Question: Dear Luise: My 35 year old daughter & son in law have shut me out of their life and will not let me see my 2 granddaughters. My son in law comes from a fairly well to do family and has not accepted me or the rest of my family. Whenever they ask for help, I help as much as possible. Recently my son in law came into my house after I had baby sat with the girls all day and started calling me names. He told me I would never see my daughter and grand children again. I was so hurt I could not stop crying. My daugher emailed me and told me I had to work it out with him. My son in law has not had a steady job and his parents pay their mortgage or give them money for anything else. My daughter works hard and he uses her money and has put her in debt. After two months I tried to call him, but he will not speak to me or call me back. I went to their house and my daughter started screaming at me that I was not welcome and she would call the police. I have not stopped crying. I do not have any idea at what I could have done so horrible. I have started counseling. I love her so much and never thoght we would have such aproblem, I was a single mom and did everything for my children. She blocked me on facebook so I can not see the girls. I am lost and hurt the tears will not stop, can’t sleep or eat. I feel like they stuck a knife in my heart and just keep twisting. There is so much pain. P.
Answer: Dear P.: It’s terribly hard to accept but your daughter is an adult and she chose him. They have started a new family unit and they make the rules.
Like most of us, you probably had some very reasonable expectations around being treated with respect and of remaining connected to some degree. It isn’t gong to happen. And you don’t get to vote. Crying may relieve the pressure but it isn’t going to change anything.
Your next move is to withdraw from their lives and create one of your own. Being their victim isn’t going to serve your needs. It is going to wear you down and could eventually make you ill. You were a whole person before you had a family and you can be whole again. Don’t choose suffering just to be “right”.
If you want to move beyond self-pity, even though you have every right to feel that way, please come over to my Web-forum for women who are facing similar issues with their adult children and extended families. It is a very supportive community. www.WiseWomenUnite.com Blessings, Luise