What Would Cause a Bright, Beloved, Super-Successful, Seemingly Level-Headed Person to Start Accusing Their Own Mother of Being a Foul, Disgusting, Revolting Influence?
Rational Reader! Our correspondent’s very subject line calls out to you :
So let’s read on. We have some solving to do:
Dear E. Jean and Fellow Conflabbers:
A few years ago, out of the blue, my child accused me of some crazy stuff, to wit: they accused me of calling a major university and somehow deep-sixing a coveted job prospect there.
They also said that they didn’t tell me they were looking for, and moving to a new house, because they said I “would interfere with the closing.” As IF! This was genuinely delusional. They said they had “proof.” I said, “OK, show me,” but of course they never did, because there isn’t any proof.
This was just nuts.
But it passed. Things were normal for a few years, with visits and Zoom and calls and then …
Six years ago, they were visiting here with the kids and things were smooth except my child seemed … moody, touchy, ready to do—something. I let it pass as job stress-related. They are successful and fairly well-known in their field. The day before they were to go home they blasted me and my partner for being homophobic, fascistic, and racist MAGA lovers—which would have been laughable except for the vitriol. And then they packed up the kids “because it wasn’t safe here”, hustled them away, cut off all communication with them and the children—including returning left-behind stuff (socks, a toy) and holiday gifts unopened.
And there it sat, despite my pleas for clarification, and apologies (tell me for what?) and what do I need to do? Then, finally, I fell into silence.
It took me years of tears and painful work to sadly resign myself to the ranks of similarly estranged heartbroken parents with no fucking clue as to why this happens and move on with life. The hardest part was not knowing what the grandchildren heard about why grandparents who loved them ghosted them—which of course we didn’t. They also apparently told these lies to one of my best friends, who also cut me off entirely! With no discussion! I am still in the dark.
I realize that there are demon parents who abused their kids and nobody knew about it. You’re just going to have to believe me that there was nothing, nothing like that in our home, ever. They had welcomed us for years, we’d traveled together, and they visited us often, leaving the kids for visits. It was wonderful. And then, like a light switch … this craziness.
Now, six years later, I just get an email saying the family are all doing well, and they have given “our past, present, and future relationship” a lot of thought and want to resume some email contact. I am gobsmacked! I have literally no idea what to respond. Has anybody got a clue? What would you do? I responded briefly that I would take some time to think about it, and asked what were their thoughts? And resumed where I was.
Help me, Conflab! E. Jean! What’s my next step?
You are one of our kindest Conflabbians. From this hour…… till we get your problem solved, the Conflab is at your service! And now I turn you over to———wait. Just let me say, I love you, and your child is a wee bit of an asshole.