Estranged from my daughter

kats_2007September 9, 2007

I was a single parent living with my daughter in Australia until she was 28 yrs old. She was not very keen to start full time work after University and as a result I supported her fully to age 23 then subsidised her living costs until 28 yrs old.

At that time, she decided it was time for her to spread her wings and take some work in Europe. As a result we decided that it would be best for me to move to London to enable us to visit each other easily.

Fate stepped in and she reconnected with a boy from Dallas that she had met in High School. Plans changed as she was going to live in Dallas, but I would still go to London, as they planned to come and live there in 2-3 yrs and it was easier for us to visit each other from there.

My savings were almost worthless in London and would have lasted me a year. I was anxious about finding work at 60 yrs old so moved into a really disgusting flat, renting one room. Often there was not hot water or heating and rats in the kitchen.

I blanked it all out, focussing on the positive, we would be able to visit each other, they would be here in a couple of years and in the meantime I had found work and begun to save.

Within 6 weeks of being in Dallas, my daughter informed me that they wouldn't be coming to live in London, it was too expensive for them and that she would not be able to visit, as she was staying in the US without a visa until they married.

During phone calls, she regularly told me how good her boyfriend was to his mother, giving her substantial financial support, helping to sell her house and trying to help her get over her drinking problems. She also mentioned how good he was to his brother, helping him out financially on a regular basis.

She had seen where I was living, one room, in a disgusting flat and at the time, had offered to help me financially until I found work. However she changed her mind, telling me that one of her friends had advised her against it and that she and her boyfriend combined incomes and had to discuss spending with each other, I assume, he said no.

All my reasons for giving up everything I had worked hard for 32 years, had been changed. My daughter didn't even acknowledge this. But she told me that she had 'good news' I could go back to Australia in 5 yrs and at age 65 could get a pension!

It didn't seem to enter her head, that I would be going back to - nothing. No home, no furniture, no car, as I had practially given all of that away for the plans we had made together.

When I broached the subject with her on my first visit to Dallas, she denied ever offering to help me and accused me of starting arguments. I was distraught and confused, how could she 'forget' it, was I going mad, did I imagine it, does my daughter really not care at all?

She then pointed out that 'they had paid my airfare' to Dallas. Yet did not consider that, I had lost two weeks pay as a temp and the cost of bringing presents for her, her boyfriend and his family and that the original plan was, that we would rotate visits and the cost would be less to us both.

Our two weeks together were not great, she was very irritable most of the time. We went to visit his father, stepmother and sister on Christmas Day. They barely spoke to me and my daughter and her boyfriend went off for a ride around the property, leaving me with these people I didn't know, who sat watching TV with no conversation for 2 hours!

I felt very unwelcome in my daughter's home, not welcomed by her boyfriend's family and that my daughter, has left her past behind. I didn't expect anything from my daughter, but when she did offer to help, it was heart warming. She could afford it. She works and her boyfriend has an excellent job with equally excellent income.

I feel that she would be most happy if I returned to Australia, got myself public housing and lived on a pension and told her that I'm fine and my life is great, but she would be very embarassed to visit me if I was living that way.

I am uttely devastated at my daughter's behaviour, she tells me all the time, 'we are very close' and that is the reason I gave up so much to come here. To be geographically close.

I am too close to this to get an objective view, can anyone offer me some insight?

Thanks, Kats.

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I'm sorry I can't think of a way to say this gently --

But it sounds like you have planned the rest of your life with a "me and my daughter" mentality, and the time for that mindset appropriately ended about 10 years ago.

After a late start, it seems your daughter has managed to launch herself into a successful, independent adult life. And while it may not feel like it right now, that's a good thing and as it should be. For her, that is.

Now what about you? Well, I'd say it's time to do the same -- Time to launch your own idependent adult life. You're no longer responsible for your child, only for yourself. And if you're healthy, you're far from old and still have many options. Where would you truly prefer to live? (Planning only for yourself -- NOT around your daughter.) Where can you afford to live now, work now, saving a bit each year?

Forgive your daughter. Just turn around and walk away -- walking off in your own direction. Walk toward what you want, not away from her. And let her know you'll be happy to see her wherever, whenever.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2007 at 5:51PM
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I feel for you, you have been through tough times.

I have to agree with Sweeby.

You want you daughter to be independent, happy, good job, good life and she seems to have that, you have brought her up well.

Now its time for you to focus on yourself, find a life for yourself. What are the good things in your life ?

Where would you like to live ?

Its tricky for you when you have options, but try to see this as a positive. You are flexible and not tied down to any one place.

I live in Oz, and retiring here, doesnt seem like such a bad idea, does it ? You could hop on a plane and visit your daughter.

I think when she has some children, she will want her mum.

I think, as mothers, we all have to prepare for the inevitable "empty nest syndrome", I think you might have a touch of those feelings.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2007 at 6:09PM
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Thanks to the two people who responded.

You are right. You know how it is, when you are in the situation, you feel something's not quite right, but you can't put your finger on it.

I really appreciate your honesty and that's what I logged onto this site for. I am gradually getting accustomed to living without my daughter and the day to day interactions. It has been difficult, because of her moving to another country, it's a loss that has had the accompanying feelings of grieving, but I am daily moving past that and as you suggested, starting to plan, my life.

Best wishes and thanks, Kathy

    Bookmark   September 10, 2007 at 2:04AM
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Hang in their Kathy, you can make a lovely life for yourself.

All the best to you.


    Bookmark   September 10, 2007 at 3:05AM
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Kathy, I think your plans with your daughter were wishful thinkings. I have found that sometimes the kids just agree to agree simply because they hope the situation will either be resolved or will go away. It's easier for them to postpone telling the truth than dealing with the reality of disppointing a parent. It's not the right thing to do, but it happens.

What a shame that you've moved to London. It sounds as though you've made no friends there.

If you return to Australia and even though you no longer have a home or car, wouldn't you have a network of old friends that you could reconnect with?

I think if I were in your shoes I'd go back home to my roots. You're still young at 60 and you can make a life for yourself without your daughter.

Best of luck with whatever you decide.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2007 at 9:01AM
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Sounds like you have no choice but to move back to australia. I would suggest moving to the US, but at age 60 job pickings would be slim. London is the most expensive place to live in in the world, no one would grudge you if you left.

I would start a different life back in australia and concentrate on rebuilding your life and forget about your daughter's for a while. She is a big girl who can take care of herself obviously.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2007 at 10:15AM
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