Question: Dear Luise: I am devastated because my 16-year-old grandson has cut me out of his life. We have been very close from the time he was 1 year old. His mother is a recovering addict and alcoholic and has been emotionally abusive to my grandson his entire life. When he was six years old, he told her, “I want to die. That’s the only way I can get peace.” His mother blamed me for this, and when I said, “He’s screaming for your attention. He needs you to spend time with him alone,” she replied, “I’m too busy for that.” His mother has always been jealous of the closeness of our relationship. Two years ago, my grandson was put on restriction for six months because he wasn’t doing his schoolwork. This meant he was not allowed to see me or talk to me on the phone. When I saw him six months later, it was like he didn’t even care about me. He didn’t get up to greet me and remained sitting next to his mother, holding her hand and putting his head on her shoulder. His mother and I had a major falling out at this time, because I could not support her decision to restrict my grandson from communicating with me as a form of punishment. Since I no longer speak with his mother, my grandson refuses to answer my e-mails and has cut me out of his life. I asked his mother to go to family therapy with me but she refused. She says my relationship with my grandson is sick. I am devastated. Please help. S.
Answer: Dear S.: This is a long-standing problem that needs the attention of a professional. It sounds like your daughter may have gone from serious neglect to overprotection where your grandson is concerned. Depending on where you live and what your resources are, you may have very limited recourse.
Whether she will go to a counselor with you or not, you need to have an advocate as you try to accommodate to her radical shift and what has occurred as the result, where your grandson is concerned. Sixteen is hard enough without being caught in the middle of a family triangle.
Of course you are devastated. Get one-on-one help for yourself ASAP and see where you can go from there. Blessings, Luise