In need of advice

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-13-2010
In need of advice
23
Wed, 04-17-2013 - 8:02am

  I've posted on here before and have gotten much good advice, so here I am again.  In a nutshell, I have 4 DDs ages 21 - 29.  I live in the midwest, DD29 lives in CA, DD27 lives in NJ, DD25 lives here in my town, but, at the present time, we have no relationship, and DD21 goes to college 45 minutes away.  Their father divorced me in 2007 and I feel my relationship with my DDs has disintegrated since that time.  They were raised around HIS family and dislike my current husband, so I am always the one left out.  I just finished up therapy to which my therapist told me I just need to accept all this.  HOW do I do that when I devoted my life to these DDs and aren't DDs usually closer to their mothers than their fathers?  Every time I turn around, THEY are together as a family and I'm on the outside looking in.  I told dh last night that I feel like all my ex did was replace me.  THEY are still a family and I'm alone. I want to be able to accept all this, but the hurt just seems to continue.  I don't WANT to hurt anymore, but my body reacts as such when I hear things.

  So, anyway, I was on Facebook last night and noticed DD21 posted to DD29, "Can't wait to see you this weekend!".  I thought...how is she seeing her?  Then I remembered months ago DD29 telling me that she was going to be in Chicago this Spring for a seminar for her job, so if anyone wanted to see her...(Chicago is a  5 hour drive from here).  Knowing DD21, she is probably going with her father and stepmother, but never said a word to me.  I saw her just 2 weeks ago and she didn't say a WORD.  She and I could have driven there and had a fun "girls" weekend with DD29, but, again...she said not a word.  DD29 never calls, but I did talk to her at Christmas and her birthday (a month ago as I called HER) and she never mentioned her trip to Chicago.  I have a feeling they were all keeping this from mom because they know how hurt I get when they do things as a "family" with their father and won't with me and dh.   I posted, "That's THIS weekend?" on Facebook, so they then KNEW that I knew.  DD29 just posted back, "This weekend and next."  I have no idea how to respond to any of this.  I am SO hurt (AGAIN) and just want to pull back from all my DDs.  They hate dealing with me because I always get hurt (who wouldn't), so my gut reaction to all this is to just stop communicating with them at all. They sure have no problem ignoring my texts and phone calls when they feel like it, so I figure I can do the same. I had privately messaged DD29 last week "I miss you.  That is all."  No response.  I called her last Sunday...never heard from her. And now THIS.   I know I'm supposed to not expect anything from my DDs which is how I'm supposed to accept all this, so if there is a magic pill out there to help me do that, I'd sure like to know because although I know it would help, my heart just breaks every time something like this happens. I wish I could just be numb about it all.

  I realize that I forgot she was coming our way (I work for a tax office and got all wrapped up in work), but, don't you all think if she had really wanted to see her mother that she would have asked me last month when I spoke to her if I was coming to see her?  That's how I feel...like it doesn't matter to her and, if DD21 had never posted anything on Facebook, that Mom would never have known and they could have had their "family" weekend and Mom would have been none the wiser. 

  A friend of mine recently put a post on Facebook...something about people who want to be in your life will make the effort.  I don't feel like any of my DDs do, so am tired of always being the one to reach out.  I know all of my DDs are wrapped up in their own lives (none married or with children, so their lives are all about THEM), so try to remember how selfish and immature they are at this point, but it doesn't make the hurt any less.

  At this point, I most likely will shut down and do nothing at all  Too hurt.  Just the fact neither of my DDs said anything breaks my heart.  So, I guess my question is to you all is what would YOU do if anything at all? 

 

Thanks.

 

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iVillage Member
Registered: 10-30-2002
Fri, 06-20-2014 - 11:44pm

To the original poster -- I have much sympathy for how you feel.   I have a slightly similar situation - my children are younger than yours, but my ex husband has partially alienated me from my children.   My ex is angry that he took me to court over a few issues with the children and I won each time.....he wants to be the one and only parent (my dad, the grandpa, came up with that theory)

Anyhow I have read up on parental alienation syndrome -- perhaps in your case your daughters alienated themselves from you (instead of your ex doing it), but from what I read, it is indeed heartbreaking for the parent and causes anxiety.   You have every right to feel hurt and to miss your daughters.    I also have a theory that perhaps your daughters feed off of one another -- for example, if one daughter is angry with you, perhaps the other daughters follow her lead? Just becuase there are four of them and one of you does Not make them right to be cold to their own mother.  

If it is of comfort, I have read that this is somewhat common.  And, sometimes years later, there is a reconciliation.   I have read that the best thing to do is to keep in touch.....I read you should consider sending them birthday cards, calling at Christmas, exc.  I also read that most parents "give up too early", to keep in occasional touch with your children, and they eventually may come around.

I also read that it is important to keep the rest of your family close (do you have aunts, uncles, sisters, exc.).....if it is any concilation, (sp.).....your daughters are missing out by bypassing the chance to have a loving relationship with their mother.  Their loss.

When your daughters say you chose your new husband over them, I agree with the other poster that that is somewhat selfish on the daughters part.   Most people like to be married, to have the companionship and someone to love.    You have a right to have a relationship/marriage.     In my situation, I admit I am happiest when I DON't contact my oldest child.  When I email or talk to my oldest child, they are cold toward me.    I've decided that isn't good for me, to be around my oldest child when she acts cocky and cold.     Read up on parental alienation syndrome and you will see you are not alone.....also, if one of your daughters is more welcoing than the others......hang on to those warm moments.    And remind yourself -- you have love to give, and your daughters are missing out.  hugs!!

Avatar for deenow17
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-12-2004
Tue, 04-23-2013 - 6:45pm
P&PT are prayers & positive thoughts. Hope this helps. Dee
iVillage Member
Registered: 01-13-2010
Tue, 04-23-2013 - 5:01pm

DD29 had every opportunity to tell me the dates she was in Chicago, but didn't.  Chances are, since she talks to her father much more than me, they probably made their arrangements, and since she knows I won't drive 5 hours alone, that I'd want dh to come with me...and she probably wouldn't have been comfortable with that.  So, it is what it is.  She missed an opportunity to see her mother and so be it.  I haven't seen her since last August and it would have been nice to spend time with her, but she apparently didn't care.  Whether I will hear her side of the story, remains to be seen.  I rarely her from her and, when I do, it is very superficial.  We mostly talk about our jobs, her travels,  and other family members and that's pretty much it.

I do resent dh's son living in our basement as it meant when I sold my condo that my 2 youngest DDs had to go live with their father.  He still lives in the big 6 bedroom home we built in 1998, so my DDs moved back into their bedrooms.  Our condo only has one extra bedroom in the basement and dh's son inhabited that. I have made my mistakes, but was so ready to move on with my life and with all my DDs 18 and older, I felt I had a right to do so and since their father still had empty bedrooms, I felt they'd be ok with it.  What's happened?  They've all become one big happy family over there and not with us.  Do I regret it.  You bet.  My biggest regret ever.

By the way, what does P & PT stand for?  I can tell it's something good, so thanks!

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-13-2010
Tue, 04-23-2013 - 4:48pm

 Unfortunately, no...my counselor did not give me any helpful hints as to how to "accept" things as they are.  It sounds so simple in theory...I wish my heart would understand it.  

At any rate, I'm stepping back and "accepting" that I will get hurt over and over for a long time since I know how my DDs feel about me and dh.  Nothing I can do.  At this point, it's put such a strain on dh's and my marriage, that I need to step back from my DDs and focus on myself, my happiness, and my marriage without my DDs in it.  

The last thing my counselor told me was that I was the "poster child" for "putting others' feelings before my own".  Once I divorced and remarried and moved forward with my life, I finally put MY feelings first and expected my DDs to understand that.  They didn't and haven't.  My mistake.  Moving on.

Thanks for all the good advice.  :)

Avatar for deenow17
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-12-2004
Tue, 04-23-2013 - 10:48am
A question for you, how do you know your DD made the arrangements to meet with her Dad? Do you know she volunteered the information on her weekend to her Dad? Is it possible that he heard about & asked for the details then set up the time to meet with her? As people, we need to remember there are 2 sides to a story in most cases & unless we know the other's side, I'm of the opinion that we need to give them the benefit of believing their behaviour wasn't deliberate. Do you know that your DD would have said, I don't want to meet you Mom if you asked? Are you afraid that if you asked, she would say no? If she did, then you would have a firm reason to the pain you are feeling but it might have lead to a conversation as to why she didn't want to see you. Just a couple of clarifications: 1. kids always hurt their parents even when they are grown & don't mean to. It just happens because they take us for granted because they know they can rely on us. So my daughter's actions were a message to me that I need to be clear on my arrival times & expectations as I take her for granted. Yeah it hurt spending 5 hrs alone but I played the martyr when she asked if she should come home. I said no because I wanted her to say, I will come home Mom. She called me on it by saying k, since it's ok with you then, I'm staying. See you later. 2. my relationship with my Mom is that of her caregiver & caregiver for my stepdad. She made my stepdad her life once she married. Yes, she changed & I can accept that as everyone evolves as they move through life. But she built a life (not so wonderful) without me being part of it. She seemed happy to do this & would brag about what she was doing when we did talk. As I think I said before, I made a decision that either she was out of my life or I would accept her as she was. I accepted her but all our relationship is now is one where I drive her to dr's, I take her shopping, do her laundry (just in the short term while they are changing retirement homes), etc. & do the same for my stepfather. Frankly, I would rather just do things for him as my Mom has gotten so used to me always being there that she takes me for granted. He says thank you. So I went from spoiled only child whose parents' lives revolved around me, to having to be a grown up at 18 when Dad died & Mom found stepdad with no support system except for my DH. I lived for years with the pain you are suffering but it was as an abandoned child not parent. It took me a lot of yrs to learn to deal with it but I can honestly tell you that the few times in my adult life that my Mom has granted me her attention, I lapped it up. Please build a happy life for yourself but leave the door open a crack for your girls to push open. I'm sure they do love you but they are angry, hurt & I'm willing to bet a little scared because they lost their "home" when u & Dad split then it became final when you remarried. Every little thing they see is likely exaggerated in their minds. You mentioned your stepson living with you. I'm willing to bet there is resentment there in the form of " Mom never offered to have me live with them". They won't care that it's a horrible situation for you, just that you didn't "love" them enough to do this. Sending P&PTs to you in the hope that you will find some comfort to help you heal. Dee
Avatar for elc11
Community Leader
Registered: 06-16-1998
Mon, 04-22-2013 - 10:10pm

Did your therapist have any suggestions about how to proceed with "just accepting" the situation? While I agree that is what you will need to do, I would hope that there might be some guidance in how to do that. A book to read, a meditation, something?

I will say that there is a difference between accepting a situation, and liking it. Of course you will never like the estrangement with your dd's but eventually you will be able to accept that "it is what it is" and move forward, I think that will just take time. One of the keys to moving forward is to realize that assigning blame will not help to resolve anything, it doesn't matter who did what or said what, it happened and it cannot be erased, it is now part of the puzzle. 

I think that in your original post you asked how you learn to accept the situation, and that seems to be the question to really focus on. There is no "good reason" for their behavior, no explanation that that will soothe your emotions, nothing that you could do at this point that could fix the problem, so hashing over the whys and what ifs may just distract you from your real work ahead. My hope for you is that you can put all of the past behind you.

 

Avatar for shirley_v
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-29-2000
Mon, 04-22-2013 - 6:22pm

Startingover, I happened to be at my rheumatologist's today and on the walls of the waiting room are a number of inspirational message posters.  One of them in particular caught my attention that I want to share with you.  It read: "Increase the practicing of love and care without the attachment of expectations."   

It also kind of ties in with that other saying I mentioned a while back, "No one is responsible for my happiness". 

I think when I also said that you are stuck focusing on the behaviour of your daugthers - it can mean that you are putting the expectation that If only they would love and treat you with love and respect, then you can be happy.  If  you are always disappointed in them, and what they do or don't do, then maybe how you treat (i.e. love) them has expections tied to it that they should treat you the same way.  ideally yes, but it doesn't seem to always work that way.  Just wondering....

Keep loving them...well, I know you do, but don't expect them to change or at least right now...maybe it will happen later... And like Dee said (I think it was her?) - don't complain to your Dh about your daughters.  it sounds like it makes for more division or negativity he may feel toward them.  You will get his sympathy for you but the flip side is that it does seem to add fuel to the fire, metaphorically speaking.  He feels he has to pick sides? 

And again, here's another saying I've already lobbed out there before this:  "The only person you can change is yourself" When you do....others will change in their behavior towards you. I guess the question is, what would you need to change?  It' s not always easy to know what and how to do that.  That's why I thought a good therepist would help you sort out your unhappiness, why you feel so sad and what it is that you can do to get beyond this sad feeling.  I would think a therapist would be wanting to help you explore this. 

Shirley

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-13-2010
Mon, 04-22-2013 - 8:06am

 <<My Mom stuck by him & because they were together, I never had a close relationship with my Mom.>>

In rereading all the good advice I've received on here, THIS comment you made jumped out at me.  THIS may be the very case with me and my DDs and that's just what I'm going to have to accept.  BUT, the hard part is, I know deep down, it hurts dh that they have never really given him a chance.  He may not have much of a mouth filter and has made mistakes, but always in defense of me.  What's hard is that my ex wasn't that different and, at times, i didn't like the way he parented, so stood up to him on behalf of my DDs.  (I know...big mistake.)  Anyway, DD25 said once that there are things they have to accept about their father, but they don't about their stepfather.  I know that's true, but have told my DDs that by leaving me out BECAUSE of him only hurts ME (which obviously they don't care).  But, that's not true because I know it hurts dh as well.  He's a good man...maybe not the social and warm and fuzzy type, but they've never spent any real time with him to know who he really is.  :(  He has never said anything mean to any of them to their face.  Anything he did say about them was because they had hurt ME which made him angry and they overheard him. 

Dh and I watched "Parental Guidance" recently and the conversation between the mother and grown daughter really struck a cord with me.  When her daughter lashed out and said to her mother, "You always took HIS side."(meaning the father),  the mother responded, "Yes.  I did because, ya know...kids grow up and leave, but it's your spouse who stays."  Although, I may have a better relationship with my DDs if I left him, I won't.  HE'S the one who's been there for me in the last 4 years on a daily basis...not my children and, until they accept him, we most likely won't have a good relationship either and it does make me sad as it does dh as well. 

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-13-2010
Mon, 04-22-2013 - 7:45am

 Thanks, Shirley.  I know as well as anyone that happiness comes frorm within, so I'm going to work on that.  How, I don't know.  Maybe now that warmer weather is coming, I'll get outside. Nice weather and nature always perks me up.

I guess most of all, after 4 years of being hurt by my daughters, I need a break and I'm going to take it and try to find that happiness I need without them.  I haven't seen nor spoken to DD25 since January and, to be honest, it's made my life more peaceful.  Of course I think about her, but, it's taken pain and drama out of my life that was again, chipping away at my  happiness.  This may sound terrible...but I honestly haven't missed her that much.  (She was the one who called me f-uped and bipolor and asked for her Christmas present from me after not spending any time with me at Christmas and fully admitted to getting her father a present and NOT me.)  Her disrespect and hurt of me had taken it's toll and I called it quits. 

Thanks for writing.

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-13-2010
Mon, 04-22-2013 - 7:35am

Dee,

   I'm glad you wrote because you are the one who tends to understand the situation better than anyone...even it it's from the other side.  Thanks for the hugs. 

 I was in many tears again last night...seeing DD29's pictures of Chicago on Facebook...telling a friend she's spending a couple days with "the fam" (and in my mind while crying, I thought "not the WHOLE family"). it's just the fact that she gave her father the exact dates of her being in Chicago giving him the opportunity to see her and not me.  And, all this after I had FB messaged her that I missed her and even called her a week ago.  She never called back.  She has made her message loud and clear.  I will stay silent, but have no desire to have her in my life for a while which will be easy since she lived 1500 miles away and never contacts me anyway.

  I have read about toxic relationships and believe the relationships with my DDs are just that.  Relationships that cause this much pain I do not need in my life. It is THEM who cause me pain much more so than anything else in my life.  I do need to find happiness and, as long as they continue to do this to me, I will hurt and I know it's going to.  My counselor basically told me that it could take years, as it sounds it has you, to accept your mother and stepfather as they are and have a relationship with them anyway. 

I'm sorry your daughter hurts you as well.  How old is she?  My parents lived 6 hours away and rarely came to see me and my family, so my ex's family became much more my family than my own.  They only lived an hour and a half away.  I know I will always be secondary to DD27's future in-laws as she will live only an hour from them and 1500 miles from me.  To be secondary to your children's other parent is much worse, especially since I was the one who was always there for them...not him.  And now...he's "family" and I'm not.

There is no point in continuiing counseling.  My counselor told me what I need to do.  I can't help how my body reacts to emotional pain (an actual feelng of heartbreak, tears, and sadness), but I guess the only thing I CAN do is accept that this will happen over and over and over in my life.  Until they can accept me and dh, they will continue to hurt me and not care.  As you said, it doesn't hurt THEM.  I just keep remembering the words of my counselor...they are selfish and immature and it will all take time...meaning years. 

Thanks for the hugs, and, as always, your wise words of wisdom.  I appreciate them very much.  :)

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