Lauren's Story

"She was abusive and violent. It’s been hell. My son decided to leave with my grandson. She arrived with 3 guys. They took the child. My son will [now] be homeless on Christmas Day. I’ve got no money left. I’ve spent my inheritance plus $340,000. I’ve spent it on food for them, clothes, petrol, cars, things for the child, safety seats for my grandson, electricity bills, their rent, submissions to family court, medicine, doctor, psychologist and psychiatrist bills. I wouldn’t regret that but he still doesn’t have access to his son. I haven’t seen my grandson. His access to his child is entirely at her whim. Sometimes she’ll yell for 30 mins then he can take him. My son treads on eggshells. She’s admitted she’s [got] Borderline Personality Disorder. She rings and abuses me. I pick up the phone and hear screeching. Then she hangs up. She says I’ll be lucky to see my grandson again. I’m in my late 70's. I won’t be alive when my only grandson turns 16. I’m overwhelmed. I’ve lost 10kgs. There’s no penalty for her. It breaks my heart that my dear, precious grandson will grow up without love and warmth in his life. It’s killing me.”

Lauren is a grandmother aged in her late 70's in QLD. This is her story in her words. Alterations have been made solely to preserve confidentiality.

“My son was working in a mine.

He was contacted online by a girl who said she was pregnant and in a bad relationship.

He said he had spare rooms and she was welcome. They got together.

The child was lost.

Then she got pregnant to my son and had a very difficult pregnancy. It ended in an emergency caesarean. The child was premature and wasn’t doing very well. He was flown to hospital. They had to drive many hours in a state of trauma.

That child only lived a few weeks.

The relationship ended.

My son was devastated and came to stay with me.

He was living with me, sort of doing some part-time work, but every day he was drinking to excess.

I was terrified he was going to kill himself with alcohol poisoning.

This went on for 12 months.

He met someone else online and headed to WA.

That relationship seemed to be going quite well. After about a year they decided to have a child together, she already had a young son.

I went over for the birth and was welcome.

Things were going reasonably well but I could see that my son wasn’t 100% well.

Understandably, he’d spend the whole pregnancy worried about what was going to happen.

I stayed a few weeks helping out and did everything.

The child’s mother stayed in the bedroom, feeding the baby most of the time. She didn’t do much else.

Her other son was thin.

He wasn’t used to having breakfast made for him and seemed used to going off to school without breakfast and no packed lunch.

I did everything for those weeks in the tiny little housing department house.

When the baby turned six months I went back for a couple of weeks.

My son wasn’t very happy.

He’d been on Centrelink all that time and finances were pretty poor.

I did so much to help fix up the unit. I wrote to a politician, they jumped to it.

There was a powerpoint that was broken but it was on. The electrician said if anyone had touched it, they would have died.

There were gas leaks, which I smelt because I have very sensitive sense of smell.

This was a few years ago.

It was amicable enough when we all parted. We hugged goodbye.

Between then and the next contact, I don’t know what happened.

My son had been complaining about the way she was treating him. She was abusive and violent towards him.

I was also becoming increasingly concerned about the way she was responding to me.

She had a huge fight with her own mother and hasn’t spoken to her since. She hasn’t had any contact with her own sisters either.

Since then, it’s been hell.

All this time, I’ve been paying for everything.

It reached the point where my son decided he had to leave with my grandson.

He was with his son in the park when he got a call from the guy he’d been living with who said the police had turned up and were looking for him.

He panicked and started driving.

Long story short, she tracked him down.

She arrived with three guys he’d never seen before. They took the child and she said, “If you ever want to see your child again, we’ll be in [city].”

If that was me I would have phoned the police and said, “My child’s just been kidnapped by three men I don’t know.”

But he didn’t.

My son will be homeless next Wednesday, on Christmas Day.

His aunt had booked him a flight home for Christmas but his ex called, her other son had run away. My son got caught up searching for him and he missed his flight.

I’ve got no money left now, I’ve spent every last penny.

I’ve spent my entire inheritance from my parents plus $340,000.

I’ve spent it on food for them, clothes, petrol, cars, things for the child, safety seats for my grandson, electricity bills, their rent, submissions to family court, medicine, doctor bills, psychologist bills and psychiatrist bills.

My son’s on costly medications for PTSD.

I wouldn’t regret that for one minute if things had improved, but he still doesn’t have regular or secure access to his son.

I haven’t seen my grandson since.

He’s just been diagnosed as autistic.

He hasn’t spoken a word. He’s three years old. Part of me worries he’s too scared to speak.

I started saying a year ago, you need to go and get him checked out.

I said, “You were speaking sentences when you were 18 months old.” I knew something wasn’t right.

But she wouldn’t take him.

He’s only just been diagnosed now.

Whenever my grandson has a medical appointment, it’s my son who makes sure he goes.

His access to his own child is entirely at her whim.

Sometimes she’ll say yes he can see him, and then she’ll change her mind. Sometimes she’ll yell for 30 minutes then agree that he can take him to the park.

My son treads on eggshells every day.

She’s admitted to my son that she’s been diagnosed with BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder).

She rings my home phone and abuses me at all hours.

I pick up the phone and hear yelling and screeching. She rants abuse about my son. I say “Please just talk to me…” Then she hangs up.

She says I’m bitchy.

She says I’m narcissistic.

She says I brought up my son poorly, to be selfish and use people.

She says I’ll be lucky to see my grandson ever again.

She says I’ll even be lucky to see him when he turns 16.

It’s clear her intention is to alienate him from me entirely.

I’m in my late 70's - I won’t even be alive when my one and only grandson turns 16.

Sometimes when my son does get access he will phone me. I say, “Put him on”.

He holds the phone to my grandson’s ear and I say, “Darling, it’s grandma. I love you.”

He giggles.

I start blowing him kisses.

He giggles even louder.

At least I get to hear that, I suppose.

I’m completely overwhelmed and floundering. I don’t know where to turn.

I’ve lost 10kgs in the past year, it keeps pouring off me. I’m so stressed.

I’m stressed about my son, he’s stressed about his son, and it’s all one person’s fault.

This is my one grandchild. My chance to show him love is now and it’s being denied.

I have no sway with the child’s mother and there’s no penalty for her to pay for all of her abusive text messages.

It breaks my heart that my dear, precious grandson will grow up without love and warmth in his life.

It’s killing me.”

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