Gransnet forums

Ask a gran

Being Kept in the Dark

(32 Posts)
UnhappyBunny Sun 19-Jun-16 09:53:00

I recently discovered that my daughter and partner had been involved in a situation that affected their wellbeing but only learned about it after the event. I queried why I hadn't been told about it and she said her partner said not to tell me (or his mum). I asked him why this was and he said, in effect, he thought I wouldn't be able to handle it. This is the second such time that he has kept a serious incident from me, the first being when my daughter was hospitalised and she was in no position to let me know and he didn't contact me until much later. I think he's coming from the standpoint that his mother is very much someone that gets hysterical and so assumes I am the same, which I am not. My daughter and I have been through some tough times together and she knows she can rely on me and that I would be OK with it. I see very little of my daughter due to her work commitments and feel that this sort of attitude is distancing me even further from her. Of course they are adults and can choose to let me know things or not and I respect that. However my relationship with my daughter did not used to be like this. I feel I should let them know how I feel but I don't want to make the situation worse. Any thoughts?

Teetime Sun 19-Jun-16 09:58:18

Oh dear this is very difficult for you. I think I would go for an open and honest chat about this when everyone is calm and there are no distractions around. Perhaps invite to your house for something not too stressful just tea and cake or something (complex meals can add stress to a situation and leave out alcohol) and just talk about it and how you feel. It sounds as though your relationship with your daughter is a good one - she wont want to hurt you. I do sympathise- something similar is going on with my daughter and I'm working up to talking with her about it although she can be a bit of a firecracker so I'm choosing my moment. Good Luck smile

f77ms Sun 19-Jun-16 10:00:40

Very sorry about your situation , it sounds like a `control` issue to me . Is he very controlling normally ? The only thing you can do is to speak directly to your SIL and tell him that you would prefer to know , can handle it and would like to support them .

Aurelia Sun 19-Jun-16 11:43:23

Sounds as though he is trying to control and isolate your daughter, which I'd be quite worried about.
Speak to your daughter and let her know you would always want to know about and support her during any difficulties she is having.
Can you organize times to spend with your DD without SIL present, maybe lunch or a shopping trip?

Jenty61 Sun 19-Jun-16 12:00:50

I dont think this is a 'control' issue at all ...perhaps your daughters partner wanted and could manage the situations and really didnt want to worry you or involve you until after the events...I think you are reading too much into it...

obieone Sun 19-Jun-16 12:05:42

It often takes time for a sil to get to properly know a mil and vice-versa.

I would tell both of them when they are together, that you are perfectly able to handle things.
Your duaghter and yourself can then say examaples of when this has been the case, and that nothing has happened to change that.

Nonnie1 Sun 19-Jun-16 12:14:36

unhappyBunny

Obviously I do not know you or your daughter, but what I do know is that I have a daughter and she is in a relationship.

I have a relationship with my daughter which should not be affected by her other relationships and if I found out that she had been taken to hospital without my knowledge as is in your case I would let my feelings be known.

I would be unhappy too if I thought her boyfriend had deliberately chosen not to tell me. I don't believe this is a fair thing to do, and furthermore I think it is an isolating tactic on his behalf.

You need to talk to your daughter and tell her how you feel. 'Family' is Family. It s different to other friendships, this is what makes it special, in the same way that a husband and wife are 'special' within a family.

And - it's not up to your son in law to decide how you will react either.

That#s what I think.

Bellanonna Sun 19-Jun-16 12:21:50

I don't feel it's a control issue though it's difficult to say that without knowing the people concerned. It sounds as though he doesn't want to worry you unnecessarily and just wants to deal with things until they get better and then tell you. I think I would probably want to tell them both how you would in fact prefer to be told, much as you appreciate their trying to spare you the worry. We're all different. You know him, we don't, and perhaps he's just genuinely doing what he feels is right. If it were me I would want to know though my SIL is very thoughtful and might wait until he knew more before involving me. So hard to know when we don't know the people concerned.

Christinefrance Sun 19-Jun-16 12:34:09

It's really hard to know what is happening without knowing the people concerned. I would treat it at face value and have a chat with them in a non confrontational way. If his own mother has difficulty dealing with things this is the only experience he has to draw on. Explain you are more worried finding out later there have been problems and you are able to deal with issues as they crop up.

KatyK Sun 19-Jun-16 16:43:30

I had something similar a few years ago. My daughter had a serious accident whilst on holiday with her husband and small daughter. They said they didn't tell me as I would have panicked! I am her mother, of course I would have panicked. At the time she was always in regular contact with me and when I didn't hear from them for a few days I was more panicked at the thought of what might be happening - all sorts of thoughts were going through my mind. I try to think they did it with good intentions, although I was a bit hurt at the time.

rubylady Mon 20-Jun-16 00:58:00

Thinking back to when I was hospitalised when I was married, my ex nor me at times told our parents. And the situations were very serious. We just tried to get through what we were going through, it wasn't done to hurt anyone, we were too busy concentrating on finding out what was wrong and getting better. Maybe have a word with them though if you want it to be different. You can only voice your opinion and then it is up to them. But maybe learn too, that she is now a married woman and he comes first with her and she comes first with him. We have to learn to take a step back and let them lead their lives as married people. It's a harsh one but one we have to learn. Good luck with whatever you do, it's not easy. flowers

cornergran Mon 20-Jun-16 02:01:18

As adults we often want to be responsible for ourselves and also not to worry others, including our parents. This could be the basis for the actions, or inactions. There's a balance to hold between independent adult behaviour and appropriate sharing with close family that can be seen differently by everyone involved. I think the suggestion of a straightforward chat at a not stressed time is excellent if you can manage it unhappy. It might be worth asking if your daughter would like to be told if you were ill or in major difficulty as a way of clarifying their feelings. Of course if it would help say something along the lines of that as a Mum you respect their adult status but as its in your job description to care and worry you would be less worried if you knew you would be kept in the picture concerning major problems. I have had a number of experiences now of being told of illnesses after the event, sometimes it is simply that it was not seen as a major illness, at others the focus on coping took priority for a while. I try to think that it isn't a criticism of me and my coping ability but rather an indication of how I have helped the younger ones learn to cope. I hope you can feel less hurt soon.

FarNorth Mon 20-Jun-16 07:36:56

I think the partner's mother's personality has a lot to do with it. He wants to avoid her getting 'hysterical' and so keeps information to himself.
Also, I agree with the last two posts that adults take responsibility for themselves and don't necessarily share information at the time something is happening.
If you feel upset, though, do have a calm chat with them to explain your point of view and to hear theirs.

UnhappyBunny Mon 20-Jun-16 08:18:32

Thanks for all the thoughts on this. I think I will take a step back and 'let it be'. I'm hoping to spend a few days with her this summer and will enjoy the time we have together and not dwell on it any more. 😘

janeainsworth Mon 20-Jun-16 08:27:21

We operated on a 'need to know' basis with both my mother and mother-in-law wink.
DMiL would have worried herself silly and my DM would have made judgemental remarks.
It sounds as though you have a good relationship with your DD UnhappyBunny so just enjoy your time with her.

Anya Mon 20-Jun-16 08:42:50

There are times when we have to make decision which aren't easy. When my son and his wife were away on a much needed and looked-forward-to holiday, my FiL (his grandfather) had a stroke. The doctors said he wouldn't make it and sure enough he died within 48 hours without regaining consciousness.

We made the decision not to recall my son and DiL from holiday as there was nothing they could do. I'm not sure that it was the correct decision, I'm not even sure any decision would have been the right one sad but that was our call at the time.

Jenty61 Mon 20-Jun-16 09:10:11

similar situation to Anyas..On getting back from holiday I rang my mum to let her know I was back and couldnt get an answer so I rang my brother and he said 'mum was in hospital and there wasnt any need for him to contact me and he didnt want to spoil my holiday' yes I was a bit niggled but saying that if my brother was on holiday I would have done exactly the same...

icanhandthemback Mon 20-Jun-16 10:51:23

You could always just suggest to your daughter that if it were anything life-threatening which went the wrong way, it would be a hell of a shock whereas a little info would at least give you the chance to assimilate things. You could point out you would be happy to give them some space if that is what they want but you could also be helpful doing a bit of running around to allow your daughter's boyfriend to be by your daughter's side instead of worrying about day to day things.

PamelaJ1 Mon 20-Jun-16 11:11:23

It's so hard, like Anya We had a stroke incident. My DF had an unexpected stroke while we (my DH and DD) were on the plane to Aus. to visit my otherDD for 3and a half week hol. I wasn't informed until the next week when he had just died. He was insistent that I wasn't. My DM didn't want to tell me then but my sisters overruled her and we returned to the UK leaving my daughters behind.
My DH and I got back in time for me to say my goodbyes to dad before his funeral.
I don't think that I would have been happy to miss the community grieving that involved us all comforting each other, crying and laughing together.
My sisters had all had time off before the funeral. I had 2 weeks to stay with mum and start sorting out all those horrible things that one has to sort.
So I needed to know but My DD's didn't need to return, I did.

elleks Mon 20-Jun-16 11:16:19

Depends how serious it is-my Mum was a panicker (half an hour late visiting her and she was up the wall) so I got into the habit of telling her after the event. If it was really serious I'd tell her though.

Maisiejo Mon 20-Jun-16 13:29:38

I think that it depends whether the incident involved your dd or sil. If it was the latter then he may have made the decision for personal reasons.
I think that I am learning to accept that I cannot be involved in all of the decisions that my grown up children make. I find it very hard as they are my life but I have to accept that I am not theirs!
They have personal issues that are none of my business and I have to leave it to their discretion whether I am involved or not. I think that you are making the right decision to leave things be and not jeopardise the close relationship that you have by overstepping the mark in their private lives.

Bez1989 Mon 20-Jun-16 15:33:52

Yes as a married couple there are sure to be instances that crop up that are private and sometimes difficult to share with parents. Not hospital stays though.
Although having said that when I had my hysterectomy and told my parents who lived 200 miles away in advance and the reason for it (fybroid) I was told afterwards that if I had to have any hospital treatment etc in future, my mother didnt want to know as she couldnt deal with it. So...from the childs point of view one cannot win !! hmm

Supernan Mon 20-Jun-16 16:01:50

I took a step back and 'let it be'. This is one of my biggest regrets.

Gaggi3 Mon 20-Jun-16 16:28:42

A couple of years ago I was taken ill on a cruise. It was fairly serious but not immediately life-threatening. We did not tell our daughters until we were coming home early from our final port, having planned a short stay there. They were both glad that we hadn't told them until they needed to know, as they could do absolutely nothing except worry. Obviously, we would have told them sooner had the situation worsened.

harrysgran Mon 20-Jun-16 17:45:19

Bit of a control issue I think it should be up to your daughter if she wants you to know I would make this clear to your daughter maybe a chat when he isn't there might bring other issues to light.