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Grandson in hospital but I can't take the drama and demands anymore

Started by Stardust, August 03, 2011, 11:40:28 am

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Hi everyone. I'm so glad I found this place. Sometimes, you just feel like you're barely keeping your head above water on your own. I'll try to keep to the highlights of my story and would love to know if I'm doing the right thing (although I feel terribly guilty).

First, a quick background. I'm divorced and remarried now for 15 years. I have 2 sons. My eldest has never really forgiven me for leaving his dad when he was 12 and then remarrying 2 years later. That's a whole other story. My eldest is 29 (nearly 30) now, and my younger son is 27. Both have families. The current situation has to do with my eldest son, his GF (girlfriend) of 10 years and my GS, but I'll need to lay the background down first so you'll understand where I'm coming from at the end of this long post. Actually, I'll probably split it up.

First, my son and his GF met 10 years ago. She immediately got pregnant. They were told the baby had a specific disease and nothing could be done. Chances of him living when born alive were 5%. I immediately took her to a very good homeopathic clinic that I knew of. She followed the lady's advice exactly and I paid for all her homeopathic remedies as required. When my GS was born, the only thing wrong was that he had a tumor in his heart, but it wasn't affecting anything and he needed to be on oxygen for the first 2 months.  The doctors were flabbergasted and we were thrilled! However, we also knew there would be many trips to the hospital for tests, MRI's, xrays, etc. over the coming years to monitor him too.

For the first 4 years of my grandson's life, I babysat him during the day. It was only suppose to be 2 days a week and my son's GF's mom was to take the other 1 or 2 days, but often it ended up with me watching him 3 to 4 days WHILE trying to get an online business up and running (because her mom "wasn't feeling well"). During this period, the GF completely disregarded the impact this had on my time and my life. She worked shift work and my son would drop my GS off at our place at 6:30 am. On these days, the GF got off at 2:30 in the afternoon and she should have been home by 4pm. I asked her repeatedly to come straight home because I had to pick up my DH from work and still go home to make supper. She never respected my wishes. I'd show up at their place at 4, she wouldn't be there. I'd get my DH at 4:30 and we'd go back to their place to wait. She'd show up anywhere between 4:45 and 6:00 with apologies and excuses of a friend needing someone to talk to, or her supervisor asked her to work a little longer, etc.  I'd remind her to be home on time, she'd say she completely understands, and then ignore my request. It was extremely frustrating.

Also, over the years, my husband and I have paid their rent on numerous occasions, we gave them our old car when we finally bought a new one AND paid for repairs on it twice. We've given them money for groceries, given them our computers when we upgraded, bought them a $1000 bed that she just "had to have" to sleep better, and gave my GS a bed too. We've purchased toys, clothes, bikes etc. for my grandson because they couldn't afford to. I've chauffeured my son's GF around the city numerous times on errands because she refuses to learn how to drive (but she's never offered me any gas money). We've paid for a U-Haul when they moved and spent our time helping them pack and move.

Because I was trying to be the "good mother" by helping out my son, it started to cause a really huge strain on my marriage. Mostly because I just couldn't see at that time that I was enabling them to be irresponsible.

Finally, in the spring of 2006, my DH and I decided to sell our house and move to the south end of the city. I told my DS and his GF that I was done babysitting in 2 weeks because I needed to get our house ready to sell, then we'd be moving to far away for me to keep picking my GS up and looking after him. We spent 2 months fixing up our place. In the meantime, my DS broke up with his GF and moved in with us. So, now we had him there (I made him pay some rent) and our GS on the weekends. The GF moved into an apartment and just stopped working.  We sold our house and the following September and moved to our new home. Because we had made a good profit on our sale, my son asked us if we could pay his GF's rent (he was paying part of it for her because she wasn't working! but didn't have enough that month). We did because we didn't want her or our GS on the street, but we made him pay us back. A few months later, we get the same request again. This time we made her pay it back. Finally, my DS moved back in with the GF exactly 1 year after leaving.

The requests for money, drives here and there, computer help, groceries, gas money, etc. continued over the years. Not once did they offer to pay anything back. They NEVER called us to just say hello or invite us over or just drop in for a nice visit. Every single call we got was a request for something they wanted. Even my GS never called us just to say hi. Both my boys grew up with strong family ties and traditions. They talked to their grandmothers all the time on the phone. We would often have family dinners and stuff.

HOWEVER, his GF came from a home where her mother "left" her abusive husband, but still STAYED IN THE SAME HOUSE! The GF hates her father and won't talk to him at all. She also dislikes her grandmother who "gossips" about her. And then there's her sister, who finally told her that she was self-centered and selfish, and that she uses their mother for everything instead of doing it herself (very true). My son's GF also cut off her sister and her nephew from their life as well, because she didn't like being told the truth. In fact, the GF changes friends like other people change underwear. She uses them until they start to balk, then finds a reason to ditch them and move on to someone else who thinks she's wonderful, until they have their eyes opened. She doesn't have a single friend that is the same from last year. What's worse is that my son is blind to this!

It seems, all we are is a money machine and service company to them.

I was the one who always called them to invite them for family dinners and it would be a huge effort to get a yes or no answer. When I did get a yes answer, often my son would call at noon on that particular day to cancel because GF "forgot" she had something else to do. This would happen 75% of the time I invited them over. And how many times were we invited to their place for dinner or even just to visit? Over 10 years it adds up to about 7 or 8 times.

I'm mentioning all this because it's a thing with my son's GF to just cut people out of their life when she disapproves of what someone says or does, rather than trying to work it out. This means, there's no contact with their son either. This is something my husband and I started to catch on to and have tried to be very careful on what we say and do so as to offend her. Unfortunately, things happen...

Continued on the next post...

Thanks for listening,



Welcome, Stardust. I'm glad you're here, but sorry you are going through all this with your DS & his GF. Please remember to take care of yourself, first and foremost.

I was wondering what your younger DS thought about your situation?
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb


We are listening, caring and walking with you. Sending love...
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


Wow... it really does feel good to get this all off my chest. You don't realize how much it constricts you when you're holding it all in. I've been trying to shorten this, but so much as happened over the years, it's really hard.  ;)  Anyway, here's the continuation...


It also started getting to the point that there was always an excuse during holidays why they couldn't come at the same time as my younger son and his family. Turns out, that the GF decided she didn't like my DIL (youngest son's wife). The reason was my DIL offered to look after my GS a few days a week and he could play with her kids. However, she did tell the GF that while she was willing to pick up and drop off my GS (this was over an hour round trip twice a day), that she expected the GF to be home when she says she'll be home. Needless to say, that only lasted a couple of weeks because the GF was NEVER home when she said she'd be home and my DIL would then have to keep my GS with her, pick up my 2nd son from work then go home to make supper. THEN it required my eldest son to ether drive to the complete other end of the city to get his son and take him home to his mom, then come home to where we lived OR my DIL would have to make ANOTHER round trip to drop him off.

My DIL told the GF that wasn't acceptable and she can no longer look after my GS. She also told the GF that she was irresponsible for not being home for her son when she should be. The GF didn't like being told the truth and so to punish my younger son and his wife, they were no longer allowed to see their nephew. This was something I didn't know about though...

So fast forward to a couple of summers ago. My eldest son flew home for 4 weeks to the other side of the country because his father was having quadruple by-pass surgery. We paid for his flight (oh yeah, my DH and I also paid for both boys round-trip flights a few years ago to go to their grandmother's funeral - on their father's side. Only my youngest paid me back with some of the money that his grandmother left him.) During that time, one weekend we picked up his GF and my GS and went for picnic. My GS wanted to stay over night. He wasn't allowed though because his other grandmother (her mother) was coming to look after him the next night while his mother went out to party. I said, well let us take him instead. Oh no, couldn't have that because her mother and my GS just love to spend time together. What!?! and we don't? Anyway, because my son was with his father and not working, they had no money and no food in the house. So after the picnic I took her grocery shopping and spent around $150.

A month later, I get a call from my son asking us to babysit my GS, last minute. Okay with us. I do tell him that his brother and SIL will be over the next day though, so I'll be bringing GS home early. The next day, though, I realize that my GS hasn't seen his uncle or aunt in 10 months! so I call my son and tell him I'm keeping my GS until suppertime and will bring him home then, which I do.

So for the next 6 weeks, I'm calling my son and GF's house trying to get in touch with her to get together for an outing or something so I can see my GS. She won't answer the phone or call back. Finally, in mid-September I call my son. He says he doesn't know what's up, but that my GS had some tests done and the were told a couple of weeks earlier that he had to have open heart surgery to repair a leaky valve and close up a hole in his heart. NOBODY called to tell us this, even though they had known about it for 2 to 3 weeks already. My son couldn't be bothered?? And his GF won't answer the darn phone! Anyway, apparently he told her to call me because I was upset. So she does. First she uses the excuse that she was upset about the news on the heart surgery and that's why she wouldn't talk to me, however as we keep talking, the REAL reason comes out.

Apparently she was very angry with me because I was conspiring with my other son and his wife behind her back to let my GS visit with his aunt and uncle when I supposedly knew that she didn't want them to have any contact with her son. I was told I KNEW this and purposely went against her wishes as she thinks my DIL is trailer trash. I was floored! I had NO idea that my GS could never again see his uncle and aunt. That was ludicrous in my mind! And it's some sort of conspiracy? What the heck?!? That's just crazy talk. So when I told my DIL this, that's when I found out about what she had said to the GF about being irresponsible (as mentioned above).

So, now I really knew my husband and I had to be super careful in anything we said or did because we could also be cut off for the smallest thing. She already had done it for 6 weeks to me and I had no idea what was going on.

The heart surgery got postponed until February of 2010. Since they had to travel to another city (they were staying at Ronald McDonald House, thank goodness), my DH and I gave them $600 for expenses. We couldn't be there for the surgery, but we drove up that weekend to visit with our GS.  We were doing the best we could. The GF mother, however, is ALWAYS with her and does everything for her two daughters because she has nothing else in her life. Unfortunately, that creates unreal expectations for my husband and myself in what we can and can't do... including how much money we can afford to shell out.

Then on Mother's Day I called my son and DIL to invite them over for dinner. We were ordering in Chinese. My younger son was there as well. Interestingly enough, the GF didn't say anything about that. Although, keep in mind that I was calling THEM to come for dinner that we were paying for... my son didn't call ME on mother's day. So they show up... late. Plus, there's always some sort of drama going on with them, nagging, arguing, whatever. There's never been a single time they've gotten together with us that's been just fun and pleasant. This was something that was really beginning to drive my DH and I crazy, to the point where we were starting to not call them anymore. Anyway, my GS (who's at this time was 8) heads downstairs where "grampy" and his uncle are playing a game on the Xbox. My older son also goes downstairs. GS wants to play. Grampy says he can't play this game (it was a bloody shooter game and his mom won't let him play these for obvious reasons) and that he'll have to wait until they finish. Then they can play together.  My older son says " and you shouldn't be watching it either," then just turns and goes upstairs without taking his son with him.

My GS gets pouty about it and comes upstairs then "hides" up on the landing to the second floor. Dinner arrives and I call everyone up as I'm setting it up. That's when my husband and I notice my son and his GF at the stairs talking to my GS. He accuses grampy of hurting his feelings because he wouldn't let him play. My son doesn't say a word, even though he knows the game that my GS wanted to play. My husband tells the GF what game it was, and she agrees that GS shouldn't play that. Then once more, both myself AND my husband say that grampy will play with him right after we eat (it's only 5:15 and they wouldn't be leaving before 6:30). So, my GS comes downstairs and looks to his mom for permission again, asking if he can play after supper. She tells him she doesn't think there will be time! He starts getting upset and my husband finally looses it. 8 years of pent up frustration of playing by her rules. He yells at her, tells her he sick of the constant drama, etc. etc. She grabs her son and walks out the door saying" "say goodbye to your grandson, you'll NEVER see him again."  Then she calls me spineless for not stepping up and stopping my husband from yelling at her in front of her son. My oldest son never said a word, he just followed her out.

So, for an entire year, we were not allowed to see or speak to our grandson.  I did call my son on his birthday in November. Found out she had lied to him and he was furious with me the entire time because of that lie. Also, still blamed me for messing up his life by leaving his father - 17 year earlier! That's also when I found out that his GF was pregnant again! They are so far in debt, can barely pay for things now (because she doesn't work), but they can afford another baby?

I still sent birthday and xmas cards and presents. The only thank you I got was a text to landline message that came in on New Year's Eve that said Happy New Year, Thank you for the cards.

In May of this year, I got a call from him saying that I had a new grandson. I had to get permission from her to go the hospital to see him. What was wonderful about that was that I got to see my GS, who is now 9 years old. I hugged him so hard!

On Mother's Day, I didn't hear from my eldest until 9:30 at night. Too late to ask to speak to my GS. Then I hear nothing from them until I called my sons on Father's Day. When I talked to my eldest, he says to me, "Oh, can't remember if I told you or not, but (my GS) has to go in for hip surgery on Tuesday. There's a tumor pushing his leg bone out of the socket."  So, if I hadn't called him on Father's Day, once again I wouldn't have known about a major operation my GS was about to have. On top of that, I found out later that he had called his dad to wish him a Happy Father's Day, and then asked him for money.

My Grandson went in for hip surgery on June 21st. There complications and he's still in the hospital as I type this. My son and his GF are staying at Ronald Mcdonald House and her mom is sleeping in the room with my GS - so she's there 24/7 more or less. For the first 16 days that he was there, I was able to go visit on 9 of those days. It takes my 40 minutes up and 40 back. Between gas, parking and a light lunch or coffee/muffin, it was costing me $30 each day. That's $290 in a little over a 2 week period. On top of that, I bought the baby some sleepers because they didn't have enough and I picked up my GS some things to keep him occupied, so that was another $100 shelled out. I couldn't afford to keep doing that. As it was, I put off paying some bills so I could be up there.

I'd get there at 9:30 am and stay until 3:00 pm (sometimes a bit later). However, I had to leave by that time because I needed to get back to our area of the city so I could pick up my husband after work. We only have one vehicle. On top of the fact, I still had a business to run. However, at the end of the second week he was there (this was a Sunday) I only stayed until 1:30 as I wanted to get back home to my husband (who, by the way, still isn't allowed to see his GS or the new baby!). When I came in on Tuesday morning, I swear I wasn't in the room 30 seconds when the GF pounces and literally orders me to come to the hospital more often and to stay later because "my mother needs to get some sleep. She's here all night with (GS) and she doesn't get any rest, so you need to stay here longer so she can go over to RM House and sleep."

This wasn't asked politely. It was a command in very sharp tone of voice. Plus, I'm confused. I'm here for 5 1/2 hours and have often told her mom to get out of there and go rest or go for a walk. So, where this was suddenly coming from was baffling. However, I soon found out. Her mom did go to lay down and that's when I find out that on Sunday, when I left early, her mom left to go do laundry and my son ALSO left to do something. The GF was left alone in the hospital room with both children... one who was demanding that she rub his leg because it hurt and the other (baby) wanted to nurse. She couldn't cope (actually, she rarely copes... she looks to her mom to make most decisions for her in tough situations... and she looks for others to do the things that she should be doing).  She could have just pressed the call button for a nurse. In any case, suddenly I'm responsible for her mother NOT getting any sleep AND for taking care of my GS so she doesn't have to.

The next day, they got my GS up into a wheelchair in the morning for a while. I played cards with him for an hour while the GF and her mom chatted away on the other side of the room. The nurse and physio therapist come in to put him back in bed. He has a temper tantrum meltdown because he thought he was suppose to go to art class and wasn't going to be allowed. We all kept trying to tell him that was in the afternoon and that yes, he'd be going. No dice. He was screaming at people, telling them to get out of his room. I finally raised my voice (not yelling though) and said (GS NAME STOP!) It startled him and he started calming down. However, I got sharply reprimanded by the GF and her mother for "yelling" at my GS. I was quickly learning that I wasn't being respected as a grandmother, but I was being regarded more as a servant for them.

Later, he got to go to art class. He wanted all of us to work with the clay. Well his mom and other grandmother disappeared soon after we got there, but I did the clay stuff with him, however I could see him getting more and more sullen (btw, he never  used to be like that... it's like a complete personality change over the year that we weren't allowed to see him - in fact, he never once asked about his Grampy - and they were super close to one another - so I know she's either poisoned his mind against his grandfather or he's been ordered not to mention him.) Anyway, the art director there and I got him back to his room, where he promptly had another meltdown (his mom and grandmother were sitting by the window chatting when we came in). This time, I stood back and let the nurses handle it. Once he calmed down, he asked me if I'd come rub his leg. I told him I'd be happy too... then 2 seconds later he's being super rude to me, accusing me of not caring about him because I wasn't' immediately doing something while he was in pain a few minutes ago. It just went on and on. Three times he said things that were very rude to me and three times his mom told him "not to be rude" but NEVER made him apologize or tell him he shouldn't speak to his grandmother like that.  Like I said, this was NOT the same child I remember. That child would never have talked to me the way he did.

At that point I gave him a kiss on the forehead, told him I loved him and left. And I haven't been back since. I called my son in the evening and told him I couldn't afford to keep coming up to the hospital everyday and wasn't sure when I'd have the money to do so (which was very true). I'd keep in touch by sending a text message to him asking him for updates, like "how's GS doing today? Did they change his cast? How's his leg?" and I'd get answers like: "not good and no"  My son would occasionally post on Facebook what was happening, or I'd ask and then I'd have to keep posting questions to try and get a halfway decent answer.

I didn't call him or his GF because then I knew the questions would start of why wasn't I coming to see my GS and being made to feel guilty because I'm not there 24/7 or giving them money because they need it. 

I feel terrible not being there, but I can't take the drama and having to play the servant just to stay in touch with my GS. On top of that, it makes me very angry over all the things we've done for them over the years, and my husband can't see his GS either.

The final blow as last Sunday. In the morning, my son posted that my GS was finally getting some day passes to get out of the hospital. I typed back that is excellent news!  Then I didn't look at Facebook until Tuesday morning. Well, it seems that Sunday night, my son posted that there was a major setback and my GS was Code blue and was in the Pediatric ICU. then he posted a few hours later that GS was stable and would probably be moved back up to his room in the morning and that the doctors said it was actually a seizure that he had had.

My mouth dropped open. My grandson possibly nearly died and my son posts this on FB instead of calling?!?!? And here it is 2 days later when I find out because as his grandmother I wasn't important enough to call?

So I put it on his facebook that THIS Is how I find out? You can't call me about something like this? Well.... that's when I got ripped to shreds about not caring at all about my GS or him. In fact, according to him, his whole family hasn't been supportive at all. Well let's see, his father can't afford to send him money, lives on the other side of the country, and has to watch his long distance bill - he's on a fixed income and has a lot of medications to pay for.  The only time my son calls him is to ask for money otherwise, he doesn't bother to call his dad and ask him how he's doing. His brother he alienated long ago. And the real reason I was allowed back into their life is so that I could give them money for the new baby - and when I only gave them a small gift, I was ignored... until my GS had to go into the hospital, at which time I get to be treated like a servant and ATM machine. He's completely alienated his step-father too - so how much support does he expect? It's always give, give, give. In any case, he finished with saying that I'm a joke. That I might have given birth to him, but I'm not his mother. And told me to have a nice life.

My other son, my DIL, and several of my friends couldn't believe what they read yesterday and they all said they don't understand why I keep going back for that type of abuse. That's I need to let them figure out life on their own instead of being there to rescue them all the time. I said it was because I love my son and my grandson. But the reality is, I just can't handle it any more. That's why I stopped going to the hospital and stopped calling. I was getting sucked back down into their crazy world. As my DH pointed out to me not too long ago, we've actually a really nice pleasant and quiet year with them not speaking to us AND we' had money in our savings account that we never had before because I was bleeding it out to them.

The problem is I feel really guilty NOT being there for my grandson while he's in hospital. I feel like a bad grandparent.

So, am I wrong to walk away? Like I said, their drama nearly cost me my marriage 5 years ago and caused a lot of financial hardship for us. And right now, emotionally, I'm going through menopause and I just can't handle it for my own sake. Does anyone have some advice to help me get my head on straight over this situation?




It didn't cost you your marriage. That's my take. How you did and didn't handle it cost you your marriage. That said...you matter. You deserve better but/and only you can give it to yourself. Until you heal, you have very little you can offer safely without depleting yourself further.
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


Wow, that felt so good to finally have it written down and out of me. My friends are wonderful and will rally behind me, but sometimes you need others who aren't close to you to look at the situation and perhaps give advice.

@Pen, my younger son gave up long ago trying to be friends with his brother, especially after they cut him and my DIL off from seeing their nephew. He thinks that his brother is self-centered and that what he said to me was uncalled for. He told me to just let it go and let them live their lives. That maybe 10 or 20 years from now, my eldest will realize how much we have given him/them and realize he made a mistake.

@Luise, you are very right. I need to heal myself. I've spent the last year very upset because I couldn't see or speak to my GS and was worried that he thought we didn't love him or that he was responsible for the fight. I would often find myself crying almost immediately the minute I thought of him. Turns out, he didn't seem to miss us at all. But then, that could be because every time his mother gets rid of another friend of hers, he often looses a friend too because her friends usually had kids he'd become close too. So, he's learning that you don't keep friends for a long time and you get rid of anyone you don't approve of. Pretty sad, when you think of it.

I just know I can't be in their lives anymore, no matter how much I want to, because it causes me too much pain. I just feel so terribly guilty about that. Maybe it's because I've spent so many years trying to "make it up" to my son about getting a divorce. However, my younger son never had a problem with it, he understands. It's amazing how different two kids can be growing up in the same house.

All the best,



Fold the guilt in some paper and flush it done. It's not alout you. You did a great job. One person doesn't get a divorce...two people do.
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


You have an amazing recall and ability to stay on the subject and express yourself, may I say first of all and welcome.  I'm so glad you found this site.  It will help you.  I am amazed by this because the years of anguish with my own DS took such a toll on my faculties that I struggle to string two sentences together, I who had such high hopes in my youth of being a writer....the first paragraph of your post however I believe is where the root of this poisonous vine is for you, dear one.  ' the eldest never forgave me...'   which is where I am also, but again I interject that you are dealing with a personality issue which is made clear by the fact that the other son is a different story.  I read your post carefully and being a grandmother also, I feel your pain.  My suggestions:   I believe I would abbreviate every communication with these parties.  Maybe you could become a woman of very few words and focus on your grandson only as he is ill.  I'd also probably swallow real hard and tell the GF that she certainly has a wonderful Mom to stand by her as she does.  This type of personality may actually respond amazingly favorably to a compliment.  You can't fix the world here, Beloved, but slow down your mind and live in the present moment.  Ditch all the past and close up the check book.  It isn't about money or services, I hope you will be more gentle with yourself and know that many of us here share the same history only the names are changed.  We all seem to share the same dogged determination to fix everything and every body, it doesn't work and comes back to bite you.  I hope you get profound answers from the women here as I believe you will.  Keep reading stories and keep us posted as to how your GS is. 

Keys Girl

Startdust, I don't know how you've gotten through what you have had to so far.

On the guilts - Luise has the best advice, flush 'em and forget 'em.

Food, love, career, and mothers, the four major guilt groups.
Cathy Guisewite

The only suggestion that I have is contained in the following line:

Your life clock is ticking, only be around people who uplift you and make your life  journey a wondrous one.

If the people in your life aren't adding to it, I suggest you allow them to subtract from someone else's life.  It's extraordinarily difficult when it's your son or daughter but the fact is that saying makes it easier for me to weed out who I want and don't want in my life.

Your son has no right to "not forgive you".  He was never appointed God.  Somehow there are too many in this generation who think they were and expect their parents to fund and fulfill all of their needs and wants while they can barely pick up the phone.

I'm not in touch with my son and future DIL any longer (the wedding is in a month and I have yet to receive an invite) but I won't be going anyway.  My blood pressure problems have stopped once I went through a serious period of mourning after my son sent me an accusatory email that ended with "Goodbye".

I think there must be a series of stages that you go through in these types of situations, much like the grieving process after a death, when you decide to protect your own life and health and let the rest of the world adjust, throw a tantrum, whatever.  It was a brutally hurtful period for me, but now, I'm moving forward, looking forward to new friends (my new family) and I now only have people in my life who make my life journey more joyous and fun.   Hang in there, it gets better, you don't need to take an demands or drama, leave that for Broadway.
"Today I will be as happy as a seagull with a french fry." Author Unknown


So many similarities as I read your posts Stardust, and my GC isn't even born yet! He'll be born in a couple of months.

Both our sons are the oldest and both have Bdays in Nov and both have alienated their younger brother. And boy o boy, do I ever hear you when you spoke about how long it takes to get an answer. It took my OS 11 days just to respond to coming to a Bday dinner for his GM (my MIL). Eleven days!

There are also similarities about my OS and my DIL not being financially stable as well, but that's when her own mother come in. DIL speaks so poorly about her own mother, yet it's her own mother who is paying for so much, just so they can "make their dreams come true"! I really feel bad for her.

My OS has been working through College and has been Apprenticing in his field, thanks to DIL's mothers' help. It's so very much appreciated, as DH and myself have never been very finacially well off. But now, with the baby coming soon, DIL suddenly wants OS to quit it all and stay home with the child. To be a house-husband. OS seems to go along with all her ideas. All I could do is ask OS if he's really prepared to throw all he's worked for away, and then leave it at that. DIL is constantly saying how great of a stay-at-home-daddy he will be! (DIL is highly insecure and cannot stand OS with any sort of independence from her at all). Therefore, she wants him in her sights at 'home' as much as possible. I think it's so wrong, but at the same time I realize that it's their decision to make and and I just hope for the best.

Because of the similarities in your story already though, I can see the same sort of thing starting to happen to us after GC is born. I'm not a 'debby-downer', but I am very realistic...I can already see what's coming and so does my DH.

For now though, we are sitting back and hoping for the best, but if it ever comes to not being allowed to see GC, DIL and OS will be cut right off from us. We will not tolerate it in the least, and have already discussed it, should it occur. We see it as...you either want us in our GS's life, or you do not. We'll be sad and mad if that happens of course, and we certainly will speak up, but we won't cry about it either. DH and I hate head-games more than anything else, especially when/if it concerns an innocent child being used as a pawn.


Stardust - you definitely have to take care of yourself.  And please stop giving them money that you can't afford.  If you can afford it, and can give it with an open heart, without expecting anything in return - then feel free.

However, I have to point out that you should perhaps not take it personally when a 9 year old boy, who just had surgery, and is in pain, and has been cooped up in a hospital bed for weeks, speaks rudely to you.  In this situation, he's obviously not "himself" and deserves a get-out-of-jail-free card.  In a normal family, I would even extend that courtesy to his mother, who is dealing with the older son's situation AND a baby.

I think it's time for you to change the dynamic with your OS, however, please be aware that the 'always taking' side was working for him, and he might not like the change.  I know it's another outlay of money, but maybe you could see a counselor for strategies on how to replace THIS dynamic with one that works for both of you.


Welcome SD and I'm very sorry for all the troubles.  Let me get this out of the way first.  If you haven't read the forum agreement, please take a few minutes to do so.  There's absolutely nothing wrong with what you wrote, we just ask all new members to familiarize themselves with the way the forum works.

Wow, that's alot to take for years from someone.  I agree with Scoop that GS gets a pass.  Not only has he had pain and suffering physically over the years, but since you also said that you have heard them constantly in turmoil over the years, I would imagine his homelife is very tense as well.  I'm not excusing his behavior, and your correcting him was totally in line, but I have great compassion for his situation and hard his life has been.  I would say from your OS and DILs erratic behavior, he doesn't have much consistent structure.

DIL would get a pass from me over her stress of having a sick child and a new baby, except from your story, when those things were not occurring, she behaved no better.   If she truly was worn out and needed "help" at the hospital for herself and her Mother, when you arrived, they could have taken turns going to get some sleep and watching the baby, while you helped GS.  Since they chose to sit around and chat and not take those opportunities, it is on them, not you.  If she was so concerned with her child is why she didn't avail herself of the opportunity, she would have been participating in activities and paying attention to him.  So she gets no pass from me.  These are just my opinions based on what you wrote.  People can understandably behave totally wrong in stressful situations but when it's a pattern, it's just a continuation of behavior.

I have to echo Luise on your final line.  They did not cause problems in your marriage or cause you financial problems.  You allowed those and let them participate in it.  I understand why you did it.  Out of love for your DS and GS.  As Mothers, we will go above and beyond for someone we love, even when we know we are being used.  When you finally have had enough, one of the first things you have to do is accept responsibility for allowing it.  Before I could let my OS go, I had to own up to my part of it.  I couldn't start to heal or alleviate my guilt until I took out the excuses for my behavior.  I did it.  I had my reasons, but I did it.  I had to forgive myself and realize I had done my best.  I can't make him do the same and until he does, then I will not allow them to participate in my life any longer.  I deserve better and so do you.

I think you should continue doing what you are doing in regards to DS and DIL.  Minimal contact and no discussions on why they did or didn't do something.  Limit it to information about your GS and continue to send cards, or a box of goodies to GS or new baby in the hospital or at home.  No more funding them.  No more financial support, period.  It is time for you to start looking out for you and DH.  I also would have struggled to know I was seeing my GC but my DH couldn't.  I would not have done that to him knowing he didn't do anything wrong.  We are a package deal, just like DIL/DS/GC are.  They want to be a package deal then give me the same respect.  I can't imagine how hard that was for DH to know you were seeing GS and he couldn't.  I'm sure he was supportive, but it had to hurt.

Keys gave you excellent advice.  You have other people in your life that treat you well.  Those are the people that you need to be expending time and energy on.  The people that contribute to your life.  I know this is hard but you can do this, one day at a time.
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell


It sounds like your family has certainly been through a lot...A LOT!  And not just you and your DH, but your children, and your DILs have been through a lot too.  Its not an excuse for rude behavior, but does seem to explain at least some of it. 

I have to ask, is there a reason you couldn't volunteer to spend the night ever so often?  Please don't take that negatively, but as a DIL I try to see both sides.  Its a small thing you could do that could have big rewards.   

I ask this mainly because I've been through a similar situation recently with my father.  My stepmother and I were alternating spending the night (2 days/nights at a time) with him after organ transplant surgery.  For 3 months, I was working in the office and from home, caring for my little one, maintaining a household, driving back and forth to the hospital, and staying with my dad as he recovered.  Thank goodness I had DH to pick up where I fell short, but I was mentally and physically exhausted after the first week, and so was my wonderful stepmother.  I have 3 more sisters, and 2 uncles, and all sorts of other family members who were able, who are younger than my dad, who would drive 3+ hours one way to visit for the day, but never volunteered once in 3 months to give us a night or two off, even on the weekends when they weren't working...they just couldn't be bothered I guess.  I was quite bitter about that.  I guess all I am saying is that if you are physically able to help in that way...it may go a long way in showing your DS and his girlfriend that you are willing to help in other ways than just opening up your purse, and would probably go a long way with your GS as well to have that one on one time with you.  I know it would speak volumes to me, just an idea.

My advice to you is "don't sweat the small stuff" and look at what really matters.  Money will not matter in 100 years, maybe even tomorrow.  What matters is all the other ways you show love, caring, and support to others.  Your DS and his GF probably don't see that right now.  They are in a bind and need the financial help...but you can only give according to your own finances, and how much your heart will let you pour out to them.  My advice is to find other ways to give, and let this stuff go for now.  Just flush it.  Now isn't the time to deal with it, while all of you are going through this tough time with your GS.  Emotions are just too high right now.  What is important is that you are there for your grandson.  His need for you really should come first and foremost right now.  The adults can sort out hurt feelings later.     

What you've done to "help" them has conversely enabled them to be totally reliant upon your checkbook.  Everyone falls on hard times, and it sounds like your DS and his girlfriend certainly have, some of it their doing, some maybe just circumstancial.  I can only imagine the level of stress in their lives right now with one child who isn't well, and a brand new one.  I for one would be a bit overwhelmed and would probably get snippy over things I shouldn't.  Again, it doesn't justify rude behavior, but it does seem to explain at least some of it.  Stop that "ATM" syndrome.  Next time they ask for money say "I wish I had it to give you, but this experience and traveling so has financially drained me too."

If we are all honest with ourselves, every one of us has done something to our parents at some point in our lives that we wish we could take back or change.  Your son will get there, we all realize this at different times.  I didn't realize it until I was about 30, and started thinking about all the lies I told my mother in order to get what I wanted...which most of the time was to go where she didn't want me to go and be with friends she didn't want me to be with.  At that point, we become better children and better parents....it just takes some longer to get there than others. 

Hang in there, and remember what's truly important.  Your ability to recall all of this is amazing, but also means that you've hung onto it.  Try not to hang onto it.  Don't let that et at you.  Let it go.  What's done is done and the only thing you can change is the future and how you live it.   :)

Sending lots of warm hugs your way.



Thank you for all the replies. I certainly appreciate the support and I definitely feel better in that for my own sanity and health, I'm doing the right thing by looking after myself first and staying away from the craziness. My guilt was mostly over not being there for my grandson because he was in the hospital.

I do realize that I'm the one responsible for enabling them and putting a strain on my marriage by doing so. As was mentioned, I was doing it out of love and concern for my son and grandson and when I finally realized how damaging it was becoming all around, I stopped. Especially as they cut me off from seeing my GC after all we had done for them. That was the final straw.

It was their choice to have a second child when they could barely support themselves and their first son, so I wasn't going to jump in when they finally contacted me about the birth of the new baby and start doling out money again.

Yes, I do agree that the GS gets a pass for being rude to me due to the circumstances he's had to deal with. I was writing out of frustration. I do love him very much and worry about him constantly. It surprised me more than anything I think because he was always a very polite child - in fact, abnormally polite, which actually used to bother me a lot too... he didn't have temper tantrums, was never demanding, always did what he was told... it just seemed so"un-childlike" to me. And I'm talking about when he was 2,3,4, 5, etc. Yet, he always seemed a happy and contented kid, so I guess this was just his temperament.

However, his other grandmother said to me a few weeks ago when I was at the hospital that he had started to snap his fingers at her and point to his leg and tell her to "hurry up and get to it" (her words) when he was having muscle spasms and wanted her to rub it. Here's the thing that really got to me though... she actually said that she thought it was funny when he did that and was chuckling when she told me!  So, when you put that in context, when he was being rude to me and chastising me for not doing what he thought I should have been doing... I can see how that type of behavior was being encouraged rather than discouraged.

As a mother myself, it also was driving me crazy that my GS hadn't been bathed in the first 9 days that he was there. I finally mentioned it to my DIL and her mother after the first 7 days because he was beginning to smell. They brushed it off, saying that it's been hectic with people coming and going and when it's quiet, they want him to rest/sleep and not to disturb him. In the meantime, this poor child is scratching like crazy all over his body and head! I told them to ask the nurses to do it (at that time, I didn't feel it was my place to step in and take over the duties that I felt the mother should be looking after, plus with the cast that he was in, moving him was a 2 person job) although I did suggest to her that if she wanted me to, I'd give him a washing. His mom said she'd ask the nurse to do it... she didn't. I brought it up the next day... again nothing was done.

I finally asked whoever his current nurse on day 9 if she could please give him a sponge bath. She was surprised that no one had done it and agreed. He finally got cleaned up and I think we both felt better! Five days later, I'm asking another nurse if she could make sure he got a bath today too! AND get his hair washed as it had been 14 days since it was last washed. She was appalled and said he should be getting a sponge bath every day when they change his bedding.  As a mother, I just can't understand how someone can leave their child like that for 2 weeks!? And here's the kicker... just that morning my DIL was talking about how she finally got to have a shower after not having one for 2 days and how wonderful it felt to be cleaned up!  ???  ???

This is the type of stuff I'd see with my DIL all the time. She expects other people to do things for her. She looks to her mother to make tough decisions for her because she doesn't want to deal with things. I know it seems that it's wonderful that she has so much support from her mother, but the girl is 34 years old... and she asks her mother what she should do about everything! Don't get me wrong, her mother is a very, lovely, very sweet lady. I actually like her very much, but the dependence on each other is way beyond normal... or healthy in my opinion. Unfortunately, those kinds of expectations are projected on to me too.

@Belle, In answer to your question of whether I could stay a night or not, no, I can't. We live in the opposite end of the city to the hospital and it takes me 40 minutes to drive there and 40 minutes to get home. We only have 1 vehicle and I have to drive my husband to work in the morning then pick him up after work. I would have to leave the hospital at 5 am to get home, then drive him to work... which leaves no one in the room with my GS for several hours (although, I remember the couple of times when I was in the hospital as a child (tonsils out, etc.) and I never had anyone staying with me at night and I survived... but that was 40 years ago and things were different, I guess). I could technically stay on a weekend night... but her mother won't leave him and there is only one "bed" which is the window seat. Seriously, I couldn't get her to go out for a walk in the fresh air for a couple of hours when I was there during the day!

And to be realistic too... There's my son, my DIL, her mother.... and a hospital full of nurses. The ONLY one that stays with my GS all day and night is his other grandmother. Now, I could say my son works during the week, so he needs his sleep... that's true. But HE could stay in the room Friday and/or Saturday night. Yes, my DIL has a new baby, but he sleeps a lot and just needs to be nursed during the night once or twice... so technically, SHE could stay 1 or 2 nights in her own son's room while her mother goes home to get some real sleep. My son and DIL are there on the weekends together... why does her mother need to stay too?

She does slip out to her house to do laundry occasionally (she lives 5 minutes away)... in fact, one Saturday, she was gone for the evening doing just that and my son stayed in the room. She got back just after midnight... and jokingly said to my son "bet you were beginning to wonder if I was coming back."  He laughed and said he was actually wondering that, then he left the hospital and walked across the street to Ronald McDonald House to sleep in a bed. Seriously?!? Why couldn't he have just stayed the night in the room and her mother could have had a good night's sleep in her own bed?

Sorry, I'm ranting now. I think I'm finally feeling safe to let all the frustrations and anger out over their unfathomable behavior. I just don't understand it. There's so much more that's happened over the years and I think I've finally hit the wall with it all.

I'm extremely grateful that my other son and DIL are not like this at all. They are very supportive, loving and carrying. They actually call (or we call them) just to talk! NO expectations of anything. It's refreshing. They also can't understand my OS and DIL's behavior over the years. They have often said they find the way my OS and DIL use me and treat me as disgusting. Of course, being the "mom" I'd put blinders on and find all kinds of excuses for them. Not anymore.

As Luise said, it's time to flush the guilt away. I WAS a good mom, I did give both my sons a good childhood, we did many things together (sports, swimming, camping, Scouts, etc. etc.), I was always there when either of them needed help - whether financially, emotionally and physically (like when my OS moved back in with us for that year). I took care of my GS for many years to help them out so that they didn't have to pay for Day Care. In return, I/we got disrespect, no acknowledgement for anything that we did for them, and the moment we stood up for ourselves and said "no more", the ATM machine is closed and we're not going to stand by and continually be emotionally battered, we are basically told to buzz off and get out of their lives.

And Pooh, you are so very right. My husband and I are a unit. It does hurt him greatly that he not only couldn't see his GS, but he wasn't even acknowledged by him when I told my GS that "Grampy loves you and misses you". That hurt ME a lot.

I feel much better now on my decision. Even our friends/neighbors next door, who read what was going on, through my FaceBook page, couldn't believe it and said I'm right in stopping all contact with them. They both said that my DH and I definitely don't deserve this kind treatment after all we've done for my son and DIL.

So, I"m taking a big breath and letting it all go. It's time to turn my attention to living life and actually enjoying it, instead of constantly worrying and wondering about my son who doesn't really care about anyone except himself and his life and has proved it time and again.

Bless you all for listening.


That's the step most of us have had to take. Simple but not easy. We are here for you! Sending love...
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama