Startingover...Are you here?

Avatar for shirley_v
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Registered: 04-29-2000
Startingover...Are you here?
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Wed, 05-01-2013 - 2:24pm

Startingover, I know we've given you a pile of advice about your situation with your daughters.  But I came across an advice column in my local newspaper that has a question from a person who has a similar sounding situation as what you are going through.  I thought it might be worth it once last time to include it here, as advice from a professional (at least she seems savvy and gives pretty good sounding advice to those who write her). 

This person who wrote has three children who are adults, but are financially dependent on their father - which is not the case with your children, but neverthless, these children seem to be quite angry with their mother (who wrote to this columnist) and who don't want to see this woman/mother.  So here is what the columnist wrote as advice:  (I will leave out the part that does not relate to your own circumstance, though).

"They are spoiled, immature...."  Let each one know you love and miss them, but you understand their position.  Say you hope they will become independent adults who'll decide things for themselves.  Say you're always available if they care to reach you.  Meanwhile, stick with your therapy and send messages monthly to each, saying you hope their school or work is going well - just enough to show interest in them, rather than seeking contact for your own sake."

Maybe most of this is not new to you, but if not, I thought it worth including here.  It seems that this woman who wrote mentions that her children's father manipulates and spoils their children and are particularly angry at their mother, now that this woman is legally separated from her husband/their father, who was always emotionally abusive and controlling toward her.  Maybe some of this rings true for you, but not sure if all of it does...just thought I'd mention it for comparision.

Anyway, just thought I'd add this advice columnist's advice to the mix if it would be of any more help.

Shirley

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iVillage Member
Registered: 01-13-2010
Mon, 05-06-2013 - 7:53am

  Thank you, Shirley.  It's funny tho'..that's exactly what my counselor told me to do, but my DDs already know I'm here and that I love them...even my DD25 who I have no relationship with right now.  That's the last thing I told her as  was walking out the door on January 1st.  Although I know they are selfish and immature, it's still hard being the one to make all the effort.  I have 2 DDs right now who seem to understand better than the other 2, so I feel close to at least those 2.  2 out of 4 ain't bad!  lol

My DD27 who heard dh have that horrible outburst at Thanksgiving and who I had a real heart to heart with the day after is the one who seems to have really come around. I think once I sent her the letter I wrote after getting my counselor's approval, seemed to help.  DD21 texted me last week saying she was sorry she hasn't kept in touch and we made plans to get together next Saturday, so looking foward to that.  Funny tho'...the next day she texted me again asking for me for money.  Figures. 

Dh and my 2nd anniversary was yesterday, but we didn't do anything for it  as we were on our way home from a family gathering (4 hour drive).  I got to talking about my mother's 80th birthday party in July and how, if that was my ex, HE'D be buying our 2 older DDs airline tickets to come home for it.  Since the divorce, he's always done that...if he wants them there, he buys them.  I told dh maybe WE should do that...I'd probably look better in their eyes if I started doing the same.  It wouldn't matter anyway.  My DDs really aren't close to my family at all and don't even LIKE my mother, so my 2 who even live in this state won't go.  sigh  They were raised close to their father's family which is why I'm the one always left out which is what hurts and what my counselor says I just need to accept. It's just SO hard.  I'm not even looking forward to my DD27's wedding next year knowing it will be all her father's family and I'll be there alone, although my younger brother said he'd go.  It'll be on the east coast and none of my family can afford to go and dh doesn't want to go nor does my DD want him there, so I don't feel at all excited about it.  Make no mistake...I'll go and put on my happy face, but inside, I will feel very alone and out of place.  :(

Sorry to have rambled, but thanks for thinking of me.  You all have been a huge help along with my counselor.  It's just hard knowing these things, like what happened with oldest daughter and Chicago, will continue to happen and  it will always hurt.  No way around it.  What  I do now though is not lash out...i just stay silent and pull away for a while and let myself heal.

Avatar for shirley_v
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Registered: 04-29-2000
Mon, 05-06-2013 - 10:35pm

Sounds like your real challenge, Startingover, is to somehow get beyond feeling so sad and unhappy regarding your daughters, though, it is good that you do have a rapport with at least two daughters.  So yes, be glad of that.  You do not have the power to change your daughters' way of thinking or doing, except perhaps in that you continue to love and keep in contact with them to let them know you are available to them.  But it's up to them as to what they will do.  Well, we've been down this road a few times so I probably won't have anything more to add in this regard. Except that I hope in time that you will feel more happy despite the situation with your daughters.  

Belated Happy Anniversary to you and your DH.  Will you be celebrating it, even though later?

Shirley

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-13-2010
Tue, 05-07-2013 - 7:35am

  No...probably won't be doing anything for our anniversary this year.  Dh's job is in jeopardy, so not into spending money. I also will probably have to help pay DD21's college this coming year plus dh needs to buy his 20 year old son a car or he will never get on his feet and get a life.  So, money for fun probably is not in the budget this year.  sigh  I told him since we won't ever be celebrating "big" anniversaries, we'll have to do something special for like our 5th, 10th, etc...

Avatar for elc11
Community Leader
Registered: 06-16-1998
Tue, 05-07-2013 - 12:45pm

"if he wants them there, he buys them."  Did you mean that he "buys them (the dd's) off" or that he buys the tickets?

That is how we see our dd. We're in SoCal. She lives in NY and works as a waitress so not a lot of disposible income. We pay her airfare to come home for Christmas, and occasionally for something else, like a memorial service. I figure that its the price to pay to have the family together. But she somehow manages to find the money for what she really wants to do including some travel...about 6 wks ago she flew to L.A. for Spring Break and stayed with a friend. She said she couldn't afford to come to see us so I offered to pay the train fare (2 hr train ride) to see us. Nope. Of course I was kind of miffed. She knew that, so we didn't hear from her much for a while and I decided to wait to contact her until after my disappointment had faded. And I would say that overall we have a good relationship. She's 27 and not immature but sometimes selfish. My ds lives about 400 miles away and manages to come to town for weddings a few times a year so that's mostly when we see him. He stays in our home and sets aside a few hours for us but we're definitely not the primary reason for the visit. When he drives down at Christmas I give him gas money since I paid for his sister to fly, it seems only fair.. I guess my point in telling you this story is so that you know that many of us go through these things to some degree and maybe that can help you feel less alone in this. Also to tell you that other parents pay when they want to see their kids, its not just your ex. I look at it as helping them and benefitting myself at the same time.

I get a sense that you feel a competition with your ex, did your therapist say anything about that?

Avatar for suzyk2118
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Registered: 07-30-1997
Tue, 05-07-2013 - 1:00pm

How about just packing a picnic and eating outside or something low key but romantic/special?  We never do anything fancy/expensive for anniversaries but do try to do something we enjoy that's a little out of the ordinary...

sue

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-13-2010
Wed, 05-08-2013 - 5:25pm

  Thanks for sharing.  That does help, but it's just so different when the parents are divorced which is what noone else on this board can understand.  I don't feel that it's a competition between me and the ex...more a sadness that I can't afford to do what he can for them.  I make little and dh and I, as I mentioned above, aren't in quite the same financial league as my ex's wife (he hasn't worked in 5 years).  It just makes me feel bad.  It will always have to be a choice for me when it comes to traveling...either see one of my kids one year and the other the next or me and dh take a vacation.  I do feel a bit guilty as last year I went to see DD in CA, so dh didn't get a vacation.  It's hard when you aren't people of "means".  It was nice when I was married before because then my ex and I were "the parents" who paid for these things "together".  Now it's him and his new wife.  So, it does hurt not to be able to do the things they can for my DDs.  I admit it.  I know from the divorce board that I am not alone in feeling this way.  When one parent can "do" more for the children...it's hard...that's all.  But, thanks for letting me know I'm not alone...that there are others out there who suffer disappointments at the hands of their adult children.  

At this point, I'm focusing more on the things and people in my life who DO make me happy...dh, my friends, DD21, the nice weather that finally came our way.  :)

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-13-2010
Wed, 05-08-2013 - 5:29pm

  Well, since dh and I are relative "newlyweds" (2 years), we actually DO do fun stuff together on the weekends. He has no friends and thoroughly enjoys being with me that it doesn't take much to make us happy.  :) To go out for dinner or go away for a weekend (very cheaply), is nothing out of the ordinary for us, so, to come up with something new and different is actually diffucult!  

Avatar for deenow17
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Registered: 10-12-2004
Thu, 05-09-2013 - 10:05pm
I'm not so sure that being divorced makes this harder for you than for the rest of us when it comes to giving our kids things. There are differences in every relationship. I feel badly & yes, somewhat jealous that my SIL's parents gave the kids more than we did for their wedding. They did it to "buy" more seats at the wedding for their friends but it was way more than the seats cost. I also noticed with DS2's wedding that I had to be very careful not to share what I was doing for the kids with DS2's MIL as it hurt her because she can't afford to do the same. My DD's in laws have a lot more money than we have & do more financially for the kids. I get hurt because it seems that they spend way more time with SIL's family than ours & sometimes I think it's because of what the money buys. I also "pay" my kids to visit but I do this as they can't afford the gas to visit as often as I would like to see them. I paid for DS1 to come home for his brother's wedding again because money is tougher for him. My DH loves his kids but doesn't agree that this money should be spent but then he doesn't need to see the kids as much as I do. It isn't that he loves them any less, it's just that he needs them less so I go without things so that I can "bribe" my kids. I hope you find it in your heart to do more than put a brave face on for your DD's wedding. This is a very important time in your DD's life & you aren't out of place. You will have a very important place & that is as the Mother of the Bride. As you know, I couldn't stand my Mother's husband but I give him credit for supporting my Mom emotionally on my wedding day but staying as far away from me as possible. Her role was as my Mom not as his wife & she played that role that one last time. Finally, I think that all adults disappoint others at one time or another. I feel very close to my kids & I know they love me but my feelings get hurt at times, it's just life. Every year since my DGS was born, my DD has spent Mother's Day with her MIL because her DH says that he wants to spend it with his 2 favourite women. I see his point but on the other hand I have never understood why it has to be the entire day. Why DD can't find time to see me too. She feels that because my birthday is the same week that we just need to have one celebration to cover both events. The boys & DH agree. It hurts & I get jealous of DH as we celebrate his birthday & father's day separately. We have to just focus on the positive & let go of the negative feelings cause we are only hurting ourselves. Dee
Avatar for sabrtooth
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Registered: 12-03-1999
Sat, 05-11-2013 - 11:49am

Dee, have you TOLD your dd --I mean really told her-- that it hurts you that she doesn't see you on Mother's Day?  A long time ago, Dh & I were talking about troubles in relationships, and he said, "Ya know, women should stop expecting guys to have ESP.  If you want something, ASK FOR IT.  If something is bothering you, TELL US!" 

And it occured to me that many people (but women especially) think others should just "know" what they want, or how they feel.  I don't know if it's just that we assume everyone "feels" the same way we do, or if we think that someone who knows you well or loves you should be able to just figure it out.  I realized I'd spent a lot of time sitting around miffed that dh hadn't said "Let's go out to dinner tonight" when he "knew" I'd worked around the house all day, or the kids wanted to go out with their friends when they "knew" it was a special day.

So I've made it a point to NOT assume people know what I want.  And I've talked to both my kids about really asking for what they want, emotionally as well as physically. 

And as families expand, it gets to a point where it's hard to make everyone happy, unless you sit down and have a real discussion about priorities, and compromise.  Not only between you and your kids, but between your kids and their SO's.  Tell your dd that it hurts you and makes you jealous that you only get one "special" day, and dh gets two.  Don't worry that it might sound petty.  Just get it out there.  And maybe once you've vocalized your feelings, and your daughter has a chance to directly address your hurt feelings, they will seem less important. 

Avatar for deenow17
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Registered: 10-12-2004
Sat, 05-11-2013 - 2:02pm
Yep, Sabr we have had this conversation & she tries to understand how I feel but she doesn't see what is so special about one day. She doesn't get a card or gift from her DH & it's perfectly ok with her. He feels that she isn't his Mom & so does she. He never thinks to give her something from DGS & so I normally do but not this year as we didn't have time to go shopping together. This year it will be a quiet day with both boys so far from home. DD can't travel this far due to her pregnancy anyhow but it would have been nice to be asked to come visit. Again, her comment will be - why do you need an invite? You know you are welcome anytime. Guess this is me being a bit passive aggressive because I know I have to tell her. Funny but the boys are more inclined to "think" about stuff than her which is funny. Guess the sentimental genes skipped her. Dee

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