What is wrong with daughter-in-law?


Son has been married for 18 years to a woman he met in a Catholic college, The situation has been deeply hurtful and a trial for us, and the rest of the family. We have stayed away for the last four years after dil blew us off from visiting the newest addition in the hospital.

Last year, son came to his brother’s wedding but not his wife nor his kids. It would have been understandable had they not taken a trip two weeks before the wedding in an adjacent area. And they did not acknoweldge the invitation and reply quickly. The bride to be had to call son who was to be the best man.

That is two examples. There are MANY,MANY others. The latest salvo was a condolence card sent by the dil in question.It arrived two days ago, three weeks after my Mom died. Mom was the great-grandmother to son and dil’s four children. It was signed by her, the kids and their dog. Son came to funeral, flying in day before and leaving 24 hrs. later. No flowers, no Mass card, no fruit basket. That was not brought up. We actually had a good time as long as the elephant sitting in the room wasn’t acknowleged. If you attempt it, you get the blank look. Talking to son re. wife is like talking to a wall.

We accepted that until the card arrived. My stomach rose to my throat. I would like to write back and tell her she is such a hypocrite. I feel by not saying what I’m feeling, I’m lying. I’m accepting terrible behaviour for the sake of keeping peace in a relationship that doesn’t exist. We hadn’t talked to our son since the wedding 18 months ago.

From the get-go, we were told by her family (mother and the siblings) she is selfish, “should have had a good smack on her butt”, her mother actual said to me, re. another episode a year after they were married, that what dil had told me and her Mom was a lie. That is when I knew if she could lie to her mother and father and treat them like she was treating them, we were going to be in for it. And we have.

Son? What I’ve been told is he has to live with her. He’s under her control. There isn’t anything he can do.

A friend hearing about the card, told me dil has serious mental problems. I agree. But what is it? Nacissistic personality?

Thanks for letting me vent.


One bit at a time.

Hospital visit for new babies. Some mothers do not want visitors, some mothers are only comfortable with one or two visitors. Do not feel offended that she did not rush you into the room. Give her that space to bond or to cry or whatever she needed to do - the woman just gave birth. Visit the baby later, after the hospital - when mom says she is ready for guests.

The wedding, perhaps they could not afford two family trips so close together. Perhaps there was no more vacation time. Maybe her kids don’t do weddings well - again, it is not worth making enemies over.

And lastly the funeral. First, prayers for you on this day. Second, I will admit, I am one who does not send fruit baskets or flowers - frankly, I cannot afford them! I have a crazy nutso schedule and I may be weeks late on a card. Sometimes, a phone call is the best I can do - maybe she does not feel that she can call you because of the ill relationship in the past.

My advise, accept her for who she is. Is she a good wife to your son and good mother to her kids? Does she practice her faith? If she does those things, then, work on building a friendship based on her personality. Maybe call her just to check in every now and then.

Foremost, pray for her, every day.

Again, so sorry for your loss.


aicirt…wow it is hard for me to give you un-biased advice because I am on the reverse end of this as the daughter-in-law is subject to insults and accusations. Since I don’t know about your particular situation…I can only give you the perspective from the other side. BTW I am not in any way saying that you are wrong in your perspective, I just want to give you a view from the side of being a DIL.

First off…even if your DIL is a terrible person and has manipulated your son…it doesn’t matter, that is his wife and it was his choice to marry him. I would not insult her, even when she is in the wrong, as it is her husbands duty to take her side. Any conflict that you start or engage in is something can cause them to fight and jeopardize the happiness of your grandchildren. Meddling in-laws have caused more than one divorce and even if this dil is nasty and you are justified in thinking so, you still cannot cause conflict out of love for your son and grandchildren. Your son is a man now and who he marries is his choice. I heard a really good Catholic speaker once say that people often say when children get married…you are not losing a son you are gaining a daughter. Well he argued that you are, in fact, losing a son. A man leaves his mother and father to be with his wife.

As far as her not having you come to the hospital. The birth of a child is a sacred event for a man and woman…some like family to come see them, other don’t. Often the woman is exhausted and emotional and sensitive about the way she looks. Frankly, it is rude to expect to be invited. Will I want my husband’s parents around when I am in bed wearing a backless gown after the biggest emotional event of my life? As I am learning to breast feed? As I am having pain or other issues? Not so sure. But that will be my decision when the times comes, and if they are disappointed by their own expectations, it will be no fault of mine.

The part about him not bringing a fruit basket…you are getting yourself upset about your own expectation. You expected him to bring something and he didn’t…it is a conversation you are having with yourself and getting mad at him over it. It is not an obligation to bring a fruit basket and frankly, it is a bigger faux pa to fault someone for not brining something than it is to be the person not bringing something.

For your own sanity, stop making judgments of her or trying to catch her in a lie. If her parents said she was a pain in the butt, my own parents have said that about me (I was! And they love me anyways) and would hate to know that it has been used against me by my MIL (as it has been).

If your son made a bad choice in a marriage partner, that is for him to realize and not for you to point out. You do not know this girl, she may have issues or insecurities that make her prickly to outsiders. She may feel judged or nitpicked by you and so she keeps a safe distance. Also, she doesn’t have to fall at your feet or provide you with constant conversation. She doesn’t have to love you or even like you. She should honor and respect you, but that does not mean doing the things you want it just means not being disrespectful when she sees you. It is okay if she wants to keep her distance, she is a grown woman. As to why she doesn’t attend certain things…she is an adult and does not have to answer her schedule to anyone. The same goes for you towards her, everyone he is an adult, free and sovereign.


No offense, but you sound like a super-critical MIL…


RE: the wedding:

Perhaps the DIL has some social anxiety. My DH rarely goes to weddings or social events. He gets very uncomfortable around large groups of people and has a miserable time. It is far easier for just me to go. Over the years, people know that DH will probably not come, or if he does, he will drive separately so he can leave when the discomfort is too great.

How close are her kids to your family? Did they know the uncle getting married? How old are the kids? Perhaps they weighed the pros and cons (distance and cost of travel, closeness - or lack thereof - to uncle, having to put up with a critical grandmother, other committments at home) and the travel to the wedding just could not be justified.

Same with the funeral. Cost can be a huge factor. If you’ve stayed out of their lives for 4 years, the littlest kid does not know you.


I’ve seen what dils can do. It’s too hard to tell if there is narcissism involved here. We don’t know enough about what your son was like before he married her, what she was like before the wedding, how he has changed, whether she makes his life hell if he contacts his own family, whether they foster a relationship between you and the kids.

YOU made a mistake letting her hospital decisions affect your contact with the kids. Others pointed out valid points.

I’ve also been the spouse who was made miserable if I tried to call or contact or visit my own family. Sometimes the effort was not worth the price I was made to pay.

You won’t get anywhere telling your son his wife is horrible. Even if she is and even if he knows it, he has little choice for the sake of his kids but to make it work. If you love your grandchildren you will remain a part of their lives, call them, send cards and gifts and keep telling your son you love him and are here for him.

In 14 years he may be the kind of guy who walks out on his wife as soon as the youngest is in college. But he won’t tell you that. He has his pride. Allow him that. Only he knows what verbal assaults he undergoes in his own home. If her family says there’s smoke and fire, there probably is.

You allude to lots of stories… that’s the thing that catches my eye. One or two events don’t a problem make. But when it’s been 18 years of behavior that is objectionable, sometimes there could be a problem.

Yes, women can be NPDs. Only your son knows what he’s going through. Maybe his brother, now that he’s married, can reach out to him. Reestablish contact. Seek him out for advice. He might learn something there…

Too little info here. But I won’t say you’re a bad MIL. You’re a mom worried about her son.

But be honest… did you raise your son to treat his wife as a secretary? She has four kids. Couldn’t HE have shopped for a card and sent it to his OWN mother about his OWN grandmother? Maybe she hounded him for weeks and finally went out and bought a card and signed it from her and the kids just to let you know SHE is the one doing all the work.

Don’t be mad at her. Be mad at your son. There is probably more going on there than you know. To let 18 months go by without contact is a bit ridiculous. I suspect there is behavior your son got used to in your family growing up that made him susceptible to her bad behavior when he met her. In that respect, you need to examine the irregularities in your own family dynamic before you can judge the person he chose. I’m saying that as someone who married a complete narcissist.

A brother invited to be his own brother’s best man who didn’t even bother to call and let him know he was going to the wedding?

That is ridiculous. Maybe your son found the perfect spouse. Who knows.

But your question is, do you want a relationship with the grandchildren? If so, stop the games and retaliation on your part. Reach out to them. So that when they are out of that house and young adults they’ll want something to do with you and will want to get to know you.


*Hi aicirt;

I am a little confused…did your DIL sign the card from herself, kids, dog…but not your son? :confused: Are you upset that she didn’t attend the funeral? If they have four kids, they might have a hard time finding someone to babysit, and to pay for 6 plane tickets might be steep. Are you angry about that?

From the small amount you have written, hard for me to tell what she has done that is so wrong. Your son could have bought flowers and/or a fruit basket…why didn’t he? He told you he is under his wife’s control?

I am a little confused as to what the dymanic is…if you could expound a bit more, that would be helpful. :o*


One of the things in ALL these stories is you’re making them about you and your feelings. The birth of a new baby IS exciting but its NOT about you. The wee one already had mom, dad and siblings to bond with, not to mention people who are geographically closer. The wedding wasn’t your wedding things seemed to have worked out. They forgot to RSVP. Perhaps they were trying to get the money together to make the trip. It dosn’t sound like you made any effort to find out why…only to assign blame.
And about the death. ALL people handle death in a different way. It was up to your son to do what what he feels is best. He went and paid his respects. I don’t blame the dil for not coming. Dragging 4 young children to a funeral for someone they don’t know is just ASKING for a scene. Not to mention that it also brings up a lot of emotional questions in children and can be traumatizing if they don’t understand.


First of all, my condolences on your Mom’s death.
To me, it seems like the way to go would be to try to talk to your son. You don’t seem to have any kind of opportunity to create a relationship with your DIL, but you know your son and you should try to get through to him in this situation.
I would tell him that I’d like to see the grandkids sometimes and that I feel cut off from him and his family. Yes, I would put him on a guilt trip because the way I see it, he has let you down. Maybe his marriage isn’t happy and he’s under his wife’s thumb, but you’re still his mother and the grandmother to his children. You should get to see them sometimes! I wouldn’t hit him over the head with this but go gently and try to get him to see how hurt you are by this lack of connection.
Good luck with this. I know it must be hard for you.


My condolences on your Mom’s death.

I guess my question would be “what to you want”? Do you want to fight with your DIL and make your son pick sides? If you want to see your grandchildren more often then talk to your son, tell him its OK if he leaves her at home (probably preferable). If you want your DIL to suddenly change after 18 years you’re wasting your time, breath and bandwidth on this website.

A diagnosis of her personality won’t change it.


what can you do about DIL after 19 years, obviously, not a darn thing
she is not going to change
your relationship with your son is your business, her own attitude is her business.
You can only change yourself. Maintain a cordial relationship with your son and grandchildren to the extent you can given time and distance.

Either decide to allow these things to fuel resentments that build and fester, or let them go. Unilaterally forgive her for any hurt she has caused you in the past. I did not say condone, enable, excuse, or explain, I said forgive, which is something you do in your heart, and means letting go of it, and releasing her power to hurt you.

Or you can let these things build, and keep reflecting on things that happened years ago, as you are doing here, and let them fuel more resentment and bitterness which each new inept attempt on her part, and by all means interpret every lapse on her part as a deliberate insult to you. Do not give her any benefit of the doubt for poor upbringing or simply her personality. By all means, justify your own anger. IN that way you can make sure everything she does or fails to do hurts you, to the detriment of your spiritual, psychological and physical health. Your choice.


WOW…lots o’ posts so I’ll try and answer each one who has questions.

Baby was #4. We knew of the pregnancy from son who called before and at his birth. I then called dil to ask when would it be convenient for us to visit. (We had visited the hospital at the others’ births as did her parents). Nurse answered. I told nurse it was dil’s mil and she relayed the message to dil who said back, "I’m nursing. Tell her I’ll call her. " Still waiting for the call. Still no word at end of week about going to their home to see the new baby so we went about our plans and leave for the winter.

Wedding…There’s an old saying, “You know who your friends are not by the times they’ve joined you in sorrow but when they’ve shared your joy.” Our sons were close…or so we thought. This is a time to put someone else before yourself. After 18 years of disappointments, family and friends began to bet on what excuse was going to be used for the next occasion.

Go with the phone call for the condolence. It is immediate. It has truth to it. It shows concern.

Good wife and good mother? Good Catholic Mom? If a man kept his wife from seeing her family and friends, he’d be termed abusive. Trust me. It is a classic sign of an abuser. Good Mother? If my son kept those kids from seeing her parents, he’d be abusive. There is nothing wrong with her parents. Her Mom, through her other daughter, told our other son she is very upset about the way we are treated.

Practice her faith? She goes to Church.

Call her? Did that years ago until we realized are calls were being screened and no return calls were made.

As an aside…the other dil I’ve known for seven years. Thank God we have her!


I used to have a problem and now I love her as a daughter, even tho my son divorced her after 31 years, but thats another story. Anyway many years ago as I was praying for God to change her into what I thought she should be, a small voice came to me and said you are the one who needs to change and accept her as she is. Boy that startled me cause I thought I was wonderful lol. Anyway I did try with Gods help to change my attitude towards her and guess what? we had and still have a wonderful relationship and I do love her very much and always keep in touch with her.

So sometimes the person you have problems with isn’t the one who needs to change, you do.

God Bless:)


Why do you think the problem is with your daughter in law and not with your son? I would expect that your son would be the one making the arrangements for you to come and visit. Why don’t you call him and work the situation out with him? It seems to me like you are holding your DIL responsible for all communications when it should be your son you are holding accountable.


Yes, meddling in-laws can be a bane on a marriage but that works both ways. You cannot bring grief on your parents or in-laws. You cannot use either as an emotional punching bag and then, if they try and defend themselves, yell that they are meddlesome and are interfering with your marriage. I have every right to defend myself but since I’ve learned it gets us no where, we’ve backed off for self-preservation.

Regarding that Catholic speaker…do you have sons? I too have heard the expression a daughter is a daughter all of your life but a son is a son until he takes a wife. Or “You mothers of sons, you just can’t let go of your boys.” LOL.
How about this one…HONOR YOUR FATHER AND YOUR MOTHER. You don’t have to love them. You don’t have to call your in-laws Mom and Dad. But for the love of God, and I mean that literally, treat them as you would want to be treated or as you treat your own parents.

The lie…I didn’t know she lied until her MOTHER told me. I didn’t have to catch her or try an manipulate her. Why would I do that?


The thing about DILs like that… the karma wheel will come back around if she has sons. She may someday relive the cup of bitterness she served you for decades.

Her children are learning how to treat inlaws from her example. :wink: Someday she will be someone else’s MIL.

Having said that, the son needs to show some respect and love too. I suspect this situation didn’t happen in a bubble. It started long before he got married. His relationship with his family and his choice of a spouse is now unwinding to a logical conclusion.

A different man would have said, “Dear, my children will know my family. They will be involved. I love my parents. I won’t put up with this nonsense. You don’t have to go to every family function, but weddings and funerals are the bare minimum.”

My xh didn’t go to weddings. Which was nice. Because now my siblings don’t have him glowering in their wedding albums. He’s not a member of the family anymore, and he never really wanted to be.



Boy, would I love to hear the d- in-law’s side.

What exactly is the “terrible behavior” you have had to “endure” for 18 years? You’ve had it in for her since the “get-go.” 18 years ago pre-children, she may very well have been selfish. I know I was. I sure hope people who knew me then would give me credit for having grown up a bit. 18 years of marriage and 4 children tend to mature a person. So for 14 years she lived knowing that you didn’t like her, and you wonder why she didn’t want you in the hospital room when she has just given birth? And you call HER selfish??? And from your original post, it was you who have “stayed away” How does that translate into her being an abuser by keeping her kids away from you?

There is a huge difference between taking a family vacation and dragging 4 children to a wedding. Most weddings I’ve been to are not child friendly. The youngest, whom you had never met because of holding a grudge against its mother, would have been 3. What if she had come with the whole crew? Would you have spent the whole time nitpicking her parenting? If I was your daughter in law, I would have stayed home with my kids, too. In fact I have. Your family, they don’t like me anyway, you go.

Your son is being held hostage by his wife to the point he can’t bring a fruit basket? Do you have any idea how unbalanced that makes you sound? Seriously! You are judging the state of your husband’s marriage over a fruit basket??? Your son jumped on a plane and came to the funeral. After you giving him the cold shoulder for 18 months.

So here is the timeline as I see it.

  1. You are in a huff for the last 4 years and don’t see your son and his family,
  2. Then you are in a huff for 18 months after son comes to his brother’s wedding
  3. Now you are in a huff for the last three weeks after your son comes to his grandmother’s funeral.

Wow. And the title of this thread is “What is Wrong with daughter in law”?
I’ll tell you what is wrong with daughter in law. She has you for a mother in law.


I think I may have answered most of your questions in other posts.

Super-critical MIL…Hmmm. I have no reason to be critical of her housekeeping, cooking, cleaning, or child rearing. I don’t care. What I do care about is our right to have a relationship with our son and our grandchildren. Not to mention it happens to be their right to know their grandparents.

Both my husband and I had great relationships with our gps. And our sons had an excellent relationship with their surviving grandmother. It is a wonderful thing.


**There is something wrong with her family. Family shouldn’t be badmouthing each other like that behind each others back. That her mother speaks about her that way is very sad. None of you have any business gossiping about her like this. I wouldn’t return a call either. Because I’d feel like no matter what I said who know how it would be taken to someone else.

Your son is a big boy. He can write his own cards and phone calls and if he doesn’t do it then don’t blame his wife.

As for the rest…

It sounds like entirely unneccessary drama. So she just had a baby and was nursing and didn’t call you back. Did it ever occur to you that she was exhausted and forgot? Did it not occur to you to call your son? I completely don’t get that.

I won’t say you are a bad mil.

But I will say everything you posted that you have done or said would have sent me as a dil as far from dealing with you as possible. I would avoid talking to you and absolutely would avoid visiting with, ESP with the kids bc I can’t think of any reason why I’d want my kids around someone that disrespects their mother. Your son and this woman have become one and made a family. Every word against her (whether true or not) will drive your son away from you. But the opposite is also true. The more you love your dil the closer you will be to your son. **

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