My mother had a violent outburst in front of my child. How do I deal with that?

Kimberly - posted on 04/17/2012 ( 101 moms have responded )

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My mother chose to start an argument with my husband and I in front of my 5 year old daughter. We were driving in the car, so there was no escape. My daughter wanted me to sit by her instead of my mother because it was a harrowing morning. My mother was mad, so I talked to my daughter, letting her know we may have hurt Grandma's feelings. My mother lashes out with, "It's not about that. That child is sooo spoiled!" and points to my daughter.

I tried reasoning with her, explaining why. She wouldn't hear of it and went on a rant. I tried not to engage. She kept on. Finally my husband told her to let it go. She wouldn't. Then he said, "Everyone please shut up." Which didn't help. But then, she punched him and yelled at him to learn his place.

I told her never to hit anyone ever, and my daughter just cried. She is afraid of my Mother now and I don't even know what to say.

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Amy - posted on 04/17/2012

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You mom is an adult your daughter is 5, she should know how 5 year olds can be. I can totally relate to your "harrowing morning". You mother should have let it go when she was asked to. I would do your best to explain to your 5 year old that her grandmother had a tantrum and didn't appropriately display her emotions. Sympathize with your daughter about it being a scary situation. I would definitely have a one off with your mom and if she can't understand that your daughter is 5 and she needs to set the example then you will have to avoid her for awhile because she caused a very unsafe situation in the car. She could of caused a car accident with her actions!

Katherine - posted on 04/17/2012

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I would cut ties for a looooooooong time! She PUNCHED your husband?????? In FRONT of your child????? I definitely would NOT want to ever speak to her again. I know she's your mom but....damn!

Kimberly - posted on 04/17/2012

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Well, on the one hand, I'd like to get it off my chest about how appalling the whole thing was. But I honestly don't think she'll hear me, and I don't want the stress of confronting her. I definitely don't want to be anywhere around her unless it's a public setting. Perhaps I'll write her a letter and leave it at that. Definitely not going to be anywhere near her anytime soon.

Julie - posted on 05/01/2012

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Wow... she's sorry she hit your husband, but it was his fault for opening his mouth? Re: his kid, in his car? So her actions are his fault and you now need to tell your daughter it was daddy's bad not hers? Hm... yeah, you called it. Looney tunes. Or like I often say, you cannot reason with an unreasonable person. But I concur with an earlier comment, if you haven't ripped the letter up it may be wise to keep it in case shenanigans ensue. Honestly, you never know what accusations may fly down the track and this letter could prove invaluable to protect yourselves.

Again, and everyone else here has said it too, but you have handled this situation incredibly well, all of your family has. I think it's a testament to the three of you as a family unit, your strength, love and support for each other. I have massive respect for you and hope I would show the grace and poise you have in a situation like this.

Kimberly - posted on 04/27/2012

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Here is an update. I wrote a really good, and concise letter dealing simply with the issue at hand. I let my Mother know she allowed her anger to control her actions, and I did not appreciate her behavior. I let her know my daughter was afraid of her and this would take time to recover from. The issue was that my daughter needed me, and she made it more than it actually was. Well, she started with an apology for her part. That was the beginning of the manipulation Audrey mentioned here regarding mental illness. After that, the rest of her letter back to me was all about how it was my fault for allowing my daughter to choose who she wanted to have sit by her. It was my fault because I somehow still have pent up resentment toward her in the way she raised me even though she did "the best that she could under her terrible circumstances." (Which by the way, I thought we resolved 15 years ago, and I had never even brought it up again.) If it wasn't for me, the whole thing wouldn't have started to begin with, and I am going to ruin my child with allowances that I give her. Her letter then went on to say that it was my husband's fault that she hit him. He should never have stuck his nose in where it didn't belong. Our disagreement was none of his business, and if he hadn't been so disrespectful she would have never hit him. But no one can have any idea of how much she has suffered in her life and I have to look at myself and my anger issues towards her.

Wow. I was never angry. I even told her so in my letter, but she ignored my letter, only used it to find points against me somehow, and never once acknowledged any wrong doing on her part. She said that if my daughter was afraid of her, it was my husband's fault and I needed to let my daughter know that. Can anyone imagine anything so looney?

So, here is my decision: I am not going to have anything more to do with her. If we have to see her in a family gathering, we will all be polite. She is not invited in my home overnight as she used to. My husband will not be fixing anything on her house for her, and my daughter will see her once in a blue moon if she has to because we happen to be in the same place.

Thank you, everyone for all your support. It has helped me a lot through this difficult time. Your thoughts and prayers are very much appreciated.

101 Comments

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Deborah Ridgely - posted on 09/05/2013

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It looks like you are dealing pretty well with your Mother, according to your previous posts. Since some of her problems seem to be unresolved issues, you may want to make any future contact between her and your family contingent upon her recieving counseling and dealing with her issues. Recommend a good Christian counselor and let her know you are praying for her, but until she repents ( truly sorry for manipulation and disrespect, etc., along with willingness to seek help) you do well to cut those apron strings. If there is any financial dependence, you need to cut that tie as well. (Leave and cleave.)
As for your daughter, you are going to do well for her by respectfully talking about grandma, loving and praying for her, even if you distance your family from your mother. Praying blessings of improved relationships all around.

Chaya - posted on 02/09/2013

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I would first tell mom to control her temper, stay out of the rasing of children, and be polite. There is no reason for her to get involved with your parenting unless you're committing felonies.
If grandma can't control her temper, she may see the child(ren) under these circumstances. You make the list. I literally had to keep my daughter away from my step mother unless a police officer friend of mine was present, (This reqired my step mother to attend the church of my choice.) A bit underhanded, but it worked for a couple of years, then I moved away.

Ettina - posted on 02/06/2013

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She has good reason to be scared of your mother. It sounds like she's not a very safe person for your daughter to be around. I'd cut contact for sure.

Diane - posted on 05/02/2012

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Tricia,

I agree with most of what you said, except I agree with the others about writing a letter to her, that way she can not interupt her. The choice to want her in the families life good or bad might be difficult if she doesn't accept the conditions asked of her to be able to stay connected to them. If she agrees to the conditions and can prove she is willing to show control especially around the children, then she is more than welcome to stay in their life, but if she isn't willing to accept the conditions and continues to act like that, then I wouldn't want her around my children!!

Just my honest opinion!! :)

Diane - posted on 05/02/2012

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Tricia,

I agree with most of what you said, except I agree with the others about writing a letter to her, that way she can not interupt her. The choice to want her in the families life good or bad might be difficult if she doesn't accept the conditions asked of her to be able to stay connected to them. If she agrees to the conditions and can prove she is willing to show control especially around the children, then she is more than welcome to stay in their life, but if she isn't willing to accept the conditions and continues to act like that, then I wouldn't want her around my children!!

Just my honest opinion!! :)

Charlene - posted on 05/02/2012

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She assaulted ur hubby, in front of ur child....have her arrested! Good lesson for ur daughter in there too...there are consequences to our actions even if its granny, harsh maybe but if she did that to a random person she would b arrested so why should she think is it ok cos ur family xx

Audrey - posted on 05/01/2012

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Jessica if you read all the previous posts by Kim....her mom has been this way 20+ years.

Jessica - posted on 05/01/2012

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I am not sure how old your mother is but, if this is not typical behavior then I would talk to her dr. She may be having early signs dementia / Alzheimer's. If this is her "normal" attitude then I would tell her that you can not expose your daughter to such negativity and until she changes her tune her interaction with your child will be greatly limited if not cut off at all. Good Luck.

Julie - posted on 05/01/2012

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...thank the grandmother for being concerned enough to call her granddaughter a spoiled brat in front of her and punching her dad while he was driving the car??

I'm trying to find your valid point here but I am failing. That was assault, plain and simple. Which in her reply to Kimberly, she blames on the victim of the assault.

Julie Brantley, I would strongly urge you to read Kimberly's comments regarding the history of her mother's behaviour as well as her response to Kimberly's letter before you post. The woman who punched her husband has a decades-long history of mental health issues which she staunchly refuses to take any responsibility for, including this most recent assault. A mentally stable adult would take responsibility for her actions, not shift the blame to the victim and make herself out to be the victim in all this because of her own "hard childhood", but then refuse treatment for it.

Kimberly, I wish you the best of luck, but I think you know better than anyone that "one last try" after 20 years of trying is going to be like trying to push shit uphill as they say in Oz. There has to be a point, for your own family's sanity and wellbeing, where the only healthy choice is to cut your losses and walk away. After 20 years, watching your husband get thumped and your daugther feel terrorized by her behaviour with absolutely no guilt or culpability on her part, I think you're more than within your rights to tell her to stay well clear of your family lest you get authorities involved.

Audrey - posted on 05/01/2012

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I think you did the best you could given the circumstances. You can't make your mom get help but you can set limits until she does or changes (not holding my breath, but hey, anything's possible.) Your mother's attacks were unwarranted and inappropriate to boot. (pointing and announcing your daughter is spoiled...how old is she again?)

You took the time to calm down and step back and wrote a letter. That's far better behaved that I would have been. (I see myself kicking teeth down someone's throat after nonsense like that!) Ball's in your mom's court. She wants to write herself out of your life and your daughter's by continuing to act like a spoiled brat, that is her decision.

Tabitha - posted on 05/01/2012

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Oh, well I hope she gets over that soon. She's missing out on her grandchild's life.

Kimberly - posted on 05/01/2012

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Thank you, Tabitha. We are not to that point because she still blames me for her being upset, and blames my husband for "making" her hit him.

Tabitha - posted on 05/01/2012

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I do like the idea of the letter as it allows you both to get out everything you want to say without interruption, but I think a face to face discussion is in order. She owes your husband and your daughter a face to face apology. If during this apology, she attempts to deflect the blame onto either of them, stop her dead in her tracks and set her straight. This is YOUR family, you and your husband are adults and you run YOUR family. She doesn't have to like your decisions, she doesn't have to agree with them but it's not her household. I would tell her, until she can accept that, she won't be around!!

Kimberly - posted on 05/01/2012

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Yes, Julie, and I agree that others advice on parenting is very warranted. I seek good council and have gotten much useful advice from many different people and sources. My Mother, has at a time or two been one of them. However, she has many issues, much baggage, and many ideas that I do not care to impart to my child(ren). I do listen when she brings up points. But will not stand for her attacking me, or my child in front of her. She has a history of disregarding anything I have to say pertaining to why I do things, or even having a conversation with her. Conversations are very one-sided with her - even when I am trying to agree with what she is saying! She has something to say, she wants to say it, and doesn't want to hear anymore about it. That's what makes communication so difficult and why I resorted to writing in the first place. I am going to make one more attempt at my point - do not hit for any reason at any time - and that will be the end of that. Thank you for your concern and your advice. I know it's important to take a step back in parenting to keep on the right track, because I am a good example of a child being brought up in many unfortunate ways and situations. I survived, but after much counseling, and with the help of God - believe me. It hasn't been easy, but I really have let it all go. I believe the past is the past. I just want to get past this issue at this time. Thanks again!

Julie - posted on 05/01/2012

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Forewarn your mom that is she does that again she will be asked to leave

the car will be stopped and she will be asked to leave

OR the police will call if she does not co-operate.

When she is calm ... ask her to write out her concerns about your parenting... and promise her you will read them

AND DO!
Then, have someone else close to you read them and give their honest, objective opinion -

BTW - I am a grandmother now and I DO see' things in my kids' parenting... talking about it in a calm manner at the right time is critical - and your mom MAY just have some valid points!

Be open - we get but once to parent right and our child pays for the rest of their lives...

AND

Thank your mom in all honesty for being concerned... as some moms/grandmothers could care less♥

Geneviève - posted on 05/01/2012

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Poor dear!

I know what you are going through, but it is in fact your mother's place to learn HER place! She's in YOUR car, disrespecting your family and even when you tried telling her the reasons, she still didn't listen. You must lay down YOUR LASW when your mother is in your space, if not, she can just mosey on out.

As for your daughter fearing your mother. I would say it's perfectly warranted. I had a similar situation with my son (3 years old) and my mother. Needless to say, I didn't have to talk to her twice about it. I explained to my son that his mammie has anger issues/angry urges that she was never taught to control and that when I put him in time-out, it's for that very same reason.

Hope this helps somewhat.

Kimberly - posted on 05/01/2012

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Thank you, Julie A. Honestly, it wasn't easy. Reading that insane letter from her was difficult. But all the encouragement has really helped. We are all just keeping our distance. It's sad, but necessary. She just adds extra stress on us whenever she's around anyway, so all for the best. I just take deep breaths. :-) Thanks again, Julie and everyone. I really appreciate it!

Kim - posted on 04/30/2012

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That's the best course of action for you, as this is your family now. It's terribly hard to have something like that to deal with, but you have handled it in the best way possible.

Best wishes to you for the times you do bump across one another's paths or if she calls for assistance with her home. When you have helped in the past, it will be expected in the future and might create further discord when she's being told no.

:)

Kimberly - posted on 04/30/2012

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Thanks Megan! I am sad, but my family comes first. The well-being of my husband and child(ren) is my main priority. Your post has been very encouraging.

Megan - posted on 04/30/2012

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Sounds like your mom is much like my dad. Rather than taking responsibility for her actions and saying sorry for being such an emotional pain in the butt, she's trying to deflect the blame at all costs and make it someone else's fault that she acted the way she did.

I think you did right in sending the letter. Now I would tuck the letter away somewhere where you won't read it (don't throw it away, she might need to be reminded later of how she responded so childishly) and go about your life just as you planned. I like that you are willing to be polite at gatherings and the likes. That shows YOUR maturity in handling the situation. I think you have it all under control and have a very clear plan out there. Who knows? Maybe leaving your mom to work out her own issues without any help from you or your husband and without time with your daughter, she'll come around.

We can all hope that our parents grow up and get over this. Good luck!

Kelinia - posted on 04/27/2012

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I would keep it civil with your mother for a while. It is you mom so you gotta have a level of respect for her. But she's is the only one who can make this right between the family and her. She seems to be a prideful woman, who won't admit to wrong and vulnerability right away. Yet she wont be able to deny the pain she will feel when she finally realizes than her relationship with her granddaughter will never be the same. my advice to you is to not force it. she needs to come around on her own so it will be sincere when she makes amends with your daughter.

Nikki - posted on 04/23/2012

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Did the daughter or mother rant & punch? If it was your mother, I would have pulled the car over, and drug her out by her hair and told her find her own way home. You don't need someone like that in your life.

Megan - posted on 04/23/2012

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First off, the letter idea is a great idea. I'd do it sooner rather than later. Letting any of this fester and grow will either blow it out of proportion or make your mom think that what she did was ok. She needs to know that her tantrum was uncalled for and downright scary for everyone in the car. Its never safe to argue or get physical with anyone in the car, even if they aren't the driver. I can tell you that if that were going on in my car, the car would get pulled over, the offending person kicked out, and I would drive away, leaving them on the side of the road to find their own way back. I don't tolerate anyone causing chaos like that in that kind of situation. Had you gotten into an accident, someone could have been badly injured, all because of a tantrum. She needs to know just how your feel. And then I would stay away for a long time. She needs to apologize to your husband and daughter (and even you) before you even think of going for a visit. She'll learn her lesson sooner or later, or she just won't have you guys around at all. Ball will be in her court.

As for your daughter, I'd express it to her that Grandma was having a hissy fit, expressed herself through violence, and put everyone in danger, and that's wrong. Your daughter needs to know that this is a lesson that Grandma needs to learn, even grown ups need a good lesson once in a while. She needs to also know that Grandma still loves her, even though she said some really mean things and hit your husband. She'll come to understand then, that's why you aren't going to visit Grandma for awhile. She's not someone to fear, but that she's a bad communicator and needs to change that somehow. Your daughter will bounce back from this and will quickly learn that not all upset people hit others. Especially people who love each other.

My dad's side of the family is much like your mom. Horrible communicators and will say the meanest things and even get physical about it. Rather than tolerating it anymore, I've taken to cutting them out of our lives. My Grandma has said some really hurtful things to all of us, barely acknowledges my kids, and likes the focus to be on her. She'll say the worst things in hopes of shaming others into giving her sympathy (for what, I don't know) and then once you put her in her place, she shuts down and plays nice for awhile. My dad and I have had knock down drag outs before and he's the same way. For the time being, until they learn that the world doesn't revolve around them, they've been cut out. Its really sad for my kids' sake, but its the best way I've come to teach that we aren't disrespectful of others and their feelings. Luckily, they have plenty of love and support from my mom's side and my in laws.

I hope that your mom comes around, apologizes, and you never are put in this position again. Make sure to lean on the people in your lives that are helpful, supportive, loving, and understanding.

Denise - posted on 04/23/2012

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You are a strong and wonderful woman a true example of a loving and caring mother keep up the good work your daughter and husband are blessed to have you as a corner stone to your family.

Kimberly - posted on 04/23/2012

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No worries, Denise. She is never left alone with my daughter. Due to how she raised, me, I have never left my daughter in her care, ever.

Denise - posted on 04/23/2012

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your husband and your daughter and yourself are now a family unit the nucleus and your daughter needs to know that mommy and daddy are a united unit - if your mother cannot respect your family unit and behave herself it would be in your best interest to let her know that that kind of behaviour in front of your daughter will not be tolerated and the choice is hers to make if she wants to be welcome within your family unit she will have to abide by your standards. Your daughter should not have had to see that kind of behaviour and understandably she was upset she needs to know that she is safe seeing her grandmother striking her father understandably was very upsetting. Also can you be sure if your daughter is left in the care of a woman who has so little self control and who is willing to strike a man what is she capable of saying or doing to a mere child. Be cautiouse very cautiouse. As for your mother perhaps she needs to attend anger management courses before being left alone with your daughter.

Toni - posted on 04/22/2012

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Your Mom needs to mind her own business. I would have a firm talk with her giving her a warning to "learn her place" in your marriage. If she continues to interfere I would break away. In a family the man and woman are together as one, it doesn't include Mom. Good Luck!

Kimberly - posted on 04/22/2012

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Thank you Julie, and I will post updates. Yes, it's been quite a history, so we'll see where this all goes. Out of my hands now.

Julie - posted on 04/22/2012

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Kimberly, I'm glad sending the letter helped to alleviate some of that stress from the situation. I'd love to hear how this all turns out.



As others have said and you have observed, there appear to be some mental health issues going on here. But as you and some others have said, until she is willing to accept she has behavioural issues, she will not get them treated and you, your husband and little girl will end up suffering for it. And after what, 40+ years? of behaving this way, frankly I can't realistically see this happening. I think more than a few of us on COM have been through something similar or know someone who has. Unless you've lived with it, it's hard to understand that distance is sometimes the only option. This has obviously affected you for many years now, as well as your husband. So you both know best here, firsthand, not to let it affect your daughter too. After 20+ years of second chances I wouldn't let anyone try to convince/guilt you into thinking that you haven't made the best decision for your family here.

Kimberly - posted on 04/21/2012

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Thank you, Aunt CeCe! She's got more than plenty of unresolved issues, as well as a dislike of counselors and psychologists and anyone who would be able to help her in general. She hangs on to her baggage and makes it a part of her and seems she can't live without griping about something. It's always been that way, and I know it won't change, but I wrote a good letter, sent it, and it was a weight off my shoulders. I can move on now and my family is my focus. I've got the sweetest, most polite little girl, with the best manners. She demonstrated that at a birthday party today where she said please and thank you for everything. She's 5 and the only one who displayed such etiquette. I am biased, but not kidding. It's true. I'm trying to remember what I did with her so I can pass it on to the next one. :-) I really appreciate all the support and encouragement! Thank you for the prayers! Blessings to you.

Aunt Cece - posted on 04/21/2012

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It sounds to me like your mom already has unresolved issues of her own, and you and your family have received the brunt of her anger which is another form of depression. No doubt she needs serious counseling to deal with her resentment in general. I'm so happy you didn't engage her any further. I would very definitely let her know what stress does to an unborn child in case she's forgotten. I hate confrontations as well, but sometimes, you have to stick up for your family first. Writing her a letter will definitely make her think IF she reads it all the way through. It will also help you get your feelings released as well. I'd make it very clear that you expect an apology to your husband and your child, either in writing or face to face..before she can see you again. That should go for when the baby is born as well. No apology, no visit..I know how hard that will be, but your happiness and health as well as that of your husband and child must come first. Maybe if she comes to the realization that life is too short to fill it with her anger and venom, you can all at least eventually be on speaking terms..Do you have siblings who feel the same way? Maybe once the baby is here, you can arrange an intervention with all of them in attendance unless you are the only child or the only one she gets angry at. I don't know what else you can do except to leave her completely alone for awhile. No phone calls, etc..Moms can't stand not knowing what's going on in their children's lives..I know, Im a mom of 2 adult kids..I'm so sorry this has happened to you, but remember, every family has something, even though we may not hear about it..But right now, make it easy on yourself..Keep the ball in your court. Write the letter, make a copy of it, and send it..You'll be in my prayers..!

Vanessa - posted on 04/21/2012

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Tricia and Robin I agree totally. You have one Mother. Yes, she was wrong and out of control. Now, you need to move forward. Give your self & family space from your Mother. Pray on the situation. You do not want to severe ties with your Mother & Grandmother for eternity. We all make mistakes. We all deserve a Do-Over. If this is her demeanor then make sure your visits are not isolated. Maybe a public setting until she comes around. As for as an apology, you & your family may or may not receive one. But her future actions will demonstrate whether she recognized her faults. I pray that it all works out in the name of Family.

Kellie - posted on 04/21/2012

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wow! You have raised an intelligent, polite son. For a teenager to respond like that, it takes insight to see what is going on, and self control to answer in a polite, yet determined way.

Way to go, mom!



(this was in response to Shawnn Lively down below. I don't know why it posted up here)

Bonnie - posted on 04/20/2012

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Kimberly i'm sorry for what you are going through and I don't really have any advice for you, but this sounds all too familiar. It's not easy that's for sure.

Audrey - posted on 04/20/2012

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I would limit (as you have discussed) or end contact. It is not worth your daughter getting harmed if you mom is out of control and refuses to acknowledge there is a problem. She assaulted your husband...if she is willing to attack a man who can defend himself (although not so much while driving) then imagine what she is willing to do to your daughter who can't. All because she didn't get her way.

I will mention that mental illnesses run in families and do have some biological basis. And being manipulative is about par for the course for a lot of the illnesses too. Sorry you have to deal with all this but you are doing a great job of handling it and protecting your daughter and husband. I hope things get better or at least easier to deal with.

Kimberly - posted on 04/20/2012

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It may very well be, Shawn S. and Audrey, that she does have a mental condition. There have actually been signs in a couple of relatives of hers. I have spoken to a psychologist about this before in dealing with my own issues with her a long time ago. Problem is, she knows how to hide it around other people. I don't know that I would be able to get her to get help for it, because she goes around thinking she's right, everyone else is wrong and if we don't like it, it's our problem, not hers. I just want to get this off my mind and move on, and find a civil way for interaction without fear of what's going to happen next. Not possible, completely, but I want to at least try. Distance, at this point may just be the best thing.

Kimberly - posted on 04/20/2012

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Thanks, Amy. Yes I did let my husband know he reacted inappropriately and really didn't help matters. I think he was fed up because he's sat by for 20 years without saying a word to my Mother about the way she's treated me, and it's really bothered him. We've known each other that long, and had many ups and downs with her. This one was just the straw that broke the camel's back. He understands and has apologized to me and my daughter. It's my Mother that needs dealing with and yes, Sharon, I have read my letter a million times and have re-written it twice. I was considerate, nice, and matter of fact. I have to be or she won't read the whole thing. Thank you so much for all the advice everyone. Will keep you posted.

Amy - posted on 04/20/2012

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First I'd like to say I'm sorry you & your child were put in such a situation, it is so hard. After reading this a couple of things came to mind, first of all it seems as though your mom might have some sort of mental disorder or something & she really should be checked. For years my MIL was not able to be with my son alone but we still made sure she was a part of his life we just controled the environment etc. She finally got a new Dr & found out that her problems were due to her mix of meds & now she is much better (still not "normal" but waaaay better). Second I have to say that I understand the situation was stressful & she wouldn't stop arguing but even in those circumstances my husband absolutly would have also been "in trouble" with me for telling everyone to shut up like that, what example is that for your daughter to have dad telling mom & grandma to shut up. He could have pulled over, he could have said please be quiet so I can concentrate on driving etc. I just kinda feel like both of them should apologize to you, your daughter & each other. Again though I do feel she should be checked by a Dr because it is not a normal adult response to hit another adult esp if she hasn't had "tantrums" for 7 yrs. I truly hope everything works out for the best, good luck

Sharon - posted on 04/20/2012

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Kimberly,
I'm so sorry this has happened to you. I agree that a letter is a good way to go. Just read what you've written a million times to make sure it truly expresses what you want to say. Letters stay around for a lifetime.

I don't know you or your mom, so you're the only one who can decide if the following should play a factor in your decision whether or not to write a letter.
Sending a letter could come back to haunt you, depending on the type of person your mom is. If she's the type of person to hold a grudge or someone who doesn't forgive or forget, then when you're ready to mend fences she may throw the words from your letter back in your face. Again, only you know what she may or may not do.

You could record your verbal conversation when you speak to her, without telling her of course. This would do several things. One it truly captures what both of you say to one another so there are no misunderstandings. If your mom ever begins to say that you said something you didn't say, you could share the recording with her so she can not only hear what was said, but she can hear what she sounded like. It may be too harsh for some, it's just an idea.

Another option is to read my article on the Roundup called "How to Handle Relatives Who Are Hurtful" http://bit.ly/Jq8zZJ
I hope these things help.
Sharon ~ Proactive Parenting (dot) NET

Rachel - posted on 04/20/2012

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She may be your mother, but that does not mean she can treat you that way. She is the one who needs to learn her place. I would tell her that until she does, she is not allowed around. Tell her you love her but that it is not acceptable. And you don't have to cut her out of your life completely. Tell her she may call, email, write, facebook you. This way you can control what she says until you decide when to allow her back into your life. You can also control what and when.

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 04/20/2012

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My mother was much the same, and you have my sympathy. The hardest thing I had to do was put my foot down with her.



Thing is, your daughter is 5. My son was 16 when my mother showed her true colors to him.



Long story short, she chose to question how my husband spends the cash that he earns during the summer at farmer's markets, which is NOT up for discussion at any time. Plus, I'm a grown woman managing my own finances very well for over 20 years, TYVM! but, she had to push it and question, and scream at me when she didn't get an answer she liked.



My 16 year old looked at her, said, "grandma, I love you, but if you are going to do nothing but upset my mother, you are welcome to leave, and we'll wait for dad to get here to get me. My mom and dad do very well with what they earn, and I'm upset that you think you can butt in"



I was so proud of him! And I backed him up.



If your mom is acting this way, then you tell her, in no uncertain terms that: "This is MY family. We discuss and make very well thought out decisions. You don't have to disagree, but we do not appreciate a public scene. If you cannot control yourself, we will limit the contact you have with your granddaughter". And stick with it. It'll be tough, it's been 2 years and I still have a problem with the whole thing with my mom, but I'm healthier now, and my kids are happier not having as much contact.



ETA: "Disagree" should be "agree"...she doesn't have to agree with what you do.



The thing about the ages was simply that your daughter will probably put it behind her much easier at 5 than my son was able to at 16. He is still very upset with his grandmother, almost 2 years later.

Missy - posted on 04/20/2012

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I think you did the right thing telling your daughter not to hit any one. I always told my children that they don't ever have the right to put their hands on any one. Maybe you could talk to your Mom and ask her to apologize to your daughter and your husband. Maybe once things calm down your daughter won't be so afraid of your mom..

I hope this is helpful

Audrey - posted on 04/20/2012

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Actually it sounds like she has borderline personality disorder. There are treatments available to help her if she is willing to get help. (( www.bpddemystified.com ))

If not you need to back away from your mother and set boundaries. They are to be followed period. No exceptions. Violence and screaming is not allowed period. Child present or no. If she can't follow those rules, then she can't be present. Never set yourself up for a situation where you can't immediately leave if she causes a problem. Visit her at her house or better yet meet her in a public place, driving separately from her.

I know it is hard to do, I had to set boundaries with my mother when I was in my early 20s because she had a hard time realizing I was an adult now and she couldn't demand or make my choices for me anymore. I had to call the police and have an officer who showed up explain she could not prevent me from leaving her house. I didn't talk to her for 4 months, only my father. After that things got better.

I agree with others. She owes an apology to all of you, if she can't recognize what she did was wrong and won't seek help, then it is time for you to stop enabling her in this.

Shawn - posted on 04/20/2012

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Kimberly the more you talk about your mother the more convinced I am that your mother suffers from bi-polar disorder with a possible dual antisocial disorder. You said she switches back and forth between your sister and you depending on who is letting her slide on her behavior at the time, she has no remorse for her behavior even when she puts others at risk, like hitting your husband while he is driving, she accuses your child of being at fault instead of accepting responsibility for her actions, she has poor impulse control, poor control of her anger, and she withholds affection when angry with you or your sister, all of these are signs of mental illness. If you truly care for her put aside your fear of making her angry and help her get well. It's a hard step to take but living with mental illness is far harder. If you don't think I am right there are questionnaires online that you can answer that will give you a good idea of what you are dealing with. Go to the NIMH . site and look for bipolar diagnostic questions and you can figure out if she fits some of the criteria. She doesn't have to fit all, usually only about half because most sufferers don't have every symptom.

Julie - posted on 04/20/2012

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With respect, Tassia, I have to disagree with you to a point. Forgiveness is a virtue to be imparted of course, but more important than that is to ensure your child is in a safe environment. A child should feel safe and trust her mother and father to keep her from harm's way at all times. Remember, too, that forgiveness must first sincerely be asked for it to be given. And for this to occur, there needs to be personal accountability for one's actions, something which, from the sounds of it, has never occurred.



Again, Kimberly, I think you've made the right decisions for your family and your situation. Your daughter sounds like a sweet, kind-hearted person and she doesn't sound spoiled at all, certainly not for wanting to sit next to you. Honestly what a ridiculous notion, she's 5!

Kimberly - posted on 04/20/2012

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Don't worry Tassia. I'm not angry with my Mother, just saddened that she chose her selfishness over the needs of my daughter. Which, by the way, is not new. I've forgiven my Mother for MANY things over the years. Forgiveness is not the issue here. I've already apologized to her for my part in contributing to the argument. I just want to be sure she realizes there are consequences for her actions - my daughter is afraid of her, and I'm afraid of what she may do next time things don't go her way. That's the issue. I don't bad mouth my Mother to my daughter. I just told her Grandma made a wrong choice. She is allowed to be around at social events, but not alone. Caution is definitely key here. Just trying to get this across to her in a way that she can understand, though I'm not sure she is capable of understanding anyone else's needs but her own. It's a long history so that's why it's to this point.

Tassia - posted on 04/20/2012

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I agree with Robin. I am sure it was a difficult situation to deal with. However, our children are looking to us to be an example. If we don't learn to forgive and show them that we can forgive others, they will also hold on too hurts instead of letting them go. Talk to your mom about how she behaved. Forgive her, with caution. For example, if you think that she can't be alone with your daughter, don't leave her alone with her.

I know it will be difficult but we need to teach our children that everyone makes mistakes and we must learn to forgive and learn from every event.

Kimberly - posted on 04/20/2012

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To Gina, she only apologizes to appease me if she's wanting something from me. I have a sister, and she keeps her distance from my mom. But if my Mother has problems with one of us, she just lets us be and butters up the other one. It's gone on for years. By now we know her tactics and don't really let her faze us. But now that she's attacked my family, it's a whole different story.

Kimberly - posted on 04/20/2012

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By the way, my Mother is 57 and I'm 40. Yes, she had me when she was really young, and I feel like though I grew up, she never did.

Kimberly - posted on 04/20/2012

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Thank you Julie A! Also, my husband does know he has my full support. The only reason we didn't throw her out of the car was we were doing Easter, and my daughter was upset as it was. We didn't want to traumatize her further. What was amazing, was that my daughter also spoke up in the moment and told us all we shouldn't be arguing. We need to talk about how we feel. If you are angry, take a breath and think before you say anything. It was like listening to myself explaining to her how we deal with those kinds of things. She's really listening to me and her dad and applying what we teach her. That child touched my heart. She really is the best little girl. Not spoiled, just well-loved and she knows it. I wrote the letter stating my position. If she wants to have any further discussion, it will be with me in a restaurant. If she is to see my family, it will be in a public gathering in social situations. If she does this again, we're done.

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