March and sing into 2021

disrespectful adult child parental estrangement

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Disrespectful adult child? Estranged?
March and sing into 2021 anyway

At a tense moment around the kitchen table in the movie, Moonstruck, the grandfather says, “Someone tell a joke.”

Although 2020 held miserable news and troubles, approach the New Year with a new attitude. That might very well mean telling a joke—or trying another action that supports and empowers you.


This article is for parents who are estranged from adult children, but the term, “estranged,” isn’t always cut-and-dried. I hear from many parents who live under the same roof with their estranged adult children or have “reconciled” but find regular contact tougher than they thought. Typical scenarios include:

  • Disrespectful adult child (young) who can’t take care of themselves (yet)
  • Move-back-in situation when an estranged adult child has lost a job or gone through some trauma
  • A reconciled relationship that is wrought with distrust, explosions, and/or an eggshell walk
  • Adult children who just don’t seem interested in keeping a relationship with you

Whether or not you’re in a situation like one of these or are cut off from all contact, read on. We’ll lighten up, get grounded, and march forward with feel-good and empowerment techniques.


When an adult child moves in after leaving a bad relationship, losing a good job, or some other trauma, distress can hang like a dark cloud over your home. Ditto when a young adult you’re trying to remain patient with “as they mature” spends most of their time behind a closed door. Parents may worry for their child about a past abuser’s continuing psychological hold, the ongoing effects of trauma, or problems with physical and mental health.

While you can lend a generous ear, step gingerly around explosive subjects, and focus on any good, you must also take care of yourself. Listening too much can cause secondary trauma—or prompt your (unwanted) advice. Avoiding explosive subjects or moderating every word builds resentment. Worrying isn’t healthy. 

Parents aren’t always ready (or able) to insist on big changes, kick a disrespectful adult child out of the house, require a son or daughter to get counseling, or address relationship issues head on. Those are subjects for another day. Here, we’ll get to what parents can do in the meantime—for themselves

Regardless of circumstances, recognizing what you can and can’t control helps. Maybe you can’t calm an adult child’s mood swings or emotional distress, but you can work on your own moods, support your own well-being, and get on with living. This article isn’t about solving the bigger issues or even examining them. Instead, let’s look at a few easily implemented ideas to lighten the dark tone that may be filling your physical or mental home and also raise your spirits:  

    • Sing. Singing reduces stress levels and can stimulate the immune system—plus it feels good. Make up a theme song (or adopt one that makes you feel good) and sing it every morning. Or sing while you go about your work or play. Don’t worry if it’s not good enough for anyone else to hear. Just sing, sing a song! You might have even been singing that last part like The Carpenters or Shirley Bassey
    • Music. A little music can lift moods and provide a distraction. Today, it’s easy to find music online. Music apps are available on our phones, and there are whole channels that play only music on some television services. Don’t forget the radio either. Choose something that makes you feel happy and energized. Who knows? Maybe you’ll find yourself dancing, too (maybe even the Cha Cha Cha)!
    • Exercise. Physical movement like dance is good for you, but movement as simple as putting one foot in front of the other for a walk increases blood flow to the body and also to the brain. Walking boosts creativity, which may mean you’ll return refreshed, and able to tackle tough problems in new ways. Walk! It’ll help you think.
    • Crystals. Stones from the earth hold vibrational energy that can improve mood, aid clarity, and promote calm and peace. In the past, therapists recommended a rubber band around the wrist to snap as a reminder to manage bad habits or think better thoughts. Touching the smooth stones of a bracelet composed of crystals with energetic properties is a less painful variation. Try rose quartz, known for its loving energy, or get a kit with several crystals collected to conquer stress or promote healing. has a variety of crystal kits and jewelry created by artisans. You might find them helpful—and they’re beautiful.
    • Ground yourself.  “Earthing,” by walking barefoot to connect with the earth and its conductive energy is purported to heighten mood, decrease pain and inflammation. So far, studies are few but I can tell you from experience that it feels good. Be safe where you walk, limit exposure in cold weather, and enjoy. My recent move has taken me farther from the coast, but I used to live within half an hour—and Earthing along the beach felt wonderful and freeing. Earthing among the nettle that grew profusely beneath a towering pine was also energizing. Don’t like going outdoors barefoot? Try relaxation meditations where you’re aware of your breath, your body, and how the soles of your feet “root” you to the ground. 
    • Engage in a project.  While any project you enjoy is helpful, let’s stay grounded and talk about gardening. Imagine yourself blooming along with the flowers you raise. Plant seeds indoors for healthy seedlings ready to go outdoors in spring. Allow yourself to marvel at the bits of growth you see each day. Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty either. Friendly bacteria that’s present in soil works as an antidepressant, raising levels of serotonin in the brain.
    • Laugh. Just as the grandfather in Moonstruck knew the right timing for a joke, I lean on laughter to help. Distracted by nature during a recent walk, I stepped on a rough spot and fell on my face. “Crack some jokes,” I told my husband. “Make me laugh or I’ll cry.” Glad to oblige, he compared my fat-lipped profile to Donald Duck and told me I had kissed the ground. Laughter stimulates the organs and soothes stress. Over time, it’s thought to have positive effects on the immune system and work with your body to relieve pain, too. Besides, it’s fun. Find comedians you like on YouTube, or watch silly animal videos. Here’s a really short one that always makes me laugh:


If you’re feeling so low right now that these simple tasks look momentous, at least try a few ultra-low-effort tactics to take care of yourself. 

  •  Get out your softest blanket or throw and enjoy the texture.
  • Wear feel-good cologne and sniff your wrist often.
  •  Stroke a pet who will love you for it.
  • Wear cozy socks.

Whether you’re fully estranged, living with an adult child who avoids or rejects you, have reconciled but don’t feel all joy-joy and wonderful about how things are progressing, or are affected in some other way by estrangement, don’t make your life all about another adult. Sometimes, the tiniest gifts we give ourselves help the most.

Consider listening in on the free eventfree event for family struggles that takes place later this month, too.

Hugs to you for the New Year and beyond.  ~ Sheri McGregor

Related reading:

Happy New Year 2020 posting (includes a beautiful link a reader sent to me)

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72 thoughts on “March and sing into 2021

  1. Grace


    it is unnatural that the people we gave life to and raised treat us like we are nothing. I dont think any of us are the hallmark card moms. In fact, I think some people give those cards out of obligation and guilt.
    I know one of mine does. The other one claims she cant afford a $2 card. Just recently, one of mine gave me a card and it is nowhere near our relationship. It was a joke and I think hurt me more than made me feel cared for.

    I am so sorry that you get treated so badly. Regardless of the past, you deserve so much more!
    It sounds like you are making the effort to be in their life and they keep shutting you out.
    You are not alone. Like you, I was doing all the planning, all the communicating….at my expense. A few years ago, I told mine that I was going to stop being the only one who did. They would complain about whatever I planned (in advance) whether it was going out to eat, visiting family, or vacations….so I gave up. I was trying to keep us together. I knew that once I stopped reaching out, then I would not hear from them and I dont.

    I only see my only gb in my home and thats only when D decides I can. When she is here, Im lucky if she speaks at all unless she is correcting me on everything from a to z. Im not allowed to take up for myself in anyway so I dont speak. I think of it as “supervised visitation”. My focus is on the gb and D is glued to her phone. She does not pay me or gb any attention unless again, she is correcting me. Im not allowed to keep gb, not reason ever given, yet others do. They dont live that far. She can come and see others that
    live 15 mins away……but she cant come here.

    It is good that you get to see your gbabies. You are strong in the way that you can be with them
    in spite o the way their Mom treats you. It hurts me to the core, to the point, that I dont think I am going to
    be a grandma. GB is very new and I find myself wondering how I will ever be in her life. Definitely, not the way I ever pcitured it.

    Enjoy your time with your babies, maybe they will treat you with love and kindness when they grow up.
    They may be just the ones who can mend your relationship with your D. I have read stories where that
    has happened for others.

    Hugs to you!

  2. Annie

    Our circumstances are very similar. 12 years, still trying to decipher how it all happened. Narcissist partner managing to get them to reject me after I finally left our loveless marriage where the kids only had me to love them ? 12 years hasnt made it go away, its nice to know that death will one day stop the pain. The judgements continue, the first grandchild will be born next month, the pain never leaves. I wish you all well but how to stop the pain ? Annie Queensland Australia

  3. Christi E.

    Some nights I wake up startled, wondering if they are thinking about us. Could that be the sound of their car in the driveway? Do they miss us? Will I ever see them again?

    We had such fun as they grew up. We were so close. Was it all a lie? Our eldest, our daughter, chose poorly, divorced, then picked someone worse than the first. We tried to help financially, emotionally, etc. Her partner can’t hold a job, has no ambition, and barely tolerated us. One day out of the blue, our ED said that staying in contact with us was “interfering with her personal and professional life.” No contact. 3 years ago.

    Our son, was a happy go-lucky guy, who started dating a woman with whom he fought constantly. One night, he emailed me at 3 am, saying “don’t let me go back to her. She is abusive, and manipulative.” It turns out she has a personality disorder (BPD). Off and on they went, and of course, he married her… Again, we tried to ignore it when she was rude to us, sucked it up when she did hurtful things, and we were devastated with the way she treated our son and their kids. Grandkids were such a joy! But, she felt threatened by us, so we were limited as to when we could visit. And of course, they would never come to see us – too difficult to travel with little children, don’t you know! When they cancelled at the last minute, after planning to come for Christmas, I wrote a letter scolding them. That was 3 years ago. I have not heard or seen them since. I tried to send gifts, cards, etc. I even made each grandchild a custom book, illustrations of what I thought they might look like after they had grown up so much… No response.

    Asking my daughter to help bridge the gap between her brother’s family and her parents, was too much for her. Interference with her personal and professional life was taking its toll. Well, giving her and her brother a wonderful childhood, and college educations, cars, etc., interfered with OUR personal and professional life too! She and her partner don’t plan to have any kids. Big surprise.

    I’m sorry if I sound bitter. I do love them. I wish I could say that I want them back, but I want the memory of them. The way they were when they were little. I don’t want the mean, hurtful people that blame others for everything, don’t care if we live or die… Nope, don’t want those people in my life. The loss of my adult children nearly killed me. It nearly ruined my 42 year marriage, tearing each other apart, wondering what we did wrong, what we said that was so awful. But I refuse to lose myself and my love, their father. We are concentrating on us, now. If they come back into our lives, so be it. If not, we’ll be okay. There are good days, and bad, but we move forward. Good luck to each and every one of you here. Thank you for posting. It helps on those nights when I wake up wondering about them…

    1. Rebecca

      The pain is unbearable isn’t it .
      I have one estranged son and it’s been heartbreaking this last two years .
      Also we have a grandson who will be two in a few weeks that we haven’t seen since he was 10 weeks .
      He does not know us or our disabled daughter who isn’t good enough for him .
      Like you they have never brought him to see us .
      We were all extremely close but his wife changed him completely and took him away from his family .
      Saying that he his an adult with a good job .
      Like you a remember the memories I couldn’t trust again as they’ve not just done this to us but to his disabled sister who doesn’t understand where he has gone ! She grieved too and I was angry and disgusted they could do this to an innocent person .
      I don’t sleep either .
      Love to you

  4. Aleta G.

    Hi Everyone,

    I read all the struggles we have endured with our adult children and I don’t feel alone. Thank you. These days I keep referring myself back to “Just because it didn’t work out, doesn’t mean things would be better.” It surely has been a painful journey full of blaming myself and in the end, it just managed to create a sort of vortex where I questioned every move I made. So insecure. Having lost my only daughter to a set of circumstances that I had to learn were way beyond my control, on and off, but all my attempts to love again. She was sometimes very warm and responsive and then like a click of a button, gone again. I often look back now and see the type of abuse she deals with, perhaps not prepared to make a stand, maybe unwillingly she chose in the end after 10 years to let go as it may be easier to deal with her life independently. It breaks my heart every day but I have also let go in many ways because it was a form of torture and took me so long to realize that the gaslighting, twisting stories, lieing is actually abuse and I must have been in complete denial to have accepted it. We just don’t live this way. Oh my, what we do for our children regardless of age and no matter how I worded my sentences, it was like an egg shell and falling into a pond with 1/4 inch of ice. I became useless! Oh, the water is so cold and the tears mixed with such a loss was truly unbearable. My husband and I decided to sell our homestead and move away. It is probably the last connection we have. Her things from childhood were shipped to her without much of an acknowledgement of having received all the boxes. So the house is ours again but it needs to be with a family that can enjoy it like we certainly did for many years. I was going through all the jewelry I saved for her from family past and present. I had taken so much time making sure the pieces were left with love notes. 🙂 Geepers, I almost teared up. I don’t know what to do with this stuff now! With all my love to you, the ones who have endured and are learning to overcome. Blessings, we must carry on. God Bless. A

  5. Sunnyside2019

    I wish I and everyone on this site could just have this pain from the estrangement end and disappear but of course this will always be with us. It may take some time for us to heal, but with support and help I am sure we will get the healing we need and not feel so alone and hopefully restored. Thank all of you for being here.

  6. Roseanne M.

    It is almost 5 years now since we have seen our daughter, husband and grandsons.The baby we have never met.
    I have beaten ourselves up over this. My husband is sick and she sent an email to see if it is hereditary .he has been hospitalized and nothing.
    So, I know we did the best we can.We have always been there for her.We have tried opening the door and she just slams it in our face.
    Normal humans want to be loved and have contact with their parents. This abuse is not normal behavior.I can’t say that I am perfect, but I am not a bad person. She is almost 40 years old.She is not a child.This is on her. I don’t understand it.Her life Her choice.Yes it hurts that they are not in our lives.I am at a point now that I am not sure I want them in my life.I am finding me, and I like myself.God bless us all.The pain these children cause is unreal.The holidays are always hard.Life is hard.

    1. Sachi

      I’m feeling much like you about mine. It’s abuse and very abnormal behaviour. She doesn’t want resolution. Better to blame it all on me. Doesn’t even acknowledge a heart felt apology. I don’t think I want her in my life any more. I moved to another city and have just completed my degree.
      The stress of it all with her made me pile on a truckload of weight. I’m focusing on getting my health and vitality back and lose the weight from food choices I can make on a permanent basis. I’m done with her.

  7. Sarah

    Thank you Sheri for the lovely thoughts and inspiration , i have been estranged 9 years now and still feel the terrible raw pain but i have started to really live again and put my energy into positive actions. I am not a bad person and you have helped realise that after so many years. I keep my book Done with Crying by my bed its such a great reference particularly on dark days yes i still have them of course! Covid put us all in a different mindset too and i feel more of us focus on the really important things in life. Thank you thank you thank you for everything and always . Sarah ( nottingham Uk )

  8. Claire H.

    Thank you again Sheri for reminding me that I am not a bad person. I made some critical mistakes, the most important one being that I unknowingly married a sociopath and had two children with him. After escaping an abusive marriage of twelve years, I lost both of my beautiful sons in the divorce due to their father training them to hate me. That was in 1998. It helps to know they don’t like me. Who wants to make efforts to get someone to like them? Very unreasonable. Holidays and birthdays for the past 20 years have been extremely difficult, but I think I turned a corner this past holiday season, much to your encouragement. I can finally say to myself that I wish I never had children…they have caused me so much deep and lasting pain. I am looking forward to this year being free of waiting for them to wake up and realize they have a mother who loves them dearly. I am aware I need to fill the void in my heart with fun activities, new adventures, and the empty space will fill up with happiness and love from other sources. Thank you for giving me a safe place that I can know I am not alone.

    1. rparents Post author

      You’re welcome, Claire. I’m sorry that you have had such horrible circumstances. Parents who turn their own kids against the other parent who is kind and loving deserve a special place in H – E – double hockey sticks!
      Please laugh. I mean no harm.

      HUGS to you,
      Sheri McGregor

    2. sharon a.

      So sorry Claire. My ex (also a Sociopath) did the exact same thing to my youngest son 12 years ago. My son just stopped talking to me (although everyone thought he was my favorite). I learned later that my ex was having an affair with his “ho” worker and this was his way of hurting me further. I have actually heard some of the things that my son accuses me of… and they are absolutely untrue! Yes, I know that these statements came from his father. His father has used his son as his “pawn”.
      We divorced in 2016. I also have a grandson that I have never met, and I send (unacknowledged) cards and gifts on birthdays and holidays. The absolute biggest kick in the gut is the fact that my grandson was given my “ex’s” name as his middle name. Yes, adultery is to be honored!

    3. Lorraine

      Hi. I am new to this . From the UK
      I got out of a 13 year abusive marriage and move away, I never made contact difficult infact I realise I allowed his disrespect of me to follow me I never caused issues thought I did the right thing letting them have contact with their fathet and his family . I was wrong . I have put up with appalling treatment from my 2 middle boys . They have now decided I cant see my grandchildren they treat me , their sister and older brother with contempt. I feel broken from years of walking on egg shells my other two kids have had enough and never want contact with their brothers again. I am a single mum , I over invested in my kids as I only had them this site gives me a small glimmer of hope that i can survive this .

    4. Sachi

      My children’s father is a sociopath too. He trained the kids. Married to him for 15 years. I’ve decided to just move on. My son gives me scraps and any calling him on hurtful behaviour results in ghosting. This year I made no contact on New Years and muted him on messenger. It’s a walking on eggshells relationship I can’t do any more. That family don’t want resolution. It’s easier for them to direct all blame on me. I feel the same…. wished I never had kids. This year will be about making new connections and looking after me.

    5. Jeanne

      I kept telling my kids that their father had lied about me and turned them against me. They swear it is ME and say “stop talking about dad..its you”….yet I KNOW that their dad is a narcissist and my middle daughter is one as well…who has turned my son against me and my oldest daughter is just very cold to me. I don’t mind looking at myself and making amends…and I have tried to do that for years. They have no heart and treat me as if I am undeserving of kindness, compassion for my past mistakes and yet I am there for them to babysit my grandbabies. I always show up for them..eager to help..and full of complements and sometimes food…plan all our get togethers (they make no effort). I finally decided to go grey rock emotionally and just spend time with my grandchildren. I simply walk out of my daughters house with a goodbye and I don’t talk to her while I’m there. It feels unnatural to me.I finally realized that I will never be the Mothers Day card Mom…although I KNOW I deserve to be!!

  9. Candy Austin

    First of all, I would like to say how appreciative I am for Sheri’s site for rejected parents like us. It is a ‘heart-wrenching estrangement battle’ that I would not wish on anyone. As a writer for Rapture Ready I would like to share my recent article concerning this site as a ‘soft landing spot’ for parents hurting like us. Here is the link: It is so very important for hurting parents to have a place where we can share our ‘angst and grief’ without being judged and ostracized. Once again, thank you Sheri for this avenue and just know my prayers are with ‘all fellow well-meaning parents going through this Last Days phenomena’. Thank you also to those who pray for us as well.. lifting up our 2 girls ages 27 and 22, who to this day still don’t answer our texts, emails, cards, and/or letters. My prayer is that they will come back to the LORD before it is too late.. He is the only one who can change minds and hearts.. if only they will let Him. Bottom line fellow rejected parents, just know that you did the best you could with what you had at the time and that we ultimately cannot make anyone ‘love or respect us’ no matter how much we may have done for our self entitled kids.. the best I know is to give it all to the LORD and in this devastating process, God’s Words have been like a healing balm for my soul. (((2 Corinthians 1:3-4 Blessed be God, even the Father of our LORD Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.)))

  10. Diane

    If you have young grandchildren, you don’t know for sure, how they will be. When they get older, it may be easier for them to contact you. Hopefully, they will mature and want to have contact with you. We all must realize that while we were not “perfect” parents, we did the best we could. There are no perfect parents out there. And we do have value. Enjoy other family members, friends and neighbors that like you just for who you are. Why do we try so hard, to win some over (like our estranged daughters or sons) when it’s so easy with others? Please, be gentle with yourself and be with others that want to be with you. And take note of all that really enjoy being with you. Who knows what the future will bring? We must continue to enjoy life in the meantime.

  11. Paula

    I returned to your site after three years when my son decided to estrange me again. I’d forgotten how my story is told over and over again by other parents. I believed for so many years that I had been a terrible parent. The egg shell walks and constant criticism. I finally realized this Christmas, after I met his new girlfriend via ZOOM that the next round was coming. I saw it in his eyes. The day after new years I received the familiar email; ” I need some space.” So, I’m giving him space and rethinking what could be my next terror ride up the carousel of abuse. He’ll go the distance with this girl, they’ll have a child, I’ll get attached and get dumped again. The stories I’ve read about no contact with grandchildren on this site are a premonition for what’s next in this tumultuous relationship. So, I’ve decided to be proactive and disengage. Set my boundaries. Take calls when i feel like it and not out of fear. I have lived in fear for too long. Taking whatever concession time he throws my way. It’s abusive alright. In some ways I am more angry at myself for allowing him to treat me this way. In fact I took a big risk recently to travel to help him move into his new house. i slaved for 2 1/2 weeks to help him set up his new home. I cooked home made meals that he thoroughly enjoyed. I thought it was a good visit, returned home completely exhausted and after new years I get the boot. Wake up the voice in my head told me a few days ago. You’re a commodity. I have been trying to gain his approval for years. it will never happen. He disrespects me because I’ve allowed him to treat me like a dog. No more. No more.

    1. Hope


      Good for you! LOVE the way you wtite
      Short and to the point.

      This is what ive said to myself over and over.
      All the times i put up with her disrespect.
      Ive always been a people pleaser. She even criticizes me for that too.

      I kept thinking if i do this then that. Raised her alone
      Worked and helped her at anytime. No appreciation for anything. I regret not taking her to therapy when it all began. I kept making excuses for her.

      Im tired of trying and getting hurt. One thing for sure its all one sided.

    2. Helen

      This is so sad to read. I hope you have mustered enough courage to move past this. I know it is hard but no one deserves to be treated so carelessly. You must persevere. Hold you own. Love is a two way street. You must not stoop this low anymore. It is time for self love. It is time to get past this. You must not retract and keep on going forward. Breath. God is with you. Its okay you will be better on your own. God Bless

    3. Missingwhatwas

      Paul , what you wrote really resonated with me. Thank you for sharing.
      I am so glad you found the strength to draw a line and value yourself for
      more than a service provider to your son !

      I believe we are seduced by the idea we can recreate what we once had if we love them enough and dont expect too much in return. It is so hard to really accept the reality before our eyes.

      I haven’t had communication from my middle child for 3 years. She is going to be 30 soon.
      i thought perhaps the passage of time would heal the minor disagreements which led to her casting me aside. I thought it would get better as she matured .
      At Christmas my youngest sons girlfriend told my partner that my daughter has been posting hateful things about me on social media. She is currently blaming me for a terrible childhood and claiming i have a mental illness !
      There seems no correlation between the bright but troublesome teenager and the daughter who was close and used to love being with me, her mothers day cards, thanking me for all i did for her, believing in her as a teenager when she went through a tough patch and that she hopes to be like me later in life….
      I have now accepted that person/ that dream is never coming back
      It has made me re-evaluate the likelihood of any re- concilliation.
      Letting go has to be easier long term than enduring repeated rejection.

  12. Hope


    What a way to put it…….ALONE!
    Exactly how i feel

    It has nothing to do with your worth. It is all on them. Sounds like they have no respect for you
    And are taking advantage of your kindness.
    I have several friends who are being done the same way. They will not stand up to their kids because of the grand babies. They get blackmailed.

    Mine are not here but when they are i feel invisible.
    I am only allowed to listen to them talk about their life and friends or their dad. If i try to talk i get ignored or talked over. Usually im so worried about upsetting them that i cant even think.
    Our fears are the same. My ED has my only gb who is not even a year old. Im not even allowed to keep her. No reason ever given.

    ED is so disrespectful and self absorbed.
    I know that gb will never have a relationship with me except on ED terms. I also know older gb gets harder it will be. Im torn between accepting what i get and just giving up for good on being in their life.

    You sound like a sweet grandma maybe your girls will treat you better than their parents do.

    Hugs to you!

    1. Diane

      My situation was just the opposite. I did see my two oldest grandkids as babies and bought them a lot of things. I didn’t see my youngest grandson at all when he was a baby. Now they are ages 23,21 and 14. I have no communication from them. They don’t even buy me simple cards. My daughter still signs all their names on any cards for holidays or my BD. I have no idea why. My daughter emails me only once a week and it’s only about things, like the weather. She answers none of my questions, when I email her back. I’ve asked for family pictures plus one of her two new puppies. No answer. I wish I knew WHY. But I’m almost 70 y/o and I cannot put my life on hold, waiting and hoping to see or hear from them. I have many questions like, “did I do something to cause this?” I may never know. I do think of this as abuse. She does live out-of-state and expects me to drive 4 hours to get to their home. I can’t drive that far! My son-in-law said to have someone drive me there, wait for me in a motel, and then take me back home. That is absolutely ridiculous! So, I’m trying to “stay in my own life.” It’s hard but there is nothing I can do. I used to say, “the ball’s in their court.” But really, it’s in my court insofar as how much I let them affect me. Happy New Year. May we all enjoy our own lives.

  13. Jane Ann

    Reading all your comments above, I too feel so empty and aching inside. I’ve had a “partial” estrangement from my only daughter, my oldest child, since she married 19 years ago. My husband and I have four beautiful grandchildren whom we love with all our hearts, yet our daughter controls all the communication and visits. We’ve had to “schedule” phone calls to them for years now, and if we call spontaneously, my daughter never picks up. Emails, letters, texts go unanswered for weeks, or never. I received an email in 2014 from her, out of the blue, asking me not to contact her or tell anyone of it, and that she would arrange communication with our grandchildren. She said in this email that as her mother, I “was not there for her.” This was a total blow, a shock to me, and I cannot tell you the number of hours and sleepless nights I’ve laid there, wondering what I did or didn’t do that was wrong. The guilt and shame we place on ourselves is unbearable at times, and most likely unwarranted. My perception of being a mother is so very opposite of her perception of me. My son, her younger brother, and I are very close and get along beautifully. He, as well as my extended family, see her cold distance, and do not understand it either. I’ve practically begged her for an answer, “Why?’ — but she doesn’t give me an answer. When we do see her, it is as though she feels annoyed to see us. We, too, do not feel “worthy” in her eyes. Such sorrow, such grief, especially in this time of the pandemic. Never, never how I imagined my life as a mother and grandmother would be. Sorry this is so long… as one said above, the sorrow may never leave, but I am learning to “stop the crying” and move on. Thanks to you, Sheri!

    1. Sandy F.

      My story is similar to yours in that we have no idea why my son decided he wanted nothing to do with his family. My son has been estranged from me, my husband and his sister for almost three years. He lives an hour away from us and the only thing we know about him is where he works and that he travels a lot for his job. My daughter does live near him and has dropped by his place of employment a couple of times and had very brief conversations with him, discussing only superficial topics. He is not rude to her but doesn’t ask any questions about us or her family. This is the only connection my daughter has with him as he never answers her texts or phone calls. He is invited to her son’s birthday party every year but never comes. The only communication with us is the return of a text I sent asking about a computer problem, and a short text to my husband about another topic. Like you, the question we ask ourselves is “Why?”. Both my children had a happy upbringing in our home. When my son moved out of state for another job, things still seemed fine until shortly before he moved back to our area. We know about some of the issues but they didn’t apply to our relationship, so we don’t know why he decided he no longer wanted to be part of our lives. We just want an answer. There is nothing that he can say that would make us stop loving him. If he would just talk with us, I think maybe we could end this but his stubbornness, pride, or things that he doesn’t want us to know is stopping us. I never give up hope but the more time that goes by, the less likely I think my prodigal son will come back to us.

  14. Mom of 3

    I’ve been coming to this site for several years, but never leave comment. I read others as it helps me to not feel so alone in such a surreal circumstance. I’m a married mother of 3. My husband and I have been married over 20 years and we have an ED of 2.5 years. What seems hard for me to find and relate to is that most parents on here, their kids are all grown. Our eldest left us and I’m trying still to piece back together my life with 2 younger siblings at home. Trying to heal one’s self and watch out for estranged younger siblings is heartbreaking. I don’t want my emotions to influence them or impact them. Our ED lives in the same town and has little to no contact with the majority of the family. When she has contacted me it’s full of rage and venom. She has yet to say what we did to cause this but very clearly blames us. She has thrown accusations out to other family members of how we have wronged her, accusing of stalking, putting a restraining order against her and her fearing for her safety. We are both public faces in our community and putting one foot in front of the other is beyond challenging. My parents have thrown off handed extremely hurtful comments our way. And now I’m at a crossroads of departing their lives for my own mental health. It’s a ravaging feeling to do to another parent what you’ve had done to yourself. They have little to no empathy for us and have even said our emotions get in the way. I’ve read the book and the first time couldn’t get through it fast enough. The 2nd time I just found myself enraged. I have a lot of anger. I’m a wife, a mother to 2 at home, work full time and I’m held to higher standards than anyone else in our extended family. We were all so very close until our daughter graduated, “flipped her lid” and left home. Now we are a shattered family and I’m being presented with more responsibility than I deserve. Relationships take compromise, communication and commitment. I’m not receiving that from anyone outside my home. I feel as though they’re chipping away at the very foundation of what is me. And I was side struck to have even gotten here to begin with. My daughter led me to believe we were very close. All the while lying about everything she was doing. Thank you for sharing your stories. I’d hate for anyone to have to go through this but it does help a bit to know we aren’t alone. My goal is to someday be “on the other side” of this and be able to help anyone else struggling like I have.

    1. Kari

      Wow … I so can relate to you . I can’t even imagine going through what your going through with your daughter and then having your parents throw you under bus too….. sooooooooo dang hard ! I also have 3 kids left at home and my daughter ” flipped a switch ” as well as soon as she left house . We were super close as mother and daughter ,and a super close family as well . I really think there is something to be said about the pressure a first born child feels . I feel they put a tremendous amount of pressure on themselves and never feel as though they can measure up . They never feel good enough , and project their lack of love for themselves onto us . We become the problem , because if we are the problem they have no accountability. Makes it easier for them to blame then look inside and take responsibility. Not saying I’m perfect cuz I’m far from it , but all the I love you’s don’t mean crap to someone who genuinely doesn’t love themselves .. you can’t give what you don’t have … haven’t seen my own daughter for a year , 3 months , and 6 days 🙁

  15. Fran M.

    I fall into the “entirely estranged” category, for about 7 years now. Just want to say how much I appreciate your newsletters and articles, Sheri. It really helps me to read them and feel supported, and encouraged to do self-care and to make gradual improvements in my being able to move past the pain. Thanks!

  16. Dana

    Thank you for sharing your stories and feelings. I’ve been on a merry go round with my only child… a daughter who will be 46 this month for the last 20 years. I do not have contact with my siblings either. And I’ve been divorced and alone since my daughter was 5. I didn’t want to re-marry so I could save my daughter from any more issues than her parents divorce. When she met her husband to be things changed and as long as I say and do and behave the way they want then I am not shunned. The problem is I am a smart, thoughtful, engaged and very loving and generous person who does have opinions that are different spiritually and politically and when I spoke up – and disagreed – I was banned. I had to choose being true to myself or them. I believed my daughter is emotionally and verbally and at times physically abusive with her children and husband and certainly me. I lived with them for 2 weeks a couple years ago in order to help my daughter …. I was sort of the Nanny while her husband was out of the country. She doesn’t work outside the home so in order to keep doing her own thing…. I was called on to be mother’s helper. I was afraid many times because of her moods and temper. After I left I was brave enough to tell her I thought she needed to get some help. Of course I was ready for the response. She has always been in control of the relationship and calls the shots. I stood my ground and knew what would happen and don’t regret it because I could no longer be her pawn. It’s been a year now and in the 20 years I’ve been in and out. My relationship with my 4 grandchildren is beautiful and loving and always was and is. I don’t know what she tells them. The worst is that the gifts I send to them are returned. I have moved on as best I can. But, I have no hope. I can’t delude myself and suffer heartbreak. It’s a miracle my heart keeps beating so now I protect it. I feel the pain and loneliness of all of you. My anger is gone for the most part and for that I am grateful. I just go on.

    1. Hope

      Wow Dana!
      You are one strong lady! You deserve better!
      WE all do! 20 years…..i cant imagine but it sure feels thats where im headed.

      Our issues started few years back with the past year being the most estranged and not because of covid.
      My D sounds so much like yours and she is only 30
      With my only gb. Oh my gah the similarities!

      She is nothing like the daughter i had. People who know us both can not believe she is the way she is.
      I too was a single parent. She just about hates every view i have on anything. Im barely allowed to speak. She never comes around. When she does it makes me physically sick. It is that bad. She has controlled me for a long time trying not to upset her.
      I was helping her anytime i could outside of my job and she lives out of town……with baby. She doesnt work either. Thought i Was being supportive and loving. She was so hateful to me that i had to stop going. Then told everyone that i cut her out of my life.

      Stay true to yourself! You are smart!
      I wish i could do the same. I think the saddest feeling for me is that i hurt more being near her than i do being away from her. Im ready to get off
      Her merry go round already.

      Hope you have a good week!

  17. Susan T

    Thank you for your comforting words and thoughtful actions to take. Four years after my son and daughter in law removed themselves and our grandchildren from our lives, much grief counseling, much praying, and digging deep in side myself, among other things, even in this Covid time, I have some peace in my heart as I allow myself to accept that I have no control in this situation except in how I respond and live my life.
    Thankfully, I’m no longer devastated, but I have a deep sadness in my heart. I’m expecting that to never subside.
    The holidays and the grand kids’ birthdays are most difficult, but we do send a gift to them hoping to let them know we think of them often, are always here and always will be, no matter what. They are innocent casualties in this situation.
    Hugs to all who are going through this. May you be able to find some sort of peace in your heart, in whatever healthy ways you are able.
    Take care. Here is to a fresh new year.

    1. Kelly P

      Hello, I am sorry to hear about your sadness but I somehow feel like it’s comforting to know I am not the only one going through this sort of thing. All three of my adult children are estranged from me. What are the chances of that? I, too, feel great sadness over this, have written letters to make amends and ask that we “turn the page”. I will never get over the lack of respect and sorrow but see it as a challenge within myself to live the rest of my life with joy and dignity.

    2. Claudia D.

      Your situation is so like mine. It’s been 5 years for me… I think of my son and his family often. Holidays, birthdays, their anniversary – all are hard for me. I don’t send cards, letters or gifts, since I’m pretty sure they will be thrown out or returned. My grandchildren are 6 and 4. I have never seen my grandson. I often wonder what they tell the other family (hers) why I’m not in the picture. Up until the day he told me to never contact him or his family, I thought all was well. My son has his PhD, his wife her Masters in education. Her parents are well educated – her father is an author. I have wracked my brain trying to come up with what I could have possibly done that was so horrible that they couldn’t have at least sat down and talked to me about it. He is still in contact with his sister and his father. (We divorced almost 30 years ago) I have been so surprised at how many parents find themselves in the same situation. Many people tell me I should still try to contact him. Frankly, I’m worried that if we ever get back together, that he will do it again, and I don’t ever want to go through that again!

    3. Robert

      Hi Susan,

      Happy New Year. I gather from your post you’re farther along in this dark walk than we are. We lost contact with our son several years back, a couple of years into his marriage. We have never met our only grandchild who is now 2.5. The sadness is worst around Christmas and Birthdays as we miss our son, Grandchild, and think of what might have been. I still hold out hope of some reconciliation, but know that things will never be what they could have been.

      I don’t wish to read more into your post than what was written, but was your estrangement due to your child’s spouse. I am mystified how one-half of a marriage turns the other against their existing family. One has to assume that will take a toll in their relationship at some point down the road.

      I hope things change for the better for both of us in 21.

    4. Kari

      I understand you completely. I’m a mother of 4 . My oldest left and really never looked back . She is on husband #2 and he is worse then the first one . She needs her time and I feel at times the faster I let go the better she will get . I have to move on for my other 3 kids and also for myself . I’m over feeling bad and Shamed. I’m not ashamed of how I was as a parent . To be honest my biggest regret is doing to much . I should of backed off sooner but even with that being said I was super loving and supportive . She sees it differently and their is nothing I can do about it . Here ‘s to a beginning with new happy memories and lots of positive energy ! I want to live dang it ! Tired of her controlling every part of my life with toxic behavior… I think I’m still angry ! lol. Will work on that !

    5. Rebecca

      Hi Susan .
      I read your post and your words stayed with me .
      I’m no longer devastated but I have a great sadness in my heart .
      I’ve been completely devastated where I couldn’t eat , sleep or function properly . You must have been like that too .
      After 6 weeks of medication I said I’d never have but I really needed it and Sheri’s book , I’m starting to function and I think will always have that great sadness in my heart .
      Let’s hope for a better year
      Love Rebecca x

    6. Gene

      Susan (and Robert and others)….never underestimate the power your child’s spouse wields over them. In our case we knew for many years that despite our son being given plenty of unconditional love in his youth, he seemed unable to reciprocate and that he also held back on his emotions. He rarely smiled or laughed and was never sad, not even when (as a teenager) his grandfather died or his dog was lost for a week. At first I thought this might have been his desire to put on a brave front but in hindsight I see it was something else….a lack of empathy. This didn’t affect the extended family so much while he lived at home. Communication was good between us and he graduated from College and entered the work force. But enter his high functioning BPD wife who became by default the dominant personality in their marriage. Perceiving each and every member of his family as a rival for his attention she demanded that he go “no contact” with all of us. As he feels little or nothing for any of us and does not have the emotional maturity to deal with the situation with his wife he took the easy way out and agreed to go no contact. So parents, try not to beat yourself up too badly over what you did or didn’t do. So very often by using various means it’s your adult child’s spouse calling the shots.

    7. Gardencookie

      This is my first post.
      Susan, I identify Totally with you.
      I do have a daughter and son in law and their family who support and love me.
      I pray daily for God’s grace and his protection over my son and his family. I tried for several years to understand his daughter’s manipulation of his family to no end. She has alienated my daughter and her family, too. I know in my heart my son loves me. I also know there’s a possibility that I won’t live to see a repair to the damage being done. I’m 74 and have heart and lung disease. My son hasn’t spoken to me in 4 years. I realize he has been put in the middle and had to make a choice.
      I’m fortunate to have other friends and family who support me. Love to all

  18. RR

    I am an estranged parent for the past 20 years with an only child. My husband and I don’t see eye to eye on most things. In fact it is this discord and constant clashes that have led to the child blaming themselves. I was not able to walk out of the marriage for various reasons. Now I’m leading this lonely life but trying to make the best of it. It’s really hard sometimes but I’m so happy this forum exists. I can see my pain reflected in so many other letters and I feel sad we are having to go thru this stage in life. Thanks Sheri for taking this initiative

  19. Paula

    Estrangement has come around again. It’s been an ongoing pattern with my adult son for years. He comes around when his life falls apart. Of course my door is always open. He sucks up my love, my energy and then casts me aside like a dog of fleas. Over the years it has hurt in varying degrees, depending where I was in my life. This last round has left me more angry than sad. Bottom line, it’s never going to work. It will always be an egg shell walk. There is too much baggage. He’s 45 years old, unmarried, successful in his job, has a dog, and is relatively healthy. He’s alienated his sister, his father and me repeatedly over the years. How I blamed myself. How I cried. How I allowed myself to become his emotional yo yo. Well, I’m done. I’ll 66 and retired now. And for once, it’s going to be about me. Fly away little bird and stay away. Mama done quit.

    1. Sandra F.

      Wow !! I find my pain in so many of you dear people . Thank God for Sheri !!!! Some days are impossible for me. I have an ill husband, one son and grandkids estranged because of his wife’s wealth. One son emotionally disrespectful and in and out of our lives, and a sister with Cerebral Palsy. I spend my nights thinking of ways to help them. In the morning I’m worried about all of them. Thanks for the letters. I realize I have to change.

    2. Shirley C.

      Paul, your life sounds a bit like what I’ve been living the past 25+ years with my oldest son. I still spend endless hours blaming myself for the situation between him, myself and my husband but then the anger overtakes me again. I know with all my heart that our relationship will be nothing more than it is right now and while that makes me sad I know that I have to accept it and move on.

  20. Anne F.

    Thank you for all these words of wisdom. They truly do help. My two grown sons are estranged from both my husband and myself. Raised in a loving home, supported all through their education with no student loans, however, now totally estranged due to attitudes that totally differ from parents.
    They have been very successful, financial wise, but have no empathy. Am I wrong to feel “ill feelings” to my son, a financial adviser, who invested retirement funds in oil and gas and we have lost nearly $100 k and he drives around in very expensive sports cars, etc etc ? I do feel guilty for feeling this way but can’t help it. I have tried to broach the subject, but now we are totally estranged, and my husband and I have to count pennies. We were his first client, as that’s what you do for your children. He told us “leave me alone, I will make you money”. That certainly hasn’t happened. All over money …. BTW, my two sons also own lots of properties, etc. multi millionaires and I would just like to not worry about retirement funds. If I had to do it over again, I would say “no” to being your child’s client on financial areas.

    1. rparents Post author

      Dear Anne,
      You have nothing to feel guilty about. Your feelings are valid. Let me say it again: YOUR FEELINGS ARE VALID. If this was anyone other than you son who lost your money, you would not feel bad for your feelings.

      I also want to say that this last part you mention, about saying “no” to being your child’s client. Well, yes. I’m really glad you said it, and I know that others will find this tidbit of use.

      HUGS to you,
      Sheri McGregor

  21. Linda

    It’s into January now didn’t hear a peep fro my oldest I think that’s 4 yrs. missing the grandkids of course. And my youngest would always text or say something on social media but since she married this guy two yrs ago it’s silent. She got mad at me for getting upset when he called their two yr a bastard for getting into stuff. He has the worst temper I ever saw. He steals and lies. Since that day of saying don’t call him that she said I was against her. Didn’t matter what my defense was. But she doesn’t communicate
    Another one bites me

    1. Kimberley S.

      I remember when our parent’s advice usually meant something. We might not have agreed but we didn’t shut them out. I am 63 and if I had listened to my mother when she told me I was smarter than my high school boyfriend, I might not be in this mess, but I could be in another mess, who knows? Anyway, I didn’t listen to her wise words. I thought all he needed was someone to love him and build up his self-esteem. I always picked up strays. Married him at 21, had two daughters, divorced, he died of alcoholism, and now no one in my family speaks to me. Long story. My first thought was, damned if you do and damned if you don’t. If you say something you get shunned. If you don’t you didn’t protect them enough. Honestly, is it just my imagination or is this how this generation solves all their problems? By just shunning those they don’t agree with? Pretty soon they won’t have anyone left to shun. I am sorry for your pain, I know what you are going through. My only “family” are my friends, my dogs, and my in-laws and adult step-children. My family is shunning all them also. Sad on so many levels.

  22. Caroline D.

    Thank you so much for a soft place to land and post a comment in the midst of a crazy world! My ex partner died suddenly in hospice at the end of last year, and my estranged adult daughter went to see him 2 or 3 days prior to that. He had been her stepfather for more than 10 years. I have sent many texts, tried phoning her, and no reply these past 4 years … Now we are in 2021 I have turned yet another corner” and I have decided to put my resources into fulfilling my own dreams, my favourite things, and getting involved with singing, dancing, theatre, and oh, so many things bottled up for years. I said goodbye to my ex and my old life. I’m moving on at last!
    Thanks Sheri. Laughter and lightness to you, and to you all out there who have been through so much sadness.

    With love

    1. rparents Post author

      Caroline, you said “ex” partner, but I will offer my condolences anyway. Beyond that … I am so happy to hear that you have decided to put your energy and time to good, fulfilling use! Yes, open up the bottle and let it all FLOW out. You will fill the world with joy!

      HUGS and happy New Year!
      Sheri McGregor

    2. Kimberley S.

      Hip Hip Hooray for you Caroline! I have plans when it is safe to be with people again. I want to get involved in our community theatre when it opens again. I miss live music and dancing! I miss my husband playing his guitar all the time. I miss everything about him but am so grateful for what he taught me. I am so lucky to have been loved by such an amazing and kind human being. He left the party too soon. I have a long list of affirmations that help keep going. One is, some people are meant to be in your heart but not in your life. Gotta dance!

  23. Kimberley S.

    Perpetual terminal grief. A day before my husband died after 11 months of suffering from an esophagectomy my two daughters and my sister, their spouses all cut me off. While he was sick I begged for them to call to come and support us but instead they blocked my calls and told me I could only see my grandchildren for three days at a time. Devastated doesn’t even describe my feelings. They have slandered me to me step children and friends. This two year silence on top of a pandemic is taking all my motivation away. There is no joy or happiness. I go to therapy, I try to stay positive and do all the things estranged parents are supposed to do. But I am alone. My marriage was a gift, my husband was loving and understood my family better than I did. My family adored him, but not me. Once I was the center of my daughters’ lives. I babysat all the time. My husband and I moved to our retirement home in a mountain village and had many plans for our family to get together. Then he got cancer and I expected support via phone calls but my sister never called and one daughter did occasionally and the other didn’t. He died and there has been no contact for over a year. My sister sent a sy8card. No one from my family has contacted me on birthdays or holidays. I know they are hurtful people and I should just walk away with peace and love but I can’t. We were always close, but for the last 14 years my oldest daughter has been telling my sister and others lies about their childhood. The children are always believed and the mother is always at fault. I know I was a good mother, I was a career mom, but this abuse from my so called family is unbearable. They say they love me but then they tell my in-laws that I am a narcissist. Mind you I cared for my dying mother, mother-in-law, and my husband. I watched all three die. Three therapists have said I do not have a personality disorder and I am not bi-polar yet my family who haven’t had any instruction in psychology are diagnosing me and telling people I have BPD which is very serious. I watch a lot of TV to distract my painful thoughts, I walk, I exercise but there is no comfort in it. Perpetual grief hangs around my heart like a stone. At times my heart actually hurts. I t is so broken I don’t know how it is still together. I wasn’t perfect but I don’t deserve this. I want to go to sleep without dreams and never wake up. I am alive, but this is not living, this 24/7 torture. In my state I could be euthanized for a terminal disease but mental anguish is as painful as any disease and if I could be euthanized for terminal grief I would. I can’t do this for much longer. I am 63 and had the best life ever or so I thought until my sweet man left. I am broken alone and have lost the love of my life. Your book does not help, nothing does. I have no desire to live like this. Maybe when I can visit my friends I will feel better but until then my dog is my companion. She makes me get out of bed each day. She needs me and that is the only reason I remain here.

    1. candleinthewind

      Hello. I’m glad you have a dog. I don’t, but I’ve got a teddy bear who is brilliant. He knows everything about everything and doesn’t mind if I manage to do exercises from Sheri’s book or not, or get dressed, or daydream about days gone by etc. I am also 63. Just recently I’ve had a health scare which could be serious, and actually I found it a relief because, prior to that, I was wondering how I could bear another potential 30 years of the same kind of ‘living’. It’s helped me focus on the moment, and taken away the burden of a future without so much of what I would appear to need. I think the burden of trying to feel better is too much. Sometimes (and I’ll no doubt be shouted down for this) I have ‘dead days’ when I imagine I’m dead, so as to take the pressure off trying to make sense of the nonsense. It’s too much trying to right the wrongs. Although today I did order some nice rose quartz from Etsy, as suggested by Sheri, and bought myself some orange roses from the supermarket (a mere £1.99 from Lidl), and made a little pavlova. It’s tough realising that family and friends are 99% useless in helping with estrangement, and that nearly all the work comes from myself. Thank God for the birds that sing regardless of how well I’m doing, for the moon and all things in nature, for music and song, which helps me. Good companions, as you say about your dog. I’m also reading a book called ‘Mr Unavailable & the Fallback Girl’ by Natalie Lue, which in no uncertain terms spells out about how much energy we waste on relationships that give back nothing. Happy days indeed.

    2. Carrie-Ann

      Dear Precious Kimberly,
      Thank You for opening your Heart…Thank God for your Doggie…Just breathe one breath at a time, one moment at a time, take your walks, love and hold your doggie…Let the thoughts, emotions, feelings, pain, etc. all come, and let them go…just breathe…I am hugging you in Spirit…You are a Loving, Caring, Intelligent, Capable, and Beautiful Being…Be Your Own Best Friend…May therapy offer you Light, Comfort, Strength, and some semblance of Acceptance…You deserve to be here…You deserve to be happy…Live in Celebration for your husband and the time you had together…He is still with you in Spirit…All things pass…The pain and loneliness will too…
      If you’re up to it, there is a movie on Netflix called “Afterlife”…Your words reminded me of the main character in the movie…He said all that kept him going was having to feed the dog…His wife died of cancer…They too had a Beautiful relationship…He also cared for his dying father…He has a therapist that needs therapy himself…He meets an older lady at the cemetery where he visits daily…she too has lost her husband…They chat and reflect regularly sitting on a bench…It is a touching and funny movie…
      Kimberly, I find laughter so healing…in dealing with this crazy thing called “Life.” It creates some space for one to let go…One thing I know about Life, is that one never knows what’s around the next corner…It could be Wonder-Full and I surely do not want to miss it…which really drives home for me that I don’t want to miss a moment of this Life that I am Blessed with…I also realize that I do not want others around me that do not want to be around me…and I am determined to not let thoughts of lack, loss, and loneliness take my Present Moment…
      I am so happy and thankful that you found your way to this website…I recently started reading the book, and just as I signed up for this website and received the welcome e-mail letter from Beautiful Sheri, my daughter whom I had not heard from in 4-5 years, (one loses count of time after so long), she texted, “Please call me, no biggie though.” My heart lept with familiarity and joy and hope and…and…and many emotions…As well, as a “slap or cold water thrown in the face” type of familiar feeling when I read the words, “no biggie though.” For me it was a big biggie…a fantastic biggie to hear from her…But in Awareness I reminded myself not to give any of it too much power…I did call, and was pulled back into the vortex of time…My bright, intelligent, Beautiful daughter charmingly going on and on about her life, successful job, updates on the 3 grandchildren who have not been in
      my Life, the asking, as in the past, about the state of my finances, etc.. It took me back to when this happened in the past…It seemed more like a financial call…I answered her questions in a kind manner, not really offering too much personal financial information…Then, in a flash, she cheerfully said she had to go and would finish the call at a later time, but then she said she didn’t know when, as she was busy with her family…then “click” she hung-up…and I haven’t heard from her since…This call set me back, took me back to the pain, longing, loss, not understanding…to the point that I found it very difficult to read the book…So after a few weeks I ordered the book from Audible Amazon and have it on my computer and phone…So I’m listening to it in small bits…After listening to the entire book, I plan to listen again, use the workbook and book, and write answers to the questions. I think Sheri suggested one read the book through and then read again and use workbook…So, Kimberly, we are all broken, but it is up to one to not allow anyone or anything to destroy us…We take the broken pieces and make it the best Life we know how…With Love, Friendship, Kindness, and Trust, each of our lives are Magnificent Tapestries…
      In Gratitude,
      May 2021 Be a Wonderful New Year…Each Moment Is A New Beginning…

      *Here is the link to the trailer for the movie, “Afterlife”
      **Another movie that you might enjoy is the oldie…”Groundhog Day”

    3. Elizabeth

      Sending you hugs, Kimberley!! If you are strong enough, I hope you can find some ways to get out and connect with others…right now, most states are doing their utmost to deny us that, but hopefully soon that will cease…at least find ways to connect online. Some of my dearest friends I have never met in person, but are folks I communicated with online etc. If you have friends elsewhere and can go visit…do that. If not, write cards, phone calls etc. We have found some lovely families sharing their lives on YOUTUBE and we watch them regularly…it feels like family and it DOES help some. I am glad you have a dog…they are the best creatures…if we could, I would have one or two of them. If I was not caregiving my husband currently, I would at least go visit animal shelters and spend time with animals there…who knows, via your dog you might meet some other folks. You are too young to give up on life…please take care of yourself!!

    4. Judy M.

      Kimberley it hurts my heart to hear you hurting like this. I don’t really have any advice than maybe contact your friends online or on the phone if you cannot see them in person. Also try and find a group to join that centres around a common interest even a book club.
      I hope you feel better and know that I care.
      I m in Australia sending you love.

    5. Janet

      Hi Kimberly. After reading your letter I said to myself that is exactly how I feel. My daughter and have been estranged for 3and a half years. In that time I have not seen my granddaughters who are now 4 and 7. My heart is broken. My son died from an overdose 3 and a half years also and I have not been the same since. I also read Sheri!s book and it did not help. I also go to see a therapist. I find no joy in any thing. I live alone and don’t know how much longer I can do it. I pray each day for strength and some joy. I don’t have any answers. I wish that my daughter would come to her senses and a least let me see my granddaughters.

    6. rparents Post author

      Dear Kimberly,

      I am moved by the grief and pure awfulness you spell out in your note. It’s unbelievably heartbreaking to hear stories of families that put one of their own is such turmoil and torment. I’m glad you have your dog, and believe me, I know how wonderful a beautiful, loving pet is when days feel dark. I hope and pray that you will be able to visit with friends soon. Could you video call one at least? If you have a smartphone, you can find “google duo” under the google apps. It’s loaded on so many phones automatically these days–yours may have it (and it’s easy to use). It allows you to see a friend and talk.

      You know, I just want to say that you have been through a lot. Moving, and then your husband became ill and passed away, and your callous family members…. These social distancing rules make it all worse, of course. There is no magic cure, but I can’t help thinking that writing this note here, and receiving several kind responses from people who really do care, is a positive thing.

      It’s not much, but I can offer a virtual hug. It looks like this:

      With much care,
      Sheri McGregor

    7. Meg

      Dearest Kimberly. Sometimes, for their own unhealthy reasons, groups of people need a “scapegoat.” Instead of looking at their responsibilities for their own lives and then making improvements, it is easier to just find a scapegoat to dump blame upon. Sometimes, persons who are exemplary in success, kindness, and strength, show up those who lack these qualities causing jealousy and find themselves ostracized. Sometimes, the nicest people are singled out for bad treatment, because they are simply too nice. In these situations, there are usually one or two bullies who rule the rest of the group with unspoken threats that if anyone come to the rescue of the one left out, they too will get bad treatment. It is weakness, not strength, that runs this group. The other day, I read a great essay that stated, “the hallmark of evil is the inability to have empathy for others.” Sometimes we are simply dealing with evil, which cannot be understood, because evil is irrational. So don’t try to understand it, just practice self-care. Show kindness to others who are hurting, it will give you a sense of personal power and autonomy. These are just things to consider. Thought it may not change your relationship with these people who are behaving cruelly towards you, it may shed light. Please stop blaming yourself for other people’s inability to love. Be strong. Read good books for insight, and keep praying for your own peace, regardless of other people’s choices. I wish you peace in the midst of your storm. Meg

    8. Esme F.

      Dear Kimberley
      I feel your pain. I too have been labeled a narcissist , bi-polar and borderline personality disorder, which I am not, by my children. You are not alone in your feelings of helplessness, I too have been there, I believe that I was a good and loving mother, yes I had my faults but I am human. All my children have turned out well adjusted individuals with successful careers and relationships, I cannot have been that bad . However what brings our children to be so cruel and hurtful I will never be able to comprehend. What I have learned over the last three years I have been estranged from them is that I cannot change things, in taking each day as it comes, appreciating the countryside and wildlife and my beautiful collie dog Finn has brought me to a peaceful spiritual place where I feel at home within myself. Interestingly as I have grown away from my children and left them to their own issues I have noticed a gentle but small form of communication from them. I have not jumped at these, I have kept my expectations low, reminded myself of my new and peaceful way of life where judgement and criticism have no place. I have filled my life with kindness and love from old friends and family members who still wish to phone and chat. Hang on in there Kimberley , there is light at the end of the tunnel and it is about you finding yourself and learning to love yourself just the way you are. Good luck darling you are not alone. Esme xx

    9. Angela C.

      I get it 100% !!!I’ve said over n over since 2016-I wish I could’ve been euthanized rather than living this slow death sentence.At the very least you still have the most loyal companion(for 8y he was all I had) losing my lil fur son in 2016 was the final straw for my
      Then the unimaginable during covid lockdown I became displaced at 60!
      Alone and having to leave 1 of the furbabies I’d raised who kept me going after his pal my better half was gone,couldn’t stop,myunable to recover since…
      I even drove up to NY to attempt to see my 2 who threw me away -out of desperation 1 last hug..
      Afterwards I allowed my pain once again to be purposeful serving others/housing in NC,Louisana…unfortunetly there are alot of broken homes/ppl…been back in fla. attempted to find affordable rental/Houseshare nothing legitimate has surfaced.Making the most of my time at extended hotel-3mths + counting,my heart beginning it’s true descent-again I’ve tried contacting them my son has sent pics of my1st grandson born in sept,whom I’ll never meet,my daughter remains on her chosen “darkpath” God knows I showed up,and so did you and others I’ve met.Strangers along this unpredictable journey have our fate to briefly meet each other,hug and walk away that has been my only human connection.I’d been used to them not acknowledging birthdays,holidays,Me
      I’m a survivor,my daughter made me a CD yrs ago when she left for college that song was on it,they knew what I lived through before them.Sorry to go on n on,if you’d like to keep in touch please feel free…today I woke up-All else a bonus!
      As unique as these mths.have been, I think being at this very comforting hotel is a sign my mortality is just a ? of time,not worthy of putting roots down again✌
      I was born strong to endure more than my fair share…Gods choice,not mine-and as Sheri pointed out and lots of therapy n tears prove‍‍estrangement,environmentally influenced -their choice,not mine-
      Perfectly Imperfect sinner Me
      Just Mom+++,not friend…final title
      Nonna'(I’ve been sending baby Peter,pkgs.wkly.and prayed a Guardian Angel will remain with him through his journey)
      Full Version of The Serenity
      Prayer is how I adapted all these years..
      Scared now I’ll die all alone…

    10. Missy

      I can truly feel everything you are
      suffering from.
      This is how I have felt many times,
      I feel I have been arrested taken
      to jail, but no one will tell me the
      charges that I am guilty of.
      It’s taken years for me to dig deep
      and recall others actions toward
      me. I have not seen my daughter
      Only one in 4 years or our 2
      I would have to write forever
      for the way I have felt, but here’s
      the point I have come to. What
      could I have done to deserve this
      kind of punishment?
      I was a good mom and we doted
      on our grandsons, but we were
      never really got to bond with
      them, time , places, were only
      allowed to my daughter and
      her husband. Now, in their early
      20’s my husband and I do not
      exist. My point is to look back
      and see in each situation what
      your family’s actions were?
      Don’t feel guilty about this.
      This is what I should have seen
      like you and many others, I was
      the peacemaker, I looked over
      my hurt feelings, so the others
      would not have hurt feelings if
      I spoke up. Yes, I cared for everyone
      Now, I find I was liked , but loved
      very little or only because I was in
      the family. There was jealousy as
      well, small ones, put downs,
      all of the time. My mistakes just
      pretending it did not hurt, when
      it hurt like Hell!
      Every mom in this situation saysems
      I was the best mom, my answer
      yes you were as I was, it seems
      to me , that we were not the
      Mother they wanted.
      Ugly isn’t it? But in my case true.
      I have the love of a wonderful
      Husband and our Golden Retriever .
      Sometimes I don’t even believe I
      gave birth? Do I love her and the
      boys ? Of course . I wish they
      would say the same.
      No, texts, emails, Birthday cards
      etc. I have no phone numbers or
      Email addresses. I finally realized
      it would not make a difference .
      Stay as healthy in body and
      mind as you can , your dog
      loves you and depends on you.
      It will take time.Praying for you.


    11. Linda

      Dear Kimberly,
      I am also estranged from an only adult daughter. She tries to tell me that I have mental illness, when she is the one that is so moody and not stable. She reached out to reconcile after 18 months of no contact with her and our grandchildren. It was an eggshell walk as Sherri says, and now after Christmas and having received all our very generous gifts she says she is taking a break from me agin. I want to encourage you to turn to God. He is a loving Father and would welcome you with open arms. If you aren’t near a Bible believing church I would encourage you to look into a few sermons on Youtube. My two favorite are Turn Your Mistakes into Miracles by Joel Olsteen, and When Troubles Come, so Does God by Max Lucado. I also find reading the Psalms so helpful.
      You are a special person loved by God, even when you don’t feel like it. God bless you, and I will be praying for you. Linda

    12. Anon

      I am exhausted from my own journey so have few words. Please know I have experienced similar with a child telling people I am mentally ill and have a PD. I have never had either but eventually consulted a psychiatrist for some time re the issues with my estranged son. He confirmed – no mental illness or PD. I have a degree in psychology so already knew that but wanted to access top level support for the abuse I was constantly exposed to at the hands of my adult ES and family of origin. Please know you are not alone in how you’ve been treated nor in how this has impacted you. Please get professional support from a qualified professional. You are a victim of severe family abuse and will need all the help you can get to break free and heal. It’s time to redirect your loving energy toward yourself. These abusive individuals and family members don’t deserve you. Leave them to rot in their own nastiness and start afresh in your own life. There IS hope fir a better life and even happiness once you stop allowing these people into your life to abuse you. I wish you well.

    13. Kimberley S.

      Wow! Thank you all for your comments. They really helped. I wish we could all get together and have a big hug. You all spoke to my heart. I don’t know how to say this, but it feels good to know we are all in the same boat. I am so sorry for all of the pain that we are all going through. I am having a better day. I had a therapy session with my grief counselor. I know what I need to do, just sometimes a trigger will push me into the rat hole and it takes time to climb out and yes, I am so sick of crying. My therapist said today that when I see a trigger like little boys sledding which triggers me to think, “I wish I could take my grandboys sledding, but I will probably not see them again.” to write them a letter. For instance, today I saw some boys your age sledding and I thought how much fun we would have sledding.” At first, I didn’t want to do it because it would trigger me to thinking about them and down the rat hole I would go. But my therapist made a good point to retrain my brain to think that the memories or future memories can be good. But damn, this journey is lonely and so sad. I have many friends and my husband was a musician and we had house concerts. We had many talented musicians in our home and it was magical. That is over. Music is even a trigger, but I put it on and I pretend my beloved husband and I are dancing and he dips me. I can still feel his hand on my back. So I dance like no one is watching. I cry when no one is watching too, but I keep dancing. Thank you so much for your concern and advice. It means so much. BTW I signed up for the summit at the end of the month. I am looking forward to it.

    14. Kimberley S.

      Dear Sheri, I apologize for saying your book did not help. It does, sometimes the pain is so severe that there is a feeling of no control over anything. I slip into the rat hole of doom and climb out and keep walking. Thank you for writing the book, I guess I just wish I didn’t need it so badly.
      My daughters have laid down very strict boundaries. They only allowed contact via my therapist and theirs, but their therapist didn’t always reply to my therapist until recently. She told my therapist that she has not seen my daughters in months. So, no response is a response, I get it, I just can’t believe it.

  24. Elizabeth

    Tho’ it has been 3 yrs now since we saw them in person…the skype talks from time to time are eggshells enough…to the point I am not longing for in person. Mostly my grief is more for what could have been or should have been, rather than what was. You offer many very comforting ideas, Sheri…music is indeed a great solace…and hubby and I have for a few weeks been reading just before bed, a little book that is just the Psalms from the Bible…and it is indeed a comforting way to fall asleep. And we continue being grateful for whatever comes to us via our other 2 children and oh so glad we had 2 more as the first childbirth nearly took my life and my husband was afraid to have more. I convinced him I had survived possibly the worst and likely others would be easier as they indeed were. I always encourage other women to have more than 1 child… Thanks for a place to share, Sheri…I surely hope your new location continues to bring you blessings!

  25. Hope


    I love this article!

    I am in several of the situations that you described.
    That sad feeling of being estranged even though
    We are in the same room. Sometimes i think i feel more alone when they are here…..just listening
    And watching every word i say.

    Just got out of bath. Here im bundled up on my couch. I love when i first get out how i can smell
    My body wash on my skin. Here i sit feeling so clean
    With my so soft throw and my cozy socks on.

    Thank you for all the positive tips!
    Heres to 2021!

    1. Beryl C.

      I try so hard to be brave but I cry often and only manage to cover up my grief when I am busy, Four years is a long time not to see a much loved daughter and grandsons. Although I was often sad when in their company because of the way I was treated it was nothing compared to how I grieve now. Thank you to all those people feeling similarly and sharing their feelings and especially to Sheri for your support. I am always amazed that so many people can articulate their pain so accurately

    2. Campy

      This is how I feel. Alone, even though they are here. Not valued as a human being but instead a servant. My daughter and son in law make me feel disgusting. That I am not worthy as a human being.
      I understand how all of you feel. I take it just to be with my little grand girls. The saddest part is that as they grow they will see that I am not worthy and won’t want to be a part of my life.


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