SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Lifestyle

August 5, 2013

Dear Abby: Daughter wants to shield her kids from their toxic grandma

:Dear Abby: My mother and I were close growing up. However, when I was in college she abandoned the family (my siblings were in high school and elementary school) for her much younger boyfriend.

Since then, our relationship has been strained, particularly since I learned she used to tell her then-husband she was visiting me when she was carrying on her affair. After that, I learned about additional lies she had told me throughout my childhood.

I’m married now and have two young children. Until a year ago, we lived in the same city. Mom never came around much because she was preoccupied with finding new boyfriends to support her. She has since moved out of state and stalks me on Facebook, harassing me to get Skype so she can talk to my children.

My mother has never apologized for her actions to anyone and thinks we should just “get over it.” Because so much has come out about her, I want to protect my children from being hurt by her the way I was.

I can’t tell her outright that I don’t want much to do with her for fear it will send her into an “episode,” and I don’t want my kids caught in the crossfire. If I try to sugar-coat what needs to be said, she won’t get it. What should I do?

:Frustrated Daughter

Dear Daughter: Frankly, you’ll save yourself a lot of grief if you just tell your mother you’re not getting Skype and the reason why, and let her have her “episode.” As a parent, you have every right to insulate your children from anyone you feel might be a negative influence — and that includes their grandmother.

:Dear Abby: I have been dating my boyfriend for more than a year, and we are considering marriage. I am 23 and have never been dissatisfied with the way I look.

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