I don't want to start trouble, but what should I do?

@anawar (2404)
United States
July 30, 2008 9:14pm CST
My son redeployed home from Iraq earlier this month. He has a limited amount of free time before the army demands his full attention again. He is stationed in Georgia, but the rest of the family lives in Florida. Mainly, his two sisters and his grandparents. I love my son's wife, but everyone, including her, agrees that her side of the family is less than loving. They're mean to their own daughter and never paid her any attention while she was growing up. My son and daughter-in-law have been together since the 8th grade and got married last October. My son has had his ups and downs throughout his life, but his sisters and I have always stood by him, loving him and supporting him. Not so with her side of the family! The in-law side was mean to my son until he joined the army. Now, they think the sun rises and sets with him. The mom, the step-mom and the favorite aunt step right past my daughter-in-law to hug and hang onto my son. I feel so sad for her. And it's inappropriate as well. Everyone wants to see my son. My daughter-in-law's parents have both remarried. Each set of parents have planned large parties for my son. They want his undivided attention. His sisters want to see their baby brother. They won't get to see him at either one of the parties. Not real brother/sister time. I don't understand it! My younger daughter and her husband are best friends with my son and his wife. They spent all their time together until my son joined the army and got stationed in Georgia. The break-up hurt both couples. Now, my son is home, and he's spending more time with the crummy in-laws than with his sisters? What? And, he and his wife are staying with his younger sister and her husband, while they visit the in-laws? Both my daughters are heart-broken and I can't believe my son isn't aware of their feelings. My daughters won't say anything, because they want their brother to do whatever he wants, now that he's home and on his own time. I want to call my son and talk to him. I can't believe he would do this, if he knew it hurt his sisters. And, why does anyone have to explain this to him? The in-laws are planning parties, but they cancel plans without a care. For example: The stepfather, on the night before my son's wedding, called off the rehearsal dinner that was to be held at his house. His reason? He was mad about something that happened at work, nothing to do with my son and his bride to be. This is normal behavior for her family. The bride's mom was drinking while my two daughters and I helped my son's wife to be into her wedding dress! Her mom had no interest in her own daughter's wedding. Both the dads were drinking as well. I could go on and on, but I think you get the picture. My son and his wife could end up wasting time hanging around with her family and not enjoying themselves. I talked to my daughter-in-law and she explained they wanted to get her family obligations out of the way so the two couples can get back together later. Well, now there is no more time, except the army's time. Do you think I can get into the middle of this and find out what's going on, without making the situation worse? If you heard my younger daughters voice, your heart would break. Mine is already broken. Can you help me sort through all of these thoughts? What a mess.
7 people like this
16 responses
@Ldyjarhead (10233)
• United States
31 Jul 08
I know it hurts to see the rest of the family hurting because of what you perceive your son is doing, but I don't see any good to come out of you getting in the middle of something. Number one, he is a soldier and yes, his time with any family is limited. He just got back from a war zone and if the numbers keep going like they are, he'll likely go again. Do you really think it's worth arguing about? Number two, once he is married, his responsibility is to his wife and the family they make together. I know that everyone wants to see him and I don't think it's fair that his in-laws all of a sudden want to glean from his notoriety, but that's his call, not yours, not his sisters. If anything, I might make a simple comment to him alone, not in an accusing manner, though. He may already feel torn and making him feel guilty about it andn forced to choose between you isn't going to help any of you.
2 people like this
@GardenGerty (156296)
• United States
31 Jul 08
Moms always want to fix everything for all of their kids. Your heart is in the right place. There will hopefully be time for the sisters. I do know a family just about as crazy and hateful, but am not related in any way. He knows who loves and supports him, and at heart the daughter in law does too. Keep on loving them all. They will come home to that.
@anawar (2404)
• United States
31 Jul 08
GardenGerty - my son and his wife are a remarkable couple. I've never seen a relationship like the one they have. They are so close to each other, maybe because they met so long ago and remained friends, until it blossomed into love. I'm starting to think everything will happen the way it will happen, and there's nothing I can do to stop it. My son told me long ago "Mom, it is what it is." He's right and I respect his perceptions.
@anawar (2404)
• United States
31 Jul 08
You sound too much like my daughter. That's exactly the kind of things she tells me. I'm so glad you understand the nerve of the in-laws. Truth be told, I'm not in GA or FL and I won't have a chance to speak to him. I've only talked with him once on the phone since he came home. I don't want to bother him right now. I figure if he needs me, he'll call me. But that's me. I'm fine. It's so hard knowing how his sisters feel and not being able to help. Are you sure I would make things worse? I wish I knew exactly what was going on, but his sister won't give me details. Probably because the two of you are smarter than me. Thanks for the input. I'm computing the thoughts now.
1 person likes this
@sedel1027 (17846)
• Cupertino, California
31 Jul 08
He probably has no clue how they feel. Since he just got home, he probably wants to stay put and in one place for the time being. I am sure he doesn't get much time off, even to travel. You should call and talk to him, there may be reasons he can't see the rest of the family. I am sure he is quite oblivious to how everyone else feels.
1 person likes this
@sedel1027 (17846)
• Cupertino, California
31 Jul 08
If you don't talk to him, he will never know. PLus, I am sure all of this is really hard on him. I don't know how long he has been back state side, but just that is a huge adjustment. He may have some mental war wounds he isn't ready to unleash on ya'll.
@anawar (2404)
• United States
31 Jul 08
I'm hoping he won't have problems down the road, I know it happens to many soldiers. However, my son is a unique individual and I think he was able to separate what happened in Iraq from his daily life. It is a concern though.
@anawar (2404)
• United States
31 Jul 08
Hi. I really don't know what he thinks. I guess I will have to call him. I don't want to ask the wrong questions and make things worse. Thanks for your thoughts.
@GardenGerty (156296)
• United States
31 Jul 08
Often in relationships like this, for a long, long time the abused parties try their best, unconsciously, to win the love they never had. Like, if they are good enough, compliant enough, they just might be worth loving. They probably do not want to cause any kind of blow up. I do not know if you calling him would do anything other than make him feel guilty.
@anawar (2404)
• United States
31 Jul 08
But it's his wife's family. I guess he has to take care of her feelings first?
1 person likes this
@GardenGerty (156296)
• United States
31 Jul 08
Yes, he has to be loyal to his wife first. I know it hurts the sisters, I have a son and daughter, and they are close, or were when they both lived here. I would bet that being a guy he does not realize what his sisters are going through.
@anawar (2404)
• United States
31 Jul 08
GardenGerty hi. Thanks for the follow-up. I was thinking the same things. Loyalty to his wife has to come first now, and being a guy, well, they don't see emotional upsets like women. I still don't know what to do.
@dragon54u (31636)
• United States
31 Jul 08
Stay out of it. It will only make trouble for your daughter in law. The only one you should be talking to is your own family to keep the peace and especially your son and daughter in law. Tell your son his sister may never see him again and he needs to spend time with them. He's a star at the moment with the in laws, when he leaves the army he'll once again be "normal" and not have that attention. Good luck, this is an awful situation. Just support your family and leave the others alone.
1 person likes this
@dragon54u (31636)
• United States
1 Aug 08
I'm very glad that it seems to be working out a bit. There's no way for you to tell him that if your parents should pass before he's back again, he'll regret the rest of his life that he placed his fickle in-laws before them. But you know he has a strong sense of mortality being in the honorable profession he chose and it may be he's avoiding that by not seeing them. Our soldiers are so conflicted that it's best to tread lightly, they have so much pressure on them. It may be he's just retreating to the easiest and most supporting people that will give him the support and adoration he needs to go back and do his job. Please tell him that I and millions of others here and around the world appreciate him more than he knows. Because of him, my children can sleep peacefully and we can say what we want to whomever we please without fear of repercussions. I can vote because of him. I can tell a politician to stick it where the sun don't shine, flip him the bird and I won't be arrested! Give him a big hug for me--he's paying the price so that I don't have to.
1 person likes this
@anawar (2404)
• United States
1 Aug 08
dragon - hi. Well, it didn't turn out to be as horrible as I thought. I don't know exactly what will happen, but I did talk to him today for over an hour. We talked about Iraq and how he feels now. When he started telling me of his plans, whenever I could, I slipped in a word or two about his sisters. He told me he bought presents for them as a surprise. I told him the best present he could give his sisters was his time. He also wasn't sure he could visit my parents! I understand why, but I held my breath on that one until I felt settled. I told him they would be very sad not to see him, but if it wasn't possible, I was sure they would understand. I put the thoughts in his head, and that's all I can do. I'm trusting everything will work out just fine and I got to say my little piece without upsetting the apple cart. Wow, that's an expression from my mom's generation. I wonder where that came from? Okay, thanks. no more worries for right now.
2 people like this
@mentalward (14691)
• United States
31 Jul 08
I feel that your son's wanting to get her family obligations out of the way first is completely wrong, from what you've told us about his wife's family! If I were you, I'd definitely talk to him and tell him that he should take time to spend with people who truly care about him and his wife FIRST. His wife's family should be the LAST on the list! (Maybe it would make her family take a harder look at the situation themselves and realise that maybe they need to change their attitudes!) I'd make sure he knows what this is doing to his sisters, and to me (assuming I was you in this situation). It hurts you and I can certainly understand why, but your son apparently does not realize how badly his actions are hurting the three of you and he will never know unless you say something. He may be caught up in all the fuss his in-laws are making of him. He certainly sounds a little self-centered right now. Apparently, he does not even see what they are doing to his own wife! Yeah, I think he needs a good talking to. I don't know about you, but I'm Aries. We really do have a hard time keeping out mouths shut in situations like this one! Well, at least I do. I wouldn't hesitate to let him know how I feel about the situation and how much he's hurting his sisters. Letting him know might just bring him back to reality and see how he's hurting his own blood! I feel for you. I've been in a similar situation and I know how it hurts. But unless you say something, it won't change. He needs to know how you feel.
@anawar (2404)
• United States
1 Aug 08
mental - thanks for all the thought you put into this. You really worked hard trying to help me. You're very special. Today, I decided to call. Gosh, he's my son. why am I worried? We talked for over an hour and when the right moments came up, I slipped in a few comments about how excited his sisters were to see them. I'm done. That's as involved as I'll get. Things will be what they will be. He's a smart and caring kid, he'll do the right thing. I feel better after talking to him. Thanks for helping out.
1 person likes this
@mentalward (14691)
• United States
31 Jul 08
Okay, now that I've read what the others have said, I feel I should add this: You should go over in your head what you want to say to him. Rehearse it so you won't (hopefully) go overboard. Tell him how much you, and especially his sisters, miss him, and that all of you want to see him or, at the VERY least, talk to him so very badly! I know it's hard to be tactful about the situation regarding his in-laws, but something should be said about them. It sounds like they ONLY care about your son; not even their own daughter. Maybe you should ask him if he has talked to his wife about how she feels regarding her family. If it is only HIM they want to see, then it definitely is a case of him being self-centered. You really do need to talk to him if that is the case. The male species sometimes need a 2 x 4 upside the head to make them see things clearly. I'll be sending good thoughts your way. I hope they help!
1 person likes this
31 Jul 08
Hello anawar, That is a real headache with the in-laws,I called the out-laws hehe, the only thing I really can suggest is to try and get hold of yoyr son to really talk to him and tell him everything, the in-laws have no hold on hin so what is big attraction? does he not think his own family and his wife is more importand then them? you need to talk to him face to face and not on the phone, its all rather strange. Tamara
1 person likes this
@anawar (2404)
• United States
1 Aug 08
tamara - hi. Thanks for your words. I like the expression out-laws! I don't talk to my son like that because he is a grown man with a mind of his own. He's a smart kid, I'm sure he knows all that stuff, he just needed his mom to nudge him a bit. I talked to him and dropped a few ideas into the conversation. I think everything will work out just fine. We live in two different states, quite a ways apart. So, the phone call worked. We're good to go. I did my best, I'll let love do the rest.
1 person likes this
• United States
31 Jul 08
Sadly, he is serving his country, and there is not much that he can do about anyone's feelings until his service to the military is complete. I understand your pain and where you are coming from, my parents were also in the military, and we knew the risk and what would happen to my brother and me if my mother were to be deployed. She got out of the military before the first Gulf War and she was sure glad that she did. The military really does screw up families. My advice is to talk to your son and tell him how you and your daughters feel. Men never take hints, you have to talk to him.
@anawar (2404)
• United States
31 Jul 08
rogue - Men don't take hints, that's for sure. I can feel his acceptance of his military life, it's something he's wanted to do since he was a kid. (Not kill people, protect them) His feelings run strong and he's changed so much (for the better), sometimes I think he understands more than I do.
@elmiko (6630)
• United States
31 Jul 08
By what your saying I know this really upsets you. I feel its best though to let your son enjoy his time while hes still home even if he does not see things your way. After getting back from Iraq he deserves some peace and why take a chance on ruining his return home visiting you and his family.
@elmiko (6630)
• United States
3 Aug 08
No, i'm not saying his family will ruin his peace. What I meant was if he sees nothing wrong with whats going on just let him enjoy himself. Thats good you got things worked out though. I'm glad to hear that.
@anawar (2404)
• United States
1 Aug 08
elmiko - I'm sure I misunderstood your words. It reads as if you're telling me his family will ruin his peace by visiting him. Anyway, I talked to him for over an hour today and everything will work out just fine. This little drama is all settled now. Thanks.
1 person likes this
@Hatley (163781)
• Garden Grove, California
31 Jul 08
hi anawar. I am thinking that you son is probably filled with a lotof conflicting emotions right now about what he has been through and what he will have to go through when he is back in Iraq, so that the pettiness of inlaw fighting probably seems pretty tame, and too his wife probably slants his view a bit towards seeing her own family. I am not sure what you really should do. if you can just talk to your son and explain what you told us and that you and his sisters would like to see more of him he might listen. He is probably dealing with a lot of mixed emotions right now.He should listen to mom.
@anawar (2404)
• United States
31 Jul 08
Hatley, hi. Everything you said makes sense. I think I need more information before I talk to him. I know, after his experiences, we can't subject him to an overload of emotions. I think I have to let him do what he plans on doing.
@fiona08 (454)
• United States
31 Jul 08
It is really tough. I would hate to put a lot of pressure on your son, because even if you talk to him, he will just be stressed out about trying not to offend anyone. If he doesn't feel like he can get out of his other obligations, he will still worry about his sisters and their feelings. How much time does he have, before he goes back? I don't know what I would do in your situation. I would just try to be patient, and spend time with him when I could. You are all invited to the parties, aren't you? Good luck. Nice you have a son so many people want to be around.
@anawar (2404)
• United States
31 Jul 08
Hi fiona. Yes, I am happy to have a son everyone loves. That wasn't always the case when he was growing up. That's why it's so special now. I don't live near any of them,so no, I won't be at any of the parties. I'm waiting my turn to see him until everything settles down. Tons of people are going to the parties. No chance for private time visiting his sisters. He won't deploy for at least another year, I hope. I don't know how much free time the army will allow or if he can choose other weekends to visit in Florida. I guess I don't know too much. I think my kids are keeping me out of the loop, which is not like them at all! At least he's home safe and sound. Thanks for helping.
@SomeCowgirl (32191)
• United States
31 Jul 08
It seems as if your daughter in law is a very caring and loving person, she also sounds understanding. If you talked to her, maybe she can make time for her and your son to come see not only your daughter and her husband but also you. As long as you approach the subject cautiously and let your daughter in law know you mean no harm, then all should be okay. I do hope that this gets sorted out, because I wouldn't want your son to regret not seeing your daughters and his sisters before he gets roped in by the army once again! Best of luck in this situation!
@anawar (2404)
• United States
31 Jul 08
SomeCowgirl- hi. You get my drift exactly! First things first. Who knows when the army will ask my son to do something else? Getting together isn't that easy. It's really my daughter who's the one with the big heart and gentle spirit. And she's smart. I don't live near my kids, I'm waiting until the end of August and I'll fly to GA to visit for a few days. That's the plan. Life in the fast lane watching my son go by.
1 person likes this
@anawar (2404)
• United States
1 Aug 08
SomeCowgirl - hi. I talked to my son today for over an hour. I love talking to him. I might not go to see him this month, finances and all that yucky money stuff get in the way. The phone call is enough for right now.
@SomeCowgirl (32191)
• United States
31 Jul 08
Well I do hope you have a great time in GA with your children!
• India
31 Jul 08
I think you should talk to your son about this. And ask him if he really knows their intentions. You should tell him about how his sisters are feeling when he is just spending his time with the undeserving candidates and that he should meet them too. It happens that a person might get attracted to all the love, although just an act, after being in a tight situation for a long time. Maybe that's what is happening to your son. He may just be attracted to their false pretense of care and love and thinks less about you guys. Does he knows about their activities they did before the wedding, I mean all those drinking and canceling etc..?? If he knows this and still being close to them, then I fail to find a reason for it. There's no way you can jump in without expecting to make the situation worse, but still you can talk to your son about it and ask him what's going on, as that would surely make a silent way out of the trouble. bourne
1 person likes this
@anawar (2404)
• United States
31 Jul 08
bourne, hi. That's exactly why all of this is so weird. Everyone, and I mean everyone knows about her family. He treats them with kindness just the same. He's very compassionate. But it's confusing for you as well. None of us understand why he chooses to spend his limited time with them. I guess I could try calling him and just asking what's going on, as you suggested. I am so worried of making this situation worse. It's just so mixed up. No one wants to put any stress on him after what he's been through. Maybe that's why his sister backed away without telling him of her hurt feelings. You gave me some things to think over. I appreciate that.
1 person likes this
@meggan79 (436)
• United States
31 Jul 08
If you hold your feelings inside they will grow until you finally just blow up and say things you don't mean to say. I would talk to him now before it goes that far. Just make sure you are not judgemental or accusing. Let him know how your daughters are feeling and let him know that how he spends his time is ultimately his descision and that you will support him. No matter how old we get we still need to hear our parents opinions (even if we don't show it). Remember he is a guy and as much as you would like him to see how people are feeling, sometimes they just don't get it. You have to remember his position, he has married and her family has become his family to. It might have nothing to do with him not wanting to spend time with you as it is him wanting to make his wife happy. You always start the marriage off wanting the other's family to approve of you. In the time of war, it makes everything your feeling amplified that much more. Let him know how you feel and be there for him.
@anawar (2404)
• United States
31 Jul 08
meggan - hi. Everything is so complicated. You're right about holding in feelings. But, as you suggested, I can't step in and start poking around. I agree. It's not that he values time with his wife's family over his own, he may very well be caught in between taking care of her feelings and ours! Poor kid. And you're right. Guys don't always get it. He's very wise though. I usually wait for him to call me - if he needs me, he will. I'm afraid if I call him I'll say all the wrong things, but if I do call, I'll remember all of your suggestions. Times of war do stretch our emotions further along the crying line.Thanks for helping me work this through my mind. It's really tearing me up inside.
• China
31 Jul 08
Well...maybe you can go to the single parent dating club soloparentdate.com** to asks some suggestion from the people have experienced it. The people on that site is very frinedly and passional. I am sure you can get your answer there
@anawar (2404)
• United States
1 Aug 08
rachel - hi. I'm a bit worried about those kind of websites. I got burned on a dating website, because someone hacked into my computer and trashed it! I'll think about your suggestion though. I thought that website was for single parents of little kids?
@crazed_moma (1054)
• United States
1 Aug 08
I doubt he realizes it means so much to you and I'm sure your Daughter in law just doesn't want to rock the boat.... I have a SIL who chooses her family over my BIL's and it drives his brothers crazy. Just call him and let him know his sisters really want to spend time with him.
@littleowl (7157)
3 Aug 08
H anawar I hope this isn't too late about your son but Ireally do think he needs a little mother and son talk I can understand why he may be doing this but not to hurt you or especially his sisters and it may be more appreciated coming from you too about this..I really hope you get to spek t your son it isn't right the in-laws suddenly take over jsut because of his standing in the army..it makes me wonder what they would be like if your son decided to come out and be at home again-would they still feel the same or would they once again frown on him...I hope you manage to speak to him and see what happens from there yourfriend littleowl