estanged children

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by rmccart, Jan 21, 2013.

  1. rmccart

    rmccart New Member

    This is my first posting so here goes ....

    My 20 year old daughter has decided that Im not to be involved in her life anymore. This has me heart broken.
    I am newly divorced after 19 years of marraige, I have a 27 year old step daughter who lives with her mom, the 20 year old lived with me until 2 weeks ago.She has chosen to move in with her mother after living in my condo for the past year.Until friday there was no contact other then get out of my life. Now there is very small communication still no person connection. After going thru a divorce, losing a parent I thought everything else from here forward would be easy, wrong !

  2. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    Sorry you are hurting and welcome to the board.

    You can't force your adult daughter to keep contact and any attempt to do so would probably backfire in this point. However without knowing more about you or your daughter or your situation, a common life experience says that this kind of 'want you out of my life'-stints are usually not permanent.

    You don't tell more about the circumstances around her decision to leave, but if you had a fight or some disagreement and if you did or said something you shouldn't have or what you would want to take back now in calmer situation, you can apologise for that. But other than that don't take her actions to your responsibility. Try to be calm and adult and not to take it personally. She is a legal adult and she has a right to move out from your house. However it is up to you how much you are willing to help her in this situation.

    Try not to feed her drama. Don't beg her, don't bribe her, don't blackmail her, don't harass her. Just let her know that you are always open to have a relationship with her and would like to meet her regularly and would be happy to offer her a dinner. And remind her about that time to time (but not too often.) It is very likely that she is again happy to have contact with you in few months after she gets over whatever made her angry.
  3. rmccart

    rmccart New Member

    So basically keep my distance and hurt quietly ??
    Not an eassy thing to do.
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I agree with Suzir and it does make it hard to help when we don't know why she made this decision. I'm sorry your heart is hurting.
  5. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Welcome to the board. Without knowing more of the circumstances of why your daughter left, it's difficult for us to say anything really meaningful. However, with just the simplest facts, she is an adult and can decide where she wants to live. If you are hurting, perhaps letting her know that and making a request of her to talk to you about her feelings once she feels ready to do that in the hopes that you two can work it out might be the next step. All you can really do is share the way you feel if she is willing to listen. Even to adult children, divorce is traumatic, perhaps she is still working through your divorce from her mother and needs the space to figure it out and doesn't know how to communicate SuZir said, keep the lines of communication open, stay centered, let her know you love her and you are there for her when she is ready to talk..............and let go for now. Certainly not easy, many of us are detached from our kids, it's heartbreaking and often we have no choice, for various reasons. I hope you find peace.
  6. rmccart

    rmccart New Member

    So I am still intangled in her finances, do I just cut all strings? Do I change the locks on my doors? Do I pack what stuff is still left and send it to her mothers? Why does it feel like she went over to the dark side ???
  7. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    How you react right now will affect what you get for a long-term outcome.

    Changing locks is fine - no matter who moves out, if you don't get all the keys, you DO have a right to change the -locks. Beyond that... it really depends on the "big picture". But reacting while you are still hurting and raw will probably not produce the best outcomes.

    Do you have a professional you can talk to about these things?
  8. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I can see how you would feel that way. Well, we all make different decisions regarding finances, locks, 'stuff.' Perhaps the best way to deal with it is to let her know that her moving precipitated a number of decisions that will now need to be made at some point and that you and she will need to have a conversation regarding those issues. I don't think you should cut all strings until you make an attempt to talk to her. If that fails and she is unwilling to even talk to you, if it were me, I would get very clear on what my willingness is in terms of helping her financially, my feelings about the locks and her stuff and I would communicate that to her, essentially warning her that you intend to take action now. If you still don't hear anything, then you will have to decide if that is the point where you cut off your financial support and change the locks. I think a series of sincere communications need to take place before any severe action is taken. It doesn't sound as if you are clear as to why she left, how long she intends to be gone, etc. She may be having an emotional reaction to your divorce, we all grieve differently and at different times, or she may be seriously moving out. Divorces are devastating to the whole family unit, so I imagine you are all reeling from the impact of it. It takes time for the dust to settle and for everyone to get back on level ground. Like many of us here, you might require some professional support to get through your own feelings and now your daughters choices too. Or, you and your daughter, if it feels right, may opt for counseling together so you can move through whatever is on your plate right now. Keep posting, it helps. I hope you find your way easily through this, it's hard, I know.
  9. rmccart

    rmccart New Member

    I do and I am, it has been 3 weeks and its still early in the grieving, fluctuates between overwhelming sadness and anger. I have backed off and trying to let it come to me.
  10. rmccart

    rmccart New Member

    I really think this is harder then the divorce ! I think part of the issue is that I am in a relationship that is not with her mom and part of living with me was that i was her trust, I was her count on person.
  11. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    A lot of kids, even grown kids, don't like to see Dad or Mom living with New Honey. Now I don't know the circumstances of your divorce, but if you left, she may blame you. It is common for grown kids to take sides and then switch sides and then take sides again, especially if the divorce was not amicable. Again, without knowing why she is angry, it's hard to say. If you cheated on her mom...hey, what did you expect? If you made the decision to leave and then hooked up with this new women right away, it takes time to adjust. in my opinion it's best to leave the family out of your relationships for at least a year or until you are almost engaged. It's weird for even grown kids to see their parents dating and sleeping with somebody who is not their other parent. My parents went through a nasty divorce when I was in my early 20's and I didn't do well with it and was not excited about either dad's girlfriend or mom's new boyfriend and would not be friendly to either. Immature? Not all 20 year olds can logically think, "I want Dad/Mom to be happy and XXX makes him happy." I got sick of the bad talking they did about each other too and pulled away from both of them.

    Without knowing what is going on, it is really hard for us to know what you should do. Obviously, you don't want to say and that's ok. My best advice, without knowing the circumstances, is to give her all the space she needs because you can't force her to think differently. Cutting off her finances is your call. She's of adult age. I have no idea how much of her expenses you pay, if she's in college on your dime, if you still pay her cell phone etc. I don't know if she works.

    It hurts, I know, but do what you know is best, NOT what makes YOU feel good. Depending on the circumstances of why she cut you off, she may be back next week.
  12. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Sending understanding hugs. I have a easy child son who has distanced himself....not just from me but from "the family" in it's entireity. There is a sadness in my heart that has been there since his decision but I really want to scream "WHY?"
    Sometimes there are painful events that we just can't understand. He was really one of the two I was closest to. It's hard. on the other hand, you sound like you are opting for the best choice. Pull yourself together and wait to see how it unfolds. I find comfort in knowing that he "knows" that he was always loved and respected. I'm sorry you are going thru this. Hugs. DDD
  13. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Having an estranged child is not easy by a long's painful, there is anger, then of course because you love them regardless there is the worry. Having the estranged child be a stepchild makes it no less so when you've done the parenting for any number of years.

    Katie has done it to me twice. First time I actually went through a grieving process. Then I learned to let it go. She was an adult. She had her own choices to make in life and if she couldn't see that I loved her as I did her siblings, well then, it was actually her loss. Second time stung, but I got over it faster nor did it effect me the same way.

    How you react to the situation would depend on the circumstances as well as your relationship with your daughter (s). It could be she just needs some time to realize some things. Such as just because you divorced her father doesn't mean you don't still love her the same. (there is probably some doubt there and if she has anyone feeding the doubt it is making it worse)

    I'd say that communication hasn't been completely cut off is a good sign. I'd keep the door open and give her time to realize whatever it is she needs to realize. However if you are entangled in her finances.......then I'd meet with her and decide what needs to be done there. I'd be hard pressed to help a child financially who did not behave as if they wanted a relationship with me. You don't get to have your cake and eat it too sort of thing.

  14. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I can see why your daughter might feel 'left out' of a relationship you're now involved in, especially since the divorce is so new and feelings so raw. My guess, without knowing too much, is that she might really feel abandoned by you. It's hard with kids, they can't always verbalized their deepest feelings so it's much easier to create a smoke screen, such as a dramatic exit, rather then admit the more vulnerable feelings of sorrow, abandonment, fear, etc. It's easier to be angry then it is to be sad, so many of us opt for anger, especially young people who haven't gotten their communication tools together yet.

    Just with the peripheral knowledge we have, it does sound as if you really love her and want to work it out with her. That alone and some good communication in a supportive, loving way, will work wonders over time. Sometimes all of us need some reassurance, we all need to know how much we're loved and valued, she may not have been quite ready for another woman to be part of your life. I recall a friend of mine telling his only daughter, after he and his wife split, that girlfriends may come and go, but she would always be his special girl, no one could take her place, she was his heart..............I happened to be there when he told her that and she just beamed, you could see in her eyes how much that meant to her. She was probably about 18 then. Your daughter may really need to hear how much you love her and that she is special and will not be replaced by a new love in your life, no matter what. She's lost a lot recently, with the divorce and now a new relationship in your life. Without knowing details, I can understand how she might be hurting.
  15. rmccart

    rmccart New Member

    So after many attempts to build a bridge with my biologocal daughter there is little to no response, do I just stop reaching out? do I continue? the next step in the grieving process is anger, this is what Im starting to feel. How dare she treat me this way after I would step in front of a bus for her !!!! What next ???
  16. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    There isn't much of a response because at her age there is very little you can do. You can't force her to talk to you. I would keep reaching out. Many of us have been in your shoes. I am one of them. Do w hat you can, but go on with your life. You have a life aside from her too and you need to live it. There is a great chance that she will come back, but nobody here can tell you the magic formula to make her do it. We have no idea why she moved out. Is she angry at you because you have a girlfriend? Is Mom filling her head with stuff? Is she angry at your house rules? Do you KNOW why she left?
    Maybe you should write her a heartfelt letter. It can't hurt. It doesn't guarantee anything, but it is a way to communicate where you can maybe say things you would not say out loud and to state your case without her being there to cut you off. Whatever you do, though, don't sound angry in the letter. I know you're angry, but putting it down means it's on record forever. I would just tell her how much you love her. If she doesn't have compassion or caring after that, I would move on. You probably could use a psychologist for this too. A lot of men don't like to ask for help, but this is a very hurtful situation. You could probably use an outside perspective and help in going on with your life and accepting that she will only come to you in her own time. It's hard to accept. I had to. There is plenty of joy you can have in your life even while you are estranged from your daughter and you deserve to have that joy.
  17. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I agree with MWM. Perhaps limit your reaching out, allow her to come around. You have every right to feel anger, she's not treated you well. I've gone through many, many different feelings with my difficult child. As I mentioned before, sometimes the hardest thing to do, is to do nothing. You might read the blurb at the bottom of my post here, on detachment, it's helpful. Having gone through many stages in this process with my own difficult child, I believe it's much like the process of death/grief, those 5 stages, denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. If you're angry, allow it, that's what is real for you. As MWM mentioned, seeking help for yourself may assist you in working through YOUR feelings about your daughter's choices. There really is nothing else you can do. Hang in there.............
  18. rmccart

    rmccart New Member

    I currently use a mental health professional, have been since the spouse walked out. I do believe I am having detachment issues, lots of loss in my life the past 3 years as in my daughters. What does difficult child stand for ?
  19. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    That's great, it's tough going through so much loss, I'm glad you have support. difficult child is our term for our difficult children, it stands for Gift from God.
  20. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    Rmccart, first of all, welcome to the board. This is a wonderful and supportive environment. As we say, glad you found us, sorry you had to find us.

    I would like to offer my perspective as a child who is estranged from my parents. I've not seen or spoken to them in several years, and don't see the situation changing in the near future.

    Here's what I would suggest to you (and what I wish I could have had from my own parents). Clearly your daughter is hurting, but she doesn't feel she can talk to you about it. I would let her know that you love her, you always will love her, and you recognize that she's in terrible pain. That you'd like to work through anything between the two of you, but also understand that she might need time and space before she's ready. Then sit back and do nothing further. Give her the time and space to miss you, to get past whatever anger, hurt and resentment she's feeling, and start remembering the good things about your relationship with her. At that point she may be ready to resume contact.

    Before she's ready, any pushing you do will just drive her further away. And then it becomes harder to reconcile should you ever get to that point.