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After estrangement?

(35 Posts)
boheminan Thu 31-Oct-19 08:26:25

I joined GN when I became estranged from my DD and subsequently GC, and needed to connect with anyone going through the same heartbreak.

The connection was broken for around 8 years, during which time my GD was born without my knowledge. Both GC have been brought up believing their step-granny is their real gran. We reconciled around 2yrs ago smile when GC were 5 & 8yrs old.

My deep concern is I feel I don't know them, I'm a total stranger in their lives and as much as I'm drawn to them as lovable children, I feel no deep connection. This is a very painful situation to be in and I so much want it to be different.

I suppose my question is -- has anyone else out there in GN land had (or having) the same experience? and if so, will it ever change?

boheminan Thu 31-Oct-19 10:53:48

Hey ho! So no one else on GN has experience of this? somehow makes me feel worse (if possible). I know from past experience that most threads I start on GN are doomed to fall off the end of the page I start off feeling very insecure and end up paranoid! but please, someone surely has a little time just to chatsad

janeainsworth Thu 31-Oct-19 11:11:52

Boheminan I don’t have experience of estrangement, and certainly on the estrangement threads they don’t welcome input from ‘outsiders’, so perhaps that’s why no one has answered your question.
Perhaps also, another reason might be that very few estrangements are ever resolved, so no one on GN is in your situation.

However if you want an objective view, I would suggest that you try to put the past away somewhere in your mind. Think about the future instead.
It will take time to get to know your GC. And there’s no magic formula, and no guarantee that just because you're related to a child, you’ll have a close relationship with them. Perhaps when you were estranged, you idealised the relationship you might have had.
You don’t say how often you see your GC, or on what basis.
Many on GN aren’t estranged, but see their GC at very infrequent intervals because they live thousands of miles away.
I’m one of them. I’ve learned that you have to accept life as it is, and make the most of it. I’ve learned that even when you love your GC dearly, you can’t force ‘closeness’ with a child any more than you can with an adult. I’ve learned that being patient, showing interest in what they do and just letting them come to you can help to build a relationship.
Good luck - I hope things get better for you.

ninathenana Thu 31-Oct-19 11:44:51

Have PM'd you

Nonnie Thu 31-Oct-19 11:50:50

Perhaps you didn't wait long enough for a response? Not everyone is on here all day and some not every day.

As Jane said there may not be many lucky enough to have reconciled and some may feel they cannot respond because they are suffering such deep hurt and wish they were in your position. I think those who are estranged would probably ask you to make the most of what you have because you have so much more than them. Sorry I can't be more help, I have no experience.

Peonyrose Fri 01-Nov-19 05:46:27

Perhaps that closeness may come back, I don't know, but it must be better than not being in their lives. Not all families have those close bonds we would like, but not expecting too much and being welcoming and upbeat may in time bring you closer, I hope so.

Sillygrandma5GK Fri 01-Nov-19 07:27:44

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Daisymae Fri 01-Nov-19 08:59:31

Not in your position, but do have step grandchildren who arrived fully form so to speak! Developing a relationship took time and I let them develop the pace. Although it's not the same as the other GC, I do love them and they reciprocate. Can be done with patience and goodwill. I wonder though whether you are still smarting from the initial fall out? Relationships can heal, even if damaged.

Smileless2012 Fri 01-Nov-19 14:03:31

Hi boheminan. I fully understand where you're coming from, not because we've reconciled with our ES and have been able to see our only GC, but because what you are experiencing is something I've always felt would be the case if we ever did.

We've been estranged for almost 7 years, haven't seen our eldest GC since he was 8 months old, and have never seen the youngest. I've wondered in the past if not having been in the GC's lives from the outset would make a difference to how we would feel about them, and them about us.

It's wonderful that you are now able to see your GC so try to not allow fears about bonding cast a shadow over your relationship with them. It could be that subconsciously you are preventing yourself from becoming too connected, in case there are problems in the future and they are lost to you again. A perfectly natural and understandable reaction IMO.

An untrue, unhelpful and unkind comment janeainsworthangry "they" do "welcome input from 'outsiders'" and bare in mind it's you who has referred to non estranged P's and GP's as outsiders; I've never in almost 7 years of being on GN seen that term used by EPs and/or EGp's to refer to those not estranged.

janeainsworth Fri 01-Nov-19 18:52:39

Whatever, Smileless.
I rarely look at the estrangement threads now, but in the past it has been common on those threads for anyone who has questioned or challenged the view of an estranged GP to be rounded on with the accusation that if you haven’t been in that situation yourself, you can’t possibly have an opinion on the subject.
I myself was once accused by one of the estranged GP’s of having ‘crawled out of the woodwork’ to make a comment.
I think your response to my use of the term ‘outsiders’ to describe non-estranged GPs who go on the estranged threads is hysterical, frankly. And I don’t mean in an amusing way.

Pantglas2 Fri 01-Nov-19 19:01:10

Hysterical seems a very strange term to use on this thread, either for estranging adult children or estranged grandparents and certainly I’ve only ever found Smileless2012 to be calm and courteous to all regardless of which ‘side’ is posting.

Grammaretto Fri 01-Nov-19 22:36:57

Back to the OP. I am not estranged apart from long distance, but I sense from what you say is that you have been so hurt that you cannot just have an instant bonded relationship with these DC. How could you.
Try to remember, it is not their fault and nothing can be done to make good the past.
Take it very gently. Look after yourself. I hope you get to know and like eachother.

crazyH Fri 01-Nov-19 23:22:25

Boheminian, you don't have to be fully estranged, to feel that 'disconnect'. A couple of years ago, I almost was estranged, from my older son and his family, but because I persisted (for the sake of the GC), I do see them now and then.
BUT .....yesterday, it was hurtingly obvious where I stand in the pecking order. I, along with d.i.l's mother was invited to the Halloween party. D.i.l's mother picked me up, which was nice of her, and we both went to the party. As we got off the car, the little ones rushed to her, squealing with excitement, ignoring me totally. I managed to get a hug eventually. It hurt, but I have to accept it. They see more of her than me. What did I expect?
I am just glad the little ones have lots love around them. I hope you enjoy your grandchildren and build a great relationship.

rosecarmel Sat 02-Nov-19 00:14:24

boheminan, it isn't unusual to experience feeling distant or disconnected as a result of a hurtful circumstance and even fearful of being vulnerable as well in an effort to protect yourself- And maybe the feeling of no connection is an indication that you've yet to heal so need more time to do so before you open your heart again-

rosecarmel Sat 02-Nov-19 00:32:04

Pantglas2, I'm certain that courteous doesn't mean groupthink- The tone of that last post was self-centered, as though one were speaking from atop a pedestal instead of to equals-

Summerlove Sat 02-Nov-19 01:12:14

This means that I have to try harder with the third child as we don't have that "connection" that was formed in the early years with the first two.
Poor third child, knowing that you have to try hard to have a connection. Because that child will know they are least favoured.

Pantglas2 Sat 02-Nov-19 04:56:12

I’m sorry rosecarmel, you’ll have to explain ‘groupthink’ to me - is it an American term? And I don’t understand why being described as being calm and courteous is a bad thing but applying the word hysterical (to Smileless2012 of all people?) is helpful on a thread like this.

As for being self centred, atop a pedestal...... I think maybe you need to re-read all my posts (and Pantglas1) to get a clearer picture of me. I’m a lot of things, not all of them good, but the people who know me wouldn’t apply those words to me!

Dolcelatte Sat 02-Nov-19 10:36:05

Boheminan, I am in a similar position to you in that I have recently reconciled with my DD after a semi-estrangement of nearly three years. I say semi-estrangement because she always sent cards for birthdays etc but, other than that, ghosted the whole family entirely for 6 months, moved without telling us her address for 18 months, and gave birth to a child whom she only told us of a couple of months ago. The child is now 16 months old. The situation is just so bizarre that I can't get my head round it, so I completely understand the feeling of disconnection.

I am not sure that I have any solutions other than to work at it and try to connect as much as possible. My DD and DGD live over 300 miles away so I tell myself that I wouldn't have seen that much of her anyway, that it's not as though she has emigrated to say Australia, and that at least I can now have the opportunity to build a relationship. And, you know, even if you don't have a close connection now, you may well do in the future, when the little child of today becomes an independent adult and chooses who is in her life.

I have written extensively about my situation and feelings on the thread 'Support for all those living with Estrangement', started by the wonderfully wise and compassionate Smileless, so you might find it helpful to pop in there, if you haven't already.

The only other thing I would say is that GN can be quite slow moving sometimes and, compared to MN, it can be at a snail's pace, so don't be discouraged if you don't receive instant replies. It is worth waiting for the responses, which will come, and are, with few exceptions, extremely helpful and supportive.

Summerlove Sat 02-Nov-19 12:08:57

“Groupthink” actually comes from George Orwell’s 1984. An English author. Not everything you don’t understand or think is wrong is American. Maybe you should consider why your first instinct is to blame Americans

Pantglas2 Sat 02-Nov-19 12:46:13

Firstly Summerlove I assumed (possibly wrongly) that rosecarmel was American.

Secondly, the term was used in connection with the bombing of Pearl Harbour, the American naval base, by the Japanese.

My first instinct is always to be kind Summerlove which is why I defended someone who always does likewise on these threads.

Also, just to make things clear, I was asking for an explanation rather than to apportion blame to a whole nation. I’m sure rosecarmel will kindly explain when she has time.

Dolcelatte Sat 02-Nov-19 13:02:01

@rosecarmal - The term 'groupthink' was coined by the American, Irving Janis, from the 'doublespeak' in Orwell's dystopian novel, '1984'. It does not have positive connotations and I am struggling to understand its context in your post.

Dolcelatte Sat 02-Nov-19 13:03:08

Sorry, I meant @Summerlove. What pretty names on this cold, blustery, winter day.

Namsnanny Sat 02-Nov-19 14:36:42

Boheminan ... I apologise for not responding before!
I’ve been waiting with baited breath for an answer onky to be left hanging!!
To respond to your problem, honestly I don’t know, but if I were in your position I would tell the child/children how much I’ve missed and loved them every time I saw them. Then got on with finding out what they liked to do and do it with them.
What ever happens in the future you can encourage the relationship to grow organically between you.
Relax and enjoy
Best of luck shamrock

janeainsworth Sat 02-Nov-19 15:56:43

Pantglas Hysterical seems a very strange term to use on this thread, either for estranging adult children or estranged grandparents
What are you talking about?
I was describing Smileless’s response to my comment. She described me as unkind, untruthful and unhelpful and inserted the ‘angry’ emoticon. I thought it was a bit over the top.
I wasn’t talking about adult children or grandparents.

Namsnanny Sat 02-Nov-19 16:25:33

Smileless is an estranged gparent.