My grandmother recently moved in with my mother and me, and at first everything seemed fine. Grandma was pretty quiet and didn’t say much for the first month or so.
I’m quite busy as an undergraduate student and also have a part-time job in the service industry. I work hard and help my mother pay for our food and our rent.
Now that Grandma has “settled” a little more, her silence has given way to snide comments! At first I thought she was joking, but now I know she’s not joking at all, but putting down my mother and even me.
She complains about everything my mom and I do and she even called my mom a “single mom” who gave birth to a “fatherless child” and that meant me! My mom told me the other day that she didn’t want to “answer” her mom, but I don’t think that would come close to “answering”! I think grandma needs to learn some basic rules to live in our house. Just because her husband recently passed away doesn’t mean she has the right to be mean to my mom and me, does it? What do you think of all this?
— A frustrated granddaughter, via email
Dear Frustrated Granddaughter: Your assessment is 100% correct. Your grandmother is a guest in your home and she should do her best to promote harmony or at the very least remain a neutral presence in your home.
Minor intervention is required. If your mom doesn’t want to do it, I suggest you do it in a gentle way first. Don’t be accusatory; instead ask Grandma how she is feeling these days and if she needs any medical assistance or special arrangements for her daily life. It may be unleashed due to an issue that you are currently unaware of.
However, instead of any underlying issues, feel free to tell your grandmother that you are proud of your mother and yourself and that you would appreciate her noticing or at least omitting any derogatory comments. . Tell her that you would never do this to her and that you expect her to treat her family like the loving family that you are. After all, you took her in and gave her a home so she wouldn’t be alone these days.
Sometimes an alarm clock can do wonders. Grandma might be the kind of person who hasn’t been challenged often over the years. Once she’s challenged, especially for a good reason, chances are she’ll back down gracefully or at least quietly.
Dear Dr. Wallace: I’m a 19 year old straight female and my current boyfriend is usually a good guy, but lately I feel like he’s been abusing some substance. I confronted him about this and why I feel the way I do about this issue. His behavior is off and that’s the only explanation that makes sense to me.
He continued to vigorously deny it to me. He even told me he was shocked that I made accusations about him. So, without any direct evidence, I stopped harassing him on this case. Yet his behavior became increasingly erratic over time.
Then last week he left his jacket in my car after going to the movies one night. The next day I noticed it on the floor of the backseat and while lifting it a hash pipe fell out! I smelled it and it stank! There was a lot of some kind of sticky resin substance in the bowl of this contraption.
– Not into drugs in any way, via email
Expensive not into drugs in any way: I’m voting to cut your losses at this point. The facts are you noticed a glaring change in behavior which he continued to deny and then he was caught with paraphernalia (and probably illegal substances) in his possession.
His excuse, given the context of your overall experiences, does not hold water for me. I think you’re better off moving on and seeing a new relationship that you’re more comfortable with and that you don’t think includes any overtones of drug addiction.