Grandma is my best friend

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Q: My grandmother and I have always been really close. I’m 18 and I’ve lived with her most of my life. This past spring she became very ill, and ended up on life support for 7 weeks. I cannot explain what a traumatic experience it was, and to make matters worse, while I was trying to cope with my best friend slipping away, my family turned their back to me. I was the black sheep. They started talking behind my back, saying things like “She wants to run the show”. When it came to the “pull the plug” topic, I wanted to wait, and see if there was any hope at all. While others wanted just to pull it. But, when my grandmother came home 2 months later, she was told that I was the one that wanted to pull the plug, and that I had taken all of her stuff and already decided what I wanted to do with it. Why are they treating me like this? To this day, my family hates me. I never did anything, other than be there for my grandmother. And now that my grandma stood up for me, her own children won’t talk to her. What is wrong with me?!

A: There’s nothing wrong with you. You didn’t mention why you have lived with your grandma most of your life. I have a guess that the current situation has something to do with that. Your family may feel guilty about it. They may feel that you got the better deal. There may be old unresolved conflicts you know nothing about. It sounds like your grandma has been very much a mother to you and you have been very much a good “daughter” to her. Of course your first loyalty is to each other. Thanks to you, you two have been blessed with some additional time. Enjoy each other while you can.

As for the rest of the family: My best suggestion is that you not fight them about it. Fighting with them is not going to change things and only adds more stress. If invited to fight, just say something like “We’re not going to change each other’s mind so let it go.” Then do it. Let it go. They’ll eventually come around or they won’t.

I hope someday you fall in love with a wonderful guy who has a wonderful family so that you have another chance to have a loving family around you. If that doesn’t happen, focus on making a family with the kind of love and loyalty you have with grandma. That’s the greatest tribute you can give her.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 16 Aug 2008

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2008). Grandma is my best friend. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 25, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2008/08/16/grandma-is-my-best-friend/