Why is this so hard to get past?

adult child's betrayalParents often ask: I’m a strong person, so why am I am having such a difficult time getting past my adult child’s betrayal? How can I move on?

An adult child’s estrangement can happen at any age. There is never any one-size-fits-all answer, but parental reactions are often similar. A sense of betrayal is one of the most profound wounds felt by parents of adult estranged children. How could a child, to whom you have given so much love and energy, turn his back on you? The betrayal rejected parents feel is rooted more deeply than any other estrangement. This person is your child.

When parents start a family, they may have assumptions. They cherish the fleeting baby and toddler stages of intense bonding, guide and enjoy their children through bedtime stories, skinned knees, and homework. Then they shepherd their kids through the growing pains of adolescence. Many parents look forward to seeing their love and guidance pay off as their teens grow into caring adults, responsible citizens who contribute to their world. Parents anticipate remaining close to their adult children, bonded by a shared family history and envisioning a future with grandchildren they can cherish.

Because of these far-reaching expectations, an adult child’s betrayal can be paralyzing. When an adult child deserts a parent, whether fully or through indifference, neglect, or a series of behaviors that elicit disappointment or even involve bullying, the proverbial rug is ripped away. Parents are tripped up, and lose footing. The foundation they thought was solid feels more like quicksand as they begin to question themselves, their relationship with their child, and their parenting. What have their lives been all about? Where do they go from here? What does the future hold for them now?

An adult child’s betrayal takes time to sort out and move past. How do you mend from the deep wound of an adult child’s abandonment, neglect, or even abuse? Find help in the “What Parents Can Do” category, or with this specific article:

Five ways to move forward after an adult child’s rejection




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7 thoughts on “Why is this so hard to get past?

  1. Still

    I am a new parent with estrangement. Grieving the loss of my son is horrific. He invaded someone’s private texts and emails and printed them out and gave them to his girlfriend that’s having his baby. The texts and emails were my expressions to my friend over the last two years that I engaged in my battling the conflict of their roller coaster relationship. That’s the bottom line. In the meantime his girlfriend berated and degraded me completely. It’s ugly stuff. I said I was heartily sorry for engaging in conversation at all regarding her period. It wasn’t good enough, she said I was evil, I was a liar, I was mental! I continually said I was wrong to engage in verbal, written conversation. It was worse each time. My son had no right to copy all these treads and emails and sell his mother out. He is a spineless man. He should have never even went into someone electronic devices in the first place . It is a crime that can be prosecuted. But a greater crime to his own mother. She has kicked him out a few times, berates him in nearly every area of his life to me every-time she talked to me about him. And I would try to build him up in her eyes. I admit I was conflicted over this relationship and over compensated to help her thru many issues. Expressing the love I have for her that (comes fr Gods love) . Anyway, it’s a grief I have lives deeply in my every part of me. Almost a month this crisis hit my life. Two weeks of no contact. I had to change my emails and phone number to stop her abuse.

    I listen praise worship all day and read Gods word throughout my day and listen at night to audio bible. I am also doing a 21 day brain detox by Dr Caroline Leaf which I am on my 5th day. It’s ALL helping me. But God is in control of the issue and since my son once walked with Jesus I have to believe he will return to God one day. But it’s Gods timing and I need to remember thou I walk in the valley of the shadow of death I fear no evil for THOU are with me…(psalm 23) .
    My sons birthday is April 4th. I decided to show Gods love and send him a simple bd card. I don’t expect any response. I will ask God to go before me in this and trust God. Seems simple, but I’m human.

  2. M

    I Pray for Everybody
    I believe as Moms especially, is a double sting ,Father’s feel the brunt on a diff level…
    Children are a gift that flow through a womans body, we love, nuture, teach, protect, pray
    God gave us All Free Will… It Will Always hurt being estranged from our kids, if weve tried as a parent?
    We have to Let go , Let God ,period. Move forward,be successful, happy, help others as much as we can….
    It a hole in the soul ,yes. In my case family played a major role, I believe God will give us All double for our trouble…

    Vengeance is mine sayeth the Lord
    Blessings to All

  3. Kathy

    My children are adopted from South Amer.. 3 years ago my son married a girl who I knew did not want me in their lives. Her mother didn’t want her father’s family in her children’s life and they aren’t. I divorced my ex-husband in 1998 and he tortured these children emotionally to hurt me. I divorced him because I knew that he no longer wanted to support our family and was only there physically. The children only related to me since the computer and his money were the loves of his life! I have not seen my children in 3 years. They were my heart and soul. I’m now 68 years old and on public assistance. I spent every penny on my children to try and make up for being their only parent. A loving mother is always a loving mother, it’s a forever thing! I received poison pen letters from each one of these children.

  4. walking_dream

    Hi everyone, I’m so so serverly sadden by this, it’s so complex! It’s been two years with my ED, I cannot explain what it’s like when you know it was you the was the cause. That must of been the hardest decision for her to make! Has for me?, I do “get it” she had to remove what whatever she felt any type of cause , anxiety, neglect, stress, toxin. To gain better clearness you you make life simple! KISS: keep it simple silly! That was your school papers, be careful friends toxins, the people in your circle negative, your bedroom keep clutter free, take the world by its hand, be grateful, etc.. Therefore my daughter at the age 25 decided to keep it simple silly! Remove me! I found out a year later two of her friends when I contact them said they haven’t herd from her in a year [that was 2015]. There more to this, but to this “why I can’t get past this” a few reasons, she is a God given gift to me, also my brokenness is missing her and knowing I was the cause on those last few days, I failed God, I failed her I hope she’s not carry those negative toxins emotions!! Sign: broken wings

  5. Elaine L.

    Still, I just found this site and read your post from 2014. I don’t know the current status of your family but I pray it has been restored and strengthened through God’s good grace.
    When I read your post, it was like reading my own brain. I just purchased the book, Done With the Crying. I look forward to receiving it and am hopeful it will help along my journey without a big piece of my heart. To be honest, am I the only one Who feels I have accepted what I cannot change or control one minute – then five minutes later, I struggle between throwing up and wallowing in the fetal position? I’m such a mess……

  6. Annie

    No Elaine, you’re not alone. We’ve all been there. One day at a time; sweet Jesus. The book is a lifeline and will help you put it all together in the proper perspective. So sorry you’re dealing with this painful crisis. It will get better.
    It takes time. Most of us never saw it coming. We are mothers and fathers who love our children. We just don’t like them much anymore and that’s okay.
    Take good care of you so you can be present for those that matter in your life.
    Blessings, Annie


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