What do you make of this?

Discussion in 'Family Life - Stories, Pictures & Updates' started by Peaches Lee, Apr 14, 2012.

  1. Peaches Lee

    Peaches Lee Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 19, 2010
    I'm looking for objective opinions on an issue my mom is having with my grandmother (her mom). My mom wants to know what you think of these following scenarios:

    Scenario 1: My mom and grandmother are in a car riding home and my grandmother starts talking about a subject that my mom has, on several occasions, told my grandma she does NOT want to discuss because it upsets my mom greatly.(My mom had to sell some horses due to her health and it has broken her heart). Several times my mom tried to shut the conversation down since she didn't want to become upset and my grandma said that she had every right to talk about it. At this point my mom is beginning to have a full fledged panic attack with difficulty breathing, chest pain and shaking very badly. After my grandmother realized she had my mom is such a state of distress, she tried to soothe my mother by bringing up about how her dogs killed her cat in the back lawn (one of the most traumatic and distressing events she has experienced)!!!!
    After this event my mother refuses to get into a car with my grandmother and has tried to craftily avoid her to avoid a big dramatic, dysfunctional family blowout. Well, my grandmother keeps stopping by to "visit"....

    Scenario 2: Today my grandmother comes over to our house unannounced for a "visit" which is irritating because my mom is busy working and my grandmother expects her to drop everything to entertain her. During the visit my grandmother brought up subjects that my mom has asked her not to speak about. She brushed them off and ignored them until this conversation....

    Grandma: "Today's the anniversary of the Titanic".
    Mom: "Yup"
    Grandma: "And how about all those people that died in that tragic Italian Cruise ship accident?"
    Mom: "I don't want to talk about death and dying."
    Grandma: "Your grandmother died three years ago."
    Mom: "Okay, it's time for you to go, I've got things to do."

    What do you make of somebody that once you say "Please don't talk about horrifying things" comes up with even more tragic and traumatic subject matter??? What do you do and how do you respond??

    My mom is a very sensitive person that becomes easily stressed so she avoids drama and depressing and unnecessary subject matter. My grandmother however, thrives off a misfortune and chaos (she actually enjoys funerals because she likes seeing people upset and crying).

    My question is what motive does she have to upset my mom because she comes over to our house and talks to my mom, she won't talk to me because I set her straight and I'm not an easy opponent (she does like to fight). There's a lot more but I don't know how to write it all down so that it makes sense. Please help BYC!
  2. Raptorturtle

    Raptorturtle Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 26, 2012
    My great-grandmother was also a huge fan of drama. Avoidance is often the best, but I find that you do have to spend some time together. It'd be best to spend that time at a movie, where talking is frowned upon.

    Your grandmother may not want to focus on the horrors in her life, so she's foisting off her emotions on your mom. Or she could be feeling neglected, and when a child cries, they want their mothers. Perhaps she's trying to feel needed again, and is creating the circumstances that would allow her to comfort her kid. Or she's just a bitter old lady who likes to see people cry. (my Great Grandma was the last kind)

    I'm sorry your mom is having a hard time of it. Give her a hug and let her know you love her.
  3. redhen

    redhen Kiss My Grits... Premium Member

    May 19, 2008
    Western MA
    I don't know... sounds like you cant say too many things around your mother or she gets all freaked out..
    I imagine that annoys your grandma..
    Is your mother seeing a doctor about her issues?
    Best of luck..
  4. Whittni

    Whittni Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 26, 2011
    Southern Utah
    *discard the grandma! discard the grandma!" that's what immediately repeats in my head but all of us can have family issues w/the often mean person who's upset with themselves and tries to bring everyone down with them...I usually just avoid the situation and go for a jog or a run to get my mind up and away from any stress.
  5. cassie

    cassie Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 19, 2009
    It sounds to me like your mother has a handle on it. Particularly when she told grandmother to leave. As for grandma, for whatever reason she enjoys tormenting your mother. Maybe she likes the drama. Maybe it is a bid for attention. Whatever it is, removing yourself from her presence, or her from yours, when she acts like this is the best tactic. And be sure to tell her why she is being asked to leave. Then make sure she does. Escort her to the car if necessary.
  6. Beekissed

    Beekissed Flock Master

    It sounds as if this is an age old game between them~confrontation and avoidance. Your mother's defense mechanism is avoidance of things she doesn't want to deal with emotionally and your grandmother is a hammer, trying to drive in a nail, trying to get attention in the only way she seems to know how~by causing drama/trauma. No wonder your mother has emotional issues!

    I think it was Einstein that said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results each time. Your grandmother sure as heck isn't going to change and you can't change her, so the only one who can change this pattern is your mother. It sounds like granny knows where your mother's goat is tied...in other words, she knows what buttons to push to get her desired result of drama in the form of your mother's anxiety.

    Mom can stop showing her mother that she has the power to hurt or disturb her by giving absolutely no reaction at all...none. When granny brings up a subject that is tender, Mom should act as if no such words were spoken and brightly and cheerfully say something off topic like, "Wow! Have you seen how many dandelions are blooming this spring! I don't believe I've ever seen so many!" or some such blather. People who intentionally hurt people so they can see the reaction soon lose interest if they don't get the reaction they so enjoy...they either get mad and avoid the one they can no longer make dance to their tune or they change their behavior because it no longer works like it used to do.

    As long as it derails granny's intentions and shows her that the buttons are no longer accessible, it may work. This takes a great strength of will that your mother may not possess...after all, she has played grandma's game for a long time without changing the rules, so she may not be even capable of seeing that she is the other side of the the game...she plays nicely into grandma's need for drama by playing along by showing her anxiety and hurt feelings.

    I know it disturbs you to watch it but only those involved have the power to change it. We simply cannot control other people, no matter how hard we try we cannot make them stop an undesirable behavior towards us~what we CAN do is control how we react to their stimulus.

    Watch and learn, young Jedi...strive to be like neither person in this duel of personalities. Be strong enough not to play another person's game and they can't hurt you with their words or actions. For now, I'd just tune out the whole drama....it doesn't really concern you because you have no control over it whatsoever. Only your mom can change the rules of the game.
  7. redhen

    redhen Kiss My Grits... Premium Member

    May 19, 2008
    Western MA
    But are you SURE grandma is doing it on purpose?
    Maybe she honestly doesn't realize how sensitive the mother is?
    I mean the things that grandma talks about are real life issues... they happend..and maybe grandma needs to talk about them too..
    Maybe they hurt HER too...
    I know when something bad happens..I like to have my husband or mother to talk to about things..
    I would be very hurt if they refused to talk to me about things that are on my mind..
    Isn't that what family is for?
    Maybe the mother is the one being insensitive? The bottom line I guess is that noneof us really know the whole true story here because its not our family..
  8. RHRanch

    RHRanch Chillin' With My Peeps

    X2 [​IMG]
  9. luvmychicknkids

    luvmychicknkids Canning Squirrel

    Mar 6, 2008
    Floresville, Texas
    It almost sounds to me like there are a couple of different things going on here. It sounds like, first, your grandmother has some reason she is upset about the sale of the horses. Was she part owner? Were they special to her somehow? Had she asked your mom not to sell them? For some reason, it appears she feels a need to talk about those horses and your mother is determined not to let her. The second things seems like she is simply tired of having to watch every word she says just to keep your mother from falling apart. She isn't being very nice about it, but at the same time, your mother is her adult child. Your grandmother is getting older and isn't even allowed to speak of death with her child which could be pretty upsetting.

    I think your mom needs to find a way to come to grips with her excessive sensitivity. If she isn't seeing a therapist, now might be a good time. Even a family counselor might be able to help your mother and grandmother learn how to communicate better with one another. While death is not a pleasant thing to think about, it is an inevitable part of life. Having to cope once she is faced with thedeath of a loved one (even your grandmother, perhaps) will be much harder than talking about a Bunch of strangers drowning on a sunken boat.

    Good luck to all of you. I know it has to be very difficult to feel sort of stuck in the middle of such a situation.
  10. mixitup

    mixitup Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 10, 2012
    Ontario, Canada
    Your mom is doing a good job. Grandma enjoys other people's misery and thrives on it. It's called being negative. Since your Mom is simply shutting her down,she will eventually give up because contact with mom will diminish. When you have negative people in your life, you tend to get depressed, anxious, paranoid, etc. Get rid of the negative people, fill it with positive people who see the good in the world, and you become a better, stronger person. My life was also filled with negative people, my mom went on about how my brother was mean to her, how this happened, how that happened, everyone was out to get her, everything was her fault, everything that happened to her was bad, etc, etc, etc. Finally, I just started agreeing with what a bad person she was, how she deserved everything, blah, blah, blah. Eventually, she gave up talking to me except for about once every two-three months and she now keeps it general. I'm not a stepping stone, and your mom is becoming stronger and realizing she's not a stepping stone either. Let her take her own course. She will be stronger for it. Just my opinion.

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