Estrangement: Parents, use weepy days for your own good

Estrangement: Parents whose children have rejected them may have weepy days, but they can use them for their own good 

By Sheri McGregor

my son hates meThe 18-year-old face that looks at me from the photocopied passport is strong. It’s my handsome son—only I’ve seen a more recent photo on the Internet, and he doesn’t look the same. He’s changed so much that if I passed him on the street tomorrow, I might not recognize him.  

Stapled to the top left corner of the page is a receipt for registered mail. Many years ago (it seems like eons now), I made the copy before sending the original to an address my son had given me. He was moving far away, so I would send it for safekeeping to the mother he’d exchanged me for. When he married, he got a new sister, brother, and father too. I don’t know who he’s with these days (and it’s none of my business anyway).   

I pause in my clearing of the desk drawer to remember the day we got our passports. We stood in line at the post office, filled in the paperwork side-by-side, and had our photos taken. We needed passports for an out-of-country trip we were taking together. Just him and I. Back then, I could never have imagined all that later transpired, that he would reject me and his whole family, and that I would look back on years of estrangement that have become the norm. 

The desk chair rocks slightly as the memories fill my head. On that trip with my son, we took dozens of digital photos. Mountains and cows and fields and sky. Tourist spots, views from a paddle boat, and a banana-sized slug we encountered on a trail.  It was a fun trip. When we got home, I printed out a few of the photos, and then asked my techie son if he would burn the rest onto a CD—that’s also here in the desk drawer. In black Sharpie ink on the disc, my son’s strong, square handwriting says, “Trip With Mom.”        

I feel my mouth droop into a frown, but I don’t cry. I’m long past the early years of estrangement when finding a photo or some other memento could instantly reduce me to tears. One thought would lead to another and before long I’d be having one of those weepy days. Most parents of estranged adults have had them, those days when the question pounds—why?–and we feel so powerless that several days might be lost to sad, looping thoughts. Or we spend several nights sitting up in the dark, our faces streaked with tears lit silver in the moonlight.  

 Get a new perspective 

I grew tired of those sad, out-of-control days. I didn’t like feeling powerless, unable to change the reality of my son’s decisions, yet still enslaved by them. I learned to overcome those tearful days when a memento sent me reeling. I saw those times as a chance to reaffirm the truth.  

Before I explain, let me tell you about a technique called “imaginal therapy.“ Commonly used with people who suffer PTSD, imaginal therapy safely exposes the person to past trauma, triggers distress in a neutral environment, and helps them to process associated feelings, come to conclusions about the experiences, and even resolve their sense of guilt, powerlessness, or responsibility for them. Repeated exposure to past trauma, through safely imagining and recounting the experiences, promotes healing.  

Next time you come across something that triggers all the pain of estrangement, consider sitting with the reality, confronting your feelings, and using the remembered exposure to reaffirm the truth for your own good. We’ll get to more about how in a minute. 

When adult children hate parents, it’s time to reaffirm the truth 

Parents cut off by adult children first blame themselves—and there are plenty of people out there to echo those thoughts.  We must have been too nice … or too mean. We did too much for them … or not enough. We were too strict, too lenient, too this or not enough that. The stories we come up with ourselves or accept from authority figures to try and empathize and even justify an adult child’s rejection, go round and round and dump us off in the same old place: We failed and it’s up to us to fix it. 

The trouble is we often can’t fix the relationship. Certainly not when the “child” comes up with revisionist history, is hellbent on blaming us for his every problem, or won’t talk. To continue trying keeps us in the line of fire or suffering repeated rejection. While we stall, hope, and fret, we remain in limbo, unable to move beyond the pain or get on with living life. And since we’re surrounded by memories and mementos, reminded by relatives who ask if we’ve reconciled, or faced with uncertainties about how to handle the holidays or whether we’ll run into our child somewhere and whether they’ll make a scene, our lives become mine fields for emotional triggers.  

As a mother of five, it was second nature for me to forgive my children. Spilled milk, lost library books, a dented car.… Parents forgive and forget. It can be the same in estrangement. In an adult child’s absence, even when it’s an abusive one, we might idealize the good times or qualities we miss, while dulling the memories of the bad that we don’t.   

The next time you have a weepy day, use it to reaffirm the history as it really went down. Instead of howling down an alley of despair, find a safe, quiet space, and go over the events as they occurred. Re-imagine the traumatic experiences, write them down even, all the while recognizing that you lived through those times. Tell yourself you’re growing stronger and more able to move beyond the pain. Imaginal therapy allows for repeated exposure through memory and recounting so that it becomes less traumatic. The process can be the same when we remember the incidents of estrangement. 

Remembering the painful experiences involved in my son’s cutting-off has helped me remember details and come to conclusions I originally missed or wasn’t ready to accept. At first, most parents remember episodes or events through a lens of personal failure and imagine that if they had done something different, they could change their child’s response or prevent the estrangement. That’s why I recommend an exercise in Done With The Crying (and in the WORKBOOK for Parents of Estranged Adult Children) that is designed to help parents remember all the good they did and validate the job they did. All parents make mistakes, but once we lose the self-blame that so often darkens our memories when our children turn on us, we can see the events as they occurred. In my newest book, Beyond Done With The Crying: More Answers and Advice for Parents of Estranged Adult Children (2021), even parents who have made mistakes they consider “bigger” than typical will find assistance to move beyond guilt or regret.

My son’s choice to estrange from our family didn’t start with anything his father and I did or didn’t do. My husband and I are loving parents who accepted and supported our kids the best way we knew how. By looking at the hurt by reliving the trauma, we’ve moved beyond it.  

The last laugh 

I take another look at the photocopied passport, marvel at the strong face of the handsome son I once held in such high esteem, notice, and then detach from the longing that surfaces. It’s only the mom in me. Setting the photocopy aside, I pick up the CD, and put it in the disc drive. When the album loads, I begin to click through, instantly confused. The same picture appears, over and over and over. Is there some message here? No. It’s just an ordinary scenery photo taken from the car window. Nothing of significance.  

A memory hits. A day when he came to see us a year after his estrangement began, and he fanned the flames of hope he later extinguished. I remember the quirk of a smile on my son’s lips when he asked if I still had the pictures from our trip. I thought it was because he had happy memories of our time together. He told me he had only one photo left.   

I look at the repeated photo on my computer screen, thinking I should be angry or sad, but realizing that I’m not. I’m confused. Did he purposely copy the same one over and over?  Was he asking me about the pictures that day to see if I’d discovered his trick? I take the disc out and re-read his strong handwriting marking our trip in thick black ink. And then I laugh—at my clever son. I can still appreciate his precocious nature that once enchanted me. I loved that boy. I thought the world of him. I place the disc in its sleeve and tuck into the box I’m packing for my new home. Whatever the joke is, I guess it’s on me.  

 Related Reading

Estrangement: In my garden

Wall of silence: An artistic expression about living with estrangement


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114 thoughts on “Estrangement: Parents, use weepy days for your own good

  1. AnotherPointOfView

    ED has been yo yo ing me for decades.
    Reels me in then drops me off a cliff.
    The latest really tops the charts.
    We had been getting on with her accepting my phone call once a month. No face contact or visits. Her terms
    I thought we were becoming friends.
    Then rings me and asks me to go guarantor for a house they want to buy.$200 000
    I said no. And guess what . Dropped off the cliff once again
    She has not answered the phone for 3 months and l reckon this could be terminal.
    I resent a ‘friend’ doing this to me. I am best to stay away and stop striving for pipe dreams.
    I have had enough

    1. Angela W.

      I find a lot of these estranged adult children are entitled narcissists enjoying infliction of pain with dipers delight. They honestly have convinced themselves “you brought it on yourself”. Shameful. God is watching.

    2. Angela W.

      This is narcissist entitled behaviour. You have done the correct thing by not guaranteeing a loan. That’s the tip off of her personality.

    3. Jan K

      Not really a ‘friend’ if she only ‘accepts’ a call from you once a month but doesn’t want to see you in person. Better off without a ‘friend’ like that.

  2. lisa

    Thankyou for this website. I have been estranged from my daughter for 4 years. I have reached out always with some luck but mostly none. Recently I was hospitalized for Covid. I thought I was going to die. She never called nor sent even a get well card. Nothing. It was very hurtful. And my other daughter was incredibly helpful. I just don’t know if I have the energy anymore for this. I am pretty sure not. That makes me very sad. This beautiful young lady who was my best friend has walked away from her Mother. This was a statement.
    It helps to see that others don’t understand and are searching for answers that simply don’t exist.
    We seem to realize from reading other’s stories that we are not alone, that suffering is not the answer and we must somehow move forward despite the pain.

    1. Kim

      It is so incredibly difficult. My estranged daughter is 28 years old and she’s my only child. I see all of my friends and family members with their children and grandchildren, and while I am happy for them, I have to admit that it hurts me, and I am incredibly envious. Some days I feel so incredibly lonely and devastatingly sad. I so wish that I could understand it all, but I don’t. I always say, I dreamed I had a daughter, and then I woke up….

    2. Angela White

      Confusion is a main component of narcissist power. The more confused you are, the back and forth, gaslighting, chances are the adult child couldn’t give a crap. I would devote your time, energy, extra play money on the child(ren) that do love and care for you. The estranged child does want you to hurt. So, don’t give it to them. Recognize those that love and care for you.

  3. Nikki

    Thank you Kate, and everyone for the kind words. My parents were such pillars of support for me also – now that they are deceased and my two sisters have turned against me, this forum brings me hope. I keep hoping my son will come back to me, but it has been over two months now and his sporadic texts, and empty promises/lies about wanting to be a family again then asking for things keep me depressed all over again. Just like others in this forum the occasional and sometimes frequent mean words about my parenting and his childhood is something I think he enjoys. I also remember and can’t fathom what happened to my sweet 18 year old that was just with me laughing and hugging his mother goodnight not too long ago and how he became so cruel and cold so quickly and seamlessly. Hugs to all.

    1. Derryn

      Wondering here what the trigger was with your son. Mine was caused by a toxic partner and mil. I hear you. I hear your pain and confusion. The reality is I’m sure you were a great mum. My son completely wrote off the wonderful parents we were and of course self doubt comes in. All our friends said we were wonderful parents and I know we were and did the best we could without any training. I’m quite sure you were because a bad parent wouldn’t care.

      1. Bella

        The exact same situation is happening to our family. It’s been 10 weeks. I could see that he might cut us out before he got married. But he promised he would never do that. He was a sweet guy, big heart his whole life. We were very close. Or I thought we were. It’s been very very hard. After he got married that within a month we knew it was going to be very difficult to ge in relationship with him and his new wife. She kept finding things she didn’t like. Then said she did t feel welcome at our house, then we missed fir the first time all the holidays with him. He started to lie to us. It’s been so hard but we’ve respected his /her decision to “cut off “ I thought today while talking to my husband. This is probably never going to change. Struggling to sleep for 10 weeks. Weepy. Hard to find motivation. To say that my heart is broken is a sore understatement

  4. Nikki

    So glad for these comments and insights. Going through these hard times seems unbearable especially without family and friends for support. At least this forum was created so I do not feel so alone. You people are the only ones who understand. Please keep posting- it makes people like me feel that something is still strong and alive underneath all this misery.
    Thank you all.

    1. Kate

      Nikki, I completely understand how you feel and how it feels to be totally alone in all of this. My family & best friends are all deceased. And for us parents who have been thrown away like trash by our adult children—NO ONE, except those like us can understand the hurt & pain we’ve felt & still feel. For me, this has been going on over 20 years with my daughter. I still miss the person that I thought she was. I thought we loved each other but obviously she didn’t feel that way. But thanks to Sheri’s book & her website for us rejected parents which I found about 2 years ago—I feel SO MUCH better—I’ve gotten a lot of good advice. I just wish I’d found it sooner! I use to cry every day & for years I thought no one understood. But we’re not alone. I wish you & everyone else on here MANY BETTER days ahead. Take care of yourself.

  5. Lisa

    I have been crying about my daughters and it has been helpful to release the feelings of sadness. I can see why it is good for people with PTSD. My adult daughters are willing to text with me but for four years haven’t found time to see me except once for one day. There were two one hour visits from one daughter three years ago. I’m an hour and a half drive away. I don’t have a car but when I said I’d take public transportation to visit them one daughter said she was busy and the other daughter said I couldn’t stay with her because of my dog. This dog was abandoned by one daughter and I took over her care. My younger daughter sends me pictures of my granddaughter which is very painful since I can’t see her. I found out on Facebook that I was a grandmother which hurt me deeply. What is puzzling is this daughter during my one day visit ( that was all the time they would allow) my daughter with the baby said I had been a good mother. I told my daughters that texting is not enough and I need to see them. One daughter didn’t even respond and the other daughter verbally abused me in many texts. She said ” I didn’t enjoy my childhood” Pictures and my memories do not support this statement of hers. I had to cut off the texts because it was making me so depressed to not see them in person that I hoped I would die of natural causes. After I stopped the texts I immediately felt this terrible depression lifting. I couldn’t continue to beg and hear false promises of a get together. I was a devoted mother and I know I don’t deserve this. It feels inhuman to be treated with so much coldness. There seems to be nothing for me and only time for their husbands. My sister blames me but with no basis in fact.

    1. Anne

      Hello Lisa,
      i think i am sharing the same story. i am coming up for 12 years with my two daughters. I met my youngest daughter for coffee a year ago and all i got were verbal barbs and then she wanted me to meet her new boyfriend. My issue is not weeping but bouts of extreme anger. Some days it seems like my emotional state is all over the place. I never thought my life would career in this direction. Why do people delight in being cruel like this?

    2. Jennifer

      I am living this too. My middle daughter and I have always been close and best friends. But 2 years ago she cut me out. I don’t see my grand kids nor will she talk to me. I ask and beg for her to talk and tell me what I did. I get nothing but nasty behavior back. I am struggling with this.

    3. Angela W.

      Sometimes waiting for them to mature is all we can do. Sometimes adult children want to be off on their own creating their own life. The song lyric “I can’t make you love me” comes to mind. Best is to seek out friendships, cultivate new experiences, travel clubs, local clubs where friendships can be formed. It will shock you how many others have estranged children. It’s everywhere. And when you realize it’s everywhere, you realize it’s not really what you’ve done but what the adult child has done. And then you realize they will have to live with that decision. After 2 years, and still occasional tears ( I feel that’s okay) that my life cannot be poisoned by such hurtful people, and I need to seek out those that would care to know me. This can be other adult children, friends, work relations, groups to join. Think of it more of as you have been given permission now to have your own life. Don’t waste what’s left with people who don’t care. Or who are that self centered that they can be that cruel. That’s the truth that hurts the most.

  6. Von

    Hi Everyone and I hope this finds you all OK. Just some thoughts after a couple of interesting happenings around Father’s day.
    All chn contacted their dad, one by sms, one let the grandchildren skype and the other just rang. Two of them promised him a letter and a present. As it has been over 2 weeks and no letter or present I decided to sms with ‘Have you sent letter/pressie as we are going away and do not want mail sitting in our letterbox’. Response from one was öh it is sitting on my table I keep forgetting to send it, The other said, you said you were away so I didn’t send. So, as to set record straight I immediately sms’d back, don’t worry and where did you get the idea we were away? you said you were away. !! Nope didnt but it had been read into an sms from a while ago. Finally got a OOOOHHH I assumed!!! It is sad to see husband/dad sad and he says it doesn’t hurt but I know it does.
    So, thinking about these things I think I may have come up with an answer for me anyway ( besides all the others)
    1) Hind site is AWESOME and as I have said before I am sure we all did the best with the situation we were in and if that is not good enough looking back is not going to make it any better.
    2) I think they all thought they could do a better job than we did. Only to find out that the adult world/real world is very very different from the perceived one they had. Having children is B**** hard relentless work, Paying bills, working, bring money in, budgeting, in our case moving over 20 times around the country for husbands job, all add up to the stress and strains that they are immune from as children/teenagers. They think/know they can do better until they have to…… then the guilt/realization/ concept that they can’t do better and that the entire process is very very difficult but cannot admit so then start blaming their parents as they are really easy targets for their outlets.
    So, as I have said before we are off to enjoy our lives an the ball is well and truly in their court.

  7. Janet

    Thank you. It took years for me to look at pictures of us, pictures of her. It still breaks my heart that something went terribly wrong in the normal mother-daughter bonding, family bonding, along the way for her to choose this path in life. Besides my own failures, which as a single mom were many, her father, his family & the cult he was in who considered me a “suppressive person” to be lied to & destroyed were instrumental in tearing down that bond from a young age. If only I had been more aware, recognized the damage it was doing & spent more time reinstating those bonds. I didn’t and now I’m surprised at the outcome?

    She may be able to block those happy childhood memories or explain them away to rationalize or justify her actions, but she can’t erase them from my memory. I have pictures. I have every card, every gift, since kindergarten from a girl who once loved her mommy. I keep that girl in my heart, I weep for her, worry about her facing the strange world of choosing to be motherless, I understand her, how she’s been manipulated, and even how she could come to share in their beliefs. It doesn’t excuse her, but I understand and respect her wishes.

    1. Shirley

      Hi Janet

      Be kind to yourself, both your present self and younger self. We don’t have as wide a perspective when we are young. Be gentle with yourself when you think about what you didn’t see then, when it is clearer to you now. We don’t know what we don’t know until we go through an experience and gain new insights. I believe we do the best we can with the knowledge and understanding we have at any given time.

      Best to you.

  8. C.A.

    Just sent out a 9/11 message, I also want to include Blessings & Gratitude for Mother Planet Earth, and all of Nature…all plants, minerals, earth, water…
    In Gratitude,

  9. C.A.

    Sheri and Community Members, all Beings, including all Animal Beings in Air, Land, & Sea,
    Today, being 9/11, just wanted to send out Peace, Love, & Joy…
    In Gratitude,

  10. Elizabeth

    Someone mentioned getting rid of photos. We had to downsize greatly a few years ago in order to move across the continent in order to help out one child who requested our help. We still are here helping. So that gave me the excuse I needed to grind up papers, photos, and anything that made me feel sad. I do have a few photos still…but not out…almost no photos are out on display and none of those people who have pushed us so far away from them. I even ground up most of the wedding photos from those weddings. I still love them and pray for them, but it has helped me a lot to not see the photos up. In the case of others who treated us poorly…twas so easy, due to more distant relationship, to grind those photos up. I still have no regrets for so doing. I have learned that nothing on earth you can do as a human, will help some types to want to love you or care for you. Unlike a dog who usually does not bite the hand that feeds it. I read someplace once that this person was in my age group (late 60s) and was thinking of how many summers of life they had left, being summer was their favorite season. Fall is my favorite, so I just made it my thought…and if I only have maybe 10 or so Fall Seasons left, how do I want to spend them and you know, it helps focus on some of one’s own dreams and hopes that were set aside during the difficult child rearing years. Things you might enjoy doing now…make some lists…plenty of youtube instruction videos for free if you want to go that route too. Even if you simply want to study and learn about something new…great place for that too. Sending hugs to everyone who needs one today!! Thanks again Sheri for this great place!!

    1. Sydney

      I did the opposite. When I moved a year ago ( my husband died several years ago) I felt very mixed feelings about the huge collection ( mostly framed) of photos of my son & whether they should be visible or not. Since that is all I have left now I hung them and kept others tucked away. It is painful to see him though. I have complex PTSD and had a devastating childhood with domestic violence, and various forms of abuse myself. Years & years of therapy- I will never be ok inside myself despite all I have tried to heal. We gave our son the best childhood we could imagine for anyone and once I was no longer of any use to him- discarded. He says & does cruel things & grief therapist opined that he seems to enjoy my suffering and distress. She advised not sharing how I feel anymore & since I hear little from him- well. Struggle with inner sadness daily. Working hard to move forward with caring for myself.

  11. Marlis

    Dear Von
    You are right. Our animals can be a huge comfort to us. Always happy and never asking questions. They are just there for us and happy to be with us.If we did not have our dog at present, i know we would not cope as well. As he is still young he needs a lot of exercise and i go for three walks with him every day. These walks in nature make me feel good and keep me away from destructive thoughts. For a while anyway…
    All the best to you

  12. Elizabeth L.

    Thanks Sheri, for sending this email. I hope your new surroundings will herald a new phase of life, with much fun, laughter and love, as I wish for everyone who commented.

  13. Marlis

    Thank you for this website Sheri which makes it possible to read other (unfortunately) sad stories.
    I think one of the worst thing with the situation i and others are in is the loneliness as you cannot talk to anyone about it. Parents and children are supposed to be loving and get on but unfortunately that is not always the case.
    That is what makes you seem like a failure even though you are not.
    I rarely speak to my daughter. Her husband has issues and has always treated us with disrespekt and is very controlling. I am not allowed to be a grandmother His mother comes first. My daughter seems to agree with him. For our daughter and grandkids sake i have kept my mouth shut for too long but cannot do it any more. Now i will withdraw and become inactive as they have been for a long time. Our daughter has become a stranger. The other daughter we only hear from when she wants something..This site has been a great inspiration as to how to go on from here and not let your children tramp all over you. I will now concentrate on my husbonds and my well being, our beautifull garden and our lovely dog who i must say is more loyal and loving than our children.

    1. Von

      Dear Marlis Good on you. My children one day asked me why I love the animals I have so much ( mind you, 2 of the dogs used to be theirs and the cat used be the other child’s, that could we look after for a weekend – all over 4-5 years ago) The look on my face must have been a give a way. They never asked again. But did you children EVER greet you with such abundant, excitement even if you have just been out in the yard for 5 mins without them, do they ever give you that look and snuggles when you are down? Does simply patting them make stress leave? Do they whinge and whine and complain Or fight about getting In the car, going for a walk, being out in the garden with you? Do they complain about the food, bedding, or friends you keep? Do they demand, scream, cry or throw temper trantrums when they don’t get their own way? If you take them out in public are they better behaved than the children. That is just the beginning of my list. No wonder mine never asked again!
      All the very best

  14. Gene

    Apparently I made a major mistake when I raised my sons to be responsible men and to treat women with respect, to consider them as equals, and to consider their spouse a companion, partner and friend. It backfired on me big time. My wife (their mother) and I are going on 5 years now from one son who put his manipulative, condescending, hateful wife on a pedestal and treats her as a goddess. If the rest of us (grandparents, brother, uncles, cousins) don’t see her in the same regard as he does well, then, the heck with us. Other son is married to a surly princess for whom he does everything and caters to her every whim. She also wants nothing to do with anyone from his family apparently viewing us all as rivals. No one has seen nor heard from her since last Thanksgiving and I do not foresee that changing in the immediate future. The good news here is that she hasn’t been able to force an estrangement with our son. If I had a chance to do things over again I would definitely tell my guys to be more selfish and hedonistic. Maybe that would have worked out better.

    1. Elizabeth

      Well stated, and do not feel alone. We have been so sadly disappointed too. I nearly died having our son. But I guess nothing matters anymore really. Our daughter married (and divorced) 2 terrible beings…I cannot call either humans…even dogs are better, aren’t they? One wonders about the continuation of the human race these days…it is SO hard to find truly good people!! I feel we failed too in helping our children find mates (well, they found their own)…but we did the best we could. No one can do more than that!!

  15. Patricia

    It has been 3 months since my daughter talked to me, she doesn’t take my calls and seldom comments on my texts. Since separating from her husband 3 years ago, she changed from the dependable, thoughtful, generous daughter she always had been to an angry and resentful person. She has eliminated me and her sisters from her life. I was hopeful she would soften when her father was in the last stages of his decease last year but it didn’t happen. She has confided in a cousin whom she thinks is keeping her secrets but he is not, therefore some of what she has been saying has come back to me. Some of what she has said is that I was there for her during her difficult time, it took her 6 months to tell us she an her husband had separated, not to mention I was her dad’s caregiver at the time and continued until his death last Fall. I was hoping she would soften at that time but she remained cold and not speaking during the wake and funeral. My life has not been an easy one but this is the worst I have ever experienced. I am totally alone, will not talk about my daughter to anyone, therefore no shoulder to lean on. I have talked to a therapist but really don’t find it too helpful. This estrangement is constantly on my mind to the point I am having difficulty functioning, the constant stress is causing very obvious heart palpitations which keeps me awake at night. I seldom see my wonderful grandson and when I do, I have to make all the conversation as I know he thinks I am to blame for his mom’s sadness. It has completely changed my, once loving family to a completely tense situation as my youngest daughter (who used to be the oldest daughter’s best friend) doesn’t want to talk about the situation as she has tried a number of times to be there for her sister only to be yelled at and told to get out. Just the thought of Christmas is enough to make me sick as the past 3 Christmases have been a nightmare. I am also in a quandary as to what to do about my nephew who is not keeping my daughter’s secrets confidential – should I tell my daughter or let my nephew know the gossip is coming back to me. I am being slandered and gossiped about but I refuse to defend myself. I truly don’t know her reason for cutting me out of her life and she won’t talk about it or try to resolve the situation by seeing a third party to talk it out. I have offered, twice to see a therapist with her to try resolve this but she refuses. I am heartsick. I know I have rambled but the story is a long one so I have tried to keep it short leaving out a lot of information not to mention the questions remaining as to what exactly happened when she decided I was no longer wanted in her life. My heart goes out to all who have written. I am grateful to have Sheri’s book which has helped a bit knowing there are others out there trying to deal with the same problem.

    1. Anne

      Hi Patricia,
      Thank you for telling your experience. I have finally realised that Christmas is better spent not with my children as it is just a tense, horrible day for all concerned. I have a day spent with my sister and her family a week earlier and for the first time ever this year i am going to be by myself with my two dogs and i am really looking forward to it. No i am not being sarcastic, just realistic and not prepared to be treated like nothing. I have too much self respect now. It has taken me a long time to say that by the way. You need to be kind to yourself and ot put yourself in situations where people are unkind.

  16. Kristi

    Thank you for sharing your story Sheri. I have some good news since I’ve last shared. My oldest son and his wife seem to have decided they want a relationship with us now. They still won’t stay at our house but they will visit. He has even called a couple of times. We just spent a very nice weekend camping with them and our youngest son at a family reunion. It was so nice! My sister in law invited my daughter but I didn’t. I’m tired of getting no response at all to invitations so I’m not doing it any more. It’s still very hard for my husband and that breaks my heart but, I don’t even hope for a relationship with her anymore. I wish I could see my grandson and it makes me sad he’s being denied a relationship with us. Why would I even want a relationship with someone cruel enough to deny their own child the love of his grandparents? I will continue to put all my effort and love into my boys that want us in their lives and thank God for that!

  17. C.A.

    Thank you for sharing your experience…(I do find it interesting that you packed the cd to be moved with you…It’s the loving meaning that we attach to these things…one day in a sweep of the hand, you will be able to release it without pain and attachment…I just let it be for the moment, and know that Life takes care of itself…)
    What a Beautiful and Healing adventure your move is…I am with you in Spirit & Joy!!
    Also, thank you to each one in this community…It truly eases the pain and loss…I look forward to being part of this Beautiful online experience…
    Peace, Love & Joy to you Sheri and each and every one in this community…

  18. Rachel F.

    Thank you for this great article. My son rejected me for leaving his bullying, narcissist father and is totally brainwashed by my ex. I have had no contact for 6 years ( apart from a brief 6 months when my Dad was dying from cancer) but then rejection again. I emailed on his birthday to reach out but the reply was vile and abusive. I have since decided to move forward and not leave myself open to more hurt and pain.
    Hope your house moves helps with making new and fresh memories Sherri.

  19. Nancy

    A birthday brought me to this. They’re all out of my life now. I’m functional but not much better. Your note and the comments are very timely and helpful. At my age it’s likely there will be much left undone. Anyway trudge onward

  20. savannah

    My story has elements of the same stuff, the WHAT IN THE WORLD HAPPENED? Mine played out with a religious attachment to it, which for me makes the HURT more bizarre. Imagine having a son that was a youth pastor. Who got that position YOUNG, because the former one, a good guy, got railroaded out by this family that didn’t LIKE him and agitated to the point of heartbreak for him and his family that he just exited. This family did NOTHING but agitate to get everything they wanted. Imagine having this woman that caused so much grief sit in your living room and CLAIM your son for her daughter as her future spouse, when they weren’t even dating and he had NO interest. WEIRD. Most people steered clear of them, and didn’t interact with their drama for self preservation reasons. I didn’t appreciate her coming to me with a DEMAND like this. I kindly said, the kids were TOO young, had no history of dating and I wouldn’t entertain any such notions, and asked her to leave my home. Her kids were isolated, she decided WHO they would associate with and who they wouldn’t. She was an all consuming control type and pushed until she got what she wanted, and used whatever tactic she could to get HER WAY. I just dismissed this as a strange encounter. Boy was I naive. Her kids were socially awkward due to their extremely domineering mom. What happened, occurred so QUICK that it just is bizarre and nothing in my life prepared me for this type of ambush. My son went off to college, while away she and her daughter arrived to visit, several times WHO does this? Didn’t know anything about these “visits”. My son never mentioned them at all, maybe he couldn’t process them. I don’t know. She stopped going and just sent the daughter. In a span of 6 mths, my son changed. Ok, kids grow up, find their own way, it is how you want their life to go. You try to believe you prepared them, and let them have their own journey. He was 20. What you don’t want is him cutting off ALL the good influences, which I was hearing about through long time friends who were perplexed and hurt, coming to me and asking what happened as well. He was ABSORBED into a family that most people shunned due to their controlling ways. This girl wasn’t at all what you want for your kid to be associated with on ANY level-won’t say why but every parent wants BETTER for their kid, just saying. Lots of issues due to an all consuming mom. She was told her mom would pick her future, or she would be put out. She PICKED my son for her family, as if she had a choice. She couldn’t/wouldn’t DARE go against her mom. Meanwhile folks would come and tell me don’t let that family get a foothold, they are TROUBLE. Several pastors came and told me the same thing. All these warnings, and I guess I didn’t comprehend the seriousness of what was going down behind the scenes. Then BAM.
    I got a call, from my son on spring break that he was in town, staying with this family. WHAT? I mean WHAT? WHY? HUH? This is not what the plan was, he was coming home, and we had discussed all the events he would like to accomplish I had NO knowledge that anything was amiss, or different. Then it went SOUTH, in an instant, with NO warning. Oh and by the way he was engaged.

    Sidenote. This daughter had tried to befriend me at church services. I had switched churches awhile back to not be associated with his ‘work” or caught up in church drama unfolding, and truthfully, I was happier in the new church as I didn’t LIKE what went down with the Youth Pastor ordeal, or how my son was appointed to his new “job”. During those months, she would show up and try to befriend me and I didn’t GET it. I had absolutely nothing in common and she wanted info on my son and I wasn’t offering any. I caught her in many lies and was turned off. She did say her mom had chosen her future and she wasn’t comfortable with it. I couldn’t relate to this at all, didn’t know them well enough to comment, I had just heard of situations where her mom caused tremendous grief to others. I think the Pastor didn’t KNOW how to deal with them either. So I didn’t go there with her. I wasn’t wanting any association or involved in any drama of that family.

    Back to the call-it was like talking to a stranger, not the son that had been so close to. I hadn’t noticed ANYTHING different in our dealings up to that call. Looking back I guess my former son chose not to share ANYTHING pertaining to his interaction with that family. I was TOLD by church folks how it played out. He was TOO young for marriage, and this girl wasn’t marriage material from ANY standpoint. He couldn’t provide financially, he was just getting through his first year. It was all making NO sense. At Christmas he was dating a lovely girl, I don’t even know what happened there. NO one discusses that, but it wasn’t really serious, just friends I think. He just said to me, in a very condescending tone (not at all the norm) I will marry her, it is not up for discussion, just want you to hear it from me, and oh by the way I am not talking to you anymore if you can’t get onboard. Of course I couldn’t get on board. Why was he willing to THROW out his future for a girl he NEVER expressed any INTEREST in, which wasn’t his way at all. The biggest question I had, was if this is the LOVE of your life, why wouldn’t he TELL me that, or SHARE anything about it, or sneak around. This was NOT the nature of our relationship EVER. He told me everything, he told his long time friends everything, and they were in the DARK as much as I was and NO ONE understood. We were cut off. Maybe the person we use to know wasn’t his authentic self, but this person is no one I want ties with despite a DNA connection. The whole conversation played out in less than a few moments, and shattered my world. It made NO sense. The disrespect was ENORMOUS, not the son I ever knew-not the person ANY of us knew, it was like an impostor. All I said is have a great life, since I was deleted from it. The next months played out in ugly fashion. Numerous visits from those knowing him, telling me they didn’t understand. NO ONE understood, especially me. Then I heard the blow by blow account of how this woman/mom was spreading LIES about me. I bowed out at the phone call completely. I didn’t talk to anyone but close friends, not associated with the church. Everyone was as shocked as I was. NO ONE could process how this played out. I don’t have to be told, or claw, or fight my way to have a relationship with anyone who says they are DONE with me.
    The wedding came and went. I didn’t attend, nor would I. The hurt was TOO much. It was his life, he deleted me and that was the end of it. I wouldn’t interfere. The girl attempted to “include” me in various ways, which I found to be only manipulations. I didn’t HAVE a relationship with her, this needed to be settled with my son. Who wasn’t anyone I knew anymore at all. He eventually became the Pastor at that church. He does sermons on topics I find utterly offensive only because he doesn’t LIVE out what he is preaching about. He had two daughters. I lost a baby and it was very traumatic for me, I almost died in the process, and it was just a painful event/subject we couldn’t talk about much. He was 14, then, we did some grief counseling, but maybe not enough, WHO KNOWS. Everything about that event was ugly, I had blended a family and the event basically ended that relationship- too much scar tissue for everyone. When the marriage ended it was just us on our own, and we did our best to move ahead. He DARED to name the girl after her and for me, and the circumstances playing out with his bizarre union, was the absolute WORST thing ever. If ever a reconciliation could have happened. That severed it for me. It was meant to hurt, and I didn’t deserve that at all. The girl stepped up her game to get me involved with them with the birth of their daughter. I never took the bait. Had my son come to visit, TALK to me one on one things might have played out differently. He cut me out of his life on the phone call, I contend that it was his responsibility to reach out. He chose this family, he basically told me don’t DARE to be apart of my life any longer and I respected his boundary, wished him well, but I would NOT enter into their drama. His church was less than 5 mins from our house. I gave it 5 yrs, I heard through church folks, that I was weaved into sermons as how NOT to act. WOW. I never KNEW I was the enemy. Oh well. I was just a mom, trying to be a good one.

    He started it with lies, he cut me off in a phone call. His wife tried to soothe the issue, but for me it isn’t so much about her as it was about my son cutting me from his life on a phone call that made NO sense. They have a good life from what I know. I left the state as there are nothing but bittersweet memories there. The son I knew died, this man that he became isn’t a guy that any of us recognize, nor anyone I would pursue if there wasn’t a DNA link. If his choice works for him, GREAT. No malice on my part, just mostly lack of understanding. I stopped trying to process it. If the boundary was given that you are cut off, then nothing can be done. Those pastors that all visited me to warn me about this family and told me to not let him associate with them. All have accepted it, and the ties are restored. In many ways I guess I am the scapegoat for the scenario. If he is happy, that was what I wished for ALL his life. I refuse to be linked to toxic folks. As a family they run their lil church and it seems to work out, so blessings on them all. Funny, this ended up with me working in the home healthcare industry. Probably because I can’t go to church anymore. I want to serve, I just can’t face “church” as I once knew it, so I work with the “least” of these, providing care and compassion to those with no one. Knowing what that is like, I guess I can relate and hope when my life gets difficult and I have to rely on others, that there is a compassionate stranger willing to come to my aid. I did find out over the years that many parents have had similar experiences of being cut off. Treated horribly when it wasn’t deserved. Funny how many of those I have shared with, came from worse family situations, they tried their utmost to be a better parent, and I think we WERE, but the kids feel differently for very questionable reasons. Maybe they will do better with their kids.

  21. Elaine

    Wow so many of us all in similar situations, am sad to read so many sad stories and am at the moment fighting in court to see our granddaughter, if this fails we have to move on we know this and will learn lessons from it x

    1. Su

      If you don’t mind sharing your experiences and the outcome of your efforts, I bet a lot of people including myself would love to hear. To go to court seems like an incredibly brave effort and very costly.

    2. Von

      Elaine I wish you well in your efforts. However, I think court may just cause more heart ache as then they will be able to say see what she is like”. I know it is hard, really really hard, I get that it is a last resort. Unfortunately, there are no laws that cover grandparents unless they are carers. Grandparents and the grandchildren miss out on so much when these selfish, know it all parents cut ties. I am just waiting for the day when the Karma happens to the parents. YES it does!! I have seen it so many times. I know of one parent that did this to their parents. When their chn (grandchildren) did it to them. What happened? They rang the mother they had cut all ties with years ago and wanted sympathy about what their chn had done to them. Must say there was very little sympathy offered but a comment of ‘ I know what you are going through’and hung up.

    3. Diane

      Elaine, my husband and and I are in a similar position. My daughter decided to pull away from us. She has 4 children that I love dearly. The two oldest by her first husband have been very close. They live 10 minutes away. We’ve been through the divorce a fire and an eviction. She living with the father of her twin boys. Lots of drama. I helped when I could. Getting calls 6am to take kids to school. Car reposted, gave her money for rental. Paid a few phone bills. Paid for swim lessons, aftercare
      Bought 90 percent of their clothes . Paid for twins crib and furniture. I could go on
      8 months ago she decided to look back on all the bad times and has banned us from seeing the grandchildren. She’s blocked texts and won’t answer the phone. I tried knocking on her door 4 times only to leave crying. I don’t like the idea of a court giving us permission to see kids. She has to sign off so I think she’ll lye and exaggerate then all is done in vain. I need to buy this book.

  22. Mary Beth

    Thankyou Sheri! These emails seem to always come at the right time when I need them. I feel as though I have one foot in the past and one foot in the present. I try not to look too far ahead….when I do, I feel a sense of dread, knowing there is more pain ahead. I feel the pain in all these emails, and I can’t believe how many parents are on the receiving end of this abuse. God bless you all.


    I keep hearing familiar themes by those who have responded. 1. We were good parents. 2.The pain of rejection is never far from our minds.
    One thing we, as rejected parents, need to keep in our minds, is that the problem is with THEM, not us. For whatever reason, our children have chosen not to have the parent(s) who loves them the most, in their lives. This is inconceivable to me!!! Why would ANYONE do that???
    I miss my son every single day, and it has been years since I have seen him. The fact that he never told me WHY he rejected me haunted me for years. Ultimately, I have decided “It is what it is.”, a saying I detest! While it is comforting to know other “good” parents are in my boat, It hurts me to know that others are suffering like I am…. Thank you for reminding us that we are not alone!

    1. Su

      Wow, I also detest that saying, especially since it was what my daughter in law said to me right after she told me never to speak to her or contact her again about a year ago.
      Yet, I have found myself saying it when I am at a complete loss as to how else to frame some very conflicting feelings

  24. Bippy

    Dear Sheri
    Just a beautifully written post . Thank you . Was just in the throws of a weepy day myself , made me stop and think and reflect .
    I hope your move goes well and that you are feeling much better .
    Happy memories in your new home

  25. Lorraine

    Thank u everybody for your stories,
    I live in Australia, and wish there was a group
    you could meet up with.
    I have been estranged from my son for 5 yrs
    who blames me for everything, only the person
    he relates to, is certainly not me.
    He and his wife turned against us when we
    wouldn’t sign our house over to them.
    I haven’t seen my grandson since he was 2
    and he is 9 now.

    I feel for all of you, as nobody can understand
    the pain and shame you go through unless you have gone through it yourself.

    Good luck with your move Sheri, it is wonderful to get your emails.

    1. Maria K.

      Hello! I often wish there was a group here where I live too! As things are now with Covid-19 in my state, it is far from possible. I’m sorry we share this horrible circumstance, it is heart breaking at best. I am so relieved that you didn’t sign your house over to them (you did the right thing!) I’m also very sorry you haven’t seen your grandson, he’s missing out on so much in life not being allowed to see you. Some of my most cherished memories were with my grand parents. I wish you peace and hope that your son comes back to his senses soon. I think I’m done hoping that mine will. I just don’t want to turn into a bitter old lady one day, years from now, when he hasn’t and that lingering question hangs in the air….Why? I may never know but wanted you to know that I liked your post and agree that Sheri’s emails are wonderful! GB you Lorraine, none of us deserve this. xoxo

    2. Marion

      Hi Lorraine, I’m in Australia and am estranged from my daughters, 2 years now, I wish there was a group in Australia as well, I hope you’re doing okay, I take it one day at a time, it’s a very lonely place especially when none of my my friends know, I am withdrawing from my friends now because none of them could possibly understand, all the best to you xoxo

    3. Ali

      I too thank you all for your stories and to Sheri for your posts. I am new to the site and can’t believe how many people are going through this. I have 2 daughters and my youngest has not been in contact for 3 years now! It has destroyed me and its now when I read your stories I know its not me. I live in Liverpool England and wished I lived closer to you all as to chat face to face with someone who knows what I’m going through would help I think. Sending love to you all. xx

  26. Maria K

    I’m sorry we all have to experience the hurtful mistreatment of our children. It is amazing that they can look in the mirror and feel ok about themselves. Maybe they don’t, deep down, IDK. On more than one occasion, my husband has said that our son has some serious issues. I believe that to be true. Mostly issues with me though. It seems like a game where he gets to set out the bait for me and then yank it out of reach just in the nick of time. No more, not on my watch. Life is too short and mine is going to be joyful, peaceful and meaningful while it lasts and if it’s without him then that’s alright. I raised him up and my job is done. I can’t remember who said, ” It doesn’t have to be perfect, it just needs to be done”? I just want him to be happy and I’m going to be okay. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13. GB xoxo

    1. Red

      Some days I feel the weepy days are more than I can take. They do come fewer and fartherapart now which certainly a blessing. It has been so hard to wrap my mind around the pain our son is causing in our life. He was a sweet and loving son always telling me what a good mother I was, i don’t have to hear those words anymore, just a email or phone call , anything spoken to just. hear his voice would be joy to me. Lots of times I wonder, does her think of us and miss us, especially during this coved pandemic. Going on 5 years now and not a word. I was diagnosed last week with macular degenerative disease, I had noticed that my vision was getting worse and was surprised with my diagnosis but it is much like our estrangement there’s really nothing I can do. I just pray I can see my son before my vision gets a lot worse. Thanks to Sherri and everyone else that pours their heart out here, we are in this sad,sad time together we will make. Gods promise get want put more on us than we can stand.

  27. Dorothy M.

    Sheri your story really moved me. Thank you for sharing that. I do get comfort from knowing I’m not alone in this but it still is so very hard.

    1. Sue

      Dear Sheri,

      When I received your newsletter there had been 25 replies. Now it’s 4 a.m. and there have been 49. We all have different photos we stare at, different paths that brought us together. But we share a common thread.

      Unlike you, Sheri, I would recognize my daughter. It’s been 6 years, but she looks untouched by the destruction she brought to her Dad and me ,When I look in the mirror I see my struggles, sadness and worries staring back at me. I am glad she is okay. Relived she appears healthy and vibrant. But I also know she has ben preying on the kindness ( blindness ? ) of others to survive. It’s who she is.

      I no longer cry. I find there is an amazing ability to put troubled thoughts in a safe place in my mind. The door to this chamber is usually kept locked. Except forbthe times when an unexpected gust of wind blows it open. Your newsletter was just that.

      I have found the new perspective. I have reaffirmed the truth. And even though I didn’t know there was such a thing as ” imagine therapy ” I have been through the process. Can’t say I liked it. Not because I place blame or doubts on myself. But because the truth clouds out the soft memories that comforted me. That protected me.

      My daughter had always been difficult. Back then there were no acronyms. No ASPD or ODD . I picked my battles. And everthing was a battle! The question she asked the most was ” Why? “. And I would explain morals, kindness, fairness. And tell her actions have consequences.

      Of course now I know she needed to understand the why, because she did not have the capacity to feel the consequences of her actions. And I now know all those teaching moments we had are what have allowed her to pass in society as a normal, seemingly normal person. One who had doting, supportive parents and masses of devoted friends. The only people she allows in her life are those she can control.

      The way I explain it now is that I had a daughter I cherished for 43 years. In spite of all the battles I loved her. And then lost her to the ASPD. When she took off her mask of civility. And the calculating, destuctive, hateful nature of her true self was turned towards me. And I was most definitely her target. Her Dad is not empathic. The one she could manipulate was me.

      No doubt her truth is different than mine. When she walked away it wasn’t with sadness or loss. She had taken all she could. Her only regret, perhaps, was we were no longer of any use to her. That simple, that cold. And that cruel. The outcome was always going to be the same. We knew it, voiced it. Once we said “No more”, she would move on. But I never remotely thought she would try to destroy us.

      I don’t fool myself into thinking a chance encounter would be a good thing. I used to fervently wish for that. Now I dread it. I fear humililition, rejection or false affection. Any of which could shatter me again. I have come far, but my emotions are fragile. I still love the daughter I had for 43 years. But not the one I’ve come to understand and see clearly.

      No, I keep that door in my mind closed. In my dreams it opens and she is rhere. Threatening me, often trying to kill me. I wake up shaken from those dreams. And firmly shut the door. I start another day. It’s all I can do.

      Thank you Sheri. I wish all the parents of loss nothing but peace and hopefully acceptance.

  28. Nikki

    Thank you for this-perfect timing as I have been cleaning and have found so many memories of my eighteen year old son. It has been four weeks now and I still don’t know why? I know he is young and immature and influenced by the wrong people- girlfriend,girlfriend’s parents, and even my own sister spreading malicious rumors about us. I am grateful for this online community at this time.

  29. Von

    To Sheri
    Thanks for removing the doubled up email I sent. I sent one from my ipad that said it didn’t send so re wrote it on my computer and both turned up.
    Anyway I really hope your move especially in these interesting and challenging times goes really well and that you settle in find happiness. Thanks for allowing people to honestly air their thoughts as this is a topic that not many people talk about openingly. To me it is a form of abuse. Would that be the case.?

  30. Bruce W.

    My wife Sandy has been estranged from her three adult kids for four to six years. Plus her three sisters have pretty much abandoned her too. This whole thing of estrangement/abandonment is utterly crazy. I as her second husband think her kids made bad life decisions and are trying to blame her for their mistakes. Sandy also raised her teen aged kids on her own after the father abandoned them. Prayers for all of you having to deal with this thing too!!!

    1. Su

      Interestingly, I have a good friend who is kind of the mirror image to your situation. In my case it is a male friend who is estranged from three out of his four kids. Yet this guy is one of the happiest people I know..or at least he appears that way. His secret I am convinced is that he managed to find a wonderful partner who has a grown son and grandchild of her own. They areca lovely couple..very devoted to one another and do lots of fun things together like kayaking, photography and travel.

    2. Jas

      Hi Bruce,
      To your post about your wife. It’s good that at least you are there for her. I wish I had someone to speak for me. I was a very young single mother that gave her all to my kids. After me and my husband divorced I raised my 2 girls all myself no support or help from anyone. My family blamed me and judged me for my divorce. So they never helped with anything. But my daughters now adults want nothing to do with me and say I wasn’t a good mother? I was mental? I need meds? They taunt me that my own family neglected me and abandoned me is because no one wants me? Ouch. And these are my girls who I took care of for so many years? I scarified so much for them? I defended them to the world when they got in fights with others? And this is the pay back for all I did? How do you accept I deserve all this? They got married had kids but I was not part of it. They didn’t even tell me. I found out from others all that.

      It hurts even when others say or do such things so imagine your own kids?
      Its been many years since I saw my girls.

      Too much to say. But I will stop here.

    3. C.A.

      Bruce, Thank God Sandy has you…that you are there for each other.
      It is such a lonely and isolating experience…I celebrate that you are in each other’s lives…

  31. Von

    IT makes me really sad to read these comments. Yes I have been in the same situation. IT HURTS. the lies, the rollercoaster of communication that puts me back in the firing line over and over, the blame, the excuses, we are too busy to tired, we did respond but you mustn’t have got it/read it, we will send grandchildren’s letters that they have written ( never turn up) we sent you an sms, contact their dad immediately/instantly he sends an sms or email but mine dont get responded to. So like Sheri’s has said I AM WAY OVER THE CRYING, the hurt that constantly happens, the confusion, the thinking I am going mad. I have had enough
    What I am doing may sound like I am a tough old bag that is uncaring,unloving But it is working for me.
    I have decided that I am the most important person in my life and that I am going to live the rest of my life the way I want to. If they want to join in well and good but if not not my problem anymore.
    1) I have joined a gym that is not just into weight loss ( but I have lost 22lb-10kg) but fitness, in mind and body, strength in mind and body . I am sleeping so much better, thinking so much better, stronger physically and mentally no longer drink alcohol at all . Best thing is my husband decided to do the same.
    2) I/we have decided to spend our money and our time the way we want to and to live the rest of our lives the way we want to. Recently bought a new van. Told chn, no comments of WOW that is awesome but more of so why dont we have that. Not my problem.
    3) We tell them very little about our lives now. I still write to the grandchildren as I know they love that and it is not their issue. I don;t mind if they don’t reply, their parents will have to answer them when they get older. I keep all their letters and intend to give them back to them when they get older. I respond to children in the same manner as they to me. I take my time to respond to any sms, ph calls I can deliberately miss and then they have to leave a message. They quite often instantly respond to husbands sms or emails. When he asks if they got my sms/email they say ‘we responded, were too busy, meant to etc. So they still have him bluffed again that is his problem not mine.
    4) I have taken down ALL photos of them in the house,.I have one photo of each grandchild and I delete email and sms communication with them after a couple of months. NO need to keep delving into the past.
    5) I have come to the realization that I did the very best as a parent as I could .I always put them first, Sure I was angry at times- their behaviour was not always perfect. I gave them everything and more of what they needed in love, time, money, support. We were told many times by friends that I was so good to our children and that I did way too much for them. 4am starts cause one was into swimming, weekends cause the other was into horses, late nights cause they were into music and bands etc. Done that now it is not my problem. They all have awesome careers. I am happy with my decisions.
    6) after seening recently the bun fights that are happening when parents pass away with these children who have never contacted or cared about parents until they smell the sent of items and money and it is nasty and horrible and unacceptable. I have decided that I will using the rest of my time my way in relative happiness and doing what I want to do. I love crafts, photography ( have just joined a year long course) travel, diving, swimming, reading and fitness. IF they are not interested in someone that is interesting, intelligent, caring, funny, a good listener, loves them, then that again is not my problem. They are going to have to learn to live with themselves without me in it. I am happy with my decision. It is hard but getting easier every day. WOULD you let a friend or colleague treat you like this. Probably not so why let our children who we love/loved dearly do it to us.
    I hope this may help one person heal.
    HUGS to all and all the very best.

    1. maureen

      Von, I loved your reply and it really resonated with me. Thank you for sharing.
      I have 2 living children/daughters, the former a successful professional with one child and the latter one on a psychiatric disability pension all her adult life since 15yo. Oldest is 49, younger is 37, I divorced my first husband when older girl was 9 then second husband died when she was 12 and my baby was only 8 months old. I have been alone since. I gave each of my daughters a really good childhood, I know that (being human) sometimes I may have riled them but I feel good about me as a Mum/soleparent and do not regret the way in which I treated them, different as their needs were.
      My oldest daughter rejected me very soundly (disappeared completely) first from 17 years old and then has repeated this “teenage rebellion behaviour” over and over for years at a time and cold and distant inbetween….except intermittently when trying over past 12-13 years to boss me around and attempt to ‘manage’ my aged care (in HER terms only) also my financial aspects (e.g. me to sell my beloved property and rent a single bedroom unit so I can give her a few hundred 000$ towards her own home). And accused me outright a couple of times of “spending her inheritance”! Just recently in response to a now uncommon email from me she rapidly replied sanctimoniously (first contact in couple of years) stating that we will never be close due to decisions WE have made in adulthood and she feels no obligation towards me simply because I am her mother. Incidentally, she adores her father, rightly or wrongly. My ounger one did the same “throw Mum away” runaway at 17 (she learnt from her sister’s actions how much it hurt me), later was up-and-down sort-of OK with me though definitely under her own terms, to which I accorded too much as I Ioved her also felt compelled as she could not manage life on her own. Then a few years ago she suddenly totally disappeared, telling others utterly appalling and evidently untrue lies about my treatment of her, and not a word to me since. These 2 daughters do keep in some level of contact, Ihink mainly through Facebook.
      So yes, I feel angry at them, especially the older one. And yes, I feel resentful and wrongly judged and deprived, including of any contact whatsoever with my only grandchild (now 18). And yes, I still love them (I think) and very much miss the companionship I had hoped for and the support now that I am getting older (79) … I had so looked forward to experiencing life with grown-up offspring and my grandson. But yes, I also seriously dislike them and despise much of their behaviour (while still admiring my older daughter for her professional success), and have quite often said to myself that if these were not my daughters I would not accept such coldness, cruelty, unkindness, belittlement, domineering, greed and selfishness.
      Finally, most times, the raw agony has passed and the guilty soul-searching and self-blaming has dropped, though I still can not get past the recurrent question of “Why??” nor the resentment at mistreatment and abandonment nor the awful consciousness of their absence.
      Why am I writing? I don’t know, I have not done so before like this to anybody. I think I am just relating to your self-validating comments Von. So much of what you wrote is strongly familiar, including your description of yourself in your last paragraph, though I think you may be further down the trackof self-preservation than I am and perhaps may ever be. Also I am currently in the position of re-drawing my Will which has already taken a couple of years of dithering, and I continually swing wildly between directions to take including excluding both from everything possible, so your thoughts there have also prodded me.
      Thank you for your time writing, Von.

    2. Anne

      Thanks Von for your detailed response. I never thought i could turn off my children but they have made it impossible to find any redeeming qualities. That may change but i am not waiting for it to happen. I loved your list of items that you discussed. It made very reflective reading. I do wonder what kind of people can take delight in such sustained abuse against others that have done so much for them. Best wishes for your new direction in challenging times. It is the only way you can move forward.

    3. Von

      Maureen I could just reach out and give you a big hug. I am sure you have so many other beautiful people and things in your life. Yes it gets you down to a point where it stifles the life/ effort to do anything out of you. I think what Sheri said ‘Done with the crying’ did it for me the work book put lots of things into perspective for me. I have MADE ( usually say actively encouraged) but NO MADE my husband read this book then we are going to discuss it at length. There is NO option in this as they play us off against one and other and have for years and he falls for it every time. Except last Christmas where they had been holidaying with the in-laws yet again with an hours drive of us. We accidentally found out. Suddenly they needed to visit. Then the piece de resistance” line came out. ‘The grandchildren have missed you and would love to see you. Finally and for the first time the husband must have been well and truly ticked off as he said ‘Sorry we are busy and you should have thought of that, you have been up there and driven past at least 3 times and not called in’, plan for next year.’They have contacted him several times since then. I must admit they know I am not taking any of their games anymore and happily tell them so they only ring my husband as he will answer the phone, I think about it and choose. Do I want a visit’? on my terms only. Like you I love my children but I don’t like them or their behavior/excuses/attitudes towards me/us. Yep it sounds tough but after years of this about the same as yours ( 38/36). My motto now.
      It’s my playground and Its my rules, like it/accept it or don’t play.
      Please take care Maureen and again a HUG

    4. Marlis

      Dear Von
      Your post was very inspirational to me and i admire your courage. I have a long way to go but after my son in law this sommer once more talked in a very rude and disrespectfull way (he has done that for many years and my daughter apparently is accepting it) to my husband (my daughter heard it) i decided enough is enough. I have today removed most pictures of my grandchildren. I will stop sending them Birthday greetings as they never reply (it is my daughter that should have thought them to do so). I have decided that i am worth more than the treatment they give us. I dont feel like being humiliated and treated as second best. Hope i have the same attitude as you some day. It is the only way.
      All the best

  32. Corene F.

    Thank you all so much…Sheri for the newsletter, articles and book …all those “fellow club members “ for your comments. Obviously my husband and I are going through the same estrangement situation as the rest of you…it’s always amazing in a sad way how very similar all of our stories are and how very many others are out there we will never know about who are going through the sorrow, anger, frustration, confusion etc etc of estrangement of adult children who were raised in “normal”, loving, caring families. When the reasons for estrangement are not clear it does help to know there are others out there. This article in particular was just what I needed today. Thank you! I close with two other resources others may be interested in checking out. They compliment and confirm the wisdom shared by Sheri…. “When to Walk Away” by Gary Thomas. ( you will be tempted to jump straight to the chapter on adult children but as advised by the author himself , don’t … read the book straight through … and secondly, “It’s Not Supposed to be This Way” by Lysa TerKeurst.

  33. Von

    Sheri and everyone else that has replied, I feel really sad for you. You may be interested in my thoughts/actions. It may sound like I am a tough old bag but I have had enough of the hurt, blame and excuses. ( too tired, too busy, didn’t get it what ever it was, meant to ring, I sent a reply, you didn’t answer etc, it hurts ( did hurt). However, like Sheri’s book says I am past crying so, after counselling ( which also blamed me and was NO help cause unless you have been in this situation you just don’t know or understand how much it hurts)
    After reading Sheri’ s book I decided the following
    1) As a parent I did everything in my power and ability to be a good parent putting them first in every instant. I gave them more love, attention, emotional support and encouragement to become and achieve what they dreamed. Several people told me and my husband this many times when the children were creating havoc growing up. I no longer wonder what I did wrong I did my very best.
    2) I have decided that I am the most important person in my life now along with husband and fur babies. So, I have invested in my health and well-being and joined a gym with an instructor who is i to fitness and wellbeing. I have lost over 22lbs, feel, fitter, healthier, sleep so much better don’t drink alcohol at all!
    3) Focused on what I want out of the rest of my life cause I have discovered … they just Don’t care, are not interested until you die and they get to say what they want and seem to have some sort of presumed ownership over your money/collections. Have seen the bun fights that happen recently after the death of a parent, from Chen who were estranged from said parents. So, I am spending my money on what I and husband want ( recently bought a new van, told chnand the comments were interesting, no they can’ borrow it, have it etc)
    4) I have taken every single photo, reminder of them from my home so I am not constantly reminded. Even grandchildren photo’s are limited to 1 of each. I still write to grandchildren. Constantly get promised parents will send letter grand chin have written but they don’t arrive.
    5) I reply in my timeframe if they happen to send sms. If I get asked I use their excuses, I am busy, I didn’t get it etc.
    6) It sounds tough and that I am hard but I have so much more to live for Than allowing them to have control over the rest of my life. I am an interesting, caring, loving, hugging, funny,intelligent person and if they don’t like that, want that and the best they can do is blame me I am sorry but it is their loss. I can give that caring/ loving to my dogs or others who appreciate it.
    This works for me. Hope it helps.

    1. Bruce W.

      You have the best attitude on this!!! We too now have a fur baby, a beautiful Ragdoll cat. We ALL need to take care of our selves and get back to enjoying our later lives here on earth. We have church friends that help but don’t fully understand this thing. It is good to have friendships and a spouse who understand or try to. Get out and hike or bike and enjoy this world we live in, things that can be done while this virus is around.

    2. Lynn

      Most of what you said could have been written by me (except the 22 lb weight loss! Congrats!). For more than a year, I have limited contact with two of my daughters and no contact with the youngest, and the grandchildren have been cut off from us. I never thought it would get easier (I cried every day for months) but it has, and like you, I have decided it’s time to write a new story.

    3. von

      Thanks Bruce. I wish you and your wife the very best.
      Yes I have so many hobbies that have been put on hold because of chn and the stress often puts you into such a space you dont feel inclined to do anything. So I have started photography again, we walk, bike, gym, garden, nature watch, I love my crafts, computer -to do with photos, travel ( as we can in our state atm) and dive. So, I dont have time to deal with their issues anymore.
      Glad you have a fur baby they are the best.

  34. Janet L.

    Thank you Sheri for everything you do for us that are estranged from our children. We have 3 sons, they all do not speak to each other and only one still has contact with us. My husband has open heart surgery during this covid-19 and I was not allowed in the hospital or the rehab center that he was sent to. He has been in and out of the hospital 7 times since March and our 2 sons know nothing of what is going on in our lives. I miss our grandchildren dearly and think of them everyday. I hope God in his mercy will answer my prayers that our 2 sons will connect with us before we die.
    Best of luck and happiness in your new home.

  35. Debs

    Thanks to all you lovely people who share your troubles. It is after all part of the healing process.
    I had an awakening before Christmas last year when I had an out of the blue rare message from my sister who lives a long way away, asking if we were OK.
    It transpired that my estranged daughter had maliciously lied about us to everyone near and dear on Facebook stating what terrible parents we were. It was a closed family group so I posted how sorry I was that they had to read this stuff and how I would be withdrawing from FB.
    Before I did, I publicly posted a screen shot of what she had said and demanded an apology. What I got was more abuse from her and a wish that we were both dead.
    I was surprised but not upset, indeed I was angry and the pent up emotions of the last four years gushed out and I said “Who are you? We don’t have a daughter anymore.” Then I blocked her and deleted all her contact information.
    It was summed up for me by the sister who alerted me to her betrayal when she said that I deserved so much better. Another acquaintance said, that as a married woman in her thirties, my daughters choices were hers and hers alone and I was in no way responsible for them.
    I have two other sisters and a brother who have not bothered to speak to me since. Whether out of embarrassment or ignorance I don’t know but I won’t be contacting them either.
    I DO deserve better and I refuse to be drawn in to any more misery and loss of self esteem for whatever reason. I have done my best and if that wasn’t good enough it’s their problem not mine. I can also now look at her photos and remember her as the daughter I once, but no longer, have. I wish you all peace ❤️

    1. von

      Deb”s I agree you didnt need to cop that abuse. Obviously she is guilty and you got blamed. What she is guilty about is a her problem. Glad you are off FB. I find that an insidious social platform.
      As to the others that don’t communicate with you and believe her stories ( Yes arn’t they oh so good at their versions of a situation!!) good for them. You are better off with people like that in your life and I am sure you have some great people who deserve your attention and care.
      Suggestion ( it worked for me) take all photo’s and information down about her from your house so you are not reminded of her every day. Put them in a cupboard if you can’t bear to throw them out. I have sent mine back to them and put others into a box and sealed it. IT FELT GOOD. I did get into trouble from a couple of them sending stuff back to them but I said my house my rules and would you have preferred I threw them in the bin. No response.

  36. Christine M.

    I really appreciate your newsletters they do help to know that I am not the only one in this situation. My oldest daughter decided that she was going to be estranged from me Because we disagreed on a subject and I wouldn’t back down . My youngest daughter decided to join her for what reason I am not totally sure except, they had become close in recent years. When I had a quadruple bypass neither one of them phoned to see if I made it. I found it unforgivable and I guess it makes It a little easier to not miss them as much because I am so hurt and angry.

  37. Terri

    Thanks so much for sharing your experience. I was having a weepy day as I found out recently that my estranged son married in July. Obviously, we weren’t invited. I was told that he put a comment on facebook thanking everyone who came to his wedding and another comment of “sorry for your loss to all of those who didn’t come to my wedding”. None of our family was invited. My son is bipolar and has crushed our hearts many times over the years. We’ve spent thousands of dollars trying to help him straighten his life out, and when we told him we could no longer provide money to bail him out of his bad choices, he cut us out of his life completely. It’s been over a year and I see it’s time to take your advice. My husband and I were good parents, and I’m sick and tired of our son making us feel horrible. Thank you so much for your advice. I have a feeling it’s going to make a big difference in our lives to sit down and really look at the situation. We’re in our 60’s, both with multiple health problems and our son’s actions have taken a toll on us. My son’s only concern when I had heart surgery was whether or not I gave him money before my surgery. Again, thank you for showing me a way to deal with the stress of the situation and seeing things as they really were, and not the way my son has painted them. You’re a godsend to many people.

  38. Lynn M

    Thanks for sharing your story. It’s been 5-1/2 years since we’ve seen our grandchildren, my son and his wife. I don’t understand any of it either since they have cut themselves off from other family also. My son and I were so very close and I can’t imagine how he can hurt me this way. I am thankful for my faith, my daughter and other family members who are so supportive but also confused. Enjoy your new home Shari!

  39. Anne

    As I read your post in my email I got such a sunken hurt feeling for you. I am thinking about how our Heavenly Father forgives and remembers our sins no more. Whatever is inside of our childrens minds that have festered in their hearts to discard “us” for any of the issues or the hurts we as parents are “guilty” of. If our children and partners would write a list of every word and deed spoken against all people in their lives and see their own failings more would be showing grace. It’s like the man who owed a great debt to the king and asked for mercy..the debt was astronomical..but the king had mercy and let it go. This man who had been forgiven his debt on the way out to his home ran into someone who owed him a very very tiny debt and that man asked for mercy but the man whom the king forgave the enormous debt would not forgive this small debt. And thru him and his family in prison. When the king heard about this he was angry and took that man and his family and put them in prison. He said I forgave you so much dud you not realize how big of a debt that was? I had compassion on you nut because you did not have compassion on this man for little you are punished harshly. So God it’s in Gods hands how he deals with those who refuse to show compassion for infractions that we may have done.
    I believe even when wrath may come upon those who have been harsh on us we must remember to never let our hearts rejoice…for God says if we do He will turn the wrath away from them. His word indicates that we can choose to not let our hearts rejoice.
    I’m not sure why I responded in this manner…but I am fully believing that God tries to help us in ways that we cant always see. A forewarning perhaps.
    Thanks for reading.

    1. Jackie G.

      Thank you Ann for your spiritual reply. It has been 2 years, 7 months since my son decided not to have any contact with me. It’s been a very painful journey and he did crush my spirits and inner soul. Your spiritual message resonated with me.

      The past few months, I’ve been trying to let go of the hurt and pain that has engulfed my life. My son has affected me mentally and physically. I attribute some of my health issues to this unwanted stress.

      I have been in counselling, on antidepressants, self isolated myself from many family functions because I was embarrassed and hurt and didn’t want to be judged by family members. I lie to friends or colleagues at work, when they ask me what my children do. I am blessed that I am close to my daughter and my 3 grandchildren (3 beautiful girls 5, 4 and 2)! I say they are my “happy place”. My son has also hurt his sister in the past and continues to do so. He blames anything and anyone on his problems and choices in life. He is now 30, still living with his father, self medicating with marijuana, unemployed and just an unhappy person. I have gotten him help in the past and offered many times after.

      I have been trying to deal with this crisis in a more positive refreshing way. I love that Sheri had the courage to start this website and write her book. I think she is doing Gods work in helping and loving others in this situation. She is definitely a loving precious soul. It is her calling. Unfortunately, she has made her very painful situation in her life into a positive by helping thousands of other crushed parents cope and deal with our family losses. God is watching and knows her heart well. She continues to do great work for him.

      I watch Joyce Myers ministries daily and I am on a spiritual journey which I’m only in the infancy stages in my own personal life. It has helped me to stop the blaming, where did I go wrong, what could I’ve changed, I can go on and on. I blamed my divorce, my remarriage to a wonderful man and like Sheri says “I’m done with the crying”.

      I am soon retiring from a very fulfilling rewarding 25 year career as a nurse (I went to nursing school when I was 33, my kids were 3 and 6, I was going through a separation, all to make a better life for us). I worked in many areas but the past five years, I work with pediatrics medicine and oncology. It has been an eye opener. When I see the love these parents pour out to their children reminds me of the days I was there loving my son, watching him grow, being there for all the school days, sporting events. He was and is a very intelligent person, excelled in sports, had many friends, was very loving to me and his sister. I just loved being a Mom. I was also there for his declining health, his seizures, drug addictions, anxiety, poor choices he made that involved very hefty lawyers bills. I used some of my retirement money to bail him out. I tried my best to always be there for both of my children for all the good times and the bad. I know I have enabled him in the past which is stopped now. So I too made not so wise decisions.

      The bible story you mentioned in your email about the King forgiving and having compassion towards a man that owed him a great debt and he forgave him. He showed compassion and forgiveness. That is an important message in the bible.

      I have decided to forgive my son, which doesn’t mean I liked what he has done to our relationship; forgive myself in any decisions or any way I could of done better as a Mother; stop beating myself up when I know I loved my 2 children and still do. I am not perfect and made mistakes which I will owe up to. But I do know I was a loving, caring, funny, hard working single Mom, who had many wild and wonderful fun memories with my precious children.

      My son is 30. An adult making his own choices. This is not my choice. He needs help mentally and it has been offered to him many many times. No child who has been loved by and whose Mom was always at his side, can be mentally healthy to decide “I don’t want my Mom anymore”. I chose to take the higher road, which is God, and I will continue to grow spiritually, to do good while I am on this earth, and to enjoy the last chapter of my life and upcoming retirement. I spent the last 15 years dealing with my sons choices and destructive decisions and it’s time for me to take care of my health so I can try to live a happy, spiritual life doing what God wants me to do and that is to help others.

      I also have a fun bucket list for my retirement which includes horse back riding, continue my swimming lessons which I stopped because of family, continue my piano lessons which I stopped because of family problems, art course, landscaping course, gourmet cooking course (I don’t like to cook but I hope this inspires me!); travel Europe after Covid!!; redoing furniture with chalk paint; and to continue to enjoy my family and friends. I still love my Son. I don’t love our relationship. He is missing out on so many milestones in life. I hope God softens his heart. I have to also believe in Gods plan and trust that he will someday answer my prayers. I didn’t chose the path of hatred, bullying, disrespect, mind games, threats, poor decision making and hurting anyone and everyone.

      I’m not spending my last bit of time on this earth, sad, depressed , lost, and hopeless.

      I just can’t do that anymore. Love , strength and prayers to all the parents who are hurt and struggling in this unchosen path in life. Let’s hope that some day our children will see the light, but not get disappointed when they continue this destructive behaviour. It’s their loss. We don’t deserve this. Nobody does.

  40. ELLEN P.

    I wish you happiness and good health in your new home. Thanks for all you do for us who are still struggling with rejection.

  41. Kate

    This estrangement with my daughter (only child) has been going on for over 20 years and this time I haven’t seen her since 2014—no contact at all. I’ve tried over & over to talk to her—NOTHING!!! But Sheri, it’s like you said–we can’t fix the relationship with them if they won’t talk to us, they lie about us & blame us parents for everything. I’ve finally learned that is so true! My weepy days are fewer & fewer also. Many thanks to you for your help to us all.

  42. John A.

    It has been 15+ years that I have had any contact with my daughter (her choice). I remember one time when I said something to her, she said “Cats in the cradle”, referring to the song about the father and son. Of course, I don’t feel this reflects our relationship.

    My question to you, Shari, is should I continue making an effort, like occasionally saying hello or something.



  43. Linda H.

    Just when I seemed to be doing better with being a parent of an estranged adult son, I got knocked down. In April I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer, had a double mastectomy, but not cancer free and stopping further treatment. Too many complications from the mastectomy. I guess I thought just maybe this might change something in my son’s thoughts. Apparently not. He chose to still not contact and ignore, after having someone else let him know. Now I feel regretful that I just even let him know. This is definitely not the son I raised. It hurts just so bad knowing that he can be that uncaring. Ugh. Back to the workbook, and repeat again.

    1. Diane

      Prayers to you. Don’t regret reaching out and giving him the opportunities to connect. I know it hurts but don’t punish yourself for hope

    2. Red

      Linda my heart and prayers go out to you, try to stay positive and do all you can to sustain your life.your son is not the only person that cares about you, I know you probably have never met any of us on this forum but there is thousands of us that will reach out to you and care. If you don’t have a church family reach out and find one. You will have more love and caring than you can imagine. Remember your son chose to be estranged from you and let him carry that burden, no matter what he thinks his time will come when he will have to face what he is doing. I know my estranged son will someday have to face it as well. You keep the faith all will turn out for the good. Keep us posted on this forum.

  44. Barbara A.

    You have been a pillar is strength and a tremendous source of encouragement for me and many others, and a great inspiration.

    Best of luck to you in your new home.

    Cheers and warmest wishes,

  45. Connie A.

    I can’t tell you how this touched me. I am not alone in my grief. That is of immense comfort. The why of our situations may never be answered, but we get up each morning and try our best, as we have always done. Shoulder to shoulder we go on. Heart to heart. Day to day, until our journey on this earth comes to an end. May we all do everything possible to remind each other always that we are worthy of joy.

  46. Deb

    Thank you Sherri. I was having a crying jag today and as I took a little trip down memory lane, it was exactly the same as yours. We were good parents. I don’t know what happened. It is indeed confusing, bizarre and strange but it is our present reality. It may change; it may not. Moving on, one day at a time, sometimes five minutes at a time. Hugs. Deb

  47. Patricia L.

    Dear Sheri,
    The longing and sadness is always with me not that I don’t have good days now. Fortunately we get along really well with our other two children and their significant others. Our son, my first, is also estranged from them. Our twin grandsons are 3 1/2 though we have never met them. My husband thinks it is better that way then if we knew them and had held them in our arms. I wish I knew what color eyes they have, silly I guess.
    An older woman who knew our son growing up said something significant that helped me. She said he is emotionally disturbed, I find that easier to accept than that he has mental problems somehow.

    1. Toni C.

      Your husband is right. It is better not to know them at all than to have them dangled in front of your and taken away. And he is not mentally ill. He is weak and controlled by another ( his wife and her family). He has no courage to defend you and not allow them to dictate. We raised weak sons. That was the mistake we made. I did the same thing and I will get over this like I get over everything in life— with time. You will, too

  48. Yvette

    It has now been seven years since we had any contact with or from our estranged daughter. We learned recently, through our other daughter who has contact with our estranged daughter, that she is battling pancreatic cancer – stage 2. She has had surgeries to remove the tumors and even had her whole pancreas removed recently. I wrote a letter to her offering our help and prayers. I have not heard back from her. It is a double whammy now — our daughter is really really sick and we are not allowed to help her. I pray about this all the time and am so thankful to the daughter that she is in contact with for every little bit of information we can get. To top it all off, my mother will not speak to me also. So, basically, part of my family is gone. I need to speak to my estranged daughter and I need to speak to my mother to get her guidance, not happening.

    1. Red

      Yvette, I have been estranged from my son for nearly 5 years now. I hear nothing from him and his wife. No answers to letters, emails, blocked from their phones. I am finally starting to heal from all he hurt. We live on one side of the US and he and his wife on the other side. If I found out he had a catastrophic illness there would be nothing that could keep me from him. I would go to your daughter no matter what she might say. You are her mother you brought he into this world and I believe that in itself makes it right for you to go to her. Do it for yourself and her, if something bad should happen you can feel good about yourself for trying. God bless

  49. A Pina

    Thank you Sherri do your story, probably one of many. My keeps rolling around in my mind. What could I have done or said differently. Too much time has passed for reconciliation. We are old and not in the best of health. I long to see my grandchildren, but they are old enough to pick up a phone. I am lost for words.

  50. Gina D.

    Thank you Sheri for sharing these little stories! It is almost 1 year since our 33 year old daughter decided to give up on me, my husband, her only brother and our new daughter in law. She has spent the year sending insults to me and when my husband recently tried to have a conversation with her, she just cursed at him and then hung up!She will be an Aunt for the first time in a couple weeks and her choice is to totally reject her brother’s excitement! I will continue reading your thoughtful messages and hope one day things will change, but right now We are not hopeful! We will live our lives and enjoy our first Grandchild!❤️Gina

  51. Pamela S.

    That’s SUCH a sad story (your discovery of the CD with its single repeated photo of your trip) … No, Sheri, the joke isn’t on you … Jokes shouldn’t hurt like that 🙁

  52. Marci K.

    Thank you for sending this today, two days before my birthday. Even though I know I won’t hear from my daughter, the tiny bit of hope is always there. This has been a tough time, only making the longing for my daughter even stronger. This is a terrible club to belong to, and I send my love and hugs to you and all who visit this site. Unfortunately we all share an indescribable pain.

    1. Christina J

      Happy birthday. My husband’s birthday is also in two days and he anxiously awaits a text from one of his kids that may or may not come. My heart goes out to you.

    2. Linn

      Happy Birthday! I know the disappointment of hoping, even when I think I’m ok and past that. You are worthy of recognition. Do something nice for yourself and don’t sit around and mope because that only makes it worse. Sending a BIG Birthday HUG!

  53. tim k.

    Could it be that your son regrets the path he chose, but cannot seem to find a way back to the path he was on previously? I don’t know your son and I don’t know what is in his mind, but when I read your story, that is what I think. Sooner or later, as time goes by, as we age, as we have life experiences (including our own experiences of being rejected by others, instead of doing the rejecting), most every one of us experiences an inner reckoning, a look back at our lives, a wish for the elusive “do over” (“if I could go out the door and come back in again…”), and change. Our outlooks during our 20’s are different than our outlooks during our 30’s, and our outlooks during our 40’s vary from how we looked at things doing our 30’s, and indeed this happens when we are in our 50’s, and again in our 60’s. We all experience nostalgia. We have incredible dreams, involuntarily about our childhoods. And through these experiences, as well as many others, we all experience regret. Yes, some more than others. Yes, no one size fits all. And yet, my instincts tell me your son has regret for his choices. He just can’t find a way to dig his way back to the path he was on. He has probably drafted but not sent letters or emails to his mom, or stared at the phone and imagined what it would be like to make the call–a phone call that all he would have to do is dial the numbers and press send to end it. But he is stuck. And we all get stuck. Parents get stuck. Adult children get stuck. If “time heals all wounds”, then it is my view that there will be a time in the future when he reaches out. May your porch light be on for that reckoning. Respectfully, TK

    1. maureen

      My elder daughter is now 49, after a darned good upbringing (and generosity and effort following by me despite her attitude) she alienated herself dramatically at 17 and has continued this “teenage rebellion” behaviour ever since, with short intermittent periods of rather disdainful and/or managerial very superficial contact during which she has NEVER given anything of herself. So it is best not to assume that someone like this will ever change, sometimes people are too selfishly blind or pigheaded to ever question their behaviour even though supposedly maturing.
      I hope that you have not given any of us wounded people here false hope through your comments. It hurts too much already to add that too.

    1. Brigitte

      I share in your sorrow and grief in the loss of relationship with my loved one. I am learning to radically accept what is and care for myself and cherish the sweet memories of long ago.

    2. Cindy

      Praying for you, Jill. I’m new to this estrangement, and I, too, feel sometimes that sorrow will be my constant companion. But God will turn that sorrow into joy, and despite much loss in my life (cancer, deaths of loved ones, etc.), I can look back at all the times I felt like I would never recover, but God made a way where there was no way. So, while it may not be “pure 100% over the moon” joy at this particular moment, I know that I will have glimpses of it and it will return. That’s my hope for all of us suffering.


    3. Toni C.

      Dear Jill— “Be happy while you’re living because you’re a long time dead” Leave sorrow as a constant companion and find happiness to be your more constant companion. You can do it. I am doing it; one day at a time. My son does not deserve his parents. We deserved better. Stop asking why. Keep moving forward.

  54. Eliabeth

    Thank you for sharing Shari…though as I have shared with you, our experience is some different…still we are held at a distance. Rarely a reply. I wonder if some of the contact this year might be because our oldest grandson now 20 is QUICK to reply to a text message. I don’t have any hope really that anything will change in the future and not being in perfect health and now 68, not even sure how many years I or Hubby have left. Thankful that GOD sends us comfort. Often from unexpected places. I am sending you hugs!! And I am sorry you have to live this kind of situation. I think your move is a smart thing to do!! I hope your new location will be everything and more than you could ask for!!


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