How do I deal with my adult daughter who has shut me out of her life?
Asked Jun 15, 2012, 08:36 PM
I had my daughter when I was almost 17. At that time (late 70s), there were not any programs to help teen mothers like there are today. I stayed with her father and tried to make a family (quitting school to do so). One day when she was almost 5, he came home, packed his belongings and said he was moving out. Earlier that day, he cleaned out our joint bank account and later, moved in with the woman he was having an affair with (did not see this coming).
It was very rough - I had no skills, no work, and not much of an education. I also had a negative relationship with my mother, but she eventually said that my daughter could live with her and I could not. Not knowing what else to do, I moved my child into my mother's house and then tried tried to figure out who I was and where I was going. During those years, my mother and daughter became very close and I made more than my share of mistakes.
My daughter is now 38 and has a good husband and two lovely children. She chose to stay away from me for most of those years, even though I have asked to be part of her life (I do not drink or do drugs - never did). I have put myself though school and college and worked on many issues throughout the years and am in a good place in life now (although it took a long time to get here).
I have constantly tried to tell my daughter that I am sorry for past mistakes - and that I have learned from them, but she has been cold towards me for many years.
Now she has become very mean. She refuses to take my telephone calls (I live in another city) and rarely contacts me. I have sent her many things for her children (ages 4 and 2) and for herself and my son-in-law, including a check to pay for most of their trip to DisneyWorld, something she really wanted. When I try to ask her about it, she refuses to talk. I once suggested she see a counselor to help her get over the anger she has for me and she hung up on me and we didn't talk for 8 months.
I know she's angry and I don't blame her. I have said I am sorry and have done whatever I could to try to make amends, but she won't even talk with me (she once said that she deletes my messages - phone and email without listening / reading them and the letters I wrote - to apologize and see if we could move forward - were thrown in the trash.
The latest is that she is supposed to visit me very soon and I have not heard a word from her since she became angry that I asked about it two weeks ago. I work and have to know if they are really coming so I can make changes in my schedule (she knows this).
My stomach is constantly in knots over the way she treats me and I cry about it often. I know I was not a good mother when I was younger, but I have learned, changed, and evolved to a decent person who works hard and helps people and animals in need. I was stupid and ignorant decades ago - but I have changed.
I feel defeated. Should I stop trying to contact them all together? Her older child has seen me twice, the younger one only once and they don't know me as anyone other than the lady who sends them presents once in awhile. It breaks my heart, but I also feel like I need to make a change for my personal health. I have tried more than 10 years to make amends and I always end up feeling worse than I did the last after the last attempt.
This is no pity party - I am asking for advice because I have tried literally everything to be part of my daughter's life and she's just not open to it. I should also state that I realize my mother is my daughter's mother-figure and I'm not trying to take that place.
Ironically, I have repaired my relationship with my mother and it is very good now as we were both able to forgive. When my mother tried to talk to my daughter on my behalf, my daughter became mad at her too and didn't talk with her for several weeks.
Is it time to let go? Thanks for any input you can give.