I thought my Grandmother was the Wicked Witch

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Mean Grandmother

I had two grandmothers ~ they were like the Good Witch and the Bad Witch. I would not have thought of them this way if it weren’t for truly thinking that the mean grandma was an honest to goodness fairy tale Witch. I didn’t like the bad Witch. The mean grandmother believed and would say things like “children should be seen and not heard.” She made it very clear that children were nothing she was interested in. And she made that my fault.

There was another odd thing about that statement; the “bad Witch” didn’t want to SEE us either. She made lots of comments about how loud we were and I remember her constantly saying that our laughter got on her nerves. But EVERYTHING got on her nerves.

As a child, when I was told that children should be seen and not heard, or when I felt that communication, I believed that meant I should be seen and not heard. I didn’t think that if only I could grow up so that I could be worth listening to. I was crushed. I was invalid. I was unwanted. AND she made sure that I knew it was MY fault she felt that way.

There was another mixed message with that same grandmother.  (Continued…) She also said that I was sullen and withdrawn. So now I am too loud and too quiet.  Not allowed to cry, not allowed to laugh. What is a child supposed to do with that information? Children do not have the maturity to realize that this is about THEM.  I thought it was about me.

And just when, at what age was I supposed to realize that this was about her?

My mean grandmother would take a look at me and then tell my mother (her daughter) what was wrong with everything about me. She especially didn’t like my hair, which was long, thick, beautiful and very well taken care of.  She would examine me, she narrowed her eyes and pursed her lips and then she turned to my mother and said things like “I don’t like her hair that way”. Sometimes she would say “I don’t like her hair, dear”. “It’s too long, dear”. It seemed to be worse when she added that endearment on the end. From the time I was four all I wanted was long hair; most of my positive identity was about my hair, and it was as if she knew that.  Her comments were very hurtful and very destructive. She was an emotionally and psychologically abusive grandmother.

She put me down this way from my earliest memory of her.  And while she was putting me down, she was also putting my mother down because of course my mother was responsible for whatever my grandmother didn’t like about me, so my guess is that she was getting two digs for the price of one. (again, this is emotional abuse) I remember when I was in my twenties my grandmother looked at me and turned to my mother and said “I don’t like her lipstick”. Another time she turned to my mother and said “I don’t like her hair”. And with that same sneer as before, she said things directly to me too; “why are you wearing that color?” “I think you should wear a dress”.

I drew my own conclusions. I didn’t really love my mean grandmother; I mean what was there to love? I was afraid of her even though I never disrespected her. But that doesn’t mean that her constant disapproval of me didn’t take a toll.  And I had questions too. Why did she feel this way about me? What was wrong with me? I still remember her nasty face when she made those hurtful assessments of me and my appearance, looking down on me as though I were a mere bug to be squashed. And my mother didn’t say a word in my defense. My mean grandmother had plenty of critical things to say about my mother too and my mother sat and took it also. I guess my mother didn’t know that as an adult, she had a choice.  

I actually shuddered as I wrote this, remembering the way that my grandmother was towards me. I disgusted her. I felt disgusting in her presence. I felt like something was wrong with me; I felt the sting of rejection. She made sure that I knew that I was unworthy. I was just a child; a sullen and disgusting, noisy and bothersome child with nasty hair and unflattering outfits. But I had been raised to try harder; to accept that it must be about me, my fault and my shortcoming and raised to try harder. And so I did.

Oh and I forgot to mention; my mean grandmother was married to a drunken child molester, which is a whole other story for a whole other blog post but in light of all the evidence, my parents knew that he was a child molester, and a drunk, and her mother was a mean Witch so why were they still taking ME there in the first place?

Realizing how things were for me as a child has gone such a long way towards the emotional healing that I have experienced. I had to uncover the lies that I had accepted about myself, before I could override them with the truth.  I would like to welcome you to share your own stories, thoughts, feelings, discoveries or the ways that you were invalidated and subscribe to the comments or check back; we always have great discussions here.

Exposing Truth, one snapshot at a time;

Darlene Ouimet

Are you aware my of my e-book “Emerging from Broken The Beginning of Hope for Emotional Healing”? If you find that the subject matter I am writing about resonates with you, this 197 page, downloadable, printable, live linked e-book will put you on the fast track to busting out of the fog and to healing. I’ve received hundreds of thank you notes from the people that have bought my book. Get yours here through the upper right side bar or click this link~ Emerging from Broken The Beginning of Hope for Emotional Healing

related posts ~ Mom and Grandma had a dysfunctional mother daughter relationship

How Blame, Guilt, and Shame get misapplied to self

Mother Daughter Relationship ~ my poor mom

72 response to "I thought my Grandmother was the Wicked Witch"

  1. By: Megan Posted: 25th January 2016

    I used to love my paternal grandmother when I was a child- We went to her house often, picked rocks out of the garden in exchange for allowances, and were taught new things every time. When I was 6, my uncle was in a wreck on his motorcycle- He walked away without a scratch, and I understood that. The wreck was his own fault, and I understood that fully, too. So like any 6 year old, I voiced my opinion. The next day, my grandmother barged into my home and started screaming at me- insults and swearing and telling me how terrible a child I had always been, to the point where my mother threatened to call the cops. I felt like things have never been the same since- But now that I’m an adult, I realize that, no, things have always been that way- I was just too young to notice. My grandmother is extremely passive aggressive. She’ll do things that you never asked for, then get seethingly angry and insult you. I think it’s because she didn’t have the life she wanted- She got pregnant with my father at 19 to a man who was already married- My grandfather left his wife and child for them. She once made an appointment for an interview at a college for my brother, who has severe anxiety and barely leaves the house- She didn’t ask which college he was interested in, or whether he thought he was ready, or whether he had to work that day- Just told him, said “You’re welcome” like she was doing him a huge favor, and hung up. She bought me a shirt for Christmas that I absolutely adored, and that fit perfectly- It was a size large. But Grandma frowned and kept asking me in her ‘concerned’ voice, are you sure you don’t want me to get you a bigger size? Two weeks later, she calls me FOUR times while I’m at work to ask me to return the shirt, and sends me a triple extra large- The original size was a LARGE. Then she complains to my brother behind my back that she thought she wasn’t gonna be able to send the other back- She had this planned the whole time, and was gonna give me the triple extra large whether I wanted it or not. Who does that just as an elaborate way of calling someone fat?

    And I think that’s what bothers me the most. She does all these things with hurtful intentions in such a sneaky way, that if I call them out, I look like a complete jerk. My mom, brother and I giggle in private about how much of a burden it is to go to grandma’s house, what ridiculous shit she’ll pull this year. I really wish I had been able to live my ignorant bliss a bit longer.

  2. By: Kadeeja Posted: 11th February 2014

    I have not touched mom after 19 because that is when I got married off. My husband told me that I should not let anyone other than him touch me because he saw my mom kissing me on my mouth (he does not know anything else and does not want to) and so I refused mom. I think I understand now why mom started hating me and saying things like “You are so different now. You are no longer my little girl. He has spoiled you. You have become evil.” From this day onwards, mom has always criticized me nonstop and made my life hell. It all makes sense now.

  3. By: Kadeeja Posted: 11th February 2014

    I have been so dumb. I never thought of what my mom did to me as sexual abuse. I thought it was my father who was abusing me. Please read the following and tell me whether it is: She made me suckle her breasts until I was 19. She was still washing me after potty in the 8th grade. There was the one time I remember quite clearly when she was lying on the bed in the middle between me and papa and we were both playing with her breasts and this was when I was in 9th grade. Papa later took me aside and told me that it was wrong for me at this age to play with mom’s breasts but I as usual told mom what he said (because I thought he was the freaking alcoholic incest abuser) and she told me that he was just jealous and I could still touch them when he was not around.

    Now I am 40. I have not touched mom after 19. I also told her not to touch my son. (I breastfed my son til he was 2 and then I made sure he never saw me undressed or never touched inappropriately.) All this because I felt it to be wrong even though I never classified it as sexual abuse. Do you think it is that? If so, I am afraid for my son as she still lives with us and we have just one guest bedroom that they are both sharing but in separate cots. All these years, my son was put up in the sofa bed in the living room (its doors can be closed from the inside so he was safe) but after papa died 9 months back, all my relatives said that mom is very lonely and my son should sleep in her room in a nearby cot. I am afraid now for him. All these days I thought what mom did was part of her general behaviour of babying me too much and keeping me dependent but this seems to be much more than that. Please answer my question. Was my mother’s behaviour, sexual abuse and if so, what are the chances that she will do the same to my son. I should get him out of that room, shouldnt I? And here I am all these years trying not to be like her and I did not see the danger he was in.

  4. By: Maria Posted: 7th August 2012

    My grandmother is the wicked witch. But there’s nothing we can do about it. Now we have to leave with her because my parents lost their house four years ago and there’s no other place where we could go. Once I used to love her so much and I was terrified at the idea that one day she would be gone. Now I wake up every day hoping that she is dead. I know you’re not supposed to say things like that, but what she says and does to us is unbearable and it hurts so much I feel like I’m living in hell. I often think if even my own grandmother threats me like this and thinks this about me, what might other people think about me? I know she is crazy but it’s really not easy living with her and knowning and hearing her talking shit about us. It’s not fair at all. Everybody makes mistakes but we are good people. She is not. She is mean. Especially she is mean to my mom. My mom is so good, she would never hurt anybody, not even a fly. but she can’t answer back ’cause, as I said, we have no other place to go. I dream about leaving her here all by herself every day, but I’m scared of leaving my mother here with her. The thing is she can’t do anything without our help. From the moment she wakes up ’till the moment she goes to sleep she sits on the damn sofa. All day long. She doesn’t even watch tv, or read, she does nothing. So she has plenty of time to think and make up her minds with shit. Of course no one comes to visit her because people can’t stand her, not even my cousin. Just my aunt because she thinks she will get something from her. But she will get nothing because my grandmother hates her too and always talks shit about her too. Sometimes, when she realises that has really pissed me off, she gives me like 50 euros and thinks we’re good. Like if you could buy people’s love and affection. That’s horrible. Why people are so mean? Why? She’s destoyng our lives and her own too. But she doesn’t get it. She doesn’t get why she’s alone all day long.
    But today, after reading all of this, I feel a little better. Little less lonely. I’m not alone. She is. Ans she will die alone. Even if sourrended by people. So thank you.
    I’m sorry for my bad spelling but I’m italian.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 7th August 2012

      Hi Maria
      It must be very stressful to live this way. I hope that you can find a different place to go soon.
      Hugs, Darlene

  5. By: disapointed Posted: 7th May 2012

    my childrens paternal grandparents are so mean that they play favorites.they have six grandchildren,they babysit thier 2 favorite grandsons and give them whatever they want.one of thier grandsons is my son. this year the paternal grandparents did not get him anything for his birthday,no card,nothing. they live only 10 minutes away. they haven’t seen him in a year.my husband,thier son calls them and asks them if they remembered it,and they said oh yes he turned 10. still waiting for a happy birthday,phone call,visit.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 7th May 2012

      Hi Disapointed
      Why are you waiting? This is the kind of thing that I had to ask myself about my own kids grandparents. I finally realized that the way that they acted was wrong and I was tried of always waiting for them to do something right and why it was always up to ME and US to take care of the relationship. I thought long and hard about their actions and about what my kids deserved. This kind of thing is really damaging to the self esteem of everyone. I am really sorry that you are going through this.
      Hugs, Darlene

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