Question: Dear Luise: My daughter left her husband and 2 sons a year ago…originally she and the boys came to our home. We had rules, she didn’t want rules, she was disrespectful so I politely told her she would have to leave and gave her 4 days. I told her the boys could stay if she needed them to and if she would like to talk I was willing. She left without talking about it and took her boys with her. Since then, she has moved in with her “boyfriend” and her soon to be ex-husband has temporary custody of they boys awaiting divorce hearing. I discovered in the past year that she was abusing prescription drugs and smoking marijuana (I saw her drug test with my own eyes. Her husband called her doctor and advised she was abusing pain pills, he drug tested her and it was astounding). Not long after this she lost her very good job she had been at for 4 years for stealing money. They agreed not to press charges if she agreed to pay restitution. However, she did not speak to my husband or I for months after she left our home, but when she got in trouble with her job and thought she would need an attorney she called us. We gave her “stipulations” she would have to adhere to before we agreed to help, she did not stick to the stipulations, so we denied her help. Since then she only calls when she is mad, wants money, or to complain. Just 2 days ago, she said she is “done” with me, that I only do for her with strings attached and she is my child and I should want to help my kids. There is no getting through to her. The problem is, during this time, my Son and his wife have stopped talking to me and four of my five siblings as well. I was so tired of being in the drama that my husband and I moved several states away eight months ago. My son and his wife have a one year-old boy that I have only seen about 6 times. My brother and his wife and my sister get pictures of him, updates on him. I get nothing. My daughter in law wrote me a letter and said that I disrespected her right after she and my son married. They were married while he was in the Navy, no wedding, just them on the beach. He was possibly getting orders for Italy (not set, he has a hearing loss and the only way he could possibly stay in was to do oversees time on land) no guarantee they would let him stay in. He called my husband, ex-Navy about Italy, my husband said when he was there he did not like it. Then when he asked me, I told him that he had to do what was best for him, not for my husband, myself, or his wife. They were on speaker phone, she heard this, never until this year did I know she heard or know this is why she has been so “hot and cold” with me over the years. She says she can’t forgive me and doesn’t trust me, that I don’t respect her as a wife or an adult. I didn’t even know about it and was not disrespecting anyone, he asked and I was honest. Of course I grieve over missing my children and grandchildren and do not want to make matters worse, do I stay away, quit trying to make contact, what do I do? This is traumatizing to me, my father commit suicide when I was an infant and my Mom worked two jobs my entire life and suffered severe mental illness problems. My family is extremely important to me and now I don’t even have my siblings for support. I am the youngest of five by quite a few years and feel abandoned, any suggestions would be welcome. B.
Answer: Dear B.: The complexities of your extended family and all the drama can’t be good for you. Misunderstandings can pile up and ruin communication. I think your greatest peace may lie in your marriage. Can you focus there? Blessings, Luise