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throwing away gatekeepers key

Started by ntoto2, June 04, 2013, 01:16:32 pm

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I've three adult daughters with whom, until five years ago I had a great relationship.  For some reason suddenly the two elders stopped all communication with me.  While this was painful in that I being a quiet, non meddling sort have no idea what brought these events about, I've gotten past that part by obtaining counseling and thus, "forgiving them for they know not what they do" (it's been suggested their behavior is more about them than me).  My question is, should I entertain any communication from the prodigal daughters, even if, in my minds eye it is abusive?  That is, one of the estranged daughters will communicate with me through her younger sister with whom I maintain a relationship.  She sends mail with return address to this amicable daughter, or messages through her to me etc. catching me up on the details of her life.  I am not allowed to do vice-versa in that I'm not allowed to know where she lives, emails, etc. to she or her family of two grandchildren.  I don't want to enable this, what I think to be twisted controlling behavior.  That is, she can share with me all of her life (of which I am interested), but she's found a way for me to be unable to reciprocate. Sort of a "look what you're missing out on", and "we don't care about your life" and "there's nothing you can do about it" poke?

In the event you agree with me that I need to throw away the gate keepers do I do this?  I try very much not to involve the younger daughter, and I am aware I am needy for contact, maybe any contact.  Youngest daughter thinks at least this is a start of a reconciliation (but then, she likes this weird control too and even refers to herself as "the bridge").  This being the case, and I knowing all parties like this game to much to stop it on their own, should I merely not react or respond when information is sent my way, and inform younger daughter henceforth until there is a two way sharing with elder sister and I, I'm not interested in any involvement thereby risking once again any relationship for which I pine gravely each passing day in any form?  Perhaps my expectations are to high and I should accept whatever I can get?


N - Welcome. I see that you posted once in December but for some reason I missed it. Please go to our Home Page and under Open Me First, read the three posts I have placed there for "newbies." If they make sense to you, you're probably a "fit."  ;)

I hear a strength in you beneath the pain that I admire and that I feel will see you through this. I'm still sorry that it's happening and you are having to deal with it. Hang in there. Others here will relate, I'm sure. Sending love...
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


N, welcome again. I'm sorry you're going through this. Is there a way you can let everyone know that you love them but need some time off, and that you don't want to shut the door permanently? Perhaps set a date in the future when you will reassess how you are feeling about their chosen style of communication. It would be nice if during that time your DDs let go of some control. Probably best not to have expectations regarding their behavior, though.

Regarding accepting what we can get - some of us here put up with a lot just to get dribs & drabs (moi) while others have decided the cost is too high. It's a personal decision, with unknown consequences, that isn't easy to make.

Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb


Pen is right.  You have to decide what you are willing to risk?

Personally, I would tell YD that I no longer wanted to receive anything from OD.  I would explain to her that it is too painful for me to receive them and since OD doesn't want me to communicate with her to maybe work through everything, I didn't want the one-sided communication any longer.   That's just me ntoto2.  My personality says that when someone wants to call all the shots, that's not a relationship...that is manipulative and controlling.  The only way I can grow and move past something is to not have the constant reminders that I'm not wanted.  To me, those mailings would be that trigger of keeping me in turmoil.
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell



You absolutely described what I go's like PTSD.  When I do get anything from one of these two daughters I am clicking along just fine (well not fine, but better), then wham, I get a message via a convoluted route, that throws me into a tail spin for several days.  It's not that it isn't a message I don't want it's that the way in which I get it is worse than nothing at all.  That is, the letter passed onto me isn't personal at all...could have been written to the grocer or neighbor.  It doesn't reflect any identifying information as to the author or to whom it's written, nor endearments.  I think my daughter knows what she's doing (she's a history professor - education though, doesn't mean you've an advanced soul).  For my self preservation, in considering the spirit in which these communications are forwarded, I have had to draw a boundary that has given me weeks of nightmares in realizing it has to be implemented so that I can be my better self for accomplishing the real mission for which I'm on this earth.

Thank you for your astute input.  I'm not feeling so alone in this quagmire now. 



I think you've hit the crux of the expectations were irrational from the get go.  I had no role model as to how to raise daughters, albeit did one heck of a good job given they're all highly educated, substance free (including unfortunately the soul department apparently).  Too, because of my child hood strife I must have matured at a much earlier age than my daughters now in their forties who haven't reached my twenties stride so it could be said I expected to much.  Also because of my upbringing, I was (am) a quiet mother.  Not only did I make things look easy (when they most certainly weren't), but, for my lack of whining, making sure their every need was met, and bolstering their self esteem at every corner stone,  they filled in the blanks with their own thoughtless blurtings.  I didn't understand until a few years ago this translated into "we can be rude to everyone", "we don't have to care how we hurt others". 

I'm writing this in  hopes that another mother sees herself in me and halts the over indulging of their child  before the monster has to many heads to slay. 

Thank you Pen, for your thoughtful advice...


Agree with Pooh.  I also think that it is unfair of older daughters to put the youngest one in the middle.  The youngest might think it is OK to be "the bridge" - at least for now - but in addition to the control you all have talked about - I see an unhealthy triangulation of the problems. 

If there are problems between you and the older daughters, they can be solved only by you and the older daughters.  The youngest cannot solve them - and it is unfair of the older ones to put her in the middle.  If they want some communication with you, they should put on their big girl panties and communicate.  But why draw the youngest into the matter???  Unfair to her.  Plus the whole arrangement is unsatisfactory to you. 


Thank you Monroe for your sentiments exactly, which is why I relieved youngest daughter from her "bridge" duties yesterday after a particularly painful forwarding reached me....she though, got some toxic pride at having held the post...which is all the more reason I put the kibosh on it.   Although the younger sister, she is the more well put together and aggressive of the three , and if she thought she was being used she would speak up.  I however, not only didn't want to put her in that position, I DIDN"T WANT TO BE PUT IN THAT POSITION...that is, being the third party.  I figured this method of communication did not lend itself well to relationship evolution and in fact retarded it for as long as my daughters were willing to conspire to it, and I was willing to enable them in it. It has been a risky and painful choice, in that I may never hear from my daughters again. I ask you Monroe, is toxic better than nothing, particularly given it's not the loss of one, rather three????


June 07, 2013, 09:50:53 am #8 Last Edit: June 07, 2013, 10:37:16 am by luise.volta
Adult children who choose to marginalize or cut off contact with their parents (especially the Moms) is an all-too-common theme. You are not alone. And like most who come here for advice, it's unlikely you have earned your daughters' mean and dismissive treatment.

Your daughters consider themselves the recipients of some (imagined or exaggerated) injustice and for that, you are being punished. I have no doubt they are like so many of their generation -- indulged, entitled and void of gratitude. They get some psychic reward from demonstrating resentment. Acting as a pack makes it easier for them to drum up complaints and treat you coldly.

My take is that you should not engage in this drama. Next time the bridge daughter offers information or a message from the absent daughters, serenely and firmly refuse to hear or take it. Tell her that you are not accepting anything presented indirectly any more. Tell her you will limit your conversation to HER and YOUR lives. Be polite, keep you voice steady and low, and calmly repeat yourself if you must.

If you stick to that you pull the plug on this cruel little game, and you'll feel the sense of self-worth you deserve. In time, your daughters may come around, but if not, you will have the knowledge you have the courage to not be pushed around by them. Keep your head high and live YOUR life.


Oh Holland:

Thank you so much for your input.  There are days I wonder not only if I did the right thing by halting the game, but too, what in the heck I did to deserve such treatment, after all, there are three of them, and I the common denominate,.  Time and again I've thought, not all three could be wrong ??? and then your insight...yes, I guess they can, if it gives them power, with obviously in a gang there is. 

I do hope for the time when at least one of them demonstrates character and rises above the onslaught, and maybe if not they, than, hopefully a more evolved grand child.  Until that time, I have set a boundary, of which I'm not willing to's been said "you teach people how to treat you"....that's what I intend to do.

Thank you again for your encouragement in this!!!