Rejected parents: Should you tell people?

by Sheri McGregor, M.A.

parents cut off by adult childrenRecently, some mothers of estranged adults brought up an article in a major publication that pegged meddling mothers-in-law as the main cause of estrangement. It’s a simplistic view. Having studied the topic of estranged adult children in depth, I know the problem is much more complex and varied. A long chapter in my book covers the causes at length. But our society has been conditioned to believe that kids wouldn’t reject decent, loving folks. So when it comes to parents cut off by adult children, it’s fair to say that most people wonder what the parent must have done to cause the break.

Unfortunately, kind, supportive parents cut off by adult children often feel a sense of shame or guilt, even when they know they did their best (often explained by the concept of innocent guilt). That, and the fear of being judged by others, can keep them suffering in silence. They may have even brought up the topic, seeking support, and received judgment instead. So parents cut off by adult children may stop talking and start to isolate themselves. Even in small communities where most people know about the estrangement, these parents veer away from the proverbial elephant in the room.

parents cut off by adult childrenEvery estrangement situation is different. For some of us, it may be possible and desirable to meet the estrangement topic head on. Doing so may educate others about the growing phenomenon of caring, supportive parents cut off by adult children.

If we remain silent and fearful of gossip, it’s possible that our silence feeds into the idea that we as parents are at fault or did something horrible to cause the estrangement. Also, by remaining silent on the matter, or keeping social connections superficial, we don’t provide the opportunity for another person to be our friend.

I know how incredibly painful estrangement is. Parents cut off by adult children can, without good reason, end up feeling very small. It’s like having your legs lopped off at the knees! But walking around with our heads bowed in undeserved shame isn’t wise or fair to ourselves. Oh, how the neck can hurt when we’re always holding our heads low!

Having authored my book on the topic to help parents cut off by adult children move forward and find happiness again, I am forever in a position to talk about the subject of estrangement. I’ve grown used to doing so. Still, I’m occasionally hit with one of those looks, odd questions, or rude responses—and sometimes it even bothers me. I’m human after all. For the most part, I parents cut off by adult childrenrefuse to participate in someone else’s warped view of me. I’m a good person. I’m a decent human being. I’m a good mother and wife, a stable, accomplished person.

Talking about the experience is easier if you steer another person’s responses. It’s about making the other person more comfortable with the truth. It’s about saying, well gosh, here’s this cruddy thing in my life, and I get that you probably wonder what I did, but you know, I’m not so horrible. It happens to the best of us.

In fact, I’ve met all sorts of really, really kind, caring people from all over the world who find themselves in shock, in a situation they would have never expected. Either there’s a phenomenon of some sort, or we’re an army of monsters wearing aprons, spending time with the kids, and looking through old albums of photographs we somehow altered to make it look like our families were happy.

Parents cut off by adult children: Some food for thought

I understand that the people reading this blog have experienced estrangement for different amounts of time. Some of you have been estranged for many years. Others for only a few months. I get that you may not want to talk to people about the experience, maybe foparents cut off by adult childrenr fear others will judge your son or daughter (with whom you’re sure you’ll eventually reconcile).

But for those who have come to accept that estrangement is long term, perhaps forever, by confronting the subject head on, you shed light. You shed light on just how many of us there are. And there are multitudes. In the article mentioned earlier, the writer said there was an estimated 75,000 grandparents cut off from their grandchildren in the Ontario area. I’m not sure if that figure is accurate. Statistics about the actual numbers of parents cut off by adult children (thus their grandchildren) are hard to come by. But I can say that this website is busy. To date, more than 16,000 parents of estranged adults have answered the survey about being estranged from adult children.

You are not alone in your estrangement. As much of the world celebrates holidays centered on renewal and rebirth, and as spring unfolds to tell the story of another season, consider how you can personally grow in a new and more self-compassionate attitude about the situation of estrangement.

Maybe one way is by beginning to talk a bit more openly about what has happened to you, even online. At articles like the one mentioned in the opening above, consider leaving thoughtful comments that enlighten others. I left a comment at the article I hope accomplishes just that. A few others also did.

Related articles:

Emotional and Social Fallout

You may feel lonely, but you’re not alone

The void: Feel it or fill it?

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45 thoughts on “Rejected parents: Should you tell people?

  1. Lee Anne C.

    Reading this meant more than I can tell you. Yes, I feel shame, sadness, anger, and emptiness. Estrangement from ones own child can take self-worth to its lowest, as it has mine. Although it saddens me to know others are going through similar situations, it also provides a bit of assurance that I’m not alone. Thank you.

    Reply
  2. mareli

    Adult children do not have to have any reason whatsoever to cut-off from their parents. We know. If we made any mistake it was trying to shelter them from the pain of life. This is the only thing I would do differently. I would not have protected them so much, anticipating what might go wrong and always looking out for them. They might understand pain better now if they had been allowed feel some as children. I don’t know!!

    Reply
  3. Ciara

    I suffered too many years in silence,
    haneous grief, and shsme!
    NOOOOOOOOOOO MORE !!!
    They abandoned and estranged
    themselves from me and I shall
    not continue to suffer in SILENCE!!!
    I never thought they would betray
    me so brutally …. but they did …..
    not only once but mooooooooore!
    NOW … the world is going to know
    the truth.

    Reply
    1. Wendy

      Good for you Ciara! We cannot let ourselves be beaten down by our own children. We did our very best for them and that is all we could do. So now we must take care of ourselves and carve out a life for ourselves without them. I still don’t know what my husband or I did to cause this rejection and so after much heartache we have come through the other side and are enjoying life again.

  4. Lynne

    Reading these posts has helped me. I do not feel so alone. I had a very rough day yesterday. Much heart wrenching crying. I googled for information about parents like me. I am truly thankful to have found other voices like mine. Yes, my life pain is beyond what I could ever have imagined. I will never give up hope but I will truly begin to take better care of me. My grown children will not ever again keep me feeling guilt, shame, and putting my life on hold in hopes they will have a change of heart. God bless you all for your helpful words and kindness.

    Reply
    1. StandingTall

      Hi Lynne…I too had a rough day yesterday and so often feel alone. I hope to one day start a support group in my area as there are so many of us out there. Take care of yourself! Blessings to you.

    2. Debbie

      I am so sorry for your pain Lynne. You are definitely not alone. I have found many parents, who have lost their children this way and it is so sad. But, like you I am able to move on better today than I was yesterday and my son cannot take my life away from me. Keep your head up and enjoy the family and friends that stay by your side! Life is too short.

  5. Barb

    Thanks, great article. Your book has helped me so much! I really am done with all the crying, and am getting on with my life. I’m happy! No more wasted time! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Sheri, I am your biggest fan! You helped me get my life back! To all the parents, get the book. You won’t regret it. You deserve to have a happy life.

    Reply
  6. Lynne

    I have been estranged from my daughter on and off for the last 25 years. This last episode will be a year next month. This time it is different. This time I have no interest in a reconciliation. I am now in my 70’s and I do not have any hope or energy left. I just want peace ….something that is impossible when she is in my life. I cannot tolerate the accusations, the violent outbursts, the hopelessness of pleading for forgiveness for something that was imagined. I am grieving the loss of my child…silently…every single day…. this sorrow carries with it a shame for making the decision to stop this destructive relationship.

    Reply
    1. rparentsrparents Post author

      Dear Lynne,
      It sounds to me as if you have made a decision to protect yourself AFTER two and a half DECADES of problems. You have been more than generous and kind. You have every right to live a peaceful life … and suffered a lot. Please take care. Hugs, Sheri McGregor

    2. Claire

      I can relate so much to what you shared, Lynne. The accusations, the violent outbursts, the asking for forgiveness for things imagined…I can no longer accept these things from two of my adult children as they are so irrational and pointless. I grieve the loss of two children and 5 grandchildren because of my divorce from their father. I cannot share this with friends because I feel like they think I have done something terribly wrong in my life that my kids would abandon and shun me this way. You are in my prayers that you will find peace and joy.
      I decided yesterday that I would look for things that make me happy this Easter weekend since no one will be coming to my house for Easter dinner. I bought spring flowers and will be planting those around my home. I will go to my single’s group at church for Easter and find comfort with people who are also alone. Life is a challenge, but praise God that He is in control.

    3. AUSSIEMOM

      Sheri, you’re right about speaking out about an estrangement from a grown child but it’s often laced with guilt, regret, shame, yes, grief as well and the fear of being judged by others. Unless there has been abuse involved between the parent and the child, I would say that the grown child is experiencing issues more related to immaturity and possibly self-centeredness in relation to entitlement. What do you say when someone asks about a child that is no longer in your life? You could say he or she ‘has issues and difficulties which are personal and I’m sure you would understand my reluctance in discussing it’ when others ask about the situation. You might also point out the growing phenomenon of estrangement in today’s society by children who feel the need to separate themselves from a parent. Selfishness comes to mind, a reluctance to accept responsibility for their own behaviour, and again, immaturity.
      S.P.

    4. rparentsrparents Post author

      Dear Aussiemom,
      Yes, of course, you could say something along those lines of the matter being personal. That’s perfectly reasonable. No details are necessary or required!

      Sheri McGregor

    5. Aunt Inga

      I just want to wish everyone a Happy Easter and thank you for sharing. Especially Claire…I can relate to your situation as it’s very similar to my own.

    6. Cookie

      I have also been estranged from my daughter for 25 years. I still long for reconciliation. I still grieve for my loss. I’m in my 70’s too and am very weary of crying. I just received the book Done With the Crying and I’m learning so much. I hope I can find ways of coping with this.

  7. Cheryl

    Thank you for writing this article.Just recently have I been able to answer people without crying when they ask me about my son and his unknown where abouts.I tell them and I tell them the name of the third party mentor who did this to my son and my family. Your book was so helpful throughout my long journey of healing . Thank you:)

    Reply
    1. rparentsrparents Post author

      Thanks for your kind words about my book, Cheryl. I’m really glad that Done With The Crying was helpful to you! And more than that, I’m glad you are progressing forward on your healing journey!

      Take good care, Cheryl!
      Sheri McGregor

  8. Jan

    Soon I will celebrate a year of estrangement with my daughter and her family. Never in a million years did I think my own child could or would abandoned me. I have cried so many tears and prayed so hard for a reconciliation, but still have heard nothing. I miss my grandchildren with whom I always had a loving relationship. This goes beyond social norms. Remember, honor your mother and father. I wonder how I could have raised someone to be so hard hearted. Still, I forgive her and pray for her daily.

    Reply
    1. Pat

      Holidays are especially hard. Altho we are estranged by our youngest daughter our two older son and daughter are not much better. We got a call from our son on a beer run and of course the conversation was all about him. It doesn’t occur to him to call and put our granddaughter on the phone. Our older daughter called to face time after 9pm our time after her busy weekend hosting her husband’s family. She is all about saying the right thing and never following thru with any action. I sent beautiful Easter treats to all the grandkids making sure they would arrive on Friday as did not know their plans. We heard nothing of course from our youngest that cut us of going on 7 months.

  9. Claire

    It is very sad to read your comments concerning your estranged adult children, however, it is comforting to know that we are not alone. My estrangement began when I divorced 4 years ago after a 30+ year marriage and two of my three children aligned with their father who used them and manipulated their emotions with his constant sharing of our conversations, divorce papers, etc. One child saw it as it was. (My ex remarried at year two, yet this still continues). It is though the two oldest play tag team to malign, shun and punish me especially at every holiday. There are 5 grandchildren that are estranged from their loving grandmother as a result of this. Now it is Easter, a time when I would normally have 13 at dinner with an egg hunt following. , I have been told to not expect things to be the same. My two oldest control by refusing to come here on Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas. It is evident they have formed a pact to stick it to me where they know it hurts the most – to keep me from enjoying special occasions with their families. I find myself so sad when I even enter the grocery store with all the beautiful flowers, food for beautiful Easter celebrations and treats for my grandchildren. I see the years going by and my grandchildren growing up without the memories they should be having. I find comfort in reading your posts and reading this website. I also find great comfort in reading Joyce Meyer books (Presently reading “Let God Fight Your Battles: Being Peaceful in the Storm.”) I hope you will not be offended if I share scripture that helps me. It is in the night and wee hours of the morning that I need this comfort. II Chronicles 20:17 is a comfort to me. It says “You shall not need to fight in this battle: take your positions, stand still, and see the deliverance of the Lord who is with you…Fear not nor be dismayed.” I keep in my mind, II Chronicles 20:15 “The Lords says this to you: Be not afraid or dismayed at this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s.” I have given my two oldest children to God and I stand and wait for His miracle in our lives. It takes great faith and trust to stand and wait. I have tried everything I know in my power to make things right – nothing I do helps, so I have given up trying and that is why I say I have given it all to God. Like you, Jan, I cannot believe I raised such hard-hearted children. I can no longer take their verbal abuse and irrational tantrums and I will not allow that anymore. I forgive my children and pray for them daily. I will be praying for all of you for peace this Easter and at all holidays when estrangement is strongly felt.

    Reply
  10. Lizzie D

    Once I figured out that–like her sister and my mother–my elder daughter has schizophrenia, my life got easier… and also harder.

    She’s wonderfully high-functioning, and her symptoms are restricted to a delusional disorder in which I supposedly insert my thoughts into her mind, and she must be harsh to me to fend off my thought-waves before they can enter her head.

    I feel tremendously proud of all both daughters have accomplished despite this terrible illness. The lower-functioning one has been holding down various part-time jobs for years, and appreciates our guardianship. The higher-functioning one has return to college in her 40s and is doing admirably! Both are happily married to compassionate men.

    My mother’s life, by contrast, was one long tragedy. There was no help for psychotic symptoms in her generation, and she died after much suffering when I was a teen.

    My dealings with my daughters are certainly not what I expected! I’d figured that as long as I didn’t have whatever my mother had (I didn’t know its name until I was 45), my kids would be OK. But my husband and I are having a pleasant retirement nonetheless. And though one daughter keeps in very close touch and the other is quite distant, knock on wood we’re all OK.

    Reply
    1. rparentsrparents Post author

      Lizzie D.,
      I wish you and your family continued success. Your post may strike chords with others who have wondered about their similar situaction. Glad you chose to share.

      Hugs to you!

      Sheri McGregor

  11. Barbara

    Just reading the various thoughts and feelings from parents certainly brings hope and some sort of consolation to me. This Easter weekend, I have felt very sad and empty. Life is not the same, however with God’s trust and my faith, I am doing well, trying to take each day in stride.

    Reply
  12. Barbara

    The hurt, pain and sadness is palpable from all of the comments. Rejection by an adult child obliterates our sense of worth and happy memories of motherhood are wrenched from our hearts and trodden on. The pain never lessens, the disbelief, shock ,hurting and sadness sems to get worse as time passes. Similar to bereavement we learn to live with the pain. We live with the absence of our children, missing our grandchildren, what if this had never happened…how much brighter, fulfilling, happier and enriched all our lives would be. I share all the sentiments expressed in the other posts. Reading ” Done With The Crying” has helped enormously and is as a constant reminder to me I am not alone, I do not deserve this treatment , I was a very good parent, am a good grandparent and am a truly good person!

    Reply
    1. rparentsrparents Post author

      Barbara, yes you are!! A good person who deserves kindness and loyalty. I’m glad you found the book helpful. Thank you so much for your comments! I just love that you declared your own worth here! Made me feel good to hear it. Almost like a cheer!!

      Sheri McGregor

    2. Claire

      Dear Barbara,
      I am so sorry for your sadness this Easter weekend. Know that you are in my prayers along with everyone else who has posted in Parents of Estranged Adult Children. Love to all of you today.

  13. Claire

    Sheri, I received your book, “Done With the Crying” today and it was like a gift from God. I had sent my daughter and son-in-law and my two grandchildren Easter cards with a small gift card for the children to buy a book. Today, my daughter texted me in the most cruel way because I sent the cards. It was so bad, that I cannot even talk about it. Your book arrived just after that. It is the saddest thing because I have had good relationships with all of them, but since my divorce everything changed. I have made up my mind that I have got to move forward with my life and I cannot keep on allowing myself to be treated worse than an abused animal. By the grace of God, I will endure and celebrate my one child and his family that accept me and love me. Thank you for your efforts and time you have put into your wonderful book.

    Reply
  14. Mike

    It is so sad we all have to endure this punishment from our children. For my family we are approaching our third year anniversary of silence. We never got an explanation, just silence, and every possible way of communication blocked. We have been blocked by all people associated with our son. It was an amazingly planned event, to cause as much pain as possible. It worked very well.

    To everyone, move on from the hatred, rise above the negative, make yourself a better person, and walk the rest of your life with dignity. Thanks Sheri

    Best of luck,

    Mike

    Reply
  15. Meri

    I have been away from my adult daughter and her family almost 2 years now! For the 3rd time! I have 4 grand children one born during this that I have never been told was born etc! I have cried, prayed, isolated myself even thought about ending it all! But then I realized I have 2 other children and 1 grand child that loves me! And wants me in their lives! I take it one day at a time some good some bad. I pray for her not sure I did other than just breathing! It has awakened me in the fact my life was still about my children 24/7 all three adults, so I have realized it’s time for me! It’s just hard after 30+ years of taken care of everyone but myself! I will learn how to do this! I have made decision I am not letting her back into my life this time! To much said and done to many times. This time was almost the end for me so no more! I pray for all of you going through the same becuase I know how you feel. I say to my husband I thought a man could hurt you but this will always be worse. I miss my grand daughters but I know this is for the best. I can and will love them from a distance.

    Reply
  16. Janet

    Today I realized how so much pain can leave you feeling so devalued and wounded at what seems like unbearable to go on.
    This cruel in and out rejection – be there for me and my needs and then …poof….no contact. Cannot do this any longer. Who knew your own children who are grown adults could reduce you to nothing.
    Thank you Sheri for allowing us to come together with our broken hearts.

    Reply
  17. Patticake

    This is my first posting here. Both of my kids served in the military. They are out now. Both going to college on the GI bill. They are roommates, living several hours away.

    Things have been strained with my daughter for years. She takes everything very personally and holds grudges forever. She has anger issues. She was raised a Christian. Once in the Army, she rejected Christianity and began to view Christians as simpletons. She became an outspoken socialist and called anyone who doesn’t share her views demeaning names. But we still spoke to each other. Visited when we could.

    My son joined the Marines. He went on a lengthy deployment and shortly after his return announced he had also rejected Christianity, he was gay, and he was getting married in two weeks time. Still, we saw each other when we could, and talked on the phone every week.

    He misunderstood something I said several months ago. I don’t know what he thought I said. I was discussing the constitution. Nothing personal at all. He took serious offense. He shut me out of his life. The last I heard, he was trashing me for not attending his wedding. His daddy and I weren’t even invited, but he seems to be hurt.

    A couple of weeks ago, I got an email from my daughter. She started out by saying that my son was willing to re-open communications if I apologized. She dedicated one sentence to him. But she was the wrong person to act as intermediary, because she switched to her own issues and dumped on me for several pages.

    She told me in no uncertain terms that I was hateful, toxic, uncaring, anti-intellectual, and the list goes on and on. She used the email as a means of telling me that she was cutting me out of her life as well.

    But I could earn our relationship back, if I begged her forgiveness, get my news only from far left sources she approved of, quit having opinions of my own, and on and on.

    I have written back to both kids separately. I told my son that I was sorry for whatever I actually said to upset him. I reminded him that he had not invited us to his wedding. And that there is a grieving process that parents go through when their child comes out as gay. I spent the day of his wedding in tears, so perhaps it was best for him that I wasn’t there. I told him I loved him, and I hoped to hear from him.

    I told my daughter that I would speak to each of them separately. Anything I had to say to her brother was for his ears only, and anything I had to say to her was for her ears only. I told her that I hadn’t raised her to be disrespectful. But she was disrespectful and insulting. I hoped that some day we could heal our relationship.

    I told her I wouldn’t change for her. If she wants me in her life, she needs to love and accept me for who I am. We can love and accept each other despite our differences, and respect each other’s opinions.

    And I told her that I love her.

    I don’t know if I’ll ever hear from them again. They were the ones to sever the ties that bind us. I’m respecting their wishes, for me to stay away, other than responding to the email from my daughter.

    So here I am, among many other parents who have children that have rejected them. And this situation is still pretty new to me. The pain is still fresh.

    My husband is my rock. They haven’t contacted him either. He is assuming they have severed ties with him too. He hasn’t heard from either kid since Christmas. He is unhappy with how they are treating me. He is their biological father. We raised them in a loving home. We were both there for them.

    I do find it comforting to communicate with others who are going through the same thing.

    Reply
    1. Claire

      I can relate to what you have said, Patticake and Janet. Our grown children can reduce us to nothing at times, however, we cannot let them destroy us. I have done everything I know to change the dynamic in my relationship to my son and daughter (ages 40 and 42). They continue to be disrespectful, hateful and abusive in their words. They shun, ignore and do not include me in my grandchildren’s lives. I made the decision to stand and no longer tolerate their abuse. By the grace of God, I have one child who is the total opposite and I celebrate our relationship and celebrate his family. It has near killed me at times in the past 4 years concerning the older two, but I refuse to allow them to mistreat me and treat me as unworthy to be loved when I know how I raised them in love, provided for them and helped them all of their lives even through their college years until marriage. If at some point they change in their attitude and no longer disrespect me with their words and actions, maybe some healing will occur.
      Sheri’s book, Done With the Crying” has helped me tremendously and helps me to see things clearly. I urge you to order the book if you have not already. Also, after one of the last incidents with my daughter I found a brief e-book on Amazon called “Mean People: A Step-by-Step Christian Plan for Dealing with Mean and Nasty People” by Robert E. Baines, Jr. I hate to say that I consider my oldest two children mean, but they are. I have never in my life been treated as badly by any other person(s) other than them (and I have come into contact with many people in my 30+ years of teaching high school). The book provides some good advice on taking care of yourself and protecting yourself from the mean outbursts. It is very sad that I have had to accept the fact that my children are mean and their love “waxes cold.” Take care of yourself today – no one else will. You deserve to find joy in this world.

  18. Clare1963

    My daughter stopped talking to me just before her Wedding last June. She started acting really hostile in the months before the Wedding. I thought she was just being a “bridezilla” so I let a lot of what she said go. Her fiancé at the time thought that my husband and I should pay for their Wedding. I guess his parents paid for his sister’s Wedding. Her fiance told her that I should have had a fund set up to pay for her Wedding. This is what she told my husband, who was like a father to her for the past 10 years. I feel bad for him too because she won’t talk to him either.
    I gave her what I could toward the Wedding and would have given more but she stopped answering my texts and calls . She was also upset that I suggested my husband walk her down the aisle. She asked my 90 year old Uncle to do it and he was not able, I asked if I could and she wouldn’t answer. I think she thought I was not good enough. Anyway she was extremely rude to my husband and myself at the Wedding and never spoke to us again. I sent cards and tried to call many times all ignored. Finally I received an email from her saying that I was not a good enough mother to her and not emotionally healthy. She said anything I tried to send would get sent back. I love her with all my heart but have to let her go.

    Reply
  19. Lucy

    I’ve been reading your comments and can honestly say that at this point I feel somewhat better. My adult son has been distancing himself from our family for the past couple of months. He was always distant from us but communicated with me. Now he has stopped the daily text messages and I’m lucky if I hear from him during the week. I just contacted him to let him know that his grandmother is not doing well and his father wants us to go say our goodbyes. His responds was, “I don’t want anything to do with that.” It really pains me that it has come to this. I miss him daily and pray that he is safe and on a good path.

    Reply
  20. Lynne

    Hello to all who like me are hurting. I wanted to ask if after so many years of this anguish and pain have you found it hard to have close friendships? I am remarried and am blessed to have a wonderful, loving husband. I find it hard to socialize and be in groups of people. I don’t know if this is age related and/or just because I live with such sadness. I feel lonely, but when I am around people I just want to go home. I force myself to go to church but truthfully would often prefer not to go. I just wondered if this is something other parents of estranged children experience. Is it perhaps because this burden weighs so heavy I don’t have the emotional energy for people or is it, then I think, I am just broken. Please let me know if you experience this. Thank you.

    Reply
    1. Emma

      Yes, I have given up a certain amount of socialization because I hear other people talk about their interactions, visits, dinners, camping trips and everything else with their adult children and grandchildren. It is so painful that I simply have to cut myself off. Even my volunteering with others my age brings on this sadness. It is particularly bad around holidays. Starting the first of November everyone talks about their holiday plans that include their families. It’s easy to say “Don’t isolate yourself” but every single one of my friends has ties to their adult children. It’s sometimes unbearable.

    2. Joy

      I feel the same way. I am also remarried with a wonderful husband and the best in laws ever. They have seen me suffer so much and I truly believe they suffer with me. My husband and I stay home a lot but I want so badly to get out and make new friends. I know that my friends and family wonder silently what I did to make my son walk away from me. I don’t believe that anyone could possibly understand this unless it happens to them so I don’t blame them for wondering. To sum up my reply, yes, I have definitely isolated myself and I think I do it because I feel ashamed deep down inside.

  21. Joy

    Wow! I am so glad I found you all. My son estranged himself 4 years ago from me. He sent me a long email about how awful I was and it was like someone hit me across the chest with a bat. I have thought of every possible scenario of why he did this but I still have no real answers. We were so close and I was a great mom. Everything I did, I did for him and my daughter. When he distanced himself from me, he had 4 children, now he has 8 and another one on the way. The only time I hear anything from him at all is when he his wife gives birth and then its an email with a picture of the baby. Its almost like “you see mom, another grandchild that you will never know”. Its torture! I have gone through feeling ashamed, sad, mad, bitter, shocked, etc….. I feel like I have aged 15 years in these 4 years. I have had people tell me that I need to focus on the positive things and some have compared this to other types of relationships of estragement. I’m sorry folks, this is different, this is my child (and grandchildren) and yes, I know I have to focus on the positive things but its so hard at times and I do but this has been the hardest thing I have ever had to deal with, EVER. Now……I am facing the unthinkable and may have to do the same with my daughter. She causes me nothing but grief, she is “in my life” but not really. She has 3 children that (thank God) I get to see but just hearing her voice is stressful to me. She is currently in jail after having 2 felonies and losing all 3 of her children. My heart is breaking over it but I have to stand up for myself. By the time you “lose” a second child, you really start feeling like a failure as a mother. As if losing one wasn’t hard enough. My counselor tells me that I have to set boundaries with her. I am trying to do that but she is very manipulative. My family knows all about my son’s estrangement and I feel they are so insensitive when they post pictures constantly on Facebook about how wonderful their lives are with their children. I feel they should consider my feelings some. I know that is selfish but I know for a fact that every time I post something, I try to be considerate of someone close to me and how they may feel about my posts. Thank you all so much for your stories. I believe this is a silent epidemic that we need to make known for those that are suffering alone.

    Reply
  22. Deborah

    After only 6 months of estrangement from our daughter (30 years old), I almost don’t want to hear from her. What I was interpreting as a close mother daughter relationship I now realize was really me being available for her to use or I should say “misuse” and even verbally “abuse”. I was a good mother to her, a good wife to her father. She saw it, even wrote about it many times. But when she broke with me, she called me the nastiest most disrespectful name you could call anyone, much less your mother. Her anger is misplaced, even our common counselor told me so. And then she .had the nerve to blame me for her outburst because it caused her husband to be to see her in a bad light. Of course, she says he blames me too, but we know for a fact that is a lie. Someday, I hope to feel something other that shock and pain, I do have a glimmer of hope, but am deeply disappointed in her. I doubt I will ever trust her again. I even fear her anger, knowing she is capable of lying just to make me hurt more. That’s pretty awful.

    Reply
  23. Deborah

    I was wondering if it helps the mourning process to put all the photos away. I’ve taken them down and put them back out twice. I don’t know which is really better for me. What do other people do?

    Reply
    1. rparentsrparents Post author

      Dear Deborah,
      Some feel more comfortable with NO photos. Others choose one or more that that make them feel good (or that don’t bother them). It’s okay to change your mind. With work at moving forward toward your own happiness and interests, you may find that making a decision about photos is less of an issue for you.

      Hugs,
      Sheri McGregor

  24. Disturbed

    I have two estramged daughters. One married and one single. The one married got her fairytale wedding then dumped us like trash. It’s over a year and I have much
    anger. Don’t want them. back. They don’t
    Exist in my life anymore. Too
    Much abuse.

    Reply
  25. A.

    Thank you for writing Done With The Crying:Help and Healing for Mothers of Estranged Adult Children. Lifesaver!!!. I like this web site very much too. Great postings and all the parents here! Wow. I’m not lonely in this.

    Reply

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