Rejected Parents ask: When should we get on with our lives?

Ask Sheri McGregor

Ask Sheri McGregor

Most parents feel stalled and uncertain about the future when adult children’s hearts turn cold. It’s a natural response when someone you have loved so very much becomes a person you can barely recognize (if at all).

A rejected mother asks

Sheri, I have two of your books and the have helped so much. I have a question for you.

Our adult son has little to no contact with us. We are thinking of asking him if “no contact ” is what he plans to have for the rest of our lives. That way we can tell him then we will move forward with our lives and not sit around wondering.

I don’t know if it’s a bad idea to even ask. I’m angry and not sure I want to give him the satisfaction of feeling in control of our lives.

Any thoughts Sheri ? I am open to hear.

Keep going what you do, as you are helping many.

Brandie H.

Sheri McGregor replies

Hi Brandie,

I can understand your reluctance to give your estranged adult son the power to control your outcome. Must your lives and the way you live and move forward for yourselves be contingent on his answer? What if his answer is uncertain or ambiguous (such as, “maybe, not sure yet”)? What if he doesn’t answer at all?

It’s possible to release someone, allow them to do what they will do, and move forward for yourself. You don’t have to sit around wondering what he will do as a condition of what you will do. You have no real choice but to release him anyway. He is an adult, making adult decisions. You can release him and go on and enjoy your lives, fully live in them, find things that bring you joy, get support as needed, etc., with the idea that you are open to the possibility that he may one day return. If he does, you can cross that bridge at that time. This way, you will not have wasted your lives (months or years or decades).

If you take care of yourselves and enjoy your lives, don’t be surprised if you grow and your perspectives about him, what he has done, and even your own selves and self-worth change. The “home” an adult child leaves behind does not remain static. Abandoned ones instead grow and even bloom. I wouldn’t want to tell YOU what to do, but I would not stunt my own growth by giving a person who has hurt me power over my life or destiny.

Nurture yourself. Give yourself the ingredients for a life well lived, and make it so. Do this independent of him or his plans.

Hugs to you,
Sheri McGregor

Brandie’s reply

Thank you so much Sheri. I am crying, in a good way because I feel you are so right on.

I could go on and on. I just had a double mastectomy 6 weeks ago. All I got from him was a “good luck.” I felt like he was just “checking the block” to make himself feel like a good person. That pissed me off.

You email back is so helpful and has help to give me the strength to move on.

Hugs back to you.

Brandie H.

Sheri’s next response

Dear Brandie,

With your recent surgery, it is yourself and your healing and wellness that requires all your focus right now. That’s a lot to endure especially amidst the cruelty of estrangement.

If you only knew how many moms and dads write to me with a major illness and cruel children. . . .

Take kind care of yourself. I hope you get to listen to some birds singing each day, smell a flower, and find something to savor.

Hugs to you dear, Brandie.

More from Brandie

Brandie replied one more time, and I include a portion of her email here so readers will know more about her:


I just listened to a radio show you were once on, run by Daniel Davis, on Beyond50 radio.

The discussion on grandchildren really hit me and was something I could relate to. I have 6 granddaughters I can’t see due to estrangement. One of which I was quite bonded with. Estranged adult children don’t seem to see the damage they do to their children when they kick grandparents out of grandkids’ lives. Such a powerful discussion and I thank you for touching on it.

Related reading

When your adult child wants nothing to do with you: Time to go with the flow?

First steps to getting past anger when your adult child rejects you

Anger: Positive energizer? Or easy fix?

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57 thoughts on “Rejected Parents ask: When should we get on with our lives?

  1. notbrokenjustbent

    This website,Sheri & all you beautiful broken people who write these post are so important .l started posting about 9years ago,at that time l was desperate,lost & just broken,reading that there were others who were also going through pain& heartache l didn’t feel alone .l have healed ,one of the lucky ones ,l dont ask any more why….because l will never know why,so l accept that it’s just the way it is.Sending huge hugs to all from Australia.

  2. VERA

    I often wander if I will ever break away from my daughter. I love her dearly . When she is away I worry about her well being and do whatever I can to help her with all her needs in hopes that it will help her get to the next step of independence . For the most part we get along and are very close . However she is now 26 years old and is not progressing as she should in life. I blame myself and the parenting I allowed myself to be in the past. I know she resents the mistakes I’ve made and boy oh boy do I get upset when I have to hear how it’s the reason she has not accomplished what she needs to take cate of herself. I lost my granddaughter for a mistake she made and inside I hold the anger . Somehow I’ve allowed my family to convince me that its my fault too.
    Guilt it’s another way I found people use it to excuse their behavior.
    I’m sick of being blamed and watch those who point their finger not own up to what part they wronged .

    1. rparents Post author

      Hello Vera,
      Have you heard the term “scapegoat”? It sounds to me as if your daughter and the others in your family are making you into a scapegoat. The term has implications in the family as well as in wider circles. When associated with family, you will often find scapegoating described with information about “dysfunctional” families. This is in no way meant to make judgments about your family, but rather as a point of reference where you might find information that fits. (The truth is, all families are dysfunctional at some point, in some way, because we are human beings who are thrust into difficult situations and cannot keep all of the balls in the air at once. On the other hand, some families have a sort of system of dysfunction.)

      HUGS to you, Vera.

      Sheri McGregor

  3. Sophia

    For anyone:


    Does anyone know the reason for the estrangement? Did your EC ever tell you? Did it make any sense?

    If you have attempted to reunite, did it last? Or was the same pattern repeated and you were cut off again?

    Many thanks!

    Blessings to all who must walk this path!


    1. candleinthewind

      Hello Sophia. I can attempt a few answers. To the first question, basically, summing up the reason for the estrangement is a wholehearted criticism of me as mother and person. I have destroyed the emails and any other details of the complaints so I can’t re-read them, but along with everyone else they were abusive and nasty to the point of being unbelievable. I have said before that it doesn’t matter if it makes sense or not, it obviously does to the EC, the challenge is that there is now an emptiness that has done a lot of damage and the grief from which can potentially ruin my life further, due to isolation and depression. I have not, and do not want to reunite because of the ugliness of what has occurred. Replacing cruelty with kindness to self is what is now required.

    2. Carrie-Ann

      Dearest candleinthewind,
      Re: Your reply to Dear Sophia…As usual candleinthewind, you are spot on in your comments…Couldn’t have said it better myself… Grief, isolation, depression have taken, and are taking, all the energy, courage, and strength to survive this devastating heartache…I cannot, and will not, allow myself to experience any more of the judgement, lies, betrayal, or callousness…The trust is broken…
      May you, Dearest candleinthewind, Dear Sophia, Beautiful Sheri, and Each One In This On-Line Community, As Well As Each Estranged Adult Child, Be Blessed In Body, Mind, & Spirit…
      The Serenity Prayer is a prayer written by the American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr (1892–1971):
      “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.”
      In Friendship & Gratitude,

    3. Carrie-Ann

      Beautiful Sheri,
      Thank You…Your reply brought tears…I am so Grateful for this website…a little corner of the Universe that is the one and only place that is safe, where I can come and share my Heart’s Sacred thoughts that I cannot share elsewhere…The comments shared by others are so empowering, soothing, and understanding…
      Hugs Back,

    4. P.

      I would like to hear of others experiences with this too. My son cut himself off at age 42. All of a sudden. There were no arguments, nothing out of order that we were aware of. I keep wondering what I missed. Where is the courage and honesty to speak, if something was wrong? If he felt slighted? Estrangement seems to be the height of cowardice. It has been three years now, and I am losing hope that this will be resolved. It is unspeakably cruel.

      We are also updating our wills, and thinking about putting his share in a trust to revert back to the executor in 30 days if he does not respond, or remove him altogether. It is in limbo right now because I can’t seem to decide. I don’t want to be mean and petty, but I also do not think it is wrong to take him out since he has removed himself so completely.

      I’m not sure why parents are punished so harshly. We are wrong if we do, and we are wrong if we don’t. What happened to these offspring?

  4. Linda T.

    I have been torn apart for years because of my daughter’s problems (mental) and in controlling marriage for 25 yes. Now that she’s had an affair she has no where to go. I’ve helped financially but not emotionally. I have no love after all this time. I have felt guilty for lack of feelings and thank God she never had any children. I’m so glad to find this website.

    1. A. N.

      You’ve helped all you can now it’s up to her to find her own way, I hope you won’t allow her to ruin the rest of your life. Your life is worth more than that!

  5. Sue

    I feel very peaceful since taking back control of my life. I don’t love my son any longer, he has bullied me emotionally since in his late teens even becoming very aggressive without hitting. When I had a breakdown due to suffering lyme disease and hubby nearly dying, he became worse. Our health is good now, and better since I stopped yearning for his respect. He says he had the best childhood ever, but he is a narcissist and chose to pick on my vulnerability. I have 3 daughters who have children and I never discuss the situation with them and see and mind my grandchildren often, we just enjoy the visit.
    I no longer miss my son, his wife or their son, I don’t even know that grandchild, I feel no love for my son, only a bit of anger at myself for setting myself up for the constant humiliation of being rejected by him.
    He wants to move on, but wont discuss anything, citing that we wont agree, therefore I can only conclude that he still believes that his bullying behaviour was all ok, as he has told me, “it was for my own good” because he cared e.g cooking for and waiting on MIL for mothers day lunch, and I had to bring and cook my own. Only a fraction of the degrading humiliation he put me through.
    I am so resolved with my decision to have nothing to do with him.
    My only problem is that he and my husband get on well and it really annoys me that my husband did very little to stop this behaviour and when he did, it was too little and too late.
    I feel angry more so at my husband and I am still deciding where I go with this.

    1. rparents Post author

      Dear Sue,

      Since you and your husband get on well, can you express your feelings to him in a kind way, in a manner that seeks to understand? If it takes counseling, it could be worth it to go together.

      HUGS to you, dear Sue.

      Sheri McGregor

    2. A. N.

      My opinion, celebrate your emotional freedom from this destructive narcissist! Don’t allow him to cause any more trouble or hurt in your life, by your resenting your husband’s relationship with him. Leave the two of them to whatever they choose to do; as long as you aren’t being disrespected, allow them to be close if husband so chooses – who cares? You have your life and your sanity back! Don’t allow your son to cause any more upset. Just my opinion.

    3. warrior

      I am so grateful to find this website, as a single mom i lived with my 19 year old youngest son, since my divorce the 3 kids has hated, I could see it and feel it,I held a job for 25 years , and now was just him and I living together,He refused to attend school or get a job,he slept when i went to work during the day,and when its time for me to sleep he was awake, in and out the house, I was already a Lupus patient for 25 years in 2015 I started to get sick with headaches, none of them cared, he accused me of going to the doctor for drugs, I have never smoked or did any drugs all my life, I was diagnosed with a brain tumor and was suffering, and working, he had threthen to hit me and flip the table on me for trying to reason with him to get a job and his own place, I was concerned so I was also looking in his room for any dangers, etc, he told me if I ever go in the room again that he will boby trap it. I got this gut feeling that he was going to kill me in my sleep, I give up my apt and told him I was leaving, he had to find a job and his own place. my kids blame me for leaving to save myself from parent abuse, my oldest daughter hates me and blames me for anything that goes wrong in their lives.the guilty feeling is unbearable .

      1. rparents Post author

        Its “innocent guilt.” Use the search box here at the site and read about it. Also, it’s described in more detail in my first book. The adult children are throwing a tantrum because you won’t allow them to use you. It may sound harsh, but that’s the truth.

        I hope you will continue to read here, sign up for the newsletter, get my books, and rebuild your confidence and find a positive way forward for yourself. Thank goodness you got out of that abusive situation.

        Sheri McGregor

  6. donna

    Wow. It helps to know you aren’t the only one baffled and wounded, cut off for some known-only-to-them reason. For so many of us, there is the missing of what was once a close relationship, worsened by the increasing distance with grandchildren who no longer know us. I finally took the pictures of the grandchildren down in my den because every time I looked at them it reminded me of what I have lost.

    After this last go round when she stopped communicating in any way at all, I’ve just about exhausted all my desire to even keep an open door. This Christmas I’ll send packages to the children and then I think I am done. I don’t even know if the children get them because there is no acknowledgment of anything I have said or done. I may still occasionally send a card or gift to the children, but not their parents. It’s a wasted effort. They believe whatever they want to, refuse to talk about it, and we can’t change their minds.

    Although I recently sent an email about their aunt’s sickness and death to my children, my daughter didn’t respond. She sent a floral bouquet to my brother, but no communication with us. I think from now on, I’ll leave it to her brother to pass on any family news.

    1. rparents Post author

      Dear Donna,

      When estrangement endures, parents reach turning points. You’ve described some of yours (taking down the photos, making decisions about gifts in the future). These are healthy growth for yourself given the situation. So, good for you. It’s not easy but to accept what is and get on with living is realistic and better for you than remaining stuck.

      Sheri McGregor

  7. Andria

    I’m at a place where I feel it would hinder my own wellbeing to ever accept my daughter back if she should want to. If she can do this to us.. others are next. I don’t desire a push/ pull relationship where if I cough or make one wrong move I go into devaluation and discard. They usually repeat the behavior in my opinion and hold this over the parent. They love the role reversal of control. It’s a form of Machiavellian traits if you ask me. Lack empathy and remorse. They don’t just grow it . It was lacking and they revealed themselves. Zero loyalty will probably remain in their empty cores and inability to maintain object consistency / good feelings. Out of sight out of mind is narcissism. Many are narcissist’s in my opinion. I’m moving along. Will not let her win. Her sadism would enjoy that. In fact she’d like to see me crash and burn. This is designed to cause severe pain.

    1. Kate

      Andria, I agree with you. And yes, if they will dump you once, they’ll dump you again. My daughter has dumped me more than once because I kept hanging on trying to have a relationship with her & my grandchild. But today even if she wanted to come back to me, I COULD NOT do it again. The last time she threw me away was over 10 years ago (absolutely no contact at all since then) & I’ve finally learned I can’t make someone that cold hearted care.

  8. R Schweitzer

    It is hard to believe there are so many of us dealing with this confusing issue. I haven’t seen my son or my grandson in 3 1/2 years. I can’t believe this is still going on and I can’t believe the anger and contempt he responds to me with still after all this time. I let things go for a few months and then I try to reconnect thinking he will have a change of heart. I have continued to send surprise packages to my grandson. They have not once been acknowledged. I have no clue if he is receiving the gifts but because of the tone of my son’s words I would not doubt they are finding enjoyment in just throwing them out. I have decided I will not be sending anymore as it truly does feel like they enjoy hurting me and my reaching out ignites an aggressive response. Long story short, it all started when he started dating his now wife and it has been a whirlwind since. In his last response he said something he has said repeatedly, that he was a self made man, had no help, no handouts, no support during his upbringing. It is so bizarre and could not be further from the truth. He has tried to crucify me for anything that he can recall in his life that he can put a negative spin to. He never says anything about his actions or words, he never brings up the stuff his wife is responsible for and he never acknowledges that this latest issue that has gone on this long started on a peaceful Saturday when I received a call from him ranting on and on about something I supposedly said to a family member about his wife. I was completely taken off guard and could not believe the way he was talking to me. His wife then followed up with a text saying I was psychotic and would never see my grandchild. It was crazy! The family member later went back and apologized saying they were intoxicated and not even sure what they said to them but that was not good enough for my son and dil to stop this nonsense and it has been going ever since.
    My thought is to not ever close that door but do go on and live your life, sending your child love & prayers. Anyone who is causing this much hurt can not be in a good space in their own life. Good luck to everyone on this site and remember you are not alone.

    1. Shawlana

      R. Schweitzer, So unfair what has happened to you. To be “crucified” and judged like that and all you can do is send love and prayers. I think you are correct in saying that these people are not happy and in a good space in their own lives. All you can do now is back off and save yourself otherwise they will drag you down. Don’t let that happen. A better life is yet to come.

    2. Sue V.

      My ex husband is the charismatic person, yet he has treated his five daughters badly. My youngest daughter has turned on me blaming me for everything wrong in her life since her father walked out one her when she was 11years old. She heard nothing from him for six years yet all her ills are my fault. All I was doing was trying to be a good single parent.
      I have simply had enough, my daughter is coming from Chicago to visit and all the arrangements seem to be with her father. I am not waiting to find out if she wants to see me , I am not going to see her. There will only be an argument no doubt and I have had enough. She can go to hell and I don’t care if I ever hear from her again. I loved her and my other two daughters with all my heart. Now my heart is dead. Enough I say.

  9. Traceyp B.

    My adult son who was struggling to find his way moved in w my fiance and I for about 6 months. Things were going pretty well as we adjusted to him being “home” after 8 years on his own. He worked and participated in general day to day life w us.

    Then Covid. He VERY suddenly became one of the “deniers” and would not cooperate w our requests to take precautions like masking. My fiance is immuno compromised and I began to insist my son follow the rules.

    When he was laid off his job in March 2020 bc of the shutdown, he stayed in his room 20 hours a day! YouTube became his sole source of information and our relationship took a nose-dive. By Sept 2020, he became verbally abusive, calling me “a sheep”, etc (but never when my fiance was here). It finally became physical and I made him leave for good.

    He threatened suicide and told me how terrible I had been all my life and what an awful life he grew up in. It was devastating to see him go in that state but it had to be done.

    In Nov 2020, my fiance and I both got Covid. We were very sick for weeks then my fiance ended hospitalized and out of work for 2 months. My family rallied w support but my son never even texted me. By then, I’d accepted the “shut down” but never expected the comment to my daughter “well, mom’s wish came true…they finally got sick.” He laughed! His behavior was disgusting and I was just done.

    I wish I could tell you something miraculous has changed but it has not. I keep tabs through my daughter, but I don’t recognize the college educated, witty man who now lives w a girl who supports him financially while he takes govt handouts and watches YouTube all day STILL. He’s angry at the world and sees “danger” at every turn (but not from a virus, just EVERYTHING else) and never leaves his home.

    Maybe one day he will get help for his illness, which this surely has become. Until then, I pray for him and this girl and try to be as happy as I can be. Life is good and too short to cry anymore tears over a situation I can’t control. I know many others are dealing with as well, due to this insidious pandemic and the crazies spewing on the internet.

    Thank you for this outlet and the abundance of support and information. Blessings to all of you parents in pain.

  10. Fae

    I enjoy your suggestions about moving on. Our daughter has been a rebel all her life, we don’t hear much from her, but we have moved on. When a parent has given and tried their best, they have no choice but to move on. She is an adult, and I don’t feel any responsibility for her actions.

    We are now in our senior years, we are happy, just celebrated our 60th Wedding Anniversary. A parent is always wondering, however, it’s like sitting in a rocking chair, you get no where.

    Thank you for this website.

  11. Victoria H.

    I came across “this” several months ago.
    It’s helping me….
    I too. have a 40 yr old son (with two adorable Grandsons) that,
    Five years ago, made excuses to “stay away”.
    this has help me !!
    Grammy Vicky San Diego ca

    When People Walk away from You
    your destiny is NEVER tied to Anyone who Leaves you
    and it doesn’t mean they are Bad people
    it just means that Their Part in Your Story is Over

    Just let go of how you thought your life Should BE
    and embrace your life ~ ~ it’s Just Fine ~ ~ as Is

  12. S. Vee

    It has been almost 7 years since i last saw my daughter. She suddenly stopped communication with us and despite my husband and I making a few trips from India to the US to try and meet her, she refused. Her husband met us and told us she did’nt want to meet us. He also said he reads all her emails and lets her read only those he thinks are good for her. Same for phone calls and texts.
    I have now given up hope. she is an adult and if she prefers to be under the influence of her husband ( who is the only relative she is in touch with apparently), so be it. If she needs help, she knows my address and email address and phone number.

  13. Diana J.

    I’ve been estranged from my son for the past three years. I have bent over backwards to make amends
    with him. I apologized many times (don’t know for what). Yes, it does get difficult during holidays, birthdays, etc. I feel profoundly sad that I haven’t seen my granddaughter since she’s one, because my
    son is selfish and immature. But life goes on and I need to make peace with this abandonment.
    Everyone has a right to be happy and fulfilled. Let go of the past, live in the moment.

    1. Rhonda R.

      Exactly how I feel, with my oldest daughter. Her son is now 21, and he knows how to get in touch with me, but he lives with her, so is respectful to keep his distance from me to keep her appeased. She has mental health issues that she is dealing with, but I believe she has been indoctrinated to believe that I abused her as a child, when I did nothing of the sort to her, other than disciplinary corrections (spankings) for her misbehavior. I came to the point of ‘Let Go, Let God’ a few years back, but finally had to cut her completely off, two months ago, as she became the emotional abuser of me. Changed my emails and everything, and also had to cut my other daughter off in communicating via emails, because they were sending each other my emails, behind my back. I had to go so far as change my email address, and cancel out the old one I’d had for years. I still can communicate via text messages on the phone with my youngest, but my oldest is completely out of my life. Other than getting through the special days, my life has been much more smooth-sailing. I have to keep myself in check during those special days, asking myself, why do you want to continue with the abuse from her? And then those special days are over, the hump has been conquered, and we move on. I pray every day for her, that she becomes like the parable of the prodigal son in the Bible, but we’re running out of time, I believe, and I’ve had to accept that it may never happen… God is in control.

    2. Randy Jo

      I am in the same boat. Haven’t seen my grandson in 3 1/2 years. My son has done the same thing and I have done like you, bent over backwards only to receive a lashing of insults, putdowns. He has found every crack and tried to attack me about them. Sending you a hug.

  14. Laurie

    Thank you so much for your compassionate support and advice in the recent radio interview. Appreciate as always your wise realistic insight…you get it ! and I appreciate you

  15. lorraine m.

    I have been dealing with my adult son’s estrangement from me since 2008. His birthday and Mother’s Day are still hard for me to keep my mind off him on those specific days. I’ve reached out many times with no success. The only thing that keeps me going is my two little grandchildren who are my daughter’s children. Their smiles light up my life. But I still can’t seem to get my son out of my mind and always asking myself “why?”

    1. rparents Post author

      Dear Lorraine,

      Sometimes answers are not coming. That’s one reason I suggest just assigning one or accepting that it’s something inside him or not about anything you did or whatever makes sense… for now. You can always revisit the question but you can also move to one that motivates action for your own life. What now? What do I want to do with my remaining years? What will help? What …?

      Hugs to you dear Lorraine.

      Sheri McGregor

  16. A. N.

    A relationship should be a two-way affair, not just one person giving and the other person taking. Even though someone is your “child,” they are an adult and should behave like one.
    Always giving in to your adult child keeps them at an infantile level. They need to accept that you’re a person, not just an object, i.e., “Mother.”
    I don’t want a relationship with ANY person who only takes and I am the only one giving, even if that is my adult child. It’s a miserable way to live. I’m not going to walk on eggshells for anybody, and I don’t want to be around anyone who is judgy and critical. If you don’t like me the way I am then stay away.

  17. A. N.

    My son is putting out feelers about ending our estrangement that was a year or more but truth be told, I don’t want to see them. I don’t even know how I feel about him or if I feel anything. I don’t feel anything about my grandchildren because they are strangers to me. I really don’t think I care, I just want peace and to be left alone.

    1. April

      I read a comment where a woman was estranged from her son and his family for years then he wanted to reconnect. She said everything was fine for a year then the cracks started showing and they are once again estranged. She said it was heartbreaking all over again. I know I couldn’t go through this heartbreak twice.

    2. Carrie-Ann

      Your comment brings to mind this quote that I find is quite true:
      “The best predictor of future behaviour is past behaviour”, (Quote has been attributed to everyone from psychologists, such as Albert Ellis, Walter Michel, and B.F. Skinner, to writers such as Mark Twain.)
      May we each use discernment & wisdom in setting safe boundaries, allowing and trusting safe people to share our lives with, being aware of the risk of giving “2nd chances” and “benefit of the doubt, and to release that which is not healthy for us…
      In Friendship & Gratitude,

    3. Ellen W.

      Your remarks made me stop and think because I often worry after almost 3 years of estrangement do I even know my son anymore. So I understand when you say “I just want to live in peace and I am not sure I want to reconnect.” I have never loved someone as much and yet this person I loved has become a stranger on many levels. The person I knew would not have made this choice, but he did choose this. So maybe the best solution is to be grateful for all the incredible good memories and to quietly with grace move on.

    4. SHERRI H.

      I too feel the same way as you, although my son has not reached out to me and may never reach out to me. Your comments comforted me to know that someone else out their feels the same way as I do. So many people try and make you feel like you are a horrible person because you don’t know if you would want to have a relationship with your child again. This is not the first time my son has walked away from me and his family, but it will be his last time to hurt me. He has kept our grandchild from us and I just don’t forgive him for this.

      1. No name no state

        I feel for you in this situation because ii am in this space too. I have a daughter in law that has spear headed this whole situation and she we believe has mental problems and taking our son down her rabbit hole with her. It all started when she got pregnant. She is over protective, mean and selfish. Thinks she is perfect and does no wrong and I’m the evil one. Has my son so locked up that he can hardly have a relationship with his own family. He let her open this door when she and I had an argument when she told us we couldn’t see our first granddaughter anymore. She needed space which was funny because we barely saw her anyway! She had depression and anxiety and ha ha tried to say I was the reason! I wasn’t even around enough to do anything of the sort! So long story short she lets my husband see the babies, she had another one last year, a boy, but like a very sterile visit like being in jail. Their house, for only a half hour every month maybe but I can’t come! She has taken my son and threatened to leave him if he presses her to get over this and move on. She is a terrible person who wants nothing but control and has ruined our lives in the process!

    5. Mary M.

      A N
      I can understand your feelings. I have a 7 year old grandson that I haven’t seen in 2 years. If my daughter wanted to reconcile now after all the hurtful words and actions, I’m not sure I would want to see them either.
      I no longer have feelings for my grandson – I don’t know him any more- I don’t even know what he looks like any more. I know nothing about him – not where he goes to school, who his friends are, nothing!
      Peace is good!

    6. Rhonda R.

      This is to all of you, but in particular, Sherri H. Forgive your son, for your own sake. Doesn’t mean you have to reconcile with him, doesn’t mean you have to forget. But forgiveness is key to your peace, for yourself. Father in Heaven sent Jesus to teach us the Lord’s Prayer… and a key verse in that prayer that many overlook… ‘forgive others, as we ourselves are forgiven’ by Father.

      I, too, don’t want to reconnect with my daughter now. I’ve looked back over the years, and she’s done this since she was in her teen years. Each time, she draws me in, gets what she wants, then dumps on me, becomes vicious in her attacks, emotionally. I came to realize that it wasn’t me that was the ‘abuser’ she claims I was, but it’s her personality. She’s a manipulative emotional abuser, just like her father was. She’s now in her early 40s. So, what do we do with abusive personalities? We stay away from them, cut them off completely.

    7. Bernard

      My adult daughter (32) wanted my wife to cancel her surgery to go and babysit my grandson 800 miles away in a different state for 6 months. We said no so my adult daughter told me she is blocking me from her life and that of my grandson. She blocked me on Facebook too. But she said she is not blocking my wife, only me. She never answers my phone calls or texts yet she phones my wife. She is trying to split my wife and me by playing good cop-bad cop. She is disrespectful to both of us. Now her husband won’t talk to me. I just finally got fed up and decided I would not let my adult daughter bully me anymore. Because that is what she is doing…being a spoiled brat bully.

    8. notbrokenjustbent

      My eldest made contact by letter after more than 15 years,the letters were initially pleasant,filling me in about the lives of my 3 granddaughters.l replied thanking her for all the news,by the fourth letter,over a period of a year,sarcasm & nastiness started to appear,subtle at first.l started to feel that knot in the stomach again so made the decision to write & ask her not to communicate any more as l refuse to accept this behaviour..Another 4 years pass,in that time l received several beyond cruel texts,telling me what an evil person l was,l chose to not aknowledge these,l came face to face with her as l was leaving a business,it was a total shock as she lives n another state.l looked at her after so many years & felt absolutely nothing,no knot in chest,no sick feeling,no sadness no anger,no hurt…nothing.As sad as that is,that a mother can feel no feeling for her child,it was liberating & now l feel as if that was my last step to healing.l never want or need to see her ever again,l have finally realised that our relationship was simply toxic & detrimental & that will never change.Sometimes doors are better left locked.


  18. Jamie Lynn

    Both my daughter & son have nothing to do with me. Daughter because of her husband. Son only comes around if he wants or needs something. I’m to the point that I’m over it. I just miss my granddaughters tremendously. I’ll be okay because of my faith, mom, brother & sisters. My dad wouldn’t tolerate this behavior if he was still here. He passed away from COVID in December. He tried to keep family peace, but I knew it would never be the same. Thanks for what I’ve read

  19. Lisabelle

    This article sheds light on how we, as the rejected parents, can feel in a state of limbo. We try to give our estranged adult children time and space to respect their feelings and hope that they “come around”. The sad fact is that they may never do that.

    In the beginning of our estrangement, I wouldn’t plan any holiday or family get together because I felt it wasn’t right to leave my estranged daughter out. I felt guilty if I wouldn’t invite her, even thought I knew that if I did, her answer would be “no”, so it seemed easier to just not plan anything. Then I started focusing on my other children, their partners, my hubby, myself and the rest of our family and realized that I was not only giving my daughter control of our family interactions, but also cheating the rest of us out of healthy relationships. So, I stopped worrying about how my estranged daughter would feel knowing we were together without her, or if she was upset we didn’t invite her, and I focused on those in my family who want a relationship and genuinely enjoy each others’ company. We’ve had so many wonderful holidays, birthdays, vacations, day-trips and outings with no stress or conflict, which was common with her and her spouse before.

    Since making the decision to move forward in my life and not wait for her, I’ve been able to see a lot more clearly how she really thinks of me and our family. We’ve been told of her character assignation toward us, which was a horrible revelation, her lies uncovered, and witnessed her general apathy for her family. Missing my birthday and Mother’s Day, (while she went to dinner with her mother in law) were the final blow.

    1. A. N.

      When you find out that your adult child has been talking about you in a negative way, accusing you of things that aren’t true, it changes the way you feel about them – at least it does me. It’s like they take themselves out of your life. I can tell you I’ll never feel the same about my adult daughter after what she did. It changed my perception of her and who she is. I no longer think as highly of her, aside from the emotional part of all this. I’m not planning to remember any of them in my will. They don’t deserve anything from me and they shouldn’t expect it. I’d rather leave money to people I know who are kind to me!

  20. Sherry R.

    It has been 10 and a half yrs. That my youngest one dumped me! She took the cowardly exit out of it all! However, i took the bold and courageous way in begging for forgivenesses amd mercies for nearly 9 yrs. I finally gave in and waved my white banner. This demon is the winner. Time has helped me and my belief in jesus and my strong prayer life! I had to let go! I pray this one learns forgiveness! Life gets easier with time.

    1. Rhonda R.

      That sounds just like me, but with my oldest daughter. She did the same thing, and our last interaction, I actually rebuked the demon that has control of her. Then I had to cut her off completely. Let Go, and Let God! Right?

  21. Karen

    Sherry, an interesting editorial by national columnist David Brooks titled “What is ripping American families apart? The U.S. seems to be in the middle of a pervasive psychological decline” was published in our local newspaper yesterday. In it, he talks quite a bit about estrangement between adult children and one or both parents, with some interesting statistics. It can be found by googling his name and is listed as being his July 29, 2021 column. When I try to click on it, it appears one must have an account to The New York Times to be able to access it. With an account, apparently one can access some free content (I’m not sure this particular article is free as I don’t have an account). I think you and many of your readers of your very helpful website might find his article interesting and potentially informative.

  22. Maria

    How about finally stopping checking their social media? I still have to cross that bridge. I am almost there. Not caring any more, because it hurts too much. Praying for them, but not feeling emotional about it. I gave up trying to find a soul who would understand, God is the only one Who knows the big picture. I can’t stand the suspicion. ….well you must have done something wrong. Well, i was told by one the them that giving them birth was one!!!!! So it must be True, that must be true somewhere somehow. Praying for all of you out there.

    1. Jennifer C.

      I finally unfriended my 20 yr old daughter on FB because
      My husband and I gave her the best life possible and she constantly posts how her boyfriend’s family is the family she never had and that she had it so bad.

    2. Regina

      Omg Maria, I was doing checking social media it all the time with my estranged son. He blocked me on everything an has advised I would never hear from him again. He has not talked to me in 8 mths.
      I was diagnosed with a disease. When he found out he vowed we’d fight it together…since he now chose to tell his girlfriend (none of her business feel betrayed by him), he has not reached out to me about it. His girlfriend is rude, does not want to get to know a me. It hurts less, but I did soooo much for him I needing helping him gorm his could he not love me about everything..I left their dad my son was 13..but dad was a mental abuser..I feel like I should have stayed..if only my son would listen.

  23. April

    This is the question I also had. Thank you so much for this article and the one’s related. I have replaced photos with art work, and as time passes, I feel more peaceful and contented. I am grateful for my quiet life with no drama.


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