Daughter not speaking

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Karrots, Feb 8, 2017.

  1. Karrots

    Karrots New Member

    A month or so ago, my 19 year old granddaughter and her mother, my daughter Terry, who is borderline bipolar, came to my house. Shelly is rooming at college with another granddaughter, her cousin Jenni. Shelly started spilling information on Jenni, that she was partying, drinking, as well as "vaping" pot before class, and had a friend who was experimenting with heroin. She did ask me not to tell my other daughter, Callie. Terry has always been jealous of Callie, and has passed that along to her daughter, Shelly. There has always been friction between the two girls also. After a couple days of keeping this upsetting info to myself, I came to feel that Callie has the right to know what was going on. I made a conscious decision to tell her what I had been told, knowing Terry and Shelly would be angry. Hindsight being 20/20, I should have spoken to Jenni first, but I didn't think of that then. I've told all of them if the tables had been turned, I'd have done the same for Terry, had it been her daughter. Neither Callie nor Jenni are angry at me or anyone else. Terry and Shelly have turned it all around on me, I "favor" Callie and Jenni, and Terri has always "had to live in Callie's shadow". I made Shelly the "bad guy" when all she was doing was venting. Terri also wrote an email telling me she won't try to live up to my expectations anymore, and she won't allow me to do the same thing to her children. I'm not sure what I've done to her or her children! My grandson was here the other day for a few hours, and says he just stay's out of his mother's and Shelly's drama. I wish I had been able to do that also, but I was honestly afraid for my granddaughter Jenni. Does anyone have any insight for me? Was I wrong? We have family events coming up and I'd like to be able to attend without being on eggshells.
    Thanks for listening (reading) my "venting"!
  2. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Hi Karrots

    What a difficult situation.

    I think you nailed it: They asked for confidentiality. Deciding to break that agreement, it would have been better to tell them face to face. You set yourself up for their "turning the tables." You knew they would be angry. And they are. But they are not blameless (I will get to that below.)

    I am a senior citizen who has almost all of my life had a difficult relationship with a sister 5 years younger. I too asked my now deceased mother, not to tell my secrets. I always believed my mother had kept my confidence. When her mind began slipping at the end, I realized she had not. It hurt me, too. Perhaps I identify with Terry and Shelly.

    But you are human. And you acted with love and responsibility. Of course the secret could not be kept.

    If I think about it, maybe you were "set up." I mean, what responsible grandmother and mother could (or should) keep such a secret.
    Perhaps there was also the ulterior motive of dishing dirt on Callie and Jenni. If the thinking is that you favor them, there had to be some suspicion that this gossip would weigh on you, and maybe the intent was to disgrace or damage your favorable sense of this granddaughter and to cause you to have to go to Callie and cause her worry and pain.

    So nobody here is blameless. Neither Shelly or Terry will cop to their motivations, I fear. So confronting them would not help you. But understand, in likelihood you were set up.

    I think the thing to focus on is what you could have done differently, which is to have told them up front, I cannot keep that confidence; or failing that, telling them prior to breaking your commitment, to spare yourself the drama.

    Of course telling Callie was correct.

    But I would try to minimize the conflict, by apologizing and letting go, their motivations for gossiping.

    That is what it was, gossip.

    Imagine. Telling a grandmother to keep her mouth shut, about compromising and potentially dangerous behavior of a granddaughter. Ridiculous.

    In any event. Stop suffering. You acted impulsively to protect your family. I think most of us would have done the same thing. Forgive yourself.

    I would clean it up with a quick apology, and not fall on your sword. If they try to skewer you do not accept it. They were very much more wrong than you were, I think.
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2017
  3. Karrots

    Karrots New Member

  4. Karrots

    Karrots New Member

    Copabanana I also think you nailed it! I realized while reading your reply that those were the thoughts I was unable to put into words. Thank you so much for your understanding. Again, I will wait to clear my head and not react before I send the four of them my comments and apology, none of us live close enough to meet in person. Callie has always been my "roller coaster" child, either laughing all the time, or crying! I felt she was difficult, without being naughty; I didn't understand it at the time, her bipolar-ish disorder only being diagnosed after she went through a divorce.

    I am so happy I found this community, I feel unburdened right now, thank you again!
  5. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    I will chime in both my sadness for you and that since Callie was not her mother and you were asked not to tell her, everything is not a family affair...nothing splits families spart like telling things told in confidence. My mom did that and I learned not to tell her anything and we were estranged.

    If somebody says "dont tell"...before they even tell YOU maybe say,"Then its best I dont know what I am not supposed to tell."

    Hopefully this will die down with a heartfelt apology. I eould tell them in person. It means more in my opinion than a letter that they may be too angry to read or may misinterpret. Your family dynamics will determine how this plays out.

    Please dont spend time beating yourself up. We all make decisions that we later find upsets others. The key is not to talk about this to callie anymore.

    Hugs and love snd so much good wishes
  6. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Karrots. I sense you may feel guilty that you did not "understand." If so, please try to let it go.

    Almost all of us on this forum feel guilt about our child or children, for one thing or another. What we did or did not do. What we did or did not know. You get it!

    Because that our children suffer, we always bring back to ourselves. What did we do wrong? Where did we go wrong? What should we have known, faced, accepted--or not?

    Many, many people are not initially diagnosed with mental illness, and often it is because it has not fully manifested until much later in life. In my own case with my son I flat out REFUSED to accept it. And still have a hard time. I have my reasons. They may be wrong ones, but what can I say--this is how I feel.
  7. Karrots

    Karrots New Member

    Callie is Jenni's mother. They live in another state, but both girls room together at college. I wish I'd been left out of the equation altogether, and that my younger daughter had opted to speak to her sister herself, out of love. Instead I was put in the middle, and made a decision. Thanks for your good wishes!

    SomewhereOutThere, I love this advice! "If somebody says "dont tell"...before they even tell YOU maybe say,"Then its best I dont know what I am not supposed to tell."

    Certainly will use it if need be in the future! =)
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2017
  8. AppleCori

    AppleCori Well-Known Member

    Hi and welcome, Karrots!

    So, what exactly was the reason for your daughter and granddaughter telling you this information about your other granddaughter?

    So that you could worry and do nothing with it?

    So that you know about a potentially harmful situation regarding your granddaughter and not be able to tell your granddaughter' mother?

    So that if something bad happened, you would share the guilt of knowing and not informing her parents?

    I, for one, don't think you owe anyone an apology.

    I would tell them all than anytime you are given information that one of your grandchildren may be in trouble, you will share that info with whomever you feel needs to know, and if they don't like it, oh well.

    They are wrong for putting you in the middle of this.

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  9. Mamacat

    Mamacat Active Member

    My son was using heroin. My daughter knew something was wrong with him. She went to him. He told her the truth but said don't tell mom. She told me anyway . she realized the gravity of the situation. Thank God she did because ii got him to my house where he stayed for a year. He now owns his own window washing company and is doing very well. He and I are both grateful to her for telling me. I don't know what would have happened if she hadn't. Applecorl was right.
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