A question for you who fell out with family
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22-02-2012, 04:09 AM
A question for you who fell out with family
Hello girls and boys, I have a situation on my hand that I could really use some input on, sorry in advance if this will be a long post. I'm new here(although I've been a follower of the podcast for some time and an atheist for years) If this is in the wrong section, I'm sorry and mods, please move the thread.

My dilemma isn't really religious to it's nature, although superstition do play a part.

I'll start with some background; My mother.
She is "spiritual" and believes in spirits, Rudolf Steiner, healing, prayer, homeopathy, Deepak Chopra, angels, Jesus and a whole big cocktail of crap and I was raised in those beliefs. I've been a 'searcher' most part of my life, picking the raisins from whatever belief seemed most plausible at the time, never staying long because nothing ever held water more than a few months. I guess I've been destined for skepticism, if you get the idea.
Being an atheist hasn't presented any problem for me, since I live in Sweden, which is more secular than most any other country on earth, nor has I had any major falling out with my family or even my mother... until now.

Since my first daughter was born little over four years ago, my mother has gone crazy, driving both me and especially my wife, nuts. To list the crazy stuff she's done would take a long time, so I'll just share a few bits.

She went ballistic when we vaccinated our daughter, crying in the middle of town, declaring that we were to blame when(not if) our daughter became autistic. She routinely go against our instructions when it comes to our daughter, then tries to laugh it off when we confront her. She denies many things blatantly. There are many, many more things and these are not the worst, suffice to say it has almost caused a divorce.

This behavior has gone on for over four years now, with constant conflicts, promises of change and then her falling back into old habits. We have, since six months or so, come to the point that my wife refuse to have anything to do with her, and with good reason. We live some three hours by high-speed train apart, so we have some distance.

Now we're expecting our second child and my mother is once again trying to reach out, she wants to have a relationship with her two only grandchildren. I realize this will be a tough time, but I do love my mother with all her flaws. She do mean well, but we're embarrassed to even invite her to our daughters birthday parties because she always makes a mess and a fool out of herself.

I've been close to cutting contact with her many times, which is where I could really use some advice and thoughts. I know many here has had to cut their ties with parents, siblings and friends and how to cope with the situation.

What should I do? What can I do? Can I keep a relationship with my mother and let my kids get to know their grandmother even though the mother of my children won't even talk to my mom on the phone?

Any and all advice welcome, thank you.




And I might aswell introduce myself, since this is my first post.
I'm Adam Micha, 29 years old and finally taking up studies again. Working on my master in technical design engineering. I have a wonderful daughter and a great wife(who is also an atheist to the bone, although she's studying to become a teacher in Religion :-). Find me on facebook!
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22-02-2012, 07:31 AM
RE: A question for you who fell out with family
Introduce yerself first then run yer neck is the proper order of operations. Tongue

As to the OP, space her. You know, airlock? Angel

But just disassociate; if she loves you more than her woo, she'll come around. If not, she'd only bring you down.

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22-02-2012, 12:07 PM
RE: A question for you who fell out with family
(22-02-2012 07:31 AM)houseofcantor Wrote:  Introduce yerself first then run yer neck is the proper order of operations. Tongue

As to the OP, space her. You know, airlock? Angel

But just disassociate; if she loves you more than her woo, she'll come around. If not, she'd only bring you down.

Thank you for the reply! I've introduced myself in the thread specified :-)

As for the matter at hand, I can't say I havn't been tempted to nuke the site from orbit, but still caring for my family, I'll keep closing off all contact as a last resort. But I still don't want to risk my marriage over her madness... Any tips on how to manage the situation? As before, any and all ideas are welcome.
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22-02-2012, 12:36 PM
RE: A question for you who fell out with family
I don't have any direct experience but I'll give you my thoughts.

No one wants to separate from their immediately family except as a last resort. If you choose to exclude her from your lives, that will also preclude your children from contact with part of their family. The grandchild/grandparent relationship can be a wonderful part of childhood and life. I'd lay it out to your mother in a plain manner:
1) we would like to have you as part of our lives and our children's lives
2) BUT you must let us dictate the rules for them and you must allow us to parent in the manner that we feel is best for our children. (I am sure you would feel the same way if the situation were reversed)
3) Arrange for a meeting in a neutral location for an afternoon so that she can be a part of them and see them but with a short leash. If she crosses the line simply get up and leave (easy to do in a neutral location). Let her prove in small doses that she can abide by your rules.
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22-02-2012, 12:47 PM
RE: A question for you who fell out with family
(22-02-2012 12:36 PM)devilsadvoc8 Wrote:  I don't have any direct experience but I'll give you my thoughts.

No one wants to separate from their immediately family except as a last resort. If you choose to exclude her from your lives, that will also preclude your children from contact with part of their family. The grandchild/grandparent relationship can be a wonderful part of childhood and life. I'd lay it out to your mother in a plain manner:
1) we would like to have you as part of our lives and our children's lives
2) BUT you must let us dictate the rules for them and you must allow us to parent in the manner that we feel is best for our children. (I am sure you would feel the same way if the situation were reversed)
3) Arrange for a meeting in a neutral location for an afternoon so that she can be a part of them and see them but with a short leash. If she crosses the line simply get up and leave (easy to do in a neutral location). Let her prove in small doses that she can abide by your rules.

Thank you for your reply.

"3)" is how I planned it for the coming months, as my wife refuse to be in the same room as her mother in law(and with good reason, really), it presents a emotional dilemma for me though, as my mother won't be able to attend any birthdays, miss out on celebrating the holidays(yeah, we celebrate them, though without any carols, praying or anything of the sort:-)).

I'm just so angry you know, she's ruining her own grandparent-hood and denying my daughter a healthy relationship to a part of her family. It's so selfish!

I've talked to her on so many occasions, and for a month or so everything is fine. Then it's back into old habits. Old dogs and all that you know... Drives me nuts and my wife has had it with her. I don't see them seeing eye-to-eye in any foreseeable future.
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22-02-2012, 11:22 PM
RE: A question for you who fell out with family
I think we need to hear some more stories about what she does to ascertain the proper course of action.
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22-02-2012, 11:46 PM
RE: A question for you who fell out with family
(22-02-2012 11:22 PM)mysticjbyrd Wrote:  I think we need to hear some more stories about what she does to ascertain the proper course of action.

Fair enough...

During my wifes pregnancy with our first child, she took my wife aside and gave her advice on how to satisfy me sexually. WTF is that?! NOT OK!

She was dead set against us giving our baby formula, claiming it was made from petrochemical waste and that we were giving our child cancer. Stigmatizing my wife for not being able to breastfeed.

She tried to feed our daughter brazil nuts and other hard-to-chew stuff before she even had teeth.

When we have had to treat our daughter with conventional medicine, like antibiotics, cough syrup and so on, she made remarks over how what we're doing is hurting our child and that we should use homeopathy instead. This has improved though.

This is again, just a small selection, albeit on the crazier side of the scale.
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23-02-2012, 12:04 AM
RE: A question for you who fell out with family
(22-02-2012 11:46 PM)TheHolyCommonRoach Wrote:  She tried to feed our daughter brazil nuts and other hard-to-chew stuff before she even had teeth.

That's incredibly dangerous. Your child could have died.
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23-02-2012, 12:16 AM
RE: A question for you who fell out with family
For the record, I doubt anyone would blame you for closing off all contact. But I get that she's your mom and has a special place in your heart, so that might sound too drastic.
I guess the way I feel about this sort of thing is you can take all the space you need--even to the extent that it seems like, for a while, you've broken off all contact. But you do this without making any verbal proclamation. The idea I'm trying to get at here is I think it's possible to create space without severing ties. And it may be you need to consider the ties severed, without actually severing them outloud with your mom. The advantage to this is it lets you go back to her anytime you decide it is safe, without having to deal with the damage of an officially damaged relationship.

Probably all a bunch of late night rambles, but I'd say it seems like you've been doing a pretty good job so far and it's just a matter of creating the boundaries you need to feel like you and your family are emotionally safe.

It was just a fucking apple man, we're sorry okay? Please stop the madness Laugh out load
~Izel
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23-02-2012, 02:05 AM
RE: A question for you who fell out with family
(22-02-2012 04:09 AM)TheHolyCommonRoach Wrote:  Any and all advice welcome, thank you.




And I might aswell introduce myself, since this is my first post.
I'm Adam Micha, 29 years old and finally taking up studies again. Working on my master in technical design engineering. I have a wonderful daughter and a great wife(who is also an atheist to the bone, although she's studying to become a teacher in Religion :-). Find me on facebook!

Speaking of Facebook, that's the distance that I keep my Christian friends and relatives at. She may not be satisfied with a relationship by phone or via Facebook, but it seems to be a good compromise for me personally, and may work for you, too.

My girlfriend is mad at me. Perhaps I shouldn't have tried cooking a stick in her non-stick pan.
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