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Hostilities between DS's

(95 Posts)
Yummygran Wed 04-Jan-12 17:07:02

Help I don't know what to do!

Boxing Day was meant to be a happy gathering of my two DS's and their respective partners, each with a little DD. It all began well, but my eldest made a 'helpful' comment to his DB about their 2yr old's potty training mishaps whilst in my house and his SIL took exception to it and made a derogatory comment about his DD, not being the 'perfect' child and how she wouldn't ever listen to 'his parenting skills'.

This caused my eldest DS to try and frog march her out of my house, which then erupted into a fight between both DS's. I quickly put a stop to it and everyone left, but it was so upsetting. My eldest DS and his SIL have never got on and he can't understand why I tolerate her when she has caused so much trouble in the past between me and both my DS's. She is rather a difficult person to get on with despite my various attempts in the past, I have always tried to treat her the same as my other DIL but she seems to be very jealous of my other DS and his partner, and often makes unkind comments.

Since this happened I have hardly heard from my younger DS who thinks I have taken my eldest DS's side.

Both have vowed never to speak to the other again, and their DF and I are at our wit's end to know how to handle this without taking either side or losing touch with the lot of them, which would break my heart.

Any suggestions would be very welcome.

maxgran Fri 06-Jan-12 12:45:40

Yummygran,..They all sound a bit oversensitive to me and they have all overreacted.
If your DS accuses you of siding with his brother just telling him he is being ridiculous ( unless you are siding with him !)
Sounds like everyone knows what your DiL is like so they should not be surprised at her actions.

In our family we all tend to say things to each other that I guess many families would get upset about but we just move on after having a row and I can't think of one instance when anyone has ever stopped talking to anyone else. My DiL can be very difficult and she is a jealous awkward type but we just accept her the way she is and don't take a lot of notice apart from just telling her, if w ehave to, that she is out of order. She sulks,... but she knows my DS would never be drawn into a fall out with his sister or his parents !

Yummygran Fri 06-Jan-12 15:46:59

I wish my family could speak their mind and clear the air without holding grudges or sulking. It sounds a good way of dealing with issues and very sensible.

I have decided I am staying put, rather than go down to my 'weekend retreat'. I have always been glad to see them all, but at the moment I don't think I could hold my tongue, so I am staying away. I might suggest that their father and I get together and try organise a 'meeting' with just the boys, without their partners, and attempt to sort this out, I don't think either of them will make the first move. My eldest has a new baby due at the end of the month and I would hope that this is sorted before then, otherwise if my youngest snubs his brother at a time like that it might never be resolved.

glammanana Sat 07-Jan-12 11:24:15

Good idea yummy sometimes I think it was better when they where all little and at least then you could put them to bed until they calmed down again,defininatly better having babies than grown up wishes

Annobel Sat 07-Jan-12 12:25:24

Oh, I duuno, glamma, sometimes they do look after their good old mum!

Yummygran Tue 10-Jan-12 16:38:31

Just thought I'd let you know the latest.

I stayed put and didn't visit, but spoke to both sons over the weekend. Both have calmed down now and though they are not yet ready to meet and apologise (they both think the other is to blame) at least they are not going to kill one another. The eldest still feels the same about his SIL and recognises the problem isn't really with his brother. He reckons he will apologise to him rather than the SIL. So that needs to be worked on because he has to apologise to her before the rift can be resolved.

Whilst my youngest hasn't fully forgiven me for not launching into a joint attack of his brother, at least he has listened to my views and understands how difficult it is for their father and I, and he doesn't now expect me to take sides (though I don't think his partner holds that view, but that's another story and debate!!).

I'm so glad I didn't have any more children lol

Thank you all for your words of wisdom, it really helps knowing that people understand and sometimes have similar experiences. You really are never alone on Gransnet!

JessM Tue 10-Jan-12 16:42:07

sounds like progress. well done.

Yummygran Tue 10-Jan-12 16:45:48

I can sleep a little easier now! Kids (no matter how old they are) never seem to realise how things like this affect other people around them, especially their parents!

Carol Tue 10-Jan-12 16:46:16

Sounds like a disingenuous politician-type apology is needed - I'm sorry if I caused any offence (allows him to think he didn't offend her) - could he be persuaded to issue that and both sides can save face?

Yummygran Tue 10-Jan-12 16:52:37

I think that's a good suggestion and that way both feel they are have the upper hand. I will suggest it when next I speak. Where is Henry Kissenger when you need him!

grannyactivist Tue 10-Jan-12 17:12:28

Picture this: you've been married for five years to the love of your life, never had a cross word and think your marriage is going along swimmingly. Then one day your spouse comes home and tells you that because he's so happy with you, he's going to bring home a new wife to love as well. How are you going to feel about that wife? Now imagine that you're only five years old and a new sibling comes on the scene.
JaneMarie what's happened is understandable and it seems to me that your approach has been a wise one. One of my children took SEVEN YEARS to truly appreciate the 'new baby' and during that time many a sly dig was administered I'm sure - now my children are all loving, forgiving and caring of one another.

Nanban Tue 10-Jan-12 18:22:25

See them separately, love them separately, don't make them love each other - that can't work - and let time and development heal them all. You can't force a relationship, their relationship but you can give them some space to stop fighting with you as the linchpin in the middle.

I don't mean this for the little children - you just have to be in view all the time until they grow out of their anger at being displaced as No1. Have you tried explaining that when the baby grows, he/she may very well be bigger than he/she and will feel the need for revenge?

johanna Tue 10-Jan-12 19:20:18


That is the best advice I have ever read on Gransnet.

Yummygran Thu 19-Jan-12 11:18:03

Just thought I would add an update to the situation.

Whilst my eldest son is and is fine with me, my younger son (with the difficult partner) is hardly speaking to me, only answering texts when required, and doesn't ring me (he used to call every day). This is tearing me apart. I have only seen him once with my little granddaugther. That seemed under sufference! I kept off the subject of the awful situation hoping he would relax a little but it was like trying to make conversation with a stranger.

It is their father's birthday tomorrow, he has invited them both for a meal and they have both declined, using work as an excuse. We assume it's because they don't want to meet one another.

I will be down at the weekend with my other half and rang my younger son to say we would pop over to visit, but he told me he didn't know what they were doing at the weekend 'will probably be out shopping'. So I guess that means don't bother coming!

I used to have such a close, loving relationship with him, he was such a fun person to be with, but now is so distant and serious. I can't help thinking his partner has a lot to do with this, she has always had a problem with me. A couple of years ago I went away with my elder son and his partner, for a few days break...their invitation, and it seemed I was to blame for the other two not being invited! When my son defended me apparently she told him to leave!!! He had to move out for a couple of days.

There have been so many instances over the last couple of years, where I have got 'into trouble' because I have visited/helped out/babysat for my elder son. My DIL seems to forget/ignore that I have their little daughter whenever I can, to stay over. Even taking the odd day off work to have her when they were stuck for childcare!!

What can I do?

Greatnan Thu 19-Jan-12 11:27:40

Yummygran, I feel for you, and I know what you are going through. It sounds as if there is a lot of jealousy on your DIL's part and your son doesn't want to upset her by being close to you.
I can only hope that both our problems will be solved by time and patience - my very best wishes to you.

Yummygran Thu 19-Jan-12 11:29:13

Thank you Greatnan...I appreciate your comments. I think that is what we need...patience, but it is so hard isn't it?

bagitha Thu 19-Jan-12 11:39:22

Feel for you, yummy. It's a horrid situation for you to be in. xx

grannyactivist Thu 19-Jan-12 12:39:21

What was I thinking of on the 10th of January? Obviously I was in a state of confusion as I can now clearly see I've posted on the wrong thread. confused

Carol Thu 19-Jan-12 14:55:03

yummy I went through this sort of treatment from my ex-DIL who made it her business to create a distance between me and my son. For twelve years I said nothing, offered her support and sat there passively while she criticised him for never being at home, being under her feet, getting drunk when they had a party, being a miserable so-and-so for staying sober when they had a party, not giving her enough money to spend on redecorating four months after they redecorated, buying too many things for her and running up a large credit card bill and so on....nothing ever pleased her. My son would stay out of the way when I visited, claiming he had jobs to do.

The whole family would tread on eggshells around her, and expressed our sorrow about the distancing of my son, their elder brother. He attempted to leave her a couple of times but went back because of their son and said he would wait until his son was 18. but then carried on being supportive to her and distant with us. A year ago, he got to the stage where he couldn't take any more and left her. Her behaviour amounted to domestic abuse over many years. We immediately grew closer - in fact he's staying with me at the moment till he finds another suitable house - he had been living 500 yards away so he could be near his son, but her continual attempts to cause trouble put paid to that.

What I'm leading up to is that your son has a baseline from which he has grown and developed his own adult relationships, and he, like you, will feel this distorted way of relating to the people he cares about, but probably be searching for a way to manage it without one side or the other creating merry hell. You are the easier one to manage - she'll be a nightmare. He won't feel any different about you, but just be hoping things will die down. He won't want a repeat of the incident that resulted in this situation, so needs to keep her away from your other son. Is there some way you could meet up with him somewhere neutral for lunch or a coffee, and just show him how much you appreciate having his company, and want to be able to see your grandchild, too? Please keep posting so we know how you're getting on. Good luck thanks

nanachrissy Thu 19-Jan-12 15:17:01

I think that's a very wise observation Carol

Keep your chin up Yummy thanks

Charlotta Thu 19-Jan-12 15:33:25

Yummy gran, you write that your youngest son phoned everyday. Didn't that ever strike you as odd behaviour for a young married man? No wonder DIL is jealous.
There is not that much room for Mother in a young man's life and your DIL senses this. These mother's boys! A mother who is still married, not in difficulties and reasonably healthy can be left alone by a son as he has to look after the next generation.

You have made the first step and backed off a bit and believe me this will pay off in the end.

JessM Thu 19-Jan-12 17:12:01

That is a fair point charlotta
My DH (the one with the mother who's been bravely ailing for 30 years ) has always said he deliberately does not call her every day, or in a predictable pattern cos if he didn't stick to routine she would be wondering and worrying.
My 2 DSs are grumping with each other and live in different countries. They are both really difficult to get hold of and neither is very good at making contact. If i did not contact them they would probably get in contact with me every month or two (three?) And they are both huffing that their brother is not making enough effort to make contact with them.

Annobel Thu 19-Jan-12 17:23:41

I would be worried about 'apron strings' if either of my DSs phoned me every day. One of them rings me from the car on his way home to pass the time, but not every evening by any means. The other, maybe a couple of times a week; and I sometimes ring them. Often get their OHs for a chat instead.

harrigran Thu 19-Jan-12 18:19:38

I know something is amiss if I get a phone call from DC. I do get e-mails and I talk to them on facebook quite often though.

syberia Thu 19-Jan-12 19:16:04

Annobel sorry, bit concerned about your DS phoning from the car on his way home. I presume he is not driving.

Yummygran Fri 20-Jan-12 10:17:05

Thankyou Carol for your very wise words, I appreciate it and will continue to post the latest.

Charlotta, my sons are certainly not Mummy's boys as you suggest lol....yes my youngest did ring most days, but only to say 'hello' and tell me what little Ruby has been up to (his 2 yr old) as any proud father would. Or he would ring me to organise babysitting, which was usually Saturdays when both were working.

Please don't get the idea I have them tied to my apron strings...heaven forbid!! I have a fulltime job plus I'm studying for another degree, and have a busy social life, don't think I am a sit at home, needy mother!!! That I will never be! shock

My elder son doesn't ring unless he wants something, the way of most sons, I don't have a problem with that, I speak more to his partner, with whom I get on very well with. We have brought them both up to be independent, which they are.

Apologies for the rant, but I just had to say that!