My daughter and I have been estranged for about five years now and have recently reconnected and are working on, slowly, repairing our relationship. As part of this she’s been airing out various grievances she’s been holding against me all these years as she doesn’t think holding onto them is “conducive to a healthy relationship."
A lot of these things are petty teenage grievances I can’t believe she hasn’t let go of yet, but one of them stuck out to me. I mentioned it to my husband and he expressed disbelief and disappointment in me for my actions at the time. I maintain that I didn’t do anything wrong but his reaction has me curious.
Her email to me about the situation:
My graduation was another thing. I don’t know if you remember but you refused to let Gran come even though I told you how much I wanted to her there because of how she’d supported me throughout uni. When I told you I invited her you said you wouldn’t come if she was there so I had to disinvite her by lying about their being a limit on tickets per person.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, you and Daddy refused to sit with each other, take pictures with me or even go out for a celebratory meal afterwards. I have ONE picture from my graduation...one...and it wasn’t even the professional one, it was just one my friend took on her phone of me.
I don’t think you and Dad dealt with your split very well AT ALL in regards to your children but it really hurt me that you (the both of you) would be so selfish about that. I just wanted one afternoon.
For background, I am estranged from my own mother and have split up with her father. She says it was selfish of me not to allow my mother to attend her graduation or to spend extra time with her father, but I think it was selfish of her to ask that of me. It’s bad enough that she continues to keep in contact with her grandmother when I asked her not to. Anyway, I want to know if I really was the ahole here.
Though I disagree that my feelings weren't even worthy of consideration in this situation. Would it not have been best if asked me for compromise? For example, I would attend the graduation and she could have a celebratory meal with her father and grandmother separately afterwards?
But I can see here that the overwhelming consensus is that, in this instance, I was the ahole to my daughter. Fine. I'll apologize again.
Yeah YTA - your mother supported her through school and you think you deserve to be more important than someone who actually played a massive part in her life. You don’t have to talk to people, you could just act like a grown up. If you want to be her parent, then be her parent.
If a photo or sitting together is too much to ask, then you are immature and a pretty s$itty parent. TBH, if you had pulled that shi% with me, you wouldn’t have been invited and I would have kept my grandmother there.
YTA. You took a moment in HER life and made it about you. I feel bad for your daughter. You need to take the gift that she's giving you about trying to talk these things out and learn from it. Apologize and mean it.
YTA it's not About. You. If you can't grasp this by now you're reconciliation with your daughter is likely to stall and fall apart. Get your head on straight and realize that you are being incredibly selfish here. Now I'm really curious what these other grievances are.
YTA. She's your kid, and has relationships with her grandma and your ex. You might issues with both of them, but you put that bullshit aside where she's concerned. Her graduation is a huge deal, and should be among the happiest days of her life. Instead you made it about you and your drama.
YTA and it’s not even close. Selfish as well. The fact that you still don’t see what you did wrong shows how little you have changed apparently.
Hi. It's been a while and I'm not sure if anyone would even care at this point but I accidentally logged into my throwaway on an old laptop and remembered this.
Quite frankly, I'm really embarasssed and ashamed to reread my original post. My attitude was terrible and it's one of those moments I wish I could go back in time and shake some sense into my past self.
As many people in the comments predicted, I know longer have a relationship of any kind with my daughter, or two of my other kids. COVID and lockdowns did a number on our family, I'll just say that.
I've been doing a LOT of reflecting and therapy over the last year and I realize I've not been the kind of mother my children have needed in their lives. I have no contact with my daughter now - who has married and moved abroad now - and, from her wishes, this will not be changing anytime soon.
I also have very little contact with two of my other children. My relationship with my final child is strained and I am doing everything I can not to break it.
After having logged into this account again and seeing that post, I find myself desperately wishing to go back in time and maybe I could've stopped the breaking of my family if I'd behaved differently here.
I don't really know what I want to say here. Maybe just hopefully encourage one person who has been deemed "the ahole" to reflect sooner rather than later and maybe their lives won't go the same way as mine.
I'm going to log out of this account again now. Maybe I'll pop in again in another four years with better news. Thank you for the comments and advice I've received. And to those who think I'm beyond redemption, I truly hope you're wrong.
Hey, I know that probably wasn’t an easy post for you to write, but I’m glad you did. Your original post was a lot. But it sounds like you have turned a corner in therapy and have developed a lot of self awareness. My mum too ruined my graduation and my wedding too by making it about her.
We were no contact for many years but even when we did speak again, she had absolutely no remorse for any of the things she did. She passed away a few years ago and whilst I have no regrets about going no contact as it was necessary, I find it very difficult that I will never get an apology from her.
I’m not saying contact your daughter, respecting her wish of not being in touch is the right thing to do but take what you have learned from therapy and demonstrate that you are sorry to the kids that you are in touch with, in how you behave, not through words.
It might not pan out but they deserve that from you and once they see it’s genuine they may be able to reassess how they feel about the relationship. But good on your for going on this journey, a lot of people don’t.
I know comments saying your kids won’t talk to you can feel like an attack, but it often comes from people that have been there and can tell the child is at a breaking point.
What really caught me was that YOU’VE been there with your own mother. I hope others see that and reflect on their own actions as well. Just bc we’ve cut out the toxic people in our lives doesn’t mean we can’t end up in the same position if we don’t work on our relationships.
I'm sorry you learned your lesson too late. That happens sometimes.
I appreciate your reflection, but you got exactly what you bargained for. I hope you find peace.