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Estrangement from daughter and grand daughters

(43 Posts)
budgie43 Mon 16-Feb-15 15:14:05

I am hoping some of you may be able to offer advice. This is a long one so bear with me - please! I have both daughter and son (both in their 40s). Relationships with my daughter have always been, what I call "egg shell walking" type. Nearly 3 years ago she sent me a 5 page email effectively listing all my faults (and those of her brother) ending with telling me I had been disowned. Since then I have had a few cards (addressed to my christian name). I sent presents for birthdays,Christmas etc etc and would sometimes get a thank you from the grand daughters. Then, suddenly, at the end of last year I had a text from her telling me she had been awarded 1st class MA with distinction. And then over the next couple of months contact via a few texts and cards (nice one for Christmas), thank you letters etc. And then a friend contacted me to tell me they were moving to my home town. And here they now are. The friend emailed me today to say she had had a long conversation with my daughter today - the friend suggested that whatever the problems I was still her mother and she must still have feelings for me. She demurred! Now the dilemma I find myself in is what I do now. After the initial email and cut off I was in a really bad place but with the love of my husband (daughter's step father of 35 years) and my son (who was also disowned!) I have rebuilt my life. I am getting on (71) and although I love my daughter dearly and, of course, my grand daughters, I am not sure that I would survive another knock back. What do I do next? The friend tells me she plans to make contact when my husband is away in April (she can only known about this from my sister who must be in touch with her - unbeknown to me). Do I make contact before this? Do I write saying perhaps better to leave things as they are or do I build a big fort round this latest episode to protect myself. I have done the latter so often. And if we do meet how do I handle it? What do I say to the grand daughters? I have had no real contact since they were small as we lived abroad and daughter would always find a reason not to visit. Please be honest with your views as I would really value unbiased opinions!

janeainsworth Mon 16-Feb-15 15:21:57

Life is short budgie.
I'm wondering why your daughter is waiting till her stepfather is away before contacting you. Is he part of the problem?
It sounds as though your daughter does want to make contact - I have no experience of this, but I think I would welcome her with open arms and try to forgive the past, without expecting too much.

soontobe Mon 16-Feb-15 16:04:21

Tread carefully whatever you do. I cant see your daughter becoming a chatty type anytime soon.

It does seem to me though that she is making quite a serious effort.

The list of faults of you and your son. Were some of them justified?

I think it would be nice to just send her a card or note, saying something small like, it is nice that you are living locally now. Just that. Then it becomes up to her what her next move is.

FarNorth Mon 16-Feb-15 16:07:20

Your DD did not agree with the friend who said that she must still have feelings for her mother? That is slightly confusing, given the texts and cards you have had lately.
Have you responded to your DD and do you have a way of contacting her now, or only through your mutual friend?
If you can contact her maybe you could just send a card saying you have heard she plans to visit in April and that you will be very happy to see her, at that time or sooner?

Could you speak to your sister and ask for her advice on this?

I'm only making guesses, of course, based on the info you have given, and I understand you want to protect yourself, as far as possible.

Mishap Mon 16-Feb-15 17:55:44

How very difficult for you. I do agree that you need to protect yourself - we can only stand so much emotional pain and you need to look after yourself.

Are any of her reasons for breaking off contact ones that you can understand and have any sympathy with? Or does her behaviour seem totally irrational? Is her father around at all and in the picture? Does she have contact with him?

It does sometimes happen that families split down the middle, especially with a step-parent situation. One child sides with one parent, the other with the other. Maybe this is what has happened here.

I think the biggest difficulty for you is to know how much to say and how much to bring out in the open to discuss with her when she does make contact. You do not want to initiate a discussion whose emotional content will run you ragged and at a time when your OH is away. It all depends how much you want to "have it out", get it out in the open and put it all behind you. Only you can know how much you can cope with - you do not want to make yourself ill. You need some peace of mind.

I am reading it that she has not sent you her change of address details - but does she know that you know? - i.e. will your friend have told her that she has told you this information? If so, there is nothing to be lost by sending a fairly neutral note that says you hope they are settling happily in their new home.

I know that there must be a seething mas of emotion under all this - how could it be otherwise? - and so stressful for you. I do hope there will, be some way of resolving this. flowers

jinglbellsfrocks Mon 16-Feb-15 18:02:08

God! I would have told her to bog off long ago. Cultivate a good relationship with your son. Give him the odd treat if you can afford it. And then write and tell her how much he enjoyed it.

Mishap Mon 16-Feb-15 18:21:05

I think I would find it impossible to tell one of my children to "bog of" whatever they had done. You are clearly made of sterner stuff!

jinglbellsfrocks Mon 16-Feb-15 18:54:13

I cannot imagine saying to any of my children. I was talking about the daughter of the original poster - going by what she has told us. She sounds horrible.

jinglbellsfrocks Mon 16-Feb-15 18:55:07

Saying 'that'

FarNorth Mon 16-Feb-15 19:04:34

We can't judge that Budgie's DD is horrible, just on the info we have.

Anya Mon 16-Feb-15 19:07:21

Don't contact her. Let her contact you. If it happens, be polite, nothing more. She needs to prove to you that she can be trusted not to hurt you again. This will take years. And there are other family members who she needs to consider too. Your son and partner stood by you when she did not. If she is not prepared to work for their trust too then forget her.

janeainsworth Mon 16-Feb-15 20:23:48

Remind me again jingl, what was that parable about the prodigal son?

Elegran Mon 16-Feb-15 20:29:44

I sometimes wonder just how the other son felt about it, after his years looking after his parents.

jinglbellsfrocks Mon 16-Feb-15 20:32:16

He came back to his family. Doesn't sound as the daughter in this case is likely to do that.

If the original poster posts again along the lines of "my daughter wants to be friends with us again", then, of course, the answer should be, "welcome her back with love".

But don't take any old shit she feels like handing out in the meantime.

That Ok with you ja?

soontobe Mon 16-Feb-15 20:33:44

He was told that what his father [God] had all those years, had always been his.
In other words, God has enough for everyone.

jinglbellsfrocks Mon 16-Feb-15 20:38:56

His father wasn't God. hmm

The dad told him he was just glad to see the boy back home, and that he would have done the same for the bro if the situation had been reversed.

jinglbellsfrocks Mon 16-Feb-15 20:39:34

And yes, soon, I know it was a parable.

janeainsworth Mon 16-Feb-15 20:40:58

Elegran he wasn't best pleased:
'But he answered his father, "Behold, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed a commandment of yours, but you never gave me a goat, that I might celebrate with my friends. But when this, your son, came, who has devoured your living with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him."'
The father explains why celebration is appropriate:
'"But it was appropriate to celebrate and be glad, for this, your brother, was dead, and is alive again. He was lost, and is found."

jinglbellsfrocks Mon 16-Feb-15 20:44:34

Fantastic bit of googling there ja.

janeainsworth Mon 16-Feb-15 20:44:34

Well, that was how I read the OP jingl, that the daughter did want to come back. Perhaps I misinterpreted the OP.
You have often said on the forum that you are a Christian, so I thought you would be in favour of redemption and forgiveness.

jinglbellsfrocks Mon 16-Feb-15 20:48:27

As I just said, I do. Did you not read my reply to your sarcastic question?

soontobe Mon 16-Feb-15 22:11:34

Luke 15 v 31-32
Then the father said to him "Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. But we had to celebrate and rejoice, because this brother of yours was dead and has come to life; he was lost and has been found".

jinglbellsfrocks Mon 16-Feb-15 22:23:15

Yes soon. Mine was a brief resume.

GillT57 Mon 16-Feb-15 22:37:50

Even as a child I thought the parable of the prodigal son was unfair. Your son and his family were also hurt by your daughter and stood by you, it is important, in my opinion, that they do not feel pushed aside because your estranged daughter has decided that she needs her family after all. My advice, for what it is worth, is to carry on with your life as usual and when your daughter contacts you perhaps arrange to meet somewhere neutral such as a tea room. Hopefully you will be able to welcome your daughter and her family back into the extended family, but not at the expense of your husband and son who have always been there. I am fortunate I realise not to have been in this position and I do hope that there is a

GillT57 Mon 16-Feb-15 22:39:04

Sorry posted too soon. Meant to finish by saying I hope there is a happy ending for you all