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How to react to racism in newly reconciled daughter?

(49 Posts)
PetitFromage Thu 18-Jun-20 08:15:16

I have recently reconciled with my eldest daughter after a three year period of semi-estrangement during which she moved house without giving us the new address, got married without telling us, and had a baby but didn't inform us until DGD1 was 14 months old. I am happy to say that we are now reconciled, although the hurt still runs very deep, as some of you will already know from my posts on the Estrangement threads.

DD1 has, in fact, now gone to the opposite extreme and is constantly telephoning and sending texts, photos and videos of the DGDs (a second DGD was born after the reconciliation), which is all good. However, I am all too conscious that relationships can be very fragile and, given that DH has terminal cancer for which he is currently undergoing palliative chemotherapy, the last thing I want to do is 'upset the apple cart'.

My problem is that DD1 and SIL have racist, Islamophobia, xenophobic tendencies and, in SIL's case, I also suspect misogynistic tendencies. It saddens me a great deal, as it was not how she was brought up and her two sisters are at the opposite end of the political spectrum, very concerned about BLM and gay and transgender issues etc. I abhor racism and all forms of discrimination and a big part of me feels that I should, as DD2 says, 'call her out' on DD1's comments etc.

It is not just comments, it is the links which she sends me and DH to inflammatory articles, although she sends them more to him than to me. DH studiously ignores them. I don't know why she sends them, perhaps to genuinely engage in a discussion. She doesn't seem to have anyone else to discuss things with really, apart from SIL and his parents, who live close by - 100s of miles away from us - and SIL's parents are of a similar persuasion to us ie liberal, inclusive etc. DD1 told me in our last conversation that they object to FIL's views. DD1 cut off contact with her friends when she met SIL and moved away and she is still estranged from her two younger sisters.

Anyway, last night DD1 sent me a video link which I find particularly offensive, although I suspect that I am expected to find it amusing. It has really upset me and made me realise just how far apart we are, not only physically but also mentally, spiritually, every which way. I know that we live in a democracy, but I feel ashamed that a child I raised could espouse such vile views, and I worry that the DGDs will be infected - although I did say to DD1 that children usually hold opposite views to their parents.

I would be grateful for some advice as to how to respond. Do I do as DH does and just not respond at all? Do I try to engage in a discussion in the hope of seeking to persuade her that her views are misguided? Or do I just say that we will not agree, so please stop sending these things to me? I absolutely don't want to jeopardise the reconciliation, but some things are just too important to ignore.

PetitFromage Thu 18-Jun-20 21:25:58

Thank you GagaJo, I very much appreciate your comment.

Eloethan Fri 19-Jun-20 00:34:09

I think quite a few people are being sucked into this sort of hate culture on the internet. I think maybe it attracts people who tend to be a bit aimless, disaffected with society and resentful of others. Perhaps promulgating these ideas gives them a sense of power - they get to feel that they are the only ones insightful and intelligent enough to " see what's really going on".

If it were a friend sending me stuff like that I would not continue the friendship but it is quite difficult when a daughter or someone very close is involved. I think I would try and ignore it - at least for the time being - because to do otherwise might cause you to lose touch once again. It's probably quite important that your granddaughter has contact with you and your family so that she can see not everyone feels the same as her parents.

welbeck Fri 19-Jun-20 01:21:23

ignore it for the moment.
certainly do not thank her for sending such links. that's absurd.
you need to just tread water, rather than trying to swim the channel.
conserve your energies, and affection, attention, for your DH.
all the best.

Hithere Fri 19-Jun-20 01:55:16

Agree with bibbity.

Grammaretto Fri 19-Jun-20 10:56:40

When it's your DD it is different. If it were a friend on facebook, I would instantly unfriend them but that goes for any extreme views. I find as I get older my political views are calmer and I am prepared to hear what people say without damning them on first sight.

We can't expect to agree on everything and should be glad that our views don't put us in jail or worse.

Ignore DD's messages unless you think they are a coded cry for help? If as you say she has been brought up as your child how could this have happened to her unless she is being controlled?

Callistemon Fri 19-Jun-20 11:00:03

When it's your DD it is different.
It is, especially when the relationship is fragile as it seems to be in this case.

Is it attention seeking? Sending links which she knows might be outrageou?

PetitFromage Fri 19-Jun-20 13:48:08

Thank you everybody. In the end I just didn't acknowledge the latest link. I don't know why she sends them, I really don't, but I do know that she won't change her views, based on anything I say. There is no upside and potentially a large downside to saying anything. It is what it is.

GillT57 Fri 19-Jun-20 15:08:37

How very difficult this situation must be, and I wonder if, like callistemon suggested, this sending of unpleasant and racist links that your DD must know will upset you is some sort of attention seeking or even a test to see how far she can push you? Thankfully I have not suffered from estrangement like some on here have, but I am worried how after all the hurt caused by moving, marrying, giving birth without contact, your DD finds it acceptable to almost taunt you with upsetting and inflammatory emails and links, especially when her Father is so ill. It sounds cruel to me, I am sorry. What do you other daughters think?

Smileless2012 Fri 19-Jun-20 15:17:33

That's an interesting point Gill I wonder if there is something in your D testing her boundaries PF, seeing how far she can go.

You've done the right thing I think not acknowledging the latest link. Hopefully if you don't acknowledge them, she'll stop sending them. I hope so, you've been through so much already flowers x.

Starblaze Fri 19-Jun-20 17:58:17

I truly agree about being a positive influence for the grandchildren. As much as it makes me hugely uncomfortable, I probably wouldn't stop talking to most people because they are ignorant/have racist views because I would hope I could talk them round. That's the only way we can be a force for good in this world. This situation is just so much more tricky.

Ignoring that type of thing, may not be actively educating but at lest it does send a message that it isn't wanted without pressure on the relationship

PetitFromage Sat 20-Jun-20 09:49:03

Upon reflection, I don't think that she is trying to goad me. I think that she genuinely believes what she says and that it comes, probably in SIL's case from a feeling of his supremacy, which happens to be white male. However, in DD's case, it seems to come more from a position of fear, at least in part. She mentioned Rotherham in our last conversation and their concerns for the DGDs.

I just said that there is good and bad in all nationalities, colours and creeds, that I was a 'live and let live', liberal sort of person, as long as people's beliefs didn't impinge upon other people's safety or liberty. She knows that we have very different political views on things, especially Brexit, which I dealt with by just saying how I felt, from the heart, and that I simply disagreed with her. But this is something different and, upsetting though it is, and probably reflects badly on me, I think I will just not rise to the bait. I know from experience that it won't do any good. SIL is only tolerating the reconciliation for financial reasons and would be very happy for us to be shut out again. I don't want that to happen so I must be cautious.

Bibbity Sat 20-Jun-20 09:54:20

This does not reflect badly on you at all. You are far to harsh on yourself.
You need to look at how brilliant you have been through everything you’ve been put through throughout the years.
You can not control others only yourself.
You have so much on your plate please put yourself first.

Smileless2012 Sat 20-Jun-20 12:25:56

Great post Bibbitysmile take it on board PF because it's absolutely trueflowers x

PetitFromage Sat 20-Jun-20 14:18:15

Thank you Bibbity and Smileless for your support. I sent a positive message to her today, innocuous, about recipes and pets and what we are doing over the weekend. It is enough, it has to be, no point in chasing what cannot be.

I don't think I am brilliant at all, but I don't think that I am awful either, probably just average, maybe ok, but I do love her with all my heart. However, sometimes love, unfortunately, is not enough.

PetitFromage Sat 20-Jun-20 14:19:32

I meant sometimes love is not enough. Hopefully, mostly, love is enough.

Smileless2012 Sat 20-Jun-20 14:38:34

PF that sounds like a good message to have sent and you have so much love for your D, hopefully love will be enoughflowers x

PetitFromage Sat 20-Jun-20 15:08:24

Thanks Smileless. x

Sparkling Wed 08-Jul-20 06:42:39

Petit, your relationship is still fragile and your husband unwell, now is not the time for confrontation. . Make no comment or reply when offensive material arrives, just delete them for now. No fire can burn without air. I have someone who sent me similiar and that's what I did, they got the message, I came to the conclusion I couldn't connect on any level with them eventually and I drifted away, but know you can't with a daughter.

PetitFromage Sat 11-Jul-20 12:41:33

Thanks Sparkling, that's good advice. I'm pleased to say I haven't received anything further for a while, just lovely photos of the DGDs, so hopefully she has realised that we have entirely different views.

FarNorth Sat 11-Jul-20 13:06:05

The mention of Rotherham makes me think that your DD has genuine concerns but is channeling them wrongly, under SiL's influence most likely.
I think you are completely right to ignore the material, to give you the best chance of keeping the relationship with your DD and DGDs.

granzilla Sun 12-Jul-20 12:11:16

Hi petitfromage
Hope mrfromage is keeping well.
I think about you often. flowers

PetitFromage Sun 12-Jul-20 15:47:14

Thank you granzilla (wonderful user name!).

We just take it a day at a time. Mr F isn't getting any better but then again he isn't getting any worse, according to the latest scan. I just worry terribly what will happen when the chemo ends. But you just have to carry on and appreciate the joy, even if you have to look a bit harder for it.

And you are all right, whatever their views on the political issues, it just isn't anywhere near the top of my agenda right now. I think most prejudice comes from ignorance and fear, so there is no point in arguing really.

Thank you for your support.

biba70 Sun 12-Jul-20 15:59:41

Good post Gagajo -and yet- for me racism is not just, as ladymuck says, 'a difference of opinion'. What a very difficult situation and I am not sure I would know how to handle it. But yes, contact with grandchildren come first.