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I don't know if I have been estranged or not !

(61 Posts)
Normandygirl Sun 22-Aug-21 09:28:25

Hi, I am new to GN and I would love some advice.

I have 3 daughters and my second eldest no longer seems to want anything to do with me and I don't know why. She doesn't answer e mails or answer the phone to me, has not sent birthday or mothers day cards for a couple of years and when my husband was diagnosed with cancer recently didn't make any contact at all. When I told my sister how upset and puzzled I was , she told me that my daughter is in regular contact with her and facetimes her frequently. My eldest daughter is very close to her and when I asked what I had done to upset her sister she told me that I had not been "forgiven" for moving away 10 years ago. [ she was in her late 30's at that time ] and she didn't express any objection at the time. I have not seen or heard from her for over 2 years now but she has never told me that she wants no contact and accepts birthday money and gifts without acknowledging them and does e mail my husband when she wants help, usually money or legal. I feel stuck in limbo and don't know what I can do.

MrsTagain Sun 22-Aug-21 09:37:10

You say she is still in contact with your husband.Can't he smooth things out a bit for you?

MrsTagain Sun 22-Aug-21 09:38:06

Sorry -missed out the word 'he'. Can't HE smooth things out etc.?

tippytipsy Sun 22-Aug-21 09:39:44

Why did you move away? Can you explain your reasons to her in case she misunderstood at the time?

Sara1954 Sun 22-Aug-21 10:29:51

Sounds like there must be more to it than that, was your relationship difficult before you moved away?
Surely your other daughter could have a chat with her to find out what’s really going on, or maybe she knows but doesn’t want to tell you.

Elless Sun 22-Aug-21 10:32:58

Hi Normandygirl, you are in the same boat as me, being ghosted when you haven't got an idea of what you've done, if you're anything like me you torture yourself going through different reasons that could explain their behaviour. I've decided that I am going to write one final letter asking for an explanation and telling them that if they want to estrange me that is their choice but I'll always be here for them - just trying to pluck up the courage.

Shelflife Sun 22-Aug-21 10:58:01

This is so sad for Normandygirl and MrsTagain. I have no experience of estrangement and can only imagine how distressing it must be. My only suggestion is to make some form of contact and ask if you can see her to try and resolve this situation. If she refuses then there is not much more you can do . If she doesn't want contact then in your position I would be very reluctant to continue sending money/ gifts! There may be more to this than meets the eye, she is close to your eldest daughter so you may not have the full story - sisters quite naturally are loyal to each other ! I wish everyone in this position good luck in their endeavours to heal the rift.

mrsgreenfingers56 Sun 22-Aug-21 11:07:52

You are entitled to move to where you want! Surely this can't be the reason, I think you need to have a chat face to face and ask her nicely why there is no proper contact. My friend has moved many times over the last few years and other friends but they haven't been ghosted by their children. I think there is a deeper reason to this and you need to approach your daughter in a gentle manner and ask her why. What does your youngest daughter think or know? I hope you can sort this problem out and all the best.

Caleo Sun 22-Aug-21 11:21:55

My experience of estrangement has worried me for decades long enough to come to a conclusion about estrangement.

My conclusion about estrangement is that people who are estraged from each other are telling different stories about what happened.

These different stories might include wrong facts and deliberate lies, but are are usually characterised by conclusions that are biased in different directions.

Your second daughter, Normandygirl, I guess is hurt in some special way such as that she feels strongly you ceased to love her, or perhaps that she was struggling at a time when you were attending to "moving away" and consequently let her down badly.

It is remarkable that this daughter still accepts gifts from you. Are you sure she actually receives these or does someone else intercept them?

Has your second daughter a history of feeling hard-done-by for insufficient reasons?

You have my sympathy . I agree with MrsTagain that your husband might mediate between you both, and I do hope this will be possible.

Soozikinzi Sun 22-Aug-21 12:07:58

I have a middle son who has ghosted his dad pretty much but still WhatsApps me . It’s a very awkward situation so I just wanted to empathise I’m afraid I don’t have any answers. The middle sons memory of his relationship with his dad seems to all be slanted in a negative light . His 5 other brothers get on fine with their dad and with him so that makes it very awkward at any family occasions. Even to the point where we dread such occasions. As I said I don’t have an answer but I do know exactly how you feel. Hop someone on here can offer some help .

VioletSky Sun 22-Aug-21 12:18:21

Normandygirl I am so sorry this has happened to you and you have had no feedback about why.

I would stop sending cards and things and instead send one last letter. I know you are hurting but I think it would be better to keep that out of the letter and focus on your daughter.

This is what I would try. Acknowledge that your daughter has stopped communicating with YOU and state that you do not wish to keep contacting her if that is not what she wants. Ask if she can communicate to you why she needs this distance at present when she is ready. Tell her that her feelings matter to you and you will listen and understand them without judgement.

Sometimes people are hurt by our actions even if we don't understand and agree they should be. Sometimes our recollections of events don't match theirs. So we just have to deal with how they feel because those feelings are genuine. Once we have listened we can find a way to meet half way.

I hope this can be resolved for you.

TrendyNannie6 Sun 22-Aug-21 12:35:38

It sounds very odd, I feel for you I really do, surely there’s more to it than you moving away 10 years ago it sounds very extreme to not forgive you over that, you can move where you want can’t you! Sad to hear when her father was diagnosed with cancer she didn’t make contact either that’s very hurtful, so she accepts money and gifts from you without a word of thanks, and only contacts when she wants money from your husband and legal advice, sounds very selfish, I hope you can get this sorted normandygirl, she sounds very resentful and bitter

justwokeup Sun 22-Aug-21 12:38:24

Is it possible to visit her? Don't tell her you are going but have some questions and statements ready. Be prepared for an argument or the door being shut in your face. When you see her I think you'll know if it's worth pursuing this relationship. I do feel that your DH is letting you down a bit by being in contact separately - it should be both of you or neither of you I think - but I can see that you both might want to keep this link to her open. Maybe when she contacts him for help he could say 'ring your Mum first'.

Normandygirl Sun 22-Aug-21 13:12:07

We had a holiday home in Normandy, France for a number of years and it was always our intention to retire here eventually. All my daughters were aware of this and the house was used by all of them and our grandchildren for many happy holidays. For the first few years they all still came over for holidays and Christmas and we had our grandchildren over for their school holidays as their parents were working. We collected them and brought them back etc. The children of my two older daughters are all at Uni now so naturally we don't see them much.
We travel back every 6 weeks to see everyone especially my mum who lives with my sister. but for the last few visits before the pandemic my middle daughter made it very obvious that she didn't want to see us, not being at home when we called round even though we had made previous arrangements. not coming to meals out, not making any contact whilst we were there etc. Everyone told me that she was just very busy with her job and I accepted that as the reason but in my gut I felt it was more than that. When I have asked my eldest daughter if she knew what was wrong she said that she thought it was "abandonment issues" and that I was " abdicating my parental responsibilities".
As my daughters are well into their 40's and settled into lovely homes [ which we helped with] good jobs and their own children almost off their hands, I am at a loss to know what " parental responsibilities" I am failing at.

Allsorts Sun 22-Aug-21 13:54:06

Snap. If you’re not told what you have done how can you put things right. I personally would write and say you know she’s avoiding you but don’t know why and are anxious to put things right. Leave it then up to her. It is very bad not to get in touch with her father going through cancer treatment, She sounds thoroughly self centred and entitled and the money giving giving needs to stop, better giving it to a charity, she’s a nerve asking, when she doesn’t make sure you are both ok, I know how hurtful it is and we ask ourselves why, sometimes it’s just them.

sodapop Sun 22-Aug-21 13:55:08

I was so cross to read this Normandygirl your daughter is being very selfish and entitled in my opinion. To take money and advice as she does whilst ignoring you is totally unacceptable.
Time she got over her ' abandonment issues' and started behaving like a responsible adult. You don't deserve to be treated like this.

3nanny6 Sun 22-Aug-21 14:04:19

Normandygirl It is sad when you are seemingly rejected by an AC and often they give no real explanation to the root cause of the problem, The hurt is somewhat intensified when you are told by other family members their thoughts on why a sibling is behaving as they are, and even the contact your daughter has with your sister and not you also is upsetting.
I do think your gut feeling is right and as it has been 2 years since you have seen your daughter the message in that says quite a bit. I would just ask has that daughter got children and if so is there communication/contact with them?
As you travel back every six weeks to see everyone maybe you could try sending a letter to ask for some response from her and if still nothing I would fully consider putting a stop to birthday money and gifts particularly as there is no acknowledgement for them. Talk to your husband also and if her only contact to him is for money or legal help then that perhaps should be withdrawn unless he knows exactly what the money is for but even so why should she be no contact but want financial handouts from you?
I know how hurtful her behaviour is but going on what you say you have no reason to feel guilty you have retired to Normandy as planned you did not abandon any of your children and you have not abdicated your parental responsibilities, your children are adults now and TBH we do
not have to ask our AC if we are able to live our lives how we want to live them. Give your daughter her options but make sure you set your own boundaries she is living her own life so
do not allow her to make you feel you are in the wrong.

I certainly have enough with my own three children and have certainly encountered the estrangement/silent do not want to know you treatment and for me all I can say is live your life because no one else does it for you.
Good luck.

Normandygirl Sun 22-Aug-21 14:07:14

Just to add, my husband's attitude is don't fret, she will get in touch when she needs you for something, but then he wasn't a very " hands on " father as he was working abroad a lot when they were young and maybe doesn't get the strong bond that I thought I had with her. I think he feels annoyed by her behaviour because he sees how upset I am but has the attitude that if she has decided that she doesn't want to communicate with me and refuses to say why, then we just have to accept it and get on with our lives. He doesn't want to play the " I'm upset with you and you have got to guess why" game. I just want my daughter in my life again.
Thankyou to all the posters who have suggested various remedies including letter writing etc, I will try this but up to now cards and e mails with loving messages have not worked but who knows. I don't want to give up on her without a fight!

Smileless2012 Sun 22-Aug-21 14:12:02

I'm sorry that you are experiencing this Normandygirl. Estrangement is a terrible thing to live but IMO being ghosted, which your D is doing even worse.

A woman who was in her late 30's at the time of your move, is unable to forgive you for moving away 10 years agoshock. It's outrageous and even more outrageous that she continues to accept financial gifts and assistance when she wants too.

It's time you freed yourself from the limbo you are in. In your position I would a) write to her about how long it's been since you've been in contact and tell her you love and miss here, but if she doesn't respond you'll sadly have to conclude that she no longer wants you in her life, or b). Don't contact her apart from sending a birthday and Christmas card but with no financial gift, and refuse any more financial support when she asks for it. If she asks you why then you can tell her, if she doesn't, just leave her to it.

Sodapop is spot on. You don't deserve be treated this way and it's about time your D started behaving like an adult.

tickingbird Sun 22-Aug-21 14:29:10

Abandonment issues? Abdicating your parental responsibility? Sounds as though you’ve spoilt your daughters and that’s entirely your prerogative. However, to expect parents to still be at your beck and call and to arrange their lives around your own when you’re in muddle age is nonsense.

I, personally, would stop sending gifts and money and make it clear her behaviour us unacceptable. In a nutshell, stop pandering to her.

Aldom Sun 22-Aug-21 14:30:24

What I don't understand is why your daughter appears to hold you, her mother, solely responsible for the 'abandonment'. Surely, as a long standing married couple the decision to move to France was made jointly.
Why has she singled you out for 'the treatment', yet has contact with her father? You have my sympathy. What a painful situation you find yourself in. flowers

Madgran77 Sun 22-Aug-21 14:31:26

Normandygirl I think you should write to your daughter. Don't talk about your feelings and emotion. Say that you are aware that she has chosen to stop communicating with you or seeing you. Say that you would like to maintain contact but that you do not want to keep making contact if this is not what she wants.

Tell her that you would appreciate hearing why she feels she wants no contact at present if and when she feels able to tell you. Tell her you will listen and will act according to her wishes.

Then tell her that this will be your last communication until she feels able to contact you

Then start trying to rebuild your life. Don't ask her siblings about her and if and when you feel able to, tell them not to report

I am sorry that you are going through this ghosting without explanation flowers

Normandygirl Sun 22-Aug-21 15:34:57


Abandonment issues? Abdicating your parental responsibility? Sounds as though you’ve spoilt your daughters and that’s entirely your prerogative. However, to expect parents to still be at your beck and call and to arrange their lives around your own when you’re in muddle age is nonsense.

I, personally, would stop sending gifts and money and make it clear her behaviour us unacceptable. In a nutshell, stop pandering to her.

It's only when you are put in this position that you take a really good hard look back on our parenting and yes I have come to the conclusion that I did spoil my daughters. I devoted my life to them to the extent of doing without many things myself. My mother did that for me and I loved her whole heartedly because of it. My middle daughter has probably been the most demanding of my time and resources and was always very jealous of her sisters if she thought they had been given something she hadn't, but I always tried my best for each of them. Your post has got me thinking that maybe she is jealous that my youngest daughter moved over here 3 years ago and lives just down the road from us with our youngest 4 grandchildren ages 6, 4, 3 and 18 months. I don't understand why that would make her ghost me though as I never encouraged that move, in fact I tried to talk her out of it at the time. There is a 12 yr age gap between my middle and youngest daughters so they have not been especially close but do occasionally speak on social media.

JaneJudge Sun 22-Aug-21 15:42:12

This sounds really sad. I would you send a message saying you miss her and don't know why you have lost touch, would she like to visit in September for a week? how the kids etc.

3dognight Sun 22-Aug-21 16:11:07

She sounds like she has never got over her jealousy of the younger daughter.

IMO she needs to realise it’s not always about her. Also needs to know that there is enough love to go round all of the sisters in the family.

As others have said make sure she knows you love her, and if she wants to be part of the family again you will welcome her back.

No more financial handouts.