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Periodic Contributor

Need some advice, please...

I retired to Florida 8 years ago without knowing a soul. It was a good move. It allowed me to finish and publish a book. I only lived there for a year though, because my daughter announced she was expecting her first child. I knew my life would change at that moment. She's a flight attendant and works varies hours and has to be gone two or three days a week. Her husband works midnights. The natural progression was for me to step up and take care of the baby. I moved to the city where she lives and rented an apartment, which was approximately 45 minutes away from my daughter. She would drop the baby off when she had to work and pick him up after her two or 3 day trips. When he turned three years old, she put him in pre-school and I would have to take him to school and pick him up three days a week while she was at work. The school was 40 minutes away. After four years, we were becoming exhausted by the commute. So, we decided it would be best for me to move in with them, because the school was closer to her home and I would be able to pay down some of by bills. My grandchild is now seven years old. In 2020, my daughter purchased a larger  home with a mother-in-law suite. I have paid my daughter $450 rent since I moved in with them, plus taking care of my grandchild. I feel she has taken me for granted all these years. It's as though I was suppose to watch my grandchild. She often makes statements regarding me caring for my grandbaby, such as 'you're not doing any else or isn't that what grandmother's are suppose to do? Since the Pandemic my grandson has been learning online he will go back to school in January, now that vaccines are available for children ages 5 to 11. In 2020, I was guarantine in the mother-in-law suite all of 2020. Since, I've been vaccinated I go to the market and doctor's appts., but I don't have a social life. I'm still very careful about who I'm around, because I've had pneumonia before and got very sick, so I don't want to catch Covid. This week my daughter announces that her husband's family is coming in town for Thanksgiving and not one of them is vaccinated and don't believe in mask wearing. They will be staying at the house for three days. She tells me that her husband wants to show his family my living quarters, because they have never seen the home. I wasn't happy about that because I feel it is invading my privacy. I understand this is their home, but I don't see the point in having his family come into my space were I pay rent just to view a living room, bedroom and bath? She got very angry with me and we had a few words. My grandson and I are very close, we play off and on all day. We watch our favortie baskball team everytime they play. We have had move night every friday for two years, but tonight she told my grandson that because she was angry with me and movie night was cancelled and she doesn't want him to come downstairs and visit me until further notice. He was very upset. He texted me crying memes. I cried because that was mean of her. I am very upset with her so I'm thinking about going to an hotel on Thanksgiving so that her and hubby can have their whole house for his family to enjoy. I just don't think it's fair. I don't have anyone else to vent to, so I thought maybe someone on this forum will give me their opinion. Rhonda

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Trusted Social Butterfly

 

Oh my God, I completely understand you. I'm in a similar situation. My 50 yr old daughter had a good government job 800 miles away from us. She suddenly married late in life, had 2 kids at age 38 and 42. She and her husband divorced. She was ordered to leave the home because of mental health issues, so she turned to me to help her find an apartment and help her with paying her bills. Then, she lost her job 2 years ago. Then came the $$$ lawyers as she battled for custody of  the kids. Her husband and her in-laws have put restraining orders on her. Last year, she returned home to us. I rented her an apartment because she and her father don't get along and the constant fighting was horrible. In short, she messed up the apt, wouldn't work and ended up in a mental hospital for a month. This came after she went out to see her kids, unannounced, and was arrested and spent a week in jail. Now, she's back in that area which was only supposed to be for 2 weeks. She's staying in a women's shelter, has no car and limited money from the stimulus payments. By mistake, I gave her my credit card for emergencies in addition to money as I thought she was only going to file an appeal and then come back. Now, she's using it for transportation and suggested that she needs to hire a family attorney. She doesn't want to come back. There's no way that she can get partial custody as she's not working. I understand her grief at not having seen her kids for over 2 years, nor will her husband allow her to have contact with them. They are basically using the kids as pawns to get back at her. This has been going on for 3 years and I've emptied my savings acct, taken out loans and am exhausted. I know she's thinking that we're not good grandparents if we don't support her. My husband has dementia problems, so I can't discuss this with him. His opinion is that we've done enough for her, so let her be homeless out there. I would agree, but I'm a mother. Her ex also won't allow us to communicate with the kids. It's a nightmare situation. We're both in our mid-70s and don't need all this drama. 

As for your situation, I feel so sorry for you. You've done everything to help them, but I agree that our kids have taken us for granted. I can't believe that she takes your services and rent money,  but is "angry" at you so as to keep your grandson away from you. All this has been in the making, but we've been far too concerned about them rather than ourselves. They obviously don't understand that most families are struggling with childcare and money while having to work. I wish we could just have said, "that's your problem". Before Covid, I used to go to a senior group which offered alot of support and activities, but they closed last year. I know how it is to feel completely overwhelmed and helpless, especially if you don't have alot of income or family. I know my daughter has mental health issues, but she's always been controlling and demanding. I wish you could move, but I know that would deprive you of your grandson. 

I just had to share this so you and others like us won't feel so alone. 

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Agreed with nctarheel response below. Your daughter and her husband are uncaring, selfish people who view you as a servant, maid, babysitter and a non-entity.  They don't respect you or your contributions to the household. This is not family love. In other words your daughter is a witch and swap the 'w' with the letter 'b'. Regardless of how much time you have spent with your grandson, he will believe everything his parents say about you. When he gets older perhaps he will realize how horribly his parents have treated you. I suggest you hire a locksmith when your daughter is on a flight and install a deadbolt to prevent snooping by her and  the in-laws. Keep in mind, maybe, your daughter is showing your living quarters to entice an in-law to move in, right, you could be on the cusp of eviction. Regardless of the amount of rent you pay, the fact remains you pay rent and your daughter is the landlord which means you are her tenant, not her mother.  The grandson is being manipulated and used by your daughter to keep YOU emotionally under her control. Be strong. Be Powerful. Pack up and move, without out notice. Go seek the life and the friends that you deserve. Please do consider therapy because this is emotional abuse and your daughter is not loving or kind and not who you think or wished or want to her to be. The fact that you wrote here means you know it. Please feel validated and know this situation your daughter and husband created is toxic. And if you choose to stay, this behavior is just the start, it will become worse.  Please write back and let us know of your decision and for more support. You can do it and YOU can Stand Up for yourself. Remember you own yourself a happy, calm, peaceful life. Living with this daughter does not provide that.

Periodic Contributor

 

Thank you so much for responding to my request for advice. I've never posted my personal business on any forum, but the other day I was distraught, crying and could barely type the words on the post. Your advice is candid, and so true!! You validated what I have been contemplating for awhile now. Many times I have thought about seeking therapy, but figured I was just overeacting. When I moved in with my daughter, I made a conscious effort not to be a meddling mother-in-law. I don't go into their part of the home unless invited. I rarely see my son-in-law, maybe once a month. I'm independent, I grogery shop for myself. I bath, feed and help with homeschooling my grandson when his parents are away. When you said, "they don't respect you or your contributions to the household" it brought tears to my eyes, because that is exactly what I have been feeling. I worked twenty-one years as a State Department of Human Services case worker, and before that I worked at a hospital. I've been self-supporting most of my adult life. I have a decent pension, so I don't have to depend on my daughter. I just wanted to make her life a little easier with provideing care child, so my grandson could having a loving granny to take care of him. But you're right living with my daughter and her hubby is toxic and continuing on this path could lead to irreparable damage to our relationship. I've always wanted to move to Panama City, Panama, but I just didn't want to leave my grand child. I would miss him dearly. However, it is probably best at this juncture in my life to move on. I'll be sixty-nine next month. I will take your advice and seek theraphy as well. Thank you again for taking time to reply to a strangers plead for advice. 

I wish you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving.

Regular Contributor

Dear RhondaR303211: Thank for replying, often times I see people write and either no one responds or if there is a response, the writer never acknowledges the reply. And yes, it could be that they have emailed privately.  First, please don't feel that sharing your concerns and wanting feedback or a perspective is "personal business" we ALL need help and advice and guidance, no matter who or what you are. Nope, I did not perceive you as 'plead for advice". Did you ever see the movie "Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte" with Betty Davis? There is a line at the end 'we all have the need for a stranger'. The Character in the movie can't rely on anyone other than a stranger to help her. Interesting, right? The cousin and a doctor acting in concert are taking advantage of Betty Davis to steal her money. The concept of suffering in silence or not talking about 'private' stuff is unhelpful. It should become very easy to say, hey, what do you think of this situation.  I have realized in relationships where there is a need, want or a wish, there lies the opening to compromise yourself and often the need, want or wish is not ever fulfilled and you can be exploited because you keep trying to make what you want to happen and the other person is using that to their gain. (when I say need, I don't mean needy, that's different)  This happens in every relationship, sisters, brothers, parents, children, friends, husbands & wives.  Relationships are an unspoken contract, often it is you treat me nicely & I treat you nicely and that works for years or briefly when one person violates the bargain. And then it is realized they weren't a friend either.  People often don't know what the contract-bargain agreement is, one person may enter the contract with you treat me nicely & fairly and the other person's contract is I take advantage. You kept trying to make this living situation work, you did this and you did that, you respected their living space, they don't respect yours. When you moved in YOU made a " conscious effort not to be a meddling mother-in-law. I don't go into their part of the home unless invited." Well, what conscious effort did they make? Your contract was "to make her life a little easier with providing care child, so my grandson could having a loving granny to take care of him." How, specifically, has your daughter made your life "a little easier"? Make a list of how your daughter & husband have made your life easier?  Value the time you spent with your grandson and greatly appreciate that he got to know you as a little boy, that connection lasts. You can still be a fabulous loving G-ma miles and miles away. Don't view moving as 'moving away' you can be just as dear from afar. You can email, zoom, text and call all you want to keep your G-son connection alive and dear. You can make cookies and mail them. He can visit YOU for a month in the summer.  Change isn't the end, it is a new and better beginning. And you deserve to be happy. Now I am interested in your contemplation of moving to Panama City, I would like to hear about that's exciting. I will send you a private message, in the event it is preferred. Thanks, you made my day! It helps to be helpful too!!

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@RhondaR303211,

 

My opinion is that your daughter has created a toxic atmosphere for you.

 

It is not that she has taken you for granted; she has turned you into an indentured servant.

 

To use your grandchild as a pawn to punish you is beyond the pale.

 

I would get myself away from that unhealthy environment as quickly as possible.

Periodic Contributor

Thank you so much for responding to my request for advice. I've never posted my personal business on any forum, but the other day I was distraught, crying and could barely type the words on the post. I've had a few days to let your profound advice register and reflect on my life. I agree living with my daughter and her hubby is toxic and continuing on this path could lead to irreparable damage to our relationship. I've always wanted to move to Panama City, Panama, but I just didn't want to leave my grandson. I would miss him dearly. However, it is probably best at this juncture in my life. I'll be sixty-nine next month. Thank you again for taking time to validate what I have been contemplating for awhile now.

I wish you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving.

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