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Please help me stop being bitter by a lack of support

(127 Posts)
AngelaMartinLipton Fri 29-Mar-13 11:09:53

I am so disapointed by the lack of support. We live in a different city to our families and don't have any help. I am going between anger and tears when I think about the last few months and I need to let this poison go.

I have been working full time, communting 3+ hours a day whilst my 6yo goes to before and after school club. OH had an operation about 3 weeks ago and so I have needed to drop off and pick up on top of everything else.

A stupid parent I don't know stopped me in the street last week to tell me how sorry she felt for my 6yo as he is being dragged out of the house in the early morning. Her lovely little girl was with her and so I just said a lame 'aren't we all just trying to do our best?'. I feel so guilty and tired. I don't have it all; I'm doing it all.

I asked my parents for help and they said they would if I lived nearer. I last spoke to them 2 weeks ago when they rang to tell me how tired they were after looking after my sister's kids. I told them I was hurt and frustrated by their lack of support and that this was insenstive. OH's parents are coming over Easter and I feel so bitter. Nether set of parents have helped and so I can't be fecked having them as visitors.

I am quite blunt but feel ready to explode - I understand this is unfair.

I now have a break and can't understand why, more than ever, I feel so hurt and frustrated. We are now over the worst and I should be enjoying time off with my lovely family and friends. I want to get to a point that I can let insensitive comments aside.

The situation isn't going to get better. They aren't going to change and I need to change how I feel about this. Has anyone been able to put negative feeings aside?

something2say Fri 29-Mar-13 11:14:32

Aww w I think you need a good mate and a whinge of around an hour. It is very unfair on you to be carrying such a load and to then listen to your parents speak about what they have been doing for your sister. Xxx. All I can say is, it won't last forever.

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 29-Mar-13 11:21:44

Oh yes. smile I've been a single parent since birth nearly 13 years ago, live 200 miles from anything approaching family, have few close friends in the area and have therefore muddled through the whole thing, largely paying others for childcare/babysitting and making various sacrifices myself. Sometimes I wonder whether things could have been different/better with more help or a more traditional set-up.... playdates, chatting at the school gates, nights out etc... but this was the route I chose so I don't see the point in crying over spilt milk. Occasionally I get annoyed about insensitive remarks like 'OH was out of town for three days so now I know what it's like to be a single parent like you'... hmm. Most of the time, however, I choose to be extraordinarily proud that I've single-handedly raised a really pleasant soon-to-be teen, provided us with a good lifestyle and that we have a great Mum/Son relationship.

I'd have probably told your 'stupid parent' if she was aware she was being so patronising... smile

AngelaMartinLipton Fri 29-Mar-13 11:38:11

Cogito, what if your parents and ils helped family with free childcare, diy, etc?

My commute to work by public transport is the same as the car journey from my home city to here.

something2say my friend has asked us over next week. I was going to cry off because I am so tired and the house is a shithole. We're going to go, they are great fun.

I know there are great spects to my life. This self pity and bitterness is doing me no good.

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 29-Mar-13 11:45:01

They do... I have a DB and SIL who live close to my parents and, naturally, my parents can help more with their lives and their DS than mine. Occasionally that strikes me as unfair but it's my choice to live where I do and the way I do, not theirs. I'm a grown-up, they're not responsible for me. If we were all more closely situated I don't know, maybe I'd feel differently.

You asked for their help, they turned you down and you've said you were annoyed about it. End of episode. Bitterness only affects you, not them.

AngelaMartinLipton Fri 29-Mar-13 11:53:58

How do you not care? My OH feels the same as you but I just can't. Financial and practical support should be the same.

I don't think working so hard is a choice for me. I have a mortgage to pay and my OH's salary isn't enough.

I am a better parent and will be a better GP (if I get the chance)

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 29-Mar-13 12:01:41

How would it benefit me to care? How would it improve my life keeping some kind of balance sheet of what they do for others compared to me? I'm an independent woman, I have a (small) family of my own and I take great pride in providing for and caring for my family to the best of my ability. As a single parent I have even less choice than you to work hard .. but I see that as an accomplishment, don't you? Like many other ambitious women, I didn't get a degree just to sit home doing crosswords and expect some man (or a couple of pensioners) to ease my way through life. I can point to everything I have achieved professionally or personally and say 'I did that'. smile

AngelaMartinLipton Fri 29-Mar-13 12:28:05

I admire the way you can rise above the unfairness. I feel the same accomplishments as you do but I still do care and can't let it go.

I have asked for help and been turned down. My parents are willing and able to provide an abundance of support - I hope my siblings are as supportive when they need help (is how I feel at the moment).

It has changed the way I feel about this group of pensioners.

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 29-Mar-13 12:35:25

Group of pensioners? So you think all people your parents' age are selfish old bats that deserve to be left to rot? hmm That says more about you than it does about them I think. FWIW I've told my DS ... semi-seriously... not to count on help from 'Granny Cog' when /if that situation arises because she'll be jetting round the world, enjoying cruises and generally blowing his inheritance. Pays to set the expectations low...

Charbon Fri 29-Mar-13 13:01:18

I disagree.

While I agree that parents are entitled to their own lives, I don't think it's at all unreasonable to seek some help from family members when you need it. These were special circumstances when your husband was in hospital, you were working and commuting full time and were 100% responsible for the childcare, while having the worry about your husband and having to fit in hospital visits.

If your parents are fit and well, I think it would have been entirely appropriate to offer some help in these extenuating circumstances, let alone agree to help when they had to wait to be asked.

It's okay to tell them that you're disappointed with their response and to feel disappointment and resentment. You've had a rough ride. I hope DH is soon up to full strength and that you can get a break soon.

NothingsLeft Fri 29-Mar-13 13:18:13

OP I felt the same as you. My DS is only a year but I've had bugger all support from anyone. My parents live 30mins away, i barely see them. They wont help out anyway. My sister is closer but always busy.

I felt massively bitter for ages. It's tough seeing everyone else with their supportive families when you are struggling. I had terrible PND from sleep deprivation and lack of support. I could not get past these fuckers not helping me. I was literally losing my mind and they still wouldn't help. It is shit. i felt betrayed. i will never feel the same about them again.

The positive is I now feel totally absolved from any future caring duties or the need to be helpful grin People fit in with us or we don't go it. I'm less fussed about seeing them, I don't kill myself trying to fit them in.

I've gone above and beyond to help them over the years. I'm generally a helpful person. Not any more. That's it as far as I'm concerned.

Now I spend my thinking time and energy on myself, my immediate family and with people where it's reciprocated. We are all much happier for it too smile

AngelaMartinLipton Fri 29-Mar-13 13:27:51

Couple of pensioners was your phrase and I changed it to group. Not sure why that offended you so.

They are not old or past it. Last time we saw them, was when we hosted a nice dinner in November. Their journey was not too far then. hmm

I'm very upset that they couldn't help. I'm also upset that they don't want to see their GS unless they get a free meal out of it. My ils should have visited their son. He wasn't seriously ill, but has been in pain. Their parenting and grand parenting had been utterly shite. I'm allowed to think that. They are allowed to believe.(as you do) that I should just get on with it. For the record both sets of parents had enormous amounts of family help with baby sitting. They didn't need childcare because both mums stayed home.

HumphreyCobbler Fri 29-Mar-13 13:32:07

They help your sister with her kids but not you? That kind of favouritism is extremely hurtful. I am not surprised you feel sad and resentful, especially when you are so tired.

AngelaMartinLipton Fri 29-Mar-13 13:32:24

thanks charbon. I hate this pity party funk I am in. I am normally sensible and independent. I so far I have left the room three times to cry. Ffs. I'm a grown woman.

AngelaMartinLipton Fri 29-Mar-13 13:40:20

Nothing, I'm starting to feel as you do with regard to treating them they way they treat me. It sounds like you have been able to put your disappointment aside. thanks

Charbon Fri 29-Mar-13 13:44:53

I think you're probably exhausted as well as disappointed and resentful. When a loved one is in pain and in hospital, there is a lot of unseen emotional labour at a time when the physical workload demands are high. I'm not surprised that you've crashed a bit on the first day you've had the chance to slow down.

If people are selfish then it doesn't magically disappear when they become grandparents or older in years. In fact sometimes selfishness and self-absorption gets worse, combined with short memories about all the help they themselves received when their children were small.

The thoughtless parent's comment has probably sent you over the edge a bit too. This was an extraordinarily insensitive thing to say to a woman who was trying her best in difficult circumstances. The only appropriate thing to have said would have been to offer some help herself. Don't suppose she did though?

AngelaMartinLipton Fri 29-Mar-13 14:09:24

I haven't had more than 5 hours sleep a night for about three months.

I know ibu because I don't want to see my ils tomorrow and yet here I am complaining about not seeing them. My oh is such a nice man. He agreed because our ds would love to see them. I can't be bothered to clean the house. They are very fussy and I cannot be doing with feeding them.
Last thing I want to do is fall out with my oh. We are both tired and frustrated and I'm not in the mood for this visit.

Charbon Fri 29-Mar-13 14:21:30

If your partner is unable to help you with doing 50% of the cleaning and cooking, then I'd suggest he rings his parents and tells them that you'd love to see them but the house is not going to be perfect and your meal is going to be very simple, because you are both exhausted.

The most reasonable response from them would be to say they aren't coming to inspect the house and that they couldn't care less about the bill of fare; they are coming to spend time as family.

The kindest thing to offer if they can afford it is to offer to take you all out for something to eat and to arrive early, make you some tea and get the rubber gloves on.

AngelaMartinLipton Fri 29-Mar-13 14:30:00

He vacuuming using crutches. confused

OhLori Fri 29-Mar-13 14:45:10

I've had waves of this kind of bitterness for similar reasons i.e. no help from parent(s) (and I had no partner to help me either).

All I can say is you are entitled to your bitterness from time to time (who isn't?) but perhaps your energy would be best used to make your own life easier and building plans around creating that? Including your partner helping more once he is better? Also, 3 hours' commute 5-days-a-week is alot, perhaps that could be changed? You could still ask your parents for help regularly too, sometimes things do change a bit in relationships ...

However. for now, 5 hours sleep a night for 3 months is a recipe for disaster IMO. If you really are at the end of your tether, take some time off work sick. You could have one last check with your parents and parents-in-law to ask for help before you choose to do this. See what they say, they may then realise how serious things are, you never know...

independentfriend Fri 29-Mar-13 15:24:58

If neither set of parents will help/both have let you down, then you at least know where you are with them. You can put time and effort into finding other sources of support that are more useful to you/actually around when you need them.

Maybe there's a friend who'll look after your child for a day, while you get a day to rest?
Maybe your OH can get more support from his GP/the district nurse/the hospital with the ongoing recovery?
Maybe you can afford to spend money on things that will save you time effort (online grocery shopping, a cleaner etc)?

There's probably lots more, but my advice is to do find workarounds for the current situation where you don't have enough support and address the difficulties with both sets of parents later on. Maybe you'll find yourselves otherwise engaged the next time they suggest a family get together.

RiffyWammal Fri 29-Mar-13 15:51:41

I understand, it feels so shit and unfair when you're struggling and parents could do so much to help but don't because of their own selfishness. I experienced this myself when our kids were much younger and I still feel bitter! I don't think I will stop feeling resentful until I get the opportunity to tell them all exactly how I feel about them letting me down. I'm not going to be the one to bring it up first though, but I hope the subject comes up one day.

My DH's mother also did (and still does) everything for his brothers' families but was always too busy to help ours. Well all I can say is, I hope his brothers and their wives like looking after old ladies because it won't be us doing it!

NothingsLeft Fri 29-Mar-13 16:08:55

'It sounds like you have been able to put your disappointment aside'

I'm working in it and definitely getting there.

My parents are unable to come and see us next week as they are looking after my sisters dog. The dog often trumps DS. This week they were busy helping friends move and looking after my niece.

I'm obviously hurt but then i made plans to see people that are interested in a reciprocal relationship. As others have said, I can't change it, so I'm now building a support network.

I never thought in a million years I would have to do this but there you go. I won't forget it though.

AngelaMartinLipton Fri 29-Mar-13 17:21:20

NothingsLeft I'm sad and angry. My parents used to use the excuse of their dog.

RiffyWammal I'm not sure I can wait to say anything. This is eating me up. I'm so resentful. If I win the euromillions, they can all go feck themselves.

I am self employed and have unexpected bills to pay. Even so, I'm not going to take my next contract which means I have 3-4 weeks off. I don't have anything lined up. I have a couple of job applications to fill in for the people I have been working for. I just cannot continue to keep going at a million miles an hour. I've always managed to find work and I have to trust that I will after this small break.

I've arranged a sleep over my friend will have my DS for two nights over half term.

I'm still not looking forward to tomorrow. I'm cooking what I was already planning even though they will probably turn their nose up. I'm not going to buy any special needs drinks and OH can run around after them/or not.

Iwaswatchingthat Fri 29-Mar-13 17:38:31

Give yourself a break. Get yourself a cleaner and someone to do the ironing or lower your standards. You have a really challenging job, a child and a dh on crutches. No wonder you are worn out.

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