Author Topic: My daughter in law says we are unacceptable grandparents  (Read 1843 times)

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saddened by it all

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My daughter in law says we are unacceptable grandparents
« on: May 19, 2010, 09:10:13 AM »
My husband and I live in one state and my son and family live in another.  We are not able to fly there as often as we like due to costs. We both work and money is tight. I am remarried of 21 years. I have 2 boys who are both adults with families. Oldest son will call number 1 lives out of state. Number 2 lives in same town as us. Number 1 is married to what I now feel is a narcissistic women. Her parents live near them and consumes their life. DIL was raised by a nanny and was entertained with trips, lavish gifts and that is how her mother showed love. I on the other hand always worked and was a single parent for a long time. I am very proud of both of my sons. Son number 1 has a son and daughter. When I was working full time I had more money to make trips to their home to see my grandchildren. Each time I visited my DIL got worse and worse towards me. She has always made us feel we are not good enough and do not meet her high standards. She is very haughty. Everything is 5 stars in her life. She continually makes fun of me to my son and her family and friends. She won't stay at our house when they visit only stays at her girlfriends house. I know this is uncomfortable for my son. Their grandmother was recently diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. We have remained friends for over 40 years after the divorce. I called her and was very upset at the news. It was son number 1's birthday and I called down there to talk to him. DIL said he just left. I asked her how he was doing, referring to his grandmother and she said he cried a lot last night. I then said I will call him on his cell. Feeling bad for him and knowing how hard this is for him because he is very close to his grandmother. My DIL then got her feathers up and started telling me how her and her mother were at the moment taking charge of his grandmother and moving her to their state. I was taken back about this and was shocked at the lack of empathy, emotion or any consideration for the rest of the family. All she could say is that is what my son wants. I couldn't listen to this anymore as I was already upset about the news of grandma. I said I have to go now and hung up the phone. She called back and told me how dare you hang up on me, I said I didn't I said I had to go. Two weeks later it was my grandson's 7th birthday I sent a card and gift and called 3 times to talk to him that day. I never got to and didn't get a return call. I called my sons cell and he didn't answer. Five days later my son called and said he just got the message. In the mean time my DIL sent party pictures and other pictures to other family members but not us. I knew she was playing games.  I told my son how sad I was that we didn't get to talk to our grandson. I let him know I was upset and missed talking to him. I finally decided to tell him about the phone confrontation with his wife and he said whatever. I was playing games. My husband took the phone and told him it wasn't about them, but the kids and we should be able to talk to them. Son said the kids were almost home and to call back and we could talk then.  I was crying and waited a few minutes to calm down and my phone rang. It was my grandson and we talked and I asked him if he got our card and gift and he said he didn't know. What was it? That made me sad, but I stayed strong. We said our loves and goodbyes and my DIL said wait a minute and took the phone and demanded we both were there and to put us on speaker phone and preceeded to tell us what bad people we are and not good enough. Words were exchanged and we hung up. She then wrote me a horrible, mean, nasty 2 page email all about us not being acceptable  grandparents because we aren't involved in the kids life as much as she thinks we should be. There is much more but out of room. I don't know where to go from here. I don't want to see her or talk to her or have anything to do with her. How do I have a relationship with my son and kids. He sides with her because he lives with her. He has told me he regrets marrying her but will stay for the kids sake. He doesn't want them to grow up without a father like he did. I'm at a loss as how to deal with this.

Offline Pen

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Re: My daughter in law says we are unacceptable grandparents
« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2010, 09:57:21 AM »
Dear Sad, so sorry for all you're going through. This is a good, supportive site with many wise and kind people. You'll learn a lot and find understanding here, I'm sure.

One thing I've learned from DILs and MILs here is that in most of these cases the son needs to step up and mediate or make sure his family is not forgotten. Some DSs have made sure the GC see their GPs regularly even if the DIL isn't fond of her ILs. I hope you and your son can work something out. Once in awhile it takes input from the MIL's DH to get the DS to speak up, but of course, every situation is different and what works for some doesn't work for others. Best wishes.
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb

Offline luise.volta

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Re: My daughter in law says we are unacceptable grandparents
« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2010, 09:02:43 PM »
Sometimes I can't help but feel the pain of the adult sons who step back and are too overwhelmed by the conflict to function. The wife is in residence...the kids are a priority and all of it is on top of having to earn a living. Often the son can't reason with our change their wife's perspective and behavior and I think on some level, losing his relationship with is mom in the process must be heartbreaking. Some are strong and can stand tall and put it all together or find a way to keep the door open at least with the grand kids...but many just fold. It is so sad.
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama

cremebrulee

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Re: My daughter in law says we are unacceptable grandparents
« Reply #3 on: May 20, 2010, 05:36:23 AM »
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saddened by it all
Each time I visited my DIL got worse and worse towards me. She has always made us feel we are not good enough and do not meet her high standards.


Good Morning Saddened, and welcome...it's always so hard to see people going thru this...and if I may would like to offer some thoughts...

On making trips to see your son and grand kids...I would never travel there alone...make certain your husband and/or someone is with you, and I would not stay at they're home, but in a motel some where close to they're home....that way, there is less chance for confrontation and grumbling...tell you son, your coming down for a visit, staying at a motel, and would like to spend some time with him and grand kids....

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She continually makes fun of me to my son and her family and friends.


How do you know this?  What has she said, and are you certain this information comes from a good source?

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She won't stay at our house when they visit only stays at her girlfriends house.
I know this is uncomfortable for my son.

There is nothing you can do to control this...if she wants to stay at her girlfriends home, fine, but make certain, your son realizes that you need time with him and your Grand children...

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Their grandmother was recently diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. We have remained friends for over 40 years after the divorce. I called her and was very upset at the news. It was son number 1's birthday and I called down there to talk to him. DIL said he just left. I asked her how he was doing, referring to his grandmother and she said he cried a lot last night. I then said I will call him on his cell. Feeling bad for him and knowing how hard this is for him because he is very close to his grandmother. My DIL then got her feathers up and started telling me how her and her mother were at the moment taking charge of his grandmother and moving her to their state. I was taken back about this and was shocked at the lack of empathy, emotion or any consideration for the rest of the family. All she could say is that is what my son wants. I couldn't listen to this anymore as I was already upset about the news of grandma. I said I have to go now and hung up the phone.


the main question here is, what does Grandmother want....regardless of your feelings for your DIL and what is going on, Grandmama's wants and needs are most important at this time, and if she wants to go, then give her your blessings...don't worry about the rest....

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Two weeks later it was my grandson's 7th birthday I sent a card and gift and called 3 times to talk to him that day. I never got to and didn't get a return call.


This is so wrong, no matter how upset one is with MIL, you don't make the grandkids suffer...

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Five days later my son called and said he just got the message.


do you believe him?


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In the mean time my DIL sent party pictures and other pictures to other family members but not us. I knew she was playing games.  I told my son how sad I was that we didn't get to talk to our grandson. I let him know I was upset and missed talking to him. I finally decided to tell him about the phone confrontation with his wife and he said whatever. I was playing games.
That is his only way to deflect the situation...by making that statement, and I would tell him, "no, I'm not playing games, there are things we need to discuss...."


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My husband took the phone and told him it wasn't about them, but the kids and we should be able to talk to them.
And that is so true, and something your son needs to be reminded of...I'm glad your husband did take the phone, cuz when we women are emotionally invested in something like this, our thoughts are not as collected as they should be....good for hubby!

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Son said the kids were almost home and to call back and we could talk then.  I was crying and waited a few minutes to calm down and my phone rang. It was my grandson and we talked and I asked him if he got our card and gift and he said he didn't know. What was it? That made me sad, but I stayed strong.

Honey, of course it made you sad, but kids do not remember gifts or even care who gave to them, all they care about is opening the gifts and playing with them...but honestly, most kids cannot remember...so please don't take something like this so much to heart...

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We said our loves and goodbyes and my DIL said wait a minute and took the phone and demanded we both were there and to put us on speaker phone and preceeded to tell us what bad people we are and not good enough. Words were exchanged and we hung up.


At that moment in time, and I nknow you were both probably in a state of shock and hurt, and couldn't think straight, however, you need to confront DIL in a calm conversation and ask her what exactly her thoughts on how you could be better grandparents...ask her what her expectations are on this subject, that you'd very much like to listen and work it out with them if at all possible.  If her expectations are far beyond what you can do or afford, tell her you understand, and certainly would like to be there more, however, this is the situation...don't be embarrassed, tell her like it is....but in a very calm and collective way...

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She then wrote me a horrible, mean, nasty 2 page email all about us not being acceptable  grandparents because we aren't involved in the kids life as much as she thinks we should be. There is much more but out of room.


Very immature and self imposed on her part...however, she is trying to scare you..bully you, and when you talk with her, make certain son is there, and tell her after she is done, giving you her expecations....that from now on, you would very much appreciate, that she discuss things with y ou, instead of sending nasty emails...explain to her, that doesn't get any of us anywhere....and don't fear her, stand your ground...and make certain, son is right there....


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I don't know where to go from here. I don't want to see her or talk to her or have anything to do with her.


Of course you don't, no one would...however, you have to decide what your needs are and if you want to see your grand children and son, then I suggest you take a deep breath, collect yourself, and talk to her as you would talk to any other guest in your home....nicely, but firmly, and let her know, you are not about to take this kind of behavior...tell her, you'd like to get along, explain to her, that we don't have to be best buds, however, what we can do, is respect each other and each others feelings, and if something is bothering her, you would like to know about it.

That way you take control...don't worry what her responses are going to be, they are in fact, always going to be defensive...what you have to do, is discuss this with her, logically and calmly...don't allow her to get your anger going....when your talking to her, invision in your mind, a spoiled child, who has to get her way, nothing more, nothing less...and if you must, to keep from getting angry, picture her in your mind as a small child, and keep your calm while continuing to explain to her, that you realize, she is upset, however, lets try and calm down and listen to each other...


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How do I have a relationship with my son and kids. He sides with her because he lives with her. He has told me he regrets marrying her but will stay for the kids sake. He doesn't want them to grow up without a father like he did. I'm at a loss as how to deal with this.

Deal with her, as you would deal with your own child...and explain to son, that this is wrong, and make certain, they are both present....don't engage in conversation with your DIL alone, if you can help it, and never ever do anything out of anger, or wanting vengence...always be calm, cool and collected.

The reason your feeling this way is b/c no one but no one, your sons, or they're friends have ever talked to you like this...no matter how old we parents get, we still "expect" our children to view us as adults and we just cannot believe they talk to us the way they do...it hurts, it's humiliating and who likes confrontation? 

But stand your ground, and stand by your beliefs...and don't allow any one into manipulating you into being someone you are not....you are not a nasty person...and remember...she knows your son loves you very much....she realizes her flaws, deep inside, nothing makes her happy...nothing, she is selfish and wants the world to evolve around her, remember that...and thank God you are not that kind of person...view her not with anger, but feel sorry for her, b/c maybe, just maybe her whole attitude towards you is mearly jealousy...she envies you as a wife and mother, and wants to be just like you, but doesn't know how...?  Just a thought? 

So, stay strong, and remember, she is simply a child who was spoiled rotten....a very angry and upset child....she is acting out in such a negative manner, and maybe that is her way, the only way she knows how to communicate to people, b/c her behavior had to be learned...therefore, perhaps either her mother or father talked to her like that....and she doesn't really know any different...it is in fact, her own culture...

I hope that helps some....

Hugs
Creme

saddened by it all

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Re: My daughter in law says we are unacceptable grandparents
« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2010, 07:37:44 AM »
Thank you all for the wonderful advice and concern.  I feel like I was rambling on and didn't write all that transpired that day.  What I need to figure out now is how to move forward.  What my DIL neglected to say to me was that she was moving Grammy down there for 2 months. She talked as if it was for the rest of her time.  That is when I asked her what about the rest of the family that lives here.  Then the argument started. That is when she said that is what my son wants and it doesn't matter about everyone else. I know my son didn't say that. He would not disregard his brother and cousins.
I later had a good conversation with grammy and she told me she was going down there for 2 months and then coming back and spending equal time with the rest of her grandsons and their family. I called my son and told him how pleased I was that his grammy was spending quality time with him and his family. My dil doesn't like me and I can accept that. She doesn't have to.
I was going down there every 3-4 months and each visit got more intense and she was ignoring me and making snide remarks to the point where I couldn't wait to leave. The last visit I wanted to change my flight and come home early. She has taken all the fun out of being a grandmother.  With the economy like it is, my job hours have been cut from 40 down to 12 a week or sometimes 8 hrs. a week. It is not feasible for me to fly there as often as I once did. Dil quoted in her email "for you to travel here definitely makes more sense but I forgot it is just your grandkids".  Her parents live close by them and indulge the children by buying them everything, taking them to disneyland, and now taking my grandson to Hawaii next month. She truly believes this is what I should be doing. I give myself and my time to them. I don't have the resources to buy their love. The truth is my grandchildren love me no matter what. The last time my grandson was here he came up to me and hugged me and said Grandma I love you and did this 3 times that morning. He knows I love him, because I give him myself and my love. My son told me his wife is jealous of me and the way the children are always happy to see me.  My son is stuck in the middle and I do realize he has to keep peace with his wife. He has to live there and get through every day hopefully without conflict. He just goes along with whatever she says or plans to have calm in his life. Thank you all again for the support, I truly appreciate it.

MagicGram

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Re: My daughter in law says we are unacceptable grandparents
« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2010, 06:08:10 PM »
The truth is my grandchildren love me no matter what. The last time my grandson was here he came up to me and hugged me and said Grandma I love you and did this 3 times that morning. He knows I love him, because I give him myself and my love. My son told me his wife is jealous of me and the way the children are always happy to see me. 

You know this is not true, don't you?  She's not jealous of you and how the kids love you.  If so, she would not have written how much they love you in her email and what a great grandmother you are.  She wouldn't have sent the pictures and had them call and been hurt by the fact that your didn't mention them on your Facebook.  You must have misunderstood your son. 

RedRose

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Re: My daughter in law says we are unacceptable grandparents
« Reply #6 on: June 04, 2010, 06:30:04 AM »
The truth is my grandchildren love me no matter what. The last time my grandson was here he came up to me and hugged me and said Grandma I love you and did this 3 times that morning. He knows I love him, because I give him myself and my love. My son told me his wife is jealous of me and the way the children are always happy to see me. 

You know this is not true, don't you?  She's not jealous of you and how the kids love you.  If so, she would not have written how much they love you in her email and what a great grandmother you are.  She wouldn't have sent the pictures and had them call and been hurt by the fact that your didn't mention them on your Facebook.  You must have misunderstood your son. 

MagicGram you are wrong...this kind of situation happens a lot of times. She did Not misunderstand her son.

Postscript

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Re: My daughter in law says we are unacceptable grandparents
« Reply #7 on: June 06, 2010, 03:15:44 AM »

MagicGram you are wrong...this kind of situation happens a lot of times. She did Not misunderstand her son.

I disagree RR, I think MagicGram is right that it's not true, but I don't believe that Saddened has misunderstood her son.  You see I think her son told her that because it's more palatable for saddened to believe her dil is jealous of her relationship with her gc.

Logically, there is no reason for Saddened's dil to be jealous.  Dil has the gc all day every day, there are clearly other people in the gc's lives who they love and no evidence that the dil is jealous of those relationships.  What's more, saddened has a long distance relationship with the family.

Dil has spelled out all her reasons via telephone and followed up in an email.  While it may be comforting to accept her sons explanation, what does it do to solve the issues?

Saddened I suggest you revisit that email, painful as it is, try to look at it objectively and calmly.  I think you and dil have a case of unmet expectations.  Perhaps some of her expectations of you are unreasonable, perhaps there are some you are unable or unwilling to meet for whatever reasons, but perhaps there are some you could meet and haven't been.  Then look at your expectations for your dil too.  What expectations have and have not been met? How did you feel about the unmet expectations?

We all place our expectations upon people and we run into problems when they are not met.  Usually our expectations are never voiced, they are just there.  Sometimes people are lucky enough to intuitively feel out these unspoken expectations and meet them, other people are able to readjust their expectations and lower them when they see/feel that the other person is unable to meet them.  The rest of us have to resort to talking to things over to solve our problems.

Feeling validated that you are being ill treated is ok, but it doesn't really go anywhere towards resolution if you stop there.  Finding a pathway to solving or at least minimizing the problems is the true starting point.
« Last Edit: June 06, 2010, 03:20:54 AM by Postscript »

Offline luise.volta

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Re: My daughter in law says we are unacceptable grandparents
« Reply #8 on: June 06, 2010, 08:41:19 AM »
Thought provoking, Postscript, looking at two sides of the coin. I think that our expectations come and go, shift and change and can be grossly inconsistent. When we look at a situation like this, it's pretty much a guessing game. Seldom is anyone totally right or totally wrong. What helps is getting the take of others to factor into our own perceptions. Complex stuff.

We never know what another person is thinking or why they do what they do. A lot of the time it's pretty tricky to explain ourselves!

Off the top of my head this morning:

Best to follow the "write but don't send" policy but when we feel "so right", it's hard not to share our wisdom. I swear I have written communications very similar to what DIL presented. I have learned to put them into my Word program and get them off or my email...or initiate them in Word. Then I go back and add more fuel to the fire until the fire burns out and it always does. Eventually, when I re-read the whole thing, if I can stand to, I can't believe my tunnel vision. What has followed is the certainty that then same is probably true with others.  They may not stick with their reasoning and reactions, either...if left alone. When we engage with them, we build trenches, enlist armies and create wars.
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama