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Old 01-15-2020, 04:59 PM
 
1 posts, read 780 times
Reputation: 15

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Me and my wife are older and have 3 grown children. All of them are married and live on their own (physically anyway), but my daughter has been very tiring, time consuming and frustrating for us as an adult.

She has an anxiety disorder and has had 3 nervous breakdowns in the last decade. Each breakdown has been worse than the previous ones and have consumed large and ever increasing amounts of time, stress and energy from me and my wife (more from my wife than me). The last one took about year of our life to help her through it and our involvment in it did not end peacefully and is why I am writing this.

My daughter got pregnant with her second child and it went ok until about 5 months into it. Then she began having panic attacks and high levels of anxiety. Drs prescribed lots of drugs and with daily help for the remaining 4 months from me and/or my wife, she delivered ok. After the birth, she was so doped up on meds that she could not help with nightly feedings and so her hubby, my wife and sometimes me did the night time baby care and also spent much time with her during the days. After a month or so my wife was exhausted and I started doing more of the night feedings and it was very tiring for both of us.

We normally spend a few months each summer in the north and when the baby was a few months old, we started making plans to go up. Initially my daughter said she would be ok but as the time neared, she went into high anxiety over us leaving. We made a new plan to wait another month before heading up and again she said she would be ok but again as the time drew near, she again went into high anxiety over it. Finally after several replannings we made it up but for a very short time and me and my wife had to take turns being away so that one of us would be here to help her.

Daughter needed to go back to work when baby was 4 months old (both for her sanity and money) but was extremely anxious about it. In the discussions of her working and in the midst of daughters anxiety about it, she asked my wife if she would babysit a couple days each week so she could go back to work. My wife did not want to do that (and I didn't her to either) but wife reluctantly agreed to it so that daughter could go back to work.

So, my daughter goes back to work and my wife, without pay, babysat (with me occasionally filling in for her) for a few months. Daughter found a really good sitter for the other days. After 4 months of babysitting, my wife is tired and just wants her life back. I let my daughter know that they need to find someone else. BTW the other sitter wants more hours so there is an easy solution at hand.

All in all, it took about a year of my wifes and my time and energy. And although I'd prefer us not having to do that, we have a new healthy granddaughter, daughter is sort of functional again and we would count it as worth the cost.

But my daughter response was pretty crappy. I expected something like an "ok, thanke for all you guys did over the last year and we will figure out the baby sitting change." But her initial response to me saying they would need to get someone else for baby sitting was "I don't think we can afford that!" and she has been giving my wife the silent treatment ever since (for about 2 months now). It turns out that she was offended that I, rather than my wife, told her that my wife needed to quit the baby sitting.

They are adults and they made the decision to have another child. Before they got pregnant, they did not ask whether my wife would provide free baby sitting for it. And regardless of their finances, it is their responsiblity to figure out how to make their decision of having a baby work financially.

And I don't know their exact finances but they are both professional people and are probably making 150k+ combined. I do know for sure that in the last 18 months, they took a trip to hawaii, bought a brand new car and in general, spend quite a bit of money. If they were struggling to put food on the table, I'd have some sympathy for their situation but it seems like at the end of it our involvment wife was just viewed as free babysitting so they can continue to spend more money on fun things.

So, after a year of our life and energy, instead of a thank you, we get a kick in the face. Actually, my daughter has continued to communicate with me pretty much normally but for the most part is giving my wife the silent treatment. I think that is probably manipulative on my daugthers part, by being normal with me, it would make giving my wife the silent treatment dig in a bit deeper. My understanding from my son is that my daughter expects an apology from my wife. f'ing amazing.

I'm pretty fed up and am ready to have a nasty discussion with her (and her hubby too if he feels the same way). Maybe that discussion will be relationship ending but frankly, if I think about her not being a part of my life anymore, it give me a sense of relief, not dread.

Mostly I'm venting here. But if you have suggestions, observations or whatever though, feel free to respond.
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Old 01-15-2020, 05:10 PM
 
Location: Omaha, Nebraska
7,968 posts, read 4,618,214 times
Reputation: 20669
Why do anything? Why not just let things stay as they are? Your daughter will figure out sooner or later than an apology is not coming. That's up to her to deal with. Focus on supporting your wife.
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Old 01-15-2020, 05:36 PM
 
Location: Southwest Washington State
24,675 posts, read 15,896,922 times
Reputation: 36470
You left out the part about how your wife feels about this. Does she want reconciliation? Is she heartsick? Is she relieved that she is no longer babysitting? Does she miss the baby? Does she miss her daughter?

I think it is OK to tell daughter that she is hurting mom’s feelings, if that is correct. But you take a chance that daughter will decide to give you silent treatment.

The big losers here are the baby and the older child. Babies need grandparents, if they are available and can offer love and acceptance. I think you two grands have to decide whether to try to fulfill this role with your daughter’s children.

Taking all of these things into consideration, if you decide you wish to have a loving relationship with your grands, and daughter, I think you and your wife might benefit from a few sessions with a family counselor. Your post is filled with your feelings. You mention wife’s exhaustion but not her feelings. Both of you need to be on the same page here, and I am not sure if you are. And, even if you are, you need a way to think about all if this, and a course of action.

Good luck.
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Old 01-15-2020, 06:28 PM
 
4,204 posts, read 3,440,079 times
Reputation: 13901
I have to wonder if you daughter's anxiety isnt being fed by your reactions every time she has an "anxiety attack". Sometimes no reaction is the best reaction. Stop babysitting, stay in touch and talk to her and hubby, have your wife do the same, and let them figure out how to get a baby sitter. People do it all the time without making $150k a year. I think you need to hand the reins over to hubby and let him, as her husband, take care of what needs to be done. Give you and your wife a break from the situation. Im not sure a nasty discussion will do anything other than cause some hard feelings. Just back away a bit. Whether daughter is grateful or not for your caring of the baby for a year, be grateful that you had that year to spend with your granddaughter. You know you cant control your daughter anymore or her reactions, but you can control you and your wife's. Might be a good time to find some nice little vacation place and take a week, or 2 or 3, for just you are your wife. I think you've deserved it.
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Old 01-15-2020, 06:33 PM
 
Location: Brentwood, Tennessee
46,547 posts, read 44,872,886 times
Reputation: 91069
Quote:
Originally Posted by carnivalday View Post
I have to wonder if you daughter's anxiety isnt being fed by your reactions every time she has an "anxiety attack". Sometimes no reaction is the best reaction. Stop babysitting, stay in touch and talk to her and hubby, have your wife do the same, and let them figure out how to get a baby sitter. People do it all the time without making $150k a year. I think you need to hand the reins over to hubby and let him, as her husband, take care of what needs to be done. Give you and your wife a break from the situation. Im not sure a nasty discussion will do anything other than cause some hard feelings. Just back away a bit. Whether daughter is grateful or not for your caring of the baby for a year, be grateful that you had that year to spend with your granddaughter. You know you cant control your daughter anymore or her reactions, but you can control you and your wife's. Might be a good time to find some nice little vacation place and take a week, or 2 or 3, for just you are your wife. I think you've deserved it.
I agree. It almost sounds like a case of learned helplessness. The daughter's reaction reveals her hand.

It's a shame that this has resulted in a freeze out, but it's not uncommon for new parents to freak out during this kind of transition. You are not wrong to try to establish some emotional boundaries for your and your wife's sake.

Your daughter is responsible for her own mental health.
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Old 01-15-2020, 08:40 PM
 
Location: Wisconsin
18,114 posts, read 18,577,491 times
Reputation: 45101
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aredhel View Post
Why do anything? Why not just let things stay as they are? Your daughter will figure out sooner or later than an apology is not coming. That's up to her to deal with. Focus on supporting your wife.
Quote:
Originally Posted by carnivalday View Post
I have to wonder if you daughter's anxiety isnt being fed by your reactions every time she has an "anxiety attack". Sometimes no reaction is the best reaction. Stop babysitting, stay in touch and talk to her and hubby, have your wife do the same, and let them figure out how to get a baby sitter. People do it all the time without making $150k a year. I think you need to hand the reins over to hubby and let him, as her husband, take care of what needs to be done. Give you and your wife a break from the situation. Im not sure a nasty discussion will do anything other than cause some hard feelings. Just back away a bit. Whether daughter is grateful or not for your caring of the baby for a year, be grateful that you had that year to spend with your granddaughter. You know you cant control your daughter anymore or her reactions, but you can control you and your wife's. Might be a good time to find some nice little vacation place and take a week, or 2 or 3, for just you are your wife. I think you've deserved it.
Great points.

I also think that it would be best for you and your wife to take a long relaxing vacation together.

Good luck.
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Old 01-15-2020, 08:51 PM
 
Location: From the Middle East of the USA
802 posts, read 651,837 times
Reputation: 744
As a father, I empathize with you, as I have struggled with a father-daughter relationship. Wow, they make a lot of money! That's independence, but they seem determined to stay dependent on your wife for assistance. Don't have a solution; won't make up one. Again, as a father, I feel your pain.
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Old 01-15-2020, 09:05 PM
 
1,641 posts, read 523,949 times
Reputation: 3757
Quote:
She has an anxiety disorder and has had 3 nervous breakdowns in the last decade. Each breakdown has been worse than the previous ones
Quote:
My daughter got pregnant with her second child and it went ok until about 5 months into it. Then she began having panic attacks and high levels of anxiety. Drs prescribed lots of drugs
Quote:
After the birth, she was so doped up on meds that she could not help with nightly feedings and so her hubby, my wife and sometimes me did the night time baby care and also spent much time with her during the days.
Quote:
They are adults and they made the decision to have another child.
Quote:
And I don't know their exact finances but they are both professional people and are probably making 150k+ combined.
Your daughter and her husband are responsible. Your son-in-law's company might offer paternity leave. At least, he could take The Family and Medical Leave for 12 weeks. Your son-in-law could ask HIS family for help. They could have hired a doula. They had options.

My sister-in-law became bipolar after the birth of her son. Her hormonal changes with pregnancy and birth significantly increased her anxiety. Like your daughter, she had numerous nervous breakdowns over the years. She insisted on a divorce. As a single mother, my in-laws gave a tremendous amount of help.

My in-laws were over-involved in their grandson's life. It made for a really weird family dynamic. It was as if their daughter and grandson were both their children. They treated their other two children as if they were siblings to the grandson. Something went seriously wrong. At the end of it, my in-laws might have done as much harm as good.

Quote:
Actually, my daughter has continued to communicate with me pretty much normally but for the most part is giving my wife the silent treatment. I think that is probably manipulative on my daughters part, by being normal with me, it would make giving my wife the silent treatment dig in a bit deeper.
Pretty much it. Your daughter is angry and unstable. The best way is to shut her down is to find a therapist. A third party who can help you and your wife react properly. It is like a game of chess, plan out your moves without raising your voice. Once you raise you voice, she will not hear you. She will react with anger. Then she will have to up the game. It will be all revenge.

My in-laws catered to their daughter. In the end, she did not get stronger. She just got nastier.
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Old 01-15-2020, 10:28 PM
 
Location: planet earth
6,213 posts, read 2,449,010 times
Reputation: 13859
OP: I agree a long vacation is in order.

Regroup, recuperate, rest, have fun.

Enjoy your lives.
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Old 01-16-2020, 04:56 AM
 
4,474 posts, read 1,952,644 times
Reputation: 4521
Quote:
Originally Posted by silibran View Post
You left out the part about how your wife feels about this. Does she want reconciliation? Is she heartsick? Is she relieved that she is no longer babysitting? Does she miss the baby? Does she miss her daughter?

I think it is OK to tell daughter that she is hurting mom’s feelings, if that is correct. But you take a chance that daughter will decide to give you silent treatment.

The big losers here are the baby and the older child. Babies need grandparents, if they are available and can offer love and acceptance. I think you two grands have to decide whether to try to fulfill this role with your daughter’s children.

Taking all of these things into consideration, if you decide you wish to have a loving relationship with your grands, and daughter, I think you and your wife might benefit from a few sessions with a family counselor. Your post is filled with your feelings. You mention wife’s exhaustion but not her feelings. Both of you need to be on the same page here, and I am not sure if you are. And, even if you are, you need a way to think about all if this, and a course of action.

Good luck.
Yes to this post. Find out your wife's feelings. You two may not be on the same page and daughter picks up on this.
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