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Thanks ladies  ;)

In answer to your question SL, to be perfectly honest, having fun is really hard work especially when you're so used to planning things for a group like family, or even just a single child. It's always easier trying to entertain than be entertained I think.

Sure I'm finding that I have to retrain myself to think about what I like and want (to do) and it's tough because it feels so unnatural to me, putting myself first.  But I know I need to (for my own well being) so for the sake of good health I'm making a real effort. 

DH and I have taken to things like trips to the museum, art gallery and even a few strange (but interest and hilarious ventures) like ghost/paranormal investigations (tours), as well as day trips to beautiful wineries, weekend boats cruises, interstate travel and spending more time with our beloved pets out in the park. We both work so have to plan most things for the weekends, but we try to get in a few activities here and there, and we're rediscovering each other as we go too (we'd become strangers over the years because of the kids).

Don't get me wrong,  I still get the pangs of guilt every now and again especially when I find myself doing something like relaxing on a deck chair staring out across beautiful scenery and thinking "gosh wish DD or DS or both were here to see this, or enjoy this with me''!  Oh well.... old habits huh?  I too am a work in progress and yes a bit slow in getting there but I'm sure the  more I practice doing stuff for me the better I'll get at it.  If there's true in the old saying, practice makes perfect, then watch out.....I'm aiming for total perfection!  :D  8)
Me, too...SL and I'm 91!  :D
Oh M I agree, you are so worth it!!  Although your post did mention that you were focusing your thoughts (and money) on making yourself happy, it did not mention anything about how much fun you were having.   I would be really interested in the things you are doing so that you and your DH can enjoy your lives!  This is your time to enjoy, you have worked toward it your entire life and now it is here!! 

I found that I have a certain amount of guilt when I have fun.  For some reason I feel that I have somehow failed if my life is not centered around my DS and his issues.  I was so wrong!!  When I focused on making my life happy without relying on my DS it actually relieved the pressure on our relationship.  I had not realized that by making him responsible for my happiness I had put a burden on him and all of my demands that he act differently (visit more often, include me in celebrations, etc.) only increased his awareness of the burden.  I know this is difficult to visualize but bear with me........

My Ds's life definitely did not include me and that hurt my feelings.  It was like he had his life and in it there was a door marked "My Mom" and I was on the other side of that door.  I was constantly knocking at the door and when he finally opened it my first words were always something like "Why did you ignore me for so long?".  Every time he opened that door I reminded him that he was not paying me enough attention.  If I were in that situation I would start to ignore the door that said "My Mom" too .  Why open it when you know that you are only going to feel guilty?  So I stopped knocking.  I stopped calling.  I stopped texting.  I stopped begging.  It took a while (actually it is still a work in progress)but eventually he opened the door and said "Why aren't you knocking?" and our adult to adult conversation started. 

There are phases to every relationship.  I thought that once I raised my children and managed to stay married for all these years that I would be on the downhill side of all of those relationship issues.  I guess that I am not.  That is why I chose my screen name....because I am 'Stilllearning' and I guess at this point I will be 'Stilllearning" until the shovel dirt on my coffin. 

Good luck!  Hugs!
Atta' girl, M.! YAY!
Thanks SL, (love the name by the way!)  ;)

Like you, I'm still learning (and discovering too).  In fact, I had to re-read my post at least half a dozen times before posting it up because I couldn't believe it was me!!!  ???

You see, I would never have written something like that a few weeks ago.  I wouldn't have known how to brush things off, as up until recently I was for the most part a blubbering mess most days all thanks to my DD and her abusive behaviour towards me. 

Ever since she announced she was pregnant with my beautiful GC, an experience that I mistakenly thought would bring us together, DD has been spiteful, argumentative, cruel in word and action and basically so far removed from the precious little girl I adored.  I know pregnancy can play havoc with a woman's body (and mind) but surely the change in hormones can't be held responsible for turning a woman into the fire-breathing, venom spitting dragon she turned into?  Instead of getting closer, sharing the kind of newfound mother-daughter bond that I would see on TV or read about in books, my DD became so nasty and so distant that not only did I no longer know who she was, but frankly didn't want to!!!

All the things we had talked about doing one day, going baby shopping, attending doctor/hospital check ups together, getting pedicures especially for her once she couldn't see her toes anymore because of the expanding belly, and just generally doing loving and fun mother and mother-to-be stuff was shared with other women, like her MIL and SILs, DH's aunts, cousins and basically any female except with yours truly. :( 

I became the insecure "crazy" and "needy'' mother that was jealous and self-centred expecting that I would be welcome into her new circle.  How foolish of me for taking time off work hoping to escort her to ultrasounds only to be begrudgingly allowed to attend.  But it was ok for me to spend hours driving to her place (never the other way around) with carload of gifts, groceries, and cash to help out a young, now single income family. All the while DH's family remained the hip fun family who she preferred to visit/spend time with and who (although they never offered a penny of help) were praised to the hilt for being so amazing!  Where was the amazing family when DD was being threatened with eviction, and dear old crazy came to the rescue, paying up the back rent and a year in advance to boot just to ensure they didn't get tossed to the curb once the baby was born. 

I cried and cried for days, weeks and months, fearing my beautiful GD wouldn't get to know or bond with me as she would with the other grans.  FaceTime was mentioned as an alternative, so out I went and purchased an iPad (I'm an Android person myself but ok I'll go Apple to see my GD's face) but really what a waste.... I can count on one hand the number of FT sessions in the last 12 months!  FOO (is that Family Or Others, sorry I'm not familiar with a lot of the acronyms) see my GD regularly (at least every week), DD goes out with MIL regularly but I can't even get the commitment of a regular FT session to see my beautiful GD via the internet!!! :(

The list of hurts is soooooo long....

I bought so many clothes for baby GD, some of the cutest little outfits, and always after consulting with DD first (she hates if I buy anything she doesn't like) and what do I get?  Photos with comments like "doesn't she look darling in the little hat/coat/outfit (MILs name) got her while we were out?"  Yeah peachy!!! Where on earth are all the clothes I purchased?  Why did I bother?  So they could sit in the back of the cupboard and never see the light of day?  Really????

Well I'm over it......and getting better at not giving a hoot as much anymore.

I now go out and buy a ton of clothes FOR ME, and I take myself out and enjoy my time with my DH. 

I'm done with being an emotional punching bag, a withdrawal machine for money, or someone to just offload to when the fun family treats DD like garbage. 

I'm taking control of my life, because I'M WORTH IT!!!
Welcome M, and although I said it before I am obligated to say it again for every new poster.....  We ask all new members to go to our HomePage and under Read Me First to read the posts placed there for you. Please pay special attention to the Forum Agreement to be sure WWU is a fit for you. We're a monitored Website.

Whew!  I am glad that is over!!  I too spent a long time just reading the posts here before I shared my story, and through this reading I came to trust that my story would be compassionately received and that the responses would be well thought out and helpful, like yours is!

I think we too often allow others to control our happiness.  We believe that someone else can "make" us unhappy when actually that is not the case.  I allow my DS to affect my emotions and I allow the fact that I do not see my grands as much as my DIL's FOO do to paint the rest of my life with these painful colors........or not.  It was when I decided to take control of my own happiness that my life turned around.  I did that by focusing my thoughts and energies on things that make me happy and deliberately ignoring the parts of my life that brought me grief.  Gradually the things that make me happy expanded and my life improved.  Now, as I said before, I remind myself that  "What you focus on expands" all the time and I make an active decision to focus on the happy stuff!  It works.

As time went by my DS came to understand that he was welcome to come by and visit but my life no longer rotated around whether he did or not.  With this understanding my relationship with him has changed and I have enjoyed getting to know the adult he has become.
I hope your relationship with your DD improves!  Try to remember that the grands you see the most often are often not the favorites.  Absence does make the heart grow fonder.............

My youngest DD is 22 and is in a serious relationship talking about getting married. They’re looking for an apartment with the goal of moving in a couple of months. So far, I really like her boyfriend, but they are always spending time with his family, and I’m finding myself jealous listening to her talk about them and all the good times they’re having. It seems that his house is the “fun house” that everyone wants to visit.

Dear LynnRN,

Although I just registered, I found myself having to respond to your post even before telling my own tale of woes with my AC.

Firstly, I'm so sorry to hear of your recent loss.:(

Your post, in particular your reference to "fun house" resonated with me because my own DD constantly tells me that her DH's family "do fun stuff together" whereas we (her family) don't, and it seems never did?!  ??? 

A year ago my DD and SIL blessed with a beautiful GD which I absolutely adore but sadly don't get to see her anywhere near as often as my SIL's family and I think it's because he is a mommy's boy but my DD says it's because "his family are close and always do things and go places together" and as she is one of them now, she gets to enjoy new adventures.   

So what do people like us who live in houses or choose lifestyles that are filled with less "fun" to do?  Well, it's taken me a long time, but thanks to the constant badgering from my DH I've come to realise (yes he's right, though I won't tell him that) ;) if I am to survive the pain of not seeing my beautiful girls (DD and GD) as often as I'd like I/we need to make my own fun!  And who knows, maybe if my DD see how much "fun" we are having she may just ask to join in, and there's always the slightest possibility she may actually enjoy herself too! Like she used to as a child (or did I imagine that all those years ago?)  ???

Welcome to WWU. I only use my own name because this is my Website and members often want to know the source. I started it many years ago (I am nw 91) when I was thrashing around myself with the issues I had with my eldest son. I felt so alone. It looked to me like everyone around me was doing beautifully. (Not so...they were just better at faking it.)

I was impressed with the way you ended your post. It looks like you know what's happening and what to do about it. It's the 'how to do it' that's brought you to us.

I love the answer you got from SL. It is full of 'gold nuggets' on how to proceed. We are here for you 24/7. Hugs...
Oh and I forgot to tell you that we try to use names here that are unidentifiable should someone we know decide to read the site.  Luise is the only one who uses her name (or any part thereof) so please change your screen name.  Thanks!!
Welcome L, we are glad you found us!!  We ask all new members to go to our HomePage and under Read Me First to read the posts placed there for you. Please pay special attention to the Forum Agreement to be sure WWU is a fit for you. We're a monitored Website.

Now that I have completed the official stuff....

I have been there!  I took care of my father when he was sick.  Fortunately he was not living with me but I still felt obligated to visit him daily for a long time.  When he died I really did not understand how much his death had effected me and I honestly did not realize that I was in the full throws of depression for years.  I don't really want to admit all of the mistakes I made but I will tell you that I ended up feeling totally worthless.  It was horrible and I do not know how my DH stayed with me.  My DS married during this time and that just added to my depression because I knew that his choice for life was mentally unbalanced (now diagnosed) and I begged him to wait , which I should never have done.  Anyway my happy life was unraveling and there was nothing I could do about it.  The harder I tried to fix things the worse they got.  Fortunately for me I found this website and the wonderful women here helped me out!

The first thing that I had to absorb from here was that I deserve a happy life.  The second thing was that I could no longer center my life around my children, they had their own lives to live and their own lessons to learn and my interference was only delaying their life lessons.  Once I digested those two facts my next step was figuring out what makes me happy, not things that other people do but things I can do for myself (and my DH).  I started planning something fun for my DH and I to do for different holidays.  We went canoeing for Thanksgiving one year (well you get the idea!).  Suddenly instead of sitting at home thinking about how my DS had deserted me I was too busy having fun to notice it very much!  During this time I adopted a few of mantras:

1) What you focus on expands (so focus on the good things and ignore the things that you cannot change)
2) Not my circus, not my monkeys (so no need to worry about my DS's decisions)
3) No news is good news (so no need to worry when I have not heard from my DS in a while)

These started me on the road to a happier life, a life where I avoid what I now call 'the abyss' (because if I dwell on it I just fall further and further into a depression) by actively pulling my thoughts away from it and focusing my thoughts on things that make me happy.  Yes, it takes practice and it does not happen overnight.  I still find my thoughts circling the drain on occasion but I know how to keep from sinking into the mire. 

Please remember that we are on your side!  You deserve to enjoy this time of your life, your parenting days are over and so is the taking care of parents part.  It is time to focus on your own life and make it into what you always wanted.  Sorry for your loss and I hope the funeral you plan is a comfort for you.  Hugs!!
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