How would you handle...


Well-Known Member
Bingo. He will figure it out on his own. We dont need to point it out. What he does with his knowledge is up to him.

My daughter knows her in laws are controlling and doesnt like it but she is a "keep the peace" sort of person. They are her i laws, not ours, and we never see them anymore. But sometimes things my grandkids say is obviously from them.

My daughter has asked me to stay out of it. I do. Its her thing to handle or not. So we pretty much just mind our own business. This may not work for you, and it certainly isnt "fair" but life isnt fair to anyone. So we stay out of the small stuff. Raising our grandkids is not our job. It falls upon their parents to do what they feel is right, not us. What we feel is not fair is really not an issue. We raised our kids, mistakes and all, without our parents. They get the same chance. This is jmo
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Well-Known Member
That’s it in a nutshell, Copa

Just saw your post last second Busy. Sooo true.

It’s so hard when you witness “toxic” behaviors.
It’s been hard, but of course I /we will say absolutely nada.
We had zero discernible reaction when our grandson did this flip flop.
Later, hubby and I briefly and privately noted it.
Our son is doing the best he can.
And interestingly and wonderfully, we like our daughter in law a lot.
It’s good to get it off my chest.
Although this experience is NOT gaslighting, it feels a little like that.
You witness something very bizarre and toxic. But, it’s not to be discussed and won’t be. Can’t be. Again, absolutely wont be. I agree totally.
I’m still human though.
I do believe in karma. I do believe more often than not, this type of thing reveals itself or bites one in the behind.
I assure you, i get Relief here, but I’ve learned my lesson. I am not saying a word to our son, his family , any people in my world. You guys are “it.”

PS thank you Busy. Yes, keeping the peace is s great thing. We have cut back a little in seeing the other grands. Our daughter in law was constantly forcing group things. But, we wish for some to be separate starting with Fathers Day. It seems to be ok.


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Oh, yeah. I think its best to let the daughter or son see the in laws, but we dont. They arent our family. We didnt pick them. Up to daughter to see them, not us.


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The other grandparents have it in their minds that taking him out to eat is so special that only they should be allowed to do it. They want him to have childhood memories of them taking him out to eat. The problem is they don't want him to have memories of his OTHER grandparents taking him out. They think it should be reserved only for them. They're making him feel guilty because he allowed his OTHER grandparents to do something so special, and have probably told him going out to eat is something he gets to do only when they have him. The other thing is they think they have to compete with the OTHER grandparents. Do they try to out do the birthday or Christmas gifts he gets from you?


Well-Known Member
Crayola, regardless of their intentions or deeds I doubt it will work and we cant stop it. In an in law situation, which I dont know if you are in or not, the grandparents have no control over the other side. And we dont want to put our kids in the middle. in my opinion it doesnt work out well.

There is usually one side that is more dominant. That doesnt mean that the grandkids will grow up to love them more. But either way if we get involved we are in my opinion overstepping our boundaries. Our kids need to do it. Or not. It is not up to us. Life isnt fair and some things you best just let go of. in my opinion this is one. Our kids are adults. They decide what to do or not do. Not the grandparents.

Its a free country and if one set of grandparents wants to demean the other, in any way, we cant stop them. Again, the kids can take a chance and speak out for us, but most kids just want peace all around and let these petty things go. I dont blame them.
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Well-Known Member
out to eat
Not one time, ever in my life, did I go out to eat with either maternal grandparent. *Yet I remember what we ate at home. I can savor it. I can stand at the kitchen counter (mentally) with my grandmother and prepare it with her.

I loved my grandparents with all my heart and soul. My grandfather, had he lived, would be 130 years this year. My grandmother, 125 years. I love them so much, they are with me still. Every day. Every minute. Not one meal in a restaurant can I summon forth. Who cares?

They were from the old country. They felt uncomfortable in restaurants. People of 100 years ago did not eat in restaurants, 99 percent of them. I have NO restaurant memories with them. Yet they fill my heart.

I would let grandson decide all of this. Where he wants to go, go. Where he does not want to go, fine. Eat home, if need be. Get take out. He might find it fun if the same food was delivered. And you can have a picnic in the yard. Or on the porch. With candles. And music. You can dance. (Like I did with my grandma.) *There are so many ways you can make this fun. You don't want to add to his stress. Cook with grandson. He will remember this his whole life, like I do.

Nomad. I just HATE that these people are the way they are. I can't believe it, really. This is gaslighting. It is hyper-control. But you can let go. You don't have to engage.
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Well-Known Member
Naw, many in laws are like this, trying to win favor. It is very common. But be patient. It doesn't always work.

Engaging is seen by all the kids and grandkids as us fighting, even if its a good cause. Be still, calm and enjoy your grandkids. Fighting interrupts our inner peace and doesnt work.


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We are ok with seeing them here and there. But NOT every holiday. We are tired of that. Big time. Especially since she (mother in law) often behaves very oddly. Can be snarky. And I’m well aware of these types of things behind the scenes.

I understand it’s not too uncommon for in laws to compare and be jealous.

On occasion of course I hope our Xmas presents will be just as good or better than theirs. (This is just a random example) BUT, I think interestingly and probably we are a little different in this regard, I put a stop to it and we just do our own thing. I am not prone to jesloysy and won’t go there. We buy what we like. I wear what I like. I am my own person. This actually seems to pxss people off more. Omg. And, if I do get a random thought like that (a bit of jealousy) I quickly let it go. I won’t allow myself to be so petty. I am my own person.

on the other hand, it’s particularly disturbing when I see people can take their pettiness and negatively influence a child. Ugh. Sad.

They are toxic. Other people within the family are having very similar troubles. But I keep my nose out of it.
Poor daughter in law is trying to “remake” her mom into a giving , caring and non snarky woman. It would be too troubling for her to know that her mom might be playing these odd , silly and likely toxic mind games with her child.

Fingers crossed she will stop. Fingers crossed it won’t worsen.

Thank you very much for allowing me to share this most private and difficult burden.
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Well-Known Member
Omg. Weird update.
I just got two unsolicited texts from another family member. Angry. Hurt. Worried.
She also shares grands with this woman.
Separate from me.
Not exactly the same issues as me but very very similar.
I said something neutral with the first.
I haven’t replied to the second text. I might say I’m sorry to hear this.
She hinted about going out to dinner.
I just can’t.
I sense she is more shook up than myself.
I just can’t engage.
PS I thought of replying “I understand” Omg. I don’t like this. It feels good to get this validation but it feels troublesome and potentially dangerous.
I still haven’t replied to her second text. Good grief. I feel like I’m in junior high.
I wish people weren’t such jealous jerks.


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I am a little freaked out. But yes. She asked that I wouldn’t tell anyone what she said and I wrote back simply agreeing that I wouldn’t tell. I didn’t comment or address the rest.
Omg. Omg. Omg. :916thumbdowns:
I won’t tell my son, friends etc. I will keep my mouth shut.


Roll With It
Juggling the personalities of very different people is so hard sometimes. If it was me, I would not mention these things to your son. I WOULD start a journal of these things - what the reaction was, when, over what issues, etc... I would just keep it secret. The reason for this is that sometime in the future there could be a divorce. This kind of thing might be a record that your son would need to help keep his kids, or you might need if your state has grandparent rights. I know in my state a grandparent only has rights if there is a divorce. My parents needed to use this as the stick with my bro's ex. They used a whole lot more carrots, but ex sister in law knew that if she tried to keep niece away, the court would look favorably on my parents and force visitation.

Just keep a private record in a place your son will not see. Then, if he later needs it, it exists.

As a parent, sometimes you have to learn that no grandparent is better than a bad grandparent. We pretty much cut my inlaws out of our kids lives. NOT because we wanted to, but because their blatant disinterest hurt our kids. We keep in touch with hubby's dad and stepmom, but we really only see them on holidays. Hubby's mom, well, for me she does not exist. She has been so awful on so many occasions - far above rude, doing things that could physically hurt my children if I allowed it (insisting on lit candles on the floor with a 1 year old toddling around? that was the LEAST of what she did), and really going out of her way to emotionally hurt our kids, to show them that they just don't matter.

At some point, your son may have to realize this. Until then, you need to just not comment and be an easy presence in your grandkids' lives. My parents did a couple of things that really helped them be constant in my kids lives. One was to have a special saying that they repeated at each visit or phone call. My dad was "always remember and never forget that Grandpa loves you". My mom had different things with each kid. My dad read the old Uncle Wiggily stories onto cassette (back in the dark ages, lol). The kids listened to those every night as they fell asleep - for YEARS. My mom made videotapes reading stories to the kids. They got the video and the book. Those tapes absolutely were worn thin - they were bigger favorites than Barney or Blues Clues - and that is saying something with kids born in the 90's!

Focus on what you can do for grandson. If they plant the idea that this place or food is bad, find another favorite. There are tons of restaurants and you will find many to focus on. Keep the focus on having fun with him, let them worry about the competition and other BS.

Oh, when my oldest was little my dad suddenly decided that the hot water tank would have to be drained every so often. Usually on cool days (November here, usually) when it was too cold to use the kiddie pool. Grandpa would hook a hose up to the hot water tank and fill the dang kiddie pool with warm water. I remember the first time I came to pick up Wiz and he was in that kiddie pool on a chilly evening. My parents and one of their friends all had their pants legs rolled up and their feet in the water too! I just laughed (they thought I would be shocked and upset, lol) and rolled up my pants legs too! We had a wonderful visit and Wiz tired himself out enough that he slept that night. Find stuff like this to do, stuff that is unique to you. Your grandson will grow up remembering one set of grandparents who placed ridiculous demands and one set who just loved him.

Then, if there is ever a custody issue, you have your records AND a solid relationship with grandson.


Well-Known Member
Susie. When I started to read this post, I cried:
"always remember and never forget that Grandpa loves you".
Oh, when my oldest was little my dad suddenly decided that the hot water tank would have to be drained every so often. Usually on cool days (November here, usually) when it was too cold to use the kiddie pool. Grandpa would hook a hose up to the hot water tank and fill the dang kiddie pool with warm water.
one set of grandparents who placed ridiculous demands and one set who just loved him.

By the time I finished the post I was thinking it was the best post I've ever read on this forum in the four plus years I have been here.



Well-Known Member
Your son is making clear to you that HE DOES NOT WANT TO BE IN THE MIDDLE. Your son and his wife are trying to make it work with two sets of in laws. He seems to go nuts when you complain or criticize this family.

I would try the best I can NOT to go there with him. You risk alienating your daughter in law and maybe even your son. I would really, really try to keep my mouth shut no matter how bizarrely they act. You will be the loser, I fear.
You have no control what so ever about the behavior of these people. And your son will blame you if you continue to make it an issue. He has made this clear. It could be affecting his relationship with his wife.

While I commiserate with you very much, if such a thing happens again I would stay silent.

Literally hate to agree because I'm experiencing much of the same with one of my (very functional, responsible, loving) sons. The most, I fear, that I can do is complain/vent to safe people and keep my mouth shut for the most part. We were subjected to an all-family holiday when we really (reallyreally) didn't want to. I vented like a steaming teapot to my safe people. But, in the end it went OK. I do NOT want it to become tradition, but... I also want to see my son, so. Yeah.

The difficulty I'm seeing here is that it appears to go beyond the normal "son cleaving to his wife" thing, and borders on some weird stuff. Keep your eyes open. Keep venting to safe people.


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There is more going on. It gets a little better and then it gets much worse. I got to see daughter in law in her home with her parents recently. She is like a very young child. It was bothersome. You would never know she is over thirty.
She is such a sweet (usually) and usually a capable girl, I guess I just assumed many things based on that. Who wouldn't? But, when she moved near her mom, she changed (or least it seems this way) a lot. Her mom has many, many personality issues. She is disturbingly influenced by her parents, especially the mother. This is very unfortunate. It creeps me out that my daughter in law absolutely adores the movie "Mean Girls." She doesn't have an explanation for it. I don't know. I just find it peculiar. IF she said she found the movie "funny," I could understand this. Many of the women in her family seem to live in this narcissistic, mean, competitive, jealous world (mostly her mother). Yes, I do believe it goes beyond the "normal" son "cleaving to his wife," thing. When we moved to this city to be near our grandchildren, of course we had some gentle hints that something was amiss. A great example is when the kids were in college and we bought them several items from a giant box store (kitchen supplies, little rugs, some food etc.) and her mom called and asked my daughter in law what did The Nomads buy you guys? daughter in law's reply "Oh, just some toilet paper." NOt only was it was a disturbing lie. I guess her mom could get a nice laugh over what she thought was a 1) cheap gift and a 2) stupid one. But, it was all untrue and my daughter in law PURPOSELY not only told an untruth, but chose to tell a very odd and somewhat creepy and revealing untruth ...throw me under the a way. Creating a (false) situation that made me look kind of bad. (Who would give toilet paper as a gift to help a couple get started in their new apartment>?)