Question: Dear Luise: I am a Christian mother of 1 grown son, and have been married to my son’s father for 32 years. The “challenge” I have is with my son’s wife. I knew from the beginning we were going to have a tough time with her, I could sense her insecurity from the start. I feared where this would go, should they marry. They did, and everything Ifeared would happen, has, to the inth degree. She is so immature, and so controlling. She has cut off our contact with our grandkids multiple times, and he backs her up everytime. She has gotten upset at me for everything under the sun, and now I finally lost it with her, and told her a few weeks ago that I can’t live by her rules anymore, she has so many of them. I had such great ideas of what it would be like to have a daughter added to our family…it has been an absolute nightmare. I am so discouraged, and I feel hopeless. And, of course, with my little lecture to her, I have lost contact with our grands again. I get so mad at myself for my inability to keep my mouth shut. As a Christian, I should be able to maintain selfcontrol, but around her, I just can’t handle it. My saying is 2 days with Anna makes one weak. She wears me out with her neediness, everything about her drives me up the wall. I am so heartbroken that my son is mad at me, but he doesn’t even try to see my struggles, and all I have put up with in the past. I grieve the loss of my relationship with him, so much. And now, they’re having another baby in a few months, and I can’t even get excited about it, because I never know how long we’ll be able to see them. This is so heartbreaking, I never dreamed I would be in this situation with my son. I think about this all of the time. It controls my life, and I’m so sad all of the time. How do I reconcile this with my Lord and Savior. Also, my son is telling other people how awful of parents we were to him. I feel like running away, honestly. I hurt so much. M.
Answer: Dear M.: Your daughter in law is how she is and she isn’t going to change. What you are going though is about your son’s choices and he has the right to make them. The rest of it is about your expectations and they are about you, not your son. That’s the hardest thing for most of us, yup, me, too, to get. We raise our children to the best of our ability and then we have to let go and often watch them flounder, make choices that confound us and face (or don’t) the consequences. Your hopes and dreams are not your son’s responsibility. He’s set his life up so he already has a full plate. You are his past. For some, that isn’t true but for many of us, it is.
I can’t comment on your religious concerns except to say that we were all created human and imperfect. It’s our nature to want to be smarter, tougher, wiser and kinder. We have to accept that all we can do is our best. Feeling sad and seeing the unfairness is normal and it is also very easy to slip into self-pity. Don’t get stuck there. It’s a lonely and pathological place and incredibly self-absorbed. You didn’t get what you wanted. We often don’t.
If you feel you would benefit from becoming a part of a supportive community of women up against the same or similar issues, please come over to my Web-forum at www.WiseWomenUnite.com .
And remember that you were whole before you became a parent and you can be whole again. Accepting disappointments and even injustice is part of growing up and my take is that we are always growing up as long as we live. (I’m 85 and still have a long way to go.) Wish your son and the woman he chose well and turn toward your own healing and the fullness and joy on the other side of that. Blessings, Luise