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Advice please - DD & DGS

(22 Posts)
Youcantchoosethem Sun 15-Sep-19 20:24:11

Hi wondered if anyone can help give me some advice. I was previously in a controlling and manipulative marriage with 3 DC’s, the eldest of which my DD suffered badly from her father, and I thought I had protected them all and had no knowledge at the time of what he had done to her. She ran away 8 years ago and I didn’t see her for five years (and three days - yes I was counting). He has not let me contact her or talk about her during her absence. Photos weren’t even allowed of her in the house. I cried about her all the time and secretly carried a photo of her in my purse - I desperately missed her. After he had finally gone I managed to get a message to her after spending months trying to trace her I eventually managed to get away from him and the day she got the message she turned up at my door. That was three years ago. I was so delighted to see her and then so devastated by what she told me of what he done. Anyway police etc then involved and he is now nothing to do with any of the children. She said she didn’t blame me, she knew I never knew and she hadn’t been able to tell me as she believed his threats to me and her siblings, based on what he had done to her - the evil b*****d. She had gone to another family for a period of time who did look after well and she calls them Mum and Dad (she does also call me Mum). I appreciate she was with them for three years and then independent for another two however they have remained in contact and they have been good to her and O am grateful for them doing so. Last year she had a baby - my lovely DGS - and I was thrilled and supportive and she and her DP come round and all was well. I was also going over to her flat in another town and everything seemed to be going well. Earlier this year they moved into a house in the same town as her “other” family and she then admitted that she hasn’t told them that she was back in contact with me and that she didn’t want me to come to the new house, wouldn’t meet me in that town and that she would come to me only to visit. She has done so regularly and has been fine with me except when I said that I was upset that I was allowed to visit her there. She said that she would sort it when she was ready and got very defensive but hasn’t said anything more since. On Friday she was over again, and told me how her DP’s parents were over this weekend and how much her DP’s father “loves cooking Sunday dinner in their kitchen for them” and he has done so regularly. That hurt me so much that they are able to visit regularly and be more of their lives. I have been helping them financially, stored things at my house to save them money on storage fees they were paying when collecting things for the new house and paid for them to go on holiday. I get on well with her DP and before this that we had got a good relationship back over the last couple of years. I feel so let down that I am now excluded from their home and lives in this way but daren't rock the boat as I can’t bear the thought of losing her again and not seeing my DGS. WWYD?

Youcantchoosethem Sun 15-Sep-19 20:26:09

Just to add so it’s been three years now that she has been “back” and six months since I’ve been excluded in this way.

Hithere Sun 15-Sep-19 20:44:16

How old was your dd when she left - and then you did not see her for 5 years and 3 days?

Did you leave your husband? What happened that you are no longer together?

Youcantchoosethem Sun 15-Sep-19 20:58:07

Hi she was 16 when she left suddenly. I had waved her goodbye and told her I loved her that morning and she never came home. Things had been difficult with XH for a long time - I thought I took it all and protected the children. I had left with them once to my parents but two days later they sent me back - my mother was very old fashioned and it was “put up and shut up - you’ve got to just get on with it” advice. Eventually though I was ill in hospital for a time and that gave me the space and time to see that I could t so it anymore and wanted out. It took me 18 months to finally get him to go - I could just about afford to keep the house we were in but not to start again. It was six months after that of searching, including wading through council office records for days at a time that I finally found a record of somewhere she had been and managed to get a message through them to her.

Hithere Sun 15-Sep-19 21:13:49

I would readjust my expectations with the relationship with your dd and dgc. You are not being excluded, you are not as involved as you wished to be.

For a minor, to leave her home, speaks volumes.

There is a lot of damage to deal with- the abusive behaviour you and your kids were exposed to cannot be healed in just a few years. Please do not minimize that huge factor in both your lives.
I bet the abuse weights heavily on your relationship - you and your dd's.

Be patient. Don't push it. You can see your dd and dgc, not just on the terms you would prefer.
Give it time and your relationship will grow.

BradfordLass72 Sun 15-Sep-19 21:19:33

Christmas is coming, an emotional time but also one of 'goodwill' and families - would it help to tell her that your best Xmas gift would be to meet and thank the family who took care of her?

You are obviously very grateful and they must wonder where you are and if you are mourning for her if she hasn't told them about being back in contact.

I can see how she may be wary about being disloyal but she's not considering your feelings, not just of hurt and exclusion - but of gratitude to the people who gave her a safe haven.

Why not write and ask her if you and they could meet?
Tell her why, tell her you won't divulge any family secrets (she may not have shared why she left home) and see if she will consider it.

I hope she does. flowers

agnurse Sun 15-Sep-19 22:06:52

How much time she spends with someone else is really none of your business.

From your perspective, you were doing everything you could to protect your children and keep the family together.

From her perspective, she grew up in an abusive situation for 16 years. Even if you "protected" her, undoubtedly she was still affected by the abuse. She may not have fully come to terms with it yet. She may be worried that you'll go back to your partner. (Not saying you would, personally, but sadly many abused women do.)

She has every right to keep her relationship with you separate from her relationships with other people. I think you're making a storm in a teapot, TBH.

Youcantchoosethem Mon 16-Sep-19 13:32:48

BradfordLass72 you are absolutely spot on I think - I don't believe she has told them details either, and I am very grateful for them taking her in. I don't want to approach them without her approval as again I don't want to allienate her - I only found out fullly when she returned. The first two and half years of her being back were just so normal, and now this wedge is there and it does hurt.

agnurse - no there is definitely no chance ever (over my dead body) of any contact again with XH. He is under a nonmolestation order and I will report him if he comes anywhere near any of us. If I had known before I have no doubt in my mind that I woud have left sooner. It was all good for many years, it was the last 5 that she was at home that became intolerable though. Yes it has no doubt left shadows on all of us - I have helped with getting counselling - I have had it too, as has my youngest, and there are still issues that I feel angry that he has left us with that are affecting us. It just feels so cruel to be excluded when the other GP's, and her "other" family are all welcome at any time, and have that freedom. Even shopping at the weekend, there were some lovely items in the shops for the new autumn/winter homes collection, but I couldn't get anything as I don't even know the colours of her walls or anything. I would love to pick up some bits for her new house but can't. I gave her money when she moved in to help out, but its not the same. I just feel so excluded, and judging by the ease of her comments about her DP's father, she doesn't even realise the impact to me.

Hithere Mon 16-Sep-19 14:20:39

Re: decorations - are you sure there is nothing colour neutral that goes with everything? You can still buy it and if your dd and dp does not like it, she can exchange it.
There is no need for you to see their home to be able to buy anything for them.

I say this kindly: stop concentrating on being "excluded" and on growing a good relationship with your dd, respecting her terms.

You are NOT excluded. Please stop saying that. You are not as involved as you wish.
Unless you change that mindset, it will be hard for you to see this situation objectively.

You are heavily minimizing and dismissing the damage of the abusive relationship.
Feom your post, it sounds like you moved on and so should she.
Your dd does not have to decide which actions to take based on your how they impact you.

You are mad you are not having as much access as dp's parents but:
1. It is not realistic to think that because x person gets this, you should get it too.
2. Dp's parents (will call ILs from now on) earned her trust.
You may have to work on earning her trust, based on your background.
If I ran away from home and my mother didn't see me for 5 years, I would feel abandoned by her.
ILs were there for her when you were not.

You will never have a normal relationship with your kids, due to the abuse. What you think is normal, it is heavily tinted by your past.

When a woman becomes a mother, we tend to examine our childhood and lives and may start question things that have happened. Abuse is still very recent and you are still all processing it.

Daisymae Mon 16-Sep-19 16:09:02

It's a difficult situation, but I would pull back and let your daughter come around at her own pace. She's establishing a new life and she's happy for you to be a part of it, but on her terms. In view of what she's been through I don't think that you have any option but to respect her boundaries. At least you are all safe and are free to build a new life. However the damage the children have suffered is extensive and it can only be managed, it won't go away.

agnurse Tue 17-Sep-19 05:34:27

Again, OP, the amount of time she spends with others is really not your concern.

If you're constantly worried about how much time she spends with others, as compared to you, you'll drive yourself (and her) crazy.

She's not obligated to invite you to her home. She may not be ready to do that yet.

You aren't being excluded. You're just not being included to the level that YOU expect. I think you may need to adjust your expectations.

OutsideDave Thu 19-Sep-19 21:50:16

You knew who you were married to, and how abusive he was but never thought he’d harm your kids? Seriously? I’m sure you didn’t ‘know’ but you might’ve suspected. You failed your minor daughter- you let her leave- and the fact that she has any contact with you is so incredibly forgiving of her I don’t have words. Her other family is the family that protected her and saved her when you were unwilling or unable. They are the family that is trustworthy enough to be allowed in her home. Continue to do therapy and understand why you are getting much more than you deserve. Then be grateful that your daughter is willing to allow you any toehold in her life.

Loulelady Fri 20-Sep-19 01:38:25

I’ve read that it’s common for people who have suffered abuse as children, to go backwards a bit when they have a child of their own. It can provoke new anger and bitterness because they experience that surge fierce protectiveness and love towards their baby and cant imagine hurting them or failing to protect them.
Do not push or guilt trip your daughter, you are in quite a delicate situation. She could easily pull further away.
Make sure the time you spend together is happy. In time she will probably relax again.
You just have to suck up her “adoptive” parents getting to see the colour of her walls.

Peonyrose Fri 20-Sep-19 06:29:24

You fail to see how badly you let your daughter down. How could you not know what was going on unless you lived in a mansion. He was a monster what he did to her, you don't seem to grasp the enormity if that, you let her go not knowing if she was alive or dead. Thank goodness for that family who gave her the confidence to make a new life, yet you are buying things she didn't ask for, it makes you feel good, you are making demands on her time, she owes you nothing. It is not about you, once again you are refusing to see her feelings and well being. The fact that she will even see you should be enough. Put your energies into voluntary work. I would never have spirit with my child missing, I couldn't have a minutes peace thinking of what he did to her.

Peonyrose Fri 20-Sep-19 06:30:29

Never have slept With her missing!

ClareAB Fri 20-Sep-19 07:30:05

For people who have suffered child hood abuse, when they go on to have their own children it can trigger a multitude of feelings and reawaken old traumas.
Whether you knew or not what was going on with your husband and daughter, you were part of the environment that she ran away from.
Although she clearly loves you, and has been trying to rebuild a relationship with you, it has probably been a painful process. For both of you.
Have you considered having family therapy with her? It could help address the past, and give you both the tools to help manage those feelings and triggers in the future.
Us humans are complicated beings. Good luck

grapefruitpip Fri 20-Sep-19 08:46:31

Very complicated , so many strands and history.

It is an enormous plus that your daughter has been in touch, seems to have a nice partner, a baby and supportive in laws.

You did your best but now life isn't a competition . I would suggest some therapy for yourself, try to build yourself up and think of family as a lovely bonus.

grapefruitpip Fri 20-Sep-19 08:50:23

re reading now, no amount of stuff or spending will help this situation.

That word " excluded" keeps coming up. Build your life and include them on their terms

Davidhs Fri 20-Sep-19 09:47:37

I actually think you are very lucky that she has come back to you, many abused children never forgive.
Now you must let her contact you on her terms and I would say keep well away from her in-laws, her childhood is bound to come up in general conversation and your version could easily be very different from the story she has told..
She will be ashamed of her treatment and has kept it in the past, DO NOT SPOIL IT FOR HER.

OutsideDave Sat 21-Sep-19 01:18:44

To ‘go backwards’!? More like ‘move forwards’ Loulelady. She likely as a mother realizes what a truly massive failure it was on her parents part to not protect/defend her; then allow her to leave!

Jo1960 Sun 29-Sep-19 11:11:44

Whoah, talk about judgemental! OutsideDave and Peonyrose, neither of you appear to understand the dynamics of coercive control and domestic abuse. One of the worst parts of domestic abuse for women, is the psychological trauma.
This results in a complete loss of confidence in themselves, including their ability to make decisions. Add that to being in fear of the perpetrator and its frankly amazing that anyone gets the courage to change their situation. Generally it's when she becomes aware that the children are affected that most women get the courage to leave the abuser.

The OP explained she'd left and been sent back by her mother, this reinforces what abusers tell their victims ie that they are mad and no-one will believe them. We are also continually told that children need 2 parents and that the children of single parents don't do well. The most dangerous time for women (and their children) is after they end the relationship; its then that they are most likely to be killed or seriously injured by their abuser when he realises he is losing his control. The child was also subjected to threats to herself, siblings and mother if she told. The OP did not abuse her child, if she had she would have lost her other two children; she is also a victim/survivor of her ex's behaviour. To suggest she must have known about her daughter's abuse is tantamount to accusing her of abusing her children which is not on at all. As soon as she was aware that she hadn't protected her children from his abuse, and the services who could protect her and the other children were involved, she ended the relationship. If she had been complicit in the abuse, she too would have dealt with by the Police and would not be parenting her other children.

I'm not surprised that the OP feels rejected. She found her daughter after 5 years and was her mum again then after being involved is suddenly sidelined in favour of the people who she lived with. It's as if DD sees her mother as a shameful secret. I hope that's not the case and that eventually she can be a grandmother to her grandson and mother to her daughter. Perhaps she could access some counselling for herself and daughter to help rebuild their relationship.

Davidhs Sun 29-Sep-19 11:52:19

It's as if DD sees her mother as a shameful secret.

Jol960 undoubtedly this is the case and the OP is very lucky that some contact has been made, I have close experience of just this situation.
Daughter had been running away for several years, until she was 16 the police took her back regularly, at 16 she moved out for good and hasnt spoken to her mother since. Daughter only lives a few miles away and has 2 kids, no contact to this day. Mother was badly abused as well, she had to know what was happening but was too intimidated to report it for many years.
Father did eventually get jailed, the very last thing the daughter wants is for her new family to know all the background. The OPs daughter is in exactly the same place she is not going to take the chance that any secrets will be exposed. She will already have told her in-laws a story (fairy tale) about her childhood and parents and does not want that contradicted.
Enjoy what contact you are allowed