Going batty

estrangementWhat if I told you this was Batman? You wouldn’t believe it. This little guy is too cute and not nearly muscular enough to be the caped crusader. I was excited to happen upon him in a parking lot in town one day. Resting in the crook of a small tree, he seemed to mug for the camera when I got up close to take his photograph.  

It wasn’t anywhere close to Halloween when I spotted the bat, but I’ve been saving this picture to share this month. I’m no joker but have added a few bat and Batman puns for fun. I hope you’ll hang around to find out how this bat fits the theme of this article.  There are links to other articles included as well.

Estrangement: Parents get a BAT RAP 

Many people don’t know that bats are avid pollinators and important to dispersing the seeds of the fruit they eat. Farmers love them because they also eat pest insects that can harm their crops. There are many species of bats, and although many are beneficial, they get a bad rap. They can carry rabies, as most people have heard, but so do other mammals, and only through the saliva of a rabid specimen. Did you know that bat guano is one of the world’s richest fertilizers? Bat guano can spread histoplasmosis, but most people aren’t in contact with it.  

In our society where rigid stereotypes shape the societal ideas about what sort of parents could possibly be rejected by their adult children, even the kindest, most caring parents who are abandoned can get a bat rap. That’s why it’s important to work at healing, and eventually, move past the worry over what others might think. You can reclaim your identity, or even reinvent yourself. Like the little bat in the photo, you can come out of the shadows, bat your eyes, and let your light shine.  

NOT QUITE READY? 

One mother of an estranged adult child recently related that she puts on a smile all week at work. Then when Friday evening comes, she closes the door and “cocoons” all weekend. One father called his weekends cave time. If this is how you feel since your son’s “no contact” rule or your daughter’s blame-fest, you’re certainly not alone.  

Our fast-paced society doesn’t often make room for the time and space to grieve or even allow a person the right to feel sad. We’re expected to just robot along, emotionless in our various roles. Feeling down can be an inconvenience, and emotional displays can make people uncomfortable. At the same time, you have very real things to grieve.  

This mother is wise not to let her sadness interfere with her professional persona. The decision to allow yourself some alone time isn’t necessarily a negative thing though. Cocooning can be positively beneficial. Staying perpetually stuck in distress isn’t good for anybody, but neither is masking the hurt or burying your feelings. 

Cocooning through time

In the past, the value of solitude held more prominence. Today, the immediacy of communications seems to have detracted from meaningful connections. News was once longingly anticipated. People pored over another’s written words and pondered their own useful reply. Twitter and texting have made shorthand of the pleasantries, and have shaped our interactions even in person. 

Also, traditional mourning periods were once expected. The duration allowed for the processing of emotions and adapting to a new role. Traditional dress helped others to understand and offer patience.  

estrangementMany tribal cultures incorporated alone time for the coming of age. During isolation, men learned how to fend for themselves. With only their own ingenuity to rely upon for survival, they then recognized the value of community and interdependence—and fostered that attitude upon return. 

In some cultures, women spent their menstrual time in isolation or with other women. Can you imagine the deep reflection, the emotional processing, and the peaceful rest they enjoyed?  

MAKE YOUR SOLITUDE PRODUCTIVE 

On the surface, restorative periods can seem inactive, but just as the dormancy of winter is alive with action beneath the cool exterior, your cocoon time can be productive. It can be a time of reflecting, letting go,and growing. 

The lore of butterflies infuses the word “cocoon” with promise. Maybe a little rest will help you process your sorrow, bud new growth, and emerge with eye-catching wings. 

If you’re like this mother who cocoons on her weekends, what can you do to remain productive rather than hang around in the dark (or in a Dark Knight gown!). Can you purposefully reflect? Reclaim your identity? Eat well? Start a new hobby? Work on some stretching … physically and emotionally? Turn to the listed strategies in Done With The Crying. Do the exercises if you haven’t.

READY TO FLY 

While an adult child’s rejection can ground a parent in a woeful rut, with compassionate self-care, you can emerge revitalized from your cocoon and flutter into the shiny new normal of a life you design. 

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9 thoughts on “Going batty

  1. Belinda

    Hello everyone
    I’m a parent of three children but as of today I can only claim one grown son. My daughters have abandoned me like my grandkids off and on. One daughter has been mentally and physically abusive since she was 17 , she’s now 33. My eldest daughter has recently just as a blink of an eye become abusive in the same way and it was very shocking for me. I have 5 grandkids and only one that I had the blessing of basically raising . My eldest daughter will not let us see her now for 5 months. We miss the granddaughter so much and we are fighting back through court system and hopefully will get visitation. I also learned after my black eye assult from my eldest daughter that she is the aggressor in All her relationships. She has badly beaten a husband and boyfriends , that was a huge shock for me. Neither daughters are good parents to my grandkids. I am very thankful for the son that helps us and is a protector for us. The way I have been treated by my daughters is very hard to understand and get on with my life but a relief at the same time. I have been able to get over the latest horror and I have learned to not be alone with either at any time. I will be praying for us along with other parents to help cope with this epidemic.

    Reply
  2. Anne

    I decided from the outset to let my friends know about the estrangement. I was overwhelmed with support. It really helped. A recent family illness has brought my son back and we have tentatively talked on the phone. He told me he loved me. I am hoping he will continue contact but even if he doesn’t, I feel much better.

    Reply
  3. Linda

    I, as well have let my friends & family know of my 3.5 yr estrangement with my daughter. I do not feel embarrassed by that fact. My friends and family have been of great support to me.They know I have been a good mother to all my children. My other 2 children live very near by and we are extremely close and love each other very much. I am very grateful to them and they cannot understand why their sister is being the way she is, and has limited or cut off a relationship with her as well. We are all hoping that one day she will realize that we love and miss her very much, but with her abusive attitude, she should not be in our lives. I feel sad for all parents who have to go through this situation, but I am now after this length of time, thinking there is mental health issues and that is for her to get help with, and I have to look after myself and focus on my own self healing.

    Reply
  4. Lorraine

    Hello Everyone,
    I only have 1 Son who I have been estranged
    for 5 years. He never treated me like a normal
    mother, he seemed to change when he met
    his partner, I have a grandson who is now
    9 the last time I saw him he was 2. I sent
    him a message a couple of weeks ago, he
    said he didn’t have the time for notes, I sent
    a text back apologizing for taking up 2 minutes
    of his time after 5 years without any contact
    at all.

    Reply

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