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So OK....I am not overjoyed

Started by Stilllearning, September 27, 2013, 07:20:30 PM

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I know I should be ecstatic.  My DIL has contacted me and asked me over to see the new baby, not once but twice!!  I went and visited the first time and to be honest I enjoyed the visit.  OK, so I did not get the warm and gushy feeling that one would expect from visiting their grandchild but it was not horrible.  The new baby is still just a baby, less than 8 weeks old, and honestly she needs some time to develop her own personality.  I am not 'over the moon' about her and I probably will not be until she gets older.  She is cute.

My problem is that I am finding it very difficult to grow attached to this wonderful child.  I do not trust her parents.  They have treated me (in my opinion) very badly and I cannot believe that they will not revert to their earlier bad behavior in the future.  I feel that they are using this wonderfully innocent child to lure me in and once then once again they will be in a position to chop my heart up and call it my fault.  And then again, I may be entirely wrong......

I resent the fact that my DS and DIL have run ram shod over my feelings for two years and now they expect me to just overlook everything because they have a baby.  I bet they expect me to send Mother's day and Father's day gifts next year in spite of the fact that they have been too busy to even pick up the phone to call us on either occasion for two years.  How do you handle these feelings?  Honestly, I am  mad!!
Your mind is a garden your thoughts are the seeds
You can grow flowers or you can grow weeds.
Author unknown


That is so honest...and I understand completely. My take is to go at your own pace. What's that saying? Once hit, twice shy? Something like that. Sending love...
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


Stilllearning, I understand too. I hope things improve all around. Luise's suggestion to go at your own pace is right on, IMO.
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb


I'm honestly not sure about the concept of getting very attached to grandchildren. Enjoy them, yes; care about them, yes; do your duty to them; yes. But the big time bonding we experienced with our own children, well, I think that was another place and another time. One of my own MIL's grandchildren passed away a number of years ago, and my MIL was sad but not distressed. She was a very  interested and involved grandmother, and I think family expected her to be much more upset, but she pointed out that she was the child's grandmother and not the mother. Her primary bonding was still to her own children, even though they were  grown-up, and she just didn't have the same intensity of feelings for the children of her children.

Having less emotion involved in a difficult situation is not necessarily a bad thing and is ultimately safer, things are less likely to go wrong if you are reasonably detached. Getting angry because of hurt feelings, and then doing further damage to the relationship because you are angry and hurt, is much less likely to happen. I think it is fine to just do your duty in your situation. Go over if invited, say all the right things, then go home and enjoy your life as an emancipated woman :) Do enough to be free of regrets and guilt, and then let it go knowing you have done all that can be expected of you. I'm not a grandparent yet, but I already know that I spent all my maternal energy of my own children and if there are grandchildren I don't honestly expect to be much more than an interested onlooker. Especially now that I know how the fairytale sometimes ends.  I just wouldn't, actually I couldn't invest another 18 years of my life into nurturing another child, the optimism and innocence is gone, and I am more interested in doing different, non-mothering things with my life now.


Thanks for all of your wonderful advice!  I am having a hard time going at my own pace.  My DH sees no issue with interacting with my DS/DIL/GC once or twice a month.  Every time I see them I have to psych myself up for it and every time I leave I have to take the time to readjust.  I do not enjoy the visits.  There is no warm gooey feeling there.  I harbor a tremendous amount of resentment because of the 18 months I spent trying to get along topped off by my visit to her therapist who told me it was all my fault.  After that there was a wedding and then two more years of no contact.  It was not until the were pregnant that they even acknowledged our existance for any occasion what so ever.  I do not know if I will ever be able to get over it.

I have the classic angel devil syndrome going on here. The angel says "Be a martyr, bury your feelings and learn to enjoy the time together"  and the devil says "Treat her the way she treated you.  Don't answer her emails, unfriend her on facebook, tell people she said things she did not say, refuse to visit her at her house and never invite her to yours."  Just because you have a baby you do not get a "get out of jail free" card. 

I guess, all in all, I do not have much angel in me.......
Your mind is a garden your thoughts are the seeds
You can grow flowers or you can grow weeds.
Author unknown


QuoteMy DH sees no issue with interacting with my DS/DIL/GC once or twice a month. 

Honestly, I suspect the interactions will lessen as this child grows - other activities and interests will consume their lives and the invites will become less and less.  As for "ever being able to get over it" - a wise woman once said to me after the death of her son - as time goes by, other things tend to occupy your mind; it's not that you have forgotten, just that these newer daily intrusions become front and center and the pain and the sadness of the past is relegated to the back of your mind.

As for the angel versus the devil - let them fight it out while you go shopping or work in your garden or go out to lunch with a good friend.  Oh, and congratulations on the birth of your granddaughter.  Frankly, I think you are doing really well.


Love what you wrote about angels and devils, jdtm. Perceptions are like the drifting sands...  :)
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


I think you are doing well too.  I always have to look at the other side of the coin when I'm trying to make a decision.  Do you not want to have anything to do with GC because of what the parents have done?  If the answer is yes, then don't go visit.

If the answer is no, I think you can visit, when you feel like it, send the child gifts for occasions, but you don't have to send the parents anything for Mothers/Fathers day.  They are not your parents.  You can maintain a civil relationship as if you were going to visit a friend with their new baby.   

We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell


First of all, don't buy into that fairytale about falling head over heels in love with a grandchild the first moment you lay eyes on him/her.  That may happen for some, but not for others.  It's not a requirement and certainly doesn't mean the future relationship is doomed.  Plenty of parents don't fall head over heels in love with their baby - and then feel guilty about it, sometimes leading to depression. 

Second, get rid of the angel and the devil.  They are both giving you bad advice.  No matter how badly you've been treated, you don't want to sink to someone else's level.  You need to look yourself in the eye every day and know that you've behaved with dignity and respect toward yourself and the rest of humanity.  The angel is wrong to tell you to be a martyr and just ignore the past.  You don't want to get mired in the past and maybe you need to let go, but that doesn't mean you have to set yourself up to be walked on  all over again. (how exactly you do that, I dunno.)

I can't tell you the perfect solution because I'm not you.  Plus there's probably not a perfect solution.  If you want to be a part of your GC's life, you will have to play by the parents' rules.  They say grandparenting is all the fun of parenting without the responsibilities.  Yeah right.  Grandparenting is NOTHING like parenting.  You don't have the responsibilities, but you don't have the authority, either.  Instead of getting to tell your children what to do, you have to do what they say.  (I am dreading this myself; I know I will find it hard if I'm ever a grandparent.  Don't any of you be surprised if I'm eventually on here complaining about being excluded or having to do what my kids say - you can throw back my own advice at me.)

What would DS and DIL have to do to make you feel comfortable about moving forward?  (I ask that rhetorically.)  If it's to apologize, ask yourself why.  Is it to show some sign of remorse or to take them down a peg?  If it's the first, is there some other way to accomplish that?  If the latter, I don't know what to say.

I'd suggest trying to find some way (meditation, prayer, exercise, etc.) to make visiting less stressful.  If you are on pins and needles because of the past not because of how they are acting now, then the burden is on you to find a way to deal with it.  They've found their way.  They probably don't think they've done anything wrong and feel they are rising above it all by including you now.  Unfortunately DIL had her therapist validate the idea that you were in the wrong.  I don't know how you get past that.

Good luck.  Remember you'll find sympathy and support here.  I agree that you do not owe your DS and DIL fathers day and mothers day cards or gifts.  I've never understood that practice.   


SL, I understand how difficult it is to move on after being devastated by hurtful things said or done to you. What brought me to this site years ago was hearing that my DIL & her FOO hated my DH & I for "who we were (losers.)" Since then she has said & done other little things to drive that point home.

Lately though, it's as if it all never happened and I'm expected to get over it, not take it personally, etc. I am still having trouble completely being my true self around DS & DIL, still can't completely trust that I won't let up my guard only to be knocked down. I'm trying, but it's a very puzzling time for me. I'm going to follow the advice given here and let it go how it goes. If I'm uncomfortable, I'll either speak up or leave the scene. If I feel OK, I'll try to relax and enjoy the time with my family. Good luck to you, and congratulations on the birth of your GC.
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb

lancaster lady

Just a word of warning , the leopard never changes it's spots !
Love your gc  but beware the momma cat , her claws are sharp . Get too close
and she springs into action .
My gd is nearly 4 , and I'm still watching my back and heart .
Good luck .