Abuse is never acceptable: Must I tell my estranged daughter I’m done?

abuse is never acceptable

Sarah asks:

* Dear Sheri McGregor,

I am a single mom to my 29 year old only daughter. We were always close, but she estranged from me without giving any reason about a year ago. At her wedding, she and her husband treated me and my friends like dirt. I did nothing to merit the behavior. Nor did my friends. Since then, she hasn’t responded to my emails, letters, gifts, or offers to reconcile, except to say that she doesn’t want to get together at holidays.  I am trying to move on with my life, but it’s hard to wrap my mind around this change.

A month ago, I wrote an amends letter and mailed it—no response. I go between hope and despair. I’m heartbroken and angry and am not sure I can forgive this. I read your book each evening. Should I continue to wait or just cut it off and start fresh? Right now, I just want to send an email to say that I’m done with this abuse.

Sarah

Sheri McGregor replies

Hi Sarah,

The simplest answer is to do what you need to do to be able to cope, learn to live with life as it is, accept the parts over which you have no control, and to work toward your own healthy, sensible future—regardless of your daughter’s decisions.

You mention being uncertain whether to continue to wait or just cut it off and start fresh. You also said that right now, you feel like emailing her that you’re done with the abuse. I’ll try to address these thoughts.

In my work as a life coach, I often ask people questions to prompt further reflection, which can help them make sound decisions for themselves. Here are a few for you:

  • At this point, is it is necessary to state anything to your daughter about a new decision to just get on with life?
  • You mention that you have written an amends letter, but I’m not sure for what. Are you?
  • There was no response. Consider what is prompting the idea of reaching out again right now (though in a different way, as you say, to finalize your decision not to allow abuse). Is there a secret hope that this will prompt her to respond and engage with you?
  • Is reaching out again a way for you to “correct” the mistake of sending an amends letter and apologizing for things that made no sense? Sometimes, amends letters are sent from a place of emotional weakness or desperation, or upon a counselor’s advice. I have heard from many parents who later regretted those letters, which is why I ask this question.
  • Is reaching out again this time a way to feel as if you’re taking back power? Sometimes, a specific action can be helpful. However, the act of writing the letter—without ever sending it—may be enough or an even better idea. Try writing out the words—I will not allow abuse—for yourself. Putting your decision down on paper can become a pact with yourself. An affirmation of sorts. Come up with a few more and hang them somewhere prominent. Read them aloud—and mean what they say!

Let me clarify that these questions are not intended as judgments or advice. Your situation is unique, and you must come to your own conclusions. A person’s emotions and the desires that motivate potential actions are important to consider.

Abuse is never acceptable

Abuse is never acceptable, but is stating that in a letter sent for that express purpose necessary? Or would your energy be better used to serve yourself?

In my experience, strong urges to act can be turning points which, if we resist the urge to act in haste, can result in our own growth. Rather than reaching out with words of finality, consider whether this might be a good time to quietly go about the business of living out your decision. To take care of yourself, plan for your future, your wellness, your happiness…. In this way, you train yourself to cope through very practical and focused actions in your own life and toward pursuits over which you have control.

Whether you decide, ultimately, that you must tell her now that you will not accept abuse (No one should! Abuse is never acceptable!), my best “advice” is to work at making yourself feel at peace with your decisions, your future, your activities, and your past (if that’s applicable). Work at your own wellness. If the future holds contact between you, even amicable contact, you will benefit from strength. Why not nurture that now?

I hope that you are finding the book useful. I’m assuming you mean the first book (Done With The Crying). If you are not already doing so, consider engaging with the exercises. They are designed to aid in personal growth, offer emotional strength training, and help you gain peace with the past … as well as in designing your present and future. If you’re reading the e-book or listening to the audio book version, I hope you’ll consider the WORKBOOK. It was designed to accompany those formats, and the exercises are all provided with lots of extra room to write. As time goes on, consider following up with Beyond Done With The Crying (available in print and as an e-book, and will soon be on audio as well).

Hugs to you dear, Sarah.

Sheri McGregor

* all letters are edited for clarity, space, and privacy

Related reading

Adult child’s rejection: Emotional and social fallout

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79 thoughts on “Abuse is never acceptable: Must I tell my estranged daughter I’m done?

  1. Sad Nanna

    My heart breaks for us all.
    My husband and I are very close to our three children. My precious daughter, got married years ago. Her and her husband lived with us for some time while they saved for a home. We thought he was a lovely young man but looking back there were subtle comments from him back then that we dismissed and took lightly. Now, as the years have progressed he has managed to drive a wedge between us. Telling our precious girl that he doesn’t think we appreciate her enough etc. Gradually, over the years he has kept her life so busy doing things with his family that they have very little time for us. They both know how much I adore my two precious grand daughters and this seems to a way he can cause me heartbreak by keeping them all at arms length.
    Subtly, over the years they have reduced contact with us. Birthdays and Easters together are a thing of the past..It is devastating.
    My daughter does come over infrequently on her own, but makes feeble, awkward excuses as to why she hasn’t bought the girls with her. I am so grateful that I see my daughter but I am devastated at the thought of not seeing my grand daughters and even more terrified that eventually my daughter will be unable to visit us. I live in constant fear and hurt.
    Even if I ask to speak to my grand daughter’s on the phone, I can tell my daughter feels uncomfortable about it. She only ever calls me when her husband is not home. I miss what used to be, I miss her natural love and my precious grand daughters.
    Thank you for listening.
    Heartbroken

    Reply
  2. Joanne H.

    An update to my post on
    May 8, 2022 at 1:51 pm

    Hi Sarah,
    Well we did go spend the day with my daughter, my 3 grandchildren and her husband as planned on Sunday May 18th. It was a wonderful day with time well spent. My 2 oldest granddaughters had me tell them funny stories about their mom when she was a young girl as well stories about their aunts and myself. It was an awesome bonding experience for them to learn some family history that they had never heard before. The baby is 9 months old and I was both shocked and incredibly happy when she let me hold her and did not cry because I am a stranger to her. My daughter was the daughter I always knew before the estrangement. After supper cooked on the grill I made everyone root beer floats. My daughter shared with me the milestones my grandbaby had met – without me asking. All in all it was a great day for all of us. Now back home, I continue doing what I’ve been doing – allowing her to call me when she has time – rather than me calling her and begging, not respecting her boundaries. And if she never calls again I have found peace in being able to forgive her – even without her asking or knowing. On the topic of forgiveness that I’ve read in some of the other posts, forgiveness is a GIFT you give yourself. Not something that you do for the party who has injured you by estranging themselves from you. When you can pray and truly forgive your estranged adult child, in your heart, soul and mind, a sense of peace follows without one word being said to your child. I believe that we can move on only when we are able to sincerely, truly and without regret forgive our estranged adult children. We do not have to ask God our Father for forgiveness because he forgives us even when we don’t have the strength to ask for his forgiveness. In the same way that we do not need our children to ask for forgiveness – we simply do it for our own well being and healing. Again, I understand that what works for me may not work for anyone else.

    Reply
    1. rparents Post author

      I agree, Joanne, that we can forgive for our own sakes. It’s a beautiful gift to our own wellbeing.

      Hugs,
      Sheri

  3. Joanne

    Hi Sarah,
    The best advice that I can give you – if you say you’re done – stay done. The next step is your daughter’s. I’ve estranged from my one daughter, who’s almost 40, for over 7 years now. Like you, I don’t know why. One day we were Facebook friends, and I was buying clothes for my then 4-year-old grandson. The next day I was unfriended and blocked on every possible avenue that I’d hoped would stay open so that I could see pictures of my grandson. The only known address I have for her is her place of employment where she’s a licensed psychologist working to help children and families. Do you see the irony there? I’ve been tempted over the past 7 years to call the facility and make an appt. with her to see her in person. Problem being that she lives in Coralville, IA and I live in NW PA – 16 hours apart. 4 years ago, my youngest daughter got married. At which time my 2 oldest daughters called me to tell me the “J” was 8 months pregnant with a baby girl. They were worried that someone might slip up at the wedding and tell me about it so they thought it best that I hear it from them. Honestly, after 7 years. One of my 2 oldest daughters went out to visit her sister and to meet the new baby, who I refer to as “the little girl.” I don’t know her and she doesn’t know me. At my daughter’s suggestion I went and bought gifts for my daughter – pink pearl stud earrings – for the baby – a few outfits – for my son-in-law – a large economy sized box of 3 – 6-month-old diapers. Last, but not least – at my daughter’s suggestion I bought 2 books for my grandson that he had wanted. I signed the card – we love you and kept it at that. He, on the other hand did not. He asked his mom who sent him the books. She told him, his other set of grandparents, her mom & dad. Shortly after her wedding, my youngest daughter estranged herself and her 2 oldest daughters against. me. I didn’t even get a phone call for my birthday or Mother’s Day for a couple years. I didn’t mind that my daughter did not want a relationship with me, but my 2 granddaughters did. My daughter told me in no uncertain terms that it was only because they didn’t know me the way she did. Last year she gave birth to a 3rd daughter on August 23rd. Her 2 oldest sisters sent me pictures. And I wound up in the hospital for a week to 10 days with Anti-biotic Resistant double viral pneumonia. I’m still on the oxygen that I was sent home from the hospital with. Long story short, my oldest daughter held a 49th birthday party for herself and a graduation party for my oldest granddaughter. Somehow my youngest daughter, her husband, their 2 oldest daughters, the baby, my husband and myself all wound up with reservations to stay at the same Air-BNB. I was given the chance to coo over and hold my newest grandchild. My December birthday, Christmas and New Year’s Day all came and went. I did call my daughter’s home on New Year’s Day to wish them a Happy New Year. She got on the phone and bit my head off. “We don’t celebrate New Year’s Day. No, don’t call me back in 2 weeks, I don’t know when you’ll see them again, maybe when the warm weather comes back!!” Ok, well now I’d had enough. I respected her boundaries and made NO attempt at contacting her in any way, shape or form. I was truly done. And showed her that with my lack of any attempts at contact. Somehow, maybe all of the prayers I’ve sent up, or her older sisters. I have no clue. Then 2 months later, on March 1st, she called me out of the blue. I almost didn’t answer when I saw her name on the caller ID. She called me at least a half dozen or more times from March 1st to April and now Mother’s Day. I received a wonderful call from her, her 2 oldest daughters and the baby all wishing me a Happy Mother’s Day this morning. It warmed my heart because as soon as I said the baby’s name (almost 9 months old now) she started babbling and telling me her entire life story, Lol. And my daughter was the first of the 3 in my life to call me this morning. I no longer send her a barrage of text messages; I do not call her – I’ve since learned that things took a turn for the good when I stopped all communication with her. For my December Birthday in 2021 my 2 oldest daughters gave me the best birthday ever. They both live 8 hours away – in different directions. But they both came here to celebrate my birthday with me. When I asked them if their ‘baby sister’ was invited they both said, NOPE. They’ve known for quite some time that I’ve questioned my ability as a mom. I asked them each, more than once, if I had been a good mother when they were growing up. They didn’t tell me, they showed me. Each and every birthday gift was related to a cherished childhood memory. Everything from how I decorated our Christmas tree, the fireplace mantle and everything in between. Then they took my husband and I to the best white linen napkin restaurant in the area. They fixed my hair and did some make-up on me. To be clear, I realize that this method may not work for every or even any other estranged mother. But when I put my “I’m done” into practice and not just threats I received the BEST Mother’s Day gift of all. Next weekend my husband and I are going to her home to spend a day with them. A year ago, that never would have happened. Additionally I am a terrible “Empty Nester.” All 4 of them had told me at one time or another that I needed to get a hobby. And out of great darkness, having an accident that left me with a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) 7 years ago on Feb. 17, 2015 I have stopped talking about it and took action. I am in the process of authoring a book about the trials and tribulations of being a survivor of a TBI.

    Reply
  4. Margie

    I get all tangled up with all the scriptures that say forgive as Christ forgave you, consider others needs ahead of yourself, the passages in Peter where it talks about how Jesus did not respond to insults. I don’t want to be prideful or unforgiving but am so very tired of the heartbreak . I could never have treated another person the way they have treated me. I am buying this book. I continue to pray , it’s SO hard not to keep obsessively thinking why? Why are they behaving this way and why is God allowing it to happen. What am I to learn from this I ask the LORD. I got off FB entirely – all the sweet family pictures and loving posts to moms. It was hurtful so I quit that. I stopped inviting her to supper once a week. ( always no thanks, busy) I have seen my grandsons 2 & 4 less than 10 times since their birth. I have to stop letting it destroy me, I weep a lot, take my antidepressants and weep more. Thank you all for sharing your stories. I am not alone,

    Reply
    1. Mimi

      Hi Margie,
      You ask, “why did God allow this to happen?” Simple really. We each have free will. God wants us to freely choose the good and right thing. This life is probation before we die. God wants people in heaven who think and act like Him. God does not want robots. Sure. He could force our children to love us. But, do we want to be loved by force?

      God is a parent too. He is my parent and your parent. I find that God’s object lessons are fascinating.

      Also, in terms of forgiveness, remember that God tells us to turn (repent) and confess( renounce) our sins to him. Then, God forgives us. But, not before we have done those steps. Simple. The same applies to our relationships with others. This is the template. My child should come to me and do as above towards me. If she does not, then our relationship is not restored. I cannot forgive her if she does not seek forgiveness.

      I don’t think pastors do a good job explaining forgiveness. You have a right to be upset.

  5. Joanne

    Hi Sarah,
    The best advice that I can give you – if you say you’re done – stay done. The next step is your daughter’s. I’ve estranged from my one daughter, who’s almost 40, for over 7 years now. Like you, I don’t know why. One day we were Facebook friends, and I was buying clothes for my then 4-year-old grandson. The next day I was unfriended and blocked on every possible avenue that I’d hoped would stay open so that I could see pictures of my grandson. The only known address I have for her is her place of employment where she’s a licensed psychologist working to help children and families. Do you see the irony there? I’ve been tempted over the past 7 years to call the facility and make an appt. with her to see her in person. Problem being that she lives in Coralville, IA and I live in NW PA – 16 hours apart. 4 years ago, my youngest daughter got married. At which time my 2 oldest daughters called me to tell me the “J” was 8 months pregnant with a baby girl. They were worried that someone might slip up at the wedding and tell me about it so they thought it best that I hear it from them. Honestly, after 7 years. One of my 2 oldest daughters went out to visit her sister and to meet the new baby, who I refer to as “the little girl.” I don’t know her and she doesn’t know me. At my daughter’s suggestion I went and bought gifts for my daughter – pink pearl stud earrings – for the baby – a few outfits – for my son-in-law – a large economy sized box of 3 – 6-month-old diapers. Last, but not least – at my daughter’s suggestion I bought 2 books for my grandson that he had wanted. I signed the card – we love you and kept it at that. He, on the other hand did not. He asked his mom who sent him the books. She told him, his other set of grandparents, her mom & dad. Shortly after her wedding, my youngest daughter estranged herself and her 2 oldest daughters against. me. I didn’t even get a phone call for my birthday or Mother’s Day for a couple years. I didn’t mind that my daughter did not want a relationship with me, but my 2 granddaughters did. My daughter told me in no uncertain terms that it was only because they didn’t know me the way she did. Last year she gave birth to a 3rd daughter on August 23rd. Her 2 oldest sisters sent me pictures. And I wound up in the hospital for a week to 10 days with Anti-biotic Resistant double viral pneumonia. I’m still on the oxygen that I was sent home from the hospital with. Long story short, my oldest daughter held a 49th birthday party for herself and a graduation party for my oldest granddaughter. Somehow my youngest daughter, her husband, their 2 oldest daughters, the baby, my husband and myself all wound up with reservations to stay at the same Air-BNB. I was given the chance to coo over and hold my newest grandchild. My December birthday, Christmas and New Year’s Day all came and went. I did call my daughter’s home on New Year’s Day to wish them a Happy New Year. She got on the phone and bit my head off. “We don’t celebrate New Year’s Day. No, don’t call me back in 2 weeks, I don’t know when you’ll see them again, maybe when the warm weather comes back!!” Ok, well now I’d had enough. I respected her boundaries and made NO attempt at contacting her in any way, shape or form. I was truly done. And showed her that with my lack of any attempts at contact. Somehow, maybe all of the prayers I’ve sent up, or her older sisters. I have no clue. Then 2 months later, on March 1st, she called me out of the blue. I almost didn’t answer when I saw her name on the caller ID. She called me at least a half dozen or more times from March 1st to April and now Mother’s Day. I received a wonderful call from her, her 2 oldest daughters and the baby all wishing me a Happy Mother’s Day this morning. It warmed my heart because as soon as I said the baby’s name (almost 9 months old now) she started babbling and telling me her entire life story, Lol. And my daughter was the first of the 3 in my life to call me this morning. I no longer send her a barrage of text messages; I do not call her – I’ve since learned that things took a turn for the good when I stopped all communication with her. For my December Birthday in 2021 my 2 oldest daughters gave me the best birthday ever. They both live 8 hours away – in different directions. But they both came here to celebrate my birthday with me. When I asked them if their ‘baby sister’ was invited they both said, NOPE. They’ve known for quite some time that I’ve questioned my ability as a mom. I asked them each, more than once, if I had been a good mother when they were growing up. They didn’t tell me, they showed me. Each and every birthday gift was related to a cherished childhood memory. Everything from how I decorated our Christmas tree, the fireplace mantle and everything in between. Then they took my husband and I to the best white linen napkin restaurant in the area. They fixed my hair and did some make-up on me. To be clear, I realize that this method may not work for every or even any other estranged mother. But when I put my “I’m done” into practice and not just threats I received the BEST Mother’s Day gift of all. Next weekend my husband and I are going to her home to spend a day with them. A year ago, that never would have happened. Additionally I am a terrible “Empty Nester.” All 4 of them had told me at one time or another that I needed to get a hobby. And out of great darkness, having an accident that left me with a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) 7 years ago on Feb. 17, 2015 I have stopped talking about it and took action. I am in the process of authoring a book about the trials and tribulations of being a survivor of a TBI.

    Reply
    1. Lana

      I’m so sorry you had to go through this…, I am also, and I don’t know why… it hurts so, and I too, refuse to be abused any longer… I will forgive if asked, but I will no longer be a door mat… I ref to allow my heart to be a “ punc bag “… I am better than that… hoping you have a better relationship with your daughter’s now… God bless

    2. Steve W.

      I am going on 7 years and I was done, about 3 years ago. It hurts and I try to not look back, but I let go and I fight to stay that way. Problem is for me, my ED will poke her head in sometimes, just to let me know she is there. Never a “let’s work on it” and I am so fine with that. I do not know who this adult child is. I knew her from birth until 24, when she got her Masters and met the SIL (which is why I think she has done this).
      It’s sad, but I sure don’t miss the drama or begging. I treat her like a death and it sure helped…

  6. Janis

    I totally understand the desire to tell the EC you’re done. My 29yo daughter cut me off 1.5 years ago. I can still communicate with her by email if I “need to.” The last email I sent her was to let her know that I was moving on with my life. And this week I am working on changing my will. I can always change it back if things change, but I don’t ever expect to get my daughter back. It’s sad, but I don’t cry anymore. It is what it is, and I accept it. Her loss.

    Reply
    1. Barbara S

      My only child, my 40 year old son and my family and I were close. He began dating a hateful narcissist girl who lies to him about me daily for 15 years. She tells him I called her names. Funny, Myself and my family have never lied to him. Yet the little witch keeps telling him how mean I am to her. I have had it.I texted him a few yrs ago and told him I was done. Of course the narc texted me “Why would you send this to your son? And I am the worst mother in the world.” I have been in therapy for 3 years and I have learned how to love myself and also how to set boundaries in all my relationships. At the end of the text I told him I was blocking both of them from my phone. I have NEVER been so at peace and so happy since he married her. She tells my 3 grandchildren the reason they don’t see me anymore was because I abandoned them!! Thank God they know she’s a liar. Your peace should mean more to you than keeping in touch with someone who treats you like a stranger. Try it. I absolutely recommend it❤

    2. LillyN

      I also changed my will to reflect having an estranged daughter who has not spoken to me or my husband for 3 years now. Like so many here, I believe we were the best of possible parents to her, sacrificed so much to put her through college and vet school. The last time she spoke to us was the day of her wedding. There was soap opera drama over one of her bridesmaids calling our eldest daughter that was in the wedding party for this bridesmaid to say that there was no room in the van for her to come to the Bachelorette party and to not come. This was days before the silly event of a vineyard tour was to take place and our eldest had non-refundable plane tickets and hotel reservations made. Our eldest has always been introverted and socially awkward and this just killed her. Our estranged daughter insisted she had no idea why her bridesmaid did this as if on a whim this bridesmaid decided to call the brides sister up and tell her not to come without consulting the bride. She gave an excuse that there was not room in the rented van. Our eldest daughter did not go and felt rejected and humilitated
      It ruined the wedding for all of us- everyone in our family who knew our daughter had a heavy heart. Besides paying for the bulk of this wedding, our daughter told me to cater the brunch on the following Sunday. When I got there 20 minutes late due to a line to pick up the coffee, she actually slapped me on the back as I was frantically putting out pasteries and bagels. I was mortified. Since then, with what we suspect is the urging of her new husband who does not want us in our lives as it is too complicated, she has cut us off. We even went to four family counseling sessions with her and her husband that were unproductive. It was clear that she had no intention of anything other than targeting us with nonsense just to place blame. She does not want a reconcilliation she wants justification for her cruelity
      So though the holidays and birthdays that we do not hear from her as well as cardiac surgery for her 73 year old Dad that she knew about from her brother, I have lost hope. I do not envision any reconcilliation and due to our advancing ages and underlying health conditions, I do not expect we have much more time for this to happen. Back to the point that started this long sad story, we have redone our wills. The bulk of our estate will be spit between our eldest daughter and son with our estranged daughter inheriting $10,000. There is a no-contest clause in the will however and if our estranged daughter challenges the will she will forfiiet that amount. Our lawyer recommended that we provide all our children with a copy of our will but I have not sent one to estranged daughter as I am sure she will see it as retaliatory and I do not want the blow back.
      Thank you for reading through this long, meandering post. I have moved from the pain of this estrangement to anger. She knows what kind of parents she had and this is the cruelest most unbelievable action on her part. I wish all of you peace. For me, I had to move past the pain and accept the anger I feel to hopefully someday feel I have moved through that too
      Thank you, here’s too picking up the pieces and moving on

  7. Sandy V.

    I dedicate this song to you all, i have adapted the words a little.
    Lovers Such As I : words by Jimmy Page sung by Richard Harris on the CD McArthur Park.

    Bless the bell that no one rings
    Bless the song that no one sings
    Bless the bird who has no wings
    All broken toys sad little boys who don’t know why,
    And parents, such as i.

    Bless the place where no one goes
    Bless the song that no one knows
    Bless the breeze that never blows
    Lights that are dim
    Trees without limbs
    And baby’s that cry,
    And parents,
    such as i.

    Wheels that don’t turn
    Fires that don’t burn
    Things that must die,
    And parents who let their children go by
    Such as you
    Such as i.

    Life’s not perfect, Life’s for living.

    Reply
    1. Eileen

      14 years since I’ve had contact with my daughter; she wrote me a very long scathing letter, telling me what a crappy parent I was. I couldn’t reply, no return address. Xmas 2005 since I’ve laid eyes on her, she was 22 then. I’m just now trying to end this anguish and heal/move on, because I feel, see how it’s changed me into a miserable angry person who has no joy and has bouts of depression that I have to pick myself up from. My partner has reaped the negativity from this for years, it’s just about driving us apart. I can’t give her any more space, thought, care, concern. She’s become a stranger to me now, it’s been so long. That xmas she was going to university across the country for her degree, then her masters and now working on her doctorate, found out thru snooping around on social media. She’s been married twice of course no invite to me. I don’t miss her self absorbed, drama creating antics that she would put everyone thru. I love her, am proud of her accomplishments. I just need to research, learn as much as I can about estrangement and put it away, so I can live somewhat in peace. Thanks for this opportunity to write this shit down. I wish all you parents the ability to find peace.

  8. Sheryl M.

    Reading these stories makes me so grateful for my situation. I have not seen nor heard from my son since he was 17, and he is now 33. He was never nice or respectful to me and was given a lot. I have come to believe after all the stories above that ignorance is bliss. I’m not walking on eggshells, I’m not allowing him to hurt me anymore, and I believe that perhaps some day which, of course, will be too late, he will realize what he threw away. Then again maybe that will never happen, but unlike many people above, I’m not holding my breath for any change in his behavior and do not believe he will ever reach back out to me. Knowing his ego, the way he treated most people and the lack of an empathy gene from the get-go, I don’t believe he will have a happy or successful life. I’m sure he’s had plenty of time to blame any unhappiness or failures on his part to others that are now in his life as I’m now out of the line of fire.

    Reply
    1. Sandy V.

      Sheryl

      Same here..
      I was an unmarried mother at 16 years old but i protected and kept my son with me when my parents pressurised for abortion, or adoption or even foster care with strangers. I was cast out with no help from anyone, family never visited, family never spoke to me all very Amish but i am here in the UK !

      My son is now 55 years old we are not in contact, yes over the years i have tried ! i understand he hates me because i never provided him with a stable home, stable school, not enough toys and he never felt loved clearly in his eyes i was a dreadful mother but ( here’s the rub, ) i did send him money to get home when he got stuck in the far east, i did send him regular letters and parcels when he was at University, i did keep all his Christmas and birthday gifts when he didn’t come home for Christmas, and i did continue to tell his distraught little brother how much his big brother loved him even though he never sent not one card, one letter, one phone call EVER and when he was in England ? he never visited us not once. My son could have come to me and asked me anything he wanted about the struggles we both lived through and why ? but HE chose not to, HE chose to play the victim instead. He has lost the chance to get to know me and to hear my story. JKRowling the author wrote : ” No story lives until someone want’s to listen ” he never wanted to listen so for him ..i never lived.

      Don’t hold your breath in other words, don’t stay in limbo waiting for his love. I waited in Limbo. One day i found out he had been renting an apartment in a house at the end of our street .. he had been there for years !

      Sandy xxx

    2. Nancy G

      Sheryl, Thanks for your story. Mine is like others’ with verbal abuse that slowly withdrew my money and my physical home and now my tolerance from my boy. I know the peace of having him across the country from me, in ignorance. My heart remains open with prayers for his best life, with or without me. Best to you and yours. Here’s to ignorance ️ Ng

    3. Fran

      My son has been treating me like crap for decades.He’s narcissistic. .He only texts me to call me fithy names. I don’t expect anything for Mother’s Day tomorrow. Last text from him was I’ll spit on your grave.just die.I hate you with a passion. He’s 47yrs old I’m 68.i’m done.cant take abuse anymore. Happy Mother’s day Ladies don’t beat yourself up..Stay busy & positive.

    4. Susan C.

      Oh Sheryl! I had to make sure I hadn’t written this myself
      Walking on eggshells now seems a ridiculous behavior but .I was scared of him, what might he say or do, how much more could I take?

      Just waiting to tell you, .I hear you! Bless you and me and all the Parents who can recall the joy of the little hand in ours…..but that little boy is gone. In
      His place is a cruel, angry 45 year old man

      No friends have asked about him in so many years , it’s an unspoken glossed over subject.
      I think .I am better – I send best wishes to you and good thoughts to all of us who are in this bizarre situation, .I would have never dreamed of this happening in a million years….Bless therapists, I .bless mine.

      I plan to sleep Mothers Day away, I am able to “put myself to sleep” on days like .mothers Day. Not with medicine, it’s something .I have learned to do but don’t need to very often anymore

      Bless you all and this sanity saving ( for me) email that arrives when something is just around the corner, these emails give me the feeling I have the right for self respect

      I don’t think I will ever hear from him again. I accept that and really would probably be well into a complete nervous breakdown if I was still…..walking iron eggshells.

    5. Beverly

      I could have written that, as it was my life with my now ES x 1 year, and he took our precious grandson with him, who will be 4 soon. He also removed his brothers, and all extended family. I have reached out to him by email on an occasion saying our door is always open and we can overcome anything, even the personal and public defemmations. I believe he not in a good place in his mind, and have asked him in the past to attend counselling, which my husband sought to help navigate this nightmare. We are now taking seeking grandparent access through the courts to both him and his ex. Guess one can never turn the love for a child off, but you can take back your life, and live for today and hope for tomorrow. I am grateful that we have our two other adult sons in our lives. Thanks for this site…it is a true blessing. For all of you that are carrying this burden…remember while we may have made mistakes, we also did a lot more that was right by them….

  9. Lana

    This is my first time writing in this forum, although I have read many of your responses. It is nice and sad at the same time to know we are not alone with estrangement. The feelings expressed are consistent with those I have had and still do have. I won’t go into my background because it is long and messy. Suffice it to say all the estrangement began when my husband decided after 36 years of marriage, that he needed girlfriend’s. I was blindsided and so terribly hurt and traumatized. Also unbeknownst to me, he had been poisoning our four daughter’s minds about various problems he was having with our marriage (I didn’t even know there were problems, because we had never addressed any mishaps.) All four daughter’s were in a quandary as to what was going on and confused with their Dad’s sudden leaving. About four years passed with the daughter’s bumping back and forth between the two of us. He got remarried (not to one of his girlfriend’s, but to a lady in GA, we live in MN) and moved in with her. He had several health problems and passed away four years ago. That’s when things really went bad because he and I had put together a Will which stated we would inherit each other’s asset’s and after we both passed they would be divided among our daughter’s. We did not have a pot of gold, or even a pot between us, so this was no big windfall. Three of the four tried to contest the will to no avail and completely stopped any communication with me. My oldest has always been cool to me, so that wasn’t a surprise but the second and fourth daughter had always been close to me. The worst part is they cut off communication with my third daughter and her family as well. Two year’s ago my youngest daughter and I went through counseling and she is now communicating. My second daughter has dug her heels in and will have nothing to do with me, nor will she allow any communication with her daughter’s ages 15 and 11. She has sent back, without opening, any gifts, cards, or letters I have sent. She shuns me at any event we might both be at: my brother’s funeral, graduations, confirmation’s, and athletic event’s. She will not allow my granddaughter’s to even look at me.

    The last time she gathered her family was at a State basketball tournament where one of my granddaughter’s was playing. She caught a glance of me and quickly gathered her family, turned them away and sat at the other end of the gym. It is the most hateful display and such a terrible example for those poor girl’s. I had apologized for everything I could possibly think of and then some, right down to being alive (she once told me, “You are dead to me.”). I finally decided NOTHING I have done in my feeling awful, hurt, and confused has helped so I texted her and basically said I had enough of her childish behavior and her poor example to her children. I told her the next event we were together I WOULD go right up to her and speak to her and would also do the same with her children. A week later we were at the funeral for my brother-in-law and she and her husband were there. I was so proud of myself because I did go directly to her and said, “hi”. She was with my nephew’s so she HAD to say “hi”. That was it, but I wanted her to know that her behavior is not going to be tolerated nor am I going to avoid her, leave early, cry, or be constantly hurt. I had never been “brave” enough to say anything that might be less than humble but win or lose, I am so thankful that I did. I will continue to address her. If she chooses to stay away from certain event’s knowing I will be there, it is HER loss and not mine anymore.

    I’m not saying what I did is for everyone, but at least SHE knows that I am done with the game playing.

    Reply
  10. Linn

    I have read all of your comments and truly understand your sadness. My 19 year old daughter passed away 6 1/2 years ago from a heart condition we knew nothing about. No one in my family understood nor do they understand now, my grief. My only other child, my son, stopped speaking to me a 1 1/2 years ago during my daughter’s passing anniversary. At that same time, I bought my dad home on hospice to take care of him. My siblings and my son wanted me to put my father in a nursing home. I had no support from my siblings. I could not put my dad in a nursing home. He had been my rock after my daughter passed. I said to my son, I wish your sister was here because she would have supported me. He believed I wished he would have died and not my daughter which was not true. I have 5 grandchildren that he will not let me see. I found out my daughter in law was pregnant with my 5th grandchild at my father’s funeral. He did not speak to me or let my grandchildren see me. The pain I feel no one should bare. I wish you all a blessed Easter and pray for you all that we receive the peace to manage this estrangement.

    Reply
    1. Victoria

      Linn, experiencing a similar situation with a death and an estrangement. A double dose of pain and loss that is such a heavy burden. It’s like you’ve lost both of your kids. Mother’s Day is coming up, how will you spend it?

    2. Linn

      Victoria,

      My plan for Mother’s Day is to plant flowers at the cemetery for my daughter, mother, and grandmothers.
      I will take a walk after I am done, and I hope I can feel some sense of peace. It’ seems like every month there is something to remind me of my daughter and my grandchildren. My granddaughters helped be feel some sense of normalcy. I am at the point, I don’t care to see my son. I just want to see my grandchildren, but I know that will not happen. It is indeed a double whammy. If I learned anything from my daughter’s passing, we are not promised tomorrow. I wished my son understood that. His wife and I had a strained relationship, and I think she helps to fuel the estrangement, but my son is a man. I just hope I live long enough that my grandchildren will find me when they are older.

  11. Marie

    I am sort of happy to say that I have been able to move on through prayers and Done With The Crying was a good start for me. The book is still on my coffee table and I go through it reading my notes from a few years ago. My daughter became estranged after my husband retired about 12 years ago, everything became daddy daddy, and she started ignoring me and her sister. My husband passed away two years ago, and she took charge of everything, she was his liquidator, she put me through pure hell, I don’t even know where his ashes will be laid and I am completely done with her, in the process I have lost my two granddaughters whom I doted on for so many years. Thank you Sheri, and I plan to get your book that followed Done With The Crying. Marie xoxo

    Reply
  12. Mary J.

    I have actually reached the point that I’m sorry I became a parent. As much as I enjoyed it when they were young, they are 48-52 years old now and I am exhausted from trying to understand why for 5 years, I have been shut out of the lives of 20 people, including children, their spouses, grandchildren, their spouses and 3 great-grandchildren. I know nothing about why and no one wants to tell me. They had treated me badly sometimes over the years as well. Now, I realize my life is better without all the drama. At 74, I want the remainder of my life to contain joy and not misery. I’m well on my way to that now. They were surely wonderful children though. I wish you all well. There can be happiness even with these terrible losses.

    Reply
    1. Denice M.

      Thanks for telling me that there may be a tomorrow , it has been almost 10 months since I have seen my 2 daughter’s and 6 grandchildren, they walked out and my life will never be the same. My husband (their father) does not want to hear me cry any more, I can’t help it sometimes. We made a few mistakes, but we never thought they would want no contact with us, they have cut off any hope of seeing the grandchildren. I am retiring in 2 weeks at 63, I never thought my life would be here…. lost, alone, not sure I can go on. I have begged, I am out….

    2. Loz B.

      I too reached the point of being so sorry l ever gave birth,my daughters were so loved ,so wanted,gave me so much pleasure when they were young,but the heartache they caused me in later years overshadows any happy memory l had.Havent heard anything but abuse & pure hate for many years,one sends me a sms every year telling me how much she hates me,how toxic l am,l dont reply,not playing her games.l did make huge mistake in early days of opening that door again & conversing(by sms)and for a short time she was pleasant,then out of the blue the accusations & hate started again.The door is shut,locked,boarded up never to be open again,any child that can be so cruel to the one that would have given their life for them,loved them unconditionally,gave them life& did the best they could to be a good mum is not worth my time,l could never treat my mum in that way,l loved her deeply & miss her every day,even if l didnt like her or thought she wasnt the mum l wanted l could not have been hateful toward her.It takes a special kind of human to treat their mum like that,that person doesnt deserve any more of our time ,doesnt deserve our love or our forgiveness somethings are just plain unforgiveable..Sending huge hugs to all the mums that havent yet reached the stage of being able to put their wellbeing first,you will get there one day,that day you will realise you are ok,you will survive.

  13. Debra

    My daughter and I have been estranged 3 years. I go from it being my fault, to thinking about it, that issues popped up for years. She is married, has a son with autism, and I supported them every way I could. I have sent birthday and Christmas checks to my grandson. He is going to be 19. The last birthday one went uncashed. the Christmas was cashed mid Jan. I had already made my mind up not sending any more. He obviously is not getting them. That was not his handwriting on the last check. I feel like I’m all used up.

    Reply
    1. Anna

      Hi Debra. Yours sounds like my story only it’s been 10 years and more grandchildren. When there is no thanks for sending checks then you must stop sending them. I stopped after the first checks that year were not cashed. Not birthday or Christmas. The range of emotions are a hell. Hurt, Agony, Pain, Anger, Fault and so much more to cripple your recovery. Too many people in this world want and deserve love. Your daughter doesn’t want it so let it be. Go and spread your love to the elderly and the homeless.

    2. Angela

      Debra, i have been on 3 years with my son. What i decided to do for my 2 year old grandson is every birthday and holiday card, i put money in it, write a personal message of how i miss him and wish i could see him. I have the cards saved and will give to him when he turns 21. He will know that we tried to be part of his life!

    3. Shawlana

      Debra, you must worry about your grandson and want to help him by providing support for his future, but have no way to know if he is receiving what you send due to his parent’s blocking. All you can do for him is to name your grandson as the beneficiary in your Will. Seek out the advice of an estate attorney who can advise you how to go about it.

    4. Sandy V.

      Debra,

      Everything i gave my sons wife and my grandchildren even the gift wrap was bagged, tagged and put in a drawer marked gifts, they were all being given out as gifts to other people and other peoples children by my granddaughter.
      My grandchildren never got to wear any of the clothes i gave, never played with any of the toys i bought and never got to see any of the cards i sent, i spent money on other peoples children and folk i had never met
      ..for years.

      Sandy

  14. Megan V.

    Hello everyone,
    Reading all these comments reminds me that I am not alone. My middle child and only daughter estranged herself from us around 18 years ago, hard to believe it has been that long. She now lives across the country with her fiancee and contacts her one sibling off and on. We used to share much in common, most of all our love of books and reading. I sent her some vintage ones for gifts at Christmas way back but have stopped since my youngest told me she threw them away.
    I do agree with the one poster who said all this is a sign of the times we are living in. The Bible does say in one of Paul’s letters to Timothy that there would be a time in the end where familial affection would not be common. THe Greek word is “astorgia,” literally “without familial affection.” We can know we are close to the end of this age.
    My only comfort is the Lord and in praying for her, as others have also stated. God knows all the circumstances, the mistakes made and what would end up happening. He has allowed it for some reason. I have hope that if not in this life, I will see her in the next life, being fairly sure she made a profession of faith in the Lord Jesus when she was younger.
    The toughest day for me is her birthday, which is coming up this week. Happy birthday daughter, I say it here for the others who also cannot extend their greetings and love to their estranged children. I have been thinking about the hymn, “It is well with my soul.” For all of those with faith in Jesus, we can anticipate that day when it truly will be well with our souls.

    Reply
    1. Judie

      Megan, I’m relating to your sorry. Ours has gone on for 8 years. For the second time she used our two grandsons as leverage to punish me. I don’t know what I did. Please reach out to me via messenger. I’d love to have a conversation with you.

    2. Karen M.

      I loved your post, and agree with the love of many growing cold in these last days.
      My son is estranged from us, going on 7 years now. He also accepted Christ at a young age, and I pray that I will see him in heaven. The rapture is imminent!

    3. MICHELE

      Brand new here. I have started to read this author’s book, Done With the Crying and peeking at this website, excited about finding both with a sprinkle of hope. I’m dead inside, so deeply hurt, betrayed, abandoned ….beyond cruel,
      What I loved about your entry is the presence of your faith because I too have that. That alone gives me that hope that somehow I can heal, have peace in my life with my husband of 4 years. I was a single mother of 3.. Lost everything. It’s been one challenge after another however we worked as a team. Five years a part, both boys had severe Chrohns disease. All are now married, had children.
      My youngest son died (overdose) fentenal, my most beloved, Feb 2,2020 two weeks before COVID 19 attacked our state (CT). My then daughter in law said that my son while in rehab , told her I sexually abused him when he was young, We’re talking about a severe narcissistic drama queen… I don’t have energy to finish,,,,so much trauma diagnosed with PTSD with a therapist I see every week and she’s excellent COVID19 contributed to my isolation.

    4. Lana

      I’m so sorry, Megan… my journey just started…, but there were outbursts over the years, and no apologies… so I take one day at a time, and pray… as you say, God knows everything… I’m trying to get to the “ tough mother stage”, but it takes time… I do know, that I’m done, my hea is very bruised, and I refuse to allow that again… our oldest grandchild graduates next year, and I’m not even sure if we can go, after all these years of looking forward to it… the tears still flow, there’s much more to say, but I don’t feel so alone now…
      I will keep you all in my prayers… I’m so sorry that any of us are going through this… may we comfort one another…

    5. Pih

      Amen Megan…my 52 year old daughter has called me so many names…does not tell the truth, projects and gaslights, has text invitations to her house and then text us (my husband and me) to not come. fortunately our three grandchildren are adults now and we have been able to have relationships with them. And I have repented of anything-both real and imagined- and everything to no avail. Astorgia is indeed rampant and I know many other broken and devastated parents. Jesus is my comfort and my husband and I are both praying daily for our little family. so very sad…but, yes, we are living in perilous times. Praying for all the broken hearts and shattered souls out there…

  15. Su

    I’m going to take the time to read each and every response here because I do believe that this cry for support goes right to the heart of the emotional dichotomy that I have experienced myself

    Two very different perceptions are in play here. The first is the Adult child who feels …betrayed…abandoned…angry..etc….Take your pick. The second is the Adult Child’s acting out from those feelings of betrayal…abandonment….anger… which manifests itself as Abuse.

    My kids only can relate to their own feelings of betrayal…abandonment…anger etc. They will never understand how abusive they have been to me…unless they themselves end up in a similar situation.

    Sad as it is, without long term therapy none of us can live in another person’s head.

    My suggestion to the parent who is tired of the abuse and wants to let her kid know she is done, is simply to move on and let it be. By telling the EC you are done it is almost as though there is a need to have the last word…and that never leads to anything.

    Reply
    1. A. N.

      Su: I agree with you; it isn’t necessary to tell them you are done. Just be done, and do it. I don’t tell my kids anything. I don’t care what they do or where they go. I had a life before I had them and I have an even better life now.

      Living well really is the best revenge.

  16. Diane M.

    This is in response to Sarah’s letter to Sheri…I have been estranged from my daughter, son-in-law and now grown grandchildren for many years, and I don’t have any idea WHY! It just ended abruptly. On her wedding day, she also treated me very badly. Near the end of the reception, she even said to me, “you can leave now, you know?” I was so hurt. For a short time, I did see my grandkids when they were young, but that ended as they got older. I was so hurt, that I even felt this hurt physically.

    Now, I just have the attitude, “they know where I am and how to find me.” As long as you live at the same address and if they know your email address or phone number, then they can reach YOU. If you ever move, you have the choice if you want to give them your new address. They know where to find you.

    In the meantime, I hope you find the strength to build a happy life for yourself. I do believe many parents are estranged from their adult kids. Sometimes we’re given false reasons why and sometimes none. There is some issue in their minds that they feel they must be away from us. We cannot pine away wondering why and just waiting for them. We are entitled to have a good life. We did the best we could with our kids when they were growing up, and now it’s our turn to do our best for ourselves.

    Always remember: THEY KNOW WHERE TO FIND YOU.

    I wish you the very best! I hope you can move forward and happily so. Bless all of you too!

    Reply
    1. Linda

      Wow I thought I was the only one going through this kind of rejection. I have had this issue over 30 years and still the same. They reach out from time to time and every time I have hope it will change and every time I go through despair. I guess it’s on their term. I love my son, but honestly since his wife has been in my son’s life, my relationship with my son as we were ended. Recently she was diagnosed with breast cancer and I prayed for her long story, she is cancer free and everything went back to the same emotional abuse. I still pray for my son daughter-in-law and grandchildren. I do get sad and tearful but I have no control. Linda

    2. Shawlana

      Blessings to you Diane M. You speak the truth and give sound advice. Even if they never seek to find you I can tell that you will survive and find your own happiness without waiting and pining away.

    3. Debra

      I have come to that conclusion in my life. She knows how to find me. I cannot call her anymore as I took the numbers out of my phone so I wouldn’t be tempted to try to call anymore.

    4. A.N.

      To Linda: Why do you accept the crumbs offered by your adult children? If you’re not satisfied with that, cut them off until they can figure it out. You don’t have to be abused.

  17. Michele S.

    Good morning all, I am in Lewes DE. This is the first time I have posted. My 31 year old daughter and I were close, what I thought was close? for 29 years. She was very traumatized when her father and I split up when she was 13, he moved to Florida. It was devastating for her, myself as well as my 10 year old son. I have many regrets about marrying on the rebound, bringing a new man into the home too soon and if I had to do it over again I would have waited and given more time to my kids. My son is 29 and I am very close with he, his wife and my two year old grandson (thank God).
    The trouble with my daughter began two years ago when she married. There were quirks with this son in law, he was very controlling. One day I took my daughter to lunch and privately asked if she was okay because her husband seemed angry and controlling to me. She was shocked that I asked and went home and told him. This started a war. I also was dragged through therapy for a year and in the end realized that my daughter didn’t want reconciliation, I believe she wanted the chaos to stop and really wanted to dump me. She did. The last email I received told me that she was done with me, not to contact her and if i did in anyway that she would call the police and charge me with harassment! Oh my gawd, pure hatred.
    Of course I have been absolutely devastated. I do have the support of a new loving husband as well as my family.
    One thing that I have found is a resiliency and strength that I never knew that I had. This loss is worse than a death because there is no closure, as I always maintain hope.
    I lost my own mother to cancer when I was 15 and Mothers Day is very difficult, my daughter knows this. For the past two years no word.
    I am a deeply spiritual person and with some distance can understand that my daughter in many ways is acting out her past trauma. I feel her husband is much like her father and may eventually abandon her. She is not in a healthy relationship. her husband has not contact with his family! One thing that hurts so much is that her perception of me has been completely altered by this person, he is hateful. If it isn’t already, it will be a suffocating relationship that I am hoping is not sustainable. The latest word that I heard is that they are moving to western Maine! very desolate, further isolation.
    This is my daughters journey. I don’t know the outcome. I know I have to let go, give this entire scenario to God. I pray for her every day, try to accept what I cant change and focus on my life, what I can change. I am still in shock that this is happened. It is beyond my comprehension. This is not good for her or anyone else. I must remember that it is her journey.

    Reply
    1. Shawlana

      Michele S. I feel so sorry after reading your account and know how worried you feel. It is so hard on you not to reach out to her and being rejected like that. She must feel/believe that she is incapable of making a mistake in her life and stands in judgment of you. I have a sister who holds a grudge against me. Good to read that you feel strong and have other family members who love and support you.

  18. Abi

    My 3 older children were stolen by the abusive father… Legally I did all I could and more… But he had the connections and money… So his abuse of them continued and the brainwashing, lies, and isolating them from their mom and new siblings was the new abusive norm…. Going on 9 years come November… While 2 of the kids did manage to smuggle out messages that they want contact… Their fear and loyalty to our abuser A. K. A. Trauma Bonding – is stronger and hinders their willingness to actively establish contact behind the abuser’s back – which for our safety is the only way I am willing to have contact with them. I find that writing them a diary and buying gifts is helpful to me, to stay connected and loving as a mother mentally – I have a box for every child in which I put those gifts and journals – one day, when we have contact again, they will get their box and all those years won’t be a total loss… I do however reach out to them by card or letter on birthdays or holidays but have zero expectations for a viable reply… That’s mostly for their sake, so they know I am still here and that mom still loves them, no matter whom and no matter what…

    Reply
  19. Ester

    Hello everybody,
    I have always have a difficult relationship with my 34 years old daughter because we have very different character. She feels attracted by strong people and my nature is quite sweet, so she doesn’t accept me. Furthermore she doesn’t like that I give her my opinion.
    In spite of that, we have also had good times and enjoyed things together. But she has changed and stranged me since she has a new boyfriend some months ago and she is pregnant. She has told me that she doesn’t want to see me for the moment.
    I’m sometimes sad but don’t lose the hope. I respect that she needs a little bit distance from me, and in order to help you, I would advise you that it is very important to forget the word ” Time “. Because when we count the time, that make us suffer because we became impatient. Instead, I do my life, I contact sometimes my daughter just to remember that I’m here if she needs something, and without any reproach. Sorry that my english is not perfect, I’m spanish.
    I wish you all a very nice Sunday.

    Reply
  20. Maggie

    My husband and myself are estranged from all 3 of our children
    We are on Sheri’s second book ❤️
    Yesterday we found out through someone that a year ago our youngest son (29) tried to commit suicide. He got help Thank goodness.
    Our initial feeling was to reconnect normal reaction. Today we have managed between ourselves and help of other family to put this into perspective we love our son he has not been abusive however he is in a very manipulative controlled relationship whilst we would love for him and his 2 children to be part of our lives.
    Is it healthy for us? We can’t stand by and witness his relationship and be made to feel from her that we are dirt.

    So hard painful and heart breaking.

    Our eldest son (36) became an alcoholic his sister (33) our middle child was helping fuel his habit she has Bi-Polar and has fuelled much of the trouble in our family our eldest son stopped us from seeing our grandchildren.

    Reading back over this it sounds like a nightmare we are having counseling and we are having to gradually learn all the good we did right up until only 2 years ago.

    Reply
    1. Sandy V.

      Maggie, I cant see my grandchildren either its a tool thats used over and over again to punish you into complying with whatever agenda your children have, and you may never know what that agenda is !

      LET IT ALL GO .. i did.
      We here are all in the same boat but i decided to get out of the boat ! the firs thing i did was to stand in the rain to get rid of all the years of hurt, mental anguish, and the imagined guilt, i wanted the universe to wash me clean. I then got a new hairstyle, new clothes, new make up, new mindset for the new me. I am still a bit of an old 60s hippy at heart i must honour that person and her values, i no longer dye my hair either these are all the things my son hated about me so, his love was not unconditional was it ! you both need to be loved for who you are and what you have given to your children.
      I have two sons both used emotional blackmail to good effect, my eldest son even changed his name to hurt me and my youngest dumped me when he got married, i decided it was their choice to make and let it go. I may be a very kind hearted spiritual person but i am not a stupid person cos, ” stupid is as stupid does..right ? ” i have put my apartment up for sale so i can move someplace new cos i have to try for a new life that fits me. You have the support of a husband to keep you upright so you are half way there,
      get out paper and pen and plan your new life together, you are now free to pursue the lifestyle you deserve. You have to cut the umbilical chord they are adults now, your job is done.

      You don’t sound stupid to me so SHOW IT to them..

      Sending you love and donuts* Sandy xxx

    2. candleinthewind

      Hello Maggie. Much of what you say sounds like my situation. We can shine our little light as best we can, that is parenting from a distance, regardless of how successful we feel we are doing. Good days, tricky days (like Easter Sunday, which should be a family time). I like the way you say you are on book number two with a heart sign. Nice one.

  21. Effie

    Hi all…. I am back again… I have been doing this for years and so very tired.. I do have a married couple that have walked with me and witnessed these behaviors and my huge breakdowns.. I am not sure I can say it gets easier… Maybe more the valleys are very rock bottom, but I climb back out a little quicker? Maybe a little stronger? I really don’t know… I went from compliments while raising my children and how wonderful they were to this…. Is it the generation? They are 24-37? Or have all their good memories been replaced with something much more self centered?
    Ok, I am really really wanting some feed back on some of these issues ? Would you do anything different? I am going on 7 years my daughter left in rebellion and regardless of how many times I reached out she has shunned me. Triangulating with my other siblings and my daughter at home and one of my daughter-in-law’s. I stay quiet as possible but stand my ground finally but can see and hear from things other’s. She has had two children and I wanted to bring her a meal and a gift… She said leave it on the porch… I did not.. After reading ” when to walk away ” by Gary Thomas I decided I would not reach out anymore. Cards, gifts, invitations for coffee, etc…I have heard these adults ( children) enjoy rejecting so why give them any more chance… My question now is she is trying to get my other daughter to give her things in the house… When she left she broke in and took things out that were hers… but also went through my bedroom… I feel that nothing here is belongs to her anymore.. Some estranged parents say keep giving… I really don’t want to do that anymore… I am tired… Input?

    Reply
    1. Rhonda

      If you have read the Bible, and truly understand, by having a personal relationship with God Most High, then you would know that the ‘lovers of self’, the self-centeredness, of the generations growing up today are just another sign of the times upon us. We are about to enter the worst time that this earth and its inhabitants have ever experienced in her history, and I believe the fact that we are being separated from our children (Luke 12:52-54, Matthew 10:35-36) to prepare us for the coming period where those of us who have turned towards Him, through His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ, are removed from the earth before this period begins in earnest. We’re less than 3-1/2 years from that period. Those that are self-centered will not enter into the Kingdom of God. This is what hurts me the most. I can deal with the estrangement here in the mortal life, but it’s hard to accept the eternal aspect of it. All I can do is pray that they come to see the light I’ve been trying to share with them (one of the reasons why they don’t want to have anything to do with me is that I am trying constantly to reach them, to accept God Most High, to accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior… and by doing so, I’ve pushed them away… but that’s not going to stop me from being bold for Him!) by then, or during the coming Great Tribulation Age, and pray that I will see them in the next life. It’s in God’s Hands, as He knows. I just have to learn, and accept, by faith in Him. I pray that you find rest in knowing this.

    2. Abi

      My 3 older children were stolen by the abusive father… Legally I did all I could and more… But he had the connections and money… So his abuse of them continued and the brainwashing, lies, and isolating them from their mom and new siblings was the new abusive norm…. Going on 9 years come November… While 2 of the kids did manage to smuggle out messages that they want contact… Their fear and loyalty to our abuser A. K. A. Trauma Bonding – is stronger and hinders their willingness to actively establish contact behind the abuser’s back – which for our safety is the only way I am willing to have contact with them. I find that writing them a diary and buying gifts is helpful to me, to stay connected and loving as a mother mentally – I have a box for every child in which I put those gifts and journals – one day, when we have contact again, they will get their box and all those years won’t be a total loss… I do however reach out to them by card or letter on birthdays or holidays but have zero expectations for a viable reply… That’s mostly for their sake, so they know I am still here and that mom still loves them, no matter whom and no matter what…

    3. Debra

      I never thought that til now, that they get pleasure from rejecting things. I was sending cards and gift cards to my grandson. But I didn’t know if he got them. Limited budget, so I sent a check instead. Didnt cash his birthday last year, and last Chrustmas not til mid Jan. Was not my grandsons signature. But I had already decided was not sending more. Why run after someone who doesn’t care about you? I am depressed but even if it was better tomorrow with her, it would never be the same again.

  22. Shelly

    My 29 year old daughter thinks it’s okay to tell me how awful I am when ever I dissapoint her. I do take the blame for staying in an emotionally abusive relationship and should have left their father when the kids were young instead of sticking it out until the kids were grown. It has emotionally scarred my daughter. The last time she yelled at me and told me how much she hates me. Instead of just taking it I told her to take her hurtful words elsewere. She told me that I was a toxic parent and she has cut me out of her life. I have walked on egg shells around her for years. It hasn’t done her or me any favors. I love her and hope her distance from me will help her heal from her past. It isn’t okay take verbal abuse from.someone, not even your daughter. I am done being manipulated and abused. I hope my daughter and I both find some peace and healing in our lives.

    Reply
    1. Teresa S.

      Shelly,

      You sound strong… I say those words too, but my heart breaks. I just lost my mother and miss her so very much… But death is easier…Rejection is daily hell. Yet I believe that God does work all things out for good and have to rest in that..

      Effie

    2. Sandy V.

      Hello Shelly, My son age 49 sent me his wedding invitation and told me not to dress like a ‘thrift shop reject. ‘ i was ignored by my son at the actual wedding service because i wore a hat he didn’t like ! i soon realised that the only reason i had been invited was to babysit all the children which i had to do upstairs in my tiny hotel bedroom ! like you, i love my son but since he married eight years ago things have got worse not better because i started saying NO instead of yes, i have been punished unable to see my beloved grandchildren but i realised that if i didn’t take a stand now then nothing would ever change.
      We have not spoken since July of last year and i have not run after him to beg for his love which is what you are doing when you give your permission for your children to act the way they do towards you. I walked on egg shells till my feet bled, i had a mini stroke through worry , i spent my entire life attending to my sons needs, it has now stopped. I have to find a life for my self with people who will love and support me and make me happy, we only have the one life and at our age its not getting any longer is it ?

      Don’t get in contact, don’t give your permission, be different, be STRONG!

      Sandy xxx

    3. Shawlana

      Shelly, Your daughter is old enough to be more understanding and forgiving. You are quite right to move on with life and just hope things will work out in time. Maybe one day she will get some insight, maybe not. A lot of these kids are so quick to judge without having to face the same challenges their parents have faced. Somewhere they get the idea to cut and run. Maybe it’s the schools, the lack of education? I wish I knew where to place the blame for the cruel behavior I read about on this website.

  23. Cheryl

    I am a profoundly private person. Posting this is overcoming my vulnerability and being brave as I join all of you who understand that which isn’t understandable or imaginable. Yes, Isaac, to all of it – they “communicate in spades how they feel about me.”
    “I would never trust them that they would not do the same thing again’
    ‘Would my life truly be enhanced by their presence?’ – At what emotional cost?
    ‘Why go back to an abusive relationship?’

    One of my adult daughters estranged from me more than 6 months ago and in what is common to this community she can provide no insight as to why. She has emotionally abused and neglected me for over a decade. I’m a walking on eggshells marathoner. Within a few days her older sister decided that she would join her in her campaign of estrangement. Shortly after I unexpectedly lost my father and while they showed up at the small family funeral, they didn’t speak to me. I gave the eulogy often dissolving into painful sobs. They were like robots and never looked at me or offered comfort. It was cruel, it was embarrassing, it was unwarranted and will always add another dimension of sorrow to my loss.

    My husband has admonished me for years to tolerate the abuse and in fact has said it isn’t abuse. He has for the last decade had ongoing conversations about me with our daughters creating a “us against her dynamic”. It’s a tremendous betrayal to me as a spouse and as a mother. I only hear about them through their father.

    Sheri’s books have been a Godsend. My husband refuses to get educated on any of it and makes his solidarity with them clear. I suffer from multiple debilitating, chronic illnesses that disable me from fully participating in life and had to give up a successful career. The estrangement stress triggered a new illness and overall worsened my health.

    The daughter who started all this has decided that she must drag me into therapy with her. I have been in therapy about her for more than a decade. If I refuse to do this, the no contact status will continue. I understand Issacs’s view. I really think I’ll be fine without being sacrificed for revisionist thinking, eggshells and emotional abuse. I’m done with the crying.

    The demanding daughter and my husband have told many family members and I get unsolicited directives from them and friends that I have to fix this and do as she and my husband wish. I know the chance of any success from doing therapy with her are unlikely. I have lost any and all trust. And if there was a time of reconciliation I know that I will be wondering when they will do it again.

    Reply
    1. Shawlana

      Cheryl, Take care of yourself first. Don’t let them drag you down any further. I lost my health because of the hurt. I fought back and recovered. Find a way out of the mess they have created around you that is sucking you down. Think of them as zombies–dead inside. Look for support from your family doctor. See a lawyer also. Get up and start to fight back!! Do it now before it is too late.

  24. Mary W.

    The final nail in the coffin happened to me lately. One associate of my ex sexually assaulted me on numerous occasions. I did not report the incidents because it would be my word against many who think this man’s behavior is just “funny. “ I finally told my oldest daughter about everything because I requested she keep my grandchildren away from them when they visit her father. Now, she has told me she can’t believe what I told her. This is a major reason people don’t report these attacks. NO BODY CARES is a common thread I see along with NO ONE WILL Believe you! I now know I have to leave my adult children out of my life! Maybe until this man does it to one of them! And, when that time comes, and it will, I will believe every word they say and just walk away to the life I build for myself every day made of dignity and respect!

    Reply
    1. Sandy V.

      Hello Mary, I was struck by what you said ” the final nail in the coffin ” implying DEATH.
      It really is how we all feel ” DEAD ”

      We all need to think about LIFE!

      No one has taken our lives – right ? we have all GIVEN OUR LIVES AWAY to people who don’t care if we live or die take a moment to think about that, about all the days and nights you spent alone did your children care if you were dead or alive ? did they telephone, text or email you to check ? NO !

      I’m here in the UK holding up a glass of wine and a big box of chocolates, you are welcome to join me in a toast to LIFE! lets get some..

      Sandy xxx

    2. LetGoOrBeDragged

      Mary W,

      I was sexually assaulted by my ED’s husband. Yes, my SIL sexually assaulted me. In complete shock, I kept it to myself and did not press charges. At the time I thought I would lose my daughter if I pursued justice and who was going to believe this one? I lost her anyway.

      Sexual assault is not about sex. Sexual assault is a weapon used for mastery, power and control. My abusive narcissistic insecure SIL used the assault as a way to get me to go away. It worked. I was designated the crazy MIL who made it all up.

      When I was ready to tell others I found out very quickly who my tribe is. Those who support and believe me are my tribe. The IQ’s or cognitive skills of these people are interestingly higher. Those who don’t support me are clearly not my tribe and now I can make better decisions when interacting with them.

      If anyone asks about my daughter, I tell them about the assault with my head held high and I look directly into their eyes. Sharing my experience has actually given me strength. I am the capable and educated woman who my SIL wanted to take down. It’s what narcissists do. Just the opposite actually happened.

      Yes, I am fully aware that my daughter is in a very abusive relationship. She married a man who is just like her father. On average a woman in this country will leave seven times before she leaves an abuser for good. I will likely die without ever seeing my daughter again.

      When looking for a solution, estranged parents may have come across the guy who pushes the “letter of amends.” Out of curiosity, I contacted him and he actually suggested I write a letter of amends to my SIL, my assailant!?! This would be one of those times when asking WTF? is beyond appropriate. If I had recorded his response, I would seek revocation of his license to practice.

      Mary, I want you to know that I believe you. I want you to know that there are people who care. The assaults are NOT your fault! When you are ready you might consider sharing your experience with others as you deem appropriate. Find your tribe and surround yourself with those people. No shame. Stand tall.

      Hugs to you, Mary. You are not alone and others do care and believe you.

      LetGoOrBeDragged

    3. rparents Post author

      LetGoOrBeDragged,

      Thank you for replying here (and thank you also to Mary). The more we are willing to speak out, as we grow in strength and can begin to feel safe to do so, the stronger we get (and the more we can help others and ourselves).

      I’m so sorry you were subjected to further abuse, and yes, I will call it that, at the advice of a professional who knows better. I am also glad that you knew better and did not take bad advice.

      Take kind care of yourselves ladies, and same to all who read here.

      Hugs to you,
      Sheri McGregor

  25. Joie S.

    Isaac, I want to say thank you for putting to words what I’ve been feeling regarding my own situation with my three young adult children. I only hear from two of them when they are demanding money; to which I deny. My oldest stopped speaking to me nearly two years ago, yet consistently posts something about me at least once a week on her social media platforms. I don’t respond and the people who know us personally, don’t jump on her bandwagon. Although I miss them, I realize that 1. I would never trust them. 2 Their negative behaviors are not welcomed. 3. They’re in no way a positive influence to my 14yo son; whom they don’t communicate with either. As you stated, I do miss what I “THOUGHT” they were like; yet when I take off my rose-colored glasses, I realize that they’ve carried these evil little spirits with them for years.

    Reply
  26. Isaac W.

    It has now been ten years since two of my daughters estranged me because I would not give them a large amount of money. I do miss what I think they were like terribly. However, at this point, reconciliation would be extremely difficult. First, I would never trust them that they would not do the same thing again. Second, I don’t even want to be friends with people that treat others with such callous disregard, no less be in a father-daughter relationship with them. And last, would my life truly be enhanced by their presence? I don’t think so. Through their behavior, they have communicated in spades how they feel about me and how they do not value me. I do keep a photo of my three daughters on my desk and really treasure the many, many ways that we had so much joy in our lives. However, when an adult pushes you out of their lives with no explanation, it is abusive. Why go back to an abusive relationship?

    Reply
    1. Beth

      Isaac, your words really affected me, especially “they have communicated in spades how they feel about me and how they do not value me”. This is how I feel about my son whom I have had no contact with for 6 months now. He is 47 years old but with the added problems of his drug addiction I no longer know who he is and I am not even sure I want to. There is a toxic daughter in law in the mix, who I feel has succeeded in her ultimate goal, to split my son from his own family, whilst all the time telling us (and him) that we do not care for him. Nothing could be further from the truth but his words and actions have hurt me so deeply that I am not sure I can ever come back from it. One thing I do know is that I have no control over his actions and keeping this in the forefront of my mind has helped me move away from the endless crying. He is an adult, even though he doesn’t act like it, and I’m letting him go to live the life he has chosen. My good wishes to you Isaac and all others on this site, this is where you will find understanding.

    2. Kate

      There is a quote by Maya Angelou that someone here on Sheri’s forum posted a while back that said, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” That is so very true!!! I just wish I had realized that many years ago.

    3. Lisa

      ‘Communicating in spades how they feel about me’
      “I would never trust them that they would not do the same thing again’
      ‘Would my life truly be enhanced by their presence?’
      ‘Why go back to an abusive relationship?’

      This is exactly how I feel about my estranged daughter. She removed herself from our family and we didn’t hear from her for a year. Then when we did hear from her, it was horrible. I do love her, but I don’t like the person she has become and the trust I had in her was destroyed by her. What’s been said and done cannot be unsaid and undone.

    4. Sandy V.

      Hello Isaac, You have finally got it well done ! your life does need to be enhanced by the people who interact with you and here is a point worth remembering , at the end of the day they are, after all, just people- right ? These are people that you invited into your home, into your life, gave them your love they are not the baby’s that you had or the children you played with they are now adult people. I got stuck into seeing my son as a nine years old kid cute as a bugs ear but , i woke up to see a strange man of 45 years old who ignored me if he didn’t get his own way. I have taken down all the photographs of the son i knew, i have taken down all the photographs of the grandchildren he used as a tool to get me to comply, it hurt too much and became a distraction from what i needed to do.. heal myself *
      We have not communicated since July of last year, i stopped giving my permission to be treated like an unpaid slave and a door mat.

      I am here in the UK, sending you love where ever you are. Sandy xxx

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