My daughter's emotionally blackmailing me, with my grandbabies.

nanakateDecember 4, 2009

My daughter, age 29 and I have had an unusually close relationship, since her father died when she was only 5 years old. She and I are very emotional women, who have loved each other, probably too much, for her entire life and now that she's married, with two daughters - 30 months and 6 months,- she has been emotionally blackmailing me. If I don't do exactly what she wants or if I suggest anything having to do with the babies - actually if I give any advice at all - she gets worked up, storms out, with the children in tow, making threats that I will my never see them again.

A few days ago we had an absolute blowout about (of all things,) Santa Claus. Christmas has always been an extremely special holiday for me and my whole family - my daughter included. We are Christian and have always managed to separate the secular aspects of Christmas, with the religious. Ever since she started pulling the manipulations, I have done everything, in my power, to keep my opinions to myself. She is a good mother, which I tell her often, but what happened the other day was more than I could handle.

I was telling Mandy all about Santa Claus, since she is at the perfect age to begin understanding the concept and, in fact , was enthralled by Santa and the elves etc. My daughter says "I am not going to have my daughter believe there is a Santa Claus, because I intend to 'never' lie to my children about anything." This was to extend to Mickey Mouse et al. I was shocked. Her second reason was she wanted her children to appreciate the gifts from the person who gave them. To make a long fight as short as possible, I said that I couldn't believe that she could take away her own daughter's innocence and fantasies for such a misguided reason. That Mandy, no matter what my daughter has decided to believe, like all children, will not resent her parents for telling her there was a Santa Claus. She certainly could wait until she was old enough to come right out ask her, if Santa was real. I was appalled that she thought nothing of taking away this most wonderful time in a child's life - reality would take it all away soon enough -

Needless to say, for the first time in 29 years we will not be spending Christmas together and I will never see the joy on my beautiful granddaughters face, when she wakes up Christmas morning - it was to have been my first experience, as she is my first grandchild. According to her I am too controlling and she can raise her children any way she wants to - they're not mine. It's her husband talking, but, the end result is the same. I can't express the pain this is causing. I have MS and depression is one of the little extras that make the disease so terrible. So, of course, that has kicked in double time. This is absolutely unbearable. Am I wrong? I have always given in to her in the past and have been there for her, both emotionally and financially- forever.

I should mention that, I believe, that part of this controlling allegation is the fact that on three separate occasions, she and her husband made very very bad choices (home buying, pet buying and jobs) they I tried to tell them they should not undertake - because of the obvious poor outcome. In each case, my prophecy came to fruition and she has resented any advice ever since,

Help me get through this Holiday, please


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I am so sorry about the trouble between you and your daughter. That must be particularly difficult since you've been so close.

Your daughter may be emotionally blackmailing you by threatening to withhold your granddaughter if you don't do as she likes, and that is unfair of her to treat you that way. However, your daughter does have every right to choose to tell her daughter the truth about Santa Claus. There are many parents who feel that way and make that choice. I'm not one of those parents - we left out cookies and milk for Santa and carrots for the reindeer, mailed Santa letters, and all the hoopla that goes with it. But I did consider whether or not to take the "no Santa" route, and if I had I would have expected my mother to respect that choice.

Your daughter has good, sound reasons for making the choice about Santa that she made. Sounds like she has given it some thought and wants to be a good mom. Telling your granddaughter the truth about Santa won't harm your granddaughter. You may have been right to give your daughter advice about the house, the job, the pets. But the Santa/no Santa decision is hers to make.

Sometimes we have to step back and let our grown kids make their own mistakes. It's hard to do. I know I watched my mom and my mother-in-law practically bite their tongues off trying not to override my decisions sometimes. But they both recognized that I was trying hard to be the best mom I could be, and I appreciated all the times they said nothing.

I hope you and your daughter can make amends over the holidays and you can enjoy your granddaughter at Christmas. There are so many other wonderful things about Christmas other than Santa, your granddaughter will grow up loving Christmas no matter what.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2009 at 4:42PM
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Sorry, I can see some of my Mom in you. You are a bit controlling and you need to step back and do one day at a time. If they make poor decisions, it is not your job to tell them so. My mom did that and to this day I resent it deeply. Kids need to make their own mistakes and it is hard. If they make a big error, and they come to you, be postive and suggest they go for counseling or other needed help. You will loose them. And by the way, my folks died in 1974 and you cannot believe how much I wish now that she had not been so controling and not ruin my son's life.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2009 at 3:18PM
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I think one should only offer advise if they are asked to give an opinion.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2010 at 8:21PM
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Sometimes people lose their relevance in other's lives.

It happens in families as well.

Your daughter might feel overwhelmed with her responsibilities and the last thing she can handle right now is one more problem with her mother.

Time heals.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2010 at 10:43AM
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