Estrangement: What about hope?

estrangementby Sheri McGregor, M.A.

In the face of estrangement from adult children, the concept of hope frequently comes up. Some parents take comfort in the idea their estranged adult children might one day reconnect. Others waffle, wondering if hope is futile. Some parents let go of hope entirely, and believe it’s a positive step toward their emotional well-being. Others are troubled by the admission and worry that giving up hope isn’t normal.

Let’s take a closer look at the concept of hope as it relates to recovering from the pain of estrangement.

Estrangement: Is it wise to hope?

Parents suffering the throes of estrangement usually hang onto hope. Sometimes though, they wonder if hope is even realistic. They ask if it’s is healthy for them, or maybe holds them in a sort of limbo state.

“I would get caught up in magical thinking,” said one mother whose estrangement continues after six years. “At least I’ve come to see it like that.” This mother of two daughters whose oldest is estranged explains that in the beginning, she would often send texts, emails, and even phone messages (her daughter never answered), thinking if she just said the right thing, her daughter would return to her. “Now, I don’t believe anything I could do or say would make a difference,” she says. “But I still have hope.”

Hope is different than expectation.

This mom doesn’t equate her hope with expectation. People routinely hang onto hope when outcomes are beyond their control. Hope rises with the element of possibility more than probability. 1

Seeing hope for what it is allows you to get on with your own life.

In estrangement, can hope help?estrangement

For parents suffering the distress of estrangement from adult children, the hope of getting through the emotional trauma and having a happy life despite it can most certainly help.

Studies about hope often center on persons who are physically ill. Even so, we can learn from people whose precarious circumstances serve to highlight what’s most important in life. For these persons, hope can provide insight into their lives as a whole, and help them see how their past can intersect with their future.2

Similarly, parents devastated by an estrangement over which they have no real control can find a way to view and conceptualize hope as part of an overall narrative of their life and focus. For instance, seeing the part they played in their son or daughter’s upbringing—financially, emotionally, or otherwise—and understanding how that past role contributed to the adult child’s life and future as well.

Did you provide a stable environment? Allow your child to explore a variety of interests? Contribute financially to their physical wellness and/or education? Perhaps you were adventurous, and introduced your child to physical pursuits that widened their experiences and built their strength. How could things like these fit into your child’s adult life?

Ideas around hope can be unique, fitting into an individual parent’s personal life narrative. We always hoped for the best for their children. Continuing to hold out this hope for them, even in estrangement, can bolster our self-esteem and confidence. We are still good parents—despite our children’s choices.

estrangementHope for reconciliation:
Is it normal to give it up?

Among the many thousands of parents who have shared their estrangements with me, many say they have lost all hope of ever reconnecting in any significant way. Some go so far as to say they hope their child never tries. Or have even been contacted but turned their son or daughter away. Often, these parents are troubled by their feelings.

One parent whose son initiated estrangement admitted she hopes he’ll never try to return. Over several years of torment, her son duped her out of large sums of money that derailed her retirement. He even threatened to murder her. His estrangement came as a relief. After several months, she still suffers ill effects to her health, has trouble sleeping, and is sometimes plagued by the feeling that she must be to blame. Although she is relieved over his estrangement and honest that she’s given up the hope of ever having a relationship with him, those feelings trouble her. In her medical profession, hope is encouraged, so to personally experience a loss of hope cuts deep, slashing at her ideals.

This mother didn’t choose the estrangement, but because her son did, she’s since experienced a level of peace in her everyday life that wasn’t possible when her son remained in contact. She’s no longer awakened by hostile rantings and threats, and is no longer manipulated into financially rescuing her son.

It’s not difficult to understand why her son’s estrangement is liberating. This mother is similar to a couple in their seventies who, after years of verbal abuse and episodic estrangements initiated by their son and his wife, have decided that they will no longer allow him back into their lives. The pain of losing their grandchildren yet again, and of suffering their son’s vicious verbal tirades has taken its toll. Exhausted, these parents have chosen to savor their older years together, thankful for some peace. They’re no longer always on edge, in a perpetual state of fear. Their hope now rests with the grandchildren, whom they’re optimistic will one day contact them and pick up the loving relationship they cultivated during the “on” years of their on-and-off relationship controlled by their estranged son.

These parents cut off the prospect of further distress. Their reasoning aligns with the thoughts of philosopher Friedrich Nietzche, who calls hope “the most evil of evils, because it prolongs man’s torment.”3

No hope when nothing has changed

One father recently sent me an email, telling about his experience during six years of estrangement from his son. This loving father who had tried to have a good relationship with his son had been holding out hope. He fully expected that if his son did ever return to him, life lessons would have helped him mature—similar to the prodigal son who returned with a changed heart. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. This father welcomed his estranged son into his home, but within a few minutes, the son proceeded to list what he saw as his father’s faults. He blamed his father for all of the problems in his life, and also the estrangement.

Reminded of the old turmoil—as compared with the relative peace during the six-year estrangement—this father told his son to leave and never come back. And then he sent me an email, wondering if it is common for parents to put an end to a relationship with an abusive son.

The answer is yes.

I hear from parents at all stages of estrangement: a week of no contact, one year, five years, or even decades. While it’s true that the majority say they wish they could have a good relationship, many admit to having lost all hope. Some for reasons like the parents above. Others because a son or daughter is now a stranger. Many explain why they know that a normal relationship isn’t possible, and they no longer want to try—yet are still plagued by sadness and worry their loss of hope represents some personal shortcoming.

Hope: Against the odds?

In the first example, the mother spoke of hope as integral in her work. Hope helps people who are suffering, often in situations that are largely out of their control. That’s how the idea of maintaining hope differs from optimism about more self-determined outcomes. We “hope” that there will be no traffic. We “hope” our surgery will go well. We “hope” that a friend with cancer survives. Other than the obvious things we might do to help these situations along, such as leave at low-traffic times or choose a reputable doctor, the outcomes are mostly beyond our control.

Hoping an estrangement will end is normal, but it’s also wise to accept that the outcome is beyond our control. Some parents can see that in their situation, it also isn’t likely. For them, leaving hope behind makes sense in order to stop the torment of continued hurt.

The couple in their seventies who are optimistic their grandchildren will one day reconnect make a distinction between hope and optimism. The oldest was 14 when the last estrangement began. They still send cards to her and her younger siblings, although they can’t be sure they’re receiving them. They reason that their granddaughter was old enough to see that her father’s bad behavior wasn’t their fault.

Limits are unique

We each decide our own limits as to how much trouble, abuse, or neglect we will accept in estrangement and still hope for reconciliation. In my book, there is a series of questions that help individuals conclude for themselves where they fall in the spectrum. Sometimes, taking a hard look at the realities of the relationship dynamics helps parents come to terms with what is, and move forward in their own lives—whether holding out hope or not.

If you’re troubled by your lack of hope or your decision to close the door to reconciliation, you’re not alone. As parents, we’re accustomed to caring for our children. For parents, sometimes the lines between childhood and adulthood can blur. An adult who has caused us repeated troubles may trigger the love we felt for a child who made a mistake. But that’s not the same as an adult son or daughter whose mistakes aren’t innocent or childlike.

Eventually, to protect their physical strength, their sanity, and their future, many parents draw the line—which is a healthy self-preservation response. Many of these parents say they wish they’d have done so sooner.

estrangementHope for ourselves

“Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.” ~ Desmond Tutu

As I say in my book, the landscape of loss is fertile ground for growth. When it comes to a happy future, we have more than hope. We can be optimistic and cultivate the fruits of our positive expectations with action. We can control our thoughts, our behavior, and for the most part, our lives. We can be happy, despite loss.

My hope is that all the caring parents who have been mistreated and estranged will make the most of their treasured lives.


  1. Bury, S.M., Wenzel, M., Woddyatt, L. (2016). Giving hope a sporting chance: Hope as distinct from optimism when events are possible but not probable. Motivation & Emotion. 40:588-601
  2. Dal Sook, K., Hesook, S.K., Thorne, S. (2017). An Intervention model to help clients to seek their own hope experiences: The Narrative communication model of hope seeking intervention. Korean Journal of Hospice & Palliative Care. 20(1):1-7.
  3. Nietszche, F. (1994). Human, all too human. London, UK: Penguin Books.

Related articles:

Adult children won’t talk to you: What does it mean to cope?

Parents abandoned by adult children: Shape your new normal


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32 thoughts on “Estrangement: What about hope?

  1. Gina

    Not sure how to handle it. I read your book and this happened to us about 4 months ago. Its been so devastating but your book has been a tremendous help in at least validating my feelings. I have to hold out hope but I know things can never be the same again. The hardest part is that my childhood was so horrible I always said my kids would have a wonderful life which is what they had, now the middle son who is 38, ( I believe the wife plays a huge role in this) has cut us out completely. Have not seen my grandson who we were close to as well. I will hold out hope for now that someday there will be some type of reconciliation.

    1. Jane

      I feel like you. I wanted my daughter to be loved in a way that I was not. I believe she has a coercive partner

    2. Shelley M.

      I had a very abusive and unloving childhood. I gave my children what I never received and did my best. I feel forgotten, a bother even, and unworthy. I read statements by others here, and all I can do is wonder WHY.

    3. rparents Post author

      Hi Shelley,
      It’s the million dollar question, isn’t it? At some point, it’s best to settle on some semblance of a reason (even if it doesn’t make total sense). That way, you can feel settled and start the work of moving forward with your life. I know how difficult it can all be.
      Just because you have been forgotten and as if you are a bother … well that doesn’t mean it’s a reflection of your value. Please do something nice for yourself, and realize you are worthy of a good life, friends, hobbies, and even fun.

      Sheri McGregor

  2. Barbara R.

    My son cut us off twice. The second time he made sure we could not contact them by any means. Our daughter also cut us off. I’ve had minor contact with her. We were even invited to our granddaughters graduation.

    There is no hope anything will ever be normal again.

  3. Lois M.

    I don’t hang onto hope. Hope fills me with despair. Rather I have Faith. Faith that I’m on the path God has set forth for me for some reason I’m not aware of. Whether good or bad we must have FAITH in the path and trust God will lead us where we need to be.
    This is the most painful path….but Faith rises me up.

    1. Kellie K

      I hang on to my faith and relationship with Jesus. My God is the God of impossible things and this definitely seems like one to me. I wait , pray and hope . If it was not for my only 2 grandchildren I could let it go. I’m tired and weary. I have internal battle scars. I am tired of walking on egg shells . But I persevere.

    2. Liss

      I agree we have to have faith that God will guide is thru. Yesterday it came to me I am praying the wrong prayer. I had been praying for God to to send our son back to my husband and I but I realized I should be praying for God go to direct his path back to him. I know all other good things will happen after this takes place.

  4. Bonnie W.

    After 2 1/2 years of estrangement by our youngest daughter, I found this very insightful. Six months ago, a year ago, or just four months after it happened I know I would’ve felt very differently. Hope? No, i have none now although I do still send cards and notes, and even items although I’m sure they just get thrown out. She’s 1000 miles away so I have no other way of contacting her. I know she would take great pleasure in any door slamming type of rejection if I were to visit in person anyway. But I was reminded in this article that I WAS a good parent. My husband was a good parent. Her sibling was a very good big sister. And the problem is her. I must stop blaming myself for her terrible actions and behaviors.

    1. Jupiter

      Hi Lynn,
      I feel your comment. The problem lies within the person. Never lose hold of that! I was so impressed reading the same scenarios of moms with D or C- parents trying to keep their A game up. I was that mom too. Hope for me is “door is open and it stays open” without saying so. I’m tired. If you can’t see or feel it — well maybe some other time you will. That’s hope. Faith on the other hand is sheer torture. We don’t need that!!

    2. Eileen S

      I so agree with your thoughts. I know I was a great parent to my oldest son. He has made bad choices in life and blames me. I have tried to steer him the right direction but the last text I got from him said he was not mommy’s boy anymore and was going to live his life without me. It is very painful. But like you said it is him not me. Its just hard ro accept it.

    3. Sherry B.

      I’m so glad I found this site, and this is the first time I have replied. I myself have been enstranged from my daughter now for the 2nd time. I divorced her father when she was 14 yrs old. I kinda whet though a me selfish time for about two months right after, so I understood why she left the first time.I never ever gave up apologising every day. She was very cruel and hateful to me for a long time. About two weeks before I got remarried she reconnected with me. She had a huge fight with her dad as she could not get along with his girlfriend and wanted to move back home with me. She moved home with me and her dad moved out of state and did not contact her much at all. My new husband and I bent over backwards for her. Got her through high school, baught her cars, supported her thro hard teen yrs. I always felt bad she came from a broken family. Every one kept telling me she treats us like crap and did not appreciate anything we did for her. I would defend her action by saying oh it’s been tough on her. When she was 19 she got a DUI out drinking with her friends. My husband and I helped her out financially bc we did not want one mystske to ruin her life. Our relationship was always rocky as she just never appreciated anything we did nor respected it. If I went against her in anyway she was horrable to me. If we were for her and giving everything was fine. Pretty much right after her wedding that my husband and I paid for she was gone again. She has told her new family how horrable parents we were, that we never supported her, was never there for her Now she blames me for everything bad in her life . She did marry into a good family his parents were high school sweethearts and been married for over 30 yrs. Now they have two littel girls that we cant see. I have sent cards letters, asked to communicate, go to counsling with nothing. I get back leave me and my family alone. We have done nothing but support her and be there. I gave and gave and gave and that was my downfall. I feel she used us to get where she is today and now no longer need her parents. I dont get any of it. But it’s now been 2 yrs this 2nd time and I’m done. This was not my doing , not my choice. I need to move on life is just to short.

  5. Lynne

    I really appreciate this article. I think back over these last 10 years of estrangement and know I always HOPED there would be a day of rejoicing….a day that I could just show her how much I love her. I often think about spending Good time with her. Today has been one of those days of deep thought in thinking about her and knowing my love for her. As time has gone on, with my acceptance of this estrangement, I have changed. I no longer blame myself. I know that if she chooses to never be in my life I will be ok. I think of her with love. Do I hope one day she can show me love?? I do. This is my hope.

  6. Hollie H.

    This article opened my eyes in a lot of ways. Puttng things into perspective sounds like the way I have to proceed. Maybe it will help me accept the fact this will probably not end well. My heart is starting to accept the fact she has probably re written her entire history. It’s really sad

  7. Clueless Dad

    A wonderful, thought provoking article. A couple of observations– it seems the definitional lines between hope and optimism can be quite blurred. I decided it breaks down like this: one can be “hopeful” but not optimistic; and one cannot very well be “optimistic” but not hopeful. Second point–the distinction between being hopeful that “there will not be traffic” versus being hopeful about reconciliation. One we can try to control (leave during a non commuter heavy time); and one we cannot (it takes 2 to tango). I think most folks dealing with this estrangement thing struggle to see what role we played in causing the rift that led to estrangement, and mystification at what keeps the estrangement alive and unresolved, and what it would take to resolve it. Estrangement is such a curious, downright weird, and in most cases dysfunctional choice that we feel as though it must be like the problem of bad traffic–“there must be SOMETHING I can do to fix, avoid, defuse, diminish, or resolve this crazy problem that wormed its way into my life!!!”

    1. rparents Post author

      Dear Clueless Dad,
      I think you are not clueless at all … and have quite a handle on estrangement (although I’m sure not having to know so much about it would be more desirable!). Thank you for sharing your thoughts here. You’re so right…it’s a crazy problem and a dysfunctional choice.

      Sheri McGregor

  8. Marilyn M.

    My son committed suicide 2 years ago. His wife of 10 years found a new man 2weeks after he died. She has a new life.we are her past. I have hope that she will grandsons need to know there father’s side of the family.

    1. rparents Post author

      I’m so sorry about your son! I too hope that she will recognize that your grandsons would benefit from your love and knowing about their father and his family!

      Please take good care of yourself.

      Sheri McGregor

    2. Jupiter

      Hi Lynn,
      I feel your comment. The problem lies within the person. Never lose hold of that! I was so impressed reading the same scenarios of moms with D or C- parents trying to keep their A game up. I was that mom too. Hope for me is “door is open and it stays open” without saying so. I’m tired. If you can’t see or feel it — well maybe some other time you will. That’s hope. Faith on the other hand is sheer torture. We don’t need that!!

    3. Jupiter

      I’m so sorry for your loss Marilyn
      It’s a double hit finding out your daughter-in-law cannot make this tragedy become a bonding moment.
      I hope you’ll master keeping your feelings short. Feel sad. And find something to be happy about
      Feel angry. And find something to laugh about.
      Distract yourself (babies are very good at this)
      It’s the hardest thing you’ll ever do.
      Don’t give up on focusing on YOU.
      another mom

  9. rparents Post author


    I’m sorry you have been been a victim of gas lighting at the hands of your own son. It is a touchy subject. I have shared a few of the things parents have told me has happened to them (no identity or identifying factors shared), and have had people look at me like I was nuts. One friend, after hearing the details one mother told me, even said, “Who would do that?” But after hearing so many thousands of stories and gas lighting ones among them, I have come to trust that gas lighting is a real thing, and it does happen.
    Again, I’m really sorry, pixiehair. And good for you to recognize it. Stay strong. Rather than go round and round with hope and the question of trust, just let the hope rest. Be peaceful. If you could not trust, then at least you’re honest (and might I say wise?). Some adult children do reconcile, and then work hard to regain trust. After a person purposely inflicts pain, trust requires earning. It’s just a fact, and okay to admit your feelings.

    Take care, pixiehair.

    Sheri McGregor

  10. Agave88

    Thank you for addressing the subject of hope, my biggest struggle! It’s been 7 yrs since I’ve seen my child. I have some social media connection only, and I believe it may be worse to only have a window into a small portion of their life. I continue to send texts every 2-8 weeks, rarely getting a response. It is crushing each time I send love and support, but I do believe it is important. I also know I’m being manipulated! No easy answers. We were so very close and loving for 20+years, never expected this at all. Sad, frustrating and yet must have hope. It does hurt, also, when others credit a “good” kid to good parents. WE were good parents too! Glad to have found this site/book/community.

  11. Betsy

    I have endured almost six years of estrangement from my son and daughter in law. I have done my very best to stay in contact with my two grandchildren through cards, letters and emails. I have read your book and often visit this website for emotional support. It has quite literally been a life line for me! It wasn’t until I found this site, that I started to heal and find my stability within my own heart again. As so many have also indicated, it’s easier to have no contact than to deal with the turmoil of intermittent and anger infused dialogue. I loved him from a distance and sent him peace and love through my prayers. However, now there has been a huge upset in our lives and I’m once again in turmoil over what to do and how to respond.
    My daughter in law has just in the last month been diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer. She is just 40 years old. My son is taking this the hardest. He notified me through email. We have been texting and talking on the phone almost like we used to before this estrangement. My heart breaks for them for what has happened.
    So……how do I deal with this news? How do I respond and react to this? How do I protect myself and my heart while at the same time try to comfort and support them. We don’t live near each other, so that does make it easier. But I find myself afraid of being pulled in and acting like the mom that is still there to trying like hell to keep my balance. If I pull out all the stops and rally around them will it all just fall away again when the dust settles? How will I feel then when he pulls away and the anger takes hold again?
    My son is an angry man. He has vacillated between crying and sobbing over his wife to yelling and saying things like…” I don’t need this shit in my life! When is this shit going to stop”. It’s a lot of stress….yes I get that….but lord almighty…get a grip! It’s your wife that’s suffering, not you! I don’t know……my emotions are all over the place.
    Thank you for reading this. Any advice you can offer would be greatly appreciated.
    God bless us all….

    1. rparents Post author

      Dear Betsy,

      Please take a step back and examine what you can do without hurting yourself. Limit the time you allow him to use you for a sounding board. Don’t let this take over your life. Maybe you limit the calls to once or twice a week, or you set a time limit (even if you don’t tell him, you could just say you have a pressing matter, a class, an appointment, have a task you must take care of, and when the time is up, tell him you will be praying for him, thinking of him and his wife, and loving them…but you have to go). If this were me, I would not feel bad about ignoring some calls and letting them go to voicemail. Nobody can expect another person, a mother even (and one they’ve cast aside maybe even less so) to be there any time of day or night.

      Obviously, there is a huge pull to be available for him/them. But you must care for yourself in this. You are right to imagine that when the dust settles things may change, and he may step out again. So take care of yourself while at the same time providing what help you can feel comfortable with, in a way that does not go so far as to hurt you (financially, emotionally, time wise, etc).

      I hope this helps a little. I have heard so many, many stories of adult children who come back when they are in need. Then they do depart again. It’s a real possibility.

      I think of wisdom as acting in a way that you can feel okay about later, making decisions without undue emotional influence (which sometimes clouds judgment). Run your thoughts by a trusted friend or whatever, too. Protecting yourself is not selfish.

      Sheri McGregor

  12. Heart Broken Mom

    Wow, your comment made me go read about gaslighting. That describes my son’s wife (can’t use DIL) to a tee. Her mother (son’s now MIL) was adopted, son’s wife is biological child, and son’s wife brother is adopted. Based on comments I’ve heard, and discussions that were said to us at their wedding reception…this is exactly what I’ve seen but couldn’t put a finger on it. We’ve wondered how our son was brainwashed because he was an intelligent person. This made so much sense. I’m so glad I went and read about it. More pieces of my puzzle are put together, and it makes a little more sense. Thanks for sharing.

  13. Cheryl S.

    We are a blended family of 6 children and 22 grandchildren. Out of the group of extremely ungrateful kids, we have two sons that stay in contact.

    The rest are abusive, manipulative and hateful. We gave them everything. Cars, no school loans, the perfect wedding, money, money and more money. We babysat, did without and now my husband can’t retire.

    We finally had enough. One of our children and her 6 kids live in our subdivision. Her friends will not speak to us. Have no idea what she told them. She told us she hopes we have a heart attack, die and go to hell.

    We decided it was our time at 74. We bought a used Corvette, put in our Stayin’ Alive CD and hit the road on weekends.

    I refuse to be put to bed by a bunch of ungrateful, spoiled entitled adult kids. We are moving on. Busy with politics, which was my former career, car club, friends and neighbors. I will NOT let them get us down.

    We are happier than we have ever been. I’m just disgusted we lost so much time and money on being abused.

    Our faith is stronger than ever before, but our pastor was absolutely useless in this case.

    Overcoming your abusive kids is possible. I will always love them, but I will never trust them completely.

  14. John M

    I have not received any communications from my 21 year old daughter since December 2105.

    Every Friday, I send her a short video message to her cell phone basically summarizing my week and wishing her well.

    I am very happy in my life and I am not discouraged by any lack of response. I am not hopeful, so much as I am trusting that all things, including this situation, will work together for my good. I don’t control the timetable. I do control my feelings and my attitude. My concern and love for my daughter is not conditional on her response, or lack thereof. I am not disappointed in her because her lack of response. I know that I am doing the right thing. I am pleased with myself with how I am handling things. Even if she never responds to me, I will die happy and fulfilled because I answered the call to forgive and move forward, while still loving my daughter.

  15. Jaxcy

    My eldest daughter has been estranged from us for nearly 2 years now. It is still very hard because I don’t understand why she will not even entertain the idea of a reconciliation in the future sometime. My husband had to kick her out after she had been verbally and emotionally abusive to us for so very long. My depression was very bad and this only made it much worse. We always loved her and continue to do so to this very day. She lived with my sister after she was kicked out and recently my sister told us that she would have had her to stay longer if only she had respected them and acted like an appreciative person. She allowed her to stay with them for a year but after that told her she would need to find another place to live. She went to my other sisters who she gets along with very well but she didn’t like the fact that she had a dog and the dog hair would get over everything. So she asked my now aging parents if she could live with them, and of course they felt obliged to say yes, so she has been there for about half a year now. And my parents now see what we were putting up with as she is very disrespecting to them, coming in at all hours and my mom says she now sees her as more of a boarder( although she pays no rent) instead of a granddaughter. I feel sorry for them, but at the time, not one member of my family believed what we had said was happening, until they witnessed it themselves. Now they are coming to understand what we lived with for so long before we finally had to kick her out. She must have told them that we abused her or whatnot as they were always on her side, and didn’t even entertain the idea that we might have been telling the truth. Until now. But, unfortunately, on Thanksgiving, when my family was finally invited over again after not being invited to any occasions for over a year, one of my sisters, unbeknownst to me as I was in the bathroom at the time said that none of my kids had any values or morals and that it was due to the way we had raised them. When I came out of the bathroom, my husband had left and when I found him a few houses down the street he told me what had transpired and he wasn’t about to let her get away with saying that regarding our children. He told me to stay if I wanted and he would find his own way home. I was in such a mindset that I wanted to make things work with my sisters and parents that I was totally unaware the rest of my children, except for the youngest who was 8 years old and playing in the other room with her cousin and didn’t know what was going on, well my other kids that had heard what was said about them were apparently in the back yard, outside crying their eyes out from being hurt. I made a mistake that day and went out for dinner with my family even after what was said, and they said that the kids would be following right behind us and meet us there. They never did, and I so foolishly wanted to make amends with my family that I didn’t even go back to my mothers, but instead kept letting my sisters tell me that they were sure the kids would be along soon. They never showed up, and I kept letting my youngest sister know what good kids mine were and that they definitely were taught values and morals. As for my other sister, she drove me to the restaurant but when getting out, said something to her, she replied to me that I was a liar regarding a previous issue and she said this right to my face. So, I was mostly in a state of shock and upon returning to my mothers house, I collected my children and we left. I was also very upset at the fact that my parents merely sat there and let my children be called what they were and my parents never spoke a word. They just let it be said. I think my children are now realizing what I had to put up with all my life and I really wasn’t always the bad sheep they said I was. When I got home, I apologized to each and every one of my children, except for my youngest that wasnt involved or my estranged daughter as she would never be anywhere that I was ever. But she was informed that my sisters as well as myself were trying to give my parents some ideas on how to handle my daughter and her lack of following any rules while living with my parents. What was so funny is that when I was 17, my parents kicked me out of the house for acting exactly the same way that my daughter is. In yet at 17 they kicked me out, but refuse to do the same with my eldest daughter as they don’t want her to be mad at them. Now, that doesnt even make sense. I think that if my sisters and parents had refused to take my daughter in when we first kicked her out, and hadn’t told her such terrible and unfair things about us, that she didnt need to know, some even made up I’m sure, and if they had merely recommended a reconciliation with us, her parents, long ago, I beleive we may have had a chance of getting back together. But now, she has such a terrible chip on her shoulder and is so very mean and hateful that I don’t know if she will every speak with us again. I will still never, ever give up on her or stop loving her, and I will continue to send her cards, emails and care packages to help her out. And my doctor said that at age 25 the brain changes from that of a teenage brain to that of an adult brain and my psychiatrist swears she will come around at that point. Little does he know how truly stubborn she is.. I am doing ok and no longer crying everyday like I had been at one time, and I don’t think that I will ever give up trying….

    1. Ophelia

      Hi Jaxcy,
      I totally sympathize with your situation. Our own families are very judgmental, who is perfect? When you have a problem with a grown up child, you need support from your family, not “I told you so” attitude.
      I have had the worst 2 years of my life dealing with an estranged son.
      We allowed him and his girlfriend(now wife) to move in to a cabin his dad built for them and it was the worst mistake of our lives…without going into it all, our loving son turned into a monster after 22 months of living with her, and turned against us. We were the ones who did the most for them and now we are the worst thought of. Her Dad left her mom for another woman when she was 5, but he has been allowed back into the fold and somehow we are the baddies. Instead of saving money for a deposit for a house, my sons wife spent 10,000 pounds on a wedding instead…But we went along with it, but somehow now they have gone we are to blame for all their bad decisions. I cant understand how this has happened. He has fell out with me his Dad and brother unless we give him money. He has also taken away our first Grandchild after letting us get attached to him. I cant believe he is the son I lovingly brought up. His brother is mad at the way he has treated us. He is still bothering with my husbands parents, and taking the baby to see them, but it is probably being done to hurt us. This has caused a rift between us and them too as we feel they could have shown us more support…I really have trouble coping with the fact I have put all the effort into bringing him up and my mother in law is reaping the benefits i.e. seeing my grandson… I have read Sheri’s book and it has helped a lot, but I am sorry to say that this has made me regret having children, ..however it is double edged sword as my other son (younger) has been marvelous. It is good to know that we can share our experiences with each other…and hopefully all move on. We have done our best and you are right the brain isn’t mature until 25, so maybe there is hope…kind wishes xx

  16. islandgirl1

    I often dabble with the word “hope”. Our Son has been estranged now for 6 months with our first grandson in tow. We have not seen this precious child since he was 6 weeks old. We are trying to come to grips with the situation but we cannot wrap our heads around anything that was or is so terrible that this type of behavior is the “only” way to deal. For us, forgiveness has been paramount in our family since our 3 children were born. We always respected each other and I made sure that the kids worked things out and gave a heart felt “I’m sorry” for hurtful words or behaviors in our home, as did my husband and I apologize if we were out of line or hurtful. But, what we are learning, ever so painfully, that our adult children have not remembered that upbringing. In the beginning I just “hoped” that he would call or text to try to resolve the issues at hand. I “hoped” that he would remember how close he and I were. I “hoped” that he could find a place in his heart for all of us again. Today, my “hope” thoughts have changed. I “hope” that he is happy, I “hope” that our Grandson is happy and healthy, I “hope” that his wife gets off her princess high horse and realizes what her ultimatum took away from her husband. For in all of this I know she was a catalyst in him removing himself from a family that loves him. We know that she only wants her words bending his ear and not ours. Yes, he is culpable for his behavior of removing us, but she is equally culpable for giving him an ultimatum and filling his head full of BS that the family was just a bunch of drama-filled, delusional people, as her text to all of us said. (trust me when I say that the drama happened when she walked through our doors 6 years ago.) We, like all families have our issues and bumps in the road. But nothing so bad that forgiveness isn’t an option. He was brought up with two loving parents and two loving sisters. He had scads of family around him that loved him also. He had a warm home to come home to, never a hungry day, tons of love and hugs , a father and mother who worked their fingers to the bone to provide. Our children were and are our world. My heart goes out to any and all parents who are dealing with this type of pain and confusion around estrangement. The lack of control in finding a way to end this is mind boggling for the ball is in the estranged court. So, when I have hope, my hope is that our family can move on through this pain and have a happy life without our Son and Grandson in our lives. We have two wonderful daughters who would never conceive of such hatefulness and lack of forgiveness. We have spent the better part of the summer in counseling just so that we can put one foot in front of the other and remember all of the blessings that we have VS what we have lost. We have so much to be grateful for and a new grandchild coming our way in 2018. New beginnings. So, with all of that said…. today I hope for peace around something that I cannot control. That is all I can do. The rest I will leave in God’s hands. He knows the plan after all. Peace and blessings to all of you….. a fellow estranged Mother of an adult child.

  17. artmom

    I wish I had recognized the characteristics in my son earlier that allowed him to be controlled by a cult-like leader…aka my daughter in law. I should have been more selfish and let him struggle a lot more in his life. I think that was my problem. A therapist once told him he had too good of a childhood. Can you believe that?


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