Return to the Parents Forum | Post a Follow-Up

 o
Another Child's side of estrangement-Should We Make Contact?

Posted by redkatflorida (My Page) on
Fri, Sep 12, 08 at 14:41

My Husbands parents told my Husband 4 yrs ago to "just stay the F*** away"! We have been married for 16 years this December and we have 18 & 14 year old Sons. There were many similar things like the ones below that led up to this, I will tell 3 of the main ones.

When our Sons were younger we were pretty picky about their upbringing & safety. The Grandparents wanted to take our youngest Son to "Celebration Station" who at the time was between a car booster seat & a seat belt. Although he was old enough to be in a seat belt, he was smaller then other kids his age & his weight/height was not safe for the seatbelt(he was born premature at 28 wks gstn)We told them to make sure they used the booster seat and the Grandma (my Mother n Law) said it was ridiculous that we were making him sit in a booster seat at his age, plus they didn't like the booster seat pressing into their leather seats in the car. This was just one of the many situations like this one, questioning our parenting decisions. We told them that they could forget taking him if they weren't going to honor our wishes. They thought we were horrible for doing that.

During the Holidays they would have people over at their house, but would voice who they wanted & who they didn't. They didn't like my Mom who suffered from Depression, High Blood Pressure & Perscription drug problems. She had her problems with being a little eccentric, but she was still my Mom & loved her Family. My Mom lived alone, divorced from my Dad. They invited my Dad & Brother, but they said my Mom couldn't come (this was Thanksgiving). My Husband & I were very poor at the time & couldn't really afford hosting a Thanksgiving meal. Our older Son was 4 & our youngest was just home from the hospital neonatal unit after 2 months being in there. We were upset & my Husband was torn at the time between this part of his family & ours. We both came together and decided to host a "peasant potluck" for Thanksgiving, that way everyone would share in the expenses and we would invite everyone including my Mother & Father-n-law & my Mom. We weren't going to shut anyone out. They responded by saying that they were not going to come to a Thanksgiving dinner celebration called a "peasant potluck", so they didn't come.

The final beaker-When my Husband & I had been married about 11 years we went through a separation that lasted 4 months. They seized on it and were thrilled to be rid of me. My Husband & I still communicated during this time and we grew from it and got back together stronger then ever. We went over to His Parents house for Easter even though it was difficult for me because of all the horrible things they and his Sister & Brother had said about me & my Mom (my Mom had passed away by this time). I knew it was important to my Husband so I went their with good intentions to make amends. When I was in the kitchen talking to his Mom I looked over on the refrigerator and noticed a note that had a derogatory name by my name & business that I owned at the time. I was saddened, upset to say the least. All this happened while the Mom is still talking to me like nothing was going on. She didn't know I saw it. I told my Husband & we quietly said our goodbyes since it was towards the end of the evening. My Husband called them that evening to talk about what we saw and they denied it saying it was my Husbands Brother who wrote it & we shouldn't be so upset. She hung up the phone. I called back to help them understand why this hurt so bad & my Mother-n-law was rude & uncaring about it. She put his Dad on the phone & he told me to "just shut up", "just shut up" and he hung up the phone. My Husband called back & his Mother put his Dad on the phone and told my Husband that if he didn't apologize to his Mom for accusing her that we needed to stay the F*** away.

They have Grandchildren they haven't seen for 4 years. They never have made any attempt to contact any of us. My Husbands Brother & Sister have also not made an attempt to contact him. As for my Husband & I we are in a very close & loving relationship, raising our kids, without them. The rift it caused between my Husband & myself before has completely gone and our relationship has gotten stronger. However, I understand the loss my Husband feels not having the Family he once shared a home & growing up with. Since all of this his Parents moved out of town. (I have tracked their current address recently online)to see where they live. I told my Husband because it has come up over the years, especially around the Holidays. I don't want to be the one to stop them from reuniting, but I am afraid of the negativity that could creep in if they were to enter back into our lives. He hasn't written a letter yet & isn't sure if he wants to. Our Son's are used to not having the relationship anymore.

I personally can't understand cutting a child out of your life under these circumstances, especially the Grandchildren. My Husband is such a good & kind person, hard working, morally sound, with great integrity. They are losing a great deal here. We feel the loss too. All & all, not a great feeling. Any feedback or advice for any of us would be appreciated.


Follow-Up Postings:

 o
RE: Another Child's side of estrangement-Should We Make Contact?

I have been married all of my adult life and have never invited in laws to my home for holidays. By in laws I mean my son in law or daughter in law's parents. No one in my family has as far as I know. There were way to many as it was, I would never have started that. If my daughter in law had a single mother, it would be the daughter in law's responsibility to have a dinner for her at their home.


 o
RE: Another Child's side of estrangement-Should We Make Contact?

That wasn't very helpful, Stargazzer.
By contrast, my parents and my inlaws gladly invited "the other side" to family gatherings. In any case, in this specific instance while I can see that Redkat's ILs didn't care for her mother, it was wrong to "pick and choose" and exclude her specifically but invite RedKat's father and brother.
Frankly, they sound like toxic people and in RedKat's shoes I would feel like I had dodged a bullet if they didn't want anything to do with me. I think at this point her best bet would be to give her husband their address, tell him, "I'll support you in whatever you decide" and leave it at that until something else develops, if it does. Counselling may also help both of them to decide which way they want to go. But, assuming that RedKat and husband haven't moved or changed phone numbers, the ILs telling them to "stay the F away" and not making any attempt to contact them for four years is a pretty good indication they're not interested in pursuing the relationship.


 o
RE: Another Child's side of estrangement-Should We Make Contact?

Although having my ILs at my family holiday, or my parents at ILs, is not the norm, it has happened. When it does, it's open and inclusive, not selective. It happens especially now that my ILs spend winters away from all their family, but, as it happens, near my parents. If we attend a family holiday held at my parents, we invite DH's parents. Granted, they are not "joiners" and don't always accept and if they do might not stay long, it's up to them. But I cannot imagine excluding them knowing they have no other family nearby and will be thinking of their son and grandchildren who are so near. No reason there cannot be room for a couple more guests. For a gathering at my parents' home, my parents would welcome anyone I asked them to.

I imagine myself including anyone important to my children at any family gathering when they are adults. I would never want to force them into a position to choose and not see me b/c I wouldn't include someone they asked to invite.

I'm with Colleen. I'd support my DH in whatever he wanted to do and be a team player as needed. If I send cards/pictures announcements to my family, I'd send the same to them. I would not close the door, but I wouldn't go knocking on it either. You miss what you wish you had with them, what you wish your children had. But that's not what you'd get, so don't set yourselves up for more stress.

I hope time brings about some sort of resolution for your family.


 o
RE: Another Child's side of estrangement-Should We Make Contact?

It sounds to me as your IL's want you to "act" the way they want you to act and if you don't well....Oh, and how dare you bring an infraction to their attention? How dare you.
So, do you think that during this separation time things have changed? I doubt it.
I think many a conversation has been had over these past four years of all the "infractions" you and your husband have "caused". They've made sure they've surrounded themselves with only those who agree with their distorted perspective. And believe me the "story" has grown into something you wouldn't even recognize.
No, they're entrenched and have an audience for their pain. Otherwise they would have contacted your family correct?
We have carp like this in my family. Grandchildren thrown to the wind all in the name of righteousness.
Normally I'm a peace maker, but in this instance I say stay away. Lots of SOSO going on (same old same old)
I'm truly sorry you are experiencing this.


 o
RE: Another Child's side of estrangement-Should We Make Contact?

It may not have been very helpful in your opinion, I personally don't think there is any benefit for her to keep worry over things like this. They invite part of her family, but not the other part? There has got to be a reason for that kind of treatment. She needs to make peace with it or stay away.


 o
RE: Another Child's side of estrangement-Shobbuld We Make Contact

It may not have been very helpful in your opinion, I personally don't think there is any benefit for her to keep worry over things like this. They invite part of her family, but not the other part? There has got to be a reason for that kind of treatment. She needs to make peace with it or stay away.


 o
RE: Another Child's side of estrangement-Should We Make Contact?

My mother has been invited to my in laws home and it has made the love I have for them deeper for their kindness and graciousness. If they invited a brother and father they should have included your mother whether they like her or not otherwise don't include anyone. As for whether you should make contact- I think Oprah says it best....when people show you who they are- BELIEVE THEM......


 o
RE: Another Child's side of estrangement-Should We Make Contact?

Tell your husband to send the letter, since he's sad not to have them. Then they can reciprocate or not, up to them. It's not nearly as hard as a phone call to make and he can say whatever he feels. In the end, they will always be your huband's and childrens' family, no matter what. Best wishes, and I'll be thinking about all of you.

Star, in my husband's family, we have a brother who divorced and the ex-wife might be the one to come to the gathering. She is still very accepted. He couldn't care less about us one way or the other. We still accept him if he comes. So they choose their own way and we accept whoever comes. I've had meals with my husband's family, my mother's family, and my father's family with his wife he married after my parents divorced over 30 years ago!, and friends. Any and everyone is/was accepted. And I think that is the name of the game. One can accept a person even the person is toxic. You don't have to like their behavior, but you should still love them.


 o
RE: Another Child's side of estrangement-Should We Make Contact?

"We told them to make sure they used the booster seat and the Grandma said it was ridiculous that we were making him sit in a booster seat at his age, plus they didn't like the booster seat pressing into their leather seats in the car."

1) My daughter, age 6, is 39" tall and 38.3 pounds. She is tiny. It runs in the family. The carseat she came home from the hospital in is still her backup seat. It goes up to 80lbs. Here in CA a child must be in a seat until age 6 or 60lbs. Well, at age 6 she's no where near that weight, so she's still in the car seat. Not tall enough yet for the booster. And yes, I make sure everyone who drives her knows the rules (plus, she can see better from the extra heigth the booster gives her).
2) I had leather seats in my car, I put a fluffy beach towel down first and there were no issues with the leather.

"they were not going to come to a Thanksgiving dinner celebration called a "peasant potluck", so they didn't come."

Their loss. Sounds like fun to me! And a lot more like the first Thanksgiving would have been. Sounds like they missed the point.

That being said, even though we only have one side of the story, it sounds to me that you are justified in feeling angry, hurt, and unwelcome.

Now what do you do? I think Colleen and Rob said it best. Let your husband handle it and be supportive. Let the kids know it's ok to love their grandparents and want to see them. Enable the family to come together, but don't be the instigator. Stick to your guns, only you know what is healthy for your family, and I wish you the best.


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!


Return to the Parents Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Please review our Rules of Play before posting.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.


Learn more about in-text links on this page here