August 28, 2013 in Features

Contempt for DIL worse than bed bugs

Washington Post
 

Are there letter-writers you wonder about to this day? While I’m away, readers nominate some who stayed in mind.

“Sometimes I Google ‘hax bedbugs’ when I’m in the mood to get outraged.”

January 15, 2010

Dear Carolyn: Our sons came home for Thanksgiving. We put up our older son and his family in a hotel and had our younger son, his new (second) wife and baby stay in our guest room.

On Friday morning, the new wife said she had bug bites. We gave her hydrocortisone and sympathized with her.

That evening, they moved into the hotel. Our son said his wife was absolutely adamant that they get out of our home. She has the reputation of being a “strong” woman, and she earns a very high income, so she is able always to get her way.

I felt embarrassed and disappointed that she reacted that way, but we are aware that a first-time, 45-year-old mother probably had mother-bear hormones at play.

Our relationship with her is significantly impaired, and she wants me to tell her she did the right thing. I think she overreacted. Does this portend more trouble down the road? – Anonymous

Expect more trouble, but not just because of your daughter-in-law.

Your contempt for her is breathtaking. Look at your modifiers: “new (second)” wife, “absolutely” adamant, “very” high income, “first-time, 45-year-old” mother.

Unless she’s oblivious, your contempt registered – and no doubt escalated the bug drama. Either find a way to like her, find a way to respect her or get used to serious tension.

I know you meant no harm. But now you’re blaming her for the fallout, and you’re making that mistake with ill will and forethought.

Instead: Call your son; admit you were cavalier about the possible infestation; apologize for exposing them to a headache they don’t need, especially not with a baby. You can’t expect his wife to drop her dukes until you drop your own.

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