Hi wise mamas :)
I would really appreciate your advice on an issue I'm having with my daughter's "grandparents". My daughter was conceived during a 2 month relationship that I, and others, believe was unhealthy and abusive and leading to greater abuse. I fled for safety. I live across the country from them. The father (a middle-aged man) sometimes sends money through his parents but the parents apparently have sent money in his place when he hasn't had any. It is a very meek amount of money, the bare minimum, but it helps... although I would rather not accept any money at all from him/them. The father and I are not in contact generally, but he has come to visit twice to visit my dd, in the last 2 years. The grandparents have visited as well. It is uncomfortable for me to spend time with any of them, because of the painful situation it is for me, but I have done what I felt I had to do in terms of allowing them time.
The grandparents, I didn't mind at first, but things got a bit strange when I was out there (in the short relationship). The grandmother, called my mother while I was out there, to let her know that a) her son is schizophrenic, b) has never been able to take care of himself, and c) they pay all of his bills. She was bitter about the fact that they were paying our utility bills. This was a shocker to me at the time, because I was under the understanding that that HE paid all his bills and had extra to spare, and also was under the belief that he was labelled schizophrenic 25 years earlier in his life, but that it was a drug-induced short-term incident and that he was not currently schizophrenic. My mother relayed all those things to me, and I confronted him. He flipped out, telling me it was all untrue, confronted his mother, and his mother, essentially lied and said that she never said any of these things to my mother, and that she never wanted to talk to my mother again (And it was nearly a year or two before she even spoke to my mother again). He and his mother, then faulted MY mother for the whole incident. My mother tried to be the bigger person, and keep the peace by apologizing to her about the whole situation. His mother then decided to unload her unsavory feelings of me, making up some story that proved I was an "ungrateful" person - which is funny because I am always polite, accept any gift or gesture with a "thank you", and I am certainly not demanding. I don't recall the story now, but it was most certainly untrue. Other critical things were said about me which I don't even recall now, but at the time I felt hurt and betrayed because I'd done nothing but be kind and considerate towards these people. But... unfortunately she was treating me the way she treated everybody. Highly critical and hateful towards anyone else. But she does no wrong. Any time she's cited for something she has said it "never happened". These type of incidents have continued to this day. She "never said" they paid his child support, but she did. She "never said" that I'd keep the baby away from them if they didn't give me money, but she did. They are also highly religious. Pentecostals, and it's a major part of their existence. Their middle-aged children, are all criminals of some sort, highly dysfunctional and they take care of all of them and their court costs, bail, etc. But who's to judge, right?
Anyway, I haven't known how to handle this situation, so I've just prayed that there would never be a fight for custody ( he's not mentally fit to even follow through with something like that ) and I've prayed that HE would only come out here once a year, if even. They've (the grandparents) made about 4 trips here in the past 3 months. Every time they've come I've given them generous time, and allowed them visits at my house as well as outside of the home. They've been trying to get a house in the next town over from me, and I've been hoping it would never happen. It seemed like fate was on my side for awhile, but eventually they got their way. They just bought a house (that they and the ex would live in at various times of the year), for the second time didn't let me know they were in town until they'd already been here a few days. I got a message on my phone one night, and they told me they'd gotten a house and were asking for my time the following day, hoping I would come out to the house.
I had plans, lots to do that day and the next and after talking with dp we decided we were going to set some boundaries on this situation. I've been feeling out the situation for awhile, not sure how to approach it, not sure where to draw the line. I'd given them so much of my time since they were initially only supposed to be here for a week. But now I felt desperate for some limitations (after 3 subsequent visits) so I could have some sort of sanctuary amidst this awful situation. I'd also been very upset from the last visit we had. The grandmother grabbed my dd by the back of her shirt and aggressively yanked her over to her to force a cuddle on her, while she thought I was not looking as I was in the other room. It may sound benign, but I did NOT like this, and it looked nearly violent. My daughter does not like to be touched or messed with by anyone other than me, dp, and my mother. She feels extremely unsafe with other people. They also made a comment while I was out of the room that they needed to watch what they said. AND, also, I want to mention that our dog, who has never been afraid of or disliked anyone, is absolutely SPOOKED to the nth degree by this woman. And I mean SPOOKED. Like there's something seriously bad about her. The dog won't come anywhere near her, cowers in the other room. I feel bad that I even let these people into our home because of how the dog was affected. It concerns me. And a time before this she pulled the religion card on me during a family outing - my parents were there too and were paying for the whole thing - and I put her in her place stating I'd never go to their church. They also made comments to my parents how the ex and I would've worked out if only the living conditions had been better. lol! I wrote them a long letter way back when stating why I left him which had nothing to do with the absolutely horrid unacceptable living conditions I had been in while living with him. And another time, she gave my dd a doll as a gift, but took the doll away when my daughter didn't express initial interest in it. She never gave the doll back and was bitter about it, speaking later that she'll never get her a girly gift again. My dd is only 2. She probably would've loved to play with later in the day.
Anyway, back to what I was saying, since they called at the very last minute I was not going to change my plans that I had. I had a bunch of things I needed to get done, appointments, classes, you name-it, and in the end, we decided to offer them a specific day, which was 3 days later than when they had wanted. We decided that dp was going to be there with me at any future visitations, we decided that all visitations would be conducted at a neutral location, not at either of our homes, and that we would only offer them maybe 1 or 2 visits a month, if they're going to be living out here, since our own families don't even see us this much! I didn't explain all this to her when I called her up, but I offered her the upcoming visit, and that wasn't enough for her. She then went on to manipulate her way into me changing my mind. She asked why I couldn't and I explained we were very busy but could get together that day I specified. She persisted and persisted round and round, trying to use guilt, even lying about when they needed to leave town again (saying they were going to leave on the day I offered her), to get me to let them come over this same day I was talking to her. I didn't back down and after 8 or so rounds of her pushing at me, and prodding ( she kept demanding that I tell her EXACTLY what I needed to do and WHY I couldn't give them time, and I refused to give her that information) and after she told me she didn't understand why I had "this attitude" with her, I ended the call abruptly because I was not going to continue this inappropriate conversation. She never told me she was willing to do the day I offered, so we assumed there was not going to be a visitation. The grandpa calls me 2 days later, not her of course, and acts like nothing has occurred and wants to know where I can meet them. I told them since they never agreed to meet me, that we assumed they weren't and that slot was now filled (absolutely true), and I didn't know when we could meet. This went into a full-on confrontation. I told him exactly how I felt about his wife, told him she needed to learn proper boundaries, that the way she spoke to me was unacceptable and I had had it. He denied any wrongdoing on her behalf, denied that she's ever spoken ill about anyone, and claimed that she was only opinionated - just like me and just like my mother, he said. I told him that if he wanted to meet me he should've given me more notice, and he gave me some b.s. excuse as to why they didn't have time to make a phone call (they have 2 days of driving, btw, plenty of time there). Oh, and he didn't believe me that I couldn't spare the time for them, since I am "unemployed" as he said. I have 2 children to care for, btw. He then claimed I was keeping them away from their grandchildren and how harmful that would be! I said, wait a minute, I offered you time with them and you didn't take it, how is that keeping them away from you?! Nothing was resolved, everything was refuted, no responsibility was shouldered by him, and he asked that I call him when we have time to meet with them hopefully this weekend. !!!
Did I mention they are both in their 70s and at least one of them (him) has early dementia?
Thank for reading this far. This situation has been so very painful for me and I haven't been sure of right from wrong. I have tried to deal with this with dignity and I have been so accommodating and kind up to this point, but I have had it. And I don't know if I've done the right thing. I don't know if I'm being petty, or if I'm perceiving this correctly. Did I have the right to ask for a couple days to myself? Am I making a bigger deal of this than it is? I am unsure of what to do. Please offer me and opinions or advice. Thank you so much. I know there are women here so much wiser about boundaries than I. I would love your perceptions. Thanks again.
Edited by desertrose - 6/22/11 at 8:31pm