It all sounds so sensible until you really think about it.

Dear Amy: My ex-husband was physically abusive. I left him when our daughter was an infant. We divorced, and I had sole custody.

When my daughter was 13, I moved out of state. She chose to live with her father when I moved.

After moving in with him, she rebuffed my attempts to maintain a relationship. We had no contact for years until recently. In the years there was no contact, I mourned and buried her as though she had died.

My daughter is now in her late 20s and is a new mother.

She reached out to me, while pregnant, and now sends me pictures of my grandson. I have asked to visit on multiple occasions. She has declined or given vague responses as to why I shouldn’t.

I recently discovered she took my grandson to meet her father and allowed her stepmother to help her after she delivered the baby. My offers to do the same were rejected.

Amy, it hurts me deeply that my daughter has treated me this way.

I’ve accepted that I may never see her again. I’ve made peace with it.

I am at a point that I want to go no-contact with her. She never calls and will only text pictures of my grandson. My calls to her usually go unanswered. I feel like blocking her texts and moving on.

I know this would also mean not knowing my grandson, but feel I have no choice, given his mom’s behavior.

What would you say?

— Mistreated Mom

Mistreated Mom: I’d like to hold a mirror up to your narrative:

Your husband was so abusive that you left him and raised your daughter alone.

After establishing a (presumably) stable home life with her, you left the state when she was a young teenager. Given that she already had a home, school routine and friends in her hometown, she chose to stay.

Most teens offered this option would make the same choice, but it is a heartbreaking choice for you to have imposed upon her.

You left her in the care of someone who was too frightening for you to live with.

Your ex might have been emotionally coercing her to cut contact with you. Or she was furious, immature, and acting out. Teens do that.

And so, instead of continuing to try, you buried and mourned her.

Once she was out of her father’s orbit, contact with you resumed.

She took her baby to meet her father because he is the parent she knows best. And she knows him best because of the choice you made.

I’d like you to imagine what might happen if you always responded to her texts with loving enthusiasm, instead of retreating to your own wounded feelings.

What I’m suggesting is that you should make a choice to be the wise, kind, gentle, mature mother and grandmother your daughter deserves to have.

You two have a lot of ground to cover, but I hope you won’t give up. (c) Ask Amy

Huh. Ask Amy’s a genius. What the freak was this letter writer thinking when she left the state and deposited her kid with a physical abuser?! Like first off, maybe don’t leave the state. Second off, if you must, then make it clear that your teenager has to come with you. But it all seems strange to me.

I had sole custody.

Well then how did the daughter even know her dad before she was a teenager? I’ll assume that the letter writer was generous with custody allowances prior to the move, and thus the daughter had a basic relationship with her dad prior to her decision to live with him at thirteen.

Are we sure this guy is physically abusive? I ask because the letter writer was  okay leaving her young teenager with him when she (the letter writer) moved out of state?!?! Who does that? Physical abuse should never be tolerated or permitted to happen. But this mother just left her kid with her ex? No worries? No protective instinct?

When my daughter was 13, I moved out of state. She chose to live with her father when I moved.

She chose? And that decision was respected? If the letter writer had full custody, then she could’ve insisted that her daughter stay with her. (I think.) If leaving state lines became a source of withholding the teenager from her dad (sometimes you’re not supposed to move out of state when you’re sharing custody), then the obvious solution would’ve been to have stayed in the same state. I just can’t understand if the courts gave the teenager the choice, or if her mom did. But with sole custody, it sounds as if it was the mom who rescinded custody, and it sounds as if she’d have been free to leave the state without reneging on any custody arrangement (since her ex-husband had zero custody in the first place).

It kind of seems as if the letter writer is some sort of drama queen who wants to play the victim here. (And calling her ex-husband physically abusive didn’t serve her cause as much as she thought it would.) But her actions were unthinkable. I don’t care how much you enjoy being the victim–you shouldn’t foist a young teenager on an abuser and wash your hands of it. Good grief.

And she somehow shifts the blame everywhere but on herself. Her daughter “chose” to live with her dad, she tells us.

After moving in with him, she rebuffed my attempts to maintain a relationship.

Okay. Any chance she was being physically abused? Buh-doink. Broadly speaking, that’s what happens when you leave your kid with an abuser. But all the letter writer cared about was that her daughter became distant?!

We had no contact for years until recently. In the years there was no contact, I mourned and buried her as though she had died.

If I’d been the mother of a teenager who went silent while living with an abuser, I’d break the doors down and rescue the poor kid. I wouldn’t mourn her as though she had died. This is cringeworthy. What did the mom think would happen? I’m sort of glad that Ask Amy told her off.

Dear Amy: I have two wonderful grandchildren who occasionally spend Saturday nights with me.

My daughter (their mom) knows that I go to church on Sundays. I decided to bring my grandchildren with me because I want to raise them in my faith, the way I raised my daughter.

Now, my daughter is angry with me because I did this.

Who is right?

— Upset Grandmother

Upset Grandmother: You don’t have the right to introduce your grandchildren into your faith practice without their parents’ permission.

On the other hand, your daughter knows you go to church. I’m assuming she knows what time you go to church.

Because she doesn’t want her children having this experience, she should pick them up before you leave the house on Sundays.

After the last letter, this seems innocuous by comparison. I’ll give the grandmother that.

I want to raise them in my faith, the way I raised my daughter.

Hmm. But grandparents don’t (generally) raise their grandkids unless the parents are out of the picture. The job of a grandparent isn’t to raise the kids. It’s to provide a stable and nourishing environment that supports the goals of the kids’ parents. I’m sure I’d have a conversation along the lines of, “In which faith are you raising your kids?” before I’d just take them to church.

Still, though, it’s church. I think it would depend. Most churches are pretty positive. I’ve been to some where there was ranting and railing against gay people, which was appalling to me. Um, maybe don’t preach if you’re homophobic. If the grandmother left that little detail out of her letter, then I’m not remotely in her corner. Because it’s possible that her adult daughter had bad experiences with the faith and didn’t want her kids to suffer the same. So when you look at it like that, the grandmother’s choice seems pretty bad, not to mention clueless, since I’m sure her daughter has commented over the years about the bigoted church, or whatever.

But the grandmother was in the wrong, which we can see from her belief that she’s raising the kids. It would be more harmless if she’d said something like, “I took them to church with me because I go regularly. I had no clue their mother would mind. I was under the impression she’d be okay with it.” But instead we have the assertion that the letter writer’s doing the raising, which is odd and rather presumptuous.

*****

Meanwhile, Annie Lane’s column today was a repeat from October 25, 2020. (I never forget an advice column. I’m weird like that.) Thus far, they’re not acknowledging that it’s a repeat. As I’ve done in the past, I commented at Arcamax. It might get an admission of such.

4 thoughts on “It all sounds so sensible until you really think about it.

  1. That’s weird that the second letter writer feels inclined to raise the grandkids in her faith. It would be one thing to haul them along to church because that’s where Grandma happens to be going, but this letter sounds like she’s trying to stick them in Sunday school or something like that.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think that first one is the the first time I’ve agreed with Ask Amy’s response! The second one, it’s not the grandmothers place to decide, she should either get her daughters permission to take the kids to church with her or let her know they need to be collected at an earlier time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great points!! Yeah, Ask Amy is brilliant at reframing things! I’d definitely call it her specialty!! And yeah, that lady’s narration was rather frightening! She just left her teenager with an abuser?! Gracious saints. I agree about church, especially since the grandmother did it with deliberate intent rather than, like, wrongly assuming her daughter wouldn’t mind or that it wasn’t a huge deal!! thanks for commenting!

      Liked by 1 person

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