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Unbearable sadness- blocked with no reason from 4 GK

(85 Posts)
Anna4 Sun 03-Nov-19 19:35:33

Hello, This is my first post in this forum. I'm an active and professional person with a career, divorced - but I am also a grandmother of 4 children from two daughters. I have not seen my grand kids for 10 months - since xmas time last year, nor have I heard from my daughters. One daughter, with 3 children, I had thought I had been close to, has cut me off with no expressed reason whatsoever. My other daughter who has one child, has had a 10 year psychiatric history of borderline personality disorder and a police record for assault on other school mates, has also blocked me from seeing my grandchild from her. I have written letters to both, apologizing for 'whatever I have done', sent flowers, cards but they don't respond in any way. I have reached out to their father to ask for his help in intervening - but he is not helpful. He almost gloats. He himself has a police record of assault, and doesn't care about the damage of estrangement I have w my daughters' blocking of seeing my grandkids. I am not an enmeshed -style mother, I respect my children, but they have sucker punched me with this unbelievable agony of not seeing them, their husbands or their kids. This is killing me. I am at a loss.

Starblaze Mon 11-Nov-19 10:44:14

From the perspective of an estranged daughter, you are getting it wrong. Blanket apologies aren't real apologies. Childhood photos are guilt trips because your daughters haven't forgotten good times, they have just been overwhelmed by other times. BPD is usually caused by trauma and isn't a fault. Its a disorder which is curable and needs help. Although being attacked physically is something no one should have to endure.

I would honestly suggest looking for clues in emails and being accountable. Relationships survive mistakes, mistakes are normal. It is only when we aren't accountable, make excuses, blame others and just generally refuse to acknowledge them that it becomes toxic.

I know I'm not saying what you want to hear and I notice you have ignored comments like mine. However if you genuinely want to resolve this, the answers are probably in those emails.

Remember that just because you have framed things a different way, the pain your daughters feel is genuine. They aren't you, they experience and feel things differently. What wouldn't bother you may bother them. You have to meet them where they are if you want a relationship.

ReadyMeals Mon 11-Nov-19 12:50:17

Starblaze, what sort of things are bad enough to make it ok to totally cut off a mother? Childhood abuse of any of the 3 types that would trigger social services intervention had it been reported. That's a reason I'd agree. Parent lying about adult child in order to lose them friends, stealing from adult child... I just don't think people should completely cut off a person just because they disagree on child rearing methods or clothing style etc etc - all the sorts of excuses I have seen lately. If someone is constantly criticising your child rearing methods then by all means adjust the type of contact so it has least impact on your child rearing, but complete ghosting is out of order imho for anything other than the most heinous abuses.

Hithere Mon 11-Nov-19 13:04:26

I am not Starblaze but I am sadly on the same boat as her.

The problem is that the offender rarely agrees with the reasons why she/he is cut off.
Parents say "I did my best!" "I wasn't a perfect parent but you were hard to raise!" "The punishment is way worse than the offenses!", "we did it becaise we love you and care about you", etc
I could give you my list of reasons after 20+ chances I gave my parents to listen to my feedback and redirect their behaviour and I still would get "but they are your parents!" "They didn't mean it that way!" Etc

Child abuse can be done in such a smart way it does not trigger any alarms.

Hetty58 Mon 11-Nov-19 13:14:22

Very true Hithere. We can only read between the lines and don't have the benefit of the daughters' opinions but it looks like a case of Anna having tried and now failing to accept the estrangement. She would be best off just getting on with her own life for now.

GrannySquare Mon 11-Nov-19 15:24:50

@Anna4 whatever the germ of this situation which is probably been brewing a while & has many players, you need a plan.

You particularly need a plan to get you through Christmas otherwise you’ll be in possibly a worse place than now. As we all know all the whoo-hah of any family festive season brings out the very best & worst in families.

Do not expect any reconciliation before or at Christmas. It may happen, but make other plans. Places are booking fast, but could you go to a lovely hotel for a 3 day escape, somewhere by the sea. It may mean a child-free Christmas but you will have lovely food, sumptuous decorations & convivial company. Everyone who goes wants to have a good time. We have done this a couple of times after major bereavements when we could not manage the family dramas nor summon the Christmas spirit for ourselves. We met many charming people who for a variety of reasons did not want a family Christmas at home. If not the big spend stayaway, could you go to a friend’s for Christmas ?

Of course, the easiest thing logistically is to stay put & have Christmas Day as usual - I noted that you mentioned the family days were up to Christmas Eve so I assume you did something without them on Christmas Day. My point is that you distract yourself from the expectation of contact over the Christmas period by being booked up or away. Do not offer a family Christmas feast this year.

Cards - send in good time. Do not expect anything back, maybe you will get something.

Presents- FOR THE CHILDREN, nothing too flash, nicely wrapped, sent in good time. Do not expect anything back right now. But your name will be mud if you forego giving the children anything.

A couple of other things caught my eye as I read the posts.

Stop the ‘choose me’ dance. Stop sending the ‘mummy loves you’ momento. Stop the guilt grinding contact. As a wise poster said your daughters are now young mothers & they are assessing the family dynamics through a different lens. If your first thought is ‘what about me?’ then there’s a clue to where you may all be foundering. Others have suggested that your read back over the emails with the purpose to hear what they are saying to you - their voices & words as they write, not your words & voice as you read.

I have a sense that all of you are replaying the dramas of your earlier family life - Mummy, Daddy & two little girls - only this time the script & players are different - Granny, Grandad, Mummy, Daddy, Mummy, Daddy & four little children. The change is prompted by the new generation coming through in the past few years, everybody gets to change seats. But it seems that there someone of the past that still lingers, as it does for all of us until we tackle it - to let go, sweep it away or cling on to it.
Your girls’ lives have changed - older anyway, adult relationships & then the massive wobblers of pregnancy, childbirth & early years parenting. They are truly different people now, recognisable but different by experience.
What I am driving at is your part or script in this drama. I see & understand how upset you are. But you seem to be dragging others into your drama, putting your monkeys on their backs. Clearly something has gone wrong, you need to reflect & use what is in front of you .e.g emails,,comments etc. Your loss is palpable & does seem to take you back quickly to the end of your marriage & the aftermath. All this family stuff all bundled up with unfinished business. Your ex may have been an unacceptable husband but right now he may well be an OK enough father & fab Grandfather, this may cause your girls some conflict & he may well be bigging up his part to assure his role in the new family structure. Change is happening around you, things are up in the air. But is you who has the power to change yourself & how you handle the situation, rather than chase them to give you what they may not have at the moment. Some counselling at Relate or GP recommended therapist may help you work some through this grief & gain insight.

One thing caught me eye & others have commented.
’I went to D2 house where my D2 seemed very upset and stressed, and lashed out verbally at me calling me a 'pathetic mother', not a 'leader' - because I changed a diaper wrong and wasn't paying attention to one of her 3 babies’

I am mystified by ‘leader’ & ‘pathetic mother’. You also mention that your daughters are ‘daddy pleasers’ & suggests that this leads to a better standard of living for them, all the while you are an underpaid academic.
Your tone comes over as passive-aggressive & ‘hard-done-by. As others have suggested, you may need to heal yourself as the first steps to a more connected relationship with your daughters & grandchildren.

GrannySquare Mon 11-Nov-19 15:25:07

Oops, soz so long.

Smileless2012 Mon 11-Nov-19 15:40:36

In the absence of specific reasons being given for estrangement, a blanket apology is all that can be given. If the estranged P isn't told why the estrangement has happened, then an apology for and acceptance of particular issues cannot be given.

It's important to accept IMO that where there are EP's who have been told by their EAC the reasons for the estrangement, and in some cases warned that being estranged will happen if things don't change, there are also EP's who are not told why, for whom the estrangement is a total shock, unforeseen and unexpected.

I have known EP's and EGP's who have been advised by professional counsellors and therapists to send photo's of themselves and their EAC of happier times.

This isn't suggested to send the EAC on a guilt trip but is suggested when a once close and loving relationship changes beyond all recognition due to the introduction of a 'third party'; a husband/wife/life partner. To 'remind' the EAC of how things used to be and perhaps shine a light on the one thing that has changed; on the arrival of someone new into the family.

What does failing "to accept the estrangement" really mean? You have no choice but to 'accept' it, it's happened, there's nothing you can do about it. Does it mean that you don't give up, that you continue to reach out and seek communication? There are some GN's who regard that approach as harassment, as a 'crime' that can and should be reported to the police.

Good advice is given, 'get on with your life', find other things, people and/or groups to fill the void, while simultaneously 'keeping the door open'.

After 7 years of estrangement I know that I will never again have a relationship with my ES or see my GC grow up, or in all probability even meet my GC.

We 'closed' our door sometime ago. It's there to be knocked on but I don't believe for one moment that our ES will ever do so. It's closed for our protection because having made the decision to estrange us from his and our GC's lives, if he were to get in touch, it would be our decision whether or not to risk him coming back into our lives.

7 years ago our ES told us we were no longer apart of his and our GC's lives, that we were to stay away. There was no warning, there were no 'reasons' but there were lies although even those were not given at the time, but came later when questions were asked by others.

Apart from sending our GC cards for birthdays and Christmas, we've done just that, we've stayed away and as much as we love him, miss what we had and dream of what might have been, we've accepted that it's safer for us this way.

GrannySquare Mon 11-Nov-19 16:20:59

@kaimegan ‘I have sent presents, money and letters to their schools and this has brought police to my door with claims of harassment. No charges so I continue.’

No charges so far , & with every item sent you directly contributes to the body of evidence required to place a charge against you & keep you from any prospect of future contact. Wise up & stop sending stuff

ReadyMeals Mon 11-Nov-19 16:22:40

It's very hard for people who have not been at the receiving end of an apparently unjustifiable estrangement to believe that someone could banish someone for no valid reason. My son's reason given to his ex was "not getting on with her at the moment" which has lasted 2 years. My daughter who grew up close in age to him and shared a social life with him asked and was told "you wouldn't understand" and a quick change of subject. Now if his close sibling who he usually confides in, and who knew everything he experienced at my hands growing up "wouldn't understand" then who would? Now every case is different. Anna's is unlikely to be the same as mine, but people have to accept it does sometimes happen for no good reason.

GrannySquare Mon 11-Nov-19 16:24:02

Stop sending stuff directly to the school. Stuff sent to the parents is one thing, but sent to a school with a duty of care & safeguarding procedures is another matter.

Hithere Mon 11-Nov-19 16:34:41

May i ask who is to decide what a "good" reason is?

Namsnanny Mon 11-Nov-19 16:42:51

Hetty ... I should think the last thing we should do ‘is read between the lines’ on here.
For obvious reasons: it may not be true etc.
The only thing we can do is take the words as they are and respond accordingly.

ReadyMeals Mon 11-Nov-19 16:43:11

Well let's put it this way, if it's a case of personal opinion what a good reason is, then the kids are right to ghost their parents and the parents are equally right to think it's unreasonable and sound off about it. What you can't do is decide it must be the parent's fault since good reasons can't be decided by anyone but the person whose reason it is. According to the apparent gist of your question that is. So it's up to the estranged parent to decide whether they have a good reason to be upset about it and call it unjust.

Namsnanny Mon 11-Nov-19 17:07:08

I’m in agreement with Smileless ... with regards to the attitudes towards a blanket apology.
First of all it is possible to be genuinely sorry for the pain a person is suffering without knowing the cause.
Also even knowing the cause a person can be of the opinion that the suffering out weighs act, and still have sympathy with the victim.
We do it every day when consoling a child who has hurt themselves.

It’s like all things to do with estrangement, one side judges and passes out sentence on the other whilst never venturing outside of their own insular bubble.


Smileless2012 Mon 11-Nov-19 17:22:21

Prior to the estrangement, our ES told us they needed 'space' Readymeals, so that's what they gave them just didn't realise they'd need it for 7 years and still counting, and that 'space' meant absolutely no contact whatsoever.

Good post @ 16.43smile. Looks silly when it's written down but you've hit the nail on the head so to speak.

I'm in agreement with you too Namsnanny. You can empathise with the pain that someone else is experiencing without knowing the cause and without having personal experience.

"the suffering out weighs the act" so often the casesad. Thanks for theflowerssmile.

Starblaze Mon 11-Nov-19 19:39:09

Ready meals, I have an anxiety disorder, depression, I've been homeless and attempted suicide all because of words. Words can do damage too. Constant criticism, neglect of anything other than basic needs, smearing me to the rest of the family... I didn't cut off my NM because I don't love her, I did it because being around her meant I couldn't love me. I am sure that must be difficult to understand but, my mental health impacts my education, career, relationships and especially my children. I tried and tried to have a good relationship with her but I couldn't fix her, she enjoys hurting me and like most disordered people, she thinks she has every right to do so, that I am here to be her emotional punchbag. I decided to fix myself instead.

Starblaze Mon 11-Nov-19 19:53:56

It's not a case of "the other side judging". That's pretty unfair. It's a case of knowing how it FEELS to receive those things. And yes ultimately we can only speak for ourselves but when you have more than one of us saying it, when you are talking to people who talk to each other in support groups and we have seen others say over and over again "I don't want this kind of contact and it's driving me further away" then you are just shooting yourselves in the foot.

Instead of "judgement" what you are getting is a genuine attempt to help. Because we aren't a gang, we aren't trying to recruit members to a cause. What we wanted was loving relationships with our mothers and most of us (not all) but most of us desperately tried to achieve that.

If we wanted loving relationships with our mothers it stands to reason that we want that for all daughters.

So maybe think about where the judgement is here and we can communicate better? Because it's really hurtful to hear criticism from other mothers that isn't deserved.

Smileless2012 Mon 11-Nov-19 20:00:54

I've always thought that that old saying 'sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me' was rubbish.

Words hurt, they leave scars that cannot be seen but exist nonetheless, and the pain they can cause is just as bad as a physical attack.

Silence can be just as destructive.

It's a heartbreaking realisation isn't it Starblaze, that despite the love we have for someone, a parent or an adult child, that we are safer without them in our lives.

I honestly believe our ES enjoys hurting us, that he has "every right to do so", that we are here to be his emotional punchbag. Well he doesn't have the right and we refuse to be his emotional punchbag; no one has that right.


Starblaze Mon 11-Nov-19 20:08:51

It's tough Smileless2012, we can be better though and find happiness x

Hithere Mon 11-Nov-19 20:09:14


You are not alone. I am so sorry you went through so much and you came through! You survived! That is no small achievement.

What you described is how abuse can go under the radar and still do tremendous damage.

Starblaze Mon 11-Nov-19 20:16:43

Im sorry you have experienced it too Hithere. It's such a hard thing to really discribe and have others understand so it can feel so lonely. I am sure that is a problem faced by everyone here

GrannyOrNanny Mon 11-Nov-19 20:24:02

Hi Anna, I’m so sorry to hear you are going through this, so unfair. I think you need to step back...why should you apologise for something that your don’t know what you’re apologising for?
I’d let things settle, whatever it is....and leave them to it for a bit. You do not deserve anymore heartache x

Smileless2012 Mon 11-Nov-19 20:46:57

Your last post which I didn't see until I'd posted mine Starblaze speaks eloquently for estranging AC and EP's.

That said, IMO it wrong to say to EP's in general that they are shooting themselves in the foot by not taking on board what others have suffered at the hands of an abusive parent. Not all EP's are abusive.

There are EP's who are being abused by their own AC emotionally and/or financially. GC used as pawns in a game of control. Not all EAC do this, but some do just as not all EP's are undeserving of their estrangement.

Any support group, be it for EAC or EP's will have shared experiences and will have members saying the same or very similar things over and over again. That doesn't negate the validity of what is shared by one group, because you 'belong' to the other.

EP's "aren't a gang, we aren't trying to recruit members to a cause". We wanted the loving relationships we once had with our AC to continue. We wanted to see our GC grow and flourish.

I don't know what it's been like for you, anymore than you can know what it's been like for me or any of the EP's here but that's not a criticism, it's the way things are.

What we all have in common, what we all share is living with the pain of rejection from someone who we never thought could ever reject us.

Which ever side of the fence we are on, which ever 'group' we belong too, criticism hurts. It can hurt if it comes from other mothers and it can hurt if it comes from other AC.

ReadyMeals Mon 11-Nov-19 21:16:41

Starblaze, what you describe is what I counted as emotional abuse, which is something I included in my list of understandable reasons for a child to estrange from a parent. But many of the estranged parents here won't have abused their children as such, they will done something like criticize their choice of partner, indulged a grandchild too much, insisted on too frequent visits etc. Some of them will have given birth to a child who has inherited personality traits (maybe from an ex-partner that was too unreasonable to live with) that make them unbending and unforgiving, or just plain cold and non-loving. So I think we have to try to be gentle with each other, and careful, as very often a person posts when they are at their most vulnerable, and one rebuke may be one rebuke too many.

Starblaze Mon 11-Nov-19 21:41:56

No Smileless2012, we are all people, individuals and we all deserve to be heard. I don't mean shooting themselves in the foot for not accepting some estranged children have suffered. I don't think people would truly not accept it unless they are abusive themselves and not accepting it in themselves if you see what I mean.

What estranged children are is valuable on communication and worth listening to in regards to what the younger generation see differently and how we process things.

Honestly it's a tad frustrating at times to be ignored or accused of trying to start trouble for trying to help. I'm not one for tough love and try to put things as kindly as possible but there also has to be honesty in that.

I expect realistically given the huge spectrum of differing situations, the answers are all here somewhere so sometimes it's good to be open to hearing all of it to hear the bits that are appropriate for individual situations