Father’s Day: When Adult Children Turn Away

Fathers: When Adult Children Turn Away
by Sheri McGregor, M.A.

Most men don’t talk much about estrangement. At least that’s the consensus among a lot of the fathers who do reach out to me (and among their wives, too).

“There’s nothing I can do about it,” says George, father of a 42-year-old daughter who hasn’t spoken to him in years. “I don’t want to talk about something that makes me feel like a failure.”

fathers when adult children turn away

George’s own father wasn’t around much, so being a family man was important to him. He did all the things he thought was right. Attended school functions, worked hard for the family, and spent time with his daughter. They had a good relationship. “Yet here we are,” he says. “I know this isn’t because of me. I don’t have guilt, but I also can’t fix it.”

George’s pain over the estrangement makes him angry, too. “Because of my daughter’s choice, I can’t make my wife happy anymore. It’s just us two now, and the loss of our daughter and the three grandchildren we don’t know is always between us.” George tries to be supportive, but it’s difficult to see his wife so sad. “She used to be so cheerful,” he says. “Always humming. Always making plans.”

George distracts himself with work and hobbies. He tries to cheer up his wife, too. Sometimes, the trying backfires. “She thinks I don’t care about it all,” he says. “And I do.”

This Father’s Day, I hoped that providing George’s thoughts might provide a little insight. Maybe some fathers can relate. Maybe some father’s wives might better understand.

I hope to be sharing more about the experiences and feelings of fathers when adult children turn away. While it’s still mostly women who answer the surveys, lately, more fathers have been contacting me to share commentary, news, and feelings.

Meanwhile, here are a few more Father’s Day and other articles.

Fathers of estranged adult children, you’re not alone

Fortitude doesn’t mean “going it alone”

What about Father’s Day for fathers of estranged adult children

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

Why do they make contact now?

 

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2 thoughts on “Father’s Day: When Adult Children Turn Away

  1. sharon o.

    Thank you so much for your book! I just finished and it truly helped me so much!!
    I would be interested in hearing more about estrangements impacted by mental illness. Our son’s estrangement has much to do with his mental state. We believe he has Borderline Personality Disorder. It’s a devastating illness that is hard to make sense of or understand. It has everything to do with why he has rejected us and we can not lead him to appropriate treatment. Thank you!!

    Reply
    1. rparents Post author

      You’re not alone, Sharon! My latest book (out soon) has some more information about mental illness and its impact on estrangement. It is truly devastating.

      I hope your son will get the help he needs. Meanwhile, you will need to stay strong for yourselves and kind to yourselves. Your own well-being may be where you can make the most difference.

      Hugs,

      Sheri McGregor

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