Gransnet forums


Depressed,abandoned daughter

(64 Posts)
Jaffacake2 Mon 13-May-19 07:11:35

Am new to gransnet so please be kind to me.
Looking for advice and wisdom in how to deal with family trauma. My daughter was left last year with 2 children under the age of 3 when her husband decided he didn't want her. Don't think there is another woman but he wasn't prepared to discuss it just said he was unhappy in the marriage. He went back to his mother's house and had the children there every weekend. My daughter had a depressive breakdown in February and had to leave work. She is now recovering and is moving on trying to find another job but life is stressful.
His family have not spoken to her since he left other than the initial outburst from his mother saying she is an unfit mother,definitely not the case.
My role has been supportive with helping with looking after the kids and trying to keep her going. She lives 20 miles away. My own health mentally and physically has declined through stress but am coping.
What I would like to know is opinions on how I can help my daughter and should I be more proactive in dealing with the estranged in-laws ? I am so angry not just with my son in law for leaving but with the whole family who have abandoned her but still have all the treats with the children at weekend plastered on Facebook. Of course I want the children to be loved by all the family and have treats but seems unfair.
Perhaps it is a situation which will never be resolved.

Sara65 Mon 13-May-19 07:33:27

I’m sure this is a problem that many families will identify with, as usual, it’s the woman left trying to hold things together, and the man just wanders off, back to mummy and daddy

You need to remember, in your daughters in-laws defence, that he has probably said lots of things about his marriage, and your daughter which aren’t the complete truth, and re the children, it’s always unfair when children have a fun weekend with daddy, and come home to tired, depressed mummy

If I were you, I wouldn’t interfere unless you feel you absolutely have to, support your daughter and grandchildren the best you can, be the bigger person

Urmstongran Mon 13-May-19 07:40:09

This must be hard to bear Jaffacake2. Welcome by the way. Just a sad thread for your first venture on here.

It’s good your daughter is coming out of her depression (and shock I imagine). It must be very hard for her, holding things together with two babies.

I would say communication between you and your daughter is key. Ask her if she would like more help (are you able to stay over occasionally?). FB must be hard. I don’t do it myself, never have, Don’t see the need. Can she come out of it for a while until she feels stronger?

I wouldn’t say anything at all to her ex or his family. (a) it’s not your place and (b) I think afterwards you’d regret it. Whatever you would say isn’t going to change anyone’s behaviour.

Yes, it’s all very sad but the best way forward is for your daughter to find her inner strength. It is there, always.

Jaffacake2 Mon 13-May-19 07:55:59

Thank you for your replies. Yes I expect the in laws have had lies told them about my daughter which is why they won't speak to her. They have known her for 9 years so you would have thought they would have had some feelings for her. But guess they will stick by their son.
You are right that I need to keep away from them and not interfere. Just wondered if I was being weak in not standing up for my daughter. Inner strength will get her through this,thank you.

Sara65 Mon 13-May-19 08:07:17

I don’t think you’re being weak at all, it takes great strength not to become involved in a slanging match, when you feel your daughter has been treated unfairly

Iam64 Mon 13-May-19 08:09:24

Jaffacake, you aren't alone in this situation. I'd ignore your former son in law and his family as much as is possible. Try to keep out of any conflict. Your son in law has effectively abandoned his responsibilities and duties as a father and partner. Of course he won't have been honest with his family about his reasons for doing this, it will no doubt all be because your daughter is unreasonable etc.
Offer practical as well as emotional support. Look after yourself.

Dawn22 Mon 13-May-19 08:39:02

Getting involved with those in laws will only exacerbate the situation and will only lead to more stress for you and your daughter. Blood is thicker than water.
To counteract those in law "treats" (yuck l can only just imagine) you give your grandchildren loads of hugs and kisses and security and tell them they are great little people and by God this is what they will remember and this is character forming for them too. This is what l call hidden power and l have had to use this sort of power myself.
Very best. Dawn.

Jaffacake2 Mon 13-May-19 08:49:25

Thanks Dawn ,we are off on a caravan holiday by the seaside next month with daughter and kids, so lots of hugs and fun. Not going to compete with the in laws who took them business class abroad, but no sandcastles made ! Hidden power used with love.

BlueBelle Mon 13-May-19 09:09:07

Hi Jaffa and welcome, the advice you have been given is what I would say too, keep away from contact and conflict with in laws Why are you seeing their pictures on fb I presume your daughter no longer has them as ‘friends’ on fb so no need for you to either that’s the first thing to do get rid of those accounts then you won’t see any pictures to upset you
I m sure lots of lies or exaggerations have been told My youngest s 18 year marriage has broken up and whilst I m the first to admit there were faults on both sides, this Christmas although I sent a card and the usual greetings to his parents, for the first time in 18 years nothing back just silence and I KNOW the blame will have been firmly and completely unfairly heaped on my daughters shoulders
Enjoy your holiday and forget about any kind of competition and stop looking at their shenanigans on fb

Sara65 Mon 13-May-19 09:10:02

Trust me, it’s who they’re with, not where they are!
Have lots of fun

Tuppence15 Mon 13-May-19 09:20:55

This happened to my daughter when her son was only 6 weeks old. We offered our support but left any decisions about where she lived or what she did up to her. She was depressed, homeless and frightened.
Fast forward 6 years and she has surprised us all. She is working and studying. We have a lovely bright grandson who sees his dad and other granny and grandad every other weekend. He has taken it all in his stride.
She is reasonably happy with her lot, we have helped out financially when needed and given advice when asked. Trying not to be hurt when it wasn’t taken.
Just be there for her and definitely don’t get involved in family politics. Remember the messenger usually gets shot.

eazybee Mon 13-May-19 10:03:18

What a sad, but increasingly frequent, situation.
I am assuming that your daughter's position with regard to maintenance and the security of her home have been sorted out legally; if not she needs to address this immediately. The next thing she needs to tackle is access to the children, otherwise it will be: week equals Mummy equals work; weekend equals Daddy equals fun. She needs time at the weekend with her children, and he needs time undertaking parenting responsibilities such as medical appointments, clothes shopping, picking up from childminder/nursery etc. So easy to walk away back to Mummy and Daddy and refuse to discuss the situation.

Don't engage with him or his family because they clearly won't listen, but do everything you can to support your daughter to rebuild her self-confidence, and give the children love , stability and security, not selfishness masked by treats.

I don't know if it is possible, but if I were your daughter I would attempt to put an embargo on the in-laws plastering Facebook with photographs of the children.

maryhoffman37 Mon 13-May-19 10:10:05

I'm very sorry for your daughter and for you because of the strain on your health and spirits. I would not attempt any contact with the in-laws; just support your daughter as best you can. And do spare some time for yourself. It won't help your daughter if you collapse so try to find a balance. Good luck!

Winifred12 Mon 13-May-19 10:18:25

I feel sorry for you as a mother and grandmother your children will always be yours no matter what age they are. I have seen my family go through this several times and from experience just make sure you support your daughter and grandchildren and do not give any reason for the in-laws to argue with you just do your best for you and daughter and grandchildren

JulieMM Mon 13-May-19 10:21:02

The little ones would probably have had the expensive holidays whether their parents were together or not! I wonder how often they were placed in the crèche. The greatest gift you can give anyone is your time which is what you are giving the children and their mum. We will always be mums, always. Dads seem able to physically and emotionally flit in and out of their roles don’t they? And where has this dad gone? To HIS mum!
I agree that you shouldn’t interfere on your daughter’s behalf even though it’s your instinct as a mum to do so. You can’t “unsay” things so best left. All the best.

Craftycat Mon 13-May-19 10:21:16

How come they get the children every weekend! That is hardly fair.So she gets the hard slog of the week -getting them to school etc. & he gets all the fun bits.
I would suggest she asks for some Mediation sessions.
My son & his lovely wife did this & they sorted out a proper routine so they could both have fun times with the children. It works really well & they now do alternate weekends & sometimes all go out together- that took time.
They get on really well now although will never get back together but the children never have to see or hear Mum & Dad arguing or even disagreeing. They have never bothered getting divorced.It does take some work & families need to keep out of it!
CAB should be able to put her in touch with a Mediation counsellor.

Jaycee5 Mon 13-May-19 10:26:50

It sounds as if you are dealing with it in exactly the right way. Helping with the practical difficulties, listening and being there. It doesn't help people with depression to have people trying to fix it and suggestions can just feel like additional pressure. Accept that you cannot do that but knowing that you are there will be a big help for her and the children. The in laws are being unkind and she needs someone unequivocally in her corner when she needs to offload about them (although it is more tricky with the children as their relationship with them has to continue). There is nothing to be gained by your speaking to them but it might help her if you attend appointments with her even if you only sit in the waiting room.
I agree about the access. It is not reasonable for them to spend every weekend with the children and that needs to be formalised as quickly as possible. She might feel better once she starts to take some control and has a lawyer on her side as well as yourself. It does not sound like a situation where trying to agree these things amicably is likely to work. She could try writing out a schedule that suits her and sending it to him but it sounds as if it would just be something that would be used against her. Also, it does not always work to start out reasonable as that would then be taken as a point to negotiate from.
Play it by ear as things progress but don't expect too much of yourself. We are none of us miracle workers and pain can't be wished or organised away.

Jaffacake2 Mon 13-May-19 10:28:26

Thank you all for your kind comments and advice. It's funny that when you see it in front you realise things ie why have I not befriended them on Facebook so I don't get upset with photos ?! Done that now so don't have to see expensive treats for grandkids.
Had overlooked my needs which is why health has dipped ,so will be kinder to myself .
Although a sad first post this has been a supportive start to gransnet, hearing from people who have been through similar situations and their insight is helping me to have a better perspective on situation.

jaylucy Mon 13-May-19 10:29:31

Having been in a similar situation when my own son was 10 months old (turned out a couple of weeks down the line that my ex was seeing a co worker ) I was lucky that my in laws were very supportive at the time, but nevertheless it is a very isolating time.
At the moment, forget about the in laws. They have obviously been told a story by their son who either believes what he says or made up the story to make himself look good! Don't look at or contact them on FB at all. Try not to make what they do with the grandchildren into a competition - they would most probably treat them the same if the marriage was still intact or not!
Your daughter is at the moment grieving for what she thought she had. Encourage her to go out to any local toddler/Mums' and Tots groups and she will no doubt find she is not alone.
Your SiL should be supporting the children financially - doesn't matter if he has them once a week, once a month, once a year make sure that your daughter claims whatever benefits she is entitled to while she is job hunting, including council tax benefit - in my experience, most benefit advisers have been helpful and you can apply for most things online.
If she feels her skills are not up to date, there are quite a few online courses available which are free or part time courses at a local college. If nothing else, it will boost her self confidence that she is not as stupid as she is probably feeling at the moment and will also possibly be a way of her meeting new people. There are not many part time jobs available at the moment unfortunately so contacting an employment agency may be helpful.

nipsmum Mon 13-May-19 10:30:14

I'm so sorry you and your family are having to go through this. As others have said stop looking at their posts on Facebook, it doesn't help. Continue to give your daughter all the help you can. Remember there is light at the end of the rainbow. Children grow up so quickly and they will decide for themselves who they want and who they love.

chattykathy Mon 13-May-19 10:36:19

I totally agree with eazybee and Craftycat he shouldn't be having the children every weekend. Your daughter needs time to relax and enjoy her children and he needs to take more responsibility. Have a lovely holiday

Chloejo Mon 13-May-19 10:37:00

Helping out with children and gen chores. She will be glad of that don't get involved with in-laws we don't waste of time no help given at all with grandchild. Suffers depression her loss grandchild doesn't even like her. Help daughter with child support forms and make sure she is getting any money go on entitled to.or for help. Holiday away from stress will be good for everyone she will get through it years later we have happy grandchild doing well at school although it's been hard work life does get better .

Lorelei Mon 13-May-19 10:42:06

Jaffacake2, first of all, welcome to Gransnet where you will hopefully find some support and inspiration. Second, kids tend to remember the fun times not who spent a ton of money on them so enjoy your break and have lots of fun together (with lots of photos if you want to take them). It's nice that you are supporting your daughter but please look after your own health too and don't take on too much. I have to shoot to the dentist but didn't want to read you post and run, as such. I hope things work out for you, your daughter, and your grandkids/ Best wishes.

dizzygran Mon 13-May-19 10:56:48

Story as old as time. Little boy hasn't grown up and runs back to mummy - who welcomes him with open arms.

YOUR DAUGHTER is lucky to have your support. I would not contact the in laws The situation sounds quite new so some time is needed. is there any help available to
your daughter for her depression. Any groups around for single mums to support each other. Try and do things with your daughter and the children. They need to see that they can have fun with you. local parks and leisure centres often have events.

Encourage your daughter to keep in touch with friends

Difficult but try not to discuss the situation in front of the children. Its surprising how much young children pick up on.

Give your daughter good wishes - Remind her she is stronger than she realises.

You are doing a good job. Try to talk to someone for your own anxiety.

Sussexborn Mon 13-May-19 11:02:36

Hard to stay on the side lines when your family is going through such turmoil but absolutely vital. Words can’t be taken back and so easy to say/type something that is misconstrued unintentionally or possibly intentionally. I would block any relevant individuals on Facebook. Sometimes it is deliberately used as a weapon to undermine others.

It sounds as if this man is the product of his rather destructive and unkind parents. Perhaps you can do some groundwork on possible mediation/separation particularly sorting out fairer access so that the information is to hand when it’s needed. If they don’t cooperate it will reflect badly on them further down the line.

“ Loadsamoney” isn’t likely to influence such young children but love and security will shape their future development. My SM used to send postcards, comics and even things she cut out of magazines that she thought might interest them.