Gransnet forums


between a rock and a hard place..

(78 Posts)
granny4 Tue 14-Aug-12 13:12:03

A not unknown scenario, I am having a major problem with my oldest daughter. A very bright girl she had/has an eating disorder which I supported her through for many years, she always was a handful. She discovered in her late teens I was having an affair she has always used it against me and when her father and I divorced she was very angry. Nevertheless we remained very close and I probably gave her more time than I did to my other children perhaps because I saw her as more vulnerable.

She married a few years ago a lovely man with a very high profile job as does she; he has 2 teenage children and now they have 2 little ones, they live abroad. She presents herself as being perfectly in control and leading a perfect life. Every time I have visited I have had to fly home early due to her bad temper and at times physical abuse of me and yet I keep going back for more. When she has visited me here there have always been rows, one time she locked me in my room after manhandling me. It has got much worse since she married. I know that her husband is very unhappy, he looks terribly ill and I know that she is equally cruel to him, he has told her twice that he wishes he had never married her. I was there. I am now barred by her from talking to him and am also I am not to ask him how he is as I embarrass him and her. I believe her stepchildren are also unhappy, one has gone to live with her mother permanently and the other spends most of his time at his mother's too but wants to stay near his father.

I have since married the man with whom I had the affair, she hates him with a vengeance. We went with the rest of the family to the baby's christening earler this year. As soon as all the guests had gone she turned on us all. We all had to go to bed, we were not allowed to have a drink or watch television. The rest of the family left the next morning. I was due to stay for a few extra days. She hauled me out of bed and pushed me around calling me terrible things and accused my husband of dreadful sexual offences against her stepdaughter and also of stealing from them; he had also left early. I stayed despite all of this to see if I could calm her down but it was no good and eventually I called a cab and left. She had packed my bags earlier and put them out in the snow and -20 temperatures.
I love her and my little grandchildren and I want things to be better. We have been trying to build bridges but recently she has sent me a few nasty emails. When I spoke on the phone to her this week, she invited me over to go and stay any time and I said I didn't think that would be possible. She immediately lost the plot again screaming at me so much so I had to put the phone down. Since then I have had 2 terrible emails from her.

Where do I go from here? I don't want to lose her or my grandchildren. I have suggested she gets some help but that is rejected out of hand and tells me it is I who need help.

harrigran Tue 14-Aug-12 18:27:20

Sadly there are some situations that you can not improve, best left to the professionals. Daughter obviously has serious issues.
granny4 flowers

vampirequeen Tue 14-Aug-12 18:30:30

Most countries have some form of formal child services. Could you contact them and voice your concerns anonymously?

One of the reasons I suggested MH issues, granny4, is that you seem to feel you have done something wrong and tbh if it is MH issues then you haven't. You have no way of knowing when your daughter is going to flip and the chances are that your daughter doesn't know either.

Annobel Tue 14-Aug-12 18:35:25

I don't think we have stood back and uttered 'useless platitudes'. That is not out way. What can we do? We are detached from the situation and can only guess at what Granny4 is going through. Sympathy and a shoulder do show her that she is not alone. It wouldn't surprise me if someone, unbeknown to the rest of us will pm her or has already done so.
Tell us, Nanban - since you first told us your distressing story over a year ago now, is that all you think we have done for you - stood back and uttered 'useless platitudes'? I do hope not.

Anagram Tue 14-Aug-12 18:40:38

I do think that perhaps Nanban's second post has been misinterpreted - my feeling was that she was reacting to the suggestion by some that we should not attempt to analyse the behaviour of others, or mention MH issues, without knowing the whole story.

Ariadne Tue 14-Aug-12 18:48:19

Well, yes, ana I agree with that

Nanban Tue 14-Aug-12 20:02:23

Thank you Anagram - absolutely right. I thought some people were trying to offer up helpful pointers, and were being told not to in a way. We all have an opinion and should be able to voice it, and some of us may be very easily be put off by being told what is and is not acceptable. No, I'm not saying that very well either - sorry.

Ariadne Tue 14-Aug-12 20:04:51

OK. Maybe I got it wrong, and if I did, apologies.

Nanban Tue 14-Aug-12 20:05:05

A PS to Annobel - I've had enormous help and support from everyone and that has been wonderful for me, I'd like the same for everyone.

NfkDumpling Tue 14-Aug-12 20:33:19

I agree with Vampirequeen that there may well be MH issues here that need sorting. However, only psychiatric tests well determine what course to take, it doesn't do to go jumping in heavy handed. It may well be that counselling to help her understand and deal with her various hang ups may be enough. I've seen it work wonders. The problem is persuading her.

Actually you may find that a couple of sessions with a counsellor yourself will help you understand how to deal with the situation better. Being able to talk fully, frankly and confidentially to someone completely uninvolved might be very useful.

But I can see that to stand on the sidelines and watch their lives fall apart isn't an option especially with regard to the little ones and it would be awful for you to loose contact. Oh, what a terrible situation. flowers

Annobel Tue 14-Aug-12 21:09:35

Nanban, I'm very glad to know that we've been a help to you - and hopefully to other grans in similar circumstances. smile

Nanban Wed 15-Aug-12 08:29:10

The result of being in 'our' situations is that family relationships are all changed, like a poisonous little bomb in the midst that destroys/distorts bits of everyone. I am simply not the person I thought I was, or used to be, and I look and behave quite differently towards everyone else. I was not an angry person but now that's my first reaction when I hear the smallest of criticisms. It's not something I can do anything about - it is a sort of traumatic stress. And the awful thing is that I now hand out criticism far too easily - criticising those who say we shouldn't jump to conclusions over the personality of this daughter, not the best way to go.

Is my daughter-in-law a disturbed personality - I have no way of knowing; is this daughter disturbed, ditto. And that is the greatest stress of all - not knowing, not having the diagnosis but having to live with the symptoms, with nice ordinary people on the outside not comprehending; I stand in the shoes of a dear friend who stood there for 10 years before her son spoke to her, and I wish I knew then what I know now.

The wonderful thing about gransnet is that people really do know and if they want to say their son/daughter has a personality disorder, this is most likely the only place they can say so.

Bags Wed 15-Aug-12 08:37:49

granny4 and nanban, and any others in such a situation flowers. I am sorry for your continuing suffering, but it is good for those of us who do not have these problems to know about them, and if being able to tell us helps anyone, even in a small way, then that is good.

Ella46 Wed 15-Aug-12 08:39:01

Nanban flowers You are right, as long as we are sure of our anonymity, we can say the unsayable (about our family) on here.

And be sure of understanding from friends.

Littlenellie Wed 15-Aug-12 08:45:53

nanban I think your reaction is entirely normal you have been so hurt and wounded over your treatment,that you are protecting yourself and to attack is the best form of self defence when you feel threatened.Events shape our lives and our reactions to other events....especially where our children are involved...Gransnet is a safety valve and a way of getting different perspectives and checking wether you are "normal" in your reaction to events,there is so much support on here which is given freely and received gratefully big hug from nelliexxxxx

Mishap Wed 15-Aug-12 09:33:17

This is a very sad situation and I think the best suggestion that has come up is for the OP to discuss with a counsellor (preferably with MH training and experience) who might be able to advise the most appropriate response and look at all sides of the problem, including offering the OP some support.

Daughter does sound very unhappy and all the family are suffering.

Nanadogsbody Wed 15-Aug-12 10:01:23

Get real nanban. A step BACK does not mean opting out, it is simply that. Stand back, take a time to think about the situation before taking any actions that could make the situation worse.

I think this is what granny4 is doing by enlisting our support. I hope you and your family manage you work this situation t somehow xx

petallus Wed 15-Aug-12 10:31:50

I'm in the camp for seeing the daughter as unhappy/very angry rather than assuming, at this stage, that she has a mental illness.

I also think it's an excellent idea that OP should seek some counselling herself to enable her to deal better with the situation and also hopefully get a broader view.

nanban flowers

vampirequeen Wed 15-Aug-12 10:43:58

I don't think anyone is assuming anything. Just suggesting possibilities.

Faye Wed 15-Aug-12 11:54:45

The problem as I see it, having lived with a person who I am sure has a Personality Disorder is they most probably will never be diagnosed. They normally don't seek professional help. At least having some understanding of why a person acts in the way they do does help a lot.

Granny4 and Nanban flowers

greenmossgiel Wed 15-Aug-12 12:06:54

My daughter, who estranged herself from us for a number of years, can be quite violent when fearful and angry. I know that she has been diagnosed with a degree of mental health issue, and simply cannot cope when things get on top of her. She cannot manage finances and lives quite chaotically, but is a loving mother and grandma herself.
Just talking about your own fears on here will help you a bit, Granny4. Everyone has different reasons for their behaviour, and without your knowing the full story of your daughter's problem it's impossible to know how to face it all.
Is Greatnan away just now? I was just thinking that she would be able to put her own slant on this, too?

Ariadne Wed 15-Aug-12 12:12:15

I think Greatnan is over here at a wedding? Grandjura will know!

greenmossgiel Wed 15-Aug-12 12:13:44

We'll no doubt be getting all the news soon, then! smile

mickey Wed 15-Aug-12 13:47:02

Agree with everyone who advises help for yourself-it should help you to cope. The real worry here for me is the small children and the effect of a tense situation at home on them. I suffered this and still remember it in my sixties. Its a shame the husband is so frightened as he could be a buffer for the childrens emotional health. But get some support for yourself. Also its not your fault-she's an intelligent adult, and knows affairs happen and should get over it.

Nanban Wed 15-Aug-12 17:59:07

Absolutely Mickey - the effect on the children is hugely concerning but for Granny4, how hard it must be to worry about that and yet have to stand helplessly by. I remember my DiL screaming abuse at me and all the while little grandson slept in his pushchair, which made me think afterwards how he must be so used to it.

I've said it before and will say it again, you are a lovely lot and tolerate all my whingeing and carping and that is one of life's small bonuses. Thank you dearies, you have no idea how much it means to me.

Annobel Wed 15-Aug-12 18:07:34

Yes, Greatnan is in this country at the moment but I think she will be back home quite soon and I am sure that this thread will ring some bells with her.