Question: Dear Luise: Well, where do I start? It’s been years of sheer horror as my son and DIL have snatched away our granddaughters, shut the door and have had NO communication with us. The children do not know we exist. About 4 years ago there was a heated argument, which led to a lot of accusations on both sides. Tempers flared and feelings were damaged. We have apologized a million times. We continue to send gifts, cards, e-mails and even went as far as to go to their home in the hopes of reconciliation. I have called their parish priest to mediate for us and get out on the table their anger and hatred toward us. We had a wonderful history together, with weddings, birthdays, cookouts and the like. We even took trips together. We blended a family beautifully. My son came from an extremely dysfunctional situation in which his biological father battered him. I live with the guilt every day of not doing more to protect him. He is now 36 and the abuse was from the age of 7 to 18. His sperm donor was a maniac, and no family members came to my aid whatsoever. My DIL decided that her “out” was when the argument occurred, got out of hand, and said her children would never grow up in the dysfunction that my son did. He now lives like a hermit, she works and he stays home. He and I were extremely close as I had him when I was 16 and loved every molecule of his being. I know his father was insanely jealous and a sicko. I too was abused by him, but was able to manage through the bruises, and re marry a wonderful man. My son adored my new husband and he gave him everything he could. Only when my DIL had children did she decide we were “not good enough” and found every excuse to get him away from us. I have no recourse nor would ever take them to court as so many grandparents are trying to do. The rest of the family is totally apathetic to the problem, so we have given up talking to them. My husband’s daughter whom I raised also followed suite with my son and does not let us see her child either. I do agree my son grew up in great dysfunction and horror, and he was a good child, which had a maniac insane father who battered him. How confusing is this one. It would take a lot to unravel, but they have decided to dismiss us. Her parents have even hung the phone up when we called to apologize for any hurtful words said during the heat of an argument. I have nowhere left to go, and our life is half empty with the children being gone. We do have 3 other children who adore us, but it does not replace the ones you miss every minute of every day. Any words of wisdom would be so welcomed. I think I have spoken to just about everyone on the earth except for you. Thank you for responding to my call. Oh, I must tell you I certainly am not blameless in these events. I know there were times she probably wanted to shoot me. I wish I would have known so I could have changed the things she despised before it got to this point. God Bless. G.
Answer: Dear G.: What a tragedy. We all behave badly at times but to be punished for a lifetime is totally out of proportion to the crime. Quite often adult children have a double standard…they can be human and make mistakes but their parents can’t.
You have a situation that you can’t live with and you can’t change. No matter how many people you ask or how many ways you try to resolve it, it looks like learning to live with it is your only option. That may entail a lot of counseling before you see the light at the end of the tunnel.
People face this kind of thing, physically, when a disability changes their experience of life. My guess is that you are going to have to look at your loss like a disability. You may need to see yourself as someone who has been in a terrible accident and who was left a psychological paraplegic or worse. Your grandchildren by that son have been amputated from your reality.
Please come over to my web-Forum: http://www.motherinlawsunite.com where we can interact and where you will have the opportunity to get additional input from others, as well. Just copy and paste your story there. Blessings, Luise