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My Psychologist Daughter has estranged herself from family

Posted by ohiomom2010 (My Page) on
Mon, Jun 7, 10 at 18:38

There was no abuse, she is 30 years old. Her teen years were edgy, but we made it through. Now she believes we have mistreated her boyfriend but we do not understand what she is talking about and she is not giving specifics.
She wants US to get counseling. My husband and I are hurt and upset. This has been going on for over a year. She also will have nothing to do with her older brother but does talk to her younger sister.
Ironically, a friend of mine has a brother who is a psychologist and he has estranged himself from his family as well. I cannot understand that as he has model parents. What is going on?
Do they put every little thing that has ever been said or done under a microscope?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: My Psychologist Daughter has estranged herself from family

"Do they put every little thing that has ever been said or done under a microscope?"

Frequently, yes. It's a sort of an intellectual arrogance. They also frequently grow out of it as they mature as people and as professionals. No way to tell how it may go in your case.

Of course I have no idea if any of it is justified. However, what you described is, sadly, not particularly unusual.


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RE: My Psychologist Daughter has estranged herself from family

What advice, do you think your daughter would give a client who was in your situation, with an estranged daughter ?

I guess if you know you have done the right thing, in your relationship with her, then what else can you do, but continue on in your dignified manner.

I think most people can delve back into their upbringing and dredge up some grievance regarding their parent's parenting. I have found that when I had my own children, and was doing the parenting..that my parents did the best that they could do, and I am sure you have done the same.

Asolo is correct, maturity will sort this out.

All the best..


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RE: My Psychologist Daughter has estranged herself from family

I understand the confusion in your words completely. I was estranged from my only daughter (my daughter's choice, I never stopped trying) for about a three year period. This ended somewhat in 2007 when I moved back to the city that she lives in and didn't let up in my attempts. I say somewhat because you can't force anyone to have a relationship with you. I began seeing my three grandchildren and briefly seeing her.

Then she informed me that she wanted a divorce (after 16 yrs.) and had not been happy for seven years. I was extremely worried for her and sad but tried to be supportive and be there for her.

After a year of being there for her on her terms, I feel totally abused and used. Moreover, totally unable to stop. Every week brings a new lawyer, housing, food, moving expenses for my husband (not her father) and I to pay. I love her and would give her anything.

My problem is knowing that if she were not in need, she would not be talking to me. And while she does talk to me, it is never with love or respect.

My point is this generation (our children) thinks it is perfectly ok to not love your parents. I started going to therapy to handle the unbelievable pain and found that my psychologist had an estrangement from his wife's parents for years. You think people in the field of psychology would feel the importance of working through issues and forgiving. (?)

Many people, it seems, do. My new therapist told me that I have a problem accepting my daughter is not the kind and loving person that I want her to be. I don't know about that but it does hurt that she only talks to me to give me the problem to handle and then after I pay the bill she can't seem to pick up the phone and talk to me (until the next problem).

I don't want to sound like this is about money, it is not, it is about any vehicle used to take advantage of the love someone has for you. And truthfully, most of the time I don't know what it's about. I just know that I wanted so much to be her Mother and have not experienced the reality to be a happy thing.

I asked her to show respect in talking to her father and she replied that respect has to be earned. Do parents have to earn respect? I could be wrong but I think not showing respect for a parent is saying a lot more about you than the parent.

Of course, this comes from a daughter that loves her Mother with all her heart and misses her dearly. And would never have thought of not talking to her and letting her know I cared.

Sometimes I want to just not answer the phone too. However, mothers can't do that, only spoiled daughters.

M


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RE: My Psychologist Daughter has estranged herself from family

I agree with asolo. And if it is any consolation, my relationship with my daughter began to deteriorate when she started therapy at age thirty. After a period of estrangement, our relationship is now superficially civil, like a truce. It took about two and a half years for me to recover from the shock you are now experiencing. At first, writhing in pain, I panicked and pretty much begged her to forgive me for whatever I had done to cause the problem (s). In hindsight, groveling was a mistake; I suspect she has even less respect for me. Now, at last, I can accept the reality that my daughter barely tolerates me. My acceptance only happened just last week when my car broke down about a mile from her home and I calmly realized that I would not call her for help.


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RE: My Psychologist Daughter has estranged herself from family

Just a quip, but.......... I have observed that, among my friends/acquaintances who have either gone to "therapy" or advanced their educations in the direction of advanced training in the psychological professions 100% of them got weird. They changed. It seemed to me that , in their presence, I was always being analyzed where before we were just friends together. They began asking me for information about myself or "what do you think about" other people in our social group. Is there anyone who doesn't hate that?

Unfortunately common as nails. I've lost a number of friendships over it.


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RE: My Psychologist Daughter has estranged herself from family

Why are you afraid to get counselling?


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RE: My Psychologist Daughter has estranged herself from family

Why is the question always posed as "afraid" to get counseling? What an annoying response!!

How about considering $200.00 an hour for an undetermined amount of time to please somebody else who's opinions you don't agree with and who has every intention of intruding upon that confidential counselor/client relationship? This is precisely the "intellectual arrogance" I was referring to: The assumption that YOU need counseling....but I don't...because I know all this stuff and I'm trying HELP you.

Your question ridiculous as well as presumptive.

For all I know, maybe the OP would benefit from it. Perhaps the daughter would, too. But you don't have clue. However, your throwing a question like that out from the position of your own ignorance is really obnoxious.


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RE: My Psychologist Daughter has estranged herself from family

Thank you gailyn, your post really says much of what I feel and was unable to articulate. When you are in such pain it's hard to explain or know were to begin. Superficially civil, describes my relationship with my daughter after the estrangement perfectly.
And you are right again it has taken years to recover form the pain and sometimes still it rears it's ugly head.I too went from walking on egg shells to begging, even throwing myself across her front door to beg her to please not push me out of her life. And still you are right, groveling was a mistake. That and the eager help that I give now does result in even less respect. My daughter also only tolerates me because her inheritance/trust is gone and I am picking up the peices. If I broke down on the street or had any emergency, I would not call her either. A random name out of the phone book would produce better luck.
I do long for this kind of acceptance.

I also relate to how you feel about therapy, the constant processing does wear on one. I just didn't know what else to do.

Sirens, I know you probably mean something different. I sometimes do have fear around therapy and would rather leave things under rapps that are not causing a current problem.

My best to all of you. Hope we can talk more.


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RE: My Psychologist Daughter has estranged herself from family

asolo, nobody suggested that you get counselling, so you can relax now.


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RE: My Psychologist Daughter has estranged herself from family

Your point being.....?


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RE: My Psychologist Daughter has estranged herself from family

Part 2 of my psychologist daughter....
At first I could not give any detail in this room, but I feel I owe you a little more info on what happened this past year in order for you to have a better opinion of my situation.
My daughter and I have been "chatting" through email, but the conversations are so strained. I am more emotional..."What did I do?" and she is giving me lessons on how to properly communicate. She has given me the definitions of negotiating versus compromise...She has sent me hyperlinks to improve my verbal skills...one of her last emails said (quote)
"I'm focused on the process, and setting up the way things would go if we were to communicate. For example, I don't think things would go well if I have to defend myself for anything I say or do. I think I would feel attacked and very misunderstood. I think it might be more helpful for you to ask questions if you have an assumption. In that way, you would probably get a straightforward response and not get me jumping in to defend myself. As an example, "we feel that you will make every little event a major counseling session" Instead, you might want to say, "Is your purpose to make every little event a major counseling session? We feel that it is." I'm not saying that we should be doing this NOW, because I'm not yet at the point that I want to discuss issues. Im saying that, in the future, it would be helpful. Or, you could use the technique now in emails, so I dont feel as attacked as I have been in the past ones." (end quote).
So not only do my husband and I have to watch exactly what we say, we now have to use specific equations on HOW to say it.
There is never any emotion in her emails. Never anything that resembles 'I miss you guys' or anything like this. Our extended family is shocked that this has continued on for so long. It started with a fight at a birthday party where her boyfriend tried to break up a fight by putting another man in a choke hold. The guys wife was a nurse and kept yelling "you're choking him" as the guy turned blue, and my husband tried to get the boyfriend to release his grip before the man passed out. After breaking his hold on the guy the boyfriend went to his car, brought out a 'tire thumper' (looks like a small baseball bat) and yelled "I'm gonna kill you" to the man he had been choking. The next day my daughter was angry that we didn't feel her boyfriend is a hero. We (her dad,mom, brother and sister in law) said that we appreciated his attempt to break up a fight between two men but we felt he had taken it too far. We were concerned that her boyfriend could have caused extreme injury or even death to this other man, and all lives would have been irrevocably changed forever. She defended his choke hold use, although he'd only ever read how to do it, and even though I told her police are not even allowed to use this technique since it has resulted in numerous deaths.

We had seen her boyfriend reach through a drivers window of a moving car in a movie theater parking lot to punch a guy in the face that he thought drove to close to our daughter. He has argued and lost each and every friend he has- and cut them off from him completely. Now our daughter is doing this to us.
I would think, given her profession that she would recognize him for the problems he has, instead she is giving us "ground rules" for ever having any possibility of having anything to do with her. She also mentioned that if we have a problem with her choice of man that we will not be able to see the children that they plan on bringing into this world.
My family and I would like to put all of these events behind us and move forward, as all families have issues but she will not let it go. Then, she brought up my being the reason she moved away. Wish I would have known that as I wouldn't have spent so many weekends driving two hours one way to cook and stock her freezer with food, while her father would put new windows, a new furnace, built a room in her house and so on while her boyfriend would sit on the couch watching tv. when we asked him to help he would say "it's not my house."
I am simply hurt and tormented by this situation. I am sorry for the rambling, I'm sure my daughter would call me out on that.
I do appreciate your input and just knowing I am not alone.


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RE: My Psychologist Daughter has estranged herself from family

I hope you don't mind my posting. Normally I am on other forums.

It seems to me that your daughter's boyfriend is controlling/abusing her and she is controlling/abusing you.

I doubt any good can come out of repeated attempts to appease her demands or appeal to any sense of family love or loyalty. Your daughter has set up conditions which make any meaningful exchange impossible.

Additionally, holding contact with any prospective grandchildren over your head as a club is a very nasty strategy.

You have become enmeshed in a situation that offers nothing but lose-lose.

Perhaps in time she will free herself but until then continued attempts to reach out or "bribe" her with good deeds will only result in more humiliation and pain.

You are allowing yourself to be victimized. This is a situation where love is not a blessing but a wound.

Sometimes, as hard as it is, the best and most healthful option is to walk away.

Carol


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RE: My Psychologist Daughter has estranged herself from family

Readinglady, I know what you mean but this is not an attempt to bribe your child. It's a matter of seeing a need that someone you love has and not knowing how to turn your back on them. They can easily turn their back on us and I agree with you that we have to find a way not to be victimized by them.

We should learn how to stop trying to make sense of something that is never going to make any sense.

To have a professionally trained person think it's ok to withhold grandchildren from her parents is sad enough. Though to have a professionally trained person consider having children with a person who makes statements "it's not my house, and I will kill you" is really sad. And if you add to it that someone out there is paying her for therapy, it's scary.

That's not helpful and I'm sorry.

What on earth.


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RE: My Psychologist Daughter has estranged herself from family

You don't have a daughter. You have memories and wishes.

I don't have any idea how your family works but, blood or no, I would not allow the person you described in my life on any level. Wishing the reality was different won't change it. Kow-towing to her tyranny won't either.

How big a stinker was she before she got her degree and hooked up with prince charming?


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RE: My Psychologist Daughter has estranged herself from family

We should learn how to stop trying to make sense of something that is never going to make any sense.

Those are very wise words.

I put "bribe" in quotes in an attempt to acknowledge that was not the OP's motivation. But it is also true that ohiomom is struggling with the reality that all the good things she and her husband have done for her daughter have been for naught. That implies a hope that if they just did enough it might generate some kinder acknowledgement on the part of their daughter.

Wishing the reality was different won't change it. Kow-towing to her tyranny won't either.

Absolutely.

If ohiomom just needs to vent, then this is a good place for it. If she wants advice, then my advice would be to develop strategies for living in this moment as well as she can. Agonizing about the "whys" or attempting to placate are futile.

I am not suggesting "abandonment." We are always in a relationship with those we love, even when the conditions are not ideal.

I am so sorry her daughter is lost (to her family and apparently to herself).

But the path ohiomom has taken is not working. It is unproductive and personally destructive.

Carol


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RE: My Psychologist Daughter has estranged herself from family

Carol

You are absolutely right. Agonizing about the whys is futile. Everyone usually has a different reality for the same event(s).

I guess what hurts and concerns me most for ohiomom and her husband is that when you are dealing with this type child, even if they decide to allow you back into their life. It will always be on their terms and in order to get their needs met with no concern for your needs. It will never be about loving.

For most of us it's easier to know something intellectually, applying it is the hard part.

My daughter too, cut me out of her life over what some say had to do with the guy she married and I still don't understand that because I was a big supporter of his. Doesn't matter now becuase they are divorcing. I always cared for him and still knew that he had serious problems with telling the truth and being a productive person. Before they married he lied about being in college and then after marriage it turned into lying about having a job. Both are only children and they waited five years and then had 3 children every two years. They are wonderful by the way, one girl and two boys. (ten, seven and five)

My daughter says now that she didn't know he was spending her trust that should have lasted most people a life time although I don't understand where she thought the money was comimg from. She says she thought he was working (wholesale mortgage lender, should tell you something). At any rate it's gone her Dad is mad and will not release any more funds. I have now have to find a way to stop the hemorrhaging of money that is going from our savings to her. If we are ever in need in our later years, she will be no where to be found. I don't care about money and if I had it I would give both of them what they needed for the children. Yes I know that would not really solve what their problems are but I could feel like they are taken care of. I sound like an idiot!

I do give my daughter credit, after not working for ten years (raising babies) she went out and landed a great job (legal assistant)and is doing well. He has not worked in years and if he does he doesn't make any money (commission).

He doesn't want a divoice , why would he, his parents took care of him then she has all of his life and he knows his time is up for the free ride. But I do feel bad because I think there is an undiagnosed problem and hope he gets help.

Carol, you are right sometimes you just have to vent.

I suffered in silence for so long because I didn't want anyone to know that we had no relationship and it hurt so much. I thought it meant I was a bad person.

Maggie


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RE: My Psychologist Daughter has estranged herself from family

For most of us it's easier to know something intellectually, applying it is the hard part.

Well, I'd say that's true of everyone, though the circumstances may differ. If knowing something intellectually were sufficient, we'd all just listen to Dr. Phil and then go on to live perfectly healthy emotional and physical lives. But of course we don't.

There's nothing easier than prescribing how someone else should live or what another should do. But the truth is, finding a way to "distance" yourself appropriately, sanely, from a destructive parent/child relationship is one of the hardest things imaginable. The only comparable I can think of is an animal in a trap, chewing off its leg.

It's only honest to acknowledge the challenge.

Something seems to have gone deeply awry in our society. It seems in some relationships there is this compulsion to control, to establish irrational boundaries and conditions impossible to meet.

Ohiomom's daughter, for example, has learned just enough psychological jargon to erect barriers no imperfect human could get over. She has set impossible conditions impossible to meet. There is a cruel cleverness in saying, "You sinned. You twist yourself in knots and solve the riddle. Then I will forgive you. Perhaps."

I believe the overwhelming majority of people, no matter their flaws or neuroses, are trying their best to live good lives. The compassionate person recognizes and accepts their failings, regarding the love and the intent as far more significant.

Who among us had perfect parents? And yet, barring the extremes of abuse or mental dysfunction, failed to love them?

I don't have any answers. All I know is that we make ourselves miserable creating scenarios of what ought to be when all we can do is live with the now, honor our children but ourselves as well and refuse to participate in our own diminution.

I hear too much today of the carrot and the stick. Be this and I will love you, allow you . . . Be not and I will reject you, burn you with my silence and distance.

That is inhumane. It doesn't matter whether it's a parent manipulating a child, a child manipulating a parent, a spouse manipulating a partner, it's all the same horrible ritual.

Carol


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RE: My Psychologist Daughter has estranged herself from family

Ohiomom,

With the limited information here it's hard to provide feedback. This could be interpreted in different ways.

"My daughter and I have been "chatting" through email, but the conversations are so strained."

"Then, she brought up my being the reason she moved away."

It sounds like the relationship has been strained for quite some time, although you were unaware of how she felt. I don't know why. Maybe she had a hard time trying to articulate her feelings to you. I don't know if she tried to tell you how she felt previously or not. Is it possible that you may have (unintentionally) dismissed her feelings or may not be able to hear what she is trying to tell you?

"She is giving me lessons on how to properly communicate. She has given me the definitions of negotiating versus compromise...She has sent me hyperlinks to improve my verbal skills...one of her last emails said (quote) "I'm focused on the process, and setting up the way things would go if we were to communicate."

The relationship isn't working for her and she is trying to communicate through an email some guidelines or groundrules, however she is STILL communicating. It is far from being an ideal situation and I know you are confused, hurt and baffled by the situation, but I do see that she is still trying to communicate. She hasn't shut the door completely, despite trying to place a lot of distance between you.

Also when you write "lessons" it sounds like you feel condescended too and it places a very negative spin on the dynamic and exchange. It may be helpful to try to view her "lessons" as her trying to provide you with a framework or new guidelines for how communicating in the way she is asking would feel healthier for her. Does that make sense? She is trying to negotiate for a new relationship which may feel less destructive to her. You may or may not agree, but the point here is if it isn't currently working now, is it possible to try her suggestions or a new way of communicating to try to salvage the relationship. This is your daughter and I'd hate to see this turn into an all or nothing type of situation.

"For example, I don't think things would go well if I have to defend myself for anything I say or do. I think I would feel attacked and very misunderstood."

She's trying to tell you that she feels attacked, misunderstood and on the defensive. This is about how she feels, not about how you feel. I don't know why she feels this way and I'm not judging you either, but if you were in her shoes would you like feeling this way. This isn't a healthy or productive way to feel and it would naturally create a lot of stress and strain in a relationship.

"I think it might be more helpful for you to ask questions if you have an assumption. In that way, you would probably get a straightforward response and not get me jumping in to defend myself."

Apparently she feels that you make assumptions and then she feels attacked or criticized and then feels the need to defend herself. I don't know why she feels that way, but apparently she feels she could give you a more straightforward response if you change your style to asking questions. Is it worth a try?

Is it worth a try to respond to her in the way she is asking if it will promote better communication? I mean it doesn't sound like the current styles of communication is working out well for anyone? So what is the next step?

"I'm not saying that we should be doing this NOW, because I'm not yet at the point that I want to discuss issues."

She is saying that at some future point she may want to discuss issues, if you can change your personal style of communicating to her. She is not ready to discuss issues now. I'd believe her and I wouldn't pressure her to discuss issues that she isn't ready to discuss.

I know this must be frustrating to you, but as I see it she hasn't closed the door to all communication. I do see her as distancing herself. Why? I can only speculate, but when people take that route it demonstrates that the current relationship is causing distress, unhappiness or frustration. Again, I don't know why. It just isn't working for her and that is what she is trying to communicate. But the good news is that she hasn't completely closed the door to all communication.

Is there a way that you could reframe some of this as positive, despite feeling very confusing and hurtful to you? I do know that it is very different from the way things have been.

"There is never any emotion in her emails. Never anything that resembles 'I miss you guys' or anything like this."

She is trying to distance herself from the relationship. That is a defensive move. It sounds like you are enmeshed in the situation and she is trying to tell you that she needs more space, but she does still seem to want you in her life at least for the time being by communicating through emails.

I hope some of what I wrote makes sense to you.


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RE: estranged daughter

Ohiomom,

"It started with a fight at a birthday party where her boyfriend tried to break up a fight by putting another man in a choke hold."

This sounds extreme, not just his reaction, but having to break up a fight to begin with. I hope these fights are a rare occurrence or is there more to this story?

"The next day my daughter was angry that we didn't feel her boyfriend is a hero."

You have every right to voice your concerns about this situation and that you felt he had taken it too far, but apparently she felt criticized.

From what you describe he doesnt sound like a person that I would want to be involved with, however she is an adult and has made a choice and it appears that she resents your intrusion into her life. Wishing the reality of this situation was different will not change it.

I dont get the "Its not my house," either. Its rather bizarre. Hopefully, they have made some kind of arrangement, but that is her issue, not yours. And the "Im going to kill you," was obviously said in a fit of rage or fury. He sounds like a hot responder, but I dont know about the fight situation either or if there was alcohol involved. The whole thing sounds scary to me.

As far as her profession goes, people may be good at providing help to others, but not good at seeing their own issues and problems. I think that fairly commonat least Ive encountered this behavior many times.

And I agree that holding contact with any prospective grandchildren over your head as a club is a very nasty strategy.

I feel for you and given your situation I can certainly empathize with how you may feel the need to vent and ramble. Your daughter doesnt need to know that you vent here, so calling you out on it is none of her businessat least not on this forum.

I dont know if youve tried therapy with someone else for these problems or not, but I do wish you the best with this.


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RE: quips and analysis

Asolo,

"I have observed that, among my friends/acquaintances who have either gone to "therapy" or advanced their educations in the direction of advanced training in the psychological professions 100% of them got weird. They changed. It seemed to me that , in their presence, I was always being analyzed where before we were just friends together. They began asking me for information about myself or "what do you think about" other people in our social group. Is there anyone who doesn't hate that?"

Do you think this could have just been a case of "occupational hazard"? A firefighter friend constantly assesses fire harzards and faulty wiring. Granted analysis of one's personality is much more personal. And if you're a professional massage therapist people "friends" are always trying to manipulate you into giving them a "freebie" massage.

Guess it all depends on what one feels they are benefitting from or are getting from a relationship. I mean I'm certain friends would prefer a free massage or welcome a free fire inspection over a free analysis of one's personality traits.

As far as weird goes, well I've known many people who would qualify as being in that category--coworkers and such and even unfortunately relatives.

And yes people do change. Many re-evaluate relationships that may have once worked okay, but no longer work for them or they've come to view them differently. I think that very common. I've let go of a lot of relationships, because I felt they were no longer healthy for me and it was a necessary step for me to take. I see change as natural and healthy.

"I've lost a number of friendships over it"

I've mourned the loss of a number of friendships/relationships which did not support my emotional health and well-being and personal growth. Many people don't want us to change and cannot accept it. I view relationships that didn't work for me as a sign that they were basically unhealthy. I moved forward and as I see it they did not.


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