My son married a girl who, by his own description, is possibly suffering from (with) borderline personality disorder. He says that he walks on eggshells all of the time around her.
Her relationship with me has been bad, although never to my face and I hate that, because family means a lot to me and I want things to be ok enough that no one suffers.
I don't know why she decided that I was "evil". It started when they were dating. I can only feel that it was some jealousy over my good relationship with my son.
I am looking for someone who might have experience with this type of behavior or a severe daughter-in-law issue that could help me try to figure out what I can do to keep the family in communication (notice I didn't say together--i don't think i'll ever be able to have that)
right now she is refusing to let me see my 4month old grandson because of how I talked to my mother (90, alzheimer's) when trying to get her to take her pills for the nurse 2 months ago. Everyone who knows my relationship with my mother considers me to go above and beyond with her. I've seen the baby, my son and her once when they came to visit after that and she acted like everything was just fine and even reached out and hugged me as they left.
I don't care if this stays public or goes to a private message..I will certainly write more if I get any responses and ask for suggestions, but didn't want to write a book if there is no interest.
Odds are the relationship between your son and daughter-in-law will crash at some point. If I were you, i'd be switzerland and stay neutral, but express your wishes to help out, ie, financial support, babysitting, emotional support. If they don't bite, there's not much you can do about it. Hopefully you can at least maintain good relations with your son and when the time comes be there for him and your grandson. Nobody can walk on eggshells forever, and this will wear on everyone. Trust me i've seen it before and it always ends badly....Just be there for your loved ones....Might want to stock up on proof and get a little legally minded. Not that i'm against the mom, she needs help, but if she refuses it....My concern is for the little one. And it's just not right to keep children from the grandparents.....They have alot to offer...And using them to prove a point or to get back at someone is just plain wrong. :)
thank you so much for your reply. I keep wondering if the marriage will last...Unfortunately, my son wrote me a note shortly after his marriage 3 years ago telling me he'd made a big mistake, but that that he'd made that choice and he would stick by it. I'm afraid the sense of responsibility I raised him with is going to become a burden in the end.
I always wonder if I should confront my daughter-in-law. To ask her to put aside her feelings for me for the sake of my son and their children. Can you do this with someone who is bpd? By the way, are there any web sites where I could get more info on dealing with someone like this?
Also, could you clarify for me what you mean by getting proof? What kind of legal proceedings would involve a grandmother? I'll all for getting documentation for something that might bite me later.
Anyone else out there with more to offer on this painful (almost disabling for me) topic?
I am a mum and have borderline Personality Disorder and OCD. I believe that you need to be quite firm with your daughter-in-law. Research the condition and see if a support group is runing in your area for your son and his wife to attend. People with this condition struggle with relationships. Never personalise her actions. I am sure she is a good mum and that her children see another side her her that maybe you will never see. She needs to trust you because she will be feeling your negative thought to her.
I would be afraid that actually confronting her could place a worse strain on your relationship and maybe your son and daughter in laws relationship more than it is now? I am a MIL, and let me tell you I have loved my family and never once been mean to my dil and yet now I cannot see my grandson of a little over one yr old, as I did not like her talking to me badly about her step daughter my little ten yr old grand daughter ( talking about her blue jeans being small, she is more and more like her real mom etc etc) I never once said anything to her but emailed my son to ask him to check on her and see what is wrong? We always got along, but once she took in her niece and nephew ( and my son said it was alright just before the marriage) things changed. Now I am not aloud near them. I can see my grand daughter as my ex DIL allows me to as always.
We took in both my sons and families when they had problems ( Free of charge) we always baby sat and love our grandchildren ( we have two grown sons) but now this DIL did everything to upset me, and I would not fight with her. And when she said to me on Fathers Day ( we were invited by our son) " Do not touch him ( our grandson) I still never got angry and all she is now angry about is: My grand daughter that day said " Grandma I had to war this tee shirt as my bathing suit is too small" I said to her mom ( step mom) " Did you know --- bathing suit was small? She went crazy screamed about my grand daughter " doing it on purpose" and that " We think she is sooo wonderful" and my husband said " We need top go" Then she was really angry and so now will never let us see our grandson and our son just LET her act like this and blames US for leaving that day. We ruined THEIR picnic!
I am thinking maybe you must be very, very, very careful saying anything to her? Just let your son handle it all? It is terrible in this day and age how the children are used against the in laws. It is happening all the time and then know they CAN, and so they WILL do it. As Dr Phil has said " It is a Misuse of Stewardship" Some people can take what they CAN do and go overboard and become cruel.
Be careful I think about how you handle this and just let your son handle it maybe? Of course who am I, just a MIL who tried so hard to Not fight, and/or say anything and still the DIL made trouble for us and got us out of the picture anyway We never bothered them and never went without an invite. She felt " uncomfortable " knowing we loved our grand daughter and " she could not discipline her as she wished" She said this and many other things like " The girls parents are important, but the boys parents are not and they should not need to come. They should be thankful they are loved and leave it at that" Things like this on facebook. If I did not answer she would be worse when we saw them.
Just be very careful, I guess this is my message in order to ever see your grandchild and son, as the DIL's have the last say and they know it! This can and does cause lots of trouble and they do not realize one BIG thing: One day THEY will be the mother in law! Let us see how they handle it all? I pray they do not have their grandchild and children snatched from them just because it can be done.
We all have different upbringing and personalities and I never was cruel to my in laws or parents, as I knew they loved the grandchildren and for 'respect of my husband ',I would never do such a thing and never did!
MIL's beware, until the day comes when the laws change.I know the DIL's are maybe afraid of how they are doing with this bringing up baby, but they sometimes think the MIL is trying to be against them and actually the MIL wants to be helpful and think this is the problem and therapy is often needed. In my case I offered counseling as family ( they will not answer about it at all) It looks like they just : " Want us out of the picture?" That is what my husband thinks.. We were a VERY close family before. It hurts deeply. This is why I just caution you to not say much if you can help it.
But trying to see if she can get counseling with your son, might help her alot, but do not email your son as i did. She will probably read his emails too?Best to go through your son maybe under the circumstances just in case she will turn on you, when you do not mean to say anything to upset her ,but she might get upset?
I believe my son (with whom I was always very close) has married a woman who has Histrionic Personality Disorder. We live in Australia and our son and his new wife of one year now live overseas. From the beginning, she ensured our son's friends were made redundant in his life. Our son tried to reason with her (which used to be his normal 'mo') but they had a fight just after they were married and made him promise that he would "always stand by her otherwise she would leave him". He gave her that commitment. Our son's friends were concerned for him and only had his best interests at heart. They no longer exisit in our son's life. At the same time, and always being nice to my face, she had been scheming behind my back saying to our son what a terrible upbringing he had suffered because I worked and my husband and I did not provide enough "nurturing" to him. There was an incident that occured about 5 months after they married which I won't go into here, however it was a trigger for her to take her campaign against my husband and me to another level. Our son now believes all of this nonsense and refuses any form of contact with us. This has also extended to all family members and good friends. My fear is, he is TOTALLY alone and I don't know what to do. Can anyone help me? It is hard to know what is the best cause of action. When we have tried to keep in touch, it has been met with very arrogant, cruel and self-righteous responses.
I feel sorry for you but can sympathize as my daughter-in-law is now reflecting my son's negative attitude towards me. It seems that the respect factor is not present with certain young people towards their elders. These kids are spoiled with all we have given them many times these things are not deserved and not appreciated. I have never said anything to my mother in law like I have heard second hand that my daughter in law has said about me. I am backing off and hoping that as they become parents they will understand and begin to appreciate all I have done for them only hoping to make their lives easier than mine was at their age.
I have just recently learned of BPD, however it is the condition my now Ex Wife suffers from. After 7 years of the eggshell thing, each explosive episode & attacks both verbal & physical, grew in intensity.
Total loss of reality, begins with long term intense negativity, constant argument with someone ( always in hate mode to someone) rotating between her parents, then her children (grown) then to me, crisis after crisis. The intense & loving person I came to love, migrated into a demon consumed with fits of anger.
I attempted to passively yet agressively limit her destructive behavior, yet the "black hole" of her world soon consumed me & all around her, causing emotional, financial & trust damage to where suicide, or more became dailyconversation.
As attempts to reason issues in conversation, facing fact we may not make it as a couple were discussed, or threatened by her, things became worse..until for safety reasons had to leave.
My actual process of moving out, created total mental breakdown, suicide attempt & destruction of all household items.
This is a woman I love, but through long, painfull & destructive decline, lives in abject misery, desperate for stability, love & normal life, who with every word & every action, causes the exact opposite to occur.
She is 55, so the articles I have read who state this declines in age, are very wrong..
Had I known of the existance of BPD,I may have understood the problem more..however it appears little can be done to remedy, as it is a chronic, lifetime affliction....
I fear for her safety & happiness.. though therapy is the stated most effective treatment, those who are in her real, everyday life suffer a great deal, just by association.
Is there anything more that can be done, to be involved in a solution?
Just because she didn't get better doesn't mean that other people with BPD don't get cured. Everyone is different. With the right treatment and counseling many people do get better, especially with age when they are able to really think about their actions. I am a perfect example. People with BPD are extremely sensitive and if they think you are treating them unfairly they will turn against you fast. The best type of treatment is DBT..Dialectial Behavior Therapy and it works. As long as the individual wants the help they can get better.
My daugher-in-law was saying bad things about me before she married my son. My son was telling me and telling me he didn't know what to do. Obviously, she was afraid of me before she ever met me. We've worked on her, she seemed to get better, but she just had a child, and now she's verbally attacking me again, and though I've done nothing, she's descided to "put me in my place", so I'm getting nasty emails telling me what I can and can't do, and nasty phone calls telling me we have boundery problems. She has boundary problems. We hardly see them. My son has been through hell with her negativity, and doesn't know what to do with her. What can I do with her so things don't keep getting worse? We only have one child, we've had wonderful family relations, and this girl, whose from a divorced family, is like a desease to us. My son is very regretful. Mom in Ohio
A followup to my original post in 2006. My son has now been married for 9 years. Up until 2 months ago, I lived about 6 hours from him. He and his wife had a little girl 3 years ago. I have fluctuated between total depression over the situation to "he's an adult and if he wants to be a jerk, so be it". For the last year I have let him be the first to contact me unless I had something specific to say. Nothing has improved for his relationship with his own family. His wife does seem to be a good mother, but she still has times when she behaves in a very borderline way...at least for what little I get to see them. Twice a year has been the status quo, no matter how often I try to go see them. I totally agree with the post from "disorders". He has no friends, only calls his father or myself when she has gone shopping. Although my son has always seen things in a strictly black vs. white manner, he was a really great kid and should have been a terrific adult son based on the relationship we had up until his marriage. I've never had to courage to have "the talk" with either him or his wife or both. At this point, I don't think it would make anything worse, but it's still difficult to do. For one thing, I've never been there when the children aren't with us. I deeply wish my son had found someone else. Unlike a lot of son's mothers, I looked forward to having a daughter-in-law very much. As he grew up, I imagined how great it would be to be grandma as well as occasionally doing something with his wife. I have cried many hours over this, even knowing that I can't change it. I've had to learn to pretend I only have 1 child: my other son and his wife and child, in order to function. My grandson is almost 6 and I've never spent more than 3 hours at a time with him. My granddaughter is 3 and I've seen her 3 times. I never thought a terrific man like my son would end up almost a stranger.
I am saddened after reading your update, I am at the beginning of a similar journey, my son has recently married a young girl who is going through the diagnosis stage and may have BPD and be at the mania phase of bi-polar.
A week after their marriage he found she had large debts, this resulted in her physically assaulting anyone who tried to support him. After a few months she still remains violent, wont see me at all as I seem to be the focus of her distress and I don't understand what went wrong. He says it has been terrible, no honeymoon period for him, and he admitted he would not have married her if he had been aware of the full story.
My sons friends have been warned off and he is becoming isolated from his friends and my side of the family. I wonder if this is because we found all her hidden mail and dealt with the debt collectors and informed our son of what we had found.
We felt we had been supportive and have listened to his wife, she has said some terrible hurtful, spiteful things to us and then says she doesn't remember saying them and we are expected to be loving, which is hard following a character assination. Is this usual? It seems like its a way of saying what you like without taking any responibility for your actions.
Gradually my capacity to show love and respect towards my DIL is diminishing and I now find I dont want to have anything to do with her. This is upsetting as I wont see my son very much and I wil have to find a way to come to terms with that. Any ideas?
This sounds exactly what I have been going through for over 3 years. I had a very loving family until my DIL entered the picture.
I too looked forward to having married children and grandchildren. Well, be careful what you wish for.
My once popular son now has no contact with his H.S., college friends and his cousins + siblings want nothing to do with him as long as he stays married to her. So, we no longer have family gatherings with all of my kids.
He is not the son I remember, he is practically a stranger to me now.
My husband and I argue now because he says "It will pass", "Let it go", "Ignore her" when DIL makes me upset with her antics. Easy for him to say he's never the target!
Out of the blue she will be verbally nasty + mean, via technology for the whole family to read, to my other children and myself. Mostly females in the family and mostly around birthdays and holidays.
She thinks the whole family, our side, agrees with her feelings towards us. People who have known us our whole lives or at least decades.
Yet, she'll go to church, doesn't that make her a hypocrite?
Everything is always everybody elses fault.She'll deny having said something and will put words in your mouth.
She talks about how important family is but everything she does drives people away.Even her own family has had run ins with her, I've witnessed it.
It's either her way or the highway.
My son rarely does anything right in her eyes either, he's turned into a whimp, afraid to say anything to her.
She has anxiety issues, is paranoid, jealous you name it but again it's everybody elses fault not hers.
Is there any hope for my family as long as my son stays married to her?
I'm at the end of my ropes and wish my son had never met this girl!
I have a relative who has a borderline mother in law and possibly his wife is too (like mother, like daughter), as it seems that his mother in law really has a very close relationship with her daughter and they help each other out. It is unhealthy.
All I can say is that each person who is unfortunately afflicted by having a borderline in their life, must help the world, and thereby will be helping themselves, but helping get articles into news sources etc. The world must know what borderlines are, and people should be educated and forewarned so that nobody should have to fall into this "lifetime burden and emotional prison sentence". Reading about this and getting support from a safe and educated person can help.
Another tip is:
however hard it is,
when a bpd "baits" you, just ignore it. Don't show happiness or sadness. Just let it pass by. The BPD usually waits till they see what hurts you or what you like so that they use that for their "next strike".
Get support, but be careful who you choose. A therapist could be good but not always, they have to be "good", and not all therapists are good. There are organizations for BPD and they may have therapists and counselors for this.
You can't change who is in your life all the time, but you can protect yourself. Keep learning what you can do. DO NOT go by your instincts, you must be educated to be savvy about this protection.