Desperate for feedback

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-29-2013
Desperate for feedback
Sun, 09-29-2013 - 3:19pm

I'm not even sure where to start. 15 years ago or July of this year?  A little history might be in order before I get crucified for being a bad mother. 15 years ago my daughter, Susan, was 10 years old. Her father remarried a woman who hated me with such passion her life's goal was to destroy my relationship with Susan. She succeeded. I tried my best to prevent this from happening but she was determined to get me out of the picture completely. Few people have heard of Parental Alienation Syndrome but this was one of the most severe cases my attorney ever saw and my ex even told me to my face that it was his goal to never pay child support again and he would take any means to succeed. 

So over the last 15 years I have tried to reach out to her. Give her birthday and Christmas cards with money in them with never a thank you or a follow up dinner as she would promise me. Several years ago I moved two states away  to marry a wonderful man with 3 kids.  So along with my youngest daughter, Kylie, who's 16 now we live in a loving, conflict free house. We even join my husbands ex and her family for every birthday and holiday. 

Fast forward 15 years and Susan moved to the state I moved to but didn't want to be in my life. She wanted to be around a certain community known for its relaxed view on drug use and hippy life style. In July she was struck by car while riding her bike. She was air lifted to a hospital two blocks from my place. Her injuries were quite severe and she required 7 surgeries in the 5 weeks she was there. Since her dad lived out of state I brought her home to rehab with me. I visited her every in the hospital. She refused to eat the food at the hospital so I brought her take out food every day. Not fast food but expensive takeout every day. 

When we brought her home we bought her a bed, set it up in Kylie's room, the only place it would fit and bought a hospital table among other things to make her comfortable. Due to the fact that Kylie barely knows her and has seen how Susan has treated me over the years, she rarely comes home. Susan has been here over a month, I bring her 3 meals a day, plus snacks and filtered water which only comes from the kitchen downstairs. We have spent thousands on medical supplies, food she deems acceptable, clothing, furniture, outings for her and her friends, the list goes on and on. 

when I was sick a few years ago and needed 2 Brain surgeries and heart surgery she never came to visit much less called the hospital to say hi. I almost died, twice, and nothing. She in visiting her dad soon because my husband and I are going away for the weekend for a trip we planned 2 months ago for our anniversary. She has to go to her dads because she's unavailable to completely care for herself or the pets we have. I want to see how she treats me while she's gone. I truly feel she doesn't love me but is using me until the lawsuit is over with lady who ran her over is completed. When she leaves for her dads I want to see if she reaches out without an agenda to contact me. Otherwise I feel I should pack up her stuff and put in storage and her dad who created this can take care of her. 

My youngest has literally been ousted from her home and rarely comes home. I can't blame her since her private space has been taken over by a pot smoking, hippy who let's her private parts hang out to be exposed to anyone who comes in her room.  

The guilt I feel for having these thoughts is killing me. But youngest is my priority and I know Susan wants to return ASAP after our short vacation. Before the accident I hadn't seen Susan for 7 months even after I repeatedly asked her to join me for lunch. Her response to my requests was 'I'm in a happy place now'. 

she has no job, no place to live, no means of supporting herself. I know when she gets her money from the accident she won't offer to reimburse us the thousands we've spent on her and I wouldn't accept it anyhow. And I know she'll leave and I'll be nothing to her again. 

But the guilt is crushing me. 

Avatar for lizmvr
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-06-2001
Sun, 09-29-2013 - 4:15pm

I do think it sounds like Susan has had a pretty sucky life as a child. I'm not sure how the parental alienation issue applies in your particular case, but divorces are difficult on a child in general. You didn't have to move out of state, either. I'm not sure why you were hated, but apparently you went to your own happy place without your daughter and still expected attention from her, even if that was just a lunch at times. She was a child then. After she got to her happy place, it seems like the situation had reversed itself a bit--she didn't want you in her life, but now expects you to take care of her.

Have you ever tried to talk with her recently about the divorce, your visitation back then, if you had any or the reasons why you didn't, and your move and marriage with a new family? I'm sure this won't be an easy discussion, but I really think that in order for any healing to start, you and Susan both need to understand what each other has been feeling over the years. She might not want to talk about it, but if that's the case, you can't force her talk.

I do tend to think that as her mother, you do have an obligation to help her secure some stable care till she's able to care for herself again, but that doesn't mean you have to have her in your other daughter's room. Have you talked to Susan's dad about it at all?


Clinical Research Associate


Avatar for elc11
Community Leader
Registered: 06-16-1998
Sun, 09-29-2013 - 9:34pm

Can you explain some history please? For how long were you divorced before your ex married this woman who kept Susan from you? Had you already remarried--is Kylie the dd of your new husband or your ex husband? What was the custody arrangement before the stepmother came into the picture, and what did it become after she married your ex?

What is Susan's medical status now? You said that you bring her 3 meals a day--which sounds like she is still convalescing in bed; but later you said that you've paid for outings for her and her friends?

What communication have you had with her father since the accident? 

It would help to have a better understanding of the complete situation before offering feedback.

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-10-2002
Mon, 09-30-2013 - 3:08am

Clarification needed:

 When you divorced Susan was 10 and Kylie was a 1 yo baby?

Her father got custody of her and you got custody of  Kylie?

Now when Susan is 25 she ends up living in your home even though she really does not want to? 

You really do not want her there either because: 

she does not want to,

She may be using you 

Her lifestyle is disruptive to your family?

You are feeling guilty because  you are accepting their definition of you as bad person? 

Did you hope there could be some reconciliation with Susan while she convalesced there?

You are feeling guilty because you were not successful in turning around the huge Titanic of destruction your ex and his wife caused?

I can not blame you for moving to create a happy life for yourself and your other daughter.  Sticking around would not have changed a thing as long as she was under the influence of your ex.

Your daughter is an adult now and can now take responsibility for her own choices.  It sounds like she is not choosing to be a part of your life, just hanging out there. 

Yes a talk would be in order about what kind of relationship you each want NOW.  Some mutual understanding of what you each went through.  If that is not possible and if she does not want to be a part of your life then she should not keep staying there, using you and disrespecting you and her siblings.   Why was she not sent to her father's or someone she wants to be with to recuperate?   A good mom is not defined by how much she gives to an ungrateful adult child .

So, so sad when a parent uses his child like that. This is such a sad situation  

I had a good friend whose children were kidnapped by the father and told them she did not want them and disappeared.  She could not find them.   He abused them,  then when they were pre-teens returned them to her damaged.  Her daughter was out of control and  self-destructive.  She had to let her go later in her teens.  A  very courageous act in my opinion.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Mon, 09-30-2013 - 10:52am

I think you are letting yourself be used by your Dd out of guilt, which is not good.  You said: Susan has been here over a month, I bring her 3 meals a day, plus snacks and filtered water which only comes from the kitchen downstairs. We have spent thousands on medical supplies, food she deems acceptable, clothing, furniture, outings for her and her friends, the list goes on and on. 

I can understand wanting to help out a child, even one who has been ungrateful to you, because she's still your DD and you feel it's the right thing to do.  But why would you have to go out & buy special food?  As long as you are feeding her, she can eat the food that you & your family normally eat.  Why would you have to go out & buy her new clothes?  Didn't she own clothes before?  Why would you have to pay for outings for her adult friends?  I could see you giving her $20 to go to the movies because if she's hurt she can't work, but her friends can pay for themselves.  If you're going to act like a doormat, then she's going to keep walking right over you.

I do agree w/ the poster who says that you need to get your feelings out in the open.  You are probably afraid to say anything because you haven't seen her in so long, but you have to get your feelings out there and see what she says.  I think you have to tell her that you really tried to be a good mother after the divorce and you feel bad that you didn't have a relationship for many years and ask her if she wants a relationship now.  It can't be all one sided.  My exH had a DD from a previous marriage.  He could be mean to her and she ended up moving out when she was a senior in high school to live w/ her maternal grandmother.  He tried to make some amends but she didn't want anything to do w/ him for a while--but funny how she would come around when she wanted money.  He even sold his motorcycle to pay for her car repairs--so she'd take the money but didn't care about him--she didn't want to go out for dinner, she never bought him a card (never mind a present) for his birthday, Christmas, etc.  Finally I told him that if she didn't want a relationship w/ him, that he should stop giving her money (this was after she graduated from high school, dropped out of college and was working or maybe she didn't really feel like working).  I don't mind doing things for my kids because they are loving to me and it's not a one-way street.

I think at this point since you are going on vacation anyway, I'd probably just send her to her father's and let him take care of her and see if she contacts you at all.  It's really not fair to disrupt Kylie's life that much where she doesn't even have her room to live in and doesn't want to come home.  You are right--she should be the priority.

Community Leader
Registered: 08-25-2006
Mon, 09-30-2013 - 6:04pm

Over on Making a Second Marriage Work, PA is a common topic of discussion. 

I feel for you and can totally see why things have gone they way they have.  I think that the guilt got the best of you and you have over endulged your oldest DD during her recouperation.  If your younger DD was off to college, or what have you, I don't think there was anything wrong with letting older DD stay in the bedroom.  But I would say that the time has come to make other arrangements, what ever that may be.

I know it is tough when there is a substantial age gap in children.  I also have had to put my youngest as a priority, and when my oldest had my GS, I had to stand my ground and keep my own home as peaceful as possible for my youngest. 

I think that all you can do is continue to offer the olive branch and accept that your DD is who she is.  We don't necessarily have the same R with each of our children, even under the best of circumstances.  I do what I can, when I can, for and with my two oldest, especially DD with GS.  But when I can't, I don't hesitate to say no.  That I way I do not carry any resentments. 

Good luck, I know it is hard.

Serenity CL making a second marriage work

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-29-2013
Tue, 10-01-2013 - 5:34am
We divorced when Susan was 2 years old. Her father was a drunk and a chronic cheater. I had custody of her for 8 years. When he remarried he and his wife went on a champaign to destroy my relationship with Susan. I was going to school and working full time. I wasn't a drunk, I didn't parade different men in her life. While I went to school I had her go to her dad's house because I thought it was better for family to watch her than strangers. They used the extra time spent at their house against me in court saying I abandoned her. I didn't do that. I was working my ass off trying to improve our life's. My ex had a lot more money than I did to fight the courts. when I move away she was in college and wasn't living with her dad. I have tried to talk to her many times over the years about what happened, I tried family counseling, I tried enforcing the custody papers but nothing worked. She wouldn't even consider that I had my side to share. Even to this day, she wont listen to me. I'm not allowed to talk about it. She didn't have a horrible childhood. She lacked for nothing. I loved her immensely as did my entire family. Her dad's family loved her just as much. Before he got remarried, he and I would take her to the movies together, have dinners together and co-parented great.
iVillage Member
Registered: 09-16-2002
Tue, 10-01-2013 - 1:59pm

I'm not understanding why you feel guilty?  You have tried to stay in your daughter's life, but she's rebuffed you at every turn.  Whether or not this is because of what her father and his wife have done, or if she feels abandoned by you herself.  Until you stop feeling guilty, and put some boundaries in place (why is she smoking pot in your home, and being inappropriate), she won't respect you?  I think you may want to consider counseling for yourself to figure out how you can manage this relationship from afar.  It may be that you just need to let her know you are there for her, are willing to talk about your relationship when she's ready, but then leave it up to her.  Your daughter is now an adult, and so you don't have much control over what she does.  I wish you the best.

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

.  -Albert Einstein

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-22-2004
Sun, 10-27-2013 - 9:45pm

Guilty of what? You need to get rid of that feeling because you have done nothing wrong.Your ex H and wife are the ones who should be guilty. Talking badlyto to kid about a parent is a mean thing to do. Things went that way, and you can´t change the past. You are making too much effort to get your dauhter´s love back. But she doesn´t seem to be interested, tell her that if by any chance she is sometime willing to talk about that and listen your side of the story, you would be glad, but if she never wants to talk, it is also fine with you. ¿Why isn´t your ex H wife talking care of her? ¿ Is he paying for her medicines and expences? I think you are toooooooooooo nice, You could have sent her in an abulance to her father´s place so that wonderful wife of him can be the good surrogate mom, she claims to be.Please don´t beg her for her love and attention. Parents also need to have some dignity, even with their own upsprings.


Good luck!