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How to get past unsatisfying familial relationships


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#1 Misha

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 01:20 AM

My girls' grandparents, none of them give the girls the time of day. They don't call, they don't write. If we don't call, they don't talk. 

 

My mother worships my son (he is almost 18, and is finishing up high school out there) and completely ignores my girls. My DH's mother only calls when she needs money from us and never asks about the girls. 

 

It bothers me immensely. I've accepted that I don't have one of those cozy families that I always fantasized about having, but I don't understand how people can so completely disregard their own grandchildren. I grew up with the best grandparents, and I had lovely step-grandparents as well, both of whom I spent a lot of time with.  The majority of my happy childhood memories involve both sets of grandparents. 

 

 

I've talked with friends and a therapist about this, but it fills me with piercing sadness and anger that my parents and my MIL can't step up and act like caring grandparents on a limited basis. We don't live close to our families (their behaviour was one of the bigger reasons we moved). 

 

 

Any suggestions for getting past this? Please no flaming - I understand that as problems go this one is first-world, but it breaks my heart on a regular basis that my girls don't have anyone else (besides their dad and me) in their lives who loves them so unconditionally. 


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#2 Rosie_0801

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 01:23 AM

How do you want your girls to feel about it?



#3 foxbridgeacademy

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 02:10 AM

So my parents are benignly neglectful, too busy with their own lives to care much for us (my mom tries but it's out of character for her so it comes off as stilted).  We haven't talked to DH's mom in 14 years and only recently started talking to his dad.  What helps me is reminding my kids and myself that we, DH and I, are going to be the most wonderful involved grandparents in the World.  We're going to do and be everything I wish my parents would do.  In the end that will matter to my children more (that their children are loved/happy) than if their own g-parents paid attention to them.


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#4 displace

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 02:22 AM

Have you talked with your mom about how she ignores your daughters? It's odd that she's so loving toward your DS but not the DDs. Did she see him often as a younger child and have a better relationship? Does she call you to talk? Is she anti-girl?

I wouldn't be concerned about the lack of calling and talking. My family doesn't really chat on the phone except me and my mom. I think that can be normal, imo. But, we may be different.

It is hard to have a small family. Our kids will likely never have cousins, and most of the family is too far away for a close relationship. We haven't found a great answer. But I'm sure most will suggest to try to have a group of friends in your life you can see regularly, outside mentors, etc. (hugs)

#5 DawnM

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 05:51 AM

We don't have the best relationship with either set of grandparents.  It isn't strained or bad, but there are issues on both sides which make it difficult to be close.

 

I pray all the time that I can maintain a good relationship with my boys and their spouses and their children and make it better for the next generation.


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#6 [email protected]

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 06:30 AM

I'm a long distance grandma and I find it difficult to stay involved with my grandkids.  Actually, I find it difficult to stay in touch with any long distance relationships.  What I would really appreciate is if my kids would send me (via email or FB) a picture of their kids and one or two sentences about what their kids are doing lately.  It would help me to feel more connected and caught up with their lives.  I understand that your situation may be completely different, but that's one thing that you could do on your end  to stay connected.  


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#7 G5052

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 06:36 AM

One grandma was mentally ill with a codependent husband. The other set of grandparents were gone by the time my youngest was two.

 

So I made sure that they had other satisfying relationships with older people. Our church has quite a few that were more than willing to love on my kids. They're now in college, and they still get birthday cards and such from them!


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#8 okbud

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 06:37 AM

Hey I have that teeshirt too!

 

:grouphug: :grouphug: :grouphug:

 

There's nothing to do. You know this. Feel the feelings as they come. Try to be better for your kids. Do whatever makes you feel like you're upholding your end. My dad has had so many letters and pictures the kids have written and drawn, so, so many photographs of all of us. I keep him in the loop when there are big changes. It's all to no avail and he still won't remember my husband's name or where we live right now but heck if I haven't done my part :glare: It's his loss in such a big way and I have to imagine there's going to come a day when he's going to regret just ignoring the little people who'd have loved him unconditionally and thought he the coolest thing since sliced bread. 


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#9 marbel

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 06:52 AM

My in-laws are pretty disinterested. (My parents have died.)  We do have a long-distance relationship, so the kids never had an opportunity to really spend time with them on a regular basis. But as the kids have grown, it's become obvious to them that their grandparents are not really interested in them.  The kids can also see the ways in which our family has disappointed them - homeschooling, not interested in college football, that sort of thing.  The kids didn't do the things they expected - things their friends' kids did: join the high school football team, be a cheerleader.  My kids are over it.  I hope to make up for all their grandparent losses with their as-yet-hypothetical kids. 


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#10 Seasons

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 06:54 AM

Send them updates and pictures.  Have the kids write them notes.

 

If you moved to get away from them, why do you want them to be part of your lives?  Just wondering . . . . .


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#11 HomeAgain

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 07:05 AM

I have no advice.  We're in the same boat.  MIL loves on her other grandchildren constantly, and maintains an...okay...relationship with with my oldest.

 

The youngest?  We seriously were in her area for two week-long visits this summer and she didn't invite him over once.  Doesn't care about anything I might put out about him on Facebook.  Has no interest in talking to him.  Hangs up on him on holidays.  He calls her on his birthday, which is better than her forgetting about him amid gushing over her other grandchild's b-day (they're a few weeks apart) and then blaming it on our location.  The child is 7, and has done nothing to warrant such behavior from her.

 

I protect and shelter.  I encourage him to make the effort when *he* wants to, but I surround him with people who do want to make the effort to see him and love him.  And I repeat the Serenity prayer and reflect on my role in this whole relationship.  I do my best to be respectful and polite, no matter how much I want to resort to bodily violence every time she hurts him again.


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#12 momacacia

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 07:09 AM

If you moved to get away from them, why do you want them to be part of your lives? Just wondering . . . . .

This.

There are unpleasant, messed up people in the world (or however you would describe them). They're going to be in somebody's family...turns out one or some of them are in yours. Invest your time and energy where you'll get the best return.

You will have much more of an impact on your kids than grandparents ever will. And trust me, if it's forced, the kids will know it. I speak from experience. And, imo, relationships are the responsibility of the adults in the situation...in this case, the grandparents. It's not the grandkids' jobs to keep up with the old folks..assuming reasonable age and capabilities. If your kids care, consider doing something about it. If they don't, don't worry about it.

Edited by momacacia, 18 October 2017 - 07:11 AM.

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#13 Tibbie Dunbar

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 07:21 AM

I am astounded at the posts that seem to imply that you have screwed this up, OP, by moving away or by failing to send enough photos.

I heard you when you said you know they do not like your children. They play favorites to a ridiculously unhealthy extreme, worshiping one child while totally ignoring the others. They only call when they want money, and ignore your girls even then.

This is wrong. You know it's wrong. So does the therapist, so does dh, so do the kids. :(

I can't tell you how to fix it or how to get over it. Sometimes I think the alternating anger and sadness must come at us in waves for a lifetime, but surely that's not true. This rejection shouldn't feel like a life sentence. I'm looking for the way out, myself, from a parallel situation. I can cut off the people, try to minimize the damage, but I can't heal my children's hearts. I can fill their world with good people who will care, but I can't pretend they weren't rejected by people who were supposed to love them unconditionally.

Rosie asked, "How do you want your kids to feel about it?" That's an important question. I want my boys to feel strong, and matter of fact about their relatives' warped and hateful religious perspective. I want them to feel distant, and make the choice that their future children will never know destructive cult members. I'm going for mad, not sad, because I don't want them to internalize the rejection as their fault. I have no idea yet whether I'm succeeding.

So I have no advice. I just want you to know that some of us get it - you moved away and started controlling the flow of information to make it harder for people to abuse your children. I'm so sorry you had to do that, and I'm sorry there's a hole in your hearts where there should be relationship.
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#14 Tibbie Dunbar

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 07:23 AM

Send them updates and pictures. Have the kids write them notes.

If you moved to get away from them, why do you want them to be part of your lives? Just wondering . . . . .


Rejected children always wish it was different, Seasons.
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#15 Heigh Ho

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 07:28 AM

You get past it by realizing you can't change it. They have their reasons for not wanting a relationship. Move on. Yes, its sad. Their choice. They lost out. Your dc can have relationships with people who value relationships.
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#16 Scarlett

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 09:34 AM

I am astounded at the posts that seem to imply that you have screwed this up, OP, by moving away or by failing to send enough photos.

I heard you when you said you know they do not like your children. They play favorites to a ridiculously unhealthy extreme, worshiping one child while totally ignoring the others. They only call when they want money, and ignore your girls even then.

This is wrong. You know it's wrong. So does the therapist, so does dh, so do the kids. :(

I can't tell you how to fix it or how to get over it. Sometimes I think the alternating anger and sadness must come at us in waves for a lifetime, but surely that's not true. This rejection shouldn't feel like a life sentence. I'm looking for the way out, myself, from a parallel situation. I can cut off the people, try to minimize the damage, but I can't heal my children's hearts. I can fill their world with good people who will care, but I can't pretend they weren't rejected by people who were supposed to love them unconditionally.

Rosie asked, "How do you want your kids to feel about it?" That's an important question. I want my boys to feel strong, and matter of fact about their relatives' warped and hateful religious perspective. I want them to feel distant, and make the choice that their future children will never know destructive cult members. I'm going for mad, not sad, because I don't want them to internalize the rejection as their fault. I have no idea yet whether I'm succeeding.

So I have no advice. I just want you to know that some of us get it - you moved away and started controlling the flow of information to make it harder for people to abuse your children. I'm so sorry you had to do that, and I'm sorry there's a hole in your hearts where there should be relationship.

 

 

I think one thing to keep in mind is our kids don't feel the same way about our parents that we do.  So what is painful to us barely registers with our kids unless we relay our pain to them somehow...either intentionally or unintentionally.

 

I encourage you to look for ways to find grandparent figures for your children.  Without telling them that is what you are doing.  


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#17 J-rap

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 09:52 AM

I'm really sorry.   :grouphug:

 

I think what I'd do is find a new "family."  Find people who are your own community that you can develop close relationships with.  I don't know if you're part of a church community, but it could be an older couple from your church, for example.  When I was growing up, we were the only family on the other side of the country.  In those days people didn't travel much, so we found a couple families in our town who we spent holidays with, attended each other's special events, etc.  A good friend of mine now has no relationship with her own parents, and she has developed a sweet relationship with an older woman at her church who she now calls "Mom."

 

Then, I'd work at developing a close and loving relationship within your own family -- I mean, with you and your children, so that it grows to be a family that maintains close ties and support as you get older.  (I'm sure you're doing this already!)

 

And be sure and let your dd's know that how the grandparents treat them has nothing to do with your dd's.  I'd try not to instill a "poor me, this is so sad!" attitude, but more of a positive, forward moving attitude.  Strength comes from within.

 

You take care!!  :grouphug:


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#18 Janeway

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 09:57 AM

BTDT. My parents completely blew off my children. And then it got worse. Whenever relatives would visit or my mother spoke to relatives, she made herself out to be the best grandma ever. This roped in my children. And she even took it a step further by making it out that she was practically raising my children when in fact she never saw them outside of when the relatives were around to see. She would actually use pictures I gave her (in hopes of getting her interested in spending time with my children) or that she found online (not just social media but also school websites and such) and would show them to people and present them as if she was there and took the pictures herself. One time, I was in public at the next town over, which is where they lived, and someone recognized me as my parents's daughter and told me how much they loved my daughters, and named them by name and how much they could not stop talking about them. I asked if my sons were ever mentioned and they said no, never any of the sons, did I have sons? Umm...none of the girls mentioned were my daughter and the rest of my children are boys. So basically, my dad told everyone his only grandchildren were his granddaughters and excluded my children.

 

And then there are my inlaws. They are far worse. It would take a while to post the extreme evil in them.

 

But..how do you get past it? It is like grieving. Once you stop being in denial of it and fighting it, then you try to accept it. It is literally the steps of grieving. But..you never fully get passed it. I still bawled like crazy when my mom died last month and just want her to love me and love my children. Too late. I even go by the cemetary, but fact is, she is not there. Nothing I say matters now. But, really, she said it all. It is just hard to accept.

 

It did not help that my siblings went along with it. They liked being Mom's golden child. One time, my grandma was visiting my mom and I stopped in to see Grandma and see if she would like to do anything. My mom said Grandma was not up yet but she would have Grandma call me when she gets up. I left. Before I even got in my car to drive away, a text came through from my mom that said "quick! <sister's name> call your grandma and make plans with her before Janeway can." Sigh..that is how my mom was. My sister and Grandma did not even have much of a relationship. My grandma knew my sister was a golden child and my sister was spoiled and my sister made so little effort to get bother with Grandma and would come around asking for money and such when my grandma was there so, yeah, they did not have the best relationship. My sister did not even send Grandma birth announcements or Christmas cards or birthday or anything.

 

Sorry you are going through all that. Not much help other than to say btdt.


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#19 _______

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 09:57 AM

nm


Edited by Catheryn, 23 October 2017 - 09:24 AM.

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#20 Chris in VA

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 09:58 AM

I felt this with my brother. I was hurt he didn't want connection. But we reconciled. I don't know if you can, or not. I agree with sending notes or somehow connecting, but only if the lack of connection is because they suck at it and/or are busy. 

 

Honestly, sometimes I think the "older generation" (older than me! lol) wasn't taught about feelings and connection, as I see so many people in their 70s and 80s who just don't know how to. Sometimes they don't want to. My mom even goes so far as to be surprised that people in their church congregation think it would be wonderful for her to volunteer with the young kids--she's all, "Why should I? I raised MY kids. I don't want to raise yours." Even though she's a much better grandma than that, she does show this attitude I've seen over and over again in grandparents that live far away. 

 

However, I'd like to add that I have not been a very good gma myself. My granddaughter lives 8 hours away, won't come to me when she visits (I am a stranger) and I don't feel connected in the least. I am hoping we can connect somehow in the years to come, but the first 2 have been very sad for me. Her other gma, thankfully, actually lives with her (and her parents, my son and d-i-l), so she does have that. And of course we send stuff and are loving and kind and try to engage when we do see her. 

 

Connection is important--I think it is really in our DNA, and the way we are designed to live. So no wonder it hurts when your parents won't foster that with those you love so much. 

Hugs to you. Just something to accept, I think--don't beat yourself up. 



#21 Tibbie Dunbar

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 10:00 AM

I think one thing to keep in mind is our kids don't feel the same way about our parents that we do.  So what is painful to us barely registers with our kids unless we relay our pain to them somehow...either intentionally or unintentionally.
 
I encourage you to look for ways to find grandparent figures for your children.  Without telling them that is what you are doing.


I agree that the kids definitely don't see it the same, because parents shield them from it...which backfires massively when the elders eventually start abusing the kids, too, and then they want to know why we ever let them be around people who could behave like that. Good question.

Second point about finding more people - totally agree. The world is much bigger than the people who raised us.
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#22 Scarlett

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 10:23 AM

I agree that the kids definitely don't see it the same, because parents shield them from it...which backfires massively when the elders eventually start abusing the kids, too, and then they want to know why we ever let them be around people who could behave like that. Good question.

Second point about finding more people - totally agree. The world is much bigger than the people who raised us.

 

 

Oh to be clear I am not suggesting we have kids be around abusive people.  I just mean....like in the case of the OP she is so sad because the grandparents aren't interested in her girls.  Her girls might not care. I know I don't shield my ds17 from his paternal grandmother's craziness....she has almost zero interest in him and he doesn't care.  It hurts my XH though that his mom doesn't care for her grandkids at all.


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#23 trulycrabby

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 10:37 AM

I got past it by realizing that this person is mentally ill and doing my kids a favour by not being in their lives. It took years, though, and I had to completely give up any hope or expectation that things might change.

I'm sorry. :grouphug:

Edited by trulycrabby, 18 October 2017 - 10:38 AM.

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#24 Indigo Blue

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 10:45 AM

My mom plays favorites with her five grandchildren. She played favorites with her own children. It hurts. There is nothing I can do except be a better parent to my own children. You have been given good advice here. And just because you think your problem is "first-world", that doesn't minimize your pain. Accept what you can't change (if you can't change it), grieve for it, and move on and make a decision to be happy. This will go a long way toward your becoming that wonderful and happy mom that YOUR children deserve!



#25 Janeway

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 10:58 AM

It was enough for me to realize that my kids would never be subjected to the behavior of my dh's relatives, or my mother.  

 

I also talked about our relatives with our kids off and on as they grew up.  And I didn't hide anything.  They HAD to know what they were dealing with for their own safety - physical and mental.

 

One of dh's relatives contacted youngest dd via her (private!   :glare: ) college email as soon as she began college.  Dd showed us the email.  Very toxic.  I asked her what she wanted to do about it.  Her reply?  "Nothing.  I don't even know these people."  And that was the end of it.

 

Our kids have each other and us.  I wish it could have been different, but as the years go by and I hear various things about many of our relatives, I'm just plain thankful that things were NOT different.  

 

:grouphug:

This is what I need to do. MIL has turned two of her adult grandchildren against their parents. She started texting them once they went to college and informing them how much she loved them and claiming she had years of gifts for them, etc. Honestly, it was easy to see past the BS, but she pushed it and went and visited them and started giving a lot of money to them until two of the grandkids picked her over their own parents. With one of them, the parents are divorced and the other parent had custody, for good reason. And then MIL lied about how the other parent got custody. I think that child still sees the parent who had had custody, but the other grandchild just blows off her parents big time as MIL says stuff like "I see it is family weekend at college. I wanted to visit you and bring this check to you, but I cannot come if your Dad is there as he is just so mean to me." And then she rejects her parents and has MIL there. She also plans some big and elaborate vacation every Christmas for those two grandkids so neither have seen the other parent for years for the holidays. Both go to college far away so neither see their parents at other times either. MIL loves it. And I found a text from her to my 13 yr old recently. She does not like my 16 yr old because she knew my 16 yr old has ASD and called him a mental defect. She does not know 13 yr old has ASD so she is trying to contact him now. Now I feel like I have to do double time to warn of the dangers of her. Hopefully, she is dead before my children become adults.



#26 Scarlett

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 11:03 AM

It was enough for me to realize that my kids would never be subjected to the behavior of my dh's relatives, or my mother.  

 

I also talked about our relatives with our kids off and on as they grew up.  And I didn't hide anything.  They HAD to know what they were dealing with for their own safety - physical and mental.

 

One of dh's relatives contacted youngest dd via her (private!   :glare: ) college email as soon as she began college.  Dd showed us the email.  Very toxic.  I asked her what she wanted to do about it.  Her reply?  "Nothing.  I don't even know these people."  And that was the end of it.

 

Our kids have each other and us.  I wish it could have been different, but as the years go by and I hear various things about many of our relatives, I'm just plain thankful that things were NOT different.  

 

:grouphug:

 

 

That is what I was trying to say.  Our kids aren't as hurt by that junk as we are.  


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#27 snowbeltmom

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 11:15 AM

I agree that the kids definitely don't see it the same, because parents shield them from it...which backfires massively when the elders eventually start abusing the kids, too, and then they want to know why we ever let them be around people who could behave like that. Good question.

Second point about finding more people - totally agree. The world is much bigger than the people who raised us.

 

I think many times kids don't see it the same way because they are not as emotionally invested in the situation as the parents are.

 

I have a very difficult mother who among many of her "wonderful" qualities loves to spread lies which results in hurt feelings and damaged relationships.  My boys are both in college and she communicates with them via their college email accounts.  I was with both boys this past weekend at an event at my oldest's campus. While we were together, my youngest son received an email from my mother.  My youngest son told my older son that, "Nana said you said X."  Older son expressed shock and logged into his email and told my younger son to read what he had actually said . 

 

While my reaction to this exchange was anger that she was trying to cause hurt feelings between my boys, my boys' reactions were the polar opposite:  they both started laughing hysterically and texted my D who wasn't with us to share this hilarious story of look what happened this time.

 

:grouphug:  to the OP.  It is not easy dealing with difficult relatives.  However, my bet is that is bothers you a lot more than it bothers your kids.
 


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#28 KungFuPanda

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 11:20 AM

You have to let it go. People are who they are regardless of how they're related to one another. You need to focus your time and attention on people who enjoy your company and give up on begging for crumbs from relatives. Some people are just limited. I would be very clear that you won't show any more interest in their elder care years than they have in your child rearing years so there are no expectations down the road.
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#29 OrganicJen

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 11:20 AM

This is something I deal with as well and I've never really found a way to feel at ease about it or to not feel sad about it. I don't think it's a source of pain for my kids though because people usually only know what their own experiences are and they base their perception of what's normal on that, so they in a sense don't realize what they are missing.
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#30 Scarlett

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 11:23 AM

I think many times kids don't see it the same way because they are not as emotionally invested in the situation as the parents are.

 

I have a very difficult mother who among many of her "wonderful" qualities loves to spread lies which results in hurt feelings and damaged relationships.  My boys are both in college and she communicates with them via their college email accounts.  I was with both boys this past weekend at an event at my oldest's campus. While we were together, my youngest son received an email from my mother.  My youngest son told my older son that, "Nana said you said X."  Older son expressed shock and logged into his email and told my younger son to read what he had actually said . 

 

While my reaction to this exchange was anger that she was trying to cause hurt feelings between my boys, my boys' reactions were the polar opposite:  they both started laughing hysterically and texted my D who wasn't with us to share this hilarious story of look what happened this time.

 

:grouphug:  to the OP.  It is not easy dealing with difficult relatives.  However, my bet is that is bothers you a lot more than it bothers your kids.
 

 

 

Yes!  This is my experience too. So if part of our pain is feeling bad for our kids...we can maybe let that go.


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#31 Stibalfamily

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 02:28 PM

There are so many lonely elderly folks. How about adopting one? Maybe an old couple from church or start visiting an old folks home to have the girls go a read to them or play games with them. I have an adopted Grandma I was closer to than my biological Grandparents. We saw her every week at church and went over to her house after. Honestly there are ways to have a Grandparent relationship if you don't want them to miss out. It would make me sad too if our parents seemed disinterested in our kids. Right now they have some disinterested-way too busy Aunts and Uncles. Unfortunately that is the way it can be sometimes. Sending you hugs :(


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#32 Misha

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 05:04 PM

Have you talked with your mom about how she ignores your daughters? It's odd that she's so loving toward your DS but not the DDs. Did she see him often as a younger child and have a better relationship? Does she call you to talk? Is she anti-girl?

I wouldn't be concerned about the lack of calling and talking. My family doesn't really chat on the phone except me and my mom. I think that can be normal, imo. But, we may be different.

It is hard to have a small family. Our kids will likely never have cousins, and most of the family is too far away for a close relationship. We haven't found a great answer. But I'm sure most will suggest to try to have a group of friends in your life you can see regularly, outside mentors, etc. (hugs)

My mother is one of three sisters and always prized boys over girls. When I was pregnant with my eldest DD and told her that the baby was a girl, she apologized since "girls are awful". There is no talking to her because she's always right, and if you mention anything she's done that doesn't fit with her "I'm a wonderful person" mentality, she denies it. That is my mother. That is what I grew up with.



#33 Misha

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 05:17 PM

How do you want your girls to feel about it?

I don't want them to care. I want them to shake it off, like "okay - these people we're related to; they're limited and they can't be better than they are". 

I've never had a good relationship with my mother and my bio-father was never around. She was a horrible parent who told me every chance she got that she wished she had never had a child, but that old saying -  hope springs eternal.

 

 

We moved because we didn't want them close to the girls since such a lack of interest would likely be more apparent if we lived nearby. For those who've asked about pictures -we regularly send them via email or text. Nothing. 



#34 Rosie_0801

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 05:44 PM

I don't want them to care. I want them to shake it off, like "okay - these people we're related to; they're limited and they can't be better than they are". 

 

Then in teaching them that, you'll be teaching you too.

 

 

My siblings and I watched our mother struggle with her horrible relatives though our childhood; the decades it took for her to give up on them, how triggering the mere mention of them still is. We cut them out of our lives during our 20's and 30's. My daughter doesn't have enough misplaced generosity to grant such people even that long. 



#35 daijobu

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 06:16 PM

I think one thing to keep in mind is our kids don't feel the same way about our parents that we do.  So what is painful to us barely registers with our kids unless we relay our pain to them somehow...either intentionally or unintentionally.

 

I encourage you to look for ways to find grandparent figures for your children.  Without telling them that is what you are doing.  

 

Agree with this.  I didn't have a close relationship with my grandparents due to their being overseas and I didn't know our family's native language.  

 

I hardly noticed.  In fact, it never occurred to me to feel a loss, I suppose, because I was never a witness to my friends' relationships with their grandparents.  So there was nothing to be envious of.  (But maybe it's different for your dd's because your ds receives preferential treament?)

 

I remember encountering a mom in a similar situation to you: her father was having nothing to do with her children and she was angry and sad.  It took some time for me to figure out what bothered this mom so much?  It's his loss, I figured.  Now I better understand, but if your dd's aren't feeling upset about it, focus on being the best parent you can be.  

 

Your kids are lucky to have you in their lives, and that's what they will know and remember.  


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#36 _______

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 06:47 PM

nm 

 


Edited by Catheryn, 23 October 2017 - 09:24 AM.

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#37 wonderchica

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 07:46 PM

I too wonder what the kids think. I had one set of very involved grandparents, and one set who aren't interested. We live in the same town. They never came to any events, birthdays, etc. They were happy to see us at holidays but I don't think they could've told you much of anything about us. My mom was very upset and seemed to want me to feel the same way. As a child, and now as an adult, I've honestly never cared. It doesn't bother me a bit. That's just who they are, and that's okay with me. It did bother me that my mom obviously disliked them so much because of it.

Edited by wonderchica, 18 October 2017 - 07:46 PM.

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#38 mommyoffive

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Posted 19 October 2017 - 08:33 AM

I am so sorry that others are dealing with this, but it helps because I am in this boat too.   

IT just helps to hear it from others, so I don't feel so alone.  


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#39 Margaret in CO

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Posted 19 October 2017 - 10:10 AM

:grouphug:  :grouphug:  :grouphug:   Been there, have a whole drawer of t-shirts. My mil informed me once that my children weren't her REAL grandchildren. And she lived next door!

 

Half my yearly income for 26 years went to support one of the REAL grandchildren. Mil went to exactly one of my dds' horse shows (a five minute walk for her) and she didn't even show up for one dd's senior recital. In her defense, it would have been a SEVEN minute walk! And my sil tried to pull the same sort of nonsense at mil's funeral. Whatever. I have nice kids, and my mil missed out. I was talking to my sil one day, about older folks getting confused and I said something like, yeah, fil didn't really recognize the grandkids at the end. "Oh, he knew MY kids!" Well, honey, that's because you're practically perfect in every way and we're just the unwashed heathen. 

 

It's sad, but your kids, and you, will have to accept it for what it is.   :grouphug:  :grouphug:  :grouphug:


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#40 tess in the burbs

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Posted 19 October 2017 - 10:47 AM

this is how I get over the loss of what I had hoped would be lovely family relationships:

 

Whenever I think about moving closer, calling more, planning a trip to visit them...I remember the last trip.  I focus on the confusion and awkwardness of the visit.  I remember my own kids asking point blank out loud why the heck were we there if no one was going to speak?  I tally up how many times they have thrown me under the bus for trying to create visits and good times together.

 

 I then pray for them and smile that I am 3k miles away.  

 

If I didn't remember the past I would end up allowing their hurtful behavior to hurt my kids.  Thankfully they are old enough to recognize these people don't call us or reach out in any way.  And when we do call they don't ask how we are but tell us all about their time with the other grandchildren.  My kids want no relationship b/c of how they have been treated in person, so I just have to let it go.  Sometimes that is hard.  Sometimes I think people have changed.  But then I remind myself if these people wanted a relationship with us/our kids then they would make some effort.  Until they do I'm done, my kids are done, dh is done.  

So I'm open to something better in the future, but they have to make the first step.  Since every first step I've ever made was stomped on.  I'm adult enough to know better. 


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#41 fraidycat

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Posted 19 October 2017 - 01:21 PM

:grouphug: :grouphug:

First step: acceptance that it is what it is

Second step: Grieve the loss of your hopes and dreams re:familial relationships for yourself and for your kids. Get sad, get angry, get sad again. Allow yourself that grief process.

Third step, give it time for step 2, then: Gratitude - that they showed their true colours now, not after your kids got close to them. That their pain is minimized by that.

Thank you to the posters who mentioned that the kids should know more of “the story” as they grow closer to adulthood. DH has suddenly been thrust into a long-lost family connection (it was lost on purpose, but so was the re-connect) but at this point in time, it is very tentative and does not really involve me or the kids yet. If it evolves to that point, I will keep this thread in mind. DH is doing everything he can to keep us out of it while he “tests the water”, so to speak.

Edited by fraidycat, 19 October 2017 - 01:24 PM.

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#42 Spryte

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Posted 19 October 2017 - 02:14 PM

Thanks for this thread, OP, and thanks to everyone who's shared on it.  


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#43 Tibbie Dunbar

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Posted 19 October 2017 - 03:46 PM

I want to thank everyone who explained how the kids reaction might not be as bad. Over the course of the week, since really learning for the first time what their relatives think of our family, my boys have moved on a lot already and are doing pretty well. The older ones have said they always knew we weren't as liked or accepted as the others; they'd chalked it up to other reasons. My 19yo said that they weren't warm to us at obligatory family functions, just dutifully polite, and he won't miss that!

So thanks. I wasn't even open to the possibility that my kids might not feel destroyed, until I read these posts, and then I knew more about how to check on my boys to make sure *I* don't upset them by making it a bigger deal than they need it to be! You've really helped. <3

We've decided to focus instead on relationships with the literal millions of people on the earth who don't think we are going to hell.
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