With No Consequences For Her Abuse She Takes Over Once Again

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Almost six weeks ago I told my grandmother to go fuck herself. When I was a child I often thought of telling her off, and now that I’ve finally made a complete break from her it feels as though my life is less complicated. Like there’s one less person in my life waving a knife in my face.

The last time I saw her was three days after I jabbed my finger close to her nose, and angrily said what I said. It was my son’s baptism. My mom convinced me there would be too much drama if I told her to stay away, so she showed up at the church and I bit my tongue hard.

There were a lot of abuses, a lot or manipulation in the years leading up to the moment where I felt so much like bashing her head in with her brass lamp. But it was that specific day, and her questions about my baby boy, that finally broke me.

She demanded to know why I hadn’t insisted my girlfriend have an abortion; she told me I probably wasn’t even the father; she demanded I find out the total cost of the pregnancy, as a lesson in why I shouldn’t have allowed it to continue. Then she claimed to have heard I was telling people that, to support my son, I was just gleefully waiting for my grandfather to die.

When I told my mother what her mother had said, her first reaction was to comfort me. But then she started to defend her mother. To rationalize her behaviour. Maybe it was dementia, maybe it was the steroids or the antibiotics.

I looked at her and said “this is the woman who has abused you for sixty years.” And that seemed to be that. I told my mother, after the baptism, there would be no more visits between my grandmother and my son.

And then Easter came along. When I told my mother I would not be attending Easter Sunday dinner, and neither would my son, if her mother were there, and she again tried to rationalize away her mother’s behaviour. It was probably the most honest discussion the two of us have ever had.

I can’t remember her exact arguments, but they basically came down to me “rising above” the situation. It was as though my mother were defending someone else. The things she was saying were almost about an idealized version of her mother, or maybe an idealized version of her mother’s psychosis.

I do remember her saying something like “she’s yelling at people now in the Home; she’s acting more and more bizarre; it’s possible the medications have done away with the barriers between thought and speech…” and that’s when I finally stopped her.

My grandmother, I told my mother, has spent sixty years building a framework around this family, and everything she said to me fits in that framework. That’s sixty years of premeditation.

The main problem, the real problem, was if my mother told my grandmother to stay home, it also meant my grandfather would stay home. So I told mom I’d take two days and think about the situation.

Two nights later, as I walked to mom’s house, I still had no idea what to do. Show up with my baby and be forced to interact with my grandmother — concede defeat once again, lose an incredible amount of self-respect, allow my grandmother’s malevolence to once again be ignored and forgiven.

Or put my family into a situation where they have to make a statement and outright chose between my son and I, or my grandfather, in order to teach my grandmother a lesson.

It wasn’t until I was in my mother’s living room, and my mouth began to move, that I decided to tell her I was sorry, but there was no way I wanted my son near my grandmother.

Her reaction was remarkable… at least to me. I was mostly expecting a fight, or some huge sigh of resignation loud enough to let me know I was crippling the family. But what I got was “okay. We’re on you’re side in this.”

I almost fell over. All the way home it kept repeating in my head… a side, my side, there are people on My Side. They understand, my parents understand what I’ve been going through since the incident with my grandmother.

So the decision was made to just not invite my grandparents to dinner. I was a little disappointed that a larger point wouldn’t be made but by not inviting them, as though it were an oversight, was probably best for everyone I cared about.

Besides, I’d never felt like that before… like people were on my side, like I had backup. I actually felt lighter, like my feelings about my grandmother had been justified, and confirmed.

It was a great feeling… and it lasted until yesterday.

My mother has been babysitting my son on Tuesdays. It’s as much a favour to her as it is to my girlfriend and I.

This past Tuesday, I just found out, my mother took my son to the assisted-living facility where my grandparents live. In her words “because the old lady’s there have been asking about him.” And guess who walked up, touched his forehead and called my baby “beautiful”? The same woman who, just six weeks ago, demanded to know “who made the decision not to have an abortion?”.

I don’t fucking get it. I’ve been absolutely crystal clear about how I do not want the old bitch near my baby. The same old bitch who abused my mother, and my brother, and me, and even my grandfather. And yet, there’s my mother bringing my baby straight to the abuser.

And now I have to tell her again, go over the ground rules one more time, because I don’t think we’re on the same team anymore.




About Gabriel...

...diagnosed with manic depression when I was nineteen, for the next 14-years I lived without treatment or a recovery plan. I've been homeless, one time I graduated college, I've won awards for reporting on Internet privacy issues, and a weekly humour column. In 2002 I finally hit bottom and found help. It's now 2022, and I have an 8-year old son, and a 12-year old son... I’m usually about six feet tall, and I'm pretty sure I screwed up my book deal. I mostly blog at saltedlithium.com....
This entry was posted in Bipolar, Bipolar Disease, Bipolar Disorder, Clinical Depression, crazy people with no pants, Family, Granny, Health, Little Victor, Living With Depression, Living With Manic Depression, Manic Depression, Mental Health. Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to With No Consequences For Her Abuse She Takes Over Once Again

  1. thordora says:

    oh gabe. She likely doesn’t even really get it. I have so many conflicts with my father over the kids-thankfully nothing like this. She likely assumes it’s YOU, and the baby doesn’t count.

    Make it clear. I am so sorry you’re dealing with this.

    And man, he is freaking ADORABLE.

  2. Gabriel... says:

    I do definitely get the impression my own mother thinks she needs to step between her mother and myself as some kind of referee. I’m pretty sure bringing my son to my grandmother is my mom’s way of saying “see? No explosions, so now we can all get along.”

    One of the things my mom kept repeating during the pre-baptism and pre-Easter defences of her own mother was “she’ll be dead soon [so why rock the boat?]”.

    Someone in the past sixty years should have stood up to my bitch of a grandmother, and levelled some significant consequences at her in response to her behaviour. The fact no one did is not my fault, and it certainly isn’t my son’s, so why have I been stuck living with her bullshit, and why should I allow it to be passed down to my son?

    My son is adorable, and I want to do everything I can to let him grow up that way. Fuck.

  3. markps2 says:

    My 2 cents.
    re ” in order to teach my grandmother a lesson.” If someone is senile, you can’t teach them anything. I’m thinking of MY father, who is probably senile now. How much of him is still here? Your mom still needs or wants grandmoms (her mom) approval-blessing it seems. I believe I remember your Mom busting her ass to help you (driving?) before the birth, so I wouldnt give her a hard time about her need to please grandmom (its a human ? weakness?), just don’t give her any opportunity to fail your wishes again. She has proven herself untrustworthy.
    I still wanted my father to be proud of my winning court case when I showed him the judgement papers, but the elevator doesn’t go to the top floor any more it seems. Either that or he is a bastard.

  4. trish says:

    would it be possible to use this as a chance to teach your son how to deal with a toxic person, provided you never give her the opportunity to be alone with him and always standup for him, perhaps his memories will be more of his dad protecting and guiding him, than of the old boot herself …

  5. Bromac says:

    What it boils down to is that your mother did not respect your wishes regarding your son. Period. That’s an issue.

    I’ve had this battle with my MIL multiple times. It sucks. But you’re the parent and your word goes. Period.

  6. Judy says:

    I soooo understand your post. I had to do the same thing in my family. I dealt with the abuse, then the wanting to protect my children, then the guilt…round and round.

    And then it became so clear…if a snake was at the door of my home trying to get in and poison my children I probably couldn’t get that door slammed quick enough. I would refuse to let it in.

    And so that’s what I did. And we never had contact again. My children have grown up free from that madness.

    Today I am glad I made that decision.

  7. Gabriel... says:

    Hi Trish, thanks for commenting, and welcome to my blog. My son, thankfully, will have no memories of his great-grandmother… he’s only four-months old.

    Mark made a great point on the last post about this, and it’s something I’ve been trying to articulate. Basically I don’t want my grandmother around my son because I don’t want to see her when I look at him after she’s gone.

    For about a week after she said what she said, whenever I looked at my son, I could hear her questions in my head — like, is he mine? And that pissed me off.

    Anyway… like my mom said about her mom, “…she’s 87 with COPD, how much longer could it be?”.

    I think that’s it exactly, bromac, but getting my mother to understand that, or to understand I’m not 12-years old, might require an atom bomb rather than gentle prodding.

    I don’t have time right now, but I’ll respond to Judy and Mark a little later on…

    One interesting thing though… I did manage to find a deeper level of Internet depravity by publishing this, and the previous post regarding my grandmother’s behaviour.

    Some recent “referrers” to my blog include:

    funcking grandmothers
    how can i get my grandmother to fuck me
    grandmother fucking free video
    the day my grandmother fucked me
    i need to fuck my garndmother
    my brother forced fuck grandmother

    • malinda carr says:

      Accept NO advice from anybody that hasn’t been in your situation, they are NOT qualified to speak on it! I am in a situation where I was abused my g-ma and so were everbody else in the family! They all walked away from the situation (like sane people) and the old bag ended up on my doorstep! ( I have always been the “forgiving” one i.e. putz…in the family) She (85 yrs. old) is now in a nursing facility down the street from my house and for 4 years has given it her best shot at destroying my little family and the little bit of happiness that I had managed to eeeek out in this cold world. Well, guess what, Gabe, YOU MATTER, TOO! I now take her snacks and what not to the nursing home office and they take it to her room. You see, it is not her right to verbally abuse me, EVEN IF SHE’S OLD. I won’t take it any more! I know just how you feel in a society that gives the elderly a pass to abuse! It is bullshit! I could speak on it further, but the things that you might benefit from hearing are to personal to post in a public forum.. You are welcome to e-mail me if you want to talk further on the subject! Stay strong, brother!

  8. Gabriel... says:

    …and, I’m back. My girlfriend and I just watched “Out Of Sight”, starring George Clooney, Don Cheadle and Jennifer Lopez in, probably, her best role. It’s based on an Elmore Leonard novel of the same name. George has some rough moments during some closeups, but otherwise it’s a pretty kickass movie.

    Hi Mark… my mother believes there’s some dementia involved, at the very least she thinks the steroids are effecting my grandmother’s judgment. I think my mother is rationalizing, and I have two problems with this… the first, my grandmother’s behaviour hasn’t changed in the forty years I’ve known her. If anything she mellowed out by about 40% back in the late 1980’s when she had operations on her eyes.

    My grandmother only started taking the steroids and antibiotics back in November, but she had the questions prepared since last summer. So that’s out as an excuse.

    Which brings me to problem two… why should it matter if she’s in the early stages of dementia?

    If one of the symptoms is her interrogating people the same way she did me, why would I want my girlfriend or my son to be around that? My girlfriend still doesn’t know what was asked, and I don’t want her put into a situation where, during a birthday party for example, my grandmother pulls her aside and asks “how dare you not have an abortion”.

    I’m not sure why my mother can’t see that.

    …as for your father. I think, in a situation like that, it’d be best to use your time together as the guide for how he would have responded. Fathers are generally proud of their sons to start with, and doubly so when their sons have a victory.

    Hi Judy, thanks for commenting. It’s borderline irrational… this need to protect my son from the crap I had to go through, even if it’s coming from someone he’ll never remember. Your snake analogy is pretty much bang on. There are people in my family — my biological father for example — who I never want my son to come in contact with. At least I want him prepared first. Or something.

    I brought this up with my psychiatrist weeks ago, and basically he thinks (rightly) that I’m trying to stop the cycle of abuse that runs through most of my family.

    Thanks again for the comment.

  9. Meg says:

    I’m sorry you are having to go through all of this. I agree with Mark that your mom still seeks approval from his your grandmother. It’s possible that you can say whatever you want to your mom but her need for that approval from your grandmother may go beyond her need to do the right thing by you and your son. Your son may not remember your grandmother but he will pick up on her energy and that is something to be aware of. Babies know and sense fear, tension and all the rest and it affects how secure they feel.

  10. Melissa says:

    I also have a grandmother I would like to tell “go fuck yourself.” I haven’t, but a few of my cousins have. The only reason I don’t, is because I don’t have to. She is not a part of my life. She is a part of my mother’s life, but I don’t see her, my kids (who are now grown: son is 21 and daughter is 18) don’t see her, so she is not a part of our lives. She is dying and I doubt she will live much longer–though she as outlived my step grandmother and paternal grandmother-who were both great women. I lived with the pain of being an outcast, one of the black sheep, disrespected, talked about, verbally abused, emotionally abused, and in general never measuring up. One of my cousins also has bipolar I, and he’s babied by her, though is at least 8 years old than me (which makes him about 50 or 51): she helps him with his bills and no matter what he does (drug abuse, spending sprees, jail time, etc) she defends him and makes excuses for him. However, I am a “bad seed.” And whatever is wrong with me had to have come from my daddy’s side. Funny how that works…
    I have learned over the years, that you can’t please everyone; hell, you can’t please much of anyone, but you can do what is right and best for you and yours. Things are what they are, it is what it is, and if telling your grandmother to go fuck herself was something you needed to do, then good for you. I have wanted to say the same thing to mine, but haven’t because when all is said and done the person it would actually hurt is my mom. My grandmother would be proven right–I am a “no-good,” crazy, “bad seed” and I would be the lesser person, at least in my mom’s eyes–And she is the person I care about, not my grandmother. I don’t need to say it to her because I have excluded her from my life. I was able to do that, sounds like it’s been hard for you to do it, so the situation is quite different.
    I applaud you for doing what you needed to do for yourself–some people only bring negative into our lives and those are the people we need to exclude from our lives.
    High Five!

  11. Gabriel... says:

    Turns out Team Gabriel has more than one member after all… my mom told my girlfriend about having brought our son to visit the old people place. My girlfriend told my mother (without any influence from me) that was not a good idea, because (her words) “Gabriel said he didn’t want that to happen.”

    Then she told my mom (paraphrase) “you can bring Victor anywhere, except there, and never to see your mother without our permission.”

    Heh. Cool.

    Hi Meg… I do believe, actually without a doubt, there is a lot (re: LOT) of Stockholm Syndrome in my mother’s relationship with her mother. I see it every time they’re together…

    For example… a couple of years ago my mother, after years of abuse, put together a book made up of her mother’s recipe’s and got it an ISSN number, so now it’s in the National Library forever and ever amen.

    High Five back at you Melissa… thanks for the comment, and the support.

  12. Tatyanna says:

    Hi Gabe … I just started reading your blog, and I think it’s such powerful writing. Thank you for sharing your story here. I’m sorry to hear about your conflict with your family, and the abuse. I don’t want to give some kind of advice or something, as I’m a stranger to you, but I sincerely hope it works out for the best and that you can feel strong in your decision as a father. Beautiful baby!!!!

  13. jo says:

    Thanks so much for posting this blog. It makes me feel better to know that I’m not the only one going through shit like this.

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  16. I’ve just started reading your blog. I can relate to a lot of what you say, especially all this maternal abuse. For me, it was my mother. Just know you’re not alone in this. Take care.

  17. Gabriel... says:

    Thanks Mary…. and Jo and Tatyanna as well. Sometimes I get a little behind on responding to comments made on the more difficult posts. Thanks for the comments though, writing this stuff in public is all about getting feedback — positive or negative, but especially ones that let me know I’m not alone, and offer some personal experiences.

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