Grandmother puts forth little effort to be a part of my life or my children's lives!

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-02-2013
Grandmother puts forth little effort to be a part of my life or my children's lives!
21
Fri, 08-02-2013 - 4:39pm

don't really know how to keep this short, but I will try my best to compact it and still include all of the information.

The back story is... my parents divorced two years ago after being married for 42 years! I understood the decision... my mom's.  My dad was an alcoholic, she had cancer, he was emotionally abusive, she was going through a tough recovery after being in remission. During my mom's illness, from diagnosis until now, she has had a friend.  I don't know how to explain this relationship without it sounding weird, but I will do my best. This girl was in her teens when she and my mom met. My mom taught the high school sunday school class at her church.  My mom felt bad for this girl ( we will call her J) because she didn't have a very good relationship with her own parents who were divorced. So, my mom did a lot with her... took her out to eat, had her over to the house, took her places, etc. J was living with her own grandmother at the time. When my mom got sick I was living out of state.  I went home with my daughter to be there for her that summer. During that summer J helped watch my daughter when I went to visit my mom in the hopsital. We got along really well and I loved her! After my mom recovered my Dad was still acting like a maniac and drinking more than ever. When my mom and J came to visit for Christmas, my mom decided that she had enough and told my dad who was still out of state that she was filing for divorce.  My mom and J found a place to live together because J didn't want to live by herself and my mom didn't feel comfortable living by herself.  She also didn't want to move out of state to live with me and my family even though I had offered.

Fast forward.... My dad sobers up, goes through therapy and after a year of VERY difficult conversations with him we now have a healthy father daughter relationship. My mom on the otherhand has limited interaction with me. She went from calling and talking to me every day to calling once a week, to hiding things that she was doing with J from me. She was supposed to move out to the same state as me and my family to be closer to my two children, but has decided now that she is going to stay where she is and live with J. She didn't feel comfortable living in the same state as her brother....because she feels like he talks to my dad too much and it would be uncomfortable for her. She hasn't communicated with my dad for 3 years... since she told him she wanted a divorce.

My mom and I have "talked" about how I feel that she has replaced me with J and doesn't want me as a daughter anymore. Her response (condensed because they were text messages and it would take forever to write word for word) was that she chooses to have J as a daughter just like she chose to have me as a daughter ( I am adopted). She said that she can be a mother to both of us.  I told her that I wanted to have just her come out for Christmas because I feel like it's always her and J and I never get any time with just her.  I never got to talk to just her on the phone or spend time with just her. She responded with it was either her and J for Christmas or neither of them... so she didn't come.  Instead she and J went to the beach. She didn't call or text on Christmas to talk to me or the kids... my birthday is the day after Christmas... she didn't call or text.  I had to text her after new years to ask if she was even still alive. I told her I would like to talk to her on the phone and her response was... not comfortable talking on the phone.. too emotional. I have tried to talk to J and told her that I feel like she took my mom away from me.  She has her own mother, father, sisters, grandmother, etc . and now she has my mom as well.  She didin't understand how I was feeling at all and said she feels like my mom is her mom too. She is always caling my mom Mamma on her facebook page.

BTW- my mother has no idea what is going on in my kids lives.  She has no idea that my son is talking, that he just had surgery, that my daughter is excited to start kindergarten, that either one of them has been sick, or had something exciting happen to them. She has no idea what is going on in my life.  I can't call her and ask for her advice when I'm upset or happy about something. She only talks to the kids when she's on skype, never me.

I don't know what else to say.. It's exhausting and emotional writing all of this. basically now our only communication is when she or J texts me on a friday and asks if they can skype with the kids on the weekend. That used to be every weekend, now it's only once a month if that. I feel like she doesn't understand how this is making me feel, but then again maybe she just doesn't care.  I continued to let them skype with the kids because I didn't wan to be accused of not letting my mom have a relationship with her grandkids.  Is this a relationship though.  My daughter who is 5 won't even stay by the computer to talk to them.  My son who is 14 months old has no idea who either one of them is. I just got a text from J (who I have tried to explain all of this to and got no help) asking if they could skype with the kids this weekend.  I haven't heard from either of them for 3 weeks.... the last time they skyped with the kids.

I have been looking everywhere for a forum for adult children who are going through this same thing, but it's all for parents who are estranged from their children and don't want to be. I'm in the exact opposite situation.

I'm just so emotionally exhausted from this. Every time I get a text asking if they can skype I want to text them back and say no. Is that wrong?  Should I just continue to let them talk to my kids on skype and that's it?  Or do I cut all ties?  I just don't know what to do.  I would appreciate some feedback.  My husband is beyond useless when I try to talk to him about this.

Thanks is advance... S

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-14-2004

My first thought, too, was that they were lesbians.  I don't really think age necessarily prevents that.  They've been together for a while from what I understand, so while it may seem "weird" to you that they are a couple, they might just be a couple who have been together for quite a while and your mother has gotten older.  The idea that your mother doesn't want to see you without J, and that you don't seem to be all that welcome in their home really screams to me that they're hiding their actual relationship.  (Although, I might be biased as my son-in-law of 20 years just came out as gay so I'm suspecting "gay" everywhere these days.)

For myself, I try really, really hard not to continue involvement with people who just bring me misery...life is too short for misery you can avoid.  I wouldn't particularly enjoy hosting their Skype conversations with kids who aren't interested in Skyping OR their grandmother, so I don't think I'd be going out of my way to Skype, and I wouldn't be setting a 15 month old down by a computer screen having no idea what's going on or pushing your older child to "play nice" with a stranger who just happens to be her grandmother.

Community Leader
Registered: 08-25-2006

Just a thought, and not that it really matters, but I supose it is possible that mom and J are not a couple, but just very emeshed.  Horribly unhealthy, as noted by J iniating contact, mom only coming to visit with J, etc.  Just a thought, doesn't really change anything.  Or maybe J is simply controlling mom's life.  IDK.

Every R is different.  So I am not going to judge a Grandmother who is states away.  My mom is in her 60's, I am in my 40's, my DD is in her 20's and I have a GS7.  We all live in the same town, as does our immediate family, and I still sometimes here things about my own grown kids from my mom or sister.  We all live minutes apart we can sometimes go without seeing each other for months, and several weeks between conversations on the phone.  Generally, it is more often that.  But point being, it is the norm for our family, and we are okay with that. 

What I want to add to that though is, my DD27 did not have a drivers license for 3 years, so we helped alot of getting GS to and from daycare.  When she had a BF that helped, I heard less from her and saw GS less.  When she got her license back, a few months ago, I heard from and saw them even less than before.

So now, I find myself actually calling her to see my GS. 

I don't know if anything in that was helpful, or not.  I still don't understand why your mom won't talk to you.  I don't get it.  But if you have a brother that you nor your mother or talking to, then this is clearly isn't something new to your family.  This is only an untrained observations, but it seems that this kind of stuff is either a common thread through a family, or it isn't.

What you are describing is common in my DH's family, and does not exist in my family. 

I like what the last poster said.  Focus on your husband and kids.  You don't have to cut off your mother, but get the focus back on your immediate family. 

Oh, I am curious since your father has made amends, does he see the kids?

 

Serenity
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-08-2000

This might sound harsh, but if you want her to have a relationship with you, you will have to present yourself as the kind of person she would want to have a relationship with.  For now, that means keeping the conversation light.  Not confrontational.  No sarcasm. No guilt trips.  Nothing heavy. 

She already told you that talking with you is too emotional for her.  I'm betting it's because you've been pushing the heavy conversation when right now it's an effort for her to even participate in a light one.  Ease up on her.  You'll catch more flies with honey than vinegar. 

I get that you're hurt.  But just think about your end goal.  Decide if it's worth it.  I'm not suggeting you bury your feelings, but just to postpone the heavy conversation until your relationship can better handle it.

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999

If you don't think they are in a relationship, then it sounds to me like those situations where someone insinuates themselves into someone's life and then takes over.  I wouldn't be surprised at all when your mother passes away if J gets everything from her will--of course if your mom doesn't have any assets, then my theory doesn't hold water.  But since I'm a lawyer, I've seen it before--someone exerts "undue influence" as the legal term is called to get someone's money.

Community Leader
Registered: 08-25-2006
Interesting perspective, Music. I had not thought of that! I hope the original poster gives us an update. I am quite curious how this all plays out over time.
Serenity
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-16-2008

I am trying to look at it from the grandmother's persepctive.  She married an acoholic, had cancer, and did her best to raise her children, perhaps she favors J because she wants some peace and quiet and undivided attention.  It is really up to the a grandparent to decide how involved she wants to be with the grandchildren.  The OP can ask, but has no right to demand. 

Also, Music, most of the time you are very sensible but I find it a bit crass in mentioning inheritance.  Parents do not owe their children ANY inheritance.  Their duty is to educate and provide for them when they are young.  Beyond that, they are free to leave money to anyone, anything.  I am sure in your career you have run across people who leave everything to a favorite charity, a special friend, and even a loyal pet, and nothing to their children.  Even if the OP's mother decides to leave J everything, it doesn't prove that they are a couple.  And if they were, so what?  If J can bring joy in the OP's mother's life, then I say she deserves to inherit.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999

Demontespan, I agree that people can leave their estate to whoever they want, even if they have kids.  What I'm talking about are the situations where someone uses "undue influence"--sometimes it's a caretaker of an elderly person and esp. when they don't have kids, and they aren't really that friendly.  Their real purpose is to get their hands on the money.  I can see if J fills some kind of a need, whether they are a couple or in a mother-DD kind of relationship really isn't important.  But if the OP & J were real sisters, wouldn't it be kind of odd that OP could never talk to her mother alone and J always had to be on the phone?  That would make me suspicious right there.

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-29-2008

I understand exactly how you feel! My mother has not been involved in my children's lives at all! I have a 10 yr old and a 6 yr old. Not once have they even been to her home! Not once has she invited them anywhere to do anything! Not once has she purchased something for them! Not once has she called them for their birthdays or holidays! She only lives 45 mins away! She had no idea my daughter got braces, that she's won swim meets, that she got high honors all four marking periods at school, or anything else! She knows nothing about her! She never asks if they need anything like now for back to school. My other daughter is a gymnast and is on the team. My mother knows nothing about it. My brother has been in prison and she goes to visit him! Of the few times we spoke she only talks about him and how she goes to visit and how far it is to get there and how she has to go through security. I feel like saying "ummm theres no security to visit me." She says how she sends him money. The only reason I spoke to her was because her sister just died of cancer and she said how life is short and she has to stay in touch and that was three months ago and she's still the same. I gave my aunt's eulogy because she was like a mother to me. She was so different from my mom. She loved me so fully. She would talk to me everyday and always cared for my girls. She knew everything about them. She always made an effort to see me and them. After I gave the eulogy my mom had the nerve to say I made her (my mom) look bad. Can you believe that? I'm just tired of it. I give up. I think you should too. Just focus on your kids and being the best mom for them. Make sure they never have this issue with you. That's all you can do.

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-22-2004

I try to understand how you feel but I would suggest you to try to see this in an objective way. Your mother has being going trough a divorce and an illness recovery and she has found now a surrogate daughter.

She must have felt lonely and she found some company ,care and affection in J. If you love her you should be happy she has found someone to make her some company. I don´t think it was a good idea to invite her, trying to put her surrogate daughter aside. In a way (not exactly) is like she has now a new partner, so I would suggest to put jelousy aside and accept J. She is doing a lot for your mom, things that you can´t give her because you have your family.

Probably your mother is experiencing a new life opportunity, without a husband who drinks and recovering from an illness.

Don´t cut ties, give her the opportunity to live this life period of her life which might be her last one.

I know you are her daughter, but J is now the surrogate daughter that is with her all the time.

Why don´t you send her e mails with pictures of your kids telling her all you want her to know about what is going on in your kids  lives. And try to include J in your invitations as someone who cares for your mother, gives her company and some affection.

she is not substtituting you, she just have now someone who is closer to her now and you don´t know how much time she has to live.

Take her as a lady in company your mother needs.

Whish I have helped.

Good luck!

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-22-2004

I try to understand how you feel but I would suggest you to try to see this in an objective way. Your mother has being going trough a divorce and an illness recovery and she has found now a surrogate daughter.

She must have felt lonely and she found some company ,care and affection in J. If you love her you should be happy she has found someone to make her some company. I don´t think it was a good idea to invite her, trying to put her surrogate daughter aside. In a way (not exactly) is like she has now a new partner, so I would suggest to put jelousy aside and accept J. She is doing a lot for your mom, things that you can´t give her because you have your family.

Probably your mother is experiencing a new life opportunity, without a husband who drinks and recovering from an illness.

Don´t cut ties, give her the opportunity to live this life period of her life which might be her last one.

I know you are her daughter, but J is now the surrogate daughter that is with her all the time.

Why don´t you send her e mails with pictures of your kids telling her all you want her to know about what is going on in your kids  lives. And try to include J in your invitations as someone who cares for your mother, gives her company and some affection.

she is not substtituting you, she just have now someone who is closer to her now and you don´t know how much time she has to live.

Take her as a lady in company your mother needs.

Whish I have helped.

Good luck!