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SUPPORT for all living with estrangement

(1000 Posts)
Smileless2012 Sun 16-May-21 09:08:16

Another thread for the friends we have made and for those we've yet to make.

PetitFromage Sun 16-May-21 13:58:39

Thank you Smileless for the new thread and for all of your support. You are amazing!

Sadly, I think that I will need to join again, as things have taken a turn for the worst with my daughter. I am not in the right headspace to talk now, but I am marking my place, if that's ok, and sending love and support to everybody on this new thread.

Bridie22 Sun 16-May-21 14:01:34

Thanks smileless, such a supportive thread.

Hilltop Sun 16-May-21 15:29:55

Pleased to see the new thread, thanks Smileless

hugshelp Sun 16-May-21 15:34:37

Thank you for the new thread, glad to have found it.

I'm sorry things aren't going so well atm PF.

Afraid I've been laid up for a week, missing things. Got my first jab last week (delayed due to other health problems) and my body's not too happy about it. I seem to have bad reactions to a lot of things unfortunately so I half expected to struggle but gosh I'm sore and wiped out. At least I'm out of bed today.

EllanVannin Sun 16-May-21 15:57:42

What a marvellous thread for those whose life is getting them down.

As Jane McDonald would say " strangers are friends who've never met ", which I think is a lovely sentiment.

Smileless does support very well. x

Madgran77 Sun 16-May-21 16:28:03

Petitfromage so sorry to hear things are not going so well. flowers

Smileless2012 Sun 16-May-21 16:54:41

Glad you've found the new thread, only had time this morning to start our new one so time to catch up.

Oh PF I'm so very sorry. You know of course that we are all here for you when you feel able to share. In the meantime sending you love, (((hugs))) andflowers.

Moving for us was the single best thing we could have done Lucyloo but at least it was something we could do together and I appreciate how much harder this will be for you without your DH.

What a sad and difficult day that must have been for you Whiff, on what would have been your 40th wedding anniversary. Don't know what else to say but hope some love, (((hugs))) and flowers will bring a little cheer.

Hope you're feeling a little better hugshelp. It's good that you're out of bed today but take things slow and steadyflowers.

Thank you EV. That is a lovely sentiment I agree and GN has certainly proved it true for me.

Whiff Mon 17-May-21 06:45:39

This thread is like a comfy pair of slippers. It's bliss when you slip into them. Hope that doesn't sound weird!

Hugshelp hope you are feeling better today. With my first AZ had a sore arm for a week and abdominal pain for a few days. The second dose sore arm and muscle pains for a few days. My daughter had the AZ had to stay in bed the next day . She's 37. Said it was worse than having Covid. There is no telling how it is going to affect people a friend of mine only had a sore arm.

Smiles glad to say I had a lovely day. The sun was shining in the morning so went into the garden for a couple of hours. Finally no pain from the infection so it meant I could do what I needed to. My seeds are coming up in the greenhouse and transplanted some into bigger pots.

On the afternoon my daughter and the gang came. I was unlocking the door when I heard a little voice say 'nannie I'm waiting' opened the door and my grandson had a large bunch of flowers. Normally I have to wait until he rings the door bell. My daughter and son in law had come to put extra clips into the panels on my Greenhouse as it gets very windy here and wanted plenty in to make sure non flew out. I had finished varnishing the bench last week so that was put out for me alone with the parasol base.

Then we had playtime inside. Couldn't have been more than a hour after they went we had a hail storm glad the bench had its cover on.

I wanted to look at my wedding album but found that was a step to far. Perhaps one day I will be able to look. One step at a time.

Petitfromage sorry you are going through a bad time with your daughter again . ?

Funny but being here among friends who understand what you are going through makes life easier. Shows the power of words. ?

keepingquiet Mon 17-May-21 09:16:19

I don't know if this is the right place to post this but I am wondering about any previous attempts/campaigns to change the law on grandparent's rights?
I know there have been two unsuccessful petitions since September- but there may be more and some campaign groups out there.
I am going to write to my MP too.
I am sure there must be a lot of support out there and I think it will help focus my frustration and make me help other grandparents too?

Smileless2012 Mon 17-May-21 09:19:20

"This thread is like a comfy pair of slippers. It's bliss when you slip into them." I love that Whiffsmile.

So pleased you had a good day and you're absolutely right when you say "one step at a time".

The power of words is also very true. Here we use our words to support, help and comfort one another whereas the words our EAC have used have been chosen to inflict pain and suffering.

I was pondering yesterday and thinking about how suddenly our estrangement came upon us. Looking back and being able to 'see' things now that we couldn't see then, I realise that even if we had been aware of what we were missing, estrangement would still never have been something we'd have foreseen.

Ours was shockingly sudden and brutal. All of our estrangements are brutal of course, but I mean the brutality of the speed with which it came. Within just 8 short months of our first GC's birth, we were out.

When I read so often of those who spent years walking on egg shells, desperately trying to avoid the estrangement that they live in fear of happening, only for it to happen anyway, I'm thankful that we were at least spared that.

The shock and speed of of ours quite literally took our breath away but the slow and agonising death of a relationship with your own child must be soul destroying.

flowers for you all.

Smileless2012 Mon 17-May-21 09:26:20

What ever you can find to focus your frustration on is a good thing keepingquiet and IMO writing to your MP about GP's being able to see their GC is a good idea.

I would suggest that you make it quite clear that you understand this issue isn't about any rights of GP's to see their GC but is about the right of GC to see their GP's. Encompassed in the Children Act is the right for children to know their extended family, of which of course GP's are a part.

When parents take it upon themselves to take their children's GP's away from them for any reason other than being genuinely concerned for their safety and welfare, they are denying their children their rights.

Whiff Mon 17-May-21 10:07:15

Smiles you are so right. Looking back there where signs something wasn't right. But never expected what happened. Never entered my head my son would be so cruel and cowardly or my daughter in law would hate me so much. Just thought we where a normal happy family.

I suppose because I lived so far away I cherished the times I had with both my children. Also I had both parents and mother in law to care for that I just glossed over things.

If my husband was alive we would have talked about things and I know if he thought something wasn't right nipped it in the bud.

My daughter told her brother off about letting me down but I made excuses for him . And believed his lies. Hindsight is a great thing. But wants done is done.

Still here ,still fighting and wouldn't let them hurt me anymore. I suppose it would be easier if I hated them but can't and don't want hate in my life. Had enough of that with my in laws.

Funny where I used to live a few people I knew their children didn't have anything to do with them. Didn't know it was called estrangement. People never called it that.

Sounds naive I know. Estrangement seems to be like cancer was . When my nan or my parents decades ago talked about cancer they would whisper it or say someone had the big c. It's as if they said it out loud it was something shameful.

I suppose estrangement is a bit like that. Feels shameful. If people who you don't know well must think you have done something wrong. But those that know and love us know we haven't. And those are the people that count.

Keepingquiet I don't agree with grandparents rights. When we become parents yes we have rights with our own children. But when our children have their own children it's their rights that count. Not grandparents. I miss my 3 grandson's even though I have never seen the youngest but would never dream on of forcing them to have a relationship with me. To me that's wrong but that's my view. Others may disagree. I know my son and daughter in law are excellent parents. I don't believe being a grandmother gives me rights . To me forcing someone to do something is wrong . I would hate someone forcing me to do something I didn't want to do.

If you go down the legal route it's not only going to cost you money but heartache and you could lose . But that is only my opinion others may disagree.

agnurse Mon 17-May-21 11:15:56

A few things to keep in mind if you decide to go down the legal route:

1. If you lose, you'll probably find that the door to a relationship is permanently closed to you.

2. Going to court costs money - on BOTH sides. That's less money available in the GC's household for other things. Depending on the financial situation, that could even be food coming out of the child's mouth.

3. In many GPR cases, the parents are not together. (In some areas, this is a prerequisite for a GPR case to even be considered.) That means that your GC is probably already going between two different homes. You need to consider whether adding a third home into the mix is beneficial for them - and how much time you will get. (Two sets of GPs, two parents - and depending on the custody arrangement, one parent may only see the child EOW. Would it be fair for one parent to see their child only two days a month because each set of GPs is seeing the child one weekend a month? How do you divide birthdays and holidays, besides?)

4. Court is stressful. That's going to put stress on the child - even if they don't know the full details. Children are very perceptive and they'll pick up on emotional changes. Couple that with a family that is more than likely ALREADY dealing with stress as the parents are not together.

5. If you do obtain contact, that puts limits on opportunities for your GC and their family. They can't move too far away - even if the job and school opportunities are better elsewhere. The child may have limited options for going on holiday for an extended vacation, because they're splitting holidays between several homes.

Bottom line: before you go to court, you need to consider whether it is in the best interest of the child to be put through an expensive, stressful, possibly lengthy court case that has the potential to substantially affect their life.

Hilltop Mon 17-May-21 11:23:48

My situation is so similar, Smileless and Whiff. It happened so quickly, though l wish l had challenged a few oddities in DIL behaviour previously. It does feel shameful, l tell new friends l only have a daughter and shall tell old friends that his wife is sick so l don't see him often because l don't think people can understand.

Rhinestone Mon 17-May-21 12:19:43

Good morning all- There is a psychologist in the states that writes articles about estrangement. His name is Josh Coleman. You might want to look him up. One of the articles he wrote is that our values as a family have changed thus causing estrangement . What we valued and were taught as children are not what our children believe, even though we may have brought them up as we were. Our children don’t feel a responsibility or obligation to us that we may have felt for our parents. I have asked myself many times the question of what influenced our children ? Media? Friends or spouses? Therapists? A sense of entitlement or narcissism? And I’m not sure we will ever know really.

PetitFromage Mon 17-May-21 12:41:32

Thank you everybody for the warm welcome, and especially to Smileless for the kind PM. I am not sure where to start really, or even whether I am estranged or not, or who is estranging whom.

I was semi-estranged from DD1, but things were improving, after several years during which she ghosted us, concealed the birth of DGD1 for 14 months, and moved house without telling us the new address - I am not sure why, we were never going to turn up on the doorstep and harass her, and I am sure that she knew that really. And she subsequently suggested that, after she ghosted us, why didn't we go round to her house ... !!

Anyway, DH was diagnosed with terminal cancer early last year and, for his sake, my other two DDs made an effort (she had ghosted them too), and there was a sort of reconciliation before DH died 6 months ago, DD1 read at the funeral etc. That was the last time we saw them, because of lockdown and because of the distance. But the contact was increasing, in fact it went from virtually zero to 60 mph almost overnight, with daily messages and calls, FaceTime with the DGDs, which I found slightly awkward and overwhelming, to be honest, but DD1 was clearly keen to build bridges etc.

In the meantime, I am still in deep, deep grief for my DH, my darling one, whom I fell in love with at first sight - and it was mutual. We loved each other from the first day to the last day, and all of the days in between, for more than 33 years. The rift with DD1 upset him greatly and I am pleased that all of the DDs were able to stand together by his bedside in his final days.

But I remained angry and bewildered at how DD1 had behaved towards us all, especially him, which was wrong of me because he had 'come to terms with it', as he put it, even if he didn't understand it. And he loved all of his girls and wanted nothing more than reconciliation.

So, things were moving on apace with DD1, to the extent where I felt that I could try to clear the air, to try to understand how and why things went so wrong. In the meantime, she had just told me that there is to be a DGD3 early next year, which I said I was thrilled about. We were talking about DH and how much we both missed him. I said that there was no joy in my life without him, she said - meaning well - that there was new life coming. I said that I was delighted for her and SIL, but that I was afraid to love the DGC - obviously that I did love them as they were her DC and the DGC of DH - but that I was afraid of forming an attachment, in case I was hurt again. I also said that I would always love her as she is my DD, but I didn't know why she had ghosted us, as I regarded ghosting as either cowardly or a form of emotional abuse. Prior to that it was a very positive, loving conversation, but then she hung up on me. She had also been enraged that her sisters had not called her to congratulate her on DGC3, even though DD3 had specifically asked me to pass on her congratulations and DD2 had sent a personal message (she did not tell them directly but asked to pass on the good news, which I did). She sent a really angry message saying that we were all utterly selfish and emotionally abusive towards her.

This latest fall out is also partly to do with the fact that I suggested visiting for DGD1's birthday, but said I would go the next day if they preferred to be on their own. DGD1's birthday is the day after my wedding anniversary, so was always going to be emotionally difficult, but I was kind of expecting to be welcomed. However, she said that they would prefer to be on their own as 'a family' that day, but the next day was 'fine'. It is the whole attitude, that they are doing me a favour, but I totally get that I might be too sensitive. However, it is a big thing to travel all that way on my own and be stuck in a hotel (not that I would expect to stay with them), and brings back memories of when DH and I visited shortly after his diagnosis and just before lockdown. They kept making out that they were doing us a favour by letting us visit, even though we had travelled so far and DH was dying.

I am upset, I am grieving, I have spent all weekend in bed. Not meaning to whine or be self pitying, but losing DH has destroyed me and I know that I need to rebuild my life. I told DD1 that I had been diagnosed with clinical depression, that my emotional well has run dry. I spoke to her again on Saturday and said that I would like to spend some time with her, mother and daughter as, apart from visiting DH one day in hospital when he was dying, we haven't spent even half an hour together since she took me on a city break five years ago. I said I wanted to see SIL and the DGDs but most of all I wanted to see her and to try to rebuild and reconnect. She seemed amenable then said that she needed to talk to SIL, so I said - probably foolishly - why, do you need permission? Those on previous threads will know that the problems started when SIL came on the scene, he seems very controlling and always wants something for nothing. I feel that they seek to manipulate me, although I am literally not in my right mind at present.

She was meant to be contacting me yesterday about dates etc, but of course she hasn't. And if I did go, they would just expect me to take them out and pay for everything, which I don't mind at all. It's what GPs do, after all, but it is the sense of entitlement which bugs me, the careless cruelty. There was no Father's Day card for DH last year, even though she must have known that it was likely to be his last, as she and SIL don't do Father's Day or Mother's Day (I did receive a card this year). For his last birthday, weeks before he died, they gave him a second hand paperback about people dying in Russian labour camps.

I feel so angry and upset at present that I really don't want to know. She says that she is mentally and physically exhausted too. I feel that it is 'take, take, take' and no 'give'. I barely want to be alive, each day is a struggle, but there is no compassion, no support. I am wary of a relationship which brings pain but little pleasure.

So those of you seeking reconciliation, beware of what you wish for....

Sorry this is so negative and sending big hugs to all. X

keepingquiet Mon 17-May-21 13:19:57


What ever you can find to focus your frustration on is a good thing keepingquiet and IMO writing to your MP about GP's being able to see their GC is a good idea.

I would suggest that you make it quite clear that you understand this issue isn't about any rights of GP's to see their GC but is about the right of GC to see their GP's. Encompassed in the Children Act is the right for children to know their extended family, of which of course GP's are a part.

When parents take it upon themselves to take their children's GP's away from them for any reason other than being genuinely concerned for their safety and welfare, they are denying their children their rights.

Thankyou for this. I am starting to do my homework, part of which is to read the Children's Act in detail. I already know some aspects due to my work.

Also Rhinestone I have found Josh Coleman's book really helpful and would recommend.

PetitFromage I am sorry for the loss of your husband- I suggest you get some bereavement counselling and give yourself time to grieve before you try to deal with everything else. Be kind to yourself and recognise what you have been through and give yourself space for healing and regaining your strength.

Madgran77 Mon 17-May-21 16:26:51

PetitFromage It seems that your daughter does not want to hear anything that suggests she might have been at fault in anyway at all. She also appears to believe that anything that happens/is not done "her way" is someone else's fault. There appears to be little taking of responsibility on an equal footing with you and apparently little awareness or understanding of how you might be feeling both in terms of your sad bereavement and in terms of the ghosting that has never been explained properly.

On the basis of the above I truly think that you need to just do what you feel you can do, feel that you can manage and only when you feel you can manage it! You need to look after yourself with love and allow your other daughters to look after you with love. Tell DD1 again that you will always love her as your daughter; that * is what you feel able to manage at the moment after your bereavement; and then only do what you feel able to do! Try hard not to say things like "Why do you need permission?" because that just gives a reason to "blame" you for the perceived problems.

It is understandable that you feel angry, hurt, annoyed at their entitlement and apparent selfishness so try to approach everything with ONLY what YOU can manage and want to do...and just say that that is ALL you can manage and do at the moment! If they don't like that then there seems little that you can do about that when you need to look after yourself.

I am sorry that you are dealing with this at the moment. I am not sure whether you have had bereavement counselling but I would recommend it if you haven't. flowers

Smileless2012 Mon 17-May-21 19:02:55

Dear PF my heart is breaking for you. What has happened is the realisation of the fear we have for ourselves and those we know and care about, who take the brave step of reconciliation.

Madgran is spot on in that your D is incapable or unwilling to accept any responsibility for those heartbreaking years she estranged you. Incapable or unwilling to consider that you may understandably be afraid of loving your GC just in case they are taken away from you. Incapable or unwilling of having even the slightest idea of just how much courage it took for you, and her father to listen only to your hearts, ignoring anything your heads may have been telling you to the contrary, that you were maybe taking a huge risk but took it any way.

I've said time and time again to you on our support threads, how much I admire you for that courage, knowing in my heart that I could never be that brave.

I know that we are not allowed to refer to other threads and hope that GNHQ will forgive me for doing so now. There was a thread, last year I think from an EAC who had reconciled with her parents, and didn't seem to understand why they weren't jumping for joy, but were reserved and although of course thrilled to have her back in their lives, were to a certain extent holding back. Is it any wonder.

You have lost your DH, your soul mate, your rock and your best friend and only 6 months ago. No time at all when compared to the wonderful 33 years you had together. Your DD1 should be doing what her lovely sisters are doing; supporting you, being there for you. Just as you are doing the best you can to be there for them, as they learn to come to terms with the loss of their father.

If she cannot support you at this time, if she cannot get beyond her own perceived hurts and issues it would be better for you to take a break from this.

You don't have to tell her that is what you're doing but as Madgran has wisely suggested, if there are invitations given and/or suggestions made, for now saying that at the moment you can't manage is my advice too.

You've told her that you'll always love her and shown her that you do, always have and always will by agreeing to a reconciliation.

Her sense of entitlement I'm sorry to say is breath taking. Rather than seeing how fortunate she is, despite what she's done, to have you and her sisters back in her life, it isn't enough.

Her sisters are the ones who saw their mum and dad's pain, who probably hugged you when you cried and did their best to fill the void that she left in your lives when she walked away.

As well as witnessing your pain, they had their own to deal with and I understand that one of her sister's found it harder at the beginning of the reconciliation, but none the less, they both did as much as they could to welcome her back to the family she'd treated so badly.

You are not whining or posting out of self pity, you are sharing with us your friends who are and will always be here for you, just as you've always been here for us, and I wish with all of my heart that you didn't need to be here but you do, as you should beflowers xx

BlueberryPie Mon 17-May-21 20:52:53

My feeling is that people in general are very disappointing so pretty much everyone needs a cat or dog friend to fall back on. A hamster, at the very least. There now, all better! smile

Whiff Mon 17-May-21 22:41:58

Petitfromage I hope you got my PM.

You are grieving for your other half I know how that feels. And you need to concentrate on you and those that care and love you. Unfortunately you need to put your daughter to one side . If you are anything like I was and still am at times. Grieving for your one and only it totally consumes you mentally and physically. It's an effort to get up every morning. I didn't want to bother to wash or clean my teeth but I made myself do it. I didn't look at myself in a mirror for weeks. I couldn't stand seeing how haunted I looked. This is so hard to admit. I have been ill a long time always thought I would die first and had come to terms with that. But my fit healthy always on the go husband shouldn't have died . It was supposed to be me. My own guilt was crushing.

Your daughter is trying to crush you with guilt and blackmailing you by dangling your grandchildren over you. Which is cruel and heartless.

You need love and support and time to come to terms with not only your husband dieing but when he died like my husband your present and future die to. As it's been such a short time for you there is still so much legal stuff to sort out. Everything else can wait until to you feel able to cope.

Sorry can't seem to get the wording right. But didn't want you to think I don't care what you are going through. I will post this but apologies if it doesn't make sense .

Rhinestone Tue 18-May-21 14:50:02

petitfromage I’m sorry you have to deal with this again and I know you are walking on eggshells. I told my ES when he reconciled a few weeks ago that I could not handle, mentally or physically, another estrangement. This was his second time.
Your DD sounds confused and angry . I think she doesn’t know what she wants or how to be. This is a wild suggestion but would you and her be agreeable to getting some relationship counseling? You might tell her you love her and want a long lasting relationship with her and you want to work out your problems. Or would she say NO right away?

PetitFromage Tue 18-May-21 15:45:58

Thank you so much everyone for your kindness and you have given me a lot to think about. Thank you Smileless and Whiff for your understanding and compassion and private messages. I will respond but I hope that you will not be offended if it might not be for a day ago, as I am not coping very well at present and don’t go on GN every day. I am just sleeping a lot to be honest and not achieving very much, But I do really appreciate your support. Xx

Whiff Tue 18-May-21 16:32:28

Petitfromage you need to rest. It's your bodies way of coping. I suspect you have lost weight as well. It's what I call grief weight loss. I lost over 2st within months, but put it back on. My mom lost 3st after dad died but never put it back on.

I don't expect you to PM me just wanted you to know I understand how you feel.

Just getting through each day is exhausting when you are grieving for your other half. You are going through so much more.

Be kind to yourself and don't expect to achieve anything. Those who love and care for you won't expect anything from you. Take you time and only do what you want. ?

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