Adult daughter....abusive ?

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by RN1959, Nov 19, 2011.

  1. RN1959

    RN1959 New Member

    Hi folks... I just found this forum today, and thought I would try to get some perspective on a recent situation. I have two children both grown, daughter has had emotional problems, is married, and has a 5 yr old. She is currently expecting another any day. We have had a rocky relationship since her teen years, with intermittent periods where things are good. She is a very black and white thinker, and the master of debate...Yes, she was actually on the speech and debate team in high school for 4 years. She has an eating disorder, and binges, but seems to be doing well in the pregnancy. I realize she is under a lot of stress, as her husband works out of state during the week, she is currently a stay at home Mom.
    Now, to what brings me here... I've had a good relationship with my granddaughter, and last week took her to see a movie. I am divorced and a male friend asked if he could join us, and I told him that would be fine. We met at the theater, watched the movie, he drove himself home, and I drove my grand to my house to spend the night. The next morning I took her home, and all was well. A few days later my daughter called to tell me that she does not want her daughter to meet my friends "unless they are like family, or she has met them first" I was completely taken back by this, and shocked is an understatement. I asked her if she thought I would let harm come to the grand, and she didn't reply but to say that if I wanted to spend time with the granddaughter, then it should be "alone time" with her. I told her that I had to get back to work, but would call her later. She said I didn't have to call her back, it wasn't a discussion. Daughter has been in therapy for nearly a year every week, but it seems like things are getting worse instead of better. I have not called her since this conversation. A little bit about the an only child, for 5 yrs she has a hard time letting adults talk, and every visit is "play with me" demands. She is a sweetheart, but she does want constant attention. She also told me that her mommy "never thinks" of me. This came after an observation from the grand that they had dinner with her g-pop, my ex and his g/f as a family, but not with me. She said this in front of my daughter, who immediately invited me to dinner lol I am confused, and hurt...but don't want to add any further stress to my daughter who is getting ready to have a baby soon. Any ideas on the best approach to this situation..?
    As a grandparent, I love to show off the grand to my friends, but this is now against the rules. My daughter is grown, so I have many friends that she hasn't met, and I don't see why that should be a problem. In addition, on Grandparents Day this year, I got a phone call...which wouldn't be odd if we lived a distance away, but our distance is 4 blocks. Thanks for letting me vent....ideas, suggestions, comments...would be much appreciated !

  2. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Hi there and welcome. I am glad you found us, sounds like you are a genuine member of the "difficult child" parent club. (the word here for our challenging from god)

    Aside of the hurtful way this was all done... I am going to think out loud about the bottom line... For NOW, your daughter is in a place where for whatever reasons, right or wrong, she is not comfortable with strangers around her child...may not even be that, may be just a way to control you. But in any event, I suppose you are going to have to decide if your relationship with your granddaughter is more important to you than to have time to share your joy about her with friends in person. For now, you can maybe just do videos, pictures, computer posts, etc. I would be careful on the computer, if you do facebook or myspace etc... to never tag her in photos or use her real name. Maybe not even do photos, just bragging moments, like how proud you are of some kind of accomplishment. I fear if you step out of difficult child's invisible and ever changing boundaries, she may pull the rug out completely. I believe your grand daughter needs you too much to let that happen. I think grandparents are so very important to a growing child. As my sister says, you can't ever have too many people to love and care about your child.

    If it was me (and it isn't so feel free to throw this out if it doesn't fit) I would prioritize being able to spend time with my granddaughter as very important and I'd be willing to jump through some hoops. NOT ALL hoops, if she gets too out of control there is an even bigger problem. But, you can show added"respect" for your daughter (I KNOW you already do, but I am saying from her twisted perspective) by even asking little things, in a genuine way-not sarcastic--like I just wanted to make sure that she could have x candy... dont over do it, just anything that might be a worry to her, so you can let her know that you are all for her calling the shots for her daughter. I know this might sound manipulative, but I dont mean it that way...just in a way that can keep you in grand daughter's life. I dont know all of your difficult child's issues, but I think someone who is aware of her challenges should be there to keep an eye on how the grands are getting on. Especially since a pregnancy and birth can really play with her emotions and behaviors.

    Well, that is my totally, not an expert in this kind of situation, just offering support, idea... If it doesn't fit, I really wont be upset, I just want you to know that you are not alone and I am glad you were able to come here to vent.

    There are so many parents here, they are lovely supporters and often may be very direct and realistic, but always encouraging. You have found a soft place to land.

    HUGS to you...Buddy
  3. RN1959

    RN1959 New Member

    Thank you for the welcome, and the new perspective. Your right, the priority should be the grand, and not my own hurt feelings. I think I needed to hear that from someone outside of the situation. I probably could have looked at this more rationally, if I wasn't directly involved...Maybe a trip to DQ is in order, for the two of us this weekend. It'll let the grand know she is special...which really should be the main focus.
    I appreciate the eye-opener :)
  4. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    This would totally tick me off! I am a grandmother too. If my son tried this on me he would find out just how far it would play. He and his girlfriend just had a baby in Sept and a month or two before the baby was born the mom started getting all crazy on us saying that she had read that some dog had attacked a baby and mauled it to death and eaten the baby alive including all the flesh so she wanted us to get rid of our dog. Then she didnt want the baby in our house because we have an iguana and it might get out of its pen and attack the baby. Just on and on.

    We flat told her that Cory's 5 year old daughter had lived through being at our house with the iguana, our dog wasnt the dog that killed the baby, in fact our dog is a 5 pound dog that our other grandchildren drag around like a stuffed animal, and if she doesnt want to bring the baby over, then Cory will. We had no doubt her little freak out wouldnt last long. It didnt.

    I dont do threats. I will not be held hostage. I am assuming your dtr is going to want you to help her when she has this new baby right? Well seems to me she should be a bit more accommodating of you. I am assuming you havent allowed any bad sorts of friends around your granddaughter so she doesnt have a reason to worry.
  5. pepperidge

    pepperidge New Member

    I wonder if your daughter is a bit jealous of your relationship with the grand...insecure about her own relationship with her daughter and freaking out with the new baby.

    I think I would humor her to some degree. She seems self-centered.
  6. RN1959

    RN1959 New Member

    Hi Janet...
    Yes, I'm positive that she is going to need help when the baby is born. The grand is in Kinderclass, and is driven to and from school. With my sister in law out of state for the week for work, and winter coming I'm sure she will be needing a hand when grand #2 gets here. I'm going with the thought that she is getting extra controlling/emotional because of the pregnancy. She also hasn't taken any of her regular medications during the pregnancy, so that could be contributing. I wouldn't allow anyone questionable around my grand, or myself for that matter....I wouldn't be able to call them a friend. I'm starting to come around a little from I first really does help to share with other people. Thanks so much !
  7. RN1959

    RN1959 New Member


    Thanks for writing...that is something I hadn't thought about at all. Yes, she can be self-centered at times, and she is a pretty tough bird as well. For now, I'm going to lay a little low, avoid conflict with her...and hope that when the baby is born she mellows out just a little bit. You know, I just remembered something she said a few weeks back... " Mom, you have more fun than I do in life ". We laughed about it, but it just came to mind that maybe she does feel that way. I was married at 18, and we began the family when I was 20....married for 23 yrs, and divorced for 12 yrs. I do have fun, but since the kids are grown, and I'm still relatively young, I don't generally just lay around sulking. Maybe there is a jealousy on her part about my life in general.....just a thought. By the way, I'm not a "wild woman" I work fulltime, and yes....I have a life that doesn't involve her. This doesn't seem to bother my 28 yr old son at all....he has a life that doesn't involve me as well. I always get the feeling from him that he's happy, if I'm happy....our visits are filled with story telling about latest adventures, and laughter. So different from the daughter.....
  8. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I am horrible when preg and for months afterward. i work super HARD to not be, but the reality is that I had 3 tough pregnancies and 3 tough births, then 2 were difficult kids (the boys). thank you was never a difficult child, but he has major sensory issues and it wasn't easy.

    So while preg I did make life hard for myself and those who loved me. They had the patience and wisdom to know I would recover after the birth when the hormones stabilized, and to take me with a pound of salt. I did JOKE that any problem wehn I was preg was husband's fault. Weather, bad day, bad hair day, all husband's fault. After all, I couldn't get preg, according to multiple docs.

    husband and I BOTH knew this was NOT true, and that it was a joke, and that making the joke was my way to remind myself that i was being too gritchy/mean and to ease up. My mother thought i was awful when I would say that - she had multiple "talks" about it, and even more freak-outs about it. Thankfully she lived in a different state for 2 of the pregnancies. We might not have been speaking during the births if we had lived close.

    SO it could very well be the hormones. I was totally at the mercy of mine. So many times I would be super upset, acting very idiotically, and I would KNOW IT and WANT to not act like that, but I couldn't seem to stop it. It was super upsetting to me, because I have worked hard for years to not be that kind of person. Thankfully it did go away, usually about the time my 3rd post-baby period was over. It was just magically GONE.

    So humoring her for now mght be a good idea.

    I wll say that if she feels her child is threatened, then she does have a right to make rules to keep her safe. My mother was really upset that I wouldn't let Wiz use a public men's room alone at age 7. I took him into the women's room iwth me. We lived in an urban area and at least 1 time a week there was a report of a child under 10 being assaulted in a men's room. Her town is smaller, far safer, and it wouldn't be as big a deal there. But we lived in an area where it was NOT safe.

    She flat out told me that she would not "pander" to my fears, that he was going to use the men's room alone when she took him places. So I didn't let her take him places for a week.. She was FURIOUS. She also learned that she didn't get to make the safety rules. Not when it was my kids. I respected her wishes when possible, but nothing and no one puts my child in danger. I also handed her a stack of SIX reports of sexual assault/attempted kidnapping that had happened in the last 30 days within 15 miles of our home.

    She got super quiet when I started reading the reports aloud to her. She turned pale because two were at places she intended to take Wiz - on days she intended to be there that I had refused to allow her to take him. It scared her, and I was glad it did. She didn't have a clue what was going on in our area and living in a city has different rules than living in a small town. It just is different.

    even though you are very close to each other, in terms of distance, her reaction makes me wonder if someone she had thought was okay was found to have hurt someone, maybe even to have hurt a child.

    Your daughter is feeling very protective now, part of pregnancy, and I owuld be patient with her.
  9. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Thats true Susie. I have a feeling it will go away with the pregnancy if she hasnt been this way before. I have normally been allowed to take my son's older child wherever I have wanted. I have dragged her all over. Cant wait until that happens again because I miss my baby to death. I think the fact you said a 5 year old really hit home with me. My oldest granddaughter is 5 and her mother took her to MO this summer against all of our wishes. She broke her promise about how the living arrangement was going to be...sigh. I havent seen her in 4 months now and it is killing me. I used to see her every week.
  10. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I'd bet that when gd got home the "big" topic of conversation was your friend. Five year old girls are so talky and "into" social situations. Since your difficult child is making progress I would call and tell her "I'm sorry that my choice to include my friend for the movie upset you. He's really a nice person and it didn't occur to me that it might be a problem. It won't happen again."

    Sounds a bit severe, lol, I know. on the other hand, alot of us have difficult child's who block contact and it can get lonely and deny the grands contact with the other family members. To me it's worth it to eat a little crow and let her feel that she's in charge with your loving support. DDD
  11. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I have a different view of this: I raised my kids the way I wanted to. Sometimes I remember giving my mother silly rules they had to follow when they saw my first child. So I pretty much listen to their rules about their kids (well, ok, I have ONE grandchild). I can actually see why daughter would maybe not want you to bring boyfriends around grand. Does she know your friend? If not, it may help if she met him first.

    Now if Daughter was unmarried, living in your house, taking your money, etc....I would probably tell her I was actually both of their caregivers and I will do what I want to do. But it sounds like she is independent and hub is supporting them well enough that she doesn't have to work. She is a difficult, nervous person and probably controlling and if you confront her too harshly perhaps you will not be allowed to see your grandaughter at all. Is she the type who would punish you this way if you disobeyed her rules? If so, is it worth it to get into a power struggle with her and not see your grandaughter? Has to be your decision. You know your daughter more than we know what she will and won't do and how far she would take a disagreement.

    I hope you keep posting and let us know how it goes and congrats on grandchild #2 :)
  12. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Just to be clear on this though for my mind. Did she say no friends at all or no male friends? The way I read it was she said you couldnt have any friends near your granddaughter which seems a bit strange to me. When my oldest one was here we often had play dates for her with one of my friends (female) who had a granddaughter the same age. Now I havent had the chance yet to take my youngest granddaughter out by myself yet, eventually I will and I will take her to see this same friend. I dont understand not letting a grandparent take a child out somewhere with other people.
  13. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Janet, I totally understand what you are saying. in my opinion it is important for kids to see their grands with other friends, to not spend time only with the gparent and gkid. it lets the gkid see the gparent as more of a person than of a personal entertainment system, Know what I mean?? BUT for now, while the daughter is pregnant, I wouldn't push this one. I would wait a few months until after the birth of the child. tHen I would push. I wouldn't let it go on forever, but I would be patient for now.
  14. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    I did not answer this right away because I wanted to think carefully.

    My initial response is that I don't see anything out of line with your daughter's request. I too would be very uncomfortable if my mom's "afternoon with my daughter" turned into a my mom going on a G-Movie date with a "male friend". I am going to guess your daughter was caught (very much) off guard because you did not tell her beforehand or even after the fact. I take it she heard the news from your grand? That would probably make me feel even more uncomfortable.

    Now, please know that I am not insinuating that you did ANYTHING wrong or that your "male friend" was out of line. I think you are letting this turn into a battle of the wills with your daughter - and I don't think it's the movie that's the issue. As far as what your granddaughter may and may not do when she is with you...that is your daughter's prerogative as a mother. My mom spent many a day with my kids and always gave me a heads up to what her plans were...not because she was asking my permission, but just out of courtesy. She might say "My friend Brenda and I were talking and we thought it might be fun to take her grand-kids and your boys to see Aladdin and then to the McD's playland for a quick lunch...what do you think?" Even now, she is "babysitting" my 14 & 17yo's next week while H and I are out of town and she is all ready running menu ideas and her plans by me for my input.

    As far as your 5 year old GD wanting constant attention - that's pretty typical for a 5 year old, especially with a new baby on the way. I wouldn't worry. Maybe granddaughter really believes her mommy "never thinks of (you)" or maybe she is just being a 5 year old. My kids' kindergarten door had a sign that said "We won't believe everything your child tells us about you if you promise not to believe everything they tell you about us! Love the K-5 Teachers". Enough said. The fact that your daughter invited you to dinner immediately afterwards means that your daughter does think about you and didn't want your feelings to be hurt. And I think grandparent's day is one of those "non-holidays", and a phone call is more than adequate. Unless you guys have a family tradition going back to daughter's childhood of celebrating it?

    I think you should cut her some slack for now - it sounds like she overcame an EDD and has always been high strung. Add pregnancy, a precocious 5 yo and a traveling husband - she is likely exhausted. Maybe you can spend an afternoon or so a week at her house and spend time with your grand and your daughter? I am sure she would welcome some company as well as someone who can entertain the 5 yo while your daughter naps or (later) nurses the baby? I bet she would appreciate your company and your help.

    And no, I don't think your daughter sounds even remotely abusive from what you've posted. Controlling, maybe.