How to Cope with Grandparents

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puellareginae

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How to Cope with Grandparents
« on: November 12, 2019, 09:12:24 PM »
It's been a long time truly admitting it to myself, but I will never have the family I wanted.

I thought when I was a kid that both sets of grandparents were great, that there was nothing that needed to change, etc....And then my dad told me all the scary stuff of how his mom beat him from the time he was a toddler, made every moment about her (she even refused to call 911 when my paternal grandfather had a stroke in the shower because "I don't want mud on the floor from the paramedics." She was a hoarder, and spent money she didn't have accumulating ridiculous things.

And then, the same year, I found out that my maternal grandpa was a raging alcoholic enabled by my grandma. I now know that Grandpa probably has uBP as well. The two of them combined made my mom and uncles' lives a living hell, and it took years for my dad to convince my mom that she was even worthy of getting Christmas presents.

My relationship with my moms' parents has gotten steadily worse over the years - I could keep everything surface level with my dad's mom after my grandfather died - culminating in two things: my being told I worship Satan for converting to Catholicism over Protestantism and being lectured for not letting my grandpa meet the man who is now my husband before I moved states to be with him, because it's not right that I didn't bring him to them if he's such a great guy and all.  :blink: :roll: As if my boyfriend didn't have a job he couldn't just take off for to meet grandparents...never mind the fact that I don't need my self - centered, cruel, and vindictive grandpa drunkenly insulting the man I love.

And now that I'm married, my grandma is heavily hinting that I should visit soon. Here's the thing: one of my husband's really good friends and said friend's wife live in my hometown. We would love to visit them - and a couple other people who are genuinely nice to me. But, if I do that and don't visit my grandparents, and they hear that I was there for like a week and didn't visit...all hell would break loose. I don't want to visit them, and my DH doesn't want me to be put in a bad headspace again from them (just the idea of inviting them to my wedding left me with broken sleep for weeks). But I struggle with being seen as a horrible, ungrateful granddaughter, especially since they gave us over a grand as a wedding present.

What do I do? I don't want to cause horrible drama in the family, but I need to preserve my sanity.

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Adrianna

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Re: How to Cope with Grandparents
« Reply #1 on: November 12, 2019, 10:08:25 PM »
Donít visit. You know you donít want to. I too have often felt like the awful granddaughter and you know what, Iím not. And neither are you. You just want some peace and you wonít get it doing things you think you should just to please them. Visit the people you want to see.
Practice an attitude of gratitude.

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WomanInterrupted

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Re: How to Cope with Grandparents
« Reply #2 on: November 13, 2019, 01:38:20 AM »
I agree   - visit the people you want to visit, and say nothing to your grandparents about going to your hometown.  If word gets back to them, you have a FMM in your midst - you'll know to be more mindful who you speak to in regard to your plans.

So, they gave you a thousand bucks as a wedding gift.  You're the one who determines how many strings that gift has, and *what* that thousand bucks *buys* them in regard to your time and attention.  8-)

Realistically, a gift is just that - a gift, given in the spirit of love and/or friendship, but you've got something else going on in your head:  large monetary amount =  access to me and mine, or I'm a bad granddaughter.

You are NOT a bad granddaughter for  having limits and boundaries!  :yes:

If your grandparents find out you were there and didn't visit, it's NOT the end of the world.  I'd brush it off with a low key, "There just wasn't enough time..." - and change the subject, or simply say, "Yes, we had a quick trip to town..." - and again, change the subject to gardening, the weather, or something else as equally banal.

Often, changing the subject back to *them* works wonders.  :ninja:

I want you to keep in mind that your grandparents really can't DO anything to you other than yell, pout, make threats about disinheriting you and give you the Silent Treatment.  All they have are words - and you can allow those words to have as much - or as little - power as you *choose* to give them.

 :hug:

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Ladymm

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Re: How to Cope with Grandparents
« Reply #3 on: November 20, 2019, 09:19:35 AM »
The tough part is that one thinks that there is something inherently wrong in you by not visiting. I really cannot say the reason why I visit. Sometimes I visit my grandma before I go to holidays so mu conscience is clean. But this is a compulsive way of doing things.

Also I wonder why she wants me to visit her. I don't want. To visit her. It is a gut feeling. Gut feelings don't come from thin air. Sometimes they need a bit of thought but in this case I don't feel so, because simply I don't want to visit her.

Manipulation always hurts. Going to someone and be made like you owe them something and like the world let them down and this is a continuity from childhood is a hard environment to be in even for 30 minutes of visit. The 30 minutes of my visit are a forced gift from me to her and fake to necause it comes from the compulsion of guilty. I am seen as odd from my family and have no reason why I don't visit in their eyes. Also this is hard treatment.

It is hard. Also the shame we trow on ourselves when we are not yet strong enough for not visiting (at least me I do that) is hard.

I suppose some of the feelings I have you encounter too. So I guess we are all in the same boat. At least, this gives a feeling of being understood for me even though we are each alone in our footsteps.
I can't decide if you wear me out or wear me well
I just feel like I'm condemned to wear someone else's hell

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puellareginae

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Re: How to Cope with Grandparents
« Reply #4 on: December 18, 2019, 11:32:17 PM »
Thank you all for your input! I really value your insight.

DH and I talked about it and, for a lot of reasons that are complex, I have decided to still have visits with them, and DH will take my lead.

The main thing is that my grandparents have never even met my husband. They were unable to come to the wedding for health reasons, and there was no opportunity for meeting before then. I feel it's unfair to drop off the face of the earth when they were so generous to us.

However, our level of interaction will not be the same my parents had. It will be "we will meet at your house for lunch (because you are too frail to meet us somewhere else), but we have to keep it short because we have another engagement in a couple hours." No more 5 and 6 - hour dinners where my grandfather gets super drunk and insults me, or my DH, or both. We are the ones who control the visit now.

I remember when I had to call my grandparents to lay down the law on how our wedding would go (because of spiritual differences I genuinely thought they would be upset and try to stir the pot). It...went not well, because they went all PA and my flying monkey uncle called to remind me that I knew how my grandfather was, and that my grandmother loves me. I was crying and telling my then - DF that I was a failure, that I'd screwed everything up, that everyone in the family hated me...

My then DF said, "Honey, you are not a failure. You didn't let them take over the conversation. You said exactly what you needed to say, and you said it with far more grace than I would have. I am so proud of you." So I guess I got a keeper.  :tongue2:

Oh, a slight update on the relationship with my grandparents: I'm going a couple states away to visit my PIL for Xmas with DH. My grandma insisted on calling me and checking up on me before I left. This from the woman who never bothered to call or ask me to visit the entire two years I was still living in Home State, but I digress. Anyway, she insisted I tell her when I was in PILState, and then when I got home. This isn't normal, right? We live a couple states away (a good days' drive one way) in our chosen home state, and we're not visiting them anytime soon. I don't owe her a play by play of my travel, right?

Also, the topic of trying for children came up, and she told me to make sure she and Grandpa were the first to know if I got pregnant. Foggers, I internally laaaaaughed and laughed. If I am pregnant, the first non - DH people to know will be my PIL, then my sister, then my dad and his wife, and THEN the rest of our families. Does she honestly think I would tell her before my own sister and literal wombmate?

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Kiki81

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Re: How to Cope with Grandparents
« Reply #5 on: December 21, 2019, 01:08:11 AM »
So what all he'll breaks loose? The world will continue on even if they get mad. Trust me, they'll be mad at you and then someone else will press the Rage Button and the lizard eye focuses on them instead of you.