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Actionable Plan for Estranged Parents Over 60

By Marie Morin July 25, 2023 Family

Estrangement from an adult child can be an incredibly distressing and tumultuous experience, especially for parents over 60. The deep pain and grief resulting from severed ties and the longing for reconnection can impact your emotional well-being.

The uncertainty of the situation may weigh heavily on your heart, causing overwhelming waves of sadness and anxiety. It is during these challenging times that it becomes vital to recognize that your life holds immense value beyond the choices made by your child.

In this blog post, we embark on a journey together, exploring practical strategies and perspectives to help you navigate the complexities of adult-child estrangement. I aim to provide you with valuable tools and insights to find resilience within yourself and reclaim joy and fulfillment in your life.

Estrangement can profoundly impact your overall well-being, and you can gradually rebuild a sense of strength and purpose through proactive steps.

The following sections will delve into practical advice, offering guidance to navigate the intricacies of adult-child estrangement. By embracing these strategies, you will gain valuable insights into self-care, emotional support, disconnection from external stressors, stress management techniques, and the transformative power of gratitude.

Together, we will explore how these elements can become integral parts of your healing process, empowering you to rediscover your worth and find moments of peace and contentment.

Gratitude Practice

One powerful tool for shifting your focus from pain and grief to the positive aspects of life is cultivating a gratitude practice. Make a conscious effort to acknowledge and appreciate even the smallest blessings regularly.

Consider starting a gratitude journal where you can jot down three things you are grateful for each day. Additionally, incorporate gratitude exercises into your daily routine, such as expressing thanks during meals or performing acts of kindness for others. You will nurture an optimistic outlook and find contentment even in challenging circumstances by cultivating gratitude.

Don’t Do It Alone

Throughout this journey, it is important to remember that you are not alone. Contact trusted friends, family members, or support groups who can give you the understanding and support you need. You can find solace and validation by sharing your experiences with others who have gone through similar situations.

Consider joining online communities or forums specifically tailored to parents dealing with adult-child estrangement. Additionally, seeking professional help, such as therapy or expert coaching, can offer specialized guidance and support, ensuring you navigate your unique circumstances with clarity and confidence.

Take Care of Yourself

Self-care should be an integral part of your daily routine to navigate the pain of estrangement. Prioritize not only your physical well-being but also your emotional and mental health. Engage in activities that bring you a profound sense of joy and inner peace.

Whether taking leisurely walks in nature, practicing meditation or yoga, immersing yourself in creative pursuits, or simply setting aside quiet self-reflection, these acts of self-care are vital. By actively investing in your well-being, you will gain the strength and resilience needed to face the challenges you experience now and those that lie ahead.

Take Social Media Breaks

Carving out regular moments of disconnection from technology and social media is crucial in this age of constant connectivity. The online world often presents comparisons and stressors that can intensify feelings of anxiety and inadequacy. Dedicate specific times each day or week to detach from your electronic devices and immerse yourself in activities that promote relaxation and self-reflection.

Engage in hobbies that bring you joy, read books that inspire you, spend quality time with loved ones, or allow yourself to be fully present in the moment. Creating intentional space away from digital distractions will foster inner peace, mental clarity, and a renewed sense of self.

Stress Reduction

Managing stress effectively is crucial when navigating the challenges of estrangement from an adult child. In addition to the strategies mentioned earlier, explore additional techniques that resonate with you. Practice mindfulness or guided meditation to cultivate a sense of calm and presence. Engage in regular physical exercise to release tension and boost your overall well-being.

Explore creative outlets that allow you to express yourself and process your emotions. And if needed, seek professional guidance to learn personalized stress management techniques that cater to your needs. Remember that finding the right approach to reducing stress and promoting emotional well-being may require experimentation and adaptation.

Conclusion

While navigating the complexities of estrangement from an adult child is undeniably challenging, it is crucial to remember that healing and resilience are attainable. You can nurture your overall well-being by prioritizing self-care, seeking emotional support, consciously disconnecting from stressors, learning and implementing effective stress management techniques, and embracing gratitude.

Be patient and compassionate with yourself, as healing is a gradual process that takes time. By focusing on personal growth and well-being, you will gradually rediscover joy, fulfillment, and a renewed sense of purpose in your life, independent of the outcome of the estrangement.

Let’s Have a Conversation:

What practices have helped you to heal and move forward after adult-child estrangement? When you are feeling bad about your estrangement situation, what practices can you engage in to bring you some relief?

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Penny

There are more families dealing with estrangement than you can imagine. These are all great skills to cultivate. I also have hotter great support over the years from rejectedparents.com
Self care is the most important

Krista

I have been estranged off and on by my daughter over the past 20 years and I am emotionally drained from this! I thank God every day for my wonderful husband who has been by my side through this tumultuous horrific journey of estrangement! I could write a book on elder abuse! You grieve the living as if the we’re dead! Sadder than anything you can imagine!

Tracy

This adult child estrangement has happened briefly and for very short periods over the last year or so. This last one was a bit more emotional. I have an only son and he has his own anxiety issues and a lot going on in his life raising his four young daughters. four days ago we had a talk over the phone that didn’t end well. I haven’t spoken to him since but have sent texts that I know he’s read, but hasn’t responded to yet. I so want to talk to him just to feel better. Would love to hear peoples thoughts on this. It was perfect thing for me to read today.

CAROL

If you’re hoping to talk to your son to make yourself feel better, then perhaps you’re making this about you, and not putting yourself in his shoes. If he has anxiety and four young daughters, then he is overwhelmed. He may need some space, and only support, love and understanding from you.

Kari

What if I am not heartbroken? My kids are energy vampires, mean, and selfish. I am rather happy that I don’t have to deal with them.

Wanda

I hear you…not heartbroken…life is too short to not feel respected by ungrateful adult children.

Cynbriar

Exactly!! I have several children who have side with my narcissistic ex. He has several of our adult children believing I am an awful person. He feeds into their selfish and vengeful belief system. I am grateful for the one child who sees him for what he is….mean, vengeful and a liar. I have apologized for anything I might have done wrong and yet my daughters pass by important holidays without so much as a word. I am happy and joyful. They can wallow miserably in their beliefs.

MJ

The scenario sounds so much like what I went through.

Patty

To both Kari and Wanda, I admire your attitudes and wish I could get to that point. I recently have started to be sporadically ghosted by my daughter that I thought was also my friend. She moved in with bf recently and it is only about his fam now. Makes me wonder what kind of awful person I am!!!

Kris

Kari, I am the opposite and my life has been greatly adversely affected. Would you care to give me some pointers, if I told you my story of my daughter?

Abused kid

You raised them. They are who they are because of you. Don’t you get it?

Brenda Mill

Just because you’ve raised children that are selfish and cruel and make the choice to discard you does not always mean it’s on the parent and to say that is cruel. To be discarded by a child literally desecrates your life. This was done to me. It’s too long of a story to get into but just because I was unable to continue to do all that my daughter wanted from me I was sent a text one day telling me to stay away from her and her family then accused me of things I hadn’t done. I was forbidden to see my beloved grandchildren who I had taken care up for years for her. Four years later and after trying every possible way to reconnect she still refuses to speak to me. Adult children can change and to make the statement you raised them so it’s on you is triggering for us who are going through this trauma so please think before you respond.

Linda

Unfortunately there are some parents who cause the estrangement with their adult children, my late mother in law was one of them.

She was a very domineering woman who thought she should have control over her children throughout their lives. This did not work with her eldest, my husband, as he knew what he wanted to do in life.

His mother belittled him for things like going to university, getting married to someone she didn’t approve of and many other petty things, so he decided only to see her once in a while (she didn’t speak to me for 34 years then she died).
Even on her death bed she did not have a good thing to say to my husband, so she died a bitter old lady. Very sad, but she could not accept her own faults.

J P

I hear you. Your husband was lucky he escaped and found you. As a female child, I wasn’t so lucky. Wishing you the best.

Marie Burlingame

“His mother belittled him for things like going to university, getting married to someone she didn’t approve of and many other petty things,”

My daughter would say what you said about my husband and me. Especially the part above. I am sure that’s what she tells people. But she leaves out the part that we took out a lot debt for her to go to school to get the degree of *her* dreams such that she never even had to work while in university so she could focus on her grades (top school, she said she needed this). Then we found out she was living a huge web of lies, including not graduating after we paid for the last classes, juggling multiple boyfriends, taking money from everyone, all to cover up the guy we didn’t approve of. He’s a much older transient guy with a part time job she met online who picked up and moved here to be with her in a run down, poor area. He’s threatened us and all sorts of things. Nothing respectable about him. He comes from a long family of criminals and is quite a con artist.
Too much to write here, but she lied to everyone around her – friends, family, her other boyfriend and his family who were wonderful to her, and split. We haven’t heard from her in months, no one has. She says we’re the problem, of course. Everyone else is the problem but her. And they would think I, just like you wrote above, am a controlling mother, implied to be deserving of being estranged.

Turns out this isn’t uncommon. People lie about their lives to others because, after all, they don’t want to look bad.

Moral of the story is that it’s impossible to know the truth if you weren’t there.

Last edited 8 months ago by Marie Burlingame
Judy

Just seeing the title of this article shocked me, but I’m so grateful for it. I feel like I sit alone in shame regarding my estrangement from my adult daughter. Seeing this article made me realize I’m not alone. I don’t have any answers but I’m looking forward to implementing some of the suggestions, and reading your comments.

Tracy

Would love to hear more peoples advice on this subject, as I am currently going through it with my only son. Thanks in advance.

Kathy

I, too, believed I was alone. I live in guilt and shame thinking a grown child would only abandon a BAD mother. I go over years of conversations and get togethers in my head, searching for what I’ve said or done to cause my daughter to erase me from her life. I can find nothing that would warrant the cruelty of the punishment I’ve received. Even prison inmates get visits from family!

Cynbriar

Everybody has their agency, the right to choose. Some children choose to ignore and hurt. Our choice can be not to allow their choices to affect us. The more our lives are wrapped around them the more we can be hurt. I focus on what I can do and not on what I can’t. This helps a lot, especially when they ignore Mother’s Day and my birthday.

Brenda Mill

The same thing happened to me. And your right guilt and shame seem to become part of you. But I’ve learned that my daughter did this to ME I didn’t do this to her. She will have to live with this for the rest of her life just like your daughter will. God bless you and hopefully you can begin to put the blame where it belongs. I still struggle everyday snd know my life will never be the same but it gets better and better after you accept that you did your best.

maritabmp@gmail.com

I can definitely relate. My ex-husband traveled quite a bit while I was raising our two girls alone. One has Asperger’s syndrome which my husband would not recognize. Long story!!
After divorcing, my husband, remarried 9 months later and sued me for custody! I was dumbfounded! Long story short, my children went to live with their dad and his new wife. I was completely excluded from my children’s life after that occurred.
While I am not a perfect parent, who is? My ex-husband worked for a large corporation and was groomed in the sales department. It is a shame that he used his gifts and talents for deceptive manipulating tactics.
Although, at times I am sad, it does not last and I feel the best revenge is a happy life surrounded by loving, caring people which I am fortunate to have. It might sound pollyanna-ish but It has worked for me. I’ve graduated from victim to victor!

maritabmp@gmail.com

Boy can I relate! I divorced my husband in 1996 and he remarried within 9 months. He was a corporate executive and married someone with a high powered job. I found out 2 years later when I accidentally bumped into her ex-husband that she had done the same thing to him. We both were alienated from our children. I know I was not a perfect mother and don’t try to play the blame game and take part from my responsibility. I know truly that I didn’t warrant to be alienated from my children. I,too, thought only bad mothers lost their children. I continuously went over and over in my head at what I happened. I stopped reaching out after a while and stopped with a social media. It was too hard to get rejected over and over again.
I have recreated a life for myself and have been remarried for 5 years now. I did a lot of soul searching, praying and surrounding myself with people who are kind, loving and supportive.

Dee

Yes, they do, but You might find out they are on the “mind altering drug” Fentanyl , like our daughter who lives with her husband in Europe and lies to everyone here in the states about her upbringing. These people actually believe what they’re saying. Fentanyl changes your memories of what actually to place, to the new found statement you speak/ creating the new memory in your mind. If your adult child is saying or acting a way that is contrary to reality, chances are this; unfortunately, is probably the case.

Jan Robinson

I agree with you Judy. Seeing this article shocked me too. My oldest daughter who has my only two grandchildren has put up barriers. Due to my son in law. The hurt and pain is unbearable. I’m trying to work on letting it go but it’s hard.
I stopped by a couple weeks ago early to drop off a gift I had made for my granddaughter. My daughter came outside shocked! And said we are getting ready for bed, the girls are going to bed, she went on and on. It was awful. It was a beautiful evening around 7pm in Iowa.
I can’t understand what happened? We were so close. So glad I’m not alone.

maritabmp@gmail.com

I can only share my experience, strength and hope. I tried for years to reach out to my two girls but to no avail. Phone calls that were not returned, checks that were cashed for birthdays and holidays but no response. When my gestures were not acknowledged I was debilitated with grief and had trouble getting out of bed. Accepting the things I could not change was a difficult pill to swallow. For my own mental health, I made the decision to not reach out any longer. The last attempt I made was 3 years ago to my youngest daughter. I sent her a package with memorabilia along with card and a note of apology in it. It was sent back 3 weeks later unopened . My heart was broken and it took me a couple weeks to get over it. It was then that I decided I needed to go on with my life and enjoy what time I have left. Life is too short.

The Author

Marie Morin is a therapist and wellness coach at Morin Holistic Therapy. She helps women develop a daily self-care routine, so they overcome perfectionism and limiting beliefs and be their most confident selves. Marie is a grateful blogger and YouTuber. Find out more at morinholistictherapy.com and contact her at morinholistictherapy@gmail.com.

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