Author Topic: Grandparent guilt trip  (Read 3645 times)

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CookieChica

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Re: Grandparent guilt trip
« Reply #15 on: May 20, 2014, 07:20:17 AM »
I think you are getting a guilt trip but your mom isn't fundamentally wrong.

I am coming at this from the perspective that my grandpa was 90 years old by the time my son was born. He couldn't visit me halfway and he wouldn't have invited me because he knew I was busy and "didn't want to bother me." I know several elderly people who don't want to be an imposition on their young relatives but still wish for a visit hitch might be why they communicate a little PA through mom (or it could be mom just reading between the lines).

If the grandparents are toxic people, avoid. But if not, I really do encourage you to make time to take them to lunch or whatever on your own/their schedule - no mom involved. This is most likely a commitment you won't have forever.

SPuck

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Re: Grandparent guilt trip
« Reply #16 on: May 20, 2014, 07:45:51 AM »
^

Guilt tripping isn't fundamentally right either though, and I find it rude when people are making an effort. My brother got married two years ago, and for a while now has been splitting holidays to spent time with his in-laws and missing other events because he and his wife have a house to work on before they start having kids. My mom conveyed dissapointment to me but never my brother because she knew better. I am blessed with a grandfather and know my neighbors who stayed very active as they aged, and sometimes they missed family events because of their schedules. They wouldn't put their own lives on hold or ask anyone else to.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2014, 12:17:55 PM by SPuck »

learningtofly

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Re: Grandparent guilt trip
« Reply #17 on: May 20, 2014, 08:10:22 AM »
Go when you can if you want to.  DD doesn't see her great-grandparent very often.  We are busy, it's 30 minutes each way, and she doesn't drive.  She doesn't call either and hasn't for years.  She is very independent.  However, DH's parents push the visits.  For them it's 5 minutes to get there.  For us it's a big commitment and there is nothing for DD to do there. I would like to say we're good about it, but we're not.  DH has gone by on his own when he has a reason for being in the area.  DD goes when she stays with my ILs.  She's great and I would like to see her more, but "life is what happens when you're making other plans".

RainyDays

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Re: Grandparent guilt trip
« Reply #18 on: May 20, 2014, 09:03:10 AM »
Why is communication with your grandparents going through your mom?  If your grandparents want an intimate visit, they can call you directly.

This is what I was wondering as well.

Now, this is just my interpretation and I may be reading it wrong, but I got the impression that your mother wishes she had the type of family who are super-duper close and visit each other constantly, and is disappointed she doesn't - so she tries to make it so by guilt tripping you into visiting. Don't let her; as someone else mentioned, you are not obligated to visit anyone if you don't want to - sure, it would be nice, but you don't have to.


OP here. The bolded is very true. And I think what's hard for my mom is that we WERE super close, but she and I had a huge falling out years ago (when I was an adult, but before I got married). We are still mending, but mom likes to pretend everything is a-ok and doesn't understand why I don't want to see her all the time. Consequently, she tries to guilt me a lot, about a lot of things, and most of the time I recognize it as ridiculous. But in this particular instance, I was having trouble seeing if she had a valid point.

As to why communication is going through Mom: while I do have a good relationship with my GPs (good in the sense that we have no issues and it is a loving relationship), I do not have an independent relationship with them. I would guess I have spoken to them over the phone maybe a dozen times in my life, and those conversations are never longer than 5 minutes (no exaggeration). Every visit with them is facilitated by my mother. I have never visited them without my mom being there also, and thinking about it, my mom would likely view it as a slight if I did (obviously that would be on her, but I'm just trying to give the dynamic).

I guess it's never to late to establish a relationship with my GPs outside of my mom. It would really all be on me, though, as my GPs would just never call me. Maybe it is like someone else said, that they don't want to inconvenience so they just don't call. FWIW, DH has this identical relationship with his GPs -- and we probably see them even less -- but it doesn't seem to phase anyone. So that's another reason I was put off by the guilt trip; I don't see it as an odd relationship.

As to CakeEater's comment about putting myself in their shoes by envisioning DS not visiting, that's actually exactly what I meant. I hope DS travels farther from home than we did. There's so much more of the world to see.

Sharnita

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Re: Grandparent guilt trip
« Reply #19 on: May 20, 2014, 10:37:25 AM »
There definitely is a lot of the world to see - and hopefully plenty of time to see it. The amount of time you have to get to know your great grandparents tends to be much more limited.  A lot of people never get that option.  Meeting them and hearing about their parents or their grandparents could be fascinating - if not now then maybe remembering the stories later. It doesn't require emotional vulnerability to do this so there seems to be no huge sacrifice.

TootsNYC

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Re: Grandparent guilt trip
« Reply #20 on: May 20, 2014, 10:42:36 AM »
What I think stands out is that your grandparents don't express a desire to see you, they are only interested in their great-grandchild. And it seems that since you became an adult, they have been fine with limited contact. Is it only children that interest them?

Yeah, did you notice how I tweaked the wording to include the idea of seeing the kid's parents?


Quote
I guess it's never to late to establish a relationship with my GPs outside of my mom. It would really all be on me, though, as my GPs would just never call me.

I agree that it's past time to have this be direct communication. So maybe try for a middle ground; use your mom as the early indicator, but then you create the communication by calling them directly.
   

LadyL

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Re: Grandparent guilt trip
« Reply #21 on: May 20, 2014, 10:53:58 AM »
OP, you've gotten lots of good advice, but I just wanted to offer my sympathy. Since moving back to the state where my family lives our family obligations have gone from a few a year (holidays mostly) to up to several times a month. Like you, visiting my family is enough of a trip that it takes up at least half a day. The weekends are the only time LordL and I get quality time together as he works long hours, and we like to go on day trips since we don't get to take as much proper vacation time as we'd like. Sometimes having family obligations up to 3/4 weekends a month can feel kind of smothering, and it seems to highlight how tedious some of my relatives are to interact with to see them several weeks in a row. Between my mother's family, my father's side, and my stepfamily that's a lot of people and that's not even bringing in LordL's family who we see less frequently but who typically require a road trip and overnight stay. I can't imagine managing that with a young child in tow, plus trying to maintain active friendships.

I do think, though, that you have an opportunity to reassess your relationships now that you've moved. It probably wouldn't hurt to try to visit your GPs at least once outside of a family get together to see if maybe now with the shared interest of your dd/their GGD you might have more in common and be able to forge a relationship. LordL was estranged from his father's relatives for over a decade due to long ago family discord, but last year he realized there was no good reason to maintain the estrangement and we visited with his paternal grandmother. It was actually a great visit - we looked at old family photos, found out some family history we never knew about, and generally had a nice time. We are planning another visit again this year.

tinkytinky

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Re: Grandparent guilt trip
« Reply #22 on: May 20, 2014, 11:03:16 AM »
I, too, was wondering just why this is coming thru your mother. I understand if your grandparents won't call or contact you (that's how it is with my family as well), but is the desire to see your child your grandparents? or is it your mom's desire?

When your mom brings it up, you can say to her, "They must have lost my number, Hmmm....mom, can you forward my phone number to them? They can call me to set up a time that works for both of us." and "No, mom, I cannot call them right now. I'm in the middle of something. Just have them give me a call. If I don't hear from them, I'll see them at the party and we can set up a time then."


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TootsNYC

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Re: Grandparent guilt trip
« Reply #23 on: May 20, 2014, 11:06:43 AM »
. Sometimes having family obligations up to 3/4 weekends a month can feel kind of smothering, and it seems to highlight how tedious some of my relatives are to interact with to see them several weeks in a row. Between my mother's family, my father's side, and my stepfamily that's a lot of people and that's not even bringing in LordL's family who we see less frequently but who typically require a road trip and overnight stay.


Years ago, my husband and I lost two of the most important people in our lives. They died. And we hadn't seen them because his family kept claiming our weekends for one thing or another.
   Stuff that was low value to us, in terms of whether it fueled us or nourished us, emotionally or mentally.

I got so angry. I just started insisting that we refuse.

You have to leave a vacuum in your life so that you will be prompted to seek out people to fill it with. If seeing family is nourishing for you, great. But when it's not, I believe that we must protect our time.

EllenS

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Re: Grandparent guilt trip
« Reply #24 on: May 20, 2014, 11:29:23 AM »
Why is communication with your grandparents going through your mom?  If your grandparents want an intimate visit, they can call you directly.

POD. (with caveats)

Your GP's and your mom are treating you like a kid, and you are letting them.  Adults have responsibilities, and lives, and jobs, etc. Adults also take into account special needs/restrictions of people they love (like if your GP's are too old to drive far)

If you want to have an adult relationship with your GP's, call them up directly and offer to come visit them when it's a good time for you. Just skip Mom out of the equation altogether.  If you're not bothered whether you see GP's independently or not, then own that. It's your choice and you don't have to justify it to anyone. But don't put it all on your GP's - If you're not willing to make the effort, don't act like it's their sole responsibility either.
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PastryGoddess

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Re: Grandparent guilt trip
« Reply #25 on: May 20, 2014, 11:35:08 AM »
Just because your mother in the past and present has acted as a conduit for a relationship with your grandparents doesn't mean that it needs to continue.  Maybe your mother is also facilitating their relationship with you as well.  They may not realize that you wouldn't have a problem with them contacting you. 

When you next see them, bring a card or a piece of paper with your contact information on it and give it to them. 


I also agree with EllenS

Margo

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Re: Grandparent guilt trip
« Reply #26 on: May 20, 2014, 11:47:47 AM »
I agree with suggestions to make direct contact with your grandparents, and take things from there. You mention that they don't drive more than 20 mins or so - is there anywhere within that distance where you could meet so that your trip was only 40 minutes not an hour? meeting for a meal or picnic might be an option - I have a lot of happy memories of days out with my grandparents and with hindsight I can see a lot of them clustered around the halfway point between our home and theirs (we lived about 4 hours drive away)

You could also, if you wished and felt comfortable with it, invite your Mom and grandparents to visit you (if they could manage an hour each way as passengers in your Mom's car)

If they (either Mom or grandparents) feel they don't get quality time with you round the family parties, would it be an option to suggest that you meet up with Grandparents local to the family gathering, and visit with them for an hour before going on to the big 'do'?

You could also consider sending them letters or emails, and photos your child, once a month r so - that way, they get your news, get to see the little one, and kept in the loop, but you are not under so much pressure to travel so frequently and they don't feel out of the loop. Potentially it also gives you more  in common when you do meet up, as you've established that relationship.

And you may find that you get on with them better than you expect, if you are able to built a relationship with them as adults, rather than as you-the-child being told you must be nice to grandma and grandpa.

LadyL

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Re: Grandparent guilt trip
« Reply #27 on: May 20, 2014, 12:09:26 PM »
. Sometimes having family obligations up to 3/4 weekends a month can feel kind of smothering, and it seems to highlight how tedious some of my relatives are to interact with to see them several weeks in a row. Between my mother's family, my father's side, and my stepfamily that's a lot of people and that's not even bringing in LordL's family who we see less frequently but who typically require a road trip and overnight stay.


Years ago, my husband and I lost two of the most important people in our lives. They died. And we hadn't seen them because his family kept claiming our weekends for one thing or another.
   Stuff that was low value to us, in terms of whether it fueled us or nourished us, emotionally or mentally.

I got so angry. I just started insisting that we refuse.

You have to leave a vacuum in your life so that you will be prompted to seek out people to fill it with. If seeing family is nourishing for you, great. But when it's not, I believe that we must protect our time.

This is very true. I love my family, but not all of them are people I want to have social relationships with outside of family events. In order to pursue friendships with people who do have similar interests we carve out that time, whether it means leaving events early or declining altogether. This past weekend I left a bridal shower early (I am NOT a fan of the themed  bridal shower with multiple cutesy games/activities/worksheets) in order to attend a benefit event with bands I enjoy and dozens of friends and neighbors I like spending time with. I felt a hint of guilt as I left at first but ultimately I doubt of the 50 guests at the shower that my presence was missed much.

heartmug

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Re: Grandparent guilt trip
« Reply #28 on: May 20, 2014, 12:32:57 PM »
Why is communication with your grandparents going through your mom?  If your grandparents want an intimate visit, they can call you directly.

This is what I was wondering as well.

Now, this is just my interpretation and I may be reading it wrong, but I got the impression that your mother wishes she had the type of family who are super-duper close and visit each other constantly, and is disappointed she doesn't - so she tries to make it so by guilt tripping you into visiting. Don't let her; as someone else mentioned, you are not obligated to visit anyone if you don't want to - sure, it would be nice, but you don't have to.


OP here. The bolded is very true. And I think what's hard for my mom is that we WERE super close, but she and I had a huge falling out years ago (when I was an adult, but before I got married). We are still mending, but mom likes to pretend everything is a-ok and doesn't understand why I don't want to see her all the time. Consequently, she tries to guilt me a lot, about a lot of things, and most of the time I recognize it as ridiculous. But in this particular instance, I was having trouble seeing if she had a valid point.

As to why communication is going through Mom: while I do have a good relationship with my GPs (good in the sense that we have no issues and it is a loving relationship), I do not have an independent relationship with them. I would guess I have spoken to them over the phone maybe a dozen times in my life, and those conversations are never longer than 5 minutes (no exaggeration). Every visit with them is facilitated by my mother. I have never visited them without my mom being there also, and thinking about it, my mom would likely view it as a slight if I did (obviously that would be on her, but I'm just trying to give the dynamic).

I guess it's never to late to establish a relationship with my GPs outside of my mom. It would really all be on me, though, as my GPs would just never call me. Maybe it is like someone else said, that they don't want to inconvenience so they just don't call.

My in-laws might be the same age as your grandparents, and it might be a generational thing, but they do not call us or our adult children unless there is a family emergency.  DH, seriously, had to ask them to call each of our kids on their 18th birthdays to make the day extra special for them.  It never even dawned on them.

I think you are on the right track:  make your own path with them.  Twice a year visit just them.  Ask them to drive the 20 minutes to meet you somewhere, but for one hour they can see your child just by themselves.  Because I do agree parties and family gathers are difficult to get in any really good one-on-one conversations.
One option in a tug of war with someone is just to drop the rope.

RainyDays

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Re: Grandparent guilt trip
« Reply #29 on: May 20, 2014, 12:54:41 PM »
Why is communication with your grandparents going through your mom?  If your grandparents want an intimate visit, they can call you directly.

This is what I was wondering as well.

Now, this is just my interpretation and I may be reading it wrong, but I got the impression that your mother wishes she had the type of family who are super-duper close and visit each other constantly, and is disappointed she doesn't - so she tries to make it so by guilt tripping you into visiting. Don't let her; as someone else mentioned, you are not obligated to visit anyone if you don't want to - sure, it would be nice, but you don't have to.


OP here. The bolded is very true. And I think what's hard for my mom is that we WERE super close, but she and I had a huge falling out years ago (when I was an adult, but before I got married). We are still mending, but mom likes to pretend everything is a-ok and doesn't understand why I don't want to see her all the time. Consequently, she tries to guilt me a lot, about a lot of things, and most of the time I recognize it as ridiculous. But in this particular instance, I was having trouble seeing if she had a valid point.

As to why communication is going through Mom: while I do have a good relationship with my GPs (good in the sense that we have no issues and it is a loving relationship), I do not have an independent relationship with them. I would guess I have spoken to them over the phone maybe a dozen times in my life, and those conversations are never longer than 5 minutes (no exaggeration). Every visit with them is facilitated by my mother. I have never visited them without my mom being there also, and thinking about it, my mom would likely view it as a slight if I did (obviously that would be on her, but I'm just trying to give the dynamic).

I guess it's never to late to establish a relationship with my GPs outside of my mom. It would really all be on me, though, as my GPs would just never call me. Maybe it is like someone else said, that they don't want to inconvenience so they just don't call.

My in-laws might be the same age as your grandparents, and it might be a generational thing, but they do not call us or our adult children unless there is a family emergency.  DH, seriously, had to ask them to call each of our kids on their 18th birthdays to make the day extra special for them.  It never even dawned on them.

I think you are on the right track:  make your own path with them.  Twice a year visit just them.  Ask them to drive the 20 minutes to meet you somewhere, but for one hour they can see your child just by themselves.  Because I do agree parties and family gathers are difficult to get in any really good one-on-one conversations.

Yes, exactly. I talked to my mom this morning and she told me that, while my GPs call their 5 children regularly, they never call any of their grandchildren because they don't want to be a bother and/or it doesn't occur to them. The problem is that, without that established relationship, it doesn't occur to me either!

But anyway, DH and I are going to figure out a good day to go visit and call the GPs directly. I also got an apology from my mom for the guilt trip, which was surprising, but appreciated.

Thank you all for the responses! :)