Call it what it is: ABUSE by adult children

by Sheri McGregor, MA
abuse by adult children

Abuse by adult children: A sad secret

Hurtful behavior, abuse, by adult children toward their parents is covered up to a huge degree. Parents are duped into believing they deserve their adult children’s abuse, sometimes even by professionals. After all, people reason, if they were good, their own flesh and blood wouldn’t hate them. It’s sick, and it’s what keeps many parents from admitting what’s happening to them.

It’s important for you to call bad behavior names, label it, and see it for what it is. That way, you can think clearly about it. This clarity of mind concept and many other practical ideas to help are included in Beyond Done With The Crying More Answers and Advice for Parents of Estranged Adult Children.

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169 thoughts on “Call it what it is: ABUSE by adult children

  1. Janet B.

    This horror has now happened with two out of our three daughters. I feel like the walking dead. One ran away at 17 with a man she met on the internet after speaking with 15 or more hours a day for 40 days. My eldest who has always been kind had a psychotic Marajuana induced break and has been hateful and abusive and purely insane and cruel ever since. My husband and mother in law and I and their other sister are thoroughly confused and wounded and sick and angry It all seems like a horrific nightmare. I don’t know how to survive this?

  2. Liz P

    Is this abusive? And what to do?

    Adult daughter aged 42, happily married to a good guy; lack of any professional security of her own (think freelance artist, despite a good college degree, masters, and professional certificate that she does not use. Basically unemployed but more or less successfully freelancing for years). She has done what I think of as the push-me-pull-you tantrum for the past 20-24 years (since college). She will send me lots of little cards and gifts, and if I don’t immediately respond in kind, or in the particular way she wants, or fast enough, she flips out and gets very angry. Sometimes flips and gets angry for no apparent reason at all.

    Fast forward to late spring 2023 when I got sick with a serious heart problem and cardiologist put me on bed rest for 6 months minimum to let the heart-walls heal, and then could start cardiac rehab in Fall (maybe); no caffeine, alcohol, exertion, and NO STRESS. When the daughter found this out, she immediately insisted on coming to visit (never wanted to visit before—we have not seen each other since 2018 when she visited me overseas and acted like a total brat the whole time; before that, 2016 when I visited her on the other coast, ditto bratty). I explained that I could not have any stress and a visit would be better later when I am well. She kept insisting, really pushy, told me when she would be arriving (and leaving 5 days later!). She hung up the phone in a fit of fury when I just kept saying no, no, no, no, it is not a good time for a visit. (I got very angry too and said some bad stuff—“my home is a place of peace and happiness , please don’t barge in here with your drama”—yikes, usually I keep quiet better than that) Then she called back and kept insisting, and I kept saying no. She ended up yelling about how “she isn’t SEEN” and she asked “What do i even mean to you? How do you feel about having me as your daughter” (and this one_) “I can feel your disdainful silences” and she flung her “wonderful in laws” in my face as examples of REALLY loving family, unlike me. And a lot more. I was too stunned to answer but I wish I had said, “what part of NO don’t you understand? Are you trying to kill me?” (is it a coincidence that I had just sent her documents about the inheritance she will be receiving, which is generous?)

    I wish I had said “your inlaws are complex and imperfect too” and “don’t you dare interpret my silences.” She is right that i try to keep my mouth shut instead of saying negative things, but a lot of times I also keep my mouth shut instead of saying positive things, which she has typically leapt upon and criticized as being the WRONG positive thing… I really have felt for years that I just can’t win and why do I bother trying. She wants to “sort out” our relationship, she says, but I think that really she wants to blame me for all her own problems. I admire many things about her—she has many good qualities—but if she were not my daughter, would I even be interested in a relationship with her at all? I feel certain she would have zero interest in me as an adult friend. We are just very different in our tastes, our interests, our conversational styles, and pretty much everything else.

    So after that second screaming phone call, I got a therapist who helped me write a letter drawing a boundary: this stress is BAD FOR ME and we will have a visit another time after I am well. And I am happy to discuss the relationship but not on the phone—I need to be able to stay calm, and we both get too reactive on the phone. So she wrote me back the chilliest little snarky letter imaginable. Saying how sorry she was (dripping with sarcasm) to have upset me by trying to do such a terrible thing as visit. I was tempted to answer in kind but instead wrote a sincere note thanking her for respecting the temporary boundary of letters instead of visits/calls, and for staying in touch and sharing details of her upcoming plans, which sound very exciting. (Honestly they sound a little crazy but i would never say so, of course. My rule has been that no matter what harebrained thing she does, I say only supportive things, because the slightest question or curious doubt spins her into a frenzy–it’s like it has to be ALL approval and ALL doting attention, or she pitches a fit.)

    Is it abusive to scream at a very sick heart patient you know is not supposed to be stressed? I think so. I’m still angry at how pushy she was—insisting on visiting after NO NO NO NO NO from me. It made me think of the mother in a recent newspaper advice column who moved without a forwarding address when her adult daughter finally was too awful. I had a little wishful childish-fantasy moment myself, reading that.

    But where do we go from here? How do I try to keep this relationship alive? I would be sad if she chose estrangement, but at this point, not all that doggoned sad. I have a lot of interests and a busy, otherwise happy life. But one of the things she yelled about was me not even seeming to need her. I could not answer that because, well… I need people in my life who are positive and loving and warm and funny and great to be around. Not tempermental tantrum throwers. I’m so tired of all her drama.

    Hmmm… is it possible to have a healthy adult friendship with a child like this? How? She acts like a teenager. I would be happy just to have a normal conversation with her, like I have with friends, but is it possible? How?

    1. John M

      This story is a lot like mine except I’m male, married, daughter abuses both of us but wife tolerates because she “doesn’t want to lose” the daughter. I vote to cut sling load on daughter but I go along with wife bc she feels strongly about maintaining contact. Daughter weaponizes her child, our sweet granddaughter by telling us she is cutting our contact from her. So I feel your pain. Hang in there. Pray Rosaries. You are a bigger person than I for keeping your daughter in your will. I say, let her pay both an emotional and financial price after you die. She needs to learn a lesson!

  3. T

    Wow, I have appreciated this site. two years ago our eldest child (34) said bizarre things to us on the phone essentially stating that if we didn’t get treatment for (me being a narcissist and his father being a fawn) that he would not talk to us again. He had experienced head injuries, drug use and mental health admissions in the past. Lots of other steps happened but essentially out of no where he was diagnosing us and making demands. Yet a month before, he was the kid that was saying how grateful he was to have supportive parents. We were gobsmacked. He then suggested a year later (after no contact)that if we paid for family therapy he would go- the therapist was in TEXAS and is an expert on narcissism but is a SW. We responded that unless he too was in TEXAS given we are in Canada she can’t work with us and could we find a Canadian therapist where one of us lives. No response. He has moved to another province. He didn’t respond to his father’s letter before going into heart surgery, he hasn’t responded to offers to go to therapy. He has just cut us out of his life. We never had a bad relationship with any of our kids. They did have a hard go sometimes as we were foster parents and living with secondary trauma is hard but we always travelled with them – each a special 1:1 trip , took advantage of core family time by having kids pick a restaurant or go somewhere special or have a sleepover. We weren’t perfect and kids complained about being yelled at to do their room or pick up their stuff but that was it.. I am also an attachment therapist and have worked hard in my career but because I was a public figure and successful. I am a selfish narcissist. I did work a lot but that enabled the other parent home full time. We were and are a parent team. It is heartbreaking. to see relationships break down after you thought you were doing it right. and then you have to wonder if they break down were you doing it right? I have accepted that it is out of our control but it is sad. We have 4 other kids so we try to support them but my heart grieves. The other kids don’t miss #1 child. They felt judged by them all the time. I had always hoped when we were gone that our kids would support each other. I know that won’t happen now. It is sad. Thank you for sharing your wisdom on this site and to all the other parents who vulnerably share.

    1. Donna

      Thank you for your story. We too are going through a new journey in our life. We have 2 adopted boys now ages 23 & 24. It’s very difficult for us to have a relationship with them. According to them we are not good parents and they both have been verbally abusive. We are older parents and finally decided it’s time to step away for now.

  4. Jen the dairy farm

    My experience is not unique, but rather strange. Our son, who had grown a little distant, but was still in touch, is now slowly getting established in a mental health career. He visited occasioanlly, sometimes picked up phone when we called….. Said he would like to meet for lunch in a restaurant near his home.
    We met. He ordered for himself and ate immediately. Hardly spoke. Suddenly whipped out two envelopes one for his father one for me. Said “Dont attempt to contact me. Any sharing of this with any family and your bosses at your jobs (schools etc.) get all the contents of letter. Either you go to therapist I order, or its good bye. I wont go to your funerals either.” and out he went.
    Wild accusations, one or true had minimal truth, most were so strange we could not even imagine how he made them up.
    And yet when we talked before this, I found him bright and a pleasure to talk to. I think we should try and spoil him with kindness. Husband says he has already exploited us, taken advantage of us, he says the boy hates himself not us. I want to reach out behind hubby’s back. He says once the guy threatens to ruin our careers etc, he is dangerous and we should stay away, give him a few years and if not just be happy he doesnt harm others

    1. carol

      Hello Jen:

      I have the same situation with an adult daughter who is 32 years old. Since she has not lived close by for 18 years now, she attended a boarding school from High School, I was somewhat bewildered when she suddenly began to regular text me in the middle of the night to “F-Off”. She regularly tells me that I am a loser and that no one could care for me.
      She claims that I have ruined her life and that she is incapable of having a relationship and will not have children because they would have my DNA. She lost a job, her license and moved with my husband from whom I am separated.
      I think that she is mentally ill and that she is hiding and blaming me to try to escape from it. I wonder if your son has any of these issues. I feel so absolutely ashamed and persecuted just at the point when I should be able to Finally catch a break and take it easy. Honestly, my resentment is huge. I wish there was some sort of support group for this

      The truth is that raising her and my son was extremely stressful because I was made to be the sole provider in every way.

      1. SadGMom

        Hi Carol,
        I can totally relate. My adult daughter has 2 young children and is not married. She has moved in and out of my home repeatedly and each episode has been awful. She is verbally abusive and shuts me off from communication everytime she doesnt get what she wants. She blames me for absolutely everything. She has told me I’m not her mother, I will die alone, I am ugly and a loser. I fear for my grandkids mental health but have little access to them. She stays inside a home she is now saying has every problem conceivable. She lives with her boyfriend but he is fed up with her verbal abuse. I am trying very hard to stay distant at this point as I can no longer deal with her tirades. I am so sad that my grandkids will be affected by hatred and envy or everyone around her. The children never leave the house and it is definitely showing signs of distress for them. I pray for her to realize she needs counseling and medication.

    2. VS

      I am a therapist, and also going through abuse by my 2 grown children. I was a single mom, but with good relationships between myself and my 2 ex-husbands. At least before my children started being abusive. They are 32 and 40. they watched me be physically abused during my marriage to my 2nd husband, and blame me. He is the ‘fun’ parent. Never financially contributed a single dollar. I was put into a coma with TBI and now permanent seizure disorder by my son’s father; he says i am “always playing the victim.” I struggled raising my children as a single parent, but they always had their own rooms, gaming systems, tv’s, stereos, etc…sometimes i had up to 3 jobs simultaneously to provide…and their response to that was “you were never there for us.” I struggle, often isolating (not good).
      I feel for you and your story…I know it is hard, especially when you are not in agreement with your partner (I choose not to have a partner…) – I do feel like though, it would be an unwise decision to go behind your husband’s back, as it would give your child the leverage to further divide you and your partner. Sometimes, although it is difficult, we just have to try to steer clear of the people that are toxic to our personal well-being. Once they are adults, they make their own choices. If they choose to treat us poorly though, that does not mean we have to remain present and just take it. there is something to be said for “distance makes the heart grow fonder.”

    3. Eset

      I am currently observing this phenomenon in both my own children and many acquaintances. It appears to be a shared experience of ‘collective trauma bonding’, where parents become the convenient target for the abuse tactics that adult children are leveling against us. Once I became aware that my daughters were exploiting their relationships with me for attention, financial gain, and other advantages, I made a conscious decision to release myself from the situation. It became evident that I could never effectively defend myself against their allegations, as the very nature of being their parent created an inherent disadvantage. Consequently, I entrusted the resolution of this matter to the passage of time and proceeded to move forward with my own life.

      1. Ichooseme

        Dear Estranged Mother and Father,
        For those of you who have been truly abusive, kindly distance yourselves. The remaining individuals, please pause and diligently attend to the following: The actions of your grown child are not a reflection of anything you have done. Your grown child never required a legitimate reason to sever ties with you. Your grown child understands that you are not a narcissist or an abuser.

        To your grown child, you represent an easy target. You are readily accessible and a convenient sacrifice. Furthermore, there are countless others like you. This means that your grown child can attain the one thing they desire above all else: witnessing, presuming, and being aware of your suffering in their absence.

        They want you to agonize over what you may have done wrong. They want you to invest time, money, and excessive energy into reconnecting with your beloved offspring.

        Additionally, your grown child derives satisfaction from discussing with fellow adult children how they have severed ties with you. They claim to seek ‘peace’ and accuse you, as the offending party, of refusing to take responsibility for your actions.

        When you attempt to defend yourself, a united group of adult children embark on seek-and-destroy missions to promptly negate any speck of truth you may offer. A collective assemblage of uncredentialed and a few credentialed psychologists, therapists, and psychiatrists dissect each word you utter in order to establish your evident narcissism.

        Alternatively, they may assert that you have bipolar disorder or that you are a psychopathic sociopath. Even if you have received a diagnosis ruling out the aforementioned ailments, you (and your psychiatrist, by extension) will not be granted belief.

        Furthermore, your grown child will rationalize any parental abuse they inflicted upon you. That time they siphoned money from your bank account? Well, surely that was your fault. You failed to provide them with the extravagant items they desired. Or that instance when they physically attacked you with no provocation? Well, you simply would not cease communication with them. Never will they consider that you were discussing their responsibility to clean up a mess they had left behind.

        Neither will they acknowledge the significant property damage amounting to thousands of dollars that they caused in your home. No, to them, you are the problem. You are the parent. Their behavior must inevitably stem from your shortcomings. No, scratch that, it unquestionably originates from your flaws. They will stop at nothing to ensure the world remains ignorant of, or refuses to believe, your account.

        At some point, your cherished children held you in high regard. They viewed you as their loving parents and experienced a profound connection and sense of belonging in your presence.Then the advent of social media intervened. They observed other children garnering attention by blaming their parents.

        Observing the transition of a ‘my parent is a narcissist’ post, from garnering a mere like to reaching millions, is not an uncommon occurrence. It depicts a frenzied congregation of individuals seeking a sense of unity. The underlying cause is inconsequential; the hunger for belonging and attention-seeking takes precedence.

        These individuals are well aware of their influence. Additional parents, often wanting to avoid the same fate, other family members, and strangers hastily join in, condemning you, despite their lack of insight into the true nature of the events that transpired between you and your adult child.

        Everyone feels entitled to passing judgment, even without any personal knowledge of you. In this chaos, you unwittingly play your part as well. You plead, you shout, you proclaim, ‘But I am innocent! I did nothing wrong!’ Yet, this is where you falter gravely, as the veracity of your actions holds no significance. It matters not whether you committed any wrongdoing or were an exceptional parent.

        The sole relevance lies in the fact that you must be subjected to punishment. Cease this behavior. Release your grip. Parenthood is a lifelong commitment, occasionally accompanied by ease and joy. Witnessing the development of the little, precious being you once brought into this world, watching them excel in academics, embark on careers, enter matrimony, have children, and embrace contented lives, can bring immense satisfaction.

        However, there are instances where the path is marred by ugliness. You find yourself discarded like refuse. Blame is attributed to you, falsehoods are spread, trust is shattered, and rejection becomes your unwelcome companion. As a parent, your innate instinct demands that you correct the perceived wrongs, striving to prove to your cherished offspring that you are not their adversary.

        Nevertheless, your beloved child has matured into an adult, having assumed their own chosen identity. The arduous endeavor begins now. You must relinquish your hold, severing emotional ties. Embrace your own existence, flourish, discover joy, and reestablish self-belief, perhaps even for the first time.

        This is your moment to find your kin. Seek out other parents, akin to yourself, who comprehend that refraining from discussing adult children is often the most prudent course of action for estranged parents. After all, these individuals are now adults, capable of weathering life’s storms independently. It’s ok to let go. The time has arrived for you to embark on your own journey.

        Choose you.

        1. Michelle B.

          Thank you. I have just found this site and it’s amazing to me as I read through posts, how similar or even identical some things are. I am so great full to have found this and am starting to see I am not alone

          Well written and very insightful post

      2. Mabel

        hello . I want to tell you that this group is what sustains me day by day on this long road of mourning. I do not have the emotional support of my husband who ignores my pain. after 2 years of messages from me to my separated son…every week…of seeing him in meetings where, as he says, he is committed and does not show me any empathy…letters and audio apologies from me (I still don’t know well that) emotional roller coasters where my health deteriorates… I have decided to just walk away… no longer call… no longer insist… just be as politically correct as he is with me… I honestly don’t see any other way. Through his girlfriend who loves me and with whom I have an excellent bond, I found out that I cannot go up to his house and my messages bother him (which are only love messages). I have decided to stop…stop…this is driving at 220 km per hour

    4. Kathryn

      Don’t go behind your husband’s back. I tried to have a relationship with my sons family without my husband and it was terrible for our marriage- he felt thrown under the bus and hurt. I had hoped to advocate for my husband but it was useless and when I said I couldn’t do it anymore they turned on me. Your marriage is the most important relationship to maintain and if you have to choose ( and you do) choose your mate.

    5. Karen

      Reading all these stories I get the impression that this epidemic is caused by (1) treating our children too well when they were growing up.We wanted to make them feel secure but instead they became entitled brats, (2) therapists and quacks, some found on the same search that led me to this site, who don’t bother to look at the facts of a situation but automatically blame the parent. One such piece proudly announces that the parents are always to blame because they were big when their children were small,. How’s that for deep,incisive analysis? ( 3) The whole notion of taking the blame no matter what the facts are, and apologizing for something you didn’t do, effectively wearing a “kick me sign”. That just gives more impetus to your bratty “adult” child.

      This has GOT to stop. it’s outrageous!

    6. John M

      Don’t go behind your husband’s back. His instincts are sharp. If you disagree, coax a compromise. If you go on your own, your son can use emotional blackmail against you later. Then 2 relationships, not one, are ruined.

  5. MM

    Yes, I gave up my adult daughter. I was met with insults and just ungrateful behaviors.
    She wanted me to watch her two year old. I had had cancer and did not came back. I got sick , very sick and trying to watch her child. Made an appointment to see the doctor. I was becoming even disoriented. Had a fever .
    She took off and left with with the child. I finally just left. A month later I was almost dead.
    Lymphoma had gone to my lungs and and had pneumonia.
    I barely lived. She came and apologized , but her strange treatment continued afterwards .

    “That’s why they like you.” Statements
    I’m not a nice manner. You look like out of a cave.

    Some one stated she jealous .

    Those are just highlights . I gave up.
    Probably never see my grand daughters again.3
    I was close to them.
    Eldest I took care a lot for 4 years.

    We live 150 miles apart. I moved to get away from it. Lol I ve heard this a lot.
    Her husband kept telling her my younger daughter the fav. Not true.
    I do not know what going on. He has OCD
    We once close, eldest daughter.

    Now it like it never existed.

  6. Broken

    My (now 31 yo) son disconnected after I found out his father had cheated once again (students, supervisees, and this time with a women 36 years younger, who wanted out of China and in on the opportunity of a position in the fringe therapeutic cult here in America) It was a brutal reveal, where my ex hung on to me while he awaited her decision of commitment, lying to me all the while. So the undercurrent of my son’s family was one of deceit and pain. I get that he must never want to feel that kind of gaslit undercurrent ever again. Secrets destroy.
    But I loved my son. Just like all the writers on this post. I rocked him to sleep, read him stories, took him everywhere: zoo, parks, swimming, beaches made play dates, listened to his thoughts, jokes and worries. I put him first and me second. All the while trying to satisfy my ex husband who wanted more: more attention, more admiration, more money, more sex, mor more more. Life together was never enough. So I can understand that my son realized at that broken moment, he was better off on his own.
    The fact is, I never stopped reaching out offering to pay for therapy, acupuncture etc. Paying for whatever he needed: new tires, down payment on his condo, running shoes. But he never stopped disdaining me. He said he thought of me as “an aunt”. Well it’s been almost 7 years and I am finally done. I’m done aching and reaching again and again only to be rebuffed. He is 31. If he cannot see that I loved him by now; that you don’t treat someone who loves you like he has… if you want them to stick around. I’m now focused on removing him from my mind. I will think of him as a distant nephew who I do not particularly admire. I am working to remove him from my heart. Otherwise all I see ahead is a painful broken heart. I only have a handful of years left on this side of the dirt.

    1. ThrownAway

      I am so sorry for your pain and heartache. I pray for healing for you.
      Not the same but our adopted daughter stayed with me full time after my ex cheated, left us and divorced me. He was out of the picture for the past 8 years. Now, they have reconnected and I was thrown away like trash. The lies now being said tear me up inside!
      I too am letting go despite how hurt I am for her and our family’s loss.

    2. Peggy

      I feel just like you. My daught done the same. I gave and gave, but never did she give back. I don’t want her back in my life, as I can never allow that kind of abuse!

      1. Lisa

        I need a little help my daughter of 26 attacked me on Saturday for the second time! The first was 5 years ago she was living with me at the time and her child my grandaughter was only 8month and she had been drinking and was wanting to take the 8 month old out the house at midnight I stopped her and got hit! But Saturday was out of the blue in her hen do my face was a mess! She gets married in two week and I can’t bring myself to go in heart broken… The sad thing is we never have bad words we did get on…

        1. Wende

          Sounds like she is an alcoholic. Go to Al-anon meeting for support. She is an adult let her take care of her responsibilities. Why should you be the baby sitter? Go live your life.

      2. Wende

        Possibly she is a narcissist? They don’t have empathy and are takers. Best for you to be away from her. Go live your life. You did your job as a mom and I will bet sacrificed a lot for her. Yea it hurts to be treated that way. Get over the pain and loss how ever you can. Don’t waste your energy thinking about it. Go live your life , do what pleases you. Dwelling on the hurt will affect your health. Stress can kill you.

    3. DidMyBest

      My son is a coward. He is not the child or man I raised. I do not recognise or know anything about this coward.

    4. Diana

      My husband is 82, I’m 72. He wants to move away from our adult children because of their abuse. I’ve decided he’s right. I don’t trust them anymore. They have been so abusive and it’s totally about our assets. I personally don’t want to leave anything to any of them. They’re all middle aged. Ungrateful, greedy and scheming. I believe that we could find friends or someone who would help us if we need it as we age. Their abuse is vicious and we are both through. We are at this moment looking at different options. It has been a nightmare and has escalated because of our age and their fear that they won’t get their “pound of flesh”. We lost our life savings because of a major natural disaster. We are very frugal. We haven’t even been able to get our teeth taken care of. We need several dental implants. They discourage us from the dental work because of the high cost. We want to live our last years in peace. Our plan is to relocate

      1. Wende

        Relocating at your age? Think about it. That can be too much. Running away isn’t the answer. Put yourself first . Set up boundaries with your kids. Just say “no”.

        1. carol

          I think you may be wise to move away. It might give you the necessary space to create your own peace. There comes a point of no return. Especially with adult children, who are unlikely to change. And probably they want your money…….sounds like elder abuse to me

          1. Sunny Flower

            Very sad about your situation. Agree that this is probable Elder Abuse. Consider connecting with the Area Agency on Aging serving your county. They can listen and connect you with trustworthy resources including attorneys who specialize in elder law matters. You are not alone in this! You deserve peace and respect from your kids.

        2. Cynthia

          It’s heartbreaking enough to be rejected by our children but when they actively work to undermine our safety and health, interfere with our support system, lie to our neighbors/friends/police/healthcare about our character and activities in order to groom and isolate us, we have to escape the abuse first and as expeditiously as possible, just as with any abuser. And as with any abuser, it is NOT your fault. Get and Stay Safe.

      2. Jan K

        I hope you read this Diana and hope you managed to relocate. It doesn’t matter what age you are, if you are able to and in your circumstances it it probably advisable to do so. I saw a programme once, a true story, where three daughters conspired to kill their widowed father. He had married a woman for company in his old age who had once been his childhood sweetheart. The daughters made it clear they hated her and couldn’t care less if their father was unhappy and lonely in his old age so they killed him in order to claim their inheritance. They even tried to prevent his new wife from accessing the house. The police knew they did it but could not prove it sufficiently to charge them. It’s frightening that adult children can kill their own parents for their money.

      3. Carmela

        You can certainly relocate
        Don’t listen to them
        Get your teeth fixed!!!
        Why would you listen to such ungrateful people

  7. NotSadAnymore

    One thing I have noticed about the young 20s and 30 year olds is that respect has gone out the window it seems. I am not saying ALL of them, in fact, some of the young adults my children’s age have been kinder to me than my own kids. I notice small things such as when I am walking with a friend (both in our sixties) when young women are walking towards us on a sidewalk, we are expected to move to the side for them. Once I didn’t and got ran into. I recently read a thread where the DILs said they don’t give their in-laws gifts because they gave them grandkids and that should be enough. I would have been happy with a refrigerator magnet with the grandchildren’s picture on it, I guess I am not worth the effort but they expect and take whatever they can get from me. Not anymore.

    1. Linda V.

      Since Im not able to accept the relationship on my daughter in law and myson’s terms, I have removed myself from seeing them. I tried so many years to be a good mother and MIL. But when there was such a blatant difference in how I was treated and regarded compared to her family, I just couldnt take it anymore. There was such pain either way…continuing like that or breaking away in order to protect myself. I was always there for whatever they needed…including my granddaughters…but I see their lack of regard, respect and acceptance of me has affected my relationship with the girls. It’s beyond heartbreaking. Especially when it affects his 30 year old brother, who doent have anyone else after Im gone. Im hoping this all and the books will help my pain.

    2. Linda V.

      P.S. My son dropped the bomb shell that my DIL doesnt like me…huh?? Looking back now it is so obvious…I just never saw it because I treated her better than her own mother


      I totally agree with you.I am 55yrs old and have Multiple Sclerosis and Narcolepsy. Sometimes the medication that I take makes me nausea. I don’t have any means of transportation. When I asked my daughter who lives with me.To go to the store&buy the things I need. I give her my debit card and a list. She said that she will, but then takes off. And tells me that I have to wait until tomorrow.I have been dry heaving for most of the day. And needed these things. She didn’t care at all.And is very short with me. Threatening to not help pay the bills.

    4. VS

      My 2 children are the same…very disrespectful. I am a therapist, and they act like i should just take the abuse in stride because of my knowledge/education in psychology. When i tell them how they make me feel with their actions and words, they make it all about them, and they gaslight me. They take, take, and never give – especially the one thing I want from them…respect. I was a single mom for much of raising them, with sometimes 3 jobs simultaneously…they do not appreciate I did my best. They are closer to their father, although he was very physically and emotionally abusive to me…leaving me w/permanent brain damage (TBI). He has never even contributed a single dollar to raising them, or even now. I feel that if I were reincarnated, I would not want to have children again, due to the heaviness of my heart.

    5. Cut the crap

      I’m in the same situation you are .. I’m expected to give & give & give some more !! I don’t mind helping out .. if I’m willing & able to. However, when my 32 year old daughter, tries manipulation…threats..swearing , cursing, etc I’m out… done ! She has told me before that her childhood was miserable because of me & my rules …. She actually said “ doing dishes is so triggering for her because she had to do dishes as a chore when she was a pre-teen & I’m the reason she doesn’t do dishes and other household chores at all “
      It’s absurd. My 30 year old son… is lazy at times but very rarely disrespectful.
      Of course, my daughter says that my son is the “ golden child “ “ my favorite child “ etc
      This type of behavior from her started showing its ugly head , when she was 14 to 15. She was actually physically abusive as well as verbally abusive.
      She was married.. had 2 beautiful children
      ( ages 7&5 ) … now she’s divorced, has kids a couple times a week & every other weekend… but withholds my grandchildren from seeing me. I talked to her ex-husband and I see the grandchildren that way
      Since the divorce, she’s had multiple boyfriends who move right in and then they leave …
      I have told her that I don’t want to meet every boyfriend that she decides to live with. I just get to know them, and with all of her drama they leave.
      I’m about living my life, letting her live hers. I know I was a good mother, not perfect but yet a good mother I was there for my kids supported them encouraged them … I cannot deal with her entitlement. She expects to get money anytime she asks like I’m a bank. Well I’ve had to tell her. The bank of Mom is closed.
      When I did that, she found another man, who has no money and told me she doesn’t need me in her life anymore, if I’m not going to “ be there “ for her.
      I feel like the majority of adult children in their 30s, are full of manipulation, disrespect, and entitlement

  8. Dani

    This issue has become common in our society. I think it has to do with the bigger picture of our psychological disconnect from the earth and land and all the freeways that connect us, and at the same time separate us, and all the distractions of the media, and brainwashing and the fact that fast food and tv dinners have taken over real food… has become an addiction more than what it is supposed to be, food is supposed to create community and connect us and nourish our bodies, but we no longer eat together and the subliminal stress of driving down a freeway to make connection creates a shallow experience. We no longer need each other when government and corporations fulfill our needs. We are safest at home in front of the TV and other forms of artificial social interaction, eating corporation prepared dinners full of chemicals, taking prescription anti depressants. Pets remain our companions. I am estranged from my 3 kids who are in their 20’s and 30’s and i did nothing wrong. I was a devoted and loving mom. There is a more powerful force at play here, something on the cultural level, because i know from first hand experience that i did everything right, but still it’s our experience as a family. Then again, maybe it has always been a fact that the children fly from the nest but Hallmark and the Holidays make us feel like we are doing something wrong and sending a card will bridge the gap. Maybe the gap is supposed to be there?

    1. e. b.

      This upside down experience makes me question almost everything of what is considered to be normal. As if I am looking in from the outside. I am still figuring out if there is a way to get in again, without getting sucked in the never happening fairytale world that everyone seems to believe in. Where it is all about how things should be (but never are) instead of how they are. Maybe we are the lucky ones to have escaped and can enjoy this special outlook on human life on this planet. Maybe I am desperately wanting to turn this into something understandable, something positive.

    2. Tovah

      Hi Dani,

      This is accurate although I feel that it began happening long ago when extended families stopped living together as they did in Victorian days usually in a large family home consisting of multiple generations. If you have ever seen the movie “You Can’t Take it With You” released in the 30s that film depicts life at that time so well.

      Many families had genuine, lifelong ties that were sustained through time and not discarded so easily as it is now. I inherited a suitcase full of old photos from my grandparents that so beautifully show this forgotten way of life. I always envisioned that for myself and remained at my family home until I was almost 30 and only left when I married. Everyone had a part in running the household, caring for younger generations as well as older ones. I now realize with so much emotion how lucky I was to have experienced living with my parents, siblings and grandparents under one roof. I only had a friend or two whose family had that; the rest had families that were split across the country because, of course, you have to go where the money is. That old fashioned lifestyle ended.

      To reference another popular culture staple, music, Harry Chapin’s “Cat’s in The Cradle” so accurately painted a picture of the new normal to separate and put much less value on the family, so much so that you miss years of life together, sometimes decades, and that this recurs in the next generation like clockwork.

      This, and all the very observant elements that you mentioned, are the factors responsible for what seems to be the breakdown of the family. Lack of togetherness breeds indifference and results in estrangements even if there weren’t any significant conflicts. It’s a sad fact.

      In my humble opinion, that gap you spoke of was not — in my lofty way of perceiving the world — meant to be there but happened nevertheless as a result of “progress.”

      Our modern means to connect electronically can’t ever compare to living side by side, face to face, hand in hand and if you have ever lived a better way you know that all too well.

      1. rparents Post author


        Some of the people on this site remember how things once were. We are the keepers of a gorgeous, meaningful lifestyle. We are alive to tell about it!

        Thank you for your share.

        Sheri McGregor

    3. Yve

      Hi Dani, I thank you, you make some insightful points concerning our personal& cultural disconnect from nature….we do now live in a synthetic world made of gadgets and technology and are alienated from those closer links that maybe a few generations ago exsisted…your idea about flying the nest also is a pertinent one too …. Thank you for sharing , sending warmth and loving kindness your way

  9. Pamela G.

    I hear from other mothers who are estranged from their kids, like I am. For me it’s been a year, my two boys 30 and 36, no contact. It seems like all of us have verbal abuse from them. They would never talk to anyone else like that. Like most of you they turned overnight. But as hurt as I am, I can’t believe that they are mean mean people. What purpose does it serve to be so mean to your mother. Does it make them feel powerful? As much as I want a reconciliation it’s really about having a good relationship with nice boys who are good to their mother. They are not those boys. and now that I realize what they’re really like, why would I want to even be near them? Btw, like you all, I was s supportive caring mother. If all of us weren’t,we wouldn’t be on this site still caring that our kids would come back to us.

    1. Tovah

      Hi Pamela,
      Whenever anyone refuses to tell you what their issues are for rejecting you we have nothing to do but form theories. I do feel that what you said is accurate about them feeling empowered by their silence and absence. Most people would agree that nothing hurts like being rejected! If it’s hurting they wish to do, this works!
      I also wholeheartedly agree that the way our EDs are now, I wouldn’t want to be near them. My husband and I have tried reaching out without success. We’ve decided that they will have to be the ones to take the initiative to seek us out going forward. In the past their contacts have always been for money, cars, etc. so if they should return to our lives there would have to be a significant period of time where no money was given so that we can establish trust again and not feel used.
      It’s profoundly sad but my intuition tells me that this will not happen. *sigh*

    2. Faith

      Pamela G., I can’t believe how mean my son could be to me, either. It’s like, oh I have a wife now, so you have to go.

    3. Leah P

      Dear Pamela,

      After more grief and remorse, I started reading some of the comments. Yours resonates with me because you have two boys, nearly the same ages as my three (two girls, one boy) adult children. After 32 years of marriage, their father, my dear husband, had a massive heart attack (they call it a widow maker) and passed away. It was sudden, and a shock to my mind, body, and soul. I met my husband when I was 16 years old. He was in the Navy, so a little older than me. Other than my son’s initial support, I received none from my daughters, and the youngest was still living at home and going to college. Once the life insurance ran out, paying for weddings, cars, car repairs, a divorce, etc., even my son ceased all contact. It’s now been four years. On December 14th, my youngest daughter contacted me, out of the blue, to tell me she had a baby boy, and he was eight days old. Since then, her verbal abuse has been over the top, calling me all kinds of names, and summing it up that I was a failure as mother, and have never done anything for my children. Other than feeling I may have been too strict with my oldest daughter, I cannot find where I was a failure. I certainly did my best, with what we had. We had the three of them in private, Christian school, where at one point their tuition was more than our mortgage payment. On middle class incomes, we tried to ensure they had, what we didn’t have, music, sports, horseback riding, etc. Sadly, I have a sister who has supported my daughter, and shared mistakes I made in my teenage years, which caused anger on their part. They felt I should have shared high school mistakes. Since my husband passed away, nine years ago, they have made my life a living nightmare. I now have a third grandchildren that I am not permitted to have contact with. It’s so embarrassing, humiliating, and painful, I have lost my way. With the support of my new husband, I am finding ways to move on to some sense of normality. Thank you for sharing. There’s more than one who have multiple abusive children.

    4. Gina C.

      I made mistakes but do not deserve their disrespect and cruelty. Disappointed in the human beings they are, that on one else sees

    5. Melina

      I also am at the point of not caring – I am still in disbelief – and have reached out to understand what I did wrong, but no response. My son is a coward for not acknowledging the reason. So now I pray that God does whatever He has to do to bring him to his knees! I don’t care at this point – I’ve given everything to my son, and he has the gall to treat me like this – I just know to be put in the hands of an Almighty God is a scary thing and I hope it scares the crap out of him – but at this point I don’t know if I’d even take an I’m sorry or even listen to his bullshit of why he did what he did! How many of you will accept an apology? This to me is UNFORGIVEABLE…I’ve always wanted a son that loved and cherished is mother, and I got the opposite. I truly don’t know if I could forgive my son for what he’s done – EVER at this point.

  10. Tamara

    The opposite of love is not hate, it is the absence of strong feelings either way. In retrospect, our relationship with our EC flatlined a long time ago before estrangement. We have actually arrived at a point where we don’t care anymore. We don’t miss the manipulation and control that was exhibited, much less the drama. I wonder if they will ever have regrets? Probably not, they feel justified, as do we, for not caring anymore. I feel they paid as big of a price for their actions (their loss), as we did with the heartbreak.

    1. Tracy B.

      God Bless you. We love our children, but sometimes it’s best to stay away for everyone’s sanity. I have 3 daughters who insist I was the biggest monster on earth. I have been treated like one for so long I have alienated myself from everyone in my family. Ready to be alone. Peace is top priority. I am so sorry for loss.

    2. Miranda

      Tracy B., Thank you, my biggest priority is to protect my heart and mental health from the unfair cruelty that was bestowed upon me. I know they will do it again…come back in to get everything they can then cut me off again. I will not let them in ever again. I love my child but the spouse totally controls him.

    3. Vanessa P.

      Your comments hit home with me and my Daughter .
      I have recently found the courage to disconnect from my daughter and all of the verbal abuse that I have endured for 28 years . My daughter is 40 and has been On A roller coaster of life’s dysfunctions and verbally abusing me for her problems . I co to use to take it because every time I rebutted she held the grandkids from me , now she has brainwashed them to where they have no respect either . I just can’t continue with the headaches at 61 I’m just done . My spouse has always turned his head and it has created so many problems I. Our marriage but the daughter doesn’t treat him like she treats me . She drives wedges through our 41 year marriage and I’m ready to just walk away from all of it .

    4. Carol H.

      Regrets, I am truly sure they will regret their actions. God did not create us to treat each other like out casts and dirt. We all will be judged someday.

  11. sue

    It’s only in the last year that I came to the realization that my adult daughter was abusive to me mentally, emotionally, and psychologically. I spent so much time and so many years trying to figure out what was so bad about me, what I was doing wrong, etc. And then one day I admitted to myself that she instigated arguments and gaslighted me, often wanting me to feel bad for being a good person. As a young girl and into her 20s, she was always so jealous of me showing attention to anyone else, and often put down my friends and choices in dating when I was divorced. I gave into her criticisms too easily, telling myself that my kids have to come first, but then it dawned on me, she was just trying to control me. And now she’s estranged, controlling the fact that I can no longer see her. while I will accept my part in the breakdown between us, I will no longer take full responsibility.

    1. Barb L

      I, too, just recently was able to put a label on what my son and his wife were doing to me. Once I identified it as abuse, so many things fell into place. (You’d think it would have occurred to me sooner since I left his father because of physical/emotional/verbal abuse.) They both gang up on me and literally yell at me (sometimes in front of other people) for something I said that that they deem was insensitive.

  12. Michaelanne

    Thank you!!!I really needed to read
    I’ll be 78 soon &it’s been yrs since I’ve seen or heard from 2(54-48)my heart has been crushed…1 (50yrs)lives me …he’ssomeanhateful
    I can’t stand it any more he won’t move out…

  13. Eve

    Hello. I have been to this site sooooo many times over the past couple of years and read so many stories just like my own. I sure can relate. Two grown children, both with no or rare contact. The oldest is greedy selfish and very self centered. The youngest just doesn’t seem to care or have time for me anymore. I too am divorced. I have friends who have great relationships with all of their grown children. But two things I have learnt. Firstly, you cannot make them love you or care about you. Not unless you bow to their every whim. My friends do everything for their adult children. Babysitting, bank of mum ( and dad if he’s in the picture ). Personally I see it as mothering them as though they are still little children. I was brought up to be independent and brought my children up the same way. But they see others whose mothers do everything for them still; even in their 30’s and 40’s. And they resent that I do not. I cannot. I cannot afford it financially or physically due to my health. I am 62 . Millennials seem to be the most selfish greedy self ceneref uncaring generation yet. It makes me wonder how all of our grandchildren will turn out.

    1. H

      Eve, yes so true everything you said. My grown children in their late 30’s have told me ALL their friends mothers do this and that and that they are embarrassed and have to make up stories about me when their friends ask why isn’t your mother doing this and that and helping and babysitting etc etc….and they are 3000 miles away, but that doesn’t matter to them…they expect me to climb the highest mountain, swim the deepest sea to get to them to prove my love and devotion to them and their babies…or be cast out of their lives. It doesn’t matter one bit to them what I want to do or any hardships this puts on me,,the only thing that matters is THEIR NEEDS AND WANTS. I am 63 with some health challenges…….they could care less.

    2. Tovah

      These are true words, Eve!
      I have asked my mother why she/they had done certain things that I must have thought were a sign of neglect and she answered me this way every time:
      “We were told to raise our children to be independent.”
      She was probably referencing our pediatrician, TV experts, and her fellow SAHM friends. Her own childhood contributed too. She and her peers were living lives that included going places without parents even at early ages. Her partner tells the story of him being put on a train at five years old alone, with a note pinned to his coat lapel. Older siblings would be meeting him at his destination but can you imagine such a thing happening today?
      It wasn’t rare at all.
      She has a neighbor who has a son in his thirties. His mother dotes on him and seems to be still in a mode of childcare. He has reached the usual milestones much later than you might expect and you have to wonder if his being coddled for too long is the reason.
      Our own daughters’ lives were ruled by doing things that are fun. I called them “fun junkies” when they were younger but that is still the case today.
      If it’s not fun it’s not worth doing and will be avoided. Everyone has to be “nice” to them, including bosses and always behave like — to use that phrase — it’s five o’clock somewhere! Normal expectations in the work place are considered harsh and mean.
      I see this as coming from a lifetime of adults in their daily lives making everything awesome, amazing, phenomenal, etc. They were given infinite chances to bring grades up, difficult tests were often not included in the final grades. Teachers were more like party hosts, motivational speakers or cheerleaders.
      At home their dad and I were indulgent and offered lots of TLC but we definitely didn’t gush all over them and copy the rabid enthusiasm seen at school.
      We were perceived as ogres.
      I taught private school for 8 years and saw firsthand how intimidated the administration was to discipline students. Parents had ultimate power and the school basically turned a blind eye to anything but the worst offense.
      How vastly different this is from the past. Of course some change is needed and the past sometimes allowed too much discipline but today it is almost nonexistent.
      The end result is an entitled, self centered and fragile generation that expects insanely unrealistic living conditions void of any hardships.
      It’s been the case for years but especially now if you don’t behave in adoring, worshipful ways toward your child today you are abusive.
      Personally if bowing to their every whim, as you so well described their expectations, is what it takes to be loved by our children we don’t want that.

    3. Dianne

      Yes! They feel entitled. My daughter is 46. My only child. She has been angry with me for yrs, due to divorce when she was a yr old and my mother’s interference and undermining my parenting. Mom is gone now but she messed my daughter up. She hasn’t spoken to me since January & shows no sign of wanting to. There has been drug use & her way of life was degrading for her self esteem. She was a stripper for 20 years. No amount of begging, pleading or crying made her change. How do mother’s get past this? Some days good, some not. In the situation of the commentor above I would find an apt for your adult child & give them a deadline to move. You shouldn’t be putting up with abuse! Get a friend, relative, pastor, to help.

    4. Lauren

      Eve, I can totally relate to you. I’m 62 and in the last year am going through the same thing with my adult daughters in their late 30’s , early 40’s & expect me to do what they want, be at their beck & call, always be available to babysit even with very little notice (If I have plans or don’t want to bc tired then I get accused of not wanting to see the grandkids) & take their kids out etc yet I still work & want time to myself, & with my 2nd husband, even though I’ve been doing all of that, & all the holiday & birthday stuff, giving them stuff , buying them & their kids stuff etc etc, it’s never enough. I was divorced 20 years ago from their abusive father, yet they’ve blamed me even though he also abused them. They sided with him as sympathisers after listening to his manipulation. I got tired of trying with them, never seeming to live up to their expectations even though doing everything, even though he’s never given them near what I have, or had the special occasion dinners etc at his place or bought them things like I have. I feel totally betrayed by them, & don’t understand why they seem to prefer him even though he ruined the family, & has been a deadbeat father. So, I am now estranged from them , tired of the backbiting & betrayal & don’t care anymore because it’s exhausting & hurtful.

    5. Elle

      I solved the no contact by moving to the south of France where I have wonderful friends. I have a loving kind daughter and sil in Colorado and they are my family. My grandkids sernot knowing me t they’ll grow up one day and have questions. I’m enjoying my life on my terms.

    6. knlb

      Not only at 62 can or should you not do ‘everything’ for them.. or what i see.. devote your ‘self’ to them.. but it’s beginning to be time.. that they start doing things for you.. as kindly as you did/do for them.. I think – for me – that’s the thing that really.. got under his skin.. the lack of kindness/compassion from him as i’m aging.. he was getting pissed off at the ‘expectation’ – however unspoken – he was like a tick about to pop.. festering like a zit.. anger.. and then he popped. and voila.. no contact. He’s strong.. i’m weak.. bye bye…

      I’m just sad that somehow i couldn’t /didn’t do anything with him growing up to instill kindness/compassion in him. But I did what i knew to do… what i could.. Just because we/you/i tried my hardest.. doesn’t mean i succeed.

  14. Sunny

    We are at a crossroads, my husband and I after 4 years of estrangement are at a much better place than we were 4 years ago when our hearts were shattered, ER, ICU etc. We were grandparents for a while and then they ripped her out of our loving arms, it was the worst pain ever. Now they are putting out feelers as to how we are doing. We are doing well. Pets who love us unconditionally and will never judge us or estrange us have replaced the people who cut us out of their lives with no notice. I think we are better off now than we were before. We were not treated with any loving kindness. Sounds mean but we are done being manipulated. Wiser and older, with brand new boundaries.

    1. Cindy & Rick

      We are at the 4 year mark also. Doing the same – we lived 30 years before children, and we are making our life without them for the next 30. Karma will deal them the hand they deserve with their selfish ways. The cruelty is unbelievable- it is like they were raised by someone very different than us. Neither my husband nor I EVER treated anyone the way they treated us. I foster rescue dogs and have 3 loving keeshonden- so much more rewarding than the outcome of raising our children. Sad, but not going to let it ruined the rest of our days. Our daughter looked me in the face and said, if you ever need anything, I’d put you in a nursing home. Our son said, “If you are ever in need, I’d just toss you off the sailboat” We know these are people we could never count on so f#!* them! Must have been all the ski vacations we took them on, or the full college educations we provided for them debt free at graduation… or maybe the cash we loaned each of them for their first home purchases??? Most likely the fact that their significant other’s have not a drop of appreciation for their past, just happy to move into the homes and cut us out of their lives! Too bad our kids didn’t take to heart the poster that hung in the house 90% of your happiness depends on who you marry. Respect is a thing of the past and so is any chance of inheritance for them!! Real funny our grandchild is named after great grandma…hmmn ever wonder why you had a relationship with your grandmother ?? Because YOUR PARENTS valued their parents! Guess 30yr olds can’t string those values to their lives!!

    2. Whitney

      Hi Sunny,
      Your comments dated October 14, 2022 have helped me feel a bit better. Out oldest daughter stopped all contact in the summer of 2021, with no explanation. She continues to disparage me on social media. She has two children who We have no contact with. The pain of this experience is unrelenting. Thank you for sharing your experience. I want to focus on the positive. Boundaries will be in place if she ever decides to reach out.

    3. Dianne

      Bravo! Don’t shut them out. Tell them what the new boundaries are. If they honor them, fine. If not, show them the door.

    4. Debs

      I love this! It is so much like us.
      Similarly we went through emotional abuse five years ago but struck out on a new life away from the instigators of our unhappiness.
      We have one son living with us, we’ll never see his children due to the mother but we’ve accepted that now. We regularly see our other son and grandchildren who were once estranged. We could choose to feel bitter over lost years but instead are happy in the knowledge we are still a part of their lives and on shared agreed terms. The dil is off the scene and he is the man I remember.
      Our daughter continues to elude our thoughts. The horrific verbal and emotional abuse from her, scarred but didn’t defeat us and we ploughed on replacing old thoughts with new and happier memories.
      Sadly we lost our old faithful canine companion this year and we miss him as a friend, counsellor and psychologist!
      Everyone’s story is different but in five years our lives have changed massively. It’s been hard but we do have a life now and not a yearning for the one we had. Love and peace.

    5. Lauren

      Wow! There seems to be a lot of this type of thing going on these days. Same just happened to me & my husband with our adult kids. They demand, want, expect, but don’t reciprocate, appreciate, or show love. They just criticize. So sad. I’m tired of it all. We also have our lovely pets who love unconditionally, & other family from husband’s side who love us & don’t use us.

    6. Vicky

      Agree wholeheartedly. Enough in enough. We are parents, but we are also human. Letting them abuse us is not good for any of us. I have learned to have a happy life without them, in time. At a younger age, I’d have never given up like this. But at 65, I’lm living under God for me and the people who are loving in my life.

    7. Candace

      Good for you, Sunny, and it doesn’t sound mean. It sounds like you are taking care of yourselves. I have been estranged from my two oldest of four girls for 20 years. My middle child is very loving and in my life. My youngest was semi-estranged for 8 years. This was all because of an Ex-husband who is an alcoholic and was a womanizer throughout our marriage. He did to me everything on the list of abuses above except for elder abuse and he convinced my girls to join in. He is wealthy and I am not, so they were inclined to favor him…money, cars, rent paid, etc. by Daddy. It seems with a lot of our kid’s generation; they will hang around if we do a lot for them. I couldn’t afford it, so I was dumped, and the character assassination began. The stories they told about me were magnificent in their absurdity. The cruelty of it all made me realize my estranged daughters are not good people. My youngest came around wanting to reconcile. I told her I would only have an honest relationship with her, and when I brought up her cruelty toward her sister that is in my life, and me, she wanted to completely avoid any explanation of her terrible behavior toward us. I backed off from reconciling. I am also wiser and older, with new boundaries.

    8. Michele

      Cindy and Rick,
      Your story is similar to mine. Thank you for sharing your story. The words really ring true to my ears too. I’m not leaving anything to my 4 adult children when I leave this earth.
      I’m still struggling to find peace with the abandonment. It has been very difficult for me to find the peace, but I’m working on it.
      Our dogs, cats and chickens love us more than my children! I am happy about that fact, but I’m also sad inside, especially around the holidays and birthdays. I never get a Mothers Day greeting, call, or text and its been over 8 years now.
      My second daughter plays middle man enabler and does her best to prevent me from knowing anything about her other two sisters and my grandchildren. She has minimal interaction with me bc she is my moms live in caretaker. Its just a Charlie foxtrot with them.

  15. Robin

    I’m probably a little different from many of you in that I have made the decision to detach from my 46 year-old daughter. Whether my contact is permanent depends on her.
    Let me explain.
    Since my daughter has been 13, our family has been through he’ll over and over again. It started with a friendship with classmate that was mentally unstable. At thanksgiving, our daughter told us she wanted to commit suicide. Having lost one child right after childbirth, the loss of my daughter just sent me into a tailspin.
    We immediately went to a crisis counselor, who suggested she be admitted to the adolescent psych unit in our city. She went through a battery of tests and came home two weeks after she was admitted. Our diagnosis was that she just needed to be disciplined.
    Fast forward thirty or so years, and here is what has transpired:
    She married a man who has had drug problems. You probably can imagine this story. Only it gets worse. One day a few years back, he shot up with heroin, and my daughter discovered him, out of course, with the baby handling the dirty needle.
    The medics came and provided narcan to him, and he survived.
    Through the years, there have been roller coaster rides with him doing drugs.
    Now, my daughter. With her husband, she has 4 chidren, ages 6 through 27. As you can imagine, growing up in a home such as this, they all have issues.
    Eventually she divorced him, had another child with him, and presently lives with him.
    My daughter, in the past few years, has been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder and is bi-polar. She sees a psychologist, who sees her and changes her meds when the winds change. Of course, I cannot find anything about her.
    Throughout the years, our family has been ravaged beyond belief. Eventually, my husband and I divorced. At one point, my daughter pulled a knife on my husband, which made me even more scared of her, and instead of the ‘fight’, I took the ‘flight’ response. I did not think my husband took our daughter seriously. I never believed the psyche and their diagnosis. There was something wrong with our daughter, and I knew it. Years later, we did get the diagnosis.
    I talked and talked with the school, pastors, doctors, pediatricians, but no one helped me. Finally, I moved out and let her father deal with her.
    She become pregnant and moved in with me. Dad remarried and moved away. Now a single mom, bpd and bipolar became much worse. She ended up in jail for writing bad checks, my pocketbook was stolen, along with all my jewelry I inherited from my grandmother. In addition, I almost lost my job because my grandson became ill and had to be hospitalized.
    By this time, I was so depressed, sick, and did not know what to do. I was angry at my exp husband because he really did not help with her. Now looking back on it, he was just as lost as I was.
    All of the drama came and went in waves. Both my ex and I came from good stable familes. My daughter was running with the worse group of kids. Of couse, the whole town was talking, and it was our fault. My parents said we needed to be more strict. When we were with her, she disobeyed. Nothing stopped her from doing what she wanted to do.
    I did all I could do, but the taking of my own life. I went bankrupt, lost friends, jobs, basically her problems became the center of my whole life.
    Now my daughter has a younger brother, who floated through these years thanks to a good friend of his. My son stayed at his friends house every weekend to escape the madness going on in our house. Today we are close
    Just recently, his sister’s antics spoiled over into hi family. He has finally come to the conclusion that his sister is mentally ill.
    There is so much more I could tell you, but it really is the same tune, just a different version. So I will not. You have been where I have been. And so I have come to a decision. I will not tolerate any more drama, disrespect, or misbehavior from my daughter. I gave all I could, which I know I gave too much to a fault.
    I am happily remarried with another son and new daughter-in-law. I am 68 and plan to enjoy my remaining days happy, thankful and living a full life. God bless all of us who have struggled, learned how to forgive, learned how to love ourselves and our self-worth.

  16. Kimberly

    Sometimes I wish I would’ve had 10 kids and just maybe one of them would not throw me away like trash. Other days I think having children is highly overrated. If I could do it again maybe zero children. Maybe individualism for me as well as my selfish brats. Sorry. Another thing I’ve noticed after 6 +years of hell. I have only 2 moods now. Severely pissed off and absolutely devastated.

    Also, on my worst days, I’ve realized these past 6 years that I grieve & morn for the loss of my 2 adult children but when they were children! I miss my sweet kids. Anyone else do that? I loved having grown children and thought we ED & ES had a great life. Of course I was soo wrong. I was such a horrible person they didn’t tell me what I did wrong. No talk of boundaries. Nothing. They’ve just quit answering. Yea. I miss my babies for sure and grandbabie(s) I don’t know them nor how many. I had to have an estrangement with Facebook….it was too much. My sister use to call me Martha Stewart on steroids. She was proud of the mom I’d become. We didn’t have a great one…but we still treated her with respect! All my family had passed before seeing my kids act like this. I sure miss my family.

    1. Carol U.

      I know exactly how you feel! My son started at age 10 lying and stealing and things went downhill from there. He spent the next fifteen years torturing us. We tried counseling, special learning centers , and tutoring by me every night to get him thru high school. He went from job to job, getting in fights and unable to get along with people. He impregnated a 17 yr old girl and proceeded to have two more children plus an abortion of another pregnancy. They finally married and she turned out to be as mentally I’ll as he was. She kept a filthy house and never cooked those children a meal. They were mostly ignored while she flopped on the couch cramming junk food. She even had an affair and took her little children with her to her boyfriend’s place. My son got more and more depressed and started drinking or treating his depression with prescription drugs he bought from friends. I cleaned, did laundry, and bought food that my grandkids could get out of the refrigerator themselves. I bought clothes and shoes, enclosed their patio so the kids would have somewhere to play and escape from that dark filthy house. I spent thousands and thousands of dollars to improve their lives. I took care of my daughter in law when she was sick and took medication to her. I did everything I knew to do to improve their lives. I babysat every other weekend to keep them out of daycare. I was always treated coldly and with disdain. They were often rude to me. I don’t really know for sure what my final transgressions were. They never told me. They just stopped communicating in any way and have turned two of the three grandkids against me. My daughter in law was always jealous and insecure and twisted everything I ever said or did. He was our only child. We still have one grandson who is sweet and loving as always fortunately but his family is punishing him for it on a daily basis. My son hasn’t spoken to him in 3 mo. and it is killing him. I feel like they have all died only worse. The grief washes over me in waves. I have considered suicide on a daily basis but I am determined to overcome this for my husband’s sake. I think we will move away from here to be closer to other family. I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy. It is hell on earth.

  17. Lisa

    4 years later the healing is finally beginning. After being lied and gossiped about and abused emotionally financially and mentally. After suffering real physical symptoms from that abuse and seeing my emotional health and mental health go into the toilet my oldest tired of it. Fearful I would die of a broken heart my oldest daughter told her younger sister to not contact us again. The constant discards, estrangements, using us for money, malicious mind games and false accusations were taking their toll on us. My oldest daughter watched me age rapidly and become quite broken. So she made the choice I could not. I was very mad at first but after counseling and time and reflection I am grateful my oldest daughter was strong enough to make that choice. Had she not I might still four years later be taking the abuse from her younger sister. Apologizing for things I never did and shelling out money I didn’t have to someone whom didn’t love us and didn’t deserve it. Someone who sought to hurt and abuse us and tear us down over and over again. After reading Sheri’s books and workbooks and going to grief counseling I am healing now. Life is great and filled with joy. I mourned my youngest daughter. I fondly remember the good times but I made peace with the present. I decided to stop allowing myself to be emotionally mentally abused and beaten down. To stop living in sadness and darkness. thriving instead in joy love and light. It was not an easy or a quick process. But I love where we are at now. I didn’t intend for this to be what happened. But I accept the things I have no control over and I embrace the things that which bring me joy. I consider my youngest and I permanently estranged not out of anger but out of desperation for not just mine but our mental health. We deserve better than heart palpitations, anxiety, panic, tears and sleepless nights. We deserve better than having our heart strings played with and our bank accounts drained and our good names and reputations slandered. My youngest daughter is free to tell all the lies, make all the false accusations and hold all the hate and misguided anger she chooses. We refuse to participate anymore. We wish her well in our hearts but we have forever moved on. We know she cannot /will not change. Our future happiness and joy and mental/physical/emotional health depends on moving forward. We never wanted this estrangement from her. But the way she played games and abused us made it permanent. I hope that these adult kids whom do this are considering the consequences of their actions. As they push away their parents, their siblings and their family they might find one day they have regrets. But by the time they realize that the estrangement may become permenant and their parents, siblings, other family members may have moved on to such a degree there is no bond left for them to rekindle. And even if there was a chance to mend fences there might be…no desire to. They may find themselves instead of those they estranged on the outside looking in. Wishing they had made better choices.

    1. Hitch

      I’ve been studying narcissism for 20 years..I have quite the library now. May I suggest to everyone here who thinks it may be the problem in their families,,the book Malignant Narcissism by Sam Vaknin,.,,,I first got this book many years ago trying to figure out the bizarre cruel personality of my ex-husband. Become an observer, educate yourself on personality disorders like a private eye trying to solve a mystery. Maybe you will have an ah ha moment which will help with your pain.

  18. Tee

    I have never posted before. My story is like so many others on this journey. This is our second estrangement from our only child, a son who is now 32 years old. We were so close to him, we shared his good times and bad times. Our lives were good and we were so happy. Then came along the ‘ girl next door’, literally. We knew her family just in polite greetings but kept our distance due to their family drama that we did not want to get involved in. I will refer to her as J. Our son had no interest in her as there was a 4 year age difference and level of maturity. J tended to always be around, almost stalking him but he paid no attention to her. J requested he take her to her to her senior prom while he was on leave from usmc. He did so reluctantly. That was the beginning of the end of good relationship with our son. She pushed for the ‘ going steady’ thing that was rocky as was stationed in camp Lejeune and marines are marines. After his deployment to Afghanistan he announced he was getting engaged. We tried talking to him about his relationship… He shut us down. Then out of the blue he announced he was getting married and it was happening in 4 months. Once again we asked to discuss the ‘rush’…we were estranged and not spoken to until two weeks before wedding. We attended wedding but were treated as outsiders. After a few months our relationship with son improved and we tolerated J and her never ending drama. Eventually a pregnancy occurred and our first grandchild was born but the drama with J grew intense. We were not allowed to visit unless she gave okay and then there were ‘ rules’. I broke a rule…kissing my grandchild and estrangement two happened after have words with son. TBE rationale for no kissing was ridiculous ( I was a pediatric RN for35 years). Its been four years. I have attempted contact three times (3 strikes) . I am blocked on his phone. I don’t do social media. My hubby has shut son out of his mind, he says ‘ he is dead to me’…his coping mechanism. So here we are…covid with no contact, my mothers death, no contact, hubby has serious heart ailment, no contact… he is aware of everything as his j is a troll of family members. We have adapted and made a life without him.

    1. Avey H

      I was done in by narcissists – and I know I have loads of company on that spider-web.
      The past 16 months has been a Master’s Degree level study of family psychology, self-taught.

      When my three-year old grandson blurted, eleven years ago, “Grandma! Why do you hate dogs? My OTHER grandma says so!” I knew the whisper campaign of my son’s MIL had begun. The ‘tell’ was this little tike who loved his new puppy.

      Eventually the sand even washed out from under my relationship with my only child; a handsome, brilliant success. His MIL wanted him for her own, it seems.

      For the ten years I ‘hung in there’ as the MIL mimicked my hair style (even enlisting me to do her haircuts through COVID); chortled about trips to Hawaii with the kids (even though I was restricted from taking the Grands on vacation by her daughter — ever!) As the MIL showed me photos of high-holiday ‘family’ dinner with the slap, “we realized, as the dinner was over, that we should have invited YOU!”

      Finally, after realizing how universally calm my life had been during the COVID lockdown coupled with the fact that the Grands had become inaccessible teenagers — I threw in the towel. I’ve been in mourning for 16 months now.

      I could no longer be a Subject (a supply source) to the Royal entitlement of the MIL.

      My mother was a narcissist, as well as my 1st husband; and my son, and his MIL. There is absolutely something to family-psychology-structure.

      Losing a child is ‘losing a child’ — whether to death or estrangement. The grief and mourning period seems to be the trade-out for the previous cycle of abuse, neglect, abuse, neglect.

      I try to live my happiest life, but with the death of a child (metaphorically) in my wake.


    2. Judy Z.

      My story is a bit like yours in that my child was/is an only child. I was diagnosed with MS when he was 12 but am pretty much functional, not needing assistance of any kind as I was a medical professional and I know the signs of a flare and what to do to either avert it or deal with it alone. I explained the disease to him but apparently he chose to not “get it.” I was never the “favorite” child and my mother told everyone I was faking it and that she was overjoyed that it wasn’t my sister wasn’t the one to have it. Unbeknownst to me he was e mailing my sister and she became his confidant until college when he found a “counselor” who understood him. He became impossible with every year and finally in grad school he found “the one” whose family, like yours was overly dramatic and just crazy for lack of a better word. We met her once when they were in DC for his conference and we drove 3 hours to take them to dinner. She did everything to not impress us and upon returning home (we were in the midst of moving) I asked him if he could help ONE day (it is a 5 hour drive for him but he had already been to her parents house on LI several times) and he said the day was not convenient for her. I asked HIM not her. He became overly belligerent and I had him on Google speaker. My husband hung up on him and the next thing I knew I got a 5 page handwritten letter with no return address or post mark so maybe by messenger stating how much he hated me and what a bad person I am and horrific mother I had been. He claimed we disowned him when it was quite the opposite. He then ghosted himself from the internet, changed his phone # and e mail addresses. I called the dept at his school to find out if he had gotten his PhD and was told very nastily by someone who was once very nice when he was asked to leave the program and I pleaded with them to let him have another chance – “if he wanted you to know he would have told you.” Who knows what lies he was telling. My sister and mother were well versed in striking me down and lying to whomever would listen. I have a friend who has access to the national data base so I know where he is and I know he lists my sister as next of kin. I know they bought a house but with 2 mortgages (very strange deal) but have not been in contact with him or even tried to contact him. It is 4 years now and life goes on. I am sad a lot but with the money I saved for him to have a good start in life my husband was able to retire and we travel a lot and have a dog who loves us unconditionally. I now fear more anger than anything else and I hope one day prior to my demise I can finally come to terms with his behavior and can only hope he gets the real mental health help he needs but he is not my responsibility anymore. When people ask I tell them I love the little boy he was and absolutely despise the man child he has become.

  19. Therese

    Please don’t condemn yourselves too much! We must remember that this group of children most of us speak of have grown up with “social media” – something that has crushed communication skills to the core. These kids saw how that hiding behind a computer/phone they could bully people, and it only took off from there. They no longer know how to work through their issues; instead, SM has taught them that spouting off and blaming someone else is the way to cope. I feel so blessed to have been raised in a world without phones and this grueling social media presence.

    1. Tovah

      You are absolutely correct, Therese!
      As soon as our oldest daughter got a smartphone at 13 we were discarded. I could actually see it happen with each social media that she added to her phone. She was still in our presence but virtually trafficked away. Whatever family values we had instilled in her were gone. The worst app was Snapchat, where she began sexting with a boy. It floored me how utterly clueless she was to the fact that not only did that boy now have those images captured on screenshots on his device to show any of his buddies but that according to the rules on Snapchat (the same rules that few of their users read) the company OWNED the images!
      We installed parental controls on her phone and blocked Snapchat. When she complained about it I asked her, “Do you mean to say that you want to continue sexting this boy even after everything I just told you happens to your nude pictures?”
      Emphatically she said, “YES!”
      What happened to the many conversations I had with her about these dangers? Gone forever, like her.

    2. Tee

      I call our son’s age group the ‘participating trophy generation’,they expect everything for doing nothing. We didn’t raise our son this but school and sports did. They are entitled and believe they are wise. Social media played a huge part after the second estrangement… she, the wife posted awful stuff about us and people who saw these posts either knew it was falsehood s or some actually believed. I know we did our best raising and guiding our son

  20. Cher

    I have 2 daughters, who grew up in the same household. Their dad was an alcoholic, who verbally & physically abused me for years. Both girls said they were happy that we separated, and eventually divorced. I became the sole provider, putting both through college, maintaining a home, etc, as he never worked again, nor paid any support. He eventually became homeless and I would offer my home for him to visit the girls. He recently passed away, and I paid for & set up a beautiful memorial service. My older daughter considered him more of a grandfather figure, and my younger daughter worshipped & idolized him. Throughout her entire life, she has been distant, mean, rude, and verbally abusive to me. She has stopped contact for months, then years. but we have always managed to reconnect. The last time a few years ago- I was told by her therapist I had to apologize for anything she said I did wrong, and i Was desperate so I agreed. However the latest estrangement since March 2022 seems to be the one that will last forever. After 6 years in “validation therapy” she is convinced that I was an abusive mother and that she lived in fear of me every day. She has cut off my entire side of the family. She has reached out to one of my sisters and one brother to validate her allegations, as well as my other daughter, and they have all refused to do so. Just last week she told my brother she has disowned me, she no longer has a mother or parent. She said she needs an apology this time where I confess to being abusive, and publicly declare. I absolutely cannot & will not do that. I feel that I am the one being abused all over again, and I cannot lose my soul by admitting to things that NEVER occurred. She has also called me in drunken rages & has ranted, but will not get help. My older daughter is a loving, caring, compassionate person, happily married & expecting my 1st grandchild! She has been told by my other daughter that the only way the can try at having a relationship is to never mention my name or existence. Needless to say I have been physically ill, undergone many surgeries, battling depression, but have a very good therapist and an incredibly supportive & loving second marriage. As I’m facing another surgery soon, I’m trying desperately to stay positive and focus on the happiness & loved ones I DO have in my life. As everyone on this chat knows- it is SO very hard to do. My heart goes out to everyone here, and it is comforting to know that we are not alone in this chaos & pain that we did not choose.

    1. Donna

      You just explained my situation and gave me the validation that I am not alone in this situation . It seems surreal. Narcs surrounded themselves with flying monkeys they manipulate into believing their lies. They are so cunning in their lies and storytelling that they take away all you know and trusted including your family. In essence they are masters at psychological abuse. Us single mothers have insult added to injury after suffering all our lives to protect them love them and for what ? I left an abusive husband to protect my kids and myself and gave up all I had to live in poverty and she is wealthy and manipulating all that I care for including my other kids family and friends to ostracize me just as her dad. I am about to have surgery and my health is failing . She may think she is powerful and winning in her chess game by destroying me but forgets the God who Created her and the fact that one day she will
      Be accountable to all she has done to me like her dad .. will
      One day result in karma in her own life . I love her but she has even convinced my other kids and family of origin to ostracize me. My only answer is to detach and get into my own self
      Development and personal growth. To find myself own hobbies and interests . I tried for many years but her dad brainwashed her and my other kids family and friends . I sadly must let go and let God❤️‍

  21. Elwin J.

    Two years ago my 42 year old son sent me an email stating he had been in “low places” and didn’t know if he would “make it back”. He said he had problems standing up for himself and setting boundaries. He assured me he loved me but, would no longer tolerate anyone that said anything negative about someone he loves. He said he had found love and happiness and he hoped that I could find happiness and healing. He told me to wait awhile before responding. None of the phrasing or vocabulary sounded like something he would come up with on his own. He has a history of not responding to calls, email, texts or voicemails, often for months at a time, forcing me to reach out to others in his life to see if he is okay. He used to call me quite often (usually several times a week or more often when he had problems at work or with his ex wife) but, that has come to an end. I received a text from him on my birthday (February) stating he loved me and would call the next day. He never did. When I learned I had metastatic cancer and attempted to convey the news his response, with the assurance he would call the next day, was essentially, ” Gee, that’s too bad.” When I had a heart attack in May he texted me with the excuse that there wasn’t good cell service (an over used excuse on his part) and he had to go “all the way into town” to text me (if the service was that bad how did he get the news of my heart attack?). He again told me he would contact me when he got home and that he loved me. It is now October and I have heard nothing from him whatsoever. I have written to him and apologized for whatever I did to upset him and acknowledged I made a mistake in treating him more like a friend than a son by sharing things with him I probably shouldn’t have if all of this was concerning his mother. While not flattering, it was, sadly, all true and I took ownership of my mistakes and apologized…..again. He has denied me access to my granddaughters which necessitated my re-establishing a relationship with he ex wife to find out how they were doing. It has been suggested to me that he may be afraid, embarrassed or at a loss as to how to reconnect with me and I have been told to write him off and simply let him go. The Psychologist I saw in the wake of my own divorce said he was surprised and saddened that my son was being so irresponsible and childish (he knows my son quite well having treated him at one time too) and that I may never hear anything from him again. We were once very close and now I feel totally abandoned by him. Just as my ex could never explain why she pursued the divorce my son has yet to explain why, after telling me we could have a relationship again, he has failed to follow through and contact me. I’m not young anymore and with my current state of health I may not be around a lot longer (my cancer treatment increases my risk of another heart attack or a stroke).I worry about what his reaction will be should I die before he gets around to trying to resolve our problem. I’m angry, hurt, disappointed and confused but, I don’t want to see him burdened with guilt because he didn’t follow through before he lost the opportunity to do so. He has broken my heart but, I still love him.

  22. Kim B.

    When I was young I loved reading the book “Jonathan Livingston Seagull”. Words from that book have stayed with me my entire life. One thing I remember so clearly goes something like this- your true family is not necessarily the one you were born into. You could turn that around and say the same thing about our children! I feel blessed that I still have three wonderful daughters and two wonderful stepdaughters who love me. I don’t hope for any contact ever again from my estranged children. But I wonder, for the people here who are asking for a chat group or some other contact, are there any organizations out there that connect people with children who need help, like a big brother/big sister thing? Couldn’t we leave a legacy with someone like that?

  23. Sue

    Oh my how I feel for you lovely people. My youngest daughter did the same to my husband and myself. I finally ended contact with her after she came to our home and started being abusive to my husband. She cut us off from our five grandchildren, but time is a great healer and we are now in touch with all but the youngest as she’s only 6. It was the hardest thing to do but I’d seen a sister treat my mother in the same way for decades, she’s still doing so now. Now and then I feel sad, mostly I think of her when she was young, she’s 42 now. However under no circumstances would I go back and let her treat us like that as it was soul destroying. I think both my sister and youngest daughter are

  24. Juanita

    Hi Everyone it’s been awhile since i have written any comments. The good news is that I have actually been in a position to see and visit my children and grandchildren recently which in it’s self has been a true blessing. The burden of loneliness and emptiness that have felt have just disappeared just in being able to be with my 3 children in the same room for more than 2 hours. I am very grateful for this time of reconciliation that we have allowed each other to heal. I too like all of you have not sure whether to take the chance or not to TRY….We still have our moments and i don’t like it, but my kids and I have been through a lot because of the divorce and because of others trying to influence our decisions about reconcile, like x family and friends. So when I decided to stop blaming and asking my kids to forgive me all the time and started praying and asking the Lord to help my children’s lives even though I didn’t get what I wanted which is to have quality time a lot more with them and to not argue or fight. I started finding peace in my life and forgiveness for my children’s actions towards me as a mother. I’m not saying it was easy to do because we want what we want as a parent and that is to be with our children what most be call normal. So one thing i am grateful for is that when I started listening to all your stories and I read Sheri book several times. I began to realize that I was not alone, that just maybe all that has happened to me as a parent was not all my fault and reading the bible for how to heal my relationships has brought much blessings in my life. it’s certainly help me to keep going even when I didn’t think I could anymore. So i know and understand that feeling that hit’s us all right down in the middle of our gut when the holidays are not far away. I still spend my holidays by myself most the time and sometimes never hear from anyone, It’s hard because I’m a single mom so I don’t have a hubby or a boyfriend to fall back on… It used to be a dreadful holiday cheer but then I decided to start building my own holiday so each year for the last 20 years I have decorated and bought and wrapped gifts for myself of things I have wanted. i cook Thanksgiving and Christmas meals for about to 2 days of eating and i do anything I want to do. You can be happy again without someone there to share it with and still like your holidays. But above all else I never forget to wish tons of blessing on each one of my children and grandchildren and I pray all the time for them. I hope that some of this helps one of you to see that not to give up hope on yourselves or your children. With God all things are possible! Happy holidays to all and I truly hope the lord will bless your homes with joy, peace and love !

  25. Shari

    I feel sane to see I’m
    Not alone in this world who is suffering with the pain. The word “family” has a totally different meaning to me in my life now. Do I even care to be a grandma?? I can’t say I do. My parents didn’t get the love from my kids (30s) so why should it be different for me.
    One thing is certain , alone you arrive , alone you go back! For a change , I will be selfish and love myself and my needs. Thanksgiving, Xmas, bdays , none matters if they come or not. Nothing can hurt anymore ❤️

    1. Michelle

      I’m so sorry u feel alone,u are not alone,papa loves u ,and is always there listening ,hugging u ..if u believe ,it’s helping me get through some pretty tuff stuff..I’m thinking of joining some groups ,for folks who have it much worse,gradatute seems to help me ,not always,I’m just receiving therapy,and starting to love myself for the first time in years .God bless u ..I pray u can find joy

  26. hitch

    I think society, culture and myths about family make our suffering worse. We are given messages that there is nothing more important than family, that family is everything…well that is a dangerous position to take, because what happens when family fails? What will you have then? Is it really true that there is nothing more important than blood relatives? I notice the commercials on tv for the older generation is all about grandchildren…always showing grandparents chasing kids around the yard, so take this medication, or get your health back so you can play with grandchildren, as if there is nothing else in your life and nothing more important. In my 60’s I get the feeling that I am expected to spend my golden years in worship and adoration to adult children and grandchildren, it feels like a job now that I can never relax from and I have to keep working to show how much I love them all, because if I dare slack off I will be abandoned Christmas.Thanksgiving, Mothers Day, a big happy family around a table, everyone loving each other enjoying each others company…is this really the norm?? When I was younger I thought it was, and if it wasn’t there was something seriously dysfunctional and I had to do everything possible to get back to that Norman Rockwell painting…..Another myth or unrealistic expectation taught to us is that once you have kids you will never be alone and will always have a loving family support group around you until you die. I believe that all of these images in our head about how it “should” be contribute to our suffering. I’m learning to lower my expectations about everything, that’s not negative, its realistic. And focus on self-differentiation and stop emotional enmeshment with family members.
    “Self-differentiation involves being able to possess and identify your own thoughts and feelings and distinguish them from others. It’s a process of not losing connection to self while holding a deep connection to others, including those you love whose views may differ from yours.” Im not you and you are not me. I’m still a separate person regardless of children, spouse, relatives. It took me 60 some yrs to learn this and still learning and still struggling to separate myself from labels like “mom” therefore I have to be and act a certain way for others. I also think our cold adult children who are weaponizing grandchildren as power plays better watch out…….if they think they will never have any problems with their own children because they think they are perfect people and perfect parents, they too in future years will find life rarely turns out like that…..Just some thoughts….

    1. Diane H.

      Hi hitch, really thought provoking post, thank you. I work in eldercare and notice the absence of family for the vast majority of people. One mother had photos above her bed of each of her 11 children, and in the months I knew her, 2 visited. I think you are right, chasing the fed ideal is not all that life has to offer, and you made me think when you point out that advertising etc shows older people worshiping their younger generations. I often see families failing people when they are at their most vulnerable. It’s not the way things are for many people and I suspect it’s time to tell the truth and unshame this issue. Thinking of us all.

    2. Linda

      This is truth and exactly the way I believed about family until my son and daughter in law went cold and will not talk to us at all. They can’t even give us a reason why they want nothing to do with us! Gut wrenching hurt for 2 years. But now I have learned to move on and take care of myself. I lost 4 grandchildren through this two of which are older and they told them not to have anything to do with us. Unbelievable!!

    3. Lisa

      Hitch, thank you for your post. It is so very true and I am learning the same valuable lessons. “Our cold adult children better watch out…” truer words have never been spoken. I never wish this on anyone, because of the immense pain it causes, but our adult children are showing their children that it is okay to treat them like this in the future.

    4. Jess

      I actually love your comment here. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I think you are right and what you say is so true!

    5. Tovah

      This is spot on.
      It’s fine if someone WANTS to invest so much in their grandchildren but those commercials and most others are just shameful examples of pushing stereotypes. In the sixties I visited my grandparents for sleepovers and fun outings but they never devoted huge portions of their time to us. We were raised to appreciate them, be good to them and make our time together a pleasure. I don’t remember ever thinking of them as having nothing going for them if not for us. Boy have things changed!
      The holidays are the same, pushing Hallmark images. This is all about making people spend money but it does such harm for most of us at one time or another. I once spent a Valentine’s Day in my apartment with the curtains closed following a romantic breakup. It was just February 14th but turned into a miserable day because of those damned expectations.
      Of course as you pointed out we are usually mature people when these realizations finally take shape. My younger self bought into all the myths and definitely suffered but no more.
      You’re absolutely right about what the outcome of the power plays will be. The question is … how will the adult children playing these dangerous games handle the condemnation and/or rejection from their own?

    6. Michelle p.

      Not concerned with earthly acceptance so much as anymore,I’m more concerned with a relationship with Jesus , unconditional love and forgiveness.I feel what u said ,and perhaps your right!! Life so short I keep asking y is love and acceptance so hard!! I’so don’t get it anymore!

    7. Talia

      Wonderful! What goes around, comes around! The allusion of a tribe because of our generational patterns. Time to rewrite the narrative! It hurts my ❤️ And I don’t understand how it transpired with such hatred n cruelty. Selfishness perhaps… narcissism really… no inner reflection or self inquiry. Not taking any responsibility for their own part in the fabrications of their stories. Entitlement, perhaps. Needing attention to do their own dance while alienating their elders? Sad n hurtful n our today’s reality. My heart has broken, n all I can do is try to heal n send LOVE THRU THE ETHERS

    8. Carla

      Forget all those frilly expectations. Our happy brilliant youngest son got married had two kids and lived only a few miles away. He rarely called. The only contact we had was if we showed up at his house maybe every six months or so. Then it happened. My daughter and I really wanted to see the kids. Drove over knocked on the door and strangers answered. He had moved several months prior and never told us. I about lost it having no idea what happened to him and the kids or the wife. Managed to find him after a few days. I don’t even remember his reasoning. Actually moved closer to me and we continue to never meet. I was never allowed to babysit etc. they always had plans and excuses. My grandson and grand daughter are now 20 and 16. At Christmas this year my granddaughter started texting me thank you for things we sent. I only hope I can get to actually know her. I’ve never spent any time with her. Lord, work fast or heal my recent cancer diagnosis. So incredibly sad

  27. Effie

    Thanks, Sheri, for your comment to me.

    I wonder if this website has somewhat exploded with more people in just the last year. It seems to be a fast-growing issue with adult children these days.

    Have a great week.


    1. Birgit

      Hi Effie, I agree that this seems to be a growing issue. Even in my small German town of 100.000 people only there are selfhelp-groups for ‘abandoned mothers’ as they call themselves. And still the big pink elephant in the room no one seems to want to see or really confront remains, despite all our efforts to lead a satifying life without our children: Why do they act like this? Or, being more specific, why in each and every single case. Taken that we did the best we could do raising them, why do they act in such a strange way? There is one thing I am personally absolutely convinced of: As long as we don’t find out why (just stating our children are cruel, disturbed etc. and trying to move on), this terrible wound and heartbreak this loss has caused will never close, will never heal!! Maybe we have to do more, be more persistent, have to bang in these doors again that have been thrown in our faces so many times. Maybe it takes a bit more courage than we can muster. I myself am exhausted and wrung out. Nevertheless, I will smash this door and barrier that keeps me from my daughter: This not a normal situation, and therefore maybe measures and actions taken must be changed, adapted to this to finally break through to our children and be heard.

  28. Effie

    You’re my third reply tonight. No one ever replies to me which only makes me feel worse, and my sadness is ongoing for 7 years… I was viewed by others as a super mom and loving and supportive, they are shocked at the turn my kids have taken. My kids have decided in their 30s that I was too strict and that now it’s called abusive. I would not let them watch certain things on tv. that was the big one…

    I cry a lot. Pray a lot and 62 and not getting any younger either 🙁 miss my grandkids too.
    I wish there was a chat or a zoom group… I am stuck and the reasons are all the triggers that I deal with daily that can’t be changed. Like the other grandparents drive up and down my road every day in their fancy vehicles and they are a big part of my grandkids’ lives. Each time I see them I get sick all over.
    When I tried to take a meal to my daughter and a baby gift, she told me to leave them on her porch! Two kids later and not involved.

    1. Diane H.

      Hi effie, here’s your reply!! Get unstuck and get too busy to notice or care about the people in the fancy car. What would you like to do? Volunteer, learn an instrument, exercise groups, join a choir, teach Sunday school, volunteer at a school to tutor children in reading, babysit for strangers, and so on. Experience told me that focusing on stuff I can control is the best medicine. Come on, effie, there’s someone in NewZealand who wants to hear how you are doing next month!

    2. Maggie

      Hi Effie

      Our 3 adult children have given up on us as well! Our daughter has verbally abused us! It was so great to read Sheri’s post about Parental ( also in our case in our 60s) abuse.
      Here in Western Australia it is finally being recognised instead of blame there now seems to be some light at the end of the tunnel!

      We have read Sheri’s books Sooooo brilliant they are too!
      You are not alone!!

      Many hugs to you and all others!!


    3. dena

      Don’t is similar to being a battered woman who is trying to heal…there was a time when those around you tried to convince you it was “him” and not you…you refused to believe…why? because in your logical mind, it had to be something you were doing to create this tragedy..hopefully, now, thanks to Sheri, and her courage and kindness, we can begin to reframe this madness. Thank you Sheri for offering us a different that can offer us joy and sanity for the last years of our life…to “live our lives..” or as Robert Frost said…”I took the one last traveled by, and that has made all the difference..” (The Road Less Traveled..) Thank you again Sheri for your work!

    4. Patti P.

      I feel like I’m looking in a mirror when I read your posts. I believe this entire generation is selfish and narcissistic. My daughter was born smiling; always happy, always singing. Then, she met her husband; need I say more? I held my 3 year old granddaughter twice, I never met my 8 month old grandson. My husband and I went over to their home unannounced to try to talk about whatever issues they decided we have. Her husband saw it was us, coward from the door and we got a text from our daughter telling us to NEVER show up to their house uninvited again.
      We are trying very hard to “move on” and enjoy life. It is so hard. What did we do?
      PS His mother is literally a monster, and they adore her. Crazy times…

    5. Tara T.

      Hi Effie.
      Know how you feel. After a years estrangement{and each day an agony} a kindly relative gave me x mas gifts to give my daughter and toddler grand daughter….but the “rules” were, we couldnt come to their home. {The home they only have cause we co signed for the first house, and let them live with us for two years/no expenses so they could save up.Where were the boundaries then?

      anyway, we thought we would place the box of presents on their stoop, and we added a few things ourselves.
      The next week we got an ice cold text NOT to do it again. It was a “violation”.

    6. Lisa H.

      Hi Effie-

      I am so glad I found Sheri’s website because to hear from people like you, and the others, helps me realize that I am not alone. After raising my 4 children for 20 years, I decided to divorce their dad – a malignant narcissist who was abusive. I was a super mom too and so devoted that I could not believe when the three oldest chose their dad over me. They discarded me and estranged themselves from me even though my youngest son remained close. I remarried a wonderful, kind man and they visited very rarely but there was always tension and I felt estranged. Still, I tried every way I could to stay connected but it was never enough for them. They would always find something to blame me for – or some reason to get angry and abusive.

      Fast forward 14 years after the divorce, and we had peace but no real mother/child connection. Until one month before my daughter’s wedding. She had not included me in any planning and she even chose to take her father instead of me to shop for her wedding gown, yet I still smiled and stood by her. I made excuses for her to others and just kept hanging on to the crumbs she and her older brothers would throw my way. Anything to have peace. Yet they would soon prove that they were either their father’s weapons or really mean adults. Four weeks before the wedding, I told my daughter I couldn’t be at a bridesmaids’ luncheon and she blew up. Her older brothers called me and said horrible things (“you wonder why your kids don’t give a shit about you” for one..threats and bullying texts for another). When my son’s text came through, my heart sank because I knew in that moment I could not be at her wedding. I simply didn’t belong there because it was clear they didn’t care about me. I would NOT allow myself to be abused and I realized something I hope everyone here hears…. I am not obligated to allow myself to be abused just because they are my children.

      This is very important to remember. We parents on this thread don’t deserve to be treated badly by anyone, especially those we gave up our lives for and would die for. There is a hole in my heart that will never go away but they showed me long ago that they don’t want me in their lives – it just took me a long time to understand. Not one of them apologized or ever contacted me since. I grieved for several weeks and then I got angry. That helped! I think when we step back from identifying only as a mother, it helps you to see your true value.

      My youngest son is by my side and he said I will never lose him. I have three stepchildren who love me like their own mother. I knew my decision not to attend the wedding would end my relationship with the three oldest, but I do have peace now. I will never stop loving them but until they can be the kind, loving “little children I raised” there will be estrangement.

    7. Cindy & Rick

      Let them go. Grieve when you need to and motivate to build a life without them. I enjoy my 3 dogs and fostering rescue dogs. Family is overrated and these kids will one day find themselves, old, lonely, and with no one they can count on after years of selfishness. I look at my friends with good relationships and grandchildren they enjoy fondly. I am happy for them and it reassures me that there ARE good ‘kids’ out there and it is not my fault mine have chosen to be rotten to the core. Their choices are theirs, not mine so they reap what they sow- I have friends and continue to make new friends. I do kind things for strangers who are respectful and nice to me and find joy in that.

  29. Jacqui

    I’m so very grateful to have found this group. Our journey started 2 and a half years ago. Our second son, 1 of 5, met a girl and Our lives turned upside down. At this point, we had not met this girl, she was 21, our son 26. I started receiving weird, abusive messages on messenger from her. They included things like how we had failed as parents for homeschooling our sons. Lack of sex education, forcing him to go to church. At first we tried to soothe the waters and defended ourselves, but also apologised for any hurt as non was intended. After quite along time of this, I finally tracked down her mother. I phoned her to ask what the hell was going on. She could only say how sorry she was over and over and that her daughter was a complete monster and that she had done this before to her last boyfriend. I soon found out that this girl and my son were doing alot of drugs, owed drug dealers money. I managed to get some of his cousins to visit them and they reported that there were bags of drugs lying around the house. This girl also has a 2 year old from a previous relationship. Her mother has legal custody of the child, as we found out, this girl is bi polar and schizophrenic. After we found all this out, things became abit clearer as to what we were dealing with. It didn’t make things better, we found out that a drug dealer had turned up at their place roughing them up abit, as they hadn’t paid him. I spent alot of sleepless nights trying to figure out how to help. Alot of our friends said, next thing you know she will get pregnant and hoped like he’ll this wouldn’t happen, but that was her plan all along. Then she messaged us saying they were going to have an abortion. On the day it was going to happen, they suddenly messaged us saying they were coming down to see us. They duly arrived, this being our very first meeting. She announced they didn’t go through with the abortion. I could see my son was looking extremely thin and withdrawn. I only managed a very brief bit of alone time over the next 2 days when she went to the toilet, to speak to him. She was glued to his side every move he made. As they were leaving, she said, Oh your going to be the best grandparents!! Well the next 9 months didn’t put a stop to the mad messages, asking for money. When the baby was born, I gVe congratulations and thanks for the new life. We arranged to visit 1 week later. On the night before we left, she called and told us we couldn’t come unless we agreed to be grandparents to her other child! I had go back at her and told her we were not going to blackmailed anymore and hung up. My husband took the next call and told them, we are coming up anyway and staying with family, so if you don’t want to see us that’s fine. They backed down and we met up. It was very nerve wracking and I did cry abit. Her mother was very kind. We got to spend the day with them. That was 2 and a half years ago now and I’ve not seen my grandson since. We stayed in touch on FB, but this girl closely manages all their FB accounts. Communication was fairly settled until last Christmas, when I felt like I should send some gifts, which I did. I was care to choose age appropriate gifts. They were a wooden tractor and farm animals for our grandson and a beautiful puzzle for his older brother. We were thanked for the gifts, but told, next time please send more evenly matched priced gifts. Then a few months on, I got a phone call from her opologising for all the hurtful things she had done. I accepted that, but felt very wary I was being played somehow. Then our son phones over and over, explaing how sorry he is and wants to tell us how he had been lying to us all along, about how he was going to leave this girl. He had been telling us this for quite sometime and we had told him we supported him in whatever choice he made. Then all of a sudden they both start accusing us of bringing our son up in a cult and basically all the other bullshit that she pulled on us in the beginning. He now has told us, we must apologise for his upbringing. I know deep down this is 99% coming from her still trying to manipulate us. I did tell her after she phoned and apologised previously, thankyou, but if there is any more nonsense like before, any more abuse, we will block contact. So here we are now, with our last communication being the demand for us to apologise. I have my good days and bad. Days of wanting to give in, but knowing that an apology won’t appease this girl, she will only find something else to keep our son and grandchild away from us. Most of his brothers have stopped talking to him. All his many cousins won’t talk with him because of all the lies he has told. Apparently they are engaged and getting married sometime. I think her parents are relieved that someone is finally taking their daughter off their hands. Her father threatened our son when he said he was going to leave her. She informed me awhile ago that our son needed his copy of his birth certificate, as he was going to change his name. I told her they could purchase their own copy. Our grandson also doesn’t have our sons last name, another form of manipulation by her. Before this last demand of an apology, she was being very communicative with me, being nice and trying to pretend like she was making things better between us and our son. I knew it was too good to be true. Thankyou for letting me pour out my troubles. It’s helpful to know we don’t walk alone. We can only be grateful the rest of our boys have no problem with us and we get to enjoy life with them.

    1. Effie

      Diana H, – You are going to hear before next month! Trust me I am not yelling, but this heartache and what I am missing (my family) pain has no cure as of yet. I am a school bus driver, and a former foster mom, the last two years spent 3 hours a day at the nursing home in between driving the bus. I then clean people’s homes after my morning route then go to the nursing home, head back to the bus and then watch one of my grandkids at night. I attend church, spend time with several friends for lunch and attend the prayer meeting. I do notice the triggers because the times can’t be changed. The other grandmother CHOOSES my road after she passes exactly the time my bus route down to the minute has ended. I am now studying to be a CASA worker in court. I fall into bed at night. While I am at these people’s homes, I clean many with very rich lifestyles, I see and hear everything about their family trips and holidays with their families. The triggers are not avoidable. While cleaning homes I saturate my mind with my faith audiobooks. So, I am doing ALL I can do. As a former stay-at-home mom, all my life I was a super mom that gave and then gave some more, and I know this is more about the generation even in my imperfections…While your advice was nothing I have not read before and a true help for many. I am not a grandma that sets in a chair and stairs out the windows.

  30. emily38

    To every single parent in this community, regardless of where you are on the journey to restoration, wellness, healing, wholeness, I would like to suggest the following,

    With deep gratitude to Sheri for her post,…………. print it out.

    Keep it where you can read and reread it.

    Understand that every item she listed will help you see estrangement dynamics for what they are.
    Understand that every item describes behaviors you will willingly accept, until you don’t. Or won’t.
    Let the list seep into your awareness until it becomes a part of your understanding.
    Of what has been done to you. Of what you will no longer accept. Full. Stop.

    When discouraged, fearful of claiming your power, of taking responsibility for yourself and only yourself, read and reread Sheri’s list. Absorb it. Integrate it. Own it fully.

    And let it free you.

    Thank you, Sheri, for a vital and valuable resource.

    1. rparents Post author

      Thank YOU, emily38. I think you’re right…when there’s a wavery moment, tools help us reaffirm who we are, what has gone on, what we know is best … for ourselves. Full. Stop. (Love that!)

      Sheri McGregor

    2. D

      Emily, Thank you for the reminder. You described it perfectly and I will refer to the list because it is the truth as painful as it is….

    3. Effie

      The list? Can you tell me which list? I have not read everything yet so I may have not come across it! My life is swamped with so many to-dos as a single lady…

      Thanks !

  31. Faith

    Yes, same story, we were the best parents until someone told him otherwise. I think his wife, who had a difficult childhood put her emotional stuff on him. Still, through all the heartbreak, and the estrangement which we never saw coming, in hindsight, we overlooked really cruel behavior from both of them, just to keep the peace. My really big question now, after years, if they ever wanted to reconnect, should we? My intuition says, no. Once some shows you who they are, what they are capable of, believe them.

    1. Maggie

      Hi Faith

      Your experience is exactly the same as ours when I read your post I was saying wow ‘this is our story’!
      Our youngest son’s wife has alienated him from everyone we have spoken to a psychologist/councillor about the situation she thinks because of our dil past she has NPD.

      We have reconnected twice for the sake of our son we were used and abused by her! We’re done.

      Our son hopefully will wake up to it all one day.

      Live your life Please. Ok there are still bad days but eventually the good ones increase!

      All very best wishes to you


    2. Lisa

      Exactly the same story, Faith. Our DIL had a lot of childhood trauma and a very dysfunctional family. My therapist said that many times, these type of people are jealous of the relationship their partner has with their family. It took her 10 years to convince our son that I was a horrible mom. When I tried to talk to him about this and asked him for examples of the things he was accusing me of doing, he said he “couldn’t put it in to words”. No, he couldn’t because these things never happened, they came from his wife. When I realized that defending myself just made everything worse, my husband and I decided to start living our lives for us. We planned Thanksgiving last year for ourselves. When my brother called to ask what we were doing, we told him our plan. He asked if he could join us to which we happily agreed. Last year we ended up having 10 people in our home and it was a great time with no stress or awkward moments. When our son and DIL found out we had our own Thanksgiving plans that did not include them, we got a text from our son that was full of accusations of selfishness and divisiveness. Neither was true, we just decided to do our own holiday and not be treated poorly anymore. He even said that “he couldn’t believe we wouldn’t put everything aside for the kids, because he was willing to. The scathing text got no reply (before this, I would have tried to call or reach him and beg for forgiveness). A year has passed and we no longer chase this relationship. I am learning self care, boundaries, and living life with the 2 sons my husband and I share many good times with. We love our son and grandkids, but we refuse to let our grandkids be used as pawns to control us. I realize that the past year has been like mourning the death of a son that is still living. It has also taught me valuable lessons about what I struggle with and needed to work on. I know that I will always be a work in progress, but that is okay, progress is good. Some days are harder than others, but each day I am closer to knowing the true me, the one who deserves love, respect and kindness from not only family, but myself. Since I have not been calling and chasing, our son has sent text messages, accepted calls (when his wife isn’t home), sent flowers to me on Mother’s Day and acknowledged my birthday with a gift card. No expectations have served us well as we navigate this difficult time without seeing our grandkids or him. Maybe some day we will reconnect as a family again. It will be a different relationship, but different is good too. Witnessing you all with compassion.

  32. James

    I can relate to everyone’s comments and I will pray for all. My two children won’t have anything to do with me. My daughter it’s been 10 years and I found out that I am a grandpappy. My son recently was married and I was not invited. When people asked about me. The reply was I died.
    My son is an alcoholic and blames me for it. He’s been sober for 3 years. I am glad that he has that under some control.
    I miss them everyday and wish I could be part of their life.

    1. Effie

      It’s been 7 years for me. I over gave my adult kids who are all professionals now and I am way too useless to be bothered with. Self-pity (maybe today I admit) lots of crying today. I fell into the rumination which pretty much takes a physical toll on me as well. I lost both my parents this past year, and my father last Saturday. I heard from none of my kids. My parents – their grandparents never missed a birthday or Christmas or piano recital, etc.. but they decided they were not good grandparents now that they are in their 30.s and looking back… No one can know this pain. I have at least 1000 photos of my kids and am not sure what to do with them. Also, not allowed to see my grandkids either now.

      1. rparents Post author

        Effie, I’m so sorry about your parents, and your dad’s death is so recent. Gosh, you have a right to feel down.

        I’ll be thinking of you.

        Big hugs,
        Sheri McGregor

    2. Cathy H.

      I am so sorry, understand. My daughter had been gaslight me for years, I just wanted to be able to see grandkids, but every time did something she didn’t like she would stop me from seeing them. No one has ever hurt me more than my own daughter.
      My prayers are with you.

  33. Patricia P.

    I think this group is a wonderful support for parents whose adult child may have left them behind. I’m sure our culture and society hasn’t helped adult children sort out their issues very well and it’s become so much easier for them to blame someone or something else for what ails their mental health and inner happiness. Parents raise their children to the best of their ability. That being said, there may be some rare instances when it is better for a child to detach, but I believe an adult child would gain much more by the practice of forgiveness than to cut ties with their family in most cases. In our case, our only child, a daughter, hasn’t completely cut us out of her life, but she doesn’t really stay in touch or think of us very much. I not sure where we might have screwed up, but have acknowledged that we don’t think we were perfect parents along with apologies for anything she might feel caused her distress. So now our relationship exists primarily by our efforts to stay connected with her. When we call or talk, she is emotionally distant and shares very little with us. It feels bad to miss out on a deeper healthy relationship with her at this stage of life. I have talked to her about it, but she insists all is fine and that I should be appreciative of what we have. She also insists it’s more than what her friends share with their parents. (She really hates for me to site this type of comparison to her, btw) We have had to come to terms with her invisible wall at the same time we have had to come to terms with her father’s increasingly progressive neurodegenerative disease. Although he is coping incredibly well, I confess that I’m frightened to face what is ahead without the love and occasional, repeat, occasional, attention of our daughter. I’m hoping for a change, but I understand that at 33years of age, it’s unlikely. (She has been distant since well before her father’s diagnosis) She is getting married this month and we couldn’t be happier, but we do not think that her fiancé has much desire for a real connection either. It will be interesting to see how it all goes. I know they are busy with life, and we feel happy for them for sure – we just wish we could be a part of it in some meaningful way. We’ll see what the future holds and pray for a good outcome. Meanwhile, we’ll take care of ourselves by moving on in our hearts…

  34. Emerald

    I was so grateful to come across Sheri’s blog and her book, without which I could have ended up mentally ill! My loving caring son suddenly turned into a parent-hating monster within a few months after his marriage in 2016 to a girl who had a history of conflict with her parents. This was a red flag for me but we did not know the family that well and she appeared sweet. However, soon after their marriage, my son stopped communicating with us. When we asked, a barrage of nasty messages and lying started accusing us of all sorts of petty stuff that had never happened (e.g. accusing me of adding onions in wife’s food knowing she was allergic to onions – which was a shock as it was trivial and actually, I had taken great care to avoid onions). His wife abused me, my daughter and my husband. They have had two children – our grandchildren- never seen! In fact, I cannot bear to think about my grandchildren due to the fear of becoming too attached which will only cause pain and hurt. My husband is the gentlest man and we both share a wonderful relationship, as a result of which, our two children have grown up with more security, stability and love than a number of their friends. Plus we have a large network of family and friends around us; with grandparents on both sides who have witnessed how we have only ever given love and care to our children and their spouses. Despite that my daughter in law told people ‘you don’t know what goes on behind closed doors’. Thankfully, her claim did not go unchallenged from those she tried to influence with her hate campaign but as a result of the snub – her and my son decided to break off communication with all of his friends, cousins, uncles, aunts and grandparents he grew around. As a result, his two children will have no idea about his history, his brought up, and ‘their family’ and all the love they remain deprived of. Isn’t this level of manipulation child abuse? and I thought people who lie and deceive to that level only exist in television soaps and fiction. I cannot imagine why one human would want to treat another human with disregard, hatred and disrespect. But to do this to the two people who welcomed you in this world and have only given you loads of love can only be termed ‘abuse’. l think finally we are accepting what had happened to us by calling it what it actually is! So thanks for giving it the right name, term, label and identity.
    Thanks to everyone who shares their pain and grief here – this I believe is part of the long journey to healing ourselves.

  35. Margi K.

    Yesterday was my 80th birthday and my estranged son’s 51st birthday. That was one birthday present that I wish I could have returned! We are estranged permanently for almost five years after many years of his abuse. I haven’t seen my only grandchild in five years in spite of spending much money on a grandparent’s rights attorney. WE HAVE NO RIGHTS!
    My former son is sadly the spitting image of his father whom I divorced many years ago. Both are ADHD and narcissistic personality disordered. The last straw with the son was when he stole the money from the sale of an apartment I let him live in and rent out that was in my name. He lied and committed fraud. This is the first year of our shared birthday that I have not bothered to attempt contact with him after hearing that he wants nothing to do with me even if and when I am dying! I am finally accepting that our estrangement is final and that he can never hurt me again.
    Finally relief!

  36. Birgit

    Dear fellow no-contact-victims,

    in Germany where I live we have a law that says that children have to be there for their parents and vice versa. Usually this boils down to engaging oneself financially, since this is the only way a son or daughter could be held responsible in a court of law. Nevertheless, this law also means that you have to care for your parent, be there to help and to comfort your parent during hard times, sickness etc. Dumping a mother or father is a crime for which no daughter or son is actually held responsible. Of course, it may sound absurd to sue your own child for abuse and cruelty, nobody does this. But sometimes I wish there was a way I could make my daughter pay for what she has done to me for almost a year now! I devoted 20 years of my life to her, she was a happy child but a very difficult teenager. Now she claims that I had abused her all her life. This is so crazy. One by one I am getting my life back here, but after all the unanswered letters and effords I have made to make her az least talk to me only 1! time, there is something I won’t do: I won’t just suffer in silence anylonger: Next month I will go to her house and I will force her to listen to me, to hear me out. That’s my god damned right! I good friend of mine who has just made her master’s degree in psychology (I am fortunate to have her!) will be by my side then. Yes, it is essential to try living a good life. Thanks Sheri :), your 1st book still helps me a lot!! But sometimes I think it’s also crucial to confront/include your child in the process and make him or her see firsthand what they are doing to us!! All the best!!! Birgit

    1. Joan

      Birgit,be very careful when go to talk to your daughter at her house.After 4 years of abandonment ( this time!) I went to my son’s house to give my grandson his 13th birthday gift.My son was beyond livid,slammed the door on us ,and told us to get off of his property. He threatened to call the police ,so my husband ( stepfather)and told him we would just wait on the porch for them to arrive.Forty five minutes later they did….2 patrol cards and 3 officers. I refuse to allow my son to threaten ,bully or try to control me.

      The officers went inside and talked to my son,his wife ,and my grandsons ( 10 and 14) individually .When they came back outside to us ,they were confused and just did not understand why we were/are treated so horribly.I haven’t done anything “ wrong”,so my son had no explanation….he is just an angry 46 year old….he does not let his birth father see the grandchildren ,either.I have not had contact with them for 4 years this time…the first time was 4 years +. When they had their second child my daughter in law brought to my house when he was 6 weeks old…I was “ allowed “ to see them for the next 6 years.They have been devastated.

      I still send gifts/cards,etc and drop them off at my daughter in law’s office.She keeps me undated.She does not agree with my son’s behavior ,but stays neutral to keep the peace.

      I also pray that his heart will soften.He will not be mentioned in my obituary.He is an only child.He has a lot to work out.Our homes are 2 miles apart.Grrrrrr.

      Glad you are taking someone with you to your visit.

  37. Nancy G.

    I am the parent of not one , but two estranged adult children. It’s been many years since I’ve had contact with either my son , or my daughter .
    After a rather acrimonious divorce , and him doing his very best to destroy me , his plan clearly worked.
    My son rejected me , not once , but three different times. Each time I foolishly let him back into my life , only to be blindsided again. My daughter decided I wasn’t worthy of her time anymore after I shelled out a ton of money ( that I didn’t have ) to send her to her dream college.
    Moving on is probably the most difficult thing I’ve ever had to do. Especially around the holiday season when we are inundated with images of happy families everywhere we look.
    But move on I must. Holding out hope that one day they’ll come around again serves only one purpose… to break your own heart


    1. Effie

      Holidays are so hard… 7 years for me, I know I look at all the happy families too but wonder if it’s not real for the most part. Our generation is very self-centered. I am sorry your hurting too.

    2. Jude M.

      Hello Nancy. My story is similar to yours. My divorce was horrendous, my husband had money and I did not. That influenced the divorce settlement because I could not afford legal representation and I could not fight him and walked away from the house and any money. I worked three jobs [including nights] to pay for a roof over my head. My children were 19 and 16 and chose to stay in their father’s house as they were both close to school and university. In my naiveté , I thought two houses could function amicably. I was wrong. My husband told me he would destroy me and he pretty much did. My children became weapons in a war that I had no idea how to fight. I didn’t realise for a long time what he was doing or that it is a well documented form of domestic violence. I was being punished for leaving him. Another woman was sleeping in my bed, the minute I left [which is one of the reasons I am divorced]. This happened 22 years ago. I never stopped writing, their mobile numbers were changed so I could not ring them. They both met and married. I was not invited. They both have children I have never met. My daughter is incredibly harsh and judgemental of me leaving, saying that I was a monster for leaving her father. My mother died 17 years ago and as I sat with my dead mother, I found that my mother had been reading a bible at the time of her death, I opened it on the page she had read and read a little to her. My daughter stood at the door and screamed at me to ‘shut the F… up’. I do not know where my daughter lives but found out a couple of weeks ago that she is now separated from her husband. After her cruel words [and there were many] regarding divorce and blame, it is almost ironic that she now faces it herself. The only good thing that has happened is that three weeks ago, I met with my son for the first time since my mother’s funeral 17 years ago. He was polite but distant but at least he turned up and he has emailed me once since. It is a very small start but, at least, a start. My daughter is still estranged from me. Perhaps she always will be. However, maybe – just maybe – I can establish a relationship with my son. I hope so. I hope reading my story will help you with your own situation. You are not alone in being the victim of domestic violence following divorce. Domestic violence is not just about physical abuse, the more clever perpetrators like my husband and perhaps yours, understand that the more cruel and effective punishment is to cause estrangement. You have no cuts or bruises to show, only a broken heart and that leaves no marks that others can see. Jude

  38. Diane M.

    I think that I am my own worst enemy at times. Every couple of months I check in on my estranged daughter and granddaughter. I’m not on Facebook but can still see some info on my laptop just by bringing them up by name. I don’t hear from my daughter, her husband and my three grown grandkids. I found out online that my granddaughter got engaged. I was so surprised. But then deep hurt grabbed my heart. I guess I won’t be told of any life events by any of them. It’s been quite a while since I heard from any of them. I used to continue to send cards and money, but have since stopped. I don’t know where my grandkids even live anymore. I asked my daughter for their addresses but she told me to send any mail for them to HER address. That does not seem right to me. The estrangement came very suddenly from all 5 of them. I always heard from them before. I have no idea why. I could then make amends if any are needed. I do well for a while and then it hits me big time. But looking them up online is just hurting myself more. I must stop this behavior of mine, which is just hurting me. They know where to find me if they choose. I appreciate all of Sheri’s writings and ideas, and from all of you. Bless you all!

    1. Eileen

      Diane i totally can relate, I’m constantly looking at FB to see pictures of my grandchildren, it’s like self abuse, they have moved on with their lives without me and i feel like I’m at a stand still, I’m missing so many things in their lives, they are teenagers and dating, going to dances, my grandson graduated high school and my DIL had a big party for him and invited none of my side of family, and my DIL posted pictures and said we had many friends and family there to celebrate, yes her side, it hurt so bad, it will be 1 year next week my son sent me a dear John text, he didn’t even have decency to talk to me face to face, i am done with the abuse they put me through for several years, i begged i apologized for things that i didn’t even do, just to keep the peace and not lose my son, but in the end that’s exactly what happened, not looking forward to another lonely holiday, i am working on moving on, with Gods help and all the loving and supportive words from you all, God bless you all, we are not alone! Big Hugs

  39. D

    I can certainly relate to this lonesome, isolated pain. I give and give. Was always there to encourage her, listen to her, help her. One day I’m the best mom in the world, her best friend, couldn’t do it without me. Next I’m toxic, the worst for her mental health “it’s my fault for everything that goes bad in her life”. Yelling, screaming. Just goes on and on. I was an excellent mother who took good care of my kids. I am so sick of this roller coaster. She just turned 29 yesterday. It’s a constant heartbreak. My other child is the complete opposite. 37, totally responsible for himself and has never blamed me for anything. Same father, same house. I keep it to myself except for a very few trusted friends. Who wants to throw your child under the bus (even though they have many times). I truely believe my daughter needs therapy (and meds). She won’t go. Just makes excuses and blames me. I’m so tired. And it’s a constant sadness and anger in my heart. I just keep praying for strength. 65 and not getting any younger.

    1. Joy

      I so relate to your 28 year daughter became so toxic..mental illness resentment and blame were the key factors..very painful journey.

    2. Hitch

      ” One day I’m the best mom in the world, her best friend, couldn’t do it without me. Next I’m toxic, the worst for her mental health “it’s my fault for everything that goes bad in her life”.
      Yep, exactly
      One of my daughters would send me 10 pics a day of grandchild, would want to facetime all the time, had me involved in everything from long distance……..then out of the blue decided to just cut me off leaving me confused, sad, depressed, trying to figure out what the hell just happened???
      I can be having another perfectly nice text conversation with another daughter and all of a sudden i get a text saying….”ok i can see i’m going to have to cut off all contact with family again” Its like getting sucker punched by something you never saw coming.

    3. Effie

      You’re my third reply tonight. No one ever replies to me which only makes me feel worse, and my sadness is ongoing for 7 years… I was viewed by others as a super mom and loving and supportive, they are shocked at the turn my kids have taken. My kids have decided in their 30s that I was too strict and that now it’s called abusive. I would not let them watch certain things on tv. that was the big one…

      I cry a lot. Pray a lot and 62 and not getting any younger either 🙁 miss my grandkids too.

      1. rparents Post author

        Effie, this is my second reply to you tonight. I’ll be 62 in a few months. You know what? It beats the alternative!

        (I understand what you mean though.)

        We’re not getting any younger, so gosh, no time to waste! Gotta enjoy every bit we can squeeze out of this time on Earth.

        Hugs to you,
        Sheri McGregor

  40. Hitch

    I walk on eggshells with 3 daughters in their 30’s. They were/are my whole life after terrible marriage and divorce. If I say one thing wrong or they just dont like it for some reason I get cancelled and shut out…never knowing for how long. If im too loving Im annoying if I just let them be I’m not trying hard enough for the privilege of being in their lives. The cold cruelty is what I endured from their father and now my daughters. I have felt my heath and mental health decline from this manipulative uncaring bunch. I’ve even felt suicidal, I read all the books on codependency, difficult daughters, covert narcissism etc. etc….I have never criticized them, told them what to do, gave unwanted advice, never abused them, hit them, nothing. Yet here I am.

    1. D

      Hitch, I can relate. Nothing works for long. It’s sad and depressing. I keep searching for answers but there is none. If I touch or stroke her hair after not seeing her for months, she pulls back. If I try to maintain boundries, “it’s all about me”. “You’re the best mom” (on a good day). “You’re the most toxic mom” (on a bad day, yelling and screaming). Up and down, round and round, dragging my heart around. How do you cut off your own child? I don’t know but it is killing me. She turned 29 yesterday. I’m 65. Physically and mentally I can’t keep doing this dance.

    2. Pam

      Dear Hitch,
      It’s been ten years and three grandsons later that I’ve heard from my sons. Their adult behavior mirrors their father’s while we were marriage. Stopping the mental abuse from my sons was the hardest first step to start my healing. Today, the pain is there, but it doesn’t hurt as much. I sent my sons their baby pics and all their baby stuff that I saved over the years and it was so unbelievably healing. This behavior will not stop. You have to take control of your life with baby steps. You will find your strength, it’s there… My first step was ending the communication, very hard to do, but needed.

    3. Rosanne

      Hi Pam,
      My story is similar to yours. My son also learned how to treat me from his father who I divorced for that kind of emotional abuse, hostility, and disrespect. I also felt a huge and unexpected level of relief when I chose to no longer be subject to his abuse. After all, a counselor once told me, you can’t heal from a knife attack until the stabbing stops. By the way, my son tells me that “his dad has made him into the person he is today”. That is absolutely true, sadly just not in the way he thinks.

  41. Julie

    To be blamed by my ES and ED for all of their emotional problems, physical addictions, and just general unhappiness is devastating. I have 6 other children who say they had wonderful childhoods (with me) and that all of the bad times were because of their abusive father. But I hear the words, over and over again, of the two how hate me. Why is that?

    So glad for this group.

    1. Donna C.

      Hi Julie, my situation is similar. 2 EC and 4 that love the memories of their childhood and also accept that families have rough patches and the 4 younger ones stayed and worked hard on keeping us all together and now we have many lovely times – just the 5 of us. Its been so long the pain only flares up on special occasions now. I give myself a time frame to feel the loss and mope about it because if I dwell too long the 4 that are here miss out on me and each other. My EC are missing so much now and they – with their estrangement – are causing so much hurt but its been so long that they are becoming irrelevant…missed and we wish they would engage but never the less their presence isn’t imperative now… we have a lovely family connection in spite of their absence. The one thing we (5) feel the most now is simple sad acceptance and then we each move on and enjoy our lives. What has helped me greatly is focusing on those that stayed and where loyal and clearly want a healthy family connection. Thats what gets me past any slide backs.

    2. Cathy H.

      Wish I understood this generation of men and women in there late 20s and early 30s. It is like they lost there flipping mind and want to hurt the people who love them the most. It pains me so, but by the grace of God. I am adjusting and that is scary. I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, whom I raised on my own. Now she hates me and all in this family. So sorry for all the losses.

  42. Kerri B.

    So incredibly painful for the parent. SELFISH behavior on their end – especially when there hasn’t been any event or circumstance to warrant such an extreme cut off of the parent child relationship. At a loss here for the last 10 years.
    And losing hope.

    1. Mia

      Yoire not in it…
      Be with those who value you!
      Im done w their MEANNESS… i dont deserve this whatsoever and DONE with it..
      Id rather be alone that with them..

    2. L Jones

      Hi Kerri B,
      I too have suffered 9 years of complete silence from my only child, a daughter who I loved and cherished and would have given my own life for. I am sending you my thoughts and prayers of healing and please know that you are not alone. Society say’s that we must deserve our adult childs treatment of us, we must have been cruel, awful mothers, nothing could be further from the truth, we are the ones who have been subjected to unimaginable cruelty, pain and confusion, trying to find a way to make sense of that which makes no sense and living each day with a loss that feels as though a piece of our heart has been ripped away. We are not the guilty ones and must strive to treat ourselves with all of that precious love, nurturing and kindness that we lavished on our child. We must value ourselves , be proud that we are survivors, we are strong and we matter. Sending love and hopes for a peaceful mind and heart. Linda x

    3. Debi L.

      Hey Kerri I am at the eleven year mark and I still don’t understand it. I won’t beg. I am furious with them (son 44, daughter 35,) I am done. This is my first time on the site. My daughter wrote “,,the great American Matricide” in a novel. She invented these lycanthropic 24 ft. Crows to take my magic and my life. How many mom’s can say that? I have to laugh it helps the pain. I could go on but I just met you so I don’t want to be rejected. Thanks for listening. Debi L.


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