Gransnet forums


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

(1001 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.

jinglbellsfrocks Thu 19-Feb-15 09:27:23

Oh, let 'em have their thread! It's not as though we are running out of thread space!

It sounds to me like these unfortunate posters are trying to get things going at a governmental level, ie official rights for grandparents. If anything like that is ever set up it will have the best brains in child development and childcare working on it. I am sure the rights and best interests of the children would be at the forefront.

So, ke sara se sara...... (SP)

Us luckier ones can avoid the threads. (So long as GNHQrs don't mind the site being used for this purpose. I don't think they would)

Anya Thu 19-Feb-15 09:35:22

I've read this wrong then jingl I thought it was an attempt to look at the source of the problem and try to work out how such estrangements happen in the first place.

But perhaps you are correct and it's part of an official rights for grandparents move. Well good luck if it is.

Jane10 Thu 19-Feb-15 09:40:14

Rights are one thing but feelings are something else. You can't legislate emotions away. These relationships that have gone wrong are not necessarily fixable by law! Humans eh? Sad for the children affected in all relationship breakdowns.

Riverwalk Thu 19-Feb-15 09:41:24

I'm amazed at the amount of personal information that some posters give out on a public forum, including naming grandchildren.

The people on the 'other side' of the argument, particularly if the press take an interest, could easily recognise themselves and it would surely inflame the situation.

Otw still hasn't said what she would do with all the sorry tales.

thatbags Thu 19-Feb-15 09:55:44

I'm another who wonders why secularity is mentioned. The secularity of family relationships firstly doesn't mean anything to me and therefore, secondly, seems irrelevant.

What did you mean by the secular nature of family lives, otw? I could guess but I'd probably guess wrongly. Please explain.

I'm sorry you are suffering from family estrangement.

grannyactivist Thu 19-Feb-15 10:12:59

As one of those whose daughter has more or less cut me out of her life (I got a photo card last Christmas smile) I can only say that it's impossible to legislate for extended family relationships in any just and meaningful way.
My daughter, for some genuinely unknown reason, cut not just me, but all of my family out of her life. Grandmother (to whom she was extremely close), aunts and uncles, cousins - and even her siblings. There was no row with any of us, no argument that I know of, just a normal phone conversation between us concluding with a bald statement that she was moving house to an undisclosed location, changing her phone number and wouldn't be contacting any of us again. We live with it. We don't pine and her absence hasn't taken over our lives. I regret it. I regret that I haven't ever seen her youngest daughter and I miss her older two that I had a good relationship with. Every now and again I feel an overwhelming sadness and wonder how it came to this. I really don't know, although I suspect that in her mind it was about choosing to develop a relationship with her dad, my ex-husband. She has continued to build relationships with my ex-husband's family and I am glad that she has some extended family from whom to get support in difficult times. I wish her well.
I would not want legislation that gives rights to grandparents against the wishes of a parent. Anyone who's had to share custody of a child with an ex-partner following a divorce knows all too well the difficulties inherent in such a situation. Like it or not parents have every right to decide who is or is not a part of their children's lives and those children who don't have access to grandparents will probably never know what they've missed. And for those children who have had a good relationship with grandparents prior to being cut off, they always have the option to renew the relationship on reaching adulthood.

Anya Thu 19-Feb-15 10:15:53

Grannyactvist what a sad and touching post.

Otw10413 Thu 19-Feb-15 10:16:03

Two generations ago, so many of our family principles were bound loosely or strictly to the 'religious' understanding and preachings on family life. Well we have, as an increasingly secular society , moved on and have formed all sorts of new ideas about family life. Increasingly we have absorbed the idea of divorce as being applicable to all sorts of relationships. I am not remotely interested in academic research as I am not a sociologist but in order to begin any sort of research , the term 'silent epidemic ' appears in several publications in relation to the growing number of estrangements . I was simply trying to establish whether it is a trend . Short or long lived it produces so much heartache and pain and loss , I , for one would like to see the idea that seeking mutual reconciliation , understanding and forgiveness is something that as a society, we promote . Without research, we won't know just how many parents and grandparents have been removed from the family tree. That in itself means deception and leads to a pollarding of any child's roots . Grudges and irritations and jealousies and unfairness are part of every family ; it is , in my humble opinion, worth seeking a way forward and that was my 'simple' idea; to quantify the numbers involved but I see that must be left to a social scientist .... Any takers ?

Otw10413 Thu 19-Feb-15 10:25:35

Thank you Grannyactivist for your story . You are very strong and inevitably a loss from your daughter's and grandchildren's lives and I agree that legal enforcement of such a role would not be useful, but an acceptance that a child might have an unspoken right to see a grandparent might arm mediators with a tool to promote stability for children going through the sheer hell that is divorce . Insisting on contact is never going to work. I really wasn't interested in another supportive thread, simply an expose of the frequency of such sadness . But a forum between mumsnetters who cut off and perhaps mums who have been cut off by their parents would be the way forward as only Grannyactivist has explained her situation for which I thank her . flowers

Jane10 Thu 19-Feb-15 10:33:46

"Grudges and irritations and jealousies and unfairness" can relate to all human relationships not just those involving parents and grandparents. I suspect that the numbers you seek are quite literally uncountable. Reconciliation cant be forced. It has be agreed by both parties. grannyactivist says it all really. Her story is very sad but she appears to be dealing with it in a realistic way. I sincerely hope that her GCs do seek her out in adulthood.

Sugarpufffairy Thu 19-Feb-15 11:04:24

I have spent many years sonetimes seeing grandchildren and sometimes not being able to see grandchildren. I have been a grandmother for over 14 years. One adult child has had two partners, in both cases she always spent Christmases with the other grandparents and time at their houses and very little with me or my family. However if money or some "service" such as picking them up after getting stranded in a duff car with an unlicenced, insured driver (Sil) in a car with no MOT and being 80 miles away in the middle of the night I was the one called on. I have been hit by one of these partners and verbally abused by both of them all witnessed by my daughter. She did not put a stop to it. This year I decided this is where I draw the line. I bought presents for the children and among other things I bought something which could have been my "goodbye" presents. I remember the elderly relative who gave me my first one of these with great love and that is why I bought that particular item. I was also told to buy the children warm clothes and boots. I was not the one hosting Christmas. That daughter and her children were as ever at the other grandmother's house. She didnt even have the manners to let people know that she was not coming to our family dinner. I was disappointed but really didnt expect much to change. Despite having been out at 1 a.m. on another rescue mission just a few days before Christmas for that daughter she could not see that her family did more for her than his family. I was not asking to be put ahead of the other grandmother I had only hoped for just once she would be with out family. She made the choice not to be there. I made the choice that this was the last time I would wait and hope for her to be with her family. I feel as if I am waiting for crumbs from her table. It is insulting. I gave up and have not seen her since before Christmas. She did not even appear to collect the Christmas presents. The kids have gone without. I did not take the present to their house as the last time I was there I was told I was boring and should get myself some heroin! I am anto drugs! I will not be providing any more money or "services".
It is so sad but as grandmother some of us would come under the legislation of Action on Elder Abuse. I am tired living in hope of her thinking her family wanted to see her kids too.
I have another daughter and I see her and her child. I am granteful for that but I still wish the other daughter and her children could be involved.

KatyK Thu 19-Feb-15 11:28:49

I have never found myself in the position of grans here but I almost did.
I though my DD and myself were close and so was quite shocked to find that as she got older, this was no longer the case. A few years ago I was going through a traumatic event in my life and felt DD should have been more supportive than she was. I also felt excluded from her life. One day I rang her and 'exploded'. I told her I didn't like her friends and that she thought more of her friend's family than she did of ours. She was shocked. I am usually such a mouse. It was a HUGE mistake on my part. There were a couple of tense years but fortunately we both stuck with it and I now realise that what my adult daughter does, who she sees and how much she sees her family is up to her. It is her life and nothing to do with me. She is hard working, and making a good life for herself and her family, despite some obstacles encountered along the way. The thought that we could have become estranged is unthinkable. I now 'go with the flow', keep quiet and take what comes my way. This is only my experience. I realise that many people become estranged through no fault of theirs. flowers for all who are suffering.

harrigran Thu 19-Feb-15 12:17:53

grannyactivist, your acceptance of your situation is admirable and pretty much the attitude I would take.
We do not have DDs and then expect them to be our best friend, they have their own life and friends.

rosequartz Thu 19-Feb-15 12:37:40

I agree with jane10, you cannot legislate about emotions.

For grannya and those in that situation flowers

Otw10413 Thu 19-Feb-15 12:59:09

No one would consider legislating for emotions but that shouldn't stop us as a society researching and producing social frameworks with the right values. Divorce often lies at the heart of such incidents, not always I know; maybe this is a common side-effect . If a child watches their foundational adults cut each other out of their lives, why shouldn't they cut the one they don't get on well with out of theirs? That's a reasonable reaction ... For a child . That still leaves the rights of the grandchildren unspoken and the losses unmeasured . Katy K and Sugarpufffairy , thank you for your contributions and to all the others for their thoughts and good wishes. Having experienced this for myself , I just think that research could lead to a greater understanding of the damage done when families lose touch with their surviving roots . I think a might be the answer !

Leticia Thu 19-Feb-15 13:39:53

Human nature never changes and I can't see anything new other than it gets talked about- years ago people suffered in silence. Someone mentioned Queen Victoria- she was so strictly controlled by her mother that she cut her off as soon as she got to the throne.
A lot of it is to do with control. Too many people don't accept the child they have- they try and mould the one they want! You do not have any control over their life choices once they are an adult.
Someone mentioned the case where the daughter's life had been 'ruined' by meeting the partner and leaving university. Mediation is unlikely to get her liking her son in law and therefore her relationship with her grandchildren is unlikely to be good. As a child I was unlikely to have a close relationship with someone who made it clear they didn't think my father good enough, and couldn't have a relaxed relationship with him.
MN never ceases to amaze me. Recently someone was complaining that her new ILs were trying to have a relationship with her parents -and she and her parents found this very odd and abnormal! Others felt the same. I am very thankful that mine got in, saw each other without me and it made life so much simpler to have both lots together at things like Christmas.
Mediation might help, but if the relationship has broken down to the point of estrangement then both sides probably think they are 'right'. It is never black and white- there are always shades of grey.
Basically if you don't like both the parents, or both parents don't like you, it will not be a trouble free relationship with the grandchildren.
Those involved may think it is new and in the 'good old days' everyone lived close to their extended family and held to Christian ideals of 'honour your parents' etc but I really don't think they ever did. If I had the time and inclination I could produce a long list those with toxic and/or dysfunctional relationships.

suzied Thu 19-Feb-15 16:10:17

You also have to remember that in " the good old days" i.e. Pre about 1920s life expectancy was much lower than it is now, fewer people would have a full set of living grandparents around, more mothers would die in childbirth, families would be fatherless through early deaths, so family relationships were more interdependent with no welfare state etc. The family as a social institution is always changing due to many variables.

Leticia Thu 19-Feb-15 17:01:10

In those days suzied it is also a fact that they had more children and started younger; and from doing my family I find that in most cases the eldest is married and producing children when the parents are still producing children themselves. They didn't have the expectation that grandparents have today of wanting to buy presents,visiting straight after birth, have them stay overnight, worrying about whether they got cuddles etc-it was just a struggle to feed the ones they had. Difficult to get excited by a grandchild when you a toddler of your own and are pregnant! There were also far more grandchildren. My mother didn't see much of one of her grandmothers but since she had at least 24 grandchildren it didn't really matter-she was close to some of them.
It is largely a different world.

Otw10413 Thu 19-Feb-15 17:58:16

Well put Leticia. It is a different world; and if we consider progress in human terms as important, without a church telling us how we should or shouldn't behave and rather more terrifying, the celebrity culture dominating by celebrating fame (even it is just for outrageous behaviour) wouldn't it be nice to simply enquire about the subject from all sides? Maybe, like so many social problems, some solid research about the causes and solutions may generate some sound advice for Grandparents and parents alike. The alternative is that the society keeps it under the blanket while the sufferers on all sides get through it on their own.For the record, please could there be a joint notice board for both generations. Strangely enough, given the many excellently supportive threads, there have not been many Grandparents writing in about how they cut off their parents from seeing their children. Anyway, if anyone knows a way to set up an inter mums/gransnet thread, please

rosequartz Thu 19-Feb-15 18:18:41

I am sorry, Otw10413 but I am finding some of your posts difficult to decipher and am confused as to what your agenda is in actual fact.

To quote Tolstoy “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”

That may be a moot point; however, I do think some further high level discussion re grandparents' rights is urgently needed if that is the aim of your thread. If you are part of a pressure group then I wish you luck.

Ana Thu 19-Feb-15 18:24:27

Are there many posts on MN by mums who have cut off their parents, I wonder?

I suppose if one party feels they have 'done the right thing' they might not agonise about the situation and wouldn't feel the need to post about it.

absentgrandma Thu 19-Feb-15 19:40:36

Butting in here, for fear of upsetting the 'regulars' on a similar thread, which I suspect the OP has been following and biding her/his time to pounce wink.
I don't do washing of dirty linen on a public forum, but being 'blanked' by a previously affectionate daughter or son is much more common than many might imagine.
I had bloody awful, interfering, controlling parents and I swore if I was fortunate enough to have children of my own I would not be like that... and I wasn't. Nevertheless, on meeting a complete idiot via internet dating a couple of years ago elder DD decided I had interfered in her life when I (mildly) criticised the way he and his spoilt brat of a child were treating her, and her savings!
So I inadvertently crossed the line and was told via email to
Later I was invited...formally by printed invitation,to their wedding but as the 5 minute registry farce would have involved booking flights, hotels and the purchase of a hatgrin I declined.
Since than I only have news of her via her sister, who bless her heart, refuses to take sides.
But how big a deal is this sort of behaviour? Where is it written that families should stick to together like glue? My 'children' are in the thirties and forties... they don't need me hovering over them like a helicopter, and I am not so emotionally frail and and needy that I must be an integral part of their lives.
I intend to sit back and let whatever develops, develop. I have other daughters, she has only one mother. If she wants to renew our relationship that's up to her. I don't track her via mutual friends or facebook, I get on with my life.
Why keep picking at an open wound, unless it is to display it like stigmata? That is what I suspect some grandparents keep doing, and by the time one is a grandparent life is far too short.

rosequartz Thu 19-Feb-15 19:43:40

I don't think everyone is as sensible as you, absentgrandma

loopylou Thu 19-Feb-15 19:48:47

flowers absentgrandma
A voice of reason, thank goodness!

RedheadedMommy Thu 19-Feb-15 20:36:47

Hope you don't mind me butting in smile
My husband and I are one of the ones who have cut grandparents out.I have posted on numerous threads on here and mumsnet just looking for advice on the situation.

There is a huge back story. She is Toxic and has Narcissistic traits. It took a therapist to help us understand her.

She still talks about how she doesn't know what she's done wrong to anyone who will listen. She would make up this image of the doting grandmother and loving mother, but there are 2 sides to every story.
The way she treated her son, our children and myself was horrible, rude and sometimes cruel. She was cold and manipulitive.

I'm not saying this is the reason for everyone, but just wanted to say there are genuine reasons. Not everything is black and white smile x

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