The processing I've been doing about my daughter isn't about me feeling that I am responsible for how she has turned out. I have long since given up that train of thought. It's about me figuring out what I'm going to do about my relationships with her. How am I going to protect myself so she can't do me serious harm again.......that's what's important now.
It's also about me understanding me better. I'm not exactly sure how I got to trusting my daughter more than she deserved. I'd like to not fall into that trap again either. As long as my daughter continues with her games, I'd like to make sure I'm not one of her casualties.
Back in the days I placed my daughter in a foster home, I was very protected against her. By the time she attempted suicide because she wanted to hurt me, I was already defended enough to not take on the guilt she had intended. I was pretty angry about her intentions but I knew it wasn't my fault.
For a long time I stayed that defended. Even when my first grandchildren were born, I knew they were tools for her to manipulate against me so I kept my distance. As much as it hurt to be in that position, I could see it for what it was..........just another way for her to punish me for what her father did.
Even with that I have tried to have relationships with my grandchildren. But figuring out what that meant was a real challenge. I only had one grandparent who loved me growing up..........and I only got to see him on holidays.
I loved that man fiercely...............and I know he loved me fiercely too. He was the only person in my early childhood that cared about me. He was always very important to me. I guess I fashioned my relationship with my grandchildren to resemble that relationship between my grandfather and me.
The lesson I learned from my time with my grandfather was time wasn't nearly as important as how it was spent. Those few hours each holiday I got to spend with him were golden.
I tried to make the same thing true with my own grandchildren. Some of the "rules" are different but the motivation behind them is the same. I love my grandchildren and I would like them to "feel" that love. I also wanted them to know that I was different than their other relatives.
I have always tried to treat them the way I would like to have been treated as a child. I have made sure my home is a "safe" place for them to visit. There is no teasing or passive aggressive play allowed here and inappropriate behavior of any kind has been confronted immediately.
I really couldn't tell you if my grandchildren love me. I guess it doesn't matter..........what really matters to me is that I have given them another example of how to treat people. They may chose to follow the example of their mother.....but then again.......maybe someday they may chose to follow the example they learned here. At least I've given them that choice.