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When to tell dc about abuse

(15 Posts)
ShesAnEasyWuffer Mon 03-Nov-14 19:05:58

I have nc'd and am a regular poster (honest!!).

I have posted before about my mum enabling my stepdad's sexual and emotional abuse of me when I was a child, and her subsequent rejection of me when I told my dad about the abuse when I was a teenager. If you recognise me please don't out me!

I am in the process of going nc with my mum. I should have done it a long time ago.

I have a dd who is 7 months old, and my dh and I want at least one more child, so I won't have to worry about this for a long time, but I want to be prepared ever the organiser smile

What do I say when the dc ask me about why their grandmother isn't around? I don't want to hide the truth from them; I want to tell them everything when they are old enough - but how old is that?

I'm worried they will resent me if they think that they don't have a grandmother due to me, when they don't realise the seriousness of what she did. Both of dh's parents have passed away.

Any advice welcome. Thanks thanks

ShesAnEasyWuffer Mon 03-Nov-14 19:06:39

Oh my god, nic didn't work. Oh well, will nc after this thread is done blush

AttilaTheMeerkat Mon 03-Nov-14 19:11:51

Do not operate from a fearful mindset. Don't be afraid of your children's possible, or actual, reactions. Don't be afraid that you are depriving them of something important by cutting off a set of grandparents. You are only "depriving" them of bad things. Reassure yourself with that truth. Family is not everything. Blood is not binding. You are escaping the Mob Family. What should connect us is how we treat each other with love and respect. This is always a good lesson to teach our little ones. If any part of you is unsure of your decision then, for Pete's sake, don't show it. Your resoluteness will go a long way toward reassuring your children that you are acting in everyone's best interest. If your children know that you love them, they are going to feel reassured that this decision is also based in your love for them. They will find an added sense of security to know that you, as their parent, are willing to protect them even at the cost of your relationship with your own parent(s). Rather than being fearful, see the plentiful opportunities in this. You are protecting your children from someone whom you've experienced as being abusive; you are reassuring your children that you are in charge and are watchful for their best interests (creates deep sense of security); you can teach healthy family values which include that family doesn't get a pass for abusive behavior; you can strengthen and reinforce the healthy relationships in your extended family. Kids are less likely to feel like there is a void in their life if you fill it with good things.

Chrysanthemum5 Mon 03-Nov-14 19:12:07

I'm nc with my father who was abusive, have been since I was a teenager so over 25 years. The DCs don't really ask much about him, they've only ever had one set of grandparents so that's normal life for them if you see what I mean.

Any questions that come up I've answered honestly but age appropriate so if they ask where he lives or his name I tell them. They did ask once why we didn't see him and I just said he wasn't kind so could be near us. Then changed the subject to a discussion about how lovely my FIL is - I want them to know they have a great set if grandparents.

I think it's best just to be factual but brief. They don't need to know the details.

AesSedai Mon 03-Nov-14 19:13:08

As you don't have to worry about this for at least 12 years I wouldn't give it another thought. By the time they are old enough to ask they will be so used to 'no Grandma' that they will take it as the norm.

If both DH's parents have passed away then no Grandparents will be quite normal for your DC.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 03-Nov-14 19:14:03

Tell them that their grandmother isn't a very nice person. If it's any reassurance, I had no contact with my abusive maternal grandmother and, quite honestly, I wasn't even that curious about her either. I did have a paternal grandmother who was terrific so I suppose that met my need for a granny figure. There was also a lovely great aunt that I liked. But I was told the other granny 'wasn't a very nice person' until I was old enough to hear the truth and I was quite happy with that as a working reason for her absence. I had plenty else to be getting on with rather than wonder about old ladies smile

ShesAnEasyWuffer Mon 03-Nov-14 19:27:17

Thanks all, I really appreciate the advice and kind words. Luckily my wonderful dad is around so dc will still have one grandparent.

Meerka Mon 03-Nov-14 19:51:54

That's how I'm dealing with questions as to why my parents aren't around. "they don't act very nicely so we don't have much contact".

PedantMarina Mon 03-Nov-14 22:26:14

I wasn't sure what to add here, not quite my issues. I mean to say, there was an abusive GM, but long dead so no issue with NC or DS ever having to see her.

That said, there were so many other secrets and whilst I'm perfectly OK with DGPs not telling me these as a child, I bitterly resent that they continued not to tell us into teens/adulthood/ took secrets to their graves.

I suppose if I'm saying anything, it's "kudos OP", and everybody who's doing it right. blush

Waltermittythesequel Mon 03-Nov-14 22:30:53

Firstly, I'm so sorry that this was done to you.

I think they won't miss what they don't have but inevitably questions will arise.

Daddy's mum and dad aren't around anymore/are gone to Heaven/are dead.

Mummy's mum and dad aren't nice and sometimes it's better for people not to be around people like them.

When they're older, you can elaborate more.

Joysmum Mon 03-Nov-14 22:35:39

My mum went NC with her mum. It just seemed normal to me not to have a nan on that side of the family. When I did ask, mum told my she was a bad lady and didn't want her to be near me. I accepted that. It was only as I got older mum explained a bit more.

ShesAnEasyWuffer Tue 04-Nov-14 07:10:37

Thank you everyone. Yes I think I'll definitely go down the 'she's a bad lady' route and then expand in age appropriate ways when they ask.

Joysmum Tue 04-Nov-14 07:42:57

I think the thing to remember is that whilst being NC may seem awful to some and a last resort to you, your kids won't know any different so it won't be the big deal to them that it is to you.

My mums mum died 5 years a ago and my mum made the decision to visit her when she was terminal and got her peace as she saw her as human and just an old woman.

I too was given the option but saw no point in meeting somebody I never knew and had no interest in. For me there never has been any emotion involved.

My mum did a mighty fine job of protecting me as her mum never affected me.

Otottolollabot Tue 04-Nov-14 07:57:16

My mum didn't speak to her mum much and we didn't have contact. She died at some point in my childhood but we didn't go to the funeral or anything. (In contrast I vividly remember my other granny and mourned her terribly.)

My mum's side was just... absent. I never really thought much about it until I was much older, and certainly never resented it for a second. My mum had good judgement. Whenever questioned my mum would just matter of factly say "my mother was mad" or "my mother was unkind" or specific factual answers, but otherwise she rarely brought up her childhood and we rarely asked. It was all in the olden days anyway, to us. Impossibly long ago!

After she died, my dad told me more, mainly because he was anxious about the idea of her life disappearing out of the world if only he knew those things. It was awful and I felt sad for her and angry for her, but also sort of wished he had respected her privacy, though I have sympathy for his motivation. Her family - I looked them up - were certainly very exciting, but not, I think, very kind or happy or good, and my/my dad's family are, so I'm grateful she gave me a better family than she had.

Fabulassie Tue 04-Nov-14 08:59:14

My mother went NC with her alcoholic and emotionally/verbally abusive mother a couple of years before I was born. At some point in my childhood (maybe 5 years old?) I did the maths and realised I was missing a grandmother. (Grandfather had remarried long before and I had met him by then.) I asked my mother and she just said "I don't talk to my mother. She's not a nice person." She may have explained that her mother drank or said cruel things or whatever but she didn't go into vivid detail. I was a bit curious but it wasn't a big deal and I forgot about it.

My grandmother had a stroke and my mother did take us to see her shortly before she died. I wouldn't say that my mother reconciled with her mother but she did her duty in regards to the hospice, death, and funeral. I'm sure she was very sad about everything and the relationship but she didn't express it to me. I was probably about 6 or so. I understood that my grandmother had been an unhappy person and I knew there was something sad going on but I was not upset. I didn't know the woman and I wasn't aware of most of the trauma.

Later my mother told me more about things - I was older then and I could understand. All I felt was admiration for my mother to have done so well growing up with that situation and I especially admired her strength in being able to cut her mother off when she needed to.

Kids accept things their parents tell them. They trust their parents over anyone else so they're not going to blame them for these sorts of things.

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