Survey to help parents of estranged adults

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168 thoughts on “Survey to help parents of estranged adults

    1. Ebbie

      This is the first time in five years that I have been able to talk about this. It helps SO much to know I’m not the only one this has happened to.

    2. lesley

      Knowing what I know now I would never of had children. I got married to have them and quite honestly it was better than I imagined. I spent all my time with them, showing them the wonders of nature, playing with them. We were always in the fields,fishing, playing ball, cricket , picnicing or reading by the river. We had beach holidays and many days out . But, as they got older they brought problems home that my parents were appalled at. However I coped and helped them along only to be left with old age I think?!!

    3. Jeannie

      I just found this website …. I am dealing with two daughters who are grown women and tell me one thing and do another. The one daughter is on her 3rd marriage and had it all planned out that her current husband would leave his wife for her. She is into the occult. My other daughter is verbally out of control…basically a bully. She is very unkind to her husband and he is a decent man who takes much from her. Recently I was on vacation and could not help but see what was taking place. He provides for her so she doesn’t have to work unless she wants to. He doesn’t hang out anywhere, comes home after work. She is on her phone or social media until the wee hours of the morning. There is a young man she speaks to who knows she’s married and he pretends he cares about her. So in her mind she pictures them being together. I recently heard from her that he doesn’t cuddle or kiss her any more. I tried to talk with her but she was extremely nasty to me and now doesn’t speak with me. She has a friend who is into occultism and this woman’s life is a mess and I feel she wants misery to have company. I have no support being separated for almost 2 years because of being married to someone who was never home, never wanted to pay his share of bills and was deeply into barely legal porn. My daughters saw that I tried for almost 30 years but the verbal and emotional abuse got to be too much. I pray what I put up with for most of my marriage didn’t create my two daughters being who they have become. Now they don’t speak to me unless I call them first and then it’s usually brief and full of attitude. They know I feel what they both have been involved with is wrong and they would not be wrong about that. I feel so very sad and lost. I’ve never ever shared any of this with anyone…most of the people I know simply say they they would get over it, who needs it.

    4. Damian G.

      I never anticipated being cut off as a parent, particularly as a sole parent. I know for now I am angry and desperately trying to understand the reasons. Part of the pain is the “not knowing” and the manner in which I have become estranged. People who know me think what occurred was the most confounding thing but really I know I just need to move on. I am getting benefit from your articles and learned I need to forgive…I suspect it will take time for my anger to subside. To others out there that have had the same treatment- I hope that your lives mend and that you are discovered for the amazing persons you are, and the difficult role you played. I’ll get back now to grieving, accepting, looking for the positives, reaching out, forgiving for my own sake and peace of mind. Sounds ambitious at this time!

    1. Mart

      I totally relate to what you are saying. Being a mother was the joy of my life. Granted our family had dysfunction like any other family here on this planet. You would think by the way our daughter-in-law has acted that we were the worst parents in the world. There is no other way to put it…she has brain-washed our son and our grandchildren against us. This kind of attitude and behaviour should be stopped!

    2. Caryn Sanders Grabow

      My son left to live with his dad when he was 16 and a half. He’ll be 18 now on Jan 14th.
      He was living with me, and didn’t want to live with his dad at the time. This was the 3rd time he had left his dads. The day he left, I was returning home after being in Pensacola for his older brother’s Navy graduation from A school. I forgot to pay the internet bill before I had left, and it went out. He called me, and asked me to turn it on. I was on the airplane,
      and they were shutting the doors, and I told him it’ll have to wait until I got home, and to go do something outside. He got a little irritated at me, and that irritation was still present when I walked through the door. 1st thing he said was turn on the internet. I asked for a hug, and he got pissed off. So I told him that if he continued with his attitude, I won’t be turning on the internet. He went into a rage, kicking the stair rail, and ran into his room. I told him that I’d be taking his computer away for 2 weeks. My other son called just then to tell me he had arrived at his new station in Washington, so my fiance went to get the computer. I heard yelling, and went into the room, and my son had my fiance in a choke hold, and was on his back. He ran out of the room, shoving me, and left for his dads walking 2 miles in bare feet.
      He did a complete 180° on me that day almost 2 years ago, and 6 months ago, i caught him stealing from my house from our ring doorbell. I told his dad, and when I saw him, his dad was with him . He had no remorse, called me a c..t, told me to f..k off, and told me he wished I would kill myself. His dad just sat there silent with a smirk on his face like he was proud of him. (Narcissist) I believe he’s using my son as a pawn to hurt me, because since he left to live with his dad it’s gotten progressively worse. I turned him into the police after that, because his dad blames me as the reason in which our son stole. I had to, because I wanted him to be held accountable for his actions, and he was turning 18 within 6 months.
      LITERALLY, before I left for Pensacola, he was happy, joking around, funny, had integrity, and was a extremely caring, and empathetic kid. When I returned, and this happened, he’s been cruel, lies, stole from me, and won’t speak to me.
      I saw him walking across the street a few weeks ago, and pulled over to say hi. We had what I thought was a great conversation, I gave him a hug, said I love you, and he said I love you too. I was ecstatic, hopefull, and felt good about our encounter. Christmas was in a couple weeks, and my birthday on Christmas eve. I asked if we could spend some time together so I could give him his Christmas presents, and told him that spending time with him would be the best birthday present ever.. he said he didn’t feel comfortable, and wanted to be alone. I sent him an email a week ago asking to spend some time with him on his birthday . I didn’t hear from him until tonight. I got an email from him saying he doesn’t want to spend any time with me.
      I’m completely devastated. I did nothing to him but try to be a good mother. He and I were very close, and literally in a blink of an eye, he did a 180° switch on me, and I don’t know who he is anymore. I feel betrayed, I’m very hurt, and I havent slept more than 3-4 hrs a night for almost 2 years now.
      I have no idea what to do!

  1. Emily

    Gosh! So happy I found this sight!

    One hears of estrangement on tv and from other people, but never on ones own door:(

    1. rparents Post author

      Hi Emily,

      Welcome! I’m glad you found the site, too. I hope it will continue to be helfpul to you. May you feel supported as you read the material presented here for parents of estranged adult children (and perhaps interact on the community forum where moms are talking about estrangement as well). I wish you the very best.


    2. bea

      It has been three years since my son left and went to live with his intoxicating grill friend. He has been an estranged to me since I am learning from this website please keep on posting.

      I don’t see my son anymore.

    1. Ruth

      Hi Mary Ann – Holidays are especially hard. We used to celebrate July 4th with family, and now we are no longer included in this holiday gathering. I hear how alone you feel, and I have been there. It’s been a very challenging 3 years +. I am not with my children and grandchildren today, and it feels lousy. But, the longer my situation continues, the more determined I am to not let my children’s choices control me and ruin my life. I takes a lot of prayer and focus, and some holidays are harder than others. I encourage you to hang-in there and know that even though you are feeling alone, there are others out there listening and supporting you today.

    2. rparents Post author

      Hi Ruth,

      Thank you for your prompt and empathetic reply to Mary Ann’s note. Holidays can be difficult, and you are right, there are many of us feeling for other moms and dads in estrangement situations as we are. One mom sends me emails every month or so, telling me that she keeps me, and all of the many parents of estranged adults in her prayers. We are definitely not alone.

      I also wanted to say that I appreciate your determination not to let your estranged children control you. As the saying goes (something like this anyway), continuing to obsess over people who bring us pain is like giving them free rent in our heads!

      Hope you are having a good day.


  2. Courtney

    I have been totally emotionally devastated since both my adult children (37 and 34) estranged themselves from me almost 2 years ago. I miss my children but the loss of my grandchildren is a cruel punishment I agree with Mary Ann: I feel alone and am constantly searching for help.

    1. Linda

      Yes, Courtney! The grandchildren!! I completely understand your pain! You’re definitely not alone…

    2. Jackie

      Courtney, I have been estranged from my daughter and two grandchildren for 7 weeks and it feels like forever…….how on earth have you managed 2 years?
      I am totally devastated.

    3. Caras

      Courtney, my heart goes out to you. It does not seem fair in life to have raised your children, and have them age to their 30’s, only to have this happen to you. I wish for you many many happy moments and support from friends and from other family members. A few things have helped me (1) before my father died he was very supportive, he would always tell me ‘one day your daughter will realize she needs you” (2) I feel so very lucky to have a niece and nephew to love, it lifts me up so much (3) sometimes I remind myself that perhaps my daughter is missing out by not wanting to accept love and a relationship with me, and I then feel a little bit worthy in my role as a mom (4) as time goes by, I take comfort in the fact that the rest of my family is loving and would not just leave

    4. Joanne

      I so feel for you!! My son and his wife have cut us out of their lives, and we are banned from seeing the only grandchildren we will ever have. The pain never goes away. Sending you prayers for comfort and support.

    5. Amy

      Courtney: I know how devastating this is. I have not had any conversation from my adult daughter for 2 years. I have no grandchildren and I can’t imagine the frustration and sadness that is with you on a daily basis. Take care of yourself.


    6. Jacee

      Same situation. Four children estranged and four grandchildren that early on I bonded with and loved to death. The hole in my heart won’t heal. It’s been 7 years and I’ve tried EVERYYHING counseling meds classes excercise new interests new job . I am a psychologist but believe me it doesn’t help to “know” what to do!! My heartache won’t go away while all my friends are saying this is the best time of their lives and are traveling etc with grands.. Praying does help. I still cry!
      Bless your heart and may you be comforted.

    7. poppy

      I have full empathy with you. A person i cinfided in after only meeting once at my Buddist class said to me.
      Stop waiting for them to come home and enjoy your life with your husband and anyone who has a positive part in your life.
      This comment really helped me and I am now trying to get on with the happy times in my life and believe they are missing out on all our love and happiness.
      Hope this helps you and god bless you are a good mother!!!!!!

  3. Barb

    I am still reeling from being so angry – my son is in a war zone and he was very hurtful when I asked him how he was doing…. told me he didn’t have time to check his facebook every 10 minutes… yet, he is on facebook talking to his friends etc. It take 2 seconds to check in with family to let them know you are ok. I’ve sent him 4 boxes from home to help him with this 6 month tour… He can be so rude – I know he is an alcoholic and may even be bi-polar – I don’t know how else to explain the way he acts. I will always love him but I don’t like his behavior. He’s always fighting with everyone. He’s a bully and so unbelievably rude! I raised him to be sweet and kind and considerate. He’s completely changed since he left home. Shows no respect to anyone. argh. Thank you for letting me vent.

    1. Sandi

      This is for Barb..I realize I just found this site today, for it is 7 months ago, Barb was on here but, I have to say, Thank you, your post is what I needed to read today.
      I have on and off again estrangement with my Son and to read the similarites as I have read others, Yours is exact and it comforted me so. It has relieved some guilt to which I give to God everyday. I seem to take it back because my guilt from a divorce, never leaves me.
      Thanks Barb…I needed this.
      I go with Love on all my ventures with all my relationships and if they do not last, I have no fault for those who move on and out of my life. As much as I want to keep everyone happy, I know I can not.

    2. Nancy

      my child is rude and cruel also. She belittled me in public and when I told her that at no age should you des respect your parents like that, all I got was anger and defensive behavior. She used to be happy and now in her 40’s she is angry and pushes everyone away except her user friends. I think I see her issues but it is still hard to take the pain of rejection. My daughter is very selfish and unempathetic but I will always love her. That is why it hurts so much. She has been difficult for a long time but now there is rejection and this hurts me deeply. I can not imagine your situation with a child at war. I pray for you. Thank you for sharing your story. your story helped me greatly.

    3. Tak

      I know I shouldn’t laugh Barb, but you sound like me!! I finally cried, but somehow the anger works better. Or does it? I long for the day to come that I just won’t care anymore, sad but true. Like you I raised my boy to be sweet, kind and considerate, which he can be with some people, those who ‘see things his way’ but if you don’t (and believe me his way is twisted) and dare to disagree or suggest he live with the consequences of his behaviour, then look out!! The person I spoke to yesterday does not even resemble the one that left home and married 7 years ago. That person I adored, this person I don’t know and don’t like. That’s so hard to say as his mother, but there…..I said it arrgh!!

  4. Melissa

    I thought I was alone. Both daughters gang up on me. They did it for years in high school. Now that they are in college they just compare and contrast their perceptions and blame me for everything. It’s difficult to hold boundaries when I’m getting it from two sides. . I constantly think “I’m not so bad.”

    1. SatoriBleu

      You are not bad. They are becoming who they are and they take out their frustrations on the one who loves most. Be strong and know you are a good mother.

    2. Janet Vodder

      Welcome to my world. My twins are now 40 and I don’t have a clue why they hate me.

  5. Tawnya

    Good morning, and thank you for the gift of this website. This is my first time to even venture out for support. I am also the mother of 5 adult children. My firstborn child and I have been estranged for nearly five years. She and I had a very close relationship until shortly after her marriage. She even considered me as one of her best friends. Her husband on the other hand, did not enjoy our family, and seemed cold each time we were together. He was not like that in their courtship though. After their marriage, his attitude towards us changed. I realized he did not think very highly of my husband and I, and was annoyed with our family. Little by little, he and my daughter pulled away, then it became one issue after another that he found against us to distance themselves from us. Eventually, they cut all ties. He would be the one to respond to my texts, and would boldly state that I was not to respond to his message. I’ve tried over the years to call and message her, to invite her to family things, with no response whatsoever. I didn’t even know if she was getting my texts, but I would drop her a line now and again, just to let her know I was thinking of her, loved her and missed her. This past Christmas, I bought and wrapped presents as I always have, put them under the tree, in hopes they’d come…even went as far as to bake her favorite cookies late Christmas day. She did not come…My birthday rolled around again in January, I did not hear from her. Recently, I picked up a book by Barbara Johnson called God’s Most Precious Jewels are Crystallized Tears, True stories of women who turned their misery into ministry. Some how reading it gave me courage to go see my daughter. She did talk to me, even though it was not at all what I would have loved to have seen happen, even painful, because of the hurtful things she said to me. I came away empowered because I now know without any shadow of doubt, I’ve done EVERYTHING I can possibly do to make amends, but I CANNOT fix it! I cannot change her thinking or behavior. I did not fall apart as I drove away. I just began processing the conversation, her facial expression, the coldness of her heart. My heart was heavy, but I drove away feeling like I could finally move on. I went to see my parents for a few days, to rest and to love on them…to continue to process all of this. One night, while I could not sleep, the scripture from 1 John 4:7-8 came to me, and the song that I had taught my children when they were very young, kept going through my mind:
    Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love, God is love! Beloved let us love one another!
    Thinking back…that afternoon I had gone to see my daughter, I went with all the humility I could possibly muster, my heart overflowing with love for her. I knew I was risking more hurt and rejection, but I knew I had to see her, at least one more time and try to reach her….
    back to the scripture….My heart is full of God’s unconditional love for her! There is nothing she can do or say (obviously!) that will ever cause me to stop loving her! It’s God’s love…I know this…It’s God in Me…because I am NOT even capable of having this kind of love for someone who is so incredibly UNLOVABLE! I realized, she does not know God, even though she claims to, and is very active in church ministry…She does not, because God is love…{everyone that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God, (s)he that loveth NOT, knoweth NOT God, for God is LOVE}… therefore she does not know love.
    This makes me realize she is not really rejecting me, but is rejecting God! God in me! I was able to be completely calm, letting her say the things she felt she needed to say. I was able to apologize to her, saying, I know I was not a perfect parent…I asked her to please forgive me if I ever made her feel like she was not loved or valued, or ever to harsh in my discipline. That we were just trying to teach them to submit to authority and to be good to each other. I told her that I know I was a good mother, and that I would not allow her to take that away from me! (You know, that felt really good to say! Because I truly feel that was the main attack on my heart, my identity, to make me feel like I was a failure as a mother! I KNOW I was NOT a failure…not perfect by any means, but I LOVED all of my children, and gave them everything I had in me while I was raising them!) I would still do anything for them, I’m here for them, loving them and praying for them and will be as long as there is breath within me!!!
    One day as I sat across from my mom and dad, I said, You know…God desires a close relationship with all of us…but those who choose to reject His love and fellowship, choose to miss out on all of the blessings they’d receive from that relationship! So He does not force Himself on them. He moves on to bless those who want His love and fellowship!
    That is what I have chosen to do! I am grieved that my daughter does not want me in her life! I only wanted to love her and be loved by her! I wanted to bless her! Giving is my love language! Giving of myself…not just the giving of gifts. But now, I choose to love on those who desire to have a relationship with me! I am learning to laugh again. Jesus has dried my tears, and brought me JOY! I have a new grand daughter who makes me laugh! I want to have fun again! To spread love and happiness to the lives of others! My husband is enjoying my smile again! 🙂
    I will continue to love my daughter, and to pray for her welfare. I will be here if and when she decides to come home! I would never turn her away. I truly hope that happens…I believe that is God’s will, for us to have a relationship. So I leave her in His strong capable hands. I trust YOU Jesus! And I will praise you no matter what happens!
    I pray that today I have helped someone! This is the first time I’ve made public my story. I am truly ready to turn my misery into ministry. To help others find their hope in The Lord Jesus! To give their lives to Him, and every burden they have. Because He loves us all so much and has such compassion for us. He is the only way to find comfort and peace in all of this.
    From my heart to yours~
    God bless you!

    1. tweety

      Tawnya, thanks for posting your heartfelt story. Your circumstance is so similar to mine. I have turned the situation over to God, it is too big for me to handle. You and I deserved better.

    2. Erna

      So very similar to my experiences. But it has been now 25 years and she has become a stranger. There is one part that still cares, on the other hand I no longer do, which gives me a certain amount of protection from being hurt all over again.

      Her husband committed suicide 6 years ago and she is in a new relationship, but things are still the same. My son and I are still no longer part of her life.

    3. SatoriBleu

      We learn lessons from the experiences God places in our lives. We are who we are because of the lessons we live through. You are a loving mother and person. Your life will touch many others to know love/God.

    4. Connie

      Hi Tawnya,
      Just finished reading your April declaration. If I were to write mine it probably could be no less in words.
      I have 5 children and it is my youngest that decided not to be in relationship with me.
      I thought why is this happening to me? , a Godly woman, one who tries to do it God’s way. Knowing, too, I am not perfect but definitely a mom that did her best
      But then I came across the scripture : Think it not strange the fiery trials that beset you…. and then I read what trials Paul went through, he listed them and I thought about my reaction and found that I had a spirit of pride ( “like” I am exempt from fiery trials) and repented before the Lord for assuming that because I was a Christian I should be exempt. Who was I kidding…the revelation was big and I am laughing now as I think about it. I am so glad you have your smile back and you are going on. Me, too…..God has so many people out there that are just waiting for us to share the good news of Jesus Christ.

    5. amanda

      That is so great to remember that the rejection is of God’s authority and not you personally. I understand that now when my son has said he does not believe in God even though he was raised in a Christian household he rejects what we stand for and is so angry with us. I feel he is really angry at himself and is taking it out on us and ultimately on God as I know God has great things planned for him when he is ready to accept them and acknowledge it.

    6. amanda

      Our son is rejecting us but I feel deeply that he is actually rejecting God and saying he doesn’t believe in God although he was raised in a Christian household. He is angry with us but I feel the anger is toward God as well as himself as he tries to find out who he is and what he wants in life. I believe that God has great things planned for him when he is available to accept and acknowledge Him. I try daily to give it over to Him and move on with hope and unconditional love always with the thought of “leaving the door” open for him to come back and have a relationship again.

    7. Cath

      Hi, I’m sorry you are going through this, as am I. Reading about your daughter I wanted to say to you that it sounds like her husband is controlling. I was once in a relationship like that so I can see the classic signs. Insecure men isolate their wives, they are almost always physically abusive and often have them controlled by planting a lot of miss information on them repeatedly. Please know that if this is the case, this is not your fault. All you can do is be there if she needs you, but be warned women like this often feel trapped and won’t always seek outside help.

    8. Christine

      I’m new to this. My adult child has rejected me she has 4 young children. Her husband isn’t helping the situation. I miss them all so much

    9. Janet

      If religion has helped you cope then I’m happy for you. I’m an atheist but understand that everyone has different beliefs and ways of coping.
      I do however, have concerns that your daughter is in a mentally abusive and controlling marriage just like I was for over 20 years. I finally split from him almost 3 years ago and my daughter’s, now 19 and 21, have cut me and my family out of their lives ever since. Both my parents are deceased so I’m really glad you still have yours to love. Unfortunately your daughter will not see sense until she sees her husband for the narcissist he is. Whilst I disagree with your views that it’s God she’s rejecting, I do agree that both you and I have done everything we can and the estrangement by our daughters is their choice not ours. We deserve to live with a degree of happiness and I send you good wishes for the future.
      Kind regards Janet x

    10. Nancy

      Your story brought tears to my eyes. What a well written story. I am glad you have found God’s peace beyond human understanding. I pray that one day your child will change her mind. It is not logical to reject love.

    11. Avalon

      Thank you Tawnya. It’s a tough day. Your post has lifted me back into the arms of God…peace to you & God bless.

    12. Nancy

      You share my story not with just 1 but 2 of my daughters. Your writing was all I believe and have experienced 1st hand. You moved me to tears about Gods unconditional Love because all you wrote about love is absolutely true. We tried working on our relationship with 1 daughter for 6 months a year ago more damage happened than reconciliation. I have 10 grandchildren between the 2 and am not able to be the grandma I dreamed of being. God had told me grandchildren were the blessing of having kids. I loved my girls!! and loved being grandma. All ripped away from me. I would love to know an update has anything changed. Also my girls are in church as well. They grew up being exposed to the Lord and many other good things of God! Nancy K.

    13. Kim

      I can relate to Tawnya’s story. My daughter was always a sweet girl, but since she has been married it would seem that her husband has been driving a wedge between us for years. I don’t know how to even remedy the situation. She will not talk in person or on the phone. She seems to draw power from playing kidnapper, and holding the children hostage from seeing us, and creating a list of demands if I ever want to have contact again…I would never in my wildest dreams have thought something like this could ever happen. This has been the worst Christmas of my husband’s and my life! Some days I feel like what’s the point of living…….

    14. rparents Post author

      A great many parents, myself included, have felt like you did at one point or another. And many would say: You will get through this! If you are truly feeling as if there is no point in living, please don’t hesitate to get more urgent assistance.

      Be sure to be kind to yourself, and give yourself the very care you no doubt have given to others. Here’s a bit more on self-compassion and self-care. You might also get a copy of my book, which is full of all sorts of strategies and information that parents have found helpful. There’s a link on the right for that, and also to sign up for the emailed newsletter. Support is a good thing.

      Again, if you are truly feeling as if there is no point in living, please don’t hesitate to get more urgent assistance.

      Sheri McGregor

    15. Theressa

      Tawnya, thank you for sharing your story. l am in the same situation of being hated by my two daughters but today l am healed by your story in Jesus’s name.
      My life is terrible.

    16. Darlene

      Wow wow wow! Your Story is so very similar to
      Mine! With the exception that it’s my Son, and it began when he got married. I have felt and experienced it all. My son has 2 little boys that I ha e never seen, not even a picture. Except the ones they send to others that end up showing me. It has been 8 long years. He comes from England and now several states to with in 50 minutes of my home to visit others and refuses to call me. I have tried everything. Your article was spot on to my situation and it’s so wonderful to know I am not alone.

    17. Julie

      I so agree with your insights. It really helps me to think that when our children reject us, they are rejecting God’s love if we love God. Just as when they reject us they miss out on blessings from us and when they reject God they miss out on his blessings. The situation with our son is complicated, but we have decided its better at this time to withhold gifts from the grandchildren. Gifts is one of my love languages and that has been most difficult for me.
      I have spent too much time trying to figure it all out. Even wondering if I should ask forgiveness one more time.
      I will be praying now that they know God and His love.

    18. MOM/DAD


      Your post is a true blessing. Although posted two years ago I had to reply, because your words are hit me deep. Exactly to the time and date, I had this happen between me and my daughters one who happens to have the same name as yours. So when you say that you hope your post will help someone else, I can tell you it truly has. I am a single parent of 3 adult children. Every part of your post hit home with me. Especially this ” I realized, she does not know God, even though she claims to, and is very active in church ministry…She does not, because God is love…{everyone that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God, (s)he that loveth NOT, knoweth NOT God, for God is LOVE}… therefore she does not know love. This makes me realize she is not really rejecting me, but is rejecting God! God in me! I was able to be completely calm, letting her say the things she felt she needed to say. I was able to apologize to her, saying, I know I was not a perfect parent…I asked her to please forgive me if I ever made her feel like she was not loved or valued, or ever to harsh in my discipline. That we were just trying to teach them to submit to authority and to be good to each other. I told her that I know I was a good mother, and that I would not allow her to take that away from me! (You know, that felt really good to say! Because I truly feel that was the main attack on my heart, my identity, to make me feel like I was a failure as a mother! I KNOW I was NOT a failure…not perfect by any means, but I LOVED all of my children, and gave them everything I had in me while I was raising them!)”
      This is what I said to my daughters on June 22, 2017. “I have prayed and ask God to give me guidance on this situation and I am content with His answer to me, which is: Every Parent on His green earth has made mistakes, however big or small as Christians anger, animosity, resentment of whatever it is between us is not of God. I ask the Lord Jesus Christ above to forgive me for any failures I have made as a Parent and He has given me resolve of any guilt layed at my feet. The Lord has guided me to move on regardless of any unforgiveness from anyone, He has told me as a parent I don’t have to earn respect, He already commanded it for me!!! In spite of everything, I mean everything all conversations, disrespect or whatever. I have tried to make amends with both of you, I have apologized, and now God has guided me not to go back and forth with either of you anymore. My parenting wasn’t what you two are trying to make it. He guided me to my son and I love what Jr. said. “It doesn’t matter what you do for me as an adult, I know where you brought us from, what you did for me as a child was enough!” Thank you Jr. I love you all, Have a blessed day and for us all I will continue to pray! Mom/Dad.” What hurts me more than anything in this situation between me and my daughters is like you said God is Love…It hurts me to know that my girls are not there yet and I pray that will change. I truly believe God sent me to this site, because I needed some affirmation of my decision. Thank you so much for sharing and God bless you.

    19. Sharon

      This has help me so much ,God be the glory ..I just want to let you know you’re beautiful..Thank you for blessing me ..I have dealt with this ling enough ,cried and prayed ,cried and prayed but I gotta give it to God ….Thank you

    20. Connie T.

      Am just currently realizing that my son does not really want me in his life anymore. I am also a Christian and brought him up on the mission field. Was it all a mistake? Was I really called to missions? Were all those years I spend home schooling him just a deception on my part? I read all the James Dobson books and as a Christian I thought I was doing all the “right” things. I loved all my sons dearly and even now, would die for any one of them. My world feels shattered and I feel so much shame around my Christian friends who are caught-up with grandchildren and enjoying their families. I have felt like a hypocrite by just not sharing what is really happening when they ask about family and all, but do not want to be judged by them. I guess you might be one person who understands all the pain in this process. My son has never actually told me he doesn’t want to continue in a relationship, but he does not respond to phone calls or messaging or emails, etc. I flew back from Thailand just to spend time with my family and see my aging father. Since I have been here, I am staying with my oldest son and his wife, and they have been very gracious. The rejecting son just had a new baby, and I was looking forward to seeing her. I cannot get in touch with him, and he has not even returned any of my messages or dropped by to see me. I feel too ashamed to share this with anyone, and so just smile when people comment that I have a new grand daughter and how happy I must be, etc. I know I must have done something really terrible, but I can only guess what it might be and I do not know how to repent of what I do not understand.

    21. rparents Post author

      Dear Connie,

      Please try to recognize that your son’s failure is his. You are obviously a good person, a kind mother … a woman who did her best. My book is based on the experiences of more than 9,000 parents of estranged adult children. Since then, I’ve heard from thousands more. The survey is up to more than 20K at this point … kind, supportive parents who have an adult child who neglects them, says they want no contact, or is outright abusive. You are not alone in this. I understand from my own experience as well as hearing from so many others how it feels to want to hide an adult child’s choices. It feels so shameful … and yet you were a good mom. I hope you will come to accept that this is not you … and perhaps learn to share a little. You may be very surprised to discover that some of the happiest grandmothers and grandfathers are hiding a secret of their own. Shedding light on estrangement and helping parents move forward happily has become a sort of mission for me with the book, this website, etc. I hope that you will come to terms and find a way to peace.
      Sheri McGregor

    22. Gina

      Hello Tanya I truly admire your strength in recovery from this painful situation, but most importantly admire your faith and Love in Jesus, I’m new to this site and would like any feedback on my story below under Gina. Thanks and God continues to heal your heart.

  6. Honey's Heart

    On the above comment that I wrote, please remove my name. I’ve chosen Honey’s Heart to be my username.
    Thank you and God bless you!

  7. Lorrie

    This is hard…I don’t want to lean emotionally too much on my 23 year old son who has been my rock…while my 25 year old daughter who is visually impared has quit college (12 units from graduation) has not shown up at her job of 4 years and has essentially lost it…and is with a knife wearing, unemployed, uneducated boy who relies on SSI and lives with his mom. This is impossible to understand and now she lives with them (6 months)…has cut all communication but her lying from the start of this relationship is what hurts the most…

  8. Sam

    I am a step parent of an adult child who has estranged herself from myself and my husband. It is so hard to support my husband with his feelings of loss/confusion/rejection- when I feel anger toward my step daughter. I didn’t realize how much anger I felt until, she contacted me via social media to inform me that she didn’t want me to contact her “real” family. I was incredibly hurt and then later, very mad. It has been so hard for my husband and I and our marriage has truly suffered.

    Its been over a year and it still stings when I see pictures of her or when I think about what her last email eluded to. I’m wanting to join a group to help me get through this without getting a divorce. And to see how others are dealing with this and wondering how to forgive and move on to find peace….

    I’ve thought about seeking mental health support- to talk with someone- but I’m really embarrassed about the fact that our daughter has estrange herself and am worried what anyone would think. We live in a really small town and no one knows our “secret”. When people ask about our daughter we just say oh she’s fine…. its hard to NOT talk about.


    1. Caras

      Hi Sam

      I hope and pray that you do not get a divorce. You see, I am in the position your husband is in — I am the biological parent of the daughter that estranged herself, and my husband (stepdad to my daughter) is in your situation. My husband has been such a support, he will tell me “you were a good mom to her — you do not deserve this” and he will share with me that he misses my daughter and is hurt as well. I hope you know you can be your husband’s biggest supporter and remind him he was a good dad. I sometimes wonder if the young adults who estrange themselves are UNHAPPY and alieviate (Sp.) that unhappiness by shutting out a parent? I read I should never keep trying, never stop sending birthday presents, never miss an opportunity to tell my daughter I love her — I have done that and I pray one day she will let me be in her life again. God Bless!

    2. Erna

      It is not always our fault. Kids can be very cruel until they reach a certain age and have come to realize that even if their parents may not have ben perfect, neither are they.
      Either way it is a very cruel way of dealing with your parents who were always there with love, support and patience.

    3. Nancy

      Sam, there are few situations less difficult than the second wife situations! No matter what you do you are the outsider. You will always feel like you arrived at a gun fight with a knife. Please seek help in another area especially the nearest large town. You need advice because your position in this family dynamics makes you odd man out. I also believe that you need to keep this family issue private. If the family thinks you betrayed them in their town, it will be hopeless. You have to watch what you say to your husband because you never want to put him in a position between you and the family.

  9. Sarah

    I sense more intense estrangement coming my way. My daughters recently married a young man who has estranged his own self from his dad. I’m afraid he’s influencing my daughter to do the same to me. They went on a vacation to see cousins, left me with their dogs and then, took off for Vegas with my sister and her husband, who couldn’t bring themselves to be kind to me at my daughters wedding!!! Not one word of congratulations from anyone in my family! But these people are ho she chooses to take with them to Vegas? I am hurt and I’m being told that I was not asked to go along because “you two don’t like each other”…so my daughter chooses to take in Vegas with my sister?!!! I feel so alone. I’ve been told by other moms I have to let go. My other younger daughter is telling me that their dad already let go of them…they’ll have no one! No, their dad LEFT THEM WITH ME. He just walked away. They did nothing wrong to deserve that sort of betrayal. I feel now my daughter and her husband are choosing secure complete family relationships…with a significant other, instead of my single status. I feel so horrible for them having no dad in their adolescent years. I feel worthless and all alone.

  10. Gayle

    I think this is the well my parched soul has been looking for! I am SO grateful to have found this site and so eager to learn….

  11. Jane

    i’m sorry for the trouble everyone is having with their children but it makes me feel better that I am not the only one with an inconsiderate rude adult child. Thank you for the support.

    1. Caras

      Jane I agree! I look back, and although I probably had times in my early adulthood when I was exasperated with my parents, I always loved my parents and wanted a relationship with them…..that’s why it is so hard to understand my daughter not caring that she doesn’t have a relationship with me. i can’t relate to not wanting to love my family, My daughter (right after estrangement) talked to me in a tone I would never ever use with my own parents…..I told her once I was sorry if I ever upset her and I love her, and she would say things like “Oh you DO, do you?” or “Oh you WILL, will you?” real cocky and to be honest, i cannot imagine talking to my mom like that — at any age. My ex husband was a verbal abuser (and physically abusive some) and maybe she is picking up on his attitude toward me as his ex?

    1. Avalon

      It’s devastating when it happens to you. I’m so deeply sorry you, too, are experiencing this. It’s been over 2 years now. I’ve reached out a million times. My son has contacted me 5 times with vowed of eternal love…then nada. He uses the silent treatment & frankly I’m not trying as hard now. I love him hand on heart as close a love as God’s. He’s in my prayers daily & I hope he finds a way home.
      I remember I was a happy person before his birth…keep hope. But, most important is faith in the larger picture which we don’t always see. God bless you & it gets easier if you want it too. Sending out lots of love & May peace be yours. Avalon…

  12. rparents Post author

    Julie, I’m so sorry. I know it feels awful, and that it’s difficult to believe just now – – but there is light at the end of the tunnel. There’s a good life to live!


    1. Avalon

      I’ll say amen to that. It’s devastating but I no longer try to figure it out. My love for my son remains constant & it’s his choice to return it or not. We had a super strong bond so it’s shocking. Yet, it’s true. Funny thing is I’d rather him say it than to make up pretty lies about wanting me as a part of his life. He’s young now. I’m patient & I have faith that it’ll all work out for the best. Ty for this supportive site.

  13. Yvonne

    Its been so helpful overloading my hurt onto paper and being able to connect with other parents going through the same heartache
    Especially as one parent had said were not perfect but did all we could for them and loved our children unconditionally is so true and this is how they repay us is totally insane and wrong

    1. Jeanette

      I have to stop myself when I’m asked about being a parent and my knee-jerk reaction is to say “It’s overrated.” That is hurtful for people who want to be parents someday. I realize now that I must keep my unfortunate experience to myself. They may have a wonderful adult child someday who doesn’t shun them and ignore them like my son does to me. I’ve learned a lesson…

  14. Rick

    Thanks for the elements-questions in this survey. I hope it all helps those like me with the ‘hope’ of a pathway toward love and reconciliation[s].


  15. miranda

    my son married a French girl last year. then they went travelling. it is clear to me that she is very jealous of our previous close relationship. I travelled to Canada to see them and they spared 2 hrs of their precious time. now they are in oz and haven’t even given me an address. its my son s 30th this yr but I just feel I need to forget it. . in fact, they have rejected me so much I now need to train myself to think I never had a son. I am so hurt by their rejection of me. they had planned to travel for a yr and I am looking after their cats along with my own. they have now said they will never come back. but I am not allowed to let their cats outside! this feels like control. I now feel I hate my son for how he makes me feel. I email him and I get no reply.

    1. Tina

      I’m sorry your going through this, I feel your pain. I wish I could give you insight but if I could then I suppose I wouldn’t be feeling the same as you do. Again I’m so sorry for your pain. There’s nothing worse.


    2. Larae

      Get rid of the cats how dare they dump on you like this.Its a constant reminder move on you do not deserve this abuse move on they have.As I read these articles Im inspired to not shed another tear they do not want me in there life fine they need to hide behind their rejection of me to justify their choices I too have a choice to enjoy my life and spend my time money and affections on those that appreciate me.Im not their scapegoat anymore I have boundries now and they have no use for me there loss not mine My only disparity is the grands have no choice they are pawns but it will come back on them if they live long enough.

    1. Erna

      Sometimes I wonder whether it would be good not to be there for them either. Maybe one day they will realize you’re not there anymore, and maybe it will start them thinking?

  16. Jane

    I am so grateful for this Website. I didn’t realise that others were suffering a similar plight and felt I was alone with this problem. It has really helped me to be able to share with like minded good people and I hope I am able to bring comfort to them too. It is the kind of thing that you think can never happen to you and you think it is just something you would see on some cheap rate television programme or only apply to a certain type of person. It is so shocking and painful. Thank you for being here to help, its comforting. Xx

  17. I'm stunned

    Thanks all for your comments. Our daughterinlaw confided to us that her husband (our son) wanted an open marriage. In concern for her, and for our grandchildren, we said something to our son. Big mistake. He turned it on us and said many mean things. His wife has now turned on us too. Using the grandkids as a pawn.

    I vascilate from feeling angry, to terribly guilty to embarassed to sad. I feel like I am on a rollercoaster.

    They have now taken us off of social media (our only way to view the grandchildren) because “we’re so judgemental”. It’s almost unbelievable.

    Damn kids. I gave my heart and soul to them. I loved them unconditionally. How could they do this to my husband and I? They are now trying to turn their friends and my other children against us. I’m not sure what to do anymore.

    1. AeKatrina

      That seems to be how it is done. Taking us away from them on social media ( a push of a button, way too easy..), and then we cannot see grandchildren or them or know anything again. You are not alone. It does not take it all away, but just knowing this is the ‘newest trend’ many of us older Americans who were taught to respect our parents and love them always, will find some kind of strength, in order to go through it all, knowing what society is teaching our young adults, will in some way help. You see our children ( whether we like it or not) may go through this too! “The wiser we become the better” there is’ strength in numbers’ and given time it will ‘ all come out” the’ truth will be known. ‘ Our souls will be cleansed through sites like this and books written about it all, and media issuing the truth.

  18. Ruth

    Very happy to have come upon this forum. I am a 59 year old widow who is suddenly estranged from my only child, a daughter. More on this later.

    I know your pain.

    Thank you

  19. AeKatrina

    God must have sent me here!!!? Thanks for having this site. It is like taking a big breath of fresh air. Knowing maybe along with me there are so many others, not that they suffer too, but maybe ‘together’ we can stay strong, and learn from each other? If that is not enough, we can ‘change things as the word comes out on how often this is going on and society will have to change! ‘ Maybe unless they have a good cause to act like this, and become estranged and not give an explanation, things will make it not happen so often!

  20. Geoff

    Lost daughter to an arrogant know all who husband two years ago who has sucked money all his adult life from his step father and patronises me and my son. Regrettably daughter has been enveloped by his mother and takes a strong stand against anything I say or do for her any more. The husband finds it hard to appreciate anything done and controls my daughter’s responses.

    There are still financial links to my daughter by way of a trust that he is slowly trying to cash in on.

    The lack of warmth from him and slow alienation is awful. I fear for the future and relations with their baby to be born in December

  21. Charlie

    It is good to move on with your life because constantly hold on to a hope that will never come will drive you insane. Example: We have been estranged from our son for 14 years now. They live just down the street from us. They have never attempted to contact us, we never see them even around town. Because of their religious zeal and intolerance for others who are of not their faith, they have converted most of our other immediate family and they are now estranged to us as well. We have 5 grandchildren we have never meet, we don’t know their names and have never set eyes on them.
    To move on was our only means of keeping our sanity. It took years but we were finally finished with being alone and crying into each others breasts each holiday, birthday exc… asking why, why? We decided to seek someone who would appreciate our love and efforts to change their lives with what we have to offer through volunteer work. It has made the difference in making us understand it was not the way we raised our children that we are in the circumstances with being estranged to them. We are not worthless culls they perceived and suggest to others us to be.
    Losing a child to what ever reason in this fashion is like literally losing a loved one to death. It takes time, a long long time before you can wake up and see the sun shine again the way you perceived it to be when they were in your life… but one day it will happen. You simply have to hang in there and work proactively to change the way you think about what has happen, forgive and forget.

    1. rparents Post author

      Hi Charlie,

      Thank you for sharing your story. I know it will help empower other parents of estranged adult children to move on, and live happy lives, despite estranged children’s decisions.

      Because you mentioned forgiveness, here is a link to my 2014 article on the subject, which covers the “forgetting” aspect as well. For parents of estranged adults, the subject of forgiveness sometimes generates conflict. This may be helpful to site visitors.

      Again, thank you for your comment.

      Sheri McGregor

    2. John

      It’s like death only worse kind of grief because of the rejection and the ongoing question.. “what could I have done differently”… with death you get over the rejection and the what if questions and come to peace. There seems no peace with this kind of loss.

  22. Norma

    I just feel like a fool.. My daughter hasent talked to me for a year.. I have left money, presents and heartfelt messages on her car at her work. She does not acknowledge me what so ever.. I don’t know if the man she is with is physically or mentally abuseing her or what kind mental shape she is in…Well I asked a coworker to look her up on Facebook , and well she is fine and is friends with my whole family, however I am blocked from her Facebook page .. That is something that a lower life status would do… I thought she was better than that childish nonsence… She is 32 acting like she is 12…

  23. shirley

    I feel lost and so alone. It has been 12 long years of no hope. I have 4 grandsons that no care for me, I guess. I love and miss them all. My in-laws apparently said I’m a trouble maker (of what?) and they were very jealous of my love for my kids. Their father passed when they were children and I raised them alone (12 an 9 months) and had lows and highs love no matter what. I’ll never stop loving them. Also, I have no friends, I’m very introverted and carry on talking with anyone. I have no family or friends. I’ll never blame them for anything, I’m so proud of them both (he’s a teacher and she’ a nurse) Thanks so much for hearing from. Oh yeah, I’ll be alone all Christmas, always have been.

  24. MJmom

    After reading your post it made me grateful for what I do have. Sometimes during the holidays we reflect on what we have lost. I want to reflect on what I have gained. I have gained an appreciation for those who care. By coming to this site, you won’t be alone. There is a wealth of warm kindness here. Christmas is especially hard. If you feel the need to vent, be comforted here. We are your virtual friends and we understand. Merry Christmas!!

  25. Debbie

    It has been 2.5 years since I saw my son. The last time I saw him was when I went over to his home and his wife freaked out because we did not call before. I had tried to call but there was no answer so after 2 weeks I was concerned and decided to go visit. She said it was not right I came uninvited, was screaming and just freaked out. I decided to leave and my son came outside and told me he would be coming home, he had a tear in his eyes. He never did come home and since that day, I have tried to contact them, sent them gifts during holidays, went over a few times and they never answered the door. Sent him texts, he never replied. Today, I had to do something, I called the police, I needed to know if he was ok, they called him and told me he is fine and does not want to talk with me. The police could not do anything more because he is 21 and in no danger. They have a daughter, I have not seen her since birth. I was always close to my son, I don’t understand how this happened, wondering if I did something wrong. Hard to forget him and carry on, he is forever in my mi d. I have a daughter who is feeling the void as well, she was very close to her brother, he wants no contact with anyone in the family, miss him terribly.

    1. Pearl

      Debbie, it sounds like your son is being abused by his wife. She has taken control and believe me, she’s used every threat in the book to keep him under her control. It has to be difficult for a man to admit that his wife “won’t allow” him to contact his family and most likely must approve of his friends if he is even allowed to have any.

      I speak from experience of having been on the receiving end of an abusive and controlling relationship for over 30 years. I can tell you one thing that you shouldn’t doubt: She’s good at what she does. She can convince him of ANYTHING and if he even tries to talk about having his own blood family in his (their) lives, she will turn into a threatening monster that is capable of threatening ANYTHING. If they have a child together, that is usually their strongest area of control as she will probably threaten to take the child and he’ll never see her, or even make a veiled threat or direct threat that she will kill the child (and maybe herself) if he tries to leave.

      Please do the best thing you can do for everyone involved and find a good therapist to help guide you through the pain of estrangement and perhaps even have information to share as to how you can help your son get out of the mess he’s in; if he truly is in the mess that I’m only assuming he’s in based on the little bit of information you’ve written.

      I’m sorry you’re going through the same pain that all of us on this web-site have endured.

    2. Nancy

      Dear Debbie, your story is heartbreaking. Rest assured you son has to know you have not given up on him. Here is an idea. Every holiday and birthday, buy a card or write a note to your son that you would have sent But instead, put it in a scrapbook. I predict that one day he and the wife will split. If he ever does co me home, show him the scrapbook. It will say everything about your love

  26. Nancy

    My 31 year old daughter was the sweetest, most caring person I knew. She had two sons by her boyfdiend of 10 years. When they broke up she turned into an hysterical, raging, paranoid, humorless b***h! She has blamed me for everything wrong in her life and accuses me of being abusive and that’s why she says I can no longer see my grandkids, both of whom I babysat from the time they were born. One is 11, the other 8. What is wrong with her. She says she is terrified of me and is afraid I’ll hurt her and the kids. BULLS**T! I have never abused her, I have asked her to not go ballistic in public and not come over to my house and proceed to scream at me and the kids. That is not abuse! It Is telling her to get control of herself. Now she refuses to take my calls or texts. She’s 4 months pregnant and I’m sure I’ll never get to see the baby. I’m tempted to move to Florida to start over, I’m in poor health but she says she has no interest in helping me or comforting me. If I move to the other side of the us, I won’t have to run into her in town or suffer the pain of not being invited to birthdays chrismas, etc. Wow, just wow. I never would have imagined this happening to us. We were so close and supportive up until she turned 30. She has a new boyfriend but he’s a sweetheart so I know he’s not behind her bahavior. I gave up my social life to help her with the kids and now I have noone. This is a nightmare, slow death and I regret giving birth to this horrible mon s ter of a daughter!

    1. Ann

      Gosh, Nancy… I have been googling this subject and I’m glad I found this. Your daughter sounds like mine, but mine has no children (but I know she’d do the same). My daughter is the meanest person I know! No exaggeration. She is only kind if I cater to her ego. She has a history of alcohol abuse and her outrage towards me is a clear indicator that she is abusing again – probably drugs too. This girl put herself thru college, has a degree, an outstanding job… she seems to be throwing it all away – or just throwing ME away. I’m no angel… I admit that I have contributed some to our rift, but she accepts no blame or effort to mend. I’m so heart broken and torn. I feel like I should just live my life as if I’ve lost my only child – because it feels like I have.

  27. Cherie

    Losing my three grown sons has broken my heart. Still, I had to set healthy boundaries in order to take care of myself. Although I have no doubt that I’ve made the right decision, my goodness it’s so very painful. I’m letting go and trying to keep in mind that they most have their own journey; with the right to make all the mistakes (just different ones) I’ve done in my life. I’m afraid for them. I know nothing is going to change until they hit their ‘bottom’ if they CHOSE to allow that. That is what scars me. Some people never allow themselves the letting go of the ego and thus never heal whatever ‘fear’ is holding them hostage. I stay present with the knowledge that I can’t release their demons – they are THEIRS. All I can do is make sure that when they swing their bat, it doesn’t come in contact with my chin. (figuratively speaking) I am an active Christian, and so my faith is helping me during this time. I love them unconditionally, but healthy relationships have conditions of respect, trust, tolerance, etc. I’ll continue to pray that their hearts are someday touched by He who is the only one that can truly change their heart.

    1. sharon

      I know what you are saying. I feel they have strayed away from Jesus and until they get their faith back nothing will change. Yes, they will have to hit bottom and that is a hard thing for a parent to see happen.

  28. Pearl

    Thank you, Cherie for your comment on February 16, 2016. I have lost my 2 grown sons to estrangement. I understand the need to set boundaries after finally getting therapy after divorcing their father after 32 years of abuse. Sadly, they treat me the way their father did, with the same sadistic cruelty that he did for all those years. I refuse to be treated that way by anyone – never again. I’m assuming your sons have a drug or alcohol problem as well? My sons are both alcoholics although they haven’t admitted it to themselves.

    It’s so hard for me to see how they treat my grand children and when I offer any kind of advice, ATTACK! I learned in therapy that I am never to offer advice, but it’s awful hard when you witness your son and his wife (both highly educated) telling their 2 and 4 year olds that they have released “monsters” in the hallway for the night and if they get out of bed the “monsters” are going to get them. The 4 year old is constantly threatened with foolishness when he doesn’t want to eat vegetables. Telling him they’re calling the cops if he doesn’t eat. They act out calling the pediatrician and tell my little 4 year old that the doctor is on the phone and they’re going to take him in for a vegetable SHOT right NOW. He started screaming in terror and cried. Then they laughed at him for crying – I was staying at their house as I live out of town – I took him by the hand and said, “You look tired honey, grandma needs a nap too!” He came with me, with sobs, as I was called a “sucker” for believing that he was really tired. He was sound asleep within 5 minutes of me telling him there is no such thing as a vegetable shot and I know this for a fact because I used to be a registered nurse. He calmed down with that knowledge and cuddles and hugs from this old “sucker” – painful beyond belief, heart breaking beyond belief. I can only conclude that my son’s wife was raised with that stupidity because I always TALKED to my sons, reasoned with them from the time they could talk I would take the time to listen and encourage them to explore their emotions. I, too have had to make the decision to back away for my own mental well-being. Knowing that my grandchildren are being emotionally and mentally abused on a daily basis is the worst feeling EVER. Having absolutely no control over it – breaks my heart.

    I love my sons even though I disapprove of a lot of their behaviors, but I know they need to make their own mistakes just as I did, just as their children will…..

    Just because I have decided to heed the advice of my therapist(s) and stay away from the abuse that is heaped upon me whenever I try to visit, doesn’t mean I don’t feel extreme emotional pain.

    I know it helps to hear, “I understand your pain. I wish the best for you.”

  29. Steve

    Hi all, I’m a 47 year old man who left his wife about 7 years ago now. My daughter was 18 when I left and our relationship has been strained ever since, naturally I blamed myself for the damage to our relationship (although my ex certainly didn’t help by leaning all over my daughter). My daughter is now 24 and whenever we speak she likes to throw in some snide remark. To be honest the way I see it is quite simple, she’s an adult now and is responsible for her own actions/behavior. I am now past the point of no return, it pains me to say it, but I’m completely over all the hassle and intend to let sleeping dogs lie. That’s the key here for all of you also, your kids are no longer kids they’re adults and as such they have to be held accountable for their actions. Do not let them take advantage of your emotions, there comes a time when you have to say enough. Basically respect me as an individual and as your parent or take the high road. Sometimes you have to be ruthless, to save your self.

  30. sharon

    One day my son and his daughter came over without calling first and I was just getting ready to go off. I had plans and when he found out I was still going to go he took off. He has told my daughter that I was mad, which I wasnt, and I would have to be the one to call him. I did nothing wrong but he is the type that everyone has to drop what they are doing for him yet he doesnt do that for anyone else. His sister has many problems with him also and says she is tired of the way she has seen him for years disrespect me. Sure I have given him money and let him stay here when there are fights at his house but when I said no more I guess I had used up my useefulness and I became easier to just dismiss. Because he has decided not to bother with me it also means I don’t see my two grandchildren, my son’s kids. Guess this is another way of him trying to punish me. I have gone through all the emotions most everyone in this situation has gone through and now I am at the points I miss him, I love him but if this is the way it is going to be -so be it. I wasnt invited to my grandsons two year birthday party and no call on Easter. Mothers day will be coming up and lets see if I get a call. If I dont then I will know he doesnt any longer think of me as his Mother. I think , with his pride, he is trying to make a stand of control. I have gone through this all my life with him and will not continue going down that road. If I thought he had changed then I would call him. I am not trying to show control but from the things I hear he has said calling him would make no difference in the way he treats me. He came to my home and calls it a chithole and puts things down if he doesnt agree with the way I do things. I do live in a very nice home but even if I didnt there is no reason to be so hurtful. I am coming to terms with the way things are , still hurt, but coming to terms

    1. sharon

      I am replying to the post I made here. After three months of no talking one day my son called and asked if we could talk and I said sure. We talked about everything. I finally talked about the respect I thought I deserved and the disrespect I was no longer going to tolerate. After a long talk this is how it goes now- He calls me out of the blue to ask how I am, even if he has just a few minutes to talk. He calls first before he comes over to make sure I don’t have any plans to go off. I am treated with such respect and I also treat him the same way. It took three months of being hurt so badly to make a situation better than it has ever been.

  31. Sunshine

    I have been estranged from my son for 3 months now. I am sure this is revenge from my grandaughters’ mother. While they (my son & granddaughters’ mother) were apart, my granddaughter was born, whom he was winning the battle with in the courts. I’ve been blamed for “taking” her daughter (in that small mind of hers) … since she doesn’t like losing.. she reconciled with my son ( it won’t last) so now she’s “taking” my son. I will always love my son & granddaughter. I have accepted his decision to toss me by the wayside. I have experienced many losses in life. I am strong & will keep moving on with the life God has blessed me with. I pray …continually pray for my son & his family. Even though things will never be the same, I love my son & granddaughter unconditionally. I can only hope that one day we will be a family again & it will be better than before with or without “her”, in my mind it would be best without her, but I’ll go with what God has planned.

  32. Kmap

    I know I was not the perfect mom, I had my issues. I tried to make amends with her, but does my past mean I deserve this?

  33. janet

    I have yet to read a post where there is drug addiction involved.My daughter is a drug addict and ended up in jail. I payed her attorney fees and kept money on her books. waited around everyday for her calls from jail.once she got out my husband fixed her car, we paid her fines and moved her in with us for a fresh start. she got a job at the mall reasonably soon after. but was not using her money to take care of any of her responsiblities. we paid for everything. gas, phone, tampons, her dogs food, her storage rent, her probation officer. then she left work and stayed up all night and slept all day. she finally got another job at the dollar general. she posted a pic of her with a boy that looked like a drug user and i asked her about it and reminded her, that it was not a good idea to associate herself. she cussed me out…told me she wished I would die in a car accident. told me what a horrible mother I was and that I never do anything for her. My son stepped in and told her that she was the problem not mom. she told him he was dead to her too. i asked her to leave and in the process she managed to steal several items from me.She told me I was dead to her and I havent seen or heard from her in three weeks.I hate that she is the way she is. through alot of online reading I have found that I am a codependent parent.I did evrything for her and in doing so I created a child with no boundaries.

  34. David

    Single dad here. Raised 3 daughters alone for 14 years. (Their mom chose meth over all else.)
    The allusion of being their hero has been forever burst. My oldest daughter will not return calls or texts…not even on holidays or birthdays. The last time she came into town (from another State), she stated with my middle daughter and it was obvious that her bitterness had poisoned my eight year old granddaughter and her husband that I once considered a son. Going on for about a year and a half, but has caught up with me. I have been promoted at work to a new position only to find myself non-functioning, paralyzed by the grief. Too much to process. They were my whole life…for 14 plus years. At the same time my oldest daughter decided to reject me, my other two daughters married and moved out. I’m very happy for them, but it launched a waterfall of emotions…empty nest.

    1. candy

      David, I can appreciate the feeling of paralysis your are feeling. My son decided five nearly six years ago now that I was a mother who left him alone and ran away from my problems. He too has kept my granddaughter away from me. I have no connection with him at all. I recently sent a birthday card and wrote that I loved and missed him. His response via email was to never write again and if I had to use email. For some reason I felt like I was a relapsed alcoholic. I felt shamed, lonely, sad and worthless. I then finally remembered what someone said to me about feelings of anger, disbelief, grudges etal. Think of the feeling like a plant. Don’t water the plant and it will turn into a dried up item. Crumble the dried plant and blow it away. I have been using the analogy recently again and I imagine I am blowing away my anger, sadness, rejection etc. That doesn’t mean I don’t and will always love my son, but I have to get rid of the feelings or it immobilizes me, just as you feel you are. I don’t know if this is helpful, but please keep reading this wonderful site and seek help from Sheri. She writes beautifully and she has kept me alive emotionally. Regards Candy

    2. rparents Post author


      What a LOVELY analogy! In my book that will be out very soon, I’ve talked about something a little bit similar to do with plants. But what you say here to David is a bit like that two wolves story (about feeding the good one and starving the bad one). Only it’s perfect for the gardeners among us. Thank you for your kindness. I’m really glad you have been helped by this website. And thank you for reaching out to help another parent. There are many who will read your note and benefit.

      Sheri McGregor

    3. Nancy

      David, it is heartbreaking to hear a dad going through the same pain most mothers express. It seems this issue is not about gender but about mothering. It is hard to believe children would not have enough common sense to recognize what you sacrificed for them you sound like a truly remarkable dad. I hope you find happiness because you deserve it.

  35. Justsosad

    My daughter has kept me on an emotional rollercoaster for over 10 years. Just when I thought things were getting better, I was crushed again. I think there is more to these kids emotional state. It doesn’t make it easier, that for sure.
    I have not given up. I send cards and letters, I leave text messages on voice messages. I got ignored most of the time. I no longer have any expectations.
    She is now pregnant, and lives out of state. At this this we have a bit of texting.
    Sadly, I know this will end for another long time.
    A big part of me has died years ago. I feel like a shell of a woman.
    Funny, Mothers Day has always been the most treasured holiday for me.
    My family, friends and Forter son has no idea why this happened. All I know, is its not my issue. Still hurts , but it’s her issue.

  36. Kmap

    I truly think my daughter is bipolar. I know she has untreated emotion issues and enjoys playing the victim. She has dropped not only me, but all of her closest childhood friends. It’s like she wants to pretend her childhood didn’t exist. And I’m going round and round in my head trying to figure out why.

    1. Winning


      I worked ten years in Mental Health, and had son with Bi-Polar. Even when stable (in late 20’s into 30’s)

      he could not recall his happy first 16years. Could not really believe it was what family recalled.

      There is so much we don’t know. I grieved the change in him so much, the loss of what was. Hope this helps xxx

  37. Lori

    All 3 of my adult children want nothing to do with me. My oldest daughter married to a controller. I only get to see my 3 grandchildren when she needs a babysitter when they are home sick. My daughter is so critical of me. Middle child, 31 yr old son has Barely spoken to me in a year since a huge fight I kicked him out. He was living home didn’t even want to help with yard work , cursed at me said let your bleeping boyfriend cut your bleeping grass. Very verbally abusive to me. My youngest is 21 yr old daughter has severe mood swings. Curses at me then matter of fAct . All three gang up on me. I did go to my grandsons birthday party and my sister came in a and said I’m surprised to see you here. She had Xmas party & didn’t invite me. I think most issues stemmed from money. I use to spend all on my family. My boyfriend said they are all using you And he is right. When I stopped $ sooo much on them they tell me that I’m a shitty mother and I was never a good role model. That hurts. Last Christmas my oldest had Christmas dinner at her place & had her siblings and left me out. They hate my boyfriend you’d think they’d. Be happy that I’m happy after being divorced 8 years. I’m In counseling and moving on with my life & thank goodness I have my career. a few good friends. Pets. Hobbies to take my mind off the hurt. This site is helpful I don’t feel so alone.

  38. Paula

    My daughter is 26 years old and she grew up with a nice family unfortunately I got divorce when she was 9 years old and remarried when she was 13 but my husband who loved her so much passed away a year ago. She met a guy four years ago and she left home withouth telling me four years ago without telling us where she was , after I found out where she was our relationship changed because when I saw her the first time after she left home the guy started insulted my husband and I telling her that she didn’t need us. My reaction as a mother was to convince her to go back home but she didn’t . She stayed away until one time when at night I heard the door and was her . She starred crying and told me that he guy didn’t want yo work and he did drugs and was an alcoholic, we as a parent protected her and helped her to go back to college but six months later again without telling us he convinced her to be back with him and she left our house again and left school Apparently he told her that studies and college are not necessary . When my husband suddenly passed the guy didn’t ask for permission he started going to my house and slept over I didn’t realize but when I did I told him that I don’t want him in my house doing nothing while mu daughter and I were working hard and he wS at the pool the entire day because he is a poor musician who has a few jobs in a week and make nothing . We used to live in Florida and I decided to moved to Washington area and one night I was packing when I saw all my bottles of liquor who we never drank because my husband and I have never drank alcohol neither smoke gone! I got upset and I’ be decided to talk to him in front of my daughter because I wanted her yo know that he was an alcoholic. She broke up,with him at that moment and told me again that the guy wasn’t good for her , but after three months i’ be noticed she started talking to her again and surprised she disappeared one night this year in January and never came back . I’ve been trying to communicate with her and she has done it three times and told me not to talk to her because she didn’t want to see me never again I her life and she doesn’t want any communication with me. I got sick today and was taken to ER and everybody tried to get in touch with her because she is my only daughter and I have not family or relatives in this country but she never responded . I. Upset sad don’t know what to do . Please help me

  39. Donna

    I hope you know how cathartic it was to finally use my voice. For me, it’s like a really sad song that plays over and over, in my head. I know you all are out there. I’m starting to talk about it, too. It breaks my heart when asked: “How is __ and __ ?” I used to tell them how proud I am (of the accomplishments my children) when I hear details from others. Lately, I say: “I’m not sure. “. I am selective with who I share this with, when they hint that that they have problems from their children. That’s when my heart breaks. I completely understand. I’m so sorry.

  40. Monica

    My daughter left a message that she was pregnant – second child to a beautiful 2 year old. I did not pick up the phone when she called, because I am not able to speak to her without going through the self blame for weeks after. She makes contact every 2 months or so , irregularly. Actually every time that happens it upsets me and it makes her blame me more for what I said.

    What do I do now? Call her back? Not call her back? Write her a card?it seems that whatever I will do , it is a loose- loose for me.

    I feel much better when I do not hear from her. I am not sure how to feel about a new grandchild, when my daughter is hostile to me and we do not have relationship. I wish them, sincerely all the best, but I am not able to continue with this charade.

    My dilemma is to do the right thing under the circumstances. But what is the right thing?

    1. Tamdog

      Hi Monica,
      I understand how you feel. it is horrible to be in such a dilemma. If you pick up the phone it gives her a chance to find something else wrong with you. I have been there and I am learning to not be there anymore.

      I learned a very valuable thing that I now say to myself all the time: I am only responsible for what I say and how I meant it, I am only responsible for my own heart and my own intentions- I am not responsible for how the other person took what I said- or the meaning or interpretation they put on what I said.

      Obviously she hears things and communicates differently than you do. Sometimes it is a personality trait- two people can hear the same words and give it different meaning. It may be as frustrating to her as it is to you.

      Whether it is by letter- or phone keep it simple; I was glad to hear from you. Congratulations! I am happy for you. Perhaps sit down one day and write out a good script. place it by the phone for when she calls and read it; “Hi daughter, it is good to hear from you. How are you? Wow that sounds ( hard, great, nice)
      I have been ( gardening, watching so and so, reading) Oh my- I need to jump off now, good to talk.

      The more precise and short our conversations are the less chance for misinterpretation. Don’t go into feelings – your health- or details of your life.

      If she is still calling you – even though she gets mad- she must still crave a relationship. Read ” I don’t have to make everything all better by Gary Lundberg, and Co- dependent no more by Melody Beattie.
      It will help you to see that you can not control how others think, react or feel. When you get that settled in your mind everyone else can sense that you have changed and they can not manipulate you with their emotions and interpretations.
      You asked what is the right things to do? Love yourself- accept you may make mistakes- talk to her when you can be sincere and calm, but do not let it send you into depression and doubt when you hang up.
      Hang it up and say: I can not be responsible for how she took what I said, I am only responsible for how I meant it.

      Blessings Monica, accept peace and love yourself. You have a right to be happy and free.

  41. Cala

    Thank you for this survey. I read about it and your site in the book (that is so helpful!). My son is estranged 5+ years and its about time for me to love him and let him go. I refuse to stay sad and spend my life crying. I’m DONE with the crying (what a great title!).

  42. MaryAnn

    2009 I got diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer it was in ny armpit as well.Treatment chemo both breasts removed. 2010 husband of 25 yrs dies of drug overdose..2013 mother dies suddenly iof a brain hemmorage no warning.she was my everything.2014 father passes away but not before he asks for forgiveness for molesting me as a little what a whirlwind of emorion.My 3 grown ass immature daugjters decided it would be a great idea to tblame mom for dads overdose and oldest and middle girl both have alcohol youngest almost died. From snorting pain pills and noone called me and let me know she migjtt die my moddle daughter is using pills as well and during pregnamcy as well.With all the loss in the short amount of time sorry i was a sappy sad mess.They told me i was on apitty party.none of them had any comfort to me.They tell everyone they were abused as kids what?? They shouldve lived in my house lol now that was abuse..I have been blamed for theirr dad killing himself i have been told because i shit out a kid doesnt make me a mother??I jhave been blamed for stealing money and possessions. which i would never.They call me names and disrespect me all the time.I dont get mothers day cards no phone calls no borthday cards.they use my grandbabies as tools.that hurts me more than oldest girl is always trying to tell me who where what why and how about my 48 yrs old. Tells me im. Not being responsible when i wanna have a drink to relax. Tells me how to act how to do things?? Wtf??she says its not her responsibility to make sure. I i see my. Grandson.. Or have a relationship with him??She never lets me lnow when things are going on so i can have a part in ir with him. .She lets her husband disrespect me and make me cry. Youngest tdaughter says im not her mother and i never will see those grandboys. My middle daughter has always had a problem with lying and manipulating people and situations. before her baby was born I. Was told i would nevet be a part of babys. Life ever.They are all so angry I am too but we have to move forward at some point…my oldest daughter and her husband seem to think I must kiss their iasses forever because they allowed me to stay with them until my home was ready to move into. I always get beat up with we fed you we gave you a peice of floor to sleep on what do they want?? I took care of thieir son for 3 wks 6 days a week 12 hrs a day he is 2 and i asked for nothing in return.Is that not appreciation and grattitude??Im at a loss and it almost feels llike i am mourning death all pver again.I just cant undetstand? My life will not go on forever they will all have to deal with those feelings.and they will miss mom.promise you that..I miss my mom everyday and could never imagine treating her that way..Why do they hate me so much?
    .you are not grateful enough?? Do i have to send thank you cards daily?? What do they want from me??I am at a loss for words.My heart dried up in mt chest.I feel alone and scared..Im too the. Point where im just gonna walk away and not look back..I have extended the olive nranch more than once i am the only one putting effort into. Fixing things? and it is physically making me ill. They have no care for me or about me a simple text or phone vall ti make sure im alive and ok would be nice.Thet cant find one second for that??. They make me feel llike a nussiance. Likevim a bother Tney are ashamedbof me??, I dont get it?? And I dont know what else i can do?? I love them but the behaviors are beyond stupid now…The hatefulness is disgusting..How do you treat the woman that raised you. And was there after school for you. How does anyone do that??

  43. Dawn

    Our oldest son and his wife decided that we didn’t know how to have healthy relationships and our son is holding a grudge from the past we know nothing about. We are going on our fourth year of never seeing our four grandchildren, one of whom was born during the estrangement and we have never met. We are not allowed to send any thing, cards, gifts, e-mails, texts and no holiday gifts, absolutely nothing! We did everything they asked us to do, like getting counseling, we went to two counselors for they weren’t satisfied with the first one. Both said we are healthy adults and there is nothing wrong with us. The first year I thought it would blow over, but when the second year came I realized this is for real and when into a depression. Now, I am finally coming out of it and am hoping things get back to normal as much as possible even though we still are estranged and there is still hurt and pain. These are our only grandchildren and we are missing out on an important part of their lives, our oldest will graduate in three years and we believe we will miss that too. I pray everyday for a breakthrough and am hoping it will come, though I am realistic to also know this may never reconcile us as a family.

  44. Jocelyn

    I don’t feel so alone anymore…

    I have been estranged from my 3 children for close to 5 years now. They will be having children of their own soon, and I will become a grandfather who really will not be one. I try to look at the positive in my life, but every now and then, I sink back into dark thoughts.

  45. Annie

    Sorry you too are struggling with this. We are all here for you. Do get Sheri’s book as it will help you gain perspective. Blessings to you. Annie

  46. Angela

    My name is Angie and I’m blessed I found this web sight I my self have a daughter who is the devil herself she has hurt me her whole life she is loving one minute and hates you the next I’m 46 years old and she’s 25 she will always blame me for her faults she cheats on her husband and comes to my home out of no where and says multiple times he kicked me out . She’s went as far as punching me in the face. Cause she was out drinking all night she lost my one grandson who is now 6and I haven’t seen him since he was 3 . She’s due to have another man’s son but still with a worthless, controlling a** hole who hates the ground I walk on and tells me he wishes I was dead and her as well I tried for so long that my mind soul and body and spirit is tired I’ll always love her but I gotta let her fall and learn the hard way. Cause this mom is going to stand strong and learn to find happiness I lost it long ago there’s not one thing she’s says nice about me lost friends family and that’s it no more . I like to started mother’s group some how bring ppl together like us all . We don’t need to be victims of our children’s behaviors . Love to all

    1. Sean

      I think that you are heading in the right direction. A support group could affirm decisions that you may be relutant to make and could rally to your side when you must persevere through choises which are in your best interest, but distances you from your daughter. There no room for physical abuse and it may be necessary to bar your daughter from entry to your house regardless of the consequences that she may face.

  47. Georgie B

    I am concerned that perhaps my son could become estranged from me. I realize he is growing up and I have given him room for that. It’s just that today was Christmas day and my husband and I went to see him and his wife at their house. I have not seen them for a while, and my son acted rather indifferent towards me today. It has been this way for some time, but today his cutting remarks deeply hurt me. Of course he is becoming a man, I understand that, but all I wanted was a little time to spend with him. I guess from now on, I will just have to learn to back off and not say anything. I am very wounded and feel much like a failure. It’s going to
    take me some time to get past this. It feels like a knife jabbing in my soul; very painful indeed.

  48. Annie

    So sorry Georgie. It is pitiful how these adult children can make us feel. I don’t have a son; only daughters, but I know there’s mention of a special kind of bond between a mother and son. Maybe he is just trying to separate himself to become that man as you mentioned. Within time maybe he’ll bounce back and figure out he can still be a man and need his mother too. Never the less, I’m sure it hurts you that he seems indifferent and distant. Just a few thoughts here. I certainly hope you don’t end up like so many of us rejected and abandoned. My thoughts are with you. This is a safe place for you to vent. We are all here for one another. Hope the new year brings you a better future with your son. Annie

  49. Pierre D

    I got ‘the note’ from my pregnant daughter yesterday, the day after Christmas, indicating she no longer wanted to pursue a father-daughter relationship. I’m still in shock, there was no indication this was going to happen. With the things I’ve read today and the comments given, I’m taking the wait and see approach, because I really have no other choice. I look at the positive and negative experiences we’ve had and I’ve come to the conclusion I did the best I could. It was her decision, so the ball is in her court. All I can do is hope and wait and make myself busy with my other five children and the hobbies I enjoy and try not to dwell too much on what has happened or I’ll get depressed and start writing run-on sentences like this one. Life goes on, doesn’t it?!

    1. rparents Post author

      Yes, Pierre. Life does go on! Your good attitude will surely help you as you move on and take good care of yourself. Yes, enjoy your other children and your hobbies, etc. And if you need to return and write a run-on sentence now and again, you’re welcome here.

      Sheri McGregor

  50. Annie

    I’m sure you did the best you could. It’s great that you realize that right out of the shoot;). I’m sorry this abrupt announcement on your daughters part had to be announced at all , much less this time of year when family should feel especially close. Maybe her situation has something to do with her emotional state? It doesn’t give these adult children the right to pull us up through a knot hole, as my friend would tell me. It’s so painful and difficult to understand. I don’t think for a minute that any of us are in denial about our situations. As you’ve read here; the majority of us do not have any answers as to why this happens to good parents. The behavior is abusive and disrespectful and we do not deserve to be treated with such distane. Good for you for venting and reaching out. It’s the healthy thing to do. We’re all here for each other. We may not have answers but there’s a lot of care and support here. I’m glad you have other children close to you. Hang in there and your story helps others Pierre.
    Blessings, Annie

  51. melissa

    i am so glad i stumbled on to this.
    until this past weekend i had no idea there were others feeling the same grief and sense of failure i am feeling.
    thank you

  52. Shirley

    I enjoyed my children greatly while they were young until they decided I no longer meet their expectations. My adult children decided I was not good enough for them in today’s ever changing trend. But that is their choice. I chose not to battle with them and acknowledge that it was no-win situation. Life is too short to be engaged in suffering. I have moved onward past their opinions and have decided to live and be happy and be grateful for all life has to give.

  53. Ellie

    My daughter is 23 and she told me she wants me to leave her alone. One day she was sending me normal, happy texts, voluntarily sharing what is going on in her life and then, without any warning – she blames me for every little misfortune she has encountered in life and tells me she wants me to leave her alone completely. I don´t understand what is going on, but I have suspicions that she has been using drugs and that has changed her personality completely. When I first had these suspicions, I told her that if she needs any help, we will do everything we can: get an apartment from a new town, pay doctors and therapists, she can come home when ever she wants etc. But she does not admit she has any problem and now I am suddenly a terrible monster that has ruined her whole life. This situation is driving me crazy, we were very close, we both had our own lives but we shared silly jokes and were always aware what is going on in each others lives. I feel helpless, ashamed, alone.
    All this is effecting my day to day life, I see nightmares, I can´t eat, some days (like today) I just cry all day. Some days are better, but there is this underlying worry present all the time and I wonder if I can ever be happy again. The way she has been towards me has been so terrible that I wonder if we can ever go back to where we were. I´m willing to forgive everything in a heartbeat to be close to her again.

    1. rparents Post author

      Dear Ellie,

      I hope your daughter will come to her senses, too. In the meantime, all the worry in the world will not change what’s happening.

      Sometimes, asking the worst fears—–What if we don’t reconcile? What if it never goes back to the way it was?—-can be a starting point to honestly assess our ability to do a darned thing to change the circumstances. And then the question becomes more like, oh, so I can’t do anything about that, but in MY life, day-to-day, and for my future, there are things I CAN do (to feel better, to plan for more security for myself, to help other people, to take care of my health, etc.

      In the book, there are plans and tools to help people focus on what they CAN take charge of, and be happy. Hope can remain, of course. It’s not about giving up necessarily.

      Please take care of yourself, Ellie. You are a kind and loving human being, and your daughter may come back to you. In the meantime, please be good to yourself.

      Sheri McGregor

    2. Hope

      Ellie — I’m experiencing the same nightmare with my 28 year old daughter. The pain is excruciating. I’m at the point where I don’t know what to do or say. I can’t help but think drugs, mental illness, or both are to blame for the sudden unprovoked, irrational mood and perspective shifts. I’ve gone through years of turmoil, but the situation has become much worse lately after my husband decided enough is enough. We finally stood firm and stopped handing over money. Now, I guess we’re being punished. It tears me apart seeing my daughter who had so much potential and sweetness just throw her life away. She is deceitful, manipulative, disrespectful — and it just kills me. She has stolen from us, lied to us, walked out or been fired from 20 plus jobs, been arrested, but at the same time has a college degree, and talks about her faith, vision for her life, health and fitness — and continuously tells us that we just “don’t get it.” We used to laugh together and talk endlessly, but no more. I try to call and leave short “thinking about you” or “miss you” messages, but when she does reply, it’s to tell me to stop being “fake nice.” It helps knowing I’m not alone.

  54. gina

    The commitment which we have to Mother our children is second to none.
    I feel very heroic being a mother who never was lazy, who did the best I knew how to, and the best I could. Creating for my daughter opportunities supporting her and cheering along to experience a full, creative life, today I see as the biggest mistake I made. At 62 I now understand the simple mathematics, that which means, the more we receive, the less we feel we do. We raised our children to have the sense of the entitlement, that which instead of allowing them to have a satisfying life, it is leaving them with the sense of receiving never enough.
    My favourite joke illustrates this concept best:
    a beggar is walking in one shoe and smiling. A well dressed businessmen is walking toward him with the expression of anger and arrogance asking the beggar: why are you smiling stupid, you lost one shoe. To this the beggar replies: oh no dear sir! I did not lose one shoe, I found one.

    The every additional experience, opportunity and material good we provided for our child is chipping away a chance for her to develop the gratitude. And only when we carry a true gratitude for everything and everyone in our life, we can be happy.
    I remember what a huge happy event it was to receive a pair of new shoes when I was little. because receiving a one pair of beautiful shoes was receiving a 100% of something I did not have. If we have 20 pairs of shoes, the next pair feels already only as 5%. If we have 50 pairs, one more feels as only 2%. with every additional thing we receive, it feels less and less. And this is not only why billionaire’s greed is ever growing, this is also why our children’s entitlement to our time, our energy, our carrying, our patience, our money, our properties, our privileges is growing as well. The more we give them, the less they feel they are receiving.
    My daughter was slowly minimizing our contact in the past year. She stopped responding to my emails and messages all together about 2 months ago. At first I was looking for glitches in the technology. Never did it cross my mind that she would cut me off from her life. She never gave me a reason.
    My reaction was a typical in all the stages to every mother’s confession I eventually read in search for some understanding.
    I was unaware of the epidemic proportions of the adult children cutting off all the ties with their parents.
    Thank you for your book I just bought today to survive the Mother’s Day.
    I am here for support and sharing my story of my broken heart in hopes it will add to the support for other mother’s broken hearts. And to thank all Mother’s, because only a mother knows that there is absolutely nothing more difficult than being a parent. I am not interested in any academic dissertations especially from men psychiatrists and psychologists, and especially those who are not mothers. I will not blame anyone including myself. I am just going to learn to deal with the pain which resides in my heart. I am very grateful for all your work, posts, stories and your presence.
    Any adult child who is reading here I would invite to write 1001 reasons to be grateful for your Mother . Maybe even to write a song about her. I think US is the only country where loving songs about mothers don’t exist.
    I must confess, I was expecting on Mother’s Day even if just 3 words email from my daughter. Her silence is as definitive about her estrangement as the nail to the coffin.
    I am off to the hammock to read Done With The Crying, even if not done with the crying. Thank you for providing this platform, with hugs to all Moms.

    1. Hope

      Gina — I love the way you write (I’m an English teacher and appreciate your “voice”). More importantly, what you said is comforting, matter of fact wisdom that I shall cling to when the “what ifs ” and “if onlys” creep into my thoughts.

  55. Vicki T

    I never imagined I would be in this situation with one of my children.

    What I keep thinking is this: What is this child going to feel when his mother passes on? I can’t relate

    1. rparents Post author

      Oh Vicki,
      I’m so sorry. Please stay in this moment because it’s just terrible to go into all the what-ifs and whys, and the truth is, he may have regret and they will be his to own and live with. Please take care of yourself … and enjoy your other children who love you and are near.

      Sheri McGregor

  56. Bruised & Battered

    It’s been nine months for me. I have five adult children. Their rather and I divorced when they were 7,8, 12, 14 and 17. All of them but the next to the oldest and the youngest, have gone through a period of time when they wanted nothing to do with me.

    Our divorce was bitter and ugly. My ex-husband was and still is bitter and he has tried his very best to make my children hate me and to be honest, he’s done a very good job at it. I once asked him if he could see the damage he was doing as we had children using drugs and drinking and skipping school. He responded with, “Yes, but it’s too late now. What do you expect me to do about it?”

    Fast forward almost ten years, and all of the children speak to me EXCEPT the next to the oldest who was always so mature and a “rock”. She was the one who could see through her dad. She was the one who did not run off to live with him as soon as she was old enough to decide. She was smart enough to realize it would not be a good idea for her to do that.

    But, now after four years of marriage she has decided to act out on all the bitterness she must have been bottling up all these years. She got really angry about nine months ago because I asked her for a ride somewhere. I was visiting her home from out of state and wanted to see my son. I know now that it really had nothing to do with me wanting a ride. It was just her bitterness finally boiling over.

    I flew home on Monday after that weekend and she has not spoken to me since. I did get a lot of nasty text messages from her and her husband but no phone calls. I saw her a couple of months ago at my son’s wedding but she would not speak to me. I asked for a hug and she gave me one grudgingly. I asked how long before this would be over. She and her husband told me, “Now is not a good time.”

    Her husband has told me I am not allowed to call her or text her and that any message I have has to go through him. He has told me I am evil and a poisonous person and I will never be allowed to have a close relationship with my daughter again. I have apologized for any and everything I may ever have done since the time she as born.

    I know I was not a perfect parent and I know that no child should ever have to go through a divorce. I know it was hard. I know I probably leaned on her more than I should have. She was the oldest left at home so she was more aware of everything than the other three.

    It hurts because she was the one who always told me to quit apologizing and to quit being hard on myself, that she was fine and I was a good mom. Now I am a horrible mom and a wicked, evil person who does not deserve to be a part of their lives.

    I was there for her for everything. I forgave her husband (at the time boyfriend) when he performed a sexual act on my daughter, in my living room, in front of an open window, and exposed my two youngest children to it when we were coming in from church. It traumatized them both and was a horrible experience for our family. But, I forgave him. I loved him and I supported their marriage six months later. I helped pay for the wedding and have been nothing but supportive of their marriage.

    When he was in a bad accident I started a fund raiser for them and raised over $10,000.00. I told people all over the world what a wonderful couple they were and how proud I was of them. My husband gave them a vehicle when they needed a second one. Just thing after thing we have done for them, aside from having raised my daughter and doing all the things a mother would normally do.

    All of this and then I was just dumped like I am nothing. Funny thing is, the father whom she always said she had no respect for is now getting double attention. She now has holiday gatherings where everyone gets invited. It’s like she is showing me that I am not capable of being a good mother, so she has to step in and be the mother for me.

    It hurts terribly. I know I wasn’t perfect and I made mistakes but I love my children and always did my best to be sure they were well taken care of. I worked hard and even had times where I took in line at the food pantry to be sure we had food to eat because her father would not pay his child support.

    Now I am just trying to keep from letting bitterness come into my heart. It is hard. I know God is in control and he knows what is going on but it is still hard. My son-in-law’s father is a pastor and my daughter and her husband attend church, help in Sunday school, sing specials, help with special events and yet think it is okay to treat me the way they are. They say they forgive me but their actions do not show that. Forgiveness means reconciliation on some level. It does not mean that you continue to ignore and cut out people from your life.

    This is the first time I have been able to completely get this off my chest. I hope it is a step towards me being able to heal. Thank you for having this site here for hurting people. It looks like there are a lot of us.

    1. Jan

      @ Bruised and Battered: I am right there with you. And although if I had words of wisdom for you, I’d also have them for myself, and yet there are none. It makes no sense. I raised my granddaughter from the time she was 2, and fought hell itself to protect and provide for her. I even worked two jobs to give her all that I could possibly provide. And I’ve been tossed away, like a discarded toy. It sounds to me as if, like me, you were too good to your kids and somehow, the way they internalized our love and generosity has run awry.

      B & B, there are no perfect parents. Babies do not come with a set of operating instructions. We do the best we can, and as painful as it is for us to accept, for some people, even some of our kids, it just isn’t good enough – but know this: no matter what – you do not deserve the way you are being treated. It is selfish, thoughtless, and careless disregard for the mother that gave her life, and I truly believe that somehow, some way she, like my granddaughter, will someday realize the mistake she’s made.

      By best to you.

  57. M

    Sin separates any child from his or her parents. No parents are perfect, all parents try their best to raise their children in the right way. Some children totally reject the values and wisdom of the parents once they are raised. It is rebellion and a spirit of hatred in the adult child that leads to the abandonment of parents and siblings. Many adult children believe that once they are adults, they can cut ties with their parents. They no longer need their parents. They just want to be on their own and left alone to do as they please. There is no commitment from adult children to help their parents, provide companionship to the parents, be present with the parents. This is part of the inborn personality of some adult children. Very sad reality of the way it is with some of our adult children.

  58. Gina tezeno

    Wow I’m so thankful to know I’m not alone. I am a christian single mother who has an adult son who grew up in a home where he was greatly loved. I divorced 10 yrs ago to his father who had a alcoholic problem, which at the time I shielded him from most of the bad behavior that came from that mostly verbal abuse towards me from his father and after 28 yrs I had to leave the house or my well being was in jeopardy. My son graduated college landed a job at Nasa, doing great until his father passed suddenly after being away at his job for 5 yrs. I thought he was handling the grief well until several months after his death my son became I’ll and was diagnosed with an incurable muscle disease which was caused by a mold infested building he lived in. After being hospitalized several times for critical things, this last few weeks has been devastating to me because he just picked up and left home. I don’t know where he is and he won’t call. Not only did he just take off he left all of his medication. I don’t know what to do or think. I’m crying alot, praying, and searching for answers as to where did I go wrong, why won’t he contact me. We had an awesome relationship I don’t understand. He began to isolate after his illness. Someone comment please

  59. Janet

    Yesterday, my estranged son, of two years, walked right past me, in the doorway of a local grocery store. He most definitely saw me. He looked right at me and kept on walking. I said, “you’re not even going to say hello to your mother?’ He picked up his pace and out to the parking lot he went. This is despicable, as far as I’m concerned. I did nothing to deserve this…absolutely, nothing. Actually, I didn’t give him, something he wanted….my late,Father’s house. I’m really tired of grown children acting this way towards their parents. Seems to be an epidemic these days. So sorry, for all of you.

  60. Greg H.


    This Thanksgiving Day will mark six years to the day that the events leading to being estranged from my children cascaded into motion. My sons(2 adult) have reason to be angry with me and to feel betrayed. I understand that, I own my decisions, my mistakes, my actions. I have apologized in person and in writing, and have asked that they listen to my side of the story, only to see things from my perspective. I have done what I can to atone. I am working on forgiving myself. I forgave my sons for their response.

    I recognize the heartbreak in the posts I read, I get it. I share what you feel, and I am truly sad when I think about each of you and how much you hurt from your loss. My prayers to out to all parents and children seperated by anger or other things.

    It is said that time is the great healer. And for me, to some extent, and on many days, this has been true. But not all days.

    I have learned to cope with the loss the best I believe that I can, each holiday and year seems just a little bit easier. I feel like my coping skills are on a plateau, and that has to be okay, because that’s it.

    The thing I cannot move past is hope, and how clinging to it brings more pain to me than comfort.

    When I was a child, one of the many messages I learned as we studied religon and faith was “hope is ever present even when not immediately at hand.” This message carried me through the dark days in my life. In the first two-three years after my children seperated from me, I held on to this dearly precious belief, but slowly I began to realize holding onto hope hurt too much. When I let hope creep back in, it hurts again, too much again. I started to think and live as though I would never have contact with my sons again. I pushed hope away. As difficult as it was, I was able to start moving on, brokenhearted, but upright.

    About eight months ago, an accident involving another family member thrust my sons and me back together briefly at a hospital bedside. My oldest son asked to talk with me for a few minutes. He said that he had been considering reconciliation prior to this incident. He stated that he was very uncertain about how much contact he wanted and how often, and more to the point the distance he wanted to keep me at. I have been following his cues, contact since is limited to responding to the occassional text messages I initiate.

    During the first few days of our conversation, I was reeling, believing prayers answered, hope realized. But as time passed and I accepted the reconcilation as limited and conditional, I started to really question myself and the situation. Its’ my son’s gesture, I have made peace with the decision to meet him where he is and accept that. But with more pain now. It was actually easier when I had no contact. I have decided to keep hope of a reconciliation with my youngest son at bay.

    I am curious how you feel about hope and what it means to you, and if you have been stronger than me and able to keep it close. I would love to hear your thoughts on this.

    Thank you for listening. I sincerely wish you all the best for the holidays and that you find peace.


    1. Lynne

      Hello, Your question about what does hope mean to me ??? My years of estrangement were always filled with hope. This feeling of hope has helped me to survive. As the years have gone by the hopeful feeling is still there but not nearly as strong. The periods where my two grown children were in my life were so painful. When they chose to estranged again and again I suffered each and every time. You could Just say I don’t get my hopes up hardly at all now. I have reached the time now where I say to myself…it is what it is. It took many years of having hope and never seeing their heart change toward me that I had to give up hope. I used to think that oh no I can never give up hope. But I have reached a place that if I hope I also feel disappointment when nothing happens. It is such a sad time but I now believe necessary to find that place of acceptance. When I found this place I found peace and also joy. I place all my hope now in the Lord. I hope this helps you in some way. Sending prayers for you today.

  61. Greg H

    Holding hope at bay for some things does not need to mean hopelessness in all things.

    A few days before Thanksgiving, I posted an open question; what role does hope play in your journey?

    For me, the eventual realization and acceptance that holding on to the hope that my children would change their minds and seek reconciliation kept me in an unhealthy and painful stasis, was a quiet but marked turn on my journey.

    When we hope, we wish for something to be realized that is not. Hope is inextricably linked to fatih. Faith is the belief in something without evidence. Without hope, we cannot have faith.

    Some time ago I read some thoughts shared by a terminally ill man shared late in his journey. He reflected on how precious our life is, the inevitable joy and pain we experience, and how try as we may, many things come our way that we did not invite nor have absolutely any control over. Perhaps like many others, I have have struggled to reconcile why bad things happen to seemingly good people. And like some I am sure, this deliberation has tested my faith. I was struck at how this man made peace with this sorrowful thing in his life that he didn’t ask for.

    I keep part of a passage from Romans 15:13: ” Our hope is not one that will leave us empty.”, in mind as I think about what hope means to me. Just because I have put hope that things with my sons will some how change, that things will go back to what they used to be, at bay, does not mean that I have surrendered hope for other things in my life. Far from it.

    Whether we are believers in a god, or not, we can find hope and faith, in ourselves. I don’t mean to suggest that we set aside the belief in our own god or that hope and faith in ourselves supplants that which we hold in a higher power. Again, far from it. Much hope, faith and comfort can reside in our hearts. It is a great gift to nurture ourselves. From what might seem like tiny seeds or unattainable things, can grow into gifts we give ourselves.

    Perhaps fittingly, I suggest that we hang around with the concept of “Thanksgiving” just a little bit longer. One of my associates published a great quote and I will shamelessly republish it ” Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.- Cicero”.

    When I feel sad and question why I have been rejected, I remind myself that 1) even though my sons have a reason to be angry at me, I have done all that I can to make amends and atone. It was their decision to step away, turn their backs, and not talk to me about my perspective, and 2) There isn’t a damn thing I can do about their decisions or state of mind.

    While thankfully never an addict or alcohoic, I have often recited the Serenity Prayer to ask my God for the strength to accept that which I cannot change. And I still do, even as I share my thoughts with you.

    I am grateful for the things I have. I am grateful my tired and aching body can still walk. I am grateful that my eyes, although in need of assistance now, still allow me to read and enjoy the beauty of the robins in the tree outside my window, the red sky at day’s end. I am grateful for a mind that can still reason and a heart that can mend from sorrow.

    I also practice strong self care. Be kind to yourself, you deserve it.

    On this first day Advent, those of us who practice Christianity honor the custom of waiting in anticpation. This is an expression of the hope and faith of our religious belief.

    As you enter the holiday season and wait for Christmas, it is my prayer for you that you set aside the things that make you lonely and sad, and find things in your life to hope for that fullfill you.

    Thank you for listening.

    1. Marti

      Greg, thank you for your beautifully enlightening words that have comforted and lifted me immensely just now when I needed them most. I’m reminded again of the words of the Serenity Prayer, and you’re right, we must continue to be kind to ourselves. We do deserve it!

  62. Pam

    My daughter and we’re always very close. In 2003 she met a young man not of our faith. Her boyfriend of almost two years had broken up with her and this man swooped in. As parents we felt that it was a rebound and her behavior changed. We caught her is several lies about the relationship. He did join our faith but I later found out it was because our daughter gave him an ultimatum. I admit I did not handle myself the best way. I did not like this guy. I didn’t like that my daughters behavior toward her family had changed and I blamed him. My older son started dating my daughters best friend. She was hesitant to meet us. After two weeks she (E) was engaged to our son and my daughter (A) was furious. The reason came out soon enough. Our daughter and told E horrible things about us. From physical abuse to just being rotten parents. E told our daughter to get out of the house ASAP. But when E met us and spent time with us she realized our daughter has lied to her as well. Within months our daughter left with her boyfriend. He dropped her at a friends house 100 miles away and he went home to CA. I chose not to speak with her for a couple of weeks. In that time our daughter found out it believed that her boyfriend was about to break up with her. She jumped on a bus and went to CA. Then she stayed. A few months later his mom called and said we needed to bring her back. She needed help. We did. We got her some counseling but after 5 weeks she went back to her boyfriend. She contacted us a year later when she and her boyfriend had broken up. She talked about coming home. She sent Christmas gifts. Then she stopped communicating again. Then in November of 2007 she called to say she had gotten married. I contacted our new son in laws mother and she told me that she thought we had been invited to the wedding. Nope. Fast forward another 2 years. Our daughter cane home to see her younger brother return from a church mission. Then 10 months later she cane with her husband to our sons wedding. We had a great visit. I made sure our son in law was welcomed. I took him aside and apologized to him for not being very welcoming to him when they were dating. He told me there was no need for apologies. What was in the past was the past. My daughter was pregnant. A few months later she asked me to come to CA when the baby was born. My youngest daughter who was 12 at the time drove out. We had a nice visit. Her husband asked us to come back in April for the baby’s blessing. So my husband, youngest daughter, my son, his wife and their two daughters went out there. While there off things happened. Then the day of the blessing during the service my daughter husband stood up yelled f*** this, walked out. Our daughter told us later that he was always threatening divorce. My husband drove our daughter to her house with the baby and she went in to her husband. Later that night she called to tell us that her husband called off divorcing her as long as she promised not to have anything to do with us. And that we could never see our granddaughter again. In the following years our daughter cane home once because she said she was having an emotional break down and her husband sent her to us for a week. But she wasn’t allowed to bring our granddaughter. Since then she has little to no communication with us. When she does it causes pain. She refuses to see that there is anything wrong with her relationship with her husband. My theory is that she lied to her husband just like she lied to her best friend about us. To tell him the truth that she was never abused would prove to him she lied and based much of their relationship on the lies. He is also a police officer. I do not follow my daughter on social media. I have over the years asked when her husband opinion of us might change. The last time I asked she said it was getting better. She could actually mention us in front of him and he didn’t get mad. She told my youngest daughter last year in a text that her husband has compromised and given up so much for her that she feels it only right to abide by his wishes not to be a part of our family. According to several of her friends and our extended family members who follow her on social media she has made comments leading people to believe she sees us often and that she’s close to us. I’ve had family members tell me how excited they are to see the reconciliation. I have to tell them that our daughter is lying. I’ve called her out on this but she never gives a straight answer. She avoids the conversation by saying “I love you mama “ and that’s usually it.


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