When adult children ignore you: Changes in yourself

adult children ignore youWhen adult children ignore you:
Recognizing changes in yourself

I frequently hear from parents who have spent years of trying, wishing, hoping, and experiencing the same old rejection, abuse, manipulation, disregard, neglect, or … fill in the blanks. So, when they receive some invitation, gift, text, or other overture, they are surprised by their feelings.

Even after adult children ignore you for years, the old hopes might spring to mind. The lure of seeing grandchildren who were ripped away in the early years and are now teens is powerful with curiosity and the old gnawing of what it once meant to be a family.

Has the son or daughter come to their senses? Do they want to make things right? Often, the intention is uncertain and unclear. What seems like an opportunity might arrive in an email where the parent is copied in with other relatives about a visit through town. Perhaps a gift arrives, after years of silence, that contains a printed card and a phone number. Or a graduation announcement arrives in the post, and includes generic instructions on how to attend.

The parent may feel a mix of emotions: longing, fear, resentment, hope, trepidation, or perhaps resolve. Frequently, when they sit with their feelings and weigh history with their past efforts, they conclude that the possibility of a meaningful connection is slim. If the son or daughter wanted to reconcile, the intention would be spelled out and clear.

Deep in their core, many of these parents know their energy stores have grown thin. They just aren’t up for more dashed hopes, abuse, or indifference. They have no will to bow to the pressure of others. Yet, they still may struggle. This is for those parents.

When adult children ignore you: Your “sweet tooth” can change

You once had a sweet tooth. Gosh, you loved those sweets. Then one day, those goodies changed. You bit into chocolate and hit a nut that was hard as a stone. The next time, you found a doughy, undone, sticky part that turned your stomach. Another day, there were worms in the candy box.

You realized someone was sabotaging this thing you loved. Or your standards had changed. The sweets just weren’t the same.

You fasted off sweets for a bit, but then the longing took hold. You imagined the sweetness and satisfaction. You couldn’t resist.

But when you ventured a taste, you broke a tooth. Again, you resisted and craved and fasted. Other people said to go ahead, give in, and that things might have changed.

You hoped and longed. You sought out the sweets, but this time, the doughy middle turned your own vulnerable center inside out.

Even so, you eventually took another taste. You were cautious and aware. You prepared for and identified the worms. You worked to clear them, and you thought that you did … but the sweets just weren’t the same. You were always double checking: Is that another worm?

The pattern continued. You fasted. You craved. You went to great lengths to find the old sweets you loved. Nothing was as good as you remembered. And it was just as well. The sweets had grown sparse, unavailable, and pricey.

Finally, you recognized that life without the sweets was pretty good. You missed them now and again but even when you knew where to find them, you realized you couldn’t afford to break another tooth or expose yourself to possibly getting sick. You couldn’t chance worms.

Life went on. You grew a little leaner and stronger. You developed a taste for what is better for you. Peas and carrots … or peace & [self]care ruts! You took kind care of yourself.

You also learned about life, people, families, society, the soul/spirituality/God. You listened to your inner voice. You found meaning and joy. The sweets no longer had a hold on you.

Then one day, an invitation arrived. You closed your eyes and imagined the taste, the texture, the decadent satisfaction you used to feel at indulging in the confectionery buffet of sweets. Funny, your mouth didn’t water.

You opened your eyes and realized the old cravings had diminished. The thought, “empty calories,” came to mind. Even if the sweets had changed and were good again, you couldn’t enjoy them. They’d forever been spoiled for you by the years of hard parts, the sticky doughy bits, and the worms.

Your tastes had changed. You now craved peace & care ruts.

When adult children ignore you over time: Your turn

Can you relate? When you’re ignored by adult children (or abused, accused, and rejected), you may come to a point where your patience wanes and you see them differently. I hope you will share your thoughts. What did you crave in the early daze of estrangement? How did your feelings change over time, and why? Feel free to leave a comment and talk with other parents.

Related reading

Estranged from adult children? Take care of yourself

Adult children who reject parents: Why do they make contact now?

When estranged adult children call, parents ask: Are my feelings normal?


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227 thoughts on “When adult children ignore you: Changes in yourself

  1. Marilyn

    I am new on this site and it’s like reading my story over and over. I ended an emotionally abusive relationship and it was heading towards my children. I knew he was in some type of trouble and would bring down the family. He took off, no help and I refinanced everything to keep a roof over the children’s heads and keep their life stable. The last thing their father told them was to get out away from me and never look back. He always told me he could ruin the family. Unfortunately, and unknowingly my son bought into it and uttered those same words to my daughter who adored her brother, and then my son went into the military and everything changed. He went in a nice person and came out cold, distant and told me he never liked me and confirmed he influenced my daughter the way his father influenced him, to never look back. He seemed to have no problem severing ties. They were my whole life and I don’t feel connected to anyone. I moved and have a really good job, but an emptiness in my heart. I don’t really think I am grieving the loss of who they are now but grieving the connection we once had. It’s been over 10 years and I have tried with my daughter but it is on her terms when and what I can say. It’s worse than the worm in the candy, it is deteriorating my soul. I have to be able to really move on without feeling guilty, not sure I’ll totally get there, but I never stop trying.

    1. Jayyne

      Just read your post and feel the same way after another long hellish night with one of my adult daughters who lives with me, uses me, manipulates, betrays me, is verbally and emotionally abusive or gives me the silent treatment for control. Ive had no sleeo again, was supposed to begin an extra part time job today to help bring in more money with my full time job, but I just notified them Im so shaken up again that they should hire someone else who they can rely on because again my heart is shattered glass. My daughters not only show no respect or love but don’t contribute even a roll if toilet paper or gallon of milk while I pay all rent, utilities, groceries & so much more as Im divorced from their narcissist Disney dad who neglected all his responsibilities many years ago as a husband and dad, deceived us financially and has turned my daughters against me because hes vindictive bitter hareful & jealous. They make great money working in restaurants (more then me) go to college while complaining about the cozy apartment I work so hard to provide and the food I buy & cook which they waste most of the time or if they eat it, they dint sit WITH me to eat. My daughter records with her ohone video our private conversations & shows them to her “friends” telling them how bad she has it at home! My daughters & I once were SO close, were happy, had trust, but its toxic and my heart is crushed, broken daily. but he succeed in turning them against me while used to cheat, drink, hide money & more. He still owes years of arrears in their support money. Yet they hate me, tell me Im insignificant, I don’t deserve love, and so many horrible things you would not believe. I was so happy that God let me be a mother, they mean everything to me, I used to matter to them, for it to come to this? This is abuse and no one understands.

  2. Hope

    Hi everyone!
    All I can say is that the world we know it as now is welcoming hate..intolerance and blaming others for their ups and downs.. We did not have perfect parents and many of us were borderline abused, or abused.. many had no choice to leave that behind, but many stood by their parents that made life work. Today the pendulum swings far to the extreme and the world encourages division. We each individually have an avalanche of sadness and pain but let us think to how sad it is for our children that they are in their darkness and the darkness hates the light.
    I cannot fix my sons perspective that his third voice has fostered in him..but God can turn his , their hearts up side down , if and when he chooses. Our children are adults that one day may face their demons or not. If we wronged them, that’s one thing.. and that warrants an apology.. but most parents are good loving parents that most often went that 10 extra miles to love and care for our babies..
    I think what I’m saying is that for me I need to trust God with his created beings and do what His Will is and accept fully I cannot change them.. I can only continue to work on me.
    I live with extreme sadness that has been compounded as I have my daughter whom we are best of friends that is fighting for her life with breast cancer . Many surgeries and many hard mountains to climb right now.
    And my son never responded to my letter regarding his sister asking he go see her.
    When he says “mom I love you” , yet ghosts me.. how is that love? I cannot unlove him..or his gf.. I guess that’s why it is deeply painful. I love on my grandkids from afar , cards and gifts bds , holidays. I pray they allow the kids to have them. I send my son and partner cards for holiday and bd. I pray and hope my son goes to see his sister. Before it’s too late.
    He always had so much empathy and compassion and still does but somehow it’s boxed up for his parents, sister and her family.
    The Prodigal son in the Bible is filled with many lessons on hate, retribution, envy, restoration, love!
    And the account of Joseph .. what love at the end even though he could have had revenge!
    In a millisecond , I’d hug my son and have a feast! My son was lost and now was found.

    1. Trish

      I agree with so much of what you’ve written and I’m so sorry for your pain. God showed me once that He doesn’t change people against their will (I’d been begging Him to change my exes’ heart). It helped me to let go of him. Thankfully He does change our hearts when we pursue growth. I’ve been going on 3 years of estrangement with my daughter. May our gracious Father teach us to find our peace in Him.

  3. Wendy

    I have been estranged from my son for over 8 years, it too started with his girlfriend of 6 months (now wife) who I believe has a personality disorder. I have 2 grandchildren I have never met, there may be more, I don’t know. He is my only child and we were very close. I have been in therapy for over a year and have finally come to the conclusion that I have no hope that our relationship will be repaired, and I don’t think I would ever trust him again. Like many have said in their comments, I see now that he is not the loving son he once was and that he is someone I may not want to know at this point. This post has really hit home. Thank you all for sharing.

    1. Jackie

      Hi Wendy,

      I feel your pain completely. I was a single mom of a son and daughter. My son has been estranged for 6 1/2 years. Due to mostly his wife. I have 3 grandsons Two I have not met. My son and I were also very close until he met his wife. I have given up hope as well. I agree with all you said. 🙁

    2. Effie

      Wendy, I am sorry for your pain. Mine has been 8 years too. I have wonderful days and bottom out days… Once a therapist said ” their perceptions of things are different”… I was the doting mother who never missed anything ever.. stayed home and spent half the day with their pursuits.. But even with all that, it has made no difference. I know my God is sovereign and that this life is not all there is. I feel with and for you.


  4. ArtisticInAZ

    My daughter showed up on my doorstep, with my infant grandson, after a couple years of non-communication. We have been speaking since, have since had another grandchild, and I am over the moon grateful that they are in my life. But . . . the relationship with my daughter will likely never be what I want, and I have to accept that. She has never broached the subject of why she cut me off, though I can guess at several reasons. I told her that she never had to speak about it, if she didn’t want to, that I would accept her back into my life either way and would never ask. That’s a choice I made and will have to live with. It’s a very bittersweet relationship.

    1. Sarah B

      I can only imagine how tenuous your relationship must feel. Some of us are so hurt by the rejection and now I see, even if they do come back, there are no guarantees. My trust is too broken now.

  5. Audrey C.

    Am I becoming estranged from my son? We had a disagreement 3 days before Christmas as he told me he was spending Xmas day with his wifes family leaving me on my own. I said to him ‘you don’t like me very much?’ He jumped up , angry and said I’m not listening to this and stormed out. I recieved a text on Xmas day wishing Merry Xmas.
    I then saw him,wife and grandson on New Years eve to exchange xmas gifts (arranged b4 he stormed out). All cordial and that is how he has remained since.
    I look after my grandson 2 afternoons a week with my son picking him up from my house. However he is coming late to get him (7pm) which is close to bedtime and so doesn’t stay. Nor have I seen him at the weekend.
    I’m not sure where this is heading but I’m very hurt that he is not concerned about actually sitting down with me to chat. A ;ot of the ladies have gone years before they feel estranged and I do not want that.

    1. Effie

      From experience, I would enjoy your grandson. Not make any waves.. If the estranged adult stops NEEDING you to babysit he may be gone before you know anything and that will be double pain. Also, never sound like a victim, that seems to open the doors to this generation for a huge blow up and you may hear things that he is holding in. ( I wonder if Sheri has some thoughts about my assumptions? ) I could be totally wrong. It is painful for sure.

    2. Sarah B

      I think Effie is taking the right approach. Enjoy your grandson and, I’d add, make a little extra effort in whatever way you can with your son. Small things that let him know the two of you are family. Maybe some treats he likes and send a few home w him. It may sound like you’d be treating him like a child but in my family an extra little step can open the door for a hug and forgiveness both ways.

  6. Jeff H.

    Prayer and Bible study has helped me get closer to God. He didn’t do anything wrong by providing for and creating life for man yet His children turned against Him after listening to lies about God by the serpent. To this day God is lied about being an abusive monster, is ignored and treated as if He doesn’t exist. False religions and false gods replace Him. In the Ten Commandments God placed how we are to treat our parents right after how we are to treat God. Our children’s behavior is a reflection of how they are treating God and it’s in large part a result of listening to the lie of psychology saying it’s the parents fault for their own problems in life. God knows what we are going through.

  7. Spearcarrier

    There’s always this underlying “you should feel guilty for not continuing to try and being willing to put up with the abuse” element out there. How should you change? Blah blah worms blah

    But this article is better. Why should we break our teeth or digest disgusting things when there’s so much better out there? And it’s okay to want better. It’s okay to care about your environment. If blood truly mattered so much, the kids would never have kicked you to the curb in the first place.

    1. Cathy S.

      I miss my son so much! But when I truly consider it, I realize that I miss the boy he was—not the man he has become. After 2 years of being “disowned “ I’m just starting to enjoy life again without him.

  8. Eve

    i’m guessing most people on here feel the same way I do. It hits me sometimes, and I feel really strange, like, ” I had kids, once “. It is hard to accept that they aren’t really even a part of my life anymore. It is like a light has been turned out. Sometimes when I hear of young ones who can’t wait to have a family, I think, what the hell for ? Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think that this would happen to me. But it has. To have to push it all to the back of your mind just to be able to get on with life is so unfair so wrong and so sad. If there is a God then it is definitely a man, or definitely not a mother. Just because kids grow up and live their own lives does not change how mothers feel about them. I know it’s different for many of them, they don’t understand that ‘m sure; especially the girls. They keep their children away from their grandmothers thinking that they are better mothers, and they they would do anything for their kids etc., etc.,. They don’t get it. That is exactly how we feel about them. And the kicker is, I see many of them making way more mistakes than we did. I wonder how their children will feel about them when they grow up.

    1. Jayne

      I feel the same way. I’m heartbroken. My daughters who I was so close to, for many years, have betrayed me, fueled by my ex husband, their narcissist dad. They’ve taken on his mindset even though he abandoned us in every way years ago while I was always there for them doing everything I could to provide for them, fight for their rights in court. I love them with all my heart!! They have NO respect,
      NO gratitude, NO love. They’ve said horrible hurtful things to me, so many nights I’ve had no sleep at all then had to go to work shattered sick to my stomach from a broken heart they caused me again. They dont care, anymore, they help me with nothing while living in my apartment that I pay for, eat my food that they either complain about or waste..Where did my sweet daughters go who use to love me? I miss them and I want to know what was all my love for when they’ve cancelled me like I never existed? They and society dont value having a caring loving strong mother like they should.

    2. Laura


      They think keeping us away from grandchildren will make their kids better and problem free. Time will tell and when they do have problems, we can’t be blamed for them, but that is just what they will do.

    3. Terie

      Truely feel your pain & many other parents experiencing the same. My 1st. Situation happened when my oldest son gave me the heev-hoe after I refinanced his “96” Chevy Impala 3 times trying to keep it from getting “repo’de. He was 20 & not as responsible as I thought! Had no choice but too give it back to the bank. Ruined my credit + had to pay $2100 to pay the loan off. Since then it’s been 16 yrs & he Wants Nothing to do with me. I’ve busted my Rear-end on So many levels, at the same time Emotionally Braking me! It’s a “Deep Pain” you Wouldn’t give your Worst enemy. Led me to start drinking again/spree that Made it worse! Got to a Point of Destroying myself Wasn’t Worth it & Neither was my son. My youngest son & girlfriend lived with me at the time & “Thank God”! I did this for “Myself” & Had NO Choice. Been 14 months I’ve been sober & fighting Each & Every day for My Happiness. Not always easy… Learned to Accept & Come to Peace to Move forward & Quit beating myself up! To be Honest with myself, given up hope of “Maybe” or possibilities of ever reuniting. He is now married, may or may not have kids, don’t want to know & I’m okay with that. Still working through alot but, going to get there. Life goes on & So Will ALL of Us parents going through the same!! My ♥ goes out to all of you & the “Luv”! Thank You for listening.

    4. Lisa

      “If there is a God then it is definitely a man, or definitely not a mother.”

      Ain’t it the truth, Eve. Ain’t it the truth.

    5. Mary

      Oh Please Eve, don’t say that: (If there is a God then it is definitely a man, or definitely not a mother.)

      I understand the hurt. I am with you and all the parents here.
      If anyone can understand betrayal is Christ!
      He was rejected from His native town. He was betrayed by a kiss from one of His friends for money. Peter denied Him three times during His trial. None of His friends were at the foot of the Cross dying only His Mother, a former prostitute and a teenager, St. John. Christ didn’t leave His mother alone, on the Cross He gave her care to St. John. God understands betrayal! He lived through it for us, and for our children.
      I remember the episode during the Passion, where women were crying seeing Him suffers, He stopped and told them not to cry for Him but for their children! Oh, how true. Best inspiring way: Read about Saint Monica and Saint Augustine.

      We must do something with the hurt, we do not want to become resentful, bitter, hateful and fulfill the false prophecies of our prodigals: bad parents.
      Offering the hurt to Christ that is what keeps me sane. I can build on that. The sorrow: I associate it with Mary at the foot of the Cross. Redirecting our suffering in a positive way is the only way to go. But it takes time. Blaming God is blaming the only One who can help us in this valley of tears.

      Please pray for me, my family and my prodigals.

    6. Sarah B

      Laura’s response is Right on the nose. I feel the pain they’ll feel when they realize they were wrong and it’s too late to make up for the lost time and the hurt.

  9. CD

    It’s been over 23 years since my youngest son left the family. I have gone through many stages with this experience, including grief therapy to deal with the loss, which never resolves. I could write my own book. Looking back on when this happened, I would say that he had emotionally distanced himself as a child, and then “proved he would never see me again” by putting up physical and legal barriers as soon as he turned 18. Today he lives in a gated community so none of us can drop in on him, something his father, (my ex) tried years ago. We tried everything parents can try, including hiring a detective to find him and ask him to contact us. Wrote the letters, sent gifts, tried to prevail upon his in-laws. Nothing worked. Everyone in his wife’s family has all of us blocked, too. Recently there was a death on my ex’s side of the family, as my brother in law ended his own life. My oldest son, who has used cut-off as a manipulation tool himself at times, has had a bit of his own emotional journey as an estranged brother. He really misses his brother but has long since given up. My oldest got me on a Facetime chat to tell me that losing his uncle got him thinking about having a legacy, and that he wants to settle down and start a family. He is including me in every bit of this life direction and it’s a joy. I’m pleased to see that family loyalty is still strong with him. However, I’m fairly easily triggered. I believe I have PTSD from these boys/men. I want this relationship with son #1 to flourish…but I know from past experience that anything could crumble it, and that I’ll be blamed for bring too something or other, so I’m careful. As far as son #2 goes, I honestly don’t know if we could ever reconcile now. We clearly no longer know each other. All I know about him now is the surface stuff, his job, his address, etc. I believe I would still love him fiercely if he reached out, but it would be like meeting a distant relative now. And I can only imagine how fragile that meeting would feel. My takeaway is that giving birth, bonding with a baby, raising a child are all phases of your life, and that they don’t come with guarantees. I am in a happy and peaceful life now. I think about my #2 son every single day, but it’s a constructed memory, and yearning, not a real connection. It’s one-sided. I suspect that he has learned to block me/us out of his mind which logic tells me will catch up with him. I used to want to protect him from that. Now it’s my wish that he confronts it one day, hopefully in a non-violent way.

    My ex’s mother and my ex were estranged for 30 years. When I finally met her, I was astonished that she would do that and not seem to feel any remorse over it. I was also surprised that this seemed normal for my then husband. And, they of course never discussed it while she was alive. I vowed it would not happen with my sons. But, it did. When presented with estrangement as a manipulation tactic, it becomes the weapon of choice when the child needs to differentiate. Sadly, these patterns proliferate over several generations. My late brother in law had no children, which is what got son#1 to think about having his own kids. I think we all recognize that in order to break this painful pattern, we need to keep trying to start over.

    1. Jayne

      Im so sorry for the pain youve been through. My heart goes out to you. Im crushed my daughters really dint care about me anymore when I love them immeasurably

  10. Kay

    Hi I’m new here for posting..have read so many helpful posts and Sheri your books are wonderful.
    Regarding being ignored by my children both of them, I have also been treated very badly. I was invited to my eldest daughter wedding 3 years ago. ( her second marriage). I was escorted away by my younger daughter straight after the ceremony, no allowed in photos or the reception. I was completely unaware this would happen I was like a lamb to the slaughter. All my ex husbands family shunned me during the ceremony. My daughters are very close to them and I see now how much they have alienated me from my girls. I have no family here they are overseas.
    My daughter told me she had emailed beforehand about what would happen but I never received it. I think it was deliberate as if I had, I wouldn’t have attended, she knew that but wanted me there to punish me for whatever it was.
    I vacillate between anger and shame and mentally scarred.

    1. Uma

      Thanks Eve I needed to read this today as I am dwelling on the maybe’s of tomorrow and craving sweets. And yet I was able to walk away from posting a card for my only grandson who is turning 3, he is one of 8 the rest being girls.
      And so the story goes. One son dies, the other hides inside himself all 6 feet and 300 pounds of self destruction. My daughter a well established author and mother of 3 girls one boy.
      From her I get the odd text which is never warm only fact based and noted as being in touch.
      I carry on knowing there are so many of us out there which I find comforting but also sad.
      The next generation is missing out on us seniors and our odd funny stories of wisdom and sometimes dumb experiences.
      Life is but a dream

    2. teresa

      Sounds a lot like I went through.. The other side—yes the other side. It is one of the hardest parts because they give your child support which seems to embolden them more to stand against you, ignore you, not need you, not want you.. ( sorry those are my feelings) I kept waiting for the day she would want or need me. Yet the other side had enough of what she needed that it outweighed anything I had to offer. I went from what I thought was a great mom to a discarded middle age woman. I will never be the same the pain took its toll 8 years later, but my faith in my God will stand. I just still have no idea what I did to really deserve this, I believe its the entitlement age and I gave way too much. I did my best and the rest is in my Lord’s hands. Peace to you Kay

  11. Cherie W.

    I was a good mom – I loved / still love my children. Mine were alienated by an emotionally/spiritually abusive husband and my former close friend of 16 years who is now his wife…and been installed as their new mother, and now grandmother to their children.

    Grief, at times comes out of nowhere – like when you watch a movie, and an abusive mom is forgiven and a beautiful relationship results between the child and them. I ask…how come when there is actual abuse, some children strive for that relationship anyway, forgive and a beautiful relationship results? Well – there are no answers sometimes, and that is okay.

    My guilt comes from having moved on – and enjoying life with the husband God gave me to show what real love is like – and the three children (of 6) that I have a good relationship with. Is it okay that I don’t think of the other three often? That I wonder what I would feel like should anything happen to them? That I have chosen to give them to God, place them on a shelf and enjoy the beautiful life God gave me? That I DID move away to a place my husband and I enjoy? Does my “indifference” now prove I was abusive? When these questions come – I give it back to God and know I am His, and I was a good mom…not perfect, but a mom who loved deeply. I don’t dwell on the “what if?” I can only do today – and should a child want to reconnect tomorrow, I’m sure God will give me what I need to take that path, but it is no longer a focus of my life.

    1. Andrea A.

      Thank you for your response, which touched me the most. I know how you feel because I feel the same. I felt like I was going through sort of a PTSD each time I reached out to my adult 3 children and never got a response. It would pull me into a deep depression. It’s 10 years and I have finally said enough. I love them from a distance, pray for their safety, and wish them well.

  12. Andrea A.

    Great article. Thank you, Sheri, for your books. They have saved me and showed me I wasn’t alone. I have been estranged for 10 years first my daughter, then my two sons. After reaching out to them for years, I said I would make one last effort to reach out to them so we can move forward. I sent them each a letter and small gift and two months later they were returned to me. My ex-husband had written each of their names on the return address. I have been apologizing for years to them and the only one that would respond was my daughter (by text), but her response was generic and empty of feeling. I don’t know any more these children who are now adults. After this, I have stopped reaching out to them. As much as it breaks my heart, it hurts more to get my hopes up to have them shattered. Now it is up to them to reach out to me.

    1. Kim

      It is truly sad. I have been estranged from my daughter for almost 3 years now. Shes 21. My ex-husband and I were going through a divorce during her freshman year of college and unknown to me at the time he was was filling her head with lies and manipulating her every thought. I thought she was gone away to school and was somewhat shielded from what was going on here. I later found out he was calling her everyday telling awful things that were absolute lies. I was devasted when she wouldn’t even talk to me. I could try to explain anything to her cause she wouldn’t even listen. How could I ever let her know the truth if she won’t give me a chance, or to answer her questions if she had any. I have agonized about this and lost many nights sleep over it. I have finally came to the conclusion that she was there during a lot 9f the bad times. She knows the abuse I suffered and she knows how hard I tried and how much 8 loved her and did as a mother. She is a smart young woman not that she can’t be mentally manipulated by her dad because I was for so many years but deep down she knows what was right and what was wrong and 8f after everything I did for her growing up and she was loved out of this world by me and she knows it. My everyday consisted of doing everything for my children and if I’m not even worthy of a conversation or an explaination of why she won’t speak to me then the shame is on her. I certainly wasn’t perfect nobody is but I was a good mother and if not wanting to be abused anymore after 26 years of it is reason enough then so be it. I have been manipulated since I was 21 years old since the day I got married. But as of 3/11/22 I will never be manipulated to do, say, or feel the way anyone other than myself wants to do, say or feel. Those days are over for me. I will always welcome my daughter with open arms if she ever wants to reconcile because I do love her more than life itself but I will no longer wait by the phone or spend my days crying and longing for her. God did not put me on this earth to torture me and I won’t allow myself to be tortured anymore. I’m ready to enjoy and live life I’d rather it be with her but with or without her I’m going to. Alienating children from a parent should be considered a crime and punishable because it is abuse.

  13. Anita M.

    Anita… It’s been 4 years since my daughter and son both cast me aside. My son and I had an altercation in 2019 because I wouldn’t allow his girlfriend to spend the night at our home. He attacked me, left bruises, sprained 2 of my fingers and held me hostage for 1 1/2 hrs before I finally got away. He was arrested. Since then he has told numerous lies about me to his sister and anyone who listens. My daughter took his side and blamed me for everything. She still does and I haven’t seen them in 4 years. She won’t allow me any contact with my granddaughter, who turned 14 today. They’ve turned her against me, too. I’ve tried to reach them, but they don’t want me in their lives. I’ve lost all my family members from this. Even my brother and his family no longer speak to me. It’s been HELL on earth!!

    1. Tara

      This was a refreshing read. I saw an article the other day, on a Psychology website no less … “What to do when your adult children treat you like dirt” was the actual title … and the content was how, as parents, we can try to atone for our flaws and shortcomings to our adult children… I am SO SICK of everything ALWAYS being something wrong with the parents. When ADULTS treat ANYONE like dirt, there is something wrong with the adult!!!! Someone needs to say it – sometimes when adults treat others with disrespect, it’s because THEY have character flaws. Being blood kin doesn’t justify their bad behavior, and BTW, are they REALLY more perfect in their parenting than you were???

      I understand that some people actually had abusive parents, and don’t want to be around that. I get that. But for the run-of-the-mill parental conflicts – “mom made me eat vegetables sometimes,” it will be interesting when THEIR children decide they weren’t perfect, either. (Sorry, my wounds are still fresh. I just extracted myself from an attempted guardianship and takeover of my farm and finances.)

  14. Donna

    Eight years of total silence. I don’t know my estranged daughter. I look back and see things differently, clearly in fact. She never wanted what I had to share with her. She was in the middle of divorced parents. Having made a choice based on her character, she choose someone and a life fitting for the likes of her father which was my mistake. However, I have found forgiveness. That is a great joy and no one can give you this.

  15. Jean

    Right on. This has been my experience with my two daughters and all I can say is I now have time to pursue my own interests and can afford vacations for me. Before I was the ‘designated’ grandparent that got to pay for their vacations, take them out to eat, buy them gifts, free babysitter, etc. They all felt entitled to ‘their’ vacation. When I started seeing through this they cut me off from my grandchildren. This was and still is very painful but I’m ‘leaning up’ and I have more money these days. I have one grandson that is not petty and actually calls me. I have a niece and a nephew that is also considerate of me and never asks for anything. And guess what, I really am paying attention to this and considering who gets what.

    1. Lee H.

      Jean, I hear you, my story is so similar. Everything I paid for, like you, instead of being appreciated was shot down how it was wrong, or not good enough or they would have done it differently. They did me the biggest favor of my life by estranging themselves from me. Their loss, I am free from abuse now.

  16. Bonnie

    I am close to the 2 year mark of estrangement from my daughter.
    It was brutal for the first 18 months.
    I track, on the calendar, my VBDs (very bad days) so I can reassure myself I am trending in the right direction and the time between spirals is longer than it was.
    So far so good.
    I am now up to 8 weeks in between and when the sadness comes, I have better strategies for focusing my attention.
    Reading this common dilemma and many souls (mothers) facing this path forward bolsters my own strength. I very much appreciate your shared experiences and support.
    There is no pain like this. It is not the disappointment of having a lesser friendship than anticipated, that is something any reasonable person can adjust to. The most devastating pain is that sense of deep betrayal and the toxic hostility, contempt, rewritten history, lies, abuse and unfair expectation of BEING boundaried, but unwilling to acknowledge and respect the boundaries we have.
    Destruction of property, reputation, and faith in family is the pain that challenges finding any relief.
    Fine, we are not the friends I had hoped we could be.
    But I did not see it coming that I would be NOBODY to her, and the extended family/friends we had so fondly shared holidays, birthdays and many gatherings with over 20 years.
    The loss was of the entire structure that had, at one time, seemed solid and true.
    I am reading your book, Sheri, and have the workbook as well, so thank you from my heart for providing this space to many who need help aiming for their well being moving forward.
    To all of you I extend love and hope for your continued clarity and healthy heart.
    Much love

    1. Bodhi

      Thank you for expressing exactly how I feel about my estranged daughter. The betrayal, the lies, the lack of respect. I no longer care to see her, even if she called. My husband has a little contact, but I’m done with it.
      Let’s live life, and stop trying to engage with them. It’s their loss.


    2. Melanie

      Our son moved away too far to visit. Our daughter cut off all contact with a three page letter detailing how I was to blame for every bad decision she made. Luckily, her ex husband allowsus to see our granddaughter about four times a year. What is so sad is that our granddaughter mourns not having her grandparents in her life. How can someone be thiscruel to their own child?
      She now hates us even more because we are getting close to a friend’s daughter whose children adore spending time with us. After no contact for two years, I am going on a European tour with this young woman who never had a mother (her mother died) and suddenly, finding someone who enjoys having me around!!

    3. Judi S.

      I relate so much to your pain and efforts I’ve been to therapy, read the books, made apologies, to little avail. My only fortune is my daughter does allow me to spend timevwirh my granddaughters. She does this for them , not me. The pain is deep. But there is some relief in accepting. Strength to you.

  17. Lynn

    Im SHOCKED there were so many ppl replying here. Yes yes yes and yes. After 20+ years of the ups n downs of estrangement i finallllllllllllllllllllly at age 62 came to the sad realization i am much more content and at peace without my daughter. (And her 3 little ones) And now, my son who recently divorced me too. i havent the energy patience resolve or strength to deal that kind of negativity and the work i had to put in; any longer. One can only try so long if reciprocity doesnt occur. 20 years was my breaking point! The anguish was tearing me apart and breaking up my marriage. my gosh this article is spot on.

    1. Karen

      I understand how you feel, it’s this culture we live in. I am 72 and I enjoy my peace and quiet and really don’t want their negativity in my life. My youngest daughter has been estranged from me for about 12 years now and I have stopped crying. She was married to an alcoholic and finally divorced him about 7 years ago. My Grandaughter called me while she was in college and begged me to help her out financially which I did. I never heard anything from my daughter. My oldest has recently estranged from me too ! I have honestly examined my conscience and know that whatever is going on with them has nothing to do with me. Knowing this makes me feel a little better. Their father died when they were in their early twenties. I always felt the girls were closest to him anyway. I really don’t think my relationship with them would ever be the same….too much time apart. They just would want me to listen to all their negativity anyway.
      So enjoy your new stage of life focus on yourself and the people who do love you. Remember we were here longer on earth than them and they will be sorry when we are no longer here . Life is not fair! But I have my health and like Abe Lincoln said “people are as happy as they make up their minds to be.” It’s not your fault. I was a good mother and took care of them. Write down your thoughts about them instead of telling your husband. That may help your marriage.

    2. Jan

      I am now at the box of candy on my table!!
      Do I open it and get sick again or no and stay
      Content with a new relationship with my husband?
      I don’t want the chaos any more!
      I’m tired! When my son left me I acquired a new
      Issue with my health!! It was the candy with the worms!
      I think I’ve answered my own candy box dilemma?
      Thank you all! And what an article by Sheri!!!!!

  18. Elizabeth C.

    We are 5 years into an estrangement started by a son-in-law, then extended to our daughter and 2 grandchildren. Doing better than I was, but still struggle with letting go, thinking I should be able to fix things. I recently read a response in an advice column that spoke to me – I hope it may speak to others also.
    No matter how hard you try, you will never be able to change someone’s mind if they are set on misunderstanding you.
    Be mindful of how you may internalize the narrative that you are the problem. You are not the problem, and don’t try to bend yourself backward to prove this.
    The silent treatment/withdrawing is manipulative. It shuts off any opportunity for repair. You need to relinquish control over how this pans out – release yourself from managing the situation. (From “Ask Sahaj”)

    1. Lynnmarie

      Totally. Narcissists blame others. Thats my daughter. I was a great mother. Shes too lazy or too scared or too prideful or too unwilling to work things out. Its far easier for her to just ignore this situation.

  19. Naomi

    Looking for advice . We are in the process of being estranged from our only child , a son , who has adopted his wife’s family as his preferred family . We live 1400 kms away . We are in the process of getting our home ready for sale with the idea of downsizing and moving closer to our son , his wife and grandson . We have just been told by our son that he doesn’t want us living in the same town or near by but would rather we lived some distance away . We have been told that they do not want us to be an integral part of their lives but close enough for them to visit every 2 or 3 months . Needless to say we are having second thoughts about moving anywhere now.We have also been told that if we don’t move closer then we can expect to only see our grandson once a year . And yes, our son had a wonderful childhood. Provided with every opportunity to pursue his interests and supported financially after leaving home and establishing his career. What would be your advice as we feel damned if we move closer and damned if we don’t. My husband just wants to find a nice place on the beach to retire and enjoy our golden years without being manipulated by them .

    1. rparents Post author

      Oh Naomi,

      You said it, damned if you do, damned if you don’t. Your note had this descending energy all the way until you said:

      “My husband just wants to find a nice place on the beach to retire and enjoy our golden years without being manipulated by them.”

      That sounds peaceful, free, beautiful….

      Sometimes, it’s good to choose based on yourselves. It’s YOUR lives. Do you want to live it as your son’s scraps?

      I feel awful putting this bluntly, but it’s pretty clear in your words.

      Hugs to you and your husband.

      Sheri McGregor

    2. Tamara

      I think your husband has the right idea, Naomi. It’s no fun being manipulated and I don’t miss it for a second.

    3. Christiana

      I think your husband has the right idea. Take this time for you both. When they decide to contact you, they will, and you may be surprised to find how much you have enjoyed the peace. I have been arguing with my eldest son since he was four. At 12 he was grounded and told us to @$!# ourselves n walked out of the house. I spent at least 2 days per week at his high school attempting to defend his actions until he was going to repeat 9th grade for a third time. Heroin for years n opiates n drama drama drama. And now he only talks to his real father, who abandoned us both n never saw my son until he was 18. It’s been 3 years he hasn’t spoken to me, but i know when he needs a roof over his head or food, he will show up

    4. Yellow Rose

      It feels so diminishing or demeaning to know you can’t make your son happy enough to put you high up on his priority list. And even should you move closer, he may not really want visits with you 2-3X a year. And you’d be in a new area, alone and maybe lonely, and having to adjust to finding new doctors, friends, stores, and maybe even jobs. Freedom comes with accepting this is the relationship your ES wants and at least he was direct and didn’t encourage your hopes for more. My suggestion might be to keep downsizing, sell the big house you don’t need, and consider staying where you are or moving to the beach and renting for a while. Try someplace new, rent don’t buy so you can leave and go somewhere else if it turns out this new city/town isn’t right for you. Or take a two week vacation there and see what it is like. Make this an adventure. Even if staying in your same area, make it an adventure to downsize and find something easier to maintain or in a Senior Housing situation. Once you move somewhere, get unpacked, and then throw yourself into local activities, making new friends, etc. For some people, this being new stuff is extremely difficult but for others, it feels like fun. Consider your own personality type. Make a list with husband of all your requirements for a new place to live, medical, recreation, food service, need for help as in an Assisted Living place, etc.

    5. Margaret H.

      Naomi I agree with your hubby find a place you will be happy together and live your life!
      Your son doesnt deserve you and unfortunately your grandson misses out.
      I have 1 daughter & 3 sons all estranged for more than 10 years, I am finally in a place of peace my hubby & I have a good life.
      Needless to say the kids will get nothing when we die

    6. Sara F.

      My husband and I did move and my husband retired. I told my son we were going to sell the house and move out of state and his reply was “ good, go” . So we did and I have found some peace with this decision . I mailed him our new address and he knows where we are if he wants to reach out. He hasn’t and we are coming up to our 1 year anniversary in outrage new home close to the beach. Of course there are moments of sadness but mostly peace and contentment to live the life we always planned and not to be held hostage by the scraps my son would hand out once in a while. You won’t regret it, don’t change your path in life because of these uncaring ungrateful children. This is all craziness and we have to keep our sanity

    7. Uma

      Wow what a story. Thanks for your courage in sharing a hurtful song so many sing.
      My husband and I can relate. This is how we chose to continue our autumn years.
      We sold our huge home and down sized into a small comfortable house we can manage as we sold off our extra stuff I struggled with guilt of not sharing stuff with our kids.
      We have now made our wills and made decisions according to their treatment of us.
      We will dance on and hope they do well. My currant says is “I have done my best , you do the rest Iam going for a nap!”

    8. Peggy

      Last Summer my husband and I sold our beautiful home in a warm climate and relocated 2000 miles away to a cold climate to be near my oldest son because he and his wife had twins who were 4 at the time. They are our only grandchildren. My son wasn’t as blunt as your son but said things like “you’re going to hate it here.” He was right. His wife is a narcissist who exploded with us several times over nothing. Eventually my husband invited her to leave our house so we are not on speaking terms with her now. My son texts me as the weekends get close because he likes us to take the kids overnight to give them a break. We bought beds and set up a room for them at our house. Neither of them ever extended a welcome or any offer of help or kindness from the day we arrived. We stayed 2 months in a hotel while finding a house to move into. We are alone in a big city, freezing, etc. We love our grandchildren but feel very, very used.
      Four months after we moved in my youngest, a daughter decided to order me out of her life. She screamed the worst profanity you can imagine and told me to never, ever call her again. The reason? I’m Christian and wouldn’t agree to vote as she dictated. She has decided that “Christians are ruining this country.” You can’t make this up. I have been like the walking dead since then with assaults from 2 out of my 3 children. It mind sound like I was abusive or neglectfulor something. Nothing could be further from the truth. I put my kids ahead of myself throughout their lives even including moving here. I thought they would appreciate the babysitting,etc.
      So my advice: Do not move near your son. He is telling you; just listen!
      Now we are thinking of moving back to where we came from in AZ…or we talk about going to a beach area. It is a monumental decision. But it’s either that or spend the rest of our days paying the price for our very bad decision.

    9. Rose

      Wow. I estranged from 1 of my daughters 5 yrs ago. moved to another state by a lake, river, & lots of sunshine. It was the best thing we did. I am at peace with not having sweets. My sweets have changed & I have found so much peace. I will have a bad day but it isn’t really a day, more like a thought, then I am grateful for my life & realize… I LOVE NO DRAMA! Keep reading the books, & lots of praying for peace. Pray more… worry less. Make good friends. & enjoy life .

  20. Loretta

    I had no idea others were in this same position. I have felt the criticism and judgement of my daughter for almost 20 years. It has been walking on eggshells, but because I love her and her husband and children i kept trying to find a way to make it work. Searching for what I may have done. Apologizing for whatever I could imagine. I thick she saw me a pathetic.
    This Christmas was so incredibly stressful i couldn’t help but break down. She and I talked. None of what she said made sense to me… I finally said, “Okay. Going forward… What can you see as our relationship?”
    “I can’t imagine a relationship with you. We have never had a relationship!”
    I don’t know how to move forward. Some days are just black and sad.
    She will just pretend there is nothing wrong and continue to belittle and be repulsed by me. I have no idea why. My husband has no idea why.

    She adores her dad, my husband, and I’m grateful that he can be in her life.

    1. Kristine M.

      Oh hon, my heart goes out to you. I dont know the relationship between you and your husband, (nor am I asking,0 but I can almost gurarantee that if somehow you were removed from the picture. (Say you divorced, remarried & moved to Brazil.)- your husband would become the next emotional punching bag for your daughter. Most likely she only acts like she adores your husband, to further hurt you. I’m sorry. I say this from experience. Not the exact same situation- but similar.
      At this point I have decided to go no contact with my daughter and her husband. It took me a long time to see my daughter for who she is- but even when we were close(I thought), she would leave every encounter of ours saying some horrible thing to make me feel awful- to deflate my mood, or make me doubt myself in some way. Every time. It took me years to actually see what was truly happening. Gaslighting too.

      You are NOT disgusting or repulsive in any way. Of this I’m sure and I dont even know you. Do NOT let your daughter redefine you in this way. You know who you are & were as a mom. She was lucky to have you.
      Hugs, Kristine

    2. Christiana

      They just seem so heartless though. It’s truly horrible. They make it hard to understand what in God’s name they are thinking.

    3. Patti

      I am going through the same thing. Our daughter and son talk and text my husband. They never ask about me. He kinda gets annoyed when my heart is breaking because they want nothing to do with me.

      My husband is the best man I know. I wish he would understand how I feel instead of making excuses for them and making me feel like I’m crazy.

    4. Lynn

      My daughter treats me this way too and its just abusive. I was a good mom- never laid a finger on her never ran around, never did drugs never drank, etc. she adores her dad (my ex) because all he ever ever did was buy her love, buy her things, diamonds vacations cars etc.

      Ive got no answers or suggestions. Just know your not alone.

    5. Delana

      I am in a similar boat. Love yourself. Don’t let her steal your joy. You have done your best and if she can’t accept you as you are that’s her problem and her cross to bear. Kids don’t come with a manual. Love yourself and forgive yourself. She’s got to grow up.

    6. Loretta

      Kristine M….
      Your kindness it’s so appreciated! This is such a strange and awful place. It does help to know we are not alone… Thanks Lynn.
      I am seeing a therapist…. for now anyway. This space is helpful and comforting. I don’t really want to talk to others for fear of judgement… and I love my daughter and am not eager to tell any of my family what is going on ( my son, though I think he knows at least to some degree… or my sister or brother that I am close to)
      Here is a place to not be judged. I’ve had quite enough of that. Thank you all.

    7. Melissa B.

      Loretta I am so sorry your daughter treats you so badly. Some people you have to love from a distance for awhile, for your own wellbeing and your daughter sounds like one of those people. I finally had to put my foot down and tell my daughter that I would never tolerate other people treating me the way she did and insist that she treat me with respect. Your husband also needs to step in and insist that your daughter be respectful when talking to you and about you. There’s something to be said for that old saying “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”
      You can’t make someone love you, but you can insist they not be abusive. If she adores her father so much perhaps she will listen to his demand to be civil and respectful. Finally, find something fun to do the next time she comes to visit and go do it – by yourself or with a friend! See a movie, get your hair and nails done, take up painting or cross stitch (one of my favorite hobbies!) anything BUT allowing yourself to be her punching bag. I’m praying for you Loretta – you are a precious child of God and you were not created to be abused by the very child you brought into this world.

    8. Susan H.

      Loretta, you are going through such pain from the rejection your daughter is showing you. I also know that same rejection. Grieving over the loss of a loved ones friendship is real grief. Please don’t let her opinion of you become your opinion of you. I have found comfort in drawing near to my God and creator who never withdraws His love and support. He knows the pain we are dealing with because His children reject Him continuously. He created you for a purpose and wants to give you a joyful life. Blessings to you dear one.

  21. Michelle R.

    This article is so relevant. My 19 year old daughter hit me with the final blow a few weeks back. My former mother in law had died. My daughter called to tell me about the death and them to remind me that my presence, flowers, cards or any sentiment toward HER family (Ex husband, his wife etc) would be inappropriate and disrespectful. She then asked me to pass the message on to my parents as well. It was heartless and I didn’t know how to respond. I have spoken to her since. In 2022 I saw her for 20 min 1x and spoke to her less than 5. All of my calls are blocked, emails ignored, She only calls when she needs something. This last episode confirmed for me and my parents that there will be no college graduation invites, no weddings, baby showers or meeting my grandchild. I haven’t give up faith and hope but I have lost my desire for the “sweets” . I remember how much I used to love them but they are not good for my heart or body. I am living a healthier life now.

    1. Laurie

      Me too. My first grandchild is turning 2. I got to love her for her first year. Then they moved out of state. And they will be having their second child this month. I am crying as I write, because I miss baby M . Why must we go through this unbearable pain? We didn’t even have a fuss. My son must hate me. Ugh.

    2. Teresa

      I wish I could feel that way. It’s been 5 years for me with my daughter. My youngest gran dson doesn’t remember me and when she lost her husband I was not allowed to go to the wake. She refuses gifts and letters n cards. Why do I still crave those sweets? She has accused me of sending her weird pictures 2 days bef Christmas. She also told my so. She’d consider talking to me if I gave her 20 thousand . Why do I want such a horrible person? What’s wrong with me.

  22. Lynne

    My 38 year old son has ignored me now for three years. He pulls this every so often. His sister was the only one who could put up with his drug habits, but he’s always sweet to her. Texts me HORRIBLE HORRIBLE things every so often. I just can’t anymore. I have another son still at home (29) and a daughter, as mentioned above, who lives with her boyfriend. We are all extremely close, but that one son has been a burden to us all. His drama gets violent and he’s over 6’5 and quite frightening. It hurts like he’ll, but I do love the peace.

  23. Kathleen H.

    At first I was ashamed that my daughter chose to estrange herself from my husband and me. Now that I know there are so many parents out there in this situation, I am no longer ashamed. Today at church a friend asked me how my daughter is doing, and I replied, “I wish I knew,” and went on to explain that she cut off contact 2 years ago. My friend apologized for bringing up a painful topic, and I responded that I choose not to hide this away, but to be open about it. I do not bad-mouth my daughter, I simply say that I do not understand, which is entirely true. I would be very wary if she initiated contact in the future. I last reached out to her via email a year ago after my mother’s death. No reply. I do not expect to hear from her again. I appreciate the discussion of “seasons” in this thread. I am so grateful for a season of almost 30 years with my daughter. I am grateful now to be moving on since she no longer wants me in her life.

    1. Cindy

      Kathleen, I completely understand your pain and frustration. I too have been experiencing this with my daughter who is now 39 years old and has three of my beautiful grandchildren. She has cut me off from the kids with no explanation. Her husband unfortunately is going along with it. My heart is broken but each day as I surrender to God’s, will I feel a little stronger. Knowing other people have gone through this and they’re going through it with me helps. I’m beginning to have no hope for the future relationship with her. Hoping that when my grandchildren get older, we can reconnect.

      Stay strong,


    2. Hope

      I know the ashamed feelings.. some of the greatest judgements can be from church ppl, but again, just bc we are in church doesn’t always mean there’s understanding, compassion, etc.

    3. Ash

      Each tiny show of kindness from my estranged daughter (the occasional text or the Christmas card sent each year) once again throws me into the ‘cycle of hoping for reconciliation’ and when I reach out I am ignored. One’s mind continually goes over again and again as to what one could have done better, could do to change things etc. Sadly, it is all just a vicious circle of thoughts that drag you back into the misery and stark reality of being estranged from a family member. A friend told me that someone suggested to her that when these thoughts overrun your mind ‘open an imaginary box’ put all the negative thoughts in there and shut it up. There are many long sleepless nights when get again my imaginary box has its lid opened and more things added. Oddly enough it helps and remember that we are not alone there are many other mums and dads out there that also estranged from their adult children and are going through similar scenarios and having
      Similar thoughts (many of all your postings show this). It is such a invaluable support to have this website – thank you Sheri

    4. Delana

      Amen. I’m in the same boat. I choose to live the rest of my life in peace and with joy, not hoping against hope for a relationship that may not be. It’s ok. I’m ok.

  24. Gina

    Your books have helped me move on beyond the heartbreak and sorrow.

    Our son changed about 16 years ago when he met his wife to be. I have to note that our daughter in law is estranged from her mother and brother. I feel that she has been encouraging estrangement since the day that they met

    Since then they’ve moved across the country to “get way from our family”. Up until a year ago we’ve visited them once or twice a year and have flown them back east to visit with us. They have a daughter , who we adore, who is almost 12 years old now.

    Over the years our son has become increasingly verbally abusive towards us. I’ve cried many, many tears but continued to forgive him and hope that things would change. The last straw was this summer when after a wonderful weeklong visit at our home, which we paid for, ended in an ambush from our daughter in law over things that were none of her concern. Of course , our son sided with her and joined in. It was the morning of my husband’s 75th birthday and ended with him in tears. This is a man that I’ve seen cry only five times in the past 50 years.

    I’ll always love my son but I remind myself that he is no longer the son that I knew.

    Although I miss him It’s almost a relief to no longer have the constant drama in my life. We text occasionally about superficial things, mostly about my granddaughter
    , and for that I’m grateful.

    I’m not sure what the future may hold but am taking it day by day.

    1. Nancy

      Gina my husband is 76. I’ve made up my mind on this stuff. My 5 of 6 kids that have chosen to estrange themselves from us 51/2 months ago can bad mouth me all they want to it’s all lies but by darn leave my husband ALONE. They’ve been hurtful umteen too many times. Seeing him emotional over their verbal abuse has been enough. We have chosen to walk away. We will be moved by this fall to another state. We will gravitate toward God’s angels who want us and respect us. We will grow and heal by serving others. We are STRONGER than anger. Being angry and trying analyze their brutal behavior is a total waste of our time and will kill our 50 year marriage. I’m not going to allow us to become bitter we will become BETTER thanks to this trial.

    2. Hope

      I think at this point I’d be blessed with superficial and be able to love on my grandkids. Not seeing them is very painful.

  25. Debbie

    Thank you Sherri for keeping all of us in your news letters. It is unbelievable how many of us are out there in this world. It has been 12 years for me now and, no change. I have gotten very used to my situation now and, really realize that it has ruined our relationship permantly. If things were to change and there was a chance of repair, I would forgive but, it would never be the same. I will always love my children, but the hurt will always be there. I just wonder sometimes, do you think this separation they created hurts them at all for their decisions?? How can a person keep this up for years over something stupid not abuse? Time has gone on too long now and, I have accepted it. Thank you again for all your help and understanding. h
    Happy Spring, hugs! Debbi

    1. Margaret

      Our children do suffer without our love and support but their disrespect for us is so great they don’t realise it. I appreciate the good people in my life more now that some of my children can’t be bothered with me and I don’t want the “drama”. I’ve let go and I’m looking after myself first for a change. I’ve made out my will so ungrateful people who ever they are won’t get anything. I’ve been too generous. Anyway, all the best from South Australia.

    2. Eileen

      Debbie, i always wonder that too, does my son ever think about me, does he know how much he hurt me, does he even care ?? Sad in Ohio, hugs to all

    3. Cindy

      Debbie, your message breaks my heart. 12 years is a long time. My daughter and I have been esstranged for two years. I used to be very close to her children and now she keeps them from me. This all began with me getting the Covid vaccine and her being mad about it. I don’t understand how something so simple can tear families apart. My heart is broken, but I continue to put my trust in God I don’t know if I could ever trust or be vulnerable to her again. Just hoping someday I can have a relationship with my grandchildren again.
      Thank you for sharing.


    4. Karen

      Thanks for your letter. I have been estranged from both my children for several years. We were very close when they were younger but that changed in their late thirties. Both have made overtures of late and I find myself unable to respond as I would have previously. I know we can never go back to the relationship we once had. Forgiveness is not the problem. I am no longer the same person and I am sure they have also changed. I have become a cold, dead person who will never trust anyone again and that includes them. After years of unbearable pain, I now am at peace and unwilling to relinquish that. I no longer worry about them, get caught up in their dramas, and, most of the time, I don’t even miss them. I don’t even feel like a mother anymore.

    5. Anne

      I, also, have changed because the estrangement has gone on for too long. We were never given the chance to sit down and talk things out, just complete no contact. Things might have been different if it was only a few months but years have gone by now. I no longer wish for a reconciliation because the hurt and resentment will never go away. I guess things worked out the way they were supposed to. I am grateful for not having the constant drama in my life, the constant judgment and walking on eggshells. I do think at first, they were thrilled to get me out of their lives but as the years go by, I think they must have some regrets. I enjoy the peace and quiet.

  26. Winter

    Hello – I am new to this site; I just ordered Sheri’s first book. I have three adult children (all with children of their own) who I feel rejected from. This has been going on for years but I listened to others, justified behaviors, etc. I have read a lot about PAS and am trying to make sense if it all. In my case there is still some am contact with them but h they are emotionally abusive. So much of what I have read talks about most parents having no contact at all. I believe they are modeling their father’s emotional abuse of me. I am the “bad” parent while he has always been the “good” guy. To this day they don’t see him for what he is and for that matter don’t see me as the parent who has done whatever I can for them and loved them with all my heart. I am working on accepting it for what it is, though as all of you know the grief can be unbearable.

    I am looking forward to reading the book and am grateful that there is a place other parents can also learn they are not alone.

    Thank you!

    1. Claire

      Winter this is very similar to me and I still don’t know why my son has rejected me not my daughter – I have my faith which is strong and I never give up hope. The shame and guily about not being a ‘normal parent’ is waning and I am staring to accept that whatever they think (or have been told) about me is only one-sided. I still am verbally abused by my ex-husband after 13 years of us divorcing and his awful behaviours. I just do not understand why some people need to damage others for their own gain including children. Go well and know you are good enough:)

  27. Joan

    It took me years of rejection, back again, off again abusive behavior before I finally realized I have been beating my head against the wall for no good reason. I have been begging for my son’s love and attention and expecting too much from the idea of what grand parenting should be. I am done begging and spending my life worrying. If you have to beg for your own son’s love, it isn’t worth having. It’s terribly sad but he knows where I live. Best of luck to all the parents out there who don’t deserve this.

    1. Geraldine L.

      I get where your st I feel as if I have spent 10 years begging…trying to “prove” I’m worthy and I’m done.Frankly , I feel the dynamic is not that different than an abusive spouse…..and I’ve hung on in there because it is my child.

  28. Doris

    I relate 100%. My thoughts of “sweets” grows strong at Christmas as that was when our family exploded. The rest of the year, I don’t think much of my eldest Son and the Grandchildren we don’t know. Our lives are full and include many friends, cousins and our remaining Son and his Family. But Christmas….damn Christmas…it still does a number on me. 9 years this year.

    1. Sharon W.

      Forgetting what lies behind and straining towards what is ahead. Press toward the goal for which God has called you. heavenward in Christ Jesus
      God sees All our pain and sometimes our children are our greatest pain and our greatest joy
      The 5th commandment is speaking to children. Honor your father and your mother that it may go well with you and you will have a long life.!!! It doesn’t say parents have to be perfect or do all the right things. It just says honor them so the next time we are in pain we need to pray for our children, and then pray for them again so that When we reach our eternal life, there will be no more sadness. No more tears only the love of God, and this will last for eternity.
      Now, if I can take my own advice, all will be well

  29. Karen

    I am amazed at how many parents are rejected by their adult children. My daughter cut me off at the end of November. Then in January she told be we can have a relationship and told me I can only say positive things and thing that have to do with my health…. Those are her “boundaries.” I have an aggressive cancer. All of this because my parents, her grandparents, said something bad about her husband. I won’t disown them, so she cannot have me in her life. I’m at a loss and am seeing through these posts and replies that this is not unusual. It’s been a bit of encouragement. Thank you all for sharing.

    1. Joan

      That is hilarious. Talk about immature! She obviously knows nothing about healthy boundaries. I love it when these kids think they have so much advice for us…

  30. Ann

    Thank you Sheri. Your wise words and this community help.
    Having children walk away is isolating. I would not wish this situation on others,
    but it helps to know that good people are struggling with broken children.
    Still working on acceptance (even after years).

  31. Diane M.

    Wow! This article really hit home with me and helped me see things differently. Problems with my daughter began 25 years ago, on her wedding day! All this time and I’ve been pining away for her, missing her so much. She now has three adult children and I’ve been estranged from all of them for 5 years now, including my son-in-law, who I loved so much. I need to reread parts of Sheri’s two books again. It is time for me to move on. Time to “change my diet.” I do well for a while, but then seem to go tumbling back into wishful thinking. I will need to reread this article as often as needed. I thank Sheri and for all of you writing about where you are with things. You all give me much hope.

  32. Tina Marie R.

    It would be a live haunting if my daughter returned to us.

    I believe personality disorders are on a spectrum, like autism and they don’t all have a name. My daughter has a personality disorder, undiagnosed to my knowledge.

    I’ve been dealing with her since birth – she has sensory perception disorder; I had that diagnosis. We tried to love her as best we could. Her older sister had a difficult time getting along with her. She says she ruined her childhood. She really rocked our family life. Always a struggle. And her detachment – just wasn’t ever normal – but never a diagnosis. She’d never go to therapy, we tried and tried. We forgave and forgave her hurtful words and actions.

    Fast forward 30 years later. My daughter ignored my sister’s death. The aunt that was so kind and generous to her.

    A year later, she chose to fly into town for her great-aunt’s funeral. As a matriarch of the family, this was a big family event, everyone attended a wake, funeral Mass and repast.

    Our daughter didn’t speak to me, my husband or her sister.

    The worst day of my life. I lived through a living wake of my relationship with my daughter.

    Metaphorically she was a walking corpse that day. She is gone. I pray for her, like I do all my departed relatives and people I loved. I pray she is at peace; I pray God forgives her because she is not mentally well. She won’t be back in my lifetime, not in any healthy way. It would be a haunting if she returned.

    I have found so much healing and peace in your books Shari. And in everyone’s broken hearts – I have friends that love and care about me, they just can’t understand this like you all do. There is so much healing in empathy. I needed you and you were there for me – strangers. Xxoo I pray you all find peace in this journey. Thank you and God bless you.

    1. rparents Post author

      Tina Marie,
      This is beautifully stated. You are not alone in these feelings, and I know your words will connect with other parent’s hearts.

      Hugs to you,
      Sheri McGregor

    2. Rise

      Tina Marie…
      Thank you so much for your input here…..your wording at the end really hits home….
      “There is much healing in empathy. I needed you and you were there for me -strangers”
      Wow, those words are amazing…..so so so true for me as well……..thank you for expressing this.
      There are very few people that understand……can’t even talk to my husband about it……..but the
      strangers here and their stories……that really resonates with me…….thank you!!!

    3. Kathy

      I often think in terms of my son having passed and have grieved losing him many times over. It is also a way for me to stay spiritually connected with him – like we do when a loved one has passed & we feel their presence in a spiritual realm rather than physical. I have shared that thought with him in letters. He was a vulnerable empath, have never had a girlfriend, until he met his wife at the age of 22. I have labeled her as a sociopathic covert narcissist and I found out later, she has a pattern of isolating her victims from family members in a prior relationship she had. It breaks my heart that he doesn’t have a relationship with anyone on his side of our family. Just as he met this women, my husband and I were in a rocky marriage & I think she had her hand in pushing that along to our divorce (though it was most likely inevitable). I think that helped push him right into her arms/traps. I still have hope, however, though I haven’t had a spoken word with him in over 4 years. He & his wife had a second daughter a year ago and he has not acknowledged that to me. Yesterday was his birthday. It was rough for me. I finally received an e-mail response that he hasn’t had the courage to contact me and that he misses & loves us all & thinks about us alot. We were very close. I think he was so overwhelmed by the love bombing that took place, he went along with whatever she said – also, because if he didn’t, there is alway a big price to pay. I feel like I need to be there for him to give him the encouragement & support to stand up to her demands, but I also sometimes feel like I have lost him forever. It’s hard to move on from this place.
      The more I learn, the more I understand. Thank you for your books and this forum.

  33. Kathy H.

    This essay is spot on for me. After 4 1/2 years my daughter came to me wanting to reconnect. She had a list of boundaries and rules . There was no negotiation or movement on her part to understand my feelings. She says she has nothing to apologize for. I am tired and worn out. I don’t want broken teeth anymore. I walked away and to this day I question my decision. Sheri’s ideas have bolstered me again to find my joy and move on with my life. Sad but true .
    I must seek happiness and surround my myself with those who love me just the way I am. ( and those who don’t have humiltating boundaries)
    Thank you Sheri!

  34. Donna D.

    It’s been 5 years since I’ve had contact with my daughter. At first I was broken and depressed. Over the years I’ve learned to give this burden to Jesus and let him handle this situation. I’ve come to a place of peace in trusting Jesus. I still have my moments but I don’t linger there anymore. I know the day will come when my granddaughter will come look for me. I had a relationship with her till she was 5. I’ve trained my mind to look forward not in the past. I can’t change the past only the future

    1. Elizabeth C.

      Peace to you Donna. I love your comment. I meditate daily on the Word. And have people praying for me and my husband. Our situations sound similar. Trusting Jesus and knowing He is walking with us, that’s where I want to be

    2. Hope

      Donna, it will be 3 years for me!

      How wonderful it would be to actually have a friend who is walking this journey together .

      I feel everything you shared. I understand.

  35. Maureen L.

    My heart is broken. I don’t know if I will ever be whole. I keep trying and putting on a very strong appearance. Most people have no idea of my history. Two sons, both estranged. The oldest lives in the same town and because he divorced his wife and left his two stepsons and we kept them in our lives because we were always so close even though he walked away. He wanted us to turn our backs on them. I told him it wasn’t our divorce and we could love them and not involve him and visa versa. Not good enough. Our youngest son married a girl who was extremely manipulative and pulled him away from the family. Now he is divorced, has turned to alcohol, and is still estranged from us. We have never seen his four little ones and probably never will. I often wonder why I gave birth to them in the first place to go through this, None of it makes any sense to me. I read everyone else’s story and here we are, parents that sincerely and deeply love our children only to have to suffer this. It is incredible. I try to put these feelings in a box on the shelf and it works for a while then comes rushing back. It has affected my marriage but we are trying to hang on. My husband is their stepdad of 26 years and has loved them as his own all along. It has to be my fault. I expected too much of them, gave them everything I could, and loved them dearly. Every day I wake up trying to be as positive as I can be. Somedays I am ok but some not. I can’t give up. I just want to be ok going forward without having to force a smile. I am blessed with a wonderful husband, a business, many friends and still I hurt Maybe I need to erect that wall. Thanks for letting me vent here. I appreciate you all.

    1. Angela W.

      Grieve the loss. Only way is through it. Focus on those that love and care for you. Focus on your husband. Trouble is, they are who they are. Could be genetics for all you know. Take your own life back. Do that by making your life something you want to live. Believe me, if they come back, it’s not the same. They hurt you and you just can’t go thru it twice. So make your own life.

    2. Jude F.

      Hey hi. Similar story here. 2 boys-oldest hasn’t talked to me in 2 years. He has ocd and focuses on me as the problem. This isn’t the son I know and love. My youngest married an abusing woman and won’t let him see family or friends. He has connected but she keeps him away. He loves his kids. She takes everything out on them if things are amiss. I wish we could all get together and talk. My son is not a talker-nor would she let him. So complicated. She took away the grandson I raised. I went through the first year in torture. Now I want to live my life.

    3. Gina

      I totally understand what you are feeling , although you may be feeling double the pain (if that’s even possible) with two estranged sons. What remains of my heart, goes out to you.

      What seems to help me, on the days that I feel broken , is reminding myself that the son that I’ve lost is not the baby, little boy, young man that I knew and loved with all of my heart.

      I hope you can find some peace in the near future. Please know, that there are many of us that understand what you are going through


  36. emily38

    Sheri, your column has really hit a nerve with this community, one that has generated a remarkable number of comments thus far. Yes, the sweets offer their own siren call. Death by chocolate isn’t only a famous dessert.

    As I’ve read, I’ve been aware of how parents can report the number of years they’ve not been in relationship, the times they did (or didn’t) see an EC or grandchildren, the specifics of their alienation and behaviors of the estranged adult-child. All are part and parcel of losing the weight that over-indulgence in sweets can produce. It’s part of shedding the weight (albatross?) of grief and pain. Perhaps it’s the way a diet is kick-started? But it’s a focus on what the diet restricts, on the Other, not on the outcome of not eating the sweets, a future of wellness and freedom from extra weight on all organs, the heart in particular.

    I relate closely in my life to what you’ve offered today. And know from experience that until the EP moves beyond those specifics I’ve named above, in other words beyond giving their every thought, every effort, everything they put in their mouths as sustenance to their days and their E experience,, they will be locked in a candy store (or bakery, take your pick).

    Being freed from that store, stepping outside, can be a frightening experience. A parent “ shouldn’t” feel as they do. The sense of liberation, of not thinking of every last piece of sweet can be disorienting. But it must happen in some way for the parent to claim their sense of Self. Leaving the store, or remaining aware of not going in, is ultimately about the Parent’s health on all levels. It isn’t, and cannot be, about the (adult) child.

    I recently found myself walking past that sweets store. My knowing in the moment that I could and “should” keep moving was the surest sign of where I was. And who I’d become. It was momentarily sad. I once was tempted by the goodies in the window much less all the ones inside. Now, I knew I could not, would not, “poison” myself with any one of them.

    Losing weight takes the time it does. Sweets can tempt, an eating plan can be upended. But the next day comes and it’s back on the program. Until the program becomes a way of eating, no longer a ‘diet.’ Maybe what all of us needs is that out-sized dress or pair of pants hanging in our closets, the ones that no longer fit, the ones that were so restrictive we thought we might not breathe, the ones with our EC’s names embroidered on a pocket. We need to hang them in the back but not forget they are there, never to be needed or worn again.

    Thank you for this column, Sheri, and your commitment to this community. And for offering a way to shed the weight of Estrangement.


    1. rparents Post author

      Thank you for this note. You reflected on my words, your own situation, and your words in response … and you added a completion. I could not ask more of anyone, and it is what I hope for — for all the wonderful parents here who have been so flabbergasted, hurt, shocked, and so on. We do learn to have a better way of life for ourselves and shed that weight.

      Sheri McGregor

    2. Laurie B.

      Thank you Emily. If you aren’t a professional writer, you sure could be. A great message for me today, thank you. I visited the candy store today, and started crying again. The grief hit me hard. I wanted to die, rather than feel this pain. But I’m alive. And I want to heal.

    3. Kathy K

      This analogy will give me the motivation to literally stop eating the actual sweets and lose a few pounds on my journey to take better care of myself, both inside & out (which I was planning to do, once this milestone passed – his birthday).

  37. Pamela B.

    My son and I have been estranged ever since he got with his narcissist girlfriend. We would be getting along fine, and then she would make up a lie so that my son would disown me. Example: she said I unfriended her on fb. But I didn’t. So he disowned me for 2 years. He got ahold of me December 24th to tell me he had a daughter. So all together they have 3 children. So I reunited with him for now maybe the 3rd time. Did it get better, no. She would put demeaning posts on fb about me but not using my name. I asked my son why does she do this. He has said he wanted to leave her but hasn’t. She even picks fights with her family. She lives for creating drama. So I cut the cord this time. My peace and health was more important. As hard as it is, it has been a year and a half now. No drama. No wondering what I am doing wrong in her eyes. I went grocery shopping in their city and they just happened to be there. I walked right on by like I didnt know them. But cried like a baby when I got home. I have 3 other adult children and 6 grandchildren from them that help fill void. Your posts have help me stay strong and steadfast. Thank you

    1. Cheryl

      My ES and I were very close until he graduated college and left the state for his girlfriend. He has praise for how he was raised when he left. He promised he would return to try to every other year for a holiday…it’s been five years. He married and since it was during COVID, no parents invited. This broke my heart. Since he has been married, he started to say unkind things to me about his raising.I was so hurt and shocked. I cried for a year.Then, the negative comments, not visiting or staying at friends homes when in town began. His wife is insulting and rude to me and does not care what I think. Now the boundaries and cruel terms continue. It has changed my personality and outlook on my life. I am happy I found this group. My marriage is shaken and I am sad most days. I never imagined that this loving young man would turn on me. I now know I can’t trust him in anyway as I get older. I have two other children that love me and wonderful friends. I am learning that they are enough. I am not going to likely ever be right enough for my son and his wife, so I will always hope but am working on accepting this loss. I did not realize I was grieving it but I have been. It’s never far from my mind as I still text or leave a message. I get a return a few days ( maybe,) later but, a day is coming soon when I just stop. I must add that I receive nothing ( card, gift) for my birthday. Mother’s Day, a text or quick call maybe. That seems to sum it up for me!!! I went through anger and that’s not me. I am really exhausted emotionally and I see acceptance is the only way I can survive emotionally. Thank you all for your stories. It helps not to feel alone.

  38. janice A.

    I think I am in that place, having lost my taste for sweets. I read comments from other people who still crave for the relationship but get shot down, time and time again. I have been and I won’t anymore. Sure, I miss seeing my grandchildren but really they don’t know me anymore and I don’t think I could stand another rejection. I’m good where I am right now.

    1. SueAnne H.

      Good for you!! Starting to feel the same way-but what an awful journey to get to this place of peace

    2. Lynn

      I am at the same place with you. I dont have the appetite for their drama. Unfortunately, the grandchildren are learning at the feet of their selfish parents. I have no expectation that they will remember me and try to connect with me when they get older. So, I dont let myself dream of any such day. I accept my losses as such. For now, I concentrate on my younger son who loves me and as far as I talk about to others, he is my only child. For me, I had to make that choice to move on emotionally. For self preservation. For now, I am good.

    3. Mary K

      I agree with you. I’ve been to that place too many times. I don’t want to go there any more. Life is just too short to have to beg for love from those who won’t give it. I thought I was the only one who has been estranged not only from family, but children as well. May there be peace for us.

    4. Ann

      I’m so thankful to have found Sheri’s book and this support group when I did. I’m just going on 11 months of estrangement and because of all of the parents like you who have shared their experiences, I know that I won’t be lured into false hope, insane demands and will not allow myself to walk on eggshells just to have a half-baked relationship. If my daughter ever reaches out, she will find a different Mother that the one she dumped 11 months ago. I am stronger, I am more confident, I feel worthy of love and I am not going to live in the past or apologize for things I haven’t done wrong. Thank you for your post!

  39. Annemarie

    All these comments. Wow. So helpful and sending love to all. My recent temptation to eat sweets was knowing my ES & DIL were moving to another state. I wanted to say goodbye to my 4 gorgeous granddaughters. When I texted my son to ask if I could say a brief goodbye, his response was, “No, but call me tomorrow if you want to know why”. That call would have been cruel words from him and his wife. I placed the box of candy back on the shelf and chose peace & care ruts instead. I made my own boundary and did not call. I think I grew an inch overnight from this. I love them from a distance. Want the best for them. But I’m taking some of that for me too.

    1. Mary S.

      I know how you feel. My DIL has done everything she could to put distance between me and my son since they’ve been married. Was super nice before they got married, but the gloves came off afterwards. They live out of state from us, and her parents do too, but her parents go down multiple times a year and they also have been up to visit them. They also have her parents down every Christmas so they can spend Christmas with my only three grandsons. They have not come back to stay with us for over 5 years now! Realizing that we needed to look out for ourselves, we downsized and bought a new home in a 55+ community to make things easier for ourselves and to create our “own family.” Now that we seem to be more happy, she has suddenly decided that she wants to come visit! At this point, I really don’t want them here as I think she just wants to come up and let her boys damage our home as they have not been taught to take care of anything around their own home and my son has to really take care of everything. But he has totally gone along with everything that she has done, so at this point, I feel like I have to almost protect myself from her altering motives! Very sad, but I don’t want to have to live with the repercussions of her/their behavior.

    2. Angela W.

      It’s about control. Your son is extremely entitled and mean. You did the right thing.

    3. Laurie Bertolett

      Wow. That sounds like a lot of growth. I am trying to take my power back, because my son has estranged from me more than once. I can’t do this anymore.

    4. Hope

      I have a friend that says it becomes a generational issue.. she told me that her mom and dad were estranged from their parents, and both from siblings. She was taught this, and said it’s not unusual that what we learn is easily repeated. It’s possible that our estranged kids will face estrangement from their kids at one level or another.

      I don’t wish anything bad to happen to anyone of our kids now or future.. but one thing is certain God will deal with everyone accordingly.

    5. Maxine J.

      I am in shock about how many ppl are in the same situation as myself. Overwhelmed. I was a good mom. Loved my son. Did everything for him. He has lived with me fo 30 years. He has gotten worse. Omg, the silent treatment. The blaming me for the smallest thing. He is moving out next week. He said don’t expect to hear from me. He was always a bit abusive. But now, even if I say watch how you drive, he tells me to shut the f**k up. The physical abuse has stopped but I think the verbal abuse is worse. I honestly don’t know what I have done. We used to go to a movie or hit golf balls but if I told him now. I won the lottery and will give him $500,00 he would say I want nothing from you. I am horrified at the thought of not knowing he’s in his room at night. I will die from the anxiety of this. I want know harm to come to him but I don’t love him, like him. I care what happens to him but when your own son says go buy a gun, go to the cemetery (where my first born son who died at 28) and blow your brains out because you didn’t deserve him. Can you imagine your son telling you that? Yet I still have him here until he moves. Blow my brains out! How could I like someone like that. My son, whom I gave birth to. I’m not going to make it. I wish you all well♡

    6. rparents Post author

      Dear Maxine

      You’re on the verge of a beautiful new beginning without the abuser under your roof. Right now, I will refer you to the crisis page here at the site: https://www.rejectedparents.net/about-helping-parents-of-estranged-adult-children/crisis-info/

      Check it out. Reach out for help locally, even 9-1-1. You have been a loving mother and it is time to give your love, care, kindness to yourself.

      That room will require a scrub. New wall decor, a living plant… things you love. Fill it with your beautiful energy.

      Big hugs.

  40. Karen M

    Thank you Sheri and to all of you who have shared your sweets today. I’m in UK and have woken up to see so many thoughts and comments it’s really helped me not to feel so lonely this Sunday morning. Let’s all try to find a little peace today… take care everyone

  41. Elizabeth L.

    When my daughter was six weeks old, I started divorce proceedings against her violent coercive father, because I chose her wellbeing over his abuse.
    When she was a teenager, she looked him up on Facebook and saw him for what he was and told me ‘ he’s nothing to me, just some guy you used to know ‘.
    Then, she met her father’s psychological double, and despite her misgivings, went back to him.
    So it came full circle, despite my removing her from the same cycle at a very young age.
    And now, I’m coming full circle myself, I see her as ‘ some girl I used to look after ‘.
    Funny, isn’t it?
    I’m not even marking her birthday this year, no special holidays, to take my mind if it, no birthday cards.
    Instead, I’ve booked the holiday of a lifetime, on my birthday.

    1. Toni D.

      Elizabeth L.:
      Your story mirrors mine somewhat. I also am at the point where I feel like my son is someone I used to look after. Good for you for planning ahead for your birthday with a trip! Have a wonderful, well deserved time!

    2. Teresa

      Hello Elisabeth I don’t even know you, yet so bery proud of you Have a wonderful well deserve vacation. Blessings T-

  42. Gwyn I.

    This article is spot on for how I have been treated and am still treated. I love my daughter very much. However, from the ages of 18-25, I was ignored, rejected, and down-right insulted with very little feel good moments. I don’t know why the is so much animosity thrown my way. I was not told where she lived for a year, asked to be the birth of my first grandchild’s birth (out of the blue), then not allowed at the next child’s birth, then invited again at baby #3. She continues to be able to dismiss her parents fairly easily on a whim if we don’t give our time and babysitting for her was she desires. The first several years I stayed completely obsessed with the rejection taking all of my energy to try to understand “why”. I tried to make amends frequently and spent endless hours in tears. I never treated my parents that way and didn’t understand one ounce of it. After the birth of a few babies, she began to reach back out. I thought it was all behind me/us. I was so happy that she seemed to love her parents again and wanted us back in her life. But then, she was capable of doing it again for an entire year again. She was living us for not getting her way. She wanted me to quit my job and be a grandmother full-time. I didn’t have any desire to do that to myself, so I said I couldn’t. I had just started my career and loved it. I had waited until my children were grown to begin my own career of choice. But, it more than assured me that my daughter is capable of doing that at any time. I now love differently. The article put it perfectly that you begin to not want your “tooth broken again”. If she decides to disown me again, so be it. I don’t get devastated the way I used to. She’s actually conditioned me. It changed me.

  43. Stephanie

    The chocolate comparison, reminded me of one of my favorite movie quotes: “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get.” Forrest Gump Who would have guessed we were going to have children that simply “cancel” us out of their lives?
    My estranged daughter warned me when she was about 17 years old that she was planning on removing herself from my life, and almost 9 years later she has stayed true to her word.
    Sheri’s resources and this support network have both been so helpful in easing the pain of the estranged adult child experience. I have learned to stop blaming myself for my daughter’s absence, although I am not always successful, I am a lot better than I used to be. Prayers and Peace

  44. Benne D.

    My daughter recently shared a wonderful week with us. Our son ( her brother) is estranged from both families going on 5 years. We have moved on together not necessarily at the same time or pace but remaining supportive of each other. I had received an email from our estranged son which had words of kindness and a description of his feelings of longing for his family. Of course I felt hopeful – maybe he wants to reconnect ? Within a day the craving was gone. I did not respond because I have found peace and joy in life without him . Of course there was no further follow up from him – no longer surprising and no longer causing me pain. My daughter felt the same way. There are occasions of sadness that the son we loved so very much chose to leave us but we will continue to heal and we no longer”crave” him in our lives. I wish this for all of you. You all remain in my heart. Thank you again Sheri for your never ending wisdom .

  45. CP

    My energy stores have grown thin.
    The well-stated sentiments expressed in this thread reflect my current emotional state with my ED. You can’t unring the bell; and I, too, find myself indifferent to our daughter’s “shallow overtures” and rambly emails.

    It’s been almost 2 years since we’ve had any actual contact with our ED. She has specifically asked for no contact as a part of her boundaries. My husband and I are starting new chapters of our lives as 60-somethings. There is peace in knowing that we’re here if our daughter wants a relationship. The caveat is that we also have boundaries.

    This is such a cathartic group!

  46. Georgia

    Certain words in responses jumped out at me. Why, tears, anger, acceptance and peace. For me and my family it’s a daughter in law who has destroyed our son’s relationship with his family. I am no longer angry or mad, just done.

    1. Connie

      Same here My daughter in law has complete control over my son. She has managed to isolate him from his sister , me(his mother) and all his family. He has no friends outside of her family. If I try to teach out, they accuse me of being noisy. I am trying to learn to just let go. But I want him and my grandkids to know how much I love them, without appearing needy

    2. Debra R.

      Dear Georgia, I have the same problem it is the daughter-in-law that has turned out Son against us. She is a only child ( as our son is also) and spoiled and wants control of him and he as given in. It is very had because he is our only child. His personality has completely changed. He told us early in their relationship that she had Daddy issues and we witnessed them in person she was verbally abusive to him in front of us. Then she decided to tell my son she didn’t like the way I greeted him with hugs and kisses and calling him my baby. Which was a big red flag. More red flags appeared and I overstepped by asking him if he was happy and if this is what he wanted, well that was it and we have had no contact for 6 months. This has just crushed me and his father. It is good to know I am not alone. thank you.

    3. Katherine

      This is it exactly! The girlfriend has completely changed him. He was a loving son, close to his family, and now he has turned on all of us. She created so much drama and turmoil that he simply gave in to it. It’s like brainwashing. Now he’s an empty shell, just filled with her anger and resentful feelings towards us.

  47. Margy

    I am so struck by the pain and grief experienced by so many parents of adult children. This is definitely not how I acted toward my mother (and she knew she was not a perfect mom.) But I saw how she tried to do her best, and loved her for that. Times have changed and it seems that so many parents now face adult children who are so self involved, that they have no room in their hearts. I gave my young life to my son. He was everything to me. Now I am nothing to him. I have finally accepted this hard truth. Understanding something another parent said, that I had “held him in my heart as that little boy who I loved”, but who just was not that loving little boy anymore. I had to come to terms with how he acted toward me “now”. In fact he treated me like “an enemy who deserves only ridicule”. I know I do not deserve that. So now, I think of him as someone who I am very wary of; actually like a stranger. His wife who is a beautiful soul, will call me sometimes. I used to wish he had it in his heart to call. But he lets her do the reaching. So now I just see her as a sweet niece, and my heart is protected from his attacks and cold indifference. This definitely is not how I envisioned my last years, but I am learning to move on, along with the rest of us facing this “new reality”. Thank you Sheri for helping us along this road.

    1. Christine B.

      Your story sounds so much like mine but after 20 years I’ve been able to move on, it has not been easy .

    2. Hope

      Me too! I have a Daughter and Son that have allowed themselves to believe their lies about me, to justify their poor behaviors. I truly Love my Jesus and have concluded that most of us going through these situations with our kids can also relate to the betrayal that God has gone through since humanity came to be… and I feel Blessed to have come to see the truth behind the Lies; the evil that my children have allowed to manipulate them. So, I don’t lose hope! For I am called to Love them from a distance, as I Faithfully Pray for their Salvation… SHALOM!!! Strength to you! And never lose Hope for their Salvation! This is what we are being called to do for our estranged kids…

  48. MTaylor

    Unhealed trauma is a national crisis. I stopped all contact with my parents when my son was young so he didn’t have grandparents growing up. My son “fits” with his wife’s close-knit family. It’s the large family he always wanted, plus the privileges of their lifestyle. They have lots of money; I don’t. When my daughter-in-law committed financial fraud against me, my son made excuses and I lost almost everything. The fraud came at a vulnerable moment in my health when I could not fight back. I rarely have contact with my son and the financial payback never happened. The house they were supposed to give me in exchange for what was stolen was sold and they moved without telling me. I now get the occasional photo update through Messenger of the young grandkids. The trick of it is to not be a glutton for punishment. I don’t expect more and say with love, I’ll take the update-only life. If you put yourself last and your children first all your life? I don’t know….maybe I should not be so surprised that I am last now. I won’t lose anymore sleep over it but tears can be healing. Through volunteering I met a young woman I call my “Bonus Daughter” and I am a spare “Bonus Mom” to her on occasion. Her mom is mostly absent so it works out. Yes, healing and mourning are both processes that are not over night. Moment by moment, day by day, week by week, now year by year, I find a way to live again. Learning that life is sweeter when you appreciate yourself and practice self-care. I have more scars than wounds now in part because of the community of parents of estranged children. Thank you.

    1. Gwyn

      I’m curious as to what was the reason for not talking to your own parents when your son was growing up. Could it be he learned that behavior as ok? Or were your parents abusive and had very good reason to treat them that way? I’m trying to learn about your experience to get the whole picture.

  49. Mary

    Again, thank you to all who have commented and shared their pain. It is nice to know I am not the only one who has a son who hates me. It’s been 5 1/2 years now since he hurled all kinds of accusations and lies at us. He is not the same person that moved away from MN to FL almost 9 years ago. He shut the door on contact with our 2 grandkids. He has since divorced his wife in the last year (she already found someone else even before the ink was dry on the divorce. HMMMM) I am still her friend on Facebook, but I’ve only seen the kids 3 times in the last 5 1/2 years-only for an hour at time as they fit us into their busy schedule when she was here visiting friends and her brother. Promises were made after the divorce that we would have more contact with them, but my guess is he is threatening her with taking the kids away from her if she initiates anything. It’s been a roller coaster of emotions and some times I do well and then other times, I fall apart. My birthday is the 11th of March and his is the 12th, so the pain of wanting to reach out to him and knowing whatever I send in the form of a card will not doubt end up in the trash. He was such a difficult child to raise with behavior issues and ADHD-we stood by him and supported him into adulthood with helping them whenever we could. Now we are hated by him for totally false reasons. At almost 73 I will no doubt ever see him or our grandkids ever again and I need to deal with that reality, no matter how much it hurts.

    1. Angela

      You have the right to grieve. In reality, chances are they won’t change and if they do change you have to be suspicious. This is who they are. Create your new life, how you see it. If you want friends, join a church, a club, work. If you want to be around young people volunteer at your local school. Go where you are wanted. You can’t change this kind of person.

  50. monica

    Hi everyone,
    I have been reading your comments for some time now without responding and so wanted to now. When my daughter stopped taking to me it was the most hurtful experience of my life and the situation remains the same. After not hearing from her for six years I received a request for a zoom call which was so exciting. The call started and I found out that six months before she had her first child.I asked why she was telling me now and the answer was it was a weight on their sholders so now you know that weight had lifted. There was no invitation to meet him or have a relationship with him. I asked for more calls but she said she no longer loved me and didnt want to start communicating. I asked her for family counselling, she refused, she wanted to talk over all the issues which I said we needed the counsellor for but she refused. So it ended badly and she stopped communicating. Two and half years later I was texted by her father to say her son had been diagnosed with autism. I asked what severity and was told by him two weeks later that my daughter did not want me to have any further information as it was a private affair. I have heard from friends more information that her father told them but Im not allowed to know. I am at the point where I think I cant do this anymore. The longing for it to be better is doing my head in. When I think about it I know even if she talked to me the hurt and pain will not just disappear. I know some of my actions as a parent has hurt her but not once did I deliberately hurt her. She is deliberately hurting me and has told me that she has her life without me now. Accepting this has been hard and like you all sometimes I think it can be mended and then other times reality sets in and I know the longer this goes on the harder to mend it becomes. So yes the sweets are not sweet anymore.

    1. Gwyn I.

      I’m so sorry this is happening to you. I know it must hurt even more that she made it known she has a child then cut you off again. It it so hurtful. Having a relationship with her would most likely just be too painful. Walking on eggshells and not knowing from one day to the next if it will happen again is not a fun way to live. I hope you have other people who love you to focus on. That’s what helped me the most. Having other relationships that made sense to me. I read books about it, joined this site, lived through more emotional roller coasters, then came to the conclusion that I just can’t do it anymore either. Making a decision on your end not to let the pain in, is a profound awakening and healing. You can always accept what is given, but if nothing is given, just be happy with others. It made me appreciate those that do love me that much more.

  51. Debra M.

    My journey started in 2014 when my Son met the love of his life. We were no longer welcome, even though we treated her as a daughter we never had. They married in 2015 and it is now 2023 and we’ve only seen him twice since their wedding day and that was 2 funerals. Which conversation was short and cold. My husband and myself had a really hard time with this estrangement, we both had to seek professional counseling and lots of prayers. Through God’s help finally in the past few months my prayers and faith in God , I have a peace in my heart again. I learned my husband had early stage of alzheimers at age of 64 and he is now 68, I told my son and even sent paperwork from MD with dx on it. I told him he was loosing time that he could never get back, it didn’t seem to bother him.
    But he was my only child and it was hard grieving someone that you loved more than you loved yourself.
    But after all the rejection, disrespect and removing himself from the entire family, I found love and peace from those who love me and my husband. They maynot be blood but they are definitely family.
    Now I am to the point I don’t think our relationship will ever be the same, he has been a stranger for years and I don’t think I could ever break the wall down that he helped me build. I will always wonder what really happened? I pray for him always. He has now divorced , I never asked one question. Because I knew from the past if you asked a question you were in his business, getting yelled or cursed at.
    So my strength from the Lord, my husband, family and true friends. I choose peace and happiness over grieving myself to death..

  52. Lady Godiva

    I have given up on both my sons. Neither will talk to me so I don’t expect things to change. I thought we were friends but it’s not happening. I think their wives have had a lot to do with it. My question is whether my sons who have completely rejected me should be beneficiaries or executors of me & my husbands will. They don’t deserve any inheritance and they won’t respect the things we own.

    Is it unusual to feel this way? It may sound harsh but I AM angry at them for being jerks. Please discuss

    1. Sharon

      I am in the same situation. I can’t imagine leaving my care to them if I become incapacitated but I have no other family and no longtime friends who could take on this responsibility. What do people with no children do? So many people say don’t cut your kids out of your will but when they chose to cut me out of their lives for years with no chance for reconciliation I don’t agree. I prefer to leave my money to charities who will really appreciate the gift. This estrangement seems to be a horrible trend these days and I don’t understand it 🙁

    2. Maggie

      Hi our youngest son is completely manipulated and controlled by his wife I wasn’t the type of MIL that interfered not perfect but we supported them.

      There comes a time when you have to decide enough is enough for your own sanity because your relationship becomes one sided.

      I believe that when you have worked hard for the material things in your life you have an absolute right to decide what happens when you are – in many years no longer around.

      My husband and myself were recently talking to a lady that is estranged from her son, when her son found out they were moving he messaged her and said ‘I hope you’re not spending my inheritance!’ she told us she thought he was joking and asked him such. He tried to tell her that it was legally mandatory!
      She changed her email and blocked him on her mobile.

      I think sadly that attitude seems to reflect a lot of other people’s kids as well (Our own kids included) a sense of entitlement.

      Wishing you and everyone the very best. X

    3. Gwyn I.

      Being angry is completely normal. I’d be more concerned if you don’t have that emotion. But, on my end, I was able to get past the anger. Because, living in that state of mind isn’t doing you any good.

      I speak for myself, that if my children wouldn’t speak to me, there’s nothing in a will that I would be giving. I believe there must be someone who treats you kindly that truly needs what you have to give. Why give things to those who don’t want you? Give to those who need you. Helping them will make you feel better. If they have children, you may be able to leave something to them instead. They may be innocent victims of what they’ve been told.

    4. Elizabeth L.

      No, you’re not jerks at all. My daughter was excluded from my will as soon as she declared that she had ‘ no desire to reconnect with me ‘.
      Her narc boyfriend has total control of her emails, phone etc so there’s no telling if it was his message and not hers.
      I have to let her mess her own life up, it’s her choice, coercive or not, so all my assets are going to be sold and distributed to my three favourite charities.

    5. LisaB

      I would suggest putting money aside for responsibilities then enjoy the fruits of your labor any way you see fit. Maybe travel abroad. See the world. Why wait? We only live once.

      If you find a country or state you particular mesh with, consider a fresh start. you could always rent out your home until you decide you want to sell it (if that is what you desire a fresh start) I would not keep ties with anyone who is not keeping ties and loving, respecting you.

      Take care of you and your spouse. Know the law. And living in a way that brings you joy.
      If you have an abundance of wealth consider distributing in areas that bring you joy to charities or traveling the world. visiting friends /family you haven’t seen in years whom love and respect you. taking up hobbies anything you like. work on you and your spouse. don’t wait around for your two disrespectful sons.

    6. Janeen

      Our 38 year old daughter, our only child, suddenly, and without any warning, rejected us almost two years ago. We also lost our only grandchild. A wonderful little girl who for the first 5 years of her life was the light of our lives. We have not seen her since. That pain continues to be deep.
      We reached out our daughter again and again that first year with no response from her.
      She is out of our will and we have set up a trust for our Granddaughter.
      We chose not to reward our daughter’s
      cruelty to us with the gift of our earthy treasures.
      She is just not worthy.

    7. Margo

      Hi LG
      I have wondered what to do with everything that accumulates over a lifetime . After speaking to a lawyer through discussions on our will, my husband and I found solutions that we could agree on. It helps to find out legalities that apply to your area. When you have the truth, it helps to formulate your choices .
      I am a SKI- er. Spending Kids Inheritance. We earned it, while providing for our son and DIL, but they clearly told me to back off – totally fine with my husband- I am the problem apparently. As a result, I don’t feel obligated to provide anything for them. They are adults and are responsible for their choices. I made a vow to my husband and I need to have a healthy relationship with myself. We have an appointment to pre- plan our funerals, that will be handled by a company that deals with that. I am shopping for a quality care home and setting aside financing arrangements for that.
      I am not relying on anyone but myself in this situation.
      The trust with them is broken. I care about them and hope they do well in their lives , but cannot trust anymore .
      I hope you find your solutions that work for you.

    8. Nancu

      No you’re not angry, you’re disgusted with them. Why should you leave them anything there was no respect for you or your husband that you both worked hard for your home or whatever assets you have. I feel the same way you do, and I’m not angry anymore just tired. I rather give whatever I have to people who would appreciate it. Both my son and my daughter have no connection with me one is because of the daughter-in-law, and my daughter is because she rather stay with her father’s family . Her father passed away 20 years ago, and I let her get attached to his family because they lost the child actually they lost two boys so my good-natured heart let the grandmother see her more probably than she should have. But anyway pray for peace pray for them pray for their souls because the judgment day will be coming and I pray for them when they get up there that God will forgive them because I have. Peace be with you

    9. Angela

      No, they should not. Spread your wealth around. You can hire a Professional Fiduciary or Attorney to be your executor. Leave some to your girlfriend and your husband’s loyal friend. Leave some to an organization you support. Leave some to your church. Leave a little to your son’s if you like. Unfortunately, they do not have your best interest. Make sure you have someone who can make decisions for you.

    10. Margaret

      I am only giving things to people I know love me and deserve it. In some places your children have a statutory right to claim something from your estate so check that out. You may need to give them a small amount and you can explain why in your will. Just say you haven’t had a relationship with them for X amount of years. If you don’t have someone who knows and is willing to uphold your intentions to be executor, you can get your solicitor (lawyer) to do it. I’m intending to give while I’m alive and I do now. I won’t be foolish and undermine my independence or security. All the best and God bless you, from Australia.

  53. Maggie

    We’re estranged from all 3 of our children! We actually ate the worms for a long time!! When we look back now we think WHY??
    But we are getting to a point now where we don’t even need sweets because life has started to give us the sugar.

    Our best hopeful wishes to all and many Thanks and hugs to Sheri!

  54. Charlotte

    My husband and I have 8 grandchildren and I can only see two of them by myself. My two sons do not care for my husband and his two daughters do not care for me. This has been evolving over 29 years. We realize that in our zeal to be married back then that we did not ensure that all 4 of them felt they still had our attention and understood their collective hurt from my divorce from my sons’ father and his divorce from the girls’ mother.

    One of my sons still sees me with his wife and two little ones. My other son has allied with my disturbed ex and I am powerless to do anything about him. So I’m learning to have more acceptance and to rebuild our life. I do hope that my younger son can forgive my husband someday, but not going to fret over it. Both of us are in Al-Anon and have therapists helping us separately. The bottom line is it’s all about control and the only person and circumstances I can control is me and I get to choose how I spend my time and with whom. At 75 I can enjoy life again. It’s a choice.

    1. Wendy M.

      Dear Charlotte- Thank you for sharing. You are a strong and courageous lady. A big thank you to Sheri for providing your insight through your books, writings, and this shared space. I began to get stronger after reading your first book and continue to share it with people I know will benefit from it’s wisdom.
      Your post really resonated with me. I left my emotionally and verbally abusive husband of 29 years about 24 years ago and ran off to find happiness with my present husband. Both of us had been in abusive relationships and unhappy for many of our married years. We re-met at our 30th high school reunion and knew that we were destined to be together. It hasn’t been without some difficulties but the choice was good for us. My youngest son was just turning 21 at the time and none of my three boys were living at home. They didn’t have much to do with me and had learn to abuse me from their dad. I take responsibility for my part in not standing up to them. Still, I was so caught up in my new life that I didn’t think of their feelings. I did reach out but it took awhile for the two oldest to work at our relationships. My youngest son was not involved in my life except for a few encounters over the past 23 years. Last year, after cleaning our my dad’s home, I emailed all of my sons to see if they wanted anything from his estate. My youngest son was the only one that requested some small mementos to give to his three children. On a whim, I asked if I could deliver them in person as we would be passing by their home on our way to our retirement destination. He said yes and that opened the door to a new relationship. He’s 44 and the kids are 10, 7, and 5. I had only met the two older ones when they were too young to remember me. I keep my expectations low and he has slowly opened up to share some of his life and my grandchildren. I spent a couple of hours playing with my grandchildren while my husband waited for me as he was not invited. (My son blames him for me leaving his dad. One day, I hope he can see him as the good person he is) My husband is the bigger man. I’ve been sending packages to the kids with small gifts such as crafts and books and baked goodies every so often (as I do with my other grandchildren). He does a FaceTime with the kids so they can say “Hi” and thank me for the gifts. He’s become more engaging in conversation, even asking how I am and how our new home build is going.
      I’m blessed to have a husband who is supportive and keeps me humble. Keeping my expectations low has allowed me to move slowly and feel grateful everyday for the life we have made and the wonderful adventures we continue to have. If our 5 sons and their families want to share in any of our remaining years, we will welcome them as long as they are respectful. Keeping realistic hope that things can change is okay as long as I keep my eyes open and know the choice is mine to make.

  55. Michelle

    My oldest son, the oldest of 5 children, has been in and out of our lives for 11 years. His wife is definitely the problem. She has always been jealous of the relationship our son has always had with his family. They have 4 children together and she takes them away from us every few months. Long story short, my sons wife told him to get out on his 31st bday. They were legally separated from May 2nd until the week before the week before Christmas. Right after the separation my son came back into our lives. We fully furnished his house he rented, sent him grocery money, bought the kids entire Christmas etc. His wife got dumped by her boyfriend and my son went back to her. He promised me over and over during a 3 hour phone call he would never disappear again. Well, things are back to the way they have always been, he isn’t speaking to his father and I, my mother, and his 4 siblings. They have also turned our grandkids against us. I am so tired of the sleepless nights, worrying, crying, wondering what can we do to repair our family. I just bought the books and workbooks. I am going to read these books, do the workbooks, and focus on the 4 children I have that love me -‘s want to be a part of our family, and our newest 5 month old granddaughter. Nobody understands my pain, and now I know I am not the only mother that has and adult child like I do. I am reading the stories and I am so very sorry for everything your children have put you through! We all deserve to be treated with love and respect.

    1. Gwyn I.

      It is very disheartening what our children are capable of. I think that’s what has disappointed me the most. I’m so glad to hear that you are focusing on the others in your life. I feel like I understand you completely!

    2. Elizabeth L.

      You probably feel used by him, in the same way he is being used by her.
      At least you have the option to leave them and their games behind, even if they remain trapped in the circle.

  56. Lisa

    I am unfortunately still in the mourning stage. I now know why scripture tells us to not divorce and if so to stay single. My oldest daughter has not spoken to me since June 22. Sabotage takes on many forms. When a family member (half sister) is doing things to drive a wedge between myself and daughter, and satan is working another angle that goes against our beliefs but my ED is getting support from the half sister and is surrounding herself around others that support her and that lifestyle, I know I was a good mom yes I made mistakes but I love and loved all 3 of my kids to the ends of the earth. My heart is broken and there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t hurt and blame myself for my ED loosing her faith and being easily manipulated.

    1. Gwyn I

      All we can do is teach them. Time can teach a lot to her as she lives her life and may pay consequences of her choices. It’s hard to watch as a parent.

    2. Vickie G.

      If your daughter lost her faith, it’s likely she never had it. You don’t have that much power to cause someone to “lose” their faith. If the Holy Spirit has her in His grasp, He won’t let go. You, however, can let go of that thought. Also, divorce is not the unpardonable sin. Sometimes there is no other choice. People misunderstand why God hated divorce. It’s too much to explain here, but just put that in the rear view mirror. We all fall short. Allow God’s grace and mercy to permeate your soul. “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” Romans 8:1.

  57. Lyn

    After going on four years with my son not speaking to me, the hurt seems worse. I am praying that it gets better…..some days are not so bad, He is divorced and his new wife is convinced that I took his ex-wife’s side( because I refused to talk bad about her…,,so now she has convinced my son too. Honestly in my heart I don’t really hold anything against his new wife she’s jealous and I understand that.., what I do feel is that my son should have talked to me about it and he refuses to..,, so he finds me guilty without even talking to me about it …of course I don’t know any mother who will take the other side I love my son with all my heart and I’m for him always and unconditionally…. can’t understand why he doesn’t know that. Thanks you Sheri for all of your support and your uplifting articles God Bless You, Lyn

  58. Richard W.

    My son blew me off back in 2016, Sept 16th to be exact. It is over an e mail I sent him that night after having our “pizza night” with them. My daughter in-law was hitting my grand son for playing with his food and kept escalating until she left a hand print on his cheek and then hit him over the head with one of his toys. All the while my son did nothing. Well I told them they will go to jail for pulling such actions in public and that ie was very bad for the grandson who was not yet three. I did not know she read all his e mails so when she read it she had a fit of sorts and my son sided with her instead of this behavior to stop. We were watching the grand once a week and loved it, organized our schedule around out babysitting schedule. All that has been taken. I tried to see him over and over and he has been rude to the point of ordering me off his property. Last time was over the recent holiday and his wife slammed the door in my face with no words at all. I am going to survive this and live my good life anyway but that pain in my heart is deep. Very deep. This cannot be fixed from my current perspective. I raised him alone from the time he was 11 and this is the thanks I get for remaking my whole life in order to have custody of him. I was a Ships Office, Master Mariner, I put all that away and entered the electrician apprenticeship in my area so I could live ashore and be in something I could pass onto him. He is now an electrical contractor who lives only 30 miles away. I was a good father, no one can take that away from me, I will not alllow anyone to. I will get over this and the meanness and thrive anyway. I am willing all my assets to my grands and skipping the asshole generation. They do not deserve it but the grands do.

  59. Barb P.

    Thank you to everyone who have the same thoughts and experiences as I have had with their estranged children. It makes life a little easier to know I’m not alone. My son was verbally abusive to me (mostly via texts!) and I’m not sure where it came from because we always had a good relationship. He was angry because I didn’t feel comfortable going to Thanksgiving at his house two years ago (during the pandemic) and told me I was making bad decisions! They didn’t wear masks or take precautions and I’m almost 70 years old and heeded the advice of doctors. Lots of nasty comments came toward me that hurt me deeply. At one point about a year and a half later he texted me on m birthday and said…. “Your granddaughter wishes she had a grandma”. I was crushed and felt he wanted to keep punishing me. It wasn’t an apology, it felt like a slap. She DOES have a grandma! I told him I would like an apology but it hasn’t happened. I’m almost afraid to get one from him because I feel that he could do this all over again and I don’t want to go through the hurt if this again. Not sure I even have to worry about him apologizing. So you’re right, I feel at pretty peaceful about life right now. It’s taken awhile to get here but there is a GOOD LIFE AHEAD! Thanks for letting me share.

  60. Brigitte

    I can most definately relate to this article. It’s been five years since the estrangement of my two daughters, son-in-law and two grandsons. It occurred on the occasion of the birth of my first grandson, at the hospital. For me, this past five years has been intense grieving and self reflection on the past and my own parenting. I’ve grown to love myself and have some much needed self compassion. My heart although was shattered into a million pieces has grown in love for my fellow humans, the human condition and how each one of us has a story. For some reason when I knew my grandson would be entering Kindergarten some of those old feelings of rejection and despair returned, but in a lighter version and now I find I am in acceptance. I choose life, and love for me. I will take one day at a time moving closer to becoming kinder to myself and others. I love my Estranged family members and still remain hopeful for repair and reconciliation, i am not stuck in my grief anymore. Choose Love and Peace! The time is now for living life to the fullest.

  61. Lezlie M.

    I found the metaphor of sweets to ring a bell with me. It’s been almost 6 years now since my daughter spoke to me. My take on our relationship is that we were close up till she had about 16 1/2. She exhibited some mental health issues at this time.She went to college and our family start to fall apart. Without a doubt she blames me. She cut me off and rejected me. I reached out not in a creepy way where I would blow her phone up or emailing but I sent her a birthday gift Christmas gift, Valentine’s Day card, etc In the beginning I reached out and tried to mend things through texts and emails but no response. Three years ago I used an adult child alienation coach from Columbia University. This person help me formulate a letter to try to approach our relationship from my daughters point of view. It cost me a lot of money and a lot of effort and a lot of tears. I sent this letter across the country bathed in prayer begging God for a response from her. Nothing. Devastating.
    It was her birthday 10 days ago. I don’t know what changed in me but I had no desire to send her a card or a gift. On her birthday my thoughts drifted towards her often but I didn’t feel that pull or the excruciating pain. I feel that God has placed a type of anesthesia over my heart as protection from her cruelty. The devastation of her loss is beyond words. I will pray daily that God brings my daughter back. There is a verse in the Bible that says wherever two or more are gathered and pray something in gods name he will bring it about. Patriotic he I have to place my trust in God that he will bring my precious girl home as there’s nothing left for me to do

    1. ellen c.

      Oh my gosh the metaphor of the sweets is exactly what I have experienced. Many things you wrote also rang true with me. I haven’t heard from my daughter coming up on 7 years. I have given in to temptation by writing loving notes. I can’t call or text, I am blocked. She never answers. My temptations are getting more spaced out now. I am feeling stronger and feeling better about myself. The cruelty of this behavior is hard to believe, isn’t it? Thank you for posting. I feel less alone. XO

    2. Angela

      I too have consulted with experts in the field of alienated adult children, more specifically, Joshua Coleman in Oakland, CA. I have not heard from one daughter (now 30 years old) in 13 years after a blowup. Another one in three years. The latter used to show up at my beach house every summer, friends in tow. Otherwise, I wouldn’t even get a Mother’s Day card from her. I often ask myself where I went wrong. I still don’t know, although a divorce was involved. I have not gotten over it, and landed in a cardiac unit with a diagnosis of Takotsubo Syndrome, a stress related cardiomyopathy. Neither child even phoned.

    3. rparents Post author

      Amy and Lezlie, your stories are so “common” in that these supposed experts and mediators just don’t succeed. I do feel for the child who has suffered alienation tactics via a father or mother who uses (abuses) them in order to hurt the ex-spouse/mate. Often, the alienation begins long before the divorce occurs, and the trusting spouse just didn’t see it happening or believe that it could. And the child is often suffering from intermittent reinforcement techniques via the alienator, and doesn’t understand how they are being shaped. Some do figure it out eventually….

      Hugs to you both, Amy and Lezlie.

      Sheri McGregor

  62. Becky

    I’m glad to have found this space. I haven’t communicated with my daughter in a year. Thus, I have not communicated with my soon to be 9 year old granddaughter. My daughter was adopted as an infant. The adoption was open and she now visits her birth mother. I wonder if any of you are estranged from an adopted child.
    I am feeling less fragile after a year has gone by. I know she will never speak with me again, but this is so difficult.

    1. Jen

      I adopted my son as an infant and we no longer communicate this past year. He is an angry adult now at 35 and this is the 2nd time he has cut off communication. I divorced when he was 10 and his narcissistic father didnt have much to do with him so there was certainly abandonment issues. Drug use was really bad during his growing years of 13 to 19 and I had to ask him to leave because things were getting way out of hand. He blames me for ‘kicking him out’ and has never taking any responsibility for his actions. I have kept contact with him, sent greetings and gifts on every occasion, loved his kids but I believe now the connection was gone years ago but I kept trying.
      Adoption was wonderful but I believe adopted children hurt, often have abandonment issues and as painful this outcome is, I am truly not the mom he really wanted and I accept that now (he has met his birth mom and siblings) I also accept that regardless what I do or say this isnt going to change, so I am living a new authentic self and done with awful rude comments.

    2. Bodhi

      Dear Becky,
      I am estranged from our 26 year old adopted daughter, and it is almost 8 months since we spoke. She moved in with a sketchy boyfriend, who we never met. She lied, was deceptive, and cut me out of her life. No remorse, no apology, nothing. She still contacts her father, my husband, because she can manipulate him. He feels sorry for her. It has caused a huge rift in our marriage. Our daughter has serious personality issues, and has no conscience. She works full time, and now lives independently. But I will never trust her again. I don’t want to see her , even if she contacted me now, I finally have been able to move on. It seems that many adopted children do not bond with their parents. Thus, they can easily drop them, when they reach adulthood. I never saw this coming, but this website, and Sheri’s book have helped me to get through it.

  63. K_Bro

    Recently, my daughter, estranged and 100% silent for 10 or more years (she even had a baby I’ve never met during that time), started forwarding cute little Tik Toks with a copy to both me and her sister. Even though I suffered, cried, prayed and journaled my way though years of suffering and chaotic emotions, I am nonetheless now surprised by how indifferent I am to these shallow overtures. I barely even acknowledge such messages. There’s just no unringing of the bell. She changed the course of my life, denied all of the family the history we could have and should have shared. At 74 years old now, I think this is just her “pre-death curiousity (hers of me) now. A Mother’s love can indeed by extinguished by enough cruel silence.

    1. ellen cooper

      Oh my gosh, so much of what you said rings true for me. I have twin girls soon to be 29 years old. One of them hasn’t spoken to me in almost 7 years. I have my guesses as to why but I am beyond it now. I am prepared to go on without her now. The cruelty of what she has done cannot be undone now. I believe she either has something going on with her or she lacks empathy. I don’t know. I share your feelings about a mother’s love being extinguished. I am sorry for your loss!
      I am doing better but as you know, it never leaves you. Thank you for posting. Hugs!

    2. Miranda

      That’s so interesting. I feel the love dying and dread any attempts to reconnect because I don’t want that pain again. I have no doubt they haven’t changed their personalities and I am not keen to be abused again.

  64. DR

    This really hit home. A few weeks before Christmas. I charged up an old phone and called my estranged daughter. She didn’t answer. Then sent a text she would call later. She did, and I was certain her husband was sitting right there. It was like talking to a stranger and totally weird. She started in again how I had upset her and wrecked her life
    And I told her I wouldn’t call again. No, no, she loves me. So I guess, that’s why I haven’t heard from her in several years? She said would call before Christmas but she didn’t. My hairdresser asked me why I was still beating myself up and that was true. So no more.

  65. Carolyn

    I can completely relate to The Sweets.
    Oddly enough, I had renamed my daughter’s name in my phone contact list as “Peace” so that for one, her name wasn’t at the top and secondly so that if she did text me that was what I saw first and be somewhat prepared. Her information has now been relocated to another spot in my phone so I don’t have to see it at all.
    What I craved most in the beginning was the loss of friendship with her. Then horrible shame and embarrassment when I fully realized that this had already been going on for a couple of years. I had just thought it was due to her being busy.
    Once I sort of came to grips with that my biggest longing was to see the grandkids that I had babysat for her for over a decade.
    We had two of them overnight during Christmas break and it was so wonderful. Her latest message to me when I asked about seeing them again was that they’re “not up for it” so maybe another time. Right. The biggest change for me is that even though I grieve, I no longer spend day after day agonizing about when I might see them again. I feel as if I’ve been “fired” as her mom and their Nana. I made mistakes but did the best I could. I still pray for all of them and I’m not even angry. Just extremely hurt and bewildered.

    1. Becky F.

      I love your idea of renaming your daughter in your phone. I’m going to do the same. Anything to lessen the pain.

    2. ellen c

      Great idea about renaming your daughter “Peace” and moving her info to your notes. Im going to do that. I’m sorry for what happened to you. Im going on 7 years of silence from my 29 yr old daughter. No children— that I know of. She is working ( I see it on google) and has an apartment.
      Her cruelty has gone too far though. I have let go and I am giving love to others who wish to receive it. Thank you for sharing.

  66. Kim B.

    I found a piece of the peace pie. And for the most part I am at peace. I understand the healing process but there are times that I slip backwards. My mother just passed and my ES has agreed to be a pall bearer for his grandmother’s funeral. He also visited her in the hospital and said his goodbyes. But after the funeral will things go back to the way they were? Most likely.

    1. Deborah P.

      After more than 6 years of Hell, I have arrived at a place of “indifference”. Last year there were 2 separate times when the “sweets” tempted me and I gave into hope. Now, at last, I realize I no longer need to hang on to hope. I agree with the other comments in response to Sheri’s article. I have changed. I no longer see my adult child as the person I gave birth to and raised. He’s in his 40’s now. He should know better, but doesn’t. He has his own family and I am not a part of it. It’s ok. I have learned to emotionally separate myself from the situation. I may well see him and my daughter-in-law again one day, but I believe it will be different from seeing loved ones; family or friends. I have many people who love me and want to spend time with me. It is these people I trust now and in the future. Wow! I’m not tearing up! How great is that!

    2. renee

      Kim, my deepest sympathy to you for the loss of your mother. I just lost my mother January. 22. I have often compared death with my children not speaking to me. I grieve for the living. I know my mother isn’t coming back to me. It seems easier to accept then my children not wanting me in their lives. I have been at a loss for years now over the situation. I think I am finally getting to the point, that it’s ok for me to move on. My door will always be open to them if and when they decide they want me. I’m just not so sure I will be standing on the other side with open arms. I love them so very much, but I don’t like them. It took me a long time to be honest about that. I hope and pray that your son will reach out to you after the funeral. Maybe he will realize, we mothers aren’t always going to be here. Again, I’m sorry for your loss.

  67. Carole F.

    Je ne demande plus qu’une chose et c’est de survivre en paix.

    J’ai dit survivre car à ce jour et depuis de nombreuses années, je n’ai plus l’énergie suffisante pour seulement envisager de vivre. Survivre est déjà très bien pour moi.

    Trente deux années de questionnements et remises en question, dix-sept de fes années de manipulation et de maltraitance, c’est assez.
    Le sens de la vie, incroyablement, ce n’est pas mon fils : le sens de la vie, c’est juste la vie.

    (translated for English speakers
    : I only ask for one thing and that is to survive in peace. I said I survive because to this day and for many years, I no longer have enough energy to even consider living. Surviving is already very good for me. Thirty-two years of questioning and questioning, seventeen years of manipulation and abuse, is enough. The meaning of life, incredibly, is not my son: the meaning of life is just life.)

    1. Jolie

      Verbatim Carol, some days Im to exhausted to survive, but I have. Now Im trying to find purpose where there is none. Good luck to us.

  68. B. Shafer

    This article nails it. I have not been contacted by my ED and doubt I ever will. But I’m finally ok with it. I actually don’t know if I could ever trust her again. I know who loves me and I choose to go where the love is. Life is too short to chase people and prioritize people who made me their option over and over again.

    1. MM

      Thank you for this. I need to hear it today. Going through the emotions with my ED and almost getting to the OK point .

  69. Cynthia

    I’m 10 years into estrangement from our daughter, the oldest of our 4 children. It’s been a roller coaster of emotions. I finally arrived at a good healthy mental place. When my spouse and I moved recently I refused to put out any pictures of our daughter. I’ve told people we have met that we have three children and their wedding photos are framed and on the piano. Recently our son-in- law contacted us and said he filed for divorce from our daughter. She had moved out and is living with another man. He is struggling to work full time and care for their five children by himself. He apologized for previous actions and said that for years he made excuses for our daughter and has finally admitted to himself she is mentally ill. I have been suspicious of his contact with us and don’t want to spiral into a dark place that took me a long time to emerge from! I have successfully conquered that sweet tooth. I’m not sure why I’m posting all of this except that moving on is possible and exercise caution if contacted by estranged children.

    1. Helen

      Continue to be wary Cynthia. During the pandemic we received a text message from our 7 years estranged daughter asking if we were both OK. Out of the blue! I was so surprised, but delirious with hope that the reconciliation I had dreamed of for so long seemed possibly to be emerging! Estrangement between me and my daughter has happened so many times, but always I had gone to her handing out the olive branch. One main reason for that was that my (second) husband and I didn’t want to lose contact with our two beautiful granddaughters. Then a few years later it has always happened over again. I was determined that this time I would not do the cap in hand approach, feeling that the former approaches in the end had not worked long term and believing that it had to come from her. After a few days I replied to her text, saying that I truly hoped that the approach she made was out of genuine concern, and if that were to be the case then I would want to say “I love you, always have, always will, no matter what”. She replied saying she would contact us on the weekend. We waited and late on the Sunday we got the text – it had been a cruel set up to cause us grief. She said she had changed her mind. How callous can a child be, and why does my child hate me so much? I am not perfect and I was not a perfect mother, as I believe nobody is, having to deal with an ill (first) husband who had had to give up his job so that I had to go to work to support the family while dealing with a daughter who was always leaving home in petulance. At 14 she was living with someone we did not know a few weeks before her father, who should have had no stress, went into hospital for open heart surgery (which he did not survive). We no longer have contact with our grand-daughters and any approaches from us result in silence. So she has poisoned our grandchildren against us as well, and we will never known the wonder of our great-granchildren. These are all unforgiveable actions, and I just hope that eventually I will be able to move on – in my late 70’s now I fear the future knowing that if I am widowed again I will be alone and vulnerable in old age.

  70. Zenhuman

    At first, I missed my loving son- really everything about him. The pain was as if he had died and I mourned like I’ve never mourned before. As time went on, I had come to realize that young man didn’t exist anymore. Once he married, he changed completely and is no longer the person I used to know. For my own peace of mind, I remembered the words of Dr Wayne Dyer. In one of his books he explains most people come into our lives for a “season”, even partners. Being married 3 times, I knew this was true. You can see it in friendships too. I never dreamed that would pertain to my own child, and yet here it is.
    I let him go. I determined I was the best mother I could be. I was loving and kind. My son never gave me a lick of trouble growing up. I didn’t discipline him because he never needed it! So if I spoiled him, it was only with love because we sure didn’t have money when he was young. He’s an adult and can make his own decisions, so I let him go with love.
    It’s been a journey I could not have done without your book, Sheri, and all of the people on your site who are going through this same thing. I am so grateful that I’ve gotten on with my life and am not living in mourning anymore. I will always love him, but I’ve let him go. I still have days, but they are a lot less frequent now.

    1. Barb P

      Thank you…. This letter sounds like I could’ve written it. I had the same relationship with my son before he got married. I’ve read books by Wayne Dyer that gave me so much peace. I also was married three times and felt these men come into my life for “a season”. A lot of us share similar stories. Thank you and God bless!

    2. DEB

      Your reference to seasons really spoke to me. I was able to relate so well to my own son’s estrangement after about ten years of his marriage. I looked back and realized that I have looked at my life’s “seasons” in much the same way…18 years as a child, 18 years with my first marriage and when I had my children, then a few years of being single again before my next season with my husband now at 32 years. I had a very close relationship with my son for about 23 years and my granddaughters for about 13 years and I can now look back on that season with gratitude.

  71. Diane

    For me, acceptance is the answer. I need to just let go and find peace elsewhere. I am recognizing that seeing my grandkids and one new great grandkid is a thing of the past. I accept it. Even if my daughter came to my door and apologized and showed me my new great-granddaughter, I would not let her in. If I did, my daughter would always have the power to snatch the kids away again for some other “crime” and she probably would. It is her attempt to control. Now, I am in control. I no longer have to live in fear and walk on eggshells. I do not accept her blame. Every toxic woman in this world has a mother. The loss of my daughter and grandkids is a fact that can not be changed. It is not my choice and I can not “change my mind” or grovel my way back. It is time to protect myself. It is over. No more waiting. I have begun to seek out other family members and other people’s children and it helps. Time is beginning to heal this wound. I am going to end this chapter and walk away. Life is short. I am going to spend the time wisely and lovingly.

  72. Samy N.

    I am a divorced father of a 23 year old daughter. She started distancing herself from me about 9 years ago. My initial reaction was anger which only made matters worse. Eventually I changed my approach to being very gentle and loving but it didn’t change things much. We got into a routine over the past new years where I would only see her 4 times a year. Her birthday, her brothers birthday, my birthday and fathers day. Most calls and texts (99%) go unanswered. I have bought the book and trying to follow all the guidance there but I haven’t been strong. I continue to hold out hope. Recently she called me and there was a 10 day period with a flurry of calls and meetings as she suffers from health anxiety and broke my heart seeing her like this. I spent hours on the phone with her, skipped work to meet her and console her and finally when she felt better she gradually went back to her old patterns and I feel the same pain again. I fear letting go but I’m exhausted of being sad all the time. My Romantic relationship is also suffering and my life feels stuck. My son is very loving and close to me and we do a lot together. I try my best not to bring up his sister as I don’t want him to feel any pressure. While I fibished reading the book I am looking for an online community where I could connect with other parents going through similar situations and seek support this way. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you

    1. Jan

      Hi Samy, I can imagine how hurtful it is for you to be there when your daughter reaches out to you for help only for her to revert to radio silence once your help is no longer required. Our son (only child) is the same and only really communicates when he needs something. He didn’t send a card for my husband’s birthday and he was very hurt about that. I got an email Mother’s Day card yesterday (Mother’s Day is 19 March in UK) with a second email shortly after asking for assistance with a property matter, so you can imagine what I made of that. I just don’t get how thoughtless and selfish our offspring can be (my son was an absolutely adorable child and problem free teen and young adult – the selfishness developed from his early thirties and he is now 37). Trouble is I no longer trust him and whilst I still love him I don’t really like him. I think you should concentrate on the wonderful relationship you have with your son, and I agree you should not bring your daughter into the conversation if possible…why spoil your happy time with him? I too wish there was an online community for estranged parents but as far as I know there isn’t one. I came across Sherri’s website from Googling the subject and often read the posts where I get some measure of comfort from people going through the same thing. Best wishes, Jan

  73. Mary

    Thank you for this article.
    The worst for me was not understanding why, I still don’t know but no longer wonder why.
    I stopped asking myself if I was such a bad parent I stopped trying to excuse my children.
    I am working on my peace of mind and wellbeing.
    I wish all peace in your heart.

    1. MM

      Right there with you Mary. The why, the pain and hurt from my ED. I can’t do it anymore. I am working on my peace of mind as well. I wish you peace in your heart too. Thank you

  74. Sherlene C.

    Wow! After 20 years of horrendous chocolates-I found peace by erecting a wall. However…it was impossible to explain my situation, and I felt like an alligator that eats her young. This post sang to me!! It’s EXACTLY my situation, and is one more slice of the peace pie. Thank you so much. Finding acceptance and forgiveness for myself has been the hardest. After all…doesn’t everything about your children come back to how you raised them?! I am grateful to all of you. Thank you for sharing the intense pain that is greater than any other. It helps bandage the wounds of the rest of us.

    1. rparents Post author

      Sherlene, did you say “peace” pie? That sounds like the best pie in the universe! Thank you for your lovely comment. I am so very grateful to you, and wish you the very best of all that is sweet in the world!
      Sheri McGregor

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