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Readers Respond: Grandparents Denied Contact With Grandchildren Share Their Strategies

Responses: 160

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No one knows the pain of being denied contact with grandchildren like another estranged grandparent. The anger, confusion and sadness can take a toll on estranged grandparents unless one develops appropriate coping strategies. If you have lived through the pain of separation from grandchildren, tell other grandparents how you have coped.

Note from Susan: I have allowed some posts from parents on this site, in the hope that the two sides -- parents and grandparents -- could learn from each other. Soon, however, the posts became combative and vitriolic. Going forward, posts that do not add something meaningful to the dialogue will not be published.

Share Your Experience

Broken Heart

Hello Grandparent, I have 3 adult children. My oldest daughter when she was young had tantrums. When she was older, she'd get upset with me a lot, and when I divorced, she was 20 years old. Now she's 34. She and my almost 5-year-old grandson live 7 minutes away. She won't bring him to see me. She always makes excuses. I too have intense pain, especially on the weekends when I'm not at work. Help, please! What do I do? Where do I go? Is there a support group? My children's dad remarried, and the woman never had children of her own. She along with her husband take care of my grandson. Once in a great while I see my grand-son at an occasion. The step-grandma has my grandson all the time. My daughter has allowed that. My daughter is pregnant now, and her second little boy is due Jan. 14. I fight against depression and anxiety all the time and refuse to take a lot of medication. Thank you, grandparents, for listening : )
—Guest Melinda

Letting Go

My first and only grandchild just turned one, and I am not allowed to see her. You must think that I am an alcoholic, drug addict or just plain horrible. I do not tell people I meet I have a grandchild because this is what they think of you. I thought my son would bring her over for even 10 minutes so that I can see her and give her birthday presents. I have not seen her in 6 months even though she lives 15 minutes from me. I just found out that her mother told my son he can't bring her over to see me or she will throw him out. This has just torn me apart. I only got to see her a few times, and the pain intense. I do not know how people can get through this, especially if they had relationships. I have no hope and have decided to let her go. I did not send the present, and my son was shocked. He thinks I am a good mom and would be a good grandmother, but he is put in the middle. I feel my son has thrown me under the bus. How do I get over this?
—Guest Lisa

Haven't Seen Grandkids in 8 Months

I am so glad I found this site. I haven't seen my grandkids in 8 months. My daughter and her spineless husband have totally cut off my husband and I and the other grandparents. My daughter had a mental break in January, and I went all the way to VA from LA and got her and let her stay with me. CPS took her kids when this happened, and she has somehow convinced herself in her sick mind that me and the other grandmother called CPS and had them taken away. She won't even have anything to do with my 15-year-old daughter, her half sister. We have all called and apologized (for nothing, we have done nothing) and she just curses us out. She and hubby have changed phone numbers, and there is no way to get in touch with them except mail and I know that's a total waste.
—Guest sadmeme

Grandparents Denied Contact

We have not be able to be real grandparents since my granddaughter was born April 2013. I was told that I will not be able to babysit her. I have not been able to feed her, change her diaper or do anything for her. The toys and clothes I have given her I have never seen again. I was told they were not good enough or not the right color. We were told no pictures with her, and we are not allowed to go to her when we see her and to hold her. But my daughter-in-law's mother gets to watch her, and they post all the things her mom does for her and pictures of her family with her on Facebook. They live with her parents. (My son is 34 and she is 28.) My son has a good job. We never see them. They live six miles away from us and will not come to our house because we told them how this has hurt us. So we are the bad guys because we are not okay with the way we are treated. This has hurt the whole family because even my other children are treated like this. It has been so hard for us. Only God has helped us going through this.
—Guest Hurtinginfl.

Tired of Games

I grew up with parents who made sure I got to see both of my grandparents all the time, which gave me great respect for the elderly. Now as a Grammy of 2, from my stepdaughter who has had a dysfunctional, manipulative relationship with her mother, I see all the patterns of her childhood being brought on to her children (SAD). My husband and I don't see the youngest child because his dad is a narcissistic ass. Lucky my husband and I do see the other one, who is 3 years old, during her dad's visitation because her father was brought up with the same values as I was. The relationship we have with the daughter (step) consists of lies, manipulation, being self-centered, using the children as leverage to get her needs met -- all the patterns her mother used when she was growing up. I'm not playing anymore, and I feel healthy that I distance myself from that dysfunction. I sure miss the grandkids, but it is what it is.
—Guest grammy

If She Wasn't My Child I'd hate Her

Just read it here. It's the outline, or Reader's Digest version. http://happysorrow.thoughts.com/posts/the-lie-that-destroyed-the-outline
—Guest Lindsay

So Happy I Can Help

When I came back to this site to review new posts, I see that I personally helped someone feel better about their situation, and that truly warms my heart. I can honestly say that even though my experiences have been negative bordering on traumatic, I wouldn't change it. I have learned how to take the high road in all trying situations, which has made me wiser from the experience. I'm so glad that I could brighten another grandmother's day. We all need to stick together. Love your grandchildren unconditionally, and never refuse a chance to have time with them. It may not be on your terms, but if you could choose 3 times a month, 3 hours each of those days over zero days and zero hours? Take that time! You never know, it may gradually increase with time. Mine did.
—Guest devastatedmimi

Seems All Too Common

I too have been kept at arm's length. My son's wife thinks only her family counts. I am "his"mother, and that makes me the one on the outside looking in. I am allowed minor contact. It hurts. But it's common that the daughter-in-law puts her husband's mother off to the side, not caring that she is equally interested in her grandchildren, loves them just as much and would love to have the same bond that she gives her own mother and family. But I have come to believe it's best to detach enough that the pain doesn't wear you down. It is what it is. And hurting and living in pain won't make it better.... You have to accept it. And detach. If your daughter-in-law never wanted a bond with you, you can be sure she will see no real value in her child having one with you either.
—Guest mary

To All Grandparents Missing Their Grands

Maybe today ... we can think of something good. Something that eases the pain of missing our grandchildren. It's not easy, I know. Even TV commercials showing grandparent and grandchild can be painful. But today we must all focus on the things we have, not so much on what we have lost. It will give you strength in faith. Faith that someday ... just maybe ... our grandchildren will be back in our lives. Good does come to those with patience. I hug you all.
—GramaSue11

Thank you, Devastated Mimi

I feel stronger this morning with your response. I thank you dearly and will use this for continued strength when my son arrives next week with my granddaughter. We did have a great bond, and I'm sure with mom not around, she will remember all the good times she had when she visited me and her poppy. Mom has her scared of us, but I now truly believe ... a heart can never forget love. It's been almost 4 years since we were a family. She was only 3 when her mom began the horrible stories and began the brainwashing. She is confused, I know, but I know if I speak to her through my heart, it will instill that trust you speak of. I thank you, Mimi.You're an angel. Hugs, GramaSue
—GramaSue11

It Will Come Around, Gramma Sue

You have an older grand that will listen to her mother because mom's word is law. Did you have constant contact with her up until she turned 7? You see, I ask that because if she knew you well enough, eventually she will begin to question her mom about you. Someday mom's story isn't going to add up. Does she stay in contact with her father? If she does, he can convey to her just how much you miss her and if she says anything to the contrary, he can say something like, "Is that so? Because i know for sure that Gramma Sue doesn't feel that way at all. She loves you very, very much and misses you even more. I want you to remember that, no matter what, I'm your daddy and I will never, ever tell you something that isn't true. EVER!" Your son is the key player in this. Even though her mother may tell her these horrible things about you, he must instill a sense of trust with her that may even transcend what her mother is trying to get her to believe. Tell him if he makes a promise, he must never break it.
—Guest devastatedmimi

What Goes Around Comes Around.

I'm a grandma, too. My granddaughter's mother is a narcissist, I believe. She has serious mental issues. She controls and brainwashes my granddaughter terribly. She uses her to gain control in divorce proceedings as well. I am sad to think that a mom can do this and get away with it. CPS was useless in our situation. The judge granted us to be able to see our granddaughter, but now the mom has brainwashed her into thinking we are bad people, and she don't want to see us now. How do you tell a child her mom is wrong? She's only 7. The child's dad, my son, comes thousand of miles to visit, and we so want our family back together. He comes next week. What's worse is not knowing who we can turn to for help. Other then God, of course. So that's what I have done...I've put it in Gods hands and good ole karma. We miss our grandaughter....she is our world.And at one time...we were hers.She adored us so. Dear God....hear us pray.
—Guest Gramma sue

I Miss Her So Much

My daughter and her husband split up. My daughter was living at a place with my granddaughter until her lease was up. My son-in-law was paying the rent for them. He stopped paying rent and took child support on himself. I offered to let my daughter and granddaughter live with me. I walked on eggshells for a month and a half and gave my bedroom to them. We went to court, and I had to testify against my SIL. I didn't want to but had to. That morning it got so bad that she told me to shut up. I reached my boiling point then and there. I told her not to tell me to shut up. My disabled husband made her leave. Now she is keeping my granddaughter from me. I just lost my only son last year, only 26 years old, to a massive heart attack. I can't take much more. Someone please talk to me. My daughter was my best friend, and my grandbaby is my breath that I breathe! So heartbroken!
—Guest sad mawmaw

To All Grandparents and Parents

I have been taking care of my grandchildren for 12 years off and on. It has always been a joy. But as one grandparent pointed out, when you deal with narcissistic people, it is difficult to stand by while they use their children as tools to manipulate your son or daughter. My son was a intelligent man until he got with this woman. Within two weeks she was pregnant. Oh, and did I mention she had a 18-month-old daughter at the time? This woman proceeded to yell at me in public for years. I told my son, yet he did nothing. So one day I met up with her. She yelled at me when I was picking up the kids at a restaurant. I had warned her several times I would be done. I told her this would be the last time I would take care of the kids. I could not deal with her disrespect after all my husband and I were giving them -- gas and groceries, approximately $1500 a month. So I have not seen my grandkids for over 4 months. My son said mean things to his stepdad. All I've asked for is a apology. He refuses.
—Guest Disappointedparent

To GuestMom3

I do understand that I'm not the parent in my situation. I am, however, a parent of a son whose ex tries to control my family by using my grandson to get what she wants. This is what we refer to as a narcissist. I don't think that you know how any of these grandparents parented their children. How can you assume that we ever abused our children? That's so very unfair. What I do see when I read your comment is that YOU were beaten as a child and may have something against your own parents. I have three grown kids that I know I have cut the cord with. But it's them that seem to not realize it. I'm here to support them, but I don't interfere with parenting or relationships. Like I told Abbisunshine, sounds like you may need some kind of counseling .
—Guest devastatedmimi

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Grandparents Denied Contact With Grandchildren Share Their Strategies

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