December 5, 2018 at 2:10 am #64507
I woke up early this morning, having taken a tumble over a week ago onto cement, my body when upright is good, when I lie down, it hurts…so easier to get up and start the day even though it’s still black outside. I remembered then so many mornings in my relationship with my estranged daughter and former step-daughter when I awoke with a black cloud hanging overhead and a feeling of dread, of myself, of my relationship with those two girls, of my relationship with myself. I had had a fortunate childhood, not without parental stress but on the whole, I was a very much wanted (adopted) and loved child. I grew up with confidence in myself, though shy and not adventurous, nevertheless, I never questioned my own self-worth; my parents quietly instilled this in me through their love and support of me. And then, my relationship with the two girls I raised changed when they grew into their teenaged years. Like others here, I have cards from three of the four children I raised, “mom, I love you”, “you’re the best Mom ever”, I felt loved by three of the four children I raised and then one day, I became the focus of the girls enmity. One day I was the icing on their cake, the next day, so to speak, the doormat upon which they wiped their feet. It left me shaken, not understanding all of a sudden, what happened. I was judged, I was criticized, I was treated with disdain and disrespect. I was a person of no value. And I gradually took this onto myself. My confidence in relation to the two girls waned, I became self-judging in all that I said and did in relation to them. I questioned my own self-worth time and time again. This was so unlike me that it depressed me. On the surface, life carried on, I carried on. But underneath this exterior lay a very sad and defeated mother and person in myself. It was not like the me, I’d grown up with, the person I’d quietly been before I became the object of disdain. And why had I allowed it. How could I be this way because of two daughters who had been such a positive part of my life and then, were not. Was this a reflection of their own selves? How they felt about themselves projected onto me? It was a thought this morning as I got up and thought back to the dark days and years I’ve had with a gradual and then solid estrangement. How it had affected my self-confidence, my liking and acceptance of myself and how estrangement caused such an erosion in my self-esteem, something that I kept to myself. It is a relief to wake up in the morning without this black cloud hovering over me, but the loss, is still there, that emptiness, grief, I guess you would call it. It is a gentle sadness that comes with the renewal of my self-respect and knowing that no one human being has a right to put another down, to abuse them continuously just because they can, because they are a parent to an emotionally disruptive grown child of their own. There is no reason on this earth for acceptance of such behaviour but with the non-acceptance, comes loss. The payback for not being the doormat upon which these grown children will wipe their feet on for the rest of their lives. I will not have the years left to me to restore a relationship with either girl, nor would I want to, given what was. Trust is gone. It is a sadness they are not experiencing, but as a parent, I am.
I’ve wondered how others have felt going through this process of estrangement and then, out of the other side. To relief, to the restoring of who you were before this all began.
December 5, 2018 at 5:46 am #64527
what a well written message, I enjoy reading all your posts.
I feel I am “out the other side” and am enjoying my life, and loving it. It can be done, it’s taken many years,
for those of you in the earlier stages of this estrangement there is hope, just keep putting 1 step in front of the other and keep going.
Please put yourself first, and take care of you.
they made their choices, let them live with them and you live for you.
aussiemom, may you have pain free days soon
birthdays and holidays are always harder days to deal with so give yourself permission to think of happy memories and move on again.
December 5, 2018 at 5:47 am #64529
Dear AussieMom, I am so sad for the black cloud we are all under. We say we accept, but truly it is a facade that keeps our sanity. The biggest obstacle for me is that I can’t forget the ugly words, the hate filled emails, disrespect, and intentional hurt and seemingly having joy at my distress. I want no relationship with ED. I wish that particular evening I would have had a headache. There is said it!! I wish she would never have been born! Do I feel remorse for saying that? No, actually I feel honest with myself, because no matter what I do or say I am dismissed as being an annoying human being. Not a Mother whom you want to rekindle love and respect. A person,ED, who exists in her own selfish world. We can’t seem to accept, and go on. I don’t relive old memories any more. My focus is on GC who will experience her wrath someday. Innocent little victims of her whims. She says she is a better Mother than I was. Time will tell, and then it will be too late. My biggest question to all of you is, how do you get past the words? I can’t stop hearing them over and over in my head. I can’t and won’t go over it again. Mjmom
December 5, 2018 at 5:50 am #64551
Aussiemom, that was eloquent. Your post was a brilliant summary of the transition I have felt over the years. I was consumed with self-doubt and terrible feelings of failure. Over time, I am grasping that both of my EC have been absurdly critical, manipulative and just plain disrespectful.
I feel like I am working past stages of grief. At first I was in shock and tried to “fix it.” But honestly that just intensified their manipulation. I was not sure I would survive the feelings of agony, pain and betrayal. My husband helped me by being a utter and complete realist. I got professional help. Joined a gym. In time my grief turned to a rage. That was a nasty time – I was just hurting and saw the world as unfair and crummy – oh yes I was a star in my pity party. I am now simply disgusted. I figure I will slowly evolve into a disgusted acceptance.
For a time, I tired to rationalize even excuse the actions and behavior of my ES, ED and DIL – but that is just a joke. What they have done and not done is not acceptable. As my husband says – they are adults, let them live their lives – you need to live yours. Let it go.
I feel I have no choice but to accept that this has happened. EC make their choices. I have decided that they are not suffering since they cut me out of their lives – they appear to be doing just fine.
So I suppose it is my time to do the same.
Something you said really hit me – “the trust is gone”. Oh how true. I am struck by how low I got in terms of my self-esteem, self-confidence and self-worth. I too was not raised that way – my parents instilled in me self- reliance. I had a long successful career and in retirement run my own business. I care for my mother with no help from any relatives. But estrangement crushed and then changed me. You are right, nobody has any right to treat another like a doormat. I am moving toward a dignified accepting sadness but not regret. I too refuse to be a doormat. And EC who can’t behave with respect well – don’t let the door next to that doormat hit you on the butt on the way out. And, yes the trust is gone.
It took me time but I am doing better. Some days are better than others. Sometimes something will trigger a bittersweet memory. But, I pull myself out of my pity party puddle and tell myself to knock it off and do something fun. Life is both long and short.
I really appreciated your post. Us former doormats need to stick together.
December 5, 2018 at 3:07 pm #64578
Aussiemom, whenever I am experiencing pain or prolonged illness, I feel depressed. I think pain and being debilitated and no sleep, just brings out “the blues.” Estrangement has felt like I was not good enough and was not the chosen parent. The parental alienation is the gift that still gives to me. My ex-husband’s side of the family have cut me off 100% and they do not allow my children to include me in any family event they will be at. This is long after our divorce. They were in my town a few weeks ago and I was not allowed, not invited, to any of their get togethers. This is when my meaner ED asked me to come to their hotel to see her baby. So I was the fill in for the meaner ED who could not attend the event because of the baby. I must admit, there is a little tickle of feeling less than, or not being wanted or loved, deep within my soul.
What I do, what I know I must do, is counter these negative thoughts. I call it the black and white thinking or the shoulds, coulds, musts that our thinking ruins our own happiness over. Just because I was not invited to this recent ex-husband family get together does not mean squat about me. It doesn’t mean anything about me. And frankly, I would have had anxiety going and having to be nice to the people who were not nice to me. And I have to choose happiness every morning when I wake up or its too easy to go to the sad side.
To me, its a matter of talking to myself and being rational in my thinking. Its not rational for me to blame ME for these people ostracizing me or telling my son he could not invite me. This is about THEM and whatever is inside of them that chose to cut me out.
I also just finished an internship that was absolutely terrible. I had a supervisor who could not say anything positive or nice to me or other people. Her excuse was she did not believe in praise. There was so much more “wrong” and I have had to complain several times about things to the school. I was demoralized and demeaned and felt like I was “nothing” there even though I was competent at the tasks of the job. My husband kept reminding me “its not about ME” and that this supervisor’s behavior was about her own unhappiness and her wanting to demean someone to feel better about herself. It was so traumatic and it brought back many of my self doubts that stem from the estrangement. Of not being good enough, not being worthy, being criticized unmercifully and told I deserved it. I am done now and still traumatized deep down. I am writing this because I believe its normal to be traumatized by someone’s unrelenting criticism and desire to demean you and cause pain. As strong as I am inside, as much counseling as I have had, as much CBT to change my thought patterns, this gal still “got to me.” Sometimes we blame ourselves for feeling whatever when someone abuses us like this. This is how torture and mind control work to make people into robots.
December 5, 2018 at 3:46 pm #64565
I had such a strong image of you Aussie mom from your initial description . And I hope the hurting from the fall has eased. Dark mornings esp if our health is on a lower rung are a time I find when one feels all that vulnerability most. Of getting older and without the relationship and support we naturally imagined we would have with our children, because its how it was for us with our aging or sick parents.
I too was struck by the line about trust. I think its the saddest thing in some ways. I know that if my kids reconnect (it looks like they may at some point, but in some ways it doesn’t matter any more either way sadly) trust is the most permanently damaged thing for me. It is staggering how quickly that can crumble.
I can’t remember if you have ever said your daughters had BPD? I know there were issues and that you rather bravely took on children not your own and loved them…but they came with their own ancestral karma too. Its just I recognise this “Hero to Zero ” thing, so common in BPD…The idealisation and then full on devalue and discard. I have experienced this with my daughter for sure.
It is devastating. I know you have rebuilt from a place of self respect. I have been forced into deep self love, deep self protection , deep self care during my estrangement. Their opinion and approval or not of me is not important like it was at the beginning.
I want to say to you, please remember how much you gave them…how many life skills they have and take out into the world with them, which I absolutely know they wouldn’t have had without your care and love. That is a big gift. You put a lot in. This has come back. That is no judgement on you or their parenting, how it turned out.
When I was raising mine, the emphasis in society was the nurture not nature. That, pretty much, parents are responsible for how their kids turn out. Its been part of the self blame I put myself through for years re ED. Now, science seems to swing it increasingly the other way! I recently heard a geneticist on the radio state that , basically, parents have very little impact on how their kids turn out!!! I wish I’d known this before.
December 5, 2018 at 3:47 pm #64566
Lately I have been struggling with trying to identify in words just what is happening to me.
Your words say it so well… “On the surface, life carried on, I carried on. But underneath this exterior lay a very sad and defeated mother and person in myself. ”
Just coming up on the first year of this day/nightmare. Even with the renewed communication, there is much lacking. And I do not have the desire or trust to move reconciling forward. The pain grows with each discovery of where ED is still at mentally and physically. And the underlying current still exists in my mind that this is all somehow my fault.
In truth I provided everything to bring her to a place where her life should have flowed without worry. She was set … Now there is nothing… all lost. It depresses me to know how she is living and I wonder if I would be better off not knowing. But I did not like the “not knowing” part either when I was living it.
I am without the comfort of sleep again tonight.
Yet on the surface people see me going through the motions and think all is ok. These feelings I am experiencing are foreign to me. Perhaps it is anxiety. It is unsettling.
On another note, I also met up with the sidewalk the other day. Scraped knees and hands. The worst of it was embarrassment and a rip in my favorite pair of jeans. (Even though that seems to be the style now). Perhaps it was a gentle nudge to be more aware of my physical surroundings and get my thoughts in better order.
December 5, 2018 at 3:49 pm #64581
Yes, please be careful. Being “accident prone” can be a side affect of the distress of estrangement.
HUGS to you as you “rock” those cool jeans!
December 5, 2018 at 11:04 pm #64626
Thanks for the article and the hugs…. and about “Rocking those Jeans”, you made me laugh … so Thanks for that, too!
Please take care as you go through the next round of eye surgery. Like so many others here, I always look forward to and learn from reading your posts.
Peace to all!
December 5, 2018 at 3:51 pm #64567
Aussiemom, you have an amazing way of putting words to all that darkness I felt in the beginning. I am not on the other side yet, but I can finally see the light now. The black cloud has lifted and I can see so much good all around me again but there are still some gray clouds. I still have so much regret.
I am taking a meditation course on regret and am learning that regret is wishing things were different than what they are. I am learning to “note” my thoughts and feelings and then letting them go and get back to whatever I was doing when they came up. I catch myself doing this many times throughout the day. During my 10 minute meditation each day, I feel absolutely no regret at all and that just feels so amazing. I love how that feels. I hope that soon I will be able to feel that all day.
Yesterday I received a message from my meditation coach that really touched me. He said, “There is no greater gift we can give another person than allowing them to be who they are, rather than what we might want them to be.” This is my gift to my ED this Christmas. I wish she would give me that gift, as well but I can give it to myself, even if she doesn’t.
I am sorry about your fall and hope you recover soon. I am also happy for you that you have made it to the other side. You and our friends who have commented here have given us so much encouragement today. Thank you!
December 5, 2018 at 3:52 pm #64568
Aussiemom and others how eloquent is this post how well does it encapsulate the journey of estrangement. I too lost all feelings of self worth and confidence as a mother and was also completely crushed. Initially like many others I continued to allow the judgement the criticism and spent all my time on energy on trying to fix it ! I would have gone to the ends of the earth to have my ED and grandchildren back but all my actions apologising just seemed to intensify the hatred and disrespect together with the cruel harsh words. I have never really been able to get over the hurtful cruel words and terrible lies that have been said about me and I guess it is something I will never be able to understand.
I am slowly now reaching the place of sad quiet acceptance that it is over and as an adult my ED does not want me in her life or in the lives of my grandchildren.
I will never apologise again and allow myself to be so badly disrespected again. I have my memories and although I miss the daughter I once knew I will live the rest of my life in peace.
December 5, 2018 at 3:54 pm #64570
I was always a very confident strong woman. I didn’t question myself much at all. Then when estrangement came into my life I was a different person. I questioned everything.
It is hard to come to terms with losing a child to estrangement because most of us on here don’t understand how you can love someone soooo much and they not love you in return. How after years of sacrifice to have your very blood turn on you and treat you so poorly and disrespectfully. They were raised better.
I had to realize, force myself to realize that it was not me, it was a problem with him. He was projecting. He was feeling depressed. He was unsure of where he was and what he was doing and the choices he was making. But because he refuses to take responsibility for his own life, his own actions it had to be my fault.
To this day I hear the words he and DIL said, wrote and spread around my little town like wildfire. To this day that sticks. To this day the trust is not renewed. It is something I pray will change but to tell you the truth I am not sure that trust will ever be there again.
This is what I know, this is my reality. I was a good mother, made mistakes but overall made sure he was taken care of and went above and beyond what my “duties” as a mother was well into his adult years. I know that I showed him love, even if I was a strict mother. I know that I am a good person, opinionated but a good person. I know I didn’t cause the issues. I know that he was being manipulated to some degree but I also know he CHOSE to estrange. I know moving forward with regards to my son and DIL, I will always exercise caution and distance. I know that life is going to be full regardless of his presence in my life. I know that I can live without the hurt and disrespectful behavior I was given from my child, and I know that I will NEVER allow it again.
For me rooting my thoughts in what I know to be true was the game changer. Was what lifted the cloud. There are so many mothers on here that gave me the strength to move, not sit and wallow. So many on here who made it through, their experiences, their pit falls……. I learned from that and decided right then and there that estrangement was not going to define ME but HIM.
Aussimom, you have stated so eloquently what it is like to go through this and what a relief it is when you finally say enough. For me when that happened my son didn’t appreciate me handing him his walking papers. He didn’t think his mother would ever do that. He didn’t realize how strong I had become when it came to him and my ability to cut off my feelings, to move forward. He didn’t like it one bit. However, actions have consequences. Some consequences are permanent.
December 5, 2018 at 3:58 pm #64573
Good Morning All,
Well I don’t feel I’m out the other side quite yet, but recently have felt a bit of guilt over not feeling as sad anymore. Don’t get me wrong, somedays it can hit me like a tidal wave but lately I have actually felt Happy! I have been spending a lot of time recently with my two granddaughters (1 & 3) and when we can’t be together ( they live 6 hours away) their mother does FaceTime almost daily. Their sweet and Beautiful innocence warms my heart in ways I have not felt for so long. I have beat myself up for almost 4 years now, going over every detail in my mind of where I went wrong! It must be me right, because what loving child just abandons their family with zero communication for over 4 years! I still don’t have any answers, and maybe I never will. But finally am feeling like maybe I can be happy again, move on with my life… cause even though the dark cloud can always appear I finally feel hope! Not hope of reconciliation, but hope of finding me again in the midst of this heartbreak! I will forever treasure the memories of the Beautiful boy I raised, his absence walks through the door every single day but I need more! We all deserve more! Love to you all!
December 5, 2018 at 4:10 pm #64574
I am a stubborn woman. That’s what my kids say, that they are frustrated that I am so firm in my beliefs. What I think they mean is that I won’t be manipulated further by them. We are at a crossroads.
I look back over time and realize that my personality was perfect to be the recipient of abusive men, then my own children. Maybe I’m weak. I’d like to think I have moral values that don’t shift with the wind. I am honest and I see that my children are like their father – they lie a lot. I think I was weak because I stubbornly refused to see my children for who they really are, until recently.
I have been accused by many as always looking for the good in people and not seeing the bad. While this is a good Christian attribute, it certainly sets one up for abuse by those who take advantage of this. The kids father did so and apparently taught them to do so too.
So I have gone through many years looking for and remembering the good in my children. It is still there. But I have had difficulty admitting the real truth of the matter. That they have his tendencies to lie, manipulate, and verbally abuse. I have excused it out of maternal love and I think out of guilt for the father he was. I should have chosen a better man. I should have been less enabling.
I dealt with the impending estrangement for 16 years by trying harder. By denying the obvious. By assuming the full guilt upon my own shoulders as the scapegoat I am very good at being. I taught them to abuse me because of this weakness. This love I had for them that was so overwhelmingly powerful and complete that I couldn’t see their faults. I excused them when I should have taken them to task for it.
I am now becoming so much more aware. My remarriage was both my downfall and a blessing. They resented him. He was too good maybe. He also showed me my worth and encouraged me to stand up for myself a bit. Yet I still excused them, trying to be understanding that they had a bad father, a lot of emotional baggage, etc.
It is easier for me to deal with this estrangement now because my eyes are opened to the fact that no matter how much I apologize, dance to their tune, beg, and accept all guilt, there is always more to come. My new husband has died after all, 2 years ago, and still they carry the same resentments. I realize now that no matter what I do I cannot change the path they are on.
My ES told me I was the only one who could change things. So I gave it that one last momentous try, humbling, apologizing yet again. It was met with criticism, claims of my need of therapy to understand them better, condescending tone and words. Again. Insults and all guilt on me alone. Yet they say they love me. What is love then? They cling to their lists of disappointments and past events so hard they will never be happy. They aren’t happy with their lives so it must be because of me. I pleaded with them to live in the present, to go forward, not backward. They won’t have it. They live in the past, incredibly enough a past they have twisted and turned into something it wasn’t. And that lie they also hold fast too. I pity them their lack of courage to go onward and be happy.
I don’t like conflict. I need my dignity. I have learned a great deal and hope and believe that I have come to understand myself, life and them much better over the years. So I am handling it this way. I listened and heard them. Then I walked away calmly with my head up, having said for the last time all the things I was ‘guilty’ of and admitting to all my unlimited ‘faults’. They, of course, have no faults.
Because I now know that no matter what the past, I don’t deserve this. I was a very good mother to them in so many ways. I can remember more than they can, being old and there from their birth. They are a product of their generation, genetics, poor father figure, mental illness, enabling spouses with equal disorders. I am outnumbered by the gang mentality who choses to blame me.
I have cried so much over the years, I feel I have cried it out now. I used to hope for reconciliation and would do anything to have this fixed. But my ES was wrong. I can’t fix this. THEY are the only ones who can. So I will send gifts to my grandchildren whom I will never see, but it isn’t their fault. I will leave my children alone.
And I will leave the past in the past and go forward. I pray a lot. I write out my thoughts so they make more sense, I confide in those I trust when necessary to ease my burdened soul of the guilt which I still feel. But I won’t let them destroy the rest of my life. They’ve taken so many years already. Life is short and I don’t think I’m meant to wallow in this forever. I will go on, knowing it’s time to take my life in a new direction.
I am stronger than I’ve ever been. Pain and hurt do that to a person, if they allow it. I could crumple up into a ball of misery and never leave the house again, but I was a person before I had kids and I will go forward to be a person without them in the future. My existence is not dependent upon them.
I reassure myself each day that I am made with love by love of God. I have a purpose in being here and it surely isn’t to be a punching bag for those would need someone to abuse.
I think of them each day but try not to dwell on the bad. I lock them away in my heart, with a little sliver of hope that they will come back to me. But I’m no longer expecting it. I certainly don’t want to reconcile to go back to the abuse. If they want me, there will be respect from them to me this time. So they will need time to grow up I think. Meanwhile, I have a lot of living to do.
December 8, 2018 at 2:40 am #64721
“Because I now know that no matter what the past, I don’t deserve this. I was a very good mother to them in so many ways. I can remember more than they can, being old and there from their birth. They are a product of their generation, genetics, poor father figure, mental illness, enabling spouses with equal disorders. I am outnumbered by the gang mentality who choses to blame me.
I have cried so much over the years, I feel I have cried it out now. I used to hope for reconciliation and would do anything to have this fixed. But my ES was wrong. I can’t fix this. THEY are the only ones who can. So I will send gifts to my grandchildren whom I will never see, but it isn’t their fault. I will leave my children alone.”
Fresh Start, your words, your realizations are mine. I can’t tell you how I saw (see) my experiences reflected in what I quoted, though I could have done so with much more of what you wrote. It’s been a long and ugly journey (for me) of years and years.
Neither of my ESs have said I can ‘fix’ whatever has broken. But, like you, I couldn’t if I wanted to, and after all these many years, with losses on top of losses, I wouldn’t think of trying even if I could (I can’t). I am ‘fortunate’ that they and families each live hundreds of miles away. It was most unfortunate that I remained in the little city where I raised them, where initially every reminder screamed at me. Now I’ve put all that aside; that was then and is over. All has been buried along with their father.
Thank you for sharing what you did. It helped me focus my own awarenesses in ways that matter.
I am sorry for everything you had to experience to do so, and appreciate your wisdom born of such awful pain.
December 5, 2018 at 4:12 pm #64576
Mjmom, I feel the same way you do. I am nowhere near the other side of this, I struggle daily, at times I’m better then the slightest thing triggers me all over again. I try to be strong and rational, intellectually I know the source of my feelings of failure and zero self esteem when they raise their ugly heads (prolonged childhood trauma) but emotionally they are hard to manage and exhausting. I hate self pity, don’t look for it and don’t indulge in it, I am just saying how difficult all this is right now. In answer to your question, I too cannot forget the words said to me and about me, the insults and swears, the betrayals. I forgive ED but can’t forget or get past them, I won’t. I don’t see how that’s even possible, some lines should never be crossed. I started seeing a therapist (for the umpteen time) and things are getting painful, I knew from experience this was going to happen. But I am hoping this will help, I am stuck right now and I need to get better.
Aussiemom, sorry to hear about your fall – hope you’re ok. I love your posts, your grace and wisdom, your sense of humor – I wish you had been my mom…
Hugs to all
December 5, 2018 at 4:16 pm #64596
I know you have your next eye surgery in a couple of days. I hope your fall was not so bad to postpone that? PLEASE be careful with yourself.
December 5, 2018 at 5:48 pm #64601
getting to the other side was a very long road, my son decided at 18 he wasn’t speaking to mom, he turned 60 this year!
daughters are more recent, 5 years ago. I am liking this “me” living life and enjoying my later years, I celebrated 80 this year.
I am packing for a cruise over the holidays, I am fortunate I can do this and I do enjoy it, I am around people. the no cooking and cleaning is a bonus. they have made their choices I have made mine.
I got to the point of giving gifts to needy, in name of grands, I suspected they didn’t get the gifts
anyway. I had proof of cards being return to sender.
it’s not an easy road but you can get across to the outside. thanks aussiemom for that line.
I did not have this website and only recently found it. I do like reading the posts and it feels supportive of how far I have come and pretty much did it alone. now hopefully I can share with you,
put one foot in front of the other and move forward, there is life for you out there.
December 5, 2018 at 10:28 pm #64608
Dear cruiser – your words of wisdom really helped me today. I just turned 60 and you made me sit up and think……what am I waiting for? There is a great life out there to embrace and enjoy.
Enjoy every minute of your cruise!!!!!
Also, Aussiemom – I hope you are feeling better! Falls are nasty – but tearing your fave jeans – no good!!!!!
December 5, 2018 at 10:29 pm #64609
Aussiemom, this is such a poignant topic, and validating to read the views of others. Thank you for starting it.
I had been through estrangement twice before with my son, and twice I begged, apologised, grovelled and blamed myself. He stood tall and would not flinch as I cried and said sorry for being the worst person alive. He told me I had obviously had to learn the hard way, that if I wanted him in my life I had to bow down to his demands. I did. However, his demands increased a hundred-fold as he grew older, and I never realised until recently, how much power he had over me and his sisters.
His father had long gone, and upon reflection I can see that they are almost identical. During my marriage to his father, I did a lot of crying, begging, apologising, and I think that my son began to believe that this is the way to treat women.
My wonderful second husband of 20 years eventually stood up to my son after a barrage of vitriolic emails, but even then I wondered if we had done the right thing. Was my son mentally ill? His father had abandoned him at the age of 13, and now his mother was abandoning him too. His mother!! The one person who should be caring, nurturing and supporting him was abandoning him. This was the first thing I thought of when I woke. Abandoning my mentally ill son. Who in their right mind would do this?
Support initially came from my husband, my daughters, Sheri’s book and this forum, and my therapist. Over time I have renewed relationships with four out of five of my wonderful siblings, which as been a silver lining. They have always suspected my son was an abuser, but never said anything to me. When we finally said that’s enough, they have rallied around. My older sister has been like a lovely warm blanket that has wrapped around me. While my son was in our lives I was always at his defense if my siblings said anything about his rude behaviour. In a strange way the estrangement has been a silver lining.
The grief is like a cobweb. You walk into a big one in the garden, and you wipe the sticky mess off your face, but it’s got into your hair, your ears, & other places. You wipe it off, but you keep finding bits. That’s how it feels to me. There are times when I think it’s all gone, but no. Thoughts that I am not a perfect-enough-mother who could keep her family intact will never go. The sadness when I think about what could have been will never go. They are sticky cobweb threads, but one day I hope to be rid of them all.
Today is going to be a good day. I have finished work for the year, and I am going with a group of friends to sing carols at a respite day care centre for the elderly. I am a soprano, but I am going to challenge myself to learn the alto parts for all the carols.
Thank you everyone, for helping me get through this.
Pax and Aussiemom – please take care with yourselves. You are precious.
December 5, 2018 at 10:30 pm #64613
Cruiser, you sound like the kind of woman I hope to be some day. Just get up pack and cruise at 80. Good for you, given all your loss you can still find the gumption to get up and go and live life to the fullest.
December 6, 2018 at 4:01 am #64631
Proud of you and for you! You went the distance and came out in front. Enjoy and Happy Holidays!
December 6, 2018 at 5:25 pm #64656
Thank you all for contributing to this thread and a subject which may help other parents, mothers and fathers, who come to this forum looking for answers on how to deal with estrangement, with the shock, the pain, the grief, the anger, the bitterness, and then, the inevitable acceptable of something that we never expected to happen in our family’s lives and in our own. I’ve been here long enough on the forum to go through this process myself, with the support of others and it’s been much appreciated in my healing. Time and distance inevitably helps. Estrangement is like walking through a maze where we can’t see above the trees to the forest beyond. While the estrangement with my daughter was not unexpected, the fact that it took so long in developing, prolonged the pain for me and the relief she sought, for herself. Whether it’s the right answer or not for her issues is not for me to judge or say. Whether it could happen at all, is to me, in great part reflective of how society is functioning or not functioning today. If parents are able to accept this, it may allow for a less painful journey through this, themselves.
Tuesday morning, our carpenter/cabinetmaker, came early to change the door handle and lock on our front door. He is a considered friend, as well and we are fortunate to have such people in our lives to help, when help is needed. During the course of the changeover, which was long overdue on the front door, he began telling me how difficult it is to find summer help. Kids, he said, many of them, don’t want to work in the heat and for long days as he must with his business. That led into further discussion when I shared with him what had happened in our family with my daughter. His comment was, it all goes back to the sixties counter cultural revolution amongst young people and Dr. Spock towards a more permissive society. He said, now kids feel entitled to what they feel they feel they deserve. Discipline in schools broke down years ago. Younger by thirty years than me, he said, when the bullies in school got the strap in the principal’s office and you could hear the thump of the strap, and the bully came out crying, you knew to behave. There was a discipline to the generations before that, he said, that held expectations of respect, of obedience, of kids not being pushed through school because they were failing, of not mollycoddling young people as they are today. As parents, as a society we have bought into a more permissive society and acceptance of behaviour from children and grown children that would not have occurred decades ago, before the sixties shift into a permissive society.
I remember reading Dr. Spock when my children were young and because of my upbringing, I really didn’t pay much attention to his ‘theories’. I remember the ‘sixties’, newly married, the permissiveness of sexuality, of behaviour, of challenging the status quo, of the acceptance of drug enhanced behaviour. I believe with it, came more honesty and recognition of feelings but I also saw a lack of respect and acting out that was not to the benefit of either the kids or adults nor society in general because the workforce is badly affected by this as well.
I honestly don’t have any answers other than, after spending ten years in a step-family whose father encouraged a lack of respect towards his former wife and mother of his four children, two of whom I co-parented (his participation was minimal) I knew that I felt indignant towards the way in which I was being treated with disrespect. There can be no relationship without trust and without respect for those within the relationship. Life changes. These kids move on, don’t give a thought to the damage they’ve wrought in their parents and families. They are right, they are entitled, they expect apologies. If there has not been abuse, there is no need for a parent to apologize.
I won’t go on. Thanks Sheri for the support, tomorrow, the next eye will be done. And then the healing…and time away from the computer screen…for a week or so. The tumble has been improved by massage therapy, face up…not face down, due to pressure on the eyes. I’m grateful to have the presence and support of my husband, who has never trotted around town as much as he has lately with me. He says, not the health food store again!…jokingly…well, it’s kept him busy and interested in more than just reading on the couch in our now snowy climate.
December 6, 2018 at 6:12 pm #64675
I’m sure it doesn’t feel this way to those parents who are newly estranged from their child(ren) but the fact that you’ve found this Website and hopefully read Sheri’s book will be such a BLESSSING to you because many of us have suffered for 20 or more years on this horrible roller coaster because we thought we were the only ones going through it! I tried everything that everyone ever suggested over the years to try and fix this–letters, cards, e-mails, texts, gifts, invitations to family gatherings, apologizing over and over again for things these kids verbally hurl at us, therapy, prayer, and the best (worst!) of all–pretend that everything is okay and smile through it all as if it isn’t happening. And that horrible advice was given to me by my church pastor! Nothing worked. It now comes down to this–when you find no solution to a problem, it’s probably not a problem to be solved but rather a truth to be accepted. And that’s why Sheri’s book is so awesome, because it gives you the tools to learn how to do this. So grateful for Sheri and her book and Website!
December 6, 2018 at 6:35 pm #64676
Praying you get through this next surgery quickly.
Many blessings to you!
December 7, 2018 at 6:29 am #64700
Can I say thanks to you all for wishing me well tomorrow…cataracts are really a very short operation and if it goes well, it is not invasive as some surgeries. My problem is that the last time I was on a hospital gurney, I was on my way into ICU in very poor shape…I was reacting and I can react to medical issues. My eye surgeon a month ago with my first eye, was so encouraging through the procedure, so positive, so thoughtful. It helped my confidence greatly. Hopefully tomorrow will go as well.
And one more thing, Mjmom, I may be repeating myself, and to others, whose kids verbally abuse them. When it happens to you, can you hold up your hand and say, ENOUGH. Repeat it, if they keep on, ENOUGH. On the phone you have a right to say, if they continue, “I am will be hanging up if you continue tobe verbally abusive.”. If in person, the hand held up, palm facing outward, if they continue, then you can say “What don’t you understand about ENOUGH” and if they don’t stop, ask them to leave, walk away. You might also if you are allowed to speak, tell the kids that You’d like to have a conversation with them but under the circumstance, their behaviour makes it impossible for you to do so. Don’t raise your voice. You don’t have to stand there taking abuse, you don’t have to stay on the phone listening to abuse. You can hang up. At least give it a try.
Not something I was ever brought up to do, I wasn’t brought up to defend myself because frankly there was no need to. But I’ve watched and learned in recent years.
December 7, 2018 at 6:29 am #64698
Great thought provoking post. I enjoyed reading everyones responses. FreshStart, your post resonated. Thank you for sharing.
December 8, 2018 at 5:32 am #64759
Dear Friend Aussiemom, I will keep you in my prayers. Hoping that all goes well with your eye surgery. Love and Hugs, Rainbow
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