Grandmother puts forth little effort to be a part of my life or my children's lives!

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-02-2013
Grandmother puts forth little effort to be a part of my life or my children's lives!
Fri, 08-02-2013 - 4:39pm

don't really know how to keep this short, but I will try my best to compact it and still include all of the information.

The back story is... my parents divorced two years ago after being married for 42 years! I understood the decision... my mom's.  My dad was an alcoholic, she had cancer, he was emotionally abusive, she was going through a tough recovery after being in remission. During my mom's illness, from diagnosis until now, she has had a friend.  I don't know how to explain this relationship without it sounding weird, but I will do my best. This girl was in her teens when she and my mom met. My mom taught the high school sunday school class at her church.  My mom felt bad for this girl ( we will call her J) because she didn't have a very good relationship with her own parents who were divorced. So, my mom did a lot with her... took her out to eat, had her over to the house, took her places, etc. J was living with her own grandmother at the time. When my mom got sick I was living out of state.  I went home with my daughter to be there for her that summer. During that summer J helped watch my daughter when I went to visit my mom in the hopsital. We got along really well and I loved her! After my mom recovered my Dad was still acting like a maniac and drinking more than ever. When my mom and J came to visit for Christmas, my mom decided that she had enough and told my dad who was still out of state that she was filing for divorce.  My mom and J found a place to live together because J didn't want to live by herself and my mom didn't feel comfortable living by herself.  She also didn't want to move out of state to live with me and my family even though I had offered.

Fast forward.... My dad sobers up, goes through therapy and after a year of VERY difficult conversations with him we now have a healthy father daughter relationship. My mom on the otherhand has limited interaction with me. She went from calling and talking to me every day to calling once a week, to hiding things that she was doing with J from me. She was supposed to move out to the same state as me and my family to be closer to my two children, but has decided now that she is going to stay where she is and live with J. She didn't feel comfortable living in the same state as her brother....because she feels like he talks to my dad too much and it would be uncomfortable for her. She hasn't communicated with my dad for 3 years... since she told him she wanted a divorce.

My mom and I have "talked" about how I feel that she has replaced me with J and doesn't want me as a daughter anymore. Her response (condensed because they were text messages and it would take forever to write word for word) was that she chooses to have J as a daughter just like she chose to have me as a daughter ( I am adopted). She said that she can be a mother to both of us.  I told her that I wanted to have just her come out for Christmas because I feel like it's always her and J and I never get any time with just her.  I never got to talk to just her on the phone or spend time with just her. She responded with it was either her and J for Christmas or neither of them... so she didn't come.  Instead she and J went to the beach. She didn't call or text on Christmas to talk to me or the kids... my birthday is the day after Christmas... she didn't call or text.  I had to text her after new years to ask if she was even still alive. I told her I would like to talk to her on the phone and her response was... not comfortable talking on the phone.. too emotional. I have tried to talk to J and told her that I feel like she took my mom away from me.  She has her own mother, father, sisters, grandmother, etc . and now she has my mom as well.  She didin't understand how I was feeling at all and said she feels like my mom is her mom too. She is always caling my mom Mamma on her facebook page.

BTW- my mother has no idea what is going on in my kids lives.  She has no idea that my son is talking, that he just had surgery, that my daughter is excited to start kindergarten, that either one of them has been sick, or had something exciting happen to them. She has no idea what is going on in my life.  I can't call her and ask for her advice when I'm upset or happy about something. She only talks to the kids when she's on skype, never me.

I don't know what else to say.. It's exhausting and emotional writing all of this. basically now our only communication is when she or J texts me on a friday and asks if they can skype with the kids on the weekend. That used to be every weekend, now it's only once a month if that. I feel like she doesn't understand how this is making me feel, but then again maybe she just doesn't care.  I continued to let them skype with the kids because I didn't wan to be accused of not letting my mom have a relationship with her grandkids.  Is this a relationship though.  My daughter who is 5 won't even stay by the computer to talk to them.  My son who is 14 months old has no idea who either one of them is. I just got a text from J (who I have tried to explain all of this to and got no help) asking if they could skype with the kids this weekend.  I haven't heard from either of them for 3 weeks.... the last time they skyped with the kids.

I have been looking everywhere for a forum for adult children who are going through this same thing, but it's all for parents who are estranged from their children and don't want to be. I'm in the exact opposite situation.

I'm just so emotionally exhausted from this. Every time I get a text asking if they can skype I want to text them back and say no. Is that wrong?  Should I just continue to let them talk to my kids on skype and that's it?  Or do I cut all ties?  I just don't know what to do.  I would appreciate some feedback.  My husband is beyond useless when I try to talk to him about this.

Thanks is advance... S


Avatar for deenow17
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-12-2004
I read your post on the grandparent site then came over here to respond thinking you might check here. I feel so sad for you as it is hard to be an abandoned child no matter how old you are. It is great that you & your father have been able to build a relationship. I would focus on this relationship & decide how you will feel if you break ties with your Mom & she were to die. You don't want to be left with regrets but you also don't need to feel this constant pain. My Dad died almost 40 yrs ago when I was 18. Until then, I had been the main focus of my Mom's life. 6 wks later, she started dating my stepfather & I was just a roommate to her. Over the yrs, I have struggled with the pain & anger caused by this abandonment, the lack of interest in my kids & now grandkids. My DGS was born at 30 1/2 wks, almost died several times but my Mom couldn't be bothered to drive in to visit him once. But she had no problem driving in 8 mths later when her cat needed to see a specialist. But I digress as you can see the anger is close to the surface. You need to talk to a counselor, your DH won't work. Men just see the pain you are experiencing & want it to go away. I have learned to either accept my Mom or walk away. Right now, we are in a walk away stage except when she needs medical care. My Mom is a wonderful friend. Her friends tell me how lucky I am to have her for a Mom as she does so much for everyone. Well, everyone but my family & myself. Don't get into battles with the 22 yrs old. She isn't mature enough to deal with the situation that is between you & your Mom. Try to write your Mom a letter but use your feelings & don't tell her that what she is doing is wrong. You will just get her back up especially if this makes her feel guilty. A counselor was right in suggesting that I phase my comments like "I feel you aren't interested in my life or my kid's lives" rather than you don't call me, you don't talk to the kids, etc.. My DS was leaving the country for a year & so went to see my Mom to say goodbye last mth. She tried the "your mother is ignoring me, she won't come visit (translates to come take me out shopping for hrs) & she doesn't call me. As I said, I'm in an away stage. He didn't take her negative comments even though she started with the tears & told her straight out that she needed to change if she wanted a relationship with me. She needed to ask about my life, my kids & the grandkids instead of spending all her time talking about her friends & herself. Who knows if she will change but the point is, I can't make her change & I can only change myself. So I refuse to be hurt anymore by her lack of interest. We have been through this before & in the past when something significant has happened (like her heart attack), she made a change but it has never lasted. Your kids are too young to be really interested in skyping. My grandson is finally talking for more than a few words on Skype & he is 6. But if you have the time & you want to then let your Mom watch the kids while you hold the computer, then do it. But remember that you are important & if you don't feel like your kids will benefit from this minimal relationship, then don't bother to Skype. You have to look after yourself & decide what is best for you. That is where a counselor will help. I had decided 12 yrs ago to totally write my Mom out of my life. Then she almost died & I realized that I can never totally cut the ties as the pain of losing her would be even worse if I had spent years out of her life. So I keep my distance & when things get really bad like they are now, then it's all a one way street. She must call if she wants to talk to me. Dee