Do your questions keep you stuck?

parents of estranged adult childrenby Sheri McGregor, M.A.

Parents of estranged children often wonder about the future—for themselves and for their estranged children. One question so many ask is a variation on one of these:

  • Will my estranged adult daughter ever see how much she has hurt me?
  • Will my son who doesn’t talk to me anymore ever realize what he has done?
  • Will my angry adult son ever come to his senses?
  • Will my grown daughter who cut me off ever let me back into her life?
  • Will my son ever forgive me for whatever it is he thinks I’ve done?

While those are logical questions, for your own well-being, the next question should be something like this: Are these questions helping me cope?

I understand the thoughts, the ceaseless wondering tempered by hope and sharpened by pain. When my estranged adult son drew up “sides,” and placed me firmly behind a boundary I hadn’t known existed, he left me in shock. Most parents are.

As the estrangement wore on, the question—Will he ever . . . ?—brought more pain. I worried for my son. If he ever did realize, then I imagined his horrible regret—for the time he had lost, the distress he had caused, the horrible knowledge that he had so hurt his family. . . .
I worried for my son.

Can you relate? I hear from so many parents who share similar feelings. First there’s the hurt and shock. The slicing final moments replay in our heads. The awful words come back to us with force, disturb our peace, and intrude on our dreams. Disbelief reigns.

As time goes on, perhaps with unsuccessful efforts to fix whatever went wrong, a drab, uncertain future stretches out. We worry for ourselves, for our estranged adult child, and for the family.

It’s all so very sad.

Parents of estranged adults: Turn the page. Begin a new chapter.

To turn a new page, to move forward in a life that is different—but can still be good!—start by changing your questions. Good questions often become the canvas on which my clients paint new beginnings. So I have to ask: Whether or not your children will ever return, ever realize, ever see and regret what they have done . . . does that change your life today? In the life that’s before you now, what does the answer change?

Take a moment to separate your own well-being. Let loose the idea that you can control your adult child’s decisions. And realize that the possible consequences that come from those decisions, will be your child’s to own.

For your own life, can you let go of wondering? Or perhaps even choose an answer like one of these:

  • My estranged daughter will one day have regrets.
  • My angry adult son will one day realize he has made a mistake.
  • My estranged adult child who won’t talk to me will someday be sorry and return to my life.

Pick one, or craft your own answer. Then ask yourself:

Does the answer change my life now?

You can only control yourself.

Most of the fathers and mothers of estranged adult children who come to this site have begun to see that they can’t change what’s happening. Most of them have tried. Parents who have been emotionally abused by an adult child (abandoned, rejected, cut off), usually want to reconcile. It’s their first goal. But they later come to the realization that they can’t force their grown son or daughter to oblige. They can’t force the person their child has become, to morph back into the wonderful son or daughter they used to know.

What now?

So, what can you do now? To better your day, your outlook, and your future?

Imagine your child will never return. How will you spend your days?

Imagine that in five years, your child will return to you with an apology and full of regret. In what state of being will that child find you?

Just as each of our lives is a canvas with some space still blank, I will leave this article without a conclusion. Write your own. Make it a satisfying one. Paint your own sky, earth, and meandering path. Paint yourself—dancing, smiling, and finding joy.

parents of estranged adult childrenIn my book, Done With The Crying: Help and Healing for Mothers of Estranged Adult Children, the question: why? is covered with a chapter all its own–and helps bewildered parents lay their questioning to rest.

Take care of yourself today. In doing so, no matter whether our estranged adult children will ever realize . . . . You can be you. And be well.

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41 thoughts on “Do your questions keep you stuck?

  1. Estranged father

    Thank you for this. I absolutely engage in this kind of internal question asking, feeling sorry for myself, etc. I have always done this kind of introspection in regards to problems. I have valued introspection as a way of coming to terms with problems and working through difficult situations. With regard to estrangement, I do so to try and figure out, why, what did I miss, what could I have done differently, where did I go wrong. These thoughts lead to the will this ever end or how does this play out–which I realize is an unknown. But here is the absolute toughest part”when I see the parents of the kids my kids grew up with, and/or the kids my kids grew up with, and I see emotionally healthy relationships (ostensibly), they are obviously not estranged, and they are in the presence of one another and seemingly enjoying each other’s company. It’s an arrow straight into my heart. And yes, I feel like an abysmal failure as a human being, even if, as you suggest, the kids wind up learning a painful lesson about cruelty and compassion. It is a painful lesson I do not wish for them to learn, particularly at my expense.

    1. Laurie

      I completely understand. My husband and I have no family to speak of where we live. I do notice those adult children who are engaged and love their families and I also feel shame and pain. I feel as if I deserved this rejection. It is more painful than anything I can possibly imagine. My husband keeps reminding me that its like when he lost his jobs…5 of them. I try to explain that he has gone on to find another more fulfilling job. At 54 I cannot go out and find a new family. It’s over 🙁

  2. Lori

    This article hit me exactly where I have found myself almost every moment of every day for over two years. I ask an older friend, “Will he come back?” She replies, “He will return.” I ask my husband the same question, his reply, “He may not.” The constant wrestling in my mind is wearing me out. Thank you for helping me frame the question a new way, “If and when he returns, what will I be like?” I want to be a person that others want to be around…full of joy in spite of circumstances. My friend tells me, “Just live your life.” Maybe, just maybe, therein lies the key.

  3. Jennifer

    I have 2 estranged children. One has not acknowledged my very existence in 6 years. The other just recently cut me off and the most amazing and I think even more devastating thing than the recent estrangement is that he watched the devastation the first estrangement caused. The “will she” question has now become the “will he” question and added to that is the “how can he” question after he watched the destruction of the first estrangement. I hear the “you must move on” advise from everyone who knows about the estrangement. Easily said than done when part of you has died inside.

    1. Estranged father

      You and me both Jennifer. Except the genders are switched. A him first and then her. And the unanswerable “why’s” and endless re-thinking of as much as I can remember–the possible mistakes I made, and then remembering all the good I did to provide for my two adult children. What I see in all of this is that we all have the power to create any narrative we want to define our lives. In the case of my kids, it seems apparent that the choice is to create a narrative that reconfigures their childhoods to paint me as the bad guy, ignoring all the good, and making the choice to see my efforts to “parent” as bad. If only they knew all that I sacrificed out of the best interests of my kids. And the cruelty, lack of compassion and empathy is just astounding.

    2. lee

      I hear you.. I have the same heartbreak with 2 adult children, both estranged. I know you have to go on.. we have no choice. This is the part that is the hardest. How do we do this? I tend to listen in conversations now, pretending my life conforms, trying to keep normal. I listen to others telling me about their lives, the joys and the care they have and I hide my pain. If I expose them to my life they look at me as though I’m from another planet and the social arrangements become less. I have learned to hide behind a wall, talking to others about ‘others’ , pretending and disappearing..
      The inside of me feels shut down and very isolated. I turn to work and pour myself into that. Distracting myself and letting it consume me , feeling normal for a bit. My children play me like a ball with a string.. I The heartache sometimes so overwhelming me that I cannot stand.
      I want to live and go on.. feel peace and light and joy again.. just for a while I want to feel real happiness.. I am trying to find interests, find company and find me but who am I? We have no choice. We are valuable and important .. Our lives matter..
      As you say .this is the hardest..

    3. Carolanne

      I also have two estranged adult children, thirty one year old son and twenty nine year old daughter. I also have four other children. Every day I am consumed with the question ” what have I done to deserve this, I think I am a good person, am I not” and what can I do to reverse whatever I have done wrong!!!!!!! Sadly there is another equation in this, a father who has influenced them. I only hope that some day they will realize how much I love and miss them.

    4. Shelia

      Everyone tells us he will be back. I’m so sick of hearing that. He’s our only child!! How do we move on?? We have made his old bedroom our prayer room were we go and lay many nights in the floor praying he will come back. We have no commutation we are blocked on all phones Facebook Instagram Twitter snapchat. When we went to apartment we was told to leave and never come back. Now he want even answer the door. He got married in July. He told us not soon after before we was blocked on everything that she told him if he talked to us she would pack her clothes and leave him. So here we are…. Of course Christmas thanksgiving and Easter was horrible..,. His birthday is soon???!! Put card under windshield wiper??? We have wrote two sets of letters sent cards begging apologized over and over. Now we are scared to mail things cause she will just toss them in the trash. We are so broken…….. Please give Advice someone help us please!!!!!!!’

    5. rparents Post author

      Hi Sheila,

      I’m really sorry your son has chosen to block you and your husband. It sounds like you have reached out repeatedly, and he has made it very clear that he does not want you to do so any longer. You’ve begged, cajoled, and he has personally told you at his door not to come back. I can’t step into your shoes, but looking from the outside (as a mother who knows the pain of estrangemet), it seems clear that you really have no choice but to get on with your own lives.

      Of course, that doesn’t mean you will forget him, or that you stop loving the son you once knew.

      As a caring parent, perhaps you can give yourself the same sort of love.

      Please take care of yourself.

      Sheri McGregor

      I don’t know if this will help, but maybe:

  4. Mom of 2

    I feel your pain and I worry as I have one child still at home. I use the same words as all of you to describe my situation and the despair. It’s been 8 months and while some days are good, it only takes a quick memory or an item at the house that reminds me of when my child was young. I feel like that person is gone forever and the adult my child has become is a stranger to me. I wonder how long she was “pretending” before the departure. I know she is healthy and okay as she is still in touch with her younger sibling. She has cut everyone else that has contact with me out of her life. Watching her alienate my parents has been even more painful. I have to try very hard to not hurt those still around me, but the whole experience has left me jaded.

    1. KLG

      My daughter has also cut off everyone that has contact with me except her adult siblings. Her brother that still lives at home gets a letter once in awhile but she really doesn’t know him at all. It is very painful to see the hurt she is causing everyone else, especially my mom who has always adored her. I feel your pain.

    2. Alley

      My son has recently blacklisted me from his life. Three weeks ago. We had always been close and had never had a fight until then, one disagreement and he cut me off, I was watching my 2.5 yr old grandson whom I adore and am now not able to see him at all. That is the most painful part, I was close to him as well. It was a disagreement over his son but I wasn’t even aware there was a problem until my son just cut me off. He never even discussed any concerns prior so I didn’t know anything was bothering him. I have tried reaching out several times since then but he is completely refusing to even talk to me once about what was bothering him. I just don’t understand given we hadn’t had prior issues.

  5. KAY

    I am totally in awe that this wonderful site is available! Every post that I see is exactly how I feel! I honestly do not know of anyone in my life that has had this happen to and have felt so alone.

    1. Heartbroken

      Estrangement has been 14 months but seems like years. Our daughter has been in touch on and off…… raising our hopes that she will return to sharing our life together. She lives in another state and is under a psychoanalyst care. When your daughter ask you if you had a difficult time attaching when she was born , I knew that issue had to come from her doctor!! I told her the truth….. I fell in love with her the moment I held her in my arms for the first time!!!
      She says feelings of rage emerge when she is with us although she repeatedly has said it is not about love.
      I am trying so hard to find ways to survive. I am at the end of my rainbow, turning 69 tomorrow. Even if I am blessed to live another decade or so, my life feels like it is over now. I look around my house and see all the physical belongings of my Great grandma, grandma and mom that I have a part of me because we I look at them, I think lovingly of them. Family has always meant everything to me but our family is very small and essentially only my husband and me, now. ( having lost our son 8 years ago)
      Enough of the ‘poor me’!! I just need to find a way to be okay as I live out the last years of my life. I am fortunate that I can escape at times and enjoy the moment when my heart isn’t crying.
      Thank you for reading my story. I know there is no solution and we all want to help each other. I also know that we must respectfully not judge anyone as we are all different and there is no absolute right or wrong. I am trying to find my way. So far my distractions have only been temporary and short lived. I miss my daughter who I love with my whole being. Love to all of you.

  6. Rebecca

    My estrangement has been seven painful years and probably many more with my grown son. I have been to therapists searching for answers so I can continue my life with my husband and two grown daughters from a previous marriage. My loss of my son has thrown my heart into despair to the point I wake up at night with a shortness of breath and sweat overcomes me at 56 years old. My daughters have tried to talk to my son to come back into my life but to no avail. My last therapist has really helped me to ease the pain and to open my eyes on the abusive ways of my son as he thinks he has power over me. She said you wouldnt allow him to hit you with a bat physically so why are you letting him emotionally hit you? And than she said you have to mourn the son you thought you would have in your life, but to be with people that love you and respect you. She also told me to read the serenity prayer every day. So these tactics have really helped me to lessen the struggle we have daily as estranged parents. Don’t become bitter because one day your child my come back and you want him to see a whole parent that has been living a happy life, thus you have taken the control, not them.

  7. HappyEccentric

    Lee, Mom of 2 and everyone. My children, too, have cut everyone out of their lives who have any contact with me. People they have known for years, considered them friends, and probably respected them very much. What a blow when you learn that your ED’s mission is to ruin your life, personally and professionally (she worked at the same company as me). I can only imagine what people are thinking, but then I remember, what they think of me is none of my business, and what I think of them is none of their business. After awhile, I am sure things will die down, but for now, I run into people I have worked with for years and they look at me like, “how could your children who loved you a few months ago hate you now?” Or it could just be my imagination. I am so fortunate that I have wonderful friends and colleagues who have supported my husband and me through this nightmare. Friends come in each day and “check up on me” to make sure I am okay. I wish they knew how much that means to me. Those on this forum seem to be about the same age, late 50s, early 60s, and into our 70s. I hope all of us can live the last 1/4 of our lives with inner peace, experience joy, spread some joy, and come to terms with this nasty blow we have been dealt, and become better people because of it. People who know me think I am so strong and don’t know how I can show up to work every day with a smile on my face (while my heart is breaking) and enjoy the day. Of course, I am dying inside, but when I put my best foot forward, tell God this is going to be a good day filled with positive thoughts and actions, I feel much better. One thing this estrangement has taught me is to appreciate my husband more, appreciate that I have a nice home, and a good job. that I have good friends who care about me. I forget the pettiness that may have bothered me in the past and am kinder and more compassionate to people. I believe there is not one single person on this earth who has not experienced tragedy, sadness, bad times, and NEEDS help, extra kindness and understanding. I saw a sign on a coworker’s door (recently had surgery) that said, “Pain is Real, but So is Hope.” That hit home, There IS Hope; we all hope for different things. May your hope turn into reality.

    As said in this post, it is out of our control, so all we can control is ourselves. I am sure that seems cliché, but so true. I woke up this morning in a panic, my heart racing and experiencing great sadness, facing reality once again that my EC want nothing to do with me. I always feel better when I visit this forum and read others’ stories, relate to them, and know that all of here have a purpose, to get through this and help others along the road. Always remember, as Lee stated, our lives do matter!!!!

    I bid you well!


  8. Ellen

    How do I start? It seemed I had the perfect family. I treated all my children with the same dignity, love, openness and loyalty; not like my experience growing up as the middle child and singled out to get the leftovers. I had no favorites. I was determined to have a close, united family who would be there for me if I needed them (mostly emotionally) when I got older (I am now retired). But it didn’t turn out that way. If I could understand it I wouldn’t be here. So I turn to strangers for help. I feel numb and sort of directionless right now.

  9. Eric

    While my wife and I struggle to come to terms with our estranged daughter getting married without our family being at the wedding, I also have to wonder why adult child estrangement has fallen upon my family. We were so great with our kids and always close to them. No abuse or divorce in our family. If anything, I should have never spoken with my parents again after the way they terrorized us growing up. Both of my parents were full-blown crazy alcoholics. My father was drunk everyday and cheated on my mom non-stop. My mother was drunk everyday and took her frustration out on us kids. They treated us like crap almost all the time. As a teenager I lived in fear of two major events that reoccurred almost monthly: 1. My drunken mother throwing all my clothes and personal effects out the window and on to the front lawn. Nothing more horrifying to a teenager than to get off the school bus to find your underwear laying scattered across the front yard, and; 2. My father going off on one of his drunken walks, wandering around the neighborhood in his boxer shorts, gin in a plastic cup, yelling for me to come home (or course I was hiding). So given that I was an abused child, I should have dumped my parents, right? Wrong! I love them both dearly. My father has since passed but my mother is still alive and we speak every week and I try to see her every couple of months. She’s recovered from alcohol and while she still has a bit of an edge to her, she’s still my mom and I love her. So why on earth would my daughter, who we raised up right, no abuse or drunken craziness in the household, just discard my wife and I like a piece of garbage? It’s baffling. Maybe I should have been a crazy drunk like my dad was, then maybe my daughter would still love me?

    1. Sandy

      Same thing here; no abuse or neglect, but his dad and I did divorce when my estranged son was 16 so I think that may factor into it. The funny thing is that his dad did not contact him or send gifts or anything for about 8 years but they eventually reconciled. Now, he has this great relationship with him but can’t tolerate me. I am baffled too.

  10. Sandy

    I have one son who is estranged from me, out of 4 children. We were very close at one time; I helped him with his 2 oldest girls whenever he got them after he and their mother split up. The trouble initially began when his girlfriend (now wife) was critical of the help I was giving my oldest son who was going through a horrible divorce and child custody battle. This situation resulted in my not seeing their little girl for about a year. Once they moved away and were coming back for visits, I was able to see them and things seemed to be better. Then out of the blue, I get these phone calls and texts messages that were so hateful I could not even believe my son had written them. He was angry, he said, because I was communicating with his ex–the mother of the 2 oldest girls. In my own defense, I had to have a relationship with her because she was the only way I could see my 2 granddaughters, with my son and his new wife and child living in another state. He gave me an ultimatum: stop talking to her or you will not see or hear from him or his current family again. I do not do well with ultimatums and I do not do well with being spoken to disrespectfully; I let him go even though it hurt me to my very core. I have been told by others in this situation to cut them off completely: no more birthday or Christmas cards and gifts, no attempts at contacting them. I did not instigate this estrangement and I want to keep the doors of communication open, even if I look like a fool doing so. I remember them on birthdays and Christmas and can’t see myself ever stopping that. I have no means to contact them. They have changed their phone numbers, blocked me from their social media pages, and moved to a different address that I do no know. I am fortunate that they live in the same town as his wife’s family and her mother sends me photos and videos of my granddaughter. I send all gifts to her house and she makes sure they get them. I never, in a million years, saw this coming. I can only pray that one day he will return and we can pick up where we left off. I miss him terribly.

  11. Sandy

    I would like to add to my post that my son does not have any communication with my side of the family. My parents, his grandparents, are both in their 80’s, with health issues and he doesn’t come to see them when he is in town to visit his dad, and does not call them. This is what upsets me the most. If you are mad at me, fine; do not take your frustrations out on your grandparents.

  12. mary

    I too, have lost 3 out of 4 children by them just bowing out of my life and refusing to tell me why. Before they met their spouses, I was the apple of their eyes. My husband passed away after they all just graduated from college and left the house. We both worked so hard to make them a good life as we both grew up in somewhat of a poverty.
    My parents were very strict and I had very little growing up and was bound and determined that my kids would have better. I worked, gave them everything that I could and even when one of them would call while in college and needed something desperately from home right away, we would take off after my husband got off work on icy dark roads to make the 2 hour drive down to bring them whatever they needed. The other students would even remark that our kids were so spoiled. My kids are all in their 50’s now and seven years ago, all of a sudden, I wasn’t needed to babysit the animals anymore (I was never allowed to have my son’s kids spend the night at my house when they were little, but they were at his wife’s parent s all the time) when they went on their big vacations, they decided that nothing was good enough at my house, (shower too slow, no golf channel on tv, bed too soft, etc.) and even though I got to see the other 2, both girls, approx. once a year, they didn’t like it if I asked them to do something for me when they came. One daughter’s husband told me that they couldn’t help me if I lived across the street from them and that daughter thinks we and anyone else that can’t hire somebody to come and do the work, should not have quit working at retirement or should have planned better. They don’t care that we spent most everything we had trying to make a better life for them growing up. Anyway, they are gone, have totally deserted me. I have one child left who was the problem child growing up. She still has some problems, being a recovered alcoholic, but she calls me everyday and is there for me. Needless to say, I have given up on everything, including God, as my heart is broken. I have found a nice gentleman who is with me most of the time and says he will be until the end. My daughter-in-law is lucky enough that she only had to work a year or so after they were married and spends a lot of time reading and she believes everything she reads and contacts counselors for my so who are the new age counselors that tell their patients that if they don’t like something about their parents to just “divorce” them. Which is what they all did. Like my gentleman friend says, “they deserted me”.

  13. Jude

    Thanks for all for your stories. They are making me think twice about the estrangement I was planning with my family. Hope things will work out.

  14. Irene

    I’m thankful for Sheri McGregor for this site and to the posted comments
    .It’s helpful not to feel alone.Today is my birthday and I have many blessings but the relationship I have with my daughter is essentially non existent and the sadness is deep and complicated.No one I know personally can identify yet I see I’m not alone and I’m 61 today and don’t want to live sad about what I can’t control.The serenity prayer is the prayer of resemblance for me.Recently heard a sermon about every situation is a test and it helped me I want to pass this test and be caring and kept nd to anyone needing support and to know God loves me through every circumstance.I have a son who is struggling to find his way(another concern).In the end thankful for this site

    1. rparents Post author

      Hello Irene,

      Happy Belated Birthday to you! Glad you have found the site helpful. You’re right about the Serenity Prayer. I remember seeing it at a friend’s house when I was bout 20, and not really “getting” it. Well, all these years later, and I fully comprehend its message (and the wisdom in it).

      I hope you had a nice birthday, and I wish you many blessings in the future.

      Sincerely, Sheri McGregor

    2. Thebluesky

      Hi Sheri, I started (again!) with this article. It jumped out. Control. Questions. Future. My future. My right now moments. I can see from this that I am, have allowed myself to be stuck, dwelling on actions and words that happened almost two years ago. Makes more clear as to why haven’t the happy, positive aspects of my life made a difference.

      Yes, I have had a laundry list of questions about my estranged son and distant daughter. I, like you, have even made it my problem, worrying about their possible regrets and emotional consequences. Always, always, trying to protect them, even from themselves. Under more healthy dynamics, protection and a little worry I think is normal. With estrangement, it can become an obsession. Well, everything about this becomes an obsession.

      Also, I am seeing here how this is such a blow to my ego. And my ego wants answers now.

      It made me ask why do I even have any friends, why do my clients like me, why do strangers walking their dogs stop and talk. Because I AM a nice, kind, loving person. So how can I answer the question of why the two I have loved the most do not feel the same.

      Time to start working on putting these questions to rest. This article is my study for the week. Hope I can give you a good progress report!

      Thank you


    3. rparents Post author

      TheBlueSky, The great thing about beginnings is that they can happen any time–even when you begin again.

      I noted that you mentioned everything about estrangement becoming an obsession. Yes, it does happen to a great many parents. When you look at the word, you see the word “session.” A session is a time of effectiveness, when things are to get done. Add the prefix “ob,” which goes against getting anything done, and well … it goes with the article we’re commenting on–about getting stuck. The looping questions do get us stuck. The endless questions with no answers are a symptom of obsession, and go against us moving on with our lives. That’s the point I had in mind when I wrote this article.

      May you start a new “session,” in which you’re clearing the way to move forward in joy!

      Sheri McGregor

  15. Laura

    I struggle everyday about my ED removing my husband and I from her life and the lives of our grandsons. I have not seen her now for 6 years. Her husband decided to move her and our grandson to Michigan and a year later when she had our 2nd grandson he sent us some pretty disturbing emails that made us think he was abusing our daughter. Long story short, it ended up with him slandering us on social media, emails to our friends at church and a very long email to my sister with about 20 bullet points of things he alleged we did, all of which were complete lies. I did have the opportunity to actually speak to my daughter once after the email and went thru his email with her asking her if we did each of these things to which she responded no to every one. It’s almost impossible for me to not think about this daily because it’s so darn frustrating that we didn’t actually do anything to deserve this. We have 2 sons that say we were wonderful parents and they can’t understand this either. I will never be able to move on and forget. It wrenches my heart and mind everyday. I put on my smile, go to work and listen to all my friends talk about their children and grandchildren and I just pretend I’m happy for them and that it doesn’t bother me. Not sure if I will ever get to a point where I don’t think about her or my grandchildren without utter heart wrenching pain. I just get up everyday and breathe.

    1. Thebluesky

      Sheri, I can’t seem to figure out how to leave a direct reply to a certain post. Oh, well!

      Thank you for your reply to “stuck”. I just wanted to let you know that I began today doing one of the exercises presented in the book, The Artist’s Way, from way back in the nineties! I’m sure you know it.but I couldn’t find my book, maybe I gave it away, but I remembered the suggestion of everyday spending I think thirty minutes or more just writing. Not about any one subject, but whatever comes in your head. You could write over and over for thirty minutes that your foot hurts, it doesn’t matter. The premise, I believe, is to over time empty your mind, leaving room for NEW insight and thought, and creatively. I am going to give my best in pursuing this for a while. This will be my ” session ” with myself, minus the “ob”. I don’t know if commenting back to you on this, this way is okay, I know kind of borders on coaching. Just let me know.

      Hope you are having happy day


    2. rparents Post author

      Hi Thebluesky,
      I know The Artist’s Way has been a really popular thing, so if it works for you that’s great! Let the words flow without control. In time, as with any journaling, you may be able to look back at the old writings and see that you’re in a better emotional place. — Sheri

    3. Stephen

      Laura, I am in the same boat as you. Even though we do not believe our son-in-law did not start this estrangement, we do believe he keeps the fire burning. My daughter went to all of my closest family members, her siblings and my friends to bash me and to get them on her band wagon. It did not work at all, so she distance herself from their lives too. My son-in-laws family really did not get to know me, so they easily were persuaded to believe her lies about me and side with her. I look at my son-in-laws parents and think, for being in your 50’s, if you don’t realize there is 2 sides to every story, then you are not smart enough to know what you are dealing with. What they are dealing with is, a grown person who can do this to her parent, then the in-laws have no chance in heck, with she turns on them.

  16. Salt&Sand

    It’s good to find this site and know that I am not alone. But it’s certainly easy to feel like you are because there is so much blaming and shaming related to this silent epidemic.

    I never had an argument or even a disagreement with my son before he just stopped returning my calls and emails (he lives on the other side of the continent from me). However, I did notice him siding more and more with his father and step mother and how they worked to alienate me from him when he started college. The last time he came to visit me, he sounded so much like his narcissistic father that another question I have rolling around in my head is: “Do I really want to reconcile with him if he is going to be so unpleasant to be around?”

    One of my siblings participated in my ex’s parental alienation (another problem entirely), but now my son won’t talk to her either. In fact, he talks to no one on my side of the family, not even the cousins his own age with whom he used to be somewhat friendly. On the one hand, it’s good to know that my son’s estrangement probably wasn’t due to something that I did specifically, but on the other hand, if he’s not talking to anyone in my family, I feel like it’s even less likely that he’ll change his mind. And my dysfunctional family at best sweeps my concerns under the rug, when they’re not scapegoating me for making the sister who sided with my ex feel bad.

    I am living my life and mostly enjoying it in spite of the heartbreak that surfaces when I see a reminder of my child or when I hear a sad song. But our estrangement has made me much more reclusive. At some point when a friendship or a romantic relationship deepens, you have to reveal more about what has happened. I find people either pull away, thinking I *must* have done something wrong or they use this vulnerable part of me to take advantage of me somehow. People always ask why I never go visit him or why he never comes to see me. I have become exceedingly private about my life because of the estrangement. I feel like the only person I could ever date would be someone else who is experiencing a similar estrangement or a psychologist who understands the phenomenon. Another question then: “How do I deal with this with new people in my life? When and what do I tell them?”

    I also have the strange sensation of much of my life having happened in a dream or to someone else, like a past life memory. It’s too painful to keep a lot of photos and mementos around. It’s almost like I went into witness protection, and now I have to pretend to be someone else. I have learned to compartmentalize all too well.

  17. Ruby

    Hello all, and thank you for this wonderul site, I live in the UK and know of no one who has experienced estrangement. It is now 3 years and 4 months since I last saw my daughter who will be 21 soon. At the moment I am finding thing very difficult and draw great comfort from the wisdom and support here. Thank you to all.

  18. Ruby

    I’ve just read the post regarding “ego” and” obsesssion”, . I am after 1 year of being a virtual recluse, just starting to venture into the world around me as , I struggle to imagine that any right minded person could possibly want anything to do with me if my own daughter who I lavished love, care, attention on for 18 years, finds me so repelent. People talk to me and seem to like me, my self esteem and ego feels shattered and my mind is in a constant loop of obsession as to how this happened. I am sorry to sound so self pitying and I am trying to be strong, I raised my daughter alone and have no other family, but I will keep trying. I also read something here that it is the behaviour of our ES/ED which is cruel, awful behaviour , so maybe I need to turn this around. Thank you all .

  19. Cindy

    My name is Cindy. I have two kids that I have been estranged from for 20 years. My ex told me when we divorced 30 years ago that he would make sure they hated me someday. Well, he and his mom sure did just that. Kudos to their evil manipulation. Well done, I say with sarcasm.

    When this first happened I was in shock. My kids were around 12. I spent years questioning, praying, crying, agonizing, depressing, you name it. I lost self worth and the will to live. The pain was unbearable.

    Over the years I learned how to cope by prayer and traveling. Now I am tired of traveling so I ask God, what now can I do to cope with no grandchildren contact? How do I continue this coping? I am tired of coping. So I prayed today and said God, I need a psychologist or something to help me. I am abroad so I googled and found this site.

    I am a devout Christian so over the years I have felt God tell me many of the things I just read here. That I am not a door mat and to move on with my life. I cannot force my kids to love me, to have hearts, to have good moral character. They make their own choices. If hating me is their choice, and keeps them bonded to their evil dad, then so be it.

    I have to say goodbye emotionally again and realize God is a God of love. If they loved and knew God they would love me. However, that is not true. My sister is a pastor and is the meanest woman I’ve known in a long time. Many “Christians” have no love.

    What is the answer? I still don’t know. It hurts still after 20 years. Yet hearing the call to love myself is growing louder. I need to stop giving my kids the control they have over me. They are happy I think when they hurt me by treating me like a worm. Sad to have kids turn out like this.

    1. rparents Post author

      Hi Cindy.
      In the new year, I hope you will take good care of YOU. As you say, you’re hearing the call to love yourself. By taking care of you, just imagine how equipped you will be to do more and wonderful things—for yourself, for others, for God.

      Sheri McGregor

  20. Movingongranny

    When I start asking myself questions, I immediately “bookmark it”. I try to think about what I am doing right now and forget the past. Its been hard but Its helped.
    Sheri’s book has helped so much!!!
    thanks and Happy holidays to everyone. WE ALL DESERVE HAPPINESS!!!!


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