Gransnet forums


Regret:Do you wish you’d handled things differently?

(116 Posts)
DillPickles Sun 23-Jan-22 09:51:58

Long time lurker here. I used to read these forums to see if anyone had a similar situation to my own, and how others coped. A bit of background: Son and DIL went NC for a while. She and I never got on, but were respectful at the very least. A spat ensued over what was probably my overzealousness when it came to my two young grans. She reacted like a dragon and my son of course backed her. For sure, she crossed the line. Now I am wondering if I should have handled things a bit better. Does anyone else here reflect and honestly see their own role, whatever the size, in their estrangement? If so, how does one begin the reconciliation, assuming one or both parties actually wants it?

Chewbacca Sun 23-Jan-22 10:03:51

Is there any communication between you all now that could lead to a reapproachment?

DillPickles Sun 23-Jan-22 10:08:33

Minimal at best. I text, they never initiate. They haven’t answered an actual phone call in at least 3 months. It’s only been a couple of weeks since my son started replying to me in our family group chat. Before that, no replies at all. I realize I had a hand in this. I just want them to see they did as well, and that we can fix this. We are family.

silverlining48 Sun 23-Jan-22 10:36:56

I think all you can do is acknowledge your part in this without reference to theirs and in future always Assume that anything you say could easily be taken as criticism. It’s good your son has started to respond so hope it resolves .
I dont have a dil but rarely offer comment on anything to do with the way my dd manages her children.
I know my place. smile

HolySox Sun 23-Jan-22 10:40:54

For sure she crossed the line.
Welcome to GN and so sorry things aren't good between you and your DS & DIL.
Reading this line left me feeling you've got a lot of anger still. You say you're 'overzealous' with your GCs but sounds like your stepping on mum's toes. Start with accepting DIL is in charge - and she needs to be. Good to hear your son is backing her up. Their life. Their rules.
We tried to learn from mistakes our parents made so give our AC space and then be there to support when asked for. We haven't always got it right and have had to back off at times. We had to learn to be parents and now to be grandparents. Wish you well.

Poppyred Sun 23-Jan-22 10:45:33

What did you actually do to upset your DIL? Did you apologise?

glammanana Sun 23-Jan-22 10:53:33

It sounds as though the door to communication is slightly opening just sit back and let it continue slowly, do not mention any previous NC and don't as previously said step on the parents toes.

GagaJo Sun 23-Jan-22 11:07:53

I am considering my role in my estrangement with my mother. The whole problem was caused by my SIL who my mother sided with. However, I'm trying to be reasonable and to see the position my mother was in, because they live locally to her, whereas I live hundreds of miles away. It looks as if my DM may not have long left, so I'm trying to get past the whole thing, in order to make her last months as tranquil as possible. I think I can acknowledge that she has not been great as a M or GM while maintaining a relationship. I don't want to regret not reestablishing contact once the chance has passed. I do regret reacting as strongly as I did although I'm not sure how else I could have dealt with the situation at the time.

My SIL is a different story however. I have a lot of resentment for her, although as she is the main person involved in my DMs care, I will eventually have to have contact with her. I'm trying to see the good side of her, in that she has been extremely kind to my DM, although I doubt I will have contact with her and my DB once my mother has died.

I don't think anyone can ever make anyone else see the error of their ways. Getting my SIL to admit what she did is pointless and I wouldn't even consider doing that.

VioletSky Sun 23-Jan-22 11:08:20

I agree with silverlining

Apologise for your part, just a very direct, I am sorry I hurt you when i did/said (this). No ifs, no buts, no maybes as they saying goes.

That way you acknowledge their feelings and your part.

Be prepared for the fact they may not reciprocate straight away, you are the parent and these things often revert back to that and you are expected to be the parent to their child whiles still respecting them as adults.. Its doable I promise.

Listen to their feelings, acknowledge them as real and genuine, take responsibility, state that you will make a big effort to change any behaviours they don't like..

Then hopefully, either straight away or in time they will reciprocate and apologise or at least show they are sorry too by making a big effort to have a positive relationship.

I really hope things get better for you

GagaJo Sun 23-Jan-22 11:09:59


Minimal at best. I text, they never initiate. They haven’t answered an actual phone call in at least 3 months. It’s only been a couple of weeks since my son started replying to me in our family group chat. Before that, no replies at all. I realize I had a hand in this. I just want them to see they did as well, and that we can fix this. We are family.

I think this phrase is dangerous, I just want them to see they did as well. If you try to push that, you risk ending up with total estrangement.

I would start totally afresh. You risk being totally cut off otherwise.

Bibbity Sun 23-Jan-22 11:15:26

Before you do anything I would decide what your objective is as this is going to decide your course of action.

Do you want a relationship with them?
Or do you want to be vindicated?

DillPickles Sun 23-Jan-22 11:15:41

I definitely stepped on her toes, and apologized when I caught myself but she was so angry she had an outburst. Both my grans were unwell and I felt that my son and DIL were waiting too long to seek medical attention. One is asthmatic and the other had what appeared to be a really bad respiratory infection. I thought I heard wheezing from the asthmatic child. She and I are both nurses. Granted, I don’t have nearly as much experience as she does with sick children, but basic clinical judgement told me the meds were not working at home because the boys seemed worse than when I saw them the day before. I do not think they are neglectful parents at all. I simply may have overreacted to what I felt was a slower pace than I’d move at in getting them more care. I admit that with the children being hers and her clinical background loaded with experience with sick children, I should have piped down. But I would have never dreamed of speaking to my MIL or my mom in the manner she spoke to me. My son wasn’t raised that way either and I’m still shocked he not only did not ask her to lower her voice and tone down the disrespect, but also joined in. Regrettable things were said but I want to sit down, talk it out, and move on. They just feel unapproachable right now.

Bibbity Sun 23-Jan-22 11:19:10

I do commend you for wanting to repair the relationship. But after what you posted above I would drop any idea of them taking blame. You were very much out of line and their reaction was probably due to their outrage. Which honestly would seem appropriate.

You do not hold a higher position of respect being older. You attacked them.

DillPickles Sun 23-Jan-22 11:19:50

Thank you all. I think I will take the advice here and not mention their role or the NC. I will extend an invite to talk at some point this week. I doubt they will take me up. I’m nervous about the sting if they reject it. I miss my grans so much it physically hurts me. I feel sick to my stomach. All I want is my family back together.

VioletSky Sun 23-Jan-22 11:22:32

I think you might be pretty ter off putting it in writing first.

Also definitely put the relationship with them as more important than the grandchildren.

The best way to have a good relationship with the grandchildren is to have a good relationship with the parents

Grandpanow Sun 23-Jan-22 11:22:54

If I were you, I would offer a heartfelt apology and not expect anything in return. I’m sure you and she were both overwhelmed and worried for the children. But she or your son were presumably taking care of the children and you were seeing them more sporadically. Your son and DIL must have been tired, and I assume upset their children were sick. They also had more knowledge of how the children were doing. I think it would be very difficult to have anyone come in and, from their perspective, be critical. Perhaps down the line you can hash it out, but I think trying to push them to apologize etc will likely not do your relationship with them any good.

VioletSky Sun 23-Jan-22 11:23:06

Better off, sorry, my house is cold and my typing terrible with cold hands lol

GagaJo Sun 23-Jan-22 11:26:30

I agree with the others. Just apologise. No expectation of an apology back. Whether she was wrong is irrelevant really. They don't need you in their lives, but you need them in yours.

What would have been done in our day and age is irrelevant.

Put your feelings aside, apologise, and hopefully things will improve.

Smileless2012 Sun 23-Jan-22 11:26:38

As long as there's communication there's hope DillPickles, and I understand this is minimal but it does give you something to work with.

You've apologised and now that your son has started to respond just keep it to light chit chat and see how things develop. Hopefully with time things will improve.

ElaineI Sun 23-Jan-22 11:28:26

I read an article about apologising. Will try and post link.
Basically it said don't use ifs, buts, refer to what you perceive they may have done. A straight apology - I am sorry for upsetting you. Don't mention anything else.
For you - you need to brush what happened under the carpet or things won't change and don't try to go too fast. Baby steps.

DillPickles Sun 23-Jan-22 11:37:50

I’ll be honest, I still feel they were totally over the line with me. It just flies in the face of reason that one could speak so harshly to the person who would die for them. I wonder where such conduct came from in my son; our family just doesn’t behave a certain way toward elders. But I must let this go.

The objective opinion—which I asked for—is that I should expect no apology but ensure to offer a heartfelt one, which I of course have and will do again. So I will swallow what appears to be my pride and do it again if they give me the opportunity. My grans know I love them. It hasn’t been long enough for them to have forgotten me. I love my son and even my DIL (even though I just don’t like her). I think Violetsky had a great idea to write a letter first. Maybe this will warm them to the idea of sitting down with me?

NotSpaghetti Sun 23-Jan-22 11:39:54

Do NOT ask to talk about it!

Just say SORRY and no more - or it will more likely than not, go wrong.

Bibbity Sun 23-Jan-22 11:43:07

The positive is you're really receptive, articulate and appear measured. Your son is contacting you even though it is minimal.
So there is hope.

I hope everything goes smoothly for you and everything is back to normal soon.

Kandinsky Sun 23-Jan-22 11:43:49

As long as there's communication there's hope DillPickles, and I understand this is minimal but it does give you something to work with

Absolutely agree.

VioletSky Sun 23-Jan-22 11:46:38

Yes I think NotSpaghetti is probably right.

Send the apology, wait a week, invite for normal lunch...

I know it's hard to swallow pride at times and apologise when you don't feel the one in the wrong but, there is always the fact that you will know you have done the right thing..

Also, these family relationships, there isn't really any pride to be had. We know too well each others faults and failings but what matters is the positives and the things we do like and respect about each other.