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A difficult situation regarding a babyshower and hurt feelings - history here (long)

Were we wrong? What can we do, if anything, to help mend this situation.

History: My dh's older son (he's 23) and my dh have had a non-existent relationship with eachother for the last 10years. Son moved out to live with his mom when he was 13 because he didn't like living with military dad's rules. Within 1 year he was in jail for drug possession. Son pretty much disowned his dad because he blamed him for his own mis-steps. There is a lot of history of hurt here but hopefully this gives you a glimpse into the history of "them"

DH history: has struggled with alcohol for most of his adult life - has not been sober for 1 full year and has really made the decision this is the last time of yo-yo-ing. He's not an "typically" alcoholic - he just drinks to mask his own shortcomings (from himself really, because he can't fool his family).

Flash-forward: Son is dating a girl for 6 month and they "decide" to try for a baby (September) (she already has 2 babies from 2 different daddies) - right or wrong, they made the decision and got pregnant. Son decides he should start a relationship again with dad (September). Dad makes it clear that in order for this to work, they both have to let the past be the past.

All is working well for the last 6 months - no drama, no issues, son comes down to visit about every week, etc. Until.... the end of last week, dh and I break the news that we will not be attending the baby shower in April - Reasons: #1 Son will be bartending and dh doesn't want to be around the alcohol (legit. He won't even do holiday's with my family if there will be drinking) #2: Son's mom (who he still lives with with his gf and her son) will be in attendance (dh and she still don't get along) #3: The party will consist of a much younger crowd (who will all be drinking) - we'd rather they just enjoy the time with their friend and we can do something special afterwards.

In lieu of the baby shower/party we told them we wanted to have a special day with them as a family, hang out, have a nice meal and celebrate together. Well.... that didn't go off well at all - Son is BEYOND angry that his dad won't be at the shower (son does have legit anger issues). He told us both that we are officially un-invited from the shower and as far as he is concerned he "doesn't have a family anymore"; dad "is a loser and always will be"; plus all sorts of colorful language and not so creative demeaning names and nasty comments through our initial conversation, a follow-up conversation, texts, vmails. He even threatened to put a bullet in dh head at his brother's football game last Saturday (I talked to my cop friend who patrolled nearby that day - if we file a report there is a good chance son will go to jail because of his past and the fact he just recently got off parole for a drug possession charge)... ~~ he didn't show up to the game on Saturday and hopefully he's calmed down from wanting to hurt or kill anyone. I know, I know, we should file a report anyway... it's just a slippery slope no matter how you handle it.~~

Son's out and out anger has carried on through today, he's been venting to his younger brother (dh 14yo son, my dss) all weekend. We're not worried about 14yo, we have very open communication with him and he's handling this better than I expected (he's a great kid!), but really - it's like the tantrum won't end! We really had no intention of upsetting, offending, angering them, we really were trying to do the right thing both by them and for us - we suspected they might be disappointed, but we sure didn't expect an outlash this grandios! We wanted to make it a special family day to celebrate the new baby, something more heartfelt and meaningful.

So the question is, can this be "repaired", is there anything we can do at this point to make this right? Do we just let time do it's job? Do we even bother pursuing any further relationship with them? This whole thing has us so bummed out, but I'm just not sure what can be done. Son won't let us get in a word edge-wise and just sounds so irrational when you try to talk to him. This is beyond difficult in every way.

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Asked by daylily888 at 2:16 PM on Feb. 29, 2012 in Adult Children (18+)

Level 23 (17,620 Credits)
Answers (21)
  • First of all, thank you for using paragraphs and writing this so well. You NEVER see that here.

    Second....Men don't typically go to baby showers.

    Third....DS should understand that his dad can't be around alcohol. If he can't understand and respect that, maybe it's not a good idea for him to be in his dad's life right now.

    Answer by FreeForAll at 2:21 PM on Feb. 29, 2012

  • I also hate when things just run together. I was a literature major so I like things I can read and follow.

    I know men don't typically do to baby showers (I talked to my sister about this and she says, "why is he all butt-hurt over this? Dad never came to any of my showers, even the co-ed ones. Dad says, 'showers are for girls!'" It made me chuckle).
    Son says to me (well more like almost yells), "This is my first child! I can't believe my own father doesn't want to come to the shower and be a part of this!" I tried to explain that we do want to be a part of this, but the shower is out of the question (for the reasons in my OP), but that we want to do something special in place of it and make it a family affair and memorable.... That just got him more upset!

    DH has feels the same way about having son in his life - so he tries to keep the relationship at a healthy distance.

    Comment by daylily888 (original poster) at 2:33 PM on Feb. 29, 2012

  • I would just leave it alone. What you offered was fair to everyone concerned. People like your husband's son can never be pleased, and as you have just witnessed, every time there is an opportunity to "go off", that is precisely what they do. This is not about family, it's about son's absorption with self, and I would let it go.

    Answer by NannyB. at 2:37 PM on Feb. 29, 2012

  • Alcohol at a baby shower? Anyways, if it can be repaired I really think depends on your DH's son. That was a really good idea for the family time instead of attending a baby shower. I'm sure it would be worth it to try to work it our, since there will be a grandbaby in the near future. I would have you DH tell him the special family time is still on the table if DS so wishes to accept it and kinda leave it at that. Hopefully, he will come around. I wish I could give you better advice, because I know that dealing with someone with anger issues is really difficult. I wish you the nest of luck.

    Answer by mommy_jules at 2:42 PM on Feb. 29, 2012

  • This is my instant gut feeling on this too NannyB. I just didn't know if I was being insensitive about the whole thing. I've hardly had much contact with the older son so I've not developed any relationship there and I know without a relationship it's easy to just write things off.
    DH goes back and forth on what to do. He hasn't forgiven himself for "failing his son" (or so he feels even though he did the best job he could given the circumstances). There is a part of him that says, "this is for the better, there's too much son has to deal with within himself before this ever has a chance of working" and the other part keeps eating away at him because he's "failed" his son again.

    I know all i can do is remain supportive, but golly, this is a tough one!

    Comment by daylily888 (original poster) at 2:45 PM on Feb. 29, 2012

  • yes... alcohol at a baby shower! And not just wine out for those who want a glass - the son is acting as full bartender.... It blows my mind, but then that is the crowd they hang out with. We support them because of this baby, but there are still many many things in their life we don't and can't condone.

    Comment by daylily888 (original poster) at 2:47 PM on Feb. 29, 2012

  • I posted this and cringed thinking you all would tell me we were wrong, but I wanted to gut check. If we were wrong, I felt I needed to hear it, but my gut has been saying we've done nothing wrong here.

    I sure appreciate the support.

    Comment by daylily888 (original poster) at 2:49 PM on Feb. 29, 2012

  • I completely agree with FreeforAll and everyone else. It is so sad that the son feels this way, and KNOWING full well that your DH is trying to stay sober and doesn't want to be around alcohol he still decides to have a "full bar party", and i agree who in their right mind does that for a baby shower?! I hope the son comes around and gets over this imagined 'slight' so that you and your dh can have some sort of relationship with the baby :( (((HUGS))) this is definitely a tough situation!

    Answer by DreainCO at 2:56 PM on Feb. 29, 2012

  • As a functioning alcoholic who has had to come to terms with the burnt bridges
    there are some things that cannot be repaired- ever.

    That also means accepting that one cannot under any circumstances control someone elses behavior.
    If husband has made amends and attempted to repair relationships- and the other party has decided to live with their head up their butt, there is nothing else to be done.

    Here's how my almost perfect Mom has handled me- offer love and support and hope the other party grows the eff up.

    Answer by Anonymous at 5:01 PM on Feb. 29, 2012

  • There is a lot of wrong on both sides but it seems like your SS was trying to make things work, I mean, it must have taken a lot of courage and a lot of swallowed pride to contact his dad after all of the problems between the two of them, and ya'll's refusal to come to the baby shower could may well have seemed to him as your DH being unwilling to take a step in the right direction for their relationship. I am not saying that is what your DH IS doing, I am just saying that I could see how your SS might feel that way. Also, your DH is going to have to get over not wanting to be around his ex if he wants anything to do with this grandbaby because she will probably be at every birthday party, every holiday and school play, graduations and one day, wedding. It will also be harder for your SS to split holidays between his two parents because he is more then likely already splitting holidays between his SO's family and his own.

    Answer by JLS2388 at 5:28 AM on Mar. 2, 2012

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