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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.

worlie Thu 20-Sep-12 14:28:47

you cant win or win her over , i know from my own experience with my daughter so now have no contact apart from the abusive accusing text messages, I have also moved and kept my address secret but at least I live in peace, good luck.

Greatnan Sat 15-Sep-12 19:44:43

Don't give up, Granny4 - she might have another change of heart.
It is not easy to 'let go' or 'move on' when it means losing one of your children. Stop blaming yourself for any part of the situation.

POGS Sat 15-Sep-12 19:34:42

granny 4

I am sorry to read your up-date. Obviously you are never going to win without the help of the rest of the family. Your D.H. and D.D. could try and explain that you have had an operation and ask her to show a little empathy for your predicament surely. They too will never see any movement towards a united family if they don't get involved.

I hope the future get's better for you all. flowers

granny4 Fri 14-Sep-12 12:57:09

Hi again everyone. Time has moved on a bit, I had a lovely week with my younger daughter and her husband at our holiday home in France. Then my husband (the brick!) came out followed by (wait for this) my ex-step- mother in law. Got it? She is 83 glamorous and a great ex-husbands step mother. She has seen a thing or two.

We had a couple of weeks re the relationship with my older girl where things seemed to be getting a little better. It always starts out with her sending me photos by email of the grandchildren, then phone calls, she ringing me as she has changed her numbers so I can't call her. It was going quite well. However she then announced by email that they are all coming over in October on her birthday she has a meeting in London and asked to come and stay with us at our house in the midlands for 'a family weekend'. I was still thinking about it a day later and had discussed it with ex step MIL and and husband. Their advice was to say yes to visit but for them to stay elsewhere. Before I could reply I got another email saying I had to reply immediately and giving different dates when she might be available to see me in London not mentioning any possible trip home. I replied that her meetings took priority and to book those and I would if necessary come down to London to see them and we could have a meal together near the station. I have recently had major surgery and cannot walk far.

She took this as a serious slight and said a restaurant was totally unacceptable for her with the children. And she read into it that I did not want them to visit . She signed off bitterly not even putting her name. Her last words were 'I tried'.

I am distraught, I keep crying all the time and have some very dark thoughts constantly. I will hang on though I go home to UK soon and will get help. Though I feel I have reached the end of the road. I am having such a hard time I really don't think it is worth going on. I know ....feeling sorry for myself. I need a kick up the backside!

Thank you Bett for your message yesterday.

bett Thu 13-Sep-12 18:14:08

As A mother of six, two of them already retired, I have put up with tantrums, and enjoyed lovely times, with them all....
I shall be blunt here... Let them go, you have one life and you are wasting yours. Don't bother to be nice, and why should your lovely second husband have to put up with it.
Your daughter evidently does not want to have you in her life, so get away from her.. I am amazed that you have put up with this awful person for so long.
She is married so it is up to her husband to get her the help she needs.
Sad of course, but you cannot live others lives for them.
Please... I beg of you, enjoy your life.. Beth

soop Sat 18-Aug-12 12:40:00

Feeling a bit stronger, is a step in the right direction, granny4. Every member who has contributed an honest opinion, has done so with the best of intentions. I like to think of their support as 'the kindness of strangers.' Relax and enjoy your holiday. I hope that the sun shines on you. sunshine

granny4 Sat 18-Aug-12 12:20:02

Hi everyone, how wonderful you all are, I expect like me most of you have muddled along doing your best until 'Life' jumps up and bites you on the nose. I am Granny4. I have been reading and listening to your words and comfort. I have not disappeared.

I am going to get some help, I am going to find a counsellor and talk it all through. My husband is sick of it all and I don't blame him he thinks I should just walk away...but I can't do that. Is that a man thing? Or just him?Never mind that it isn't an issue. He is not her father. And he has been a brick.

I am going away with my other daughter for a short holiday, she too has received the brunt of elder daughter's tirades. So we may find some solace together. Everytime I have been going out to visit my elder daughter, she says to me "Are you sure mum?" and everytime I have flown back early having had to rearrange flights at great cost financially but immeasurably greater cost emotionally.

I feel some or all of all things you have been saying, yes I do think she is ill, yes I do think the births of both babies affected her, she is not a natural at mothering (I didn't say that, one of my sons did) yes she does need why do I sit in the dark and feel somehow that I am to blame? I need to sort this out.

Thank you for joining this cry for help and understanding. I do feel a bit stronger.

Ella46 Sat 18-Aug-12 08:31:50

I am thinking about you Granny4 and wish you well whatever you decide to do flowers

Ariadne Sat 18-Aug-12 06:59:07

Wise words as ever, ga. This is such a difficult situation for you, Granny4 and our initial reaction is to leap in and sort things out, because that is what mothers do. And you have the added issue of danger too; all you can do is monitor it all, and examine your own feelings closely so that if you have to act you do it from a calm and thoughtful position.
What a turmoil you must be in. (hug)

grannyactivist Sat 18-Aug-12 00:00:50

I think your daughter is absolutely right Granny4; you do need help, though perhaps not quite in the way she might have meant it. You can't change your daughter and so it may be useful to seek help to look at how you can best manage the situation you're in.
You say that you were visiting for the baby's christening, so can we assume that your daughter had fairly recently given birth? If that's the case it may well be that she was still in the throes of post-partum emotions. In spite of the seeming depth of her anger towards you she still subsequently invited you over to stay with her, so it's apparent that she has mixed, even conflicting, feelings about you. Can't live with you, can't live without you......
If she's continuing to hold things together in public then I wouldn't be too worried at the moment - it's the job of her husband to ensure the safety and well-being of the children and it seems you have no reason to think he won't do that, so take a deep breath and soldier on. Come on here for a bit of support when it's all getting on top of you. (((hug)))

Greatnan Fri 17-Aug-12 23:21:55

I have just caught up with this thread and as many of you guessed there are several parallels with my own sad story. The description of BPD fits my daughter exactly. Along with my other daughter, who was professionally involved in drug/alcohol treatment programmes in the UK , I did a lot of research and came to the conclusion that addiction to prescription painkillers had probably just exacerbated a lifelong problem and caused paranoid delusions. Unfortunately, there seems to be little prospect of any treatment, especially as the sufferer is usually not willing to admit that they have any mental health issues. At least my grandchildren are all adults, but they have had to cope with some very difficult behaviour from their mother and had to miss their cousin's wedding because they were too afraid to defy her.

Although there was no practical advice anyone could give me, I did find it a great relief to be able to talk about my problem here and I was comforted by the sympathy and support I received.

I also considered speaking to my ex son-in-law but I decided that it would be the end of any possibility of getting through to my daughter. Her children are not in any physical danger, as she is not violent, just spending a lot of time ranting and raving about the 'abuses' she thinks she has received from myself and her sister. I am not sure what I could have done if the children had been much younger and in any danger.

Her oldest daughter has the support of her fiance and his parents which has given her the courage to confront her mother but she admits that had she still been living at home it would have been much more difficult. I spent a couple of hours this week chatting to the second son, who is 21, at the holiday home that my other daughter has rented whilst they are in the UK. Talk about the elephant in the room! We talked at length about the problem of unemployment in his area, and his sports, but we did not mention his mother. Still, he knows I love him and I am interested in his life so that just leaves the eldest son and youngest daughter. It was very weird to be a few hundred yards from the house where I spent 17 months helping them and to be unable to see her but I was fairly sure that I would not have been allowed in the house. She is still inventing 'crimes' I am supposed to have committed.

I am not even going to try to offer anything other than sympathy and understanding as I don't think it is possible to understand the situation completely without personal knowledge of all concerned.

petallus Fri 17-Aug-12 22:46:11

Yes, hopefully the sil will be on the look out for the welfare of the children.

I agree moral support is very important when you are feeling stressed and worried about something.

I've had some very difficult family times in the past myself so I'm not unsympathetic to the OP.

gracesmum Fri 17-Aug-12 22:32:35

I think whether or not I would contact SIL would depend on my relationship with him, my own might feel he was being disloyal, but we are all different and it may be that he is the best judge of the situation when it is just the family.I didn't mean to jump in with a scenario of SIL contacting Social workers or whoever as a first step, just opening that line of communication.
Once our children are grown up we have very little influence on their actions and it is so hard to feel the pain and have to stand back.
Of course granny 4 will make her own decisions but to be in this sort of situation can make you feel very lonely and helpless. Just offering moral support.

petallus Fri 17-Aug-12 22:25:07

I notice that granny4 hasn't said an awful lot lately but no doubt she has appreciated our comments in all their diversity and will decide herself what to do next.

If it were me I would have to be pretty certain that my grandchildren were in serious danger before I would go behind my daughter's back and contact my sil with a view to calling in social workers and even taking further steps (whatever that might mean) to protect the children from their mother.

I feel this would be a step from which there would be no going back.

The OP mainly mentioned conflict between her and her daughter and a suspicion that her sil was unhappy in his marriage.

I would leave sil to sort out his problems and then I'd definitely arrange some counselling for myself to help me see the situation more clearly, maybe identifying what I was contributing to the difficulties between me and my daughter and hopefully to find a better way to deal with the matter.

I have no intention of criticising anyone else with a different view.

Marelli Fri 17-Aug-12 22:16:35

Sensible words, gracesmum.

gracesmum Fri 17-Aug-12 21:58:02

I don't thinknanban was saying we are uttering useless platitudes, just supporting our suggestions and while petallus is absolutely right about amateur diagnoses I don't think there is any harm in our opinion, if it is such, that this is pssibly a mental health problem and not merely a realationship/behavioural one. No?
I would attempt to contact SIL behind DD 's back by whatever means - he is best placed to contact health care professionals and to reassure that the children are OK. As he next of kin, he is also the right person to take action if he feels able, and to discuss with you if he doesn't.Are there any friends that yu have got to know where they live who might help with this?
It is a truly awful predicament but I do not think you should lay yourself open to physical abuse, however much you love your DD.

Marelli Fri 17-Aug-12 21:29:14

Ariadne flowers xx

Littlenellie Fri 17-Aug-12 20:32:00

ariadne I have been than grateful for your support recentlyxxxxflowers love nelliexxxxx

Ariadne Fri 17-Aug-12 20:26:04

Yes, Ella I can see that, but thank you. I really do have little to complain about, but was quite shaken. Feel better now. x

Zengran Fri 17-Aug-12 19:58:26

Ariadne I have been very glad of your shoulder in my past guise and i found it a great comfort.x

Ella46 Fri 17-Aug-12 19:37:06

Ariadne sometimes platitudes are all we can offer, and maybe nanban was having a bad day, as we all do flowers

Ariadne Fri 17-Aug-12 18:59:34

Thank you! I am smarting less now. What can one say or do, but offer a shoulder or a hug, when faced with people's suffering? I'll continue to do so.

Really appreciate your support! xx

Anagram Fri 17-Aug-12 18:34:05

I agree. Platitudes may not be of any practical help, but they show that that person is thinking of you and wishing you well. Kind words are sometimes worth more than anything to a sad or lonely person.

soop Fri 17-Aug-12 18:27:08

Ariadne You are a kind and loving lady. I'm sending you a (hug). Since joining GN, many people have made an effort to console me during distressing events. Not once did I feel that the messages were "useless platitudes"...every kind word helped to lift my spirits. I thank those whose generosity of spirit has made a huge difference to my sense of well-being.

Marelli Fri 17-Aug-12 18:07:16

Ariadne - no! You have given boundless support to so many of us. Nanban's post re 'useless platitudes' wasn't meant to criticise how we responded to Granny4's original post, I'm sure. I felt that she felt more 'despairing' of the futility of the situation. flowers