Emotional scars after an adult child’s estrangement

tree rootsby Sheri McGregor

Having experienced the cutting pain of an adult child’s estrangement, I’ve done my share of crying. I’m like many moms who have expressed sorrow so profound it can feel bottomless. On some level, maybe it will always be there – – like a scar that’s left by a physical wound. And that’s okay.

To better understand healthy emotional healing, let’s look at physical healing and see how it relates to our emotional hurts.

Scars result from a series of healing responses that have a purpose: to clear out damaged cells and other undesirable elements such as germs, and then rebuild the area. But some scars are overly aggressive, and go beyond the original injury. These “keloid” and “contracture” type scars can extend so far past the original wound that they hamper movement, affect nerve sensitivity, and create new problems.

Emotional scars after an adult child’s rejection

Just as keloid and contracture scarring can hinder us, so can emotional reactions that become too aggressive. Here’s an example: When trust is broken in one relationship, and we then extend a lack of trust to all relationships. Caught up in fear, we attempt to protect ourselves by shutting out the possibility of pain. But we also cut ourselves off, and hinder forward momentum.

Often, I hear from parents who, after their adult child’s estrangement, say they can no longer trust anyone. I understand the feeling. If such a close bond can be broken, is any relationship safe?

That’s how Lila, a 68-year-old mother of two estranged adult sons felt. When first her oldest son rejected her, followed by her younger son’s estrangement six months later, she was devastated. She quit her walks to the park, did her shopping online, dropped her hobby memberships, and stopped seeing friends and family.

Some of you will recognize how Lila felt. When she tried to talk about her sons’ estrangement, people asked what she did or said. They couldn’t comprehend how her own sons could shut her out. Already hurting, she felt betrayed all over again.

For two years, Lila isolated herself. She would sit and look out her windows while the seasons changed. The old tree by the sidewalk would lose its leaves, its bony silhouette against the gray sky a haunting reminder of her loneliness and pain. In spring rains, the tree grew buds and flowers. Lila watched as the days warmed and the tree grew leafy. People ventured out in shorts and tees. Couples held hands. Joggers dripped in sweat. People walked their dogs. Life went on, but Lila didn’t participate.

Watching as parents pushed strollers by, she would cluck bitterly to herself. They had bought into the promise of family. The cruel joke of God or the universe she now saw through. The ideal of family happiness lured so many, but it just wasn’t true. She knew that. And those young parents didn’t have a clue.

But two years was too long. Restless from sitting alone inside while the beautiful weather outdoors called, she decided to pull out her old photo albums. Maybe she’d remind herself what a pitifully naïve woman she had once been.

The photos of her and her sons illustrated truth she couldn’t ignore. There were huge gaps of time during which her sons didn’t appear at all. And when they did, it was at Lila’s beckoning – – or perhaps spurred by their guilt. They showed up for Christmas or her birthday, but the photos looked staged, their pasted-on smiles captured but fleeting. They had glanced up to pose, torn from their smartphones still in hand.

But rather than focus on those pictures and the bitter truth she saw in them, Lila looked instead at all the other memories.

trust after an adult child's estrangementIn between those few sparse photos, Lila saw herself grinning with friends. Posed in front of a huge Christmas tree at the Senior Center, she stood with several women, their red sweaters cheery and bright. Like the others, Lila stood with one arm extended toward the tree’s branches, smiling with pride as they hooked on their angel ornaments crafted from wire and beads. There were pictures of Lila on a trip to New York City with her quilting club. More from her church and museum docent groups. And in several, she grinned from beneath a wide-brimmed hat alongside hiking group members. The shimmering blue of the nearby lake stretched out behind them.

Three of those old friends were gone, she realized, tears beginning to well. In the years she’d sat letting life pass by, they had lost health battles or succumbed to the inevitable march of time.

Her vision blurring, she swiped at her eyes and closed the albums. It was too late to see those friends. Remembering how puzzled one of them had been, how she’d wondered aloud what Lila might have done to cause the rift, Lila wished she could try again to explain the inexplicable. It was difficult to understand something you’ve never been through. But Lila had been so hurt. She had locked her door on everyone. She’d protected herself, but her life was passing her by.

The following day, Lila started to reconnect. The hiking club had disbanded, but the Senior Center was still going strong. She ventured out, reveling in the whispery warmth of the breeze against her cheeks. Old friends, she hoped, would welcome her. And there would be new people. She didn’t want to miss out any longer.

What will you do?

When we don’t risk trusting others, we protect ourselves but also cut ourselves off from the joy another person might bring. A response that reaches beyond an adult child’s estrangement to all our relationships hampers us. It keeps us locked away, focused on pain from the past and unable to enjoy the future.

You have a choice.

Yes, there’s risk involved, but which is the better choice? Toughening up your emotional “skin” enough that you’ll risk a little pain for the possibility of joy? Or forming a protective shell that keeps you trapped?

Physical scars fade, but often remain – – a visible reminder of the body’s resilience. Emotional scars can also be gentle reminders that we are emotionally robust. That we can get through tough times to claim the good.

Sure, the potential for pain exists, but so do the deep joy and fun of friendship. Lila’s advice? Grab hold of life. Take a chance. Enjoy people while you can.

book for parents of estranged adults

Book to help

Holidays are a time to celebrate life and giving to others. The New Year brings a natural opportunity to embrace new beginnings. During holidays or any time, just as Lila did, we can all start fresh. What are you waiting for?

You can be done with the crying.

Related articles:

Five ways to move on after an adult child’s rejection

Take care of yourself

Holidays: How to manage them

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65 thoughts on “Emotional scars after an adult child’s estrangement

  1. Kristy

    Hi fellow survivors, Your stories are so powerful and challenging with the pain and suffering our kids put us through. I never thought that beautiful baby would turn out so ruthless and attacking. We have tried to keep in contact but anything we say or do is always wrong.
    Our grandchildren …teenagers have been turned against us which breaks our hearts. Our son has turned them against us which hurts so much and they dont want any contact, gifts, cards etc.
    We had been putting a little money aside each week when they were born to be given to them when they are adults. We have heard they are enquiring about that money and would like it but the will has been changed to leave it to them when we pass away.
    I am shocked that the Mum, Dad and kids can dismiss us, verbally attack us and go no contact but have their hands out for money.
    Does anyone have any advice they can give. I am very inclined to leave it in the will as if we are not worthy of being in their lives they should not expect money.
    I read your stories quite often and see that we could be broken but we just keep going. Our support for each other on this forum gives us strength, acceptance and love. Bless you all xxx

    1. Kate

      I’m so sorry but I know exactly how you feel. My only child dumped me many years ago & she’s trash talked & lied about me to everyone for years, including to my grandson. So a few years ago, he dumped me too. He’s a grown man today & I haven’t seen or heard from him in years. I’ve finally had enough! I changed my will. I will leave what I have to a no-kill animal shelter. They deserve it much more than people who have hated & disrespected me all these years. There finally comes a time when we have to give up & move on the best way we can. Please take care.

  2. Diane M.

    Sept. is a hard month for me now. I used to love it and await it. But, it’s also my daughter’s 49th birthday, my granddaughter’s birthday and my son-in-law’s too. This is the first year I will not be sending them cards. Why should I send cards, with written notes inside, to those I NEVER hear from? I don’t even have my granddaughter and her fiancée’s address. No one even told me of their engagement. I found out online. This has been a new hurt, an open wound. Life changes open up these wounds and I have to heal myself again. Recently, I started shopping more. I’m sure that’s to make me feel better. But it will only take time. I do wish all of you the best with your healing too. Even those that have been estranged for a long time, like me, still have times that may open up old wounds. Take good care. We’ll all get through this together.

    1. Ann

      Like so many of you, I don’t even know what I did to deserve this! How could it be such a big deal if I can’t find a reason for this separation? Still, I have tried to apologize for whatever I might have done. Again, nothing. Actually, I can think of a pretty darn long list of what I did right…but this doesn’t seem to matter.
      It is soul crushing.

      1. rparents Post author

        Dear Ann, Like so many parents who visit this site, this likely has nothing to do with you. Certainly nothing you did to “deserve” this. And that long list of all you did right … it does matter. Take heart dear, Ann. For you.
        Sheri McGregor

      2. WaxDiva

        My daughter and only child actually sent me a list of everything I did wrong to her over her 46 years. I agree with her and IMO I was a horrible mother. If I had the chance to do it all over again, I would in a heartbeat. I had no idea what I was doing and thought at the time that I was doing everything right and that my daughter was happy. I got caught up in the time of “you can do it all” and do it all by yourself. I believed all that crap and selfishly divorced my husband, who when looking back, was a wonderful husband and father. I did not know what I was doing and how much my actions affected my daughter and her father. I realize this all too late. I also realize that being one of eleven kids, I was very neglected and lived in total fear and chaos. I now realize that I was a horrible mother becuase I didn’t know how to be a mother… as I was never mothered. I now have a beautiful one-yr-old granddaughter who I rarely see.
        I have apologized to my daughter and am just biding my time hoping that she will visit and bring my granddaugher with her. Honestly, I doubt that will happen. I’m not going to push anything and decided to give this situation up to God, as He will do what is right.
        I don’t know if any of this even makes any sense. But, it’s a relief to me while reading this site that other’s know my pain… it’s too late to fix anything which she has listed as all the wrongs I’ve done to her.

        1. Juanita

          Hi, I hope that your day is good today or when your read my reply. It’s very upsetting when children think that ignoring or punishing a parent with grandchildren is the right way instead of finding forgiveness. I understand when you say that you are at a point in life where you have to just leave this to God. I have been a single mom for most of my children’s lives I have tried to be the best mom I can and it still seems like it’s not enough no matter what I do or change about myself. I used to be in denial but I finally started being true to myself a few years back and started realizing that this relationship is not all my fault since they are grown and I have gone to every step to make sure they know the truth about the divorce from their fathers. I could fill an ocean with the tears that I have cried trying to stay with my children and have a relationship with them and my grandchildren. I’m wore out from it all because the more good I try to do the more it hurts. I have been judged on any and everything a person can ever been held accountable for and told the whole truth . My life is not getting any younger and I really wanted to be that mom that they used to be proud . It is the worst kind of pain a mother can feel to be treated with such disrespect and be humiliated by the ones you have given birth too. God is the one reason that I have made it through these years which counting this year has been 36 years for one child and 23 years for the other two. I have finally reached a point in my life that I had to realize that my children are not babies anymore even though I will always be their mom. I have to let go and let God because in the bible it tells every parent that a child is never blessed more than when we pray for our children. It was just time to face the reality . Then I pick up my bible and I am reminded to pray from my children even when they are not treating me the way I think I deserve. It’s true you hang in there pray to God everyday and pray for them to have a good, happy and prosperous life just because you are their mom. I hope that your life will find peace and that just maybe your daughter will forgive you and even reconcile even if it is only for a while. That little while is better than never and will give you and your child peace and happy memories that will last a lifetime. I wish you the best and I truly hope that your family is reconciled. God Bless, Juanita

  3. Anne M.

    Hello everyone,
    I am in need of practical advice. My two children have been estranged from me for going on fourteen years due to my lack of parenting skills . According to them the list goes on and on but they have declined to give specifics. Anyway I was finally moving forward, was travelling, feeling good, had changed jobs …. Mentally I was in a good place. My youngest daughter informed me via text that she was engaged. I texted congratulations and that’s where all communication stopped. Long story short my sister told me my daughter was getting married in March and I really thought I was fine until April rollled around and i literally fell into an emotional black hole that I am struggling to get out of. I was the only relative not invited to the wedding(my sister and her family went), I heard nothing about lead up to wedding, have not met son in law or any of his family and I feel that I am distant from my sister. I feel that she has sided with my daughters . I am struggling to come to terms with how I feel…angry/betrayed/relieved that I was not humiliated if I had of been invited etc.
    i am worried if I have it out with my sister then it will be another estrangement. We have never fought.

    1. Donna T.

      I can relate to that. My daughter communicates with me via WhatsApp. I’ve never had a phone call from her, ever. Not even when my mother died. She announced her engagement on Wattsapp. I gave her and her fiancée a lot of money for their engagement and wedding. He thanked me by voice note. I was angry and distressed at the same time. And promised to myself that I won’t accept any voice notes in the future because they distress me so much.

      I hear her phoning her father in the other room on loudspeaker. I can’t work out whether it’s just thoughtless or callousness. Anyway, when I hear these conversations it always sends spiralling into a grieving situation. I am incited to the wedding but I will be a normal guest, nothing special.

      All the best.

    2. Teresa

      Anne M., I am sorry for your setback. 14 years is a long time. Have you considered the fact that your AC may not be people you would want to have in your life? I am familiar with the silent treatment and still cannot fathom how cruel it is, total rejection. Why would I want someone in my life that was cruel and unforgiving? I would practice radical acceptance and focus on you, your travels, self-care, moving past this last hurt, etc. I wish you peace.

    3. Anne

      Thanks for your thoughts. I had been secretly dreading this milestone for a long time and now it has happened the world is still turning and I am ok. Just needed some support. Was feeling alone as the subject is not something you can talk about easily.

    4. Rosemarie L.

      I feel for you, Anne. Just went through the non-invite to son’s wedding of being very distant. It’s heartbreaking realizing such harsh reality of exclusion.
      Of my small close circle of friends, 3 of us are experiencing stages of estrangement. It’s like an epidemic. We’ve decided not to let their opinions of us define us & our future. We’ve all done the apologies, therapy, forgiveness, etc. to no avail. We’re moving on in our lives. No more false hopes. It’s on them.

      1. Su

        Interesting that you mentioned various stages of estrangement among a small circle of friends. I also have a similar experience.

        Two friends had rocky marriages and relationships and are estranged from their daughters. My own daughter just has continued to find ways to punish,abuse and disrespect me and Son barely speaks to me. I may not have been the best mom in the world but certainly never abused either of them, tried to financially support them,took them on vacations and to fun events ..well I think you know the drill.

    5. Max

      Anne, I am so sorry. My daughter’s rejection letter came after her engagement party she said I ruined. And to top it off, said it was ”on-going” behavior. But no explanation. All I know is the party was at her to-be in-laws home. I had never been there or met them. They introduced themselves at dinner the night before. I thought it went well. Then I, like you, was left out of the pre-party prep and any intimacy’s. I made the mistake of telling my daughter I felt left out and useless. I thought we had a good time at the actual party but apparently that triggered something (I had apologized for saying I felt replaced). I have been single all of my daughter’s lifetime. I don’t feel I am needy but it seems she thinks I am, or something like that. A year later we connected for a minute. Like your daughter, she called me to tell me about an event in her life she wanted my to be proud of, not to attempt to repair that year of damage. The calls since have been sparse. I suggested to her,many ways we could communicate to make a new start. I don’t think she has it in her to talk about it. You would think I committed some horrible acts. I, like you was trying to be a parent. And by myself, with no experience. There has been a lapse again. Besides the hurt, I’m tired. I’m tired of this unresolved whatever hanging over me. I don’t really have a solution for you or for me but I needed to share with you, that you are not alone. I’ve learned that there are a lot of us these days.

      1. Anne M.

        Thanks Max for your honest appraisal of a crap situation. I feel sometimes that I have been robbed of being a mother but I will survive. I had been dreading moments like these but now the event has happened I will get on with my life. I see it as a speed bump in life as my life was going ok before then . Life has a way of throwing curveballs when you least expect it.

    6. Susan

      (Hugs) Anne. Every Mum wants the perfect wedding for their Daughter and to be the proud Mother of the Bride. I attended my Daughter’s wedding 13 years ag,o it was a nightmare I cried all the way home. By choice I held what had happened in and never discussed it as I felt it may cause another argument, the same happened at a beautiful baby shower I arranged and again at my Granddaughters Christening I said nothing. IMy whole life was walking on eggshells too scared to say this or have an opinion. Anne you probably dodged a bullet by not being invited. For 8 years in November I have never had to deal with the drama, arguments, abuse and outright nastiness and my life is so much better for it. I did the unthinkable I walked away the save me.

      1. Anne M.

        I think I did dodge a bullet as either way it was going to be horrible. The wedding was a big trigger and one I am still working through. It was a definite shutting me out moment.

    7. Juanita

      HI Anne, truly sorry to hear that this exclusion of such a important occasion in your child life. There is nothing worse than a parent being left out especially not being able to meet and approve of the choice your daughter has for a life partner. It’s very painful to feel left out of this type of occasion. I know you feel upset with your sister but try to look at it in a different way. She was there to help your child and she got to met her husband so there was someone in your family that approved. I bet you and your sister have a special relationship and that you know she loves your child as much as you do. Sometimes family members are caught in the middle between what is right and what is not right. I know it’s hard to forgive such a thing but like you said you won’t want to be excluded from her life also. If you can pray about the situation. I hope that you are invited soon to meet him and that you are reconciled so that you can be part of your whole family . God Bless, Juanita

  4. Vickey G.

    I spent a year mourning the loss the relationship with my only child (a son) and two grandchildren. When I realized it might be a long-term situation, I decided to get myself a Labrador puppy to love and focus my energies on. It’s been 4 years now and that dog has been my saving grace. I’m now retired and have gotten much joy out of training and spending time with her. We travel to compete in scentwork trials and hunt tests and she’s earned lots of ribbons and accolades. I’ve made many wonderful friends in the dog community and it’s been a reminder that there is life after an estrangement. I’m not giving up hope for an eventual reconciliation but in the meantime, I’m moving forward with living.

    1. Juanita

      Good for you! I finally got me a fish that keeps me company a lot! I like to watch her and to make her aquarium look pretty . I don’t have a way to get a pet so my beta is the best!. I am moving on too!

  5. Karen K.

    Another couple of very helpful reminders I picked up along the way, probably somewhere on this site. I have an estranged daughter who is 51 years old today. No Clue why.

    “This is not about me it’s about her inability to take control of her life.”

    “No matter if something bad happens that’s out of my control, I still have the choice of how I will respond.”

    1. Lynn A

      Friday was my estranged daughters 37 birthday. It devastated me to not say happy birthday for the first time in all her life. I have missed my grandsons first birthday, the other ones 5 th bid th day and off to kindergarten and on sept 13 it will be her oldest son turning 12. If I have no contact at that time, I am going to give up my prayers and hopes and try to move in with my life. To find my own happiness again. It has almost been a year and I am just mentally worn down by her absolute silence and blocking me everywhere except for showing up at her house which I think will go very pourly

        1. Nancy C

          My only daughter is 35 and it has been two years and three months since she has totally blocked me. (Up until then, I thought we had a good relationship, never any problems. I must have been delusional.) My grandson turned five and started Kindergarten in August. (We missed that and of course, we got no First Day of School picture.) His brother was only six months old when we last saw him and will be three in December, so he doesn’t even have Nana or Pop pop in his vocabulary. So much loss, so much pain. You are not alone.

        2. Billie

          It’s been 6 years estranged from my daughter and 2 granddaughters. I felt likei i was ging to die. I know I will never see them again but I still love them and have no anger towards her. After all this time I realized this week I can’t cry anymore..that is acceptance and progress. I wish you well.

      1. Juanita

        Keep praying for your children, ask God to bless them with happiness,peace and prosperity. If there is anyone that understands the love and the hurt you have experienced it is God! I hope you are reconciled and that life becomes happier for your whole family.
        God Bless!

    2. Cassie

      Hi this resonated with me. My adult son 39 is an angry bitter man. I feel as a mother of an only child that I failed him somehow but I must step back and stop trying to save him from himself. I doubt he will ever change. I need to stop crying and blaming myself. I did the best I could at the time. I look at my husband’s children and they are so close to him. It makes me so sad but I am strong and I will survive.

  6. Lisa

    The saying that saves me over and over again… nothing is permanent, everything is always changing!

    I know I have changed! I am changing everyday. I have learned to focus on each moment, they are precious and beautiful if I am willing to look. The pain almost devoured me, but I have become strong through the storm. I have gotten to known the true me, and let go of the mask I used to wear in hopes that I would be viewed as “enough”. I love me and will live life to the fullest each an every precious moment I am blessed with. I don’t know what the future holds, but I am definitely DONE WITH THE CRYING!!

  7. Karen K.

    This arrived today on my estranged daughter’s birthday! I want to pass along something said by my dear daughter-in-law who is the wife of my other child, my son who loves me dearly and always reminds me that he (they) love me! (You know without my saying how fortunate I am to have these two!)

    Anyway, I was txting about the birthday with XX who is also estranged from my daughter, who was once like a sister she never had…. XX said:

    Mama, stop watering dead flowers.

    She is so right.

    1. Mary

      That last statement hit me between the eyes-“Mama, stop watering dead flowers.” My estranged son of almost 6 years hates me and there is nothing I can do to change that. I am dead to him and he is dead to me now.

      1. candleinthewind

        Not so easy for me to think of my estranged children as ‘dead to me now’. I know they’re alive and communicating with someone, hopefully minding their manners! I still need to wish them well in all the pain.

      2. Juanita

        I agree with the statement” Mama stop watering dead flowers.” I am truly sorry to hear that your son and you are estranged. I hope you didn’t mean it when you said that he was dead to you because that’s a very strong statement. I have learned over the years that children sometimes are not what we expect them to be no matter how good a job we have done in raising them. I read this poem/prayer one time from another mother that said we are still their parents even if they are bad, we are not just their parent when they are good. It’s our job as a parent to do what we can to help our children understand their feelings and their lives even if it means all you can do is love them from a distant and pray for their lives to be happy, peaceful and prosperous. I hope you don’t give up on your son and that God will bless you both to reconcile. God Bless, Juanita

    2. Anne M

      This hits the mark exactly!! Whenever I am feeling sad I think about dead flowers and the futility of getting them to survive.

  8. E

    I cried throughout reading this article. I have been paralyzed for the past 7 years by the grief I live in due to missing my estranged beautiful daughter. She got married and it was a beautiful wedding. However, her possessive husband convinced her that having a family relationship with her parents and two younger siblings was a form of idolatry and she was sinning against God. She talks down to us and has ghosted her little sister and little brother. She has separated herself from us. She is a pastor’s wife and now has two beautiful children. We’re a Christian family and this has been so devastating and heart wrenching for all of us. Just paralyzing for me as a mom and Grandma, I cry buckets of tears. I am amazed I am not alone. This is such a disenfranchised grief, that isn’t really shareable. I tried to get grief counseling once to try to heal and the counselor tried to call this “empty nest syndrome…” So, unless you have experienced this gut wrenching sadness, it is not explainable!

    1. Sydney

      My grief therapist ( my husband was terminal and then died) frequently mentioned that ‘ her’ son loved her. She kept reminding me that to my son I was invisible, that he did not care about me. Eventually, I felt so devastated that I could barely walk out of the building to my car. My legs felt like they were buckling. I realized that I was in such pain that I just could not bear to hear that ‘ one more time.’ I wrote to her telling her I could not come back; she left a voice mail in my phone in a chilly voice saying I could return if I wanted to. To this day I cannot comprehend why or how she could say those things to me. Didn’t I deserve to be loved and valued as she was? In my mind the implication was that there is something innately wrong with me- I do not believe that.

      1. Jan K

        Sydney…some therapist! What a cruel thing to do, especially mentioning about how her own son loved her…sounds almost like she was gloating. Personally I think therapists do more harm than good, they play with people’s minds.

        1. Patty

          And also to Sidney,

          I told my therapist that now that my daughter has bought a house with her BF in the city where all his relatives live, she has slowly but surely ignored me and I never or rarely see her as they never come to visit me. Well the therapist said that I should be happy my daughter has people who love her. I never responded, but what I wanted to say was what about me. I do not have my daughter’s love as her focus is totally on her BF’S family. I feel my daughter is totally thoughtless. It has made me think I need to find a new therapist as this one is not an advocate or of no help for me!

    2. Kathleen A.

      I saw a picture of our ES on Facebook , he was standing under a beautiful tree , it said loving my life . Thats when I let go , something inside of me changed instantly. I thought , how can u love your life without your Mother , Father , Grandmother who is 90 , a very disabled Uncle , and maternal family. This is not the sweet , kind , gentle son I raised ! I’m feeling better , at this point , at that moment that was my turning point , I’m grateful for that . I saw him yesterday , in a van , just smiling , certainly living is life . I had no tears , or even felt the urge to see him . Our ES destroyed our whole family . He already took way to much from me , my heart , my soul, and trust ! We as Mom’s need to live our life ! We deserve it , and we already paid a great price for it . XO I

      1. Jan K

        Kathleen, it’s best to stop looking at his Facebook…he may have put that photo and caption there specifically to hurt you. In my experience when you stop grieving them and sending cards etc to them, that’s when they can’t resist reaching out, albeit insincerely (and thus reopening the old wounds of rejection).

  9. Virginia

    I’m lost for words right now one of daughter’s has cut all ties with and will longer let me see my granddaughter who is my world because I told her I was getting back together with my Ex who is not there Dad.( Dad died 6 yrs ago) and she does not like for reasons I caused. We are in counseling and are fixing our relationship but she does not want to hear it. So, she said she can’t with me and told me I was dead to her just like her dad and now she would be alone. I love her so much and have tried to fix my and relationship but she won’t hear me. And tells me I have made to many excuses. Her and I where best friends till we weren’t. How do I fix my relationship with my daughter and keep my relationship with my spouse. I don’t know what to I’m at the end of my rope.

    1. Juanita

      Your allowed to love more than one person. It’s hard sometimes for children to see their mom with someone other than their real father. But even harder to be caught in between two people that you love. Pray that your child will see your partner through your eyes and what kind of happiness he brings to your life. I hope that your relationships are mended and that you don’t have to chose who to love. I hope your life finds peace. God Bless, Juanita

  10. Tiffany

    Both of my children have cut me off. My daughter recently went to Facebook on my birthday to wish that I would die. We were so close and so much together. She would tell her friends to come to me for advice. But they both connected with people who hate me and now there’s an entire group of people wishing me death for not being a good mother. My son’s father promised him a relationship once he got away from me. Now he’s cut me off and still no relationship but it’s my fault. I am reading the comments and stories and I’m understanding to cut them off from my emotions. I love them and miss them with every inch of my existence. But I love me as well and I deserve some grace and mercy.

  11. Mavel

    I’m desperate, I don’t know if this is right or not but I have to allow this pain to be free and see if it will go…
    my youngest son, now 20, left home three months ago without an argument, without a fight, without a problem that we know of. I have done everything humanly possible, until finding out he moved away to another state with some people he met online who almost triple his age. he even asked for a restraining order against us, his family, alleging disturbing stories and tales existing only in his mind. we went to look for him where he is at and he rejected us, this is the worse time in my life, I cannot hold it anymore, now today I found out he maybe transferring to a college where he is living now, more than 1000 miles away from home. It is devastating, we don’t know why he left, we cannot talk to him and we don’t know when if so, he will come back. So many things in between that it will be too long to write..

  12. Cheryl

    It hurts me not to see my granddaughters, but my daughters goal is to destroy me and she’s doing alittle everyday. I try to stay strong but it’s super hard.

    1. rparents Post author

      Dear Cheryl,

      Give yourself breaks! It helps to be able to talk about it, write in a journal, think some, pray…but then it’s helpful to say “no more today,” and focus on something else and light.

      It is hard though. I understand and empathize.

      Hugs to you,
      Sheri McGregor

    2. Rhonda M.

      Cheryl I too have a daughter that removed herself and my two granddaughters from my life when they were 2 and 5 so I know your pain. They are now 4 and 7 and I miss them terribly. Thank goodness for Sheri’s book and the advice I find here that keeps me striving forward. What a horrible shitty thing to do not only to her mother but her own daughters. But I try not to dwell there much now. Someone said something here that resonated with me…. my heart might be broken but life is not broken. No one can destroy your life Cheryl, no one has that right or power, only if you let them. You will find that strength and you will not only survive this, you will thrive. Take one day at a time, one breath at a time if that’s all you can manage and hang in there…you are so worth it ❤️

    3. Kimberly

      Hi Cheryl my 3 adult children just walked out of my life. Literally about a week officially. I have 5 grandchildren and I can’t see them . I’m crying I’m in pain . I am lost. There is also no contact between my siblings and I because of childhood trauma. So I am completely alone including no friends. I do not know what to do

  13. Lynn

    My daughter who I adopted rejected me almost a year ago over her job (we worked together). She quit and although no one had problem with that, it was the way in which she did it. Since I didn’t “support” her at that time even though I was the Manager she severed contact. I visited her house at Christmas and she wouldn’t even open the front door. I texted and sent cards for the holidays and no response. What hurt the most was my mother passed away and I sent her a text and she didn’t respond and a week later my grandson sent me a text saying he never wants to see or hear from me again because of what I did to his mother. My mother-in-law passed away 2 weeks ago and I didn’t even bother. I’ve decided it’s almost a year and it’s time to move on. I miss her terribly and I hope at some time we can reconcile but I’m not going to wait any longer.

  14. Pam

    It’s the hardest thing to go through. Today, I decided to clean out my “Little’s” room. This was a place for them to come stay and play at Nona’s.
    I’m turning it into a reflection room for my therapy. Having their items in there that they will haven’t used and looking like will never use….stops me in my tracks and fills me with so much sadness. I’ve donated all of the items to a family in need. I know the items will be used instead of just sitting in a room collecting dust in hopes to see my grandkids someday. I’m letting go and releasing….forgiveness is not a word I can do at this time. I will never know the why…it is what it is….my daughter’s and Little’s lives are better without me in it. She’s decided to estrange herself but the love I have for her and my grandchildren can’t be taken away from me Never!! It will be hard to see all the items get loaded up and taken away….my heart will be broken…one foot in front of the other…I keep telling myself to just breathe….it’s just stuff…let go….release….
    Good luck to all parents who are struggling from being estranged by their adult child….hang in there. May we all find some peace.

    1. Jen

      I’m so sorry for your pain. I am encouraged by your strength. I’m trying to have the same strength and be hopeful yet it may be a waste of hope – ha!

    2. Jill

      Hi Pam, your story reminds me so much of mine. I too just cleaned my granddaughter’s toys out so I didn’t have to see them either and also took her car seat out of my truck. I realized that if my daughter wants to hurt me and take my granddaughter away from me, then I definitely don’t want to see my granddaughter hurt by all this mess. My daughter will post snarky things on fb directed towards me but I am doing my best to just move on with my life. She feels her husbands family is better for them, so be it. I wish them nothing but happiness and mostly want my granddaughter to be happy even if it’s without me.

      1. Lorraine F.

        “I dont want to see my grandaughter hurt”thats a statement made from pure love & wanting her to not suffer.Its the same reason l havent seen my beautiful grandson for over 9 years,the memories of him saying to his mum,my daughter,”Dont yell at Granny & make her cry” broke me.I grieved for so long,l wasted so many years of my life,she has taken on the mother in law as her repacement mum.The MIL does pilates,wears brand names,says the right things,eats at the right restaurants obviously moves with a differant class of people than she grew up with.I have finally accepted that she is on her own path,one l cannot walk with her,of course there are times when out of the blue ,for no obvious reason,memories flood back & l cry & grieve all over again but that doesnt happen often these days.There was a time when l thought l would never get through it but l did,as you will.l can honestly say now that my door will never be open to my daughter ever again,not because l am bitter,but because my pain has eased,how can you ever trust them not to do it again & l dont know that l could get through it again.

  15. MaryRose

    Sometimes I wish my daughter would fully reject me. She only calls or wants to see me when it benefits her. I have learned never to ask her for anything. She rejects any possibility of spending time with me. I have not totally walked away because I am still allowed to see my grand daughter.

    1. Mary s

      Adult children are capable of using and abusing parents. From adolescence to the age of 30 my daughter (and the only family I have in the world) did exactly that. She told me i wasn’t a suitable person to meet her friends; I was just “rubbish ” and my lovley home ” an embarrassment “. Ultimately I cut all ties; I’m no longer an unpaid chauffeur, banker or something to verbally abuse. As time passes it all become history and the sadness diminished. Find your own happiness in the things you believe in and people who accept you as you are.

  16. Carol T.

    I really thought we were the only ones that were rejected by our three children I felt so alone . I didn’t want to go on.

    1. Valerie C.

      First timed have heard an other women say rejected by 3 ne too.it brings such shame because I can not make sense of it …in fact their where times they did care but once I moved to another country the door started to close and any communication resulted in me being abused……

    2. Janette K.

      I felt the same way, I really wanted to know the WHY, but I am learning I can’t change how she is and it really hurts to not see me grandchildren because I love them so much.


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