She wants a payback for parenting

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

i am a senior citizen on a fixed income who in 1979 took custody of my nieces 3 month old daughter because i didn’t like the way she was raising her, raised this child as my own, taught her to call me momma and call my brother daddy, raised this child and bought things for her (more than she deserved) and now that she is grown and has a family of her own she has the audasity to go out and find her real parents and call them mom and dad.she is also mad at me because i moved her out of state as a child and would not let her real parents know where she was. i have no problems with her biological parents i just think they didn’t deserve her and i did. i bought that child everything and i think she should call me mom and say hell with them.but now she has met her biologicals and is not spending as much time with me and it makes me so angry i could just do something. also this girl that i raised left home (married young) and went to college and makes alot of money and i believe i should get some kind of payback for raising her. she has finally gave me a house to live in, but i deserve much more than that because when she was a child i took her to the doctor every week with coughs and colds and such, gave her medicine all the time,and kept her home and took care of her like a good mommy should, because see i was retired and could spend that much time with her.so i really don’t have a problem i just need for her to quit seeing her biological parents and siblings and spend more time with me and buy me things like i did her when i was her mommy. could i get you to help me set her straight! thanks

A: My heart goes out to you. You must be lonely, indeed, to be this angry with your grandniece. As much as you’ve done for her, as much as you love her, you don’t own her. You don’t have the right to tell her who she can spend her time with. You also don’t have the right to make demands on her as if she owes you something for caring for her. Hopefully you did that out of love and concern, not as an investment from which you expected a financial return.

You must have done something very right. Your grandniece has room in her heart for her biological family and for you. She may be angry with you for cutting her off from her mother and father but she hasn’t cut you off in return. She got through college, is successful in work, and has made a family of her own. She has provided you with a house and gives you her time. It sounds to me that you raised her well and that you have much to be thankful for.

Trying to have her all to yourself will only drive her away and make you bitter. I suggest you instead work on being grateful. If you can be more generous and understanding, you’ll invite more of the love and attention you want so much.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 7 Jan 2009

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2009). She wants a payback for parenting. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 24, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2009/01/07/she-wants-a-payback-for-parenting/