Choices: The undermining daughter-in-law dilemma

I wasn’t aware of how pervasive this problem is until I read the article linked below. It was very disheartening to read, “The dynamics of a family can be torn apart by selfish choices made by adult children.”

In the past, I thought that the Millennial adult children of Baby-Boomer parents often got “a bad rap” when it comes to discussions of their behavior towards their parents.  Many of these grown-up adult children are married and having children of their own.  Those adult children who have been brought up in a Christian home, generally still have much love, respect, and gratefulness for their now-aging parents; and all are enjoying the great relationships being developed between parents, grandparents and grandchildren.

However, when a son marries and is then taken in by the influence of say, an undermining daughter-in-law; it can cause huge damage, sorrow, and grief upon the parents that he once may have loved, respected and honored throughout his life. The situation can be especially egregious when this type of daughter-in-law claims to be a Christian.

Excerpt:

Author Anne Kathryn Killinger decided to share her grief with others as well as shed some light on the subject. She contacted numerous grandparents who lamented of similar problems. Killinger shares these stories in her new book, “A Son is a Son Till He Gets a Wife: How Toxic Daughters-in-law Destroy Families.”

Many daughters-in-law today are selfish, possessive and narcissistic, and will not rest until they have divorced their husbands from the parents who raised them. It’s a deceptively gradual process, and half the time, you don’t even realize it has happened until it’s too late. It starts with her taking all of the phone calls for the family, or the canceling of trips to visit family. Soon, phone calls go unreturned, and finally you realize that your son is no longer your son. He’s just some other woman’s husband.”

I read several of the reviews and comments about Killinger’s book.  About 9 were positive, with many readers of the comments indicating that the reviews were helpful.  One estranged mother wrote:

Did your loving son change once he found her? This book will help ease your pain by educating you that your son is the victim of mind control and that you are not alone in your suffering. This book is a start to helping you understand what is happening to your precious son.

There were also some very negative reviews and nasty comments directed at the author.

Each person’s experience is not the same.  Some people choose to remain suffering in silence.  Others, want to find ways to ease the pain.

I have not read the book, but since it was referenced in the article I wanted to let readers know that I can’t recommend it to everyone.  However, for the purposes of this post and those parents who have been blindsided by sudden estrangement and are so grieved and sad that their son will no longer talk with them or see them; perhaps that book might help them see that they are not alone.

Surprisingly, a therapist who was mentioned in the article suggests that, “this trend is another result of the pampered Baby Boomer generation.”

The author of the article says, “Perhaps.”

Yes.  It might depend upon individual upbringing and experiences.

I’m wondering if that therapist is making the claim that the Baby Boomer generation parents coddled their children too much and gave them everything that they needed if they had the means to do so?  Or, could it have been that they were given “their way” too often; even at the expense of allowing them to think that they are more superior than others?  Is that why she is blaming that today’s young people project a certain attitude of superiority, act impatient, are disdainful, and highly critical?

The article takes a look at “impatient tolerance.”

Some daughters-in-law “tolerate” their husband’s family and this impatient tolerance is apparent. It is uncomfortable to be in the presence of someone you feel is only tolerating you.

[Perhaps] power and control are what these controlling daughters-in-law desire, but why do the sons allow this to take place?

Good question!  Why do the sons allow this to take place?  There could be a myriad of reasons.  Perhaps the wife gave him an ultimatum like, “it’s either me or your parents.”  Perhaps the wife has parents of her own who have encouraged their daughter to get her husband to abandon his parents, simply because they don’t like them?  One of the worst examples that I have found about reasons why a son could be brain-washed into abandoning his parents is for so-called “religious” reasons.

A family and their daughter who hold to superior “feelings” that their religious beliefs are higher than the son’s family’s religious beliefs can use wretched “counseling” techniques in order to convince him to break his bond with his parents.  If they are a genuine Christian family, then why would they encourage their son-in-law to ignore God’s Commandment to “Honor thy father and thy mother?”

For example, note what this mom had to say in her response letter to her son who requested in an email not to be contacted by his parents anymore:

“What you wrote sounds like thoughts that came from someone else; someone with the intention to manipulate you under a false narrative and under the guise of convincing you that they are “counseling” you to realize that all the years spent with your parents have been detrimental for your life. This is what people in a disordered state of mind do in order to make someone like you think that your lifelong relationship with your parents and/or family members are totally bad and need to be completely discarded from their lives!  Reminds me of what a “quasi-religious organization using devious psychological techniques to gain and control adherents” would do!”

Someone who thinks of themselves as a “self-taught counselor” who twists Scripture from its truthful and genuine meaning and uses “devious psychological techniques” to control someone is guilty of being a false prophet.  Note what Jesus warns in this verse:

Unchecked Copy BoxMat 7:15“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.

The “quasi-religious organization” quote above is another way to describe a cult!

Let’s go back to the article and reveal a quote from Killinger’s book:

Killinger and her husband John, a minister, believe that over time, withholding daughters-in-law have implemented a form of mind control techniques on their husbands and their children. “The same techniques that apply to the manipulation of a person in a group or cult, according to all the authorities on mind control, apply to individuals with ‘battered person syndrome.'”

Wow!  “Battered person syndrome.”  Could it be that a person may not even recognize when he or she is being battered by someone; especially when it’s someone they love?   I think so.  I have an elderly relative who has chosen to quietly suffer within such a bad relationship for years by her single, angry, and manipulative son.  Yet, when evidence of such abuse is pointed out by others, this particular mom refuses to recognize it.  I’m so sad for her!  However, this has been her choice for many years and apparently, no one can talk her out of it.

Back to the topic.  Sadly, many of the parents of adult married children who have suffered from “withholding daughters-in-law who have implemented a form of mind control technique on their husbands” have also lost access to their grandchildren.

From the article:

“Wives of male children have the supreme power to withhold this access.

This is truly a grievous and very sad state of affairs.

From the article:

“Grandparents provide a balance in grandchildren’s lives that no one else can replicate.  Studies have shown that multi-generational contact between children and their grandparents provide a special unconditional love and nurturing which is healthy for children.”

So, what does God’s Word have to say about all of this?

David Guzik at Blue Letter Bible has a great commentary regarding the fifth commandment of God:

B. Six commandments regarding our conduct before God and man.

1. (Exo 20:12) The fifth commandment: Honor your father and your mother.

“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.”

a. Honor your father and your mother: This command is wise and good, because honor for parents is an essential building block for the stability and health of all society. If the younger generations are constantly at war with older generations, the foundations of society will be destroyed.

i. To honor one’s parents includes to prize them, to care for them, and to show respect or reverence to them. The command is given to children, but not for only while they are children. “This is not a popular doctrine in our modern world, where youth is worshipped, and old age dreaded or despised. The result is the folly by which men or women strive to remain eternally youthful, only to find it an impossible task.” (Cole)

ii. Jesus used the way the Pharisees interpreted this commandment as an example of how one might keep the law with a limited interpretation yet violate the spirit of the commandment (Matthew 15:3-6).

 

 

 

b. That your days may be long: In Ephesians 6:2 Paul repeated this command, emphasizing the promise stated here, that your days may be long upon the land. Rebellion is costly, and many have paid a high price personally for their rebellion against their parents.

i. “A good child lengtheneth his father’s days; therefore God promiseth to lengthen his.” (Trapp)

Hat tips to all links.

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9 Responses to “Choices: The undermining daughter-in-law dilemma”

  1. Looking Up! Says:

    I am the mother of a son who is now 35. He joined the US Navy in high school. As soon as he graduated in 2000 he left for boot camp in August at 17. He turned 18 in boot camp in September of 2000. He never really had a girlfriend that was ‘really’ in person. At 16 we had a computer. ..Remember the good old dial up (ha…I can hear it now). He chatted with a girl in California in a chat room. She would call our house and he spoke to her over the phone. We lived in Arkansas so certainly they didn’t meet. At his graduation from boot camp in Chicago they met. She was a year younger than he was and so her dad flew it with her. I didn’t meet her as my son tried to avoid me even knowing about it. She had emailed me prior to going and asked some questions and that was the reason I knew. I was not thrilled as I hadn’t seen him since he left and I had cried many tears. My son had never been away from me and not being able to pick up the phone and hear his voice and know he was ok was really hard. I had to only wait for letters. So they met. After boot camp he went to A school in Pensacola. He then was stationed in Norfolk. Turns out that she flew out to Virginia and spent the weekend with him. He was deployed when 911 happened. He was in the Middle-East waters as they began the Iraq war. After he got back to the states she ended up packing up in California and moved to Virginia with him. So that was the 3rd time they met. I accepted her with loving arms. I was a mom to her that she didn’t really have as they were going through rough times. They married and now have 3 sweet kids. 14, 9 and 6. I have watched as she broke his heart having a fling after she went to work in a bar. That was when the 1st daughter was 6-7. My son was so distraught. He loved her but being a daddy was so important to him. (He didn’t have a dad so he was determined to be the best one he could! ) He decided to forgive her, go to counseling and work through it. I was proud of them both. With FB we could see TOO much. Over the years we could easily see that she went out and partied all the time and he watched the kids…he didn’t mind. He wasn’t on FB so he didn’t see. (He didn’t want to see.) I didn’t want to either so I got off of it. My husband was sure to send me photos of her with men and even women. It sickened me. The only time she was human was during pregnancy. We all pretended it must just be her outgoing personality. Finally it all blew up this past September. He was stationed in Bahrain. I watched her blow through $43,000 during his 6 months he was gone. (She doesn’t work. She hangs out at the bars and the gym. Her excuse for the gym is the 3 classes a week she leads. Zumba on Monday and Friday at noon and Wednesday a spin class at noon.) Lots of photos of her and men in bars and parties. Two hours from the kids on a school night she was at a Oriole baseball game in the stadium kissing another girl in the most disturbing way. Other photos taken that were simply horrible. So the 14 year old is going to school and then coming home and being a mom to the little ones. I called my daughter-in-law just to say hi. She was clearly someone who I didn’t know. She was generally nice to me but not this time. She hadn’t been wearing her wedding ring either…(from photos). She was rude to me and went off on me for 30 minutes before giving me a minute to say anything. She also told me she needed someone to live life with to ENJOY her life for a change. She proceeds to tell me my sons idea of a good time is going to dinner and a movie. (He is not a bar guy…most women would like the family guy.)

    I knew her intentions. I began to look up things about military divorce and was shocked about how our guys who serve have a double standard felt to them. I ended letting it get to me. Knowing how she had treated him. How she lived and shopped and how it was totally all ME,ME,ME and I, I, I. I texted her and told her to get herself together and put her wedding ring back on and start acting like a wife and a mother. Be appreciative for everything my son has done for you. Then I said…did you ever really love him or were you only there for the lifestyle he provided you with. ..if that is the case I wish she had never came back after she cheated 10 years ago.

    After all that I had to tell my son. If he knew she was going to go her own way then it wouldn’t be a surprise but if he really didn’t know then he needed to know what he was about to come home to. For the first time I told him the story. I sent him my texts. I sent him photos. I told him I loved him but couldn’t stand by and say nothing any longer. I told him if he is good with it then so be it. He didn’t respond for a couple of days and finally he told me he would have to be an idiot not to know what kind of a relationship they had. He said he puts up with it because he would rather have his kids with him when he is home than not to have them. He loves them more than anything. ..they are his world. I told him I understand that and respect his reasons.

    He came home October 4th. She didn’t even pick him up. He rented a car and drove home.

    After 3 weeks he told me only by texts he wasn’t doing well and to pray for him. He wouldn’t talk. It worried me greatly. He was always positive and never had said he wasn’t doing well. After 2 more weeks went by he texted me and said he hated to ask but might need to borrow money for an attorney. I said, ANYTHING YOU NEED JUST SAY IT. He called me that night and sounded really good. He recorded her saying things that gave him all he needed. (Beyond anything I could imagine ). She told him he could have the kids.

    I helped him find his place and since she blew through all the money he made while deployed in a tax free zone. His oldest daughter asked him when she could start packing. She suddenly changed her mind. She took half of what was left in their account and she took her FB page down. Now, she is a saint. Mother of the year award must be coming to her. He was devestated! He did break down and cried his eyes out over the phone. He said he just couldn’t understand how someone could be this way. He tried to be the best husband and dad he could be.

    He is still putting his money into their account. He can’t do anything otherwise the military will get him. She continues on. She told him she has no intention on getting a job…it offends her when he told her she would have to. She said it offended her. She came home drunk about 2 am after he got off work and drove back home. He arrived at 1am. House destroyed older daughter asleep downstairs in her room and the little ones were running wild . He took pictures of everything (this was before he asked me for help with attorney). When she stumbled in he asked what would happen to the kids if she got a dui and he was in Norfolk? She said…”That is a personal attack on her and that he isn’t letting her be who she is.” WHAT? R U KIDDING?

    Now she is planning on taking him for everything including alimony. He retires in 2020 and half his pension is hers. She lives in that he house he is paying for. She drives a car he pays for. I have to pay for his apartment and lawyer because he has nothing left to live on.

    PRAY FOR HIM … PRAY FOR JUSTICE. ..PRAY HER TRUE SELF IS REVEALED.

    Like

    • christinewjc Says:

      Looking Up!,

      Oh dear Lord in heaven! I’m so grieved for your son and you. 😦 Such a terribly tragic long list of events that has caused much pain and suffering for your son, his children (your grandchildren!), and especially for you, his loving mom.

      Prayers immediately going up for you, your son, and the children. After reading how such a toxic daughter-in-law like that can be so mean, cruel, and vindictive, it makes me shudder. God sees all. Her evil ways have been exposed. The Bible tells us that “your sin will find you out.”

      Num 32:23

      But if you do not do so, then take note, you have sinned against the LORD; and be sure your sin will find you out.

      She may think her deviousness has gotten her what she wants. However, If she doesn’t confess and repent at the foot of the Cross of Christ, she will die with those sins upon her own soul and separation from God for all eternity.

      I will remember you, your son, and his children in my prayers, Looking Up. It took a long time for your son to realize the sad (and bad) truth about his wife. He tried to be the best husband and dad, as you wrote, and now maybe he will find peace after the divorce. You wrote that, “his children are his life” and I pray that the love for their dad and the presence of them in his life, as well as the outstretched arms of God will uphold him as these changes go forward.

      Thank God he has you, too.

      Sincerely,
      Christine

      Like

      • Looking Up! Says:

        Thank you for your prayers.
        God bless you. ..
        Yes, I go back and forth. I get upset and angry at her because her attitude has nothing to stand on as far as anything he has done. He never even tried to stop her from going to the bars. He would tell her he didn’t mind. Honey, go with your friends. (Not a controlling person.) After I get mad, I pray for God to help me to honestly and sincerely pray for her. Not sarcastically but in the way He leads me.
        Thank you. .. (there was something far more vindictive she did to him which blew my mind when h e told me. Honestly, her doing this thing scares me. If a woman would do this then there is not anything else I would put past her.)
        All these years he never spoke negative about her. He would say things like, “well, she just has a lot of stress right now “.
        Thank you again for your prayers. I pray He will turn back to God. I told him that he needs to cry out to God! You MUST cry out to God. He doesn’t respond. I am not sure what happened but about 3 years ago he suddenly told me he didn’t believe in all that stuff anymore. I know he did before. I claim him for God daily. I pray the armor of God on him daily, until he will be doing it himself. He is God’s child! I will not let go of that. I had been praying before all of this came out. I prayed for God to do whatever it takes to bring my son back to Him. I find myself wondering if this is what it is taking…I just have to trust God.

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      • christinewjc Says:

        You are most welcome for the prayers. When a recent incident happened in our family, we were fortunate to have many friends and relatives as prayer warriors for us. One friend’s father-in-law prayer group put us all on their prayer list. I’m so grateful for the prayers! They are the best course of action when troubles arise.

        It can be very difficult to pray for someone who is vindictive and does things to hurt a member of the family. I’m so sorry that your daughter-in-law is doing something “that scares you.”

        Prayers for protection are a mainstay on my prayer list. Every time someone flies on a plane or travels cross country in a car, I send up prayers of protection. We have this thing we do when flying anywhere, our family members simply text, “landed,” and then we reply, “yay!”

        Previously, I neglected to say “thank you” for your son’s service to our country. I pray that he will be protected from any harm as he so willingly does his duty for our nation and for the protection of our people.

        I’m sad to read that he claims that he has lost faith in God. Everything that he has suffered and has been through with his wife may have caused this change in his mindset. I sincerely hope that he returns to the Lord, and that your prayers will be answered.

        Yes! We must trust in God, even when circumstances are at their darkest hour.

        I heard a quote the other day. It reads:

        “Life is messy. But sometimes when we get through the mess we find out who we really are.”

        For Thanksgiving this year, I did a post about a newly claimed “life verse.” It is 1 Thessalonians 5:14-18.

        If you would like to read the post, here is the link:

        Thanksgiving and Comforting Life Verses.

        When someone (or several people) hurt us so deeply, it can be very difficult to even want to pray for them. You have chosen to do that very thing regarding your daughter-in-law, and thus you are doing, “the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

        God bless,
        Christine

        Like

  2. insanitybytes22 Says:

    That’s an interesting post, and a book I’m curious to read now!

    I know that within our culture there are terrible family estrangements,many rooted around a failure to honor our mother and father. Baby boomers too,or rather the culture they built, has been all about choosing your own family ,even redefining the very nature of family. Add in some cultural messages were men are being shamed for being men and discouraged from standing up for themselves, and it’s a recipe for disaster. Women too, can get very competitive, so I can imagine some major power plays going on where the son becomes a kind of hostage. All very sad stuff.

    What I would find very hard would be trying to help a son be a man, to not try to rescue or bail him out of one of these toxic relationships. As a mom, I’d be wanting to jump in,but I have a feeling that would be the wrong thing to do. The more we try to mother our sons,the more we weaken them,treat them like children. He needs to feel empowered enough to escape one of these abusive relationships.

    Like

    • christinewjc Says:

      Hi IB, thanks for joining the conversation.

      Many of the people (at Amazon, I think) who wrote negative reviews did so because the son’s mom didn’t attend the wedding in the first place. Having not read the book, I don’t really know why.

      You summed up, very well in fact, many of the problems in estrangement situations in your second paragraph! Young people are being taught all of that at the leftist “snowflake” colleges and universities across our nation. I would bet if you had the chance to share your opinion on campus, you’d be labeled in a negative and hate filled way, protested against by those who disagree, and shouted down (possibly even physically attacked?), and cursed at in the most nasty way! There is no room for debate with “the other side” anymore. It’s liberal leftist brain-dirtying propaganda and nothing else!

      It’s true that “toxic relationships” and “abusive relationships” can be very evident, or they can be a subtle manipulation over the course of several years. When a son refuses to talk out the dispute with his parents, how can there be any chance for reconciliation? The article discussed how “mind control” and “manipulation” can be the culprit that prevents a son from “feel(ing) empowered enough to escape one of these abusive relationships.” You were spot on in that analysis!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Cry and Howl Says:

    Hello Christine. I just stopped by as we haven’t had much contact lately and I wanted to make sure you’re okay. I read the comment from the dear lady regarding her son. I’ll pray for him as well. I think the guy needs to hire the best attorney he can afford and fight for his kids tooth and nail. The powers of darkness expect good to lay down to intimidation as many good people do. Here in Texas there’s a law firm called Cordell and Cordell. They are solid professionals who represent men only, realizing men are at a distinct disadvantage during divorce proceedings. This is what her son needs, of course with God’s divine intervention.
    Anyway dear lady, I sure hope and pray you and your lovely family are doing okay out there. Have a blessed and safe Christmas holiday, honoring our soon coming King!

    Liked by 1 person

    • christinewjc Says:

      Hi Steve! It is always so nice to hear from you. I’m doing well and hope that you and your family are doing well too. I seem to get away from blogging for a while, then come back and do three posts in a row!

      Thanks for sharing some advice with Looking Up. I hope she stops by again and finds that she can use that advice. The trouble often is that lawyers are expensive! I’m sure she appreciates the prayers!

      The “powers of darkness” seem to have ratcheted up ever since President Trump was elected! I love how he just keeps going about the business of the office, often putting the naysayers and their fake news in their place! Much of the public has already caught on to the schemes of the Deep State in D.C., and people are now being exposed for the criminals that they are!

      I will be over to you blog sometime soon. I’m so behind on all the Christmas rush stuff, but all of that doesn’t matter as much as just Whom we are celebrating…our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ at His birth!

      Have a Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year!

      In Jesus,
      Christine

      Like

  4. On Family Loyalty and Christian Discipleship | Talk Wisdom Says:

    […] There can be many reasons for a spouse to encourage her husband to become estranged from his family. You can read my former post about that HERE. […]

    Like

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