My youngest daughter, who is in her early 40s, will not let me see her or my three grandchildren. It’s been a year now. I’ve tried a lot of ways to get through this impasse, but nothing has worked. I respect her need for space, but I am in pain because I have not seen my grandchildren. I don’t know what to do.
Grieve the loss of your expectation. It is natural to want to see your family and to be in their lives. But, right now, that is impossible. So pour your energy into being brutally honest with yourself. What is the reason your daughter gave for refusing a visit? Please don’t say she won’t explain. Her rebuff likely followed a question you did not answer. For example, if your daughter asked: “Why did you leave the kids alone in your house while you went to the store?” And you said something like, “Did they tell you that?” it would be alarming. Dodging and other forms of denial inspire suspicion. She might believe she cannot trust you. Or perhaps your daughter began seeing a psychotherapist and discovered serious issues in her childhood relationship with you. In that case, she is protecting her children from a fear they will experience the same. Then again, it’s possible that your daughter suffers from a mental disorder. Or thinks you do.
Even if you uncover a reason and make amends, your daughter may stand firm in her refusal to see you. Stop trying to change her mind. Transfer your longing to letters. Write to her and to each of your grandchildren every week. Do not mail these letters. Tuck each away in separate boxes. If your daughter changes her mind, the letters will reveal the constancy of your love. If she never changes her mind, give the letters to the children when they reach adulthood.
I work with people in recovery from addiction. It is fulfilling and inspiring, but our management team is problematic. They never reprimand their favorite employees. They promote employees who have little hands-on experience but are steeped in theories. Instead of making decisions, management forms committees, then acts in opposition to the committee’s directives. Anyone who suggests something new or explains why something does not make sense is a troublemaker. But managers fall all over themselves to give their favorite employees compliments and to green light their ideas. I feel like this is so difficult, and yet I love our clients. How do I know when I should quit my job or keep going because the work I do with clients is excellent?
Quit the moment your frustration, disappointment and hurt about not feeling like a vital member of your work community overpowers your joy for helping clients. Until then, trust the seen and unseen ways that your goodness pours into the lives of others. And know that you are not alone. There are many talented, brilliant people who are underappreciated in their jobs while their co-workers are honored. The current challenges of finding new employment and the cost of hiring new employees contribute to keeping people in jobs they might otherwise leave or be fired from. Plus, the fear of being fired tempts a few managers into poor decision-making and double talk. All the more reason to revel in the bliss of time spent with clients.
One last thing, being taken for granted, having your gifts and talents ignored and seeing co-workers treated honorably is painful. But try not to resent co-workers who you consider less competent yet are highly celebrated. It is management failure that treats milquetoast as delicious. Try not to take that out on the men and women you work with.