I Hate My Grandparents

24 August, 2020
Q Ever since I can remember( about 9 years), I’ve had a “complicated” relationship with my grandparents ( dad side). What many adults do not realize is that kids feel emotions that adults may hide from other adults very easily and can immediately tell when an adult is being more than less friendly or cryptically mean with a child. We see things that many, often overlook or try to heavily ignore.

One of my earliest memories, although very blurry is the sudden exact emotion I felt one summer when I had to go to my grandparent’s house, it was this feeling of discomfort a sudden wave of anxiety even if the issues they had with me hadn’t yet been processed by my evolving 8-year-old mind. Along the way, it transformed into jealousy because they were always much more excited about my younger sister calling her their rani (queen) all the time or “smarter” because she finished the Quran earlier than I did. Keep in mind I have always had a great relationship with my sister Alhamdulillah.

As I got older I realized I was never really jealous of her I was just thinking of ways to make myself worthy of being called their “rani”. Over the years, this issue seemed to get more and more apparent to me yet I hadn’t told either of my parents because it still had not registered to me completely. I couldn’t bring myself to understand how a grandparent dislikes their own grandchild. They’re supposed to be your superheroes who spoil you with food and love.

It got most toxic you can say in 2018 when I had to come to Pakistan for O-levels because I had to go over to theirs every other weekend and they were more up to my face about my faults and flaws and bad-mouthing my mother in odd cryptic ways. I have blocked most of it from my memory and for the sake of my father I visit them with a stone on my heart and coal in my mouth as I go along with what they say.

And now that my parents know my mother does all she can to reduce the time I spend there, she’s lied so much for me (may Allah forgive her) and tried to understand the situation from my point of view and I’m grateful that my father has even said that when I go back home he will sit down with me to try to understand why I dislike going there ( I haven’t had a conversation with him about this yet).

But everything is so hard no one can understand the pain that I have suffered at their hands. Only I know what it feels like but at the same time, I hate how I can’t like my time with my grandparents. This issue has become something to “joke” about for the rest of my family to poke at or taunt at a family dinner and I hate it so so much. It’s like everyone undermines the issue as to me just overreacting or being oversensitive and it hurts so deeply.

Why am I the only one who must keep my mouth shut while my grandparents can go on and on hurting me? Why is no one asking them to realize their hurtful actions? I have read everything there is on how an old person’s brain develops leading to why they sometimes do things no one can understand yet nothing ever gives me anything to piece together my grandparent’s actions. I want to understand them but I cannot.

Every time I look at my father I feel this immense guilt that I dislike so heavily the people who raised him and made him the wonderful man that he is today, Alhamdulillah. Whoever the respected counselor is, I know it’s a lot but I hope you understand what I am trying to convey.

Answer


In this counseling session:

In cases like this I would usually ask the person to think about whether the perpetrators, in this case, your grandparents, are genuinely behaving this way towards you.

Perhaps it is more a reflection of your own insecurities, in which case I would suggest looking for evidence to support your beliefs, as well as any evidence that might refute it too.

Speaking with your dad could provide you with the opportunity to build bridges with your grandparents by getting it out with the backing of your father.

Aside from dealing with the matter directly, you should also look for ways to indirectly improve your well being.

Focus on things that you are good at and the positives in your life. Appreciate your blessings, be with people who make you happy and do things that bring you joy. 


Assalamu alaikum  sister,

Everyone experiences the consequences of their upbringing, both the positive and negative to the point that without knowing it shapes a large part of our personality too. If one takes a moment to really reflect you will often come to realize why some of your actions as an adult are a result of your experiences in childhood.

Our childhood

Sometimes these things can be very obvious as the memories are more clear whilst others might be a result of forgotten or even repressed experiences. This influence can sometimes be good and sometimes bad.

Sometimes the influence can be so ingrained that it has become a fundamental part of the personality and difficult to change in the case of a negative impact especially if the person does not recognize the connection or see it as a problem.

Other times the impact can be negative and the person does recognize the impact of childhood experiences on present factors. This is the case for yourself. You recognize the profound effect that the behavior of your grandparents has had on the way you are today.

It sounds like their behavior was not a pleasant experience for you and is something that still affects you deeply today and is a matter you are having a hard time letting go of because it seems this behavior is still going on now.

I Hate My Grandparents - About Islam

Build bridges

In cases like this I would usually ask the person to think about whether the perpetrators. In this case, your grandparents, are genuinely behaving this way towards you. Or whether it is just your interpretation and misunderstanding. That is leading to an experienced exacerbation of what is actually going on.

And perhaps more a reflection of your own insecurities. In which case I would suggest looking for evidence to support your beliefs, as well as any evidence that might refute it too.

However, you note that your dad seems to recognize that something is going on. And is willing to have a conversation with you. This would be a good place for you to start as he is clearly open to listening to you. Which provides you with that space to express yourself to someone you trust.

This could provide you with the opportunity to build bridges with your grandparents. By getting it out with the backing of your father, a man you respect so much. You could even ask your sister what she thinks too. Did she ever feel like she was favoritism? Or that your grandparents showed obvious dislike of you?


Check out this counseling video:


Own Well-being

Aside from dealing with the matter directly, you should also look for ways to indirectly improve your well being. Regardless of whether your feelings are a result of general poor conduct towards you from your grandparents or not. It is clear that the situation has had an effect on your self esteem. You can help to boost this in a number of ways.

Focus on things that you are good at and the positives in your life. Appreciate your blessings, be with people who make you happy and do things that bring you joy.

You can find new ways to boost your esteem by doing things that you are good at. Such as volunteering, or starting a new hobby or studying a new course. This will give you a renewed drive in life to accomplish new and existing things. And to realize your potential regardless of what others think or say.

This will be great for your well-being over all. But is also a good way to support you in approaching the situation with your grandparents. With a more positive mindset that can either see things from a new perspective. Or be able to deal with it without it making you feel low in mood.

It might even give you the strength to confront the matter head on with a cool head in a way that allows you to express yourself whilst remaining respectful too.

May Allah make things easy for you and pave your way out of the distress you are facing. May He bring your happiness and contentment in your family.

Salam,

***

Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees are liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.

Read more:

About Hannah Morris
Hannah Morris is a mum of 4 and she currently works as Counsellor and Instructor of BSc. Psychology at the Islamic Online University (IOU). She obtained her MA degree in Psychology and has over 10 years of experience working in health and social care settings in the UK, USA, and Ireland. Check out her personal Facebook page, ActiveMindCare, that promotes psychological well-being in the Ummah. (www.facebook.com/activemindcare)