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to expect my stepson to be kinder to his dad?

(12 Posts)
Flowerofthewest Thu 05-Dec-13 22:16:07

My stepson has become more self-centred the older he has become. He lives on his own (44) says he has no need for anyone else (his choice) The thing is, he used to come to us for the day every Christmas - usually Boxing Day -
He would bring gifts for the grandchildren and for his father and myself. We all seemed to have a good time.

Last year as most of you know my DDH was extremely ill my stepson did come to see his dad for the first couple of weeks then said it was pointless and for me to ring him when he regained conciousness - which I did. DDH was hospital for 6 weeks in all, very very weak, he had to regain strength in his legs as they had withered with no use. He had to 'learn' to walk again with the help of a walking frame, he was catheterised for a month when he returned home and was as weak as a kitten. We didn't hear from his son, I did let him know from time to time via text (he never answers his phone) how his dad was doing. I was also going though various scans and tests which he knew about.

Boxing Day last year, as we had heard nothing, my DDH rang him to see if was coming over as usual (we live in Herts and he in Suffolk) I saw my husbands face fall and tears in his eyes. His son had given him a load of abuse and blamed him for never visiting him, that it is always him that comes to us, we had a weekend in Norfolk and never told him (this was a weekend to regroup before the results of my cancer scan) He went on and on saying that he didn't care what people thought he would speak his mind and if we didn't like it we could lump it basically. I took the phone and explained to him quite firmly just how it had been for his dad, he repeated himself and went on ad nauseum. We were both very upset. My DDH adores him he was an only child and his mother took him to Suffolk with her new husband to live after leaving my DDH. The upshot is that to help him understand I wrote -with DDHs blessing) a letter setting out just how much his dad had had to put up with and that because his was home didn't mean that he was a well man. I laid out everything using dates for appointments, district nurses, GP visits, my own scans, hospital visits etc. We were surprised just how much time this had all taken. I told him that the letter was written with love and that we need to draw a line under things and start again and would love to see him. He phoned a few days later and was almost apologetic saying that he and his dad would have to get back to phoning each other weekly. This happened for a short while then his calls stopped. We saw him last March in Norfolk on DDH birthday (asked him to come to a pub as a surprise) It was a lovely day. They both share a love of wildlife photography and this takes a lot of the stepsons time at weekends.

I texted him today to ask if he would like to come over during the Christmas break - he replied that he was away then but would come before but not to give him any ideas this year as he was not buying any gifts at all. Fair enough but it was always he that phoned me before Christmas to ask what the children would like.

I just want him to be more appreciative of the fact that his dad almost died (he did die for 12 minutes) and show him the love he deserves.

FlicketyB Thu 05-Dec-13 22:57:29

I suspect that your stepson was more affected by his father's illness than, perhaps, even he realises. The realisation that his Dad is not indestructible, possibly it challenged his own conviction that he can manage without other people. One day he could be in his father's place and who will he have to support him the way you have supported his father.

I can offer no practical suggestions about what to do in the circumstances and only you can decide whether my analysis of his behaviour is going in the right direction.

Smileless2012 Thu 05-Dec-13 23:02:36

Hello Flowerofthewest I don't usually comment on threads other than 'cut out of their lives' but I was so upset to read your post that I just had to respond.

You are not being unreasonable expecting your stepson to be kinder to his dad, why would he chose to be any thing other than kind. What is the matter with these kids (trouble is their not kids are they, they're adults who should know better). It's all about me, me, me.

Of course it's fair enough if he has other plans for Christmas but it seems a shame that he has decided to break with the tradition of gift buying. I hope for his own sake that he does see he's not showing his dad the love and affection he deserves.

Eloethan Thu 05-Dec-13 23:34:31

I can understand you both being very upset, particularly as your husband has been so ill.

Is it possible that your stepson is unwell, in some sort of difficulty (e.g. financial) or is suffering from depression - it seems his behaviour (e.g. not now buying gifts for anybody) has changed?

I'm not trying to find excuses for his very insensitive behaviour but I just wondered.

I hope that when he does come to see you he will have reflected on the way he's behaved, and that you have a relaxing and peaceful Christmas.

Anne58 Thu 05-Dec-13 23:58:21

Oh Flower my dear, I so totally understand your wish

"I just want him to be more appreciative of the fact that his dad almost died (he did die for 12 minutes) and show him the love he deserves."

The thing is, that he might feel all things and want to show all things, but it may be that he does it in his own way.

I think that there are so many different ways that people deal with situations, and of course it can be almost impossible to have a conversation about this while the subject of concern is in a very serious condition.

Bugger, I can't seem to get the words right, but hopefully you might get the gist!

Sorry if this is not very helpful, but I am thinking of you and sending every good wish.

thatbags Fri 06-Dec-13 06:39:35

I'm sorry for this sadness, flower. It must hurt. Like some of the others on this thread though, I wonder if your stepson has issues of his own that have caused the change in his behaviour. It may not be anything he wishes to talk about and his change of behaviour is his defensive wall.

It's good that you had a good day together last March for your DH's birthday.

kittylester Fri 06-Dec-13 07:06:50

I agree with much of what has been said before and feel so sad for you and your DH. Be kind to your stepson he does seem to have his own problems. (((hugs)))

Lona Fri 06-Dec-13 09:14:42

flower I do sympathise with you but you've given him all the information and he has responded to that.
You can't make him behave the way you think is right, he clearly has his own ideas.
I would just keep in touch but don't push him too hard, everyone is different.


Ariadne Fri 06-Dec-13 09:20:19

Flower your pain is obvious, as is your Dh's sadness, and I am so sorry to hear it. I wonder if your stepson is consumed with guilt and doesn't know how to handle it, so is turning it into what is almost aggression. There is also the realisation that he could lose his father, and agai, he may not know how to deal with that.

But meanwhile, you are there between them. Keep going, brave lady. xxx

Flowerofthewest Fri 06-Dec-13 10:13:09

I also feel that it may be the thought of losing his dad 'again' but he is quite a difficult person to talk to. He is never wrong, always right, very opinionated and I just want him to be there for his dad. My DDH absolutely adores him he had almost had a breakdown when his first marriage broke down - because he felt he would lose his son. His son was 9 at the time and was also heartbroken. It was unexpected and sudden. Then he was moved away from his dad. At 17 and he had started work his mother told him that his dad would want no more to do with him as he had another family (we had been in his dad's life since he was 12) and as he didn't have to pay maintenance any more would have no need to see him. He stopped wanting to see my DDH and it was a horrible time. Phone calls stopped and stopped being answered by my stepson, we didn't know at the time what his mum had said. We went to a favourite place of my DDH to photograph planes and his son was there - it had been 18 months since we had seen him, my DDH walked over and said Hi his son turned his back and completely ignored him. My heart is breaking as I write this remembering the look on my DDH face when he walked back to the car. I wrote to him - kindly - explaining how this was hurting his dad. He rang and they met - the lad explained what his mother had said and they managed to put things right. It has been fine for years and only became awkward last Christmas. He has been generous in the past and treated his dad to wildlife photography days out for birthdays etc. A weekend away doing bird photography. He now has his own photographic business running courses etc. He said to my DDH the other month that he has never been so well off. Money plays a bit part in his life.

Sorry to go on again. I feel that if I don't pour this out I will break.

annsixty Fri 06-Dec-13 11:03:24

We just don't like to see our loved ones so upset and I feel for you and the deep hurt you and your DH are feeling. I cannot offer any advice apart from keeping the communication channels between your stepson and yourself open and send my best wishes to you both.Do not let it spoil your own family Christmas.

Flowerofthewest Fri 06-Dec-13 11:11:06

You are, again, all so wonderful and I thank you for your wisdom and kind words flowers to you all