Parents are people too

reconciling with an estranged adult childParents are people too—even when reconciling with an estranged adult child

By Sheri McGregor

Have you ever been sock shopping and seen a multi-pack that was already opened? It’s easy to tell. There’s an obvious bulge, an unsealed flap, or the fold lines don’t quite match. Maybe you’re the one who has taken a pair out to check the size. If so, then you know the items just don’t fit back in as neatly—or at all. That’s how it can be when reconciling with an estranged adult child, but maybe that’s not such a bad thing.

Unable to trust

Parents who are reconciling with an estranged adult child often confide they can’t quite trust their son or daughter. Even when things are going reasonably well, they may be waiting for the other shoe to drop. They have memories of hurt and sadness, and in reconciling with an estranged adult child, remain guarded. This may not be in mind every day, but there’s evidence to haunt them.

Old photos may reveal a bad attitude or a harrowing time. Or there are other more subtle negative effects. For example, another family member’s text arrives with attachments, and the notification might trigger panic: Is she forwarding my estranged son’’s abusive texts? Even a required veterinary appointment for a dog acquired as a puppy just before all hell broke loose, so not socialized well during an especially traumatic period, can bring up memories of all that happened before. Life is complex and estrangement situations are often multi-fanged. That’s why when reconciling with an adult child, even when it’s going well, parents might not fully trust.


Forgiveness helps the one doing the forgiving. However, forgiving doesn’t require forgetting (as I wrote in a previous article). The hurt doesn’t get erased because we forgive. Just as debt may remain for a gambler who changes his ways, even when reconciling with an estranged adult child, there may be consequences. In my opinion, it’s wise to guard your heart, at least to a degree. That’s how you protect yourself.

Recently, one mom, after reconciling with her daughter, said she wished things could go back to the way they were. It’s a wish I hear often, and one I understand. But without a track record of kind behavior, is it wise?

Not the same

Estrangement changes people. Parents who once saw in their children the moon, stars, and a future so bright it was blinding, have had a dose of reality. The curtain is pulled open to reveal truth, and it hurts. When your own child so desecrates the relationship, it’s like pieces of your very heart are ripped away and left for rats to scuttle off with in the dark.

Graphic, I know, but I’m describing what it felt like to me—and what thousands of other parents have said. In the face of such hurt, we’re left with a choice. We can learn, heal, and grow. Or, we can stay the same, let our hearts bleed, and remain open to further gnawing.

At some point, parents recognize that to survive, to enjoy life, to thrive, they must learn, heal, and grow. They can’t always bend, hop back into the package, or fit into the box quite the same—and they shouldn’t. Even in reconciling with an estranged adult child.

I know this goes against the grain of what some teach—to search out and apologize for some tiny grain of truth in the ADULT child’s complaint (microscope needed!), to treat their adult children like toddlers, and always listen and always praise. I hear this from parents who go to psychologists who specialize in estrangement, and I find the advice baffling. Where’s the learning? In fact, where’s the parenting? How is this any different than the toddler in the grocery line screaming for candy?

When indulgence fails, parents recognize the truth. They can’t change another adult. They can take charge of and change themselves. And in doing that, they change their lives.

Parents are people too

In both of my books, you’ll find sensible questions to challenge what reconciliation really means, but the real focus is on you. Portions of the latest, BEYOND Done, help you look at your own history, your family, and culture, and how those may have figured into your outlook and beliefs (or affected the genes). Some say knowledge is power, but it’s what we do with knowledge that makes a difference. You can’t change the past, but you can change your present and future.

Whether you’re currently reconciling with an estranged adult child or only hoping for the future, don’t squish yourself into a box that pinches and flattens you. Just as socks won’t fold neatly back into perfect shapes that scream “brand new!”, parents can’t fit into misshapen or broken molds that hurt them. To learn, heal, and grow includes defining and erecting some boundaries that support well-being, and allow parents to honor their own integrity. That doesn’t mean always getting our way or forever imposing our opinions on others, but it does mean our thoughts and feelings matter.  Parents are people too. We count.

Related reading

When the adult child holds onto offenses

Emotional scars after an adult child’s estrangement

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39 thoughts on “Parents are people too

  1. Sherri M.

    Thank you so much for theses words.

    I’ve looked on the web a number of time over these past 2 years and have only found support for the child and not the parent. I know I’m a good mom; I was and still am. I have faults and I own them.

    My worries fall on the relationship my estranged child has with her siblings. I still have teens and young adults at home and my estranged daughter has already vocalized that she will “educate” them.

    I’m not sure how to protect my younger children.

    God bless you for your efforts to bring healing to broken hearts

    Sherri M

  2. Sue

    Thanks to all the Moms who have posted on this valuable website. Your shared stories help very much. After 18 months of estrangement from my 50 yr old daughter & my reaching out in every way possible (apologizing ++ for what I am not even sure), I have given up, because the “waiting” has been excruciating. Indeed, my heart has been ripped to shreds. I will never understand any of this. I have relocated to a former area & with the support of old friends, I hope to find some peace at the end of my life, as I am now almost 76 yrs. It is kind of late in life for a “new start” but it has helped me significantly. I will always love my daughter but she is a stranger to me now. Thank you Sheri for your words of wisdom & guidance through this nightmare….

  3. Carrie-Ann

    Dear Barbara G.

    Thank You & You’re Welcome for your words, “You made me laugh little sock !!!” I read and Appreciate your comments on this website…You Are In My Thoughts & Prayers…(us little socks need to stick together…lol)…

    In Gratitude & Friendship,

  4. Diane M.

    I’m a very “visible” person. I love this “picture” of socks not fitting back into an open package. After receiving an unexpected card and gift from my ED and her family, I was hoping we could reconnect. It won’t happen. And even if it did, I could not trust her again because of how badly she treated me, even on her wedding day. Her emotional abuse was awful. I will keep this image of the socks in my mind. Also, I need to remind myself, that she may not fit into MY LIFE anymore. I don’t want or need anymore drama. Thank you, Sheri for all your fabulous hints and ideas!

  5. Dee

    You wrote:
    “ Estrangement changes people. Parents who once saw in their children the moon, stars, and a future so bright it was blinding, have had a dose of reality. The curtain is pulled open to reveal truth, and it hurts. When your own child so desecrates the relationship, it’s like pieces of your very heart are ripped away and left for rats to scuttle off with in the dark.”

    Yes. Yes. Yes. It’s better because I am seeing this daughter but I am apprehensive at the same time. Thank you so much for this.

    1. JanPhyllis Rose

      Yes, the son I bore has rejected me and has broken my soul!!
      It has been a situation that has my husband turning against me for my son! His disrespect (my husbands) and betrayal after 56 years together has added considerable stress to my already stressful situation!
      Am I so stupid I tolerate this! I have no one to turn to I am alone and handicapped because in the early marriage my husband beat me!
      I need to move on and forward that I know, but I also need peace to let myself heal!!!
      My son was verbally abusive from the age of 16 and it continued until now, of course with the help of his wife and my other half!!!
      I have read “Done with crying” and do have the new book, I will start that this afternoon!
      Thank you all for letting me vent!!!

      1. rparents Post author


        There is some info in the new book about only one parent being estranged. It’s not my place to decide whether a mother or father tolerates this but I hope the information will be of help. I’m sorry you are at such a low point and have been so very hurt by those who should be in your corner.

        Hugs to you, dear one.

        Sheri McGregor

    1. Carrie-Ann

      Hi Candleinthewind!!!

      So nice to find your comment this morning!!! Wondered how you’ve been doing with all the holiday “hoopla”…Hope things have been “shiny & bright” for you, at the very least, “peaceful & calm.”

      After reading your words, (which are always succinct, to the point, and right-on), “My thoughts on reconciliation are nicely summed up in Howard Tate’s rendition of ‘Ain’t Nobody Home’…”, I went to you-tube & found the song…” Loved it…will listen to it often…So sad he has passed on…like so many Dear & Divine Gifted Ones that have given the world so much…Their Spirit is still with us in the music, for which I am So Grateful that we can still experience…

      I don’t know if Beautiful Sheri can &/or will include the following you tube links to “Ain’t Nobody Home” and, how about this one Candleinthewind?
      “Pavarotti & BB King, “The Thrill Is Gone?” (Paraphrasing words in the song, “I know I was a good man, and did what needed to be done… I will always be lonely…but I’m free from your spell baby… I’m free at last…free at last.”…So, I sing, “I know I was a good mom, and did what needed to be done…I will always be lonely…but I’m free from your spell baby… I’m free at last…free at last.” (Thinking, The Thrill Is Gone, and I may always be lonely concerning this situation, but I’m free at last from the spell of the estranged adult child…Free at last…and “Ain’t Nobody Home.”….). May We All Be Free In Body, Mind, & Spirit…

      In Gratitude & Friendship,

      1. rparents Post author

        Carrie-Ann, I love all of the youtube videos that feature Pavarotti with other artists–many of whom you would not think would “go” with him, and yet they are perfect! I encourage readers to look them up. They’re stunning and wonderful.

        Sheri McGregor

  6. Elizabeth

    Good advice, Sheri…thanks!! Being none of us can bring back lost time and experiences that happened during that lost time and such sorrows indeed do change us…I do not expect anything different in our case, than it is now. (Very infrequent contact and only via skype calls or maybe a text message at times). When there are other (unrelated by blood) people involved, things cannot resolve. None of the nasty things done to us can be taken away. Not possible. Also not possible to forget. But we can choose to simply do nothing about it too. So much of life seems we get to deal with whatever happens…however, we do not need to ask for more. As time goes along, I am doing less and less. It means our grandchildren do not know us well…but even the 2 here in town cannot see us often now either due to other constraints like Covid…so every relationship we have is limited…LIMITED…and we are old and thankfully one day will be in The Land where such cannot happen!! At least that!! And in the meantime we do all we can to enjoy and make meaning of the life we have!!

    1. Lisa

      I agree. There’s no ‘going back’. Things that have been said or done can never be unsaid or undone. Once trust is destroyed, it rarely, if ever, is mended. And I agree that when other people are involved, thing won’t be resolved.

      All the rest of my family can do is wish her well and go on and enjoy and live our lives.

  7. Barbara G.

    I don’t really know my Son as an adult since he never really let me be part of his life ; so it’s always been a strained relationship and over the years turned into almost complete estrangement; I can’t really say how I would react if he truly wanted to reconnect on a real level and don’t really see that happening ……. so I choose not to worry about something that may come to pass but more likely not…..
    Hard enough to deal with what IS
    Peaceful heart ❤️

  8. emily38

    The essence of recovery from a destructive and debilitating estrangement injury, in Sheri’s words:

    ” When indulgence fails, parents recognize the truth. They can’t change another adult.
    They can take charge of and change themselves. And in doing that, they change their lives.”

    I would bold and underline these 4 sentences if I could.

    Everything else pales next to the Truth in these words.

    But, oh what a journey to arrive at this Truth, with everything it requires and means.

    As always, thank you Sheri.

    1. Rose

      As I read this I too thought those 4 sentences were so strong to me. I Definitely have changed my life. I do things that keep me busy & I love. Fishing, gardening, painting, crocheting. I love that I can take a dance class & have fun or sit and chat and laugh. I love laughing until I cry… feels good to be happy. I have times I feel hurt but reality hits & I get out and do something for me! And I do try to do more for others; never know what they are going through so kindness!!!
      Thank you Sheri for your great books, site, they’ve been a great help!

  9. Mimi

    Thank you, Sheri, for all your help. I think the socks are easier to fold up and fit back into the box ONLY if the problem is resolved VERY VERY quickly.

    I compare two of my daughters. They are 14 months apart in age and are now 34 and 33 years old. The 34 year old has a grudge/hatred against me of more than 15 years. Although, I really believe she started disliking me when she was around 12 years of age. She will NOT accept my apologies and has me blocked. SHE has closed the door to any chance for reconciliation. She maintains all her grudges with great pleasure. ( or so it seems) And, she, herself, owes me apologies for some awful stuff. But, she won’t.

    Contrast this with my 33 year old daughter. She and I had a huge disagreement. We , in a cooling off period, had minimal contact for about four months. But, with our cooler heads , we talked things through. I was able to see her side and apologize. She was able to see my side and take her part. She forgave me and she said I was a good mom even though I am, admittedly, a flawed human being. My 33 year daughter old said, “Mom, I love you. I don’t understand why some people leave their parents. I’m NEVER going to do that.”

    I also have a 28 year old estranged daughter. 🙁

    My son told me yesterday, “I think the estranged get into a ‘club’ and sit around complaining to each other. It’s the unifying component of that friendship.” It leads to a point of no return. I am thankful for my son’s compassion towards me which has helped me overcome “dizzy with grief” episodes.

    “…let not the sun go down upon your wrath.” Ephesians 4:26 KJV

    If only my 34 year old daughter would not have let this “wrath” drag on for over a decade! And, same with the 28 year old! The length of these estrangements is making our relationships seem unfixable.

    The longer the estrangement, the more likely the socks won’t fit back into the box, at all, no matter how they are refolded. 🙁 I hope I’m wrong.

    1. Mimi

      I just want to add:
      -because my 33 year old daughter and I (fairly) quickly resolved our differences, the socks refolded well! In fact, I would say our relationship is stronger.
      – my son thinks that MAYBE, in some cases, that the estranged get some sort of perverse pleasure in feeling as they do. That maybe they enjoy the communal feeling/ of hating the parents. They don’t want to resolve.

      1. rparents Post author

        Then you are not the SAME SOCKS. You are in a new and better and changed relationship! HUGS, and I am so happy to hear this. I believe you are right about the time factor, too. I sometimes hear from adult children who are contemplating getting back in touch and trying. I always tell them that the longer they stay away the harder it will likely be, because their “home” changes. They become a stranger.

        Sheri McGregor

    2. Sandy H

      Hi, Mimi,
      It’s comforting to hear from another person who has more than one child who has chosen to reject her parents. I have two children, a boy and a girl, who each have different reasons for never speaking to me again. I used to think this was proof positive that I was an awful parent, given that the two are very different people. But now I understand that a large part of it is the way we chose to raise our kids — too much trying to be a best friend, not enough willingness to be a parent. I am so sorry you have this in your life. I’ve given up on reconciliation, or getting to know my grandchildren, and I struggle with the hole this has put in my life.

  10. Lisa R.

    Thank you again, Shari. Your sock package description is spot on. Although I am very new to this forum I must say that your words, and the responses of others, have been tremendously helpful to me. I cannot imagine what I could say or do to restore the trust that has been broken between my daughter and me.

    As for the therapists, well . . . I was a teacher for 40 years and had to adhere to certain guidelines when working with young people, of course. I need to ask why therapists don’t have to do the same. It doesn’t help them to be coddled and, in fact, just praising and agreeing with them without knowing all of the facts is destructive. As a teacher I always did what was the best learning experience for students, even if the task at hand were difficult. A supportive environment is quite different from a coddling environment. There are good therapists out there, to be sure, but why is the prevailing “go to” method so strictly dependent upon praise and quick agreement?

    Also, I’m wondering that since this seems to be an epidemic, does AARP or other organizations have an opinion about this? In some ways it seems as though this would border on elder abuse. Just food for thought.

    Wishing you all peace and with gratitude for this forum,
    Lisa R.

  11. Carrie-Ann

    Thank God for Beautiful Sheri’s little “countdown ‘til the New Year.” I do not want to “wish away” my time on this Earth…but it is always a great relief when the holidays wind down and the New Year is here…

    Each day the daily message that Beautiful Sheri has Divinely created & shared with each of us has been a God-Send…Each of your Heart’s replies touch my Heart & Soul…bringing smiles and tears as I read about your experiences, feelings, doubts, fears, even nightmares…and your plans, dreams, and on-going creative ways you have dealt with this sadness and pain…

    Using Beautiful Sheri’s analogy of the “sock pack,” I feel like a sad little sock that was totally left out of the pack and sock party…”Maybe deliberately left out,” the little sock thinks…

    Sooo, this little sock finds itself here in the midst of such Fine Beautiful People on this website, and thinks, “Maybe there is Freedom in being the “lone sock,” looking around and reading the replies on the website…Thinking…Feeling…Knowing…”Hmmm, I’m not alone…I’m in Good, Decent, Kind, and Loving Company with these “peeps” that share their Heart’s replies…

    I am learning to regulate & not confuse my “empathic loving nature” with “getting sucked in” to a dishonest message from an estranged adult child from the past…that says, in so many words, that they want to “reconcile.” Then, even though, red flags are being waved, and deep within the doubts, fears, the “knowing” what is really-really at the bottom of it all, these are all ignored and cast aside…The aching pain of missing the estranged adult child, and the hope for a miracle, wins out and with a parent’s Heart, one decides to trust…to open up, to listen with Love, Empathy, etc.… to try to understand…

    During first part of conversation, estranged adult child says they have missed you, want you in their life…also, ask questions about finances, etc…Trying to not discuss deep or personal issues, one answers with respectful answers that do not go into detail…As the estranged adult child goes on and on about their problems, spiritual, mental, physical, financial, yata-yata-yata…slowly tinged with self-pity, resentment, and blame…Trying to keep-it-Light…Positive…Loving…and Joyous to hear the voice of the estranged adult child, one tells the estranged adult child how much they are loved & missed, and prayed for each and every day, over the years of not seeing them or the grandchildren… (they never were allowed to know)…Thanking them…talking with them…Then as the phone call ends, plans are made to continue communication in the near future…

    A few text messages exchanged in the following days, then not a peep…not a call…not a text…No matter that it is during the Holiday time, nor that the loss of a Beloved 18 year old pet-family-member has passed on the very day after the phone call…Email not answered, phone call not answered or returned…

    So much for the wanting to “reconcile.”

    The MAIN POINT IS: One can feel empathy for an estranged adult child, but do not confuse it with truly wanting to reconcile…knowing what one “knows” in one’s Heart…One regulates one’s mental thoughts and emotional feelings…One also needs to regulate one’s “empathy”…

    So, take it from this little sock, I would rather be alone and free than to be shoved, crammed, squeezed, crumpled, pick-the-word, into a reality that has only been stifling and causing me pain…So, this little sock still has an Open Loving Caring Heart…and still cares for all the other socks in the pack, (in retrospect)…

    This little sock is a Mindful & Aware Gate-Keeper of its Precious Life…and this little sock Loves & Appreciates Beautiful Sheri & Each & Every One of You…Thank You for Sharing Your Hearts…

    In Gratitude,
    Carrie-Ann (aka: just thought of my name,”Yippeee“ little sock”)

    p.s. Looking forward to the messages our Dear Beautiful Sheri has for us in the next few days in her little house…Merry Christmas…the Christ-Light of Jesus is in our Hearts…

    1. Ilene A.

      Wow! Your words hit home! I, too, don’t want to be abused or tortured into a particular package. Yes, holidays are challenging times. Sheri’s words of wisdom continue to make positive influences on my life. Beyond Done, Sheri’s new book is extremely helpful and validating in my life.

    2. Jane Ann

      Thank you, Carrie Ann – your words really touched my Heart.
      When you say you feel like the “sad little sock, the one maybe left out deliberately,” that really resonated with me, and likely many others of us here on this forum. For so long I felt like that little sock that was discarded, forgotten, “not seen,” not worthy to be seen. Wondering for so long how my two sisters, whose adult children love having them in their lives and sharing the grandchildren with them — how did my sisters mother that was better, or different from me, that their children so love to be with them and respect them, accept them, honor them just for who they are? My sisters and I all “grew up” as mothers together, and sadly lost our dear mother early on as young mothers ourselves, so we all learned from one another, supported one another, and we all mothered with love and tender care.
      It has taken me years to stop feeling “defective” and “unworthy” as a mother. Deep in my core I always felt I gave it my very best, although of course I’m not perfect. But the partial estrangement of my only daughter took me into a very dark place for years.
      I thank God every day for my son, a loving, kind, generous of heart, and funny man. I could never have imagined being blessed with such a wonderful human being as my son. Thank God for him!
      I miss not being with my grandchildren… this may be the most sorrowful part since I’ve learned to accept the greatest sorrow of all – that my daughter just doesn’t want me to be much a part of her life.
      Sheri, your site is a refuge for all of us, to share our tears and our healing. Thank you.

    3. Carrie-Ann

      Reply to Jane Ann’s Comment on January 8, 2022 at 10:16 pm
      Dear Jane Ann:
      Reading your words, “Thank you, Carrie Ann – your words really touched my Heart. When you say you feel like the “sad little sock, the one maybe left out deliberately,” that really resonated with me, and likely many others of us here on this forum. For so long I felt like that little sock that was discarded, forgotten, “not seen,” not worthy to be seen.”, I just want to say You’re Welcome & Thank You for your comment and sharing…Just remember that You Are a Beautiful, Intelligent, & Capable Being…We’re all in this together…with this online community & Beautiful Sheri’s postings & books,
      to empower and comfort us…

      In Gratitude & Friendship,
      Carrie-Ann (aka: Yippeee, little sock)

  12. Jan P.

    Great article, Sheri. I’ve actually spoken with my therapist about what a potential reconciliation might look like should it ever happen. First and foremost it must include a dialogue, not a monologue/lecture. Second, trust would have to be earned over a lengthy period of time if it could be achieved at all. I don’t think my 48-year old ED and I would ever have a close relationship, but I would like some contact and communication about my grandchildren. I’ve not been an overbearing parent—I’ve given her space and not imposed my opinions on her unless specifically asked. My own mother had a habit of telling me I was wrong whenever I disagreed with her, so I’ve been exceedingly careful. But what I will not do again is continue to walk on eggshells with her fearful that she will chastise me for saying something the wrong way or that she does not like. I’ve been there for her whenever she’s needed me and supported her in all her endeavors, all of which has been conveniently forgotten. I don’t expect a reconciliation anytime soon if at all, but boundaries would have to be established—and not just by her.

    I appreciate all of the posted comments and empathize with all who are going through this heartache. Wishing everyone a happier new year.

  13. P.

    Thank you Sheri for this article and I loved the analogy of the package of socks! I am past 3 years estrangement from a son who is now 45. It was sudden, and without anything preceding (no argument, no event, and no warning). There is one thing that nudges at my brain – when about 5 years before this, I had flown across country to visit him. When he hugged me goodbye in the airport, he voice caught with emotion, and I remember him saying “someday you might not hear from me again”. I simply didn’t believe he was serious – why would I? There was no reason. So I felt a shiver of alarm skitter through me, and then put the thought away. And then it happened.

    I am now at the point after over 3 years, that I do not plan or hope to see him again. I also know if he showed up (he has a tendency to “show up” unexpectedly when he has already said he would not be present, such as at a sibling’s wedding 7 years ago), I would be careful and cautious. I would be guarded. Whether he could accept me as I am (or not) is entirely his choice. I will not be groveling or swooning. I have been through terrible pain, I have read your first book and did the activities, I prayed and worked at overcoming, healing, thriving. I’m not there yet, but I am most definitely heading in that direction. I am willing to forgive. But I cannot forget, and I cannot trust.

  14. Looby

    I very much doubt that my daughter will ever reconcile with me and I have reached the stage where I would have to change myself for the relationship to work.

    I would have to change back into the woman I used to be..keeping the peace at all costs, always on edge, waiting for the next hurtful low blow remark and so on.

    No, that’s not for me any more. I owe it to myself not to go back to being that person. I wish my daughter everything of the best and have let go of the dreams for a shared life with her and my beloved grandchildren.

    Wow, it was a lot of work to reach this place and I deserve to stay here!!


  15. Eliza

    I seriously struggled w/the trust issue, until someone reminded me that a leopard never changes its spots, and expecting someone who has hurt you, and not acknowledged this, to not do it again just isn’t rational. They are who they are, and the healthiest response is to be very guarded around them and have a plan for when things go south, b/c eventually, they probably will.

    The other thing I have finally realized is that there are some people who thrive on conflict and will create it whenever possible. It’s a game with them, as it is w/a couple of my own kids. This tendency runs deep in my original family and since I’m not one of the people who enjoy arguing just for the sake of arguing, my response has always been to walk away…and then the estrangement is suddenly my fault and they are the wounded ones. I’ve often wondered whether, deep down, they don’t realize what they are doing???
    Anyway, I’m very grateful for all of your thoughts, and for finding this site. Sheri’s insights on estrangement make so much sense to me!

  16. Betsy S

    Sheri– I love the package of socks analogy. You just can’t put the socks back in the package once it’s been broken open.

    And this is true whether the situation is a complete estrangement or abusive behavior. In the case of my oldest, I have been the object of total abusive meltdowns. He lives a 4 horu plane ride away. I visited him in Fall 2020 when he was in the throes of having to put his life together again after his wife kicked him out of the house and prevented him from seeing his child for 2 weeks. I hadn’t visited for nearly a year at that point and I wanted to give him and his son my love and support. He completely lost his temper with me and I actually became scared. Even though his young son will probably be my only grandchild and is truly adorable, I delayed going back for another visit until this Fall. (I had made excuses for his meltdown before considering he was under tremendous stress due to his situation.)
    But this time, he again completely lost his temper screaming at me and called me a “dumb ass” twice in front of his 4 yr old son and did it again just before I was to leave for the airport. I’ve told my close friends remind me of this when I get the itch to see my grandson.

    He will never apologize; he thinks he was perfectly right to call me that. One outcome of this blowup was that he asked me to apologize for all I did wrong as his parent. (This is how we spent the last two hours before I had to leave for the airport–me trying to get the apology “right”.) And if it weren’t for trying to have a relationship with my grandson (will probably be my only grandchild) and my daughter who lives in the same city, I wouldn’t go back.

    I will video call him every few weeks to keep in touch with my grandson because it’s simply safer –shorter duration and if the mood goes dark I can excuse myself from the call. Such a shame. If, when, I do go out there again it will be with tremendous trepidation. (Actually, it already was the last two times.)

    I’m open to any suggestions from Sheri and others.
    Sheri , I’ll be getting your new book.
    Thank you for all you do.

  17. Lynne G.

    Thank you for this article. I have had the estrangement and then they came back in my life and then estranged again. I now know that if one day my grown child attempts to reconcile I will ask them this. Why now? Before I would give reconciliation a chance I must ask this question. I hope I have learned through all this pain to Not put myself in the position to be rejected yet again. If this sounds unforgiving it is not. My self esteem took much time to rebuild and I am requiring that for any person to be in my life I must be treated with respect and with kindness. Happy New Year to all of the parents of estrangement. I do pray for us all. Happy New Year to you Sheri. Thank you.

  18. Ann

    This article really hit home.
    Things have changed.
    I feel like I lost the person I once knew. Present day, this person is almost a stranger.
    Trust is broken and there is too much hurt.
    Daily, I am trying to make peace with this reality.

  19. Gracie2021

    Thank you so much, Sheri. Your article definitely hits home this morning after oldest ES visiting the other day. Thank you again.

  20. Toni

    This is an extremely important concept for parents and even their adult children to see. It will never be the same. The teacup is broken. It is glued back together but it is not the same and it is weak. Don’t get hopes up too high or you will be set up for another fall.

    Pre- breakup and post-reconciliation— we are still who we were and the danger of a repeat is great if we have not dealt with the issues and tried to come to a new understanding. My son is avoiding discussion of what he did when he cut his mother off for two years. My worry is that it will happen again next time something happens that bothers him. It casts a shadow over everything.


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