Gransnet forums


Denied Contact? How to move forward?

(222 Posts)
Minty Wed 22-Jan-14 10:11:43

Thought I would start a new thread on this subject, for support, sharing and above all to consider how we need to look to the future.
I am talking personally,but I have to work with the positives, I owe it to my family and most of all to our grandchildren.
It would be good to hear all points of view, practical, emotional and worldly wise comments.

newist Wed 22-Jan-14 10:31:08

I am not sure if my comments are wise, all I know is what works for me, which is, I do not dwell on the pain, if I do I just continue to hurt myself. I believe in getting on with my life and not going over pain in my head continually and letting it rule my life

Marelli Wed 22-Jan-14 10:35:31

Minty and newist, it's the only way to go, isn't it? Accepting what what we can't seem able to change.

Stansgran Wed 22-Jan-14 10:44:38

I think grasping any olive branch offered and trying to accept that we are all human and there fore imperfect. I have learnt to modify my behaviour reading the advice on here. I'm hoping I will have the opportunity to show it.

whenim64 Wed 22-Jan-14 10:48:43

Thanks, Minty. It seems a few of us feel we want to get this topic back on a positive, 'what CAN we do' footing, which was starting to get lost in the other thread, unfortunately. I was just looking back at the other, successive threads, and when I looked at this one from over a year ago, there's so much in terms of action, constructive suggestions, looking outwards to see what media and political or social support can be harnessed, and a general sharing of progress. Let's not get dragged down into 'this is how it is and it'll never change' because it's clear that for some Gransnetters it does change, sometimes for the better, occasionally to the detriment of the grandparents, but these situations are fluid and can be affected by so many changes in circumstances and attitudes.

grannyactivist Wed 22-Jan-14 11:05:56

Minty I think the 'moving forward' is often a matter of not 'expecting' change in the situation, but remaining hopeful so that we're not paralysed or consumed by how things are. I have other children and grandchildren and I owe it to them to get on with life.
I don't shirk mention of my 'missing' family, but nor do I dwell on them. I continue to send cards and gifts, but that's because I need to continue to be a parent and grandparent, even though the relationship has foundered in my daughter's perception. There are some triggers; birthdays, Mother's Day etc. and I allow myself to experience the sadness I feel then. Occasionally a moment of sadness will come upon me out of the blue and I find those times harder to deal with because they're unexpected. Overall I try to keep a sense of perspective and focus on the warm, close knit family I DO have regular contact with.

Iam64 Wed 22-Jan-14 11:31:36

This is a positive thread about negative life experiences,for which thank you everyone who has contributed. Grannyactivist, your post could have been written by me (except not so well)
Like you, I continue to send cards and gifts to our estranged daughter, and last year I did get a birthday card,the first in 6 years. Her children are now old enough to maintain contact with us. They are aware of their mum's very negative feelings about us. None of us ever say anything negative about their mum, we always ask about her, and send our love when they set off for home (or are driven there). It isn't a situation I'd wish on anyone, especially on our grandchildren.
The whole family is affected when one member takes themselves out of what other family members experience as a loving, supportive family. Like Grannyactivist, I try to keep a sense of perspective, give thanks for the loving and emotionally close family I do have. I don't feel there are any easy solutions in situations that have become stuck. Living as well as we can, and not feeding negative emotions, has to be making the best of a situation none of us would have chosen.

Nelliemoser Wed 22-Jan-14 11:54:01

A good thread that is making important points.

Ariadne Wed 22-Jan-14 12:18:01

Thank you for starting this, Minty! I hope that I will be able to contribute here, even though I am one of the lucky ones. I like the positive and helpful tone too.

whenim64 Wed 22-Jan-14 12:30:37

I found this article about strategies for coping when denied access to grandchildren. I hope it might be useful.

Grandparents Denied Contact With Their Grandchildren Share Their Strategies

Losing contact with grandchildren often results in a stew of emotions. Sorting out exactly what you are feeling and developing a strategy for dealing with your feelings can be vital for your health, both mental and physical. You will feel grief as long as the separation lasts, but these strategies for coping may lessen the emotional toll.

1. Shock and Anger
If the separation from your grandchildren occurred suddenly, you may feel shock. If there was a history of conflicts, you may still be shocked that the parents are willing to take such a drastic step. Shock is likely to be followed closely by anger.

What to Do:

Realize that anger is your worst enemy, as it may cause you to do something to worsen the breach.
At the same time, unexpressed anger can be a destructive force. Talk about your feelings to a friend, counselor or support group.

2. Confusion and Frustration
Often grandparents feel that they have been denied contact with their grandchildren arbitrarily, through no fault of their own. They feel confused. Basically, there are two possibilities. Either you are guilty of an error in judgment, and the parents are rightfully concerned, or the punishment which the parents are handing out (separating grandparent and grandchild) has little relationship to the "crime."

What to Do:

Honestly evaluate the behavior that led to the breach.
If you are at fault, apologize, apologize, apologize. Your dignity is not as important as restoring relations with your grandchild.
If after an honest evaluation, you still believe you were not at fault, apologize anyway and hope for the best.

3. Helplessness and Hopelessness
If you have tried to work out the conflict with the parents of your grandchildren, and nothing has worked, you may feel helpless and hopeless.

What to Do:

Don't allow yourself to become pathetic, which can be destructive to your other relationships.
Let go of the problem. Realize that it is out of your control. Turn it over to a higher power if you believe in one.
Channel your energies into positive activites that willl make a difference in someone's life, even if they will not solve your problem.

4. Envy and Jealousy
You may feel envy and jealousy when you see other grandparents, especially friends, who are able to be with their grandchildren. If your grandchildren's other grandparents are allowed to see them, these emotions may be especially prevalent.

What to Do:

Realize that your reaction is illogical.You should not wish to see other grandparents in pain, just because you are suffering.
Keep the focus on what is best for the grandchildren. In the case of your own grandchildren, it is probably best if they have contact with some of their grandparents.

5. Guilt and Grief
If it is your own child engaging in this hurtful behavior, you may feel like a failure. You may wonder where your own parenting went wrong. You will also definitely feel grief, but unlike the grief associated with a death, there is no closure.

What to Do:

Realize that your own parenting may not be at fault. In the case of conflicts, married children usually favor spouses over their parents.
Keeping a journal is a useful activity for some.
Don't stop trying to repair the broken relationship.
Find out what your legal rights are.
Join organizations that advocate for grandparents' rights.
Don't stop trying to stay in touch. Send cards and letters. Keep the tone of any communication loving but light.

newist Wed 22-Jan-14 12:42:48

Excellent advice whenim64 Thanks for posting it smile

Maniac Wed 22-Jan-14 13:33:20

Thank you to Minty for starting this thread and towhenim64 for the article on coping strategies.
I've been told not to send cards/letters to GS -that he will not see them.
I try to keep positive -send loving thoughts.-
I've set up a simple blog with family news hoping GS may chance on it sometime.
I've also found Pat Hanson's website and book 'invisible grandparent' very helpful and positive.
Love to all of you denied contact.

grannyactivist Wed 22-Jan-14 14:36:44

Thank you when for promoting the idea of this thread and to Minty for starting it. In the main I don't want sympathy (or even empathy), but a constructive idea and a listening ear are always welcome when I'm in need of a bit of support. In any area of conflict in my life I find what helps is not to rehash slights or hurtful comments, but to figure out if there is an element of truth in them and acknowledge that, or to reject them and move on. It's not helpful for me to dwell on things I can't change.

Minty Wed 22-Jan-14 16:03:13

As I suspected lots of great posts.
I so agree, that I am not looking for sympathy, what has happened is in the past,for me no point in going over and over it.
It is what it is.
It can become all encompassing, meanwhile life and all its treasures are passing by, I want to watch the sun rise, to smell the flowers and to hold my memories in my heart.
They are forever there.
When I am thinking about my grandchild, I smile, what a privilege it was to be part of their life, even if it was curtailed, and I actually never give up hope.
Of course I also allow myself times of sadness but they are brief and tomorrow is another day.
Thank you everyone.

Penstemmon Wed 22-Jan-14 18:53:45

I do think that the positive and supportive posts are most helpful. I know when I heave posted about difficult situations it has been so helpful to hear how others have managed because some of the ideas might be useful and also knowing you're not 'on your own' is a comfort too.
Long live positive posting! And good luck to all grandparents hoping to rekindle lost contact with children and grandchildren flowers

Iam64 Wed 22-Jan-14 19:18:19

flowers to all who have posted here, and thanks again to Minty for starting this thread

celebgran Wed 22-Jan-14 20:19:46

Well done minty useful to have another thread.

Can I ask i it a long time since you saw your grandchild ? You sound very determined to cope excellent is only way.

My son said to me once he gets tired of hearing about the child we don't see ie his sister and I realised we were not being fair to dwell on it so much. We do try hard not to make it our main focus.

It is hard to hear proud grans talking it is so distressing to think of all we have missed admire you if you can try not to.

Penstemmon Thu 23-Jan-14 11:45:00

Celeb you are right to make sure your time with your son is all about him so that builds up and is a really positive relationship. it will never take the place of your daughter but it may grow to fill the gap a bit.

I know my husband was always a bit down when his mum went on and on about how wonderful child A was when they turned up for an annual visit. My DH was a twice weekly visitor, doing shopping etc etc and it made him feel totally unappreciated! he wasn't but that is how it made him feel.

Minty Fri 24-Jan-14 08:48:43

As you ask, I have not been part of my grandchildren's life for many years now.
And yes, I am determined to look forward. I owe it to my family and myself.
It was such a privilege for me to be part of their lives even for a short time and I hold those moments close to my heart.
For me, I actually love to hear about other grandparents experiences and to hear their wonderful stories with their grandchildren.
We are all different in how we deal with this issue.

celebgran Fri 24-Jan-14 10:27:31

Pensemmon have always been lose to my son but as I often the case he was not the one like my daughter in constant contact. He also works abroad a lot is off to quatar Saturday.

He does his best and his unwavering love and support has kept us going.
Happily he has lovely partner for last couple years who really helps. Me in particular is lovely have close female in family never replace my daughter but so helps.

celebgran Fri 24-Jan-14 10:51:34

Meant close to my son of course.

Minty you don't say hw many years perhaps there does come time when It is not so painful? Certainly hope so.

Also maybe you have other grandchildren to focus on?

You are lucky not to find it painful hearing about others grand children.
We find that very hard at times but of course we try never to show it.
Most friends are sensitive enough to realise that.

whenim64 Wed 29-Jan-14 08:51:25

Here's a good news story we can enjoy! Well done to the family court judge for listening to the grandparents in this case.

Aka Wed 29-Jan-14 09:29:28

Absolutely shocked by this. Thank goodness for the judge's common sense ruling.

Lindylooby Wed 29-Jan-14 10:37:16

Every wise word said on this thread is so true. I spent years tryin to make things work with dd1, but she continually refused to speak to me, now she has 2 children will acknowledge ds occasionally but will have nothing to do with me or dd2. Finally decided after dh died that if she still didn't want anything to do with us, I would get on with my life, always leaving the door open for her, but in all honesty after 20 years of more or less no contact I can't imagine things philosophy is as long as she is happy with her little family I will wait in the background until my dying day in case she suddenly wants to be part of our family again. But it is so hard. She will not accept cards or presents from any of us, that is what hurts! But outside my control. I live for my children and grandchildren that do want me and love seeing them flourish.

whenim64 Wed 29-Jan-14 10:50:54

Some more details about the case:

From reading this, it seems social services had increasingly more positive information that they were able to put before the judge, but there were some mistakes made, including that of a barrister saying the grandparents weren't going to pursue the issue, which they say they neither knew about nor agreed. Great that the judge encouraged them to continue.