Rejected parents: Your happiness can be independent of estrangement

Rejected parents: Your happiness can be independent of estrangement

By Sheri McGregor, M.A.

Rejected parents: You can be happy again

In the spirit of Independence Day, step away from the bondage of always thinking about the adult son who betrayed you or the adult daughter who walked away. Instead, think of this Fourth of July as a turning point. Then, support yourself in moving forward.

First off, if you don’t yet have my book, Done With The Crying, get it, read it, and do the exercises. People say it saved their sanity, helped them—finally—to move beyond the pain and sorrow, and to move forward in their own lives.

rejected parents

Rejected parents: Gain independence from the pain of estrangement

Here are six more tips for gaining your independence from the pain of estrangement, which may be the biggest shock of your life:

  • Get started. For some, just getting started in taking care of themselves can be difficult. This primer, Five Ways to Move On After an Adult Child’s Rejection , isn’t so much about moving on as it is about dealing with the thoughts and feelings that can keep you from moving at all.
  • Come to conclusions. Maybe you’re plagued by the Why? It’s a common stumbling block because, so often, parents aren’t told why. There’s simply a cutting-off, with no clear-cut answer. Here’s an article, written as I entered the fourth year of estrangement, that might help you come to a few conclusions. Settling on an answer, even if it’s incomplete, can help you gain independence from the question that can run on an endless loop.
  • Handle uncertainty. Another thing that keeps rejected parents from moving forward for themselves is that, as life moves on and events happen, they worry a son or daughter will have regrets or wait too long. But uncertainties are part of living, and adult children need to learn their own lessons. Learn to deal with uncertainty.
  • Get it out in the open— Our society has been conditioned to believe that adult children would not reject good parents. That’s one reason so many decent and loving, yet rejected parents feel shame and guilt that doesn’t reconcile with who they are or all they’ve stood for. It’s also why they might not talk about estrangement. Should you tell people? Taking small steps in that direction can break you free.
  • Get clear on hope. In estrangement circles, rejected parents often talk about hope, but that can be a two-edged sword. Are you hoping for something you can’t control? Are you bothered by lack of hope that you will ever reconcile? In Estrangement: What About Hope? you can start to clarify how hope can hurt or help.
  • Learn to cope. In the wake of estrangement, rejected parents are tasked with the question of how to cope. After estrangement, learn to cope. It starts with a decision.

Rejected parents: Gain independence

The articles linked within the blurbs above offer just a few of the ways rejected parents can gain independence from pain and suffering—and move toward a better future even after estrangement. If you’re a rejected parent, don’t get stuck telling yourself you can’t move forward until the estrangement ends. Instead, work at making your life great now. That way, you’ll be better off if or when reconciliation takes place later. Your happiness and fulfillment really can be independent of the estrangement. Get started by reading the articles linked above. Read or reread Done With The Crying and be sure to do the exercises. They really help.

For more articles, you can always click on the Latest Posts, or use the drop-down menus under “Answers to Common Questions” or “What Parents Can Do.” There’s also a search box that can help you locate information on specific topics.

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6 thoughts on “Rejected parents: Your happiness can be independent of estrangement

  1. Avatarmovinon

    Thank you so much for these much needed words. I have recently come to realize that much of my pain comes from the fact “I” believe my daughters lack of connection to me is because I have done something. “I” have accepted and taken on that belief because of the culture I have lived in and I have had an internal struggle knowing that while I most certainly have done things, they are only the normal things we do as human beings. I have realized there is no secret transgression I have inadvertantly committed that if I just apologize for will fix things either. My daughter has the right to her feelings and opinions, and I have the right to mine.

    I no longer need to carry that belief and I have felt much better. I still have much pain knowing I have lost my daughter, but it is a bitter sweet pain filled with love rather than a crushing weight of hopeless wondering and fear of my wrongness.


    Now that I realize

  2. AvatarWillow2

    Thank you for the post. It boggles my mind how many of us are on this site trying to make sense of something that by every law of nature does not make sense. My son hasn’t spoken to me in 11 months. There seems to be a common thread to many of these stories. The parent did what they could for their son or daughter growing up, the mistakes that may have been made in the upbringing would seem the normal imperfections of being human, the son or daughter seems to of changed personalities and many times this happened after they took a husband or wife who has very negative influences over them. This is my story…. we had a close relationship although I was a single mom and my son exhibited troubled behavior from a young age. I spent much time trying to juggle work and giving him attention and trying to make him feel loved and safe. He seesawed back and forth, sometimes being very caring and loving even in the early parts of his marriage. His wife also showed some signs of decency but with her there was always an underlying current that made me feel nervous and stressed out when I was around her. A couple of very troubling situations have occurred by her hands. My beautiful grandson has been kept from me. He and I were very tight. I was told I am not allowed to see him after a crazy orchestrated episode happened that left me asking, what just happened??? It occurred on a peaceful Saturday. I was called by my son who was upset about something my actively drinking sister told him. It was so ridiculous that I didn’t even know how to respond. My daughter in law jumped in and started making bold statements about me not being allowed to see her child, which in my eyes has always been her intention. When I tried to take apart the accusations and ask them to explain them, they had nothing to say. Friends who are close are shocked. It just doesn’t make any sense! My friend recently confessed to me that she reached out to my son, who she has known for years. She said she just wanted to help me. Well, he shut her down. My hopes were after all this time there would be a softening of heart. Not happening. Apparently he said several nasty things about me that I asked her not to repeat to me. He also gave her some psychological diagnosis that he claims I have, again, more craziness, doesn’t exist. It made my heart heavy to see after all this time away from me, he has not lost his steam and determination to not be in my life. I can’t imagine ever feeling 100% and I worry about my son and grandson, often. I want to shake him and say wake up and stop this craziness! But instead, I take it one day at a time. Thanks for letting me share. My thoughts and prayers go out to all those suffering on this site and for all those suffering in silence. 4th of July was not fun for me but I took it easy and it’s over.

    1. AvatarFiatLux

      Willow2– I am so sorry for what you are going through and can totally relate to so much of it. I wish Sheri could set up a way for local groups to meet as I would love to spend time with fellow travelers. All the best to you.

  3. AvatarCali

    Well, I’ll post here since I can’t figure out how to introduce myself at the other spot.
    I came here a few months ago after getting the book. My son and I were estranged, then things got a little better, now estranged again.
    I saw a therapist for a few months, which helped a lot.
    My son is a bitter and resentful young man because of negative things in his life. I do so much better when we don’t talk, but I just cannot get past the fact that this just isn’t the way it’s supposed to be. I so want what I see others have. I want that little boy that loved me well. I want us to have a sweet relationship.
    I have been doing fine, but the sadness hits me at night sometimes when I’m not ready to overcome it. Ugh. Thanks for listening.

    1. AvatarSasha

      Near the end of April, my son was told to leave our house, by my husband. He is almost 38 years old, and has some real bad narcissistic traits. Everything is about him and always has been. I have been blamed for everything that has or hasn’t happened in his life. I have not spoken to him since April, and am much happier not having to walk around on eggshells anymore. The ball is in his court, and I have been through the same thing as you. He was my little boy, the one who snuggled with me, gave me hugs, etc. I have always loved my kids and grandchildren and there wasn’t and isn’t anything in my power that I wouldn’t do for them if I could. But when it’s expected, that’s where I draw the line. When his kids were little, we were already retired. He thought because we had “ nothing to do” as both he and his wife said, that we should cater to them by babysitting and being a taxi service whenever they needed. Entitled much??? Her family wasn’t interested in little kids, so they didn’t bother.
      I am happier now, but won’t trust him much again. At 70, I want to enjoy every second I have.

  4. Avatarcandleinthewind

    My daughter told my sisters that she has put me in a box. She continues not to communicate at all, ignoring my birthday, Christmas and all of it. Now this could be a jewellery box, or a box of Christmas decorations or memories that you put under the bed, or, more morbidly, a coffin. No matter. I recently heard a song called ‘Cornerstone’ by Benjamin Clementine (can’t work out how to do a YouTube link here, but it’s there) and it sums up how that feels. If we are to move on, become independent of the pain, then music is one way of shifting us forward and helping, as it were, to remove the gallstones of pain that estrangement creates.
    Clementine’s album ‘At Least for Now’, I would thoroughly recommend. Pain has universal elements, and in that way we are not alone.


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