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Should I keep my son away from my mother who is a drug addict?

Q: I am an only child of divorced parents. My father is an alcoholic but he is good by nature. He has always stood by me whenever I needed him. My mother on the other hand has always been a drug addict. She never really had much to do with me. She sent me to live with my father's parents but for some reason I wanted to go back with her. I have spent most of the time at my aunt's house. We never had a good relationship. Her brother molested me when I was 8 years old. When I told her she did nothing. Six years ago, she decided to have a relationship with me and since then my life has been hell. She wanted me to do what daughters are supposed to do. Yet she never acted like a mother. She preferred partying all the time. She would call me and tell me all her problems, ask for money, ask me to come and get her out of jail. She says things about me being abused and has created a big uproar in the family. She gets mad at me, if I don't tell her that I love her and threatens to kill herself. things got worse when I got pregnant. She started saying things like 'I hope your child treats the way you treat me'. She started calling me a fat bitch. After sometime, she left and I got to know that she was living with a man who has AIDS. I told her that she could not see my family if she continued this destructive behaviour. Due to this, she started cursing again and threatened me about taking me to court to take my child away from me. I finally stopped answering her calls. She recently left me a message saying that she wished she had never given birth to me. I didn't invite her to my child's 1st birthday and her side of the family boycotted the party. I stay away from her side of the family altogether, because if I do visit they sneak and call her and she shows up. Today my son has turned 2, but nothing has changed - she is still on drugs and crazy as before. I thought if she loved me enough, she would stop doing drugs, but I was wrong. I swore to myself that, I would never let her hurt my child like she has hurt me. The only way I can do this is by staying away from her. But she showed up again at my work place with my grandma who is trying to mend us. I want to know whether I am doing the right thing by keeping away or am I harming my child by not letting him see his grandmother? Please advise.

A:Nobody is in a better position than you to decide what sort of effect your mother will have on your child. You must understand that your relatives from your mother’s side may only be trying to mend things between the two of you and you should try not to hold that against them. There is obviously a communication breakdown between your mother and you. The fact that on your son's second birthday you are reconsidering your decision to keep her away from him shows the ambivalence that you maybe feeling about your decision to keep her away from your own life as well. At this point you should listen to your own instincts and if possible try and mend your relationship with her first. I would suggest that you explain to her that her behaviour is not acceptable to you and that both of you should consider counselling immediately. Family therapy can be a good option and I also suggest that you see a psychologist anyway, to resolve and avoid any effect that the past may have on your present or future family or personal life.

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