Grandchild and Christmastime

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by dzlady, Dec 17, 2010.

  1. dzlady

    dzlady New Member

    This will be my first Christmas with a diagnosis of FM and Major Depression. Doesnt mean its my first Christmas without the same, its just now I have a diagnosis. With that said, I am pretty low this year.

    My first grandchild, girl, from my oldest boy was born on May 22nd this year. She is the first biological grandchild for me. I have 3 (now) that are from my step daughters, but they are not the same. Its how our family works that makes them different. I dont treat them differently (at least I hope it doesnt show), but its how I feel inside. Maybe its not right, but its how I feel. And its now even their fault. My 3 step daughters have never accepted me and I am treated like their father's something. We have been married 15 years and its always been this way. I was not allowed at two of the daughters high school graduation, nor was I allowed to visit the hospital in October when one of the girls had their baby. These girls are 28, 26 and 25, so they should be grown up.

    When I found out in October that I wasnt allowed at the hospital to visit, that was it for me! I blew up and let 15 years of all this crap out. My poor husband heard it all, and what shocked me was that he agreed with me. He gave his daughter an earful and she retracted her ban, but by this point, I was so hurt that I refused to go to the hospital. I've seen the baby once since he was born and really have no desire to visit any of them. I know its wrong, but its how I feel.

    I got a phone call Monday evening from the other grandmother of of my granddaughter. She informed me that my granddaughter no longer lived in Northwestern Missouri (where I live) and that now she lives in eastern Illinois. Its a messy story, but lets just say that mother, grandmother and I dont get along. And my son, the dad, is in jail at the time, so he knew nothing about the move either. They just up and moved. When I found out, I cried and cried. Then I get a call from the grandfather (who is separated from the grandmother and happens to be my ex-husband) and tells me that he is getting calls from them that I am harassing them. WHAT? I just happened to be at the hospital visiting one of the step daughters at the birth of her first child when the call came in. I began crying uncontrollably because I was so mad and stressed. Foolish me, I thought when my son turned 18, I was done with all the drama that they cause!

    I am in no mood for Christmas. I have a most of the gifts purchased, but no desire to wrap them or do anything with them. The step daughters are getting Wal-Mart gift cards and after that, we are done with Christmas shopping.

    I always host Christmas dinner for my in-laws and my mother and while I usually enjoy having them down, I am not looking forward to it this year. My mother will not be attending anymore.
    My extended family (mother and sister) and I are not speaking. Havent since July 1. They are the reason for my son being in jail and being railroaded in the so-called justice system. Its just a tough year, as I know it is for many.

    Thanks for listening to me vent and ramble...
  2. quanked

    quanked Member

    you might want to consider not placing value judgements on your feelings. Feelings are not good, bad, or wrong or right--they just are--we feel what we feel. There are some feelings that we might choose not to feed and ones that we might want to change but to say one feeling is right and one is wrong serves no useful purpose.

    I can relate a great deal to what you are talking about where family is concerned. I let go of most of my family once I realized that my nearly 60 years of effort was never going to change what is--a very emotionally unhealthy family uninterested in making it any different. It is good to be free of illusions or perhaps delusions ; )

    What many of us don't probably know and those who do often forget is that families are the most violent arenas on earth bar none. Hearing of the unspeakable things that we do to each other in the name of love and family can still take my breath away. When I did therapy with abuse victims I thought that eventually I would not be amazed by new stories. That never happened.

    For some fortunate people families are mostly caring an supportive environments where their members truly promote the well being of of their members. This is not true for most people in my opinion.

    The idea of families as safe havens and places of refuge is myth for many of us. I am never more aware of this than during the "holidays".

    The trick for me became how do I get beyond just surviving a sick family? Before my illness I was thriving and doing well after having created myself a support system comprised of people I liked, loved and wanted in my life--people who valued and appreciated me. Needless to say these dd's have totally changed the landscape of my life. I would never open my life up to the my biological family again though--especially in the vulnerable state I am in.

    It is sad to hear that you have been mistreated by so many in your family--step or otherwise. The bright spot is that you do not have to work to convince your husband of the injustices you endure. It can be different though--but only you can decide what you want and assess what is possible and create a more peaceful and loving existence for yourself.

  3. dzlady

    dzlady New Member

    For all you're supportive and kind words. I stay to myself and my (live in) family. Those who know and support me. The only extended family that I have anything to do with is my brother and father. My father lives thousands of miles away, so its only telephone that I deal with there and if were to do me wrong, I just dont call or email. My brother is supportive but we have our moments. My sister tried to drag him into the chaos between her and I. I told him I wasnt going to put him in the middle of it all. He appreciated that and I think it made us closer. But I also dont divulge my life with him either.

    My mother and father-in-law listen to what is said and thats it. They dont judge nor have harsh words to say. They are supportive and help when asked. Its nice to have family like that.

    The holidays are always worse for those with depression, I understand that. I also may think its wrong, or bad, but I dont dwell on my feelings. If I did, I'd be living in an ocean of tears. When I am hurt, emotionally, is when it really gets to me. My husband hurts my feelings occasionally and feels bad when he does. He makes up for it quickly. I think its because I wear my heart on my sleeve. I've always been easily hurt.

    Thanks again. It really means a lot what everyone has said.
  4. gapsych

    gapsych New Member

    My family used to be somewhat similar when my mother and her sisters were alive. We never knew who was speaking to whom at any time on my mother's side and usually over little slights.

    My parents were divorced and my mom pitted us against my dad.

    However, after a time what my sister and I did when we realized that all this was ridiculous, was to invite people to occasions and then let the onus be on them whether they decide to come or not. We stopped tiptoeing around other's just to avoid getting in the middle and if that was tried we basically let them know we were not going to be a part of it. If someone called, complaining of someone else, we would state politely our stance and try to keep the door open for other types of conversation. If someone behaved inappropriate at a family occasion, they were not asked back. But we always kept that door open. For some this worked, for other's it didn't.

    Refuse to let yourself be put in the middle. I know it's easier said than done and it takes a lot of practice.

    Do you have a counselor? Your family may never change but you can learn how to not let them bother you as much. Don't give them all the power in deciding how you feel. It's not worth it. Perhaps, and this is with a big P, once you stop being pulled into their silly games and letting them get you so upset, they won't try to drag you in. Again, easier said than done but it might be worth a try.

    You may even have to disengage yourself from them for a while or even forever.

    You have to live your life and not let their problems overwhelm you when you already have a lot on your plate.

    I'm not one for self help books however one that my psychiatrist recommended one to me and even used for himself, is called the Resilence Factor by Karen Reivich and Andrew Shatte. I found a lot of things that in my gut I knew I needed to do. however the book goes further and helps you decide what your goals are and how to implement them when dealing with others. It even has exercises which you can choose or not to use to help sort things out.

    Quanked gave you good advice.

    Let us know how you are doing.

    [This Message was Edited on 12/18/2010]