Estrangement: Are you a “firework”? Or still standing?


Are you a “firework”? Or still standing?

By Sheri McGregor, M.A.

I love a good fireworks show but a popular song that goes on about being a firework never resonated with me. It’s a catchy tune but to blaze brightly for only a moment and then fade just as fast isn’t something I’d want to aspire to or be.

What does resonate is the fireworks symbolism related in the poem by Francis Scott Key that became the U.S. national anthem. In The Star Spangled Banner, the rockets glare through the night and then the flag is still there, or still standing.

It’s good to let our light shine (as written about in this article), even during the “dark night” parts of our lives. When morning comes, we can still be standing. That’s a goal worth setting … and achieving.

In honor of Independence Day, here are a few fun facts about fireworks you may not know. I’ve also included some links to past articles about your personal freedom—despite estrangement.

Fireworks facts

  • The first “fireworks” are thought to have originated in China around 200 BC when bamboo sticks were thrown into the fire. The air in the hollow bamboo popped when it was heated.
  • In 800 AD, the search for eternal life motivated an alchemist to mix sulfur, charcoal, and potassium nitrate. Instead of eternal life, he got an explosion—voila! Gunpowder, which was then packed into bamboo for even bigger explosions.
  • The blasts were used at weddings and other celebrations to ward off evil. Eventually, gunpowder was used for explosively entertaining shows …

You can read more about fireworks history in these articles from other websites:

The Evolution of Fireworks, written by Alexis Stempian for The Smithsonian

Boom! A Brief History of Fireworks written by Benjamin Lorber for The Ladders

For your freedom (even in estrangement)

Here are a few articles from this site about your personal freedom:

Are you a wiley coyote or a clever crow? This article from 2018 helps you adapt, even in estrangement: Freedom for a era (parents rejected by adult children)

Support your emotional freedom with: Are you tyrannized by painful emotions?

Cut off by adult children? You may feel lonely but you’re not alone

Your Independence Day celebrations may look different than in the past. Whether you’re in the U.S. or in some other area, I hope you found something of value in these articles about your personal freedom even in estrangement. Will you share your thoughts by leaving a comment? Interacting with other parents of estranged adult children helps.

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115 thoughts on “Estrangement: Are you a “firework”? Or still standing?

  1. Laura

    I’m a newbie here to this unbearable pain and I can’t imagine how I’d feel if I didn’t also have a fulfilling life separate from being my 27-year-old daughter’s mom. It’s seems like a lifetime ago, but it’s only been two months since she stood by and supported her fiancé as he told my husband and me his “intention is not to come between a mother and daughter or her family”, but they are cancelling their October wedding (we were paying for) because they “don’t want us involved in any way”. They said they may elope but if they plan another wedding at some point, we can only count on the three of us being invited (we have a 23 year old son with mild autism), but not our extended family or friends! We were as supportive, kind and generous as we could be when they both lived with us rent free in the comfort of their own private space with all expenses paid throughout the pandemic so they’d be safe. We were also happy to help them start saving money for their first house instead of paying rent somewhere. It was worse than being beaten up to hear the fiancé and my daughter tell us the wedding news and that they were moving out within the week to “start a new chapter in their life”. Until the day they gave us all this news, we could never in a million years anticipate this happening. I’ve combed through the thousands of texts between us before they told us the news to see what I may have missed. There’s no indication of unhappiness or even annoyance! We’ve always been a close and stable family and she’s been loving towards us with no weird family dynamics. She was so angry and somewhat distraught when she moved out and we’re honestly not sure why. Seriously. There was no argument or fight and she hasn’t spoken to any of us in in over 2 months now. It doesn’t appear she has any interest in having any connection to our family anymore. We’re confused and thunderstruck by this crater size gap in our family, but moving forward and living our life as best we can day by day.

    1. Sheryl

      Sorry, but if my child pulled that on me and I had been supporting them all that time with room and board, I would be presenting them with a bill for such expenses and and services and would agree that after that bill was paid then clearly they could go on their way without worry of any interference from you because obviously they had imposed themselves on you and your husband. It reminds me of the article I read on MarketWatch where the daughter embezzled over $2 million from her elderly parents, and they’re stuck with this huge tax bill because the IRS even knowing it was fraud couldn’t help the parents. At least their daughter is in jail right now.

    2. Maggie

      Dear Laura,

      So much of what you have written ring bells with me, and I am truly sorry for you.

      What we (me and my husband) rapidly realised was that our daughter-in-law was a sociopath, and from the minute she saw our lovely son with the flat we had helped him to buy, the car we bought him so he could do his placement work for university, etc, what she saw was an opportunity. He was ten years younger than her and, being a bit Asperger’s , totally unprepared for the lovebombing storm she unleashed on him to get into his nice life. She was glamorous and plausible at first but the mask rapidly slipped.
      Now he is her prisoner. Having isolated him from all his friends and family, she won’t let him leave the flat in case he brings back Covid and it kills her. Right now I don’t know if he’s alive or dead.

      People are very unhelpful about male domestic abuse. We don’t know where to turn where we’ll get some more useful advice than the “Why doesn’t he grow a pair?” that we usually receive.

      Our hearts are broken and we are paralysed with fear for his welfare.

      There are indeed some wicked people in the world, but there should be a special place in Hell for people who set out to turn people against their family.

      Sorry to go on, but the details of your situation are so like ours in the beginning of this nightmare that I felt compelled to share.

      1. Kathy

        My son also was as I call it taken hostage by an enterprising woman and her family. She was not taught anything about how to do anything (they had the hired help you know) or to live in the real world by her wealthy parents. She is bipolar and a periodic substance abuser who was living with her parents when our capable, kind, adventurous, trained by the Army as an aircraft mechanic with a good job got sucked in. They were more than happy to let him be responsible for her. After 14 years of marriage and her not being a part of our family and criticizing our daughter and our grandson because she thinks she is so much better than all of us (our daughter has been a pilot for American for 25 years) in April our son started the estrangement process. We were a close, loving family before she came into the picture. Now she has our son convinced we are and I quote violent abusive narcissists. He has been insulting us and accusing us of things we did not do or say. I could go on and on but suffice to say the best recourse is living well. My husband and I are just returning from a nice vacation and I am finally learning to play the drums.
        Our son has not had a vacation for at least 12 years because she doesn’t want to go. When he tried to go himself she emotionally blackmailed him so he ended up not going. His thinking has become distorted to a dangerous state of mind and we are powerless over it
        But we are not powerless over our own lives! Save your breath for breathing is how it feels to me right now. Love to you all this is a difficult thing to go through. I appreciate all of you.

  2. Theresa D.

    Thank you “still standing” I too live my days with my faith in the Lord. Grateful for all the blessings I have but I still struggle with the grief of not having my son or my grand children. It has been over 3 years and the children are missing out on so much love from the entire family. They moved into my town and now I have the added burden of possibly running into them at any turn. My church has a prayer line of prayer warriors who pray every morning from 7-8 and that has been a major support. I am saddened to read all these posts of broken hearts.

  3. Caroline

    Dear Teamies

    I have been estranged from my only child for +10 years. She will be 20 soon. She was born at 24 weeks. We spent a year in a remote UK hospital far away from family and friends. At five she was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. She is not walking independently but is exceptional cognitively. She is currently studying at Oxford University. It’s not all bad.

    Her Father is narcissistic, a semi-famous person here with a huge ego. We divorced when she was two years old and co-parented(ish),. He would constantly critique me and slowly coached her to alienate me.

    I have a big busy job working for an international airline. It has been my coping mechanism (along with the necessary long haul air travel) for all these years but due to the pandemic I have been furloughed for 18 months. Confined to my sitting room, drowning in a a river of shame and pain.

    I’ve had lots of therapy and all the anti depressants The last therapist suggested they both have Aspergers which has comforted me somewhat. Lack of empathy, prone to tantrums, irrational thought process.

    I’m working my way through Sheri’s book and workbook. Thank you Sheri.

    Sending love from across the pond,


    1. rparents Post author

      You’re welcome, Caroline.

      Your post brings up something that will likely resonate with many people after all the shut downs of the Covid pandemic. When there is little to distract ourselves with, we have to find new coping mechanisms and really LOOK at things (imagine eyeballs for those letter Os). May you be stronger than ever after all of this!

      HUGS and love to you, too,
      Sheri McGregor

      1. Sheri

        I come from the “suck it up” generation where there is a stigma to using antidepressants. I spent 3 years doing EVERYTHING I could to understand the estrangement and to make amends for whatever it was that I had done. At Christmas I spiraled, but this time I couldn’t get back up. It was a dark time. I did “suck it up” and talked to my therapist about chemical support. I was fortunate that the antidepressant my doctor selected for me worked immediately. Sometimes trial and error is required to find the right medicine and dosage. Within a few days I felt like myself again. I could see things more rationally and wasn’t obsessing about the estrangement and what I had done wrong 24/7. I am still sad about the situation, of course, but it no longer defines me and I have been able to move forward with my life. Anti-depressants literally saved me.

  4. Erin

    We have been rejected from our son and his family for 2 years now. After a lot of pain we are finding pockets of calm, and happiness. My question is after a number of years go by with no contact, do you reach the point where you don’t want them back in your life after the unbelievable act of them cutting you out of their life? I know his wife is fine without ever having us back in their lives. I am being realistic here, of course, if they did a whole turn around and they said they really wanted us back in, but I really don’t think that will happen. Does it take 4 years or at what point do you just give up hoping?

    1. Mimi

      Hi Erin,
      In response to your question “does it take four years/at what point do you give up hope?” “Do you reach the point you don’t want them back in your life?”

      My oldest daughter has been estranged from me for 16 years. She reappears in my life every rare now and then, based upon her mood. This daughter, whom I once cherished, told me that she has boundaries in place against me. This daughter has told me she will let me know when I can see her. She has blocked me on her phone. This daughter tells me that I need counseling in an insulting tone to imply that I am off balance.

      So, my question to myself is, how can I cherish someone who insults me, lies about me, defames me, My daughter, by her choice, is murdering my love for her. How can I love someone who absolutely hates me for no reason? I was just an regular, ole stereotypical mom. I am baffled by her venom. I love my daughter a little bit less each passing day. But, the hurt never entirely goes away. I can bury it for awhile. It resurfaces at unexpected times…I deal with it and then bury it again.

      I actually do not want to see her ever again. I wish her well. But, since she hates me so much, I must just let her go. Plus, I have a sense of dignity and self respect. I am not going to beg. At this point, she should apologize to me a thousand times over. At this point, I should block her and put boundaries against her. I have realized that my daughter is not a nice person. When I cry, it’s because I miss what should have been.

      So much time has gone by. She is basically a stranger now. I think it’s no longer possible to recover and resume our relationship , even if she did apologize. The “hope” part is hoping my child will come to her senses and apologize. That’s the aspect that slows down the healing. Therefore, I must face the fact that, no, she will not apologize ever. And, I have too much self respect than to allow her to mistreat me.

    2. Elizabeth

      With time and so much shunning, even if there is sporadic contact, one probably never can forget entirely the child they bore, but we have to admit, they certainly no longer resemble very much the child who used to be, and with all that we have lived through, we no doubt are changed as well. I have had to see in my case that I quite simply am not whatever it is that my kids wanted. Yes, there is contact with all of them…but in no cases is it what I so longed for and YES, WORKED for. Fortunately my husband is still with me, and we take each day as we can…and go on. It might seem rather silly, but being mostly housebound too, we have found several younger people building their homes, etc and we enjoy watching what they are doing and sharing. Strangers yes, but in some ways, we feel as connected to these we have never met. I am grateful that such is online…youtube does have some amazing things shared by non-kin. Were we more able to get out, I would be seriously hunting for youngers who might want a grandparent around…substitute we would be…but still could be good. Sheri and others on this site have shared so many ideas as to how to spend one’s time…and encouragements in finding such…I wish you the best. We live in a very strange time, with people choosing to love others over even their own parents…

    3. Kate

      Mimi, I understand & I totally agree with you. My situation is so very much like yours & you said what I’ve been thinking for years. I’m glad I’m not the only one who feels this way. Thank you for sharing.

    4. Erin

      Thank you all SO much for the replies. I miss the loving little boy who adored us. Unfortunately he turned into an adult who is not a nice person (I won’t give examples). It was really hard to admit but finally I had to. I do have pictures of my kids when they were little and we had a loving family but those kids are gone now. I, also, refuse to be disrespected and used and abused. It was a dead end street and I believe the universe or God was trying to save us from further pain…everything happens for a reason. I do not want mean, abusive adult children in my life, especially when our age is advancing and we could be targets of further abuse, especially emotionally and financially.

    5. Regina

      My daughter and I have been estranged for 19 years. In the last year this has been changing because she is pulling away from her husband realizing she has been bullied and controlled. She met him as a teenager, and her rebellion started. She is now 36, and beginning to see that she was Svengalied. I never completely went no contact, but was close. I wanted to have a relationship with my granddaughter, and felt she needed me. We had a great connection.
      Just posting his to let you know it can change. She is my only child. I have been though a lot of pain and had come to grips that her personality had been hijacked. Now I find out she had/has been treated very badly. Anyhow, there is hope, but you must in the meanwhile try to release your desire to control anything for your own mental health. I relate to all your stories!

  5. Lisabelle

    It’s been just over a year now since my adult daughter cut every member of her family out. There are good times, there are painful times like the one we are going through right now. But I can say that after the initial shock of her vicious attack against us, given through her husband, that there’s a lot we can see which was a pattern for her life and relationship with us. Hindsight really is 20/20.

    She does occasionally reach out to tell me about things going on in her life, but never asks about how we are, her siblings, her elderly grandparents. She mostly talks about how tough things are for her and seems to reach out when she can play the victim with her problems.

    She cut us out after her father and I refused to co-sign a loan for her. We rejected her, in her eyes. Mind you also that she had previously destroyed our credit in her early twenties when we made the horrible mistake of taking out a car loan in our name for her and she didn’t pay on it a majority of the time. It took us years to build that back and we learned a hard lesson.

    There’s a lot more, which I won’t put out here. I do wish the support forum was open because just writing this little bit helps keep things into perspective when I feel like I’m spinning mentally with trying to make sense of it. Reaching out to people in the same situation helps, as not many understand this type of pain.

    But I’m working through the book, and reading on here, and one of the things that really stood out to me (I can’t remember if it was in the book or on this site somewhere) was understanding that if my daughter wanted to be with her family and make amends, she would. And she doesn’t, so what does that tell me about her family being important to her? It was eye opening.

    Our remaining family, minus her and her husband, have actually been getting along wonderfully. There are no more stressful, tense holidays or family get togethers, everyone is more relaxed and we genuinely enjoy each others company and no one walks on eggshells. The rest of us just went on vacation together and had a wonderful time. No one fought, no one put the other down, no one caused drama…. all of which happened before if my daughter and her husband were with us. Hindsight….

    We didn’t choose to remove the dysfunction from our lives, and honestly didn’t see how much it was there. Now that it’s gone, we can see a lot more clearly what was actually going on. Sometimes you just get caught up in trying to have a good family that you compromise in areas you shouldn’t, like the overall health of each individual in the family.

    1. Cindy

      So true, we don’t realize the disfunction until it is out of our lives, then we observe peaceful gatherings.

  6. Workingonme

    My husband and I are in our 6th month of this. Our son married just shy of 3 yrs ago, his relationship with us began to deteriorate first with his dad, then with me after that. Our daughter in law is sensitive but it’s not obvious. She’s had a lovely upbringing, as has our son…..she is no stranger to estrangement as her mother has distanced herself from her own parents and sibling and has difficulty holding a job beyond a year or 2. She’s always disrespected for some reason or another. Daughter in law sees this in her mother but not in herself. My husband and I were forced to distance ourselves knowing what the consequences would be. The hate coming back at us from our son has been horrible. We have 2 daughters and 2 son in laws that are very supportive of us. The siblings are maintaining relations but communication is rare. My son and I have met for dinner twice, 1st time was like daggers being thrown at my heart, 2nd I was guarded but it was pleasant, he hugged me as we walked to our cars. I have hope for the 2 of us, harder is my husband and daughter in law who will probably both carry the need for an apology to their grave. Although this has been a horrible ordeal I have chosen to use it to work on my shortcomings. I spent weeks listening to YouTube pieces on “how to argue” and clinical psychologists that have assisted me in being true to myself and having confidence in my values and my instincts. Marriage is difficult as it is and marrying another family even more so. I hope over time my son and daughter in law want us in their lives but if that doesn’t happen I know my husband and I raised a fine young man and we are focusing on our other children and the families we were born into. I pray for peace to all of us in this situation. Oh and a few good nights sleep wouldn’t hurt.

  7. Cynthia will be 3 years this coming November since our youngest daughter has been estranged. She doesn’t speak with my husband, myself, her two sisters and now there are 4 grandchildren who do not even know her. For so many years our youngest daughter was just plain “mean” to all of us. Finally, I had enough and I just walked away…I was the last one, as her mom I was always throwing her a lifeline and just couldn’t do it anymore. I’m doing better now, but if I let myself go down the “rabbit hole” I can get very sad. Why didn’t she want to be a part of our family? Why didn’t she love us? What caused her to be so mean to all of us? Looking back, it started once she entered high school and she will be 30 soon. She has a much older boyfriend who says “all the right things” but does NONE of them. With that said, he’s been in the picture since she was 19 and like I said, it started when she was around 15 so clearly not all his fault. I am hoping as more time passes I will continue to get stronger. I have a beautiful family with two daughters who love us and now 4 grandkids but I won’t lie to myself or anyone else, I still love my youngest. It’s a relief not having her around as she ruined countless family get together but again, I wish things were different. However, I know that SHE won’t ever be different so I will continue to accept and live life…getting stronger everyday!

  8. Stacey

    You know what??? I am finally at PEACE w/EVERYTHING that has happened between me and my son. I ACTUALLY blocked him from my life a long time ago and he probably had no other option but to block me from his…..I just hadn’t realized it. Now that I’ve taken time to hash over things bit by bit I truley understand his actions and can’t BLAME HIM or be hurt by him. I have SO NOT wanted him in my life to the point that I’ve done EVERYTHING but actually tell him to “Go away and let ME BE”! How could he NOT BE rejecting towards me?? The question isn’t WHY but WHY NOT!!! I NO longer feel rejected I feel a GREAT sense of PEACE. I have nobody to be concerned with but myself!! It’s a feeling I can only describe as LIBERATING!!!! The only regret I have now is wasting a SECOND of my life feeling sad over something I know now I’ve wanted since the day I gave birth to him. So THANK YOU for sending me these emails they really made me dig deep inside myself to find the answers I needed. I COULDNT have pushed him away ANY FASTER if I would have reached out and pushed him with MY OWN HANDS!!! I AM FREE

  9. Iwasjusthermomsowhat

    All outa tears. And it’s been less than a year of the I’m done not speaking… longer if you consider the teen firing her parent (running away, being sexually exploited, trying to kill herself, truant from school etc) Was I blamed and abused… oh heck yes and stolen from and lied about and manipulated and BLAMED but without any Avenue to improve situation. Suffering, worrying, and feeling responsible and moreover being responsible for a minor.

    My every effort to help and solve the problem, including understanding my role in it was met with uncooperative rage, twisting projections, lies, hate & accused of controlling. Outside helping agencies saw mostly her perspective and while no one had answers all had motherblame to share. Ugh, so much frustration in the lack of help and ways left parent as powerless yet still held responsible, morally, ethically, socially, financially, and legally. Estranged not only from child but from System which finally was able to guide her a little bit (juvenile probation). I’m seen as not part of the treatment team and such but as ‘clients mother’ ie:problem, cuz they’d never have had to be involved if I’d have solved it alone like a mom is supposed to. And ‘those kind’ with kids that have an issue or two, must have started with the parent. Poor child! Grr. always have felt responsible for others feelings – something I partly chalk up to my own parent/s influence. So, heck, good for my child for owning her feelings and validating her experience and I hope she doesn’t default to blaming herself as easily as I have. That said a parent is a huge influence – I’d like to repair and understand but don’t think she knows exactly what is my side of the road and what is merely bumpy road for which she’d prefer to blame than face and process, and which is her side. The court ordered family counseling is not happening despite my occasional reminders and phone calls. I don’t have the energy to advocate harder than that. I’m ignored mostly anyway. And I still remember the report which assessed her and the main barrier to treatment was ‘mothers willingness to participate’

    I certainly have and at times still wish to cut contact with my own mother, it’s diminished greatly as I grow & older. But also partly I have never felt she would ever accept it – boundary issues. Part of me wishes my kiddo the best with this route. I hope it is the right decision for her and I hope it helps and I love her enough to accept it. I may not agree or understand it, but I’m sure she has her reasons. I was only her mother, my job was to raise her the best I could. I did that – it’s too bad she couldn’t just reach age of majority first. It would be nice to have an ongoing relationship but I’ve never felt I was owed one and that’s not why I had children. Sometimes family is who you chose and I hope she finds her tribe. My door will never be locked.

    I do resent having to sign forms without being respected but more like ‘ hey legal guardian robot – sign here, and sorry but we’re ignoring the order of counseling because our client doesn’t feel comfortable and we just wanna kick this can down the road till she reaches age – also it’s all your fault probably aka: we don’t have the answer either”.

    Thanks for reading my wall of text. Felt good to get it out.

    P.S. my own mom thinks I “should” and have a “duty to reach out to her as the adult”. And I’ve also heard from her siblings she tells them “ mom doesn’t even try to talk to me”. I thought I was working on my own issues (ya know the ones that ruined your life and made you hate me) jk, I’m working on them for me 1st. And I thought I was respecting your autonomy and nothing could be considered controlling about accepting your rejection.

    Ugh, I’m so tired in my life of being blamed, rejected and mistreated and trying doubly hard to empathize and fix it Pick me pick me, abuse me and I come back apologizing for my part saying ‘please love me’. Easier to accept it. I guess if this was a test of my commitment I failed. Let’s see how badly she will let me treat her because I’m angry and hurt about stuff. I reject her and she was supposed to realize that was deserved punishment and come back begging. She failed. Just add it to the list, ok. I’m already hated and blamed so what’s another point against me. Go talk to your dad about it, he had no respect for me either and everything in his life is someone’s fault. Hint: never his.

    And she does! And also the little brother at home. The other half don’t seem to hate and blame me so 2 outa 4. And if they all reject me, I’ll live. I was just their mom, so what!

  10. Christine V.

    I saw a “meme” on Facebook the other day that said “I would rather paint the house with a q-tip than care why you are not talking to me”. I laughed. I’m glad that I have mostly gotten to that point in my estrangement with my daughter. Some days I still “stew” over it but mostly I feel FREE- which is what Independence Day is all about. Cheers!

    1. Kate W.

      Hi Christine V. You’re absolutely right! I feel exactly as you do. Some days it still hurts me about my daughter’s rejection but here lately on most days I’m just fine. After all, for me this has gone on for so many years— it’s time to let go & I HAVE. I still have a life to live and I’m gonna do it the best way I can from here on. And I hope everyone else on here starts feeling better soon.

    2. Nikki H.

      I am looking outside and see a bird fly from tree to tree. Her babies have left with no return and she seems to be living a good life. Why can’t I?

  11. Amanda S.

    My sons came home to visit Christmas 2017, I was laying on the bed watching TV. My youngest son who was 31 years old at the time, walked in, laid his head down on my left shoulder. My oldest son who was 33 years old at the time, walked in, laid his head down on my right shoulder. I hugged them both, kissing their foreheads, not saying a word but enjoying a sweet moment I could not believe was happening. It was though God told me to cherish this moment because it would be the last. It was though time had frozen. I had no idea in 2019 they would choose to be so cruel and walk away. The loss has been so painful. Two years later in 2021, I do not want to ever feel that pain again. I miss the sons I gave birth to. I don’t miss or know the men they have become.

    1. rparents Post author

      Oh, Amanda! This is put in such a lovely way. Yes, this illustrates the stark contrast that occur in who we “used” to know and who we no longer know at all.

      I have moments to cherish too. We can all cherish the good times, the beautiful babies and youngsters who we adored. They’re still real in our hearts and a part of who we are, even today.

      HUGS to you,
      Sheri McGregor

    2. Elizabeth

      Yes, Amanda!! I remember the son we had…the one who was such a perfect child to raise, and never a bit of trouble. But his life changed the day he married…has it ever!! I hope you can take consolation in at least the next life holds no pain nor sorrow…so all will be well, somehow!! And at my age already, I so look forward to that time!! The fences of this life will not be the fences of the next!!

    3. Theresa D.

      Hi Amanda, Your story really touched my heart. I am so very sorry for your loss but that is exactly how I feel. I am estranged from my married son and 3 grand children for 3 years. They were my everything. We were extremely close and its too much to go into but he will not speak to me or anyone in our family or allow us to see the children. I truly raised an amazing man but I don’t know who he has become.

    4. Sunnyside2019

      Amanda: Thanks for your post. I too now have two sons who won’t have me in their life. The older one has abandoned me over a minor thing I said 8 years ago. Now, all of a sudden his younger brother has done the same. It’s only been a few months with the younger brother, but everything has changed with this younger one since he married. I am sure his wife is behind all of this with her controlling ways. But, my younger son has a mind and can think for himself and I can’t place all the blame on his spouse. I used to babysit for this son constantly and his children love me. Now, they are suffering too, I am sure. I really enjoy reading all of these posts as it helps and I know I am not alone. Keep sharing everyone!!

  12. Linda

    Dear “Still Standing,”
    Thank you for sharing your hearts. It is comforting to know we are not alone, yet none of us would wish to be part of this group. Let me just say that I draw my strength from God, my Father, Who has more “estranged kids” than anyone and HE IS THE PERFECT PARENT. I call what I’ve been going through with my estranged daughter (now for about 13 yrs officially) “experiencing God” in the fellowship of Jesus’ suffering, yet like St Paul says in 1 Corinthians 4:8, I am “…afflicted but not crushed, perplexed but not driven to despair, persecuted but not forsaken, struck down but not destroyed…so that the life of Jesus may be manifested through me.” Jesus Christ is my Only Hope in this life and life eternal, so I “press on” with my eyes fixed on Him…and encourage you to also. HE has promised Victory, if not here, then THERE!

  13. Anne M.

    Today is the first Monday of the month. And for the past two and a half years, I’ve been meeting with a group of mothers and grandmothers who attend daily the 8:30 Mass and Rosary and then meet in the cry room (how appropriate!) of our church. We share our stories and we pray especially to St. Monica, the mother of St. Augustine. She is the patron for many causes including wayward children.

    I know the pain of estrangement. I’ve dealt with it in varying degrees from 3 of our 4 children – all young adults. Not only are my children estranged from me, but they are also estranged from the Faith that my husband and I so carefully inculcated in them. They know what it is that they are leaving and that breaks my mother heart.

    My faith and especially daily mass are my anchor. I don’t want to be preachy but on this “First Monday” I share my story of the First Monday Monica’s. It helps greatly to know others are praying with and for us. We have “chapters” all over. Happy to discuss.

    God loves our children way more than we do. Take heart, the last chapter hasn’t been written yet. I do read every reply and have for 5 years now. This is my first response. I do feel your pain and I pray for all parents who experience it.

  14. mary r.

    Thank you for your EMAIL Sheri…..I just finished reading most of these comments….So sad to read about what they have been through, at how their Children has treated them, it puzzles me that this is the “NEW-NORM” now….It is my daughter’s 49th birthday (today) the 5th of July, she was due on the 4th of July, when we were living on a U.S. Air Force Base in Texas, but the Hospital (my husband is a Vietnam War Veteran) was closed that day…Both our daughters were born on the Base….So I did get “hurt”..with the help of my husband we got through it….Even though we live here in Australia we still keep-up on the 4th of July..AUSSIES here have wished us a Happy Day…..Thank you again Sheri

    1. rparents Post author

      Dear Mary,
      Thank you for commenting here and sharing a little about your life. When you said “Aussies,” I somehow read “G-day” instead of “Happy Day”! Isn’t that silly?

      I hope you weren’t waiting, in labor, for the hospital to open, but I’m glad you got through yesterday okay. On to a new week now (it’s Monday the fifth here in the U.S. as I write this, very early in the morning).

      Hugs, and thank you again, Mary.

      Sheri McGregor

  15. Tess

    Yes Melanie I couldn’t have written that better myself & so pleased u r living your golden years with joy. I love the words in old hymn too.
    It’s the 2nd time estrangement for me with my daughter. The first time was horrid, she came around, got my trust back and then last year hurt me yet again verbally and emotionally. It’s only then that I lashed back in a message to her as I was tired and feeling beaten down by the disrespect. We exchange short basic texts on birthdays but that’s it. I know her personality all too well and I know she will bite again when “I won’t listen to her worldly advice as to her great need to FIX me”. I know my limits and boundaries. I’ve decided I won’t let her hurt me again. The family wanted mediation but I didn’t, just more tears and heartache for me especially and I’ve had enough of that in the past. Time to make better choices & choose joy!

    One thing I did today that made me feel much better & brighter on this cold winters day was to finally “cull” my wardrobe of all “my ex fatty clothes!”…Ive lost 7kgs (16lbs) since I last had contact with her and those clothes don’t fit me physicall or emotionally any more..Packing the bags nicely to donate them to someone else who needs them is a good feeling….

    I’ve moved on and so have many of my lovely clothes…
    Hey everybody, as well as a big squeeze hug from me, please give yourselves a hug! I do it frequently! Xxx

    1. Margo C.

      Your letter could have been written by me. Thank you for giving voice to your relationship with your daughter. My oldest is the one by whom I am rejected. I won’t elaborate further because you are already a kindred spirit – the fine details of each estrangement vary, but the result is the same. I CHOOSE JOY, and live my life to the fullest as well! We don’t even exchange pleasantries any more – pointless, I guess. And of course, the Covid 19 mess has been the perfect storm for sinking our relationship. I just forgive her when hurt feelings crop up for me over what she has said and done, and I move ahead with my wonderful life. My heartbreak is my granddaughters, especially the youngest one, but one day she will be on her own and I know she will come to see me if I am still alive. If not, I am leaving a journal that will reveal much of my life to her and the rest of the family. I pray that God continues to bless you and all of us who have suffered this rejection. It is hard, but we must choose JOY!

    2. Nicola

      Isn’t it strange that our offspring think we should be changed or fixed and yet there is absolutely nothing wrong with them at all ?

  16. Suzanne L.

    Happy 4th of July, all you little firecrackers !
    Nursing a wretched migraine today and wondering how my offspring celebrated this year.

    I haven’t seen my eldest son in 27 years; my eldest daughter in 25. I’ve never met the 4 grandchildren I longed to hug all my life.

    I haven’t seen my middle daughter, attended her wedding, nor hugged her two daughters. I don’t even know their names or birthdays. The child I believe I devoted the most time and energy nurturing, turned on her brother and me during the divorce from her abusive, narcissistic father in 2001.

    I haven’t seen my youngest daughter, now 29, since she was 10 and forcibly abducted by her father.

    My middle son diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, and I were run off in the middle of the night on June5th, 2002, after a third attempt on my life. Matthew and I fled from MA to GA, knowing his father was petrified of the South since viewing “Deliverance.”

    Nineteen years after we were exiled, we are now preparing to relocate to CT and hopefully reunite with some of Matt’s siblings. My greatest fear is that I will die and my mentally challenged son will be left alone to fend for himself.

    This is the first time I dated to post here because I’m not a joiner by nature and if I were, I’d much rather join a weaver’s guild or a book club. But, I read many of the posts here and felt compelled to share, to let it be known that I am still standing, too. Today, we are who we are because of all our experiences and we may have been beaten and scarred, but we are ever so much stronger.

    Love and admiration to you all!

    1. Margie S.

      Suzanne, our youngest daughter left the family 16 years ago. We have had no contact with her at all during that time. I thought 16 years is a long time, but I feel for you—-your heartache is so heart wrenching to me. We are fortunate for 2 reasons—-she does not come around so the wound is not constantly re-opened. And we have 2 other great children and 4 wonderful Grandchildren, so we enjoy them. And thanks to Sheri for all the encouraging notes.

  17. Ginger

    July 4th 2021 marks 6 years as my last communication with my son. I’ve grown so much in these 6 years and while I still miss him so, it’s not as raw as it once was. I think that’s progress and I thank you Sheri and this forum for helping me through! Hugs to all who are going through this!

    1. Moving forward

      Sheris book has been so good fir me… its 7 months for us now… we have found we needed grieving time and its taken a while …but we have dried our tears and getting on with our lives
      We say we will be like the parable of jesus of the prodigal father who was waiting with open arms when and if the time comes for reconciliation
      We have other children who feel it is not warranted how we are being shut out
      We all as parents love our kids and will always do so
      Thanks sheri for your book

      1. rparents Post author

        Thank YOU, Moving forward. And thank you for sharing here in reply to Ginger. Yes, there comes a time to dry your eyes and get moving. No sense in wasting life … and instead, treasure it and the people in it who love you. You can fill those arms with love and affection and joy and lots to do … and then open them if or when the one returns.

        Sheri McGregor

  18. Frances

    Still standing, wasn’t sure that I would be during the first couple of years of estrangement from my adult daughter and grandchildren. I’m amazed to actually be finding joy again. It’s been five years now.
    Acceptance has been huge. Wishing and hoping left me constantly sad and disappointed.
    I could hardly go to the store and hear a toddler’s voice without missing my grandkids so bad that I had to turn around and leave.
    My ex husband has secrets he would rather no one know about, so he used his “nice guy” ways to win my daughter over and turn her against me.
    Reading your book, Sheri has been so helpful. Sharing with others in the same boat helps too.
    I’m in the process of writing my memoir about estrangement.

    1. Stephany

      Frances, I totally understand the ex husband situation. My ex has done exactly the same things for the last 50 years with my 3 children and I have no communication with any of them.

  19. Suzanne W

    It has been over seven years for me now. So timely to receive your email blast as I awoke to a Facebook post by a stepdaughter sitting in a family situation with my estranged daughter, her husband and the whole gang. Every time I say I am over it and it won’t bother me, but that’s not the case. I have mixed emotions. I immediately feel angry at her for being such an ass and then I am flooded with relief as she looks healthy and happy. I hit a depression over the estrangement earlier in the spring and decided I should try some professional counseling. I had two intense sessions with a counselor working towards writing a letter cleaning up my side of the street, admitting what I might have done better, etc with hopes of reconciliation. I started feeling worse during this process, blaming myself again and digging up old wounds. I paused on that course of action and now am focusing on taking care of myself, my husband and our dog. I truly believe the ball is in my daughter’s court and I must admit I don’t know if I could handle it now, if by some miracle she changed her decision and again wanted to be part of my life. I don’t know why she cut herself off from me – it was right after my mother died and money was involved. And her new husband is wealthy and we certainly don’t run in the same circles. I’m sure it is complicated.and I am tired of trying to figure things out. At one time I wrote letters, sent invitations and gifts and nothing ever was accepted. I ran the course. I have a good life today and cannot afford to dig up the rooster again. It’s in God’s hands and I am grateful for all I have and must believe something good will come of it. I will close in saying I have found nothing at all that compares with sharing this element of my life with someone else who is going through it. I feel judged by others or at least that they view my situation with a sense of suspicion or bafflement. God bless you for starting this chat room. Nothing like shared experience for healing. Celebrate your freedom! We are loved!

    1. rparents Post author

      Dear Suzanne,

      Thank you for your heartfelt note. Apologizing for something you know you did is one thing. Focusing on trying to shoot into the dark and guess about what the supposed problem is is quite another. Good for you figuring out what is right for your wellness. It takes two to tango … Or to reconcile.

      Continue to take kind care of yourself and thank you for commenting here.

      HUGS ,
      Sheri McGregor

    2. Rita F.

      Dear Suzanne, yes it is very tough what we all are going through. I have three daughters who have decided not to communicate with me, despite that I am batteling cancer right now. I tried my best when they were small, God knows. Actually my children were always my priority. I lost 2 husbands when they were small. I also do not know clearly why they have decided to act this way and abandon their mother. It is an evil choice to forget father or mother who have provided and loved and in my case not slept well for 10 years and other problems. I see my daughters at this time as immature and selfish. And they are 38, 36 and 26 years old. As you wrote this all is in God’s hands, we need to trust in him. His love is our healing. Take care. Thank you Sheri for this website, your love and support!

      1. rparents Post author

        You’re welcome, Rita. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and heart here among those who truly “get” it.

        Sheri McGregor

    3. Jeanne

      My daughter & I are victims of parental estrangement as well. My ex turned my family against me, (this was the 2nd marriage) & manipulated & exploited our shared child & many other family members.
      This has gone on for 20 years.
      Even so, our grown up daughter has chosen to estrange herself from me. (Not him).
      I thought i was handling things reasonably well at this pt. (After 2 yrs of estrangement.)
      However, I just returned from a small family gathering where I saw people I have Not seen in 14 years. I was excited to be included. Even so, once there, I experienced unexpected & unwanted emotional triggers.
      (These are family members who bought into my ex’s lies & have kept me at a distance.)
      So, now, finally I am included. My brother-in-law, while polite, managed not to engage in any conversation with me over a period of 4 plus days. After 2 days, others who were present, were being invited back, many entreaties made & references to “next time we get together”, etc.
      To me, nothing.
      The quiet indifference spoke volumes.
      Thus, I experienced fear that another 14 yrs might pass. I tried to access Bible scripture on my phone. Searched for paper & pen to make a prayer list. (We were in a car sight seeing). When we stopped, I was going to linger to gather myself. Then I thought someone wd notice. So I walked along a bit behind. Wfdn’t you know my senior mom noticed, approached me, asking questions, etc. Being concerned. And it all spilled out of me.
      So, now the estranged sister-in-law (me) w/ the severely estranged daughter is negativity assessed again.
      Thus, I found myself apologizing via text, etc.
      No apology from brother-in-law.
      And so it goes.
      As far as I am concerned, I had an understandable response to trauma experienced over those 14 yrs that my family chose not to include us. Basically, when I needed my family most, they chose to leave me & my daughter out.
      Without the protection & support of family, the circling of wagons so to speak, we were vulnerable & on the receiving end of a campaign from my ex to destroy the relationship between my daughter & me.
      So… it seems to have worked.
      A huge mess.
      And, our beautiful, super smart, talented, kind, hard working daughter…
      has decided to become trans, has been drawn into an almost cult-like life. Her personal & professional reputation all but ruined. Her prospects for a career are bleak.
      She graduated at the top of her class in college after winning an outstanding scholarship & slogging through an intense program.
      What is the problem?
      Wrong major & a very tough career choice.
      But Most of all, the never ending fallout of a divorce that wd not end. The chronic manipulation & exploitation which has caused this estrangement. Worst of all, it has wounded her so significantly that she remains in an unhealthy environment with someone else I believe is exploiting her.
      We need Prayer, lots of it.
      Thank you

      1. rparents Post author

        Prayers happening, Jeanne. You’ve had a rough ride, and your emotional responses are normal under the circumstances as you said. Take kind care of yourself.

        Hugs to you dear, Jeanne.

        Sheri McGregor

  20. Steel Magnolia

    So many stories ring true for most of us estranged parents. Reading them assures me that I’m not alone. I have been estranged from my daughter completely for 2 years. She cut me off from my grandchildren (who were my world) almost 5 years ago.

    I’m glad I’m not “in that place” emotionally anymore. I’m back from the guilt trips my daughter pushed me on and I would never do that again. I didn’t want this, she did. And it shocked me. At least I’m not her scapegoat anymore and I am blessed to have great friends and nieces who love me for me. No more walking on eggshells or being criticized constantly. I’m finally at a place where I find happiness and contentment with my life. And sometimes pure joy.

    1. Laurie B.

      I pray to get to this place. I’ve written an amends letter to my son, which at first, he accepted my apology. I thought that healing could now begin. But a few weeks later, he sent me an email spewing so much hateful remarks, that I am feeling dazed and numb. He told me that I will not get to see my first grandchild being born. He is drinking, and I can tell he is getting bitter- at 31! This is painful and sad, but I’ve got to detach and let go now. It would not matter how many apologies I were to make. I hurt for him, and the pain he’s in, but I refuse to be his scapegoat. I pray for healing for all estranged parents. Thanks Sherri for providing us with a forum to help us feel less alone. ☮️

      1. rparents Post author

        Dear Laurie,

        I have heard thousands of stories like yours … the amends letter that is replied to with vitriol (often after an initial thank you or other hopeful response). I talk more about this in Done With The Crying, and believe these letters are not often the best (or even good) advice. Take care and be well. Hugs, Sheri McGregor

  21. Donna

    Diane I’m so sorry about your two granddaughters. It is so sad they’re caught in the middle. Me daughter husband is precious & I know he’s hurt also. I think my daughter has a low self esteem and she needs a scapegoat to vent her anger & frustrations. My mother ( her grandmother) was so much the same. I put up with my mother’s meanness over 23 years until she died. I’ve been walking on eggshells with my daughter for 18 and have been like a doormat for her because I know how she is and I’ll do anything for my grandkids. I’m 70 years old and I know I don’t deserve to be treated like this. If it weren’t for the precious grandkid (late teens/early 20’s) I could deal with cause honestly I’m so tired of being treated like this for virtually no reason. Good luck to you. I’m going to work real hard at working thru this because if I don’t I know my life will be cut short. I do know Jesus personally and know he’s walking with me.

  22. Liz

    Well said Melanie. I used to wonder what would be worse. Estrangement or death. We often go walking where our estranged son lived. Not to torture ourselves but because it’s a beautiful place to walk. I always wondered what we would say if we bumped into him. Sadly he died suddenly and unexpectedly after a minor surgery last December. We had been estranged for years. We have so many questions we’ll never have answered but the one question I know the answer to now is…death is worse than estrangement. No chance of reconciliation.
    Melanie I resonate with ‘it is well with my soul’. We are at peace even though broken hearted. I believe we will see him in heaven and maybe if it’s important by then, our questions will be answered.
    My heart is with every parent and sibling, as our other children are just as shattered as we are, who is walking this journey.

  23. Diane

    Even though I’ve been estranged from my adult daughter and her family for quite a while now, it is so comforting to read all of your comments. It feels better to know that I am not alone in this situation. My daughter and I were so close when she was young and even when she was a teenager. My son was more aloof then but was always with his friends. Now, my daughter and even my three adult grandkids backed off of our relationship, same with my son-in-law. But I was never told the reason. Now, I am in contact with my son. So, that was a strange twist of things. It’s the reverse of how it was when they were growing up. My son has a mental illness and is on disability. He’s 49 y/o and I’m grateful he’s alive because he attempted suicide several times. But I keep letting him know how much I love him and am always here for him. My daughter, and her whole family, are no longer even emailing me. Yet I know she keeps in touch with her dad, stepmother and stepbrothers’ and stepsisters. That really hurts. Luckily, I have good friends and neighbors. They are my “family” now. So, I am most grateful for them plus my son. I have created a new life for myself now. Please try to create a new family for yourselves with close friends and neighbors. Cherish those that really want to be with you and love you just for being YOU. And don’t just say, “I’m still standing,” say, I’m dancing now too! Be happy. Do something just for YOU every single day. You are worth it. Yes, we’ll still have some difficult days, but hopefully soon, you will have much more better, happier ones. That is my wish for all of you! : )

    1. Nicola

      Diane I really hope to get to this point too but at the moment I can’t find my way. Just as I think I am making progress I might see a grandparent and child in a shop or on the street and I am almost winded by how raw it feels. It seems absolutely every single tiny aspect of myself has been criticised and analysed, even down to banal details like housework. Everything is twisted and made out to be some great crime by my daughter whom I also was very close to until a couple of years ago. This pursuit of character assassination is baffling so I made the decision ( after being estranged for almost a year now ) to walk away before I am broken. I have started to read ‘ Done with the crying’ and I am on here almost every day which I find very comforting so yes rather than engage and hear how everything I have ever done ( there are huge great chunks that are now missing from the timeline to be replaced with revisionist history) ripped apart I am choosing to draw a line under it all.

    2. Gail

      Thank you, Diane, for this encouragement : “And don’t just say, “I’m still standing,” say, I’m dancing now too! Be happy. Do something just for YOU every single day.”

      Going to the ballet together was something my daughter (now estranged) and I used to enjoy. Well, the other night I discovered I could watch a TV program on our laptop on the history of the Australian Ballet Company. (We no longer have a working TV). I was surprised by how much pleasure that one-hour program gave me. Rather than make me sad, it provoked me to reflect on the many hours I had spent taking my daughter to her ballet lessons and concert rehearsals and on the joyful times I had watching her perform in the annual concerts. I believe she may be still attending a weekly ballet class for adults.

      So now, it’s my turn to ‘dance’!

      Blessings to every parent who comes to this website for answers or encouragement and to Sheri who has provided such a wonderful forum for us.

  24. Sharon E.

    It has been almost five years that I have been estranged from my only child. My daughter. Yet, hasn’t she been distant to me all her life? And the excuses she made for the estrangement were weak and unjust. She knew this also. I felt like pulling out a little purple violin for God Sake!
    The estrangement came after I sold the house. If I had not done so, we would still be together and I would have my adult grandchildren. My daughter has much in her life. She has been blessed with good fortune, a very good job, a business owner, a mansion by the river. She teaches of love. A Councillor who does that yet cannot love her Mother who raised her alone and put her through school. I lost what I thought was my child, my best friend, my little sister…and for what?? A house! If that’s what it takes to keep her, I don’t want her anymore. At least I don’t ‘think’ I want her. I would always be thinking ‘when is she going to do this to me again?

    1. Tess

      Yes Sharon my estranged daughter is a counsellor as well, but it seems everything she has learned in that area she has chosen not to apply to her own life. It reminds me of a person who points the finger always at others and yet never seems to really look in the mirror at her own true reflection? I don’t try to work her out anymore, she is who she is & if she’s fortunate she’ll get older herself. I guess I was brought up to respect others especially ones parents. Her father died a few years ago, so im the only parent now.
      I’ve blocked off overthinking about what her internal issues have always been, because even as a child she was always wanting more & felt she was hard done by growing up. Funny thing is my other 2 children were brought up the same way & appreciate I did the best I could..Now she’s an adult she can make her own choices. I’ve chosen to try to do something nice for myself each day, even if that is just getting through the day sometimes. A warm bath of a cold evening, a walk outside rugged up from the cold even if my joints are sore and aching. I’ve written a list of things that lift me up and I try to do at least one every day, it helps dampen the blues.

  25. Gracie2021

    “It is well with my soul”. Thank you for the reminder of that wonderful hymn.
    Hopefully, we can ALL get to that special place. It’s tough sometimes but with a “special place” such as this Forum, it helps!

  26. Elizabeth

    As this holiday approached, I realized that I don’t have memories that make it harder, as in missing out on anything with kin as usually we were not with extended family most years…as we were on other holidays. And that makes me grateful now…as it is just another day of the week. Sometimes the things we lacked, actually in this time of virtually no contact to speak of, actually easier as there was nothing much to miss. Strange how the estrangements have ended up for us all, isn’t it? Whoever could have known. Over time I have found small ways to enjoy life. Thanks Sheri for this place and for the encouragement it provides!!

    1. rparents Post author

      You’re welcome, Elizabeth! I’m impressed with how you have reinterpreted, reframed, adopted a new perspective about what was once seen as lack now being a plus.

      HUGS to you ,
      Sheri McGregor

  27. Pauline G.

    I am not in the States and I live in the U.K. so for me the 4th of July is no big thing. I have got the book and it has been a great help to me. In regard of the fireworks I am still standing and will try to continue to do so. Like all of you here estrangement is a way of life to many in the U.K. With me it has been my daughter , she comes in and out of my life although in the last three years it has been more out than in. I have got to the point that I can live without her as she has changed beyond recognition and the more I know of her the less I want to know. I kept up any contact with her only for the love I have for the grand-children and who I miss more than any-thing possible. I am still thinking of going to court to get visiting rights to the grand-children although it could make things more stressful. I feel more pain because my eldest daughter has now stopped communicating with me and says she is siding with her sister because I stopped the financial
    help and children are expensive. I am alone and pay all my own bills and put money away for a funeral after all someone has to pay it and it has to be done. My daughter has three children and there are 2 dads and they pay nothing and yet I was always asked to pay her bills.
    Anyway everyone just keep moving forward seek the best life you can, prayers said for you all.

    1. Nicola

      I am the same Pauline in that I think I am grieving for the daughter I knew and loved and whom simply does not exist any more. Instead is a person I barely recognise, a bully who manipulates and has seemingly loved causing a huge rift in the family and continues to do so.

    2. Eeyore

      I’m always afraid to say it out loud, but if my daughter is going to continue to become estranged every few years for no apparent reason then I’d just soon she’d stay gone. Jerking my emotions back and forth is just so taxing. She is my only child. I love her but have to admit I’m in the anger stage and I really don’t like her very much.

  28. Donna

    I’m encouraged that my husband and I will make it through this although our estrangement with one of our daughters is just 4 month old and still raw. The struggle now is with her young adult daughter (our granddaughters) who we’ve cherished since the day they were born. We’ve been very close physically and emotionally and we’re always available for them. I sense a pulling away by them knowing they are totally devoted to their Mom (our daughter). They are in between a rock and a hard place and we know they still love us. I’m working at trying to achieve healing but it will be a long hard slog. Thank you all for sharing your heartbreaking experiences.

    1. Diane

      Awwwh Donna so very sad how can our children become so unfeeling I ask ? Do they gang up on us ?
      I think it’s the …..I’m in charge Sindrome . Egged on by a partner.
      I am in a situation where I still have contactact with my first grandchild but only because she wants that. Although the stepmother steps in to cancel out our arrangements. Unfortunately I am not allowed to see the second grandchild as it’s from a different mother….how complicated it all is….the poor children are in councillors and will be forever scared omg I despair !!,

    2. Shawlana

      Donna, do try to keep in touch with your granddaughters through thoughtful cards on holidays, an email occasionally with a bit of cheerful news about your life, but expect nothing in return from them. Ask no questions and be upbeat and receptive always. They know where you are if they need you.

  29. Cory

    It’s been four years since my estrangement. At first every nerve in my entire existence hurt with a sharp unyielding ache and holidays was salt in the proverbial wounds.
    The ache is still there but has dulled and is tempered with the positive and beautiful memories I hold onto.
    In my situation my 83 year old mother and sons have also been estranged and my ache is that generations of grandchildren who will never remember their great-grandma or the lessons she longs to share with them. Someday I know that will haunt my daughters conscience as maturity catches up with them.
    Still, the skies light up as fireworks go on and I have been able to find once again beauty in them. I pray each of you momma’s and dads who are estranged are able to as well

    1. rparents Post author

      Thank you, Cory. Another strong example of a kind and caring mom. I know your words will be appreciated here by other parents. *I* appreciate your words too!

      Hugs to you,
      Sheri McGregor

    2. Rod H.

      I hold on to the good memories of my adult sons, luckily I have a good relationship with one, the other two have been estranged for several years. It has been enough years that I have gone through all of the emotions and I have done the only thing I can, move on in life without them. My generation we didn’t treat our parents this way good or bad. I have accepted what I can’t change and changed the things I could. God be with you who miss their children during this holiday. Prayers for all of you!

    3. Char

      Thanks Cory. It has been almost a year since we last saw our granddaughters and sadly, it doesn’t get any easier. I have found out our son is telling his brother that he wasn’t happy with my parenting, he is 42 years old, was loved unconditionally, encouraged all the time as was his brother. I am the scapegoat and have to wonder if the hurt will ever stop. Today is my husband’s 75th birthday and to think this child of ours has no intention of calling, or even sending a card is disgusting.
      I write in a journal I started when our granddaughters were born, it’s not as easy to write when we have no contact, but when we are gone, they will always know just how much they are loved and missed. I hope they can find the beauty we have lost.

  30. Maytime

    Carla, your comment took me back to the beginning of my estrangement from my son and I couldn’t even think of getting through a week, yet alone a year. We’re now on year 5. Sheri’s brilliant book and this website has helped me more than I can say. Both helped me to recognise a decline in his behaviour from disrespectful teenager to hostile young adult to the final straw which was an extremely hurtful letter when he was in his mid 20s. He only makes contact when he wants money. I don’t know him, don’t trust him and, I never thought I’d say this, but I’m better off without the anguish and worry of him in my life. To all hurting parents out there, always remember that you don’t know how tough you are until being tough is your only option.

    1. rparents Post author


      Yes, sometimes tough really is the only option … for our own safety and well-being.

      HUGS to you. You’re tough but you’re also very soft in your caring way to share with others here.

      Sheri McGregor

    2. Foyta

      Thank you for sharing your feelings. My 35 year old daughter who was always a disrespectful teenager, distant and unloving daughter and out of my life for long periods of time is now unemployed no insurance and I am supporting her. Meanwhile I get endless hateful hateful hateful texts. This makes me resentful of the help I provide. BUT I realize there’s a component of mental illness. Her behavior is not normal but it is hurtful nevertheless.

      Big hug to all of you out there.

    3. Christine M.

      It’s been four years for me as of May it’s been so difficult that I am finally moving away from the same city that they live in because I’m terrified of running into them at the local stores one daughter lives four minutes away the other one lives seven minutes away my husband has encouraged me to make the move to make my life easier and I believe it will make it easier I don’t think about them every day anymore. My biggest heartache right now is that I don’t get to see my grandchildren they took that away for me too although the two younger ones are starting to reach out through social media. Your encouraging words help me get through the holidays and special occasions every year it gets easier not better but easier thank you for your encouragement.

    4. Janice W.

      Your words hit home…I’m almost to year four…Sherri’s book has helped me immensely also. I saw many signs of decline as well years ago and allowed disrespecful behavior, etc. The hurt is still there but diminishing. Thank you..Blessings, Jan

    5. C

      For several years my daughter had been telling me what to do and finally I stood up to her. Five years ago she said I didn’t trust her and she never wanted to see me again. So I moved across the country to live near my son. He and his wife have been helpful and loving and now I am at peace without my daughter.

    6. Diane

      Totally get that ….a diminishing relationship and not really caring but going through the motions.
      Sorry not for me …all or nothing …either in or out. Guess we know where we are in the pecking order as the sons wife s family is all. Taste was never his thing. Think we are better out. Thankfully.

  31. Dawn C.

    For me it is 9 weeks today, struggled as a working single mum to provide the basis -other parent was the fun one! Moved in with him and now absolute ghosting, won’t answer my calls let alone even read the one message I sent asking if we could talk. Absolute shock and pain is indescribable. But working through “done with the crying” to help myself through something I never expected to deal with. Wishing you a Happy Independence day and peace for your heart

    1. rparents Post author

      Hi Dawn,

      I’m so sorry you’re a member of the “club.” I hope you will go slow and take your time with the book (and that it will help). Thank you for commenting here where your feelings and situation are truly understood.

      Big hugs to you!

      Sheri McGregor

    2. Phyllis B.

      Thank you for sharing. I am coming up on 7 months and like you, I never thought this would be my life. At first I was a royal mess, but as time goes by, it gets easier a day at a time. Looking back, anytime she came home, it was like walking on eggshells. I was criticized for everything, even the fact that my vision was declining. I raised her and her sister as a single mother – often working 2 to 3 jobs just so they wouldn’t feel like the were missing out on things (braces, sports, vehicle’s, cell phones). Their dad rarely contributed. She was in the area a few weeks ago (she lives in another state). I never heard from her and sadly to say, I was relieved to hear that she was back in her home state. The anxiety was unreal.

      Thank you to everyone for sharing. It makes a world of difference.

    3. M

      I’m so sorry! I was a single parent for many years also. Similar to you, their dad was the fun one. I understand and have true empathy because I too have been “ghosted”. It’s been apx 10 years and at times becomes easier. Other times, not as much.
      I finally decided to leave the home I brought them up in and make a life for myself. It took awhile for me because I always thought they’d be back because I didn’t and still don’t know WHY. Ghosting is cruel and mean.

      I do know their father had everything to do with it. But that’s a long story.

      Wishing you the best and speedy healing.
      M. R.

  32. Cecily B.

    I’ve been estranged from my adult daughter since November 4, 2019. I actually asked her to leave. 7 years of disrespect and untruthful accusations had come to a head. But she cut me off entirely. I realize I had to do what I had to do then… just wish I’d forced family counseling earlier. Pray for her success and happiness daily ( not only do I desire this girl her but I see that as our only chance). Try to track her whereabouts through mutual contacts. I have faith that one day we’ll be reunited

  33. Shelly M.

    3 years ago I moved 1,000 miles to be near my daughter’s family in Florida. 13 months later after she and her husband had some problems and I offered she and the kids a place to stay, the husband cut me out of their lives completely. He told her to choose, him or me. In a single day I lost my daughter, my best friend, and my 3 grandchildren. They were my life. I was heartbroken for several months, pleading with my daughter to change her mind, then one day I got angry. I realized I had done nothing wrong! I had only tried to protect her and the children from a dangerous situation and had been demonized for it…and I vowed in that instant NOT to let their characterization of me define me or determine my happiness another second of my life. I can’t control or change what they think, say, or believe about me, but I can control how I respond. They changed, I didn’t, and I refuse to let them take the hopes and dreams I had for my life, or the joy. Since then I’ve made a concerted effort to find new interests, new friends, a new life. Do I miss them? Absolutely! Every day! But do I spend my life grieving or mourning my daughter any longer? No I don’t! She made a choice and so did I. I chose to take back my sense of control, and as a result of that choice I’m still standing!!

    1. Cindy B.

      Wow your story is the same as mine, my daughter divorced and remarried and both husbands tell her what to do, what to say. I basically raised my grandsons while she was surfing the web for the next man in her life. I gave my kids a wonderful childhood, my grandsons were my world, it has been 4 years since this all happened and I took a job driving a school bus here in town , my grandkids are 5 miles away, I figured one day I will open my bus doors at a stop and they will be standing there. They know there Nana!
      Am I setting myself up for more hurt probably but I try to keep some hope alive. I am looking forward to the future of having my own freedom one day but I won’t let my daughter dictate the rest of my life.

    2. Diane

      Shelly ….just wow I fully admire your strength of character. I want to be like you ! But Deep down I know I am cos I’ve made the decision to cut the son off due to his really bad behaviour due to being controlled the wife. It comes at a cost of course but …..I know I did the right thing. He was upsetting our lives with his behaviour controlled by his wife. ….maybe one day he will learn but don’t hold my breath.

    3. Stephany

      Way to go Shelly! We all have to stand up to them and not let them make our lives miserable. We all deserve to be happy and at peace with our lives.

  34. Margi

    Thanks Sheri for your always encouraging posts! I am not a ‘we’, I am an ‘I’ (my good second husband died seven years ago) and estranged from my only child after he and his wife stole from me and committed fraud by selling an apartment that legally belonged to me and for which I retained the necessary paperwork necessary to sell. He is a narcissist and is ADHD. As such he has been a problem his whole life (now 50). I managed with legal help to regain a portion of the sale price. Now he is unresponsive and even refused to tell me that he would give the expensive gift I wanted to send to my only grandchild to her on her seventh birthday. They use her as a pawn.
    Holidays are always sad for me as is growing older with no one to help if needed and no one to inherit what I have worked all my life for!
    I am still standing and free of the constant pain he inflicted his entire life. This day is only a day on the calendar and will soon be over!

    1. rparents Post author

      Hello Margi,

      You’re still standing AND have some fire in you! I’m really sorry that you were hurt financially. It’s not just fraud (as if that can even be qualified with a “just,”) but also elder abuse.

      I’m glad you were able to recover at least a portion. Yes, it’s just one more day.

      Sheri McGregor

  35. Rubyheart

    thank you so much all here, After living 12 years of this, to me it still feels unnatural and coping with that….on the other hand to my child it might feel fully natural or normal to choose a life without his mom and/or dad, I,ve raised him as a single mom. My therapist told me I chose a bad deal with his dad and I didn’t learn to protect myself… plenty of challenges ahead, as one person here said earlier, one day at the time, step by step, let me just add, breath by breath?

  36. Carla W.

    I am still in my first year, and the pain is crippling. I hear three years and five years and I wonder how you all do it. I pray to have your strength to move through this.

    1. rparents Post author

      Dear Carla,

      One foot in front of the other. Even tiny steps to take kind care of yourself are forward momentum.

      HUGS ,
      Sheri McGregor

  37. Pam

    Your words are heartfelt….like the song “Bombs Bursting In Air”….that how it feels everyday being estranged from my only child (daughter) and grand babies….but like the song I’m still here…standing…and hope to get to a place of peace like you someday.
    Happy 4th to all of the estranged parents today…Let freedom ring…..stay standing!!!!

  38. Roger

    I’m 3 years into the estrangement initiated by two of my sons…I have resigned myself to accept there is nothing that I can do to change this…I have zero contact…I know everyone points fingers at others but my ex(their ‘mother’) is a narcissist…she has emotionally murdered my sons and I’m confident that gives her great pleasure…I realize it is not my sons’ fault that I brought a narcissist into their lives…I really don’t cling to hope any longer as it serves no purpose other than to promote continued disappointment …and the holidays are less painful…I will be here if they choose to contact me but I’m not sure how I would react …I would not lash out with accusations nor anger…but I couldn’t really trust them either…prayers of understanding extended to all the estranged parents in this community …

    1. rparents Post author

      Thank you, Roger. I think your words here probably represent what a lot of parents may feel … so reading your comment will help.

      HUGS, and Happy 4th!
      Sheri McGregor

    2. Linda

      Sorry you are going through this. Just opposite. Years ago my Pastor told me my sons father was turning him against me, but I didn’t believe my husband could do such a thing. And i thought, even so, my son would never listen to such lies. However, alas, here I am. My son hasn’t spoken to me in 4 year’s.

      1. rparents Post author

        Dear Linda,

        Someone will read your post and open their eyes to what’s so painful and difficult to believe. Thank you for sharing.

        Hugs to you,
        Sheri McGregor

  39. Melanie

    I often quote the old hymn: It is well with my soul. I am free from the wrenching pain I felt in the early days of the estrangement which continued for about 5 years. This is their loss, not ours. We are moving forward to a life filled with excitement. They are missing out on our golden years and all the wonders it brings with it. We are not just “sparklers”, we are bursting with color and joy.


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