Question: Dear Luise: Maybe you can help me, not sure, I used to have a very good relationship with my daughter and have been trying with my son for so long now. My daughter has basically told me that she has a life of her own and for me not to get upset if she doesn’t answer her phone when icall. Which is not that often. She lives only 30 minutes from me works around the corner from me but yet I am not allowed to call her. I call her maybe once a month just to make contact otherwise I wouldn’t getany calls from her. I miss her terribly, but she tells me I have to deal with it cause she has her life and I have mine. I think when I was having trouble in a relationship and booted the guy out(in 2002) she was 16 in a half had , told her looks like it was just her and I now, since my son was gone in the military. BUT–then a couple months later I met someone and we dated and then married. Still married. In the mean time she as years went by, she graduated, then married herself, then divorced. But I was told from her ex-husband that she held a grudge against me for it (getting married)and she was still angry with me. And I think it was due to my comment I made about it being just me and her. Now I try to be part of her and she doesn’t want me to call and when I do call the few times I do, she won’t answer(her cell) no landline. I am not sure what to do, I want my daughter back in my life and not sure how to go about it. Can you help with any advice. My son the same way, the was many complications there as well, but that is a long story and he says he wants a good relationship with me, but when I call, him too, monitoring their callers ,if they see it’s me ,they won’t answer. BUT if it is their dad or his parents, they have no problem answering and speaking to them. Thank you for taking time in reading this. B.
Answer: Dear B.: First of all, I want you to know that there are so many of us that are facing estrangement from out adult children, that I started a Web-forum several years ago around our issues. You can find us at www.WiseWomenUnite.com
This subject is one that is better put to a community for dialogue than to one person for a single response. If you choose to join us, you will find a deep level of caring and sharing, as well as understanding and healing there.
Most of us had reasonable expectations, hopes and dreams about relating to out adult children and extended families. They aren’t easy to let go of and so we keep trying to make it different than it is and to hope for change.
The truth is our job is done and they don’t owe us anything. Respect and a continued relationship has to come naturally, not out of obligations. We do our very best in raising them and then they make their own choices when they leave home. Some choose to stay connected, some don’t. We have little or nothing to say about that. We can wish it were different, if they move on without wanting a relationship with us…but we can’t change it or them.
What can happen is we can get buried under a sense of injustice. We want so little and are being so reasonable. With that can come self-pity and it is easy to get stuck there. The way out can be a very difficult one. We were whole before we became parents and we can be whole again. No one can do that for us. It’s our job to accept our adult children’s choices and wish them well. They may learn compassion along the way and they may not.
From that point we need to turn our focus to expanding our own lives in other directions. It isn’t easy but it can be very rewarding. You may have noticed that I have written “we” and not “you.” Blessings, Luise