Parents wonder: Does my estranged adult child have mental illness?

does my estranged adult child have mental illness

Does my estranged adult child have mental illness?

Q: “Dear Sheri McGregor,

First, thank you for all the work you do. After my son became estranged, your book, Done With The Crying, traveled in my suitcase, my purse, and my car. For several years, I was never without it and learned to live well without my son! About a year ago, I gave my copy to a neighbor who needed it, and she carries it everywhere with her now. You have helped more parents than you could ever know. Lately though, I found out that my cousin’s daughter has bipolar disorder and something else I can’t remember right now, and I am feeling upset all over again. I have gone over and over the past and am worried. Does my estranged adult child have mental illness? Maybe he was scared or confused and became estranged rather than talk to me. If I had known, maybe I would have been able to help. What do I do with these horrible thoughts that I have failed him?


Michelle L.”

A: Dear Michelle,

Thank you for your kind words about my work and thank you for writing. Your question is a familiar one. Parents will often worry they have missed something or wonder if there’s some reason for the estrangement that they didn’t know about … and then feel guilty or distressed. Like you, Michelle, many parents wonder: Does my estranged adult child have mental illness? And then they self-blame because they believe they could have avoided the estrangement or helped Or, even that they might be able to help now.

Let me offer a few more thoughts.

Illusory Control

Between the lines of your question, I am reading two underlying beliefs. They are that if your child had confided his distress:

  • Things would be different, estrangement would not have occurred
  • You could have helped.

While one or both may be true, it’s possible that neither is.

You’re not alone in this thinking. However, parents’ belief they could have changed the outcome may be a form of “illusory control.” Or, as it’s often referred to in popular media, an “illusion of control.”

Basically, this psychological term refers to a tendency to overestimate our ability to control outcomes. While parents may not consciously have the thought, they believe that if their child would have confided what was going on, they could have stepped in, facilitated support or treatment, and it all would have led to a happy ending,

The strong motives of love, care, wanting to be a good parent, and the desire for our children to have successful, happy lives, likely influence this illusory sense of control. Despite estrangement, we want the best for our kids. The illusion may also be influenced by our pop-psychology solution society, TV ads that make medications seem like miracle drugs, or the stigma, stress, and embarrassment that keep the very complex and tough mental illness-related dramas behind closed doors. Don’t get me wrong. Situations can improve and those who have familial support often do better than those who don’t. Seemingly miraculous recoveries and the restoration of relationships do sometimes occur.

However, those close to someone who falls within the broad category of “mentally ill” know that solutions are not usually simple or quick. Individuals may be resistant to treatment and have fears about medications causing undesirable side effects. Or, they’re embarrassed, don’t recognize their own mental illness (anosognosia), or their years of disordered thinking has led to changes in the brain that further muddy the issues or how to solve them. Sometimes, mental illness causes risk-taking and reckless choices that end up subjecting the sufferers to victimization, which further complicates diagnosis and treatment.

If you do not yet have my most recent book, Beyond Done , I hope you will get it. Specific sections embedded within the bigger topics of reconciliation, managing emotions, and parental regrets address mental illness. I believe you will find the information enlightening and helpful. Admitting that situations are often complex and stressful, sometimes, happy, or at least happy-esh, endings can occur. Other times, outcomes don’t change and cause further stress for the families involved.

Estranged adult children offer more insight

While I don’t hear from “friendly” estranged adult children all that often, I occasionally receive such communications. Sometimes, they tell me their estrangement had little or nothing to do with their parents. They were frightened, wanted to explore pursuits they believed would hurt their parents, or were troubled in ways they don’t necessarily want to share. Some want to reconcile and begin working toward that end. Others believe the pain of revisiting the hurt they caused would be too great—for them and for their parents and others. Regardless, very often, there is an explanation for estrangement that is not what they originally said, or what the parents were forced to try and guess. Estranged adult children were running from issues or needs or influences or … that, at the time, they didn’t fully understand.

What’s the answer?

If you have been reading my work for a while, you may have seen this final section coming. That’s because it’s a repeat of what I’ve frequently said:

Reach out if it helps you feel better. Let your estranged adult child know you’d be willing to reconcile if that’s what is best for you. Or, if reaching out doesn’t feel right, results in abuse, or for some other reason isn’t the right thing for you, don’t. Regardless, work on yourself. Get strong, find joy, learn to laugh again, and pursue your own life. In the long run, if at some point you reconcile, you’ll be better equipped to handle possible consequences or complexities. There is no downside.

Meanwhile, for Michelle and any parent suffering a reboot of the circling what-ifs, whys, and worries, consider this: Sometimes, what looks like a new question or dimension to your estrangement story, upon closer inspection, is the age old question, Why?, in disguise. Often, it’s a way to stay on the merry-go-round or leads back to blaming yourself. Go back to the fundamentals of healing in Done With The Crying for a tune-up as needed. Then arm yourself with more knowledge and a no-sugarcoat dose of reality with my more recent book. Beyond Done draws on years of interacting with hurting families, my own experience, hundreds of direct interviews, as well as more than 50,000 responses to my survey. Increased awareness works like sunlight, scouring away the same-old-same-old of unhelpful coping and lighting a path for a better future.

Related Reading’

Dealing with uncertainty

Why do adult children estrange? Let’s look at nature or nurture.

How to cope when your adult child cuts you out of their life

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33 thoughts on “Parents wonder: Does my estranged adult child have mental illness?

  1. Grace

    I have read “Beyond done,” twice and I cannot say enough good things about the book and it was very thorough. My question is to estranged parents…are you as an older/elderly person afraid of your estranged adult child? I am for one, my husband is older than me (a few years) and has health problems. I think that if my husband passes before me I would be fearful of my estranged adult son and DIL coming to my home and harming me. My husband and I were blue collar workers but made some good investments and always lived beneath ours means so we have accumulated some wealth. Believe me, our kids never wanted for anything, they were spoiled with material things and vacations (which we were told were shitty vacations). I thought we had fun at Disney..anyway my question is do any other estranged parents feel fearful of their own children?

    1. Lynne

      Hello Grace. I want to answer you and say that yes we do fear our estranged son. He has mental illness and explosive anger issues. If he were to come to our door it would frighten us. He has been estranged now completely for four years. He is in our prayers daily and always hope he will be well one day. So sorry you have this heartbreak too.

    2. Lenore

      yes i am afraid of my daughter. Why? She took information I gave her abuse to protect her and used it against me in order to end our relationship. She saw a movie about indirect murder of a parent and employed the strategy with me. I ask myself ” would she murder me directly”. In a psychotic moment I believe so. I made mistake in letting her live with me in what should have been a short time but she lost her job due to Covid. She keeps finding justification for not leaving ie sickness, no job ect. i will be happy when she leaves. If she does not i will. im making plans now to be relocating by the summer.

  2. Sophia

    Normal people do not cut off loving family for no reason or make up lies about their childhood.
    I’m fed up with being told by experts that I’m to blame and need to apologize to my estranged adult child.
    She needs to apologize to me. She needs to get help.
    I sincerely hope and pray she wakes up and takes a good hard look in the mirror.

    1. Karen

      As I listen to books and podcasts from these experts and read these comments, I too am shocked at how much onus is placed on the parents. In most cases, we are talking about children who are now at least 30 years old, have been well cared for all of their lives and are now just self centered twisters of reality to suite their own needs.
      But we as parents should apologize? I don’t see how this is helpful.

  3. Jules

    Anyone else estranged from their own parents as a result of their estrangement from their child?

    My daughter, now 25 and I are estranged, and at the time that we ‘fell out’, which was 5 years ago, my parents became very involved with her, my parents haven’t spoken to me since. They totally blame me for the fall out I think. I and my husband have tried to reach out to my daughter & my parents but my mother in particular doesn’t respond or is hurtful in response.

    So I’m estranged from my parents – I’ve realised a lot about my relationship with them since they removed themselves from my life. They were very involved with my children, but not so much with me or my life. They are emotionally immature & I think this is why they can only have ‘meaningful’ relationship with children or adults who are unhealthy or needy. My estranged daughter has children & they really think they’re helping her by siding up with her, strengthening the divide within the family. Obviously we don’t agree and I now refuse to play a part in this dynamic.

    I also realise that my daughter only lets them in because they don’t really know how to have meaningful adult relationships. It seems the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. They won’t ask questions or ask how she is, ask her what she needs or worry about her relationships. They’re not capable of this.
    My parents have nothing to do with my youngest daughter, she’s an adult but they’ve never bothered with her, she’s far too capable for them. They need to be needed, sadly they don’t see she needs them as a grandparent, & I needed them as just parents. I don’t think they know how to do this. Its all very dysfunctional really.

    I have times when I’m at peace with things now, 5 years on I’m not reaching out to just be rejected time & time again, but the door is open for both my parents & daughter & I’ve made that clear despite the way they respond. I’ve had to move on from the whole mess, leave them to it.

    1. Anne M.

      I thought it was just me. I left my husband of 27yrs in 2002 for good reason which I won’t go into here. My mother told me she never wanted to see me again in 2008 following a row involving her taking sides against me with my brother and 2 adult sons. Estrangement from her, my brother and his family and my younger son lasted for 6 years. I found out she had lied and told them it was me who said I never wanted to see her again! I had a serious back op in 2016 which prompted her to call and she proceeded to charm her way back into my life. I have been shopping for her and seeing her once a week all through Covid. Recently, my older son, who has continued contact from abroad (albeit very much WOE) has estranged with my 3 grandchildren. His wife made him choose her or me I think.
      I only hear vague snippets about them from my mother, who enjoys saying ‘ooh I shouldn’t have told you that should I ‘ . So I am estranged from all my close relatives ( I just about manage a weird relationship with my mother) and so many lies and distortions of truth have been told. I have no idea how to sort out. I have times of resignment to it and Sheri’s books have been a fantastic support, keeping me on the positive side. Sometimes, though, like today, I feel physically upset and just cannot begin to unravel the layers of problems. Like an onion, each layer seems to bring more tears.
      I’m going to make some tea and go for a walk to change my mindset.
      With all my best wishes to you Jules, Sheri and all who are trying to cope with this situation.

      1. rparents Post author

        Yes, Anne. Good idea to shift up and get tea and go for a walk. A new view can foster a new perspective. Glad to hear of your self-care (and sorry you face this stuff).

        Hugs to you,
        Sheri McGregor

  4. Erica H.

    I have two daughters that are estranged – one for 5 years and one for 6 months along with my 5 year old grandson. Both daughters were diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder many years ago and they both became estranged from me after accusing me of being an awful person while doing something nice for me them.. My ex husband also has this mental illness. BPD is characterized by emotional outbursts that push people away, having inappropriate anger, and unstable relationships. They are not able to take responsibility for their behavior and need to blame others. I have tried to help both children by being the best parent possible why divorcing their malignant narcissistic father, but I realize now that it is out of my control. I have chosen to get on with my life and live it to the fullest.

    1. Wendy M.

      Hi Erica- My heart goes out to you. My situation is similar although I don’t believe my 3 adult boys are BPD. My ex (most likely narcissistic) was verbally and emotionally abusive to all of us. Unfortunately, the boys are all abusive to their wives and me. They are filled with anger. I refuse to be bullied by any of them and their passive aggressive behaviors. I have turned this over to God since I know I’m not in control. I’ve been told I was too nice and perhaps that’s why they thought they could control me. They didn’t understand that being nice doesn’t equate to weakness! I’m blessed to have a wonderful supportive husband, some family and many friends. So glad you are moving toward happiness and joy! Best to you!

  5. Donna C.

    Thank you for this Sheri, yes I have recently started wondering if my 2 EC (I have 4 AC who have stayed close) where experiencing a personality disorder… now I realise I was just reaching for the ‘why’ again.
    It is especially raw at the moment because my youngest daughter has finally given up on her eldest siblings ever being nice/loving and caring to her. The 3 younger boys are also struggling with missing out on the family being whole. We are all dealing with it in our own way and in our own time. I keep the subject open if any of them ever need or want to talk about it. Its 8 years this month when our family had a huge upheaval and its been a very hard road to travel. I can see that those of us who chose to hang in there and travel the healing road together are building something really lovely and its even stronger because of staying together for the healing years…which where excruciating for a time (and still are in places) but as time goes by hurts get fewer and further apart. And in building a nice family connection together we are creating new memories to focus on. I am sure there are times when my 2 EC wish things were different. I wonder sometimes if they are feeling that they can’t come back now – you know, its been too long…saving face perhaps, don’t know where to start maybe. Do they ever wish they could just ring me (or their siblings)…do they ever wish different choices where made…do they ever wish they could just reach out and talk to mum?? I am partly sure I may never know how they feel or what they want… I may never know the ‘why’. And yes I do sometimes come up with a newish answer that may just explain why… In the mean time I am focused on building on the new life I have built for myself and what I am doing to give our entire family some time and place to come together and just be together. The 2 EC are always welcome but for now my focus is on my four younger AC and me, living my life in a way that is fulfilling – my greatest tools are kindness and calmness. I hope and pray everyday they will return to us and I live every day creating a steady place for them to come to should they ever choose to.

  6. RB

    My daughter who a year ago became estranged from me has had mental
    illness since she was horribly raped by a close relative,But, she never told me about it until she was fifty. All of those year she was troubled with many illnesses, anorexia, bulimia, alcohol and you name it!
    Skipping to today. A year ago she told me I was a terrible mother and she
    wanted nothing to do with me! I cried and cried and thought I’d die! Wish I had

  7. Mimi

    A point to consider is that perhaps some mental illness is actually called sin. The LORD says to honor your parents and to love your neighbor. This requires a person to put others first and not be selfish. But, the world and HaSatan says “ do what thou wilt is the whole of the law.” This requires narcissistic behavior. So, what we have here are two colliding world views. Stay strong in the LORD and don’t give up. The LORD is with you, if you are with him. Return to me, says the LORD, and I will return to you. The LORD is your peace in the midst of sorrow and trouble.
    Much love to all of you.

    1. Patty

      I have 2 daughters that have completely estranged themselves and a son that is currently staying with me. He is very disrespected to me in terms of my nit regarding any of my house rules, he never cleans up after himself and pays no regard to my feelings about my wishes of what goes on in my home. He recently separated from a relationship of 9 years and after it nit working out at his sisters camper, he came here, gave me Covid and never left. He keeps putting me off about him getting a place, he works two days a week and is here playing video games the remainder of the week all while still getting.compensated. We have had very intense arguments ti what I don’t want him around me but gone. With it being in the dead of winter, it makes me feel less of a mother by putting him out. I have done this once actually but self guilt allowed him to come back. My youngest daughter cut all ties with me 4 months ago and will not answer any communication regarding my grandchildren. She went off the deep end in terms of leaving the lord, cheating on her husband in which he has come to accept but most importantly the little it’s, 2/7 ate being drug through it. I have no say in any of it. She tells me where to get off . My oldest daughter left our relationship 14 years ago after going to college. The oldest my son and daughter were from a previous marriage, she never knew her father but I met my second husband when she was 15 months old took on that responsibility. It yet when we divorced after 13 years of marriage, he left the oldest as well, we were all devastated. It wasn’t until very recently she told me I changed after the divorce. I was dedicated to my church and took them each time the doors were open, while my husband was OOT working 3 weeks out of the month living his life his way. Maybe I am ti blame for them hating me. But I done the best I knew at the time to be left the way we were. He went to work one time to never return. My children always had all they needed, most of what they wanted, I kept a tight rope on them per day. They did turn out to be productive law abiding citizens, it at the same time I lost them. Now my oldest grand son, his birthday is coming up and his mother sent me an invitation via FB. I haven’t seen my grandsons for a month now, when I did it was a drop off while mom ran an errand, or I would take them because someone was going to while she went out. I want to go, but I don’t want to be put in the situation of her causing a scene and then blaming me for it. I know I will be sitting alone, just waiting for my grand babies to tire out and hopefully they will come to me for rest and comfort. I know this may not be the forum for me to vent this but I searched and could not find that place. If anyone has any thoughts or opinions on what I should do or what would be best, please your thoughts are welcomed.

    2. Rhonda

      Perfect. You nailed it. I have realized that before the advent of Sigmund Freud’s ‘theory’ on ‘mental illness’, society recognized that ‘mental illness’ was indeed a form of demonic possession and treated it as such. Much like the theory of ‘Evolution’ vs. Creationism. One is true, one is false. Freud’s theory is all conjecture, which is why psychoanalysis, drugs to control mental illness, etc., do not work successfully. The ONLY solution is through Jesus Christ, and through Him, God Most High, who sends His Holy Spirit to intervene. Today, we’ve lost that ability to cast out the demonic spirits, because we’ve cast out the supernaturalness of God Most High.

      My own daughter has sought ‘therapy’ for her feelings of inadequacy, and that therapist has convinced her that I’m the problem, as Sheri has pointed out in recent columns in MSM against her experiences in dealing with estranged children. This is the societal norm today… ‘blame the baby boomers!’ for all that has gone wrong in the world. We’re the bridge between the old ways (corporal punishment) and the new ways of HaSatan.

    3. Marlene

      I am right with you! Jesus Christ is my first love. He said He will be a husband to the widowed…and a good husband protect and covers his wife. I lean into Him to get me through ….My estranged son and my husband , live together in a far away state with his family. I am learning to be happy on my own. I steep myself in prayer with other like minded people, and that’s where my strength lies.
      Here is a beautiful prayer authored by St. Patrick:
      “Christ with me
      Christ before me
      Christ in me
      Christ beneath me
      Christ above me
      Christ on my left
      Christ on my right
      Christ when I lie down
      Christ when I sit-up
      Christ when I arise,
      Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me
      Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me
      Christ in the eye that sees me
      Christ in every ear that hears me

      I am covered!

    4. Candy A

      I for one totally agree that mental illness is a spiritual thing. Both our daughters subscribed to the satanic ‘Do as thou wilt’ mindset at ages 18 & 19.. simultaneously turning their backs on God and us. We now know that we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities, powers, forces of darkness, and wickedness in high places. Still among these younger generations the popular trend tends to be to play the ‘blame game’ and use the ‘other person is toxic card’ to justify their behavior and disrespect towards their parents and others. All the while not taking ‘any responsibility’ for their actions and being cruel and abusive in the process but somehow them doing that is not toxic. Anyhow, it’s been a decade long intense spiritual battle for us and I’m finally at the point of letting go. Finally listening to my husband and not ‘torturing myself’ by looking at their social media pages which only left us sad, mad, hurt, and frustrated among many other emotions. As parents we continue to pray for their true salvation yes, but to keep reaching out only to be devalued and ignored we will no longer do. A friend once told me in context of worrying about what everyone else was doing.. she said, “Just Do You”.. which I find brilliant because the only person you can control is yourself. So that is what I’m striving to do these days, is to just ‘Do Me’. Frankly it’s been liberating the past few months not to bring myself to look at their ‘hypocritical smiles’ on social media showing the world that they couldn’t care less that we are in their lives or not. Just finally got sick enough about it and am turning it all over to God.. He’s the Only One who can truly handle it all anyway. Hope sharing my experience can help another heartbroken parent in some way.. God bless.

  8. Lynne

    This topic of mental illness is one I think about so often. Through many years both of my grown children have told me they have been diagnosed with bipolar. I have blamed myself that perhaps I may have it and passed it to them. I even asked my doctor if I might have it?? He said he never saw any signs and my husband says no way. I do have a sister who has this diagnosis. What my estranged daughter has done, to never say she is sorry, is to say I am bipolar. As you said this diagnosis is not an excuse for unkind and abusive behavior. Both of my children are now estranged. I always wonder how much of their pain with bipolar they blame on me?

    1. Kaye

      We often thought that our daughter-in-law had some sort of mental issues. During the Holidays a family member told me that they had seen my DIL’s posts for several years and they thought she suffered from “Munchausen Syndrome” or had it “By Proxy”. My husband and I dealt into this a bit deeper and are now convinced that this is the issue. She has totally overtaken our son with whom we have always had a wonderful, loving relationship and she has destroyed our family. She always used our grandson to punish us whenever we broke one of her laws, never knowing why or when. The last six months have been horrible. They are moving to another state and refuse to tell us where they are moving. They also refuse to let us see our grandson and they will not respond when we ask if we can come and visit him.

      We are picking up the pieces of our lives and are totally committed to getting through this. We know that we are not the problem. Reading “Done with the Crying” and “Beyond Done” has opened our eyes. Knowing that we are not alone has given us so much peace; we thought we were the only parents who had ever had a child disown them! WOW – were we wrong!

      So a huge shout out to Sheri for her work and dedication. I do not think she really has any idea of the number of people’s lives she has touched through her books and support.

      We trust that you will find strength to see you through the challenges that this will continue to present. After reading all the comments, and Sheri’s books, we are prepared for the journey. The greatest thing we can take away from 2021 is that “we have no regrets”. We know we were loving parents and that we showered our grandson with love as well.

      We send you our warmest wishes

      1. rparents Post author

        Thank you for the shout out, Kaye.And thank you for commenting here where your experience benefits other parents.

        Hugs to you! Take kind care of yourselves.

        Sheri McGregor

    2. rparents Post author

      Dear Lynne,

      You are not to blame. People didn’t understand about genetics in the past. How could you know? You couldnt, thus are not culpable. Adults, including our offspring, have the choice to blame and feel like victims … or get on with the mucking onward of life as we all do.

      I know it’s hard and you surely worry because of the bipolar too. Please take kind care of yourself. Thank you for commenting here and sharing your thoughts. Your words will help other parents facing similar situations.

      Sheri McGregor

    3. Lynne

      Hi Sheri. Just wanted to say thank you for your kind words. One of the good things, that I hope I truly have learned, from years of my estranged children is to be thankful. We live in a world where the hearts of so many have grown cold. When I have received a kindness from someone I am so thankful. So thank you again for your kindness and all the work you have done to help others to survive and to forge ahead and be kind to themselves. I pray each day that I will be kind.

    4. Rhonda

      Ezekiel 18:20 epitomizes this very topic… “The soul who sins is the one who will die. The son will not share the guilt of the father, nor will the father share the guilt of the son.” We’re not talking about ‘dying’ a mortal death here. We’re talking about our eternal lives, and the choices we make while we are in a mortal state. This is what I’ve come to realize and accept… our children are separating themselves from us now, in our physical mortal states, so that we are prepared to not suffer the pain in our eternal state… remember, no more tears, no more pain. So, a therapist has diagnosed your children with bipolar, which has become a ‘one size fits all’ type of answer to the lack of a personal relationship with God Most High… let’s diagnose a mental illness, rather than address the root of the problem. No God in our lives, when God started to be removed from our lives, beginning in 1959… dang! Let’s blame us ‘baby boomers’ again! An atheist Communist (Madeline Murray O’Hare) who hated God, didn’t believe in Him, is responsible for this and SCOTUS confirmed her lawsuit against the school superintendent of the Baltimore School System, in 1963. She successfully had prayer removed from our schools, and now, we are reaping what she sowed. Therein is the root of today’s problems in society, in so many ways.

    5. Mimi

      Hi Rhonda,
      Yes, I agree with you that the root of the problem is that the LORD has been completely removed from everything in our society (schools, government, business, daily lives, etc) . And, his name has become a curse word.

      The psychiatrists can call bad behavior bipolar or whatever they want. But, it’s called sin, in the eyes of the LORD.

      For those of us who are watching, the end of all things is near. G-d will not allow this wickedness to continue much longer.

  9. emily38

    Thank you for this, Sheri, on a most complex issue a part of, and separate from, estrangement.

    And thank you for restating, and re-emphasizing, your fundamental position on what hurting parents are encouraged to do for themselves and their own recovery, not for their estranged adult ‘children.’

    At the risk of oversimplifying the issue as it pertains to estrangement, I often wonder if assigning mental illness to EC is an exercise in finding reasons for alienation. Bad behaviors, unacceptable ones, socially uncomfortable ones and downright meanness (or cruelty) are developmental flaws and obviously exist in adults despite parents’ best efforts. Genetics, outside influences, peer imprints, etc. can play a role in the adults our ‘kids’ become. A curbside diagnosis of mental illness might bring temporary relief to a parent, but the exercise circles back to self-care and individual recovery of self. ‘Labeling’ might fill a need in the moment.

    Don’t misunderstand. I’ve walked through the years with friends who’ve agonized over unreachable, diagnosed, truly mentally ill adult ‘kids.’ Three friends endured a suicide with its unanswerable ‘why?’ When I drive downtown in my mid-sized city past adults huddled in storefronts or gathered in groups on corners, I always think about their histories, their parents, and I wonder…..always. Some of my friends who’ve lived with this reality have adults who’ve cooperated with treatment; many if not most of them do not.

    Sometimes I’m grateful, yes grateful that my EC are ‘only’ mean, disrespectful, self-absorbed, irritable and angry individuals. A parent can be a handy punching bag until they aren’t. I do not consider my EC mentally ill. I would say they are maladjusted. We love, we give, we worrry, we teach, we model and despite everything, our kids are who they are. We wonder where they came from. We default into thinking their outcomes had to be due to something we did or didn’t do as we raised them.

    You’ve pointed out again that in this land of parental self-blame, or misplaced sense of ultimate responsibility for another, our efforts must be about our own wellness. Yes, even for those parents whose EC are truly mentally ill.

    I don’t say this lightly. I know what recovery requires.

    Thank you,

    1. rparents Post author

      Hi Emily,

      I’m sure you know how the DSM, the book that outlines mental disorders, has grown and grown. There are a great many who believe there are way too many and that surely some are just poor behavior, difficult, etc. I think it has become all too easy to excuse behavior as you said. As I discuss in the latest book (Beyond Done), even many mentally unwell people can learn to act better, treat others better, take responsibility for their actions….

      There is no excuse for abuse.

      Maladjusted, ne’er do well, legend in his own mind, runs hot and cold, has a bad temper…some of these are just true and even diagnosis and treatment don’t change that truth. We can be empathetic and still hold to good boundaries and sound values that teach, model, refuse, help without enabling, or even say no more.

      Thank you for your comment! And hugs to you!

      Sheri McGregor

    1. rparents Post author

      querida clotilde, Puede obtener los libros en Amazon y otros minoristas. Eso sí, están en inglés. Hasta el momento, ninguna editorial ha optado por los derechos de traducción al español. por favor, perdónenme si esto no es español apropiado. estoy usando una función de traducción en línea para responder en español. abrazos para ti, sheri mcgregor


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