How do I handle a relationship between my emotionally abusive mother and my daughter?

I am 32 years old and 26 weeks pregnant ... we found out early that this is a high risk pregnancy and should avoid stress. I have been pushed all of my life by my emotionally abusive mother. I finally had enough when my 7-year-old daughter came home after spending the night with her and my step father. We had a doctor’s appointment that ran a little longer than we thought and I couldn't meet my mother earlier.


This upset my mother, who shared her feelings with my daughter, and she sent my step father to bring our daughter home. My daughter was crying and saying that her Nana said that she was going to move away and that she wouldn't be able to see her again because she was mad at me. This hurt... I do not want my mother hurting my daughter the same ways she hurt me!

I finally got up the courage to send her a 5-page letter in the mail explaining all of my feelings. My mother is not rational so I knew it wouldn’t be a good idea to speak with her in person while pregnant.

In this letter, I encouraged her to call me to talk to me about this because until we can resolve these issues, my daughter will not be staying the night or having contact with her. She hasn't called me in two months so my thoughts are that she doesn't care.

My daughter received a Halloween card with her name on the front of the card ... her name was in all caps and underlined twice. In the card, my mother asked my daughter to have me let her call her. I don't feel like it is a good idea for my daughter to have any contact with her while my mother is still angry at me as this has proven to be a bad idea in the past.

Until recently, my mother hasn't talked to my brother for 2 years. This was a topic of discussion between my mother and 7-year-old daughter. My daughter came home several times upset with what my mother had to say about her uncle!

I did not let my daughter call her nor have I explained to her why I haven't spoken to her Nana. I don't feel like this is something she should be worrying about at 7-years-old. She should only be worrying about being a happy, healthy child. My daughter has not asked where Nana is or if she could see her. Maybe she is relieved in a way that the drama has ceased...?

Should I talk to my daughter about this? Do you think I am making the right decisions for my daughter? Should I wait to have this conversation with my mother before I let my daughter speak with her?

My daughter's 8th birthday is on Saturday and I am sure she will call and/or send gifts... How should I handle this situation? Please Help!

Comments for How do I handle a relationship between my emotionally abusive mother and my daughter?

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May 25, 2012
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Healing your pain
by: Anonymous

I have had my feelings hurt by my mother all my life. I am now a grandma! For me, recovery has meant using the grace of blessing to heal my age old pain. I bless myself for my suffering. I bless my mother as the one who inflicted my pain and I bless myself as the one who witnessed her behaviour.
Sending her blessings heals the pain and means that it no longer exists in me. The pain is transformed into wisdom and compassion. The pain does not exist to be passed onto my children and grandchildren and their descendants. Thank you.

Sep 21, 2009
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abusive narcissistic mothers
by: Anonymous

Read the book Will I Ever Be Good Enough?: Healing the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers by Dr Karyl McBride.


Jul 02, 2009
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how about the law and grandparents rights
by: Anonymous

My daughter-in-law has a similar problem and she and my son have said that they do not want her parents involved or to even see their daughter because of a life time of abuse, but her father said he would see his (blank) grand daughter one way or another. Any help? What can they do?

Jun 29, 2009
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such similar stories
by: Anonymous

Hi, I've read your post and comments with great interest. Your stories are all so similar to mine.

I'm 36 in a happy relationship with a 10-year old son. I'm in a very similar situation. I haven't seen my mother for more than six months now, since I finally stopped calling her. The last time I spoke to her she accused me of stealing photos from her, called me a liar (when I denied it), then she called me a whore just to kick the boot in.

I drew the line here, and I refuse to call her anymore. I feel that I can't cope with the stress that trying to have a relationship with her brings me. She's like a ticking time bomb, and she uses anything personal I tell her to attack me later.

I could go on with a million painful, humiliating, confronting situations from my childhood, but what I really wanted to ask you and any others is are you having trouble with skeletons in your own psyche left by your mother's emotional abuse?

I sometimes have angry emotional breakdowns which leave me gutted, almost transporting me back to the pain of my childhood. Basically it starts as hurt, pain, fear, all wrapped up in paranoia, and then my anger kicks in as a defence mechanism, and I just explode.

Unfortunately it's my spouse who cops it, luckily he's very forgiving. Being aware of these episodes I have means that they happen less and less, but still it's a constant battle against the ghosts of my mother.

I know that what I'm feeling is the anger that I have for my mother, and I'm angy at my spouse for not protecting me from my mother - which is what my father never did. After such an episode i just feel such self-loathing, and I feel drained, regretful and disappointed in myself.

It seems that I can get my mother out of my life, but not of my mind! Do any of you have similar issues?

Dec 28, 2008
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Abusive Relationship
by: Cay

The absolute best thing you can do is shield your daughter from her. Turn the page. Love your daughter like she is the greatest gift on earth - because she is.

Your mother is a sad human being whom you have given many chances. It's time to permanently turn the page on her. PROTECT & LOVE YOUR CHILDREN AGAINST ANY ABUSIVE PERSON, whether it's a grandparent or a husband. In the case of an abusive husband - ALWAYS choose your KIDS!

Protect your babies no matter what. Get them away from any abusive situation. No matter how hard that may be. Do not side with the abusive person.

Show your kids that you will protect them. That way they will trust you their entire life. If you keep them in harm's way of an abusive relationship, they will learn that they can't trust you & that trust you can never get back. Abuse stays with a person their entire life. GET AWAY & STAY AWAY!

Nov 22, 2008
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Loyalty to your daughter first
by: Melanie

I have a simular situation. I have three kids and have all been caught in the fire of my mother. My mom is very emotionally abusive and I have spent the last two years in therapy trying to fiqure out what I have done wrong as a daughter. I know now (nothing). Two weeks ago when my mom asked for my kids to spend the night and I said yes with hesitation, it ended up with my kids being kicked out of the house and me having to pick them up and explain why. I got to the house and my mom was upset with my dad and took it out on my twins who are 6 and my son who is 10. They were crying and I calmly asked her to stop and let me just take the kids. Then she started to yell at me and call me a drug addict, alcholic, whore....I was in shock. I do not take drugs, nor do I rarely drink and have been married for ten years. I do not know her purpose. (other to hurt me and my children) out of her being mad at my dad. Anyway, my advice to you would be to talk to your daughter as I talked to my children and let her know that it is not her fault and just see how she may be feeling about the situation. Even though she is six, she will and should let the feelings out. I am going for my PhD. in pschology and know that at her age she should not internalise those feelings and sweep them under the rug. I talked to my kids and let them express what they were feeling. As a child I took this abuse from my mother and never had the chance to express it until later in life, but you are doing the right thing protecting your daughter from your mom. Your daughter should have 7 year old problems, not adult problems and she should not be burdened with even knowing the difference. My mom moved to New Mexico last week and it seems almost like my kids were sad, but at the same time releived. I know how you feel, but we have to model behavior for our children and not put them into the middle of that type of situation. I also know how you must feel because it is your mother. I would love to have a mom...a real mom. But in reality I don't. I would love to have a grandma for my children that they will enjoy her and she will enjoy them, but in reality I don't. It is sad for our mom's because they are missing out but in reality our job is to protect our children, however it is most sad when we have to do it against a (sick) parent. I know how you feel, but the best thing we can do is not to let mistakes repeat. No-one protected me as a child and I will not make the mistake of letting my mom make my children feel like she made me feel. So talk to your daughter, and hug and love her. You are her mom and as long as she has your love and support she will be ok, even without a loving healthy grandmother.

With my warmest deepest thoughts to you and your family,

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