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23 Sep 2007

Trouble with the bio family
Hi CS,
Hope you are enjoying the long weekend!

My husband and I have an adopted five year old daughter, K. My husband was married to K's biological mother, but is not her biological father. K's bio mom died when she was two. Bio mom had a very bad relationship with her parents, who are really not nice people and were not on speaking terms with her at the time of her death. They then applied to adopt K, while my husband said no way was he letting his daughter go. This led to a two year legal process during which time I came on the scene and we got married. The court awarded us the adoption and granny and grandpa got a court order stipulating access.

Grandpa I can take or leave, he doesn't have a lot of personality and generally does what his wife tells him to. Granny is a piece of work. (They are only 10 years older than us, btw.) During the legal battles they told lies about my husband and their own daughter, and they refuse to speak to granny's parents to this day because granny's parents supported us for the adoption.

For K's sake we are civil and friendly to granny and grandpa, make smalltalk, invite them to school functions (where they carefully avoid coming face to face with granny's parents). This is as much as we are comfortable doing. Yet granny seems determined to try and befriend us, and especially me. She is constantly complimenting me on how well we parent K, in a way I experience as being patronising, gushing about the beautiful photo's I take of K etc. etc. I don't want to deprive my daughter of her bio grandparents' company (and legally cannot do so anyway), I think they bring a different dimension into her life. But I don't like granny, I don't trust her, our values and outlook on life are completely different, and I don't want to be friends with her. So now they've invited us to a meal next time she goes to them for the day. We've been to a social thing at their house once before and it was excruciating, having to be friendly and polite to people you don't like. I want to set a good example for my daughter, but I'm not sure what that example should be. Everytime something happens with granny that we don't like we get angry in private and then keep smiling and it just feels to me as if she keeps manipulating us into doing things we don't want to, because she knows that for K's sake we won't rock the boat.

We do have a court appointed psychologist to help us resolve issues, and we haven't used her yet. But what can we say? Tell this woman to back off and stop butting into our lives and our private time will sound childish and petulant in the face of granny's "I just want to be friends, let bygones be bygones" attitude.

Not really sure what my question is, just want a different perspective. Thanks for reading.
Answer 291 views
Expert
CyberShrink
cybershrink

01 Jan 0001

I'd guess that at first nasty gran may have been enjoying manipulating the situations by inviting you into occasions when you'd feel the need to be polite to her --- but so long as you continue to be polite without warmth, surely before long she should find this really boring and unrewarding. ? One's aim, presumably, is to look after the best interests of the child, while rendering such events unrewarding enopugh to nasty-gran, so that she will look elsewhere for her fun. Perhaps, too, nasty-gran is playing to the audience of the court and the court=appointed psychologist ?
Hope*'s perspective is valid and wise, too. You don't have to feel sorry for her, just understand the under-pinnings of her behaviour, so as better to be able to not allow it to affect you adversely
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