Estranged parents, are you really estranged?
One mom mentioned receiving an email from her daughter. Although this was the first contact in a very long time, the mom wondered, “Am I still estranged?”
Her question echoes that of many estranged parents. If you finally get a response from an adult child who has ignored you, are you still “estranged”? Does receiving a phone call, a letter, a birthday card, or some other contact, change everything? What if you get a birthday card and a Christmas card? Do two cards mean you are no longer estranged? What about two phone calls plus a text? Let’s see.
Estranged parents, how ya’ feeling?
At Dictionary.com, the word “estranged” is defined like this: displaying or evincing a feeling of alienation; alienated. It’s an adjective that describes a way of feeling.
If you feel estranged, then you are. There are no hard and fast definition rules that rely on technicalities.
Am I an estranged parent, or maybe just a semi-estranged parent?
Some people define limited contact such as an occasional call or email as “semi-estranged.” If that works for you, use it. But if occasional contact is the standard, who’s to decide what’s “occasional”? Again, there are no rules here.
If describing yourself as “only” or “just” semi-estranged makes you feel as if your pain from estrangement should be less hurtful than a parent’s “full” estrangement with absolutely no contact, then don’t qualify your definition of estrangement.
Estranged parents, period.
Some parents with no contact say they prefer complete silence than having some contact with an estranged adult child. I know, I know. . . . Some estranged parents can’t imagine saying that. Well, for parents who have received a couple of calls or texts, only to get excited about the possibility of more communication – – which doesn’t come – – the high of hope followed by the crashing let down is just too painful. In some families, estranged parents are drained of cash from giving and giving and giving. They recognize a need to replenish their stores for their retirement phase, so cringe at the thought of their estranged adult child making contact and asking for even more.
Each situation is unique, so comparing our situation to another estranged parent’s circumstances, feelings or solutions may not be helpful.
Estranged parents, you’re on both sides of the estrangement equation
While “estranged” describes feelings, the word “estrange” is a verb, so denotes action. To “estrange” is defined as follows: to remove, to keep at a distance.
Despite some form of contact, you may still feel as if you’re kept at a distance or removed from your adult child’s life. To define yourself, your feelings, therefore, are also important on this side of the equation.
So, where does your estranged adult child fit into the equation? It’s something many of us wonder. Would my estranged adult son consider us “estranged”? I think he would, but then he did recently send a text. Does that mean he doesn’t feel as if we’re estranged? If he doesn’t feel estranged, then am I really an estranged parent?
Simply put, this site exists to help and support estranged parents. Although in many situations estranged adult children are also hurting, for now we’ll leave out the adult child’s definitions.
Estranged parents, determine your own definition (if it helps)
Parents use a lot of words to describe their feelings about a distant relationship with an adult child. You may feel rejected, abandoned, forsaken, alienated, dismissed, discarded, or kept at a distance. In some situations, terms like “cash cow,” or “on call” even come up as parents describe themselves as related to the parent and adult child relationship. Again, if you feel distanced, you can call yourself “distanced,” or put another word in its place.
Some parents describe the experience as feeling betrayed. One way to move toward recovery after a betrayal is to no longer allow the betrayer to define you, your feelings or your thoughts about yourself.
Estranged, abandoned, rejected, discarded, neglected parents – welcome. At this site, many estranged parent scenarios, with some or no contact, will be explored.
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