But he loves you!

I need to know something. Is it the "right" thing to do to keep someone in your life who shows time and again he doesn't respect you, just because he's family and has done "so much" for you and may pass away within the next few years?

I've talked about my grandfather here before. I stopped talking to him for a year and he kept texting me anyway and making comments to my other siblings about me to make me feel guilty. When I describe the way he is to other people, they don't seem to think he's "that bad" and that "he's your grandfather and he loves you!" But, honestly... He may care about me, but he has an extremely poor way of showing it. It's hard to describe his behavior, it's one of those situations where you have to know the person and experience it yourself - like emotional abuse, it's subtle and insidious, but very real. It's NOT all in my head and I'm not just paranoid. Let me try to explain...

He's hated and tormented my mother for years and they no longer speak, but he still makes jabs at her. I recently graduated from community college, and both my mother and grandfather attended the ceremony. He made a rude remark directed toward my mother, which angered me that he would dare to be so incredibly rude at an event like that. Never mind that he didn't even bring me flowers or a card; I'm not greedy and don't care about gifts, but it did hurt that he didn't even get me one single rose or ANYTHING - it's the gesture that means something, and he did NOTHING. Except a text with a smiley face.

Any time I talk about something that interests me, he either zones out, interrupts to talk about something he’s interested in, or criticizes my interest. I’m not exaggerating. If I could, I’d have anyone reading this talk to my mother and sisters about these things. Even his son and daughter – my father and aunt – know these things are true about him and can’t stand him. My aunt has talked to me about his behavior on many, many occasions.

He’s said things like “I’d like to think I’ve had some influence over [what you do with] your body,” “I consider myself your stand-in father,” “…after everything I’ve done for you” and (to my mother), “If it weren’t for me, your kids would be going nowhere.”

There’s so, so much more; this is just the tip of the iceberg. But absolute bottom line, he’s controlling and manipulative and has anger issues. He doesn’t actually care about getting to know ME, he just has an IDEA of who I am and when I deviate in any way from this, he becomes angry.

Now, I’ve talked to him about this multiple times at this point. He’s claimed he understands and that I can go to him when I have a problem with him. This isn’t true, though, because he becomes angry or flat out ignores me when he does it again another time. I’m also very anxious in dealing with him assertively because he’s very domineering and yells and makes you feel guilty and like you are the one in the wrong and with the problem; you’re being ridiculous.

It's true that he has done a lot for me, but it's come at a high price. Abusers use everything they've done for you as a weapon to make you feel guilty and endure more of their abuse.

What should I do? I have to see him every Friday because he’s training me for something in the optometry field. I find myself come away angry and/or annoyed nearly every time I’m with him now. I can’t be myself around him. I don’t want him in my life – period. How can someone tell me this is wrong (and I have been told I’m being ridiculous!)? So what if he’s family? So what if he’s older and won’t be around long? So I should just keep dealing with the blatant disregard and unhappiness? What’s the point of that? To keep him happy, that’s all. It’s all about him. A relationship of any kind is supposed to be two-sided, though. If it was my mother behaving this way I’d cut her off in a heartbeat, because family isn't some holy thing. Abusive people are abusive, period, and no one should have to put up with them.

I wish I had a therapist to talk this over with, but I don't. I'm deeply conflicted but I have an overwhelming feeling that I'm being wronged and staying in a "relationship" with someone who doesn't even really know me or respect my feelings and individual personality and thoughts. But I feel so guilty at the thought of refusing to talk to him again. And I feel so terrified of having to pick up the phone and call him to say these things to him for the last time. I feel like I’m being cruel. But HE’S cruel. And I feel like it would be inappropriate and weak of me to text him or write a letter, but I can’t face the phone…

Any thoughts, advice, etc. are appreciated. Thanks for reading.
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But he loves you!

I need to know something. Is it the "right" thing to do to keep someone in your life who shows time and again he doesn't respect you, just because he's family and has done "so much" for you and may pass away within the next few years?

Not if you feel that doing so is causing you damage - you have the right to at least keep him at a distance.


Well-known member
If I were you I would continue to keep him at arms length, he sounds somewhat like my Uncle who I have nothing to do with.


Well-known member
I agree. At arms-length is best. Family can sometimes be the biggest obstacle weighing you down. Don't allow him to do that... you shouldn't even give his rude comments any space in your mind. People like that don't care about your feelings or interests... they just want their voice to sound the loudest. Let him continue to live that way, as he will never change. Just
Keep doing what your doing, and don't look back.


Are you 100% happy to have him nowhere in your life, no longer having any contact at all, will not miss him, and possibly the next time you see him be at his funeral?
If you can honestly tell yourself that, yes, you do feel this way, and there is no hesitation, then I say cut him out. But ONLY if you know deep down that you will not regret this decision. Because while he is family, and he may care about you, you have to do what is best for you and your mental health. If there is eve a slight chance that you will feel guilty by never speaking to him again, and you cant just let him go, then keep on family terms with him. Things such as christmas, birthdays, family events, but without making an effort to go out of your way to have contact, or to visit him, or anything.
At the end of the day, your mental state is more important than keeping someone in your life who is acting like poison.
Hope I helped!


Well-known member
Screw that. Throw him out of your life entirely.

You don't need someone that causes you anything but *more* anxiety. You deserve to be peaceful, happy... and free from the contempt that he tries to smother you with.

Seriously... he's merely a crotchety old man who thinks he can manipulate a young woman into being exactly like himself. A 'lasting legacy', if you will... and typical of those that, when nearing the end of their days, struggle in vain to find solace in the fact that they had absolutely zero effect on the world around them.

Nuts to that idea. Find a different optometry-teacher and move in your own direction through your own life.

*harrumph* ^^


Well-known member
Cut him out of your life. I remember you talking about your grandfather once before and how rude and derogatory he can be.

He's family, but who cares? You don't need him. I would even think it's okay to voice your opinion of him to his face, too. In fact, I definitely condone it. Let him know you want nothing more to do with him.


Iä! Iä! Cthulhu fhtagn!
Staff member
I've said it before, but I'll say it again. He sounds like he has NPD. He's toxic and dangerous and the best way to deal with such people is to stay completely away from him. If complete ejection from your life is not possible, just keep as far from him as possible and do your best not to get caught up into his mind games.


You sound frustrated and annoyed, but I wouldn't say you're letting his comments get to you or that they're damaging you psychologically... you know where they're coming from and you know he's the problem. You've always struck me as a pretty strong person and at the risk of being jumped on, I'm going to come out and say I think you can probably handle your grandfather. If you couldn't, then you would be talking about how YOU are worthless-- but you know it's not true and you know he's just a nasty old man who doesn't realize how much he puts people off, or does and doesn't care. You don't have to love him, respect him, or listen to his BS... but you should definitely take the opportunity to further your work prospects.

If the comments are really upsetting you, you could definitely try confronting him about it. If you can't do it in person, do it either over the phone or in writing. If there is even a glimmer of a decent human being there, he will listen... and it could even lead to some much-needed soul-searching.

Sometimes these people get worse when you don't confront them. My dad is sort of like that in that my mom doesn't call him out on his BS very often, so he lives in this bubble world where he thinks he's wonderful and everything he does is perfectly okay... it's not good for him and it's not good for anyone who has to deal with him, and he is lonelier and unhappier and more bitter because of it. But I think this kind of treatment and bubble-world phenomenon was pretty common in the recent past.

But I guess if you can't handle any more of his BS then just stop going or whatever. I'm sure in your situation I would have smacked him or exploded or cut him out of my life by now, but since I'm a hypocrite I can tell you that as hard as it is, it is best to deal with it for the sake of what is apparently going to be your career.

The truth about this world is that sometimes you will have to deal with extremely shitty people in order to get what you need. It can be absolute agony but giving up is worse in a lot of ways. If I hadn't let my frustration build and my pride/ego get in the way, I would have two more degrees and much better career options than I currently do.

Of course, the anxiety was a problem but the bigger problem was not being able to get over myself and just grit my teeth and soldier through... I needed to be treated with respect, to do it my way, to see disagreeable people punished, to have everything fair... and if the world didn't bend to my demands for what seemed to me to be very basic courtesies, then I wanted nothing to do with it all.

And it meant I failed two placements and became a pariah at least once.

As hard as it is, you need to recognize that his comments won't matter in the long term. You've already recognized that he's just a nasty old man who people only really have in their lives because of familial obligation, so you know exactly what the score is and why you shouldn't let him bother you.

But while those comments will fade away, be forgotten, and probably make you laugh after a while-- turning your back on a skill or something that can help you to find a career will haunt you for the rest of your life. We need more people like you being optometrists and fewer people like your granddad, and if you let him push you away from this then it will be everyone else's loss.
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Thank you for the replies; I truly appreciate them.

Odo, I see what you're saying and maybe you're right. I wasn't training to be an optometrist, though - I was training to be an opthalmic assistant, and I already told him I'm done with it. I'm getting a Bachelors in something else and the training was meant to be a backup/alternative.

Thing is, we've actually done very little training when we meet; my grandfather mostly blathers about subjects I have zero interest in, or picks my brain about my siblings.

I really don't want to do the optical thing anymore, so I have no reason to interact withhim frequently. He'd only use the fact that HE trained me and that he's family to control my work decisions.