My husband and I are without family except for our daughter who is 41 yrs old. She has estranged herself from us. We are really nice people, really we are. We were not abusive to her in any way, but she says she is done with us. We are 72 and 85. Husband has been unwell most of 2020. I told her in a letter that we could use some moral support and I told her how old we are. She replied that she knows how old we are. That I was trying to make her feel guilty. No word from her since then. She has blocked us on social media and the phone. We are not asking her to come to our town and take care of us. All I ask is a Christmas card and mothers/fathers day card. Maybe she could call us and inquire how we are faring during the virus, but nothing from her... Do you think there is any hope here with her? What should I do about this matter?
PS she is a professional in the health field.

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Wow. Not very professional really. Obviously there are 2 sides to every story, and we've only read a little about your side. Most likely you can't make her want to have a relationship, but perhaps if you can find out WHY she is refusing contact, it would be a start.

Since you wrote a letter and she responded, that is a little glimmer of hope. She read the letter. So, perhaps you could send another letter, but make it about HER, not you. Just mentioning your age, she claims you are trying to guilt her. So, nothing about you or hubby in the letter.

Ask her how SHE is coping with this virus (those in the medical field have a very difficult and dangerous job - no clue what part of "health" she's in, but probably more exposure than you get.

Ask her if there's anything you can do to help her.

Ask her if she can try to explain why she feels you are try to guilt her (on some level, mentioning your age and asking for "moral" support is a bit of guilt laying - not excessive by any means, but clearly it bothers her.)

Even if she doesn't reciprocate, continue to send her cards for birthday, holidays, just because cards, without asking for anything or expecting anything. Send your love in these cards. Say that if she ever needs help with anything, you'll be there for her. But nothing in these about either of you. Even if there are some medical concerns, try to leave those out. These are only to reassure her that you aren't asking for anything.

Some people may interpret reaching out, mentioning age and asking for moral support will mean asking for more and more later. She may have witnessed this with a friend or co-worker. Unless/until you can find out from her why she has closed the door, it is really all you can do to assure her that the door isn't locked on your side.
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FloridaDD Jul 2020
I would NEVER listen to just one side and call the estranged person not professional.  As others have said, I suspect more is going on.
I don't think a adult child/ren "can just decide" to ignore from their mom or dad. There is more to it than that, and it's brought on by years of unresolved issues that start in childhood. Perhaps rather than you wishing your child would change, you could turn a mirror in your direction and see what you need to do understand her position. Childhood pain is sometimes manifest by adult estrangement, at least that's been the case with my sibs and parents.
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You probably have some idea what has gone wrong in the relationship. Were you both upset about something important to her, like a same sex relationship, or an inter racial relationship? Are you in some way not what your daughter wants you to be? Does she think that she is not what you want her to be? You may have an idea about what it would take to heal the breach, and you may or may not be willing to do it – an apology for a one-off problem is different from living with something ongoing that matters a lot to you. If you don’t know what the problem is, perhaps it could be worth putting a note in a card asking ‘We miss you. What would it take to heal the breach?’. At the moment, you haven’t got a lot to lose.
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I know it must hurt, I cannot imagine what it would feel like to be estranged from one of mine.
But you really do need to look at the why. Perhaps you don't know the why but if you think about it you may come up with some reason that she might put distance proactively because she knows how you might react to her choices. Or perhaps you do know the why and don't want to admit you may have some culpability. Or perhaps she is the one with issues and you are genuinely not responsible.
My grandfather used to say there are at least 3 sides to any story, your side, my side, and the truth. As humans we often skew our perspectives in favor of ourselves. You can't and won't likely change her. So I suggest taking some time to look inward. You can't make her do anything. You can only change how you deal with her. Look at her life from childhood to adulthood. Were there missteps in either side (the answer there is yes for all of us). Has she indicated that she has resentments that you have brushed aside or not addressed? You said she told you she is done with you. Those are generally not the words someone uses out of the blue.
I'll give you an example. And I'm most certainly not saying this is you, just saying it is one example of a person who maintains they are perfectly nice. There are 8 close family members for my FIL. He is a narcissistic, demanding individual who cannot see his own behavior. He was mentally, verbally and physically abusive to my husband and his sister growing up. He is still mentally and verbally abusive. Questions every single decision-easy fix- he loses awareness of our decisions. He ignored his grandchildren when they were growing up. (Like truly ignored, didn't acknowledge). So now they ignore him. They have cut him out. They are done with him.
It could be she is participating in choices that she knows you would disapprove of, so she removes you from the equation. It could be that there are old hurts and she needs time to heal. It could be that you were asking for more from her than you realize and she had to draw a line in the sand.
But the reality is that you can't change her. Period. You can only change you. Your approach. Your behavior.
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Not trying to be rude but, you say that she is a professional in the health care field. Could it be that she needs a little moral support and care right now? She could be feeling like you don't care what she is facing having to work with covid day in and day out and you are making it about your needs because you are old and never once asking her how she is holding up facing probably the scariest situation in her life?

Just a thought, because I have parents that think it is all about them and never ask how I am. I know they don't care and I don't have time for their games when I am dealing with life issues, so cutting them off is the easiest way for me to not have more stress because of their crap.

Search your actions and make sure that you are not disregarding her during your time of need. She is dealing on the front lines and she is probably stressed to the max, give her what you demand from her and see if that doesn't change the dynamics.
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Atmywitsend40 Jul 2020
I had a issue with my granny she will be 90 in August. She literally freaked out because I told my dad to buy her a specific lotion for severe dry skin that she couldn't find in any stores. During that 2 weeks I didn't call and no she didn't call me. I now care for her health and her well being only I do not do the extra things because it isn't worth it to me. My mom who told me to have a nice life about 2 years ago due to me not responding to her text message fast enough after not hearing from her in about 5 years she stays there with her rent free sometimes for at least a month, my granny calls me about how unmotivated she is and is basically using her ever time she comes down. Her younger brother stays with her and does the same thing. I have been put through the ringer my whole life I am 41 and now that I am thinking about having a life it is a problem because I am about 35 mins away from her and I do not answer her every beck and call ( example fell at her home, called me, get to the hospital and she is questioning me about me not getting her fast food it is sad really but whole other story)You are a fall, risk blood pressure is stroke level, and you are worried about a fast food chicken sandwich. Heading home I determined that this is not something that I will be doing for the rest of my life. I check on her twice a week since she brags about jumping into her church members car a few times a week to go to the grocery store. She doesn't need me right. I am determined to have a life, I am not dealing with a family member that kicked me out of her house because MY was life wasn't going how SHE thought it should be going and I was 35 years old. Nope I refuse. Now she has taken up texting something that I attempted to teach her maybe 2 years ago but it was so complicated. I am over it.
No, I cannot think there is any hope here. There is something missing from this story, and we can't know what it is if we do not speak with your daughter. There are, quite honestly, only two real options. Either your daughter is not quite right and "normal" mentally, or there is something that happened to cause this. Really, this is dislike. It is something more (and less) than you would get as a stranger. But whatever it is, I doubt there is any hope for it.
You might try the following. Instead of telling your daughter what YOU need, you might consider sending HER cards on Christmas and Birthday, telling her you think of her and wish you have a better relationship with you, and should she ever wish to contact you that you are very open to listening to what you might have done to cause her to withdraw from you.
Meanwhile, make good relationships, pretend that for all intent and purpose you never had a child. Make good friends, have reciprocal network set up in which you help others to get to appointments, negotiate problems, and where you can lean on them in times of need.
Wishing you the best of luck.
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Sorry, but there is a reason she is estranged. What did you do that she was done with you? Being an only child did you spoil her and then had to do some "tough love". Like said maybe she expected something out of you or your expectations of her were unreal.

I have a friend who feels she was a great mother but one son is estranged the other keeps in touch but not regularly. She expects too much from people. She is a Debbie Downer. Everything is everyone elses fault. For years I have been wanting to tell her to look at herself but didn't have the nerve. Maybe if I had she wouldn't be in a NH at 71 alone.

I am not saying this is you, just saying sometimes we need to look into ourselves and see if its something we did or said. It doesn't need to be a big thing that sets people off. Maybe your husband did or said something. Your husband is old enough to be her grandfather. Maybe that generation gap is too big.

You are not going to patch your relationship until you find out what caused the estrangement. Since she does read your letters maybe you can write asking that you would like to know what brought on the estrangement. If she is right or wrong you apologize. Because whatever it is, this is how she feels.
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Penelope123 Jul 2020
Sometimes there is no reason. This happened to my family and we all reached out to him. Sometimes that person just wants nothing to do with their family as painful and hard to accept as it is. You wonder why or what you did to them but there really is no reason other than they don't love you like you love them. So you have to let them go. Their loss really.
As others have said we only have one side of the story.

Both my parents would make the claim that they are really nice people too. Except neither of them wanted me. Both have done incredibly cruel things to me many times over the years, but each would say I deserved it. I have very limited contact 100% on my terms. I had zero contact with my dad for a decade. I had zero contact with my Mum for 4 years after my marriage broke up.

I know exactly how old my parents are and I know exactly how much care I would provide either of them. Zilch.
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EllensOnly Jul 2020
Sounds like you have made the best choice for you.  Sometimes we have to make those decisions.  We had to cut off all contact with one of my husband's siblings, only grateful now that her sons are grown that they have reached out to have a relationship with us and their cousin.
Can it be that you "P.S." tells most of the story?
Have you been, either implicitly or overtly, expecting her to take care of you in your decline because "she's a professional in the health field"? If so, that's totally not fair to her.
I always feel bad for those in the nursing profession. A doctor, by their very own code of ethics, are not allowed to render medical help to a family member, unless it's an emergency. Nurses, however, dont get that same consideration. If she has told you in no uncertain that she will not be responsible for your caregiving and you have been insistent because that's how she earns her living and you figure since that's how she makes her money she should do the same for family for free, that might be why she has cut you off.
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My mother could post the exact same thing about me. And herself.

I know there are often many sides to any story--my mother would maintain the charade that she was a perfect mother, our family was perfect, everyone who meets her adores her---on and on.

Truthfully--she has been completely self absorbed all her life. She has 6 kids, 5 still living and trying to get any of us to 'want' to spend time with her is like pulling teeth.

I honestly went above and beyond in trying to be the loving daughter despite so many family issues---my 'aha' moment came when I was dxed with cancer a year ago. I told her about it and her reply was " well, daddy will be glad to see to see you. You always were his favorite." (daddy's been gone 16 years)

Who the heck says that to someone who has just been handed a possible death sentence? I didn't reply to her, just left and put my energies into chemotherapy and the hell that it is. She did not call me, nor reach out to me in any way shape or form for 9 months. We live >2 miles apart.

She felt perfectly fine about not being there for me. when I had finished chemo, but was still really sick, I went and saw her. Her response upon seeing me "Oh, so you lived, huh? You look horrible".

The 'story' I heard from her 'friends' was that she was worried sick about me the whole time.

It wasn't ABOUT her, so she ignored me.

That's the last time I give her tacit approval to hurt me.

Look deep inside your relationship with your daughter. I'm not saying you're bad people, I just think a little self introspection is always good.

And maybe, you'll just have to accept her choice to not be a part of your life. I am sorry--I really wish it were different for me & my mother, but she's 90 and not likely to change at this late date.
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