Hello wise women. I am new here but am looking for some mental relief before I go out of my mind with grief. A few years ago my son hooked up with a beautiful girl from an affluent family. Both parents own their own companies, all highly educated etc. In any case us lowly hard working mostly blue collar family members have never felt very comfortable around her. She is EXTREMELY private and my son has become even more so since they got together. Over the 6-7 years they have been seeing each other there have been some bad ups and downs with them. A little back ground on the girlfriend. She is very smart, graduated with a double degree in microbiology and physical anthropology. Works for her mother in a financial setting. She wants us to have absolutely no contact with her parents. She has some medical problems that have to be monitored. 3 years ago they bought a house together and 2 years ago gave my son a beautiful daughter. That is when the real problems started. We did not find out until the girlfriend was 6 months pregnant. They told no one due to her medical problems and the possibility she could lose the baby. She is not interested in getting married. In any case most of the major problems have been my fault. My husband and I were asked to tell no one about the forth coming baby. Not a peep. I being the bad mom that I am, let it slip one evening when one of my friends, who happens to also be a friend of my sons, was staying at my house. She actually guessed, I just confirmed it. She had promised not to say a word but that promise was broken. In any case the ensuing fallout was bad. My son literally ripped me a new heart. Since the baby was born I have probably seen her ten times, maybe less. Last year when they came to our house around Christmas I wanted to take her over to see my neighbors. They also have grandchildren. The girlfriend said absolutely not, like they were ax murderers or something. They are two of the nicest people on the planet and we have lived next door to them for 12 years. Ok, my next transgression. I was not supposed to put the granddaughter on any social media. I had one weak day and posted the cutest video of her playing with the tissue paper on her 1st birthday. Of course I got caught. Now I can no longer take or have any pictures. My husband has just about had it and I feel like no matter if I apologize or not it will not really be accepted. I have apologized in the past only to have it come up repeatedly and pushed in my face. Part of the thing that kills me inside is that my son owns this attitude with the girlfriend and is now treating me like some kind of criminal. Not once has my son ever brought the kid over without the girlfriend there to monitor what happens. I have been told I can't be trusted and even accused of possible future transgressions that I have not even committed yet but could possibly commit. Guilty before the crime. What is killing me is that my once sweet, loving son is turning into a controlling nasty person. He is turning into the girlfriend. My daughter in law who happens to be a teacher thinks it is all about control. She thinks the girlfriend is a special kind of crazy. My husband is beginning to think they both need therapy. In the meantime my heart is breaking. I rarely see my son and I can't see my granddaughter. The son & girlfriend say we need to heal from all my terrible transgressions and apologize, which I have. But you see the apologies are not really accepted and I can't be trusted and I have never been allowed to watch her. MY husband and I are planning to retire in the next 3 years. To keep my sanity I have asked that we move out of state. I will miss my other grandchildren terribly but I need space away from the controlling girlfriend and away from a granddaughter I can't see. I keep telling myself that I would be better off far away from the drama.
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Thank you for such an open and honest presentation regarding your situation and how you have reacted to it. You have been put under incredibly rigid constraints and failed to live by them on more than one occasion. None of it seems to have worked for any of you. You now have a reputation to live down and it looks like you aren't going to be given the opportunity to do so. They, too, have created identities that are not acceptable to you. You would never pick who they have become as anyone you would want to spend time with.
When my eldest son and his wife set out to discredit me...there was no stopping them. They saw me as a serious threat to them because I was too outgoing. Their solution was to tell me what I could say and do and what I couldn't. My choice was to go on being me. No one can hand me a script and tell me the character I am to play in their drama.
I had to decide for me and of course, you have to choose for you. The trick is to move on without getting stuck in the 'somebody done me wrong song'. I almost did...but I eventually let go of hurt and blame. Whew...it was eating me alive! Hugs...
In my own life, I had to get that there was nothing I could do to change how I was seen...which was as a bulldozer. Defenses and controls were set up that DS and DIL felt were needed.
Ladybreck - I so feel for you. You more or less described our former DIL. Luckily, she finally left our son and abandoned her children. I, too, felt our ex-DIL was mentally ill (probably BPD). I know - you are accused of things you never did, never said, never even thought. But, this too came to pass.
Like Luise, I had to learn that I could not "fix" it. Boy, I sure wish that I had learned that lesson sooner - the only persons I hurt were ME and my loving husband. We did move away from our family and that has been a blessing. A favourite aunt of mine who carried many many burdens said that "if I dwelled on my burdens, I would have no life, so I focus only on the good things". We all love her and her life is still "heavy with burdens" (she is over 90) but she is always upbeat. I think it surprised our son that we could actually survive and thrive without them!
Buy a good mystery book, join a gym, take a college course - whatever - life does go on. And, sometimes when one least expects it, the wandering ones return. Enjoy the new year ....
You made the statement "He is turning into the girlfriend." I can relate to this observation with my own son. My son's wife seems to also be mentally ill, which comes out as controlling and manipulative behavior. I have seen my son change, becoming more like her; I think it's an adaptation to fit into a very crazy environment as a result of living with a mentally ill person. I found that trying to make a relationship work with them was turning me inside out. The stress of dealing with them was hurting my emotional and physical health. Once I cut off contact with them, I was able to think more clearly and became more calm. The periods of grief are getting shorter, too.
I love my son dearly, but he is making his own choices, even if that means living with a person who is quite toxic. I hope one day he wakes up and realizes what's going on, but I can't put my life on hold waiting for that to happen.
I hope you are able to find comfort as you gain more insight and wisdom on this website to help you during this difficult time.
I think I may have stumbled on a good group here. My husband is being supportive but does not want to get in the middle. Same with my older son and my DIL who I love dearly. My husband explained it fairly clear to me earlier this evening. The transgressions I am guilty of in a normal world would be minimal. But in the Girlfriend world are capital crimes. How was I supposed to know that? I do love my husband, he is so smart. He helped me pen a reply to my sons email. I basically told him that if he and the GF can't get over this then I am prepared to do without them and my granddaughter. Much so for my own mental sanity. If it takes moving in a few years to a distant location, I can live with that. I keep telling myself that many grandparents live far away from their grandchildren and survive very well. But my heart is still breaking from my sons hard words. I truly wish the girl he had loved years ago had lived (hit by a car and killed). Lily was so sweet and I loved her so much. So scared he would take his life after she died. But for him to latch onto someone with so many mental problems, so heartbreaking. My granddaughter is so beautiful and looks so much like him. She looks nothing like her mother. My husband keeps telling me that she will grow up, find us and will love us like our other granddaughter does. Only then will we have two little grandpa's little girls. I hope my response hits a nerve that he may not be ready to hear. That I will walk away before I will do what he wants. Grovel, apologize and bow to their twisted way of thinking. I just hope and pray that he understands what he has done to his mother's heart and to the once wonderful relationship we had.
Ladybreck - I sympathize with your loss and your heartbreak - but I would ask you to take a step back and try to look at it from their perspective. You were informed of the pregnancy, you knew of her health issues and her concern about the pregnancy, you were told not to tell anyone, yet you did let it slip. You also had been told not to put anything of the baby on social media.
The first - confirming the pregnancy to the third party - was arguably an accident. The friend guessed, and you confirmed. But the second - putting the video on social media - cannot be construed as an accident. That took an affirmative act on your part - which you did despite knowing they did not want anything of the baby on social media.
I am one who is dismayed at all the private information people put out on Facebook, etc. That information can easily fall into the wrong hands, endangering the financial and physical security of people. I do not think it is crazy or controlling to not want information about the child on social media. I think it is just common sense.
Have you apologized unconditionally? Or do you try to defend yourself when you apologize? Maybe if you did not try to excuse your slip-ups, if you truly understood why they were upset, and apologized unconditionally they would give you another chance.
It seems that to move far away is not a solution. You would lose touch with the other grandchildren, and never have a chance to earn the trust and get to know this one child.
I think you are well-intentioned and loving. But I would be very upset if someone put personal information or videos of my family on the internet. I would feel violated.
Ladybreck, I really, really think you need to just take a step back and a breather from this.
I think a good rule in life is to never issue an ultimatum you aren't 100% prepared to follow through on. Do you really want to move away? Or are you hoping your DS is going to come groveling back to you? Are you really prepared to hear that he might say "ok, see you later then"? You admit you are "trying to hit a nerve" with him but what if that doesn't happen? What if he doesn't respond at all?
And what will that do the relationship with your other DS? The message you would be sending to him and his family is that they are less important than his brother's, and not worth sticking around for. You say you have a good relationship with your other DS and DIL, and I would hate to see that thrown under the bus because things aren't going well with with your other DS. And what about your husband? It seems like he has a good relationship with the other grandchild(ren), are you really willing to sacrifice that too? Does he want to move?
I don't know their side, but from what you posted, you knowingly violated their trust, they called you on it, and now are angry they're holding you accountable for it. You said you apologized, but I would echo what the above poster said - was it a true apology, with no excuses? No "I'm sorry, but...."?
Ultimatums rarely work and usually end up having the opposite intended effect.
L., as I read the responses to your post, I want to remind you to 'Take what you want and leave the rest.'
We have no idea what you are ready to hear and incorporate into your approach to your issue. We just offer what comes up for us in the hopes something there may help. You may have hoped for more agreement and support. Hugs...
Thank you Luise. The responses do give me a lot to think about.
In response to Monroe. I have apologized, sincerely, several times. And yes posting on social media, the one video, was wrong and taken down immediately. But is it enough to completely keep my granddaughter away, to limit how much I see her? To keep me from having any and all pictures? My son so much as accused me over the phone of things I "might" do or could do if I were to watch her. Is that fair, to accuse me of something I had not even done? And, I am not angry for being called out on it. I have owned what I did and I will continue to own it. But I will not grovel and continue to apologize for things repeatedly. My husband is a very smart guy and tends to keep his emotions well in check. But with this girl, mama of my grandchild, he really thinks no matter what I do to try to correct the situation, it will never be enough. He thinks that even if I never do another thing wrong, she would find some reason to block access. Yes, I was a bad girl and will be paying for it forever. Personally, convicted felons will get off easier than I will.
New Mama-No ultimatum was given. I actually had my husband help me with my response because I tend to get emotional. I needed to respond with facts not emotions run amuck. I again sincerely apologized for every transgressions and basically asked if they could see their way to heal and get past this. I also told my son not to try and engage me into continual dissection of every detail. I owned what I did, I sincerely apologized and my husband sees no reason why anyone would want to continue beating the dog (me). Am I sorry, yes. Do I want to move on, yes. Will I get it. Maybe or maybe not. Can't tell at this time. Both my DIL and older son think the parents are off their rocker and think the mother is off her medication. Yes she has a mental disorder of some kind, not sure what exactly. But she totally admitted to my DIL that she had been spying on me for months on Facebook because she knew sooner or later I would screw up. Will I ever do it again, no.
I love my son unconditionally but I will not be held hostage to continual apologies. And yes I am prepared to face not seeing my granddaughter if it means I have to jump 100 hurdles just to see her for 5 minutes. I know I will never be allowed to watch her and I know my son is not allowed to bring her over without her mother present. (now that is weird) The GF acts like we are convicted felons or drug addicts or something and that is so far from who we are, it is even stupid to think it. My husband really thinks it has something to do with us being just regular hard working people who managed to get ahead by working hard and investing wisely. Are we millionaires like her parents? No way, but we are not destitute or living from paycheck to paycheck either. We are upper middle class but have no real college education. My DIL who has spent quite a bit of time around them says that the GF tends to look down on people without degrees and considers my DIL worth talking to. She is working on her Masters in Education so is considered worthy in the GF's eyes. I have a hard time with this kind of attitude but have never said a word when my son or the GF have been at our house. My husband and I don't look at people that way. We tend to have friends from ALL walks of life, money or no money. We believe any good person is worthy of our friendship no what their lot in life is. What really confounds us is that my son always takes her side. My husband has said on a few occasions that he thinks our son is ashamed of us and that we are no longer good enough. He never acted that way until he met this girl. I am quite dismayed on how to handle this entire mess. The mess that I am responsible for. I have put the ball into their court and left a door open. I think this is where we have to wait and see what their decision is. Accept my most sincere apology and move on or dwell on it and not forgive me. My son has already told his brother we are fighting again. I am not mad and I am not fighting. But I am also not going to be emotionally beat up again and made to apologize for something I already sincerely apologized for. Geez convicted felons get off easier.
Oh L, I really feel for you!! My DIL is diagnosed bipolar now but was not when they married. She is so insecure that she brags all the time about how smart she is (she really is brilliant in a book sense but completely lacking in the traits she needs to hold a job). Her family inherited money a few years back and things really changed for them. We have worked very hard and saved to get to where we are and we are kind of amazed at the way that her family has changed. Anyway I am happy for my DS to live in a house that is paid for (it took us years and we just barely made it before him LOL) and my DS does seem to be happy and things between my DS and myself have gotten better but it was a hard road and a painful journey.
I had what I call an 'aha' moment when things became clearer and I understood things better and the emotional hold my DIL had over me faded. For me it happened when I realized that I was so worried about doing something wrong that I actually dreaded having them visit. I walked on eggshells whenever she was around and my DS was definitely on her side. Once I realized that I stopped wanting them over. I never told them about it I just stopped calling and texting and trying to 'fix' things. They did not call me for months and every time I thought about them I told myself "no news is good news" and went about my way. My DH and I started planning things for holidays that did not include my DS/DIL. We actually started moving the day we celebrate holidays around to suit our plans.
You should know that I wanted to email my DIL and explain my side of the story also. The wise women here told me that they thought that the email would be counterproductive. I even posted a copy here and asked for insights. I eventually did not send it and now I am glad that I did not. All I was trying to do was explain that I was right and honestly it would have made matters worse. Once I decided that I did not have to defend my position or fix things my life got better. My DH finally got the good attention that he so deserves and I quit complaining to everyone who would listen. I focused my attention on the good things I have in my life instead of letting this one area of my life poison the rest of my time.
It took a while but eventually my DS convinced my DIL to go see someone and she got the bipolar diagnosis. She is struggling with finding a medication that works for her and I often keep my two GC for them so that she can get the help and down time that she needs. I am closer to my DS than I have been in years and I finally see a light at the end of the tunnel.
Good luck and remember that even though she is his girlfriend now it does not mean that she will be forever but no one else, and I mean no one else, can be his Mom!!
OMG this sounds so much like my situation. I am also tired of walking on egg shells around the GF. My DS told us when he first met her that she was raised by nannies and not very socialized. But I never realized how unstable she is. This has been going on now for over 6 years and I am done. My DIL says she looks down on us because we are not college educated. But stupid, we are not, considering my DH and I started our of life journey together with basically nothing. We have spent the last 35 years climbing out of the holes we were in when we met and have made ourselves quite comfortable. We did this by educating ourselves about money and real estate. My DS says we do not respect the rules. Well I feel that she does not respect us and take us for who we are. Our family has been very close until this girl came into it. Every past GF ended up calling me mom and has stayed in contact with me. This time he picked a doozie. I just found out that on Christmas she was sitting in my driveway and would not come in because my son did not answer his text message. He was peeling potatoes for me and was not fast enough. She started driving away and he had to talk her into turning around and coming back. She would not come over on Thanksgiving with my GD and I later heard through DIL that my DS was mad about it.
I have never in my life been stuck in a situation like this. But I observed something similar when I was much younger. Children should not be used as weapons and held back from their family because someone is not happy because they can't control your every minor movement. I feel like she is doing it to punish me because I broke the rules, of which I have apologized and she said she accepted. Obviously she wants some blood with that apology. I have pretty much told them both take it or leave it, the next step is theirs. Her mother waltz's in and out of their house like she lives there. I have to give them several days notice. When they come to my house they waltz right in. No warning or anything that they are even coming. Of course I can count the number of times I have seen my GD the last 22 months on my fingers, maybe less if that tells you anything. They have come over several times and left her at the GF's mothers house. I really am beginning to feel like the GF wants all the control and is using my GD as the bait for the control. Unfortunate for her, I will not play this game any longer. It is hard on us and it is not good for my GD. I think if I just stick to my guns and not call that my DS will cave in and try to make things better. I know he loves me and wants us to see my GD. I just don't think he has been able to figure it out yet where the GF is concerned. Is my heart breaking, yes. But I truly am tired and think the GF needs to get back on whatever meds she took before she got pregnant and I and my DH need to put all this heartbreaking turmoil behind us. We plan to concentrate on our older grandchildren of whom we have total access.