Amends letter to estranged adult children: Should parents write one?

amends letter to estranged adult children

Image by Engin Akyurt from Pixabay

By Sheri McGregor, M.A.

Parents of estranged adult children often ask me about an “amends letter.” That’s probably because they’ve heard an amends letter to estranged adult children touted as an effective way to reopen communication channels and regain a relationship with adult children who have gone “no contact.” It’s a popularized tool that I’m surprised hasn’t gone to the trash heap along with things like tobacco companies using doctors to promote their cigarette brand.

Does that sound harsh? The reality is that bad advice from seemingly reputable sources is nothing new. As I discuss in BEYOND DONE, experts used to recommend putting babies to sleep on their tummies, which has now been associated with sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). They also advised tired nursing mothers who were worried about inadequate milk supply to supplement with bottle feeding—even though less suckling decreases milk production. I’m sure there are many other examples of ill-advised recommendations in the annals of parenting advice history.

While an amends letter might be useful if you’ve done something that needs forgiveness and you’re dealing with reasonable individuals, making unwarranted apologies to the unreasonable only feeds the beast. As I say in BEYOND DONE, it’s my opinion all the subservience and babying trains adults with difficult personalities that they can get away with bad behavior—and even be rewarded for it—which is a disservice to the individuals and to all society.

Do amends letters to estranged adult children add to the problem?

Once upon a time, doctors didn’t realize smoking caused health problems, but a 1940s spike in lung cancer provided a clue. Even so, it took until 1964 for the U.S. Surgeon General to report that smoking caused lung cancer, laryngeal cancer, and chronic bronchitis. Even then, tobacco companies continued to raise a smokescreen of doubt around whether the evidence was conclusive.

Today, more estrangement in the news and increased traffic to websites such as mine make clear that adult children estranging from parents is on the rise. Internet searches reveal adult children (and even some therapists) who villainize parents, blame them, and approve of the rejection. Perhaps some of the so-called expert advice, including the amends letter, worsens the problem.

As I mention in my first book on this topic, Done With The Crying, parents of the 1980s were advised to build their children’s self-esteem , even apart from achievement. While I’m not against championing people for who they are, I also believe bad behavior deserves a reasoned and realistic response. Sharing an adult child’s delusional view of our parenting, or our character, and capitulating to irrational demands to preserve a “relationship” that no longer fits a healthy definition doesn’t make sense.

In BEYOND DONE, I offer examples for when apologizing may be appropriate. However, parents (just like anyone else) do well to recognize when they’re being raked over the coals for revisionist history that doesn’t add up. Sure, there could be a misunderstanding, and if that’s the case, reasonable adults who want to mend a rift will find a way to talk things out, continue to love one another, and move into the future with mutual respect. Sometimes, though, that’s not possible, and I would no more offer you a cigarette as recommend some other ill-conceived advice that hurts you or keeps you stuck.

Amends letter to estranged adult children … or to someone who really deserves it?

Kind, supportive parents, who nevertheless find themselves estranged from adult children, have frequently been the ones who have repeatedly swallowed their pride and reached out to an unkind adult child who should have been the one to say “sorry.” I hear from parents every day who know the pain of walking on eggshells to avoid conflict that always erupts from volatile offspring at some point anyway. It’s appalling to me how many adult children abuse parents’ loving kindness, and bank accounts, until the parent is physically ill or no longer has financial resources for them to exploit. And it’s reprehensible when adult children use their own kids as tools to gain authority, compliance, or control over grandparents who care so deeply and know they enrich those young ones’ lives.

By the time parents read my books and articles or join the membership support group for parents of estranged children here at this site, they have usually come to realize all the time they’ve spent, or wasted, working on trying to fix something they didn’t break. Something that makes no sense. They know they were good parents. Without the rose-colored glasses on, they have come to understand how much they have been neglecting themselves. They can see that they deserve their own kind care and a life of joy and peace.

Sometimes, though, in looking back at all the wasted energy, money, sadness, and time that stole happiness and connection from their other relationships and worthwhile pursuits, parents can start to beat themselves up. They might tell themselves they should have known better. They should have seen the truth. Or they ask themselves: How could I have been so dumb? Why didn’t I wake up sooner? The thoughts dishonor the beauty of who they are—loving parents who have, for a lifetime, given to their children.

In my Five Ways to Cope with the Holidays presentation, one of the ideas was to look toward the New Year—now. And that’s how an amends letter to yourself can help. Let’s close the door on all the ways we hurt ourselves to try and make things right.

You will have your own unique amends to make to yourself, to learn from, and to move past. And this doesn’t have to apply only to estranged adult children.  Sometimes, their disregard or abuse—and our compulsions toward them—can teach us more about ourselves, our other relationships, and life.

Get started writing an amends letter … to yourself

To help you get started on your own amends letter to yourself, first spend some time reflecting. Find a quiet, private space and, as you look through the following bullet points, write down what comes to mind. The more detailed you can get the better you will be prepared to let old habits go. Also, if any of this begins to feel too emotionally burdensome, give yourself a break. Get up and take a walk where you can enjoy nature. Even looking at the sky helps. Obtain support as needed. Here you go—

Consider times when you:

  • neglected your own needs in favor of another’s
  • dishonored or disregarded your values to avoid conflict or gain approval
  • gave when you knew you shouldn’t
  • said “yes” when your gut said “no”

When, or in what ways, have you ever:

  • felt compelled to comply or give in
  • ignored the voice of reason inside you (or that of a trusted companion)
  • done something you viewed as stupid but did it anyway (and later berated yourself for it)
  • took action you now understand was irrational or unwise
  • given money you couldn’t afford to give or knew you shouldn’t

 

Of course, we can all look back in hindsight and see more clearly. Don’t get hung up wishing you could change the past or engaging your inner critic. What you can you do is use the insight for your better, more self-compassionate and intentional future. We’ll talk more about that later.

Don’t limit yourself to the bullet points either. Whatever comes up as you reflect, use it for your own forward momentum, toward a freer future where you are kind to yourself. Once you feel your self-reflection is complete, write yourself a letter. Make amends with your past self. The one who did things because you felt compelled to keep the peace, obtain love, or gain approval. The one who put your needs behind those of someone who hasn’t appreciated such sacrifice.

You can format your letter however you want. Here’s one possible example:

————

Dear Me (insert your name, address your highest self, or your inner wisdom),

I apologize for all the times I said “yes” to someone else when it meant saying “no” to myself.

I’m sorry for pushing aside my own feelings because I worried what my daughter/son/others would think.

I forgive myself for not listening to XX, because s/he was right about XX. I should never have . . . .

————

Your letter can take a more traditional form with lots of detail. Or, you can stick to the basics as above. This is your healing journey. So do what’s best for you right now.

End your letter with a statement of forgiveness that pulls everything together and sets an intention for a new beginning. Here’s an example:

“I forgive myself for all the ways that I have hurt myself by—fill in the blank—and vow to take better care of myself from this moment forward. I will recognize, hear, and honor my inner voice. I will pay attention to that feeling in my gut (head, neck, chest … you define this and fill in the blank). I will honor me.”

Make a few more relevant statements of self-forgiveness as you see fit. End the amends letter to yourself with gratitude and love for all that you have learned. You can now use these insights to enrich the rest of your days and enjoy the ones who are around you and love you. Finally, keep your letter in a safe place. You can refer to it later and even make changes as you grow in knowledge and compassion about yourself and your life.

A turning point

Writing an amends letter to yourself helps you usher in a new beginning. Imagine this moment, month, or year, as a turning point or as the end of an era. Leave behind the baggage of fruitless efforts and self-neglect. Stepping into the future in a new, bold, and self-kind way can take some practice, but you’re worth your own best effort.

Recently, in a members-only live event in the community peer support group, parents of estranged adult children contemplated the nature of decisions and what it takes to carry out plans for their own wellness. I asked a question that also works well here: Are you “all in” for your own well-being and peace?

In a December 15 live event, parents used the ideas in this article, and their amends letter to themselves, to move solidly into the New Year, focused more intently on their own strength, well-being, and peace. If you’d like to join events such as this one, or watch replays on your own time, join the membership community.

Regardless, an amends letter you write to yourself will help you in letting go of estranged adult children and in releasing the pain. It’s time to be self-compassionate, focus forward, and be “all in,” for your future. (Hint: That “all in” thought was part of another recent members-only event.)

Related reading

60 Minutes Most Famous Whistleblower

Letters to estranged adult children

Call it what it is: Abuse

Ask Sheri McGregor: Contacting an estranged granddaughter

Join the newsletter

Subscribe to get our latest content by email.

We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit

79 thoughts on “Amends letter to estranged adult children: Should parents write one?

  1. DebC

    My heart goes out to all the parents who tried and failed but loved their babies with a ferocity and only wanted them to be happy and healthy. Despite of our shortcomings, we hoped for the grace that we extended to others, because we are all human and fall short…

    I’ve been in this nightmare for over a year now, thrice over. And this time, my heart is so shattered because I allowed myself to have hope and I was sure this was all behind me/us and the future looked so promising. I was actually happy and could feel joy.

    The demons now have hold once again and I begged and pleaded and apologized and laid myself bare only to be met with hatred and cruelty. It might as well have been a stranger or worse

    From minute to minute I feel different and I’m trying to trust God, trust myself but I’m in pain. I’m terrified for my child, my grandchildren but I’m also tired and is it wrong to want to let go once and for all

    Reply
  2. Sarah

    I was reading posts on a site for adult children who have estranged from their parents. I totally understand those who estranged from abusive parents. But most of the posts showed so much anger and even loathing for parents whom these adult children have estranged from. The site says that estrangement is a healthy response to an unhealthy situation. I agree with the statement, but “unhealthy” can be defined to justify ANY disappointment, etc.

    I read the posts and pray for the ac’s who feel justified in estranging from parents who are loving and not abusive. What struck me most was that if a parent sent cards and gifts (“I’ll take the money!” they state – again the attitude is so sad) then the parent was trying to GUILT them. If a parent DID NOT contact them (honoring the ac’s no contact rule) then these ac’s wonder why not, and then use the parent’s lack of contact as one more reason to justify their no contact with the parent.

    Seems like kids who estrange from loving parents are very confused. They hate when parents try to reconcile and gift them – YET they also say their parents (who THEY cut off) don’t care and the proof is the parent respecting their no contact wishes.

    This encouraged me in my decision to drop the rope. I know we humans can justify our behaviors. But the sad thing for me to see was what seemed to be these ac’s confusion. Most were angry. They don’t seem happy to me. None said that they forgive their parent for disappointing them so much. One wrote a letter that she didn’t send to her parent. The things in the letter were things that were not abuses that the parent had done but things that the ac felt entitled to get but did not while growing up. The parent should have been more perfect, that was the sentiment I felt. So sad. How many of us grew up in imperfect homes yet still kept a sense of family? Why is blame excusable when loving parents really do the best they can? Why are things that are not abuses unforgivable things?

    I pray for all here, and now I will be praying for these adult kids of loving parents who feel justified in cutting off their parents. They are in as much pain as we are, I believe… if they have a conscience. It is just not natural to cut out those who love you. There is so much pain on both sides.

    But no amends letter can change their hearts. Seems estranged parents are blamed if we contact, blamed if we don’t contact. I pray for healing of all hearts involved in this estrangement trend.

    Reply
  3. Marilyn

    I made the mistake of not trusting my own judgment. My daughter, has mental health problems. My sisters both kind, compassionate women, convinced me to write a letter…That all my daughter wanted was to know was that I thought about her…as if I could forget.
    I chose my words carefully. As I wrote it I knew contacting her was a mistake.
    15 years of nothing. No one told me anything about where she was or how she was doing…
    Opening that door (letter) has unleashed the old chaos….The kind, compassionate sisters in the wind… “We have are own problems. You have to handle this”. I allowed myself to be manipulated ..
    My daughter is a very sad, ill woman who will steal, lie, use anyone to get from point A to B.
    Write the letter
    Read the letter
    Burn the letter.

    Reply
  4. Peony

    During this tender time of year I am grateful to be able to come here and see that many people walk the same path, if not beside me. I wish everyone peace and joy in their homes this holiday, and may we all have a healthy 2024!

    Reply
    1. Sharon W.

      2023 was a particularly awful year for many reasons. Not seeing my grandchildren is my current situation. My daughter is mentally ill and doing the best she can without meds, support, counseling. We have struggled helping her for over 20 years. Her perceptions of my every move, word, emotions, actions are skewed. I am learning to let go. But oh so hopeful the best way forward will reveal itself. I am reading everything I can get my hands on about estranged parents. Apparently it’s a ‘thing’ now. I am determined not to give up.

      Reply
  5. Jen

    Two years ago we or should I say I received an email from our oldest child. This email pretty much was all about how I was an awful mother. She included her father but every sentence was about me so I know she only did that to try to soften the blow. She adores her father and tolerates me. The email never fully detailed the ways that i was an awful mother but generally I was unfeeling unemotional, favored my son,never helped her financially but helped our other two and that I fostered a narrative in our family that she was difficult. I was heartbroken. I am a reserved person. I was raised by reserved parents but I thought that I had showed my kids that I loved them. My other Two children were as shocked by this email as I was. After not speaking for 6 months and not seeing my grandchildren for that time I did write an amends letter. I apologized for the things in the email and even threw in a few more transgressions. I agreed to go to family therapy, which was something she wanted. It worked. We are now on speaking terms but I’m still hurt and confused and walking on eggshells. The wierd thing is its like the email never happened. There has been zero mention of family therapy or family discussions about my poor parenting all things she insisted needed to happen
    She’s never once brought it up to me or her father. I do know that if it happens again there will be no apology letter. I’m done. I did the best I could with the tools that I had. My kids were housed fed home-cooked meals,I didn’t have a career so that I could be home with them. I was room mom,pta mom,the mom whose house was the one where all their friends came to, I took them to endless dance lessons tball,soccer whatever they wanted. I was the primary caregiver because my husband was a workaholic so I did it all. Plus dealing with my youngest who suffered from debilitating anxiety and depression. I did the best I could and I might not have done it all right but my kids were my priority. Where’s the grace for us?

    Reply
  6. Donna M.

    Everyone above is describing my feelings as well. My 46 year old daughter refused to let me be a grandmother to my 2 eldest grandkids (27 and 25). Her husband was behind all of this as he told me himself he would take the kids from my daughter (an emotional abuser and controlling). We haven’t spoken since 2000. All the better for me. My daughter was sent a letter stating she has been disinherited. Now my son on the other hand, has also been disinherited. He allowed my daughter in law to make false accusations regarding my grandchildren (8 and 5) of child abuse (I used the word NO). My son allowed her to go into a screaming rage for 20 minutes. He stood right next to me and didn’t even try to stop her.She did this in front of my grandchildren. My therapist believes she is a narcissist. I have not spoken to him at all and I will not. I was always there for my daughter in law including babysitting her while she had post partum depression, surrogate mother (her mother lives in Montana), and babysitter on call. I am much happier without the 2 of them in my life, of course I miss my grandkids, but my health is getting much better, especially my blood pressure. I had a mini stroke last August of 2022 caused by my high blood pressure. I love my children however you can’t do mean things and expect to live a beautiful life. It is my turn to start taking care of myself and living again.

    Reply
  7. Beth

    I had a letter once from my DIL, the wife of my now estranged son. Essentially she was asking me to apologise for anything and everything she thought I had done wrong over the years. I wrote back to her, saying that I felt I had apologised enough for things that she held against me and there would no more apologies. The response was that my son cut me off, accusing me of not liking my DIL. In all honesty it was hard to like a girl who kept my grandchildren at arm’s length for the whole of their lives and if I objected I was summarily cut off. My son also doesn’t talk to his father (my husband) or his elder sister, having previously cut her off for 5 years until he felt “ready” to talk to her again, but after she defended me to him and his wife they both cut her off again. My point in all this is…don’t ever be persuaded by therapists or anyone to write a letter of amends. It will be used against you. My DIL showed my letter to people who don’t even know me. All they want to hear is that you are sorry for everything, that way they do not have to take any responsibility for what has happened. I’m 70 now, I don’t know that I will ever see my son again. This is eroding my soul but I put a brave face on for the rest of my family. I will carry on doing my best to live my life as fully as I can. The one thing I am certain about….there will never be an amends letter.

    Reply
  8. MIchelle

    I need to read this post (and the subsequent replies) daily. I have written and rewritten a letter multiple times over the past year and a half in response to a letter I received from my ED six months in to our estrangement. A letter I received full of criticism, blame and outright lies. I have never sent the responses. Some were angry. Some sad. Some taking responsibility for things that I shouldn’t just to mend the rift.

    Like Jennifer above, I too am surrounded by friends and family who know what a good parents we were, as well as what good friends they were ….. aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents… all of us who love her and miss her. She was the same to us until two years ago. How one person with a domestic abuse history can burrow into someones life and affect the lives of so many that surround them, I just don’t understand. But, I’ve been told that all I can do is pray, wait and let her know we are always there and will always love her. Which we have.

    And now, I will write letters to myself and continue to write letters to her that I will never send to help myself. Thank you for a well written post as well as very heartfelt responses to help guide and know we are not alone.

    Reply
  9. Sandra L.

    This article brought tears to my eyes. Would like to express a different perspective in sending amends letters. In July 2020, I lost my husband to a stroke, became homeless, and moved to a state where I knew no one. I also experienced estrangement from 3 adult children, as I moved through the Stages of grief, both in proximity, and communication. When I moved, I entered Transitional Housing with other women who were recovering from drugs, alcohol, or time spent in prison. Since this particular housing was Faith based, the subject of an Amends Letter was suggested as a way for me to help me heal. I sent out numerous letters taking responsibility for any actions I was responsible for, with the hope that this would help to repair my closest relationships. My daughter’s responded, where as I learned my son was homeless. I finally tracked him down through my Ex, and was able to establish contact by phone. It has been a slow, and painful journey over these last 3 1/2 years, but, I can finally say that I am now in contact with all my children and my 6 grandchildren. I miss them terribly, but, texting, and occasional phone calls have brought them closer in my heart. God tells us to make amends or leave our gifts at the alter, and that if we don’t get our desired response, so be it. At least we know that we did our part. I am praying for all of you who are still experiencing estrangement from adult children. I personally know your pain. I have recently been diagnosed with CKD, and am 76 yrs. Old.I can honestly say that my amends had a positive result, but, we never know what the future will hold. I do think that only reaching out one time is sufficient, and then try to give it to God…we know we tried!
    So appreciated all your heartfelt stories…please stay present, and hopeful!
    Sandra

    Reply
  10. Jessie

    I have been estranged from my adult daughter for more than six years. She has never really expressed to me why she thinks I was a bad parent. I divorced her father when she was 10 years old, and even though we had joint custody, I was the one that went to all her school functions, and made sure that she had a good core background. my ex apparently treated her as a housekeeper and cook and supplied her with expensive gifts for those duties. According to her, he talked bad about me for years. When she stopped speaking to me, I was confused, even though we had a bad conversation after I had been drinking, but nothing that would warrant , not speaking to me for six years. I was felt like underneath, She was looking for some sort of apology for her entire life. Finally, I sat down and apologized in a letter for absolutely everything I could possibly think of that happened over her entire life and it included 10 pages . I guess the bad thing was that I also informed her of what it was like living with her father and his abuses towards me. She just came back with the answer that I had no right to talk about him as he was her shining knight in armor now and that whatever I was apologizing for for the past 20 or 30 years was in the past and did not make any difference. I am so done.

    Reply
  11. Sharon

    I have been considering writing an ammendment letter to my son. I played along recently and apologized like everything that had ever gone wrong years earlier was 100% my fault, but of course it wasn’t. He is my only Adult Child, so I have no one else to turn to, but I know now that I shouldn’t have done that since it only seemed to enhance his sense of self righteous behaviors. I learned my lesson and I’m not ever going to do it again. Perhaps, I will write an ammends letter to myself. It could be a long letter facing the facts about my own life and all the BS I’ve accepted in this life. I know I accepted lots of BS I never deserved. It’s time for him and others to accept responsibility for themselves and stop seeing me as someone to blame. Im not responsible for all that goes wrong in this world. I deserve to be loved and receive kindness, so that can begin with kindness from mysekf. I love me! I might be the only one who does besides God and my Lird, so this is a start. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all.

    Reply
  12. Meredith M.

    I am the aunt, my only sister’s only daughter and the next parental-type figure. Her father abandoned her and my sister raised the daughter on her own. I have been my sister’s closest support. Because of this, your article resonated very strongly with me. There’s a grandchild involved, and, yes, she weaponized him even when she was barely pregnant. Prior to that there were decades of financial and emotional abuse of my sister, in particular. My sister ended up raising the grandchild for 7 years, which ended when she got leukemia. At that time, the daughter twisted out of control and extricated herself from my sister and I. That was almost six years ago. Points in your article gave me solace. I know I have made mistakes, and I also know I don’t deserve what she tells anybody who will listen about me. She is cruel.

    Have you done any research about the impact or this phenomenon on extended family members, especially those actively involved contributing to the parenting of the estranged child?

    Reply
  13. Celeste W.

    God bless all of you parents and grandparents of estranged children. My 31 yr old daughter has been estranged ftom me for 5 grueling years. Like one mother said in her letter, it’s a horror show. I never desire for my daughter to hurt BUT I also pray these “kids” will grow up, be confounded, brought to shame, reproached and dishonored for seeking to hurt us. Psalm 71:24 God does have the final Word.

    Reply
    1. Nancy

      Please don’t wish harm on those who have hurt you and you still love. It won’t relieve your heartbreak. I cry for what will never be and wish you peace in this painful journey.

      Reply
  14. Patricia S.

    Thank you for this informational piece. I’m estranged from my 49 year old daughter who has been professionally diagnosed as having borderline personality disorder, along with rapid cycling bipolar. I have always helped her, given her money when she asked for it and helped financially to move her back from the West Coast to the Midwest after 20 years. I was hoping we could have a better relationship. But she’s angry with me because she snapped at me in a restaurant and I snapped back. I had enough of the disrespectful tone.
    I did apologize by text the next day, she read it but she ignored me and I haven’t heard from her since. She has a lot of anger issues and she’s a grudge holder. She has said many nasty hurtful things to me and about me and never apologized, so I’ve come to realize she’s unlikely to ever change. I have two other daughters that do speak to me, although the youngest tends to be selfish and entitled with a sharp tongue who also never apologizes. She didn’t speak to me for months because she asked me for $6000 for a deck and then was nasty when I didn’t respond immediately and told her I needed a few days to think about whether I could afford it. She refuses to work although she’s certainly capable. I’m widowed, and I will say they were all raised in a loving home. There was no abuse of any kind, and they adored their father, my husband. Even though my middle daughter knows that I broke my ankle slipping on ice and my birthday came and gone she has totally ignored me. She seems to hold a lot of contempt for me for reasons unknown, but I was good enough to give her thousands of dollars when she needed it. There will be no Amends letter from me and no more apologies. But the one thing I did do was exclude her from my will along with my youngest daughter. I won’t reward this kind of behavior. I feel for all of us going through this.

    Reply
  15. Therese W.

    Thank you so much…my daughter stopped talking to me over 2 years ago….I’ve sent cards and she always “return to srnder”….now it’s time to apologize to my self and let her go…..and get on with my life.

    Reply
  16. ME

    28 years ago I gave birth to a beautiful human being, and I “lost” me.
    10 years ago I lost her, and “gave birth” to another beautiful human being, me.
    Will she ever come back? I don’t know. Not in my control.
    Will I ever be lost again? Oh, I know! In my control!
    Never will I be lost again.

    Reply
    1. KG

      No. I was a good mom to my daughter. She is the derespectful one. She has broken my heart in a million pieces. She uses my grandson as weapon to hurt me because she knows how much I love him. Bible says in EXODUS 20:12 Honor your Father and Mother. They need to apoligize to us and write us an amends letter. Unless you beat your child, abandoned them, did not provide for them. The answer is No.

      Reply
  17. Diane H.

    An ammends letter to my children? Ok, here goes.
    A thousand apologies for so often doing your paper round when you were tired or had better thing to do. Humble and endless apologies for creating credit card debt for myself to pay for your wedding and education and numerous fresh starts. It goes without saying, I’m infinitely apologetic for all the times I took you to the doctors when you were hurt or feeling unwell, and as for all the cleaned sheets, clothes and healthy meals, well I’m not surprised my gloss has gone. As for the crime of knowing all your teachers, your friends and everything important to you, endless and humble apologies.
    Merry Christmas everyone.

    Reply
    1. Serenity

      Diane H.

      Thank You for sharing Your “amends letter”…It Truly Resonated with me…You wrote the “real-real” vs. the “illusion-delusion”…

      After several readings of Your letter I thought that for me, “Sorry-Not Sorry-Sorry fits…
      Sorry that the whole “estrangement” situation exists…
      Not Sorry as only Love and all the “criminal parent” Kindness & Generosity & Doing the Best I could is the Truth of the matter…
      Sorry that the Truth is a “twisted reality” in Estranged Adult (so-called childrens’ minds)…

      As per Parents’ “apologies”…”amends”: The so-called “amends” letter is “icky-tricky-sticky”…”darned if You do & darned if You don’t…

      Diane H., YOU ARE AWESOME…I think it’s time for Estranged Parents to “HOLLY-JOLLY…ROCK A’ROUND THE CHRISTMAS TREE!!!”…

      (and Release the Grinchee Grinches to their Highest & Best…)

      P.S. Time to write an Amends Letter to One’s Self…A “Christmas” List for All That We Deserve…To Live Out In The TIme We Have In This Precious Life…

      “HOLLY-JOLLY MERRY CHRISTMAS TO BEAUTIFUL SHERI & EACH BELOVED ONE IN THIS HEALING COMMUNITY!!!” Break out Your Inner Child & Play & Laugh…May Each Be Blessed In Body…Mind..& Spirit…Hugs & More Hugs…

      In Divine Gratitude,
      Serenity

      Reply
      1. Kameela

        Diane H you’ve said it. Time to Holly-Jolly Rock around the Xmas tree. Life’s too short not to.

        Merry Christamas
        Kameela

        Reply
    2. Lisa R.

      Hello, Diane H.

      Just want to tell you that I have cherished your example letter here. Very well stated. At least for me, this says it all. Thank you so much.

      Wishing all of you peace and joy,
      Lisa R.

      Reply
  18. Sarah

    Sheri, your emails are always timely!
    I did send apologies and the last amends letter was sent 5 years ago to my 2 estranged adult daughters. I explained everything I understood. I did not call them out on their treatment toward me.

    My oldest shows narcissistic traits (their dad is a malignant narcissist to the T) and when I went to visit her in her far-away state 3 years ago, both daughters were there. My oldest is married and was talking about when her babies came. She stated,” Oh, (younger daughter) you’ll be there at the birth of my kids and (husband’s mom) will be there.” Then she said nothing else and we sat there in uncomfortable silence for a few minutes. I am not one to be able to speak up.

    So I sat there, and I understood that she was using her unborn children (she was not even pregnant at that time) as weapons to punish me. She had done that once before – to her dad, actually. Narcissists use their children as weapons. It grieved me that she, once again, showed a narcissistic side.

    My youngest daughter had gone back to the state she lived in and I went to that state and asked if I could visit with her as I would be there for 2 days. She said she was too busy – even though I cant afford to fly to her state very often.

    I had to ‘drop the rope’. Hope was starting to wear on my exhausted emotions because my daughters gave me no indication that there was any hope to be had for me to have a relationship with them. They showed me who they were. With my oldest, it was I deserved to be slighted and punished for crimes she refuses to talk to me about. No discussion of the amends letters I had sent…and I hadn’t even placed any blame on them in those letters for how they have treated me this whole time. My youngest simply doesn’t show any interest in me. I think she graduated college last year…no one told me for sure.

    I realized, again, but as a finality this time potentially – that my daughters were not the girls I had raised, they were adult women who did not want me in their lives. So why should I keep trying, sending money, gifts, visiting – just to be ignored and slighted. Even still, I kept email as an option for communication, if they ever wanted to communicate.

    My youngest will reply to a birthday or holiday email with a ‘thanks’. I do feel that she is more ‘honest’ about not wanting me in her life. She simply doesn’t communicate. My oldest emails me now and then and it is always short and virtually a how’s the weather kind of email. But now she is pregnant. She let me know after she was 4 months pregnant (I cried for a bit when I realized, again, that I simply was not in her ‘inner’ circle, you know, the people you call right away with good news. So now, I already KNOW I will not be there for the birth.

    So I let them go in my heart … after over a decade of grief and learning, with Father God’s help, I have been able to accept this horror show and give it to Him almost 100%. I accepted that they are who they are choosing to be and I cannot force myself into their lives.

    And I wont stand for being punished with future grandchildren… “Oh you cant see our children because….” blah blah blah. I refuse to allow my daughter to put her children through that kind of abuse (using children as pawns to punish someone is abuse to the children)… to use them to punish me as she already is doing.

    So I congratulated her just like a far-away distant Auntie might do. I wont be sending baby gifts, etc. It is sad to me that this situation even exists, but I refuse to play their hurtful games.

    The only way I could be in their lives is, 1. get an invitation to be and 2. have prayer then a long talk about everything – honest communication. If we cant honestly talk about all that has happened from her perspective but also mine, and make real amends, there is nothing but fakery then. I don’t have fake people in my life.

    Again, I do not want to enable her narcissistic using of her child to continue to punish me for things she refuses to talk about. The ball is in her court. She thinks she has the upper hand because she has my grandchild… and that is sad in itself to have to “have an upper hand” with a loving parent in the first place.

    I dont want her using her babies to punish me with. My grandchildren deserve better than that. So if it means never knowing my grandchildren, I am at peace with that. I hope my grandchild never learns that her mother is a narcissist. If I am not around, maybe that wont happen?? who knows.

    I also wanted to comment that looking at the situation as it actually is instead of as I WANT it to be is healthy. Understanding narcissism because of my ex has helped me navigate this, although no one wants to think that their child can be a narcissist. If it looks like a duck…

    Sheri, thank you again for all you do! May God bless you and yours during the holiday season with peace and laughter!! PS Do you have any articles regarding a potential relationship between narcissistic traits to estrangement? Seems like most estranged ac’s from loving parents have a huge me me me factor…that dips into the unhealthy kind of self- love?

    I pray for all on here, may your pain lessen and may you realize that you still have so much to live for…there are so many who need people who are nurturing in their lives!

    Reply
    1. Michelle M.

      This is the hardest. I ran into my old neighbor and church friend. Asking about the kids. Mine is also having a baby in March. I was told by my SIL. My other daughter is graduating college. No contact. I ended up sharing too much info that I am not included in. What do you say? Sorry, we are estranged and I will never be a part of this babies life. When new people ask, I hate saying it’s complicated. I have been Judged by my children and then to be judge by other people is daunting. I did not ask to be cheated on or have a spouse toss me aside when confronted with his porn and infidelity. I am not wanting to get into a victim mindset and I am so tired of pretending it doesn’t hurt. I pretended I had a great marriage for 27 years and it was not. Those moments are probably why I choose to stay single for fear of being judged. I try to trust God that there is a reason for all of this. But damn this is tough!

      Reply
      1. Diane H.

        Just say everything is wonderful, never better, and then ask how they are. People love to talk about themselves. Soon you will become the master of this particular bs conversation. You don’t have to expose your heart to everyone – people will need to earn this level of trust. It also helps to respond this way in that your grief and despair stays underwraps and soon will no longer be the first thing you think of. You can bet your last buck your children won’t be even thinking about you and your suffering. In this case, build a wall.

        Reply
    2. Nancy

      Wow… Thanks for a post identifying daughter’s narcisstic withholding of a grandchild. The more love I showed to my baby granddaughter, the less I was able to see her. I’m not a monster, wasn’t abusive, wasn’t a perfect mom. I loved my daughters, and know they felt secure in my love. Using my baby granddaughter to hurt me is heartless and undeserved. How to make amends/set boundaries with 30 year old children when they refuse to tell me what i have done to cause this break. I’ll never get past this. They broke me.

      Reply
    3. Carleen

      So beautifully said Sarah. My heart goes out to you, yet so much respect. You are an incredibly strong woman. A friend was over while I was having a heartbreaking discussion with my daughter on the telephone. Long story as they usually are,but suffice to say when I got off the phone, I immediately called the telephone company and had my number changed. I turned to look at my friend who was sitting at the kitchen table with tears in her eyes. She said “when you get through this Carleen, you will be indestructible.” My door is always open but on my terms. We deserve that. Much peace to you, Sister.

      Reply
      1. Sarah

        Carleen thank you for your kind words. The grief almost kills, and you never think you are going to make it. But somehow, you do.

        God bless your friend! She’s right 🙂 We fight so many things such as societal expectations, etc. In a way, we learn to be free from what other people think of us, etc.

        Amen. We deserve to have lives free of nasty people. No matter who they are.

        Peace to you also!!!

        Reply
  19. Rina L.

    This is great, thank you. I sent an amends letter, even though my ED tried baiting me into an argument, which I refused to engage in. She claimed we had an argument anyway, so I sent a letter. About a year later, I sent a letter telling her what I really thought. I know that distanced her further, but it left me with self-respect. I also sent copies of the really nice, mushy cards she had sent to me and to my husband — her stepfather whom she had adored — so she could see who she was. I sent her back her Christmas ornaments with her name on them in the same package as the letter, saying I won’t be needing them anymore, and her bf’s ornaments were also included.

    No more letters from me. That was it. I did send a couple of postcards afterwards, one telling her that I’m still here for her after she lost her job, only to be met with silence. So I’m not even sending postcards anymore either. I’m done. I have less drama in my life, and my other child, with whom I have a relationship, is now bearing the brunt of my ED’s anxiety and annoying behavior, constantly getting phone calls when she “needs” him. I used to field those calls. Better him than me, but he’s strong enough to turn her away and tell her to talk to her therapist (which I used to tell her also). I now hear she expects an apology for my honest letter, but she’s not going to get one. I’m going to be nice to me. Thanks so much for the validation! BTW, I haven’t heard from her in 2 1/2 years. The first two years were difficult and even awful, but I’m settling in and accepting that I’m not going to hear from her. I’m okay with that right now. It took awhile for me to get there. She’s an adult but acts like a child, although she has serious MH issues which she barely addresses. I can’t help her there. She’s in her own way, and she needs a lot of help. Only she can do the work. I choose to focus on my husband, dogs, and family who loves me. I don’t need her negative energy dragging me down like it did for years. Thanks!

    Reply
  20. Jane W.

    For years I blamed myself for my dysfunctional daughters behaviors. I am now in my 70s and am so done with that. My youngest daughter who lives wi8th me, and we have a great relationship, tells me she’s afraid her sisters will have regrets someday. My response is “maybe.” Whether they do or not is irrelevant. If they do have regrets, they will need to figure out how to deal with it. Somehow, I don’t believe they will regret anything. They are selfish, materialistic, and narcissistic. That my sound harsh, but it is true. It has taken me nearly a lifetime to come to terms with that. I still love them and I always will, but that doesn’t mean I am going to let them abuse me any longer. And it isn’t just me. They are pushing many other family members away from them. I realize they have mental health issues. But I can’t change any of it. It’s entirely up to them to make some changes. My advise to others. take care of yourself. Keep busy with things that bring you pleasure. Associate with people who love and respect you. And live in the moment.

    Reply
  21. Sarah

    I read this with great interest. I wrote my amends letter to my estranged daughters a year ago but something has stopped me short of sending it. This article has put into words what I think I have been feeling for quite a while. They are both adults, they are also both judgemental, unforgiving and dismissive adults in my view. My daughters have estranged form both myself and my entire family who are baffled and hurt. There hasn’t been a catalyst, no argument nor explanation. Deep reflection and self reflection on my part lead to a brutally honest crow eating tome which I then saved until I was ready to send.
    I am relieved I have not sent it now after reading this article. I realise that my eagerness to blame myself for everything in a desperate attempt to maintain an at best tenuous relationship with two women who do not like me is absurd.
    I will maintain my dignity, write my amends letter to myself, giving it every bit of time and thought that I did for their letter and live with the sincere hope that they are able, somehow, to move beyond the headspace they are currently in, because frankly if this is who they are – they are the type of people I would cross set street to avoid!

    Reply
    1. Meredith

      I am the aunt who was engaged in the parenting of my sister’s only daughter. A job she did as a single parent. Confusing is just part of it. While my heart breaks for my sister for her losses, my heart breaks for my niece who has turned out so badly. She has a network of flying monkeys, including a licensed therapist, who validate her hate. It is ugly snd cruel. All of it, reprehensible. I have long said that I won’t “stick around” chasing peoples’ love who don’t want it. This is now proving to be the biggest test to this ever.

      Reply
  22. Cy

    Update….Forgot to mention I’ve been estranged 3 yrs now from younger daughter, older daughter doesnt come around although does stay in touch not much though,,,,she was estranged for 14 yrs.

    Reply
  23. Cy

    My daughter, told my older daughter that I needed to apologize to her family, for what I don’t know, still i humbly went to her house to apologize, granddaughter uttered something off the wall, sil said I didn’t need to apologize to him, daughter also uttered something stupid, later when I was home sil sent txt saying that although I apologized they were not ready to move forward and that I’m not welcome there. Saaaaaaay whaaaaat there you have it. I’m so done,,,onward with the new me tada.

    Reply
    1. Elaine T.

      This is a reply to all the comments about amends letters. I see now the futility of them. I have written many ” appeals over the years that my daughter has been estranged which I realise now were a waste of time. Instead of berating myself though. I know I have done all I can to retify things between us. So I say to all who feel that they have they have eered in writing amends letters and it did,nt work , you can have peace of mind that you tried. Love to you all Elaine

      Reply
  24. Sally

    Hi,
    I’m glad to have read your article, Sheri, and the comments posted here.
    I believe I see value in both types of amends letters as long as the one to the estranged child is about “truths”.
    My adult son has distanced himself from me, but not his father. I can relate to much of what is mentioned here; a delusional view of our parenting and revisionist history to fuel his angry, accusatory messaging. Perhaps a therapist who might support estrangement based on sessions with my son.
    I am not alone in others seeing that a lot of his perspective is far from reality. I think he continues to message me because he wants empathy, an apology (even when I do not respond).
    It is heart wrenching. I have tried to stand back and see things from his perspective, where in his upbringing I can find any kernels of truth, as it is referred to. Somethings in which I can find empathy in how he may have viewed or have caused him to reframe.
    While there is much I’d like to contradict, if I wind up writing him an amends letter it will only be to take responsibility where I might have missed seeing or understanding him or being there.
    For instance, his accusation of loving, giving more attention, etc. to his sister. I don’t agree with his perspective and could qualify my view, but the point is can I see how he could have a different perspective. Yes, I can. His sister is a high level performing artist and there was a lot of time and attention and support as she grew into the professional artist she is. That’s an example of finding a kernal of truth where I can show empathy.
    What I can take responsibility and be sorry for is not recognizing how he says that made him feel (even if he is reframing it, forgetting all that he was involved in & that we also supported).
    Another example deals with the accusation of my being over controlling and his feeling he had little decision power. Again, I don’t agree with his reframed perspective and could give infor to contradict, but can I find a kernel of truth?
    Yes I can. As is often the case in a household, the mother assumes the responsibility to organize and plan, to provide and support when we see particular abilities in our children (of which my son had many!). Even though I do not share his perspective (as he seems to have little memory of his making choices) I can take responsibility for not seeing that he felt he had little decision power and that he saw me as controlling.
    In my case, even though I am absolutely floored and in despair over the myriad of other wild accusations which are not anything I would or should address because I can find no truth in them, I can see some value in communicating that bit of empathy, being pretty straightforward, honest, brief and keeping it simple.
    I don’t think that kind of communication by an amends letter is groveling or admitting to “untruths” which I agree totally is not a good idea. And there are no guarantees that an estranged adult child will respond.
    Now, I hadn’t thought about an amends letter to myself and I find that an excellent idea. I’ve had a lot of grief and definitely have felt so very depressed over the situation and it has affected me in so many negative ways. Anyone else doing emotional eating?? So, thank you Sheri for such a great suggestion!

    Our world, our culture today, peer groups, social media, changing values, experiences outside the family, chance good luck or bad luck, counseling advice, etc. has a lot to do with the growing epidemic of estrangement. It’s a slippery slope to determine what might be the best steps to take for each parent’s situation (mental health of the estranged child being a whole other consideration) that might help toward reconciliation, if that is desired. As Sheri also said, a healthy relationship is important.

    Some of you referred to Christian principals. And maybe we can find some forgiveness or understanding in our hearts (at least a little bit) for the estranged child who has been abusive, though it may seem undeserved. Certainly can have its place in helping find some peace.

    I am sharing thoughts here, certainly not advising anyone to do or not to do amends letters.
    However you are moving along with your situation my heart goes out to you because I feel your pain. I hope we all find some peace one way or another.
    Wishing you a blessed holiday and as Sheri advises do somethings for YOU! 🙂

    Reply
    1. rparents Post author

      Yes, of course we can “kernels of truth” (another popularized term), and I’ve made clear that looking at a child’s (adult or not) perspective is a decent idea. But gosh, parents naturally do this (research shows even). To blow a kernel up into making amends? Well kernels, seeds, they can grow into weeds that sprout new seedheads….

      I like that you are looking at the whole picture. You are the expert in your own life.

      Hugs to you,
      Sheri McGregor

      Reply
      1. Karen P

        Wow, this my family dynamics exactly. Son favors his father, resents his sister, accuses me of favoritism, etc. He now has a business, house, partner, baby, and dog. Let’s see how this all plays out in 18 years. For his sake I hope it works out.

        I can’t let this hurt me anymore. His loss and his baby’s loss. I’d be an awesome grandmother.

        Reply
        1. Sarah

          Karen, that is one thing I don’t get, why would they cut off someone who could potentially be such a blessing in their lives and their kids lives? They don’t even realize how much they are choosing to lose out on.

          I hope they find what they are looking for with the people they choose to be around. (My girls adore their narcissist father and his wife who were abusive to them. But they are rich. Makes sense, but there are things in the world worth more than money. Mean people just aren’t happy. But we can be happy without them… that’s my goal in this long healing journey.

          Hope you find daily joy!

          Reply
  25. Marco B.

    Thank you for confirming my thoughts on this. I will never offer apologies or amends for things that I did not conspire to commit. Or to satisfy someone who thinks I was the culprit or the starter of the situation in which I live currently. My son tells people that I do not love his kids because I will not apologize to his wife or make amends, when in fact she was the one who created and perpetuated the situation. I have based my life on honor and standing up for things I do and choices I make. If i wrong someone, the apology will be forthcoming toot sweet. But if I had no part in the wrongdoing, then I will not offer up amends or apologies for something I did not commit, and the poles will melt before I break down and do something that goes against my very core.

    Reply
    1. Sarah

      Marco, your post makes so much sense! It is healing to get to that place where I can stand against the bad behavior of someone who chooses not to be respectful. You are so right. Bullies continue when we enable them. It is traumatic to lose what the American Hallmark family is supposed to be like, even though in reality there are very few perfect pristine families, if any. I think it is the dashing of this ideal …. it, it me, is where the battle remained… the grief of failing to get what the world says is the perfect family, the same world that enables bullies and narcissists by telling people to forgive and maybe the abuser will change. We are told not to diagnose but when someone checks off the boxes of lack of empathy and consistent disrespectful behavior they do look like narcissists and all of their enablers look like flying monkeys.

      I just wanted to say: well stated. You are right, why would we let ANYone treat us like junk, no matter who they are. That only denigrates our own honor. Thank you, I will think about this.

      God bless you!

      Reply
  26. Anita

    I wrote amends letters to both my estranged children very early in our estrangement. It made me feel worse and they were totally ignored. I still don’t know why they cut me and my entire family off. I wish I had never written them. They didn’t make sense because I was desperate to find anything to apologise for so that I could talk to them. In hindsight I know I did the best for them in difficult situations, putting myself at risk and facing increased hardship due to that. I won’t apologise anymore to them, they don’t deserve it but maybe it is, as you say, time to apologise to myself.

    Reply
    1. Anna

      Dear Anita,
      I agree with you: I will never apologize to my children in any way or form, anymore! Or to any of my family members. I was rejected by my son and daughter 15 years ago when I remarried. They turned their back on me and took my grand kids away, as well. I asked a close, older sister (whom I took care of for years) to write a letter to my daughter, on my behalf. She refused and stopped talking to me, saying it was none of her business! I was deeply hurt by her cold response. We never talked again, and then she sadly died from cancer. Her daughter, a close niece, also shunned me (for asking my sister) to do such a “selfish” task! Now her sister, another niece, shunned me for even bringing up the topic of missing my children & grand kids! Now she has turned against me, as well! I know my nieces have visited my daughter, who lives in a big, expensive house and pays for their trip to see her (& my grand kids), for my granddaughter’s high school graduation. I know my daughter has pulled them to her side, and now I feel ganged up on, yet again! Although i have managed to survive all the rejection from my daughter & son, this new rejection by my nieces opens all of my old wounds & new ones have arrived! Family estrangement is not easy, and it does not seem to lessen, but continue and evolve in different directions. I am so grateful for my loving and supportive husband all of these years. Without him, life alone without my kids would have been too hard to endure. He has been heaven sent to me after being divorced for 25 years of which that time was devoted to my children, who became selfish of my love & never wanted me to have a life outside of them. But I did and I wouldn’t trade it for the world, even for them and the grand kids who I miss so much in my life. Being true to ourselves keeps us healthy and wise, even in the face of cruelty and the absence of our children.

      Reply
  27. Diane M.

    Wow! I guess I need to write an amends letter to myself! I never felt the need to write one to my ED or her family. This is their loss. It was such a sudden estrangement several years ago. They know where to reach me if they ever want to reconnect. But then IT’S MY CHOICE. I do talk to my disabled adult son. At least he told me some “issues” he had with me when we reconnected. He “disappeared” from the whole family, but this was due to his mental health issues. The issues he had with me was from when he was a child and teenager. But I listened to him, let him talk, and now all is fine between us. My daughter does not even talk to him. So, something is bothering her and it’s just not me she refuses to talk to.
    I wish all of you a happy holiday. I hope you can enjoy them in your own special ways. I look forward to Sheri’s next newsletter regarding the New Year.

    Reply
  28. Jill

    The Amends points to myself was as if you knew. EVERYTHING. I have felt and done in each sentence. I needed to hear this and I read out loud the letter as you suggested in this article filling in my name. I didn’t need to write it down just saying out loud myself brought tears to my eyes and left me ready to continue to move on with purpose and to keep seeking joy and peace in my life. ” This is the day God has made for me. I will be glad and find rejoice in it” Thank you so much for your thoughts and teaching

    Reply
  29. KeepOnKeepingOn

    The first time I sent an apology/amends letter to my estranged daughter her reply was: “Your apology didn’t hit the mark’. Several months later, I thought I would try again as I was desperate to do my part to end this nightmare. This time I asked my husband to help me compose the letter as I thought maybe I was incapable of doing it ‘just right’. He is the most tactful, easy going person I know and I felt his approach might be more palatable and acceptable to our daughter. He took his time and thought the whole thing thru very carefully. I thought what he came up with was excellent so I wrote it out, signed my name and sent it off. That was over 3 months ago and as yet we have not even received an acknowledgement that she received it. I finally realized there will be no apology good enough in her eyes because she doesn’t want there to be one.

    Reply
  30. Cheryl M.

    Thank you so much. Best article ever! I agree with everything in the article. Although my husband and I did send an amends letter ( with no response), these have been my sentiments all along. Being apart of other groups, there are very few parents that are getting positive results from these amends letter(s). We count on the experts to really help us. If you have something to amend, amend for it. If you are like most parents, we don’t even know what the reason is for the estrangement. Take care of yourself.

    Reply
  31. Trish

    I did write an amends letter. Now I think I will do no more amending. This kind of thing can cause you to go over and over in your mind all your failures with your estranged child. EVERYONE makes mistakes with their children, including those that are not estranged. If you keep running your mistakes/failures through your head again and again, it will lead to sadness and depression.

    Reply
  32. Natalie

    Good morning, Sheri, thank you for your great article. I wrote an apology letter just 1 time. I don’t think it helped. We are not writing amend letters for a good reason. Our estranged daughter has mental illness and has a lot of pressure from her boyfriend and especially his parents that are not our fault. There are numerous grounds that are not parent-fault-based.

    Reply
    1. Lynn

      Natalie, you are so right.
      Our daughter wouldn’t even open letters or
      ” thinking of you” notes , that we sent and not even presents. All were totally returned unopened. She has had a mental illness since childhood. When in college she refused to take any medication, the it really became a nightmare. She moved to another state and has cut off all contact with family, friends and anyone she knew before leaving home.
      She wasn’t on her meds so,anything and nothing would send her into a rage. She was calling my husband’s work complaining and talking nonsense up to 30 times a day. We had to unplug the phone at home to be able to sleep. In college, when she refused her meds, she became unreachable. It has absolutely broken our hearts, her sisters also are concerned and miss her. We pray every day that she will at least call. She left a message a few months ago and we were beyond thrilled!
      Wishing you the best. It’s a struggle. Your daughter,like ours, must know down deep in her heart you love her…just keep showing her.”And the greatest of these is love.” Hold onto that.

      Reply
  33. Valeri C.

    Sherry. Thank you for making such good work of this “common sense” approach. So often we beat ourselves up instead of build ourselves up. I truly appreciate all you have done. Over my lifetime, I am one of those people who needs to “understand and figure things out” Very logical minded. This estrangement is not logical and can’t be figured out. I was never told one reason why….just totally cut off (along with all of my family). Over the past 11 years, I have come to accept as best I can and move forward. The holidays bring out the sadness and I give myself the gift of recognizing the loss….but remain positive. Thank you agian.

    Reply
    1. Toni R

      My goodness, thank you for writing this. My husband and I have written several amends letters over the past 14 years to our estranged daughter and they have never been good enough. We were loving, kind, parents who did everything for our children, our son cannot understand his sister. We have never been told what we need to apologise for, just accused of being emotionally abusive. We have no idea how we were emotionally abusive, our son who has a degree in Psychology says we were never that, and we have a loving close relationship with him and his family. I feel after 14 years of no contact we are the ones that should be apologised to. I need to let goof any hope of a reconciliation but it is very hard.

      Reply
  34. Janet

    Thank you for this article. It came at the most appropriate time – a God-send. After 5 years of no-contact, last night she texted my husband that she had moved, and if we needed to reach her or send her something, that we could do this through another relative. She did not want us to know where she moved. Which also makes the relationship with the other relative weird too. Anyway, the part of the article that struck me most was how estranged children use revisionist history to point blame, are steered and championed toward this view by counseling, and abuse the kindness of parents. I LOVE the idea of writing an apology letter to myself, and to also congratulate myself on being a good parent. AND the part about moving forward NOW, and not getting stuck in the estrangement abuse that causes us to doubt ourselves and to look toward ways to “fix” things. I am going to print out the article for frequent re-reads, when I start to go down the path of self-regret and sadness over a relationship that will never be healed. THANK YOU SHERRI for allowing God to speak through you.

    Reply
    1. Kathryn S.

      Janet, thank you for sharing, and for your healthy and God-centered response. After 7 years of no contact imposed by our daughter with no explanation, it has been helpful to have you affirm the healing steps that I’ve had to learn to make. I too like the idea of writing that letter to myself! God bless you in your own healing. – Kate

      Reply
  35. Kathleen K.

    As always, your comments heal and are much appreciated. I am at fault for my son’s distance from me. I left my first husband (it’s complicated) I never encouraged a relationship between them and 2 years later I married someone else. I shouldn’t have done that because my son was very young. At first, it looked like my new husband and son were getting along ok, but it didn’t work out with them. I was in the middle. I lost both of them. I didn’t give my son a father and I can’t forgive myself for that. I tried once to reach out to him, but he said to never contact him again. I know he felt rejection and I don’t blame him, but I do feel so bad for him for not being able to forgive. Thanks so much for these emails. Please keep them coming. Regards and thanks. Kathy

    Reply
  36. Rhonda A

    So agree with this. If you’re going to write an amends letter, DON’T mail it! Put it away somewhere in the home. Perhaps they’ll get it after we’ve passed on to our next phase of our lives, and then realize what they’ve missed.

    I want to write a letter to my daughters (the older one manipulated and gaslit the younger one into believing her lies about me being the abuser in the family… when it’s she, herself, who is the narcissist and abuser), not looking for amends, but to let her know I forgive her, but can never have her in my life again, due to trust issues. The Lord’s Prayer is my impetus. It’s ultimately for me, not her. The Lord’s Prayer says that we MUST forgive others, for their trespasses against us; otherwise, Father cannot forgive us for our trespasses against Him. It’s for my own peace, not hers. This way, I’ve closed the door on the issue, as far as my peace-of-mind is concerned. I can move forward, knowing that I provided her everything she needs… not everything she WANTS, but what she needed. She’s an adult. She’s on her own, officially, now.

    Reply
  37. Karen K.

    This was a right on time moment for me, Thank you Sheri for posting. Thank you Father God for guiding me to this healing after a hard week of new painful findings of my adult estranged daughter (going on 13 years now. ) Help this Help me continue to more forward into new life and hope, in Jesus name!! Amen!!

    Reply
  38. Wendy M.

    Dear Sheri-
    Once again I am writing to thank you for your wisdom and insight. This year I did write “this amends” letter to all of my sons as the result of “bad advice from seemingly reputable sources”. In my letter I took responsibility for any of my actions many years ago that may have hurt them. I even agreed to speak with my eldest son via FaceTime so that he could tell me to my face what I did wrong that harmed him. At the end of our conversation in which I just listened and affirmed his reality, he asked me if there was anything I wanted to say. I replied that I had hoped that by clearing the air we could move forward. I asked him to call me on a more regular basis so that we could begin to repair our relationship. That was 8 months ago. He is continuing to see his therapist who has been encouraging his estrangement. His wife, my previously loving DIL, is not speaking with me because he asked for her support. I am definitely moving on with my life and finding the happiness I deserve with my loving husband, and family and friends who do appreciate me. Thank you for speaking the truth and for your helpful suggestions for self-care. Sending you blessings for a beautiful Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New year. Wendy

    Reply
  39. Kathleen F

    Thank you I really needed to see this today. I agree. In mymparticular situation. My gut said no amends and I love the idea to write an amemdmnet letter to ourselves how lovely and well deserved for all of us sending out love and light to all

    Reply
  40. Maggie

    Hi Sheri well oh my goodness what a brilliant piece of truthful writing!!
    My husband and I have done so many of these things, we’ve been used and abused and denied access to our Grandchildren.
    We are selling our house and moving out of the suburbs to hopefully a much quieter place a dream come true for us.
    This past few weeks has been tiring as you may well understand BUT it’s for us.
    When we move none of our ungrateful abusive children will be informed of where we are going! Something I personally am looking forward to.

    Thank you a million times for all your emails and your books which continue to help and support us bless you.

    Reply
  41. Jennifer D.

    Happy Holidays everyone! I couldn’t agree more on writing an amends letter to yourself! I have a very supportive family who knows what an amazing mother I had been to my estranged adult son. Without my faith in God, my family, reading others stories from fellow estranged parents , my own strength, and Sheri McGregor books I’m not sure how I would have gotten through the painful process of having an estranged son. I’ve learned to move on and look forward to every new day without beating myself up. I haven’t tried contacting my estranged adult son in over a year and I know this is for the best! I’m writing my letter of amends to myself, looking forward to the New Year, and taking care of myself. As always, wishing you all the best & God bless each and everyone of you!

    Reply
  42. Annemarie

    I like this idea about an amends letter to myself. Thank you Sheri. At this time, I am in communication with my es,dil and 4 beautiful granddaughters. I am painting the porch while the weather is warm. I never know when the temperature will drop. But,with each estrangement, I have grown. My heart still swells with love but it is not the desperate love that needs them. I want them,but I don’t NEED them like I used too. Always praying this time the door will stay open. Either way,I will write an amends letter to myself. It’s another tool in my box, brick in my wall and showing myself grace that I give to others. Thank you for helping me get here Sheri. God bless and keep you.

    Reply
  43. Laurie J.

    Your insight into writing an amends letter was just what I needed to read. My therapist suggested writing one to my adult son and I never felt it was right for me. But writing one to myself makes sense! These all resignate with me;
    1) neglected your own needs in favor of another’s
    2) dishonored or disregarded your values to avoid conflict or gain approval
    3) gave when you knew you shouldn’t
    4) said “yes” when your gut said “
    It has been 2 1/2 years since my son has spoken to me. Your books and your newsletter help me understand that I am not alone in this painful journey.
    I am thankful for your words of comfort and truth!

    Reply
    1. Susan C.

      Mine would be to my son who has millions, travels the world and as he has mentioned the few times I have heard from him, his 2 million home –
      I was a teenage Mother who worked myself to death providing a clean, cute happy, stable little home for him, after 5 years my employer helped me buy a condo and awhile later met my husband who adopted my son after the 1 year waiting period,
      I heard from my AS after 6 years this past year, he was rude and blasted me with such a hateful text after making me a nervous for the year it lasted, my letter would be
      Dear Son, When you were born you were the greatest gift. I could have imagined. I loved you dearly and took such good care of you. I never dreamed you would turn on me after paying for most of your college and ridiculous handouts of money, money, money while you would not always speak to me ( us) my greatest gift in life ruined my life. But I took my life back. I was not surprised you hung up on me when you heard the words, I’m calling because I am in a physical crisis, I heard your click as you hung up on me.
      I’m still glad I called it was a confirmation – my greatest gift who received so much love and devotion ruined 30 years of my life – I am only 17 years older than you so I can have some good years left – what a brat, spoiled brat you are – but I didn’t do it
      Signed, Mother

      Reply
    2. Sharon M.

      Its been 6 months with no communication with my son.No one could have told me this could have or would have ever happened. I am devastated. He keeps in touch with his father but has let it be known I am a throw away. He has let it be known he wants no connection to me. After 20 years with my Granddaughters every holiday, I am now wiped out.Every now and then I will get a picture from my DIL.It hurts but I have to try to move on. My Daughter cannot believe this has happened. She has tried to intervene but nothing helps. It is coming at a time that my own Mother is dying. At his point he doesnt care and doesnt want any part of it.Its sad. Reading about the Amends letter to myself was an eyeopener.I have blamed myself for something I cant get an answer for. I will pray that he see me for who I am but if he doesnt I know who I am. I will stay true to myself. I will tell myself that I deserve to be loved and appreciated.And for the first time in 6months I will believe it.

      Reply
  44. Michael M.

    My adult child will not give me her address, so I have no way of sending a letter. Any ideas on communicating with her because she has blocked me on social media, telephone, any kind of communication device.

    Reply
    1. Maggie

      Michael Please take this in the best possible way!

      If you continue to contact your adult child it

      1 Smacks of being too needy to them

      2 Will make them more determined to not allow you in any- way to contact you.

      3 If you were to be able to write to her/him your letter would most probably be picked to pieces if not now further into the future.

      I tell you all this from personal experience! As parents we al- ways hope that our words will have impact! That sadly is not the case.

      I wish you all the best read Sheri’s books and all her newslet- ters they’ve really helped both myself and my husband.

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *