To be really upset with my parents?

(108 Posts)
flightyskirt Mon 21-Jan-13 15:43:26

2 weekends ago my children went to stay with my parents while me and my partner did some decorating at home. When we went to pick them up we were in the living room having a cup of tea with the whole family when there was a bit of a kerfuffle - one child skipped across the floor and the other moved his chair back at the same time. Somehow a large vase was accidentally knocked off a shelf right in front of us and smashed. (I still don't really know how it happened - fairly freak accident). My mother was beside herself as it is a vase she has had for many years (much sentimental value although not monetary). We all jumped into action clearing up but my mother had started blaming my eldest (10 years old) who got very upset as my mother was shouting and crying. She said things like 'it was my favourite thing in the world' and 'I've had it for over 30 years.' which only made my child more upset. When my child tried to say sorry she was told it wasn't enough, and that she didn't mean it (she was still crying at this time). We decided that the best thing to do was to leave. It was impossible to console my mother as she was so hostile - although when I left I said I was sorry and that I hoped she could mend it - she said - 'Oh no we'll take it down the dump'.

I called my parents a week later as I hadn't heard from them, left a message but didn't hear back. A few days later my Dad called and said that he thought that my eldest should e-mail my mum with an apology. I didn't really agree, as I felt they had been through enough, but I said I would think about it. However as a family we decided to make a card and send it from all of us saying 'sorry about your vase'. I was going to send it today but I got another call from my Dad last night asking me where the e-mail was and then a whole tirade of abuse that I didn't respect their feelings. I countered that although it may have had sentimental value there was no need to make a child feel that bad when it had clearly been an accident, and no--one was sure how it had happened anyway. My Dad told me that me and my child were both drama queens and that we needed to face up to our responsibility. I however think that peoples' feelings (a 10 year olds' particularly) are more important than a piece of clay. I'm now really upset as I've not rowed like that with my Dad since I was a teenager. AIBU?

CheeseStrawWars Fri 25-Jan-13 09:04:50

Agree with myBOYs. I hope you've already had a conversation with your DD about "how Grandma behaved when the vase got broken was not okay"... and that you have another conversation with DD to explain that the conversation that woman had on the phone with your child was also not normal/okay. Unless you want her internalising the message that it's her job to take on responsibility for other people's issues and to pander to emotional manipulation - that way lies an anxious, people-pleasing adult who can't stick up for themselves - you need to lead by example and, for the sake of her self-esteem, stick up for your kid!

myBOYSareBONKERS Thu 24-Jan-13 22:28:24

I think after that awful phonecall that you need to decide if you are going to put your child in harms way. What your parents are doing is nasty and any decent parent would do all they could to limit unnecessary negative influences.

You decide if you want to expose your own child to the emotional trauma of her grandparents.

I would limit contact with your weird parents. Not just for the sake of your DDs but for your sake too.

Katisha Thu 24-Jan-13 21:50:56

Good god the woman is milking it. You need to pick up that phone and tell her to bloody well STOP trying to play mind games with your daughter. Why on earth are you letting it go unchallenged?

flightyskirt Thu 24-Jan-13 21:29:02

Well my mum got the card and called here yesterday. DH picked up the phone and she asked immediately to speak to DD (no niceties wasted on DH). During this conversation my DH (who listened in!) said DM had a very strange patronising voice on. She said she was proud of DD and asked if DD wanted to say anything to her. DD didn't get it and said something unrelated. DM said she had been very upset and asked if DD would come and stay again. "do you promise?" then she said I forgive you. Asked 'do you want to say anything back to me?' Then she said 'I'm sorry..... that you didn't come and hug me when you said goodbye.' Basically a lot of weird emotional stuff and no hint of an apology from her. I'm still waiting for my own apology for the horrid calls from my Dad but I guess I'll be waiting a LONG time. At least she has picked up the phone but it's all on her terms as usual....

examiner99 Wed 23-Jan-13 11:48:22

My mum was really nasty to DD3 when she was about 4, she can't remember it but all the rest of us do, it definitely changed the children's relationship with her. Sounds like your mum is playing a risky mind-game here... or she may be ill?

gotthemoononastick Wed 23-Jan-13 11:38:32

So glad you sent the card.She is probably feeling a bit embarrased and guilty now.Your Dad's reaction I find strange.Broke something ancient and sentimental myself the other day and wailed and wept too.After a while quite glad I needn't look after it anymore.Dh nearly started ww3,though ,wanting to frame a shard for me!!Poor little girl needs to forget about the whole episode now!

BarbarianMum Wed 23-Jan-13 11:24:43

OP I would like to retract my previous post, which I wrote under the impression that your mum had a one-off bad reaction to the (accidental) breakage of something precious to her.

It is clear from your subsequent posts that your parents reaction to this is not quite normal <massive understatement>. You were absolutely right to stand up for your daughter. And Whereyouleftit is right, it is not normal for everything to be imbued with huge emotional value so chances are they lied and just used it as a stick to beat you with. sad

"I can't help but feel guilty and like a rubbish daughter even though I know they have overreacted. I am hard-wired to feel bad about it because I hate conflict and confrontation and they seem to thrive on it."
The reason that you feel guilty is because THEY HAVE TRAINED YOU TO FEEL GUILTY. Remember your post of Mon 21-Jan-13 17:29:08?

"Yes it all echoes accidents of my own youth. Being made to feel terribly guilty about things I broke without meaning to. Everything in the house seems to have some kind of massive emotional value, or it cost them a lot, so we have to be very careful with carpets, mugs, you name it."
Frankly it is not possible for EVERYTHING to be of sentimental value. Ir just isn't. So let's take it as read that sometimes, when accidents happened, THEY LIED. What's more, they lied in order to control you. To control how you felt, how you thought, how you behaved. And now they're lying again, to do the same to your DC.

You say that they will not contact you for a long time now. So, they.ve done this before, else why would you know that? Think about that, flightyskirt. They're still trying to control you. To control your DC. Are you going to allow then to do that?

LemonBreeland Tue 22-Jan-13 18:49:57

Stay strong and don't contact them. You have done nothing wrong.

littlemonkeychops Tue 22-Jan-13 18:09:15

Ignore, ignore, ignore. They sound manipulative in the extreme!

She apologised at the time, so yes it's upsetting but fgs she's a grown woman, to drag it out and demand a further apology is ridiculous!

YANBU don't cave!

Katisha Tue 22-Jan-13 17:04:14

Oh lord sorry about multiple postings - bloody phone

Katisha Tue 22-Jan-13 17:03:22

Time not to go along with the sulks and mind games as they are now trying to make your children feel guilty and be on eggshells around them
. Bad enough that they did it to you but you have to draw a line now.

Katisha Tue 22-Jan-13 17:02:11

Time not to go along with the sulks and mind games as they are now trying to make your children feel guilty and be on eggshells around them
. Bad enough that they did it to you but you have to draw a line now.

Katisha Tue 22-Jan-13 17:01:33

Time not to go along with the sulks and mind games as they are now trying to make you children feel guilty and be on eggshells around them
. Bad enough that they did it to you but you have to draw a line now.

HumphreyCobbler Tue 22-Jan-13 14:52:41

I know how hard it is, but remember the overwhelming feeling on here was that they were wrong and you were right. Try to hang on to that thought.

flightyskirt Tue 22-Jan-13 14:40:35

Thank you all for your comments, this has been really useful and given me some perspective. Diamichlo your words in particular were very comforting.

I sent the home-made card signed by all of us yesterday. I know (due to previous form) that there will now be a protracted period of radio silence. Because I stood up for my daughter on the phone to my Dad 'took her side' (of course!) and rowed with him they will not contact me for a long time. I can't help but feel guilty and like a rubbish daughter even though I know they have overreacted. I am hard-wired to feel bad about it because I hate conflict and confrontation and they seem to thrive on it.

Will keep you posted as to what happens next!

LemonBreeland Tue 22-Jan-13 11:39:38

It sounds like your parents are the drama queens not you and your DC. I think the effusive apology at the time should have been enough.

OmgATalkingOnion Tue 22-Jan-13 11:33:45

sad Oh dear. Not sure what else you could have done.

I can undestand why your mum was upset at the time but carrying the whole thing on two weeks later is completely out of proportion. As others have said they are risking much more than the loss of a vase.

Could it be that they found the gc staying more than they could manage? Maybe the vase incident was the cherry on top of a stressful weekend?

I only say this because my own parents like to think they can cope much more with our three than in reality they can. Of course they don't really like to admit this even to themselves, but my dad def does get grumpy after a while - a whole weekend would not be a good idea at all.

He doesn't seem to know this about himself though - blimey he was even hinting we could all go on holiday together recently. But it just wouldn't work. My nerves wouldn't take the strainhmm

myBOYSareBONKERS Tue 22-Jan-13 11:17:46

OnwardBound - She didn't sit down gently! Mama and Papa have dreadful customer service - if I had my "time" again I would never go there for my baby stuff.

Flobbadobs Tue 22-Jan-13 10:43:43

Your parents will damage their relationship with your DC if they carry on like this. A while ago DS took the blame for something that went missing at IL's house. He had been the last one to use it as far as people knew and when it wasn't where it should have been he started to wonder if he had actually put it back IYSWIM?
Ayway MIL went utterley ballistic and stomped around the house muttering under her breath while DS frantically looked for it getting more upset by the minute. I had popped out and came back in just as she was making pa comments about children being badly brought up and having no respect for other peoples things.
I saw the item as soon as I walked in, poking out from under FIL's leg. It turned out that DS had passed it to him and it had slipped down the side of the chair and FIl was actually sitting on it. I damn near threw it at her, took Ds out of the room as he was practically crying and went home shortly afterwards, not before making it very clear that she owed him an apology. To her credit she did say sorry but the damage had been done. DS refused to go and see them for a couple of months and when he did he would be very quiet and stay close to one of us rather than go and do his own thing.
That was 18 months ago. His relationship with his Grandparents hasn't been the same since. He was 10 at the time and it plays on his mind everytime he sees them. It's sad really..
YANBU. It was an accident, she apologised. What do they want? Blood?

OnwardBound Tue 22-Jan-13 10:16:56

myBOY I would be taking it up with Mama and Papas tbh.

I would hope that a cot bed could take an adult's weight without them going right through it... Surely parents do sit on their child's bed on occasion, for example when they are reading a bedtime story. I know I do with my son's Ikea cotbed and it's never been a problem. Sounds as if the M & Ps one was faulty or poorly made to me...

Unless of course your friend jumped on it, in which case I would hope she paid for the replacement base!

jessjessjess Tue 22-Jan-13 08:10:28

Yanbu, if it's precious and fragile you put it away when the grandkids come.

They are being a-holes.

myBOYSareBONKERS Tue 22-Jan-13 08:00:21

This has reminded me of when a friend sat on my sons cotbed (was in the bed position) and went straight through it. She was mortified and I wasn't very happy as it was a Mama and Papas cotbed (so wasn't cheap!) and matched the rest of the furniture.

Fortunately a replacement base could be ordered and all was well. I would NEVER of reacted like your parents as I value her friendship to much.

Although she still cant understand why a childs cot could not take her 12 stone . . . .

OnwardBound Tue 22-Jan-13 00:10:16

I think it is truly appalling that a grown woman would react in such a hysterical and over-emotional way towards a young child. Let alone a grandmother towards her own grandchild hmm

And your father is enabling this behaviour? Instead of telling your mother to grow the fuck up and stop being so precious over something which was broken accidently?

I understand your mother is upset and the vase had sentimental value. But to place this as a priority over your grandchild's feelings is inexcusable.

I would perhaps send the card as you had originally planned to do, as it reiterates that your daughter is sorry for having caused this accident [although this sounds far from proven!] and for having caused your mother distress.

But please don't give in to your parent's bullying and emotional manipulation by writing an email or apologising any further.

Your parents are hugely unreasonable and a little unhinged to boot I am sorry to say.

But I think you probably already know this.

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