Gransnet forums


only daughter distanced herself and tgecwholecfamily followed suit.

(163 Posts)
Peonyrose Mon 08-Jul-19 06:54:51

What advice can I give to this lady, coming up to seventy, whose only daughter, whom she has been very indulgent with, in fact almost stripping her mother of her money and now after a couple of years of reduced contact, has said she wants nothing more to do with her. The grandchildren of various ages still want to see her but at the last minute visits were cancelled. What stores have been told? I said go and see her and ask why she has done this, she wasn't answering texts or phone calls, see if it can be resolved, how I wish I hadn't. The daughter screamed a lot of abuse on the doorstep, saying what a horrible person and bad person she was and she was dead to her, she is blocking her and said she would make sure her grandchildren did too. I fear for this persons future, hardly any money and alone, I can't sleep as I feel I gave her wrong advice. Surely nothing warrants this treatment. How can you treat your own mother this way and just dump her? It's abuse. This lady has not been the conventional stay at home mom, appeared to have a lot of self confidence but her daughter always came first, I know that. She would have given her her last penny, the girl would have taken it. I am frightened she might harm herself as she says there is nothing to live for. I can't interfere, she added me for advice and I got it wrong.

Peonyrose Mon 08-Jul-19 06:56:40

So sorry about jumbled headline.should have been "the whole family"

M0nica Mon 08-Jul-19 07:26:28

Sadly, I think to a certain extent your friend is reaping what she has sown. She has made her daughter the centre of her life, given her absolutely everything she asked for and as a result brought up a selfish and self-centred child who when her mother can no longer be of use to her, rejects her. To the daughter a mother's love is shown by giving her everything she wants. When the giving stops, no matter what the reason, it is taken as the withdrawal of love.

I am afraid, you were unwise, to get involved. By all means support your friend in her grief and despair, but outsiders getting involved in family disputes always ends disastrously.

This situation has arisen so often on threads on GN and I have seen it happen among people I know. What can be done? I do not know. But if there is a solution it can only be found by the two people involved.

Sara65 Mon 08-Jul-19 07:34:06

Poor you, but you couldn’t possibly have known how her daughter would react.

I know this lady is very close to you, and has always appeared to be a wonderful mum to her daughter, but might there be things in their past, that you aren’t aware of? Things that the daughter may hold a grudge about?

Not saying that’s the case, if not, she’s just being a complete bitch, and your friend is probably best to back off and leave her to it

Whatever the outcome, it’s not your fault

sodapop Mon 08-Jul-19 08:06:38

I'm afraid MOnica is right, family problems are for them to deal with. All you can do is be there for your friend and support her in whatever way you can. Don't feel guilty about trying to help a friend Peonyrose we can all only do what seems right at the time.

Luckygirl Mon 08-Jul-19 08:22:00

Stay out of it!!!

Just be a support to your friend.

Peonyrose Mon 08-Jul-19 08:31:51

I was asked for help, she was distraught and crying, you could almost see it coming but she seemed oblivious or chose to be. If there is a problem how can it be solved by just slamming the door and not given reasons, that's why I said ask. I hate to abobdone her when she is so low but I don't know how yo help. It's very wearing as it consumes her. Could anything be worse for her, I don't know, I don't now how I would manage to be honest. In future I will not give an opinion or advice when asked but hope I won't appear cold, just nodding and being there. I dread the phone going, just saying I'm so sorry you have this problem, you go out and thats the conversation. She was so bubbly and happy once. Thankyou for your advice. I welcome it, if it makes sense or throws another perspective on the problem, would listen and might follow it, if it didn't I would just disgard it.

EllanVannin Mon 08-Jul-19 08:40:32

I would say that M0nica's post is nearer the mark here.

I'm sure the woman wouldn't want to be reminded of the foolish move she made without stopping to think that this " could " happen when the money runs out.

Sadly this sort of thing happens quite a lot and it certainly tests that person's/family member's true relationship.

As has already been said, just be there for your friend.

EllanVannin Mon 08-Jul-19 08:41:47

Many over-indulged children/AC aren't the nicest of individuals anyway.

M0nica Mon 08-Jul-19 08:59:58

Peonyrose Do be there for your friend, perhaps gently suggest things that might help her - counselling or therapy, go out for a coffee together somewhere, outside, where she can see nature or watch the world go by perhaps in a park or rural area.

Be prepared to listen as she tells her woes yet again, encourage her to resume normal life. Nothing can fully assuage her grief but reconciliaition, but help her develope a way of livingwith estrangement

There is a lot you can do to support her through this difficult time, but do not act as an emissary between mother and child because, as others have said, you have seen the outside the generous giving of giftsand services, but other things may be going on that you do not know. Some parents,for example, use giving as a form of control, 'I will give you this but I expect you to do this.' I am not suggesting your friend did this, but you cannot tell. They need to sort their problems out between themselves.

Meanwhile you are being the best of friends by being prepared to do so much to help your friend.

Hetty58 Mon 08-Jul-19 09:15:04

The lady's (spoilt) daughter cannot be 'gatekeeper' and prevent contact with grandchildren indefinitely. As they become adults it's likely they'll be curious and want to know their grandmother.

Socialising in other ways, wider family, joining clubs, volunteering etc. would give her company and confidence in the meantime. She needs to somehow get the message across that she is always there for all her family with love, practical help and advice but cannot contribute financially. There could be written notes, Facebook or email messages.

This is similar to the rift in my wider family where one person has taken against her mother in law (for no real reason) and refuses contact with grandchildren. Various other family members have assigned blame and taken sides - which I steadfastly refuse to do. It's not my quarrel and I want contact with all of them. I won't be drawn into it and everyone knows it. I have taken the view that this person is mentally unwell (at present) so deserves my friendship, respect and sympathy regardless. I see it as a temporary rift and hope that they can overcome it in the future.

DancesWithOtters Mon 08-Jul-19 09:28:29

There are 2 sides to every story. Perhaps the daughter would tell you something very different about her childhood.

I don't believe that people go NS for no reason.

I think you should stay out of it but encourage your friend to rebuild her life independently of her family.

Ellianne Mon 08-Jul-19 10:31:04

I agree with others, it's a very sad but not uncommon occurrence. You will have to decide how best to manage your friend but if you want to keep the same relationship with her it's probably best to keep out. The same thing happened in our family when DH's sister stripped the mother of everything. When we expressed our disapproval and disgust to the lady she was so offended by hearing the truth she never spoke to us or her GC again! Not that it was any loss.

Barmeyoldbat Mon 08-Jul-19 10:48:25

I can offer no advice other than what Monica has already posted. Just stay friends but don't get involved.

CarlyD7 Mon 08-Jul-19 10:59:08

You don't know the full history between them and what the daughter would say/ what would her viewpoint be? Many "close" relationships between mothers and daughters suffocate the latter; or the mothers use them for emotional support from a far-too-young age; I know - I was one of them. The only thing I could do to be able to "breathe" for myself again was to put as many miles between us as I could, and restrict contact, until I learned to maintain proper emotional boundaries between us (and to cope with her heavy drinking). She was always pushing money onto me and then getting offended if I refused (which I did increasingly) and I would guess, to others, it would look as though I was taking everything she had - but I didn't. I would like to add that I did look after her for the last 10 years of her life until she died - so I didn't abandon her, but remember years of very little contact (I was trying to save myself including coping with clinical depression on and off for 40 years). All she ever did was moan about me and tell everyone what a wonderful mother she had been - she really hadn't. Definitely don't take sides. Be there for her and try to gently encourage her to get on with things - be the friend you would want someone-else to be if you were in the same position. Good luck.

jaylucy Mon 08-Jul-19 11:31:05

You can only support her through what will be a grieving process.
Unfortunately her situation is not unique and there seems to be a general generation of grown up children that have been handed so much by well meaning parents that have had to work for most of what they gained through their own hard work. Maybe it's a case of "I don't want my kids to have to do what I did" but rather than being appreciative of what has been given, the child takes and takes until the money pit is nearly dry.
The grandchildren will often find grandparents at some point on their own. Your friend should continue sending birthday cards (maybe keep a duplicate in case the original is destroyed) so that door is left ajar .

NotSpaghetti Mon 08-Jul-19 11:31:05

Hetty58 is right. Whatever the mother may do, one day the grandchildren will almost certainly want to find out about their grandparents. This is "where we come from" and I think the majority of people, at some point want to understand it.

You say this is her "only daughter" peonyrose, are there any sons to shed some light on the situation maybe?

You obviously gave advice in good faith. I can see how distressing the meeting must have been for your friend and that you blame yourself for this. What happened on the doorstep though isn't your fault. It may just be that the daughter is, indeed, a grasping and unpleasant person. It may be that there is history that you don't know about. It may be that the daughter is not well, in an abusive relationship, or otherwise vulnerable.

I know you are fond of your friend and hate to see her suffer. This is why you made the suggestion in the first place. If it had been a less "charged" situation and your friend had arrived in a "sufficiently humble" way at a "convenient" time for a chat about (say) how to rectify her daughter's hurt feelings, it just might have gone differently. If, on the other hand the daughter was stressed, had other people in the house, was feeling seriously aggrieved and the grandmother had started with a question that could possibly be interpreted as accusatory, however gentle (such as "please talk to me about why you have cut me off"), the situation was bound to fail.

Unless you have encouraged your friend to behave totally out of character she must have thought it was a good idea. Just because it was your idea doesn't really mean she had to go along with it, or that you are responsible for what was said.
I know I'd feel guilty (as you do) but really it's not something entirely of your making. Granted, it's not easy to put right. Maybe your friend would benefit from some professional counselling now if she is very low. I would definitely suggest that.

I hope you both find some peace soon. Good luck.

Sara65 Mon 08-Jul-19 11:49:24


Totally agree

Namsnanny Mon 08-Jul-19 11:53:34

Horse door and bolted comes to mind M0nica, when reading your reply!
Very good advice, at the right time but we’re only human and many of us have nothing but good intentions when we go against our better judgement!

At least you cared enough to try peonyrose.smilethanks

longtimelurker Mon 08-Jul-19 12:09:26

Whatever the reasons behind this your friend will be grieving and at first this may cause her to make a lot of demands on you. She won't immediately be able to move on with her own life, but she will in time. There is a lot of online support, some better than others. Does she do facebook etc? It would be a relief to you if she had somewhere else to offload. You advised her in good faith so don't beat yourself up about it. If she uses the internet suggest she looks up Dr Joshua Coleman.

Sara65 Mon 08-Jul-19 12:15:42


I agree, at least you tried, and after all, what you did was to offer an opinion, you didn’t force her to act on it

crazyH Mon 08-Jul-19 12:27:06

For those who say, keep out of it, you're wrong. Her friend needs her to offload. We all need someone to offload our problems and get advice. Sometimes we don't think straight and so friends can see and think for us.
Her daughter sounds nasty and awful. Glad she's not my daughter. As mothers we don't expect a show of gratitude, every time we do something for our children. But we do expect some love and kindness. And we should always, always remember our needs, financially and otherwise. I am generous, but I make sure I am ok. Good luck to your friend .

Jaycee5 Mon 08-Jul-19 13:12:03

Be a shoulder to cry on or rant at and maybe suggest that she speaks to Age UK to make sure that she is receiving all the money that she is entitled to.
You can only say sorry that your advice didn't help but there is no point in dwelling on that.
Don't try to fix it. Just be a supporter.

agnurse Mon 08-Jul-19 13:28:17

I'm sorry, but I think your suggestion that she go to the daughter's home was frankly very poor advice.

If the daughter won't respond to phone calls or messages, she clearly does not want contact. Showing up on her doorstep is extremely inappropriate and she would have been well within her rights to call the police and have her mother removed.

The most you can do is listen and suggest that your friend see a counselor. As PPs have pointed out, there are two sides to every story. It's indeed quite possible that there was a degree of enmeshment, maybe even a degree of emotional incest (i.e. treating a child as a surrogate spouse on a purely emotional level).

Beyond that, you can't get involved. It's for them to work out. Above all, do not contact the daughter on your friend's behalf. This is unlikely to be well-received. The daughter doesn't want contact. That's her right.

Sara65 Mon 08-Jul-19 13:31:33


I agree with what you say, but I think you’re being a bit harsh on Peonyrose, she was only trying to be a good friend