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This is very, very long, and yes, I've NC'd.

216 replies

Helpmehelpmydgs · 24/08/2013 14:44

My DS1 and his gf lived together for a few years, half here and half with her family, before finally moving into their own place a couple of years ago. They got together as teenagers and are now mid-twenties.

I will admit I was massively relieved when they moved out, the atmosphere in my home lightened immediately. They were always rather "disapproving" towards dh and me, there was a fair amount of "antler-clashing" (words, no violence) between DS1 and dh, and ds1 and ds2, and it was all just getting a bit tired. While they were here, they contributed nothing; no housework, no bills, no rent. They didn't even provide company and entertainment, they just took their evening meals upstairs to eat and wouldn't be seen again till morning.

Anyway, they have basically cut communications since they left. Ds1 passes close to our home twice every working day and has never called in just for a natter and a cup of tea. He has never phoned just for a chat, and eventually stopped even responding to his dad's friendly sports-related texts. He didn't even acknowledge FB messages. (I know, I know...) Eventually I blocked him on FB because it became obvious that his dp was using the login to post snidey, passive-aggressive comments aimed at me, and I don't need that kind of childish shit in my life.

So, roll on the months, and ds1 drops by to tell us they're having a baby. We say "Congratulations, when's it due?", he tells us and leaves. Five minutes tops, and the next we hear is when the baby is born premature, by emergency CS, and later needs surgery at a few weeks old. We were "permitted" to visit in the hospital, dh and ds2 went, I didn't because I had a streaming cold and didn't think a tiny newborn should be exposed to that. Eventually I met him at about three months when they dropped by for five minutes; he was taken out of the car, but not the carseat (fair enough, he was asleep) so I could admire from a distance. I was never invited to visit him in their home, and I have never been the kind of person to drop in uninvited; particularly where dil2b is so clearly hostile towards me I wouldn't even consider it. I know how hard the early days are and would never just "drop by" on a new mum, especially one who'd just had major abdominal surgery, I don't even phone in case I'd disturb a nap.

I don't think I've emphasised how much dil2b actually hates me, btw, she really does. She maintains I broke her trust, I think she's an attention-seeking drama queen, this is never going to end well. As is right, ds1 is fully supporting his dp and the mother of his pfb, and as a result relationships between ds1 and me have completely broken down. Frankly, I'm past caring. I've run the full gamut of emotions from hair-tearing grief, through shock at their blatant rewriting of history, to rage at the fucking using wee twat I birthed. I'm now "meh" about the lot of them.

DIL2B, however, has other ideas. She has started to demand that I have a relationship with their ds, which sounds positive, but what she actually wants is "stuff", and her email to me makes that very, very clear. She hates me, will not forgive me, does not accept my apology and will not be in the house when I visit (by arrangement, of course.) She's upset because I bought dgs1 (ds2's boy, now 4) lots of "stuff" when he was little, and I should be buying the same sort of "stuff" for dgs2. Thing is, when dgs1 was born it to two teenage parents, only one of whom was working (pt, zero hours contract, nmw), and who did not, at that time, live together, though they spent most nights together either here or with her family. Dgs2 has been born to two fully-adult parents, at least one of whom is ft employed on a rate considerably higher than nmw (am unaware of her status) and who have their own home. And who don't speak to me.

So, yes, I probably did go a bit daft on the toy front, but most of it is usable by other dc. I bought the bigger-ticket items, indoor trampoline, chute, paddling pool, ride-on toys, that sort of thing; they're all durable. I keep them here because my house is big enough and although ds2 and his ex are no longer together, they have resolved their differences and dgs1 stays over two or three nights a week, so he gets a lot of use out of these toys. But dgs2 won't be brought here to visit, so he'll never get to use them; does that mean I should shell out again for stuff they'll keep and I'll never get to see dgs2 enjoying? It's not that they can't afford this stuff if they want it, ds1 got a substantial inheritance from my uncle a couple of months ago, but they want me to pay for it.

So, well done if you've read this far, go and put the kettle on for a Brew because there's more.

If we're sitting comfortably... So, she emailed me this vituperous claptrap four weeks ago. I put off opening it, I'll be honest, I was scared to read it, actually shook at the thought for days. Eventually I had a drink steeled myself, and actually ended up snorting in derision at how blatant her demands for "stuff" were, which was a relief tbh. The email is a complete rewriting of history, apparently she has tried everything to keep communications open blah blah blah. I do intend to reply, but I veer between the emotions decribed above (though I left out the rending of hair this time) and can't quite get the right tone. Ds1 has sent dh horrible texts demanding to know when I'll reply, really nasty in tone, and snotty about me. Yeah, that makes me get the rage want to communicate calmly, and forge a relationship with your pfb.

So (I use that too much, eh?), I am pretty much in a place where I want absolutely nothing further to do with any of them. She hates me, and I don't recognise the ds1 I raised, he's grown into an unpleasant bully, and I'm ashamed of him. It's a pity I won't know dgs2, but dh and ds2 are persisting so I'll still have news, and perhaps he'll choose to visit me when he's older. He'll get nothing positive about me from his mother, but his cousin (dgs1) loves me, so he might get curious.

Then ds2 visited dgs2 during the week, and took photos. He showed me, and I am genuinely shocked.

DIL2B has been overweight, massively so, all of the time I have known her. She has had an eating disorder in the past, and I don't think she's resolved any of the background issues (of course, she might have had intensive counselling, I have no idea) and I think she has a problematic relationship with food, equating it with love in some way?

Anyway, dgs2 looks to me (not a trained professional) to be clinically obese, dangerously so. He is HUGE, he can't move because of his weight, he can't even wave his limbs in the air. This is not "normal baby" chubbiness, cute wee dimples and squidgeyness. This is baby walrus territory. And it has been achieved in about three months; he was a perfectly normal size when I last saw him, and is only 6 months now.

Apparently she has been adding baby rice to every bottle feed since 12 weeks, and spooning purees into him from 16 weeks. :(

So, do I start to take an interest in the child, perhaps rebuild bridges with ds1 (tbh, I don't want to, I don't even like him much any more) and persuade him to see how wrong this is, how dangerous for his pfb? Do I hope the HV sees and says something? Why can't ds1 see for himself? I think he does, he put up a video of the child blowing raspberries and carefully showed nothing but his face (and that's pretty fat, too, but not as revealing as his limbs). Why does he want me involved, and why does he think that being bullying and aggressive will do that?

Sorry, wandered off on another tangent. Wwyd, re-establish relationships in the (quite possibly vain) hopes of changing dgs2's diet to something more babyish, or tell them all to piss off and hope they come to their senses? They're not going to listen to me anyway, are they, I'd just be a judgemental and interfering MIL.

Ok, talked it all through now, they can fuck off. Sorry, dgs2, hope you and your mum get the professional help you so much need and deserve.

Thanks for reading, I don't really expect replies, but it's been cathartic to get it all out.

OP posts:
IslaValargeone · 24/08/2013 14:53

I think however nice you are to them, however much you do for them, however much you buy for them, they will still re-write history and treat you like s**t tbh.
I really feel for you.

Llareggub · 24/08/2013 14:54

Well, I only have a 6 and a 4 year old so I feel unqualified to help, but as I read it all I felt I should respond.

Personally, I would maintain contact and do what I could for my grandchildren and son. I would probably try and build trust with the DIL for the sake of the children. But easier said than done, I know.

Helpmehelpmydgs · 24/08/2013 14:58

Thank you for taking the time to read all that, Isla, and for your thoughts, but I really do feel much calmer and more settled in my resolve. I've felt the heart-break and I've cried my tears, they're not getting any more time, emotion or money!

Right, off to reply to that sodding email now.

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Helpmehelpmydgs · 24/08/2013 14:59

Thanks to you too, Llareggub, it's a bit of an epic. There is absolutely no chance of reconciliation with dil2b, she has made that quite clear.

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Ragwort · 24/08/2013 15:01

Wow, how difficult for you.

I think anything you say will be ignored (at best) and used as yet another reason to 'hate' you. Even easy going people find it hard to take 'advice' from a MIL - however well meaning - so in this situation is it highly unlikely that they would take on board anything you say.

Is there anyone else at all who could get involved and maybe try to say something tactfully - can DS2 say anything to his brother?

neolara · 24/08/2013 15:03

I think they will not appreciate any comments about weight - you'll totally be onto a losing streak if you mention or even hint at that. I'm sorry. Teh situation sounds totally shit.

Ragwort · 24/08/2013 15:03

Actually, think carefully about replying to the email, I never put anything in writing that could be used against me.

If you have to reply can you just say something breezily non-commital like 'nice to hear from you, hope all is well with you and baby, love to you all'. Don't get embroiled in the discussion about the toys etc.

Helpmehelpmydgs · 24/08/2013 15:05

Thanks Ragwort. Ds2 and ds1 are not close, ds2 pushed to see dgs2 because he wants his own son to know his cousin on his father's side. (He sees a lot of the cousins on his mum's side.)

I'm hoping a health care professional, maybe the health visitor, will get involved. He is absolutely, shockingly fat, and I can see him being the round one in the playground that no-one wants to play with.

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Helpmehelpmydgs · 24/08/2013 15:07

Thanks to you too, neolara, for taking the time. Re my reply to the email, it's wording it right that's taking me so bloody long to reply, and it doesn't help that every time he texts or hassles dh or ds2 I do get the rage, and stubborn with it.

I need to man the fuck up, eh?

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IslaValargeone · 24/08/2013 15:08

helpme In light of your epic post, mine seems shamefully short and lacking in any practical advice, but I'm a great believer in self preservation and not exposing yourself to people who will only make your life miserable.
I do think it's great that you have reached a point where you are settled.
It's such a bloody shame, you sound like a generous, helpful but non interfering mil that some us would really like to have.

IslaValargeone · 24/08/2013 15:09

Oh yes and definitely what Ragwort said about the email.

Helpmehelpmydgs · 24/08/2013 15:12

Thanks, Isla, you're very kind. DIL2B recently phoned DS2's ex to bitch about us as PIL, the ex (God love her) said we were brilliant, helpful and supportive when needed, and unintrusive otherwise. Grin Put her gas at a peep, as we say round these parts.

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LumpySpace · 24/08/2013 15:12

To me it seems like you won't be able to do right for doing wrong in DIL and DS eyes IFYSWIM? Like they've put the "baddie" label on you.
If I were you I wouldn't give DILs strops the oxygen of attention, either no response or nice and neutral with nothing they can use as ammo.

IComeFromALandDownUnder · 24/08/2013 15:12

I don't really think there is anything you can do if your son is being so hostile. They are not going to listen to you about the food. The HV should pick up on it eventually.

I would not give in to her requests for stuff. She must be very immature if she thinks she can say 'I hate you but you must buy x, y and z.'

I would not be engaging with them any further. A short email back to say that your grandson is more then welcome to use the toys already at your house anytime but you will not be buying duplicates. If they email back say you have nothing further to add to your previous email.

All of this really depends though on what you actually did. Does everyone else agree with you? I am great believer in time healing all wounds. In a year or two your relationship might be very different.

NoSquirrels · 24/08/2013 15:14

Well, I think you should try to have a relationship with your baby DGS, and hopefully rebuild one with your DS at the same time. Leave DIL out of it. She says she won't be in the house anyway when you visit, so win-win.

Your DIL sounds as if she has had a troubled past (moving in with you as a teenager suggests not so good family background? eating disorder etc.) and unfortunately this may have resulted in her becoming manipulative and unpleasant. Also perhaps very concerned with "fairness" and getting what she wants/perceives she "deserves" in material terms for her and her family. Best not to engage if possible - as you say, you will always be in the wrong so just stay out of it.

But if you can visit and see your DGS least that way you can reassure yourself as to the health and welfare of the baby. If it turns out you can't help directly, with advice, and the situation warrants it, then you could consider referring your concerns via the appropriate authorities: GP, HV etc.

Has your DGS1 grown out of any of the toys at your house? You could take them something as a peace offering if so.

bunnymother · 24/08/2013 15:14

I would also send a reply like Ragwort suggests, and leave them to it. The prayer of serenity is quite apt for this situation. I can't see how you can change anything, except cause upset (mainly for yourself) so just carry on with your own life and know you did what you, effectively, could. I'm sorry your son is involved with someone so awful.

I might even be tempted to put in a line along the lines of "I'm hoping the inheritance you received recently had been helpful in buying some nice things for the baby".

picnicbasketcase · 24/08/2013 15:17

I'm not really sure how you and your DIL have so momentously and irreparably fallen out tbh. How does she think you betrayed her?

PrincessKitKat · 24/08/2013 15:18

I agree with ragwort - breezy, non committal, keep to the facts, don't mention fat baby's weight issue, it'll just fan DILs flame.

I thought your explanation of why your other DGS has 'stuff' was perfectly reasonable - you see him lots, he stays over, it's here for all DGCs to use.

Some people are so awful. It's very sad.

Helpmehelpmydgs · 24/08/2013 15:18

Thanks to you too, Lumpy and ICome, yes, I must strive for a neutral tone. As to what I actually did, it would take another bloody epic to explain it all, but it involves her eating disorder. She maintains I broke her confidence, and it's true, I did. I spoke to one person (who is a bit of an expert on the topic) because I was worried that she was about to have a relapse, due to other events, and wanted to know if there were signs I should look for. This person is not a medical person, and she has not breathed a word to anyone else. So yes, I broke her confidence, but she has come to absolutely no harm from it, and I have apologised. But she refuses to accept, what more can I do?

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booboobeedoo · 24/08/2013 15:20

Me neither, where is the break of trust from? What does the email actually say?

Helpmehelpmydgs · 24/08/2013 15:20

Oh, gosh, there are so many of you! Thank you all. Flowers

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booboobeedoo · 24/08/2013 15:21

Oops x post

froggies · 24/08/2013 15:23

They aren't going to listen to you.
They aren't going to listen to DS2 or your DH either.
I doubt HV's input would make much difference either tbh wrt his weight, but you can always hope on that one.

Glad putting it all down has helped. And I agree, Ragworts reply to the email is ample. Higher moral ground and all that. Let them get on with it, and enjoy your life with DG, DS2 and DGS2.

Helpmehelpmydgs · 24/08/2013 15:24

NoSquirrels, you have it with "troubled family background" and yes, I think she wants "fairness."

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Helpmehelpmydgs · 24/08/2013 15:25

Hello, froggies. :)

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