Might see my estranged parents for the 1st time in 5 years. What to do??!!

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by trinityroyal, Sep 9, 2010.

  1. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    Well, #$%^&*#!

    Little easy child's soccer team is in the playoffs this weekend. Little easy child's team has been doing really well this year, and they're going into the tournament in 1st place. Because of their winning record Ex-h has been really involved, and has been going to all the games whether Little easy child is with him or with me. (Funny, last year when Little easy child's team was 3rd from last place, Ex-h showed very little interest...)

    Little easy child tends to get nervous tummy-aches and other symptoms whenever Ex-H and I are in the same place at the same time, so I don't go to the games during Ex's time, to lessen Little easy child's anxiety.

    Anyway, I found out this morning that not only will Ex-h be at all the games this weekend, but he has also invited my parents to attend the tournament as well.

    I haven't set eyes on them in 5 years, and I haven't spoken to them for nearly as long. There have been a few occasions over the years where they've tried to initiate contact (always through Ex-h, and once through Facebook), but I've never responded. My parents' bring out in me a huge load of raw, unprocessed pain. Agonizing, tear-my-eyes-out pain. And until I understand it and process it, I don't want to be forced into a meeting.

    But Little easy child is so proud of his team's achievement, and he loves to play soccer regardless of how his team is doing. I can't spoil it for him. I won't spoil it for him. I will take him to the games, come what may.

    But here's my worry...what may come? I am so not ready to see my parents, let alone speak to or otherwise interact with them. And I don't want to add to Little easy child's anxiety, especially since he's at the centre of the estrangement, through no fault of his own, my poor little lad -- if he gets tummy-aches whenever Ex-h and I are in the same place, how will he react to this mess? Little easy child can be so brave and stoic when he has to, but I don't want him to have to. I just want him to be able to go out and play, have fun, and see how his team does in the games without another thought in his head.

    What on earth am I supposed to do???

    I can't even talk to husband about it. He gets so angry at them, and then I have to spend my emotional energy calming him down. Not helpful.

    I just want to hide in a hole :crying:
  2. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Well crud.

    How good are you at keeping your game face on? You know that one we told Beth to take off? lol

    My eldest bro was the source of alot of childhood trauma/pain. While I've delt with it and let go of it........does not mean we'll ever be close or that I want him in my life.

    My Mom had him bring her over for a visit oh about 2 yrs ago. I had my game face in place before he hit the front porch. Politeness is what I hit him with..........while paying 99 percent of my attention to Mom. (who isn't really that much better lmao) I treated him like a perfect stranger. Which since I hadn't seen him in oh, about 20 yrs, he really was.......except that he has never changed.

    See, you're a grown up now. You get to decide how this plays out. You can either flat out ignore them.......or hit them with uber sweet politeness and treat them like utter strangers. Even with politeness you don't have to engage in conversation, "family" hugs, ect. Know what I mean?

    Since little easy child already has so much anxiety going on........personally I'd be uber polite and keep a fair distance away from them while pretending they aren't even there as much as possible. Do your best and try to relax and enjoy little easy child's accomplishment and this moment with him. This is ALL about HIM........keep focused on that and you should be ok.

    Can you tell I've had to do this many times over the years?? lol:tongue:

  3. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    Just be polite. It's my armor to painful emotions that are brought out by others. I smile pleasantly and treat them like strangers. Small answers if they ask direct questions.
    It's like playing a role in theatre class. Pretend to be someone and look at them with distant curiosity.
    I do it because I love and respect my husband.
    You can do it because you love your child. easy child is the priority and all the adults must perform pleasantly for him.
    It's about what easy child needs and not about you, your parents or ex h or even current husband.
    You can do this because you are a warrior for your children.
  4. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    Can you bring a girlfriend or two? Then go with the uber-polite greeting and then go stand in-between your friends and pretend to forget that they exist.
  5. Mattsmom277

    Mattsmom277 Active Member

    What a uncomfortable (to say the least) situation. I also think the polite approach, treat them like strangers thing is a good bet. Keep a physical buffer when you can, so if easy child isn't directly with you, find a place to enjoy the game without being near them. Just in case they try to push their luck, find some words to have prepared in the event they do attempt to force themselves on you. Something like "We have no relationship and it is working out well that way. I am here to enjoy my son and would appreciate doing so without company.". It's polite (Okay, maybe polite is a stretch, but it isn't confrontational and is to the point, and if they were pushing their luck to begin with? Well its polite in that circumstance). Or something similar, that points out that you are just there for your son and your being there does not include them.

    Have you talked to your ExH? It is one thing for him to invite them to a game during his time (when you won't be there), it is another to invite them when it is a tournament you are present for. He has to know this isn't okay? Maybe mentioning it ahead of time might give him pause, for your sons sake at least, and maybe he will un invite them. Sure he might make it all about you not wanting them there, but then again, they must know you'd feel that way anyhow, so no big secret.

    Whatever happens, enjoy your boy and his teams accomplishments. Just pretend like you bumped into them innocently somewhere out of the blue when you least expect it. (((hugs))) I soooo relate, I often wonder how I'll handle the inevitable "bumping into" with my own estranged mother.
  6. Jena

    Jena New Member


    That's a rough one, also bites that ex h would do that. I dont' know the full story yet it seems like there is no talking to ex h about it and stating that it isnt' the right thing to do. I think all too many times when we are faced in these types of situations with-estranged family members that have done some type of harm onto us we can go back into that place in time when around them, and all those feelings as you said can return. As if it were just yesterday sort of thing.

    My best advice to you is it seems like your stuck in this and just keep reminding yourself of who you are a strong, confident woman a mother etc. like the other's said keep it simple be polite, deep breath, i would think to bring others also so you aren't sitting there alone watching the game. so you can easily redirect yourself.

    not to be personal, yet do you have any fears in regards to the kids being around them? If not, than that's what I personally would do. If you can't get friends bring a book.

    I'm sorry you have to calm husband at the same time your going thru your own emotions, men can be sooo charming at times lol.

    life is too short, as we all know and as long as you feel there are no safety issues surrounding this than i'd say be calm and cool get thru it and you don't really know what the future will bring. they say whomever they are (clearly ppl from the peanut gallery :) ) that forigving those with whom have done harm to you is healing within itself. Not to do it for them and break bread or anything yet just getting to that place and saying you know what i'm going to release this now and forgive. it releases all that junk, trust me i've had alot of junk with-my dad who recently passed. I was estranged from him since i was 17, we spoke on phone once a year, he'd send money for girls. yet i kept my distance and kept my girls away from him. yet at end of day if i had been able to be there at his death bed and forgive him that would of been KEY for me. not him, ME.

    anyway, good luck you will be fine your tough :) and especially when it comes to something for the kids you will be able to get thru it.

  7. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    Wow Trinity! You're right, this does absolutely bite.

    I have to agree with the others...perfect game face. Polite, short responses are key right here. No matter what the circumstances, you have to say to yourself "I'm the better person and I won't sink to their level." Keep it running through your mind for the next couple of days so that it's a background "white noise" in your head - almost as a mantra if you will.

    This allows several things to occur.

    One: it will soothe you from the second you lay eyes on them (by the way if you have a picture somewhere of them, pull it out, put it in an obvious place and force yourself to look at it so that you're somewhat "desensitised" to the visual of them.

    Two: it will give you the power to dismiss anything that they say or do wrong

    Three: it will empower you to take any shots as a glancing blow

    Also, be prepared for them to look a lot older - five years of no communication means that different health issues may have come and gone or may still be there - I don't know how old your parents are, but they may be trying to reunite because they're becoming more aware of their own mortality.

    Civil politeness is a powerful thing - it allows you to approach any situation with grace and dignity (which we all know you have!) AND is disarms your opponent so that when the "chips fall" they don't suspect a thing!

    Keep little easy child close in your heart and his picture or something important to you in your pocket. If they stroke a nerve, open your palm and look at it and know that YOU are the superior in the situation and that your resolve will teach him a huge lesson later on in life. That knowledge will allow you the fortitude to withstand any test pushed on you.

    Keeping you in my mind with thoughts of strength and resolve (with some bead rattling thrown in to boot!),

  8. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    When my brother and his wife divorced, they were adamant to continue to "do things right for the kid". So for their son's birthday, there would be big birthday party - his ex would be there, her parents, etc.

    My brother lives 6 hours away, and he called us all in, and we went. We were the cushion between my brother and his ex.

    Call in 3 or 4 friends, tell them up front what you need and why, and surround yourself with people who care for the duration of the game.
  9. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Well crud.

    How good are you at keeping your game face on? You know that one we told Beth to take off? lol

    I agree ... and also agree with-Fran and JJJ. Bring some friends along, be excruciatingly polite, and just focus on watching the game and cheering for easy child.

    Much luck!
  10. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    What the other ladies have said. Adding my hugs and some extra strength.
  11. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    You all are simply the best! Thanks so much for your strength, hugs and encouragement.

    You're absolutely right -- this is about Little easy child, and making sure that he has a great time. Game Face. Entirely fitting, since I'll be at the game. I will practice it, and some non-committal phrases over the next day or so, to be fully prepared for the weekend. And I'm not going to think of it as the Weekend From He!! either. It's Little easy child's Tournament Weekend, and I'm there to support him in his achievement. I guess what it boils down to is, no matter how we so-called adults feel about each other, we all love Little easy child and should be able to pull it together for 2 short days in order to show him that. I've told Little easy child many times that I will never stand in the way of his relationship with his grandparents, and he should never feel that he has to take sides. Well, I guess this is my opportunity to show him that I mean it.

    It's gonna take every ounce of strength I've got, but by golly I can do it. I endured my childhood. I can get through an under-eights' soccer tournament.

    And if you don't mind, I think I'll take you all with me to the games. I can't think of a group of girlfriends I'd rather have supporting me and cheering Little easy child on than my CD family.

    I feel better already.
  12. Mattsmom277

    Mattsmom277 Active Member

    Trinity, I wish I had a car because you aren't that far and I'd happily show up and keep you coming and cheer for your kiddo!!!

    Seems like you've got a great perspective on this, you'll do fine :)

    PS. I bought a van! A old van, but great condition. Can't drive it until next summer (still on that stupid graduated licensing thing, silly me never getting a license when I was younger!) but come that time, it would be great to have a board member meet up if you were interested. I get so jealous of the others in the USA who get to meet up lol. I was very lucky to get to meet Joy (Beautiful Joy, if you were here to remember her) at her home and also to have met Cass who is a terrific woman. Maybe we can add to my list :)
  13. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    Mattsmom, that would be fabulous. I would love to arrange to meet up sometime. I used to spend quite a bit of time in your neck of the woods for work, and I love it there. As long as it's not shadfly season (eeeew, shudder!) I'd be happy to head north as well.
  14. Mattsmom277

    Mattsmom277 Active Member

    Shadfly season hoovers lol. If you do head north let me know for sure!! Or if ever you'd enjoy an escape for a night, let me know as well. I promise we don't bite ;). And don't have a creepy cellar or anything. When I first met Cass, she came up with her kids from London area and spent a few days. It was wonderful.
  15. mstang67chic

    mstang67chic Going Green

    I'm coming in late to the advice game but I had a thought about a way to keep your distance. Although....the girlfriend idea is a great one too! Take your camera (which I'm sure you will anyway) and just circle the field so you get the best angles for your shots! They may trail along but you will be so focused on cheering and getting the best shots you won't really have the time or attention for anything else.

    Hugs. You can do it!!!
  16. ML

    ML Guest

    Treat them with distant politeness. Try to find that happy place and detach if you find yourself face to face. I think you are a great mom and that you are putting easy child's needs first is just like you Trin. I would like to hear from you how this goes. I will be praying that it goes well. Thinking of you xo ML
  17. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    Trinity -

    I didn't read anyone elses response - but MY thought? And I'm basing this on my thought of if someone called me yesterday and said "I found your birth parents and they want to meet you, I know you aren't ready BUT...they'll be at Dude's soccer game, and you are required to go."

    First off....This game is for my son. Secondly? ALL my concentration SHOULD be on him, not on a make-shift, forced reunion. This is sticky becaue - 1. the man is his Father too, and yes it hurts that he only seems to show up when the child does good - okay - but he IS showing up so he gets a cookie for that. Lots of Father's don't show up at all (I can name hundreds). 2. these people ARE this child's Grandparents. Those are facts. Nothing you can say or do or close your eyes hard and wish - will make them go away - Decisions you made years ago, make them so. These aren't variables. So this would be in column - DEAL WITH IT. Unpleasant as it is - nothing you can do. It's a solid.

    That said - What can I do about it? Well - It's a big field. I AM SURE if you interviewed an/or spent a day with each person that goes to that soccer field you would find that most of the people there you would tolerate for short periods of time and then you would figure out that you wouln't like them much. I'm not so sure why people are always so hellbent on trying to make puzzle pieces fit when they don't - but I'm not a big puzzle putter-together - I just figure if it doesn't fit? Move on. Just like your ex. He does fit. No sense in making MYSELF sick over the fact that here is a person I can NOT change - I can not stand to be around. I can NOT get along with and so YOU are trying to think of ways to get along with him for the sake of a soccer game and it AINT GONNA HAPPEN. So don't try. Same with your parents. This is a SOCCER GAME, not a psychiatrists office. You can't fix FIVE Years PLUS....in an hour...WHY TRY??? WHY Fret? WHY get all worked up and put the people that you DO enjoy spending time with and being around and love through agonizing hell - for the sake of TRYING to figure out HOW in the WORLD can I get along with those OTHER people ie: puzzle pieces that DO NOT FIT - for THEIR sake - because honestly ? YOUR fretting, worry and anxiety are FOR THEIR SAKE not yours -

    YOU can sit at that game and IGNORE them, not talke to them, not look at them, and pretend like they don't exist. You can - be civil..say hello, say EXCUSE ME - MY family is sitting over here.....and if pushed - say "I'm here to watch my son, enjoy my family, and my day--if there is anything else? I'm not aware of it, and this is NOT the time or the place.....excuse me." and walk off laughing and smiling. Yup - Sister that is the entire point of this advice. WHO cares what they feel when they walk off - NOT you. YOU are there for you, your son, your family - and walk away. They were nobody to you before their name came up the other day--------don't allow them to make space TODAY.

    If they approach you in a CIVIL manner and ask you to coffee to discuss a relationship.....Say again "I'm sorry perhaps you misunderstood me the first time. TODAY I am here with my family. You can contact me next week by letter and if I'm interested I'll let you know. Have a nice day." and walk away...

    Hope this helps - IT SHOULD BE ON YOUR TERMS - NOT THEIRS.........


    Love ya Girl
  18. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I'll be there with you (in spirit).
    Yes, you can do this.
    I'm cheering for your little guy!
  19. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Ughhh.... what a thoughtful guy exH is, huh?
  20. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    I am there with you Trinny - I'm the wind that blows x's bald spots evident for everyone to see.