Author Topic: When the baby comes, family that is completely uninterested (update pg. 6)  (Read 21834 times)

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Danika

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OP - how were you planning on getting in touch with your FIL to let him know about the baby before you knew that he would be out of the country? Were you going to call his cell phone? Call him at home? Text him? Email him?  Call him at work? Unless you were planning on knocking on his door at work, I'd suggest doing exactly that, only since he won't be there, just leave him a message.  If you were going to call him at home, then leave a message for your FIL, not your MIL - ie "Hi, Dad, this is OP's DH.  Just calling to let you know that the baby is here.  She/He is X pounds, and X inches.  Mom and baby are both doing well. Bye." 

You haven't cut off contact with your FIL.  Yes, he hurt you by not telling you that would be out of the country, but is he someone who normally shares?  I'm asking because it seems that whenever people post about about toxic mothers, the father is someone who is not approachable and quiet; someone who doesn't share and doesn't get involved.  If this is true now, then maybe that explains why he didn't get in touch with you.

I wish I could remember which book i read it in, but Dad's like that are described as the shadow parent.  Quiet, in the background, not toxic but not able to stand up to and stop the toxic parent's behavior.  They sacrifice their children for the sake of peace at home since they have to live with the toxic one.

Sacrificing your own children in order to stay with a toxic partner IS toxic.

POD

And I wouldn't allow someone into my home who ignored me like that. The first time, you were shocked and didn't know how to react. Now, you're prepared. Next time she shows up, you don't let her past the front door. If the people in DH's family don't respect you, you must respect yourself and tell your DH that you will not expose your DD to them anymore and you refuse to be in their company. If he wants to travel elsewhere to be abused himself, that's his business because he's an adult. You have to protect your DD.

Octavia

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Re: When the baby comes, family that is completely uninterested (update pg. 5)
« Reply #76 on: October 14, 2012, 05:01:32 PM »
Syrse - congratulations, but I'm also furious on your behalf! If you can't be safe from toxic people in your own home, then where can you go?!

Please don't ignore MIL's past behaviors and try to play nice going forward. Tell your DH to sit down with FIL and explain that MIL's behavior is beyond the pale. After throwing you out of her emotional roller coaster awhile back, she doesn't get to forcibly strap you into it for another wild ride. In your own home. With a new baby and wife recovering from childbirth. This ends now. Either MIL starts family counseling stat and shows significant progress in treating you and DH with respect, or she gets cut out for good.
"I never explain anything." ~Julie Andrews in Mary Poppins

blue2000

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Re: When the baby comes, family that is completely uninterested (update pg. 5)
« Reply #77 on: October 14, 2012, 05:24:29 PM »

So yeah... now what? Do we go, yet again, back to the 'lets pretend everything is fine' until the next time she cuts us off? Because honestly, I do NOT want to explain to a sad little girl why her grandmother suddenly does not want her to come over anymore. And my husband is coming to the end of his rope as well.

And then again, she's not my mom, so what exactly can I say about it?  :-\

Ouch. That brings back bad memories.

My oldest brother has had an on-again off-again relationship with my dad. They don't speak for years and then they talk for a few months, and then they are off again (there are faults on both sides for this).

Oldest Bro has a little girl. At one point (when she was just a toddler, I think?) Dad and Oldest Bro were fighting again and Dad had refused to acknowledge he even had a granddaughter. Oldest Bro looked at us with a sad face and said "How do I tell her that her grandfather doesn't want to see her? How do I explain that to her?"

I don't know what Oldest Bro has said to Niece, but I think that not seeing her grandfather has actually been a good thing for her. Instead of being someone who walked out of her life, he is a shadowy figure who was never in it. Similarly, keeping a polite distance from your MIL might be the best thing for your daughter. MIL will just be a sour-faced shadow in the background instead of a significant figure in her life.
You are only young once. After that you have to think up some other excuse.

JoyinVirginia

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Re: When the baby comes, family that is completely uninterested (update pg. 5)
« Reply #78 on: October 14, 2012, 05:44:35 PM »
Congrats to you OP and to your DH on the new baby!
You can choose to do several things. Let her in whenever she shows up with fil and ignore her. Have dh tell fil to just come visit without her. Refuse to let either of them come in if they stop by. Tell fil they can't come back until mil apologizes.
I would probably choose to treat mil as if she had some type of brain injury or mental illness and tolerate visits by essentially ignore her and not let her interact with baby. little girls love grandpas who idolize their granddaughters, so get dh to tell fill to come alone.

violinp

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OP - how were you planning on getting in touch with your FIL to let him know about the baby before you knew that he would be out of the country? Were you going to call his cell phone? Call him at home? Text him? Email him?  Call him at work? Unless you were planning on knocking on his door at work, I'd suggest doing exactly that, only since he won't be there, just leave him a message.  If you were going to call him at home, then leave a message for your FIL, not your MIL - ie "Hi, Dad, this is OP's DH.  Just calling to let you know that the baby is here.  She/He is X pounds, and X inches.  Mom and baby are both doing well. Bye." 

You haven't cut off contact with your FIL.  Yes, he hurt you by not telling you that would be out of the country, but is he someone who normally shares?  I'm asking because it seems that whenever people post about about toxic mothers, the father is someone who is not approachable and quiet; someone who doesn't share and doesn't get involved.  If this is true now, then maybe that explains why he didn't get in touch with you.

I wish I could remember which book i read it in, but Dad's like that are described as the shadow parent.  Quiet, in the background, not toxic but not able to stand up to and stop the toxic parent's behavior.  They sacrifice their children for the sake of peace at home since they have to live with the toxic one.

Sacrificing your own children in order to stay with a toxic partner IS toxic.

LeveeWoman, I do understand your point, but I don't think it's always that simple.

My paternal grandparents had a shotgun wedding, and my grandpa soon found out that his new wife was abusive, vindictive, and just plain mean. My dad's first memory was of being beaten around the house at the age of 2 for leaving one toy on the floor of his bedroom. However, if Grandpa had tried to divorce her (an act that would've made him a social pariah in his small town in the late 50's/early 60's), Grandma probably would've gotten majority, if not total, custody of Dad, and then it would've been even worse for Dad.

So, Grandpa stayed with his wife, and took his son on lots of trips and had him help out with his construction business, so it wouldn't be as bad for Dad. That's not to say Grandma never had an opportunity to abuse him - I could tell stories that would curl anyone's hair - but Grandpa tried as much as he could to protect his son.

My grandpa suffered two strokes and got Alzheimer's before I was ever able to know or understand all of that, so I was never able to ask him about that time, but I think that Grandpa loved his son very much and tried to keep him safe and happy. In a perfect world, Grandpa could've divorced Grandma and gotten sole custody of his son. However, we don't live in a perfect world, and sometimes people make what they think is the best decision from many bad options, and live with the consequences.
"It takes a great deal of courage to stand up to your enemies, but even more to stand up to your friends" - Harry Potter


CaffeineKatie

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Re: When the baby comes, family that is completely uninterested (update pg. 5)
« Reply #80 on: October 14, 2012, 06:17:36 PM »
First order of business--install a peephole in your door!  Just like the phone, just because someone rings the doorbell, it doesn't mean you have to answer it.  MIL shows up without a call and permission to come--don't answer the door.  It's also great for safety as well, if you feel you need to give someone an explanation, BTW.

Sophia

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...Because honestly, I do NOT want to explain to a sad little girl why her grandmother suddenly does not want her to come over anymore. ...

Let me tell you a story from my life.  You might see your MIL in the story.

One of my Grandmothers always treated me like a doll.  When I was 8, we moved 1000 miles away.  Around my 9th birthday, these Grandparents came down for a visit.  On the second day of their two week visit.  Dad and Grandpie were watching a movie.  I was in my room studying (during the school year).  Grandmother says to Mom "I want to play a game".  Mom says, "That sounds great.  The guys were watching a movie.  If they are ready to play a game, then I am too."  Grandmother walked into the living room and said, "I want to play a game!"  Dad said, "That sounds great.  There is 15 minutes left on the movie, and then we will be ready"  (This was pre-VCR)  Grandmother left to go harangue Mom.  Then she came in to the Living Room to say, "I want to play a game now!"  Dad said, "There is now 5 minutes left.  By the time everyone is gathered, and the game is set up, we will be there."  Grandmother threw a snit and said "We are leaving, right now!"  They got a taxi and ended up sleeping at the airport because there were no more flights that night.  Mom and Dad were left to explain to a crushed me why they were gone.  They also gave the highlights of some other things like that she/they boycotted their wedding.  I remember thinking as a child, "What kind of person am I that even my Grandmother doesn't love me?"

cicero

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...Because honestly, I do NOT want to explain to a sad little girl why her grandmother suddenly does not want her to come over anymore. ...

Let me tell you a story from my life.  You might see your MIL in the story.

One of my Grandmothers always treated me like a doll.  When I was 8, we moved 1000 miles away.  Around my 9th birthday, these Grandparents came down for a visit.  On the second day of their two week visit.  Dad and Grandpie were watching a movie.  I was in my room studying (during the school year).  Grandmother says to Mom "I want to play a game".  Mom says, "That sounds great.  The guys were watching a movie.  If they are ready to play a game, then I am too."  Grandmother walked into the living room and said, "I want to play a game!"  Dad said, "That sounds great.  There is 15 minutes left on the movie, and then we will be ready"  (This was pre-VCR)  Grandmother left to go harangue Mom.  Then she came in to the Living Room to say, "I want to play a game now!"  Dad said, "There is now 5 minutes left.  By the time everyone is gathered, and the game is set up, we will be there."  Grandmother threw a snit and said "We are leaving, right now!"  They got a taxi and ended up sleeping at the airport because there were no more flights that night.  Mom and Dad were left to explain to a crushed me why they were gone.  They also gave the highlights of some other things like that she/they boycotted their wedding. I remember thinking as a child, "What kind of person am I that even my Grandmother doesn't love me?"
oh my, hugs! and you gave me goosebumps! that is what my DS (26) said to me after our last visit to his bio-dad. he said "i spent my whole life wondering exactly what was so terrible about me that my own father doesn't love me. now i finally realized that it's not *me*. it's *him*".


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Twik

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Re: When the baby comes, family that is completely uninterested (update pg. 5)
« Reply #83 on: October 15, 2012, 10:43:14 AM »

I don't know what Oldest Bro has said to Niece, but I think that not seeing her grandfather has actually been a good thing for her. Instead of being someone who walked out of her life, he is a shadowy figure who was never in it. Similarly, keeping a polite distance from your MIL might be the best thing for your daughter. MIL will just be a sour-faced shadow in the background instead of a significant figure in her life.
I agree. Kids can quickly accept "GM or GP isn't around. Because that's how it is," much easier than here one day, gone the next. They don't think "GM or GP would be here if s/he really loved me." They just get it that GM/GP is "somewhere else".
My cousin's memoir of love and loneliness while raising a child with multiple disabilities will be out on Amazon soon! Know the Night, by Maria Mutch, has been called "full of hope, light, and companionship for surviving the small hours of the night."

bopper

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Re: When the baby comes, family that is completely uninterested (update pg. 5)
« Reply #84 on: October 15, 2012, 11:02:51 AM »

I don't know what Oldest Bro has said to Niece, but I think that not seeing her grandfather has actually been a good thing for her. Instead of being someone who walked out of her life, he is a shadowy figure who was never in it. Similarly, keeping a polite distance from your MIL might be the best thing for your daughter. MIL will just be a sour-faced shadow in the background instead of a significant figure in her life.
I agree. Kids can quickly accept "GM or GP isn't around. Because that's how it is," much easier than here one day, gone the next. They don't think "GM or GP would be here if s/he really loved me." They just get it that GM/GP is "somewhere else".

Exactly. There is no "norm" for grandparents (unlike, say, parents).

Seraphia

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Re: When the baby comes, family that is completely uninterested (update pg. 5)
« Reply #85 on: October 15, 2012, 11:16:42 AM »

I don't know what Oldest Bro has said to Niece, but I think that not seeing her grandfather has actually been a good thing for her. Instead of being someone who walked out of her life, he is a shadowy figure who was never in it. Similarly, keeping a polite distance from your MIL might be the best thing for your daughter. MIL will just be a sour-faced shadow in the background instead of a significant figure in her life.
I agree. Kids can quickly accept "GM or GP isn't around. Because that's how it is," much easier than here one day, gone the next. They don't think "GM or GP would be here if s/he really loved me." They just get it that GM/GP is "somewhere else".

This!

Both of my parents had fathers. But I only had one Grandpa. My dad's father abandoned his first family for alcohol, and I've never so much as seen a picture of him. I know that was really, really hard for my dad. But, as far as I was concerned, the man didn't exist, and I've lost absolutely nothing for it. I love my Grandpa with all my heart, and don't feel I've missed out by not having another one.

Better to have MiL as a non-entity than as a source of fear/worry/unhappiness for your baby girl. Also, congratulations on the new wee one!
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heartmug

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Re: When the baby comes, family that is completely uninterested (update pg. 5)
« Reply #86 on: October 15, 2012, 01:21:51 PM »
Congratulations on your baby girl!

I agree with the others who said have  long talk with your DH and find out his feelings on his parents and their behavior.  Go from there.
The trouble is not that the world is full of fools, it's just that lightening isn't distributed right.  - Mark Twain

Marbles

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Re: When the baby comes, family that is completely uninterested (update pg. 5)
« Reply #87 on: October 15, 2012, 05:13:44 PM »
Congratulations on your new baby!

I agree with the others that this is something that your DH ultimately needs to address with his parents, but I also think that you can ask that a start be made in saying that MIL is not to come into your home (or whatever boundary YOU need to make yourself comfortable in your home). You and your DH can be thinking about how or whether he or you choose to allow a relationship with his parents. Does he take Baby there? Does he meet with his parents but without either you or the baby? (I'm personally not in favor of allowing children to see their parents being treated disrespectfully.)

I was in a similar place with my father and SM when I was pregnant with my first. SM felt I was too disrespectful of her (she was *such* a hypocrite; it still galls me), so she encouraged my father not to contact me and he went along with it for four years. I sent him a letter letting him know that he was going to be a grandfather and it was the spur that reopened communication. They actually went as far as family counseling with us. After the first session with her, when it was clear that she was still a dreadfully unpleasant person, DH and I talked it over and decided that she would never be a part of our child's life. And that's what I told my father: she would never be a grandparent to my child. Period. End of story. He was welcome to come back into our lives, but she was not. Dad took it hard, but he had seen some of her shenanigans in counseling and it opened his eyes. So, when he came back from visiting his newborn grandson and she told him he wasn't allowed to see us any more, he told her to take a hike.

Now, my story has one of the better outcomes that come from discussions like these, but the discussion has to happen for change to happen. Sometimes it can spur dad to look at his wife's behavior in a new way and say "you know, this isn't okay; it isn't how I want my relationship with my kid and grandkid to be". He may come up with another solution, such as visiting by himself, but you won't know until your DH talks to him about it.

Syrse

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Re: When the baby comes, family that is completely uninterested (update pg. 6)
« Reply #88 on: January 01, 2013, 04:09:16 PM »
OP here again...

So, we're having a problem here. Today, DH's sister visited us for new year. She mentioned 'dad is coming over later today'. Okay... we asked her if DH's mom would come along too. She said she wasn't sure, but she thought not.
Doorbell goes... and there they are, both of them. DH's dad strides in and gives me a very happy new year, beaming. I can hear DH and his mom talking in the hallway, without hearing what they're on about. (once they were gone DH told me he caught his mom in the hallway to tell her to be civil. She then wanted to leave, but DH told her 'I'm not telling you to leave, you're welcome, but be civil.' She decided to stay).

So the visit went pretty well. They were all pleasant, gifts were given, and after a couple of hours they all left.

... except half an hour after they left, DH gets a phone call from his mom. It was a very long phone call, and he had to repeat 'mom, stop yelling, I can't understand you' quite a few times.
Long story short, DH told her that she was welcome here and that he would like it if there could be a relationship with Baby and her as a grandmother. She replied that she still did not feel like she could have a relationship with us, and that she did not feel the need to be a grandmother. She literally said 'I can't change.' She admitted that she came along just because of his father. DH asked her to be fair and tell his dad what was up. She replied that he did know, and that they had 'an understanding.'

So as far as I can gather, this is the situation:
DH's mom wants nothing to do with us, or our baby.
DH's father knows this.
DH's mom is still going to come around whenever DH's father wants to visit us. (???)

So here's my dilemma; I really, really don't want her in my house if she doesn't want to be here. I don't want her to shower us with gifts, yet stand back and not give our daughter any attention. Baby doesn't understand now, but what about once she gets older? I'd rather have a 'grandma is not here' than a 'why does grandma ignore me?' situation.

Both me and DH are a bit at a loss at what to do now... I'm thinking it might be best if he either tells his dad to please leave her at home, or tell his mom that she's no longer welcome. But the second one sounds quite harsh.

Also, what about these gifts?? Far as I understand the baby clothes are a gift from DH's father and not from her, but they also gave us two movie tickets, and 200 Euro in cash. Since the visit went well, we accepted them with many thanks, but now I feel like I should just give it back. I mean, I can't very well take her money and then tell her to stay out of my house, can I?

Amara

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Re: When the baby comes, family that is completely uninterested (update pg. 5)
« Reply #89 on: January 01, 2013, 04:15:15 PM »
Can the four of you sit down together and have a calm discussion about this? Find out what each of them wants and see if it can be accommodated to everyone's satisfaction. Does FIL want a relationship with his granddaughter? Does MIL not want a fully relationship, a partial one, or none at all with her granddaughter? Can she calmly state why? Is it possible this is all too new to her and she might change her mind later on? Does she like being around you two but not young children?

I think if you can have that kind of open, honest and kind discussion it might help in finding a solution. But everyone would have to want it and be willing to speak clearly and calmly.

OP, I wish you luck. It sounds difficult at best.