Letting go of estranged adult children

letting go of estranged adult childrenLetting go of estranged adult children

By Sheri McGregor, M.A.

My nine-year-old dog, Cassie (Cassiopeia, for long!), has slowed down some. In her coat of creamy curls just unfurling from a summer shave, she stands at peaceful alert. In the distance, a red fox squirrel scampers up a tree trunk. Her year-younger companion, Lyle, and their six-year-old daughter, Marilyn, chase about, nipping, dodging, and wrestle-rolling. I sit beneath the regal Blue Oak tree, watching. Steam rises from my coffee cup in a wispy echo to the daybreak sunlight just straining over the foothills.

As usual, Lyle tires before Marilyn. With playful nips, puppy bows, and, finally, a proffered stick, she goads him. He bites the stick alongside her for a moment, and then collapses, tongue lolling, in the soft fallen leaves. Marilyn nudges him a few times to no avail. Then she turns and charges her mother. Cassie grows rigid, her legs like roots to hold her ground—and Marilyn bounds off. Wise old Cassie, the leader of her pack, glances my way and, with a wag, joins Lyle lying in the leaves.

Marilyn disappears, an onyx-furred shadow leaping beyond the cypress trees in pursuit of an imagined squirrel. Inspired by the morning quiet and sips of strong coffee, my mind wanders. I think of times when I’ve held my ground (like Cassie). In life, with people, and with adult children, including my estranged one.

Over time and with self- and life-examination, parents of estranged adult children often say they know better than to expend energy on fruitless hope. Our logical minds measure history against hope, facts against fantasy, and come to sensible conclusions that protect us from yet another squirrel chase. That’s part of letting go of estranged adult children. Still, though we know better, that doesn’t mean our hearts don’t ever hurt.

The myth of closure

“. . . the idea of closure is bandied about like some mythical desert oasis or place of bliss. People believe that without closure we can never move on and heal. However, such completion, or closure, is a myth.”

Those words written in Done With The Crying (2016) are as true as ever. I still hear parents talk about the anguish of estrangement even after many years. That’s because you don’t just wake up one day, after a specified time period, to a blank emotional slate with all your sadness wiped away. To expect otherwise sets you up for distress. So, don’t.

Letting out the leash in letting go of estranged adult children

When my kids were young, more responsibility and more freedom came with successful endeavors and growth. We let out the leash, so to speak. We were glad for and supported their increasing independence. We could let them go—and trust they would do well, be fine, and still love and return to us.

When it comes to enduring estrangement, if we’re ever to move forward for ourselves, separate and apart from what they do, don’t do, or decide, then it’s our own growth we must nurture and learn to trust. With each rebuttal, repeated rupture, goading, phase of silence or unrest, we can let out the leash for ourselves. They’re adults. They’re living their lives—and we get to live ours, too.

Does that mean we’re never sad? Probably not. You may wish you could know your grandchildren, worry for your adult child’s safety, or grieve over the realization that you don’t have the family you wanted, imagined, and worked at. Even so, you can foster self-esteem, cherish healthy relationships, and cultivate joy. And you can look at the situation realistically.

The peace of no-contact can come with a price, but it may be better than the cost of chaos, continued eggshell walks, and living in fear of the next rule change, inflated ego rant, or tumultuous tirade pointed at you—the parent who has been patient, giving, and kind, yet is now the enemy, the ATM, or the one to ignore or blame.

Gaining perspective

As parents of estranged adult children, when those weepy days arrive and we miss the lovely son or daughter we once were so certain we knew, it’s okay to feel sad or angry. It may be wise to dwell for a few minutes, express in a safe space that we still grieve the loss. We can embrace the feelings because they’re normal—and then turn to our thinking mind, the place where reason and reality temper strong emotion and spur us toward a sensible action or response. In Beyond Done (2021), I included an exercise to get quickly to that lucid space. Language becomes a door—to wisdom, sound judgment, and a measure of relief.

At a chattering commotion down the hill, Cassie raises her head to look. Marilyn is jumping at a tree trunk, panting, and expending energy on a squirrel that flicks its tail from a branch beyond reach. Nearby, Lyle snores on, nonplussed.

Cassie stands, ears pricked, and eyes narrowed. She barks once, and then glances at me and wags. She collapses into the leaves again, this time with her head resting on my foot. I lean to pat her, the wise leader of her pack. She used to chase squirrels, too.

Related reading

Parents of estranged adult children, use weepy days for your own good

Estrangement: What about hope?

Disappointing relationships with adult children: Help for the roller coaster this autumn

Kneaded: Resilience illustrated for parents of estranged adult children

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99 thoughts on “Letting go of estranged adult children

  1. Paula

    For for 25 years I endured my daughter’s abuse. It all started when her father failed to return her from weekend visitation. He harbored her in his home for 2 months, refusing to let me talk to her. Being that I had full custody, I finally called the authorities and they advised me that he would have to follow the court order and bring her home. It took two days to get him to agree to return her but only with a police escort. He created a spectacle in front of the house video tapping my daughter as she dashed around the yard refusing to come inside. The police were finally able to corner her but their efforts to reason with her were received with screeching and hissing. This went on for 3 hours while I watched from the front window in horror. Finally, she came inside, proceeded to her room and started making a racket. As I moved down the hallway I saw she was installing a chain lock to her bedroom door. When I told her to stop what she was doing, she screamed and hissed like she was possessed, ” Get away from me to crazy f.cking b.tch!!!! As I reeled backwards, I asked myself, who is this person? She was 15. To tell what transpired after that traumatic event would take up way to much memory from this incredibly helpful website, so, let it suffice to say, my daughter was never the same. In fact, she came home with PTSD, bulimia and anxiety. Her extended visit with he her father turned out to be a parental alienation campaign for which I was the target. Despite multiple rounds of therapy, reconciliation and repeated periods of estrangement, I took her abuse. The ridicule, public humiliation, sarcasm, gaslighting… heck, one year for Mother’s Day she gifted me a hatred bouquet, designed to look like a peraadactyl with thorns and poisonous flowers. I accepted it with grace and thanked her. Of course, I know why I endured her abuse all these years. I was afraid to lose her again. Recently, I visited her, with permission, to give her a collection of seeds since she started growing herbs. When I arrived, I could tell she was in one of her moods. I made small talk nervously wondering what would happen next. From the corner of my eye, I spotted a glass of pink grapefruit juice. I knew it was probably spiked with vodka but said nothing. After some silence, (as there always is-that uncomfortably loud silence) she announced, ‘you need to get a cognitive assessment.’ I looked at her in disbelief. While I am approaching 70, I have not heard from anyone in my life , including my other 3 children, that my mental acuity is faltering. in fact, they frequently comment that I’m clever and quick-on-my feet. So, I asked her if she could provide examples when she had noticed gaps in my cognition. She could not provide a single concrete example. When I pressed, all she could offer up was that I had a problem ‘sequencing’. At that point, I felt myself becoming emotional and started to leave. As I approached the front door I heard her running being me. She grabbed me by my left shoulder, shoved me against the wall, ground her knee into my thigh and wrapped her hands around my throat. I stood silent, in shock, unable to move. And then I saw that possessed look, like the night when she had returned from her father’s and I saw him!! She eventually let me go and delegated me to the patio while she called my husband to tell him I was so incoherent that she could not let me drive and he would need to fetch me. When he arrived, she started her intervention, explaining to him that he was a target and she would arrange a cognitive assessment for the following day. My husband looked at her like she had three heads and started backing away. I saw my opportunity to run. Somehow, we both managed to get out of there. So, let me just say, I am WAY BEYOND DONE WITH CRYING. I should have been done years ago. I’m done walking on eggshells!I took photos of my bruises. We changed the locks and filed an order of protection. Her brother and two step-siblings are done with her too, although she alienated them long ago. In the past, I grieved between the periods of estrangement. Now, I am taking care of me. I am back in the gym and we are traveling. I am relieved. I am at peace. What I have finally realized after 25 years of abuse is that she never came home. The sweet, gentle daughter I raised was destroyed by a narcissist who wanted nothing more that to destroy me. I say a prayer for her every day. It’s all I can do.

  2. JoJo

    I started in despair this morning. I again attempted to reach out to my son, and with a click, an email was sent: short, sweet, please let us know you are okay. Are we sure it’s you since you won’t call and leave a VM? I was not a bad parent or an unloving parent, but I am done playing the games, and as he has indicated before, he does not want me or anyone to contact him, only through his wife, and he will decide if he wants to respond. It’s been a year this time; last time, it was three, with no contact for why, who knows, but it appears there was some infraction I did.

    With his short curse response by email. I realized that he only contacted me in the past when he needed financial help, and when I stopped that help, I was somehow this horrible mom. He also stopped making any contact with his family and friends over all this time.

    Today, I took a step and sent another email to my son and said, I will always love and pray for you, but the only way I can give myself respect and move forward from this grief is to honor your wishes and no longer make contact. It felt strange but exhilarating. I said no more to the power and control he has had over me. I emailed him my goodbye, and I wished him well. Then, I blocked his contacts from my phone and emails.
    Healing begins today. I am sure I will grieve, but I will cope and move forward. My grief and hope will be with the purpose and giving to those who value and cherish me, my friends, children, and even some of my son’s old friends who stay in contact with me, and I think of them as my own. I grieve for the memories and hope I have had for the reestablishment of a relationship. However, I still know I can grieve for once was and could have been. My life goes on, and it felt good to acknowledge my pain and reality that I have no control over, except for what I can do for myself to move forward. I had one child who died as a child, and she is never forgotten, but I coped and moved on. Today, my adult child died today; though he is still breathing among us, he will no longer have the power and control he has had over my feelings and emotions.

    A smile is on my face. I feel content now, knowing that this feeling/weight if you can call it, is not on me. This Thanksgiving is a day to rejoice, give thanks for all I have, and pay it forward to others in need.

  3. Hermia

    Just found this website as I know I need some support (that the coach I meet with monthly can’t quite help with). I have so much empathy for the sharing I’ve read. But it’s not any warm consolation to know other caring and loving moms are estranged from their adult children as am I. I’ve met many in person over the last few years too. Lots of hugs. This is a difficult time as much of the distance between us escalated when my mom passed (unexpectedly, too early imo) on Thanksgiving 5 years ago. It was my first Thanksgiving spent alone. And I’ll be alone again this season. My son turns 29 next week and I don’t think I’ll be acknowledging it. Blessings to all.

  4. Valeri C.

    Hello. I have been part of Sherry’s website for many years. Every once in a while I will come out and read the stories. My daughter became estranged from me and my family over 15 years ago. And NO, the pain never goes away. But my life has continued and is thriving. I have those “weepy” days and here is how I handle it. I set a timer (whatever I feel I need from 10 mins to 1 hour). I let my self cry and feel sad and think about this horrible situation. When the timer is up, I dry my eyes and go back about my day. I shut those feelings back up and remember all of the great things I have in my life. My friends tell me “it is her loss” but I know that truly it is my loss also. It took me a decade and professional counseling to be able to tell people about this. It was my “shame” for a long time. No longer is that mine. Most people don’t know what to say so they say nothing or something not helpful. With time this does not go away, but we can learn how to handle it in a healthy way. We are a tribe who are here to listen to each other and prop each other up. So, let yourself be sad. But only for a moment.

  5. Effie

    I think I deleted my post by accident so I am posting again. Thanks, Sheri for all you do. I have been hanging around for 8 years, unfortunately…. the pain goes on. I am amazed at all of us… Wow, it’s an academic for sure. One thing I heard ” It takes time to get over those triggers” the texts or whatever pops in once in a while. Anyway, I really would love some thoughts here on this dilemma.
    My adult son has held a grudge over something that is unclear. So, refuses to come to our home to visit. I am allowed to see my grandchildren only if I somewhat beg and usually has to be scheduled months ahead of time and only on Sunday for about a 3-hour time slot. Last time it went 2 years. ( I have to skip church) They live over 1.5 hours away and next to the other grandparents, who have a lot more to offer them. Even the gifts I send are not acknowledged. This has gone on for years. I want to walk away, the hurt is too deep. I try to stay humble. What do I do about my grandsons? Thank you so much…

    1. Mimi

      Hi Effie,
      Here are my thoughts on the dilemma: Let go. Just let them walk out of your life. Do it. And, by force, stop being sad. Have dignity and pride. Stop begging. Hold your head high.

      I don’t like my ED at all, she is a mean and foul person. After more than 15 years of horrible nasty behavior from ED, hubby and I are not going to allow it anymore, I am removing her from my mind. It is happening by HER CHOICE. My ED has decided this. Not me. The place to reach is the place of TRULY not feeling anything anymore. When you reach that place, it stops hurting. I see ED as a person I used to know. Her child is not my grand child, by HER choice. And, what do I have now? Peace. We have removed ED from our Will.

      I tell my other children, “Sometimes things just don’t work out, even though you wanted them to. “

      Hubby and I are planning a vacation next spring. We are taking our two young adult sons who love us. They call us to ask how we are and what we are doing. They come to see us. They LIKE us. They joke around with us. We play cards and go out for a beer. They ask us for our advice.

      So, if I am over the pain of my ED, why do I keep visiting this site? I don’t know. Something must still be bother me.

      1. Effie

        Thank you, Mimi… I know many of my faults, but they do not compare to the resentment that is being held. I am walking, prayerfully… But yes walking. Enjoy your vacation!


    2. Betty

      I understand the pain in estrangement AND in having a dysfunctional relationship. I used to think that parents could always fix things with their kids, no matter what. But, I’ve learned that sometimes a parent can be loving, gracious, helpful and still be disrespected by one of their kids. I finally had to walk away because it was more hurtful being disrespected and used than it was to be estranged. I tried my best to be the best parent and grand parent. I finally had to walk when I realized it wasn’t enough and was never going to be. The flow can only go one direction for so long before it becomes exhausting and toxic.

  6. Anne M

    The first time I went for counseling regarding my es,dil and grandchildren, the counselor asked me if I ever had a beagle. I actually did. He was a runner. She said the more you chase a beagle,the more they run. Got it. Loud and clear.
    Currently, my family is back in my life. I am so thrilled seeing my beautiful granddaughters via zoom. The song I believe God inspired me to hang on to is Hold On Loosely by 38 Special. As long as they are extending the olive branch, I am here. But, I am holding on loosely, if I cling too tightly to them, I’m gonna loose control. Love and peace to all.

  7. Nancy

    My daughter was married in 2015, her father had passed away several years before that. I was a flight attendant for a major airline and saved money to buy her anything she wanted , for her bridal shower, for her wedding day and I did with love and pride and happiness that I could do this for her. Everything was beautiful for the wedding then one day few days after the wedding somebody’s asked me were you at your daughter’s wedding, and I replied of course I was and she said to me there wasn’t one picture of you on Facebook everybody else was on Facebook with all the pictures from the wedding, I was so hurt , then it came time for the baby shower and I did it all over again whatever she wanted and it was with joy and love. To make a long story short she finally disposed of me and want nothing to do with me, she has family members from her father’s side that she adores and loves. I’m so glad she has somebody that will be good to her and take care of her because frankly I am done. I love my daughter but I can’t accept the cruel treatment she has been giving me for the past few years I pray for the soul every day I pray for her family every day and I hope she’s happy in her life, I’ve learned to go on without her and her children whom don’t even know me. We learn to go on after the hurt and the the sadness stays with us but we learn to put it in a little box in our heart and lock it away because we have to go on and live. I wish all the moms the best and pray each day for our children. God bless you all❤️

    1. Wendy M

      Thank you for sharing your story, your pain and providing us with a beautiful example of self-care. I, too, have experienced what you describe and I just keep praying for my son and his family. As moms, all we really want is for our children to be safe and happy. God bless you!

    2. Sue N

      Your story rings true to me, Nancy. I was always there for my daughter too & my picture was the one missing, as well. I know how much that hurts and I still don’t understand why. After 3 yrs of reaching out, I have finally given up hope. I will always love her. I’m almost 77 yrs & never expected my life would end in this way – but I’ve done my very best to mend that which can’t be mended. Thank you for mentioning that you put the hurt in a little box in your heart and have locked it away. I will do the same. I wish you the very best always…..

  8. Jan K

    Rejected parents on this website have often commented that being a loving parent, providing the best for our child and then being rejected is a modern phenomenon but I wonder if it is. I once read an article some years ago before my only once adorable son decided that I was not “the best mother [he] could wish for”…the article described a survey, women (mothers only) in the mid-1960s were asked if they could start over again would they still choose to have children and a whopping 60% said they wouldn’t. I remember I felt quite shocked at the time and couldn’t figure out how any mother could feel that way but fast forward several years and I now would choose not to have children, I’m thankful I only had one. I could have focussed more on my career but I chose to be a devoted mother. When you think about it those mothers from the 60s didn’t have the internet where we have the benefit of websites like this…we can share each other’s stories and know we are not alone in our grief.

    1. Marie

      Jan K. Your message really has helped me. I carry so much guilt from my only child (daughter) and her estrangement. Had I known what was to come, I would have chosen not to have a child. I firmly believed with two nurturing parents we could raise a wonderful person and of course “family is forever”. After two years of estrangement, she has confirmed that it’s forever. My husband and I have had 18 months of counseling and cannot figure out what we did to cause this. Our family doctor who has seen our entire family for 25+ years says it’s her “disease”. Some of my lifelong friends blame me for not focusing more on my career and friendships and less on our special needs daughter. If I did it all again (without foreknowledge) I would have made the same choices. The grief is a bottomless pit. I feel I should have known better.

  9. Tracey B.

    HI, I am new here and have taken great comfort in reading all of your stories. I have been struggling with enormous amounts of guilt, shame, anger and grief so thank you all for your honesty, it helps. Tracey

  10. Sharon D.

    Thank you all for sharing your pain and your insights on surviving and thriving after estrangement. As a battered, then unexpectedly single parent of infant twins, it took every fiber of my being for the courage and strength to raise them alone. No help from anyone as I struggled physically, financially, mentally and spiritually. Like you, I gave my all – my very best – my life. My son and daughter are now 40 years old and we’ve been estranged for about 14 years now. My daughter became a monster to me after borrowing my car and totalling it on a visit from college. She refused to talk to me or tell me what happened! When I finally got her on the phone, she savaged me verbally out of the clear blue sky. My son used vile language and screamed at me when I stopped being his ATM. For me, the hardest thing has been missing milestones. Like seeing my daughter’s wedding photos on Facebook and wondering if she told folks I was dead – surely people must have asked where the bride’s mom was! I know I have at least four grands who will never meet me. Yes, it hurts like hell sometimes – but I get to live my life without drama and on my own terms. We are all blessed – love to you all!

    1. Kimi

      Luckily my daughter is sterile so she won’t project her poison to any offspring. Funny, she is going to school to be a psychologist. Lord help anyone that sees her

  11. Dawn L.

    Hello to everyone-This situation with my son has been nothing but heartbreaking for me, since my son got together with my future DIL and she immediately moved in with him 3 years ago. I tried everything to be nice to her and inclusive, all she did was speak bad about me to my son on every single thing that me and my husband say or do. Example, she didn’t like the Hermes perfume I bought her for her first birthday in the family and said “it smell like an old lady would wear it” I could tell my son was super happy with the present and thoughtfulness and told me so before she told him that. He has changed since then for the worse. She also didn’t like that I use his childhood nickname for him and said I treat him like a baby sometimes {busted on that one} and doesn’t like me to tell him I miss him. He is my only child and I love him more than words can say. The future DIL did all kinds of trash things to me like saying she” wanted me to go with her and her mother to pick out her wedding dress” over and over. It turns out that she and her mom and grandmothers and friends snuck off and went with out me, then she text me pictures of the dress right after . I didn’t make a big deal out of it or say anything to my son.
    By this time he would have come up with some kind of excuse. Fast forward tom. is the rehearsal dinner
    and the wedding the next day . I’m sure it’s no surprise that I have been left out of the loop on most of the wedding plans. The MOB is running the whole show and even calls it her wedding. No kidding-she told that to my son. They are also Catholic and we are not, so it’s this big church wedding. I just feel sick at this point. I have posted on here before about how future DIL behaves: texting and playing on her phone on holidays, the only time they are ever over here and how she is only happy when she is the full center of attention with me and my husband and son listening while she talks about herself and her job in a loud voice. When she first came over to meet us she didn’t want to leave as she was the center of
    attention and I was happy to be able to make her happy. Would still be, but she and my son just don’t need us {at the moment} or like us or want us around. Actually. they do need us-to attend their wedding and buy more expensive wedding presents. Honestly, I don’t want to go to wedding . I have severe social anxiety problems and my future DIL can’t be bothered when I text or call to let me know answers to questions about wedding plans. She tells my son that I am blowing up her phone when I send 2 texts
    with questions about what me and my husband are to do in this wedding. Honestly, WTF. I’ve reached out to her mother who I have seen only once but she is rather distant. I’m told by other moms on here that they have had similar situations with DILs . I feel like we are just props at this wedding. My son says over and over that HE doesn’t want to be there. MOB changed the venue and date my son and her daughter had set immediately after they were engaged. That is a red flag. Future DIL is only doing the wedding this way because her Catholic family won’t speak to her again if she doesn’t get married in their
    church. The grandmother resents my son because he is not Catholic. Well, in my opinion she and her family certainly don’t behave like the Christians they profess to be. The way they have all behaved tells me all I need to know. Future DIL bows to her family and my son does too. My son and and his future bride are going directly after the wedding and reception to sleep at MOB now MIL’s house yet again. WTF
    They have a beautiful new house to go home to, but both think they are going to need to drink excessively after at the reception because of the jackasses in her family and their usual horrible attitudes. I wonder if MIL is going to drive them to the wedding as well as from. We would have hired them a limo if we would have realized that. Does this crap ever straighten out even to a rational and descent situation?

    1. Diane H.

      Hi Dawn, let go. I realise the dreaded wedding has now been and gone, I hope you survived with some dignity and pride. If it helps, I didn’t. I had to leave my daughter’s wedding during dinner. I was sat at a table with 2 of my sons who were so stoned and drunk they were behaving like idiots with a definite underlying aggression towards me. It was horrible. My ex husband had a full table with his extended family. He gave a speech that didn’t acknowledge my existence at all. I wasn’t missed until 11pm when my daughter, the bride, was looking for me to help put her 2 children to bed. Long story short, that was 4 years ago and I have been isolated from everyone. But slowly, I have risen again and actually thrived. There is indeed some comfort in no contact. It’s called peace.

    2. Mary

      Hi Dawn. I’m so very sorry about this situation with the future DIL. It sounds a lot like a friend of mine, although her son has come around some, behind his wife’s back.
      I want to tell you that it will improve and your son at least may do the same, but please brace yourself for it to get worse. It sounds as though they will both be puppets to this family, but your son most of all.
      I have 4; my oldest told me to get out of her life, that I was dead to her. After I asked for a little time with her once in awhile (I only saw her at holidays, and not always even then). That one threw me into a deep depression and I wanted to die. It lasted a year til she got pregnant .Stupid I know, but still. And she’s sort of in my life again because of the baby. She’s now 8 and we seldom see her because they are too busy for us. They love 5 min away.
      I hope and pray that things improve or at least don’t get worse for you.

  12. Danielle

    Add me to the list of parents thrown away. I did all the same: crying, shame, guilt, disbelief, trying to understand the reason I was deserted. Then one day I woke up to the fact that I am better than that! I am worth better! I gave them a wonderful childhood free of abuse, neglect, and anything they could possibly deem inappropriate. The truth is they were SPOILED and as adults expected the spoiling to continue. When their own choices and actions prompted me to stop giving and giving they hated me. They “moved on” and found “new mothers” in their boyfriends families. My youngest daughter married and I wasn’t invited or even notified. I heard about it through a friend. Knowing her “new mother” helped plan the wedding, shopped for a dress, etc. (all of the things a mother of the bride should do) finally pushed me into letting go forever. I do know she now has two kids (I am a grandma) but I will never know them. Moreso, they will never know me. They will only know me through her words. I am a kind and giving person; deep inside my kids know that. I hope one day they will return asking expecting me to accept them back into my life because I will never do that. They have hurt me too deeply to ever forgive them. I am living a wonderful life with my “new family”. I have gotten rid of anything associated with their childhood and it’s just easier for me to think they are dead. No more searching social media, etc. To me, they are dead. I enjoyed their younger days raising them. I loved the kids they were; I despise the adults they became. So for me, I cherish the early years and then just think of them as deceased.

  13. Loveart

    Sheri’s post is right on. I chased two little squirrels all summer & finally gave up.

    After 4 years of no contact (due to terrible parental alienation by my exDIL, I reached out to my 18 & 20 yr old granddaughters this summer. We had been very close all their lives up to 4 yrs ago. So I met them for lunch twice. It was very unsatisfactory – I felt that I wasn’t & never would be part of their lives in a meaningful way ever again. And then I found out they both believe their Mother’s lies about my son & refuse to listen to his side.

    For 4 years I missed my granddaughters so much. So meeting with my granddaughters was very emotionally draining. But I was finally able to accept that the wonderful years with them up to 4 years ago would & could not be recreated. Like Sheri’s dogs, I am now willing to just relax. It’s like I can now get on with my life. Rather than thinking what should be (wishful thinking on my part), I realize what it is.

    It’s difficult to put emotions into words, but Sheri’s site helps tremdously to deal with it.
    So my 2 little squirrels can scamper around all they want, but I will not chase them & I’ll work at moving forward with my life.

    Take care everyone,

  14. kim B.

    These words reach and touch me. Gives me strength and support. Courage. It’s been 2 years since I heard from my son who turned 39 on 9/18. Before that there were rocky years off and on of no contact. I only knew he was 3,000 miles away across the country. Thank you for the books, emails. Sincerely, Kim

  15. Sharie

    You know what really helped me ease a lot of my heartache? Excepting that I will never interact with my daughter or her kids again. It’s been 10+ years I’ve suffered, torturing myself by scrolling social media, seeing how they’ve changed feeling like I’m standing in the snow outside a big picture window looking in at them live. Whilst I remain stagnant, never seeming to move forward. It’s been about a year I finally decided to stop that behavior. I stopped posting on social media myself, stopped trolling Twitter, Facebook all of it and I can say it’s helping. My only social online thing I belong to is Yelp. I still think of them but instead of 4 or 5 times a day, I can go 3 or 4 days. Hurray!!! I know I’ll never be able to erase them but I live happier knowing my days are for sure going to be brighter. It’s her loss because I am lovable.

    1. rparents Post author

      I’m glad for you Sharie. Seeing things as they are goes a long way to set the stage for sensible living. Be well and hugs to you.

      Sheri McGregor

      1. Sharie R.

        You know I’m curious, is there any forums, blogs etc about how children handle the death of their estranged parent. I’d like to know what my daughter will go through learning of my passing one day. I wonder what the percentages are. You know how many could care less, how many fall apart and so on.

    2. Ang,

      Your life’s journey has started, keep moving forward taking care of you. It took me 27yrs. to except that I am not a part of the “First Cousins Club” in my large family. I’m living life happy and content and I realized that they missed out on having me, the moment I let go inside and detached completely the first cousins started sending invites. It was to late for them, I had spiritual let go. No more tears for me. I choose to be around people who love me. Remember to breathe and keep walking.

    3. Janet P

      Sharie- what you’ve accomplished is really great. I used to comment on my ED’s You Tube channel, and I’ve reached out in other ways as well. It’s been 2 years. But doing either created more pain. So I stopped. Since she only ignored me of course. I just realized because of a dream that I need one goal, and that’s to save myself. It’s been 2 years of depression. Wishing u the best as well in happiness. ❤️

    4. Nancy

      I am five years into the division of my family. Yes, like you the s search has really diminished . My husband has gotten off FB , it’s rarely I now look, and it does help not to stand outside in the snow looking in the big picture window. Your friend Nancy D

  16. Diane M.

    I’ve been letting go of my ED, my son-in-law and three grown grandkids slowly but surely thru the years. It was my daughter’s, son-in-law’s and granddaughter’s birthdays all in Sept. This is the first year ever that I did not send them cards with money enclosed. I have not heard anything from all of them in years. So why should I send cards to those that have nothing to do with me? No more. I’m not even sure of my grandkids addresses. My dilemma now is with my son who is 51 y/o. He has a mental health disability where he cannot work. He’s on SSD. I do all the calling, with him and send him cards every month with a check knowing he could use the money. I wish he would call or email me once in a while. I feel our relationship is all one-sided. I don’t know if I should let go of him. I have not told him how I feel for fear he will stop talking to me. Sometimes he’s very talkative when I call him and sometimes it’s just one word answers. This is a tough one for me because of his disability. But my days are relatively very good mostly. Letting go of my daughter and her family was big for me, but necessary for my peace and happiness. Now I need to decide what to do about my one-sided relationship with my son. I do feel so sorry for him.

    1. Janet P.

      From my pov, I’d encourage you to continue supporting your disabled son. I don’t know, but You maybe all he has. My son in a similar situation comitted suicide. Expecting your son to do any reaching might be way too much pressure for him. If your so is on meds, the meds alone can incapacitate him, making him feel like a zombie. So keep up your great efforts to improve your son’s life. It’s the most important thing u can do for him.

      1. Diane M.

        Janet, thank you so much for your helpful words. My son did attempt suicide many times in the past. What you wrote, I truly needed to hear. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Yes, I may be the only one he has. Wishing you blessing. You are most kind.

        1. Janet P

          Diane M. – ❤️ You’re welcome & Thanks for your response. You’ve done well by detaching from your ED. I’ve not accomplished it yet. Giving up on my ED, that is. Suicide runs in my family. And I hope your son can find a reason to continue on, despite his pain. After my son crossed over I saw him in heaven & it was a place of intense, pure love. Although
          I miss him, This showed me that SOUL, the true self is eternal, whether here or there.

    2. Kathleen

      I have a brother who is now physically disabled due to years of self-destructive habits (heavy smoking, drinking, sedentary lifestyle, junk food diet). He continues to drink and smoke. I’m surprised he is still alive. He is 68 years old, has had two above knee amputations and has only 20% heart capacity, all related to his lifestyle. I used to feel quite distressed about his health and try to “make a difference”. I came to the realization that he is content with his life and my reactivity is only ever an annoyance that he tolerates. I still get calls from Lifeline when he calls an ambulance (usually because he has fallen at home). I thank the caller for the notice and go back to sleep. I have come to terms with his right to choose how he lives his life. I don’t have to like it nor be around it. I don’t feel sorry for him. That is patronizing. He is capable of making different choices. He simply chooses not to. That is his right. I believe he is as happy as he has made up his mind to be. We all are. No one in the family has abandoned my brother. I don’t communicate with him unless he occasionally reaches out with some cryptic remark by text. I respond with something like, “May you feel safe, have peace of mind and be at ease.” He gets his health care needs met and seems to enjoy his life. For me a major learning is to recognize what is not a good relationship fit for me and let go of any need for it to be different. I try to maintain a level of connection where I can wish the person well. That sometimes, but not always, means no contact. There are so many ways I enjoy spending my time and energy. I am under no obligation to insist a relationship or situation be different than it is. It’s a matter of acceptance, not judgment. I just see things very differently than the other person. I have many relationships that are reciprocal and full of joy and ease and I cherish those.

    3. Linda

      I live in Scotland and can so relate to this letter. My ED and her family more or less deleted my son and myself from their lives. It’s a complicated tale. My husband died 4 years ago after a very short illness, leaving me with half a family business to run. I was so frightened. My daughter helped for a time but then completely left the scene. I had to learn very quickly how to manage the business, but it all became too much and now I’m out of it and have peace of mind.
      It was all so sad as my husband had built it up, but my ED and her family didn’t want to know or give me any support. Her vindictive comments still ring in my head esp in the wee small hours when I awake.
      I’ve tried hard over the past 4 years to make things better, but now I’m not sure I can go back to the eggshells. Their family birthdays are in September and in the past I’ve sent cards with money to my grandsons, but received no acknowledgement of receipt far less a thank you. This year was the first that I haven’t sent anything. There are so many kind people in my life who actually deserve such gifts.
      Im getting on with my life and my son is really supportive. He suffered from a brain tumour age 6, and has had a difficult life but in spite of everything, remains cheerful and full of zest for life despite his disabilities. He is partially blind and partially paralysed
      His sister never show’s compassion for him.
      Anyway, this is the first time I’ve written down my sad story. I’m a lot better now. I have lovely friends and neighbours who are caring and I enjoy hobbies, learning foreign languages, painting, drawing and gardening.
      As Sheri says, although you move on and survive, the hurt and frankly disbelief that this could happen in my family will never go away.
      Hugs to all who are going through this. x

  17. Roxanne C.

    My son has been lost in a world of drugs since the age of 13 he his now 33 these last 5 years has been the breaking point for me I went thru depressions to a point to want to end my life Everything we done from rehab to private psychologist and with drugs comes a life of criminal activity including being very violent and very abusive Something in me has just died these last years its not my love for him but its the possesion of the drugs that got him that I just cant do it anymore he would cut me off for a couple of years then he would pretend to come off drugs now I just cant do it anymore this is not my son but a battle with drugs and now his mental state is scary and violent my soul is soaked in tears and sadness so I need to stay away from him for my own well-being I hate drugs so much its a awfull destroyer.

    1. Janet

      Going through it myself, with estrangement & family are dealing w/ others who are addicts. Many many rehabs, many short recovery periods. The first priority is to stay safe. As you know there isn’t any fixing it, and detachment seems to be the only key to surviving it. No contact is sometimes the only good option.

    2. Worried

      Praying for you and him. I hate drugs too. It’s heartbreaking when you see your perfect child ruining there life. Nothing you can do. I just had nightmares. My daughter. Pray for me and her too.

  18. Ann

    Same dance here. My husband has a health issue, as it can be genetic, I informed our sons.
    Nothing from the one, a few painful words from the other by email.
    It actually is a blessing of a sort. I finally understand there is nothing left to hope for, it doesn’t get clearer than this, they do not deserve us.

    1. rparents Post author

      I feel the impact of your words. Some of the most helpful lessons get to us via pain.

      I hope your husband and you will be well.

      Sheri McGregor

    2. MMacelis

      Ann, I hear and can relate to you so well. I pray for us as the victims and the grandchildren that will never know the truth. We need to pray there is someone that overseas this world. Even when I walk the dog I find my self praying. It makes me feel better and I never cry anymore.
      Hugs to you.

    3. Bonnie

      Almost 8 yrs of no contact here, even with my husband, our ED biological father and through the pandemic. Nothing! I know your pain and we are not alone in this epidemic of Estrangement. We are stronger and we deserve better.

    4. Rachel H.

      I feel your pain I sent my son a copy of the letter about his dads hereditary condition so he could get checked. His response was he Doctor said it was a load of rubbish. Basically stating I was using it as a means of contact. This was not the case as his brother has been tested and has the condition. It made me feel like a liar but I have moved on knowing I sent it out of love and concern. I dont feel guilty anymore as I informed him and as a adult its his choice to act or ignore it. It has taken me 10yrs to feel like that and our total estrangement has been over 15yrs.

      1. Bev M.

        I too have been discarded by my only adult child and a single parent, I have cancer and she doesn’t even care to call and lives 3000 miles away. That’s more painful than cancer and honestly, I no longer know how to want to continue, as every day the grief, loss and pain of accepting what is with her is beyond unbearable.
        Wishing you strength that I can no longer muster.

        1. Barbara

          Bev, I’m very worried about you. Please do not do anything rash. You have value. 988 is the national suicide helpline. Please stay strong.

  19. Nancy

    Thank You for the squirrel story, I have chased them so many times. They,my son and daughter. both wrote to me, good possibility we can hash things out, What, I thought to myself, are you going to apologize for being so disrespectful and verbally abusive. I wrote back, I pray for you and your family and your sisters family for you to have peace, in God’s time . I won’t chase squirrels ️ anymore. PS,of course I have to say I was a good mother and I am a good person and friend. We always have to let people know that. Peace to all.

    1. Janet

      Exactly, regarding, are you going to apologize? Even though it must feel good to hear from your son & daughter. My mom is in her 90’s & I can’t help compare what I would say to my mom, versus what my family has said to me. What younger people feel is acceptable, is a far far cry from the respect we always showed both parents.

      1. Allison C.

        OMG Janet. I feel the same way. There were times in my life when I was really mad at my mom for one reason or another. But I never once said anything mean or disrespectful to her. After a year and a half of no contact my daughter texted me out of the blue and said she wanted to talk. I was so happy…until the phone call came. She said so many cruel and horrible things to me. I couldn’t even speak I was crying so hard. I didn’t hang up on her in spite of the tongue lashing I got because, you know what, I wouldn’t disrespect my daughter that way either. I miss good old fashion values too.

  20. Debbie

    Done with the crying has helped me so much. I just wish I had found it a lot sooner. It’s been 2 1/2 years since my middle son cut us out of his life. You expressed so many things I was feeling. He is 45 a middle son. My other two sons don’t know what I did either. We weren’t invited to his sons high school graduation. All presents and cards are returned. I have apologized so many times or tried to but he has blocked me. I have taken all the blame for what I still don’t know but to no avail. Your book has helped me to go on and know I can be happy. Im not reaching out any more. It’s up to him. I just pray and put it in Gods hands. What I really can’t understand is he is a very faithful Christian more so than my other two sons. What does he do with verses about honoring parents and forgiving? He was never abused physically or emotionally. I could ho on and on. I just want to say thank you.

    1. Jordan

      Hi Debbie,
      Your thoughts are very heartbreaking.
      You are NOT alone!! Heavenly Father knows and others like us. I think Sheri’s website is a godsend.
      I too have a middle son who has also cut us out of our lives for three years next month, November 2023. He’s 38 y/o. Im his dad. He has an older brother and younger sister. He has not restricted communication with my daughter although it’s minimal with my daughter reaching out to him occasionally. He has restricted all communication with my oldest son and I. My heart aches at times, but I’m grateful for my close relationship with my oldest son and daughter. Much of my middle son’s estrangement has stemmed from him thinking my oldest son and I sided with his ex-wife during their divorce process starting in November 2020. We were concerned about the choices my middle son was making at the time. I’m also a Christian with much faith. I also maintain hope because I think hope is an important precursor to faith. I often think of the prodigal son in Luke 15: 11-32. The prodigal son gives me hope. My prayer is something I’ve shared in this reply may give you some measure of comfort along with anyone else who may read this.
      God bless, Jordan

    2. Vikki W.

      I haven’t received a reason for my son’s estrangement in 25 years. I have 4 grandchildren I stalk on Social media & do not know if they know I am out there.
      Sunday is his birthday and I am trying my best not to text or leave messages he will never respond too.
      I look at his picture and don’t recognize him anymore. He is heartless.

      1. Janice

        The best thing I did for myself was to delete both of their numbers out of my phone. In the hurt and the pain, I didn’t even want the chance reaching out to them only to have hurtful things said and then be hung up on. I just couldn’t take their rejection one more time. It was so poisoning to my heart, I couldn’t handle anymore. I’m so sorry you are going through this too I had to give it to the Lord, knowing that He can work it all out, and have it be best. Thank you for listening.

    3. MARSHA S.

      If he had a real relationship with the Lord, he would have a heart of forgiveness even though you may have done nothing wrong. My son’s wife has totally been disrespectful to my daughter and I and he okay with it. I am not, I have to keep my joy so that means he is not a part of our lives. I love my son but he aloud his wife to try and destroy me. You keep your Joy.

  21. Paula

    I find your book and articles the one constant in dealing with my pain. Thank you.

    My son’s estrangement and allegations of abuse, neglect etc left me physically ill and still does when I hurt. So, reading your article and replies help me realize I am not alone, not at fault and a very good mother! So be proud of you are, what you tried in raising your children and accept the cards dealt.

  22. Ceit

    I have had good times and bad times this last 18 months since my daughter estranged from me (permanently this time) and then out of the blue (at least to me) my son joined in.
    It was absolute hell in the beginning because I didn’t really understand what the heck I had apparently done. Then the pain of discovery – I thought I was losing my mind, my sanity, maybe developing dementia (I’m 64), thinking that my recollection of the past might not actually be real and that without knowing it, I had wiped out memories of how awful I had really been as a mother and who I am as a person. This is no exaggeration, I literally thought I must be going gaga. What I have been accused of didn’t match up to the person I know myself to be. Somehow I’d erased, wiped out, years and years of emotional neglect, physical beatings and mental abuse that my daughter had suffered due to me Then my son, with whom I’d literally never had a cross word with since he was about six and who until then I had thought I could count on to always be in my life, decided that it was a good time to put his cards on the table too and talk about how he had suffered emotionally after his dad and I divorced. Fair enough, I thought even though I was caught off guard, this can happen despite the 17yrs that had meanwhile passed by in the interim. Then he dropped the bombshell that he didn’t feel that we share much in common anymore and that all the Christmases, the birthdays and other get-together family situations that I’d arranged over the years had really been all about me being manipulative and calculating to get what I wanted ????. I was blown away, grief stricken. I heard all this and more, after we’d had an unsuccessful attempt at counselling – but it was useless. I was still traumatised by what his sister had accused me of (after years of moral and financial support my end and despite her erratic behaviours – one abortion (that I know about) stealing, lies, mountains of debt etc etc). Now my son, the one who seemed relatively trouble-free, caring and loving – has just cut me out of his life while simultaneously declaring his love for me and that ‘this’ wasn’t about love. I am even now, none the wiser as to what it really was all about as he’s blown me out of the water, eradicated me from his life.
    Yes I’ve written to them both numerous times, taken the blame, apologised, explained and just stopped short of begging. My son doesn’t reply and if my daughter does, it’s only to give more abuse. My daughter (38) has also decided she’s a victim of ‘generational abuse’ (My Mum and my granny will be rolling in their graves). She says I never truly loved her, not the way she deserves to be loved, the way she loves her kids! Yes I have also lost my two grandsons and been told never to contact them again as she needs ‘to protect’ them from me. Her partner of 12yrs and his family are party to all of this madness but that’s another story.
    My son, at the grand old age of 31, a Ph.D student, living in student accommodation with his first girlfriend with still no clue what real life (or real prices) are like; dismissed my offer to go back to counselling. His reply, ‘ Go and get help because I can’t help someone who won’t help themselves ‘ and ‘You don’t half talk a load of crap’. Since then he hasn’t been in touch despite me asking a more than once for a second chance.
    So yes, well done by the way if you’re still reading ha ha! I understand all about chasing squirrels and slowly after much weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth, that I’m just not going to do it anymore. I too have chosen peace and to let go. It is never going to be. Rainbows, fluffy clouds, happy music and reconciliation might happen in the movies but not to me, not in real life. But after all of the agonising visceral pain has passed, life is doable again. I have realised that I am not the weird or dysfunctional one and that I can indeed live in the land of ‘peaceful status quo’. It’s healthier and happier for me this way and I have the support of my loving (2nd) husband who has been here for the last 17yrs and is just as puzzled and perplexed as I am by this state of affairs. Even if the impossible happened, it could never be the same for me. I would always be on edge, waiting. I am not the same person anymore. I just don’t feel the same about them as I did. Meanwhile my unconditional love it just won’t go the heck away – so I’ve buried it somewhere deep, inside in a box, inside a box, inside a box. I won’t need to unlock it because they’re done with me now and even if they’re not, sadly for them and for me, I don’t chase squirrels anymore.

    1. Karen

      Wow…..after 10 years of estrangement, I feel the same way, it’s her loss. My second husband (her father died when she was 20) doesn’t understand either and can’t figure it out. He’s wonderful to me and he deserves a loving kind wife who stops talking about it. I know how much your heart hurts. God bless you.

    2. Sophia

      I’m so sorry that you are going through this. You did your best as a Mom. Your children are gaslighting you to believe you’re to blame. More or less, it’s the craziness of their behavior that leaves us feeling responsible.

      My daughter estranged me at her wedding for no reason as I paid for most of it. She chose to try to humiliate me in front of family and friends as did my SIL. I did the apology and emails with no reply. Sadly, she has a mental illness that prevents her from living in reality and maintaining relationships.

      So perhaps our estranged children choose this to avoid their own feelings of inadequacy and hostility.

      I choose to let it be. At this point there’s nothing more I can do except move forward with my life without her in it.

      Keep moving forward with your life. You can do this.

  23. Liz

    This resonated so much with me. 3 years ago my daughter left for university. We celebrated, and told her how very proud of her we were. For weeks after we found little ‘I love you’ notes hidden around the house. We texted, sometimes just silly memes, family news, we chatted online (covid restrictions). When we could we went to visit, went shopping and had a picnic. All smiles and hugs. Three days later our daughter sent a text ‘I have sent you a letter’ – my reply was ‘oh I love getting letters!’ The letter came – 12 pages of how she hates us, how we have failed as parents, some of it very childish, some of it very very hurtful. My heart stopped – we had no context – not a word of discord, no arguments, no slammed doors. We tried everything to make contact but she refused. University would not help as she was over 18. We stood in the street asking her to come and talk to is. We later found out she had a boyfriend for months and had not mentioned him. She changed her name and number etc. She has texted her sister about 5 times in the three years, mainly to ask for something from the house (exam certificates). Our hearts broke. We got on the hamster wheel of questions – what did we do, what did we not do, how could this happen, is she safe, is she happy, how do we fix this? Three years later I know she is doing well and has left university and has a job that she always said she wanted. We still do not know what we did. I probably overstepped her boundaries (I called it being a close family), but maybe I did not promote her independence enough. We pursued a diagnosis for ASD which she seems to have resented, so perhaps I did not read the situation right? I said she was clever – did that put pressure on? I can hear conversations we had and wonder if I missed things, if I had given different advice, would things be different. Anyhow, fast forward three years and my heart breaks every day, but I am coming to a place of acceptance (but it is not pain free). My daughter has a life that she wants, and is living it. I hope with all my heart that she is happy, healthy and enjoying the adventure. But, it is her adventure to live how she wishes. She does not owe me her loyalty, there was no contract at birth. If she ever needs me I am here for her, and I love her just as much today as I did before all this started – and I have sent that message. So I ‘watch the squirrel’ from a distance and smile a sad smile, and I move forward for the family who need and want me. Accepting but not pain free.

    1. Lou

      Liz my story is so similar to yours it’s frightening.
      My daughter left for Uni 3 years ago too. We were probably too close as a family. She was always proud that we all looked out for each other and enjoyed spending time together as a family.
      I ever saw any signs that my daughter couldn’t wait to get to Uni to get away from us.
      It’s been over 3 years now. She like your daughter has made a new life for herself.
      She seems so much happier being without us.
      She was such a needy daughter always wanting attention or help with things.
      I know the people she associated with at Uni and now do not have their families in their lives.
      It looks like she’s followed them and took her independence to the extreme.
      I pray that one day our daughters come home to us.

    2. Janet P

      Dearest Liz – Thank you for sharing your heartbreaking story. The mystery of why, for me is in God’s hands, as I can’t figure it out, nor can I fix it. My ED had a dramatic change in her feelings about me when two things happened: 1. She became wealthy, and 2. She got married. I doubt that she understands why she decided to dislike me, since it’s been many years of a rollercoaster ride, of love for me, and then contempt.
      You’ve come to a place of acceptance, strength & grace, which is really great & worthy of admiration. ❤️ Janet

  24. Linda


    The past two years and seven months have been the most heartbreaking and unbelievable time of my 82 years.
    I lost my soulmate husband of forty years plus to a misdiagnosed and wrongful death and just days after my youngest daughter cut me out of her life. Cutting off her phone and email address from me after years of loving care,calls, loving messages, gifts and cards of love and care for many years. She informed me in the last email that she would come to the service and immediately leave which she and her sister and brother did. They did not sit with me on the front pew but sat in the back oif the chursch. This daughter sent a message to her sister the next week ( my oldest daughter) to tell me she sent a certified letter to me. I did not receive but did get a mailed copy. In the many page letter she rambled on with words that sounded like a ten year old and not this daughter of almost 50 years old. The gist of the letter wa that I had been a bad Mother and many other things that were of no reality. our lives had been Ozzie and Harriet lives over all of thier growing up years with many nice homes, educaton, celebrations for all birthday, special events weddings, graduations and every possible way to be a family unit all together. It was clear by the three of them sitting in the back of the church that they wre in this together in some fashion as that was never the way in the years of growin up and starting thier own families. We were all a family that showed love, care to each other. My husband and I were giving in every possible way to love and nuture the three of my children and all of thier children(six). My husband was not thier father but loved them so much and treated them better than thier own father. They cared for him and did not have negative words with him in the forty years we were married. The almost seven years he was in medical they called but never came to see him and I did not question as they were busy. The bottom line is this daughter has cut me off ( I have not heard from her by phone) and the two others will not discuss and will not be involved in any way. This has broken our family relationship and at my age of now 82 I am so heartbroken it has made me have a serious stressful life. My doctor told me that it can be fatal if I do not get relief. I have had to handle all affairs of my husband alone with no help from the family and so much more.
    I know that I must be positive and move forwrd but the alone and long nights and days are heartbreaking with the sadness of being shut out and realizing I am not loved and needed in my later life and now am alone at 82.My grandchildren and I very close iin thier growing up. They have all distanced from me with barely a knowledge of I am here. I have three great grands that I have not seen ( did get one photo ) I have asked to see them and send presents but no response. I am workig to give back in my church and in a widows group I formed. I know I have to be positive and ask our Father in Heaven to guide me and show me a direction to go forward.
    I am sorry for the long writing here. This is a writing of this just to write this heartbreaking story. Losing my soulmate husband is the worst day of my life and having to see it happen the way it did with no support from my family has broken my heart so many times. If any of you on this newsletter can relate to this heartbreak I would very much appreciate reading. I am going to reach out to them to ask all to come together as we are a family. If I do not get a response I will try to learn how to go forward with the time I m a y have. Many of our friends are gone and with no other family other thany my childrten I am pretty much alone. I am working to find a way.If anyone has a similiar story and can give advice I would treasure it.
    Thank you Sheri.
    Blessings to all.

    1. Kellle

      Dear Linda, I read your letter with heavy tears in my eyes because I can somewhat relate. I’ve not lost my soulmate, yet, but he does have terminal Leukemia. I am 58 yrs. old and my husband 60 yrs. old we’ve been married 39 yrs. Our daughter has many medical issues and live in a home on our property. She is 32 yrs. old and has a brain tumor, but praise God she is doing well after three craniotomies. Our son, the eldest of our two children estranged himself, now a second time and it’s been 6 yrs. this time. I replied above your comment, please feel free to read that story. Our daughter has damage to her brain due to surgery and although functions well, she is slow and more childlike. I worry what will happen when my husband’s time comes, and God calls him Home. What will happen if my daughter is called home as well. My inaws have sided with our son and DIL, so no support their and my mom passed two years ago and my dad is 86 yrs. old. My brother is a drug addict, from age 18 to now 53 yrs. So, I too have no one to help deal with my husband when he has bad days, our daughter is a blessing to us both Please know that God is always with you, that is what keeps me going. HUGS

    2. Micki

      Dear Linda,
      I’m so sorry that you are going through this difficult time. My son (26) changed about 4 years ago, he was diagnosed with MDD (major depression disorder), anxiety, panic disorder, and PTSD. He was going for treatment, but refused medication and didn’t participate in counseling. He eventually stopped going and he isn’t any better. He doesn’t work or go to school. I pay for his living expenses, which is going to be difficult since I retire in 5 years. He blames me and his dad (my X) for his problems and would rather not be part of our lives. He can’t fend for himself so he is stuck needing my assistance. I can’t stop the finances or he would end up homeless. I understand how you feel, it is quite a blow and you try to think back, “what did I do?” . I try to take each day at a time, try not to worry, and try not to blame myself. It is hard, but for your own sanity…one step at a time. I’m still working and I have a few close friends. I keep fairly busy when I’m not working to keep my mind off of my son and our relationship. I suggest getting involved in volunteering with organizations that interests you, have a few neighbors over for lunch or something less informal, participate in a walking group or exercise group, there are community groups that have activities either through the parks and recreation dept or adult education, and you mentioned your church, which usually has many opportunities. Friends can be family too.. live your life for yourself, you deserve to be content and at peace.

      1. Janet

        Micki- This is just a thought, & maybe ideas you’ve already explored.
        1. As u know your son might need SSD – or disability to achieve independence.
        2. If he has no alternative, that is no support from you, he might consider applying for disability.
        3. A lawyer will know for sure, but I think You can be your son’s legal representative if needed.
        4. Getting disability usually requires signing up with a lawyer, who handles the case. My son was severely disabled, but disability was denied because he was interviewed by the State’s doctor, who said my son was fine, when he wasn’t at all.
        That changed when my son got a lawyer. The lawyer is paid when the SSD recipient gets their first check.
        4. My son Did end up homeless & I’m sure that woke him up to the fact that he really needed his own income, & his own place & the help of SSD. ❤️ janet

    3. Jodie

      Linda, I feel your pain. I think that you need to let go of them all for your own peace of mind and heart. Live the rest of your life knowing you will see your husband again and that God will take care of the rest. I sympathize with you as I have a daughter and son in law who play with our Hearts too. I feel rage when she’s rude to us but where does that get me? I try to zone her out too when they are both rude. It’s quite pathetic. They are like terrorists .. I don’t deal with terrorist behavior. But here I am… dealing. I am going to live my remaining life away from them. That’s the life God dealt me I suppose. I don’t cry anymore. I am just living a life like they are strangers I meet once a year for the sake of the Grandchildren. Let them go … they obviously have let us go.

    4. Janice

      Hey Linda
      I just read your post and it breaks my heart for you. My two sons have been the same. I just wanted to share what gave me the most peace. I had to take a deep breath and turn them over to the Lord. I came to realize that God also created them and He also loves them so very much! I pray that reconciliation at some point in life will happen. I had to literally give it over to Him or I was going to greave myself to my own death. I also removed their phone numbers from my phone so that I can’t reach out in a weak moment. I’m so sorry you are also going through this, it is so so painful. Take care of yourself ❤️

    5. Lyn

      Hi Linda I am 68 years old although I have been single for 40 years I raised my two Son’s by myself for the most part and with out a doubt ” I know I was a great Mother and I have Absolutely no Guilt about being the Single Mother I was” my Son’s only had me their father was very rarely in theirs lives…I am still a great Mother but being alone at a time when a loved one passes is so difficult and Heart Breaking I lost my Mother when she was only 75 years old she was a great grandmother to my 2 Son’s the youngest one didn’t even attend her service because his wife would not allow him to come home alone we live in different States I offered to pay his way ( airfare) and my oldest Son was there at her services but because his wife attended with him He couldn’t sit me or even give me a hug or talk to me so I was all alone, sure there was other family & friends there but I know you understand, I have always had a very close & sweet relationship with my Father and both of my Son’s have known all their life how I felt about him I lost my Father In 11/2021 and I have yet to even get a phone call or nothing from either one my youngest Son did not attend services again for the same reason as above My oldest Son did attend but again he didn’t acknowledge me at all so as I grieved both my Mother & Father all alone I know the feeling, I whis I had a answer for you but I don’t I am sorry to you for not having a answer just wanted you to know I share your lonely feelings and especially at both of the services All Alone for no reason! I have daughter In Laws who are miserable and I guess they want me to be, I don’t blame them 100% My Son’s are grown men and should stand up for their Mother, I to have prayed and talked to God still with no understanding! My oldest Son hasn’t spoke to me in about 4 years and My youngest Son hasn’t spoke to me in over a year………Thanks for Listening Lyn

    6. Diane H.

      Linda, I read your post and feel shocked and tearful for you. Please know that I will think of you often, wishing you the very best while you struggle through this awful time. There’s nothing I can say that will explain what has happened, it really is cruel, bullying, nasty behaviour at a time when you are you most vulnerable. Your husband would be devastated for you. Please continue to be sociable and a good friend to those around you. Focus on your own life, spend all your money, remember your worth and hold your head high. Live as your husband would have wanted – push negative wondering away and maybe feel a little angry, how dare they treat you so badly.

  25. Linda S.

    This sentence jumped off the screen to me: “The peace of no-contact can come with a price, but it may be better than the cost of chaos, continued eggshell walks, and living in fear of the next rule change, inflated ego rant, or tumultuous tirade pointed at you—the parent who has been patient, giving, and kind, yet is now the enemy, the ATM, or the one to ignore or blame.”

    Yes, it’s been four years since my daughter announced she decided I was toxic and cut me out of her – and my beloved grandchildren’s – life. The pain was, as you know, almost beyond description. But I realized about two years ago that for the first time in decades I have peace. No more walking on eggshells, hoping I don’t set off a near incoherent tirade. Peace.

    1. Carol

      It rang so true for me as well. After 2 1/2 years of no contact with my daughter who is now 35, I do realize I have some peace from that. However, I still have hope that one day something may change. I just can’t give up hope.

      1. Pam

        It is different for everyone, I suppose. I used to hope that things between my ED and I would change but now I no longer do. I have realized she is incapable of moving forward, that I will never trust her again, and probably be unable to fully forgive her for the things she has said to me and about me and for things she has done. I cry now bc I know a reconciliation is not in the cards. I cry for what could have been. I cry now bc I am 62 and know in my heart I never will see her again. Hope is lost to me but embrace your hope and I pray is brings you everything you want.

        1. Susan

          Your comments resignated so much with me I got this heavy feeling in my throat and chest and burst into tears. In my mind I’ve always thought “she’ll wake up” “she’ll come around” but all of a sudden I realised that “what’s done is done” there’s no undoing the pain there’s no way of forgiving the pain and there’s no way that I could stand in front of her and want that back. Thank you for you post you’ve awakened something in me that I needed to acknowledge, the beautiful child I raised is gone. I’ll mourn that and live my best life. Thank you

          1. Audrey C.

            And also to Pam. Both these posts were short but very much to the point. I am estranged from my son for 10 months but looking back(as we do) I realise that he was pulling away for a long time before that. He has gone to his wife’s family as if they are his own and I am out on my ear! I won’t see my grandsons again and won’t have the Nana role I wanted to have. But as you say – I can never trust him again and should he attempt to reconcile I know that it will be on his terms – and they would not be what I would call a relationship but a short visit for a cup of tea! As and when he feels like it.
            I am now going to put my big girls pants on and face this truth. Hes gone!

        2. Jofie

          How true your words are for me too. My daughter never had love for us. Even as a child I saw it. She never liked her baby brother . She pushed us all away. I saw her lack of love for us but thought she would change as an adult. She never changed. I don’t cry anymore .. it’s funny because I used to sob. Now nothing. I have nothing to give anymore. I don’t feel anything anymore. But that doesn’t mean it’s not so sad . It just means that’s the life I was given. As I grow older I only pray that God grants her peace and love and perhaps the demons in her will fall away. Peace

        3. Kate

          I feel the exact same way. For years I had hoped that my now 52 yr. old daughter would come back into my life, but I finally realized that I was only fooling myself. All trust in her is gone. Anyone who just up and kicks their parent out of their life for no real reason, doesn’t give a damn about them.
          While growing up, my ED always told lies, (sometimes the truth would’ve sounded better). But today, she tells lies about me and trashes me on social media, etc. etc.
          So sometimes we just have to finally give up and let ’em go for our own sanity,

      2. Cathy

        I have been estranged from my Daughter for 20 years. For years I tried everything to mend the relationship. I was diagnosed bipolar in my 50’s as was my Father. I was very involved with my Daughter and enjoyed her growing up. We were involved in many activities and her friends parents were my friends. I took a break from my Father for many years but I was never cruel. She has been so very thoughtfully cruel to me. Several years ago I realized the pain had lifted, however in it’s place is anger. I don’t want in my life

    2. Judi S.

      This is SO what I am going through. My daughter and I have always had a tumultuous relationship, and apparently I am the worst mom ever. She does not get along with her older brother, but proclaims that we can still have family get togethers and she will be “pleasant” to him. This only increases my anxiety during a holiday get together. But, I agree that the cost of chaos, eggshell walks and the electric fence boundaries is just too hard. I am still the ATM on an ongoing basis and that is the only time I hear from her is when she needs money. We are semi-retired, but cannot afford to fully retire because we give her so much money each month. Either way, we keep trying and the pain is excruciating every time she cuts me off. I have no peace and no relief. My son, who is four years older, does not speak to his sister, and that is the cause of many issues between me and my daughter. I’m just SO TIRED and I don’t know where to turn. I love them both so much, but every time I see my daughter it ends in an argument or hurt feelings. We are getting older and she doesn’t want to acknowledge that we are aging and can’t deal with all of this crap.

      1. Jan K

        How you can keep giving money to someone who treats you this way I have no idea. Don’t you realise she just uses you?

  26. Carrie-Ann

    I’m glad You shared with us Lori…I agree with Beautiful Sheri’s words, “I know many here will read and care and see YOU, the brilliant, beautiful, wise woman you are, shining through your words in your comment.” I Appreciate Your Strength & Clarity… I also agree with your Grandma’s Words of Wisdom…I am glad You have Your husband and daughter…Sending You All Love & Light…
    My Heart Is With You…You have us here in this Beautiful Healing Community…Please keep in touch to let us know how You’re doing…We’re here for You…Lori…May You Be Blessed In Body…Mind…& Spirit…
    In Divine Gratitude & Friendship…

  27. Joanne

    My daughter has rejected me for 10 years. Finally after she “kicked me in the teeth” for the umpteenth time I just let go. I’m not even trying anymore. I give up. This might just be a break but I it’s nice to feel free and not wake up every morning hoping

    1. Susan

      I’m sorry this has happened to you. I too have experienced this . My son hasn’t contacted me in 28 years despite the many letters, cards etc I have sent. I’m a grandmother but have never met her and I don’t think she knows about me at all. So I decided a long time ago to release the emotional shackles I had bound myself in and set myself free from the sadness, hurt, despair, anger, loss I had allowed myself to feel for too long towards my grown up son of 47 years.
      It doesn’t mean I don’t think of him but I don’t allow myself to dwell or stand still in the hope he might, just might, get in touch. Life goes on and more importantly you do too. Look after you in the best possible way , you owe it to yourself .

  28. Laurice G.

    I’m so relieved to read this, especially the paragraph about “The peace of no-contact…”. There are people who say I shouldn’t give up hope, that they will be missing their parents (all three of our living children have rejected us) and that “they’ll come around”. No, they won’t. And I’ve learned to love the complete absence of the eggshells, the hidden rules I don’t know about, being told how to improve myself and the tantrum I got from my oldest daughter when she yelled that I needed psychiatric treatment. I don’t, but I do need people in my life who believe that neurodiveregence isn’t only the prerogative of the young. Like everyone I made mistakes, and I own them. I refuse to own that their rejection is my own fault, because life is far more nuanced than that. So yes, I’m grieving – it comes in waves, when I think of all the fun times we had when they were kids – and I know there’s no closure to be had. But thank you for reminding me that there is also joy in being free of their unspoken expectations.

    1. rparents Post author

      Thank you for commenting Laurice. We do get to enjoy the peace that settles in the wake of departing chaos. And yes, I hear you … Parents are people, with conditions and opinions and needs and rights, too. We count. You count.

      Sheri McGregor

    2. Rhonda A.

      Couldn’t have said it better, Laurice! As time passes, the brief periods of sadness, and wonderment as to what we ‘did wrong’ get shorter and further between, I have found. They don’t go completely away, but they lessen in frequency. It’s like missing our own parents who have passed on to the next dimensions… you know that you’ll see them, perhaps, in the next phase of our lives, joining them (prayerfully) there, but until we reach that point, it’s the yearning that gets to us.

  29. Lori

    It’s been 10 years since I’ve seen my son. He is 37 now.
    I always wondered if he ever felt bad for what he has done to us. Now I don’t care anymore. I was just diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. Pretty soon I won’t be here and my pain will end. What I will say is that my grandma once told me is if she is not welcomed at weddings then she will assume she is not welcomed at funerals. It translates different in her native language. But basically my instructions are that my son will not be permitted to grieve with his sister and father. We were not welcomed in his life and therefore he is not welcomed in my passing. I don’t ask why anymore. I just focus on my treatment and those who love me and are kind to me. If you are wondering I’m 57. Yes this is tragic.

    1. rparents Post author

      Lori, I’m so sorry to hear of your diagnosis. I’m going to hope for miracles … and I know many here will read and care and see YOU, the brilliant, beautiful, wise woman you are, shining through your words in your comment. (And, your grandma was obviously a wise woman!)

      BIG hugs to you, Lori.
      Sheri McGregor

      1. Joanna C.

        HUGE hugs to you Lori! I pray that God will super bless you with His incredible peace and mercy that He gives new each day! I too, struggle with my health. I have muscular dystrophy so continue to get weaker, and both my older kids have little to do with me and my 81 yr old mother, their grandma. It is UNFATHOMABLE, this newish evil scheme from the wicked one. I constantly remind myself that .. really .. our struggle is not against flesh and blood but against evil powers, and I thank God for our friends that are our family. So .. very .. thankful for them .. and for Jesus … Who gets me thru each day. So much love to you! Joanna

      2. Lori

        Thank you for your kind words. Please know that your book changed my life. It is because of what I learned reading Done With The Crying and doing the work embedded in your book that I have been able to enjoy my life. Before I read your book I beat myself up, thought about my happiness in terms of my son’s actions and words and I was ignoring the people right in front of me who brought me joy. After reading your book, I saw my worth as a person and began to live for me and those who valued my love for them. I have had a beautiful life. The doctor gave me 3 to 11 months. I’m gong to try to prove him wrong . I thank everyone here who has sent me kind words.

      3. Barbara C.

        My friend was telling me about her mother s best friend. She never see her estranged daughter, for many years, maybe 15 between 20 years. Ann got stage 4 cancer. On the last year of her life, strangely, Ann (not her real name) bumped into her estranged daughter at the supermarket.. Ann told her that she wont live much longer. Ann was happy to see her again, but her estranged daughter never made her efforts to make peace with her dying mother, even although she never turned up at the funeral. We are entranged with our difficult daughter for three years. I got tired from trying too hard to reconnect her. I let her go in my love and i knew that she wont attend my funeral in the near future.

    2. Donna

      Lori this so reminded me of my situation. I just went thru lung surgery for cancer. I did not want her to know about my diagnosis. However, since this is probably genetic, I asked my youngest daughter to let my estranged daughter know that she may have the cancer gene.
      Yesterday my youngest texted me to ask if I wanted to see my estranged daughters children at their homecoming. I kind of lost it with her saying, how could you even ask me, they are my grandchildren. I continued to lash out at her and later apologized.
      So I hear you and feel for you. We know how our estranged children will feel when we pass away?

    3. Michelle

      Dear Lori,

      I’m so very sorry that your son is so heartless and one day I believe their consciences will be pricked but sadly it will be too late as life is so short. I just want to let you know I’m praying for you ❤️

      Sending hugs Michelle

    4. Tracey

      Lori I am so sorry that you are on this painful journey with your son and your health. My heart cries for you and I will add you to my daily prayer list that God will restore your health! And you and your wise grandmother are very right if you are not welcome at weddings than you are not welcome to grieve me when I leave this lovely Earth. I want to give you one of my favorite quotes by Mother Teresa. “Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies” May you have strength to endure your treatments and enjoy the ones in your life that love you!


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