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Karin Samms
Karin Samms, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 300
Experience:  with over 15 years experience offering support with relationship, mental health & addiction issues
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Hello, Just to paint a picture of Christmas Day, both my

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Just to paint a picture of Christmas Day, both my 93 year old Mum and I were invited to my son's home for lunch. (I am a 66 year old mother of 2 children and soon to be 4 grand-children). We always spend Christmas together, along with whomever in the family is in town, so to speak. My ex-husband came along with his wife and adult son and that's never been a problem for me.

However, I have felt very hurt this week, since discovering photos on my daughter-in-law's Facebook page. The photos show my son, his wife and their son (my grand-son whom I adore) with my ex-husband, his wife and adult son, and other similar photos with my daughter-in-law's family.

I have absolutely no problem with these photos as such, but feel extremely hurt that Mum and I were not asked to be in a similar photo with my son and his family. I was aware of photos being taken by my daughter-in-law, her brother and sister in the back garden, whilst Mum and I were sitting further away on a deck, but didn't really pay attention; and certainly no-one asked us if we could be in any photos.

To give some history as well, there have been several issues surrounding my son's relationship with his mother-in-law, whom he believes to be very controlling. I've been called on several times by both my son and his wife, to listen to each of their "gripes" about my son’s relationship with his wife's family. I like to think that I've listened to each of them and been fair and non-judgemental.

[I suppose what I would like to know is, am I over-reacting to this situation? Also, should I broach the subject with my son and his wife, to explain to them how I feel?]

I do feel extremely disappointed in my son (with whom I've always had a good relationship) to think that he would not even think to include us. I'm also aware that I perhaps should have spoken-up and asked for a photo, but at the same time, I wasn't really aware of the significance of the photos being taken at the time, until I actually saw them a couple of days later on Facebook.

Just casually, I did ask my son a couple of days after Christmas, once I'd seen the Facebook photos, if there were any nice photos of Mum and I. There are apparently one or two of Mum and I together, but none in the family group. So I think he may now be aware of my disappointment, but probably not aware to what extent I feel hurt.

I definitely don't want to cause a rift between us, but as I said, I feel quite unimportant in their lives at the moment.

Any advice would be so much appreciated. Thank you.
Hi there, welcome to Just Answer. I will try and help you with your question.

Please give me a moment while I read through your question carefully and prepare an excellent answer for you. I shall respond very soon.
Kind Regards, Karin
Hi there again,

It feels very hurtful for you and this is sad to hear you say that you felt so disappointed. I wonder like yourself, whether your son really understands the extent of how you really feel about it, I somehow think not.

It certainly doesn't feel like it was a deliberate discounting of you and your mum but it seems a thoughtless and insensitive act on their part. The opportunity perhaps didn't arise straight away and they clearly didn't think about you and your mum and how you might've felt. You sound more upset in that you have been there for the both of them and have been a listening ear for them yet, they didn't think to have a picture taken of you and your mum with them, this has clearly upset you very much as you have been left feeling excluded and unimportant.

You don't seem to have over-reacted at all but instead of confronting them both together, maybe it would be better to talk to your son or your daughter in law (who ever is most likely to not become defensive and just hear you out). You could explain as you said, that you perhaps should have spoken up at the time but you didn't realise the significance of what was going on. You could explain as you've said here, that you feel quite unimportant in their lives- I don't think there's anything wrong in being open and honest, so long as you are not attacking them verbally and accusing them in any way.

It really seems to have bothered you; maybe spending more time with them will gradually make you feel connected to them all again and will help you heal and get over this sooner rather than later too. You will get over this, it is a hiccup that will go away but if you don't say anything at all, it will sit with you and they can't change their ways and realise how you're feeling if nothing is said. It feels they do need you in their lives but they've made a mistake - one, I'm sure you will forgive and forget about in time.

Please accept my answer if my response has been helpful, however please don't hesitate to come back to me if you need any further clarification. If I have answered your question, kindly rate my service so I may be credited for my time. If you choose to rate me anything less than positive, please do come back to me and I will clarify further or support your query further.

Kind regards, Karin
Karin Samms and other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hello Karin,


Thank you so much for your advice. I will digest your comments carefully and, if you would like, I will let you know how I get on, as I have decided I will speak to my son. I'll find a quiet time to do this.


Thank you again.


Kind regards

Hi there A,
Thank you so much for your rating.
I'm pleased to hear that you will take some time to process this and make the best decision for you. Yes, please do let me know how you get on!
My best wishes to you,
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Dear Karin, I'm afraid my approach to my son and his wife did not go well at all. I decided to speak to them together, as I didn't want either one of them to think I was attempting to cause a rift between them. My daughter-in-law became extremely defensive and I sensed almost that she had planned what she would say. Her response was that if I cared so much about a photo, I should have organised it the same way my ex-husband's wife and her mother did. As I simply only wanted to convey my hurt to them, I just agreed that I was at fault. I left feeling completely shell-shocked & just so unsure of what to do now, Karin.

Hi A,
I'm so sorry to hear that it didn't go very well. If you say that she almost sounded as though she had planned it, you left feeling much more hurt than if she was surprised by your comments. There doesn't seem much that you can do unfortunately. You could try giving them some space and leaving it for a while as it feels very sensitive at the movement and like the elephant in the room. I don't for a second think that you shouldn't have tried to convey your feelings as how else is one to be open and honest and express how you're left? How else are you to continue, knowing how this left you feeling so excluded and unimportant?

You may well just have to leave it and not return to the subject. Try and think about what it is that may be causing her to react this way and just let it be. On a positive note, it feels like, the next occasion that you are altogether, you could tell your son that you would like a family picture taken. (If you're not feeling too sensitive and sore about this?)
I'm really sorry she responded in this way. It feels as though you feel defeated, but just take it as it is and let it go.

I truly hope you begin to heal, this situation may have taught you more about your son and daughter in law than you cared to know, as you sound very surprised by his response (or lack of) and her response of going on the defense.

You look after yourself; you did not do anything wrong. You merely tried to express that you would have liked to have been asked - that is all.
Take care of yourself and try not to let it make you upset anymore than it already has, you did nothing wrong, however some people don't see things from your perspective and are unwilling to change theirs to even consider it from yours - and this is what has happened.
Kindest regards, Karin

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hello Karin,


Thank you again for your advice. I definitely will not raise the subject again and I hope that in time, we'll be able to re-establish a good relationship & I will feel better. At present, I feel completely gutted.


I think what this has highlighted to me though, that there may be some underlying resentment of me by my daughter-in-law and probably her mother too. She has always been the type of girl who finds it very difficult to come to any sort of decision - even to buying clothes, for example. I have always put this down to her mother's controlling influence over her.


Going back to when my grand-son was born 17 months ago, her mother took complete control in the hospital, which led my son to crying on my shoulder, saying that he was so upset at being unable to spend time alone with his wife and son, due to his mother-in-law, her other daughter and her 14 year old grand-daughter all being at the hospital every minute of the day. A nurse finally (and curtly) told my daughter-in-law to tell her mother that this must stop. Needless to say, my d-i-l found it very difficult to tell her mother this & it caused quite a problem for my son for quite some time.


Anyway, Karin, thank you for everything. I am actually going to seek counselling through my workplace, as I really now feel there are issues with my daughter-in-law and her family that are now affecting me and I want to be able to deal with this the best way I can.


I live alone, but still work 3 days a week, which I love. I am a positive person generally and I'm sure I'll manage to get through this, but it has all taken me aback completely.


Kindest regards,





Hi Ann,
You are such a positive person, despite all this awful interaction and treatment of you, you're still being positive and trying to create something good out of it by seeking counseling through work - I commend you.
You have recognized that there are underlying issues with your daughter in law and these are very much influenced by her mother. Your son doesn't appear strong enough to take them all on and seems to come across defeated, but that is his issue and for him to deal with when he's good and ready.
Keep the door open for them, they will eventually realize their mistakes and even if they don't, the fact that you are doing something very productive for you at this moment and planning on exploring these issues through counseling is all at matters.
My very best to you Ann, you truly deserve it.

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