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Aftermath of estrangement even when it`s over

(12 Posts)
eddiecat78 Thu 30-Jan-20 10:16:11

I was a regular here a few years ago when we were estranged from our grandchildren. After DS separated from his wife that ended, and we now have a good relationship with him and the children, but I do feel that estrangement is a wound that never quite heals.
For us, estrangement came out of the blue - we had spent a happy day with them, but when we got home there was a phonecall saying DIL wasn`t going to see us again and a 5 year nightmare began. I think this made me realise how quickly things can go wrong and now even very minor disagreements send me into a panic and I do all I can to smooth things over.
The other big thing I am experiencing now is that my daughter has a one year old. We see lots of him and he is a delight but as I watch him go through all of his little milestones I am reminded of how much we missed with the others and that does make me sad. I never saw them crawl, or learn to walk, or start chattering etc etc - and when I see him do these things it does feel very much as if he is our first grandchild - which actually feels quite disrespectful to the lad who really did come first.
I`m not asking anyone to feel sorry for me - I do realise how lucky I am compared to many of you. I just think that when you have been through such a terrible time, it is always just lurking in the background

Smileless2012 Thu 30-Jan-20 10:42:10

It leaves a scar doesn't it eddiecat. Not having experienced reconciliation, I can see that it can totally heal the wound but the scar it leaves behind is always there.

When the estrangement comes "out of the blue", there is always the fear that it can happen again. Either with the AC you've reconciled with or any other AC. As a previous regular here, you will remember I'm sure the fears Mr. S. and I had that we would lose our DS, due to the toxic input of our ES and his wife.

It's understandable that the milestones you see your D's son reaching are being experienced by you, as if he's your first GC because you never had those experiences with your son's children.

Estrangement removes time and experiences that can never be replaced. For the estranged those first steps, first words, first Christmas, first birthday and primary school experiences never existed for us, because we never got to see them, or be told about them.

"when you have been though such a terrible time, it is always just lurking in the background" yes it is. It will lurk with the AC you've reconciled with and lurks with the AC you've never been estranged from.

I'm glad that you posted eddie and hope it's helped you to share. It's good to hear from you and that your relationship with your son and his children is going from strength to strength x

Starlady Sat 01-Feb-20 05:00:36

Hugs, eddiecat!

Yennifer Sat 01-Feb-20 12:18:22

I think you need to go to counselling and work on healing this because it would be awful if it taints your relationships and happiness in the future x

crazyH Sat 01-Feb-20 12:24:43

Yes, the scar is always there and the chronic fear that it can reopen at any time .

midnightschild Sat 01-Feb-20 13:06:45

I haven’t experienced estrangement in terms of missing out on GC development, but was estranged from my DS for a number of years. We are reconciled and our relationship is very much improved from how it was prior to the estrangement. However, I totally understand about the scars. Even after a long period of reconciliation I know that I am still over-cautious in my dealings with him. I just couldn’t bear to go through that again, so I am very, very careful in what I say and everything I do where he is concerned. I’m not saying that this is a huge issue, but I can’t completely relax about it either.

endlessstrife Sat 01-Feb-20 13:16:09

I think all these type of stories make sense of what was always said to me as a young mum, and I repeat it wherever I can. “ Embrace every day you have with your children, because they’ll be grown up before you know it, and then you’ll have no say in their lives”. How true that is, and how thankful we have to be that we had them at all.

PetitFromage Sun 02-Feb-20 10:34:03

I am in just this position. I was semi-estranged from DD for 3 years and I believe that this is down to SIL, who is very controlling, or at least that's how it seems to me.

DD ghosted us for 6 months, then said they would just update us by email, although she still sent birthday cards - which were odd and stilted. Then we sort of insisted on meeting as we were in their part of the world (300 miles away from where we live). They told us they had married the previous year. We managed to smile and say congratulations.

Then DD tells me she is pregnant, so I am thrilled. Then they ask us for a £10k loan. A few weeks later, we receive a letter in the post with some photos of an existing granddaughter, aged 14 months, whom we didn't know about. The letter says that they had wanted to protect DGD from bad relationships but, as we had given them financial support, and said we would support DD doing her PGCE, they had decided to try and improve family relationships.

DGD2 was born on Christmas Eve after a difficult birth. We are not allowed to visit until March. I am very anxious about the visit. DD is sending photos and updates, but I worry about her motives. Also, it is affecting my relationships with my other two DDs, who are supportive, but feel that DD1 is emotionally and financially abusive.

Honestly, I am wondering at present if it's worth it. It is so upsetting. DH says compartmentalise but I just can't. It's making me feel quite ill to be honest. I was unwise enough to send a message to DD1 asking again why she had ghosted us, moved without telling her of the new address, and expressing concern that their letter says that they were telling us about the DGDs because we had given money and promised more. That I wasn't being controversial but didn't want to be hurt.

DD, I assume assisted by SIL, sent a really nasty response, saying I had warped thinking and treated them as evil and villains, regarded my self as a victim and was melodramatic, that the money was a big deal, that she had told me 'ad nauseam' why she had estranged, they were allowing us to visit their home, and giving the money was the only positive thing we had ever done for them.

I told DDs 2 and 3 that I wouldn't reply, but then I did, and was conciliatory, so DD2 has lost respect for me I think. And she has been so protective and loving.

Sorry, not trying to derail the thread, but just saying that I understand and that I am not at all that this situation is better than estrangement. The trust has gone and the scars will always be there. Sometimes, I think I should just walk away and cut my losses.

Smileless2012 Sun 02-Feb-20 13:19:20

Hi PF, I'm assuming that the letter you sent your D is recent; since Christmas?

I may be wrong, but I'd thought you were going to see her and your GD's in January, if that was the arrangement which has now been put back to March, is it because of your letter or due to your D's very difficult delivery resulting in a 'c' section?

If my assumption about the letter you sent is correct, I am at a total loss as to your D's responseshock. She has resumed contact, taken your financial support, told you she's pregnant and knows from your reaction that you automatically assume she's expecting her first child, then sends you a letter with photo's of the 14 month old GD you didn't know existed and now sends you an uncalled for nasty response because you have expressed your understandable concern about being hurt again.

I'm so sorry this has happened and will have added to your worries about going to see them and meeting your D's in laws
and your GD's for the first time.

This awful situation I think highlights the uncertainty of and fears that reconciliation can bring. You may now be regretting sending your letter but is the only alternative to keep your feelings to yourself and never be able to talk about how you feel for fear of reprisals?

It's understandable that DD2 is upset and possibly annoyed that having said you wouldn't reply, you have done so in a conciliatory way but I'm sure she hasn't lost her respect for you. She'll be concerned that having been through so much heartache at the hands of her sister, her mum may get hurt all over again.

Sending you hugs, and hoping that you're OKflowers.

PetitFromage Sun 02-Feb-20 14:07:27

Thanks Smileless and welcome back! flowers

Starlady Sun 02-Feb-20 16:28:36

PF, if it's any comfort, I think it's a common theme of parent/AC estrangements that the parent feels they haven't been given a reason and the AC feels they've given the reason several times. I know that sometimes it's b/c one or the other isn't being honest w/ themselves (NOT saying that about you or DD, just speaking in general). But often, IMO, it's a matter of miscommunication. IDK what the explanation, if any, is in your case, my point is simply that this discrepancy is not unusual.

"The letter says that they had wanted to protect DGD from bad relationships but, as we had given them financial support, and said we would support DD doing her PGCE, they had decided to try and improve family relationships."

"I was unwise enough to send a message to DD1... expressing concern that their letter says that they were telling us about the DGDs because we had given money and promised more."

I totally get how you feel about their telling you about the DGDs b/c you were giving them money. Again, if it's any comfort, perhaps they just meant they would feel guilty taking your and DH's money and not letting you know about the DGDs. And really, think about it... how would you have felt if you were helping them financially and found out by accident that they had 2 children? Wouldn't you have felt, "OMG! They never told us about the GC! Even after we've been giving them all this money!"

Regardless, I'm sorry DD1 was hurt by your questions. Clearly, your relationship w/ her is still shaky or she would have known you didn't mean what you said in a negative way. You even said that in your letter.

I'm sorry this has impacted your relationship w/ your other DDs. Like Smileless, though, I doubt that DD2 has lost respect for you and think she is just concerned about you. I'm wondering, however, if you need to tell your other DDs everything that goes on between you and DD1. Perhaps you should keep from them any info that might hurt your relationship w/ them (as long as it doesn't involve them, of course).... Just a thought...

But I know you didn't post about this here to seek support or advice, just to illustrate how estrangement can leave scars, etc. And you certainly have helped me to see that it can (sigh).

PetitFromage Mon 03-Feb-20 09:46:33

Thank you Star for your perception and wisdom, as well as taking the time to respond. Actually, their letter did say that they felt guilty after they had taken the money, so you are right about that. And you are probably right about the rest of it. They have a totally different perspective on the situation. 🌟