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Perspective on DM and DF?

(17 Posts)
TheAtlanticWatch Thu 16-Feb-17 22:55:39

Would be very grateful for some perspective/Mumsnet wisdom on situation with parents.

Sorry for length of this. Don't want to dripfeed or ramble but, in short, we have a tense relationship. Their approach is always "but we paid for your education and sent you away to boarding school, we are clearly fantastic parents and always right". I am massively grateful for the investment they made in my education, but this caused a lot of tension and toxicity in my teens/20s, learnt to grit my teeth and ignore (mostly) as I have got older.

We have one DS who is nearly 4. They were quite interested when he was born but interest has gradually waned. They have babysat twice, once when we were staying with them, and once on my 40th birthday for 3 hours. They do not have him to stay on his own nor will they come and see us at our home. We will usually try and visit them once a month so they get to see him. Occasionally, usually in the drink, one of them will claim that we have excluded them from DS's life. But they never take us up on offers of activities, weekends away, visits to us etc. E.g. I suggested to DM that she join me at a Christmas party at DS's nursery but she said it was very inconvenient having to drive down. (We do live about 2 hours away but we regularly do the journey and they will happily travel that distance or more for weekends away, visiting DB and family, etc.)

At Christmas, DM asked if we felt she should "do more". I said that I never expected her to help out with childcare unless she wanted to, but we would like to see more of them and that sometimes it would be nice if they came to see us. She said they would make an effort.

We didn't see them in January. They were supposed to visit last Sunday but cancelled at the last minute. Tonight we spoke and they said they couldn't possibly see us before April as they were too busy. They are both retired and, as far as I know, the only commitments they have are a weekend with DB and his family and a week's holiday. I should add that I'm very close to DB, DSinLaw and DN, and don't resent them for this at all.

Usually I just try and ignore it and try and be the better person, and see them on their terms so that DS will know his grandparents. But I'm honestly wondering what is the point. Are they completely disinterested, or am I unrealistic in my expectations?

This is such a first world problem I know, but I feel very sad about it and rejected by my parents. I can cope with that for myself, but I hate the idea of DS feeling that rejection by his grandparents.

Can anyone offer any insight? I'm happy to be told if I'm sounding entitled or demanding. Thanks for reading if you've made it this far!

Astro55 Thu 16-Feb-17 22:58:04

Who initiates contact?

TheAtlanticWatch Thu 16-Feb-17 23:01:35

Me. I phone a couple of times a week and try and FaceTime with DS though I don't think they are that keen. In the past, they would ring if they hadn't heard from me for more than a week. Not sure that they would these days.

NotTheFordType Thu 16-Feb-17 23:03:48

Have you posted about them before?
Have you checked out the Stately Homes thread?

TheAtlanticWatch Thu 16-Feb-17 23:05:47

No, not posted before. I'm actually reading the stately homes thread at the moment! Thank you

llangennith Thu 16-Feb-17 23:08:39

Your DS has you. He won't be bothered by not seeing your parents. You will be the loving mother yo him that you never had.
My parents seldom made the effort to come and see my 3 DC (2 hour drive) nor my sister's 2 DDs who lived a mere 5 mins away. It upset my DSis and I that our parents weren't interested in our DC and we've made the effort to be loving supportive grandparents.
I feel sorry for my mother that she never knew the joy of being a loving Grandma. But that was her choice. My DC have no nice memories of doing things with her.

TheAtlanticWatch Thu 16-Feb-17 23:08:42

Sorry - to clarify, I have posted before but not about them

Chloe84 Thu 16-Feb-17 23:08:56

You seem to feel an obligation to them because they invested in your education. However, that was their job as parents and they made the decision to send you to send you to boarding school (maybe there was a bit of self-interest there on their part).

I think this has made you passive. When they asked you if you feel they could do more, that was the time to make them understand how upset you feel. I think it's time for another conversation with them. If they don't change, then it's their loss.

TheAtlanticWatch Thu 16-Feb-17 23:10:42

llangennith thank you so much for your reply. I am sorry about what you've been through. Your words are a huge comfort.

ZippyNeedsFeeding Thu 16-Feb-17 23:11:32

You sound like me, although I was the only child of 4 sent to boarding school (I remain ungrateful!).
I've found that the only way to cope is to accept that they just don't have what you need from them. They probably aren't being deliberately cruel to you, they just don't get it. Or as MrZippy says about my mother "What do you expect from a horse but a kick?". It is hard not to throttle her when she moans about never seeing her grandchildren though, since she actively avoids them!

TheAtlanticWatch Thu 16-Feb-17 23:13:20

Chloe, you're spot on, I'm very passive with them as I've found the path of least resistance a lot easier. Reading some other threads, I think I need to toughen up.

I do feel that obligation, even though the rational part of me definitely recognises the convenience aspect of them sending me/DB away. They have always rationalised it as their sacrifice however, and I do appreciate that it was a financial sacrifice.

TheAtlanticWatch Thu 16-Feb-17 23:17:42

Yes Zippy that helpful comment was also made on my 40th birthday which was lovely timing!

I can only imagine how tough that must have been being the only one of 4 sent away, I'm sorry.

Astro55 Thu 16-Feb-17 23:21:35

Maybe they weren't cut out to be living parents and then/now living grandparents

If you always chase - they will always run!

They don't ring because that's your job - stop calling - see how it goes - tuinknofmot as a game - if they ask say you've been too busy - same reply as they give -

anxiousnow Fri 17-Feb-17 00:08:43

Have you tried speaking to your DB about it. If they seem to be a bit more involved with them is it your DB and DSIL initiating contact. Maybe they have some tips. Your Mother is at least thinking about it after her comment at Christmas but I understand how upsetting it is. Your LO will not feel the sadness. At 4 he has you which is all he needs.

dirtywindows Fri 17-Feb-17 00:22:49

I'm sorry you're feeling upset. The sad reality is that you can't change how they are just how you react. The fact that they sent you to boarding schools tells you how hard it is for them to have relationships. There is no point in blaming them or being angry with them. They are who they are with whatever baggage and the emotional capacity they have. Accept them for who they are and take what you can or want from them as they'll never be able to give you what you actually need. At least that way you might stop feeling so hurt.

AttilaTheMeerkat Fri 17-Feb-17 07:43:34

Its not a first world problem at all. The problems with trying to ignore it and being passive are twofold; it does not work and it keeps rearing its ugly head. Sod with being the "better person" here; you have every right to be angry at people who gave you material things but emotionally were and are bereft. I would read "Toxic Parents" written by Susan Forward as a starting point. I note you are already reading the Stately Homes thread; you will get responses there too.

You seem to be still very much in your own FOG (fear, obligation and guilt) with regards to your parents. This is not altogether surprising really given their treatment of you and now their lack of interest with regards to their grandson. It is not your fault your parents are like this and their responses are actually quite typical of what toxic parents would say (the after all we did for you etc), its all part of their overall script.

I am wondering whether your brother was actually more favoured in childhood. Even though you say that you and he are close do you and he have much of a relationship?. Have you ever broached the subject of your parents with him?.

Unfortunately as I have also learnt you cannot do a thing about their overall lack of interest, my parents are very similar to how you describe your own re lack of interest. I would instead cultivate and nuture relationships with people who are nice and kind; not family members who are not interested. Do not keep flogging what is really here a dead horse, they will not give you the approval you still seek from them. If your inlaws are nice then see them. You would not have tolerated this from a friend, family are really no different.

Raise your still too low boundaries further with regards to your parents.
I would further now lessen all forms of contact and keep your son away from these people who have rejected you as his mother. He won't miss such people like your parents. It will do him no favours at all for him to keep seeing his mum being rejected like this either.

It is not your fault your parents are like this, you did not make them this way.

TheAtlanticWatch Fri 17-Feb-17 08:53:09

Have to dash for work but just wanted to say a huge thank you for your replies and the advice. A lot to think about so will go through carefully later. Thank you again, I am really grateful.

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