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Who is your mummy, Mummy?

(11 Posts)
crepuscular Fri 02-Sep-11 20:47:27

So asked my 3yo DD tonight. She is getting her head around (and finding thoroughly hilarious) the fact that her beloved grandma and grandpa are her Daddy's mummy and daddy.

She does not know/remember my parents, as I have been in a no contact situation with them for approaching 2 years. Without going into a lot of detail, they were emotionally abusive (sometimes also physically abusive), and I believe them both to be narcissists. I have 2 similarly horrible elder siblings with whom I am also no longer in contact. One of the siblings has 3 DC, again, my DD does not know/remember them.

I stay away from these people for the sake of my sanity, which has been tenuous since DD was born. a lot of childhood based anxiety/anger/ hatred emerged when I became a mother and it has had a huge negative impact on my marriage and my own actions as a mother. With counselling and a lot of self examination, I am getting to a point where I feel OK most of the time. However, contact with my family sends me into an abyss, which is why I stay away from them.

I find it difficult to know what to say when people ask me about them. So I really struggle with what to say to DD now she is asking about my parents and wondered how other posters in similar situations deal with this. I am particularly anxious about her resenting me when she is older for "withholding" these family members from her. Obviously nobody can predict whether she will understand my reasons. But is the simple action of not allowing her to get to know them (and thus draw her own conclusions about them) an act of abuse on my part?

(I'd like to add that none of them has ever gone out of their way to contact me or come to see me since I left home over 20 years ago, it has always been me that has done the visiting/contacting. And frankly, none of them has even asked me why I'm not in contact with them any more.....).

Any help gratefully received!

SamsGoldilocks Fri 02-Sep-11 21:15:09

i think you go with a comment that is gentle but informative along the lines of 'Mummy's mummy and daddy live in x, she has 2 siblings. We don't see them because they're not very kind people and they made Mummy very sad' and maybe follow up with a'Mummy is very happy with Daddy and you and Daddy's family who all love her and treat her kindly'.

SquongebobSparepants Fri 02-Sep-11 21:34:07

I haven't spoken to my father since well before the DD's were born and when DD1 asked I told her what Sams has suggested
'My daddy is your grandfather, he used to be married to granny but he is not a very nice man so we don't see him'
She has asked where he lives and what he does but Ic an answer honestly that I have no idea and that is satisfying her for now. I have had to have a conversation that you don't just stop talking to people because they annoy you smile but that it is better not to be around people if they do lots of nasty things that make you sad.

I don't think not letting her know them is remotely abusive. I think introducing your child to someone who is a suspected narcissist (as my father is) and emotionally as well as physically abusive to children (I can remember him reducing me to tears verbally at her age) would possibly be abusive though. It is our job to protect our children from the evil nasty people in this world.

Don't over explain though (sorry, I feel I am lecturing now!) just give plain information and let them ask what they think is important. (DD1's first question was 'does he have brown hair like you or blonde like me, and then she lost interest and ran offgrin)

buzzsorekillington Fri 02-Sep-11 21:48:05

I think keeping her away from them is an act of protection.

ladyintheradiator Fri 02-Sep-11 21:51:49

An act of abuse? God no. My DC will never ever ever EVER meet my father as long as I have anything to do with it. I've not spoken to him for 11 years so why would he meet my children. Not sure what to advise, DS (nearly 4) has so far only asked about my mum. I don't know what I'd say if he asked about my dad. At my DS's age though every answer I give leads to about 3 thousand more questions.

NanaNina Fri 02-Sep-11 23:59:33

I think the important thing is to only answer age-appropriate questions. Sometimes I think we think children want to know more than they actually do. Sam's suggestion is good but "they made mummy sad" will inevitably lead to "why" - so maybe just stick with "they are not very nice people but we have a nice time with grandma and grandpa dont we etc etc.

I feel a bit worried for you OP as you have been through such a lot and I'm not surprised all these feelings of your childhood abuse came to the surface when you became a mother, so glad to hear that you are getting counselling and you should be proud of the fact that you are not (as many people do) repeating the mistakes your parents made. You sound a very senssitive mum and one who wants to do right by her child. The counselling may be painful at times and it will never take away the childhood trauma but hopefully it will make it more manageable.

ManicPanic Sat 03-Sep-11 04:44:35

Are you me?!

Dd is 5 now and has asked the occasional question since she was about 4. My situation is very similar to yours. I have told her that my mother is just not a nice person, and not nice to me when I was a little girl. She also knows that my mother doesn't like children (very true, she can't stand them!) Dd has obviously heard some conversations that dh and I have had, at least enough to tell me that 'your mummy makes me and you sad because she doesn't love you' which I found very upsetting - I felt that I had (albeit accidently) put more on her shoulders than was fair (something I was raised with - I had to be my mums counsellor and best friend). I said that that was true, but that we had our own happy family with dh, dsd, aunties, cousins (dh's side only).

I try to remind myself that dd doesn't feel that she's missing out, because this is what she knows, it's what she's used to. I also remind myself that any two loving parents was a damn sight more than I had at her age. <still bitter emoticon>

Don't worry yourself. Spare your ds any details, unless of course he's old enough to ask and 'get it' (say late teenager) and also I do think that our children, quite naturally, are usually on our side, because they love us... <glares at all narcissistic parents>

Bearskinwoolies Sat 03-Sep-11 04:45:51

I live 400+ miles from the woman that raised me, and am thankful each day for every single mile. My dcs have met her once, when they were small, and when they did eventually ask, I told them that she is not a very nice person, who upsets their mum, and that's why they don't see/speak/visit her.
As they grew older, and asked again, they were told more age appropriate reasons, and fully understand why.

I am protecting my family by keeping them away from her, and protecting myself too.

InTheArmyNow Sat 03-Sep-11 15:54:09

My dad has had lots of issues with his parents up to the point they didn't come to my parents wedding.
I have only been told that we don't see them as a child. Any question like what do they do was answered when he knew. With time I lernt bits and bobs of what happened inc shit parenting. No one made a big thong of It and tbh I am grateful for that. I would not have wanted to feel their anger or hurt. Not mine to deal with as a child.

I met said gp as a teenager and I am glad I had little to do with them! There is no reason your dc will be upset not have met her gps if she doesn't know them.

jasminerice Sat 03-Sep-11 16:41:42

I have told my DC's that my parents didn't look after me properly and they made me very sad and so I don't see them anymore. But also without thinking one day I also told my DC's that my parents were now dead. They are not.

I have gone out of my way to develop friendships with people that I like and hope that my DC's grow up with plenty of friends and don't miss too much the absence of aunts/uncles/cousins from my side of the family.

festi Sat 03-Sep-11 16:50:55

This is adifficult one as dd does ask about my dad who was an alcoholic and abused some of my siblings and beat my mum.

I have always said he was not a kind daddy so I dont see him. I would not like to go into anymore detail about than that. My dd made her own story up that he punched me and bullied my mummy. I have no idea where this came from. I did however tell her that he didnt punch (although he did) me but did sometimes bully my mummy. I just said he didnt read me stories or take me to the park etc, as I do not want my dd to find it sad or hard to acceot I suffered as this would very much upset her. My sister has the same problem now my nephew who is 8 asks alot about why he is not nice etc, my sister has stuck to the general not a very good father. I think I will stick to this also for a few years, Imnot sure why but I dont want my dd to truely know how my childhood was.

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