Cut off by adult children and lonely

cut off by adult childrenCut off by adult children? You may feel lonely, but you’re not alone

By Sheri McGregor, M.A.

Many parents cut off by adult children feel all alone. The reasons for estrangement are often uncertain, and are varied. Divorce, parental alienation syndrome, drugs, an influential love interest…. Situations can be complex, and circumstances are unique. Regardless, parents cut off by adult children can feel isolated.

If you’re all alone or lonely this Valentine’s Day—or any day—take heart. Not only are you one of many in similar straits, but it’s even possible to see your alone time in a whole new light.

Valentine’s Day—and any day

Parents cut off by adult children may be emotionally exhausted and feel as if life is passing them by. They’re exhausted by their lack of power to fix the relationship. Estranged adult children ignore efforts to reconcile, or respond with icy words or actions that make it clear: they’re not interested in a healthy relationship.

cut off by adult childrenWhat’s worse, parents cut off by adult children can start to feel as if they don’t fit in anywhere anymore.  While friends share tales of sweet grandchildren presenting valentines with too much pasty glue, rejected parents ache for that connection, and worry they’re being maligned to grandchildren they deeply miss. Yet sharing their circumstances may be met with blank stares or judgmental comments. Arms fold. People look away and sit back in their chairs. Nobody seems to understand. “It’s enough to make you feel like a leper,” one mother explained. “That’s why I avoid people now.”

In reaching out for support and sharing your circumstances, you may have been met with blank stares or hurtful questions (What did you do to cause that?). Arms fold. People look away. Nobody seems to understand. You may feel as if you just don’t fit in anymore.

“It’s enough to make you feel like a leper,” one mother explained. “I avoid people now.”

cut off by adult childrenThese sad, isolating feelings can start to be the “new normal.” Be careful of letting estrangement get the better of you. As described in my recent article, you can positively shape your new normal to move forward in your life. How you look at loneliness can help.

Cause and effect

If you’re hungry, getting something to eat is the natural response. Thirsty? Get a drink. Why then, when you’re lonely, is enjoying the people’s company more complicated?

After my estranged son cut off the family, social situations became more difficult. All around me was the tinkling of glasses, the bubbling of conversations, the rise and fall of laughter…. I felt like an outsider. Similar to Lila, talked about in a previous article, I was disillusioned. It was difficult to trust.

My feelings mirrored those of this mother, quoted here from the pages of Done With The Crying: Help and Healing for Mothers of Estranged Adult Children:

“Sometimes, I even wonder if my own friends doubt me, like they’re measuring everything I say or do against the estrangement, and wondering if it was really my fault.”

Other parents cut off by adult children spoke of putting up emotional walls and shutting people out. Thousands shared what boils down to a pervasive fear of emotionally investing. They worry they will be hurt again. This sort of self-preservation is natural for hurting parents cut off by adult children. But it can also be unhealthy.  And the truth is, if you’ve been cut off by adult children, you are not alone.

cut off by adult childrenParents cut off by adult children: Join the club

Kind parents who did their best—yet were cut off by adult children—are everywhere. They work at your doctor’s office and sit in the pews of your church. They are your neighbors and are maybe even your friends. But they may not have told you. They’re suffering in silence, feeling all alone, and afraid to share. They may even look at you and think that you couldn’t possibly understand.

There’s a section in the book about sharing, and then steering other people’s responses. Talking about estrangement will help make known the reality of just how many decent, loving parents are cut off by adult children. You may be at a point when you’re more than willing to share, as I often do. Maybe you’ll even work toward informing society as has been done with this quilt by an estranged mother. Educating the public about this social issue that affects so many is a topic for another day. For now, let’s get back to the individual experience of feeling lonely, on Valentine’s Day, or on any day.

Solitude: Put being alone in a new light

Recently, a young father in his early thirties told me he missed having time alone. His children played nearby, their “watch me, Daddy” and “look what I can do” call-outs making us smile. This father said he realizes that one day they won’t be calling him to watch. He wasn’t contemplating estrangement, of course. Unless they’ve been touched by estrangement, parents of tiny tots rarely do. But he knows they’ll be busy in their own lives someday. And he’s planning ahead for that time.

“I know a lot of older people who waste their solitude feeling sad,” he said. “They’re free, they’re healthy, and they have a lot to offer. But some sit and wait for their family to come around.” He grinned. “And then I know others who learn to play guitar, continue to work, make things, or walk miles and pick up street trash to clean up the neighborhood. They’re happy and talk to people all along the way.” His eyes twinkling, he pointed to his heart as he spoke. “I like being around those people. They have so much knowledge and experience to share.”

I couldn’t help smiling at this young man’s passionate words. He must do a lot of deep thinking while his youngsters play on the monkey bars and swings. He’s enjoying his time with them now, but he’s already valuing the solitude that’s yet to come.

I thought about what he said. Part of me believes he can’t understand these older people’s plight. Still, he makes a good point. If you’re alone, do you value your solitude? Do you use time, and your freedom, wisely?

Parents cut off by adult children: The challenge

I know it’s difficult. It takes effort to reclaim confidence and adjust to a new future. But it is possible, even alone, to change, to grow, and to embrace a new way of life that’s healthy and good.

My book includes tools to help parents cut off by adult children see their feelings and in a new light. You can build on confidence from previous hardships you’ve overcome. You can recognize and give yourself credit for any ways you’ve grown since the estrangement began. It’s okay to admit any positives. There’s no need for guilt.

All alone? Not really.

Feeling lonely may be more miserable in a society that’s so connected. But when it comes to estrangement, you’re really not alone at all. If you’re looking for support and camaraderie from people who understand, “like” my facebook page for estranged parents, or join the conversation in “comments” that follow nearly every post here.  And sign up for my newsletter (the sign up form is on the right, near the top of the page.

You’re not alone among the thousands of other parents cut off by adult children. Mothers and fathers who have been estranged for years share their experiences to help others heal. In the safe company of others who understand, parents of estranged adult children may begin to feel more confident again. And in time, feel more social, and willing to risk getting out among friends and making new ones.

Be your own Valentine?cut off by adult children

Love comes in many forms. Let’s broaden Valentine’s Day to include love of neighbor and kindness to self. Take a moment to smile. You might make someone else’s day. And if you do that for another, you’ll be doing it for yourself.

Related articles:

Reinvent Yourself

Spreading Happiness

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48 thoughts on “Cut off by adult children and lonely

  1. Pvil

    My eldest daughter is 36 years old today. I miss her everyday. We’re been estranged since my Mom passed away (also born today, and died on the 13th of Feb). Tomorrow will be 15 years since she’s been gone. My daughter went to live with her father (who told me he was gay when I was 8 mths pregnant). I know I was dealing with so much when my previous baby was born, but I tried so hard to support us. She spent a lot of time with my Mom while I worked. I never imagined I would lose her like this. She did invite me to her wedding and that was the last time I saw her (2008). She has two children a son 8 years old, and a daughter whom turned 6 years old today. Neither of which I have met. The wedding was very uncomfortable and I learned it was not just me she pushed away, but her paternal grandmother too. I felt so bad, I can’t seem to get passed this emotional emptiness. So much grief to deal with every Valentines…. My youngest daughter is getting married. I’m very happy and she’s made me so proud. But why after all this time, I still feel this way? I’ve been in bed all day today, praying she will answer my text… and knowing she won’t.

  2. Patty

    I have been estranged from my only child, a 41 year old daughter for 4 years now. I have 4 grandchildren who she has compromised my relationship with. The older two have been on their own for 2 of those 4 years and I have only seen a couple them of times in the past 2 years…very strained. I have just broken off with a 23 year relationship after discovering he is a sociopath/narcissist and after reading about what that is and talking to a few friends and ex husband of my daughter, all have said she is one as well and I need to move on as she will never change. The 2 people I love in my life are the same is so painful and lonely and unbearable. I have no other family.

    1. T

      I have the same situation. My ex fiance was a narcissist and after he left me then my daughter cut me off and gave my grandson to his dad. I raised my grandson and helped her always. She got a new boyfriend who didnt like our family and she cut us off. That was 2013. I miss her and my grandson each day. I have 2 other adult children and another grandson. The dad will not work with us to resolve. He doesnt know how painful this is to lose her and my grandson. He lost his dad a longtime ago but is not empathetic nor does he think we are important in that childs life. My daughter just walked away. She was into drugs before. She went to rehab but then just turned on all of us

    2. alan e

      I understand your pain only too well. My only child, a 19 year old daughter, has cut me out of her life. I still send her text messages, valentines, and birthday cards. Still nothing. I’m nearing 60 and she is all I have. I try to not give up hope and it’s a struggle.

    3. carly

      patty I am so sorry for your suffering are going through what I have gone through….my son is 26 and is a narrsisist at best…..very very self centered…I keep thinking maybe it is his age..but then I blame myself for making him the center of my life for so long….I spoiled him…and filled his head with how amazing he is etc etc…and now he realizes he just doesn’t need me anymore….I am heart broken….as I can tell you are too.. I have no other family …I am all alone in this world…not even a single friend….I gave up my life for my son but now he wants me out of his life……oh God it is too much to bear

  3. GrandmaT

    Praying for all the parents to find some peace and move on with their lives. If God is allowing this in my life and I totally trust in Him, then, I have come to the conclusion that He is using the situation for His good and not to harm me, and I accept the situation. The children are His and He loves them like I do, but I cannot dwell on the hurt and pain! I must get on with what the Lord needs for me to do to advance His kingdom here on earth. I have many friends and family that “have my back” and love me and just made plans with a good friend to go out for Valentine’s Day tomorrow. I find JOY in the Lord each day. LIFE IS GOOD! I pray for the kids and grandkids each day and love them a lot, but you cannot MAKE someone LOVE YOU BACK!

    1. david s.

      Daughter 29 and son 31 coming by Feb 22 to say goodbye to wife and I. They are angry with us.
      Praying God’s will be done. Dave

    2. Pamela D.

      Thank you for your comment. I struggle every day trying to deal with the estrangement of my 23 year old daugther. Your words touched me and are so true.

      Thank you!

    3. Sibel

      Exactly ..agree with you .. If this is what God wants for us then all we have to do is to accept it and carry on .. It is extremely painful I know it unfortunately and have asked Millions of unanswered questions about it but yet no answers … She will be leaving the house in September for her masters in Europe and I strongly feel that I will be one of those suffering parents . God give me strength and power to carry on

  4. Laura

    Pvil, Your post made me cry. I too have days that I wait all day for my daughter to respond to my latest message to her and yet I know she won’t. I have had people say, “You need to get past this and just forget about her”. For me, I will never get over this and I will never past it. How do you forget about your own child no matter how badly they treat us or reject us? God Bless You Pvil. I just know I will have good days and bad days and that is ok. It’s ok to miss your daughter and long for a relationship. Only someone in the same situation will understand this. We also have grandchildren we long to have relationships with and aren’t allowed to. Another pain that is never understood by people that aren’t in our situations. I hope you will enjoy your youngest daughter’s wedding. It will be hard not to think of your other daughter but be sure not to miss the joy of your youngest daughter. My two sons often have to say to me, “Mom, we are still here and we love you”. Be sure to take a picture at the wedding of you and your youngest daughter so you can look at it and know she loves you. Warm Regards, Another Mom in Pain

  5. Dawn

    I can daughter has been very abusive to me for many years..she constantly threatens my relationship with my Grandson and fights with me and my whole family. I am done..I can’t take anymore. I always forgave her in the past and now for the sake of my Grandson…but I am at the end of my rope. Yes, I cannot ever forget her -and I will always love her. Yet it is time to stop this and get my life back- there is no reason for ANY Mother to put up with abuse! I only pray she does not use my Grandson as a pawn..God bless you all-it is so terribly painful.

    1. DeeDee

      I agree with you 100%. I have been abused since the day my daughter got married, last September. Literally starting the day before. She went from my sweet angel into a devil in no time. Like two personalities. She even bad mouthed her grandmother who she had been very close with. And hates her sister with a passion. She totally forgot about her two nephews who love her so much and is still asking when is auntsie having the baby. Which she did already. I never saw anything like this. Her husband’s family also is in on it.
      There is nothing I can do any longer. I have my other daughter and grandchildren who love and respect me. That’s all I need. The estranged daughter only has his family, which leaves a lot to be desires believe me.

    2. Kacy

      I am going through the same thing. I am so sad, and I raised my 2 daughters by myself from age 22. Both my daughters are educated with Masters degrees and are both married. The problem is my younger daughter moved very far from me, so I don’t get to see her often and the other daughter is my heartbreak. We don’t get along and I try, but it doesn’t work. She married a holiday lover and I don’t believe they are happy, but I supported her through their relationship until he was in Canada. I believe he is very controlling, and you know already I haven’t lived with anyone to control me, so I can see control approaching before it happens. I miss my daughter and my grandson, I don’t understand for the life of me why we cannot get along, it’s so difficult.

  6. Maureen S.

    I hurt so much … every day!

    I never could believe that this wonderful
    little boy… does not even pick the phone
    to say…”Hello!”

    1. Laura W.

      Hi Maureen S.

      What you wrote says it all. I feel the same way……Every Day! Keep breathing. Keep getting out of bed and keep moving. That’s all we can do. I’ll breathe with you, I’ll get out my bed too and I’ll keep moving with you. I’m still waiting for my call too and can’t believe my daughter won’t call me even after private messages I’ve sent her on facebook. She even got another phone and hasn’t given me her new number.
      God Bless You!

    2. Pamela D.

      I am so sorry for your pain. I never would have thought my beautiful dauther, that we had a wonderful relationship, would regect me when she turned 20. Three years later I am still heartbroken and, I think more so now because I’m realizing there may never be a reconciliation. The hardest thing for me is to stop texting her because it is too hard to be rejected, over and over.

      She loves her nursing job, is engaged to be married and is aparently very happy. If not having me in her life, makes her happy then I have to accept that. I have a 21 year old son who is good to me, contacts me and tells me he loves me. I can not and will not, let her destroy me or interfer with my relationship with him.

      I will pray for God to ease your pain.

  7. SunflowersDay

    Thank you so much Sheri! As always your words and also the use of the photos give me strength and insight. I am on my way to the sunshine and enjoying my life day by day.


  8. Annie

    So lovely to read Sheri! Thank you for all you do. Working toward that new normal can be oh so bumpy but it’s so well worth it for all of our well being.
    So many post lately in getting through the holidays. You’ve provided us with this precious site of a life line. Many hugs to all on their journeys here. And the biggest hug to you! Annie

  9. Duanna U.

    Dear fellow estranged parents,

    My 32 yr old son has been estranged for 4 yrs from us. my husband is his step dad and really raised him. It was very painful at first but my husband always said to me “at least he is not dead”. Last May 15th we received a shocking phone call from my husband’s ex wife in NJ , telling us that their daughter, my step daughter, XX, had been murdered by an ex boyfriend in her home. XX was also 32 and we had been closer to XX than my son in these last 4 years–nice to have one child in our life!

    It has been a sobering and life changing event for us–I just bless my son and bless XX as an angel in heaven and have vowed to enjoy my wonderful life–living an attitude of gratitude. I am grateful for my husband, my music and my animals and even for my 93 year old MIL (she does have her moments!) I bless our garden and pool and our home, I am a very blessed woman and I thank God every day for what I have!!!!! My husband and I did our very best and gave him everything–more so than his dead beat dad. I am just getting on with my life! I don’t want any negative or complaining people in my life. Life is toooo short–embrace it and really live it! Do your best and that is really all anyone could ask of you and embrace happiness!!!! You have a choice–choose to live a happy wonderful life!!!!!

  10. Vicki

    I am so happy to have found this site. I have a daughter who is disabled, married a guy addicted to gambling and she divorced him and lost everything she had including the house. I have been supporting, her for over 15 years and have spent thousands of dollars helping her with medical bills, renting cars and other things. Last year I helped her start her own business to support herself and she is finally on her feet again. After all of this ,she has now reconciled with him and completely ignores me. He never received any treatment or mental health counseling for his gambling. She will text me now and then when she needs something, but other than that never calls to see how I am doing. I have had to let go and it is hard, but this site has been so helpful to me seeing that others are going through the same thing. So happy to have joined this group!

    1. sally b.

      I felt like I was blind sided, sucker punched…after years of support, heavy financial support included, sharing trips, helping with all kinds of things, at 37 yeas of age, bingo the door slammed in my face…when she married and found her new mother (the mother in law) but they let me have a close, loving relationship with my only grandchild for 7 years and now they have killed Grandma. And the adult child refuses to talk, to answer emails, to respond at all. Offers to pay for family therapy are ignored. So depressing. my house and yard are full of my beloved granddaughter’s toys, playhouse, etc. When they first cut me off, I was paralyzed, couldnt bear to go into her room or my own yard…cried when I saw women enjoying their own grandchildlren in public places….yes I have done soul searching, I have apologized, grovelled, begged. all ignored. how can anyone be so hateful and mean to the her own 72 year old mother? and they are hurting this sensitive darling intelligent grandchild by cutting out her beloved grandma from her life.

  11. dak

    I’m not perfect but I’ve done nothing to deserve the kind of treatment my daughter has dished out to me. “Thy will be done.” I need to learn to accept that this is God’s will and thank him for my other child that I still have in my life. I can’t make my daughter love me and I need to let go. It’s been two years and hopefully I will let go soon. Getting emotionally kicked in the teeth over and over from a child I would sacrifice my life for is getting old.
    You are right and an inspiration. I pray some day I can live as you are now and be happy that my daughter is living the life she wants even if she doesn’t want me in it.

    1. Pamela D.

      I too, need to learn to accept that my daughter does not want me in her life. And, be thankful for my son that does! I wasn’t a perfect Mom but, I did my best and we had a wonderful relationship….until her father wanted me out of his life and she got serious with her boyfriend ( now fiance).

      It’s been 3 years and I sent my last text to her, telling her I was always here if she wanted to chat. That I didn’t want to dwell on the past, only go forward. I’m exhausted waiting for her to reply but, it never comes. I can’t make her love me and, if she is happy with me out of her life then so be it.

      I pray that God will give me the strength to move forward, enjoy my life and have fun with my son.

  12. Gloria

    To all the estranged parents that are grieving..
    I came to the conclusion that it is not about us.We did not choose to stay away.Our children will have to figure out their lives and accept the choices they make. As parents, we will always love them unconditionally.I still have a great relationship with my parents ,and I am so thankful for that.There is always going to be someone out there who will appreciate you for who you are, so it is time that you focus on your well being. I have not seen or heard from my son for almost 5 yrs,so I decided to let it be .I took a picture of him and keep it in a box on my dresser , and everyday I asked God to keep him safe.In the meantime I try to enjoy the people around me that cares.The pain will never go away, but we have to forgive ourselves and others in order to heal.

  13. Gstar

    To all the estranged parents that are grieving..
    I came to the conclusion that it is not about us.We did not choose to stay away.Our children will have to figure out their lives and accept the choices they make. As parents, we will always love them unconditionally.I still have a great relationship with my parents ,and I am so thankful for that.There is always going to be someone out there who will appreciate you for who you are, so it is time that you focus on your well being. I have not seen or heard from my son for almost 5 yrs,so I decided to let it be .I took a picture of him and keep it in a box on my dresser , and everyday I asked God to keep him safe.In the meantime I try to enjoy the people around me that cares.The pain will never go away, but we have to forgive ourselves and others in order to heal.

  14. Norm

    It is lonely but good to know my estrangement isn’t so rare. Thank you. I ordered the book and started reading it mornings. I am feeling more human again. As a grown man, being reduced to tears was not an ego boost to put it mildly. I’m learning that making my life better makes me stronger ultimately, and if my kids do ever want to connect, I’ll have more to offer as well as more confidence to negotiate fair terms. It’s the art of the deal as our president might say.

  15. Gene

    I have a question for anyone who might be reading this…maybe someone out there has been through a similar experience and can give me an answer….
    My wife and I have been happily married for 32 years. We are best friends. Both of us came from close knit family-oriented families with traditional values. (My parents were married for 52 years and my in-laws have now been married for 55 years.) My parents are gone now but being an only child I was very close to them. My wife is the “baby” of her family and is very close to her brothers and her parents.
    My wife and I have two sons. The elder is married and we get along well with his wife. Although he lives in another city he calls/texts us a few times a week, and visits us once (or sometimes twice) a month on the weekend if possible. The younger son (age 28) is the issue. He married a woman with “anxiety issues” (I believe her to be Bipolar) who took an instant dislike to everyone in my son’s family. As the months wore on after their marriage communication between them (and everyone else) became less and less and finally ceased altogether. He has had no contact whatsoever with us (his parents) his brother, his grandparents, cousins, or to my knowledge any former friends or co-workers for the past 16 months. He did not attend the funerals of his elderly gr-grandfather (my grandpa) or his grandmother (my mother) who desperately wanted to reconcile with him and went to her grave with a broken heart. Did I mention that they were/are estranged from most of daughter-in-law’s family too?
    Younger son and daughter-in-law have two children…a daughter now two years old and a newborn son that I have not seen and only heard about his birth through the grapevine. It hurts.
    Younger son was not raised this way. He had a normal childhood, high school experience and college years. (all paid for by us) Shortly after his marriage he began to drift away until we are now totally estranged. Everyone who knows of our situation is in agreement that daughter-in-law is the instigator here. But why he plays along is a mystery.

    Knowing all of the above here is my question: Why does he allow her to rule his life to such a degree?? Friends I have shared this story with suggest to me that it’s very likely she has threatened the children if he ever contacts us. Others have said that he may be afraid that she will divorce him if he doesn’t do exactly what she wants/says…such as reestablish contact with his family…and that he would lose his children if he did. I think it’s more than that. There’s not a doubt in my mind that he’s been brainwashed to some degree possibly through a disreputable therapist. Any advice or insight from others on this forum would be appreciated. It’s hard…I’m hurting myself but still have to be the emotional “rock” that others depend upon.

    1. rparents Post author

      Hi Gene,
      It could be a lot of things. Maybe a mental illness on her part, and perhaps she did threaten to take the children, etc. I know how emotionally trying (and tiring!) it is to attempt to understand and make sense of something that makes no logical sense. The question, Why?, is one of the most difficult things to get past. There is a whole chapter devoted to the Why? question in my book for this reason, and covers scenarios that you may relate to, as well as answers. For most of the thousands of parents who have shared with me, settling on an answer that makes at least some sense (or a combination of answers) helps them get on with the rest of the work of recovering from the emotional distress of an adult son’s estrangement (or adult daughter’s estrangement). You are also not the first parent to mention the possibility of a therapist being involved in an estrangement. To be fair, a counselor only knows what they are being told. But there are definitely some schools of thought out there about cutting off parents being a viable (or even desirable) choice for some adult children.

      I’m sorry for the loss of your parents. Please take care. It’s tough to be the emotional rock of the family. You’re wise to ask for some feedback and support. Although I started this site, did the research and wrote the book, there are a great many others who will likely reply to you and offer their support.

      I wish you the best.

      Sheri McGregor

    2. Kim W

      Gene your story sounds very similar to ours i have been happily married to my husband 30 years this june we have one son who was an amazing son to have raised very respectful loving and kind honor roll all thru high school and college never been in any trouble he got cancer seven years ago we went thru him with that w surgerys anf months of chemo he has been cancer free for seven years this april in 2012 he met and started dating a girl in college and married her in 2015 thats when everything came to light as soon as she got that ring it was goodbye to your parents she told lies about me shes told lies to alot of people in his family we have been tossed aside and they had a daughter this past fall who we have never even seen its so hurtful i feel like she has brainwashed him into believing we the parents are the bad ones i would love to know the truth about everything while my wounds are fairly fresh 9 months with no communication from him with everything i have been reading some estranged 15 years or more i have had to come to the sad conclusion we may never get answers this has been the hardest thing i have had to endure in my life im also realizimg i have to go on and try and find some sort of normalcy to all this seeing we are mot alone helps i hope we someday can get some andwers we are seeking prayers for you and your family.

    3. sally b.

      yes disreputable therapists are out there in force. I am a retired professional completely straight personal life (boring in fact) and some therapist told my 45 year old daughter and son in law that I should not be allowed to be alone with the grandchild I had watched, without issue, for 7 years. A wonderful, loving, trusting, healthy relationship between grandmother and grandchild has been destroyed by a person who has never met me, never interviewed me, never tested me. The basis of this? the parents feel threatened because the child told them how much she loved me. The child told me, grandma, they are jealous of you. They are not experienced enough to understand that the parent-child bond is hte strongest one. Did they ever discuss any issues with me? of course not. I was notified by email that I could not see my beloved granddaughter and the joy of my life, alone ever again…….all apologies, all attempts to offer family therapy have not been responded to.

  16. Carol

    I have 4 adult children age 20-29; and 2 grandsons age 6 and 4 months. My husband and I gave up our home and were going to rent from our 23 yr old daughter. She wanted to “help” us financially because our mortgage was too high. She bought a 2 family house Aug 2015 and within 2 weeks, she behaved so badly I backed out of the whole situation. She took me for about $1000. She has not spoken to my husband/her father since. I have tried to be peacemaker but grew tired. We started to have a lot of problems stg last October with our 20 yr old son. Instead of our 2 oldest daughters, who both have their own homes, becoming sympathetic and supportive during this very difficult time especially during the holidays, they used the information against us. My son ended up in the psychiatric ward on Christmas Day. He was hospitalized for a week. So now the 23 yr old daughter has turned the 29 yr old daughter against us and I haven’t seen my grandchildren since nov 20. My 23 yr old texted me 22 text messages on everything awful she could remember of her childhood. I was a bigger victim of their father than they were. My husband and I got through this very dark period, and have been married 24 yrs; but she decided to throw all this in my face now. I find it so horribly unfair. I haven’t responded to either one of them so now the family is even more split. By reading articles like this, I am finally learning how to live with this. I did everything I could do for my kids always.

  17. forgetmenot1948

    Hi Gene,
    Welcome here. You sound like a very nice man, husband, and father. Unfortunately we can all relate to your pain. I have come to realize this has very little, if anything, to do with us as parents. I do think the significant others have a lot to do with the behavior. To be discarded, disrespected,
    and ignored does not feel good. It’s abusive and not justified period. I’m sure you invested a lot of love, time and encouragement with your son. Just the fact he’s cut himself off to other family members including her family appears to
    indicate something beyond your control. They say you don’t hear from people when they are unhappy or experiencing issues or problems. As Sheri mentioned; her book gives great insight as to the possible/probable causes. We’re all here for you. Hugs to you and your family. Annie

    1. sally b.

      can someone please explain how a spouse can manage to completely brainwash an adult chlid and turn her against her family after 37 years of close relationship? how does this happen. this woman was an independent, world traveller, feminist. Now she is submissive, doesnt talk when he does, and has allowed him to influence her to cut off her mother and her child’s only grandmother in the state.

  18. Cynthia

    I am the mom of four children. I was married for 25 years to a military man which meant for the most part I was the one who ran the house and raised the kids. I was the responsible on. Everything was perfect but as a mom and wife I cooked and cleaned, went to school meeting, made sure the kids and I got to church, I didn’t drink, have affairs, or do drugs.
    At one point I came to realize my husband was having, many, affairs. I didn’t tell the children but knowing without and education I would not be able to support my family and leave. I went to school. Nursing and then getting a masters in clinical social work. That is when things fell apart. My lone daughter became addicted to pain med, son was dealing pot and oldest daughter got married and cut me off. Then because of oldest daughter this one cut me off saying the happiest day of her life would be when I was dead. My son completely cut me off this summer. I had loaned and gave him money in my sad attempt to show him how much I loved him and to make up to him for what ever he thought I had done. My oldest daughter began a relationship again a few years ago. She talked me into moving closer, and retiring from my job. I wanted my own place but was talked not redoing their basement into an apartment, which I did to the tune of over five thousand dollars. Within two weeks she kicked me out saying I was a recluse. My experience was that any time I tried to join in I was shunned. Things seemed to get much worse after she had a vacation with her step father, who raised here, my ex. There is so much more but now I am cut off again, no job which afforded me a very good living sold my farm in Tn that I loved and now have bought this house where I don’t know any one and no way to make friends. I know I ckd go to church but am so depressed and embarrassed I choose not to go out. My health is going down quickly. Who would have ever thought this would happen?? It truly is hell on earth. I am totally alone. Keeping up a happy face is becoming overwhelming.

    1. sally b.

      like you, I spent thousands on the snake in the grass…they use us, then kick us in the teeth.
      she told the therapist that I had “smothered” her. I said, can I get a refund? I could sure use a new car….yes we are fools. Whereas her father who was and remains selfish (we are divorced) is riding around the country in a brand new travel van….why were we taught that giving ourselves was the way to go? when you give birth, they should include a certificate that says: “There is no guarantee that this child will express any gratitude after a lifetime of love, money, support.
      In fact, expect the opposite. ” Too bad you arent told before you get pregnant.

  19. Annie

    So sorry you are going through this. It can be devastating; that’s for sure. Parental alienation is so hard to deal with. I see it in my husband’s practice every day. It’s difficult to put on that ‘happy face’ as you mentioned and try to move forward. Shame on him for what he’s doing; but he has to live with it.
    Meanwhile try to do what you can for yourself. Many of us have gone to great lengths to try to salvage the relationship but to our dismay we end up slighting ourselves.
    Hugs to you in your journey. You will find great support here to help you put things in the proper perspective.
    I wish you good thoughts and you’re right when you say it is hell, on earth. Do not sell your soul.
    You are worthy. Hugs, Annie

  20. carly

    cynthia I too used to live in TN ….my son was a wonderful son …and after my 20 year marriage to his dad ended he promised to always take care of me since I am physically disabled….now fighting cancer and so much more… ex had promised to let me keep the house “FARM” until my son finished college..but after my ex met a new woman he decided he did not want to pay for the TN home anymore…so he put it into forclosure..but we ended up selling it before that happened….we ended up with NO MONEY from it and my son and I were homeless and then living in university housing..I went back to college and tried the best I could but my health was very very bad……after my son got his bachelors degree he says he is inlove with this girl….who I had only met once and I thought she was a horrible person…..anyway we were moving out of state for his GRADUATE School…to Northeast…..we got there and he and this girl kept up talking online texting etc for a year then he decided he wants to leave his graduate program and go to a state closer to her…so we had to move again…so now he was only a few hours away from her and things just kept getting worse ….they got engaged…and this girl was so vile and cruel…no matter how kind I was to her…which was super super kind….she would reply with FQQQ you …etc….she was wicked…and I KNOW for a FACT she has completely brainwashed him…..she said she was fine with him having me in his life …but as soon as they got married…boom the fireworks started….she swore at me all the time…now remember I am disabled…very very sick with cancer…and she is abusing the crap out of me every day …… son bought a house and they fixed up the basement and live like pigs in the basement…she has rats as pets and they smell so bad….my son is constantly sick now from it….but she won’t get rid of them…I have not spoken to her in 2 years…I keep giving her birthday cards and christmas presents but she never gives me anything…and she never thanks me for anything…..anyway…..the last straw was when I was have a health crisis and was literally dying and my son just stood there and starred at me and refused to take me to the hospital or go to the hospital with me….I realized right then that HE does not love me at all…..I will never forgive him for allowing that abusive girl into our lives and for choosing to go on vacation with her while I lay dying…..if I had it to do over I would never ever have had a child….they break your heart

  21. jennifer

    this is a good site. I read most of the entries and i am in tears. I am going through the same thing for 8 years now with my oldest son. Also not invited to his wedding. Thing is he and his brother now sort of speaks but both my sons havent seen or spoken to their sister also for 8 years Reason? I left my husband 8 years ago was a terrible divorce. Me and my ex today are good friends due to this as the kids also havent spoken or seen him for 8 years now . My youngest son and my daughter and I am fine. I have to visit them seperately though as they dont talk to each other still. I do not know what to do anymore. The other day my oldest son out of the blue started to text me but text like Hi and a picture of his plants and then nothing again for weeks. Its so tearing me apart. I did nothing I know I was a good mother as they all are well educated and Ive always been there for them. I can understand my daugher not wanting to talk to them yet as my sons did not do good by me and her during the divorce. Somehow she cannot get over this. But I so miss my oldest son. I do not understand why he did it. He phoned me a week ago our first phone call in 8 years crying saying he is afraid if I die he never fixed this but he is sorry for what he did but he still not ready to reconcile. I do not know how to handle this. Because in my mind I feel if he is indeed sorry, then WHY DOESNT HE COME TO ME SO WE CAN TALK

  22. Beaner

    When my two adult sons stopped speaking to me because of their partners,I was hurt at first,then I decided,hey,let their significant others take care of them emotionally and financially now.
    I’ve become immune to their antics,I spend all my time and money on myself and my dogs,I travel,do spa days…. I only concern myself with the wonderful people I have in my life today.
    I learned to love and put myself first,maybe they did me a favor.

    1. Heather

      My son has been gone almost a month. He’s 18, going away to college in 3 weeks. I’m so sad. My heart hurts. I know I have to reach him in these next 3 weeks

  23. Jen

    I have a 17-year-old daughter lives in another state with her father and super stepmom. What started as a simple text fight two months ago turned in to complete estrangement. My only connection to my daughter is through stepmom who seems to play both of us. She is more than happy to share with me that my daughter does not want to talk to me and apparently has resentment against me for the last seven years. We have only been living in separate states for three years due to financial reasons and I did everything for her and with her. After my divorce when she was eight, we went through a couple of hard years after my dad‘s death and my resulting post Trumatic stress. However I have always worked to put her first and have a close relationship with her. I am still in the initial shock stage and literally cannot believe this is happening. I would have bet my life on million times over that she would never have done this to me. I have been reaching out but she has blocked me from every single form of social media, she has some back my cell phone that I have been paying for and does not return any of my voicemails to their home line or emails to her email address. I have been rejected over and over and over and over. I feel suicidal but I keep hanging on moment by moment hoping that this will pass because she is going through a lot of pressure while she is in rolled in both high school and college and preparing for nursing school. I am devastated and can barely function. I have no friends that I hang out with and I am not dating. I live with my mom and she sees what I’m going through but makes it very clear that after my dad’s suicide, she would kill herself if I committed suicide despite the fact that she is now remarried and I have a twin brother. I don’t know what to do. I keep turning to super stepmom because she is my only link to my daughter but even she cannot get through to her and there is a big part of me that knows that she’s not trying very hard. She made it clear that she is allowing her to make her own decisions and I feel that she is still a minor and if she is suffering from such Severe issues to the point where she would literally abandon me knowing that it is killing me that maybe she needs professional help to address the issues. But no. Their focus is all about her school and work and that this is her decision. I guess it is but I feel that with some direction or intervention maybe things could maybe be different. It’s been almost 2 months now and it feels like an eternity. I don’t know how much longer I can tolerate this agony. The loss is staggering and it feels like a death. I really don’t want to hurt my mom I taking my own life and I don’t want to miss out on the day that my daughter Mike contact me to reestablish a relationship but I’m losing hope. I’ve been neglected and rejected over and over and I’m getting to the point where I know I need to stop trying because it is pointless. I am so glad I found this site because I see that I am not alone but I’m afraid that it’s not enough. I’ve been through so much in my life and I know I’m not the only one and there are so many people that have had it worse but I just don’t know if I can live this life this way. I am heartbroken and I am in shock and disbelief. Agony would be an understatement. There are no words. I am lost.

  24. Vic

    Thank you all for sharing your problems! I am in the same situation. I sacrificed so much for both my children, staying with their abusive father. I decided to divorce him after 21 years and they stayed with him. They are 20 and 18 years old and they want nothing to do with me. I have felt suicidal, but thanks to my new husband and work I am still alive. I pray for the day they come back to me.

  25. Rocco

    I was married to a Narcists for over 27 years. I have been divorced since Nov, 2014, We had 2 adult children, currently my son is 24 my daughter is 22. After the house was sold in 2015, we both live in the same condo development. My kids live with their mother and live less than a two minute drive from my condo. The marriage was not a good one to say the least.

    Ex wife has gossiped against me and my family for many years, even while I was married though I never knew it. Unfortunately, my kids, esp. my daughter, believes all her lies. Once again, I have nothing to look forward to regarding the holidays. I hate the Christmas season and holidays where I a always alone. Every Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, New Year’s Day and Easter my kids spend it with my ex-wife and their family. I would only get them on Christmas Eve which is rushed as people work and I have them for 3 hrs at most. Then one year in 2008, my ex-wife said her mom had a great idea that the family should spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with her and that family. Why? because it takes too many hours to open Christmas Presents (3 plus hours on Christmas Day). That is because my ex MIL has to tell a story of the many gifts she buys for each person, even a story buying a can of Cashews for her Father. She reason that on Christmas Eve, only gifts for the grandkids would be opened.

    I was shocked since each Christmas Eve my Italian family would spend it with my family, parents, siblings and their kids. My ex and her mother treated the scenario as if my parents were already dead. Both of my parents are now gone losing my mom in 2017 and dad in 2018. So that year my parents did not see my family. The following year I would not allow it and my ex and my daughter got into a terrible argument.

    My daughter graduated college this past May and is not working. Last year, my son said it was fair to spend Thanksgiving with his mother because they year before, he spent it with me. So this year I thought I would have them for Thanksgiving. Now that is gone. Daughter told me that the ex-wife and her family are doing a Secret Santa. One again, that family sabotages so I cannot have my kids spend any holidays with me. They are all selfish people. My daughter says its just a holiday and does not want to hear me saying that I am tired of being lonely on the holidays to make her feel guilty.

    I am 64 years old and I will always be alone. My siblings see their in-laws on Christmas Day so I will be alone again and for the rest of my life. Its too painful. My ex wife would even sabotage Father’s Day. When I wanted my kids to come to my home around Noon, they would say OK. But when Father’s Day comes along, I get a text saying they forgot but they have to spend it with my ex-wife’s grandfather and father. So they have to travel an hour away. By the time they show up to meet with me, they are tired and I see them for only 2 hours. Thankfully, both of these men are now dead. However, my ex will do something to have me screwed again.

    Please help me.

  26. Nicole C.

    This is my first time reaching out to a chat group, but im desprate and out of energy. Ive spent the last 8 years trying to convince my 2 children i deserve them in my life. Ive been rejected, ignored,and completly shut out. Ive been a good mother although my divorce and this estrangement has changed me. After 16 years my ex abutly ended our marrage and its as if i never existed. Slowly my children followed and no matter what i do or say or dont, my 2 children no longer want me nor do they care anything about me. Its left me with no reason to get up in the morning and no matter how i redirect i have this pain in my chest that will not go away. In fact its getting worse. I have no joy left in my life and no ambition to go on at all. Ive tried counseling, drinking, working excessively….ive said all there is to say to them by now and still my heart breaks everyday mutiple times a day. Im alone completly because everyone i knew and loved left me with no problem. Its stollen my soul and my happieness. Idk what to do anymore…


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