I Have Boundaries, but Grandma Doesn’t!

My mom keeps giving my son money.

Dear Katie,
I’ve really dug in and have gotten educated over the years with the disease of addiction. I no longer give my son money when he is actively using drugs, and while at first it was hard to say no, it has gotten easier with the strength that I have gained over time. Now, my son asks his grandma for help with all kinds of things. Most recently, she gave him money to have his car fixed, but she hid it from me. I didn’t find out until my son crashed his car. How do I get her to stop? —Beth

Dear Beth,
I can understand how this is a tough situation. Just like you may have felt prior to becoming educated, your mom is hoping, If I just help him this time, it will all get better. She may be feeling natural thoughts of If he has his car fixed, then he can get a job, and he will stop doing drugs. Saying no to these things can create feelings of guilt and worry that he will feel he is not loved. Although you cannot control what your mom does, you can influence her by approaching the conversation in a healthy, positive, and nonthreatening way. Tell her how much you love her and how thankful you are that she loves your son so much. Explain that you understand how hard it is to say no, and you would like to support her through this journey. A suggestion of attending a support group or educational workshop WITH you could be very impactful for her. Lastly, give your mom a big ol’ hug.

Warm wishes,

Disclaimer: The above advice is not meant to be construed as medical or legal advice. If you need professional medical, psychological, or legal advice, please contact a doctor, lawyer, or medical center.

Katie Donovan is a family, life, and relationship coach; keynote speaker; and writer with a passion for empowering women. She has been interviewed on ABC, NBC, and Fox Sports and featured in cover stories in Time and Money magazines. Katie’s award-winning blog, www.amothersaddictionjourney.com, reached over a million views and was seen in 146 countries within thirty days of its inception and has been syndicated in over thirty publications, including USA Today and Disney’s blog Babble.

Are you struggling to get your inner sparkle back? Have the relationships with your partner, family, or friends been affected? Ask me anything! You can send a confidential email to katie@amothersaddictionjourney.com with Shift Happens in the subject line.

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1 Comment

  1. I agree with some of this advice but its really hard when a Grandmother outright doesn’t respect your boundaries you have set for your addicted child. It happened to me and my Mother. My son was actively using and I explained how I knew how hard it was not to give him money, I get that completely because it had been so hard for my husband and I . I kept reminding her not to give him any money. Be part of the solution and not the problem I kept asking her for about 6 months if she was sending him money and she insisted she wasn’t. She was and kept lying to me. I understood the feeling like you mentioned about wanting to help him with money and honestly it makes the giver feel better but the lying she did to me changed our relationship completely. I felt betrayed. If she would’ve been honest with me in the beginning I would have been mad but I would’ve gotten over it but she continually lied to us and that was wrong. My husband and I were trying to save my son’s life by not enabling him. We were always there for him and connected with him but we would not give him any money. I agree with part of your answer but addiction affects families as we know and my relationship has changed with my Mom now. I cannot trust her anymore. We still speak but its different now. We were very close and I think that made the betrayal even worse.

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