I gave up having a mother ten years ago because her behaviour was intolerable. I told her I wanted nothing more to do with her and using very unpleasant words she told me it was a very good idea.
Since then I have married and had two daughters who have never seen their grandmother. I feel I made the right decision to cut my links with her but at times I feel such pain that she obviously doesn’t care at all about what has happened to me. I have a younger brother who sees right through her too but doesn’t mind staying in touch with her now and then. He has told me that she has never once asked after me and I believe him. I never remember her saying sorry about anything when I was a child. She was always right and never gave any ground in a discussion. Life has only been about her. No wonder my father left her when my brother and I were small. I see him occasionally but he has remarried and it is obvious his focus is on his new family.
Fortunately I get on well with my mother-in-law who is warm and loving to my children. The eldest one now six has asked me several times if I have a mother. I think it would be too dangerous to let them meet her, because she obviously doesn’t want to know me. But I don’t want to lie and tell them she is dead. Can you help please?
How sad that things were so bad with your mother that you felt you had no option but to cut ties. Now you have your own daughters it must seem incredible that your mother let you leave without trying her best for a reconciliation. You are not the only one this has happened to and it seems their horrid parent cannot accept any responsibility for the damaged relationship. A denial that is maintained because they are too proud to do anything about it. Your brother may not have heard your mother express regret but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t feel sorry.
It is understandable that you are concerned that your children don’t have a relationship with their grandmother. We agree it wouldn’t be a good idea to tell them that she is dead. Instead try telling them in simple terms that they can understand that you find it hard to get along with your mother and have decided not to see her. Perhaps you could use compare it to someone at school they don’t like. There are also plenty of family rifts in children’s literature and fairy tales so it won’t be an entirely new concept for them. You might also need to doubly reassure your girls that such a situation would NEVER happen with them. As they get older you can go back to the subject and help them understand the complexities of your decision without giving them specific examples of your painful experiences.
They are lucky that they have a warm loving grandmother on your husband’s side so you can make the most of this to let your children learn about love across generations.