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quietly fuming instead of loudly screaming

Started by froggy, January 13, 2013, 01:30:21 pm

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This is going to be a long one - and I am not sure whether to put it into the DIL, DS or GC section!  Here goes, so bare with me:

I have three sons.  Lets call them S1, S2 and S3 for ease.  S1 met DIL and on my first introduction to her she just sat there and scowled at me.  At this time s2 was in prison.  Not long after s1 is also sent to prison.  DIL arranged prison visits without including me - until she needed transport and then suddenly I was popular.  I kept in touch with her S1 had asked me to, and tried to be as friendly as I could, but the prison visits became a huge 'silent' argument.  She started to take my ex-MIL (s1 & 2 Grandmother)with her instead.  I let this pass as it was not worth the bickering. 

Eventually s2 was released from prison just four days before s1's release date.  I collected s2, brought him to my house and in the evening I took him out for a meal and some drinks.  My partner joined us and so did DIL.  At the end of the evening DIL said that s2 could stay at hers "after all, he is family".  I was very against this idea and eventually I lost the argument and s2 stayed the night with DIL.  I did not see a lot of s2 or DIL for the next three days, but when I did I reminded her that S1 was her partner and she must be careful about how she acts with S2.  She insisted that there was nothing for me to worry about - he is 'family'.  I said the same to S2.  S2 said that they had feelings for each other but he appreciates S1 is her partner.

S1 was released and we all met up at DIL's flat - to stay it was strange is an underestimate!  S1 and S2 both stayed at DILs on S1's first night home!  This time I stepped in and got S2 somewhere to live in the next town.  Within days DIL was 'visiting her aunty' but in reality was visiting S2.  Of course after a while S1 realised what was going on and he ended his relationship with DIL.  DIL continued to go out with S2 (by now I was not speaking to either of them) and eventually she fell pregnant by S2.  Then they split up - and she went back with S1!!  Of course S1 and S2 were now sworn enemies.

To cut this very long story short - I was present at the birth and for the first year things seemed to be OK between DIL and me.  Every weekend I would have the baby - and (now having read the comments by you lovely ladies I now know I was wrong to do this) I bought the weeks worth of nappies and baby food for her.  She quickly fell pregnant again and started to say things to S1 about me 'threatening' to tell the GK who his 'real' father is - this is not true, but I did say that if they left it too long to tell him who his 'real' father is, then he may react badly.

By the time her second son was born she was barely talking to me - although I was also present at this birth!  As her second son was born she said "I hope you don't favour one above the other" and I, shocked at this outburst, assured her that I would not.

Many years later, the relationship between DIL would go along the lines of we would be very close, I would buy lots of gifts and look after the children, then I would say something wrong, she would start to shy away from me and eventually she would stop speaking to me completely.  S1 would ask me to 'sort it out' and I would apologise to her and we would start the circle all over again.  Only at this point I didn't see it as a circle! Duh!!

Eventually they had a daughter - I was not invited to this birth - she wasn't talking to me.

A few years ago, they moved a long way away but within the year she was very miserable and just before Christmas S1 asked if I would drive to their house (a four hour journey) and pick her up and bring her to mine so she could have a 'rest'.  I did this and she stayed for about 2 weeks.  She explained that she had made a huge mistake wanting to move in the first place and wanted to come 'home'. 

At Christmas they all came and stayed at my house and I agreed to look for somewhere for them to live.  I found a rental house just round the corner from my house, and agreed to lend them the money they would need to move back.  So I paid the deposit and organised their move and agreed to be guarantor for them.   The whole thing cost me about £3000.  We agreed they would pay me back at  £50 per month.  They pay me £10 per month - but not every month and never on a regular date.  If they do a task for me (S1 looks after my cats if I go on holiday) I always take £50 off the debt.  I asked S1 to dig a part of my garden and said I would take £50 off the debt if he did it.  He didn't do it.  He claimed the weather was wrong for digging!

At that time I also made the rule that if S1 visits and S2 is already at my house (or vice versa) then they are to behave politely toward each other whilst on my property.  S3 gets on with both brothers and was often 'piggy in the middle'.  This has worked well and now S1 and S2 get on fairly OK.  But of course S2 continues to be demonised by DIL and S1 in their own house.

For the first year things went OK.  The two eldest GC would pop round and we would spend the day cooking or making something for mummy.  The eldest was going through a tough time and DIL would ask me to have a stern talk with him - usually on the lines of how he must respect his mother.  Like a fool I fell into the trap of being 'nasty nanny' instead of 'good grandma' and would chastise him for his behaviour at school and at home.  (What ever possessed me???)

They have lived in the house for 2 years.  Already she isn't talking to me!  The last time either she or S1 brought my grand-daugher for an 'ordinary' visit was April 2012.  On this day DIL brought her round and GD put her muddy hands all over the windows I had just cleaned.  I said (perhaps wrongly) "oh how I love it when you bring her round" but DIL took immediate offence and I had to explain that I did not mean it badly, it was just the thought of cleaning the windows again that got to me.  In August I went to their house and was completely snubbed by her, S1 came round later and asked me to 'sort it out with her' so we could live a peaceful life.  I said I would but this time it would be for his sake and it would be the very last time I apologised to her.  The next day G-daughters birthday, I went round with a gift for GD and a bunch of flowers picked from my garden for DIL.  She ignored me, so I said in front of everybody (the house was full of people) that the flowers were for her and I was sorry if I 'got the wrong end of the stick yesterday, I did not realise she was upset about something and my paranoia said that she was ignoring me' she said to join her in her garden and told me that my problem was 'communication or the lack of it' and then suggested a gift for the GD for Christmas!  I stayed for a polite amount of time and then left.  She has not spoken to me since.  She 'unfriended' me on Facebook and then blocked me a couple of weeks later.  I have no idea why - I probably made a comment that she personalised and used as a reason to start up the hate campaign again.

Anyway - DIL neither speaks nor visits.  The two eldest GCs (now budding teenagers) do not venture near (perhaps a 6 minute walk is just too far??) S1 pops round if I send him a text and invite him round for coffee but never voluntarily visits and point blank refuses to bring the children as he comes here 'to get away from them'.

I make it a personal rule not to talk about DIL to S1 but always ask about the children.  S3 still visits them when he visits me, and I wonder why he bothers - they treat him as though he is an idiot.  I guess he thinks it is better to put up with that than lose his brother altogether.

I don't want her "friendship" but I do miss the grandchildren.  I just wish my son would grow a spine!  She works - he doesn't.  She has always seemed to be quite happy to have him at home all the time.  She gives him money so he can buy his 'weed' and to her friends she does the full-on martyr routine.

So I sit here and fume.  I thought by having them live so close we would be able to develop a good or at least a working relationship.  Instead I am a lot of money worse off and they might as well be on the other side of the world for all I see of them.  I have a lazy-good-for-nothing S1 who likes the easy life and can't be bothered to see what is going on in front of his nose.    I have a DIL who has never liked me and I suspect develops crushes on certain male friends of S1, because of something she said (whilst drunk) a while ago.  And I have three grandchildren who a fast becoming strangers.

Phew! That was a lot to get off my chest!  I am so glad I have now told somebody.


F - We can't change it but at least we can at least be heard. You matter! Sending love...
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


What a whirlwind you are in froggy.  I'm sorry it's been so hard for you but at least you recognize now what you have been doing (spinning circles) and can work on moving on in your life.

We learn to realize here that you can't change people, all you can change is yourself.
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell


Hi froggy, What a difficult and upsetting situation. I suspect your DIL has made a mountain out of a molehill, as younger people tend to do. It is just about impossible to figure out what goes on in their heads.
What would be the reaction of your DS if you just happen to call round while your DIL is at work?
I see no harm in that. I would think your GC would be really pleased to see you.
If DIL tries to send you a message via your DS tell him you want to see your GC and it is only right and proper that you do. It is of course in their best interests. As a caring parent he must know that.
I doubt very much if he would have the nerve to shut the door in your face.  If he doesn't invite you in, why not ask him to bring your GC round to visit you.
This may not be an easy thing to do. However it might just break the deadlock and reopen contact with your GC.
I am rooting for you. Love Faith :)


Hi Froggy, the thing that stood out to me, was when you commented on the marks on the windows. That said to me that you are absolutely exhausted from it all. When i make comments like that to anyone, it is always because i am coming to the end of my tether, not because of the children's fingerprints. Nothing screams out more that if you don't start taking care of yourself, instead of everyone else you will burn yourself right out and have no energy to build yourself up again. As i have said before, i think we have actually forgotten how to make life fun, without involving the children and gc. So many parents spend money as well helping their children, to realise when it is too late that we can be used, even by them, as painful as that is to take on board. Your sons, like me, sound like they have many issues to resolve, but only they can do that. Is there anything that you really enjoy doing, or something nice you could start doing to help you to feel happier. I do believe that i have problems with self esteem, that hinder me in moving on. I think we should all help each other, to enjoy life to the max and if our children do decide to be part of it, that is a bonus, but if not we will still enjoy everyday. Homely60


H - Your very encouraging post made me think of one of my favorite sayings: We were whole before we became parents (grandparents) and we can be whole again. Sending love...
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


Thank you for your kind words - I must confess, I have been too busy cutting my nose off to spite my face to go and visit them when DIL is at work!

Recently DIL told my son that she "doesn't love him anymore" and he is now sleeping on the couch - he visits me a lot but does not bring the children.   I told him that it is for him to sort out, I am biased against DIL so my 'advice' would not be constructive.  A week has passed and things are still as bad in their house as ever.  If it turns out that they can no longer live together, he has a key to my house.

I am busy at work and have taken up a new hobby that gets me out of the house.

Things will be what they will be!

much love  xx


Froggy, so glad to hear you have a new hobby & a busy work life. You're moving forward :)

IMO you're wise to tread carefully & not step in to give advice or make comments to your DS, as tempting as it may be to do so. If by chance your DS & DIL got back together, you might become the fall guy. Also, if they go through a legal separation/divorce, you may still need DIL's approval so you can see the GC.
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb


I am not a parent or a grandparent, but I am surrounded by children in my family.  We watch them for each other and take them on outings because we love them and their parents.  Maybe, since your S1 comes around to get a break from your DGC you could suggest that he sometimes brings your DGC around to you while DIL is at work so that he can have a couple of hours to himself at home to do housework or layabout or whatever it is that he does so that you can enjoy some time with them?  I'm not sure if he will abuse this offer or if DIL will have something to say about it, but it might be worth thinking about.  Good Luck!