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i need advice

(46 Posts)
albrights Thu 16-Jan-20 21:18:42

my grown daughter and i had an argument recently and i told her that i love her but sometimes i really don’t like her for the things she has done in the past (dating married men, marrying a man so his family would pay for her college( she told me she married him for the “end result-money”. she now has a new husband who is wonderful but will not allow him to have his boys from a previous marriage visit him. After our argument she said she wants nothing to do with me. I believe she is afraid i will share her past with her new husband. I was not allowed to participate in her 40th birthday party (i ordered a cake and bought the decorations). yesterday i was going to walk my dog and asked if my 5yo granddaughter could join us. She said, in front of her husband that i was unstable and she did not trust me to be around my GC. i have always loved my grandchild and would never let anything happen to her. i have never been so hurt as to being told i am unstable. i don’t know what to do

JOJO60 Mon 20-Jan-20 18:03:49

You will drive yourself crazy wondering what you said wrong or how you said it. None of us are perfect and it's not your fault your daughter has issues about being liked or loved. Im sure you've done your best for her over the years like most of us mums do. But she is an adult now and has no right to treat those around her badly. Like you, I have a daughter who is disrespectful towards me, and it's very hurtful. Over the years I have walked on eggshells so as not to upset her. But 6 months ago I decided to stop - I have done all I can do to show her how much I love her and it has made no difference to her behaviour, so I thought I might as well start being assertive. If she doesn't like what I say, that's her problem. And I'm not always there at the end of the phone when she wants something either! I think controlling people get away with it because no-one dares to stands up to them. You know you love her, and so does she, but it's time to put your foot down and start loving yourself too.

M0nica Mon 20-Jan-20 18:24:33

Well, since I still have a very loving relationship with both AC and they have never thrown the phrase back at me in adult life and DD most assuredly would have if it had been a cause for concern to her, I am reasonably confident that it caused them no problems.

I think context is all and those who have been distressed by the phrase have had it said to them in situations where there are already family problems and abuse. As you say Hannah is especially problematic with abusers because as a child my behaviour was never "good enough" so it was a constant feeling of, "I say I love you but re-enforce that by implying non-stop I don't actually LIKE you.

For my children it was said in the context of a home where they were frequently told by word and deed how much they were loved and valued. DS actually commented when he was 13/14 how touchy feely and emotionally expressive we were compared with many of his friend's families.

Anything can be upsetting and abusive if the conditions are wrong. I had an uncle, who came from an emotionally abusive home, and none of us would even risk paying him a personal compliment, because he would 'hear' it as a personal criticism, which could crush him for days.

I went to the doctor with him once after he had broken his collar bone. The doctor was very positive told him that it was healing well and, while he might not get 100% movement back in his arm, if he did his exercises, it would improve and he would be able to do everything he had done before. As we walked out of the surgery my uncle told me that there was clearly no point in him doing the exercises because the doctor had told him that his arm was not going to improve - nothing I said could convince him that was not what the doctor said

TrendyNannie6 Mon 20-Jan-20 18:24:34

Not a very nice thing to do marrying for the end result money, but there are lots that will do it I exoect, not allow her husband to have his boys round to visit, charming! But your sIL should put his foot down there,controller! But you wouldn’t tell her DH about her past would you? It’s sad you weren’t allowed to participate in your daughters birthday, it’s shocking that she said you were unstable and you are not to be trusted round your GC , disgusting behaviour from your daughter,

HolyHannah Mon 20-Jan-20 18:40:23

JOJO60 -- You should read the "Common Themes" thread.

You said, "it's not your fault your daughter has issues about being liked or loved." Wow. Talk about dismissive language/tone. If your child is saying, "I don't feel liked/loved." that should be a full stop total self-reflection moment. Like, "What have I done to make my child feel that way?"

Instead, you blame the child for HER FEELINGS. "But she is an adult now and has no right to treat those around her badly." Reacting to poor treatment/abuse IS NOT treating those around her "badly". Do not blame someone for their reaction to someone else's bad behaviour.

Daughter may be an adult now, but that doesn't magically flip a switch and undo the damage done in childhood. Parents build their children's foundations for life. Do you think children who are taught nothing but dysfunctional interpersonal skills are going to magically become healthy thinkers as adults? It doesn't work that way.

"You know you love her, and so does she..." A bold assumption indeed. You don't know how her daughter FEELS and the idea that you think you KNOW what someone else feels is troubling. I don't know if my 'mom' ever loved me or not because I'm not a mind-reader. I do know she never demonstrated that 'love' in any positive manner.

Yennifer Mon 20-Jan-20 19:50:51

I think the phrase is bad and shouldn't be used even in otherwise loving homes because you are taking a risk with your child's head. This is why children of abusive mothers suffer so badly, words have WEIGHT from mothers because that's the person you look too for shelter and support. If you have said it and things are OK, forgive yourself and learn what is good advice to give someone else. If you have said it and things aren't OK, that's because you were believed when you said it and you need to work out why that might happen. I can tell you that most abused children have heard this phrase. Things that are in an abusers weapon store are definite no noes. Abusers know this, that's why they use it. If you didn't, you do now and you know saying it is a very bad thing. If you refuse to believe that it is a bad thing and would happily say it again expecting your child to respect you afterward.... You are probably abusive x

HolyHannah Mon 20-Jan-20 20:27:01

Yennifer -- You said it better then me. It's a 'no go' zone for Me and I absolutely worry at anyone who thinks it's okay and can be justified away. Abusive people justify their behaviour away or dismiss it as, "Not that big of a deal." YES. IT IS a "big deal". Feeling 'not liked' let alone LOVED is soul destroying. But forget that... Victims' feelings never matter.

M0nica Mon 20-Jan-20 21:02:32

HH Thank you for telling me in no uncertain terms that I am abusive.

I appreciate that if you come from an abusive home it sensitises you to criticism, and I can see that it makes it difficult to believe that any home is not abusive, but to accuse another member of GN of being abusive when you know absolutely nothing about them strikes me as being completely beyond the pale.

Yennifer Mon 20-Jan-20 21:13:36

M0nica, I just answered your awful inbox. You didn't write this post, no one has accused you of being abusive, you don't have a child not speaking to you.... We are only saying that's not OK to say that, and that non abusive people should understand that it is an abusers tool and realise how devastating it can be to a child who is not resilient for whatever reason. Ive learnt over the years many things I thought were OK weren't, I don't beat myself up, I just learn from it so I'm not going to beat you up for it. Times change, we have to change with them x

Yennifer Mon 20-Jan-20 21:16:56

Anyway I'm going to take a break, no ones ever had a go at me here before or attacked me on a deeply personal level and I feel very stressed and not very safe x x

HolyHannah Mon 20-Jan-20 22:28:58

MOnica -- I never said anyone was abusive. You did. Don't put words in my mouth.

You are making assumptions again. I don't feel criticized at all. However, everyone is sensitive to criticism. The question becomes, how do you respond to criticism especially if the complaint/observation is warranted?

There is a difference between abusive criticism, finding fault in everything someone says/does and truthful observation of questionable behaviour. Having someone point out abusive language/attitudes and behaviour is NOT a personal attack.

I do not need to know someones personal story to recognize troubling themes and attitudes.

JOJO60 Tue 21-Jan-20 00:06:22 seem very critical of my post. My tone was not dismissive and an adult child IS responsible for her own actions. You talk as though she had been abused but nobody said she had. Even people from the most loving backgrounds can feel unloved or not liked for a variety of reasons- maybe a personality traits, immaturity or a mental health issue. These may have nothing whatsoever to do with her upbringing so it is wrong of you to automatically blame the parents. Also, even if the person did have issues, it is her responsibility, as an adult, to get help and not use these issues to justify treating others badly. As for knowing whether or not a person feels loved.... all I can say is that love is an instinctive thing. It is human nature for mums to love their kids and most kids instinctively know this. Note I am not talking about dysfunctional families and abused kids, but the original post did not mention this either.

HolyHannah Tue 21-Jan-20 02:01:25

JOJO60 -- Abusers do not know they are abusive and if they do, they certainly never admit it. I disagree that children feel unloved/unliked in a vacuum or because of the excuse reasons. I have said it before and I will say it again, I do not always "blame the parents". However, when I hear parents, estranged or not, talking in ways that are consistent with what abusers say/do and behave, what conclusion is to be drawn?

EVERYONE is responsible for their own behaviour. However, victims of abuse and emotional manipulation believe their thought processes are 'normal' because THAT IS their NORMAL. Until someone recognizes how their behaviour impacts others' or care, there is no reason to change. That is why abuse victims become abusers themselves. OP's daughter marrying/manipulating for money is common when 'love' is equated with money/material things.

Parents that throw out the old 'common themes' of "there's always another possible reason" are looking for unicorns. Yes, there are some EXCEPTIONS, but they are the minority of cases and every EP claims to be one.

As for, "It is human nature for mums to love their kids and most kids instinctively know this." Kids see and understand how they are treated. My 'mom' would say, "I love you." to me but never treat me with even basic respect. If actions and behaviours don't match words, a child grows up without a sense of stability and belief in those words and feelings.

So if an AC estranged or not says, "I never felt loved/liked." there is something very wrong whether in the parents opinion that is true or not. That feeling should never be diminished or dismissed because it takes a long time to come to the conclusion/acceptance that is how you feel. No one wants to admit they never felt loved in the one place they should have, at home with their 'family'.

Madgran77 Thu 23-Jan-20 16:52:33

I told her that I love her but sometimes I really don’t like her for the things she has done in the past

I find the discussion on this interesting because I can clearly remember my mum saying it to me, referring to me doing something or other I wasn't supposed to ...and then that would go straight into a conversation about whatever it was I had done and about how things could be rectified or whatever. My mum was actually very good at listening, acknowledging my perspective as a child and working with me to work out a solution and I never felt unloved or as if she didn't actually like me. I understood what she meant.

However as a parent this was something I never said to my own children because, even though I can truly say it never made me feel unloved as a child (I think because of the behaviours I experienced from my Mum around the comment) ...I just didn't feel it was how I wanted to express my concern to my kids... probably as a result of my studies in child psychology and thinking about behaviour as opposed to the person exhibiting the behaviour!

Starlady Fri 24-Jan-20 07:34:21

"You will drive yourself crazy wondering what you said wrong or how you said it. "

But in the OP's case, she KNOWS, JoJo. They had an argument and OP told her ED she "doesn't like' and enumerated things she feels ED has done wrong in her past (and one thing in the present). This was directly related to ED's feeling unloved. It's not a mystery. IMO, your post gave generic advice that might fit many situations but not this one.

As for your relationship w/ your DD, I'm sorry it seems to be checkered. And yes, it may be helpful for you to be more assertive. But while assertive may be telling an AC, 'I didn't like it when you did XYZ," it's NOT saying, 'I don't like you" (even if you give reasons afterward). In fact, IMO, assertive doesn't mean criticizing your (general parent's) AC's behavior towards others (except, perhaps, in extreme circumstances), it's more about standing up for oneself.

Karen, I'm sorry, but telling SIL all about ED's past would be vengeful at best (no, there is no reason 'he's gotta know" and at worst, would destroy any hope the OP has of reconciling w/ ED. HH's response to this idea was spot on! Alsbrights please don't do this!

albrights Fri 24-Jan-20 23:48:45

Hello, i continue to read your comments and thank you for your advice. I have never been abusive to my daughter. In fact, every time we spoke i would tell her i loved her, or how proud of her i was, or how pretty she looked, or what a good mother she is, etc...however, when i think back, i rarely heard those things from her. I think i was at my breaking point after all of these years of her being so disrespectful. Yes, looking back on what i said was not the way i intended it and i apologized. She still wants nothing to do with me and i don’t see my Grandchildren. I don’t believe things will ever be the same.

HolyHannah Sat 25-Jan-20 05:01:23

albrights -- First off, EVERY PARENT, estranged or otherwise, claims they are not abusive. Two, in fact, many parents say "nice things" about their children while treating them with contempt. Rather like the, "Of course I love you..." while rolling eyes, intimating it was her 'duty' to 'love' me but it was so, SO 'hard' because I was such a burden etc.

"however, when i think back, i rarely heard those things from her. I think i was at my breaking point after all of these years of her being so disrespectful." Can you clarify this? Were you/do you expect your child to praise you and your parenting? Do you consider your daughter not praising you and your parenting "disrespectful"?

Because you are waving red flags to me. It is not a child's job to praise their parent(s)! Emotionally healthy adults do not require 'praise' when they know they are doing a good job. Children require 'praise' because without it (as they have no emotional references yet) they don't KNOW when they are doing well/good.

That's why abusive homes are soul destroying. I was supposed to boost my 'mom' up by telling her what a wonder parent she was (and if I didn't... prepare for rage) and yet I was supposed to do this for her, while getting no praise/recognition myself at BEST and nit-picking/flaw finding/contempt at WORST.

The term is 'Parentification'.

And if there is a pattern of abuse in your family that you are failing to recognize? One apology won't even come close to fixing the problem. The fact you think it will is another red flag.

The only way for EP's to 'fix' family estrangement is to OWN what was actually going on. Sadly most/near to all, would rather cling to their dysfunctional/'safe' narratives then face the trauma's that caused them to treat their children the way they did.

This is one time I 100% agree/side with EP/EGP's. I know how hard it was to replace my dysfunctional thinking/beliefs, IF on top of that, I had to face that I had done the same/different but equally damaging things to my own children on top of that? I would want to cling to, "I wasn't abusive. I was a 'good' parent... Not 'perfect' of course..."

rosecarmel Sat 25-Jan-20 07:09:14

Parents need to make clear distinctions, what's theirs to own and what isn't- If they don't, they'll provide an environment in which their child won't learn to make clear distinctions either-

It results in the parsing of responsibility later in life for both, at least if both are committed to sorting through memories and stories for answers, some of which there's no explanation for-

And if that isn't difficult enough, add drawing conclusions about strangers situations to the mix-

notanan2 Sat 25-Jan-20 07:37:22

To be honest anyone who says that they were never ever ever unkind and always loving every single day sounds at best someone who lacks insight, and at worst a fantacist/liar

Yennifer Sat 25-Jan-20 21:58:26

People don't estrange parents for no reason, it's literally the hardest thing in the world to do and people will put up with quite a high level of unhealthy or abusive before they decide that the pain of estranging is a better option. You need to keep looking till you find it. Especially as your daughter definitely has some issues and those have almost certainly come about due to her childhood x

Starlady Sun 26-Jan-20 23:47:05

Hmmm... It's possible ED has CO albrights b/c she hit on some painful truths that ED doesn't want to face. But, IMO, it's also possible that albrights expression of dislike cut more deeply than albrights realized at the time. And yes, of course, it's possible that there are other issues that albrights isn't telling us about or isn't aware of. Regardless, I think it's going to be a long time before ED reaches out to you again, albrights. I hope it's sooner rather than later. But you may be right in saying it will never be the same. Hugs!