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I have always had an overly critical mother who has said horrible things to me since I was as young as 4years old. She usually did this when no one was around, she would then deny or pretend it did not happen. She did not raise me.

By Anonymous December 2, 2010 - 8:21am
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I know have a little boy and I feel the need to protect him, so in the past two years, I have limited my contact, informing her that I will not allow her to do this to me any more. For a number of years (after a divorce and job loss), she would help me financially and then try to control me emotionally, constantly reminding me of my faults and mistakes (sometimes going back 30 years), making me retell the reasons for my difficulty over and over again. I finally told her to keep her money, and that my son and I would be fine. The emotional expense was too high, and I had left an abusive marriage to avoid this kind of lifestyle for myself and my son. As a result, she has chosen not to communicate at all, if she can no longer emotionally abuse me. Unfortunately, she has also chosen to associate with her grandson. I never told her that she could not visit or communicate with him, just that the constant complaining and criticism about me would need to stop. I feel that my son is deprived of having a grandmother, but on the other hand she would probably be quite the toxic grandmother. I went to counseling to make sure that I was assisting my son with the transition as much as possible, so the consensus has been that the woman has had mental issues for a long time, probably before I was born. Any thoughts?

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I absolutely think you have done the right thing as well. It would be great if you continued going to Counseling, so you can continue growing as a person-- growing up with emotional abuse, then marrying a person who was also abusive-- demonstrates the devastating cycle of living with abuse. You can stop this cycle, and it sounds like you have. Unfortunately, the only way to stop this cycle-- for now-- is to disallow people in your life who are abusive.

You are not keeping your son away from his grandmother; she has made the choice to prefer being abusive over seeing her grandson. She is keeping herself away from him; you are not keeping him away in the context you suggest. Your number one priority is to have your son grow up in a happy, healthy and nurturing environment, and you are showing him what types of people can provide that. Others who are incapable or choose not to live up to those basic standards are not able to see past their own selves to even have a relationship with your son.

His grandmother has made a choice to continue being abusive, and there is no room for abuse in anyone's life. Whether she is a bully, has a mental disorder or something else, she can choose to seek help and then years down the road she may possibly learn healthy ways to interact with people enough to have limited and supervised visits with your son. Your decision now does not have to be a "forever" decision; it is a decision based on experience, information and good intentions.

December 2, 2010 - 9:40am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Alison Beaver)

Thank you so much for confirming my decision. Yes, there was definitely a pattern, and I have come to realize that my issue stems from childhood which strongly influenced my partnering decisions, so changes needed to be made. My counseling was to assist my son through the divorce transition, which was also a positive move, and we did discuss my mother (I don't think I was clear about this earlier). The ball is certainly in her court. Since I made my decision, I have been the happiest and had the most peaceful holidays that I can EVER remember.
Thank you again and enjoy the holiday season!

December 2, 2010 - 12:38pm
EmpowHER Guest

You did the right thing!

December 2, 2010 - 9:21am
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