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BlueEyedGirl

Is This Even Worth Pursuing?

7 posts in this topic

I've talked about the issues we are having with FIL. Specifically with how he has alienated the grandchildren to the point that none of them even want to visit him, but a couple do out of sheer determination. FIL is investing quite a bit into one of DH's sisters and her family right now. Without too much detail, they are struggling right now. They live with him. SIL provides a lot of the day to day 'care' that FIL needs, but would never admit. FIL provides monetary assistance to them as needed. This is an arrangement between FIL and SIL and her DH. This is none of our business, though we are let in on it from both sides and know much more than we should. 

That being said, for some reason, because of what he is 'having' to do for SIL and her family, FIL has somehow lumped ALL of his children into the same boat. He portrays ALL of us as 'bleeding him dry' (his words) and keeps telling DH that he is sick of it. (example: He has a discount card to a place that DH needed to purchase something from. He went with DH to buy whatever it was that was needed, not a high dollar purchase by any stretch. He had to put it on his card in order to get the discount. Since he used his card instead of DH using ours, I didn't have the checkbook to pay him that night, and we had paid for dinner for everyone. So I told him that I would write him a check the next time I saw him. We see him once a week. All hell broke lose. He called DH every single day asking when I was going to write him a check. He has given DH's sis and her family more than even he is sure of at this point. I was so upset I drove a check over there and told him to leave DH alone.)

Sorry, I digress, but it's pretty clear that he lumps all of the families into the same pile when it comes to 'taking' from him (his words). 

To that end, I have a problem. There is something that he has (or rather hasn't) done that is harming his relationship with my oldest pretty significantly. She graduated this year.  Circumstances were such that DH was in the hospital and missed her graduation and we had to postpone her small family (my side) graduation party until he was home and well again. She bore all of that like a champ really.  FIL was unable to attend for many reasons, but the biggest of which is that he would have to drive an hour and sit in grad traffic and deal with crowds, wouldn't use his hearing aid and probably wouldn't even realize when she walked the stage. So we opted instead for SIL to show him the streaming video. 

So..

1. He KNOWS she graduated.

2. He SAW her graduate, albeit streaming vs in person

3. He has NEVER acknowledged her graduation. 

Please know that I DO NOT mean a gift. She is way beyond that. She doesn't care if he gives her a gift at all. A HUGE deal was made when all of the older grands graduated. He even went to one of the graduations. (There is an 8 year age difference between the oldest grand and my youngest). They received nice gifts. None of that matters to her EXCEPT she just wants him to say "hey congratulations on graduating with honors. I'm proud of you." Literally. just the words.

DH mentioned it to him and he said "Y'all are bleeding me dry! I don't have the money for a graduation gift for her!". DH said "Dad, she doesn't want a GIFT! She just wants you to acknowledge that she graduated!" To which, his dad repeated the above. 

I don't know why, but for some reason, he ignores when his kids tell him things. I've been considering saying something myself. She is so hurt that she won't even go over there anymore. It may sound petty that she is dwelling on this, but she HEARD him say the above.  This is going to end up putting a permanent rift between them before it's all over with. 

I think it bothers him when I say something to him. I think he still wants me to 'like' him, I don't know. I love the man, but he's pushing every button I have these days and this is just the icing on the cake.

Is it worth saying anything to him?

 

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Has he noticed that the grandchildren aren't visiting anymore? Just thinking that if FIL asked it would be an opening to tell him your oldest is so hurt that he didn't say anything to her about graduation that she doesn't want to see him anymore. Did MIL take care of cards and gifts for them? So much harder when it's your children who get hurt. I don't know if there is anyway to fix it since your DD heard her GF's rant. How do you think he would react if you called him on it?

As for the rest, I guess don't ask for anything, no matter how minor. Saving a bit of money wouldn't be worth it to me if FIL is this far gone with his selfish behavior. And isn't it just the icing on the cake that everything his daughter does for him means nothing, but the money FIL gives them is the only thing that counts. Ugg

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Yes, I agree w/ MMM - if FIL mentions the GC not visiting anymore, it might be worth taking that opening to say something about how ODD feels. But IDK if he's really "hearing" anyone right now. It doesn't sound to me as if he's "thinking straight." You may just have to ignore his complaints, as cold as that may sound. Bean dip when he starts in, etc. And don't expect more of him than he's able to give of himself, right now (as far as as "congratulations," etc),. even though it seems to be very little.

Perhaps it's better to "work from" your DDs' end? Let them know that, unfortunately, FIL isn't able to reach out that much now, and that it doesn't have anything to do w/ them personally? Not suggesting that they should visit him, anyway, and take his attitude - not at all. Just thinking that, maybe, if they understood this, ODD, for example, wouldn't feel so hurt.

Edited by RoseRed135

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Is he suffering from dementia or could he possibly be in the early stages?  I don't know how old he is but I've heard a few friends claim that their parents got harder to deal with as they age,  angrier, more selfish, lose their filter, become sillier, more confused.  I don't know how long it was since the last grandchild graduated - is that the 8 years? If he is now needing help with other things that he previously didn't need help with, perhaps it's a sign of his decline.

I would have a chat with your daughter and explain some of the hardships of aging, so that she understands it isn't anything personal.  If your FIL feels like he is being bled dry, then I would refrain from having any dealings with him that involve money, don't use his discount cards, don't get him to pay for dinners, just visit with him.  Ultimately the relationship between your daughter and her grandfather is now between them. 

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Does he have dementia? Has he started down that path?

My experience: it's better to explain to your child that FIL has no reserves of nice left to draw on.

Dad remained kind to mom, my brother and I until he passed. He may not have been logical or able to do easy math, but his behavior was consistently like his old self, if any of the 3 of us were involved.

With my other 4 siblings and our 20 kids - as his illness progressed - Dad seemed somewhat indifferent (?) to them emotionally. He was a very considerate man, had been a little self-absorbed - but his last time was totally all about himself. Mom, my brother and I felt he was entering that halfway place where he was making little steps back and forth to Heaven - his world was narrowing, he didn't spend much time on others needs. 

ETA: to your question. I wouldn't say anything to him, talk with ODD.

Edited by JanelleK
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I wouldn't say anything more to your FIL about your DD.  Your DH already tried and he didn't get anywhere with your FIL. 

I think your FIL's change in behavior is common.  I read an article about aging not too long ago and it was a collection of interviews from ACs about how they felt the first time their mom or dad forgot their birthday, and how that was a big moment when these ACs recognized that the mom and dad as they knew them were no longer, - a mourning if you will of a person who is still alive.  My DH and kids have been dealing with this for 3 years or so with my MIL - she no longer acknowledges their bdays or milestone events such as DS's HS graduation last June and lately with my FIL - he forgot DH's and the kids bdays this past year and doesn't acknowledge milestone events like DS's high school graduation.

DH has talked to the kids about it - that it isn't behavior directed at them, rather illness, stress over it, aging, etc. that has resulted in this change.  I like my YDD's response which was that she likes to focus on the time when my IL's were vibrant and full of life and lit up when they saw the GK's, rather than focus on this depressing and sad time. 

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In my view of things, people exist in ones life to help them evolve, mature and grow to better human beings.  This is an opportunity for you, as a loving wife, to help your husband grow.  Do it with love and with support and if he initially resents the idea, back off and let him consider it for a few days.  Maybe he'll come around or maybe he won't.  Sometimes it takes weeks or even years. 

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