Question: Dear Luise: I am so glad I found your site! I am a new grandmother and am so excited. My daughter and her husband just had their first child, a baby girl, and my husband and I are so excited about being grandparents. Here is my problem. My mother. She is very jealous of every aspect of my life, always has been. She is a self-centered malicious woman who will do or say anything to get her way. She is the type of woman who has horrible things to say about everyone and nothing nice to say about anyone. She hates to see me happy and works diligently to make life hell for me. When my daughter found out she was pregnant she told me she wanted her husband and me in the delivery room. At the hospital on the big day there were badges that we had to wear to go into her room. There were two of them one of which of course was to her husband and one for me. When my mother got to the hospital before the baby was born and before pushing during labor I let her wear my badge to go tell her hello. I never got my badge back. I could not get back into her room. My daughter, as the baby was about to come, noticed I was not in there and that her grandmother was, screamed out “Grandma, go get my mother!” My mother said, ” your mother told me she didn’t want to come back in.” My daughter knew this was untrue and demanded she go get me. Well she did come get me and I was able to witness the birth of my beautiful grandbaby. My mother remained in the room and butted me out of even getting to hold her. She jumped in front of the camera in front of me when the nurse took a picture of the grandmas (my SIL’s mother and me). She has not apologized nor even admitted to any wrongdoing. I don’t know what to do. She is attempting to ruin the happiest part of mine, my husband’s and our daughter and son in law’s lives. There is no way to explain what kind of woman she is. My father is led around like a donkey on a rope and he just does as he’s told. She spends thousands of dollars on plastic surgery and looks ridiculous. They move about twice a year, tear apart and re-do the new home, then move again. She is NEVER happy. How do I let her know that I have finally had enough and to back off? R.
Answer: Dear R. My guess is that your mother will not hear you when you tell her you have had enough and she will never back off. She is how she is and that’s probably what you’re stuck with.
You know what to expect and from that place, I think you may need to start protecting yourself. For instance, what she did in the hospital was predictable. She couldn’t be trusted with your badge and you had to know that.
There are people we extend common courtesy to. That’s primarily because they reciprocate. Then there are those who are unkind, thoughtless, demeaning and even cruel who by their actions forfeit such consideration. For self-preservation that needs to include family members, if need be.
The dynamics between your mother and father are probably set in concrete. However, you can re-establish your position with her if it means enough to you to deal with the fall-out, (which will probably be horrendous.) It’s not going to be easy to stop being nice and to cease bowing to her supremacy. In fact you may need a skilled counselor in your corner to pull it off. I’m serious.
It’s up to you. If you want the second half of your life to be different from the first half badly enough, you can do it. Blessings, Luise