Gransnet forums

Ask a gran

Don't know what to do.

(26 Posts)
Falconbird Sun 29-May-16 18:51:23

When my dh passed away 4 years ago my 3 sons had a massive falling out. To cut a long story short the youngest son cut off all contact with me and his two older brothers weeks after his dad's funeral.

I honestly don't know why but it was something to do with their dad's possessions. None of them will discuss it.

Since then my younger son has been to see me a few times with his baby and wife but is adamant he will have nothing to do with his brothers and they feel the same way about him.

The problem is I always have to ask him to visit and he always does but he is a strange mixture of "I'm only doing my duty" and "I'm so glad to see you."

I feel at the moment that I can't keep asking him to visit. For one thing it feels disloyal to my older sons who stood by me when their dad died and the youngest one certainly didn't.

I also feel very tired and I have high blood pressure (being dealt with) and I feel I want a bit of a rest from the emotional turmoil.

I would like it if he asked me to visit him and his little family but he never has.

I send him texts from time to time but he rarely replies.

HildaW Sun 29-May-16 19:14:17

Oh so sorry Falconbird.....families, who'd have them?

First I'd like to say that even in 'normal' (whatever that means)families some children are easier to keep in contact with than others - its just the difference in people in general. Secondly,do not feel guilty about any contact you have with this wayward son. You are not being disloyal to your other children because he is still your son after all. You do not have to give them a blow by blow account of any time you spend - just mention his vists if they ask or you feel something needs to be done.
I tend to treat my two darling daughters a little differently when I see them....its just one is very independent and hates Mum 'interferring' whilst the other needs a bit more practical support.
I think we often go through life with an idealised view of what family relationships should be. TV and films do not help - its full of fictional families that erupt into emotional scenes where everything is aired and usually resolved. Life is not like that I'm afraid.
You might just have to accept the little this thoughtless young man gives you and concentrate on other more satisfactory parts of your life.
Try to involve yourself in something else and spend a bit less of your precious energy on worrying about something you have little control over. You must look after yourself and be a bit more selfish! Good luck.

Falconbird Sun 29-May-16 19:39:16

Thanks HildaW I do keep busy with various activities during the week but I think Bank Holidays magnify things because it's supposed to be family time.

It doesn't help that my youngest son's mil keeps posting on facebook about the wonderful times she's having with her family which of course includes my son.

rosesarered Sun 29-May-16 19:52:51

So many families fall out where wills are concerned.Even if not over money, your youngest son may be very hurt that the older son/sons had inherited his Father's watch/car etc.I have a friend who's two sons fell out because of this.If you are not sure Falconbird find out exactly what the problem is.Attempt to heal rifts, but in the end only your boys can really mend things.💐

FarNorth Sun 29-May-16 20:30:15

Maybe your youngest son feels like he is the outcast (even if it is through his own choice) and so feels he is not entitled to invite you but only to see you at your invitation.
Could you say, to him and his wife together, that you'd love to visit them sometime in the future?

He is still your son and his baby is your grandchild so you should feel no guilt about keeping in contact with him, especially as you had nothing to do with the falling out.

HildaW Sun 29-May-16 21:03:29

Falconbird....try to ignore the Fb postings. In all honesty those who feel the need to show the world what an interesting life they lead are usually compensating for something.

Wendysue Mon 30-May-16 07:02:00

Oh, Falconbird, so sorry your DSs' falling out is affecting you this way, even though you had nothing to do with it (sigh).

What you do about YDS depends, IMO, on what's more important to you - getting to see him and his family or having YDS show more interest in seeing you. If it's the former, then continue to invite them and never mind YDS' unpleasant comments. If it's the latter, then maybe drop the ball, for a while - see if he picks it up or not and invites you or asks if he and his family can come see you. Same if your feelings of disloyalty to your other DSs are very strong.

Meanwhile, I agree with Hilda about ignoring MIL's posts on FB. In fact, you might want to click on "hide all posts from (name of MIL). Protect yourself.

Wendysue Mon 30-May-16 07:10:31

About the "disloyalty" issue. I don't think seeing YDS and family is being "disloyal" to your other DSs. Kudos to them for standing by your after DH's loss, but chances are, they got solace from that, too. Also, it may have been hard for YDS to be around you, at that time, if his brothers were frequently with you, given their estrangement. It would have been very understandable if you tried to get them to reconcile, back then, also. But IF you did, this in itself, may have upset YDS and driven him away for a while. I don't think you should be expected to "punish" him for that now by keeping him away.

Besides, the GC are innocent. But if you don't see YDS, for whatever reason, you're not likely to see them.

Do you still see your other DSs reasonably often? Then the little bit you see YDS and family shouldn't be an issue for them and probably isn't. Whatever choice you make concerning YDS, please try to let go of this so-called "loyalty" issue.

Wendysue Mon 30-May-16 07:22:18

Meant to give you my deepest sympathies on the loss of your DH...

Willow500 Mon 30-May-16 07:40:56

It's very sad when siblings fall out especially as their mum being in the middle of it. I agree that any contact is better than none so continue to ask to see them and enjoy the visits - I'm sure your son is not visiting out of duty. You'll maybe never have the perfect family times together you long for but you can still have family time with each of them separately. Your other sons should respect that you have a bond with their brother and need to see him and your grandchildren - they may never speak to each other again but they can't let that come between you.

Falconbird Mon 30-May-16 08:07:31

My two eldest sons don't have a problem with me seeing youngest and are very mature about it but they say they never want to see him again.

They were all very close in the past and used to laugh together, thump each other, in a brotherly way and exchange lots of e mails and text.

As with all situations the rift has been made worse and more complicated by my eldest son having cancer about 18 months after my dh passed away.

(He is is remission now TG.) I wrote to ys at the time and he replied that his brother was out of his life for ever and didn't contact him.

Because of this I sometimes feel disinclined to keep up the contact and yet in my heart, now that time has passed, I think ys is really beginning to regret his actions, but he is very proud.

He did have his dad's car which was full of equipment and seemed delighted to have it at the time. I have also sent him several large cheques from my dh's estate.

These are not young men, they are all in their 40s or pushing 40.

I think, apart from the occasional text, I will put some space between me and ys and limit the invites to birthdays and Christmas.

Fb is a mixed blessing because I know what's going on but it can be upsetting.

All a bit of a mess really. My dh would have been amazed by the problems his passing has caused. he was a very modest man and I don't think he had any idea that he was so important to us all.

Luckygirl Mon 30-May-16 08:26:14

Falconbird - you have done so well since your OH died - moved house as I recall and taken brave steps to pick up your life - I have always admired you for your fortitude.

It is truly out of order that none of your sons will tell you the source of the falling out. You should not be kept in the dark. And so very sad that this should have been precipitated by arguments around legacies - always a painful business.

But above all what you need is peace and freedom to look forward to the future. So, I do think that all you can do is to accept the situation as it is is, as there seems to be nothing that you can do about it. What we can't change we must endure.

Do keep contact with your youngest son - you are not being disloyal; you are being a mother. It does not seem that doing this will alienate your other sons, so keep that link ticking along, imperfect though it all might be. Time may move things on in a positive way - let us hope so. flowers

You may like to make sure that your own will is crystal clear and that it is seen to be fair! grin

Nana3 Mon 30-May-16 08:32:00

My condolences on your loss falconbird.
I've no further advice, sorry, something very hurtful must have happened or built up over time.
My 2 DD's are not at all close, their only contact is on special occasions at my house.
I just go with the flow, I can't change things and don't want to risk any falling out with me. Good luck with everything, families, it's never straight forward flowers

Jenty61 Mon 30-May-16 09:26:04

I have three adult children and none of them get on or talk to each other!! I let them all get on with it .....cant say that it was anything in particular they actually fell out over that I know off I think its just a clash of personalities...the last time they all got together was at their dads funeral 7 years ago!

cornergran Mon 30-May-16 09:49:21

I feel very sad for your situation falcombird. I don't think our adult children really understand how much pain they can cause by their behaviour. I wonder if there is some embarrassment in your younger son? It sounds as if the men who are your sons have made up their minds about their relationship. Their relationships are their responsibility, not yours, although it's hard sometimes for parents not to want to smooth it over, we can't always do that. Stubbornness on all three parts perhaps.

The accepting attitude of your older sons does mean you can follow your heart with your younger son. I wonder about your younger son's wife, what she makes of this and how you two are together. are you comfortable with her? I so wish there was an easy solution for you.

Within my own family there are such differing attitudes and reactions to death that tensions are triggered, often the case I am afraid, hurtful things have been said in grief that are difficult to heal and have caused distances . It does seem odd that you were never aware of the trigger for their anger, other than the loss of a loved father, but if they don't choose to tell you then probably best to let it go. I truly can't be sure what I would do in your situation. My instinct is I would keep the door open to all three and their families and would make my willingness to visit younger son and his family clear, It could be there is a belief that you would feel uncomfortable going and hence no invitation. That's only my belief, I really can't know. I don't have a Facebook account so wouldn't be hurt by anything there, as you say a mixed blessing. Of course it isn't just your son and his wife involved here but your grandchild, it must be so hard not to feel inviolved. You must of course go with your heart, let the Bank Holiday pass as it will, perhaps allow yourself to come to a final conclusion once life is back in its usual pattern. In the meantime flowers and my wishes for a day as good as it can be.

Falconbird Tue 31-May-16 07:18:43

Thanks for all your helpful advice and support. When my ys first got back in touch with news of a new baby girl I was overjoyed. Since then I have seen the family about five times.

My dil is a very cool woman and we always got on well, but she is being loyal to my son which is understandable.

I think I will keep on texting from time to time and exchange occasional messages with my dil on Fb. I will see if we can meet up on my son's birthday and at Christmas.

Time may heal everything and in the meantime I will just keep light contact.

Thanks everyone - Grans net is great for sorting out a troubled mind. smile

Harris27 Tue 31-May-16 10:00:48

I do sympathise with falcon bird I too have three sons and they don't really keep in touch with each other no real falling out just different partners and lives that don't seem to pass and yes the odd silly word or whinge I told my husband that this was how it was now and we would have to accept it my husband agrees although like me isn't too happy about it yes I agree let them all come at separate times and let time see what happens you have had enough to put up with with losing your husband try and distract yourself with other hobbies and interests and let time pass I wish you well x

Neversaydie Tue 31-May-16 10:13:50

So thankful my DDs get on well though neirher has permanent partner. DD1has recently come out of three year relationship .We ,including DD2, did not dislike the young man but found him very hard to get to know and it definitely affected their relationship to my dismay.
Lost my beloved 'little'brother recently and it is heartbreaking. Cannot imagine feeling indifferent at best to a sibling. I feel for you OP.Piggy in the middle is horrible

Fran0251 Tue 31-May-16 10:24:51

Hi Falconbird,

I have a quiet son and it rarely crosses his mind to suggest we meet. He works near me on an easy bus route and I suggest lunch every now and then. Works well.

Could you not do that with your youngest son. Actually ask if you could visit them? Stay in a B&B if necessary but only for one or two nights and see how it goes? Might be worth a try. x

trisher Tue 31-May-16 10:54:34

My 3 DSs don't always get on and will say things about each other. BUT I have steadfastly refused to get involved in any of their quarrels and they will turn out dutifully for family occasions like mine or their grans birthday and they know they are expected to be sociable and behave themselves. (They might sit at opposite ends of the table) I think you should speak to all 3 sons tell them that you are really upset with their behaviour and that you expect better in the future. They don't have to like each other they do have to behave themselves, accept you love them all and attend social events when you want them to. You shouldn't have to worry about what you say or do with one upsetting the others.
Finally ignore fb its just people who have too much time on their hands causing bother!

NotTooOld Tue 31-May-16 10:57:35

Not much to add to all the wise replies above, Falcon, but just wanted to agree with others that those posting what looks like an idyllic family life on FB are often over-egging the cake so don't let such posts dishearten you. IMHO you should maintain contact with all your sons even if it is in different ways. TV families have a lot to answer for - most real ones, including my own, are nothing like those 'perfect' ones we see on the screen.

grannyactivist Tue 31-May-16 11:07:28

Falconbird you have done so well to cope with the last few years and all the difficulties that have ensued within your family since your husband's death. I suggest that you keep on making the effort at a pace that's comfortable to you and eventually this will become your new 'normal' for your relationship with your younger son. Your older sons seem to have come to terms with what has happened so there doesn't seem any sense of disloyalty felt by them.flowers

Nonnie1 Tue 31-May-16 11:21:33

Falconbird, don't your older two sons care about you?

You say you don't know why your younger son cut you all off but they do ???

You need to be told so you can out things right, and even if you can't put it right you need to know what has happened.

One day you won't be around and they will be split.

I'm saying this because my own family treated me like shit and I cut them off. My mother knew why and chose not to do anything about it even though it was all wrong.

Better to know than to be kept in the dark.

They are behaving as if you are the child, causing you to worry and wonder.

Time to take control. Issue an ultimatum and make them tell you what is wrong, is what I say. Honesty is best.

I could tell you what happened in my family and how we are now estranged but it would take too long. My mother is dead now. She could have salvaged things so easily and chose not to, so it's too late for me.
Your grandchildren may never know each other because of this, and that is a shame because their parents behaved like children.

Best wishes

Falconbird Wed 01-Jun-16 07:34:46

I don't think it was one specific thing that caused the rift. My ys was overcome with grief I think because my dh's death was unexpected and he was the youngest, well we were all out of our minds at the time and not acting in any way that could be described as sensible.

I am doing all I can to solve the problem but all 3 sons are like their dad and can be very stubborn and non-communicative. I have broached the subject but they retreat immediately, or say they can't exactly remember. It is a no-go area for me and best left alone.

I'm going to carry on as I am, close relationship with two eldest, and keep contacting my ys.

My two eldest gc 8 and 5 know about their cousin and ask me questions about her. They have seen photos of her in my house and on my phone and the toys she plays with when she comes to visit.

Some one said that even if the rift continues the grandchildren may contact each other when they're older through social media.

I have contacted lost cousins and a niece and nephew through Fb. and that was amazing.

fiorentina51 Wed 01-Jun-16 07:52:21

My father lost touch with his youngest brother when he emigrated to Australia. Fast forward 30+ years and about a month after my father's death my own brother managed to track down our uncle and his family. My uncle died a few months later but thankfully we have maintained contact with his wife,children and grandchildren for the past 22 years.
Hope your situation eventually resolves itself Falconbird. Kids. Who would have them?