says he doesn’t know!  Then I heard from some friends she was saying bad things about me. I asked again.  My son didn’t want me to talk with my DIL because she was pregnant and he didn’t want her upset.  So I let it go.  Well, my granddaughter was born this week.  What should have been a wonderful day was horrible for my family.  My DIL’s family controlled everything (16 people at hospital.) Her family was rude, not speaking to me. My husband, myself and my MIL got to see our granddaughter for 3 minutes (which was wonderful). My DIL wouldn’t even look at me and responded to my questions bluntly.  I visited the next day and the result was the same. My son acted nervous while we were there. Her mother was there running the show and telling her daughter how to do everything.  My husband and I talked with my son.  It got pretty messy.  We love them both, but don’t know how to handle this.  I am very hurt because we wanted to respect their time at home as a new family (which my son indicated they wanted), but her family has been there every day.  It seems as if my DIL has decided to cut us out of their lives and keep us from our granddaughter, for very selfish reasons. My son is in the middle and doesn’t know what to do.  I feel for him, but he is allowing it, which makes me upset with him. This should be a happy time for all but it has been stressful for my husband and myself.  I’ve sent them cards both during the pregnancy and since the birth offering love and support for them and their new baby.  Am at a loss…I have prayed for answers but really need an outside opinion. I hope you can offer advice and suggestions. Many thanks, B.

Answer: Dear B.: Your son can’t cope with divided loyalties. I’m sure when he married, he never anticipated that he would need to but his wife has declared war. Why doesn’t really matter, does it? I’m sure it makes sense to her but that isn’t going to help. She’s opting to have only one extended family, probably because she feels more comfortable there…and they are obviously supporting her choice. They could have stopped her in her tracks. How sad that they didn’t.

Confronting your son isn’t going to change anything. He has chosen a life-partner and they have started a family. He has set his course. If she wants him to walk away from his roots, he probably will. You have no idea what kind of pressure she is putting him under but it is probably intense. Also, if may be direct or it may be consciously or unconsciously manipulative. No matter…she’s running things and it’s pretty clear that your son has accepted that, for whatever reason.

To even stay connected is going to require a lot of patience. All you can do is back off and wait…and hope. He may choose to see you independently or he may not but pressure isn’t going to help. To the contrary, it probably plays right into her hand. After a bit, if you do get a chance to talk with him, let him know that you understand that he is adjusting to a lot of changes and that you are there for him and would like to be part of his life in any way that would work for him. It’s your only option. Blessings, Luise

29 Responses to Our Daughter-in-law is Cutting Us Out of their Lives

  1. G. November 16, 2010 at 1:05 pm #

    I have been through hell ….with the new daughter in law….they have been married for 7 years…she has never let me be her friend…she keeps my son from seeing me…I NEVER interfere!..i wouldnt do that.
    I dont try to come between them either….ive tried to just ignore and dont see them..but its my first born son..HE was married before to a great lady…..i miss her!…she was nice to me.
    and HE was nice to me then too
    NOW its all changed…with the new one……HE IS MY SON>…..and NO I dont cause trouble for anyone…IM a very nice lady…and im telling you….SOME DAUGHTER IN LAWS>..are bad people….they will destroy yours sons love for you…THIS ONE wants him to only help her relatives..NEVER HIS!…he has been helping all her family now for 7 years…when any of us need anything….WE ARE going to get any help..she makes sure of it……SHE has total control of this..and its tore our whole family apart now…NONE of us are liked by her…..AND WE are very nice people…!!…we all have tried to be her friend..but she wont allow it..CAUSE it would mean THAT my son might help us….and also….I AM 62…and i really am scared i wont be able to see my son..before i die…its HORRIBLE!!>….i think we should be able to SUE these kind of daughter in laws…for the misery and hurt and tears and sorrow they have brought upon US>…..its not correct…..WE all have tried to love her.and be good to her….everything we could..but it will NEVER WORK>……she has taken MY first son..and destroyed our love !!!……because of HER JEALOUSY and ignorance……DONT even tell me its the mother in laws……THERE ARE SOME THAT are good people..and they dont cause problems!!…they just want to hear from their sons once in a while….to know they still love them….AFTER ALL>….we carried them for 9 months ..gave birth..and took care of them for years.and loved them…..I WILL NEVER STOP LOVING HIM>..she will never STOP THAT! G.

    • Joel January 30, 2018 at 8:54 am #

      Sue your DIL…. hahahaha! You realize you’d be hurting your precious son too, right? Your son owes you nothing even though you think he does because you birthed him. Have you ever stopped to think that maybe HE doesn’t want a relationship with you and is acting nervous because he’s too scared to tell you?! But of course, it’s ALWAYS the DIL causing drama, right? I suggest you see a counsellor who will tell you to get a life and stop living it through your son. He has his own family now.

      • Janet September 3, 2019 at 2:39 pm #

        I’m sure this was very helpful 🙄

      • Jan Arnold August 14, 2020 at 3:39 am #

        Sometimes mothers-in-law do cause problems between their son and wife. This is not always the case. I am living proof of this. If anyone is butting in their business it is her parents from day one. Have faith your grown son will do the right thing and wait it out. Be available but still get on with your own life!

    • Linzie February 4, 2018 at 12:32 pm #

      Sometimes it’s not just the MIL who is toxic. My husband’s two sisters were just as bad as his mother. They just wanted him home where he belongs doing as he was told.

  2. J. August 15, 2011 at 11:07 pm #

    Wow! I’m sure that there are some good MIL but I’ve been married 3 times and I have never had one where there wasn’t at bit of jealousy or a control issue. It seems to me that MILs are in competition for their son’s love when they get married. They tend to forget that there are two sides of the street and they cross boundaries that make head on collisions between them and the DIL. A DIL is your son’s second priority, God is first. Your son is to protect and provide for his family. You have raised him to do this. Leave and Cleave (remember) Do realize that when you say nasty things and are controlling your son is observant of this more so because he has lived with you his whole life. He will protect his wife that is a man’s job..There are roles that a wife plays that a mother can not fulfil for her son. Let them live their life and be happy for them. Your son will always love his mother. MIL know your position. Just as your husband’s have protected you your son will do the same for his wife and family. First impressions are everlasting, MILs tend to forget the sly remarks that said that have hurt their DILs feelings. Maybe the comments where years ago but that doesn’t mean that your DIL has forgotten. In a nutshell, stop being a busybody.. your son’s loyalty is to his new family.. let them live their lives without all the drama.. Trust me you will only cause more problems if you try to divide a husband and wife. LET GO. J.

  3. J. February 13, 2012 at 12:15 pm #

    I have seen this same situation lately come forth. My son married a Swedish girl and moved to Sweden. Everything seemed ok until the twins were born. I began to ask why I had not heard from them and things began to get more and more complicated from there on until my son has quit talking to me also. We can only email and email is not a good way to communicate. So I have had to TOTALLY let go of my son and all communication for now. This is something after 45 years of having a wonderful relationship with my son. He married late in life but was very independent of me.

    So the only thing one can do is to let go…..go on with your life, not wishing and hoping so much. Will or won’t they come back??Somewhere our efforts will be appreciated again with maybe another not as fortunate to have a son so very long….concentrating on other people. Letting completely go. I figure is like a butterfly you only have them for awhile and you have to let it go and what do they say about them returning??….Well….I suppose it can happen with alot of prayer only. Sometimes I think we as mothers have such a strong force that binds in a desire to have what we cannot have all the time forever. A desire that maybe needs to just be fore closed on and given in other ways….GOING through life trying to have that relationship we once had in our life I guess was gift with our sons…..married they become one with the lady.
    And if that lady is just not willing to accept “old mom” it usually ends up that way…..unless you have a very mature son. My son married at 45 his first marriage and I didn’t realize what a daughter in law relationship surprisingly would become. I thought all would be so rosy. I even have pictures of her smelling roses. The wedding marvelous!!

    So now it is all different….My son was the wind under my wings at one time….now I have to find that desire somewhere else…..and let go. J.

  4. T. March 21, 2013 at 10:08 am #

    You mothers are crazy! Cut the umbilical cords already! A son is only a son until he is a husband and a father. Oh your son is busy raising his family, he can’t be with you every minute anymore? Get over yourselves! T.

    • V. October 12, 2013 at 5:17 pm #

      In reply to T. Remember your words if you ever have a son of you own who marries. V.

    • L January 12, 2017 at 1:07 pm #

      Amen sista!!

    • Janet Arnold May 18, 2021 at 11:31 am #

      You do not sound like a person with any empathy you will think different if it was happening to you. I feel the daughter-in-laws need to show some respect to their husbands mom or dad and they should also show respect to their son’s wife. Act like a adult not a child. Be a role model for your children and grandkids! So you get over your self saying disrespectful crap to people!

  5. B. June 12, 2013 at 1:04 am #

    To be cut off from a son you have raised is dreadful. It is a loss that feels like a death in the family. Our DIL cut us off from our son about 20 years ago. I was hoping our DIL would be the daughter we never had, we welcomed her in every way, but nothing could break down the wall she built around herself (and our son). My wife was an amazing mother. We received praise from teachers and employers on how well he was raised. The loss my wife has suffered has had an adverse effect on her health and has been a strain on our marriage. We have given up, there is nothing we can do, so we just don’t go out of our way for them anymore. The problem (of the DIL) stems from childhood. Perceived as an unloved child, lack of self esteem and confidence. Sees the Mother in law as a threat. An irrational assumption. My sympathy to the Mothers in law. B.

  6. Emla May 11, 2014 at 5:13 am #

    Very tired of hearing mothers-in-law bashing daughters-in law on here. The fact is that once your son marries, his wife IS his family. You many not like it, but you are his extended family. His mission in life is not to help you, as the lady above seems to think. Try being good and kind to both of them instead of bashing people behind their back, and set aside your “expectations” of an adult child – love is not based on you expecting him to do x, y, and z when he has his own family. E.

    • l October 25, 2014 at 7:46 am #

      Has nothing to do with helping his family, but keeping he loves and are blood related. My wife not only cuts out my family but has hers around constantly… imagine that

      • Becky Pfefferkorn December 6, 2021 at 1:07 am #

        His whole family even him. Bully me for years. When I got tired of it I didn’t go back in. Btex had called me bad names n lie on me about me. It started by with my stepmom bully on me I didn’t fight back afraid of losing him n beg him to. Make it stop but he did nothing. Now we are divorced n lying in a hospital fighting for his life was together for over 20 years. We shut them out n he let them back in. Try made me out to b a bad person. But it wasn’t me it was her n his dad. N now they won’t look at me see him. Even after our divorce we stay together n try to treat him badly. A year ago his Dad just pop in n made him promise a Harley, a nice car. He started to abuse me bad body harm. I had to get him. Out n the bike they gave him was old n needed work they were so eager he wreck it I found him its was horrible n I save him. He had an eye pop out on his left side n a hole in her s head the back. N they bully me do bad I got a divorce but we were living together until they cause him to get mean n treating to harm me. Now they won’t let me see him n he was responding to me.

    • Janet Arnold May 18, 2021 at 11:35 am #

      Each person needs to be respectful and stop blaming each other. This is a cop out to show you are not acting like a adult. Grow up enjoy life and be kind to one another. If your married son or daughter does not want to have you around respect their wishes and tell them your door is always open and do not allow anyone to run you down just to keep them around.

  7. anonymous October 25, 2014 at 7:44 am #

    I’m a son of a controlling wife that had decided after marriage and especially after 2 children to cut my family off from me, or attempted to. The times that I do see them she makes very uncomfortable for me as a way to reinforce me thinking twice about seeing them. As a son in this position it is really hurtful for someone you decided to share a life with attempt to cut out important people in my life. To make things worse my in laws are constantly around, it’s almost as if my wife is actively trying to replace my family with her own. I see my mother for a couple hour visits every other month and those are uncomfortable visits made by my wife even if she’s not there. The comments before, after, and during via texts make me feel like I need to leave asap to come home to her while I find myself seeing her family throughout the week. Unannounced visits, and invitations to our house from my wife without bothering to ask if it is ok with me. It is a very selfish act by the daughter in law/wife but they don’t see it as anything wrong and are just being insecure and territorial. Advice to the mothers… dont let that stop you from seeing your son, but be understanding of the situation and that it is just as hard for him as it is for you. But don’t confront him bc it is already a hard situation for him having to hear the direct attacks on his family by his wife. Don’t respond to the declaration of war and just do the best you can and see him w out her if possible.

  8. Deb November 27, 2016 at 4:03 pm #

    Wonderful view point from a son. I have not heard once on any blog the voice of the son. To the people who think mil should just accept their plight and go on….where does it say that because a son has taken a wife, his parents can no longer even talk to him or see his children? Thats not reasonable…esp if its ok for dil family to stay completely involved. It doesnt even agree with the law of nature. If that was the way it was supposed to be, all mothers of sons would be in the same situation. No….this only happens to dil that have problems. My condolences to women who birth male children if this is whats in store for us. Why even bother to have a child if they grow up and you cantveven SEE them much less have any type of plain old fashioned humane relationship. No onevis trying tob”take” him from his wife. Heck…most moms are just glad to see their sons leave the nest and start their own. We are proud of those sons. All mil want is to be treated civilly,kindly, with respect by dil and play with the kiddos now and then. Such a huge misunderstanding between people. So sad for all…

  9. L January 12, 2017 at 1:11 pm #

    I’m sry. You mother in laws are ridiculous. I have a mother in law that causes drama consistently and is completely jealousy of my family because she has no life. A son can make his own choice, but if he knows his parents are acting out of line and crossing boundaries then what you all don’t know is HE IS CHOOSING TO NOT DEAL WITH YOU as well. Stop blaming the daughter in laws your all grown adults…. Always pointing the finger to blame others rather than taking accountability for your own actions… Worry about your own life with your husband and get over yourselves.

    • Intel May 31, 2017 at 8:15 am #

      I too would rapidly flee from and disengage from these mothers….they are clearly not enjoyable company and these long, ranting posts and whining complain are a painful read. Get a grip girls and find something to do with your life.

  10. Bobby Sheisen August 5, 2017 at 3:29 pm #

    When I married my husband I took on my mother and father inlaw as part of the package. I would NEVER have expected him to cut ties with his parents. Of course their ideas about certain things were different to mine but then they were a different generation and we have to accept that they grew up in a different era.
    It seems to me that there are now a lot of young women who cut out their inlaws on a whim. They will use any excuse to estrange themselves and prevent their grandchildren seeing their grandparents. This is really very sad as grandparents usually adore their grandchildren and vice versa – a mutually life enhancing relationship. However, it seems in this day and age of ‘perfection’ if something isn’t 100% right then it’s ok to toss it out. ALL relationships need mutual understanding and tolerance. Of course there ARE some nightmare inlaws around – I appreciate that – but it seems all too common nowadays for the daughter in law to expect her husband to walk away from his parents. It would be interesting to fast forward a couple of decades or more and see these daughter in laws become mothers in law. Presumably, they will be happy to lose contact with their own sons when they marry? Yes, of course they will – I don’t think!!!
    My mother in law is 102 and my husband loves her very much and cares about her welfare. That is a GOOD thing because he is a kind man and that has made him a wonderful husband and father. How could I be jealous of his affection for his mum??

  11. April Monroe September 12, 2017 at 6:04 pm #

    I think there is a lot written between the lines here and this entire letter conveys such entitlement. This woman jumps off by describing her daughter in law as an insecure and friendless woman, then jumps right to a list of complaints. Of course, her own mother and family were more closely involved in the birth – that seems only natural as it was, after all, her birth. The writer then dives into a series of criticisms of how the birth was handled and essentially complains about a woman accepting her own family’s assistance postpartum, and describes starting a conflict at the hospital the day her grandchild was born. The writer “wanted” to respect the new family’s boundaries – on her own terms. Perhaps the son is nervous because his mother will literally show up at a birthing room with criticisms and conflict. It’s time for her to accept her son is a husband first now and her daughter-in-law’s boundaries are her own to make. I think if she respects them she will see them widen.

  12. Love October 8, 2017 at 6:00 pm #

    One point. Mother in laws are supposed to be the older wiser ones. Every estranged mom rant I read sounds ridiculously immature and selfish, premadonna for sure. Your adult son is trying to have a life. Cut the apron strings get a grip on reality because that daughter in law of yours is now family, she has sex with the man who will eventually pick out your nursing home….how do you catch bees? With honey. That’s right, lay that sweet stuff on thick, spoil her as your newfound daughter. Make it a point love your husband the way you should as a good example to the future mom or current mom of those grandkids and learn to love the person that holds your sons heart in the palm of her hand. She is not competing with you if she becomes an extension of your love. Be the mother in law you needed as a young wife. Be the kind of grandparent you dreamed of as a child. The dividends on your investment will multiply over the years and your perceived issues will dwindle and soon disappear as loves light shines bright and eradicates the darkness of hate. Guaranteed your life will be rich beyond measure if you step outside of yourself and love your family as a wise adult. Be so good at being mother in law and grandma that your daughter in law can’t help but adore you and want you around.

  13. Linzie February 4, 2018 at 12:24 pm #

    My MIL manipulated my husband with guilt trips and mind games for 30 years, controlled him and spoke him like dirt and demanded respect in return, she tried to dictate how we would live our lives and expected me to do as she demanded, in the end the only way to be free of her was to change our numbers and move away. It’s sad but she will always insist she has done no wrong and plays victim, she is a narcissist – she will always blame me as until he met me he had always done as she dictated as he didn’t want her to cry again. L

  14. Jen May 4, 2018 at 2:38 pm #

    My MIL struggles from a personality disorder. Needless to say, it’s hard to have her as a MIL. She did some crazy things at the wedding, including showing up 40 minutes late and flashing her vagina at the wedding reception. I forgave her because I know she is mentally ill. In 2016, her young daughter took her own life and so did her husband a week after that. I always felt angry with her because in 2013 she wrote a suicide note and made the said daughter (who killed herself) sign and date it as a witness. What kind of mother makes their 13-year-old daughter sign and date their suicide note? More recently, MIL put me and my daughter in a dangerous situation. We thought this was a cry for help and my husband put together an intervention. Well, she got tipped off by a very bad friend and got mad at ME!!! I’m done. Done including her, done being kind. If any MIL reads this and thinks I’m bad for cutting her off, you need help. There are two sides to every story, including the first story on this thread. The DIL could have incredibly legitimate reasons for cutting her off. I’ll never ask my husband to not speak to those family members ever. I want him to have a relationship with them. But it’s toxic for me.

  15. Betsy May 10, 2018 at 10:04 am #

    AMEN to the first reply; G. No matter how nice you are, how you keep your opinions to yourself, how many times you offer (and offer only, not force) support and help, some daughter-in-laws are just self-centered. They play the game of the “nice girl” while they are dating, but once they tie the knot, they do everything they can to manipulate and control the man they just married. If they have children, the son is (from his viewpoint), in a hopeless situation. It’s all about her family and she’ll do whatever she can to manipulate situations to make sure her agenda prevails. It will only help to talk with the son if he has a “backbone” to stand up for himself and put her in her place. However, it would never get to this point if he did. He would have stopped it in its tracks. I know, because I am living in this nightmare. I NEVER thought in a MILLION years our son would treat his family this way. He loved his family and all we did together, especially holdiays. I too am a very nice person who doesn’t make a nuisance of herself. I had a wonderful mother-in-law. We talked often, we occassionally did things together, and I listened to her advice, when she gave it. I never felt threatened by her advice, I maturely listened. If I agreed I followed it. If I didn’t, I did my own thing, but NEVER did I tell her that her advice wasn’t welcomed. I respected her wisdom. I NEVER give advice to my daughter-in-law. I was smart enough to determine early on that it wouldn’t be welcomed. We don’t make a nuisance of ourselves with phone calls or texts. We don’t show up uninvited. Yet, she still works very hard to alienate our son from his family. Her family babysits, her family takes them on vacations, her family takes them to dinner, all holidays are planned around her family. We offer opportunities for the same things, but a few dinners out, and coming to our house for a couple of hours for dinner is all we get. If we are lucky, holidays are a 1 to 2 hour drive-through. I offer to take care of my 2 year-old grandson and occasionally this is allowed, but EVERYTHING is on her terms. We initiate any opportunites to get together. This situation has nothing to do with the inability on our part to cut the “apron strings.” It has everything to do with mutual kindness and respect, which in our case is all one-sided. It really is a hopeless situation. All I can do is pray for her to develop a kinder and more gentle soul. So that’s what I do, but the situation is still hurtful, hard to understand, and difficult to face day to day.

  16. L April 29, 2019 at 8:21 am #

    If mil is controlling, toxic, and dangerous, for the sake of the children it’s necessary to cut her off, for good. It’s a parent’s job to protect the children they are raising and to protect their marriage. Now…if dil is toxic and selfish, then the son has a problem and he has to deal with it. They is nothing mil can do, as that is between husband and wife. Remember, mil is in a position of power and it’s difficult for a grown man to realize that he is no longer bound to obedience and complete devotion to his mother. With this position, she can easily disrespect the younger couple and their boundaries. Dil is at the mercy of mil, and whether or not her husband will stand by her or allow his family of origin to bully her and divide he couple. He owes his mother only love, the devotion belongs to his wife, even if she has mental health issues.

  17. Janet Arnold July 17, 2019 at 5:58 pm #

    I am tired of “the mother-in-law is always at fault,” which is not always true. There can be some of them who need to let their married kids live their lives the way they please. Keeping grandkids away when they are used to seeing their grandparents just because son’s wife does not get her way about something in trying to brain wash our son is about as wrong as can be. Let God handle it, believe me, He will and she will know when it happens. So be patient and sit back and watch what happens. Have a great day!

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