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ESTRANGEMENT- The silent epidemic! Let's get this out of the cupboard.

(1000 Posts)
Otw10413 Wed 18-Feb-15 22:13:05

It is time to quantify the terrible development in our increasingly secular family lives, the pain and heartache faced by those who have been 'cut out' of their Children's and Grandchildren's lives. Please, whether it was for a brief and now resolved, or extended or as in my case, repeated period, could you add your story, just one entry per tragic tale. It is something that our sociologists should start researching as it is clearly a very damaging development to all sides, hence the silence that shrouds the pain. I personally have lost access rights to my grandchildren, and I have no doubt about the loss and pain I suffer but also the positive influence and confidence gained by small children from their interaction with loving grandparents (already measured) is ignored as a right of the young. So why hasn't this society taken steps to ensure that such damaging behaviours are limited for the sake of the children; it is their way to connect with their histories and for many, it has led to the inspiration behind many many great lives. It may be painful but I think that this is an invisible infection which has taken hold in an ever-increasing "disposable"society. It might be useful to explain what you feel lies behind the terrible decision to stop talking and what you feel might be the answer in your case. Also how you cope/coped with the prolonged or short periods of estrangement.
Thank you if you can let your story be counted.

absent Wed 18-Feb-15 22:18:08

There are already threads about this and at least three of them contain intimate family details as well as accounts of everyday lives and how individual parents/grandparents cope or don't cope. It is, of course, a desperately sad situation but I wonder whether we need yet another thread on this subject.

Otw10413 Wed 18-Feb-15 22:29:14

I agree but the point of this one was to act as a social document , less of a discussion /supportive thread per se, more a body of individual stories which could be used as a jumping off point for statistical and sociological research .

Anya Wed 18-Feb-15 22:30:10

I know there are other threads on this. But do any of them 'explain what you feel lies behind the terrible decision to stop talking .......' ?

Most affected by this estrangement seem to be at a loss to explain the cause. What might be helpful is if there is anyone who has had a reconciliation and managed to discuss with their offspring what caused the rift. However I suspect it would be difficult to broach in case hostilities were resumed?

Otw10413 Wed 18-Feb-15 22:43:54

I agree ; we all have ideas about that . In my case , we have reconciled on several occasions only to go through being kicked out again and again. My view is that my DD cannot reconcile her feelings of love with her feelings of betrayal in an acrimonious divorce. She resented ( I see this clearly now) the arrival of any other partner in my life and felt abandoned ). Despite apologies and many , what I believed to be, wonderful times , it became clear that she was not able to be honest or sincere with her affection. Finally, she and her husband have told us that we are no longer part of their lives. This is almost too much to bear but one has no choice . However , the sadness is, I expect , on both sides ( all sides if you think about my grandchildren ) . Others will face different circumstances but this is a new and increasingly acceptable family decision (many famous celebrities) so I really think a straightforward collection of stories would provide a great deal of insight . Maybe I'm wrong .

Anya Wed 18-Feb-15 23:25:49

I think otw to get a true picture you'd have to ask the same of those doing the rejection. Perhaps there are those on Mumsnet who have cut their patents out of their lives and could tell us why?

Only hearing one side of the story is not giving a true picture.

Anya Wed 18-Feb-15 23:30:55

Ignore typos.

Elegran Thu 19-Feb-15 00:08:14

It does seem from the number of accounts that appear on here that there is an epidemic, but remember that these are self-reported accounts, not statistical ones. The many many more relationships which have stayed warm and supportive, or have an occasional blip, are not "newsworthy" enough to be recounted.

I don't think it is possible for it to be a straightforward list of stories. There is so much emotional involvement and (dare I say it) so much one-sidedness from the person telling the story. Every estrangement can be seen from at least two sides, many from more than two. There is retrospective justification of the teller's viewpoint, and (conscious or unconscious) choosing of episodes and verbal exchanges to recount.

It is almost certain to become another thread very similar to those already existing.

harrigran Thu 19-Feb-15 00:19:12

Agree Elegran, I do not think there is anything to gain by having another thread on this subject.

suzied Thu 19-Feb-15 05:00:43

I don't think a list of anonymised self selected stories, however accurate or not, would be of much use to social scientific research. Who is to say there is an "epidemic "? In the past maybe peope didn't have as much opportunity to discuss their situation with others.

Otw10413 Thu 19-Feb-15 07:17:32

Well I certainly agree that the mumsnet idea is a good one. There might even have been room for a joint forum which would be really useful. A place for genuine dialog between those cutting grandparents out and those having been cut out. Of course the norm does involve countless supportive and loving families but that is not the point . It is not a subject openly discussed because of the unbearable pain. Simply finding out how many Grandnetters have at any time been removed from their children would be , as I said before , quite useful. However a better idea is a joint forum . It would be useful to know how the young mothers/fathers feel having cut their parents out of their lives .

Leticia Thu 19-Feb-15 07:43:33

It has always happened, it just gets talked about now with Internet forums, it is nothing new. You only have to read literature from the past to know it to be true. It is the basis for many stories. Human behaviour and emotions are very complex. In the old days the man always got custody of the children,if the wife left,and you could then be sure that the grandparents lost contact, or had very little contact - it then had a swing the other way and the paternal grandparents suffered. At least nowadays joint custody is sought and it doesn't automatically go one way or the other and it is recognised that grandparents are important to a child, even if it doesn't always happen.
I don't expect that those estranged see any improvement, but overall I think there is some from what it used to be.
We may be more secular, and families more spread out, but you had the same old problems when they were close knit. Lots of women appear to want a daughter to be 'best friend' when older- but it is pure luck whether they turn out that way. You don't get on simply because you give birth. You may be exact opposites or so alike that it causes huge problems!
There are always two sides to the problem and we only hear one and never a balanced view. MN has a 'but we took you to stately homes' thread, which starts a new one as soon as one fills, and it is all about toxic parents. I always think that some of them must be perfectly nice people if you heard their side! (some must undoubtedly be toxic but were they made that way by their own parents?)
If sociologist 'start' researching it there will be a very skewed picture without what went before. There never was a golden age of families living in close and loving proximity! e.g I have only just got in touch with some branches of my family because my grandfather was quite a difficult man and fell out with some of them in about 1900! (And he was a staunch Methodist and lived in close proximity).

Riverwalk Thu 19-Feb-15 07:53:55

Otw what has 'increasingly secular' to do with family estrangements?

Also, what would you do with all the anecdotal stories that you might collect on such a thread?

Otw10413 Thu 19-Feb-15 08:03:03

Well certainly the prevalence of divorce will have had an effect ( having been divorced, I feel very strongly that the role of supportive stable grandparenting can be a resource for good). The problem is that one sided stories are all that any one gets because of the breakdown in communication. Maybe it is time for a joint forum. Any positive ideas???? These breakdowns are not just because of divorce, they are also increasingly coming from a belief that if you disapprove of your parents , you can cut them out of your lives. I may have been unusual, but when I was growing up, I cannot remember any young father or mother who had cut their parents out of their lives. Now celebrities are speaking out about rejecting their abusive parents. They are measuring their parents up against what they perceive parenting should have been like and their parents fail so they are cut out from their lives. I am not talking about physical and mental abuse, that is something that deserves exclusion but surely mutual understanding and forgiveness is something which has a place in the sure knowledge that there are two sides to every story?

Leticia Thu 19-Feb-15 08:15:28

I think they cut them out in the past - it just wasn't talked about. It was a hidden problem.

Leticia Thu 19-Feb-15 08:17:37

A joint forum would only work if the people on both sides wanted reconciliation- I am not sure they do.

soontobe Thu 19-Feb-15 08:17:46

As a relative says
"People are strange".
I think that sums it up for me.

That, plus I realise that there is not a whole lot of forgiveness going on in some families. Plus grudges, and not letting go.

It takes two sides for a largely peaceful harmonious family. Often there is only one.

soontobe Thu 19-Feb-15 08:22:12

I think that what you are trying to do is very admirable Otw. But best of luck sorting out one family, let alone hundreds.
Though work on this could provide some general insight.

I do think nowadays, that dare I say it, some young people think and exoect their lives to be perfect. So when it isnt, just cut out the bit that they see as the problem and move on without them.
They dont realise that life doesnt work that way.

Leticia Thu 19-Feb-15 08:40:30

There are certainly grudges- have been throughout history.
A lot of it is caused by the partner not thinking they are part of the family. I am too cowardly to say it on MN because I would be rounded upon ( maybe I will here) but when you marry you don't get the individual- you get his parents, cousins, siblings, great uncles, grandmothers, family friend since birth etc etc etc Too many people want to airbrush this out as if you are getting a foundling!
They are either wanting him/her to be just part of their extended family or just want to be a small unit themselves. I am shocked by how many would only see ILs with the partner - never on their own. Won't even buy a birthday card for MIL because she us 'his mother'. They are. It willing to make an effort to get in with people they didn't choose as friends.

Leticia Thu 19-Feb-15 08:42:45

And that is two sided- I have seen threads where women don't want to entertain a child's girlfriend/boyfriend- they will wait until it is official and they have to.

Leticia Thu 19-Feb-15 08:50:30

On forums I have been thought peculiar because my DH has seen my first husbands parents on his own, without me. There seems to be no possibility in some people's minds that they might just be really nice people that you are happy to spend time with!
Too many people seem to see grandparents as a 'necessary evil', good for the children -but nothing much to do with them!
That works both ways too. MN is full of grandparents wanting to take over from birth, dying to have the child stay alone etc. the DIL is the duty you put up with to get them! Unless you can actually leave the children with the DS so that you can go out with the DIL you are bound to run into difficulties.
If relationships are not good before grandchildren a baby will make it worse, in most cases. ( You may get some where it improves but it is not to be banked on)

Leticia Thu 19-Feb-15 08:52:07

Sorry- auto correct. They are not willing and not They are. It willing .....

janeainsworth Thu 19-Feb-15 09:00:05

I agree with you Leticia that estrangement is nothing new.
Otw you say celebrities are 'now' disclosing abusive relationships - Christina Crawford's book Mommie Dearest, describing her version of the relationship between her and her mother Joan, came out nearly 40 years ago.
And Queen Victoria's relationship with her own sons, as described recently on TV, would be considered emotionally abusive by modern standards.

Teetime Thu 19-Feb-15 09:00:11

It seems to me owt10413 that you are expressing an interest in collecting evidence for some kind of paper you are preparing perhaps for some academic exercise you are engaged in and/or for publication. If that is the case you should really design a formal research protocol and abide by the usual conventions surrounding confidentiality and ethical approval.

Anya Thu 19-Feb-15 09:11:50

What you say makes a lot of sense Leticia. I only know, personally, one grandmother who has been cut out of their life. I feel very sorry for her and she insists that she has done nothing wrong and that she and her daughter had a great relationship until the DD met 'him'. She used to tell us how he had ruined DD's life by making her leave Uni. Now I can understand a mother feeling like that. But we cannot live our children's lifes for them. And you have to be careful if that is the partner your child has chosen.

Least said soonest mended.

Now they are married and have a little boy that she never sees. She still insists she has done 'nothing wrong' and in many ways she hasn't. But she did try to make her daughter 'see sense' by pointing out all the faults this young undoubtably man had. Sad.

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