For parents whose adult children don’t want to be around them: Take charge of your holidays early

parents whose adult children don't want to be around them

For parents whose adult children don’t want to be around them: Take charge of your holidays early

by Sheri McGregor, M.A.

About this time every year, emails start arriving to my in-box. Parents whose adult children don’t want to be around them worry about the holidays. For rejected parents, the season can loom like clouds of gloom and doom. This year, I have a mission for you … if you choose to accept it.

Take charge

Those of you who’ve read my book, Beyond Done With The Crying More Answers and Advice for Parents of Estranged Adult Children, know that one of my pet peeves is being driven around without a destination. This always sparks my anxiety, which I connect to my Native American roots and to my ancestors who were driven away from their homes on the Trail of Tears. For more about how ancestry affects us and may relate to estrangement, you’ll want to read the book. Today, let’s get out of powerless passenger seat and steer our own way to holiday bliss.

Put yourself in the driver’s seat

Parents may feel like they’re being held hostage on an out-of-control bus steered by their estranged sons or daughters. You may have no choice about what they decide for their holidays, but don’t allow them to ruin yours. This year, instead of buckling up and dreading what comes, map out a successful holiday season for yourself.

Map out your holiday journey

Today is your starting point. Get out pen and paper. Jot down what comes to mind after each of the bulleted items below. You’ll capture first responses—which are often true to your heart. You can use your notes to later do research, make decisions, and attend to details.

  • Focus on what’s within your power. If you were planning a trip, you’d think about all the fun you can achieve, not what you can’t. When I visited New Orleans, Louisiana some years ago, the trip centered on a speaking engagement for a Society of Professional Journalists conference. So, while a day-long historical tour would have been my first pick, time was limited. A short swamp tour, a carriage ride down Bourbon Street, and a steamboat dinner cruise fit—and that’s where I kept my focus. For the holidays, let go of what you can’t have. Seize upon fun, meaningful pursuits that you can. Share a meal with a friend. Write an email or call someone you haven’t spoken to in a while. Give to a charity.
  • Arrange your holiday itinerary. Every trip needs an itinerary. What will keep you physically, mentally, and emotionally engaged? Who and what will lift your spirits? What new activities can you try? (And what sort of planning will they require?) What old joys can you still do and love? (Remember, some things are better to let go—for now or forever. So, give yourself permission.) Maybe you want to see a holiday musical or attend a show. Tickets go fast, so book early. Check local listings for online events, too. More exist than ever before. You could invite a buddy (even a furry one) and make your sofa the best seat in the house. Try this online event link at meetup.com for a few ideas. Get out your calendar now. Your successful holiday itinerary depends upon it.
  • Schedule some down time. Don’t forget to leave some wriggle room. Packing every day in November with activity may leave you too tired to enjoy December. I’ve learned that several full, busy day in a row leave me exhausted—and grouchy. Emotional well-being is tied to physical wellness. Schedule some downtime, too, and plan wellness activities for those days. Get a few new books to read. Plan some healthful but easy meals and buy what you can now to avoid the holiday rush. Restock any medications and supplements, as well as feel-good items such as your favorite tea, a fragrant candle, chewing gum, scented lotion or nail clippers. Personal care is self-care—and needed during stressful times.
  • Be self-compassionate. Sometimes, the holidays bring pressure to do what other people want. It’s healthy to keep to routines and honor commitments but begging off an event or tradition is worth considering when we’re hurting. A pros and cons list can access logical reasoning but may not honor your heart. If you’re sick at your stomach at the thought of an event, maybe saying “no” is right this time. Remember, declining this year doesn’t mean you will the next. Or it could be the start of a new pattern of self-care that leads to less worry about pleasing others and more about honoring yourself. Most of us parents have loved selflessly and sacrificed our own needs for our children often and in many different ways, for much of our lives. It’s okay to be kind to yourself. Self-care is not selfish. Are you taking good care of yourself?
  • Prioritize. Some parents whose adult children don’t want to spend time with them still have lots of other people and commitments vying for attention. Our needs change at different stages and depending on life circumstances. For your well-being and sanity, start early (now!) to weigh what is most meaningful against your emotional energy stores and what will support your own needs. One exercise in Beyond Done leans on the concept of medical triage, to help prioritize who and what is most important to you at this life juncture. This can help you make decisions while considering your personal needs and those of your family and friends.
  • Opt out. Use the frantic holiday season to accomplish unrelated tasks. Shred old tax records, clear your clothes closet, or de-clutter for a clean slate to start the New Year. Plus, you can listen to your favorite music, stream feel-good movies, or enjoy the quiet while you work. Sometimes, the ears need a break.

Take a positive detour

When it comes to the holidays or anytime, parents whose adult children don’t want to be around them are not doomed to the shadows of the dark cloud of impending holiday gloom. This season, make the days ahead a personal journey to your own joy and fulfillment. Maybe shifting gears this year is just a side trip. But the detour might lead to new adventures and better perspectives on life. Open your heart to the possibility of closing out the year in a way that helps you start the new one with a fresh outlook. What do you think? Do you accept this mission?

Watch this site for more practical holiday tips. Or, put “holidays” in the search box and get links to past articles here at the site. Also, I hope you’ll leave a comment with your own ideas to help parents of estranged adults during the holiday season. We can support one another.

Related reading

How’s your life bouquet?

De-clutter (Chinese New Year)

Join the newsletter

Subscribe to get our latest content by email.

We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit

92 thoughts on “For parents whose adult children don’t want to be around them: Take charge of your holidays early

  1. Steven

    10 years ago, my 22 year old son forged my signature on a quit claim deed to my house and sold it, throwing me out on the street. He tried to gaslight me, claiming I was mentally ill and had given him the house. I ended up homeless on skid row in downtown Los Angeles. We had one conversation at the time, then he blocked me on all communication channels and we have not spoken since. Although I am angry and hurt by the betrayal and the loss of my home, I still grieve the relationship. I wonder what he is up to and if I have grandchildren by now. I would give anything to be reunited although I know that is not going to happen. I reached out to him on Facebook last year and he just blocked me again. I realize that he is beyond toxic to me and not communicating is orivably in my best interest at this point but it is still excrutiating, nonetheless.

    Reply
  2. Diana P.

    I just received the book Done With the Crying today and it is like it was written for me.
    My 36 year old son walked away from me and his family in August of this year. He was my baby and I am completely devastated. I was diagnosed with breast cancer August 11, 2022 and it was shortly thereafter that he left. He is extremely against doctors and modern medicine and upon my diagnosis he bombarded me with articles and videos on natural cancer cures. I read what I could but decided with the help of several doctors and my family that I would have the advised surgery on September 16. Because I did not follow what he thinks is “The Truth” and best for me, he removed himself from us. He has never even asked how my surgery went and now I find out today that I still have some cancer cells left and will need a second surgery. Now the holidays are coming up and I don’t even know if I should contact him or not. My heart is broken, I don’t deserve this and do not know what to do. God Bless all you ladies going through the same thing. It’s beyond what you can explain to anyone. Diana

    Reply
  3. C

    It’s been 5 months since our son completely blindsided us and estranged himself and his family from us. We have 2 children both in their 30’s. Our daughter and her husband live out of state from us and ironically, this is also our first year that they have decided to not come home on Christmas. I’m devastated by my son’s actions and don’t have anything to base his decision on. I especially don’t understand nor comprehend why he will not allow us to see our 2 grandchildren.
    I agree with the other comments here about this being a silent grief. I’m grieving the death of my son and grandchildren but yet they are still alive. The pain of that and the rejection is more than anyone can imagine unless they have experienced it.
    Concerning the holidays – I’ve invited my son & his family to our house for Thanksgiving but haven’t gotten any response. We will go on with that day regardless of his attendance.
    Christmas, however, is another story. What do I do concerning gifts for our grandchildren? They both are young elementary age & I can’t imagine them understanding why Grandma & Grandpa have suddenly not been there at Christmas let alone not gotten them fun presents like we always have done. One of them had a birthday during these last 5 months and we were told we weren’t invited to the party (first time since that child’s birth) so I sent a card with money in it. But what about Christmas??? Do I wait to see if they show up for Thanksgiving then decide on gifts for Christmas? Do we buy for the grandchildren and drop the gifts off at their doorstep? (They live nearby) Do I just send money? I want to show we still love and miss them but don’t want to make matters worse…UGH!! I just don’t know what to do….this all is so awful & heartbreaking….

    Reply
    1. Angela C.

      I would continue to reach out to the grandchildren but not send money as likely they aren’t even aware. If the parents are that mean it is likely with held. Why not open an account in the childrens name and add to it on birthdays etc. At least then when they are old enough to make their own choices they will know you cared and that they were thought of. You could mention it in a card so if theyy do get it they will know.

  4. Bethann L.

    I have been dealing with this for 22 years. My daughter resented me because I ‘killed’ her Grandpa. My father was brain dead after a heart attack. Why he decided I’m the voice of reason, rather than my much older sisters and brother, is beyond me. My marriage started falling apart at that time, and my daughter blamed me. She left for college and never came back. My son, who was 5 years younger, got stuck smack dab in the divorce. His father gave him an ultimatum and forced him to leave me. An unspoken truth in my marriage, my ex was abusive. And, as he’s getting married to a friend of mine, I hear the children are not thrilled. I’m floored about my friend marrying my ex. Did she forget my detailed conversations? Does she approve that my children are not allowed to speak to me? It’s a crazy world.

    Reply
    1. Julie M.

      I have been dealing with grief for the same amount of time as you. There was nothing left of my marriage, I only stayed because I had no way out. He was controlling and never spent any time with us his family, he worked on his father’s farm, I was never good enough, no matter how much I tried to appease his family, I couldn’t win, eventually I had a nervous breakdown and started drinking, finally after 20 years of marriage without any plan I just walked out, I did not know what I was doing ,in time i got help with my mental health and finally my drinking, AA and the 12 steps have changed my life, acceptance, at what has happened, my children stood by their father, no matter what I said they have no contact anymore. But I have to live my life the right way and believe my higher power will one day give me the right outcome.
      your friend will find her own way, you as you say have told her things, live your life, we dont have long on this earth and we deserve peace. I wish you well.

  5. Michelle F.

    First, I am so grateful I found your site and my heart goes out to every mother who shares the heartache of estrangement from a child.

    My 31 year old son (my only child) has gradually distanced from me since his marriage to his wife, who openly expresses (increasingly) extreme social, religious, moral, and political values that he has seemingly adapted to and now supports. These views differ so radically from my own, and are so opposite of everything even he grew up believing. Sadly, with nothing in common to build on, his wife and I were never able to effectively relate to one another. Any conversation topic was met with opposition, and his wife ceased to even accompany him to family events or holidays the last 2 years. Her activist mentality found our conservative beliefs too offensive to even pretend to tolerate.

    My son is my very heart, and it’s been heartbreaking to see him shift away from everything and everyone he’s known, to the point of entirely excluding me and his entire family from his life. I no longer recognize the son I raised, who has rejected every effort, concession, and plea I’ve made to rebuild our relationship.

    January will mark a full year since I’ve seen my son, and I’ve been dreading the upcoming holidays because it will be my first without him. I felt lost. Our children are why we celebrate the holidays, and without him, there was absolutely nothing to look forward to for me. No reason to decorate. No purpose. No joy.

    Reading your suggestions on how to redefine holiday events helped me realize I could turn loss into opportunity. I made a choice to make this Christmas MATTER, and to honor its significance through love and growth.

    My family was once very close and we shared large Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday dinners and celebrations. Like any family, we have dysfunctions and conflict, however, over the past eight years, we lost both parents and two siblings. Holiday traditions fell to the wayside amidst foolish conflicts over foundational trust and inheritance issues. It created unimaginable angst that drove a bitter wedge between family members. This was a needless and miserable decline that has been unaddressed for too long, so I decided this Christmas shouldn’t be defined by further emptiness and loss when it could be about forgiveness, healing, and love.

    Toward that goal, I extended an invitation to every family member (my son included) asking that we return to our old tradition of holding Thanksgiving at my sister’s house and Christmas at my mine. Further, I explained why I felt it was past time we remember, as a family, what truly matters most this holiday season. I wasn’t fully confident how it would be recieved and I waited anxiously for responses, all of which readily came back positive and enthusiastic … except from my son. He expressed only distrust, resentment, anger, and disdain, declining to participate, and requesting removal from the family message thread. I was crushed but held firm in my response to him: He has a mother and a family who loves and needs him, who would welcome him should he change his mind, but the choice was his to either be a part of healing or to perpetuate conflict – whichever is in his heart to maintain. My sole requirement was that he check “ugly” at the door and give a sincere effort to be a part of THIS family – HIS family. I will accept only love, hope, healing and yes, JOY, in this house. I still struggle knowing this may be my first Christmas devoid of my son. By its very nature, love forgives and endures, and my mother’s heart will always hope.

    I apologize for the length and detail of my post – there was so much to explain. I needed to share this because I personally made a choice to take a huge step forward that I pray will mend and reunite my entire family. I hope in some small way it will inspire other readers struggling with ‘holiday dread’ to maybe reach out to distant family – it only takes an invitation – and re-establish healing bonds. Christmas can still hold love and joy.

    Reply
  6. Lisa

    We tired of my youngest daughters malicious mind games, lies, gossip and constant request for money. Only to turn around and discard us repeatedly. After going to bed night after night with chest pains panic attacks in tears night after night my oldest daughter got tired of seeing me get abused by her sibling. She made the choice I was not strong enough to make. She cut off my youngest daughter of our lives. I tried to hold on thinking one day she might change. And that mind set just left me open to more mental, emotional and financial abuse. At first the holidays were a time of sadness and sorrow. I didn’t even want to be present or celebrate them. But then I realized in doing that I was hurting the rest of my family. Because I was denying them joy. By doing this I wasn’t being present in the moment. My oldest daughter and the rest of my family deserved much better. So instead of focusing on all the pain I began focusing on all the joy. It was hard at first. I struggled to focus even for brief moments at first. But I forced myself to focus on the good in life. Because we only get one life to live. And our actions don’t just affect ourselves they also affect those around us. I wasn’t about to turn into a shell of myself. Because if I did that then I allowed my estranged daughter to succeed in her mission to cause her sister and I harm. So I focused on love light and joy not just for me but for her. And everyone else who was kind and loving enough to take time to nurture and be there for us. It took a couple years but we are in a much better place now. I sleep better, And I actually look forward to the holidays and birthdays and special occasions. Instead of avoiding holidays birthdays and other occasions I celebrate them in a way that is meaningful to me, and those around me who treat me well that I am so grateful to have in my life. Occasionally my youngest sends an email or takes an emotional swipe at me online. Even though I finally gave in and gave her the solitude away from me she said she wanted. She still seeks me out once every year or so just to try to hurt her sister or I and be cruel. We however never respond now. The last time it didn’t bother me I read it deleted it and blocked the email. But I didn’t wish her ill nor did I feel bitterness or hate in my heart. I said a prayer to God and the universe for her. That despite how she has hurt us that she would have a good life, and that better people will fill her life. And although we can no longer be a part of her life partially due to her choices and partially due to the off and on estrangement and the way if given the chance she would abuse us. I forgive her for her cruelty, I forgive myself for my mistakes and I accept that this is the reality she has chosen for herself. However I choose not to live in a reality of bitterness anger or pain. I choose to live in the love and the light. Every day is not promised, So I will savor it versus dread it. I will enjoy each and every second I am given in spite of any pain I have experienced. Because the world is much to big to focus on things that bring pain instead of joy. These adult children whom hurt their parents whom estrange and abuse those who loved them loyally and nurtured and raised them are going on with their lives. Living it up every single second life affords them. With zero care for the estranged parents feelings. To waste time focusing on the pain only wastes prescious time on this earth that is not promised nor garenteed. I chose to set my youngest adult daughter free to live her life. To forgive her cruelty, Not for her but for me. Because I don’t want to carry that pain and anger around anymore. I however refuse to dwell on that sadness and refuse to allow myself to be abused. And to focus and enjoy positivity love light and beauty instead. And the result is my days are faster instead of slower. I laugh more than I cry. And I feel a deep gratitude for every once of beauty, every moment of love and every ray of light. Because life is prescious . I can’t change my youngest daughters behaviors, perspectives or choices. I can only change my own. I accept that even though I raised her and protected her that I was neither perfect nor was I the monster she has painted me to be. I accept that sometimes no matter how much we love someone invest in some care for someone that doesn’t garentee that will become reciprocal. So I free myself of those expectations. I forgive myself for my short comings. And I forgive her for her cruelty. And I put my focus on love self improvement joy laughter and light. And when I feel that sadness creep up I immediately shift my focus to joy love light and laughter. And the more I do it the easier it gets. I hope that helps someone. Big hugs to all.

    Reply
    1. Cheryl

      So many positive thoughts to live by! My ED and her husband stopped coming to my parents for holidays soon after they started dating saying tgat I had 22 years with her, now it’s his turn, although holidays were now spent wirh HIS family of which they had 26 years of spending the holidays with him. It didn’t make sense then and still doesn’t.
      My parents are aging and every holiday could be their last but she doesn’t see them nor does she allow me to be a grandma to her son or my parents to enjoy being great grandparents. It’s cruel and unusual punishment but it’s on her conscience, not mine or my parents. We love her and our grandson even though we don’t know him. We have a small gathering of us, my sister and brother in-law and my son and his girlfriend. It’s no longer a stressful event waiting for her attitude to turn sour. We laugh, the rents yell at each for some reason or another, then when dinner is on the table, things settle down and we enjoy the rest of the day.
      You’re words were ring so true, life is not promised but a gift we should realize and make the most of! Thank you!

  7. jess

    Wow. As devestating as this last year has been for me, I am bolstered by so many others who are going through the same thing. Thank you for sharing your stories and insights, becauase I just had no idea how to cope and get through this time. No one else gets all this unless they have personally dealt with it themselves. I needed to find this.

    Reply
    1. L i n

      We will not be putting up a tree this year and trying to decide about the holidays still trying to piece together the puzzle of what went down exactly almost a year ago since there is no communication it feels like someone just slammed something into your stomach and you don’t know what it was that hit you. you don’t know the answers to any of your questions only by accident I found out that she was talking to a so-called psychologist online and I do believe that is when it all started, she is saying that we no longer are her parents and she is no longer our daughter and doesn’t want anything to do with us again. since we aren’t communicating how do we know exactly what is the problem . I cannot tolerate social media for telling her she did the right thing to exclude us out of her life what kind of people would tell her to do that. we are pretty sure she has borderline personality disorder

    2. Jess

      Lin, I am reaching out because we find ourselves in a very similar situation. Almost a year ago our oldest daughter cut us out of her life, and has refused to even talk to us. We too, do not know what happened or what we did or didn’t do. It has been such a painful year. I am so sorry for you and feel your pain.

    3. Nicole

      Hello Lin: I
      I have a son with borderline personality I realized this my self reading a lot trying to understand him.
      Also my son has been in therapy for long time. After he got married, not immediately, he change and was not the loving son anymore. He married a psychologist. After 2 years of begging him to tell us what is the problem, what we did wrong, to understand and be able to maybe apologize, he send us a letter: one sentence was about what we did good for him and the rest in one page , he blamed us for many things some real, some exaggerated and some invented. The real thing we’re mistakes that many parents does, not horrible physical or other kind of abuse. We didn’t recognize our loving son. All our little saving went on him. He was jealous on his brother, and my DIL hate her only sister. My first impulse was to answer him and clarify everything, but I decided not to and I sent him a nice letter, after many others filled with much love, and a reminder that he will be any time welcome with his family.
      We neve have had a nice/ calm discussion, face to face about all of this and lack of communication create chaos. It is like in politics with diplomacy; if is missing, is war.
      We are estranged for almost 5 years. For two years I was miserable until I got sick. I red all this comment and I realized that I am not alone, Finally I made peace with myself and I am not crying any more and most important I can sleep. Fortunately I have another son who is very close to me and I can’t imagine how hard is for parents that are estranged by only child or by all of them.
      Now what I learn from my reading; estrangement of old parents by adult children become almost epidemic in “ advanced country” .In poor country family is still unite.
      Regarding BPD ( Border Personality Disorder) the causes are still poorly understood and there are a few psychologist that are fully qualified to treat this disorder and they go through very intense training. Many therapists advise their patients if that they didn’t feel having a “ perfect” relationship” with their parents, better turn their back to them. This therapist never listen to the blamed parties.
      There is so much to talk about this subject, I am looking for a support group.
      Best wishes.

    4. Karen W

      Awe I took have been rejected. My youngest rejected me about 10 years ago.Then my oldest will only let me write to her. I don’t understand their rejection. My advise is to get counseling because this “Estrangement “ is popular trend now and the pain associated with it is horrible. I really wish I had boys. Take good care of yourself …do nice things for yourself and believe me IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT

    5. Sher

      I hope you find comfort knowing you are not alone.
      As another poster said: “stop questioning your parenting” .

      My daughter told people I abused her. She actually believes her own lies. She is a narcissist and has not one ounce of empathy.
      I believe narcissist are born because my sister, brother, couple aunts, few cousins are.
      Who else but a person with no empathy could treat their mother who gave them life in such a horrible way.
      What I had the hardest part accepting is how much hate and jealousy she felt toward me. But I try to give myself permission to be happy. It’s hard work but being miserable and heartbroken isn’t going to bring her back. It’s been 20 years of her in and out of my life. Each time gets longer.
      Haven’t seen or talked to her for 5 years. It’s getting easier.
      But the biggest heartache in my life will never completely heal.
      Hope you can start today toward healing. My heart aches with you.

  8. Tina

    I am so grateful to have this site. Dealing with estrangement is a devastating experience, and in my experience a shameful one. It brings me some peace to know I am not the only person dealing with this situation.

    Reply
    1. Linnea

      I don’t put up a tree anymore and I don’t miss it at all
      I have 2 gypsy orphans from Russia who could not attatch to me. They convinced my son on the spectrum to stay away from me but my other son tries to see me and my ex briefly at separate times on Christmas. I try to scratch up money to buy a new book for myself and get presents for my dogs at Menards Black Friday. After years of cooking big Christmas dinners I give myself a break. I buy premade cheesecake and stuff that’s too unhealthy to eat the rest of the year!

    2. Sher

      Shame. Something I feel too.
      I’ve never said it out loud but after reading your comment it made me realize how much shame I felt. Why do we feel shame but our children don’t.
      Apparently I didn’t raise my kids with guilt like my Mom did. I knew she wasn’t perfect but I didn’t blame her. We all have our own demons to deal with from our childhood. No parent is perfect. I started golfing at age 58 and it is my therapy. I also put on my headphones and go for a walk to clear my head. Try to keep your mind busy. Good luck.

  9. Therese

    I feel so deeply for everyone posting as we are going through the same thing. Our pastor continually challenges our us to discover miracles; I’m now trying each day to focus on what I have vs. what I don’t have anymore. Simple things like the beautiful day, the blue of the sky, the moon, the owl I heard the other night – any little detail of life that God provides to show me that miracles still happen. Maybe a miracle will happen with our family, but maybe not. I refuse to believe that we are the ones 100% in the wrong anymore. I’m looking for miracles; where ever I can find them.

    Reply
    1. rparents Post author

      Therese,

      What a beautiful, uplifting practice to look for lovely things to admire and be aware of each day. I appreciate your pastor’s view af seeing evidence of God’s miracles, therefore seeing the possibility of a miracle for your family. Even without that , the practice of looking for these lovely things, seeing their beauty … such a wonderful way to walk through each day!

      Hugs,
      Sheri McGregor

  10. Deborah

    May we all find some joy during our crushing loss . The hurt is cruel . All my love to everybody. We are the bravest of the brave as we keep on going nobody knows how hard it is . Smile because we are beautiful X X

    Reply
    1. Jennifer

      Thank u for ur loving words they helped me in my pain today. Thankful for this community to know none of us are alone.

      Love to every single person here
      Jenn

  11. Sam

    Bless everyone who shared their story, their pain, and how they’re trying to deal with they’re situations. Our oldest daughter has rejected us and will not let us see our grandchildren unless she can dictate the circumstances. She says she doesn’t feel comfortable in our home. I watched our grandchildren for 15 years. I have a notarized letter stating that I was authorized to take them to the doctor or hospital if necessary. Now I’m told by her husband that I’m a sh** mother, that I was always a sh** mother. He’s known me for over 26 years. If I was such a lousy mother why was I allowed to watch their children? Our daughter is telling him lies and he believes them, or pretends to, to perhaps assuage his own conscience for having verbally and physically abused our daughter in front of their children. Our daughter worked for us. She misappropriated company money, had an affair with another employee, called us horrible names, said everyone in the company would be happier if we retired. And yet we’re the ones at fault. We were good parents, not perfect, not possible, but good. We asked her to resign, which opened the door to more verbal abuse from her. She has trashed us to our extended family and refuses to attend any family gathering if she thinks we will attend. I don’t know how we’ll deal with any upcoming events that she might want to attend (her grandmother is 94). My husband and I will not change our plans to accommodate her. If we send her children anything for their birthdays or Christmas we are accused of trying to “purchase” them. No, we just want to let them know that we love them and are thinking of them. If I text birthday or Christmas greetings to the kids I’m told that they received them but chose to “ignore” them. I doubt that they have much choice. Her sisters have chosen to discontinue their relationships with her because of her treatment of us and them. She says that we poisoned them. We believe that she is mentally ill. If she isn’t, then she is incredibly cruel. It’s difficult to say that about one’s child but we have to consider the possibility. It’s sad, it’s painful, it’s heartbreaking. But she has chosen this and we have to accept it. We can’t interfere in her relationship with her children. We hope, when they are older and not dependent upon their parents that they will choose to contact us. If not, well, then it won’t be any different than it is now.

    Reply
    1. Jess

      Our oldest cut us out and took our only grandson away. He loved me and we were so close. It ripped my heart out. A few months ago she had a baby girl and never told us. I am crushed and still don’t understand what happened. She is also going to any family that will listen to her and spreading lies. It is so horrible and I am just stunned. It does help to see others is similar situations.

    2. Sher

      Sounds like we could have raised the same child.
      I’ve come to believe the better you are to your child. The worse you are treated.
      I have family who were horrible parents and their kids can’t stay away. Not perfect but I always showed them love and gave every ounce of energy for them to have a better life than mine.
      They did! Acceptance was the hardest thing for me. 20 years of walking on eggshells but “Life is Good” today. They are the “ME” generation. It’s an epidemic. Thank you for sharing.

  12. Angela

    Thank you for this Sheri for this. We have been estranged from our oldest for 4 years and not seeing our grandson kills us every holiday and we sit on the what ifs. I’ve felt that if i went ahead with my life that i would betray my son and grandson and forget them but these four years i have put life on hold and I’m done doing such. Your outline of ideas are exactly what i have started to do. Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Sher

      Good for you. 5 years since I’ve heard from my daughter, but 20 years of her rejecting me.
      I finally realized it isn’t betraying my children to enjoy life. Worrying about my grandchildren won’t change anything but keep me in the dysfunction. I too have moved on and have no hope of a reunion. I wish people would stop saying she’ll come round.
      My son told me “you know this time is final Mom” and I do.
      Life is Good! Enjoy what ti.e you have left.

  13. Tovah

    Dear Sheri (and I do mean DEAR as not a greeting but an adjective about you), our holidays were always all about our children and making it magical for them. Unfortunately we were too successful at this and along the way the holidays became something strictly for them, all about them and some kind of “you better make it good” every year.
    The little-kid years were fantastic when they appreciated anything they got or experienced but once they were older I came to loathe the holidays! The pressure was immense to top last year’s production with outings, home decor, tree, parties, shopping and of course gifts. (The last year that we celebrated it together cost us thousands of dollars that we didn’t have to spend so freely.)
    What began as fun and pleasure devolved into agony and dread, mainly because of their demands. Add to that the fact that we are interfaith and celebrate everything and you can imagine the feeling I had doing it all.
    One year in an attempt to break the tension with humor I did a search using the words “I hate Christmas!” and thoroughly enjoyed the few videos, stills and memes that popped up!
    I got a break in another way at some cost to our poor cat. A Christmas tree we had brought home was hiding some kind of parasite or insect that caused a gaping wound in her head. (She liked to hang out underneath it.) She healed just fine but that incident allowed me to subtract the “real” tree from our annual duties, citing the insects they could be harboring. This, of course, triggered huge whines and gripes from our heartless children who actually complained bitterly about the lack of “their” tree.
    Sheesh, talk about creating monsters! And, no, a fake tree would not do!
    In this new age we are in, sans the kids, I am elated to be able to form new, seriously pared down traditions with my husband. It’s overdue that we end the big Hollywood production and embrace the pure meaning of the holidays as it was meant to be. I choose to see this as a sparkling silver lining to our estrangement. (I am finding out that there really are silver linings!)
    Thank you for being such a wonderful source of strength, empathy and loving sister to all of us here. I couldn’t imagine being in the place that I am in mentally (getting well!) without you.
    Wishing you whatever kind of holidays that you envision for yourself and your family. *hugs*

    Reply
    1. rparents Post author

      Tovah,

      The gift of bugs. This note made me smile. Thank you. I know your silver lining perspective will help others here. I so appreciate you! And “seriously paced down” traditions sound grand and even restful (like peace on Earth).

      Hugs,
      Sheri McGregor

  14. Barb C.

    THESE ARTICULES WERE SO HELPFUL. I DIDT REALIZE SO MANY PARENTS WENT THROUGH THIS. I KNOW I WAS A GOOD PARENT..NOT PERFECT BUT GOOD. I DONT UNDERSTAND THIS REJECTION. BUT IT HELPS TO KOW I AM NOT ALONE.

    Reply
    1. mary

      I just found this site I’ve been estranged from my oldest for six years until this day I still think of her and cry most of the day. My question is do they do this out of spite over something I did in the younger years or do they just not like me?

  15. Rosanne

    Hi Shari,
    I’m going to pat myself on the back for proactively “taking charge” of the holidays this year. My husband and I recently made plans to drive to CA from CO for Christmas. We’ll be spending Christmas with his family and kids. Plus we’ll have a mini vacation as we stop in different states along the way both there and back. I decided to put myself first for a chance and I can’t remember the last time I actually looked forward to Christmas like this 🙂

    Reply
    1. rparents Post author

      Roseanne,
      That sounds lovely!! Enjoy, take pictures, and later savor the memories. Laugh a lot. I feel the excitement in your post! Thank you for sharing here!

      Hugs,
      Sheri

  16. Annemarie

    I don’t know what the holidays will bring this year. We are on and off for about 7 years. By God’s grace I’m going to plan to celebrate, my son and his beautiful family are always welcome. They are top of the list. However, if they deem us unworthy of their presence the festivities shall commence! Life is too short and there are others who see beauty in me in spite of my blemishes. As I do in them. Thank you for this helpful article Sheri.

    Reply
  17. Sherrie

    I have been following this group and Sheri for a couple years now. One day I will share my story. For now i just want to say that it feels good to know I am not the only one experiencing the heartbreak of estranged children. Thank you to everyone who pours their hearts out here. It does help me to read your experiences and know Im not crazy or alone in this.

    Reply
    1. Nicky C.

      I also have a story to share soon and for now to thank all of you for being so courageous to open up to your sad experiences.
      I am in the UK and dread the Christmas festivities so will be planning very carefully my own festive break.
      Thank goodness I have one adult child out of four who is reciprocal and a grandson who loves his Nan.
      I want to share my story after I have read Sheri’s book which should arrive this month.

      Thank you all again for sharing making me feel less alone x

  18. Denise

    Hello everyone who posted, with each one of you there were things I could relate to….Our only daughter 42 years old has abandoned us…. and will not let us see our grandson of 5 years old….. the first four years of his life we babysat and enjoyed him so so many times and all was ok …. But our daughter got depressed and started going to a shrink … started taking 3 prescriptions and that’s when the change in her started … totally self centered … very rude to us ….it’s been 16 months since she spoke to me….and her attitude is …. My husband and I have to follow her rules and boundaries if we are going to have a relationship ….. really???? We are broken hearted of course …. Going to get your books Sheri and please know I’m so great up for all the input …. It makes me know we are not alone in this horrific situation… Blessings to you all and Hugs

    Reply
  19. Dani

    I find myself now in my early 60 s, completely alone, zero family because of so much slander and so many lies from the narcissists in my family. My son, has put me through hell with his slander and so much garbage. I cannot understand why and how I should go on. My heart has been stomped upon, crushed and broken over and over. My son loves to crucify me and blame me for everything yet… God knows the entire truth! Psalm 37 and Psalm 13 speak for me as I have nothing else to express the extreme heart break .. heck there is nothing much more he can do at this point.

    Reply
    1. rparents Post author

      Dani,

      I hope you’ll seek support locally. There can be meaning and purpose again, even if it is not what you expected. It’s unjust and the pain that those sorts can inflict can be tough to move beyond, but it is possible.

      Many hugs, Dani. By posting your thoughts here, you have helped someone reading. They may or may not reply to you, but sharing honestly about your life helps other people in similar situations feel less alone.

      HUGS again,
      Sheri McGregor

    2. Chitra P.

      Do not waste your tears on your son. Pray for him, forgive him if you can.
      Seek out groups that empathize. Build your friend circle and celebrate. Do it for your soul’s sake.
      Maybe one day, you will be able to invite him to one of your parties. Even then you will welcome him with open arms.

    3. Rosanne

      Hi Dani,
      I have relied on those very same Psalms over the last 10 years. I also cling to Isaiah 61: 7-8 that says, “instead of your shame and dishonor, you will receive a double portion of prosperity and everlasting joy”. That may not be in this life yet I’d rather have that for eternity rather than temporally. I also know that God “sees our tears and hears our prayers” and that He loves our sons more than we do. Other people know your heartache and more importantly, God knows your heartache.

    4. Diane

      Dani, you are not alone, I am 65 & my 47 year old only child has not spoken to me in a year now, he hung up on me, exiled me from his life, his wife has nothing to do with me either. He tells my 90 year old mom that even though I was a good mother to him, I just stress him out. He has no children, never wanted them, is extremely materialistic, narcissist and selfish, they both are. His dad and I married young, divorced young so I raised him on my own, his dad was Navy, traveled constantly & remarried and had new family. I can’t tell you the difficulties I went through raising him, we struggled a lot, you may understand. I worked 2 jobs and sacrificed so I could give him what he needed and also wanted. I hardly got any financial support from his father, nor did he see him much, now, he is very successful, lives in the same city as we do and my son spends time with them, holidays etc, I am the one excluded. He broke my heart ❤️ too, I do understand, but after everything that has happened, all the tears, sadness and heartbreak I had to stop letting these cruel people win. I don’t deserve their disrespect, sometimes you have to let go of toxic people, even if they are family. People that love don’t hurt other people. I know that I made mistakes in my life and would change them, but it’s not possible, for someone that you love to purposely try to destroy your character is just not worth trying to have a relationship with at this time. I have been forgiven by God, only he can judge me. I am sending you my sincere prayers of light to heal your broken heart. It’s going to be okay, you have worth, you helped me by sharing, as I too am alone, my mom & sister live far, during the hurricane here in Florida, I was on my own, no help from anyone, my son lives 5 miles away, I have had 6 orthopedic surgeries & just went through stage 3 cancer. Family can be cruel, life can be cruel but I do my imperfect best everyday to keep the faith and find the good in life. God bless you friend.

    5. Lindi

      Dani,

      I am all alone too. My youngest son just died and my oldest is a complete jerk. He sends nothing but hate and blame my way. He has pulled my darling granddaughters away and then will let me see them and pull them away again. It is making me crazy. I must leave him behind for good. I just lost my mom, two aunts, my dearest friend and my son. NO MORE PAIN. Somehow I will pull through. I am looking to volunteer and get involved with a church. I still have so much to give and I am still the same person I always was. A good, kind and loving person. I will not let my son assassinate my character anymore. Please reach out and get out. My families last name should have Narcissists.

    6. Jennifer

      I am SO SORRY for everything u have gone through! I can heavily relate in my own family having the same experience similar to urs. It hurts and is angering when everything is ONE sided. Their side. And it just is not fair. I am with you on God knows the TRUTH. He sees and knows everything!! In my hurt and anger I do my darn best to pray for all of my gossiping mean family members that I know talk together badly behind my back. That Gods perfect will, will be done. It hurts so bad when all I ever did was good and they make up their own versions of things to suit their anger and unforgiveness and stubbornness. I’ve done ALL I can to make peace but got rejected so much I am trying my best to focus of on ME now, even in my pain.

      I would say to you that your life matters and is precious and you MUST go on! Ur words here to me today have impacted me and made me feel not alone. So thank you for that! You never know how many more people your life will touch, even if it is just a smile to a stranger! That can change a persons entire week just to get a smile from someone. You are deeply loved by me(yes a stranger) and everyone here!

      My prayer is that God will pour His peace and joy into your life and you will find new ways to live that out for YOU. Sending u so much love.

      Jen

  20. Blake

    I’m a father without children. Such a life is unimaginable to most. Other parents become quiet, shake their heads, and in a hushed tone say they can’t imagine such a life. Me too I say. I can’t imagine an unimaginable life.

    Panic, disbelief, despair, loneliness, and worry for my invisible children became my new companion.

    Years of silence bring death to the unbreakable bond. There is no funeral nor any fellow mourners. It’s mourning alone while being told by the good-hearted that it’s an unbreakable bond.

    Reply
    1. rparents Post author

      Dear Blake,
      You are not the only father going through this. Many here are reading and know your pain.

      HUGS to you, dear Blake. Thank you for posting so eloquently.

      Sheri McGregor

    2. Mickey M.

      Oh my God! That is exactly what it is. Others in my family connect to my son, but not one of them has the courage to even try to mediate on my behalf…’they don’t want him to get angry at them’…cowards all.
      May you find the strength to bear this with dignity and wisdom Blake. My heart goes out to you.

    3. Tovah

      Dear Blake,
      My husband would say to you that he agrees deeply with what you expressed so eloquently. He treasures the bonds of family and invested heavily in our children, never missing the chance to show his devotion in tangible and intangible ways. It has come as a huge shock to find out that we don’t matter to them.
      I saw this much earlier than he did, as I am the same gender parent of daughters and was throttled with every ounce of conflict they could deliver on a daily basis. I most definitely saw it coming. He was, for the most part, spared. I thought that when our children rejected us it was really me they were rejecting but he was tossed away just as readily and this hurt him dearly.
      Those good hearted people you speak of haven’t experienced the rejection and it is easy for them to cheerfully offer their platitudes but the chasm between them and us is oceanic and their words are indeed only platitudes. In our extended family we have received our share of statements like this and choose to just take them in the spirit they are intended (we think): to buoy us up and give us hope.
      However, that silence you also mention is the torch that burns down many a bridge to reconciliation. To be able to erect a new bridge all on one’s own with nothing but cheery platitudes is an act of futility.
      My husband and I are working toward letting go and the liberation that can bring. It feels empowering to accept their unfair judging of us and allow them to return to us if they choose to and accept it if they don’t.
      As good and decent parents we have to stand tall and be proud of the job we did even with all the flaws we have and mistakes we made. (In other societies parents are worshiped; the grown children fight over who will get to take care of Mom and Dad. Those people were not saints or perfect people but their society teaches elder respect. Not where we live. Far from it.)
      Despite our efforts to heal (with Sheri’s life changing help!), what is consistently shocking is the EASE with which they can blot us out as if we never existed. Not a shred of regret and maybe even a fair amount of what feels like malicious satisfaction. It’s this that torments me.

    4. rparents Post author

      Tovah,
      What you said about malicious intent… it is shocking. I like that you said it though: Malicious Intent.

      It’s pretty stunning but it is calling it what it is, and therefore, offers clarity.

      Hugs to you for your beautiful intentions here. You are appreciated here.

      Sheri McGregor

    5. Cynthia C.

      Your words ring true to me on this Sunday evening as I mourn the loss of my youngest son and I have absolutely no idea why he abandoned me and his two older brothers.

      I am 65 years of age and he recently turned 34.
      I have not seen him in about 4 years and it all remains a mystery to me.

      To grieve alone is indeed a terrible thing.

      My thoughts are with you.

      Cynthia

    6. Peggy C.

      OMG, this is the most beautiful, painful, true and perfect response to how I feel but could never in a million years say, much less, so eloquently. Thank you Blake for finding these words for me and know that I feel less alone because of them dear fellow traveler.

    7. Jennifer

      I feel your pain Blake 🙁 I have so often said it feels like my daughter died but there was no funeral but it feels like there should be a funeral. Cause it feels like she died. Like I’m in pain from the death of a child. But she is still alive and living on the planet mostly as happy as can be. I like to believe a part of her yearns and hurts for me even if secretly. But I want to mourn. I wish others would cry with me and miss her with me and feel my pain with me. But I’m just alone. Mourning alone. Sending u all my love Blake. Sorry for both of our losses. And I still hold on to hope and miracles.

      Jenn

  21. Diane M.

    I remember Sheri’s last year’s writing about how she was giving up on all the traditional ways of celebrating the holiday season, that she did in the past. That made me rethink my plans for the holidays this year too. We can decide each year how we choose to celebrate or not. Well last year I made myself a big holiday meal. Too much work for one person. I started out putting only a few decorations around, but ended up putting it all out. All that and just for me? I had a lot to put away then and clean up afterwards. This year WILL be different. I will make simple, fun meals like pizza. Will only put out a few decorations and can rotate them each year, if I choose. I will write out far, far less Christmas cards. I will have a more relaxing holiday this year. Will just relax and read some good books, do some crossword puzzles. More pajama time. I’m doing what Sheri did last year. Sheri, I look forward to hearing your plans for this year. I’ll write in the next newsletter if I plan on sending my daughter and her family cards. May have to rethink this. These posts are so very helpful especially around the difficult holiday times. We can make them good and in our own way too. Thank you Sheri and for all who share here.

    Reply
    1. rparents Post author

      Thank you for writing, Diane. It’s important to make a plan, and you sharing here specifically will be so very helpful to people!! Yeah, let’s simplify things for ourselves.

      Hugs to you.
      Sheri McGregor

    2. Mary

      I, too, have tried to downsize at Christmas, because our children either don’t visit or only come by for a few minutes. My husband always asks why I even bother to decorate a tree when it’s just us. So sad.

  22. Shannon

    I have a wonderful relationship with my 94 yo mother, and my delightful 6 yo grandson. So how do I not include my son and daughter in law in holiday plans? I’m feeling overwhelmed already. I would love to “get away” but also don’t want to abandon the ones who love & depend on me. Heavy heart.

    Reply
  23. Ann

    It’s been almost 6 months since our daughter dumped us. She and her husband always did the holidays in an “every other year” rotation. This year would be our year to have her home for Thanksgiving. It’s extra special when we have the Thanksgiving year, because it’s also her birthday week. We have not seen her for the past two Birthday’s/Thanksgivings because her husband’s family asked them to switch last year. We graciously agreed (and of course received no thanks from the husband). Anyway, this year is also extra special because she will be 30 on her birthday. At this rate, I can’t imagine she is going to call to reconcile before the holidays, so I’m trying to prepare myself for the heartbreak and depression I know I will experience over Thanksgiving week. My plan right now is to just imagine that this year is the “every other” year and that she wouldn’t have been here anyway. Since we have had holidays and birthdays without her, I think it can have somewhat of a normal feel to it.

    The other hard part is that I don’t know what to do about her birthday in general. Do I still buy her a gift or send her a card? She didn’t even send so much as a text message to her dad on Father’s Day and told her sister that she was considering cancelling the gift she purchased in advance for me for Mother’s Day. Will sending her a gift or a card be seen as trying to manipulate her or guilt her into something? Either way, if I do send something, even just a card, and don’t hear anything back from her, my heart will shatter all over again. After the Father’s Day thing, I told myself I can’t keep reaching out and getting nothing but radio silence back. It’s like ripping the scab off of my heart each time.

    I truly appreciate this blog post, the other parents who share their experiences here and your book, Done with the Crying (I’m on page 81). Your book is really helping, even though I’ve only just started it. I carve out about 40 minutes very early each morning to read and work through the exercises. It’s hard some mornings because it starts my day really thinking about her and the loss, but I know I need to work through the grief to get to the other side and hopefully find joy again.

    Reply
    1. rparents Post author

      Dear Ann,
      If you do send a card this year, the next, etc., it comes down to your own integrity and comfort. You can only control your side. I trust you will do the right thing for you, whatever that is. And that evolves as time passes and things happen or don’t.

      Thank you for sharing here. Your posting will help other people. I think you are doing well to focus on the book and your momentum first thing. It focuses your day on your own growth.

      Big hugs to you. I hope you will share again and tell your progress.

      Sheri McGregor

  24. Anne F.

    Hello Shari!

    Thank you for sharing this story far in advance of the upcoming holidays.

    My husband and I have been married for 37 years. He was a widower, left with three children: a 3 day old, 4 yo and 7 yo.

    We met at church. We began dating only 5 weeks after his wife’s death. We married 9 1/4 months later. We were Christians, so we were never intimate with each other until the second day after being married. Obviously we know now, we married too soon after his wife’s death for all of us.

    I adopted all three of the children and when we went to sign the papers, the middle child, our son, stated to the Judge “Do we have anything to say about this”? WOW!

    It was a rough go. I being a person of much sexual abuse, felt the need to control much to feel safe. I was a good mom, but not the nurturer I guess all the children needed.

    Today, not one of the children are speaking to me. Our oldest daughter has blogged about how she did all the nurturing and didn’t receive what she needed. Our son has gone totally sexually and demonically explicit in his tattoo business, (not to mention the mother of his child is involved in wicca), and our youngest is pursuing her PhD in Psychotherapy and has “diagnosed” me as having BPD. Yikes. All this really makes one feel as if their life has been wasted.

    Thank you for the heads up about the holidays. I am looking forward to making a “new” family, (of which we have many friends). Time to start a new and leave much behind; seems so unfortunate.

    Reply
  25. Claudia

    Your work reaches more people and is more important than you may realize. I shared this on my Facebook page and would love to see this “un-shamed” one fine day.

    Reply
  26. Karen K.

    This was probably somewhere in your writings but has helped me profoundly: “this is not about me, it’s about my daughter’s inability to handle her life.” I wrote that on cards and stuck one on my bathroom mirror, on my computer, and on one of my kitchen cabinets. Thank you for all you rehabilitating help.

    Reply
    1. Nicole

      All this adult children which abandon their parents have their emotional clock disturbed: some time they are backed by their therapist.

  27. Jacquie

    Hi Sheri, I have been receiving your news letter for quite a while now. I have not been able to read your books though. My daughter Allyson ripped away from me nearly 8 years ago. I know exactly why she did, but it is easier to blame me than accept what is real. She has PTSD, Anxiety disorder, severe depression because of me and my poor parenting skills. Also I am bi polar which hasn’t helped matters. She was 19 when she turned the world upside down and began gaslighting me in a huge way. All growing up,she and I were so close, she told me everything, EVERYTHING!!!
    It’s a longer story of coarse than what I’ve shared, but I truly do not think we will ever come to a common ground again. She finally stopped being cruel after about 5 years, thank goodness. She has not called me Momma since she was 19.
    She is just Ice cold if she needs something. I will never close the door on her, it will always be wide open even though it can be very painful. I will do so because I love her unconditionally with all my heart. I had a very difficult relationship with both of my parents until recently. I was so angry, I couldn’t see straight for years. My Mom and I completely reconciled at the beginning of November 2021. Then on December 4th she was diagnosed with stage 4 liver cancer and lymphoma. My brother and I cared for her at her home until she passed one month later on January 7, 2022.
    I am so grateful that we at least had a little time of happiness together, and that I was there with her when she passed.
    I did not speak to my father for 30 years. Unfortunately, my Mom taught me from a young age to hate him and that he was a creep. I was sexually abused as a young child, and I always thought it was him. MARAJUANA smoke was blown in my face every time. But come to find out, he did not smoke that because he didn’t like it and he was a Semi driver for UPS and was randomly drug tested. My parents were swingers in the early 70’s. I was born in ‘68. They swapped partners with this one couple for 6 months. I hated the man that was with us. My Mom was around other very questionable characters, so I can not say without a doubt that it was my Father. We have also reconciled. Back in November of 2018. I asked him how he dealt with me not speaking to him for 30 yrs. He said,”I prayed for you.” WOW!!
    We are quite close now.
    I feel like what I’m going through with my daughter is karma. Part of me feels that I deserve this pain.
    I have also struggled with anorexia and bulimia since I was very young. I have been hospitalized twice. This last time I was 88 lbs when I was hospitalized. I know that also affected my daughter in a very negative way. I was away for 3 months. I wrote her letters, but she gave them back to me when she was 20. I have reached out to her over the years, but I have now stopped. She knows where to find me if she so desires, and knows that I will be waiting with open arms. I am 54 now and my health is on a downturn, but I will not tell her. I don’t know if that is right or wrong, but I do not want her pity or rejection anymore.

    I was my Mother-in Law’s caregiver for 8 years until she past last March. I lost both of my Mom’s in less than a year. Now two of my best friends have terminal illnesses. I have also lost my husband’s family. I served a purpose, now I have disappeared to them. My husband has five stents in the arteries to his heart and has diabetes. My Mom was the youngest of three. She was 75 when she passed. Now both of my aunts have severe heart issues as does my father. I am so scared that I will not be able to handle the loss that is coming. It is inevitable though. My heart is already bleeding so much, I just don’t know.

    Thank you for taking the time to read this.

    Reply
    1. rparents Post author

      Dear Jacquie,
      Thank you for sharing your story. I can empathize, and I know that so very many other parents who read here will relate to a lot of what you said. I wanted to tell you that in the new book (Beyond Done), there is a chapter called “There are no perfect parents.” It deals with parents who have regrets or feel they deserve what’s happening in some way, similar to some of what you say above. One woman in that chapter has suffered anorexia/bulimia, btw. You may find that chapter in particular is helpful. I am not sure why you have not been able to read the books. If your library doesn’t have them, ask the librarian to get them. Many parents have had very good luck with librarians ordering the books. Also, most libraries have them available on audio currently (and if they don’t, ask!).

      BIG hugs to you, Jacquie. I’m sorry for all your pain and know others who read here will benefit from your posting.

      Sheri McGregor

  28. Karen L.

    Dear Sheri,

    I’ve read your book and I always read your e-news letters. Great ideas and coping strategies that have helped me tremendously. I feel I am in a good place emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and physically thanks to all your excellent advice. Kudos to you.

    Have a wonderful holiday season. Prayers and peace.

    Reply
    1. rparents Post author

      Thank you, Karen. Thank you for your kind words … AND MOST OF ALL, I am glad that you are in a good place emotionally, mentally, spiritually and physically. I’m so grateful that I could help even just a little.

      HUGS,
      Sheri McGregor

  29. Mia

    Wonderful helpful article!!
    I have one other struggle.. when with people and theyre talking about their kids coming and i dont and it truly hurts. I find myself avoiding and hiding that week before..
    What is your advise on that?

    Reply
    1. Mary A.

      Mia, We sure feel that too… it’s been very hard to believe other people enjoy us in their lives … our feelings say they are just feeling sorry for us … but I think others really do enjoy us …. Part of it feels like… but they are not ours …. But we can just love them like they are …maybe we can pretend and let some others be the place to let all this love pour out on …thank you Sheri for encouraging us all and letting your love pour out on us as you are acquainted with our suffering … it’s just such a kind gift of your time and compassion, reaching out past your own pain! I hope we can find a way to do that too!

    2. rparents Post author

      You’re welcome, Mary.
      And, OF COURSE, others want you in their lives. It’s awful how one’s adult children can mess with self-confidence.

      BE well and be happy,
      Hugs,
      Sheri McGregor

    3. Barbara G

      I can so relate to that ; most of my friends are very close to their kids; grandkids and sometimes these friends just don’t realize how hurtful their casual comments can be aka I just can’t imagine not having grandkids or I can’t imagine being all by myself over the holidays etc ; and then comes the inevitable invite and depending how I feel inside I may join or politely decline ; sometimes there is just relief sometimes sadness ; I accept that this wound of estrangement will never totally go away but time and knowing we are not alone makes it much more livable even to the point of having real joy in ones life !!! It is a daily decision I make !!

  30. cilla

    Hi Sheri
    I have been reading your newsletter for 6 yrs now. Tried to get your Book here in South Africa but could not.
    I have changed my email address and would like to update my details for this but cannot find a page to update.
    I will try to subscribe as a new person
    Thank you for lighting the way in a space that was the darkest period of my life

    Reply
    1. rparents Post author

      Hi Cilla,
      Let me address your questions:
      — To change where you get the newsletter, you will find a link at the bottom of every newsletter you receive that says “update your profile.” If you click that link, it will take you to where you can change your email address.
      — To buy the books in South Africa (or anywhere in the world), please try The Book Depository. They say they ship books (free) worldwide, and my books are in stock there! https://www.bookdepository.com/

      HUGS to you,
      Sheri McGregor

    1. Mia

      Mine turned rebellious and mean at 16 and never grew out of it. Theyve been riding their looks with the world for yrs but eventually wont have them esp w that ugliness inside.
      Id rather be alone than w them. I pray daily God will humble them and make them healthy and loving.
      Thank God for great husband..

  31. Deborah

    I’m especially dreading this year alone.My husband just passed of cancer and my son still won’t have anything to do with me.I’m depressed and heart broken.I have no more family except him (he’s turning 40 this weekend).He’s not a child .He must know this is wrong.
    Any advice above what you’ve written in your books and this article?
    I’m not okay.
    Deborah

    Reply
    1. rparents Post author

      Deborah,
      I’m so sorry to hear about your husband. My condolences and hugs! The first thing that comes to mind is finding others who have lost their spouse. Ask your doctor, community senior center, etc. Where I live, there is a local newspaper that has many listings for all sorts of groups. There are always groups of this sort. People find them very helpful, and I believe they will have some holiday help for newly widowed people too. HUGS to you, Sheri McGregor

    2. Rosanne

      Hi Deborah,
      There is definitely a monumental void from the absence of our kids. I have tried to fill that void and get what I need from other people. For example, I had a great opportunity to play pickleball with a woman and her two sons that are about my son’s age. I had so much fun and so many laughs with them. They have no idea of the priceless gift they gave me that day. I also volunteered to help a mom drive her 7th grade son to and from the same high school my son went to because she had a family emergency. It brought back so many happy memories of those drives with my son. And, her son was so kind, pleasant, enjoyable, and appreciative! While that mom and son thought I was helping them, they helped me in a way that they will never know.

  32. Pam R

    The Jewish holidays Rosh Hashanah was a horror for me although we went to Temple for dinner my children and grandkids were not. Such a wonderful time turned into a sad time for me.

    Reply
    1. Jennifer

      I am so sorry Pam I feel ur pain in ur writing. Sending you so much love thank u for sharing. I can relate to ur pain in my own circumstances and we are not alone. God bless you.

      Jenn

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *