Rejected by My Two Adult Daughters

Postby yucca13 » Wed Feb 01, 2006 6:22 am

I happened across this forum and wondered if anyone might have a similar situation to the one that I find myself in and any advice anyone may have to offer.

I am 58. My two youngest daughters decided to stop talking to my oldest daughter and myself 10 months ago. They left one telephone message stating that they couldn't have a relationship with either of us anymore. No explanation was offered at that time. After six weeks of agony, the youngest of the two sent a three page e-mail with her "greviances". She accused me of such things as drinking too much when she was growing up; trying to alienate my daughters from each other and many hateful things. There has never been an opportunity to reply as they do not want any communication. To say that I (we) were shocked is a great understatement. I never would have thought that this would happen and stupidly did not see the signs of it coming.

These daughters are 28 and 27. The 28 year old was asked for a divorce from her husband of two years immediately prior to this announcement that they were cutting off relationships with my other daughter and I.

I have been almost paralyzed with grief, frustration, anger at their hostility and my self-worth is in the toilet. It feels like going through two deaths to me. One of the girls lives in the same town and I happened to be in the same store at Christmastime. I was destroyed to see her and know that she wouldn't speak to me.

These girls were given everything that we could give them (their stepfather and I) including love and there were no traumatic events that I know of unless their father lied to them about things in the past (which I don't have any way of knowing).

This all seems so cold and unnatural for these daughters to be able to just cut me out of their life. Has anyone ever been through a similar situation? How did you handle it? I also have a son. My oldest daughter and son say that we were good parents. It will never be ok to lose two children and my heart is broken. Thanks in advance for any thoughts.
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Postby Madlikewo » Wed Feb 01, 2006 7:22 pm

Hello Yucca,

You mentioned drinking too much, or your daughters perceived it as such. If you are honest with yourself, were/are you a drinker? Did your partner drink heavily? I understand your frustration at not being able to communicate with your daughters, and they are not being fair to make statements without explanations.

The difference in perception of parenting skills between your children is quite natural. I have been depressed since childhood, and although I worshipped my mother, I have a very different recollection of her than my younger siblings have and this is probably due to the fact that she was in a different place by the time they were born and she had an horrendous time when giving birth to me and probably suffered postnatal depression.

Your daughters definitely need to give better explanations for their actions - perhaps your son could speak to them, as they don't mention cutting him out of their lives? It must be a very difficult time for you, but you will get support and advice on this forum.

All the best.
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Postby waedwards » Wed Feb 01, 2006 8:41 pm

If you listen to your heart, you will know what has caused this rift. Your heart will tell you why the two girls will not speak with either you or your other daughter.

There is a reason - your heart knows the answer.

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Postby yucca13 » Wed Feb 01, 2006 9:12 pm

Thanks for writing your reply. Yes, my husband and I would retire to our tv in the garage and unwind with some beer in the evenings. We were never falling-down drunks. For me, I know now that it was "self-medicating" as I have had chronic pain for many years. I don't drink at all now that the physical pain has been addressed. We interacted with them alot (playing game, etc.) and let them have friends over (some even living here at times).

Unfortunately my son was angry with them when he called his youngest sister and wasn't very polite so she wouldn't talk with him. He was very frustrated by the way they split off from us. She has shown no desire to talk with him even if he is more civil.

My 28 year old shows some signs of having borderline personality traits - a suicide sttempt, reckless driving and other odd behaviors. She has always held me at arm's length even though I didn't treat her any differrently than her other siblings. In fact, in retrospect, I think I indulged her wants too much. I believe that this girl (who is very intelligent and graduated summa cum laude from college) has never had much respect for me because she feels closer to her bio dad and I've never measured up to her demands. He pulled the same kind of disappearing act as these two (could it be genetic). He walked in one day when they were 2.5 and 3.5 and announced that he didn't love me and had never loved me and that he was leaving. A nasty custody battle followed with him and his family doing very covert and cruel things to try and remove them from me which ultimately didn't work. He walked out and I was supposed to become an unfit mother. (I rarely drank in those days).

I always had a close relationship with my youngest daughter. I think things started to go south when she married a man with two young children and I was no longer a necessary person in her life. She would usually only come around when she needed something.

I love all my children and this has been so devastating that I cry every day. It has not improved my health. I am willing to admit and have done so in the past that I didn't always do everything perfectly when they were growing up. My husband (their stepdad for 23 years is a wonderful person and has always done everything he could to support them in any way possible.).

Frankly, I'm tired of people being so judgmental and don't know what I can do about this situation. I have asked myself over and over what is to be learned from this and maybe it is that I'm supposed to become closer to my older children? I've made a lot of sacrifices for my children and I don't find this total estrangement fair - but, of course, my mother always told me that life isn't fair. I'm sure that they will learn this lesson also.
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Postby yucca13 » Wed Feb 01, 2006 9:27 pm

I respectfully disagree with your opinion that my heart knows why these girls are acting like this unless it is because it is on their path in life to throw away their mother. I understand that the years that they are going through can be challenging.

They were not abused in any way and I can honestly say that I (we) did our best to give them what they needed. They could have moved to their dad's at any time, so they can't say that they were forced to put up with us. They didn't complain when they were younger. My 28 year old has always had a disrespectful attitude and I should have addressed it when she was a young person. I chose to take the path of least resistance. She was extremely cruel to her 13 month older sister when she was younger and I didn't always step in and get into physical confrontations to get them to stop fighting. I was actually afraid of her at times. Now the younger ones asks why I didn't discripline her sister more. I am guilty of being too easy. I am not intentionally cruel though as I feel they are being with their behavior toward my husband and I and their sister. They even cut off their nose to spite their face saying that they love their nephews who are 5 and 8 by cutting off their relationship with their mother. Guess it pays to be right at any cost and not give the accused parties any recourse to address their complaints.

I am so disappointed with the cruelness that people can intentionally cause other people. I'm trying very hard to let the bad feelings about what they have decided to do go. I pray for their well-being every night.
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Postby BoxBoxBox » Thu Feb 02, 2006 4:32 am

I was estranged from my father, and he too took it as a surprise that he had 'no idea' about. It was time that I needed... Seperation and growth. Emotionally I was stuck to him and tortured by all the events in our shared past. Appalled even, and he wasn't even so bad. It was all grounded in self-contempt.

Just as a parent shudders when they see their children making the same mistakes as them, I shuddered when I looked at him and saw what I would become.

Though I too had a sort of list that bothered me, I knew that he would never understand a single thing or point of confrontation that I made. You can't condemn someone who is only guilty for doing the best and only way that they know how. This is why he had a similar reaction to you, in a state of disbelief that such a thing could occur. He was completely unable to comprehend.

These sort of things don't just pop up out of nowhere. It's a long, long process that culminates into this estrangement. Ask yourself where it started. Go through the list point by point and really try to see where they were coming from.

If we're thinking in terms of character traits that they despise, try to visualize somebody who, for lack of a better term, disgusts you. You see the entirity of their faults, and see right through their actions into who they truly are. Now picture that you don't like it one bit. Now picture that this person has psychological control over you, is a parental figure or guardian who actually matters. It turns into love-hate.

If we're thinking in terms of specific events, it is the events that just feed into the repulsion as windows to you (or more importantly, them).

This is just my experience, and I'm trying to articulate the feelings that went along with it. Really, I just needed time to psychologically break free from this barrier of self-contempt.

I wonder how anybody could estrange somebody strictly on the grounds that they 'hate them.' If this was the case, they wouldn't need to write an official document declaring their hatred. They would just ignore. Just throwing this out there, but maybe these forms of estrangements are based on self-contempt rather than contempt for the opposite party.

The other forms of estrangement are less psychological, I imagine, and more based on physical events: abuse, etc..
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Postby yucca13 » Thu Feb 02, 2006 5:35 am

I'm not sure that I understand everything that you've tried to convey, but I the self-contempt is an aspect of it I can understand. I've been told by a professional person that they are very, very angry. Anger and self-contempt might go hand-in-hand. I do know about the "what we see in others that reminds us of our own shortcomings is very despised." I have had my own share of problems with self-worth - that is probably why I've tried very hard to please them - the people-pleaser problem. I probably should have let them know from the time they were teenagers that there would be no disrespect and enforce that with whatever it took. The problem only reared it's ugly head at that time with the second-to-the-youngest who has always had an "I'll get what I want no matter what I have to do" attitude. Which is a plus sometimes but when you are stomping on people that love you is not.

I was told to just let them know that I am there if they need me and that I care. Beyond that, my hands are tied.

They will have all the time in the world to get their little psyches together. The more the pieces are put together, the more their characters are revealed. I don't like what I'm seeing. I've had numerous problems with my own mother and have never treated her cruelly and have always explained thoroughly (any way that was appropriate - not just a lousy e-mail) what was on my mind. I fully feel that this is a very cowardly way to handle a relationship with someone who gave birth to you and invested so much to help you become the fully functioning human being that you are. It feels like you are not worth the time to explain in person or at least on the phone.

Just heard today that their daddy big bucks is buying the youngest a house. Gee, what is the proverb about the "love of money is the root of all evil." Sure can influence alot of people. This particular daughter embezzled money from the bank she worked for and then had the audacity to tell me about it. She seduced another woman's husband when she was supposed to be the wife's best friend and was living in their house. He left his wife when they had a two month old baby. If anyone is going to rip apart the bad deeds that others have done, this person has done her share and has no business judging me. I didn't judge her when these things occurred even though they I was ashamed for her.

I have had 11 months to ruminate about the hurtful things that were written to me and have examined my mothering. The things they have accused me of are things that I've talked about with them - like wishing I hadn't drunk as much. One of the things I regret is always being upfront with these two children. If I had it to do over again, I would not be so honest with them. Some people throw things back in your face that you confide.

As their mother, I sure hope that they can attain some maturity including some ethics, empathy and whatever it takes to make them worthwhile people. Their father and his family are not ethical people and that is why I fought for 2.5 years to keep custody of my daughters and not have them raised by them. They offered to buy them from me back them for a lot of money. I was very broke and it didn't tempt me at all. Now it all comes back and bites me in the butt. Oh well, I tried.
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Postby angrywife » Fri Feb 03, 2006 4:54 pm

Hi Yucca.

This is certainly an unfortunate situation, especially since it came right out of the blue.

I wonder if your daughter's divorce affected her in a really big way, or someone drummed into her head that her childhood is to blame, all that combined with the fact that she has a 'borderline' personality,as you mentioned, and perhaps she did feel neglected as a child(a child's perception) and this divorce has caused it all to erupt. Does she have any children of her own?

If you truly feel that you have done all you could to raise your child in the best way possible, then this must hurt a lot. And as parents, if you did make a few mistakes(you are human, after all), you are probably plagued by guilt as well.

I am glad you have your son and oldest daughter on your side. How did both your younger daughters decide that you are a bad mother at the same time?

Obviously somethings gnawing away at them, and the only way to sort this out is for everyone to come out in the open with their thoughts. And be honest, and understand, and forgive. I don't know if it would help for you to write to them, or call and arrange a meeting. Or perhaps your son/oldest daugher could talk to them or arrange something. Before this gets worse, I can only say that you need to try every possible way to talk to them both. Its what mothers do - they make sacrifices all the way. Probably your divorced daughter needs her family now more than ever, when she is lonely and depressed.

I am not sure I get the whole picture yet, if this was something thats been brewing underneath for a long time. So I can't really think of any objective advice on the matter. I personally feel that unless a child has been abused by her parents in any way, there is no excuse for her to cut off all relations with them. After all, they gave them this life, and they always want whats best for their kids. I hope your kids are not so selfish as to forgo something so important in their lives.

Good Luck, my prayers are with you.
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Postby Madlikewo » Sat Feb 04, 2006 1:07 am

Hi yucca,

see posts by Truthtraveller (There are some in the addictions forum) for an idea as to why your daughters may have reacted as they have. Take a look at his website. It may seem harsh at first, but it will give you some insight to yourself as well as them. You mentioned issues with your own mother - could it be possible you have replicated those issues with your own children, or even gone to extrme lengths so you did not replicate the feelings your mother incurred in you? I am also a mother, my child id very young, but I know my depression will affect him, anmd I am taking steps now to heal my pain so that I am enlightened enough to help heal his.

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Postby yucca13 » Wed Feb 08, 2006 6:51 am

Thanks for replying Angrywife and Madlikewo.
In answer to the couple of questions you posed, A.W., my 28 year old does not have children and does not intend to ever have them. My youngest has two stepchildren and right now feels she is the perfect mother (they are 6 and 4). I wish her all the luck in the world as I feel anyone that takes on the role of a parent will need it. It can be a very thankless undertaking. I told my youngest that I thought one of the hardest things about being a parent is walking a fine line of not interfering and paying enough attention when your kids are adults.

The two girls have been getting closer since the youngest married three years ago. In fact, the quote was: "we have a relationship built on trust and love." As opposed to whatever terrible things mine and their older sister's relationship with them was built on. Their oldest sister was always there for them and has been a good sister and it sickens me that they turned on her. My opinion is that it was a triumph on my 28 year old's part to get her younger sister (who she used to torment) closer to their father's clan where she was never the favorite. To turn on me makes her much more popular with their father and his family.

I will, and have admitted, that I escaped in the evenings with the sedating effects of beer, but I was always available for them. Ironically, I don't drink at all now. My youngest always held me at arm's length. I've seen her use people and then just drop them suddenly and have nothing to do with them over and over. It didn't bode well for the future when I saw that happening. She had never been dumped before her husband asked for a divorce - she was the person who terminated relationships and never looked back. I know she was hurting and wished I knew the right things to say the one time I talked with her about it. I'm not very good with the right words I guess.

Her father was the one who always was the critical one. Why don't you have ALL A's on your report card? She idolizes him. She assumes that I would blame her for her divorce. She is a very driven person and I guess she needed somone to blame when things didn't go right. I haven't been that way when I had problems - I've always accepted the guilt and blamed myself.

I feel I was in a no-win situation when their father walked out without warning and fought me for custody. If I had "sold" them to him, I'm sure that I would have been accused by them of being heartless. It took a lot out of me to fight for them but I loved them and didn't want to be a part-time mother.

I read a post about addiction by Truthtraveler and some of the essays. I found the one about hypotherapy interesting. I often jokingly say that I would like someone to wipe out the thoughts that are so hard to cope with. Things that I can do nothing about. I'm tired of crying and I miss my daughters. If they don't ever want anything more to do with me than I guess I would like to have the situation off of my mind, since goin gover and over it does no good. They do not want to hear what I have to say.

Do I think I tried to not replicate the way my mother treated me? (I feel that my parents were very critical). Yes, I tried not to be critical. The past couple of years though when I was treated disrespectfully by the 28 year old, I confronted her and that is something that you don't get away with, with someone with her temperment. She refused to talk with me when I brought up a remark that she had made and hung up on me. She has been gathering her complaints about me and she and her sister have collaborated on what a lousy mother I was. I know in my heart that I tried very hard and frankly I'm tired of people dumping guilt on me..

I really believe that they should have some appreciation for the things that were done right and talk over our differences.

I am having a difficult time living with the psychological pain every day. I never saw this coming and neither did my eldest daughter. She says she has just grown to dislike them and doesn't give them much thought. I know that she is hurting underneath but she has her 5 and 8 year old sons to keep her occupied.

I am thankful for two children who I enjoy and feel close to. I have a great husband too. My two youngest wrote to me when this happned: "You have A and T, what do you need us for?" I guess I wish in some ways that I didn't "need" their love - maybe I'm old-fashioned!
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