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Difficult Relationship with Adult Daughter

b2bailey

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(Who is the keeper of my two young grandsons)

===

I have posted on this before, and I came away with the idea I should just be grateful that we have some kind of relationship. Our recent upset has me rethinking...

I actually googled the word estranged, and picked up the clue to never discuss with other family members. So, here I am again, my TUG Family.

Would you believe this started due to a ceramic coffee mug with the word 'copacedic" -- what I thought was a thoughtful gift because daughter had told me awhile back that she liked the word. I had imagined her using the cup at work, as a reminder to herself, during the upcoming stressful tax season (she is a CPA) that all is well.

She hadn't mentioned receiving it (by mail) so I inquired. From there... a ration of hurtful words because 'she and I will NEVER have a copacedic relationship ' and then followed by a series of hurtful texts.

Prior to this, she had been in the habit of calling me nearly every evening on her way home from work, mostly to discuss her day. Since I am a former accountant, she would often solicit advice and opinion on her "problem child'' clients.

She hasn't called for 3 days -- which means it is intentional. When the phone rings, I go from hopeful to thinking I won't answer if I see it is her calling.

Anyone have a similar difficult relationship?
 

turkel

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My mom drives us all crazy. She is totally selfish and self centered. She is not the mother of our youth. Not sure if this started after our dad died or from the stroke she had nine months later.

With the above said we all have contact with mom and pretty much let her be herself.

My advise is it takes 2 to tango. So call your daughter apologize and then tell her the gift was only because your where thinking of how she expressed her fondness for the word. Sometimes biting the bullet is better than the alternative.

Expressing your frustration on Tug is a good outlet ;)
 

klpca

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I have a difficult relationship with my mom, but so far so good with my adult daughters. (Of course that probably means that we're due, but hopefully not, lol)

I agree to reach out to your daughter and let her know that you never meant to insult her with the gift. Tell her to toss the mug in the trash (I hate to throw things away but this will be a visual reminder of the rift - better to make that go away asap). With my mom, I know that she tries desperately to stay connected to her kids but it becomes very smothering. I bought a Mini, she bought a Mini. I cut my hair, she cut hers to match. This has been going on for years and I don't really want to share much with her because she just parrots whatever I do. We now have the same dentist, financial planner, decorator, real estate agent etc which would be fine but she's very tough to please so I hear about anything that was done/said that she doesn't like. I have had to smooth over ruffled feathers with these folks more than once. I'm not saying that you are doing this, but maybe there is some irritant in your relationship that seems innocuous to you that is a bigger deal to her.

My girls group text each other daily. I only hear from them once or twice a week. I know that they are busy with their own lives and the last thing that I want to do is add another straw to the camels back. I am aware that I occasionally drive my youngest nuts. She needs more space than the others and is (always has been) cranky when she is tired. I just give her a week of space and the ship rights itself.

Of course we know nothing of the past history, but if it were me with one of my daughters, I would send a card with a sincere loving note written inside. Write from the heart and let her know how much she means to you and how proud she has made you. She is probably busy at home and at work and talking to anyone on a daily basis is draining even if you have a great relationship. Put away your expectations of her and the relationship with her that you had envisioned. Leave the door open for her. It sounds like this will blow over. Fingers crossed for you.
 
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Panina

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(Who is the keeper of my two young grandsons)

===

I have posted on this before, and I came away with the idea I should just be grateful that we have some kind of relationship. Our recent upset has me rethinking...

I actually googled the word estranged, and picked up the clue to never discuss with other family members. So, here I am again, my TUG Family.

Would you believe this started due to a ceramic coffee mug with the word 'copacedic" -- what I thought was a thoughtful gift because daughter had told me awhile back that she liked the word. I had imagined her using the cup at work, as a reminder to herself, during the upcoming stressful tax season (she is a CPA) that all is well.

She hadn't mentioned receiving it (by mail) so I inquired. From there... a ration of hurtful words because 'she and I will NEVER have a copacedic relationship ' and then followed by a series of hurtful texts.

Prior to this, she had been in the habit of calling me nearly every evening on her way home from work, mostly to discuss her day. Since I am a former accountant, she would often solicit advice and opinion on her "problem child'' clients.

She hasn't called for 3 days -- which means it is intentional. When the phone rings, I go from hopeful to thinking I won't answer if I see it is her calling.

Anyone have a similar difficult relationship?
Many families have difficult relationships. You are not alone. My mom is extremely difficult and at times horrible things are said by her and she stops calling. That actually gives me a break for a day or two. I just keep doing what I do and realize she is the one that has the problem. I end up calling to see how she is, she says I am crazy, I ignore and change the subject.

Your daughter is who she is, by now you know she will not change. You have chosen to have a relationship to keep peace in the family and probably because she is your daughter. You know her flaws and when she gets difficult as she is now, you should not take it personally and let it internally hurt you.

I would call every other day and say hi, if she asks why you are calling, just say I didn’t hear from you and wanted to touch base. Even though you don’t feel you are wrong, she probably wants an apology. You can say I am sorry I upset you, it wasn’t my intention, I really didn’t think it out.
 

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she sounds like a typical middle aged stressed out working mom (quite like myself). Work, child raising, life has gotten more complicated in the last decade or so, especially for women. Many of us are just very stressed out. Don't take her stress personally.

My mom calls me everyday and wants a full rundown of the kids and has lots of "helpful suggestions" for my problems, but it comes across as armchair quarterbacking. Are you like that maybe to your daughter?

Honestly, you googling the word "estranged" after only 3 days seems kinda dramatic. Working moms don't need any more drama in their life. Offer you daughter to take the boys for a weekend and let her relax.

If she is really saying mean things, then call her on it, but tell her you love her and let's talk again when you've both calmed down.
 

WinniWoman

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So she called tonight on her drive home. Acted as though nothing happened. I did as well, but feel like I will just try to guard my heart. Thanks for various perspectives.
I don’t have a daughter, but a son- an only child. But I am a daughter and my mom and I were close, yet we butted heads a lot. Both of us were control freaks and both of us were stressed out working women. Women are more emotional than men usually also. We both accepted this but we still loved each other.

My son is a more standoffish and critical type, yet sentimental and sensitive. The type we can’t ask a lot of questions or he gets annoyed. He also does not like for us to engage him in intense or serious conversations, so I avoid those for the most part. So I have learned over the years to keep things light, not pry into his life and take my cues from him when talking.

When he is ready he opens up, though it’s rare. I know he is a good person and I just want him to be happy. He struggles with things but I will not give advice unless asked. I wish he was more settled in life but he is who he is. Yeah-I worry. But I can’t control what he does.

It’s hard not to take your daughters’ attitude personally but try to shrug it off. If it were me I would just say I only meant well for you. Sorry you were upset by it. Leave it at that and live your life and let her live hers.
 

Panina

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So she called tonight on her drive home. Acted as though nothing happened. I did as well, but feel like I will just try to guard my heart. Thanks for various perspectives.
She loves you, as you love her, she just has issues. If you remember that it won’t hurt as much.
 

Jan M.

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Did you even get the opportunity to tell her what you told us about why you gave her the coffee mug.? It certainly seems like a humorous and thoughtful gift especially given her occupation. If not it might be a good idea to text or email her just the brief explanation you gave us and tell her you never meant to upset or offend her.

My father was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis when I was 10 and my mother died of cancer when I was 14. I have one sibling, a sister almost 5 years younger than I am who I stepped up to help my father raise. Living with someone who has MS takes a toll on the family and that didn't make things easier even before my mother got sick and died. A lot of responsibility was thrust on my shoulders much earlier than it should have been and although I didn't shirk my responsibilities I was still a teenager and had my share of resentful moments. Sometimes he would be overly strict when he didn't know how to handle something figuring it was better to err on the side of caution so to speak which led to more resentment and confrontational moments. My father was honest in saying that he wasn't the best parent but he tried and never turned to drinking like a lot of men in his situation would have. He would tell me that we were all going through a hard time learning to live without your mother and how lost and unprepared he felt at trying to parent two girls our ages on his own. Sometimes that meant he fumbled through the best he could. I could understand that even as a teenager. Didn't mean I liked it but I understood it.

It took me a number of years to deal with my resentment and even anger about certain things. When I became old enough to be able to see him not just as my father but as a person, to see how many things he was dealing with in his life during those years and understood more about life myself that helped immensely. I was 45 with a 10 year old child when my father died. We had enough years of me being a mature enough adult to be able to talk about a lot of things. Yes even now there are still things I really wish he had done differently. Was he a great parent, no, but he wasn't a bad parent either. Perspective helps a lot.

My father and I could always talk and were alike in some ways. He and I had plenty of disagreements, very loud disagreements. There were times even into my twenties that I said hurtful, ugly things to to my father. There were times that I bore the blame when things escalated. I know he understood that my resentment and anger stemmed form my childhood and teenage years being eroded more and more because of his MS. I also know he felt a sense of responsibility as the only parent I had left to not give up on me. He never threw in my face how much I had to have hurt him and never once made me feel like he was being magnanimous in forgiving me. He just did, without a word. He didn't allow us to become estranged because I hurt him. As an adult I came to understand that one of the greatest things he gave me was the security of having a safe haven in his love. He loved and accepted me thorns and all, always.

It seems like you and your daughter are kind of like my father and I were. You have some things in common, maybe personality traits that don't always make for smooth sailing, but you also talk. She feels secure enough in your love to be a pill at times, justified, unjustified or partially justified.
 

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So she called tonight on her drive home. Acted as though nothing happened. I did as well, but feel like I will just try to guard my heart. Thanks for various perspectives.
Maybe that is the key?

Maybe take it one day at a time, it looks as if she might. We have a child that is quick to flash, but it passes. They don't hold grudges and neither do we (and I'm a BIG grudge holder).

Just a thought from an anonymous internet denizen.
 

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Just a thought, but copacetic is usually a superlative and perhaps that's why she took offense. I ran into a similar incident many years ago when a coworker informed me of the real meaning of "schmuck".

You stated that you had a difficult relationship with her, perhaps a better word may have been "accettabile".

Families are tough.
 

Grammarhero

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Seems like a huge misunderstanding, or an extreme reaction on her part. She may be going through a rough time juggling work and kids. Does she suffer from depression?

I used to have a difficult relationship with my father. He was a negative person. That is why you see me react strongly to negativity around here. He would beat us if we got Bs, cried too much, were too loud, dropped the milk or eggs, dropped dishes, didn’t do chores, or other stupid stuff.

I pledged that I would never treat my child like that. Lectures or yelling, instead of belts!

When I grew older, I realized he also had an abusive father and never got over the war. Although I forgive my dad, I can’t have him visit me or my timeshares for more than a week. His negatively frustrates me.
 

isisdave

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Maybe she misheard "copacetic" or thinks it means something other than "in excellent order." If that's the case, you might want to clear that up, as she'll continue to mis-remember it.

A friend's military superior used to say "When you've titivated the area, everything will be copacetic ...."
 

Jan M.

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Those of us who were teens to twenty somethings in the late 60's and into the 70's may remember hearing the word copacetic used. It was kind of a hippie word to use back in the day. As in "Ya man, I'm copacetic or everything is copacetic." Meaning cool, chilled out, doing okay, etc.
 

VacationForever

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I don’t have a daughter, but a son- an only child. But I am a daughter and my mom and I were close, yet we butted heads a lot. Both of us were control freaks and both of us were stressed out working women. Women are more emotional than men usually also. We both accepted this but we still loved each other.

My son is a more standoffish and critical type, yet sentimental and sensitive. The type we can’t ask a lot of questions or he gets annoyed. He also does not like for us to engage him in intense or serious conversations, so I avoid those for the most part. So I have learned over the years to keep things light, not pry into his life and take my cues from him when talking.

When he is ready he opens up, though it’s rare. I know he is a good person and I just want him to be happy. He struggles with things but I will not give advice unless asked. I wish he was more settled in life but he is who he is. Yeah-I worry. But I can’t control what he does.

It’s hard not to take your daughters’ attitude personally but try to shrug it off. If it were me I would just say I only meant well for you. Sorry you were upset by it. Leave it at that and live your life and let her live hers.
Your son sounds alot like my son. We love each other but also give space to each other. I loved my mom and we were very close. I don't have advice to OP other than be as close to her daughter as she allows and no more.
 

stmartinfan

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One of the things I've realized is that often people's reaction to a situation are Influenced or driven by other things going on in their lives. I know that from my own experiences...something I can shrug off or laugh at one day may turn me to anger another day, if I'm under stress or tired or frustrated with something else in my life. I really try not to get to hung up on a single moment but remember instead our good ongoing relationship.
 

rapmarks

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Last night we went to an alumni gathering. I only spoke to two people, other that the school representatives. Both told me about problems with their adult sons. I think it is very common.
 

b2bailey

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Thank you to Jan M. for the following:
I also know he felt a sense of responsibility as the only parent I had left to not give up on me. He never threw in my face how much I had to have hurt him and never once made me feel like he was being magnanimous in forgiving me. He just did, without a word. He didn't allow us to become estranged because I hurt him. As an adult I came to understand that one of the greatest things he gave me was the security of having a safe haven in his love. He loved and accepted me thorns and all, always.

I think the above sentiment pretty wells expresses the relationship my daughter and I share. I have aimed to be her 'safe haven' and I guess I just have to continue to do so. (And hope she can recognize this before I die.) ;)
 

rickandcindy23

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Rick and I can relate to estranged relationships with kids, but really mostly our daughter. It doesn't help that she is 90 minutes away by car.

We have been estranged because she read my emails last January. She asked me for my password to "fix" my email account, since my emails from her were going to my junk mail. So she said she would fix it, but would need my password. She was then angry with an email I sent to another family member after a blowup between all three of our kids. I told another relative that my kids were jerks. Totally true, they were all jerks during that day, and my boys admitted it and when I told them that I called them jerks. I just wanted to cover my derriere, in case she told them, and both admitted, yes we were jerks. Then our daughter's husband said something to Rick a few days later about "your precious boys" in a very angry tone. Our sons are not loved more than our daughter, but that is what was insinuated.

Nothing will be the same after all of that happened. Nothing. It's been over a year. Just a lot of strained get togethers ahead of us. I want to go forward, but everything I do, every decision I make with travel or with the grandkids, everything is scrutinized to the nth degree.
 
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DrQ

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... She literally asked me for my password to "fix" my email account, since my emails from her were going to my junk mail. So she said she would fix it, but would need my password. ...
I'm in IT Security and this is called social engineering. NEVER give your password!
 

b2bailey

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Rick and I can relate to estranged relationships with kids, but really mostly our daughter. It doesn't help that she is 90 minutes away by car.

She told me once that she always wanted to feel close to me but never has. I wanted to tell her that is 100% her fault. She has been cold to me for many years. Even at her wedding 16 years ago, she snapped at me while I was visiting with my grandma, who had just traveled with my aunt and uncle to her wedding and wanted to talk to me. My sweet grandma, I wanted to give her some time to talk to me, but our daughter could not understand why I wouldn't be at her beckon call.

And now we have been estranged because she READ MY EMAILS last January. She literally asked me for my password to "fix" my email account, since my emails from her were going to my junk mail. So she said she would fix it, but would need my password. She was then angry with an email I sent to another family member after a blowup between all three of our kids. I told another relative that my kids were jerks. Totally true, they were all jerks during that day. Now I believe that my daughter purposefully set her business emails to me to go to junk, just so she could get access to my account to fix it. Then her husband said something to Rick a few days later about "your precious boys." Our sons are not loved more than our daughter, but that is what insinuated. Ridiculous.

Nothing will be the same after all of that happened. Nothing. It's been over a year. Just a lot of strained holidays ahead of us.
Cindy, I am sorry to hear this. There is only one path to get through it -- forgiveness. She was wrong to read your personal emails. I'm not going to say you were wrong to write them -- we all assume a level of privacy when we write things. But if it takes saying you are sorry, then do it. And try to get past it.
 

rickandcindy23

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Cindy, I am sorry to hear this. There is only one path to get through it -- forgiveness. She was wrong to read your personal emails. I'm not going to say you were wrong to write them -- we all assume a level of privacy when we write things. But if it takes saying you are sorry, then do it. And try to get past it.
I forgive her, but forgiving is a two-way street, she has been icy cold to me lately. I think our daughter proved my point. That was a jerky thing to do. Do all daughters feel tht they own their mothers and their private stuff? This was a close relative I wrote to that day.

You think your kids grow up and their problems will no longer be your problems, but that is not at all true. I agonize over decisions made by my kids that are detrimental to their well-being.
 
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Panina

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Cindy, I am sorry to hear this. There is only one path to get through it -- forgiveness. She was wrong to read your personal emails. I'm not going to say you were wrong to write them -- we all assume a level of privacy when we write things. But if it takes saying you are sorry, then do it. And try to get past it.
I forgive her, but forgiving is a two-way street, she has been icy cold to me lately. I think our daughter proved my point. That was a jerky thing to do. Do all daughters feel tht they own their mothers and their private stuff? This was a close relative I wrote to that day.

You think your kids grow up and their problems will not longer be your problems, but that is not at all true. I agonize over decisions made by my kids that are detrimental to their well-being.
I feel for both of you. I understand. Sometimes it is like a bottomless pit, you give and give unconditionally and it still isn’t enough, your blamed, trust is broken, you get the cold shoulder, a cycle that keeps reoccurring.

Sometimes a break is needed. With my mom once it was 2 weeks. I was sick, on a heart monitor and she accused me of faking it, lying because I didn’t want to come help her. I needed to step back, not call and take care of myself. Meanwhile mom was telling everyone how concerned she was about me. Got her surrogates to call, my aunts, cousins but she didn’t.

I view that behavior as she has issues with herself. I did what I needed to do for myself and then 2 weeks later called. She acted like nothing happened and told me I have to take better care of myself.

I could have stood on principle and not call but chose not to. Forgiveness and kindness is the best healer for me. I know I do the best I can and get nothing in return but that is ok. I have learned not to let it brew in me internally, it is her problem, she has the issues, not me. I give her unconditional love and step back when I have to. Yes it’s sad it is like this, but it is what it is.
 

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Maybe I am a 'robot' or this is peculiar to women and I am totally unqualified to offer my 2 cents here.

But I have a hard time relating to 'wanting to be friends' with one's children. My sons will always be my sons, never friends. I will always be a 'father' to them and never a 'friend'. I have my duties and they have theirs. Why complicate these filial bonds with mushy nonsense? Wouldn't it be simpler if everybody knew their place or role in a relationship and played them according to the script? 'Copacetic' will be guaranteed then!:)

I will never tolerate my sons being disrespectful to me or their mother in any way. I will bluntly tell them what's on my mind. Luckily, I have a wife who's really good at playing 'good cop'.

If I were OP, I would read the daughter the riot act and remind her that her kids are watching and learning from her disrespect towards her mother. She will reap what she sows, for sure. That should sober her up to mend her ways.
 
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One of the things I've realized is that often people's reaction to a situation are Influenced or driven by other things going on in their lives. I know that from my own experiences...something I can shrug off or laugh at one day may turn me to anger another day, if I'm under stress or tired or frustrated with something else in my life. I really try not to get to hung up on a single moment but remember instead our good ongoing relationship.
Yes. Especially with family, I get over it and get past it. Unconditional love should be just that. I would ignore snarkiness on part of daughter, let the calls lapse for a while, then call her out the blue to chat about something amazing you just saw or did, open the call with "I just have to share this with you!" up and positive. After whatever story that is, just ask like you always have, so, how are things with you? as if no time has elapsed.

I am assuming that daughter can be as stubborn as I can be, and Will Not be the one to pick up the phone. It's minor stuff, let time pass and resume like nothing ever happened. If it is festering with her, that's hurting her, by her own choice. When all she would have to do is open the conversation to air whatever grievance she holds. This does not have to be Your Problem. It's hard to believe she would hold on to whatever this snit is about, but, you have to let her. You are not able to fix it for her. In the meantime, minimize this for yourself, think, well, sometimes people are weird....

Good luck.
 
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