My granddaughter is in her early teens and although I’ve maintained contact with her by sending gifts on special occasions, my problems with her mother (my daughter) have escalated.
She’s indifferent toward my existence and in any social gathering she ignores me completely.
She’s my only child. Her father and I divorced after 16 years of marriage. He was emotionally abusive to both her and me.
For many years after the divorce, my daughter had little to do with him. Now, they’ve become close.
After my second abusive marriage, I divorced, and have been happily single ever since (15 years now).
I lead a full life in retirement with many volunteer activities I enjoy.
My daughter, her husband, and my grandchild moved halfway around the world within the last couple of years. If it weren’t for her husband, I’d never know what’s going on in their lives.
He agrees that she doesn’t treat me well, but is powerless to do anything about it.
I’ve written her and texted her. I seldom receive a reply, and only from the texts.
Recently, I apologized for anything that I may’ve done to hurt her in the past. There has never been an acknowledgement from her.
I was, and am, a good and caring mother. My second husband had announced early in our marriage that he didn’t like my daughter and therefore would never interact with her.
Subsequently, he didn’t speak to her.
She responded by doing the same. I was in the middle and didn’t know how to handle the situation.
I ended the marriage after 18 years because of his treatment of her, and was later told by a professional that he had abused me.
Recently, my daughter and her family came back home for two weeks. I didn’t hear from my daughter, although she drove right through my town on the way to visit second cousins so that my granddaughter could maintain a connection with them.
I’m desperate to understand my daughter. I’ve given up on trying to stay in contact and am moving forward with my life, but would appreciate any insight into what’s gone on here.
Her in-laws have shared that they walk on eggshells with her as well. She’s controlling and self-centered.
How do I bring closure to this whole sorry mess?
I need permission to make some decisions that don’t come naturally to me. She’s my daughter and I love her unconditionally, but I don’t like her right now.
Your daughter’s choice has been clear. You’re correct that it’s time to do the same for yourself.
Your much-longer letter with details of your own past relationship to your father, should be the content of therapy sessions with a professional, who can give time to going through it with you, and helping you see the connections to your relationships with your two ex-husbands and adult child.
Unfortunately, your daughter was rejected twice – a father whom she initially felt distanced from, a stepfather who outright rejected her.
She may’ve considered your position “in the middle” as a third rejection and lost trust in you.
How you stay moving forward is a topic for guidance from the therapist you choose. It requires an ongoing process, not a one-answer solution.
Keep contact with your granddaughter any way you can. She may seek you out on her own when she’s more independent.
I love spending time with one of my best friends from college.
But since she met her current boyfriend, we haven’t spent time without him, whether it's hiking, day trips, dinner, etc.
After three years, I'm tired of being the third wheel to two people attached at the hip.
I don't want to lose her friendship, but I'd like to occasionally hang out without him.
Can this be requested in a non-offensive way, or must I bite my tongue for the sake of our friendship?
Their relationship sounds more clingy than usual, after three years.
Have you considered that her boyfriend might be a controller, or that she’s the needy one?
Your friendship could be very important to her if she’s lost all sense of her independence.
Suggest a “girl’s night out” - just a movie with time to talk afterwards. Ask gently if there’s any reason why he always accompanies her with her friends.
Tip of the day:
A broken relationship between a mother and adult daughter has no simple answers. It requires professional therapy over time to make peace with your own choice moving forward.