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Tamara
Tamara, Counselor & Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1073
Experience:  20+ yrs Private Practice; Cert. Master Therapist; National Board Certified; APA Board Certified
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Our 36 year old Ph.D clinical psychologist has estranged herself

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<p>Our 36 year old Ph.D clinical psychologist daughter has estranged herself from us for about 8 years. We have tried everything to open up communication. She refuses to talk about anything. We have consulted with psychologists, psychiatrists, offered joint therapy. She was pleasant with us on 4 family occasions---3 grandparents' funerals, her sister's wedding, in the past 8 years. Now we have learned she is engaged and will marry in Sept. We have heard she will not invite us to her wedding. As her mother I do not know how I can get through this. I just sent her a note offering a large amount of money to help with her wedding expenses. Do you know if there is anything more that I can do?</p><p>The only time she has indicated what has upset her is that she says our family is "sick" due to her father's a)bipolar condition (father is a medical doctor, his bipolar condition has been stable for many, many years and was never out of control until 10 years ago),  b) his addictions disorder (he has been successful for 10 years in 12-step program) and c)the fact that he betrayed our family with an affair (this seemed to be the catalyst for the estrangement) and her disappointment that I didn't leave him. I believe she sees me as having been the consummate enabler. (My husband and I went to a psychologist for 2 years and also saw another therapist, both of whom suggested that we not separate because of our long history together and "quality companionship" that we have.) We will have our 38th anniversary this year.</p><p>When she began her 5-year PhD program she became quite strong with her new role as psychologist----(I am also a trained therapist). She seemed to like to have some authority. This was fine with me because for too long I felt she didn't assert herself as much as she could have.</p><p>This daughter was the quintessential "golden girl"-----very bright, very talented, graduate of prominent prep school, an Ivy League graduate. When she was in her third year of college she was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction and suffered major depressions with this. She was found to have partial complex seizure activity. The CFIDS was probably brought on from a bout of encephalitis that went undiagnosed.  She had always been atlruistic to a fault and even when sick, was unable to put herself first, which often made her physically weaker. </p><p>What I feared in the past years, and to which I referenced with her, was that this "estrangement" would materialize into something of monstrous proportions and would become insurmountable. I think this has come to fruition.</p><p>My younger daughter is conflicted. She loves her sister but hates what she has done to the family. My mother, her grandmother, has appealed to her to end this. Now it is almost a matter of pride for my daughter to maintain her estrangement stance.</p><p>Two years ago she came up to me the day after her sister's wedding and said, "everything is okay, everything is now okay." That lasted for 2 months when I got another letter from her saying she wanted to resume "no contact."  I have tried to honor her need to remain distant over the years and to maintain the dignity that she has requested and at most, I might have reached out three times a year----at holidays, with an email or card or letter. </p><p>My husband has removed her from his thinking. He says enough is enough. He gets upset seeing me so upset. He says he doesn't care if he doesn't attend her wedding.</p><p>We poured love and attention into raising our children. People told us we were wonderful parents and raised incredibly great kids. They were our whole life. They were given so much of our time and attention, as well as were given huge opportunities to become who they are today. Both daughters are very successful in their careers. They were kids who never asked for much, who showed much love and respect for us. They LIKED us! We had fun during their growing up years! NOBODY who knows us and who knows our daughter can believe she has done this. </p>
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Tamara replied 5 years ago.

Tamara :

Hi. Welcome to JustAnswer. I'm pleased to try to help you today.

Tamara and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I never got an answer!
Expert:  Tamara replied 5 years ago.
Sorry, I was having trouble with the system when trying to answer you.

I'm sorry that you are having these problems with your daughter. I know, as a mother, that this is very hurtful and depressing. However, as a therapist, you also know that you can't allow your happiness and sense of worth to be determined by your daughter. And that's what you are doing. You made the decision to stay with your husband and your daughter doesn't respect you for it. That's her choice - just like it was your choice to stay with him. It would be nice if she were mature enough to accept your choices and not feel the need to shut you out of her life... but that's not the case. So I think you are going to need to work on accepting that your daughter is an adult and has the right to make decisions for herself, just as you do. It's hurtful, and it's not fair. But you can't spend your time focusing on trying to get her approval. Move on with your life, and hopefully your daughter will come around some day.

Best wishes, and please let me know if I can answer any further questions. Tamara
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Where is the written answer? Am I missing something here?

I am requesting someone with either a Ph.D. in clinical psychology or a psychiatrist with an M.D. degree.

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