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Troubled by My Daughter-In-Law

CD Knowles 2 weeks ago

Dear Knowles,

I have one beloved son, a boy who I raised to care for others, do good in the world, and follow his heart. A few years ago, he married a woman as educated and smart as he is, with a good job, etc. She is not Jewish like we are, but I told myself that didn’t matter. I pretended it didn’t matter when she came between me and my son, saying it was inconvenient for me to visit on a weekly or even a monthly basis, and telling me my son was busy every time I called. I started fretting about this but decided to let it go. Then they had a child, a little boy whom they refused to circumcise. Well, that didn’t sit well with me — I was extremely upset and told them what I thought. Since then they’ve limited my visits to their house, and when I’m there the daughter-in-law will barely speak to me. In fact, if I want to see my son, I have to plan lunches with him near his job in the city. My heart is really broken by this. I’m a widow in my sixties and I live alone. I know I can be opinionated at times but that’s no reason to keep me away from my son and grandson.

Can you help?

Troubled by My Daughter-In-Law 

daughter-in-law

Dear Troubled,

Learning to get along with in-laws and spouses of children can be very difficult. You may have certain belief systems that don’t dovetail or even align with those of your new relatives. No matter. It is not you, but your son, who must make a decision together with his wife regarding your grandson’s circumcision. This is his business, not yours. If you worry about your grandson looking different from his father, that is something they — and not you — will have to deal with over the years. As to your not being as welcome in your son and daughter-in-law’s house as you would like, perhaps you should ask yourself the simple question, WHY? How do you behave in their presence? Are you warm and accommodating with them or troublesome and demanding? Do you frequently criticize your daughter-in-law’s behavior as a wife and mother? It seems to me weekly visits might be a bit much in a new marriage, and perhaps your need to frequently be with your son has put a strain on your relationship with him and his wife. Wisdom would say to tread lightly and be more cautious in how you express your opinions and attitudes. Some family therapy with you, your son and daughter-in-law would also probably go a long way to straighten things out.

I wish you the best,

CD Knowles

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REACTIONS TO WALKING ON EGGSHELLS

walking on eggshells

Dear Walking,

Good luck to you. My wife has Misophonia and has yet to find a solution that doesn’t involve avoidance, which means no movies or restaurants for us. She can get really angry at me if I breathe a certain way or clear my throat. To her credit she has been working on her reactions, understanding the problem is hers, not mine. We’ve been together a long time and I’ve learned how to cope with her difficulties.

Roger S., Portland, OR

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Dear Walking,

I suffer from Misophonia. It’s awful because I cringe and want to scream hearing certain sounds, most of them originating from the mouth. I can’t help getting angry at the person who makes those sounds. But I know it’s my problem and I’m working on trying not to react so emotionally. Also on coping mechanisms that allow me to think things through. CD is right. Do your research and go see a doctor.

Angela D., Corpus Christi, TX  

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Disclaimer: CD Knowles is not a doctor or psychotherapist. Any opinions expressed on Knowles Knows are just that — opinions.

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