Dear Annie: I am writing because I’m seeking your help about my relationship with my 30-year-old granddaughter, “Nadia.” Our relationship is more of a mother-daughter type relationship, because my husband and I were involved in raising her. Our son had custody of his children because the mother had emotional problems and was not stable.
My granddaughter has had issues at different points in her life because of the problems she faced with her mother. She had issues of jealousy when our other grandchildren would visit. She was self-aware enough to realize that she comes from a dysfunctional home life and that it would tend to cause her to be jealous. She also knew enough to know this was not a healthy reaction.
Now that she’s an adult, I thought Nadia was over these feelings, but I was wrong. Recently, one of our other granddaughters had her first baby. Nadia had something negative to say about the birth, but she only said this to me, not her dad or anyone else. For some reason, she shares unkind and hateful thoughts with me. I’d much rather she not do it. It upsets me.
This is not the first time she had treated me this way. It has gotten to the point where I can expect her to say something. I have tried ignoring her, but it’s getting old. She expects me to turn the other cheek.
How would you suggest I handle this? I tried talking to her about it but got nowhere. — A Confused Grandmother
Dear Confused Grandmother: She shows her ugly side to you because she knows she can. Of course you’ll always love her deep down, regardless of bad behavior, but that doesn’t mean you need to subject yourself to it. It’s time to let her know you won’t tolerate being her rage receptacle anymore. Firmly say something to the effect of, “I won’t hear any of this hurtful talk from you about our family.” Any time she starts talking that way, tell her she needs to change the subject or end the conversation. Simultaneously, encourage her to attend therapy, where she can process events and emotions of her childhood, identify any patterns of behavior she developed from her stressful home life and begin to dispense with beliefs and behaviors that are no longer serving her.
Dear Annie: This is in response to “Credit Confused,” the recent college grad who was looking for tips about establishing credit. You missed an important point: The very best advice I ever got from a financial adviser about having credit cards was to pay them in full every month. We are now approaching retirement. We charge a lot on our credit cards, but we never have to pay interest, because we pay them off every billing period. The only charges we get are a membership fee from one of them. The other two cards cost us nothing, ever. When we are gone, our estate will have no bills to be paid. That’s the only way to live. — Owing Nothing
Dear Owing: Such a fundamentally important point that I forgot to make. Consider my forehead smacked. Thanks for writing — and kudos on living debt-free.
Editor’s note: “Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie” is out now! Annie Lane’s debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to email@example.com.