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Feeling Used and Abused

(63 Posts)
NanaPlenty Thu 14-Feb-19 15:10:33

My eldest stepdaughter lives 15/20 minutes from us. She has two children, seven and two whom we love dearly. Despite making lots of suggestions and invitations to meet up she always has an excuse not too.. On numerous occasions my husband has suggested she pop in for lunch or that we call in to her as she says she always has her hands full. Lately she has become more and more distant and we had already said the next time she contacted us would only be because she needed a babysitter. Sure enough I got a text (she never calls) asking us to babysit. We haven't seen them for three months and this makes us feel very used. (I know it's cutting of your nose to spite your face to say no - but my husband is very cross and will no longer be used in this way. In reply he asked if he could see her and a really hurtful reply came back jumping to all sorts of assumptions and basically telling us we never do anything for her! We are both so hurt and angry. She has alienated not just us but the rest of her close family lately. I guess I'm really just sounding off - I'm expecting to be told we will never see the grandchildren again!

Baggs Thu 14-Feb-19 15:46:31

Won't you and your husband see her if you babysit?

luluaugust Thu 14-Feb-19 15:51:49

Maybe there is something else going on here especially if this has become worse recently. Could you possibly do the babysitting it would give you chance to see her and GC which you are not going to get otherwise. Please try not to give her the opportunity to say you can't see the GC.

stella1949 Thu 14-Feb-19 15:54:37

If you haven't seen her for 3 months, I'd hardly say you've been used and abused. I'd jump at the opportunity to see the children while babysitting - why refuse when it just means more alienation ?

paddyann Thu 14-Feb-19 16:26:41

You need to find out why she's become so distant .It wont be for nothing so if you know you can help sort it

M0nica Thu 14-Feb-19 16:35:38

Yes, it does seem that you are being take advantage off. The question is, do you have any idea why she is acting this way?

You say She has alienated not just us but the rest of her close family lately I think that is the nub of the question. Why is she doing this. Is it to hide relationship problems, a sign of mental distress or other reason?

I think the answer to this question should probably dictate how you respond. If it is clear that there are relationship or mental health problems, you probably need to hang on in, in case you need to be able to see signs that she is on the point of imploding or collapsing.

Have you discussed the problem with other members of your family. Perhaps a coordinated response would be in the best interst sof all.

Greenfinch Thu 14-Feb-19 16:37:51

What stella says

sodapop Thu 14-Feb-19 17:13:02

Yes I would baby sit too and take the opportunity to have a chat with your stepdaughter. It does sound like she is having some problems.

NanaPlenty Thu 14-Feb-19 17:54:47

Thanks everyone - we have tried to talk to her but she just refuses to open up about anything. If we babysit we won't actually see her it will just be a quick handover. I'm afraid it's really out of my hands - I know hand on heart that I've tried everything with her, and always have offered help, a listening ear if there are problems, I've offered to take her out on our own if it would help but unfortunately it's all been thrown back in my face. It's very sad and I am worried about her but she's a grown woman and if she refuses to speak to anyone what can we do.

Badenkate Thu 14-Feb-19 18:50:11

It seems to me that all you can do is maintain contact in whatever way possible. Don't judge, you don't know what the problem is, but allow her the opportunity to talk if she wants to. If you cut off contact it may be very difficult to re-establish it again

NanaPlenty Fri 15-Feb-19 08:26:25

My hubby (her dad) is trying but she won't see him. He's written to her explaining his concerns and also telling her we love her and miss her. Not very hopeful but you never know. Thanks everyone for your input. It's really appreciated.

dragonfly46 Fri 15-Feb-19 08:29:42

I would definitely babysit. Why cut off your nose. You may finish up with no contact at all!

Cece44 Fri 15-Feb-19 10:30:56

Does she have a partner? Something doesn't sound right to me? I would babysit anyway and just bide my time..

jaylucy Fri 15-Feb-19 10:51:42

I'd definitely babysit.
There is something going on and she is obviously under some sort of stress, going by her reaction. It could be her job, or her relationship or just maybe, as an adult, she just feels she doesn't need to keep seeing you all the time ! (Strange, but it is true- I did it in the past).
No mention of the grandchildren - one way to keep in touch with them and through them, you'll keep in touch with the stepdaughter, however brief it is!

Applegran Fri 15-Feb-19 10:52:18

I agree, baby sit and see the children, and maybe your step daughter. Not worth taking offence - as others have said , after such a long time without contact you cannot really assess what is going on. I agree with MOnica - there could easily be some stress, distress, or menatal health issue here. You could be important in offering support if so. So if your husband can see it in this light, perhaps he could become the big hearted one who acts from undrestanding and care, but not taking offence. If she has any problems they will affect the children too - your support could be very important to them too.

Quickdraw Fri 15-Feb-19 10:52:52

She sounds like someone who needs more support, not less. I would offer to babysit more to see if that alleviates any tension. It is so difficult to truly know what's going on but please don't give up on her or your grandchildren ☺

sweetcakes Fri 15-Feb-19 11:08:30

Is her Mother still about perhaps she confides in her? And she baby-sits more than you know about?

Hopefully64 Fri 15-Feb-19 11:16:44

Just babysit you are spending tine with grandkids.
I think you need to find out why your husband feels it is his right to spend time with his daughter.
But won't help her out in loveliness way possible by babysitting.

chris8888 Fri 15-Feb-19 11:17:37

Maybe she is depressed or going through a bad time. I would be worried about the children and babysit just to see them

Graninda Fri 15-Feb-19 11:27:50

As a step-mother I have found that my step children have a lot of hidden resentments towards me - the old 'wicked stepmother' syndrome. There is probably a lot more going on under the surface with your stepdaughter than you realise. It's a difficult one and really needs careful handling. You have my sympathy.

annehinckley Fri 15-Feb-19 11:31:07

Babysit. It may not seem like it, but I think she needs to keep in contact even more than you. do. I agree with chris888.
Maybe even offer a regular babysit (maybe once a fortnight), so you all know where you stand and it becomes part of a routine. Then she can't say you don't do anything for her & you won't feel used.

Johno Fri 15-Feb-19 12:13:04

I am a pragmatic person which is not always the best way but in this instance, I believe it is. I think self-respect is everything. If you dont stick to respect and truth then it will fester and fester. Your daughter owes you some respect and you should hold to your integrity and look her in the eyes and tell her straight what is bothering you. Nothing is to be gained by mish-mash hidden feelings and opinions, I feel. If the grandchildren are used as a bargaining tool then what is the point anyway. I would not accept that. I would be straight and honest and if the daughter implied or used emotional blackmail then as far as I am concerned she will have to deal with that. You never progress by staying in the grey mush you only move on when matters are clear in black and white. Let the dog see the rabbit as they say.

driverann Fri 15-Feb-19 12:29:35

I don’t understand if you only live 15/20 minutes away from each other why have you not just popped in on her in unannounced. I would take some new clothes for the grandchildren children. We always make it clear we are NOT babysitters we are the grandparents, who just so happen to babysit now and then.

Jaycee5 Fri 15-Feb-19 12:33:00

I would offer to babysit. If she is depressed, what to others sounds like normal contact can feel like pressure. I would take things gently. Maybe tell her that you didn't mean to upset her but that you miss her but then leave it at that for now.
Do you know if she is also distancing herself from other people?
If it is only you, then maybe you can grit your teeth and do it for the children. If you can't, then it is sad but people do drift apart and it may just be something that you have to find a way to deal with yourselves.

Bekind Fri 15-Feb-19 12:37:57

NanaPlenty, you have gotten some very wise advice. I would try to stay connected in any way possible and every time you see her, make her feel loved and unjudged. Perhaps you have done something which has offended her, but it doesn't seem like it if she is distancing herself from everyone. Sounds like you are going to have to be patient and gain her trust to feel safe to say what is going on.