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(The Atlantic)   "My father and my grandmother haven't spoken in three decades. Is there a way I can help them reconcile their estrangement?"   (theatlantic.com) divider line
    More: Awkward, Family, abusive parent, own child, similar predicament, Grandparent-grandkid relationships, medical advice, Dear Nicole, much pain  
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397 clicks; posted to Discussion » on 26 May 2020 at 6:10 AM (6 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook



31 Comments     (+0 »)
 
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2020-05-26 6:20:29 AM  
Maybe they stopped talking because of you, so butting in isn't going to help.
 
2020-05-26 6:39:35 AM  
If estrangement could be fixed by a third party, we'd have world peace and a colony on Mars by now.
 
2020-05-26 6:44:43 AM  
Maybe your dad is the ahole depending on why they are no longer talking and now he isn't talking to his brother that took his mom in either. I would like to know the story behind the falling out could help explain it better.
 
2020-05-26 6:47:17 AM  
It's not about you. Stay the f*ck out of it.

/ amazing how many of life's dilemmas this applies to
 
2020-05-26 7:27:49 AM  
Fix the cable?
 
2020-05-26 7:31:29 AM  
Is it important to you for any reason other than your own desires? What problem would it solve?
 
2020-05-26 7:45:24 AM  

FatherDale: Is it important to you for any reason other than your own desires? What problem would it solve?



Sub-head of TFA is "I want to meet her before she dies".  So no, there is no other reason than that.
 
2020-05-26 7:45:44 AM  
TFA doesn't mention reconciliation...

You're an adult.

If dad melts down, explain that he can continue to hate her as much as he wants, but it's his problem, not yours.
Anyway, what is he afraid of , if he raised you right and she really is a witch?

dad seems to be a bit of a c*nt.
 
2020-05-26 8:02:10 AM  
I cut my sister out of my life after she went full racist in recent years, and my initial attempts at education failed.

This caused my elderly dad stress, until I reminded him that he cut his sister out of his life back in 1950, because she had the gall to get pregnant out of wedlock.

Include, or exclude people from your life based on your own values/thoughts/experiences, don't expect or trust anyone else to think for you.
 
2020-05-26 8:25:41 AM  
I think you already know the answer to your question, so let me help you with the part that's getting in the way of your acting on it. You sound clear about wanting to cultivate relationships with your extended family, but you're struggling to embrace the fact that, as an adult, you're free to choose how to live your life.

That's pretty lousy advice.  The problem here isn't that the writer, Nicole, is indecisive or unsure whether she can choose how to live her life.  That's a problem, to be sure, but the more immediate problem is that dad has proven that he holds grudges -- really, really holds them for a long, long time.  The danger, then, is that dad will find out that his daughter visited his mother and brother - both of whom he has cut off from his life - and he'll retaliate by cutting her off as well.  The first decision that Nicole needs to make is whether visiting her grandmother is worth the risk of alienating her father for the rest of his life.

Nicole isn't indecisive about visiting grandma because she's afraid of grandma.  She's indecisive because she's afraid of how her dad will react.  The advice, therefore, should have been: "ask your father."  If he says "go ahead and visit your horrible monster grandmother," then go for it.  If he says "you visit that woman and I'll never speak to you again," then you now have a clear choice to make.  And there's no third option - if you visit grandma you can be absolutely certain that word will get back to your father.
 
2020-05-26 8:30:44 AM  
It sounds like the apple (Dad) didn't fall far from the tree (Grandma) in the controlling bastard department.

Be prepared to get cut off if you go through with this. Based on TFA, you are probably better off as an orphan anyway.
 
2020-05-26 8:53:21 AM  
No.
 
2020-05-26 9:17:55 AM  
Short answer: no.
Long answer: noooooooooooooooooooo.
 
2020-05-26 9:20:51 AM  
Do you love your father? Do you want to be estranged from him? Then by all means go see your grandmother while pretending you're visiting the rest of the family. Then you'll have yet another reason to whine to your therapist.
 
2020-05-26 9:25:49 AM  
I grew up with a kid (neighbor) that cut his parents completely out of his life. The parents were relatively strict, but very much had his best interests at heart. He rebelled in a stupid self destructive way (he failed out of college to spite them). They paid for everything....they just wanted him to get an education and work to support himself.

As an adult, his parents offered endless support (offered money to start a business, bought him a car so he could get to work, paid rent when he fell flat, down payment on a house for his family, fully paid college fund for his kids, a trust for the kids they won't learn about until they're 35...)...but he continues to scream at them if they try to make contact. His grandfather (a delightful old man that left his horse farm to the immigrant couple that tended the land) died after a long illness...he never even acknowledged the inheritance (though he quickly cashed the check) His dad died after a protracted illness...he never called.

His mom has met the grand kids once...when his family showed up on the doorstep broke and homeless.

I very much hope those kids are smart enough to make contact with grandma...protracted fights are just stupid...especially one that spans generations.
 
2020-05-26 10:17:45 AM  
My dad was like that with his birth mother. Finally made contact with her maybe 15 years before she died. I never met her.
 
2020-05-26 11:04:06 AM  
If her father is so vindictive as to cut her out of his life if she sees her grandmother, then that says a lot of about his character.
 
2020-05-26 11:22:46 AM  
I haven't seen or spoken to my father in over 25 years.  If my kid wants to meet that sack of shiat, that's their problem, not mine
 
2020-05-26 11:42:10 AM  
My dad hated his parents. He moved in with his aunt and uncle and considered them his parents.  His dad died before I was born but his mother lived until I was 16.  When she was in the hospital dying she begged her sister (father's aunt he lived with) to bring me because we never met. My father refused. Aunt didn't drive.  My mother wouldn't go against her husband.
So my grandmother died 10 miles from me without ever meeting me.
I have regrets. I got my license 2 weeks after her death and maybe I could have managed to get there if she had lasted. I get why my dad hated her but I wish I had met her. I don't even know where she is buried. I never knew my father's father's first name. Everyone I might ask is dead. I have no children or siblings so it doesn't matter to anyone but me.
 
2020-05-26 12:16:37 PM  

Spawn_of_Cthulhu: I never knew my father's father's first name. Everyone I might ask is dead. I have no children or siblings so it doesn't matter to anyone but me.


This is why Ancestry.com et al exists (or you could do it the hard way manually searching public records).
 
2020-05-26 12:51:20 PM  

Geotpf: Spawn_of_Cthulhu: I never knew my father's father's first name. Everyone I might ask is dead. I have no children or siblings so it doesn't matter to anyone but me.

This is why Ancestry.com et al exists (or you could do it the hard way manually searching public records).


I did try. I think my grandfather's name might have been Salvatore but there are several who might be him--he died in the 60s, possibly of cancer? None link to my grandmother, though (and I thought I knew her name and I was wrong about that).
There is absolutely no one I can ask. Only child of 2 only children, parents dead, grandparents dead, surrogate grandparents dead.
If Papa Cthulhu knows my human history He ain't telling.
 
2020-05-26 1:27:38 PM  
if your farther and grandmother haven't spoken in three decades you should get them to a speech pathologist and hope it's not hereditary or an environmental issue to which you were exposed

/what article
 
2020-05-26 1:28:12 PM  
Haven't spoken? Try the unmute button.
Replace batteries in their hearing aids?
Tie the string back together between the tin cans?
 
2020-05-26 1:45:43 PM  
cdn.quotesgram.comView Full Size
 
2020-05-26 4:32:24 PM  

Spawn_of_Cthulhu: My dad hated his parents. He moved in with his aunt and uncle and considered them his parents.  His dad died before I was born but his mother lived until I was 16.  When she was in the hospital dying she begged her sister (father's aunt he lived with) to bring me because we never met. My father refused. Aunt didn't drive.  My mother wouldn't go against her husband.
So my grandmother died 10 miles from me without ever meeting me.
I have regrets. I got my license 2 weeks after her death and maybe I could have managed to get there if she had lasted. I get why my dad hated her but I wish I had met her. I don't even know where she is buried. I never knew my father's father's first name. Everyone I might ask is dead. I have no children or siblings so it doesn't matter to anyone but me.


I don't know your father's story, so I will tell you mine and you can use that. My mother died in a car accident 2 months before my 4th birthday. My widowed father remarried within 3 months of her death and his new wife erased all physical evidence of my mother to the point of making me throw away her diary when I was 6-7 years old and just learning to read (she found out because I was struggling to understand what turned out to be short hand).

She brought with her a daughter that was 8 years older than me who immediately started sexually and physically abusing me. I suffered 4 years of torture by this girl and then she went to live with her biological father. What I did not know until 2 years ago was that my parents knew of the sexual abuse, and that is why she was sent to live with her biological father. My "step-mother" turned bitter at losing her biological daughter and hated me for it. She beat me viciously daily and always framed it as me acting out, and that she loved me and it was for my own good. That sort of abuse and punishment is some serious mind warping effects on children, and now at the same age with kids they were when I was a kid I am in disbelief at the way I was treated.

And then at 16 I was kicked out of the house for accidentally tearing a small hole in the sleeve of a jacked of my step-mother. At 16 years old to be placed outside of the only tribe you knew is just unspeakable. It destroyed who I am.

I spent 20 years on the edge of the family tribe trying to get back into the circle and never able to break back in. Then 2 years ago when I was given that death-bed confession of my step-mother - That she hated me because I was the reason she lost her biological daughter - was too much to take. Le me format this shiat for effect: I was hated because I was the victim of a sexual predator. So, after learning that - fark my father for eternity, fark him with a million mile dick that never stop farking him. The knowledge that he will never meet his grandchildren is the only thing that helps me sleep at night because the person they made only finds comfort in bitterness.

Your mother probably did something to your son that your father cannot get past. If he wont tell you it is probably sexual in nature and wrapped up with that warm blanket of shame that keeps victims silent until they break.
 
2020-05-26 4:49:43 PM  

Tannax: Spawn_of_Cthulhu: My dad hated his parents. He moved in with his aunt and uncle and considered them his parents.  His dad died before I was born but his mother lived until I was 16.  When she was in the hospital dying she begged her sister (father's aunt he lived with) to bring me because we never met. My father refused. Aunt didn't drive.  My mother wouldn't go against her husband.
So my grandmother died 10 miles from me without ever meeting me.
I have regrets. I got my license 2 weeks after her death and maybe I could have managed to get there if she had lasted. I get why my dad hated her but I wish I had met her. I don't even know where she is buried. I never knew my father's father's first name. Everyone I might ask is dead. I have no children or siblings so it doesn't matter to anyone but me.

I don't know your father's story, so I will tell you mine and you can use that. My mother died in a car accident 2 months before my 4th birthday. My widowed father remarried within 3 months of her death and his new wife erased all physical evidence of my mother to the point of making me throw away her diary when I was 6-7 years old and just learning to read (she found out because I was struggling to understand what turned out to be short hand).

She brought with her a daughter that was 8 years older than me who immediately started sexually and physically abusing me. I suffered 4 years of torture by this girl and then she went to live with her biological father. What I did not know until 2 years ago was that my parents knew of the sexual abuse, and that is why she was sent to live with her biological father. My "step-mother" turned bitter at losing her biological daughter and hated me for it. She beat me viciously daily and always framed it as me acting out, and that she loved me and it was for my own good. That sort of abuse and punishment is some serious mind warping effects on children, and now at the same age with kids they were when I was a kid I am in disbelief at the way I was treated.

And then at 16 I was kicked out of the house for accidentally tearing a small hole in the sleeve of a jacked of my step-mother. At 16 years old to be placed outside of the only tribe you knew is just unspeakable. It destroyed who I am.

I spent 20 years on the edge of the family tribe trying to get back into the circle and never able to break back in. Then 2 years ago when I was given that death-bed confession of my step-mother - That she hated me because I was the reason she lost her biological daughter - was too much to take. Le me format this shiat for effect: I was hated because I was the victim of a sexual predator. So, after learning that - fark my father for eternity, fark him with a million mile dick that never stop farking him. The knowledge that he will never meet his grandchildren is the only thing that helps me sleep at night because the person they made only finds comfort in bitterness.

Your mother probably did something to your son that your father cannot get past. If he wont tell you it is probably sexual in nature and wrapped up with that warm blanket of shame that keeps victims silent until they break.


My father's parents were dirt poor. No electricity or plumbing poor. The father was a drunk, the mother mentally ill somehow, and also a hoarder. I'm pretty sure my dad was beaten. His aunt used to take him home (basically kidnap him) to care for him but it wasn't legal and when her sister came for my dad, which she always did eventually, my great aunt had to give him back.  My dad said he would cry and beg and scream not to have to go back there. When he was 18 he refused to go back. I don't know if he ever saw his parents again.
When he was dying of Alzheimer's and MRSA he didn't call for his mother, he called for his aunt. He didn't know who I was by then.
 
2020-05-26 5:02:43 PM  

Tannax: Spawn_of_Cthulhu: My dad hated his parents. He moved in with his aunt and uncle and considered them his parents.  His dad died before I was born but his mother lived until I was 16.  When she was in the hospital dying she begged her sister (father's aunt he lived with) to bring me because we never met. My father refused. Aunt didn't drive.  My mother wouldn't go against her husband.
So my grandmother died 10 miles from me without ever meeting me.
I have regrets. I got my license 2 weeks after her death and maybe I could have managed to get there if she had lasted. I get why my dad hated her but I wish I had met her. I don't even know where she is buried. I never knew my father's father's first name. Everyone I might ask is dead. I have no children or siblings so it doesn't matter to anyone but me.

I don't know your father's story, so I will tell you mine and you can use that. My mother died in a car accident 2 months before my 4th birthday. My widowed father remarried within 3 months of her death and his new wife erased all physical evidence of my mother to the point of making me throw away her diary when I was 6-7 years old and just learning to read (she found out because I was struggling to understand what turned out to be short hand).

She brought with her a daughter that was 8 years older than me who immediately started sexually and physically abusing me. I suffered 4 years of torture by this girl and then she went to live with her biological father. What I did not know until 2 years ago was that my parents knew of the sexual abuse, and that is why she was sent to live with her biological father. My "step-mother" turned bitter at losing her biological daughter and hated me for it. She beat me viciously daily and always framed it as me acting out, and that she loved me and it was for my own good. That sort of abuse and punishment is some serious mind warping effects on children, and now at the same age with kids they were when I was a kid I am in disbelief at th ...


Wow, just wow.  I think all I can say is that some people suck and I'm sorry for being in the same universe as people like your step mother.  I can't even begin to relate to people who treat their family this way.
 
2020-05-26 5:35:35 PM  

Tannax: ...My widowed father remarried within 3 months of her death and his new wife erased all physical evidence of my mother


So sorry all that happened to you - no kid, no anyone, deserves that kind of treatment.

And so odd for you as a 4 yr old to have your father remarry so quickly, and to a female that wanted to erase his previous life with your Mom.
As an adult, did you come to wonder about the timing of it all?
 
2020-05-26 5:38:08 PM  

Spawn_of_Cthulhu: Geotpf: Spawn_of_Cthulhu: I never knew my father's father's first name. Everyone I might ask is dead. I have no children or siblings so it doesn't matter to anyone but me.

This is why Ancestry.com et al exists (or you could do it the hard way manually searching public records).

I did try. I think my grandfather's name might have been Salvatore but there are several who might be him--he died in the 60s, possibly of cancer? None link to my grandmother, though (and I thought I knew her name and I was wrong about that).
There is absolutely no one I can ask. Only child of 2 only children, parents dead, grandparents dead, surrogate grandparents dead.
If Papa Cthulhu knows my human history He ain't telling.



Have you tried https://www.findagrave.com? Yes, I'm serious. Apparently people go around to cemeteries to take pics of headstones. They also upload the text so you can search.

If you can narrow down where your family members are buried, you might be able to find a lead.
 
2020-05-26 6:00:10 PM  

nanim: Tannax: ...My widowed father remarried within 3 months of her death and his new wife erased all physical evidence of my mother

So sorry all that happened to you - no kid, no anyone, deserves that kind of treatment.

And so odd for you as a 4 yr old to have your father remarry so quickly, and to a female that wanted to erase his previous life with your Mom.
As an adult, did you come to wonder about the timing of it all?


Not only did he remarry very soon, they got engaged on their very first date. It wasn't a case of foul play, my parents went out on an Anniversary date and a drunk driver hit them head on on the way home. I think the motive for remarrying was "I have 4 children ages 1,3,5,6 and need a mother to care for them."

The worst part is that my mother's family wanted to adopt us and would have saved me from a incredibly dark timeline had they been successful.
 
2020-05-26 10:30:34 PM  
I can top that premise. We've been doing genealogy and discovered that my grandpa had a sister we never met or even heard of. Fark: she died in 1998. Forty years after he died.

I hear these stories of family estrangement and marvel: who gets along with their family?
 
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