Does anyone have any experience dealing with an adult child rejecting a parent? I've been on this forum for a long time, and hope you don't mind I've created a new username for this post. This is such a complicated story that I don't know where to begin, but suffice to say that DH and his daughter (only child) have been close her whole life--I mean really close. He has always loved her and been there for her and they have always been the best of friends. Whenever she's had any problem, they've spent hours on the phone talking it through--whether it was a work problem, a problem with her mother or a problem with her husband.
From our perspective, the problems began about 6 years ago when she was about 36 years old. She started having some problem with DH, and me also I think, and to this day we really don't know what it is. It started shortly after the birth of her son. She had a lot of criticism about a big job we were doing that was forcing us to not be as available as we had been before that. I love her but she is a self-centered person and to some degree expects the world to revolve around her. This big job went on for a couple of years, but we still got together a couple of times a month. She was very disapproving and critical, wanting us to give up the project, which was selfish and ridiculous. As the situation escalated with her being more and more distant and disapproving, we tried to get to the root of the problem and she refused to talk about it, but continued to express that she had problems with us or her Dad. She began to show her disapproval in ways such as not returning DH's calls. As he had never treated her with such disrespect and refused to allow himself to be treated that way, he reacted by no longer calling her (they are both quite stubborn). That was about a year ago.
Yesterday she told me she no longer has a relationship with her Dad (transplate that to say she doesn't want a relationship) but if I want to be "friends" and if I can handle that, then that would be fine because somehow I'm okay even though he isn't. I am sharing this with you because I'm just so upset about the whole situation and I don't know where to turn. I can see the pain it's causing DH, but what can he do? He can't very well go begging to her for some sort of love or approval. How do you deal with someone you love--particularly a child--that says I don't like you anymore and I'm not going to tell you why and I refuse to talk about it? It's like something out of a bad movie! I still think somehow I'm going to wake up and this nightmare will be over! It would be easier to deal with if he had actually done something to cause the rejection.
We've gone from seeing them several times a month, playing games, barbecuing, watching movies, laughing and playing and loving each other, to complete coldness and nothing. Her husband just goes with the flow, and what else can he do. I don't know the role he plays with contributing to the problem, but I don't think he's a big factor. He has benefited from this in that once she decided to reject her father, then she began to truly bond with her husband, creating an ally, and also he provided the emotional support that her Dad had been providing.
She has seemed terrified of any kind of confrontation or even discussion with her Dad up till now. A couple of years ago she talked to me on the phone a couple of times and said a lot of painful things. Nothing that actually helped us figure out what was going on, but more or less just irrational criticism and disapproval that didn't make a lot of sense. I told her today when it seemed she might vent again that I would no longer allow her to tell me things about her Dad, knowing I would share them with him. I told her it was too painful and unfair to all of us, and that if she had something to say about her Dad she was going to have to say it to him herself.
I do think others have played a role. DH and his daughter have always been so close, and I think others, including the ex-wife, are enjoying seeing their relationship split apart. But the bottom line is she cannot have forgotten how much he has loved her and helped her her whole life. I'm totally baffled by this. Of course the grandson complicates the issue immensely.
I realize this situation is probably far too complicated for you guys to be able to help much, but I needed to get it off my chest, and I also thought maybe someone else may have had some experience with this kind of rejection.
Anyone have any thoughts or experiences that might help me deal with this pain?