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Old 05-09-2018, 03:40 PM
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
84,282 posts, read 97,408,722 times
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^^I dunno, this all seems too facile. It is very hard for me to believe that the women are always wrong and the men are always right. I know that a relationship isn't necessarily 50/50 for "right and wrong", but 100/0?

As for this: "a family member or friend doesn't show up to a celebration just because my mom and her rotten attitude was there", can't these people just ignore her, especially at a big gathering? Come up to her at the end and say " 'Mary', I hardly got to talk to you today", something like that?
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Old 05-09-2018, 04:24 PM
 
2,011 posts, read 859,725 times
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Originally Posted by pattons360 View Post
I get that and we never bring up my husbands father or what our current relationship is with his mother due to the issues. In the past she had told us she was alright with his renewed relationship and was willing to go to events with him; but after two incidents which required him having to remove himself because even when they attempt to avoid each other she has show that she feels compelled to trash talk him and even seek him out for confrontation about nothing. Its hard because like I said both are or can be wonderful people, but its not working out and we don't see the need to punish them both (I don't know about my MIL health needs, but her behavior is close enough to my own mothers that it could be something medical. Unfortunately she doesn't believe in doctors, therapy, or any kind of medication so we try to love her and work with her as is).

As far as my father, I want him and my mother to be involved in my child's life. But that requires working with my mother, something we've alside of him have all tried for years. Some years she takes medication is is better and those are the years I feel show her ability to build a positive relationship with her grandchildren alongside her husband. Its the times when she refuses or falls off her medication that make things bad and a combo of refusing meds and having her behavior completely drove away my siblings (who I can't control and I don't share my feeling about in regard to my mother) and through that lead my father to lose his ability to have those relationships. My father supports my mother and wants her to get better. He has invested in therapy, medications, emotions and more. I won't be like my siblings and demand he walk out on my mother, and to my understanding and past experience he helps her more then anyone else in her life. We're just trying to approach this situation differently from my siblings because obviously they don't think its worth it to have either parent in their life, and I think we can find a solution if we ask and work for it.

Understand that while my in brief (for explaining 20 some years worth of drama) backstory might make me seem like I could care less for the women in my life who helped raise my husband and I; we both deeply care for them and want them to be included (which is why I posted this), but struggling to think of ways we can help make things better before the kids came and decisions would be rushed possibly hurting feelings or creating problems with the children. We get that you can't please everyone, but I really want to please every grandparent as much as possible because regardless of how long they've physically been there or what emotional state they are plagued with they deserve to have a chance (which all of them want) to have a relationship and see their grandchildren.
bless you for trying but the only thing that I can see is that you and your husband sit down with your mother and stepfather and make it clear that you want your mother in your childrenís lives but under certain conditions. I really think it might be beneficial to talk to a professional regarding both sets of grandparents. As for for mil I just think it best to keep her away from your fil, and if that means your fil canít attend certain events so be it, Or you tell her to stop it or you will not invite her.
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Old 05-09-2018, 04:47 PM
 
Location: Wisconsin
16,009 posts, read 15,320,813 times
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Originally Posted by pattons360 View Post
I get that and we never bring up my husbands father or what our current relationship is with his mother due to the issues. In the past she had told us she was alright with his renewed relationship and was willing to go to events with him; but after two incidents which required him having to remove himself because even when they attempt to avoid each other she has show that she feels compelled to trash talk him and even seek him out for confrontation about nothing. Its hard because like I said both are or can be wonderful people, but its not working out and we don't see the need to punish them both (I don't know about my MIL health needs, but her behavior is close enough to my own mothers that it could be something medical.
Unfortunately she doesn't believe in doctors, therapy, or any kind of medication so we try to love her and work with her as is).

As far as my father, I want him and my mother to be involved in my child's life. But that requires working with my mother, something we've alside of him have all tried for years. Some years she takes medication is is better and those are the years I feel show her ability to build a positive relationship with her grandchildren alongside her husband.
Its the times when she refuses or falls off her medication that make things bad and a combo of refusing meds and having her behavior completely drove away my siblings (who I can't control and I don't share my feeling about in regard to my mother) and through that lead my father to lose his ability to have those relationships. My father supports my mother and wants her to get better. He has invested in therapy, medications, emotions and more. I won't be like my siblings and demand he walk out on my mother, and to my understanding and past experience he helps her more then anyone else in her life. We're just trying to approach this situation differently from my siblings because obviously they don't think its worth it to have either parent in their life, and I think we can find a solution if we ask and work for it.

Understand that while my in brief (for explaining 20 some years worth of drama) backstory might make me seem like I could care less for the women in my life who helped raise my husband and I; we both deeply care for them and want them to be included (which is why I posted this), but struggling to think of ways we can help make things better before the kids came and decisions would be rushed possibly hurting feelings or creating problems with the children. We get that you can't please everyone, but

I really want to please every grandparent as much as possible because regardless of how long they've physically been there or what emotional state they are plagued with they deserve to have a chance (which all of them want) to have a relationship and see their grandchildren.
That is a difficult issue. While the grandparents may "deserve a chance" to have a relationship with their grandchildren your first priority is to protect your children if anyone, including their grandparents "cross the line" into inappropriate behavior.

It is hard to picture exactly how mentally ill the grandmothers actually are, a little or a lot. Frankly, if 4 out of 6 (or 5 out of 6) adult children have cut your parents out of their lives and refuse to allow them to have contact their children I suspect that it is a pretty major issue.

Look at it this way, if a close friend, or aunt or neighbor exhibited the same type behaviors with your children would you allow them to continue contact or just cut them out of your life? If your parents/mother/MIL exhibit those same unacceptable behaviors why should they "get a pass" because they are grandparents?
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Old 05-09-2018, 07:00 PM
 
Location: Pacific Northwest
14 posts, read 5,573 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by germaine2626 View Post
That is a difficult issue. While the grandparents may "deserve a chance" to have a relationship with their grandchildren your first priority is to protect your children if anyone, including their grandparents "cross the line" into inappropriate behavior.

It is hard to picture exactly how mentally ill the grandmothers actually are, a little or a lot. Frankly, if 4 out of 6 (or 5 out of 6) adult children have cut your parents out of their lives and refuse to allow them to have contact their children I suspect that it is a pretty major issue.

Look at it this way, if a close friend, or aunt or neighbor exhibited the same type behaviors with your children would you allow them to continue contact or just cut them out of your life? If your parents/mother/MIL exhibit those same unacceptable behaviors why should they "get a pass" because they are grandparents?
I have some mental health issues relating to my life before adoption and I totally get the struggle which is why I'm probably one of the few that feel that my mother should be given a chance. Personally I give any and everyone a chance to work and change their behavior and I plan on raising my children this way as well. Both women can be wonderful and pretty enjoyable with us and others, but in my mother's case you never know if she'll be fine or not. Like I said, I'm not my siblings and I don't agree with every reason they chose to tell me as reason for why my mother should not be in their children's or their own life. I have accepted plenty of people in my life once they get their act together and prove their worthy and would work with them if they're willing to try. My husband and me are seeking to heal pains rather then keep this ongoing.

Its not anyone's fault as things happen with people like my mother all the time. I know not everyone can deal with stuff like this, but it's part of the reason I'm trying to make this work rather than give up without putting any work or attempt to make things better. And unfortunately we're not going to know what's its completely like until the kids are here and events and times spent together are planned, but we want to get the ball rolling and see if others have found small solutions or things that help with dysfunctional family situations.
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Old 05-09-2018, 07:10 PM
 
Location: Raleigh NC
5,212 posts, read 4,389,767 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pattons360 View Post
JAs much as my mothers behavior is uncalled for, I realize for her its definitely a mental illness issue and the potential for her to be "normal" is pretty high............... I've tried working through therapy and I still stick around even thought it's hard to. But I realize not being involved with her other grandchildren is causing more pain for her and I hope to help her by including her in my childrens lives as she might never get to have a relationship with a grandchild again. As for my MIL, we're not playing favorites by any means. We love her and while she may drive me crazy, I have enjoyed her in my life to the point I'm trying to find ways to keep her involved in my child's life at the same time respecting the grandfather of the child who has just as much right to be involved in his grandchild's life.
I think it is actually very unlikely that your mom has a high potential for being 'normal'. If she isn't motivated to seek treatment, why would she get any better?

It sounds like you are dedicated to being the peacemaker and I appreciate that you are sensitive and very thoughtful about your situations. You and your husband probably bonded over your similar family dysfunctions.

But i'm concerned that you'll fall into the trap of hoping that you'll be the sibling to successfully turn mom around where others failed.

You've put a lot of thought into what you want these relationships to look like, and that is a good idea. I think the only way to do this is one day at a time. Use caution and be loving and be aware of your boundaries.
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Old 05-09-2018, 07:15 PM
 
Location: Pacific Northwest
14 posts, read 5,573 times
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Again to reiterate, we're trying to find a way to help each grandparent to be included and part of the children's lives (which each grandparent has express they want to happen), hopefully before the kids come and the drama can get tossed in the mix. Keeping a grandparent "out of the picture" is to me cruel and will only cause more division and force us to keep all family out of the picture because it just wouldn't be fair to pick and choose who gets to be part of it. I guess our next step probably would be getting each parent and seeing what they want out of it and how they feel comfortable with everything.

But we're also aware that promises have been made and sometimes they're kept and other times it doesn't. Like I said, we're looking to heal the family before the children, both of us plan on maintaining a relationship in some way with our parents (especially since our mothers are getting to an age were we might have to care for them regularly anyway).

And for those accusing me for just "taking the men's side" It simply may seem that way because its not their behavior we've had issues with in the past so it makes little to no sense we would just kick them out of their grandchildren's lives. The problem with our mothers is behavioral issues that have resulted in them having issues getting together with others. These issues they admit they have and have stated they will try to control, but I believe its more a personality/mental illness problem and something you gotta be creative with rather then call too tough and run. Something neither of the men in their lives have done (Yes, even my husbands father who only left after it became clear it would be better for his child that way and he still was involved and still support her indirectly to the day).

The option to demand they take their medication or therapy is something I've heard a lot, but I'm uncomfortable just because I don't want to rush either of them to just try anything and get worse or feel that I'm just trying to drug them up (in which case I would rather them be unmedicated the be an unknown shell of a person trying to interact with a child while drugged up). Maybe I'm asking for too much or just need to think deeper on ways to include everyone while also respecting the different journeys. I never though "oh, we're going to have a perfect family and all the grandparents will get back to together and happy forever." We came into this knowing it was messy and we wan't to think of ways to help everyone heal and work together. I've admitted to being a Peacemaker, but I also think that decent humans find ways to work together despite problems that they may have and its clear our mothers need help and understanding over abandonment.
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Old 05-09-2018, 07:57 PM
 
Location: Wisconsin
16,009 posts, read 15,320,813 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pattons360 View Post
Again to reiterate, we're trying to find a way to help each grandparent to be included and part of the children's lives (which each grandparent has express they want to happen), hopefully before the kids come and the drama can get tossed in the mix. Keeping a grandparent "out of the picture" is to me cruel and will only cause more division and force us to keep all family out of the picture because it just wouldn't be fair to pick and choose who gets to be part of it. I guess our next step probably would be getting each parent and seeing what they want out of it and how they feel comfortable with everything.

But we're also aware that promises have been made and sometimes they're kept and other times it doesn't. Like I said, we're looking to heal the family before the children, both of us plan on maintaining a relationship in some way with our parents (especially since our mothers are getting to an age were we might have to care for them regularly anyway).

And for those accusing me for just "taking the men's side" It simply may seem that way because its not their behavior we've had issues with in the past so it makes little to no sense we would just kick them out of their grandchildren's lives.
The problem with our mothers is behavioral issues that have resulted in them having issues getting together with others. These issues they admit they have and have stated they will try to control, but I believe its more a personality/mental illness problem and something you gotta be creative with rather then call too tough and run. Something neither of the men in their lives have done (Yes, even my husbands father who only left after it became clear it would be better for his child that way and he still was involved and still support her indirectly to the day).

The option to demand they take their medication or therapy is something I've heard a lot, but I'm uncomfortable just because I don't want to rush either of them to just try anything and get worse or feel that I'm just trying to drug them up (in which case I would rather them be unmedicated the be an unknown shell of a person trying to interact with a child while drugged up).

Maybe I'm asking for too much or just need to think deeper on ways to include everyone while also respecting the different journeys. I never though "oh, we're going to have a perfect family and all the grandparents will get back to together and happy forever." We came into this knowing it was messy and we wan't to think of ways to help everyone heal and work together. I've admitted to being a Peacemaker, but I also think that decent humans find ways to work together despite problems that they may have and its clear our mothers need help and understanding over abandonment.
I think that it is admirable that you are thinking ahead. Perhaps, you just need to decide with your spouse what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior around your future children and start there.

And, if your mothers have difficulty getting along with people you may just have to NOT invite them to large celebrations. For example, not every family has huge, family birthday celebrations for their children. Our children are 30 and 34 and they never, even once, in their entire lives had an extended birthday celebration with aunts/uncles/cousins/grandparents/etc. We always had low key birthday celebrations with our immediate family or with their friends (and we did have relatives who lived in town). Or, we had a party with one set of grandparents and no one else.

OTOH, one of my co-workers attends 15 to 20 family birthday celebrations, each and every year, with from 15 to 30 relatives attending each time. They never had just the immediate family birthday celebrations, like we did, the parties were always for all the grandparents, all the aunts and uncles and all of the cousins. Frankly, it almost gives me hives just imagining once or twice a month attending another birthday party, with another gift to buy. When you add in that her family also celebrated all the major holidays as huge, huge groups they saw each other very often. But, it worked for her family.

You and your spouse get to decide what works best for the two of you and your future children.

Last edited by germaine2626; 05-09-2018 at 08:23 PM..
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Old 05-09-2018, 08:55 PM
 
Location: Centre of the continent
573 posts, read 198,474 times
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Originally Posted by pattons360 View Post
We're trying to find a way for everyone to have their wishes and be involved in the children's lives without the toxic nature of peoples behaviors spilling out.
This will be a very tough thing to accomplish. It's up to you, of course, if it's worth the time, effort and drama to do so.



You might be surprised at how your view of these issues change once you have your own children. You might understand your siblings' reactions better. Maybe not, but I know in my case, I put up with a lot of toxicity from my family until it affected my daughter directly. I cut those people out with not a single look backwards or one regret.
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Old 05-10-2018, 01:35 AM
 
15,693 posts, read 18,009,297 times
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Originally Posted by Irish Eyes View Post
I think you should consider giving the men in your life a little less slack. Your father has chosen to not have a real relationship with the grandchildren he already has. Not only is there no reason to believe he will behave differently with your child, but why would you even allow him to? Imagine what that would do to the other grandchildren, your nieces and nephews, to see him go to events for one child but never theirs. Your mother is not to blame for his behavior, he is. He could go places without her but he chooses not to.

Since you do act as a peacemaker - have you ever heard your MIL out about her feelings? It's great if your FIL has changed over the years. But wonderful, super nice men with great values don't walk out of their children's lives. Perhaps acknowledging that he used to be that type of person will help tame her outrage and by extension her behavior around him. If not, telling her outright that it will limit the amount of time that she spends with her grandchildren might get through to her.
Common sense advice. Give this some real consideration.

Your attitude can make a huge difference in the MIL situation.....Anyone worth their salt would have been in touch with their children, or in some capacity at least have evidence of trying.....so I'm pretty sure part of what your MIL is feeling is plain old anger. She paid the dues, raising your husband and now "he" is getting the payoff......you need to understand her feelings, acknowledge them.....and stop putting this estranged father in the same category as the woman who raised your husband.....He needs to prove himself some....
And your intimating disrespect for this MIL in your OP shows you do not have positive regard for how she feels about this situation. This is likely going to cause some real damage to your husbands relationship with his mom. Think about this....and try to be more fair in looking at this situation. Life is seldom so black and white.....figure out the real whys.

And, you certainly can invite them separately...Mom should get invited to everything....and Dad can meet you or take you all to dinners and such.....without all your husbands relatives. Don't add insult to injury in this situation by insisting he, estranged/absent father be in attendance at family functions.....unless it is his family. Good luck

With your own Mom and Dad......You've tried to make a change for years.....you may have to accept things as they are and continue the discreet visits without your Mom.....sad, but true.

Last edited by JanND; 05-10-2018 at 01:45 AM..
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Old 05-10-2018, 02:09 AM
 
15,693 posts, read 18,009,297 times
Reputation: 25090
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Originally Posted by pattons360 View Post
Again to reiterate, we're trying to find a way to help each grandparent to be included and part of the children's lives (which each grandparent has express they want to happen), hopefully before the kids come and the drama can get tossed in the mix. Keeping a grandparent "out of the picture" is to me cruel and will only cause more division and force us to keep all family out of the picture because it just wouldn't be fair to pick and choose who gets to be part of it. I guess our next step probably would be getting each parent and seeing what they want out of it and how they feel comfortable with everything.

But we're also aware that promises have been made and sometimes they're kept and other times it doesn't. Like I said, we're looking to heal the family before the children, both of us plan on maintaining a relationship in some way with our parents (especially since our mothers are getting to an age were we might have to care for them regularly anyway).

And for those accusing me for just "taking the men's side" It simply may seem that way because its not their behavior we've had issues with in the past so it makes little to no sense we would just kick them out of their grandchildren's lives. The problem with our mothers is behavioral issues that have resulted in them having issues getting together with others. These issues they admit they have and have stated they will try to control, but I believe its more a personality/mental illness problem and something you gotta be creative with rather then call too tough and run. Something neither of the men in their lives have done (Yes, even my husbands father who only left after it became clear it would be better for his child that way and he still was involved and still support her indirectly to the day).

The option to demand they take their medication or therapy is something I've heard a lot, but I'm uncomfortable just because I don't want to rush either of them to just try anything and get worse or feel that I'm just trying to drug them up (in which case I would rather them be unmedicated the be an unknown shell of a person trying to interact with a child while drugged up). Maybe I'm asking for too much or just need to think deeper on ways to include everyone while also respecting the different journeys. I never though "oh, we're going to have a perfect family and all the grandparents will get back to together and happy forever." We came into this knowing it was messy and we wan't to think of ways to help everyone heal and work together. I've admitted to being a Peacemaker, but I also think that decent humans find ways to work together despite problems that they may have and its clear our mothers need help and understanding over abandonment.
Part of the problem that I see wit how you are approaching this, and the reason it is causing you angst.....
Is you have got to be realistic.....as it relates to your MIL: You may never be able to host a birthday party for your young child where both grandparents are there. You shouldn't even be trying to do this yet....Invite them to be around you and your husband in separate events. Also, do not try to converse with your MIL unless you want to hear her side.....You obviously have listened to your FIL side.....Stop judging.

If your goal is to be able to have both of these in-laws over to your events....this is not realistic.

Regarding your Mom. Perhaps meeting in public will help establish a "norm" like for birthday parties, showers etc. And, if your Dad pops in like he has been doing so.....just let that continue. Or, if mom comes along....set time limits....oh gee, we have an appointment......So, take some time, see how visits go.....build up some trust.....and allow more time as your mom shows herself capable. I would not plan big get together's knowing your mom has some trouble in these scenarios. But, perhaps she can prove herself with your help.....and eventually your siblings will participate.

Good luck....baby steps, small accomplishments first. Start with letting your mom visit you and your hubby along with your dad.....build on that.

Last edited by JanND; 05-10-2018 at 02:37 AM.. Reason: added text.
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