Some of the fondest memories many people have are of the time they spent with their grandparents. We think of grandparents, and particularly grandmothers, as wanting to spend as much time as possible with their grandchildren. It’s hard to imagine they wouldn’t want to spend time together, but sometimes, grandparents – even a grandmother – aren’t really interested in their grandchildren. What’s that about?
There are many reasons a grandmother might not have an interest in spending time with her grandchildren. One important reason they can lack interest in their grandchildren is if they are narcissistic. Narcissists are only able to focus on themselves and how people can help them, even a grandkid.
It’s surprising to think your own grandmother might not be interested in spending time with you, but it does happen. Many times grandparents are indifferent to their own grandkids because they only care about their own needs. If you have an indifferent grandmother, it’s critical to read about how narcissism can affect her desire to spend time with you. Let’s get to it.
Why Isn’t Your Grandmother Interested in You?
Research into the role of grandparent investment in their grandchildren is a growing field of study. Grandparents make valuable contributions to the health and well-being of their families, and if grandparents are indifferent, that can make a big difference too.
Surprisingly, up to 50 percent of biological grandparents in Europe report not investing at all in even minor childcare of their grandchildren. Why wouldn’t they be interested in spending time with their grandchildren?
The linked study posited a number of reasons why grandparents might not invest. The researchers found that though biological grandparents were more likely to invest in the care of their grandchildren than non-biological grandparents, they were also more likely to invest nothing at all.
The focus of the study was not on the specific reasons that biological grandparents wouldn’t invest, and thus, the researchers could only speculate as to the reasons why. One thing they noted was the increased likelihood that biological grandparents might be estranged from their families.
Why might they be estranged? While there has not been a lot of research into this question, one reason for estrangement would be a narcissistic parent whose emotional abuse has caused a rift with their own children. In fact, one study in 2015 did report that the most frequent reason adult children gave for cutting off contact with their parents was the parent’s toxic behavior.
Many adult children specifically reported feeling unaccepted and unloved. This is a typical thing for children of narcissists to report. Thus, narcissism might be at the root of the estrangement and lack of interest on the part of a grandmother.
Moreover, given that narcissists are singularly focused on their own needs, a narcissistic grandmother would only be interested in her grandchildren to the extent that they could satisfy her need for external validation.
What are the Signs that Grandma Just Isn’t Interested?
If the family is in contact with the children’s grandmother, there are several signs that she might not be interested in spending time with them. Here are a series of signs that show she is really just indifferent to her own grandchildren.
She Never Wants to Babysit
The stereotypical grandmother would jump at the chance to spend time with her grandchildren. Most are happy to babysit at least occasionally, and thus, if your grandmother never wants to babysit, she’s just not that into her grandchildren.
She’s Annoyed When She’s Around Her Grandchildren
Another big indicator is if grandma is simply annoyed every time she’s around her grandchildren. She might criticize their behavior often, telling them to be quiet or stop running around. With a narcissistic grandmother, her criticism can often be harsh.
She Doesn’t Want to Know Anything About Her Grandchildren
Grandmothers who are interested in their grandchildren want to know every little detail about everything their grandchildren do, like, and are interested in. When a grandmother shows no interest, it’s a big indicator she’s indifferent to her grandkids.
She’s Verbally Abusive
Verbal abuse is specifically a hallmark of the narcissistic grandmother. She might refer to her grandchildren as brats or crybabies. She might even call them little monsters. This is something that can do real damage to their self-esteem.
She’s Cold and Distant
Not only isn’t she asking to see her grandchildren, but when she does come for a visit, she’s cold and distant. That’s another sign that she’s indifferent.
How Can a Grandmother’s Indifference Affect Her Grandkids?
This depends on how well the grandchildren know her and how frequently they see her. If she is in regular contact, the harm she does can be significant. This is particularly true if she is a narcissist. She can do as much damage as she has done to her own children.
A narcissistic grandmother will manipulate, control, and use her own grandchildren just like she did her children. She can cause a disruption in the family dynamic and irreparable harm to her grandchildren’s relationship with their siblings and parents.
If she lives far away or doesn’t see them often, they are unlikely to be affected by her indifference as much. It is the parents of the children who may care more. The grandchildren are unlikely to notice if she is not someone they see a lot.
How Should You Deal with an Indifferent Grandmother?
If the indifferent grandmother isn’t around much or even at all, it’s probably better to just leave it that way. Hopefully, your children have another grandmother who is interested in them, or at least, they will know they have your love and support.
It’s helpful if you can have your children around supportive family and friends. Children can even form strong bonds with what are called fictitious kin. An example of fictitious kin would be the beloved babysitter that your kids affectionately call their grandmother.
These kinds of relationships should be encouraged, and your children will benefit from them in much the same way they would a healthy relationship with their biological grandmother. Loving family members also help fill any void caused by the children’s indifferent grandmother.
If the indifferent grandmother does come around on occasion, it’s important to monitor her interactions with the children. If she is harshly critical or disruptive to the family dynamic, you may want to limit her visits even further. In fact, you may have to decide to cut off all contact.
Remember that what you want is for your children to grow up with a healthy sense of identity. Narcissists can destroy that in a young child, and it’s important to protect them from such toxic people.
An indifferent grandmother simply doesn’t want to be a grandmother. Given that, it’s likely best not to force the issue given that she can cause real damage to your children. She might be indifferent for many reasons, but a common one is narcissism. Narcissists can’t focus on anyone else’s needs other than their own, and as a result, they can cause significant harm.
If your children’s grandmother is indifferent, but you’re uncertain if she is narcissistic, you need to read this article about the signs that indicate a narcissistic grandmother. It can help you understand if she might be a narcissist so that you can make the best decision for the health and well-being of your children.
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