I am a failure

As you might expect there are similar things said by those who find themselves being estranged/alienated.

Thank God I am not alone


I have never heard of this before


Do I have any rights?


I am ashamed


I feel a failure


The answers to some of those statements are straightforward, but some need to be thought about in-depth.

We know that being a parent is the hardest job in the world, and it also the most rewarding. None of us get it right all the time, we all make mistakes and there is no manual to help you. Most of us learn ‘on the job.’

Surprisingly, even Google can’t help!

The concern for me is when grandparents say they feel ashamed that this has happened and they say they have failed.

I too felt exactly that way.

I felt ashamed as I thought that as a grandparent I should be able to sort it out for everyone, I should be able to discuss the issues there were, I learnt very quickly I could do none of those things. The power and control of other parties was never going to let that happen. In fact in our case it was the way it was always going to end. Of course I made mistakes, I wasn’t the person others thought I should be, I suppose I never came up to their expectation of me.

To this day I can blame myself for so much of the unhappiness that ensued. It is what parents do, they blame themselves. It is in the job description.

If I had my time over again would I do things differently?

Probably, but would it have changed the outcome?


I also felt a failure.

Failure as a wife, failure as a mum and failure as a grandparent.

There are many grandparents who feel this way.

Everyone has a vision of happy families, but reality is very different from the rose tinted glasses view.

All families have problems there are highs and lows in every relationship.

Let’s think about feeling a failure for a moment.

How do we actually become a failure or succeed?

As individuals we will come up with different answers I suspect.

Feeling a failure as a wife, might be the fact that we become so encapsulated in our grief of estrangement/alienation that we shut our spouse out, or we say,

My other half doesn’t understand how I feel, it is not the same for him/her

Well, of course it is the same for them, they are hurting just as much as we are, but they often hide their true feelings because they don’t want to add to our grief.

Feeling a failure as a mum, well, yes I certainly felt that. Watching our son go to hell and back again was devastating, seeing him become a broken man was heartbreaking, that feeling is still there, it never goes away. All any of us want is for our children, whatever their age, is for them to be happy.

Feeling a failure as a grandparent, as I have have said before, is that we come from a generation who looked up to their grandparents and respected them, we may not have always got on very well with them but nevertheless, they were the head of the family. They might have been the people we went to in times of trouble, so when you are the grandparent and you try everything to put things right, and when you realise you can’t, you have failed in your role once again.

Maybe we all ask too much from ourselves.

We are human we are not infallible, perfection does not exist, we can strive to reach that pinnacle but we may never achieve it.

If we constantly deride ourselves we will suffer, we need to admit our mistakes, learn from them, but we must not see it as failure.

Remember there are other parties who have played their part in this situation, there may well be faults on both sides, yes, there is two sides to every story, but then there is the truth.

Only we know the truth.



About Jane

Jane setup Bristol Grandparent Support Group in 2007 after a string of incidents led to the loss of contact with her Grand Daughter.

View all Jane Posts


Get the Latest Blog Updates & Newsletter


This contact form collects your First Name, Last Name & Email address, this is so I can reply to your enquiry in a fast, secure & efficient manor. For more information on how these details are used please refer to our updated Privacy Policy.