Oh, dear Pen, that stings, I know it does. I've thought about your question a little while here, and first of all I still think that the honesty is cathartic and it is the first essential step to ridding ourselves of any flaw, and Lord knows I've got enough of them for the whole site here. I often refer back to my own mother when I'm looking for clarity as she has lived such a simple life seemingly free from most of these devils I've wrestled with. I can't imagine anything like your question being a part of her experience. There were five of us, and married all over the place. My mother was never consistently the center of anything, but she never expected it to be so. She doesn't think of herself at all, but she is very happy in her life. She was always just happy for us to be happy. Maybe as mothers, Pen, we think we've turned loose, but we really haven't. I don't know, but it still seems to me when I read our posts, that our a/c are still our little ones and we expect and long to be an integral part of their lives, and most of us seem to have an undisclosed but concrete bar that we must meet in relationship with them for us to be content and well balanced. Look at how euphoric all of us become when we get even a crumb from an errant a/c! We are still too tied to our adult children. The only clue I know is that it seems in any dynamic of relationship, the least needy gets the most. A more complete life apart from parenting. Your DDD is a beautiful pool for your labor. If you were to grow more in love with this part of your life, ds may fade more in the background and dil may in time regroup. This has the possibility to become a sort of 'mission' for your life, that could expand in many directions. I don't think your pain is any less important than the rest of ours, precious Pen, pain is pain and it shouldn't be judged. with love to you.