Grandmothers and Mothers

It’s my grandmother’s 90th birthday just after Christmas and she is coming from her nursing home to join my mother and me on Christmas Day so we can celebrate the occasion at my mother’s home.  My grandmother is physically quite unwell, but her mind is as sharp as a razor.  She dislikes my mother which is possibly why my mother dislikes me.  My wife left me during the year and our five-year-old twins are spending this Christmas with her.  It’s been a stressful time which I am beginning to recover from and I am determined that I am not going to let a bad atmosphere or spiteful comments from either of them get to me.  I shall think of myself as a duck for the day and let whatever they say just roll off me.  If it becomes unpleasant it won’t be my fault.  Do you think that will work? My grandmother dislikes Christmas pudding as I do and I am planning to leave just after the turkey.



Our comments: 

It must be hard for you to have separated from your wife and not having your twins with you over Christmas. There is still time to think ahead and prepare yourself for difficult moments.  There are several ways to do this and imagining you are a duck so that nastiness rolls off you is a great idea. Another possibility is to imagine there is an impenetrable shield around you, so that any arrows thrown at you automatically bounce off.  You could also think of a brief mantra to chant in your head whenever you hear a mean comment, such as ‘I’m ok, I’m ok, I’m ok.’ or ‘that won’t hurt me’ or  even ‘la la la’. 

It’s also important to give yourself some space and time alone over Christmas. You are bound to miss your own family and there will inevitably be some unpleasant comments to cope with. Plan to use this time well by choosing to listen to soothing music, lighting a candle, doing some yoga, reading or going for a walk.  Meditation/mindfulness can  also soothe worrying thoughts and it is a good idea to practice  some simple and quick exercises before Christmas.  

Do try and keep your visit brief and remember that if either your mother or grandmother are unkind it is not your fault.