Author Topic: Should I Hide the Situation?  (Read 1113 times)

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kathleen

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Should I Hide the Situation?
« on: October 02, 2010, 09:15:12 AM »
MIL's,

I could use some savvy advice.

We moved to a new neighborhood less than a year ago.  Next Sunday, we are having some of the neighbors in for the first time.

My husband feels he wants to tell everyone we have three sons and a granddaughter.  He says our son is still our son.

Trouble is, we have no photos of our granddaughter around.  We put them away, as one does sometimes with painful reminders of damage and hurt.  It was too hard staring at sweet her face everyday, so when we moved, I just didn't unpack those photos.  More trouble is, we have lots of photos of so many others in our family.  The top of the piano is groaning with family photos and many elsewhere around.

I may be the most immature person in the world, but I would like to start telling new people in my new life we have two sons and that's it.  I don't care to share with the neighbors; I don't know them well, and I am fearful they would judge me.  (I live in a part of the country where serious judgments on others are constantly made on such issues, plus money, class, and especially where you went to school.  The neighbor across the street already owns the biggest house around, so I'm going to have to get over my anxiety about not having a mansion when she comes in here.  I do admit to serious fears of being judged by other people, which I know is wrong, but it's there.  I come from a different part of the country where such judgments were far fewer.  I suffered a lot in the beginning being looked down upon because I didn't come from here, go to a fancy college, or come from a wealthy family.  I even suffered discrimination in the employment market---this is really true. The scars are still there, for sure.  It made me very wary of people who come from here, so that's part of it.)

My good friends of course know this entire situation and accept it and don't blame me one bit.  My best friend gets angry at my son and expresses it, and sometimes this feels very supportive.  She watched him grow up and she knows who is responsible for the cutoff.

I tried telling my pen pal in Europe, whom I have never met, that I had three sons and a granddaughter.  But then of course I never wrote to her about the missing son and GD. I couldn't possibly burden her with my problems, especially a sweet grandma who has a wonderful relationship with her little grandson. But she was constantly writing me about him, everything they did, where they went, what kind of books he likes, etc., etc.  Actually I know a lot more about this little boy than I do my own granddaughter.  Eventually I felt I had to tell her why I never wrote about mine. She wrote back and said that once I told her I was a grandmother but never spoke of it, she read between the lines and knew there were serious problems.  Fortunately for me her brother also adopted a child, gave him everything, and the exact same thing happened to her brother and sister-in-law!  The son walked out and they never hear from him!  So in the end I was very glad I told her, but then, she and I are friends and I know her well, I suspected she would not judge me, and I don't feel that toward my neighbors.  They are just people I want to know right now because of a problem in the neighborhood that's come up.  I may eventually get close to them, but not yet.

I really wanted to start a new life in this house.  I've given up on self-blame and all this analysis that is so destructive and seems endless unless you just put a stop to it, no matter what that takes, including putting photos away.  Nothing matters to me much anymore in regard to this; my son is gone, and that's it.  But share with the neighbors?  Face their questions every time I see them about how my GD is doing?   I'd like not to, but my husband disagrees and disagrees 100%.

The mansion neighbor just became a grandmother for the first time and is in the crazy-mad-in-love-with-the-baby stage.  The minute she knows I am a grandmother, she's likely to want to spend a good chunk of the afternoon wanting to talk about it.  My other neighbor has a bunch of grandchildren; I have seen her only a few times, she spends the of it bulk talking about them.

How have you guys handled this?

I feel as though this situation might be comparable to the one in which a young mother has lost a child.  She needs to go inside with that.  It's very difficult for her to be around other young mothers who have their babies.  It's hard to talk.  Of course that situation is far worse because it is totally permanent, and cutoffs such as we experience can change.

Thanks to you all,

Kathleen

barelythere

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Re: Should I Hide the Situation?
« Reply #1 on: October 02, 2010, 09:27:24 AM »
Kathleen, I have a pen pal in Europe too.  I can't believe you have one, I thought I was the only one! It's wonderful, isn't it?  She is so dear to me and we've only met once. 

As far as your neighbors? That's a hard one.  I don't know what I'd do because you don't want to broadcast your situation right off the bat with new people.  I think if it was me and they asked, I'd tell them I had 3 kids.  I doubt if new people will press the issue with you.  Besides, they are more interested in talking about themselves anyway, usually.  Just keep them busy with inquiries about their lives.  They'll talk your arm off.  There is plenty of time ahead for anything personal to come out. Make sure you have made a good friend in your neighborhood rather than just a neighbor before telling the story.   There's a difference between a good friend and a neighbor. ;D

cremebrulee

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Re: Should I Hide the Situation?
« Reply #2 on: October 02, 2010, 12:56:43 PM »
Kathleen
I think  you should do exactly as you would like to do....
in other words, you don't owe anyone explainations about your privet life...unless you wish to share...

why is it, when people ask us personal questions, we feel like we have to answer them?  I have been asked right out by neighbors, how much did you pay for your house...?  I said, none of your business....I feel, is someone is that brasen, I don't want them for friends...

Kathleen, you pick your friends, they don't get to pick you...always remember that....and if someone asks you questions you don't wish to answer, then ignore the question and start a new conversation or just turn around and walk away...if they are so insensitive that they would do that, then you don't need them for friends, remember they are just neighbors, you can get along, but they must respect your boundaries...

As far as people talking about they're grand children, yes, I personally know, it's hard, like many other women here, but what I do, is rejoice for them and what they have...instead of obsessing about what I don't have...in them I find true happiness, if that makes sense.

Once I had a boss, whom I loved, he was a great man, much older then me and very wise...very confident, you just knew when he said something he meant business...and he was fair and believed the only way we learned was from our own mistakes...he said to me once, "you need to meet my wife, you and she are a lot alike and I believe you would get along fine".  I said, I'd be honored...and asked him to have his wife call me, and we'd set a dinner date, as I would love for them to come to dinner. But, I told him, knowing he owned a huge beautiful old farm house..."we are in the process of remodeling, and my home isn't nearly as extravagent as yours".  He smiled and said, "we don't judge people by material things, we judge them by how they treat us".    Well, long story short, his wife b/c my best friend, she was an angel...a woman I was so proud to know...and considered myself very fortunate that God put her in my path for the short time I knew her...

Kathleen, good friends like that come so few....and acquaintences come a dime a dozen, and if you meet two people in your lifetime that are like my friend was, your very fortunate to have had them in your life...they don't gossip, they don't tollerate drama, they are confident people and they don't ask you personal questions.

My one girlfriend I am very close to, constantly asks me if I asked this person why, and my answer is, "I don't ask, I figure if they want to tell me they will and until they do, it's none of my business. 

So, I don't know if I've answered your question by sharing my stories with you...

but one thing I do know, don't sell your soul to fit in...in other words...don't be anyone who you are not, and stick to your own personal institutions...they are your identity and who you are, which is a very significant person...in other words, don't compromise your identity to be liked...or to be a part of the pack...or click or whatever you want to call it...

You have many options here, and you are in control...no one else controls you...if you don't want them to know, then you owe no one any explainations..this is your privet life, which is very personal and between you, your husband and God...

If you wish to share more information with some, fine, but take your time getting to know them, and watch the ones who talk the most about others...they are the ones who will talk most about you when you are not around.  I'm always leary of anyone who gossips...and don't choose them first as a friend.

Be done with the drama Kathleen, and don't cause yourself any more pain by feeling obligated to tell anyone your personal life....if your husband wants to tell them, fine, you don't have to if you choose not to...and you can say that..."It's a very privet story that at this particular time I don't want to talk about".  And then change the conversation...

I'm going to be 62 years old soon and the older I get, the less I feel obligated to anyone...especially when it comes to my personal life...so, I believe it comes with age...but I have seen some young girls in here post who I know feel the same way I do...

whatever you decide to do...be strong...don't fear someone not liking you...it's ok, you may not like them...some personalities just don't click and others click fine...right now, remember this is your first party, so give out only the information that you want to...and choose what neighbors you trust enough to confide in, and if you ever find out they've broken that trust, then never confide in them again.

I'm not telling you what to do, I'm sharing with you how I would handle it, you may want to handle it differently, doesn't mean your wrong...but whatever you decide to do, I wish you confidence, peace and above all, a really great time.

Creme

LaurieS

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Re: Should I Hide the Situation?
« Reply #3 on: October 02, 2010, 09:31:03 PM »
Kathleen.. what will happen when asked about your children and you and your husband give different head counts at the same time?  You might spend more time explaining that then to simply say you have 3 sons and a grandchild... If someone does express more interest in your family there is no disgrace in saying that you are not close to one of your children.
I understand how it could smooth things for over during the event by saying 2 sons, but it's probably not fair to ask your husband to deny the existence of a child and grandchild.

Offline Nana

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Re: Should I Hide the Situation?
« Reply #4 on: October 02, 2010, 09:54:30 PM »

Kathleen:
Laurie spoke the words I had in mind.

It is easier just to say that you do have 3 sons.  If asked....as Laurie says...just clear out that you are not close to one of them..  If they asked you why?  This is the easiest (what books recommend if someone ask you and indiscreet questions...."why do you want to know"? 
See?  easy.  They will never catched you in a lie.   We all know when a person dont like being asked....if they don mind and keep on asking questions....run....

The other thing woud be not to invite them over and just treat them like good distant neighbors....
Love
Love is not love Which alters when it alteration finds, Or bends with the remover to remove:
Shakespeare

Rose

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Re: Should I Hide the Situation?
« Reply #5 on: October 15, 2010, 03:25:08 PM »
Kathleen, I don't think you should be ashamed of your estrangement. It certainly seems to be a common thing anymore, unfortunately.  I would simply hang the picture when you feel comfortable having it out.  If anyone asks about it tell them who she is and as much of the circumstances as you are comfortable with.  You maybe surprised to find you have someone in the neighborhood who has the same experience. Estrangement is in all classes, wealthy or poor we all have it.  If the time comes that you get to see your Granddaughter and your other son they will know that they were always in your heart as well as your wall.

Rose

kathleen

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Re: Should I Hide the Situation?
« Reply #6 on: October 17, 2010, 06:32:24 AM »
MIL's: The neighbors came.  We put out one photograph of our granddaughter prominently on the piano with many other photos of our family; we placed it prominently.  The neighbor who is a new grandmother took up all the time raving about her new granddaughter.  All that was asked of us was, "Are you grandparents," but they were so caught up talking about their own grandchildren they never asked a single question about ours.  As so often I do, I worried needlessly for two weeks about something that never happened.

Then the ladies wandered into my small "office" and saw photographs of me when I was young.  One was published in the newspaper and they were very curious about the content and we spent a lot of time talking about that, and about the beautiful wedding dress and veil in my grandma's wedding portrait, garments she made herself.   

Some people seem sensitive to others, and also, these are intelligent people who probably never would dominate an entire visit raving about grandchildren.  They were courteous and polite and we all had a great time and an interesting visit.

My dad used to have a saying, "Don't holler 'til you're hurt."  Now if only I could remember that in advance of worrying about things that never happen.

Thanks for all your advice, it was really helpful to have a place to go with this.  Of course, in the end, it wasn't even a consideration to lie about my granddaughter.  Just not the right thing to do.

Kathleen

Annie123

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Re: Should I Hide the Situation?
« Reply #7 on: October 17, 2010, 06:52:41 AM »
Hi Kathleen,
  I new to this site, Been around only about a week or so? Your story tugged on my heart though! I'm happy and relived for you that the party went off without a snag!
  I am a "Worrier" to by nature, Came by it honest though. My Father was the King of Worriers. LOL So I knew what you meant by saying you worried over nothing. I do it daily nearly.
  I can't imagine the spot you are in. I know it is VERY hard on YOU and your FAMILY!
  Your in my prayers! God Bless!

Offline Barbie

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Re: Should I Hide the Situation?
« Reply #8 on: October 17, 2010, 02:34:51 PM »
Kathleen,
I'm glad everything went well. I too am the #1 worrior and I worry a lot about silly stuff because in all honesty I've been blessed most of my life but I've always felt that honesty is the best policy and your GD is an innocent victim. Again, I'm very happy for you.
Sending hugs.

Offline Nana

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Re: Should I Hide the Situation?
« Reply #9 on: October 17, 2010, 11:18:09 PM »
I worry a lot too about everything, my family, friends, etc.  My oldest daughter was diagnosed with Juvenile Diabetes (type 1) when she was 4 years old.  My world and heart was shattered.  I was so very much afraid of what the future hold for my dear daughter that I used to cry a lot thinking of terrible things that could happen to her.  My husband told me something that changed my life.  He said "I am a doctor and know better than you all that can happen to our daughter, but we cannot afford feeling sorry for her and for ourselves, she needs us as whole persons to make her happy.  We should not worry about it now, and then (if those things happen) again when they happen, if they do happen.  We dont know the future.  Lets make our daughter the happiest girl on earth now."  And so we did.  She is 29 years old now, she has had health problems I must admit, but she is smart, sweet, positive, has a tremendous love for family and friends.  (and by the way she is a doctor as Dad ).    She is very special to all the people around her.       There is this song that says "The future is not ours to see,  what will be will be". 

Sorry, I deviate the topic lol.   Probably I needed to say this.

Love 
Love is not love Which alters when it alteration finds, Or bends with the remover to remove:
Shakespeare