When your adult child wants nothing to do with you: Is it time to go with the flow? 

By Sheri McGregor, M.A.

when your adult child wants nothing to do with you

Photo by Gëzim Fazliu from Pexels

Have you read about that man in Munich, Germany, who floats to work every day? He got tired of the stops and starts of traffic, the long waits that got him nowhere fast, and the road rage. This man, Benjamin David, did something different. He looked to what was in his environment to help him, decided on a plan, prepared himself, and plunged into the river. Now, he floats along with the current each day—and it delivers him effortlessly to his workplace. He goes with the flow. (Read about him here.)

Maybe it’s a stretch to compare this man to parents rejected by adult children—or maybe not. Especially as estrangement drags on, it can feel like we’re stuck in a sort of traffic limbo. We may be the recipient of anger we don’t deserve, or get angry ourselves. The tiniest breakthrough can get our hopes up and then drop us into a pit. Like when the cars go from a standstill to a crawl and we breathe a sigh of relief… only to get snagged in another snarl of traffic up ahead. 


Like this man who made a change for the better, parents rejected by adult children can assess their situations, realize they’re getting nowhere, and try something different. A realistic analysis is the first step to a solution, and new direction that drives progress.  

Parents around the globe continue to send holiday cards or gifts yet remain estranged.  As the holiday music jingles and the messages of family and restoration abound, they feel a mix of obligation, hope, and confusion. They start to ponder whether to reach out again this year.  

They may worry that not reaching out may be used as proof they don’t care. Or that a heartfelt message of love will be viewed as a manipulation tactic to “guilt” the son or daughter into responding. Grandparents who want to make sure their grandchildren know they’re loved face a dilemma: How can they choose gifts for the special family members they no longer know? Or worse, will their gifts given to innocent grandchildren be subverted to the trash bin?    


As this year comes to an end and a new one begins, I implore you to consider what one of my adult children who is not estranged recently said about estrangement from the sibling who is:  

“We’re about to start a new era.”  

We really are beginning a new era, moving into the third decade of the millennium, and far beyond the time when our estrangement from one adult son began. It’s a new era for our family as a whole, with fresh starts, changes in direction, and a time of renewed joy. Being stressed over something we couldn’t change has no place in our family’s future.  

How about you? As 2019 comes to a close, can you ring the holiday bell to end an era of heartache, and think of the season as a time of rebirth and joy? 


Make decisions that move you forward rather than keep you stuck. If you’re pondering whether or not to reach out this holiday, reflect on a few critical questions. Consider using a pen and paper to fully explore your thoughts. Ask yourself: 

  • Whether or not my estranged offspring has ever replied, has my reaching ever made a difference? 
  • If I’m worried about how my behavior will be construed or misconstrued, what are my fears specifically? Do they make sense? Or are they keeping me stuck? 

Don’t Stress 

There’s an old story about a woman whose daughter asks her why she cuts two inches off each end of the roast and throws them away. “That’s the way my mother did it,” she says. Curious, the daughter asks her grandmother the same question—and gets the same answer. Dying to know why it’s so important to cut two inches off either side, the girl calls her great grandmother to inquire. She’s surprised when her great grandmother laughs, saying, “Because the roast wouldn’t fit the pan!” 

At one point, reaching out may have kept the hope that you would reunite alive. Even when your adult child wants nothing to do with you, it has been a way to demonstrate (at least from your point of view) that you still love your child and were ready to forgive. But what’s the purpose now? Is it helping, or keeping you stuck in a cycle of hope and disillusionment? Is the expended energy doing you good, or are you only throwing it away? 

Times change. Feelings do, too. At what point do you listen to the message your child’s silence (anger, gossip, abuse. . .) sends? Is it time to decide to put your energy toward your own life, your emotional wellness, and the people who love you?  

Like the man in Munich did, is it time to take the plunge … and go with the flow?  

To prepare and plan for your new era, get a copy of Done With The Crying. Its advice and information based on current research and the input of thousands of parents rejected by adult children will help you take the plunge into a happy life beyond the pain of familial estrangement. Or, if you’ve read it once, now might be a good time to do some of the exercises again (the new Done With The Crying WORKBOOK: for Parents of Estranged Adult Childrenwill help). Or, maybe it’s time to move BEYOND it all and get my award-winning 2021 book to help: Beyond Done With The Crying More Answers and Advice for Parents of Estranged Adult Children

This holiday season, give yourself a supportive gift: permission to go with the flow. 

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191 thoughts on “When your adult child wants nothing to do with you: Is it time to go with the flow? 

  1. phil k.

    On a lark I googled ,adult children and estrangement and came across this site.
    So to be brief it’s been a shitty week.Easter came and went and did not see my son or his family.
    Since having two girls he has changed and it feels like he uses his children as hostages,trying to make arrangements to visit is like going to the dentist.It take from a mon. to fri night to get a reply and be granted an audience,and the few times I am granted access it feels like a parent on visitation,my son and wife sit a the kitchen table with their cell and the kids are there go play with them. Other times at least 5 times,arrangements made for a sat or sun,get up take a shower and cell go off someone is sick so no go.
    Same scenario for easter breakfast ,asked on monday and by sat night still waiting,I invited them to my town 20 mins from their place,but they wanted to meet nearer to their place,because they were going to visit her family after,fine no problem don’t make waves.
    And now its where to meet ( never ever been invited for a meal),screw around screw around he didn’t know where to eat .he gave me some names i picked one and he replied there are two which one, back and forth then he says he has no time for games in his life ??? wtf does that come from,it just turned me off the whole thing,I said forget it just feels like a downer now,that was 3 weeks ago cricket’s since.
    I feel like because I am alone ,it screws up their plans?they have my daughter in-laws parents my ex and her whatever,so being alone makes you less??I’m just lost, they invite me and cancel me has been going on for a while,but this easter was the first time I did not have easter with my family,xmas is the same I get stress weeks before cause I don’t know where my window will be,its been the same for most holidays. I don’t like the thought of not seeing my grandchildren,but I’m not a piece of crap either do I have to beg to see them?

    No2 My step sister and I have been estranged for many years,recently I started making my plans for myself graves stones etc.
    So I come from CT USA,My parents are buried there,my GP’S to, uncles etc.So i made some inquiries for myself and plots , prices are nuts and in us dollars also,so after considering some options,I decided to go with my parents who had told me multiple times there is room for 5 cremations and i said at the time what do i do write my name in with a black marker on the stone,and they said no buy a new stone. So i bought new stones .. had it installed,now 3 months later she sends me a disgusting txt,HOW DARE YOU CHANGE MY FATHER(my step father) GRAVESTONE WITHOUT ASKING ME,SHE DID NOT GET ALONG WITH MOM.
    I know why ,,ITS because your CHEAP,you never had anything nice to say about him and now you want to be buried beside him.NOW she says I’ll call the cemetery , I’ll buy you a plot and you can take your mother with you.I was the executor of my mother will and hold the deed to this plot.so yeah great few weeks.

  2. Jarad

    I can’t say i’m struggling because I am not.. or at least I don’t think I am. My son decided to leave my house over 10 years ago at 12 and go live with his Mom. This happened a couple days prior to Christmas.. infact, it was the 18th of December, the same date my ex wife left the house and took everything 10 years prior. I have reached out several times on birthdays, Christmas and even random times to say hello with nary a response. It isn’t just me that he has abandonded, but, his grandparents, cousins he was close with and his Aunt and Uncle. Recently one of my cousins ran into him and found out he was married. Last night my Brothers wife happend on a facebook page about My son having a child with his wife nearly 2 years ago. I find myself not caring at all. Infact I’m more upset that my son simply has no fortitude to contact me or any of my side of the family to inform us of any of this. I knwo I am missing alot of context here and I’m not sure what to really post to explain.

    I feel he left due to being manipulated by my ex wife, and then lied to police about his fear of harm being in my home. It is important to note I never hit him once ever, NEVER. So at the time it hurt that my son would lie to ensure he didn’thave to come back to my house, and the police wouln’dt enforce the court ordered child custody order.

    I feel likeI have moved on yet am upset not that he will not speak to me, but, with anyone in my family who always treated him very well. WHAT FAMILY DOESNT? My family is extremely close, he vacationed with my parents in their summer home while I would work every year etc. His abandonment of me was one thing but, abandoning everyone, the lack of communication and then of course, not even telling my parents they are great grandparetns etc. That above all really upsets me. I may not feel like I have a son, but, to punish my parents..

    I suppose this is just another bump in the road. One I now must go tell my parents about.. I am not looking forward to this conversation or the scab that will once again be ripped off as my parents cope with the news. Thank you for allowing me a place to post this and get this off my chest.

    1. jc

      Same here — what they do to their grandparents/great-grandparents is nothing short of elder abuse. In our case causing distress AS THEY WERE DYING — at their most vulnerable.

  3. Sara M.

    I have started reading the book “Done With the Crying,” and struggled with the fact that all of our situations with our estranged adult children are similar in that we have raised our adult children in tumultuous times. Social media, school systems that support bad behavior, rough neighborhoods, and peers that are rude and ruthless to their parents as well. The list goes on. Yet as parents we hurt, we struggle, we blame ourselves, and one day your moving on and over it and the next day your angry and troubled as to why this happened.

    I love my adult daughter who is estranged with her new baby girl of 9 months that I am not allowed to see. Do I reach out, do I wait? I go through the back and forth as well. I go to counseling, I read, I work on moving forward. What ghastly behavior from these adult human beings and how selfish and destructive they are to the whole meaning of family. Yes I am angry, beyond angry, it is demoralizing and it devalues everything we have stood up for as parents. Shame on these adults who have no respect for their parents. They are spoiled and beyond entitled. What a shameful lot of adult children.

    I wish you all peace and happiness and my heart is full of sorrow for each and everyone of you as I know how you are suffering.

  4. Lulu

    I too, have made every attempt at navigating the road of estrangement for the past several years with my eldest son and his manipulating wife. I am the one who was and has always been there for him, throughout his tumultuous life. I also take full responsibility for my own failures as a parent, honestly knowing that I did the best I could within a very difficult and abusive marriage, until I removed my children and myself from it. It’s not only the estrangement itself, but the vicious verbal attacks, snide remarks, gossip, and being treated as if I am pariah. I have two precious granddaughters with my son, whose wife continues to attempt tmanipulating any and all my wanting to spend time with the girls in person or Facetime (I live 500+ miles away) and to this, I’ve tried for over three years to connect with the girls without response. The story is long and painful. I miss them and I’ve continued to send gifts on special occasions and holidays, sometimes being insulted for what I’ve sent. And yes, I wonder if my gifts to them are re-gifted or trashed. I have made amends, done all I could to create connection, tolerated disdain and disrespect, being ignored in public or at family gatherings. Even as I write this, I find it too painful to elaborate further. I think I am finally at the point of Letting Go and Letting God, and removing myself from trying to engage further. Thank you for creating a platform of discussion for this!

    1. Barb

      I feel your pain. My story is similar. 8 don’t even have the energy to explain it all. Bottom l8ne right now is one daughter thinks I broke confidence about concerns she had about her youngest sister. I promised I would not tell. I have never lied to any of my kids , both when young and currently adults. I’m extremely loyal. I 2as visiting cross country with my daughter her husband and the two youngest sweetheart grandchildren. They were returning home tgat n8ght from a vacation. She ” thought I told the other daughter, who also flew out for the week. Well, I was told (early evening), tha5 I had to be out of the house before their arrival at 3a.m. After an hour of finding an early morning 1 way flight last minute and a hotel room ( 2 hours 9f sleep), flight was $1200 one way and hotel was $160..and $40 for the Uber. I was told I’m not welcome back until further notice. That was mid February . This is the week of Thanksgiving. No contact and not with the grandkids either. I wrote a letter a few months ago, explaining the way things went down…but nope. Nothing! It hurts!!!! I don’t f’ing get it. How do you even do that to your mother who’s always been there for you. What is wrong with these “kids” today!! They were raised well and I taught them a out God. Tonight I finally asked the other daughter if I could talk to her and boyfriend about it tomorrow. I was shocked . I ended up hanging up on her. I had told her she’s the only one who can set this straight but she won’t do it! So she goes on having a good relationship with her sister while allowing me to be dissed unfairly. She could fix it but won’t. I was shocked. Things just plain. HURT . It’s the first thing on my mind in the morning, and the last thing on my mind at night. It’s so wrong. I know ow God…it still hurts though. It’d be nice if we could all meet …like have our own convention each year.


    Let him go and consider yourself one of the luckiest people around that you do not have to put up with him or her anymore. He’ll I would probably have a party if any of my grown children moved out and left me alone. In fact I would give them anything in the world to move away from me if I could. Consider yourself lucky.

    1. Linda

      I understand your forthright comments! I think I’m about to be estranged from my 33 year old daughter. I was talking with her fiancée on the phone(she didn’t hear it) about her birthday plans and he was getting manipulative and gaslighting me so I confronted him. I told him it would be best not to drag her into it because it would ruin her birthday….and he immediately ran to her and now she is not talking to me. I have been watching for 2 years while he tries to control her. She lies to him and avoids any confrontation because she is off how he responds to the slightest thing.. I got a taste of it that day and confronted him. Now I’m on the outs. I’m sad, but also I’m relieved a little. She has become a very stressed person and it’s been hard to be around her. We use to be close and laugh a lot. Now she goes into rants and flips out often….road rage, etc. She has gotten worse since being with him and it’s frustrating to watch. They both have anxiety issues and he is depressed and at 33 his parents still pay for most of his bills. I pretty amazed that one argument ever, which she wasn’t there for, and she stops talking to me! She has done the same thing to her father (my ex) and to her grandmother. I always felt my day would come.

  6. Sassy

    Hi Sheri, I have your book. Great insight. Thank you!! I am turning the corner and starting a new era. I am giving my adult children to Him and letting go of this painful chapter. I know I deserve better. This may be permanent in this lifetime, and I may miss out on my grandkids. But I trust God who knows the whole story and the truth. And someday some will have to face the truth.

    1. Sue

      I’m so unhappy. All 4 siblings use me then they just 4get me. Grandkids call me terrible names. 42,yr old daughter has nothing to do with me when I haven’t done nothing to her. Grandson says u, mom had problems yrs ago. I don’t know what he is talking about. My youngest 33 yr old daughter has bad depression,alcohol I say she hasn’t stopped & she says hateful things to me. Now she has block d me after telling me she doesn’t need to hear my bullshit she is a adult. I have been there for all this icy she was addicted to then the DWI 3yrs ago and now she just as bad what do I do?

      1. Libbie F.

        This is exactly what I’m going through with our only son. I had to give it to God . Our son always tells me he is just too busy for me to visit. This has been going on 4 years next month. I have 3 precious grandchildren that don’t even know us . Reading this book Done with crying has help me a lot .

        1. Sandra

          This has helped me. I keep wanting to call him, but my sister said I should wait My son has been adopted since he was born but acts angry with me .I know parents aren’t perfect but I’ve never not loved him.

  7. Jen

    I just miss mine. I see their point of view. It’s too late. For anyone who might read this still having their children in their lives. Just be kind and say nothing negative about a thing. Support, love, give, don’t say a word unless asked.

    1. rparents Post author

      Dear Jen,

      I understand that you have regrets. Your experience doesn’t necessarily apply to other parents here. It implies that if adults reject their parents and family it’s because the parents said negative things, criticized, etc. That’s not the case. There can be many factors and a cause and effect isn’t often apparent. Many times, parents have been mistreated for years and put through trials … only to have the goalpost moved and the next rule or dictate set.

      I hope that in time you can grasp peace for your life.

      Hugs to you. I wish you well.

      Sheri McGregor

      1. Sophia

        Lol, children don’t come with how-to manuals! We never knew our kids would be grading our performance as parents.

        I raised my daughter as a single Mom. I realize I gave too much, and she has no clue how hard that was.

        She’s 30 now & has lied so much over the years that I don’t trust her.

        It hurts to know that she is who she is. Not anyone I need in my life at this stage.

        I have so much that I’m grateful for in my life with so many wonderful friends that I don’t need that negativity & judgment.

        After 2 years of ignoring me & attempts to communicate with her, I’m finally done with the drama. I wish my daughter well. That’s all.

        I have peace in my life.

        1. Kerri L.

          My daughter is the same way. She won’t talk to me and has made up the most horrible lies about me. All I ever done was give her everything that she wanted. I love her but I have to love her from a distance.

        2. Lisa

          I gave up six plus yrs ago when, yet again, my son (and now wife) went missing after the holidays. A pattern for about fifteen years. When I called he wouldn’t answer or call me back. Time after time for about five and a half months. Like every other time during those 15+ yrs it was absolutely crazy making. Then I realized that if I had not reached out to him four years before when I had to, literally, track him down, he probably would have disappeared for good at that time. With no further contact. He had since then begun to publicly take potshots at my personality as well.

          It was then that I realized I should just let go. No more reaching out from me. I didn’t tell him that he couldn’t call or come back into my life. He just didn’t—ever again. And I let it go.

          Now I think we’d have to start all over again. This is a God-sized problem that only He can fix—not me.

          Its been more than 21 yrs since I let him go and live with his dad and this thing all fell apart. He was one month shy of 13yo at that time. In 21 more years I don’t know that I’ll even be around. It’s still very devastating for me, his brother and my side of the family.

          My parents are 85 and 88 yo and, like me, the sun rose and set on that kid for them. When they die I don’t even know if I should reach out to inform him. Unlike me they are not so welcoming anymore.

          It is very sad. No doubt about that. And completely confusing.

      2. Mabel

        How difficult is this? What parent in their child’s life hasn’t reprimanded them for some bad attitude or decision as they grew up? Who never ever challenged him in life? Or did I criticize a wrong action that I had growing up? I think that’s raising them. show you the good and the bad. If you ask me, I also regret the 4 times in my life that I got angry and scolded (3 of which were because she didn’t want to go see her grandmother who gave her all her love and was dying of a terminal illness and I asked to see it) How could I not say anything? My pain at the indifference she had towards her grandmother, who always gave her all her love, was incomprehensible to me. So I had harsh words towards him and his attitude. It was expensive… today if I went back I would bite my lips and not say anything. 7 years have passed since that… my son charged me with everything… as soon as I managed to get him to put an apartment in his name… he took me out of his life.

        1. Mama

          We have been estrange from our married son almost 4 yrs. I have seen him & his family over at our married daughters home. Our grandkids do not understand why they do not get to spend time with us anymore! It all started several yrs ago our son’ s wife got jealous from our relationship we had with our son and granddaughters. We have always be nice to her. Kept grandkids often for her and she was a stay at home mom! It’ all about her parents involvement. If you are invited to something her parents are always there. They are super nice people but hogging her daughter, our son and two granddaughters! And her mom has one more grandkid too! We all live in the same city. I never put pressure on our son for the holidays! They use to celebrate Christmas with us. So we had to back off and be hurt watch our granddaughters upset from all this. When we have seen them at another family event they will come up to me ask have you talk to our parents? I tell them yes, and they tell me our parents are treating you mean and they are selfish parents. I tell them your parents have control of the situation. They both tell me when we get 18 we can can see you as much as we want to. I do not ask them any questions I just listen. In a few yrs I think our granddaughters are resenting their parents for keeping us all apart. Our son and daughter in law are going to be shocked to see how their own daughters are going to distant them selfs from them. I sure hope they do not put them through what we have gone through it hurts you to the bone my heart has pulled out of my chest and blood has be rung out! Terrible feeling in the world. I forgive them but I will carry this to my grave.

          1. Tina

            I’m going through exactly the same thing, everything is my fault of course and my son ex wife has kept the kids from calling me also. About a year ago everything with my son and new wife went down hill we had went and spent Christmas with them and thought everything was fine when we left and then they didn’t talk to us for months. When I finally decided to ask what was going on we got lame excuses smh some words were exchanged and I have apologized for my wrong doing but they say they did nothing wrong and still don’t talk to me. Now my daughter is doing the same just because I asked her something why she was talking to her boyfriend. These are all grown adults and I’m seriously just tired of always being the bad guy! I miss my grandchildren very much and yes, this hurts like hell, my heart aches for them, but I guess it’s time to just let go and let them live their lives and pray that one day I’ll come back to me. I pretty much raised my children on my own their dad never had much to do with them so I don’t understand how children can treat somebody that cares so much about them like this. I wish you the best of luck, and I will pray that your family will come back to you as well. God Bless you

      3. Mabel

        7 years have passed since that… my son charged me with everything… as soon as I managed to get him to put an apartment in his name… he took me out of his life.

      4. Jen

        Thank you. I didn’t think about my reply having that implication. Every situation is unique. * I’d delete my post if I can figure out how as I have no intention of doing harm.

    2. Dot

      But as parents we are supposed to guide them and if they are narcissistic, and abusive to others, we are pretty crappy parents to never say anything.

      1. Heartbroken

        This is the 5th year of my adult son’s sudden 180 degree turn toward me, and put a hole in my heart. A hole filled with bitter tears of estrangement from him, his lovely wife and my two precious granddaughters that I miss with every fiber of my being. It’s difficult. It’s like a prolonged mourning of a death with no consolation. And every family holiday the loneliness rips open the bandages of grief to expose the raw painful emotions again and again. I’m an elderly classroom teacher that dropped everything whenever they called for help so they can go to work; they’re both psychiatrists. I cared for the kids when they were sick, during the summer and holidays. I loved to do it, and love them. But if I had a colonoscopy, surgery, or some prescheduled appointment, they were upset they had to call his wife’s relatives from out of state to care for the kids.
        I am looking forward to your books arriving. I hope I can find new purpose in life. I hope I can move beyond my sadness.

        1. rparents Post author

          Dear Heartbroken,

          I’m sad you have suffered so. There is hope for your life ahead. Trust, work at it, believe it. You’re worthy of all you have given others.


    3. Maisy

      Easier said than done….unfortunately I made the mistake I was concerned about the cost of my daughter and her partners wedding. My daughter then stopped speaking to me, I saw her a year later, and hoped we could re-connect and she’d forgive me. She didn’t and couldn’t.

      If I’d not said a word, would I have been a good parent? I don’t know….I’ve always been supportive and loving, but you really can’t say anything anymore.

      It’s very sad….I am very disappointed and a bit shell-shocked. I will get through this.

      1. Elizabeth M.

        “Shellshocked” is the word. My estrangement also stemmed from a wedding, my son’s. I disagreed with the exorbitant expense of it, especially after they had lived together for two and a half years. Now, all three of my children are not speaking to me. The wedding was April15, 2023. Weddings cause so much strife. Best wishes. I hope your estrangement ends very soon.

      2. effie

        I have found that with some adult kids, you’re not allowed to SAY anything. The smallest thing is all it takes for them to shut you out. Then it’s our fault, yet I believe it sometimes is an excuse. Then they don’t have to take the time to slow down for any time for us. Sad but very true. At least in my case. They are climbing the corporate ladder and we just don’t fit in. Again, in my case.

        1. Liz A.

          I couldn’t agree more. I just think my son was looking for an excuse to be horrible to me. He speaks to his Dad (my husband) but really struggles to speak to me even though we really try to do lovely things together. I just don’t think he likes me.

        2. Carly D.

          I have a couple of old social media posts from my grown child with pictures saying she loves me. However, the past 5 years have been so hard because she’s so impatient, and, like you, I never know when something I do or say will set her off. I do think climbing the corporate ladder has something to do with it. I don’t fit in. She’s fine with my husband, who, as she was growing up could have all the fun with her while I had to do all the work, though we did do a lot together and we’re pretty close. Now, it feel like she’s gone. I try so hard to understand because I know her life is crazy, and there’s grandchildren involved so I’m always walking on eggshells. I feel painfully blind-sided by all this.

      3. Jennifer L

        I am so sorry this has happened to you. There just seems to be an epidemic of rejecting parents. I often wonder if these adult children have some intense internal shame that makes them disconnect. That is the kindest thing I can say about it. Because, their behavior is really abusive, and we parents would not tolerate it from anyone else. I understand the grief because my son has basically cut off from us after marrying. But they also cut themselves off from their siblings and sometimes their best friends. I feel this is a symbol, especially in America, of a very callous attitude towards people in general that has developed in this country. I try to move forward a little each day and be extra kind to everyone so as not to let the grief poison my attitude. I send you my support in trying to move forward and hope that helps you in some way.

  8. Dhanara

    My situation happened when my husband of 22yrs passed. My daughter threatened to sue me because she felt entitled to my Husband’s pension/money from the estate (I was 43 when he passed)…I spoke with her about her request mentioning I’d need to continue on and as I am disabled and have very little to my name, I needed to save everything for possibly buying another home etc. She accused me of coercing her Father into not writing a will (the opposite in fact was true), and was super abusive verbally.
    Finally after she received $10,000 she was quiet for a short while, that didn’t last long. She contacted me almost a year later and berated me accusing me of things I’d never said or done then at the end of the conversation the topic of money was brought up again. When I didn’t offer any more money, she grew angry and said I was a narcissist and didn’t want anything to do with me.
    It’s super hard, I am not a perfect parent of course, but definitely know I was there for both my daughters, and was accountable if and when I messed up. At this point I still hear stories from my eldest that her Sister is angry with me for not chasing after her. I just couldn’t do it. She told my parents I’d just stopped calling when they asked about me…which wasn’t the case. It is such a painful thing to experience, the manipulation, the defamation of character the lying, all of it.
    Now I’m choosing to send my love in a spiritual sense. I respect that a boundary was made and do not feel it appropriate to send gifts or chase after a person that has clearly decided it best to go no contact. Yes it’s hard, and yes, I struggle with guilt and shame over it almost daily (working on that)…but I also feel that if I personally made a boundary to go no contact I’d be pretty upset if that wasn’t respected and in fact likely would feel less inclined to reach out. I don’t feel my daughter owes me anything, not everyone feels a kinship with their parents as adults, and I personally don’t want to be in an abusive dynamic. So I’m working towards a feeling of acceptance. It’s definitely a slow process for me.

    1. Lynne

      My daughter started to pull away from me,her mother, in 12th grade which is normal. She had her own car and a job after school. As time went by she was less communicative and now at 28 it’s still bad. We go out to dinner she only talks to her dads and gives me only brief curry answers. I’m always pleasant, I support all the things she’s involved with , compliment her. I do a yard sale yearly and sell her stuff for her and give her all the money. As I’m writing this I am desperately doing anything I can for her to like me. She says thanks for the money but nothing else changes. Now I fear if I talk to her about my feelings, she get mad and then I lose her. She is our only child. I don’t think I could handle that. I Have severe depression which is well maintained with meds. Such a miserable feeling I just can’t shake.

      1. Jonathan J.

        Hi Lynne,I can relate to you feel,I have 3 children,19 and 21 Yr old daughters and an 18 Yr old son. My daughters are ok with me,but my son for the past few months has only contacted me to do with money,last time I offered to take him for something to eat on his 18th Birthday (which was only last month) he said “yeah,that would be good,ill let you know nearer the time”. He didn’t let me know so I left it,his birthday came,I took him his birthday gifts (I don’t live with them by the way,they live with their mother,and she is a whol other story) and he said thanks dad. The next day he message me this exact message “I thought you said you were going to give me some money for my birthday”,so there was no “thank you for my things dad” just expected money. He never texts me to ask how I am,it was always me asking how he is and if he wants to come out with his sisters and myself and I’d ask him if he wants to come with just me too for some dad and son time,but no…ive stopped contacting him now as I feel he’s old enough to know and understand that Dad dosent always have to get in touch,his sisters contact me without me saying but it’s just him that doesn’t. It does affect me,but I don’t know if it’s the right thing to do,Id really like to meet him and talk to him about what’s going on in his head. P.s. he is a weed smoker too

        1. Vanessa

          Jonathan J., my experience is pot smoking got me a lay about adult child who was marginally employed and eventually became violent towards me. I am sick and tired of waiting for him to come around and realize the nice childhood and upbringing he had. Done with the trying.

  9. Gigi

    I don’t think the pain ever goes away it been 5 years for me. I think we just have to get used to it. acceptance..
    i’m a single mother of two children at the early age of 16 I worked two jobs put myself through college it was hard of course but I did it
    I’ve had a lot of focus and effort on making money and giving them a good home and all the material aspects of life , they are 24 and 30 and don’t talk to me cause I when I was diagnosed with cancer
    I got through on my own with no other help from the family
    my son is married and has a son he’s never allowed me to see my grandson. His wife stays home and takes care of his child so she can be present in his life. He doesn’t want his son to be raise the way that he was with mother working.
    He’s expressed to me that everything that I did wrong he’s going to do right I don’t know what to do with that comment. Because I know I tried the best.

    My son has a lot of hatred towards me for a long time and has now manipulated my daughter into also hating me, but I’ve extended olive branches to my 24-year-old daughter. I do help her out financially when she needs it but I don’t have a relationship with her either. As much as I try, but every day, just waking up with a hole in your heart eventually so you have to start self caring. We have to create a new life.

    1. rparents Post author

      Dear Gigi,

      Sounds to me like you devoted your life to providing them with a good home. It’s too bad you had to work to put food on the table and keep them in clothes and etc. Sometimes, I hear grateful adults who recognize the sacrifices their single mothers made for them. Too bad your son can’t seem to have compassion for you.

      I love what you said at the end of your post. A good life can be had and, with your self-compassion, the hole can shrink.

      Hugs to you,
      Sheri McGregor

      1. Connie S.

        To whom it may concern? My daughter has been treating me very badly! I have to go to Therapy Counselling, she tells me I am Toxic, Evil, Crazy, I will block you out of my life, I am very upset, her husband, did not wish me happy mother’s day, my daughter did by text not by phone call! All because I was very upset with my oldest brother, I accidentally sent my daughter a message what I said to my brother, well she got really mad! She said if I find out, you are talking about me I will block you out of my life! It’s been a long time! After my daughter got married, I sense this family doesn’t like me, I feel it, very cold distant, I know his mom and sister can’t stand me! I don’t know why!

    2. Mama

      Hey I know exactly how you feel. We have done a lot for both of our grown kids and no appreciation at all for it! Both our kids are grown and married. We are happy for them just done with the bullshit! They dangle our grandkids over us use them as pawns. They do not realize they are hurting their own kids more than us. We hope we live long enough to see how their kids are being taught to cut people out of their lives. Now if grandparents are mistreating their grandkids of course our grown kids should go no contact and protect them. This is not the case. We do not drink, smoke or hit our grandkids. All their spouses most of the time to start the crap up between families and most of the time it is the daughter in law keeps the pot stirring. They are some mother in law’s that interfere with their son’s marriage. Not us we love our son to take a step back to show we love him and want him to live in peace. Never want our kids to be put in the middle between their parents and their spouses! Move on & take trips let your grown kids know where we live and our cell # and will always be there for them will not allow them to mistreat us any longer! Turn it all over to God you will be surprised what God has in store for your life in this world!

  10. Lorinda

    You aren’t alone. My two boys have disowned me. Their farther is in prison for murdering my fiancé years ago. So I’m all they have on the outside. I’ve let them live in my house. For bills only. Haven’t made a penny from it, not even for repairs. Both have done damage to the house. And now that I want to sell it, I’m the enemy and they want nothing to do with me. 26 and 30. I haven’t blocked them on fb, but don’t look at their pages and I’ve unfollowed them. It hurts because I have grandchildren. I’m determined to move forward with my life though. I don’t have much time left and I deserve to be happy. Going line dancing Thursday and that brings me joy. My heart is hurting though and I wish things were different. But reality is that it may never be different. I have to live my life without them in it, their choice.

  11. Shelley

    I have a son.. my only son who was given up at 1 years old do to me being homeless.. he was adopted.. so when he turned 18 I reached out to him but he wants nothing to do with me and I believe it’s because of some people at the church I attend that raised him and turned him against me telling lies about me and my life.. every thing I tried to reach out for him has failed.. I don’t know what else to do.. and it has tainted my belief In God. And the church that I just want nothing to do with God.. that’s how much I’m hurting.. I haven’t seen my son in person in 20years and I keep getting rejection after rejection.. I don’t know what to do or say to him to reach him..

    1. Janie

      I have a similar situation. You cannot make someone else do or be what you want them to be. They have their own free will but however you have a life that God has given you and you must live that life do what makes you happy if you have reached out to no avail let it go set it free. If it’s yours it’ll come back to you. If not live your life and be happy that’s what I am doing. I think them ignoring us is a form of control and revenge and hurt people hurt people let it go. Go be happy.

      1. Roger B.

        Thank you so much for your candid words I’m in the same situation I’ve been rejected by xx xx moved out OK he turned 18 after I put into private school. I need to focus on myself and be happy worry about what he is doing . If it is right he will come back if not I’ll try to make my life the happiest it is to be

      2. Gail

        So true, praying for their happiness, safety and future but I love if wonder of why can’t I have the family unity and happiness so many have. Is my love for them smothering if I’m not even contacting them. What did I do. Only God can help and heal. I need to learn to let it go and live again instead of sit here and wait only to be let down again.

        1. rparents Post author

          Hi Gail,

          God does heal … and He also helps through books. I think you will find my books helpful in the goal you state, which is to take care of yourself instead of sitting around waiting for them to change. You deserve to have a happy life. My books are used by some religious groups ad well as by therapists, coaches, and others.

          Hugs to you,
          Sheri McGregor

    2. Karen B.

      Thats awful. Shame on your son. Don’t let Anyone make you feel.guilty. Yell Horay ! And move on. Life is too short. Youve done all your worrying when he was a kid.

      He’ll grow up someday.

      1. Maribel

        I have this grand daughter that is very desrespectful and dnt get along with me,ever since she bonded with her and dad. I still raise her siblings. Now she graduating and she came to my house rolling her eyes with a dislike body language, to tell me,that she wants her siblings to go. Instead of saying,i want u and my siblings to go to my graduation. She is a very rude person with me. Since her mom never communicated with me. And one time was very desrespectful with me. So if i go i will feel uncomfortable and probably sit very distance.

    3. Karla

      I got divorced 10 years ago. My oldest son hates me since then…even his father cheated to me wit a 25 year woman you get than him. I tried after that for 5 years but our marriage was . It didn’t have a fix. I’m trying so hard to fix my relationship with him that I don’t know what else to do. I am hurting a lot. I had an excellent relationship with my son that is so hard for me. I don’t know how to handle the pain I feel.

  12. Christine M.

    As with many of you, my story is bewildering. 4 months ago my husband and I moved to the same city where my daughter, her husband, and two grandchildren live. We are extremely close with her grandchildren, having taken them on vacations with us alone and having spent weeks at a time at our home prior to moving. My husband did something stupid. I’d rather not go into detail but by mistake he texted something to our granddaughter. It wasn’t inappropriate but it was just strange for her. My daughter has just recently texted me, not even spoke to me in person or on the phone, that she has a ride as a parent to decide who is around her and her family and that she wants nothing to do with me and that I’m never to contact her for family. I told her I would respect her wishes and then I never abandoned her when she did something stupid or supported something stupid. I also told her that I did not do this act and I should not be responsible for it. Nevertheless, she’s not responding to anything. As a side note, she gave us all kinds of problems in high school and doesn’t remember that and how we supported her through that. I’m wondering if she’s trying to get me to make a decision to leave my husband for this. Either way it’s very manipulative and I am heartbroken about the grandchildren because they love us more than anything and we love them but I can’t change that. I’m going to get this book to help me through this trying time.

    1. Jackie

      I’m sorry to hear you are been treated like this.
      I too have had 20 years of my daughters horrible behavior.
      You have a right as a grandparent to make an application to court to see your grandchildren.
      I did this with my youngest granddaughter and won.
      It cost £220.
      If you had a good string relationship with your grandchildren before then you have the right to see then abd they have the right to see you.
      So get intouch with your local family court and start the process.
      Good luck.

  13. Tovah

    Dear Marie,

    Your situation reminds me of something that happened to me where we used to live.
    I am an avid gardener and was usually found outside playing in the dirt every chance I got. Our house was on a busy corner and our neighbors often stopped to chat with me as I worked.

    On one occasion a woman approached me while walking her dog. I had not met her before but we struck up a conversation easily. She was at a crossroads in her career, having recently been laid off from a position she had held for a long time.

    She told me that and then began to confide in me something that sounded awful.

    Her grown son was living with her along with a grandchild, his child. He was mistreating the woman, his own mother. He would not get a job or help her in any way. He contributed nothing and made a lot of demands of her. When she asked him to move out he threatened to block access to her grandchild permanently.

    To make matters worse, her ex, that grown son’s father, was a cop who was telling their son to refuse to leave, to STAY PUT!

    I could tell this whole situation had made her a nervous wreck, and I did what I felt appropriate at the time as a woman and mother. I said supportive things, no specifics now recalled. Just some statements to give her confidence that she too had rights. It was her home, after all. Maybe she should speak to her pastor or contact an attorney.

    But she didn’t respond very well, looking quite defeated and only cast her eyes downward as I spoke.
    We spoke a little more and then she left. I relayed what had happened to my husband later that day when he got home from work and tried to think positive thoughts for her.

    A day or so later, our beautiful house was egged, a large yellow splatter of eggs marring the exterior that — because we were on a corner — was very visible. We had a kind of stucco material that the house was constructed from and no matter what I did the stains would not come out. We would have to repaint it.

    Our neighborhood was not prone to acts of vandalism. It was a quiet area next to a lovely large park.
    Initially I didn’t make any connection but soon I wondered if this had been done by the grown son, perhaps as a result of her telling him that she and I had spoken.

    I never saw that woman again but never got her out of my mind, and my concern for her. Up to that point I never knew much about threatening grown children. I can only hope that she is safe.

    Please take good care of yourself, Marie, be watchful of red flags and reach out with discretion to someone trustworthy to assist you if you feel the need and most importantly do not let it be known that you are doing this.

    You are in my thoughts.

    1. rparents Post author

      Tovah, thank you for also replying to Marie.

      Your advice is good, and there are many parents who hide the bad behavior of their adult children. I find this out more each day.

      HUGS to you, to Marie, and to all who read here.

      Sheri McGregor

    2. Ingrid O.

      My child is angry with me because my mom died of a diabetic coma like 16 years ago. Nobody tried to take care of her even though I have 2 older siblings and one younger. I took him to counseling while she was sick because I knew she wasn’t coming back. They finally talked to me about placing her in hospice and I did so. I had to make that decision alone. They never came to see her and my sister said oh I’ll take her home. You didn’t take care of her when you lived with her
      He said I killed my mom. If I could have saved her, I would have. He hates me and said I killed grandma. No I didn’t. I had to let her go because once her brainstem died, she would die. That hurts, but I can’t explain it to him.

  14. Mary Rose

    Not putting anyone else down on here but I will confess I’m the reason my children are having less and less to do with me. I am a selfish mother. I’m just being honest. I’ve used my children as psychotrists. I’m awful. I’m trying to make a mends. We shall see.

    1. Taisha S.

      My situation different .now I am a 52 year old mom.i took care of my son til 3 years ago.he moved with a girl..from my past .I vowed to b ther for my kids til the death. But for some reason my son always not care bout me…I always knew.but remain mom.but grown at 30 not acceptable..he get mad over girls think I’m the blame of his gal cheating.said to me 2 weeks after buri g my daughter he sat die .go lay in ground..then next year .wish death upon me.then this year.now to me that’s a threat.i can’t play with that kids will kill u..I’m done I’m never dealing gagain

      1. rparents Post author


        Yes, do be careful. Someone who threatens their mother in such a way … well, just be careful. Do what you need to do to protect yourself (restraining order, change locks, move away… etc). Just because it is someone we gave birth to and raised, that does not mean we shouldn’t take threats seriously.

        Hugs to you.

        Sheri McGregor

  15. M. Kay

    So many others like me are here sharing this space, befuddled, hurt, confused, and at the heart of it is our flesh and blood, whom we have loved without reservation…my three adult children have pulled away from me. About 10 years ago I found my sons phone in the bathroom, picked it up and there was a text message…from my daughter to him “lol mom has no clue that all those presents she gave Natalie to bring for me are still in the trunk lol I told Nat she could toss them.” I had no clue my eldest daughter felt this way. Right away I tried to fix it. But it just grew worse over time and now there is no communication between us, all three siblings have sided together that I am the worst mother ever. I just spent my Thanksgiving alone again as my son was having dinner for his sisters and father but I was not invited because “a fight may happen” and I just blocked all my children from contacting me because if I ever get a call it’s to let me know they are getting together with their dad and not me. I just don’t want to know.
    Sign me,

    1. Ms. B

      Same situation here. I once had a friend who moved all the way here (Midwest) to be with her grandchild because the parents decided to move. After years of babysitting for free they decided she couldn’t see him anymore. She called her son to come over one day saying she needed to talk to him. I was there she wanted me to be. She informed him she was moving back to Florida where she had grandchildren she could see. She’s happy now. Time to do the same for me. New Era!!!

    2. Susan H.

      I am so sorry that you are going such a painful time. I haven’t seen my son or grandkids in 7 years. I know of a slight rift but this, I don’t know! He started getting quieter around me after the divorce 26 years ago. He has high functing autism called aspergers so he chose who he spoke to without some knowing why he hardly would talk to them. There were times I would ask an appropriate question and he acted like I was asking something that was none of my business. My daughter’s given up on him. I chat with his girlfriend on Facebook but don’t get unrealistic ideas as to a future with him. I am 77 and live in a group home due to anxiety and depression. I have good friends at church and friends from my former church visit. I belong to a seniors group. This helps me get my mind off my son. I have a fairly close relationship with my daughter and her children, but those grandchildren are much older then the other ones. I hope you can find ways to make you happy. From your letter, you seem like a very caring person. Knowing others are going through something close and can feel your hurt may help you through these holidays and other times. Blessings!

    3. May

      Only God can fix our problems. He still makes miracles. Read your Bible. I too am suffering. No one is perfect only Christ. We can pray for our children.

      1. Tina M.

        Thank you May. It is true. Only God can change hearts and move mountains. In 2009, my husband who had schemed over the years to get our two daughters to side with him, manipulating them with campings, gifts and fun trips on my part-time weekend job, kicked me out to live in an apartment, and of course my two daughters ages 15 and 12 were at the legal age to choose whom they wanted to live with. My older daughter was manipulated by him for to have often ganged up with her father to insult me, lied to me, and disobeyed me when I confronted her with lying so she had no problem with her choice while My younger one being very closer to me as I was her best friend–he had to use more manipulation to convince her. I was heart broken but you know what? During this hardship I just go God of the Bible and found His perfect love! For awhile they seemed to love me but in 2015, my younger one cut me out of her life. Yesterday, May 19, 2023, the older one claimed her Dad’s second wife (he now has a 3rd wife) as her Mom and accused me with lies, so said that both of these girls reject me as their mother! I know I was not perfect though I really loved them, raised them in church and they used to be crazy about God! Today, they hate both me and their Dad! I am sad but I have hope in my Savior. This world is not my home. I want to encourage myself and all who suffer like me to always run to God, read and meditate on the love of God and ask Him how we can encourage others to fix our eyes on God and our eternal Home with Him some day! I pray for my daughters to know God, too! Thank you

    4. Tamara

      This is abuse, plain and simple. I just watched a movie today where the adult son came back into his parents lives after years of estrangement. He wrecked havoc on their lives and when the mother realized her son wasn’t the same person he was as a kid, she told him she wanted him out of their lives. Reading comments on this site, it gives me a larger perspective of what happened. What was done to us is shocking and now the only explanation for a complete cut off is our adult child is like the son in the movie. I tell myself every morning and throughout the day how grateful I am for my life. We no longer are getting used, taken advantage of and disrespected. There is a lot to say for the peace that can be found in silence.

    5. Brokenhearted

      Oh I can relate. For the last 20 years my youngest daughter has tortured me. My oldest daughter and I are very close. She ran away at 16 with a 30 year old guy and never looked back. She’s on her second marriage and now uses my grandchildren to punish me. Her dad just had a heart attack and could have cared less. We receive no birthday cards, Xmas cards nothing! She is the definition of a true narcissist. She tells lies to people turning everyone against us. I met her last year with tons of gifts and one for she and her husband and we got nothing. This year she has ignored her little 10 year old nephew. I got so excited to be invited to a cheerleading competition only to find out I couldn’t go with them that I was to drive an hour and a half while wearing a heart monitor. She would visit my mom back before she passed who had dementia and when I would walk in all our pictures were put away or turned around. At my moms funeral she came over and asked me what was left. She turned my brother against us and he went to the grave like that. No Xmas card again this year so before my heart breaks anymore I need to just say enough because I’m elderly and it’s taking it out of my health. As hard as it is to realize she just doesn’t love us.

    6. Marie

      How sad and I wish I knew why these kids that become adults suddenly think it’s ok to disrespectful us and kick while we are down in guilt already… sorry I am just starting to get disowned by my son who is 28 and i just got 2 grandbabies as well. Thinking we are all doing great.. yesterday I found out it’s all my fault gor the way he is with his kids and anger issues list goes on and I try to listen and figure away to take it all in but sitting there for so long in tears as he gets more aggressive with words I think is totally bull shit.. I feeling like death he said I deserve it while his fiance acts like she the mediator which well didn’t do that part too well. I’m just trying to figure out how this man had such a horrible child hood and trauma?

      1. rparents Post author

        Dear Marie,

        I hope his gal pal realizes she will be the one he gets aggressive with one day. He sounds like a bully. B.S. indeed. Be cautious, ok? If this were me, I would not be in his space again.

        Sheri McGregor

    7. Lorinda

      You aren’t alone. My two boys have disowned me. Their farther is in prison for murdering my fiancé years ago. So I’m all they have on the outside. I’ve let them live in my house. For bills only. Haven’t made a penny from it, not even for repairs. Both have done damage to the house. And now that I want to sell it, I’m the enemy and they want nothing to do with me. 26 and 30. I haven’t blocked them on fb, but don’t look at their pages and I’ve unfollowed them. It hurts because I have grandchildren. I’m determined to move forward with my life though. I don’t have much time left and I deserve to be happy. Going line dancing Thursday and that brings me joy. My heart is hurting though and I wish things were different. But reality is that it may never be different. I have to live my life without them in it, their choice.

  16. Donnetta

    I’m shocked. My husband has been disabled for 23 years. Now Im sick with a rare disease and he has more health issues. Our daughter said she isn’t able to help because she needs to be around for her 18 year old son. My grandson told me he can’t help us. He said parents are suppose to take care of their children not the other way around.

    My daughter said it’s my fault that I’m so sick because I took care of her Dad as well as my older sister and worked ful time. I have to pray continously. The hurt and anger are unreal.

    I’m praying for a place like an assisted living. We don’t have much financially. I no longer care about leaving the house and other things to them. Our family always took care of one another. This new generation doesn’t feel that same. I have to let them go. “It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man. ” Psalm 118.” May we find Peace in Jesus Christ

    1. Kathy W.

      God be with you my friend. I too have grown children that could care less . Karma will equal the scales of cruelty to parents left to fend for themselves. Shame on this new breed of souless monsters. They will reap what they are showing. SHAME ON THEM.

    2. Annette

      Oh Donnetta,
      I am so so sorry, I will be praying for you. I don’t understand the selfishness of some of these adult children.

    3. wendy bernthal

      Hello there, I read your very sad story and I think I may be able to help in a small way.. I know exactly how you feel… I wasn’t able to move on from my estranged daughter until after I had a stroke (caused by immense pain and sadness) and found this amazing connection on youtube..
      I hope it helps you just a little bit..
      The site is green renaissance videos and I have top favourites

      Love is strange and beautiful
      Do what you love
      Being simply beautiful
      ‘Love mummy’
      Its a privilege
      Now you are free
      Richest man in the world

      There you go,
      Enjoy and let us change our thinking, after all, we too have an expiration date, don’t we?
      We must let them go, to make their own mistakes just as we may have done too.
      You are never alone in this….

    4. K R

      I see this generation as a system run one.
      As an academic in my 20s, I did not like my parents. They were always aloof.

      My son does have addiction challenges, yet wants to bear living two more months with me until he is clear of any consequences of his drug psychosis last year at this time. His job and my ex-in-laws embolden him as male to show nothing wrong. Slight depression with first month’s 40-hr work week completed.
      A few years will help him. The young adults do not realize the life and death are reasons to cherish people because life is so complex and confusing for them. Rules are tough when not experienced and anger is a simpler solution. Open hate for saying hello or being present at 4am (I am a light sleeper) when he arrives home – workday or not – at 4am. Fhew. What a messy way to live. That age needs “a room”. That’s it.

  17. Christine

    In short we are all suffering the same pain and simply cannot comprehend why- my answer is social media! It was always a curse when it started and I had to remove the mobile phones from the bedroom. Stop the photos! Etc.. the respect flew out of the window as the social network grew stronger.
    Sadly as parents there is no going back to the way we were. As for our off spring they are already formed and mould by their fans, peers etc.
    It’s destructive and sad.
    So many families are suffering.
    So much heartache.
    They do not prioritise us.
    I am tired of forgiving.
    Tired of apologising.
    Tired of not feeling wanted or loved.
    Enough is enough.
    I say… but struggle to follow through.
    If I am curt I am criticised.. I am always the one at fault, always the one to blame.
    It’s like fighting a losing battle explaining my feelings.
    So I will focus on me as best I can… hurts.
    But what else can I do.. I have to respect myself— even if they don’t! Reach out to friends- you are not alone.. it is a pandemic! Punished parents pandemic!
    Chin up!

    1. Debra

      I do relate to you Christine! I just can’t get my daughter to understand that all I want is love and respect.
      I’ve had cancer and now a stroke. Been divorced from her cheating dad for ten years now. But she treats me exactly like he did before I divorced him. I think she learned it all from watching how he used to treat me.
      I’ve decided not to let her make me a victim!

    2. Debbie

      Hello everyone – I am 67 my son and I have been estranged since he was 17.. but he came back a few years later… now married with 3 kids…. less and less communication – i asked him straight out last February on the phone don’t you love me anymore? He said “yea, but i don’t want to say it” ?????????????? Guess that’s a soft way of saying… not really…. I think I have to be done. For mother’s day this year I got a Happy mother’s day Grandma” ecard. So basically not even acknowledging i’m his mother. What is really sad is that I won’t have a relationship with my 3 grandchildren – but pretty hard as they live 4 hours away and I work full time. I asked if I could visit after thanksgiving and he said “that’s tough as we are decorating for Christmas.” ahhhh ok. They always go to her parents house for Christmas (they are 40 min. away). I never get ANY acknowledgement from the wife – never have – so I think I need to be done. Sending expensive gifts that I really can’t afford gets me nowhere. He hasn’t sent me anything for 5 years – which it is the thought. Like “you don’t deserve to have a relationship with me.” Well, I guess – fine totally END it because the tiny bits and pieces i get – when I do text (no phone calls anymore my God!) feels like begging. No. This generation so busy, so self-absorbed, so thoughtless. Last Christmas he texted on Christmas day – Merry Christmas. That’s it. Should I still send something small to the grandkids? 10, 8 and 5 ? If I don’t ask and she tells me what to get – it goes in the bin. Well, just a bit thankful that I’m not the only one. Helps a little to know I’m not alone.

    3. Kristine

      The scapegoat is the most mentally fit in the toxic family.
      That’s why they pick us.
      My son’s girlfriend doesn’t want him coming here anymore so I told him, then stop coming over, it’s that simple.
      It sure beats this endless roller coaster ride.
      He wants to hang on for when he can’t pay a bill.
      They need to work that out as a couple.
      I’m not his –
      He squandered trust fund money for his education and lied the entire time. Girlfriend moved into dorm and interrupted his studies.
      He drives a truck for Fed Ex after getting fired from everything else.
      I texted him I’m having spinal cord surgery and he never responded. He’s 29!
      I’m pushing those 2 kindergarteners out of my head.

    4. KR

      Completely agree!

      There is no ear to suggestion that the phone should be left alone. It ia a friend, an encyclopedia and a reason to seek any comfort anywhere.

      A few years may help. I was told how my som felt today and I think he may wosh to get a room elsewhere if possible. His grammy has comvinced him to stay at my home (gads – the manipulative woman her entire life!) until he gets a Boiler’s Permit and travels away. He may pull strings to get a mew position with the union sooner. He chooses to call the shots. I watch my life! There is spite/malice with occasional alcohol use (I believe). Otherwise, aoner he is kind.

  18. Tammy

    We live in a small town, with neighbors for the last 20+ years. Our estranged son and his family have a relationship with our next door neighbors. These neighbors have forsaken neighborhood friends (who have a moral compass) to carry on a relationship with our son and his family. It’s like our son and his wife are controlling them (they are in their 70s) and they won’t wave or talk to us anymore. They also use them for free babysitting our grandchildren. The extent our son and his wife want to punish us is unbelievable. Thank God they estranged us, the elder abuse is incredible.

    1. Diane H.

      Tammy, I read your post this morning and felt your pain and bafflement. What a thing for them all to do!! Either cry or laugh, you can’t control their choices or actions, but you can certainly know in your heart that they are ridiculous and you won’t be humbled by them, and I mean all of them. What an incredulous game your children are playing. Show no signs of taking any notice, leave them to it and keep your head high. My thoughts are with you.

    2. Eileen M.

      As the reply above states, they are soulless monsters. It is the best description I have read to date. Now that they do not need our time or money, they have tossed aside, like garbage. Believe me, that is exactly how they view us.

    3. Vicky

      That is one of the cruelest and evil stories I’ve seen in many years about alienation. People who matter see how ridiculous this situation is and how very petty. Would you ever want to move away so you aren’t constantly exposed to this preposterous behavior of your kids and your neighbors?

    4. KT

      Definitely not OK.

      My hope is that your writing was cathartic at least.

      Work is good for the soul. My son’s behavior rotates on drug/alcohol use. The words today may have been from his NY Eve party and sleep deprivation. He will receive influence from grammy, the ex-mother-in-law. Her beliefs in women and men are role-only related. Women can’t work. Men must be sent to work.
      *The church can be evil to those on Earth. Truly. *
      One must think above the talk and self-serving actions of others. Work focus or volunteering focus helps the family be of minimal consequence if they hurt us. My goal above in writing is to help. Peace foe 2023.

    5. Cheryl

      Turn to God and him alone. We are not in control of others. We had the same situation, nosey meddling neighbors. We moved across the country. If you could move away it would help. It would end the abuse by neighbors. Wouldn’t be as much fun for neighbors or the kids

  19. Whereismydaughtertonight4years...later?

    I have read these posts, feel it …live it! Yes, it feels beyond awful for your child to disown you. This unwanted syndrome will keep spinning in your head, it feels like a flu that seems never gets better maybe the rest of your life! or hopefully not. You can keep reading over and over looking for a solution. It is kind of like driving down a dead end road and “thinking you will be able to proceed” down that dead end road, but in the real moment & reality…you are not….The road stops. This individual has their own monkey’s on their backs to deal with and I guarantee, It is Not All About You.
    I will have to say, this world has changed in a tremendous negative way, from the Oh mighty…Internet and how one socializes or is even able to speak properly about the tensions they maybe are going thru. Keeping up with the “Jones”, we live in a world where these kids really believe they are communicating posting, “chatting”, selfies, facebook, instagram, snapchat, and the only one to live by now, Tiki Tok. These kid’s do not wish to engage in a conversation with you, nor pick up the phone to say “Hi, how are you doing”? They are busy studying makeup tutorial on YouTube, Sports cars & mansions of rappers and movie stars.all while ..Staring at the cell phone device…in La La land…(not saying all kids either)
    I have dealt with Tough Love for many of years with the disconnection of my daughter (who is not in very good shape , but fakes it to make it).. I had to release myself from the self torture of what a “crappy mother” I “was”…..and I moved on. I went back to school, I found time, I volunteered, WW, Children’s Hospital’s, Veterans Hospitals,Turkey Day at shelters and a whole lot more. Somewhere, You need to find the strength to give back to YOURSELF! You maybe your worst enemy, if you do not get outside your own head….Hey, other’s need your help too…and you deserve to give back!!!! Get out there and explore, I guarantee you will feel amazing of how you partake in “someone else’s life…” :). Even if it is for one hour:) Put some light back into your life and someone else’s… Peace….

    1. Maggie

      I keep thinking about the 10 commandments and Honor thy father and mother. What has happened to our world? I have spent the last 6 years reaching out to my now 30 yo son. After his father (who had cheated on me and our family for 30 secretive years) finally brought a 30 years younger girl from China into our home, and our family was dissolved in minutes, my then 24 yo son was hurt confused and angry. But somehow I was the one he attacked and hated. In one conversation in which I tried to talk to him to apologize for what ever and all I had done to hurt him, he said, “ i don’t want to resolve our relationship. I don’t consider you my mother. I think of you like an aunt.” Ever since he has intermittently needed help from me and would call, but again he would be cold dismissive, and withdrawn and when asked he ignores my inquiry. It’s been going on so long, my heart is starting to be familiar with the reaching and rejection. I keep remembering what this one therapist said, “ if someone tells you they don’t love you, believe them. Don’t chase after them.” I know we have all given up so much for our children, sleep, money, food, jobs, free time, you name it. Staying with husbands who cheat and lie. We do it because we put our child first. Their needs first, Their wants first. And in that caring role, we fell in love with our child. It feels inconceivable that they wouldn’t recognize and be in that same love. But… apparently it is. Adult children look forward, not back. It is heartbreaking to read the pain that every writer here is sharing. I know the deep anguish this kind of estrangement brings. So I am going to let him go. I am not going to keep reaching. I have finally got the message. I am going to believe what his actions and words are telling me. My heart still hurts, but it has become beyond humiliating. I am 70 and it’s time to spend my life outside of this pain, not swimming in it. I believe I am a good person and I am going to give my love to those who want to receive it. I am so sorry each of you is suffering this pain and wish you relief.

    2. Calista C.

      Best advice I have ever heard. My relationship with 2 of 3 daughters are great. My eldest is nice to me and always calls me back but is very closed and distant. She has a terrible disease, stage 4 breast cancer. I want to be closer to her but i don’t know how and always feel her judging me. I admire how she raises her son and she has good high quality friends and a super competent loving husband. This is always on my mind. I love her and know she loves me back yet …,

    3. clarissa g.

      my only child an adult son haven’t spoken in months .We got into a huge fight in April in relation to a family member he proceeded to call me simple minded c&nt. That was it for me. It went so far that he tried to take a restraining order against me. It was denied. In saying that I’m not a perfect mother and I’ve made my mistakes but I certainly didn’t deserve that. His father my ex and their family are perfect. Idk know anything about him he blocked me on social media everything. I certainly don’t deserve this. I’ve made peace with it. I don’t want to have a relationship with him. It okay ive focused on my other friendships and relationships in my life. Started traveling and focusing on myself. As much as it hurts me I do realize that this relationship for now isn’t fixable and it may never be. I don’t have much of a relationship with my sister or brother and I’ve made peace with it All i can do is focus on the good in my life and pray that something good will come from this. These kids today are disrespectful and selfish. im trying to learn from it and be better. Blessings to all of you

    4. wendi g.

      Your response is inspiring to me, because like you, I too have involved myself via social work and volunteer activities ithat aim to support or enrich the lives of others. It is a great distraction with a meaningful purpose.

      But no matter the depth of the distraction, there seems to be a deeper hole in the heart that won’t free me completely from the maternal pain of losing a child. I believe we ache to connect with our offspring especially, and other kin, too. Estranged we are vulnerable. We are raw and exposed. We needn’t tell our story to others but everyone around us from neighbors and friends to the community at large; and the communities where our children live, as well. And there is a ripple effect of being estranged that feels more like a tidal wave because like a cancer it grows and worsens.

  20. Jennifer

    Anyone having estrangement from an only child? My only son, his wife, my 4 year old granddaughter and 6 month old grandson are now totally cut out of our life. We do not know what happened or why. Our son and his wife are acting narcissistic and gaslighting us. I know all about narcissistic behavior and being gaslighted. My brother has treated me like this all my life. I thought I was done with that type of behavior as I now have control over my responses to my brother and he no longer can threaten me. Then my only son starts attacking me and now just cuts us from his life blaming us for the choice he has made. It is beyond heartbreaking. Praying the God will turn it all around, but moving on with our life. Our door is always open as is our hearts. We just can’t keep being abused.

    1. Suzanne

      Your situation is exactly like mine,,,very hard to deal with…can’t give up on my only adult son but I’m in constant sorrow.
      It makes me feel a tab better that I’m not the only one.
      I Appreciate your openness because I will find a way to cope without feeling to distressed..
      Thanks for sharing your hardship. It does help knowing I’m a human being even if he doesn’t see me as one..

    2. Windy S.

      I know the feeling, my 30 year old so has stop having anything to do with me and it hurts so bad. I’m sick now with Covid and I’ve heard from all the others except him. It’s just like I don’t mean nothing.

    3. Kim

      I am having a similar situation. My only child a daughter has turned against me and her stepdad of 30 years, been going of and on for several years now. She is nasty sais cruel things and makes us out to be monsters. She had everything not just material but love and kindness support. Her real dad wanted nothing to do with her since age 3 but she had turned on the man who has been there and never needed to be. Now I have a two year old granddaughter but I can’t take her disrespect and dislike to us anymore. I need to make serious decisions. My husband has already wiped her

    4. Catherine H.

      We have some similar issues. I too have an only son and a non existent relationship with my narcissistic brother.
      Both have taught me a lot about relationships. As I write this I’m so heartbroken about my difficult relationship with my son., who is available on his terms. I have tried it all from moving on with my own life, owning any and all responsibility for my part in the situation. He denies it’s anything about me yet I feel so distant and unloved by him. It’s heartbreaking.
      There is no answer other than to have faith and maintain a positive mindset in hopes that this too will pass.

    5. Pam

      Yes, I have a son who is an only child. He’s in his late 20’s. I’ve just found how much my ex has been turning him…and now his fiance…against me. It’s all about my ex and her family. I’m completely left in the dark.

      After my ex left us I raised our son basically on my own. Ex was a Disney Land father. I kept our son off drugs, in school and paid for his college.

      I’ve never been so hurt in my life. The fiance plays along and calls my ex “dad”. He spends holidays with her family. I dont hear from them or know anything that’s going on. Everything is a big secret.

    6. Elaina P.

      It’s been 6 months. We had zero warning. One day chatting and FaceTimes then nothing.
      Our 24 year old daughter and her husband have cut us out of her life and our 5 year old granddaughter is in the middle.
      I tried to reach out. It wasn’t just rejected it was thrown back in my face and a most hateful spew was leveled at us.
      She was in the hospital for a serious issue – operation and biopsy! My in laws told us! My in laws! My husband and I were so scared and concerned – and I knew given the issue what our daughter was feeling. I felt for her. I wanted to be there to let her know everything was going to be ok. We sent a get well package. We sent our granddaughter her annual seasonal outfits package. A couple weeks later we received a large pkg in the mail. All the outfits we bought and a note “ stop sending packages, gifts and cards to this address. Toys were donated, flowers and fruit were given to neighbors, these clothes are being returned to you. Everything you send is unwanted and unappreciated” suffice it to say my husbands response was a quick note to our son in law “we got you package. Message received. Good riddance.”
      I didn’t like that, but I understood it.
      It’s the “toxic family/parent” posts on her social media that are disconcerting. If we were so toxic than why vacation with us all the time, let our granddaughter go to Cape Cod with us for a week without you, allow us to be emergency contacts and have her spend 2-3 days a week at our home… 3 calls/FaceTimes everyday??? It’s bewildering, sad and scary. I say scary because – full disclosure ( she has bi-polar depression and is not under care or on meds). I have it as well, but was diagnosed in my late 40’s and know that treating a chemical imbalance is most important! She and he husband get very defensive about the subject and refuse to see the behavior as possibly being influenced by a stressor that triggers her BPD… we never mention it – except in paise of him relieving her and picking up house and parent duties that overwhelm her.
      So as I was reading all these comments. I cry and feel the anguish. But 1 sentence stood out.
      “I am going to give my love to those who want to receive it.”
      We can sit and wonder what we did? Why it came to this? But, we cannot control others reactions, good or bad. We are responsible for our own happiness. They are our children. We will always love them. Leave the doors open for the prodigal children to come home. But don’t stop living and enjoying your life while you wait.
      Love, blessings & healing

    7. OnlyChildOfAnOnlyChildNowAlone

      I’m so sorry. I know this pain all too well. My mother and I raised my son, who is in his late-20s..his dad worked overseas (we separated and he ignored his son for most that time)..He found a girlfriend (who my mother and I disliked bc of how she treated him) and she set out to alienate us. He is mentally ill and a narcissist, like his dad, but the girlfriend exerts power that is scary….suddenly he decided I was “having an affair” (I wasn’t, had male friends and mentors for him, but never considered the other) and made up horrible lies to tell his dad (the gf is in tech, so I’m sure created “evidence”, too) and THEY divorced me (son called my mother and I to tell us “we are dead to him”..not a peep from either in a year…husband never even got my side…my son has always believed his own lies, but I never imagined he’d turn on my mother and me..he did..I haven’t reached out, bc he runs this show..and blaming the gf isn’t fair, she merely takes advantage of the situation, he is the issue. I knew he was looking for an excuse, bc prior to this call he’d yelled at me on the phone daily for a year..politics, the fact I am a Christian, that I wouldn’t divorce his dad (he’d wanted that since he was in the fifth grade!) all issues I told him weren’t his business, frankly, my soon told be ex wasn’t that strong. I’m disappointed and hurt by them both! My mom and I, whose whole lives revolved around him, were discarded when he no longer needed us for money or help. Heartbreaking. Last Christmas we mourned, this one we are determined to find new traditions and we both wouldn’t have lived through this without God…I send hugs to all who know this pain and who’ve been declared “toxic” by their beloved kids…it is so unnatural and wrong.

  21. GiveLoveExpectNothing

    Have any of you experienced this behavior or had this behavior with your own parents or siblings? Estrangement can follow in families, I’m thinking. In mine, there are abusive and narcissistic family members that were damaging to my brother and I. My grandparents and one uncle were good to us, grandchildren and continued to write, send cards and check in while we were at home. I’m brother and I kept a relationship with them when we were on our own.

    I’m think wondering if this is a family “learned dynamic”.

    Attempting to stay in touch is all that can be done. If the adult no longer wants the relationship, there is something creating them to weigh their own needs/desires that no longer are what the parent’s wants are.

    Raising solid people who know themselves is admirable. They are grown and will carry on taking care of themselves, even if it doesn’t align with the parent’s wish.

    Loving children and grandchildren is about letting go of self. In the same way we want yo choose our own way and life, so should they.

    NOTE: if the adults are mistreating their children, thus us something else and professionals must be called in.
    However, our hurt feelings need evaluation. Am I striving to get my way? Or do I not feel “good enough”. Choose less control and be kind to you.

  22. NANCY V

    I choose happiness. I adore my children, and have especially one daughter who desires no communication with me. I have good relationships with the other four. However, these are my thoughts. My children have free agency, and they can choose to not associate with me. But I also have free agency. I can choose to be miserable, over her comments; or I can choose joy in little moments. I can serve others who I have friendships with, I can enjoy the contact that I am blessed with in different individuals. I choose love, for all my children, but I also choose love for myself. I would give my children anything, but my happiness.
    I personally have found great comfort, in my Savior. He really likes me, and encourages me to do better, even though I’m far from perfect. May we mother’s with aching hearts, nevertheless, find our own bubble of comfort and peace

    1. Patricia

      How can you reach this peace, I give everything posible to my oldest daughter and is like she doesn’t want even to talk to us, I thought I knew her the moment she married same hour her attitude changed was other person. We were on her wedding like any other guests not even knowledge by other people. I try to keep contact but I feel her rejection and breaks my heart, I love her so much and I can’t believe she was one’s the person I thought was going to be by mi side when married. I wish someone to understand my pain and also help me to understand what I did wrong all she say you were over protecting. That’s my sin protect my daughter when she was at school.

    2. Tracey

      I brought both my daughters up on my own from birth I am done with being treated with such lack of care and respect ignored for months or a year not wished happy Mother’s Day birthday ect I am walking away from the pain and turmoil I know my self worth and this is not going to be part of what I have had to endure I have got so low I wanted to end my life but now I say enough this is not me it’s them and they can take there cold heartless behaviour and give it to someone who possibly deserves it but not me me there loving mum I am done age 63 can’t take any more pain and heart ache I don’t understand what or why this new generation can’t see how special we parent s mums or dads are it’s tragic my mum passed I miss her every day I love her and will take that love with me for eternity she was so beautiful But now I move on to find peace and happiness with out the ones I love and don’t know how to love me

    3. Kim

      Thank you Nancy . Your words of wisdom are extremely helpful . I too am learning to love myself a little more . Only Christ can heal a broken heart.

      God Bless

    4. Val

      I’ve just read your message. It is very powerful and helps me. I was widowed at 39 with 3 sons. Now I am 66 and one of them, like your daughter has cut me out of his life for the last 2 years. I have no idea why … except telling me I have a narcissistic personality when I have always done and been there for him. I gave him and his partner £10,000 towards buying a house but her parents contributed far more! The pain of feeling so hurt and rejected can be overwhelming but reading this website is a comfort.

  23. Lynn

    I have a 25 year old son who I have not spoken to for 3 years. I have been a single mother of 2 sons with no child support working 3 jobs 7 days a week. Once my sons graduated high school, I asked them if they they would live with their father so that I could downsize into a studio apartment and I would be able to pay their collage tuition. This was an agreement. One son did great and took full advantage. The other son whom I no longer have a relationship with, dropped out of school and did nothing. He would continue to ask me got money as I barley had any because I was paying all expenses for college. When I would ask him what he plans to do, he would tell me that he would get a job and it would be a lie. Then he would ask over and over for money and give me different lies and not do anything at all. I finally told him that I would not give him one more dime till he decides what he plans to do with his life and when he does, to give me a call do I can help him. 3 years later, we have not spoken until now, it took the death of his father for us to speak but only because he needs me. He never did do anything with his life and from what he tells me is that he and I have spoken more since his fathers death then he and his father have spoken living together in a year. But because I am making it a point to go and communicate. But he is telling me that he can not reciprocate love and affection back . Not to me, the family, not anyone who wants to get in using him and he feels no guilt whatsoever if it hurts anyone. He just wants the court/ estate issues to finish and now he is ready to join the military and disappear. I don’t know what to do. I want to keep trying but unsure if I am wasting my time and keeping myself in pain unnecessarily. I just keep remembering my little boy and it’s killing me inside.

  24. Clare

    My 2 adult children 21 and 23 haven’t spoken to me for months because I would not let my younger son, aged 19, come live with me unless he could show me he was making an effort to get a job. I’ve been a single mum of my kids since my eldest was 5 and have been the bread winner whilst their father refused to pay child support. My youngest son was living with his sister until she decided to move in with her uni mates which left her brother with nowhere to go. I felt that if he moved in with me, unemployed and smoking weed and no intention of looking for work that I was just enabling him to continue to be a bum. My parents and close friends all advised me to be tough and tell him no until he gets a job. I knew his best friend would give him a bed and if not then of course I would never see him homeless but I had to make a tough decision to force him to get a job. He’s now worming full time and has his pride and self respect back and I’m helping him find a place of his own. He has forgiven my decision but his siblings will not forgive me ever and are refusing to have anything to do with me even at the request of my youngest son.
    I am heartbroken. My family lived in the UK and they are all I have. They forget I raised them on my own whilst working full time and putting myself through uni aged 40.
    Some days my sadness is so bad I just don’t want to keep going. My youngest son keeps me here for now.
    I’ve reached out to my older two so many times and no response. I’m consumed by it.

    1. rparents Post author

      Dear Clare, you’re a remarkable woman. Don’t forget that. If those two have forgotten it, take an “it’s their loss” attitude and rise again. You know how. You’ll be setting a good example for them too (as you always have).

      Hugs to you. You’re an inspiration to all you meet.

      Sheri McGregor

  25. Sadmom

    My oldest daughter who is mid twenty, married no children. Six months ago shared with her 15 year old sister that she is in a polyamorous relationship and has had there lovers around my youngest. I was very angry that she shared this with her teenaged sister and will no longer let her go to their home. We (me and dad) then where told that we either resect who they are and all their partners or they will not be attending any family gatherings.
    My son in law sent me a text calling me all sorts of names.
    I cant except this, can’t have my married child and her multiple lovers at my house around my teen daughter or other family. Maybe this makes me a bad person but I am allowed to have my own view right?
    Anyway today is Father’s day and the girls alway take their dad out but not this year, a quick text and that’s it. I guess I got what I was asking for by telling her she could not bring her lovers to my house.
    Me and my daughter use to talk daily and now I haven’t heard from her in months, I am heart broken and so confused

    1. A. N.

      Sadmom, you are not a “bad person,” if anyone is “bad,” it’s your daughter and her husband; you’re doing the right thing, stand your ground. Don’t be pushed around and your son-in-law has some kind of nerve. I’d keep my teen daughter away from them, too!
      Of course your daughter isn’t talking to you, she knows what she’s doing is wrong!

    2. Angela W.

      That’s a tough one. I would probably do the same. Being heart broken is expected. It is heartbreaking on several levels. Life is always forward moving and absolutely no guarantees. Polyamorous is a new word for polygamy so you are right in it being a hard pill to swallow. Statistically, those relations don’t transcend time, and she’s young. I wonder how my mother felt when I left on my own. And how her mother felt when she left the country with her 4 grandchildren never to see them again. So, there are many situations where estrangement occurs and it is heartbreaking. I hope you find new avenues for daily friendships.

  26. jspsj

    Hello everyone,
    I recently listened to the book which was helpful and I felt like I was beginning to heal after a year of no contact with my 42 year old son. Our problem started because I took him brownies for his birthday. No joke. He hates his birthday and refuses to celebrate so I was being ‘fun’ and thought a plate of brownies for the ’41st anniversary of our meeting’ would be okay. It was so not okay that he didn’t speak me to for over a year.
    This weekend there was a large family event and he and his wife showed up. He looked so handsome. I was very very nervous and very careful, but at first they walked right past me ignoring me. Later on, I tried to talk to him and he refused to make eye contact with me. I asked if it was okay to talk to him and he said ‘I need more time.’ So I said hello to his wife, told her she looked pretty and asked about the grandkids. I haven’t tried to contact the grandkids directly except the 20 year old. (And of course, it is okay to give the kids gifts for Christmas and birthdays as long as I don’t expect a thank you from anyone.) Later on, I was able to at least say to my son “I have apologized twice, I have asked what I can do to fix this, I don’t know what else to do?” He again said he needed time and space. I mentioned the kids and they both said ‘we have never withheld the kids from you’ so I asked ‘ how am I supposed to contact the children through you if you won’t respond to anything?’ No answer. I have never said or done anything to offend my DIL but she is 100% in the thick of everything.
    They left the event and I am going through the shock of everything all over again. I realized that I had begun to adjust to the ‘death’ of our relationship, then it was resurrected for a few hours and now it’s gone again. All over again, my heart is broken.
    I must mention I have five other children who are absolutely wonderful and with whom I have excellent relationships. They are very supportive and loving towards me, and I know how blessed I am. But, losing one is losing that one and the loss is unbearable. My daughters both believe he is narcissistic or possibly has Borderline Personality Disorder because of the way he hurts everyone around him.
    Thank you for listening. I do have a therapy appointment next week and am hoping to learn some skills to get through this. Right now, I am a weepy shaky mess. Part of me just wants to cut him out of my life completely so I don’t have to ever go through such heartache again while the other part of me yearns to be with my child again.

    1. Alice

      Write him a note and say I will always love you because you are my son. However I will no longer tolerate how you disrespect me. Therefore I let you go and wish you well. My door will always be open, but you have to walk through it.
      Then let him go and ask God to heal your heart ache. Live your life and enjoy the children you do have in your life. Don’t ever talk about him again, especially with your other children. It only holds on to the negative energy. When you think of him be grateful for the 40 years you had him. Look forward and enjoy. Choose happiness. On the difficult days, know the Lord is by your side and you are loved.

    2. Noble in Nebraska

      Remember, his power is what he likes. There is no solution. He is narcissistic and his wife might be too. Their comments were gaslighting. I have the same problem. Same silly illogical complaint to cut me out. Same other offspring and grandchildren. Painful as it is, it is not my fault. It’s narcissism of my son and his wife. Having the capacity for such cruelty is so offensive to how I brought him up I can’t even begin to share. I now focus entirely on my other adult children and grandchildren and I leave it up to God to knock sense into those two narcissistic family members.

  27. Barbara U.

    I have lived many of these examples, so that would just be a repeat of what others are going through so I will not elaborate, what I will say is what type of person wouldn’t want someone to love ,teach, and give 100 percent of themselves to their children, like a grandparent would do, these are miserable, selfish adult kids taking things out on their parents, in most cases for their own poor decisions that they have made, I would be lying if I didn’t say how heartbreaking this truly is, but after awhile enough is enough my whole goal in life is to create happiness for myself and my husband ,I saw a saying once that said” If you can’t change something, change the way you think about it !! I live by this, the best I can, and pray for guidance in every other area of my life!! If our children come back in our lives, we will welcome it,but we will not waste our golden years paralyzed by depression over someone’s (our adult children) else’s unhappiness!!

    1. SJc

      Reading this helped me for the moment . I am recently going through this and it consumes me 24/7. I’m doing alot of reading trying to understand how this happened. Thank you for your post.

    2. Cheryl

      I’m estranged from my two grown children . my two daughters . I’ve tried everything as a single mom raising them ( at lest I think so) I work two jobs I gave them food on the table a cute little apartment I gave them driving when I gave them prom dresses graduation parties I’ve even taken out student loans for them to go to college but they don’t recognize any of that I made a lot of mistakes I hated their dad I won’t lie but he left me for a younger woman and I hated him .and then he died of a heart attack and they turned on me and hated me.. all they do is bring up all the mistakes I made as a mom and they distance themselves right up into the point that now they don’t even see me for any holidays I don’t even get a birthday card it’s heartbreaking and I don’t know how to move forward I’m reading everybody’s post but why is it that we have to write the letters and we have to be the person that contacts and we have to chase them I’ll get it when they don’t care about their own parents isn’t that a really big thing isn’t that full on them I don’t know anymore I know that I need to try to live and it’s hard.

      1. rparents Post author

        Dear Cheryl,

        We don’t have to chase them. We don’t have to do anything that doesn’t feel right … even though some advice out there puts this responsibility on parents who are baffled and have been wronged, hurt, and even abused.

        I hope you will get my books. The first one, Done With The Crying, will help you recognize your goodness as a parents and help you with strength. The second book, Beyond Done, will add to this, but also debunk the bad advice and add more truth.

        I’m really sorry you have had to go through this awful pain. Walking On Eggshells = W.O.E. Woe. It’s a fitting acronym.

        Hugs to you,

        Sheri McGregor

  28. Lily R.

    My son is 20 and I had to kick him out because he was so disrespectful all the time. It killed me the 1st time but then the 2nd time it was not so bad. We were fine until Mother’s Day he decided to block me from his cell, not call me on Mother’s Day etc.

    I know he is always angry but I don’t understand how I gave him so much love and attention that he can just cut off himself from me completely. Yet his father treated him like garbage and I am the one paying the price?

    I hurt all the time but I know that I need to move on because my 26 yr old loves me and so does my stepson whom is going to be 12.

    Everyone is very shocked by his behaviour. I am just trying to move forward but it is so darn painful

    1. Gail

      I feel your pain. I have two sons that are in the early 30’s and both of them don’t seem to care about me at all. The oldest rejects me and wants no relationship with me ever . I try to love him and tell him so but he seems to push me away and has all kinds of excuses for it. he cuts me off when I even try to talk to him about or reason with him. He recently contacted me only to ask if I could give him back a gift he bought me . He wants it for his collection. He clearly told me after that he still wants nothing to do with me. He signed his email to be ” regards” and his name. I cried all day and suffered deep depression.
      I then tried to call my youngest son and hopefully take my mind off of today and what hurt my oldest inflicted with with. He was also nasty to me and behaved arrogant and rude to me. He has issues with being manipulative at time and selfish. my councillor says he is a narcissist and I believe it is true. When his girlfriend dumped him he came to stay in my home and disrespected and treated me badly. I had to ask him to move out because it was destroying me. he then called the police on me and lied and made horrible things up about me and tried to destroy my reputation for asking him to leave. I am alone and have no other kids or family around and totally alone..well I have my little dog and he is family. I am deeply depressed and feel life is not worth living any longer. My whole life has been emotional pain and trauma. I am so disappointed I had children right now. I gave up my whole life for them, made sacrifices for them, put them first,I gave up my music dream for them and stopped playing guitar etc.., I gave up everything for them. I have nothing left and now I am much older 57 and exhausted with life .I think many kids these day are ungrateful and self centred. I know mine are. It hurts so much ! I am in a very dark play emotionally right now.

    2. Angela W.

      Of course it’s painful. It’s heartbreaking and unbelievably cruel. It’s okay to grieve. Put more thought into the others in your life. Focus on them. It is what it is.

    3. Windy S.

      Hang in there, I’m going through something with my 30 year old that started Mother’s Day of 2021. He had been half speaking and I asked him to call me to have a conversation. Bad idea, basically after the conversation he sent me a text saying he wanted nothing else to do with me. I’m crushed.

  29. Lindsey

    Thank you for sharing. I have a similar experience. My adult son and daughter are reluctant to continue to have a relationship with me. We had a very loving and fun family until I left their father ( a good man) and re married. Although they attended my wedding, neither of them wanted to be there . My son, although functioning well as a teacher, has an alcohol problem and he uses it to get him through difficult situations. This makes him much more aggressive towards me and in the few occasions I have seen in over the past 10 years, he has been abusive towards me and shown no respect. He rarely, if ever, contacts me but will occasionally reply when I send him a message to ask him how he is doing. More often than not, he reads the opposite into my messages and replies with a hurtful response. My daughter has had her first baby this year. Again, she and I had the best relationship growing up but recently she sent me a letter with a list of things she expects me to apologise for throughout her life. The letter is full of hatred, bitterness and resentment and it breaks my heart, I spend most days now wondering how I went wrong. My heart races with anxiety at many points in the day and I don’t know where to go next. We live in different countries so its impossible to be physically near them.

    1. Gail

      Replies with hurtful responses ? That sounds like my oldest son. I cannot even stand up for myself when he is mean to me or he just responds even more hurtful to me. If I write him a thoughtful letter and try to be respectful in it to speak up for myself he misreads it and attacks me again only worse. It is unbearable to read the letters he writes me.

    2. Trish

      I am going through the same thing with my daughter. Ever since her Dad left at age 8 she has taken it out on me. She is 44 almost. Very disrespectful and has called me hurtful names. It seems like the only reason she has ever wanted a relationship was because I would give her money whenever she asked. She even had wished me dead at one time. I gave up everything to raise my daughter and my son with no help from their Dad. But they treat him like he is king and I am the evil witch. I just don’t get it. So I decided to right my daughter and let her know that I will no longer tolerate her verbal abuse and if it means she doesn’t speak I have to still go on. Why should we as parents keep getting broken hearted over these ungrateful and disrespectful children? Does it hurt me? Hell yes! But the point I am trying to make is I am not going to stoop to the level of giving what my daughter wants and that is for me to feel so bad and depressed all the time. I am done hurting and other people can use the love and caring that I have inside of me. So I just let her be. As hard and heart breaking as it is or is what we as parents if these children must do for our sanity and health. I just want to say reading all these post on here has made me not feel all alone any more. I gave my troubles to the Lord because I can’t fix them only he can. So let go and let God to handle these grown children.

  30. Susan C

    My 38 yr old daughter has been on and off with me since l divorced her father. Her father died 11 years ago, a day after her 1st baby was born. Herself and my 40 yr old son have never been the same. I have remarried but they don’t consider my husband as Dad. I have 3 grand children, all boys. Two of the boys are my daughters and one is my sons 3 yr old who we have once a week. She divorced her narcisitic husband 3 years ago, she wanted us back in her life to help her. So we did, financially and looking after the boys, then she met another guy, same thing didn’t want us anymore. 3 years on, she lives not far from us. I have been to psychologists, to help me get through the worst of this. Of course there is much more l could write, but the truth is l don’t have any trust in her and her behaviour, she has hurt myself and my husband. And it’s beyond belief that l had a daughter so so cruel. I am not sending anymore presents or cards to the grand kids as she either doesn’t let them respond or they don’t want to respond. It’s damn hard, but after losing my dad, mum and brother who l miss so much, she doesn’t derserve who l am, nor does she derserve the wonderful enrichment we could have continued as grandparents to her children.

    1. KRJ

      Susan, I wonder the same thing. My son is 35 with 3 kids and fourth on the way. My daughter is 31 with two girls. I have been called the worse grandmother 4 times in the last month because I refused to keep them on the weekend for her to run up and down the road. My son is a gamer. I feel sorry for their kids. They live in filth and it breaks my heart. But Mother’s Day was the last straw. No call, text, or nothing and then lied. I am tired of all the use and abuse.

  31. Chris

    I communicated to my youngest daughter that i hurt for my mom because daughter didn’t call her for Easter, or call me for that matter. I never got to wish my granddaughter a happy Easter. Pandora’s box exploded, her live in boyfriend even called, and from the things he said I can hear what she’s been saying to him all along such as she never had a good relationship with me, she’d like to call her step dad without having to talk to me, etc. My entire family sees my side, and S. spoke to her but she always dangles my granddaughter over everyone’s head, so they are all wary of saying something, although two of them did which is why I suspect Pandora’s box exploded. I apologized for upsetting and hurting her to keep the peace, but I’ve been down this road, it’s be years before we’re ok again. I can’t take the subsequent anxiety and deep sadness anymore. I’m so sick of this.

    1. Yosi

      I definitely understand where you are coming from. I truly believe that many estranged adult children take a certain moment or incident that bothered them and then embellished it more to make themselves feel less guilty about their immature ways. unfortunately, we the parents end up being mistreated. Why? Because they can. They feel comfortable enough to cause us pain because they know that deep down we love them so much – that we are always willing to forgive. God forbid, the moments were our patience runs thin after an irrational encounter with them where there is no way to convince them they are not in the right. We are the “horrible” parents. so, they yell the world and more (ie- social media venting). What they don’t realize is their tactics are disrespectful and quite frankly immature on their end.
      Ive learned its best to break away from them (like they love to do to us.) and work on ourselves. (Because we forget about us.)

    2. May

      I can relate to so many situations in this site. This is what the Bible says in the latter days the fathers against sons, mothers against daughters and vice versa. Only Jesus Christ our Savior remains faithful. We cannot changed people or our children. We can only pray for them. People have forgotten the Golden Rule … do to others what you would have them do to you. I’m hurt but I feel sorry for our children who have cancelled us in their lives. I hope they can forgive parents because they too will need that someday. Hopefully their children will not cancel them,too.

  32. Cathy

    I used to have a close relationship with our daughter. Until she got married and moved to another state and now lives next to her in-laws. Her husband is very close to his mother. It’s to the point where he will follow his parents’ wishes over our daughter’s. (There really is something to be said about the point “a man leaving his parents and cleaving to his wife”.) His mother commented to me, after our first grandchild was born, “I’m so blessed that all of my grandchildren live close by.” Well, just drive a dagger into my heart. We went camping with them (a HUGE mistake) and the entire week, my son-in-law and his mother were asking our grandson which grandma he wanted to give him a snack, a bath, etc. I finally said, ” well, that’s a loaded question…” Naturally he’d pick the grandma who lives next door! Our daughter just blew it off and said, “well, don’t come next time. ” She’s been brainwashed. The other grandparents have a key to their house, and just let themselves in whenever they want to drop in. The other grandma will give out suckers any time of the day, but when I hid plastic Easter eggs with mini candy bars inside, I got into trouble because they “don’t want him to have sweets. On and on. Our daughter is the main breadwinner; he works part-time. I feel like I am no longer wanted or needed in our daughter’s life. 🙁 This is the result of an Internet dating site.

  33. byhislove

    It just makes my heart ache when I read the responses to this article. One of my adult children has not ‘walked away’ the one with my only grandchildren, but for years only called when she needed a babysitter. It would be the only time I could see my grandkids, and of course my daughter was nice before, but when I was done watching them, she just turns so cold. I don’t want to get into her coldness, but just that hurts deeply. I don’t know what I would do if any of them just cut me off and ‘blocked’ me. wow. It is so disrespectful and unloving. The problem is in this article, yes it is important to take care of ourselves, and we always have. It is the broken and hurt heart that is difficult to deal with and…I am tired of going to the beach, hiking, etc…alone. I’m tired of hearing other grandmothers/moms mumble how their daughter called them to meet up for coffee, or invited them to go to Disneyland…that is how I wanted things to be. I can’t understand why it is not, and what happened? I’ve asked, she said that everything is fine but actions are so very different than words. Anyways. We must hang in there and do the best with what we have.

    1. Mary K.

      I am living this same experience, and it HURTS! Every day I carry the deepest pain. I wish I understood how a daughter so cherished can have no interest in her family and can be so brainwashed by her husband’s family. It’s a daily struggle to not resent the people involved.

    2. Heartbroken

      I am in a similar situation with my only daughter. I gave up my job to take care of my granddaughters whom I love so much. My husband and I divorced after a very long unhappy marriage. She just used me and I let her in order to have contact with the children.
      My ex died after a long illness within the year. She blamed his death on me but he had a terminal illness. Then
      Daughter broke off all contact with me. I cannot see my precious little girls. We live less than 2 miles apart. I have missed so many milestones. It is so heartbreaking! We have no contact. I did everything I could possibly do to help her in every way. The saddest thing is who knows what she told these children as to my sudden disappearance from
      their lives. I can’t list all the hurtful things she has done to me. We were so close and had so many good times together. At this point, I can’t see any reconciliation happening. I would do anything to end this and be a family again.

  34. Pixie

    I have read so much about how adult children suffer at the hands of parents and yet very little information about parents who suffer for no good enough reason from lack of care from their adult children. I was involved and interested in all my children as they grew and was always there, always loving and going that extra mile. I am no saint, however I always tried my best with genuine consideration for the needs of my children. I had and continue to have, a close relationship with my now elderly Mum and have spent much fun time with her throughout my life and my own children have seen this loving connection. And yet all my adult daughters drift further and further away from their connection with me as their Mum. There is rarely a phone call, sometimes birthdays are remembered by some of them, often it may be months later or sometimes not at all, same for Mother’s Day. There is rarely an invitation to meet up and do something together and after so many years of this I have now ceased making all those attempts over and over after continual refusals and lack of interest. There is however still the expectation from every one of them that I jump to attention with understanding when they require assistance of any sort. There is simply no interest in my life or my well-being or my person from them – I do not think they actually wish me any ill, at least I hope not, however they are just not interested nor care enough to be interested. I have spent many a day thinking and hurting about this situation and have come to the decision that one must step away from their adult children, not in the hope that they may change their attitude, but in the hope that one can stop and hopefully neutralize or dumb done the hurt from such lack of care. I have no answers for anyone who has posted here who is suffering, as I have no answers. I do very much believe now, that given my time over, I would pursue a career whether paid or volunteer and not have children as the sense of abandonment one feels from your adult children who do little to show any kind of care is too heartbreaking.

    1. Denise

      This resonates with me, my children are 25/29 and it’s a struggle. I try so hard to be part of their lives with call or texts and they have better lives with their partners family than their own. Just today I was told oh we’re not going to be around for Easter we are spending with the partners family in a voice that makes me sad. My girls are good people but I feel that we as parents are just embarrassing not worth the time. I just don’t have enough words to express or explain how my children make me feel. I’ve done so much for them but don’t want much from them except to be treated with patients, kindness and respect. I would really love some advice good or bad

    2. Pixierose

      When I read this it was if I wrote my own story. I understand and feel the pain you feel. I believe society and the meaning of family has changed so much because of social media. Relationships are now fed by a keyboard and screen. Whereas when I was growing up the circle was smaller communication was family and friends face to face and real. If the answer our children seek is not want they want to hear it’s easy to find an answer they like from thousands and that feeds their thoughts and makes it all acceptable. Clearly the majority no longer think for themselves. It’s a go with the flow society.

    3. Melanie

      I totally agree with your comments about having a more peaceful (less heartbreaking life) if you decide not to have children at all. It is the most heartbreaking experience I’ve ever had.

    4. Juli

      Oh my goodness … your response is heartbreaking and resonates so much with how I feel. I found myself trawling this site as I’m feeling so desperate… a mother of a 19 year old daughter who I’ve loved and love so much , given my time gladly and given her space etc too .. or so I thought. But zI must have done so much wrong as my daughter never asks how I am, shows no interest in me and no longer calls me or refers to me as ‘ mum’ . I ‘m gutted.
      I keep reaching out as I can’t bear to lose her but I guess I’m in denial …. always hoping I can turn things round … but she doesn’t let me talk to her and just blows up if I try. So at a loss and don’t know how I should respond.

  35. Joe

    I have to say, that I feel better already finding this supportive community. I am a father of two. I left their mother for reason I will not go into. My eldest and I have a good relationship that includes open communication, honesty, forgiveness and acceptance. My x spouse started trash talking me early on in the divorce (I have people who have reported this to me), and had negatively effected my relationship with my youngest. He was too young to see through some lies she was telling him. Let me be clear, I am no angle and made my mistakes as well. Bottom line, my x spouse put herself before my youngest son, and trashed their father, which in turn wedged distance between us. I asked her to go to post divorce counselling, to co parent, to hold a united front and parent our kids as co parents. She gas lighted this. I have never trashed talked their mother to them.
    My youngest became distant, and refused to stay with me, only coming over for the odd supper. He told me flat out, “I won’t with you dad.”
    After my eldest became an adult (and moved out), combined with my youngest Son’s distances, and for other reasons, I chose to move to another City, which as compounded the situation. Before I decided to move, I explained how I was feeling, and my current situation, and new opportunities in another City. They both supported me with moving. We talked about what we could do to stay in contact, and I have done my best to be connected with them (letters, text, phone calls, sending care packages, leaving the messages, and travelling to see them Once per month for 3-5 days at a time.
    Over the last 4 years since I moved, there has been some challenges, and I have stuck to my word of staying in contact through various means. I have apologized to both kids for my mistakes, and how my choice to move may have negatively effected them. My eldest has been open, forgiving, and has actually apologized for moments he treated me unkindly. I realize how my choice to move has compounded the situation, but I am at a point of needing to stop beat myself up. The constant guilt is overwhelming. I do my best to practice acceptance, and self forgiveness.
    This leads me to my current situation. I was visiting the boys a month ago, and my youngest told me he considers me his dad, but not his parent. I accepted this, and thanked him for being honest. He also told me the past is the past, and not to bring it up with him. I talked to him about forgiveness, and he stopped me, saying the past is the past. I believe he is harboring anger and unforgiveness.
    Later that night, I was joking around with him stepping in front of the tv while he was playing a video game. He lashed out at me, telling me to F Off. I asked him to stop, and I didn’t appreciate this. He continued to say F Off, and he has the right to say this, and he won’t stop. I got space, and did not push the subject.
    Upon returning home, I texted him to say that I did not like how he talked to me, and that there was other ways he can communicate his frustrations. He got defensive, rationalized, blamed it on me, and stated that it is his right. after a little back an forth, I told him I love him, and that I will never be ok, or accept him telling me to F off. I suggested we re group later after he had some time to process. This has been two weeks. Despite my reaching out to him, I have not received a response. I told him that I was sad that he has not contacted me, and told him it was natural for disagreements, and differences in opinions. I asked if we could move forward with me in this. I am afraid he is going to cut me out of his life. He has always been distant emotionally, responding to some texts and phone calls while just ignoring others. I am ready to drop my expectations, stop pursing him give him the space he may need, and this scares me.

    1. Beth

      Joe, I do not understand how you accept your son telling you to F off. How does he have the right to say that to you, regardless of the issues there may be between you. I have a 48 year old son who has not spoken to me for 12 months, due to a disagreement with his wife. I’ve had counselling to deal with the emotional fall-out but I’m in a much better stronger place now and I can tell you with absolute certainty that even when my son was at his most disagreeable and disrespectful I would never have accepted him telling me to F off. You should not accept such disrespect.

  36. m

    My estrangement stems from my meal health issues, however, sadly, knowing where it comes from seems to make it much more frustrating since I had very little control over it. nevertheless, I have spent 4 YEARS creating a new life and new compassion for myself with yoga and meditation. interestingly, this transformation has had almost no effect on the estrangement, and has in fact exacerbated it. I am at a loss, but my sense is they are also frustrated at my new found mindful healthy self, wishing I was functioning in this way during their childhoods. We just don’t seem to have much in common anymore or even like each other at all. I have recently been invited by them to family therapy, but at this point I am wondering how this will resolve this simple fact? At this point, I feel through the years, we have just grown vastly apart from an already toxic dynamic and I’m not willing to recreate it for their sakes or the sake of some arbitrary social construct to appease instagram. thoughts?

    1. candleinthewind

      You’ve worked hard at creating a new life for yourself, well done you, and I would think carefully about unsettling that for what could turn into a family showdown rather than a useful conversation. Do our children become somewhat peeved when we find a new contentment? I think we go too far in trying to appease them. Sounds like you’re on a winning wicket – keep on track.

    2. Julia

      I think I’d go if you’re invited to family therapy as this may be your estranged relatives reaching out themselves to try to fix things. If it’s well managed it might give you an opportunity to give your side of things.

    3. Angela W.

      I wouldn’t go. Nothing good will come out of it for you. I think a lot of 20, 30 and even 40 year olds like to bash their parents. just stay quiet.. enjoy your peace.

    4. Lee M.

      Been through years of making my adult son feel better about himself and “cheering” him on. I told him at times he was too hard on himself and should enjoy the things he has done and not fuss about the things he can’t seem to get done at the time. I really like his wife and we have had a good relationship. However as my son gets older, he has got worse and is more belittling to me than in the past, He smokes pot daily and now he is drinking again. My son has been verbally abusing. But this time I am over trying to get our relationship on a more close and normal tract. I have not taken him to task much for this behavior since I talk to him about a few times a month and see him about once a year. For me this time is different as i have spoken to other parents in the same situation. I know that as parents we were not the root of his adult behavior and when your child turns 18 that is the day their life is theirs and they are totally responsible for their own problems. My son had me on the wheel of being upset, crying and mourning the life I would likely (I know now never have with him) and I am the only one who can make this wheel stop turning. I am going to quit being the pained, blubbery idiot every time he offends and mistreats me. So I made a life for the last few years and what he does is what he is going to do, if you know what I mean. Of course your adult child who pins you to the matt with he endless belittling and blame game and you decide enough and finally get up creates the new game you have with your adult kids as one that they no longer understand the rules of the game and they are going to react by continuing to batter you even more. Now, I make the rules, quit the feeling all sorry for myself and I am not responsible to make any human being “happy”. Only you can make yourself happy. Get a new life, a new attitude and let yourself for the first time in decades get a new smile on your face and a new spring in your step. Go for it. Estrangement from an adult child is not what we desire after all the sacrifices we made to raise them but sometimes it is the only way to heal yourself.

  37. Vickie B.

    I have been estranged from my son for over twenty years. I made many attempts to see/talk to him, all rebuffed. Last year a relative impulsively googled his name and his obituary came up. He had died before his fortieth birthday leaving a wife and daughter. We all were in shock about the death and having a d-I-l and a granddaughter. They never called any of the family to tell them he died. It’s been over a year more and I can’t seem to realize he’s dead not estranged. The chance for any contact is gone now. The chances for contact with his wife and daughter aren’t promising.

    1. Lisa

      I am so so sorry for your loss. It’s a horrible and painful experience to lose a child .. in a sense, twice. I have thought many times about this happening to me too. It easily could .. you are a brave and loving person and I hope you know that

    2. Chris

      I am really sorry for your loss. Both the loss that came before and the loss after discovering that your son passed. I’ve experienced estrangement from my son for 15 years now and I can imagine this very scenerio .. it is something I’ve feared. My sisterinlaw who lost her son in his 30s to a sudden medical emergency — I see what she goes thru and I honestly hear some of the same things and see her process the loss in a similar way as I have the total “cutoff” I’ve experienced. I know it’s not really the same as a final knowing that there is no chance for contact. But, the grief has to be similar. My heart goes out to you and to all of us who have experienced estrangement.

    3. Gigi

      I am sooo sorry, words cannot express..somehow try and forgive yourself..I can see it is difficult.

      I am afraid of that, have not had a relationship with my son for 7 years due to my separation from their dad and his girlfriend has been rude to me Sso to keep the peace he stopped coming around.

      He is a Fireman in georgis and I am so afraid of something like this happening and I will not know and we have not come together..I just dnt know what to do…..I pray…but I love him so much, he Is my only son.

      So God bless you and being a mom..I am sooo sorry

  38. Melinda

    I am new to the community I am so glad I found the support group I have cried buckets and buckets of tears asking why are they treating me with such hatred my adult children I live in a retirement community because of health problems and 64 I have auto immune hepatitis now I have not heard from any of my family or my adult children since last November 2019 I stopped asking why are they treating me this way and decided to work on myself for personal growth and empowerment I blocked all calls change my phone number they probably haven’t called me anyway I felt like empty soul I do a lot of journal writing read a lot read the Bible because he’s the only want to listen to me and finally got myself up And decided to do kind things for my senior neighbors are taking the pretty flowers to him an inspiration card just sitting with my granddaughter is 18 and I have a grandson at five and I decided that there’s a Lotta 18-year-olds that would love to have a mama and five-year-olds that would love a mammal I give my love and kindness and empathy to other people I knew that no matter if I said a pretty card close presents for Christmas birthday graduation it wouldn’t matter one way or not they just don’t want to be a part of my life I quit looking at the front door to see if I would have a visitor from my family or a card or letter or a call I was delusional that they could have any empathy I have to except the flow of life I’m still Working on not let them have rent free space in my head it’s hard I just take every day and do something for myself to better me or help someone else it really does help I also am working on my emotions and trying to stay with them to figure this all out or maybe I won’t be able to figure it out My heart breaks for everyone of you the torture and trauma that you go through your adult children are strangers thanks for listening blessings to all

  39. Nickole

    I literally have NO idea why my 19 year old daughter refuses a relationship with me. This is the most excruciating thing that I have ever been through. All growing up, she would barely let me out of her sight and wanted to be with me all of the time. When she went to college, she became depressed, cut herself and met a friend, a girl about 9 years older that is a bad influence while claiming to be a Christian.

    Honestly, after replaying ever moment of her life over and over, searching foe what I did wrong, I believe that she cannot have a relationship with me right now because she is doing something so horrible that she couldn’t bear me knowing/commenting. I don’t know.

    My husband is verbally abusive to me, specifically when she was 15 to 17. Maybe this plays in. Maybe she thinks I’m pathetic or not worthy of respect. Maybe she’s mad at me for staying. I don’t know. My husband is getting counseling and I am also.

    I just want to know if this is ever gonna end? Will she ever come back and resume a relationship with me?

    1. Nickole

      Btw, she has a closer relationship with her dad now than she ever has. At the same time, he has little to no more information about her than I do.

  40. Mary H

    It’s comforting to hear others experiences. I never thought this would happen to me. I have a daughter and 4yo granddaughter who lived with me and her stepdad for 8 months. In February 2020 I asked her to move out so we could sell our house, as we had to reduce some stress because my health was declining. We were having financial issues and the house was way too big and expensive. Plus I just never got a break and I require time alone to rejuvenate. I was watching my granddaughter every weekend. I love her but I was just exhausted. She was back on her feet with lots of money saved and had a job, and was not respectful of my home. She started to turn on me then. I could feel it. She was turning my other three kids against me. I could feel that too. COVID hit and she didn’t manage being alone with a 3 year old alone and over time she just talked to us less and less. Her anger about moving out was evident and COVID was just the icing on the cake along with her job loss. I tried to talk to her but the anger was just too much to cut through. She moved away in June and then when her boyfriend broke up with her in September she told me I was the reason she could not have a healthy relationship and she wanted nothing to do with our family, blocked me. Haven’t talked to her since, I’m heart broken. I missed a 4th birthday and all the holidays. Not a word from her. Heart sick!

  41. Kathleen B.

    I am a single older parent king through this. It’s especially difficult going through this estrangement. I think it should be called strangement and just leave off the e. Ha! I do two things. Try to keep my sense of humor about the ridiculous nature of this whole thing, and realize I’m only responsible for my behavior and I’m not going to reflect their lack of care. I try to rise above their behavior and don’t turn myself into a pretzel trying to figure it out. One day at a time is my mantra and I try to put as much joy and laughter into it that I can.

    1. Richard F.

      My Eldest son hasn’t spoke to me for over 4 years, and I’ve since found out I’m a granddad. It all started when he met a religious girl and said he had to marry because of her religion, and I didn’t agree that was the right path. He has since got married and had a child, and ignores all my texts, In 4 years I haven’t had a reply and It cuts me to the core. I love and miss him more than words can say, but I doubt I will ever see him again. I read this article to try and help with my pain, which it has slightly and helped me realise, there is nothing I can do or say that will change this, to the point I have had to mourn him in a way. His brothers miss him very much as well, and even if he spoke to them it would be better. Out of desperation I drove to the In -laws house for the first time to drop off a card, and i was not welcome at all, and for the first time ever speaking to them, I now understand why my son changed the way he did. Religion for me, most believers are the most hypocritical, I thought god taught forgiveness and love, not the case for most religious people I’ve met, unless your a part of their club they don’t want to know you.
      apologies for the negativity, its just hard not to see my son or even speak to him, when he was my shadow for years, now he is a stranger

    2. Sunnyside2019

      Kathleen: That is a good outlook. My estranged daughter started all of this estrangement over some ridiculous reason too. She was never abused or mistreated. Sometimes I think these adult children enjoy hurting their parents because their lives are in such chaos and they take it out on the ones who are closest to them. Thank God for my two other grown children and grandchildren.

  42. Christina W.

    I have read this newsletter since I bought the book and it has helped me a lot with my daughter and our previous estrangement. The reason being that I supported my Grandson ( who she also has a strained relationship with) and not her during an incident in which she was wrong-her language to me was one I could not repeat but I wrote her a letter and said how dissappointed I was and couldnt understand where it all came from. I have to say I was a mess for months but I did go to counselling and this helped me a lot. What I got out of counselling is that this is my life not my daughters and even though I love her and miss her being around me I do communicate-mainly by text. I keep the door open-so to say.
    I continually look at our relationship and now I just get on with or try to! This Christmas day she has not mentioned who she is sharing it with but as we have her brother coming she wont come here as she is at odds with him to. I often wonder where it all went wrong as we were loving and close family for years, of course it upsets me. I love her and am proud of her but it just does not work anymore. I got so sick that my husband called her and said it had to stop, she apologised for the outburst and the names she called me. My husband just does not care like I do and he just ignores everything so sorry for prattling on but this has mad me feel so much better I am wishing you all a safe and healthy Christmas and roll on 2021!

    1. Poppy

      I do feel your pain and have the same problem but now all 3 plus grandkids are estranged due to their poised behavior.

      15 and 20 years plus 12 months and 3 months. Now all in the same. Luv without their awesome dad and beautiful me .
      I cry everyday but am aware of my mistakes loving and helping them too much but I cannot change them and have now moved do they cannot hurt me anymore.
      My husband is like yours more detached but this year coming I pray for strength and feel sorry for them they are so missing out on sharing a fabulous life with their dad and me plus my grandkids have been punished due to their decision . Presents and cards for 16 yes it’s time to stop ! They have caused enough pain ..

  43. Therese H.

    I pray for all of your “situations”. It can be so heartbreaking. Although my situation may be a little different, it hurts just the same. I have also read Sheri’s “Done with the Crying” and it was helpful. I must say though, having an estranged child still hurts. It has been 3 years since I have seen my daughter and my two grandaughters, now 6 and 8. She has cut all her siblings out too except for her “birth brother ” and his family. I adopted my husbands two children from his first marriage (birth moms rights…. husbands first wife…were terminated due to drug addiction and abandonment). My daughter was 6 years old and now she is 32 years old. She is my youngest and 6th child. She has reunited with her birthmother and states that I was a horrible mom to her. I wasn’t a horrible mom to her. I recognized as a young child she was severly emotionally impaired as I have worked with special needs children most of my life. I tried my best to get her the help she needed. She will “sort of” talk to her dad. I think this will be the last Christmas we will reach out to her. She doesnt respond and wont let us talk to our granddaughters. It is time for us to stop “hoping” and trying, and go with the flow. I just need to know… when it will stop hurting?

  44. Leeann S.

    I have an adult son, 31 years old, who is estranged. I had a messy divorce, dad was a drug addict, and he turned my son against me. He won’t speak to me or tell me why. I want to know if he has children. I know I have no rights toward any grandchildren, but can I at least know? Can anyone give me any advice? I know the city he is in, and have bd and ss number.

  45. Toni

    Yes , it is time. Last Christmas I sent gifts to 3 yo and 10 month old. Not this year. Won’t be hurt again.
    They don’t know me or who the gifts are from. They have the mother’s parents as grandparents so I am written out of that script. I will not waste the money or get my hopes up. If I send; I will hope for a response. Now, I don’t hope for anything. Just wishing life keeps going on and that Karma comes ’round!!

    1. Gene

      Toni….I hear you loud and clear. Very similar circumstance for us. It’s been 5 years for our entire family. Out of the blue our son and DIL directed us that they wanted “no contact” from anyone. They even went so far as to block/remove all of us from FB….on Christmas morning, no less…presumably for maximum effect. Thus far all attempts at reestablishing communication have failed. Our DIL still has her father (who she reveres with a cultish devotion) and step-mother in the area who function in a limited degree as grandparents. We don’t bother anymore to send birthday and Christmas cards to the grandkids…I’m sure they all went straight into the trash bin anyway. What kind of a man allows his mother and grandmothers to suffer this degree of heartache and sadness without even providing a reason? We do pray that they all stay safe. When they’re older the grandchildren will look us up. It may be some years away yet but I plan on being here and that’ll be a glorious, beautiful day. Hang in there everyone.

    2. Pam Pam

      Hi Toni. Yes, I’ve found myself in the same boat. I send clothes for my grandkids but never see a lot of them on the kids. If I have a chance to ask my daughter about the clothes, I’m told “we didn’t like them”. We’ve given birthday presents to the 3 year old never to see him play with them. My daughter’s birthday is at the end of December. I always pick a lovely card to send so she knows I still love her in spite of all the ups and downs we’ve been thru. They go unacknowledged. This year, 2020, I’ve chosen not to send a birthday card. I haven’t received one from my daughter since 2016. If I do anything, I’ll send a text message at night, when the special day is almost over, and say just “Happy Birthday”. That’s what I get from her. I tell myself that’s not the way I should act but at this point, that’s what I feel I want to do. As for the holidays, my husband and I have bought and put up a beautiful new tree and put lights outside our house. The tree is truly beautiful and we like to turn off the house lights just so we can enjoy the tree ‘s lights. I always feel sadness creeping in around Christmas time but now I know I must move forward and self talk to say positive things to myself. I was told in 2016 when my first grandchild was born that the holidays were for immediate family only. Guess I was put in my place. My daughter truly doesn’t want me in her life. I deal with my hurt and sadness but I have to pick myself up and move on. I have read Sheri McGregor’s book and it has been a lot of help and support. I urge everyone suffering from a child’s estrangement to get this book. Thinking of everyone who finds themselves in such a situation as I, and wishing a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all. Let’s move forward together!

    3. Rita M.

      When your Grandchildren get older I just know that they are
      going to want to know you. That happened with my dear
      mother! When they are older write to them! God is with you

  46. Leona P.

    My youngest , although they have opted out of face book …so ‘ve I posted this, I have gotten too posts one about alzheimers (I done have ) an one saying , so ethi g to the effect of blah, blah that you (mean I g me)did…etc…I deleted them both…ty, adult child , keeps putting words in my mouth zi haven’t done or daid…

  47. mimi

    I have been seeing a man for two years. He is married and his wife has late stage alzheimers and has been in a home for 4 years not recognizing him or family members. We met theougha third person in pur area. My children whoare 37 and 41 are intolerant of our friendship and have taken my grandsons out of my life. I havent seen or talked to any of them for over a year. I am heartbroken but have been told bu othera to go on with life and be happy. I don’t know how long this will go on….maybe forever.

    1. Don'thateyourself

      Hi Mimi

      I really don’t understand how your children can be so mean to cause you so much pain.

      Is it your new partner they don’t like more than the fact you are dating him?

      I am estranged from my son and granddaughter. The reason, his new girlfriend like the last one has serious mental health problems and used to insult me daily and make up lies. I was supposed to accept this with them living in my home. I handled it really badly. I ordered both of them out of my home.

      Why am I telling you this?

      I had to look really deeply at all aspects of what had happened. How, I should have handled it. How, I could have compromised and given consideration that despite the awful presence of this woman for me; for him she was the love of his life.

      What is done is done? You cannot turn the clocks back and neither can they. Understanding why it happened does not stop the pain, but it is essential for your sanity.

      Don’t give up hope, but don’t live solely for it, as well. I have known a close friend and her husband who cut off contact with his parents just as his parents were moving to their remote village to be closer to them.. The reason, a disagreement over the date of the wedding conflicting with the father of the groom’s farm schedule. For that, the poor man was estranged from his son,daughter-in-law and grand-children until he died. I never thought it would happen to me, yet it has happened too, A hard lesson to learn. We are not alone either.

      I, sincerely, hope your children and yourself are reunited now or will be in the future.

    2. maybebaby52

      you must be feeling awful, we have similar situation with our daughter and grandchildren. Do you know why your adult children don’t like this friendship you have?
      I just wonder why they have such a strong feeling about it to remove to you from their lives, seems a bit,,,,extreme?


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