Grandparents who are estranged/alienated from their adult children and grandchildren, feel desperately lonely and isolated.
Loneliness is always in the press and the subject is constantly in the media, many wonderful organisations and groups have been set up to try and address some of the issues around loneliness.
We now even have a Minister for Loneliness, Tracey Crouch, the government have made a commitment to tackle loneliness.
When we think of loneliness I suspect we all have our own vision of what loneliness means.
Being lonely is the feeling of not being part of something, feelings that we are ‘unused’, loneliness can of course effect any age.
We can be in a room full of people and still feel lonely.
There are of course many reasons why people feel lonely, families are now scattered around the country, many family members rarely see each other, the days of popping round to see Grandma and Grandad have gone.
There are those who get up go to work, come home, go to bed and repeat this day after day. Never having the time to speak to another human being outside their work life.
I am really lucky.
I live in the house I was born in, my children were born here and I know most of my neighbours, one I have known every-since she was born.
These relationships are so important.
I have friends whom I have known for over 50 years, so they have known me through good times and bad, I never need to explain myself to them, they just know.
When you are a young parent, you are always busy, rushing about, meeting young parents like yourself, making new friends usually like you with young children, there are times when you just wish you could have a day to yourself, the harsh reality is that it is not very long before you have every day to yourself. Your role seems to disappear, you feel as though you are no longer needed.
Being needed is a fundamental human need.
Most of us think that if we are fortunate enough to become grandparents, we will once again be needed. We will be able to help and support our adult children and our grandchildren.
Isn’t that the natural order of things?
Those of us who have had to face estrangement and alienation, learn very quickly that it doesn’t always transpire to be this wonderful dream at all.
It, in fact becomes the most dreadful nightmare.
Adult children for whatever reason make the decision to cut people out of their lives completely. They destroy any hope of a grandparent being able to have a loving, caring relationship with the grandchildren, there may have been a misunderstanding about something, it may be they are jealous of the relationship a grandparent has with their grandchildren, a partner decides that they want the ‘in-laws’ out of their lives, or there appears to be no reason at all.
The whole situation escalates to the most dreadful series of events, false allegations are made, (there is no way to refute them) a stream of verbal abuse flows until the grandparents are at breaking point.
Of course all of this takes its toll.
Grandparents suffer physically and mentally, they are totally stripped of any self-esteem, they are empty.
Days of thinking they would be at the heart of their family, that they would be needed, loved and cared about have been shattered.
When your purpose in life has gone, it can be very hard to carry on.
Grandparents feel so alone.
We all know that when we feel lonely we have to try and do something. To get involved in something new, to volunteer for something, to try and fill the enormous crevasse, the huge cavern that is engulfing us.
Even if you do all these things, you still go home to those horrible feelings of hopelessness and isolation.
I think we need to accept that loneliness doesn’t have to last for ever, it isn’t that no-one cares you are not really alone. Loneliness doesn’t define you.
Learn to reach out, make that extra effort with friends, this seems an odd thing to say as I am writing this blog on the internet, but control how much time you spend on social media, often it is not real life, just perceptions, try writing a journal, write just 5 things everyday you are grateful for. It can be a challenge but maybe that is the point!
Is being alone the reason for your loneliness?
Actually spending some ‘me’ time can be a positive experience, you can do anything you want, go for a walk, eat something you know you shouldn’t, always a good thing.
There will always be someone who is feeling desperately lonely just as you are, they also need a hand to hold, make yourself aware of others, and remember,
“I am responsible for my own happiness.”