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To try to maintain a relationship with "difficult"; family members

(8 Posts)
motherofallhens Tue 05-Jan-16 07:52:16

Hi all,

I don’t have a great relationship with my family. For example, when I was in hospital recently, my parents didn’t visit or offer any kind of support and my brother never even called to see how I was. This has been compounded by recent events – my parents are getting older and asked if they could come and live with us. Despite all the above, I (naively) thought it was a chance to try again. But literally at the very last moment (building work would have started on the extension if there hadn’t been a last-minute cock-up), they changed their mind. Aside from all the upset to me, OH and especially my kids who had been really looking forward to them moving in, it cost us a lot of money in plans, fees etc., which my parents declined to contribute to. Far from apologising, they were really horrible about it, saying they hadn’t gone ahead because we were only after their money etc. This only stopped when I said I wasn't prepared to talk to them any more if they couldn’t keep their thoughts to themselves.

I am old enough and wise enough to know that none of us are likely to change. However, I would like to keep the relationship going for my children as I didn’t really know my extended family growing up and have always felt I missed out. At the moment, I call them weekly and we have been to visit them very occasionally. However, I am not prepared to invite them here yet after what happened. Likewise, my brother never calls (not a figure of speech btw!) so for my kids to see their cousins I have to practically beg, which is embarrassing all round.

Do you think I am dealing with this in the right way? Like I say, I have no expectation that their behaviour will change, but they are still my children’s family and I am determined to make an effort, even though everyone else would probably rather I just gave up!

Sorry for the essay btw! xxx

nocabbageinmyeye Tue 05-Jan-16 08:35:02

Personally I think that you need to realise that there is a difference between having family in your life and having family who are horrible in your life. You could surround your children with nice people who are not family and they would gain a lot more from those relationships. I certainly wouldn't be begging anyone to see us . So no i don't personally think you are feeling with it in the right way. How are you parents with the kids when you do visit?

Sparkletastic Tue 05-Jan-16 08:43:18

Agree with PP - surround yourself with positive, caring and kind people for your children to learn from. If this turns out to be friends rather than family then make your peace with that.

redjoker Tue 05-Jan-16 08:53:14

I think that sadly you can have a good/bad relationship with anyone but the thing that will never change is if they are a nice/horrible person

sounds like you've tried hard- but I wouldn't bust a gut trying to include anyone in my life that i didnt really like or get on with or that wasnt giving the same back (trust me I havent spoken to my 'father' in 20 years!)

I know it must feel sad as they are your family- but throw energy and time into people that show you a little more love and respect

Heatherplant Tue 05-Jan-16 09:01:09

I'd leave a line open to them if it makes you feel better. Birthday/xmas cards etc, but if it's not reciprocated then cease. I'd suggest the occasional gathering but if it's declined I wouldn't go out of my way to beg and if it's declined on every occasion then again cease to make arrangements. Concentrate on the people who are in your life and make you happy.

HPsauciness Tue 05-Jan-16 09:08:50

I think you have dodged a bullet in not having them live with you, they haven't changed and that lack of gratitude would then have been on your doorstep 24/7.

I agree with others, no harm in keeping the lines of communication open, we see some 'difficult' family members - keep it short, a couple of hours, breezy, if the children enjoy it great. Don't look for anything meaningful or helpful though, they are not going to change now.

bimbobaggins Tue 05-Jan-16 09:13:30

Sadly just because someone is related to you doesn't automatically mean you will get on or that they will be nice to you.

Dont even consider letting them move in with you. Its nice that you want your children to have a relationship with them however i would no want my children to be around people who can be so nasty to me

DisgraceToTheYChromosome Tue 05-Jan-16 09:29:02

Friends are God's apology for relatives. I'm lucky in that I have a large flock of cousins, who are closer to me than my siblings.

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