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To not want my mother to have anything to do with my family?

(43 Posts)
watsy Sun 21-Aug-16 21:40:34

My hands are shaking with pure rage as I type this. I'm White South African. My husband is Black South African. We have two daughters - one who is 11 and another who is 14. I'm sure most of you are aware of SA's shameful racial history. When I first got with my husband, navigating through the social ramifications of such a union were difficult to say the least. But we pulled through. Our daughters are the loves of our lives.

I've always had a difficult relationship with my mother. Even when I was a kid. In the beginning she opposed my relationship with DH but eventually came around. Anyway, last weekend my girls stayed at my mother's place. When I picked my girls up, my youngest started crying. And then my 14 yr old also started crying. I asked them what was wrong.

It turns out, my mother (their bloody grandmother) has been favouring my eldest daughter. And you know why? Because she has lighter skin (her skin tone is almost white). My eldest daughter explained that for several months now (when my mother is alone with them) when it comes to treats, compliments and just general friendliness, my mother is much more receptive to her. And that she always compliments her skin colour. And last weekend my mother told my youngest daughter "if only you had your sister's skin colour, you'd be so much better looking."

I can't explain how angry and heartbroken I am at hearing this. After I comforted my girls, I cried for 2 hours straight. I can't believe I exposed them to such horrible things. I failed them. And the fact that it's been going on for months (MONTHS) without me knowing just makes it even worse. Colourism in South Africa is a huge problem, especially among females. And to think that my kids were so cruelly exposed to it is killing me. Sometimes I just burst out crying. And sometimes I just want to smash something as I picture my mother saying those horrible things to my babies.

I've spoken to my mother and told her I don't want to see or speak to her again. She's tried calling a million times but I keep ignoring her. I don't want her coming anywhere near my kids.

Tumtitum Sun 21-Aug-16 21:42:45


WhereIsMyPlaydough Sun 21-Aug-16 21:44:23

What she did is vile and i could not trust her again. YANBU

WatchingFromTheWings Sun 21-Aug-16 21:44:32

If I were in your shoes, my kids would never see my mother again. Not would I.

sunnydayinmay Sun 21-Aug-16 21:45:27

YANBU. flowers

BarryTheKestrel Sun 21-Aug-16 21:46:43

YABNU at all. Keep her away from them.

bangingmyheadoffabrickwall Sun 21-Aug-16 21:46:49

I would react in the same way that you have.

YA so not BU!

I am angry for you. And what a lovely 14 year old you have; she sees the racial prejudice being dished out to her little sister and so obviously disagrees with it and finds it hurtful.

mrsmuddlepies Sun 21-Aug-16 21:46:53

You are right to be angry. I can't believe that skin colour is perceived as being so important. Remember we were all black once!

Shizzlestix Sun 21-Aug-16 21:47:19

You couldn't have known. Your girls were probably protecting you from their gm's racism. flowers to all of you.

onemorecupofcoffeefortheroad Sun 21-Aug-16 21:47:40

Continue to ignore her - YANBU. She deserves nothing from you. Her behaviour is wicked. And bloody good on ya for having the strength and courage to cross all those racial boundaries and create two beautiful children. I'm sure they're both absolutely adorable. Take pride, surround them with love and get rid of any hate in their lives including their grandmother.

Brentlicious Sun 21-Aug-16 21:48:41

Sometimes blood just isn't thicker than water.
Turn your back on this woman without a backward glance.

NeedACleverNN Sun 21-Aug-16 21:50:17

Yanbu flowers

I bet both of your daughters are just as beautiful as each other

blueturtle6 Sun 21-Aug-16 21:50:35

Yanbu in the slightest.
I would say on one hand SA is a complex place and one that has made huge leaps forward in past few years, but your mum was brought up thinking racism is ok and normal. However you have obviously been with DH for many years so she must know your views are very different and should respect that.
Am shocked that she could treat your youngest like this though, she is half her genes after all...
Very difficult situation for you op

Ezzie29 Sun 21-Aug-16 21:50:59


JellyBelli Sun 21-Aug-16 21:55:14

She's shameful. Good for you for being strong for your kids. flowers

Daydream007 Sun 21-Aug-16 21:59:57

YANBU. Your mother's behaviour to your girls is appalling, she sounds vile.

drspouse Sun 21-Aug-16 22:00:13

OP, if it would help, I'm an adoptive parent of two children with different ethnic backgrounds - lots of parents who have adopted children from different races have found like you that they have to cut off ties to family for exactly this sort of reason. There's a FB group they have started in fact. I'm lucky enough that my family are OK (sometimes a bit clueless, but willing to listen). But I can find out details for you if you like.

watsy Sun 21-Aug-16 22:02:42

ShizzleStix, whether I couldn't have known still doesn't make me feel any less culpable. I just keep hearing my mother saying what she did, and doing the things she did. That's all I can think about. I work in a gender-related field and I have witnessed the damage colourism has had on a lot of South African girls and women. And to think that my children were continuously exposed to it (right under my fucking nose) is beyond anything I've ever known.

watsy Sun 21-Aug-16 22:04:11

drspouse, yes I would like to have a look at it.

Iflyaway Sun 21-Aug-16 22:15:35

As a mum of a biracial child, I really feel for you OP.

Bad enough to deal with racism but horrendous to have it in your own family.

I can't believe she hasn't learnt anything after all these years....
At least you know enough now to limit any further damage.

watsy Sun 21-Aug-16 22:21:55

DH said he's considering meeting my mother (on his own) and talking about the situation (he's always been a very gentle, forgiving man). I told him if he does meet her and hears her out, nothing she does or says will ever change my mind.

ollieplimsoles Sun 21-Aug-16 22:24:07

Your mother is toxic and needs to be cut out before she damages your children.

Landoni112 Sun 21-Aug-16 22:28:43

Dreadful situation op, I am mixed race, living in the UK and with a white husband. I get racial comments from his father, and I wish my dh had the balls to take a stand and do what you are doing. Bet your girls are both beautiful and strong.

watsy Mon 22-Aug-16 07:58:26

Landoni, I wish your husband would say something to his father regarding his comments. That's absolutely not on. When I and DH got married (and especially when our children were born) I made sure not to tolerate any racial bullshit. I've cut people from my life before, both black and white.

drspouse Mon 22-Aug-16 08:50:00

I'll send you a PM.

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