Gransnet forums


Problems with step grandma

(23 Posts)
Struthruth Sun 05-May-19 17:47:27

She has been in my children's lives since they were children. I only know her through my children as she has refused to have a relationship of any kind with me, has ignored letters and overtures to mend rifts in family. Blanks me at family events. My children all say how difficult and rude she can be but over the years have got fond of her and she of them. She is unlikely to grandchildren of her own.
I ended my marriage after my husband had affairs. He met her afterwards and also had another affair which was very difficult for her.
She has just done a brilliant job nursing ex through a two year terminal illness. Advocating for the best care. She is a formidable woman. He died three months ago and she is devastated.
She is visiting my children and grandchildren. I have said I do not want the 'family apartheid' to continue with me excluded when she visits. She let it be known at the funereal that it was by invitation only and I took this to mean I was not welcome. I did not go.
I just wish she could be civil towards me. I am getting increasingly upset at being disrespected within my own family. Two of my children feel I should re-frame her rudeness as part of her and not let it upset me. I think years of having her literarily turn her back on me is taking its toll and making me feel very uncomfortable on the occasions when we do get together. My children will try and avoid this and see us separately. I do not think this is a healthy example for the grandchildren. Feelings are very raw, she is grieving any suggestions as to best way forward.

Bibbity Sun 05-May-19 17:51:42

In the nicest way possible she has made it very clear that she does not want a relationship with you. There is in fact no need for the two of you to communicate ever.
If you are in the same room just ignore her. But you can not and should not make your children try to facilitate any sort of relationship between the two of you. They can have a relationship with the both of you simultaneously and separately.

FarNorth Sun 05-May-19 17:54:11

Only one person is being rude to you.
Maintain good relationships with all your family members, seeing them at times & places to suit them & you.
If step-grandmother continues to be rude, she is only making herself look bad.

phoenix Sun 05-May-19 18:06:31

Difficult, but if I was in your situation, I would be very tempted to grab her by the throat, look her in the eye ask her what the problem was. She sees the children and grandchildren?

Mossfarr Sun 05-May-19 18:14:12

My Mother is exactly the same towards my Fathers partner even though they've now been together longer than she was married to him. She is still as bitter as the day he left - over 35 years ago now. Stupid, it causes so much awkwardness when the family gets together.

I feel for you but honestly you shouldn't worry about it. When you have family occasions, treat yourself to a fab new dress, have your makeup done and hold your head up high. You are the better person, this is YOUR family. You really don't need to be friends if she's not willing.

Wobbles Sun 05-May-19 18:16:40

I don't quite understand why you want a relationship with this woman and what you mean by rift in the family.
She's not your family, she just happened to be married to your ExH.
Your children and grandchildren love you, please don't turn it into a competition.

Struthruth Sun 05-May-19 19:27:55

Ouch that told me! Just thought harmony in family better than division.
Perhaps no way forward......

Tedber Sun 05-May-19 19:42:56

Agree with others. Rise above it the better person. You have done your best to be civil now just ignore her and let it go! I doubt the grandchildren would even notice t.b.h. if she has always ignored you anyway. They would only be affected if there was a complete showdown in front of them.

I suspect you are more 'perplexed' as it is not something you would do? You are striving to understand. But we all meet people who we don't understand in life and if, as in your case, all attempts to make friends falls on deaf ears, the only thing you can do is ignore it! Tell is HER problem, not yours.

I am not saying she has any reason to behave the way she does towards you but she clearly must have some good points for your children to accept and even get on with her. They probably just accept she is 'quirky' and I would take their advice and just treat her as such.

Telly Sun 05-May-19 19:47:48

I would say she is obvioulsy insecure and feesl the need to dominate, after all these are your children and grandchildren. I would therefore claim the moral highground at any family gathering where she is in attendance (they will get less and less) if she chooses to ignore you then so be it. Rise about it, be gracious and generous. If she turns her back then so be it, you will have done the right thing.

BradfordLass72 Mon 06-May-19 04:03:21

Struthruth You cannot make someone like or accept you - it's nothing to do with how nice you are. It's her preference.

Your children have offered you advice and a way forward but you seem to dismiss it, wanting your own ideas to work - but they have proven unworkable.

You are gracious enough to accept she was good to and for your ex - but why should she be the same with you?

You don't need her, she doesn't need you and in all the years she's been there, nothing has brought you together.

It's time to let it go before you cause a rift by ignoring the kindly advice of your family.

M0nica Mon 06-May-19 08:39:11

Family life would be perfect if you got on with your ex's widow, but in life we rarely get perfection. You obviously have a loving and close relationship with your children and grandchildren and there are many on GN would give their right hand (left hand as well) to have that kind of relationship with their immediate family.

So stop thinking you are being disrespected by your family, you are not. On the contrary they have been thoughtful and concerned about the situation and try to ensure that you and this lady never meet. Let's face it there is no reason why your ex's second wife should be in your life at all and there are many that can tell stories of warring wives and exes tearing each other apart at weddings and family events and children who are cut out of their father's life by his new wife when he remarries.

So count your blessings and just accept that this lady for whatever reason doesn't want to know you, but is happy to have your children and grandchildren in her life and find something else to occupy your mind when this senseless sense of grievance tries to take over.

sodapop Mon 06-May-19 08:47:19

MOnica is right, there is no disrespect here. You have a loving family and there is no need for you to socialise with your ex husband's widow.
Enjoy your life and family and forget about this.

DoraMarr Mon 06-May-19 08:52:15

Stop thinking of her as step grandma and consider her your ex husband’s widow. You sound as though you have lovely adult children, enjoy your close relationship with them and forget about her. As others have said, you are a loving and forgiving person, she is not nor ever would be, so just let it go.

Struthruth Mon 06-May-19 12:59:48

Thank you all for your comments. It has been helpful if perplexing reading them. It is strange to read perceptions that are at such variance with my own. I am bewildered.
If a family member acted disrespectfully towards any of my children I would call them out on it, not collude with it. Its supporting bad behaviour surely. I do find it extremely painful and wish I could rise above it.
Not sure why I see it so differently from most of my responses. I have a blind spot here surrounded by very strong upset feelings. Trying to fathom it out.

notanan2 Mon 06-May-19 13:08:22

Why do you need to visit at the same time? Surely you can both have a relationship with the people you have in common without having to come as a pair? Being different "branches" of the family it wouldnt be the same family dos anyway outside of e.g. large weddings now and then

I think it is very out of order to suggest to your family members that they shouldnt see her without you there.

Keep it separate. Then everyone is free to see who they want without politics and awkwardness

notanan2 Mon 06-May-19 13:17:57

I just really struggle with your mentality.

I have lots of people I love in my life, why do I havd to force them all together? Some of them mix some dont. E.g. my ILs never mix with my parents side. Not since our wedding years ago. There is no "rift" between them, we just see them separately so we can relax and spend quality time with whichever side is visiting without trying to force them into some sort of artificial relationshio with each other just because they both know us!

notanan2 Mon 06-May-19 13:20:44

I have some friends that I mix, and some I don't. Again: no "rifts", I just like to give them my full attention when I see them without them having to make small talk with my other friends IYKWIM.

Be glad your family members have a wide support system. Concentrate on your part in it and stop trying to control how they manage their other relationships

Starlady Mon 06-May-19 16:04:23

Hi Struthruth! I think I get what you're feeling. You've been treated badly by your xh's 2nd wife, and you feel your ac should stand up for you against her. When they cater to her wishes, it makes you feel disrespected. Have I got that right?

If it's any comfort, though, I think your ac tried to accommodate her for their dad's sake when he was living. Now, she has become part of their family and their children's lives, and so, Imo, they accommodate her for that reason. Whatever her faults - and they are glaring, imo - I'm guessing she loves the kids, and children can't have "too much" love. So they keep her in their lives and respect her wishes regarding you to keep peace with her.

As long as you see them and the gc, also, I agree with others that you're doing ok. Really, would you want to be around this rude woman more often? I wouldn't! In fact, maybe your ac think they are doing you a favor, as well, by keeping visits separate.

I may be wrong, but I suspect you have a vision of a "big happy family," with both you and sgm (stepgrandma) at events, etc. with your gc and their parents. And, apparently, that happens, sometimes, but sgm isn't friendly when it does. Imo, you need to let go of that vision and accept things as they are. Please just enjoy your time with your ac and families and never mind how things "could/should have been."

agnurse Mon 06-May-19 17:54:03

My AIL decided to try this when she and her ex divorced. She got mad at my husband (an adult) because she learned that he had occasionally had contact with her ex on social media. Not that they were talking about her, not that they were making her look bad, but just because they were talking.

According to her narrative, because she divorced him, everyone else in the family should have nothing to do with him, even if their choices didn't impact her directly.

Hubby refused to toe the party line and she has since turned into Aunt Who We Don't See.

You cannot decide your AC's relationships with other people. They choose to be friendly with their father's widow. That's their choice. She chooses not to be friendly with you. That's her choice.

Struthruth Wed 08-May-19 08:18:56

I have done a lot of soul searching since my first post.
Starlady I think I did have notions of ‘happy families’ that I saw her as thwarting despite my best efforts!
I certainly got Notanan2 was real food for thought though.
There is also some unresolved stuff here somewhere causing the degree of emotional distress I experience and unfortunately sometimes express to my son who cannot understand my reaction.
It has been tremendous getting all your opinions and comments. So very useful and I am seriously reassessing my thinking on this matter.

maryeliza54 Wed 08-May-19 09:27:03

I’m really impressed ruth by your reflective thoughtfulness and openness to ideas. I must admit that my very first thought was that, although she wasn’t the OW and indeed suffered by his continuing adultery, you probably had some unresolved issues of your ex’s behaviour albeit long ago. I also think fwiw she was really awful to not want you at the funeral. With all his faults he had been your husband and remained the father of your children and you had every right to be present. Anyway, lots of good advice on here and your children sound very sensible so good luck in moving on ( as they say)

Wobbles Wed 08-May-19 21:09:52


Ericabro Fri 10-May-19 10:43:28

I wonder if you feel that your AC are being disloyal to you and should of said something to this woman who is acting like a spoilt brat years ago?