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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.

supernana Thu 16-Feb-12 14:27:14

Yummy If you can convey your deep-down sorrow [without mentioning who did and said this, that, and the other] then maybe there's a chance that common-sense will stir the collective conscience. For your health's sake, I sincerely hope so. thanks

JessM Thu 16-Feb-12 14:38:58

One way you might make a start is by writing down some sentences that start with
"I am feeling" and try to avoid anything that sounds remotely blaming.
I think you might want to work on a form of words for an open letter to both sons for a few days before finalising it.

Greatnan Thu 16-Feb-12 15:28:55

Yummy, I am suffering in the same way as you. I cannot think of anything more I can do to make contact with my daughter, as the three children who still live with her have all blocked me on Facebook, with no explanation. I did send her eldest son a long pm pointing out that his mother's accusations were completely untrue and asking him to simply look at the careful accounts I left with them. No reply. The eldest girl, who lives with her fiance and their two little girls, won't get involved or tell me what her siblings think I have done wrong.
I have had to accept that I may have lost my daughter forever, to her drug addiction, but I live in hope that someday her children will realise that I love them and will always be ready to help them.
It looks as if the three of them will stay away from their cousin's wedding, which is really sad because he has always got on well with them. They must be afraid of offending their mother, who is supporting them all financially.

I don't feel that things are quite as bleak in your family's case. You are dealing with fairly normal resentments and jealousy, not mental illness. I did think that it was wrong of your DS to comment on his nieces's toilet training and I think if I were his SIL I might have replied angrily too. I don't think telling them you are broken hearted will do any good - they are all too certain that they are in the right to be sympathetic. You would probably be told, as I have before , not to feel sorry for yourself. Have you made it clear to DS1 that his comment and his subsequent aggressive behaviour towards his SIL were completely out of line? I get the impression that your DIL is being blamed for all of this, and whilst it may be correct that she has caused trouble in the past, and none of you like her, in this case I do feel she has some just cause to be offended. Anyway, it is your son's job to deal with his wife, not yours.

Hard though it is to be deprived of contact with your grandchildren, I feel that 'sit tight and say nothing' might be your best plan. I fear that any overture you make might be misinterpreted. If you think it could work, you could write a short letter to both couples, just saying you can understand why they are upset, but that it is not your quarrel and you don't want it to affect their children. Good luck.

Yummygran Thu 16-Feb-12 16:13:42

Thank you for your words Greatnan, I am sorry that you too have family troubles. Mental illness is very sad and I do understand that my problems are very different.

I have told both my sons that they have to work out their problems themselves, as you say that is not my quarrel and they are adults now. But I feel I am having to try and deal with the issue of great jealousy on my DIL's part. She has told many lies about me to our friends. She has accepted by hospitality many, many times, without thanks, but all the time behind my back telling me I am not welcome in 'her' house. But with no explanation as to why! My son just says she thinks I favour my other son and family. If only she understood that I have done far more for her family than theirs, taking time off work to have her daughter, buying washing machine, tumble dryer etc when they had their baby....all to no avail.

Having spoken to a friend who knows her, her advice was that a letter would not do any good, so as you say I am going to sit tight and back off, I will let them know when I am home (I live away all week, only home weekends) and see what happens.

I have always had a good relationship with my son and my friend feels that he will miss that if I back off, he might then come to me in time. I will always be there for all of them, but this is wearing me out! I work full time and am completing a degree at university....something has got to give!!!

Greatnan Thu 16-Feb-12 17:01:22

It is very hard to do nothing, Yummy, but I have actually found that, having exhausted all possible lines of communication I am feeling a bit better. At least I am not lying awake composing letters, and I don't think about my daughter as soon as I wake up.
I know it seems hard to believe now, but the hurt does gradually heal - you seem to grow protective skin over the wound.
I may never see my daughter or her children again, but I feel sure one or both of your sons will see the light and miss you too much to stay away.

Some people find it hard to accept gifts - I bought my daughter her first house and supported her financially for several years and I think she resented it. One of the symptoms of her paranoia is grandiosity - she is happy when she is being Lady Bountiful and it has been very difficult for her to accept my help (even to the extent of selling my house in France and renting for four years, to pay her debts) since she had her botched operation. I have been told that I only did all this for her to get gratitude!

Has your DIL ever done anything for you? Something you could mention if you ever see her again, saying how much it meant to you? Few people are all bad, or do things that they know to be wrong. In my experience, they have generally managed to justify their behaviour to themselves. I am sure she feels that she is the wronged party, and in some ways she is, but not by you.

Yummygran Fri 17-Feb-12 09:25:40

Once again thank you for your wise words Greatnan thanks

My DIL buys lovely, personal gifts, but she can never actually 'give' them, when it's time to pass them to the recepient she has to pass them to my son for him to actually 'give' them. I have never understood that. She can say thankyou for receiving gifts either, she opens and looks at them in front of you then just puts them down, always pretending to be far more interested in the gifts that others are receiving. However she will sent a thankyou card on behalf of my little Grand daughter with lovely words.

I have got used to all of this and accepted it as 'her way', however my other son cannot understand and that is where the problems with my two boys started I think. He doesn't like the way she always criticizes everybody, and I mean everyone, even her own family, always seeing things negetively, she can never see the good in people.

Anway enough! I could write all day about incidences over the years, in some way it is cathatic and I thank all Gransnetters for 'listening'.

Greatnan you sound resigned to your situation, and I am so sorry that you are in that position, but I think you are very wise and level headed. I have been in turmoil for ages, all I ever wanted was to be close to my children and grandchildren. I guess I have to accept that we cannot choose their partners and I will continue to support all of them. I will nurture my 'thick skin'!

Greatnan Fri 17-Feb-12 09:34:51

I think your DIL is a very sad person, Yummy, and she has probably been unhappy all her life. I did a lot of research into why people are like that and I came to believe that some babies are just born with an insufficient supply of serotonin in the brain. They are very needy and no amount of love and kindness is ever enough for them. If you think of a litter of puppies, there will be some that are friendly and outgoing and some that are shy and some that are aggressive. I used to think back to my daughter's childhood, trying to find anything I could have done differently to make her happy, (don't mothers always blame themselves for anything that goes wrong in their children's lives?) but I have come to the conclusion that it is nature, not nurture, that has formed her character.
You have obviously done everything possible to make your DIL feel loved and valued but she has been unable to accept your kindness and return it. I know how much you are hurting but it is not your fault and I do hope that one or both of your sons will be man enough to make the first move to break the impasse.

Yummygran Fri 17-Feb-12 11:39:14

I've just read back my last post.....So many mistakes tut tut! blush

I wonder whether she has a form of autism. There is rarely any eye contact and as I said before she can't actually 'give'. She doesn't seem to understand humour, not when my son and I were joking anyway, never joining in as much as I try and include her. I feel so sorry for her, I just wish I could make her see I am not her enemy, I want to be her friend.

Greatnan Fri 17-Feb-12 14:56:57

From the way you describe her, that would seem to be a real possibility.

Fae Thu 19-Apr-12 10:14:09

The term 'frogmarched out of the house' brought me to this forum. Having very recently experienced such a situation with my granddaughter her partner and twin great grandchildren.

Actuall I did some research on the terms used by said granddaughter and they are typical of psycological 'elder abuse'.
That shocked me so much that I looked for more cases of the like.

I believe our society is very sick... in fact breaking down very fast. Divorce and single parenting along with a complete lack of understanding the teaching of the life skill 'self disciplin' is killing the future happiness for our grandchildren.

Life today is cruel and spiteful... far more than it was in the past, even after the war. The awful sycophantic and two faced 'niceness' expressed among the young, especially on social networks like Facebook where a person contrives a desireable personality to show to the world, but in reality are backbiting poisonous little snakes to each other, just makes people feel justified in their spiteful actions. They believe that the personna they create of themselves is real and they cannot under any circumstances be criticised or advised when they foul up.

My husband, a child of Holoucaust survivers, who has a somewhat sharp wit, one that was valued on TV where comedians helped us all come to terms with horrors and deprivation years back, could not hold back a statement when my granddaughter's partner dropped one of her babies on its head for the third time whilst sitting in an armchair trying to feed it and text on his phone at the same time.

After six days of feeding and housing this guest family at great expense, ferrying them for miles in my car (£70. worth of petrol) giving my house over to their mess and squalour, well you know the scene I am sure, my granddaughter suddenly blew up and accused me of all the ills that may have befallen her parents and everyone she knows..the swearing was appalling and the screaming quite frightening. (it is not the first time she has had hissys over nothing) As she normally lives in Sweden and her parents in Canada and the fact that I have only seen her regularly between 2004 and 2007 although supporting financially all her life, it was a tad unfair.
My youngest granddaughter 12 was also present and I had strong words with the abuser about using such language in front of her...this resulted in her attacking my disabled husband (MS) in the next room.
To cut the saga short she ended up packing everything and demanding I drive her 55 miles to a friends house.
I had taken medicine for angina and other things brought on by this which reccommends that driving would be dangerous, so I refused and told her to calm down...enjoy the rest of her stay and I would take her to the airport as previously arranged in 2 days.

The girl then uses Facebook to abuse us and tried desperately to turn all of my other children against us with lies and filth.

I will not have our lives destroyed by this loose cannon...she deleted me as a friend and I deleted her as a relative and that's that.
It's her loss but my family and husband come first.

When a person behaves in such a disloyal and unkind way after being supported financially all their lives it is time to distance oneself and write off the incident as a bad experience. Prolonging such agony will finish you off for good No wonder we have so many cases of dementia!
The beautiful birthday present I had given her was stained and thrown into the little granddaughter and I spent most of the day cleaning up the room they left...full of dirty nappies and stains and rubbish from their purchases.

Just get on with your life, treat yourself to something nice and hope one day that some people will grow up and come to their senses. I doubt that will ever happen but don't beat yourself did your best.


Carol Thu 19-Apr-12 10:54:13

Fae it sounds like you have had some awful times with this family and much better that they should live elsewhere. The turmoil you feel comes across when you refer to the past as being nicer, yet can also relate to your DH being a child of Holocaust survivors. I hope things have settled down for you now.

If there is any concern about the wellbeing of the twins, given what you said about one being dropped three times, you do need to alert social services to ensure they get the help they need.

harrigran Thu 19-Apr-12 11:37:50

I feel for you Fae your experience seems to be a one that is happening all too frequently now. The younger generation live in a world where instant gratification is expected and if not forthcoming feel justified in telling others what they think of the situation. I have been shocked to the core by language used by females ( I won't say ladies because they are not ) The incident with the baby was unforgivable, why do they have children if they are not prepared to give the attention ?

Yummygran Fri 20-Apr-12 09:37:19

I just wanted to update on the original thread. Since Christmas there has been no contact between my sons, except a 'contragulatory' card when my little GS was born, and Easter gifts for the littlies, exchanged through their father and I, with each sending a basic 'thankyou' text. Which I believe is a huge step in the right direction.

At this stage both are still adament they are better off without the other and seem 'happy' with the situation. The Christening is looming for my GS to which my other son and family are not invited (my son and GD would be, but not his partner). I feel very uncomfortable about that, but that is my son and daughter-in-law's decision, I am not getting involved. But I will miss not having them all together, this will be the first family occasion since Christmas.

I am graduating from University this summer, and am very sad that my sons won't be there, because they won't attend together. I was considering not going to the ceremony myself, but then thought about it, and decided it is my day and I will enjoy it, with my partner.

At least things have improved with my younger son, who seemed to be blaming me somehow for what happened on Boxing Day. I have had my GD stay for the day, for the first time, last weekend, though I had to promise I wouldn't take her to se her Uncle, (and they haven't yet told her about her new little cousin). My DIL came with my son to collect her and chatted as she usually does, which is a big step in the right direction. So that has made me feel much better about the situation. We all pretended nothing had changed and it seemed to work!

I have come to terms with the fact that my boys are not speaking, but am hopeful that in time the rift might heal......small steps and all that!

grannyactivist Fri 20-Apr-12 10:45:33

Yummy two of my sisters didn't speak to each other for about four years after a silly falling out - and then at the wedding of our brother last year they 'buried the hatchet' (thankfully not in each other grin) and now it's as if nothing ever happened. Take heart and hope that common sense will prevail, but at the same time perhaps it's best to acknowledge that being born into the same family doesn't always make for great friendships.

Yummygran Fri 20-Apr-12 11:55:28

No, grannyactivist, as the saying goes 'you can choose your friends....'. They are very different individuals. I don't expect them to be in each other's pockets, but would hope that in time they will be a little less hostile!

I didn't have siblings, and now as a 'grown-up' wish that I did have a brother or sister to share childhood memories etc. I think that they might miss that in the future when their Father and I are no longer around..... not for a while yet though I hope.....hmm

Fae Sat 21-Apr-12 10:03:28

Something that helped me come to terms with this...

And God Said No
by Claudia Minden Weisz

I asked God to take away my pride. And God said “No”.
He said it was not for Him to take away, but for me to give up.

I asked God to make my handicapped child whole. And God said “No”.
He said her spirit was whole, her body was only temporary.

I asked God to grant me patience. And God said “No”.
He said patience is a by-product of tribulations. It isn’t granted, it is earned.

I asked God to give me happiness. And God said “No”.
He said He gives me blessings, happiness is up to me.

I asked God to spare me pain. And God said “No”.
He said suffering draws me apart from worldly cares and brings me closer to Him.

I asked God to make my spirit grow. And God said “No”.
He said I must grow on my own. But He will prune me to make me fruitful.

I asked for all things that I might enjoy life. And God said “No”.
He said He will give me life, that I may enjoy all things.

This to me is the most calming and sensitive poem and I hope it helps people with their stress, If more people understood how much love lies behind the word 'no' we would have a much better society.

nanachrissy Sat 21-Apr-12 10:13:26

I like that Fae

dahlia Wed 25-Apr-12 20:03:17

Having read with great interest and empathy all your messages, it is hard to come to terms with the fact that your own children just don't get on when they reach adulthood. My son would never think to keep in touch with his sister, 4 years older and living away from us, although she has regular contact with his wife and always remembers birthdays and little surprise gifts for his four children. A falling out four years ago has never really been resolved on his part, and he is critical of her two teenage daughters when he gets the chance. We have given up encouraging him to contact her, and just have to accept that perhaps blood isn't always thicker than water. As far as we are aware, we have always treated our two "children" the same, and have always been blessed with good relationships with their partners, but you can't force people to get along, even if they are close family members.

Yummygran Tue 01-May-12 10:54:46

I think it is so sad to have to resolve yourself to the fact that your 'children' don't get on.

We have the Christening looming of my youngest grandchild and to be honest, Grandad and I are not really looking forward to it, because our other son and his family won't be there to celebrate.

Up until now the rest of the family have been unaware of the rift, we were hoping that things would have blown over by now. The boys will just have to explain themselves, I will not be making excuses for them. I have completely stepped back from the situation, apart from just asking one last time if my son could be invited, and was answered with a very firm 'no'.

At least now my youngest son seems to have accepted that I am not taking sides and our relationship is improving. I have had my little Granddaughter visit for a few hours, on the understanding that I didn't take her to visit her Uncle and new little cousin, (she hasn't been told he has arrived, and I am not to tell her!).