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sad about relationship with parents(15 Posts)
We live about 400miles from my parents and we have a fairly distant relationship but I try for the sake of my DC since DH's parents are deceased. I call occasionally but they don't call me. I text news of the children but get little or no response. I post them pictures that the children want to send them which I think are well received. They won't Skype. Last time I saw them was last Easter when we visited. We can't stay there as their house is too small and I have a severe allergy to their beloved cat.
I invited them to visit us just after Christmas but they didn't feel they could travel at that time of year even by air (I always offer to pay for flights and a cattery). I have just called DM to see if they wanted to visit us at Easter but she has other plans. Fair enough. I have asked if we could meet up with them for a day in July on our way to our holiday destination. The response was ambivalent and lukewarm. They don't work but DM has a hobby/interest which means she is invited to run workshops internationally. This seems all she lives for and although she gets stressed at the amount of prep it involves she never turns down an opportunity. And that is why I tried to give plenty of notice of our plans but maybe not enough.
So why am I posting? Well although our relationship isn't great I feel the need to keep trying for the sake of DC. I am just tired of making the effort. I have to psych myself up to call and I am generally teary for a day or so afterwards. She is not a bad person but.... Lots of buts. I miss my DF. He won't visit without her. I resent the fact that they seem to care more for their cat than their grandchildren. Certainly more than me. Just sad.
Actually they hated leaving their previous cat in a cattery and I don't think they have ever left this one. It seems so limiting. I have visited them a couple of times alone with the kids and stayed over but even with antihistamines my allergy is so bad I have really struggled. Last Easter we stayed in a local hotel but even after a few hours in the house I was wheezing so badly and my face had puffed up so much that DH had to call the visit to an end. They don't think it is anything more than discomfort. Can't believe I am getting jealous of a cat!
OP I'm sorry, you deserve better. As for your children, I don't think that thry sre missing out on anything except an arms-length relationship with distant, uninterested grandparents. But they won't mind, you do.
I suggest you stop trying and grieve for the relationship you wish you had. I think constantly trying to engage their interest and being rebuffed is very hurtful and damaging to you.
Its not you, its them. You have made more than enough effort here which is simply not reciprocated. Unfortunately you cannot change such people's attitudes by yourself (my mother is also pretty much indifferent and has been so for many years). I would not keep up the relationship simply for the DCs sake; it is not a good enough reason to maintain contact with your parents and contact with them now is mainly coming from you alone.
Your dad has acted as he has done for his own reasons and likely does not want to go against his wife. He has acted as a bystander here out of both self preservation and want of a quiet life.
Thanks. I appreciate your comments. Yes DF is definitely a man who does anything for a quiet life. I reminded my mum today that we are restricted to school hols these days. I wonder if that didn't occur to her when she made those other commitments. I will see how our brief summer visit goes and work out what to do. DSis lives close by them and she and DBIL visit them weekly. I am virtually NC with Dsis - we just have little in common and we are civil enough and exchange birthday and Christmas presents but that is about it
Could you try a different approach, eg visit when your dad is likely to be on his own (unless he accompanies your mum on her travels)?
Perhaps find something else local to do with your kids so that the success of the visit doesn't rest entirely on him.
I am wondering if your parents are the root cause of your sister and you being so apart emotionally. Was she more "favoured" than you as a child, it would not surprise me if that was the case.
How did your mother respond to your "school holidays" comment?.
There wasn't a direct response to my comment about school holidays. I tried to keep it light and say that there was no need to commit to anything now since if we have plenty of other people we could visit to break up the long journey down south.
Dsis and I constantly bickered as children and couldn't reconnect as adults. Certainly she and DM get on well now and they have similar interests and views. I was always closer to DF emotionally but as he gets older he has changed a lot and is not the man he once was . I quite like Imbroglio's idea but it might be seen as deliberately antagonistic!! The fall out could be huge. And no he doesn't travel with DM - her costs are paid but their money is too tight for him to go too plus he gets stressed and anxious in unfamiliar places.
Can I ask, Attila, how do you cope with the indifference? Do you just forget any idea of 'normal' family but keep in touch? Or do you let the relationship die completely?
If you have any stories about your family life or the lives of your parents growing up (nice or funny ones) make sure you tell them to your children - that will give them a sense of the family even if they can't get it from an active relationship. TBH I always feel I had almost more of a relationship with the young women in my parents' stories than with my grandmothers, who were both much older when I was born, and though affectionate, weren't able to do so much with me. Now they are both dead I still 'know' them just as much as I ever did.
Well you could pick a date that suits you and if she's away just say you are going ahead with the visit anyway - this will only work if you make out you are 'passing' or if its the only date you can make due to school holidays etc.
Don't let your mum isolate your dad!
That's helpful Annandale thank you. I have got teary just trying to think of some funny/nice stories. There must be some - it wasn't a hideous childhood - but it is as though those memories have been overwritten by all the shitty stuff.
I would stop making the effort. My DM tried and tried bless her, to get my GPs to show interest in me and my DSis. To no avail. They loved their dog more than us and it was lavished with special treatment whilst they were totally disinterested in us.
to this day we resent them for it, didn't miss them when they passed because we weren't close and I still can't stand the breed of dog. Your children may be better off without the interaction and disappointment which comes from it.
winter That brings back memories. "He's a very loved dog. I do so love my little dog. He's my very loved dog." All said to me by my grandfather whilst stroking the dog.
Don't remember him ever saying he loved me.
He was pretty toxic to my mum though and my parents were very good with boundaries with him so I can't say I'm overly bothered. It's a little sad / funny in a way because he was ridiculously and obsessively desperate for one of his children to "follow in his footsteps" and go to Oxford and none of them did. The school had already muttered a bit about me being potential Oxbridge before he died (he died when I was about to start Y11) but I suspect my parents never bothered to tell him.
Poor you, i really do feel for you. My Mother favoured my Brother for years and still does, she was good to my children but only if it fits in with my Brother and his plans!
Look after your own little family, treat your children with as much love as possible. Why not 'Adopt a Granny' there may be a little old lady with no family near you who would just love to help you out. I think Age Concern has a system of linking families with ladies like this.
My Mum was absorbed with my Brother luckily for my children we had a wonderful neighbour who was just retired had a little dog her husband still worked. What an amaxing turn of events she became their surrogate Grandmother she waited patiently for their exam results with me. She bought them a corsage when it was thier prom. She bought them Christmas presents and Birthday presents. She came into us for Christmas Day with her husband. My children often think of her as their Nan as she was most importantly there when they needed someone , when they forgot their keys, when they was upset after a day at schoo, when they were homesick after going to Uni.
I have been where you are beleive you me. Can i advise that you try my approach. That way your Mum will have her life, your children will have an older influence and so will you.
I wish you lots of love and luck with this.
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