Dear Sue Ellen,
My daughter and I have never gotten along since her dad divorced me for another woman. It’s like my daughter blames me for everything. I am sad about this and I don’t know how to reach out to her. She has children of her own now and she never brings them around to see me. Is there any hope for us to have a relationship?
Yes, there is always hope for you and your daughter. Regarding your situation, I have heard from family therapists and other experts in the field of family relationships, who all seem to agree on a couple of things: Number one; divorce wrecks families and tears relationships apart. Number two; Mother/daughter relationships can be difficult in divorce situations.
So where do those assumed truths leave you…filled with new hope or despair? Don’t trouble yourself about the relationship your daughter has with her dad. The best thing you can do for yourself is go on with your life and be patient with your daughter, because you can’t force her to come around.
Here is a message to adult children that aren’t close to one (or both) of your parents. Someday your parents will die, and that won’t be a problem for if you never want to see them again. But when they are gone, you might wonder if you did the right thing by avoiding them. It will be too late to change it, and you may have to live with regrets. Did it ever occur to you that perhaps you have broken their hearts by not coming around? Where they so awful as parents that you never intend to see them again?
Before you pass harsh judgment on your horrible parents, maybe you should do some self-reflecting. If you have kids, do you expect yourself to be a better parent than they were? All parent’s make mistakes; but some mistakes are far more serious than others. When kids are abused by their parents, they are likely to grow into abusive parents too. Adult survivors of child abuse vow they will do a better job of raising their kids, but without forgiveness and a new way of parenting, they will be stuck in the same cycle. It’s true…the cycle of abuse passes from generation to generation.
I hope you and your daughter find your way back to each other. Don’t ever give up. Life is full of surprises. Wouldn’t you agree?
Please email your parenting questions to firstname.lastname@example.org and put “Parent’s Corner on the subject line.
Dear Sue Ellen,