Author Topic: Need wording help  (Read 3460 times)

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Friday

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Need wording help
« on: September 25, 2013, 02:57:49 PM »
My daughter and I are currently estranged.  It would take me ages to write out the whole story.  Basically she gave me the cut direct, but please rest assured that I'm not the horrid person she's making me out to be.  There's some other issues there - including depression and a possible problem with the meds she's on - and a component of "enmeshment" that my mother had a hand in between her and I.

I'm not looking for advice on the overall issues/situation.  I'm currently working hard with my psychologist on the situation, and have support of my family (Husband, other children) and friends who are well aware of daughter and her behaviors.

In context of working with the psychologist, he's told me that its time to reach out to her in a small way.  My choice is to send her some jewelry items that I'd made for her about the time this all went down.  I'm to include a short note.  This is what I have so far.... I'd like some input

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Daughter:

These pendants are things that I had in the kiln when we went to CA.  I told you about the cat one, but the heart one was something special that I was working on for you.  I am sadden that I cannot give them to you in person and see your reactions.

I love you and miss you terribly.  I support you and <need words here, something about coming to me when she’s ready, but I also want to not sound like milquetoast>
---------------

Comments anyone?

Tea Drinker

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Re: Need wording help
« Reply #1 on: September 25, 2013, 03:21:47 PM »
If your daughter did not actually say "Never contact me again" or words to that effect, I'd suggest reaching out with a note but not a physical gift. Whether or not you push for a response, in general a gift of any sort creates the expectation of some sort of response, at least a brief thank you note. That doesn't go well with the message you are trying to send, which is "I love you and miss you, and would like to hear from you when you're ready." In that context, I would wait and if/when you hear back from her, a future message might include a mention of those pendants. I would *definitely* hold off on sending heart jewelry--a symbol of love and connection that is intended for display to the world--to someone who isn't sure she wants to  talk to you at all.

If she did say in so many words "do not contact me" or "I never want to hear from you again" or the equivalent, really don't do it.

Let her come to you if she changes her mind, make sure your husband and other children know that you would be happy to hear from her, so if she talks to one of them about it they can tell her "if you change your mind, you can call Friday, she won't mind" rather than "Friday doesn't want to hear from you either."
Any advice that requires the use of a time machine may safely be ignored.

Midnight Kitty

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Re: Need wording help
« Reply #2 on: September 25, 2013, 03:30:29 PM »
My mother and I are trying to find our way back after an estrangement, so I might be internalizing too much in my reaction to your suggested wording.  If the estrangement was initiated by her, you might be pushing "hot" buttons when you say you are sad you can't give them to her in person and that you miss her.  If my mother had written something like that, I would have felt defensive.

If I could suggest the following minor revisions:

I had these pendants in the kiln when we went to CA.  You might remember me mentioning the cat pendant.  I made the heart pendant special for you.  I hope you like them.

I love you.
Mom

Your mileage may vary.  Other member of my family told me they thought my mother was unreasonable and my cutting her off was necessary to protect my health.  Her verbal assaults (and follow up written harangue) upset me so much I almost had a stroke.  I know she will never acknowledge that she did anything wrong, let alone apologize for the nasty things she said to me, but she's my mother and I love her.  She called to wish me a happy birthday last Sunday.  We chatted for over an hour without a cross word.  I'm willing to sweep a lot under the rug in order to be on speaking terms with my mother.

My brother, on the other hand, can pound sand. >:(

I don't know where your daughter is on that spectrum - willing to forgive you anything vs. unwilling to even talk

I read Tea Drinker's post before posting the above.  I agree.  If your daughter told you not to contact her, you shouldn't initiate contact by sending a gift.
« Last Edit: September 25, 2013, 03:32:20 PM by Midnight Kitty »
"The first rule is to keep an untroubled spirit.  The second is to look things in the face and know them for what they are."

Marcus Aurelius

nayberry

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Re: Need wording help
« Reply #3 on: September 25, 2013, 04:23:21 PM »
My mother and I are trying to find our way back after an estrangement, so I might be internalizing too much in my reaction to your suggested wording.  If the estrangement was initiated by her, you might be pushing "hot" buttons when you say you are sad you can't give them to her in person and that you miss her.  If my mother had written something like that, I would have felt defensive.

If I could suggest the following minor revisions:

I had these pendants in the kiln when we went to CA.  You might remember me mentioning the cat pendant.  I made the heart pendant special for you.  I hope you like them.

I love you.
Mom

Your mileage may vary.  Other member of my family told me they thought my mother was unreasonable and my cutting her off was necessary to protect my health.  Her verbal assaults (and follow up written harangue) upset me so much I almost had a stroke.  I know she will never acknowledge that she did anything wrong, let alone apologize for the nasty things she said to me, but she's my mother and I love her.  She called to wish me a happy birthday last Sunday.  We chatted for over an hour without a cross word.  I'm willing to sweep a lot under the rug in order to be on speaking terms with my mother.

My brother, on the other hand, can pound sand. >:(

I don't know where your daughter is on that spectrum - willing to forgive you anything vs. unwilling to even talk

I read Tea Drinker's post before posting the above.  I agree.  If your daughter told you not to contact her, you shouldn't initiate contact by sending a gift.


i like midnight kitty's wording and also agree with Tea drinker

CaffeineKatie

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Re: Need wording help
« Reply #4 on: September 25, 2013, 04:53:41 PM »
I am in a similar situation with my mother--she also thinks she isn't the horrible person I think she is.  However, since my stomach clenches into knots everytime I even THINK she may try to contact me again, I feel for your daughter.  Even if she didn't say don't ever contact me again, leave her alone for now.  Sending a gift, especially with that message,  seems manipulative (see, I'm the NICE one) for someone trying to distance themselves.

Midnight Kitty

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Re: Need wording help
« Reply #5 on: September 25, 2013, 05:11:40 PM »
In context of working with the psychologist, he's told me that its time to reach out to her in a small way.
Your story hit me so close to home, I went back and re-read your initial description.  The first contact between me and my mother was a store bought greeting card.  To be honest, I forget whether she sent me one for my birthday or I sent her a Mother's Day card.  It was a "family card giving occassion."  I think that counts as "reach out to her in a small way."  Giving hand made gifts (which I think are more precious than store bought) may be too much to start out.

Again, your mileage may vary.
"The first rule is to keep an untroubled spirit.  The second is to look things in the face and know them for what they are."

Marcus Aurelius

poundcake

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Re: Need wording help
« Reply #6 on: September 25, 2013, 05:17:19 PM »
I am in a similar situation with my mother--she also thinks she isn't the horrible person I think she is.  However, since my stomach clenches into knots everytime I even THINK she may try to contact me again, I feel for your daughter.  Even if she didn't say don't ever contact me again, leave her alone for now.  Sending a gift, especially with that message,  seems manipulative (see, I'm the NICE one) for someone trying to distance themselves.

I'm with this, too.

OP, I would guess that you have even a 1% hope that this will result in your daughter contacting you, thanking you, telling you she loves you and misses you. That works great for a movie script, but it is rarely the case in real life. Also, from your daughter's position, any overture like that will be seen as manipulation (and really, it is. You don't have altruistic reasons for wanting to send her these things, after all). Perhaps a simple "thinking of you" card would be best. But bottom line?

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If she did say in so many words "do not contact me" or "I never want to hear from you again" or the equivalent, really don't do it.

Don't do it under ANY circumstance.

CocoCamm

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Re: Need wording help
« Reply #7 on: September 25, 2013, 05:35:41 PM »
I'm glad that you have a psychologist who is helping you work through things and I'm certainly not trying to undercut his advice but I would caution you to remember that the psychologist is working for you to make you feel better and is not acting in your daughters interest. Meaning your psychologist telling you to reach out is to make you feel better not to heal your daughters wounds (whether they be real or imagined).

If you really want to heal the relationship I would caution against sending any gifts. I would also make sure that you are in a place of moving on. Meaning can you forgive and forget and perhaps never talk about past hurts? Are you prepared for her to ignore contact? Are you willing to accept that reaching out to her may reopen old wounds for her and make the situation worse? Are you open to accepting responsibility for your actions?

If you are truly in a place of trying to establish a new relationship with her and not just try and rekindle the old broken one I would suggest sending a note that states just that.

"Daughter, I miss having you in my life. I'm sorry for the past and I hope in the future we can build a new, better relationship. I am willing to take this at your pace so please reach out anytime you are ready. Much love, Mom"

Of course I'm basing this on what I would like to hear should one of my estranged relatives reach out to me.

*inviteseller

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Re: Need wording help
« Reply #8 on: September 25, 2013, 07:41:19 PM »
As a mom who has had issues with a daughter with mental illness issues, my heart goes out to you.  I have been in family therapy for over 2 years now and have learned so much, and one thing is not to overwhelm them when they push you away.  You have been great in giving her the space she needs and it is nice to be the person to reach out to rebuild, but it has to be done gently.  You note made me cry with the amount of love in it, but it is a bit much for a first try at reconciliation.  I would just get a simple greeting card that says "Thinking of You" and write in there

Hope everything is well with you
Love,
Mom

Simple, light and lets her know you are still there while she finds herself.  Good luck to both of you.

lilfox

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Re: Need wording help
« Reply #9 on: September 25, 2013, 07:53:39 PM »
My gut reaction is a little different but I'm not in a similar situation so I can't offer any personal insight.

If your ultimate goal in reaching out is simply to let her know you're thinking of her and missing her, I would consider sending the heart pendant (but not both pendants) and a very short note of "Daughter, I love and miss you. - Mom"  It doesn't sound like this is the time to say anything else, or imply that the ball is in her court.  I'd see it as more of a simple gesture that could either be a standalone thing (if she's not ready to respond) or an opening to more communication (if maybe she is, or will be soon).

That said, I would recommend running any note past your therapist too, to make sure that you aren't inadvertently using language that could seem guilt-trippy or manipulative.  I believe your message is heart-felt, but your daughter might not be in a place to see that or take it at face value.  Short and sweet is possibly the best way to avoid a reaction you don't want from her, which is to misperceive your intention.

Joeschmo

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Re: Need wording help
« Reply #10 on: September 25, 2013, 09:46:49 PM »

-----------
Daughter:

These pendants are things that I had in the kiln when we went to CA.  I told you about the cat one, but the heart one was something special that I was working on for you. I am sadden that I cannot give them to you in person and see your reactions.

I love you and miss you terribly.  I support you and <need words here, something about coming to me when she’s ready, but I also want to not sound like milquetoast>
---------------

Comments anyone?

As a daughter who has been in a similar situation the bolded would read as a guilt trip to me.  If this is something the psychologist assigned you to do I recommend clearing the wording with the psychologist who knows your whole side of the situation and not random internet people. 

cicero

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Re: Need wording help
« Reply #11 on: September 26, 2013, 02:28:18 AM »
My heart goes out to you both.

Is this idea ( sending the pendants) approved by your therapist? Cause I'll tell you, i am not estranged from anyone, but my son is estranged from his bio father. Long story and I support my son's decision 100000% though I *never* encouraged him to do this , I just supported him thru it ( together with his therapist). Point is - while I believe you that you aren't the horrid person she thinks you are, the point us that *she* believes that you are * exactly * that person. Sending her something so personal and from the heart might make things worse. I'm thinking about it from my son's piv- if his father would send him something meaningful and personal out of the blue, he would probably be more hurt than happy - sort if 'what does he think he can send me some pendant and. Erase all the hurt?'

I would scale it way way back. Start with a simple " thinking about you" card or note and see how that goes. And lits if hugs - I can't imagine the pain you are going thru.

My daughter and I are currently estranged.  It would take me ages to write out the whole story.  Basically she gave me the cut direct, but please rest assured that I'm not the horrid person she's making me out to be.  There's some other issues there - including depression and a possible problem with the meds she's on - and a component of "enmeshment" that my mother had a hand in between her and I.

I'm not looking for advice on the overall issues/situation.  I'm currently working hard with my psychologist on the situation, and have support of my family (Husband, other children) and friends who are well aware of daughter and her behaviors.

In context of working with the psychologist, he's told me that its time to reach out to her in a small way.  My choice is to send her some jewelry items that I'd made for her about the time this all went down.  I'm to include a short note.  This is what I have so far.... I'd like some input

-----------
Daughter:

These pendants are things that I had in the kiln when we went to CA.  I told you about the cat one, but the heart one was something special that I was working on for you.  I am sadden that I cannot give them to you in person and see your reactions.

I love you and miss you terribly.  I support you and <need words here, something about coming to me when she’s ready, but I also want to not sound like milquetoast>
---------------

Comments anyone?

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bopper

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Re: Need wording help
« Reply #12 on: September 26, 2013, 09:21:24 AM »
Can you reach out without the guilt?  I would just reach out a little with all positives.  You want interactions at this point to feel safe for her.

Daughter:

These pendants are things that I had in the kiln when we went to CA.  I told you about the cat one, but the heart one was something special that I was working on for you.  I saw/found/finished it recently and thought I would send it over.  I love you."
« Last Edit: September 26, 2013, 09:23:30 AM by bopper »

cwm

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Re: Need wording help
« Reply #13 on: September 26, 2013, 10:19:55 AM »
I have no contact with my father or his new wife. Last year I got a Coach purse as a Christmas gift from them and I felt like they were (very poorly) trying to buy my affection back. I heard later on that wife thought that an expensive purse would be the best gift in the word, because what woman doesn't like them? Then when I responded with a note that just said thank you and made no further contact, they were hurt.

If your daughter isn't speaking to you for whatever reason, no matter if it's the truth to the rest of the world, whatever reasons she has is the truth to her. If you don't have open lines of communication, a gift so heartfelt and important may push her away further. At this point if my dad tried to send me something like that, I'd send it straight back to him because I don't want the social obligation of thank you note and further communication such a gift entails. I'm not willing to be the "greedy" one because I take everything without something in return, and I'm not ready to give anything in return.

Please please please, OP, think this over carefully. If you're not absolutely sure without any possible shadow of a hint of a doubt that your daughter will appreciate this gift and further contact between you, do not send the pendants. A note is fine, something very bland and vague. I like the idea a PP had of a store bought gift card saying you're thinking of her. It is literally no pressure for her to respond to it, she can do what she wants with that information, but a gift does entail some sort of obligation to return contact.

I'm glad you're getting the help you need, and I'm glad you're not alone in it, but please be careful moving forward and think of your daughter's healing as well as your own.

that_one_girl

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Re: Need wording help
« Reply #14 on: September 26, 2013, 04:00:44 PM »
Maybe send her the cat pendant which she already knew about, see what reaction it gets and then decide from there whether to follow up with the heart pendant on the next special occasion like her birthday or Christmas.

but I also think the others are valid with their "send a note first" idea.  Something simple like "Daughter, I know we don't always see eye to eye, but I love and miss you.  I've been working on some of my issues with a therapist and hopefully I have made some progress.  I'd love to hear from you."

This way she knows that you acknowledge you are not perfect, realize she has an alternate perspective, and that you are ready to really listen to her.

At the moment I am semi-estranged from my mother because she continues to try to control my life as if I were a teenager and then berate me because I do not meet her standard of "Adult Behavior", which was never modeled for me to begin with.  I would love for her to just once REALLY listen to me as if I was somerandom person my age that she had just met and not hold me to this crazy standard because I am her daughter.