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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
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Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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What do I tell my grandchildren about why hes not around ?

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What do I tell my grandchildren about why he's not around ? They are 5- 14 yrs old. He acts so fun & kind to them when parents around-- but after several episodes of his pulling them hard on arms , shutting down & not answering their ?'s & plain being cruel to them as soon as nobody but me is around , I've kept them protected from him when parents aren't around. What I mean is they have not really been able to tell it's abuse, b/c I've cleaned it up. I'm sure they've been confused , but not really damaged so what do I say about why he's not here? We're not together now, he's in his other form of abuse which is withholding & silence b/c I asked him to get help w/ me & to cut off his emoitional affair w/x wife who he'd been divorced from 12 yrs when I met him. More rats keep coming out of closet. As I write this I realize how hopeless it is.

Hello, it's good to talk with you again.


Children are very insightful. They may not know what their grandfather did is called abuse, but they knew that it was wrong and it hurt, especially if you had to protect them. They would also recognize that their parents did not treat them the same way.


The best way to approach the absence of the children's grandfather is to tell them the truth, just without the unnecessary details. For example, you can tell them that grandpa was not treating you nicely and you feel he did not treat them nicely either (use whatever words you feel describes the situation best). Tell them for that reason grandpa is not at home anymore. Emphasize that this was a choice you and grandpa decided was best for now. The closer to the truth you can be, the better. Kids are very good at knowing when someone is not telling the truth and so will accept a close to the truth explanation before an untruthful one.


It is also healthier for them to understand why their grandfather is not there. They know he was not nice to them and may also know he was not nice to you. Seeing that he is not there because of it shows them that there are consequences to behavior that hurts others. So though it is not an easy situation, it is healthy for the kids.


It sounds like your husband continues to create problems and does not see he is the cause or the center of the abuse. As we talked about before, as long as he refuses to see himself as part, if not all, of the problem, he is going to continue to be abusive. It is very healthy for you to move away from being with him until he can see he has problems that need addressed, if he is ever able to gain enough insight.


Let me know if I can help any further,


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