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Ask Rev.Dr. August Abbott Your Own Question
Rev.Dr. August Abbott
Rev.Dr. August Abbott, Clergy
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 7627
Experience:  Ordained minister: Counselor (spiritual/life)
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My daughter-in-law treats me horribly. I'm just beside myself

Customer Question

My daughter-in-law treats me horribly. I'm just beside myself as I've done nothing to warrant her cold attitude toward me. She and my son live several states away so I only see them a couple times a year. When I do see them she says mean things to me and is critical regarding anything I do with my 2 grandchildren. My son told me I'm overreacting and told me "she's just blunt" and speaks her mind. I told him being blunt does not mean rude and mean as she is to me. Also, and this is what I don't understand, she's very nice and pleasant to total satrangers and mere acquaintances--a totally different person! I don't know what to do. Now I'm not speaking to them but I so want a relationship with my grandchildren and don't want to jeopardize that, but am tired of the abuse from my DIL. I'm very passive and have had trouble with people walking over me most of my life. I just don't understand why she's so mean to me--I've nerver done anything to deserve this. What should I do?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Rev.Dr. August Abbott replied 1 year ago.
Hit the 're set' button. The next time she's due to visit, plan a 'girl's day out', even if it's just for lunch while your son minds the children. At this lunch 'confide' in your DIL that you were always concerned about who your son would marry and have a family with, and that you want to take this opportunity to tell her how happy you are that he chose her. Admit that sometimes it seems you say or do the wrong thing and you hope she keeps forgiving you.--- yes, this is all just something you're saying, not actually doing, but we've discovered by now that she's never going to admit to having faults, right? --- Take ALL of the blame for any animosity and ask her to help you be better. It's hard to be disagreeable and mean when you're tapped to be a 'teacher'. I know this is difficult. I've done it! Same disagreeable, egocentric daughter in law who thinks a son can only have ONE woman in their lives and that means mother is out. Actually, it's sad that she's so insecure and unsure of her ranking with your son. So we play to her weaknesses and boost her position by telling her whatever she needs to hear. After all, you only see her occasionally and the goal here is to be part of your grandchildren's lives When it comes to the grandkids, ask her to be a little lenient with you. Explain that after making all the mistakes mom's make with their children, we have a different perspective a generation later - and she'll be the same way, no matter how much she says she won't. We said the same thing to our parents when they indulged our kids too. Remind her, repeatedly, that it's only a few times a year. The kids will still be following her rules and her example - just getting a little 'time off' from it at grandma's Finally, this part is really hard... when she's nasty in front of you and the rest of the family, HUG HER. As you do, tell her you love her 'no matter what' and that you're 'sorry for whatever you might have done' I find this not only works, it often makes her disappear! It's hard to stay the 'bad guy' when everyone sees you're so clearly loving and kind. She'll likely go to another room to steam by herself The old adage, 'kill 'em with kindness' actually changes the atmosphere and the lunch out together will be your opportunity to change the path you've both been on for too long now. *** And no more telling your son anything other than how GREAT you think your dil is. Trust me, it will get back to her and give her something to live up to. Plus, it will automatically lead him to favor you when he witnesses anything negative she does or says.