Estrangement between parents and adult children: Feeling stuck

estrangement between parents and adult childrenParents of estranged adults wonder: Is the relationship over for good? Will our son or daughter ever return to us? Or even (whether you want it or not): Will my estranged adult son show up on my death bed?

The painful ambiguity that goes with estrangement between parents and adult children can cause parents to remain in a holding pattern, with their lives in limbo.

Physical estrangement, psychological presence

Your adult child is estranged but present in your thoughts. So much time, energy and love goes into raising a child that we’re bound to think of them. That’s why family gatherings, holidays, and other special times can hold an odd tension between present and past.

My husband and I still live in the home where we raised all of our children, so reminders of our estranged adult child abound. When my family is together, the psychological presence of our estranged adult son looms, kind of like the proverbial 400-pound gorilla. Much of the time, we pretend it’s not there, but it sits in the corner nonetheless, beating its chest.

Estrangement between parents and adult children: common feelings

In a 2011 article in the journal, Families in Society, University of Newcastle research discusses estrangement between parents and adult children. Parents can feel stuck, not knowing whether their adult son or daughter will return or not. The ambiguous nature of estrangement can complicate the experience. But the questions and feelings shared by many parents of estranged adult children are normal.

You are not alone. Still, knowing that other parents have a similar experience doesn’t automatically make the feelings any easier to deal with. So, in light of the ambiguous nature of estrangement between parents and adult children, how do you manage the uncertainty? You can find help with this article: Dealing with Uncertainty.

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

3 thoughts on “Estrangement between parents and adult children: Feeling stuck

  1. Sandra

    How do I handle “I am done!” . My daughter, a physiologist has played me and walked in and out of my life for the last 15 years always giving me advice on how to improve and what she wants from me. Now she has left her family to marry a man 31 years older and travel the world. She rants and raves about her lousy familyto everyone and my friends have left my husband and I because she is so well trained, we can’t fight it anymore. Her siblings love us and so do our grandchildren. She was given college, cars, money for a wedding and expensive gifts. Never a thank you. But through all this, there is the voice of failure always on my shoulders. I worked full time my entire life and cleaned houses at night to give her everything I never had. I can’t stop crying and I don’t know how to move on at 70 years. How do I handle this? My husband is hurting too but won’t talk about it. He is so embarrassed.

    Reply
  2. forgetmenot1948forgetmenot1948

    Sandra, so sorry you are living this nightmare like
    the rest of us. Psychologist or not, it doesn’t give her the right to bring you up through a knot hole.
    So sad she’s doing this to you. I’m glad you have other children and grandchildren who love you.
    It is embarrassing and inexcusable. My daughter, my
    ES, has a best friend who is a psychiatrist and she’s
    done so much damage with all her psycho babble
    and doesn’t know me from Adam. Shame on her I say
    and like in all professions, there is good and bad.
    You know in your heart what kind of mother you
    we’re. I think she has personal issues. I hope within time your husband can open up about his pain
    to free himself. Blessings, Annie

    Reply

Please Login to Comment.

Website Protected by Spam Master