Estrangement in the New Year: The Blanket of snow

by Sheri McGregor


Photo source: Pikwizard

Don’t let the pain of estrangement ruin your New Year.

On this beautiful morning, no matter where you live or what the weather is like, imagine the world before you as if a soft blanket of snow has gently fallen in the night.

Gone are the muddy footprints and trails to nowhere. Erased are the well-worn ruts to unhelpful thinking, worries, whys? and what ifs?

On this blank slate of the New Year, take a little time to imagine the trails forward you will make. While it’s true that any of us can start fresh anytime, today it’s official.

Are you excited? I am.

Even in estrangement, make this a terrific year.

It’s time to start.

Think of the changes you will make. Maybe it’s to alter how often you reach out, or to let go of expectation or a desired outcome. Perhaps it’s to leave the strife behind entirely, and embrace your own happiness—and if so, what does that mean? Your goals are your own. Make them now and begin to work toward them. Yes, work may be involved. But it doesn’t have to be grueling. Even tiny steps inch you forward.

Take a few minutes to really consider what you’d like to leave behind. Get a pen and paper and jot down your thoughts.

Estrangement: Time and energy wasted

For many parents of estranged adult children, so much time and energy has been consumed by the emotional pain that they’ve missed the good that’s beside or in front of them. Others have striven for a goal that is beyond their control. Don’t let next year dawn with regret. Consider how 2019 will be different.

Turn back to the goals section in Done With The Crying, and consider what improvements you can make. One mother wrote to say that she had read the book but would start the exercises today. Her responses will be her own unique road map to make 2019 about moving forward with purpose.

Just want peace and happiness?

Some who have suffered the raw emotions and hurt of estrangement say all they want is peace and happiness in the coming year. Even this takes a plan. Without preparation, the same old issues, hurtful thinking, and habits will return. Consider:

  • What will you do when your mind wanders to the same old pointless questions?
  • How will you handle an uninformed question?

Consider whatever it is that robs you of peace and happiness. And then you can make a plan. Without forethought, even the most useful resolutions can go awry. In Done With The Crying, there is an exercise to get you thinking about each area of your life and how you can make it better. Try it. Work on just a few areas at a time. Make a plan to move forward, and also how not to slide back.

I would love to hear about your plans for the New Year, and what you share by leaving a comment will help other parents, too. You’ll also find a few links below, to articles here at the site that can be of use as you move forward.

estrangement New YearEven if estrangement has muddied things up for you this past year, imagine that beautiful blanket of snow for the New Year. What helpful trails will you make in it? Where will your tracks lead?

HUGS to all. ~~ Sheri McGregor


Related Reading:

Estrangement: Shape your new normal

Give yourself a break

How to cope when your adult child cuts you out of their life

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17 thoughts on “Estrangement in the New Year: The Blanket of snow

  1. lisa

    I try to move on; to be a well-rounded individual with friends, hobbies, volunteer work, and a few social activities. My “new” husband’s family has been remarkably accepting, though it does leave me feeling cheated when no one asks me about my 2 EDs (& 1 EGS), the only children and remaining family I have. It’s perplexing, but suppose understandable & don’t really need to have this basic acknowledgment anymore. The oldest ED moved back to the hometown (as a teen moving in with a now deceased aunt) and inserted her narrative, winning much of family/friends over and that’s fine. It’s no longer my home, or “my” state even & never will be again. Her father lives in same state as oldest ED & her son (who I never met) & seems to have forgotten how we all arrived here, estranged. His long-time GF has helped that. Youngest ED lives close to me, minutes away. There was a time when I desperately wanted us all to reach out to oldest ED, but their father (my ex) and youngest ED both refused, still very angry & distrustful of her and this continued for a decade plus. An argument with my youngest changed all that. It was a normal mother-daughter tiff that morphed into this monstrous estrangement thing that I just cannot wrap my head or heart around, no matter how long I’ve tried. Youngest reunited with the oldest, they both migrated to dad & GF and everyone seems fine without the one person who loved them the most & hardest. It’s like I never existed. It’s a level of cruelty that is most astonishing. I sort of get that with ex/dad, though I would have never allowed them to shut him out if shoe were on other foot. Why I’m writing now; youngest is in a dangerous job that puts her out-front/center in one of our most dangerous cities. Whenever one such public servant makes the news, like a few days ago, I’m hanging on an emotional thread. The news never releases names unless a death, just gender, so I only know it’s a female in serious condition. I won’t call her “boss” due fear of upsetting her, but have reached out to news agencies and called hospitals to no avail. I often have nightmares that are morbid and about funerals that I can’t attend. In reality, I don’t even know if I’m listed as a contact. Or if her father would even contact me. While I’m very happy that both EDs are successful adults, I’m struggling with youngest ED’s profession and more so due being an estranged mother. Worry compounded by darkness. Any suggestions would be most appreciated. Thank you for listening.

    1. rparents Post author

      Dear Lisa,

      The worry you describe is not unlike the feelings other parents face when a natural disaster occurs. Fire, hurricane, tornado… They wonder and wait.
      Ultimately, accept the feelings as completely normal. You would have these concerns even if you were not estranged. The part that’s different is that your fears are disenfranchised because of the estrangement. It helps to have people you can openly share the feelings with. Consider joining the peer support forum. Eventually, you can work to get beyond them (Done With The Crying can help). Meantime, speaking to those who understand does help.

      HUGS to you. I’m sorry you have the need to comment here.

      Sheri McGregor

  2. Lisa

    Thank you Sheri. I feel very fortunate to have found your site, as do we all, I’m certain. Reading everyone’s (familiar) struggles and hearing the advice you offer, a godsend.

  3. Donna B.

    I just found this site yesterday and I am so relieved that I am not alone. I have read so many of the stories and the emotions that I go through are felt by all. It has been almost 12 years that my youngest son decided that he wanted nothing to do with me. Now, it’ been 7 months that my oldest son decided the same thing. I have 4 grandsons and have never seen 2 of them. Growing up, all I wanted was to be a mom and grandmother…now, I live with the emotions of being neither. I was the mother that did everything in her home to make extra $$ so I could stay home and not have to send my sons to daycare. How did all those sacrifices pan out for me? Not very well.
    I knew there had to be mothers out there going through the same thing, I just didn’t know of any. I am thankful to have found this site and know that there are many with the same struggles.

  4. Patricia

    I am also new to the site. It’s very helpful to know that I am not alone and that other’s know how it feels to deal with estrangement of adult children. I’m sad and disappointed that my children feel the way they do about me. I’m a single senior citzien and feel very alone. But, I’m determined to keep moving forward. I have many things to be grateful for in my life and it’s difficult to think about leaving them behind. It’s something I never wanted to do. But, I feel I must. The emotional turmoil of staying involved takes a toll on me. I work full time due to financial need and have to have the energy to do my job. I do plan to take one tiny step at a time and begin to enjoy my life instead of waiting for them to change. I realize I can only control me and, that isn’t always easy either. Baby steps on the road to health and happiness is my goal for 2020.


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