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The reasons

(70 Posts)
Razzmatazz123 Thu 15-Aug-19 10:48:42

My son got an unwanted email from my mother saying she did not know why I would estrange from her. She also has found out she is a great grandparent, although she did not ask after his or my granddaughters wellbeing. He is frustrated by this as he knows that both he and myself have explained to her the reasons for estrangement at the time. She never acknowledged either. Any emails I sent her asking for counselling together were ignored so I had assumed she no longer used it. This seems a common thread with abusive parents. Their children give them reasons and ask for certain behaviours to change and are ignored. I never see an abusive parent share those reasons. I wonder if that is how you can tell the abusive parents who have been estranged for good reason from the parents who have been cut off unfairly. Whether or not they are willing to talk about those given reasons.

MissAdventure Thu 15-Aug-19 10:51:59

I think its impossible to talk to someone who flatly refuses to engage with you, whatever the circumstances.

RosieLeah Thu 15-Aug-19 10:54:08

Unreasonable parents don't grow into reasonable old folks....they just get worse.

I'm grateful that my mother went to Australia. When she found herself alone in her old age, and asked why, I didn't have to tell her to her face that it was because she had been such a bad mother.
Her generation seemed to think that children owed their parents for bringing them into the world and had a duty to care for them in their old age.

Smileless2012 Thu 15-Aug-19 12:51:11

It's the same with unreasonable AC. How can you possibly try and sort out problems in a relationship if one side simply refuses to talk about it?

A willingness to talk demonstrates a willingness to find a resolution, a wall of silence shows the opposite.

Sadly, despite your attempts Razzmatazz to try to find a way to salvage your relationship with your mother it appears that she wasn't willing to reciprocatesad.

Razzmatazz123 Thu 15-Aug-19 20:01:58

It just doesn't make logical sense does it? I would always want to change if my behaviour was causing a loved one pain. I would not mind speaking about it and asking for advice. So I was trying to understand how she can say she doesn't know what the problem is when I know she has been told. Is it because she can't face her own guilt? Because she has convinced herself it didn't happen? Or is this just an abusive person thing. I have been very fortunate with all my other relationships so haven't other experience to campare it to.

I would like to help my son feel better.

Italso shows me that she has made no progress at all from where I left her 6 years ago so I am not going to try to reach out again.

Namsnanny Thu 15-Aug-19 21:12:20

Smileless...good post thanks smile

Razzamataz...that’s the problem with relationships, they can’t be prescribed.

Smileless2012 Fri 16-Aug-19 09:27:32

A combination of all 3 perhaps *Razzamataz". An estranging adult whose unable to live with the guilt of their actions may well deny to themselves and others, that the estrangement is of their making.

This will then lead into the refusal to accept that certain things have taken place, if acknowledging them undermines their conviction that they're not responsible. The continuation of these then results in the perpetuation of the abusive behaviour.

Another factor is lying. So often the estranging adult will lie about their reasons for going no contact in a attempt to justify to others, and themselves, that it was a reasonable course of action to follow.

You cannot tell if the parent whose been estranged is deserving any more than you can tell if the estranging AC for example is justified.

Of course where there is clear evidence of abuse in which ever form it takes, estrangement is acceptable but with such a complex and multi layered situation, without personally knowing the people involved, it's impossible to tell for certain.

Even then, when lies are the order of the day it can be difficult for some to uncover the truth.

Razzmatazz123 Sun 18-Aug-19 00:16:45

It's strange to me as I am involved in a large support group for children who have difficult parent relationships and all they talk about constantly are the reasons they are struggling or estranged. Some stories are so awful it is unreal. Of course we are going to have awful people in every generation, that is a given. I see some awful people in that group. Not many thankfully or I would leave and lose the support. I asked this question there too and there was a lot of response saying that they had explained reasons for NC and been ignored. There was also responses from those who are not estranged who could not get their parents to acknowledge things that had hurt them. I feel as though there must be a way to get these people, parent or child, who refuse to listen, to see how much damage they have done and take steps to undo it. The reasons are so important. I also feel that perhaps there are cases where one party is hurt, but the other party refuses to acknowledge it because they don't agree it should cause pain. The pain is real though and it doesn't matter whether someone else agrees it should be there or not.

Razzmatazz123 Sun 18-Aug-19 00:29:49

Smile I think you are right in my case though, the lies have broken any chance here. She can't undo this without losing people. She hasn't just ignored my reasons, she has actively lied to hide them. Like I have said before though, I have no intention of proving her a liar to family and losing her her support system. The other problem is that, it would hurt them too. She said awful things about all of them. Just easier to let them take her side than start something that could snowball and destroy everything it touches. I have enough guilt already.

Smileless2012 Sun 18-Aug-19 09:28:41

Razzmatazzflowersyou said about one party refusing to acknowledge the pain the other is experiencing because they don't agree that that pain should be felt. I agree and would add to that the refusal to acknowledge that they are the ones responsible.

I don't know if our ES has told others that he's explained his reasons for going no contact, he certainly hasn't been that forthcoming with his brother, and when he has he's taken an event and distorted the telling of it to such an extent that it becomes a complete fabrication.

As with your mother, our ES can't "undo this" without possibly damaging other relationships and certainly not without losing face and being shown as the liar that he is.

It's easier for us to simply let him get on with it but as for the guilt, I no longer feel guilty. We did nothing to deserve the way we've been treated and neither have you.

Let go of your guilt Razzmatazz and leave it to those who deserve it.

Purpletinofpaint Sun 18-Aug-19 10:55:13

It was the case for me & many others I've heard from, that some parent(s) are so wrapped up in their own world view, they're incapable of truly hearing the needs of others to begin to open a dialogue about what the upsetting events are. Then you're forced to cut them off to save your own sanity & they then claim you cut them off for no reason! I told my own mother the exact reason I wanted to be left alone - because I didn't trust her with my own children. (she'd shown abusive & neglectful behaviour). She then wrote saying she had 'no idea' why I'd cut her off!! Estranged parents often only hear what they want to hear. It's easier for her to consider that I'm a bitch, than consider she might be neglectful & have her own undealt-with issues.

Starlady Tue 20-Aug-19 11:30:49

Hmmm... DM and I had a good relationship, overall, but when I first had children, she often seemed to try to take over when she visited. In other words, she tried to tell me what to do and have a say in DH's/my childcare decisions, etc. If I accused her of this, she would vehemently deny it. But a few minutes later or on the next visit, there she was trying to be the boss again. Looking back, I realize, she was just used to being in the role of parental authority, and so didn't see her behavior as "taking over.," even though that's how it came across to me. Just like mismatched expectations, I think there is such a thing as "mismatched perceptions." I know there are some AC and some GPs who actually lie about their relationship w/ each other, etc. But I also think sometimes it seems that way b/c they have mismatched views of the situation.

Nonnie Tue 20-Aug-19 12:22:20

I think Smileless has got it. It works both ways, not just one.

There is none so deaf as those that will not hear and some people will never admit they were wrong.

It is easy for one to lie to friends and family and make accusations about a parent or child but it is not so easy for them to work out what is true and what is lie. I have a situation where a person says bad things about someone but I notice it is always allusions and never any actual examples. That makes me think I'm not getting the whole truth. There are some very selfish people out there.

Smileless2012 Wed 21-Aug-19 09:17:24

That's so true Nonnie and of course there are none so blind as those who cannot seesmile.

Starlady Wed 21-Aug-19 12:48:20

I recognize that some AC lie or exaggerate (no doubt, some GPs do, also). But I also think that sometimes, giving the reasons can be very tricky, though, IMO. For example, one of my EGP friends was told that she's "overbearing." She didn't understand why and asked for examples. So, according to her, DS gave her a list of incidences. But (understandably, I think) she found this very painful to hear. In response, she complained, "I can't do anything right! They get mad at every little thing!" I get her reaction. But I think it shows why it can be very difficult for some AC to explain their concerns to the GPs/for some GPs to digest their AC's/CIL's reasons.

Razzmatazz123 Wed 21-Aug-19 21:41:54

I don't get her reaction Star, someone told her she was making them uncomfortable and her reaction was to make it about her and throw a bit of a temper tantrum. That's not healthy. A healthy reaction would be to think, oh, this behaviour is doing damage, I need to apologise and be accountable and either work on it myself or get help to work on it. Imagine if we behaved like that in all things? Every time our boss at work wanted us to do things differently or thought we needed a bit of retraining. Every time the law changed and we needed to adapt. Every time a friend or a relative was unhappy with us? We'd basically be stomping around, perpetual victims while our relationships, lives a careers went down the toilet. It's selfish thinking.

Smileless2012 Thu 22-Aug-19 09:47:32

Well IMO it's not healthy to give someone a list of incidences; it's at best argumentative and at worse confrontational.

There's no opportunity for either side to discuss anything, and let's face it, it's perfectly reasonable for what one sees as overbearing the other sees as just wanting to help, to be there and be supportive.

If the recipient disagrees they need the opportunity to say so and the other party needs to be able to explain why particular behaviour(s) are viewed in that way. A calm and thoughtful explanation is much more likely to achieve it's aim than a list of accusations.

I can just see the kind of posts we'd see on here if an EGP or GP fearing estrangement said they'd sent their AC and his/her partner a list of incidentshmm.

March Thu 22-Aug-19 10:21:20

It's the fact you have to list them out, that's the worst part. It's like common sense has left them.

Hurtful, selfish behaviour over and over again that you just take because you 'don't want to rock the boat' so when the straw that broke the camel's back snaps and you start taking some control back or calling them out, that's when it explodes.

'I don't know what I've done wrong'
So you tell them.

Well, No you don't tell people my wife has an eating disorder, you don't smoke around my baby when we have told you not to and trusted you with her, no you don't talk about my wife's medical info with random people, no you don't start arguments with us when my wife is in labour, don't demand you have the baby alone, don't threaten my wife, don't have a strop when we can't come to your house when my wife is 1 day postpartumn, dont cancel visit after visits then complain you don't see her enough, don't arrange a time to come down on her birthday then arrive 3 hours late, don't expect me to make all the effort, stop telling lies to other members of the family, stop telling people my wife has mental health problems....

That's common sense right? You don't do any, not even 1 or 2 of the above then wonder why your relationship with your son has gone abit wrong.

Then say that
1) It didn't happen, they dont remember it
2)change focus and say how upset and heartbroken they are and make it all about them. Throw in a tantrum for good measure.
3) blame their spouse.
still carry on saying 'I don't know what I've done wrong'

Literally anything, than say 'Sorry.'

GagaJo Thu 22-Aug-19 10:44:36

My daughter and I are mostly estranged from my mum and brother's family because of their refusal to go to my grandson's christening. Orchestrated by my SiL but my whole family did not attend.

There was still a party, my ex husbands family were all there.

My family all know why, but have made out I'm unreasonable. It's very sad, because my grandson is missing out on his family. But I will not allow them to treat him that way.

After all the cake baking etc I did for my nieces, including hand sewing their christening dresses. The only words I have for my SiL can't be repeated on here. My mum? Weak and following the crowd. But it is what it is.

Razzmatazz123 Thu 22-Aug-19 17:43:49

Youcant ask for examples and then be annoyed when you get them, then instead of dealing with your shame, getting angry. It's not healthy to ignore shame, it doesn't help you grow as a person. Sure you can say "love me as I am or leave me be" but then you have to face the reality that some may not love you as you are. If it is someone who is important to you, you would change behaviour that hurts them, or at least show them you are trying. It really is that simple.

Joyfulnanna Thu 22-Aug-19 17:57:51

I think forgiveness is key. Not forgive and forget but forgive and reevaluate. If both sides some accepted responsibility for a breakdown/estrangement that would be a start. If you went first, you might find the other person followed suit. If they don't, you should feel no guilt. You tried, they failed. It's not healthy to keep banging your head against a brick wall. If you've previously had an open relationship, it's much easier but if you've always had conflict and tension, it seems a natural cause of estrangement. Don't forget, people do have a tendency to 'love to hate'

Razzmatazz123 Thu 22-Aug-19 22:39:48

Sometimss you have to forgive yourself for putting up with it for so long, for exposing your children to toxic behaviour. I took my granddaughter to the park today. First time she has been old enough to climb and go on things. I suddenly noticed there were so many other grandparents there. It was beautiful. It also reminded me that my mother never took my children to the park. Not once. It really affected me badly today.

Joyfulnanna Thu 22-Aug-19 23:09:31

Oh Razz but you're turning the tide and that is what counts but I understand its upsetting and your hurt looking back. Sending you a big hug x

Razzmatazz123 Fri 23-Aug-19 22:36:05

Joyful, thank you.

The best lesson I learnt in therapy was that, people should not blame you for your reaction to their bad behaviour.

Madgran77 Sat 24-Aug-19 16:57:12

Now that is an interesting one Razzmatazz. Food for thought!