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How do you take a break from toxic parents without being the bad guy getting in between them and their GC?

(15 Posts)
bohemianbint Mon 08-Jun-09 13:28:07

Apologies ? you?re my only outlet and I need to vent. I should also say first of all that I have had about half an hour?s sleep since 3am with poorly/teething DS2 and am not in a good way.

I have just structured my entire day around my parents? offer to come and take DS1 (2.9y) out this afternoon, so that I could have a nap when DS2 does after a disastrous night. They phoned at midday to say they were going to give my sister a lift instead and they would be an hour late. This blows my nap out of the water and means I will not get a break at all, but my sister always comes first, despite being 23 and owning her own car and being more than capable of getting herself the 3 mile journey they?re taking her on.

I?m just so tired, and disappointed I could cry, although I don?t know why I expected any different. I?ve been having a break from my parents for a lot of complex reasons, but as I have two sons I don?t want to impact on their relationship with their grandparents. I had misgivings about sending him anyway (we popped by on Saturday my SM on Saturday gave my 9 month old a shoe off her foot to play with. She has in the past cut DS1?s hair, sprayed Febreze on his skin, let him play unsupervised with tools, the list goes on) and there?s a long running problem with them using the car seat.

They will only be dragging him around shops with them, not feeding him and then bringing him back an hour later than agreed anyway. They never ever take him to a park, or do anything that benefits him. They always have to see him under the guise of "doing me a favour", not because they want to see him, IYSWIM, and it generally turns out to be so stressful that it doesn't do us anything like a favour. This sounds cynical, but trust me, they are extremely controlling and it's all for PR.

There's much more to this but I don't want to go on and on. But how can I stop this kind of fannying about without stopping them from seeing the children? (Or DS1, they?re not that fussed about DS2)

bohemianbint Mon 08-Jun-09 13:29:03

Bah - stupid question marks all the way through!

SpeckledHen Mon 08-Jun-09 13:34:04

You sound knackered. Please don't think I am patronising but when you have ahad a sleep you will feel better. Maybe be a bit unavailable to them for a bit. I have probs with MIL. I do not feel guilty. I limit time with her. I have to. I am not cruel - just trying to survive. Having kids is hard work. Who neeeds extra haslse. I wouldn't cu rt them out but just limit it. Good luck

giantkatestacks Mon 08-Jun-09 13:38:38

I have had this sort of problem as well. I think I am just expecting too much though - trying to make up for that rosy GP experience that I never had either.

I feel bad for my children that they dont have it but you cant change people - do you know anyone else from that generation - a family friend perhaps that you could rope in to perform a similar role - this has worked well for us.

AttilaTheMeerkat Mon 08-Jun-09 13:39:07

Hi BB,

Have written to you before now.

I think you need to address why you feel it is somehow necessary for your children (and they are showing favouritism here already by favouring DS1 over DS2; that in itself can also cause problems between the two boys as they get older) to actually have any relationship at all with the controlling StepMIL and your Dad (who is also a bystander to all this as he's acted for his own self interest only).

Perhaps you think this is necessary because of "societal convention" - well actually no it is not. You'd be better off finding your children better role models for them to relate to during childhood.

Such problems as well often spill over into the next generation as well. They won't change or let up any because they are their grandchildren and they could well poison their minds against you, their Mother. They could certainly undermine your authority quite easily. Quite apart from their behaviours towards you, they are totally incapable of having any sort of healthy and functional relationship with you let alone their grandchildren.

bohemianbint Mon 08-Jun-09 13:39:13

There's a lot more to this than just today; I've just had two weeks of no contact with them after my dad made a horrible speech at our wedding and refused to talk to me all day.

Those two weeks were so stress free without having to constantly talk about them. But then they got back in touch putting guilt trips on me.

It's much better without the stress but I don't want the blame for their nonexistent relationship with my sons.

bohemianbint Mon 08-Jun-09 13:41:46

Attila - thank you. You are right, I just don't want my children to blame me when they are older.

But I also don't want them screwing with their heads either. Perhaps it is best just to stop all unsupervised contact - but in a way that is playing into their hands; they get to tell everyone what a bitch I am for doing so.

bohemianbint Mon 08-Jun-09 13:43:39

giantkate - luckily they have two other sets of grandparents who do like to take them out to do kid sort of things with them. It's really hard to deal with though - how do you explain it to yours, or are they too young yet?

maltesers Mon 08-Jun-09 13:44:21

I can sympathise,, my mother in the past has been a complete rude bitch. She is less so now that i have stood up to her. She would make me feel very guilty bout leaving the kids with her for even an hour. She has been very unmotherly and spoken to me in the most appauling way for no reason merited at all. My father has been the sane one but sometimes not any support either. I too had my mum give my 8 yr old a piece of toast for his supper and not get him bathed . I know she is older now but it makes you feel awful and diliked.
I used to get "Oh, well, how long will you be, dont be long. what time are you back.??" "Do i have to, i am old, too tired, and he is so naughty i cant cope.
Bollocked my ds once, the minute he walked in to her house cos he picked up a football ready to go into their back garden and play. You would think , wouldnt you that G.PARENTS want to see their for any hour or so. Makes me cross. And it makes you feel very unimportant. Rise above their selfish nonsence and just think to your self "I am not going to treat my kids like this "

AttilaTheMeerkat Mon 08-Jun-09 13:44:56

They are to blame for the non existant relationships, you're not at fault here at all.

However, as is often the case toxic people take no responsibility for their actions and are too quick to blame others for their own shortcomings.

How did they get back in touch - change your phone number, at the very least get caller identity so that you can screen calls.

What does your birth Mother think about them and their behaviour?. Is she supportive of you?.

BTW guilt is a useless emotion.

Lemonylemon Mon 08-Jun-09 13:45:53

BH - let them. At least your kids will grow up without the toxic relationships that your Dad/SMIL are intent on creating.

I totally agree with ATM - social convention is not a good enough reason to put your DCs through this.....

giantkatestacks Mon 08-Jun-09 13:51:11

Yes BB mine are too young - I havent actually thought how I will explain it - my ds has great gps on his dads side anyway (my exp) - its only my dhs side that are infuriating. Though this is actually worse as my ds will have close gps and my poor dd won't.

You have to view it as any other form of abusive relationship though - if the dcs get more negative than positive from the relationship then its just not worth it and you'll have to take the flak for being a bitch if thats what it takes to shield them from it.

bohemianbint Mon 08-Jun-09 13:52:26

THank you. As it stands they're due round in 10 minutes - although they will of course be about half an hour late, as always. I really could do without it (despite really actually needing some help today, it's just that it is never help, it's just a brownie point for them in their stupid game!) but I don't feel up to having a fight, I think I would cry.

I hadn't changed any numbers (they could pop round anyway, if they wanted, although we are moving soon!) because I thought it would be better to leave a small door rather than cut them off totally. I cut my mother out for 8 years and it wasn't mentally the best thing.

My mother is far from perfect and I never quite know if I can believe everything she says but their recent behaviour is certainly giving credence to her version of things...

AttilaTheMeerkat Mon 08-Jun-09 13:54:59

Your children won't blame you either for keeping them away from such people who only think of themselves. If these people were at all emotionally reasonable they would not be going around in the first place bitching to all and sundry for stopping unsupervised contact. From what you write of them as well (and I have read much of your writings re these people) they both seem completely unsuitable to be around anybody at all, let alone your children unsupervised.

Find your children better role models to relate to; they will thank you for doing so. Concentrate on the two other sets of gps who are interested and forge further relationships with them.

With best wishes


P.S I also have crap parents myself and they are not great as grandparents either. Unsupportive is the operative word here. These people do not change and they were like it with me. They just seem incapable of looking beyond their own selves. Between them and my ILs who are also useless (understatement) they provide an abject lesson in how not to behave.

AttilaTheMeerkat Mon 08-Jun-09 14:03:08


I hope you are moving some considerable distance away from this toxic StepMIL and your bystander of a Dad. I would certainly not be giving them any phone number (or even your new address if that can be helped).

They control your sister; they like her because she is willing to be controlled by them. Its no life for her really. You on the other hand are not willing to be like this hence their immense dislike of you.

You may want to also read "If you had controlling parents" written by Dr Dan Neuharth.

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