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Old 12-11-2016, 08:45 AM   #1
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Default Need Advice on Sensitive Subject Matter

A little background - I am in my 2nd marriage and we have an 11yo DD. My mom and stepdad are helicopter grandparents mostly because they watched our dd from 6wks to 3rd grade when I became a sahm and began homeschooling. We are working on the helicopting issue.

My mom was sexually abused when she was young and has always had a heightened fear of men around girls to an extreme. I grew up believing guys were basically evil. I vowed to never let her install that fear in our dd. When our dd was about 6 I found out my mom was telling our dd 'the stories' about how men will hurt you and not to let them see your underwear including daddy. DD became very shy and would even cringe when she went for a checkup with her doctor who was male. I had it out with my mom and worked very hard to overcome the damage she started.

Then at 8yrs old my stepdad started complaining about DD not hugging him anymore. At first we just shrugged it off as kids go through phases, but then my mind went back to my childhood and 'the stories' my mom would tell me. After talking with my husband and dd, we spoke with my sd and told him we thought it was mom again, but we explained that girls grow up and don't want to be affectionate always. I became a sahm mom around this time for other reasons, but it helped with dd somewhat.

Now our dd is 11 and I think I was completely wrong in how I handled it. If she is around just me or her dad, she is a vibrant, outspoken young lady. She is in Awanas and Girl Scouts and around kids she is awesome. But around adults she is very timid. When we go shopping, she will hide behind me or her dad when any adult comes up to talk even if she knows them including female former teachers. She used to spend Friday nights at my parents, but rarely wants to go over there anymore. I chalk it up to her wanting to spend more time with her friends, but looking backwards I am beginning to worry.

Both my mom and stepdad complain about her not being over there that much anymore. They love feeding us guilt trips even to our dd that she doesn't love or care about them. My sd has become especially verbal about dd not wanting hugs or good night kisses or she won't sit with him. My husband and I haven't worried about that like that because we don't really ever think about it. She gives us hugs, kisses, watches tv with us, sits with us - but all as she wants to, we don't ask. But I have made myself more aware of late to what's been going on. every time my parents come over, my sd constantly is asking dd where's my hug or where's my kiss, "Come sit with me". When we all play cards together and dd is sitting next to him, he will stroke her back or rub her leg and she will scrunch down and come sit by me or dad.

As I am reading this as I am writing not just thinking, I have alarms going off - why didn't I see the signs? or is this my mom in my head? For the most part I think I have underplayed the warnings because of what my mom filled my head with and me trying to avoid instilling those fears in dd. But last night my mom alarm screamed and I haven't slept all night. My parents were over playing cards. My sd did his usual complaining because dd didn't want to play cards and didn't give hugs. We were in the dining room, dd was in the living room playing with the dogs. She would come in every now and then and sit with me for a minute then back off to play. At one point I told dd she needed to put some deodorant on to which my helicopter mom responded why she doesn't smell, she didn't smell earlier. DD took the chance to leave the room and go play again. Sometime after this, sd in the middle of a round, got up from the table without saying anything. When I noticed he didn't go toward the bathroom, my alarm went off. I got up and went to the living room and seen him beside her with his hand on her shoulder he pulled her to him and made her kiss him. I pretended I was getting something, he leaned down and whispered 'do as your mother says'. DD went off into the other room with her dogs and he went back to the table.

I don't know if I am overreacting or is this something to worry about? Did he really do as I saw or is it my imagination from years of mom telling me crap men will do? I read what I wrote and I am beating myself up for failing to protect her and at the same time thinking I am crazy in the head for even thinking this. I need opinions from people who haven't been abused -is this something I should be worried about, or is sd behavior just a loving grandfather who misses his granddaughter? Sd has two daughters from his 1st marriage who have never seemed to have any issues. He has been married to my mom since I was 17 and never did anything towards me.

My plan is to be proactive and have a full discussion with my dd about owning her body and no one has the right to make her do anything she doesn't want. I also plan on restricting all visits with my parents and dd unless dd requests to go- no more saying you're going to grandma's. I have spoken with my husband about this and whether threat is real or not, we are going to talk with them separately - me with mom and husband with sd. The plan is to address it as a growing up issue which I thought we had already covered, but this time more firm and to the point. Explain pre-teens need to have their boundaries respected so they can learn self-worth. Ask that he not request any more kisses, hugs, sit time etc. Explain that neither of us make those requests of her. DD has the right to make her own choices and not to feel guilt pressure. Ask no more remarks to her about her not loving or caring about them. Try to be firm without to many feelings hurt as they both can be overwhelming. Any other suggestions, thoughts?
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Old 12-11-2016, 07:49 PM   #2
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Default Re: Need Advice on Sensitive Subject Matter

Always trust your instincts. This is serious. My alarm bells are going off reading this.

First, let's start with your mom.
It sounds as though she's never gotten therapy or seen a psychiatrist/psychologist regarding the sexual abuse she's endured and has been living her life just "dealing" with it and trying to make sense of it in her own way, which is to channel her anger and hurt through how she parented and taught you about relationships. But because, if, she's never received proper help early on, she's going to find men who may repeat the abuse, maybe not to her or you (as you were fairly older than pervs prefer.) but to a select grandchild or someone close to them who has a child in their preferred age.
You need to sit down with your mom and really listen to her and try to read between what she's saying and not saying. You can tell her that you understand she has been hurt, but she can't infuse that pain into your kids.
She raised you and it doesn't sound like you have any issues with your husband, so your mom must have done something right. Let her know that and point it out that she did the best she could and it has shaped you into the wise person you are. Now, she needs to trust you in making good decisions. It's never too late for your mom to get help from past trauma. Offer to help her find someone good who can work with your mom.

Your step-dad has crossed boundaries and who knows what other boundaries he's crossed with your daughter over the years. If your daughter is showing sign of discomfort being around him then something is definitely up. There's a difference between that affection grandma that wants to smother your kids in lipstick covered kisses as soon as they come through the door, and grandpa incessantly complaining about his granddaughter not being affectionate enough every time he sees her and not being able to keep his dirty hands off a little girl. It's not normal behaviour and your daughter's reaction is not her just "growing up". There is something going on, or has gone on, that she may be too embarrassed to talk to you about. Perhaps she was made to promise to keep things a secret. It can't hurt to take her to the pediatrician and get set up with a counsellor or therapist just to make sure.

I think you handled things with your mom appropriately. You need to think of what's best for your kids, and not what's best for your parents, especially step-dad. You are right in reducing the amount of time they come over. You don't have to owe them an explanation, either. Just tell them until further notice, you need some space. If you tell your mom about your suspicions or what you have observed she may become defensive and deny anything you say. Even if there is something that she has witnessed, she might not want to believe it. This is where professional therapy can help her with that.

I hope you have a lovely, safe holiday season.
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Old 12-17-2016, 07:54 PM   #3
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Default Re: Need Advice on Sensitive Subject Matter

Since there's been no replies, I hope all is well
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