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.

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-13-2010
Sat, 04-20-2013 - 11:39am

<< would you believe either of them even referring to the original upset at all?  That's what it means for both persons to look on it, 'like it never happened'.

This reminded me of DD27 a few years ago.  She was hurt and angry with me and we didn't communicate for a year and a half.  She finally came around and, when we met for lunch, I gave her the opportunity to say whatever it was she had to say to me.  Her response was, "No, Mom...I'd just rather move on."  and we did.  I know what I did that hurt her, so knew she needed tme to get over it and I gave t to her.  I continued to let her know I loved her - sent her birthday and Christmas cards AND money to which I never received acknowledgements, but I kept trying.  I hope now DD25 reaches that same point...where she's ready to have me back in her life and move forward. 

I sometimes wonder, if I had had sons how they would have reacted to all this.

Dh and I talked about my DDs last night and he still cannot forgive all the hurt he's seen them inflict on me over the years (and yes...much to do with the fact they don't like HIM).  He's sick of it all and was about ready to call it quits.  It's hard not having my children in OUR lives.  Of course we won't split, but THAT would be the easiest solution.  I'd have my DDs back, but, on a daily basis, I'd be alone and without the man I love.  It seems like a no win situation.

Avatar for deenow17
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Registered: 10-12-2004
Sun, 04-21-2013 - 12:20pm
Starting over, I'm sorry things are more upsetting in your life again. You have received lots of good advice here so far. One thought that came through to me is that your daughters don't sound all that different from many kids their age. I have a good relationship with all of my 3 kids but I do 90% of the work. This is something I have seen in most of their generation. We focused on them & gave them all of our love, time & money but we didn't do the best job in teaching them that the world doesn't revolve around them. How could we as we did let it revolve around them as they were growing up. I get "hurt" by the amount of one my DD spends with her inlaws. Her response is Mom, they live 20 mins away & you are 2 hrs. They drop by or invite us to dinner. You don't. Visiting us requires an overnight stay as it's too long a trip to do with DGS for just a few hrs here. With their schedule they can only handle the trip 4 or 5 times a yr. So what happens, I make the effort to drive down to visit her sometimes staying overnight but sometimes just driving back home the same day. I'm very welcome but I have done this only to find myself alone when I got there with a text message saying oh, I thought you were just coming for dinner & agreed to spend the afternoon with inlaws. She never thinks to ask when I will arrive so I have to remember to tell exactly what I'm thinking of doing. My 3 kids message between them a lot. Sometimes they make arrangements without me being included. I'm happy about that but if I really want to join them, then I ask. You know about this weekend visit so why not ask if there is an opportunity for you to join them. You are also suffering from losing your role as a Mommy. Something I hate. I loved it when my kids were small & I could do so much for them. I struggled accepting that this changes as they age & move into their own lives. But the best way to deal with this is to find another outlet which provides you with enjoyment. Your pain & hurt is causing you problems but not your DDs. So you need to figure out how to lessen this in a positive way. They can't be the little ones they were growing up regardless of who you married. Some of what you are feeling would have happened even if you didn't divorce their father. I do believe you are making a mistake discussing this pain with your DH as it is likely driving the wedge between him & your girls even deeper. Since he has an angry mouth, you have just created a time bomb for whenever he may see them again. You mentioned before that you have changed since marrying DH in what you perceive to be a good way. That is positive but don't expect your DDs to like their "new" Mom. Kids want us to remain in the roles they grew up with, it gives them stability. This doesn't mean we ignore our needs, it just means we have to be sensitive to their feelings on the "new" Mom. I don't know too many families where the parents don't do most of the work keeping the relationship between child & parents flowing. At least, not until the parents are unable to handle things on their own. So IMO, keep yourself busy, find something to fill the gap you are missing in your life since you aren't happy with your job, DH & your relationship with your kids. Send msg to your DDs that you love them but don't expect a message in return & try to back off on making them feel guilty by sharing your feelings of abandonment.. Guilt does not build a loving relationship. I know, I am taking care of my Mom but there is a lot more anger/resentment than love due to the years of guilt I have received from her. As I mentioned in an earlier post, my Mom remarried when I was in my late teens & her DH wanted nothing to do with me. She built her life around him & I resented/hated him for years. Frankly, today he thanks me for anything I do for him/them & she just expects it. The pain of losing the Mom I knew until I was 18 is still with me but as a Mother myself I understand that some of my pulling away was just part of my growing up. Good luck & many hugs coming your way. I would also suggest that you need to work more with your counselor to help you deal with your sadness. Dee
Avatar for shirley_v
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Registered: 04-29-2000
Sun, 04-21-2013 - 4:13pm

Startingover, I think Dee's advice is very good.  (Amazing what other people write and I think, Yes! I agree!)  I was just thinking that dwelling on the sadness has you stuck and well, if there is anything you can do to focus less on the sadness and to find ways to enrich your life - that is a way to offset some of the loss you feel about the relationship with your daughters.  Not to belittle your pain, but you don't want to be feeling this unhappy indefinitely and while you don't have to give up the hope that things might change for the better, not to be so entrenched in the sadness of the present situation.  And I think too that if you can further therapy (with someone else if this therapist is not of your choice to continue) to help you deal with moving forward in ways. 

Shirley

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.  :)

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 - 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. 

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

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 deenow17
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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
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.  :)