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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?

AngelaMartinLipton Wed 03-Apr-13 20:42:30

I try to leave dealings with my ills to my oh. I think both sets are more worried about dragged into regular help.

They had about two weeks notice but were busy. I have spoken to my DH and said that they should have been more help and that they are wrong to expect far more from us than they are willing to provide. I have asked that in future he checks before arranging visits and I will do the same. Weekends are generally quite busy. I am happy to visit ils if DH makes arrangements. I'm glad to have a bit of thinking space before that happens.

Bedtime1 Wed 03-Apr-13 20:17:52

I have a funny thing about asking for things but mine is a story in itself and this relates to feeling/ being rejected eg I find it hard to ask say friends if they want to do something as I'm worried they will say no. This stems from low self Esteem. Due to my parents not being so nice. I find it hard to trust and believe people Actually want to be around me so I kind of don't ask then no need to feel rejected,

Bedtime1 Wed 03-Apr-13 20:14:23

So when he said to them we need someone to pick ds up from school and Someone to pick him up from the hospital, what did they say? They must have said something.

Maybe they wanted you to ask them if they could pick ds up from after school club perhaps ?

AngelaMartinLipton Wed 03-Apr-13 19:59:45

They haven't been asked to provide regular childcare, baby sitting or help. They haven't in 6 years. They could have supported their ds/my DH.

pollypandemonium Wed 03-Apr-13 19:33:08

But you said you don't want them doing regular childcare anyway.

AngelaMartinLipton Wed 03-Apr-13 18:39:39

He rang and told them before he went in that we had needed someone to pick him up from hospital and DS from school at the same time. He may not have been explicit in his dealings with them as I would have been with my folks. It doesn't change the fact that they didn't visit DH in hospital, nor for the three weeks afterwards. They weren't very happy that DS was attending before and after school clubs for long hours; they didn't offer to reduce that time by looking after him. As they have never picked him up from nursery or school, I didn't expect them to.

Bedtime1 Wed 03-Apr-13 14:11:32

When you say your husband asked for help. What did he say? Did he give any specific times eg can you pick my son up from school? Can you have my son for the day on x y z day?

AngelaMartinLipton Wed 03-Apr-13 08:49:15

I don't believe I should be deferencial simply because they are my parents. That may have been a normal way for our parents to interact with theirs. Times change.

I would like to think that in my family, we wll treat each other as respectful adults. My ds sees us host and visit within a circle of friends and I hope he learns from those relationships rather than the one with his gps. I don't want him to feel like he owes me for having him.

I would not want our parents to take regular care of my ds. They should be helpful during difficult times. There should not be such obvious differences between the help they deign to give.

pollypandemonium Tue 02-Apr-13 23:23:45

But that's the essence of the parent/adult child relationship - there is deference but with that comes a level of 'letting go' of handing things on to the next generation. That process has to be allowed to happen and it can't if they don't see you hosting Christmas, inviting them on holiday, letting them stay at your house etc. If you don't have that stage the relationship becomes fixed with this 'deference' expectation.

AngelaMartinLipton Tue 02-Apr-13 22:52:32

This has made me think about how sad I feel for myself. I need to provide an example to my ds of what I think a parent/gp/auntie/friend should be.

I need to worry less about building a relationship between gp and gc. That is out of my control. They aren't proactive to date and may never be. I think both sets have a sense that there should be a deference or submission because of parent/child relationship.

WorrySighWorrySigh Tue 02-Apr-13 19:15:25

Grandchildren dont need to have a relationship with their grandparents. Many, many people are distant from GPs for lots of different reasons. It is also normal for DCs to have no relationship with GPs and for them to come to no harm because of it.

Charbon Tue 02-Apr-13 17:29:32

Well I disagree with part of that. The OP and her husband needed support at a very difficult time and will go on needing that at points in the future. They have a child-parent relationship too and so I don't think these relationships are just for the grandchildren's benefit. They are meant to exist for everyone's benefit and mutual support. It's okay as an adult to reach out and ask for support when it's needed, from people who are supposed to love us and have our best interests at heart. People don't just need support when they are very young or very old.

pollypandemonium Tue 02-Apr-13 17:04:23

I agree Charbon, it's more important that children know there are other adults around they can depend on and that show an interest in them than what their political affiliations / personal habits are. I think that's why I'm not comfortable with OP's attitude, because it shouldn't be about her getting support - it should be about the GCs. Perhaps approaching the in-laws with that in mind would be more productive.

Charbon Tue 02-Apr-13 16:50:16

I used to worry about similar things when mine were smaller. Would they absorb thoughtless racism or sexism, for example? Or mimic food/body issues?

I needn't have worried. Grandparents who they see occasionally will never counteract the different and more positive messages given by daily parental interaction and influences. It's different if they are subjected to those influences on a daily basis, which is never going to be the case for you.

pollypandemonium Tue 02-Apr-13 16:48:27

I wanted to add something about enabling the children to see their grandparents and supporting those important extended family relationships.

However, I have personally found my in-laws to be unprepared to visit and spend time with dgcs, even when we went up there (a bit of a trek) they got shirty about not being able to smoke and dp sleeping on the campbed (he wanted to- they thought he should be in the big bed). There are birthday cards and christmas cards but dcs have hardly seen them. We can't stay with them and they get grumpy if we book somewhere nearby.

We haven't been affected by this greatly (I don't like them much and they are no loss to me peronally) but it has put pressure on our other family relationships (particularly for the children) and we expect more from them I guess and that in itself has become a bit of a problem.

AngelaMartinLipton Tue 02-Apr-13 16:20:31

You have both given me a lot to think about.

Do I actually want these people looking after my lovely boy?

How can I resolve this and be a good example for my DS?

I need to talk to my OH about my rules of engagement. I need to decide what they are first. wink

Charbon Tue 02-Apr-13 15:44:04

Angela late back to this thread but just to say I fully support your thinking on this. Regarding your own parents and family, if you make a reasonable request for specific help and it gets turned down, it is okay to articulate your disappointment about that. The same goes for your in-laws. Your own mental health will be protected as long as you are straight with people and let them know where they stand with you. In people who are just being a bit thoughtless and not intentionally selfish or unkind, being straight with them can pull them up short a bit and can lead to better relationships all round, especially if they have the good grace to think about it and come back and apologise.

In those who can't or won't see, being direct about your needs and feelings means that you can stop any pretence of warmth or kinship where none exists.

It's a very good example to give to children if you are direct and honest with family members. When children see parents silently seething and martyring themselves, then acting falsely sweetly with the adults who have caused the upset - it is confusing and gives them bad examples of conflict resolution.

CurrerBell Tue 02-Apr-13 14:27:22

Angela, just caught up and am glad you're starting to feel a bit better.

I think their behaviour was unacceptable, and in the future they need to be told explicitly - ideally by DH - what your boundaries are. They should not have come over expecting you to wait on them so soon after DH has been ill. But - as they sound quite oblivious of your feelings - they must have thought it was ok as your DH agreed to the meal. I get the idea that your DH is more resigned to their behaviour, as he's been used to it all his life. But hopefully, your reaction might help him to understand how you feel, and you can both put each other first in future and agree on some joint boundaries.

BTW, I was surprised at how rude they have been about your food/hospitality, and I would certainly not be inviting them again due to this alone! Let them make the effort in future.

I really get what you said about being furious on your DH's behalf - I get worked up at times, as I can't understand how parents can be so disinterested in their own son. But my DH just says he learned at an early age to be independent and moved away from them. He is very resigned to it so I feel like I'm wasting a lot of energy in getting so worked up!

I saw my ILs a couple of days ago at a family gathering (it was the first time we've seen them in a few weeks), and it helped me take the first step in letting go of the anger. Whilst we were there, it came out that FIL is still letting DNephew watch violent war films at their house (he is 4...) and he has already fostered in him an obsession with guns. He's not a bad person, but FIL is very much in his own world - he does what he likes and doesn't respect my SIL's wishes. DH said to me afterwards that at least we don't have to rely on them for childcare, and thankfully our sensitive DS doesn't have much of FIL's influence.

It's crap that we don't get family support, but I've decided I'm not going to push for us to be closer; staying on good but distant terms is all we can do. Somehow I need to pick myself up and find my own support network from people that can reciprocate.

I know this is different to you as you specifically asked for help in a time of need, and you were turned down. I can see how hurtful this has been, on top of the stress you've had to cope with. But it sounds like this has come to a head now so you can start to move forward and work out what's right for you.

AngelaMartinLipton Tue 02-Apr-13 12:23:51

Deciding I have a choice to act differently rather than reacting has made me feel so much better already.

I overreacted because I was so tired. This is the culmination of years of meh and was the straw that broke this camel's back. To continue to help others when there is nothing forthcoming for my family would be intolerable for my mental health.

crje Tue 02-Apr-13 12:04:56

I was the same -dh was working away and I was here alone with 4 children - one a new baby. Both familys live quite close and never called . Dh rang il to help when I was sick and they dropped in a pot of cooked mice meat at 10pm but wouldn't come in........
My own family come here to eat and drink tea but im never invited to theirs. Ive now come out the other end and am a hard cow in relation to all of them . I hate thet I am like this but just feel so let down by them . Our once close relationship is now more like acquaintances. I turn a blind eye when they are in need blush thats not who I am !!!!!

Ive been unable to get over it , not sure how it can be done . I can only offer a sympathetic ear op and hope things pick up for you soon brew

AngelaMartinLipton Tue 02-Apr-13 09:13:37

cjel I had to read back to make sure I hadn't made a freudian slip.

Mumsy I do feel guilty but I am working hard for my family. Sometimes 30 mins before bed is all I've seen my ds; we communicate by notes. My HD is fab.

OH asked his parents for help. I'm upset on his behalf that they didin't come to see him. I'm angry that they came on my first day off in ages expecting the boat to be pushed out.

We have no plans to see each other and I won't be making a special trip. I hav eplenty of time to think of something. There is no point in having a row, I just need to tell them once before I move on. They can re-write history afterwards if they want.

Bedtime1 Tue 02-Apr-13 03:35:40

It s a case really of how you say things to them. What are you hoping to gain from the situation. If you want to fall out for good then go in all guns blazing. You can have a conversation without making the other person defensive. Saying to someone you didn't do this you didn't do that it isn't going to get off to a good start. They then on the defence might bring up other things or pick and pike at things about you. All I am saying is if you are angry and annoyed at the moment , then things will not be said well in a conversation. I hope you can have this conversation and get the results that you want.

Bedtime1 Tue 02-Apr-13 03:19:22

Looking back at your original post you have already asked for help from your own parents and they have said no/ haven't bothered to help. So from them you know where you stand. You haven't said wether you have asked for help from the ils. So have you actually ever asked them for help ? Have you ever said I'm struggling etc and then asked them for the help you want from them? If you haven't asked they may not be aware. They might think your okay. They might not see you as struggling if you have never told them.

Mumsyblouse Mon 01-Apr-13 23:57:03

Angela reading this, I really feel for you, carrying so much and you just get exhausted. who cares if someone else does all that, charity work in their spare time and paints a smile on their face whilst presenting their MIL/parents with a home-made casserole, you are exhausted you had an ill husband and you don't get to see enough of your gorgeous child (which IMO is where some of this upset is coming from, the parent who said anything should be poked in the eye on next sighting).

I also agree you can't give more than you have to give and so you are right to focus on your own family given that the wider family are simply not going to be there for you in a crisis, let alone for regular support. I don't see this as entitled - in our family my mum helps out with the children and I help out with the older generation, and it's sad if you don't have that, not even in times of real difficulty.

The danger is that if you carry on trying to be supermum you will exhaust yourself physically and emotionally, so if your parents/IL's get less attention, or have to come when it is less convenient so be it.

cjel Mon 01-Apr-13 23:24:04

Angela just read decompress as decompose - Hope things aren't that bad!!!

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