How To Deal With My Negative Grandmother

by Cassandra


Hi Adam! So for years our family has had to put up with my grandmother and feel trapped. She lies a lot and talks behind me and my other family members' backs constantly. She's currently living with my uncle who is a captain on a boat and my little brother who she raised. She gets a retirement check and a social security check every month plus there is my uncle's extra money, so she just stays home all day and has nothing to do, so her day consists of gossiping about people and constantly stalking family members facebook pages to see what they're up every time I go she has something bad to say and is constantly spreading negativity but since she doesn't have friends and my uncle is working all the time or a lot of family members that want to be around her, she almost wants me to be there every day especially now since I'm not currently working because I am close to my due date in pregnancy and my husband and I just moved back to Louisiana after being in Idaho for 10 months.

I can't just stop talking to her because she has helped me a lot after my dad passed away and she's been buying a lot of stuff for my baby and even throwing my baby shower at her house, but every time I'm around her it's like her negativity just rubs off on me and going visit her becomes like a chore and every time I'm there I just want to tell her to stop being so judgmental and stop talking bad about can I make visits with her less irritating and remain positive? It would mean the world for your advice thank you.


Negativity seems much more powerful when you push against it, whether it is in yourself or another. So, if for some reason you can not say to her that you can not really respond to her negativity, then experiment with not pushing back against it internally, not resisting it. See what happens if you let her be as negative as she wants to be, without trying to stop her. You will also notice that you may just lose interest in listening to her, her words may begin to sound more like static noise. If it seems unavoidable that you go to see her and spend time with her, take the time to sit, and bring more attention to what is within you. The more you want her to be positive, the more your attention will feel sucked out into the world and into fighting with negativity. You can still be there, listening, but without interpreting what you hear, without telling yourself a story about what you are hearing. Feel yourself on the chair, or your breath, or the aliveness in your legs or hands or body.

It will feel different, and may even be interpreted as rudeness if you are not particularly reactive to what someone is saying. But that is not your concern. Be like an empty space that negativity can not grasp onto. It is more like it just passes through unrestricted, and can not stick inside you. Or it is like it does not want to come near you any more, because you are too bright for it.

I’m not saying you will then be destined to always be sitting and listening, things will change at some point, but if you are going to be there, you may as well stop trying to change your grandmother into something else. Then the power you thought she had over you diminishes. You may still find yourself spontaneously saying something in the moment, like “I’m sorry, but I just can’t listen very attentively when you are just complaining or criticising people. Can’t we talk about anything else?” So this would be more of an honest expression, rather than a condemnation or criticism of your grandmother.

So you don’t have to remain positive. Often people try to be positive, but experience negativity in some form. Then they end up denying or suppressing their own feelings. Rather than trying to be positive instead of negative, just don’t fight the negative. It is easier, and then you may see that most of its power over you only came from yourself, from your resistance to it.

Does that help?


P.S And also, just because someone has helped you out with things, which of course you can be grateful for, this does not automatically mean that they have then bought rights over what you do, or how often you see them.


Comments for How To Deal With My Negative Grandmother

(from previous website)

Feb 21, 2016
Thank you ! 
by: Cassandra  

This has helped thank you . often when I go visit I try to remain positive and hope that she will somehow change her ways but I know that its too late for her so its best not to fight it like you've said and just sit there and listen. Again thank you!!!

Feb 21, 2016
by: Adam -

It's not necessarily too late for her, but if you can not address the issue with her directly, then it is only painful for you to sit there and resist it internally. 

All the best.