So, I divorced my husband after six years of an emotionally abusive relationship and a reclusive life in a small town that was only making me miserable. I gave up financial security to follow my bliss and live my own life in a far away city with more perspectives for my career. I left practically empty-handed and with our five year-old daughter - he gave me her custody with no resistance. I have taken care of my child practically by myself since the beginning, and we have very strong ties. Her well-being was also one of the reasons for the divorce. She was feeling my misery. Her father was distant and unloving. The divorce happened with no traumas. My baby and I have been living away for six months now, and we are both happy. Financially, I am struggling, but we have new friends and a life richer in new experiences. I also found love, a man who gives us both more love and tenderness that we ever had. Naturally, my child misses her family, but that by no means seems to be making her unhappy.
However, that move has been very hard on my ex mother-in-law, who is completely obsessed about my daughter, her only grandchild. I go along well with her, but that requires a lot of patience and understanding. I judge her behavior toward my daughter a little over the top. She clearly wants to compete with me in the position of mother. She keeps telling me what to do, keep saying things like "she is my world", "my reason of living", and once she even said that her love for my daughter is the same as mine's. I understand, but I feel disrespected. She has his own son, that once has been a child. She had her time. Now it is my time, and she has no right to take that from me. My child is my responsibility, with all the joys and burdens. She is so obsessed that the impression I have sometimes is that she would be capable of going to the court to take my daughter, if she had the chance.
We decided to come and spend the Holidays with them. Seeing my ex m.i.l's reactions for almost two weeks now has made me feel very guilty for the decision I made. She cries. She says that she doesn't know how she will make it once we leave. Even seeing all the (unhealthy) drama, I feel like I have done something terribly wrong. Last night I almost could not sleep so miserable I felt. I even considered the possibility of moving back to a city nearby so they could stay closer. However, that would mean giving up the life I chose for myself, and also the life by the person I love.
My questions are: should I feel guilty for putting my happiness above theirs? Am I being unfair to my ex m.i.l.? What are the limits grandparents have when it comes to their grandchildren? I have no doubt that being with me is of my child's best interest, but sometimes I am afraid I am taking from her the joys of having a family around.