Family Matters
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I love grandma but....

My grandma and I have a language barrier. She doesn't speak English and while I understand Spanish pretty well, I don't speak it (I speak French fluently which is both a help and hinderance when I try to communicate with her).

Although we live in the same city we don't see each other as often as I'd like and she's said some rude things about/to me. I'm just not sure how to handle it. When I was younger I didn't date much so she always asked my brothers (who do speak Spanish) if I was gay, why I didn't lose weight to try and get a boyfriend, etc. I realized that this was due to generational/cultural differences since she got married as an 18-year-old bride in Cuba in the early 1950s.

Since being married she doesn't really speak to DH or I unless it's to tell us we need to have kids, we're a disappointment for not having any yet and that we're selfish for not having kids. This past weekend we drove her to Texas with us to go visit one of my brothers whose wife just had a baby. While there she said to my brother multiple times, "I don't know why you sister is so selfish and doesn't have a baby. She and Macu (my only cousin on that side) are so selfish for not having babies." This hurt a good bit for two reasons. 1) DH and I have been TTC for almost 2 years and 2) Macu just had an abortion and is indeed pretty selfish (nothing to do with the abortion, a woman's choice is her choice and I'm down with a woman being in charge of her own body).

Am I being childish for taking it so hard? Should I say something? Only the brother we visited and his wife know we've been trying, so should I even bother bringing it up with others? I don't mean to be super sensitive about it, but a few days later it still stings... Any advice?

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Re: I love grandma but....

  • Someone has to be related to the assh*les of the world.  Unfortunately, right now that someone is you.  I'd probably tell her to mind her own business and then stop talking to her entirely if I were you.
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  • The language barrier doesn't appear to be the issue here*. Your grandmother sounds very judgemental and insensitive, regardless of what language she speaks.

    You don't HAVE to spend time with her just because she's a blood relative, you know. Personally, I would solve this problem by not seeing her often. If she asks why, I'd just shrug and say, "Well, Grandma, you never have anything nice to say to me, so why SHOULD I spend time with you?"

    If she says something like this to you again, I would flat-out say to her, "Our life choices are none of your business, and I am not selfish for living my own life. Stop saying such hurtful things." Then walk away if she won't quit it. You certainly don't have to tell her about TTC for two years, but if you feel like it you could certainly add, "And not that it's any of your business, but we HAVE been trying to have a child for a few years and we haven't been successful just yet. So thanks for rubbing salt in the wound. Think about that the next time you make a judgemental comment to someone - I hope you don't hurt anyone else the same way you continually hurt me."

    If the language barrier is an issue, get a trusted relative to be the interpreter so that you're certain the message is getting across to her properly.

    * This is assuming that you are 100% certain of what she's saying. Are you getting her comments through your own interpretation, or is another relative interpreting for you?

    And if you ARE learning of this through someone else, why would they be so mean as to repeat such hurtful comments to you, or for not cutting Grandma off while she's spewing these insults? I would be just as mad at this person as you are at Grandma, frankly. I would cut them off and tell them, "I'm not interested in hearing how Grandma is judging me. Please keep these comments to yourself, and next time please tell her that you're not going to discuss my life with her."

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  • As you do mention language barriers, I am wondering how exactly you know what she's saying and if you might be misunderstanding it.

    That being said, if you feel confident that she really is saying these things, I'd start by limiting how much time I spend around her.  Being "family" doesn't give her a right to be an a$$ to you while you sit and take it. 

    It's up to you if/how you want to confront her, but at a minimum, I'd limit how much time I spent around her. 

    "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
    ~Benjamin Franklin

    Lilypie Third Birthday tickers
    DS dx with celiac disease 5/28/10

  • She sounds like my grandma - except that she thinks everyone is crazy for having babies.

    When I called to tell her that we were expecting our second child I got an earful of how I am too old to be having children, that one child is enough for me and what happened to my birth control etc.....

    Gee grandma, thanks for taking my exciting news and stomping all over it Big Smile

    Limit your time with her - and  like the previous person said "someone has to be related to the assholes of the world"  Looks like that woud be me and you!

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  • I would say my understanding of Spanish is around 99%. So maybe I am missing things., but I don't think it's very much. I can speak Spanish, but it gets mangled with my French and very frustrating so I just don't speak it. Maybe that's an added strain on the relationship? My brothers aren't telling me this. My cousin has mentioned my grandma say things like this and my grandpa, who does speak English, will translate it to me.

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  • image mbcdefg:

    And if you ARE learning of this through someone else, why would they be so mean as to repeat such hurtful comments to you, or for not cutting Grandma off while she's spewing these insults? I would be just as mad at this person as you are at Grandma, frankly. I would cut them off and tell them, "I'm not interested in hearing how Grandma is judging me. Please keep these comments to yourself, and next time please tell her that you're not going to discuss my life with her."

    Eh, if someone was saying this stuff about me, I'd want to know. 
    "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
    ~Benjamin Franklin

    Lilypie Third Birthday tickers
    DS dx with celiac disease 5/28/10

  • image EastCoastBride:
    image mbcdefg:

    And if you ARE learning of this through someone else, why would they be so mean as to repeat such hurtful comments to you, or for not cutting Grandma off while she's spewing these insults? I would be just as mad at this person as you are at Grandma, frankly. I would cut them off and tell them, "I'm not interested in hearing how Grandma is judging me. Please keep these comments to yourself, and next time please tell her that you're not going to discuss my life with her."

    Eh, if someone was saying this stuff about me, I'd want to know. 

    But now that OP knows it's all, "You should have a baby, people who don't have babies are selfish, blah blah blah," does she really need to hear it all the time?

    I would totally agree with you if the issue was that OP didn't know what Grandma was saying and was always being nice to her, driving her around, doing favors for her, etc. That's a case where (if I was a relative who knew the whole story) I'd pull OP aside and tell her to stop bending over backward for a woman who was always trash-talking her.

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  • I guess that's the thing. I feel guilty not being "the loving granddaughter". Plus, my grandma LOVES DH. He's tall and blonde which to her 4'10" Cuban frame is ideal I guess. And he thinks she's the sweetest (I don't tell him everything because I don't want to seem like a jerk) so he feels bad when my grandma "teases" us about not coming over enough. I guess I should tell DH all of this?
    Anniversary
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  • image MBush4:
    I guess that's the thing. I feel guilty not being "the loving granddaughter". Plus, my grandma LOVES DH. He's tall and blonde which to her 4'10" Cuban frame is ideal I guess. And he thinks she's the sweetest (I don't tell him everything because I don't want to seem like a jerk) so he feels bad when my grandma "teases" us about not coming over enough. I guess I should tell DH all of this?
    Reality is that your grandmother is a person.  Just like you, me, and everyone else- and she clearly has her flaws. 

    I know we all do this on some level - you seem to be assigning roles in your head based on yoru titles.  She's a "grandmother", you're a "granddaughter", so you think you're supposed to act a certain way.

    But... back to my first sentence.  We are all human first and foremost.  This isn't about what you're "supposed" to do.  This is about you, as a person, and how you feel about your grandmother.  You can "love" her all you want, but you don't really have to like her, or hang out with her, or be a loving granddaughter to a woman who isn't really all that loving to you. 

    As for your DH - I don't know what to tell you.  If his belief of her being perfect really starts to affect how you deal w/ her and if it causes fights, then maybe you do need to be a little more honest with him.  And really- how is telling him how your grandmother can be cruel about you making YOU the jerk? 

    "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
    ~Benjamin Franklin

    Lilypie Third Birthday tickers
    DS dx with celiac disease 5/28/10

  • image MBush4:
    I guess that's the thing. I feel guilty not being "the loving granddaughter". Plus, my grandma LOVES DH. He's tall and blonde which to her 4'10" Cuban frame is ideal I guess. And he thinks she's the sweetest (I don't tell him everything because I don't want to seem like a jerk) so he feels bad when my grandma "teases" us about not coming over enough. I guess I should tell DH all of this?

     

    Oh my, yes.  And hell, she doesn't feel the slightest bit guilty for not being the loving, doting grandmother.  You know she doesn't.  Why should you feel bad for not feeling and acting loving toward someone who is being actively crappy and unlovable?

    image
  • This is a valid point. I appreciate the suggestions. It is a bit disappointing since I have wanted to be loved the same way my brothers and my cousin have been, but I guess I'm not supposed to have that sort of relationship with her. Whichis fine with me. one less person I have to worry about keeping up a solid relationship with.
    Anniversary
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  • That's the spirit!
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  • Sounds like she only has one note to relate on and that's "marriage and babies". Not too surprising since her entire life revolved around it since she was 18. I can only imagine during the dark, difficult times of motherhood she ignored her own feeling and supressed any desires for indpendence with the harsh criticism of "being selfish". That attitude caused a lot of mothers a lot of pain and depression - and their families, too. Its very sad that's she's so eager to repeat the cycle.

    And double shame on her for not recognizing that lots of want-to-be moms have trouble conceiving. No, don't explain it. She won't understand or be supportive. Frankly, I fear she'll twist it up into some superticious mumbo jumbo that will be hurtful. Steer clear, she's has a very limited perspective on life. If you want to visit, keep it short and to the point - like bringing a meal, snack- and then leave. Don't linger.

    My darling daughter just turned 4 years old.
  • I would just realize that she is an old woman with oldassed ideas. I also think that she may believe that you becoming a mother would be a common ground for the two of you.  I would smile vacantly and say 'yes grandma we are trying to have babies' (it doesnt matter if you are or arent).  Then she will probably give you some old wives tales about conceiving. You can continue to smile vacantly and nod and thank her for her sage advice. It will make her feel good because she probably feels left out of life and misses having someone need her/value her opinion.
    f.k.a.= Derniermot
  • OMG. Yes you should tell your DH. Why the hell would you put rose colored glasses on him just for grandma's sake? Stop trying to make everything look nice!! He's a grown man. Reality can be disappointing, but it's better to know the sweet little granny act is just an act.

    I went through infertility and I KNOW how much even casual comments can hurt, let alone full on attacks like grandma is launching. For me, the best way to deal with it wass to be blunt and tell people. It caused a lot less confusion, made for some interesting conversations and confessions of infertility from others, and at least then you know that any hurtful remarks were intentional.

    So I would tell her you have been trying and it's just not happening. Infertility has been around forever, even if she has some foolish home remedies/old wives tales to share, it stands a chance of making her more understanding/sympathetic. Going out on a limb here, but assuming she's religious, ask her to pray for you (note, if she does and you do get pg, she will take all credit for it).

     

    image ReturnOfKuus:
    Someone has to be related to the assh*les of the world.

    ^^ love ^^

    I would embroider this and hang it on my wall. But then I'd have to explain to my kids why their grandma is an assh*le.

    The former jen5/03.

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  • OMG. Yes you should tell your DH. Why the hell would you put rose colored glasses on him just for grandma's sake? Stop trying to make everything look nice!! He's a grown man. Reality can be disappointing, but it's better to know the sweet little granny act is just an act.

    I went through infertility and I KNOW how much even casual comments can hurt, let alone full on attacks like grandma is launching. For me, the best way to deal with it wass to be blunt and tell people. It caused a lot less confusion, made for some interesting conversations and confessions of infertility from others, and at least then you know that any hurtful remarks were intentional.

    So I would tell her you have been trying and it's just not happening. Infertility has been around forever, even if she has some foolish home remedies/old wives tales to share, it stands a chance of making her more understanding/sympathetic. Going out on a limb here, but assuming she's religious, ask her to pray for you (note, if she does and you do get pg, she will take all credit for it).

     

    image ReturnOfKuus:
    Someone has to be related to the assh*les of the world.

    ^^ love ^^

    I would embroider this and hang it on my wall. But then I'd have to explain to my kids why their grandma is an assh*le.

    The former jen5/03.

    AlternaTickers - Cool, free Web tickers
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