Question: My DIL has been in our family for ten years. At first our relationship was great. Three years ago my son and her had a baby boy born with birth defects which resulted in a year of hell for all of our families. The child is ok now but will always have issues. Our problem has been that since he was born, she has been slowly pulling our son and his family away from us. She does not agree with how our other children raise their families and she has distanced herself and their children and our son from all of us. It hurts so much because we have been nothing but supportive of them and she won’t bring the children down even with an invitation. She doesn’t answer emails, it is very hurtful. All we want is for our whole family to be together. She is very close to her mother and her family especially since the birth of the baby boy. They always stay there and take their two children there but never here and we are only 30 miles from her family. What do we do to make this better? It hurts so much because we have always been close to our son and this hurts so much. Thank you for any help you can give. J.
Answer: Dear J. Your question is very familiar to me. In the five and a half years that my Website has been active, it is the number one question I receive. For that reason, I started a Web-forum to encourage interactive discussions about what if anything can be done about it and how does one survive. I felt a strong support system needed to be available…and for many it has made all the difference in the world.
Simply put, there is nothing you can do about it. They have established a new family unit and they make the rules. You are on the outside looking in. Conversely, she is comfortable with her family and depends on them. They are on the inside looking out. She hasn’t known you all of her life and she has gravitated toward the familiar for reassurance and assistance. Your son wants to keep the peace and wants to support her to the best of his ability. He knows, you know and I know that you care and want to be supportive. She simply isn’t interested in extending herself that far. The difficult situation involving their son taxed her and she has stopped trying.
You didn’t do anything wrong. You are just not part of the structure she naturally embraces in crisis or under pressure. Your son is on the inside but you aren’t. She’s created a filter for lack of a better word.
Please come over to www.WiseWomenUnite.com where you will find understanding and support. It’s a heartbreaker. I know, I’ve been there. Blessings, Luise