DEAR DEIDRE: MY daughter was abused as a teen by my ex and still takes all her anger out on me.
She has had several abusive relationships as an adult and now she is threatening that if I don’t have her kids for the weekend, she’ll cut off all contact.
I’m 62 and my daughter is 30. My grandchildren are ten and seven.
I often babysit and look after them so she can work or go out, and frequently cancel plans at a moment’s notice for her.
If I say I can’t, she gets nasty and shouts at me, calling me all sorts of horrible names.
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She wants to go away with her new boyfriend this weekend.
I’ve said I can’t help as I’m going away with an old friend who recently lost her husband. But my daughter says if I don’t babysit, she’ll stop me from seeing the children.
I think she blames me for the abuse she suffered at the hands of my ex, who was her stepdad.
I do feel guilty about that, but I didn’t know what he was like. I have done everything I can to make up for it.
What can I do?
My grandchildren mean the world to me.
DEIDRE SAYS: It’s dreadful that your daughter was abused, and this is perhaps why she keeps getting involved in abusive relationships.
However, it doesn’t give her an excuse to treat you like this.
She is emotionally blackmailing you because she knows you feel guilty. But you are not the cause of her pain, and her children are not pawns to be used.
Breaking off contact with you would hurt all of you.
Tell her this isn’t acceptable. Make it clear you love her but aren’t her punchbag.
My support pack, Standing Up For Yourself, should make this conversation easier.
Offer to help her access counselling and give her my support pack, Abused As A Child.
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