Question: Dear Luise: How do I deal with a DIL that has total control of my son? It has gotten to the point that my son has now taken on her views as his own. He acts like he is brainwashed and in a cult. We had a wonderful relationship before he married her. As a matter of fact, his wife told us that my son adored his parents, that was before they wed. Now 5 years later and two grandchildren, we have not seen or talked to them for 5 months. We were not allowed or invited to the children’s birthdays this summer. I am a teacher and have the summer free, yet I did not see them once. My son’s wife has made every decision in the marriage and my son allows it. When they married and had the first baby, I tried to be helpful by buying goods for them like clothes, books, toys, and things for their home too. I knew they had one income and I was just doing what I wish someone would have helped me with as a new parent. Somehow everything I did was wrong! And, somehow all the anger and hatred is pointed at me and not my husband. This is causing me so much pain and it is now causing problems in my marriage. I am angry at my husband for not defending me quickly and firmly. I am left out there to take the abuse. I am at the end of my rope, and I don’t see how we can work things out considering my DIL has all the power and is NOT a family oriented person. She thinks her family is her husband, children and dog. She feels no connection to anyone outside of that little circle. I feel it is hopeless, and in order to save my marriage and my life, I need to cut them out of my thoughts and future hopes. We are in search of a therapist to help. T.
Answer: Dear T. First of all, this exact situation is why I established my Web-forum. Go to: www.WiseWomenUnite.com. For the first year, I called it MotherInlawsUnite until so many lovely daughter in laws came on site to try to understand vicious and controlling mother in laws. Either way, it’s a horror.
Your son is an adult trying to learn how to be one. He has, at least at present, selected the path of least resistance. His choices and their consequences are how he learns and grows or decides not to. Let go because the process will continue with or without your approval.
And as soon as you can, let your husband know that you realize that it’s not his job to defend you. If he tried to intervene it would only pour fuel on the fire. He just needs to support you as you adjust to the unthinkable. Blessings, Luise