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OT: Bad Grandparents/Parents

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Now I wouldn't say my parents are bad people. They weren't the best parents but as they aged they improved.
My parents never visit their grandkids. I am on kid 4 and they have come to visit three times in 6 years. Never for more then a day and they live 7 hours away. I have always been the one to visit. And they live in a horrible dirty town and I hate going there because my kids always get ill from the crappy water. So it has been almost exactly one year since I last saw them. I made a decision last winter that I would not go visit them one more time because the relationship seemed so one sided. Me dragging toddlers 400 miles vs them either flying or driving. I have offered to pay for their expenses and always get the "well see what we can do", blow off. I am at the point of just writing them off entirely. I used to talk on the phone with my Mom all the time. Now I am lucky to get an email on occasion.
My parents would only make contact it seemed when they needed something. Usually regarding money. I got sick of it because they didn't really need the money they just didn't want to cut into their lifestyles so they could pay their bills. They went from having plenty of money to having no money because the spent it all on some multi level Quixtar/Amway BS. In fact their multi level marketing scam was a huge problem and they would spend all their cash going to a multilevel marketing seminar and have no time for family. When my first was born they stopped by for an hour after a seminar and that was that. My poor older brother they have NEVER visited him at his home. They expect everyone to come to them. I am just so done trying to maintain a one sided relationship...so thanks for letting me vent and I hope someone can relate.
post #2 of 9
Oh mama, this sounds like such an awful & upsetting. I'm so sorry that this is the familial relationship you have with your parents. I hope that you are able to find some peace within the struggle.
post #3 of 9
My husband's parents live here in the same town we do. We see his dad often, he comes by a lot to say hi. But we'll go months without seeing his mom. I used to make an effort to invite them over, etc, but she just didn't seem into it. She never made us a meal when we had a baby. Then her daughter had a baby last summer, she made them several meals and babysits all the time. My husband's talked to her but gets nowhere...he always says it sounds like it's not personal. When we told her about the last two pregnancies she responded totally rudely, but she has no room to talk as she had five kids too!! ugh. It's so disappointing to not have grandparents for your kids that they deserve to have. I just sort of gave up expecting anything from them and it's been easier.
post #4 of 9
Hugs, totally disappointing. Your parents must be my inlaws! Frustrating, but it's good that you seem to be able to move on, hard as that may be. I hope they see the light one day so to speak!
post #5 of 9
post #6 of 9
post #7 of 9
Sorry! I feel like I could have written that post! I can relate completely. I am fairly close to my parents, or at least I think I am and so do they, but maybe not!

My similar vent: I have lived in California for 14 years, not once did they visit until I was pregnant with my DD and I told my mom she HAD to come to my shower. I think she would have, but still, I made it very clear. So that was after being here in CA for 8 years w/me visiting them 2x a year. I lived in L.A. before this and they refused to visit. They live about 8 hours away in Oregon, and hate CA. I don't blame them in some ways, they used to live here as kids, but still!!!!! They never knew what my life was like, where I lived, never had any intention of visiting. My dad has come down once for my 30th b-day (I had already been living here since I was about 19) and my mom came for the shower and when my dd was supposed to be born (failed induction) but that's it. IT's frustrating, I know! I feel like they use CA as an excuse not to visit. I have lived in 4 different places and they have seen one. To me it's not just about the kids, it's about wanting to get a glimpse of your daughter and family's life. KWIM?

I do go up there with the kids and dh if he can get time off, at least once a year, but the last time I went was only for my sister's wedding and I had basically decided not to go up again until they visit. so it was almost 2 years! My mom is coming down for baby, but I still wish they wanted to come down more. They also forgot the kids' birthdays, who are a week apart, so that didn't make me want to visit any more!

I also don't talk to my mom much on the phone anymore, since she became a career woman. Our typical phone call is about 3 minutes, if it hits 10 I am amazed. She always has some stupid excuse to get off the phone (CSI is on, Making dinner, going into a store...it's all bs though.) It's frustrating and hurtful, but I try not to dwell on it and just deal with what I do get from them. I used to get so upset, but it's been years and I just try to be thankful that we have some connection. My sister lives 10 miles from them and gets the same treatment so I am actually happy to be far away sometimes!

On the positive side, my sister does come visit us w/her kids at least once a year and that's probably more fun anyway!

I don't really like this saying, but I guess I just think "it is what it is" and deal with it. At first I used to swell on it and get so mad, but now I just think that I will go visit when I feel like it and not before. If they really want to see us they can come down here! sometimes it's just easier to let it go.

sorry you are dealing with this, it's not fun. We have expectations of our parents, especially as grandparents and it's hard to let go of that. I wish I had some advice, but instead I am just venting alongside you.
post #8 of 9
I feel like this thread is for me as well.

My dad and his wife have been totally absent from their grandkids (well just my sis and my kids, they're totally doting w/ her grandkids, grrr!) and our lives for years. They are very negative and toxic, and I walk away feeling bad from every interaction with them. So to protect myself and family, I've effectively been "divorced" from them. My dad doesn't even know I'm pregnant unless he's found out from someone else

My mom has lived half a continent away since I was 17. She loves the g-kids but how involved can you be from that distance? She's flying out around my due date to meet the three new babies in the family. Mom's real supportive, just not real present. I am really proud of how she raised me to be strong and independent. Not the most nurturing, but she never ever made me feel like "I couldn't".

So that leaves dp's parents. Whew! Well, his dad is all right. He is a long-term "functioning" alcoholic, but he's pretty good if you catch him at the right time. He does okay for short-term grandpa stuff, like going to a movie with dd. No overnights, tho, or long-term babysitting available there. He doesn't ever drink around dd or us, but he has to time it right so that he's not all shaky. Sad.

Dp's mom is the one that scares me She is super-controlling and invasive. I had a lot of "like" for her when we first started out, but over the years and several interactions (involving boundaries) I have lost a lot of respect for her and now pretty much want to stay as far aways as possible.

Dp and I both cringe when we think about her holding the little one. He has shared a lot of early memories about her forcing her will on him and her brother and trying to "break" them. She basically raised them with shackles around their legs and it has been really hard for both to figure out how to stand on their feet. Real co-dependent, never want the baby to grow up coz I NEED to be NEEDED.

You know the continuum concept? Think the opposite in pretty much every way. She used to take dd for a weekend or so, but her passive-aggressive stuff has gotten worse, and we're just not comfortable with that anymore. Plus she manipulates and wheedles dd to dig info on us instead of just asking us to our faces.

If she gets wind that we're in labor, she will come pounding the door down, invited or not. It will be ugly. DP wants some time for just the four of us to adjust and bond, like a few days without a ton of visitors. She has been real up in our biz after the surgery I had, so we know we can't rely on her to intuit that we will need space.

He doesn't want her to be a big person in his baby's life. Right now our plan is to wrap the baby to our bodies when she's around and not let go, or I'll take the baby in the other room "to nurse" (even tho I don't give a ratzazz who's around when I nurse and she'll most likely just follow me into my bedroom anyways). I hate the way she interacts with people, she can't NOT be coercive and needly and passive-aggressive, and I can't stand thinking about her being that way toward our perfect brand new infant.

Any ideas on how to handle this woman?
post #9 of 9
Hugs to all you mamas.
I can relate to some of this. Both DH and I have strained/non-existent relationships with our dads- it's hard to think that our kids won't really have grandpas. We are lucky to have moms who make an effort, but we both find it hard to connect over long distances and long spaces of time apart as well as getting past painful family histories and memories.

During this pregnancy we've talked a bit about how we hope to be better and different as parents than ours were and how we've got a good shot at it because our love is so strong and we've got our sh*t much more *together* than our parents ever did in terms of emotional health. I think you mamas can take comfort in the fact your relationship with your little ones will never be like the one with your parents.
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