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Does it get easier?

(35 Posts)
Noregrets Fri 22-Nov-19 13:15:12

I am a newly estranged grandmother. A few days ago I had to report concerns about the children of my youngest daughter, who was failing to protect the three youngest from her husband's behaviour. They were also being bullied by the oldest, who was allowed to get away with it.
The young ones are triplets, who are nearly 8. Because of their mother's health problems I have their "other mother" throughout their lives.
It was my worst fear that they would not feel able to tell about their treatment to a stranger, and so it was. They therefore remain at home and all contact with me has been cut. What makes it worse is that it has been cut with other members of my side of the family, who supported what I had done. I still believe I did the right thing but it is doubly hard not to have any news about how they are doing.
I feel quite broken. Does it get easier with time?

Smileless2012 Fri 22-Nov-19 13:35:41

For us yes, it has got easier with time Noregrets; just had our 7th 'anniversary' of estrangement.

Your case though is far more stressful than ours ever was. You have developed a close bond with your GC over a sustained period whereas we never knew our only GC.

You have ongoing concerns about your GC's welfare and I cannot begin to imagine how terrible that must be to live with.

I'm assuming that contact has been cut because you reported those concerns which of course you were completely in the right to have done.

It's only natural that you should "feel quite broken", it's devastating.

The bond you've already formed with your GC will I'm sure be unbreakable and they wont forget you their GM.

Is it going to be possible for you to be kept informed about the children's welfare by those you made the report too? I do hope so as this at least could alleviate you welfare concerns, even though it will do nothing to ease the pain you are feeling for the GC you've lost.

I'm so very sorryflowers.

grannygray51 Fri 22-Nov-19 14:13:27

@Noregrets I'm so sorry to hear of your estrangement. I can only imagine the heartbreak you are feeling.
I wonder why the authority you reported to, cannot keep you up to date with their welfare? Could you pursue custody of them, or are you not in a position to offer that? What about your other children, do they not have contact with your youngest? You need to ask one of them to mediate, or at least check on the welfare of your GC, and your daughter. I hope this might yeild some information to ease your mind.
I was also in a position where I felt unable to leave a child in the custody of my neice. No one appreciated my interferance, until some years later when my nephew thanked me, and said it was the right thing to do. Them, being so close to the situation, were unable to do it. I can only hope that child is doing well today.
I wish you hope for future contact soon.

agnurse Fri 22-Nov-19 16:02:28


If I'm not mistaken, social services proceedings are kept confidential. If there is currently no action being taken, it's unlikely the OP would be able to sue for custody of the children. You also have to keep in mind that her trying to gain custody could result in increased upheaval in the household, especially if social services has closed the case. (I recognize that there are genuine situations where someone may need to get custody; however, if social services has investigated and does not feel that there is a sufficient case, it's unlikely the OP would get anything.)

I would also strongly advise against her getting another child involved. This is between her and her daughter. It's not about anyone else, and that will put the other child in a difficult position.

OP has done all she can in reporting the situation. Beyond that, there's nothing she can do. It's very unfortunate that she has been CO. However, she can't insist on a right to be involved in someone's private life, especially after an investigation has currently failed to turn up evidence of abuse.

Noregrets Fri 22-Nov-19 16:08:26

Thank you so much Smileless2012. I was hoping you would respond. You completely understood the situation, which made me cry again, from relief at being understood.
I am overwhelmed with worry about one of the triplets, IJ. She is the brave and wise one who has often showed fear of her father but has been brave enough to talk about why, despite her fears. She has been scapegoated and criticised for her closeness to me, when it was just an outcome of being cared for by me for much of the time. She also has a strong sense of fairness and integrity. I suspect she will be punished for having spoken out, by her siblings too. She told me her triplet brother had already been tasked with monitoring what she said to me. I have no way of knowing how she is, or letting her know I will always be here for her. Her triplet sister has special needs and is also somewhat scapegoated. Her triplet brother still has a strong bond with me, but has been encouraged to spy on his sister.
I do have evidence of long standing concerns about their welfare, by other family members too, but the "investigation" focussed only on whether they made allegations to a stranger in a one off meeting.

Smileless2012 Fri 22-Nov-19 16:14:48

I don't believe the OP is insisting being involved in her GC's lives agnurse, rather expressing her pain and sadness at now being cut out.

I agree about not getting other family members involved, they may or may not have opinions but either way, the decision to become involved is theirs to make or not.

As her concerns were reported only a few days ago I would think it far too early to assume that "an investigation has currently failed to turn up evidence of abuse".

These things take time don't they. Would the 8 year old triplets be asked questions because if so this would need to be handled extremely carefully and sensitively.

A nightmare scenario and so very sad.

Noregrets Fri 22-Nov-19 16:23:03

Hi GrannyGray51. I'm not sure if you are also in the UK. Thank you for replying in such useful detail. I am a retired child care professional so do understand that as I don't have parental responsibility under the Children Act, the children's parents retain all their legal rights and responsibilities whilst I have none. I am still mulling over the pros and cons of applying for a Contact Order. The investigating team are aware that I am willing to take on the full time care of the children if necessary, but you are quite correct to say that they are limited as to what information they can share with me. I have urged my two older daughters not to get too involved, but I'm hoping their Dad can manage to be. We have been divorced for years but fortunately there is no animosity between us. Thank you again.

Smileless2012 Fri 22-Nov-19 16:26:59

That seems woefully inadequate Noregrets, if other family members have, and are prepared to voice their long standing and ongoing concerns about the children's welfare, why are only "an allegations to a stranger in a one off meeting" being focused on.

You say that the triplet brother who also has a strong bond with you "has been encouraged to spy on his sister", did you acquire this information from the him, his sister or them both?

It is a huge relief to be understood so I'm pleased that you know you are, but sorry for making you cry again, even if those tears are tears of relief.

There are clearly some real problems here and as has already said, you have done the right thing. Some people in life choose the hard route and do the right thing, others the easier and either do the wrong thing or nothing at all.

What you've done has taken a great deal of courage and shows the depth of the love you have for your GC and your concern for their welfare.

For now, you are paying a high price because you aren't allowed any contact but hopefully it may not be the price you have to pay forever, and you will have them back in your life.

Do keep in touch with us here, so we know that you're OK. It's a painful and difficult journey you find yourself on, but you are not alone. x

Madgran77 Fri 22-Nov-19 16:27:08

This is very early days Noregrets and you must be so sad and worried. I am sorry that you are going through that. You were brave to report concerns, never doubt that it was the right thing as you felt your fears were valid. flowers

Noregrets Fri 22-Nov-19 17:12:50

It is such a relief to have found this place, thank you everyone. I do feel less alone.
Smileless2012, I had noticed some months ago that the relationship between IJ and her triplet brother had changed, was less close and more conflictual. Then a couple of weeks ago, I noticed she was blinking back tears as the three of them watched TV together. I took her into another room where she told me how her daddy had been treating her and said "I don't think he'd really care if I died." Heartbreaking.
She was scared about her daddy knowing what she had said and scared also that her brother would hear what she was saying because he would tell Daddy.
I later told her mummy all that she had said, who said she would talk to IJ and then her daddy. Several days later, she had only told IJ that she had talked to me and would talk to her in private. I found out from Facebook that she had a big night out with her girlfriends planned, and she told me she was leaving all 4 children with their daddy. I insisted that the two girls came to me. The morning after their sleepover, IJ said that her daddy had told her triplet brother to be his snitch, i.e. to tell him if she said anything to me. She also said Daddy had called her Granny's snitch. Her triplet sister nodded in agreement. IJ cried when she had to leave, as her Daddy was taking her to his parents house. I told her that I had texted him to ask if she could stay with mummy as she wasn't well. Which was true. That was the last I saw of her. Her mother later texted that she had gone to their house after all.
That was one of numerous times I had to cajole her into going home with her daddy. The next day I rang children's services.
What a nightmare, I have no clue how the children are, only know their parents were most concerned with the impact on themselves.

Starblaze Fri 22-Nov-19 17:22:23

How do they know you reported them? What did you report them for? Was it serious enough that the children would be immediately removed if you were believed?

I think if I recall had to report my own child to social services I'd make damn sure they never found out because that relationship with its connection to the children would probably be gone forever

Smileless2012 Fri 22-Nov-19 17:31:01

Which is why I think Noregrets is brave to have taken the action that she has.

She's put her concerns for, and the well being of the children before her own her personal feelings and understandable desire to be able to see her GC.

Starblaze Fri 22-Nov-19 17:34:32

I'm just going to explain my comment to you further Noregrets and say I would make sure they didn't find out so that if social services, who are a seriously overwhelmed system, didn't find evidence to act on it, I'd still have the ability to keep an eye on the situation and be a positive relationship for the children.

Smileless2012 Fri 22-Nov-19 17:45:52

A valid point. Do they know you're the one who has alerted social services Noregrets or have they guessed? Presumably they are not unaware of your concerns especially as the triplet brother appears to have been spying on one of his sisters at the behest of his parents.

Starblaze Fri 22-Nov-19 17:59:33

Google TED and safeguarding. Or just go to any school website and look at their safeguarding policy. Then you will be equipped if you get back into their lives. Basically how what children say is reported and why they said what they did can make evidence inadmissible. The problem with children is that if you ask leading questions, they WANT to give you an answer even if they actually don't have one, so later investigation can show an entirely different picture. Children are emotional beings and too responsive to the person asking them things so that sometimes they say what they think adults want to hear or exaggerate because they are cross with someone. This muddies the water for all cases. Safeguarding will teach you how to listen and encourage, how to respond and how to document things properly.

Noregrets Fri 22-Nov-19 19:14:58

Starblaze. I have 30 years experience in child protection social work, including as a children services manager. I also trained in and undertook joint investigations with the police, including video interviewing for criminal proceedings. And standing up for children in civil proceedings too.
What are your qualifications and experience?
I do know the territory. There was no way the information about emotional and physical abuse could have come from anyone but me. IJ was unwilling to talk to school staff and I could not let the situation continue. I knew the risks but after years of feeling concern, something had to be done.
How do you think IJ would view me as she gains maturity, having confided in me but to no avail? Do you think I should have continued saying sympathetic things but continued to send her and her siblings back into the situation, no matter how frightened and tearful she was?

Noregrets Fri 22-Nov-19 19:19:05

Oh, and I used to sit on inter agency safeguarding committees and chair case reviews following a child death or other serious events.

Starblaze Fri 22-Nov-19 19:25:07

You have lost me, I haven't said you did the wrong thing. No my experience is nowhere near as complex and in depth as yours. I really wouldn't knowingly try to teach you to suck eggs. Maybe I missed you saying that already. I just wanted to help.

Best of luck with your situation.

Noregrets Fri 22-Nov-19 19:31:34

Thank you Starblaze. Sorry if I got a bit defensive, I'm sure you were only meaning to help. And that you can appreciate how difficult it is when something you have spent your life combatting crops up in your own life and affects your grandchildren.

Starblaze Fri 22-Nov-19 19:39:11

No need to apologise. We all have our trigger buttons. The safeguarding training I need for my job is harrowing enough, I don't think I would cope for a second with what you do/did. I'm surprised they didn't take you more seriously

Noregrets Fri 22-Nov-19 20:06:39

Does anyone have any stories about their recovery from this type of situation, i.e. a living bereavement?

Smileless2012 Sat 23-Nov-19 00:03:06

It takes time Noregrets and the length of time it takes differs from one estranged parent to another.

It's called a living bereavement because that is precisely what it is. Unless there is reconciliation, there is no closure. You grieve for the AC you have lost, and if they have children of their own, you grieve for their loss too.

You have so much more to deal with than other estranged parents and GP's. As well as dealing with being cut out by your D, you have your concerns for your GC's welfare.

Until you know what, if any action will be taken as a result of you reporting your concerns you're trapped in no man's land.
All you can do for now is wait and see as you have done all you can for now and remember you are not alone.

Take care and keep in touch so we know you're OK.

Smileless2012 Sat 23-Nov-19 11:18:37

How are you doing today Noregrets?

Noregrets Sun 24-Nov-19 00:36:33

Yesterday was slightly better but that's not saying much as you can imagine. Today is only 30 minutes old but the tsunami has hit again. You and BradfordLass are a great comfort to me xx

Smileless2012 Sun 24-Nov-19 00:46:54


I've been the recipient of some unbelievable attacks on 2 threads that have since been deleted and on one that is currently on the go.

TBH I was going to leave GN but I saw your post and maybe I should stay; still undecided but whatever I decide it's good to know that I along with BradfordLass have been of some comfort x.