It Isn’t Black or White

It Isn’t Black or White

Why is it so difficult to let go? How do I make peace with being a virtual stranger to my grandkids? Why, even in the face of indefensible abuse, can’t I make a clean break?

Recently, I vowed to ‘walk away’ from the insanity of my son’s and his wife’s unreasonable and offensive demands. I’ve been working on letting go cognitively, emotionally and spiritually. Some days I feel strong and I’m able to put my son and his family out of my thoughts. Other days, without warning, grief will suddenly puncture my heart.

This situation isn’t black or white. For example, I’m told that I may communicate electronically with the kids. This makes no sense to me, since I’m not allowed to see them in person, but I do it because it’s all I’ve got. I occasionally receive texts from my son and/or a grandchild. When that happens, I am heartened by their communication and cautiously optimistic that things might be changing. Inevitably, though, I realize that my optimism is misguided, because I find myself accepting only bittersweet crumbs.

This is an intermittent reinforcement system. Like playing a slot machine, I’m allowing myself to be manipulated..

When my son contacted me in the past, it wasn’t with the intention of healing our fractured relationship, but to satisfy some other agenda. I used to knock myself out analyzing his and his wife’s behaviors and possible motives, but, ultimately, I gave up trying to read their minds or rationalize their actions. It was a pointless exercise and only made me crazy.

It would never have occurred to me to treat my parents or any elders with the disrespect that I have received from my son and daughter-in-law. What the hell happened to my son? Where did I fail him when teaching the importance of respect and kindness?

Taking my grandchildren away from me was an appalling and unholy act. There are no winners in this dysfunctional dynamic. Even though my daughter-in-law got what she wanted by rendering me powerless, she also loses because she has been unkind and unforgiving. I’m convinced that, in his heart of hearts, my son isn’t proud of his part in all this and is upset by it. And, the kids are being cheated out of a relationship with their grandmother. No one wins, everyone loses.

I believe that it would be best to detach, let go and walk away, but it’s difficult because there is no closure on this sort of thing. Estrangement just keeps going on and on, with no funeral, no eulogy, no burial. It’s so damned ambiguous and heart-rending.

7 thoughts on “It Isn’t Black or White”

  • As I read this, I had tears running down my cheeks as I was reading what I am going through. And I get the equating it to death, I have said it many times.So much heartbreak..I get so overwhelmed with all of it. The difference for me is they do the withholding of the grandkids in spurts. They can visit for months and then the parents don”t like something that was done or said but instead of saying what it was they don”t allow me to see the grandkids for months till they need a sitter and then it starts all over again, it slowly kills me. Prayers for you as you said it isn’t black or white.

    • The biggest problem we as mothers and grandmothers have is letting go, with love, and having enough self-respect to say no sometimes. Even though you’re only allowed to see the grandchildren sporadically, you do have options. You can plan activities in your life, focus on what’s fulfilling and enjoyable other than the kids. If you’re free when they ask you to babysit again, fine. If you have something planned, rather than cancelling your plans to babysit (as most of us would because we’re so in love with our grandkids and want desperately to see them and be a part of their lives), you can honor your plans and say no. I know it’s difficult, but that might be a healthier response than running right over when you get a baby-sitting call. Also managing your expectation, such as having little or no hope for them to change their ways, so that when you’re not allowed to see the kids, understand that that’s their pattern and work with not getting so upset and forlorn. I get it, trust me. I’ve been dealing with unreasonable behaviors for many years. I’m not happy about it, but the way it is is the way it is. Hope you can enjoy
      the holidays this year!!

  • Ditto–situations parallel mine & you a
    ALL expressed just what I am going thru & feeling. IF it were not for grand c’s–the joys of my life, I could close the door for self-preservation, but this is torture. Peace & blessings to all.

  • This is beyond uncanny – I literally could have written this and I’m going thru the same hell on earth. I’m so encouraged by your advice and I am making progress as time goes by. My therapist likened my situation to a funeral – I miss my grandson more than words can describe and I worry about his little heart and how this is affecting him. He is 5 and I have been a constant in his world since birth. We were completely and beautifully bonded and my daughter decided after she got sober a year ago that I’m not fit to be in their lives – she says she’s ending the “codependent” relationship. All I ever did was love her unconditionally and lavish my grandson with a loving and nurturing environment.

    So thank you for sharing your journey. You will be in my prayers. E

    • Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings. I’m so sorry that you are going through this as well. It’s a very heart wrenching experience, not only because of the obvious losses but because it just keeps going on and on without any resolution or healing.

      Surround yourself with positive,loving people and know that your life is important and you have worth.
      You’re in my prayers, also.

  • You have very eloquently expressed my situation exactly. I’m so sorry someone else is going through this heartbreak. My prayers (all I have at this point) are with you too. You are the only other person I have seen equate this to a death. Very sad. 🙁

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