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Reconciliation after estrangement?

(108 Posts)
Albinoni Sat 30-Nov-19 10:39:11

I have NC'd for this but have posted in the past about my relationship with DD1 and was grateful for the advice and support which I received. The posts have since been deleted, at my request, but some of you may remember 'Lobster Boy', and my concerns that DD was in a controlling relationship and that I risked losing her.

Unfortunately, my fears were justified as DD seemed to become more and more withdrawn from the family, saying that her BF was her family now. She ghosted all of the family entirely for six months - apparently she just blocked us all - then there were occasional calls and she did send birthday cards etc. She moved house without providing an address and we didn't see her for two and a half years. I cannot begin to describe how painful that period was for me and DH and her sisters, but those of you who have been through this process of living bereavement will understand.

Anyway, the good news is that there has been a reconciliation following a lunch on neutral ground, in a restaurant, earlier this year (she lives hundreds of miles away from us). Prior to that, she had provided her address, so that we could send some books to her which are relevant to a course which she is intending to take next year. At the lunch, she said that they had married the previous year, and we said how pleased we were, and contact continued to improve.

The following month they asked if they could borrow some money to put towards buying a property and we agreed. Shortly after that, DD told me she was expecting a baby (due any day now), which I was overjoyed about. Then, a few weeks after that - and this is the part I am really struggling with - we received a letter from DD and SIL enclosing photos of the 14 month old which they already had. The accompanying letter was quite upsetting as it said they hadn't told us about DGC because they didn't want her to experience broken relationships and they hadn't been sure whether or not they wanted us involved at all, but they felt guilty at taking our money and not telling us about DGC.

DD and I subsequently had an emotional conversation and, since then, DD has been in contact with me virtually every day with messages and photos and is behaving almost as though nothing has happened. She says I can't think about the past or what I have missed and clearly wants to move forward. I know that she is right in that we cannot change the past and she assures me that she definitely does want us to be involved.

But I am in such turmoil over this. Obviously I am thrilled and excited about the reconciliation and the DGC, but I feel so desperately hurt and upset that she didn't tell any of us about all of these things, especially as I believed that we were close before. I am really struggling, to be honest, although it's early days and there is a lot to come to terms with.

We haven't met DGC1 yet as I think we both felt that it would be better to wait for the baby to be born and then meet them both together, when the emotions have died down a bit. The last thing I want to do is cause her any stress at this time and I sense that they are anxious at our meeting her PILs for the first time. I am also anxious about it, although they sound like lovely people and have been very supportive to DD. But goodness knows what they must think of us. I am also worried about becoming attached to the DGC in case they are taken away from me. I just couldn't put myself through all that again.

So I was wondering if anyone could give me advice if you have been in a similar situation. How easy was it to reconcile? Did the whole family reconcile or was it a piecemeal process? Did you involve any professional help, such as a counsellor or family mediator? Has it worked out? Are things the same and can the relationship ever really recover or is it just different? I really don't want to mess this up, as I have realised how fragile relationships can be, but I am feeling a bit overwhelmed.

Thingsdogetbetter Sat 30-Nov-19 11:32:24

She got in contact and then within a month asked to borrow what i presume is a substantial amount of money? Sorry to be such a sceptic, but are you not suspicious of that timing?

They didn't tell you about the dc because they were unsure the reconciliation would be long term, but it was long term enough to borrow thousands??
Have you already lent the money? Did you get a written agreement for it?

I would presume by her suddenly very keen contact (after years of nothing), refusal to discuss the past and sudden disclosure of grandchildren that you haven't yet. They (or he) is making sure you don't back out of loaning them money.

I would make mediation and a legal agreement for repayment a term of you handing over money. Because the sceptic in me says the money is the root of this sudden and unexplained reconciliation. I fear you will not see it, or her, again once it's in his bank account.

Thingsdogetbetter Sat 30-Nov-19 11:34:50

Also looking at the timeline i work out about six weeks between the lunch and the soon to born 2nd grandchild? Did she look 7 months pregnant at lunch?

justilou1 Sat 30-Nov-19 11:43:29

I am very deeply suspicious about the timing also. Did you get something in writing to make the terms of the loan official, or were you manipulated by the babies?

Albinoni Sat 30-Nov-19 12:25:31

We had already paid over the money, a low five figure sum, before they told us about the DGC, so it wasn't a factor. There is no formal loan agreement - we just said pay it back when you can. Realistically that won't be for a while as neither of them are working at present.

DD was 4-5 months pregnant when we met and I didn't realise - I hadn't seen her for a while so I just thought she had put a bit of weight on.

I suppose that I do have an underlying concern especially as the estrangement had its roots in a financial issue. Basically, I was going to 'lend' DD money to buy a house with BF, as he then was, but pulled out because I was concerned about certain aspects of the relationship which seemed to be causing DD a lot of pain at the time. It was also just before her Finals and seemed to be creating stress all round, as SIL wasn't keen on a survey or Deed of Trust and refused to agree to local searches being carried out. It was a difficult time. This was over four years ago. SIL seems to think I should 'make amends'.

We had already offered to give DD some financial support for her course early this year, which was when she let us have her address. I genuinely believe that DD wants to be reconciled but she does what SIL says, I think. I suppose it is natural as he is her DH now, but she regards him literally as 'head of the household'.

I don't mind helping, but I don't want to feel used. I don't want to become attached to the DGC and them to be withdrawn if we don't pay. When I suggested helping to fund the PGCE course, I thought it would help her to gain confidence and financial independence. I didn't know about the DGC then. She still wants to do the course but I am concerned that she also wants to do it for the bursary. I am of the view that you should help people to help themselves, but they haven't really done much so far, career wise. SIL has just done a PGCE - mainly for the bursary I think - but is not sure that he wants to go into teaching.

I do worry about the situation. My other DDs tell me to be wary. I am trying to proceed cautiously but of course I love DD1 and I want to have a relationship with the DGCs. My joy is a bit overshadowed at the moment although DH is a fantastic support.

Raspberrytruffle Sat 30-Nov-19 13:39:20

I'm sorry but you've been well and truly had,they saw you coming. I'd be careful in future guard your feelings these are not nice people she isnt your dd shes changed flowers

TheBouquets Sat 30-Nov-19 14:20:53

Heavens they really have rinsed you.
I was in your situation about 20 years ago, 7 DGC and 4 SILs later I am cynical. I no longer give out money like I used to. Guess what! I am a bad lot and I don't get to see the DGC.
I also don't get shouted at, sworn at, emotionally abused ,called names, financially abused, psychologically abuse, constantly criticised. My life was hell. I was constantly afraid of what I would do wrong this time.
I don't like that my DGC are left in circumstances that I will not go into but I don't have any say over them. Paying for them was fine though.
I was prepared to do anything for my own DC but I was not prepared to pay for the procession of useless men on the scene.
I was a lone parent having got rid of my ex h who was a useless sponger in my life and thought DC had seen that a woman can do just fine on her own.
My advice to you is not to hand out money so easily and be wary of the "friendliness" after two and a half years of not seeing your own DC. Your other DC are wise in their advice to you.

DisplayPurposesOnly Sat 30-Nov-19 14:26:57

This is excruciating, I feel for you.

I too think proceed with caution.

You are on their 'outside', your daughter will defer to her husband and he's a taker not a giver. I'm not sure third-party mediation would help as that implies two parties have a shared goal, and I'm not entirely persuaded that you do. You might find it helpful to have someone independent to talk to though.

Do not commit any money that you can't afford to lose. By all means call it a loan and hold them to account for it, but you know that realistically it's a gift.

I think you need to protect yourself emotionally too. I don't have any advice, sorry.

Rosepetals30 Sat 30-Nov-19 15:20:25

Another who thinks you’ve been had
So neither of them work and now they are having a second child and asking you for money?
After ignoring you for years, breaking your heart like that.

You know they’ll let you in, you’ll get attached, and they can emotionally blackmail you for everything at that point

ChaosisntapitChaosisaladder19 Sat 30-Nov-19 15:27:35

I remember youre other thread shes got a motive here op.

MaybeDoctor Sat 30-Nov-19 15:49:03

I remember your thread at the time and Lobster Boy. I felt very sorry for you.

What impression do you get of him now?

billybagpuss Sat 30-Nov-19 15:51:34

This is such a hard one op, I think I remember your last thread.

Do protect yourself financially and emotionally, don’t give/lend more than you can afford.
Don’t give/lend so much that your other dcs will feel, put out consider their feelings too.
Above all protect yourself emotionally, as much as I’m sure you want a relationship with your dgcs don’t let it come with a price.

BursarsDriedFrogPills Sat 30-Nov-19 16:01:20

I vaguely remember your other thread too OP. I'd also caution you to be wary, though if you can somehow let your DD know you would be there for her if her circumstances with SIL changed, that might be positive?

Techway Sat 30-Nov-19 16:02:18

I remember your thread. She wanted to buy a property which appeared to suit him more than her.

Because you love your daughter I think you have to take a risk, there is no guarantee.
It must hurt like hell to have lost those years and occasions but nothing can bring then back.

Has she rebuilt relationship with her sisters and Dad? If she chooses to cut everyone off again there is nothing you can do but at least you will know you have supported her. I think if you hold back for fear of being hurt you will regret it more.

Zzzz19 Sat 30-Nov-19 20:01:36

Sometimes children turn out to be utter disappointments to you and it’s very sad. Mine has.

TheBouquets Sat 30-Nov-19 21:42:05

@Zzzz19 Sorry to know that you are having a tough time with your DC.
It looks like there are at least 3 mums with problem DC. Maybe we should start a thread along similar lines as the stately homes thread. It seems very hard to get people to understand that despite all efforts some DC just wont listen to good advice and chose a long hard bad road.
I worry about my DC. Every time I hear of a car crash, or a fight or murder in an area they are likely to be in I am so worried until I find information to suggest it was not my DC. I doubt they will care.
I have closed the Bank of Mum. They will care about that sooner or later.
All this is bad enough on us the mums of adults, and our DC likely are not having the greatest time but the main horrible situation is that there are DGC coping with all of this.

1moresurvey Sat 30-Nov-19 22:37:12

I understand you wanting to help your daughter in any way possible and wanting to believe that you can rebuild your relationship with her, I truly do. What loving parent wouldn't want that, along with the opportunity to build a bond with their DGCs.
What I'm struggling with here is you have loaned money so your Dd and her Dh buy a property but neither work, who gives a mortgage to non working people these days? I think you have been taken for a ride on this one (although I hope I'm wrong)

Interestedwoman Sun 01-Dec-19 01:53:00

Tangentially:-
'SIL has just done a PGCE - mainly for the bursary I think'

A person honestly doesn't really do a PGCE (or at least, doesn't finish it) for the bursary. I don't think the bursary is very high, and the course is a lot of work. Teaching is more than a full time job. Most evenings they work for hours, too. I think she would struggle to do a PGCE with 2 small children. Hell, virtually everyone who does it struggles with it. Some people decide it's not for them in the end.

As to 'Lobster Boy'- it sounds so intriguing! Could you tell us where he got the name again please? I missed it.

I hope it all works out ok. Hugs xxxxx

sprouts21 Sun 01-Dec-19 04:58:18

I don't understand why you are meeting the pils? What purpose does this serve? It's highly likely they have supported this estrangement.

If you are the poster I think you are it sounded to me that they were both financially abusing you. Im sorry to say I think this is a fake reconciliation and I suspect its financially motivated.

There are several forums for people estranged from their family's and I've spent a lot of time on them. What quickly becomes aparrant is that there is a script that nearly all estrangement follow, and that tends to be a pattern of fake reconciliations until the person being mistreated says enough is enough.

The request for cash within a month of meeting told you everything you need to know about the situation. I think it's important you stop offering financial support and consider is this a relationship that makes you happy.

Landlubber2019 Sun 01-Dec-19 05:26:51

Oh dear, I doubt the reconciliation will be rewarding and successful in the long term, however whilst they continue to have a need that you can fulfil, it may work. The difficulties will arise if they no longer need your assistance. I would not lend any money, you need to be prepared that any money thus given may not be repaid and treated as a gift.

Be careful, the emotional connection between you and your daughter has been severed once and with that in mind, I suspect it will happen again and any connection with your grandchildren being included, this will be devastatingly and whilst you cant keep going over old ground, it appears cracks are being superficially dismissed by your daughter currently.

billybagpuss Sun 01-Dec-19 05:43:13

@TheBouquets there is a thread similar to stately homes for parents called pots hanging on to the rope. Mainly about the mental health impact of parenting teens but I do think this scenario is relevant

billybagpuss Sun 01-Dec-19 05:44:10

www.mumsnet.com/Talk/teenagers/3584550-Holding-on-to-the-end-of-the-rope-life-in-the-bunker-with-the-Po-Ts-where-parenting-a-teen-is-having-an-adverse-effect-on-our-mental-health

Albinoni Sun 01-Dec-19 07:24:31

Thank you very much for your replies although I am a bit dispirited that the consensus seems to be that DD and SIL are solely out for financial gain. I do believe that is probably true of SIL, but I also believe that DD loves me and genuinely wants a reconciliation. However, I am very mindful of the risks and extremely afraid of being hurt again through DGC. I get the impression that they regard any access to DGC as a privilege which will only be afforded to me if I am compliant.

For those of you who have asked about the background, there were several threads, several years ago, the first one nearly four years ago. I am sorry if this is making my post long but, briefly, the background is that DD met SIL in her shared house in her second year at university, he was 3rd year. They wanted to buy a house together in the university town, where prices were still relatively affordable. He asked his grandparents for some money which they had apparently been saving for him, and DD asked if I would do the same. At the time my feelings were that it would give her a good start in life and so I agreed. He was doing an engineering degree and she already had a professional cookery qualification as well as doing a degree, so I thought that they would be set fair. I also intended to help her two younger sisters in due course.

SIL, or BF as he was then, seemed alright - quiet and a bit socially awkward, he never seemed to make much of an effort to get to know us - but nothing to be concerned about, and DD was very happy. However, given that they were still young and not married, I said to DD that although I would help her, the money would be expressed as a loan, to be protected by a Deed of Trust. SIL was not happy at this, as he wanted to own it jointly and I began to see a different side to him.

I was concerned about DD and started a thread on which the consensus was that there were a lot of red flags. ( 'Lobster Boy' was a phrase coined by a poster referring to how SIL ordered lobster when I took him and DD out for lunch, but is not significant in the overall scheme of things). There were aspects of SIL's behaviour which seemed controlling, such as he tried to stop her from going with her friends on a holiday which she had booked before she met him, was telling her fellow tenants what to do in a student house in which he was not a tenant (she was 3rd year by then and he was doing a year in industry as part of what was intended to be a 5 year Masters), and insisted on her driving over a 100 miles to apologise to him after some row. Also, DD now seemed to be very unhappy, crying all of the time, constant rows, it wasn't what it had been.

In addition, they didn't seem to have any plans for the future other than buying the house and doing it up for a profit. SIL walked out of his year in industry as he felt that they weren't giving him big enough projects, destroying his files on the way out and sending a rude message to his employers. I subsequently withdrew from the proposed purchase after the incident described above, where DD had locked herself in the bathroom sobbing and he wouldn't leave. I do not believe that he has ever forgiven me for that.

Anyway, turning to the present, DD is reconciled with me and DH although I am the only one she communicates with on a regular basis. She and DD3 exchanged birthday texts but DD3 is very hurt by her behaviour and DD2 has had no contact with her for over three years, after SIL sent an email to the family after DD2's graduation in which he criticised her and accused all of us of not welcoming him and treating him like a son (He also said I should 'make amends' about the house). DD2 didn't really care what SIL thought, but she was so hurt that the email had been sent with DD1's approval. The estrangement has put strain on other family relationships and I know that I have probably leant on DD2 and DD3 more than I should have done but, overall, I would say that we are all much closer. DD2 and DD3 now have a very close relationship, which is lovely and I see a lot of both of them. I know that it is essential not to lose sight of those who remain in your life and who love you and who are there for you, and I think sometimes DD2 and DD3 feel that I have been too accommodating to DD1 and allowed her to take over my headspace too much. They are also protective of me. They are open to having a relationship with DD1 and their nieces in the future, but not now.

As onemoresurvey says, I can't pass up the opportunity for reconciliation. I have to take that risk because she is my daughter and I love her. Also she and DGDs may need me in the future. I do want to meet is parents as I hope it may help me to understand things better. Apparently they told SIL and DD that they should tell us about DGD1. They sound nice and supportive but goodness knows what they have been told about us.

The bursary is about £26k tax free, I think, as they both did subjects which attract the higher amount so, combined with all of the government loans, it is not bad. That is why they wanted to 'borrow' the money from us, to buy another property to let out but without a mortgage. I suspect that is partly why DD1 is doing the PGCE, with the intention of buying another property to do up and let out. However, it will require her relocation to the other end of the country. We had agreed to help by paying rent etc on the property, but DD1 is now mentioning that they will need childcare as it would be too much for SIL to look after the DGDs on his own. I am worried as to what exactly they are expecting, to be honest. I suspect that if SIL is not satisfied, he will be telling DD1 that her awful family have let them down, yet again. There will have to be a conversation but obviously not now and I will probably let DH deal with it, as he is better at these things - calmer and more matter of fact.

I also share interestedwoman's concerns as to whether or not DD1 will cope with the course, especially with no support nearby. I get the impression that she does virtually all of the shopping, cooking and childcare at present. She recently had to cancel an appointment with her consultant when DGD1 was poorly even though SIL is not working. She has also been carrying out painting and decorating to the new house even in the last week, when she is so close to giving birth. From what I have seen DD1 is an excellent mother and DGD1 is clearly very much loved and cared for.

Gosh, that was long, sorry, but it is helping me to gain a bit of perspective by writing it down.

AgentJohnson Sun 01-Dec-19 07:50:48

Necessity is the mother of all invention. Necessity being your DD’s need for cash and the invention, is the bullshit she’s prepared to sell you in order to get her hands on your cash.

You can’t move forward if you can’t acknowledge the past but the price of having a relationship with your daughter is handing over cash without question and STFU. Be prepared to be cut off if you fail in any of these expectations.

billybagpuss Sun 01-Dec-19 07:54:17

I think I commented on your last thread, something along the lines of 'bide your time she'll need you at some point'

I think you have a very fine line to negotiate. Of course you want to reconcile, It will be interesting to see what they are hoping from you.

I would just advise caution again, particularly where your other DD's are concerned, they do sound old enough to not throw a teenage strop that DD1 is demanding all your headspace but that doesn't mean they don't feel hurt.

Good luck meeting the PILs. I really hope everything goes smoothly for you.

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