Our daughter renouncing our family


#1

I posted on CAF last year several times about our problems with our daughter. I received so many prayers and words of comfort, and everyone was very compassionate.
I did in fact use the advice I received on this forum as well, but without success I am afraid… She has written a long letter in which she explains why I am no longer trustworthy to be around her children (my granddaughter and a new one on the way this summer). The letter was very hostile.
I have truly tried my very best to be a good mother to my children; I was far from perfect but tried so hard. Part of her complaint is that I want to spend time with my granddaughter and that every time I do, I do things wrong and not according to her rules. That I even lie to her about it. I was completely dumb-struck. DH and I have to follow so many rules when we spend even an hour with our granddaughter and we try religiously to follow her rules, although the rules are contradictory and strange. She proclaims loudly to everyone that grandparents have no place in the “circle of caregivers”. Yet, when she and her husband needed to use my car so he could look for a job, somehow I was good enough to babysit then…? Even then I was interrogated thoroughly every time we kept the baby (she is now 2). If something, even very minor, occurred that my daughter didn’t like, she would blast us verbally in front of everyone as though we had done something unforgivable. She ruined our family Christmas get-together by jumping all over DH because our granddaughter had woken up in the middle of the night while sleeping at our house. My elderly father and stepmother were so appalled that they left. Everyone was very uncomfortable. It is as though everyone has to walk on eggshells around her.
Anyway, this letter is so insensitive and hateful that I am thinking that we should just let up in trying to please her in order to maintain ties with our grandchildren (and naturally we still love our daughter as well). I pray a decade of the Rosary nearly every day just for my daughter and her family. We are heartsick over this. But I feel that we are not doormats, either.
Anybody out there with advice for me, or prayers?
Thank you so much. :frowning:


#2

Oh gosh, that’s so heartbreaking… I’m so sorry. :frowning:

See, I come from the perspective that Grandparents are VITALLY important in a child’s life. We go out of our way to accommodate our parents so that they have have a strong relationship with their grandchildren. I prefer to compromise my preferences for their relationships. I had an amazing relationship with my grandparents, so I take this very seriously.
To me, it seems that times have changed… so many mothers think the world revolves around them and their children… but in the “old days” it was the ELDERS who were respected and honored and glorified in the family… I don’t know, things have definitely changed.

I have family members that also behave the same way as your daughter - creating impossible “rules and regulations” that must be obeyed or the grandkids are held hostage from the grandparents. It’s sad. The grandparents voice very similar thoughts as you - wanting to simply keep the peace and walk on eggshells in order to maintain a relationship… it’s all very sad to witness.

Anyway… I have no specific advice. You have my thoughts and prayers.


#3

Em, DH and I come from the same type of background! We tried to do that with our children also; our kids had weeks and weeks at a time with the grandparents (esp. in summer) - as long as they wanted! Most of the time it was longer than I wanted, because I got really homesick for the children. But they had the most marvelous times with their grandparents.
DH and I are bumfuzzled by her attitude: her grandparents have all doted on her! On the other had, she has felt completely free to verbally blast them as well over ridiculous things.
I am starting to think that maybe she is just a spoiled brat…? I love her but this is crazy…?


#4

This isn’t about you.

Something is very wrong with your daugher. Mental or emotional issues (NOT your fault, you sound perfectly normal) or someone who is influencing her strange parenting choices.


#5

I don’t know what happened previously, but my heart goes out to you and I will pray for your family during this time :frowning:

What is her relationship with her siblings?

How do your other children treat you and DH regarding their children?

Could she have her hormones so out of whack with a 2 yr old and baby on the way that it has changed her or has she always been confrontational and selfish while growing up?

What is your son-in-law’s attitude around you? Is he embarrassed by her behavior or does he support it? I get pressure from my husband and it makes me snap at my mom I notice. For example, she lingers so long that she keeps the kids up late at night, even on school nights and my husband gets very irritated and it causes me to be nasty to my mom about it b/c I know he is downstairs fuming at her keeping the kids up at night. Could this be happening for you as well? Maybe your son-in-law puts so much pressure on her that she gets super nasty with you knowing he is sitting over there angry about something and he is going to get on her case when they are alone??

I’m sorry you are going through this :frowning: I would give anything to have in-laws who actually wanted to see my children and wanted to be around them, its heart-breaking to hear of a woman who pushes away good ones!!


#6

This also reminds me of a story I heard a long time ago about our friends where the father's parents would talk to the new baby (1st child/1st grandchild) in "babytalk" and the mother was so upset that she forced the father to confront his parents and tell them they were not allowed to speak babytalk to the newborn baby or they would not be around that baby anymore.

It was insane!

I think everybody would agree that it is easier to allow your own parents to do things, but really hard to sit and watch your in-laws do things you disagree with. I really wonder if the husband is putting so much pressure on your daughter that she is reacting this way to appease his anger? Like I said, I know I am somewhat nasty to my mom when she does things that upset my husband, almost as if I know he will hear me and he will feel that I am listening to him and trying to make him happy. Don't get me wrong, I don't act like your daughter or do anything terrible and my husband just gets mad because my mom seems to go outside of our boundaries (like bedtime and eating good food rather than candy) on a regular basis as a way of refusing to be told what to do, but that is a post for itself! haha But I think it is my way of making sure my husband knows I am trying rather than just ignoring him. Could your daughter be doing this, but just super excessively??

Like I said, what kind of relationships does she have other than with you and your husband?? If they are "normal" then I'd really wonder if its the hubby!


#7

I’m so sorry. This must be very difficult for you all. Is your daughter still involved with the Church?

I will pray for you all, that with time things will work out and you can have that relationship with them all that you desire and those little grandbabies need.


#8

:( This was so sad to read....

Has she always been this way...or since becoming a mom? Could there be something, "wrong" with her psychologically?

Just seems so odd to me, mothers and daughters sometimes argue but then make up....but to go as far as to write you a mean letter? :(

Her causing a scene at Christmas concerns me as well....that's abnormal.:(


#9

Thanks so much for your input. I appreciate it...
One of the posters asked about her relationships with siblings: in general, very close, although my daughter has a tendency to dominate all conversations, and has frequently made very derogatory comments to them and about them. Her brothers love her, but I think find her a bit irritating...?
Our other children treat us with great respect. I knew the old adages about mothers-in-law and was determined to be a really good one; I love the boys' wives and try to affirm them and their choices. Same as with my daughter and her husband. As far as I know, it is only my daughter, who is possibly influenced my her husband (his entire family has broken into little splinters with people who won't talk to each other for decades, etc.).
Also, I hate to say it, but yes, she has always been difficult to deal with. I've always made allowances for her high-strung personality because she is an artist (pianist, actor, dancer). I was probably inconsistent with her discipline because I wanted her to be happy. On the other hand, I occasionally lost my temper with her and we actually kicked her out twice when she was 17.
I do feel that her husband is part of this isolation of "his family" (he is very possessive). Unfortunately, he dropped out of college in his final year and is not active at looking for work. They spent 6 months living with us while my daughter was pregnant with my granddaughter, and my son-in-law didn't have a job at all during that entire time. Again, recently he was hired as a dishwasher at a pizza place parttime after another 7-8 months' absence from the workforce. They are essentially hippies, which is fine, and spend most of their time alone at home. They have very few friends and have unusual conspiracy theories about bizarre things. As you can probably tell, it is getting a little annoying to be preached at constantly about any and everything by two societal drop-outs.
No, they are not involved with any church, because they believe that the Bible will guide them through life, and that organized religion is evil. They are supporters of the Pearl doctrine of the home, which is a little weird.
Anyway, thanks for the replies....I feel we will muddle through this...:shrug:


#10

Do you mean the Pearls as in Debi and Michael? They are pretty controversial if you do, and teach what some consider to be “child abuse” and “women abuse” so you may have reason to be concerned depending on if that is who you are speaking of.

“To Train up a Child” only has to be googled to see what I mean…


#11

That’s the one I mean…sounds insane to me.


#12

She’s not hitting the baby as "training’ is she…? Is her husband Catholic (or former) what about her IL’s…?

I don’t really know any thing to say to you except that you DD does not sound stable, babies, in that chaos, concern me.

Prayers…:hug1:


#13

From what I understand you have only 1 daughter and at least 2 sons.

I will try to point things out from perhaps her point of view. Not to excuse her behaviour nor to minimize your pain but to let you see where she may be coming from.

Although you look back at all the things you did for your daughter, even if they were done out of the best of intentions if it was not what she wanted/needed, her resentment is still there. She probably feels you NEVER listen to what she wants and now that she is finally the parent and the one who CAN control her kids upbringing, she is milking it for what it is worth in a way to get back at all the times she felt controlled.

Now, if you genuinly listen to her and feel you can no accomodate her requests, by all means, set your boundaries. But don't expect her to come around.

On the other hand, do not accommodate poor behaviour just to 'get on her good side' it won't work. Next times she needs your car say 'no'. She can not use you.

As much as I feel for you, I strongly suspect all your efforts are misplaced and when you are giving, you are giving the wrong things and feeling frustrated when things don't work out

CM


#14

Just out of curiosity, what are some her rules that she's insisting you follow? I'm not trying to take her side, but a lot of what you said sounds like stuff I've heard about my wife & I from my family. They disagree with the rules we have for our kids and will go way out of their way to either break the rules or set up scenarios so that others break the rules for them ("Don't blame me! I didn't break the rule and your aunt had no idea that what she was doing was breaking a rule so you can't blame her, either!"). For the record, some of the crazy and "contradictory" rules we have that have caused major problems are that we let them have very little soda, don't allow them to overeat--especially not sweets, we don't give the baby foods that aren't appropriate for her age, and we don't allow underage drinking. I think, with us at least, the strife comes from the fact that our rules aren't the rules my parents had for us and, therefore, are "wrong." It doesn't matter our reasons, they think we're misguided hypocrites for doing what we know to be best for our children. I'm not saying this is what's going on with you, or that your daughter isn't making some odd choices (and I certainly don't want to come across as though I'm supporting the Pearls' methods), but one thing I know that would make things a lot less stressful for us is if our families would realize that just because our methods of raising our kids aren't what they used doesn't mean they're wrong.


#15

[quote="heart4home, post:10, topic:235485"]
"To Train up a Child" only has to be googled to see what I mean...

[/quote]

I just did and I want to throw up. Why not use a cattle prod while you're at it??


#16

I want to emphasize that DH and I follow every rule she has for our granddaughter. We try to show no criticism whatsoever. We want to support our children’s raising of our grandchildren. We have no interest in trying to make the rules for the grandchildren. That is not our place. We desire only occasional access to our grandchildren. For my birthday present last month, I asked my daughter if I could spend just a few hours with my granddaughter. She refused and launched into a diatribe against our whole family (her elderly grandparents included). It was a little incoherent but I tried my best to understand: she is upset because we intentionally break her rules and then lie about it (this is complete nonsense…we stringently try to follow her rules with her child); she doesn’t want grandparents (any of us) as part of the “circle of caregivers”; she wants to protect her children against “family members” and also the entire outside world; and she feels that our family doesn’t respect her and her husband.
I could go into detail as to why these accusations are all baseless, but I won’t waste your time.
As far as not giving her what she really needed while growing up, I can only say that I did my best. (Don’t we all…I know that I certainly could have done better in many ways) I felt as a mother that traditional methods of child-rearing were appropriate; we instilled discipline from an early age and yet were “attachment-style” parents as much as possible. For instance, my daughter slept with us off and on until she was about 7. I tried to make clear to my children that they were their own persons, and did try to listen carefully to their various problems. We were so careful to raise our children with unconditional love; that no matter what, we would love them. We were thorough in raising our children in the Church; ALWAYS attended mass; the children were sent to very good Catholic schools; they went to church camp every summer and loved it.
Well, I am starting to ramble here so I will hush. It is hard not to question myself.
Your prayers are appreciated. And feel free to give me constructive criticism; we all have our blind spots and you may see something I am missing.


#17

Musician, I’m sorry. I remember you posting about this last year. Without having the benefit of both sides of the story or actually being there, it certainly seems to me as though your dd is being irrational and extreme.

I have young children, and I have a mixed-bag relationship with my parents. Naturally, I think my expectations are important and reasonable, even though they are not typical - but then many of my choices about my children are not typical. While I am extremely grateful for relatioship that my kids have with their grandparents, there are times when I feel as though I can’t trust them to not undermine our parental authority and our efforts at imparting our values (which have some real differences from theirs) on our kids. Of course, when this gets relayed to my parents, feelings are hurt and they think that we are being completely unreasonable. Ultimately, I have to do what is best for my children - NOT what is best for my ego, but what is most likely to help my kids be raised with good values. It has never gotten to the point that I felt like I couldn’t let them supervise my kids at all, although I have had times where I’ve been uncomfortable with it.

If it ever got to the point that I didn’t trust them at all with my kids, I still wouldn’t want to sever the relationship. Both for my parents, whom I love and honor (and who I am required to honor), and especially for my kids, who love my parents, and who love being loved by my parents. This is what I would do: I would not put my parents in positions of authority or supervision with my children. Instead, I would have my children spend time with them while I supervised. I don’t trust other children to take care of my kids, but I let my kids play with other kids anyway - I just supervise. So why wouldn’t it be the same with adults? I know that my parents would not be satisfied with this level of access, but I also know that they would take whatever they can get. It would be awkward, but this is what you do to allow kids to have a relationship with their relatives even when those relatives are not deemed responsible enough. Keep in mind, I am not judging you as such, but since your dd is (or is at least claiming to), I’m looking for a solution that should be acceptable to her.

There are some levels of danger that I wouldn’t allow at all - someone I suspected might sexually abuse someone, someone who commits crimes, someone with an unusually perverted moral code (like a satanist, or something else cult-like - because even though they might not hurt my child in my presence, they might pounce at the chance to recruit them when the child is older, and that is not a safe relationship to set up). Also, if being around the grandparents caused my children high levels of stress or mental anguish for some other reason. Other than that, I don’t see why a child can’t have at least limited supervised contact with grandparents.

IIRC, your dd has veered off your path either religiously or morally, correct? Into the range of some pretty fringe ideas? In this case, even a normal moral code would be a threat, because the child might notice that you are not spawns of satan, and the parents might (understandably) be afraid that your normalcy itself would be an influence away from their religious/moral/lifestyle choices. I’m not sure what you can do with that.

But if your dd is willing to listen/negotiated, I would recommend that you tell her that you just want a relationship with her and the kids, and that you want her kids to know that they are loved by you, because it feels really good to a kid to know that they are loved. That you think that since they are not happy with your ability to supervise the kids/follow their rules etc. that you understand that they don’t want you to be caregivers. But is it all or nothing, or can you still have contact with them, when you are not the adult in charge? Even if that means you can only have supervised “playdates” like they might have with other children, this would still allow you to give some love to the kids and to have a relationship.


#18

[quote="ThyKingdomCome, post:17, topic:235485"]
Musician, I'm sorry. I remember you posting about this last year. Without having the benefit of both sides of the story or actually being there, it certainly seems to me as though your dd is being irrational and extreme.

I have young children, and I have a mixed-bag relationship with my parents. Naturally, I think my expectations are important and reasonable, even though they are not typical - but then many of my choices about my children are not typical. While I am extremely grateful for relatioship that my kids have with their grandparents, there are times when I feel as though I can't trust them to not undermine our parental authority and our efforts at imparting our values (which have some real differences from theirs) on our kids. Of course, when this gets relayed to my parents, feelings are hurt and they think that we are being completely unreasonable. Ultimately, I have to do what is best for my children - NOT what is best for my ego, but what is most likely to help my kids be raised with good values. It has never gotten to the point that I felt like I couldn't let them supervise my kids at all, although I have had times where I've been uncomfortable with it.

If it ever got to the point that I didn't trust them at all with my kids, I still wouldn't want to sever the relationship. Both for my parents, whom I love and honor (and who I am required to honor), and especially for my kids, who love my parents, and who love being loved by my parents. This is what I would do: I would not put my parents in positions of authority or supervision with my children. Instead, I would have my children spend time with them while I supervised. I don't trust other children to take care of my kids, but I let my kids play with other kids anyway - I just supervise. So why wouldn't it be the same with adults? I know that my parents would not be satisfied with this level of access, but I also know that they would take whatever they can get. It would be awkward, but this is what you do to allow kids to have a relationship with their relatives even when those relatives are not deemed responsible enough. Keep in mind, I am not judging you as such, but since your dd is (or is at least claiming to), I'm looking for a solution that should be acceptable to her.

There are some levels of danger that I wouldn't allow at all - someone I suspected might sexually abuse someone, someone who commits crimes, someone with an unusually perverted moral code (like a satanist, or something else cult-like - because even though they might not hurt my child in my presence, they might pounce at the chance to recruit them when the child is older, and that is not a safe relationship to set up). Also, if being around the grandparents caused my children high levels of stress or mental anguish for some other reason. Other than that, I don't see why a child can't have at least limited supervised contact with grandparents.

IIRC, your dd has veered off your path either religiously or morally, correct? Into the range of some pretty fringe ideas? In this case, even a normal moral code would be a threat, because the child might notice that you are not spawns of satan, and the parents might (understandably) be afraid that your normalcy itself would be an influence away from their religious/moral/lifestyle choices. I'm not sure what you can do with that.

But if your dd is willing to listen/negotiated, I would recommend that you tell her that you just want a relationship with her and the kids, and that you want her kids to know that they are loved by you, because it feels really good to a kid to know that they are loved. That you think that since they are not happy with your ability to supervise the kids/follow their rules etc. that you understand that they don't want you to be caregivers. But is it all or nothing, or can you still have contact with them, when you are not the adult in charge? Even if that means you can only have supervised "playdates" like they might have with other children, this would still allow you to give some love to the kids and to have a relationship.

[/quote]

I will seriously think about your advice.
DH and I have been on mostly supervised visitation for the last couple of months, except for several times when DD wanted to use my car to go somewhere by herself and leave me to babysit at her house.
I think what bothers me and my father and stepmother the most is that DD feels very free to lambast everyone in the family verbally, and doesn't care if it is public or not. What I mean is, if she gets angry at a family member, she pitches a temper tantrum then and there. I am feeling less and less tolerant of this behavior.
And although I love her with all my heart and would love to be part of her life, I am not sure that we are up for trying to please her right at this moment. Maybe I have answered my own question here.
I'll keep praying. Thank you for your insights.


#19

[quote="Musician, post:18, topic:235485"]
And although I love her with all my heart and would love to be part of her life, I am not sure that we are up for trying to please her right at this moment. Maybe I have answered my own question here.
I'll keep praying. Thank you for your insights.

[/quote]

I wouldn't begrudge you that either. If it was just her and no grandchildren involved, that would probably be a much easier decision. In general, it makes sense to expect people who are in your life to provide a minimum of respect, and if they refuse then you shouldn't have to take it. And who knows, maybe she wants to be a part of your life too, and will respond (?) to you telling her that YOU are going to set a parameter of the relationship as well. Prayers for you.


#20

[quote="Musician, post:16, topic:235485"]
As far as not giving her what she really needed while growing up, I can only say that I did my best. (Don't we all....I know that I certainly could have done better in many ways) .

[/quote]

I am sure you did your best. But the whole point of my argument, only your daughter can tell you what she was missing. And if she doesn't trust you will take her seriously, she won't bother letting you know.

I am not accusing you. I am simply trying to let you know what may be going on in her mind.

My prayers are with you

CM


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.