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SN children

Excluded by FAMILY.

17 replies

mrsforgetful · 02/01/2004 21:57

On NEW YEARS DAY I discovered that my husband's parents had invited my husband's brother and his 2 sister's and ofcourse their 'normal /Typical ' kids- to lunch...a repeat of christmas day. WE WERE NOT INVITED- WE DID NOT EVEN KNOW THEY WERE HAVING THIS LUNCH.....we only 'found out' when we turned up by chance to 'catch them at it'
Now - i do get a bit paranoid and am very sensitive- so am having great difficulty not reading too much into this.
We left and came home- my husband and i then argued all afternoon- he says he doesn't care- and neither should I- and that he is sick of us rowing over things that aren't anything to do with him. Now i am 'more than happy' to 'withdraw' from my role as daughter-in-law- and i am 'Happy' he still functions as a son...so this is not one of those 'its them or me' scenarios.....IT'S JUST THAT I BELIEVE THIS TO BE SOMETHING TO DO WITH MY CHILDREN'S DISABILITIES-- AND I THERFORE FEEL MY HUSBAND SHOULD ASK WHY WE WERE NOT INCLUDED.

This is not the first time we have been 'excluded' from his family's 'fun'. Too many to mention but this last year there have been bar-b-cues,weekends away,and a massive New Year's Eve Party/Kareoke.......

For the benefit of anyone (?) who doesn't know me...I am sseing a Psychologist,My ds3 (10yr) has Asperger's and ADHD,my ds2 I am sure has Asperger's and my ds3 seems ok...but who knows what will happen if i eventually give in and give him MMR.

So we are a truly 'colourful' family and I accept it is hard for people to accomodate all our needs...however when these people are your family and It is YOUR children that lose out- what hope is there with people you meet by chance as you go about each day?

I sound 'jokey' about this- but I am so cross- I spent new years day in tears and ended up phoning his mum and telling her very politely that I was deeply hurt by their choice to not invite us- and that i wondered if they'd considered 'leaving out' anyone else - and finally I told her that I had told ds3 (age 4) that the reason we couldn't go was that there were not enough chairs.

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nutcracker · 02/01/2004 22:08

I can understand why you are upset, i would be too. I have 3 kids who don't have special needs but when all together in same room they can be abit (no alot) rowdy and of course like all children they will fight and argue. On the whole my children are well behaved but at a family party last year my dd2 was being quite difficult and throwing alot of tantrums and since then every invite has been for adults only, usually with some lame excuse at the bottom. Twice now another relatives dd has been chosen to be bridesmaid at weddings with lame excuse given again for not asking my dd's.
I would be tempted to ask them outright

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Lisa78 · 02/01/2004 22:11

I'm so sorry you are upset about this, it sounds really awful, I can imagine you would feel hurt and ganged up on. Did your MIL tell you why you had not been invited? It does sound suss as they didn't mention this was going to happen, so its not as if they thought you had something else on. I would find out why first, then decide what to do

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coppertop · 02/01/2004 22:13

Poor thing. In our case it's the other way around. My MIL is lovely. My mother is nearly always excluding us - though not because of ds1 having SN. I would want to know WHY you were left out. It's not fair on your boys either if they are always being left out of family events. Does your dh secretly suspect he knows the real reason but doesn't want to tell you because he wants to 'protect' you or does he really have no idea?

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Davrosthesnowman · 03/01/2004 00:48

This is horrible. What annoys me is that people, especially family, can't trust you to decide if a gathering is appropriate or not and to leave if things get too difficult. They should invite you anyway and trust you. We had to spend Xmas with a couple of friends for some years because the only family member we could have gone to couldn't tolerate our son's ASD. We would never have gone there if she'd invited us and were much happier with our calm and tolerant friends, but we were never invited...... It did hurt to know we were not welcome although we always got on well socially in other settings. The last couple of years we've spent here at home, at one time it just wasn't possible to spend so long at home with nothing much to do so we needed to get out somewhere. Its not a problem now and actually much better to just stay at home. I think you've done the right thing by saying something and you should say that you are more than capable of deciding whether to accept an invitation or not.
The other thing that I find difficult is when people pressure you to go to a social gathering and don't understand when you say its not appropriate. They usually say they don't mind how our son behaves but they don't realise that WE mind and WE can't necessarily relax. There are a few people who we can visit easily and who genuinely have no difficulty with our son, but not many really have the sensitivity or understanding that they think they have.

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Jimjams · 03/01/2004 11:38

Good points Davros. Actually my worst situation is when someone says "oh come it'll be fine- there will be plenty of people to help". When you know that what will happen is that everyone else will sit round, drinking and socialising and you'll be the one traipsing round someone elses house after your auti kid.

We had the opposite on New Years Day. We went to a friends house0- she has (NT) children as well. At the end I heard her say to her dh- "wasn't that a lovely relaxing day- see if we had invited X - insert name here of perfect couple - with very perfect very NT children- it would hav been a total nightmare". My sort of friend. As Davros says very few people are as relaxed or tolerant as they like to think they are.

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mrsforgetful · 03/01/2004 13:26

Yes Davros- to me the point was to not have been allowed to make our own descion- as far as xmas day went we would have definitely not accepted- it is hard enough during the 'present opening' to then follow with a sit down lunch would be too much. If invited we would have accepted the new year lunch- maybe if only to 'see' how we all managed.
It hurts me that since 'the' phonecall (which i don't regret -as for once i have told someone how hurt i feel) NoOne has phoned us.... and all that keeps going over and over in my head is 'WHY? How could they?'
DH has just gone up there (on his way to take ds1 to his first 'proper' football match) so i will dread him coming home incase his mum has had a go at him....however what i really dread is my DH just letting her say her bit and him not 'defending us'

Finally, to be honest this has been brewing for along time- as this MIL is THE person who says 'there is nothing wrong with ds2' and calls him 'THE WHINGER' instead of his real name....you may recall she calls my DS1 'The professor' and ds3 'Little Git'......so lately when i've been up there i've found it harder and harder to restrain my feelings to these names- and she is no doubt aware of this....and in addition NONE of his family have ever offered to 'help' me with the children- they are always there if I ASK but due to my own depression which they know off- it would be nice to have offers- as particularily NT(?) ds3 loses out on lots of things that i feel unable to do- like park,swimmimg etc and that is where family can help- I have had counselling ref my relationship with my own parents- and therefore i cannot 'risk' their care on my children.

At the moment i feel 'numb' to all this- though i feel it doesn't matter if i ever go and visit again - I WAS very SCARED walking round town yesterday incase i was 'cornered' by his sisters or mum- If i am 'confronted' on the phone or in person I will simply say 'WHY?' etc....I also see the psychologist on tues...so will try to not dwell too much on this ...as deep down I know I have done nothing to deserve this

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coppertop · 03/01/2004 13:37

What an awful woman! She sounds like a bit of a bully, calling your boys names like that.

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tallulah · 03/01/2004 17:35

Mrsforgetful I really feel for you.

When my kids were small, my parents used to come to visit us (they are 200 miles away), but spend almost their whole time with my aunt & her DD. They'd all go out for meals etc & we were never invited.

This same aunt would never ever have our kids, but would frequently look after a friend's 3 girls for the whole day; and another friend's DD & DS (same age as our eldest.)

It really got to me, and still rankles now- 10 years on. I could only assume that because we had 4 (5.5 years between 1st & 4th) & the 3rd has ADHD, that the rest of the family didn't want us around. All you can do is think "if that's their attitude, sod 'em", but I know your own depression makes it worse (also been there..). Not much help I know, but time will make this less raw.

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dinosaur · 03/01/2004 17:48

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This has been withdrawn by MNHQ at the poster's request.

crystaltips · 03/01/2004 17:55

mrsForgetful - all I can suggest is read shrub's advice on this thread - only posted this afternoon ....
shrubs advice
I too have huge problems with my MIl - but after reading shrubs comments it made me feel calmer and more in control .... HTH xxxx

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maryz · 03/01/2004 23:25

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tigermoth · 04/01/2004 14:33

mrsforgetful, what a hurtful thing to do - family christmas and new year lunch minus an invite for you. Did they really think you would never find out? unbelievable to not have said something to you. Agree with Davros about the lack of trust - why not leave it up to you to judge whether the event is suitable for your children?

If only these people were friends, you could cut them out of your life much more easily, I'd imagine. But they are your husband's family. I have no experience of family rifts like this, but I know a little of what it's like to feel your and your children are being judged and left out while the party goes on without you.

Of course you must detach yourself emotionally. Shrub's advice is great. It's going to be hard to do at first but easier as time goes on. Think of all the lovely things about your children these relatives will be missing. I've watched my two grow up and seen how attitudes to them have changed. I know it's different because they are NT but they can be a handful. Sometimes they can be annoying, sometimes a social thing is damn hard work and their grandparenst (my inlaws) smile through gritted teeth. But then the next time, everything calms down, the inlaws relax more, the children stay just that side of OK and we all have a fantastic time. By not seeing you, your in laws will never give the good times a chance to happen. They will never have those funny, happy memories to look back on. It's their loss.

I'm glad you phoned. I would have done just the same as you. I'm glad you stayed polite and kept control, but let them know how you felt. No chance of them thinking you are unaware of the missed invites and implied judgements on you. I think ( drawing on my own experieces) it's important for you that they know this.

I think your story is a horribly extreme case of being exluded in this way, but I'd just like to add that I believe lots of mothers or fathers have felt a little like you at some time - somewhere along the way, they have been excluded socially, whether it's NCT group, a party at school, or something else. You only have to read mumsnet for a few months to see how often these problems crop up. I know this does not exactly reflect what happened to you, but in some small way, you can see you are not alone.

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mrsforgetful · 05/01/2004 10:07

CRYSTALTIPS- Thanks for 'shrub's advice'- have posted on that thread- but to summarise- she advised basically what my psychologist advises every week- so excellent advice ! Also reading that thread 'hit home' about how my own mum's depression affected me as a child- and how I am determined that i make the 'right choices' so that my children don't look back with resentment as i do. I have to go with my 'gut feeling' that they are happy- as they still want me to tuck them in bed and are often chasing after me for 'more cuddles'- i can only assume they feel 'more secure' in my love than i did as a child because i have memories as early as 7 of feeling 'a burden' to my mum.
TIGERMOTH-I always love your replies...! The detatchment thing is how i think i have to move forward- and you'll be glad to know that i am still glad i phoned his mum- and feel relieved that THEY finally know I KNOW about their 'cosy' get-togethers.
MARYZ- You 'hit the nail right on the head'!!! NO I DO NOT WANT TO BE INVOLVED IN WHAT THEY DO....so really i have to face the fact that what i am upset about is the 'confirmation' of what they think- not the actual event. However- I would like the kids to be included...if THEY want to be included....however if asked 'do you want to go up nanny's?' they usually 'create a fuss'...so I am not going to force them- I will leave well alone.I told my husband last night that I still feel hurt and will not be going up to his Mums untill she has discussed this issue with him- she still hasn't mentioned a word about it- and that when she does I am 100% happy for him to say this is totally about how i feel and that he 'couldn't care less' etc about who and where New Year's Dinner was eaten etc...however i also said that he MUST explain that I feel as i do because of what the kids miss out on- I feel able to not let this affect my relationship (though I don't feel too secure in that at the moment) as long as he doesn't expect me to carry on as if nothing happened - he can continue blindly on - that's fine- but I cannot just go to his mums and 'forget'- I am thankful that as my 2 oldest have AS that they are 'blissfully' unaware of all this- but my other son was very upset that there was a party and he wasn't invited- Now THAT one is for my MIL to explain - NOT ME!!

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fio2 · 05/01/2004 10:22

mrsf this is so horrible, i really feel for youSad my father never used to invite us to his 'gatherings' either but i think it was more to do with me being a disappointment than dd having special needs. Shrubs advice is good, i have read it and thought yes i will keep that in mind. We were given our relatives thank goodness we can choose our friends (urgh! it was my dad who used to say that tooSad)

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Blu · 05/01/2004 10:52

Oh MrsF, this is so hurtful and horrible, and brings into sharp focus the fact that your DS's are different. All the responses seem very sound to me, I don't think I would want my DS to be exposed to someone who NAMES children 'git' etc so if you can separate your feelings of hurt at the blatant discrimination the woman shows from how you see her in a wider picture you may just be glad to have some distance from her.

But mostly to say how sorry I am that a holiday period was made so upsetting for you.

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Batters · 05/01/2004 13:18

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mrsforgetful · 05/01/2004 17:58

when i made the phonecall i could feel my heart pounding and i said everything in one calm breath!!! (VERY unlike the usual me who drones on for hours!) I have tried to see this from a different prospective as follows....because his family has these get togethers so often maybe it is possible that they 'just didn't think'....however deep down i still think that due to New Year being on a Thursday ....and them sitting down with a full roast,crackers and poppers...that THEY were not 'just having a normal lunch'- I had pre-christmas said that due to the present exchanges that we'd decided to spend the majority of christmas day at home.... but cannot see that this would be interpreted as ' we never want to be invited anywhere' - I still get anxious when the phone rings....then i remember that his MIL has no need to call me- as she obviously feels she has done nothing wrong.

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