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Why do our adult children do this to us?

(196 Posts)
Polly75 Mon 06-Jul-20 19:52:27

Here I am, found this site and thought I would find some comfort here, and find others who understand my pain.
My Daughter has estranged me it has been a gradual process over the past year, it was ok for short times then she would cut me out for months, this has been ongoing for some time, she has now shut me out of her life. We were good friends until she met a great guy settled down and had a beautiful Daughter. My D had no trama or anything during her younger years to of caused this behaviour and nastiness towards me, if anything I over indulged her and loved her to much I guess. I do not understand why, and why she would wish to cause me this hurt & pain I do not see my only Granddaughter either. I am alone now and she is fully aware of my loneliness, but she does not seem to care. Even during the covid times she did not make contact to see if I was ok. I feel torn apart by this, and will never understand Why ...

Eloethan Mon 06-Jul-20 20:06:59

Polly I'm so sorry to hear how unhappy you are.

Something must have happened to cause this estrangement surely? Is there no way that you can make an approach (maybe by letter) and sort this out? The longer it's left, the harder it will be to try and resolve things.

Starblaze Mon 06-Jul-20 20:07:06

What does she say? What is the nastiness?

Hithere Mon 06-Jul-20 20:19:13

Following up on Starblaze's post -

What happened during that gradual process over the last year?

The more details and background you give is, the better.

Polly75 Mon 06-Jul-20 20:34:20

Ladies thank you.
This nastiness and bad mouthing me started when she was about 16, prior to that she was no problems , normal teenager. I am not aware of anything that would of happened to cause this, neither is her Sister, by the time she was 18-19 she spoke to me in a bad manner, put me down, dismissed me ...would often swear at me. I was always there for her, as I guess she had some pain as her father & I had split up, so I put my Children before me ( Always did anyway)
The last year the distance grew, it was almost like she had now found a guy who she loved , and her bubble is perfect with him and their baby, I could not be more happier for her.... but she now seems to not want me in her life . I have always made the first move to hopefully get things between us normal, but a week or so later she will send me nasty text and dismiss me. I walk on eggshells and dare not speak or give an opinion as I know she will slam me down.

Starblaze Mon 06-Jul-20 20:41:41

Polly when you take out the swearing and ignore the angry tone, what are you left with? What is she saying about you? What opinions of yours are upsetting to her?

Hithere Mon 06-Jul-20 20:41:55

We have a clue - the break up.

How old is your dd now?
What exact comments - nastiness - did she say?

Namsnanny Mon 06-Jul-20 20:50:01

Polly75 .... Hello and I'm sorry you had to find your way here, for obvious reasons!

Non the less you are very welcome. smile

It's totally devastating when this happens, and is accompanied by much sadness and soul searching I'm sure.

I think because everything is so raw for you now, it might be better to post on the ^Support for all living with the pain of estrangement^
You might find more people find your posts and answer more easily there.

I do feel for you flowers

Polly75 Mon 06-Jul-20 21:05:40

Over the past few years, I will text and ask if I can pop over to them all and that I miss the GD, she often replies with I am too busy , I may be able to see you in 3 weeks time so pencil that in, if I respond with wow that is ages away she will reply and say, we are very busy, I will not drop everything for you to see us when you demand! I have never demanded ever... they only live up the road a ten min drive away, I have seen them twice in four months for about an hour each time. Starblaze , I do not have to say anything and she will say something under her breath like F* off...she will not speak to me for a while then I may receive a text days later that is normal chat. Hithere, yes the break up I am sure made it worse, but she was not always nice prior to that. The nasty comments can be anything like " I dont need you in my life" what makes you think you are part of it. But when she was first pregnant, she asked me to help look after the GD as they both had to work to be able to buy a home. But now they never ask me and juggle their life around it. I do feel she has a narcissistic personality, as it is the only piece that fits the puzzle. She often will gaslight me as well.

Polly75 Mon 06-Jul-20 21:07:35

Thank you Namsnanny, I did not spend time checking out the site, I will look at what you have suggested.

Hithere Mon 06-Jul-20 21:23:24


Regarding the visits: The more you push, the more they will push back.
She offered a date that was convenient for her and you expressed your dissatisfaction about it in a manner that can be read as guilt trip in your dd's side.
She could truly be busy and not have time to host you.
She could be busy with something else that she needs to stop doing if you visit.

Have you thought of giving more warning for the visits and let them have time to prepare?

Starblaze Mon 06-Jul-20 21:27:01

Polly NPD is thought to be caused by genetics, over indulging them as children without any real stability or being overly critical and neglectful. Rarely, some sort of brain abnormality.

Is there a history of NPD in your family or does that sound as though it could fit? Does she have the same difficulties in other relationships?

Maybe it would be a good idea for you to go see a counsellor. We can't change others, only ourselves and we have to decide if we want to be the person they need us to be or find a way to move on.

Hithere Mon 06-Jul-20 21:27:43

The comment: " I don't need you in my life what's makes you think you are part of it" was in response to what?

Another comment: maybe your dd is annoyed you say you miss your gd, not mentioning your dd at all?

Hithere Mon 06-Jul-20 21:38:23

"But when she was first pregnant, she asked me to help look after the GD as they both had to work to be able to buy a home. But now they never ask me"

So you were childcare or babysitter but now you dont babysit anymore?
What changed there? Any misunderstanding?

Dollymc2 Mon 06-Jul-20 21:47:18

Ah Polly, I am so sorry for your troubles
Could you suggest that you meet, just the two of you, to talk it over?
I'm sorry that I can't be more helpful than that, but sometimes straight talking is the only way to get to the bottom of things
This is for you, you have my very best wishes for a peaceful resolution ?

MissAdventure Mon 06-Jul-20 21:49:44

I think I would draw back, anyway.
I don't think there is any excuse for the way she speaks to you.
It must be very hurtful, and walking on eggshells around her is unhealthy (to that extent)

Madgran77 Mon 06-Jul-20 22:04:50

Polly I know this must be very painful for you

I think like Namsnanny that you would find it helpful to join the Support for all who are living with estrangement thread.

I do think you need to try and step back and think really carefully about all the things that might have brought you to this point with your daughter.

How old was she when the "not very nice" started? Was she upset by her parents relationship? What age was she when you split with her father? How was that managed? Did she continue to see both parents? Does she blame you for the break up? Was it explained?

How was your relationship together when she started her relationship? Was she showing anger with you then? Did you feel you were treading on eggshells? What conversations did you have? Did you get on with her partner?

When she was pregnant how was she? When she asked you to look after your grandchild how did that go? When and how did that change? Did something happen? Were there tensions when you looked after the little one?

I am asking these questions as examples, because I think you need to spend time going over things, the process of your relationship over the years, her child hood experiences both positive and negative. This might give you insight into the way to move forward.

She has not completely estranged as you have seen them twice in 4 months but it sounds like things are sliding. She still suggests a time to meet up; that is positive for you. It may seem so little and so far apart to you but it is a positive because she is suggesting it at all. What context is there to her saying she doesn't need you in her life anymore?

I would take what she offers, be positive and warm. I think Starblazes suggestion to see a counsellor is a good one too. She is right that we cannot change others, we can only change ourselves and our responses.


Riskybuisness Tue 07-Jul-20 01:50:32

Speaking to you in that manner now she is an adult isnt acceptable. Childhood traumas are vast most people have some effect from negativity as a child but there comes a point where its just not acceptable to treat anyone in that way and as an adult we learn this.
It must be very painful to be spoken to the way you are and shut out and your being hit by a double whack. Abuse and distance i dont think both should be accepted , distance means politeness and kindness can be given if not very often its beareable.
The damage that double abuse is doing to you will freeze you like a deer in headlights.
Youll not beable to go forward in life at all, i think you should just keep moving forward with your own plans ( hard without your Daughter or grandaughter) bit as ive always thought...when my Grandchildren are old enough to see me if anything were to happen like this, id want to be healthy and strong when they come to find me and these toxic situations are the oppositte. The way your daughter pops up with a normal text is almost like a bad relationship of anytype, you will be settling doing ok then they topple you.
It could well be your daughter needs to be let loose to grow up a bit more. If she doesnt want to see you for 3 weeks ok but the toxiciy of you being spoken to like you have no value has gone on to long and i wonder if its her approval and acceptance you need. As you say this started when she was young, enough to make any parent feel they have made a mistake and need to know they can repair it even if that is not the actual case.

HolyHannah Tue 07-Jul-20 02:03:50

Polly75 -- "But when she was first pregnant, she asked me to help look after the GD as they both had to work to be able to buy a home. But now they never ask me and juggle their life around it. I do feel she has a narcissistic personality, as it is the only piece that fits the puzzle. She often will gaslight me as well."

So, when she first got pregnant she was interested in having you participate and now they juggle their life to make other arrangements for child-care and saying, "I dont need you in my life"... So clearly there is something that 'changed' and is keeping them/making them hesitant to leave their child with you.

You throw out the, "My daughter is a narcissist." and claim that is "the only piece that fits the puzzle"... And it doesn't. Narcissistic people USE others and rarely walk from someone they can get 'something' from -- like free child-care, so her being Narcissistic is unlikely.

How does she gas-light you? Is it because she says, "You said/You did..." and you claim to have not said 'that' or "don't remember" doing whatever...??? In that case it is more likely you are gas-lighting her.

HolyHannah Tue 07-Jul-20 05:02:58

riskybusiness -- Polly75's daughter is an adult in her own right. She is married and has a child of her own. When you reached those mile-stones in your life I'm sure you considered yourself as an adult and expected to be treated as such.

Likewise AC want to be treated as equal mature adults like you did at those times. Parents that believe, past a time when it's appropriate, that their children are still 'less' mature/not adult enough is going to lead to a relationship breakdown.

So long as a 'parent' holds that perception of their AC, they will consciously or sub-consciously behave in that way... Thinking they know 'better' on every aspect of their ADULT child's life. Maybe the parent DOES. The AC doesn't care. They know that their parent didn't get everything 'right'/correct so now it's their turn to do things "their way".

A good grand-parent will support their child and their partner in how they choose to raise THEIR children, the grand-children -- regardless of their personal feelings on those choices. If the grand-parent insists they know better and subvert/undermine the parents wishes? No contact is likely.

If an AC's "breaking point" ends in them swearing or saying "mean things" to their parent(s) the 'super adult' should be able to shrug that off. I've heard of parent's hitting their "breaking point" and slapping their AC and have that minimized, but a adult parent can't handle a few swear words from their 'children'? FFS ignore the swear words and listen to the rest of the words. The 'kid' has reached "breaking point" and if you want a relationship with them and their child, your grand-child it's the grand-parent who needs to change their perception.

Madgran77 Tue 07-Jul-20 07:05:07

Polly nothing you have described so far particularly suggests to me that you are not thinking and treating you daughter as the adult she is, as in the scenarios described above, only you know that, and your daughter.

However in considering and thinking about what has happened over the years that might be something to think about for you. ....As in her interpretation of your obvious caring and concern for her; for your grandchildren?

As I said previously going through things in your mind might help you to see the way forward, and what is needed to possibly repair things with your daughter. flowers

HolyHannah Tue 07-Jul-20 07:34:09

Madgran -- Please don't dilute my message by suggesting you see nothing like that in Polly75's comments. I didn't say I did either... The point is, the only opinion that matters is her daughter's and your suggestion that she is not behaving in 'that way' will certainly not encourage reflection on her part in case she IS.

"However in considering and thinking about what has happened over the years that might be something to think about for you. ....As in her interpretation of your obvious caring and concern for her; for your grandchildren?" -- I do not understand what you mean by "years" in Polly's case... And obviously her daughter considers her 'mom's "obvious care and concern" toward her as, "I don't need."

JennyNotFromTheBlock Tue 07-Jul-20 07:40:54

I'm so sorry and it felt so sad to read your story! Almost the same was with me when I estranged myself from my father who was a really toxic man, so what I've done was pretty logical and I did it for my own mental health. I don't see the reason why would your daughter do this. I'm sorry.

Madgran77 Tue 07-Jul-20 07:48:15

Madgran -- Please don't dilute my message by suggesting you see nothing like that in Polly75's comments. I didn't say I did either... The point is, the only opinion that matters is her daughter's and your suggestion that she is not behaving in 'that way' will certainly not encourage reflection on her part in case she IS.
My intention was not to dilute your message. I am saying that I didnt see it in what she said but that that is something for her to consider and I sugested that she needs to look at things from her daughters interpretation(perspective/experience would have been a better words) in thinking about it.

Please let's not debate this further, hopefully Polly can take something from all posts and learn and move forward

PetitFromage Tue 07-Jul-20 08:10:00

Polly - welcome to GN, but I am so sorry about the circumstances which have led you here. Family relationships can be very complicated but estrangement, especially from a child, is uniquely painful.

Regardless of the rights and wrongs of the situation, I think that your daughter is signalling that she needs some space from you right now. She has had some big changes in her life with her new partner and her baby. In my view, for what it is worth, you need to step back and focus on your own life. Hard though it is, you need to let go and not chase her, or you will drive her further away and diminish her respect for you. You need to be patient and give it time, so that you can forge a new adult relationship.

In the meantime, try to take good care of yourself and it might be a good idea to seek some form of therapy. Otherwise, our thoughts can overwhelm us and prevent us from enjoying our precious life. Don't tell her of your loneliness and put the burden on her to fix it, don't be needy or try to 'guilt trip' her into seeing you, or she will come to regard you as a burden.
Ultimately, we have to live our own lives, we cannot expect to live them through anyone else, least of all our children.

My advice would be to fill your life with people and things that make you happy. I know that Covid is restricting things at the moment, but could you plan a special trip, go somewhere you have always wanted to go, or take up something new - whatever 'floats your boat'. Maybe even consider an on line dating site or other ways of making new friends and companions.

I reckon that if you can become a positive, joyful person, a mother and granny who is fun to be around, your daughter will seek you out, as she will enjoy your company. Your daughter has a lot on her plate with her baby and juggling work etc. She needs you to be a support to her, not an extra demand on her.

I am sorry if this sounds brutal, but I am saying it because I believe it to be true and because I want to help you to move forward. You have raised two daughters to maturity, and you have the satisfaction of knowing that at least one of them is in a happy, stable, relationship with the joy of a baby. So give yourself a pat on the back and embrace the next stage of your life. flowers