Grandma’s criticism masks an inner conflict

"I really, really hope you ask your mother, gently, next time she blathers on about how they should (oh, my) 'tell him to go away': 'Mom. Did your parents do that to you when you were little?'"

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June 3, 2020 - 8:41 AM

Dear Carolyn: My mom and I were never what I would call close, and things have been rocky, but in recent years we’ve both become more accepting of each other.

Carolyn Hax

It’s hard for me, though, when she criticizes my siblings. And in every call lately, with everyone working from home, she complains about my brother’s parenting. (His son is my mom’s only grandchild.) Her criticism started almost as soon as my nephew was born: “They are just slaves to that baby, all he has to do is open his mouth and they are right there,” etc. Now she says he’s making things harder for himself by not just telling his 4-year-old to entertain himself while Mommy and Daddy work.

The thing is, when my mom says they should “let him cry” or “tell him to go away,” I think of all the times she did just let me cry or tell me to go away, and how profoundly lonely and unloved I felt as a child.

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