Dear Amy: My ex-husband was physically abusive. I left him when our daughter was an infant. We divorced, and I had sole custody.
When my daughter was 13, I moved out of state. She chose to live with her father when I moved.
After moving in with him, she rebuffed my attempts to maintain a relationship. We had no contact for years until recently. In the years there was no contact, I mourned and buried her as though she had died.
My daughter is now in her late 20s and is a new mother.
She reached out to me, while pregnant, and now sends me pictures of my grandson. I have asked to visit on multiple occasions. She has declined or given vague responses as to why I shouldn’t.
I recently discovered she took my grandson to meet her father and allowed her stepmother to help her after she delivered the baby. My offers to do the same were rejected.
Amy, it hurts me deeply that my daughter has treated me this way.
I’ve accepted that I may never see her again. I’ve made peace with it.
I am at a point that I want to go no-contact with her. She never calls and will only text pictures of my grandson. My calls to her usually go unanswered. I feel like blocking her texts and moving on.
I know this would also mean not knowing my grandson, but feel I have no choice, given his mom’s behavior.
What would you say?
– Mistreated Mom
Dear Mistreated: I’d like to hold a mirror up to your narrative:
Your husband was so abusive that you left him and raised your daughter alone.
After establishing a (presumably) stable home life with her, you left the state when she was a young teenager. Given that she already had a home, school routine and friends in her hometown, she chose to stay.
Most teens offered this option would make the same choice, but it is a heartbreaking choice for you to have imposed upon her.
You left her in the care of someone who was too frightening for you to live with.
Your ex might have been emotionally coercing her to cut contact with you. Or she was furious, immature, and acting out. Teens do that.
And so, instead of continuing to try, you buried and mourned her.
Once she was out of her father’s orbit, contact with you resumed.
She took her baby to meet her father because he is the parent she knows best. And she knows him best because of the choice you made.
I’d like you to imagine what might happen if you always responded to her texts with loving enthusiasm, instead of retreating to your own wounded feelings.
What I’m suggesting is that you should make a choice to be the wise, kind, gentle, mature mother and grandmother your daughter deserves to have.
You two have a lot of ground to cover, but I hope you won’t give up.
Dear Amy: I have two wonderful grandchildren who occasionally spend Saturday nights with me.
My daughter (their mom) knows that I go to church on Sundays. I decided to bring my grandchildren with me because I want to raise them in my faith, the way I raised my daughter.
Now, my daughter is angry with me because I did this.
Who is right?
– Upset Grandmother
Dear Upset: You don’t have the right to introduce your grandchildren into your faith practice without their parents’ permission.
On the other hand, your daughter knows you go to church. I’m assuming she knows what time you go to church.
Because she doesn’t want her children having this experience, she should pick them up before you leave the house on Sundays.
Dear Amy: I’m responding to the question from “Not Worth Celebrating,” the woman whose husband never gave her holiday gifts.
I am a psychotherapist. I have helped numerous women understand that their men may feel overwhelmed by obligations regarding holidays. They may feel resentful about being devalued because they don’t give gifts on certain days. They may feel angry yet do the gift anyway.
I help people (mostly women) get over it. Then, guess what…the obvious next step is Get It For Yourself. Oh, and yes, make sure you notice when he gives you a gift on a random day, or fixes your bike for you without you having to ask.
You want a cake, balloons, nice-smelling soap? Give it to yourself on that special day.
– Give to Yourself
Dear Yourself: Excellent advice.
(You can email Amy Dickinson at [email protected] or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)
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