My daughter is upset with me. Again. She’s recently married and newly pregnant. I remember that period. It’s wildly romantic and dreamy, but scary and lonely since they’re not sharing their news yet.
The other day, I called to ask if she was hungry. I had bought some fun lunch foods and thought I’d pop over to see her. She said yes, so I said I’d be right there.
When I arrived, she berated me for coming over without notice. I said she could have told me not to come. I set up the food and asked if she wanted tea. She rudely said she could do it herself, and I was babying her.
I was so hurt that I abruptly left.
Now she’s mad at me for walking out! I don’t know which way to turn with this once sweet, loveable daughter.
It sounds like you two had a very close, loving relationship before she got engaged. The stress of getting married, trying to get pregnant and the first trimester of one’s first pregnancy can take a toll. Some people handle stress better than others. Some lean in to their loved ones; some pull away.
Talk to your daughter. Invite her out for a planned lunch. Ask where and when she would like to go. Once together, ask her how she’s feeling, how her relationship is going, if she’s happy, etc. Then ask if there is anything you can do to make her life easier, less stressed.
Hopefully she’ll apologize and recognize that you just want to be a part of her life as you were before. Parenting is a journey, as you certainly already know. Hold her hand for the bumps. She’ll appreciate you.
My girlfriend just found out that her dad had children with someone other than her mom and was leading a double life. Her mom had no idea, but the other woman was well aware of the situation.
She understood the charade and didn’t bother him when he was at home with his wife and three children. He spent time with her when he was “away on business” – or so my girlfriend’s family was led to believe.
This lasted more than a decade until he slipped up and was caught in a lie which led to the revelation. My girlfriend is completely shocked and freaked out. She cries constantly, is clingy, and doesn’t believe anything I say, convinced I’m lying.
I feel sad for her and know she’s hurting, but I can’t take the constant accusation.
Wrap your arms around your girlfriend and say, “I am so sorry you are going through this. It’s unbelievable and confusing. I’m here for you. I am not your father, and I have done nothing wrong. Please don’t push me away through fear.”
Support her the best you can and help her get professional help to make sense of this situation. I am sure her world has been rocked.
Dear Readers – On December 30th, Ellie wrote about a support group called “Our Alienated Grandparents Matter.” It was timely for the holiday season but of course is a year-round issue for those in this situation.
A reader recently sent this to us:
“I am one of those estranged grandparents. I finally became tired of waiting for them to talk to me. I overcame my despair. This is probably uncommon, but I sent my two estranged sons an email. I told them I had no interest in ever seeing them again. I told them they were cut off from my family. Now they are nobody to me.
“Maybe if these narcissistic self-absorbed adult children learn that there is no do-over button, no open-door policy, maybe then they might stop trying to wield power and control over their parents.
“If they burn that bridge, there is no coming home.”
Lisi – I have seen and heard many iterations of family alienation. But if I have learned anything from Ellie, it is that family is family. Not all members will get along, there will be fights, but these are the ties that bind.
Toxicity is unhealthy, so if you need to protect yourself, do so. It’s OK to close the door, but don’t ever lock it and throw away the key.
This woman is hurting, and I don’t blame her. Writing that email probably released her from some pain. But she didn’t need to send it. She may desperately need her children down the road. Or her grandchildren might want to find her when they’re old enough. Or her children may find that they need her someday.