Rejected parents: In trying times, “check in”

by Sheri McGregor, M.A.

adult son hates meSeveral years ago, I created a self-monitoring kit for a mental health organization. It was based on the concept of “checking in” with yourself each day. Testing the wind, so to speak, but about your own feelings. (Or is that “tasting” the wind, like Gingersnap is doing in the photo?) When it comes to nurturing our well-being, awareness is important. In troubling times, awareness can be a first line of defense. So try checking in.

During this Covid-19 pandemic, or any stressful time (such as estrangement), try “checking in.”

Notice your how you’re feeling physically and emotionally upon awaking and at checkpoints throughout the day. By noticing, you can then take steps to take care.

If you awaken worried, take note. Ask yourself if there is anything you can do in this moment to solve the worries? If not, is there anything you can do on this day, this week, and so on. Jot down any insights. Then, thank your mind for trying to work things out for you, and give yourself permission to let the worries go.

Check in later in the day, too. Are you unusually grouchy? Are you sniping at other people or gravitating toward Internet doom and gloom. Check yourself. Also, consider what may be fueling your feelings. Be careful of your media diet. While it’s never good to bury your head in the sand, it’s also not good to fill up on hype or hysteria.

Are you thinking about how much it hurts that your estranged adult child doesn’t bother to see how you’re doing, even in such a scary time? It is hurtful, so allow a few moments to feel those emotions. Cry or vent (a little) if you must. The intensity of the feelings will pass. And how you respond can help them move along.

Take good care of yourself

Sometimes, a negative mood, fitful sleep, or physical issues are best managed with good old fashioned TLC. Even if you’re staying in, get up, groom, and dress. You’ll feel better when you catch a glimpse of a tidied-up you in the mirror (rather than a slouchy robe and food-coated teeth).

Eat purposefully, too. When we’re stressed, it’s easy to reach for the chips and chocolate. Anything in moderation, but be sure you’re giving your body what it needs to thrive. You’ll feel better emotionally when you’re running on healthful fuel. If you’re checking-in with bodily complaints, take heed.  Indigestion: Could it have been all those mixed nuts? Sore lower back: Could it be from too much sitting? Connecting physical symptoms with behavior can help you gain awareness toward positive change.

Exercise is another way to care for yourself. Sitting around can feel paralyzing. Make your house and/or yard a walking track. (Try singing while you walk. Beats ruminating about everything you cannot change.) Try standing on one foot and then the other. Sweep the floor, clean the walls, vacuum your car. Exercise doesn’t have to be a standard fitness routine. Just get moving. All the better if what you do has a purpose (my car is filthy right now).

Get a dose of social connection

Confined to home in Italy, neighbors strummed guitars and sang from their balconies. Their social distancing while socializing nurtured a basic human need.

Reach out to friends by telephone or email daily. Share a coffee break by phone, or at lunch with a friend on Face time or by phone. Wave to your neighbors and your mail clerk. If you’re video conferencing from work, allow a few extra moments for each of your associates “check in” about how they’re doing personally before the work starts. If you go out for essentials, chat with the store clerk (they’re extra busy and stressed right now, too).

Members of the support forum here at RejectedParents.Net value the social support of fellow members. Internet forums abound. Do you want to do more gardening this year? Maybe it’s time to join a planting forum. Are you planning to restore a classic car? There are forums with like minded individuals who have lots of knowledge to share. Planning an RV trip? You’ll find a forum for that … and just about any other subject. Think for a moment: What do I want to do or learn? (Check in with yourself.) Then take action.

Look for the beauty

Whether that means physical beauty such as a sunrise, sunset, or blooming flower, or the beauty of the human spirit such as neighbors helping neighbors, seek out the good. Although the ugly is so often pointed out, there is also beauty—-take note, let it infuse you with compassion, joy, and a sense that all will be right with the world again.

In Done With The Crying, there are numerous strategies to build a happier spirit, take care good of yourself, and regain your footing when estrangement has tilted your world. During times of uncertainty (this Covid-19 pandemic qualifies!), turn back to some of those strategies.

What are you doing to help yourself? What can you share to help other rejected parents? Please leave a comment.

Related Reading

Dealing With Uncertainty

When the world is scary: bend and twist

Parents abandoned by adult children: Shape your “new normal”

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5 thoughts on “Rejected parents: In trying times, “check in”

  1. tommy c.t.

    my oldest son told me to leave him alone and left me living in a car blind in one eye deaf in one ear. wouldnt allow me in his home. i live with 2 dogs and we are gonna survive

  2. Lapin

    It has been two years since my daughter – and granddaughter – closed me and the rest of our family out of their lives. It’s still too painful to speak morre thn a little bit about it at a time. I have no real hope for reconsiliation, but my granddaughtr has a child, my first great-granddaughter, who I am also forbidden to see. She is two years old now. She was 8 months old when we became estranged. I feel I have little control over the choices my daughter and granddaughter make, but I am determined that my great granddaughter will know (when she is older) that she has had a family that loved her from her birth, even though she didn’t know us. I buy and make cards for her, and write her little love notes. I include photos of me, of her great grandfather, her great aunts and uncles, cousin/uncles, our dogs and other things that might help her put the peices of the rest of her family together. This brings me some solice.

  3. "Joe"

    it will soon be two years since I’ve heard from my daughter. Her mother and I divorced when she was 14. She came to live with me because she did not get along with her mother. I tried, in vain, to get them to interact. After living with me for 6 years and going through all the trials and tribulations of High School, boyfriends etc. She left me too. My ex had a hard time conceiving, (endometriosis) so we went to fertility specialists and suffered a few miscarriages until we had my daughter. It was the greatest moment of my life. We were very close. I taught her to read, we went for breakfast every Sunday morning at the local diner. I encouraged her in all that she was inquisitive about. I was not perfect, but even her friends said to her they were jealous of the relationship we had since we were so close and shared many things (her words). As she hot older, 17,18 things changed. I honestly can’t point to a catastrophic moment or event where I hurt her or caused her to leave. There were fights, but normal ones like dishes etc. When she left I was still in contact with her. I asked her to meet me to discuss things. She did and she promised though she left she would stay in touch. She didn’t. When I called her work she refused to get on the phone. When her brother went for scoliosis surgery and graduated HS she was a no show. She doesn’t even stay in contact with my mother who is now 85 and took care of her when she was little whole i worked. They had a quite close relationship as well. I could list all the things I did for her, with her but what would be the point. I do have to say (and I guess this won’t sound pretty) after two years I am angry, frustrated. Actually I’m furious. I loved her with all my heart and did my best to be mother and father. But being shut out without even being given a reason or a chance to make amends to unknown hurts has not left me so sad as much as angry. I find myself wishing her a bumpy ride through life, praying to God someone cuts her off the way she has me. She has turned my heart, which was full of wonder and love for her to something dark, and unrecognizable. Cutting off a parent who did everything they could to provide for your mental and physical well being (i guess you’ll have to my word for that) is cruel. This is not my daughter, or maybe it is/was and I never saw it. This is someone new, like an alien has taken her over and stolen her empathy and soul. Each day is a day lost, wasted. Each day is a day her grandmother and we all are closer to death. (Especially during these times) I’m furious at the lack of though and empathy she shows her whole family now. Her brother is 19, she is 22 and hasn’t spoken to him either. The anger and frustration sits on my lap like a loyal dog. I can’t seem to let it go and I don’t think i want to.

  4. Beachy

    My husband and I have been estranged from my son for just over 2 years. He made comments to me such as I was a terrible mother because my husband sexually abused him, he did not get fed on a regular basis and was not provided adequate housing. All of those statements are false, but they still drive a stake through my heart and my husband is filled with anger. My granddaughter recently has her 16th birthday party and he came with his wife, just to diffuse an possible issues we left.

    About six months ago my daughter told me that my son had blown out his knees and he’d have to be in a wheelchair for awhile. I send him a get well card and was surprised he responded to me by sending me a get well card (I was recovering from Latent TB). The small window of communication has closed.

    I was thinking that after two years it would get better and in many ways it has got worse. Trying to stay positive.

  5. Verylost

    I hear so many of my same feelings in your stories. My youngest daughter disappeared in the middle of the night with a note that said she wanted to live her life and thanks for everything but she didn’t want me in her life anymore. It has only been a month but it has been a very very hard month. The same day this happened, my oldest daughter, who rarely contacts me, emailed and said she had decided to become a man and knew I would be upset but it was her choice and she had already started the sex change process. I was completely blindsided by both daughters on the same day and neither are in contact with the other because they don’t talk to each other. I have been overwhelmed with emotions and struggling ever since. I know my younger daughter will not reach out to me, she is with an abusive man who controls her every move, she has ran off with him before but left and we helped her get divorced, get back on her feet, get a job and start over. She has left with him again and he won’t allow her to leave him again, and I am devastated. I know that many won’t understand this but I feel like my youngest daughter has torn out my heart and perhaps the pain will get better but I can’t help but wonder where I went wrong, what I did that could have led to this. I do have my son that is still in contact but he is cut off from both of his sisters as well. It breaks my heart and I am angry as well. Thanks for allowing me to speak. I am alone and trying to stay positive and busy, but the hurt comes in waves followed by anger. I definitely am not to the acceptance stage of grief.


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