Estranged? Enjoy the holidays anyway

estrangement holidaysBy Sheri McGregor, M.A.

Estrangement from adult children has a way of dulling parents’ anticipation of holidays. I’ve already started receiving emails filled with dread. Some parents wonder what they’ll say to family members who ask about their estranged adult child. Many worry how they’ll stay cheerful amidst the family-centric hoopla that reminds them of their loss. Some simply miss their son or daughter and the fun holidays they used to share.

Rather than sit back in dread, be proactive. Here are some ideas to take charge of your thinking and take action for your own well-being.

Control your diet: I’m not talking about food

I’m referring to the steady stream of media that puts holidays front and center as early as pre-estrangement holidaysHalloween. The shopping channels are already airing holiday items. Catalogs are beginning to clog the mail. Food magazines are starting to feature favorites. Reminders are everywhere, but you can choose what you watch, listen to, or read.

Maybe it’s time to donate those brand new issues of food magazines you subscribe to. Rather than open the issues filled with holiday fare, give them away unopened. A young mother with a family on a tight budget might be thrilled to receive those magazines. You’d be doing her and yourself a favor. Don’t know someone in particular? Leave them at a library, offer them to a friend or ask if they know someone who could use them. Drop new magazines at a thrift store, add the issues to one of those mini neighborhood book borrowing stations or into the recycle bin.

Holiday catalogs can trigger all sorts of emotions for estranged grandparents. Why torture yourself by paging through the bright pictures, wondering if the grandchild you no longer get to see still has a mind for science, does gymnastics, or likes to read? Recycle or give them away. If it makes you feel better, leaf through and buy a toy or two for donation purposes. Toy drives abound, and there are needy parents and children who would be grateful for a benefactor.

TV can be an annoying reminder of all we’re not enjoying. Turn it off or turn the channel. As the holiday season accelerates, topic programming and commercials can inundate. Maybe it’s time for a TV diet. People who swear off TV for a set time period report positive effects. More sleep, more time to pursue meaningful activities and relationships, and less mindless eating. Turning off the television could lengthen your life, too. A recent study found that every hour of TV watched reduced lifespan by 22 minutes!

Estrangement? Plan ahead for good holidays

estrangement holidaysHoliday foods, gift items, and décor arrive on store shelves early. For hurting parents whose adult children are estranged, the displays can make a simple trip to the grocer an emotional minefield. While going into hermit mode might not be wise, it’s possible to plan ahead for quicker trips and minimal exposure. Stock up on items you need regularly. When the holidays hit full swing, you’ll be prepared to avoid the shops.

Plan your activities too. Without a plan, the holidays become something to endure for parents who are feeling sensitive because an adult child is estranged. Most of us know that Aunt Betty will invite us as usual or that everyone expects to come to our house for the holiday. Consider now how you feel about these expectations. And know this: it’s okay to make a change. Sit down and make some plans now for what you really want to do this year. Maybe you do smaller dinners with individual family members, or maybe you go camping and avoid the holidays entirely. By planning ahead, you can be kind and let other people know that this year will be different. Change can be good!

Plan what you’ll say, too. When someone chirps, “Only one hundred days till Christmas,” counter with your own quip: “Only 101 till it’s over!” If you’re worried about Aunt Sally or Cousin Sue asking about your estranged adult child, plan your response ahead. (For help, see Chapter Four in Done With The Crying.)

Estrangement? Feed yourself

While controlling what comes in and triggers bad feelings is wise, it’s also important to feed your spirit. This may mean concentrating on the spiritual side of the holidays. Maybe you’ll watch the 2013 The Bible miniseries on Netflix over several evenings (no commercials!), enjoy holiday performances in your community (or find them on YouTube), or attend a choir performance. Some people travel to natural spaces for the holidays, finding the less busy winter months perfect for solitude and peace of mind. To feed your spirit, think of anything that makes you feel good. Is it gardening? Then find a way to do that over the holidays. Is iestrangement holidayst sewing? Make new curtains or homemade gifts. Is there a hobby or vocation you once enjoyed but haven’t participated in for years? The holiday season can be a slow time for independent instructors who might appreciate a new student. Return to something you’ve missed or learn something you’ve never attempted. Take horseback riding or tennis lessons, brush up on guitar, have a go at ice skating, or enjoy Tai Chi or Qui Gong.

Try something different this year—I dare you!

Join the newsletter

Pine 300x225

Subscribe to get our latest content by email.

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

54 thoughts on “Estranged? Enjoy the holidays anyway

  1. Ann

    Both my children say they’re done with me, but continue to send emails/texts with abusive messages. It’s like a scab being picked at.

    1. mastik8

      Call their bluff by asking why, if they are done with you, you keep hearing from them. Abusive messages are the insult added to the injury.

    2. movingongranny

      I just went thru this. I went in and deleted their phone number and when I see anything I immediately delete the message without reading. It was hard, but I was tired of reading the “blame” game.

    3. Andrea

      Mine, sadly, did the same, via texts. I blocked his number but beforehand told him I no longer wanted the abuse. It’s a HARD thing to do, but I had to remind myself of who I was and what I was willing to take. It felt pretty good taking a stance and not allowing it any longer. I’d give my life for him but will not take that any longer.

    4. Jo

      Block them: you should not have to endure such hurtful words. Set boundaries. Block them both and then send a text message to them. When you block someone, you can still send messages; theirs will not go through. In your message, simply tell them you love them and will always be there for them when they are ready for a respectful, loving relationship. Nothing less. This will show them you are not giving up on them, while at the same time reinforcing the expectation of respectful behavior from them. Good luck and may God bless you — from “one who is there right now.”

  2. Grace

    Triggers are everywhere. Staying at home is all I do anyway. Want to start back to wards going to church or to other gatherings but with the holidays bearing down all I want to do is sit at home. No one to kick my rear end and get me moving. i feel so dead ended this time of year. Knowing that it is not going to improve with all my estranged adult children. They all have left me. Self righteous attitudes they have not a clue to any of my problems or my life itself. Love to be able to talk with others with my own problems as well. I am alone anyway I look at it. I have no hopes of things improving or any thing different to happen. I think Mother’s Day Christmas and all holidays are wonderful for our adult children. Those are days they remember to forget us. They are so cruel. I am so glad they are happy. As long as I do not come around or bother them it is all wonderful. I so wish for a “normal” family. Being alone is not good when you are the only one left for them on this side of the family.

    1. Jillian

      I feel you
      I haven’t spoke or heard from my daughter in 6months
      No Mother’s Day wishes
      No Happy Birthday
      Now the Holidays are coming
      I am so Dad that I raised a thoughtless Child

    2. Judy

      Hello,I had to estrange myself as a single mother who had devoted my life to my boys. My only way to survive! The boys are college educated and extremely successful.
      They have no clue of my needs or what I survived. Worst they would not get it if they did. I had! I had to escape the inderfernce
      To have a chance to live. I will never stop loving them, but don’t miss the insanity! It has aged me and comforted me at the same time. I find such comfort in knowing
      That other people on both sides can feel my pain. Judy

    3. Effie

      I see so many comments scattered throughout all of these that apply to me…I am a stay at home mom… strong faith in my God, never missed a things my kids did it all in school. .worked hard at super mom…now after college degrees… their struggles are a result of something we did ?? me and dad… they don’t pinpoint anything special… self righteous, smarter, much more respectable then their hick parents that live down on the farm… I am broken and have counseled for over a year… Have had a breakthrough and got to see my first grandson.. but I am soooo broken that I am afraid to say or do anything.. Its clear that they don’t like me anymore…My counselor tells me… they are abusive and to accept what I get and to stop when it goes south… to treat them like a neighbor in conversation to stay safe… but what a way to live after loving and living for them 20 years each.. I am so sorry for all of you… but I am stronger two years later… you will get there…its still hell on mothers day..

    4. Nicole C.

      I feel like i just read my own thoughts and outlook on life left behind and of coarse the holidays. About October for the last 3 or 4 years i also get this tension in my chest and litterly i can feel my heart hurting. I too am all alone in this journey. My ENTIRE world and everything i knew to be safe and normal has been takin from me. Im almost 8 years into this and i see no hope in sight either. I dont have the answers for you butt i can say truly……i know exactly how you feel right now and im so sorry.


    5. Dee

      I am so sorry you are going through this…i know what you’re feeling! Have you thought about volunteering at an an animal rescue or shelter? It is quite amazing the unconditional love these dogs and cats give in return for you just paying a little attention to them: something that seems so lost on the millennial generation…. Its also very interesting that the mirror image of God is Dog! Blessings to you!

  3. Elisa B.

    Grace, My heart goes out to you… I am in the same place. I have been trying for 2 years to reconcile with my three daughters from my first marriage and have been met with coldness, contempt, disgust and just a complete lack of understanding of how their cutting me off has destroyed me. I don’t want to go out. I don’t want to talk to people. I don’t even want to think about the holidays. I feel like a complete and utter failure. This all transpired almost immediately after they all had graduated from college and my oldest daughter was getting married and wanted the $20000 I offered, but did not want me to invite my aunts and uncles (her great aunts and uncles) to the wedding. Instead I was expected to pay for my ex husband and his tribe because he has spent the last 25 years supporting the Atlantic City casinos. I felt used. The fight grew into I had been a bad mother and her 2 sisters quickly jumped in. After all of the insults and forcing myself to go to a wedding where I was completely uncomfortable I waited for my children to call and tell me they had been stressed out and lost their minds and were sorry. I waited and waited. Nothing. So I reached out. But apparently not in the right way because I sounded hurt and angry and they want nothing to do with that. Things went back and forth for months, with me doing most of the reaching out. But I am too emotional for them to deal with so they want nothing to do with me. My daughters husband hates me even though I took him on vacations to st croix and Disney and always treated him like part of the family. I feel lost. Like I don’t know where to go from here. I just ordered the done crying book but I’m sure I’m not done crying. I am no longer trying to reach out and hoping that they will. But I kinda think they won’t for a long time. And I truly am tired of crying.

    1. Jillian

      Wow your too good
      I send monthly packages
      I think I love to much
      It’s time we bitch up & not beg for their love

  4. Lyne M.

    Elisa B…..So glad you ordered Sheri’s book. I too am new to all of this and in a similar place. I am also not done with crying but I would so very much like to be. I’ve only read the first three chapters but I’ve found it helpful. I’m careful to take it in small doses then think about what I’ve read for a couple of days then pick it up again. It has helped a lot. I feel my journey of healing is going to take a very long time but at least (thanks to the book) I can see a road in front of me which I could not see before. Granted, the steps I’m taking are only baby steps but at least I’m moving forward. I’m sure you will to.

    1. rparents Post author

      Dear Lyne,
      I have received two contacts from you through the contact form and have tried to reply but the email only bounces. Please use the form and send a different email address so I can reply to it. Thank you. — Sheri

    2. movingongranny

      I also got the book, it was hard going thru and not cry but… I find it is getting better for me and my sanity. I had to really look at myself and how I was treated. I told my 2 girls I was moving somewhere warm and then all hell broke loose. 1 doesn’t want me in their life the other sends pictures of 1 year old; is nice then says mean things. I am starting to pack to move so I said “you’ve made the decision to cut me out, so now I will move on”. I gave those girls 40 plus years, the both have their own families and yet when I want to go have fun; I should stay at home and be at their beckon call… No way. My hubby and I are finally doing what we want!!!
      Good luck to you… keep reading the book and doing the exercises. I keep re-reading it!!
      Love this site! God Bless!


    I was already informed by my ES that the holidays will not be spent with family. (What family is left.) My ES was asked by a friend to visit their parents. They have only dated a few months and my ES is not even sure to make this a long lasting relationship. So you know where I stand in the order of things. I would love to go away for the holidays, but my elderly parent cannot make a trip. So the holidays, will just be my small family. I have been an after thought for a long as I could remember, if thought of at all, in most cases. Everyone my ES meets is wonderful and she loves them all. Calls them weekly. Does wonderful things for them to celebrate a milestone in their lives. And, I believe my, ES just loves telling me these things to drive the dagger in a little further. And believe me the ES knows what they are doing. Last attempt to, hopefully, get to the bottom of this estrangement I was told that by my ES does not want to change and it will never be the relationship that other parents have with their children because the ES cannot be like them. My ES does not even tell you much in their life so when I call, text, etc. there is nothing much to talk about. Bless my ES, she is very smart and successful. People tell me that one day my ES will wake up…even if it is after I am gone, but I don’t think that will happen. She is very self reliant and feels the need for no family. I grew up in a close knit family. My ES has also experienced this family closeness. I don’t know what I did to get this from my ES and my ES will not tell me. I guess I am getting blamed for whatever mistakes where made in life. If I knew what, if anything, that I did wrong I would whole heartily apologize. But I cannot do that if my ES won’t talk. The only conversation I can have with my ES is when you are praising her. My ES will be the first to put me down and make me feel stupid and low and always in front of people because my ES knows I will not make a scene. How So many times I have been embarrassed. A huge hole is in my heart and I need to stop typing this because many upsetting emotions are rising and I don’t want to cry anymore.
    Thank you for this website.

    1. Kathy b.

      You have alot of simulzrties to my situation. My daughter blames me for everything wrong in her life. She makes a mistake , it’s my fault. She has never been one to take responsibility for her actions. Just blame someone else.
      She has been very reckless with her life. At 17 just running away to another state. For a guy. Saying his family was wonderful and everything she wanted. Only two months later returning . Saying they were crazy. But never. Sorry mom. I know you were worried. Drops out of high school. With plans to get GED. Only to wake me up first day of school and say I wanna go back. Sorry … private school . You cant. ( they didnt want her back) she also failed a class and had to make up in summer school to graduate.
      Then moved out. Moved in and out with other people. Got preg 3 times. Broke my heart . No babies. 4 th preg. Was gonna give up for adoption. But decided to keep. Then almost died. Bled out. Was in ICU for 2 weeks. I bonded with grandUghter. Rejected her for awhile because she wasn’t a boy and she couldn’t have more kids. Then she come to my house . Says she met the love of her life. She is moving to another state. She met the guy on line .
      Has a child . Travels alone for 18 hrs with 3 year old . 3 year old never met this guy. We never met this guy. She married him . We meet him 4 months later. He seemed nice. He was southern. We are northern. She starts comparing. He lives with his mom and has never had a job. I start talking with his mom. We seem to hit it off then I get rejected . My daughter tells her things about me that aren’t true. I’m not there she doesnt know me who are you gonna believe.
      I’m a likeable person. I swear that’s why my daughter hates me. I cant even go on. I’m getting emotional and all over.the place. Thanks for reading

  6. FoundPeace

    I agree with this article. I am estranged from my son too. It does get better as time goes by. I have stopped crying and do not think about him much.

    Let them earn your love.

    I removed him when I redid my will.

    Trips were planned during family holidays and Mother’s Day. We have to rely on ourselves to make us happy.

    I hope you all find peace and happiness.

    1. Anna

      Dear Found Peace…I agree with “let them earn your love.” I no longer “beg” for their love or time. Perhaps someday, they will beg for mine. In fact, I believe now that the more I tried reconciliation, the more I pushed my two away. Now, I want to be sought after. I want my love and devotion to mean something to them. When they (hopefully) mature (even though both are in their 40s), perhaps all that I gave to them their entire lives will be remembered, and appreciated. Until that time, they must “earn” my love and make the trek back to me. It is no longer the other way around.

      Thanks for your insight! Keep on keeping on in such a positive direction!

    2. Linda

      Yes, Yes, Yes! I like that “Let them earn your love”!!
      You do good for people, and they kick you in the gut. Time to stop doing good for THEM and start taking care of yourself……find someone else who could use a little kindness, and do for them instead.

    3. Tracy

      So inspired with you. I am about 2 years now dealing with my situation with my estranged son and I am trying to hold it together, it is ridiculous how things are and knowing this I am taking a stand and getting through this even though it hurts to the core!

  7. Emma

    The problem I have with the holidays is that everyone talks about their plans, their get togethers with their families and then they ask about yours. It is all I can do to not burst into tears sometimes. We have no parents left, my only sibling lives in another country. First, there is Thanksgiving to get through and then it’s Christmas. So it is at least 2 1/2 months of listening to people’s plans. It’s just about more than I can take.

    1. Andrea

      It sounds like you need to come up with something new and fantastic to do around the holidays! I’m facing my first Thanksgiving/Christmas without my estranged son, and I’m stuck with our (usual but great) traditions which will be hard without him. Can you think of something different and fun to do??

  8. Lynne

    Oh yes, this time of the year I begin to think about the holidays. For many years it had been such a very sad time. I hated to see the holidays approaching. I now think of the holidays as just 24 hour days. Thanksgiving day just 24 hours and Christmas day just 24 hours. My journey to where I am now has been a 10 year one. I do look at other people that seem to have those wonderful family holidays and can feel momentarily sad….but then try to turn my mind to My blessings. Again, I think to myself they are just another 24 hour day and a day goes by so quickly.

    1. BadToTheBone

      The holidays are always hard for me too! I am lucky to have a part time job, and can take hours on Thanksgiving and Christmas if I choose to. I have volunteered on the holidays with the food line at the Rescue Mission, and with toy drives and the food bank at Christmas, when I wasn’t working. It was actually very rewarding, and made me feel needed! I am lucky to have a daughter that is not estranged, just independent. I saw her on Thanksgiving, and worked part of the day. On Christmas I don’t know yet. I encourage her to bring friends when ever possible. My son has been estranged for almost 3 years, and the holidays always bring me to tears, remembering him when he was here.

  9. Karen S.

    Today was my estranged son’s birthday and after all these years of trying, I took a walk, out loud wished him a happy birthday and a good life. No more trying for me, I am free. Took many years but relationshiops of any kind take both parties. I have 3 other children and no expectations of the holidays. I find them filled with too much commercialization. I prefer to let them tell me if they can make it and when. They too have other commitment. I am happy to stay home with my husband and a friend to enjoy a quiet time and a good long walk. Namaste

  10. Diana B.

    My daughter lives in TX. I am I FL. I have visited her at least one or two tes a year for 13 years. The grandchildren are now 3, 4, and 9 and I have been uninvited to their house for undermining the son-in-law. My child complained for years about how horribly her life was and then when I stood up it’s all my fault. She tells me her husband HAAAATES me. He sends me text cursing me out. Well they have circled the wagons and I am uninvited. It’s cruel and on top of that she takes the whole family including her in-laws to her dads for vacation. Not sure why I’m being treated so bad. This is eating me up. I am trying to let go. It is difficult to not feel sorry for myself.

  11. Julee S.

    I have been estranged from my oldest son and his wife and grand daughter for almost two years. I think about them daily, but the pain, over time has diminished, thank goodness. I know that I was not perfect as a mother, who is, but did the best I could with the information I had while raising him and beyond.

  12. Linda

    Hello everyone, my name is Linda. I have just read thru all of your posts about your estrangements with your adult children and although each one is heart wrenching in its own way, it is nice to know that I am not alone! I, too am dealing with an estrangement (from my adult daughter-23yrs. old) It has been a little over 7 months now, and the thing that makes it even more heartbreaking for me is that she just had her first child (my first Grandchild) this past September and I have yet to see her!! My daughter has refused to let me and it is killing me, as I have always dreamed about becoming a Grandmother! My heart aches to see her every single day! I am 51 years old, and I have been divorced for nearly 15 years. My ex-husband is a raging alcoholic to this day and I raised my 3 children on my own for many years! (I have an older son and a younger son as well) I was not a perfect Mother (who is?) but I did the very best I could! I am guilty of being verbally abuse over the years (which I have acknowledged many times) and I am not proud of it. However, I always worked, kept a roof over my kids heads, clothed them, fed them etc; but for whatever reason, my daughter chooses to blame me for every single thing that has ever gone wrong in her life! My older son chooses to “stand by her” because he says he feels bad for her, whereas my younger son defends me and thinks she is being ridiculous. I am so tired of “beating myself up” over all of this! I have tried to reach out to her numerous times via letters and text messages telling her that we need to move on and stop dwelling on the past. I have told her I have made mistakes (so has she) but we need to learn to forgive each other and ourselves…nothing I have said has made a difference in her hatred towards me. Now the holidays are coming up, and I have all I can do to get thru them without having a complete mental breakdown!! I have ordered Sheri Mc Gregors book “Done with the Crying” I hope it helps. Thank you all for letting me share my story. Good luck to you all with your own situations and God Bless….Linda J.

  13. Barbara G.

    I’ve been feeling down and reading other people’ s feelings and heartaches lets me feel not so alone.
    Knowing you are not alone is everything. My only child, my daughter, will be 45 November 14th. I always looked forward to my child’s next stage, and thought we would be close when she became an adult. However, from the time of her puberty she has rejected me. I used to tell her you don’t treat me like a mother. I always treated her with respect, never said or did an unkind thing to her. That’s not who I am. I’m a nice person. I was a very good mother and grandmother to my only grandchild. He will be 15 this month. I was shocked and stunned when it began over 30 years ago. I didn’t even know how to respond to her. I want to know why she was that way with me. She won’t tell me. Anytime I say I need to talk to her and understand, she’ll either hang up or walk away. She says it’s the past and won’t talk to me about what she feels and why she treated me so badly. She’s not a bad person. She’s a wonderful mother and wife. She helps other people. She’s a hard worker. But she has this thing with me and won’t tell me why or talk to me about it. We’ve been estranged for the past two and a half years. I was alone with not even a phone call for all the holidays. To me this is cruel. She recently made an overture, inviting me to her house for dinner. When I said no, that she had to come to me and talk to me she refused. She said there was nothing to talk about. This time I’m no longer going that route. Even though I wake up and go to sleep every day with a dark cloud, I’m not going to lower my self again. Her treatment of me was cruel and I need to understand why. I wouldn’t have treated a homeless dog the way she treated me.

  14. Anna

    Holidays used to absolutely kill me emotionally. I used to think that without my children/grandchildren, I would surely die of grief & could never possibly enjoy these so called “family” celebrations. This “dread” about the upcoming holidays defined my attitude and behavior, and I was not the person you wanted to talk to at this time or be around. I felt my heart was so constricted with sadness and loss that I could not even turn to my supportive husband, who wanted to console me, but I was simply inconsolable by even him. I can say that after almost 7 years of not seeing my daughter and grandchildren, and four years after my son cut me off, that I am no longer in that black hole of physical or get-wrenching trauma and pain. Today, that type of emotional thrashing and grieving is over with for me. My personal identity as “mother” has drastically changed. I was the classic stay at home/soccer/football/cheerleading mom who worked at their schools and went to all their games. In essence, I was there for my two children 24/7, eventually as a single mom who struggled financially to get away from their abusive father. Today, my two are very well off financially, college-educated, but with spouses who are both sociopathic and intent on severing our once very tight relationships. My two children were used to these same nasty dynamics playing out with their father over our divorce, so they have yet to free themselves from his-and now their spouses’- frightening emotional control and manipulation. In the meantime, I am moving on well in my life, and that is all that matters now. My getting well and moving past the estrangement of my adult children whom I devoted over 6 decades to is my focus. I have just been invited to a Xmas party by a friend and I am excited about going. Also, our new neighborhood has an annual holiday event and my husband and I are looking forward to. My life is changing, definitely. And I am welcoming it. I am no longer defined by who I am as a “mother”. My two adult children must work through their personal challenges as well, as I have. Yes, it is has been gut-wrenching that “we three had to divorce” to do this, but life is full of surprises. My surprise is I am healing. Yet, it is by choice. I am “directing” myself to get well and be happy again, and to let go of two adult people who want their freedom from me. Most of the time now, I no longer fight that truth. Acceptance from the heart can be a life safer for us, especially around the holidays.

  15. Kathy

    It has been a blessing reading these emails and knowing I’m not alone. If there could be meetings for us in a centralized area, that would be wonderful. Sheri, if you can arrange that I would certainly pay my way. I have been estranged from my 38 yr old daughter for just over a year. I have 2 people I can talk to about it which really helps but 2 other people I have mentioned it to, well I just have a feeling they don’t care enough. The holidays will be hard again, because I have flown to her city for Christmas. I have another daughter in my city but she is going through a trying time. I do believe the estranged daughter will come to terms but I will have faith in God and not just hope. I was enabling her with money, loans, etc I got stuck with but have forgiven her for that. That was my fault, as I felt sorry for her being a single mother. I had 2 emails from her this year, and I will continue with “how are you” type emails and greeting holiday, birthday cards only. The rest is up to her. My faith prevails and all I can say is at first I was delirious with pain, and it has subsided. The pain will always be there, I did too much for her, and do know now enabling is a form of control. I am very active and stay busy, with planning every day, exercising at the y, walking, gardening. The day of holidays are very hard and hopefully will see daughter here, don’t know. I don’t hold my breath. Yes, shut off tv and holiday ads; I have been reading a lot too and intend to get the book “Done with crying” and actually I am. Will never put up with nasty texts again or enabling.

  16. Eileen

    Hello all and thank you for your honesty and bravery sharing your feelings, experiences, plans, etc. I feel your pain and my own so profoundly. I go through a full range of emotions – from complete hopeless despair to contempt and anger. I have attempted suicide. I have tried talking to my ES. I have tried being nice – attempted to be cold. I can’t get it right. Not for me or for him and his family apparently. It has been 10 years plus and I still feel the same pain but admittedly to a lessor degree. I long for happiness and something to feel good about. I have friends, career, people and things in my life. However nothing and I mean absolutely nothing can replace the role my ES played in my life. I would give anything for some kind of resolution I could live with. However it seems like a hopeless thought. I can’t talk to anyone. I don’t want to socialize. I am embarrassed and demoralized. I don’t see what the future holds. I wish for something more. I am intelligent, kind, nice, liked, etc. I should have it all but feel I have nothing.

    1. PressOn

      Eileen, I ache for you. I understand your pain and am very thankful for this site. Just knowing that others are going through it helps a little. Taking your life is definitely not the answer. As you said, you are kind, liked, intelligent, etc. You love your chid despite the pain that he has caused. If he lost you in that way-or any way, for that matter- he will have a very tough life. I lost my father that way and the pain is intense. You don’t want your son to have to live with that, especially knowing that he didn’t treat you like you deserve (and he DOES know that!) . One of my brothers hadn’t been keeping in good enough touch with our parents. He wasn’t estranged from them, but he wasn’t in good contact. It has affected him dramatically. He carries guilt every day. I guess one thing I fear with my daughter is that I will die before she realizes what she has done and she will have to live with that for the rest of her life. I cannot contemplate her going before me. There is nothing I want more than for her to understand what she has done and reconcile. But one thing is for sure, I cannot control her. I hope these words have helped a little . <3

    1. rparents Post author

      Hi Tracy,

      The book’s popularity in English makes it a good candidate for foreign markets where it might be translated, so this will likely happen in the future. I know that people in your area are reading it in English–you wrote this. Do you also read English?

      Sheri McGregor

  17. Gail

    This holiday season will be especially difficult. My husband has recently been diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. We have been estranged from our son and three granddaughters for three long years. I’m sure Michael is mentally ill. He has a problem staying in a relationship. His 19 year old daughter says he never stays with a women longer than 5 years! Every woman and her children we have joyfully welcomed into our family and treated the children like our own grandchildren. When he’s finished with that relationship he just wipes them out of his life for a new “love”. He said we were never there for him, which is completely false. I think he is embarrassed by his lifestyle and all he knows is to push people away. I know they say it gets easier, but I’m not sure that’s true. I struggle every day with the pain. I have not yet read the book, but plan to do so.

  18. Diana B

    I feel exactly the same way as you. I talk about the estrangement a little with my sister other than that it’s embarrassing to not have plans with your grandchildren at Christmas as all my other co-workers and friends do. I’ve decided to TRY to stop thinking about what I’m missing and to keep my mind busy with any other thoughts besides missing them. So, difficult. I’ve also decided that I have been an enabler and I’m going to let her reach out to me rather than continuing to be the one who gives every time. Sounds hard as I write this.

  19. Susan

    Just came upon this site. Sorry to see so many share the pain I do. My youngest ‘moved out’ of my life 8 years ago. No explanation. She just married. I am happy for her. I wish her joy and happiness. It took me a long time to stop crying and blaming myself. Sometimes I am embarrassed when I realize time has gone by and I haven’t thought of her. I never thought I would be in this position, but here I am. Holidays are tough but I no longer allow this situation to ruin my life. I am going to order the book because I still have healing that needs to be done.

  20. susan h

    I have been estranged from my son for 3 years now. I see him at weddings, and other family events. Maybe once or twice a year. People probably wonder why I don’t do more, reach out, mend the rift. But, what they don’t realize is that I am not in control of our relationship. And, I think that really is a big part of all of this. My husband and I did what many of you did. We paid for college (5 years dual majors/comp sci and web design minor) bought cars, paid for books, etc etc etc.
    None of that seems to matter. We had no warning that there was even a problem. Until, they had a child. My husband offered to pay for them to go out, so that we could babysit. And that was when it all came out. My daughter in laws mother and step father had our grandson’s birthday party. My son came up to me and said “hi mom and gave me this really demented smile.” I felt like the elephant man on display. My 87 year old mother was there and saw him say “hi.” He has said terrible things to my mother and other family members about me. Things like “I yelled at him about his grades, to pick up his shoes.” He had all a’s untl 5 th grade, when he became really difficult to deal with. His teacher called and said “I just wanted to call and let you know he won’t be getting all a’s.” I asked the teacher if he was “challenging him in class in front of his students.” The teacher sighed and said “yes.” From that point on, i feel like our relationship suffered. But, not to the extent that it has since out grandchild was born. This is really sad. Sometimes I wonder “how the hell did this happen.”

  21. Karen

    Im already getting sad thinking about holidays coming. My oldest daughter & I had a great relationship until she left our state with her boys to move to join her boyfriend. She called me every day on the trip, several th ousand miles. Called when she got there, excited to be starting her new job the next day. Then, not a word for 2 years! I have no clue why. She moved back without telling me, months later, instead of us all meeting at my oldest sons for every holiday because he lives where we could all easily travel, she ordered him that Thanksgiving belonged to her, it would be at her house. She sent me a text, after not talking to me at all, to tell me I was not to show up, that if I did she’d call the police. When I asked what was going on, she just said she had it proved now that I’d received her message and could prove to police she told me not to go. She ordered her siblings to not tell me any details. They have all refused to discuss her with me at all. After about 5 yrs now of not speaking to me, this spring she sent me a horrid text saying what an awful mother I’d been, that our home was devoid of love. I cried for days, knowing it was not true. I spoke to 1 of my boys, telling him about it. He smirked a little, then grinned ear to ear and told me, “Mom, you know how she gets. That certainly was not the home I grew up in!” That did make me feel better. When I spoke to another son, he agreed. I asked why they do as she orders, he replied that I knew how she gets, the loudest, nastiest in for the kill mouth that never ends. Sadness really does hurt physically. She’d told me “you need to learn that we’re adults now! We don’t need you!” I was never pushy or in their lives much to begin with because I’m working every minute I can. In recent years I turned 60. To me, a special birthday. Not one of my kids even called me. I can still cry over that, but the day after, I was cornered when 2 of my bosses, one a friend, got into a screaming, grabbing fight. My adrenaline was rushing as I tried to stay safe. Hours later I ended up in the hospital with A Fib for the first time. I know without a doubt that the grief of sadness caused by my children’s treatment, or lack of, was the major cause. The fight at work was just the straw that broke the camels back. But then, several days in ICU, after the initial first hours when 2 sons called the hospital, not a single child of mine even called to see how I was doing. One told me, “if you weren’t, we would have heard.” I do blame my ex for a lot, but not all, of their behavior. He was so abusive, disrespectful to me, and from a comment a son made last year, I realized he had been told, and believed some lies by my ex.
    I do feel so uncared about. I lost my home to vandalism/theft. It’s totally condemned. After years of paying insurance, the company wouldn’t pay me one cent. I breathed in mold, spent a week in the hospital after coughing and having a blood clot in my lungs, almost dying from it. Not one child came to the hospital, though my sons begged me to move out before the house killed me. They got mad when I’d ask just what am I supposed to do? I have no money, used all my savings, where do I go? I finally moved from a big house with 3 floors into a separate one car garage where for the first 1 1/2 yrs I had no heat, no refrigerator. I’ve lived here now 2 1/2 yrs, still have no water, no plumbing, use a honey bucket, haul water in blue jugs, have no stove to cook on, but have a microwave only. Through others I’ve heard my one daughter has said that I’m not on the same socio economic level that she is. It’s breaking my heart to think again I’ll be alone for Thanksgiving and Christmas, crying all day. I don’t know who I could invite over, have no bathroom, no water, no stove to cook on. I spent one thanksgiving years ago with a school friend, but never again. I was the odd person with their 4 generation family where 2 kids screamed through the entire evening, 1 threw food, and 1 chewed on all the furniture like a dog. There was no discipline when the little girl climbed on the dinner table and walked on the dishes. They commented on how adorable she was, tracking food all over. I pinch pennies for gifts for all my grandchildren, but found that my daughter’s 2 never even got my gifts. She censored the toys or something. No thank yous for BD or holiday gifts, I get nothing from some of them. My 2 boys do give me something at Christmas. This year I’m feeling mean, that I don’t want to take some gifts, but since I purchased some last year, I guess I will do the right thing.

    1. Effie

      Karen… I understand… I had one daughter trash me to a close family friend. I never ever saw it coming… she then went to our sons and convinced them to take her side. I went two years with 3 estranged kids because she did not get her way with her boyfriend her senior year so she stretched the truth about our rules…and they said ” poor girl” move out.. Long story… She was telling story after story and they took her in and gave her graduation open house, car and paid for anything she said we wouldn’t give her. Things were not true and I thought I would end up in the hospital. etc. She then went through 3 jobs and she lives there still. I understand the pain… its so horrible. We were so close till she would do anything to get her boyfriend rules broken. She is now 19 and is living her dreams .. so she says… Prayers and hugs Karen..

  22. Cecilia

    Andrea, I commend you for your decision to block and not read any further messages. My daughter encouraged me to do this same thing with messages from my son and his wife; it has proven to be the healthiest option, and restored some sense of peace to me. It also is blessing those children who are abusive because we are re-teaching them respect for others and what is not acceptable.

  23. Susan

    My daughter hasn’t spoken to me or my other daughter since August of this year. She has ‘blamed’ me for just about everything that has gone wrong in her life and has stopped talking to me several times but this is the first time it includes her sister — we both said things to her that she did not want to hear out of our concern for her. So, here we are a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving. I have chosen this time not to crawl back–if I do that and I have in the past, all goes back to normal but then it just happens again. The last two times have been especially hard since she now has a 3 year old daughter. She has allowed me to have my granddaughter a couple of times since August–they live 3 hours away from me. I don’t know how I will handle the Holidays. I certainly want my granddaughter here but I don’t want my daughter to make the day uncomfortable for the rest of the family. I know in my heart that she will never apologize because she does not think she is ever wrong.

  24. BadToTheBone

    After reading all of your posts, I see that I am not alone anymore! I feel the shame, the sadness, and the disbelief that my ES would not talk to me for over 2 years, and has blocked my phone number and my email address. He did recently talk to me again, just to say that it is the last time I will ever see him or talk to him. I am still in disbelief, sometimes I cry most of the night, and do not get much sleep.
    I am struggling with different emotions, and now that the holidays are arriving, it is much worse. He and his girlfriend and her daughters will all go over to his dad’s mother’s house for Christmas. The same dad that disowned him because we moved out of state. I don’t understand any of this, and I am made out to be the bad person by his dad’s mother, by him, and by his girlfriend. My ES has disowned not only me, but his half sister and brother, aunts and uncle, and grandparents, all on my side of the family. His girlfriend texts me to say she does not want to be the reason he is disowning me, but she partly is. She got him to start visiting his dad’s mother again too. I am grateful that I have this group, and still have my daughter and other son, even though they do not live with me, and are out of state. I hope I can make it through this.

    1. Effie

      Sorry Bad to the Bone.. your not bad…

      Emotions… yes they are crazy.. one min I am coping, the next I am physically ill from the heartache…The best we can do is look for others, church, work or anywhere… that need you. They are out there. There are so many people that are broken. I pray you will find strength through the holidays…

  25. breakaway

    In August my husband suggested I find a place for the two of us to stay over Thanksgiving and Christmas. We spent Thanksgiving there and are leaving to go there for Christmas soon. It is sad to spend the holidays away from the kids, but they aren’t interested in being with us. My husband has to keep reminding me that we can’t put our life on hold because of them. Poor guy, I spend a lot of time asleep so I won’t have to think of the kids. Between my therapist and my husband, I’m in good hands. I just joined this forum today and Sheri’s book will arrive tomorrow. More support!

  26. Holdingon46

    I didnt even get a Thanksgiving call from daughter havent seen in 4 months. The last time i talked to her she told me if she doesnt talk to me my grandaughter wont either. How immature of her i am heart broken. I miss my grandbaby and shes brainwashing her to hate me. I think about her everyday. My daughter is jealous, coldhearted and childish. I Believe she has a personality disorder My daughter is disrespectful and hung up im my face.

  27. mary

    As a mother of four adult children, I have been estranged from my oldest son and his two little girls for over five years now. I am also estranged from my youngest daughter for almost five years. My oldest daughter doesn’t seem to be speaking to me right now either but my youngest son is terrific and we have a great relationship which is a big blessing to me!!! I know the underlying reason has been sibling rivalry from their childhoods but more recent reasons they blame me directly for. I can relate to everyone on this web page and how great that this exists in order to help people. I have also tried to reconcile with my estranged son and daughter but to no avail and I won’t try again. I think I am in this for the long haul which is really to bad because I greatly love all of my four children and always will. I now see a therapist who is helping me but the most help for me has been prayers! God bless everyone here.

    1. Anne

      Hi Mary, I’m new here and not sure how to reach out. My daughter and her husband hate me and go above and beyond to hurt me. They keep the grandkids away and this Christmas I could only see them for a few minutes in their garage. My son and his family aren’t as bad. I relocated from another state to be with them and watch the babies grow. I’ve given them every dime, moved Heaven and Earth to help them with anything and they treat me like trash. Death would be welcomed at this point. Thank you

  28. mindfulsage

    Although strategies to avoid triggers that bring our pain and loss to the surface are helpful, at the same time I never want to become so desensitized that I become like Scrooge. I don’t want to live in avoidance of a time of year when there can be so much joy, love and celebration with those who “are” in my life – the family that does love and care for me. I don’t want to deny that joy but rather learn how to have it again for myself.

    I say this because my husband and daughter who are still at home love Christmas – all of it! The lights, the decorations, the tree, the movies, the smells, the food…. all of it! I never want to allow my pain to detract from them their joy nor do I want to be like Scrooge and not share in their joy of putting up those decorations, sharing in the laughter of the movies, etc.

    That being said, it is true that the holidays bring forth our hurt from the loss is. This year already, while I was alone fluffing the artificial trees limbs, just one song on the radio and BAM, tears. I thought of her and all the Christmases spent together as she was growing up. All the fun and great memories. The loss her presence and the loss of those years is why I cry and it is good to remember all the good memories too.

    The tears lasted for less than 2 minutes. It was my own, alone moment. For me, releasing those feelings is what helps me to move forward with a smile on my face and in my heart and thus, I am then better prepared to celebrate, engage and share in love and joy with others.

    That’s my strategy anyway 🙂


Leave a Reply

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

Website Protected by Spam Master