Need advice- obsessed Grandma causing problems - Mothering Forums
Forum Jump: 
Reply
 
Thread Tools
#1 of 55 Old 05-16-2013, 07:01 AM - Thread Starter
 
Snydley's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 51
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

Hi-

   My mom is divorced, lives alone, and while she does attend social activities with co-workers and takes trips with girlfriends, she is not particularly close to anyone.  She has major insecurities she adamantly denies and refuses to take advice from anyone.  During my childhood, she was extremely dedicated my brother and I which was wonderful in some respects but she definitely smothered the heck out of me.  My father treated her terribly and she really fulfilled her emotional needs through me when I was younger.  When I was ~12 I withdrew from her (as all tweens do) and she took it extremely hard.  We were not close at all through my teenage years and I certainly wouldn't call us close now but for the most part we manage ok.  She doesn't mean any harm but refuses to acknowledge she ever does anything wrong and insists she is perfectly happy. 

 

Her relationship with my 6yo DD is worrying me.  When she is around her she (1) completely takes over as her mom, to the point where I have to remind her that I am the mom on occasion and what I say goes (2) caters to her every whim and freely admits it (saying how wonderful it is to never have to be the bad guy), taking her anywhere she wants to go, fully engaging in child play for extended periods of time, etc.

 

Now, I didn't particularly worry or care about any of this (who wouldn't want a grandma like that?) but (1) DD is starting to say things like, "no - Mimi says XX and she knows more than you because she is YOUR mother"  (2) when my mom enters the scene, she instantly wants her and no one else and (3) the last two times we have left her my DD has SOBBED for long periods of time (an hour last weekend).  I've never seen DD that upset in my life. 

 

Here's an example:  we are at Mother's day brunch on Sunday.  DD is sitting 2 seats away from me on my mother's lap. I tell DD to get in her seat.  My mom says "oh no, she's fine."  My mom then proceeds to take her to the buffet 7+ times, cut her food for her, while constantly repeating what DD says (to announce to the table how cute she is).   

 

My mom lives about 3 hours away, BTW.  

 

My DH thinks my mom is a nutcase and now says he doesn't want our DD left alone with her at all.  This is a huge blow to our lives, as she was the one person who we could trust (and was willing) to watch her for overnight trips.  

 

I need to start by talking to my mom about this.  I'm thinking I should talk about how upset DD was and that she needs to "pull back".  I know this conversation will not go well.  

 

I'd love to hear others' opinions on this and advice on what I should do about this moving forward.  Thanks a lot.

-Jen

Snydley is offline  
#2 of 55 Old 05-16-2013, 11:44 AM
 
JudiAU's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Where creepy facebook-featured threads can't find me
Posts: 3,593
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)

I don't have any direct advice but I wanted to let you know that you aren't the only person dealing with this opressive/obsessive level of love. My MIL is very similar in this regard and she lives 20 minutes. Before the grandkids were born she was pretty obsessed with her children/our lives so I had an idea what it would be like. I just never expected to be so much worse. The only approach that has worked at all is to throw up roadblocks and boundries, and while those work a little bit, sometimes, she also takes offense at practically everything.  There is never enough time/access/special and yes, she is absolutely fullfilling her emotional needs through the kids.

 

To me, the most worrisome aspect of what you've described is her undercutting of your parenting. That is just totally unacceptable. Also the infantilizing of the child (food cutting up, etc.) would drive me crazy. We have meals where I ask her not to do three, four times. I would probably start with those.

JudiAU is offline  
#3 of 55 Old 05-16-2013, 12:59 PM
 
nextcommercial's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 4,589
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

I don't have any advice either. 

 

I was thinking she wasn't so bad til you got to the part about her saying "Well, I know more than her because i'm HER mommy" and her announcing everything your daughter said to the whole table.  That's embarrassing to you, and it could cause bad feelings with others.  I'm pretty sure I would have talked about that to my friends if i'd been at that meal.  

 

It does sound weird to me.

 

However, there's a huge part of me that feels like Grandparents are so important.  I can't imagine if I weren't allowed to be with my grandparents.  My best, and most lasting memories are with my grandparents.   I can't remember the house WE lived in when I was nine, but I can remember small details of my Grandparents house...even the smells.  

 

I think i'd have a heart to heart with your Mom before taking drastic steps like that.  Then, give her a chance to make some changes first.

nextcommercial is offline  
#4 of 55 Old 05-16-2013, 02:32 PM
 
Storm Bride's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Vancouver, BC
Posts: 27,300
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

I don't really have any advice, but just to add another perspective (completely the opposite of nextcommercial's):

 

My grandmother behaved in a similar way. I adored her a small child, and she "loved" me and my siblings and cousins beyond reason. My mother's biggest regret about our childhood is that she didn't cut off contact. And, I felt as though I got out of jail the day my grandmother died (I was 20 or 21). She'd spent two decades wrapping me up in chains of guilt, manipulation, and what she called "love", and the chains were finally gone. She's been gone for over 20 years, and I've never missed her - not once, not for a single second. (Several people asked if it was hard to get married without her there...I think I'd have eloped, rather than deal with her, if she'd still been alive.)

 

I did eventually get to a point where I just felt sorry for her, as she managed to live over 70 years, and never, ever get it - not even a little bit - about people and love and relationships. I managed to stop hating her guts a few years after she died. But, I stopped loving her at an early age, and I never liked her.

 

I get why people think grandparents are important, and I think my mom, stepdad and in-laws have all been wonderful for my kids. But, the importance of grandparents really depends on the individual grandparent - it's not a univeral truth.


Lisa, lucky mama of Kelly (3/93) ribboncesarean.gif, Emma (5/03) ribboncesarean.gif, Evan (7/05) ribboncesarean.gif, & Jenna (6/09) ribboncesarean.gif
Loving my amazing dh, James & forever missing ribbonpb.gif Aaron Ambrose ribboncesarean.gif (11/07) ribbonpb.gif

Storm Bride is offline  
#5 of 55 Old 05-16-2013, 02:59 PM
 
pek64's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 2,502
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I think it really depends how often you are seeing her. She lives 3 hours away, so do you see her weekly? It also depends on how your daughter feels about it. If she is enjoying the attention (sitting on grandma's lap, etc), fine. When she no longer wants to do those things, then grandma would have to stop. It sounds to me like, for now, she is enjoying the attention.

About grandma knowing more, did the child say it, or your mother. I wouldn't assume that the child is repeating what your mother said, if the child said it.

I guess, all in all, I'd still be comfortable with the relationship. I had nephews and nieces who preferred me to their parents. It meant that I could provide childcare, which my siblings took advantage of. But I never asked the children to do something they didn't want to do. Often there would b:treehuggere one who wanted to sit in my lap. Fine with me. I never *tried* to get one to sit in my lap, however. Aunts and grandmas have the luxury of saying "yes" more often. Of course that is preferred.

I am confused about why your daughter is crying, however. She doesn't want time with grandma to be over? That's pretty normal. Crying for an hour seems a bit much.
pek64 is offline  
#6 of 55 Old 05-16-2013, 03:07 PM
 
Fortune Teller's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Pacific Northwest
Posts: 151
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)

You know, sounds like a wonderful, typical grandma to me Sheepish.gif

 

I do think you have some valid concerns though, and you should focus on addressing those very specific details when you talk to her, instead of bringing in your own baggage from your childhood or sweeping criticisms which will just put her on the defensive.  

 

I think if you explain how her lack of boundaries/ rules with your daughter makes your job so much harder (dd doesn't listen, doesn't respect my rules, etc) she should understand and be willing to change that behavior (if she is reasonable).  If you outline how hard it is for your daughter (sobbing, possibly getting into trouble with mom and dad when she pushes boundaries at home that grandma lets her get away with) then I would think she would want to proactively help your daughter out by adding some consistency.

 

I don't see the need to cut her off from alone time with your dd.  That to me seems cruel and unwarranted.  She obviously loves your dd to pieces, and, as you said, means no harm.  She's a good grandma, trustworthy, the two of you have a good relationship, and your dd loves her and is attached to her.  I know a lot of mamas here and IRL would kill to have such a grandparent for their children! 

 

Just be tactful how you talk to her.  

 

We go through similar things with my MIL.  Yeah, it frustrates us sometimes.  My daughter even at one point wanted to live with grandma because she felt she would get all this undivided attention and no rules and get anything she wanted... and that hurt.  But, I would never take that out on my MIL.  She is an awesome grandmother to my children and yes, it makes our life harder for a few days after visits (she spoils them rotten), but to me it is worth it.  

 

How often does your mom see your dd?  My MIL lives 5 hours away and so we see them on average 4-5 times a year, for 3-7 days at a time.  I know she misses her grandkids like crazy and wishes she could be a bigger part of their life, and so I do let her indulge them and spoil them even though it means a few days of de-programming at home after she leaves lol.  BUT, if it were more frequent (which it sounds like it is for you), then I would definitely set more boundaries.

 

Flattery always works.  I would say "Because you are such a big part of dd's life, and she loves you so much, we really need you to team up with us in order to make her adjustment period between visits smoother on her.."  Or something like "You know, you are such a big part of dd's life that you really do need to be the 'bad person' sometimes, because this lack of consistency between you and us is making her life and transitions really hard, and you see her way too often to always be the 'doting grandmother'..."

ShyingViolet likes this.
Fortune Teller is online now  
#7 of 55 Old 05-16-2013, 03:10 PM
 
Fortune Teller's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Pacific Northwest
Posts: 151
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)

Oh, and my kids cry after grandma leaves too.  It is perfectly normal.  smile.gif

Fortune Teller is online now  
#8 of 55 Old 05-16-2013, 03:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
Snydley's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 51
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Thanks everyone for the replies.  
Quote:
Originally Posted by JudiAU View Post

I don't have any direct advice but I wanted to let you know that you aren't the only person dealing with this opressive/obsessive level of love. My MIL is very similar in this regard and she lives 20 minutes. Before the grandkids were born she was pretty obsessed with her children/our lives so I had an idea what it would be like. I just never expected to be so much worse. The only approach that has worked at all is to throw up roadblocks and boundries, and while those work a little bit, sometimes, she also takes offense at practically everything.  There is never enough time/access/special and yes, she is absolutely fullfilling her emotional needs through the kids.

 

To me, the most worrisome aspect of what you've described is her undercutting of your parenting. That is just totally unacceptable. Also the infantilizing of the child (food cutting up, etc.) would drive me crazy. We have meals where I ask her not to do three, four times. I would probably start with those.

     Sounds like you can relate!  Yes she does undercut my parenting but it's more of the "no it's ok" as in, I don't mind her on my lap/putting her to bed, etc.  She bought her a Scooby-Doo movie that was not a cartoon and much too scary for her, and when I took it away she told my DD that I was right and replaced it with an age-appropriate version.  

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by nextcommercial View Post

 

I was thinking she wasn't so bad til you got to the part about her saying "Well, I know more than her because i'm HER mommy"  

 

 

     My DD said that, not my mom.  My mom had told her some sugar cereal was healthy because it said "whole grain" and my DD wanted to eat it.  So when I told DD it wasn't healthy she said Mimi says it is and she is YOUR mom so she knows more than you.  

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post

My grandmother behaved in a similar way. I adored her a small child, and she "loved" me and my siblings and cousins beyond reason. My mother's biggest regret about our childhood is that she didn't cut off contact. And, I felt as though I got out of jail the day my grandmother died (I was 20 or 21). She'd spent two decades wrapping me up in chains of guilt, manipulation, and what she called "love", and the chains were finally gone.

Can you be a bit more specific about your grandmother?  I don't think my mom does anything like this, she certainly didn't when I was young, it was more that I just wanted some space and she had a lot of anxiety that I would be abducted/hurt and that was tough to deal with sometimes.  

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by pek64 View Post

I think it really depends how often you are seeing her. She lives 3 hours away, so do you see her weekly? It also depends on how your daughter feels about it. If she is enjoying the attention (sitting on grandma's lap, etc), fine. When she no longer wants to do those things, then grandma would have to stop. It sounds to me like, for now, she is enjoying the attention.

About grandma knowing more, did the child say it, or your mother. I wouldn't assume that the child is repeating what your mother said, if the child said it.

I guess, all in all, I'd still be comfortable with the relationship. I had nephews and nieces who preferred me to their parents. It meant that I could provide childcare, which my siblings took advantage of. But I never asked the children to do something they didn't want to do. Often there would b:treehuggere one who wanted to sit in my lap. Fine with me. I never *tried* to get one to sit in my lap, however. Aunts and grandmas have the luxury of saying "yes" more often. Of course that is preferred.

I am confused about why your daughter is crying, however. She doesn't want time with grandma to be over? That's pretty normal. Crying for an hour seems a bit much.
No not weekly, I would say we've seen her 3 times since January 1st and that is more frequent than normal.  I think it was the solid hour of sobbing that disturbed DH and I.  She was completely exhausted (went to bed 2 hours past her bedtime the night before).  Luckily she didn't wake up and have her bags packed to move to Mimi's.  She didn't mention her at all the next day.  

 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fortune Teller View Post

We go through similar things with my MIL.  Yeah, it frustrates us sometimes.  My daughter even at one point wanted to live with grandma because she felt she would get all this undivided attention and no rules and get anything she wanted... and that hurt.  But, I would never take that out on my MIL.  She is an awesome grandmother to my children and yes, it makes our life harder for a few days after visits (she spoils them rotten), but to me it is worth it.  

 

Thanks Fortune Teller for sharing this and the good advice.  I've honestly never heard of kids crying when grandma leaves so it's good to hear other kids do the same.  

 

-Jen

Snydley is offline  
#9 of 55 Old 05-16-2013, 04:31 PM
 
tbone_kneegrabber's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: West Philly
Posts: 2,779
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

Ds cries whenever we leave or grandparents leave.  We have definitely driven away from his grandparents' house with him sobbing and continuing to sob for a long time.  That wouldn't worry me at all.  It is sad when someone you love and are having a good time with leaves.

 

The "she's your mother so she knows more than you" sounds like maybe you have said something similar to your dd, maybe? Like "that isn't healthy. I'm your mother and I know when things are healthy" or whatever.  I have definitely told ds things like "well I have more than 30 years experience doing xyz that's why I can..."
 

I think that if you want your dd to sit in the chair and not in a her gmom's lap for a reason then you give them that reason, "Thanks MIL, I appreciate that it doesn't bother you, but we are working on proper table manners and believe it is important for dd to be sitting in her own chair" or whatever the reason is.  You tell both your dd and your mil the reason and be honest.  If you just don't like it because you think mil is being babying her, I'd just ignore it.  It's not every week, it's special and sweet and soon she'll be too big and heavy anyway.

tbone_kneegrabber is offline  
#10 of 55 Old 05-16-2013, 05:59 PM
 
colsxjack's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Toronto
Posts: 633
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

I think she sounds like a great grandmother.

Your DD is 6, and obviously enjoying the babying and attention.

I would worry when DD grows up a bit and doesn't want to be babied...and grandma is still babying.

 

For saying things like "It's OK" when you tell your DD to not sit on her lap, or that grandma wont be putting her to bed. That is probably just your Mum telling you that it isn't bothering her. Maybe she thinks you are telling DD to sit in her chair because you are worried that DD is bothering grandma. When I am with friends kids, or my nieces and nephews...I say stuff like that too. I just want the parents to know I am OK with the kid in my space at the time. I have never thought that I may be over stepping the parenting.

 

Your Mum is right. The priveledge of being a grandparent means that you get to say yes more often, you get to spoil children, you get to be a playmate and enjoy them. Especially when you do not see them very often. If a grandparent sees a kid often, or is a care giver, then they should have to obide by the rules.

But I don't care if my kids grandparents give them privledges that I don't. That's one of the things that kids look forward to when seeing a grandparent.

 

And yes, crying when someone you care about, will miss, etc leaves is completely normal. Sobbing for an hour about it when you are 6, over tired and overwhelmed is absolutely normal.

 

I do not mean this in a snarky way at all.

But I wouldn't worry until your kid seems to want space and your Mum can't give it to her. Then start helping your kid to get the space SHE wants.

dbsam and One_Girl like this.

Me 40 eat.gif. Partner to mamacolleen 33 superhero.gif. DD born July 2009 blahblah.gif. Twin boys born Nov 2012.

We are a family that loves cold.giftreehugger.giffamilybed1.giffemalesling.GIFcd.gif

colsxjack is online now  
#11 of 55 Old 05-16-2013, 07:27 PM
 
nextcommercial's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 4,589
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:

  

     My DD said that, not my mom.  My mom had told her some sugar cereal was healthy because it said "whole grain" and my DD wanted to eat it.  So when I told DD it wasn't healthy she said Mimi says it is and she is YOUR mom so she knows more than you.  

 

 

 

Well, now...that is kind of impressive.  A little disrespectful, but clever enough that i'd have a hard time arguing with a girl like that.  (I wouldn't have given in, based on THAT argument, but it sounds like she can hold her own in a debate)

nextcommercial is offline  
#12 of 55 Old 05-16-2013, 10:41 PM
 
meemee's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Norther California
Posts: 12,755
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 16 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snydley View Post

 No not weekly, I would say we've seen her 3 times since January 1st and that is more frequent than normal.  I think it was the solid hour of sobbing that disturbed DH and I.  She was completely exhausted (went to bed 2 hours past her bedtime the night before).  Luckily she didn't wake up and have her bags packed to move to Mimi's.  She didn't mention her at all the next day.  

look at it from your dd's point of view. she rarely gets made the queen. the center of attraction to the kind grandma's do. so crying seems VERY normal in this respect. as pp pointed out - exhaustion totally turns emotions into drama queen. her crying wasnt so much about missing gma i reckon. probably more about i am tired and exhausted and on top of that gma is not here. 

 

these little frictions do happen. he said she said. 

 

i think its really really important to have loving family in our children's lives. you just have to make sure she spoils your dd and not smothers her. 


 treehugger.gif Co-parent, joy.gifcold.gifbrand new homeschooling middle schoolerjoy.gif, and an attackcat.gif 
meemee is online now  
#13 of 55 Old 05-17-2013, 07:10 AM
 
mamalisa's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Germantown WI
Posts: 8,427
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

I didnt read all the replies, but regarding the crying, my 12 year old still gets teary when we leave my dad's house.  This has toned down from full on refusal to leave (me peeling him off my dad and dragging him to the car) and crying until we reached the IL/WI border and he finally passed out.  Now my dd is the same way.  They LOVE their papa (heck, I get sad leaving too).  He lives 2 horus away and a visit to his house is a lot of time in the car, eating less than perfect food and lots of time in a small place.  It's a long day and that adds to the tears I'm sure.  When my ds was little he used to call my dad to talk and if he had gotten in trouble that day he would tell my dad that I was bad and he should punish me.  He was a total tattle tale because he knew that A) Papa was my dad, and you have to listen to your dad and B) his Papa thought he was PERFECT so of course he shouldnt get in trouble!

 


I think you're ok, honestly.  

mamalisa is offline  
#14 of 55 Old 05-17-2013, 08:20 AM
 
mamarhu's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: dining at the restaurant at the end of the universe
Posts: 3,033
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)

Within the boundaries of safety and normal good manners, I think it is great, even essential, that kids learn that rules and expectations are different in different places, with different people. For example, in school, one might be expected to raise one's hand before speaking, but not at home. At dinner with Grandma, it is OK to sit on her lap, she might cut your food. That doesn't happen at home. OK. Different rules in different environments.

 

Even if it feels like Grandma is undermining the rules and expectations of home, she only gets so much time; so much influence. Full-time home life will outweigh Grandma time in the long run. I would treasure the bond they have, and probably even joke with my child about it in between visits - "I bet Grandma would let you do this, but I am the mean Mama and I won't".

 

I agree with others that it is OK for a child to cry and be sad to leave. Who wouldn't be? Nothing you described crosses the line for me, and it sounds like you AND your child would be loosing if you cut off Grandma (not to mention Grandma's loss).


Rhu - mother,grandmother,daughter,sister,friend-foster,adoptive,and biological;not necessarily in that order. Some of it's magic, some of it's tragic, but I had a good life all the way (Jimmy Buffet)

mamarhu is online now  
#15 of 55 Old 05-17-2013, 11:54 AM
 
Storm Bride's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Vancouver, BC
Posts: 27,300
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

OP: I'm obviously in the minority here. My childhood was badly damaged by a toxic grandparent, and I do tend to project a bit on the topic. There are definitely things that many people consider to be perfectly normal grandparent behaviour that are absolute deal breakers for me. (For example, if any of my children's grandparents so much as feed them something I've told them not to, they get one warning - one - and then I'll cut off contact. Done.) So, I think I'm probably best to bow out on this one, as my perspective is skewed. I really only replied, because of the comment about grandparents being so important. My mom believed that, too. The people around her believed it, and dismissed her concerns. I don't think grandparents are important - I think grandparents can be important...not the same thing.


Lisa, lucky mama of Kelly (3/93) ribboncesarean.gif, Emma (5/03) ribboncesarean.gif, Evan (7/05) ribboncesarean.gif, & Jenna (6/09) ribboncesarean.gif
Loving my amazing dh, James & forever missing ribbonpb.gif Aaron Ambrose ribboncesarean.gif (11/07) ribbonpb.gif

Storm Bride is offline  
#16 of 55 Old 05-17-2013, 06:26 PM
 
pek64's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 2,502
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I agree with Storm Bride that no grandma is better than a toxic grandma. We have little or nothing to do with either grandmas, in our family. But I didn't see anything terrible in the original post. Like another poster said, the "that's ok", when the parent says the child should get grandma's lap seemed more like an "I don't mind, so if you thought I did and that's why you told her to get off, it's not necessary" sort of thing. The child crying at the end of the visit just means the child had a good time.

Certainly if there is something we are not understanding, please let us know, OP. The advice is based on a tiny snapshot. It's possible we need more info. So far, though, it seems like grandma is enjoying being a grandma. Nothing more.
One_Girl likes this.
pek64 is offline  
#17 of 55 Old 05-18-2013, 09:14 AM
 
Linda on the move's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: basking in the sunshine
Posts: 10,546
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 29 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post

I felt as though I got out of jail the day my grandmother died (I was 20 or 21). She'd spent two decades wrapping me up in chains of guilt, manipulation, and what she called "love", and the chains were finally gone..... she managed to live over 70 years, and never, ever get it - not even a little bit - about people and love and relationships. I

 

 

I'm with you on this one (as I often am!). I think the red flags in the OP are that the grandmother is an emotionally damaged and stunted woman who isn't capable of a relationship with some one old enough to think for themselves, so the OPer sees a train wreck coming for her child. It sounds like grandma is using the granddaughter to meet her own emotional needs, proving to herself that she is lovable by spoiling a child.

 

Yes, it is normal for grandparents to do a bit of spoiling. My DH and I are looking forward to that!  However, it isn't healthy to allow an adult to use your child to meet their own, twisted, emotional needs.

 

I think it would be wise to set clear boundaries in the relationship, including no unsupervised time (at least for now) and make it clear to grandma that she has to back up what mom and dad say, or she won't be seeing her grandchild for while. I think it would be best to be very specific in this conversation. If the child looks to grandma to override mom and dad, it might be helpful to give grandma a specific line to say, such as "your mom said 'no' and she said that because she wants what is best for you because she loves you."

 

Although it will be a difficult conversation to have, it may help you get some closure with your own issues with your mother because setting boundaries is a very powerful thing to do. You also might enjoy reading the book "toxic parents."  I got one of the best lines for my own parents out of that book: "I can see how you would feel that way, but none the less, this is what I've decided to do."

 

As far as overnight trips, your DD might be old enough to start enjoying sleepovers with friends.
 


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

Linda on the move is online now  
#18 of 55 Old 05-18-2013, 09:23 AM
 
mamazee's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: US midwest
Posts: 7,500
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
I'm having a hard time getting a feel from this whether this is a grandma spoiling and pushing the boundaries a little bit, or whether it's a toxic situation. It's hard to tell based on this. Generally, I think grandparents should be given a bit of leniency. Let them spoil and have some different rules. On the other hand, if a rule gets to be a serious problem, then say something, and if it passes to the point of becoming toxic, then do what you need to do, up to and including cutting of the relationship if it's bad enough.
mamazee is offline  
#19 of 55 Old 05-18-2013, 10:31 AM
 
pek64's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 2,502
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
What are the red flags of the grandma being emotionally stunted and twisted? If they exist, and they might, they were not provided. I'd like to hear more from the OP.
pek64 is offline  
#20 of 55 Old 05-18-2013, 12:18 PM
 
Linda on the move's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: basking in the sunshine
Posts: 10,546
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 29 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by pek64 View Post

What are the red flags of the grandma being emotionally stunted and twisted?

 

  1. She smothered her own children.
  2. She had a dysfunctional relationship with her spouse.
  3. She fulfilled her emotional needs through her children.
  4. She couldn't maintain a healthy relationship with her daughter as her daughter grew into an adult.
  5. She has major insecurities.
  6. Lacks ability to be close to other adults.
  7. Takes over for the mother and overrides her. Often.
  8. The line that grandma knows more most likely came from grandma -- she may be working very systematically to undermine parents.
  9. Cannot admit when wrong, which shows she doesn't accept responsibility for own actions.
  10. Dad thinks that grandma is a nut case and doesn't want his child left alone with her.
  11. Mom is uncomfortable with the affect that spending time with her has on child.

 

The advice on mothering is general to listen to your gut, and both parents' gut level feeling is that the situation is unhealthy for their child. The question was how to go about talking to the crazy grandma, not whether or not the grandma was crazy.

 

My advice was to set clear boundaries, and I stand by it. It's solid advice for any parent when dealing with any other adult whose interactions with your child make you uncomfortable.


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

Linda on the move is online now  
#21 of 55 Old 05-18-2013, 12:35 PM
 
Storm Bride's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Vancouver, BC
Posts: 27,300
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post

 

  1. She smothered her own children.
  2. She had a dysfunctional relationship with her spouse.
  3. She fulfilled her emotional needs through her children.
  4. She couldn't maintain a healthy relationship with her daughter as her daughter grew into an adult.
  5. She has major insecurities.
  6. Lacks ability to be close to other adults.
  7. Takes over for the mother and overrides her. Often.
  8. The line that grandma knows more most likely came from grandma -- she may be working very systematically to undermine parents.
  9. Cannot admit when wrong, which shows she doesn't accept responsibility for own actions.
  10. Dad thinks that grandma is a nut case and doesn't want his child left alone with her.
  11. Mom is uncomfortable with the affect that spending time with her has on child.

 

The advice on mothering is general to listen to your gut, and both parents' gut level feeling is that the situation is unhealthy for their child. The question was how to go about talking to the crazy grandma, not whether or not the grandma was crazy.

 

My advice was to set clear boundaries, and I stand by it. It's solid advice for any parent when dealing with any other adult whose interactions with your child make you uncomfortable.

 

You know...after my first post, I found myself wondering why I'd reacted the way I had (I'm well aware that there are many grandparents who are nothing like my late grandmother). But, this really addresses that. I didn't note most of this consciously, but I think these factors all played into my reaction - just a general feeling that the grandmother is using the grandchild to fill her own emotional needs, which bothers me.

 

I remember a restaurant family dinner with my grandparents when I was about 14. After dinner, grandma gave me a hug goodbye...and wouldn't let go. She had a death grip on me, and it honestly freaked me out. I think that moment crystallized all my issues with her...kind of an epiphany. If I bruised more easily, I think she'd have left bruises. The grandma in the OP just pushed my buttons.


Lisa, lucky mama of Kelly (3/93) ribboncesarean.gif, Emma (5/03) ribboncesarean.gif, Evan (7/05) ribboncesarean.gif, & Jenna (6/09) ribboncesarean.gif
Loving my amazing dh, James & forever missing ribbonpb.gif Aaron Ambrose ribboncesarean.gif (11/07) ribbonpb.gif

Storm Bride is offline  
#22 of 55 Old 05-18-2013, 01:25 PM
 
pek64's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 2,502
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post

  1. She smothered her own children.
  2. She had a dysfunctional relationship with her spouse.
  3. She fulfilled her emotional needs through her children.
  4. She couldn't maintain a healthy relationship with her daughter as her daughter grew into an adult.
  5. She has major insecurities.
  6. Lacks ability to be close to other adults.
  7. Takes over for the mother and overrides her. Often.
  8. The line that grandma knows more most likely came from grandma -- she may be working very systematically to undermine parents.
  9. Cannot admit when wrong, which shows she doesn't accept responsibility for own actions.
  10. Dad thinks that grandma is a nut case and doesn't want his child left alone with her.
  11. Mom is uncomfortable with the affect that spending time with her has on child.

The advice on mothering is general to listen to your gut, and both parents' gut level feeling is that the situation is unhealthy for their child. The question was how to go about talking to the crazy grandma, not whether or not the grandma was crazy.

My advice was to set clear boundaries, and I stand by it. It's solid advice for any parent when dealing with any other adult whose interactions with your child make you uncomfortable.


I am *very* concerned that someone other than the OP is answering this question!! Any of us can come up with a list from the original post. However, only the OP can back that up. I would very much like for the OP to reply for herself.

It is also typical on mothering for those replying to let an OP know when they feel she has made an error. And that's what's going on here. The OP may very well have legitimate concerns, but unles she returns to the dialog and provides details, I am not going to change my opinion.

Please, OP, join the conversation and let us know what you are thinking and feeling. We, at least I, want to help. I mean no disrespect. But taking the step of limiting contact with a family member should be based on something more than a little indulgence. It is not a step to be taken lightly, because there is no going back to the way it is now, if you decide later that you were mistaken.
pek64 is offline  
#23 of 55 Old 05-18-2013, 01:27 PM
 
pek64's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 2,502
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post

You know...after my first post, I found myself wondering why I'd reacted the way I had (I'm well aware that there are many grandparents who are nothing like my late grandmother). But, this really addresses that. I didn't note most of this consciously, but I think these factors all played into my reaction - just a general feeling that the grandmother is using the grandchild to fill her own emotional needs, which bothers me.

I remember a restaurant family dinner with my grandparents when I was about 14. After dinner, grandma gave me a hug goodbye...and wouldn't let go. She had a death grip on me, and it honestly freaked me out. I think that moment crystallized all my issues with her...kind of an epiphany. If I bruised more easily, I think she'd have left bruises. The grandma in the OP just pushed my buttons.

Did you cry when the visit was over? Or were you relieved?
pek64 is offline  
#24 of 55 Old 05-18-2013, 01:38 PM
 
Linda on the move's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: basking in the sunshine
Posts: 10,546
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 29 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by pek64 View Post


I am *very* concerned that someone other than the OP is answering this question!!

 

 

Seriously?  You referred to my post and you are concerned that I responded?  headscratch.gif

 

um, you know you posted on a discussion board, right?


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

Linda on the move is online now  
#25 of 55 Old 05-18-2013, 01:39 PM
 
pek64's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 2,502
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
In rereading the original post, I have different concerns. The OP has diagnosed her mother. That is concerning to me. I have never told my mother I think she is a narcissist. Why would I? I don't expect her to change. Nor do I expect her to admit it. And I might be wrong. I do know that I and my son are not comfortable around her. That is good enough. But in this case the child clearly enjoys being with the grandmother. It is possible that mother and daughter rub each other the wrong way, but grandmother and granddaughter get along. It will negatively impact the OP's relationship with her daughter if she causes separation for selfish reasons. I wonder ... did the OP's mother do something similar to the OP.
pek64 is offline  
#26 of 55 Old 05-18-2013, 01:43 PM
 
pek64's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 2,502
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post


Seriously?  You referred to my post and you are concerned that I responded?  headscratch.gif

um, you know you posted on a discussion board, right?

Yes, I know this is a discussion board. However you do not have personal knowledge of the individuals involved. The OP, alone, can answer what is so troubling to her.
pek64 is offline  
#27 of 55 Old 05-18-2013, 01:51 PM
 
Linda on the move's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: basking in the sunshine
Posts: 10,546
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 29 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by pek64 View Post


Yes, I know this is a discussion board. However you do not have personal knowledge of the individuals involved.

 


no, I just take what people write in their posts at face value. thumb.gif

 

You aren't the queen of mothering, and you don't get to tell me whether or not I can post. moon.gif


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

Linda on the move is online now  
#28 of 55 Old 05-18-2013, 02:04 PM
 
pek64's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 2,502
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post



no, I just take what people write in their posts at face value. thumb.gif

You aren't the queen of mothering, and you don't get to tell me whether or not I can post.


I cannot prevent you from posting, just as you cannot prevent me from asking the OP to return and answer questions. Personally, I wish you had taken what I had written last year at face value. You questioned me then, remember?
pek64 is offline  
#29 of 55 Old 05-18-2013, 04:28 PM
 
Storm Bride's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Vancouver, BC
Posts: 27,300
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by pek64 View Post


Did you cry when the visit was over? Or were you relieved?

 

At 14? I was relieved - beyond relieved. But, I adored her when I was six (I believe that's the OP's daughter's age), and the only reason I didn't cry very much when visits were over was because we saw her very frequently, and I knew I wouldn't have long to wait.

 

Being the center of an adult's emotional universe can be quite a rush when you're too young to see how unhealthy and dysfunctional that is.


Lisa, lucky mama of Kelly (3/93) ribboncesarean.gif, Emma (5/03) ribboncesarean.gif, Evan (7/05) ribboncesarean.gif, & Jenna (6/09) ribboncesarean.gif
Loving my amazing dh, James & forever missing ribbonpb.gif Aaron Ambrose ribboncesarean.gif (11/07) ribbonpb.gif

Storm Bride is offline  
#30 of 55 Old 05-18-2013, 04:48 PM
 
pek64's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 2,502
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
It's difficult to be sure the child is being smothered. When she starts wanting less of grandma's attention and is still getting it, then it's more certain. At this point I would give grandma the benefit of the doubt.

I know people who were the center of attention when their grandmothers were around, and they missed those grandmothers when they died. They have lots of confidence, and credit their confidence to the support and encouragement by their grandmothers. I never had that. Neither did my son. I think it's a shame.

The only reason I question it is because once the relationship is cut off, it can never be the same. Therefore it is important to look at the relationship carefully and be very sure. At least that's what I think.
pek64 is offline  
Reply

Tags
Family

Quick Reply
Message:
Drag and Drop File Upload
Drag files here to attach!
Upload Progress: 0
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Mothering Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
If you do not want to register, fill this field only and the name will be used as user name for your post.
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off