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Estrangement from daughter and grand daughters

(44 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!

Ana Mon 16-Feb-15 22:55:36

"...the friend suggested that whatever the problems I was still her mother and she must still have feelings for me. She demurred!"

I'm not sure exactly what was meant by that, but it wouldn't inspire me with confidence if I was the OP. Wait and see would be my advice - the ball's in her court.

Faye Mon 16-Feb-15 22:59:16

Anya's advice is what I would also suggest. I could be way off the mark but is she expecting an inheritance? She could also finally have regrets about how she has treated you.

Whatever the reasons I would let her contact you, let her walk on egg shells, if you must. I wouldn't confide in your sister either.

budgie43 Mon 16-Feb-15 23:11:37

I want to thank you all so very much for taking the time to offer all your thoughtful advice and help. I am going to read all of them again tomorrow and hope a path becomes clearer. What is clear is that in this world there are many many really kind and thoughtful people - thank you all. x

rubylady Tue 17-Feb-15 02:12:50

I agree with Anya. I would wait until she gets in touch. Carry on as normal and see what she does. If she does contact you then arrange as others have said in a neutral place. See what she has to say. See if she looks like she is sorry and remorseful but don't throw your arms open wide and welcome her back wholeheartedly. She will have to work hard to win her place back in your family and in your heart and that of your son and husband too.

My DD has disowned me and my son, we aren't invited to her wedding in September, we haven't to see her sons or send gifts or cards. This is not the first time she has done this so fine. This time I have switched off, I am carrying on with my life and I refuse to be upset by such an ungrateful woman any more. I have done my best, brought her up on my own and if she ever wants me in her life again, she will have to crawl over broken glass to get to me. Call me hard but that woman has had everything off me including blood sweat and tears. I am now left disabled with really bad health and she does not care one jot. I am better off without her. And her children truth be told. She is bringing them up without manners and to be rude so I would only go and put my foot in it if I did see them. I am happier now with the people who really care about me and I am not angry all the time or feeling agitated by the situation. I have better relationships with others because she lies all the time and so it was making me suspicious of everyone else which has now been put to bed with not seeing her since last May.

You look after yourself and that lovely son of yours. My son has stood by me too. He might be a pain in the backside from time to time but he has my back and he loves me, I know that. Like Jings says, treat him and your husband to something nice. They might need the reassurance that you have appreciated what they have done for you. Although I am sure you have told them many times. Just be careful of giving back to your daughter and then her doing the same thing and then having to rely back on your son and husband. That would not be fair. Tread with great care. You are the important one now. She has had her chance for ages to make up.

It is hard because we are not made this way, to protect ourselves against our own but in some cases we have to. It feels unnatural and as though we are hard. Just don't give her anything easy. Keep her at arms length.
I would, anyway. Take care and let us know how you go on. Lots of flowers

Scooter58 Tue 17-Feb-15 03:38:38

[Flowers] for you Rubylady,I am in almost the exact situation as you and have also decided to get on with my life without her in it.There is only so much a person can take before it seriously affects their health and wellbeing,I was heading for a breakdown before taking the decision to put myself first,right decision in my case as I am enjoying life again.

Anya Tue 17-Feb-15 08:20:02

Brave words Ruby and Scooter flowers flowers

And yes, you are better without people like this in your life, I know.

Riverwalk Tue 17-Feb-15 09:16:41

As others have suggested budgie I would see how it goes and respond in a reserved but friendly way to any olive branches that DD is offering.

I can see that you are scared of it perhaps spoiling things with those who stuck by you but you shouldn't resist attempts by your daughter to reconcile, but do so on your terms.

The five-page email reminded me of a friend whose DiL sent her a four-page handwritten letter detailing all her faults and failings; it caused great heartbreak and the estrangement lasted about a year. I don't know what happened and whether friend's DS intervened, but somehow things changed and now they're reasonably close!

Who knows what was going on in her life when she disowned you and your son - whatever it was she seems now to have gotten over it.

Just like my friend's DiL.

rubylady Tue 17-Feb-15 09:18:22

Thank you Scooter and Anya and flowers to you both too.

I asked my daughter from being 11 years old why she was no longer affectionate with me for no good reason and she wouldn't answer. She would gush over her friends and as she got older I am sure she did this more to annoy me. So it's been 16 years now and like you said Scooter, you can only take so much. It's still there with me every day but I now enjoy what I have with my son, my family, my doggie and more importantly I like myself again because I am not seeing the worst in others who do not deserve it. smile

annsixty Tue 17-Feb-15 09:21:03

Just one thought from me. Your D may be unsure of her welcome and may be scared of her reception so do not bolt and bar the door but make sure, through a third party if you like,that the door is ajar and you are willing to open it if that is she wants.

jeanie99 Tue 17-Feb-15 10:37:52

Well being as she might be I don't think your friend should be getting involved in a family problem that is nothing to do with her. For all you know she may have the information completely wrong so take it with a pinch of salt.

After all the heartache you have experienced I would in my humble opinion not do anything and wait for your daughter to make contact.

After all she was the one who didn't want anymore contact with you and she is the one who should come forward.

Continue as you always have sending presents and cards to your grandchildren, you could put in one of the cards that you would love to meet up for coffee and cake as a forward to seeing them again and leave it at that.

I do hope that everything works out for you, I too am 70 years old and at this age we do not need any problems now in our later years.
Best of luck

glammanana Tue 17-Feb-15 11:45:40

I would be careful about your DD finding out that your problems are common knowledge to other friends and family she may take exception to that,meanwhile when and if she makes contact with you don't jump at the first opportunity make her wait a week or so before arranging a meeting between you both so you don't seem too desperate.
Do you think maybe she has now realised how important a relationship with is as the years go on ? was she stressed with the studying she was doing for her degree and running a household at the same time,not that any of this should affect your relationship.I hope things work out for you and things get back on an even track for you both and with her

Scooter58 Tue 17-Feb-15 15:33:05

Thank you for flowers*Ruby*,*Anya*,Sad that we are treated so badly by our own flesh and blood,not an easy decision by any manner of means to pull the plug on the heartbreak,but a necessary one in many cases,[Flowers]for all Gransnetters who have experienced heartbreak.

Scooter58 Tue 17-Feb-15 15:35:21

flowers even smile

sparkygran Tue 17-Feb-15 18:29:48

A son is a son till he takes him a wife
But a daughter`s a daughter for all of her life.
Forgive and forget and welcome her back - that`s my advice

Otw10413 Wed 18-Feb-15 20:20:58

My advice is that you must remember those words that she wrote with presumably the strongest of emotions. I would, with the benefit of hindsight, wait for her to prove that she no longer feels that those words are what lie at the heart of her attachment otherwise you will be back 'outside' with all the severe pain that brings. Be patient and understanding but wait for real proof and not eggshells. flowers

rubylady Thu 19-Feb-15 01:43:14

sparkygran I don't agree with that at all. I don't see my mum, my brother does. I have a loving son and my daughter has alienated me and him too. I think it's a personality thing and how hurt you have been in life. You can't just say all boys drift away from their parents just because they have a wife and all women stay in touch and are loving because, unfortunately, on this site we have seen so much that this is not the case. Boys and men are very loving and with some it goes very deep for their mothers and nothing, not even the wife will break that bond.

janeainsworth Thu 19-Feb-15 09:51:27

ruby I agree that mothers and sons can be very close but I think it's the duty of a mother of a son to recognise that once he takes a wife, the wife becomes his priority, and she (the mother) should cut or at least untie those apron strings.
Hard to do in the short term but better for everyone long-term. We don't own our sons - or our daughters.

harrigran Thu 19-Feb-15 12:25:23

Well said janea, I have a very good relationship with DS but DIL comes first.