Ask Sheri McGregor
Most parents feel stalled and uncertain about the future when adult children’s hearts turn cold. It’s a natural response when someone you have loved so very much becomes a person you can barely recognize (if at all).
A rejected mother asks
Sheri, I have two of your books and the have helped so much. I have a question for you.
Our adult son has little to no contact with us. We are thinking of asking him if “no contact ” is what he plans to have for the rest of our lives. That way we can tell him then we will move forward with our lives and not sit around wondering.
I don’t know if it’s a bad idea to even ask. I’m angry and not sure I want to give him the satisfaction of feeling in control of our lives.
Any thoughts Sheri ? I am open to hear.
Keep going what you do, as you are helping many.
Sheri McGregor replies
I can understand your reluctance to give your estranged adult son the power to control your outcome. Must your lives and the way you live and move forward for yourselves be contingent on his answer? What if his answer is uncertain or ambiguous (such as, “maybe, not sure yet”)? What if he doesn’t answer at all?
It’s possible to release someone, allow them to do what they will do, and move forward for yourself. You don’t have to sit around wondering what he will do as a condition of what you will do. You have no real choice but to release him anyway. He is an adult, making adult decisions. You can release him and go on and enjoy your lives, fully live in them, find things that bring you joy, get support as needed, etc., with the idea that you are open to the possibility that he may one day return. If he does, you can cross that bridge at that time. This way, you will not have wasted your lives (months or years or decades).
If you take care of yourselves and enjoy your lives, don’t be surprised if you grow and your perspectives about him, what he has done, and even your own selves and self-worth change. The “home” an adult child leaves behind does not remain static. Abandoned ones instead grow and even bloom. I wouldn’t want to tell YOU what to do, but I would not stunt my own growth by giving a person who has hurt me power over my life or destiny.
Nurture yourself. Give yourself the ingredients for a life well lived, and make it so. Do this independent of him or his plans.
Hugs to you,
Thank you so much Sheri. I am crying, in a good way because I feel you are so right on.
I could go on and on. I just had a double mastectomy 6 weeks ago. All I got from him was a “good luck.” I felt like he was just “checking the block” to make himself feel like a good person. That pissed me off.
You email back is so helpful and has help to give me the strength to move on.
Hugs back to you.
Sheri’s next response
With your recent surgery, it is yourself and your healing and wellness that requires all your focus right now. That’s a lot to endure especially amidst the cruelty of estrangement.
If you only knew how many moms and dads write to me with a major illness and cruel children. . . .
Take kind care of yourself. I hope you get to listen to some birds singing each day, smell a flower, and find something to savor.
Hugs to you dear, Brandie.
More from Brandie
Brandie replied one more time, and I include a portion of her email here so readers will know more about her:
I just listened to a radio show you were once on, run by Daniel Davis, on Beyond50 radio.
The discussion on grandchildren really hit me and was something I could relate to. I have 6 granddaughters I can’t see due to estrangement. One of which I was quite bonded with. Estranged adult children don’t seem to see the damage they do to their children when they kick grandparents out of grandkids’ lives. Such a powerful discussion and I thank you for touching on it.
When your adult child wants nothing to do with you: Time to go with the flow?
First steps to getting past anger when your adult child rejects you