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Suddenly estranged and heartbroken 💔

(50 Posts)
Michyg Sat 16-Sep-23 15:42:54

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Today 15:38 Michyg

So I’m a gramma dealing with my daughter who has 7 yr old twin girls and a new baby. She has been overwhelmed and has I believe she has BPD or catastrophic syndrome. She always sees the negative, never the bright side and is very controlling and criticizes her husband and especially one of her twins way too much. I’ve always been there for the family. Moved from NY to SC to be close 3 yrs ago with them to help out financially, babysit and be a part of their lives. I financed their SUV, and more. I’ve been there always to help. I’ve talked my daughter countless times from the ledge. She has very little patience but homeschools the girls anyhow. The baby had an early eeg because of her fear of epilepsy (runs in the family) and the first one was slightly abnormal but that was enough to cause extreme anxiety. She’s on meds which she is struggling to stop as she’s breastfeeding or pumping. Recently she asked if I would take one of them to ballet class weekly. She does not drive because she’s afraid of having a seizure (she had only 4 in her life and they last was over 10 yrs ago) I digress.

By mistake I put wrong place in the gps and the same name came up but it was somewhere else. I ended up late by 1/2 hr and although my GD was upset my daughter was beyond angry and threatened to drop her classes cause obviously I couldn’t be trusted now to do one job! I pleaded but that wasn’t the end of the debacle. I’ve never had to drive them anywhere before without the mom. I guess I was failing the test but there was more.

Her good friend was there with her daughter and we walked them to the car after class. We strapped them into the car seats in the back and before I turned on the car I stopped, leaned against my car and spoke to her for about 20 seconds. I was leaning against the car when my friends alerted me to them crying screaming in the back seat! We opened the car and they were hysterical. We calmed them down and I asked them why and one of them said you didn’t turn on the car and I thought you were gonna leave us for an hour!??! I was shocked they were this scared. We were literally right outside with me leaning on the car. They could see us and I was just saying goodbye to this woman. Nancy (my DD’s friend) actually scolded the girls at that point for scaring us telling them her kids were sitting in their car five cars away calmly. My car was unlocked also. It was 20 seconds! . That was it! Their reaction was insanely over the top! Anyhow driving back I asked why they were so scared. They said they thought I was going to leave them there??! I said that would never happen and I said they overreacted and the seemed ok after that. I called my daughter from the car so she could find out how the class went. And the twin that was more scared blurted out that I locked them in the car and didn’t turn the car on and she thought I was gonna leave them. Essentially throwing me under the bus to her already anxious mom. My daughter ripped into me but I got defensive, loudly. And it went downhill further from there. When I dropped them off, she pulled them from the car. Yes we argued in front of them and she told me I’ll never take them again, asking the kids if they feel safe around me anymore. And if they wanted to go with me again next time. Of course they said they didn’t and now she said my granddaughter who had they ballet class was crying hysterical because now she was cancelling her class cause she really wanted to go. They do not want to be around me anymore and that I ruined her life. And somehow a minor mistake turned into a catastrophe that was in their minds and my daughters. Literally aside from the mishap with directions nothing went wrong! Except the power to their fears given to them by their mom

Mind you we were very close before this. The kids have fears I’m afraid which are essentially my daughters. She has always been a perfectionist and anxiety ridden. She said it was inconsiderate to not turn on the car or give them a heads up before talking to her friend. I made a mistake with the directions but never were they in danger. I was literally leaning on the car saying goodbye to this woman! They are sweet kids but now mistrusting of me. My daughter thinks I’m scum and wants nothing to do with me now. She said the whole household says I’m nuts! Cursed me out on text later on. My beautiful grandkids were used as pawn in front of me of course siding with their borderline mom. They never should have been out in this position. I made the mistake of calling her from the car but my GD would’ve told her anyhow.

I have helped them financially, physically and have been a huge part of their life. I’ve slept over their house many times and babysat. And have been a rock for my daughter. She is very needy but maybe I’ve enabled this? Was this my fault?

She has also essentially told her own husband many times he’s a monster for his transgressions and has been very critical to one of her granddaughters who has ADD. She has now turned against me and worse had her kids turn against me instead of quelling an irrational fear of abandonment which I’m sure she’s stoked. I’m completely heartbroken. I haven’t got out of bed in 2 days. I’m crying my eyes out all the time. My bf says she’s borderline and I should not try to fix this. I keep thinking of the little one and my GD’s ballet that she loved. And now that’s over. How do I deal with this? Do I apologize to work something out? I don’t wanna see her daughter suffer. Have I ruined my relationship somehow? She told me to move away. She never wants to see me again. Although next time she need money I’m sure she’ll be calling.
She said if I wasn’t so defensive ( I was admittedly defensive) then maybe it would’ve turned out differently. She said her kids are allowed to be afraid and I should’ve validated their fears. I told them I was sorry they felt that way but it was irrational. And there was nothing to be sacred of. Now it’s all over. I’ve said nothing no texts for 2 days. What should I do??? Thanks and sorry for the long rant

Smileless2012 Sat 16-Sep-23 16:02:29

Hello Michyg and welcome to Gransnet although I'm sorry you've come on because of what's happening with your daughter.

Perhaps you could write a letter, explaining exactly what happened when your GD's were in the car and apologising for them being so upset and also for the mix up with the GPS.

I understand that these last two days may seem a lot longer, but it has only been two days so not enough time for your D to have calmed down. Hopefully she will do and be able to put things into perspective.

If you don't want to send a letter, maybe a simple text saying how sorry you are for what's happened and you hope that when she's ready, you can talk about what's happened.

Has your D ever been diagnosed with BPD? That's a serious condition and may not be the case; there could be other underlying issues that could account for her behaviour.

Extend an olive branch and then wait to hear from her, I'm sure she'll be in touch when she's ready flowers.

Quokka Sat 16-Sep-23 16:18:52

So sad for you.

DiamondLily Sat 16-Sep-23 16:32:29

Your daughter sounds very neurotic, or perhaps an undiagnosed mental health condition.

Her responses seem totally over the top.

Try and extend a friendly word, and encourage her to get some help - she seems to be taking life out on a lot of people.

Best wishes.💐

VioletSky Sat 16-Sep-23 16:55:09

You need to understand something about your daughter

Anxiety does not go away when you challenge it. It doesn't go away when you don't agree it should be there.

If someone is hugely afraid of spiders, we don't cure them by throwing spiders at them and telling them their fear is silly.

What we do do is allow people space to move past anxiety themselves. We follow their rules. We take their fear away by ensuring we seek to prevent situations that inflame their anxiety.

We ensure we do not trigger the anxiety and give them the space and time to heal from it. Every anxious episode is 2 steps backwards in recovery.

Every anxious episode avoided is one less situation that harms the children who witness it.

Let her have peace from anxiety for long enough she treasures the calm episodes in between attacks and has the strength to drive towards healing

This is written by a sufferer of severe anxiety who has been able to take steps to heal

Michyg Sat 16-Sep-23 17:03:39

Hi Smileless,

No she’s never been formally diagnosed but she fits the bill. Especially lately. She’s very critical impatient and controlling. She says she’s miserable all the time but you’d never know it by her social media. Since she’s got a new obsession which is her 3 months old health (she’s developing fine so far) she’s had insomnia and her scapegoat is usually her husband, one of the twins and now me. It’s very tough bringing her back from the ledge time and again but I have always been there. I’m not perfect but have always had a much more laid back style around her and the kids. I thought about writing a letter but it feels too soon as the fallout just happened 2 days ago.

welbeck Sat 16-Sep-23 17:05:07

agree with VS.
telling the children their fears were irrational is not helpful.
nor is arguing with their mother.
perhaps a period apart will be useful for everyone to calm down.
you need to reign in your own emotional responses too.
concentrate on the rest of your life and activities.
don't let the involvement with their family be your defining identity.
i wish you all the best.

Hithere Sat 16-Sep-23 17:06:09


Your daughter and children needs professional help

She won't reach out as long as you enable her

Hithere Sat 16-Sep-23 17:08:44

This situation is unsustainable and the breakdown was bound to happen sooner or later

Michyg Sat 16-Sep-23 17:16:02

To Violet Sky and Wellbeck,

I have decided to give them some space and yea my telling them the fear was irrational was not the best move. Although I wanted to make clear there was really no danger at all. I was very shocked at the intensity of the reaction and immediately thought of the way my daughters fears seem to permeate through the household. I could’ve validated it but how do you validate fears that are clearly without merit. And Violet I do not have anxiety issues normally although lately I’m consumed with sadness about them. I do know however you are correct in that whatever I tell her doesn’t help. I guess if I had to do it over I’d make extra efforts to make them comfortable knowing they might be suffering the same way her mom is. I haven’t cracked the code yet. Clearly I was reactive where I shouldn’t have been. But does this all take away all I’ve done? I still want to be part of their lives but not enable her. I know my GDs love me or so they did. Is it better to just leave her alone for now?

pascal30 Sat 16-Sep-23 17:23:34

I'd be more worried about the children's reaction in the car. Has anyone actually turned on the engine and locked them in?
I think your daughter needs to calm down and then apologise to you.. Why do you all enable such behaviour..

Delila Sat 16-Sep-23 17:27:34

Hithere, no need to go straight to extremes - “professional help” isn’t necessarily the answer.

welbeck Sat 16-Sep-23 17:28:34

yes, leave her alone.
give them space.
you are too emotionally invested in all this drama.

Michyg Sat 16-Sep-23 17:28:44

Another thing I wanted to add, VS you gave an analogy about throwing spiders and then triggering anxiety and telling her not ti be afraid of spiders. Also you said don’t my best not ti trigger anxiety? How does one know what will trigger that response. What I did in the car of course with hindsight trigger that in them. But normally without their issues it would not have triggered anything. I did nothing but say goodbye to a fried outside my car not even a minute passed when that happened. I ask, what could I have done different? Of course in retrospect I would never do it the same way. Validating their fears? Ok yeah but they are growing up becoming mistrusting and fearful of someone they trusted and have been trustworthy since they were born? They are being raised ti discard those who love them over a mistake or perceived mistake?…. I get you need to tread lightly and I’m not putting this all in them, when I clearly made errors here. As someone with anxiety what do you think about the aftermath? Have you healed at all from yours? And what would you suggest? Just leave it alone? It’s helpful to
Hear from those like my daughter. I know my GD still wants to go to ballet. I’d love to be able to try again. Thanks

Delila Sat 16-Sep-23 17:29:48

Your daughter’s baby is only three months old. Perhaps your daughter has post natal depression?

VioletSky Sat 16-Sep-23 17:30:47

All I can tell you for sure is that arguing with someone who doesn't see clearly right now just leaves you open to more room for misunderstandings

Stay calm and positive and take breaks for yourself and focus on other things

Michyg Sat 16-Sep-23 17:34:53

The engine was not turned on nor was the car locked. They were just put in there. As far as I know nothing like this ever happened but I don’t live with them. I do know my GD is very insecure and constantly ask my DD if she loves her. She also gets plenty of criticism and have been called names by both of them at times. The other one is very sweet and causes little trouble. Honestly for some reason she thought she’d be there for a long time and ignored. That has never happened on my watch and my DD is very overprotective so I doubt it’s ever happened but I do know she doesn’t get a lot of positive attention at home

Michyg Sat 16-Sep-23 17:35:48

Thank you. Good advice smile

Hithere Sat 16-Sep-23 17:55:09


Op says dd is transmitting her anxiety to her kids

Yes, dd needs help and op is not qualified to address this complex situation

Delila Sat 16-Sep-23 18:00:43

Hithere, the OP herself is anxious and transmitting her anxiety here on Gransnet. I agree with others that space is needed for all parties to calm down.

Shel69 Sat 16-Sep-23 18:10:41

Give it space, go visit a friend for a few days, hopefully they aren't your whole life, and you have friends and hobbies other than giving everything to your daughter and family, the grandchildren will always love you, this will pass

Urmstongran Sat 16-Sep-23 18:12:11

So have I got this right .... she’s an older mum with grandchildren of her own? Twins and a 3 month old baby. And berates her husband badly? She’s likely going to be a single mum soon enough at this rate. She’s maybe postnatally depressed. Certainly anxious. Volatile too by the sounds. A pretty toxic mix and an awful lot of drama within one household. I think she badly needs help as it sounds to me as though your daughter is only just holding things together right now and that you’ve been caught in the crossfire.

Time apart will help you all see the wood for the trees. Chance to calm the heck down. And ascertain what level of support is needed.

I hope it all works out for you. Try not to worry too much OP.

DiamondLily Sat 16-Sep-23 18:13:31


Your daughter’s baby is only three months old. Perhaps your daughter has post natal depression?

Yes, that could be the answer, or at least part of it. Perhaps going to the American version of a GP might help.

Daughters behaviour does seem a bit overblown.

Chestnut Sat 16-Sep-23 18:20:36

You are in a difficult situation, but you both need some time and space to calm down. Don't contact her just yet, but after maybe a week you will have gathered your thoughts and can write to her. Just say you are sorry things went so badly wrong and you didn't mean to upset anyone. Just make it clear you love her and the children, and are here for her whenever she needs you. Say that you hope to hear from her soon. Then let it go. Don't start analysing the car situation, what happened or why it happened. Don't bring it up. If she ever wants to discuss it with you then fair enough, but do so in a calm way.

I would suggest always trying to keep an air of calmness whenever you speak or see her. If she starts getting worked up do not try to answer back and argue the toss because it will end up in a full blown argument. Watch out for her mood swings and if she's aggressive then just shut it down, say 'we'll talk later' and leave. That may leave her fuming but neither of you will say things you later regret. Always send a text afterwards, saying you love her and are here for her, but can't cope with arguments.

She probably won't go too long without contact if she needs your help, but after another week maybe send a text with the same wording so she knows you're waiting for her to get in touch.

Remember she probably needs you more than you need her, so don't be a doormat. Let her make some effort to keep the relationship going. Keep calm because she is exhibiting enough emotion for both of you.

Hope that's helpful, it's how I see a way forward.

BlueBelle Sat 16-Sep-23 18:21:16

The first thing to do is calm yourself down, crying, staying in bed and being anxious is making a huge mountain out of a molehill and isn’t going to help anyone
I don’t think you ve done anything wrong and I d have probably reacted the same way to the children as you
I certainly wouldn’t have validated their fears but like you I d have explained that I d never go anywhere and leave them and that they had no need to be frightened. Then I d have changed the subject put some music on and said let’s have a sing song

Your daughter sounds extremely fragile and unfortunately that will make the children fragile as they have obviously picked up on all their mums fears and obsessions what a shame they are home schooled they have it 24/7 She badly needs help

I don’t think there is much you can do except wait for things to calm down and hopefully it will soon…. perhaps in a few days offer to try again, now you know your way to the class and tell her she needn’t worry you would never leave them in the car and fingers crossed perhaps she ll try again once the heats off !! If not there’s nothing much you can do except wait
Good luck