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Estrangement from the other perspective, what's it like from the 'other' side?

(40 Posts)
ExD1938 Wed 01-Jan-20 12:59:05

We do not see our great-grandchildren even though they live within walking distance from us. Three little mites ages 5, 3, and a baby.
They see the other great grans, but not us. We visit from time to time but our visits always seem to coincide with the
family about to go somewhere else, even if we've phoned first.
The gifts we take for birthdays and Christmas are accepted but never a 'thank you', our granddaughter never brings them to visit us. We are never offered a cup of tea or even a chair although I sit down my DH makes a point of remaining standing. The atmosphere always seems hostile - even DH notices it as the conversation is short and abrupt with no contribution from Granddaughter (the childrens' mother) we make all the running as it were.
I don't know if we've committed some terrible sin or said or done something terribly wrong, but it grieves me that although the older two do know who we are, the babe in arms may never get to know us as we are seriously considering just not bothering with the little family any more. The only thing I can think of is that we are not at all well off and our gifts tend to be way way below the value of the ones of the other three remaining Great grans.
It couldn't be anything so petty could it?

Now - to get to the point (!) is there anyone on here who can give me an idea of what its like to be a grandchild who doesn't know its grandparents? Do you resent them, or dislike them or are you just indifferent? What are your thoughts?

Alexa Fri 03-Jan-20 16:05:42

My grandparents all died long before I was born however When I was very young my mother took me two doors along to be with three old maiden ladies. I loved going there and I can remember them and their jokes and their house to this day.

We moved to another part of the town and I got out of touch with them to a great extent although my mother sent me over to visit every so often with a basket of flowers and cake,But I was an older child by then and had chums my own age.

My thoughts about these grandparent substitutes are some of the pleasantest memories I have even although for many years I have wished I had really kept in touch with them much much more.

Smileless2012 Fri 03-Jan-20 19:23:17

That's lovely Alexa, it sounds as if your mum appreciated the importance of older people in your life when you were young.

I'm sure your "grandparents substitutes" had lovely memories of your visits toosmile.

Alexa Fri 03-Jan-20 20:53:36

Smileless, I wish there was a way to get in touch with dead people and tell them how much they were loved and appreciated. But there isn't.

Smileless2012 Fri 03-Jan-20 21:22:05

If they were loved an appreciated in their life time they knew Alexa have don't worry, your dad would have known how much he meant to you, and still doesflowers.

notanan2 Sat 04-Jan-20 00:16:23

I didnt know any of my great grandparents or half my grandparents as they died before I was born.

I didnt miss them. You dont miss what you dont know

Smileless2012 Sat 04-Jan-20 09:10:24

Not knowing a family member who died before you were born and could never have known, isn't the same as not knowing a family member you weren't allowed to know.

We don't know our GC but we miss not knowing them.

notanan2 Sat 04-Jan-20 10:03:47

I was brought to visit relatives that my parents werent friendly with too and wish they hadnt bothered.

The point of relatives is being part of a group: seeing your parents with their parents/siblings/cousins. Thats most of the value of grandparents: The intergenerational group. Its not about the child & grandparent 1:1 relationship in intense isolation, its being part of that group.

If the childs parent isnt close to the grandparent/GGP/Aunt/Uncle etc. They wont get the grandparent/GGP/Aunt/Uncle experience if the family structure isnt there.

notanan2 Sat 04-Jan-20 10:09:44

You cant just pluck the children out and have it have the value of grandparents, where grandparents would normally be where the wider family usually congregate.

Wider family is also about role modelling adult family/love/relationships to the child. Its not centred on the child.
Seeing your parents loved and being loved. Without that, IMO its really not worth it. Youre just role modelling the disfunction: thats all I remember about being "dutifly" brought to see adult relatives that didnt have a relationship with my parents. Didnt feel like family if its just about the child going in isolation.

OutsideDave Sat 04-Jan-20 19:49:59

Notanan has it exactly right. It’s not about the ‘role’ of grandparent it’s about the entire family system. If the family system itself is broken, well, there’s not much to miss. I didn’t know my biograndad very well, he was mentally ill and had only sporadic contact with my dad. I never missed him, felt disappointed or had any sort of illusions about what role he might have played in my life. He lived on the opposite side of the country, visited maybe once when I was very small, and I didn’t think about him unless someone brought him up. So it goes for EGP, I don’t think that children who have never met or don’t remember meeting someone worry very much about why they don’t know them.

Smileless2012 Sat 04-Jan-20 19:57:24

I'm sure that's true in some cases but there are GC who when they're old enough seek out GP's they never knew, so for some establishing contact with EGP's is important.

rosecarmel Sat 04-Jan-20 20:45:08

Over the course of my professional careers as slacker and navel gazer can attest that no imagined scenario ever met my great expectations .. but that doesn't mean that I didn't foresee trouble ahead in relationships or be pleasantly surprised when things went better than I imagined they might ..

I dream- As did my mother- But didn't dwell- She reflected- And after many years of not seeing one of her grand daughters, who was small the last time she saw her, she reunited with my mother when she turned 18- And she was with us when my mother died-

Smileless2012 Sat 04-Jan-20 22:27:50

I'm pleased that your mother was eventually able to have a relationship with her GD rosecarmelsmile.

MarchMom19 Mon 10-Feb-20 16:03:32

I had a semi estranged relationship with my maternal grandmother (never met my grand father as he passed when my mom was young). My maternal grandmother had my mom at 17 or 18 and really enjoyed drugs. My mom was taken away and raised by her grandmother and my grandmother went on to have 5 more kids. 3 of which were also taken away by the state. For some reason, even though she was never a mom to my mom, my mom had guilt over not having a relationship with her. So every August we got lunch with her for her birthday. It exposed me and my kid brother to lots of things that kids shouldn’t be exposed to and I honestly think we would have been better off without that once a year lunch.

On the flip side, I was incredibly close to my paternal grandparents. They were divorced but my grandma lived with us for about 8 years starting when I was 4. I thought that was just the best.

I don’t know if this helps you. But not having a strong relationship with one of my grandparents didn’t cripple me. I grew up to be a self sufficient adult with a family of my own

Starlady Wed 12-Feb-20 23:43:58

ExD, I'm so sorry about your (apparently) strained relationship with your GD and her family. You may not want to discuss this now, but just for yourself, ate there/have there been any issues between you/DH and GD/GSIL that may have led to this situation?

As far as your questions is concerned, I was never estranged from any GP and my GGPs were all dead by the time I was born. But my MGF (maternal grandfather) was also deceased , and I heard enough about him that I often wished I could have known him. Then again, like Smileless, I've heard of estranged GC reaching out to their EGPs when they grew up and wanting a relationship w/ them. So, IMO, it depends on a number of factors - what the GC hear about the GPs, how curious they are about them, how much they learn to trust/not trust their parents' judgment as they get older, etc. As for GC who see their GPs briefly and infrequently, as in your case... IDK... That might be enough for some kids, others might want to see their GPs more and try to arrange that as they grow up. I don't think anyone can give you a definitive answer about this. Hugs!