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Estrangement

What else can I do for my daughter to want me in her life

(151 Posts)
Panda220 Fri 31-Jan-20 10:53:08

I've always been there for my children, I put their needs first and I had a close relationship with my eldest daughter. Then she was getting married and it all fell apart. She argued with her younger sister, but because I didn't pick a side we became a bit strained leading up to the wedding. After trying to reason with her as she and her husband to be banned my other daughter from the wedding, she then told me she wasn't bothered if I was even there or not. I still went but it was the worst day. I looked after her two children for the duration of her honeymoon, then that's it. No contact for the next 3 years. I was heartbroken. Finally contact was made but even after still trying hard and still taking crap things have again become tense. I don't want to lose my grandchildren again but I feel I'm at the end of my tether and feel anxious all the time. She treats me like I just don't matter to her but expects me to see the kids often, although I am banned from her house by her husband, so I try and take them out but three children cost loads to keep occupied and fed. They have broken stuff at my home so my husband won't have them here anymore. How on earth does this get resolved? Advice would be very much appreciated

Lesley60 Fri 31-Jan-20 11:21:59

I know how it feels to be estranged from your daughter ( we are thankfully ok now) I used to secretly go and see the grandkids in the school playground with a pic in my pocket to prove who I was incase anyone thought I was a weirdo.
I’m amazed that your husband has stopped them coming to the house due to breaking things, are objects more important to him can’t you just put precious objects away before they visit.
I understand it’s expensive to take the grandkids out, but mine love playing board games especially with a big bucket of popcorn which is only £2 in asda, or walks in the country/ beach with an ice cream at the end, the most precious thing you can give them is your love, time and attention it’s making memories for them more so than things that would cost money.
I really hope your relationship with your daughter improves soon, I’m sure it will. 💐

Starlady Fri 31-Jan-20 11:30:27

Oh, Panda, I am so sorry! My heart aches for you! It seems as if you are "getting it" from all sides - ODD (oldest dear daughter) and SIL won't let you in their home, DH (dear husband) won't allow the GC (grandchildren) in yours, but ODD wants you to see/expects you to watch the GC (and I'm sure you want to, as well). What a dilemma!

I'm not sure I have all this straight though. Let me see if I understand the following:

"She argued with her younger sister, but because I didn't pick a side we became a bit strained leading up to the wedding. After trying to reason with her as she and her husband to be banned my other daughter from the wedding, she then told me she wasn't bothered if I was even there or not."

Ouch! It seems as if you (wisely, IMO) refused to choose a side in her argument w/ her sister, your YDD (younger dear daughter). Apparently, ODD was a little bit miffed that you didn't pick a side/her side. Then you lost your resolve to stay out of the middle - and took YDD's side, which made ODD really angry. I totally get your defending YDD since they were trying to cut her out of the wedding. That is so sad, and would be hard, IMO, for any mum to just stand by and watch. But since ODD was already irritated that you didn't stand by her in this argument, it's not surprising that she got even more upset when you spoke up for YDD.

So sorry about this. And regardless, I think it was selfish of her to ask you to watch the GC while she and SIL were on their honeymoon and then cut you off for 3 years afterwards. Unless... was there some issue about anything that happened while you were watching the kids? Or did you have words when she and SIL came home? That might explain it, but it is still sad, IMO.

"Finally contact was made but even after still trying hard and still taking crap things have again become tense"

So glad contact was re-established! Perhaps you're trying too hard though? Also, do you feel comfortable telling us what the "crap" is that you've been "taking?" That might give us more insight into what's going on and what you might need to do.

I'm glad you're getting to see the kids often though I'm sorry SIL won't let you in their house. He is probably still angry about the past. Have you tried apologizing for getting in the middle? (I wouldn't apologize for defending YDD, just for "getting in the middle" of the drama.) Or if something else set him off, have you apologized for your part in that? And let him/them know it won't happen again? This may be all that's needed.

As for the cost of caring for them outside of their home. Have you tried asking ODD to help defray the costs? If not, do you think she would react well if you did?

How about if you set some boundaries on the amount of days and hours you can watch the kids? Does she need someone to watch them because of work? Would she get angry if you cut back? Cutting down on how often you take them might solve some of the problems, but I realize it could also lead to another CO (cut off) and you don't want that.

As for DH, I'm a little surprised that he won't let your GC in the house just b/c of a few broken things. Is he their bio GF? It's your home, too, so I think you should have some say, as well. Maybe you and he can compromise on how often they come over and what rooms they can play in? Can he suggest/help supervise some outings if he doesn't want them in the house?

Hope I'm not asking too many questions, just trying to get a clearer picture...

Starlady Fri 31-Jan-20 11:31:54

And I agree w/ Lesley about putting some items away before the GC come over. Perhaps DH would be ok w/ their visits if you agree to do that.

Violettham Fri 31-Jan-20 11:43:56

How I hate all these initials instead of plain English sometimes even explained, waste of space. OK before anyone starts I am stupid.

Alexa Fri 31-Jan-20 12:27:26

Why not ask your SUD to send her BENKs over to you with their mobile phones /bathing pool membership/ bowling range fees and so forth to keep them amused?

I suppose young EGKs, rather like puppies, need spaces cleared of breakables . I forget what age you said the USC are. Are they young enough for finger painting and modelling clay?

Smileless2012 Fri 31-Jan-20 12:54:29

Such an upsetting situation to be in Panda, you have my heartfelt sympathy.

My overall feeling having read your post is that you need to stand up for yourself with your D, your s.i.l. and your H. Doing so may not necessarily improve the situation but could go along way to enabling you to deal with what's happening.

My answer to your question as to what more you can do for your D to want you in her life is I'm afraid, nothing. There's a huge difference between someone wanting you in their life because of the relationship they have with you, and wanting you because of what you do for them.

From what you've posted it seems that your D is using the love you have for your GC as a stick to beat you with. No contact for 3 years after you looked after the children so they could have their honeymoon, and now, it's OK for you to look after your GC but your s.i.l. wont have you in the house.

We've been estranged from our youngest son and only GC for 7 years so I totally understand your fear that if you don't do what your D and your s.i.l. want, they may stop you from seeing them altogether. They've done it before so who is to say they wont do it again.

Your D and s.i.l. know that this unspoken threat hangs over you and they are using it to their advantage.

IMO your D wasn't annoyed that you picked a side, she was annoyed that you didn't pick her side. Any parent would have done what you did, and try to smooth things over between 2 of their AC especially when one was going to be banned from the other's wedding. You D's response was childish and cruel.

I agree with Starlady with regard to having the children in your home. It's your home too and he's out of order saying you can't have your GC there.

Lesley's advice is spot on here, put precious things away when they're coming so there's no possibility of them being broken.

As for your s.i.l., has he given any reason for you not being welcome? If this goes back to the incident between your D's and your attempt to resolve the matter then he has a cheek IMO, having had you look after the children so he could enjoy his honeymoon. If that is the reason, then he should be man enough to say so or to say what his reasons are.

I do understand you not wanting to lose contact with your GC. My heart goes out to you and all GP's who lose their GC that they've known and loved. We're fortunate that we never knew ours so in that sense it has been easier for us.

Perhaps you should think about reducing the amount of time you spend looking after the children. I realise this carries the real risk that your D will be annoyed and you'll be estranged again and only you can decide whether or not the way you're being treated, "taking crap", feeling at the end of your tether and feeling "anxious all the time" is something you can sustain long term.

I hope you can get something resolved, if only that's having your GC in your own home to relieve some of the financial and practical pressures of seeing them.

flowers

Urmstongran Fri 31-Jan-20 13:31:04

I’ve never commented upon an estrangement thread before as thankfully I have no experience of it. However, much as I adore my grandchildren I would not be walking on eggshells with our daughter to keep access. That said, maybe we are just lucky that she has a lovely sunny nature (and married a man of a similar disposition).

These toxic, stressful relationships must be awful.

I would very sadly have to walk away from all these demands and controls. If they choose estrangement so be it. Absolutely their choice. I’d live with it. My own self esteem wouldn’t let me be any other way. I’d just keep thinking ‘it was what they CHOSE’.

Delila Fri 31-Jan-20 13:40:25

Would you translate please Alexa?

TrendyNannie6 Fri 31-Jan-20 13:51:57

Goodness me this is an awful situation for you panda, you are feeling it from all sides of the family, your daughter son in law and your husband , how childish is this. Totally agree with urmstongran There’s no way I would put up with all this toxic goings on just to keep access. It’s not healthy! Totally ridiculous! You are worth much much more, let them get on with it

Smileless2012 Fri 31-Jan-20 13:57:38

I must say Urmstongran and TendyNannie that I feel as you do.

I couldn't put up with the toxic and stressful nature of the OP's situation even if it meant not seeing our GC. I know that the OP's situation is what ours would be like if we were to 'reconcile' with our ES and his wife, which is why it isn't something I'd want to do.

TrendyNannie6 Fri 31-Jan-20 14:08:03

I wouldn’t do it smileless. There’s got to be respect and in this situation I don’t see any, my heart goes out to panda, and everyone else that’s treated disrespectfully by their families, when they are helping them, it’s so hurtful. Life’s too short to be so nasty!

merveskovjohn Fri 31-Jan-20 14:09:03

Message deleted by Gransnet. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

BellsandWhistles Fri 31-Jan-20 14:17:53

I’m sorry for your situation OP. I read it as starlady did, that you eventually did take your younger daughters side in the wedding situation?

Fortunately, there is nothing you can do to make this relationship better at this point. What I would suggest is that you draw up your own boundaries on what you will and won’t accept , and go from there.

I have to admit though, I’m extremely curious about what your daughters were fighting about with regards to the wedding.

GagaJo Fri 31-Jan-20 14:19:19

I would do whatever I had to, to maintain a relationship with my grandchild. I really think your husband is being unreasonable, saying he doesn't want them in your house. It is YOUR home too. If you want your grandchildren there and he doesn't he should go out.

If those are the conditions your daughter imposes, accept them. One day your grandchildren will be old enough to have an independent relationship with you. Until then, tolerate the conditions.

GagaJo Fri 31-Jan-20 14:20:33

And for those of you on here, taking the opportunity to humble brag about your own 'perfect' families, this is NOT the time to do it. Think about the effect on the OP. Have a bit of empathy, FGS.

Grammaretto Fri 31-Jan-20 14:39:18

It's a horrible situation Panda. I really feel for you and wish I could suggest a way out.

I think your DH senses he doesn't want to see you so badly treated and has used his own power to protect you.

If you want the children at yours can you suggest that DH makes himself scarce for an afternoon and so it's just you and the Grandkids?

Change or alter the dynamic - it could make a difference.
My DD seems to only text me. Is this the modern way? If yours is like this too, I'm doubly empathetic. It's so hard to know what people are thinking.

I read somewhere that the best way to talk about a serious subject is side by side. Either on a walk or in the car but without eye contact.

Smileless2012 Fri 31-Jan-20 15:29:40

Gagajoconfused I don't see any posters here bragging about their 'perfect families', was that in the post that's been deleted?

Yennifer Fri 31-Jan-20 16:03:38

I would offer do do the work and make the changes nessessary for my daughter to want me in her life. I think that's part of my responsibility as a parent. Even if it can be painful for me at times. Whatever happened to my daughter to make her pull away from me, whether it is my fault or not, I would want to be there to help her overcome it x

agnurse Fri 31-Jan-20 16:10:37

It was your daughter's wedding. It was not your place to tell her that she had to invite her sister. I do agree that it wasn't on to have you care for the GC and then not speak to you for three years, but in all fairness, depending on how close to the wedding the issue with her sister came up, we have to keep in mind that she may not have been able to find childcare at the last minute.

I think you need to offer a sincere apology to your daughter. You also have to determine how much you want to be involved with her children and how that's going to look. If you don't want to go over there, and your husband won't allow the children to the house, it may be the best option to meet them periodically in a public setting.

endlessstrife Fri 31-Jan-20 16:16:50

I wouldn’t put up with this at all. It’s not going to be any good for your or your husband’s health, and quite frankly, not good for the grandchildren either. As much as it may hurt, I feel you should say you’re not entertaining this any longer until they behave in a civilised fashion. Try to fix the original problem. It sounds like it kicked off with the wedding, so it may be easier than you think, but no more babysitting until it is resolved.

GagaJo Fri 31-Jan-20 16:25:07

Not directly Smileless2012. But all this 'I'm so lucky my child is X' or, 'Thankfully we don't have to suffer this.'

There are other forums more suited to thinly covered gloating. And no family is perfect so that sort of approach is dishonest too.

I DO think agnurse may have some kind of point though. The christening of my grandson has caused a huge rift between my mother and me. SiL was being an arse about it, not wanting to attend and talked my mother into not attending either. My mum didn't see sense enough to see what was important on THAT day was her great grandchild. He is the absolute apple of my eye and both myself and my daughter were hugely hurt that the babies great granny couldn't just happily welcome him to the family and put SiL to one side. IF she genuinely and honestly apologised, possibly we could move forward, but she just avoids the subject.

Smileless2012 Fri 31-Jan-20 18:05:45

So true Gagajo "no family is perfect". How foolish of your mum to miss out on her GGC's christening; I can understand how hurt you and your DD would have been.

I don't agree with agnurse (she wont be surprised I'm sure). The OP didn't say she'd told her D she had to invite her sister, the OP said she tried to reason with her which is entirely different. I see nothing wrong in a parent trying to diffuse bad feeling between their AC.

There's nothing fair at all about the OP looking after the children while her D and s.i.l. enjoyed their honeymoon to then be estranged by them for 3 years. Regardless of whether or not alternative arrangements could be made, she was used and on their return was kept away from her GC for 3 years.

What exactly is the OP supposed to be sincerely apologising for? Her D should have apologised for telling her mother "she wasn't bothered if (she) was there or not and for estranging her for 3 years.

For goodness sake, are parents expected to be their AC's emotional punch bags when it suits them? Are they expected to take being estranged from their AC and GC on the chin, and then when it suits their AC to be in their lives, to take the crap they're given and put up with "feeling anxious all the time" for fear of having their GC taken away from then again?

Yennifer Fri 31-Jan-20 18:15:02

I don't get how some AC will ever be in a win situation. They decide certain things make them unhappy and pull away asking for change then estrange if they don't get it and are called evil. They reconsile and EPs don't have to change but they then never seem to trust again and don't get over it and their pain is bigger than their child's. Or EPs get to see the grandchildren but EC is not wanting a relationship so that's not good enough and the grandchildren get cut off. It all seems so extreme. How can children who are unhappy with their relationship with their parents ever get out of this no win situation?

Smileless2012 Fri 31-Jan-20 18:36:48

I haven't seen anyone referring to EAC as evil Yennifer.

TBF it's perfectly understandable for a parent who was estranged and then is back in their AC's life to find it difficult to trust that it wont happen again. It isn't about their pain being bigger than their AC's, it's about a genuine and realistic fear of finding themselves estranged in the future.

It's questionable IMO that the OP's D has reconciled the OP is "taking crap" from her and "feeling anxious all the time".

If AC are "unhappy with their relationship with their parents" they have 2 options don't they. The can estrange themselves and their children or they can allow their children to have a relationship with their GP's while having a minimum of contact themselves.

There are EP's who have virtually no contact with their AC but see their GC. It's not ideal but I've yet to see one of them complain that "that's not good enough"; on the contrary, they seem simply to be grateful for what they do have.