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Estrangement

Reunited..... but not

(33 Posts)
Lucyloo12 Mon 27-Jul-20 13:44:27

After 18 months of being ignored one of my daughters now speaks... just. She had separated from her husband, has childcare issues and now says it is OK for me to look after the grandchildren.... with rules. I must not disrespect my ex who now is referred to as grandad. He isn't. When we were together he hated the children and often said so. We parted company after he took a knife to me. Somehow he managed to convince my daughter that it was my fault! He has been extremely useful to her for diy projects and as my money ran out I was of no further use. Now she has no money and tells me so every 5 mins expressing the children need stuff. I have bought the children shoes and clothes as I wouldn't like to see them without. Yesterday she came to collect the children after a weekend break wearing the latest designer get up and told me in front of her new boyfriend how horrible I was during the 18 month no contact. I wasn't, tho i did try countless times to speak as I missed the children desperately. This is just the tip of the iceburg. I am extremely depressed and although I adore the children she has become a control freak and I cant deal with it. If I don't do what she wants I am threatened with no contact again. I feel so sad and low. Too frightened to speak. What am I to do.

Oopsadaisy3 Mon 27-Jul-20 13:59:53

I’m so sorry that you are in this situation, there is only one thing to do and that is to correct her, even in front of other people when she blames you, in fact I would drop it into every conversation I could that you left after you were threatened with a knife.
Sadly she will probably drop you again, but really you have to stand up for yourself and put this mean AC in her place.
Each time she puts you down you will just accept it and it will grind you down, she will probably cut you off again when she doesn’t need you.
I’m sorry for you though, there is no easy solution.

Smileless2012 Mon 27-Jul-20 14:12:11

Oh dear Lucyloo this is a terrible situation for you to be in.

I know what it's like to be estranged from an AC and our only GC but what I don't have any experience of is losing GC that we'd had a loving relationship with, as we never had the chance to get to know them. I can only imagine how much harder that must be.

You ask "What am I to do". My advice is to take away your D's control of you by telling her that even if she stops you having any contact with your GC, you will no longer be treated this way.

If you haven't done so already, I think you need to see your GP to explain what's going on in your life and see if you can be given something to help with your depression. I also think you would be wise to seek counselling, not just regarding your D's abusive behaviour toward you but also what you experienced with your ex H.

Your D is abusing you Lucyloo and no one should be treated this way. She is manipulating and controlling you by using her own children to punish you with if you refuse to comply.

I hope that you'll post again, even if it's just to let us know you're OK.

Take careflowers.

Starblaze Mon 27-Jul-20 20:24:00

Lucyloo I would respect boundaries she gives you in regards to who she chooses to spend time with and also make sure you have your own clear boundaries that you stick to in regards to what you are/are not willing to do.

I really think counselling would help you too. There are a lot of charitable means tested counselling services, on the phone and online. I don't know if face to face is available right now though. Counselling can teach you lots of things and especially how to be resilient and assertive.

Smileless2012 Mon 27-Jul-20 20:26:25

IMO it's not the OP that has a problem with respecting boundaries. Her D has a problem with respect in general.

Lucyloo12 Mon 27-Jul-20 20:26:48

Thank you smiless and opsadaisy. I feel too weak to do anything, just shrug and carry on. I don't ever want the separation again and she knows it. If only I could work out how to defend myself and keep contact, life is very difficult at times.

Urmstongran Mon 27-Jul-20 20:31:12

Some AC have their parents walking on eggshells. I’d be very sad but I know I wouldn’t play these games. I have my own self esteem to think of. Cheeky bugger.

GagaJo Mon 27-Jul-20 20:32:05

I'd do and tolerate a lot to maintain a relationship with my grandson. My daughter sounds similar to yours Lucy, in the things she says about me at times. If she didn't have a child, I would put her straight, and let her estrange me. But my DGS means I can't do that.

It's sad, that parent/ child relationships can come to this, but life isn't always easy.

Urmstongran Mon 27-Jul-20 20:42:24

Well then these daughters have been given the ‘green light’ to behave appallingly. What an unhealthy situation for all concerned.

MamaBear20 Mon 27-Jul-20 21:57:49

Lucyloo I'm so sorry to hear about your difficult situation. You say you are depressed, so I encourage you to speak to your doctor and find a therapist who can help you with those feelings.

As for dealing with your daughter, it sounds like continuing a relationship with your grandchildren is important to you, which means you need to go through your daughter to see them. She has set a boundary for you, to not disrespect your ex, and I suggest you respect that boundary when around her and the children. You can also set boundaries, such as “we will not discuss ex at all” and if she does, end the visit or phone call immediately. If she makes a comment to you or in your presence about how awful you were during no contact, try using a phrase such as “I’m sure you see it that way” or “You’re entitled to your feelings.” Phrases like this will end the argument she’s trying to start. I think you should stop allowing her to use you financially. If you want to buy clothes for the kids, you should. But if she tells you to buy them something or give her money or she’ll (insert threat), then I would refuse. You can’t live your life under the strain of constant threats.

Chewbacca Mon 27-Jul-20 22:27:51

respect her boundaries? Why, when the daughter is showing absolutely no respect whatsoever to Lucyloo? Her daughter is using her as an ATM cash point, knowing that OP desperately wants to see her GC and will willingly pay for shoes and clothes for them. I think that the advice given by MamaBear to agree to not discussing the ex when she's with you is good. Then set your own boundaries by asking her to stop with the disrespectful behaviour in front of her new boyfriend and stop asking for money. Respect and boundaries go in both directions.

HolyHannah Mon 27-Jul-20 22:56:09

It sounds to me like boundaries are an issue on all fronts.

Absolutely respect her boundaries, not doing so will not improve the situation and saying, "She is not respecting me/my boundaries so why should I respect hers?" is not a healthy mentality.

As for how your daughter is treating you, You need to set healthy boundaries with her. If that leads to her walking away? She will have learned that you are not available to be her victim and provided a positive example for the grand-children that bad behavior reaps no reward.

Smileless2012 Mon 27-Jul-20 23:18:59

It seems to me that no matter how you try to defend yourself, regardless oh how reasonably and respectfully, your D knowing that she can use your contact with your GC to emotionally blackmail you Lucyloo.

I hope you'll be able to find a way of stopping her abuse without losing contact with your GC again.

It's appalling how some parents will use their own children in this way.

Hithere Mon 27-Jul-20 23:26:23

Agree with HH

Starblaze Mon 27-Jul-20 23:27:24

Did your daughter witness your ex abusing you Lucylou? You said he hated the children, did you mean yours or your daughters?

Abusive people are quite adept at manipulating the situation and it's not unusual. I wonder if she has normalised behaviour she has witnessed growing up and picked up some herself.

Maybe for her to see and understand it would be good for both of you to get counselling together

GagaJo Tue 28-Jul-20 00:45:15

Urmstongran

Well then these daughters have been given the ‘green light’ to behave appallingly. What an unhealthy situation for all concerned.

Yes, agree that it isn't healthy Urmstongran. But a grandchild is a wonderful thing. It's the matter of finding a balance that I can live with, while maintaining a relationship with my grandson.

The situation has a limited shelf life, whatever happens, because grandchildren grow up and at some point THEY will decide about how much contact they have with grandparents and their mothers/our daughters won't be involved in the equation. Things will ease then.

HolyHannah Tue 28-Jul-20 03:36:05

Lucyloo -- I also advice that you do not need to "defend yourself" in the way you may think. Placing healthy boundaries removes the need to defend yourself. Actions have consequences when healthy boundaries are in place and nothing further needs to be said.

I also advice do not put the grand-children in the middle (if they are minors) by 'explaining' what is "going on" to them. This never goes well and often adds to reasons to estrange from your daughters POV.

The best way to have a healthy relationship with the grand-children is to be healthy and happy yourself, build a healthy relationship with your daughter and hopefully a healthy relationship with the grand-children will be the end result.

Sparkling Tue 28-Jul-20 07:16:54

Lucy, Your daughter is calling all the shots and just doing what suits her. You grandchildren are caught in the middle, at the moment you are the stabilising factor and you must be loathe to rock the boat, but It can't go on like this and it won't. I would decide for yourself what your boundaries are, how much you see them, how much you can afford to spend on them, how you let your daughter speak to you. This is a ticking bomb, tiptoeing round never helps anyone. I just know that your daughter is wrong the way she uses you and spoke to you in front of her latest boyfriend in front of the children, it's abuse. You are allowing her awfully treatment of you. Your ex sounds horrific and you have gone from his control to hers. Is that the example for the children?

Hetty58 Tue 28-Jul-20 07:23:27

Lucyloo12, it's vital that you do stay strong and correct her. If you let the situation continue, it will escalate.

It's not good for the grandchildren, to witness you being manipulated and bullied by your daughter. Don't allow it to happen.

Madgran77 Tue 28-Jul-20 07:52:16

Lucyloo12

This is so hard for you

I think there are 3 areas to consider:

1. Yourself and your mental health. Dealing with this will help you in dealing with the situation. As advised, please consider seeing your GP about depression. Consider, maybe through your GP, getting counselling. In order to deal with these difficulties you need to deal with the situation in which you find yourself, your own feelings, fears, sadness and depression.

2. Your relationship with your daughter. You are scared of losing contact with your grandchildren and that means that you feel unable to respond , set boundaries, consider how to deal with the difficulties in the relationship I think. That fear is understandably taking over. When she talks about you to someone else and you feel it is untrue, there is little point defending yourself, you dont have to. I would suggest responses like "I accept that is your perspective on me". "I accept you feel like that". That way, you are acknowledging she feels like that, not agreeing with it. The same if she says something about your ex. I understand this is hard, the instinct to defend oneself is normal, but if you know it will result in ciu off and you dont want that to happen, this might be a way to show her that you know your viewpoints are different, without entering into arguments. It also tells her you have heard what shes saying! When she says the kids need stuff just say "Oh!". Then you can decide later what you wish to buy, not buy. If she asks you for money to buy stuff, say you will think about what you can afford.

3. Not being cut off from your grandchildren:
I am sure that you will be avoiding putting the children in the middle of this. Nothing that you have said, suggests otherwise. If you want to continue the childcare do that. If your daughter threatens you with no contact presumably it links to the type of conversations I referred to in 2. above? Perhaps those type of responses would help to avoid this threat?

I think that No. 1 has to be the most crucial for you, in order to deal with this awful situation for you long term.

Please let us know how things go. flowers

GagaJo Tue 28-Jul-20 08:31:31

Madgran, that is a really helpful post. Lots of ways to take action without being confrontational and causing a possible estrangement.

Madgran77 Tue 28-Jul-20 08:50:44

Thankyou Gagajo. I hope that the OP finds it helpful.

Urmstongran Tue 28-Jul-20 09:00:26

GagaJo 😊 I can understand your reasoning.

Chewbacca Tue 28-Jul-20 09:03:16

I admire your pragmatic approach GagaJo and hope things work out well.

GagaJo Tue 28-Jul-20 09:03:54

Urmstongran

GagaJo 😊 I can understand your reasoning.

One of many reasons working overseas works for me.