To feel disappointed in my family at this particularly difficult time(47 Posts)
Don't get me wrong I know that families aren't easy and I relate that very few families are like the ones you see in the movies. Getting on 24/7, no fall outs, bending I've backwards to help each other etc. But still, I can't help feel disappointed as upset, mainly with my parents, brother and two sisters. I'll stop rambling and explain.
So I'm married, we have three children, two daughters and one son. My ds who's almost 7 was diagnosed with high functioning autism, sensory processing disorder and dyspraxia just over a month ago. I can't tell you how much of a relief it was to get the diagnosis after battling for 4 years to be heard. Don't get me wrong nothing has changed at home, we still have the challenging behaviour daily and we are are all struggling to cope.
Our ds is absolutely beautiful and can be the most loving happy boy but he's also very aggressive, impulsive, hyper etc and whilst he's better than some kids who have his condition, in that I can nip to the loo in peace and get on with a bit of housework here and there, he still needs to be watched almost all of the time. He will sit and watch a bit of TV or play on his iPad but it's not usually for long.
So the day we received his diagnosis I let my parents know who were relieved and showed it in their own way I suppose (they're not big on showing emotions) as well as my two sisters who basically just said oh that's great it must be a relief and they hadn't mentioned it since. My brother, well he's a man so I didn't really expect much from him but to be fair he gave me a hug and came round with a bottle of wine when ds was asleep and we had a good chat.
But recently I've realised that my mum dad and both my sisters just don't give a damn, and if they do well they don't show it. My parents know how much me and my dh are struggling yet they never offer to help out. It was my birthday recently (a big one) and I "celebrated it" by being slapped in the face by my son, having my birthday cake thrown on the floor (that my daughters had made) and in general being screamed at. They knew me and my dh were desperate to go out for a meal just to get some alone time, as the last time we went out together alone was four years ago. But they didn't offer to babysit, not even for an hour or so. But to be fair them not babysitting isn't the main issue as I'm used to it really but the fact that they don't acknowledge that me and my dh are struggling and that I myself am feeling extremely down lately, well it's a horrible feeling. They expect me to paint this huge smile on my face every time I see them when deep down I'm sinking. They expect favours down for them and other family members at the drop of a hat and I think they just assume I can do it because all my kids are at school (I'm a sahm).
My sisters, well one practically reduced to acknowledge my ds's diagnosis and I'm convinced she believes he is just a naughty spoiled child. My other sister, who I'm usually closer to lives in her own little world at the minute. She is a drama queen and makes problems were there aren't any and will then moan that her life is exhausting and that she struggles with her kids. Now whilst I acknowledge everyone needs to vent (especially us parents) she is very selfish and on the odd time I've needed her support and just a shoulder to cry on I've gone to her house and sat there just to be told how hard her life is and she completely refuses to acknowledge how much I'm genuinely struggling. I know this sounds ridiculous but it's like everything is a competition for her and she likes to play top trumps ie who has it worse, it's rather ridiculous to be honest.
The thing is they will all come visit us and see our three kids but they are always short visits and me and dh feel like they are doing it out of duty rather rhan they actually want to be here.
I just lol at my parents and my sisters and they are all the same. Too engrossed in their own lives to see what is going on around them and to see that me and my dh are on the verge of a breakdown. I don't moan excessively to them as there's no point in it as nothing will change ge but Aibu to just expect some support?
So sorry about the typos. I pressed submit too early.
My parents and sister are similar to yours. They show little to no interest in my life. I have been detaching from my parents emotionally for the last few years but I was still in touch with my sister and really tried to be supportive to her with whatever she had going on - listening, remembering to ask how things were going etc. It almost never gets reciprocated. She's just not remotely interested. So now I need to detach from her too
You have my utmost sympathy though because it really hurts. It sounds like you don't want much from them, just a bit of decency and kindness. Its not too much to expect from your family. However, as you and I are learning the very hard way, families don't always work out that way.
I would never ever share any of this with my family because it would play into their vision of me as an unhinged drama queen who can't be trusted. There's absolutely no hope that anything will change or get any better. Its very sad and I feel very depressed about it at times. So I get it and I understand why you feel so let down by them
No you ANBU but you can't change people. I didn't get a supportive family either but I have friends who would come round if I was desperate.
Is there a support group you could join? At least they would understand how you feel. Sorry you had a crap birthday but you sound like a great Mum so at least you are not repeating the cycle eh?
I'm so sorry. I have kids with Sen myself. It's hard. I get no help from ex h or his family. Never have. My family help but it's still hard. Huge hugs xxxxxxxx
Support groups are fab. Friends with the same struggles can make you feel less alone xxx
Thank you. I doubt much would change if I confronted them about it. It's just sad that we all live close by yet we don't have a good relationship. I do get on with them all but I have to put in a lot of effort. My parents had us four really young so I understand that they now feel that their lives are theirs for living and don't want to babysitting all of the time but I've never expected that, but once a year for mine or dh's birthday they can't help out, well it's a joke. My sisters have their own kids so I know it would be challenging to mind my ds along with their own but one of my sisters is a single parent and her kids go to their fathers house every weekend so she could help out one weekend a year surely. She just doesn't want to, and whilst I respect that's her decision, it still hurts.
I consider my family to be a show family. My mum, dad sisters etc they will act the part in front of my grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins ie that they love us and their grandkids but when it comes to actually supporting us and helping out occasionally it's none existent. My dad will offer money constantly but we don't need money, we need support and maybe an odd night out together but it's not going to happen.
Well I was prepared to tell you that sometimes just because you are related to people doesn't mean you'll all get along - but then I read a bit further...
Stop being so available to your parents for a start. Stop with the favours - they are just going to wear you down if it's not a two-way street.
Stop listening to your sister moan about her life until she's prepared to do the same to you.
I know that people say 'you don't give to receive' etc and I believe that but it really shouldn't be such a battle to get a bit of sympathy and a ear to bend or a shoulder to cry on.
Ask yourself - if they were just friends and not related to you, would you allow them to treat you like this?
Do toe family actually know the reality - as you say they expect you to paint a happy picture and it maybe that you're so good at that they don't realise what you're going through.
In the gentlest possible way they may not realise as they aren't mind readers - why not sit down with them. Before you do think about what you want from them, they may not offer to babysit as they feel they couldn't managed your ds... Maybe consider other things that you'd like them to do to help.
Sorry your having a pants time right now xx
Have you specifically asked them for the kind of emotional and practical support you would like, though? I can't tell from your OP.
Also, is it possible they feel they could not cope with the challenges your children's behaviour poses in order to babysit? I can feel how exhausted and frustrated you are from your post, but it's not entirely clear from it how clear your communication with your family has been.
Though, yes, it's true some people simply can't cope with other people's suffering. I learned by the age of five not to take any troubles to my mother because she just gets upset and stressed and entirely incapable of practical help or emotional support - her idea of being comforting is telling you about how much worse someone else has it. (Is it possible your sister is similar, and her response to your venting is intended as some kind of 'we're all in it together' support, even though it's useless and frustrating to you?)
They do sound hopeless. Have you got as far as joining any local or national charities or support groups? I bet there are leaflets for extended family on how to support and what to expect. I reckon they are scared of his behaviours and there fore avoid but perhaps you could try to include them so that slowly they gain confidence and might, in time even feel confident to look after him alone for short periods.
In the meantime surround yourself with people who do get it. The SN boards here, local groups etc. Investigate claiming dla for him and get help from CAB with the forms. If you are successful you can buy some respite care. You may also be able to get support from your local children's services if you ask for an assessment.
It's all new and daunting but ask for help,mint is there but perhaps not where you are looking.
Have you asked directly for their help/for them to babysit? If not, try that.
Can you use the money your dh offers you to buy in support? You can, for example, find babysitters who specialise in children with special needs (the one my friend uses used to teach in a special school). I appreciate that it may not be easy to just 'bring in a stranger' but if you find the right person that relationship can be built. If not, could the money be used for an appropriate activity or playscheme to give you a break?
At any rate stop doing favours for them. You have enough on your plate.
Yeah I'm a member of a couple of support groups and they are brilliant so it's nice to know I can always vent if I need to. The thing is though I should be able to do this with my family, but I can't. I'm at the point now were I know I need to accept that the help isn't going to come anytime soon from my family, that's ok, but the fact that they can't understand why I might be having a bad day and therefore not in a great mood and I'm not available to run around after them on the spare of the moment is hard to handle. My parents will pop round unannounced which isn't ideal for my ds and they'll sit on their arses whilst I struggle to make them a cuppa as my ds is climbing the cabinets or on the cooker. My dad comments that my house is messy in a jokey kind of way but I know he means it. But what does he expect, my dh works 12 hour shifts and I have a child with additional needs that destroys the house when he gets worked up. They must know I'm down yet they expect me to carry on as normal.
I do try to carry on as normal especially for the sake of my kids but they've been off school for seven weeks now and it's been bloody hard work. What do they expect, me to be wearing a pinny, baking and trotting around the house with my duster. I'm absolutely exhausted, as is my dh so we just don't need it. We need a supportive family but I guess these days people are a lot more selfish and they just don't help each other like they did a generation ago.
Hi. Yes they do know the full extent of what's going on as they've witnessed it plenty of times. On the odd occasion that my parents have watched our son for an hour, usually when I've had to nip the doctors for bloods done (which is rare) they said he'd been really good. Which I can imagine he is as he's loves his grandma and grandad so much and he's usually better when other people mind him which I know that sounds like me and my dh at the worst parents ever but it's quite typical of some SN kids to hold it all in whilst in school or with family members but then they let it all out usually with a huge meltdown once they're at home. I'm convinced my ds would be brilliant for my mum and dad or even my sister if they just made the effort. He loves one to one time and as we've got two older children it's sometimes difficult for us to give him our full attention 24/7.
Next time they pop round unnanounced say "I'm glad you are here, can you do X" then point them to the hoover/iron/duster/pile of washing. Don't make them tea. They will either start helping or stop popping round.
You seem very keen to make everything OK for them - even your own mood. Do you know why?
I would be more specific and ask directly if they could mind the kids for an evening, tell them how much you need a break. Perhaps they are worried they won't cope with your ds. Let them know how you deal with his meltdowns so they feel better equipped to cope. If they still decline to help then you will know they really don't care. I'm sorry you are having such a rough time and yanbu.
Sorry, yes I have asked for help in the past and whilst they've sat with the kids when I've nipped to the doctors other than that they always come up with some excuse why they can't help. I don't want them to have our kids over night or for a weekend whist me and my dh go out in the town or to a posh hotel. I just want to be able take my dh out for our birthdays (they're on the same day) but once a year is clearly expecting too much.
I had 3 sons with dyspraxia and one with a diagnosis of autism and dyspraxia so I know how you feel.
My own family's support was limited as some of the time, we were over 150 miles away and when, in old age my dad moved nearer, he was great but it was always limited (no babysitting etc) as unfortunately my mum was long dead and I had a rather unpleasant stepmother, who would limit dad's involvement. (Jealous as she had no grandkids).
My husband's parents had gone the extra mile for his sister who had kids very young so by the time we got round to it, in our 30s, my MIL literally looked me in the eye and had the nerve to say "We're too old to be grandparents" (wtf?)
I don't think we got an hour's babysitting out of them, or any help of any other kind. And yet my husband's nephew and niece would have died of starvation if they hadn't helped his sister as they were always buying her weekly shop, looking after her kids, etc...
We just go on with it, I'm afraid and for many years simply stopped all our out of the house hobbies, and one of us mighthold the fort so the other could go out but essentially, we had no help, no childcare, nothing from family. It was tough. But I do look back now and am secretly pleased we got through without the help.
Families aren't what they were. I think my family would have been fine if my dad hadn't introduced an outsider who was very, er troubled, into the fold. But my husband's family literally refused to help us out, ever. And it annoyed me at the time but now I just look back and think sod you, then.
Don't mean to be offensive in any way but I'd like to add - as someone who's been there - reading your post my first thought, esp re, siblings, was "They're clamming up because they've gone right into denial". Dyspraxia is often genetic. To admit your sister's kids have dyspraxia, is to admit your's could have...
I think though this is just people's natural reaction. We had a bad time about 6-10 years ago now, some work problems, minor MH problems, needed some help... nada, nothing.
More recently I had a childcare issue and asked for some help - one relative chipped in out of 4.
Now two relatives have issues, one work related, one work and a bit of MH thown in and again, noone is helping - only I am helping the one who helped me.
Agreed, Barbarian. Stop the cups of tea and 'running around after them', whatever that entails. You have enough going on in your own life.
OP, it sounds as if this situation will only change if you stop grieving for the kind of practical and emotional family support you feel should be automatic, and start working with the family you actually have, who clearly need more direct requests. If those don't work, then you'll know where you are. It sounds as if you are grieving for all kinds of things at the moment, and your feelings are particularly focused on how disappointing you find your family?
I think it's because I miss the person I used to be and that was this happy, upbeat, care free parent (my two daughters were such easy kids) and although I know it's not my ds's fault and I would never change him (he's too amazing lol) I miss certain aspects of my life. I don't want to be miserable but I feel it sometimes and I expect my family pick up on that and are probably fed up of me. I have two friends as I've lost everyone else due to not being able to go out on nights out all do the time and having to cancel meet ups due to having to pick ds up early from school. I suppose I do have this need to please people but I'm fed up of trying to do this now.
My parents give me loads of "advice" and say all the time that if ds lived with them he wouldn't get away with half of what he does. So I told them to take him then and see how they cope!
I hear you. I am just about at the end of my rope (2 kids on the spectrum and a fecking long summer) and you could be describing my parents. What I've had to do is learn to accept that they are what they are
lazy selfish bastards. They aren't going to change and I can either have them in my life and accept this or I can choose not to see them. I guess it's giving up on how things 'should' be and living with how things are. Having said this, I sure as shit don't bend over backwards to please them anymore either. I have let go of any sense of obligation to them. Anyway. Hang in there sister, only another few days until they are back at school!!!
Lou I think you have just lost yourself a bit in this (as most parents of kids like our's are bound to do, from time to time). Same happened to me when my kids were younger; my husband, too.
I have never forgotten the friend who once said to me "Yes, you do this for your husband, and that for your kids, and other things for disabled son... But where are you in all this?" That stuck with me, although it wasn't til years afterwards I realised how right the friend was - that I totally lost sight of myself.
The good news is, as your son gets older, 'you' will come back.
Just an idea - you mention that your Dad is willing to help with money, so is it worth saying for your next birthday you'd like your present from your parents to be money for a babysitter? DH and I both come from very difficult families, so you really do have my heartfelt sympathy
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