Dear Annie: My daughter and daughter-in-law had a close relationship and worked together for a social networking business.
My daughter recently went through a marriage breakup, and my daughter-in-law has totally unloaded on her. She said my daughter has not been a good friend. She has brought up several issues of complaint, including some on which she is speaking for my son. My daughter-in-law has stopped their relationship. I feel that my daughter-in-law is being immature, spoiled and selfish. She has issues from her childhood. She was adopted and many years younger than her siblings. She recently found her birth parents and has established relationships with them and their families.
I don't think the relationship between my daughter and daughter-in-law will ever be as it was. But how can I help them both to get over these issues and somewhat mend their relationship?
I feel bad for my daughter. She needs her sister-in-law now more than ever. — Concerned Mother and Mother-in-Law
Dear Concerned: I'm not really sure that what your daughter needs now more than ever is her sister-in-law — the same person who completely unloaded on her just as her marriage was breaking up. As her mother, you should take the initiative and be there for your daughter as much as possible. Having a good relationship with your daughter is in your control, and she needs your support.
At the same time, calling your daughter-in-law "immature, spoiled and selfish" is not going to help the two of them mend their differences. If anything, it will only drive a deeper wedge.
No matter how old your daughter is, sometimes a girl just needs her mother.
Be supportive of your daughter, and don't be so judgmental about your daughter-in-law or her past, and if they are meant to be friends again, it will happen. If not, there is nothing you can do about it.
Dear Annie: I would like to add another side to the story concerning the issue of flatulence. My beautiful mother-in-law was the recipient of a colostomy bag. She was gravely ill, and this saved her life. However, her world changed drastically. She was constantly aware of noises and odors surrounding her. She withdrew and settled into a depression from worrying about this. She found herself homebound until absolutely necessary to go for groceries or checkups.
She tried several different bags, and even though she found a good one, she never regained the confidence to leave home as she once did. If someone had ever mentioned anything about the odor, she would have been mortified. She was very aware of her diet, the time of day, etc., but sometimes awareness did not matter. Stuff happens.
I am just trying to show another side of the issue "Stuck in a Seat" ran into at the theater. There are odor drops one can use, but unfortunately for my mother-in-law, she still was self-conscious. The biggest issue is that one has no warning or control. Though I agree that it is a complicated issue if people are found in a situation such as this, they should just try to move. If that's not successful, they should ask for a refund. They shouldn't embarrass someone over something he or she cannot control. — Stuck With It
Dear Stuck With It: Thank you for sharing your story about your mother-in-law. You offer another side of the issue.
"Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie" is out now! Annie Lane's debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to [email protected]