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I feel helpless.

judimac

Mad old Bat with Attitude
#1
Last week my son rang me to say he and his wife 14 years are separating. I know there are 2 sides to every story.
They live on the Isle of Lewis. DIL came down to her mothers in Derbyshire with the 2 youngest. To her credit she brought them over to see us on monday, but I'm in turmoil.
I told her I wasn't going to take sides. Who knows what's going on really, but a couple of remarks didn't ring true. The situation has thoroughly upset me and I feel absolutely helpless. I've just recovered from depression, and I'm so afraid it will start again.
Sorry, but I have no one else (except Donnie ) to vent to.
 
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ilovelife

Wishing and hoping!
#2
Sounds like a horriable situation to be stuck in the middle. All you can do is be their for your son, hopefully with time the dust can settle. If the depression has come then at least you know the next steps to go down even if it is not a nice thought but hopefully it won't come to that. Lots of love and hugs to you. Take care of yourself x
 
#3
Last week my son rang me to say he and his wife 14 years are separating. I know there are 2 sides to every story.
They live on the Isle of Lewis. DIL came down to her mothers in Derbyshire with the 2 youngest. To her credit she brought them over to see us on monday, but I'm in turmoil.
I told her I wasn't going to take sides. Who knows what's going on really, but a couple of remarks didn't ring true. The situation has thoroughly upset me and I feel absolutely helpless. I've just recovered from depression, and I'm so afraid it will start again.
Sorry, but I have no one else (except Donnie ) to vent to.
first of all Stay strong, don't let the depression take hold again...if you have got over it thats more kudos to you .... I know I have been there but have been of my tablets for a year now...
I know its hard but as you say 2 sides to every story and as you have grandkids make them your focus while your son and DIL deal with what they are going through, make it clear to your son and DIL that you will always be there for them both, she has been part of your family a long time and will remain so because of the kids, but you will not discuss the other person with them...explain that you need to do this because you have got over the depression and you want to be able to stay over it.

It sounds like you're a great MIL....and nan....keep your chin up...
 
#4
Awww Judi :patback: that must be so hard being in the middle and trying to stay on good terms with her because of the grandchildren.

You need to look after yourself, I know it will be hard as a mother but your son is grown up and I'm sure he'd feel awful if you got ill again because of the worry. Can you think of anything you can do just to care for yourself? What's worked in the past? My psychotherapist always goes on about how we have to look after ourselves before we can look after others even though it makes us feel selfish. It's always annoyed me a bit when she's said it but here I am saying the same to you. It's true though!

I think all you can do is as you have done, explain to her you will not get involved in the details because all it will do is make matters worse. Assure her you love the grandkids and all she does for them but of course you love your son too.
 
#5
I know its hard but as you say 2 sides to every story and as you have grandkids make them your focus while your son and DIL deal with what they are going through, make it clear to your son and DIL that you will always be there for them both, she has been part of your family a long time and will remain so because of the kids, but you will not discuss the other person with them...explain that you need to do this because you have got over the depression and you want to be able to stay over it.
Such great advice, you've said everything important. :)

Judimac, re the depression - you know the signs to look out for, all of us who've suffered from it know how it can recur in stressful times, so remember to be on the look-out. It can creep up on you as I'm sure you're aware, so remember to take care of yourself as well as the family.
 
#6
Judi, you are FAR from helpless. There may be nothing you can do about the situation, but you CAN be there for all involved without judging or recrimination. As a child who survived the failure of not only her parents marriage, but the subsequent marriages of her mother and two stepfathers, my grandparents were absolutely crucial in ensuring I had a stable base and felt loved when everything around me seemed entirely out of kilter. That is your role. I appreciate you have a geographical distance between you and the family, but you can make sure with regular contact that those children know they are loved and supported in what will be a very difficult time for them.

However, your first priority (second only to supporting your son and his family through this difficult time) is to yourself. You cannot let this break you and you need to be strong for them, and the best way you can do this is to ensure you are taken care of and that you dont dwell on things too much and let them get you down, because if you are down, you cannot take care of their needs. Which is precisely why you must ensure to take care of your own. Pamper yourself, make yourself feel good. Think about it, but dont dwell. Think about how you can help make this a more positive and less damaging experience for you all.

Marriages break down, and all involved will suffer, but all involved WILL recover and move forward. And that includes you. (((((hugs))))) xxx
 

*Cupcake*

is working hard.....
#7
Judi - my brother is going through a painful seperation after 14 years too, and its causing such ripples through the family (my poor Mum is in bits and I worry about her) - so so hard for you to have to watch and to try to remain impartial and yet be supportive to both.

Take each day as it comes, and try hard not to hear 'details' - no-one can ever really know what goes on in another's marriage and its not for us to judge. I think you are a gem to be so measured and welcoming, as no doubt your instinct is to support your son. You are doing the right thing, in being neutral and being there for the grandchildren, and are a fabby Mum and MIL.

As for the toll it takes on you (and it does because there is the inevitable worry and upset), please please if you feel the tendrils of depression twirl their way towards you, then do see your GP and seek support for yourself sooner rather than later. Talk it out of your head as much as you can too - on here, on paper, out loud - whatever helps. You must look after you first and foremost. You just must.

Its the next worse thing to actually going through a seperation yourself watching your nearest and dearest torn apart in this way. But no matter how awful and hopeless it seems now, it will end, and repair in its own way in time. Hold onto that thought - and look after yourself lots.

Always here if you need us,

((((JUDI)))) xx
 
#8
Last week my son rang me to say he and his wife 14 years are separating. I know there are 2 sides to every story.
They live on the Isle of Lewis. DIL came down to her mothers in Derbyshire with the 2 youngest. To her credit she brought them over to see us on monday, but I'm in turmoil.
I told her I wasn't going to take sides. Who knows what's going on really, but a couple of remarks didn't ring true. The situation has thoroughly upset me and I feel absolutely helpless. I've just recovered from depression, and I'm so afraid it will start again.
Sorry, but I have no one else (except Donnie ) to vent to.
Don't apologise for asking for help, it's what we're here for! I don't think you're helpless, I think you've made the right decision, it's really best not to take sides in these situations, though it must be hard.

When my dad left my mum, my grandparents were put in the same position. My nan was furious with her son at first and she tried to comfort my mum at the same time. My nan was the most sensible person about it all, she didn't get involved in my parents bickering and made sure that me and my brother were priority, she didn't want us to get hurt. When my mum fell out with her a year or so down the line, I managed to maintain a really good relationship with her and she has pretty much been the only family member to offer me real support since my parents divorce. It's not something I'll ever forget :)
 
#9
What excellent advice from so many people.

All that I can add is that I agree wholeheartedly that you do not become involved and that you look after yourself.

When I was separating from my ex. My in-laws asked me to go round to their home for a "meeting" with them and my soon to be ex. I have never been so embarrassed in my life at the questions and answers session that took place. I also resented the intrusion into what I considered a private matter. How could I discuss my ex husbands infidelities with his father and in front of my ex.

My parents on the other hand, asked no questions, showed equal support for us both and managed to remain on good terms with all concerned. Years later my mother admitted that it had been one of the hardest periods of her life. Her natural instinct was to support me, her daughter, but she stood back and was there when she was needed.

I have only told you all of this as I sense that you like your DIL and that as there are grandchildren involved it is important to them as well as to you that everyone stays as amicable as possible.

Take care of yourself......

hugs xxxxxxxx
 

big bear

A bear on a mission!
#10
Ditto what all off the above have said. You've been such a good support 4 us on here so whenever u need us give us a shout.

U take care of urself xxx
 

Mrs V

Loves Life!
#11
I would only be repeating what advice has been given above Hun.
You know the signs to look out for regarding your depression, please if this happens, dont ignore them. It could escalate.
As for taking sides....I know how hard this one can be, especially as its your Son involved. One thing to think about and I know that you are is the children. Just be there for them when they need you.

Take care

xxx
 
#12
I wish you'd been my MIL... When I split from my first husband, his parents just sided immediately with their son (perhaps understandable but irritating just the same - it was him who left me!)
 
#13
Didn't want to read and run, but am sending hugs, and lots of them. This is a hard thing to go through and everyone else has given great advice so I can only echo that.

Look after you firstly, provide and accept support and take care

xxx
 
#14
As someone who separated after 14 years of marriage, with 2 children, I would say there is not a lot you can do. I am so grateful to my parents for making me feel supported, but without ever interfering. They ahve remained on good terms with my ex, though don't put themselves out to see him. They don't really ahve to as I ahve the kids, but there are obviously times when the kids want us all together. His Mum has been OK since, and lives a distance away, but she just phoned giving me a grilling about why I didn't think her son was good enough for me! Funny as it was her who left her husband, and kept saying how my ex was just a chip off the old block. You would think she would understand, but still. Also, it wasn't like it was my decision anyway, but maybe that is what she was told. It's not a good situation for you, but you really don't need to get involved with it. Be there as a physical presence when needed, love and support your grandkids, and let them sort it out! Good luck. It's not a good situation for anyone.
 

judimac

Mad old Bat with Attitude
#15
Thankyou all so much for your support, it really does mean alot. It's been good to hear how other people have coped as we've never experienced this in our families.
 
#16
How are you doing ??? Was thinking about you this morning.

hugs xxxx