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My Daughters have just Dissed me as though I don't exist anymore! They are all grown adults, 50, 44, & 43. None live close by but 2 live only a couple of hours away and the youngest lives in another state. All married except the 'Middle One' just lost her Fiancee, who passed away in January this year, 2009. I am their 'Mother,' age 69yrs old at this point and 'Retired,' living alone, (their father and I Divorced years ago), with very little income to live on. Not nearly enough for 'Food' so I have to stand in line with the 'Homeless' to get 'Food' that's mostly 'Old & Outdated' and sometimes so bad you just have to throw it in the garbage! It's usually the stuff that the Supermarkets throw away. The reason I am writing is because I am so 'Hurt & Heartbroken' over the way my daughters are treating me. The 'Middle One' hasn't even spoken to me for almost a year. Anytime we had talked I had to be very "careful" not to say the wrong thing that might upset her. It seemed I could hardly ever say anything that didn't upset her, so I would mostly just try to 'Listen' and "Agree with her." I have cried my heart out at times and 'Talked and Apolgized' numerous times concerning the 'Arguments' I had with their Father during their growing years, (this is a lot of what they have 'complained to me about'), yet they continue to "Berate Me" and tell me "I was Abusive!" The funny thing is, I didn't hear ANY OF THIS until I "asked for Monetary Help," and some 'Repayment' of all the money I had given them for so many years, long after they were grown and gone!


James Crist Replied: I'm sorry to hear about the trouble you are having with your daughters. I can see why this would be so painful. Clearly, they have some unresolved anger issues toward you. Counseling may help if they would be willing to participate with you, though given your financial status it may be difficult to arrange. I suspect the issues are complex and would benefit from having a professional to help sort them out. It sounds like you have done the right thing by apologizing and trying to be supportive, but this is not getting through. I'm not sure asking for "repayment of money" is a wise choice--though they seem to have taken advantage of you by accepting your financial help when they needed it without offering help when you needed it. I would suggest trying to maintain periodic contact with cards (e.g. for birthdays and holidays) and calls, though it will be up to them if they decide to reciprocate. In the meantime, you may want to develop other sources of support--e.g. friends, church, etc.
Posted On 2009-12-02 23:08:43
Michelle P. Maidenberg Replied: Your daughter's are grown adults and have all decided that they want to distance themself from you. I can only imagine how disappointing, frustrating and saddened you are by their decision. It is a good opportunity to reflect upon your relationships and ponder why it is their are feeling so hurt and angry why they initiated this choice. When they call you abusive -- this is how they see it from their perspectives. You need to reflect on how you feel and respond to their alligations. Even though you may not necessarily see the arguments as abusive, they may and it is very real to them. They will have a difficult time listening to you or opening their heart toward a relationship with you if they don't feel listened to, acknowledged, and heard. Instead of quickly responding to them or potentially getting defensive, you may want to ask them to further explain their hurt, let them know you are interested in understanding their pain and anguish and ask how you can contribute to the repair. In other words, what is it going to take to re-build the relationship you so badly want to be part of because you care so much about them. For them, they may feel that asking them for money after not feeling connected to you is further hurtful because typically the exchange of money among family members happens when a family relationship and connectedness exists in the relationship. You also asked for them to "repay." I'm also wondering if they had a reaction to the way you asked for help. Generally children feel that parents are obligated (that it is an intrinsic responsibility because they were given birth to and not asked to be born) to provide for them and that they don't need to repay their parents. They might have had a negative reaction to you expressing it to them in this manner, especially because in their perception, they were abused. You may want to approach them differently. Perhaps saying, I know we may not have had the kind of relationship that you were hoping for or that was satisfactory to you, I am reaching out to you as a mother because I could really use your help with food and want so much to work on improving our relationship. You mean the world to me and being distant to you is so hurtful to me. Could we talk more about this? That way you're reaching out to them. Letting them know how much you truly care about them and inducing empathy so that they understand your situation better and may reach out and offer you assistance now and into the future.
Posted On 2009-11-29 17:06:39
Rosalind Sedacca Replied: This is a sad story and I feel your pain. Relationships with children cannot be healed over night. However it is in your best interest to do all you can to open that door! That means contacting all of your children to ask questions, find out what they are upset about, and ask what you can do to heal your relationship with them. They don't want to feel you are coming to them because you are hurting financially. You will have to pay your dues with them, own your errors, take responsibility for past mistakes and make amends. This will be a slow process in which they will have to learn to trust you again. Only after you've started this new level of communication will they reach out to you to provide some assistance. I cannot make judgments about whether your children are right or wrong regarding their feelings toward you. They have the power now and you need to heal with them. Do consider that all three have rejected you so there might very well be strong reasons behind this. Just remind them you want to apologize and start anew. Find out how you can show them your sincere regrets and then follow up. Asking them for "repayment" is not the approach that will get their empathy for your plight. They feel you "owe" them something -- and that is what you have to discover and heal with them! Wishing you much success in this important family healing journey.
Posted On 2009-11-28 12:02:29
Dr. Tom Greenspon Replied: Your situation sounds bleak; your pain and heartbreak are certainly understandable. It also sounds. though, like the only option open to you is to be taking care of yourself. Your daughters' relationships with you would only improve if they would be willing to talk with you about their grievances and about where to go from here, and at the moment it looks like they won't do that. Please, if you haven't already done it, check with church congregations in your area to see what they might suggest to you for both physical and ongoing emotional support.
Posted On 2009-11-27 23:21:45
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