When adult children ignore you: Changes in yourself

adult children ignore you

When adult children ignore you:
Recognizing changes in yourself

By Sheri McGregor, M.A.

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

  1. Bonnie

    Hello All – I can relate to so many situations in all of your comments. What comes to my mind is, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” I have not had the opportunity to experience reconciliation but I do think about it and would proceed with caution, if at all. I have created a wonderful life for myself and I am blessed in many ways. Unfortunately , I only have one child and one grandson. I miss my grandson but I would never let my daughter hurt him by playing the estrangement game with me and these children do get hurt. I pray for my daughter and my grandson all the time and I know God will take care of letting my grandson know how much I love him.

    Reply
  2. Kathi

    Reading your post, it makes me know that there are many others who feel as I do. I wasn’t sure, I thought maybe I was the only one and that I was heartless for feeling that even if my child had decided after six years of nothing (and I live 7 minutes away), that I don’t think I would want to see her. I’m not absolutely certain about that, it would depend upon the circumstances and her behavior, etc. I think about that a lot, that I’m so hurt and rejected, and finally healing, that I don’t think I can take the chance of going through the open wounds again. We were so close until this happened, we’d lunch two or three times a week, talk on the phone at least once, if not more, a day. She’d call me more than I’d call her! And this “thing” happened in an instant. It had to do with her husband and his mother, they had never liked me. I don’t know why, I was always kind to them and tried to get along, but it seemed impossible. They didn’t like me and the mother was jealous, I think, because I am a professional with a good wage and she wasn’t. Who cares, it is what it is. But after the “incident” one afternoon six years ago, my daughter told me that her husband “hates you” and you can no longer be a part of our family or any family gatherings. I was shocked and I left. I’ve never spoken to her since. This was in May (Memorial day weekend) and when I took the xmas gifts over for my grandchildren, she took them in the driveway from my car and that was it. I never gave any more gifts after that.
    OMG, if I even let myself think about it, I feel like I’m “on the edge” and if I fall, there’s no getting back up. I can’t take that chance. As I’ve gotten older, I think, what happens when I go to heaven and someday she is there also. How will that go? It’s unsettling to think that I could be rejected again by my daughter, or do I even want to see her? One day at a time!

    Reply
  3. Marianne L.

    Hello Sheri,
    I laughed out loud about the bit referring to the worms!
    It is so true that time can adjust your cravings for what I call the “crumbs”. That’s how I see the so-called love dished out by estranged children. Over time, I have lessened my cravings for this form of love. As my Yiddish grandmother used to say, “What am I: chopped liver?” I no longer want to be that unwanted dish of chopped liver!
    Hanging in there,
    Marianne

    Reply
  4. Susan C.

    I had quite a 14 month run………my adult, 46 year old son who has made it clear he hates us – mostly me – didn’t contact me for 6 years and
    2 months. And then in May of 2022, he sent me an email.
    I had been through the off and on so many times – I had stopped my hysterical crying on his birthday, not getting out of bed on Mothers day – you know that story , many of you and I had gotten so much better with my therapist and these great books and so helpful newsletters.
    He never touched me and I didn’t feel a kiss was – appropriate, it was going to end and I knew that. He came here 3 times

    He went on a trip to Japan, Italy, Greece, the Italian Riveria, Canne, Monte Carlo, French Riveria. He was either sharing the trip with me or being rude and obnoxious, wasn’t sure which., the condescending tone and the bragging was embarrassing – I tried to hear the same story multiple times – I think that’s why he dropped me again.

    I was hoping he would say, Mom, you took care of me, when you get old I will watch after you – but he did not.

    I am truly am glad he is on the planet, healthy, is he happy, I don’t know.
    He apparently has no memory of all the nice things we did for him ( mistake – we did too much) and most of College.

    Standing in Sams – reading the mean text – it was so familiar, it really didn’t hurt. He makes me so nervous and I dread never knowing what’s coming next.

    There is no comparasion between the 2023=me and the me if 30 years of taking what he dished out, Imthink I will be okay. I hope he will be safe but no longer care what he says about me to people I don’t even know.

    I’m a stronger, saner version of my old self – how about that?
    Thank you for the help

    Last Tuesday he let me have it in a text, went back and brought it all up, though I don’t know what “ it” is My therapists says there are way too many elephants in this room, neither of you talk – so , enough was enough , he let me have it, I was standing in Sam’s

    This time I didn’t cry, actually felt relieved because he will be in the city I live in all this week – I think – and don’t have to be afraid he will come over.

    I know this sounds terrible – I am still scared of him, don’t know what he will say or do but I do better as a Mother if an Estranged Adult Child.

    Reply
  5. Carrie-Ann

    Just popping by to say “Happy Fourth of July Beloved America”…& “Happy Fourth of July Beloved Sheri & Each Of You In This Beloved Healing Community”!!!!

    As we experience this suffering called “estrangement,” we might consider the following words as we try to live our lives in the present moment and going forward:
    “Freedom is a state of mind”
    “We are all living in cages with the door wide open”(George Lucas)
    “Freedom isn’t a destination; it’s a state of mind. (Byron Katie)
    No one…Not even so-called “ADULT” children, have the right to “OUR FREEDOM IN LIVING OUR PRECIOUS LIVES…IN PEACE…LOVE…JOY…For the time we have left on this Precious Earth…Take YourSelves Back…
    Sending Love…Light…Peace…Joy…Hugs…
    May You Be Blessed In Body…Mind…And Spirit…

    Reply
  6. Susan

    Thanks Sheri, The Boat resonated with me but The Sweets hit the mark. I tried everyway to connect with my Daughter let’s walk, let’s do coffee, let go to the City, I suggested a beading day and we would try and sell them together I bought glass bead and gems and the equipment to make earrings, necklaces and bracelets. We would decide whose house we would do it at each week. Twice we met and I thought she had fun. She had found a friend who could sell them in his business, I was so excited after 10 years of rejection we had a connection. The third week she rang me and said I’d like the kits to work on at my home instead of meeting up to do it with you Mum.
    Ahhh the lolly jar broke my tooth again. Back to weeks and months if no contact. 4 years later I gave up lollies

    Reply
  7. Rudolph

    Recently estranged from my adult son from first wife. There was a death in the family last summer and he just now decided to become furious with comments I made about the death that was a car accident due to being high because I wanted to keep it quiet so there wouldn’t be the stigma about his brother.
    He up and decided that was awful and will not talk to me. Our last conversation he told me I’m pathetic (by most standards I certainly am not). I ripped into him along with my fiance and he said he is done with us. He’s been a drama queen for years but never even close to this bad. In the end he stopped yelling but still is done with us.
    My entire family thinks he is acting like an idiot and the fact is I am not too bothered by him. I retire in 6 years and have a great family. I’m so upset with what he said though he will have to kiss butt to get back in.
    The funny thing is that while I don’t like it, I am largely “whatever” about it. I have 3 nieces that will visit me in the home when I get old and oddly, it is a bit of a relief not to deal with the “drama of the day”. Really weird though since everything seemed great 2 weeks ago.
    Only think I am mulling over is how I should adjust the will.
    Does anyone think I should try an olive branch in a few months since I may regret no trying?

    Reply
    1. Kate

      Rudolph,
      I guess you could try again but for many of us, it was a big waste of time. So many of us have tried many years to have a relationship with our kids only to be dumped again & again. I have finally learned that if they will kick us out of their lives once, they will do it to us again later on. They really don’t care. Share your time and what you have with those who want to be in your life. Take care.

      Reply
  8. Linda

    Today I attended the funeral for my ex husband’s mother (my children’s grandmother) my daughters have been estranged from me since February and they completely blanked me during the funeral and the wake whereas my ex husband and his family were really thankful that I came with our son. Chatted with old friends and family that I hadn’t seen for years but not a word or even a glance in my direction from my daughters whom I brought up single handedly until they left home. My heart is broken all over again BUT as I said to my son I have now closed that door and I need to walk away from them and live my life. So thankful for this group Linda x

    Reply
  9. Faith T.

    I am reading a book titled “Generation Me.” I was trying to better understand how the estrangement could even happen. The books states that Gen Me are ruthless and as far as morals go they make their own. It also states if they don’t feel like doing something they don’t, for example, go to a funeral or giving any wedding present even if they attend the wedding. Pretty interesting and eye opening.

    Reply
    1. Judith

      Have not heard of this book. Thanks for referring and yes it is about them even when we are very ill. “ I’m too tired to sit in ER while dad has emergency brain surgery” …

      Reply
    2. Rhonda A

      The Bible tells us that this generation would be all about ‘me, me, me’. It is but a sign of the end of the Church Age, and soon, these lovers of self will be facing the very entity that loves what they have done to the rest of humanity on this earth. They think that we’re the ‘entitled’ ones (Boomers), but not realizing that the very things that the Boomers did, led to their own sense of ‘entitlement’.

      I’m done with my daughters, and my life is peaceful without them. As Sheri’s analogy over sweets explains so eloquently… I don’t even crave contact with them anymore. Yes, I would love to see my grandchildren, but one is an adult now. If he wants to see me, he can make his own decision to reach out and find out that what his mother has told him about me, after he turned into a teenager, was completely wrong and biased on her part. Until then…

      Reply
  10. Broken-Hearted Mom

    It is very difficult to make sense out of the resentment and bitterness an adult child feels when we authentically tried our best to give her (in our case) a loving and stable upbringing. Ours share some of the same executive functioning deficits as her father; both are very smart people, but emotionally shutdown generally speaking and “miss” a lot of what is going on around them. I cannot live in regret and remorse about that. Her father was always socially awkward; she wasn’t so much as a child–but it got more pronounced as she grew older. Both didn’t see the need for therapy or any kind of intervention-specific help. It’s been very frustrating for me as his wife and her mom. They think they are “fine”; they have no idea how their emotional unavailability, social competency issues, and pride has affected me for not just years–but for decades. I feel like I was too often over-compensating for what was “obvious” to me about them in social situations. Now, she is getting married this summer. We like her fiance a lot, but he has his own issues from his past history with his family of origin. We just found out today the “date” of their wedding. It will be basically an immediate family/on the beach kind of deal. We should be grateful they even inviting us and getting married after nearly 15 years together. All I know is that it has been VERY difficult to navigate a relationship with our only child—when it is clear to us she’d rather have us leave her alone—pretty much all the time! Yet all we can do is accept it. We have no other options. Thanks for letting me vent in this way.

    Reply
  11. Tur km

    This site has been a lifesaver in so many ways. Question: borderline personality disorder – might this be related ? When this abrupt dismissal happened 10 years ago I was devestated, never ‘understood’ – but now wonder more about the root causes.

    Reply
    1. Joan

      I couldn’t figure my husband out for many years after we were married. One day I was the best thing that ever happened to him, the next day I was invisible or worse. Verbal abuse, gaslighting, etc. I think you are right. Love bombing, ‘splitting’, etc. I never heard of BPD until I came across it accidentally, but it made perfect sense. He could be so charming, then turn on you with a viciousness that was perplexing. We made it 36 years but I finally left when he left me at the airport, sick as a dog and throwing up after a trip to Mexico. He took a flight home and I had to find myself a room while sick and delirious.

      Reply
      1. Nancy D.

        I’m sorry your husband did that. I was married for 42 years and he thought he was right about everything. If I suggested that we go eat somewhere he’d find a reason why he didn’t want to. I have balance issues and neuropathy in my feet. He’d never walk with me but would always be in front of me and would walk so fast I couldn’t keep up with him. When my Mom was declining in health he TOLD me that I didn’t need to come and stay with her that there were other people who could. There wasn’t anyone else who could and besides this was my Mom!! I left him then and I have two sons. One told me that I was being selfish and he never wanted to see me again. He has come around and does talk to me know. The older son who is the father of my only granddaughter ignores me. “Forgets” my birthday, rarely responds to texts and I feel like him and my daughter in law have turned my granddaughter against me. She is nine and rarely sends me any texts and will say that she wants to go see Papaw but didn’t say anything about me. I’m not being selfish but it really hurts. I pray for them every night that God will work on their hearts. My daughter in law and I used to be close but now she’s always busy if and when my son does call me. I’m wondering if my son isn’t more like his Dad and self centered than I thought he was. My heart is aching but I’m not going to let this break me!!!!

        Reply
      2. Terri

        Being left at the airport reminds me of my husband many years ago came to the hospital to pick e up with our two newest babies. He was angry because he had a hard time parking!!!!The nurses gave him looks that were empathetic towards me. I feel for pain and you are not alone.?

        Reply
  12. Cami

    It will be 2 years on Mother’s Day. I felt it building up for 4 years, from her first pregnancy when she would tell me advice she received from customers about her pregnancy. I tried to explain it might be best to speak with her doctor if it was concerning, or ask me about her health history as I knew all of it from memory. Marrying into a wealthy family has also caused some blow-back; I think I may be an embarrassment. Going back even farther to age 14 when she met her step-mom-to-be and was asked about my relationship with my mom and who soon gave expensive gifts….this woman became my “influential adversary.”

    There was a nasty text conversation on that Mother’s Day and I attempted to defend myself and then suggested joint counseling as what was happening was unhealthy in my opinion. I have since offered that 4 more times. This was territory unfamiliar to me. I did buy Sheri’s first book, but could’t get past the first couple chapters as it was all too heartbreaking to write anything out or dwell. Ots been easier to read the emails and responses and glean advice I could use.

    Losing the Littles was the most crushing – I had babysat every other Saturday for 3.5 years and was very close to her first-born and the next was only 3 months old. I cried every night for over 6 months. I have sent gifts for all their birthdays and holidays, but only to the children and only by shipping them (we live 10 miles from each other – it’s ridiculous). Never a response except once when she didn’t like what I wrote in a book – that I hoped to read it to them one day. That earned me a threat of an order of protection. I kept sending gifts, but stopped signing cards and books. I’ve no idea who she may have said the gifts were from.

    Then in April my mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Mother refused to let me contact my daughter for her. I paid for that later when she found out, fortunately after Mother passed. 6 months later, who writes a long apology text? Wants lunch together? I think it’s because I began sending items my mom had been saving up for all of them. I sent things Mother had made, I sent heirlooms with notes describing who they had belonged to. I started signing my name again expressing myself to her in writing as I once did, as family.

    I believe in family, heritage, and learning about one’s family history. This woman who I do not trust, who has the potential to be harmful towards my grandchildren now and in the future, who has held my sanity in her hands, is part of my family. I have become far stronger for having had this thrust upon me, but it wasn’t completely a surprise – her father and his family have all these same kinds of traits, as did my mother (though after many difficult life events, she improved).

    There’s not a damn thing I can do about my adult daughter’s bad behaviors or priorities, and I did my very best to rear her to be kind and generous of spirit, but I will not allow her behavior to alter mine. I choose how I respond, and it will always be with kindness.

    We had our first lunch in January and another in March. I explained that my preference was to have some kind of plan in place should we end up repeating this split before I enter the children’s lives again. I do not want to be in any way responsible for harming them. Unfortunately, she didn’t seem to understand and I did mention it again in writing with no response. But she does text or call every week or so with a photo or a question or some kind of news (another on the way…) I’m not stupid – it’s an act. I am an only child and Mother never married. I have a son who isn’t damaging anyone. My daughter isn’t booksmart, she struggled in school, but she’s savvy, like many on her father’s side and like her step-mom, who she considers a friend. She doesn’t want to be financially disowned (she already is – though I have the power to change that – and she doesn’t know it’s not any great amount, but that’s okay as well).

    As long as she’s polite, I’m playing along. I’m not an actress. I deplore fakers, but I am fully capable of small talk and kindness and I’ve had to deal with horrid emale coworkers in my time. I will be a thorn and hot coals.

    She is the mother of my grandchildren. My grandparents used to be especially loving towards me as my mother was very hard on me. I will be that for my grandchildren – I will be their person, in whatever way I am able. Not a doormat; a soft place to land.

    I saw the kids for the first time yesterday. My grandson is 5 now and wise. He softly asked for a hug when my daughter was leaving the room. Breaks my heart, but I was that child too, and I’m going to try to help him be okay with not always receiving what’s given, but still giving of himself. My granddaughter is 2 now and doesn’t know me. She’s shy, but I can see if I’m given an opportunity to know her, she’ll come round quickly.

    I’m aware this could disappear in a flash and be painful for us all, but just as I was with my children, I will be Their Person, for however long I am able…even if it’s again….and again.

    I wish you all peace and love – estrangement IS more painful than a loved one’s death. A death stops the passing of time and aging of the dead. In estrangement I am simply removed from the living and them from me with only questions between us. While I was (and am) capable of living my life without them, laughing, enjoying moments as they are, memories simply bring back the sharp pain of grief. I did get past my daughter’s estrangement, because I do not like who she has become and I was able to differentiate the child from the adult. The grandchildren? Totally different. That was both child and elder abuse. Unconscionable.

    Be blessed.

    Reply
    1. Jeannie M.

      I Have experienced both bereavement of a child and a complete cut off. I feel closer than ever to my dead daughter. My estranged daughter is still out there, hating me. I feel it. I am missing her life and she mine. I can honestly say that it is more painful. I feel for you. I am going through just about everything that you are. It hurts like hell, doesn’t it. Hugs.

      Reply
  13. Donna

    It’s been 5 years estranged from my daughter and three years estranged from grandchild. Only one child and only one grandchild. My whole family // my daughter dad has passed and I’ve remarried. I still have bad days. I don’t think anyone can get over a situation like this.

    Reply
    1. Beth

      I agree. I am still waiting for Change and Peace. I have days I am in shock at where my relationships with my adult Children went. My life revolved around them. They are all successful and have moved on so well. How can they forget me? I am still wrestling in the “why” stage after 2 years. I never thought I would be here. I was a devoted mother. I look back and maybe they were idols in my life.
      There is an upcoming family wedding in September and I already have anxiety and dread . My younger at and sweetest is getting married and I dread seeing everyone. To face those who turned their back on me is an overwhelming thought that looms over me. When will this all be over? When will God provide peace and Joy once again?
      I was the mother I myself had wanted.
      I throw myself into good healthy activities but sometimes I feel as if I am just going through the motions. I am a shadow of my old self. I have a great husband—Their father who is just feeling free and would love nothing more than for me to get over them and forget memory. Still very much stuck.

      Reply
      1. Jan K

        Dear Beth, For your husband’s sake try to get over them…why spend the last years of your life with someone who loves you (your husband) full of gloom and hurt? Just try and compartmentalise your grief for your estranged adult children and when the door of that compartment creaks open, shut it quickly and think of other things, read a book or get involved with some other activity. That is what I try and do and it definitely helps me from wallowing in misery, hurt and disappointment.

        As for the wedding in September, make a huge effort with your appearance, hold your head up and look happy. They WANT to see you hurt and dejected so don’t give them that satisfaction…make sure you appear confident and happy. I totally understand the anxiety you must be going through leading up to the wedding and I have no doubt you just want to get it over and done with. I really sympathise with you.

        Like you, I was the mother I myself always wanted. I used to read my son a story every night, play Lego with him for hours on end, take him to the theatre, cinema, library, swimming, bowling, paint balling…my whole life was dedicated to him. When he grew up he used to say he couldn’t have wished for a better mother and he even used to occasionally invite me out for a drink with one of his best friends, we used to regularly meet for lunch when we were both working in central London…they were happy times. Now he thinks I’m evil and did things that affected his life negatively (all in his mind) and I now keep my distance and, as I said above, put him in that compartment in my mind the door of which tries to open every day. Thankfully I also have a wonderful husband who feels the same way as your husband.

        Reply
  14. Diana B.

    I try to focus on the children of mine who love and care about me. When I am upset about the two estranged ones I find it helps if I pray for them and especially pray that people will come into their lives who will help them in the ways I would help them if they would allow me to be in contact with them. Thank you all for your support!

    Reply
      1. Jo Ann S.

        This is where I am too. A form of love is prayer and I find when I do this I can move on focusing on the people and the joys in my life.

        Reply
    1. REGINA W.

      Thanks. I may try that praying for someone to enter her life who woll guide her. She only can deal with supporters. Enablers.

      Reply
    2. Le Ann

      Thank you, I love that you’re praying for them. I pray for mine, too. I worry about her, even though I know worrying does no good.

      Reply
  15. Rebecca W.

    I somehow just found this today. I too, have experienced alienation from both of my sons after raising them as a single parent with a Disney Dad. So many decades of sacrifice, effort, and love were were put into providing for them. Like several of you have said, after this, and the expectation of growing into older age with our kids and grandkids, that did not happen. So, after all of that loving investment, it’s gone. A negative return on the investment of love. When this happens, your identity gets shattered and you have to work to heal in spite of it at an older age. A real gauntlet. I was totally amazed at the stories and comments I read. “I felt like I was the only one going through this,” seems to be a theme. It was healing in a sad way to see that I wasn’t alone. Thank you all for sharing.

    Reply
    1. Alexandra

      Hi Rebecca, yes I too felt a little better when I saw I was not alone. Not much better, but a little. It’s so hard to have the dream of growing older within a loving family die. My son is now inviting us to some family activities, but the warmth of a family is not there. I want to see my grandsons, and at the same time I get the wound torn open again by his and his wife’s indifference to us. I’m so sorry you have this situation too. It’s a club of sorts that I never imagined I’d belong to.

      Reply
    2. Elizabeth

      Ditto, Ditto & Ditto!
      Well said and exactly how I feel. Thrown away 12 years ago by my only child. Who’s going to pull the plug or bother to bury me? That’s what keeps me up at night…

      Reply
  16. Jo Anne

    Thank you so much for this encouragement, so timely with the ‘twinge for a sweet” hits near the holidays.

    Anyone know the story of the candy necklace? Remember those sugar-candy beads on elastic strings that you could wear as a necklace?

    A little girl purchased a candy necklace one day and was very proud of it. She wore it all day and showed it proudly to everyone. Everyone agreed that her necklace was beautiful. It tasted so sweet. How the little girl adored her treasure! She could not wait for her Father to get home from work so she could show it to Him. She excitedly watched out the window. Her Father’s car pulled into the driveway, and before her Father was out of his car, she stood by the door and excitedly showed him her prize.

    “That’s really wonderful,” said her Father, laughing with her as she danced around, sharing in her delight. His kind eyes gleamed while his expression became serious. “My daughter, do you trust Me?”

    “Yes, Daddy, I trust You! But LOOK at my candy necklace!! I love it!”

    Father spoke with only love. My daughter, will you give Me your candy necklace?” He held out His hand, and a smile teased at the corner of His lips.

    His daughter stopped mid-twirl and became instantly serious. Her hand lifted to cover her necklace protectively. Her face showed confusion. She turned and ran to her bedroom, tears falling down her cheeks. Why would her Daddy want her special prize?

    The above scene repeated for two more evenings. On the 4th evening, the little girl watched for her Father to arrive home. She had a determined look on her face as she chewed one more piece of candy off of the necklace. Finally, her Father came home. She walked up to Him.

    Her Father hugged her and asked her if she trusted Him. Today, the little girl nodded her head “yes”. “Will you give Me your candy necklace?” He held out His hand.

    Slowly, the little girl took off her candy necklace. She placed it into her Father’s hand. He smiled and said to His daughter, “I have been waiting to give you this…” He pulled out a long jewelry box.

    Inside was a beautiful pearl necklace.

    ***I apologize, I heard that story years ago and dont know who to credit as author.

    May God bless us all with healing and a pearl necklace as we surrender our once sweet babies to Him!

    There is so much still ahead for us! My 2 adult daughters sided with their narcissist father and have no relationship with me. I pray for them, but the pain heals a little more here and there. Tho I lost my children, it has blessed me so much to take care of other people’s children. I know that there is much beauty ahead as we lay our children at the feet of the One Who gave them to us. He can fix them, we cant… so while He is caring for them, He has more for us… new hobbies, friends, experiences!! God bless, and I pray we all find joy. When we DO, we REALLY appreciate it!! xxoo

    Reply
    1. Oja

      Praise God! Beautiful. I love the family of friends, brothers and sisters in Christ, that I found once my son’s new wife showed her true colors. I pray for him while having a new focus on my eternal life. xxoo

      Reply
    2. Andrea T.

      Thank you. This is the first time I have read anything like this.
      I am so defeated and appreciate knowing that I am not alone.

      Reply
    3. melanie z.

      thank jo anne for your repsonse.
      i also have had to surrender 5 children to the narcissistic father and his influences. the pain comes and goes, and i have one son left who still truly loves me. he is only 13 and that may change too and i have to prepare myself…….but you are right, surrendering them to G-d to take care of them is the only way. i can still pray and hope for their mental well being, despite the pain.

      thank you for your encousraging words.

      Reply
    4. Jeanne

      I had to also surrender my adult children to their narcs fathers influence. I tried for years to defend myself…and to try and make them see that their father’s illusions about me…are just wrong! It only made our relationship worse…with “don’t talk about dad” being their mantra! (my “kids” are in their 30’s) My goal was merely to get them to see the TRUTH…not to accuse or tear anyone down..the way the narc did for 20 years!! Through my son’s addiction trauma…their dad used that demonic energy to gain power through their fears and demonise me in their eyes. Its very sad…but I DO see my grandkids! I will move away from them someday when my grandkids are older. The thing that has helped me…is giving it all up to God and when I have painfl thoughts …I say “Isn’t it great that God is in control?”…”Isn’t it wonderful that I don’t have to torture myself anymore with WHY? or HOW?”…I can just live my life now…try this it really works!!

      Reply
      1. Susan

        Thanks Jeanne, my thoughts are with you I once had it described as Stockholm Syndrome. When the Narcissist emotionally controls the Adult Children. They are too scared to go against anything the Narcissist demands. My Children are now 45 and 43 and I said enough is enough 8 years ago. I think about possible reconciliation now and then and smile to myself why would I want to step back into the hornets nest of a toxic abusive situation again it will not have changed, they are now unfortunately his flying monkeys.

        Reply
    5. carole

      Your first line is the same as mine, only 1 daughter, but the same self centered father who passed away 12 years ago or more. I saw my grandsons 8 years ago and while at my daughter’s I noticed a picture that covered one wall of her office. Who was that?.. a portrait of her Dad. The sugar Daddy that spoiled her rotten, After we were divorced .Reading these stories is unbelievable to me, as I was sure that I was the only one to have this devictating experience. I go through a phase and deal with it by looking after my own life, but then it comes around again. I send emails, they are ignored. I want to see my grandsons, one who is graduating soon, and asked to be invited to the graduation. No response. It feels like I am a masochist. This isn’t healthy. Why am I doing this to myself. I keep hoping, but it is just torture. Yes, I have to realliy and truly leave it up to the creator. It is out of my hands. Thank you all for sharing. What a revelation, and such an encouragement to know that I am not alone.

      Reply
  17. Linda

    Hi, I’m new on this site and I cannot believe how many other people are going through the same thing as me. I’ve felt like a failure recently for the fact I have lost my two daughters and the pain of loss has been eating me alive. My estrangement is fairly recent and I’ve been going out of my mind trying to work out what has happened to my beautiful family as neither daughter will tell me. Thankfully I still have my autistic adult son who lives with me and he is a huge support. I will definitely get these books and keep reading on here as it is a huge comfort for me as I navigate these new waters xx

    Reply
    1. Sophia

      Linda, I’m sorry that you find yourself in this sad situation. As you read the articles &comments here, you will see that estrangement is a pandemic. Many of us are never given a reason & the cutoff seems wildly unexpected.

      It’s been 2 years for me. It’s been an emotional roller-coaster.

      Practice self-care. Prioritize yourself. Understand that the cause of estrangement often is nothing you did.

      I hope you’ll find resources, support & strength here.

      Hugs!

      Reply
    2. Mabel

      dear Linda.
      I’ve been in this group for 2 years and I couldn’t believe that there are so many rejected parents ignored or simply left out.

      I felt totally crazy. I had 2 attempts to take my life without even realizing it. I just closed my eyes while driving. I couldn’t help it.
      Day by day the comments of the other members and Sheri’s words helped me understand that there is no answer to why we are rejected. maybe we will never know. We just have to try to cope with it. Support yourself in this group. It’s wonderful. Read other parents. and it begins to feel that you tried to be the best mother you could. and that’s enough for them to treat you well.

      blessings Linda. Let’s try to be strong.

      Reply
    3. Leah

      I, too am new to this site…never thought I would be in this situation. I know why this happened though. Our younger daughter met a “guy” …a controlling, manipulative and narcissistic man and has not only turned her back on us…but her children as well. I thank God we can be here for them…is is their father being there for them as well. They are 23 and 17…and so hurt. My husband is a mess about this emotionally…depressed…panic attacks..shortness of breath…he is 84 …and this has happened in the last 18 months. It is on her if anything happens to him and she hasn’t seen him…knows he is not well…..
      She will regret this in so many ways…if and when her kids have kids…not being a grandparent….not being a part of a family who celebrate holidays together…go on trips together….and get nothing when we are gone.
      I hurt…get bitter at times…and can’t figure what we did so wrong in that 50 years she was in our family. We have friends of our other daughter’s who have “adopted” us …and so we go on…not sure If I even want her back….

      Reply
  18. Sherry r.

    My youngest one dumped me either 12 or 13 yrs. Ago. I suffered Greatly in every possible way. I am 74 and will go to heaven knowing what crimes i am guility of. I went through great bouts of depression, seeing a shrink, being on and off antidepressants. My church helped me!

    I knew from day one that it was hopeless and usless to hope for any forgivenesses nor mercies from her and i was right!
    She took the cowardly exit out of it while for 10 yrs. I hung in there. After 10 yrs. I gave in
    She is the grand winner!!!!
    I still cry. She told me i was crazy, mentally ill, very, very disturbed. I have a broken heart caused by betrayl and rejection from a soul whom i never, ever thought would ever do this to me!!

    I take blame for it all even though i will never be told the crimes i am guility of.

    It is called forgiveness and i guess that some people grasp on to total and pure hatred and DO NOT KNOW FOGIVENESS!

    I am only healing now and getting to like the person i am getting to know that being myself.

    I feel indifference towards her and have no respect for her at all!!!
    I pray a lot!

    This will always be with me but it lessens up@

    Reply
    1. Kate

      Sherry r.,
      I know exactly how you feel. I haven’t seen or talked to my ED in almost 10 years. This is my second estrangement with her in the last 20+ years. I did the same as you, for so long I hung in there hoping & trying to get her back into my life. I foolishly thought we loved one another, (I knew I loved her). But I finally gave up—it will never happen. She simply doesn’t care and she’s become someone I don’t really want to know anymore—not to mention all the lies she’s spread about me to everyone on social media, etc. I could NEVER trust someone like that again!
      Please take care of yourself. —– Kate

      Reply
    2. Lynn S.

      Hi Sherry & All,

      Both of my son’s have rejected me and chosen their dad and his new wife as their family. My youngest child moved in with them full time when he was 16 and my own mum was dying of cancer.

      There was no discussion, conversation or anything – he just did not come he from school in January 2020 and when I called him he didn’t answer the phone. I then hit a text saying I’m not coming home, I’m living with dad full time and will be round to collect my things at some point this week.

      I begged him when he did come round not to do this. In his naivety he said he would still see me but I knew he was being taken away. I had felt it happening slowly but not been able to articulate it or understand.

      My mum died 13th January and to be honest I have not grieved for her because I have been in so much grief over my children.

      I have tried to stay in touch but it is not right, I am ignored. Picked up and responded to at random times – I have put up with it all to be part of their lives.

      I actually tried to take my own life in August 2021 and ended up in hospital. I spent 6 sessions with a very good psychiatrist but only 6 and I could not find a counsellor I could talk to about this.

      To be honest, I struggle to talk about it. I try to cope with life by playing tennis, going to the gym, self help books, mindfulness ‍♀️ and have been on that journey for a number of years. But when the grief hits me, it overwhelms me. I cry, cry is not the word. I hyper ventilate with my heart breaking, I also cry – I can cry at work (working from home) the crying can take over for days and I eat chocolate and fall off my diet. The darkness takes hold and I try to hold on but I always let go and give in to it.

      I bought the book years ago (not sure when but before Christmas 2022, probably autumn 2021 and I am now reading past chapter 1 and currently need to do the exercises of chapter 3.

      I am at a point where I believe I have to let go, stop trying – I can not survive if I continue to try and be ignored. I believe my children have been manipulated by my ex husband and more his new wife (from things my son said to me this Christmas)

      Mother’s Day this year – my eldest 23 contacted me to ask for money – after several texts he said happy Mother’s Day – boys at 23 – I was happy to be in touch with him and took what I could.

      My youngest posted a photo on be real that night – he is at uni but was back home with his dad, dads wife and her mum. I was so upset with this photo – how can my son not contact me on Mother’s Day – and post a photo of him with his dad, dads wife and her mum? My mum has passed away and he chose that time to walk away and leave me. I do not understand how his dad and his wife can think this is healthy for my son? To cut off emotionally from his own him?

      I am so hurt and broken by this whole thing but I think I’m at the point where I am realising I have to walk away for my own sanity. I sent this message to my youngest –

      I am not sure what goes through your mind when you think of me – I love you very much. I am your mum and I miss you every day. But I can’t carry on with you ignoring calls like you did at Christmas and not speaking to me for long periods of time. I want you in my life but I want the relationship to be a genuine relationship where we discuss things and can build a solid relationship. It is extremely upsetting for me when you cut me out without discussing it. We were very close and a lot of it doesn’t make sense. I will leave you to contact me when you are ready. My door is always open – I love you very much xxx

      No response

      This is the first time I have posted and hopefully the cycle of despair and grief is going to start to change for me. I am not sure the grief will ever go – I know I need to write a different positive debts be about that – but it’s a maternal instinct from deep within – I miss my children so much and I want to share their lives. But I don’t want to be mistreated, contacted randomly and then dropped and feel like a worthless human, rejected, ignored and I’m sure I could go on.

      I am now seeing overwhelming evidence that I am going to have to walk away – but do I write a letter to each child? Do I write to my ex husband? Do I try to explain my feelings? Do I continue to buy birthday cards and put money in the bank? Or do I really well and truly let it go and walk away?

      The cycle of trying and giving has left me shattered into pieces – my eldest son came to stay over Christmas – asked me to pay off £3500 of rent arrears for him. I did pay them, put them on a credit card I’m still laying back now. He is not replying to messages or phone calls now.
      I’m not calling anymore.

      I’m broken, sad but also I think I am building strength to truly fight for me and it’s becoming more and more clear to me that letting go of all this is perhaps the only way forward for me and the only choice I can make.

      Reply
      1. Dorothy

        Over the past 4 years, I have emailed my son who lives abroad, many times, saying much the same as you have. Always expressing my love and telling him I am always there for him. He shuns me, having originally sent me a long rambling, incoherent email listing my failings as a mother, and saying he would not contact me again. I won’t try to convince anyone he has had a great deal of my time, money and love spent on him, without him ever having to ask for it. I am no saint, but not a negligent parent either. This January 2023, I decided not to message him again for the rest of the year. Getting no response to messages is like being slapped in the face over and over again. I would advise you, kindly, to stop contacting these two selfish souls, and they might come to wonder why you have turned off the love. Don’t let them break you further. I send you a hug – Dorothy

        Reply
    3. Jan L.

      Sherry,
      My heart goes out to you and I’ll share my story….maybe it might be helpful for you.
      My son is my only child…he is 30….and he was the cutest, smartest little guy when he was very young.
      Something happened, I think, when he was in elementary school as some bizarre behaviors popped up and I made sure to get him the mental health counseling, and medication, that we figured would be best for him. As the years went by, things got worse and he got into marijuana at an early age. He tried booze but he was able to stop drinking as it was the marijuana he preferred.
      By the time he was in his mid teens, and had been to a number of behavioral residential schools (his diagnosis started as ADHD, then Bipolar, then Conduct Disorder) nothing improved for long and he quit school. In my side of the family, that is unheard of! I had to lower my expectations a whole lot!
      But, at that point, I realized that I would be ok if he could just get his act together and stop the marijuana, cruel/unhinged behavior, and keep a job. Nothing really improved. At 19, he and his girlfriend had their first child, followed by another child about a year 1/2 later. Thankfully, they split up….he had put her through the ringer! The good news is that she found a very nice fellow and married him….the kids have a good male role model now. Over the years, my son and I had 2 estrangements, each about 1 year in length. Finally, at the 3rd estrangement…..which I had no problem with, by the way!….I decided enough was enough. His cruel, accusing emails were horrible….way out in left field! At the end of one of them, he wrote: Goodbye Mom”. Lovely, eh? I will always be thankful that I have had Alanon groups to go to for almost 35 years…..it taught me how to detach with love and to set my healthy boundaries.
      I did not and do not deserve to be treated so viciously and so I have not made any moves to reunite with him. Actually, during the first two estrangements, I didn’t make a move to reunite either….he did.
      However, as I say, enough is enough and after both of those estrangements, when I had high hopes for things to turn out well, the 3rd time was the deal breaker!
      He has stopped wanting to see his two children, who are now 11 and 10….his comment about that was that maybe he’ll visit with them when they are older. Really?! They may not want to have anything to do with him by then….and I would not blame them. They have moved to a different town and I will never let my son know where they are…..I promised their mother and I will keep that promise. They are happy where they are and she no longer has to put up with my son’s incredibly mean behavior.
      At this point, I don’t really care much what his diagnosis is anymore…..what I sense is both Narcissistic Personality Disorder, as well as Sociopathic behavior. I know that sounds a bit severe, but I have studied the symptoms over the years, and my son is basically card-carrying for both of those diagnosis.
      Neither of those can be cured, either, and I have had to face that.

      There are many times when I wish I had two children instead of one. What are the odds that both of they would turn out the same? I grew up where my only sibling turned out to be a sociopath and I grew up just the opposite.
      My son has walked past our house a number of times, over the past year or so, and even left a note on my porch…..just his full name and phone number. I have not responded and do not intend to.
      There is a saying in the 12-Step programs: Walk the Talk, Don’t Just Talk the Talk. He would have to show me any improvements, prove he is in counseling and taking meds if need be and is sober.
      I do not trust him and I feel that I do not know him…..a sad commentary from a mom about her own child, but I am being very truthful. There is another saying I have heard: “I brought him into this world, but I am not going to let him take me out!” I hope my sharing can help some other parents feel that they are definitely not alone and that there is strength in putting yourself first, setting up your “boundaries” and not assuming that things will automatically change if your adult child contacts you.
      Remember the sentence:; Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result just doesn’t work.

      Reply
  19. Lisa R.

    Hello, Beloved Community,

    Just want to let you know that Etsy.com is once again extending an opportunity to block Mother’s Day advertisements from email accounts. I took advantage of that last year and will do so again this year.

    I have also been thinking that when I receive these advertisements from other companies that I will contact them and request a similar opt-out. I feel as though the message about this widespread abuse has to get out and one way to do so is to hit the advertisers. Not trying to start a revolution here, but small steps like this help me to feel empowered.

    Sending love, hugs, and peace to all,
    Lisa R.

    Reply
    1. Cathy T.

      Hi Lisa, What a great idea! I will also refrain from looking at social media as my estranged daughter posts comments about not being able to find a Mother’s Day card for a mom who isn’t there for her (what the heck?). Recently I reached out to a couple of my daughter’s friends, whom I’ve known since they were in grade school and who’s parents are my friends as well, to ask for insight as to my daughter’s behavior. They could not understand or give me any reasons for her behavior toward me and encouraged me to continue to reach out to her, even though she has lashed out at them also. Yesterday I called her to “talk” and she was upset that I contacted “her friends” (one of them told her I asked about her) and didn’t ask her directly…..so again I tried to encourage her to tell me why she has chosen to cut us off from her life and my grandchildren. All she could repeat was that she has told me many times, it’s not one thing it’s many and she would not go through it again….when I tried to tell her that she hasn’t shared the “things” that cause our fractured relationship, she denies it, tells me to stop asking others but she doesn’t want to go through it with me herself…..I told her I reach out for understanding and insight and no other reason and that I care deeply about her and want to know what I’ve done to cause her anger. She again replied that she doesn’t want to bring up “everything” again….what this is I still do not know! So contradicting herself she is angry that I ask others for help instead of her but when I ask her directly she tells me I need to go the a therapist and “look at myself”. I have done so much soul searching and I have seen a therapist but to no avail to come up with answers. Sheri’s book has helped but it is still so difficult. My son and daughter in law are as perplexed as I am about the whole thing.

      Reply
      1. rparents Post author

        Dear Cathy,

        If I could tell you just one thing, it would be that as long as you focus on her, your daughter who will not talk, will not explain, will not let you in, and who blames you … as long as you continue to focus on her, you will remain in a space of being perplexed. Honor yourself for all you have attempted … and focus on what is within your power: Your own behavior. Your own thinking. Your own life. Your own forward momentum. Etc etc etc. You are worthy of so much more. Give that freedom to take care of yourself now. Allow yourself to let it go, even for just right now. See what you can accomplish for your own happiness, joy, self-development, other people who are in your life, your neighbors, your city, your state … the world. You go girl!
        🙂
        Big hugs. I believe in you.
        Sheri McGregor

        Reply
    2. Cynthia S

      Hi Lisa,
      Thank you for the information. I will definitely take advantage of that. When you have been rejected just because your child decides they don’t want you in their life even though you have been a good parent its unbelievable. My loving sweet kind daughter stopped talking to me seven months ago. Every time I tried to reach out to her I was told I was harassing her, even when all I would say is I Love You. She has changed since she married her highschool sweetheart. I don’t even know the person she is now. Four months after my daughter stopped communicating with me for NO reason, my mother died. So Mother’s Day will be a double whammy for me this year and one I would like to ignore. I never knew there were so many other decent parents out there that have been treated this way by their ungrateful children. At least I know I’m not alone in my hours and hours of wondering WHY.

      Reply
    3. ME

      I no longer give my estranged (for 10 years) adult (28 years old) daughter (our only child) the power to decide whether or not I am a mother. I have a say in that as well. I AM a mother, and this Mother’s day, as I did last year, I send myself flowers to celebrate the mother I have been. I attached a note describing what I have been proud of in terms of the ways I mothered my daughter.
      We haven’t communicated for years. I am 70 years old, and last year I decided to forgive her; not for her sake , but for mine. I am choosing to not be chained by anger, hurt, and loss of hopes and dreams. It pollutes my life. It damages my health and takes away from my ability to enjoy what is still out there to enjoy.
      There are moments of sadness, moments of almost a physical ache to hug her as I used to; Yet, I experience many more moments of joy, laughter, and gratitude.
      I am worthy of forgiving her and forgiving myself!!!

      Reply
      1. Bodhi

        Dear ME,

        Your story resonated with me. I am 72, and have an estranged, adopted daughter, who is 26. She has been estranged for a year, ever since she secretly got a sketchy boyfriend, and refused to introduce hind to us. I know I was a good mom. I was devoted to her, and always was there for her, even when she was arrested for shoplifting etc. We had many trips, many great times together. Her father has some contact with her, but she has also abused him, and lied to him repeatedly. I’ve requested that she write me a short letter, to explain her position, but no response. I do not reach out, as we never had a fight, and she is the one who left the family. She now lives with that boyfriend, and has basically nothing to do with us. I know that this happens more often in adopted cases, but I never thought she could betray me like this. I loved her, and wish her the best, but I must move on with my life. I paint, read, exercise and meet with friends, I hope you can also move on, as it seems you are already doing just that. Cheers.
        Bodhi

        Reply
  20. 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.

    Reply
    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.

      Reply
      1. Leah

        Dear Jayne,
        You are letting them walk all over you in the hope they will “love” you and show you respect for all you do. Send them out on their own. It will make them stronger and let them see what you have gone through for them .
        Be strong..you are entitled to a life of your own.

        Reply
    2. Diane

      You are not alone. May you continue to move forward, we are all beside you. We all have a story with the same gutting outcome. Don’t let this horror define you, become a million other things. Divert your attention to anything else you can think of. Make it a habit. One day you will find yourself feeling good. Bravo!!

      Reply
    3. Lynn S.

      I understand and hope you are able to get there – I feel the same devastation and I am growing stronger and know I can not tolerate everything being one sided any longer.

      Not sure how my journey will go as just starting it (it’s been going on for 7 years with my eldest son and nearly 3 with my youngest) but I’m just starting the journey of I can’t put up with this anymore – trying and being kind and putting up with being disregarded and not valued or thought of .. I’m not walking into that willingly anymore because they are my children and I love them.

      I do love them but I have to love me and if I’m going to survive I have to move forward and sadly I think walking away is the ONLY choice I have.

      Sending love ❤️

      Reply
      1. Kim B

        Lynn – like you, I am new to this too.
        My son is a different person since he got married – i do not recognize him. Our family used to be so close, and my son & I would talk a couple times a week because we both commuted to work at the same time.

        When he married 5 years, i knew he had a new lady in his life. I understood things would change. I knew I would not get the chats a couple of times a week, but there was always a loving relationship between him and me. Now, i don’t even know him. My son rarely contacts us. If i send a text inviting them for a BBQ, it’s cricket cricket! He never calls his dad or me even just to see how we are doing. We do still talk on occasion, but i feel like an obligation and not that he is doing it because he wants to talk. I don’t understand. A few months ago, I asked him if I had done something to upset him, and he told me i was a downer and he chooses to be around happy people. I was flabbergasted! I am a happy, loving person — i love life, I love family — I love everything! Until now.

        This has been a sad, depressing 5 years for me. It seems when I get myself put together and I’m going to keep living my life, i see him and all the sad emotions come up. His wife does not look at me when she is talking (she looks at everyone else), she has twisted my words and the end result was my son calling me an telling me i was out of line! For what — I don’t know. My daughter was with me and my daughter-in-law and heard the conversation and she was just as confused as me as to what i did/said that was so out of line! Recently we were at my daughter’s surprise birthday party and our son & his wife left & never said goodbye. I am trying not to put any expectations on anyone, but i guess the meaning of “mother” doesn’t mean the same anymore.

        I am getting to the point where i am thinking the best thing for me to do is stop reaching out and trying to have any kind of relationship with him & his wife for that matter. They have a 2 year old — my only grand daughter and I do not see her very much either. it is heart breaking.

        I miss the old happy Kim. This Kim is sad and lonely and it is getting old. I do not have anyone to talk to — well my daughter, but i do not want to burden her with this sadness although she is feeling it too because her brother is different towards her too.
        My husband is not emotionally savvy at all, so I feel very very lonely a lot.

        Reading all these posts gives me a little comfort that i am not alone and other families are going through this. But it is sad, that there is no cure or solution to bringing back the relationship.

        I love my son & miss him a lot!, but like the writers above, i know that if I’m going to survive, i have to walk away.

        I too, am sending love to everyone who is going through this. ❤️

        Reply
        1. Mabel

          I’m going through the same thing as you Kim. I understand everything you say. The feeling that if they communicate or respond to a message is an obligation. They don’t want to see you or be part of their life. It is very sad . I also have another son who I don’t want to burden with my grief and a husband who doesn’t contain me or support me. this group has been my only salvation and Sheri. I believe and agree that sometimes it is better not to call them more than necessary and try as little as possible. since according to his criteria we are guilty of something that only happened in his imagination. We are no longer their mothers, only those who brought them into this world and they owe us nothing, not even love.

          Reply
  21. 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.

    Reply
    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.

      Reply
    2. Mary

      Hope, I can relate to your journey. I have 2 grown children with whom their father and I shared a very close relationship. Even into their adulthood we remained close. My daughter and her father and I remain very close. She is a single mom, solo actually, who suffers from epilepsy, has a learning disabled son, and one child that has health issues, sometimes life threating.

      15 years ago, My son married a woman who was a young widow. No children were involved, but her first marriage was rocky, and then her husband died in a terrible auto accident. She witnessed this and I am sure left her with PTSD. She also has abandonment issues with her mother. I think she felt very threatened about our close relationship with our son, and is very resentful that I have such a good relationship with my daughter. My son is unsympathic, and is jealous of his sister. His wife is also verbally abusive to him, to us and hates our daughter,even denied our daughter’a request to stay for a day or two after a major natural disaster in our area. My DIL denied this to our son, when in fact she told me no herself. We decided to leave their home then and there and returned to our area hoping to find our home in tact , as everything was destroyed

      . Over the years, our planned trips to visit have been cancelled, we have been uninvited, one excuse after another. Our gifts we send or bring the children are never good enough, too big, already have this or that, what the “hell where we thinking when we purchased some toys, the money we send, never enough, and complaints of them having to buy things for their kids with the money we did send. It was nearly 2 years before they even came for a visit, a drop by just to show face, as they were on their way to visit her side of the family, which they often do. They spend very little time with us.

      Their young children are a handful, and don’t listen to correction, and I get reprimended for attempting to correct behaviors. I get anxious and overwhelmed when I do go there from having to walk on egg shells around their mother. She is at her worst, when I go alone without my husband. We have even have had to suddenly leave because she was not happy with us for one reason or another.

      I later found out from someone who asked me about my daughter in law, where she was from, and her name was the same as the one given. She knew my daughter in law and in fact was related by marriage to her late husband. This woman warned me to be very careful, as she would tear my family apart, and it looks like she has. She did the same to her late husband’s family.

      For the last 5 weeks, My son has been very angry with me for not having canceled my plans with taking care of my daughter, right after she suffered a seizure , and could not leave town. I had to stay with his sister at her house to help her take care of her children. I declined the request to go for the weekend to babysit his children, as his wife had plans with their older child and he was on call for his work. They did not want to cancel their plans, nor hire a sitter for the day. I explained that I had other dire commitments that warranted my time. I offered other alternatives, to meet me in there hometown to take the children home with me for the weekend. Of course that did not meet their expectations. So no workable solution was not achieved. I am now the bad person, for quickly saying no to their request. Because of this infraction on my part, the roller coaster ride of being “ghosted” has once again begun. I am tired of the emotional roller coaster ride with those two. It has happened before because I disrespected my DIL for standing up for myself when I told her to stop the verbal abuse toward me. I had, had enough of her badgering and her “woe is me” rhetoric. Wrong thing for me to do. I was the bad person each and everytime. She constantly badgers my son, and he does speak up. She has even tried to turn my grandchild away from me when I expressed my frustration by saying a curse word, “dammit” at a situation, but not at my grandchild. She grabbed my grandchild and ran out of the room like I had the plague. Then she returned with her child and coached this 5 year old to reprimand me for the slip of the tongue. I was shocked beyond belief, when she says horrible things towards me in front of her children. I decided then and there, I had, had enough abuse and I would not go out of my way any longer to accommodate them in time of their needs or requests for a baby sitter.

      I don’t play one child against the other. Our daughter is a solo parent and at times not well enough to take care of herself and needs our support to get back on her feet from her disorder and my son and DIL view it as favoritism,which it is not. My son knows my relationship with his wife is a slippery one, and I have told him in the past, that I do not want to put any more strain on this relationship by visiting her and upsetting her with us being there. He has in the past also mentioned that he told her to be on her best behavior when we were there to be nice to us, not to find fault with us and to keep the ugly remarks to herself. Her mother had even witnessed her verbal abuse toward me and apologized to me for her unkind behavior and assured me that she also gets her verbal wrath.

      Do I think my DIL is a narcissist? I don’t know what she is. My son once said for me to never make him choose his mother or his wife, because I would he on the loosing side. That thought, I am sure came from his wife, because it NEVER came from his father or I. We were appalled to say the least. Time and time again, year after year, we have endured hell from this woman. My son does see it, and has even mentioned that he would like to get out of this relationship, but it is too late. I encouraged him to seek counseling with his wife. He is tired, overwhelmed, and hurt I know, because I hear it in his voice whenever the roller coaster ride was coasting. Now it is dead silence. No response, no concern for his sister and her family, just resentment and no communication. Am I hurt? No, just bewildered as to what my next step is. Do I continue to try and reach out, do I wait for him to reach out to us? Do I say goodbye to this relationship, knowing, the man my son has become, is not the same young man that we were once so close to and had fun loving relationship with. There is a hole in our hearts;his father, myself and his sister. So sad…we have tightened our seat belts and are preparing for the wrath to come. We have tried and tried time and time again to be silent, to be less noticed, to try harder, to be more loving and understanding. We just can’t win and are at a great loss. I think it is time for us to move on and close this chapter but not the book…

      Reply
  22. 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.

    Reply
    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. 🙁

      Reply
    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.

      Effie

      Reply
    3. Laurie O.

      You JUST wrote my story….word for word and I’m not even kidding. I remain heartbroken but am trying so so hard to accept this and put one foot in front of the other. I cannot believe the similarities, down to the length of the estrangement, number of grandchildren, (whom I’ve never met as well) an only child, and I was very very close to him. Unbelievable

      Reply
    4. John

      Hi Wendy
      Your story is very familiar. My son has also cut off all contact with myself and my wife.
      We think this is due ti the influence of his partner. She has also cut off all contact with her mother and father and her only brother.
      Although we have always done our utmost for our son he accuses me, his father, of not supporting him which is a travesty.
      I hope things change for the better for you in future Wendy.
      Best wishes from the UK
      .

      Reply
  23. 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.

    Reply
    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.

      Reply
  24. 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.

    Reply
    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.

      Reply
    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.

      Reply
    3. Patty S

      You may want to talk to him before it happens, that is exactly what my youngest daughter does. She never comes in ti sit and chat at alll, but yet she goes to her dads house and visits with him and his wife and her adult children. It breaks my heart, but not a thing I can do about it. Yes, that is what’s happening before your eyes, I’m so sorry. My oldest daughter is totally estranged from me. She has her bachelors in psychology and it wasn’t until she went to college that the estrangement took place. I thought she was just busy, having fun, working and just didn’t have time for me. But the whole time she was putting me behind her. There is so much more but once they make up there mind ti never have anything to do with you again, that’s it. Not all the pleading, begging m, crying or asking what’s wrong will be acknowledged. I have learned to just let them be, I get my two grandsons on some weekends when it’s good for them. My granddaughter, my oldest daughter child will never really know me the way I see it now but every chance I get to let her know her Nana Patty loves her, I take it. I wished I had some advice for you, but just leave them be. He may come to his senses but don’t count on it. Best to you.

      Reply
  25. 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.

    Reply
  26. 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.

    Reply
    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.

      Reply
  27. 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.

    Reply
    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.

      Reply
    2. Laura

      Eve,

      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.

      Reply
    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.

      Reply
    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.

      Reply
    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.

      Reply
    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.

      Reply
  28. 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.

    Reply
    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

      Reply
  29. 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.

    Reply
    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
      Uma.

      Reply
    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

      Reply
    3. Mary

      I also believe it’s the entitlement age and I gave way too much. This new estrangement from my son has certainly caused me to really look back and assess his childhood and early adult years. Long story short, I can see where he showed signs of entitlement at a young age. I have been manipulated and used by my son for many years. Now that the money has been cut off, so have I. I thought we were close but I was mistaken. To those of you out there that have spent a fortune trying to “help” your child, save your money!!! I’m sure I will never recover it, even though that was the agreement. It’s suddenly all his “fathers” money, who is deceased. I gave everything to my children, like most of you have. Unconditional love, mainly. I’m just hoping he’ll come to his senses and think about the wonderful childhood he had but I doubt that’s going to happen. My mother passed away two weeks after he cut me off. If that didn’t bring him to contact me then I doubt much else would.

      Reply
    4. Diane H.

      Same happened to me at my daughter’s wedding. My children used the occasion to behave appallingly towards me. Of course, everything was great on the day I went wedding gown shopping with my daughter and when I paid $4000 for her dress. After being chased out of the wedding, I cashed up my holidays at work to help pay off the dress. I must be an absolute nightmare lol!!

      Reply
  30. 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.

    Reply
    1. Andrea A.

      Cherie,
      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.

      Reply
  31. 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.

    Reply
    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.

      Reply
  32. 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!!

    Reply
    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.)

      Reply
      1. Linda T.

        Tara
        I so agree with you. I have just read a reply to a letter from a distraught mother whose AC had estranged herself and her children because she didn’t like something her mother said. The reply was so harsh – basically saying that the woman deserved the treatment. The poor woman was now very elderly and sick, her husband now disabled. No one should be treated like this and I agree that it seems everyone assumes it is always the parents’ fault. It is not.
        In my case, my husband and I did everything we could for my ED. When she met a man we welcomed him into our home and family but I believe he was twisting my words and putting ideas into her head, behind our backs. She became pregnant very quickly after meeting him and we were delighted for her as she was getting on and had always wanted children. Before she had her daughter, she asked me to look after her child when she returned to work part time and I agreed to this. Then she had a difficult birth and started being abusive to me when I visited – yelling at me for suggesting there was something wrong that her baby was feeding day and night and she looked ill. (It turned out I was right – the baby started to lose weight as she couldn’t feed properly due to severe tongue tie. But things seemed to go from bad to worse. We were never allowed to look after her (or even hold her much) and then covid struck. My ED came to see me to ask for financial help which I readily agreed to. But there was no ‘thanks mum, that’s a relief’. Instead there was just a strange look. When furlough came in, and during lockdown, she wouldn’t answer her phone. Texts were short and not always sweet. She lived 3 streets away and went out for a walk every day but never even walked past to give us a wave. It got worse from there, we were not welcome at her home and when I finally tackled her about what was happening, she called me ‘manipulating, selfish, unkind and unsupportive’. I said ‘but I’ve offered lots of help’ and her reply was ‘we don’t want that kind of support’. She was happy enough to accept financial support through university and a deposit on a flat!
        You are right – being kin doesn’t make it ok to abuse people and I put up with such a lot of it. I still have my moments when I get upset but have decided that no one has the right to be so nasty to me, and to her lovely father who couldn’t do enough for her. I believe they realise how much power they have – it’s all on their side because they have what you want – grandchildren. Well, luckily we didn’t get a chance to bond with her children (she now has another child whom we have never seen – another bone of contention as she blames me for this but her behaviour around the birth was awful and she had already said we would not get to see him! Really, it is bullying.
        I believe people like the agony aunt replying to this poor woman and many counsellors encourage this behaviour by telling ACs that their parents are ‘toxic’ and it is about time there was a change of attitude in society, which should make these ACs ashamed of their actions and have respect for their family and elders.

        Reply
  33. 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.

    Reply
  34. 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.

    Reply
    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.

      Reply
  35. 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

    Reply
    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.

      Bodhi

      Reply
    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!!

      Reply
    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.

      Reply
  36. 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.

    Reply
    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.

      Reply
    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!!!!!

      Reply
  37. 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”)

    Reply
    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.

      Reply
  38. 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 .

    Reply
    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

      Reply
    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.

      Reply
    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

      Reply
    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.

      Reply
    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

      Reply
    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

      Reply
    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!”

      Reply
    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.

      Reply
    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 .

      Reply
  39. 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.

    Reply
    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

      Reply
    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.

      Reply
    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.

      Reply
    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.

      Reply
    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.

      Reply
    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.

      Reply
    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.

      Reply
    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.

      Reply
  40. 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.

    Reply
    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.

      Reply
    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.

      Reply
  41. 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.

    Reply
  42. 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.

    Reply
    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,

      Cindy

      Reply
    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.

      Reply
    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

      Reply
    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.

      Reply
  43. Gina

    Sherri,
    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.

    Reply
    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.

      Reply
    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.

      Reply
  44. 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

    Reply
    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.

      Reply
    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

      Reply
    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.

      Cindy

      Reply
    4. Karen

      Debbie,
      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.

      Reply
    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.

      Reply
  45. 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!

    Reply
    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:)

      Reply
  46. 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.

    Reply
    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.

      Reply
  47. 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.

    Reply
    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

      Reply
  48. 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.

    Reply
    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…

      Reply
  49. 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).

    Reply
  50. 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.

    Reply
  51. 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.

    Reply
    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

      Reply
    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!!!

      Reply
    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.

      Reply
  52. 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!

    Reply
  53. 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

    Reply
    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

      Reply
    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.

      Reply
  54. 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.

    Reply
    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.

      Reply
    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.

      Reply
    3. Gina

      Maureen
      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

      Gina

      Reply
  55. 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.

    emily38

    Reply
    1. rparents Post author

      emily38,
      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.

      Hugs,
      Sheri McGregor

      Reply
    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.

      Reply
    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).

      Reply
  56. 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

    Reply
    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.

      Reply
  57. 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.

    Reply
    1. SueAnne H.

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

      Reply
    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.

      Reply
    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.

      Reply
    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!

      Reply
  58. 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.

    Reply
    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.

      Reply
    2. 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.

      Reply
    3. 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.

      Reply
    4. 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♡

      Reply
      1. 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.

        Reply
  59. 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

    Reply
  60. 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.

    Reply
    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!
      Toni

      Reply
    2. Teresa

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

      Reply
  61. 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.

    Reply
  62. 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

    Reply
  63. 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 .

    Reply
  64. 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!
    Peace

    Reply
  65. 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.

    Reply
    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

      Reply
    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.

      Reply
    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.

      Reply
  66. 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.

    Reply
    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 .

      Reply
    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…

      Reply
  67. 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.

    Reply
    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.

      Reply
  68. 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.

    Reply
    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.

      Reply
  69. 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.

    Reply
    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.

      Reply
  70. 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..

    Reply
  71. 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

    Reply
    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 🙁

      Reply
    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

      Reply
    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.

      Reply
    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.

      Reply
    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.

      Reply
    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.

      Reply
    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.

      Reply
    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

      Reply
    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.

      Reply
    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.

      Reply
  72. 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!

    Reply
  73. 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.

    Reply
    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.

      Reply
  74. 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.

    Reply
    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!

      Reply
    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.

      Reply
  75. 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.

    Reply
    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.

      Reply
    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.

      Reply
  76. 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

    Reply
  77. 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.

    Reply
  78. 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.

    Reply
  79. 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.

    Reply
  80. 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

    Reply
    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

      Reply
    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.

      Reply
      1. 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

        Reply
  81. 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.

    Reply
    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.

      Reply
    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.

      Reply
  82. 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.

    Reply
    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!

      Reply
    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.

      Reply
  83. 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.

    Reply
  84. 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.

    Reply
    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.

      Reply
    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.

      Reply
  85. 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.

    Reply
    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!

      Reply
    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.

      Reply
  86. 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.)

    Reply
    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.

      Reply
  87. 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.

    Reply
    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 .

      Reply
  88. 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.

    Reply
    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.

      Reply
  89. 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.

    Reply
    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!

      Reply
    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.

      Reply
    3. Nikki

      This article, and your words in response, both really resonated with me.
      After grief that I thought might kill me, I finally made some decisions.
      I decided I could not afford to break another tooth. Could not chance more worms.
      That giving up sweets was the best thing for my health.
      I too still have days, but they are a lot less frequent now.
      I have even had days where I feel happy. Genuinely happy. A year ago that would have seemed impossible.
      Letting them go, no matter how deeply you love/d them, is the only way to stop mourning.
      And Sheri, your audio book and workbook were so helpful. Reading back through my workbook notes lets me see how far I have come.
      I have decided to have a life worth living, to enjoy my good relationships with my husband and my son, instead of being consumed by rumination and grief for my daughter.
      Thank you.

      Reply
  90. 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.

    Reply
  91. 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

    Reply
    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

      Reply
  92. 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.

    Reply
    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

      Reply
  93. 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.

    Reply
    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!
      🙂
      Hugs,
      Sheri McGregor

      Reply

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