y daughter has abruptly cut me out of her life

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by vernadetta, Nov 30, 2015.

  1. vernadetta

    vernadetta New Member

    Hi All,
    I'm new here but looking for support and answers to a relationship problem with my 33 year old daughter. She has become very hostile and angry and has basically cut me out of their lives and the lives of my grandchildren. Her husband has always been very distant and untrusting of most people. He was raised in a very abusive home. I had managed to build what I thought was a very healthy and fulfilling relationship between myself and both my daughter and her husband. She used to call me her best friend and has frequently in the past told me and sent cards to me that say how loved she feels and that there's one thing in this world she never questions and that is that she is loved by me.
    A few weeks ago we went on a girls trip and took my daughter in law along (my daughter's idea). I thought we all had a great time. My daughter-in-law and I both "catered" to her quite a bit when getting ready to go out to dinner or shows, etc. She wanted someone to do her hair (which my daughter in law did every time, taking 45 min at least) then she wanted help with what to wear bc, along with shoes (which she mostly borrowed from daughter in law), etc... But this was nothing new. She does this to all her friends, making them "dress" her and I frequently buy her new clothes and shoes (which I also did on this trip bc she asked me to) bc she will never spend her money to buy clothes or shoes or try to look nice. She works in a hospital so she wears scrubs each day to work. She's a very beautiful woman, size 2-4 but usually shows up at family functions in sweat pants and t-shirts. The day after we returned home from our trip, she called me to tell me how horribly she'd been treated by both myself and my daughter in law the whole weekend. She said I'd made her feel inadequate and like a 3rd wheel and that I made her feel inferior. She also said our relationship was superficial and that we never talked about anything that mattered. (We have talked about lots of things that I'm sure she doesn't share with anyone else.) She also said I had insulted her husband a few weeks before and had been rude to him. I told her I had no idea I had done that and would certainly call him and apologize bc that was not my intention. (It was a conversation about the name of a place that he was referring to as one thing and I as another and once he explained I understood and laughed it off but he got defensive and thought I should refer to this place with the same name he did. The conversation was starting to get weird and awkward, as many times it does with him, and I just started talking about something else and apparently this angered him, unbeknownst to me. She ended the call by saying she thought we needed some space from each other and I agreed. I asked her if I could still see my grandchildren (ages 2 and 7). I asked her to please not punish them or me by keeping them from me like she does her mother in law when she's mad at her (She once refused to let her mother in law see the now 7 year old for over 6 months, even thought she had previously been very much a part of his life.) She said her mother in law was mentally unstable and that's why she has to remove them from her life at times.
    When I got off the phone with her I called her husband and apologized for hurting his feelings a few weeks ago and that it had certainly not been my intention. He was very bitter and accusatory, Reiterating that my daughter feels our relationship is fake and that we seem to be on different paths in life now. He went on to say that they were following a spiritual path and we (my husband and myself) were following a materialistic path. I told him that we indeed were very blessed and I was thankful for my life and would never apologize for the many blessings that hard work and faith in God had brought our way. And that we loved being able to share and bless our family in return (in the past year we've spent probably $8000- 10,000 on things for their new house) and that was something I would never apologize for.
    All this was was about 7 weeks ago. I haven't been allowed to see either grandchild since then, even though prior to this for well over a year I went to their house 1 day a week to spend time with them and always provided dinner for the family and did housekeeping and laundry while there. There were a couple of other conversations in the first week of the blow-up that just got more and more accusatory. There has been no communication since then. Neither of them respond to phone calls or texts. During the last phone call my daughter even told me it was my fault that she had a affair (no her husband doesn't know about this) and I could have stopped her if I tried but I secretly wanted her to divorce. I reminded her that I was the only one in the family who even tried to reason with her to give her marriage another chance - which she did.
    At this point I am so emotionally and mentally devastated by both their accusations and mean-spiritedness that I honestly could care less if I ever saw them again. But I love my grandchildren and want to be able to see them. I'm at a loss as to what to do.
  2. Welcome, Vernadetta. I'm sorry that you're going through this. Unfortunately, there isn't much that you can do in this kind of situation. She is an adult and you can't force her to let you see your grandchildren. Pushing for that will probably just make the situation worse because it will show her how important it is to you. If she's feeling vindictive (even if it is for imaginary slights), this will show her how she can hurt you most. Also, she is not behaving rationally right now, so trying to reason with her probably won't work. If you are pleasant, but detached, she might eventually renew your relationship.

    You mentioned that she once cut her mother-in-law off for several months. Is her mother-in-law actually mentally unstable, or is it just your daughter and son-in-law saying that? Has she had a history of this kind of behavior - being friendly and loving and then deciding that someone is horrible? If so, she may have a personality disorder, such as borderline personality disorder. This kind of behavior is typical of borderline. She might also be influenced by her husband, who seems to have some issues.

    A few years ago, my sister-in-law suddenly started saying that my son had been mean to her children when he was 5 or 6 years old, and that she'd never like him - he was in high school at the time and she had never mentioned such a thing before. She also said that she didn't want to spend any time in my house because it had a lot of germs. My house was much cleaner than hers, so I'm not sure where that came from, either. Then she started yelling at my brother about something when she was at my mom's house. My mom said she didn't think that was appropriate and she stopped speaking to her for over a year! We were all very puzzled about her strange behavior. After about a year of this, she suddenly started behaving normally again as if none of that had ever happened. She was diagnosed with diabetes and it might have been due to her blood sugar being off for a long time, or maybe she had some borderline tendencies, too. We tried talking it out with her at first, but got nowhere. So we remained pleasant, but didn't push her for contact, and eventually she came around again.

    When my mom invited them for Thanksgiving, she said that she already had other plans and my brother came by himself, so I hope that this cycle isn't starting up again.

    Hang in there. Others will come along with more experience and advice.
  3. vernadetta

    vernadetta New Member

    Thank you Second Time Around. You made some very good points in your reply.
    My daughter's mother in law is NOT mentally unstable, it is definitely just them saying that. Yes there is a history of this behavior with them and other family members, although I was hoping that they had matured out of it but if it's a borderline personality disorder then it has nothing to do with maturity. And yes, my son in law has major issues. He is socially very awkward, even though my daughter is very outgoing in social settings. He's very insecure and always seemed to have a chip on his shoulder and feels everybody is "against" him and often throughout their marriage has convinced my daughter of this. It causes her to get very defensive about him and this last deal between she and I has now rippled out to include him and his feelings of nobody really likes him. Geesh - it's exhausting and like I said, were it not for the grandkids it would almost be a relief to not have to deal with all their drama. They have very little in common with each other, except for the 2 kids, and it's almost as if they need these little "wars" with family members to unite them in a common cause. They are always on the "outs" with someone in the family. I guess it's just my turn now. But you make a good point about the grandkids and even though it's breaking my heart to think that they might think this absence is my doing, I think you're right. I just have to leave it alone until they decide to get over it.
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2015
  4. AppleCori

    AppleCori Well-Known Member

    Hi and welcome, V

    Second is right: the more you chase, the further she will run.

    It is likely that when you stop the chase and go about your own life, your daughter will let you back into her life.

    Maybe for no other reason than to get you back on her hook again.

    In the mean time, maybe you should think about how you can establish some boundaries so that you won't get sucked into their drama again.

    I would honor the spiritual path that they are on, and not clutter the relationship with material things. Rather, you could put any money that you might otherwise spend on them away for your grandchildren's education. Or for a trip for you and your hubby.
  5. vernadetta

    vernadetta New Member

    Even though I'm brand new to this forum thing and this is the first post I've ever written, I already have received so much good from this!. Thank you AppleCori! All excellent suggestions and one of them my husband and I had already discussed (putting the $$ away for the grands education).

    I really am seeing some light at the end of the tunnel. I can only change me and these are really good suggestions for handling this situation!
  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I am not sure she is borderline, although the cut offs are a trait. My sister has cut off at various times my brother, my grandmother, and myself and I'm sure she has strong traits, but we are not psychiatrists. About your daughter...she is not stable herself or that nice if she cuts off loving grandmothers from t heir grandchildren and the husband encourages her darker side. This is not your fault. Give her her space and try to continue to live a good, happy life. Don't beg or use more m oney to entice them. That in my opinion doesn't work well. I agree with Appl Cori. Play hard to get. Groveling gives mean people great satisfaction and they punish you even more.Act to them as if you are just fine, no matter how you feel inside. The object is to hurt you. Don't let them know they are.

    I would not argue with the husband ever. If he thinks you are not "spiritual" enough, but too "materialistic" (but he TOOK your money, didn't he????) I think it's best, with difficult people, to nod and smile and say "I see" and just laugh about it later on in private. It is so silly considering how he allowed you to buy him material t hings, but you won't win an argument with an irrational person. Same with your daughter.

    Wait it out and see what happens. Nothing has to be resolved today.

    Hugs for your hurting heart.
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  7. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Hi Vernadetta, I am so sorry for your aching heart. I am dealing with this as we write, so I do know the pain of it. My daughter and boyfriend can be very secretive, manipulative, and have expectations of help, with no appreciation, or reciprocation. Not that we give, to get back, but it is nice to know that efforts are appreciated and there is mutual feelings and respect. A normal, kind loving relationship.
    I am sorry the "rug" has been pulled from underneath you in this way. I do not know what the cause would be in your case. In mine, it has been and is...drugs.
    Our daughter uses our three grands as a sort of bargaining chip. It is heartless and unacceptable. But, it is reality.
    I have had to face this on several occasions.
    So, what do we do with all of those feelings?
    I have thought, this year, I will create a notebook of sorts for my grands of notes from me, and let them know this way, how dearly I love and miss them. I was thinking it would help me, when I yearn to see them and I cannot. I don't know if they will ever see their notebook, but at least it is a way to release my feelings. Write about good things and my hopes for them.
    Prayers help too, when I find myself going down with overwhelming thoughts.
    I agree with you about the need for "wars". It seems this generation likes the drama of it. Watching MTV, and the "reality"'shows, the entertainment industry seems to feed this attitude.
    From one Tutu ( grandmother) to another, I feel the ache of it.
    Hang in there, pour your heart out, then create a toolbox to deal with this and remain strong. Keep posting, there are many wonderful kind folks here who have been through similar things. You are not alone.

    Peace to you and yours
  8. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member


    Your situation reminds me of what happened to my mother in relation to my sister. My sister accepted every shred of monetary support, emotional support and domestic help that my mother gave her, as her due.
    And then my sister denounced my mother as toxic and crazy, blamed her for getting cancer and when my mother was 86 wrote her a letter telling her this, that she was banished from her life and that of her daughters.
    My sister did the same to her mother in law. It was so sad.

    We can count on no equity in life, outside of what we do for ourselves. When there is, when we do receive good things, and reciprocity, we are blessed. It is a gift.

    At the end of mother's life, my sister disowned her. My mother could not understand what had happened and why. It still caused me untold pain.

    I am not saying this will happen to you. I tell you this to tell you, you are not alone. The sooner we as parents understand that we are owed nothing from our children, even access to our grands, the better.

    Resentment does not help. The only way to deal with it I think is to fill the void and the hurt with what we can control: love and productive work.
    Give me a break.

    What she says is ludicrous. But there is no way to win in a battle with her. Trying to diagnose her, I think, creates more problems. It is to make her "responsible," "ill" or "at fault" which really is the same thing she is trying to do.

    It goes down a road which makes the situation worse, I think.

    Better, I think, to accept with grace the situation and go on with the beauty and meaning in your life over which you do have control. This will smoke her out of her cave...I think. But it will not change her.

    She will want from you what you gave: monetarily, support, etc.

    The challenge to you is to think about what you need in return to have a relationship with her. Conditions. How you will protect yourself. Not to tell her, but to tell yourself.

    See, you have power here, too.

    Of course she has the crown jewels, the kids. And if she is willing to use them as a power base, she can. But you can decide you will not participate in such a negotiation. The more you covet them and allow yourself to be debased to have contact, the more she will use the kids. She has already shown she is willing to do so.

    As others have mentioned, go about finding and sustaining your own life. Think about what has hurt you and trying to analyze how you can prevent it in the future. Think about how to celebrate your love for your grands in a way that you do control.

    I am in the same situation, but a little different. My mother died over 2 years ago and I realized my great love for her as she was facing imminent death. For many years I was unaware how much I loved my mother. There was not enough time to make up for it.

    I am left with the need to manifest my love for somebody who has died. Who in many ways was the center of my life. And I was unaware of it.

    So, we will do this together. Express the love in our hearts in the absence of our beloveds. Many other mothers and daughters and children have had to do so before us.

    I know how enraged you must be. How bereft. I am too. About my child. About my family and my parents. About my sister. Love doesn't always turn out so good. But we seek solace and completion and nourishment for our own hearts.

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  9. vernadetta

    vernadetta New Member

    Over the past several weeks I have gone from having some "OK" days to "total basket case" days. At times I wondered if I was not already crazy, and if not, could I possibly hang on to the thin thread of sanity I had left. I tried to hide my swollen, sleep-deprived eyes from my sweet husband because he knows how hard this has been on me and he is so protective of me and it angers him when someone hurts me like this. I have sobbed and pled and prayed to God for answers, directions, understanding, and yes, even for a hardened heart so it would not hurt so bad.
    Today was an answer to prayer. Today I (began) to feel empowered to not only deal with this situation with grace and wisdom but to overcome it and the depression that had begun to settle in. Thank you for being that answer, that angel, that voice of community, that human kindness that seems to show itself so rarely in our world today.

    I am humbled and blessed that each of you have taken the time and care enough to share with a complete stranger and to encourage me. You have made such a wonderful difference in my life today. And I thank you from the bottom of my broken, beaten-up heart. Kisses and hugs to each of you
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  10. toughlovin

    toughlovin Well-Known Member

    Hi..... so I know my reaction is colored by my history as someone who worked in domestic violence. But her husband sounds like he could be at a minimum emotionally abusive. One of the things abusers try to do is to isolate their partners from their main sources of support like you. This can be very difficult and she may be in a tough situation if she is trying to make her marriage work. I have no idea if this is what is going on but it is a possibility.

    So my suggestion is to let her know that you love her, that you will always love her no matter what, and she is there if she ever needs you. And then like others have said you kind of have to wait and see...... but you want her to know she can come to you if she ever decides to end her marriage.
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  11. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Hi Vernadetta,
    Welcome to our little corner of the world. I'm glad you found us but sorry you had to.

    Please understand that you nor anyone else has the "power" to make her feel inadequate. Her feelings are very real, however they are HER feelings. It sounds like she suffers from very low self esteem and to compensate she is projecting the "blame" on to you.

    He also sounds like he does not have good self esteem and very immature.

    Here I see her manipulating you. When you ask her to not punish you by keeping you from seeing the grandchildren, she has you right where she wants you, in a position that she controls.
    As hard as it may be for you, it may be best if you do not engage into bargaining with her. Once an adult child can manipulate us, the parent, they like having that kind of power over us. We as the parents do not have to give them that power. It's not easy but it is necessary.

    This is just my opinion, but if they were following a true spiritual path then they would exhibit compassion not condemnation. Please do not buy into their rhetoric.

    I have learned with my own son that my and my husbands generosity towards him, he has used against us. This is a slippery slope to be on. You have demonstrated that you have the ability to "fund" things. This can be another avenue that our difficult adult children will use as a manipulation tool. Please be aware of that.

    From what I have gathered, you are very loving and giving to your daughter and her husband which is fine, however a healthy relationship is two sided and I don't see that here. You give and give and she takes and takes.

    This is a very common thing that our difficult adult children do, they blame us the parents for everything that has gone wrong in their lives. Many parents will go through serious guilt, thinking "what did I do wrong" and then trying desperately to get our adult children to "forgive" us. Our d-cs know how to use this guilt to manipulate us.
    What you must understand is we have no control over what our children do, the choices they make are theirs and theirs alone. It is not our fault and we should own no guilt. We have loved them and done the best we can. It is now up to them to live their own life. The only control we have is how we choose to respond.

    There is a very good article at the top of the PE forum on detachment. I recommend you read it and re-read it. Detaching is a very healthy and necessary thing for us to do in order to move on and live our own lives.
    It is very important that you take time for yourself, to be good to yourself.

    I'm glad you are here and thank you for sharing with us. This is not an easy journey but you are not alone.

    ((HUGS)) for you hurting heart.
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  12. vernadetta

    vernadetta New Member

    Continued thanks for your wisdom and support.
    she is the more aggressive of the two, i.e. my daughter wears the pants in the family. Case in point: a few months ago after attending a family function at our house, they loaded up the kids and headed home (they live 45 minutes away) and about an hour after they left, son-in-law comes walking back in to our house...she had "put him out" of their vehicle during an argument, 5 miles away from our house and he had walked the 5 miles back to our house in the dark without his cell phone. My son drove him back home later that night.
  13. vernadetta

    vernadetta New Member

    AND....the fun and games continue: I awoke to a scathing voice mail this morning from daughter. She felt the need to tell me that there were still "issues" that I need to address and she of course threw in the fact that I would not see my grandkids with such issues...

    Thankful that I found this forum yesterday and had already gained strength and insight or that message would have been emotionally devastating. But I now see the manipulation that's taking place. Right now I feel it's best to just ignore her vm and not respond at all.
  14. vernadetta

    vernadetta New Member

    YES! I've read this and will continue reading it every day!
  15. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I have a suggestion you may try that worked for me very well. If somebody who is going to be mean to you leaves a voicemail, a text, or an e-mail,as soon as you know who it is and that it's hurtful, disconnect, delete, don't read. I'm sure this doesn't work for everybody, but for me at least not hearing the message, which is usually just their own sickness, really helps. Good luck :)

    P.S.=Don't check her FB, another place mean people tend to post mean messages to us.
  16. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    Hi Vernadetta and welcome to the forum. You have gotten very good advice from these Warrior Moms. We're glad you're here, and I am sorry for how your daughter is treating you.

    Like Tanya said, a relationship must have some sort of balance. When we are just giving and they are just taking, it's unhealthy. I can get that way with my own son, and I have lately, and I am resentful. Like RE says, when we feel resentment, that is a signal to us that we have done too much. I'm at that place right now.

    I think it's interesting that you were told they are "on a spiritual path" and you're not. One time my ex-husband's brother, who is a religious fanatic (truly) came to our house and told us that we clearly were focus on material happiness and not spiritual happiness. I was stung as we had not spent any time together at all and he really had no idea who we were. When I rode in his truck later, I saw a piece of paper, a very long piece of paper, taped to his dash of people he is praying for. Our names were at the top of the list. (lol).
    Hey I need all the prayers I can get, but I don't understand that kind of "spirituality." Clearly, people get addicted to all kinds of things temporarily and permanently and religion can be one of them.

    I also like your thought above---very insightful of you. Who knows what in the world drives them or shapes their behavior?

    All we can do is keep our side of the street clean. That was a great thought for me when I first heard it. I could see myself busily sweeping up and down my side of the street, not THEIR SIDE. They have to keep their own side clean or not, and I have no role in that. It's a full time job to manage my side.

    To me that means speaking kindly and gently, even when my words and decisions are firm and tough. Sometimes that's hard for me to do, when I'm upset and reacting. So then...waiting is another thing I have learned to do. I work hard to step back and let some time go by---a few hours or days or weeks---before I respond to a particularly volatile situation or comment. Usually I change my mind about what I will say or do.

    Like others have said, the bottom line is we can't control other people. We can only control ourselves. I am sure you need a break from your daughter and her husband, but the real rub is the grandchildren. Can you mail them a little card every now and then with a funny joke or saying or a dollar or two in the card? That way you are reaching out to them, and that might ease your heart.

    Hang in there. We're here for you. We get it. We understand and we care.
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2015
  17. AppleCori

    AppleCori Well-Known Member

    Good morning, V

    Sounds like your daughter has sensed that you are trying to disengage from her drama and she is trying to pull you back in with her latest voice mail, reminding you once again of your grandchildren and telling you to work on some vague 'issues' you supposedly have.

    Don't fall for it. She is sounding quite desperate that she can't get to you like she has before, that you aren't dancing to her tune.

    You are taking your power back from her. And she doesn't like it.

    This is a good thing.

    When it is time to re-start the relationship, you need to come in as an equal to her, not as a beggar. She will respect you if you do this.

    And your grandchildren will learn to respect you. This is very important. You don't want to teach them that they can treat you--and other people--badly.

    Keep strong, V. Know this is the right thing to do.

    by the way--I was speaking in a tongue-in-cheek manner when I said you should 'honor their spiritual path'. Of course they are not acting 'spiritual'. Just shrug it off and learn from what they said, that they do not appreciate the things that you give them.

    Stay strong and keep posting.

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