Not a nursing issue but I need help! (sorry so long)

  1. I am having a big problem I am hoping to get an outside opinion on it. I am 32 year old single mother of a 10 year old son. I am estranged from my mother and have been for 3 years now. I'm gonna provide a little history. I am the oldest of 4 and my father died when I was 16. So, all I ever have known was my mother, but the problem was, she wasn't really being a mother. For most of my childhood, I can remember her bringing in one man after the next, clubbing, drinking, and just doing unladylike behavior. My sister was born when I was 14 and I basically had to raise her because my mother was still in the streets at the time. When my father abruptly died at 16, instead of my mother comforting and showing emotional support, she was laid up with her boyfriend at the time in his mother's basement while my brother and I dealt with this tragic event all alone (not only had we lost one parent, we were totally abandoned by the other one). I really never got over that, so I carried around a lot of resentment towards her way into my adulthood to the point where I really didn't want to have anything to do with her. It's not that she only emotionally abandoned us, it's the fact that she is totally in denial about it and won't even acknowledged that it happened. It's like she is denying my feelings about it. The only reason I chose to deal with her was because of my son and I wanted them to have a relationship. Because of this, I would constantly be the one reaching out to her, going to her house, and calling her so that my son can have a relationship with her. She's only been to my house 3 times since I've moved there in 1999 and we live 20 minutes away from each other. She has missed all of his birthdays (expect for the first one that was held at her house) because she says I hold them at places "that's too far to drive", although she will drive 30 minutes out of her way just to go to Walmart. In fact, I don't think she even knows when his birthday is and he is her FIRST grandchild. She has never called him on his birthday or even mailed him a card. She has only been to one school function and that was because I had to go pick her up and no, she didn't have any car trouble. Now, this is what burns me up. In the 3 years we have been estranged, she have not ONCE seen my son, nor have called to check on him but she sees my brother's EX-GIRLFRIEND'S daughter EVERYDAY as well as keep in contact with HER mother that is not a part of this family to check on the little girl. She claims her current husband's grandkids as her own and see them on a regular basis but can't even pick up the phone and call her own biological grandchild. My son is old enough to call her and he have on a few occasions. The few times he have called her, she really didn't want to talk to him and rushed him off the phone. My son talks to his paternal grandparents that live out of state more than he talks to her. My son is starting to notice this. He is starting to ask me questions why she don't come and see him and why she don't want to talk to him and why he can't go over her house. I told him when he gets older, he can look her straight in the eye and ask her those same questions. The other day when I was speaking to my brother about this situation, he told me that my mother said she don't feel she needs to "chase down any kids to try to get to know them" and this brought me to tears because for years I have watched her constantly chase down one man after the next "trying to get to know them" and not to mention she is chasing that loser of a husband she got now just to keep him home at night. As a mother, I won't allow ANYONE to mistreat my child, mother or not. It's one thing that she hates me and have disowned me, but my son has nothing to do with this. I'm tired of reaching out. I'm tired of struggling with this everyday. I've decided that it's best to not have her be a part of his life since she don't make any effort to try to get to know him on her end. Now once he gets older and is able to drive and things, he can go see her if he wants to and I won't step in between that. But for now, I don't know what to do because you can't force someone to do something they don't want to do. I'm at the end of my rope. He knows how she treats the other "grandkids" and he fells left out and that tears at my heart. Am I doing the right thing? Should I just "let it go" and move on with my life? It hurts me that my son is hurt by this and this woman that claims to "be a christian" of all things is just the devil herself. What would you do if you were in my shoes? Any advice would be greatly apperciated!

  2. 4 Comments

  3. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Sorry but I have to move this one to the breakroom as it's a non-nursing issue.

    To answer your post, your family life sounds a lot like mine. I have had to learn that my mother, father and rest of my family have a lot of severe limitations and are simply unable to be there for my kids or myself. This has been an extremely painful realization against which I bucked and railed , many, many times in anger and screaming "UNFAIR"! (in my head). Why couldn't they see and change their ways and love us the way we deserve????!

    I have had to learn they can't do what they can't do-----and cannot change what they don't know to be a problem. It lies within me to provide the most stable, secure and loving home I can for my own dh and kids and move past the hurts, anger, pain and frustration I face with my family or origin. I also have said this and I believe it:

    You have two families. The one with which you are born and the one you CHOOSE.

    It would be the best thing to move past this and nurture that one you choose and let the one you were born with go a bit. You can only change your own thoughts, attitude and actions, not theirs. Don't be afraid to get counseling to deal with all of this. (I have had to). There is life on the "other side" of all this hurt and anger. You may need professional help to assist you in finding your joy.

    I wish you the very best.
    Last edit by SmilingBluEyes on Mar 28, '07
  4. by   tencat
    First of all, hugs for you and your son :icon_hug: It's noble of you to want your son to have a relationship with his grandmother, but she sounds like she's not worth the effort. All she has done is bring pain into your life, and it sounds like she's starting to bring pain into your son's life as well. My father is somewhat like this with his grandchild, too. He doesn't bother to call her or send her a card for her birthday. Basically I've written him off, and decided to take whatever he wants to give, but not seek more. I will tell my daughter when she starts asking why he doesn't remember her that he is a selfish, hurtful man who doesn't really care about anyone, and it's not her problem, but his. Just remember it is your mother's problem, and you must emphasize to your son that he is not at fault at all. Now, if my father were as bad as your mother and were favoring other grandchildren and ignoring my child, I would tell him to take a hike and disown him totally. Biological parent/grandparent or no, no one should treat any child that way, and anyone like that doesn't deserve to be allowed into my child's life in any way.
  5. by   TazziRN
    Family of choice is often better than the family of origin. That said, stop wasting your energy and your son's emotions on her, because it ain't worth it. He has a loving set of grands on his other side and you can make sure he has exposure to others of grandparenting age. Tell your son that she is sick (she is) and that she cannot make good decisions right now.

    Offering another point of view: is it possible that she feels resentment toward you because of how you feel about her (even though it sounds like she deserves it!) and she is taking it out on your son? People who are sick like that have a warped view of reality and often twist things around to fit their perspective.

    That said, if this were happening to me I would be telling my son "We will not be making the effort to contact Grandma anymore since she doesn't seem to want it. You can keep calling her if you want to but I think it would be best for me if I don't have any more contact with her. It is not you, it's her. She is sick (explain mental illness if he can understand it) and until she gets help she will not change."
  6. by   Spidey's mom
    I have a similar situation with my own mother and I'm estranged from her.

    My 5 year old doesn't even know her.

    My older adult children occasionally hear from her but they don't initiate it.

    We are all fine. They have wonderful involved and loving grandparents from my dear husband.

    Cut the cord and let her go. She sounds toxic.