DEAR ABBY: I have one child, a daughter, “Anna,” I adopted at 19 months. She’s 41 now and has two small children. She had a normal upbringing, although her father and I divorced when she was 9. She has chosen to not have a relationship with him as an adult. Anna has never married, nor has she been in a relationship for longer than four or five months. According to a few counselors I have seen, she has attachment disorder.
Anna is very difficult. She’s mean, says hateful things and is an angry young woman. She takes no responsibility for any of her actions, and therefore cannot keep a job, friends, etc. for more than a few months. She is also extremely negative. If I try to say anything, she gets angry, starts cussing, yelling and slinging hate, and stops contacting me for weeks at a time.
We have nothing in common. We live in separate states, but I see her about a half-dozen times a year. When I do, I tiptoe around on eggshells because of her short fuse. Her attitude is starting to rub off on her boys.
This is not what I had envisioned all those years ago when I adopted her. I miss who I thought she would become. Is there anything I can do without completely alienating myself from my grandsons, which would break my heart?– TIPTOEING ON EGGSHELLS
DEAR TIPTOEING: I am sorry your adoption did not turn out as you envisioned. Your daughter is clearly troubled, and it is not surprising that her attitude has begun to affect her boys. It is time you accept that, as much as you wish to, you cannot change another person, and there’s nothing you can do to “fix” her.
You mentioned that you visit her every two months. Perhaps you should consider visiting fewer times than that. Ask if she would let the grandkids come and visit Grandma occasionally. However, if she isn’t receptive, refusing to engage with her is the price you will have to pay for seeing them and trying to cement a relationship with them.