Estranged difficult child and grandchild

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Siobhan Harper, Feb 3, 2013.

  1. Siobhan Harper

    Siobhan Harper New Member

    First, I am so thankful to find this site. My husband and I felt alone the entire time we raised our GMG (from age 10 to move-out at 18, plus several "bounce backs"). State system never mentioned the words "attachment disorder," for which our GMG was a prime candidate and, indeed, from which he continues to suffer to this day.

    We've done it all (or it feels that way). Dealt with hysterical tantrums, lying, refusal to accept responsibility for ANYTHING, escalating behavior from bad to illegal...the list goes on and on.

    Today, after one failed marriage, he lives with a young woman and has a daughter. Before her birth, he reconciled a long estrangement with us, seemed appreciative of our acceptance of the young woman and coming baby, despite lack of marriage. Both of them assured us we would play an integral role in the baby's life. We were there for the birth, and it was the most wonderful experience. After my years of infertility, seeing and holding that hours-old little life was heavenly. All she ever had to do to make me happy was to breathe.

    To cut to the chase, once everyone was home from the hospital, difficult child and Baby Mama twice cut off all contact, with no explanation. We are in the middle of the second estrangement, going on 7 months. No explanation from him or her, after fairly regular visits, tons of money spent to help (the least of my concerns), and full knowledge of our deep love for baby.

    Baby Mama recently made contact with husband and asked him over...difficult child was "leaving them." This has happened before; he always comes back. difficult child served in military and has PTSD and is supposed to be on helpful medications, but won't stay on them. This is usually when he leaves or has really bad temper tantrums. Has not physically hurt the baby but has been known to hurt Baby Mama. She will not leave him...has no role model for self-esteem in a woman, would rather take difficult child on any terms. I'm so afraid for what may happen to her one day, but even more afraid for baby when she's a little older. We contacted the police during one really frightening episode, but by the time the cops arrived, difficult child had calmed down, cleaned up apartment, and told cops WE were keeping their baby from them. Actually, difficult child had brought baby to us to care for, while he had it out with Baby Mama. I told police everything, but they said they didn't see evidence of a problem and so took her away from me and back into difficult child's household. That was the last time I saw her.

    My question: Has anybody else experienced anything like this? How did you handle it? Any opinions about pursuing grandparents' rights through the courts? We are grieving this whole situation the same as if our difficult child and baby had died...honestly, that might have been easier, because then we would at least know that all were out of danger. Horrible to say, even more horrible to feel. We love our difficult child, our beloved granddaughter, and probably could love Baby Mama if we could ever really get to know her.

    Sorry this post is all over the place. I'm just a hot mess right now. husband and I are arguing about it, something we rarely do. We've been married almost 23 years and have weathered so much, I hate for us to start attacking each other now. I'd really appreciate any insight, or heck, even just some sympathy at this point! Don't know where to turn (am already in therapy).
  2. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    Hi and welcome!

    I don't have experience or even much advice so just wanting to offer sympathy. I don't even have grandkids yet, thank goodness. It has to be very hard to be cut off from your child's and grandchild's lives.

    Your situation is very difficult. While you certainly did a right thing when you called the police, it is also easy to see why your son would see that as an ultimate betrayal (after all, he could have lost his child and from his point of view, if he is immature difficult child I assume he is, it would have because you called a police, not so much because of his actions.) Cutting contact after that could be expected. But still, you did the right thing.

    A cynic in me would like to say, that they will come around when they need your support next time. But I understand that it doesn't make you feel any better.

    I'm not from North America and grandparents rights don't exist at all there I live, so I don't have any knowledge about that. But before pursuing legal action, do consider that that action would likely firmly cement you to 'enemy camp' for your difficult child and his SO. So before taking an action on that, it could be worthwhile to try to pursue a relationship through your grandchild's mother. Being a cynic again, relationships like your son's don't usually last. And after they break up, the child will likely stay with mother. The mother doesn't have a complex emotional package with you like your son does and she is more likely to be open with contact with you, if she just sees you as an asset.

    I know that can sound cold hearted and none of us would like to 'buy' a presence of our grandchildren with financial, practical or emotional support, but that may still be the most convenient way. Let's face it, I don't like my mother in law at all and she is mean to me and even to other of my kids at time. If she wasn't such a help in practical level, I would long time ago cut the contact and let my husband keep contact as he wishes and arrange the kids have contact. Shoot, I may had even tried to denied a contact with my other child. But because she, aside of being a PITA, has helped us keep our wheels running all these years, I do play nice and try to appreciate her good qualities.

    I'm sorry how hurtful it has to feel to have the kind of relationship with your son, you are having. It doesn't help that given the circumstances it makes sense. That kind of coming closer, pushing away type of behaviour from him does make sense from attachment point of view. But for you it has to be devastating. And let's face, also for him. I don't know if there is any other way out of that cycle but him to mature and work his issues. And that is something you can not make him do. How well does he function otherwise? Is he able to hold a job etc.? Is there substance abuse issues? Is he able to keep other relationships going on (long term friends etc.)?
  3. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    SH, good morning and welcome. I'm sorry you are going through all of this with your difficult child and your granddaughter.

    First of all, so we can easily identify you and remember your stats, it's helpful to put a signature at the bottom of your posts, like we all have, which you can access by clicking on the settings button on the upper right hand corner.

    I am a grandmother too, so I can feel your heartache from a personal point of view. I went to court and won guardianship for my granddaughter. Here in CA. there is a wonderful organization called Grandparents parenting again which assisted me in writing up the court papers. There are so many grandparents raising their grandchildren, it's almost epidemic, there is likely an attorney you can find who can give you some advice about how to go about getting your rights, you do have rights as grandparents.

    This stuff is very hard on relationships, you might consider therapy for you and your husband, so you two can get on the same page and stand united. That would be a positive and healthy step for you to gain back your connection with each other.

    When I began the process with my granddaughter I knew nothing, I researched a lot of it online. Do searches asking exactly what you want to know, find organizations in your area which will provide guidance for you. Even CPS (child protective services) may help you. What I did was to get as much information as I could, find out exactly what your rights as grandparents are, what you have to do to enforce those rights. As time goes by, you may indeed be put in a position to protect that child from an abusive father and a mother who won't protect her daughter against the babies father. You might want to gather the information now to find out how you go about gaining guardianship down the road if that is in your plan. You need information about your rights. If you have the resources, hire an attorney who specializes in this. If you don't have the resources, start researching yourself. Ask your therapist if she/he knows someone you can talk to about your rights.

    I had an extremely close relationship with my granddaughter from her birth on. When her mothers' (my daughter) life blew up and she couldn't put it back together, I realized my granddaughter was no longer safe. I took her, got CPS involved, immediately went to court and got a temporary guardianship (you have to prove the child is in IMMEDIATE danger to get temporary guardianship) and once I got that I petitioned the court for permanent guardianship. I did that all without an attorney, I did it all myself. Within 5 months I had permanent guardianship. I had a Social Worker from CPS help me. I had that grandparenting organization help me, I did enormous research, I read books, I called an attorney who was connected with CPS and family services and she allowed me to pick her brain. I found resources all over the place by my sheer force of will and my determination to help my granddaughter. You can do all of that too. Step by step. Get the facts first, then move forward.

    You're in a crummy situation and I know it feels powerless, but you aren't powerless. Get information. That will help you decide what your next step is. I'm sorry you're in this. Take good care of yourself too. Find ways to nurture your relationship with your husband. Make a plan with your husband as to exactly what you are BOTH willing to do about your granddaughter. That's an important step, if you are at odds about that now, that crevice between you will later turn into a huge valley you won't be able to traverse anymore. Many gentle hugs to you. I wish you a smooth ride.
  4. Siobhan Harper

    Siobhan Harper New Member

    Thanks, SuZir and recoveringdisabler, for your responses and suggestions. by the way, I've created a signature that I will try to use at the end of this post.

    Am especially interested in the information regarding grandparents' rights. From what little research I've done, they seem to vary from state to state. I live in rural New England, so I'll explore the possibilities here. It has occured to me to talk to CPS "before" anything happens, so that we would have a contact who knows us if a crisis occurs.

    GMG walked out on SO and baby this weekend following an argument. Took their only car. He has done this before but has always come back, and she always takes him back, and the cycle continues. She reached out to husband, who both saw her and continually texted over the weekend, offering any help she needs. She always walks right up to the line of accepting help, then backs off and doesn't respond at all. Until lately, she had no contact with her parents, but this weekend, her mother came and stayed and drove her to work. (Note: Mother has only recently left longterm boyfriend who molested and beat up her and her children, including difficult child's SO. Mother has a history of going back to the abuser. Other family includes drug users.)

    difficult child holds jobs short-term, then quits or is fired, due to unreliability. He receives disability payments as a result of combat injuries in Afghanistan. He makes and loses friends easily. Basically charms young women, they get together, then find out what lies beneath the polite, put-together surface. First wife bailed (wisely!) when the hitting started. Current SO just wants to be with someone, has only a HS diploma, so holds low-paying jobs. They were working alternating shifts to handle baby care; don't know what the plan is now. Again, we're ready, willing, and able to help, but she just can't seem to make the final step that would allow us to assist.

    It terrifies me to think what may happen to my grandchild; everyday is one day closer to her becoming cognizant of all the dysfunction in her life. She's already been exposed to domestic violence and drug use as an infant. She'll be one-year-old this month; I'd give anything to get her out of this hell before irreparable damage is done. New research shows that the first 5 years are the most critical of a child's life; long before they can express their impressions, brain damage can occur simply from being in a super stressful environment. As much as I love my difficult child, I'm most worried about the baby.

    Again, thank you for the encouragement, empathy, and suggestions. I'm going to start serious research on grandparental rights in my state asap.
  5. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    The domestic abuse cycle within your granddaughter's mother's family is huge. It is an extremely difficult cycle to break. Not to be a naysayer but if your granddaughter grows up in that family, she herself will find someone to abuse her unless she gets help. I was just at a Dr. appointment the other day and the nurse asked me if I was in a safe relationship. I am however I told her I thought it was wonderful that they ask that now. She told me that statistics show that it takes 12 inquires like that for the victim of abuse to acknowledge it, IF it is acknowledged at all. Your granddaughter's mom is under an enormous disadvantage to get help and the cycle then, will unfortunately continue.

    I am not advocating you get guardianship for your granddaughter, the other side of the picture is you can learn to detach from the situation. For some, that is the right decision to make. There is no right or wrong, only what you are willing to do. By virtue of my love and connection with my granddaughter, there was no other choice for me, I would have done whatever it took to get her safe.

    As I mentioned, once I began that journey, I sought out a lot of help. The first call I made was to CPS, which was so difficult because it was my own daughter I was reporting. In hindsight, without all the emoting and fear, I see that my efforts were met with much support. I found people within the system who gave me the steps to take.

    Good luck to you SH, your granddaughter is fortunate to have you in her corner. (((HUGS))))
  6. Siobhan Harper

    Siobhan Harper New Member

    An update: difficult child's SO had asked my husband to pick her up from work last night. He went (I was planning to accompany but got a migraine and couldn't), only to discover after some waiting that she wasn't there! He drove to their apartment, where he saw difficult child's car; apparently, he came back after walking out this weekend. Husband saw lights in their apartment window and called from the parking lot, but they didn't answer, so he came home. Whole deal took about two hours (after dark and in single digit temperatures, I might add). No phone call from the SO, definitely no contact from difficult child, so we are left to assume the cycle of dysfunction continues.

    In my mind, I had already started thinking of ways to gently ease into SO's life, since she reached out to husband. Had already gotten to the place of eventual legal guardianship of granddaughter, keeping SO in her life but helping her to set and achieve some goals she once talked about, like nursing school. Even an open adoption...anything that would make us legally and financially responsible for this innocent baby, so that she could have a shot at a normal life. Guardianship or open adoption could leave the door open to difficult child and SO, so they wouldn't feel their baby was "stolen." But I surely put the cart way before the horse. I should know better. The let-down is huge, but I also have to admit, a certain amount of relief came with it. So many conflicting emotions.

    Still thinking I will explore grandparents' rights here and legal guardianship options, so I'll at least have the knowledge if and when I need/can use it. So thankful for those suggestions. Right now, I just tired, the kind of tired you feel when the adrenaline from a crisis has suddenly disappeared and you know you aren't going to be able to do anything. Bet I'm not the only one here to know that feeling!

    Anyway, many thanks to all for support and suggestions. Just finding this support site makes this most recent installment of our life's soap opera worth it.

  7. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Welcome to the board SH :)

    Best advice I can give you is to document, document, document. If you see abuse / neglect of grandchild report immediately to cps. I know that isn't easy to do when your own child is involved, but if the situation is to improve that is what has to be done.

    That was the biggest mistake I made with Katie. I documented but I failed to report because I was trying so hard to work with her to teach her parenting skills. So my reporting started late into the game. (our cps is not the best either by a long shot) I did, however, work with her pediatrician doctor and managed to give pediatrician doctor all the background information I had........which resulted in pediatrician doctor on the brink of reporting and having Kayla and Alex removed from the home....timed with some other things that were going on and Katie bolted to MO. That cost me 6 yrs of the kids lives.

    This time? I'm being more careful. Last time I was upfront and honest with Katie when I went to cps (which was numerous times). This time I'm keeping my mouth shut and just observing closely. I've been to the police once already. Katie doesn't know that as far as I know. If I have the slightest indication those kids are being neglected/abused I'll report it to cps. I don't see them often though so that doesn't make it easy. My situation is a bit more complicated and involved, however it has gone on for nearly 13 yrs too.

    Do go to a lawyer and learn your rights. Knowledge is the key.

    I'm so sorry you're having to go through this.

  8. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Good morning SH, thanks for the update. I know that tired feeling all too well. My first thought upon reading your post is that this cycle will continue, your difficult child leaving and coming back, the abuse to the girlfriend, the baby in the middle, my understanding of these issues, the attachment disorder, the abuse cycle, all of it, is that it doesn't just end, it escalates. I think you are wise to continue your research into your rights, there may come a moment in time where you may need all of that information quickly. Even if all you do is make that call to CPS to protect the child.

    I saw the handwriting on the wall for a long time, I recall those feelings of relief and let down vividly and it just kept getting worse. And, when that moment finally happened, as I knew it would, it was like a run-away train I couldn't get off of. As I said, it took about 5 months to get all the legalities worked out, but those 5 months were harrowing. My unsolicited advice to you is find out all you can right now, when things are relatively calm, talk to authorities, find out names of people you can call immediately, get the paperwork. Also, the usual scenario of abuse is that even if the police are called in, the victim will deny the abuse even as they stand there bleeding, so your son's girlfriend may not be counted on to relay the truth to the authorities even if the lid blows off at some point.

    You may also want to learn detachment tools as well. At the bottom of my post is a good article on detachment. It's always your choice to get as involved as you really want to be. I am simply giving you suggestions based on my own experience so that if you do decide to go further with guardianship, or having visitation rights on a regular bases that are court ordered, you have all your ducks in order so it will be easier on you then if a crisis occurs and you end up in the middle of a huge drama.

    I know from my own history just how it feels to be on the sidelines watching a child be in the middle of an extremely unhealthy living situation that in essence you're powerless to change. You raise a child who turns out to be a difficult child and then your child has an innocent child that they don't know how to parent and the child suffers. It's a heart ache of a whole new magnitude. I am so sorry you find yourself in the middle of all of this. Keep posting, I'm fairly certain there will be more 'installments' in your story, I hope they're good ones, but if not, we're here. Many gentle hugs to you.................

    Edit: I just read Lisa's post to you, she is absolutely correct, document everything, get the authorities involved now. That is great advice!
  9. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I just woke up am a little fuzzy headed so exuse disjointed response. My husband and I have raised two grandsons (one 25 since birth and the other 22 for eight years) and we never involved the Courts or CPS. Our situation was a bit different as my daughter was a single Mom. It has been a long, winding, tricky road of walking on eggshells to avoid a legal confrontation. Grandparent rights allows limited visitation. We decided to aim for more intimate involvement in fear that our GS would be left with indescriminate babysitters etc. We did not have fears of abuse..just random neglect and lack of bonding.

    It does not sound like you are in the position we were in but I'll share now so that you can store the info away in your head should the opportunity arise. The first thing I did was make sure that she had signed up for the WIC program and that it included well baby checks. (She had, of course, because she got "freebies", sigh.) The next thing we did was stifle all our negativity and take every single opportunity to be supportive, caring, nonthreatening, fun, etc. UGH! When the opportunity arose husband would casually say "if you need a break you know that we will take good care of your baby so you don't have to pay for a sitter or worry about the quality of care". husband (a very quiet man) was less threatening than I was so he was the point man when possible.

    Because we never said or did anything judgemental or assertive she began to see the advantages to her. She could have freedom again. She could have the control. She could save money. Etc. Etc. After awhile we were no longer seen as the enemy. In fact we really weren't the enemy...we were advocates for the baby. We also reached out when we could by saying "we're having baked ham and macaroni and cheese" (choosing favorites of course) Sunday night. You're welcome to join us or..if you have other can pick up some to take home so it doesn't go to waste".

    Those methods enabled us to "connect". Subsequently when it was time for daycare (so she could go to work) we volunteered to keep the baby so she could save money and/or pick up the baby so she wouldn't be rushed after work. This also saved her money and money was/is very important to her. Lastly once the idea was firmly in place that we were supporting her parenting, I suggested that it might be a good idea to have a Durable Power of Attorney drawn up so I could take the children for any medical care, sign school permission slips etc. so her work schedule wouldn't be messed with.

    Once the DPA was drawn up and signed the children had full protection, I had legal empowerment to act on their behalf, it was apparent I was not trying to adopt HER children and husband and I exhaled. For us it was best not to be confrontational. I can't say the past 25 years have been a piece of cake. Understatement! I can say, however, that we have been able to oversee the safety of those two grandsons. It's cost us alot. We gave up our freedom, our retirement funds, our friends who lead "normal" lives. The price was high. There have been times when we wish we had just detached and prayed. I don't envy you but I wish you luck. DDD
  10. Tiredof33

    Tiredof33 Active Member

    I have always held my breath and crossed my fingers about the grandchild situation with my difficult child. He was married once for a brief time and they wanted children but his alcohol and drug abuse along with the cutting and suicide threats when they had an arguement scared her. Thank heavens!!

    As much as I tried to stay out of this current relationship, they always try to drag you into the drama. They also fight, break up, and get back together. If there were children involved I know I would never be alllowed to see them and it would break my heart.

    My cousin commited suicide in September and the mother is refusing to let the children visit my aunt. She was told grand parents in this area do not have many rights, unless there is abuse, and then it has to be documented and proven.

    It is a very emotional and difficult situation to be in.

    (((huggs and blessings)))
  11. Siobhan Harper

    Siobhan Harper New Member

    Just tried to post a response to all the excellent and kind members today. The computer "ate" the whole thing, so I'll try again later. In the meantime, thank you, everybody. Some great advice, and the "solidarity" feels so good!

  12. Siobhan Harper

    Siobhan Harper New Member

    Well, I'll try again and hope my "hungry" computer doesn't eat this post!

    We haven't heard anything from difficult child or SO since SO left husband waiting to pick her up from work, when she had already gone home, presumably because difficult child showed up after a 3-day walk-out. husband tried messaging her, but no response. I never did get to see my granddaughter; husband saw her once when he went to their apartment at SO's request when difficult child walked out. Don't know whether that's bad or good, really. My last memory of granddaughter is of a 4-month-old angel in a little white onesie and white socks, big blue eyes looking knowingly into mine, cooing gently...then having to hand her over to a policeman because difficult child called the cops and said we had taken their child, when difficult child was the one who brought her to us earlier that day. husband spent that day mediating an incredibly ugly scene, basically protecting SO from difficult child, difficult child packing, supposedly leaving, finally threatening husband with never seeing baby again. husband snapped (after hours of patience), told difficult child where to get off, and left. We hadn't even had a chance to return the baby and were reluctant to take her back into this unknown situation, but were forced to do so as a result of difficult child's call to the cops. Shortly after that, difficult child and SO sent word to all family that they would have nothing to do with anyone anymore. After many months, SO contacted husband to say she didn't like this situation but didn't know how to change it; difficult child was adamant.

    That whole isolation thing just reads textbook abuse to me. One of the first things an abuser does is to isolate SO and family from other family and friends. Until the episode last weekend, we hadn't seen any of them for months. When husband saw baby, she looked well and happy but, of course, didn't know him, and that was horrible for him. Her first birthday is less than 10 days away. Thinking we will try to bring a gift to her, maybe with-out calling first, so they can't say "No." SO broke the "no contact" rule, so maybe that's an opening?

    The odd thing, now, is that I'm questioning how hard I should really try to re-open the door. I've read a lot of the posts here on Parent Emeritus, read the detachment article, and realized that, although I have lived with a heartache and probably always will, I was just beginning to make peace with a life that didn't include my beloved granddaughter OR my drama-laden difficult child and SO. Such mixed feelings. I really think the day will come when difficult child walks out for good, and as has been pointed out, the baby will be left with SO. Trying to develop a better relationship with her sounds like the best bet for being included when that happens. For sure, she's going to need someone, as her personal and other resources are VERY limited. I DO love my difficult child so much, and in many ways I don't blame him for what he has become; the deck was stacked against him before he ever came to us and he has tried to get better, but he just can't/won't sustain effort by being medication compliant and remaining in therapy, which in his better moments, even he admits he needs. His war experience just made everything worse. My heart breaks for him, but he is dangerous. He has set fire to SO's belongings in our yard at one point; his temper is unpredictable and violent; and as I've said, he has been verbally, emotionally, and physically abusive to at least two women in his life.

    At what price do you buy peace? How many times do you risk your heart, not to speak of safety? How hard do you try to rescue an innocent baby from a life with no future when neither parent will acknowledge that, at the very least, they need help to give the child what she deserves. I'll be honest; since that terrible day when I had to hand her to the policeman, I have tried to live as if she had passed away. When asked, I've said that we "lost" her. That is true, just not in the way most people would understand it.

    We still have a crib set up in what was our guest room...we were making it into a "home away from home," because difficult child talked so much about how much we would see her, how much we would babysit, if we were willing. Having longed for a bio daughter of my own for years and grieved infertility, this granddaughter was, in my mind, my second chance. Both husband and I adored her, and even at 4 months, she knew us and felt comfortable and happy with us. Having her ripped out of our lives is the single most horrible thing that ever happened to either of us. I have literally been suicidal in the past months, and only excellent therapy has gotten me through it.

    After the events of last weekend, and now the stoney silence again, I'm beginning to question the wisdom of working to open the door again. Can we really help? Is it realistic to think we will ever be a part of our granddaughter's life? I know that nobody can really answer those questions, but they gnaw at me. I feel stuck between two lives; one that would include at least our granddaughter, at any cost, and one that has accepted the loss and said, "Thank you, no" to any more drama and involvement with difficult child and SO that starts like a fire and suddenly, with no warning, disappears as if it never happened. How many shocks can the system take? Mixed into all this is the fact that husband is far from well; he suffers from diabetes, has three stents in his cardiac blood vessels, and lives with chronic migraine, just recently diagnosed. I have "regular" migraines and depression/general anxiety disorder, made much worse by stress of the kind caused by the difficult child situation.

    Thanks for letting me vent. I'm just really confused right now about what, if any, step to take next. I so appreciate the good, practical advice many of you have given. It does help to know I'm not alone, because I really thought I was.

  13. Tiredof33

    Tiredof33 Active Member

    It is a very hard, hard decision to make. No one can make it for you and each of us has the same general type of problem with different players.

    I didn't really believe in 'codependent' 10 years ago, even Dr. Phil said on one of his shows it didn't exist. Then I started reading the many books out there on the subject and I am a classic case of an enabler. We want the best for our loved ones and we always put oursleves last. We help them start over and start over and start over.

    Standing up for yourself can appear to be mean to someone that doesn't have the type of child we do. Meditate, pray to your HP, and just 'go with the flow', the answer(s) will come to you.

    I just know the harrassment, conning me for money, and hacking into my computer made me draw the line in the sand. I have 'put up with this' for too long and I refuse to try to help someone that is not willing to help themselves. I have learned that as much as it breaks my heart I can not save him, he has to save himself.

    When it is time for you to step back you will, and not until you are ready. That doesn't make you weak or strong, it just is what it is.

    (((huggs and blessings)))
  14. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Oh Siobhan, I so empathize with you, my heart goes out to you with all your earnest inquiries and feelings battling each other within you..........I do understand every word you said and have lived in your shoes. I am so very, very sorry you are going through all of this. With your health issues, and husband's health issues, you certainly don't deserve all of this stress and pain.

    There are no easy answers. I wish I could say to you, yes detach, give up, live your life free of all of this................OR............yes, go full force ahead, battle the forces, no matter what, save your granddaughter..............but sadly, I can't. Those choices are yours to make after much soul searching and internal wars, you will ultimately land somewhere that feels right to you. No one here is in your shoes, we can offer you solace, support and options from our perspective, but only you can make this decision for you and your husband.

    You sound like a thoughtful, intelligent, insightful, perceptive, bright woman with a keen eye for the truth and a good sense of humor, I have every confidence that you will make a well thought out decision. That is not to say, you won't sprout some new grey hairs and lose some sleep along the way. It is a very difficult choice to have to make.

    You are fortunate, as I have been, to have a good therapist on your side, someone whom you can throw all of this at and sort through it. Make lists of the pros and cons. Whatever your choice, you have to live with it. My story was a little different because I already had a very close relationship with my little granddaughter, we were comrades. You in essence hardly know your granddaughter at this point. That doesn't remove the ache in your heart to connect with her, I understand that.

    You have a little time now, between dramas, to really look in your heart, talk to husband, talk to your therapist and meditate on what is the best path for you to take. Remember that there is no right or wrong, only what you are willing to do and can do and deep in your heart, want to do. Sometimes we need to step aside and allow someone to go through whatever life their destiny holds for them, no matter how difficult that is. And, conversely, sometimes we have to step in and provide a life for someone, that is OUR destiny.

    I feel for you and this hard decision. If you would like to PM me and discuss this personally in more depth, I am willing to be a committed listener, as I have some experience in this domain. If not, that's perfectly okay too. Certainly keep posting, it does help so much. I continue my wish for you to find peace, in whatever path you choose. I think once you make a choice, you will find some solace. (((HUGS))))
  15. Siobhan Harper

    Siobhan Harper New Member

    Dear 33 and RE, you are both so kind and helpful. Thank you for your empathy, as well as for reading my posts that seem longer than some books of the Bible!

    You're quite right, of course, that the ultimate decision has to come from me (or possibly me and husband, because I'm not sure we're entirely on the same page). That's OK; husband and I can live with a certain amount of difference in how we handle things. I think he's struggling with guilt a bit more than I am at the moment, and he's very concerned about keeping a door open if difficult child or granddaughter (especially the latter) ever do reach out.

    As I read the posts on this and other forums, I am reminded of a quote I saw once in a church bulletin. It said: May we support the inner battle of every man. How true that is! There's not a person on earth that doesn't battle some demon(s), although it may not show from the outside. Sometimes when I'm in a crowded place, like an airport or an auditorium, I look around at all the people I don't know and think, "Everybody here has a story. I just don't know what they are." Remembering that makes one far less likely to judge!

    RE, thank you for the invitation to PM you; I may well take you up on the offer. Right now, as you can tell, I'm just trying to sort through my feelings about this latest episode.

    On a much lighter note, I'm about to embark on a new and somewhat alarming cooking adventure: Hamburger Helper made with tofu instead of hamburger! Adding tomato paste as a marinade and beans for extra bulk. Not sure what the husband will think. For sure, this isn't the night for me to offer dinner to my already estranged difficult child and family!