Dear Annie: I have not had a real relationship with my 42-year-old daughter for years. “Susan” claims I was never supportive, and that no matter what she did, I was never proud of her. She says I always put her down. I told her I tried to do my best bringing her up, but that isn’t enough for her. I don’t know what she wants from me.
Susan has a 14-year-old son and is married for the second time. Her first husband was her childhood sweetheart. When we were on the outs eight years ago and she didn’t let me contact my grandson, I e-mailed my ex-son-in-law to ask him to please tell my grandson that we love him. When Susan found out I e-mailed the ex-husband, she went crazy. She said we are not allowed to keep in touch with her ex – that as part of a divorce, you also divorce your in-laws.
We had a fight a couple of months ago, and now, once again, I am not allowed to get in touch with my grandson. I admit some of the things she accuses me of may be true, but I would not deliberately hurt her. I told her no one is perfect. We both agree too much has been said on both sides to move forward, but I can’t seem to let go. I move around in a daze and have lost my appetite. My husband keeps everything in, but I know he is hurting, too.
How do I get on with my life? I am 68 years old and want to enjoy the years I have left. – Arizona
Dear Arizona: Some children are more sensitive to slights than others, and a few, like Susan, find it difficult to deal in a productive way with the slings and arrows of life. Please ask Susan if she will come with you for family counseling. It could help all of you have a more positive relationship. If she won’t go, counseling can still help you come to terms with the situation and move on with your life.