Visiting son and family --Feel I have to be perfect

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by petesdragon, Sep 8, 2005.

  1. petesdragon

    petesdragon New Member

    My husband and I have to go 3 1/2 hours to a grandson's birthday party this weekend. They have a very wealthy lifestyle that I don't envy--expensive home, expensive tastes, expensive vacations, and, to me, phoney friends. The parties are always very elaborate. The parents bring up stuff they feel I've done wrong in the past like not paying my son more to cover his college expenses. I kept telling him to come up with a budget and I would pay more but he didn't want to admit the money was going to dryclean his jeans and on beer.They are embarassed by our clothes, don't understand why I need to lie down instead of getting to know the grandchildren who are dictated to about their play, their friends, their making it in the best schools and are in 1 or 2 scheduled activities every day of their lives. It doesn't help that the other grandmother is Ms. Sociable herself. I put so much pressure on myself to be perfect that I am ill before I even get there, apologetic when I have to lie down a lot,and trying to fit in to this socialite setting.
    I have tried to get my daughter-in-law to accept me but she has friends come over to spend the day of the party and they sit and gossip and ignore me. She doesn't understand my illness and she is all get up and go. How can I go and not beat up on myself like this?
  2. Suzan

    Suzan New Member

    I decided that I wouldn't go to the big party my kids have for my grandson. It is just too much for me..and they are only an hour away. They don't like it..particularly my son in law. He really gets very obnoxious about why I can't come to my only grandsons party. But, I DO celebrate his birthday...just later. And this way he has a special time with us..and he actually KNOWS what he got as a gift from us instead of it being one more thing on the pile.
    My daughter tries to be understanding about it..but she has a hard time trying to make her dh happy..and still be understanding about her mom. What I have learned to put myself FIRST . It is the most important thing I can do to help myself feel the best I can. So, only do what you are comfortable with is my best advice!
  3. Yucca13

    Yucca13 Member

    limit the length of my stay to the minimum. If people want to judge you (especially family) I personally wouldn't put up with it. I have a sister who kept telling me for years what I should have done about certain things. I asked her to stop doing it and she wouldn't/couldn't and finally had to tell her that I wasn't going to put up with anymore criticism. It is very unfortunate, but we haven't corresponded in about three years. I don't feel that in addition to feeling lousy, people need to browbeat you and if you need to rest, they should understand. If you possibly can, maybe staying at a nearby motel would be the best way to be comfortable.
    Hoping you have a good visit.
  4. Rosiebud

    Rosiebud New Member

    It sounds like an absolute nightmare. Can you not visit at another time when you can spend quiet time with your grandchildren with no-one making you feel left out.

    This would be horrific enough if you were healthy but to tolerate this behaviour when you are very ill, it's just not right. Those people may have lots of money but they are sadly lacking in social skills like politeness and kindness.

  5. lilac123

    lilac123 New Member

    I am so sorry your family would treat you like this. I too was getting ready for a family visit from my aunt and mom coming to stay for two weeks. Although they are both very loving and supportive I made myself a wreck worrying about my house, etc. My mom lives very nicely and I thought it would be quite a shock for her to see what a slob I have become. Before dd I was always a neat freak now I just let things go. It all turned out fine of course and I put myself through alot of unnecessary BS.

    You know, I think if it was me and someone was treating me like that I would have to decline the invite and try and make special arrangements to spend time with the grandson. Like someone else said that would stand out more as a memory anyway and be something special. We live in the country and very frugally too. I don't understand people's prioritys sometimes but that is what makes the world go around I guess.

    It is just too bad that family would behave that way. I am the type of person who would take gossiping and being rude to me for about a second and I would let them know about it!! But it sounds like just putting yourself in that situation is a set up for stress and is causing you trouble already.

    I just had an idea. Maybe you could find some literature on FM, CFS or whatever and take copies to pass out to everyone. I am such a smarty I would probably have my doc write a note or take a letter I have from him with me and say look, "If I had a more recognized illness would you people being treating me like this?"

    I will pray for you and you will be in my thoughts. Hang in there and try not to make yourself sick worrying about it. I'm not perfect and I'm proud of it! I lived the life you described and it really stunk! I was so miserable and am much happier now with the simple things.

    (((((((((((Soft Hugs))))))))))))
  6. lvjesus

    lvjesus Member

    I don't have great advice about what else to do, but I would not go and subject myself to that either. Sounds like your son is more concerned with himself than his mother.

    Good thing for him you were not like that when you were changing his messy diapers and making sure he did not starve to death when he was a babe and depended on you for his survival.

    A lot of kids are ingrates when they are young, but eventually come to their senses. I hope that your son will be one of them. Actually, I hope my 17 year old will be one of them too. She lives with her Dad and visits us every other weekend, but informed me at the first of June that she was going to be "busy for the summer" and I have not heard from her since.

    My husband sat her down at the computer and had her read about this dd when I was first dx and after she read it, she got up and went into her room and never said a word. She has never even asked me about it. How's that?

  7. NyroFan

    NyroFan New Member

    I would say 'the heck' with them and just lie down whenever you want to. They do not have to justify their lifestyle, why should you? It's OK to have money, but another thing to lose sight of yourself as a human being.
    And let us face it: would they treat you differently otherwise. Maybe not. Scary.
  8. fivesue

    fivesue New Member

    My grandchildren live up the block from us, and since about 2000, I simply don't go anymore to the large family gatherings. First of all, it's not my family...ex-husband, ex-mother-in-law, and my daughter's-in-law family...a messed up bunch, especially her mother. I have depression and anxiety and I simply couldn't put myself through that each time.

    The first time Jim, my husband now, went with me, my ex-husband showed up when he wasn't supposed to...just acting like only he can act. It was awful, and the rest of the group didn't even talk to either one of us. It was awful.

    So, no go. We have a dinner or something here at another time. We don't have to let ourselves be walked on by others even if it is our children. It sends the wrong message. You are a wonderful person and even if you are ill and not as rich as they, it doesn't matter! Money doesn't doesn't matter. You are the mother and grandmother and deserve respect.

    So, I hope you will feel easier about this whole thing this time. It's a great excuse to be able to go lie down when you feel uncomfortable.

    My best wishes for a surprisingly good time!
  9. petesdragon

    petesdragon New Member

    I didn't explain a few things well. My grandson is going to be 3. He doesn't know me because they only come here twice a year and we only go there twice a year -- for the two grandsons parties. The other grandson is 5. My son is 33 but still brings up the lack of college funds and other things I didn't do right. The daughter-in-law had no home church so was married in my home-town. They decided to have a keg-party at the armory. I told her mother I did not want it and she agreed but then she told my son and wife I had a bad attitude. They keep bringing it up but I told them this was MY home town and I had to live here and a keg party is not acceptable to me. They did have the keg party anyway. The sons in-laws always are there and they always have to be front and center but this year they are not coming. That takes away the excuse to stay in a motel -- they have room. Also my husband has about had it with my not wanting to go and is insisting I am a bad person to not want to see my grandsons. I guess I expected to be criticized by the board members because I couldn't just suck it up and go but you have been amazing. The main problem is I don't know what to do with myself when I am there. I don't drive in big cities. The tv is always on sports and I am not allowed in their room to watch another show because it is "too messy". They scurry around until it is impossible to have a conversation. They have no magazines around to just pick up as something new.Would it be rude to just take a book or some magazines along? What would you do? I will rest when I need to but my son doesn't understand why I am able to keep my grandchildren who live in my home town a few hours and not be able to do the same at his house. Stress is what makes the difference. They are also mad that I can't come down and watch their children a few days when they take a vacation -- they have had 4 vacations this summer.I haven't done it yet and hope I never do. This is too long but I have had this problem for 5 years and I still don't know what to do about it. Is having my nose stuck in a book rude?
  10. Rosiebud

    Rosiebud New Member

    to keep the peace with your husband and son then I dont see why you shouldn't take a book to fill in the time, in fact take two.

    Good luck

  11. NyroFan

    NyroFan New Member

    Put your nose in a book. Look out for #1. If you don't, who will? It might seem like it causes more problems, but: if you do not mind me saying: they sound like selfish people.
  12. fairyborn

    fairyborn New Member

    I know it is hard to visit when you feel that you may not be welcome. I know this from our Son-in-Law. But through the years I have found that if I can remember the saying "Killing them with kindness" or if you can think of something that makes you smile and wear that smile everyone will wonder just what it is that you are smiling at.

    I know when we are in pain and family members do not show compassion it is hurting. Really in the long run it is truly their loss or all of you wisdom and your years of experience. I hope you can remember that when we hold regret, nonforgivness or anger towards another that it does not hurt them. It only hurts our soul.

    So hopefully if choose to go. You will find some peace and space to take your grandchild a side and read a book to them. Because this is what they will remember.


  13. lilac123

    lilac123 New Member

    Oh, Boy it just makes me sick to think of how those closes to us can be so uncaring!! I am so sorry you are going through this.

    Since it sounds like you are determined to put yourself in that situation because of the pressure from others, I would definately take a book or something I enjoy doing., (crosswords, puzzle, sewing projects, etc.) In fact, I would almost make myself find something else to do while there to occupy my mind and hands.

    I have a very loud, hyper husband. My Dad likes to come on Sundays to "watch" the races. There is so much talking I don't think we every really "watch" it. Anyway, I have found that I just can't sit in one position and do nothing and all the hub bub makes me so nervous. So, I sit and work on sewing or I make earrings sometimes or play on the puter in the same room. It seems to help cause I can concentrate on something else and kinda zone out of the noise.

    I don't think it rude of you at all to take a book to read! It is a shame because it sounds like these two parents are probably teaching the kids their bad habits and beliefs. Do you have any other children besides your son you mentioned who are more understanding of your illness? Maybe someone should speak with your son firmly of your situation and he should grow up and quit blaming you. Also, I would tell them when you point a finger at someone, there are four more pointed back at you. And, What we don't like in others is what we don't see in ourselves.

    I will be thinking and praying for you!
  14. cjcookie

    cjcookie New Member

    I don't know how you know they are embarassed by your clothes - I'm assuming you were told. Please - how rude is that? I bet you look just fine unless you and your husband are colorblind and I'm thinking that's not the case. Many kids don't get help from their parents for college so he should have been grateful for what he got.

    So many kids don't get any attention from grandparents or don't even have them and your son and daughter-in-law should be grateful that you want to make the trip with all the pain you are in.

    Maybe if it is important for you to have your DIL accept you, you can have lunch together alone. You can get to know each other better this way.

    If the girls gossip in front of you again, tell them you know so and so's Mother - that ought to shut them up.

    I hope your son grows up and realizes how lucky he is to have you!

    [This Message was Edited on 09/09/2005]