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Bill
Bill, LCSW, Consultant, Expert Witness
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 3705
Experience:  35 years treating individuals, couples, families with mental health and substance abuse prob's
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There is 1300 miles between our daughter and her family and

Customer Question

There is 1300 miles between our daughter and her family and myself and my husband, her dad. She has just invited us to visit them over Thanksgiving along with her brother and her in-laws. She called my husband to do the inviting because she doesn't want to talk to me. She told my husband we were only to stay a few days (her in-laws are only staying 1 day), we won't be able to spend time alone with her twins and we are not to take pictures of the kids without she or her husband present. I don't understand what is going on with her. She wants us all to come at the same time so that she can get all the visiting over with in one swoop. My husband and I would like to come at a different time so that we could get to know our only grandchildren without the distraction of others. Is that fair?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Bill replied 2 years ago.

Bill :

Hello- Thank you for asking the question. I have over 30 years of experience working with individuals, couples and families & am happy to reply.

Bill :

I am sorry to hear about this family problem.

Bill :

It is one that I address every year with families of all constellation types. I have heard so many of these stories that I could write a book about the subject.

Bill :

Unfortunately, people spend their vacation savings, travel across the country to be with family with there is no mutual regard. It is stressful, uncomfortable and the source of considerable friction in families. Parents feel obligated, children feel obligated and many times, all would be better served by doing what they want to do.

Bill :

In what you write, it sounds like there is an agenda for who is suppose to do what-when and when this is happening it is a red flag for a disaster.

Bill :

Trying to control others time is something that your daughter in law- (by marriage) is trying to do and I would not allow her to have that kind of power.

Bill :

If you want to go and visit on terms defined by her, you and your husband will most likely be coming home unhappy

Bill :

If there is not a meaningful sense of balance and not all of this pre-event control, then it is worth the miles of travel. Otherwise, I would have a serious talk with your husband as to whether this is how you want to spend your holiday.

Bill :

Feel free to respond.

Bill :

Are you available to chat now?

Customer:

This is my daughter we talking about, not daughter-in-law. She gets along with her dad but not me. What you say is correct--she wants complete control. Is it wrong to tell her we don't want to come at her appointed time? We really just want to be able to see our grandchildren.

Bill :

I would say that it is wrong for her to have an appointed time however, if you want to go, you should define what you would like and if she doesn't agree, then you are saving yourself a bundle of trouble and disappointment.

Bill :

If you want to see your grandchildren, suggest a non holiday weekend and see what she says,

Customer:

She is very difficult to get along with. I feel that I have really failed her and I don't know what I've done to cause her to be so hateful.

Bill :

Try to stop blaming yourself. You give her the control that way and she has learned to use it against you and you don't have to reinforce this.

Bill :

In your heart of hearts, do you want to go under the circumstances proposed?

Customer:

I suggested that her Dad go by himself

Customer:

In answer to your question, no.

Bill :

Okay. You are perfectly entitled to say know. I think you and your husband should be united in this or it will reinforce her control.

Customer:

I feel that a united front is a big part of the problem. Her Dad will not confront her.

Bill :

You and your husband are within your bounds to say to her> "you know, we think that there is a little too much going on for this to be enjoyable for us.........let's plan to see each other some other time.,"

Bill :

Then you and you husband need to become united and break this triangle. It is very destructive.

Bill :

Tell him that he is reinforcing her controlling behavior and that is not good for her. Help him see that it is going to effect her relationships with the kids if he doesn't set some personal limits with her.

Customer:

I like your suggestion but I feel sure she will have a negative answer. She has told us that spending time with the twins alone "is not going to happen."

Bill :

The following is a great article for you and your husband to read together.

Bill :

it will help him see how destructive this can be.

Bill :

You will also have a copy of this chat in email that you can share with him and he can see my opinion.

Customer:

Okay. Is there anything you could suggest that I should say to her or what can I do to make our relationship better?

Bill :

If you feel comfortable...........tell her how you perceive the relationship and ask her what can be done to resolve whatever it is that has created distance.

Customer:

Okay. Thanks for the suggestions.

Bill :

You are most welcome.

Bill :

here is an article that deals with mending relationships:

Bill :

PLEASE CLICK ACCEPT and I appreciate POSITIVE feedback.

Bill :

Bill

Bill, LCSW, Consultant, Expert Witness
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 3705
Experience: 35 years treating individuals, couples, families with mental health and substance abuse prob's
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