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To be really upset with my parents?

(108 Posts)
flightyskirt Mon 21-Jan-13 15:43:26

2 weekends ago my children went to stay with my parents while me and my partner did some decorating at home. When we went to pick them up we were in the living room having a cup of tea with the whole family when there was a bit of a kerfuffle - one child skipped across the floor and the other moved his chair back at the same time. Somehow a large vase was accidentally knocked off a shelf right in front of us and smashed. (I still don't really know how it happened - fairly freak accident). My mother was beside herself as it is a vase she has had for many years (much sentimental value although not monetary). We all jumped into action clearing up but my mother had started blaming my eldest (10 years old) who got very upset as my mother was shouting and crying. She said things like 'it was my favourite thing in the world' and 'I've had it for over 30 years.' which only made my child more upset. When my child tried to say sorry she was told it wasn't enough, and that she didn't mean it (she was still crying at this time). We decided that the best thing to do was to leave. It was impossible to console my mother as she was so hostile - although when I left I said I was sorry and that I hoped she could mend it - she said - 'Oh no we'll take it down the dump'.

I called my parents a week later as I hadn't heard from them, left a message but didn't hear back. A few days later my Dad called and said that he thought that my eldest should e-mail my mum with an apology. I didn't really agree, as I felt they had been through enough, but I said I would think about it. However as a family we decided to make a card and send it from all of us saying 'sorry about your vase'. I was going to send it today but I got another call from my Dad last night asking me where the e-mail was and then a whole tirade of abuse that I didn't respect their feelings. I countered that although it may have had sentimental value there was no need to make a child feel that bad when it had clearly been an accident, and no--one was sure how it had happened anyway. My Dad told me that me and my child were both drama queens and that we needed to face up to our responsibility. I however think that peoples' feelings (a 10 year olds' particularly) are more important than a piece of clay. I'm now really upset as I've not rowed like that with my Dad since I was a teenager. AIBU?

BarbarianMum Wed 23-Jan-13 11:24:43

OP I would like to retract my previous post, which I wrote under the impression that your mum had a one-off bad reaction to the (accidental) breakage of something precious to her.

It is clear from your subsequent posts that your parents reaction to this is not quite normal <massive understatement>. You were absolutely right to stand up for your daughter. And Whereyouleftit is right, it is not normal for everything to be imbued with huge emotional value so chances are they lied and just used it as a stick to beat you with. sad

gotthemoononastick Wed 23-Jan-13 11:38:32

So glad you sent the card.She is probably feeling a bit embarrased and guilty now.Your Dad's reaction I find strange.Broke something ancient and sentimental myself the other day and wailed and wept too.After a while quite glad I needn't look after it anymore.Dh nearly started ww3,though ,wanting to frame a shard for me!!Poor little girl needs to forget about the whole episode now!

examiner99 Wed 23-Jan-13 11:48:22

My mum was really nasty to DD3 when she was about 4, she can't remember it but all the rest of us do, it definitely changed the children's relationship with her. Sounds like your mum is playing a risky mind-game here... or she may be ill?

flightyskirt Thu 24-Jan-13 21:29:02

Well my mum got the card and called here yesterday. DH picked up the phone and she asked immediately to speak to DD (no niceties wasted on DH). During this conversation my DH (who listened in!) said DM had a very strange patronising voice on. She said she was proud of DD and asked if DD wanted to say anything to her. DD didn't get it and said something unrelated. DM said she had been very upset and asked if DD would come and stay again. "do you promise?" then she said I forgive you. Asked 'do you want to say anything back to me?' Then she said 'I'm sorry..... that you didn't come and hug me when you said goodbye.' Basically a lot of weird emotional stuff and no hint of an apology from her. I'm still waiting for my own apology for the horrid calls from my Dad but I guess I'll be waiting a LONG time. At least she has picked up the phone but it's all on her terms as usual....

Katisha Thu 24-Jan-13 21:50:56

Good god the woman is milking it. You need to pick up that phone and tell her to bloody well STOP trying to play mind games with your daughter. Why on earth are you letting it go unchallenged?

I would limit contact with your weird parents. Not just for the sake of your DDs but for your sake too.

myBOYSareBONKERS Thu 24-Jan-13 22:28:24

I think after that awful phonecall that you need to decide if you are going to put your child in harms way. What your parents are doing is nasty and any decent parent would do all they could to limit unnecessary negative influences.

You decide if you want to expose your own child to the emotional trauma of her grandparents.

CheeseStrawWars Fri 25-Jan-13 09:04:50

Agree with myBOYs. I hope you've already had a conversation with your DD about "how Grandma behaved when the vase got broken was not okay"... and that you have another conversation with DD to explain that the conversation that woman had on the phone with your child was also not normal/okay. Unless you want her internalising the message that it's her job to take on responsibility for other people's issues and to pander to emotional manipulation - that way lies an anxious, people-pleasing adult who can't stick up for themselves - you need to lead by example and, for the sake of her self-esteem, stick up for your kid!

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