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Estrangement - a living bereavement

(123 Posts)
JAM56 Mon 27-Mar-17 14:49:11

Never, ever thought it would happen to me! It's been nearly one year now and not only have I not seen my DS and GD but have never met my baby GS. My crime? My DS accused me of not trying to make a relationship with his wife. Obviously there is a history to this story but suffice to say I have actually tried to build on shared interests with my DiL. I have felt that this estrangement was a 'done deal' from the outset and engineered by her. I can only describe my feelings as a living bereavement; at times the pain is unbearable. I have suggested we get together to talk things through or try family mediation but to no avail. I have now reached a place where I consider the best way forward for me is to channel my energy in a positive direction. I falter now and then but I am determined something good will come out of this very sad and unfortunately, quite common situation. Would appreciate hearing your stories.

Tippy22 Mon 27-Mar-17 15:15:12

I was surprised how many people are in the same position as you JAM56. I too am estranged from my eldest daughter, don't know why, whenever I have asked what the problem is she says there is no problem but there clearly is as we never see our grandsons and in fact we didn't even know she was pregnant with her second child until about a week before the birth and then I think she only told us because my youngest daughter kept on at her. It wouldn't be quite so bad if she didn't spend almost every weekend, birthday, holiday etc with her in- laws. In order to see photos of my grandsons my youngest daughter suggested I follow my eldest on instagram, I have done but I feel as though I'm intruding. I've just accepted it now and make the most of seeing my young granddaughter and getting on with my own life.

JAM56 Mon 27-Mar-17 20:19:17

Thank you for your response Tippy22. I note that your youngest daughter is in contact with your estranged daughter. My daughter is also in contact with her brother and this is bitter sweet for me because it makes me feel even more excluded and perhaps a little resentful. So many different emotions anger, sadness, impatience, feeling that I have failed as a mother. My daughter says she has 'lobbied' her brother to get in contact but this seems not to have made an ounce of difference. I can totally understand you feeling like you're intruding by following your daughter on Instagram but if it's your only way of seeing photos of your grandchildren then so be it. My DiL has blocked me on Facebook so I can't see photos of my grandchildren anymore. To be honest it used to upset me further when I could see how much they were changing and reminded me of how much I am missing. I think you are right in accepting it and getting on with your own life. All the very best to you.

Grannyben Mon 27-Mar-17 20:52:38

I haven't got any advice to give but, i just wanted to say how sorry I am that you have both found yourselves in this position. From reading other posts i know that you are not alone

Judthepud2 Mon 27-Mar-17 22:27:23

You might all like to join this support thread on Gransnet forum.

JAM56 Tue 28-Mar-17 06:10:34

Thank you Grannyben for your comments. Just being heard helps with the healing.

JAM56 Tue 28-Mar-17 06:11:25

Judthepud2 Thanks for your suggestion - I will take a look.

grannypiper Tue 28-Mar-17 08:49:20

Jam brew,cupcake and lots of good wishes, we are here for you.

Yogagirl Tue 28-Mar-17 09:26:19

Morning Jam & Tippy and thanks to Judthepud for the link to 'our page'

So very sorry to hear how you have both been 'cut out', there doesn't need to be a reason, just the fact they have the power to do so and are cruel & heartless is all it takes!

4.5ys for me, I still cry every day, my eyes may not tear, but my heart does sad I will only see my once beloved youngest daughter and my precious GC when my D & nasty s.i.l break-up. He is my GD stepdad and he & his equally evil mother, cut me and the rest of my estD birth family out, through jealousy, no other reason. I had a very special, sweet & loving bond with my GD, as she & my D lived with me before he came along.

I'm afraid you can only hope for a reconciliation, keeping quiet and not saying anything against them. I know this is an almost impossible thing to do, but it's the only way. I did the complete opposite to this, as I was so traumatised by it all, one minute a kiss & huge from my daughter see you next week, love you mum to being 'cut out' never seeing or hearing from them again, like they had all been in a car crash and killed! I went to court & now know how misguided this was.

flowers for you both and God Bless xx

inishowen Tue 28-Mar-17 09:52:43

I'm just so sad for you. I couldn't imagine not being in touch with my son and daughter, and their children. There are no words to comfort you, but sorry.

Maidmarion Tue 28-Mar-17 09:53:29

Oh, how I sympathise with you ...I, too, am in the same boat but with BOTH my son (here in UK) and daughter (family in USA). It's become so bad with me that I'm now having to go for CBT to help me cope with the loss- yes, my doctor even likened it to a bereavement. There are so many of 'us' out there and I send you my kind thoughts to help you. So sorry ....

Everthankful Tue 28-Mar-17 09:55:23

I had a similar situation. I found I just had to play the waiting game and unfortunately, they needed me before I needed them and they got in touch. The situation now is a rather strained truce, where we all live our own separate lives. I see them now and again but I could never just call in without making arrangement beforehand like I could with my other family. I'm sorry, but they hurt me so much and I've never had an apology, so I'm afraid we will never have the closeness I have with my other children. This doesn't mean I don't love them with all my heart and miss them greatly

Iloveitaly Tue 28-Mar-17 09:58:31

I am in the same situation with my youngest son, just when I think that thing's are improving, then something else happens that makes things really difficult again. They are going to renew their vows in October which I am dreading as our family is very small and I do not know what to expect.

starbird Tue 28-Mar-17 10:04:24

These stories are truly heartbreaking, I feel so sorry for everyone in this situation. In some ways worse than bereavement as you know your children are out there and have chosen this course of action - they must have their vulnerabilities and be desperate to maintain their relationships in order to turn their backs on their parents. It is very sad. 💐

ajanela Tue 28-Mar-17 10:09:12

So sad. My brother in law has excluded me from his family and for many years we were all great friends together. My husbands says it is no fault of mine, just his brothers stupid ways. That hurts because it is so unjust but nothing like as much as your hurt.

Any chance of you just turning up with your younger daughter at their home saying you have bought presents for the children and see what happens? Very brave but often people back down when confronted.

The sad thing is that what comes around goes around and if this is the example they set their children, when the children grow up they will have not problem cutting their parents out of their lives if they do anything to upset them

Nain9bach Tue 28-Mar-17 10:17:33

It is a real shame to hear of your stories. If I was in this situation - I would start a keepsake box for each grandchild - in it I would put little keepsakes from your life - when you visit places buy a little something to add to the grandchild's treasure box etc. Photographs of you - whatever your hobbies may be - your achievements etc. Hopefully there will be a point in time when you can share these so that your grandchildren and they will know how much you love and think of them. Hope this helps.

Iam64 Tue 28-Mar-17 10:18:10

It is like a living bereavement, with none of the rituals that help us cope when a lov d one dies. It is made worse by the way some people offer well meaning advice on how to mend the breach, not realising they have most likely all been tried and failed. look after yourself and try not to ruminate and self blame.

Angela1961 Tue 28-Mar-17 10:18:54

My youngest daughter has not wanted contact with me from when she was still a child and she is now nearly 31. A little background - I have two daughters, eldest now 34, younger 31. My husband and I divorced, my younger daughter wanted to remain with her father and the courts deemed her old enough to make her own decisions ( she was 13 and it totally broke my heart ) he being vindictive turned her against me and again courts deemed her old enough to decide . In all those years I've tried and tried for contact, obviously sending cards etc at Christmas/birthdays all presents / cheques accepted - no acknowledgement back. She is now married and has her own children ( I send cards for them now as well but have never met ) I write a letter every few years asking for contact but never hear anything back. My elder daughter has a good relationship with her sister but I do not ask her to intervene as not to upset their relationship. I would love,love,love to have contact and when I spent time thinking about it saddens me greatly. But I won't allow it rule my life, I just have to get on with my life in the same way she has chosen to get on with hers .

Madmartha Tue 28-Mar-17 10:25:40

I sometimes envy women whose daughters hug them or show their love through small actions. At other times I am grateful that my daughter is out of my life. Having supported her in every way for 2 decades through trauma after trauma she cut us out of her life when I wasn't able to lend her my car, with a full tank of petrol of course. As simple as that. I wouldn't have pulled out, she did it for me. No more worries and constant fear of what's coming next to keep us awake at night.
I'm sorry I have no help or advice to offer you Jam56

hulahoop Tue 28-Mar-17 10:46:41

I can't imagine not seeing my GC but reading posts on this subject it makes me feel lucky but also how quickly things can change . Hope things change for the better for you all 💐

Parklife1 Tue 28-Mar-17 10:48:12

I think that the recent Mother's Day throws this into even sharper relief than usual. My daughter has cut off her father and me, her brother, sister in law, nephew and niece. She has a close relationship with her in laws. I genuinely have no idea what I did to prompt the estrangement. I think that it must be my fault somehow, that I indulged her or something, but I tried so hard to give both the children equal time, opportunity etc.

I can deal with being estranged from her and her husband, but I grieve for the relationship I don't have with my little grandson. I haven't seen him since his first birthday and there are so many milestones missed that can never be recovered or seen again. I continue to send presents and have a memory box for him at home, so that someday, I hope, he will know that he had another family who loved him.

I try to count my blessings, two older grandchildren, a son and daughter in law- but it's hard, very hard.

sarahellenwhitney Tue 28-Mar-17 10:48:54

My instinct is to say jealousy. Resentful of the bond between you and your DS.

Joyfully Tue 28-Mar-17 10:51:16

It's so very sad that people can be so heartless and using the control over not allowing grandchildren to see grandparents. The parents don't even consider what they might feel like if it happened to them when their children grow up.

As a therapist I see many women who report the same thing. They come to the conclusion that they have done a good job raising their children, so that's enough, and now it's time to get on with their lives and make the most of it. No use them destroying their own lives through selfish people.

The thing is, when these thoughtless children have a parent who they have estranged themselves from dies, they seem to think they won't feel anything. It is not true from what I have experienced. They often feel dreadful that they did not resolve their issues. But it is their problem and not yours. Do your very best to stop being so sad. Imagine they are in New Zealand and you just don't get to see them, but you wish them well. This is not a platitude, just helpful suggestions that have helped people I see enormously. Hypnotherapy often works faster than CBT by the way. If you can afford to pay privately, then have some sessions. A good therapist will help you feel so much better. If you have time, volunteer to help children in some way. They may not be your grandchildren , but many children need support from the older generation.

Womble54 Tue 28-Mar-17 11:02:44

No, you don’t ever think it could happen to you, but it happened to me, and I know only too well how much it hurts. One minute you’re playing happily with your grandchild or grandchildren, and the next minute you are painfully banished from their lives, often indefinitely and without any real explanation.
As many of us are all too painfully aware, current UK law provides no automatic legal right of contact between grandparents and grandchildren. If mediation fails or is refused, then the only available option is costly and stressful legal action through the court, which is beyond the means of many grandparents and has no guarantee of success. Delay will count against you.
The odds are therefore stacked against the grandparents, who are often vulnerable, in imperfect health, in no position to fight back, and consequently potential targets for all kinds of bullying and blackmail with the grandchildren used as weapons. The legal position also fails to take into account the wishes of the grandchildren, who may wonder what they have done wrong, that Nanna or Granddad apparently don’t want to see them any more. Is this not emotional cruelty? The problem is huge. Over a million children in the UK today have no contact with their grandparents for one reason or another.
However, following a Parliamentary Lobby Day on 31st January, a national petition, started by Lorraine Bushell from the Hendon Grandparents’ Group, has been launched on the Petition Parliament website. This petition aims to obtain the 100,000 signatures required for the issue to be considered for a parliamentary debate on the right of children to have an ongoing relationship with their grandparents. The link is: -
I urge everyone to sign the petition and spread the word. After all, the issue affects so many of us, not just grandparents and potential grandparents, but anyone who has or has ever had a beloved grandparent. I have become a campaigner, recently having started a support group in Worcestershire where I live, and further information can be obtained from the Bristol Grandparents Support Group, who are very good and helpful, and have a website. This situation needs to change - as many of us know from our own experience, grandparents have a priceless contribution to make in the lives of children.

aquafish Tue 28-Mar-17 11:03:17

I could cry for you JAM and for all those loving grans out there on the same sad situation. Its a fine line we walk with out close families and things can change so fast for no apparent reasom, leaving us with irreparable family breaks. This rings true with me this very week, having had strong words with my DS over caring for DGS for 3 days this week. We need to follow very strict rules from DIL yet she cant take time to ring me herself. Based on what ive read today, Im saying nothing, smiling through gritted teeth and enjoying me time with baby DGS. Hope things work out for you JAM. X