The title might sound harsh but in reality it’s not. The people we surround ourselves with effect us deeply. Even if you only see someone once a week, if the time spent with them is draining, it’s effecting you. I strongly believe in being positive. This doesn’t mean I’m positive about everything or even every day. What I mean is that if you surround yourself with negative things, think negative things, negative people, you will feel and put off negativity too. Think of your mind as a powerful magnet. The energy around you is pulled into your magnet, good or bad.
My grandma. Yes. My dads mother. Crazy right? Of all people to shut out of my life, why my grandma? I’ll tell you. My dad has always had a tough time with life in general. His childhood wasn’t the best, far from it, he has sever self esteem issues, he blames everyone around him for all of his problems, he’s had trouble with drug abuse, I can really go on for hours. I love my dad…. he is my dad. But my dad and I have never had the best relationship. That’s a whole other story in itself. My dads mom was a big part of my life when I was very little, around two and three years old. Once my dad started doing drugs, she was gone completely. I didn’t see her again until I was in 5th grade. This had always bothered me for multiple reasons. She was his mother and my grandmother and at a time she should have been there the most, she disappeared completely. As a little kid I was so confused.
Once my dad and my grandma had a relationship again things got even more tricky. My dads family and his mom all brushed the whole 4-5 years of them not speaking under the rug. We started going to his family for holidays again and everyone acted as if we had been going to them all along. The truth was my dads side of the family had not actually been apart of my life at all. Most people have aunts and uncles and grandparents and great aunts and uncles who have been there through out your entire life. I knew this because I did have the normal family situation on my moms side. Being around all of these people felt so fake.
I started staying the night with my grandma. She would take me shopping, we’d go out to eat, and then I’d stay the night with her just like I did when I was very little. My grandma was never a picture perfect mother to my dad, not that any mother is. The difference was that she was one hundred percent unashamed or felt any guilt about it. In fact, if my dad ever brought up anything bad that happened in his childhood my grandma acted as though he was exaggerating it or making it up. When I was alone with her she would tell me that everything my dad ever told me about his childhood was not true and that my dad never went through any of those things. I was a fifth grader. I couldn’t argue with her. Even then I knew something was not normal about this. She was simply manipulating me.
Over the next couple of years I did have fun with my grandma. She would pick me and my cousins up, we would go on extravagant shopping sprees, we would eat out at nice restaurants, and she even eventually took us to Hawaii! Even through all of this, I always felt like something wasn’t quite right. Every now and then she would bring up my dad and his childhood and talk about how crazy he was in front of me and my cousins. She would tell us how respectable she was, how she was a single mom who raised two boys all on her own. I always knew none of this was true but I would never disagree with her.
As I got older and started to become more of my own person, forming more of my own opinions, things began changing between my grandma and I again. It was a weekly ritual for my father and I to visit her every Sunday. My grandma always needed to gang up on someone. She would talk horribly about people who you would never say such things about. In fact, every single person in the family would eventually be talked about by her in a negative light. I guess since I was younger and had no one to tell, she would vent to me. It wasn’t necessarily venting though. It was pure negativity. She would go on for hours talking about each person, never really having any valid reasons to say the things she did. She simply spewed poison right out of her mouth. She talked about her sister, her father, her brother, my cousins, my dad, my uncle, my mom, my grandpa, I can’t think of anyone she didn’t talk about.
Occasionally I would feel the wrath of my grandmas hatefulness. If she got tired of being angry at other people she would find a reason to be angry at me. She would target me when I was at her house on Sundays with my dad. If I were telling a story about work or anything she would turn it into a reason to attack me. It could be about anything. I remember one time in particular I was talking about the dynamic of my dumb part time job (I was in high school). She got extremely angry at me and sided with my job for absolutely no reason besides she wanted to argue with me. The thing is, arguing with my grandma was never arguing. An argument comes with two sides, this was more of a lion fighting a mouse.
Slowly but surely every time I went to visit my grandma with my dad I left feeling upset. Every visit ended with an argument or her being mad at me. My dad would tell me she was just angry about something else and that it would all blow over soon. But it never did. Eventually months went by and it got to the point where we would go visit her and I would not say a single word the whole time. I was simply afraid. I was a busy full time college student with a part time job and I didn’t want to spend my time on my only day off being yelled at. My dad had his own issues to deal with. He was sort of forcing a mother/son relationship and under illusion by the whole thing.
It finally blew up. It was New Years day. It had been months since my grandma had so much as asked about my life. My dad decided to confront her about it which was shocking considering all this family does is avoid confrontation. My grandma and dad went back and forth and it ended with us leaving and her telling us to get out of her house. Right then and there I knew I was over it. My dads family never cared. My grandma never cared. Her only reason for having a relationship with me in the first place was out of pure selfishness. Sadly my dad is still in denial about the whole thing. It’s been over two years since I last spoke to her. My dad still wants us to make amends.
This story actually has a happy ending. After everything with my grandma ended my life become much more easy. I learned a great lesson from all of it. The people that matter will always be there. You wont have to fight to keep the people that care about you in your life. I was a child when my grandma walked out of my life and I should have never felt the need to have her in it. You should be comfortable enough to be your whole self with your family, especially your grandma. The person who is shut out of my life just happens to be my grandma but this story could have been about anyone. If there’s a certain person in your life who makes you feel small, who makes you feel like you have to walk on eggshells, who doesn’t deserve the real you, get them out of your life as fast as you can. The minute you remove them the minute you can breathe again.
My grandma was a constant source of negativity for so long. I never deserved it and now that I’m older I won’t allow it. Once the people who bring you down are out of your life you can actually start living. Family, friends, whoever it is, your life is only about you. It might sound selfish but you can’t let people get in the way of your well being. You have to put yourself on a pedestal. Always put your happiness first. Once you take care of yourself you can take care of other people. Taking care of other people doesn’t mean you have to put them first and yourself second. So if you read this and you thought of someone the whole time, put some distance between you two. See how much better you can actually feel.