Dear Spice #3: My Son-in-Law Hates Me

Dear Spice,

Our daughter has been with her now husband for almost six years.  He’s not who I would have picked for her, but she’s always had a mind of her own.  We thought he was okay at first, but I’m beginning to think he hates us.  He doesn’t try to come over for holidays and has very sarcastic answers when I try to talk to him.  How can I make him like our family?

–Not a Monster-in-Law

Dear Not a Monster:

Your letter made me feel a little strange.  Something about the way you phrased your concerns raised an eyebrow.  What you’re telling me is this guy, whom you don’t think is good enough for your daughter, isn’t trying to go out of his way to suck up to you.  If you knew that someone didn’t like you, how far would you go to change their mind?  At what point would you stop trying?  Think about that, then tell me what is so special about you and your family that he needs to constantly set himself up for that kind of rejection.  He’s married to your daughter.  It behooves him to love her, but only has to put in the amount of effort she finds acceptable in his relationship with you.  This isn’t a mafia movie.  He doesn’t have to kiss your pinky ring (or butt) to prove his loyalty.  You need to ask yourself three things.  First, what is your role in this relationship?  Are you guilty of doing passive-aggressive things, like mentioning all of your daughter’s previous boyfriends or telling him what you say goes?  Did you start The Great War of Sarcastic Digs, but maybe are just mad because he’s better at it?  (My gut says you are, but you need to answer this for yourself.)  Do you show up unannounced, make unrealistic demands of him and your daughter, and otherwise attempt to establish dominance like a dog humping weaker dogs at the dog park?  How do you expect someone to react to such a disrespect of boundaries?  Second, what do you want from your daughter and son-in-law and do they agree?  It’s not much of a relationship if the other side is rolling their eyes and ignoring you because you do nothing but demand your way.  Lastly, are you willing to clean up your side of the street so his approach to you has a chance to change?

I asked the cards what you need to know about your relationship with your son-in-law and I got:  King of Swords (air sign male, someone who solves problems with logic and reason, a clever person with a sharp wit, someone who can use words destructively, someone who offers sound advice on legal or philosophical matters, and the potential to be heartless and cruel); Eight of Wands (number 8, action, messages coming quickly, new activities or engagements, travel, and movement); Ten of Wands (number 10, a burden, martyrdom, taking on too much responsibility, overanalyzing a situation, and the need to delegate responsibility); and Seven of Swords (number 7, schemes that don’t work, plotting, use of cunning or manipulation, playing detective, and possibly daring acts).  I’m not sure what was going on when he met all of you, but this spread tells me he sized you up pretty quickly and formed the impression that you were out to manipulate your daughter.  Being protective of her, he did not like that.  The Ten of Wands tells me he feels the need to plan around you, as he believes you’ve proven yourselves to be scheming and manipulative.  Your son-in-law sees his main role as protecting himself and your daughter from your schemes and manipulations.  I get the feeling a great deal of this information came from his observations of you.  Are you constantly asking your daughter for money or help in some way?  I get the feeling he saw this and was angered by how drained and upset this would make her, which is also indicated by the Ten of Wands.  Simply put, he will continue to be loyal and protective of your daughter, but not trust you as far as he can throw you.

I asked the cards what YOU want from your daughter and son-in-law and I got:  King of Pentacles (earth sign male, kind and loving person, generosity, a financially secure person, someone who approaches life cautiously, a person who is respected for their persistence and dedication, and the need to be more cautious with money); Eight of Pentacles (number 8, skill at work, master of one’s craft, using skills to one’s advantage, the need to focus one’s talent, and the need to take one’s skills to a wider audience); Seven of Wands (number 7, being on top of things after fighting off adversaries, one last need to defend oneself, making a stand when challenged, and not letting others take advantage); and Queen of Cups (water sign female, intuitive and sensitive person, person who lends a sympathetic ear, the need to nurture oneself, and creativity).  The spread begins with a king who is concerned with material wealth and ends with a queen who loves to be pampered.  Hmmm…  I believe this is telling and indicates you are looking for a level of respect and butt-kissing that you have not earned.  Somehow you think this sort of worship is owed to you.  Wow.  What color is the sky in your world?  Anyhoo, the first two cards deal with finances and being fiscally comfortable.  This tells me you somehow think it’s your daughter and son-in-law’s job to provide these things for you.  It feels like maybe you groomed her for this role—which borders on abusive, btw—and are upset because she is not fulfilling it for you.  (Hence the defensiveness of the Seven of Wands.)  You need to stop, but I doubt you’ll hear it until your daughter cuts you and your whole family out of her life.

So I go back to the first three questions: What is your role in this relationship?  What do you want from your daughter and son-in-law and do they agree?  Are you willing to clean up your side of the street?  If your intent in writing me is to figure out how to manipulate your child, good luck with that.  You deserve what you get in that arena and I’m not putting my fingerprints on that train wreck (because that train will wreck).  However, if you sincerely want to improve your relationship with your daughter, give some honest thought to those questions and work on having more realistic boundaries and expectations.  You gave birth to an independent human being, not a slave and/or an ATM.


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