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Why are my parents behaving like this?

(27 Posts)
Flightattendant3 Sun 26-Oct-08 18:47:19

I'm really confused. My parents seem to have lost the plot a bit this evening. Both of them.

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a nice card to my grandmother which was apparently greeted with disdain, she took the opportunity to slag me off to my father and he stood up to it and didn't join in. Good so far.

So my mother mentioned all this to me, and I was upset and decided I wasn't going to have a lot to do with said grandmother for at least a while. (She is generally a poisonous old loon).

Dad said he understood, that was fine. Mum also. They still see her a lot as she lives in their street.

Yesterday was her birthday. I mentioned to my father that I wasn't sure a card would be welcome so I wasn't going to send one - although I felt bad about it. Again he said he understood.

So, just now I had a phone call from Dad. He was very quiet and told me he was apologising, because he just gave his mother my phone number. (I have recently moved and they know I don't want her to have it as she is so underhand and basically horrible).

He said she was asking why I had forgotten her birthday, and he had assumed she already had my number and told her to ring me if she wanted to discuss things. Then gave her my number, and then rang me to say he was sorry., hmm

I said not to worry but that I wasn't sure what to do about it as there isn't a way to 'un' give her it now. I wonder if he was just doing a passive aggressive thing? It isn't like him.

Earlier on my mother was on the phone and I was being beseiged by my children and was getting annoyed that I couldn't talk to her so I said I ought to go, and she hung up. Actually she had thrown her phone across the room (she rang back to tell me she had done this)
Apparently when I said I was being 'attacked' (by the children), she thought I meant by her, as she was tutting at my telling off ds1. hmm even more.

I am just baffled really. I think someone must have put something in their tea.

LoveMyGirls Sun 26-Oct-08 18:54:39

Maybe they're having a bad day, have had some bad news or somethign if it's out of character I'd just let it lie or ring back when the dc's are in bed and ask whats the matter?

Saturn74 Sun 26-Oct-08 18:56:25

Unplug the phone for a few days and let them get on with it.

pookybear Sun 26-Oct-08 19:00:02

Why not sleep on it and let the dust settle a little, it cant be easy to be caught in the middle of something, which is basically where they are. Old people can be hard to understand, I know cos I am one. Dont worry, next year at this time you wont even remember it, unless of course you escalate it into a family feud.

Flightattendant3 Sun 26-Oct-08 19:14:22

Thanks all - Pookybear, can I ask if you have any insight into what she is playing at? I haven't done anything wrong afaik. I sent the card before as I wanted to thank her for my birthday present, and explained I didn't want to call by as I have been ill and didn't want to pass it on (true).

They told me that she had questioned this, assumed I must be pregnant again, basically thought I and they were lying but they did support what I had written as they know it to be the case.

I was really hurt about what she said and because i know she is a game player, I just thought I would keep out of it and leave her be. Sadly mum and Dad just can't seem to walk away, for various reasons some of which I entirely understand. But I hate the three way thing, I don't feel free to visit her as I get all the bitching about my mother (her DIL) who does a lot of work for her, and my parents tell me everything she says about me, so I feel caught in the middle really. I can't seem to do anything - if I go and see her, mum gets cross with me, and if I don't, she does. it's crazy.

I don't wish her any harm, but am flummoxed as to the best way to stay out of the whole political situation. I don't enjoy it.

What should I do?

Troutpout Sun 26-Oct-08 19:31:46

and take a deep breath and just rise above it

mabanana Sun 26-Oct-08 19:36:48

I'd ask them to stop telling me everything that she says - it's a bit 'she said he said yeah but' isn't it, with your parents and grandmother?! . I'd also tell your gran you don't want to hear mean things about your mum.

Flightattendant3 Sun 26-Oct-08 19:38:51

That sounds nice smile

What do I do if she actually phones me? I can't stand her but I want to do the right thing iyswim. I can't make idle chit chat with someone I am well aware despises me. And if I tell her my parents told me how horrid she was about me, I'll land them in it, and if I don't, she'll think I am just careless and unkind.

The fact is I did remember her birthday and only decided not to send anything after they told me how bitchy she was about my last card - it seemed pointless if that is what she thinks of me. sad

But my Dad told her this evening that I probably was too busy and forgot it. He knows I didn't forget, we discussed it the other day.
He just didn't want her to know that he told me what she said about me.


I might move to Switzerland and claim neutral status actually.

quinne Sun 26-Oct-08 19:39:45

Your grandmother is poisonous about you and complains when you don't go to see her? I think I'd not go to see her and be deaf to hear complaints about it. Or if she does call up to enquire why, tell her the truth that you are waiting until you have spare time to visit someone who behaves as she does towards you. If she needs an example then tell her that you didn't appreciate her remarks about the thank you card and you don't like how she speaks about your mother to you.

Flightattendant3 Sun 26-Oct-08 19:41:45

Sorry that was to Trout. Mabanana, easier said than done. She will still say them I think. She has always been like it.

How do these situations develop and where to break the chain, is what I need to figure out. I can't seem to win using any obvious, sensible tactic. Have tried avoiding Grandmother. Have tried not discussing it with parents. Neither of these works.

It was going Ok till he gave her my number. All he really needed to do was to say 'discuss it with flight', and assume that I would have given her my number if I had wanted her to have it.

My parents have no boundaries. That's the problem. (or is it me? I feel all fuddled..)

Flightattendant3 Sun 26-Oct-08 19:44:50

Quinne, yes, maybe honesty is a good tactic - but it involves dobbing in parents, because as far as she knows, I don't know she is being a bitch about me. Can you see a way around that?

According to her, she is free to do this and yet pretend to be nice to me when she sees me. I can't live with that. I do want to know if she is nasty about me and it makes me want to avoid her at all costs tbh.

I included my address in the card, she doesn't need my phone number. She could write if she wanted. They all seem to love stirring. It's really odd.

Geepers Sun 26-Oct-08 19:48:19

How old is your grandmother? Can't you just brush her obviously absurd opions off and ignore her?

I think it was quite petty not to send her a birthday card. You must have known it would cause more problems than it would solve.

Some old people are mad as fruitcakes, and your grandmother may be one of them, but you'd miss her if she weren't there.

Geepers Sun 26-Oct-08 19:49:17

Oh, and your dad just sounds like he doesn't want to be caught in the middle of you both, and who can blame him?

Flightattendant3 Sun 26-Oct-08 19:51:19

It's like it changes all the time.

For instance, last week I mentioned to my mother that perhaps she should gently discourage Grandmother from spending money on me for Christmas as it was unlikely I'd be seeing her (they take her shopping). This was met with 'Oh, I'm not telling her that, you'll have to. It's between you and her'.

Fair enough - so I said, 'Ok, well in that case perhaps you would be kind enough not to pass on any gifts she might have for me, and let her know you are not getting involved, and that she has my address if she wants to write'. Mum couldn't argue with this. I thought it was fine. But it seems they do want to get involved, just only in a way that makes it easier for them. And I feel guilty as it seems like I am abandoning them to do my 'dirty work' or something when in fact I just want to keep it all separate.

I sometimes wonder why they can't see it in a real way, it all gets really clouded by the tangled emotional investments they all seem to have in the relationships.

Flightattendant3 Sun 26-Oct-08 19:54:10

Geepers - no, not petty. We don't have a close relationship and I got a strong message that she didn't believe anything I wrote and yes, I was offended by that.

Dad isn't 'caught in the middle'. She is very poisonous to him and especially to my mother. He can't stand up to her and my mother enjoys the constant battle.

And if I am honest, no I would not miss her.; I see her about twice a year as it is and it is usually torture. It's a shame as she has her delightful moments but actually I will be relieved when I never have to see her again sad

I have tried but she isn't someone you can have a pleasant, respectful, genuine and loving relationship with. She just isn't. I wish it was not so. sad

Geepers Sun 26-Oct-08 19:54:43

I think you are putting your parents in an incredibly difficult situation.

Your GM isold, she's odd, put up with it. She won't be around forever.

mabanana Sun 26-Oct-08 19:55:46

Um, to be perfectly honest, I think you are also behaving rather oddly. Just don't listen to them carping about each other, send your gran a birthday card and see her at Christmas. Stop sending each other messages via each other - you too! It's very Chinese whispers. One person's 'she said I was lying' is another person's 'she wondered if you were pregnant again'.
Why does your mum get cross if you go to see your grandma?

Geepers Sun 26-Oct-08 19:56:37

If you see her twice a year I can't honestly see the problem.

Don't you and your parents just joke about how batty she is and take her insults with a pinch of salt? That's what would happen in my family. We'd all roll our eyes at her latest oddity and put up with it.

Flightattendant3 Sun 26-Oct-08 19:57:31

And it was certainly not done in an awareness that it would cause problems. As far as I knew, she had never questioned whether or not a card was sent before. Sometimes I have bought her really nice presents as well and it doesn't seem to make any difference, she is always narky and miserable. That's why I asked Dad the other day - I said will it be awkward for you, and he said it was Ok. The last thing I wanted to dow as land him in any more stuck with her. He gets it in the neck all the time.

It's not simple really is it. I just wish everyone could be nice to each other.

Geepers Sun 26-Oct-08 19:59:11

If you wish everyone could be nice to each other then you;d have sent her a birthday card and been done with it.

I put it to you that maybe you like the drama as much as your grandmother?

mabanana Sun 26-Oct-08 19:59:17

You can't change how other people behave, but you can behave nicely and lead by example. Send her cards, pop round and visit her, refuse to listen to gossip and just think she's old (is she old) and a bit grumpy but there you go.

Flightattendant3 Sun 26-Oct-08 20:01:31

No, we don't joke about it. it;s too painful really I think. Well, I try and joke but they are too caught up in it.

I have never asked them to pass on messages to her.

My mother gets cross because (I presume) she likes to be in control of the situation. If I go and see Grandmother, I sometimes get on well with her (at least, I thought I did sad) and then my mother feels crappy because she has no one to moan about her to and feels like it is just her who is the target of the nastiness.

Then Grandmother will have a go about me to my mother or father and they tell me. so it seems like a farce really.

In what way am I behaving oddly? I don't understand. sad

Flightattendant3 Sun 26-Oct-08 20:03:14

I don't like the drama. I don't want to send a card to someone who calls my cards 'ridiculous'. it upsets me and frankly I don';t see why I should send her stuff if she doesn't want it.

I don't like the drama, I think it is a load of cr*p but when I try to walk away from it, I get grief from everyone involved.

mabanana Sun 26-Oct-08 20:08:08

Just don't listen to your mum and dad and if they start, just say, 'Mum/Dad, I really don't want to hear this, I'm not going to listen'. YOu really don't know what your gran said. maybe it was more like 'oooh, not coming round eh? Feeling unwell? I bet she's expecting again!'
If your mum likes a bit of drama I wouldn't be surprised if she gave it all a bit of spin. If you simply refuse to listen and just smile at everyone there won't be a drama.

beaniescreamyb Sun 26-Oct-08 20:13:30

If you want her to know the real reason why you didn't send the card why not tell her. If she calls and if she mentions it just tell her!

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