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post #41 of 55
Thread Starter 

Thanks pek64.  

       I've discussed counseling with my mom numerous times, particularly after my brother's situation became so bad in 2007.  I suggested we go together.   I was really on her case a couple of years ago about how emotionally isolated I felt that she was- which she was EXTREMELY offended by.  She says she is perfectly happy.  At that point, I realized there is no point in trying to change people who don't want to see what could be going on with them and I try to make the best of our relationship.  I'm not so angry with my mom that I want to limit her relationship with DD and I do want them to be close.  I really don't want to limit it for selfish reasons as well, because, as I said, she's our most reliable overnight babysitter and losing that would stink.  

 

That said, it's what my instinct is telling me on this (that elements of this relationship could be toxic for DD) that I'm not sure if I can trust given by lack of objectivity here.  It was the way she was crying in the car (and I know others wrote that it is normal)..but never in my life have I heard sobbing of that nature from her.  Pair that up with my mom's latest comment about how telling DD she needs to wait 10 minutes before Mimi can play with her as potential rejection and it just leaves me wondering.  I mean, WTF- telling I child they need to wait 10 minutes is normal behavior.  I told my mother that DD seems like she is viewing her as her pet...and this is just weird!!   But, even so, is it "toxic"?  I just don't know.  

 

I'm coming to the conclusion that maybe DH and I should keep a really close eye on how they interact from now on, and space out the visits a bit more for now (every 2-3 months).   My mom is supposed to watch her for 4 nights in August so we can go away for our 10th anniversary..not sure if that is too long to leave them at this point.  I

post #42 of 55
This is such a difficult situation that I feel it would be beneficial for you to go to therapy alone. The therapist can suggest how to talk with her, and how to handle her responses. What do you think about that?
post #43 of 55
I just really feel that it isnour jobs as patents to protect our children. From their own family sometimes. If she was emotionally toxic for you it would make sense to shield your dd a little from the brunt of her. It is not unreasonable at all to limit visits. For my own sanity we limit my in-laws and my family visits just because its too much for me. Not as punishment. On the end its what you are comfortable with. Seeing a grand parent once every couple months is a lot more than a lot of people see their grand children. If you and your dh are uncomfortable then that's all you need. Don't ignore that just because you feel the past is influencing you. That's what the past is for.

I agree with the crying thing in that we do not know your child and if hound it was abnormal for her the I am sure it was.
post #44 of 55
The crying shows the child is bonded to the grandmother. If visits are suddenly cut she may resent her mother for doing that.

And I'm not saying to ignore the past. Not at all! But if the past is being projected onto the present, then grandma and granddaughter would be punished for something old. I am simply suggesting she discuss this with a professional who can have a more back and forth exchange with her.
post #45 of 55
I understand what you are saying but both her and her husband are uncomfortable with the situation. Limiting visits to save their daughter some manipulation is not unreasonable. She is not suggesting no contact. Just on her and her husband's terms which are not unreasonable at all. 6 times a year plus any special event in between is a lot of visits. And even if it is for her own piece of mind she is the mother and sparing her child from that emotionally toxic experience is not a sign she is projecting anything other than concern for her kid. I would rather limit it and be wrong then not do anything and subject my kid to potentially damaging behavior worried i was thinking too much into the past. My relationship with my own mother is toxic. We do not speak and she is not allowed around my son. The op is a better person than me in that she is willing to allow that much visitation at all. Give her a break for having concern for her daughter and the potential relationship that may be betoxic.
post #46 of 55
I've thought about this carefully, and here's what's troubling me. You trusted grandma until recently, so completely that you allowed overnight visits, or am I wrong about that. So.... what happened to damage that trust? Your daughter cried when the visit was over? Is that what started you thinking she shouldn't be trusted as much anymore? If that's the turning point, then I think you need to understand that your daughter's behavior was age appropriate, and has nothing to do with grandma. If I missed something, please point it out to me, OP.
post #47 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by pek64 View Post

I've thought about this carefully, and here's what's troubling me. You trusted grandma until recently, so completely that you allowed overnight visits, or am I wrong about that. So.... what happened to damage that trust? Your daughter cried when the visit was over? Is that what started you thinking she shouldn't be trusted as much anymore? If that's the turning point, then I think you need to understand that your daughter's behavior was age appropriate, and has nothing to do with grandma. If I missed something, please point it out to me, OP.

 

Without going back and rereading all the posts, I honestly think the crying is totally normal.  I have two polar opposite children, absolute yin and yang with everything. One firey and dramatic the other the most even keel person I've ever met.  But when we leave my dad's house now, my 7 year old's reaction is the same as ds's when he was 7.  He adores his papa, his papa adores him.  Why wouldn't they be sad to leave someone that loves them so much, who lets them do whatever they want?  It's heavenly to be adored completely. It's not the same as mom or dad, becuase we are there, all the time, we do the loving and the discipline.  Grandparents (typically) just do the loving part.  

post #48 of 55

OP, what are you scared of? To be honest, I think you are afraid of being the "bad guy", the "outcast" or dare I say, the "unlovable" one here. You are afraid that your mom's free ride with everything, is making you look less desirable in the eyes of your daughter. She already thinks your mother knows more than you and was very upset at the thought of her grandma leaving (leaving her with her parents that is). I mean, that's enough to make any mother feel insecure and uncomfortable, but it doesn't mean your mom is the issue.

 

I don't mean to be cruel. I promise. So please hold back any tears and take a deep breath.. I'm trying to offer you a different perspective. I think you feel insecure as a parent.. It's not about the smothering or the potential of your mom's toxicity spreading to your daughter.

Let's think with a little logic.. How can someone that your daughter frolics with less than 10 times a year have such a profound negative effect on her (especially when she is actually enjoying the visits)? You should be more worried about the toxic friends she might make at school, rather than the "toxic" grandmother that visits once a month.

 

While we're on the toxic people road.. Why is culling them the only solution ever offered? I think culling toxic people is actually the incorrect response in most instances. Obviously, this doesn't apply for physically or sexually abusive people, only for those who give us a hard time mentally or don't respect our decisions. One of the hardest issues we will ever have to face and overcome is the setting of boundaries with other people. If you had boundaries with your mom and she respected them, do you think you would have started this thread? I'm inclined to guess most likely not. Setting boundaries and ensuring they are followed through, is probably the solution you need.

 

However, if you still believe your mom is a very toxic influence and are toying with the idea of a "cull", then consider this: You can't protect your daughter forever, but you can prepare for her less than desirable influences. Your daughter learning about and working her way through your mom's potential guilt tripping, anxiety inducing or baby-ing of her, might actually be a GOOD thing in the long term. It will prepare her for all the other undesirable attitudes she will endure and be forced to deal with in her lifetime (when you are no longer there to guide and protect her). What about when your daughter befriends a toxic person in highschool or marries a toxic man? How are you going to save her from all of those people?

 

Last, you said your mom's anxiety was smothering. Be thankful. There are mom's out there too busy with what they want, to even notice their kids exist. There are moms out there who abandon there kids when they are in a bad situation (like your mom was, but she hung around). There are moms out there that break up their family simply because they want to "find themselves" are want "more from life".

Be thankful that while it is still uncomfortable and most annoying to feel smothered, you are still on the best side of the spectrum. She rode it out with an alcoholic so that you wouldn't be out on the streets. She obviously wanted you and your brother to have a decent life. Her approach may not have been perfect, but it's all she knew to do. She is of an older generation where it's seen as weak to admit your faults (hence why she always claims she is fine even when she isn't). The woman needs a break, not more heartache. Have a chat, set some boundaries (think of what makes you the most uncomfortable and ask yourself why) and move forward. Your daughter won't be little forever. One day she will see through all of grandma's sneaky antics (if GM does do that) and will be thankful the relationship between her and mommy is different.

 

If you need to talk, then please PM me. I have the same type of mother that you've spoken about, had an eerily similar upbringing and have a daughter who is very attached to my mom (and once told me that she trusts grammie more than mommy). I know this situation all too well.

post #49 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by LoveOurBabies View Post


While we're on the toxic people road.. Why is culling them the only solution ever offered? I think culling toxic people is actually the incorrect response in most instances. Obviously, this doesn't apply for physically or sexually abusive people, only for those who give us a hard time mentally or don't respect our decisions. One of the hardest issues we will ever have to face and overcome is the setting of boundaries with other people. If you had boundaries with your mom and she respected them, do you think you would have started this thread? I'm inclined to guess most likely not. Setting boundaries and ensuring they are followed through, is probably the solution you need.

 

 

I'm not the OP, but wanted to address this question. If I can deal with someone without having to cull them from my life, I don't really consider them toxic - I consider them annoying. If I set boundaries and those boundaries are respected (no matter how much work I have to do to get there), the person's not really toxic. I may still cull them, as I see no reason to have people in my life if I have to constantly fight for basic respect of my boundaries, but I don't consider them toxic.

post #50 of 55
Thread Starter 
Quote:

 

I don't mean to be cruel. I promise. So please hold back any tears and take a deep breath.. I'm trying to offer you a different perspective. I think you feel insecure as a parent.. It's not about the smothering or the potential of your mom's toxicity spreading to your daughter.

Let's think with a little logic.. How can someone that your daughter frolics with less than 10 times a year have such a profound negative effect on her (especially when she is actually enjoying the visits)? You should be more worried about the toxic friends she might make at school, rather than the "toxic" grandmother that visits once a month.

 

While we're on the toxic people road.. Why is culling them the only solution ever offered? I think culling toxic people is actually the incorrect response in most instances. Obviously, this doesn't apply for physically or sexually abusive people, only for those who give us a hard time mentally or don't respect our decisions. One of the hardest issues we will ever have to face and overcome is the setting of boundaries with other people. If you had boundaries with your mom and she respected them, do you think you would have started this thread? I'm inclined to guess most likely not. Setting boundaries and ensuring they are followed through, is probably the solution you need.

 

However, if you still believe your mom is a very toxic influence and are toying with the idea of a "cull", then consider this: You can't protect your daughter forever, but you can prepare for her less than desirable influences. Your daughter learning about and working her way through your mom's potential guilt tripping, anxiety inducing or baby-ing of her, might actually be a GOOD thing in the long term. It will prepare her for all the other undesirable attitudes she will endure and be forced to deal with in her lifetime (when you are no longer there to guide and protect her). What about when your daughter befriends a toxic person in highschool or marries a toxic man? How are you going to save her from all of those people?

 

Last, you said your mom's anxiety was smothering. Be thankful. There are mom's out there too busy with what they want, to even notice their kids exist. There are moms out there who abandon there kids when they are in a bad situation (like your mom was, but she hung around). There are moms out there that break up their family simply because they want to "find themselves" are want "more from life".

Be thankful that while it is still uncomfortable and most annoying to feel smothered, you are still on the best side of the spectrum. She rode it out with an alcoholic so that you wouldn't be out on the streets. She obviously wanted you and your brother to have a decent life. Her approach may not have been perfect, but it's all she knew to do. She is of an older generation where it's seen as weak to admit your faults (hence why she always claims she is fine even when she isn't). The woman needs a break, not more heartache. Have a chat, set some boundaries (think of what makes you the most uncomfortable and ask yourself why) and move forward. Your daughter won't be little forever. One day she will see through all of grandma's sneaky antics (if GM does do that) and will be thankful the relationship between her and mommy is different.

 

If you need to talk, then please PM me. I have the same type of mother that you've spoken about, had an eerily similar upbringing and have a daughter who is very attached to my mom (and once told me that she trusts grammie more than mommy). I know this situation all too well.

 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by pek64 View Post

The crying shows the child is bonded to the grandmother. If visits are suddenly cut she may resent her mother for doing that.

And I'm not saying to ignore the past. Not at all! But if the past is being projected onto the present, then grandma and granddaughter would be punished for something old. I am simply suggesting she discuss this with a professional who can have a more back and forth exchange with her.

DD and GM have seen each other more than usual since Christmas- it's just the way things have worked out.  Moving the visits back to once every 2-3 months is moving it back to normal.  

 

I agree about not projecting the past onto the present and I am trying to be objective about this.  I posted here specifically for this reason.  

 

 


Quote:
Originally Posted by pek64 View Post

I've thought about this carefully, and here's what's troubling me. You trusted grandma until recently, so completely that you allowed overnight visits, or am I wrong about that. So.... what happened to damage that trust? Your daughter cried when the visit was over? Is that what started you thinking she shouldn't be trusted as much anymore? If that's the turning point, then I think you need to understand that your daughter's behavior was age appropriate, and has nothing to do with grandma. If I missed something, please point it out to me, OP.
The issue is not that I don't trust my mother.  I know my mom is always going to be super (uber) nice to DD and make sure nothing bad happens.  I wrote this post because DD's recent actions when with/leaving my mom have raised red flags for DH and I.  This, in combination with the indisputable fact that my mom seeks to satisfy her emotional needs with DD are why we are now concerned.  
 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by LoveOurBabies View Post

"OP, what are you scared of? To be honest, I think you are afraid of being the "bad guy", the "outcast" or dare I say, the "unlovable" one here. You are afraid that your mom's free ride with everything, is making you look less desirable in the eyes of your daughter. She already thinks your mother knows more than you and was very upset at the thought of her grandma leaving (leaving her with her parents that is). I mean, that's enough to make any mother feel insecure and uncomfortable, but it doesn't mean your mom is the issue."

 

 

I can understand why you might think this is the deep seeded problem, but I can tell you my mom is the issue.  I've considered whether I am just jealous, particularly because of the history I have with my mom (maybe that there is some anger for her fueling it).  My mom does not act normally with my DD.  Here's a few more examples: (1) I have heard her tell DD repeatedly that she is sad she is growing up.  DD said to me one day "Mimi wants me to be a baby again." and I told her that she said the same to me when I was young and of course that it silly and I love that she is growing up.  (2) According to DH when Mimi is in the room no one can get near DD.  She envelops her.  I haven't noticed this per se.  (3) At a recent family gathering, my mom and aunt were talking about having granddaughters, and my mom replied "it's so GREAT to be able to SATISFY their EVERY WHIM!!" with an inflection that led to a very disturbed expression on my aunt's face.  (3) About 1 month ago I was leaving my mom's house, pulling out of the driveway with DD, and the look on my mom's face was equivalent to watching your lover heading off to war.  (4) Since Mother's Day/DD's birthday party weekend, she's sent 2 texts and about 6 emails asking questions for the birthday photo book she is making for DD...names of friends, stuffed animals, etc..reflecting many hours on this book, hours she could be spending out with friends.  

 

 

 

 

Quote:
"Let's think with a little logic.. How can someone that your daughter frolics with less than 10 times a year have such a profound negative effect on her (especially when she is actually enjoying the visits)? You should be more worried about the toxic friends she might make at school, rather than the "toxic" grandmother that visits once a month."

 

 

I agree with you!  This is why I'm torn here.  So yes she is obsessed but will this hurt DD to have a grandma that acts like this?  I've always thought no, but DH and I both had the same reaction to the last visit which was some concern.  

 

 

 

 

Quote:

"Last, you said your mom's anxiety was smothering. Be thankful. There are mom's out there too busy with what they want, to even notice their kids exist. There are moms out there who abandon there kids when they are in a bad situation (like your mom was, but she hung around). There are moms out there that break up their family simply because they want to "find themselves" are want "more from life".

Be thankful that while it is still uncomfortable and most annoying to feel smothered, you are still on the best side of the spectrum. She rode it out with an alcoholic so that you wouldn't be out on the streets. She obviously wanted you and your brother to have a decent life. Her approach may not have been perfect, but it's all she knew to do. She is of an older generation where it's seen as weak to admit your faults (hence why she always claims she is fine even when she isn't). The woman needs a break, not more heartache."

 

I agree with you so strongly on this that I worry it's biasing me in the other direction- that I'm putting my daughter in a potentially unhealthy situation because the thought of taking DD from her AFTER ALL SHE HAS BEEN THROUGH would not be something I could stand.  

 

Also, I'm not talking about "culling" her from our lives at all.   At worst we were considering taking away unsupervised visits but we're both pulling back on that for now.  

post #51 of 55
Reinstating the old schedule is reasonable. I didn't understand that was what you were planning earlier.

If you are still holding anger from your own past, therapy can help. And she may be finding it difficult to connect with friends because of trust issues from her marriage. So she is focusing on those she feels comfortable with -- family. I think you can help your own relationship with your mother if you stop trying to fix her. Maybe, just maybe, if she doesn't feel pressure from you to change, she will work on her relationship with you a bit more, which would take away some of the attention she gives to your daughter. Just a thought.
post #52 of 55
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by pek64 View Post

Reinstating the old schedule is reasonable. I didn't understand that was what you were planning earlier.

If you are still holding anger from your own past, therapy can help. And she may be finding it difficult to connect with friends because of trust issues from her marriage. So she is focusing on those she feels comfortable with -- family. I think you can help your own relationship with your mother if you stop trying to fix her. Maybe, just maybe, if she doesn't feel pressure from you to change, she will work on her relationship with you a bit more, which would take away some of the attention she gives to your daughter. Just a thought.

That is a good thought.  I was trying to 'fix' her a couple of years ago (when I moved back from the West Coast).  I was trying to help her and she just didn't want to hear it and was very offended.  I realized that continuing to do this was not helping anyone and have tried to focus on our relationship a bit more.  I find that she and I get along best when it is just the two of us so we do go out to plays/dinners etc 2-3x a year and it always goes well.  I also make sure we talk at least once a week.  

post #53 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post

I'm not the OP, but wanted to address this question. If I can deal with someone without having to cull them from my life, I don't really consider them toxic - I consider them annoying. If I set boundaries and those boundaries are respected (no matter how much work I have to do to get there), the person's not really toxic. I may still cull them, as I see no reason to have people in my life if I have to constantly fight for basic respect of my boundaries, but I don't consider them toxic.

 

I like your post. Personally, I find it less draining to allow my parents to be minimally in my life that to refuse all contact with them. (I've tried both ways).

 

For me, learning to set boundaries at all was very difficult. Using that new and fragile skills with my parents required the help of a mental health professional. After all, it was my parents who screwed me up so much that I grew up without any idea how to have a boundary. winky.gif

 

That was years ago, and I'm good with boundaries now, especially with my parents.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Snydley View Post

 

I agree about not projecting the past onto the present and I am trying to be objective about this.  I posted here specifically for this reason.  

 

....I agree with you so strongly on this that I worry it's biasing me in the other direction- that I'm putting my daughter in a potentially unhealthy situation because the thought of taking DD from her AFTER ALL SHE HAS BEEN THROUGH would not be something I could stand.  

 

Also, I'm not talking about "culling" her from our lives at all.   At worst we were considering taking away unsupervised visits but we're both pulling back on that for now.  

 

I disagree about projecting the past. My father has had minimal contact with my children, and has never been unsupervised with them because I know from past experience is that he is a pedophile and I know what that is like to deal with as a victim. I don't see the OPer's situation as all that different. Her mother hasn't changed, and her mother's pattern of behavior will eventually deeply hurt her child. Just because the wounds will be in her DD's head and will have been put their by a woman rather than a man, I don't see how sitting around and WATCHING someone screw with your child's head is the best parenting choice. Doing so out of pity for the adult? Its just not a parenting choice I would make.

 

Getting over that wacked out things my father said to me was actually a lot harder than getting over the sicko things he did to me. I'm pretty protective of my children. One thing I keep in mind is that some day, they will be adults and may ask me questions about different decisions I made. I image how those conversations will go and I what I would like to be able to say.

 

As far as unsupervised visits, there is a really big difference between them heading to a movie and icecream together vs. spending 4 days together. Partly because with a shorter visit, the child can remember the wacky things grandma says and discuss them with you, but with a longer visit there isn't any other input or way to process. When my kids, who are much older than the OPer's DD, are around my crazy family of origin, they need time to talk to their daddy and I afterward to work out the conversations and comments.

 

I question how much you and your DH will really be able to relax and enjoy each other on the long trip.

 

But to repeat what I said earlier -- my advice is to set boundaries and read up "Toxic Parents."

post #54 of 55
To reiterate, to be sure there is no projecting going on, I encourage speaking with a therapist before taking drastic steps. The OP's plan of action seems reasonable. Further change, without professional input, makes me concerned that it might be a case of throwing out the baby with the bathwater.
post #55 of 55
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post

 

I like your post. Personally, I find it less draining to allow my parents to be minimally in my life that to refuse all contact with them. (I've tried both ways).

 

For me, learning to set boundaries at all was very difficult. Using that new and fragile skills with my parents required the help of a mental health professional. After all, it was my parents who screwed me up so much that I grew up without any idea how to have a boundary. winky.gif

 

That was years ago, and I'm good with boundaries now, especially with my parents.

 

 

I disagree about projecting the past. My father has had minimal contact with my children, and has never been unsupervised with them because I know from past experience is that he is a pedophile and I know what that is like to deal with as a victim. I don't see the OPer's situation as all that different. Her mother hasn't changed, and her mother's pattern of behavior will eventually deeply hurt her child. Just because the wounds will be in her DD's head and will have been put their by a woman rather than a man, I don't see how sitting around and WATCHING someone screw with your child's head is the best parenting choice. Doing so out of pity for the adult? Its just not a parenting choice I would make.

 

Getting over that wacked out things my father said to me was actually a lot harder than getting over the sicko things he did to me. I'm pretty protective of my children. One thing I keep in mind is that some day, they will be adults and may ask me questions about different decisions I made. I image how those conversations will go and I what I would like to be able to say.

 

 

 

But to repeat what I said earlier -- my advice is to set boundaries and read up "Toxic Parents."

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post

I disagree about projecting the past. My father has had minimal contact with my children, and has never been unsupervised with them because I know from past experience is that he is a pedophile and I know what that is like to deal with as a victim. I don't see the OPer's situation as all that different. Her mother hasn't changed, and her mother's pattern of behavior will eventually deeply hurt her child. Just because the wounds will be in her DD's head and will have been put their by a woman rather than a man, I don't see how sitting around and WATCHING someone screw with your child's head is the best parenting choice. Doing so out of pity for the adult? Its just not a parenting choice I would make.

I think the difference here is that my mom is MIGHT not be doing anything that would be damaging to my DD in any way.  I hear no manipulative talk from my mom at all, nothing but kindness and fun.  For this reason, at this point, I don't want to project the past onto the situation.  Now, if I saw my mom not letting go of a hug when DD was trying to pull away, etc. it would be another story entirely. This is the type of behavior DH and I are definitely watching for at this point.   There's no direct evidence to date that she is screwing with DD's head.  

 

 

 

Quote:

As far as unsupervised visits, there is a really big difference between them heading to a movie and icecream together vs. spending 4 days together. Partly because with a shorter visit, the child can remember the wacky things grandma says and discuss them with you, but with a longer visit there isn't any other input or way to process. When my kids, who are much older than the OPer's DD, are around my crazy family of origin, they need time to talk to their daddy and I afterward to work out the conversations and comments.

 

I question how much you and your DH will really be able to relax and enjoy each other on the long trip.

Good points here.  I'm still not sure what we are going to do.  

 

 

 

Quote:
To reiterate, to be sure there is no projecting going on, I encourage speaking with a therapist before taking drastic steps. The OP's plan of action seems reasonable. Further change, without professional input, makes me concerned that it might be a case of throwing out the baby with the bathwater.

I agree. 

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