Should I send this to my estranged adult child?

help for parents of estranged adult childrenDear readers,

In the last two weeks, three separate parents of estranged adult children have asked me a version of the same question:

  • Should I send your newsletter/book/website link/article to my estranged adult son/estranged adult daughter?

To save time, and for the benefit of anyone else who may be wondering, I’ll answer them all here: No.

Parents who want to forward my materials to an estranged adult child say they believe that reading my books or other writings will stir an epiphany. They believe that upon reading my work, their adult child will come to understand how much their actions have hurt them. Or they hope their estranged son or daughter will recognize themselves in one of the scenarios, come to their senses, and change.

Instead, what often happens is something like the following letter:

Dear Sheri McGregor:

I am writing to you about my mother, Mrs. SUZIE-Q XYZ, who subscribes to your newsletter. She forwarded me a copy of your latest issue and says she is also reading your books and website. I am writing to inform you that my mother is mentally ill.  

As a family, we had begun therapy sessions where she had finally started to see things from our perspective. However, my mother has recently refused further counseling and has stopped taking our calls or texts. The last time we talked, she called us narcissists for insisting she get help if she is ever to see our children. It is my mother who is the narcissist. You should be aware that she is unstable and potentially dangerous.


Estranged adult son XYZ

In the years since I began this work to help other parents, I have received cryptic, weird, mean, and even threatening emails from estranged adult children who are angered by what I write—and that their parent is reading it.

While I do, very occasionally, hear from an adult child with a sincere question or comment, the majority have used vicious language. They lump me in with the parents they say are crazy, toxic, narcissistic, mentally ill, abusive blankety-blank-blanks. Or, they are more quietly assertive like in the letter above, yet, at least to me, equally transparent in their unkindness.

As discussed in Beyond Done, it’s my belief that no estranged adult child wants to hear from someone (counselor, coach, expert, author . . . ) that their parent has been seeking help about or talking about them. From my experience, if you forward my books or other writings, they’re likely to see the act as an invasion of privacy or you as a gossip, attempting to lecture or control them. And then they lash out at me or inform me you’re unwell.

My hope is that, instead of reading my material thinking that it can change your child, you will use it as intended. For you. For your healing, your growth, your forward momentum and happiness.

Hugs to all. Take kind care of yourselves.

Sheri McGregor

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57 thoughts on “Should I send this to my estranged adult child?

  1. Grace

    I am wondering what I should do with the scrapbooks I made of my ES from birth to high school graduation? Should I mail them to him or keep them for myself? I know there won’t be a reconciliation, probably better for us anyway, the disrespect and silence makes me want to get rid of them out of my house.

    1. Mabel

      Hello thanks. The same thing happens to me with photos. I don’t want to look at them. I don’t know whether to remove them. But if I take them out, I’ll keep them. After much thought I decided not to take them out because they show the little boy who was my son. For whom I fought and gave everything. The one that is in my son’s body today is not the same. I do not recognize. The one in the photos was my baby, my boy. I want to remember it like this. always united. I feel like my son is gone. It’s not there anymore. I keep the photos of who it was.

    2. Cristina

      I have been estranged from my daughter almost one year. She actually started trash talking me on social media, then ghosted me, and I still have no idea what I did wrong. She is convinced I am a narcissist, as many daughters have been reinforced by therapists whom have never met their Mothers. At Easter this year, I sent her a card with some photos of her Grandparents and her growing up. She called me and threatened to “turn me over to the authorities for harassment.” I really believe she has a mental illness. She still contacts her Dad on Father’s Day or his birthday, but I am dead to her. He Dad was an alcoholic while she was growing up, and I did the best I could to handle the situation, but obviously it wasn’t good enough, and it’s easier to place the blame on me than to take responsibility for her actions. She’s 33, educated with a Master’s degree, very pretty, but hasn’t maintained a long term relationship. I have decided my life is better without her constant trauma, especially after threatening me for sending a card.

      1. Carol

        What a journey both as a married couple & an estranged daughter who lives 6 hours away.. No contact for almost 16 months with many sleepless nights as the Mom. Now I just want to know “where do we go from here “? I’m on my own journey to heal from early stage breast cancer & truly need to take care of me! She’s not responded to this medical information so my “friend family “ has been there for me . I wish things would change but I’m not counting on her.

        1. rparents Post author

          Carol, you said it best that you really must take care of yourself now. Focus on your wellness. Let her sort herself out just now and give your compassion and care to you.

          Be well dear Carol. Laugh as much as you can. Get your friend family to keep you laughing.

          Sheri McGregor

  2. Bully

    It’s horrific what we all are going through…… I was raised to respect my elders and that is what is lost today!Respect!!! We don’t have to like things others do but we should respect them and try to get along in peace ….. that’s how I was raised!!!!! No one is perfect!! Remember everyone “Karma’s a bit…….” These kids will figure it out unfortunately it may be too late

    1. Kate

      Bully, I completely agree. We, at least, deserve some respect. This estrangement with my daughter has been going on for about 23 years. And it’s taken me so many of those years to finally give up on us ever having a mom/daughter relationship again. For so very long, I kept hoping. But sometimes we have to finally realize that that’s just who they are—they DO NOT care about us. I ‘ve been trying to keep myself busy–it helps.

  3. Judi C.

    I have a question regarding my alienated children. When they were young my ex-husband and new wife worked to alienate my children from me. It worked. It has been 20 years and I no longer try or hope that I will ever see them.
    I am elderly now and want to write them a letter before I die. Although I have written many over the years, I have never told them what their father did (brainwashing). I want to let them know.
    How can I get help in composing this letter. ?Can you give me some thoughts?

    1. Kate

      Judi C.,
      This may not be any help to you at all but I thought I’d tell you what I did about a rotten nasty lie that was told about me 20+ years ago. The difference is, it was my own ED who told it to everyone. She’d told other lies but this one was the worst! I only found out about it a few years ago. So, about one & a half years ago I just sat down & wrote to her, letting her know that I knew what she’d said about me. I wasn’t hateful—I just told the truth & asked her why she would do it. Of course, she sent back a hate-filled note telling me to stop contacting her & I have stopped–I have nothing left to say to someone like that. But for me, it just made me feel better to get it out & it might just make you feel better to finally explain to your children your side of the story. At this point, what have we got to lose? Please take care.

  4. Tommi

    My situation is a bit, well, two sided. I have all three kids (ES and 2 E step daughters. My son’s wife is the toxic one and my step girls will listen and agree with everything she says. She is the best gaslighter I have ever known…. But she also has my only grandchild. I am not supposed to know where they live (ex’s 2nd house), not supposed to know when my grandchild was born (4-3-21), and not supposed to know the gender of name ( girl, Eloise). Amazing how little they think I know the internet… It’s two sided, though, because my father remarried after my mom’s death, and basically cut ties with us older kids as he started a new life. We would reach out to be ignored or shoved away. But I recently seconds with him, accepting who he is and how he is now. And glad I did as about 3 months later he was diagnosed with cancer and I feel better knowing I reached out prior to that being a reason. My real reason… I just felt it was hypocritical for me to judge my dad when I wished my kids would not pass judgement on me. So I forgive, both sides of the equation, without hesitation. It’s the only way I can continue without remorse. But why all this under this heading? I want to mail my granddaughter something my mom left me. A special stuffed Llama (while nother story there). But feel it would be thrown away… Even tho my kids know the significance of this Llama. She turns 1 in April. And I count down the years until I can legally send her a care package with my journals to her and her charm bracelet with charms and a note for every event I have missed. I just really wanted her to grow up with the Llama…..

  5. Lilo

    I never thought I would be writing what I am about to write today. After months of working on me, I have come to realize that My husband and I were good parents. We did the best we could raising our 3 boys. Did we make mistakes? Of course we did, but all in all we were good parents. When our ES met his now wife, we were happy for them and things seemed good for a while. However, in my soul, I knew something was off. My husband even said, in our private conversations, that he was concerned that they weren’t really a good match. As of now, our son does not call or communicate with us. The feelings we had were correct. Our son was very close to us and his brothers and it took our DIL quite a while to drive the wedge all the way. Nonetheless, our son is an adult and can make his own decisions, it is sad that he has chosen to cut us out. After a time of crying, fretting, wondering how we could fix things, I realized that the only thing I could do was LET GO! I am not saying it was easy, but it was necessary. I am learning to love and respect myself and set boundaries. I used to try and call, text and have some sort of connection. I stopped all of it. For the first time ever, I feel at peace. I never thought I would get to this point, but I have and it feels amazing to enjoy life with my husband, our other 2 sons and our friends. I now realize what a strain that situation was putting on my marriage and my life. We are always open to having our Son and DIL in our lives again, but it will be on our terms and we will never let anyone make us feel less than ever again.

  6. Missy

    I agree Sherri that sharing any works or books with our estranged children is not an option. I was told by my very abusive older child to seek therapy. I said I had been in therapy for over a year and a half. Participating in numerous workshops both as a participant and a presenter. Also blogs like this and read numerous articles from this as a parent perspective and as an estranged child. Daughter number 2 after also discarding me , accused me of making up all therapy. Gave her the name of my therapist who had to retire due to a medical condition after a year and a half with her.
    My younger also was recently diagnosed with Adult add. Has raged over money, in a very stressful college program. I was accused of not being there for her when I divorced my ex with another slew of issues and emotionally abusive. I tried to get her in counseling repeatedly at 13. She has blamed me for her eating disorder, cutting, and abusive relationships.
    I have finally forgiven myself and realize I was not the impetus of the events. I have learned I did not cause it, can’t cure it, and can’t control it. My therapist had me memorize this and realize Al anon also uses it. It has been a year of tough love and a heavy dose of prayers. And while 10 years ago, I would never have imagined my then perfect life would end up here, it was not sustainable and it was a lie.
    My life has pivoted to great adventures, safe people, and knowing that I can trust my instincts once again. I still cry over the loss but I can’t hold on to the past and a what if or when. Be strong!

    1. Cynthia

      Hi Sheri and everyone,

      I never gave up. Hope wouldn’t let me. All my funny, loving, sharing emails finally paid off. My daughter, who is in her thirties, has written such beautiful thoughts to me. Telling me how magical I made her
      Christmases and sending me a bouquet of flowers. I kid you not. My cup runneth over! My love for her was and is bigger than her disregard for me. I can only liken it to chipping away at an immovable rock. At some point it gives way. I received a key chain heart with Robert Munich’s , “I Will love you forever, like you for always…” ( I used to read it to her ) on my birthday – was indescribable how I felt.
      A sincere thank you to this platform and all those who have travelled this road and continuing to do so…

  7. Red

    Over the years I have made so many efforts in reaching out to my ES, never get a response in anyway shape or form. Each and ever time it sends me on a noise dive into despair, upset for days, crying and emotionally unstable. I have finally come to realize what this is doing to me and my other loved ones around me. I am happy to say it will soon be a years since I have emailed or sent a card. Thru this website I have gained so much strength and began life again. I know so many estranged parents are trying to bring a end to this nightmare. But remember the EC is the one who wants this not you and they are the one that is going to have to end it. Go live.

  8. Anne M.

    Hello Everyone,
    I have a upcoming issue to deal with and i would appreciate your thoughts. My youngest daughter has just got engaged…i was informed by text. I send a a nice text and got Thank YOU as a reply and then nothing. As in i have not met her fiance and there has been no discussion about ever meeting him. My sister and her family met him for Christmas and he is apparently lovely. My question is this…..what do i do now. I am fine with not seeing my daughter. We have been estranged for 12 years and i have thankfully embraced my new life…it took a while !!!! Do i go the wedding if by a miracle i am invited????? How do i react if the rest of the family have a relationship with the happy couple and i don’t. I really am happy for them but personally i am over the hostile silence. Comments please and thank you in advance

    1. Michael F.

      Well, if it helps . . . I wasn’t even informed of my (adopted step) daughter’s marriage. I found out from the change-of-name form on some investment accounts. Yes, I sent congratulations; yes, I asked for a wedding photo. Now I suspect the couple is expecting a baby–but she won’t confirm that. OK, so I’m being ‘punished’ for divorce. Parental alienation, no contact, no response to my 2+ years of pleading. All for leaving a marriage that wasn’t working–and wasn’t going to work. I get it. I can accept that punishment and the guilt–or choose not to accept it. After all this time, I can accept the mistakes I made in the marriage–but I won’t take full responsibility for all that went wrong, because I wasn’t responsible for my ex’s behaviors. And I’m not responsible for my daughter’s decisions and continued estrangement. That’s her choice. So send a congratulations card if you like, and wish the couple all the best. Then just leave it at that. You might get a response, you might not. You might get a response 10 years from now. But you say you have a new life, and that must have been quite a struggle to build that new life. Good for you! I’m trying to get there myself, and getting dragged down by the unchangeable past sure won’t help me. I send out my holiday greetings and best wishes–and leave it at that. I’ll send out a note for the (presumed) birth of my first (and perhaps only) grandchild. And I’ll pick a birthday myself if I have to. Meanwhile, I’ll get on with my life.

    2. Vicki

      You are really in a situation. I think I would go to the wedding if invited, but I would not get my hopes up and would keep a wall around my heart. This answer is coming from a mom who wasn’t invited to her son’s wedding. I would try to be glad if they wanted relationships with other members of the family says the mom whose son stays in contact with my sister. I pray that the right situation comes up and that you have the wisdom to know what to do.

    3. Su

      I have a somewhat similar situation in that the Estranged DIL has apparently decided to get closer to my sister and my neice. Although I am glad the DIL has not cut off all communication with everyone in the family, still it hurts when my sister talks about some visit or other that she had with my son, DiL and MY grandsons. I just really try to bite my lip and not be awash in feelings of rejection, anger and jealousy.

      If you are invited to the wedding..go as a gesture to your daughter. On that she may remember later in her life. If you do not get invited let it go.

  9. Jonathan

    This is going to sound so coarse after reading all the lovely sensitive and thoughtful comments above.
    In the context of Sheri asking what I am going to do to deal more kindly with the rest of my remaining life, (and 17 years after being estranged from my adult daughter), I have addressed one matter. I have cut her out of my Will -not that I have a lot to leave btw!. It’s a relief to have written this. Changing my Will means I can live the rest of my life with my friends and remaining children and grandchildren knowing she won’t get a penny inheritance. It also means that after all this time, I have given up all hope of seeing her again and my grandchildren for the first time. In place of all the upset, regret and rebuttal that the last 17 years has borne, I am closing that chapter forever. I pity her. The anger that the terrible pain this estrangement and disinheritance has caused will I hope subside eventually.

    1. Kate

      Jonathan, after being totally estranged for 11 years from my daughter (for the second time in the last 23 years) I completely agree with what you’ve done regarding your will. Several years ago, I did the same thing & I don’t regret it at all. I also have given up on ever seeing her or my grandchild again. It took me a very long time to realize just how much she hates me & she’s done her very best to make sure my grandchild & others hate me as much as she does—so many lies she’s said about me! In the past, she was a very good actress only pretending she cared about me when she needed my help with something. Otherwise, she wanted absolutely nothing to do with me. It’s been hard but it was her choice & I’ll never contact her again (her final order to me). I have finally learned to stop trying!

    2. Anne M.

      I did the disinheritance five years ago and my hand was shaking when i signed the documents. I would advise to make it watertight….put you assets into a family trust….technically then you own nothing. The relief i felt when documents were signed was blissful. I am sorry that you have come to this but you need to look after youself.

    3. Michael F.

      Yeah, Jonathan–did the same about 3 years post-divorce. Had to re-write the Will (and change beneficiaries on the not -insubstantial investment accounts) to leave out my only (adopted step) daughter. But there’s been no contact from her, save for a couple of ugly and angry emails that I’ll likely never re-read. I was neither informed of nor invited to the wedding. I was not informed of a presumed pregnancy–and I think the due date is fast approaching. That’s life–you can’t control another person. I won’t try to do that. I’ll continue to send out my holiday and birthday wishes. And I’ll continue to wait, hoping for a better outcome, realizing it probably won’t happen– but not dwelling on it. Congratulations on closing that chapter of your life. It’s not easy. Best wishes.

    4. M.P.

      Everyone has to do what’s best for them. You need to heal and move forward. As for me, I will not leave my ED out of my will, she might get less, but not left out. I want her to know that my love never waned, it was always there, no matter what.

    5. Jim A.

      It does not sound coarse to me, amigo. We have a right to be angry, but not hateful to the ingrate mean spirited offspring who reject us for their BS reasons in spite of the pure love we gave them. Cutting the malcontent daughter out of your will sounds like justice. Leave your estate it to the ones who have shown you love. It hurts like hell to realize our narcissistic kids don’t love us, but they don’t. For some reason they don’t have empathy, and they never will. Yes, estrangement is terribly painful, and the daughter causes it, not you.

      Get cold blooded “Anger more useful than despair” The Terminator
      Heal quickly.

  10. Kaye

    Thank you for this site. I quite literally go crazy with grief and try to shake it. Mornings are always when it greets me. Such pain.

    1. J. Dale

      It does not sound coarse to me at all. I did exactly the same thing as you. Tried very hard to understand why she would do this when we were as close as sisters. I can’t in all good conscience reward her for ripping out a chunk of my heart which will never heal.

  11. Ash

    I/we have been estranged from our only ED for 7 years on and off. Currently, sadly estrangement seems to be permanent. Two little grandchildren that we have only known for a couple of months of their lives. I have read time and time again ‘done with crying’, which has been an invaluable support and comfort whenever I am feeling especially low (such as Christmas, birthdays, Mother’s Day etc.).

    Sadly, made harder as ED still has contact with other family members – one of which is my very elderly mother, whom I am sole carer for. This is very hard as I have to make myself scarce as if I remain in ED presence she talks over me pretending that I am not there. As I/we are now more or less reconciled to the fact that ED will probably never want to have us back in her life again sadly I long for the day that I/we are able to move away and restart our lives without a more or less constant reminder ED about her decision to cut us off and flaunting her relationships with other family members.

    Sheri thank you for your book in the darkest hours it is of great comfort and for me especially it has been a great help to try and see that I/we matter too and are entitled to enjoy as much as we can the rest of our lives.

    1. rparents Post author

      Dear Ash,

      You’re welcome. I am really sorry you are in such a weird situation with the self-important person talking over you. It’s just rude and insensitive and ivervearing.

      The new book has more information and examples for these situations where there is still odd or uneasy or forced contact. It’s one of the reasons I wrote the second book. I hope it can help you deal with the hurt, awkwardness, and stress. And yes, you count!

      Sometimes, a move is very good for a person. For now, imagining it can be an escape from the emotional pain.

      Your mom is very fortunate to have you in her life. I know you wouldn’t deny her the visits with the ED, but I hope that you set boundaries that require some respect for your time, schedule, energy…. From your post, I imagine her just sweeping into your home whenever she pleases and causing you distress. That may not be the situation at all.

      Hugs to you!

      Sheri McGregor

  12. clary

    If I ever see my child again I want it to take me by surprise. UpEnd what Ive been doing, my preserves and walks and native plantings and books. The same person I’ve always been. I want to throw out my arm and say “What do you want?”

    And if the answer is still “Nothing. Just checking in.”

    And if they never come?

    It’s All OK

  13. Rise

    Hi Sheri….
    Thank you so much for sharing this with us………
    I, as many of us, always wish for a peaceful reunion and would do so much to make it happen, just to have a time when a light will go on and they realize the error of their ways……..
    However, as many of us do, I come to realize that it is so unlikely to happen. As with many other estranged adult children, my daughter is so set in her negative thinking of me that nothing anyone says or sends to her will change that, as a matter of fact, in my case it just makes it worse as she will just go on a long rant of name calling and profanity and other awful words. It’s almost as if she enjoys the fact that I am hurting, so sad. Perhaps it’s better to let her go and as others have said take the control and power of my life journey back and continue on………I have one adult son who loves me and I will focus on him.
    Sheri…….i cannot thank you enough for this website, your writings and all you do to provide us with understanding and help……….I often come back to read a story or two or just to read others’ stories……so many are more heart breaking than my own………thank you for all of you members for sharing…….

  14. ME

    Hi Cheryl and others,
    When I miss my ED (my only child, a physician, estranged for 9 years with a once a year phone call maybe), I remind myself that I am missing what we had years ago, and what I wish we had today. I do not miss what I experience in the once a year contact we may have. We paid for medical education, and were not invited to graduation; we paid for a wedding, and were never spoken to by ED during the ceremony and the reception.
    Pain does not have to mean suffering (not my original idea), and I have been finding more and more ways to be regain power in my own life. I cry less often, and when I do, it does not last as long. I have moments of true joy, and I am able more frequently to think about the estrangement as a fact, and not as a tragedy.
    I know with confidence that I am worthy of love and respect, with or without my ED’s stamp of approval.
    You matter,

    1. Michael F.

      Pain does not have to mean suffering.

      I am able more frequently to think about the estrangement as a fact, and not as a tragedy. I know with confidence that I am worthy of love and respect, with or without my ED’s stamp of approval.

      You matter.

      Thanks so much for saying that. It helped me today. I need to remind myself of these things.

    2. Jim A.

      Inspiring ” I am able to think more frequently about the estrangement as a fact not a tragedy.’ GREAT WORDS to remember and I will.

      Regain that power
      Dry those tears
      More moments of true joy
      Keep on keeping on — you are strong

  15. Lisa R.

    Dear Cheryl, Sheri, and Other Parents,

    I can completely understand your response to these postings, Cheryl. Until I found Sheri’s book and this online community I felt alone in my pain over my ED. When I am feeling particularly down I read (and re-read) the posts here and in sections of Sheri’s first book, which I am working through now. (The 2nd book will be arriving soon.) While the pain remains severe I am finding that I am incrementally getting stronger and more in control of my feelings and of the circumstances.

    Sheri, please know that your guidance and information here have been a godsend to me. When I was having a particularly challenging day last week I listened to your radio interview which I found to be enlightening, compelling, and comforting. Thank you so much for all that you do.

    Cheryl and All, I wish you peace and some sense of knowing that you are not alone here. The world seems to have gone mad in this regard and we are left to find a way to move past the shock and heartbreak of estrangement. (This seems to go against nature, in my opinion.) My most sincere hope is that we can all move toward peace in our own lives as we learn from those who have learned how to live joyfully again. The inspiration, support, and love from all of you here are invaluable to me. Thank you.

    I was a music teacher for my entire life and I hope that you all can still find a song in your heart.

    Lisa R.

    1. Cheryl

      Dear Lisa R.,

      I am having a particularly hard day today. I needed to hear your thoughts and and to remember that I am not alone. Sheri, your books are a Godsend to me as well, especially as I am struggling through the fact that my only grandchild, a grandson, does not even know I exist and probably never will know the live I have for him. I am also being selfish in feeling sad, and angry, for missing out on his first 28 months of life, because his mother, my ED has estranged herself from me. The pain is agonizing today. I am struggling with it and moving beyond it, today, and praying that tomorrow will be better. Thank you all for being so honest and open.

    2. Lisa R.

      Hello, Cheryl,

      I am so sorry that you are having a particularly difficult day, but I am comforted in the knowledge that my message to you afforded you some support. You are not being selfish in your feelings as they are completely understandable considering the circumstances. Let us all just continue to be strong and to find our own ways of moving through and then past the grief. As Sheri rightly notes, we need to be kind to ourselves.

      Sending you a hug,
      Lisa R.

    3. Jenny

      Hello All,

      Thank you, thank you for providing your stories, emotions, books, etc. It’s been almost nine months since I’ve seen my daughter, her fiance and my grandpup. I found out that they got married this last Friday and it’s killing me to no end. I have bought both books and hoping to find peace and happiness someday. I’m angry that my ex and his wife were there to share that moment. He moved away when the girls were little and I did all the parenting and now that they are adults, he comes back in and gets all the good times and I get the estrangement and nasty language. I’m so lost and hurt.

  16. rattlesnake

    I absolutely do understand that there is nothing we can do to change the mind of our EC and that forwarding readings, etc. will likely add fuel to the fire if anything.

    People sometimes ask me, do you want me to talk to ES for you? I do say, no as I’m sure it would make it worse and he’d be angry that I mentioned anything. I can’t get over the irony of his wife putting about everything about their personal lives on Facebook (but only more cryptic things about me personally, at least that I know of). If the topic comes up with friends, counselors, websites like this, I will talk about it because I find it therapeutic. I still know he would judge me for having any outlets at all.

    I also think that he was set up to feel entitled (forever) to me keeping his secrets because he has had issues (such as extremely bad money management and disorganization) even before he married DILFH, but through all that time, I shielded, damage-controlled, defended, and enabled him a great deal.

    Not to get too far off topic, even though I admit to being an enabler, I do NOT take any blame for my son’s actions. I don’t think he would have been any more responsible, etc., whether or not I enabled him. I have learned my lesson though; whether or not it helped him, I know it hurt me so I’m never doing it again.

    1. Linda M.

      I absolutely agree that it’s pointless to forward reading materials to estranged offspring. The purpose and goal of these materials is to help US accept, find coping skills, and move forward to healing. Sending articles, etc., to estranged children only runs the risk of fueling their anger and it gives the narcissistic ones the satisfaction of relishing in your pain. I encourage the magnitude of parents going through estrangement to keep you focus on YOU and YOUR healing.

  17. Effie

    I am on my 6th year. I could not agree more. They do not want to hear anything at all. It seems to enrage them. I truly think it is the generation we live in. It talks even in the bible about this in Timothy- lovers of self, etc. Christmas was a bit hard but the pain does not consume me, although there are many triggers as I am in a small town and see the other grandparents around an about. Lots of triggers, I have learned to love others that want my love, but the pain will always be there just lighter on some days.

    Thanks for your work Sheri.


    1. Red

      Effie, it is also going on 6 years since my youngest son has contacted us in any way. He will send a Christmas present to us. But a phone call or email would mean so much more to me than a expensive gift. No signing of the gift except his initials, I am considering telling he and his wife, don’t feel the need to send us Christmas gifts, when a email or call would be very appreciated. I wonder if this would pull him farther away. My son was never like this, he was always loving and complimenting on the good parents we tried to be. I read not to long ago, there is always someone else advising a child to estrange from their parents. God bless and stay strong. Red

  18. Sherry r.

    I was dumped 11 years ago. Needless, to say i yet suffer

    if this soul is far, far happerier without having myself is all that truly matters!!

    1. rparents Post author

      Dear Sherry,

      You don’t know what you did to deserve this.

      It’s possible you don’t deserve this. Just because this has happened, it doesn’t mean it is your fault.

      And, you say you never shall learn to forgive yourself.

      For what?

      Sometimes, when people have been wronged, and the conflict goes unresolved, they suffer what’s called “innocent guilt.”

      I hope you will read my books, Sherry. And work on moving toward peace.

      It’s kind of you to forgive and believe that if this “soul” (your word) is happy with a new family that’s all that matters. Very generous…but you count as well. You matter.

      Hugs to you,
      Sheri McGregor

  19. SnoopyW59

    Oh My! This is interesting. I actually thought of doing that as well. I caught myself though and realized that I’d just be trying to prove to them that I had moved on and had the tools to move forward. It’s for me and not them. However, heaven forbid their own kids do it to them one day, I guess I also thought they’d have the tools and resources as well.

    I didn’t share the books or this site with them. It’s for me and what a valuable resource it has been and that I want to be selfish with.

    I tried talking to a counselor once, but came to realize that people who haven’t experienced estrangement just can’t relate. I also don’t want my ex to know I have this resource for support. He did everything over the years to alienate them from me and he doesn’t need to know either.

    I recently also purchased Beyond Done With the Crying and am finding it a wonderful resource as well.

    Thank you Sheri!

  20. emily38

    Sheri, I am so sorry for this reminder and advice given to Estranged Parents. Sometimes, it’s too easy to be unaware of the abusive blowback your work opens you to, far more than it seems.

    Desperate people do desperate things. And desperation is experienced in the early stages of Estrangement when parents want what they want. A relationship with a now-adult child who does not want one. All of your counseling, hard-won experience, exposure to an army of estranged parents, lessons learned and support offered is invaluable to those ready to hear. You know, when the student is ready, the teacher will appear…….and, sadly, we know some people never learn. Or show up.

    As Yellow Rose writes, the vortex of hoping we can change another person gets us no where. I called it being on an emotional treadmill. It’s dizzying and doesn’t move us an inch. It’s also disorienting and can lead to equally disorienting behaviors.

    Your reminders here are another wake-up call. Not only is forwarding the site’s material to an EC harmful to the parent, it is also harmful to you. None of it is healthy. Thank you for posting this and I am so sorry you had to do it.


    1. rparents Post author

      Thank you, Emily 38,

      I hope this didn’t come across as me complaining. It’s less about me than about the reality that sending something to an estranged one doing no good (typically), and advocating that parents take kind care of themselves. That requires a shift in our focus.

      Thank you again.

      Sheri McGregor

    2. Yellow Rose

      Sheri, most of us will understand this is about the reality that sending something to the EC typically does no good or brings bad blowback to the parents. For me personally, this resonates totally. But at my support group that has lots of EP, the focus is always on keep trying, do anything, send this article, grovel, beg, write the amends letter. I’ve been upset at this focus but a friend reminded me that in the early stage most EP will do anything to get the EC back or in contact. This topic is on my mind after I leave every meeting of this support group. So thank you, Sheri, for having the courage to say this out loud. EP need to hear it and at least consider this viewpoint.

      1. rparents Post author

        Hi Yellow Rose,

        Thank you. Yes, I know how often some who are “authorities” in parent-and-adult-child-estrangement say the ‘don’t give up’ and ‘keep trying mantras.’ And, of course, parents want to make it right because it’s just so awful when someone you have loved and given so much of your life to, and who you want to see reach happiness in their own life (and maybe be a small part of it and see your own grandchildren and get to love them) decides you’re toxic, crazy, stupid, or just not worthy of their time. Once the estranged parents realize all the eggshell walking, cajoling, and apologizing doesn’t work (usually), they come here and face reality. And then, sometimes, they are angry that they have been strung along and even paid a lot of money to have an “expert” tell them to continue to walk on eggshells. By then, they’ve learned the hard way that walking on eggshells has a fitting acronym: WOE. I write about it all in the new book (Beyond Done) too.

        HUGS to you and Happy New Year!
        Sheri McGregor

    3. Kerry Atkins

      Hi sherry,
      I’m almost embarrassed to ask this,was that email about sharing your info website…I’ve admitted too thinking just that but have not followed that chain of thought!
      If I’ve offended you and this wonderful organization,I personally apologize for ever letting it entire my thoughts!
      With utmost respect,

      1. rparents Post author

        Hi Kerry,

        I’m not offended in any way. My intention in answering this question is to let readers know that they are unlikely to cause an adult child’s changed mind by sharing this material. And … that my work here has always been for parents and about them taking charge of their lives. We can either make our lives about estranged offspring, trying, cajoling, attempting to convince, apologizing, walking on eggshells, letting them fill our thoughts …. Or, we can decide we count too, and NOT waste our precious few years that we have left on something that is beyond our control. Look at this year ahead. What can you do for your own sanity, happiness, wellbeing. joy, health? If the estranged child decides to come around, then you’ll be a stronger, wiser, more well-rounded person at that time. Quit tracing the same ruts in thinking and behavior. Most of us have sacrificed long years, tears, every material good, etc. Yet, there the child goes or went, or comes and goes, maybe with trauma and discord. Shelve it and take kind care of yourselves for a change. They are adults and will do what they do.

        Doesn’t mean you have to be mean or “hard” or bitter. It just means that you count. You deserve better. And you don’t have to be a martyr. You don’t have to allow abuse. You don’t have to give until you are squeezed dry.

        Sheri McGregor

  21. Yellow Rose

    I want to encourage estranged parents to stop trying to change their estranged child’s (EC) mind. Instead focus on our own healing and emotional wellness. The focus on the EC only brings sorrow or anger that we can’t fix someone else. We will be happier and able to move forward to finding peace of mind, contentment, joy in our own lives if we focus on what we can control — our thinking. The whirlpool of hoping we can fix or change another human being is that vortex of spinning and getting no where. Don’t send this article to the EC, read if for yourself. Read Done with the Crying and Beyond Done with the Crying. These books have helped me move forward in focusing on what I can fix or change or control — myself and my thinking. I’ve read too many online forums were EC think the parents are being manipulative and controlling, narcissistic and “toxic” to send gifts, text, or bust the EC boundary of no contact. In other words, our actions to try to change the EC mind are used against us as so called evidence of our deficiencies.

    1. Cheryl

      Soooo needed to hear this today! Just having a bad day of missing my ED. I feel like I’m falling backwards but if I do, i know I can come here for compassion and understanding. Thank you all for sharing.

    2. Caterina

      Thank you!! I read the other ‘expert’s’ book a few months ago. The one who recommends the amends letter. It went against every grain in my body to try and do such a thing. I know in the depths of my soul that this behavior from my ED has less to do with me than it does with the demons in her own mind. That is painful enough. Goodness knows I want to be there to help sort them out and chase the nasties away from my kid. I’ll be happy to own my transgressions, but they exist on both sides indeed. I day dream of a time when we could sit down and openly discuss with one another and heal. To offer each other forgiveness and love. But to write a letter to her condoning her current behavior and validating her distortions? That’s enabling. Sorry. Perhaps I’m a bit stubborn, but if the only way back to my daughter is to completely devalue my own heart and boundaries? I can’t do that for a mate, nor a friend. Nor should anyone! Why would my child, whom I’ve already given my life to for decades deserve whatever self respect I have left just to be in their lives? I’ve wrestled with the ‘don’t let pride stand in the way…’ aspect. I would meet my kid 1/2 way. I’d do 80/20. I’d even do 90/10 tenatively, but I will not grovel.

      I will pray until my dying day for my child’s soul and her well being, as I will for my beloved grandchildren, but I will not sell my own soul for the opportunity to kiss the ring or to have this happen to me again.

    3. Red

      Effie, it is also going on 6 years since my youngest son has contacted us in any way. He will send a Christmas present to us. But a phone call or email would mean so much more to me than a expensive gift. No signing of the gift except his initials, I am considering telling he and his wife, don’t feel the need to send us Christmas gifts, when a email or call would be very appreciated. I wonder if this would pull him farther away. My son was never like this, he was always loving and complimenting on the good parents we tried to be. I read not to long ago, there is always someone else advising a child to estrange from their parents. God bless and stay strong. Red


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