Daughter That Punishes Mom

Updated on July 14, 2010
B.S. asks from Minneapolis, MN
20 answers

I have a daughter that I have to be very careful what I say around her or she gets mad and right away takes the grandkids away. I am not allowed to call, write, e-mails (will not be opened). I have a granddaughter in St. Cloud Childrens home as she is Autistic and needs help, my daughter wanted me to tell her face to face that she could never live with (as she does not to live with her mother and Step dad) and I refused as I could never do that to her. Daughter immediately took all visiting, writing, calling privilages and then she took the other two grandkids away to. This has happened four or five times They are instructed not to talk to me on the phone "and they will not defy her wishes". This last time she told her brother that I was dead to her. Previous bought with her lasted 6 months and then she called me and said "I forgive you". HUH? This is very hurtful and it seems she has a need to punish me. I am very careful what I say, I rarely give an opinion and never do anything without asking her first. I give her her space and don't interfer, I never raised my voice to my mother, their father and I divorced after 20 yrs, and he never paid any attention to any of the four kids. Being almost 70, I can't take this anymore, I feel I should just walk away and wait for the grandkids to be of age to make their own decision.

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So What Happened?

All of your answers have been great. To explain why my granddaughter does not want live with MOM is that she does not like her mom, I believe if they could work it out that would be great. She feels comfortable with me and always tells her mom she wants to live with me, I don't encourage it because a child should be her parent. Her step dad and her do not get along. They wanted me to go to the home, tell her to her face that I never want her to live with me, but that would crush her and I was the only one visiting her, but can't anymore. I suggested talking to her alone but daughter wanted it her way, I just could not do it. So sad. I don't expect communication with daughter for a very long time.

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answers from Orlando on

I suggest reading the book "Boundaries". It helped me tremendously when dealing with people that don't have any.

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answers from Washington DC on

I don't want to be harsh or anything, but where do you think she learned these behaviors? Did you model something similar to this for her as she was growing up? Is there something festering between the two of you that you need to go to counseling for? My first impression is that this is something she learned somewhere along the way. Maybe it wasn't from you. I have no idea, but it's worth looking into and trying to straighten out if you can.

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answers from Austin on

I am also confused by your post.

The only thing I can say is you cannot make other people happy. They have to find their own happiness.

You can love a person totally, but that does not mean you have to do everything they ask (or demand).

Do what you can do to help, but make sure you want to do it.

I have a family member that always thinks the worst of me.. I have told her, "I love you, I only want you to be happy, I am not trying to hurt you in any way. If I have somehow offended you or hurt you I apologize." And yet she continues to read bad things into everything I do or say that pertains to her or her kids..

Even though it has broken my heart, I am giving her what she wants, space. I no longer call, email or have contact with her.

This person has always been "high maintenance". She always blames others, blames the past... I say she has a choice. She can stay mad, or she can move on. It is her choice..

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answers from Casper on

Your daughter is trying to manipulate you and she's using the grandchildren as collateral. What a SHAME to use children as pawns. Sounds to me like your daughter NEEDS to GROW UP!!!

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answers from Fort Collins on

Well, I have a different view point on this may be.I am also having a bunch of problems with my mom in law that does say a lot of stuff without thinking(At least I hope she is not thinking or it is even worse if she purposely say the stuff she say). I am however not redrawing the grandkids from her .She can come to our house see them and preferably stay in a hotel or camper whenever she wants.I am just not going to go out of my way to go see her.
1) Because it is hard with 3 kids under 7 and one on the way.
2) She still does not know i pregnant .My husband wants to wait until the birth to tell her.I personaly feels this is wrong.But it just that neither of us wants ALL the bad comments she had made with our other children while i am pregnant with them(ie my children are mistake ,errors ,or accidents only because they were unplanned ).This is SO HURTFUL to hear ,even if the child was indeed unplanned and arrived at a bad moment financially and or morally.No children will ever be a mistake to me.They are ALL blessing and surprises.
Like right now we are pregnant with number four and last and we do not want to hear how we do not have money to raise this child(which probably true but who cares ??? )it is there and it is too late and he or she will be love like all the others.
Plus if you want to spend time with my children then they are not mistakes right?
So, i don't know what you said to Your daughter .
But if it was bad enough like mom in law to me.(wether you were right or not those not matter but the fact that the things said might be so hurtful does.My mom in law is often right,it does still hurt and i think she should shut up).
So, for me ,You could say that i am punishing my mom in law by not going out of my way to go to her place with the kids during the summer vacation for instance.But i am not punishing her ,i am just trying to protect myself and my family and avoid all the hurt.
So, i don't know if it is the same for your daughter but may be she is not trying to punish you but just trying to protect herself and her family.
Just a different point of view.
And also try to be the first one to apologize.I am always more willing when i see that my mom is law is trying to make this relationship work out,even if she often fails ,at least she is trying and that 's count for me.

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answers from Colorado Springs on

I'm so sorry. Has she always been so manipulative and hurtful to you? What was her childhood like? Where did she learn this behavior? How did you treat your mom? I'm not saying it is your fault, I'm just trying to figure out how to help. It's so hard getting just a couple of sentences and trying to figure out what is going on. I guess all you can do is play nice. Count the costs of not doing what she wants. When she "forgives" you, does she want something from you at that time? She has serious problems! She should be more grateful for you.

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answers from Des Moines on

I am also so sad to hear this for you. I second the suggestion of reading the book Boundaries. Definitely a good resource. And for anyone suggesting whose "fault" this is - that is asinine and unimportant at this point. The point is leaning how to deal with this, heal it, and move forward. I think the book will help you be able to do that. However I will agree with those who say you cannot control others' actions. I have seen my own mother go through similar issues with my older sister. My sister seems to feel my mother is in the wrong and my mother has no idea what she is doing to get my sister so angry. As usual, the truth his somewhere in the middle. They both need to give some. If your daughter is not in a space where she can do that at least you can learn to set your own boundaries and be content with knowing you did all you could. Best of luck to you and your daughter!

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answers from Kansas City on

I think some of you are being terribly unfair. It seems that there are a LOT of very angry woman towards their mothers on Mamapedia. Every day someone complains about their mother or mother-in-law on here. Most people just take whatever is said as gospel without even considering the other side. But the one time a mom comes in here to talk about how she feels she's being treated like she has to be in the wrong and she's automatically told that it has to be her fault.

The truth usually does lie someplace in the middle and I've said on here many times that the daughters complaining about their mothers are not being very loving and that we are only hearing one side.

I am also a bit confused by this post. It sounds to me like the daughter is asking the mother to tell the autistic grandaughter that she would never be able to live with the grandmother. But I'm not sure I got that right and if so, why it would be so.

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answers from Rapid City on

When you are able to talk with your grandchildren explain to them that sometimes you aren't able to talk with them, not by your choice, they will have figured it out if they are being told that they aren't suppose to talk with you. Make sure that they know that you love them even when you aren't able to speak to them and they are always welcome in your home or to call you. Then write journals about your thoughts and how you miss them and get them savings bonds for presents that you miss. Then when they turn 18 and she doesn't have as much say about it all, give them to your grandchildren.

The one in the Childrens home, you might see what your rights and what her rights are since she is the ward of the state. You might be able to have grandparents rights with all the children and especially the one in the home who needs you to be there and not disappearing. It would make your daughter really mad, but take that power away from her to control you by using her children as punishment.

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answers from Iowa City on

I don't have any advice but I'm sorry your daughter is acting so selfishly. I know a woman who has the same problem with her daughter. I'm shocked at the responses here implying that it is your fault. Some children are selfish and it's not always the mom's fault. Maybe some of the ladies telling you to look at yourself should be looking at themselves in their problems with their own mothers.

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answers from Milwaukee on

That sounds terrible, I'm sorry for you having to go through that. My mother has a friend whose 4 kids are all extremely selfish and do things like that. My mother's friend is, admittedly, not one to censor herself and she tries to do too much on her terms rather than her kids, but they are still extremely focused on themselves while their mom is extremely loving and generous and it's painful to watch from the outside. My mom (who has always been her friend's rational voice) is always telling her that she can't control what her kids do and that maybe it's time to stop corresponding until they change their attitude. I can imagine it would be REALLY difficult (I can't imagine cutting my daughter out of my life for any reason), but at a certain point you have to remind her that you are to be treated with respect. Letting her get away with the same hurtful thing is just going to give her more gumption and she'll do it whenever she feels like it. You deserve consideration and respect.

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answers from New York on

Clearly your daughter has problems and wishes to be seen as being in a position of power. You can give in and allow her to continue to treat you this way so that you can see the grandkids when she allows, or you can let her have it (verbally of course) - if she says "I forgive you," let her know that you do not forgive her for her behavior which hurts not only you but the children, and tell her when she is ready to apologize, you will accept.
Good luck and I am sorry for what you are going through.

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answers from Minneapolis on

wow-sounds like your daughter has some real issues going on here-id give her treatment right back to her-dont answer anything from her-get on with your life-i know its hard ive got grown kids-i hate it when we have spats-but really its not your job to tell your grankids where they are or arent going to live.etc.maybe a taste of her own medicine will make her take a look at her really bad behavior-im like you-ol school-respect your parents no matter what age.im sorry your going thru this-but your also giving her the upper hand-take control of your life-you cant do anything about hers.

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answers from Spokane on

Read the book Boundaries for your adult children. You will get everything answered there and then make a promise to stick to it even though its going to hurt for awhile, your daughter will see you arent carrying any of her guilt anymore.

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answers from Norfolk on

Get busy with your own activities and friends. Let your daughter come to you.

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answers from Charlotte on

B., I have to admit that I have trouble following your remarks. "...my daughter wanted me to tell her face to face that she could never live with (as she does not to live with her mother and Step dad) and I refused as I could never do that to her." Your autistic granddaughter could never live with who? Are you trying to get your granddaughter to live with you? They are your granddaughter's parents and have a right to say where she lives. An autistic child is not easy to take care of and they obviously think that living with grandmother is not what's appropriate for her.

If you know you are having trouble getting along, why would you buy a camper with her? Do you have trouble telling her no, do you let her have her way as much as possible, end up being a doormat during her moods? Is she bi-polar, manic-depressive?

You say you don't say much to her, or do anything without asking. But there IS something you do that makes her act like this, and until you figure it out, you need to step away. Maybe the best thing you could do is get your own affairs in order. Sell the camper since she did not sign the papers. Let her call you, and if she wants something, don't jump to do it if it's not good for you. NEVER lend her money. Find stuff to do in your own life that doesn't include her. Don't badmouth her father, and don't badmouth her to your ex-husband. Start letting go. It will be better for you and may make her miss you some.


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answers from Minneapolis on

I've been reading a book called "How to Win Friends and Influence People" by Dale Carnegie. I think it could help you understand your daughter's reaction, and help you to talk to her in a way that she may feel ok with re-opening the door. As a grandma myself, I really hope that thins will work out for you.



answers from Boca Raton on

Wow - so sorry to hear this.

The only thing I can think for you to do is to cater to her wishes as much as you possibly can (within reasonable limits of course). Seeing your grandkids is more important than being "right" sometimes.

Do you have any inkling as to how or why she is like this? It's hard to give you any other ideas without more information.

Good luck - hugs.



answers from Flagstaff on

Byron Kate's website has been a wonderful tool for me in working on my relationships, all of them. "The Work" is amazing, and we really can only control what we do, how we respond in all situations. Much love and luck to you and your daughter.



answers from Provo on

I have a lot of family drama to deal with.... I am sorry that you have so much too. It seems to be the most common kind of drama and the hardest to deal with. My best advice would be to just give your daughter her space if that is what she wants. I have several issues with my mother and I have forgiven her because I know she is a very unhappy person. Who knows, my mom may feel that I am her biggest problem. I don't know because if I try to talk to her about it she just throws a fit like a little kid will not talk to me and cries. I am in another state and she barely ever calls me and I will call my dad but not my mom. I don't want the drama to start up again! Just because I have forgiven her does not mean that I have forgotten all the trouble she thrives on. I am sorry that all this is going on in your family because the children are the ones that suffer most. My oldest child, a daughter that is 19, gets really upset when all the drama starts up. I feel so sorry for her!! I just wish that my mom could see who she is really hurting with all this but she is a very selfish individual. Sometimes unfortunate things happen but you need to make yourself strong and quit catering to her selfish attitude.

Next question: My Adult Daughter's Relationship with Me.