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Single mom shocked when adult daughter is suddenly estranged; 'You don't want me in your HOME?!' AITA? UPDATED

Single mom shocked when adult daughter is suddenly estranged; 'You don't want me in your HOME?!' AITA? UPDATED

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When this woman is baffled by her daughter's sudden shift, she asks the internet:

"I'm suddenly estranged from my daughter and I don't know what I did. AITA?"

I '60F'raised my daughter '42F' as a single Mom. So, that means we have known each other for 42 years. When she was little I worked in a diner during the day, and I catered on weekends to make ends meet. I did have help from my parents thank god, or I don't know what I would have done.

My uber intelligent daughter graduated high school with high marks and got accepted to our state's most elite university. I was able to work enough extra shifts to supplement her needs (books, groceries, movies, gas, etc.), but she did take loans and grants.

She graduated college, has gone on to become an extremely popular third grade teacher and also married the district's school psychologist. She has also given birth to my two most precious grandchildren who I would literally die for.

We have always been close. She was a model child, we rarely disagreed and my mother, she, and I were like three peas to a pod.

Fast forward to more recent events. After she finished her education, I decided to return to school and earn my bachelors and masters degree. I had left the catering business when my mother became chronically ill and spent the next eight years caring solely for her. My income was from her and school grants.

A year ago my mother passed away. Since that time I have struggled to find work and I am still in school full-time, but now I have half the income and double the expenses because Mom and I split those. In short, I have really struggled to stay in my current place.

A couple of months ago, after receiving 3 job rejection emails in one day, I called my daughter to commiserate and when I was done, I said "I'm just not sure what I should do at this point". To which she said, "I don't know, but there is no place for you with me, so you need to figure it out."

I was instantly shocked because I'm not sure that I meant for her to take me in, but okay let's explore what you mean by that, because surely push come to shove, she wouldn't let me be homeless. But, she reiterated, "you cannot come to my home regardless of your circumstances Mom, you need to figure it out."'

I hung up the phone on her because I felt like my heart was being ripped out of my chest. I don't think that I was contemplating moving in with her, but the fact that she didn't care that I would live on the street was suffocating me. I would NEVER let a relative live on the street, not alone my mother.

After calming down, I called her and said, I think we need to talk this out because my feelings are so hurt that I'm afraid it is going to really hurt our relationship. She said, "I've noticed that things are getting more challenging for you and I have been up front in warning you that I was not taking you in."

Well, I must have missed that memo. In hindsight, she did ask me things like, "what are you going to do if things don't turn around?" and she did say while chuckling once, "if worse comes to worse, you aren't coming with me". I thought she was joking because it wasn't even what we were talking about at the time.

Upon hearing that she would see me in the streets, I started to make back-up plans knowing that she wasn't going to be a source of any temporary support for me. I contacted my sister, brother, and aunt who all were shocked because that is not how our family has ever operated.

Of course all three said, come here. Of course all three have drawbacks like the distance it will put between me and my beloved grandchildren. Well, my sister who was livid and also close to my daughter, called my daughter (unbeknownst to me) out on her behavior.

She asked her how on earth she could let her Mom be homeless, if it actually came to that. My daughter said, she won't be homeless, she has you guys. My sister said, yes, but then she won't be near the grandbabies. My daughter said, "well, sometimes sacrifices have to be made."

*side note: I am the ONLY grandparent in their lives as they (her psychologist husband and her), alienated his parents ten years ago and haven't spoken to ANY of his family since. The grandbabies do not know-nor have ever met a single person from his side.

Anyway, since the phone call with my sister, my daughter refuses to talk to me. I honestly have not made efforts to reach out to her much because when I do, she doesn't answer or has her husband answer my inquiries.

I have been able to continue a relationship with the grands, but I have to go through the son-in-law to arrange it. My grandson is so attached to me because I was his primary care giver until kindergarten while his parents worked. I was already caring for Mom so it was no problem to care for him too.

They did start giving me $300.00 a month starting the second or third year of watching him, which I appreciated. The point being, it will destroy him as much as me if I have to move to another state.

So, I have managed to stay in this apartment that I can't afford with school money, maxing out credit cards, refinancing my car, some gig work, and selling items on eBay. I am frantically putting out resumes etc. to try and stay close to the grandbabies. Yesterday was Mother's Day.

I received a generic "happy mother's day" message in a group text and that was it. Not a boo the rest of the day. In our family Mother's Day, is huge. Brunch, flowers, cards, acknowledgment.

I didn't even know the group text included me because the first name was not mine so I thought it was sent by someone on accident.

I later texted her and said something to the effect of "although things are strange right now, I did want to wish you a Happy Mother's Day today and thank you for bringing my two precious grandbabies into the world".

To which she replied, "i included you in a group text at 9 a.m. this morning, I'm sorry if you did not see it." Direct quote. I responded, "how personal, thank you. kiss the babies. hope you are all having a great day. enjoy the sunshine. Her response: nothing.

I'm not sure where to go from here. I am heartbroken. I want to return to the close relationship we had before, but I am also so disappointed in what has transpired. She knows that I am struggling financially, grieving my mother, scared, and basically alone. I get that none of that is her doing.

I guess I just expected more compassion and grace from her. In any case, I am at a loss of how to fix this. I want reconciliation, but I also do not want to grovel for scraps of her attention. Looking for advice on whether or not I should keep trying or move on. Thank you.

Before we give you OP's update, let's take a look at some of the top responses:

gaga writes:

You have two problems here, financial and relational, and you MUST separate them. So first, practical advice. You can’t afford where you live. You simply can’t keep on your trajectory just to maintain physical closeness with your grandson.

Even if there is a resolution with your daughter, it’ll take a lot of time. And in that time you’ll be digging deeper into the hole. If you need to go to your sister to get out of the debt spiral, then that’s what you need to do. You’ll probably be forced to to it in the future anyway, only you’ll be in a worse state.

The relational is trickier. I can’t help but notice your word choice regarding your son-in-law and his family. HE alienated his family.

There’s immediate fault there. Like it’s impossible families are at fault and there’s no possible reason a child could ever realize they’re healthier away from them. You also keep dropping that he’s a psychologist, which is rather odd and seems pointed.

You and your daughter clearly have different recollections on your relationship. There is an article out there discussing “missing missing reasons”. I suggest you take a look and do some reflecting. See if anything there strikes a chord with you.

polyy6 writes:

I suspect that your daughter has been telling you for a long time (probably much of the last year). that you need to figure out your living situation and it all fell on deaf ears.

If you have spent a year this economically outclassed in your living situation and not listening to her when she was trying to have the conversation open more gently, then of course she is going to be exasperated and burned out on the topic now.

It sounds like daughter and husband are in jobs where (despite high mental and emotional toll taken) there isn’t a great pay, and may be stretched thin themselves.

Furthermore, if this is true, it’s Flight Attendant advice time- they need to allocate resources to themselves and their immediate family first. If they know they don’t have enough left to support you, it is unfair to expect them to support you too.

valinatdess writes:

See, I think you DID think she was your back-up plan. Otherwise, why would you have been so upset by this? I could tell my parents I wouldn't take them in and they'd need to sort things out on their own and I am POSITIVE they'd be just like "ok, we can do that," instead of calling multiple meetings about it.

Also, the way you keep laying compliments on and saying your family doesn't operate that way? I dunno, man, you raised her, so obviously your family does operate this way, but you're coming across in this post as trying to be manipulative.

Why did it take your daughter having a serious talk with you before you began making back-up plans? What WAS your prior plan?

Are your back-up plans in fact just shit-talking your daughter to your other family instead of saying something polite like "[Daughter] can't take me in because she has two young children right now and enough on her plate"?

I dunno, it honestly sounds to me, from what you wrote, that you blew this up into a WAY bigger thing than it needed to be, and are responsible for her not talking to you, because you are failing to just be normal about stuff. You're an adult. You're not even retirement age.

You can find a job and an apartment and a roommate if necessary. If you need to lean on someone emotionally about it, that person should not be your daughter. I understand that in single-parent relationships...

the roles of emotional support get blurred, but you've got to start setting them straight, and going for emotional support to people who aren't your daughter (WHILE AT THE SAME TIME not trash-talking her to people her know her! jfc!).

Why are you staying in the apartment you can't afford? Find a roommate, or find a new tenant and get out of the lease and find one you CAN afford. I suspect if you actually begin acting like an adult here, things will sort out.

backapint writes:

I’m so sorry you are going through this. I am close to your daughter’s age. The only perspective I can offer is as someone 40 years old, (and your daughter married a psychologist who may be contributing to this), my friends and I have been realizing how shitty our parents were and it was normal back then.

Back then, our parents never once considered our mental health, and in many ways negatively impacted our mental health as adults. They didn’t prepare us for the world at all. I was not abused but I was definitely neglected and everyone was spanked back then.

My parents provided food and shelter and that seemed like the extent of their responsibilities. And I love my parents. Every parent was like that back then. They didn’t play with their kids.

They didn’t consider their kids feelings with any decisions made. Kids were accessories that you had because that was expected of you. Parenting now has come a long way and it is shining light on our own parents’ shortcomings.

You worked very hard to provide for your daughter but there could be things from her childhood she resents you for. She sees her own kids and how much she loves them and how she wished she was raised. I wish my parents were better parents.

That’s just one possibility. It could be something else entirely. Maybe they discussed it and the husband has already said a hard no to you moving in and she was respecting that. Maybe they both believe you got yourself into the situation you’re in so there is little sympathy.

I would not rely on her for help. Your grandchildren will be fine if you move away. They will survive. Do what you need to take care of you. Try to build a relationship with them without the pressure of needing their help.

When I was younger, my father offered to help me pay tuition to go to college, but when I asked him for the tuition, he ignored me. He ignored all calls/texts and wouldn’t see me for holidays for 6 months. (He has money but is cheap.)

I finally texted him I don’t need his money, I’ll figure it out, I just want my dad back in my life and things returned to normal. I never got any money but I had to let go of any idea of assistance just to have him in my life.

Some people just don’t want to help. You can decide whether this is worth your relationship with your daughter. I was hurt by my dad ignoring me, but I put it out there and took any pressure off him to help me. I didn’t try to call him a bad father (I was over 18 and he wasn’t financially obligated to help me.) I just realized I could not rely on him for help.

haunting00 writes:

There's ... a lot here but I really think you need to look up the concept of "enmeshment" and then reflect on your relationships and whether they are actually healthy.

You have known for a long time where you live will not be sustainable after your mother died. This should not have been a shock to you. What were your plans for that eventuality?

Based on your daughter's flat rejection, I suspect she definitely saw this coming. And my read is she likely tried to raise it before it came to this point, but was ignored.

As for your grandchild, sorry, but you are overplaying your importance there. Children get attached very quickly but they move on similarly so.

Your grandson knows and loves you and expects you to be a regular part of his routine, but if that routine changed, he would adapt. Staying close is important to YOU, it is not some sacrifice you are making for other people.

You would sleep on the streets before you let your mother do so? Why? I think that sometimes reddit goes far too far with their hyper independence and "don't rely on anyone!" mentality, but this swings too far in the other direction.

Being a single mother was hard and raising your daughter was hard, but that was something you chose to do and your daughter doesn't owe you for it. She certainly does not owe you housing at the expense of her family's wellbeing especially given this is an outcome that could have been seen a ways off.

I also see a red flag with "we were so close, even as a teenager we rarely argued". That right there is a warning siren. It is healthy for teenagers to argue with their parents, to separate from them and draw lines between their personhood and their caregiver.

That you didn't and remained close, especially given her distancing now, suggests that actually one of you subsumed their own identity in order to maintain that closeness and there is significant resentment that has resulted from it.

That you at one point meddled in her marriage and "talked her round" rather than leaving her and trusting her judgement, and do not regret this but rather say you would do it again, is another stone on the pile of that particular theory.

I also understand why you reached out to the rest of your family members, but wow, I wish you hadn't done so in a way that threw your daughter so completely under the bus.

There was never going to be an outcome to that that didn't escalate the situation and make things a lot worse given the way you went about it; it was very possible for you to ask for help without blaming her ("well, with the kids they just don't have the room")

or even admitting you aren't sure of her reasoning but want to respect her boundaries (which might have led your sister to more productively call and ask why so you had someone else's perspective, which could have resolved this entire thing rather than her leading off with accusations which has likely done very severe damage to all the relationships involved).

What's done is done but that was not productive.

That isn't to say that your daughter is lily White and entirely blameless here. Her lack of explanation, the years of childcare she accepted from you with zero or minimal financial recompense has my back up; it absolutely was a big deal to add caring for a toddler on top of your already full time carer responsibilities for your mother!

Not ok, and if nothing else, she could be proffering funds by way of paying you back for those years of support now you need the help.

Which also makes me suspect maybe your mother groomed you to always prioritise the feelings and needs of others over your own - an expectation you are in turn passing to your daughter whether you realise or not -

which is part of why you're in the situation you are in now; staying close to your daughter was lovely but had you put your foot down and said you either needed her to pay for that childcare properly or you would put what extra time you had towards your schooling so you would be done quicker.

I say this from the perspective of someone whose mother in law went off the rails when her mum died, because she had been enmeshed with her and in her absence expected her son, my husband, to step into that gap; I suspect your relationship with your own mother actually had less than healthy undertones,

but your grief means that rather than step back and examine that and whether the expectations you are extending to your daughter are reasonable, you're instead just lost in a world of pain where you read everything that isn't capitulation as rejection. You are not your mother. Your daughter is not you. But I am very sorry for your loss.

Maybe I am reading into this. This is the Internet, afterall, so all we have to go on is what's been written and then have to review it through our own internal lens, and that is both the strength and weakness of the thing; in all the comments you will garner, some will be accurate and useful but they will likely be the minority.

Which camp this comment will fall into is your decision. If this isn't helpful, I hope it allows you to pin down why it isn't helpful in a way that leads you towards what is.

But in terms of moving forward, I would for one thing move. Literally. Go somewhere you can afford to live and become the fun granny on facetime to your grandkids for a while. They will be fine.

Ask your son in law to ask your daughter if she could, when she can, write down her issues and resentments with you so you can take the time to process and maybe seek a professional opinion on it.

You don't actually have to seek that, but it would allow you to be able to sit back and consider it maybe when the pinnacle of grief has faded a little. Maybe it will help you to put yourself first for the first time in your life.

And now, OP's update:

****To update this post, it's after midnight here but I have spent this evening reading the Missing Missing Reasons, that was suggested to me and also reflecting on the constructive posts.

After reading through all of it, I understood that my perception of her childhood, the situation we are in now, and the journey to getting here are most likely very different. I wanted to know her perception and how to move forward to healing.

I decided to call her on the off chance that she would answer and surprisingly she did. I began by apologizing to her for overwhelming her with my issues and that I understood her need to have boundaries and that I would work on extricating myself from her orbit.

I apologized if any of my actions came off to her as passive aggressive, I wasn't trying to except for my petty mother's day message, but that doesn't make it less inflammatory or hurtful, so I'm sorry. I asked her to tell me what I could do differently going forward to try and repair what has been done.

Her response: (I'm paraphrasing) Mom, to be honest. This has blown up to be much bigger than it needed to be. I am going through some stuff of my own. Stuff I'm not comfortable talking about right now, and stuff at work, stuff with the kids, and when you complained about the job rejections it was the straw that broke the camels back. I just blew up.

I didn't feel like listening to one more person's complaints or whining and so I just blurted out fix it, you aren't coming here. She said, I mean that. You aren't coming here, but I could have said it in a more loving manner.

I asked her if I had just ignored her telling me that in the past and she said, "yes and no". I've eluded to it, but I'm at fault too for not just slamming it on the table.

She went on to say that in reality this situation would have just been a call from her to me the next day to say hey sorry about my crappy mood, but in the interim her Aunt calls her and tells her what a horrible child she is and immediately her IDGAF shield is up and she's burrowed in now.

She said, "I get that I could have been gentler in the delivery, but people need to mind their business, and you should have protected my position with her."

I asked her about her childhood and if she had trauma that I wasn't aware of and she said, "How can anyone escape childhood without trauma Mom? I lost a brother, I lost grandparents, I lost friends, nasty crap happens". I asked her if it was the void of a father and she laughed and said, she never once felt that void.

She said she had her grandpa and uncles and they were the only male presence she needed. I asked her if she was happy in her childhood, and she said, with 100 percent certainty Mom, you gave me the best childhood. I will never complain about that.

Now if we are talking later, then I will say that we have had some issues with healthy boundaries and although our family has always operated a certain way that we accept and are used to, my husband is not. I have to consider his feelings in all things and his feelings are that we need to have a healthy space between us.

I would love for all of us to live in one big house like the Walton's, but he isn't wired like that and I have to respect his wishes first and foremost because he is my family.

I asked if she thought my grandparenting was overly intrusive or obsessive and she said "yes, and I love it, don't ever change that". "You can ease up on the parenting of me, but never the grandparenting of them".

She went on to tell me how much her grandparents consistent presence impacted the positivity in her self esteem, and self image and she wanted the same for hers.

I asked about my returning to school and if that bothered her and felt like I was wasting my time and she said, "absolutely not!" "I'm so proud of you for doing that". "It was so far outside your comfort zone and you took a leap of faith, and I support you 100 percent."

She said she thought it was a great idea and that's why she suggested it. I said, maybe I should have put gram in a home and just got a regular job. She said, Mom who knew grandma was going to be sick for so long?

You are an awesome daughter, and gram was lucky to have the love and care you gave her. I am just saying up front that I don't think that is in my wheelhouse. I'm sorry, it isn't for me. I am sure glad it was in you because I would hate for gram to have gone to a home.

So, we have agreed to meet for lunch soon, not real soon. We agree to set and honor healthy boundaries and I am going to work on my own emotional attachment issues and step back from their orbit.

I want to thank everyone who had strong, harsh, blunt, yet constructive criticism. I wouldn't have had the nerve to call or admit my mistakes without reflecting on your valid points of view, so thank you, so so much.

I was thinking of asking her to come on and repeat herself, but then I thought all of the naysayers on here will just accuse me of impersonating her, so what would be the point?

Still, I want you to know that for those of you who wanted to twist my words, inject seedy innuendo, false narratives, and paint me as a complete degenerate, I still took your points of view into consideration too. Peace to you all and thanks again. Goodnight, or good morning really.

What do YOU make of OP's story? Any advice for her?

Sources: Reddit
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