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(12 Posts)
Tempestseeker Mon 05-Aug-19 13:34:45

Hi everyone,
This is my first post and I am so grateful to have found you. I’ve been feeling like I’m going mad trying to resolve a maddening issue. I am afraid to explain will be rather a long post but I am hoping that you will bear with me and help.I have 4 grandchildren- 2 biological and 2 step.I have always treated them the same. Same sweets, same presents, same money spent etc.I have also offered identical support to all with regards to babysitting, sleepovers at mine, help in school holidays etc.My son’s eldest child is 4 and I see him as much as he wants and he can always stay. His mum who is my son’s ex partner and I get on really well and she has never stopped me from seeing him ever.She drops and picks him up from my house 99% of the time as she can drive, she also works( this will become important later). My daughter has a stepson, again there is no restriction on the time he spends with me either.My son is in a relationship with the woman (who I’ll call P for briefness)he cheated on my eldest grandson’s mother with her and they now have 2 children, my step GD and my youngest bio GS.I am married with a demanding job and doing a degree with the OU so my spare time is precious So the scene is now set for you.P was welcomed into our family but has always sat on the sidelines declining to join in no matter how much encouragement was given.I have taken her for meals and asked her to my home on numerous occasions to try to build a good relationship with her.I thought our relationship was stable and cordial but I have gradually discovered that unless you can solely focus on constantly reassuring P and doing as she wants then you “ don’t care”.P has made it difficult for me to see my GS ever since he was born to the point that I am now so fed up
of walking on eggshells trying not to offend her that I am ready to give up.Everything has to be on her terms or she makes life miserable for my son. She is a control freak and openly admits this.She neither works nor drives and has got it into her head that I see my son’s eldest much more than I do and that I collect him at all hours and favour him.She thinks I visit him at my son’s ex’s house too.When I ask to see her children they are always busy with her family which I don’t have an issue with but if I cannot do the date that is convenient for her then others are told I’m not making the effort! Then the FB memes will start - for example “ It’s sad when grandparents bother with everyone-else’s children but not yours”. She will tell anyone that’ll listen that I haven’t seen her children yet will not answer the phone to me or more recently answer text messages asking for contact. I love all my grandchildren but have not been allowed to build a strong bond with her children.I do not enjoy drama so if she wants no contact then that is fine but the lying about it is driving me mad. How do I stop her making out that I don’t bother when the truth is that she makes it as difficult as possible. She never has a good word to say about her mother of stepmother when she does talk to me but is on FB ramming it home at how wonderful they are.She seems a complete fantasist believing what she wants to rather than facts.I am seeing less and less of my son and so is his eldest.I have asked why I can’t have the children and I am told” well I didn’t have my children to palm them off on someone- else!” A dig at my daughter and my son’s ex but P’s eldest is allowed to go to P’s Nan’s for a week at a time. If we are at a family event my son’s eldest will invariably want to come home to stay with me and P will text his Mum to find out if that occurs. I just don’t get it I offered to have her kids too but she said no.I have behaved exactly the same way to all my grandchildren, she has been offered the same amount of time and money as the others but refused it then wants to make out I don’t bother on social media- am I overreacting?I’m not going to keep flogging a dead horse, I’m way too old for manipulative games and tantrums that work on my son-I feel frustrated she cannot seem to grasp that the no contact situation is her doing not mine and I could live with it if I knew P would tell the truth to the grandchildren but I know she won’t. Thank you for sticking with it until the end- what would others do in my position?

Daisymae Mon 05-Aug-19 14:19:56

Well you can't change her but you can change your reaction. You know that you have tried your best so there's nothing else to do. I would suggest limited time on social media and just don't respond. It's not easy but otherwise it will just drive you to distraction.

Smileless2012 Mon 05-Aug-19 14:22:15

Hi Tempestseeker and welcome.

'P' sounds just like our estranged son's wife apart from the fact that she drives and used to work, although I don't know if she still does.

There's really nothing you can do, and believe me it pains me to have to say so but it's true. Your only 'hope' is that your son sees the games she's playing and refuses to go along with them. It's worrying that you're already seeing less of him so that's not looking very likely at the moment.

You cannot stop her lies and making you look like the grand mother who has favourites, accusing you of not being interested in her children. Believe me I know, we only have 2 GC who are our ES's and when the eldest was just 5 months old he accused me of 'not really being interested'. I wish he'd been right then it wouldn't have broken my heart when he took him away from us at just 8 months old and we never saw him again.

In your position, I would continue to try and make arrangements to see the children but perhaps more casually. Don't ask her why you can't see them, say you're thinking of doing something or going somewhere and you wondered if the children might want to come along. Keep it light so she won't have the pleasure of saying no, which is what she gets if she thinks she's depriving you of something you really want.

Of course you really want to see them and your son, just don't make it obvious.

In the mean time try to accept that this is the way things are and you're not going to see as much of them as you'd hoped. You're very fortunate that you're maintaining your relationship with your ex d.i.l. and seeing your other GC as often as you do.

I did wonder if your seeing you ex d.i.l. may have something to do with it but I honestly don't think it's that. You say she's critical of her mother and step mother to you; just like our ES's wife who was critical of her own parents and has cut them out on several occasions, then has them back before doing it again.

I don't think you're over reacting, clearly she's playing games and using the GC as pawns.

Good luck with your degree, I did mine with the OU some time ago now and I know how much hard work is involved. You've a lot to do and think about; much better to spend your time on all of that than playing mind games.


Namsnanny Mon 05-Aug-19 14:22:41

First of all Im sorry this is happening to you.

Many aspects of P’s behaviour have been experienced by myself and many many others on here, so I hope you will come to see that some will have empathy and sympathy for your position.

What ever course of action you eventually choose, sooner or later will end in some form of no contact imv.

The truth is she sees you as an obstacle that’s in the way of her happiness.

Her thinking is skewed and you must play the role of scapegoat in her version of the truth.

It seems to me (although I’m unhappy to say this) that you appeal to your son for a balanced conversation about your feelings.

Or accept that you’ve done your best and let them go it alone.

She wants the latter anyway, and in my experience will get it, unless your son decides differently.

This whole situation is quite common unfortunately, and no Matt which way you look at it, how ever nice or nasty you are she is the one with the power in the relationship.

Wishing you all the best.
Good luck shamrock

GoodMama Mon 05-Aug-19 14:42:56

Tempestseeker, no one should be treated as you describe. You seem as though you have looked at this reasonably and rationally, I commend you for not jumping straight to victimhood and dramatics.

Have you sat down with your son and spoken with him? Most of the communication seems to be going through P, and not going anywhere.

Perhaps your son can shed some light on her point of view and you can decide what to do from there. I'm not saying her point of view is right, just that it might help you understand whats going on.

If she believes you favor your other grandschildren, has a chip on her shoulder about the attention and support she believes you give them - perhaps he can set her straight.

However, at the end of the day you can't change someone else mind if they aren't willing to change themselves. Some people just see themselves as victims. No matter reality, they will never see their own faults and how their own actions created their situation. Hopefully there has just been a massive misunderstanding that your son can help work through. But if she's one for drama, gossip and always searching for victimhood, there might not be hope for a reasonable relationship. I'm sorry if that means less time with her children, but that is her and your sons choice - no matter how sad.

Please don't let this affect your close and lovely relationship with your other children and their children.

Tempestseeker Tue 06-Aug-19 12:49:28

Thank you all for your support. It is so sad that so many of us are aching to be with their GC and being prevented. I have spoken with my son who after being emotionally brutalised by P for 3 years, always sides with her or else she throws him out and tries to stop him seeing his son. He is brainwashed to her outlook now and will not listen to anyone but her and her narcissistic skewed bile. I think I just need to let it be until he hopefully sees the light one day.

Smileless2012 Tue 06-Aug-19 13:35:41

I just don't get it; what's wrong with the men we raised that they allow these women to 'castrate' them in this way?

There was a time when our ES knew what she was doing, he could see through her lies and manipulation; he would talk to me about it and I would try and give him a balanced perspective which wasn't easy as I was struggling to keep a balanced perspective myself.

It was all to no avail. He's just like your son Tempestseeker "brainwashed to her outlook now and will not listen to anyone but her and her narcissistic skewed bile".

Thank goodness we're out of it.

Razzmatazz123 Tue 06-Aug-19 14:41:16

I love the open ended invitations, Hi P, I am available on x y z to do a b c, let me know if GC would like to join us. People like that don't tend to change so I think it's best to always be the bigger person and maybe be careful to share your thoughts on here in private because awful people will grab any justification to look innocent and make themselves the victim. Your son needs to come to his own realisation on his own, hard as it may be to watch. As long as you know in your heart that you are fair and good, she can't take that away from you.

March Tue 06-Aug-19 15:55:51

Tempestseeker, My MIL did something very similar. She would cancel (weekly) visits after visit after visit then complain to everyone that she doesn't see her grandchildren alot confused

There's not much you can do with people like that. You can't win either way.

Dawn22 Wed 07-Aug-19 14:11:54

My husband 's mother was horrible to me.
I would have thrived with someone like you.
So sad how the wrong fit of people works.

Starlady Wed 07-Aug-19 18:49:35

Welcome, Tempestseeker!

My heart goes out to you! You sound like a wonderful mum, MIL, and GM, and the fact that you have such unlimited access to most of your GC underscores this idea. I'm so sorry your relationship w/ P is not as good. It's certainly not for lack of trying on your part.

"Everything has to be on her terms ..."

I'm not sure what you mean by "on her terms." Perhaps she's more strict about schedules, etc., that your DD (dear daughter), DS, and XDIL? Some parents are very rigid about these things. It's wonderful if your AC and XDIL are more flexible, but flexibility may not be part of P's personality.

A couple of sentences or phrases jumped out of me that might provide some clues to the problem:

"...he cheated on my eldest grandson’s mother with her..."

IDKY you felt the need to point this out. Is it possible you have a negative attitude towards her/their relationship b/c of this? (I wouldn't blame you). And that she senses it despite your best efforts? If that may be, could you find it in your heart to let this past behavior go? Or, at least, move it a little further to the back of your mind?

"Everything has to be on her terms..."

I'm not sure what you mean by "on her terms." Perhaps she's rigid about schedules, etc? Some parents are. Your AC and XDIL may be more flexible (like my DD and SIL) and that's wonderful. But flexibility may not be part of P's personality.

Or maybe she's just a game-player as you and others have suggested. Regardless, IMO, the best idea may be to make your invitations through DS, as others have said. In fact, it may be a good idea to give him a list of dates and times that you're available for, say, a given month, let him go over it w/ P, and then get back to you about what will work for them. Chances are, P will have an excuse for every one of them, but IMO, it's worth a try.

If that doesn't work out, then I agree w/ other posters, that you should just make a casual invite, now and then, and leave it at that. Perhaps invite those GC to outings that you're taking w/ some of your other GC, so that even if DS and P say "no," you'll still enjoy a day w/ grands.

As for getting P to stop lying on social media, etc., I'm afraid I also agree w/ the others that you can't. Please just ignore her comments and don't worry what others will think. Those who know you will know it's not true, and those who don't, well, they don't really matter in your life, do they? Besides, not everyone will even be sure which GPs she's talking about. So please let it go as best you can and just enjoy the marvelous relationships you do have. xx

Starlady Wed 07-Aug-19 18:56:00

Just saw this, Tempest:

"I have spoken with my son who after being emotionally brutalised by P for 3 years, always sides with her or else she throws him out and tries to stop him seeing his son. He is brainwashed to her outlook now and will not listen to anyone but her and her narcissistic skewed bile. I think I just need to let it be until he hopefully sees the light one day."

Or you may need to wait till the kids are older and P doesn't have so much influence over where they live or who they get to see. IDK, but it's possible that he goes along w/ her b/c otherwise "she throws him out and tries to sop him seeing his son." As the kids get older, her may suddenly do an about face.