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Old 07-21-2018, 03:11 PM
 
Location: Wonderland
40,871 posts, read 32,642,286 times
Reputation: 56984

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What would you do if you were me in this situation?

I have four adult kids. Three are married, and my two daughters both have four kids each. I love love love my grandchildren and of course think they are all perfect and beautiful geniuses!

My youngest daughter has always been the most emotional and volatile of my four kids. She was a difficult teenager to raise but seemed to pull out of it after several years in the military. During that time, she got married and had three kids. Also during that time, I thought she and I had moved past the difficult years of our relationship. I visited her and her family numerous times as she lived around the country and around the world, and I forged what I considered healthy, happy relationships with her kids. I adored those kids in fact, and I was also very happy that my daughter and I had a relationship again.

I was not a perfect mother and am not a perfect person but I have owned my mistakes and character flaws over the years, and I've transitioned with my adult kids from parent/child relationships to adult/adult relationships, and it seems to have worked well for all of us - till a couple of years ago.

Little bit of background - my kids are biracial (half black, half white). I divorced their dad when they were young, because he was emotionally and physically abusive to all of us. I remarried a few years ago when my youngest was 18. My youngest daughter was 22 at the time and already in the military. My husband has totally accepted and loves all my children and grandchildren. He and I have now been married 12 years. He's a white guy. I don't normally focus on race but it plays a significant part in this story.

A few years ago, when she got out of the military, my youngest daughter began really self identifying as African American. She also changed, in fact, pretty quickly, from being basically a conservative, to a liberal politically. Now - I don't care about the political aspect of it but SHE does. She began to get really offended by just about anything I or my husband said - we didn't realize this at first but eventually she blew up with us and we realized how far apart we were in our political beliefs. Here's the thing though - I don't decide issues based on skin tone or ethnicity and I didn't raise my kids to be like that either (the other three aren't). So I don't filter my thoughts or words through a color line if that makes sense. (I also will not tolerate any form of racism around me or in my house. Anyone who knows me knows this is true.)

For example, she got all crunk with me over Black Lives Matter, because I wouldn't just willy nilly take one side or the other. I would insist that all lives matter and that I was opposed to police violence or racism from the police but I was also sympathetic to most police officers having to deal with crime on a daily basis. WRONG ANSWER. This ticked her off. Royally. Mightily. She began harboring grudges against me. I began to feel like I had to walk on eggshells around her regarding any topic. I became "guilty by being white." I had "white privilege" and I simply couldn't understand any other perspective - according to her. Now listen - SHE was the one making an issue out of race, not me. I was appalled by this but my gosh, I can't change the color of my skin.

I need to point out that she has also always been very jealous of and competitive toward her sister. Her sister and I have always gotten along well, even during the difficult teen years, partly because she is just a very open and frank person and I get along well with people like that. I am not a very sensitive person and I often miss subtle clues and hidden meanings and innuendos and frankly I don't like relationships that have a lot of that going on.

Well, this didn't seem to matter much because both sisters lived far apart and were seldom in the same room or even state together and I was able to build close relationships with all eight grandkids (after the military, she had one more child). Then m youngest daughter moved very close to me - an hour away - and I got to see even more of her and her family. Yay! Right? Nope. Not so fast. I only got to see them long enough for us all to fall in love with each other. Oh, how I loved those grandkids and I believe they loved my husband and me too.

Apparently a couple of years ago, when she went full bore the opposite direction of me politically, and also very blatantly rejected her "white" family and her white ancestry, she apparently decided that I am a toxic person and she wants nothing to do with me. After a huge blow up - in my house, on Thanksgiving Day, with a house full of company, after she came over to my house loaded for bear and truly itching for a fight - she cut me completely off. Blocked me on all social media. Refused to return my calls. Refused to answer emails.

Not only that, she cut my mother off. My mother has dementia and is in a memory care facility. She loves my daughter and her kids - LOVES THEM. She has only and always treated them all with nothing but gentleness and love, and she yearns to see them. Prior to the big cut off, my daughter promised my mother that she would come see her every week. Now, I didn't expect that, but I did expect for her to come see my mom occasionally, but she hasn't called, written, or come to see her for nearly two years. Same here of course. I hate that she cut me off, but I REALLY hate that she did this to my mother. It makes me sick to think about it.

She homeschools. She also doesn't live in a neighborhood, she lives out in the middle of nowhere. She also doesn't attend a church and isn't part of any homeschooling co-op. She has basically isolated herself and the kids. Her husband works 6 days out of town and 3 days home. She has totally immersed herself in cosplay, just for the record. She spends thousands of dollars on wigs, costumes, etc. and constantly makes videos of herself and posts them online.

I write letters to the kids every month or so, and send holiday and birthday cards. I never get any sort of response from anyone. I used to send money and gift cards but I don't do that anymore because I get no response and I'm not even sure the kids get the money, letters, cards, etc. They are now ages 13 through 3. It is so heartbreaking to think of them just an hour away, with no communication.

Right before the big blow up, I knew things were going badly and my daughter was acting very standoffish, but I missed those kids so much. I got in my car and drove to their house, which is as I've said an hour away, and just surprised them. My daughter was very put out but hospitable enough - I had my mother and dad with me so I think she felt constrained to be polite, but she was simmering. Now my dad is dead, and my mom has such severe dementia, it would be just my husband and me if we went over there, or just me, and frankly, I am very nervous about going over there. I don't want to upset the kids or have any sort of scene. I also don't want to be thrown out of her house in front of the kids, which is a very likely scenario. Almost a given, in fact.

I just don't know what to do. I am so concerned for those kids. I know I am not a "toxic person" either. I can't even imagine how my daughter is justifying this to her kids or husband, or herself.

I am a good grandmother. I am very grateful to have other grandkids, but I was wondering if anyone else has had to deal with this sort of thing in the past, and if so, what did you do?

 
Old 07-21-2018, 04:49 PM
 
Location: Pacific Northwest
125 posts, read 42,570 times
Reputation: 515
I'm a younger woman who was raised in a multi-ethnic household (I'm an adopted african american; my adoptive family was of white descent , but I have siblings of black and hispanic descents) and for a while my relationship with my own mother was strained based on the fact I was a young person who was trying to find my own "identity" and it became clear me and her both had very different views and thoughts on what we though were proper boundaries.

I get the desire and struggle to relate to family members who don't share the same lineage or ethnic make up as you (because even if the home life is not focusing on it that many people on all sides outside will make a big deal of it and force multi-ethnic individuals to "choose" a side). It ends up making you feel really lost and while I don't know your daughter or share an identical ethnic makeup with her, I'm sure we both faced many similar questions and concerns about our place in the world and which "side" if any we should allow to be the one we exhibit. This has nothing to do about you as a parent; and all about our world and the very common psychological effects race and how strangers and the outside world (outside of the family) interpret what is right and wrong.

It is common for transracial children to experience periods of rebellion against the upbringing they experienced because the world likes to split them in two and name one part of their identity the bad or less desirable part. And unfortunately in this crazy time where race is a black and white right or wrong conversation a lot of misinformation and people with ulterior motives are influencing those who are hurting and struggling with their identity.

My advice for you: You can't do much about your daughter now. She's a grown woman and her decisions are hers to make. It's sad to think she's allowing herself to give up and subject her family to a negative spot, and honestly for the sake of the rest of the family that you have and care for I would say let her go. Unfortunately it sounds like while she's accusing you of abuse, she subjunctive or at least setting her own children for abuse.

Try to contact her and see about meeting in public as grandparents or offer to taker her family out for dinner. I wouldn't walk into anything she could use against you (don't respond to any politics talk or anything that she's complained about in the past; just nod your head and smile.) If not that then you could try a surprise visit; but if she doesn't want that then you can expect her to make a fuss...especially if she's done it in front of family before.

Concentrate and put your energy in the family and children that want to be in your life and make it positive. Eventually her actions will prove which one of you is in the right and in the future if you are able to show love to your other grandchildren and prove you have changed from whatever portite your daughter has painted.

As for your daughter; please keep an eye on her from afar if you can. Her pattern of behavior and time in the military followed up by isolation of her children and self is a red flag for potential abuse and mental/emotional consequences. I don't want to be too intrusive or think more than what's there in person; but her rash falling out with family and keeping her children isolated is what many child abusers and suicidal individuals do when they're feeling like their losing control and it can lead to tragic problems. Don't push her or make her suspect you don't trust her (you don't want her to bolt or go into a "mood")but keep an eye on things and if things get worse or you feel the children are in any danger have a wellness call made (chances are if someone else does you'll know cause she'll blame you).

I hope it doesn't happen that way and you are able to find peace with your daughter in a positive way. But I feel for you regardless because I know it can be tough especially in time like now where people in our lives are being turned against their own families.
 
Old 07-21-2018, 05:36 PM
 
Location: Wisconsin
16,466 posts, read 15,905,878 times
Reputation: 38730
Quote:
Originally Posted by musicfamly5 View Post
(snip)

As for your daughter; please keep an eye on her from afar if you can.
Her pattern of behavior and time in the military followed up by isolation of her children and self is a red flag for potential abuse and mental/emotional consequences. I don't want to be too intrusive or think more than what's there in person; but her rash falling out with family and keeping her children isolated is what many child abusers and suicidal individuals do when they're feeling like their losing control and it can lead to tragic problems. (snip).
Good points.

While, it is difficult I would continue to send cards and letters to your grandchildren and daughter. But, I suspect that the cards/letters are not being given to your grandchildren and I also suspect that your daughter is telling them terrible lies about you and the rest of the family. You may have to wait until the grandchildren are 18 and they move away from home (if they ever are allowed to do that) to try to reconnect with them.

Kathryn, does your daughter have contact with anyone in the family? One of her brothers? Or an aunt or uncle? Or a cousin? Or is she completely cut of from everyone?
 
Old 07-21-2018, 05:56 PM
 
Location: Wonderland
40,871 posts, read 32,642,286 times
Reputation: 56984
Quote:
Originally Posted by musicfamly5 View Post
I'm a younger woman who was raised in a multi-ethnic household (I'm an adopted african american; my adoptive family was of white descent , but I have siblings of black and hispanic descents) and for a while my relationship with my own mother was strained based on the fact I was a young person who was trying to find my own "identity" and it became clear me and her both had very different views and thoughts on what we though were proper boundaries.

I get the desire and struggle to relate to family members who don't share the same lineage or ethnic make up as you (because even if the home life is not focusing on it that many people on all sides outside will make a big deal of it and force multi-ethnic individuals to "choose" a side). It ends up making you feel really lost and while I don't know your daughter or share an identical ethnic makeup with her, I'm sure we both faced many similar questions and concerns about our place in the world and which "side" if any we should allow to be the one we exhibit. This has nothing to do about you as a parent; and all about our world and the very common psychological effects race and how strangers and the outside world (outside of the family) interpret what is right and wrong.

It is common for transracial children to experience periods of rebellion against the upbringing they experienced because the world likes to split them in two and name one part of their identity the bad or less desirable part. And unfortunately in this crazy time where race is a black and white right or wrong conversation a lot of misinformation and people with ulterior motives are influencing those who are hurting and struggling with their identity.

My advice for you: You can't do much about your daughter now. She's a grown woman and her decisions are hers to make. It's sad to think she's allowing herself to give up and subject her family to a negative spot, and honestly for the sake of the rest of the family that you have and care for I would say let her go. Unfortunately it sounds like while she's accusing you of abuse, she subjunctive or at least setting her own children for abuse.

Try to contact her and see about meeting in public as grandparents or offer to taker her family out for dinner. I wouldn't walk into anything she could use against you (don't respond to any politics talk or anything that she's complained about in the past; just nod your head and smile.) If not that then you could try a surprise visit; but if she doesn't want that then you can expect her to make a fuss...especially if she's done it in front of family before.

Concentrate and put your energy in the family and children that want to be in your life and make it positive. Eventually her actions will prove which one of you is in the right and in the future if you are able to show love to your other grandchildren and prove you have changed from whatever portite your daughter has painted.

As for your daughter; please keep an eye on her from afar if you can. Her pattern of behavior and time in the military followed up by isolation of her children and self is a red flag for potential abuse and mental/emotional consequences. I don't want to be too intrusive or think more than what's there in person; but her rash falling out with family and keeping her children isolated is what many child abusers and suicidal individuals do when they're feeling like their losing control and it can lead to tragic problems. Don't push her or make her suspect you don't trust her (you don't want her to bolt or go into a "mood")but keep an eye on things and if things get worse or you feel the children are in any danger have a wellness call made (chances are if someone else does you'll know cause she'll blame you).

I hope it doesn't happen that way and you are able to find peace with your daughter in a positive way. But I feel for you regardless because I know it can be tough especially in time like now where people in our lives are being turned against their own families.
Wow. THANK YOU SO MUCH for such an honest and thought provoking post. What great feedback!

I think you're right - I could try to contact her and ask to meet in a public place with the kids. Believe me, it would be no problem for me to focus only on the kids and not on political or sociological stuff - I WANT to know what's going on in their little lives.

I am so concerned about my daughter and her kids - as you mention, her isolation of herself and her family doesn't feel healthy to me at all.
 
Old 07-21-2018, 05:58 PM
 
Location: Wonderland
40,871 posts, read 32,642,286 times
Reputation: 56984
Quote:
Originally Posted by germaine2626 View Post
Good points.

While, it is difficult I would continue to send cards and letters to your grandchildren and daughter. But, I suspect that the cards/letters are not being given to your grandchildren and I also suspect that your daughter is telling them terrible lies about you and the rest of the family. You may have to wait until the grandchildren are 18 and they move away from home (if they ever are allowed to do that) to try to reconnect with them.

Kathryn, does your daughter have contact with anyone in the family? One of her brothers? Or an aunt or uncle? Or a cousin? Or is she completely cut of from everyone?
She sends a text (always one way - never an interactive text) to a couple of family members occasionally - about once every few months. I have to wonder why she even does that. My brother tells me he never hears from her unless he asks for pictures and then she will respond with a few but she never instigates contact. Same with her brothers. For awhile she was talking with them on the phone - when she was actively trying to turn my own children and brothers against me - but when that failed, she resorted to the very occasional text. Basically that's it from what I can tell.

Her two brothers - who she was very close to when they were growing up - both tell me that they are frustrated because she simply won't usually return their calls or texts, so for the most part they've just given up. However, she hasn't "broken up with them" like she has with me so technically I guess that door is still open. It's just that she so seldom answers it.
 
Old 07-21-2018, 06:18 PM
 
11,605 posts, read 5,449,768 times
Reputation: 10975
Quote:
For example, she got all crunk with me over Black Lives Matter, because I wouldn't just willy nilly take one side or the other. I would insist that all lives matter and that I was opposed to police violence or racism from the police but I was also sympathetic to most police officers having to deal with crime on a daily basis. WRONG ANSWER.
The thing is that after knowing this, you kept engaging in a power struggle about it. Many times you have said that if she is going to bring this up, you are darn tootin gonna say what you think too.

How did that work out for you?

Due to an argument at your home, you kicked her out on a Holiday.

How did that work out for you?

Now you want to know how to reverse years of this power struggle you engaged in and won.

I think you should leave her alone. Let her come to you sometime, and be different with her when she does.
 
Old 07-21-2018, 06:42 PM
 
3,634 posts, read 9,229,895 times
Reputation: 6384
There is a whole website with a connected community just for rejected parents. www.rejectedparents.net Your story sounds just like all of theirs. There is a book discussed on the website to help with dealing with these broken relationships.
 
Old 07-21-2018, 07:25 PM
 
Location: interior Alaska
3,975 posts, read 2,963,042 times
Reputation: 11847
Quote:
Originally Posted by KathrynAragon View Post
For example, she got all crunk
"Crunk" is widely used to mean drunk and stoned, by the way. "Getting crunk" is consuming marijuana while drinking alcohol.
 
Old 07-21-2018, 07:52 PM
 
Location: interior Alaska
3,975 posts, read 2,963,042 times
Reputation: 11847
Quote:
Originally Posted by KathrynAragon View Post
I was not a perfect mother and am not a perfect person but I have owned my mistakes and character flaws over the years, and I've transitioned with my adult kids from parent/child relationships to adult/adult relationships, and it seems to have worked well for all of us - till a couple of years ago.
This paragraph jumps out at me, because it sounds familiar to other family dramas I've personally encountered. The parent goes through difficulties during the son or daughter's childhood, and the child feels the fallout acutely. Then the parent moves on and straightens out their life, and expects the now grown son or daughter to do so as well, not bearing in mind that things that happen during one's formative years loom much larger and have a much bigger impact. The phrase "I was not a perfect mother" itself is a bit of a red flag here, because no one is perfect, so it's a way of glossing over and minimizing one's errors.

Another thing that jumped out at me about the OP was that you didn't have one nice word to say about this daughter. I'm sure she can tell you don't like her much.

I suspect that even if you feel you've transitioned to "adult/adult relationships" with your kids, you're still interacting with her in ways that remind her of bad old times, and it's triggering what would be an overreaction if it were based only in current events, because it carries the weight of previously unresolved pains too. Could be something as innocuous and innocent as just certain turns of phrases or tones that call up bad old memories, or could be that you honestly are coming off as unkind, demeaning or the like - no way for a reader here to know, really.

I'm not saying she's right - part of maturing is accepting that one's parents as imperfect human beings - but the only person in this scenario who you have control over is yourself, so if you want it to change, you can't focus on what SHE should be doing differently.

You might reflect on whether you've ever just apologized to her for past hurts. Not apologized and explained why you did what you did, or apologized and expected an apology or acceptance in return, or apologized and glossed over the details, but simply identified what you did and said that was hurtful and said you were sorry for it, no rationalizations or strings attached. That sort of white flag can be very powerful as a step toward healing.
 
Old 07-21-2018, 09:48 PM
 
Location: Wonderland
40,871 posts, read 32,642,286 times
Reputation: 56984
Quote:
Originally Posted by jencam View Post
The thing is that after knowing this, you kept engaging in a power struggle about it. Many times you have said that if she is going to bring this up, you are darn tootin gonna say what you think too.

How did that work out for you?

Due to an argument at your home, you kicked her out on a Holiday.

How did that work out for you?

Now you want to know how to reverse years of this power struggle you engaged in and won.

I think you should leave her alone. Let her come to you sometime, and be different with her when she does.
To clarify:

1. I didn't "kick her out on a Holiday" - in fact, I sacrificed everyone else in order to focus on her emotional needs during the said holiday.
2. I didn't engage in any sort of "power struggle" over the years. I did, however, try to keep the peace and keep a civil tone in my own home over the years. Guess that didn't work out though, but time will tell.
3. I haven't won anything - that was never my intention either, for the record.
4. I have left her alone - for several years. I guess I will keep on leaving her alone.

Last edited by KathrynAragon; 07-21-2018 at 10:05 PM..
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