My friend, whom I'll call C, married an abusive man. Forced to leave him and raise their only child, a daughter, without his help, she pulled up her bootstraps, swallowed her pride, and became a welfare mom while she went to school. Eventually she got a very fine, very long term job in the non-profit sector, helping other poor people get ahead. This job was to prove her mainstay later when she needed a great deal of medical care and had the benefits.
Fatherless, often with Mom working, C's daughter got mixed up in alcohol and drugs in high school and wound up in rehab. She deeply resented her mother for putting her in rehab, and not a very good one but all her mother could afford. While there, the counselors convinced her that her problem was not her behavior, but her mother. To C's shock, her daughter came home full of "recovery" jargon and fresh resentments.
This daughter, at age 18, had a boyfriend and they had a child, another little girl.
At length, again with more therapeutic intervention which she now sought for herself, C's daughter discovered she was a lesbian and moved in with her therapist. Together they read recovery manuals and books about recovered memories and, although she never remembered it, the daughter and her lover decided there had been sexual abuse. The details of that have always been unclear to me because it was never specific. Of course, the next step in the process for the therapist/live-in lover to have total control was to convince the daughter to cut off C, her mother, totally. This included cutting off C's granddaughter, now under the control of the therapist also.
My friend spent years researching, joining groups, even going to a therapist herself in a desperate attempt to save this relationship. When it became clear her daughter was going to continue the cutoff, my ever more depressed friend began eating and soon she had diabetes and a host of very serious other health problems. Eventually she began speaking to me very slowly, I think because of all the drugs she had to take. There were long stays in the hospital. Depression deepened. Her brother and others would come to see her, but never her daughter, not even once when she nearly died.
Before the cutoff was total, I went with her once to see her little granddaughter, who obviously adored C. We brought presents and had fun playing games, although the tension from the other room with the daughter and the therapist present (and watching) was difficult. I could see how very much C meant to her granddaughter. The too-quiet, withdrawn, sad little girl began to laugh and enjoy her time with C so much.
Eventually C discovered, at the point where she no longer knew where her daughter and GD were living, through a grapevine, that her now- teenage granddaughter had been in trouble with the law. Eventually, the girl disappeared completely.
Once again C got sick and was at at death's door, this time looking like death would happen. Approached yet again by C's brother, her daughter FINALLY relented, after 15 long years, and came to see her mother. It wasn't too late; my friend recovered; her daughter by then had dumped the therapist-lover and discovered that, after all, her mother had tried her very best to raise her under impoverished conditions, had never abused---but only loved---her. There had been no sexual abuse; it was all a creation of the lover who wanted to control daughter and granddaughter. NOW the daughter has deep regrets---after DECADES of not speaking to her mother, except for yelling out accusations.
It was too late to save the granddaughter, in jail. Too late to lock the barn door.
I often wonder what life and health my friend C would have had if her daughter had not fallen under the sway of incompetent and evil people in the so-called "recovery movement." I wonder how her daughter lives with herself now, thinking of the joy they could have shared, the flowers they could have raised, the little lost granddaughter whose grief and isolation at losing her grandmother must have been---obviously was---devastating---who might not have been lost if she'd had C's unconditional love. I wonder if that sweet little girl would have grown up to be a productive member of society, if she had been allowed to see the grandmother she so much loved.
While there are many wonderfully competent and indispensable people in the mental health profession, my closest friend being one of them, there also are charlatans who do a great deal of damage piggy-backing on AA and other great groups, re-interpreting, and giving unqualified advice. We cannot save all our children from being brainwashed by some of them.
This is a cautionary tale to all daughters and DIL's who think they are bettering a child's life by excluding a grandmother and who listen to therapists who advise cutoffs. Heaven help you on Judgment Day: actions have consequences. This is also a plea for MIL's and GM's to care for yourselves in times of despair. Do not give in to health or depression problems. It was horrible and such a helpless feeling watching C decline, and all for a daughter who in my mind just wasn't worth it. Your life has value beyond your children. Please embrace it and give to others as you have the opportunity. I know it is hard; I'm trying and don't always succeed myself.
My friend never believed her daughter would eventually come back into her life. Now that she has, I wonder if it's an improvement.
Beautiful, heartbreaking yet true tale of how things can be. I am appreciating therapists and counselors less and less these days. I've not had one good thing come from it. Good friends make better therapists than the therapists I have encountered.
Kathleen, not only a wonderful story to share, but it shows, so many many details of how when we're young, we do the best we can, but make the most mistakes....and children act out in anger in different ways...incredible how we affect so many other lives with our nonesense and human errors...I wish more people would be aware of the fact that every thought, every harsh word, every bad action and misperception can effect the lives of so many others in a negative way for the rest of they're lives....
Hugs and thank you