Advice needed on daughter becoming estranged


Im deperately after some advice on how to deal with my daughter, who is refusing to take my calls, or reply to my emails.

I separated from her mother about 7 years ago, and have had my daughter stay with me 2 days a week since then. Up until almost two years ago I was single (had some relationships, but not long term or serious). IÂm now in a committed permanent relationship, and we are expecting a baby soon.

My relationship with my daughter has been patchy during this time. Sometimes she will engage very happily with us  going out to a restaurant, going to the school formal (a bit like a prom). Other times she will be angry or resentful. This often seems to be due to an issue her mother has. For example, about 18 months ago I approached her mother about her buying out my share of the home my daughter and her mum lived in, so that I could afford a home with my partner. Up until then I paid all mortgage payments, as part of a child support agreement.

My ex had not been able to afford to buy me out earlier on when we separated, but her financial position had improved (she is earning a good professional salary), she has been in a relationship for many years now, and she initially agreed to this  amicably, so I thought. Not long after, she attempted to claim half of all that I had earned since we split up as part of the house settlement, despite us having already agreed upon and divided assets not long after our separation. This degenerated into a bit of a legal battle, with my ex eventually agreeing to buying me out. After this I met my financial obligations to my daughterÂs upbringing by paying an agreed child support amount.

I donÂt want to go on about these financial details too much, as they are not the issue, but realise that there are many women who suffer unfair financial hardship after separation (having put their life on hold for their family), and she is not one of them. In short, she advanced her professional life greatly during our relationship, and was left comfortably off financially and professionally.

For better or worse, I never spoke to my daughter about the legal battle I had with her mother. It became apparent to me that her mother was involving my daughter in it when my daughter said to me "why are you trying to force mum to sell the house", which is her motherÂs interpretation of events (there was never any move to sell the house).

On another occasion I rang my daughter on one of our regular nights to see what time I could pick her up to come and stay. When I rang she was on a train on her way to her grandmothers home. Her mother was going away, and had organised for her to go there, despite that night being a long standing regular night with me. This was a day or two after she (my daughter) had spent a day lingering with us, and seeming to really enjoy her time with me, and also very much enjoy the company of my partner, and had been happily dropped off at her home by my partner while I was at work.

The problem I have at the moment blew up not long after my daughterÂs 18th birthday. It may be related to a couple of events. Firstly, IÂd made it clear to her mother that as my daughter was becoming an adult, I would be discussing support arrangements with her and not her mother. Also, I suspect there is some jealously on the part of my daughter (and possibly her mother) over my involvement in my partnerÂs daughterÂs life. IÂve spoken with my daughter about this, and cleared up some misconceptions (or so I thought) that she had. Apparently not, as just before my birthday, she stopped returning my calls, didnÂt come to my birthday (which was a significant event for me), and has subsequently stopped all contact.

It's really quite trying, as I don't really know why she isn't contacting me, and have no way of understanding what's going on. I'd really appreciate any advice or insights anyone has to offer.

Comments (4)
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Hi dadof3 -

I am so sorry to hear of your situation. I've read a few books recently which may help shed some light on your situation and help you decide which - if any - path you might take in this sad journey at this time.

The first book is written by Joshua Coleman and it is called "When Parents Hurt: Compassionate Strategies When You & Your Grown Child Don't Get Along". It was published in 2007 and is excellent.

The second book is written by Barbara LeBey and it is called "Family Estrangement: How They Begin, How to Mend Them, How to Cope with Them".

I hope these may help you.

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Thanks notwicked, much appreciated! The books sound great, and I'll pop out and try to get a copy. In the meantime, I've been planning to write an email to send to my daughter and my family, as I feel that my feelings get totally lost in it all, she needs to be willing to respond, and potentially compromise a little, rather than everthing being on her terms. Our baby is due to arrive any day now, and don't want this continuing on like it is into that period if possible.

Do you think I'd be better off getting a hold of the books first?

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Tell her you love her and that you can explain when shes ready. Be very patient with her, no force or pressure! She's in a tough spot with her Mom pressuring her. If you pressure, she wont have a no pressure place to go. Her friends may help her to understand who the manipulater is. Yet she will still want to support her mom. Yet she must learn to let her fight her own battles. Give her time to grow. And let her sort out her feelings, with out you in the conflict in her heart. Your e-mails witll keep her informed of the baby and your love. Tell her enough about the house to keep her cognitive awareness real. Thank God for e-mail.

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Notwicked, Just ordered the books you recommended, if you dont mind my asking, did they help with an estrangement you had with a SK ? I m estranged from Bio son and My DH is estranged from his(my SS) Both are 25.Still on good terms with one teenaged SS, he seems to be the only child that accepts the marriage....Coming up on 3rd anniversary ,marriage going great, but SS and BS breaking our hearts...

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