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Mothers of estranged children....part II

Posted by yoyobon (My Page) on
Thu, Feb 25, 10 at 8:25

I thought it might ease the posting if I restarted this link . After 100 responses, it seemed like a good idea!

Let me begin simply by saying this...
I am a mother of an estranged daughter who is 43 and took my three beloved grandchildren away from us when she decided to leave the family.
Until that point those three grandchildren were my heart.
My daughter was like a best friend.
People would say how lucky we were to be so close.
We were told how special our relationship was.
And it was....until she married a man with NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder) and brought him into our family.
Ultimately he sought to destroy us and separate her from her support.
And he did it after 18 years of slowly building up his power.

I do not under stand any of it.
I know that life goes on.
I can grieve the loss of these four important people from my life, but I know that I need to LIVE my life today and into the future , whatever that brings.
I cannot waste what time I have left grieving for them.
It was her choice to take her children and leave her family.
I believe she is mentally unstable due to the stresses living with this man have created for her.
He has lied so much about her family, that now she has no choice but to believe him.

We all love her and the grandchildren.
But LIFE GOES ON.

You cannot go back to the beginning and start over, but you can begin today to make a new ending.

I plan to live my life knowing that I did the very best I could.
I cannot control other's feelings or actions.
I can only control how I respond to them.

At this point I choose to be happy with my life.
It is my only choice.

Peace to all you Moms out there who know what I speak of.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Mothers of estranged children....part II

I saw alot of peoples posts...not in this thread particularly...but on this forum as a whole, some of them disturbed me, and some of them made me angry.

I just want to comment from the other side. And just a short disclaimer, I am going to be a little harsh.

I am -that- rebellious and selfish adult daughter who is hurting her parents by keeping them out of her life.

There are several things that brought me to the decision to keep them out of my life. I won't go into explicit details...but I will give a general overview.

On the surface, everyone would say that my parents love me and care about me...and it probably is true in their own minds.

They probably don't even realize how much they have hurt me though, because their beliefs and ideas are superior to my own way of thinking and lifestyle.

I was raised in a good "Christian" home. Very active in the church, disciplined when I did something wrong, and was given an good education.

I'm sure as parents, my mother and father think they have done nothing wrong in my upbringing...but that is not the case.

My mothers parents are observant Catholics, and my father has spent many a Christmas always trying to change and convert him to his way of thinking...because he "loved" him. Because he "loved" him, he didn't want to see him in hell...or whatever nonsense that is. I saw my grandfather yell at my dad...and as I child, I never questioned my father could be in the wrong for doing this...until I grew up.

I know that part of the story isn't about me, but it is a very powerful observation that was made that affected my later decision.

Kids make observations about you through your entire life...the way you react to things...the the things that get you angry or upset.

Out of "love" my parents called my fat and obese and told me to lose weight. Almost everyday and told me I had to lose weight or that no boys would ever want to date me. I guess their thinking was if they told me that, then I could change myself...but it only brought about low-self esteem and depression. And I consider it emotional abuse...although they probably would not define it that way through their perception of thinking.

Out of "love" my father beat me if I ever talked back to him. As a child, I define that to be discipline, but as a teenager...when I'm striving to express my individuality...and your father beats you for not being in agreement...it borderlines physical abuse. My father would not define it as such...but it can be defined that way in the eyes of a child...and whom the child tells and shares the experience with other people.

When my mother was stressed one day, she just told me she hated taking care of me...probably slipped out of her mouth by mistake...and she has probably forgotten she even said words like that to me, because all she says now is "I miss you, I miss you"...but she never apologized for it, and I never forgot what she said. Nor forgave her for it. It made me upset for months and months...and affected my self-esteem and grades...and months turned into years of depression and suicidal thoughts and wrist cutting. All because of one "slipped" phrase out of her mouth she probably didn't mean entirely.

My father told me that there was something demonically wrong with me during my teenage rebellious phase...and really upset me. Can't he understand that humans make their own choices...even during periods of rebellion...and don't always have to be influenced by some supernatural source to do things like that. I never forgot those words, nor do I forgive him for it. Yet, in his own mind, he probably thought what he said was true...or that it would shake me to realization of the matter...whatever.

Then I grew up, left the house...and life gave me a lemon, and I had really bad hardships I could not handle. I didn't feel like my parents ever took the time to let me express my own person. Everything was justified by their religion, and there was an answer to everything and event.

"Children obey your parents for this is right."
"Rebelliousness is like the sin of witchcraft."
"Honor your father and mother, so that your days will be long in the land in which the LORD your God has given you"

...etc.

Everything was justified by the bible. But it was all cherry-picking.

Whatever happened to

"Fathers do not provoke your children to anger."
"Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child, and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death."
"For son treats father contemptuously, Daughter rises up against her mother, Daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; A man's enemies are the men of his own household."

Jesus even came to:
"turn man against his father, daughter against her mother, and daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law"

Through my own perception of the world, which is different than their perception, I got a different picture of life and how I will choose to live it. In my world-view and in my reality, life is not so black and white that everything can be justified from one source (i.e. the bible)...however true you think any scripture is.

Needless, to say, I educated myself. I studied Asian linguistics in high school...then I decided I should study the bible in it's original language and took up Hebrew. I really had no choice, since the bible is my families mind-set and authority and end-all source to any situation. I had to be educated in it just as well...to even understand their way of thinking.

I ended up rejecting the theology after much study...and when my parents found out what I was doing, I cut them off immediately.

It doesn't mean I don't love my parents...it just means I understand their way of thinking, and know that we will never get along.

I do -NOT- have to justify my actions or my reasons of belief to them. I don't care how "entitled" they are...for "bringing me up".

I refuse to be treated like I'm sort of project that needs fixing. Yes, I make mistakes...but that doesn't mean you are going to change my mindset and the way I view the world.

I want to be loved unconditionally...for who I am. Regardless of any beliefs or affiliation.

If they look at me and say "she shouldn't do that" "that's wrong" "we have to help her" "we can't let her go to hell" etc, etc. It's all based on "love"...but is it really?

I think the GLBT community understands this the best. If you did not approve of your child being gay or lesbian, then you'd want to "fix" him/her out of "love". Thats why so many kids have a hard time "coming out of the closet" to their parents. Sometimes they wait until their parents die before they can truly be honest with themselves, because their parents can't handle it.

THAT IS NOT LOVE.

Love is unconditional and loves without any judgments. But because they are blinded by their beliefs like "If you love your neighbor, you will rebuke them of their sin."

I'm not going to generalize this entire thread of posters to be the same kind of religious parents I grew up with, but I do sense that many of you judge your children and do not like the things they are doing. Whether it be their decision on whom to marry, how they take care of their children, what they do with their life, how they've treated other members of your family...or whatever. It doesn't matter, I sense alot of judgments on the children in this forum.

Everyone is so eager to point to their child's selfishness or blame it on a mental disability.

I think in order to even live a healthy life, people have to be atleast somewhat selfish to themselves. And if they can't live a life with you that is not true and honest to themselves...than it isn't a life worth living with their parents in the picture.

I saw how my parents try to change those whom they "love", like they have a problem that needs to be fix, and I can not stress this enough...that is -NOT- love.

Usually kids will give lots of signs that they are unsatisfied with your parenting while growing up. You might be in love with this image or idea of what your child was and should be...but that is a fantasy, that is all it is.

Stop being in love with a fantasy of your son or daughter and accept them for who they are now. As they grow up they will continue to change...and the child of your early years is not the same as the child in their teens...nor the child they are as an adult. We'll...they still are the same technically...but they experience so many new things in life...that they become layered and develop from their experiences and what life shows them...which can appear to "change" them.

Accept their changes and their imperfections and faults, give them room to express themselves, and don't be startled if they don't act like you...or have different behaviors than that would not be tolerated by your family when growing up. Without realizing it, it might very well be that intolerance you hold that has pushed the relationship apart.

I dunno, that's all I have to say I guess...I wish everyone here the best in their reunification with their child.

I don't recommend sending them letters or messages or emails, I think that can harden their heart and make them think only on the negative things that you may have done unknowingly to hurt them. Everytime my parents say "I love you" to me by email, I just think in the back of my head "you're words are shallow and don't mean anything." Don't tell me that you love me...-LOVE ME-.

Just give them space...give them time to heal. And heal yourself. Get some professional therpy and learn to really love and to forgive. Your child will come around when they are ready...but if you are pushing them to forgive you it just won't happen.

Be ready to accept a -NEW- child...not the child you raised...and don't try to place him in your fantasy role of what you want him or her to be to you in your life. That will never work.


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RE: Mothers of estranged children....part II

It sounds like you are in a great deal of pain.
And it had to be exhausting writing your response, but I do appreciate your insight.
Much of what you said at the end really resonated with me.

LIFE GOES ON.

Every living person makes mistakes that affect others.
If we are aware of it, hopefully we make amends.
The most important aspect is to TELL THE OTHER PERSON HOW THEY HAVE HURT YOU and then let it go.

Time heals.
Grief passes.
Life goes on.

I have lived long enough to know this deeply.
All joy fades, all pain fades.....the only pain that will continue is that which you hold onto with a death grip.

I would add something more to your observations: Love is a decision.
Forgiveness is a decision.

Therapy will help to get you there for sure.

I am not sure I want my estranged adult child back into my life, surely not in the same way.
I have moved on and created a new and happy life without her drama and turmoil and it feels wonderful.
The sadness from my loss fades as I decide each day to live it at face value.

There is a lot of joy all around us if we settle down and become aware!

Peace to you.
I am sorry for your pain.
I wish you healing and joy.


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RE: Mothers of estranged children....part II

I sympathize and greatly relate to the poster rebellious child.My mother has said some of the most hateful,hurtful things you can imagine and is then surprised I hold it against her.
Once those things are said,they can never,never be taken back...and no amount of therapy makes them go away.

My therapist told me it was a good thing for me not to have my mom in my life...so what does that tell you?


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RE: Mothers of estranged children....part II

It tells me that not all people who are able to conceive and give birth are good parents automatically.

I also believe that we parent, whether we know it or not, how we were parented.

That, in itself, is therapy-worthy.

Beware.
You might find yourself slipping into those patterns that are most deeply ingrained in you from your experiences as the child.


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RE: Mothers of estranged children...first post

Hi All, as painful as this may be, I am hurting, my daughter and I have been estranged for 6 months, we both said some awful things to each other. She now will not let me see my 3 grandchildren. She is greatly influenced by her father (who is slightly off) slightly is putting it mildly. She has broken my heart many times, and this time I just spewed horrible things to her when she began saying awful things to me. I have apologized, tried to make amends and she will not respond. It is awful, I can't understand why she wants to hurt me so bad. She has hurt many people, she has severe issues herself, and she will not get help. Please someone out there, any words to help ease my suffering.


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RE: Mothers of estranged children....part II

"Beware.
You might find yourself slipping into those patterns that are most deeply ingrained in you from your experiences as the child."

That is good advice,but I will never be like my mother cuz I have always used her as a role model to do the OPPOSITE OF.Also,I'm not an alcoholic/drug addict and I haven't been married four times.

Cid1951,I wish I could help you,but I don't allow my mom to see my kids either.She is not trustworthy and has a very negative,melodramatic influence on them. I'd give anything to have a normal mom that actually wanted to be part of my kid's lives,but my mom is 53 and still concerned with partying like she's 21.


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RE: Mothers of estranged children....part II

cid1951,

Read my postings above.
I have not seen MY daugther in over a year and she has kept my 3 grandchildren from us as well.
For reasons that I do not fully understand, she decided to estrange herself from her entire family, including her brother and his wife.
We love her and have told her so.
But it is HER life to live, as she wants.

Every person has his own story.
Every person has her own history.
Every person remembers things their own way.
That includes you and me.
Each child in a family has different recollections and responses to the same family.

You did the best you could with what you had, as a parent.

You must let your adult child live her life...on HER terms.
This may be painful for you.
You cannot force someone to value you and your love.
You can only let her be who she is.

Life is not fair.
Life is what it is.

You have only one life to live.
To waste it on "what ifs" and regrets is a WASTE.

Talk to someone you trust.
As your feelings come out, they will become less heavy on your heart.
Trust that things are working out as they should be.
You might not understand them, but have trust that all is well.

Let your daughter find herself on her own terms...and then be prepared to accept her choices regardless of whether or not they would be YOUR choices.

Love her unconditionally.
She knows you love her.
You grandchildren know you love them.

Find peace with this , for now , and let it play out.

The best thing you can do for your daughter and grandchildren is to be the best, happiest person you can be.

Peace to you.
You are certainly not alone in this problem.


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RE: Mothers of estranged children....part II

I can relate to some of what the poster rebellious child wrote as well too. What she wrote below resontates for me as well.

"I saw how my parents try to change those whom they "love", like they have a problem that needs to be fix, and I can not stress this enough...that is -NOT- love."

A parent sending a message that their child needs to be fixed is deeply wounding. It's a soul crushing message, even if it is not intended. And it's not about love, but all about controlling behavior and power.

I also think the observation below is insightful and I've thought the same.

"I'm not going to generalize this entire thread of posters to be the same kind of religious parents I grew up with, but I do sense that many of you judge your children and do not like the things they are doing. Whether it be their decision on whom to marry, how they take care of their children, what they do with their life, how they've treated other members of your family...or whatever. It doesn't matter, I sense alot of judgments on the children in this forum."

A lot of problems arise from a parent's inability to let go of that fantasy and to separate themselves and their identity from their adult child--to see their adult children as separate people from themselves. A lot of that intolerance towards the person that they are becoming does prevent closeness and is deeply destructive to the relationship. I watched this happen in my husband's family when he met and married me. They (my in-laws) were intolerant of me and very disrespectful of him. His needs were invisible, despite suggesting that they loved him. And unfortunately, they saw me as a threat and reacted with intense jealousy (mainly the women in the family). They also never supported his goals or desires for his future. His needs were invisible and it was all about them. They exhibited a total lack of awareness, unless it was all about them and what they wanted. They were selfish in this way--very, very selfish. Their lack of closeness really had nothing to do with me, although they blamed me for it, but was all due to their own issues, failures and deficiencies. And their behaviors were not about love at all. They used love as a weapon and a tool to get what they wanted. Love was conditional and all based on their needs.

A lot of very selfish people tend to look at relationships with black and white thinking. In regards to my in-laws, instead of viewing me as a threat and my presence as taking away from them, they could have been more generous. They may have sought to see all that they would gain from at least giving me a chance and cultivating the relationship, one which made their son/brother happy. Their inability to be more tolerant created a lot of unhappiness, but it was something that they very stubbornly refused to ever admit.

My parents had their own issues too--they treated their daughter like she needed to be fixed. I was however grateful that they were at least more tolerant of my choice for a husband and they were also more emotionally supportive of our future goals and not as selfish as his family behaved. Still their hurtful, destructive behaviors were targeted towards me and as they perceived it (my deficiencies) as was the bulk of my in-laws angry, abusive behaviors as well.

I also agree with this observation as well, "Just give them space...give them time to heal. And heal yourself. Get some professional therpy and learn to really love and to forgive. Your child will come around when they are ready...but if you are pushing them to forgive you it just won't happen."

Pushing people to forgive through guilt and manipulation will not work either and will only make the situation worse. Involving other family members in the dynamic to take sides to coerce compliance is a very poor destructive choice and route to take too. These behaviors are destructive and will only burden the relationship further.

The only thing that I could add is that it's important to be honest with yourself about your motivations. Self-introspection is not for the faint of heart.

I'm glad rebellious child decided to speak out as I believe there are many people who feel the same and can relate. They just may not feel very encouraged to do so, because of all the judgement.


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RE: Mothers of estranged children....part II

yoyobon,

"It tells me that not all people who are able to conceive and give birth are good parents automatically.
I also believe that we parent, whether we know it or not, how we were parented."

I agree with the above observation. It's actually pretty common knowledge in psychology--the study of family patterns and interactions has been around a long time.

I'd say for building good relationships awareness is key, especially of your own motivations and feelings. I've met a lot of people who become parents for some pretty selfish reasons--seldom with ever any insight into their own feelings or ever giving their motivations much thought.

I don't know what happened to you and I'm sorry for your loss and the emotional pain you must be experiencing. You are not alone. In my situation I wish things were different, but I understand the limitations. Relationships are afterall not up to one person. One cannot reason with people who do not want to be reasoned with. You cannot get people to change even if it is in their own best interest. Why they continue to behave in stubborn ways, I don't know. Only they know and they probably would never be honest about it anyway, but will continue to deny it.

Some people just want to win at all costs, regardless of how deeply destructive their behavior is to others. We all have to decide what the cost is to us if we continue to have them in our lives. Sometimes those associations are not worth the little we get from them. If one cannot live a life with their parents or anyone in it that feels true to themselves why would they want to invest time and energy into that? It becomes all about pretense and that is a negative and draining experience to have. That is why I think some adult children decide to place a lot of distance between themselves and their parents, or as rebellious child says below,

"I think in order to even live a healthy life, people have to be atleast somewhat selfish to themselves. And if they can't live a life with you that is not true and honest to themselves...than it isn't a life worth living with their parents in the picture."


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RE: Mothers of estranged children....part II

flowergardenmuse,

I think that, as a parent, I always want to see what it was that I could have done better.
That is a road better left untraveled.
Regardless of what I believe might have been wrong in hindsight, there is nothing...NOTHING...that I can do today to change one moment of my history as a parent.

I can offer my regrets and apologies...what good are they?

So, I live today for today and all that it might offer.
I try to learn to grieve for the living.
In my lifetime, I have had to learn and practice grief for the dead and gone.
This new grief makes less sense and is in some ways much more difficult.

I like to believe that my daughter is better without all of us, her family...for whatever reasons. Only she knows her true motivation for destroying each of us in the manner that she chose to do it. Heartless? It would seem so..but then I am not her and do not know what is in her heart.

At my age the sadness for me is having to come to the realization that I will not have the joy and comfort in my last part of life that I had imagined a daughter ( my only) and grandchildren would bring.
I have a son and grandson who are here now and who love me and I love back with full measure.
They are my joy.

Life is what it is.

For the blessings that I DO have, I am truly thankful.
I am even thankful for having known and enjoyed by daughter and grandchildren for as long as I did have them near me.
They brought joy and love to our lives, and that is never lost.


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RE: Mothers of estranged children....part II

yoyobon,

"That is a road better left untraveled."

I don't understand what you meant by this other than you may feel that it will not help you to move forward and what you define as forward.
"...there is nothing...NOTHING...that I can do today to change one moment of my history as a parent."

No, you cannot change the past other than to understand it and to acknowledge what behaviors could have contributed to the situation in the present. I don't feel that is nothing. Deep understanding is beneficial. I would not dwell on how you cannot change the past, especially if you are contemplating letting her know of any regrets you may have. I basically don't understand why so many people get stuck here and recite this repeatedly. It sounds too much like they do not want to work on themselves or do the work necessary to make ammends--that point in the relationship where they have deep understanding of the issues.

As to making amends, apologizing and expressing heartfelt regret, I also would only take that step after careful consideration as well. It needs to be a sincere effort, not a last resort bandaid to try to fix the situation. People know when it isn't sincere and when someone offers a non-apology, because they demonstrate cluelessness about what happened, stating that they don't understand. They cling to non-understanding in the role they played in the conflict.

"I can offer my regrets and apologies...what good are they?"

I disagree with the above statement. I think when they are sincere it can make an incredible difference. The problem as I see it as that they usually are not sincere and that there is no remorse or true understanding given.

I've also had to learn and to practice grief for people who have died. I've done it for the living too--the new grief that you speak of. I believe that adult children who also estrange themselves do so with full acknowledgement that they are too mourning a loss. In fact, I can assure you that they do. They may just express it differently.

"I like to believe that my daughter is better without all of us, her family...for whatever reasons."

She may be for this period in her life feel like she is better off or at least feel more peaceful, despite it feeling hurtful for you to contemplate this. I don't know what is going on in her life and what stresses she is managing or coping with. Sometimes people in our lives deepen our burdens and cause more stress to us, even if it is unintended. They do so with their trying to help, when maybe one isn't asking for help. They harm in countless ways which they don't seem to understand. Your daughter sounds like she needs privacy and space and I would give it to her. Be generous with your heart to her and give her this.

As for an apology there is the right time and place and it sounds from what you wrote above that she needs a lot of room and space.

"Only she knows her true motivation for destroying each of us in the manner that she chose to do it."

That is correct. Only she knows her true motivation. Maybe she tried to tell you something, which you couldn't hear. I don't know and saying that to you is not a judgement.

Yes, you are not her and do not know what is in her heart. And you may feel hurt and lonely, but she has not destroyed you.

If her husband is a narcissist as you describe then she will need you to forgive her. She will have to deal with it on her own or at least maybe she can find what it is that she will need to do without others burdening her heart with guilt, shame or their needs and opionions, whether they intentionally mean to hurt her or not. The best you can give to her would be non-judgement and unconditional love.

You can still love your daughter and grandchildren with the full measure of your heart through understanding and generosity--give her time, space and privacy. Maybe what you can do for you now is to consider therapy for yourself. It may help you to cope with this process and grieveing and the pain that is in your heart. Some people don't like taking those steps, but I think it wise to take care of yourself. What you say will stay between you and the therapist and remain confidential, which I believe is a much healthier way for some people to address deep feelings of loss and emotional pain without other people's judgements or personal adgenda's.

My in-laws and family members have not taken measures to make amends. It would have made a difference to me, especially if their had been some kind of deep understanding of the issues and if I had been able to have felt their sincerity. It makes a huge difference--it would have for me.


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RE: Mothers of estranged children....part II

What I meant, and what is true, is that a person cannot change history.
It is past.
It has left it's mark.
The dice are cast.
The results are recorded.
Period.

I cannot imagine a parent out there who feels that every single thing that they did was perfect.
Of course they would rue the past, especially when an adult child decides to point at those pasts and determine that therein lies their current unhappiness.

But it is what it is...for all involved.
This is life.

I believe it's more important for people to stand up and take on the adult responsibilities of being whole and make their own decisions in the here and now which will give them the future happiness they want.

Make your own realities.
Find peace within yourself and translate that to your world.

I believe that unhappy people are much more comfortable finding the source of their unhappiness in someone else, or some distant unfixable past rather than looking to their current choices and daring to change themselves and their life.


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