Are you “stalking” an estranged adult child?

stalking estranged adult children

Lurking parents:
Are you “stalking” an estranged adult child?

By Sheri McGregor, M.A.

The last time divorced mother, Vanessa, reached out, her daughter, Lynn, replied with a string of cruel texts laced with profanity that sickened Vanessa. Lynn then blocked her. Three weeks passed before Vanessa could go half an hour without tearful rumination and worry. Something must be dreadfully wrong. Vanessa would want to help, yet Lynn had pushed her away—again.

Other than a few blips of hopeful contact that never failed to disintegrate, they’d been estranged for more than five years. Mentally and physically exhausted, Vanessa knew it was time to go with the flow. She began working in earnest to develop a satisfying new normal, and to regain her sense of humor, confidence, and joy. A year later, she was doing well. She had a new job she enjoyed, a couple of trusted friends, and had even begun to consider dating. Life looked good. Then a relative said he’d seen her daughter emerging from a church’s evangelizing van—and the cycle of longing, compulsion, and emotional distress began again.

Vanessa researched the church online and discovered they broadcast livestreams of every meeting. After seeing Lynn, dressed in a long skirt and high-neck sweater like the church sisters she hugged and sang hymns with, Vanessa hunched over the computer screen every Sunday, hoping to catch another glimpse. She’d found a window into her daughter’s life.

In hand with her daughter’s erratic pattern of high enthusiasm followed by waning interest or even sudden disdain, Vanessa wasn’t surprised when her daughter stopped showing up on screen. She must have quit attending. Still, for several weeks, Vanessa watched each meeting in full, and then stayed tuned for the laying on of hands afterward. No Lynn. On Wednesday and Friday nights, she watched the prayer meetings online, but still didn’t see her daughter.

Consumed with worry, Vanessa felt compelled to reach out. When she did, she was still blocked. The cycle of emotional distress gripped her again.

Monitoring your adult children: What’s your purpose?

Observing our children is nothing new. Most of us had regular prenatal checkups including ultrasound imagery to monitor our child’s development in utero. Later, we installed baby monitors, watched over our children on the playground, and oversaw school progress with report cards and teacher meetings. Those old parenting habits are difficult to shake … but when it comes to adult children who want little or nothing to do with us, do we have the right? Or does it boil down to parents “stalking “an estranged adult child? Maybe that depends on who you ask. But is monitoring them good for us? Or for them?

Many parents tell me they keep track of their adult children over social media, via an employer’s website, or in some other way. If you monitor your estranged adult child’s life from afar, consider this: The definition of “monitor” includes a purpose. A proctor for test takers, a security guard’s camera views to watch over a site, or a lifeguard’s function all include that element. Supervising children is a necessary part of parenting. But if your contact with an adult child is unwanted or non-existent, what’s your purpose? Maybe you feel justified or that it’s necessary to monitor them. This isn’t meant as negative judgment, just a self-check as to whether it’s good for you.

Parents following an estranged adult child online:
Could there be surprise effects?

In science, there’s a concept called “the observer effect.” Quantum physics explains this at the subatomic level, where the movement of tiny particles is altered when observed. In psychology, this effect refers to people’s behavior changing when they are observed. Researchers seek to minimize the effect by using unobtrusive methods. What’s this have to do with monitoring your estranged adult children? In today’s world of internet cookies and algorithms, your observations may not be unobtrusive. Your estranged adult child’s online experience may be affected by yours.

Have you ever done a search for some product or need—and discovered that an advertisement shows up for that very thing the next few times you browse, even on unrelated websites? It can feel like you’re being stalked. Have you ever signed onto a social media platform and seen a friend recommendation for someone you don’t know? Chances are they’re connected to you in some way. Maybe a friend of a friend clicked on your picture when you liked a post. Or an inadvertent “like” of a shared meme shaped an algorithm and put you in a mutual categorical slot. Is it possible that our monitoring of an adult child’s social media puts us on their radar? Are we suggested as a “friend”? Do our internet pathways link us in ways that affect the ads they see, or who might be suggested to them? And if so, do they think of us in negative ways? (Mom must be stalking me again.)

I’ve seen threads on estranged adult children’s forums that talk about how they feel when parents “bother” them or they’re watched. Some ask for advice and get lots of me-too replies about parents they consider stalkers. They’re angry and view their parents as pitiful and weak. Some of the posters suggest changed behavior in response to being watched—the observer effect.

Monitor stress

Recently, a ten-year-old told me his classroom job as “test monitor” meant making sure everyone had a packet on test days—and he felt stressed. He always tried to hurry because the tests were limited on time. To beat the clock, students sometimes snatched a packet right out of his hand and immediately got started. Meanwhile, he couldn’t begin until he finished his job. Also, he confided, invariably, someone discovered a page missing, and it was on him to stop his own test taking, get that person another packet, and make things right.

The poor kid. He felt powerless. I suggested he talk to the teacher about his feelings, and he later told me he had. She apologized and changed the format so that everyone had a packet and checked for all pages before anyone started the test.

In this case, speaking up helped, but in monitoring … ahem … stalking an estranged adult children’s life from afar, identifying problems won’t come with that option.

Vanessa worried about her daughter’s mental health, but there was nothing she could do about it. Other parents see some changed behavior and guess about the cause. They become stressed but are powerless.

Instead of “stalking” an estranged adult child  (which is the word they often use to describe your behavior), monitor yourself

Vanessa had worked hard to escape the tug of heartstrings toward a daughter who engaged abusively or not at all. Then her relative offered a tidbit of information, propelling her back into a cycle of hurt. Even the most well-meaning relatives sometimes can trigger emotional longing or worries that tug our heartstrings and halt our progress.

This and other family tug-o-wars are covered more in depth in Beyond Done, and I hope you’ll read that book. For now, if you’re triggered somehow or feel compelled to monitor your adult child, the first step for self-care is recognition. Be aware of your feelings and make sound decisions rather than act on impulse or emotion. We hear a lot about boundaries, mostly as they relate to other people. But boundaries are good to impose upon ourselves as well. Vanessa could have recognized her compulsion when she sat down to look up the church. She could have drawn a line in the sand toward her own behavior. She could have shut her laptop and walked away.

The simple act of observing yourself—your thinking, your actions, your feelings—can affect your life. Make the observer effect work for you.

“Stalking” an estranged adult child: Are you hurting yourself?

Are you monitoring your estranged adult child? Reflect. Does the behavior help or hurt you? Rather than putting front and center something (or someone) that makes you feel powerless and reminds you of hurt, focus on your own life and where you can make positive change for your own contentment. I hope you’ll share your thoughts by leaving a comment on this article. Interacting with other parents of estranged adult children provides insight and support as you monitor your responses to estrangement, become more aware, and grow.

Related reading

What is the observer effect in quantum mechanics?

What is the observer effect in psychology?

What about quantum physics observer effect?

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113 thoughts on “Are you “stalking” an estranged adult child?

  1. Martha

    I am so happy I found your website! Ironically, I found it while I was reaching a subreddit about “Estranged Adult Children”, in order to try and get some help and have some closure on my situation with my son, but I only received criticism and I was told I was an evil mom and manipulative.

    I’m from South America, I’m 57, and my son is 33 and he left home for college when he was 18. This is pretty standard where I lived, children go to college and then move back to the same town or to our State’s capital which is really close, so families were able to stay around and meet every other weekend.

    My son, on the other hand, had other plans…he never came back after graduating, he decided to stay where he was because he (in his words) “liked it there”. This was the first “shock” I got, why was he not moving closer? There was no reason for him to stay where he was – he would have better work opportunities in a bigger city, plus he would be able to stay close to us, so we could see each other often!

    But ok this wasn’t too bad, he was 3 hours away but we could still see each other once a month or so.

    Now, in 2019 he, out of nowhere, announced he was moving to North America with his wife. Another shock. I thought he liked where he lived? Why he was moving to another country? Why was it so easy for him to simply choose to be 10000km away?

    I didn’t hide the fact that I was hurt by his decision. I let him know that him choosing to move so far away, while he could easily earn a pretty darn good living where we are, came across as him not caring about me. Not even once he thought about me and my husband while taking this decision.

    He came to visit earlier this year and of course I tried convincing him to move back, what parent wouldn’t want this? He told me he had no interest in coming back, because he and his wife are happy where they are, and they are planning on buying a house there.

    Again, I told him it was very hurtful to hear those things, as a parent I miss him so much, every day, and not even once he showed interest or plans on living closer to us. I told him me and my husband are getting old, and his grandparents are not in good health, he should think about this while making decisions because we are not going to be here forever.

    He got extremely mad with me, and called that “guilt tripping”. He now barely texts me back, never wants to facetime and the latest one: he and his wife will try to have a baby once they purchase their house. How did I know about this? Because my daughter in law’s mother told me. Apparently my son is still hurt and didn’t want to share the news with me or my husband.

    I’m devastated, I never showed anything but love to my son, and this is how he pays me back. By moving 20h away and estranging me and his father.

    Your website is really helpful to me, I’m having lots and lots of good reading!

    Reply
    1. Nancy

      Thank you, Sheri, for your article on Stalking your adult child on Facebook. I am not on FB, but have friends who are. A couple of times I looked at my estranged daughters FB pages. Seeing them and my granddaughters living their lives, presumably happy, without me was the worst. It triggered me into a dark place for days. Very sad; cried for for the past, present and future. I don’t reccommend it.

      Reply
  2. Joan

    I don’t agree with this post. While I understand that it may not be helpful to view our adult children on social media, I think it is unrealistic to expect a parent of an adult estranged child not to “peek” every now and then, to see where they live, or where they work, etc. They are our children and this impulse is normal. To expect otherwise, in my opinion, is to invalidate the difficulty that we, as rejected parents, have to live with. For many of us, the prospect of never seeing our child again is a difficult reality that we are coming to terms with.
    Periodically, I “check”, in the most unobtrusive way possible, but as technology advances, so does her ability to see that I have done so. So, she hides even more. So be it. If there were a way to block our ability to look them up, believe me, I’d take it. It would make life so much easier.
    I estranged from my father as an adult, due to his destructive involvement in our lives, which eventually influenced my daughter to estrange from me, after she left home at the age of 19.. During our time of estrangement, I knew that he was looking me up. Even though I had limited my exposure on the internet, due to family that would take any information about me and twist it to suit their purposes, I was never angry with my Dad for wanting to know about me.
    As a parent my self, I understood that this was normal and natural. Many of our adult, estranged children are not parents, and some never will be, so they can not even begin to understand what we are going through.

    Reply
    1. Judith T.

      I am estranged from both sons and two grandchildren. I got tired if waiting as the years past. Then I intentionally told them that I do not want them in my life. At all. Forever. There is no “do over button” no “open door policy” if they burn that bridge, there is no coming home. No apologies accepted over my grave. I cut the cord that kept their power over me. I do not want to ever see them or talk to them ever again. If that’s what they want, then fine. I can accommodate their wishes.

      Reply
  3. Sunnyways

    Well everyone, I had let go of the little boy I used to have, and was succeeding very well. My other 2 kids are a constant source of joy for me. Then junior shows up on the evening news and of course all our well meaning(?) friends call and say did you see what he did? SIGH! More work needed I guess…..
    Sunnyways

    Reply
  4. Toni C.

    I have tried to keep in touch with semi-estranged son via text for a year and a half. It is more of a one way street but I keep trying. Is this stalking? I am doing all the outreach and the response is lukewarm at most.

    Reply
    1. rparents Post author

      Dear Toni,

      You are the only one who can decide whether continuing to text is wise for you. Many are hurt repeatedly by the lack of or lukewarm (or abusive) response. The article is more about becoming obsessively “engaged” online, when you’re not really engaged at all … and whether that’s healthy for a parent. Vanessa, in the article, came to see that her behavior was not good for her. It kept her in pain, worried, etc.

      Hugs to you, Toni C.
      Sheri McGregor

      Reply
    2. Colleen

      I can definitely relate to your situation. My is very similar. My son and I had a great relationship until he got engaged…we had a nice relationship with this girl until they got engaged and then her true feelings toward us came out. For some reason she does not like us and thus has pulled our son away from us…very little if no contact. I will text him and sometimes I get a response but I never get a text where he has reached out to me first. We don’t get to spend time with him, heck we don’t even get a holiday! Her family, however, is always doing things with them including spending every holiday with them. Regardless of the pain and against everyone’s advise, I still text him.

      Reply
  5. Ann

    I definitely needed this blog post exactly at this time! After reading Done with the Crying last year, I made the decision to unfollow and restrict the social media accounts of my daughter because I recognized that when her posts popped up on my feed, it negatively affected me. I would see her posting about new hair styles or grabbing her favorite coffee with a friend and it made me see that she was just fine, in fact, happy without me in her life. It was like ripping a scab off over and over preventing the wound from healing. I began focusing on my own life and the lives of my husband, my two other children and the friends who all want to have a relationship with me.

    Then, her 30th birthday rolled around this past November, and I started taking a peek every now and then. Upon reading this blog today, I’m realizing that I’ve been “peeking” every few days. It’s hurting me and I know it. I knew it before I read this. My promise to myself today is to stop. Just stop. I know it will be hard, it’s so tempting. but I know that if I want any kind of joy in my life, I have to stay strong on this.

    Thank you again for knowing just what to share and exactly when to share it.

    Hugs!
    Ann

    Reply
    1. Rebecca R.

      I know how hard it is as an estranged parent and it breaks your heart. I have been accused of abuse and neglect by my daughter and it took me a long time to realize putting myself in her life was only hurting me. She has made up a narrative and is sticking with it. Hang in there and focus on the people who want to be part of your life.

      Reply
    2. Leah

      Once again, this is another article that really resonates with me. Like so many others, I have kept going back, especially after I hear new, news. My daughter just had her second son, and I didn’t even know she was pregnant. To make matters worse, my own sister has been babysitting him for her. Since my husband, and her father passed away, suddenly, she has accused me of all sorts of failures as a mother. Her texts are vicious, and I always end up apologizing for things that never happened. When I reflect on her childhood, I don’t really feel any regrets, except that her dad and I probably rescued her from too many bad choices. I am going to do my best to keep my word to myself, move on. I have to set boundaries for my family, even my mother, to not share anything else with me. I’m beginning to take the steps to a new beginning, and certainly a new normal. She will always be my daughter, but she’s in God’s hands.

      Reply
  6. Natalie

    Thank you Sheri. Your article is a wake-up call for me. I realize that to keep looking at my ED’s social media would make me feel worse. I feel so much better without looking at her social media. I am heart-broken in realizing that it is incredibly difficult to get my daughter back!

    Reply
    1. rparents Post author

      You’re welcome, Natalie. I’m glad you understood the point: to take care of yourself. Some of our inclinations, though rooted in love, may not be good for us.

      Hugs,
      Sheri McGregor

      Reply
  7. Shirley

    Donna,
    I’m sorry you are suffering. l do wonder, though, why you are here when you are not estranged from your daughter? Does it give you perverse comfort to read of our suffering?

    Reply
  8. Patricia

    Sheri,
    I can’t thank you enough for this site, your books and this forum.
    I too, I’m guilty of seeking out information on my daughter and her husband because they recently gave birth to a baby boy.
    But, that is stalking because she made it clear that she wants no contact with me right now, i was told that I’m the trigger of her anxiety, she didn’t want that stress during her pregnancy! This sent to me, in a email, to my work.
    I was shocked! I had no idea nor did she ever tell me that this was an issue. It was a slap in my face. I was so excited about her pregnancy, looked forward to all the conversations we’d have together as she progressed in her pregnancy. And then the birth of her baby and sharing that with her. I was denied sharing any of that with her, her husband and my new grandchild. It hurt me so much. Everyone one else was included and able to participate which was again very painful.
    I discovered that I could see her posts on Snap Chat and I have been viewing them. I told myself it was to see the baby. He’s adorable and looks just like his Mommy.
    However it makes me long for that connection again with my daughter. Which is not helping me. So, I made the desicion not to view her posts anymore and your posting Sheri confirmed for me that was the correct choice for me. Thank you
    As I’m reading through everybody postings its so hard for me to understand this is really a new reality for adult children, to treat their parents this way! Why? What happened to communication? The love and respect for the family dynamic? How is anything ever going to get resolved if you are not talking to one another? How is it so easy to throw away a relationship between parent/child? Since when did this type of behavoir become the acceptable path our children take?
    Those are questions I ponder in my mind.
    I am learning every day and taking control of my life. Making new choices to change my destiny and future. I’m so excited and yet I feel like something is still missing. My heart goes out to all of us going through this estrangement path, with our child/children. Hugs to all of you!
    Sheri, again thank you so much for sharing with us and making me feel that I’m not alone.

    Reply
    1. Red

      I can’t believe I came across the stalking article, I to have been guilty of stalking. We parents that have in the past had a good relationships with our estranged children are desperate to hear or see something about our child. My daughter-in-law is high in a cities organization and I can always see and hear about her through the internet but never a word about my son. After 7 long years not responding to any emails, cards, calls I finally made a decision to do a wellness check thru his city police. Within a hour the police went to the address I found thru the internet and the officer called me and told me he spoke with my son and he is fine. This released me from the fear of maybe he is sick or even dead. I still haven’t had a contact from him and probably never will but at least I can finally realize I have a life to live and move on. Sheri you are truly a blessing. God bless everyone and may God give us peace. Sincerely Red

      Reply
    2. rparents Post author

      Patricia, I really like what you have said here at the end about your new destiny. While we may long for what ISN’T, we can learn to long for and love a new sort of life. That doesn’t necessarily mean giving up the idea that things could change, that a renewed relationship with a loved one won’t take place…but it does mean shifting gears, turning a corner, surrendering to something unknown.

      I know that this is not an easy thing…but we can choose to remain in a loop of suffering or climb on out and see sunshine.

      HUGS,
      Sheri McGregor

      Reply
  9. MuffinAlex

    Maybe I’ve misread Sheri’s article, but for a few reasons, I don’t think “stalking” was Sheri’s term. Rather, I thought Sheri was using that word either loosely or because that’s the term our EC would use to characterize parents’ attempts to glimpse their children’s lives.

    Like Nick, I believe that Sheri’s use of quotation marks indicates that “stalking” is not her word choice but rather a word used by others. I was taught that the primary purpose of using quotation marks is to indicate that the word or words came from someone other than the author. So I don’t believe Sheri is suggesting that parents who view the EC’s Facebook or other social media posts are engaging in stalking.

    Another purpose of quotation marks is to suggest that the author doesn’t endorse the use of the word. As many commenters have pointed out, social media is, for the most part, made public and can be viewed by anyone with access to the internet. Think Sheri placement of quotation marks around “stalking” may reflect her belief that someone who creates Facebook, Instagram, and/or other platform posts implicitly invites others to view those posts and therefore cannot credibly accuse viewers of stalking.

    The best legal definition of stalking I found appears on the US Department of Justice site: “… engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for his or her safety or the safety of others or suffer substantial emotional distress.” Given the high burden a genuine stalking victim bears, I really don’t think Sheri used “stalking” in the literal sense.

    To me, the import of Sheri’s article is: if you are viewing your EC’s social media, is it helping or hurting you, and if it’s not helping, there might be other things you can do to manage your pain.

    I don’t for a moment think that Sheri was suggesting it’s right or wrong to view EC’s social media. Nor do I think she was passing judgment on those who do. She simply presented thought-provoking scenarios and questions designed, like all her other articles, to urge estranged parents to take good care of themselves.

    MuffinAlex

    Reply
  10. Jules

    It’s really easy to stalk because of social media, everyone is on it.

    I am also guilty of doing this – until recently when my estranged daughter got suspicious, unblocked me on social media (which I thought was positive). I realised that it was because she just wanted to make sure there were no mutual friends who were giving me pictures or info. She blocked everyone who was a mutual friend. I have been forced now to deal with no contact whatsoever.

    Having said that, I don’t think it really helps the grieving process. One of the reasons that I wanted to see pictures is because I am worried that I won’t recognise my grandchildren as they get older. I don’t want to walk past them in the street & not know who they are.

    It seems my daughter is so angry & just can’t let go of it, she’s willing to prevent even this little bit of distant contact.

    Imagine being that angry & unkind. It’s hard to understand but I know it’s not my stuff & there’s absolutely nothing I can do about it.

    Reply
    1. Kathy

      Just yesterday, I sent a message through Pinterest to my ED asking for a picture of the three grandchildren we haven’t seen in almost 3 years.
      The last time I used the Pinterest forum to reach out to her (I know her husband monitors/controls everything she does), she sent me a scathing, hurtful text message giving me ultimatums. She accused me of being a covert narcissist all her life and said she never felt safe with me during her childhood. Independently, I sought christian counseling for over a year. The hate she directed at me was so heartbreaking. Three months after my counselor released me (and we text/stay in contact from time to time), I started going to a support group. Through this group studies, God has revealed a lot to me that gives me peace. To learn we parents are powerless to change/fix our estranged adult children. We must hand them over to our Heavenly Father to do His work in our estranged children. He gifted our children to us and now they are His again. Seek the Scriptures, draw close to God and He will give you peace in the rest of this life on earth. ❤️

      Reply
    2. rparents Post author

      Dear Jules,
      You hit on an important point here about a person who is angry and unkind … and you’re right that this would not be something that’s enjoyable or bode well for one’s life. I am glad to hear you hanging onto your human kindness despite your pain. You’re also right that her anger etc is not your “stuff.”

      Hugs to you as you walk forward,
      Sheri McGregor

      Reply
  11. Caroline M.

    Thank you for this article. It is helpful. Where I am stuck : I have 1 son, no others. Last year, by ‘stalking’ online via church service, my husband and I discovered we were new grandparents. Or not. This was another notch of shock for us and our sons wife’s parents as well. Her entire family is also estranged.
    So I get the pain that the stalk caused. On the other hand, we all would never have known we are grandparents, aunts uncles etc.
    I am so fearful of abandoning my son. I was abandoned by my father and just can not give myself permission to abandon my son even though he has abandoned us. I look at it with a perspective of I am the grown up.
    This is estrangement is also so painful for a multitude of people that truly love my son. Family and friends that miss him. His friends have been trying to connect with him for a couple years with no avail. Any extra logical, emotional, psychological or other advice would be great. Being a walking zombie now for 2 years is not working. The first 2 years we will real troopers, hanging in there, believing it would pass. But 4 years in and a grand baby , it’s not looking good.

    Reply
    1. Lynn P.

      So sad and unfathomable. Was I too independent, did I teach him to be angry? What happened? You are not alone, be glad you have your husband to share this conundrum with. Be well

      Reply
    2. Jules

      Your comment reminds me of a story I heard, about a snake falling into a fire. A man kindly fished the snake out of the fire & it bit him. The man dropped the snake but then got a stick & got the snake out of the fire and to safety.
      An onlooker said, why did you do that? The snake bit you! The man said, it’s in his nature to bite. Why should I change my nature to bite because he did?
      He was still kind because this was his nature.

      Your comment about your son abandoning you reminds me of this story because you are saying you aren’t going to change your response just because your son has turned away.

      It is hard when you are being rejected & particularly as you’ve had the same experience of being pushed away before by your father. I see it as a positive that you are being true to yourself it takes great strength to do that.

      For what it’s worth I am in a similar position, I have grandchildren who we knew well for the first few years it was ok. But daughter met someone who didn’t want us involved. They live about 2 miles down the road. It’s been 5 years since we had any contact & it is a terrible experience to go through.
      Separating from our beautiful grandchildren is probably the hardest thing I’ve been through. My daughter shows no mercy to us or to her children who I know would have been very badly hurt due to suddenly not seeing us.

      We are looking at moving away because we want a life away from all of the heartache & now know that there’s not really any going back, I just don’t see the relationship with my daughter ever being repaired sadly. It’s taken a long time to get to that stage but now we are feeling that, we deserve to live the best life we can. I think we have to move on if we can.

      Reply
    3. rparents Post author

      Dear Caroline,

      Taking care of yourself does not mean abandoning your son. You can still hold him in a loving way about his life, his choices, his fatherhood.

      For some, finding out they have a grandchild who is being withheld from their lives, love, family … that might increase the hurt and trigger constant checking online, reaching out and getting rebuffed, longing that’s obsessive and painful. For others, the knowledge might set up a new avenue for “relationship” in a sense — by setting up a trust for the child (if that feels right), or writing a journal about the family they might one day see (if that feels right), etc.

      What’s important, now that you know, is that you choose how you will manage yourself in relation to the new knowledge. Choose well for your well-being–and then act accordingly.

      Hugs,
      Sheri McGregor

      Reply
  12. Annemarie

    I really appreciate these articles Sheri writes as well as input from other parents. This one was tough. I do still monitor and possibly stalk my son & his family. One thing i have learned throughout this painful journey, is that I’m still learning. When a trusted resource, like Sheri, shares something that creates a ripple in my calm water, I try to step back and say ,” Lord, are you trying to speak to me?” Again, a TRUSTED resource, not just anyone who wants to push their opinion on me. I’m not that easy. Also, we are all at different places on this road. I am praying and mulling over the article and am open to change. My recent prayer is to ” let go” , really let go, and also never give up hope. My love to Sheri and every parent on this site.

    Reply
    1. Debster

      Annemarie, I agree with what you said here. We are all at different places on this road and, after many years on this site and having read the books, I do trust Sheri. Some are upset about this article and getting into her choice of words but the point of the article is to make people think, make the people who need this information to think about their decisions. Lots of discussion shows that the article hit the mark. Someone said “struck a nerve” or something like that. I guess so. With me, too. I don’t like the word, but it is true. Social media stalking. I am guilty, and there is no real reason. And it is time to quit. I could fool myself into believing that just looking is okay, but really, it’s an illusion of a relationship (like someone else here said). My prayer is as yours is because we can’t keep hanging on and also let go and open our arms to better things. If someone wants to keep looking, then they can. No one is trying to make them stop, but if they are angry about this article, it got them to look at themselves.

      Reply
    2. Cindy P.

      This is a comment in general about stalking. I read Done With The Crying, Joined Sheri’s on-line group loved it, have also read many books @ articles on PAS (Parental Alienation Syndrome). I have been alienated from my son for almost 26 yrs. due to my divorce. His father & family were the Alienators & I was the Targeted parent. My daughter almost 6. Her future MIL now her MIL alienator me Targeted person. My daughter’s boyfriend/husband as well. I went thru all the emotions. Now, I don’t feel it is stalking. I am now 66. I am trying to fix my broken family. My daught has never blocked me even when I asked her to. I will never stop trying until I draw my last breath. A mother is a mother til they close her eyes.

      Reply
      1. rparents Post author

        Dear Cindy,

        We all must decide what is best for our own lives. I think your last two lines, “I will never stop trying until I draw my last breath. A mother is a mother til they close their eyes.” — Those may be taken in a negative way by some who read here. I hope you are not implying that a mother (or father) who decides to shelve the monitoring and attempts does not live up to a definition of “mother.” Situations may have estrangement in common, but they are not all equal by any means. Some parents are abused, accused, lied about, have the cops called on them, and a host of other situations that don’t necessarily match yours or another person’s.

        I’m so very sorry that you have been targeted as you have … Your life is yours to live, and this note is just about your implication that a mother who gives in to a situation to save herself, other loved ones, etc., is somehow not living up to a standard held out for “mother” (we’re talking adult children, here….).

        Hugs and many blessings to you,
        Sheri McGregor

        Reply
  13. Hope

    Sheri, God Bless you for your work in this area that seems to be increasing these days… my daughter has been influenced by a Narcissistic ex-husband and I can’t say it enough, how you are so on the right path of your work! And if I can add to your help, I’d like to share that every time I get the “itch” of wanting or yearning to know about my daughter… I remember the story about King David and the betrayal he went through with his children! His testimony has helped me tremendously to keep grounded. He, a man of God, that made many mistakes and some of his children turned on him! And yet he didn’t have the heart to take their lives as they plotted against his… so he left it up to God! And so that’s where I take my Que! It’s all in God’s Hands and timing… not mine!
    BIG HUG and MANY BLESSINGS to you!!!
    Thank you for all you do!!!

    Reply
    1. Elizabeth

      Thank you, Hope, this is so encouraging. The wisdom in your message helps me immensely. Thank you for pointing us to God and His word … and reminding me this is in His hands not mine.

      Reply
  14. CarolynM

    I found a way to stalk my child on social media but stopped. All it did was make me feel sad. Then I had to recover from that! I had to let go.

    Reply
    1. Kate

      CarolynM & Elizabeth,
      Several years ago, I found a way to do the same thing but like you said—it just made me feel sad. I stopped it and I feel better. I’m glad my ED seemed to be doing well but it hurt me too much seeing someone I loved so much who has rejected me for so many years. Not that she would care anyway, but I can forgive her for the rejection, all the lies and the slander—but I will never forget. I wish I could! We have to let go to take care of ourselves.

      Reply
  15. Joanna

    I am guilty of stalking my daughter online. It was the paternal instinct of wanting to look into her life and see that she was okay. Wanting to know something about the girl who left at 18 and is now a women at 20. She is still a stranger to me though. The girl I thought I knew, I didn’t. I thought she loved me, her family. I made excuses for her whole childhood. I made excuses for her mean comments, reclusiveness, only being nice to get something, and making people walk on eggshells when her moods were off. I blamed it on the teenage years. I am learning to live life without her, though there is always a void. I wonder how can someone I loved so much and would have sacrificed for, just leave. How could one be so cold and unfeeling. When I look back on her childhood though I see signs of sociopathic behavior and narcissism. My last message to her was blocked and now I am blocked from seeing her Instagram account. So it is clear, I am unwanted. I have accepted this yet some days I relapse into hope. Right now the angry stage has set in. She didn’t just leave me. She left her brother, grandmother, aunt, and uncle who all adored her. We praised her on her school success, her art, and her beauty. Maybe too much praise. I don’t know. She crosses my mind everyday. Sometimes I cry and sometimes I wonder how I would feel if we were to meet again. Would it be like seeing a stranger, would my hurt and anger make me cold to her, could I trust her, can I respect her, would we fall into each others arms, and yet this encounter may never happen. I have accepted this too. Prayers, love, and hope for healing to all the fellow parents who are hurting.

    Reply
    1. RejectedMom

      You echoed my heart almost verbatim. I’ve had glimpses into my daughters life recently and it’s triggered a spiral in me. I’ve dealt with her issues, drugs, explosive behavior since 2015. She’s been totally estranged from me since 2020 and I’ve done my best to accept it but I just can’t. It feels like I’m being held underwater. The lies. The hurt. Every family member wanting to bring it up. It’s a hopeless sad maddening situation. There’s comfort in not being alone yet so much sadness.

      Reply
    2. Shirley

      My daughter has been estranged for 5 years. I’m not on social media so there is no way for me to know how she’s doing, but I’d probably feel bad if I could see what she’s doing. She has complained about her father and I to both sides of the family, but they are hesitant to repeat what she has said. I, too, think she might have been praised too much as a child, especially regarding her beauty. I’m distraught because our bond is broken and I feel as if I no longer have a child at all, and that makes me feel like a terrible parent.

      Reply
  16. Eve

    How is it that adult children seem to side with the abuser, the one who broke up their family, whether either by cheating , or drugs, or alcohol abuse, physical or verbal, emotional abuse the list goes on. I will never understand how they cannot see where the blame lies. So many comments on posts where the true victim is the one who gets the blame. What distorts their view ? Why do they defend the the one who did the damage ? The cheater, the abuser, the alcoholic, the drug addict, the gambler. They not only get a free pass but are often the one who gets to have a relationship with their adult child. When they are young, they see the truth, they live it. And yet when they are older they do a 180 and turn on the parent who loved them cared for them and tried to protect them from it all. I’ve read it here so often. It is things like this that make me question my faith. God can create miracles and I believe that because I had one. Yet he allows so much pain and suffering. Go figure.

    Reply
    1. rparents Post author

      Dear Eve,
      This isn’t true for all situations and is not “sensible” for any really, but intermittent reinforcement shapes feelings and behaviors. Kids love the one that sometimes appears, showers them with love and gifts … and tgen disappears, but the hope remains. It’s similar to the addictive power of gambling. I talk a little more about this in the 2021 book, Beyond Done. Those feelings can follow into adulthood. Our estranged ones “use” intermittent reinforcement on parents, too (purposeful or accidentally). So do abusers of all sorts upon their targets.

      Hugs to you.

      Sheri McGregor

      Reply
  17. Maggie

    This post really made me think!
    Which is exactly what Sheri intended. Full Stop.
    My husband and myself are estranged from all 3 of our ‘Adults’
    Eldest son that has our 2 beautiful grandchildren he has picked us up and dropped us over the years he became an alcoholic that would not take responsibility for the affect this was having on his thinking.

    We decided we’d had enough of his mental bullying the physical and mental health issues we suffered at 75 and 62 years old became to much.

    Our Daughter that after we had counselling were told that and agree with that she has BPD (Bought by drugs from a friend she shared a house with) we have continued over the years to love and provide support but if she will not face up to her own situation what do we do keep ourselves in a life like tennis match.

    Our youngest son in an abusive relationship has been distanced from everyone.

    This reads a bit like a nightmare.

    My husband and myself have a strong relationship we have read all of your books Sheri and whenever we receive your posts it creates conversation and realisation we are in a so much better place than we were 2 years ago, 2 years which have included a serious accident (mine) and a stroke my husband.

    My very best wishes go out to all of you going through this!!
    It’s very hard to believe for all of us sometimes that this is the position we are in but it is and it’s up to us to take care of ourselves that’s not selfish it’s absolutely necessary.

    Reply
    1. Elizabeth

      It is so true, it is up to us to take care of ourselves. It has taken me 8 years to realize this. As if staying in the hurt and residing in the shock of the betrayal and family abandonment by our precious daughter following her wedding to a controlling husband will somehow change anything. I know she’s safe and she’s happy and that gives me peace. This article highlights our responsibility to set boundaries for ourselves and reflect on our thoughts, actions and feelings that continues to highlight our hurt and our powerlessness decide to stop living in this. I am inspired to focus on my own life, my spouse and my other children for all of our well-beings. I am beginning to know in my soul that this is in God’s hands and I have to let go.

      Reply
  18. Richard W.

    I doubt stalking is a good idea. I am estranged from my son for over six years now and I miss him dearly. He clearly does not want to see me so I am faced with a delima of waiting till he changes his attitude towards me or I try to go see him, straight up, no stalking or anything on the sneak. I have tried the latter several times and he told me to leave his home, which I did. My point is if you have to stalk you child to feel connected, it is an illusion and if does get some contact with them, what are you getting? Is it an invitation for elder abuse? I am beginning to see things as they really are in this respect. Sometimes accepting things as they are is safer than pushing what I wish for. Maybe they have to come back to us for us to be safe from them.

    Reply
  19. Janis G.

    “All relationships of family are but catalysts of life, intended to purify and convert earthly love into divine love. When love between souls becomes corroded with poisonous chemicals of possessiveness, selfishness, mechanical family relationships, etc., then human love dies. But hidden in each man’s heart is an eternal divine love. It may remain asleep for awhile, but it can never really die. If man’s love fails to become purified by his association with other people, he will be dissatisfied and will keep on seeking other loves in this life (or another) until he meets someone (usually his guru) in whom he finds the full expression of all the perfections of divine love.” – Paramahansa Yogananda, Self Realization Fellowship

    Reply
  20. LisaB

    Speaking from experience, I stalked my estranged daughter from afar. Wondering what she was doing. My heart breaking for interaction. Worried if she was ok. The only time she Reached out was to ask for money, ask for information or break my heart a gain. Eventually other family members helped me break my self of this habit. It was only hurting me. Watching her from afar only reminded me of the lack of relationship and all the hurt and kept it fresh. Once I no longer kept it with her and no longer accepted her calls (which would come once a year or less and either be a tool to ask for money or to manipulate and hurt me all over again) once I decided to stop playing the game . Once I gave myself permission to heal and move on I began to actually heal. Then an amazing thing happened. I was more present in the moment. I was not zoning out and feeling guilty to experience the small and big joys in my life. I was no longer stuck in a perpetual emotional agony with real physical symptoms. There is still pain nawing at the edges of my heart & soul. previous memories shadows and echoes in my mind. But at least its not fresh & raw. Preventing me from enjoying life & experiencing joy. We as parents who have been discarded & hurt deserve to enjoy our lives. And the people who support love & nurture us be they other children, siblings other family neighbors or friends deserve to have us present in the moment. Stalking adult kids who have cut us off or continue to abuse us only allows them as well as ourselves to dwindle i a pertual agony. But once you just let it go & give yourself permission to truly live joy can take seed and expand. Now I wake up with joy & I look forward to birthdays & holidays. Though there is pain, The pain is not so huge & fresh that it encompasses my entire existence in every moment like it did before.

    Reply
    1. Elizabeth

      Thank you. Your message describes this journey so eloquently. I hope to be on the other side of it like you and by God’s grace wake up with joy.

      Reply
  21. Margaret

    My heart goes out to all of us, especially to you who are currently feeling the intense pain of estrangement. Anytime we, as parents of estranged adult children, touch on the topic of hoping to engage with our son or daughter, even for the one sided avenue of “social media”, we will undoubtedly fall into the morass of pain we each feel. (It’s similar to the discordant actions that occur during a dear family member’s death.) Hurt feelings and misinterpretation is the matrix of this place in which we find ourselves.
    After reading this article and all the replies, I think everyone’s point of view is valid. Each one of us is moving along this road in the best way we can. I do appreciate the article for pointing out how we all might cling to any connection with our “child”, even a one-sided one. When we are ready to move on, hoping and praying we can each do so in a healthy way. I think we each will know when it’s time.

    Reply
  22. A p

    Hello.
    So, I’ve never posted a comment before but I was just felt better reading this article and knowing I wasn’t alone and that others felt the way I do too. It’s so much mixed emotions isn’t it , i would look in the crowd to spot my daughters face or if the phone rang and it was a private number my heart would race thinking it was her. I tried to see if I could find posts on social media but im rubbish at it and so I dont know ..any way that’s it ..I’m so glad i found this website / journal place.

    Reply
  23. Nick

    The laws regarding recoding vary state by state. Do your own research. Colorado where I live is a “one party state”, to my knowledge. That means that only one party (the person recording) needs to know. I don’t record others, but I am not bothered if others record me because I conduct myself in an appropriate way. The way I act in private is the way I act in public. Definitely do your own research regarding your own states laws. It definitely varies depending on location. Just adding this as I know a little bit about the subject and am passionate about the law (given my profession). Love the article, it is excellent as always, you help me with my own daughter who is estranged.

    Reply
  24. Debs

    Yes I used to ‘stalk’ my daughters social media. I no longer do it but it was part of my healing process, checking in to see if she was OK even though I could only see public posts.
    The action of doing so reassured me that she wasn’t ill or unhappy and never became obsessive. I can admit that I realised it was a form of stalking but at the time, really didn’t care. I needed to do it.
    Now six years down the line, I no longer feel the need to look. I have a different life, a happier life and although I’m sad our relationship didn’t survive or rekindle, I’m no longer worried.
    A cliche I know but time really is a great healer.

    Reply
  25. Linda

    I feel that as a parent, it’s almost wrong to not want to know what’s happening with your grown child. I was in remain an excellent parent who cares about my ED. What a friend tells me they saw her at work or went into her at target, etc. my heart leaps at the knowledge that she’s been spotted and she looks OK.
    She’s been horrible decisions made huge mistakes and is living in a situation. I would never want for her, but when I hear that she’s OK it gives me some satisfaction but she’s still out there and I pray that things will turn out OK for her life whether or not, I get to see her again.
    PS she’s treated me horribly extremely cruelly and if she were to come back, I’d have to be very careful and meet her only in public place. I wouldn’t be able to trust her, but none of that changes the fact that she’s my beloved child, and always will be because I am her mom.

    Reply
    1. Maree

      Hi Linda
      I too am thirsty for news of my daughter, especially to know she is OK. I haven’t seen her or my granddaughter for twelve years now. Every now and then i think I see her in the street but then I realise my image of her is now frozen in time. She has done well and features often on her organisation’s website that I look at from time to time , just to see her face and know that she is still OK. Is this stalking? i don’t think so.
      Although the situation hurts a great deal, I do not want to become a person who just gets on with life and no longer cares. I care and I care a lot. I send gifts for my granddaughter’s birthday and Christmas. I don’t get or expect any acknowledgement and I don’t know what happens to the presents, but i feel it is necessary for me to do this as i do it for my other grandchildren. When I am gone, I want this grandchild to know she was loved equally by me. I no longer have expectations of any reconciliation but, like you, I am my daughter’s mum and my granddaughter’s grandmother.

      Reply
  26. Elizabeth L.

    For a couple of years after the estrangement, I sent birthday and Christmas cards, and had one video call at the very start of the estrangement, but I soon realised that my daughter’s toxic boyfriend was diverting calls and emails through his phone, so I didn’t try to get in touch through those channels.

    After two years, I worried that she might be suffering in this coercive relationship, so I got in touch with the Salvation army, who have a tracing service for estranged people.

    They managed to find her but the message she sent through them was that she had no desire to reconnect with me.

    Whether her boyfriend had a hand in that message, I don’t know, but I decided just to live my life. I’ve no other living relatives, but I’m carving out a life for me now.

    Reply
    1. Castaway

      I have been estranged from my son dil and baby for 2 years. No contact! Just me not my husband…this makes it difficult as he is allowed to call them but our son will not call him. One sided. This has put a strain on our relationship thank God we’ve always had a good one. My husband 81 and I 74 not much time left. I’m still confused as to why. Dil sent back card I sent to grandchild 2 years ago and I don’t sent anymore just put all cards, gifts in a truck for them and grandchild. ES sends cards to his dad that’s OK just the Christmas cards with pictures that hurts the most as they are addressed to my husband only. Last year I looked at the pictures framed one of grandchild and placed it on my hubby’s side. This year he asked if I want to see pictures of our grandchild and I said “no”. I need to move forward without them in my life let my husband share with them with no guilt. I have 2 other children, in law children and grandchildren that support, love and want me in their lives. This has been one journey I never wanted but I’m in it now. I have a wonderful therapist for the past year and a half…thank God as I may not be here without his help. Striving for peace…no stalking ,asking. It is what it is. May we all find peace. ♥️

      Reply
  27. Lani

    We’ve been canceled. This is the easy way out for people who disagree with us and can’t tolerate a boundary that we may place. Everyone can have boundaries but me. Everyone can have feelings but me. I don’t know how this happened but it has. My children have taken control, refuse to talk about or work towards reconciliation and feel perfectly just about it. It’s wrong, painful and staying off social media helps ease the pain. I was told today not to come back to “their “church, the only place I’ve been able to occasionally see my 4 grandchildren and drop off a gift for special dates. I have to move forward and with Gods help not become bitter. I could never have done this to my parents. We are definitely living in a world I don’t recognize anymore.

    Reply
    1. Kelly

      Hi Lani

      I have been silently reading and absorbing.
      For some reason – I couldn’t pass your post without writing

      Thank you for sharing. I wish you wonderful times ahead that will make you smile. I am sad that grandchildren are kept from a source of love but hope when they are older there will be some reconnection. It is what I hope for me too. Take care.

      Reply
    2. Heartbroken

      I am in a very similar situation. I went to my daughter’s church on several occasions to see my young grandchildren. I saw on the opposite side and did not approach. Each time I received a text saying I was not welcome at “her church” and do not return. It’s almost 1 1/2 years since she removed me from her life. I gave up my job and kept her children. Took them to practices, lessons. I loved doing this and did so willingly. My husband and I got a divorce shortly before this and she sided with him. He had a terminal illness and died about the time she cut me (and her brother and maternal family) from her life. I am not allowed any contact with
      my beautiful grandchildren and it breaks my heart. I worry daily about the grands and their mental and emotional health

      Reply
    3. Cheri W.

      Lani,
      Yours is the 3rd comment on this article about “stalking.”
      I agree with what you have to say. Thank you for showing a sense of courage and strength to calm it what it is.
      Since when were mother’s treated with such blatant disregard? I do not call it “stalking” when my daughters 43 and 40 post on their “public” pages about their lives while discarding me.
      I am ashamed to see what they post and wonder where their common sense went as potential employers would wonder also.
      At least not too long ago when character meant something.
      It does not help me to look but at least I can see whatever. Mostly I am grieving big time and hurt to the core.
      The whole world can view but it is called stalking if a parent looks online to see what they are up to?
      I am not an abusive alcoholic unhealthy mom and never have been. I just loved too much. I have been the scapegoat since divorce and have no family in a mixed up cruel world.
      Cheri

      Reply
    4. Toni

      I feel your pain as my situation is very similar. I have been counting days, now months, since my daughter essentially cancelled me and stated I could no longer see my 2 year old granddaughter . I waver, almost reach out but have been able to control that. Every contact brought me pain prior to the end of our relationship. It hurts that she embraces contact with my spouse and my sister, neither she has been very close with. I think it is for spite.

      Reply
    5. Barbara W.

      Lani I feel for you. It is so hurtful for our Adult children to treat us as if WE are their children and need to be disciplined
      or scolded for loving them.
      I just had a 90th birthday party for my Mother.
      There was a great turnout from our family and friends
      My estranged son and his family were invited and showed up.
      I hadn’t been together with them for 3 years. The last time I held my grand daughter she was 4 months old and she is 3-1/2 yo now and her brother is 6 yo and we had bonded before the estrangement. He sort of remembered me
      I was busy Hosting the party. There were 48 guests to greet
      I gave my Daughter in law a hug and said I missed her and said hello to the grandkids. I naturally said to my son that it’s been a long time and went to hug him and he shouted ” no
      We are done!” We’re Done I am done with you!” My only reply was ” well you should be very Proud of Yourself!” and I walked away
      It was cruel for him to say that to me. I have stayed away from his family ..He made me realize that he has no tolerance or respect for me. My heart was broken by him for the last time. I will not allow myself to be anywhere near him
      Unless he makes Amends

      Reply
    6. Theresa

      I’m so sorry about all of our estrangement. I dont understand. My husband died 3.5 yrs ago and after that 4 of my kids and I had problems. I thought it would blow over but after a letter to them from myself, apologizing for words and my grief , I was told that God is not in my anger. They all want nothing to do with me. Includes 14 grandkids. I feel like death has became me. I’m overwhelmed and sad!

      Reply
  28. Mary

    Wow, it’s nice to know there are others who are doing what I’ve been doing the last 6 years with our son. After he unfriended me from Facebook 6 years ago, I could still access his page, but was soon banned from seeing anything other than his change of profile and cover pics. I would look his name up on Google to see if he had any posts I could access-I saw what he posted on Good Reads-books on hatred of evangelicals (he was one almost all of his 40 years) and toxic parents. I can still see his Twitter posts, which are now few and far between. I know this probably isn’t the healthiest for me, but I am desperate to hold on to something of him. He divorced his wife last year and my guess he has threatened his ex with making contact with me in regards to the grandkids. I have resigned myself to the fact I may never see him or the grandkids again. He is a very angry man and I can’t help him.

    Reply
  29. NancyK

    My attitude towards “stalking/spying” has always been that I’d never find out anything that would make be feel better, only worse.

    Reply
    1. Tara

      yup….too true. ….that stab in the heart when you see them having fun without you, or how big the grand daughter has gotten.
      Sometimes, though, stalking becomes…nessessary…and .their fault, for not acting mature and keeping things civilized.
      Case in point….when my ED and SIL were on great wonderful terms with us, [and we had known sil for 15 years….they were high school sweethearts} we made them co guardians of my ED’s brother, our son, who is 3 years older than her and a non verbal autistic with schizophrenia, and epilepsy. A total sweetheart…but will never live independently. When ED decided to cut us off completely, we were heart broken and did the usual thing….emails, texts, unwanted birth day presents etc etc, ..and sadly…..decided…well…OK….they obviously dont want to be in our lives so…. we will revoke the guardianships. We wanted to discuss this with them, but we were blocked. This was important, so we had relatives intervene, unsucessfully. We sent letters to where they worked. No dice, they came back. So…we went ahead and revoked the guardianships without telling them.
      So ED popped back into our lives month later when the lawyers told her she was no long her brothers guardian, and went ballistic on us, and I was like…honey, its not like we didnt try to talk to you. We begged you to get in touch. We offered to pay and go to therapy with you, we stood on our heads trying to communicate…well…thats the way it is now.
      Then, months later, we decided to stop paying for her college debt…if we are too horrible to know, so is our money. We once again attempted to contact them. Same thing. And when they got the news that they were on their own, they went through the roof.
      Now we are writing them out of our will, and they, once again, block us. Well Im stalking no more. They will just get a nice surprise in the form of a big fat goose egg when we are gone.
      Hope all that anger and rejection was worth it to them.

      Reply
    2. Millie H

      This is strange. Just this week I stopped checking my estranged daughter’s facebook page. I had not ‘unfriended’ her but didn’t comment on her posts. Last week, I realized it was taking a toll on me mentally and I took the jump and ‘unfollowed’ her. Do I feel better, no – but I know it’s the best for me. 🙁

      Reply
  30. Carolynn W.

    I never considered any algorithms getting involved – that’s very creepy and so very intrusive.

    I don’t “stalk” – I just want to see the faces of the five grandchildren I do not get to see or hold or teach anything, or laugh with, or read to… they are the ones I grieve over because they have not been given a choice to disown me.

    I have no bond with any of them now, as to why it hurts… It hurts because I had wonderful times with my parents and grandmothers and they are all gone.

    Reply
  31. Pamela A.

    I have an estranged daughter, son in law and I also have very little access to my granddaughter who is three. My dilemma is the opposite of “stalking”, I try to NOT know anything about their life, and when I have no news I can begin to feel peace, until someone shares something with me about them, or she invites me out of the blue to see my granddaughter for the week-end, then all the pain of estrangement comes rushing back and I no longer know how to feel. Of course I go to visit, I love my little one, who is wonderful, I get to see her two week-ends a year, she is such an amazing human being, but I feel so uncomfortable around my daughter and her husband, afraid to say or do something wrong. It would almost be easier to not see them at all, but I want to see my granddaughter… I’m already in my 70s so not sure I’ll still be around when I could see her by herself, but that is my ultimate hope.

    Reply
    1. Maggie

      Hi Pamela A

      I hope you will not be offended.
      You say you are invited to see your Granddaughter occasionally! Is this done as an investment by your daughter by way of some hope for an inheritance?

      Reply
  32. Mary

    There was a time my estranged daughter was posting statements regarding dysfunctional families, that even though there were good times doesn’t mean there wasn’t abuse and justifying separation to protect yourself and that you don’t owe your parents anything She didn’t mention us by name but it felt very hurtful and I felt certain her high school friends we’re assuming we were the focus. I didn’t follow her then and only looked when my other daughter would tell me there was a post about our granddaughter.

    She has since stopped the psych posts. I watch my estranged daughter’s social media posts so I can see our 3 year old granddaughter who I have not seen for 10 months. I am curious that my daughter has not blocked us. I do get some joy from watching the 3 year old antics even though they are not in person

    Reply
    1. Tara

      Personally I think my daughter has gone completely bonkers, and seems to have been led in that direction by SIL who we used to think liked us a great deal…apparently we were dead wrong.
      We found out, for instance, that he had /has been steadily undermining her happy memories of a great child hood, so somehow I’m a toxic narcissist and cant be any where near my grand child cause Im so poisonous.
      Ah, I hear people say….so you Think you gave her such a great child hood….maybe she Has a point…maybe You are the one who is bonkers.

      Well…when I pressed my ED to tell me what her complaints were she came up with things like… I misspelled her name on a birth certificate { J instead of G} and didnt bother to change it, I sent her to school with stinky feet, {not sure what that was about we had soap and running water in our house} and I bought her child toys at Good Will. So did she, by the way…in happier times we often had delightful mother/ daughter jaunts to Good Wills and thrift stores, plus I spent plenty of money on brand new high end things for my grand daughter at expensive baby boutiques……but Good Will has some good stuff and cool buys.

      Reply
  33. Laura

    I am one of those estranged parents who takes comfort in seeing a reaction from my daughter on social media. It is my only way of knowing she is still alive. I cannot say it’s a way of knowing she is “well”, because I don’t think she is well. Cutting off loving parents or “ditching” how she put it, is not a sign of happiness or a healthy life and relationship. The change did not come without a boyfriend/fiancé who is now a husband. She changed 180 degrees and is unrecognizable. The cone of silence and the walls erected are just making us more suspicious that she might be in an abusive relationship. Are we worried? Yes, we are dead worried something might happen to her. We do not know him. He was born abroad and has no family and history here. He loves keeping her away from us and from all her family and friends. He controls every aspect of her life including her phone/ messages and social media. It looks like she cooperates, at least for now. I don’t think checking the social media is equivalent with “stalking” her, and does not make me feel bad, quite the contrary. I am just looking for a sign, any sign, that she is still alive. I keep sending her messages reminding her how much we love her even if she never answers. She is our only child and we cannot give up on her. One does not stop being a parent just because the child is now a grownup. We keep worrying, wondering and trying to protect our children for as long as we live. It’s just part of being a parent and I see now problem with that.

    Reply
  34. Tovah

    At the core of our estrangement with our grown children is hostility, lies, self serving embellishments, verbal violations, triangulations with extended family members, and a sociopathic narcissism practiced upon us by them.

    I would venture to say that many of the parents here can relate to that or something similar and not merely a life’s path that is no longer side by side in which one can observe their children’s victories with joy and just a little easy to accept loneliness.

    It’s hurtful to be judged for experiencing what you have experienced in either case.

    I don’t know what the situation is for everyone here but we definitely can not be described that way. We know few parents who are of the comfortable mindset that our children will desert us one day as if that is perfectly normal and acceptable.

    We certainly don’t wish anything but the best for our children but it’s not necessarily a happy time having to stomach watching them from afar after being rejected.

    As for the stalking terminology, Sheri is correct in pointing out that there is a definite impact from being observed. When I was using parental controls to keep our children from entering adult sites, for example, they never said I was monitoring them. They said I was stalking! Like many words, the meaning and many nuances of this one is wide open to personal perspective.

    With that said, I’m glad for anyone who is estranged albeit still a loving and supportive parent. I think that how the estrangement took place plays heavily into that.

    Reply
    1. Michelle

      As a fellow mother of an estranged daughter, my one and only child, I do not favor characterizing the estranged adult children in the way you do, Tovah, nor do I agree with placing all the blame on them. In doing so, we do as they do, when they place all the blame on us. It’s more complicated than that, I believe.
      Yes, I too have been in my eyes and in the eyes of those who love me, an excellent loving parent, always intending the best; yet, in my daughter’s perception, my parenting was lacking. She has never told me what did not work for her, yet I know with confidence that I/my husband and I raised a solid human being, and as such, while I perceive things differently than she does, I accept her right to have her own perceptions.
      It’s been 10 painful years, with some awkward contacts early on, and none at all for the last couple of years. I have to embrace myself, as both my 27 years old daughter and I are someone’s baby, and as such as both equally deserve to be loved the way we want to be loved.

      Reply
    2. Sue B.

      I have nothing to do with “stalking” in the social media world of today. My peer friends have encouraged me to see their growing families, and in many cases I have seen respecting attitudes towards parents and grandparents. We are far from that scenario, and after being s member of the last “mom at home’, generation and out of financial need, I worked part time a few blocks away from our home as they were growing. My girls had to check in with me after school as I worked in a modest office and two blks from their school and another opposite two blks from our home. I would be home in two hours. Mornings were spent with them as they readied themselves for school. There’s more….and it’s a nightmare.
      Disaster hit when when there was a car accident and our youngest was killed instantly and our oldest was driving. Although found completely innocent, her guilt through the advice of good therapy was going to haunt her forever. What better recipients than the parents. We are now no longer spoken to and found lacking and rejected in every way. Our oldest daughter has created quite a storyline about us and has found her new created memoirs to be the truth. They have been conveyed to a less than desirable husband whose opinions of his wife’s parents to be less than ‘low rent’ or white trash.
      There is no going back or “Unringing” the bell as I’ve heard and we can only wish her well and a healthy aging 50 year old woman. In some cases it is a goodby to our childlike woman/daughter even tho we gave birth and nurtured these children until they are are on their own. It’s the inbetween episodes that may have been overlooked or a disaster such as we’ve experienced that changes the dynamics of parent child relationships. Good luck to all of us who are mourning for the “lost” child” who may return or may not.

      Reply
  35. Lupin

    Monitoring is the proper term, the meaning of stalking includes harassment, or threatening behavior. Exaggeration is unnecessary in this context. I think this will be my last post here, the passive aggressive tone wrapped in “support” is too prevalent in online estrangement group . take care.

    Reply
    1. Gloria

      Lupin, I am sorry that your opinion is that people here are passive aggressive. I was sorry to see your reply to one of the people on here, Carrie Ann, who lifts my spirits with her posts. I have read her reply to you many times over and I agree with her. Estrangement has taught me many lessons, one of them is speaking up when someone is being treated unfairly. I have eliminated people who do not treat me kindly or fair, it’s now my superpower! I wish you well.

      Reply
    2. Donna

      I don’t blame you. I can only say I hope you don’t go. I’ve responded twice now to other messages tearing you down and am sickened by them. Are we only acceptabole in this forum if we agree with everything? I think Sheri’s choice to use the word stalking a poor choice and a mistake on her part. She’s only human. She’ll make them. But I do want to say that I am sorry to see so many pile on you this time. In this and the other column this month, there seems to be a horrible attitude of how dare you disagree with me that is frankly disconcerting. I’m not yet ready to throw in the towel but seeing it is giving me an uneasy feeling about posting here too. This is supposed to be a support forum, not one where we should be criticizing one another when we’re already hurting and reaching out for understanding. If people disagree, they should either scroll past (preferrable) or at least be politer about it.

      Reply
    3. emily38

      Donna, there are ways to disagree without being disagreeable.

      We are individuals here with unique experiences that fall into the category of “estrangement.” Most comments I’ve read over the years are measured, are respectful and are not hostile. Thank goodness. Yes, this is a supportive community but every community has exceptions.

      I share your outrage but for a very different reason, one of having been quoted, then (by my standards) bullied for my “experience’ and “opinion” that flowed from it.

      You may not agree with me. That’s your prerogative. I learned when an elected official in my small community to listen closely to what the constituents had to say. I didn’t agree with many of them, but I learned a great deal by listening, if only to reinforce what I believed, not what they believed. We humans have two ears but only one mouth for a good reason.

      I hope you’ll rethink your outrage. Know, I am outraged too for a very different reason, for being “called out” as I was by the same poster.

      Thank you for thinking about my response.

      Reply
  36. Tovah

    It’s been a big part of my healing process to withdraw from the previous role of guardian, overseer, watch guard, etc and that means refraining from any kind of online monitoring. It’s been made easier by the still searing recollection of the hurtful words used to push me and my husband away.

    I’m also acutely aware of the staged nature of social media and our EDs are expert at creating this facade, inventing images of success for the camera. They called that “Fake it till you make it.”

    So at least in our case all that glitters is not gold.

    Our children are not yet old enough to have made strides in careers but they do exert painstaking effort into creating impressive images of themselves with photo shoots involving various outfits, backdrops, and (sadly) sexy poses to splash across their vanity pages. As their mom this crude projection of themselves embarrasses me and turns any thoughts I may have had to monitor them into something cringeworthy.

    I can’t unsee what I have already had to see prior to them estranging themselves and honestly I don’t want to see whatever is currently out there.

    Reply
    1. rparents Post author

      Tovah
      I can relate to this cringeworthy element in a horrific way. I guess that is one reason to put this article out there. So many “estranged parents” suffer horribly at the view, the sight, the reality of what a once adored, beautiful, intelligent child has become. Sinking, devolving, disintegrating…. I am not so much embarassed as it has hurt my soul.

      I do have faith though. Things can change. A person can become well, reclaim who they truly are.

      BUT … it isn’t up to me. People must choose, commit, work….
      Thank you for your comment.

      Hugs,
      Sheri McGregor

      Reply
  37. emily38

    This reader feels you’ve touched a nerve with your observations, Sheri. And good for you. Sometimes it takes more than a gentle prod to produce meaningful thoughts in a reader. And at the heart of what you’ve written, I find the Truth about relationships. All relationships. Any of them.

    One of the conflicts re relationships in the Estrangement experience is the entrenched belief that the parent’s relationship with an adult ‘child’ is somehow fundamentally different, at its core, than any other one. When “something” breaks, fails or disappears between two people IN relationship, we say the relationship is either broken and needs mending, or it’s ended.

    Mending takes two. Ending takes one. And whatever the form of “stalking” of the one who’s left the relationship, it guarantees the one left behind will not move on, heal, regain their sense of internal safety or emotionally thrive.

    Can people “get over” the destroyed relationships of divorce? The finality of a death? The rejection of a ‘child?’ Yes, to whatever degree fits their internal wiring. Can a person cobble together a new life successfully if they cling to parts and pieces of what no longer exists? It’s difficult to make a case for this. I read your column on stalking as one component of an almost irrational attachment to something that no longer is.

    The estranged parent who stalks (and I use that term more broadly than you do, perhaps) or ruminates over what that E son or daughter is doing or has done, who maintains an attachment emotionally which is one-sided, “stalks” in a different way. And as you’ve so clearly pointed out, the parent in an E situation is responsible for focusing on their own life. For facing reality. For doing the hard work of coming to terms with a life situation they didn’t ask for but one they got.

    Granted, coming to this fork in the healing road takes time. A great deal of time. Arriving is slowed by the nature of its one step forward, two steps back pace. And as you’ve often written, a healthy parent will potentially be in a much better place to reestablish some kind of relationship with an estranged ‘child,’ should that repair ever happen because the ‘child’ initiates it.

    I have family members who insist on telling me “news” of my ES despite my having said clearly I do not want it. Sometimes I feel a razor’s edge of disapproval of me, of my parenting, when they send information my way. Sometimes I wonder if they’ve ‘heard’ me? Sometimes I think they are thinking of themselves, not of me.

    This week, information was excitedly shared that one ES had a remarkable achievement in his professional career with a well-received publication. I heard the message, I had a moment when I “knew” I would not buy his book, and I simply did not want to go beyond the news.

    And most telling, I felt NOTHING. The news could have been about anyone. My day went on. In my world, for me, this was a billboard along the highway toward healing that had a bold message. I had separated emotionally from this person. I would not “stalk” him in any way, even though I obviously could. Our relationship was ‘then,’ not ‘now.’

    Again, your message, as always, Sheri, is about the wellness of the person left behind. The one who must put the pieces back together as best as they’re able. And you’ve given an example of one of the many self-defeating behaviors that would delay building that new life, a new way in the world.

    Thank you for your commitment to looking at the ‘other person’ in the parent-child relationship, the one often over-looked or delegated to “shoulds” and “musts” and “oughts” by “experts” in estrangement issues. The parent who must reclaim his or her life, daunting as it will be.

    emily38

    Reply
    1. rparents Post author

      emily38,

      Thank you for your words… partially because they make me feel a little soothed (I never want to hurt anyone’s feelings and was concerned prior to posting that this article would not “land” as intended with some). I thank you for that part, and also that you have articulated the “hard won” type of peace that I have frequently discussed, through your own experience shared here and also through the overall big picture lens: it takes time and energy for parents to grow toward healing … on their own time and in their own way.

      Thank you again for your posting. Talk about a nail head being hit.
      🙂

      Hugs,
      Sheri McGregor

      Reply
    2. Lupin

      “And whatever the form of “stalking” of the one who’s left the relationship, it guarantees the one left behind will not move on, heal, regain their sense of internal safety or emotionally thrive. ”

      This is simply false, rooted in black and white thinking. One can accept the reality of estrangement and chose to maintain the natural interest in their beloved child’s well being, regardless if that love is returned.

      Those of us who have done the unselfish tasks of caregiving for a cognitively or mentally challenging family member understand this all too well.

      Reply
    3. Laura

      Emily, that was so helpful. I have definitely done my fair share of stalking. I even call out text his mother in law to catch up on the latest news. You nave given me the help I needed to stop worrying about them. I am, by nature, a people pleaser. It’s a hard pill to swallow that my own child does not desire to be with me. I’m getting better at this, so reading things like this have been so helpful.

      Reply
  38. Kathy

    Hello Sheri,
    I have JUST discovered your site and am ordering your books. Our family was rocked in 1998 when our two oldest sons were killed in a car accident at age 16 & 19. Our remaining sons are now in their 30’s, one married with two little boys of his own, one remains single at this writing. I always told myself that I would rather die myself than go through such a loss again. And yet, here we are with many of the same feelings of loss and grief that feel in some ways very familiar and, in other ways, far worse. There has been no “event”, no catalyst to reference. And, while our son acknowledges that there has been “distance developing over the years”, he cannot seem to bring enough clarity to his feelings to have a conversation with me. He claimed to be more comfortable in communicating via email but another 8 weeks have passed without contact. I do see signs that my dil has done a deep dive into counseling, therapy, coaching, etc. to work through issues that continue to plague her from her childhood and am left only to suppose that there is an element of being guided toward conclusions that may be unfair. Whether they are or not fair, I am so anguished at our current reality that I am willing to sit silently and listen to anything, ANYTHING, he has to say to me to work toward resolution. Your advice to come to some level of acceptance and peace is a new concept I’d not considered until now. I do not, however, to give him the impression that I am giving up. My dil has said in the past that she is deeply jealous of anyone who takes his time/attention away from her but I do realize that I must tread lightly, that I would only damage our relationship further by revealing that conversation. It feels like a no-win situation but one that I’m sure is not without precident. I look forward to reconciling the overwhelming feelings of loss, grief, hopelessness and isolation through the avenues you provide. Blessings!

    Reply
  39. Carrie-Ann

    Thank You Beautiful Sheri for this article, “Lurking parents: Are you “stalking” an estranged adult child?”

    The key to answering this question is the following question you wrote: “But if your contact with an adult child is unwanted or non-existent, what’s your purpose?”

    Communication is a two-way street…Just because “public access” is available, does not mean that the other person is ok with it…I would ask Lupin to ask her son if he is ok with her on-line searching and observing his life…If he is estranged, I doubt that he would be ok with it at all…

    For myself, I have a very light on-line footprint…Because I value and want my privacy and safety…I learned early-on that it was not healthy for me to seek out information on estranged adult children…One can love and be happy for their success; without “trolling” and “stalking” their lives online…I say “trolling” because if both people are not aware and are ok with it…then that’s what it is…My Heart Is With Each Estranged Parent…I Send Love, Light, & Peace…
    Carrie-Ann

    Reply
    1. Lupin

      Yes Carrrie Ann, he is OK. Your doubts are misplaced. Estrangement is an unique experience and process. Please respect that. Maybe reflect on what I already shared before pushing your agenda. And look up the definitions of the terms you misuse.

      Reply
    2. candleinthewind

      Hello Carrie-Ann and Lupin, in particular

      Frankly, it’s so very difficult, the estrangement business xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx which is why Sheri sends hugs all round, ‘cos that’s what we need xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

      Reply
    3. rparents Post author

      Thank you dear Carrie Ann. I am sorry you have had to learn hard lessons. But … I am also glad that you have. Lessons learned means you get to proceed forward! Oh, go ahead … colkect $200. too, like the old Monopoly game. Get yourself a treat.
      Hugs to you, and zillions of blessings,
      Sheri McGregor

      Reply
    4. Gigi

      Your comment.. “But if your contact with an adult child is unwanted or non-existent, what’s your purpose?”. I am struggling and loosing my mind. My son is now 26 and he loved. Loved . Loved me coming up. I tell you t is different raising a son with out a father. I have 2 other girls also. Tired of the mental abuse after 24 years with their dad I left. Had no idea that it would hurt them especially me son. He was 13, he still loved me but after a taser I started dating, he hated and could not understand that. That was the start of my hurting him. I get codepend with people I love, it was my mom, their father and then my kids… my life as always been for them still today with my girls,,,30 &32 they are always there for me. My son and I had a blowup conversation it got in about his girlfriend which he loves more than anyone, I was jealous because he treated her so good, ignored me and his sisters…then I was wrong and did not know at the time…I said you can stuck up under your girlfriend and her family and neglect yours…I move to gaeorgia for him packed all my stuff and left Florida, we were homeless for a while after leaving their dad, my son always wanted to be with XX county…anyway as we spoke I said that he got fed up he was already stressed I did not know it……he said That’s it I am done with you! I just pulled 3 dead babies out of a fire and you do not know what the f—— I am feeling right now ——-I felt terrible and that is the last I heard from him he blocked me on Facebook, his girlfriend did too and it has been 26 months ago… he wishes me happy birthday through texting my daughter and that is it.

      I am hurting so bad, may only son he has ptsd and will not get help, he is a fireman what will I do if something’s happens and we are not talking, I feel like I would go into a deep depression “”””He last said I was the first woman he loved and I hurt him omg I was an awful mother. I had a lot of issues raised in dysfunctional family, my mother was mentally sbusive so when I left their dad I grew up through dating found my self got told I was beautiful I needed that he said I am playing the victim I miss him sooooo much , does he really love me I cannot live like this think about him every time a fire truck goes by checking his dept work on Facebook just to see him

      Reply
  40. Lupin

    Thanks Sheri, plenty of your ideas have been helpful to me. I think estrangement grief is largely love disrupted so I try to accept the misery at the same time I practice loving my son while watching his professional development on social media, I am rooting for his success. I find the process positive, helps me grow in compassion and knowledge.

    Reply
  41. candleinthewind

    Funnily enough, I was just writing about stalking in my journal last night, and here we are with an article written especially for me??? Anyway, it’s the same wanting information about any ex, it’s just so easy to do in the lonely hours; at the heart of it is dealing with loss, emptiness and absence. Triggered sometimes by other people’s interference or good intentions, and you veer off the straight and narrow path. It’s not real anyway, as the person (the ex-whoever) has broken contact. We have to train ourselves to live in and face the present reality. Actually, when we do, it’s not all bad – there are some pleasant surprises en route, and we learn not to be so afraid of our emotions. Essential for not making stupid decisions.

    Reply
    1. Kathy H.

      Thank you for your comment. You are wise and I agree with you wholeheartedly. I have made a decision to move on with my life and not look back. In weak times it is so easy to turn back and yearn for what is not there. I did that just yesterday and forced myself to wait before acting . I gained strength after a good nights sleep. I am trying to embrace my new normal and stay strong.

      Reply
  42. Annie

    I am blocked from their social media, however, I know that before the estrangement they used to record conversations we had on their phones without our permission. I have seen them drive by our house in the car we gifted them and they use relatives and neighbors to find out how we are doing. My guess is they can’t wait until we’re dead.

    Reply
    1. rparents Post author

      Annie,
      That’s the other side, isn’t it? Their “monitoring” sounds unkind. I would find that intrusive. I believe taping conversations is also illegal.

      Take kind care of yourself,

      Hugs,
      Sheri McGregor

      Reply
    2. Shirley

      I’m not on Facebook with my ED but my in-laws are. I want to know how she’s doing, but I’m ashamed to ask and I don’t think they want to be bothered anyway. It’s so embarrassing and humiliating knowing that she’s complained about us to relatives. I wish she would ask about how we’re doing, but I don’t think she cares.
      I feel sad and worry about her. It’s been about 5 years and it almost feels like I no longer have a child. I never thought this would happen to me. Take care.

      Reply
  43. rparents Post author

    Dear Lupin,
    The article is using “stalking” as a way to consider the observed person’s perception of being monitored by someone unwanted and possible effects of online following, as well as the observer”s (possible) sense of compulsion and distress. Social media viewing of public feeds doesn’t usually fit the legal definition of stalking. However, if you were compelled to follow your son’s Twitter and other online presence sources, spent hours perusing it all for information, and were distressed … then if would be unhealthy. An estranged son might not like it either….

    Hugs to you,
    Sheri McGregor

    Reply
  44. Lupin

    Stalking? Using social media is NOT stalking. Stalking is a specific action.
    I have never driven by my estranged son house, or followed him, etc.

    I do read his twitter account, and what I learn makes me happy for him.

    Reply
    1. rparents Post author

      Dear Lupin,
      The article is using “stalking” as a way to consider the observed person’s perception of being monitored by someone unwanted and possible effects of online following, as well as the observer”s (possible) sense of compulsion and distress. Social media viewing of public feeds doesn’t usually fit the legal definition of stalking. However, if you were compelled to follow your son’s Twitter and other online presence sources, spent hours perusing it all for information, and were distressed … then if would be unhealthy. An estranged son might not like it either….

      Hugs to you,
      Sheri McGregor

      Reply
    2. Lupin

      Sheri, to my mind these semantics shifts should be challenged not embraced, such as the distorted view of abuse applied by the majority of articles promoting cutting parents our of your life. Concept creep is a threat to a sane society.

      Reply
      1. rparents Post author

        Lupin,

        Ok. Your point is understood. This article is not helpful to you, and I am ok with that. Perhaps you will find something else here of use.

        In any event, many kindnesses and much joy to you.

        Sheri McGregor

        Reply
    3. Nick

      Lupin,

      Respectfully, so you understand quotation marks? Do you know what Sherri means when she says “stalking”. She is not being literal, my friend. Please reassess your entire dialogue as it is unnecessarily confrontational. Sheri agrees with you/us. She doesn’t think we are mad stalkers. She is simply empathetic towards the irrational beliefs of the estranged. She is being as empathetic an neutral as she can be (God bless her, given her own circumstances). Please take a step back and consider that she is simply trying to be impartial to try and help us (those that are being treated unfairly). I respect you and am simply trying to help you see this alternative perspective which may help. Love and hugs. <3

      Reply
    4. Donna

      Nick,

      I’m replying to you through the post as there’s no reply to replies here but with all due respect, why did you feel it necessary to weigh in? What did you hope to accomplish? You couldn’t just scroll past becasue?

      I do understand that Sheri didn’t mean literal stalking as in the legal sense but I think that was a poor choice of words. I also see nothing wrong with viewing public posts about your child. It will be bad for some but good for others. We are all individuals. There is literally nothing wrong or immoral about viewing public posts. Let’s take this old school. If your estranged child had a story about them published in a paper or if their career consisted of writing publicly available articles or even books, would it be “stalking” to read those? I don’t think so and I don’t think reading their social media is either. If it’s public, they know you can see it. Yes, even if they block you. Just make another account. It’s on them to not post public if they don’t want people they want nothing to do with seeing. Saying one can’t read publicly posted social media is no different from saying they can’t go to a performance if they get a part in the local community theater. Like saying Meghan Markle’s father can’t read articles or watch news stories about her or King Charles can’t read his son’s book. He may have no interest, it may hurt too bad or he may want to to understand why his son felt as he felt or to see if he’s okay. I’m not King Charles. I don’t know his mindset. This is just an example.

      We all handle such grief in our own ways and they are varied. Sheri gives lots of wonderful advice but it is sometimes short-sighted. I am disabled and very ill. I cannot just go reinvent my life as I am largely housebound and unable to go out there and make a new life for myself. Getting through the days day to day is difficult because I never know when I’ll be violently ill. I can hardly go cultivate new interests when I dread a doctor or dentist appointment because I have anxiety that I might get violently ill during it. The spirit’s willing but the body’s weak as the saying goes so I do feel a little resentment at that simplistic answer that will not work for me at all. That said, she gives other advice that is good (including that for most peole) and this forum gives us a place to share. I do not throw out the baby with the bath water bcause of that.

      I found this forum and Sheri’s book when my daughter suddenly moved to another state despite my need for her help because I am ill and I was hurting. She does not keep in continual contact and it’s reduced not estranged as she does travel to me every three to four weeks and grandson comes too when he is able. (He is 19.) I am still hurting. There are probably some here that would think this is not the place for me as they’d love to have that much. I do love to have that much. I’ll hang onto to those scraps as long as I can get them and hope they never end before I do.

      I don’t know why but this month, it seems that members are sniping at each other. Why? If you feel like chiding another member, perhaps, next time – just scroll past.
      Instead of adding your unkindness to the hurt their child(ren) have already given.

      Above, i silently agreed with a post saying I thought this was a place of support not criticism because on this and the other aritcle this month, I’m seeing so much sniping. But I scrolled past though I think now I will go up and leave a short comment of support though I doubt the person already turned away will see it. We decide if this is a place of healing and support or tearing one another down. Sheri monitors our posts but she is obviously respectful and believes in free speech as long as it doesn’t cross lines of being extremely egrecious. So it is up to us to not add further hurt to other members. If your criticism isn’t constructive, well, take Thumper’s advice – if you can’t say something nice, say nothing at all.

      Lupin said nothing wrong here. That is my opinion and this is the second post I’ve found scolding her for nothing more than her opinion. I have searched for other forums for estranged parents but they are not so closely monitored and are overrun by estranged children lashing out at the parents. I am glad Sheri screens all posts so that can’t happen here. But let’s not do to each other what those “adults” do on those other forums.

      Reply
      1. rparents Post author

        Dear Donna,
        We all have resilience in our own measure and ability, even with physical limitations. It is inside each of us. In the latest book (Beyond Done), there is an example of a woman who uses her mind and imagination to her benefit despite physical limitations, as an example in a thorough discussion on each person’s individual brand of resilience. This is not meant as an argument or rebuttal to you. I cannot provide help for every situation, every person … Does that make me and my work “short sighted”? I guess that is in the eye of the beholder, as so many things are. I take your thoughts here seriously. Perhaps I can better serve you and those like you in the future. Meanwhile, I wish you as much joy as you can derive from this life. Many blessings and hugs to you (and to Nick — thank you for sticking up for me).

        Sheri McGregor

        Reply

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