MIL, 87, has always been a critical person to the point our daughters have not seen her in years. She always body shamed them, make rude hurtful comments about their looks (which they are stunning), choice of colleges and career path, call them inappropriate names when talking about their boyfriends etc. this all started when they were young (body shaming, looks) to the point it added to our daughters mental health issues during their teens years. We were able to shield them when MIL moved out of state but now that we moved MIL to a facility near us, my husband wants them to visit their grandmother. Our girls are 22 and 24. The 24 yr old has an awesome career but battles MH issues which I am convinced MILs comments assisted with these MH issues(not all just contributed) to where she battled an ED. The 22 yr old is in law school and she too battles MH. My concern is that I do not want them to be subject to these harmful comments, not even as adults. They have no desire to go visit as well, as they remember how hurtful MIL was and still can be. I do not feel it is necessary to have them visit. MIL looks at pictures of them and never says negative comments but you never know what will come out of MILs mouth. Am I wrong in protecting my adult children who suffer from MH concerns, I don’t see the point of it especially since MIL won’t remember they were there. I asked my girls who would like to come and decorate grandmas room for Christmas…their response was….will she be there? That tells me they are not ready to see her for fear of past experiences. Help me help my husband understand.

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I agree with Cwillie. Your daughters are full grown adults and can choose to not visit someone who treated them poorly. And I agree you should step out of the middle of the conversation. When your husband moans to you about them not visiting his historically nasty mother, just tell him, "Please tell them yourself, don't tell me. They're adults and I don't control them and I can't control them and neither should you." Then walk away. Say this every time he brings it up. Eventually he'll stop. This is what she sewed with her granddaughters and now she is reaping the harvest.
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Reply to Geaton777

I would reccomend that you listen to your heart. Your first responsiblity is to your daughters. With her hurtful comments, your MIL forfeited her right to a relationship with her granddaughters. They are now adults and it is their decision whether or not they wish to visit. As a mother, I would not put any pressure on them to visit. You are absolutely correct - their mental health should come first.
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Reply to WearyJean

Your daughters are adults and as such can decide for themselves whether or not to visit their grandmother.

You may want to point out to your husband that he is exhibiting the same sort of behaviours as his mother in expecting them to put themselves in harms way.
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Reply to Tothill

I absolutely get your concern. My daughter also suffers with mental health issues, and I'm usually the parent that has to help her work through the "meltdowns". She has been under a psychiatrist's care since her sophomore year in HS. And I know from first-hand experience that something very innocuous can send her scurrying down that rabbit hole, so I can see you wanting to keep your girls away from any situation that might do the same thing,

I think you're using the wrong terminology. You can't "protect" them from these situations. As others here have said, they are 22 and 24 and have the right to decide if/when/under which circumstances they visit grandma. I will offer you advice to change your terminology from "protect" to "support", especially when you are discussing this issue with your husband. "Protect" has connotations that MIL is the enemy, and likely puts your husband in the frame of mind that makes him feel as if he is being forced to choose his daughters or his mom. "Support" their decision to visit/not visit puts all you (yourself, husband, daughters) on the same "team", so to speak, without forcing your husband into a corner about his mom. It also puts your daughters on alert that, while their decision to NOT visit grandma might be the absolutely right one as far as their mental health is concerned, there might be an uncomfortable conversation they will need to have with dad, if he's not on board, because his feelings are valid and should be acknowledged by your daughters, too. We don't all have to agree with someone's decisions in order to offer them support, as long as those decisions aren't destructive.

Good luck.
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Reply to notgoodenough

Have your daughter's speak to their father themselves; it's between them and their father as to whether they go visit grandma and you shouldn't be getting in the middle of it! They're adults and have their own voices with which to speak.

My mother also has dementia and has treated my 28 y/o daughter with disdain for her whole life. She's been 'too fat' and too this and too that and blah blah, so she's hurt my daughter's feelings for YEARS now. So my DD decides if and when she visits my mother and whether she wants to call her, not me or anyone else. My DD has a large heart and is an RN so she does visit and call her sometimes, purely out of the goodness of her heart, which I give her credit for. But again, it's up to HER how she handles her own life, nobody else. I was able to protect her as a small child and yanked her OUT of my mother's presence, but not as a grown woman nowadays.

Nobody has to make your husband understand anything; your daughters are entitled to do as they wish and if your husband doesn't agree with their choices, he should take it up with THEM!
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Reply to lealonnie1

Your daughters are no longer children who need to be protected by their mom, they are young women who can make their own decisions and it sounds as though neither has any desire to visit their grandmother. IMO the problem isn't with your MIL it's with your husband, who seemingly has never acknowledged the pain his own mother has caused - perhaps because that kind of dysfunction was normalized in his family. My advice to you is to bow out of the middle of this drama - tell daughters and husband to talk to each other not go through you, and bluntly change the subject if they begin discussing it in a "he said/she said" way.
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Reply to cwillie

Can you simply explain to your husband what you have told us? There is no reason your daughters should be pressured to visit MIL - they are adults and it is entirely their choice. Has he understood that his mother created this situation by HER abuse of her grandkids? Seems some men do not really get it about this kind of emotional abuse. Since it is not directed at them, they tend to hide from the reality. Has anyone ever called your mother the abuser she is?
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Reply to rovana
Daughterinlaw56 Nov 22, 2021
Yes he has. He would tell her back in the day. I just think with her state now he is wanting something that just is not feasible
You should let your ADULT children decide for themselves if and when they want to visit their grandmother. They are old enough to understand that grandma hasn't changed her behavior. They also understand that she is older and doesn't have a long life span ahead of her. Your husband can ask the girls to visit but he really can't make them. It is their decision.

FYI - I cut off relationships with my own grandparents who were toxic and critical when I was a young mother. I could not allow them to hurt another generation. I did go visit them before each of them passed away. My children did not miss them and were better off without their influence.
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Reply to Taarna

Do your daughters understand that their grandmother has untreated mental health issues?

Does their father "get" that?

If your girls are seeing mental health providers, it's a good issue to bring up in therapy.
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to BarbBrooklyn
TaylorUK Nov 22, 2021
Probably too late to treat any mental health issues MIL has and parents need to be concerned about daughters with life ahead of them not make them feel worse because they should understand Grandma - parents has the opportunity to do that when the girls were children its not reasonable to put extra pressure on them now.
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I will tell you what is wrong with Dad, he is a man. He has no idea what criticism does to children, especially girls. My girls both played softball. My DH considered the criticism as constructive. He was raised with all boys. I told him more than once that the girls did not appreciate the criticism no matter what he thought. My girls love their Dad but this was a sore point. But this did not effect my daughters in their adulthood. They either tell Dad he is wrong or ignore him. 😊

IMO ur girls should be passed GMoms former critcism. It should not be effecting their lives now since they know none of it is true. They should be somewhat comfortable with themselves. But, that does not mean they need to deal with grandma. Maybe, one time, you can all visit Gma, husband included.
If she starts in on the girls, they can walk out. Then explain to Gma and DH that no one appreciates criticism and because Gma always has, the girls refuse to put up with it now.

I worked with a woman who felt she was entitled to criticize. We ignored it. These people never seem to see their own faults.
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Reply to JoAnn29
notgoodenough Nov 21, 2021
"IMO ur girls should be passed GMoms former critcism. It should not be effecting their lives now since they know none of it is true. They should be somewhat comfortable with themselves."

While I so wish this was true, from my experience with my daughter this is not necessarily the case. My daughter is going to be 21 in a few weeks, and she still suffers with her anxiety/depression, some of which stems from her image of herself. In fact, I had a 40 minute conversation with her the other evening when she was swearing she was going to look into getting breast reduction surgery - which came out of trying to find a dress for a formal occasion at school. Believe me, there are times I just want to scream at her to not worry about what other people's opinions about her looks are, but it won't do any good; once she gets into that sort of frame of mind, there's really no doing much more than offering a willing ear to listen. It's so frustrating to both of us, because I've never been one who has worried about other people's opinions about my looks and can't understand why she's so obsessed about it, and SHE can't understand why I don't understand her heartbreak about it. I was truly hoping that by this age she would have "gotten over it", but so far, she has not.

As far as criticism from family members - well, my mom had this terrible habit of saying (when you tried on new clothes) "it would look better if you lost some weight". She said it about herself, too, when she tried on things. She didn't say it to be cruel; but I finally had to tell her to cease and desist the comment when she spoke to my daughter, because that comment would totally devastate her. I'm sure my mom wasn't trying to hurt anyone's feelings; it was more a matter of "well, you asked for my opinion and I'm giving it to you". But whatever the reason, it hurt my daughter's feelings every time; if you're already body conscious, I don't know if there's an easy way to "get over it".
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