Gransnet forums


estranged grandchild's upcoming birthday - what do you do?

(124 Posts)
nina1959 Thu 02-Mar-17 14:05:26

Hello all

I'm in the estranged camp, I have been for some time and having read posts and run groups for estranged parents, I have no answers. I've just learned to accept it although I know it's incredibly hard and just reading a few posts here, I understand the pain many of you are going through.
So all this being said, I have a small grandaughter who has a birthday coming up this month. The saddest thing is that her mother, my daughter, has decided not to allow her to know us. In some ways I think she's punishing us for her own unhappiness but I just don't know anymore. I think it's wrong not to allow a child to know it's own gene pool but I can do little about it.

There's no point sending anything, I don't have an address. Email cards aren't opened and I imagine any other form of offering a gift via a third party isn't given anyway. Then I also think to keep on trying does three things, none which are good, a) keeps you dangling on the false end of hope, b) makes it look as though you're insisting on staying connected, c) keeps you in a control battle.

Then there's the child herself who knows nothing about us but may grow up wishing she had so I feel I've got to keep an ember of hope glowing for her sake.
I just don't know how.

Any thoughts> I've started a family footprint of photos, notes and other things so maybe one day, she can trace back her roots. But otherwise, I'm at a loss.

Lavazza1st Thu 26-Sep-19 10:12:18

I sent a facebook birthday card as we didnt have his address, which he ignored. We had a card, money and a birthday cake here and a special meal ready in case he came round- at this point wed only been estranged for a few weeks so I didn't think it was permanent.
( he didn't come, so we ate it) It was a nice way of honoring his birthday and my other kid enjoyed the food.

Lavazza1st Thu 26-Sep-19 10:07:53

So sorry that so many of us are in the same boat! My GS has just had his 2nd birthday and isn't in this country so I did nothing. I know that even if I sent something, he may not be given it and he isn't old enough to rememer me/us.
We haven't seen him since March- I've thought about him every day and wondered how to cope. At best I would have been a part time granny because he would have had to have spent half of the year abroad, but having no contact is awful.

I never imagined my DS would do this. But he has. I am here looking for ways to cope, too. I like the idea of a memory box....hadn't considered that before! Maybe one day when he's grown up, he might come looking for us? It would be nice to show him we care in that way.

Starlady Wed 28-Aug-19 22:39:33

That's wonderful, ReadyMeals! And I agree w/ Smileless, the other GPs are very kind - and brave, IMO.

"They just tell her to sort out her own relationships and leave theirs alone. "

TG, she accepts that. Some young parents wouldn't, even if it were from their own parents, and the contact w/ those GPs would be curtailed if not CO completely. I have a good relationship w/ my DD, and she has a reasonably good relationship w/ her PILs. But during those times when there were issues, I know it would have backfired on me if I tried to intercede on behalf of the other GPs. You and these other GPs are very lucky.

Smileless2012 Wed 28-Aug-19 12:29:49

If only more could be like your GC's other GP'ssmile.

ReadyMeals Wed 28-Aug-19 12:04:37

They just laugh it off and don't take any notice of her. Their social media friends list has all sorts of people she stopped talking to ages ago. They just tell her to sort out her own relationships and leave theirs alone. Goodness knows what the children are going to grow up believing about everyone but for now they're kids and they don't deserve to do without just cos their parents are engaged in all sorts of feuds.

Smileless2012 Wed 28-Aug-19 12:00:00

That's great ReadyMeals and good of the other GP's to possibly risk putting themselves in the line of fire.

ReadyMeals Wed 28-Aug-19 11:58:01

Fortunately I can get gifts to my grandchildren via their other grandparents, who have no time for pettiness.

Starlady Sun 16-Jun-19 14:50:35

Meant to say also, craftyone, I'm sure DD2 will reach out, in time, when she's ready.

Starlady Sun 16-Jun-19 14:49:49

Ok, craftyone, I see what you mean. If you don't mind, I think it's also possible that she can't be around anyone who reminds her of her dad right now. That happened w/ a niece of mine when her dad died. I don't think it's all that common, I had never before know anybody who reacted that way. But everyone deals with death in different ways, as I'm sure you know, and that was part of her way, just to insulate herself from people who reminded her of him.

Anyhow, I'm glad you're "no longer going to beat (yourself) up about" this situation. Better, I think, to move on and just enjoy the AC and GC who are there for you.

craftyone Sun 16-Jun-19 14:02:56

starlady, she was very much worse after her dad died and I think she is subconsciously protecting herself from having feelings in case I die, maybe she is doing this to stop herself from getting too close to anyone

Anyway, I need to look after myself so after having watched the very good videos, I am keeping my distance as it is obviously what she wants and I am no longer going to beat myself up about it.

Starlady Sun 16-Jun-19 06:46:51

"It could be that cutting herself off is some sort of self-preservation from potential emotional trauma."

Craftyone, I'm so sorry about your DD2's behavior. But I'm not sure I understand this sentence. What "potential emotional drama" would be be protecting herself from?

Namsnanny, I don't even know what to say. It must be awful to live in such fear. I'm glad you're reaching out here, but perhaps you should seek therapy, as well, to help you cope?

Agnurse, I agree w/ you about patterns. But, sometimes, I think it's the relationship or the combination of people. I know you love your parents, but there may be things about them that bother that one sister and BIL that just don't bother the rest of you. It could be that the personalities involved just don't mesh.

Nina hasn't been here for a long time, but still the stories of estrangement come in. It is so heartbreaking!

I can't help but notice that a lot of the estrangements are from daughters. So, clearly, the old idea that relationships w/ DDs are easier than those w/ DILs is not so true. I have a DD, not estranged, fortunately, but I'm very conscious of the fact that we mothers of DDs are not immune to estrangement. Very scary.

I also notice that some posters here cut themselves off from their AC and GC., usually to protect themselves from hurt. Then I wonder, if some AC don't do that for the very same reason? NOT saying that's true of any of the cases here, just that I think pain can come from either direction.

It's hard for me to understand why some AC would CO their parents for the single, small or whimsical reasons some have described. I would think that if the overall relationship was good, they would get over the one incident after a while. I mean, maybe they wouldn't talk to mum/dad for a week or two, but I would think the overall love would come through after a while and they would make up. Even if they are "spoiled," I would think they would miss the estranged parents at some point. When I read about some AC cutting parents off over a single incident for 10 years or whatever... well... I just don't get it. I had my issues w/ DM, but I can't imagine even going totally NC and for so many years! These stories are sad, but they are also mindboggling!

craftyone Sat 15-Jun-19 21:18:21

oh my goodness, I just googled `go no contact` and I see narcissism in my dd.

Minshy Sat 15-Jun-19 21:03:20

I realise this thread is a couple of years old, but I too have become a member of the ‘ cannot see a grandchild club’
He’s now 9 weeks old. I’m getting used to it I think. The mother bashing has gone on for several years now. I’m thankful that my grandson has 3 other. Grandparents that see him all the time and that will be a positive in his life. But I’m also sorry for me.

craftyone Sat 15-Jun-19 19:58:31

I need to join this thread. I have always been a very kind and caring mum and gm. 3 AC and 3 grandchildren. 2 to one dd and 1 to the other dd. Son and the dd with 2 children are extremely kind and close to me and each other. DD2 has cut herself off from all of us eg she was invited to partake in my surprise 70th party, she didn`t come. She barely sends any of us a card, if she does then it is days late

She has surrounded herself and her dd with horses, they take all her time and her husband also suffers from the lack of time with her. When 2 1/2 she developed the most awful tantrums and became very difficult to handle but we got through. Little by little she has cut herself off from all of us, wrapped in her own world. She took centre stage when we saw her, son thinks she is narcissist, I think on the autism spectrum. If I see her, maybe twice a year, she is lovey dovey

They moved and the only reason I have their new address is because she wanted some of my furniture because I was moving at the same time. She has not given me any telephone number, on the rare occasion she rang it was number witheld

Me and the other 2 AC have decided to stop being upset and to get on with life without her but easier said than done. They still have horses and do endless competitions. DGD loves me, I know but she is 11 and old enough to contact me and doesn`t.

Last contact was from this dd, 2 weeks ago `did you get my e mails`, I have decided no longer to be the chatty person with her, it was all one-sided. I sent her my 2 phone numbers and asked for hers. Silence. No e mails from her of course. So with a heavy heart I am opting out too, no acknowledgement of the card and present I sent to dgc at the new address for her birthday. I don`t understand why, it is her choice not mine and my heart is broken, she got much worse after my husband died. It could be that cutting herself off is some sort of self-preservation from potential emotional trauma

I will not be `played like a fiddle` any more

Smileless2012 Tue 26-Mar-19 17:30:26

Namsnannyflowers I totally understand your feelings of being "so frightened I could be accused of anything at all that (your) left feeling insecure and confused".

Mr. S. and I felt exactly the same. Before the final cut off came when our eldest GC was just 11 months old, we'd already decided that we didn't want to ever have him unless there was someone else with us. Such was the extent of our paranoiaangry.

Once we'd got to that point and the final cut off came, I had virtually no contact with our ES and we have had none whatsoever for 2.5 years. We even moved so that we wouldn't see him in passing.

agnurse Tue 26-Mar-19 16:41:31


I tend to focus on patterns, as well. If one person doesn't like you, well, that could be their problem. If two or more people can't stand you - it's more likely that you're the problem.

This is why I don't think the estrangement between my sister and BIL and my parents is justified. We are 6 kids. The other 5 of us, and our partners, get on great with my parents. It's only my sister and BIL who have a problem with them.

notquiteagranyet Tue 26-Mar-19 13:27:51

Nina1959, I've now read the full thread...
Let me tell you a similar story, from the other side.
I had a mother who spent my formative years and beyond telling me about how her her mother had rejected her... and then her brother and sister and later various close friends and she couldn't understand it.... actually, I even thought you might be her...
I'm the eldest of 3 children, youngest brother is the 'golden child', middle sister is the one she was afraid of losing and then there's me, boring and dependable who will take all the abuse she dishes out until I finally had enough.
Growing up I was continually belittled and told I wasn't as clever or good at anything as my younger siblings. But if anything happened as I got older I was the shoulder she cried on. Everything I did was questioned and basically told it wasn't good enough. As I head into my 30s, she then picks screaming rows over nothing or things she knows very little about. Child is born and she does the doting gran thing and I'm happy about that, despite her always telling me how much better the older grandchildren are and how much more she empathises with them etc as they have known rejection too. She is very emotionally controlling and everything is about her, even my serious illness. She decided one day that the great thing to do would be to sit me down and tell me everything that was wrong with my life, including my husband... despite not having all the information, and even if she did, it's none of her business.
Now she wonders why I don't bother calling her... not that she calls me either, she complains via my father that I don't call much.
As I've got older, I see the pattern of 'rejection'; people haven't rejected her as such but her behaviour towards them has in most cases got to a point where people have had enough. In each case it was following a row of some sort, where she felt she needed to give people her opinion on something deeply personal and absolutely none of her business....
But she can't see that and feels sad and rejected and can't understand that people don't want to deal with this kind of behaviour. Not only that, she thinks she's done nothing wrong and is the injured party in each case... hmm

notquiteagranyet Tue 26-Mar-19 13:08:43

I would be curious to understand why your daughter is doing this... never something done lightly, so she must have a reason...

Namsnanny Thu 21-Mar-19 02:32:28

Luckylegs9......If you have read most of Ninas posts now, do you feel you can explain your comments about 'battles' and 'playing games' and 'you cannot let her be'?
Probably me, but I don't think I quite understand what you mean!

Namsnanny Thu 21-Mar-19 02:26:46

Joyfulnanna…….When you described messages to friends saying you attempted abduction of gc, I nearly jumped off my seat, as a very similar situation happened to me.
I've never mentioned it to anyone because I was so afraid that someone would believe it!! But when the rumour got back to me I was floored. How could anyone let alone my AC think that I could put them through that or behave in such a lunatic way???
I've been so frightened I could be accused of anything at all that I'm left feeling insecure and confused.
I don't trust people who have a little contact, who might triangulate (pass on gossip) or gaslight (try to convince me I'm loosing it) and there are a few surrounding me, so I've retreated as much as I can from the world.

crazyH Wed 20-Mar-19 23:21:56

Nina started this post in 2017

Joyfulnanna Wed 20-Mar-19 22:10:04

I'm in the same situation. It's torture not seeing my GS after five years of looking after him most weekends. My daughter is a monster for doing this to me and her son with whom I've had a close relationship. I saw him coming out of school and he was gaunt and very thin. I'm sure it's affecting him as much as it is me. It's hopeless at the moment so I am planning on getting legal advice and apply for leave to start proceedings to restore contact with him. She has just started to send messages to mutual friends saying I attempted to abduct him and fears for his safety. Nothing could be further from the truth. I'm heartbroken and it's affecting my health how cruel she is behaving. I did everything for her while she was growing up, she wanted for nothing, was allowed to keep a horse and develop her skills as a horse woman. I am not going to allow her to treat me like she has been and am going to get legal advice.

Luckylegs9 Tue 12-Feb-19 06:28:54

Nina, your posts are very long and involved, so have not read them properly. Your daughter clearly is unhappy sending vicious e mails, put a stop to that for a start, it's as if this continuous battle between you both is a game. I as a mom would be concerned for her. Is it that you cannot let her be? As for your sending cards to your granddaughter, If you have an address send cards, if not do as we all do. Be the mom again and lead the way. Accept the situation, you have been in it many years, I remember your previous posts.
Bradford Lass, you have handled a heartbreaking situation, with dignity, I know how awful it is, no one unless can unless they are in a similar position, the pain and loss are always there. I think your response is the best all round inacheartbreaking situation. You have to move on.

BradfordLass72 Mon 11-Feb-19 08:51:10

I don't know if anyone else has suggested this but I would make it clear in your Will that you've left a box of things and letters for your grandchild.

That way, the mother will, eventually, be legally bound to pass it to her daughter.

You can even state in the Will that your granddaughter be handed the box personally and in the presence of your solicitor.

If she is old enough when you pop your clogs, she'll read how much you loved her. Otherwise you can tell your solicitor to keep it until she is 16 or so.

That way, you will at least know she'll be told about you, and you will have left her letters and gifts (maybe one little thing each birthday and Christmas, with a note)

I write a letter every year, sometimes more, for my elder son who 'divorced' me and his brother 15 years ago at the behest of his girl-friend.
In my case, I'm leaving the letters with my younger son whom I know I can rely upon to pass them on when the time comes.

It's the only comfort I can suggest but it gives you just that bit of hope and power, even if it can only happen after you've gone.

agnurse Mon 11-Feb-19 03:34:27


That's not appropriate. It teaches the children that it's acceptable to go behind mum and dad's backs. It also places the school in an awkward position.