I will not allow my son to have contact with people who have abused me, my family or my friends.
My rule to anyone looking after my son — my father and grandmother are at the top of this list.
In February my grandmother sat me down and made several disgusting and vile comments regarding my girlfriend, my mother, my son and myself. A few days later I told my mother I would have nothing to do with her mother anymore. I had taken as much abuse from her mother as I possibly could.
I told my mother my infant son would have no more contact with her mother. She agreed. For the past six months my mother has been pushing that boundary until, at a family BBQ two weeks ago, she took my son and pushed him into her mother’s face. For my girlfriend and I it was too much.
We decided, until my mother apologies and promises not to do it again, my mother would not be allowed to be alone with my son — we would not use her as a babysitter, but would have no problem with her visiting our son at our home.
After a few emails my mother decided she would only communicate with me in her home, and in front of her husband. This past Sunday afternoon we sat down and yelled at each other for an hour.
Several things they said have left me wondering if we can still be a family. I’ve left this in order of how I remembered what was said while I was putting this together.
My mother hinted she might have cause to call the Children’s Aid Society because she considers the state of my apartment — which she has been in once, three years ago — might be a danger to my son.
I was told by my parents there are members of our family who refuse to join them for dinner if they know I’ll be there.
I was told by my mother that she was unable to be with her 88-year old, semi-infirmed father because, until she promised not to allow her abusive mother to have contact with my son, I wasn’t allowing her to babysit my son on her own.
I was told the abusive comments my grandmother made to me directly about my son, girlfriend, mother and myself, were nothing compared to what she had been saying to my mother and step-father since we announced my girlfriend’s pregnancy.
My step-father repeatedly insinuated that I was accusing my mother of abusing my child.
My step-father told me he would, if given the opportunity, hand my child to my father — the man who abandoned me when I was eight, and who physically and sexually abused my mother for eight years.
My step-father told me he had no problem being around my grandmother, the woman who abused his wife for her entire life, and who has repeatedly, over the past year, said vicious and disgusting things about my girlfriend, my son and me.
My mother sobbed, and my step-father screamed at me. “You”, they yelled at me, “are breaking the family.”
Our family, they told me, is about “getting along so we can go along”. They told me family does not need to apologize to family.
My grandfather is invited to every family function. My mother told me she pointedly does not invite her mother. But if her mother shows up, so be it. She’s family and therefore, ultimately, invited to any function.
My step-father went even further, listing off the family names… his, ours, my girlfriend’s, my grandmother’s, and saying they were all welcome in his house because they were all part of the same family.
So I asked him about my father. Would my father, who abused and manipulated everyone around him for so long, allowed into this house?
My step-father nearly jumped out of his chair, he couldn’t say “yes” fast enough.
I should have asked my step-father if his first wife, the one who repeatedly sexually abused his two children, would have been invited in, if she hadn’t committed suicide twenty years ago.
How fast would he have handed my child to her?
Abuse is abuse. I don’t need bruises to prove my father left me disabled for life. I don’t need to see scars from cigarette burns to prove my grandmother nearly destroyed my mother.
People just don’t stop abusing. They don’t wake up one morning and decide what they’ve been doing has been wrong. You can’t stop an abuser by serving them pie but, you know, with a dirty look in your eye.
You can’t stop an abuser by letting them into your home and serving them tea without the biscuit. Eventually they’re going to poke you in the eye with a very sharp stick and you will have no choice but to bleed.
My parents tell me I’m being unreasonable in my demand my mother apologize and promise to never do what she did again. And they justify their demand by telling me they ignored my grandmother’s abuse regarding my girlfriend’s pregnancy for six months.
They tell me I only had to hear it once, they had to hear it over and over and over again. As if the abuse to them was greater than that to me, therefore I should relent. Recant. Step back and let the visitations continue as they had been — unsupervised and with them deciding who gets to be near my son.
They let my grandmother continue her rants for six months, or more, with what… the occasional “shut up, you ignorant bitch”, only much more polite of course. Because in our family we get along so we can go along.
Which basically means, ‘we hope you die soon’.
They never told me I was being attacked. They never stopped allowing her to appear at family functions. During our meeting they kept making the point that they never invited her anywhere anymore. But they never stopped serving her tea with a biscuit, they never stopped her from being at my baby’s baptism or the brunch afterwards.
During my meeting with my parents I handed them a paper with a short list of the things my grandmother said to me that started all of this. They both refused to look at it, telling me they knew about it and had heard much worse from my grandmother.
I walked into the meeting with my grandmother unaware and unprepared for what was going to happen, but both of my parents knew. They’re telling me nothing is their fault. But for almost a year they knew what she had been saying.
They knew what she was going to say to me when I told them my grandmother wanted to talk to me, but they never said a fucking word. And now, here we are.
Get along to go along.