Question: Dear Luise: my son is married with two children. we have two other married sons with children. his wife is always very rude and pushy. she doesn’t get along with my other DIL’s. she always twists things around and seems to mix into everything. she has distanced our son from us and his brothers. he always complains. he didn’t even want to call and wish me a happy b-day. he says we give the others more attention but they always treat us well and he always yells and screams. he always feels deprived but we really try to treat everyone the same. we don’t like to go to him because we don’t feel welcomed there. his wife manages to pick an argument about every thing. i can’t come to my grandson’s b-day because i have an appointment that was made a good while ago and she says i did this on purpose. i tried to explain that it wasn’t so but she won’t listen. how do i talk to my son without her putting her two cents into everything? when he comes with the kids he is so different then when he comes with her. how do i make life more bearable around her? she is so phony and whenever they go home she calls up and complains about something we did or said but when she goes home she always says thank you and gives us a kiss. we don’t know what to do she is always looking for trouble! she makes an issue of every little thing. i try to be very tactful around her. she has no respect for anything in my house and leaves everything messy when she goes home. L.
Answer: Dear L.: You have it be the way it is. That’s what you do. Your son is an adult and he has made choices that don’t work for his facility of origin (and may not be working that well for him.) He has to accept and face the consequences of those actions and so do you.
His wife isn’t going to change and you aren’t going to have the extended family you dreamed of and deserve. They are a new family unit. They make the rules. All you can do is set boundaries where you see the need for them stick by them. There isn’t going to be any “happily ever after.”
When our kids are growing up we have influence and choices…later on that may still be true or it may not. It isn’t a given and logic doesn’t always prevail.
Look and see where your limits are without asking them to change because they aren’t going to. Rebuild your life around your self-respect and be careful not to let them take it away from you. And if you would like support, come over to my Web-forum that I established around the kind of issues you face. We are at: www.WiseWomenUnite.com Blessings, Luise