Parents cut off by adult children: Resume the battle

by Sheri McGregor, M.A.

March was once considered the first month of the year. January and February weren’t even named in ancient times because they were considered a winter period of dormancy and doldrums. Everything got going again in March.

That’s when warriors returned to the battlefields. March is named for the Roman god of war, Mars. This isn’t an article about March or any ancient gods or war, but it works as a segue into what I do want to talk about: Parents cut off by adult children resuming the battle—for themselves.

After the year-long “winter” of lock-downs and letdowns and all things Covid-19, spring is literally and figuratively on the horizon. For parents cut off by adult children, resuming the battle will mean something personal to each. Despite how some people stereotype any rejected parent as narcissistic, abusive, or as having about as much self-awareness as a fence post, we are all unique. Even so, right now, I’m hearing similar struggles from parents cut off by adult children. Here, we’ll conquer a couple of those with tips to prepare and wage war for your own well-being.

Reality re-set

The pandemic caused many parents to face an uncomfortable truth: Their children don’t care whether they live or die. Seeing those words written out is harsh, but reality sometimes is. I know, I have faced it. There’s an upside though: When you know facts, you can deal with facts.

Some parents cut off by adult children have previously come to this conclusion. For others, the pandemic brought it to the fore. One father, Terry, put it like this: “If a son won’t check on his dad during a pandemic, then he’s not a son.”

Terry and his ex-wife co-parented with their son’s best interests in mind. When Leo turned 13, he balked at his mother’s rules and was angry she remarried. He moved in with his dad, who also had a few rules. Terry corrected Leo when he was dismissive of his mom. Terry says, “I figured he was just a mixed-up teen, but how he treated her was the writing on the wall.”

With Terry’s encouragement, his brought his grades up, did well in high school sports, and worked in his father’s restaurant. Terry taught Leo everything he knew about running a business, and then watched with pride as his son started his own successful endeavor. When Leo married, the calls home stopped. Terry’s calls were met with “too-busy” responses that soon grew stronger. Leo would answer his phone, tell his dad he was busy, and say, “I’ll call you sometime.” Eventually, he ignored all calls, texts, and voicemails. Silence stretched out between them.

Two years passed. Terry saw a therapist who persuaded him to write an apologetic letter. Father and son reconnected for a while, but in retrospect, Terry wishes he hadn’t sent the note. Nothing really changed, and they were soon back to the same old silence—only now Terry was embarrassed. He hadn’t owed his son an apology. “The letter made me sound weak or begging,” says Terry, who had put himself on the line. Leo didn’t have any real complaints about his dad. Terry realized the hard truth that his son just didn’t care.

Fed up and with no other choice, Terry handled the cutoff the way he’d always handled setbacks. He got on with his life. He even remarried and was so involved in living that he didn’t think much about the past, or Leo. “I was happy,” he says.

Then the pandemic hit.

Concerned about Leo and his daughter-in-law, as well as their baby—the grandson Terry’s ex-wife had seen on social media, pirated a photo of, and shared—Terry reached out. His son ignored the voice message, the email Terry sent a month later, and two texts sent a few months after that.

Terry felt isolated and sad. The lock-downs had drastically reduced his restaurant customer base. Unable to turn a profit and trying to comply with the frequently changing pandemic red tape that added stress without an upside in sight, he closed his business doors for good. With less exposure to the public, he did feel safer, but at home alone while his wife worked in a career deemed essential, he had too much idle time on his hands.

What’s a person to do?

parents cut off by adult children

Image by pasja1000 from Pixabay

As the vaccines began to roll out and hints of spring arrived in early fruit tree blooms, Terry realized that the events of the past year had put him in a funk. The TV had blared bad news, he had lost the business that had become so much a part of his identity, and he saw his son’s lack of communication in a new, stark way.

Maybe you can relate. I’m hearing from a lot of people who are exhausted from the uncertainty of the past year and fearful of what may lie ahead. Some have lost all hope. If that’s you, consider whether you might be clinically depressed, and consider seeking help.

Even with therapeutic support, making lifestyle changes can make things brighter. As a Life Coach, I’ve assisted many clients, and have included Terry’s plans to prompt your own. Read the next few paragraphs with your own life—your history, your strengths, your circumstances—in mind.

Parents cut off by adult children: Fight for yourself

To move forward, Terry must remember his stronger, more capable self. Doing that puts him in touch with the reserves of strength he knows got buried beneath the gloomy news, all that had happened over the last year, and the hopeless uncertainty that has plagued him. Terry has gone through other tough times . . . and he has prevailed. He can remember what worked for him in the past, lean on those strengths, and prevail again.

Ask yourself what you have previously been through. How did you manage? What helped? What didn’t? Write it down. The more detailed you can get with this, the more you arm yourself to get on with living.

As an alternative or in addition to this self-mining, think about others who inspire you. Historical figures, a family member, or friend. We can borrow ideas from others’ resilience.

As is true for most people, good things often sprang from Terry’s past troubles. Keep in mind though, that in the midst of the battle, any good, any meaning from the experience, isn’t always evident. That may be true for you, and if so, turn any “why do bad things always happen to me” thinking around. Deploy yourself to fight against negative thoughts and win. Try considering your experiences with a sense of mystery or hope. Use words that uplift. Here are some examples:

  • The good that will come from this is unknown to me right now.
  • The meaning in all of this will reveal itself in time.
  • The lesson in this struggle is a mystery right now.
  • One day, I will look back on this loss and see the gift that was there all along.
  • I don’t understand this right now, but God will reveal its purpose on His time.
  • Something good will come from this.

For Terry, the most important positive things he found from past struggles involve his inner being: His strong sense of right and wrong, his faith in a higher power, and his determination to do well for his family. Those truths can provide strength now.

What good things derive from your past struggles? Use the estrangement if you can, but don’t limit yourself. Think in terms of your identity. Every person can think of at least one thing, and usually more. Did you learn that you were stronger than you thought? More creative? Maybe you learned that even when you feel powerless and confused, you can do something in the moment that helps. My grandfather used to say: Sometimes, you just have to put your head down and work.

Reflect on any good that came out of past trauma. Write these down. Remember your strengths.

Terry also recognizes that he must take better care of himself. The side effects are only positive. Better health, better mood, and more.

Read on, consider how this helps Terry, and then come up with your own ideas. Or use the paragraphs below as templates and fill in your unique circumstances, experiences, and truths. You can tape a sheet to the refrigerator as an affirmation or use note cards you can easily pull out for motivation. Written ideas remind you to persevere and progress.

parents cut off by adult children

Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay

About taking better care of himself, Terry realized:

First, he would feel better about himself. Seeing in the mirror an unshaven man who hadn’t brushed his teeth by dinner didn’t encourage him to do much. If he felt better about himself, he was more likely to get outside for a walk or interact—even at a social distance. By getting up and dressed, he would prepare himself, as Terry said, “For a life.”

Second, he could make other people feel better about themselves. This might seem counterintuitive when you’re thinking of yourself as a project, but Terry knows better. In mentoring employees, he explained how their demeanor influenced customers. When customers feel important, they more highly view the person in front of them (and the overall business).

Third, it all connects. If Terry takes better care of himself, he feels better and is more likely to interact. His simple smile or friendly greeting makes other people feel better, and they respond in kind. Their response, then, makes him feel good too. It’s a positive feedback loop that’s easy to begin and maintain.

Whose line is this anyway?

One final thought: Consider what you’re telling yourself. If you’re allowing an inner refrain of uncertainty and pain, do some inner housekeeping. Be mindful. When your thoughts dip into unhelpful territory, tell yourself to stop, and then change up. I like to use the phrase: Catch and rephrase. You catch the negative thinking, and then you rephrase it.

What negative thoughts come up for you? This can be due to the pandemic and related distress, or, for parents cut off by adult children, to the disconnection, dismay, and even disgust. It’s normal to feel those things but not helpful to dwell. Terry has learned to limit exposure to news or social media. Otherwise, his thoughts wander, and his self-talk grows dark.

If you’re filling up on news that highlights the bad stuff to keep people tuned in, you might find your own thoughts replaced by media headlines. When you catch yourself thinking negatively, ask: Whose line is this anyway? Then come up with a few of your own lines, and make them positive.

Terry says, “Winter is ending. There are vaccines out now. Spring and Easter are on the way. I can’t change my son, but I can change me.” He memorized these sentences and uses them together or on their own whenever he feels the need to lift his spirits or shift his focus. It has become a sort of battle cry.

With all these ideas, Terry is following in the footsteps of ancient Roman soldiers, returning to battle—for himself.

How are you going to battle for yourself? I hope you’ll leave a comment here for other parents cut off by adult children. We can help each other as we help ourselves.

For more strategies to help parents of estranged adults, consider getting the book, Done With The Crying. You can also sign up for the monthly newsletter by filling in your information below.

Related Reading

Five ways to move on after an adult child’s rejection

66 thoughts on “Parents cut off by adult children: Resume the battle

  1. AvatarNoemi N.

    I know this may sound harsh, but my need to feel loved doesn’t necessarily have to come from my children. Yes it hurts , but pain does demand attention. I just attend ti the pain by acknowledging it and move on. I feel pain, but it does not take over me. I’m with someone who brings so much joy and love, and I’m not spoiling that. I just am happy . So between pain and pleasure, well I’ll take pleasure anytime cause I’m grateful. Sometimes it’s ok to do what is easier.

    Reply
  2. AvatarNYFiremanMom

    Jola, Your Son I believe is a Victim. My Daughter thinks it’s her job to adhere to her husband’s false demanding needs and with saying that his needs in her mind meant her doing away with us and she did. She did exactly what he demanded and threatened us with in his cunning sneaky ways like announcing out loud in the middle of conversation that had nothing to do with the discussion we were having that “Grandparents do not have any rights in the State of New York”. My Daughter complies with all his wishes and when she doesn’t he has a temper tantrum to make sure she does. He’s really mean. She never was. She knows better even though I feel she is a victim. Best to you.

    Reply
  3. AvatarNYFiremanMom

    This is a great Article. Thank you for this article. That’s exactly how I feel especially with this Pandemic. This Pandemic helped me realize the truth and face reality as to the state of mind my Daughter is in and who she is Now but it also helped me accept this situation head on because I am not writing any letters to her unless I am telling her my truth and the truth. I am not trying to contact her especially since she has allowed me to be tortured by blocking me and allowing her Partner to do it with a mean vengeance due to his issues and control and not allowing me to get to know my Grandchild something we never deserved another hateful mean thing to do, not even communicating with us, another lousy thing I feel she did etc. In other words the way she went about it was immature to say the least and not even contacting her Grandmother or any other family member related to me in this Pandemic. I will not beg, grovel, plead, ask, chase, cry with that pleading, inquire, write, etc. This pandemic made me realize all she did to me and the way she treated us. She didn’t even reach out in this Pandemic and that helped me be clear, to know she does not care and realize we did not deserve any of this. I feel I was her scapescope. The way she especially treated me? I never deserved even half of it. The way she treated her Brother and us? Yes it made me very very clear which is helping me to move on with my life. Finally, moving on and picking up all the neglected broken pieces of my life that I just didn’t care about after this shock from her of betrayal.

    Reply
  4. AvatarJenni

    My daughter turns 23 today. I have 3 daughters who were alienated from me for 7 year. This past year,they all had reached 18 and came back around. Now I have my 18 year old. But my 21 and 23 year old daughters have rejected me again. I am done with feeling like I am proving my innocence. It is clear they like to lie and manipulate, so the more I prove that I am good, the more they think i am a loser. It kinda defies the whole situation. With them acting like I did something wrong for purposes of explaining why they dont want me. But then, at the end of the day, they love lying and manipulating, so being around me makes them self conscious. They weren’t ready. They are not able to feel empathy for me and ever see the way their dad destroyed my life as wrong. They were only back in secret. They will never stand up for me. Tell their dad he was lying about me. It is hard to know that if they ever are ready, they will basically have to really piss their dad off. They will always want to keep him more than they care about me or doing the right thing. They just block me and dont think about me. There is no way to reach them. This time it was my middle daughter not wanting to admit she lied about something that hurt her sister, so she let her blame it on me. Said she never said what she told me. I think she lost all desire to do right. It doesnt help that their dad showed them that lies can get you everything you want. How can you show a grown child the destruction caused by lying, if they are always able to avoid it?

    Reply
  5. AvatarKimberly USA

    My Adult children changed after being indoctrinated in college in San Francisco, now that I voted for President Trump the second time they will have nothing to do with me. I call and leave messages to no avail. Like a previous parent said at least if they were dead there would be some finality but being alive and not knowing how they are doing is torture.

    Reply
    1. AvatarM

      Politics has caused estrangements for centuries. So it has in my family. Back in the 60s, families had estrangements over the issues involved in the Vietnam War. Perhaps the worst in US history was the Civil War.
      If you could put “family estrangement politics” into your search engine, you will see articles on this topic. If you use “Trump” as a search term, even more articles on estrangement will appear.

  6. AvatarTrish

    Sheri, thank you for all that you do.

    I decided to create an online journal. I often write
    as though I’m speaking to my daughter. It helps me
    to get my thoughts out there. I also know how much I searched online hoping to find information or experiences of others but struggled until very recently.
    I named the blog using the email I created for my daughter when she was a kid.
    http://www.bestkidintheworldatmac.com

    Reply
  7. AvatarStephanie S.

    My son just turned 25. He “removed” me from his life in August 2020. He’s an only child. I raised him with love and kindness, thoughtfulness, and did the very best I knew to do. I was diagnosed with endometrial cancer in February 2020 and went through surgery and chemo. My son had a van road trip planned and I encouraged him to go, to do his thing. He did and left after my surgery. He seemed so happy. I think he is happy. He told me that our relationship didn’t rate high enough to continue. That he’s only interested in 5 out of 5 relationships, where he gets the most out of it. It’s devastating. Everything reminds me of him or a memory of the past 25 years. Every book, song, movie, tv show . . . there’s no escape from the pain. I’m trying to accept this reality, but it’s so hard. I don’t believe I’ll ever see him again and that just crushes me. At the same time, I’m so lucky . . . he’s alive, healthy, and working toward what he wants in life.

    Reply
    1. rparentsrparents Post author

      Stephanie,

      Take good care of yourself. If you don’t have my book, Done With The Crying, I hope you’ll get it. Others here can attest that it is very helpful. You really must take care of yourself. You’re still healing, and your son sounds like a big fat jerk (sorry to be blunt) for turning on you right after your surgery. I’m glad he went for his van trip, and I know you wanted him too. But this 5 out of 5 relationship thing? Well, he’s going to find very few of those or they will be short-lived. People can be a 5outof5 all the time. So, good luck with that. I know this probably sounds mean, but some of the saddest stories I hear are moms who get sick and then their child leaves them. Hugs to you and, again, focus on your healing. Find what brings YOU joy and peace. I know that feeling of every reminder. I know it very well. Start finding things and attaching new memories for your self! Sheri McGregor

    2. AvatarMarie-Grace

      Shephanie! I am reading your post! My God! I am suffering with you. My son is 33 today! Easter!! This is painful and like sherrie said he’s a jerk. But the Bible in proverbs talks about a son who disrespects his mother is a fool. If you ever get a chance read proverbs. God will not let our sons win in the end. I may not see Gods hand but my son will. I’ve been a loving, giving mom and grand mom but evil set in his heart and I’m trying to trust God to walk with me thru this time of grave sorrow. I will pray for you and your son.

    3. AvatarAnna

      I soooo understand how you are feeling, Stephanie! I had a devasting injury during Spinal surgery plus infection 4 + years ago that almost killed me & put me in wheelchair for over three years, & neither of my grown children called or saw me or cared if I lived or died! This was on top of their slamming the door in my face when I remarried 5 years earlier! Like most parents on this site, they were my life. Losing them almost cost me my new marriage, as well! But I decided I was going to fight for my life & get beyond my children’s cruel rejection! I asked for spiritual healing while I laid dying & felt bathed in a beautiful deep blue light that surrounded me constantly. That experience taught me about living for myself again! I truly started to focus on getting well physicallly & emotionally. I never went back to my traumatic grief or ptsd that I suffered with daily over the loss of my kids or grandkids. Today, I am walking again, & feeling new life surging through my body! My marriage is stronger than ever! My children did NOT WIN! I did! I have taken back control of my life & have several books planned about my experiences. I feel I was truly healed from my devastating grief & learned something new: we are MORE than mothers or fathers! We are also unique beings who are here on earth to learn many things, besides parenting! Our children were but one big, important part of our lives, but more does exist for us! Life has become bigger & more inclusive forme today, & having more creative time for myself & goals is greatly appreciated & embraced. Yesterday, on Easter, I didn’t even dwell on not seeing my children. I now look at MY LOSS in their lives…and how they have deprived themselves & my grandkids of my deep love that always surrounded them. That is their own cross to bear & explanation to be given to my beautiful grandkids! So my message today to all who suffer the loss & rejection from their adult children: Fight for your own sanity & healing!! Don’t let their sociopathic selfishness destroy your life anymore than it has! You are more than parents!! You are souls still growing & learning! Embrace life, again, & start loving Yourself. Life is still precious if you look beyond yourselves as parents!!

  8. AvatarCarrie-Ann

    Just a small note to wish you all a Happy Spring time!!
    Each moment is a new beginning…Enjoy!! In Peace, Love, & Joy!!

    Reply
  9. AvatarDeena M.

    I think we all have to stop the thinking that we raised them well, so how did they turn out so bad?.
    Narcissism and psychopathy are all inherited.
    Look up these cluster B nasties and you will see your son or daughter and it will sadly all start to make sense.
    Dont think because you were both nice parents who didnt have a mean bone, could not produce a child with a cluster B personality.
    Genetics can be inherited from many generations before the parents so yes, nice parents can have horrible kids.
    You cant parent the genetics out of kids and we are all, but the sum of our unique and individual genetic equation.

    Reply
    1. AvatarSusan M.

      So true. My late husband was a narcissist and was verbally and emotionally abusive with me and my youngest son in particular. I didn’t think y son was narcissistic, but I am realizing he has no empathy. Reality hurts.

  10. AvatarElizabeth

    I so appreciate everyone’s remarks here…because this struggle we live, is day to day, and the intensity varies by the day too. I was remembering today that when my brother closest to me was killed by a drunk driver and we, me especially, were grieving so…my grandmother who had a brother who lost 3 close family members over 18 months, told me that she thought her brother grieved too much and that it might have given him the cancer that took his life while he was fairly young…and that we needed to remember WHERE my brother was and that we would see him again one day. I have been having some issues with kidneys etc this week and so am working on trying to focus less on what is lost to me, including the estranged son and family, even though perhaps not totally lost…each time we hear, I wonder if it will be the last as it is very seldom. This is really a kind of living death of sorts…because if estranged or even partially estranged, then there really is no real relationship. And I do not want my health to completely go with the grief and thus must focus on the ones left and other things. So I am sending hugs to all of you, my fellow travelers!! And wishing you all the strength you need to get through each day and praying GOD will help us all in this battle.

    Reply
  11. AvatarCarol

    I am still angry at my adult children. They were adults (27 and 33) who were alienated by my ex-husband during our divorce. I was the primary caretaker. I feel so betrayed by them both. They both know their father was a big liar. Nonetheless, I don’t know whether I can ever forgive them.

    Reply
    1. AvatarIntelife

      I was so angry for six months that I cried every single day…..
      Please note what I just said,,,,,,I cried.
      My son and his troubled nasty wife were not crying for sure….
      So who was being hurt and who didn’t care that I was being

      I finally realized that I was hurting myself terribly. Your anger will do that too!
      It will be you continuing to hurt yourself over and over and over, every time you think about it.

    2. AvatarMary

      I have two children a 30 year old soon to be 31 and a 33 year old and they have entirely blamed to me the single parent who paid for everything and they lived very well and traveled throughout the world and were treated like princes and princesses so let me tell you it doesn’t matter how you parents if you have bad DNA which they clearly do on the other side and they both were diagnosed oppositional defiant when they were as young as 14 you don’t have a chance in hell DNA is stronger than anything you can do it just is. I tried to tell myself that despite having a PhD I still cry every single holiday. Listen to my words they’re not your children anymore move on I know that sounds rather tough and painful but you can’t keep letting them put you down as might have done to me you’ve done nothing but serve them and you know what I’m dying of cancer in mine told me the other day the only reason I’m talking to you is because you’re sick that’s right that’s why she called me I wrote back saying thank you but no thank you. Let them go cut the string you will be a happier person for it I promise

  12. AvatarSue

    It’s so true. If they can’t contact us now when would they? It could give me peace to give up. But ultimately I don’t think that I can stop sending the birthday and Christmas cards, to keep the door open. The fact that he has been isolated not only from us, but also from all his friends (a great bunch of lads from school and I think really nice people at college) and all of the family means that I know that he is a victim too. As a kid I watched a thing about cults and brainwashing, and it made a huge impact on me. I know that this is effectively what has happened to him – the toxicity of his girlfriend is such that she has manipulated him into cutting off every bit of his networks that could have provided him support or given him any perspective. The cleverness is that he has done it, not her – he thinks it is his decision. There was a total personality transformation, and I am so sad that somehow he didn’t have the tools to deal with it, and also that we didn’t see what was happening until it was too late. He was 20 years old when he distanced, and 21 when he cut us off, saying he didn’t want to communicate ‘for a while’. 5 years later and nothing, and we have respected the boundaries set, just sending the occasional message. Now we don’t have an email address or postal address. In truth even if we had realised what was coming, I think any attempt to talk about it would have been interpreted as an attack on the GF and not helped. We accepted uncharacteristic rudeness with bewildereent. In retrospect he was looking to provoke a row, which he never got. It would have given him something to hang his estrangement on. So, I think about giving up, but I can’t fully. He needs help and one day might realise that. I wouldn’t be the Mum I want to be if I didn’t make sure he knows the door remains open. And I owe it to myself because if I didn’t and something awful (more awful!) happened, I don’t deserve that extra guilt.

    My thoughts and support to everyone struggling with estrangement. It is the worst thing I have ever experienced, and time doesn’t really heal. Take care, and be kind to yourselves,

    Reply
    1. Avatarmidsomermaiden

      I totally agree on your statement, same here sent Xmas cards Birthday cards messages etc sometimes we get a reply when she chooses dangles the carrot and makes promises and lets us down, 10yrs on still no change, I now have to realise that I have a cruel vicious daughter and a ex-husband still very bitter upon our divorce of 15yrs . I’ve re-married and tried to move on, I wished I’d have left him sooner.
      My ex-husband has not tried to support my daughter in her teen years or at University, now all we know is she’s remained at her University city living and working a 100 miles away. He has gone one better this time as the last Xmas/birthday cards sent he has made a complaint to the Police saying we are now harassing him and my daughter (although she has not made a complaint and has never said anything about harassing her)….so now we can’t do anymore

    2. AvatarJola

      Dear Sue
      We have a very similar situation.
      Until our son met the girl we had a son.
      But right from the beginning she started the process of separating us from him.
      She criticized us for being overbearing and not letting him be a man as she put it.
      We only had few visits with both of them and the last one she basically showed us the door after we traveled 300km to see them in their new house.
      It was the last time we saw our son and this happened 7 years ago!
      Despite sending cards and messages the replies dwindled to nothing.
      We have not talked or communicated for 2 years now.
      I believe our son is a victim too!
      Wondering if you tried to get in touch with her family?
      Always think that if it was me I would try to convince them to reach out to the other side!
      Like you I can’t imagine not keeping the door open because I want to believe that one day I will see my son again….I need this glimmer of hope to keep going…..
      All the best, jola

    3. AvatarDee

      I wish I could register to be a part if this group. I trued but it says registry paused. My daughter left mecwhen she was 19. She is now 43. I have been so broken. She is my only child. I have never been allowed to know my grandson who is 17. I have seen him just a hanful of times and not in the best circumstances. I would like to be supportive of others who are hurting and also learn from all of you. This is the only group I have found.

    4. rparentsrparents Post author

      Hello Dee. Registrations will open again in the near future. Meanwhile, I hope you will sign up for the newsletter (the link is at the bottom of every page).

      Hugs to you. Sheri McGregor

  13. AvatarVic

    I’m grateful to read and learn about other people with estranged adult children. Just occured to me that so many don’t have any idea of why the estrangement happened. I felt that I was missing something when my son estranged suddenly after a disagreement. That “something” is often substance use by a child that we were naive about. Especially if ones child lives across the country, they can “cover” for visits, keep the substance use or addiction well hidden. Once I recognized that long term cannabis use was taking its toll on my ES, things began making more sense, looking at the estrangement through that lens. Substance users particularly love it if no one challenges their view of the world, often pushing parents/others away if there is any interference to their habit. Substance users are secretive, unable to process conflict, and will find friends that let them “be themselves,” no matter their impairments and poor behavior. Lots of estranged kids prefer distance….as much as possible.

    Reply
    1. AvatarLorna G.

      Thank you for the reminder that substance abuse is often the source of this issue. It certainly is with my estranged son. After silence of about 3 years, he recently emailed me a couple of pictures of a young girl he said was his daughter. Not a “hi, Mom.” Not a “How are you doing with the lockdown?” No other communication. Just the photos. As one of the posts above pointed out, if there is no inquiry like that, your kid really doesn’t care if you live or die. I didn’t bite; did not respond, and I’m really proud of myself for that. Before the estrangement, I followed him around for about 30 years with a mop in one hand and cash in the other. He just chose to keep crashing and burning. I’m done–not even curious. And that feels very freeing. Al-Anon (which has helped enormously and I highly recommend it) has a saying: “Not my circus. Not my monkeys.” Amen.

    2. AvatarSunnyside2019

      My estranged daughter has had a drinking problem for years. I tried to get her help when this first started on this road, but she refused any help, although she knew she had an addiction to alcohol. I don’t know if she is taking drugs too. I saw she would get events that happened in her teen years mixed up and totally wrong when talking about the past. At first, I thought she was lying, but realized that is her interpretation of the event due to her drinking and how it’s affected her mind. I am pretty sure this is due to her long use of alcohol. Now it’s been 6 years since she dismissed me from her life. It had started over some silly disagreement and I let her know how I felt. She messaged me telling me never to contact her again. I thought she would come to her senses and this would blow over. Instead, she isn’t telling people the truth over her estrangement but making up lies. She knows if she told people the truth over our silly disagreement they would think her estrangement over such a minor thing would make her look bad. I kept up the trying to communicate with her( like many of the people here have too) by phone calls that were never answered and e-mails. I’ve let it go and realized I’ve done all I can. Now it is up to her. I don’t expect to hear from her or see my granddaughter who I haven’t seen since she was 7 months old, but I can’t keep on hurting myself by trying to get her to respond where she just doesn’t care. Take care everyone and just want all of you to know this forum is a great place to air your feelings and to see you are not alone. God bless.

  14. AvatarDiane

    At age 70 now, I realize that I have more years behind me than in front of me. I have pined away for 20+ years hoping that my estranged daughter and her family would “come around.” I was very ill this past Dec. I wasn’t sure if it was COVID or just the flu. I emailed my daughter. I was hoping she would show some concern. We never call each other (only email) for this is one of her “rules.” She just emailed, “I hope you feel better.” I didn’t hear from her for several weeks and she never mentioned it again. I did have a COVID test after 4 weeks of terrible fatigue and it came back negative. I’m starting to forget about her and her family. My two oldest grandkids are 23 and 21 and my youngest grandson is 14. When I turned 70 in Jan, I received no acknowledgement of this special birthday. Nothing. So I decided I’m no longer sending them cards for any occasion or money. I felt like an ATM machine to them, nothing more. I still bring out the book, Done With the Crying, when I feel really bad. I call it My Bible now. This is a very hard thing for all of us, but we matter. We must treat ourselves well and with kindness. Best wishes to all of you out there dealing with this painful situation.

    Reply
    1. AvatarTami

      My heart breaks for you. I know this from the same experience with my only child. The grief is always present in my heart, but if I keep my mind focused on God, I can still have peace. May God comfort you with His peace. With God we gain Heaven where all grief and pain will end forever.

    2. AvatarIrene

      Hi Diane,

      I was looking around trying to find something to help me process what is going on with my adult daughter and I found this page. My heart goes out to you…your story brought tears to my eyes. I can’t imagine not celebrating my 70th with all of my 3 adult kids…I’ll be 68 this year. I’m blessed in that I have two “sane” adult children and yet all of us are clueless as to what we’ve done. This is all still so new to me. A year ago, my husband was diagnosed with cancer and I felt her pulling away. Then we both got Covid and again she was distant. Last summer, however, we invited her and the grandkids to come stay in a rental (for free) for the summer. We were in-between renters and kept it open for them so that they could enjoy a nice home with a pool…3 months no charge. This Christmas we were driving down to spend Christmas with them and were told we could only stay 1 night. 10 hour drive each way for 1 night. We decided we wouldn’t make the 20 hour drive for 1 night. It was the first time the thought “Do you even love us?” crossed my mind. I recently met with a few friends and every single 1 has an estranged adult child. These friends are amazing and loving and kind. I don’t get it. I’m glad you ended your sharing in a positive way…you do matter Diane…more than you know. I pray blessings on you in this year and may 70 be a year of great joy for you.

    3. AvatarIntelife

      That’s a really tough decision to stop sending cards and cash, but it sounds like your grandkids are adults now which changes things I would imagine. I’m still doing the cards and gifts cause grands are eight years old and I hold out hope they will want to know me before I die.

    4. AvatarChristine K.

      Thank you Diane for sharing. I can relate to being the ATM machine. We have a son (I am his stepmom) who is estranged. He contacts us when he wants money. Other than that, we don’t see him or hear from him. It’s been a year now since we have had any contact and we have had extremely limited contact in the past 10 years. I have accepted this and have been able to let go and move on. My husband is having a harder time doing this. However, reading about estrangement and understanding that it’s not us, but the child and their thinking and life decisions, is a huge help. I refuse to let the stepson manipulate or gas light me any more. It’s terrible to watch my husband cry because of how the son is treating him, but I thank God that I am there to help him with all of this. Just remember, we are not alone. There are so many others going thru similar situations.

    5. AvatarDee

      Diane our situations are so similar. I feel for you. I am 63 my daughter also wants to be acknowledged but gives nothing back ever. Know that there are those of us who understand. It doesn’t change how you feel but it helps to know when we have an ally.

  15. AvatarCarrie-Ann

    In Gratitude for each one of you Dear Ones sharing your thoughts, I am sharing the following:

    1. “How sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is to have a thankless child.” (William Shakespeare, King Lear)
    2. “And this too shall pass.” (Bible and ancient times & cultures)
    3. “Power of Surrender” (Eckhart Tolle)
    Why give a free pass(es) to someone who causes such pain, turmoil, drama, etc., just because they are our “child”?!!! If anything, they are to be held even more accountable due to our giving, loving, teaching them to grow up to be independent, responsible, respectful, intelligent, kind, and happy. No more excuses…each of us has a story, yes, even parents…We have experienced, endured, and lived through childhood stuff also, as well as experiencing life as an adult getting through each day…and most of us are not bitter and unkind, thinking the world owes us…(Unfortunately, we tend to take our soul-searching and responsibility to the point that we feel blame for circumstances that are way beyond our control.)

    I retired from teaching earlier than what I would have ever thought I would, as I loved and was dedicated to being an educator…even though income was comparatively much lower than other fields (still paying off graduate school loans)…thought of it more as a “life purpose,” “calling,” “responsibility.” I would still be working as an educator but left the profession due to the “entitled victim” mentality and attitudes that have seeped into the society and educational system…As an educator I feel my role was to “empower not enable”, hopefully resulting in responsible, capable, intelligent American citizens that would love America and the world, and respect and honor our great democracy, and to vote with their hearts, minds, and conscience…That being said, without getting into details, textbooks were changed (at taxpayer expense) to reflect a history that basically trashed American events, values, heros, etc…(from elementary thru university level education). I felt that this has resulted in “closed” minds and hearts, entitled angry and violent crybabies, resenting and wanting to destroy history, values, laws, and law enforcement, with no boundaries except for those that do not agree with their agendas.

    History, Literature, etc., is so very important if we respect and learn from it…Estrangement was experienced in the past also.

    My Heart is also with the UK and the Queen & Prince Philip & family…as they are now experiencing estrangement with their beloved family member Harry and his family. It is on a world stage…causing turmoil, drama, etc…

    So, Dearest Ones, Beautiful Sheri’s book, “Done With Crying” is now a mantra for me…I will not become misled, bitter, discouraged. I live in Gratitude for Each Moment, Each Breath, living in Beloved America, my cats Bennie & Beauty, my hot cup of coffee wafting such a good smell as I write this…Stay in the Moment…Just Breathe…Inhale the present, Exhale the past…We know not how much time we have in this world, so just know that each morning as you wake up you are meant to be here…and it is truly your choice and freedom to smile and enjoy this Life…Love You All…Peace Out…Again Thank You for sharing on this website…It truly is Healing for me…We are not alone…Be discerning as second-guessing, giving second chances and benefit of the doubt is living on shaky ground…

    Reply
    1. AvatarMuddlingThrough

      Thank you for this post, Carrie-Ann. You are spot-on in your assessment of our current education system and the problems it has produced: ‘ “closed” minds and hearts, entitled angry and violent crybabies, resenting and wanting to destroy history, values, laws, and law enforcement, with no boundaries except for those that do not agree with their agendas.” 100% accurate. After one year+ estrangement from my 41-year-old daughter, I’m feeling more and more able to say…go with God, I wish you well. She may or may not attempt to reconcile at some point but either way, I am and will be fine. I know I did my best and really, what else is there? Not my choice, hers, but life does go on, and making the best of it, with God’s help, seems like a good plan to me.

    2. AvatarJane R.

      Thank you Carrie-Ann. I especially liked the Shakespeare quote and comments on the teaching profession. I have twins, a boy and girl, and my daughter turned on me in December of 2018, saying I loved her brother more and in her mind there was also a money issue. I’ve not heard from her since although I’ve reached out a few times, the last being her 50th birthday November 2020. In March I turned 80 and in some ways I feel lucky to have had her for many years but there were times I felt her pulling away. No response to phone calls, emails, etc.

      At this point in my life I doubt if our relationship will come together again. Sherri’s book got me through along with the postings from others. May we hold our heads high and brave the headwinds to the best of our ability.

  16. AvatarWren

    I think a lot of this estrangement has to do with what the Bible said would be the end times attitude
    2 Timothy 3 1 to 5
    3 But know this, that in the last days+ critical times hard to deal with will be here. 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, haughty, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, disloyal, 3 having no natural affection, not open to any agreement, slanderers, without self-control, fierce, without the love of goodness, 4 betrayers, headstrong,
    Notice NO NATURAL AFFECTION? Children disobedient to parents?
    It hurts but there is a lot of goodness to be taken out of this article about Terry, and look! My son did not contact me either when covid had begun and I contacted him, why? because I am a loving human being and I am not going to change my behaviour, I kept banging on God’s door! I banged and banged! I will not accept that after Covid that’s it! And, I didn’t! I praised and thanked God and God is bigger than the reaction from covid and my son returned! It is not over! It is not easy! Go live your lives! Go forward! and love on them because YOU are a parent and have natural affection and leave the outcome after you have done your loving part in the hands of God Almighty! It seems hopeless but with it isn’t! Let them make you even a better parent because of their attitude, a better human! Don’t become like them! One day, your seemingly hopeless situation may change! BELIEVE in God AND LEAVE THE OUTCOME TO HIM! Sorry about caps! This article concerning Terry was wonderful! Thank you! I am now praying for my son’s salvation! God is bigger than any Covid reaction!

    Reply
    1. AvatarTami

      Oh, thank you Wren!! This post has meant more to me than you realize! God bless you! With God we still have hope that their hearts will be changed for with God ALL things are possible and I pray that for your son and mine as well, In Jesus Precious Name!

    2. AvatarPhoenix12

      Amen, Wren!

      Even those of us who THINK we don’t believe in God can still discover that it doesn’t matter, because God believes in us. 🙂

      I’ve been in and out of churches my whole life, personally, sort of like the iconic weirdo sitting in his garage saying, “Vroom! Vroom! I’m a car!” but it was only when I hit my lowest point that God began showing himself to me.

      I’m not going to sit around arguing about the statistical probability of finding the perfect parking place at a specific time at a specific place, I’m just saying that anyone who scrolled past Wren’s post out of habit might want to reconsider.

      The Bible is great literature and it has meaning and it’s not like we have a choice. God will show himself to you if and when it’s time. He still believes in you, even if nobody else does, and He doesn’t care if you and everybody else thinks that is ridiculous because he is God, so he doesn’t have to.

  17. AvatarHelen

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart to all of you for your comments. My daughter removed me from her life 9 months ago. In November my new grandson was born…no phone call, no VM, nothing! I found out from one of her friend’s on FB (my daughter un-friended me on FB before my new grandson was born). I lost my oldest son to diabetes 15 years ago & now my daughter & 4 grandsons are the only ones left. Now they are out of my life. I have no clue as to what she thinks I’ve done. What horrible & unforgivable sin I’ve committed. Prior to 9 months ago we were talking, laughing, communicating several times a week. And then NOTHING. I’m 71 years old, live 1/2 of the year in Florida, 1/2 of the year up north. Before this estrangement I saw my 3 grandsons every chance she would allow. Gave them tons of Christmas, birthday gifts. Tried in every way to do what she wanted. Be the kind of grandmother & mother that she wanted…and now nothing. My husband (we married when my daughter was 7 & has helped raise her) & I are just clueless. We are both so hurt & confused.

    Reply
    1. AvatarJanet

      Not to know why your child is not talking to you is horrible. I know why my daughter won’t speak to me and believe my it is bizarre. She thinks she is punishing me but is also punishing her two children. Oh the heartbreak of being a mother is so hard to bear. I keep praying and hoping she will call or text. I will be 70 in May and you never know. I just try to get through each day. Thank goodness for my friends.

  18. AvatarEmerald

    Two days ago, my father-in-law -my son’s loving granddad passed away. The whole family has made an effort to be together in a Covid-secure way- apart from my estranged son. He did not bother seeing his sick granddad even once during the whole two year period of our dad’s illness. He did not tell us about the birth of his daughter (our granddaughter) last year or took his daughter to see her great-granddad; and now that opportunity is lost forever!
    I am awake at 3 am on Mother’s Day trying to find peace from your posts and hoping to support my dear husband in the best possible way as he is not only grieving for his dear dad but also missing the presence of a loving son to take his dad’s and his legacy forward. My son did not contact us when my husband and I were ill with Covid-19 this time last year. He has not enquired since then whether we are dead or alive. Hence his absence at his grandad’s funeral would be no surprise!
    The background to this would be all too familiar to you. I too am a 57 year old by the way like many of you. My husband and I believed we had brought up an ideal son- loving, caring, jovial, very charming with sound values and compassion. Like any parent on this blog, we did everything for our children’s happiness and gave them the best of ourselves. My son grew up within a large, extended family and made us proud every day due to how he cared for us, his loving sister, his grandparents and how well he interacted with uncles, aunts and cousins- cracking jokes and winning admiration from everyone. He went to a very good school, is a drummer and has been very popular at school, university, workplace. He decided to marry young at 25 (in 2016) to a girl who arrived with many ‘red flags’ – that would raise alarm bells in a mother’s head. However, my husband and daughter were convinced that they both loved each other and were very happy. So I convinced myself with, “ what more can a parent want”. My son was very sure that his wife to be had not been brought up with love and care – her parents had been cruel to her (which was one of her many lies by the way- as she gets on very well with them after marriage) and she will become a better person with the love and care she receives from our family. So not only I went out of my way to be the most loving mother in law. I paid a blind eye to her progressively bad attitude and behaviour which only culminated into my son and her leaving our home at 2 am in 2017 (after a perfectly happy evening out to an engagement party). She banged the door behind her loud at that time in the morning as if to make a point – “you can keep your parental love, your care and your values – I don’t care”
    Nothing could have prepared us for what followed: our son not taking our calls but sending long text messages full of lies, accusations, more lies, more bizarre accusations. Like most loving parents we covered their bad behaviour until my son started going to everyone and badmouthing about my husband, my daughter and I. I have no doubt that some people think we are probably the proverbial ‘bad in-laws’ but I believe that most people will see through them eventually.
    I had felt grief, anger, disgust and a sense of failure many months ago but after reading Sherry’s wonderful book and learning from stories of many normal loving parents like my husband and I with broken hearts – I am convinced that it is futile to find logical reasons for our ECs behaviours. This must be due to some karma that they are here to settle with some troubled souls. We are caught in it because we are caring, compassionate, yet strong people who Almighty has chosen to do this dirty work- because we can. Philosophy- any philosophy which helps you find some method in madness has to be worth more than the alternative which is made up of worry, regret and self blame.
    I wish everyone a lovely Mother’s Day and pray that we all find fulfilment and happiness from knowing that we have been good mothers and our children are happy and safe wherever they are. God bless xx

    Reply
    1. AvatarMela

      In my experience relationships with sons change when they get a partner. There is a distance. Mother in law telationships are the stuff of jokes. There seems to be competiveness in the relationship. My daughter in law said to me, i married xxxx not his family. I am not the kind of mother who interferes and in fact moved abroad after retirement to get some distance! My younger son split up with his long term partner, who caused no end of dramas, and we are now back to a nice mother/son friendship. But in my opinion these women manipulated, played head games and caused trouble to get their partners on their side and turn them against me, their mother. I am not bitter. Have moved on from all the dramas. I made a nice life for myself and just remind myself that they are all adults now and make their own choices. I stopped being a punch bag!

  19. AvatarHenrietta

    I really appreciated what Terry did. I’m always about “tools”. It’s so important not to dwell on negative thoughts, any negative thoughts, though I personally know how hard this can be at times. We can be caught off-guard in a point of vulnerability when we get attacked by these painful thoughts. One little hint I could add to all the wonderful comments is when I was trying to quit smoking (21 years ago) the tip that was shared was to remind yourself that the terrible urge would pass in 5 min. We can bear most pain for 5 min. So I apply this thinking to my dark negative thoughts, knowing they will pass in 5 min. It’s been very helpful. 21 years ago I quit smoking because my ED expressed great concern about losing me to cancer. I don’t know what happened to that person either. My mother did some horrible things to me (father deceased when I was a baby) and I estranged her for a year until I worked through it and forgave her because I realized she was doing the best she could with what she knew. All before daughter. I went through another program called Freedom Session (a very deep Christ-centered 12 step program) 5 years ago and I’m allowing myself time for it work into my soul if you will. I recognize that forgiveness is the key both of them and myself. By the way I’m 70 this April so it’s never too late.

    Reply
  20. AvatarDianna

    The last time I had contact with my daughter was in July 2019. I spent two days with her and her husband hiking in near forest , visiting a farmers market, preparing a great meal . The next morning ,my daughter and I walked around her neighborhood joyous, simple pleasure ! Soon after I departed on my way to the South for work . She become estranged again leaving me bewildered.. It’s still painful as I walk along the shoreline close to my home ..wondering what happened …..A year and a half later , (facing my morality as everyone else in this Pandemic and working in Healthcare)I finally stopped texting, calling or reaching out . I hope to get to the point of acceptance in the most loving way I can for myself .. Parents of estranged children unimaginable …and so painful .. But, I want to keep living, loving, experiencing life . There are people who love me surrounding me .

    Reply
  21. AvatarBelinda

    The 4 year estrangement of my youngest son is still a struggle for my husband and me.
    He doesn’t have contact with any family members, including his only sibling.
    My husband and I are moving, it been tough to pack up 32 years of our lives. I have ran into a lot of his things, his favorite toys, cards he made me, pictures….
    I have cried and prayed so much, the pain is heart wrenching.
    I am so sorry for the loss and pain everyone here is enduring. Keeping all of you in our prayers

    Reply
  22. AvatarS.M.

    Toni C, I so agree with you. “If Covid doesn’t move them, nothing will……….”.
    PLUS
    My son, who I did have a close relationship with, passed away May 2020 at the age of 44. My other two “children” did not appear to be particularly moved by their brother’s passing and did not reach out to support me in anyway. No empathy. Stunning, even for them.
    Between the lack of concern for my well being during Covid and the tragic death of their brother;, I can no longer deny their long standing indifference. I’m left grieving the loss of all three of them.
    My head has acknowledged the reality. I have adjusted my will and assigned a bank Trustee to fulfill the arrangements a child would typically take care of. I skipped my kids in the Will, rather my grandchildren will be the beneficiaries. Hopefully, they’ll remember who I was.
    My heart, however, is still hanging on for a change, that will never occur. I must do what Tony suggests,
    Accept reality, be strong and move forward.
    I’ve wasted way too much time trying to make sense out of nonsense. This past year of Covid restrictions and grieving has intensified the pain of estrangement. The cruelty is hard to comprehend.
    Time to create another identity and life.

    Reply
    1. AvatarSuzanne Y.

      I can absolutely relate. I just lost my mother. Her and I were very close. Instead of my children showing empathy and concern for my loss, they just want to know about any money that might come their way. One of my sons tells me I am now dead to him, too… without anything happening to cause this outburst! My middle son seems to be following his older brother’s lead, and he’s been very cold and uncaring. Thank God for my youngest, who is an absolute angel and adored my mother. We talk several times a day, and he is my only saving grace. I wish you well. I feel your pain. i agree that it gets old trying to make sense of nonsense. Waste of time. I’d rather find friends that care now, instead of chasing after my children who are hurtful and rude.

    2. AvatarChris

      Dear S.M.
      I totally agree. Well before the past year, my kids have not checked in. They don’t know that they lost an uncle, and a great-aunt, and great-uncle. My husband texted them to let them know that their mom, (me) has a heart condition. They didn’t contact us. No response to our texts or emails.

      So, I changed my will. Since the gifts I sent to the grandkids have not been acknowledged, I am leaving out my children and grandchildren, and giving everything to charity. I put a friend in charge of the estate.

      Time to stop questioning what we did wrong, and live for us. I try not to get into a pity party, or get angry. I try not to hold out any hope of reconnecting. Because if they didn’t care during the pandemic, they just don’t care. Period.

      There are loads of nice people out there who deserve to be loved (by me).
      My ex-children are not among them.

      I wish you well.

  23. ChristyChristy

    The Pandemic has shown me that there is no care or concern whatsover from our estranged son – absolutely nothing. My husband and I have started talking about moving … it’s a possibility. We also feel that after 15 years hearing … next to nothing from our son or our grandkids in response to cards, birthday money for the kids etc. it’s truly past time for us to stop doing those things. It just doesn’t make sense. It’s not that we sent cards conditionally or anything … but it HURTS to have no one reach out in the simplest of DMs or text or email or anything via any of the modern/easy ways one could say “hey … are you okay?”. Or “thank you” in response to a card. Just basically any acknowledgement of our beingness as people. Nothing. I used to write letters and emails trying to open up communication so we could try to reconcile … the meanness I got back was just too painful to take. We took a long time getting to this place I guess of giving up. But, to do anything else but move on and do what we can for each other … no longer makes sense. Neither of us know what to do about our estate. The wills were written when everything was “fine”. Over 20 years ago. Our son has said he won’t ever come back here. I probably sound bitter but I actually have become quite used to this … I forget sometimes … and if I find myself needing care and if they ask if I have any children I just am going to have to say no.
    I know I have a ways to go as far as working on healing just healing myself. I appreciate being able to read other parents experiences as heart breaking as they are … it proves I’m not some isolated person experiencing a freak estrangement. It’s apparently a lot more common than I thought.

    Reply
  24. Avatarsarah G.

    That statement, “If a son won’t check on his dad during a pandemic, then he’s not a son.” really took my thought and feelings to a whole new level. Just like a gut-punch, there is no way to deny the fact anymore. Through out the whole pandemic I have prayed for my daughter, that she be safe and healthy and happy, not knowing if she is dead or alive, or where she is. Praying that I just know she is okay, and using the old saying “no news is good news” to ease the pain. Losing a child to death is a horrible thing, but it is final. Losing a child to estrangement is a horrible thing, but there is always a glimmer of hope. Now I realize that I do not have a daughter. One more cry, and then I’m done with the crying.
    Sarah G

    Reply
  25. AvatarPhoenix12

    I’m just glad to be alive.

    That is all I really wanted to say because that is all I really know. I did everything I could for my ex-family short of killing myself, but even if I had successfully suicidal ideated myself into a body bag in the middle of a global pandemic and been tossed into mass grave, they still wouldn’t be happy.

    They said that they loved my ex-husband and hated me, but they threw his dead body away like a piece of garbage, the same way they threw away my living one.

    I don’t know what that means as far as filling out job applications and knowing the right answers to all the wrong questions:

    What is my name? What do I do? How many children do I have? What is my favourite colour? What do I want for dinner tonight? Who do I want to be when I grow up[1]?

    Your guess is as good as mine, but at least I’m not dead.

    [1] As if the grownups actually believed the USSR wasn’t going to drop The Big One long before any of us ever get a chance! What rot! I am STILL a child of the ’60s even though I’m almost in my own 60s by now, lol.

    Reply
  26. Avatar[email protected]

    It is hard to accept that our EC doesn’t care at all. But, mine have shown me they don’t. I feel the same about being older, I’m 57. Time marches on and one day this life will be behind me. I’m looking forward to peace. My faults and mistakes are like a film running over and over in my mind. Peace is definitely hard to find.

    Reply
    1. AvatarPhoenix12

      I am almost exactly your age and have been dealing with the same sort of EC for a long time; my own words inform me that I have been a member of the community here, off and on, for over five years.

      That’s a LONG time for a controversial internet personality not to get flamed off of or banned from a special interest forum. The fact that I am still here says more about the author/life coach’s character than it does about my own.

      My children were my life. They were career, primary relationship (instead of husband/wife/sexual partner of any gender), and the Great Cause that I was working for that was going to Make the World a Better Place, the mark I intended to leave on History, my entire raison d’etre…..

      In other words, we spoiled them. Not you specificially, but our whole generation, according to my agemate best friend who used to be convinced that it was because our generation didn’t spank them. Unfortunately, I did spank one of mine once and it didn’t do a darned bit of good. That blew her theory out of the water for a few years.

      So the two of us go back and forth about the smartphones and our country’s Endless War and corporatism and the reds and blues and the bears and the bulls on Wall Street and the backlash against the grassroots homeschooling movement that had us “hippies” and those “conservative Christians” getting along and fighting together for a common goal.

      I humor her and am amazed at how smart she is and what she has succeeded in doing with her life for all those years I felt sorry for her. I never thought she was stupid, I just knew that nothing could fill the hole in her heart where her children should have been.

      So we talked about MY children. It was only a few months ago that we realized that we were best friends who hardly even knew each other.

      Anyway, time does march on. I married young and for other reasons than love. He just died. I didn’t. It gives you perspective. I want to share that with you, but I can’t because I’m not a writer. I didn’t finish my degree. I didn’t put in the work. I didn’t starve and suffer to become a writer, I starved and suffered to become a mother instead.

      Now I am an unemployed high school dropout with an Associate of the Arts degree in a useless major (English) that is about as relevant to a job application as my hobbies: gardening, sewing, and homecooking.

      Peace is, indeed, very hard to find. Grief is very real and it causes physical changes to our brains. Please be kind to yourself. This isn’t our fault—I personally think that it’s all the endocrine disrupters in the plastics.

      If it’s messing up how they like to copulate, then why wouldn’t it mess up their maternal/paternal instincts as well, which would then make them incapable of any sort of caregiving, compassion, or “emotional labour”, to use the millenials’ own words.

      I’m not helping, am I?

      Well, at least you’re not really alone at ’64 because I am sitting right next to you at ’65 and we’re both wondering what happened.

      But it’s easy to be kind to you and impossible not to hate myself and there, I believe, lies our entire problem. This writer/life coach person is the real deal. I hope you’ll join the community if you want/need to, get your hands on Sheri McGregor’s book however you have to do it, and I wish all of us could have a voucher or a stimulus check from da gub’mint to cover life coaches, therapists, and other mental health professionals of the individual rejected parent’s choosing, not the health insurance plan’s.

      And you are very brave. Don’t you ever forget that, Missus [email protected], a random stranger on the internet thinks that you are very brave.

    2. Avatar[email protected]

      Thank you for your kind words. I don’t feel brave at all. I lost contact with my sons 11 years ago and very recently my daughter told me she doesn’t want me in her life.
      I made so many mistakes. I never intentionally hurt my children but I did just the same. I chose wrong partners, I worked way too much and wasn’t there for them the way I should’ve been.
      The terrible thing is I can’t change the past. If only I could.

    3. AvatarStephanie S.

      Hello [email protected],
      I am also 57 and we are very similar with where we are in our lives. Peace is very hard to find and sadness and regret seem so easy. “Should have, could have and would have” are like a movie that ruminates in my mind. I will pray for you and all who are going through this with your adult children. As I hope you will with me.
      Peace and Love,

  27. AvatarToni C.

    The phrase smacked me– My son doesn’t care if I live or die or if his dad lives or dies. Hard to see in print. What kind of person did he become?? I don’t recognize this person.
    I pray a lot. I try to accept that when these sad thoughts come to me; that I let them go through me and pass out of me. Many things remind me of him and I have removed many of those reminders. I think of him many times a day and the oddest thing will spark a memory. It is what it is. Let it pass through you and move on. Life is precious. There is no time to waste— make yourself go on. I have to. You have to. I want to. You will!

    Reply
    1. AvatarSuzanne Y.

      The sentence you wrote that caught my attention was, “what kind of person did he become?”. I raised 3 boys by myself, and I did not raise my sons to act this way. My son is so selfish and self-centered that it actually disgusts me. I raised him to be a caring and loving individual. He doesn’t care if I live or die. He says I am dead to him, in fact. Who is this person? I truly wish I know. I think I’m going to let go. This pain of 20 years is ENOUGH! Am I terrible for letting my son go? I can’t keep chasing after him as if he cares. He very clearly does not care.

  28. AvatarDeb J.

    Myself & my husband (my ES’s step-dad who helped bring him up) both had Covid back in December. He was seriously ill in hospital. My ES was told (by his sister) but we heard nothing. I shouldn’t have been surprised really, but it a little piece of me had hoped it might be enough for him to at least text. But no. What has happened though, is that I have had to accept that ES did not & would not, care if I died. This in itself, has helped me to let go. I’ve given up on the desperate hoping & am finally moving on with my life. Does it still hurt? Of course, it always will. But not enough for me to continue to live in the vain hope he might grace me with his presence in my life again. I have 3 beautiful daughters & 5 grandchildren. I now channel all of my love & affection into them & the love I have for my ES is ‘on hold’.

    Reply
    1. AvatarToni C.

      COVID has revealed what we already knew. If this doesn’t move them; nothing will and we must accept reality. Be strong. Move forward.

    2. AvatarVibernum

      I believe my son would come if I was very seriously ill – so he could find out what is in the will! It is a very hurtful realization. My recent car accident, during which he failed to reach out to me or his siblings, broke my denial. He does not care. I really believe he doesn’t care about anyone except himself. It’s a small relief to see that this neglect is not entirely personal.

      Like you, I am focusing on those whom I love and who love me back. I’m grateful for my other children.

      And my ES is not in my will. Petty maybe, but I am reclaiming my power.

    3. AvatarSuzanne Y.

      Thank you, Deb! I am new to this forum, and I can’t express how helpful it is to hear from other parents! I am 57 years old, and my son turned 35 yesterday. Since he told me in January that I am dead to him, I chose not to reach-out to him and wish him a happy birthday. I am finally trying to let go. My ES has been causing me hurt since he was 15. He doesn’t express why. He says things like, “if we were the last people on earth and you were drowning, I would not lend a hand. I would just watch you die”.. That’s the kind of person we’re talking about here, which floors me. He was such an amazing, loving child. Exceptional, in fact. I can not for the life of me figure out what happened, and I have spent 2 decades trying. Well, I am finally going to give in and let go. He is used to me apologizing when I have nothing to apologize for. He expects that. Well, I’m done doing that, because it doesn’t make sense and it isn’t right. I’d rather spend my time and energy on my kid(s) that give me love, affection, and appreciation. I can’t help my ES if he is unwilling to get help for himself. He is an extremely miserable person. His 5 year-old daughter has a brain tumor, and I am there for my grandchildren all I can be. I love them dearly! Btw, I also love my ES dearly. But I know it is time to detach with love. Time to move on. I can’t take hurt after hurt after hurt any more. I will continue to pray for him.

  29. AvatarElizabeth

    One thing Hubby and I have done the past few weeks, is take an online zoom class. We don’t have to show our faces nor speak even, if we choose not to and for various reasons we have chosen not to speak or be seen. But there has been benefit to us in listening and then between us discussing what we have heard (and read in the study book). There is another class in a few weeks that we might take too. I think there are lots more such being offered of late (one benefit of the plandemic). Thanks for your ideas…some of which go along with other things I have been reading and researching. Safety in a multitude of counselors and all that. And of course, it is our faith in GOD and the next life that most encourages us, makes us glad to be old now and without a lot of years left either I think. Having the next life to think about, plus knowing that there will NOT be fences there…and surely no denial of access to those we love…well, that in itself is nice encouragement. I have worked some on the writing of memories, covering some of our kin who were wonderful, for my daughters at least. Not sure if I will bother with one for the mostly estranged son or not.
    That remains to be seen. Another thing we did in the past few years was to learn another language (to a small degree) and we have forgotten a lot…so I got study materials and we hope to get into more regular study of that again too. I hope my Hubby will feel more like going into his art soon again and I am hoping to do more projects (sewing, crafting, crochet, cross-stitch) too. Plus if our crazy state ever decides to let people meet again, maybe we can get better acquainted with some neighbors too. We had barely moved into our current apt when this mess hit. Hope we have at least…

    Reply
    1. AvatarLois UK

      I admire you and your husband for learning new skills and sharing them with each other. It’s never too late.
      Love and Prayer to all those who have made s comment, they have helped me.

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