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Support for all who are living with estrangement

(1001 Posts)
Smileless2012 Mon 17-Sep-18 18:04:52

Another thread ladies so get posting. A we've had over the years, several contributors living with estrangement as they have chosen this path, I see no reason to change the title of this thread.

I hope you all agree.

ReadyMeals Mon 22-Apr-19 08:28:01

Yep, definitely the same man. No wonder he behaves oddly, having two mothers, both on gransnet. The only small difference is that in my case the teachers tended to be the ones saying he was highly intelligent and I was making a fuss for nothing when I wondered why all his school books were empty when I looked at them on parents evening. I got "He's brilliant, he'll work when he's ready". Increasingly I am coming to the conclusion that many of us in this thread have a son with an actual as yet unnamed genetic syndrome. And because of this belief, I am finding it easier to cope as it's no more the fault of him or myself than if he had been born with Downs. I continue to send him greetings on special days, and a gift voucher on xmas and birthdays. Sometimes he uses it, sometimes not.

Starlady Mon 22-Apr-19 08:40:04

Actually, hdh, Idk if it's manipulation or if ds has just decided that he wants to keep up his relationship with dh and dd even though he is estranged from you at the moment. While I understand his not wanting to lose all close family members just because he is estranged from one, Idk if he realizes what an awkward position he is putting dd and especially dh in. He might even think it wouldn't be fair to dh and dd to cut them out just because he is at odds with you right now. But again, Idk if he realizes how uncomfortable this can be for everyone or how hurtful for you.

Good on you for turning in early that night and taking this situation in your stride. Also, I agree that if dh plays his cards right, he may get to the point where he and ds can discuss the estrangement calmly and rationally. I think you are both very wise to be patient.

Starlady Mon 22-Apr-19 09:07:49

Oh wait, I hadn't read all the recent posts when I wrote the above. I thought you meant you went to bed early when dh was visiting ds. Now I see I misunderstood. My bad. Sorry.

Also, I now have read more about dd and her efforts. What a lovely young woman! Despite her own problems, she's trying to fix this situation. Unfortunately, I don't think she can.

And now I understand even more why dh is going along with what ds wants - to take some of the pressure off dd. I'm sorry about her friend, though, and that she wasn't able to be there with dh and ds after all. And I'm sorry that dh gave into temptation and brought up the subject of the estrangement though I know it must have seemed like the proverbial and huge elephant in the room. Mostly, I'm sorry about how ds reacted. Hugs!

What really caught my attention, however, is that he thinks you're "manipulative," too, even though I don't see anything manipulative in emails that send love and show you're willing to listen. Maybe he thinks you're just trying to win him over and he's calling that manipulation? Probably his anger is coloring his view. I'm so very sorry.

"... but unless I do something he has written me off"... Is there a specific "something" he wants you to do? Is it too identifying to mention here? Whatever it is, can you see your way clear to doing it?

Starlady Mon 22-Apr-19 09:15:21

Cherries - very interesting post about "splitting" and "projection!" I never heard the term splitting before, and I never related projection to estrangement. Thought-provoking!

ReadyMeals, I'm sorry about your problems with your son, as well. I see you have retained a sense of humor, through it all, though (the comment about two mothers on gransnet), and I think that's a good thing. It sounds as if he is giving you mixed messages with his intermittent use of the gift vouchers you send, But, at least, there's still some contact that way. I'm not sure what all this has to do with his being an underachiever in school. And Idk if these estrangements are the result of a "genetic syndrome" or just the way young people are dealing with family issues nowadays. But I hope your situation improves. Hugs!

hdh74 Mon 22-Apr-19 09:28:55

"but unless I do something he has written me off" was DHs comment not DSs - sorry if I made that confusing starlady. Basically DH was saying this is your last chance to fix it so go round, he thougth DS would talk to me, but that didn't happen.
DD texted DH to say the meal tonight is cancelled - DH said, does DS want me to come round to talk, I'll understand if not? Got back, DS is taking DD out for the day, he's ok with her, and that's all that's being said for now.

Ginny42 Mon 22-Apr-19 09:32:25

This has been a very emotional read this morning. So much pain and anguish from bewildered parents who are struggling to understand what's happened to their AC, and so much love squandered, because it's being rejected and thrown back in your face. There's a thread running through the posts, which is a sense of hopelessness and grief for the loss of a child who has grown to adulthood and put up insurmountable barriers, and you're struggling to understand why. There is also a reference to mental illness and a feeling that it gives some comfort to know that there is no blame.

Cherries I felt uncomfortable and emotional reading your post about 'splitting'. Uncomfortable because it was coming very close to explaining what my SiL is doing. I've never heard of it before, so thank you Cherries but I felt very nervous of labelling him in my head. I worry about how that may affect my DD and DGS in the long term.

hdh74 several things occurred to me whilst reading of the events of the past two days. My DM was always very sick and died two days after my 21st birthday. Her illness impacted greatly on my childhood, but I wasn't left feeling angry with her. I was left with a fear of being ill when my DD was growing up. I desperately wanted to be well for her sake. I was relieved when she reached 18 without me ever being sick. It seems your S blames you for that emotional absence when you were too sick to be at his beck and call. IF the way he is now is a result of him feeling your weren't there for him at times, he should be mature enough to know that illness takes over. We don't choose to be sick.

It's possible he resent his upbringing and family when studying in Oxford. If your DH felt it, then he's probably correct and that's sad. He would have mixed with people from wealth and all very bright, so perhaps he struggled to fit in sometimes, but how is that your fault? He seems to reserve his feelings just for you and that is very immature. Others have pointed out that he's being manipulative and he is, but he's using others to punish you, so they're being manipulated too.

You have poured out so much anguish in your posts and I urge you to begin to put some of that behind you now. I know from experience to keep reaching out to make peace and having it rejected is soul destroying. There comes a time when we have to say, 'Enough. I've poured out my heart to you and you are rejecting me. I know I'm not a bad person and I will not be defined by the person YOU think I am. I know who I am and that's fine.'

In my case, I am convinced it is mental illness which makes my SiL hate people in quite irrational ways. I happen to be the target. There are others he has tried to alienate.

You, your DH and your DD have had an emotionally intense few days and I hope you can begin to rationalise all those feelings which have risen to the surface. Have a few days recuperating and taking care of one another. Talk to us, talk to friends who understand.

Hugs for being brave. flowers

ReadyMeals Mon 22-Apr-19 09:32:42

Starlady, I was comparing with hdh's son who was said to be underacheiving. I think often with this sort of thing you see a pattern of them being of some concern even at a young age. Dislike of following instructions, cooperative projects etc. Nothing major that would get them into big trouble necessarily.

hdh74 Mon 22-Apr-19 09:37:11

I'm stunned with the similarities readymeals and really don't know what to make of that!
Thank you for your kind and inspiring words Ginny42 your last paragraph sounds like good medicine. x

Joyfulnanna Mon 22-Apr-19 11:07:04

Hdh, reflecting back helps. No need to apologise for rambling, its part of 'cleaning out our closets' it's the start of forgiving ourselves and others for actions you can't change. In my view, this boy thinks he's been hard done by, despite his academic achievements. You cannot be all things to all people, and you have a life to live. That said, nothing you have done is wrong, you must stop blaming yourself for how he has turned out. He has deep seated resentments, it's impossible to change that. His view that you are manipulative stems from him still thinking like a child. So all the university education hadn't improved his emotional intelligence.. He simply hasn't grown up, and wants to stay in child mode. Until this changes, and he changes, this appears to be a hopeless situation, where he can pull yours and DH strings like a child does, playing games with you.
The power games will bring misery again and again and you won't be able to move on. There's a saying "nothing changes if nothing changes"
You need to be the change.

Cherries Mon 22-Apr-19 11:11:47


Your current situation with your son resonates a little with my own with my d-i-l. She recently caved in at last to my affectionate, considerately-worded (I hoped), gently enquiring and affirmative messages to tell me very briefly why she has gone NC and what she typed has been shocking, unreasonable and profoundly hurtful. I have felt knocked for six by the spite, anger and accusation levelled at me - and by the sheer bad manners - but am hugely grateful for the sharing, marvellous support and wisdom here and from a couple of close and trusted friends, all of which is helping me to adjust. It must be so much more painful for you because it is your own child who is relating to you this way and my heart also goes out to you.

I am also less "invested" now, retaining a little hope of resuming more communication with my d-i-l in the future but without the expectations and warm feelings that I had and was trying to cultivate before. She is at least, for the time being, keeping the door a tiny bit ajar by indicating that she will be present when DH and I visit (they live overseas) and that she will not sit in complete silence during the days of our trip when we might be together.

DS uses FaceTime/WhatsApp to let us see and interact with him and our GC for short but regular amounts of time so this is good and I count myself fortunate in this respect. He appears to be loving and appreciative of us in these videos and to be encouraging our infant GC to make affectionate gestures. His comments on WhatsApp are also often positive. This quality of communication and frequency and length of contact may change, diminish or stop in the future on d-i-l's/DS's whim - who knows? - so DH and I try to appreciate what we have and can enjoy at present. The situation has not been discussed with DS as yet as I don't want to risk rocking the boat. If he indicates that he wants or is ready to talk about it at some point in the future, that will be the time. In the meantime, I think that their relationship is much like Prince Harry's with Meghan i.e. whatever d-i-l wants, d-i-l gets. She exercises tight control and is to be obeyed, admired and pleased.

Joyfulnanna Mon 22-Apr-19 11:15:39

Yes Ginny has explained it better than me. You know you did nothing with any malice or lack of love, you know you're a good person, believe in yourself, and rise above the game playing. Be kind to your heart because I see how deeply you care and of course you want to fix things and want to take every opportunity to do that. But there comes a time when you have to realise the hurt is doing you no good. Someone will come into his life one day who will help him see things clearly.. You just have to wait. Sending you hopeful and loving wishes for strength. X

Cherries Mon 22-Apr-19 11:31:20

I am disappointed in my DS that he allows himself to be treated this way but d-i-l will find it much harder in future to pull my strings.

Joyfulnanna Mon 22-Apr-19 11:32:48

Your post on narcissism.. Wow!!! But what's the advice on dealing with it? I've read bits which say "Don't fight narcissum, starve it" that's the only way to stop it. If you NEED to work with narcissistic people, then understanding that they don't feel guilt, only shame is also key. They work on what benefits there are to themselves, so that is also a consideration. We ladies are used to putting others before ourselves and we know our AC inside out..
We need to find the thing that they prize most of all..and be part of that. Just my own thoughts but would be interested in others x

Cherries Mon 22-Apr-19 11:37:41

May we all continue to go forward along the pathways of adjustment and healing

hugs and x x x x

Cherries Mon 22-Apr-19 11:52:57

Joyfulnanna - there are some good videos on YouTube. I like those by Dr. Les Carter and the advocacy of a "grey rock" or emotionally detached/neutral approach. Our dilemma though, as we know only too well, is that we want to have ongoing contact with our grandchildren so can't afford to be completely disengaged from a parent who may have strong narcissistic traits or to cut off the "narcissistic supply" chain altogether. I read somewhere yesterday - sorry, don't remember where - that it can be helpful to use certain tactics - as in a chess game - such as offering praise when it is possible to do so sincerely and to try to avoid as much as possible giving any sort of unsolicited advice or expressing any criticism.

Cherries Mon 22-Apr-19 11:56:57

This is advocating the conscious use of manipulation. Many of us will recoil emotionally and on moral grounds but if it paves the way to more satisfactory contact with our beloved grandchildren, it may be good advice.

What do you think?

Cherries Mon 22-Apr-19 12:11:06

Lightbulb moment - isn't there a Relate counsellor, therapist and trainer on Gransnet who can be approached for general tips? smile

Cherries Mon 22-Apr-19 12:11:29

Denise Knowles?

Cherries Mon 22-Apr-19 12:19:04


Cherries Mon 22-Apr-19 12:25:51

Cherries Mon 22-Apr-19 12:39:10

If you think that your AC, s-i-l or d-i-l may have this disorder, however, perhaps there may be a way of gently encouraging her/him to read and reflect on this article.

crazyH Mon 22-Apr-19 12:44:21

Some. good well-informed and educated psycho analysis here - if only it were as simple as that - my situation has improved slightly and I am planning to post how it came about ...someone has asked me to elaborate on it and I will, at some point. In the meanwhile, good luck to everyone !

Ginny42 Mon 22-Apr-19 13:27:47

Cherries in response to your post to Joyfulnanna at 11.52, I have been using those tactics with my SiL although I confess that sometimes my praise has been somewhat forced. shock I acknowledge the things he's good at and try to ignore things which annoy. As you know he moves out of the house when I arrive, so it's a little bit false anyway! I criticised him once and he exploded- well, I pulled a face when he was being very loud and very silly in a restaurant. Now I don't criticise or advise. Last time I was there we had to discuss a financial matter and he was only too keen to speak to me before he left the building! I looked directly at him and said, 'I'm trusting you.' He never said a word.

March Mon 22-Apr-19 13:39:15

My MIL has some Narc traits. I don't want or like labelling people but I think if there's some sort of reason it makes it easier to understand.

For the love of god do not show anyone the links, do not attempt to even talk to them about a personality disorder that they might have as it will majorly backfire on you.

You can't talk to a person like that, there is no reasoning. They are right. You are wrong. They are blameless and it's always your fault. They will tell people what you have done to them, how horrible you are but they won't mention why or what they have done to you. It's their way or no way. There will tears and over dramatics. They will always be the injured party and victim and you will be horrible person that has hurt them.

Everything will run smoothly aslong as you are going along with what they want even if it's awkward or an inconvenience for you but as soon as you stand up for yourself or do anything to rock the boat then that's when shit will hit the fan.

Limit contact if you can, don't say too much, nod and smile, don't try and argue your side. You might aswell talk to a brick wall.
It's the most exhausting relationship I've ever experienced and it does change you as a person.
They get inside your head and you second guess and question yourself.

We have both (DH and myself) ended up in counselling due to her behaviour. It has helped immsenly and would recommend it.

Hope you dont mind me adding my bit in but these types of people are emotionally and mentally exhausting. They are not normal people and need handling very differently!

Smileless2012 Mon 22-Apr-19 13:44:00

This will be the last post on this thread as it will be the 1000th so I'm starting another one; same title. See you all there.

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