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Grandparents sound unbalanced

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Updated: February 21, 2013 6:24AM



Dear Annie: My problem is my relationship with my daughter, “Carolyn.” It started 10 years ago when she went to visit her grandparents in another state. My parents and I haven’t had a close relationship since I was in my 20s. I am now 57.

I raised Carolyn as a single parent without a dime of child support from her father. I worked 12-hour days six days a week to provide for her. When Carolyn was 6 years old, I was promoted. It required extensive travel, and I needed help from my parents.

My daughter lived with them for two years, during which time they told her awful things, saying I was a terrible mom and didn’t care about her. When I began seeing a man (whom I eventually married), my parents labeled him “a monster.” He was actually wonderful. He loved Carolyn and adopted her and was the only father she ever knew.

When Carolyn went to visit my parents in her 20s, however, they convinced her that this man had mistreated her when she was little and she simply didn’t remember. But, Annie, he never did any such thing. They made it up.

Carolyn is now in her 30s and has been estranged from me for more than 10 years due to my parents’ brainwashing. Since then, my life has changed dramatically. I’ve been quite ill, in and out of the hospital, and Carolyn has never inquired about my health. How can I reconnect with my daughter?

Help Me in Tennessee

Dear Tennessee: Your parents sound mentally unbalanced. However, if Carolyn truly believes that her stepfather abused her, you need to acknowledge this — true or not — in order to deal with it. Please don’t argue with her recollections. She will think you are simply protecting your husband. Instead, suggest to Carolyn that the two of you get family counseling together because you love her and want to find a way to keep her in your life. We hope she is willing.

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