Dear Dr. Meg,
I read your blog, Why Children (of all ages) Need Grandparents. It brings tears to my eyes, and I’d like to reach out to you for advice, or perhaps you’ve addressed this in a former blog?
My two sons and I have had a close relationship as a family unit, with extended family and our church friends all throughout their childhood. When my oldest son married six months after meeting his now wife, we welcomed her into the family. He explained there were issues from her childhood that we needed to be patient with and help her, which I understood and reached out to help in every way. He was in the Army and they lived in other cities which were 13 hours away from me. After they were married for two years, they moved home with me for 4 months and brought their new baby. My daughter-in-law’s brother tagged along since he had no job and was on “vacation” from where they are from in Canada. During that time, we all seemed to get along with no major issues.
About four years into their marriage, we were planning for me to move closer to them to help out with the children. They now have three. At that time is when everything changed. My daughter-in-law expressed disrespect blatantly and degrading, first toward my younger son’s girlfriend, then my younger son, and finally towards me. My older son shared that she pointed out things about me that needed to change and that she had been complaining to him about me. My first response was to defend myself and make it all better.
As many times as I’ve tried over the years since this outbreak, she has used attack words via email and text, as well as vacillating in superficial kindness. I have apologized (whether I needed to or not) and suggested we all go to family counseling. I am willing to do whatever it takes to mend our relationship but she creates ways to keep us apart. She told me not to call her children, “your children”, but to call them by name. My older son has withdrawn from the entire family and all of hi childhood friends. Sometimes he reaches out to his brother by phone, but his brother rarely calls him because he is not pleased with my older son for allowing the behavior of his wife toward me to continue.
I am not allowed to have direct communication with my older son unless his wife is present, including by email copy and no direct texting. I am treated like “the other woman”. I am not welcome in their home. I am not allowed to mail gifts or even see my grandchildren. This is what prompted me to write to you after reading your article. The best I know to do is pray through this spiritual battle. I am a Christian and Christ Jesus is Lord of my Life. My oldest son and his wife, who are not communicating with me, are also professing Christians. I know my son was a faithful follower of Christ before his marriage. I am heartbroken.
If you have any encouragement to share, I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you kindly.
A Grieving Grandma