Adult Kids + Divorce = Anger?
Kids Still Blaming You For The Divorce? Now What?
Q: After I divorced nearly 20 years ago, my then-adolescent daughter sided with her mother, blamed me for the divorce, and became angry and distant from me. Our relationship had been strained for years. Things began to change after she had a child of her own a couple of years ago. Since then, we have been able to reconnect and rebuild our relationship, although she remains very close to her mother who still resents me (to put it mildly). Recently, during a visit to my daughter’s home, I noticed that she has photos of her mother and stepfather displayed in her house, but there are no photos of me. Does this mean that she is still angry at me? Should I ask her why she does not have any photos of me in her house? Should I just give her a framed photo of me, or give one as a gift to my grandson? Please advise.
A: It sounds like you and your daughter have made significant gains in repairing your post-divorce relationship, and that these gains are recent. This is definitely something to be celebrated! However, at this point, it is best to focus on the gains you have made with her and not on what is missing. It is possible that your daughter does not have a photo of you displayed in her home because it would upset her mother. Whatever her reason for not having a photo of you displayed, respect it. If you want to give a photo of you to your daughter and/or grandson, you are welcome to do so. But do not put it in a frame. Let your daughter decide what to do with the photo. If it ends up in an album instead of in a frame, respect her decision, and give her time. Your relationship has only recently, relatively speaking, begun to heal. Confronting your daughter about the photo issue may do more harm than good, so I recommend leaving the issue alone. Again, focus your thoughts on the fact that you have reconnected with her, which is a huge improvement over estrangement.