Five ways to move on after an adult child’s rejection

adult child's rejectionby Sheri McGregor

When an adult child abandons parents, or in some cases the entire family, the what-ifs and how-coulds can limit recovery. What if my child returns to reconcile? How can I move on now yet still hold onto hope?

After an adult child’s rejection, the idea of moving on can feel like giving up, so trying to move forward brings guilt. You might question your character. What kind of a parent just gets on with life as if nothing has happened? Few parents move on with such abandon. Most, on some level, hold out hope for reconciliation. But staring at the silent telephone, desperately waiting for the uncertain return of your adult child can lead to despair. Getting on with life despite what’s happened connects you to other people and activities, helps fill the void of loss, and can help you to heal. In my first book on the topic of parent-and-adult-child estrangement, Done With The Crying, which was released in 2016, tools, research, and insight from more than 9,000 parents of estranged adults can help you move forward and heal. My latest book, Beyond Done With The Crying: More Answers and Advice for Parents of Estranged Adult Children, goes even deeper into the common complexities of estrangement, gives the hard facts about its effects on the family with the input of more than 50,000 families (including siblings and grandchildren). Beyond Done debunks the faulty thinking and nonsensical advice, and offers realistic advice. You don’t have to get stuck, waiting and hoping. You can take care of yourself and heal–then you’ll be strong and ready if reconciliation happens.

Don’t be too hard on yourself. When you are betrayed by someone you love, perhaps particularly an estranged adult child who you nurtured and helped to shape, it’s as if the bottom falls out. You may question everything you thought about your child, your relationship, and how your life will continue in relation to your son or daughter, and perhaps in relation to your prior expectations. Getting to a point where you feel you’ve moved on may take time, so be kind to yourself. Expecting that you can go to sleep one night determined to leave the pain of an adult child’s rejection behind, and wake up over it, isn’t realistic. Recovering from deep emotional wounds takes time. I’ve gleaned a few tips from my own experience with my estranged adult child as well as from studies, books, and articles that can help.

An adult child’s rejection hurts.

One: Don’t pretend you’re not hurting.

Fearing judgment, you may be embarrassed to share your painful truth.  And you may be right to hold back with people at work, or certain friends you feel won’t understand or will judge you. It’s helpful to reach out to a trusted, empathetic friend or two, but whether you can or can’t confide in others, don’t deny your feelings exist. Accept your emotions as normal in the situation.

Some common feelings of rejected parents include:

*Guilt: I must not have raised my child right. An adult child’s rejection may cause parents to look back critically at their parenting skills, even magnifying some incidents or interactions during the child’s growing up years as proof they did a poor job.

*Anger: I raised my child better than this. What happened to honoring one’s parents?

*Helplessness: How can he/she refuse to take my call? Parents realize they have no control over their adult child’s actions.

*Fear: What if my other adult children leave me too?

*Denial: This can’t be happening. Surely it won’t last.

*Uncertainty: Am I crazy? Is this all my fault? Am I that insufferable? Will this ever end?

*Failure: I feel powerless. Parents may have a sense of failure at having tried everything, but nothing has worked to restore the relationship.

These are just a few of the feelings you may encounter in response to an adult child’s rejection, betrayal or neglect. Keeping a journal or simply free-writing about your feelings may provide a safe way to offload them.  Acknowledging your feelings, whether in a journal or by sharing with others you trust can be healthy, but not to excess or in a negative way.

Two: Don’t Ruminate

Listen to your thoughts. Do you catch yourself saying aloud or thinking, “I’ll never get over this..” Are you continually asking questions, such as, “Why do these sorts of things always happen to me?” Called “ruminating,” this sort of negative thinking spurs more negative thought, perhaps even calling to mind the other things that “always happen.” Clinical studies have linked ruminating to high blood pressure and to unhealthy behaviors such as binge drinking and overeating, so steer clear.

How do you avoid ruminating? Turn your statements and questions around with positive thoughts. I am moving past this. Good things happen in my life. This suggestion may sound trite, but if negative thoughts can produce more negative thoughts, positive thoughts can be as fruitful.

When you catch yourself thinking negatively about your adult child or the situation, notice your physical body as well. Are you holding your breath? Clenching your jaw? Tightening your fists? You may be experiencing a stress response that isn’t good for you.

As reported in the Harvard Health Newsletter, researchers at Hope College in Michigan found that changing one’s thoughts about a stressful situation, perhaps by considering the parts you handled well or imagining offering forgiveness, changes the body’s responses. In short, the way we think about things can reduce our physical stress response

Take a few deep breaths, loosen up or even get up and move around. Drink a glass of water. Do something to aid your physical body and health as well as positively altering your thoughts.

Three: Focus on the Good

Take time out each day to consider the positive situations and good people in your life. A journal of good thoughts written down at the end of each day is a healthy habit, and a formal record is fun to re-read later. However, a more casual approach can be effective.

Keeping a positive focus

Here are a few suggestions:

Instead of joining everyone in the lunch break room each day, take a short stroll outdoors instead, or perhaps before you join the others. The benefits of nature to the psyche are well-documented. Be sure to experience your surroundings to the fullest, by taking notice. The dappled sunlight beneath this tree is pretty. The breeze feels good as it goes through my hair.

If getting outdoors isn’t an option, you can still focus your thoughts in a positive direction. Perhaps recall moments from your morning that went well.  I’m glad I was able to make that telephone connection and cross the task off my list. I arrived at the office earlier than my boss this morning. I’m lucky my co-workers are helpful.

Looking to the future with a positive focus promotes the well-known attitude of gratitude that’s so helpful. My dog will be waiting for me with a wagging tail. I look forward to my favorite television show tonight. I’m so thankful my aging mother is well.

Four: Forgive.

Parents have known and loved their children for so long that forgiveness may be second nature – – or not. Perhaps you blame other people who are involved with your adult children. Or maybe you blame yourself. We all make mistakes, so work to forgive. Because of the personal benefits, forgiveness is a gift you can give yourself. Forgive for the sake of your own happiness.

In a study published by National Institute of Health in 2011, researchers found that older adults (median age 66) who forgive others report higher levels of life satisfaction. Forgiving freely, without requiring an act of contrition, (such as an apology or admission), was particularly beneficial. Holding one’s forgiveness hostage to some act or condition was associated with psychological distress and symptoms of depression.

Five: Accept.

Accepting the reality of an adult child’s abandonment, and your helplessness to change it, may feel like letting go of hope. Reconciliation may eventually take place, but in the present, accepting what’s happened allows you to make the most of your life now.

Most of us have had to accept other disappointing realities during our lives: a loved one’s death, the inability to finish college due to other responsibilities, or an unrealized professional goal. We all have disappointments, but the vast majority of us accept reality and move forward, perhaps in more fulfilling directions. Even after an adult child’s rejection, you have the right to enjoy your life. Dwelling on the past or struggling with pursuits that, at least for the moment, are futile, rob you of precious time.

Acceptance may take determination, but is worth the effort. Acceptance has allowed me the freedom to be who I truly am: A strong woman blessed with many people, including four other adult children, to love and share my life with. By accepting the sad reality of one adult child’s rejection, I can better spend my time and energy on people that want my company, on interests that are meaningful and fulfilling to me, and where I can make a difference.

Recently, a parent told me she had reconciled with an estranged adult child after nearly two decades of estrangement. Her story illustrates the fulfillment of hope. Like she did, you can live your life now—-in a way that’s meaningful, fulfilling, and happy—-and still hold out hope for a future reconciliation.

Done With The Crying and the newer Beyond Done are available through popular booksellers. Ask your local bookstore to order these books for parents of estranged adult children for you. Or order online.

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Related Articles:

Why forgive?

Related Articles from other sources:

Forgiveness by God, Forgiveness of Others, and Psychological Well-Being in Late Life

Five Reasons to Forgive

 

 

 

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106 thoughts on “Five ways to move on after an adult child’s rejection

  1. Robin

    I thought that my 30-something daughter and I were close. I slowly started to realize I had been rejected by her earlier than I realized. I say slowly because she still wanted me around to cook, clean, design, repair, babysit, etc. I misread this as a relationship. Not until last Thanksgiving when I was treated like an unwelcome disease, did I have an epiphany of the reality of our relationship. I was hurting and saddened. I retired my bugle (no more coming to the rescue.) It’s taken a year of very limited contact (only because she wants a little contact with her dad) and obvious rejection to come to terms with the reality that there wasn’t much substance to our relationship before. Thanksgiving will always be a kick in the gut and I may never get over it, but it is what it is. Moving on.

    Reply
  2. Kay

    I can relate to many of these stories
    I brought my 2 daughters up on my own after my husband cheated and I left him
    He refused to pay maintenance threatening to take the children(8 and 5 yrs old at the time) if I took him to court
    I worked and put both to private schools
    Both needed orthodontic work
    Their father refused to help pay
    He had no contact with them for 20 years then came back and told them I had lied to them
    He said I cheated on him and he paid maintenance and I must have spent it on myself
    Both my daughters cut me out of their lives
    I don’t see my grandchildren
    It has been 8 years
    I have sent presents cards etc but was told to stop as they all went into the bin
    I just wanted to die

    Reply
    1. Suzanne

      My husband abandoned me and our 3 children. All under 4. He never paid a dime in maintenance and I worked my butt off to bring them up alone. We were all very close and loving. 30 years later. They are with partners who have encouraged them to contact their father. (He is wealthy)
      Now they have cut me out and gone to where the money is. I didn’t bring them up like this. I’m beyond heartbroken. I don’t know how this could have happened..I’ll be glad when Im.gone..im.broken

  3. Helen

    I can relate absolutely to the comments from sad parents posting here. I haven’t seen my daughter and 2 grand-daughters for nearly 7 years. We had such a special relationship with our eldest grand-child, but she has totally rejected us because she’s controlled by her mother – my daughter). – My husband and I will always love her but the pain of rejection (ie by no response to loving messages we have sent her) is killing me. My son I haven’t seen for decades – his issue is that I married again 6 years after the death of their father. I continue to be rejected by him – this beautiful little boy, all grown up now and making me suffer because I married my lovely second husband who he rejected right from the start for absolutely no reason. Both of these, my children, now in their 40s and 50s have alienated us from all our grandchildren. So now in our early 80’s we have no-one and the future in old age and without anybody to fall back on is totally terrifying. I think that, left completely on my own and vulnerable, I would consider suicide, but I worry about the religious ramifications of that.

    Reply
  4. Corrine S.

    I am so pleased to have found this comforting site. When rejection from an adult ‘child’ comes at you out of the blue, you find you missed the signs and awakening to them at first leaves you in shock.
    I am grateful for the support and guidance of how to cope. After many tears and the continued realization that this is truly happening….I’ve adjusted . Thr daughter that suddenly rejected me is 62. I will be 90 in 10 days. Looking back , I spoiled her rotten ….wanting to give her all I never had. Well there’s nothing like learning in hindsight and if by magic, I could go back and change all I have done for here…all I have given here….I would do so in a heartbeat .
    I adjusted to the reality of her heartless, callous rejection…and no longer wish to hear from her . It’s a relief and I am so glad to have found your support. Thank you.

    Reply
  5. Denise

    This site has made me realise that my situation is not uncommon. Every story is heartbreaking and my heart goes out to you all.
    My Eldest daughter wants nothing from me and uses her children as weapons against us. occasionally we have contact when she needs to rant on about something wrong in her life , but this is through social media only.
    I admit I did not handle her adolescent years well as she constantly ran me down and was very verbal abusive to me which led to shouting matches as I would never dreamt of talking to my mom the way she spoke to me. We still loved her and provided for her as much as we could afford being that she is one of three.
    I guess I should of seen this coming when she used to often make references to her friends parents giving more than she got and then after we fell out big time just before she had her first daughter over us getting another dog, she made reverences to not tolerating people who want to know her because she has a newborn and why she came off Facebook..
    She said she needed to cut contact for mental health reasons
    We have always tried to support her even when we could see her behaviour towards her husband is extreme when they fall out. We have not criticised her parental style, her in laws often have but they are very soon in close contact with her and grandchildren after any fall out with them. Where as we make a decision about our lives that she doesn’t agree with like paying for her sister’s best friend meal at hen do recently and we are in her bad books for weeks. I only got to see my granddaughter a month ago because she agreed for my visiting Mum to go round to see them. Before that it had been several months since I had seen my granddaughter. Daughter was polite during visit but froze when I hugged her.
    She is about to have a second child but due to all the hate messages I have received from her in last 2 years I cannot be excited at being a grandmother again.
    I am still recovering from a mental breakdown from all this and when I start feeling better something else happens to bring this to the surface again so I go down again.
    In my case I know that some of this comes from the fact that I walked away from her father when she was 3 years ago as he was verbally abusive to all of us, saying that the children came along to ruin his life. He never made regular contact with her so she felt abandoned by him. However she did have a good relationship with her stepfather until recently when he needed to come off the fence between us to support me. My husband is now heartbroken too and very wary of any contact she makes with him as it’s only when she needs medical advice as he is a senior nurse. He feels she had always been somewhat embarrassed about us as we have never had a show house, choosing to pay for school trips and family holidays instead to give them happy childhood memories. Often at family events she would have some sort of meltdown when she was not winning a game or if it was someone else’s birthday and so she was not centre of attention, so this all started years ago in reality but it still hurts so much as we loved her despite all of this.

    Reply
    1. rparents Post author

      Dear Denise,

      Your note makes very clear the big spot your estranged daughter has held in your lives, the focus, the puzzling over, the trying. It’s okay to admit how tiring and one sided it has all been! You’ve laid out a clear picture of how things have been. Now, you can choose how things will be, and work at getting there.i hope you will keep reading here, subscribe to the newsletter, and check into my books to help.

      Hugs to you,
      Sheri McGregor

  6. Jen C.

    It’s been 4 months since our daughter called me to tell me she would not be talking to us for an undermined period of time. My heart breaks a million times every day. Everything that should be a joyful experience for me is dulled. We have two other children and I feel like I’m not able to give them the attention of my heart the way I should. I feel so numb, so hurt, so shattered. Our daughter will be 30 in a few months. We had trying times as she was growing up, but in-depth conversations, apologies and changes from all parties gave us a wonderful relationship over the past 9 years. She got married last year to a guy she had been dating for many years. We liked him as much as we could. He was difficult to connect with, but we tried. We asked questions, which were usually met with simple one-word replies. We were always nice and welcoming to him. We thought he was just an introvert. We paid for an amazing wedding for the two of them last year. In every way possible, it was simply perfect. When we met her husband’s grandmother for the first time, she said “Oh, the infamous John” to my husband. It became obvious that bad things had been said about my husband to the in-laws. Which really should have come as no surprise since my daughter had shared many less than favorable things about her future husband’s family (his mom, specifically) with us. Several things happened over Christmas this past year that led to a blow up at Christmas dinner where my husband reprimanded him. The spark that ignited the issue started with me. There was no ill intent, but I hurt my daughters’ feelings and it spiraled from there. Her husband called me disrespectful and ended up admitting to purposely never talking to us and keeping his mouth shut every time he comes to our home. This statement caused us to realize that he wasn’t simply an introvert, he just didn’t like us. Within a couple of hours, he left our home without a word to us. He just left. Our daughter stayed and we spent time talking things through with her. She said she felt no one was at fault and that no apologies were necessary (and we agreed), all that was needed was time. .

    We maintained normal contact with our daughter while she started going to therapy (something she had indicated she wanted to do a year before all of this happened. We encouraged her. She shared that she was having anxiety over conversations she has with people. Just dwelling on what she had said and if the person took any offence to it. She also shared that her husband told her she was different when they were at our house than the way she normally is. We never noticed her being different. She seemed the same to us. We talked about things a few times, she shared that she felt therapy was good and the therapist offered solutions for when she and her husband come for a visit (they live out of state) that to make him feel more comfortable they could rent an Airbnb instead of staying with us. We said we supported that if it made him feel more comfortable.

    Fast forward to April of this year. She said that she and her husband were shocked we had never apologized to her husband for the incident at Christmas. She said she needed to set boundaries with me/us. She was going to continue therapy and had no timeline for when or if she would talk to us again. I tried to object and talk things through, but she said there would be no contact and that if I reached out to her, she would not respond.

    Before the estrangement, she had preordered a Mother’s Day gift for me and later discussed with her sister that she was considering cancelling it. She didn’t cancel it; the gift arrived, and I messaged her and thanked her for the gift. No reply. We sent a card to her husband for his birthday, no reply. I sent her a card/gift a month later to wish her well in the last month of her job and congratulate her on her next career move, no reply. Then Father’s Day came, and she didn’t’ so much as send a text message to her dad. Complete silence. We were both crushed.

    After much thought, journaling countless conversations about it, we believe that her husband decided not to like us from day one after meeting us. We believe, she put a lot of pressure on him because she worried we wouldn’t like him. He wasn’t as good a student as she was, he didn’t get an equivalent job like she did, he struggled with his career path over the years. While we expressed concern to her about his career opportunities, we never treated him in a way that would have made him think we didn’t like him. In fact, we offered support, ideas, suggestions that could help him succeed, none of which were taken. Him saying she was different when they were here, is because she was on edge. She was getting mad at him for things he would do that she felt were offensive to us or things she thought we would judge him on. Although we never said anything to him about anything he did or didn’t do. It was her worries and concerns that were never justified that caused her to stress him out and make him think we were bad people. This is my theory. I have no idea if she has come to this realization. I can only pray that she has a good therapist who will help her find her way to the truth. I’m guessing, it’s easier for her to just be with him and his family. To not worry about us or our feelings.

    I’m so angry that we not only didn’t gain a son-in-law, but we lost our daughter. While his mom whom our daughter has talked bad about (being a meddler and pushy) and her own son calls a “pit bull” has gained our lovely daughter. I feel so hurt. I feel like I’m resigned to just be happy that she’s happy even if it means a life without us. The other issue is that, by default, it changes our family dynamic. It interferes with her relationships with her siblings, even though we haven’t involved our other children. They do know what’s going on, and they disagree with what she’s doing. It makes them feel weird, like they have to choose. How can they naturally be together or talk to one another with this elephant in the room? Especially since they think she’s wrong.

    I sought out this subject online because I know I need to find a way to peace. I need to live my life and give my heart fully to the people in my life who love me and whom I love. I’m trying. It’s hard. I feel some comfort knowing that I’m not the only person to go through something like this. My mom was not a good mom, but never once did I consider estranging myself from her. I knew she had faults; I knew she was human. I knew she was doing the best she could. I knew she had regrets. I set out as a mother to be different, to be better, to give my children so much more than I had. I did something wrong. I’m paying the price. My heart is broken.

    Reply
    1. James

      I’m so sorry for your loss. My 30 year old son has decided he doesn’t like the person I’ve become and hasn’t spoken to me in several years. I’ve tried writing him countless times with no response. I have finally come to terms that I’ll respect his wishes as a man and initiate no further contact. He’s young and standing by his new wife who never liked me. I will wait for the day when he is ready to initiate contact. I have told him I’m proud of him regardless. It’s my job to love him without conditions even though he can’t do the same and the door is always open for him. I truly hope your situation will change one day until then stay strong and move forward.

  7. Barb

    I am going through an estrangement with my adult daughter (41 years old). We were good parents but as in most lives, there has been turbulence. I probably could have handled her teen years better but with no manual, I did the best I could. There was a lot of screaming and tough love in response to the lying, drinking and drugs. She seems to have turned a corner on that with the exception of the lying. Though we hadn’t seen her in almost 2 years, (she lives across the country-Canada. A big country), her plan to come home for vacation in 2020 was interrupted by the pandemic. Plans for me to go out were in the making for spring of this year. Her father is not a huge fan of travelling, it was casually mentioned that she would try to make it home in late summer and we have limited finances. She would be working while I was there and he hoped her plans to come home would happen so, he decided he would stay home. When she realized that only I would be making the trip, she got upset. We gave her a couple of days calm down and we called. She didn’t answer then or the next day. We’ve had no contact in 4 months. We sent her a birthday card and gift. We messaged her with no response. We are befuddled. My husband is taking the view that he won’t be treated like this. Its bothering him, of course, but he’s not going to be held hostage by his own daughter. I am falling apart. The cruelty is mind boggling.
    I came across this blog and noticed the entries regarding son and daughter in laws causing a rift. She has been in a relationship with a man for about a year. Those entries have raised a red flag for me. While she was always the kind of person who who hang up angrily if things weren’t going her way, this is the first time she’s ever completely cut us out of her life. Part of me is angry but mostly, I’m just sad and worried. I don’t know how to move forward. Should I keep reaching out or wait for her? Any advice would be appreciated.

    Reply
    1. Leisa W.

      Hi Barb. God must have lead me to this page. I just read your story and mine is similar and this hurt is unbearable. I will try and keep this short but it’s about my 25 year old daughter. I split with her father when she was 3. There was drinking in my younger years as I lost my dad at a very young age, did not like my mother so I drank occasionally to dull the pain mainly in stressful situations. Nothing out of control but I do recognize at times I probably had a few too many. I rose above that years ago and and now own my own property management company (rated #3 out of over 400 in my area) and I have 4 beautiful children. My son (19 who I truly believe was heaven sent as he has made ME a better person. He is the product (lol) of my now husband of 20 years who by the way ADORES and loves my other two kids and they love him. My son who is an HVAC tech supervisor who just bought his first home and married his best friend, and his younger sister XX who is 25 and in prison!
      My husband also has a daughter who I was not always super close with but we are now. We had a VERY close family until January 12th of 2020. My daughter XX was always difficult and I always blamed myself. When I left her father I had no choice and also had no direction but I knew staying was not good for the kids. I not too long after met my now husband and at one point my ex married as well. The difference was she HATED XX and my husband adored her. We had an agreed arrangement that my ex would keep them during the week and I on the weekends until I got settled and felt comfortable bringing my new husband into their life. One year lead to another of just leaving things the way they were all the while I was kept in the dark how abusive this step mother was to my little girl. Some things are just coming out now. So I REALLY started blaming myself for not just fighting for her sooner and prevented her from all this hurt. It turned her into a little girl who turned to drugs, lies about EVERYTHING, bad choice in boyfriends and no self confidence. I finally got custody of her and turned her around (I thought) but always knew she was hurting. I tried talking to her, I cried with her and oh yes when she would make the same bad choices over and over I yelled and screamed and probably threw a thing or two. I felt like a failure as a mom, a caged animal because I could not get to what she needed to help her (what kind of mother am I), and I prayed for her everything to be happy and whole. She started dating a felon. We were not happy but accepted him as he seemed (again from what we knew because she continually lied about what he was like behind closed doors) ok. Well he was a closet and very abusive drunk and the night of January 12th he was driving drunk going 80 mph in a 50, she supposedly was trying to buy cocaine (of which I NEVER knew she did), he took her debit card and a fight ensued in the vehicle. It crashed. His best friends was killed, two of the backseat friends had minor injuries, my daughter flu out and broker her back and neck and HE (the driver ran). He later got with his friends and they came up with this story that XX was mad and made him lose control of the vehicle and it worked. There was so much bullshit being said on the stand I don’t know what to believe but she, my little girl who I SO tried to reach all these years was lead off in handcuffs to do 6 years for gross vehicular manslaughter and she had NO priors and was not even driving! Don’t come to CA as even the justice system is jacked up! After the accident and before her sentencing which took a year and a 1/2 she met anotoher guy. Come to find out ANOTHER FELON and this guy is dangerous! She gave birth to their son in January (I drove down to get my little grandson as they would not release him to his father, a felon). XX wanted him to stay with us and after day 3 he came and took him and I have not seen him sense. He has threatened my husband, my son and I want nothing to do with him. Before this I was the best mom in the world. She was sorry, she said she wanted to be just like me and she wanted to make me proud to I am the biggest piece of shit and was an awful mother and the very reason she is in prison and makes bad decisions. I don’t know who this girl is? I have lived my life for ALL my kids. Vacations, monthly family dinners, big family get togethers but with her she always went left when we said go right. What do I do? I am second guessing myself, I miss my grandson and I blame this boyfriend as this is not like her to turn away from her entire family! She hates BOTH her brothers and has literally torn into every one of us. I don’t know what to do.

  8. Holley

    My family’s journey into estrangement is just beginning. My daughter (19) and I have always been the very best of friends – inseparable. She left for a 9 month, 4 continent mission trip on September 11, 2021. I said goodbye with a kiss and a blessing. I never knew there was an issue until she called her Daddy and I on April 17, 2022 (Easter Sunday), and said she wasn’t coming home because of me. We have begged and pleaded with her to explain, but this person is no longer our daughter. She is the complete opposite of the beautiful soul we dropped off for missions, and she wants absolutely nothing to do with me, my husband or her 17 year old brother. We are all hurting, but a part of me has died. I never saw it coming.

    Reply
    1. Rashmi

      Same thing is happening to me now. I am confused, very sad, taking anxiety pills to go to sleep. I don’t know how I can handle. I want my son back with me . Looks like there is no hope.

  9. Jayne

    It’s been nearly six years now since our daughter sent me an e-mail telling me she wanted no contact from
    me. At the time I thought it was just a little “hissy fit” and would blow over. But after months, then years of unanswered phone calls, e-mails and letters, my husband and I finally recognized the cruel truth and knew she wanted us severed from her life. Yes, the tears and deep, hollow emptiness and grating heartache, I thought might kill me – because it Did kill something so very deep within me. For a couple of years we thought she might make contact: more than the 1x a year New Year card (the only evidence we have that she is still alive) It never materialized. The actual realization of this cruelty devastated me and I was driving my hubby crazy by re-hashing the “what-ifs” many times a day. It seems the mothers are always more deeply affected, probably because we carried that life within us for 9 months. As the saying goes, “Time Heals All Wounds” and it is so. about 2 years ago I began having fewer and fewer thoughts of or about her. I started a file titled “The J—— situation” and I put copies of all the pertinent information and copies of related e-mails and notes from her asking for me to apologize for unknown perceived slights and things she has defined as “abuse” . I did write her one letter of apology, at her request, though I was only doing it in hopes our relationship could be re-established. Also one councilor prescribed a complete “groveling” verbal apology, which I didn”t feel was correct, but kind of did, again just on the chance it would change things for the better. (it was a mistake – I was a good Mom and we were good parents) as the thoughts of “what could I have done differently” etc. subsided, I started to realize just how many true and lovely blessings I was currently living with, enjoying and loving each and every day – right Now. Yes, the Daily Divine blessings of home, our loving son, friends, this beautiful world, ocean, trees, the small birds we feed, the big garden I tend and harvest, my husband – just this entire whole Blessed Life I am allowed to live, all the Beauty surrounding me each day.
    Yes, at first it is like living a nightmare, and It Is. But, Time Does Heal – and for me It Has. I still have my sad “jags” but they are short lived. We are seeing the USA in our RV and spending our retirement looking forward to the next adventure of experiencing a new location on a trip. We share our excess garden produce with our son and neighbors & friends, which brings us much joy. The Great Courses provide us with an avenue to expand our knowledge. LIFE IS GOOD.
    Last year, after she made then broke yet another promise to enter counselling, I finally took my control back and told her this would be our very final attempt to re-establish contact and attempt to repair our relationship. Well, all of you know just what her response to that was —
    Puzzling, disappointing, humiliating, shaming, as this unbelievable situation is – She is static and maybe ‘stuck” but definitely missed the lesson on compassion and empathy toward others which somehow our son was able to absorb under my parenting. We don’t know, we may never know. But one thing is for sure — the girl, daughter who we loved and provided for and raised in our home Is Gone Forever. We do not know this being which she has “morphed into” Her cruelty, lack of empathy or caring for other beings, astounds us. If I had met a stranger with these very unsavory qualities, truly I would have never wanted to befriend them. So I ask myself. in saner moments, why am I trying to patch “us” up??? It defies reason. Exactly. Time Brings Clarity Also. Better off without.
    The crazy thing is she lives only blocks away from our house, where she was raised. We could walk to her townhouse from here.

    Reply
    1. Sandy

      Jayne, this gives me hope that I will survive. I am new to estrangement and completely baffled by it. I hate to think it is permanent but love that you have survived it. Thank you!

    2. Tami R.

      Thank you for taking time to share this! So completely touched me in soooo many ways.

    3. Krissi

      Your story sounds so very familiar to the one we just started with our daughter. All your emotions I’ve experienced. I’ve gone to bed crying and woke up from a dead sleep sobbing so hard I felt I couldn’t breath. It gives me hope I can learn to enjoy the many blessings I have around me every day and get past the pain of loss. Thank you for sharing.

    4. Kristie

      I don’t even know what to say. I have three children. A daughter that’s 31, a son that’s 21, and a daughter that’s 20. The youngest has always picked fights with me ever since she was like eight years old. As the years passed it had gotten worse. In June of 2021 was another big one. By the time August came, well that was the biggest ever. The tension in the house just kept building. By the time December came, she & her sister decided to move in together. I have no ideal what she has told her older sister but not only does the youngest not speak to me anymore, neither does my oldest. They have blocked me from all forms of communication. I was crushed. I went through what I call the stages, hurt, self doubt, anger, disappointment, & healing. I decided that I would focus on myself for a while to get to this stage in my life. I still had so much to be thankful for. I still had my husband & wonderful son that would always have my back. I didn’t lose my daughters, they lost me. I forgave them which is my gift to them. Moving on without them in my life is my gift to myself. I’m drama free. Narcissists will never feel ashamed for their behavior. If this is what my daughters truly are then there will never be reconciliation. If they aren’t true narcissists then one day they will be in touch. I will not put my life on hold to see. I already spent a lot of my life building theirs. But if I leave this earth before that happens, I know me two girls that are going to be upset with empty hands and a happy boy with full hands.

    5. Jen

      Thank you for sharing, Jayne, your post gives me hope that I can find a way to joy and happiness without my daughter in my life. It’s only been 4 months for us, but in my heart, I feel that even if there is a reconciliation, things will never be the same again. My daughter and I spoke on the phone at least 3-4 times a week. She is now living her life without me. Finding new routines in her day that don’t include me. I’m missing out on her life, and she will be a different person if and when we talk next. I’ve stopped checking her profiles on social media because it’s too heartbreaking to see her living her life happily without us. I don’t know how this happened. My own mother was not good. not loving, not there for me in any way. I never once considered excluding her from my life. I just told myself that she did the best she knew how and that I would do better. I know that I did better in a million ways. I believe my daughter is making the decision that is easier in order to have a happy life with her husband free of conflict. By not talking to us, she can eliminate that conflict from her life. She’s making a mistake; I know she is and there isn’t anything I can do about it.

    6. Stephanie P.

      My situation is identical to yours! My daughter has cut us off with no regard for anyone’s feelings but her own. This is a recent event but I am made so sad by it that it’s making me unwell. I loved my daughter and did everything for her but to no avail. Your story has helped me because of your positivity. Thank you.

  10. Joan M.

    After 3 years of estrangement from my 33 yo daughter – for which I’m admittedly partially responsible – I’m finding that I think less and less about her as time goes on (she and my husband stay in contact once/month). Where once I unrestrainedly asked after her, her activities, her health, her happiness, I no longer do.
    There are times when I simply don’t care. Indeed, there are times when I’m quite happy with our estrangement. To the point that I’m not sure I’d want her back in my life.
    This causes guilt…..but probably not as much as would be were my husband not in contact with her. I suppose this is rather different from those of the parents who have no idea how/where their child is living.
    I don’t believe there will be a rapprochement. I believe I have lost my child forever. It will be on my death bed that I feel the full force of this rift.

    Reply
  11. Kaye

    Round and around and around we go. My son turned up Xmas day to say don’t worry about lunch I had prepared. No gift, no matter how small I would have been happy. I always give a substantial gift of money and treats but this time something in me stopped. I would not allow this abuse, a pop in visit to collect the goodies and rush back to his wife. So I said, oh if there is not gift for me, then you might as well not take yours. Beyond done. M is for Mother not Mud. That’s the end of the handouts as I can see clearly after that experience on Xmas day there is not gratitude, respect or care.

    Reply
    1. Grace

      Kaye, Good for you. 6 years of “Oh, did you get the Christmas card, I was afraid you wouldn’t get it in time.” From our son and DIL. Meanwhile every holiday was bunches of presents for her side of the family. We were over generous in what we gifted them cars, vacations, big checks etc.). No reciprocation at all. I don’t miss that. Now they are circling the wagons planning their comeback into our lives (we got word through a 3rd party). I haven’t even touched on the cruel things both of them have done to us. My husband says there will be no reconciliation, our son’s wife has come after me too many times. I think they are only coming back for money. We are older and need to protect our mental/physical health.

    2. Rhonda

      Well done and good on you Kaye… hands down the best decision you have made for yourself. Stay strong and true to yourself xx

  12. Bee

    My adult daughter is currently rejecting me too. It’s not been long, but the writing has been on the wall. I could do what many people here are doing, blame myself, but that’s only an element of the situation. I did things that weren’t great. I didn’t always cope with with being a solo mother. I met and lived with a total jerk for years because I was lonely and society loves to make you feel like a failure if you live alone. You are not a failure. Sometimes it’s a choice, sometimes it’s forced upon us, but I prefer being truly alone that being lonely WITH the person who is meant to love you.

    So my daughter met someone. He isn’t free of his own emotional baggage and his parents, while together, are not a happy couple. They had two children. One is handicapped and since he was born my daughter has become more and more distant with me and with others. She used to rely on me, which changed gradually to using me. I work fulltime, I don’t want to be used as the babysitter when I do finally get to the weekend.

    Life, for me, is about having raised my kids the best way I could at the time. I had almost zero support from my parents and siblings. I struggled. My kids had to struggle with me. I have apologised to them for this and told them it wasn’t their fault, that I love them, however, I am not going to continue to be a scapegoat for all the rubbish that went down as I raised them. I didn’t do alcohol or drugs, sleep around, spend my money on me, hate on their father. They had a home and they were well fed. They were loved.

    I am sorry to read on this thread that some people want to die because their kids no longer bother. I am sorry to hear about a son who makes no effort to see his mother and, if she moved closer, she’d need to go into Aged Care. I am sorry that a 48 year old woman can tell her mother to “fxxx don’t text me anymore.” That’s on those adult kids. No doubt you’ve disappointed them in some way, but you weren’t meant to be perfect. No one is. A truly adult person has become resilient through adversities. They learn, if they are emotionally intelligent, to adapt and to forgive.

    I have read that the best way forward is to respect yourself and forgive yourself. I will always love my children no matter what. I will cry when they don’t contact me, but I will also find out what makes me tick, what I want to do. As my friend said to me, “Our kids don’t define who we are.” We have to find out what does define us. Remember the things we loved to do as kids? Remember what made us laugh? We’re allowed to revisit those things and let them back into our lives. If our children resent it or ignore it then that’s their problem. We have to get on and be our best selves.

    This is a bit long winded, but I wanted to say that no one on this thread should give up who they are because of their children. Maybe they don’t respect us anymore, but that’s on them and we don’t have to take that on board. I personally intend to set really firm boundaries around that because I think that not having boundaries is what wears me down. Not allowing some joy into my life also wears me down.

    As Martin says (above), “On one of the non communicating scenarios you are allowed to heal.” I’m also opting for that.

    Reply
    1. Beth

      This comment spoke to me on a way no other articles or comments have. Thank you for taking the time to share all of it. I was also a single parent much of my son’s life and I did sooo much right. Yet I also did some things, as a young, frightened, insecure mother, for which I hold deep regret. Years into the estrangement, my son shared his perspective on scenarios that broke my heart. Things I forgot I had Said and done. Those few things that have tainted his perception of his mother and of his childhood. It does sound like you didn’t make those mistakes but, nonetheless, your article brought comfort and hope.
      last Fall my son and his wife started speaking very kindly to me and I have no idea why. I’m grateful, but guarded. I think I’ll always be guarded, as it’s been a painful decade. And my 12- year-old grandson continues to tell stories of things his father shared about stupid things I’ve done. I realize I am now rambling, yet want to thank you for the your intuitive and genuine, healing words: Clearly you have grown from your painful journey and your story does bring encouragement and hope.

    2. Tracey A.

      JAYNE
      What you have gone through and the outcome holds so much of my own experience. I eventually asked myself why on earth I would want to be around somebody like my daughter AJ. She was once my everything however Ive given up, infact I am afraid of her and hated by her despite how beautiful and kind and lovely I know she can be to others. I am not the only person she has rejected, AJ drops anyone that doesn’t fit her agenda. Onwards and upwards to a life with my youngest daughter in whom I feel safe and loved. I feel sad and I’m sorry our lives come to this and I grieve in a way that’s harder than loved ones I have lost to death but I have a duty of care to myself, to my youngest,to my friends and other genuine human beings on my journey. I pray God keeps her safe in this uncertain world and times because she’s my baby, I just don’t want her to expect anything else from me as I know longer have anything I wish to give

  13. Michael

    Been estranged from my daughter for over 6 years now. I empathize with others going through the various cycles of rage, uncertainty, speculation, guilt, hopelessness, grief. rinse & repeat.

    Lately, I’ve been ashamed at how pathetic and insignificant I feel when deep, genuine concern, rooted in unconditional parental love, is constantly met with indifference, conjecture and disregard for any other narrative or contact. I own up to my faults and not one to blame but at a time I was putting my life back together (dissolution of job, wife and house all the same year) the ex-spouse (with narcissistic personality) exacerbated the situation with Parental Alienation and fabricated elaborate ‘escape for my life’ fictional tales. I’m totally frustrated and disappointed at myself for not catching or acting on it sooner but It’s come full circle and I now know the true meaning of generational curse.

    On a positive note (I think) I did muster up the strength to finally close the door on aimlessly waiting around. I attribute all the courageous and shared experience here which shined that glimmer of hope; allowed the thought that my existence is important too. Sincerest thanks to everyone here…especially Sheri. (Ironically my ex-wifes name – but spelled different)

    Reply
    1. Beth

      So well said. We cannot let our troubled adult children let us doubt the value of our existence. We have to find a way to hold on to our dignity and value.

  14. Steven W.

    Hello. My name is Steven and my son is rejecting me.
    My story goes like this. In 1996 I joined the chior in my home town church becuase I love God and simply wanted to sing, bass that is. I came into practice late each week due to my job. She began to to notice me in the croud of 150 other singers. Nearly 4nmonths later we finally met. I was married and so was she. Her husbnd was steril and my wifec ould not have children. We sharde our stories with each other. I went on home and so did she. Then 1 evening she asked me if I wanted to share babies with her by her egg donations. Instead of running home to my wife to tell her about this proposal, I went to have coffee with my sons mother the next day. That turned into the 9th of January of 1997. Our son was concieved on the 11th which just happpened to be her husbands birthday. BTW, he was in on the entire sperm donor plan from the start! Keep reading. Remember, I just wanted to sing YET…all she wanted was to find a man who looked like her husband so she could get pregnant and tell the world that she was having her mirycle baby after all. I could play uncle at family picnics and we woud never reveal our secret. Oh but do not forget that your sins will find you out!
    Zoom forward to Xx xx, 2021. With the advent of the internet I was finally contacted by my son and within 2 months we finally met face to face for the 1st time.
    Yes, my wife did indeed forgive me and was very supportive of the two of us meeting each other.
    So…as a repentant and committed man, I have been walking very carefully with my son especially when it comes to relaying my faith in Jesus Christ to him and encouraging him too consider not allowing the destuction of the world to infitrate his young mind and life.
    He told me tonight that he doesn’t need me in his life and that I am on the brink of him not wanting to speak to me any longer. The man that raised my son lived a compromising life and taught him to do whatever feels good at the moment. Makes sence since my son is only 24 years od and drinks likea fish, smokes drugs and already has 2 small children with 2 girs and is not married.
    After 24 years of waiting to meet him he is about to be done with men duet o the biggings of letting unforgivness and bitterness poison his heart. Sure…I own my part while his mother isn’t sorry about anything that she has done and refuses to acknowledge any responsibility about lying to him for all the years of crazy living. I suppose that I am the safe parent to punish and it’s understandable yet it still hurts like HELL to hears him say he loves me in one breath then curses me and dishonors me with the other.

    Reply
    1. Carrie-Ann

      Hi Steven,
      Just read your comment this morning…Bottom-line, this drama really has “nothing to do with you”…it will “only if you let it”…it’s all their drama…Try to detach and observe without getting caught up in all of it…Once you’re sucked in, it will feed their need for drama…
      Take care Steven…May You Be Blessed In Body, Mind, & Spirit…
      In Friendship,
      Carrie-Ann

  15. Amanda H.

    Hello everyone!! Reading all your stories just truly makes my heart ache for all of you. I wish I could say I was a good mom but with years of active therapy I know I wasn’t. I grew up in an abusive home and wanted to please my parents and “earn” their love. It was never enough. I looked for love of course in all the wrong places and had my daughter at 19. Divorced her dad when she was 1. He was never any help. I tried my best to better our life and provide her what I thought was a loving and stable home. My mothers second husband molested my daughter and when I took her to the police station to file a report they took her in a room without me to talk to her. She was terrified. She was screaming. I couldn’t take it so I got her and left. I asked her (at 10 years old) if she wanted to go back she said no. I really thought I was being a loving mom but I didn’t understand a 10 year old can’t make adult decisions. I failed to protect her and have her abuser punished and put in prison. He died shortly after. As my daughter became a teenager she grew more angry with me and all my bad decisions. A lot happened in between, I was always mentally unstable and chose to drink, do drugs which I honestly never did around her but it made my mental illness worse. I tried to commit suicide in 2009. When my daughter was 16 we got into a huge fight and in the middle of the night when I was asleep she packed all her belongings and left. She stayed with my ex mother in law several months then eventually moved in with my sister. My sister and brother in law have truly loved her and given her a much better life, future, parental stability, just everything I never could. I signed over parental guardianship to them so she could enroll in a new high school. Those first few years without her I wanted to die every single day. My depression was severe. I drank and die drugs everyday for years while maintaining an awesome work ethic but my mental illness eventually caught up with me. I started seeing a counselor first, then a social worker and now I see a psychiatrist very regularly. It’s taken a while to deal with myself and face reality my daughter doesn’t want anything to do with me at all. She’s 21 now. She’s in nursing school. She has a great boyfriend, great family, everything I ever wanted for her thanks to my sister and BIL. At times she would see me but always determined to make sure she put me in my place. Over the past few years I believe I have made a lot of progress with my doctor, therapy, medicine and truly working the strategies of my doctors instructions on how to live with mental illness. At times I have still failed and used drugs but quickly stopped when I realized what it cost me. My depression is the worst it’s ever been but I’m getting through it with my doctor. I really love my doctor. When my daughter left at 16 I lived alone for 5 years. I faked my way through everyday life. Eventually I had to sell my house, but knew that was something I needed to do anyway to get away from the memories and deep depression. I was fortunate enough to pay off ALL of my debt, 100% totally debt free, gave my daughter my car, bought myself a new car, gave her money pretty regularly, give her things I never could before and it felt fantastic “to me” to just love her in ways I never could. I really wasn’t trying to “buy” her love. Maybe just trying to spend whatever time I could with her. If I ever said or did anything to upset her she quickly put me in my place and ignored me, blocked me. That happened many times. This past summer I invited her and her friend to join me and my friends to the beach. I paid for EVERYTHING. I wanted to treat her to a vacation for all her hard work in nursing school. I tried very hard for years to truly apologize, spend time with her , help her, do whatever I could in anyway but she truly sees me as a nobody. I started to feel she was just using me for money and a good time and if I confronted her about that, again she would put me in my place. She went through my purse on vacation and found drug paraphernalia and assumed I was using. I truly wasn’t. I just never got rid of my paraphernalia. She immediately cut me off, scheduled one last therapy session with me to tell me she no longer wants a relationship with me at all. The reality as a parent, for me is realizing sometimes no matter how far you’ve come to get better you can never undo the damage that’s already been done. I know I failed as a mother. I really did. But I also know without a doubt I really have tried MY ALL to be in her life and make better decisions. It doesn’t matter what I do she will never see me as a person. She only sees me as a loser mom and I accept that. It took a VERY long time to not wake up everyday wanting to blow my brains out but I no longer have those thoughts. I want to live and enjoy the life I have with or without my daughter. There are still days I don’t want to get out of bed but I do. Instead of turning back to drugs, alcohol, men to find comfort I bought myself a Siberian Husky puppy to give myself a structure and purpose everyday. My dog will NEVER replace my daughter and that’s not why I got her but my dog has seriously helped me with joy, love, less depression, more active lifestyle and a new outlook on life. I will never stop loving my daughter or hoping one day she might want to be in my life. But for the FIRST time in a VERY LONG TIME I can truly say I’m ok and life does go on. I’m thankful for people who love me and want me in their life. I forgive myself, I give myself a conscience decision to live life and live it abundantly and I really hope all of you can do the same. God Bless you all. Thankyou so much for sharing!!!!

    Reply
  16. David

    My daughter is almost 25. Divorcing her mother was a rough one 23 years ago. Its been years of frustration, tears, money, attorneys, custodial interference. The last time I attempted to reach out to her was answering a Dr Phil email for help. Ive tried multiple to reach out to her but in 2013 my daughter sent me an email stating, “you gave up your parental rights long ago. Dont bother contacting me.” The email to Dr Phil was answered the first of September 2021. His producer emailed me asking for details and info to contact my daughter. I never had my daughter’s contact information and she blocked me on Facebook. Another friend sent me a screenshot of her FB. Dr Phil’s producer used that to message my daughter through FB. Next thing I found out was she contacted my local police department requesting I stop any attempts to reach out her or stalking charges with a Protection Order would be filed against me. I immediately contacted our local police and asked them to contact my daughter and tell her to NOT contact me ever.
    It was the straw that broke the camel’s back. My own flesh and blood calling police on me was too much after my attempts as a parent to reach out to her even through a third party .
    Im done. My daughter is dead to me. Years of rejection and heartache have caused many bouts of grief and depression.
    It pains me to look to remove her as a beneficiary and from my living will but I have no choice. There is so much more but time and space are limited.

    Reply
    1. Michael

      I’ve had the SAME nightmare David. Put a restraining order out saying I was harassing her and her mom….and as crushing as it was, I made St. Judes Childrens Hospital the benefactor of my estate. Much love to you brother, hang in there.

    2. DREW

      Kids can break your heart. My son and I have a cool relationship, I used to really let it bother me, but I’ve come to the place if he wants me here I am otherwise I don’t bother him anymore. He has a controlling wife and she tells them what they’re gonna do, and those things don’t include Dad and Mom, just hers. We used to cry over the whole thing but life is too short, he don’t care enough to take-up for his parents like she does, that tells me he’s not the man I am. I loved and honored both my parents as well as my inlaws, my wife loved my parents, I never remember her refuse them part of our lives. So here we are, our son is married to a very selfish, controlling woman that he sees no wrong. Just give them up and live your lives , I have, and I’m happier for it.

    3. rparents Post author

      Drew,
      It can really come down to making the choice to live your own life and love the good in it.

      Thank you for your thoughts here.

      Hugs,
      Sheri McGregor

  17. Denise

    My husband and I just had a complete break with my 32yo son. Details too long to get into but we found it is completely my dil and her family’s involvement in their life. My dil mother hated me from the get go and was very pleased to say things like”my daughter and I know exactly how to manipulate your son” it goes on from there. Lies about our family, and claiming my husband and I dont want to know our grandchildren. All lies.
    Just saying after 10 years of this We have had the ability to move on through this process this whole time.
    Yes the majority of this lies with my dil causing issues.. but to a degree I also blame my son. I know my dils stepfather said, “ if she doesnt get what she wants god help you”.
    Ladies and gents don’t blame yourself completely, a lot of alienation is due primarily to outside influences. Step back and look at their situation, you would be surprised.
    I know as far as we are concerned I am NOT going to mourn the loss of a child. He chose to leave us we didnt choose to leave him. Move on with your life, enjoy it and IF someday he/she comes back, move past it all immediately and move on with them. Most always return minus the other half. Enjoy what you have for now. E

    Reply
    1. Workingonme

      Denise, well said! My story is very similar, dil and her mother are very willing to see ill intention when there isn’t any and overreact. Their favorite phrase is “I’ve been disrespected”. Lots of drama and my son buys the whole story. I thought he was smarter than that.

    2. Beth

      Denise I can relate to this so much. My son has never been the same since he met the DIL, we’re talking 20+ years here. My husband and I are also accused of not knowing the grandchildren but we have been kept at arm’s length all their lives, we have never been invited to their birthday parties throughout the whole of their lives, but of course we had to send suitable gifts. I ask myself now why we put up with this treatment, and I know now it was because we were afraid of alienating our son, he fell out with his sister and didn’t speak to her for 5 years. Now after all the years of placating him and the DIL they have cut us off anyway, but of course that’s our fault and not theirs! I’m having counselling and this has helped me to see that I deserve a peaceful and happy life and not the life of walking on eggshells that I have lived for the last 20+ years. May all of us affected by this horrendous situation find peace once again.

    3. JoAnna

      I am dealing with the same. My DIL and her family have used drama and lies to dominate, control, brainwash and manipulate my son since he met her 16 yrs ago. I cannot believe he cannot see through all of it! She is extremely insecure, jealous, envious, has to be number one, she doesn’t even want kids for this reason, definitely has mental issues, as does her mother. I pray daily God bring him out of the relationship and let him meet and marry a beautiful and normal female from a sane family. I miss him alot but do not know what else to do but wait, she already made him go no contact with me three years ago, though my family still keeps in contact with him to make sure all is okay with him. I continue to educate myself on the causes of estrangement and psychology as it is obvious and well known that the gatekeepers who are doing such to our child are the ones with the issues and the issues they have are mental illness.

    4. Carol

      I am in a similar situation only that it is my SIL who has turned our daughter against us. His family has run a very successful brainwash campaign. She has a masters degree yet gives him complete control on all decisions. We still have contact but with the understanding that his family takes precedence and we are second best. I never believed it would happen to us. We raised three children and were all very close until this marriage. We always hope for the best but are hurt constantly in every interaction- especially holidays, birthdays, etc. It is like walking on eggshells and I couldn’t even make up the things that have happened. My hope is that someday my daughter will stand up and have a voice. But she is an adult and these are her choices too. It is a tough pill to swallow. We sacrificed everything to give our children what they needed and we have been effectively dismissed. The only way I can sleep at night is to pray myself into unconsciousness. It hurts.

  18. susan

    Some days hurt more than others. Right now is one of those nights. I miss my beautiful baby girl. Now she is 48 and har last text said “don’t f—–text me any more.” That was a year and a half ago. Her husband said I was a F—— moron. I loved them and my grandchildren. I cared for them gave them money when needed. They have no respect for me. They don’t seem to miss me. It hurts.
    Susan

    Reply
  19. Strong

    I found this quote helpful. I hope you will, too. Estrangement can feel like the loss of a child who is not deceased.

    “The reality is that you will grieve forever. You will never ‘get over’ the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will heal, and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again, but you will never be the same. Nor should you be the same, nor would you want to.”
    –Elizabeth Kubler Ross and John Kessler

    Reply
    1. SE

      Personally I think the degree of which you may want or not want to “feel the same” is indicative of the lenght of estrangement as a whole.
      Not having or understanding the nature(s) of the seperation can be diminished perhaps but to recover from a total loss of commuication (with a living adult child) hopefully can be done by mutual understanding of the reasons for the seperation, in my mind of thougth on the subject right now.

    2. Diane

      I found the book and this blog just recently and this is the main pain I feel, that I lost my son as if he died, such heartache that replays daily. I know I must move on but it is very hard.

    3. Mary

      Strong,
      Thank you for that quote- it is excellent. No we will never be the same!
      I read the messages and so many could be my life. My son has done this to me on/off for ten or more years. My daughter back then criticized him and told him how unfair he was being and how cruel he was being. But 3 years ago, he started one of his cruel no-win arguments with me. When I didn’t give up aamy principles and agree with him, he created a huge scene at Christmas. My daughter decided to take his side this time and I found myself being verbally abused in front of my grandsons. It was so embarrassing.

      That as 3 years ago and I’m now estranged from both of them and my grandchildren. Why? I don’t really know. It was a stupid family argument. That’s all but according to them I did all sorts of horrible things raising them and didn’t follow their”rules” when I was with my grandsons.

      My son and I were best friends – I divorced his father when he was 13 because he was abusive to all of us. So I was mother and father to my kids. But when he met his wife all that changed. She was so jealous of me and our relationship she had to destroy it. My DIL would lie about what I would do or say all the time. My son would believe her. You can’t battle a DIL – that’s a o win situation.
      They have convinced my daughter that I talk about her behind her back . DIL is such a liar! It’s awful how she manipulates my son.

      I moved across the country to get away from them. I got tired of their cruel treatment so I put my house up for sale and moved to the ocean. Sometimes it’s lonely. But it’s better to be lonely because you are alone than to be lonely when you are alone with your family.

      God help me.

  20. Guillermo P.

    Simply. Once the son/daughter grows, if they are disrespectful they need to be stopped right there and then. If the parent has been caring and respectful of their child, then they owe nothing to these children. If the child feels like they do not want to have a relationship at some point in their lives, it is their loss. With time, most people realize they were mistaken rejecting their parents (assuming there was no abuse or neglect). A child who does not appreciate the people who raise them responsible are simply wrong and no disrespect should be tolerated. If Jesus though something great was the respect for the parents. That who does not respect their parents is not worthwhile. Those who do not respect their parents do not respect themselves. There is no justification that applies here.

    Reply
  21. Susan J

    I read several of these stories, some skimmed. The most heartbreaking is the one where the parent was estranged and then the adult child died. No closure, goodbye, extremely heart wrenching.
    Everybody has stress or regrets raising children, especially with a single mother and mostly estranged father. My two children now one is 30 the other 28.
    My 30 yr old daughter decided to quit all contact. I have respected it. (over 3 yrs now)) I admit I’m not innocent nor perfect. I suffered with Peri-menopause, menopause creating chaos, losing a marriage, job, alienating family, people, not excuses just my hard reality.
    I had hell growing up an only child (now 57) with a single Mom. So now it’s generational but I still contact my mother.
    The difference now is “No contact” or “Divorcing parents” is the most hurtful, thing a begrudging adult child can do now. When the internet, phone, text, Facebook etc.
    I have gone through stages of grief and spent lots of time alone. My hope is that we both can heal, grow and someday be a new family.
    She still contacts my son and other family members. I ask occasionally about her but not pressure anybody. It hurts my soul and is slowly debilitating me. (getting Covid didn’t help)
    So strength and patience is probably the only way to keep your sanity. Knowing your not the only one, dismissed. Create a life, maybe pursue dreams/ideas you gave up choosing to become a parent. Even accidentally becoming a parent, the commitment is still choosing to be one.
    Own yourself everyday. Faults and all. Some days are difficult to take. Maybe feel like you can’t take another day. You can please or piss off people…
    Trying to be your best is all there is.

    Reply
  22. Kathy

    This website, Sheri’s book and your posts on this site have all saved my life and help me move forward. Thank you everyone.

    Reply
  23. Mimi

    I was in Costco and observed a young family shopping. The dad told his daughter (about 10-12 years old) to grab something from the shelf. She looked him dead in the eye and said flatly, “ No. You get it.” I watched this young child walk an aisle over to the chips aisle, pick something for herself, and walk it back to the cart. Meanwhile, her dad said absolutely nothing to chastise her. Uh oh. So, this self entitled child bosses her dad around. I see the possibility for estrangement in their future. The way children speaks to adults is truly shocking. I never spoke back to my parents, even as an adult, with a family of my own, I remained polite in every dispute. Something has changed for the worse in our society and it’s not going to get better. Get toughened up everybody. Buckle your seat belts. And, remember, it’s NOT you. It’s your child’s mental health problem.

    Reply
    1. Mia

      Yep- creating a narcissist, like we need more. My mom and dad wouldve never allowed it. I let my teenage girls get away w more than shouldve because they were strong and i didnt wanna fight. *Mistake!* You pay at the other end and feel i lost respect and power. Please parents– say NO and dont be too nice- youll be sorry! I have friend whos daughter in 20s talks to her so bad i was embarrassed. She sat and took it. You know why? Cause they FEAR theyll “lose them”.. so take abuse?? Insane! I REGRET being too good- a form of abuse to myself!!! Im glad im way beyond that.. now they have theirs to deal with and theyre both strong but nicer than they were. Millenials are coddled and catered to and NOT gonna end well.. all the best

  24. Mia

    You get to a place where you say– child or not, i DESERVE to be loved and treated respectfully and if they dont– i must go on and let them go PERIOD!!! God loves and values us so we must too!
    Love to all you all..

    Reply
  25. Marilyn

    My heart hurts for you ALL and if i could i would personally meet you each over coffee and share my heart with you. You see– i have a very painful situation myself…
    Just spent day w 14 yr old lovely granddaughter. Her mother acts like we dont exist. We pick her up and she doesnt even come out and say hello. All she seems to care about is her rich boyfriend (her ex as they were married).. we were great parents and nobody can understand this. Her sister isnt in touch and has been hurt by her too (we are close with her).. there is ONE big factor: alcohol. My therapist thinks its the main problem. She can put on a good show to the world with her fancy car and clothes but treating her parents like this is shameful.
    I know our granddaughter sees it and doesnt get it either. Anyway- you get the picture.
    Bottom line: the PAIN is unbearable some days. If i had known id have a child grow up to treat us like this i wouldve never had one to go through this. We deserved so much after being such good parents. The pain of her being one hr away on holidays and NO call or interest just is so hurtful. Thankfully her dad, my husband refuses to let her ruin his days in his senior years…
    All we can do is pray and trust God for her to “hit her bottom” and seek help as we know “hurting people hurt others” and hurting your parents is hurting her own soul.
    Thanks for hearing my story…
    I send you all love..

    Reply
    1. Sue M.

      Haven’t seen or talked to my daughter and grandchildren in 7 years. Before that, we were a close family. My heart is so broken. If it wasn’t for God sustaining me, I wouldn’t be here today. My grandchildren have grown up without me. She turned them against me. Everyday, I cry what seems to be a million tears. I don’t know how move on. Nothing seems to work. I am very sick and all alone. I’m just waiting for the Lord to take me home.

  26. Steven R.

    Thank you all for sharing your experiences because for the first time since my two sons left my life, I feel normal instead of bereating myself for not understanding why they cut me out of their lives. It’s one thing for this to happen but trying to come up for a reason to blame myself is pure torture.
    I am moving on and hoping that they won’t have to go through this with the way I did. My door will always be open to them but unlike before, for my sake it won’t be unconditonal. I’m worth that much.

    Reply
  27. Irene C.

    I have two sons. One was born when I got pregnant in 1969. I had no choice but to give him up for adoption then. I was kicked out of my house, had no money, the father rejected the baby as his. I went to a Catholic Charities home for unwed mothers. I gave him up for adoption. Since then he found me when he was 45 years old. We have a good time when together. He lives far. I love him, but it is different than if I had raised him.
    I got married to a great man, had a baby boy. My husband got sick enough to need a heart transplant in 1987. Ten years later he died. Our son went to college, earned 2 degrees, and is a very smart and successful person. He married and they have a 7 year old girl. I love my granddaughter. I never see her. They live one state away, but it’s not close. I don’t drive due to vision loss from a brain bleed and brain surgery when I was 8 years old. They never come to see me. I do not enjoy going there. His wife and her large family do not seem to like me. My son is a different person when we are all together. I feel so alone with this family because there’s no one with me. He says he is not at all responsible for my happiness, he has a family and they are busy. If I want to move close to him, I would have to move to Adult Independent Living. I bet I would not see them the same as I don’t now. Thanks and sorry for rambling.

    Reply
    1. Syndi

      I am honored for your sharing. I do not see it as rambling. I have not been able to speak with my daughter for 15 years, therefore do not know my grandkids from her. My first born Son has been estranged for 8 years since his marriage. I became very sick over all this and a month ago on 5-10-2021 he died. No words to describe to describe the death on top of all the sick emotions from estrangement.

    2. Maureen K.

      Why would you want to move closer to someone who rejects you? You’re setting yourself up for mental torture

  28. Frances S.

    Hello lovely parents. I appreciate your sincerity and generosity in the sharing of your thoughts and feelings.

    This estrangement “thing” has been a long and arduous journey for me. I has been not unlike the grieving process following a death. I have, in the past, I tried to hold on to relationships with two adult offspring in different ways, feeling that if only I could only solve this “relationship puzzle”, my dreams of would be realized.

    However, at this point in my life, I have noticed a lack of grief or anxiety over our estrangement. I more clearly see the dividing line between where “I” as a person end, and where the identities of my offspring begin.

    I now honor myself, and in doing, so, choose to dedicate my energies and talents to those who appreciate and benefit from them. Time and resources are finite. By moving through the phases which this journey incurred, I have surprisingly discovered the most important relationship – that with myself – has bloomed.

    Wishing you peace and blessings.

    Reply
  29. Eric

    Hi, I am a father for whom most of the comments and stories apply. I am deeply thankful for everyone being vulnerable to share their situations . It has helped with my own sadness and deep grief as I navigate a similar situation. I was the dad/mom for my 3 children. Thanks to everyone.

    Reply
  30. Bibi

    I think that all singles mothers have been through hell such a way that none can has the right word to explain it… I ‘m one among these who has been suffered the martyr and still suffering all the ways…I was just a teenager when my whole world felt into pieces…On my birthday day of 13 years old my father decided to match me with a man 18 years older than me and forced me to marry this man if not he will cut me into pieces…days gone we went through a big storm cyclone who took everything down on it way…and my father get busy to rebuild the house where that gave to me a break with this story of but as finished rebuild the house here you go i cannot run away from it…i got engaged to this man either i did not want to… as i did not want nor liked this old man…I became a victim an slave of all kind first be assaulted bitten where he kept me closed in a room without nothing…i got help from neighbor to leave this place run away…i was pregnant of him return back to my parents home util i got the baby…and months later i lost my father who passed away with a heart attack and the other troubles started again… me and my child were a weight for single mother of 7 children…I found a job i was working to pay my expenses but that was not enough for my mother she through me and my child away on the street…as a homeless that where i started again as a single mother with a child i did fight it hard to build up my life to survive first…the one who helped me out was a homeless just like me…she brought me to her grandmother place and this old woman gave to me a place in her one room…slept on her bed with my baby until i found a rental room to stay with my child…i did stay there only one month because the ex-husband was after me everywhere looking to hurt me…i bought a ticket to fly far away…here i’ m overseas where i brought my daughter and worked such hard and studied days and nights cared of her well-being gave to her the best that life ever ever gave to me…but this child i gave my life for indeed she has no heart no feeling for me…she is a trouble maker all the ways…I never ever did my life with other man due she put herself between and did all to break my relationship with who ever come on my way…for her i’ m nothing else than a bank account where she only comes to to take money and when i refuse she bitten me… I worked hard i bought a house but when i got ill I told her you want the house she said to me sale it and give to me money that what i did…years later i paid tickets for her whole families almost 30 thousands to go to my native country families of 4 her her boyfriend and 2 children…i paid a 5 stars hotel for her to get marry on the beach and still on her wed day she treated me so bad…I have to buy foods cook and she comes to pick up without a thank what ever her children need i have to pay for…she is 44 years old very educated she is working seen she is 18 and never ever i took nothing from her even never ever asked for nothing…i was very ill with cancer but she never pay me a visit i went through chemio treatment i did drive on my own back and for for it…only one week after my surgery i got back to work…now a day i’m very ill with Fibromyalgia but still fighting it out continue to work 40 hours a week sitting in my office doing administrative and accounting…and now what she has done to me…she sent to me an E-mail with an invoice to pay from The lawyer she hired to have her late father succession…when i said no this is a lost case a father who rejected you and never ever took care of you…now you think he left something for you…she said such bad words to me and made me feel guilty all the ways…and said i’ m a mental disorder…

    Reply
    1. Todd

      Oh my goodness please let go of her before she destroys you. You have put up with so much. Don’t let her make you feel guilty.

      Your friend,
      Lauren

  31. Vicky

    Thanks for sharing this. Our 20 year old daughter has had visible rejection toward us and anger/depression issues for the last few years. Even as a child she seemed unhappy despite being compliant and low maintenance. My husband and I tried hard to help her, but it didn’t resolve anything, just delay conflicts for another day. A year and a half ago my husband and daughter had one of their many heated debates and he said some hurtful things. He apologized for them, but she shows no forgiveness even though she claims she has forgiven him. They have similar personalities and I believe that is partly why they butt heads. I suspect she thinks I am weak and lacking understanding. She recently left home while we were on a business trip. She left her phone, took no clothes or vehicle, wiped/changed all her accounts, and no one has a clue where she is. I fear for her safety. We filed a missing persons report. We wait sadly.

    Reply
    1. Texasmom

      I can relate to your situation Vicky. Our 18 year old daughter (19 in just a few weeks) left in November. Covid chafed the end of her senior year and her freshman college plans and she didn’t grieve or handle it well. She left our home, upper middle class with her own bedroom and very nice car behind for a 25 year old who can’t keep a job and live with five other men in a 2 bedroom apartment. We didn’t sleep, eat or really even function for the first few weeks. By the grace of God we have a good support system and found a decent counselor. Finding this website has helped me not feel alone. Our daughter sounds very similar to yours, mostly compliant, got good grades, but every once in a while would act out totally out of left field. We’re just praying she doesn’t end up pregnant by this man who cannot support a family.

  32. Mom and Dad

    I feel your pain as my husband and I , who are in our 70s,are parents of three adopted children, two adults in their forties and one elementary school. All three were raised in Christian household and afforded many of the privileges of upper middle class, to include financial as well as supportive, as we elected to do lovingly when we chose to be parents.
    Daughter and son in law are very lovely and attentive and appreciative. Son and daughter in law seem to like the yo yo of triangulation of division for over 14 years, inventing situations that are not there to support the separation or cutting off. One grandchild in her early teens reaches out to us lovingly. No obvious reason for divide, other than to be told we will never change, so we are cut off. Any touch base seems to be to rid themselves of guilt. I send cards and gifts to grandkids. My real guess is that they are overwhelmed with their own parenting and commitments and don’t wish the responsibility of us, not that they would have it. Or they just don’t want us to know how manipulative and unstable their situation is. I guess we wish them well but of course wish things were different, not only for our sake, but for theirs too. They have cut off their other set of parents too. So sad.

    Reply
  33. Christine

    Thank you so much for creating this site. I just found it today and it is already a lifeline during an extremely painful and lonely point in my broken relationship with my daughter.

    Reply
  34. Carol T.

    i have read some of the comments and they have made me feel a bit better as I really felt we were alone in this , my eldest daughter treats us awful has never said why she dislikes us but only contacted us for my grandsons to see them no conversation at all invites us around to the boys birthdays and were left sitting there trying to smile and act as if nothing wrong. I was in hospital she never came , when i came home my youngest daughter would not even look at me , she has been angry at me for over a year every time i asked her why she said im not , they have met up behind my back my son was the only one that had any time for me now he is acting strange and recently my youngest daughter moved out and was quite angry about this . the following weekend it was my birthday and the sunday was mothers day the three of them decided to leave cards on the door step my son sent a text to my husband telling him they were appauled at how we treated my youngest daughter didn’t ask us what happened told us that if we wanted to know how the three of them felt about us he would certainly arrange this . he wants the three of them to come and offload all the anger on us for some issues he says about his childhoold . i don’t feel ready for this … im shocked as up to this things were always good with youngest and son , how do we resolve this . Do we just sit there and let them pour everything out to us for all their problems in life. nothing comes to mind both my husband and I are going over all of their childhoods they were spoiled rotten best of clothes , holidays money when they need support for college nothing comes to mind he has sent a really nasty text telling us we ought to be ashamed of ourselves . for what we don’t know.

    Reply
    1. rparents Post author

      Hi Carol,

      I may not be hearing this correctly, but it sounds as if your youngest daughter has said something about you that makes your son think you should be “ashamed.” If this were me, I would ask him what this is.

      Regarding “resolving” this, and I’m unclear as to if you know what grievances you are supposed to resolve. You mention the cards to let you know how they feel. Did the cards say what they felt?

      HUGS to you. You are most definitely not alone.

      Sheri McGregor

    2. Denise

      I have a 23-year-old daughter who has done the same thing. Refuses to talk to us unless she see changes in us, that we need to go to counseling but she refuses to meet with us to tell us what we need to change. Or to tell us what we have done recently because we can’t change past.

  35. Bonnie

    My son hasn’t spoken to me in 3 years now. He has 2 children that he has kept from me since their birth, not even a picture of the children have I been given. It’s all revenge and vengeance to punish me because I don’t think highly of his In Laws. I see it like this, I’m entitled to my opinion. I don’t agree with everyones opinion on all matters, but I respect others opinion, I don’t start hating on them just because I don’t like their opinion. That’s not my thing, that’s my son’s thing. He’s a grown man and if he chooses to make that his thing, so be it. He can hate on me til the cows come home, and the sun goes down, I’ve got bigger fish to fry, than to concern myself with the minnows in the pond. As for my grandchildren that he keeps from me as a form of punishment towards me, well…. I can’t miss something I ain’t never had in my life, so he’s wasting his time on that matter, and don’t even realize it. He thinks that kicking me to the curb is his way of making me suffer. Im not suffering, I’m over it and moved on.

    Reply
    1. Pamela C.

      I’m all over with different feeling, from hurt to anger and hell with it, but always go back to how could they do this to me!

    2. Beth S.

      I wish I could be you! i have been dealing with this estrangement from both my daughters that feed off one another with their incorrect projections. Ander left over from childhood. I m just sick over this with grief. I have kissed their butt so many times my lips are puckered. I just dont know how to fix it.

  36. Ed H.

    I have a 19-year-old daughter who started apparently hating me when she was 15. After years of being tormented by it, and never being able to find a reason for it, I found refuge in the only place it exists: Detachment. I stopped caring. It is impossible to care and yet not be tormented by it, so I had no choice.

    I took it all the way. She got sick once when she was 18, and I spent a moment hoping she would die. This no doubt sounds terrible, and I know people will say awful things to me for it (which I will not read–so enjoy your soliloquy), but they will have no better solution on offer.

    I refuse to let ANYONE hold such power over me. I was rejected by my parents and then by my own child. So if you think you’re going to hurt my feelings with a nasty reply, think again.

    Reply
    1. Deb

      When my son was 12, I told his father to leave. I know he blames me for the divorce. Fast forward, he’s now 34 years old and has been so obnoxious. Long story short, we meet 4 times per year for lunch or dinner. All gift giving occasions (both bdays, mother’s day and chanukah). I’ve spoken to him about it for years. We need to meet up more often. I told him we need to go to therapy together. I’ve been going since 12/2019. He feels there is no issue. He’s dismissive, cold and isn’t interested in my life (so I see it). I never call him (he knows that) because if he doesn’t pick up, he never calls back, if he does pick up, he’s rude and rushes me off the phone). We rarely speak. This is not a mother-son relationship. I call it a charade. It has been 4 weeks since I heard from him. I’m actually happy because now I can move forward without stress and anxiety from his behavior. I’m learning to accept what I cannot change. I don’t know if he’s still going for therapy for depression and anxiety. It’s just ridiculous trying to speak to him so I’m done. I’m glad I haven’t heard from him. This is my out. Note: i had an awful relationship with my mother. I was hoping mine with my son’s would be different but it wasn’t meant to be. For lack of sounding callous, I’m moving forward without him

    2. A. N.

      Ed H.: I completely understand your feelings. The betrayal hits you on a visceral level. It’s the ugliest, the most cruel, the most terrible thing they could do, to turn against a parent who loves them.
      They are selfish to a degree I never thought possible.
      Move on our lives are much better without this nastiness in it.

    3. Betty

      No nasty reply. Just sending love and empathy. I was also rejected by my parents. Did everything in my power to be the best parent I could be. My daughter had severe mental health problems so additional support was needed. Now she has decided to reject me, blaming me for every problem and inadequacy in her life. This while in hospital with life threatening illness. That feeling of being sandwiched between two generations of self absorbed abuse is sadly very familiar to me. I sometimes wonder if a narcissistic gene skipped a generation. I was an awesome mum, she was very lucky and actually it’s her loss.

  37. K.

    Hi everyone. I guess I’m in the same boat. My recently diagnosed with Klinefelters son, aged 31, has decided he abhors me. I was cut off about 12 months ago, without realising it as he still came around to see his father.
    He’s verbally abusive, greeting me with Hi c…t. Or Hi Mong, but never in front of his Dad. Well my husband recently heard a phone call of my son screaming abuse at me. We were both dumbfounded and confused but couldn’t get a word in to find out the cause as he was too busy screaming at me. In his eyes I’m the reason he has Klinefelters. He has thrown his father around on many occasions, last time 12 months ago. I threatened to press charges and that’s when he cut me off.
    I’ve totally accepted,it now. I cannot handle it anymore. I feel threatened. I won’t get to see him and his pregnant wife anymore, or be able to know my own grandchild, but I believe if you cannot change a thing, you have to change the way you think about it. I have two other adult kids and I’m focusing on them, as well as working full time and getting on with my life.

    Reply
  38. Janie M.

    I have been in pain over my 45 yr old daughter and 11 yr old grandson for almost 3 yrs. I try everything to get in touch only to have her be so cruel. I got desperate and leave notes on the door to getting angry and saying mean things back . I’m exhausted. This book sounds great. I thought I was the only one abandoned

    Reply
    1. Kayae J.

      Janie,

      Believe me. It happens to many parents which is the reason I am on this website.
      Take care of yourself.
      Kayae

    2. Maree

      I have lost four of my five children and all of my grandchildren. They said I made mistakes and they wanted a better Mum. I am beyond broken, can’t sleep and feel that my life is over. No am 72 and up until four months ago I though I had a family (not perfect and maybe dysfunctional) but we were a family. I cry most of the day abs night and just want my family back. I try messaging them but they only read what they want and either ignore my messages or respond in a nasty cruel way. I need help to get through the day and my life as I knew it is over.

    3. Mary Lee

      You are not alone! When my husband was dying a slow, 10-year death for which I took care of him, my child and one stepchild just…disappeared. As did my only Grandchild, whose tuition we had paid to an expensive school. I’m 70 now and feel as if the only family I have left is my 82-year-old brother. I feel sad and bereft most of the time, but I’m trying to let go and move on. Every morning I awake with sadness in my heart that I will never see them again. I was emotionally abused by my Mother and was determined to never be like that. I must have failed.

  39. Paula

    I just ordered your book, a single mother I raised my 25 year old son alone and was divorced when he was just 4. He is extremely bright and talented in the creative area, and also started doing well in the stock market this summer. I was both mother and father to him and worked so hard to ensure he had a great life however something is missing and and when he came home from NYC in March due to Covid and lost his Restaurant job it was devastating. He went to college in NYC and always resented coming back to his childhood home and blames me for so many things… I gave him both financial and emotional support but he only holds on to the negative things I did or said ( we are human) and has a severe anger issues. He told me my talking was exhausting to him and resented my offering of advice and suggestions which I did alot but it was hard for me to stop doing this… On October 1, he moved out to a larger nicer apartment and told me he changed his phone number and did not want a relationship with me and that he had ” warned” me if I kept suggesting things this would happen. I was shocked in the way he was so cold about this and I started crying and was very emotional… It has been 4 weeks and still no word from him, although 90% of his clothes and notebooks are still here. I have apologized so many times for things that might have hurt him, yet he has never apologized for the yelling at me or hitting walls.. I am a loving forgiving person who always wanted the best for him. I have a rewarding job and many good friends, yet he kept thinking i needed him for company, but while he was living here I had expected manners like ” good morning” some conversation, and helping me clean, etc, none of which happened…and I always had his favorite food and healthy snacks here and made dinner all the time. I hope in time he will understand that I did the best i knew how, even if a bit controlling at times… I never had a partner or boyfriend to help bounce things off of, so it was very hard…. I do forgive him and respect that he needs his space and to work on his career, yet I still cant believe he changed his phone number..

    Reply
    1. Pam W.

      My dear Paula, I’ve read your story and can sympathize with you in so many ways. I was a divorced mom of two at one time. I worked fulltime, drove my son and daughter to soccer and ballet for years, cooked them dinner at night, cleaned my house, mowed my own lawn and actually had a little time to volunteer for a dog rescue. I think I know when my daughter and I got crossways; it was when she was in about the 8th grade. It was downhill from there apparently. She’s now 41, married with two children who I adore. My daughter and I have been on and off since high school. She’s said ugly things to her husband and his family and anyone who will listen about what an awful mother I was (am). I’ve asked if we can discuss it and try to iron things out. She says no, we must go to a professional counselor. Not knowing specifically what she’s upset about, I have apologized multiple times, asked for forgiveness, told her I needed to draw a line in the dirt and she needed to step over the line so we could move forward together, hand in hand, because my time is running out. I am 71. She’s not interested. I’m so sad. One day I’m up, the next I’m down. As I’ve read on this website, the tiniest breakthrough can get our hopes up and then drop us into the pit. I’ve been like this for years. The best thing I’ve ever done for myself is buy this book, Done With the Crying, by Sheri MxGregor. If you haven’t gotten it yet, you will find answers to many situations you’re in. I’ve read it thru once and now I’m going thru it again, underlining ideas I find pertinent to my situation , making notes, etc. I’ve started a journal and it helps me to read back thru what I’ve written to really get a grasp on my estranged daughter. I feel everything in this book is directed at me and if I am to get well, get over the crying and the depression, I need to take to heart what is written and follow the safe guidelines of how to “save myself”. No one can do this for me. So that’s where I am now. This year is coming to a close and I’ve made up my mind that I’m going to start a new life in 2021. My husband stands by my side and encourages me every chance he gets. He knows the hell I’ve been put thru with my estranged daughter and wants me to climb out of the hole she’s put me in. Only I can do that. I’ve put down my phone, stopped checking for texts or calls that never come and have decided I’m going to pursue a hobby or some worthwhile endeavor that will take my mind off of my daughter. If you have a close friend or relative you can depend on, talk to about your situation, cry on their shoulder, etc. I would recommend that. I always hold out hope that my daughter and I will reconcile…at some time…but I’m starting to realize this is probably not going to happen and I need to move on. I can’t begin to tell you the ugly things she’s done to me over the years. I need to make myself happy for the remainder of my life and quit waiting on my daughter. Perhaps its time for you to do the same. If you haven’t read it, be sure to check on the article “The Boat. It made me gasp when I read it. It really hit home. I hope I haven’t stepped on your toes or made you sad. I guess the reason I responded to you is to tell you it has taken me many years to come to the conclusion that I need to save myself. You will reach that point too, I hope. The book will be very enlightening. Please take care of yourself, do nice things for yourself and others, think positive thoughts and know that you can be strong enough to move on. I’m on my way. It’s been a long journey but I think I can make it.

  40. Sally Z.

    I just came back from a 3 day weekend for my 31 year old estranged daughter. She invited me, i had plans canceled them and said yes to her invite. After two days of slights and disrespect i broke down o. Hsr birthday, i felt set up. Im home now and now i want to disengage because whats the use, my granddaughter is mimicking her behavior and so im done. Its not gonna work. It is so unhealthy that i get to the poin t of considering sucide. So now i have to block these 3 days and concentrate on surviving. I feel pathetic but tomorrow i will con entrate on my job.

    Reply
    1. rparents Post author

      I’m sorry, Sally. I’m glad you shared here, and I know there are many parents who will relate.

      Tomorrow will be better. Yes, you can shake it off. Please take kind care of yourself. Many big hugs to you!

      Sheri McGregor

    2. newchapter101

      Hi Sally Z,
      I feel the pain in your post from October. How abut next time just Don’t Go ? I decided to not go anymore – I know it HURTS when their kids (our grandkids) mock the hateful behavior exhibited by our estranged adult children. Inter-generational trauma – they are swimming in it but can’t see the forrest for the trees. Let’s CHOOSE LIFE for ourselves. We don’t need to dance this dance anymore – lets recapture US okay? We can do this – it’s going to be okay. Hang in there. Sending love and compassion your way.

    3. Diane

      Hi Sally, I just joined this site today and read your story. I feel the exact same way. The pain is relentless. I cry and feel dejected and wonder how I will get thru another day. I just go thru the motions of going to work. Has anything gotten better for you since October?

    4. Mia

      Im so sorry….
      How can they be so heartless and mean… i wish i didnt understand… be strong and know you are not alone. I send a big hug xo

    5. Beth

      I have just read this Sally Z and I have to let you know that this has happened to me twice with my son, who I know is about to cut me off entirely, so I’m just at the beginning of this torturous journey. My husband and I were invited to meet up with our son on two occasions, both times – in restaurants – he chose to abuse us and we felt powerless to do anything about it, we were in a public place with people listening all around us. The situation with our son goes back many years and I have had many years of trying to placate him and his wife but never succeeding. Now I am seeing a counsellor to help me deal with the inevitability of our complete estrangement and learning how to heal.

  41. Marlis

    Randa W. This reminds me so much of my own situation. Ours is not a complete estrangement but our contact with them happens when they feel like it (which is not often) and provided my son in laws mother has had her share (or more) of being with the grand children. I would not even Call it real contact. Just Birthday invitations where
    all their friends are there too. I dont know what is going on in their lives (and the kids) and it is as if they dont want me to know. Our son in law has Aspergers and he is a difficult man to get on with. Also very controlling. I have taken into consideration that it might be difficult for my daughter but how difficult is it to tell the grand kids to answer Birthday greetings which they never do (to show some respect). We have accepted a lot for our grand childrens sake but i have come to a point where it is not healthy for me any more and i have to look after our well being. To constantly being rejected hurts too much.
    I make no further contact and see what will happen. It probably suits them fine. Maybe you are not there yet and i think you have to do what feels best for you. Yes they can prevent us from seeing our grand children but would that not be a lousy thing to do from their side? I know what my husband and i have done for our grand children (when we were allowed to have them). I think they will always remember that. That is my only consolation.

    Reply
  42. Red

    Randa, maybe I’m wrong for saying this but maybe you should be happy that your daughter is making a effort for you to see and spend time with your grandchildren. As the grandchildren grow older other activities take over the families time such as sports or lessons in other interests of the children. This can be time consuming for the parents and if they work very tiring. My son and his wife have been estranged from my husband and I going on five years now and not a word from them no phone calls or emails or messages. Feel blessed that at least you have some communication. How I would give anything to hear from son. God bless. Red

    Reply
  43. Randa W.

    I’ve read this over and over. It’s been over 3 1/2 years now. Yes, there has been forward movement, but that is fanning the flames of hope as her only reason to contact us is to facilitate us seeing our three grandsons. (2 years where we didn’t see them at all) We were so very much a weekly fixture in their lives before this and I feel angry and robbed of the past 3 1/2 years. I see this current arrangement not ending. When we do see them, my daughter and son-j-law are like none of this happened. Conversation is like it was before the estrangement. That would be great if we could get back to how things were, but we are still blocked on her phone and email is our only form to commincate. Email is used to facilitate seeing the grandsons (now in 6th grade, 7th grade and a sophomore in high school) or to communicate what they boys want for birthdays or Christmas. Any attempt by me to use it for catching up (small talk) is ignored. The boys are old enough to communicate on their own, but they don’t and I have no idea if it is because they are not allowed to or it is their choice. We aren’t’ allowed to discuss this situation with the boys…fair. We also aren’t allowed to discuss anything with our daughter. Our son-in-law refuses to meet with me or my husband to talk about our situation. So, how do I stop the ruminating and grief, the what if’s when every couple months or so it is opened up with an out of the blue email arranging to see the boys? I’m trying to accept this is how it is, but those emails along with the actual visits take me weeks to get past the grief. I know not seeing the boys might help, but not seeing them kills me. My husband of 43 years, her father, wants to just cut them off completely. I can’t do that, but is that what I need to do to accept and move on?

    Reply
    1. Martin I.

      After years and years of hoping for some kind of decent communication, the only thing we get is enduring grief. Is there no limit to our suffering? We try to get over it, we forgive, we live with it, but the salt never stops getting poured into the wound, over and over again. For some reason the shrinks think we should just go on suffering, apparently for decades, they won’t just say that yes, you may allow the healing process to begin by going ahead and cutting off the communication from your end as well. That way you do not keep having your soul ripped out and stomped on constantly. I think this might fall into the category of Toughlove. I don’t see the difference in NOT communicating from our end, because that’s exactly what it already is. You either have NOT communicating or cut them off and have NOT communicating, same thing. The only difference is on one of the NOT communicating scenarios you’re allowed to heal and I think that’s where I’m going with this.

    2. rparents Post author

      Exactly, Martin. That’s why I started this site and wrote my book. Move forward…for yourselves! Hugs to you, Sheri McGregor

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