How can we show more love to our son & DIL?

downsouthDecember 10, 2001

I am copying a long story I just posted under Grandparents. If you have time someday, and can offer any advice on how to get this family back to reality, I would welcome you to read on. I do believe in miracles.

This is the story:

In 1995, we moved in with our son & DIL while our house was being built. They were ready to file for bankruptcy. She said instead of us paying apartment rent, we could pay them. This was the biggest mistake we have ever made in our lives. One evening we were allowed to watch our granddaughter while they went to a Xmas party. Our granddaughter was 4 months old. Her parents had our granddaughter and they were bringing her back home. Our son & DIL had left for the party. When they arrived, her mother insisted she was going to fed our granddaughter and put her to bed, right in front of me. I felt 4 foot tall. I told her "excuse me, but I'm supposed to be babysitting. I am her grandmother as well. Anyway, we got into a fight. Can you believe this? She jerked the bottle out of my hand and told me she was putting her to bed. I was not going to let her treat me like sh.... Anyway, her mother went outside and called our DIL. Of course, I got the blame for most of this. Our DIL did come downstairs one night, opened our door and told us she knew how her mother was and that it wasn't all our fault. I felt good to hear her say that. However, we were told we had to move out by 3:00 p.m. Saturday. It was New Years Eve and we didn't even know if we could get a U-Haul truck, or even find an apartment that quick. They even left their own home & went and stayed with her parents, waiting for us to get out before they came back. On Sat., my DH was still at work, it was 3:00 p.m. and she arrived and we were still packing. She said she was calling the police. I told her I never knew we were supposed to be gone by 3:00 and she said I told him that (my DH). She did call the police to my surprise and our son allowed her to do this. I told our youngest son to hurry & pack, that we had to get out of there quick. She started throwing our things that were packed and sitting in the garage and breaking the canned jars of green beans my DH had canned, and calling us names. By this time, I'm sure I had a few choice names for her as well. Her dad had to pull her out of the garage and put her in his truck. She was like a mad woman. When the police car arrived, my DH pulled up right behind him with the U-haul. I had never been so relieved to see him. He had been everywhere looking for a

U-Haul. The policeman asked them to leave until we could get our things in the U-Haul. I looked at my son and with tears in my eyes I told him "I can't believe you would do this to us", then I walked away from him. He never once apologized, he just looked at me and said nothing. This was in 1995. We will never forget this, but then I knew my son had some kind of problem. We had never done anything to him, except love him. We thought the hurt, the bitterness was starting to heal a little, until 1999.

In 1999 they came down to visit and our dog hurt our granddaughter. She was 3 years old. This was the last straw for our DIL, as my DH let the dog out of his pen to go to the garden with them to plant strawberries, so he was responsible for what happened. It took only a few seconds when his back was turned, but that was enough. They were here as well, but no one saw what happened. She has been through a lot, but has healed wonderfully. The tension has always been there between DIL and DH, and he has said cruel things to her, and she has done the same to him. She used to be very spoiled, but has changed some since the birth of our grandchildren (we now have a 15 month old son who has been at our house maybe 3 to 4 times and we only live 15 mins. away). A lot of this behavior of my DH we found out later was due to depression/anger, and we never knew he had depression. They heard him say hateful things to me and be snappy to me, so our DIL told him he would never see his granddaughter again unless he went & got help, which he did. I knew he was sick and understood him and could forgive him. I also knew the caring side of him, the side that hurt so much, that cried so much. After she told him this, he got a doctor's appt. He is now taking antidepressants. This incident with the dog almost sent him over the edge. He had just lost his mother in 1998. To make matters even worse, she sued our "insurance co" (ha "us"). We were in shock that our son allowed her to get an attorney but this was for "their protection" to make sure the medical bills were paid. Our insurance company canceled our insurance and it took us months to find someone to insure us.

Since all this happened, I was told our granddaughter would never EVER be able to spend a night at our house, so "don't ask!" I had dreams of our son getting married and us being grandparents. We can go see her anytime we wish at their house, but she can "never be alone with us without them being here." They don't realize that accidents happen every day. (On Halloween, my birthday, they took me out to eat and they did let her stay for about 4 hours at our house - without them, so things are looking a little better). She is 6 years old now. I know we could go over their house more, but sometimes you just don't feel welcome. Sometimes when we go over, she goes about her housework and acts like we're not even there. She doesn't work outside the home, so I think this is rude. We never treat her this way when she visits.

I knew from the beginning things weren't going to be right as when she was first born, I told my DIL I was going to get a crib, paint the spare room, etc. She told me that as long as I had a cat, our granddaughter would not be sleeping in no crib at our home. I was not going to get rid of our cat that I loved so dearly. I called my sister long distance and cried and she said all I could do was "kill them with kindness". Our DIL's parents are allowed to keep her overnight and she even has a suitcase that says "going to grandma's house". I have to choke back the tears when I see this sitting in her room, as it doesn't apply to me. I now can't be a grandmother because my DH suffers from depression, and he can't be a grandfather. Many nights he cries and says "I would give anything to be able to take her to the park, or just to McDonalds, just the 2 of us." It breaks my heart.

I write this to say that if you CAN have a relationship with your grandchildren, please DO! We try, but they keep their distance. Our youngest son is wonderful to us and he thinks they treat us terrible. I look forward to the day when he marries, as then I know I can have my grandchildren over. They will have so many things that I could not do for my oldest son's children. More important than "things", we will be allowed to be a grandmother and pa-paw that we have never been allowed to be, and we have a lot of love to give them.

I hope the motive of this message gets through to some of you lucky grandparents.


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I feel so bad for you! Has it always been this way? Did you know DIL before she had the kids? Did you guys have a good realtionship? Maybe I'm going way out on a limb here but could she have some sort of depression or problem? My Mom used to be pretty depressed but hasn't had any weird bouts in a few years. She would go off the deep end and threaten us and do all sorts of horrible things. (After my son was born she wanted to see him whenever she wanted. One night I told her that we had plans and she threw a horrible fit and threatened to call Children and Youth and have him taken from me. She claimed I was an unfit mother and she could prove it and went on and on. We were living with MIL and FIL at the time and Mom said we were living in a dump and we weren't.) Could this be some sort of Post partum depression or psychosis and she needs serious help? Do you talk with your son and still have any type of relationship anymore or does she rule the relationship and he's not allowed? This is just so horrible and I can't imagine treating someone like this unless I had a VERY good reason and even then I wouldn't have it in my heart to be that mean. Good luck to you and I hope things change in the future for you and your husband.


    Bookmark   December 10, 2001 at 10:29PM
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The only person that anyone can reliably control is themself. Spouses cannot control each other, or 'allow' this or that because their primary adult relationship is to each other and their own family at that point. They are both adults, and have whatever complex adult issues to weigh before they make decisions to act or not act as they see fit in any situation. Humans are complex and human relations are even more complex, be careful not to oversimplify things that are probably not simple.

One issue that can come up, especially with someone who has been living for a long time with a depressed person who was in denial and not getting any effective help is that they will have increased needs. Sometimes they will develop depressive symptoms too, and living that way over time can result in their own depression for which they should talk to their doctor. (Talk therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy in particular can help with recognizing and correcting any depression left-overs you may have. It's more active for the person and they can give homework assignments so you can see there is work being done, and it's not just a lot of endless talk that goes nowhere.)

You are you, and not the other set of grandparents. That's ok. It's normal and natural for a mother to feel more comfortable with and around her own mother, than her spouse's mother. She probably doesn't mean to insult you, even if you end up feeling insulted. When she comes right out and says something insulting, then you can know it. But generally, she probably just does feel more comfortable around her own parents. You will have to go out of your way to help her to be able to feel more comfortable or as comfortable with you. Some of that will probably be taking care of your own upsetness; check out the possibility of underlying depression, or anger. This page address has some helpful information about managing anger upsetness and it also has some good self-talk you can use to talk yourself down so that you can remain calm.

When you are feeling more like you can and will accept or tolerate the past which cannot be changed, and maintain a visiting schedule even if it doesn't feel the way you want it to feel... Just celebrate and focus on the fact that you are there and you can be calm, collected, and that you can inspire trust in this mother (DIL) who seems to not trust you. This is something only you can do for yourself in this situation. People can't just force others to feel trust. It's not a competition so, try not to compare what 'others' seem to get that you don't. That's depressing and won't help you to enjoy what you _do_ have, and to think about more effective ways to build on it so that you can inspire your DIL's trust. This is a particularly sticky area of human relations and whether or not you see a counselor for depression, it's probably worth seeing one to describe your problem and see if they would recommend anything.

Your granddaughter is a human being who will be increasingly able to assert herself, and to take care of herself. She isn't an object to be divided up equally between sets of grandparents. Her love, or capacity to love, like anyone else's is probably unlimited and unbounded by who she is with at any one time. Have faith in her ability to love you, remember you, and to enjoy your presence when you are in her home. Children sometimes appreciate that adults visit them on their 'home turf' so to speak. There isn't the same kind of 'let's go for a visit' thing on the child's part, but to the child it's like that adult (you) made the decision to visit them and they didn't have to do anything at all to get you do that. (That impression tends to happen whether or not there is a lot of play or being alone together, the child just notices the extra adult presence).

check out the angries out links and information because even when people use 'choice words' it turns out that by being able to maintain self control, positive assertion qualities, and an ability to empathize (and this can be done in the heat of the moment, just by learning some techniques of anger management and practicing)... that tends to inspire 'trust' in the person who is out of control enough to be using those 'choice words'

your story can be the beginning part of a story of great hope and inspiration because it's not over

    Bookmark   December 11, 2001 at 12:08AM
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Honestly, I'm not sure I would even try. Some situations just are not worth the effort. I had a MIL that from day one didn't want the marriage between my husband and I to work out. 4 months into our marriage she came to our apartment and offered to pay for a divorce if my husband would just agree and say yes. My MIL had arrived unannounced and never knew I was home and in the bedroom with a headache and heard every word of the conversation. My husband told her no and politely asked her to leave. I have often wondered over the years how my husband could even speak to her again, knowing how she felt about me, let alone want me to visit his parents home with him (and we only lived 5 minutes away from them!!!) Last September my husband and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary. It's been 13 years since the death of my MIL and I am STILL puzzled over her. Don't blame your son, for he has no more control over his wife than my husband had over his mother.
I would be more concerned in making sure that your grandchildren know and understand how much they are loved by you and your husband. Feeling welcome? I NEVER felt welcome in my husband's parents home, but my being there allowed for my husband to continue a relationship with his parents, and because I loved him, I wanted this for HIM, not for his parents. I hope you can feel this same way out of love for your grandchildren. Being able to spend time with them alone isn't so imporant and it sure isn't what will create the lasting memories your grandchildren will have of you when you are no longer on this earth. When I think back on my precious memories of my beloved grandmother, I can't remember a SINGLE TIME when my parents were not around, well maybe a few minutes here and there, but never for even as long as an hour and NEVER overnight. My grandmother made my 2 sisers and I feel special by her presence, a hug and her smile. Try to think of the images you want your grandchildren to remember you by and learn how to live those roles when you are around them. It won't be easy to be around other adults who will make you feel stressed, but if you do this you will find that as years go by, you will be the ones looked up to by them for allowing a relationship to develope even though there were ill feelings between you and their parents. Teach them by example that the love between you and them and their other grandparents is not a competition.
On September 4th this year, the evening of our 25th anniversary, my husband told me the greatest gift I had ever given him was 25 years back . . . the night his mother came unannouned . . .not forcing him into a situation of needing to choose between me or his continuing to have any relationship his mother while she was alive. You want your grandchildren to say this to you one day.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2001 at 11:17AM
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It's me again. Want to know something kind of funny? From the time I was 5 until I was 15 I never once saw the inside of the apartment my grandmother lived in! We visited with her almost every week on Friday night. We all sat in the car and talked and sometimes we went out to eat dinner. How is THAT for ideal conditions to build a relationship upon? Once every so often she would come and spend the night at my parents home. She was always at my parents home for birthdays and the holidays. None of this over the river and through the woods to grandmother's house we go is a part of my prized memories of her! My grandmother lived alone in a tiny little apartment (a kitchen, bathroom and small livingroom, no bedrooms) and worked long hours leaving little time for housecleaning and she was horribly embarassed to allow anyone to see the way she had chosen to live. It was only after she retired and bought a home 2 blocks away from my parents that I actually spent very much time alone with her, and I was already 19 years old by then. If the relationship hadn't developed before those first 19 years, I'm sure I wouldn't have visited her when I was old enough to make the choice to do so on my own. My grandmother and my dad could argue with the best of 'em over topics like politics, unions, etc, and I would give anything to be able to hear either one of them argue again for Christmas this year. I'm sure there were plenty of times my grandmother would have just gone home (if she could have) when he and she started in on each other, but she was dependant upon my dad for her transportation :+) Life is too short to stay away from your grandchildren because the adults can't get along. If I can develop an enduring relationship with a grandmother from the back seat of a car, I KNOW YOU AND YOUR HUSBAND can do so in a home situation, even if you don't exactly feel the welcome mat has been placed out for you.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2001 at 12:12PM
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Do you have a good relationship with your son? Why did he let these things happen. When my daughter was 4 months old my mother took her for a walk and fell. My daughter had to have stitches on her forehead. Accidents happen. My daughter's father never said anything mean to my mother about the incident. He knew it was an accident. I would never keep my children away from any of their grandparents. I guess I just don't understand. I think you need to get your son alone and have a nice long talk and see why the family can't be close. I hope things work out.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2001 at 1:56PM
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There are mental problems & dsyfunctional behavior in my husband's family, so I guess I inherited all of this when I married him. He has a brother he has spoken to twice in 34 years - once when we got engaged and the other time was 34 years later in 1998 at their mother's funeral. I believe my son has something wrong with him in this same respect and I love him dearly, so I can't hold anything against him. I believe it is some type of chemical imbalance and I believe this runs in my DH's family. When my DIL met our son (they both were working at Wal-mart), I knew this was the girl he would marry. After they married, my DH made negative remarks about our son's job, that he "couldn't make good money in this field", to "quit and get a better job". I felt like he wasn't being negative to our son, but encouraging him to find something better. She saw it as constantly putting him down. Our DIL has never forgiven him for these comments and our son is still in the same job and makes double what my DH makes, around $75k a year. He has always been a negative person & they have seen a lot of turmoil in our marriage over the years, a lot of verbal abuse, name calling and they have begged me to leave. Why I have never left, I guess was insecurity, fear of being alone. She once told me if I would leave this marriage, then and only then would I be allowed to be a grandmother. She said "you know what you have to do." I could not leave my DH after so many years of marriage and after I found out he was suffering from depression. There have been many times I have left and should have stayed gone. I don't regret staying and I do love him. In November, he took me on a wonderful vacation where "I" wanted to go so we do have our good times and bad times. Sometimes I know he is jealous of me spending time with our sons. There has never been any physical abuse, but years of verbal abuse. His depression does bring me down sometimes, but I try to keep my spirts up. I work part-time, about 30 hours a week, so I leave the house every day. He works every weekend so I normally visit our sons on one day and clean house the next day and stay busy. I have been on several cruises with our sons, and am planning another cruise in Oct. 2002. My DH says he is going this time. I know he doesn't really want to go, just doing it for me, which is the wrong reason. Most of the time he prefers to be alone, and doesn't enjoy being with the family. He seems "fake" even when our sons come to visit, and doesn't seem to be himself. He is pretending to be happy, when he's not and sometimes just goes to the den and falls asleep. He works 6 days a week and I don't even ask him anymore to help me do anything. He sleeps a lot because of his medications. Our relationship has gotten better since we have gotten older. I used to cry a lot over hurtful things he says, but now just walk away and shake my head in dismay. These times are very infrequent now, but used to be daily. He still gets upset every time I get my hair cut and we normally have a terrible argument. This has went on for years. Last year he called me "Bob" and said he didn't know if he could stand to look at me until it grew out. This is the verbal abuse I am talking about. This is what our family has seen. This is what my DIL doesn't want her daughter to be exposed to.

Anger management? He did go to the local mental health center for this and had workbooks, but he felt this wasn't helping him so he quit. He changed psychiatrists and for the past year, has improved drastically. His anger is much better. He is really more a loner now. I really deep inside don't have hard feelings toward my DIL because I know what we have all been through as a family, as I am beginning to understand more why she feels the way she does. I try not to discuss anything with my son, as he doesn't seem to want to discuss any of this. I do tell him sometimes about his dad and his current treatment, and he just listens & says nothing. Our youngest son left home because he and his dad weren't getting along. It was both their faults I guess, but more his dad's fault. My DH was too controling and had our son's phone disconnected (because it was in OUR name and HE could do it) without even talking to him about it, because he talked on the phone too much to his girlfriend and said he never wanted to help cut the grass. He has asthma and I never felt like he should be cutting grass, but my DH said I was "taking his side" and not supporting him. One morning our son was in his bedroom, his dad went in his room and knocked his nightstand over. He was on the phone with his girlfriend and his dad told him to get off the phone and cut the grass. We were paying his car payment and his insurance and his dad felt like he was freeloading. Believe me, everything we did for him, his dad threw it up in his face. Our son was going to college and working a part time job after he got out of school. His dad constantly told him he wasn't working enough hours, that "David goes to college and works twice the hours you do" (a young boy who works for him). He even told my son to his face that he would never make it through college and was always threatening to take the car away from him. Neither one of our sons have a good relationship with their dad. He said when they turned 18, he thought they didn't need him anymore. When they come to visit, he never hugs them, pat them on the back, nothing. I asked him why he couldn't give his sons a hug and he said he felt "gay" doing this. Now that our son is gone, he has now turned his comments toward me, constantly asking "did you get your 4 hours in today?" and just laughs. Many days I work 6 or 7 hours, but to him, it's always "4 hours". He doesn't seem to realize that he hurts people's feelings. We're truly a dysfunctional family. Now I don't concentrate so much on him as I used to live every day for him. Now I realize I can do nothing except to be as good a wife as I can. Now I want to focus on being a grandmother. I appreciate all your comments.I was making a difference in the way I treat my youngest son and my son and DIL's family. I realize this is wrong. Thanks for making me more aware of this. I also like what you said about being a grandmother in a home, as you did it from the back seat of a car. I know I can have a good relationship with my granddaughter. Maybe things won't ever improve with my son & DIL, but at least they say we are welcome in their home and since I am welcome, I will be visiting my granddaughter more. My husband has been very depressed lately and I know it's the Xmas season. He does attend depression meetings at the hospital, but sometimes there are only 3 to 4 people there. I believe what he needs is what someone mentioned above, a good behavioral therapist. I am going to check into this and see how much this costs.

It is a hard life to live with someone depressed. I used to think depression was just all in one's mind, but since I went to work for an insurance co., and see all these disability claims due to depression and I live with it every day, I know depresion is a real thing. I will not allow him to bring me down with him. He doesn't even want to put up a tree or any Xmas decorations. No way! The tree is up and the garland goes up tomorrow. He can be Scrooge and I'll be the Xmas caroler!

    Bookmark   December 12, 2001 at 12:02AM
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ferrifamily_yahoo_com they say...the plot thickens. Your DIL probably doesn't want her child exposed to your DH's temper. If your son exhibits similar behaviour he could have learned it rather than inherited it. Living with verbal abuse is a terrible thing for children, even if it's just watching their mother be insulted and they aren't on the receiving end themselves. He may have shared stories with his wife that have coloured her decision. It's probably not because of you that they won't leave their child with you but because of DH. Unfortunately it's not easy to believe someone will change when they've behaved a certain way all your reality it's unlikely he really will change. To tell you the truth...I would have trouble leaving my kids with someone I know is likely to scare them with his words and temper even if a sweet and loving grandma was there to protect them.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2001 at 7:13AM
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I have to be honest... I would have trouble leaving my kids there too. My husbands mother doesn't try to be a grandmother to my kids :( She doesn't even call on their bdays let alone send a card (I don't even expect a gift) I also don't think that my kids would be safe with my dh's family as they think that a 2 year old is fine out playing by themselves and a 5 year old can play out in the neighborhood all day (not what I want for my kids) without checking on him.

I think her mother was out of line for trying to put the baby to bed when you were suppose to be babysitting (back in 95) She probably had heard a lot from her daughter and thought she would get the baby to sleep before she left (she overstepped her bounds imho)

If I was you I would stop and see your grandchildren as much as possible. Have you asked to take them to McDonalds? You don't have to stay for hours whenever you go see your grandchildren.. take a game and go play with them for an hour or so. Just love them. As they get older they may ask to go places with you and your dh.

Your son probably has told his wife everything about how your dh treated him when he was younger and he probably partially resents you for staying with your dh and allowing him to treat his sons that way. Although your sons will always love you they will partly blame you if you stood back and allowed your dh to verbally abuse them, ridicule them, etc just so your dh didn't turn on you (by saying you never take his side)

Your younger son may end up the same way if his wife doesn't want her kids exposed to the same situation. Good luck and I hope that it all works out for you. You sound like a very lovely woman/grandmother and just keep being that way. You may not get your grandchildren alone but that doesn't mean that you can't be a grandmother.

As far as the Dog goes.. I wouldn't let my children stay somewhere where there was a dog that attacked them either (I am sorry to say that but how is your dil to know that the dog won't get loose again? I know that accidents do happen and that it was something that you wouldn't want to happen but then we learn from them and try not to repeat them. :( Good luck!!

    Bookmark   December 12, 2001 at 9:07AM
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I wouldn't let my kids stay there either. My FIL made a racist comment in front of my son once and I immediately left and told him that another comment like that and I'd never leave my children alone with them again.

My kids are my first priority and I would never allow them to be in an environment where they were exposed to hearing such hatred from someone they admire and love.

Melissa_M's comments sound like your best solution at this point. Go see them and spend time with them at their house. Let your DIL do what she needs to do and just enjoy those grandchildren. As they get older they may start asking to go to your house since they have such a wonderful time with you at their home.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2001 at 10:26AM
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I do not think you are a bad person, but I wouldn't leave my kids in a place where there was:

1. A dog that attacked them
2. An abusive atmosphere
3. An unreliable adult (your husband) in charge of the kids

Like other posters have said you cannot control your husband's disease, nor can you control his behavior. Since those are most likely the cause of your DIL's refusal to allow the kids to stay at your house you must realize that there is NOTHING you can do about it. She is not being unreasonable and you can't remedy the situation at your house.

So-the next best thing to do is to have a relationship with your grandchildren at their house. You can control your relationship with them and I suggest you make the best of it and enjoy them. When they get older your DIL may change her mind. I'm sorry you are in a bad situation, but I hope you can act to make the best of it.


    Bookmark   December 12, 2001 at 10:53AM
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Ok, your recent post explaining things changes the whole picture. I was ready to say how rude your DIL was and what an ungrateful wimp your son was, but now things are different. I too don't think you are a bad person. I believe you have a lot to offer your GD, however, I tend to agree with your DIL as far as staying there. Your son probably relayed everything you know to his wife and maybe even some things you don't know. He obviously was not happy at home with your DH and will not subject his daughter to him. He may have seen you as not the bad person, but as the person who enabled your DH to do this. Children only have one line of protection and that is their parents. If one parent is being somewhat cruel and other does nothing, then where does he turn. This is an unfortunate situation, but you can work on making it better. Little by little get into her life by yourself. Call and ask if you can come by. Eventually turn it into a trip to McDonalds and then maybe it can be more. I think you have a great attitude towards your DH. Many people would have just turned him off. However, you need to live your life and have your relationship with others also. If he can't make those relationships pleasant ones, then just do it yourself. Good Luck to you.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2001 at 11:20AM
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The new information you give us does change things. Before it just seemed like your DIL did this stuff with no explanation and it made me wonder about her. Obviously a lot happened to you and your family over the years because of your husband's illness. Your DIL isn't doing all this to hurt you or even your husband, she's protecting her kids. My mother had some big problems when our son was first born and we didn't allow her to see him either. We just didn't know if we could trust her. That's horrible to think or have to deal with but your children mean so much to you and you don't want soemthing to happen.

It's nice that you try to stand by your husband but it doesn't sound like you were or are happy with your life. I wouldn't stay in a relationship like that and especially if I saw how it was hurting my children. There are a lot of things your kids had to deal with and they're protecting their children.

Good luck.


    Bookmark   December 12, 2001 at 12:17PM
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I am sorry the post was so long, but I wanted to explain more in detail so no one in particular would be blamed. I sometimes do blame my DH and then again I start feeling sorry for him because of his depression. Sometimes I feel like my hands are tied, and just don't know what to do. My DIL seldom calls us anymore and she used to call me all the time. I guess I need to work on being a better mother in law where she will want to call me, and also spend more time being a grandmother.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2001 at 6:44PM
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I have become very confused reading all of your posts. Your OP says "Our youngest son is wonderful to us and thinks they treat us terrible." Today you tell us "Neither one of our sons have a good relationship with their dad." Which is it, wonderful or not? Also, you told us today that your youngest son moved out and doesn't have a good relationship with his dad. On the Building a Home forum you tell us that you have given your son an acre on your property and are helping him to build there. This doesn't make sense to me. On that forum you seem like the relationships are wonderful, it's just the financing that is causing problems. I tend to think there is a lot more going on than you are telling us.

As long as I am talking about confusion with your posts, I'm also having trouble following the post on the homebuilding forum about you not wanting the neighbor with the trailer to be near your home.

Hope I didn't offend you, but there are lots of conflicting statements in your posts.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2001 at 7:27PM
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You also stated in your post about wanting a smaller house in October "If we have grandchildren in the future, I want to quit work and be a full-time grandmother". This post has been about the fact that your DIL doesn't let you see your grandaughter like you would like to. You've told us about the dog biting her, her other grandaughter putting her to sleep and that she was born in 1995. On other forums you claim to be without granchildren. Which is it?

    Bookmark   December 12, 2001 at 7:48PM
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Lisa, I can see where you are confused. When I said our youngest son "treats us wonderful", I mean he calls every night, he visits frequently, we go out to eat together, he calls when I'm sick, etc. He does things a son should do to show love. Our oldest son seldom calls us, seldom comes to visit, never knows when we've been gone a week on vacation, etc. I should have said he treats "me" wonderful. His dad rarely calls either one of our sons, until I remind him he hasn't called them in months. He doesn't even know our youngest son's home phone number. Maybe this is just a man thing, but something I'm not used to.

Re: the one acre. This acre of land was given to our son strictly by me, not my DH. For years, I have asked my DH to sell this big house so we could get out of debt before retirement, and we could pay cash for a nicer/smaller home. We had this one acre to build on. He said he would NEVER build a house on that lot and to never ask him again (we had this land surveyed as two lots and this one acre is a corner lot and he doesn't like corner lots). One day when our youngest son was visiting, I said, "why don't you build on this acre and start building up equity in a home, and quit paying rent?" I was surprised when he later called me and said he did want to build on this acre. Surprised because he left our home because he couldn't get along with his dad (a combination of youth on his part and depression/anger on DH's part). I felt like I was doing something good; to help him get a start in life. I won't even go into the negative comments I have heard from my DH (my son knows nothing about these comments and never will, but I'm sure he knows his dad has said things. He doesn't need to know "words" that would hurt him that come from a mentally ill person. He even asked me not to tell him anything negative his dad said. I know his dad is happy for him, as he walks over to the land daily to see what progress is being made, and today wanted to buy him a refrigerator for his home, and that's a lot of money. (This is what depression does to you; the mood swings. I never know when he's going to have a good day or a bad day). I have learned to realize that a lot of things he says, I know he doesn't mean or doesn't realize what he is saying. I also have learned not to get hurt so much over his words and a lot of times I ignore what he says. How else would I be able to live with him so long? LOL!

Re. the comment: "neither one of our sons have a good relationship with their father", that is very true! Neither one of our sons would go to their dad with any problem they have. I don't call that a "good" relationship, do you? A son can treat a parent "wonderful", and still not have a good relationship. By "good" relationship, I mean a "close" relationship. There is no doubt he loves his dad, but the closeness I have with my sons, he doesn't have this. I think this is because of his depression and the mood swings brought on by depression.

Re: grandchildren. I don't think I have posted anywhere that I am "without" grandchildren. I would never deny my grandchildren. I may not get to see them much at my house, but I have a 6 yr. old granddaughter and a 15 mo. old grandson. I think you are confused as when I said "I want to build a smaller home and be a grandmother", I meant I will finally get to be a "grandmother" when my youngest son has children, to be able to paint the spare bedroom pink or blue, and put a swing set in my yard. (Of course, all this depends on my DH's behavior; and whether they can even have children. He is real close to his fiance & I see a wedding next year. She is moving to his new home as well.)

Last summer we went to one of our granddaughter's ballgames and my DH was going to walk to the concession stand with her. Our DIL pitched a fit and told me "she is NEVER to go anywhere with him!" I felt this very rude, and I don't know who heard her. You could see the concession stand from where we were standing, it was very close. She asked him to go with her to get some bubble gum. In Feb. our youngest son invited me to go the circus with them, as he was taking our granddaughter to the circus. Our son said, Mom, I know you have talked so much about wanting to go to the circus, Barnum & Bailey. I said, sure. When our DIL got to his apartment with our granddaughter, she refused to speak to me! I had done nothing to her. She told our son in the parking lot before they came inside that "she wasn't told I was going". This upset me so much, I couldn't hold the tears back. She stormed in his apartment, totally ignoring me, and they left after she told our son "we will be here to pick her up". I told them "oh, there's no reason for you to have to get out at 12:00. I'll drop her off." I followed them to their car, she got in with our grandson, and I asked my oldest son, "why can't I bring her home?" He just said we'll come get her, and he got in the car and left. He seemed embarassed, and he didn't know what to say to me. He had to do what she said, regardless of who it hurt, and just left me standing there in the parking lot. Since this circus incident, I have not been to their house much.

So there is more than one side to all this mess - my DH's depression and behavior and my DIL's control/anger, sometimes unwarranted by both of them, and me just going with the flow.

I hope this helps clear up any confusion. I am just trying to live one day at a time, not knowing what tomorrow will bring. I am not unhappy in my marriage as someone has suggested. We have a lot of wonderful days and a lot of good times together. I am unhappy mostly because of this difficult situation and longing to be a grandmother. I just wasn't willing to "give" if they weren't going to "give", but after reading these replies, I don't feel like I have any other choice. Maybe if I give first and show them more love, they will slowly start caring more.

All the replies I have received has helped me realize that unless I change myself, I am going to be missing out on a lot of closeness with my grandchildren and I would have no one to blame except myself. There are many days I get off work early and I could head toward my DIL's house. I say I have no hard feelings toward her, but I have a lot of resentment, so I just stay away. My DH works both Sats. & Suns. and I have plenty of time.

p.s. I have never asked if I could take our granddaughter to McDonalds or anywhere with just the two of us because I have always felt guilty doing that behind my husband's back, as I know he would never be allowed to do this. I feel like that would be mistreating him by me doing that, so maybe I need to change my way of thinking on this.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2001 at 12:58AM
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I think is the post from building a home forum that made it seem that you didn't have any grand children

QUOTE: I am enjoying working part-time and he doesn't know it "yet", but if we have grandchildren in the future, I want to quit work & be a full time grandmother. This is where my heart is. Now I just have to convince him that he would be happier with a smaller but very nice home. When he starts talking retiring in two years, he is the one who has me wanting to downsize. :END QUOTE

Thank you for taking the time to explain it even though you didn't have to. I think someone is taking your posts too literally in taking them apart. You didn't say if we ever have any grandkids.. you just said if we have grandkids. It is easy to not type the more in there when you are posting. :) Good luck!!!

    Bookmark   December 15, 2001 at 12:07PM
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Sorry, but I wasn't trying to be too critical. Just trying to figure it all out. I frequent the homebuilding forum and happen to be from Mississippi, do the name Downsouth was one that was easy for me to remember. After reading the posts in the homebuilding forum I had this picture of her family in my mind. I pictured a sweet little lady that couldn't wait to have grandchildren. They were even dividing their land so that their children could be near them. I thought of my own life growing up between my grandmother's house and my cousin's house---one big, happy family spending lots of time together. I thought this must be what she is planning to have in the future. Then, suddenly I see posts on here from this same sweet little lady talking about her 6 year old grandchild and the sons that don't get along with their dad. It just didn't add up and I wanted to find out more so that we could help her.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2001 at 2:01PM
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I also want to say on Lisa's defense that there have been a lot of false posts lately and I can see where a lot of stuff wasn't adding up. :) That's the problem with these computers lol.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2001 at 2:23PM
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Thanks Amy. I agree with you about the fake posts, but I never doubted the validity of Downsouth. Her posts weren't of the same nature as the fake ones. Also, she was posting on the homebuilding forum and was too knowledgable (sp?). It just seems she could use some advice on lots of different topics but needed to explain things a little better to us. I think she has so much going on (wanting to move to a smaller house, a depressed DH, a difficult DIL, building her son's home, wanting to be a grandma, problems with her sons,problems with her neighbors, etc.) that it is probably difficult to know where to start and when you have explained it all. Hope we can all be of help.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2001 at 3:02PM
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You can't change other people but you can change how YOU react to them.

Just my opinion, but there are no ideal families. Stop reading the Hallmark cards. This is the situation you have been delt with in life....It is what it is. You can either make something positive of it for your self your you can be unhappy. Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2001 at 8:32PM
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Banana, I like your post. That is exactly what I have been doing - reading the Hallmark cards, LOL! Actually, what I have been trying to do is have the kind of family life like Leave It to Beaver. That's the type of family life I grew up with. I agree with you that I have to accept the situation I am in, as I don't see it changing and make the best of it. Maybe everyone is wanting me to be the adult role model and I've shut myself up in a cocoon. After reading all the posts, I'm the one that needs to change.

As far as "fake" posts, how do you know they are fake? Why would anyone want to do that?

    Bookmark   December 16, 2001 at 9:56AM
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There are lots of fake posts. People will go into the parenting forums or really any of them, but mostly not the help ones like computer help or crafts, and make up a scenario. They pretend they are someone they aren't for attention. I don't understand why you would feel you have to lie to get attention about a fake life you don't have either. Really how can you get the attention you crave from something made up is beyond me and many others but there are people who get their kicks out of it. They also make up things to start arguements with controversial topics. Usually you can spot these people if you really do good at paying attention to their details. At some point they show themselves. I always remember this quote I once read somewhere, "It's easier to tell the truth because when you lie you can't remember all the details you told." Don't worry, too much about the dishonest ones, though. Most times they don't say anything that will truly hurt you and someone will point out in their posts that they are a fake.


    Bookmark   December 16, 2001 at 10:50AM
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Leslie, I guess I am so nieve and shielded, I would probably be surprised at a lot of things that go on in this world. This post has been a blessing to me. It has helped me realize that the solution (as far as helping ME), lies within myself. If I wait for my DH to change, I will be mising out on the chance to be a grandmother to their children. I just turned 52 so I'm no young chick anymore. I feel guilty that I probably could bring her to our home, but I would have to bring her back to their home "before my husband gets home" (DIL's words). If I did this, I feel torn apart about hurting my DH and feel like I am doing something behind his back. How could I ever tell him "I had her at the house until you got home, then I had to take her back home". I am in somewhat of a predictament. Of course, I don't have to tell him at all but he would eventually know. I have learned from all these posts that whether she's at my house or my son's house, that it's not whose house she is at, but that she gets to know how much I love her and that I enjoy being with her. If I get the nerve up to bring her to my house, it would be for us to bake cookies, read stories and have time with her with just the two of us.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2001 at 10:32PM
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