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Thread: Been a while but I need opinions

  1. #1
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    Nov 2003
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    Been a while but I need opinions

    I haven't had time to hang out here like I used to - thank goodness for Facebook because I still keep up with a lot of PTers!

    But I have an issue that I can't discuss on FB because one of the people involved has friended to us on FB. so, please BEAR WITH ME, this will be long.

    Long story short: My husband has never been able to tell the kids no. Whatever they wanted, he either did for them or bought for them regardless the sacrifice he made to do so. After years of feeling used and abused by the kids, and many years of therapy, he started telling them "no". A little here, a little there. As he grew more confident in standing up for himself, he started step 2 of the process: telling them that he had needs too and asking them to help fill his needs.

    Ashley no longer talks to us. At all. She's furious we told her that we wouldn't babysit the second baby for free. She thought we were kidding, that once the baby came, we'd relent and raise that child too. She even had me in the delivery room to ensure that happening. Nope. We said we'd babysit once in a while, but not 10 hours a day. Every. Day. We've seen that child about 8 times in the year and half she's been on this earth. I tried and tried to extend an olive branch. I texted her and suggested dinner out with the kids, her new boyfriend, and us. No, no, we can't afford it. Ok, our treat! no, no, we can't ask you to spend your money. How about Applebee's? Tuesday is kids-eat-free night and you can order off the 2 for $20 menu. No, too much money. Ran into her at Chick-Fil-A with $50 worth of food on their tray (BUSTED! by my math, that's much more than $20) and we haven't seen Cameron since school ended. She won't let us see him --- he has Bible Camp, he has Cub Scouts, he's with daddy. Sigh. So what about the baby? Don't tell me she has social events too? Apparently.

    Tony lived with us for 9 months with his fiancÚ. Oh. My. God. A bigger pair of free-loaders with more excuses never existed. I bit my tongue because I wanted to be the new and improved Kim. I wanted to help them get on their feet (neither had well paying jobs) and we agreed no rent money, but we did want to have money for the utilities they used. They never had money, but we always saw them with Dunkin Donuts coffee cups and sandwich wrappers. They'd bring bags and bags of take out food from their room each day. I set up several well paying jobs for him through work --- one was his dream job, but since I recommended it he passed on it. Finally, one day after the dream job lady called to see why he never returned her call, he said he already had a job (part time coach making $10,000 a year) and was NOT going to call her back. Hubby finally said "Either call the lady or find an apartment!" He moved out a few days later, and 3 months later has not spoken one word, but comes to the house when he knows we're not home (We know this because his mail disappears on a regular basis)... the thing that annoyed me was the night after it happened, I pulled the fiancÚ aside and said to her that I didn't want to throw them out and we wanted to help them. That sometimes hubby and Tony were stubborn and I don't want to see them get into a financial mess they can't get out of. She shrugged her shoulders. I asked if she had any input and she said no. The next day, Heather called to say "Can Tony move out after the weekend, since he is babysitting for me?" A grown man can't tell us himself.... let alone his 37 year old fiancÚ giving me heads up 10 hours earlier when I tried to talk to her. Oh, and Tony owes us $7,000 for loans he has never paid that hubby cosigned (a perfect example of hubby doing what the kids wanted regardless the impact on our life).

    Heather... the level headed one. She's hurt us both the most. Every time she called for the past year, and hubby asked her of something her answer was "At least I talk to you!" or "I'm not tony, I work!" or "I'm not Ashley, I care for my kids!" you get the idea. Hubby has panic and anxiety along with PTSD. A few months ago, at the 7 year old's birthday party, he had a severe panic attack. I explained we had to leave, and she said "typical! he's being a drama queen!" Umm, no, he was unable to breathe and anxiety was suffocating him. But, whatever. She didn't talk to him for 3 weeks. When she finally did, she told him that his problem is that he doesn't walk. Walking equals no anxiety? ohhhhkaaayyy. Then she called 2 weeks later, and asked to babysit. He agreed. It turned out there was a miscommunication because he thought it was that weekend, she wanted NEXT weekend, where we actually have plans. I said, "Ut-oh, I have plans Sunday." she said, "that's ok, I'm off and he can bring the kids up in the morning." I stuttered and sought a polite way to say that we didn't have time and if she was off, that she could pick up her kids. Especially since we're babysitting for free, and its an hour and half ride each way. I didn't need to say anything else because she said, "Never mind, I'll find someone else who doesn't give me so much grief!" and hung up. Huh? I know its a silly interaction, but its symptomatic of the problem. She's pregnant right now, and a hysterical, hormonal mess. But does that give her a free pass to being selfish and inconsiderate?

    So, all in all, we have three kids - none of whom will speak with us. They have no idea what to make of a dad who has changed. I'm so proud of the changes he has made. He is much happier person and his anxiety is much better. Its funny our rolls have almost reversed. He's the one being stern and I'm the one saying "lets think about it." Now he's telling them for himself and I no long have to be the meanie. But I'm sure that somewhere in their selfish minds, they are convinced its all my doing. "Dad wouldn't tell me no unless Kim told him to say no!"

    He just feels stuck. We wants to see the kids and grandkids but at this point, they refuse to see him and are holding the kids as leverage. They think if they are silent long enough that he'll relent and go back to his old way of giving them everything they want. He's not. He knows he can't.

    If you stayed this long: THANK YOU! I really need some opinions. How to mend this break? He can't go back - its too unhealthy for him mentally, but how can we all move forward?

    Also: Am I way off base thinking that if we babysit, the least they could do it drop off and pick up? Its a LOT of driving - our car is brand spanking new, and I'd like to keep it low miles. (speaking of cars, Heather went from "I can't afford anything!" to "Whoopie, we're buying a Lexus!" - Can't she use her big shiny expensive, luxury car that she bought because its apparently the only safe car in town - as well as her dream car --- she's only 24 and getting her dream car? Hubby's 50 and still dreamin' ) I know they work, but I do too! and if you saw how fried he is after three days of watching a toddler and 7 year old? It takes him 3 days to wind-down, and usually my head is bitten off Saturday night, all through Sunday. I hate hate hate Sunday night - he's just completely zapped of all energy and kindness. The babysitting is twice monthly, Friday afternoon til late Sunday evening. three whole days where we spend a lot of time and money on the kids. The money's something we decide to spend, so I'm not expecting anyone to reimburse us. At least appreciate it? And to know a third child is on the way? He'll NEVER be able to make it!

  2. #2
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    I am glad you came back here to Pet Talk, where more of us are, and more often, and where it is a safe place from trolls and lurkers.

    Honestly, I rarely recommend this, but I think you, he and the adult kids need a counselor, whether it is a pastor, a professional family counselor, or someone else. Obviously everyone is quite set in their own opinions, and nothing will come of everyone just restating their own opinions as the "right" ones. Is there some third party you could trust with this? You could start with just the two of you, then ask the kids each to attend when the counselor feels you are ready.

    You are not off-base in saying they should be the ones to pick up and drop off. Every other daycare situation in the world works this way. And only the little ones are being hurt by all this bad behavior on their parents' parts. I am sure that is not what you want to happen, nor Grant, either.
    I've Been Frosted

  3. #3
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    Karen,
    Geesh, its 3AM and I'm wide awake with grief over this.

    He and I have been seeing therapist over the years. He has a great set of therapists right now at the VA hospital. They say we're such a strong team that I'm not "Allowed" at his visits more than once every 6 visits - that he needs to continue working on his own. It sounds odd, but it makes sense in context: We're STRONG as a couple and a team. We're both on the same page of everything that matters (Stupid things like where to eat dinner don't count )

    We've suggested the kids join us over the years. Once even got Ashley there (with a bit of bribery of our own) and she clammed up and didn't say anything and refused to ever return. She needs therapy on her own desperately. Heather thinks therapy is a joke and staunchly refuses to go. We've invited her many times, and suggested couple's counseling for her and her husband. He (her husband) thinks therapy is hooey too, so we're out of options there. and Tony? the closest way I got him to go to a therapist meeting was the time I had him drive me there to meet Grant at the VA hospital, and I swear there were skid marks on the street (one because he's a terrible driver and another because he was relieved to have me out of his car!)

    God, I'd love to throw a family intervention - but how on earth to get them all in the same place at once? How to KEEP them there without storming out? Because I can see at least one or two storming out.



    I never thought about the babysitting in the light of daycares making parents bring the kids. How simple! Why do I overthink things like that? Gos, how many times have I said that they're not hurting us - they're hurting the kids. Cameron's said so many sad and desperate things to me. Unsurprisingly, she's a selfish mom who makes her son fill the role her dad did: do what I want, when I want, and how I want or endure my wrath.

    Oh, he has 2 therapy meetings a month - the most he's been able to schedule within the VA. I just got new insurance and therapy is murderously expensive: $100 a session that goes towards my $3000 deductible I think I'd be better off paying outright. Even though finances are much better, its still hard to swallow $100 a session, especially seeing I'll most likely never meet my deductible. I PRAY I'll never see me meet the deductible - that would mean I got seriously sick.

  4. #4
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    My first thought was same as Karen's. Time for you and hubs to get some talk therapy. OK so hubs it getting some, now you need to do so also.

    Your insurance doesn't have a copay? You have to pay the entire $100 per session, until you meet the deductible? That is unusual, IMO. Please investigate this further.
    I've been BOO'd!!
    Thank you Karen, for fixing my siggy!

  5. #5
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    Yes, that is the way my new insurance works. I was shocked in the doctor's office when they told me, I was shocked when I called insurance to confirm. I was shocked when I called HR to re-confirm.

    I actually enjoy therapy. It centers me. I don't need to go often anymore, just once in a while to get me back on track when I feel life is getting out of control. Like, maybe now so I tag along as often as I'm allowed to hubby's sessions. Even those help center me.


    I honestly can not remember a time when hubby and I have been happier and more in sync. We have a lot of stress going on but still perfect with him. I'm lucky

  6. #6
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    From what you say, therapy is working for you and Grant. This is fantastic, especially in the strides he has made!

    As some wise person once said, "You don't have to attend every argument you're invited to."

    If the kids won't cooperate, keep on doing the therapy and getting better. I know this next suggestion will be very hard to do, but do no contact for a little while. If one of the kids happens to call - or you might call each of them and leave this message - something along the lines of "We are going to a therapist right now and there's no point you and I talking unless we do it with a therapist."

    HUGS. I am just glad the two of you are doing better.

    BTW: Exercise DOES help depression, don't know about anxiety.
    "I like physics, but I love cartoons." -- Stephen Hawking

  7. #7
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    You and your hubby are fine. It's your CHILDREN who need therapy! How ungrateful can they be? Just keep doin' what you're doin' and let the kids sleep in the messy bed they have made for themselves and their children. You might call them and offer to see the grandkids (leaving them out of it). On Christmas give the grandkids amazing presents and give the parents a card. They will get the message, believe me. You are not doormats anymore and if they want positive things from you, they will have to respect you first.
    Proud to be a crazy cat lady!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by katladyd View Post
    You and your hubby are fine. It's your CHILDREN who need therapy! How ungrateful can they be? Just keep doin' what you're doin' and let the kids sleep in the messy bed they have made for themselves and their children. You might call them and offer to see the grandkids (leaving them out of it). On Christmas give the grandkids amazing presents and give the parents a card. They will get the message, believe me. You are not doormats anymore and if they want positive things from you, they will have to respect you first.
    What she said!
    "I like physics, but I love cartoons." -- Stephen Hawking

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by katladyd View Post
    You and your hubby are fine. It's your CHILDREN who need therapy! How ungrateful can they be? Just keep doin' what you're doin' and let the kids sleep in the messy bed they have made for themselves and their children. You might call them and offer to see the grandkids (leaving them out of it). On Christmas give the grandkids amazing presents and give the parents a card. They will get the message, believe me. You are not doormats anymore and if they want positive things from you, they will have to respect you first.
    Thank you.

    Though I had to laugh over the Christmas gift thing. I bought the kids great gifts this year: each got between $500-$1000 worth of limited edition artwork that THEY picked out. (Oh goodness, I never paid that much!)

    Ashley and Tony never picked theirs up. I'm redoing the spare bedroom, so its getting the picture that was destined for Ashley (REALLY cool custom artwork of black branches arranged on handmade rice paper. My one coworker constantly tells me that if I don't find a place for it, that she could find a place in her home

    Tony's artwork will go in the dining room once I redo that. I have to redo both rooms because we had a major freak hail storm that did $40,000 (yes, forty thousand) worth of damage to the house, put a hole in the roof where I could see daylight through the ceiling and the bedroom flooded through to the dining room. I currently have a patch on the roof that leaks with every new rain, no ceiling in either room and bowed walls from the drywall/plaster expanding with moisture. Its lovely and Callie keeps tinkling in the bedroom, which, since we have nothing on the floors, and no ceiling, pours right through to the dining room - she never did that until tony moved out (one week before the storm). Insurance has been decent, and are giving us nearly $32,000 to do the repairs. Right now hubby is rebuilding the shed, which is saving us a lot of the missing insurance money - between what they gave us, and us doing a huge amount of the manual labor, we'll break even without owing anybody anything. But I digress....

    Heather got hers and asked me to hang them. The day I showed up, her Mother-in-law and sister-in-law looked at me with daggers and said "He will not want you to hang those - he wants to do it!" (Heather wasn't home and her hubby was upstairs during the interaction). So I got back in the car and headed home. When she found out what they said she was furious. All I could do was shrug - at least hubby and I enjoyed a nice lunch at a restaurant by her home we never get to visit.

    So, lets just say, they will not be getting any gifts from us in the foreseeable future. I, however, get to enjoy my gifts.

  10. #10
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    Oh, another thought - do start a little journal for each of the grandkids that you just keep around to write down stories you want them to know someday, family memories, etc. Even if you just mail it to them when they turn 21, I bet they will be fascinated!
    I've Been Frosted

  11. #11
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    Perhaps I shouldn't even comment because I do not have children but obviously I had parents and believe me, none of this behavior would have been tolerated.

    I will say that your grown children sound very childish,spoiled, self-centered, probably because you all used to do/get everything they wanted. Must be quite a shock to them now that you don't jump up and do what they say LOL. Also it sounds as if they are punishing you two if they do not get their way--very childish imo. They sound very immature and selfish and very unappreciative for all you have done for them. I cannot imagine myself ever being so hateful and unappreciative to my parents when they were living.

    I agree with whoever said to just leave them alone for awhile. When you try to give them a gift or visit them, I bet it gives them some kind of enjoyment to not be socialable or agreeable because they want to punish you because you aren't doing what they want.

    One other thing: I would not be buying expensive gifts for your ungrateful children; they don't deserve it. I'm sorry you all are having this problem.

  12. #12
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    God has a sense of humor: Our family friend stopped by tonight and asked, "What's wrong with your family?!" She was referring to hubby's sisters in addition to the kids, who are just as bad. They are used to him doing everything for them too, and aren't adjusting well to his refusal to jump when they tell him to. Its affecting them so much a family friend stops by? WOWZA!

    Heather called tonight too. Apparently no babysitter was found. She spoke sanely and agreed to drop off and pick up.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by catnapper View Post
    Heather called tonight too. Apparently no babysitter was found. She spoke sanely and agreed to drop off and pick up.
    That's good, a calm step!
    I've Been Frosted

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by catnapper View Post
    God has a sense of humor: Our family friend stopped by tonight and asked, "What's wrong with your family?!" She was referring to hubby's sisters in addition to the kids, who are just as bad. They are used to him doing everything for them too, and aren't adjusting well to his refusal to jump when they tell him to. Its affecting them so much a family friend stops by? WOWZA!

    Heather called tonight too. Apparently no babysitter was found. She spoke sanely and agreed to drop off and pick up.

    Hee, hee! Good stuff!
    "I like physics, but I love cartoons." -- Stephen Hawking

  15. #15
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    He moved out a few days later, and 3 months later has not spoken one word, but comes to the house when he knows we're not home (We know this because his mail disappears on a regular basis)...
    Kim, I don't know you well enough to offer much advice - but I think what everyone else has said to this point is very good.

    My thing is about Tony - the above comment of yours just jumped at me. Get the locks to your house changed. If he can get his mail, he can get other things.

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