Parents whose children cut ties: Another date with yourself

parents whose children cut tiesParents whose children cut ties: Another date with yourself

By Sheri McGregor, M.A.

Last February, I suggested an exercise to bring the focus back to yourself and your progress for your own well-being and self-care. If you did the exercise for neglected parents and self-love, it’s time to pull out your “same time next year” or Valentine’s note to yourself and analyze how you did.

In the neglected parents and self-love exercise, you were asked to choose your own words to go with each of the letters in the word “love.” And then you wrote a few notes about what those meant to you and how you’d achieve more freedom, set boundaries, and focus on making your life good despite what another adult has chosen to do. Remember, this exercise is about what is within your control (and not what—or who—is not).

The words I shared as examples, and my thoughts about each, went like this

L: Limits. How can I limit how much of my energy or thinking goes toward the estrangement (or: problem, relationship, situation)? Have I spent enough time being miserable? Have I let my adult children surpass the limits of how I would let another adult treat me? Is it time to set some limits now, and get on with living my life? What does that mean to me? What can I do right now to start setting limits and/or enforcing them?

O: Observe. Am I listening to myself think? How often does my mind wander to this problem I can’t solve? What’s a new way to think about this? Do I still think I’m the only one? Do I still blame myself?

V: Value. Does what my adult child say about me, or how s/he treats me, truly define who I am and who I’ve been? (HINT: The answer is NO.) Does this other adult’s decision or opinion change history or define who I am now? Have I been devaluing myself? How can I show myself the value I deserve for all my hard work and loving care?

E: Evaluate. Where am I on this journey as a neglected parent? (Name your spot like a town or venue, i.e., Tearsville, City of Hope, Onward Town.) Where do I want to be at this time next year? How can I get there? (Name at least one step.)

If you didn’t do the exercise or didn’t need this site back then, you’ll find the exercise in self-love here. Take time to read through the comments as well as the instructions—and jot your own thoughts there.

If you did do the exercise, take it to the next level now. Write each of the words you chose again, and this time, and add a few notes about where you succeeded (or failed). As you do, remember that even the smallest steps for yourself are progress. As for the failures, don’t get down on yourself. Consider how and why you fell short of your goals. What circumstances contributed to your loss of focus or control. Learn from the past—and set a few goals for the year ahead.

Parents whose children cut ties: Take charge

My focus for parents whose children cut ties (or are unloving or abusive in any way) has always been to recognize where they can take charge for themselves. That means letting go of what is beyond their control. This is different from many “experts,” who espouse an if-you-do-this-then they-will-do-that tactic that’s focused on doing whatever it takes to get your adult child back. While you may very well be able to start some dialogue and move toward reconciliation, for many parents, that tactic becomes just another eggshell walk—and sets up an inequitable relationship that leads to more pain. Relationships aren’t one-sided and it’s a disservice to us (and to our adult children) to pretend they are.

parents whose children cut tiesIf you’d like to learn more about taking charge of your life and your future, my books in the Done With The Crying series can help. I also offer individual life coaching sessions (on a limited basis) for those seeking more personalized support and/or accountability—but I suggest you read one or both books first. One counselor from a community helping center that has been seeing an influx of parents whose children cut ties recently contacted me to say that she is offering my books as a resource. She told me about a rejected mother whose session was delayed. In the interim, the counselor suggested my work to the mother, and reported that after reading and doing the exercises, the woman said she didn’t need more help. You may feel the same—and I hope you do! However, we are all as unique as our situations. It’s wise to get the support you need. My books also offer detailed information about how to find the appropriate help for your individual needs, which might mean therapy, pastoral counseling, life coaching, or some other assistance.

Tell us how you did

If you’re up to it, leave a comment here about what you did right or what you learned in the year since doing the exercise. Loving yourself includes recognizing that what you learned might help other parents whose children cut ties. While it might feel scary to share your thoughts, your experience may be just what another parent needs to hear. I believe that through sharing we also grow strong.

Take charge where you can, and to the best of your ability, make the year ahead one filled with joy and meaning.

Hugs to you this Valentine season and always,

Sheri McGregor

Related reading

Cut off by adult children: What do you prescribe for yourself?

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54 thoughts on “Parents whose children cut ties: Another date with yourself

  1. A S K

    My story. I have five adult children who told me, at the time of the divorce which was final in 2007, that if I didn’t do as they said that “I would lose my family”. This was in a pastors office. I was told “don’t ever tell me your sorry” and “I don’t believe a word you say”. These children told me they did not approve of the way I managed the family business that I owned operated snd built up through hard work in 37 years.
    They love their mom. She has lied to me. Stolen from me. She is a gambler. She is an alcoholic and smokes constantly.
    Mom was stay at home mom. She had 5,000.00 to give each of them for Christmas. She also said to the children she had to sell her jewelry (and my Rolex watch and my Diamond ring) for food to eat. I paid all bills. No one lacked for anything. I worked very hard.
    The final straw the youngest daughter, a counselor, after taking cash I put in her account, and I bought her a car, she stole her wedding dress, and was married in her stolen wedding dress. She has written a book and is a counselor in Colorado. She was rude, and surprising always that way to me who loved supported and worked hard for her, but someone else would congratulate her and she’d have this mask on of being really sweet. Her older sister had the same feeling of entitlement. The two girls are family counselors and influenced the three boys. I am all bad. Moms all good. Mom makes meals. Mom gives us money. Mom had money because I paid sll the bills and she got the cash. Never enough. I would work a second menial labor job until 3 am in the morning. Until I couldn’t do it any more.
    “I act like I was the victim”, said one girl.
    They all lied for their mother. They witnessed their mother go after me, with a knife, and my mother with a broken wine glass. Violent. Their mother would go in rages breaking things around her. Which I would replace, silently hoping things would get better, enabling through covering up. Her mother, brother both committed suicide. Her father was an alcoholic. She pointed fingers accusing many of abusing her.
    She would physically attack me. I was told to leave.
    I called police after she attacked me at work. Yes. The police arrested me. She had thrust to my head, knocked off my glasses and gave me a concussion, she had taken money from me. The police called back on the landline, I had called on the portable phone and got disconnected. The police came and arrested me. I called 911. She interfered with my 911 call in Oregon.
    I am free from all the lies manipulation control and should have left earlier.
    The lies overwhelmed me. I did not have good lawyers. I suffered small strokes and a heart attack. My blood pressure was stroke stage from the beginning. It just got worse.
    The state made it worse. The lies. I pled guilty on the advice of my dip attorney, who had diabetes and the county plea mill is big business.
    I pray for God to heal the gap between the love I have them, and the love they needed. I loved them with my whole heart. They crushed me. I love them, but realize it’s too big for me. I cannot and will not bad mouth, but pray the truth will become transparent to them. Their mother is non stop bad mouthing me and others. The constant drip, she believes her own lies. She’d steal and lie to give to her kids.

    1. Mabel

      Happy Easter to Sherri and to each one of you who after 9 months of distance and without support from family or my husband in this sad process have become my company and daily support. in feeling that I am not alone in this madness that I have to live. An outcome of life never thought. But as many parents say, here is a very difficult process to get out of this. disbelief and pain surprise us again when I think I’m better, so that some circumstance or occasional encounter and the eyes of hatred with which my son looks at me or the indifference with which he treats me makes me fall again. I will never get tired of thanking this site. and to each of my friends who already considers each member. . Today I don’t have the strength to do therapy, I try but in the first interview and without knowing details of the story, the psychologist told me that this had happened to me because I, giving my son all the material I gave him, wanted to buy his love. Nothing is further from reality. What I gave her was out of love and I would have given her my clothes and I would have stayed naked as long as I didn’t get cold. Say everything. Today I have a broken family and a husband who is almost a stranger. He says that he victimized me and makes a plot with my son when he has to come get my car key, which he borrows without asking me, leaving the keys hidden under the wheel or in the door of the building so that he does not have to come up to greet me or say goodbye I am so alone with this, that’s why I thank you and this website that Sheri made possible. Thank you all. he loves them

    2. Mabel

      my estranged son makes me feel so sad. He and his girlfriend with whom he lives do not have a car, so they ask my husband to borrow it. My husband and son work together and it shows. every day. My son’s problem is with me, he treats me at a distance and doesn’t want to see me, he only sees me in social gatherings and tries not to interact with me. My husband, who does not help at all, coordinated with my son to leave him the car key so that he could use it hidden under a wheel. Since a key was lost, I told my husband that when I ask him to borrow the car, he should come pick it up at my house and when he returns the car, go upstairs to leave the key at my house. The reality of my request was to be able to See him maybe share a moment. He came on Friday to take the key. Just go in, take the key and leave. He didn’t stay for a minute and today, Sunday, he came in and left the key, it was just 10 seconds. The.pain was so intense. It was so tangible and expressed his refusal to see me or share a moment with me. This started 1 year ago. I do not know the motive. I never wanted to tell myself. and I walk on egg shells since I know that any extra problem would mean not even seeing it… Also seeing that my husband does not intervene makes me very angry. My only support is you. thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  2. AJCAT

    I am new to this site and have recently become estranged from my daughter. I have so many emotions, heartbreak, shock, worry (about her), betrayal, anger, guilt the list goes on. I just feel so beaten up and broken. This article has helped a little to look at how I can support myself positively, and not play the victim as she has great delight in telling me that is what I am doing. Sending hugs to everyone who is going through this ❤️

    1. rparents Post author


      I’m so glad you have found your way to the site. Sorry you have the need, of course, but grateful to be of some assistance.

      Stick around. Take kind care of yourself.

      Sheri McGregor

    2. Lisa R.

      Hello, AJCAT,

      I, too, am sorry that you have a need for this site but I am glad you found it. Your words could have been mine! Please know that there are a lot of people here on this site who care about you and wish you peace. Sheri’s books have been really helpful to me, too. Perhaps they will help you as well.

      Sending you a cyber hug,

      Lisa R.

    3. Janet

      I am relatively new too, 9 months in with an estranged daughter and 4 grandchildren that I cannot have contact with. I’m glad I heard Sheri speak on a talk show podcast! I bought the book and am 50 pages in. I now have hope that I can move forward and support myself.

  3. SendingHope

    Hello and warm support to all. Peace on earth.

    My estranged child is now a citizen of a European country. We are American and still live in the US.

    This is a very hopeful message. My husband and I are not terribly concerned about the child. In fact we are more concerned about the exhausted people who are actually trying to stay alive and defend their homes. Our child’s shocking entitlement has been quite a drag, as in trying to drive with the emergency brake on. I’m sure the child is sipping chai and watching the news on the company laptop from the hygge of a sun drenched loft.

    We are using the money we would have spent trying to coddle child (and partner! 2 for the price of 1!) over the past 2 years by having started a home business and donating to relief organizations.

    I’m telling you, and I can barely believe it, but It’s Better this way. I Don’t want that person in my life any more. The Past doesn’t matter. I feel well and healing for the first time in decades.

    Don’t stay in the sorrow, there is so much life awaiting you! I would never have believed it.

    Hope to all

    1. April

      Hello, Sending Hope, I keep reading your post over and over as it is uplifting. Thank you. Please share what kind of home business you have started. We all know keeping busy and having a purpose is a healthy way to deal with hurtful things. I like that you stated “it’s Better this way.” I truly believe we are better off not being treated how awfully and disrespectful as we were treated. I hope one day to get to the place you are. Peace to you as well. My husband I are going to adopt a family in need from the Salvation Army for holidays to give gifts because gift giving brings us joy but it didn’t to estranged son and family who couldn’t even acknowledge or say thanks for numerous holiday gifts or checks.

    2. SendingHope

      Thanks April, we have started a fine art business and will do the regional art show circuit in 3 states while enjoying the local scenery as well. I started painting again for therapy after the split in our family and my husband has invested in the project to buy our license and get everything up to speed, he also frames and draws. It’s been very helpful to have something that strengthens our marriage and gives us confidence.

      I love your charity and there is always a need somewhere. Charity has helped my husband and I recover because it channels our caring rather than having it rejected and shut off. Although no one replaces our children we have a lot of love to give!

      SendingHope to all

    3. SendingHope

      I’d like to add that we had a lot of bumps about how to do both the charity and the art.

      We started with one business model and had a very successful show but scrapped that concept and decided to regroup and build a different vision that balanced our need for short-term benchmarks as well as building a reputation. Had some disappointments too of course, mostly being too busy, sad, or distracted to work on it or having crappy luck or being too hard on ourselves.

      We were also giving too much and too erratically to charity in our emotional reaction period so we put 2 projects in place this year: emergency $ for crises such as war and we live on the MX border so there are various immediate needs. And then a box for the food pantries. We will drive a carload now and then to lesser served areas including our Native neighbors in their Nations. Always good scenery and hiking in these humble communities. Because we don’t have enough for retirement we need to be more careful. At first we just gave and gave and now we have 6- 12 mo projects we do as we choose and area of need that seems a good fit for us and fits a budget.

      It has felt uncomfortable to give to ourselves but that is exactly the most important for us in our lives now. We want to be able to engage and advocate again as empowered people now and in the future!

      SendingHope worldwide

  4. Christy

    Thank you to everyone that replied to my post. I’m very sorry that any of us have to go through this. It’s a daily struggle for me, as I’m sure it is for each of you. I feel blessed to have found this site. Christy

  5. Dana

    It was so glad that I did this exercise last year. I opened it today when I had time to read what I wrote and have some time to myself for reflection.

    What I wrote last year still resonates with me and I am proud of what I wrote and of myself – how I stayed the course (mostly) and where I am at now in regards to my ED. Great exercise and I highly recommend it!

    Sheri you hit the nail on the head for me with this quote from your article ” Relationships aren’t one-sided and it’s a disservice to us (and to our adult children) to pretend they are.”

  6. Carrie-Ann

    This Post with Beautiful Sheri’s words and the photo of the hour-glass in nature, as well as her books remind me of the Proverb:

    “Just when the Caterpillar thought the world was over,
    It became a Butterfly.”

    Time is Precious…Moment To Moment…We Always Have An Option…

    May Beautiful Sheri, and Each Of You Be Blessed In Body, Mind, & Spirit.

  7. April

    I just found out our ES, wife and kids are meeting our older neighbors at the beach. I guess they have a relationship now and are the replacement parents/grandparents for them. I thought the estrangement was painful but this goes far beyond that.

    1. candleinthewind

      Hello April. Yes, it does, and the humiliation is added to the bag load of emotions that we have to deal with. In my experience, however, watch as the situation with the replacement parents develops and potentially unravels. Unless the replacement parents do exactly as the ES wants (i.e. have a one-sided conversation with all blame laid at the parents door), which, as we know, requires walking on eggshells, then they too will receive a verbal lashing, as we have. It is not to be envied, therefore, even if it hurts to be replaced. As soon as the replacement parents express an opinion, and say “now hang on a minute…”, the relationship will crumble. It may take a while, but who wants to walk on eggshells, frankly, I’m glad to be free of that kind of relationship, it’s very bad for your nerves, for a start. Hold on, and do nice things for yourself.

    2. Effie

      I understand that pain… My daughter’s in-laws drive by my home every day. I have two grandsons she won’t let me see. I still don’t know why she hates me. She was spoiled looking back and loved to try to get attention. But trying to figure it out is too maddening for me anymore. I know that they see the grandkids and I don’t so the pain is raw all the time… 6 years now for me. HEARTBREAK…

    3. Toni

      April, I understand that pain. My ES, DIL, granddaughter, and my twin sister, her husband and kids spent thanksgiving together. They spent a lot of time texting me to say what fun they were having and how “nice it was to have family to spend it with”. My twin and her family often tell my mom they can’t afford to fly to see her, yet they flew to see my ES and his family. That hurt my mom so much.

      I can’t imagine wanting to spend time with my sister’s kids if they were treat their mom like my ES treats me.

      We had wonderful holidays with the rest of our families but there is always the hole caused by so many years of estrangement.
      Hugs to you.

  8. Diane M.

    I loved reading the word LOVE and what each of the letters mean to us. Today I was thinking, I should just write my daughter an email. It’s a good thing I got busy doing other things. Last time I wrote a short email at the end I wrote, “would love to hear from you.” As usual, no reply. Why bother? My new hurt is that my son is now being very distant. All was good between us. Then our phone calls were all one word answers from him. I was doing all the calling, emailing and sending him cards with gift cards enclosed. I was trying so darn hard to stay connected with him. What is going on? I have this feeling my ex-husband must be saying things still, about me. But my son is 49 and my daughter is 47. They are old enough not to be influenced by him anymore. They should be able to think for themselves now. I love how Sheri wrote, “would you accept this kind of behavior from another adult?” The answer is NO. I so appreciate Sheri and her wonderful comments and this site. And I appreciate all of you sharing your stories. Let’s please keep it up. We so badly need support from each other.

    1. Lisa R.

      Dear Diane M. and All,

      If each person on the planet could simply make all of life about love then the world would be an in finitely better place. If only . . .

      Hugs to you,
      Lisa R.

    2. Lynne

      Hi Diane, your children and mine are the same age. Both are estranged. I have been divorced from their father for 14 years. I saw where they both were with him last Thanksgiving. Yes, it stirs many emotions. But I hope they are good to their father. This took years to feel this way. In all reality I don’t expect their reunion to last. Like so much has been said that when these two children do not get what they want they will estranged from their father. Everyday I am thankful for my marriage to a loving, gentle man. We live a quiet, peaceful life. Prayers today for All who have experienced this pain of estrangement. Thank you Sheri for helping us and to realize to not let estrangement define us.

  9. Beth

    Gene and Jan….I am there with both of you. My DIL has managed to split our son from us with her toxic ways. It may have taken 20 years but she was determined obviously! I too have been told to apologise, presumably just for existing, as the DIL has made it her mission in life to blame me for everything, hence why I should apologise. Like you say Gene, hell will freeze over before that happens! I stand together with all the parents on here, we know what we did for our children.

  10. Lisa R.

    For Jan L.

    Thank you for posting “Let Go or Be Dragged!
    And, the 3 C’s: I didn’t Cause it, I can’t Control it, and I can’t Cure it.”

    These are words to live by.

    Love, peace, and joy,
    Lisa R.

  11. Lisa R.

    I did the Valentine’s Day exercise and made myself a bright red heart card complete with four sections based on LOVE. Thank you, Sheri, for suggesting it because it did me a world of good. I have it beside my bed and look at it every morning and evening. I chose my words carefully as a means of taking care of myself. I hope that these words help some of you, too.

    L for Limit my estranged daughter’s boundaries with me. (No more using me as a punching bag.)
    Limit how much time I allow myself to think about this.
    L for Live Life to the fullest!

    O for Onward bound.
    O for Optimism regained.

    V for Value all that I did for her. Value all that I do for others.
    V for Vivacity returned.

    E for Everyone else who loves and appreciates me. (I listed names.)
    E for Energy!

    Thank you, everyone, for sharing your wisdom and candor here. Your words and strength are helping me to get through this pain and process. I wish you all love and peace every day!

    1. rparents Post author


      This is wonderful! I am so glad you found this helpful. And I love that you now have a terrific, personalized card to remind you to love yourself–and how.

      Well done!

      Sheri McGregor

    2. Lisa R.

      Thank you for your kind words of encouragement, Sheri. I would not be on the mend were it not for you, your terrific books, wisdom, and the incredible people on this website.

      Stay strong, everyone.

      Lisa R.

  12. diane m.

    Hello, dear people, happy new year. It’s been almost 3 years since my 4 children left me. It was at my daughter wedding, which was horrible. Their dad was treated like a king and I was basically chased out into the night. Over the last 3 years I have come to realize that all the signs were there before my daughters big day. There was a general disrespect of me that had been evident for years even though I was always the primary caregiver. No child of mine ever went to bed without a home made dinner, a bath and a story. I knew everyone’s homework, teachers and friends. Whenever I had money, they got it. And so on …. my stepfather died this year, and I saw 2 of my sons when they came to my mother’s house, but they were so rude to me that my mother told them not to come back. It seems that no situation is bad enough for them to be decent. Sooooo this is now my time of freedom to just be me. This morning I took time off work to participate in an hour of cardio tennis. I’ve joined a choir and I don’t feel afraid of the future. It belongs to me! Thank you for your support. It really helps in those teary times.

  13. Lisa

    After a little more than a year and my only contact with my estranged daughter was a nasty email right before Christmas (I blocked contact after that as I won’t have my peace destroyed by another adult), I decided that peace and moving on were my only true options.

    Once I got past being angry about her ugly email, I read it about a month later and I realized that she is a very unhappy person. I cannot fix that. Only she can. And she blames me for all that is wrong with her life. Again, I cannot fix that. So I wish her peace in her life and move on with my life.

    I know, in my heart, our relationship, if we ever have one again, will never be the same. That saddens me because at one time we did have a good relationship. So my gift to myself was to remind myself that I was and still am a good mother. That I do love her and wish her the best in her life. And that’s all I can do right now.

    1. Lisa R.

      Hello, Lisa,

      Your words and story could be my own, the only difference being that I received a nasty phone call just before Christmas. Other than that the tale is identical. Please know how much I appreciate your sharing here. You seem to be quite strong and I am keeping you in mind when I am experiencing difficult moments.

      I wish you love, peace, and joy,
      Lisa R.

  14. Dolly

    My comment to to thank you for your posts, it gives me insight and strength to carry on knowing that I’m not alone. I love each and everyone of you for your strength and courage. Your strength is my strength.

  15. Jan

    Teresa, Friday I was the toughest nut someone could ever try and crack… I don’t even know who I am!
    I can only suggest that instead of a card and cake for your
    daughter in law……do it for yourself!!
    My second son estranged me and I didn’t even know it!!!….at least the first one had the guts to tell me he didn’t need me in his life!!!!
    Think on that for awhile, while I go eat some chocolate chip
    Cookies, have a cup of coffee and figure out where I hid my
    Brains on Saturday!!!!!!

  16. Christy

    Can I go see my son? It’s been almost two years since he cut off communications. I have no way to reach him. I do have his address and I write often. I know he gets them because I have them signed for. He never replies. I am just sick over this. I don’t know what to do.

    1. IANINA

      I am in the same situation. But it has been 6 years for me and my two sons. In this news letter, I read something that really helps me now. Do what they do o say about you define who you are? NO
      I hope this sheds a new light on you, even though the grief is still there.

    2. Shawlana

      Happy Valentine’s Day to you Christy, What to do, well I would just stop writing to him. Eventually, he might start wondering what happened and get in touch with you to find out. Be mysterious. In the meantime, get involved in volunteering if you are able to or pick up a hobby or activity that will get your mind off of him.
      Lots of Luck

    3. Linda

      Christy, I have 2 daughters that are estranged and I have learned thru the years t o let go an pray. If someone does not want to be in your life they are not suppose to be at this time…move on an love yourself. I am sure you are a great person that has much to give..

    4. Jessica C.

      It has been 3 1/2 years since I have had contact with my daughter. I too have sent cards and messages. I only received one text from her saying that I should know why I am such a bad mother and “what kind of a mother does not apologize?” I let her know that I had no idea what I was to apologize for and if she wanted to speak in person, I would be more than happy to air any grievances. I got no reply so I stopped into her workplace about 2 months later just to say hello. She started shaking and shrunk back in fear like I was going to beat her. I have never touched her in my life and she is 40 years old. I decided to not make any further effort after that

    5. Sharon

      My adult son cut me off in 2012. Upon the finalization of my divorce in 2016, I stopped by his apartment to hand over savings bonds which his father had “stolen”. Mind you, I was handing over money and his comment to me was “you stop by unannounced”? Well, I never got a thank you and I never received an invitation for a visit. He has since married, had two sons (whom I have not met) and has purchased a new home.
      I truly feel sorry for him and have no clue as to what my grandsons will ever learn from this.

    6. Jan L.

      It is over a year now that I have been estranged by my 29 yr old son. Gotta say, though, that I do not have any intention of “reaching out”…..he is an addict, narcissist, and has a mental health issue which I am not positive was the correct diagnosis. He ruined the relationship he had with the mother of his 2 children and was in jail for 3 months due to violating the restraining order she had on him. Now, he can only visit his kids in a supervised visit.
      If I didn’t have counseling as well as Alanon, I have no idea how I would have coped with his twisted outlook.
      In Alanon, there is a saying: Let Go or Be Dragged!
      And, the 3 C’s: I didn’t Cause it, I can’t Control it, and I can’t Cure it. Whether or not a person’s estranged child has an addiction, I highly recommend Alanon. The Principles and the Steps are a very healing and you can meet other people who are going through rough times with their loved ones also.

    7. Jan

      It can be very hard not to be able to have a normal communication with our estranged adult child. However, interestingly enough, the time estranged can be a very good opportunity for parents to step back and actually enjoy the emotional “peace and quiet!” as well as being free from any twisted rantings from the adult child. Having gone through 3 estrangements now, I can only wish my son well but I have a life to live and so much to be grateful for. He is my only child, but I do have 2 grandchildren who are great kids! Their mother and my son were together for many years, but she finally realized that she could not take his anger and narcissistic rages any longer. She and I have a very good relationship and I am grateful to have her and the children in my life.
      There is absolutely nothing I can do re my son’s behavior….he will need to one day realize that he has burned a lot of bridges during his many years of bizarre and cruel behavior. Honestly, the freedom from the extremely upsetting ranting and blaming he does, is a much-needed time for me to just concentrate on the things I can control….my own health and growth.

    8. Lulu

      Sounds like my son although I don’t know where he is. It’s been 4 years now and I don’t know why. He’s just gone and I can’t find him anywhere. It’s heartbreaking!\

  17. Liz L.

    I feel proud of you for leaving the cake n card n text & not staying. If being in the presence of this daughter n law makes you cry, take your body’s warning to resist contact until you feel happy or joyful about seeing your DIL. I am awed by the thought you’ve put into making things right.

  18. John

    Hello Teresa. Sorry to hear. My wife and I are experiencing something similar it sounds like. We sent our last Birthday card/gift to our sons girlfriend in 2020, and received our first ever “Return to sender” card in the mail. 🙁 UNREAL! Never before have we ever experienced something like this before in our 50 years of life. Same happened with a Halloween card/gift to our son in 2020. Needless to say, those were the last sent, and haven’t heard a peep out of either of them since 7/2020. Nothing. After 4-5 sessions with a family therapist, we have concluded we need to just wait and keep quiet. Which is VERY hard. They have shut EVERYONE out of my sons family since, and have since gotten engaged a couple months ago, which we got wind of from someone connected through social media. After 2 years of nothing, it gets harder and harder to be quiet and not reach out in some way to them, but we do for now…. You’re not alone. Hang in there.

  19. Margo

    Valentines Day is a day of Love. While the focus is on couples, or Palentines or Galentines, :pals and friends if not in a couple relationship. We forget about the most important relationship we have is with ourself. Self love and being our own best friend, our own support, our own strength, is empowering. Whatever I may feel I don’t get from someone else, I can give as a gift to myself . I have given my best to others in my life, and now it’s time to give my best to myself. This is the big Aha! Wait, what? Whoa! Moment that I had this year since last Valentine’s Day. I am curious about where I might be next year.

  20. Mary L.

    How timely that this came in my in box this afternoon. The roller coaster continues-not with our son who cut ties off with us 4 years ago, but now it involves our daughter in law. Our son told her last October he didn’t want to be married anymore. She moved out in November and started emailing me again as he had forbade her from doing that or having any long distance contact with our grandkids. We had a video chat in January, after 8 years of basically little contact with them-to say it was awkward is an understatement. Well, this morning daughter in law posted a pic of her and her NEW boyfriend who she met less than a month after moving out. My husband says there is always two sides to every story, and apparently she was not an innocent party in all of this. My hopes have crashed in ever establishing a relationship again with my grandkids. So, we are dead to our son and now we will again be invisible to our grandkids. Your LOVE post was very helpful in moving forward again. Thank you!

    1. Margo

      I’m so sorry for every parent going through the hurt and pain and confusion of having an adult child who rejects them. I’m going through it too. It has made me stronger in ways that I never imagined I could manage. I think it is about Love. I don’t know how long I have left in this life but I know I am worth putting effort into living it till it’s over. I don’t want to have regrets that I didn’t live my life because of another persons hatred. I want to live my life on purpose and with purpose because I am worthy of Love. I think it’s a choice and I’m choosing that. That’s been my focus to rebuild myself. I hope everyone finds some light on their journey that helps them .

  21. Elizabeth L.

    Sorry to hear you’ve been under the weather Sheri. January is usually ‘ catch up’ time for everyone who has had to shelve things during the festive season, so I just thought you were doing that. Hope you’re in much better fettle now.
    Looking back over the last year, I’ve managed to leave my rather sad little bolt-hole and move to a less hostile and more cultural environment. Next Monday I start a new job, which will stretch me in different ways than before.
    I haven’t a permanent address yet, but that will come.
    People have been kind and accepted me into my new society. Maybe this time next year, I’ll have a completely new life and put this awful three years into perspective. It’s been tough, but worth it.
    I’ll never see my daughter again, but my life might be happier anyway. I wish peace to everyone suffering neglect and abandonment.

    1. Teresa

      Thanks to all of you for your thoughts and support. The sad truth is many of us are Just going through the motions of trying to recreate a relationship we once had….eventually we may get to a place where we can let it go entirely. I’m not at the end point yet but I imagine I’ll get there with time.

  22. Beth

    Teresa, I would like to ask why you defend your daughter in law, even though she has ultimately been at the heart of your estrangement from your son. I have read a lot of other stories where a daughter in law’s influence results in a son deciding to cut his parents out and this has also happened to me. Over a very long period of time I used to do everything I could to prevent my son cutting me and his father out, I put up with a lot of disrespectful treatment from our DIL and, eventually, our son. But then I had a lightbulb moment. Why was I allowing this woman to treat me this way simply because she was married to my son? I decided to no longer play her game of telling me where I was going wrong with my life and the outcome was that she cut me and my husband off and then so did our son! My son is nearly 48, he’s not a child, but his attitude is so immature “if you don’t talk to my wife then you don’t talk to me”, despite his wife being the one to end communication. Teresa you say she doesn’t understand you and ‘misreads’ you, my feeling is that she doesn’t want to understand you and is only too happy to misread you. Apologies if I’m being a little harsh, but this is what 20+ years of disrespect has taught me.

    1. Jan

      Wow!!! How can I not disagree!!! I AGREE 100 per cent!!
      It took my so called DIL 15 years but SHE finally got my youngest son ALL TO HERSELF!!!!
      And get this, she ONLY estranged ME NOT MY husband…….
      She must really have been jealous of me as a person and my relationship with my EX-Son!!!!!!!
      Oh yes, my oldest son estranged all of the family for 21 years………go figure???????

    2. Gene

      Beth…..I agree 100%. Excepting our son’s age and the probable length of estrangement this exact scenario has happened to my wife and I and our entire family. My mother-in-law tells me that our situation will not change until I “forgive” our BPD D-I-L for her having instigated this ongoing fiasco. It will be a pretty cold day before that happens…..

  23. Teresa

    My daughter in laws birthday was yesterday….although her feelings of being “disrespected” are at the heart of our 1 year estrangement from our son, I mailed a card and texted a birthday greeting early in the morning. She reaches out on occasion and is a sweet girl at heart. She simply does not understand me and misreads me often. I wanted to take a small cake to her but each time I thought of handing it to her or my son, I became teary eyed so I left it at the card and text. Today I am much stronger and am joyful in the moment. Next week is my birthday, another chance for sorrow then I’ll be good until Mother’s Day.


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