Thank you in advance for your time. Really. I don't feel like I have the energy to offer a lot of boring details, but if more merits at another time I will...
My wonderful husband and I have been married for a three years. His adult daughter is in business with him and they spend a lot of time gone working together during the day. Her cows are pastured at our home where she had them before we were married so she is here at our home at least twice a day.
I have tried to be nothing but kind and helpful to her... when asked... yet offering to help when it appeared to me her hands are full. And I've only offered because I really wanted to. From the beginning, I have been happily firm with she and her other adult siblings I would only like to be a friend.
DIL has become increasingly very crass, rude, disrespectful and abrasive in her interaction to me... in front of her dad who has, in general, reportedly talked to her about her generally crabby disposition. She is increasingly monopolizing his face time and his phone time. She speaks only to her dad when we are together with her, and does not acknowledge I'm there. She's been verbally disrespectful to me in our home with comments directed to me, 'Let's move this along...' when we were having a holiday dinner, to her coming to our home to talk to her dad and when I turned on the morning news in the kitchen she angrily turned around and said, 'Does that have to be so loud?... not acknowledging I was trying to turn the volume down at that moment. When my husband didn't appreciate my help on a job site one day, she chimed in on the conversation my husband chose to have with me in front of her and said, 'And if you can't listen, then maybe you should go home.'
I've tried on several occasions to speak my truth with my husband/her father about how I feel, but I'm met with: 'That's the way she is. Why are you trying to change her? If I say anything to her, she won't let us see our grandchildren. Maybe you should think about what it'll be like when she asks me to come over to see them or take care of them, but not you.' My husband admitted to a sixth sense I've had that he has talked to her about disagreements we've had to which he responded with, 'I had to talk to someone.'
I walk on eggshells daily, knowing she'll be on our dooryard with her rude, crabby, ignoring disposition. I feel like I'm living in a box. I'm not used to being treated so rudely and I feel like there is no hope. My guts ache and I don't know what I've done wrong.
I sincerely ask for your input and expertise. My husband loves me to pieces, and I love him the same. If anything, at least I've found a place to leave the mess I'm in.
Hi there and welcome. Well, I think the title of your post is step daughter rather than daughter in law, right? This is her dad you are married to?
The thing is, you've talked to him about it and he's let you know that he is okay with the way she is and is unwilling to set a boundary with her. This is unfortunate.
It is sometimes hard to read exactly what is going on when you are given just one sides perspective. I get that they are very close, the father and daughter. Not in an inappropriate way but rather in an emotionally close way. That is the kind of relationship many adult children long for with their parents. Would you have a problem with it if it weren't for the fact that she is just not interested in you?
I think that you can instead of criticizing her to your husband just ask him to help you get closer to her. Would she go out to lunch with you? You mention grandkids---- can you get real close to her grandkids? Shower them with grandmotherly love, do things with them? I know that I so appreciate anyone that loves on my kids in a genuine way.
You married a man close to his daughter and in fact, has a business with her. His livelihood is linked to hers. They probably DO have a lot to talk about and discuss.
Building relationships takes time. Now, I don't know why she is rude to you. I don't think rude behavior is acceptable. I'm not a fan of a couple of my in laws and I'm polite to them. Is there any history to things that might make her resent you? do you think she genuinely doesn't like you? does she treat other people that way hence it isn't personal but her style?
Thank you for your taking to the to read and respond, albeit difficult words to hear.
In response to your questions, the title should have read, '... Adult Step DIL'. I am married to her father and the love of my life. I'm sorry for the confusion.
I posted a one sides perspective because that's what I'm able to do.
She knows how much we love the grandchildren as they ARE showered with time and attention by their grand papa and grandmum even before we fondly remember them with things they are interested in.
I don't even know how to respond to these: "Would you have a problem with it if it weren't for the fact that she is just not interested in you?" and "Do you think she genuinely doesn't like you?" I am married to her father and as a human being I deserve to be respected. I don't think you clearly read how directly rude she is to me in my own home and in the place where I live.
Going to lunch means has not been something she's wanted to do with me, however she does have time to go with her dad.
So, your stepdaughter (DIL would mean she married your husband's son) is mean to you all the time and your husband won't get involved. I think there are several things possibly going on here.
First of all, even though she is an adult, she still may have that mindset where she resents you for marrying her dad. Is her mom still alive or did she pass away? That may have something to do with it as well. It wouldn't be anything you did wrong but she is just mad that you've come along and essentially taken her mom's place and she can't deal with it except to be mean to you. Perhaps that's where her attitude and disrespect comes from?
Or, it's possible that somewhere along the line you may have said or done something to her that really got under her skin and she is now carrying a grudge against you about it. People deal with that in different ways and clearly she is taking the immature approach of being mean instead of confronting you with whatever happened for you to be able to talk it through.
Have you ever tried sitting her down at the kitchen table over a cup of tea or something and said, "I've noticed some hostility going on and I just wanted to get things out in the open so we can talk about it and resolve whatever might be going on." You're going to have to be the one who initiates the conversation because she sounds like she's about as stubborn as her cows. Give her a chance to tell you what's wrong so you guys can move forward without the constant sniping because its not necessary.
Communication is key. Like in any relationship, whatever the misunderstanding between you and your stepdaughter is, it needs to be brought out in the open and discussed in order to resolve it. I think you just need to keep treating her warmly too because its a lot harder to keep being mean to someone when they are being nice back to you. That's an old customer service trick people use when a customer is yelling at them. They keep being nice to the person and it helps diffuse the situation because the person realizes they are being the rude one and stop doing it. Also, by being nice to her you're the one taking the high road instead of stooping to her level and being rude right back to her.
I asked those questions not to cause you pain but as they are legit. What I meant by them is to clarify if it is the time that she is involved with your husband that is part of the problem or her attitude. Sure, it could be both but I was clarifying. Some women would have an issue simply with another person claiming that much of their father's time. I would tell that woman that their husband and his daughter work together, had a relationship preexisting theirs and therefore, not sure it is fair to be hurt by their closeness. But if it was important, a wife can always communicate her problems with things to her spouse and go from there. If the spouse does not see it as a problem and is unwilling to make any changes, then it is not an issue with the third party (in this case the step daughter) but between the husband and wife.
The second question was hard but legit as well. Do you feel she doesn't like you? I also asked about the history of things. The reason for that line of questioning is because I wonder how it got to this point. Did the daughter resent her father getting married, was it a bitter divorce, did the dad leave her mother, did you come along quickly after that, etc. What type of history has lead to her being hostile to you?
My grandfather married a woman shortly after my grandmother died. My grandparents were married a long time and he did what a lot of men do, went straight to another woman. My mom and her two sisters had a very hard time with this. This woman was very different than women in their life. Not at all like their mom. They couldn't see what my grandfather saw in her. They just didn't care for her much. They never grew close to her. They had alone time with their dad. BUT . .. they were never rude to her. They never made her feel bad. She may have known deep down that they didn't like her or think their dad should have married her but they never let it shine through.
So, this makes me wonder why this daughter takes it to that level. To dismiss you. What is the history that allows her to do that? Bad upbringing that she never learned manners? (that would be your husband's fault as you see that even now he doesn't set boundaries for her).
Anyway, when I married. I had a difficult mother in law. Wow, she drove me nuts. Here she was thinking I had to let her in just because I married her son (and by in, I mean into my close inner circle, heart, mind, etc.). I will tell you that it took years but I began to soften to her. She just did her thing and eventually you just kind of see some of the good someone does (even if they drive you crazy--- not talking about you here but MY own mother in law) and you naturally soften. I was never rude to her but she did eventually find her own spot in my heart.
That is why I suggested that you just try to let it go and try to be your nice self to her. She may soften over time.
BUT, you have no support from your husband. My husband knew his mom was tough. he allowed me to make some boundaries and told his mother when she went too far. Your husband is comfortable with his daughter and not willing to rock the boat. That makes it really hard to ever expect any change from her other than it naturally occurring as time goes on.
Lastly, I know you could only present one side. that is all anyone can do most of the time. I was just saying that in situations like this, it is hard to tell exactly what is going on. Because there always IS another side. And trying to figure out what it is helps in deciding the next step.
I do wish you luck dear. Sounds difficult. Being able to talk to your husband without making him defensive about this will be really a good thing.
And once again I'll say, anyone that my kids grow to love--- becomes someone I love for that. That could end up being her soft spot to let you in. peace
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