I think it's wonderful that you offer your advice free. Thank you!
My mother is obsessed with my adult son, and she's been obsessed with him since his birth. My son is now a young adult with two very small children, and her obsession has become worse since the arrival of the grandchildren.
My mother doesn't understand my views in regard to my son. He's an adult with his own life, marriage and children. I'm not obsessed with them, and I have my own life. I visit them and enjoy their company but don't feel the need to cling to them.
My mother has spent years undermining my relationship with my son, and has even colluded with his father -- my ex -- to cause problems which continue to this day, and this is now spilling over to the grandchildren. My ex speaks negatively of me, even to my daughter-in-law. I refrain from this because it's parental alienation and harmful.
If I have any feelings toward any situation, mother becomes angry. In fact, she gets angry if I show emotion. That caused issues that I've had to work hard to overcome. I'm still working hard to control my problems, which consist of depression, anxiety, past alcohol issues, rebellion in my youth, etc.
I recognize I have or have had these issues, which is half the battle. I also understand I'm responsible for seeking help for my own mental health and am actively managing and cooperating with a doctor and therapist for those issues, regardless of the cause, partly due to genetics of both parents and mental issues. I'm responsible for my behavior and choices. And the consequences.
My mother blames anyone who questions her views and refuses to take responsibility for her own behavior towards others. She thinks she's a mental health expert because she's seen a psychiatrist for 25 years, so she knows what she's talking about. Well, obviously not because she continues the unhealthy dynamics in the family.
Mother has had problems with sleepwalking, auditory hallucinations, screaming and kicking in her sleep. She's verbally violent and has always been critical of me. This is her problem, but I'm terrified to anger her, and so is my father. Mom's sister was obsessed with her daughter's son until she died a few months ago. She was a pathological liar to keep up with her fantasy world.
Two sisters, two identical obsessions, with some differences. It ends with me because I refuse to do the same. I'm afraid if I told a doctor this he'd think I was making this up. It's true, though, and has caused a life of pain and damage to relationships. I can't seem to get through to my mom that she's enabling my son by rescuing him from the mistakes and poor choices he is making.
She tells him it's everyone else's fault. She's preventing him from becoming an adult emotionally and otherwise. She shows up at his home monthly with bags of goodies and supplies for him and his family, even after they've told him they don't need anything. It seems she is paying to keep my son in her life. I can't control or stop her, nor my son. It's hard to hear about or see, and it makes me sick.
She continues to undermine my relationship with him, and makes excuses for his bad behavior, like verbally disrespecting me or other family members in front of others, even his own children. If I voice a complaint about his behavior, mother becomes verbally abusive and angry. Dad is too scared to say anything, looking like a deer in the headlights. I believe a part of her hates me, and she says the only thing she cares about is her grandson.
The only reason I continue a relationship with mom or my son, quite honestly, is for my grandmother who is in her mid 90's and my grandchildren so I can visit them. I live a few hours away, thankfully!
I'm having trouble coping with mother and my family in general, and I don't know how to solve these problems or how to put a stop to this dysfunction. Any suggestions how to deal with this outside of no contact would be greatly appreciated. I'm at a loss, and I've been at a loss for my entire life. It's affecting my physical as well as mental health. Thank you for listening.
Grandparents usually play a very special role in the lives of grandchildren, often spoiling them because their responsibility in raising their own children is complete. They're able to enjoy their grandchildren because they don't have the added responsibilities they had in their parenting days. Even those who weren't particularly close to their children suddenly become doting grandparents.
Your problem is more common than you think. You should know by now you cannot control what your mother says or does, just like you cannot control what your son does. You can only control yourself. I realize this is difficult, because you want the best for your son and you want him to grow up.
Your son, for his part, is an adult and is in charge of his life. Let it go, Jane. As difficult as it is, let it go. You've done your parenting and now it's up to your son. Quit allowing this to be a wedge between you, your mother and your son. Let it go and concentrate on yourself and what YOU do.
Keep visiting your grandmother, and be pleasant and positive. Keep visiting your son and his family, and again, be pleasant and positive. Make the trips worthwhile and beneficial. Consider it a gift to yourself; otherwise you're going to be miserable. You're fighting a losing battle if you think you can single handedly stop the dysfunction. This is reality. You will benefit greatly if you read Zach's Parents Want To See Their Grandchild.
My advice is to lighten up and deal with your mom only when necessary. You will not change her, so limit contact. When you do see her, be positive and do not respond to her negativity. As far as the grandchildren are concerned, they're no dummies. Be positive and loving, and they will come to their own conclusions, no matter what someone else says.
I suggest you tape up the Serenity Prayer somewhere where you'll see it several times a day. It is recited before every AA meeting, and you will benefit if you start living by the words:
"God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference."
This can be a challenge, but it is very doable if you just learn to let it go. If you have success with this, you will bring peace to your life, both physically and mentally. Good luck.