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So glad to find this group...

Started by tiredmom, November 16, 2011, 08:01:14 am

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Just so sorry to realize so many others have issues with their adult children and their spouses.

I have used the nickname "tiredmom" for almost ten years now thanks to my now 35 yr old DS. Our issues started with his drinking which led him to the pills that plunged our family into a nightmare I never dreamed existed. When you hear of such things you think "how sad", but you can't begin to imagine the fear, disappointment, shame and utter disbelief that is waiting for you.

I was so devastated that I made an appointment with a local mental health office. I saw a wonderful family counselor who opened my eyes and my mind to concepts I had never allowed myself to consider. I went to her in hopes of figuring out what I did wrong and how to fix it. but instead she introduced me to "enabling" and "codependency"  This was in 2002.

There have been ups and downs that I could talk about all day since that time. I joined and then went on to manage a support group for families of addicts. My DS and I went through periods of no communication while he was using lasting up to 28 months this last time. We have been in contact 15 months this time and it's falling apart again. This time it isn't drugs or alcohol. (or so they say) I am having to accept that my DS and his second wife are just selfish hateful angry people.

I can wrap my mind around the fat that the drugs made them behave as they did. But being slapped with the reality that the drama may still exist without a "reason" is almost more than I can cope with. In fact I am not coping well. I lost my job over three months ago, the day before my 5th GC was born. In the same week DIL "expolded" on "EX DIL" (DS's first wife and mother of his oldest child, a 13 yr old boy who I have legal custody of that's living with his mom now) Not sure what to call her because she is more like a DD to me than DS and DIL put together!!
This was the first time GS had had the opportunity to have both mom and dad in is life at the same time clean and sober (the reason I have custody and he lived with me over two years) I have been the mediator and the protector since this child was still in diapers and truly thought my goals for these people to be mature responsible parents to him was about to be reached. Between DS and DIL #1 things are civilized and adult. GS was flourishing living with mom and visiting dad regularly. We all sat down together with him before he moved and the visitation started and set ground rules and boundaries that everyone agreed on and looked forward to.

Fast forward to now, almost a year later:
I was told two weeks ago that I do not have 5 GC any longer. I am no longer allowed in their lives because I love GS #1 and DIL #1 more than them. I was accused of that the last time they relapsed and left the state (leaving GS with me) When they made contact last year, clean and sober and asking to try to be a family again I had two stipulations. #1 Never again accuse me of loving one GC more than the other. #2 Accept the fact that DIL #1 is and will continue to have a place in my life and my heart due to GS and an 18 year relationship. This is no way indicates that she is "loved more". If these stipulations could not be honored then I would respectfully decline the offer of trying again to be involved in their lives.

DIL's jealousy towards DS's oldest child, his mother and his ex is destroying any and all chances of a healthy relationship. And I am once again a very "tiredmom".

Thank you for allowing me to share. I look forward to becoming familiar with this group and hopefully offer support as I seem it.
I also told DIL #1 about this site and am sending her the link as she is trying to deal with her son's relationship issues with his father and stepmother in a positive and healthy manner.



Welcome tiredmom- Please read the two posts under Open Me First. One is the Forum Agreement which has to be a fit for this to work...and the other is How This Happened...our history. Thanks.  Nothing wrong with your post, we ask all new members to do this.

I'm so sorry and no wonder you are tired!  You will get some great advice, viewpoints and support here.  Welcome.
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell


Tiredmom, welcome :)  Glad you found us.  Wow, you've been through a lot, I'm impressed with how you've handled all these challenges.

I think DIL2 is probably very overwhelmed, not excusing any of her actions.  I think being a stepmom is a very hard role and add onto the complications with the addictions (is your DIL an addict as well?) is not a good combination.  I know you say they said that drugs or alcohol did not cause the latest blow up, but in my experience, someone can be "dry" and still behave like an addict.

People throw rocks at things that shine - Taylor Swift


Welcome Tiredmom, you've certainly had a lot to deal with. Keep reading and posting, we are all about supporting each other as we make progress healing. Glad you're here!
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb


Thank you all for the welcomes.

Yes all three DS and DILs have had substance issues. I am sure it has been tough for DIL2, but in all honesty the girl thrives on drama. Even when they are clean and sober there is chaos. Others who know them even comment that she doesn't seem happy when things are going well. There has to be a "bad guy", someone to focus the anger and blame on.

The saddest part of the whole mess is what it's doing to the children. The oldest GS has a very good outlook on it all. At 13 he has been through a lot. When he lived with me I was fortunate to find a great counselor who he was comfortable with. She gave him some awesome coping tools and he shows all signs of using them to deal with his father and step mom.

The other four are my real concerns as far as the effects of the unhealthy attitudes they are subjected to. Oldest GD is 7 and is being groomed to be just as jealous of others and self centered as her mom. They even videoed a talk they had with her about me "loving her brother more than her" and put it on Facebook! DIL2 was in the background TELLING the child that I was having a weekend with her brother and didn't invite her and asking her if that makes her feel her bother is loved more. All who have seen it were shocked and appalled. Of course it is never a problem to them when I do anything for or with one of the other children. And GS and DIL1 have never shown the first sign of jealousy that I spend any time or attention with the others. DIL1 is rational and understands that it is difficult to plan activities that include a 13 yr old boy, 7 yr old girl, 4 yr old boy, 18 month old girl and newborn baby girl. I have tried to spend time with them separately as well as together. As long as I do something with the younger ones it's fine, but even the thought of a separate visit with the oldest GS starts a war.

I have tried to respect their requests but just cannot wrap my mind around the many double standards.


tiredmom, (((hugs))) even when they're sober, if they have not received help in recovering/healing, they'll still display many of the same behaviors as an active addict.

People throw rocks at things that shine - Taylor Swift


Do you think maybe the DIL2 struggles through the sober, good times because she is in a constant state of fear?  Waiting for the other shoe to fall and afraid to trust that the sober time will last?

I am going to let you off the hook with something, so that maybe you will think of letting yourself off the hook?  Reading your story, I can tell you that I do believe all parents, GPs, etc. love each child or grandchild equally.  But in your situation, I can very easily see where I would be more attached to a GC I was raising and around constantly versus GC that I didn't see as much.  Not that I wouldn't pay attention and love the others, giving equally at birthdays, Christmas, etc., but I see it as normal that the GC living in my home would get more attention, more things from day to day and become closer. 

Not saying that this is true in your case, just that I would think that would be a given in the situation you were in with GC.  As far as her doing this between her own children, that is just wrong.  I don't see any purpose to that at all, except hurting the children in the long run.
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell


Thank you Pam. You are right. I have seen this over and over in recovering addicts. The behavior far outlives the substances being abused. Abstaining from the substance is only step one. True recovery is a healing of attitude, taking responsibility for one's choices and accepting the consequences of those choices. True success is putting the past in the past and living a healthy life.


Pooh, you bring up a very good point. I actually went to their house after the emails and Facebook video of what they call my traumatizing OGD. when I got there she came running to me, climbing into my lap and giving me hugs and kisses as always. My main goal in going there was to talk to her and this is how I explained my feelings for her and her siblings:

I told her that I am a Very lucky "mawmaw" to have five wonderful GC. I explained that her big bother is 13 which is almost 7 yrs older than her so I do know him better because he has been in the world longer, but that in no way means I love him more. I went on with the example that little brother is only 4, so I have known her three years longer than him but that doesn't mean I love her more than him. I went on with the same examples of the two younger GD's in detail of their ages and how many years longer I have known her than them, pointing out each time that this does not mean in any way that they are loved less because she and the others have been in my life longer.
She truly seemed to understand and kept giggling and saying "I know that mawmaw" The sad part was that twice DS had to tell DIL2 to hush when she tried to interrupt the conversation. She was ready to argue my points before I even finished making them while her DD sat in my lap. DS pointed out that this was between DD and DM.

And it's true, I AM closer to GS1. I have been one the constants in his life no matter which parent was doing what. I have spent more time with him and have even been his guardian so it's natural that I have a strong bond with him. But the love and pride I feel for all these children fills my heart equally.

Of all people I would think my DS and DIL2 should understand this as they were both the closer GC growing up. My DM had three GC and three SGC that she adored. BUT my DS was closer in distance and for a time we lived with her while I worked at a job that required extensive travel when he was young. She knew him better as he was with her more but I don't ever remember my brother, his wife or the other GC acting jealous of that relationship.

The same with DIL2. She was the oldest GC and was very close to her GP's. But come to think of it I have heard her joke about being the "favorite" and getting more presents and attention than the others....hmmmm.....this is something I hadn't considered.

Unfortunately the rivalry isn't confined to just the oldest GC. Her first born (the 7 yr old GD) is the main focus of her attention. The 4 yr old GS was conceived during the drug abuse. The doctors actually put her on methadone during the pregnancy saying it was less risk for her and the baby than her quitting cold turkey. ( I found this out After the birth) She was not planning him and never seemed excited about his existence. Looking at the pictures from the births of all the GC, his are the saddest. No one (except me, who was in the dark about the drugs) was smiling. Both parents and the two other GC look so down in the pics. She didn't hold and cuddle him as she had GD1. The little guy was barely a month old when they left him with her GM and took a Florida vacation. That maternal bond she has with GD1 just isn't apparent with GS2.

The 18 month old GD was born while we were not communicating and GS1 lived with me. She was 4 months old when I first saw her. They both seemed thrilled her with and lavished much affection on her. This was during our first attempts to reconcile the family and on the surface all seemed well.After the birth she was diagnosed with a hormone imbalance and was prescribed a cream that was producing a miraculous change in her attitude and behavior. GS1 and I agreed that she actually a pleasure to be around at the point.
Up until another pregnancy occurred. She couldn't use her cream and the symptoms of the pregnancy were magnified ten times over. This was happening as GS1 was moving in with his mother and a plan for visitation was agreed upon.

The first few visits went well. This was a brand new situation for GS1 as well as DS and DIL1. Each of them has had physical custody of him when the other was no where in the picture. But never since he was 4 yrs old had they both been in his life at the same time. So they were attempting to learn to communicate and set up meeting times and places for his visits. Meetings to transport him went fine if DS met her alone. But as DIL2's pregnancy advanced so did the times of her staying home when GC was picked up. The tension started from the very first meeting at a photography studio in a town half way between where they lived. They were almost 4 hours late arriving and had not let her know. In several phone calls back and fourth they claimed to be only minutes away and then would make some other stop that delayed them further. Needless to say they tension was so thick by the time they arrived that no one was excited about this visit. GC actually enforced his boundaries that he would visit them as long as they were not arguing and declined leaving there to spend the weekend with them. He told me later that they were acting too much like they did before they left him to live with me three years earlier.

In the few visits since that time it has escalated into DIL2 calling DIL1 names in front of GS, sarcasm and animosity towards his mom and his relationship with her being voiced around him and to him. All this over a span of 13 months. And all the while DIL1 and I trying to see her perspective on the situation. Being pregnant again with one in school, two at home and soon to be two in diapers. We talked to GS about hormone changes and mood swings during pregnancy. I even told him about the hormone imbalance they had been treating before another baby was on the way. He asked if we could buy her a barrel of the cream once the baby arrived. He was ready to soak her in it.  LOL
The next to the last visit started out with a literal "bang". They met midway between their hometowns on a Friday evening. DIL1 told DS to give her a call later Saturday or Sunday morning to decide on the plans for his return. (I want to add that this was the pattern for his visits with DIL1 and her family while he lived with me....and I live even further away than they do. It worked well for us. Whether I was meeting her in one town or her DM in another I think the longest wait either of us had was 15 or 20 minutes and that was because of traffic and we called each other to let them know our ETA had changed.)
Any how, DIL2 did not like that statement and came charging out of the vehicle, stomping up to DIL1 and putting her finger in her face. I am very proud of DIL1 who was the adult that day no matter how much she may have wanted to mash her mouth. Her first thought was of her son's one of whom was a three yr old in her car with his father and one who was putting his bag in his DD's car, the other three children in that car. She gritted her teeth and told them to just let her know when and where. From what I have heard from all sides it erupted into things being said that shouldn't have. I received phone calls on and off all weekend and offered support and encouragement for all to work things out and share the love of this child...if not for themselves, then for the children on both sides being affected by their relationship.

There was only one visit after that. In July I planned a camping trip to include the oldest three. I was SO excited and so were they. DS picked up GS1 and brought all three to meet me. We spent three days and two nights in our camper by the water. They swam and went fishing off docks and in a boat. We cooked out, watched squirrels and chased frogs. It was great except for GD getting her feelings hurt if either of the boys got something before her (a marshmallow to raost etc) and GS2 being angry at everyone for much of the first day. He is very jealous when GS1 is around because his big sister's attention is being shared.
The plan was for GS1 to go back and spend a few days with them before returning home to attend a yearly family reunion with her family. By the third day he sent his mom a text asking to come home. DS was working 10 hour shifts with an hour and a half drive time total. Three days of DIL2's moodiness, door slamming and leaving him to entertain the 7 and 4 yr old while she talked on the phone about him and his mom was enough for him. Again she was leveled headed and told him that was fine but that he needed to let his dad know he was ready to come and they would make the arrangements. He is 13 so he did it his way, he sent dad a text at work. Which naturally making dad angry and sarcastic. He was told in a hateful manner to "call his mommy then". Of course DIL2 got involved and as usual their anger seemed to fuel each other into an argument that was spread through her entire family and tried to pull me into.

By this point I followed my GS's example and set my boundaries. Told DS I was not going to argue or be talked to with anger and sarcasm by anyone. I was trying in every way I knew to back off and allow the parents to be the parents while being supportive of all sides. I had to draw a line though and do this up to a point. The point of what is healthy for all. A compromise. He hung up on me and barely spoke for the next month when the baby was born in August. That was another blow up over GS1 being there. The details are much the same pattern that resulted in GS refusing to go after hearing his father curse his mother. She and I were being accused of lying about GS wanting to be there when we were making plans to have him there complete with balloons and a home baked pie that DIL1 was baking as a "peace offering" Rather than allow them to make him feel bad about being there (or about NOT being there) he keeps a sense of humor. He told me on the bright side, they got to keep two pies at home instead of just one and he didn't have to be around anyone who was mad or fussing.

I keep looking for something I am missing in trying to get along with this girl, but for the life of me can't find it. It just seems like every event in their lives is some drama or another that leads to anger and accusations and hateful destructive behavior. The rare enjoyable family time memories I have with them are being overshadowed by their inability to get along with anyone for very long at a time on either side of the family.

I'm sorry to go on and on but this is helping SO much! In discussing with others who don't know us I am able to try to see it thru more neutral eyes. Your feed back and opinions are appreciated more than words can say.


I think you are doing the best you can with a terrible, stressful situation.  That's all anyone can do.  I also think you are doing wonderful when you do get to be with the GC and it sounds like they know how much you love them.  I feel really bad for all the GC involved, because it sounds like such a hostile atmosphere for them.
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell


Thank you Pooh. Your support means a lot to me. I am just so very very tired from all of this. I have allowed it to take over far too much of my mind these days.

Keys Girl

Quote from: tiredmom on November 17, 2011, 10:11:12 am
I keep looking for something I am missing in trying to get along with this girl, but for the life of me can't find it. It just seems like every event in their lives is some drama or another that leads to anger and accusations and hateful destructive behavior.

tiredmom, I would quit looking, in my experience and the advice of others is that no piece of the puzzle exists, and nothing you do will ever be good enough.   

I would try to bring as much order and stability into your life, the chaos in their lives is there whether or not they are sober.  Some people say that the children of alcoholics are addicted to chaos, and perhaps alcoholics are too.  Alanon was very helpful to me in coming to terms with my son and DIL.  I don't have any grandchildren so don't have any insight but I can certainly see why you are tired and I'm fortunate that my heart isn't yet torn out by the whole issue of grandchildren.

The rule of thumb is to change a little bit at a time, the same way that you eat an elephant ......one bite at a time.

If you are tired, take a break from the chaos, drama and hostility, it's said that whatever you focus on expands in your life (be it positive or negative). 

"Today I will be as happy as a seagull with a french fry." Author Unknown


I agree with KG, Pooh, and Pam.  Alanon is a good and supportive group in general.  When I first went, I had to shop around a bit until I found a group that suited me; so if you decide to go, don't give up at your first meeting.

Finding peace within the chaos is the trick and that may mean keeping your distance, if not physically than emotionally. Alanon helped me with that and there are some great books out there too on the subject. 

I love that you provided the camping trip for the kids so they could just enjoy being kids!!  You are very special and trying to manage in  diffficult circumstances.  Congratulations on being such a positive and sane mentor in you gc lives!   :-*


Jane, how true about shopping around for a group that fits just right instead of giving up after one meeting if things aren't perfect. Sometimes people use any excuse to languish. I remember a Spanish class in junior high; the teacher misspelled a word on the board and some of her students refused to do any work for her from then on. They showed her, lol!
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb