The turning point

by Sheri McGregor, M.A.

rejected by sonAll over the world, as businesses shuttered and people sheltered in place during the Covid-19 lockdown, parents rejected by adult children began to hope. Maybe their sons and daughters would have a change of heart. Unfortunately, for the vast majority of members to my Rejected Parents Facebook page and/or this site, their hope was fruitless.

For those who did hear from their estranged adult children, it was by text, in conversations  that often went something like this:

How are you?

Dad and I are fine. How about you? Are you and XX okay?


That’s good. I’ve been thinking of you. Love you guys.

Then comes S-I-L-E-N-C-E.

done with the cryingAs the social distancing and isolation has continued, more and more parents have expressed their dismay. If a pandemic can’t get a wayward son or daughter to care about them, then nothing will.

Have you experienced this sort of letdown? Did you hope, maybe send a text or two, yet receive little or nothing in response?

Many moms and dads call the lack of concern shameful, a disgrace. Deafening silence or a a bare minimum response triggers a resurgence of all their emotional pain. Even parents who have worked hard to regain their footing feel bewildered and rejected again. They find themselves back to asking WHY?

Don’t Get Stuck

The takeaway from this pandemic is something others have learned in other ways:

  • A father whose heart attack and near-death experience didn’t prompt his daughters to care or call.
  • A mother whose life-threatening illness brought nothing but meanness, and accusations the disease was her own damn fault.
  • A parent whose adult children didn’t care when a grandparent faced life-and-death circumstances or a beloved family pet died.

Don’t get stuck in the sad stage. Don’t allow the shocking cruelty of someone you once knew and loved to dictate your life.

Turning point

Is this pandemic, and the lack of care or concern from your estranged adult child, a turning point? Make positive changes for yourself now. You’ve done your best to love your child, to empathize, to try to understand….

If there was ever a turning point, this is it. What will you do to change for the better?

I hope that you will use my book, Done With The Crying, to help yourself. It’s available in paperback, as an e-book, and on audio. If you get the e- or audio book, be sure to get the accompanying Done With The Crying WORKBOOK: for Parents of Estranged Adult Children so you don’t miss the exercises.  What can you do today to fight past the shock and dismay, and move toward your own healing and happiness? The book’s exercises offer specific assistance to aid your journey forward.

If you already have the book, what did you find most useful? I hope you will leave a comment. Parents who come to this website find relief in knowing there are other parents who understand.

Hugs (and happy Mother’s Day 2020).

Sheri McGregor

Related reading

Put on your 2020 vision

Do your questions keep you stuck?

Join the newsletter

Subscribe to get our latest content by email.

We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit

99 thoughts on “The turning point

  1. AvatarJoanne

    Dear Sheri McGregor and any group members who have walked in my shoes…I have read DONE WITH THE CRYING which I keep close by for reference. Your latest theme titled “The turning point” resounds with overtones that scream “stop letting rejection define and disable you!!” You’re so right about Mother’s Day being a goldmine for marketers to push sales with a heavy dose of dutiful pressure. My only daughter who is 45 has estranged herself from me for the last 5 years. Her parenting was viewed as controlling, at which she rebelled. To reiterate one mother’s words, I brought her into this world with no tools for effective parenting. Having brought shame to my own mother by being born illegitimate and lied to about my true identity, I was determined to raise my daughter in the spotlight, not hidden in a closet. As her need for attention grew, her respect for authority dwindled, setting a tone to rebel against rules of convention.

    She sought refuge during those dark, goth teen years through writing and art, choosing to keep company with other non-conformists. During her university years, her path deviated away from mainstream career options, leading her back to pursue a longtime goal of being published which resulted in her first book of short stories. The professor who enabled her to achieve a post-grad degree in creative writing, to phrase it delicately, also tutored her outside of the classroom. Due to inappropriate conduct, he was forced to resign his position, after which he relocated 2000 miles away to his summer writing retreat house in a small, remote fishing village. We heard via a phone call from our daughter that she had decided to join him, where for the next 10 years, she was under the spell of a manipulative egomaniac whose “no parents allowed” rule fuelled the fire of a family unit already in jeopardy. Throughout those years, her father and I continued to offer support near and afar…then when she furthered her education which gained her a prestigious job title in a university library, she moved further away from “the professor” and bought her first house. She asked us for financial assistance towards a down payment, which we’d have never denied her. The distance proved to be a step forward in severing herself from a controlling and abusive relationship. I was hopeful that our daughter was back in our lives. Her dream job soon became a nightmare when authority figures challenged her and the work environment became toxic. It was another setback when, as a concerned parent, I tried to coach her in fighting for her rights. It was sadly misinterpreted by her scathing response in a public blog with words that still cut to the core; e.g. “You’ll call your mom and when you say you want to leave your job, she’ll yell at you and tell you that you’ll never grow up. She tells you you’ve gotten too much in life and she laughs at your ideas and rages at your choices and you decide, after decades of these conversations, it’s time to not call her anymore.”

    Admittedly words of anger were exchanged…they had been building up over the years and exploded with fury in which she denied her heritage and debated “nature vs nurture.” That was the topic of our last conversation over 5 years ago. I struggle daily with guilt and remorse while I’ve exhausted every effort to reconnect with her. Her father meanwhile drove 2000 miles to see her 2 years ago with plans that I would fly there to join him. She refused to see me, saying I was a narcissist. I was devastated. She communicates with him, but is never the one to initiate contact. Even during this pandemic, her Dad was the one to reach out to her…what does that say?

    Will sum this up by saying to other estranged parents…be careful who you trust to share your heartaches about estrangement with. I know from experience that not every friend is able to empathize, thereby the risk of betrayal.

  2. AnnAnn

    Kimberley (May 13th)
    You didn’t deserve any of that. Your story touched my heart and I’m sending my love xx

  3. AvatarJoan

    This morning I will woke up feeling anxious and depressed because of my daughter’s rejection. Then
    I listened to my morning meditation. The priest talked about being loved and being grateful. I have so much to be grateful for, but my sad relationship with my daughter can be a cloud. Today, I will break through the cloud and enjoy all the sun In still have and save a prayer of gratitude. As the priest said often times people fail to love is because of their own brokenness,
    nor ours Praying for all of you today and hope you see some

  4. AvatarMiriam D.

    Should a parent or parents of estranged adult children continue to send birthday cards, anniversary cards? I wonder whether or not the estranged adult child even opens the card received by their parents or whether the estranged adult child even gives their young child a birthday card sent them by their grandparents?

  5. AvatarPam

    For years I’ve struggled with whether or not I should send my estranged daughter a birthday card. My husband (not her father) says I’m the adult in this situation and I should continue to send one so I have. This past birthday, December 2019, I sent a lovely card. When my husband and I attended our grandson’s 4th birthday party in February, there was the card I sent her, unopened, on the counter along with the unopened Valentine’s card I had sent to my grandkids. My heart broke. I have now made up my mind that I won’t send anymore birthday cards to her. That’s it and, no, I don’t feel guilty about it.

  6. AvatarMolly

    I did hear from one of my daughters recently. My heart got so filled with happiness and hope. I had been praying something good would come from covid. I am clinical lab personnel in a regional medical center and I have have been working a lot. After about two texts my daughter informed me she did not want to communicate any other way no visits or verbal contact, text only. I tell my self that a text is better than nothing. If anyone else in the world were to treat me this way I would Not have anything to do with them. After a couple of weeks of polite texting and several reminders of how she is not ready to see me or speak to me, I informed her I am not willing to have someone in my life that feels I am only worth an occasional text.
    I was feeling so well lately, grateful to be working doing this time. As soon as she reached out It was like walking on eggshells, all the emotional ups and downs came back.
    I don’t want live like this. I would rather not communicate at all. I sent a text yesterday letting her know, this is not really working out for me:)
    I hope I am able to live with my decision

  7. AvatarElizabeth L.

    Everything that has been posted here resonated with me. The lack of contact on mother’s day, my birthday, then at the start of the pandemic I reached out because my daughter was at risk through her asthma and recent other lung problems.

    Although she knows I’m a nurse and I’ve been working on the front line, the reply to my ‘ take care’ was ‘ you too ‘ then silence. That was in March.

    But- Sheri, your book has been a godsend!
    Working through the exercises, I came to realise that we were two incompatible people, thrown together by a quirk of biology. We looked like strangers when standing together and our tempraments are completely opposite.

    I came to see that I wouldn’t want to reconcile with her now because she was a stranger for 5 years before cutting me out, and we were just going through the motions of a relationship.

    Once she had gotten everything ( financially) that she needed for her education and her first home, I was no longer useful to keep around and she found a replacement family to keep her in the style she wanted.

    But, that’s fine. I did a good job. She went from being a baby in a women’s refuge to an Oxford graduate. All her goals met.

    It’s my turn now! As Sheri says in the book.

    1. AvatarMaddie

      I too have just now feel the pain. My son just graduated last year from UW, has a good job now only calls his dad or comes down to visit what did you just car fixed but now that he has a good job inga’s car fixed by mechanic up there. His girlfriend now fiance is a very lovely , but he rather spend time with her family vacations with them, visit with them comes down to visit his friends in Portland, then just shows up just for an hour for dinner and then takes off to go back up to Seattle. We’re a little more conservative I’d like to think that we’re in the middle of the road but she’s on the other end of the spectrum and that shouldn’t matter if you love your parents assured me we have always been very close now he doesn’t text me at all I don’t get a new birthday card get a Mother’s Day card. And then he started saying I was like other people that are that are like the ones who hurt that man in Minnesota. It was a really big shock to me cuz I’m not like that I believe everybody is different I believe in compassion towards people I believe there’s a reason it makes mistakes coolest ones sometimes really big ones or we’re all human beings and they all make them. It really hurts if you don’t want to talk to me or text me that much, it hurts a lot I don’t think I’ve done anything to deserve this treatment. Then it dawned on me that my son is always been a people pleaser always trying to impress his friends in a good life even to the point of buying their friendship that’s sad because you shouldn’t have to buy your friends I never mention this girl it’s just what I’ve noticed over the years. So his friends wouldn’t like the way we are conservative so he is a ashamed of us and avoids having us meet them. So it’s like we’re bottom of the Barrel in there anybody else is is more special well order dispatch I hope it helps

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Website Protected by Spam Master