Boiling like a tea kettle
Dear Annie: I am a grandmother who is seeking your advice about my married granddaughter. Her father is my son. Her parents divorced when the children were quite small. My son was awarded custody of my granddaughter and her brother. We did our best to provide help to our son and the children. The mother has a drug addiction. We provided monetarily, we babysat, took them food and did other similar things to help out.
My granddaughter is now grown and married. During her childhood, she was exposed to a good many things she should not have had to endure. As a result of a lot of pent-up emotions, she will get upset with me about trivial things. For example, once it was raining and I couldn’t get the sunroof in her car to close. I pulled the car up to the garage so it wouldn’t be rained in from the outside. After doing this, I threw away some empty plastic drink containers, and she became upset that I had thrown them away. (This was before she married. She was living with my husband and me.)
Another time, she threw the clothes I had folded of hers all over the room because she didn’t like the way I folded them. The last incident we had was when I posted a picture of my new great-grandson on the internet. She became irate the other day and sent me a text, asking if I realized that she has three children and if I considered them to be my great-grandchildren. I told her we cared for the children and loved to see them. She is still angry with me.
She is supposed to come visit soon, though I may not see her. I am the one who has always been there for her. In the past, she would apologize to me and promise not to act that way again. Your advice please. — A Faithful Reader
Dear Faithful: You sound very wise. Your granddaughter’s angry explosions over what seem like trivial matters are stemming from a deeper rage with which she has yet to deal. It sounds like she is a little hot tea kettle waiting to boil over, and you and others get the burn of her explosions.
She needs the assistance of a professional therapist to help her process some of her childhood trauma. The fact that you understand this about her will allow you to have compassion and empathy without allowing yourself to be a doormat. By all means, see her when she visits and remind her of how much you love her, which you obviously do.
(Send your questions for Annie Lane to firstname.lastname@example.org. This column is syndicated by Creators Syndicate columnists. Visit the website at www.creators.com.)