My Paternal Grandmother Hates My Mother and Me

The Japan News

Dear Troubleshooter:

I’m a female doctor in my 20s. My paternal grandmother hates my mother and me, seeing us as a “frog” and a “froglet.”

Since I was small, we were compared to our relatives for reasons that made no sense, and were always criticized for what she considered to be our poor academic ability and appearance.

My grandmother ridiculed not only us, but also my mother’s wealthy family and relatives. She even pointed a knife at my mother once. My grandfather is sympathetic to my grandmother.

I was recognized as a “human child” when I passed an entrance exam of a national university. But whenever I told them happy news, they always disparaged me, making me feel bad.

Unable to take it anymore, my mother and I stopped visiting my grandparents about six years ago. My father visits his parents alone.

When I decided to get married, my father urged me to introduce my fiance to my grandparents. But I feel like my grandparents don’t want to see me, so I don’t think it’s necessary for me to go see them either. Does this make me unfilial?

E, Osaka Prefecture

Dear Ms. E:

I think it is a wise decision that you haven’t seen your grandparents for six years. I don’t know how your parents got married, but to make fun of your mother means that your grandparents don’t approve of their son either.

Pointing a knife at your mother is tantamount to attempted murder. To fix such a relationship would be incredibly difficult, so keeping your distance is your best bet.

If your father insists you must go see your grandparents to tell them about your engagement, it may be a good idea to explain the situation to your fiance and practice dealing with possible scenarios beforehand. If they continue to make fun of you, you should declare that you will never see them again and leave.

This may be the last possible chance for your grandparents to see you. You should face them with confidence as if you are allowing them this privilege. You will see for yourself whether they have reflected on themselves during the six years of absence.

Also, calling someone a “frog” is a terrible thing. Did your grandmother say that to your face? Or are you using this as a metaphor? In case of the latter, you should refrain from using such words that put yourself down.

You are the only person in the world who is you; you are irreplaceable. Please be kind to yourself.

Hazuki Saisho, writer