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Toxic grandparent - is it better to cease all contact rather than minimal?

(11 Posts)
MuddlingAlong99 Mon 10-Nov-14 12:43:03

To cut a long story short we cut off contact with my children's grandmother some 3 or 5 months ago. It was the best decision (for us) that we could have ever made. Her behavior towards us the parents, was nothing but poisonous, accusational and abusive; recruiting her friends against us with lies and trying to split our marriage. We were at our wits end with stress and upset of the whole affair. But finally, it seems that we are now able to get on with our lives and sleep at night without fear from phone calls and emails etc.

Last Friday she appeared on the doorstep wanting to see 'her' grandchildren saying that she does not know what she has done wrong. Clearly, no self-reflection has taken place.

Do we restart and drip-feed contact for the children's sake, or will this do more harm than good? If it was just us, we would have absolutely no hesitation in remaining distant.

Is it better that the children keep a clean break rather than have to deal with the emotional turmoil that follows each visit; the induced stress within the family and the non-understanding as to why mummy and daddy no longer want to talk to grandma? Goodness! It was almost splitting the family previously because of it!

Catnuzzle Mon 10-Nov-14 12:47:14

Remain NC. Your children can seek her out when they're adults, if they want to.

AMumInScotland Mon 10-Nov-14 13:11:33

What benefit would there be to your children to be in contact with a poisonous, accusational and abusive person? Her presence in their lives isn't going to be a positive one, is it?

So you would be giving her access to them for what exactly?

They may take a little while to get used to it (depending on age and how much they can understand of the situation) but it is better to cope with that in the short term than the damage she's going to cause to them in the longer term.

You wouldn't post saying 'Should I let the children be in contact with toys that give off arsenic?" No matter how much the children missed those toys you would stand firm as an adult who has their best interests at heart.

Stay NC.

BarbarianMum Mon 10-Nov-14 13:29:12

Stay NC. Why let anyone awful form a close relationship with your children? She'll either use the opportunity to be divisive, or to be back in contact with you.

GoodtoBetter Mon 10-Nov-14 16:08:15

I think you stay NC. I've just gone NC about 2 months ago with my mother and she is currently in full-blown martyr mode (she's actually emigrating rather than apologise for her behaviour that made me go NC). I'm a bit concerned she'll turn up on the doorstep before she goes, wanting to "say goodbye to the GC". She'll also claim (and has been claiming to anyone who'll listen) that she doesn't know what she's done wrong.
I don't see what good it would do, apart from upset everyone, so I'm hoping she stays away. If she can't even admit her behaviour and its consequences, what's the point?
As far as why you are NC, I have told the DC (6&3) that Granny was unkind and until she apologises we can't be friends.

JammyGeorge Mon 10-Nov-14 16:21:58

So sorry you are in this situation op. It's a bloody nightmare.

I've had years of game playing, troublemaking and shit stirring at the hands of my pils and have spent a long time mulling over this exact situation.

I think there are two camps here. The make an effort for the grandkids camp, which when my DS was very small I drifted into from time to time.

Then there's the camp I'm in at the moment and where I think I'll probably stay. The camp that says if they will hurt their children they way they have they won't think anything of hurting their grandkids. I feel I have a duty to protect my kids from that and if that means NC then so be it.

We've been NC several times over the years but they always come crawling back and at the moment they are behaving themselves so we have limited contact. Its only a matter of time until something else happens. I handle the contact/no contact because quiet frankly I don't care anymore. Like you say life's easier without them around.

Brookville Mon 10-Nov-14 20:04:10

Slightly different scenario here but we have opted for limited contact as the best outcome.
Fairly poisonous MIL but mainly directed at me. Has great relationship with kids for now which I didn't feel I should jeopardize.
So DH drops DCs half way and GPs take over. I have almost no contact. Kids seem happy, I get a break and GPs get what they want.
It took a year to heal the rows between us. There was no contact then at all. I think time is a healer but obviously not necessarily in every case. Come to think of it, we never got an apology. But I think estrangement is best avoided where possible.

Familyguyfan Mon 10-Nov-14 20:08:08

I was a grandchild with a toxic grandmother. Stay no contact. No-one who treats a child's parent terrible will behave with their grandchildren. My grandmother even hated that I looked like my parents! Stay well away. I missed out on nothing as they were never going to be good grandparents. Instead, she was a ticking timebomb with a supporter in my weak grandfather.

WhyOWhyWouldYou Mon 10-Nov-14 21:18:22

We are no contact with dhs parents. The only unfortunate thing about it is that fil, whilst a bit of an arsehole, isn't that bad that he shouldn't have contact, he's just too much under control of mil. That part we feel bad about but can't come up with a safe solution.

MIL on the other hand - good riddance. We tried for 2years to make the relationship work - the ever escalating lies, the manipulation, the emotion and financial blackmail, then the down right evil things she did (inc physically hurting DS and assaulting me). We had even tried taking the selfish bitch to counselling with us. It didn't work. She was too toxic to ever be anything else. She could never bring a single positive thing to any of us.

DS wouldn't even know who she was if he met her (his last contact with her was at 1yr) and DC2 will never meet her. The counsellor we saw told us to explain to him and any subsequent DC, that she existed but why they didn't see her, in an age appropriate way. Growing up with that knowledge should keep them safe from her even as adults because they would be unlikely to want to seek her out and if they did, they should be well prepared for it.

MuddlingAlong99 Thu 13-Nov-14 13:55:09

Sorry I've been a bit long in replying. Big, BIG thanks to everyone who has replied. It's very supportive and reassuring to hear of others that have experienced similar situations.

We've made the decision to continue non contact, with a descriptive but concise email. We've explained why, how sorry we are and the means as to how things can change if she is willing to try. Believe me, we have tried over and over to talk as adults, to meet with her with a counselor etc but she has repeatedly refused.

It feels difficult again, questioning whether we have made the right decision but luckily, not as hard as last time. We only had to read through all past correspondence and it all comes flooding back. Shame, 'cos it's all emotional abuse rather than physical. The kids miss her and she says that she misses them. We just can't risk having it all back starting again. It just isn't worth it!!

Meerka Thu 13-Nov-14 20:34:08

If she can't be a healthy influence, then better without yeah.

Regarding what to tell the children, if it's any help in a similar-ish situation I explained to my older son that they had said and done mean things and kept on doing them. People who behave meanly are not good people to have around. When they behave like that, it isn't possible to stay in contact until they are willing to stop being mean and to say 'sorry'.

Also if someone has tried to split up your marriage, it's possible they will try to drive a wedge between you and your children. They might be alright, but manipulative people rarely change. There are some really sad threads on here where grandparents have gone behind the parents' backs with presents, slow dripfeed of poison, lies etc and have secured the grandchildrens' loyalty.

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