Three generational quarters

 

There is conflict between a stepfather and his teen stepson. It escalates to the point where the stepson does some nasty things to his stepfather – including stealing his quarter collection and spitting in his tea.  He constantly wants to have open access to "his mother’s” bedroom, as well.  More than that, he wants to have access to his mother’s side of the bed.  When he is told by his stepfather to get out of the bed, he declares, “I am on my mother’s side”.

 

Maternal grandmother is extremely involved with the boy.  When she heard that her son in law was collecting quarters, she asked him to buy some for herself. So, stepfather not only had “dealings” with the mother of his stepson, but some “dealings” with another woman his stepson had a relationship with, namely grandmother.

 

So, by lying on the bed, stepson claims his mother; by stealing quarters, he claims his grandmother. What does grandmother do?  First, the quarters her son in law had bought for her she gives some back to him, to bail her grandson out of trouble, by kind of replenishing the amount.  Her son in law accepted the quarters, still has them but does not know what to do with them, feeling as though he is stuck with them.  Grandmother knows that her grandson is not allowed in his parents’ bedroom.  One month after her son in law’s birthday, she sends him a belated birthday present:  a safe that he can keep his quarters in.   The inference – her son in law has a place to keep some of his things safe so that her grandson can come into the bedroom.

 

This is a typical enmeshed three generational configuration: grandmother has been trying to steal her daughter's son from the beginning.  She had been pushing her daughter to be extremely permissive because she constantly - directly and indirectly - criticized her for not being kind enough to her son.  It is almost as if she delegated her daughter to look after her own son as a governess …….. as grand as she may feel about that.

 

1957 - 2005.
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