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Estranged parents
July 4, 2018
5:04 pm

Good afternoon Bernae C:

I've read this post over and over.  I empathize with your angst, regrets, and sustainable love for your daughters, and your honesty about your part in this profound dysfunction.

However, from my limited social work background it seems that you have a lot of work to do to re-establish a friendship with your estranged daughter.

Your oldest daughter has been abused sexually, physically, emotionally, and may have some abandonment anger regarding the 20 years of you not being in her life. It doesn't matter that you tried to reconcile. Teenagers are not mature enough to separate emotional pain. They simply survive with anger and escapism. It sounds like it might be some residual sibling rivalry pain with her sister, which is understandable, due to the sexual offenses that were perpetrated by her sister's father.   Lord, I need to cry for your daughter, you, and her little sister. All three of you were betrayed.

And to make this sad story even sadder,  we need to interject the strong possibilty of Post Traumatic Stress with a horrendous murder.

Bernae, don't ask this forum, all we can do is empathize with your pain. But we are proud of you, it takes a woman with fortitude, and integrity to attempt to make amends. Seek professional intervention with a medical practitioner that is experienced with your familial hurdles.  Pray, and God will guide you with the next steps to a possible reconciliation. Go slow and listen to the signs. He helped you with your younger daughter, remember?

June 22, 2018
9:34 pm
Benae C

My daughter is almost 36 and estranged from me since she was 13. How do I even begin to start a dialogue with her? The last time we spoke, in 2005, I apologized to her and expressed a wish for us to have contact. The conversation was very awkward but so nice to hear from my daughter, and we were both polite. However, she moved out of that state and further away. Over the years she has blocked me and her younger sister from her Facebook page, and she no longer has any contact with my sister.

My now-ex sexually abused both my daughters. He was the blood father of my younger one. My older one's father was my first husband. He fell in love with a woman who was an alcoholic and mistreated and drugged my daughter on her last visit to him. She was 5. I refused to send her back to visit him. I did make an effort to let her talk to her dad anytime he called her and let her have contact with her grandparents as often as she wanted it. She had two sets because they divorced and remarried. I didn't know about this abuse until it was already too late, but when I did, I watched both my girls and they were never alone with him. I made plans to leave.

My older daughter was abusive to my younger one, who was much smaller physically than a normal child and the older one was much larger than your typical child that age. The older one was diagnosed with Oppositional Disorder. Before I knew about the sexual abuse, her real father was brutally murdered. I went with her to the funeral, but his relatives discussed the murder, had nothing good to say about her father [I went around with a tape recorder hoping for stories that showed his good qualities, which were many], and they talked openly about how difficult it must have been for the mortician! This was horrible for such a young child. The school psychologist warned me that she would be expressing a lot of anger towards me because I was the 'safe one', the one who would always love her and be there for her. The next four years were very, very difficult for me and both girls.

Finally, I left him and managed to find a place in the same school district.

I will not say that I was a perfect parent. I lost my temper and physically abused her. She didn't deserve it. I talked to my religious leader and worked very hard to try to control my temper. A medical doctor thought I might be having temporal lobe epilepsy, which can give a person the experience of watching themselves do things that they would never do and wanting to stop. At the time there was one medication for this condition and it was taken off the market. I felt horribly guilty. I tried to only use "I-statements" and took great care not to be verbally abusive. I read lots of books on parenting and made a big effort to change. I took every parenting course. I encouraged my daughter to tell all in therapy, which resulted in a social worker's intervention, and she did not feel it warranted taking my daughters out of our home. The case ended when I left the abusive second husband and divorced him.

By the time my daughter was 13 she was very unhappy at home and acted out most of the time. I offered to let her go with her grandparents, and she wanted to go, so I signed the papers.

My younger daughter says I was a good mom, but she would allow me to go to another room and count to 10. I never lost my temper with her. She is now grown.

But, I totally failed my older daughter. I long to have a relationship with her. She refuses all contact. What should I do, to try to reach out to her? I am more than willing to admit my faults, and I certainly can't blame a child in that much pain acting out. I forgave her long ago, at the time, for her behavior, but it is difficult to forgive myself for making all her problems worse.

I kept thinking, maybe when she gets older, she'll want a mom. But, she'll be 36 this year and she still hates and fears me.

What do I want from her? I don't expect forgiveness and I certainly don't feel entitled to it. I don't want her to turn from her Queer lifestyle. All I want is to have the chance to have contact with her again, to give her love. I want the chance to earn her love again. I wasn't the perfect Mom with my younger one, either, but she loves me and our relationship is very different now that she's grown. We are best friends. I want to have that kind of relationship with my older daughter. There's no reason to criticize her or try to change her mind about anything; she's an adult. I picture a relationship with her as very like what I have with my younger daughter. No interfering in her life. No guilt trips. No blame for her. Only love.

July 27, 2017
2:19 pm

My 34 year. Old will not talk to us as he is mad at his brother. They had a disagreement . So he wants us to not talk to his brother or he won't  have a relationship with us. This is the second time this has hapoened in a yr. First time his brother apologized  to him and that made him happy. But this time he won't apologize. We as parents did nothing wrong but we are so upset and don't  no what to do. We feel we can't  trust him as he may do it again.

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