Dear Annie: My daughter-in-law tends to go to her family. She says she is uncomfortable with my son’s side. She has been rude to us since she married my son, and she controls him. She threatens him if he does not do what she wants.
My daughter had a fight with my daughter-in-law four years ago, and I just woke up to the fact that my daughter-in-law blames us for my daughter’s actions. My husband and I tried therapy with my son and daughter-in-law, but it made things worse. I left, saying that I am not happy with either of them and I just want to see my grandchildren. My son said that if I don’t continue with therapy, I won’t see the kids again. They are using the children as weapons to control us. I told her she didn’t like us from Day One. She told me she doesn’t trust me.
My new granddaughter had a baptism, and my daughter-in-law told us it was an occasion only for her family. We were insulted and hurt. I’m thinking of going to court and suing for grandparents’ rights.
Dear Trustworthy: Your son and his wife may not be behaving in a kind or loving way, but there is room for improvement on both sides. They are willing to go for counseling to resolve this, which is a good sign. But walking out of a counseling session because you don’t like what you hear is not productive. The point of counseling is to work through the issues that get in the way of a better relationship. Please stop trying to get your son to favor you over his wife. It won’t happen. The more you blame her the more defensive they both will be. If you want to be in his life and see those grandkids, we urge you to agree to go back for counseling and really work on it with an open mind.
Dear Annie: I recently married a man who is quite wonderful, but he won’t help out around the house. We have a child together, and I am the breadwinner. When I’m not working, I’m cleaning the house and picking up after him. Once in a while, he may do a chore or two, but that’s it.
We’ve had many talks about this, and he always agrees to do things when I ask. But I still come home from work and find nothing done, and he has plenty of excuses.
He will be 30 soon. He was not raised this way, and his mother has tried to help, but we can’t seem to make any progress. What can I do? This is driving me insane
— Maid on Demand and Sick of It
Dear Maid: Can you afford periodic cleaning help? Would you be willing to relax your standards a bit? Can you stop picking up after your husband? Could you save the housecleaning for weekends and make it a joint effort? Sometimes, this is simply a matter of disorganization, in which case a list and a reminder might work. You cannot force your husband to grow up, but you can help him understand that this type of issue will erode a marriage over time, making one partner resentful and turning the other into a recalcitrant child. He needs to step up.
Dear Annie: I, too, have suffered from depression all my life. It took courage to finally seek help, because you think you’re “crazy” and fear the stigma of admitting something is wrong. I thought the gap between where I was and being “normal’ was as wide as the Grand Canyon. In fact, it’s only as wide as a couple of pills. It took a few tries before I found the medication that works best for me.
Once I “came out,” I discovered that several people I work with are also on antidepressants or anti-anxiety medication.
— Been There, Too.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Email your questions to [email protected], or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
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