Emotional scars after an adult child’s estrangement

tree rootsby Sheri McGregor

Having experienced the cutting pain of an adult child’s estrangement, I’ve done my share of crying. I’m like many moms who have expressed sorrow so profound it can feel bottomless. On some level, maybe it will always be there – – like a scar that’s left by a physical wound. And that’s okay.

To better understand healthy emotional healing, let’s look at physical healing and see how it relates to our emotional hurts.

Scars result from a series of healing responses that have a purpose: to clear out damaged cells and other undesirable elements such as germs, and then rebuild the area. But some scars are overly aggressive, and go beyond the original injury. These “keloid” and “contracture” type scars can extend so far past the original wound that they hamper movement, affect nerve sensitivity, and create new problems.

Emotional scars after an adult child’s rejection

Just as keloid and contracture scarring can hinder us, so can emotional reactions that become too aggressive. Here’s an example: When trust is broken in one relationship, and we then extend a lack of trust to all relationships. Caught up in fear, we attempt to protect ourselves by shutting out the possibility of pain. But we also cut ourselves off, and hinder forward momentum.

Often, I hear from parents who, after their adult child’s estrangement, say they can no longer trust anyone. I understand the feeling. If such a close bond can be broken, is any relationship safe?

That’s how Lila, a 68-year-old mother of two estranged adult sons felt. When first her oldest son rejected her, followed by her younger son’s estrangement six months later, she was devastated. She quit her walks to the park, did her shopping online, dropped her hobby memberships, and stopped seeing friends and family.

Some of you will recognize how Lila felt. When she tried to talk about her sons’ estrangement, people asked what she did or said. They couldn’t comprehend how her own sons could shut her out. Already hurting, she felt betrayed all over again.

For two years, Lila isolated herself. She would sit and look out her windows while the seasons changed. The old tree by the sidewalk would lose its leaves, its bony silhouette against the gray sky a haunting reminder of her loneliness and pain. In spring rains, the tree grew buds and flowers. Lila watched as the days warmed and the tree grew leafy. People ventured out in shorts and tees. Couples held hands. Joggers dripped in sweat. People walked their dogs. Life went on, but Lila didn’t participate.

Watching as parents pushed strollers by, she would cluck bitterly to herself. They had bought into the promise of family. The cruel joke of God or the universe she now saw through. The ideal of family happiness lured so many, but it just wasn’t true. She knew that. And those young parents didn’t have a clue.

But two years was too long. Restless from sitting alone inside while the beautiful weather outdoors called, she decided to pull out her old photo albums. Maybe she’d remind herself what a pitifully naïve woman she had once been.

The photos of her and her sons illustrated truth she couldn’t ignore. There were huge gaps of time during which her sons didn’t appear at all. And when they did, it was at Lila’s beckoning – – or perhaps spurred by their guilt. They showed up for Christmas or her birthday, but the photos looked staged, their pasted-on smiles captured but fleeting. They had glanced up to pose, torn from their smartphones still in hand.

But rather than focus on those pictures and the bitter truth she saw in them, Lila looked instead at all the other memories.

trust after an adult child's estrangementIn between those few sparse photos, Lila saw herself grinning with friends. Posed in front of a huge Christmas tree at the Senior Center, she stood with several women, their red sweaters cheery and bright. Like the others, Lila stood with one arm extended toward the tree’s branches, smiling with pride as they hooked on their angel ornaments crafted from wire and beads. There were pictures of Lila on a trip to New York City with her quilting club. More from her church and museum docent groups. And in several, she grinned from beneath a wide-brimmed hat alongside hiking group members. The shimmering blue of the nearby lake stretched out behind them.

Three of those old friends were gone, she realized, tears beginning to well. In the years she’d sat letting life pass by, they had lost health battles or succumbed to the inevitable march of time.

Her vision blurring, she swiped at her eyes and closed the albums. It was too late to see those friends. Remembering how puzzled one of them had been, how she’d wondered aloud what Lila might have done to cause the rift, Lila wished she could try again to explain the inexplicable. It was difficult to understand something you’ve never been through. But Lila had been so hurt. She had locked her door on everyone. She’d protected herself, but her life was passing her by.

The following day, Lila started to reconnect. The hiking club had disbanded, but the Senior Center was still going strong. She ventured out, reveling in the whispery warmth of the breeze against her cheeks. Old friends, she hoped, would welcome her. And there would be new people. She didn’t want to miss out any longer.

What will you do?

When we don’t risk trusting others, we protect ourselves but also cut ourselves off from the joy another person might bring. A response that reaches beyond an adult child’s estrangement to all our relationships hampers us. It keeps us locked away, focused on pain from the past and unable to enjoy the future.

You have a choice.

Yes, there’s risk involved, but which is the better choice? Toughening up your emotional “skin” enough that you’ll risk a little pain for the possibility of joy? Or forming a protective shell that keeps you trapped?

Physical scars fade, but often remain – – a visible reminder of the body’s resilience. Emotional scars can also be gentle reminders that we are emotionally robust. That we can get through tough times to claim the good.

Sure, the potential for pain exists, but so do the deep joy and fun of friendship. Lila’s advice? Grab hold of life. Take a chance. Enjoy people while you can.

book for parents of estranged adults

Book to help

Holidays are a time to celebrate life and giving to others. The New Year brings a natural opportunity to embrace new beginnings. During holidays or any time, just as Lila did, we can all start fresh. What are you waiting for?

You can be done with the crying.

Related articles:

Five ways to move on after an adult child’s rejection

Take care of yourself

Holidays: How to manage them

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47 thoughts on “Emotional scars after an adult child’s estrangement

  1. notbrokenjustbent

    After 8 long years of no contact with my daughter and 3 grandchildren,i received a letter out of the blue,i have wanted contact for so long ,I worked so hard on myself for those past years it was hardgoing but I have finally reached a point of acceptance and have got my life back and am settled and happy.The letter basically said that my daughter had ‘realised the damage that had been done” it was a nice enough letter and one I wished so hard for for so long ,My eldest granddaughter was nine and a half when I saw her last,she is now 18. When I read the letter I got the old knot in the stomach the sick feeling that I hadn’t had for some time. I know there will be those of you that would think I am luckly to have finally heard from her,but I am feeling confused,i don’t trust her to not do this to me again,i don’t want to go back to the heartache,the tears,the feelings of worthlessness and the wanting to die. I have lovely people in my life who have supported me the last 8 years,they love me,nurture me and never judge or hurt me.Replying to her letter may or may not open that black door up again,who knows,but I am so afraid to follow up with her. I don’t want to become that sad heartbroken person again that I had become,i don’t want to go back in that dark hole. Too little too late,sometimes we have just got to let go when the price we may have to pay could be soul destroying.

    Reply
    1. rparentsrparents Post author

      Dear notbrokenjust bent,

      It’s easy for me to understand your thoughts … and empathize.

      What you say reminds me of an old saying: You can never go “home” again.

      Sure, people can and do go “home.” But it is not the same when they get there.

      Out of necessity, you took care of yourself during those long eight years. You learned to live a new way. You surrounded yourself with good people who helped.

      You are not the same person, and your daughter’s “home,” did not stand still, forever as she left it. In many of the stories I hear from moms like you, it seems like that is what many of the estranged adult children believe. Their home, their parents, are somehow fixed in their minds, unmoving. As if they can pick up anytime they please.

      Only you can decide what is best for you, and you have the right to choose.

      Thanks for sharing this here. I know there are others facing similar situations, and knowing they are not alone will help.

      Sheri McGregor

    2. maura

      Blood is thicker than water. I have two Estranged Daughters out of 5 kids one of them, age 37 has 3 kids 2boys and one girl . I have been told to never contact her or her children ever again. And the other one is 32 and said the same. My oldest Estranged Daughter’s kids are all under 6 yrs of age and do not know me! My other estranged daughter’s kids are 11 and 13 and have always known me. I am heartsick over the loss of my grandkids. They have blocked me off of their facebook pages . so I can’t even see my grand kids pics.

    3. Susan H.

      Wow I know that feeling exactly! I crawled through the pain of my daughter’s absence (a long and agonizing process) and now she has begun communicating w me a little. I TOO am so WARY! She could walk off again. And she isn’t being particularly warm anyway. I’m actually feeling really angry (not sharing that with her beyond saying that I had felt some anger). I have apologized profusely. I’m not going to let her rip me up again. I still hurt and no one will watch out for me but me, I realize now. Your caution is smart and ok. Take good care. I wish all the best for you. Peace. Susan.

    4. rparentsrparents Post author

      Susan,
      You’re smart to be cautious. Thank you for sharing here…others will benefit from your note. Continue to be kind to yourself!

      Hugs,
      Sheri McGregor

    5. LJH71

      Clear to me as to how you feel.
      My daughter disowned me twice then a third time after my son died. Thing is, she never “reowned” me.
      It was a long time before I got to acceptance but sure am glad I did because I suffered greatly. Guess you could say I suffered equally to how great I loved her.
      Same with my son.
      I lived a life before they were born. My life changed when they were born then changed again when one left from death and the other from life, so am back to living life without children.
      It has been over 10 years since we have had no contact. What do I think I would do if she suddenly wanted me back in her life?
      I would be suspicious. I certainly do not trust her. I know what she is capable of doing. Also know she chose to believe lies about me without ever coming to me and had always let my children know they could come to me about anything. Even if it may hurt me.
      I feel she wanted to believe the lies. After getting brainwashed.
      Knowing all this and more, I can’t trust her. So, chances are I’d probably let her know “I love you, always will, but I’m living a different life now. Not the one you remember. Wish you well and good luck on your own life path.”
      I wouldn’t tell her how I no longer trust her or how I don’t even know her anymore, don’t really like her anymore or the colors she shown and became, and other similar type things. For that would cause more pain for the both of us.
      I’ve suffered ENOUGH this life.
      With that said, why would I purposely put myself in a situation knowing the likely outcome?
      Honestly, after being disowned three times and being denied to love my grandchildren and they love me?
      This is my position, thoughts and feelings now and since I got to the last stage of grief; acceptance.
      But I hear you and oh, how I understand!
      Many Blessings

  2. Robert

    I am in the first three months of not seeing my two daughter and two grandchildren on is 3moths old and the other who we were a big part of all thier lives. and in a few hours it was all over the daughter do not talk and no one will try and work things out.
    We the new baby was born it seemed to cause alot of old resentment that we were unaware of. I want to move on and I do the best I can. We have a support group and We realize our lives for 30 years was taking
    care of everyones needs and not our own. So now we need to learn how to take care of ourselves.
    This happened about four years ago and we did everything to get the relationship back. It is killing us. they say time heals but the time is very painful.

    Reply
    1. Karen

      My daughter and I were so close until she remarried and then things just started falling apart. Words were said out of anger and I am at fault for some things said and have apologized but this new man has completely turned my daughter against me. They moved off to Singapore and took the grandchildren with her. I have 3 grandsons that are 6, 8 & 12 and a new set of twin girls. I have only seen the girls one time when they were born and now they are five months. She has it where the boys are blocked from talking to me. Before her new life she turned to me for everything and now she has estranged herself from me. It is so hard on me because I was in my grandsons life so often and not being able to see them is heartwrenching. This mess has caused me my whole family, including my sister, because my daughter turned to her and I needed my sister at a time like this and my sister has not been there for me. It has been the roughest road to go through and I keep hitting a dead in. It is some what comforting to see I am not going through this alone. I would not wish this upon anyone. I was a single parent and went through so much to try and provide my son and daughter everything. I am thankful everyday that my son and his family are still in my life. My daughter doesn’t even have a relationship with her brother either.

  3. Joyce

    I just cannot go on. It has been 11 years with my 25 year old daughter who is doing well as I see her on Twitter, not facebook anymore as she took out a one year order of protection this month due to me writing on her facebook workpage wall that She looks beautiful, Love, Mom and hope to see you within the next 10 years. She erased it and went to the police and family court. I had a phone court appt. and the judge gave her 10 years. She wrote that she almost lost her job due to this and that I am mentally ill(I have panic disorder and agoraphobia) and now has to be in therapy over this. This is all bull as she is presently on vacation in California. She got what she wanted as she might marry this year and doesn’t want me there as I was not there for her 16th birthday party which her dad paid 10 grand for, her college graduation with his new girlfriend who she calls her stepmom(he is not married to her and that woman lives in Germany and only visits him twice a year for 2 months at a time). Now the ex claims he cannot talk to me about her due to the order of protection, that is bull also. I am heartbroken and feel I cannot go on with this big house no one wants to buy and I cannot go anywhere anymore due to my agoraphobia which I have had since I was 16 when my mother blamed me for my fathers fatal heart attack. I have had intensive mental health care and nothing is helping me now, so I give up.

    Reply
    1. rparentsrparents Post author

      Hi Joyce,
      I’m sorry you are feeling so down. Your emotional pain comes through loud and clear, and everyone here (I’m sure) empathizes with you. Please note though — while this site, the posts, and the comment threads are intended for support and information sharing among parents who are experiencing similar circumstances, nothing here is intended for crisis intervention. If you are suicidal, please go to: http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ — call: 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or even dial 9-1-1 (or another emergency number in your area).

    2. todie

      Hi Joyce. Most important, please hang in there and don’t give up. Put one foot in front of the other and take it one day at a time. You will see here that there really is no hurt or devastation that is new to all of us. We all have a bond sharing our hurts as well as our encouragement. Just keep reading how other parents are growing and dealing one day at a time. Your sharing helped me because I can have fear during the night when I start thinking too much. Please hang there.

    3. cathy b.

      I can tell you JOyce that I came very very close to where you are…they killed grandma, but they didnt kill me. I survived. I dont cry as often as I used to. I can actually see grandmas and little girlsa bout my former granddaughters age without bursting into tears. I try to look upon my Grandma Years (7 wonderful, loving full of joy years) as the best years of my life. I am a retired professional, stable, economically in good shape, generous, loving etc. When she married this social misfit, it all started going downhill. But they let me be a grandma for 7 wonderful years. I miss that chlld so much. I am very sorry that my daughter is vindictive, punitive, mentally unbalanced and hateful. I just hope the child survives to adulthood with a mentally ill mother. My son in law claims I am a “frail old women” I just dug a 4×10′ pond with a shovel. I think he is worried that I will live long enough to get back in contact with my grandchild and I hope to do so. Kiling yourself will only make your hateful child happy. Just remember: they will win! then they will tell everyone: see she was crazy, I am so glad I got away from her. Do not fall into t his trap.

  4. Lynne

    I just want to say how very much this site helps me with the pain of my 2 estranged children. I read it daily. All the stories are my stories. Thank you so much for this site. I feel safe here.

    Reply
    1. rparentsrparents Post author

      You’re welcome, Lynne! Thank you for leaving your comments…. By doing so, you become part of the site, and part of the team that helps all the hurting parents who come and read.

      Thank you, again for your kindness. It means a lot to me.

      Sheri McGregor

  5. Bonnie

    I was just thinking about this, in case my 28 yr old daughter resumes contact with me — it has been 6 months. There has not been an explanation of why, so the hurt has been severe — particularly not seeing my 4.5 yo grandson and 8 mo old granddaughter.

    Even if, or when, she resumes contact, nothing will be the same — the relationship is changed forever. I feel like I’ve been fooled for the past 5 yrs, seeing her and her husband/kids often. It seemed they enjoyed being around me, but now I think it was all a facade.

    Like my counselor said, I have no idea what is going on with them as a couple, or individually, and I am not responsible for “fixing” anything since THEY cut contact, gave no reason and are not interested in restoring the relationship right now.

    I think it has to do with my son-in-law/ their marriage. He seems to have become controlling in the last couple of years. She knows I am very perceptive, so if I don’t see them, nothing seems to be wrong. =.=

    I will be going out of town for Christmas, to the city where my other two kids are in college. Taking care of myself. 🙂

    Reply
  6. Annie

    Bonnie,
    Good for you for taking care of yourself. It’s all we can do at this point. My first Christmas without my grandchildren. So painful. We are going to see supportive family for the holidays to ease the pain. Together we’ll all get through this. It’s not easy to share with people when they haven’t lived through it. Many blessings to all on this site who share their deepest hearts. Praying for all whose hearts are hurting. Hang in there and never give up. Annie

    Reply
    1. JONIE

      Hi! My name is Joni. A lot of these comments I’ve been reading on how u can get on with your life after your kids abandon you. It’s been a few months for me and I don’t get how these smart, educated kids of mine have no idea how much damage they are doing to me. I thought they loved me but apparently not. My daughter has a bad temper and her words can be so venomous. I have been hurt so much by her constant criticism. I actually believe she is a narcissistic. She has never apologized for anything she has said to me and some of it has been so hurtful. I don’t know how to get over this. She has convinced my son that I have done several things which are not anywhere close to the truth. My son even called me last spring and she went into her verbally abusive routine with him and he said it was so awful that he actually said it was going to take a long time to get over this.
      At any rate, I have lost both my son and daughter and my precious grandkids who don’t know why grandma doesn’t see them anymore. I don’t know how to move ahead nor do I know if I want to be alive. This is the worst pain and rejection I have ever felt. Thanks for listening!

  7. Therese

    It is a very difficult time of year. Christmas is all about family and acceptance and many good and devoted parents have been left with a deep loss. It is unfair, and hard not to hurt or hope. But look for good wherever you can find it. And rejoice once this season of unmet expectations about love and family is over. See there is a new year coming. I know that is hard but there can be life and joy. I can’t believe I wrote that. It has taken me 5 years to even think that is possible for me.

    Reply
  8. Sonia

    Thank you, dear Therese. That is very helpful advice with Christmas coming — there is a new year coming, with all the life and joy it will contain! This will be my second Christmas estranged from my daughter. I am trying to remember that Christmas itself is also about Hope. I am going to try to be thankful for Hope on that day.

    Reply
  9. Annie

    Well said Therese! May we all focus on what we do have; love of other family and friends and move forward with a less heavy heart. Happy Thanksgiving to all. Annie

    Reply
  10. Janet

    Dear Mothers,

    After finding and reading this article, and it’s comments, I feel empowered to overcome my hurt. This on again, off again, renewal of time together with my somewhat, estranged son and family, has done some real damage to me, but no damage, to them. There is one part of the article that absolutely strikes a chord. Trust. I don’t trust my own son. He has cause me enormous pain by betraying, lying to me, and insulting me, over, and over again. Then comes back and expects unconditional love from me, when he needs it. I have spent many “mental health days” in bed. I can’t divorce him, as I did his father, and his father is now deceased, so has become a saint, in his memory. Unfortunately, some unseemly, genes live on. I love my son, but do not like him. I don’t want to be around someone who makes me feel bad about myself. It’s as simple as that. I am, now, on guard, and ready, to strike back, whenever appropriate. By striking back, I mean, putting my son, in my position. It’s called empathy. Something, that seems to be missing, in his character. Doing this, in a civil manner, as opposed to, an emotional response, from me, or him, helps ME, to keep my bearings. I will not be broken again.

    Reply
  11. Tara

    My daughter stopped speaking to me in December of 2014. My phone calls were not answered and never
    returned. My emails were bounced back. Facebook contact ceased. I, like everyone else, would like to
    know WHY? We may never know. 2015 was a long, dark year of struggle. 2016 saw many emotional ups
    and downs. 2017 – life goes on. I am beginning to pick up the pieces.

    Reply
    1. sally

      I believe that the adult child gets off on manipulation, on punitive behavior and shunning. I think they really enjoy it. I had a close, loving, trusting relationship with my only grandchild for 7 years before I was cut off and told I could no longer be alone with her. I am a retired professional and highly respected in my community. This was so degrading, insulting, and belittling….they told people that I am “mentally ill” (a lie), and all without explanation. They refused to discuss, refused to answer any communication of any kind. It has been 6 months and I came very very close to suicide. This child was my joy in old age. I loved her, I loved her company. Now she is gone forever. My daughter and her husband love to punish–he is a very harsh disciplinarian. I no longer worry about myself, but I tremble to think what that innocent little child is going through…having her beloved grandmother taken away.

  12. Noreen

    Thank you all so much for sharing your stories and your recovery. I have just started the healing process after 10 years of abuse from my estranged daughter, who was my world and only child. When I knew I couldn’t get over this loss or bare the pain any longer I found this site and have been reading it daily. I even my an apt. with a counselor. I thought I was alone. I’ve isolated my self from most people I knew,I’m reluctant to make new friends. I shielded myself from any more pain. I built myself a painful prison. Only now I’m beginning to find a new life for myself. Thank you all. I’m so happy I’m not alone and so sorry than this epidemic can’t be explained. Why now is all this happening to mostly Mothers?

    Reply
    1. rparentsrparents Post author

      Noreen,
      First, I’m so sorry you’re going through this. Your question about this happening mostly to mothers … I believe mothers talk about it on websites more than fathers. They seek help more often, from many sources. But many thousands of mothers are married to the fathers who are also rejected. Some of them comment here, and I have heard from some in email. There are many fathers who are also hurting. As I say in my book’s Note to Fathers, the reason I directed the book to mothers is because so many more responded to my research than men. But the stories there are fit for men as well.

      Hugs,
      Sheri McGregor

    2. rparentsrparents Post author

      Sally, I’m so sorry you had unproductive experiences with support people. So grateful that the book was useful to you!

      Sheri McGregor

    3. cathy b.

      yes you do tend to isolate yourself because you are depressed and ashamed…but that only makes it worse. You feel powerless. You desperately want to confront the adult child, but with a grandchild in the picture, you dont dare because they will turn the grandchild against you…once that happens, it is truly over. If your adult child has tried to tell others that you are crazy, has gossiped behind your back, has done everything they can to isolate, marginalize, ostracize, shame and otherwise kill your spirit, you know what its like and staying home is letting them win. I really think they wanted me to get so depressed I would kill myself, but I declined. They would have said to the grandchildren: see, grandma was disturbed. I did not let that happen.

  13. Annie

    Pain nourishes your courage. This is something Mary Tyler Moore said and I think it’s true for all of us here. Another powerful statement I read this week was from Sheri, our mentor. She said she doesn’t do well with pretense. Me neither Sheri and it’s because we’re real and we will not accept less than we deserve. Just a few thoughts tonight. And Happy belated birthday Sunflower!
    Annie

    Reply
    1. rparentsrparents Post author

      Annie, I really like that Mary Tyler Moore quote. Plus, it’s true. I’m glad you shared it here, and I appreciate your kindness as always.
      🙂

      Sheri McGregor

  14. Erna R.

    My daughter and I always had a close relationship. Until she married a man who was abused by his mother and transferred that broken relationship over to me, giving my daughter the choice: either him or me.
    For 25 years I have been receiving the cold shoulder, and even after he killed himself 7 years ago, the situation has not improved, except for her visiting me and hew new boyfriend 5 years ago.
    But all along it looked like she was not interested in my life, or her brother’s life. Anything of a personal nature was ignored and never responded to.
    It is like she has been taken over by the “body snatchers” and has not been herself for a long time. I no longer know who she is.
    I am so done with it all. I finally cut her off, leaving the door open for whenever the time comes that she will have found herself again. But either way, too much broken, too much hurt for too darn long.

    Reply
  15. Karen V.

    My desire is to give some words of encouragement to parents like myself with estranged children. This coming Sunday is Mother’s Day. I know most of you are facing a deep pain and even though it has been possibly years since you have seen or been able to communicate with your child, the love you hold for them is strong. And the tears and pain are just as real. Let yourself have that moment of pain. Then allow the love to reign and rule in you heart.

    Reply
    1. Sandi W.

      My husband and I grow stronger every day and now each year. The pain does not go away; you just learn to endure it. The source of pain is the loss of the connection and the source of our strength is the love for our daughter and grandson. We are committed to allow love to reign and to rule our hearts. This is the hardest time of the year for me and why I visit websites trying to seek some comfort and maybe even some words of wisdom. Thank You!

    2. Michelle

      I am in so much pain. My daughter didn’t tell me when my grandson was born and hasn’t spoken to me in 6 months.

  16. Patricia

    Thank you for the encouraging words. I just would like to get through the resentment. Maybe being an adoptive parent puts a different perspective on things.

    Reply
  17. Sandi S.

    This is my first visit to this site. I read many things that I myself could have written. With almost no contact with my daughter for over 10 years, I still checked the mail box today, just in case she sent a Mother’s Day card.
    I am blessed with a understanding husband, a great son and daughter in law, and 3 precious grandkids. My conscience is clear. It is not easy and the tears still come. But I am working at this and not giving up. Sometimes during the last 10 years I felt like I might just die from grief. But I didn’t and I’m going to work at this and do what is within my power. I can’t make her see the truth. I can be present for my other loved ones and for my own life. Thank you all for showing me that I am not some anomaly. Happy Mother’s Day 2017

    Reply
  18. Barbara

    I have completed reading this great book. I’m in my 5th month of my son eliminating me from his life.. however experiencing an enormous amount of verbal abuse through letters, emails and texing in the last 3 years. Besides my cancer in 2005, this by far is one of the most difficult situations I have endured. Every day brings a different thought process. I’m trying!!!

    Reply
    1. Arlene

      What’s so frustrating is that although it’s a “death”, its harder than a real death. I have experienced both (as most of us have) and after the stages of grief we can go on with finding happiness again because birth and death is the reality of all lives. But, as I read and relate to the excruciating emotions it sounds the same, whether 5 months or 10 years!!! It’s never been good with my son but he is still the baby I smelled and his 3 kids are innocently victims of losing out presence.

  19. edna b.

    the worst is losing a loving, trusting and wonderful relationship of 7 years with my only grarndchild. I get to see her but never alone…breaks my heart. I went through every thing in Sheri’s book, and after 6 months I realize that I did nothing wrong. I was a decent mother and a wonderful grandmother. My daughter is disturbed and I realized after watching her interact with the child that she is deeply conflicted about motherhood…loving and affectionate one minute, later hateful and mean and seeing how much the child loved me was horribly distressing to her, made her feel guilty, insecure etc/ Why couldnt she discuss these issues with me like an adult? I was hoping that cutting me out of their lives would help her get on the even keel, but its not happening I feel so sorry and worry so much about this darling grandchild I can no longer offer love to.

    Reply
    1. rparentsrparents Post author

      Dear Edna,
      Maybe in time you will have a chance to reconnect with your beautiful grandchild. I hope so. In the meantime, continue to take good care of yourself. I appreciate your comment. You are a support to others here.

      Hugs!
      Sheri McGregor

  20. Lisa

    My ex husband sent my adult children a vile, demeaning email after I filed for divorce. He printed it out and made our then 15 yr old read it. He listed all of my sins as “fact” and minimized his own and laid in thick that HE was a victim. My oldest daughter refuses to speak to me. She doesn’t believe he’s done anything wrong. I’ve reached out multiple times by text and mostly get no response at all—or, she gets defensive and snarky. I found out she was pregnant with her first child by seeing a Facebook post my son-in-law put up. She’s due to have her baby any day and I haven’t seen her or spoken to her in 2 1/2 years. My ex and I were married for 28 years. He began seeing someone before the marriage ended and continues to claim he’s innocent in all matters. No one knows what happened to that woman and out of the blue my ex husband sent my kids 8 selfies this chick sent him and a text “introducing” her. Two weeks later, they got engaged. The divorce had only been final 8 months prior. This woman comments on pictures of my daughter and says she “can’t wait and is so soooo excited” about MY grandchild. She even sent their wedding invitation to MY home for the two daughters that live with me. I’m so appalled by the domino affect of pain, insensitivity and complete ignorance to 28 years of history. My daughter is now alienating me from my grandchild. I know “life should go on”—but my mind can’t stop thinking about everything and I can’t stop crying. It’s complete agony.

    Reply
  21. pearl

    the pain in the heart wont go away ive always loved him so much he lives in canada and has remarried he obviously doest want me in his life any more and thinks more of inlaws than he does his mum he blames me for everything and doest accept resposability for his own actions how he can be so cruel i dont know ive always been there for him love to you all pearl

    Reply
  22. Nicki D.

    I have been estranged from my son for three years, he recently graduated from school in which I did attend it and other functions because I thought it was the right thing to do. His Father and his response was to have their lawyer send me a threatening letter for no contact after my son sent a scathing email saying he wanted his step mom to adopt and pretty much loathing my existence. My delima is I am trying hard to love on but constantly think of him. On vacation this week I was so upset thinking of him but could not talk to anyone about it. I didn’t enjoy my time with my family for reliving all of it o er and over in my head. I am on depression medication but still can’t seem to get over this and just be happy. Any suggestions?

    Reply
  23. Lynn C.

    After reading these posts, I am shocked at the epidemic this adult child estrangement has crippled the baby boomer generation of parents! I have been estranged from my oldest son for 14 months now and from the moment he and his wife threw me and his disabled step dad out of their lives, I too thought I could never survive this and felt like I wanted to die and never go out in the world again. I immediately got my hands on every book, article, blog, psychology resources, therapists, pastors, church support groups and of course Sheri’s book to understand and make sense of it all. I educated myself into self healing and today….I am fine…in fact, I dont even care anymore. I love life too much to let these 2 destroy me. I have a grandson that I watched for his 1st yr of life and now hes 2 1/2….and like others, the controlling spouse seemed to be the source of the tension. The child showed how much he loved me and the mother had a hard time with that. I gave good old fashioned grammy love, while she was a cold by the book mom. I was told I could not rock him before I put him down for his nap. My son is completely controlled by her and never stood up for me even though he could see how well things were working out for the child being watched by a loving grammy ( who is a pediatric RN ) vs. Daycare. She yelled at me for picking him up when he was crying, telling me Im a discipline nightmare when the child was 12 months old and couldnt even talk yet. I had words with her and that was it. Done. 8 page email telling me everything she hates about me. With all the help I have received, I did exactly what the advice said. I apologized, didnt get pushy or defensive, short texts, upbeat, changed my attitude and perspective about them and low and behold, I restablished contact with them. Its not the same, never will be. The emotional scar is there from all the months of sadness and anger I carried. But when I reached the point of not caring anymore and accepting this is their choice and knowing I had done everything I could, mountains started moving. I now see my grandson again and have restablished a loving relationship with him. He knows me, hugs me and kisses me and I am fine with just that. They made it clear they do not want a relationship with us and to focus my attention on just the grandson. Fine with me. I find no enjoyment in their negative hateful bitter company. I am happy and upbeat when they bring the child over. I was informed I can never have a sleepover with him nor take him anywhere all out of spitefullness and control….the shocking part is, my sons wife is coming around more than my son is and the rift was with her! I honestly think he is ashamed of himself for his ridiculous childlike behavior and cant bring himself to communicate with us. Have you heard of estranged adult children continuing their silence based on being too embaressed to reface their parents?

    Reply
    1. rparentsrparents Post author

      Hi Lynn,
      I have heard many parents speculate that a son or daughter could be feeling embarrassed and avoiding making amends because of it.

      Thanks for telling some of your story here. It will be helpful to others.

      Sheri McGregor

  24. maggie t.

    About a month ago I wrote a comment here about my estrangement from my son and his little girls, and registered with this site to receive newsletters,but my comment wasn’t published and I haven’t received any newsletters. ????

    My heart is broken in a million little pieces and left on the pavement bleeding to death, through being abandoned after a dispute with my eldest son, when he ripped 12 year old E.. & 8 year old J. out of my life, after I had bonded with them since they were born.

    Reply
    1. rparentsrparents Post author

      Sorry, Maggie! I’m not sure what happened to your comment. The newsletter doesn’t go out like clockwork, but there will be another one soon. Meanwhile, I hope you will find something useful here at the site. Again, I’m just so very sorry you’re facing this heartache.

      Hugs,
      Sheri McGregor

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