Question: Dear Luise: I am a married 62 year old woman,, mother of 2 married sons, grandma of 4 lovely girls. My I guess you would say ongoing situation is with 1 of my daughter in laws. I do not know whether she is depressed or just a constant complainer. She calls me and complains about every problem that arises in her life. Just this week it was about her head cold, the fact that she has to do everything for the household, the kids, her mother (who is a paranoid schizophrenic) and very difficult to deal with, her pets, her job which she keeps complaining she just wants to walk out of, her bills, having to cook supper, kids being kids basically and on and on and on. I feel like I am becoming deeply depressed and I am having bad anxiety attacks and it all stems from her constant negative remarks. My son works night shift and sleeps during the day and I know this is a big cause of her unhappiness as he is not there during the week for her. He works 50 to 55 hours a week and has a 1 hour commute to work, then a 1 hour commute home. And yes, she complains a lot about him too. Not helping with housework, or the kids etc etc etc. How can I let her know that I cannot deal with this day to day drama without alienating her or this may sound foolish, hurting her feelings. That I do not want to do. I have helped her with money, and advice but strange as it may sound, I feel sometimes that she does not really know what she wants. She acts toward me like I am her mother. Does that sound wierd? Thank you for your response. Sorry for the length of this. Needed to really vent I guess. K.
Answer: Dear K.: Off the top of my head, I would tell her that you are not feeling well and don’t know what’s wrong but you are depressed and feel anxious. Tell her you are going to back off from interacting with others except on the surface until you feel better because you just can’t cope. Then, stick to it.
I would also like you to come over to my Web-forum and post your issue to the marvelous women there for their feedback: www.WiseWomenUnite.com Blessings, Luise