A Letter to Helen Jones, Founder of APSGO
I do know that it is my attitude in the whole situation that should change but I am having a really hard time. Here is some background. Our daughter is now 40. She has struggled since she was 20 with alcohol and drug issues. Went into rehab many times but has never finished a treatment. At 30 she finally got clean, got married and we thought things were good. She had a baby and she started drinking heavily, she went back on drugs. Today’s situation is of course, all the denial, and the lies. My husband and I are having a hard time knowing what to say, what not to say, etc. I worry all the time. Our granddaughter is now 3 1/2 and is a beautiful little girl. Her husband is still with her, but he has dealt with it by “totally not caring anymore” and just organizing how things are okay for the little one. She constantly calls me to pick up her daughter at the baby-sitters and I always went but now I have started to say no,
My husband and I are no longer young, and he is angry and blames me for having spoiled her as a child. We have sons who are married with children, so we have other grandchildren. The boys are doing well, and we have a good relationship with them. Her brothers never see her and when they do, they have a hard time also. The only time she calls is if she wants something. She is very abusive if I do not do what she wants. I worry too about my little granddaughter. What kind of life is it for her to grow up with a mother who yells every time she doesn’t get what she wants?
Can you email me something to help me cope?
You can do more than just cope; you can change the way things are and you can help your daughter. If you are ready to change how you do things, you can have a profound effect on your own feelings and on your family and even your daughter. You are correct in understanding that you cannot control what she does. This is wonderful news because it relieves you of the burden of trying to change her behaviour and you can concentrate on those things you can control and in doing so actually make a difference. To be blunt, if you want to change how you feel and how people treat you, change what you do.
Here are some ways that can have a profound effect on you and your whole family:
Be supportive as much as you can toward your son in law. Build a confident, loving, and fun relationship with your granddaughter. Be honest with her if she asks questions about her mother. Without blame or criticism, let her know that you love her mother. As she gets older this will be especially important. She will have the opportunity to build a healthy relationship with her mother from you.
Your daughter will benefit from a confident and loving parent. Change your approach to her calls. If they are abusive you can delay or even stop answering them. If she leaves messages which are abusive, you need not reply to them. When you do speak, avoid giving advice or commenting on her behaviour. She already knows what she should be doing. When you comment on her behaviour, she is free to ignore it and you lose credibility.
Try new things and see how your changing behaviour and mood not only affect you but also others. Do not explain your activities even if as may happen, those around you are critical. By not allowing yourself to be bullied by your daughter, you can have a profound and positive effect on everyone. Do not put any trust in any promises she may make. Be confident and happy. For now, keep contact to a minimum.
You can email me any time.