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Need some outside ideas and help!

Shannon - posted on 02/23/2010 ( 7 moms have responded )

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This is a long one, so get a coke and kick your feet up.

I am in a real bind here, and I am not sure what to do. I really have had my world turned upside down in a matter of days, and I need some unbiased help.

First things first. I have a niece, who is now 15 years old, whom I have not seen since she was 6. My brother is not allowed to be in her life because their family hates him, and the only people within my family able to have a relationship with her is my mom and oldest brother. For 15 years I have been told that my niece's mom didn't want us to have a relationship with her unless we showed consistency. (i.e. cards for b'day, xmas, etc) I wasn't allowed to have her address, as she was uncomfortable with that, or so I was told. So my only option was to send things through my mom. She would either send them to my neice for me, or give them to her if she was in town for a visit. Needless to say that we never knew when she was coming in town, were never invited to spend time, and always found out weeks, months, later.

My mother has always said that she would "work on" getting us all a chance to have a relationship with my niece. She always claimed to not have much of a relationship with them, and that she really was an outsider to them. She said that she must tread carefully, and go slowly. Well, that was ten years ago, and needless to say nothing in this situation has changed. Not one! I sent cards and tried to be as "consistent" as I could, and just 2 years ago Xmas I asked my mom for the address to quickly mail a gift, and her husband (not my dad) called me back with an address. I was told not to give it out, and that was that. I have never received a thank you, nor have I even received so much as a "we got the gift/card." I figured maybe I was irritating the situation and backed off, all the while still telling my mother to keep working on the issue, and let them know I said hi when she talked to them, etc.

Fast forward to this week. My brother and I had been talking for years, and finally decided to take it upon ourselves to be grown ups and try ourselves to gain access, and a relationship, with my niece. (I have 3 brothers. The father, the eldest who has access, and the 2nd oldest who helped me write the letter) We wrote the letter, debated back and forth, tweaked it, and finally sent. What we got was a surprise. Not only did we get a letter from the mother of our niece, but we got a letter from her father (Gpa). They said they didn't know us, didn't trust us, chastised us for waiting 15 years to finally care, and questioned what motivated us to write now. From all of the information we have gathered from the letters we have drawn a pretty wicked picture of the true issues.

1) My mother had a VERY good relationship with their whole family, camping, weddings, etc.
2) No one but my niece's father was supposed to be kept away from my niece, according to her mother.
3)Of all of the cards I had sent over the years, they received none.
4) They were never told that we wished for a relationship.
5) Even the address I was given, by my mothers husband, did not get my niece's gift to her.
6) My niece's mother was told that she couldn't necessarily trust us, by our mother.

I am at a complete loss here. I thought I had a wonderful relationship with my mother, and I always believed that she was passing on my cards, wishes, etc. This has been quite the slap in the face, and I am shocked that I have been lied to for 10 years, on any number of issues concerning my niece. I admit I am not thinking really clearly, and I am wondering how any of you would react to this situation. I sent messages to my mother, asking her why and trying to see what the excuse is, but she has not answered and I don't think I will ever get an answer. (btw, I am a military wife and do not live in the same state as any of them)

All in all I looked like a complete fake, fraud, and liar to my niece's family. There is no way that I can truly combat this situation, or hope to get them to see that I did try, and I did care. It's now a he said/she said issue, and I come up lacking against my own mother whom they adore and respect. Would you continue a relationship with a mom who did this to you? I think I am still in shock. I figured we would have a bit of an uphill battle on this, but I never figured I would find out my own mother was duplicitous and lying to me for a decade. Any ideas or helpful advice would be greatly appreciated.

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Shannon - posted on 02/24/2010

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Thanks everyone, as you can imagine I have had a hard time looking at this situation objectively. Before I made any rash decisions, or said something I couldn't take back, I wanted some sane people to give me some advice and ideas. I will continue to try and work on having a relationship with my niece. Without a few pieces of the puzzle I am not sure if her mother really is okay with me at all. For years I gave my mom the benefit of the doubt, she had always said she would try and talk with them so all of us could enjoy a relationship with my niece. But, when asked if she had talked to them, she always put out that she wasn't close to them. Now I know different. I did write an email to my mom, I asked her some questions and told her how I felt...I have received nothing from her. So...I move forward and try to do what I now know is right, and hopefully one day my mom will come around. My husband is stunned, not only was he under the same impression I was, that my mom and I were close, but he has also been involved in the conversations about my niece. He's wondering where the cards (with gift cards) went if they weren't sent to my niece by my mom for us. We aren't rich, so we prefer to not waste money if it's not even being used or given.

This has just been a mighty big blow, and one that wasn't expected. I kinda expected to hear from my niece's mother that we needed to do certain things, or agree to certain things, in order to have a real relationship with my niece. But what came out is a huge puzzle of lies, deceit, cover-ups, and I'm at a loss as to what to even think.

Once again, thank you all for your responses. It's helped me out a lot.

Traci - posted on 02/24/2010

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First of all, I truly feel for you. You have done nothing wrong, yet you are the one being punished, as is your niece, whether she knows it or not. Who knows what she's been told. As for your mother - since she has not responded to your messages, my guess is that she knows she was in the wrong. I would suggest trying to push the issue with her, and whoever else you can, like your brother who can see your niece, and try to find out what the hell has actually been going on. If your mother refuses to be up front and honest with you, I would never, ever trust her again. She out and out betrayed you. Even if she did it because it was the only way she could see her granddaughter, which I would not buy, she should have told you what was going on. As to whether you completely cut her off or not is a tough one. On the one hand, she is your mom, on the other, nobody has the right to do that to you, mom or not, and not expect consequences. If you do decide to continue having a relationship with her, how good of a relationship could that really be? Again, my suggestion, keep trying to get answers any way you can. If your mother continues to refuse to give them to you, wait a while before you make a decision whether or not to cut ties with her, so that you can think about it from every angle possible. By the way, what is your husband's view point on this crap? Take care and good luck. I will be hoping for the best for you.

Leane - posted on 02/24/2010

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I think you need to try again to establish a "working" relationship ith your Brother, his wife and your niece. Try to explain, as unemotionally as ou can what has transpired over the years. I can'timagine why your mom would act this way, but since she has, i would leave her out of the discussions with the rest of your family. One way you could go about building a new relationship with those to whom you have been estranged would be to "take the High road". Don't continue the blame game ith your mom. Write her a letter stating how hurt, betrayed etc. you feel and then do nothing else!! If they see you handling the current horrible situation with dignity and emotional strength, you may yet be deemed "worthy" of a relationship. I hope some of this helps. I can't imagine the pain you are feeling right now! Know that you have done nothing wrong and try to persevere. Also, let me tell you THANK YOU for being a Military Wife. Without you and those like you, where would our country be?? Stay strong!

Leane

Felicia - posted on 02/24/2010

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I know that the courts will grant grandparent's right. I don't know if they will do the same with other family members. Talk to a lawyer and tell him everything you posted here.

Michele - posted on 02/24/2010

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I would say that a DNA test should be done. Of course, it might be pointless now that his daughter is 15. I hope you find the answer you are looking for in your family or in hers as something is wrong without a doubt.

Shannon - posted on 02/24/2010

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My oldest brother has access, he is not the father. The father and mother were not married, and she never put his name on the birth certificate, so he has no rights. He did try twice to get his name on the birth certificate, but the mother thwarted his efforts.
Oldest brother, has access. 2nd oldest brother helped me write letter, he has no access to niece either. 3rd oldest brother is the father, her too has no access.

Hope that cleared my jumble thoughts up. :)

Thanks for the reply...I appreciate a sane voice in an insane time.

Michele - posted on 02/24/2010

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I guess I would need some more info as I am a little confused. You had stated that the oldest brother, which is the father, wasn't supposed to have access to his daughter, but yet, you say later that he does have access.Was he granted access by a court, as I know from being divroced myself, I cannot keep my son's father from being with him just because I hate him or any of the rest of his family for that matter. Of course, I would never do any such thing anyhow, that is my son's family too and I do not believe in punishing the children just because of a divorce. They didn't ask to be brought in to this world, they didn't ask for their parents to be divorced, so therefore, they should have access to ALL family. Do you and your nieces father have a good relationship? Your mother may have been put in a position where she had to lie to you and the rest of the family to maintain a relationship with her grandaughter. There is definately something not right, whether it be from your mom, your older brother, or your nieces mother....someone has been lying. I guess the first step would be to confront your mother about it and see if you can get the truth of what is going on. If you can't seem to get any answers from her I would go to my oldest brother, who is the father, and find out if he can shed any light on the situation for you. If you do not get any straight answers from him, then I would continue to try to gain your nieces mother's trust that you would like to have a relationlship with your niece and go from there. As far as continuting a relationship with your mother, you should NEVER not maintain a relationship with one of your parents. I lost my mother 5 years ago to cancer and I miss her terribly and once they are gone there is no way to get the relationship back. I would however let her know how hurt you are by her deceitfulness.

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