Estranged From Adult Children

Question: Dear Luise: I feel so hopeless my daughter who is 42 years old whom has 4 daughters of her own…which are my granddaughters stop talking to me. I also have a son who is 35 not married that comes in and out of my life and when I disagree or I make him accountable he stops talking to me right now he hasn’t spoke to me since April of 2013. I have been told that I never made my children accountable and now as adults I do. They just aren’t use to that so they rather stop any communications with me. So ask myself  how great of a mom was I to have my children not feel bad if they don’t talk with me. I know I could of never or even think about never speaking to my parents or grandparents.   About 2.5 years ago my daughter stop talking or seeing my mom and myself which just crush us both and very little contact with the grandkids. The 2 older one’s sometimes but the 9 year old twins never. We continued to acknowledge their birthdays and Christmas with gifts but   not even a phone call that they received the gifts. One day I bumped into my daughter(we live within 2 miles of each other)  in target and she was walking by like she didn’t even know me. I stopped and ask her what is wrong we love and miss you very much and if I did something to upset you am truly sorry. She then started saying it’s just like you not to know what you did and I said can you tell me. She said I don’t have time for this and started walking away. I said well again am sorry and remember grandma is 86 years old and would love to see you and the kids. Well my mom passed away on January 31,2013 never did they speak or did my mom see her grandchildren. I still try to keep in contact by text only she won’t answer her phone and she won’t let me see the now 11 year old twins. They want to see me and talk with me and they have spoke with me briefly and now their phone numbers have been changed for the 3rd time. So now all communications have to go through my daughter for the twins. The 2 older ones which are 18 and 15 I on occasion have some contact but not warm and loving like it once was. I have so many emotions sad, distraught, empty, lonely and angry. Angry for that my mom which was a loving grandmother to them didn’t get to see her granddaughter and her great daughters before she passed. I grew up in a very loving  Italian family myself and this behavior wasn’t something that we would ever imagine or could comprehend. I feel ashamed and can’t relate to the outside world. I hide in my home I don’t want to have anyone ask me again where are your children and grandchildren? I know its hard for anyone to understand but I can’t even imagine for what ever reason they think I did warrants this type of behavior!….and what did my mom do? This pass Christmas was my first without my mom and it was so hard for me especially without family my brothers live in California. I still gave gifts to my granddaughters and I will continue yet am told I should stop.  I don’t feel its the children fault so why should I stop giving them gifts or am I wrong?  How do I continue my life I feel so broken and angry and I don’t want to ask or beg my daughter anymore to see my grandchildren.  My friends say I must move on yet when I tell them imagine 1 day without your grandchildren they say I just couldn’t! R.

Answer: Dear R.: No one expects life to turn out the way you describe, yet it happens more often than you might imagine. Three years ago, I created a forum where women facing these issues with their adult children and extended families could support each other in the long healing process needed to be able to move on.

It’s not a question with a single answer…it’s more a shift from the patterns we have known and grown up with to patterns that are unfamiliar to us and totally unacceptable. It’s a terrible shock to find that we don’t get to vote.

If you are interested, please join us at where we share what we are experiencing and learn how to cope. The simple truth is that when our AC mature and leave home, they have no obligation to meet our expectations no matter how reasonable they are. Our job of raising them is done and they get to make their own choices and learn from the consequences…or not. Many of us grew up steeped in tradition. For some of us, it in on-going and our AC are following in our footsteps, however, for many that simply is not happening and we seem to have been classified as disposable.

The truth is we were whole before we became parents and we can be whole again. We can’t make sense of the senseless but we can change our focus and build new chapters in our lives. It’s very easy to get stuck in self-pity; knowing we did our best and are being treated unfairly. We know we deserve better but it usually takes a while to learn that if that’s true, we are going to have to give it to ourselves. We can’t change others, just ourselves.

I hope you decide to join our community. Blessings, Luise



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