I woke up this morning feeling lighter, braver, more optimistic. I don’t really know why. I’ve been dealing with moving to another state, feeling a lot of anxiety and fear about the future (a complete waste of time), healing from a recent tooth extraction (totally sucked) and the many long goodbyes I’ve been saying to friends and to my two dogs, who I’ve decided will be better off staying here in California in familiar surroundings with familiar people. And, as always, my son’s and grandchildren’s absence is a constant burning itch in the back of my mind.

While allowing myself the luxury of several minutes to slowly wake-up and stretch before leaping out of bed, I thought about the present dynamic with my son. Actually, dynamic is a bit too strong a word because, in reality, there’s nothing dynamic about our current relationship. After the brief visit with him in June, I can count on one hand the number of times he’s reached out. The texts were friendly but brief. I remembered that I had inquired if my grandchildren ever asked for me, and he said, “Not really.” That spoke volumes, and at the time I felt a bit hurt, but then, what can I expect? The twin girls, who are now thirteen years old, have only met me once, for a few hours last March.

Recalling that visit: I spent months getting ready, emotionally and psychologically. I flew across the country and stayed at a hotel because I wasn’t allowed in their house. I was given only limited time with my four grandchildren. It was profoundly dysfunctional but I rose to the occasion and did my very best to be upbeat, loving and cooperative. 

Then I had a sudden memory of when my son was thirteen years old. His new stepmother (whom I hadn’t met) insisted that I pick up and drop off my son at the corner when I brought him over to their house. I realized this morning how many times I’ve been scapegoated by women who have been extremely self-centered, insecure, jealous or just plain mean. The upshot is that my son has been controlled by two women in his life – his former stepmother and his wife. Both women have wanted to eradicate me, his mother. Ugly, ugly stuff.

Thinking on these things, and all the ways I’ve tried to cooperate, keep quiet, be pleasant, be supportive, be upbeat, take the highroad, say the right thing, retreat to the background, show up when asked to, send cards and gifts, accept things as they are, surrender, stay grounded, cry when I need to, try to find some peace and happiness, control expectations, feel anger at all the injustices heaped upon me, not be a victim, go on with my life, forgive, not condone, move forward, stay healthy in body and mind, not fall into a hole, climb out of the hole, watch out for triggers, have compassion, love them anyway- well, it’s an exhausting list and I’m ready to make some changes.

I’m no longer willing to wait for my son to come around. I’m no longer willing to keep holding on and hoping for the day to arrive when we will be on equal ground. The ball has been in his court for over ten years now, and I keep waiting for a pass that never comes. So, I’m leaving the court. Keep that damned ball. I don’t need it anymore. It’s slowly killing me to stay in the game. If we can’t have a relationship based on mutual respect, kindness and love, I don’t want it. I’m no longer willing to serve my heart on a platter only to be wrung out and tossed aside.

And, the thing is, as sad as I am on one hand about this decision, I feel lighter and more grounded. I used to think my son and grandchildren would be in my life, loving one another, spending time together. They do have that with the other grandparents, but not with me. A travesty, a sin, an unconscionable act to excise me from the family, but what can I do?

I am a person of worth: loving, kind, funny, talented, intelligent and compassionate. The kids have missed out on knowing me and I, them.

I’m walking away – away from expectations, unrealistic hopes and sadness. If my son shows up and is willing to explore a relationship based in love and kindness, I’ll be open to that. Otherwise, I’m moving on – physically and emotionally – with love in my heart for my son, my grandkids, and most of all, for myself.

15 thoughts on “MOVING ON”

  • I just feel helpless and hopeless right now…but you and your book interest me. I worked for my daughter and have lost that too…a source of income. I’m 75 years old and feel so very abandoned. Thank you for your gracious understanding. 🙏

  • It’s not been quite a year since I was banished by my daughter and estranged from my three grandchildren (ages 25, 19 and 15). I am reaching out through you by reading your book and keeping in touch. I hope to heal, but I have little hope right now …

    • I’m so sorry to hear of your banishment. It’s a heartache like no other, I totally get it. I’m glad you’re reading my book and keeping in touch. You shouldn’t go through this alone – you need all the support you can get at this time.
      Keep yourself healthy, get enough sleep, eat well, read inspirational books, reach out to those who understand, find something to believe in to get you through the dark times. Cultivate faith in the processes of life, find something that gives you joy and focus on that. If you don’t already have a spiritual life, develop one. There is alway hope, so don’t lose heart. But life continues in the meantime and I encourage you to find happiness somehow; find it in the small blessings, in nature, the kindness of others, the beauty around you.
      I don’t know your exact circumstances, but I know that the pain we feel as abandoned parents is universal. There’s nothing you can do to change your daughter’s behavior or her decision to banish you, but you don’t have go go under and stay in grief and sadness. Take your power back and slowly, at your own pace, start to carve out a new life for yourself. It can be done, I promise you, if you want it. And if/when your daughter and grandkids come back into your life, you will already be grounded in a life that gives you fulfillment and satisfaction.
      Blessings to you.

      • Just beginning this lonely journey. Looking for support n refuge. Thanks for the insight and words of encouragement.

  • How is it that at times, I suffer and ruminate like crazy and then all of a sudden, I have a sudden realization that just simplifies the heck of things and I am at peace with all of it.

    I would like to curtail the suffering (the ruminations). This time I finally realized: my son and grandchildren are not in my life. So now they really are a small part of my life, even if they were in my life, they would be a small part as I have a lot of interests outside family concerns.

    The question I have: why does rumination seem necessary? Is it that the situation seems so complex? I think the situation is not complex. My son married a troubled woman. She can’t share him or the children with me. She projects all her negativity onto me. My son accepts this as the price of having an intact family.

    It’s quite simple. And as long as I just maintain my distance and don’t ask for contact (though I do send stuff to the grandkids), I don’t have to worry about “messing things up.”

    It is simple. I am going to analyze the next fall into the ruminating and see if I can tease out what leads to it, how it is maintained. I think part of it must be this: that I ought to DO something, or FIX it, or THINGS just CAN’T go on this way.

    Any thoughts?

    • Hello, Neddie – It’s great that you understand that, even if your son and grandchildren were in your life, it would be a small part. That is very often the case. Our kids grow up and leave; grandchildren grow up and leave. We as parents often hold on too tightly to them at the expense of our own freedom and happiness.

      As for the rumination, there is often a trigger event that starts the process. That would be a good time nip it in the bud by recognizing that you’re being triggered and to do some thought control before you fall down that rabbit hole.

      Let me know what you discover the next time you begin to ruminate and what you discover that works.

  • I found your web site after looking over your book that I am going to order and read. I am not a grandmother, just a middle aged never-married woman with hidden disaiblity issues who was always the scapegoat of my family and was cut off recently by my step-mother during a medical emergency/accident that involved my 82 year-old father. It was truly horrible and now that whole part of my family has distanced from me for standing up for myself to her and not cow-towing right away (as my father suggested I do to make her feel better.) I had been helping her for five weeks and in the end, she abused me for it. I did eventually send her a nice b-day card, which was met with a passive aggressive note card back, basically saying, “Dont’ bother me. Call your father if you want updates on his condition.”

    Very painful stuff. The woman had been taking pot shots at me for years, which I just blew off. I feel very ashamed to say that to this day,. my famioly has had to help me financially as I ended up on disability for chronic bipolar disorder, emotional problems from childhood, and chronic pain issues after a car accident that that whole family has minimized (but they can talk on and on about thier medical issues.)

    I got the feeling over time that I was not really suppposed to exist, that I was the mistake of my father’s first marriage and his alcoholic past life. Now everything seems perfect for them all, but I know that my half-brothers have some issues.

    The whole thing has been very bad and has set my mental health back quite a bit. I have felt so alone and suicidal. I have a sometimes difficult relationship with my mother still, but when she is gone, I will have no family left. I am terrified and worried all the time. No career either though I did earn a master’s degree in my 30’s..

    Anyway, just wanted to share. You seem like a strong woman and I don’t know what the point is in trying to maintain relations with family when they don’t seem to want to put the effort back. My own father has not reached out to me since all this though he is doing a lot better and driving again. I keep reaching out and I just feel conflicted about it all the time. He is still contributing money to my trust account and I have difficutl feelings around that as well. I feel I owe it to him to keep in touch and so I do, but really I have a lot of long-standing resentments and pain.

    I resonated very much with your description of always trying to do the right thing , and all the nuances included.. In my case, I had blown off pot-shots my step-mother had taken at me for years – for the most part. She is the narcissistic princess and my father is terrified of having another woman leave him, so she gets whatever she wants, just about. I feel very betrayed having been asked to make her feel better when she had ripped into my humanity in such a vicious way, even though I realize she was under great stress. Her true feelings showed towards me.

    As you said, ” I realized this morning how many times I’ve been scapegoated by women who have been extremely self-centered, insecure, jealous or just plain mean. ”

    I’ve had the same experience, some of it with my own mother who does it unconsciously and I have had to learn to put up with it, as her mother was incredibly abusive towards her. But mostly,. she has my back and cares about me. But when she is gone, I wont’ feel like I have on family member left I can relate to.l I am scared.

    I look forward to reading your book, yoru blog, and your healing journey as it continues. You seem like a strong and very real person.

    • Hello, Catherine – I’m sorry to have taken so long to reply. Your post somehow got lost temporarily.
      Thank you so much for writing. You do seem to have a great deal of insight when it comes to your situation. I agree that it might not be a good idea to keep engaging with people who continue to hurt you. You seem, at least from your writing, to be reasonable, sensitive and intelligent. I don’t see why you can’t continue to let your father contribute to your trust fund and still have a relationship with him, but with more discernment. You can be polite but protect yourself and your heart.
      I sincerely hope you feel better soon and that you’re taking care of yourself and your mental health. It’s not worth losing your health – mental, emotional or physical – at the hands of people who only hurt you.
      I wish you blessings this holiday season and for a better year in 2020.

  • We just past year 1. The unfortunate part is the anniversary is on my husbands birthday. The last year has been horrible. I almost committed suicide 3 times. My daughter had me so low I just didn’t want to live anymore. We were able to send birthday gifts and Christmas gifts, but were told we can’t do that anymore because it is too hard on my daughter and her husband. My guess is because the grandkids want to see us (grandma and grandpa). I feel bad for the kids as well. They are being punished for something they had not involvement in. It is between us and my daughter and now also our son in law. To be honest and I hate to say this – my son in law in a pastor in charge of a mega church in Indianapolis. He is a peace of crap. They both are Christians and preach grace and forgiveness, but being my daughters parents, we don’t get any. She also has cut her brother (our son) off because he has stuck up for us. I miss my grandkids and fear I will never see them until they are 18 and who knows what brain washing will be done by then. We try to go on with our life but it is very difficult.

    • Hello Michelle – I’m so sorry to hear of your problems with your daughter and son-in-law. It’s such a difficult, heartbreaking thing to live with. I’m glad you were unsuccessful with any suicide attempts. I encourage you to choose to let go and create meaning in your life. I think my book (Banished- A Grandmother Alone) would help you because it’s a book of recovery and hope. I also want to encourage you to view your life is precious. Sending you hope and comfort

  • I understand. I am there too. 10 years. I tried to move to another state, and only to return. I am now thinking of leaving yet again. the constant ache is relentless. I just need Peace. There was some Peace when I lived out of State, but a detachment that did not hold the same hope as it does to live a few miles away. Its a Hope that helps I’m thinking. But also with a holding pattern of continual frustration at nothing ever changing. We are Not the enemy. We are good, kind and willing to Love. This evil we fight is from the devil. We must continue to pray them back . Pray we stay sane and pray that they come to the end of their selfish selves.

    • Thanks for your comment. I understand what you’re saying, and I’ve been there. I used to believe that if I let go, my son would never come back. So I hung in there day after day, year after year, keeping hope alive. Now I keep hope for a good life for myself alive. If we’re happy, at peace, isn’t that better than wearing ourselves down by constantly praying them back? Our adult kids have free will, so why not pray for healing for all concerned and go on with your day. Have faith that healing will happen and in the meantime, take the focus off the adult child and let yourself relax and shine your own light in this world.

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