rkhaar's picture

Strained mother/daughter relationship

Hi, I am new to the boards.  Have a problem that I am hoping I will find someone that also is experiencing the same ordeal.  Maybe a little unusual, but am hoping that I am not the only person in this situation.  My daughter has  a MIL that is very controlling and so is her husband, so she has just conformed to only spending time with his side of the family and leaving the rest of us out of her life.  We all live in the same town, so it breaks my heart to see them spending every day doing things together.  I was hoping once the kids came, she would include me in the grandmother role, but not happening.  She is angry with me because she thinks I am being childish and that she had to share me with her step sisters for 18 years, so guess now it's her turn to get back at me for that, which of course is only part of the problem.  She says that her relationship with her MIL "is what it is" and that I just need to accept it.  She did not even recognize me on Mother's Day and did apologize for that about 3 days later with a card and a letter that expressed how she felt and that I am just supposed to "get over it."   That probably hurt me more than anything she has done for the 30 years.  I hate being obsessed with this, but just can't get it worked out in my mind that she doesn't want me to be a part of her life in any way.   Hard to give up mainly because of the grandkids.  I know they will never know us anyway, but just have to pray that something will change some day for the better and God will answer the pleas I have to him to help.  My husband doesn't think I need counselling because I can't make her change, but I am so sad and just hoping someone sees this and has some suggestions on how to cope.  Sad mom in the midwest


acitez's picture

I had a difficult relationship with a couple of my daughters, one particularly, for years. One of the things I did that made a difference is I took some time to reflect on our relationship and tried to think of all the times that I was not the best mom. I wrote them all down, then drafted and re-drafted a letter of apology. I didn't try to explain away the bad times, just genuinely apologized. I took full responsibility.

It wasn't overnight, but after about a year, we began to have a better relationship. Over the years, I have become aware of additional times that I was not the best mom. As those things came up, I offered new apologies, taking responsibility, not explaining. It is VERY HARD to not explain, but it is really important. Any time you offer an explanation, it sounds to the kids as if you are justifying a bad decision. It makes things worse instead of better.

rkhaar's picture
mayamay's picture

fzwy. There's somebody who says you get two chances to have a good parent-child relationship. When you are a child, you don't have a whole lot of control, but when you are the parent it's a whole different story. I'm glad that for you and your children it IS a whole different story.
I found it useful to write a very long letter to my parents in a bound journal. Never sent the letter. Added to it once in a while. After all the toxin was out on paper it had less and less power in my life.

Sister83's picture

Crushed- You will probably get more responses if you start a separate thread.

I think relationships can go through a sort of transition period around this time. You and your daughter have to figure out how to have an adult parent-child relationship that works for you. I would try to get her to communicate and open up about why she is putting distance between the two of you. Persist even if she is not willing to open up right away. She may still be having issues with the problems between you and her father. I think it best to be honest and express that you are hurting and would like to work on your relationship.

mayamay's picture

If you really want to heal your relationship, figure out some of the things that you have done that caused her pain, and apologize for them specifically and in detail. Nobody is perfect, so I'm sure you can think of some things that you would have done differently if you could do them over.

It is remarkable what a difference a genuine apology makes.

ptaritaa's picture

Thank You for your suggestions, as I am going through some rough times with my 3 young adult daughters, who feel I am the responsible person for many of their problems, any suggestions on how I can get them to get along and come together.

asyoung's picture

I just found this site and signed up and found these discussions about mothers and daughters and the problems that they go through. I am having terrible problems with my older daughter and it is absolutely breaking my heart. I was a single parent to 2 daughters by two different marriages and they both live in other states. My older daughter is the only one with children right now. She is married and has a daughter and a son and because of the problems we are having I am not getting to see her or my grandbabies. This hurts worse than anything I have ever experienced in my whole life and I hope that by reading some of your experiences I may find some ways to understand and cope.

Mickeyw's picture

I feel no matter what I do it is never never enough for my daughter. So much anger and resentment. She had a charmed life but never appreciated or was grateful for anything. Always finds fault...I dont even no where to start...high expectations for me but no expectations for herself. I need advice on coping skills..I feel lost no talking does any good...

annie3's picture
My daughter counted on me no matter what. Her husband is a good man. I was there for them emotionally, financially took care of their needs and was close to being the three grandchildrens mother. Last year my daughter was in a texting frenzy with an old boyfriend. My daughter has 3 degrees, a professional position and her husband the same. This other person held nothing they were on the phone all day/texting day/night. Her husband was in distress and asked us for help. When it was over she blamed me for trying to run her life. I never did anything to interfere and her friends would tell her how lucky she was to have a mother that was always there. She keeps the little ones from us does not speak to anyone in our family.our four year old will have kidney surgery next week. We live in different states I will be there to visit my mother but not sure I can go to the hospital. I have taken the fault,appologized I asked forgiveness.She has been very ill herslef this past year.
cwiddi's picture
I am the mother of a 25 yr old daughter who told me the last time I saw her that I was a terrible mother and that I bummed her out so much she can't see me at all. This is my first born, once my pride and joy, and now she is the source of major sorrow and hurt. I was a single parent for most of her upbringing. It was tough but I feel that I tried my best, and this daughter seemed well adjusted and fairly happy until highschool when she developed anorexia, and one of the worst journeys I've ever been on started. She ended up in treatment at a very expensive place in Arizona. She was close to death when we admitted her- on a feeding tube and unable to eat. It almost broke us financially, not to mention the emotional toll. This is when we as parents became the bad guys, especially me. I felt that there was a profound change in my daughters attitude and opinion of me.