aibu or is this emotional blackmail

(40 Posts)
Dontunderstand01 Mon 20-Apr-15 13:18:13

Have posted about myfamily before as I am trying to work through some issues with them. Very long story short, have lived 4 hrs away from home due to husbands job for over 10 years. I visit my family at least 4 times a year and every Christmas. I ring my mum at least 2 or 3 times a week, text her every day. She is retired. Dad still works. They live close to my sister.

Every time we speak my mum mentions missing my son (10 months), I try and say something along the lines of 'we miss you too, but we'll see you in xx number of weeks'. They have been to visit twice since ds was born, both times for one night. One time was because they could fit it in on the way back from their hols.

Today she came out with "please remind ds who his nana is". In a very plaintive voice.

I went to see her at easter (4 days), going for her birthday in june. Visiting in summer hols. She has not mentioed coming here despite me asking several times. My dad just took a week off to do decorating! Visiting us is just not on their agenda. Which is fair enough, but surely comments like that are emotional blackmail? I work btw, 3 days a week, and dh is full time.

RupertsGirlGroom Mon 20-Apr-15 13:27:32

I'd say it was emotional blackmail...... Buuuut, I have photos of my far away relatives and show them to ds so when they do visit thry are not strangers, just those faces from the photos. I think you can buy baby proof photo albums too for them to look at.

Brandysnapper Mon 20-Apr-15 13:29:51

It does seem very one sided. Maybe you could, equally plaintively, say "ds is wondering why nana never comes to visit him"

Fabulassie Mon 20-Apr-15 13:34:54

Brandysnapper nailed it.

NorahDentressangle Mon 20-Apr-15 13:36:50

That's quite a lot of contact - what do you find to say? maybe I am just a miserable loner

SnuggleTrouble Mon 20-Apr-15 13:37:31

I would say it is but then if it was my family I would reply with 'he knows who you are don't be so silly' or 'your welcome to visit us if your missing him' only the first time it was said though if similar things kept getting said repeatedly I'd have to pull the offender up for being so melodramatic.

Quitelikely Mon 20-Apr-15 13:41:32

She is only saying she misses him. Can't she say that to you?

Lottapianos Mon 20-Apr-15 13:47:47

'Which is fair enough, but surely comments like that are emotional blackmail?'

Trust your gut OP. In some families, comments like that would be seen as jokey and nothing to worry about. That's clearly not how it feels for you. I would feel the same as you do. Some parents of adult children expect them to do all of the visiting and its really unfair. My parents and in laws are the same - virtually never darken our doorway but complain that they don't see enough of us.

It sounds to me like you are in touch with them and visit a lot, and have nothing to feel guilty about. If they want to see more of you, they know where you are.

DisappointedOne Mon 20-Apr-15 13:54:42

Could you Skype?

Dontunderstand01 Mon 20-Apr-15 14:40:10

She can absolutely sayshe misses him, but she can also try to resolve that by visiting herself. She is retired.

I do tell him about his family and must sort out the photos. We have asjed them to skype as we do it weekly with my dh's family. They didn't really seem to get it tbh. I will ask them about it and see what they say. The only time we did it they insisted on standing on the landing (lots of light apparenty) and holding the tablet at arms length rather than resting it on anything. My dad didn't say much but kinda smirked throughout. They haven't mentioned again, despite us dtopping it in to conversation.

fulltothebrim Mon 20-Apr-15 14:51:09

It is sad when families are separated by distance.

My sister emigrated abroad many years ago- our mother was devastated. THey phone and send photographs, but it is not the same.
My mother has great grandchildren that she has never met, and possibly never meet.

Dontunderstand01 Mon 20-Apr-15 17:13:08

It is kind of sad, I never expected i would still be here after 11 years. But, we are a 4 hour drive away, still in the uk, If I were in oz or nz I could understand. But she is retired, has the means to travel, but likes her home comforts too much to see me or my ds.

Meechimoo Mon 20-Apr-15 17:19:08

She's being highly manipulative and passive aggressive. I can't believe the posters who think she's 'just missing him and it's an innocent comment for her to make. Bull shit. She's trying to make you feel guilty. She's pissed off at you and can't just have it out with you because she knows that would be entirely unfair and unreasonable. So to satisfy her irrational pissed offedness she's trying to make you feel bad.

DisappointedOne Mon 20-Apr-15 18:42:25

DH's family don't blackmail, but they don't bother. Even skyping is too much effort. I'm done trying now. They know where we are.

Ragwort Mon 20-Apr-15 18:49:07

She does sound very passive aggressive about it all - we lived seven or eight hours away from my parents when DS was born and Mum (in her late 70s at the time) would frequently trek across the country to visit us - Dad less often as they are quite 'indpendent' & are happy to do their own thing. One time they had great fun deciding to do it all on their free bus pass grin. But I am fortunate that my parents are very 'out going' and love adventures - Dad is standing for the local council at 85 grin.

Quite honestly I think you are a saint to text daily & 'phone so frequently.

NorahDentressangle Tue 21-Apr-15 01:20:26

Only thing that might put her off visiting is if you are working. How would she spend her day?

You could try telling her that if you were out you would be happy if she read a book to pass the time, prepared dinner, hoovered round, whatever. Then that isn't an excuse.

WhereYouLeftIt Tue 21-Apr-15 02:11:13

"Every time we speak my mum mentions missing my son (10 months), I try and say something along the lines of 'we miss you too, but we'll see you in xx number of weeks'. They have been to visit twice since ds was born, both times for one night. One time was because they could fit it in on the way back from their hols."

Maybe you need some new responses? 'We miss you too' isn't really cutting it IMO.
How about :

- You can't be missing him that much or you'd come and visit him.
- I wouldn't have to remind him if you came to see him more often.
- We're not missing you at all with your whiny insincerity.

Too harsh? Maybe.

I live 6 hours from 'home', and to her credit my mother would usually ask 'and how's my wee fella doing?'. Because it was all about her grandson, not about her. Whereas your mother seems to be making it all about her.

Lymmmummy Tue 21-Apr-15 21:40:27

Definitely passive aggressive - I have been put in these types of situations and often it's very difficult to respond at the time the person makes the remark - and it's very frustrating -

I do agree with the other suggestions that's it's helpful to have a few ready made responses in your back pocket for when it happens again - or perhaps be a bit more bold and ask her to visit you.

I think you are also perhaps making a rod for your own back by going to quite so much effort in visiting her as this may lead to her gaining a sense of expectation/ entitlement that the effort should come solely from you - when the effort needs to be shared - and in fact she is the one who is retired and without commitments

Dontunderstand01 Tue 21-Apr-15 22:09:39

Meechimoo, you are right, it is passive aggressive.

disappointed, that is is awful. Their loss I am sure,

Ragwort, your parents sound like they have a lot of character! I hope I am like that when I am older. I don't want to follow in my parents footsteps.

Norah, I work parttime, so I have two days of the week off. But yes, I could help by suggesting something.

whereyouleftit, it is probably harder than I can manage because I am a wimp! But I deifintely need to say something, otherwise I can't really complain.

Lymmummy, I think you are right about the bisits and making a rod for my own back. I went at easter, I will go again for her birthday in june. If she wants to see me between those dates then our door is always open.

thank you so much for the advice, mnetters always come through.

5Foot5 Tue 21-Apr-15 23:04:32

Today she came out with "please remind ds who his nana is". In a very plaintive voice

How about:

"If you took the trouble to get in the car and come and visit us you could remind him yourself"

lertgush Wed 22-Apr-15 02:03:41

It's emotional blackmail. Give it right back next time you talk to her. I bet she doesn't like it...

Wibblypiglikesbananas Wed 22-Apr-15 02:39:05

My DM used to do similar when we moved down south. We visited as often as we could, she came to us rarely. Then we moved overseas - now she really has something to complain about... The real irony was that when we decided to move overseas, when we were weighing up whether to go for it or not, one of the reasons 'for' was that we didn't see her much anyway! You reap what you sow. DH's parents are way more involved in our children's lives as they make the effort, constant Skyping and visits and invitations to stay. DM could do the same, is retired with no money worries, but chooses not to. Who knows why? It's hurtful.

Ragwort Wed 22-Apr-15 07:14:22

Has she told you exactly why she won't visit you, and have you explicitly asked her to visit? IE: Please could you come and stay for a few days in May?

Let her explain - leave her to do the talking ie: does she look after an elderly relative? Is it the thought of the actual journey? Is she a shy person who finds staying in someone's house awkward? Does she get on with your partner/DH?

Try and call her bluff - ask her for her precise reasons why she hasn't come to see her grandson?

Griphook Wed 22-Apr-15 07:46:21

Keep telling her it's her turn, I think you need to be frank with her and tell her she needs to takes some of the traveling on board.

MissPenelopeLumawoo2 Wed 22-Apr-15 07:56:08

'Why don't you remind him yourself Mum, we are free next weekend if you would like to visit'

Just keep saying variations of that until she either comes to visit or stops going on about it.

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