How to cope when your adult child cuts you out of their life

coping when adult child is estrangedHow to cope when your adult child cuts you out of their life

by Sheri McGregor

Parents of estranged adult children often email me asking, “How can I cope?” When your adult child cuts you out of his life, the pain can feel unbearable. I know from my own experience, and from the 2000 parents of estranged adults who have contacted me in the last ten months, that it’s normal to feel anger, guilt, sadness, shame, and a host of other emotions we’re not familiar with and don’t know how to handle.

While each situation is unique, and there is no one-size-fits-all cure, parents of estranged adult children can get through this, find acceptance, and even peace. As a mom who has been through this, I’ll offer some thoughts from my own experience, and from what other parents of estranged adults who have gotten past this and moved on to enjoy their lives have shared. I hope you find something here helpful.

Most fathers and mothers of estranged adults try try to repair things. They reach out by writing letters to estranged adult children. They also call, email and send texts in an attempt to find out what’s wrong and try to make things right. But what do you do beyond that, when no satisfactory reconcilation occurs? That’s the focus here. I’ve outlined some brief points for coping with an adult child’s estrangement, getting on with your life, and finding a way to live happily and successfully.

First, as is true in other areas of life, you cannot control another adults’ behavior. You can, though, make sound decisions about your own. Accept and commit to that, in order to get past the pain.

Then, take a look at these ideas, and adopt what you can. You may find that some are easier than others, or that some don’t fit at all. Or, you may come back to these later and have a new perspective. Do what you can. Discard what doesn’t feel right. Take control. You can get through this.

Ideas for coping when your adult child cuts you out of their life.

  • Allow yourself to grieve – – this is a shocking loss.
  • Don’t try to pretend all is well, but along with (or after) crying, being angry, etc., begin to take action toward making yourself (your feelings) and your life (how you spend your time) better.
  • Think of other hard things you’ve gotten through, and tell yourself you CAN and WILL get through this too.coping when an adult child is estranged
  • Accept that your future is different than you expected … and accept the uncertainty that goes with an adult child’s estrangement. Then allow yourself to believe you can have a good future, even though your path has taken a twist.
  • Get involved in new things, old things that make you happy … activities you can enjoy. See Lila’s story.
  • Catch yourself in the act of feeling bad about what you can’t change, and stop the negative thoughts. Shift your perspective.
  • If you can’t figure out what happened, make a decision to give up asking why. Or settle on an answer for the moment (i.e., he’s following his wife to save his marriage, there’s some other problem you don’t know about, there’s mental illness of some sort, an addiction, etc and so on … whatever fits). Let it go. Some things just can’t be understood.
  • Focus on the good relationships, and the good parts of your life — and multiply them.
  • Don’t worry about the judgment of other people, and forgive them for it. But also protect yourself from people who are hurtful to you.
  • Find activities that fulfill your need to give and receive (love, help, generosity, kindness, etc).

Life can be difficult when expectations are shattered, and people we love and have devoted ourselves to so deeply hurt us. It’s also difficult to move on after a devastating loss, but it is possible to reclaim happiness. Reach out and you will find support among other parents of estranged adult children.

Below, I’ve listed some related articles that parents seeking ways to cope after an adult child’s estrangement have said were helpful. You can also navigate to all of my posts by opening the menus in the site’s righthand sidebar marked “Answers to Common Questions,” and “What Parents Can Do.”

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Five Ways to Move On After an Adult Child’s Rejection

Dealing with Undertainty

Why do I feel guilt?

Why forgive?

New Year’s Resolution: Shake it free

 

 

9 thoughts on “How to cope when your adult child cuts you out of their life

  1. AvatarAnn

    My Grandson’s Birthday is this Wed, he will be 7, I haven’t seen him since he was 2. I was out to a restaurant with them and looked across the table to his Mom, and I said “I don’t get to see my Grandson often enough”. My Grandson was 2 he had been to my home once, my daughter in laws relatives live in the same town, and they would go there, but never to my home, even for the Holidays, my Daughter in law never came for the Holidays….My daughter in law said, “are you attaching me”. I said no, but I guess I better be going, my son walked me outta the place and said “Mom don’t worry about it”. I haven’t seen or heard from them for the past 5 years….I have cried, I have gone to counselling, I have emailed, I have written letters, I have texted, I have called, and NOTHING. I send something to my Grandson at least 8 times a year and nothing. They have taken the greatest joy of my life away from me, I sit here crying right now, I just wrote my son an email again this morning. I’m asking for help here if anyway can think of something that I haven’t already done. Thank you for reading my note, and for any future ideas..

    Reply
  2. AvatarBeverly

    I too, am finding it hard to move forward. The emptiness is there. I stay busy but when I lay down at night and say my prayers. I ask God how long? My daughter has not spoken or tried to get in touch with me since 2017. It hurts. I pray for each name I read . I know we will survive but at what cost.

    Reply
    1. AvatarEllen

      Hi Beverly, I am asking you to pray for me, I have been going through the same thing for 2 years and my grandson we took care of for 3 years we haven’t seen In those 2 years….I am learning to trust and relinquish it to God , but it still is such a grief…I have tried to reach out to my daughter but with to no avail…I will keep you in my prayers as Well Beverly…I know how hard this is and how hurtful

  3. AvatarMarilyn

    One son passed away then other one says I have nothing more to say to you .More than ten years. Glimpses on other’s social media-not accepted on his- his wedding and birth of children and his in law’s visit with them in a foreign country
    My old age entering in and his special needs brother are here to take care of in our poverty and uncertainty.
    I’ve found certainty ,though, in Spirit’s guidance but once in awhile, like now, I feel sorry for myself. It won’t last or linger like it used to. It will end when I resume my Course in Miracles studies and let it lead me to smile and help others. You too can find hope. God bless.

    Reply
  4. AvatarSusan

    Hi linda I am so sorry another mother is feeling the anguish and pain of having a child who is estranged from them. My son and family have been estranged for 4 years when my x husband left.
    The only people who truly understand are those that know the pain. The inner yearning and lonliness are so raw, living with the fear that could another one of your children do the same. You put on a mask that few ever see….you are definitely not alone ….hope is always a part of me…warmest wishes susan

    Reply
  5. AvatarRia

    My daughter does not agree with my disicion to help a less privileged young woman . She now totally ignores me and cut me out of her life. The young woman decided that she does not want to become between mother and daughter and left. I feel so guilty because I love my daughter but how can we live happily ever after when I know someone else is suffering. My daughter still doesn’t speak to me even when I chose . How do I live with a bad relationship with my daughter ánd the guilt of not helping a person in desperate need

    Reply
    1. AvatarAngela W.

      Your daughter sounds selfish. So, thats on her, not on you. It’s not your job to help everyone in need for ever. You can help those in need who need the help. Join a church or a charity. You will make friends, and feel useful and liked. This will minimize the focus on what you feel you lost.

    2. AvatarJean C.

      I recently suffered the same fate. My nephew started to date a friend of my daughter. She did not approve of the relationship. She blames me and said I should have stop it. My nephew is 48 years old and the woman is 50 years old. I had nothing to do with this. How can you control grown people. My daughter call me and scream at me that is all my fault. Now she refuses to speak to me. I tried to contact her and sent her a nice letter asking her what this is all about. But she refuses to answer. Before this happen ever thing was find between my daughter and myself. My daughter is a very controlling person. My nephew has since stop seeing the woman, he realize she was not the woman for him. Also he is very upset about all the trouble it cause me. I am almost eighty years old and I cannot believe my daughter is acting like this. My nephew and I are very close, I think she resents our relationship. She does not like her cousin. My daughter has never acted like this before.

  6. AvatarLinda H.

    After reading about estranged children in the article, I already have been lifted up from the life without my daughter after my husband’s death five years ago. Feeling alone really hurts, and not knowing why.
    Thank God I have found other’s that I’m not alone. Sincerely, Linda H.

    Reply

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