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.
Do you have a custody agreement in place? Does it say anything about visitation? Make your rules and stick with them. Don't apologize, don't explain, don't cave. If you are a broken record they will eventually get the hint.
Similarly to what the PP said. You can set the boundaries by first thinking about what *you want*, not what they want. Do you even want these grandparents in your/your DD life? There is no obligation. It sounds like your plan of once a month visits at a neutral location is a good one and very generous.
The best way to set boundaries is stay unemotional, stick with what you are offering and agree to nothing else. “No thank you, this is what I can do. We will be at 123 main street on Tuesday at 4:00.” Her choice to meet you there.
You do not need to share any personal details of your life with her. You can disconnect the call if she is disrespecting you.
If the boundary pushing gets exceeding stepped on by disrespectful behaviour, you can decrease what you are willing to offer by making the visits only quarterly. This might get her attention.
It is their choice to give you money and they may stop if they chose. You should not feel that it is a down payment on time with your DD. It is not.
I would not worry about a custody situation. You are probably correct that your ex would not be able to set that in motion. And his parents have no legal rights here.
Good luck and be strong!
I agree with everyone above. You do not HAVE to let them see her. My kids do not see their grandparents on my husband's side ever. They're toxic and we are all better off without that drama. If you want to allow them to see her, make very clear rules and be sure to follow through on them. Good luck with it all, it sounds really stressful.
Stephenie, Wife to Nick 9/3/05 Mama to Keagan 4/12/07, Eden 3/29/09 Someone new coming in July and two angels 6/06 and 10/10. Check out my blog!
NewNaturalMom, I do not have any custody agreement in place. Said person is not even on the birth certificate. thank you for your sound advice.
Rihanna, I DON'T want these people in my life or my kids' lives. I've always felt this way but didn't feel I had the right or good enough reason to exclude them. I have simply wished that they would magically go away. I didn't want to do the wrong thing. I watched someone close to me go through a terrible custody battle so I learned a lot about what it takes to get custody, what it takes to lose custody.... It takes serious physical or sexual abuse to lose any visitations, with proof, so I guess I've been treating this situation from a legal standpoint, not from my own wishes. Even though what you say in terms of boundaries sounds right, it's still SO hard to feel like I am still an OK person if I turn someone else away. I guess it's so ingrained in me...not to displease anyone... not to do anyone wrong.... not to give someone reason to criticize me. But thank you for your supportive and wise words. I've been thinking about what you and NewNaturalMom said for the past couple days, even though you say what I want and need to hear, I still worry about what I'm doing. Surprisingly it's still hard to believe I have a right to say no to them being in our lives at all. A close family member told me I needed to "be the bigger person" ( play nice, accommodate them) even though they, and everyone, agree that these people aren't healthy for the children and shouldn't be in their lives. I thought I was already being the bigger person ! When I was straightforward, unemotional, and holding my boundaries, the grandmother saw that as an "attitude". Almost all of my family are passive and submissive, and play nice. I've come a long way, but I often feel like a beast when I exert boundaries someone else doesn't agree with. It's as though what I'm standing up for is foreign to them and I simply end up looking like an *ss when I get frustrated.
Stephenie, thank you for the support. It IS so stressful. I don't want them involved, but not sure where to go from here. It is good to hear that I have a choice....but I'm still working on believing that.
My intuition right now tells me to withdraw from the situation until I decide what my next move will be. Or non-move, perhaps. But this could change any day. I am paranoid everyday that they're going to show up at my house. I don't know what I'll do. My son would probably be eager to invite them in, and I have no idea how to handle it. And as you can already see, this lady is pushy, pushy. What would you recommend?
I have a boundaries book on hold at the library as well.
Thanks again, mamas. :) So glad to have non-biased opinions and support. You are helping me so much.
So from your brief description of your Ex and his parents, it seems like they have a very co-dependant relationship. The parents are used to being in charge of their son’s life and calling all the shots. They see him as an incapable person who they can attempt to control. This could be how they perceive of “giving love”, which is not healthy.
Unfortunately, they will assume this position with you as well. See you as incapable, as needing their unquestioned guidance and constant management. I think you’ve seen it already. You DO need to be the bigger person and step outside your comfort zone, and protect your family. I am learning the boundary, assertiveness and saying no dance myself right now. I know how hard it is. Great job on tracking down a book on boundaries – I am reading them too at the moment!
Even if you wanted to offer some visitation to your Ex because he is your DD’s father – that is generous. You do not have any legal or moral obligation to extend this to any of his relatives. You should only consider this if you have a good, trusting and mutually appreciative relationship with them. Only if they are *enhancing* DD’s life, not making it difficult.
And they are not enhancing it. You can see the trainwreck coming and all your intuition is telling you get off the tracks. So I would stop all contact with them immediately. And do not accept anymore cash, as that often complicates things helping us feel more indebted (which is a tough spot for us learning to say no types).
As for halting the relationship…. Tell your son that you need to answer the door from now on. You can either be proactive and write them a letter or wait for them to call/come by. In either case it might not detour them and you may need to follow up with reaffirming the boundary.
I guess you need to say something like that you are building your own life with your daughter as a new family. You appreciate the financial gifts they have given but they are no longer needed. You are no longer interested in continuing contact with them. Please do not call, email, send letters or visit you or your family. Please respect your privacy.
I would not bring up their son. They do not need to know any details on what you have worked out with him. None of their business. Just say your relationship with him is separate and you do not wish to discuss.
You might want to visit the Single Parents forum for more specific advice on this topic. I have no been a situation like yours – but I bet someone else has BTDT.
Good luck and hang in there!
Your situation is similar to my own, only magnified 100x. My ex is fairly passive, always the victim, and his mother would arrange visitation and later, after he moved, he would only call DD while she was at his mother's house. I had enough and finally "black-holed" the mother, after dealing with fears about her other children and visitation. I blocked her phone number (very easy to do on a cell phone). When she showed up at my house, I explained that I wasn't interested in continuing a relationship with her or fostering a relationship between DD and her. It turned into me telling her that if she came back, it would be considered trespassing. (None of this went nearly as nicely as it sounds.) After doing this, I feel so much peace. Honestly I do. Ex never called after I kicked his mother out, and it has been blissful.
You don't owe these people anything! Who cares where the money came from? They could just be saying that to intimidate you into thinking that you owe them these visits. They're not healthy people, and IME women are ingrained to be kind, and generous, and accommodating. Screw that! They sound toxic and crazy and if I were you I would tell them where to shove their money and then send them a cease and desist letter.
Rihanna, you've given me a lot to consider. Your perceptions and insight have made me realize my eyes weren't fully open. Their relationship is definitely co-dependent. I honestly didn't see it coming that they were only trying to "get in" to my life so that they would be overly involved and perhaps controlling. But you're right. I've been downplaying the fact that the ex was abusive to me, I've tried to just be nice and satisfy their wishes to see dd, and I'm really kicking myself now. I should've been more careful. You're right, it's a trainwreck. Whether or not they are enhancing it - that made me think. I do believe they have tried, in their own way. They show dd love and interest, and my ds as well. The grandfather hasn't done anything wrong, per se, other than possibly that they've been paying some or most of the child support and sending it themselves, so that I would allow visitations in the first place. It's always been in their name so I never know *who* the money actually came from, but the ex claims it's all come from him. The grandparents have said otherwise. I agree that them or anyone paying child support does not equal visitations. I agree with you and MariesMama that I should not accept anymore monies. Definitely not if it's sent by the grandparents... I'm still trying to figure out what to do about the ex. But anyway, I don't know if they're enhancing their lives. They show love... they bring gifts every time they see them.... but my stomach just turns about it all. I don't quite have all the proof that these people are bad, but my gut feelings tell me they are.
They DID show up at my house, before you had written me back. I was cooking dinner at the time, and dp answered the door and told them it was not a good time to come over. The grandmother was waiting in the car, the grandfather was the one who came to the door and he gave dp a check for child support. We are not going to cash it. The grandfather had now said a couple times, "I just don't understand" as to why I'm not freely offering up visits. It is to my understanding that they have gone back to their homestate. But as they've bought a new house out here, I'm sure they'll be back eventually and so will the ex.
I have not talked to them at all, but am in the process of constructing a letter to them. Trying to figure out what to say, what not say. What will be most effective, etc. I like what you said about us starting our new family and needing privacy for that. Also that their money is no longer needed or wanted. Having a hard time telling them to get out of our lives for good. I feel bad about it. I also don't want to trigger anyone taking legal actions. Odds are they won't, but if I deny all access they might. My worst fear is my dd having to be without me, against her will, at this age, for even a day. I don't want to make any mistakes here. These people (grandparents and ex) are too incompetent to gain unsupervised visitations, plus they'd have to pursue paternity tests to prove anything... but I still fear the courts would do something crazy. It happens.
I am going to block my phone of their numbers soon. Also am moving within the next few months and I won't have to worry about them showing up at my doorstep then. Unless they find me.
Listening to the "boundaries" audiobook and it's helping me tremendously. I'm learning SO much.
Anyway, thank you for taking the time to write me, Rihanna, you have been such a big help to me. :) I wish you luck in your boundaries as well. :D
MariesMama, thanks for the hug :) Your spirit is contagious. Your gutsy-ness is awesome. You sound so strong. I believe you when you say you have peace. I wish I had peace too. I wish I could get these people far away and never have to watch my back or worry that something is going to come back and bite me. Once I figure out and state my boundaries, I'm prepared to back them up, with legal action if need be.
Bless you Mamas
The whole grandparent drama is so stressful- because hey have spent their entire lives perfecting their B.S. Honestly! Reading your post has exhausted me and I'm not even there! I think you are on the right track, and now that you know better you will do better :) I think you are really headed in the right direction and wanted to give you a big applause and hug for being so strong! Grandparents can be so manipulative and these GP's have perfected it- OY!
I think that a letter letting them know where they stand with you is great- but I wouldn't tell them personal details. I would stick to your guns of setting boundaries with them and providing stability for your children. You have to remember that a letter can be taken out of context and used against you if you DO head to court- just keep that in mind when you write your letter. I wish you nothing but the best! Stay strong Mama!
Married to Michael and Mother of Jake 9, Jillianne 7, Jensen 5, Jacen 4. I've got severe osteoporosis, a fractured hip and chronic pain-so please be patient with me! Pagan,Crocheter,Reader,Homeschooler- that's me in a nutshell.
The whole grandparent drama is so stressful- because hey have spent their entire lives perfecting their B.S.
Very funny. And so true.
Thanks for your support yarngoddess. It really does help. I will heed your advice and am trying to leave out personal details. But that's tricky since I want this to be most effective... if I just say "go away" without sound explanation, they could use that against me too. So I want to convince them that this is the right thing to do, and still come across with a kind heart, and not seem irrational, but yet scare them away at the same time. Since I have so many incriminating things to say about them though, I think if I drop in a few of those, they wouldn't dare use the letter as any sort of evidence in the future.
Desert Rose....one other thing. You are telling GRANDPARENTS that they are having limited access to DD- NOT her bio dad. There is a big difference here. You are not denying HIS access to visits, but to his parents and you are under NO FREAKING OBLIGATION to give them visits. They are not parents to DD, and they don't have the same rights that biological parents have to children.
Leave your guilt at the door- they are not the ones that made DD, and therefore have no rights TO her. Stick to your guns- and be clear and concise with what you need them to understand. You are very much in my thoughts!
Married to Michael and Mother of Jake 9, Jillianne 7, Jensen 5, Jacen 4. I've got severe osteoporosis, a fractured hip and chronic pain-so please be patient with me! Pagan,Crocheter,Reader,Homeschooler- that's me in a nutshell.
you are making this a lot harder than it is, mainly by giving a crap what someone else thinks of you. Once you let go of caring what they think, doing what is best for your child is going to be so much easier for you.
but everything has pros and cons
one other thing. You are telling GRANDPARENTS that they are having limited access to DD- NOT her bio dad. There is a big difference here. You are not denying HIS access to visits, but to his parents and you are under NO FREAKING OBLIGATION to give them visits. They are not parents to DD, and they don't have the same rights that biological parents have to children.
Important point to make. It is true I tend to blur the three of them together. They've been mediators in this thing in a way, they are the reason he will be able to live out here, they are the ones who have contacted me, they are the ones who sent child support. So, let me clarify my fears here - If I deny the grandparents visits, the only way they are going to get visits is to help their son get some sort of custody rights. I do not want the system to have any say-so in my personal life if I can help it. Whether or not I give the ex visitations or not will not have any bearing on this type of a turn-out if the grandparents, specifically the grandmother, want to see dd bad enough. And she does. Believe me when I say that this is the only thing she's got to grab onto- she's a miserable person who's grown middle-aged children and near adult grandchildren are all dependent on her and her husband, they are all (children and 2 of grandchildren) involved in illegal activities of some sort and 2 of their children and one of the teenage grandchildren have extensive criminal backgrounds. They are basically taking care of all of them and I think they want to escape from all these miserable situations, and live out here near me where they thought they could suck up all the bright light me and my babies emit. I am in pursuit of a a very healthy happy existence here and maintain positive energy at all costs. I'm sure they felt that when they were here.
The ex, would he pursue custody? I don't know. On one hand, which may be the schizophrenia talking, he is deeply afraid and suspicious of all authorities and avoids being a part of the system in any way shape or form ( he doesn't even have his name tied to the property he lives on, and doesn't have mail service by choice, never paid taxes, only ever worked under the table, and will not have a bank account. His parents have property and utilities in their names and pay it all for him. And his listed address is THEIR address even though he doesn't technically live with them). Where he lives is very hard to get to, I wouldn't even remember how to get to it. Some roads don't even have signs. Of course, I'm talking about where he currently lives in another state, not the new house they just bought out here.
Odds may be that nobody will pursue anything but I am surely terrified. All it takes is them not getting what they want, and they'll do whatever it takes to get it. All of them are that way. So, #1, I'm afraid of what they will do in response to my written statement. And #2 I'm genuinely afraid of hurting them and I'm worried I'm not doing the right thing.
So, Lindaonthemove, although I think there's some sense to your comment, I don't believe I'm caring what they think OF me (although I am uncomfortable spending time with people who don't respect me, and I guess it's true that I always want to do the "right" thing ), I'm caring how they feel (I'm ridiculously empathetic and have always cared more about others feelings than my own) and if what I'm doing is truly the right thing. I know that they will feel deeply hurt if I cut them out of our lives. If it were clear in my mind that these people weren't even good enough for visitations, believe me I wouldn't allow them. It's just not clear up in this head~o~mine.
I was under the impression that grandparents are supposed to be positive and necessary elements to a child's life and that excluding them was detrimental. It's hard for me to deny people when they want something SO badly. And it's hard for me to deny the grandparents of visits when they haven't done anything TERRIBLY wrong. It's true, I don't want them in our lives. But that is so much easier said than done. I have never in my life made a decision that wasn't in consideration of other people. It seems clear to everyone else on here that these people are detrimental to our lives, but I don't have the proof there in my hands. I look around the house and the kids play are playing with some of the toys the grandparents got them, and I feel torn about what I'm doing. They were always loving towards both my children, though sometimes over needy of their affection, and sometimes complete idiots- like thinking a 2 year old can go out front of a house by herself, but I question if I'm out of my mind. Because we all have our faults. Where do you draw the line?
Also, I think, if I exclude them, how can I give the ex visits, because he's no better than them. ?
I've written 3 rough draft letters, even have one sitting in a stamped envelope and I haven't been able to send it. I just don't know what to do.
Once again, I'm simply afraid of what they'll do, what will happen in our lives, if I tell them "no more". Will I forever regret this decision if it ends up in a custody battle where dd is forced to be with other people who cannot take good care of her.... would it be best if I just avoid them and disappear? I'm afraid of doing anything.
Thanks for listening. Thanks for keeping me in your thoughts.
My kids have never had grandparents. My DH's parents have both passed away, and my parents are crazy and abusive. My kids are reasonably mentally healthy (far more so than I was at their ages!) in spite of the fact that the universe didn't give them an decent, living grandparents.
Grandparents aren't necessary. Not all grandparents are positive.
If you were considering cutting them out because they let your kid watch TV and cheetos, I wouldn't be saying the same thing. But the situation you describe is very disfunctional.
Is your child's father official dx'ed with sschizophrenia? I'm wondering if your fear of him getting more parental rights is valid or not. I really don't know much about these things. May be posting specific questions on the the single mom forum or step/blended family forum could get you feed back from some moms who've been through the whole court thing. I think it's possible that you are making choices based on a fear that isn't valid.
Right now, I think you are more concerned with how OTHERS feel than how YOU feel. Start with yourself.
but everything has pros and cons
You are right that I'm caring more about how others feel than myself. And I do appreciate your feedback because it's hard for me to put all this in perspective.
He was officially diagnosed schizophrenic at 18 and in a hospital for 1-2 years at that time. After that, he got off his medication and as far as I know got no further counseling or treatment. He's in his mid to late 40s now. He claimed to me that it was drug induced, and that he recovered.
What a tough situation :(. I would be telling you to set serious boundaries with grandparents and stick to them, but I understand your concern about them helping their son legally to get visitation of your daughter. It sounds fairly unlikely that they would be able to help him and also unlikely that he'd even be interested. Can you talk to a lawyer? I have also seen some pretty shocking custody arrangements and understand the fear of opening a can of worms with that if grandparents aren't happy.
Aside from that, these grandparents are being really ridiculous, and as a person who grew up not knowing certain grandparents, I'm of the opinion that a child really doesn't miss out by not having a relationship with a toxic grandparent. Their behavior with your daughter is unacceptable and I would document any/all things you see that concern you. They have a pretty bad track record with parenting their own children too. I think in your situation I would not answer my phone or door if they called or came over unannounced. If you feel you have to answer the door, I would say, "Now isn't a good time. I will give you a call." and shut the door. Then I would give them a call and tell them you'd love to meet them at the park or wherever at such and such time. I would try to be firm but pleasant. Again...I say all of that only because I would be slightly nervous about them helping dad take you to court for visitation or custody. If I was reasonably sure that wouldn't happen, I'd probably cut them out entirely. I see no real benefit for your daughter. Good luck!
I don't see how keeping these nut-jobs away from your DD will result in a custody battle?
Are you saying that they will make their son file for custody?
If that is the case, you should see a lawyer to allay your fears or tell you what actions to take to protect yourself. I would do that before you send the letters etc. ... just stall them until you have good legal counsel.
There is no way I would let people like this near my child.
I don't know how someone who has no address, no pay stubs, a history of mental illness ... would get more than a supervised visit.
I feel for you ... I am glad you are standing up for your daughter and you ... I do also recommend going to the Single Parenting forum, perhaps ask to go the Private one if you are concerned that they might eventually follow you online ... and ask the mommas there for advice. There is a lot of experience in that forum.
Thanks APTM and Subhuti for your replies. I will consider a lawyer and will consider posting in the other forum.
You know, it's interesting, on most threads you find people disagreeing with each other to some extent, but everyone on this thread has been in agreement. It's pretty mindblowing for me - eye opening. It helps to hear that you all think the grandparents are toxic, that my kids don't NEED them in their lives to be happy and healthy (and I can speak from experience with that too, as someone who's grandparents were not a big part of my life at all), and that I'm allowed to meet my own needs. You all have been a blessing to me at this time and have helped shape my decisions, me, and my life....and my kids lives. From the bottom of my heart I thank you because without you I would not have known what to do.
That said, I FINALLY got my letter done and I sent it this morning. It ended up being only a few lines! I had an epiphany last night that I needed to still hold love in my heart, let the negativity go and not put my complaints or feelings or excuses in a letter. So, from a 2 page letter, down to 4 lines, I decided to state that I would not be offering visitations at this time, that I needed space and privacy for my family, that I wanted no contact, and that I would contact them if anything changed. It was very brief, no emotion, but done in a loving fashion, both loving them by not pointing fingers or putting in long winded explanations, and loving myself by stating my needs and boundaries. And it was not permanent, but it COULD be. I wanted to leave it open-ended because I really felt that it was not necessary to determine the future and I wanted to control the energy I was putting out there - no negativity, no hate, no judgment - so that I would not be inviting hostility. Sure, they will be upset, but I'm hoping it will be something they are able to own. But if not, I am willing to deal with what comes. I feel I absolutely HAD to make these decisions. There is simply no way I can be around either of them right now. Just no way.
So that's where it stands right now. I am nervous, but I don't feel terrified. I feel somewhat at peace and that I did the right thing. I will update if anything comes of it.
Thank you all again.
I think this is an excellent way to handle it. I love that you got to a place of love and no negativity. Doesn't it always come out better that way!!?
Also, the way you wrote it is so clear cut, there is no room for interpretation or discussion. And I love that it leaves it in your court if/when there will be a change.
Right on Momma for taking charge of your life!
That said, I FINALLY got my letter done and I sent it this morning. It ended up being only a few lines! I had an epiphany last night that I needed to still hold love in my heart, let the negativity go and not put my complaints or feelings or excuses in a letter. So, from a 2 page letter, down to 4 lines, I decided to state that I would not be offering visitations at this time, that I needed space and privacy for my family, that I wanted no contact, and that I would contact them if anything changed. It was very brief, no emotion, but done in a loving fashion, both loving them by not pointing fingers or putting in long winded explanations, and loving myself by stating my needs and boundaries.
That was a heck of an epiphany! Good for you!
but everything has pros and cons
Jeez louis! These people are bat sh*t !!! It sounds like the parents did this to their children. Your daughter's grandparents are so disfunctional, it's no wonder their kids turned out as crummy as they did. I'm so sorry you have to go through this. I JUST got out of a semi-abusive relationship, where the "blame" is on me that we aren't together, but I know he was controlling and mean to my daughter, and made me cry dan near everyday. I'm 5 months pregnant with his son, and I know it'll be hell as far as custody because his mom is pushy and he does exactly what she says. He really wanted this baby to be a boy, because he has two older girls.
BUT if I were you, I would get things set up in court so that there is a visitation plan. If they miss out on their visits that are outlined by the courts, then they have to wait until the next one that the court says is okay to visit. I would get a limited restraining order so they can't just come stalk on you. this whole thing sounds extremely disturbing and I hope you can get it resolved.
I learned THIS the hard hard HARD way! I stayed with my ex boyfriend as long as I did (almost 6 months) because I was afraid what others, especially his family/friends would think of me, and even what my family thought of me already for even being with him. As soon as I grew a backbone and started thinking of what was best for me and my kids, I got the HELL OUT and have ceased contact thus far.
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