Estrangement, the widespread and stigmatized condition describing cutting off one family member from one or more family members, is becoming increasingly common. Estrangement can mean cutting ties completely with no contact or little contact with emotional distancing.
When an adult child cuts ties from one or both parents, they choose to disconnect from a relationship they believe is unmanageable. Estrangement is painful and usually talked about behind closed doors. But in recent decades, there are many resources for the adult child to recognize unhealthy patterns and choose to separate.
Parents confronted with losing the relationship status with their adult child go through grieving and finding a way to reconcile.
Estrangement is a grueling matter, complicated and ambiguous. The arrangement hurts all involved parties. Research studies have yet to catch up to the demand for information to illuminate and make sense of this harsh condition.
We know there is a great divide in perspectives between the estranged and their parents. Some estranged family members’ struggles involve addictions, mental illness, abuse, and toxic behaviors. Unraveling generational dysfunction and its impact on individuals requires professional support. Parents and adult children sometimes must remain estranged to preserve their well-being.
On the other hand, some families have intense histories, including numerous contributors, and can move forward. Parents and willing adult children find their way to reconciliation, often with the help of a professional.
Then there are those parents and adult children who remain emotionally or physically distanced for years.
Within this range are parents and adult children who, regardless of the relationship status, come to acceptance and learn to live again. These individuals processed the emotions of grieving, invested in their well-being, exercised their empathy muscles, and intentionally stepped forward. They embraced alternative perspectives, including those of their kids.
When parents gain insight into the context in which their adult child cuts ties, it opens the door for parents to move forward. For parents, this means they move into the spectrum of acceptance, acknowledge their role in the estrangement, and grow their empathy muscle.
We define intrapersonal issues as those where the adult child severs ties with their parents because of crucial personality factors. For example, if the parent struggles with mental illness, it might cause unwanted strife in the relationship, finally pushing the adult child away so far as to become estranged.
A mentally ill parent might not notice how their behavior affects their relationships, but that might not be enough to keep the adult child in the connection. Personality traits that may push adult children away also include self-centeredness, narcissism, and immaturity.
If the parent is unsupportive and unaccepting of the adult child’s feelings, the latter will likely internalize the relationship as low value and choose to estrange.
A widespread intrapersonal issue is personality differences. Adult children who do not feel accepted in their sexuality, gender identity, and religious ideals are more likely to separate from parental relationships.
Interfamily issues refer to forces outside the family – for example, objectionable relationships imposed upon the adult child by a divorced parent. The adult child can choose not to be a part of that new family dynamic if they wish.
Other reasons may include influence from a third party, such as a controlling or abusive spouse. The adult child’s spouse pressuring behaviors work to dismantle the family relationship, which may result in estrangement to keep the peace within the marriage. Alternatively, the adult child’s parents may not like the choice of spouse and therefore create distance and conflict.
Negative behavior, abuse during childhood, and sustained rigid or distant parenting styles can eventually cause the child to cut ties. Someone who has suffered mental, physical, sexual, or emotional abuse as a child can choose to separate from their parents in adulthood for self-preservation.
Other examples include:
It is not unusual for an adult child to recognize these behavioral patterns as detrimental to their well-being and choose to cut ties in their adult life.
With the newfound loss of stigma surrounding therapy and mental health, adult children are becoming keen on their circumstances and how their environment has contributed to their lives. If the relationship stops benefiting them or never has, they can choose whether or not to stay.
They are not responsible for their parents’ happiness and decide to put themselves first. The bare minimum isn’t enough anymore. Some agree that family is not a permanent state; it can grow and expand as family members age or come to a complete halt if so chosen.
Parent and adult children relationships tend to thrive when there are no expectations. The adult child can feel loved with no conditions and supported without fear of judgment. Unfortunately, adult children report feeling disrespected by parents who disregard their agency and adulthood.
Dr. Joshua Coleman, in his book Rules of Estrangement, discusses the shift away from the obligation to parents towards honoring one’s needs to be happy. Adult children who find their parents difficult and disrespectful can distance themselves or cut ties entirely.
What intrapersonal, interfamily, and intrafamily contributors discussed in the Carr et al., 2015 study
elaborates on the complicated nature of estrangement. Also, understanding that an adult child’s perspective can be highly different yet valid. Parents who hope to reconcile are willing to step away from their versions of the estrangement story and empathize with their adult child.
Do you think it is important to empathize with your adult child’s perspective? What resources have you found to be the most supportive? What do you do regularly that helps you nurture your wellbeing?
Well done! Lots to chew.
Why is estrangement always blamed on the parent? I recently read an item by a professed professional who told an adult child her feelings are “more important” than her mother’s feelings. To me this advice is toxic. No wonder estrangement is becoming so common.
My reaction to this article as well. Parents need to detach from their toxic child who has mental illness and chooses not to get help. It’s not always the parents fault.
It is funny how much classic DARVO all these perfectly innocent “victims of estrangement” end up getting and how very little self awareness seems to even be possible in the spaces narcissistic/estranged parents tend to be.
(Not that all estrangement includes npd or any mental illness. But most of the ones that involve parents feeling victimized by estrangement or even “judged” because “omg what does everyone think or even know? Theyll know or at least think I’m a terrible parent! How could they do this ungrateful child to me???”, absolutely they out themselves every time. Kinda ditto with the “grandparents rights” brigade).
You noticed that, too? They’re all completely innocent victims of “ungrateful” children who don’t appreciate them. It’s like they’re all reading from the same script lol.
Seems ungrateful children like you, don’t appreciate your parents. You seem to be on the band wagon that parents are the blame foe all your troubles! So, you’re an expert? How many children do you have? What kind of parent are you? Do you have that perfect book your using to raise them?
Agree! Unfortunately anyone that seeks counseling … the standard of practice is to blame the parents.
God forbid they recognize the child may suffer from mental illness.
What about helping each other to save families?
Some times the adult child suffers from Borderline Personality Disorder and nothing you can say will change anything!
Another disorder caused by generics and long term childhood trauma.
And another disorder many toxic parents refuse to acknowledge within themselves.
(Cluster b in general is complex trauma most commonly associated with childhood abuse, poverty, warzone living or the like. It often runs in families at least until the cycles of trauma and abuse are broken. Even then it can pop up a generation or two down the line due to some other traumatic event triggering that generic tendency)
Mine barely visited me and when she did visit w baby, she’d boss me to keep after baby so she could veg on her cell. I felt very used.
I totally agree and thought about this throughout the article!
I think the article is geared towards parents being in the wrong. I have a daughter-in-law who doesn’t treat me with respect and constantly criticizes me. It is now decided to have nothing to do with me, although my son still expresses his love and brings the children to see me, I’ve tried many times to be her friend. Apparently everything I’m doing is wrong. I would’ve liked the article better if it had been fair to both children and parents.
Same for me Susan with my daughter in law, but continue to enjoy your son and grandchildren. Not ideal for sure. I know you did nothing to deserve this either
Agreed and how to compromise
Your son is good person
Same for me. I have a controlling DIL. I am banned from seeing my grandchild. My son supports her to keep the peace. She has been for counselling for depression and other issues so I believe she has some mental health issues as well. So sad – its the grandchild who loses out. She has alienated her own family as well.
Identical situation in my family. This could have been written by my own mother. It’s so very sad. Their little girl is my parents’ only grandchild.
…. I think I’m having a very hard time reading that. Unless it’s an incest joke? (Your mom’s daughter is your parent’s only grandchild? The mom is the grandma?)
Be thankful you at least get to see your son and GC. My daughter in law was so jealous of my close relationship with my son. Caused such chaos but I was blamed and shunned. Haven’t spoken to or seen my son or GC in 7 years. The pain never goes away. It’s grieving the loss of ppl that are still alive
I mean a mamas boy is a huge red flag in any serious romantic relationship. Is definitely a dynamic that needs to be broken to build a healthy adult family as an independent adult that now centers his partner and children rather than parents and siblings.
Yes I recognise what you’re saying. My son in law worked to estrange my daughter from me. Last year after 10yrs together, he succeeded. She is super intelligent but has – I believe – mental health issues. Since she was small she has been a compulsive liar even when the truth was staring her in the face and couldn’t be disputed. She has been in and out of counselling since she was 18. She had number of abortions and didn’t finish 4 university degrees that my ex and I paid for. She has told her partner all sorts of fantasy tales about mental/physical abuse, and neglect at my hands. He has pronounced ad(h)d & is very oppositional to the point it is almost like a ‘conduct disorder’ but I’m guessing that perhaps he has high functioning autism as a comorbidity. (I have a professional background in this field) She was also diagnosed with ad(h)d a couple of years ago. My ex and I saw no sign of this growing up. They have two children together. They are soulmates together and he believes he’s saving her. Before the actual estrangement last year, he refused to talk to me even when I was standing in front of him, he wouldn’t come into our house, I never saw my daughter or my grandkids at Christmas or their actual birthdays. I wasn’t allowed in their house but towards the end the narrative was twisted by them that I wouldn’t allow him in MY house. He deliberately renaged on payments to the bank that I had stood guarantor for, when my daughter was a student. I only found out that I had been on a blacklist for nearly 5yrs when I applied for a small personal loan. It took me moths to find out why. I have been blamed by ny daughter for everything that I could possibly be blamed for, including not removing her from an unhappy, emotionally abusive marriage and nasty divorce (from her narcissistic father) when she was young (she probably has a point there but I was too uncertain and too scared to do it sooner than I did). Indeed she and her partner consider me to be a conniving, underhand, mentally unstable old witch in need of professional help.
Could I have been a better mother at times? Are there things I regret? Certainly, yes but am I the evil and unstable person they describe – no. I love my daughter dearly and miss my grandchildren. I have written countless begging letters but all to no avail. I am determined not to become bitter or feel like a victim or a failure. Why did this happen to me? That’s a question I just don’t ask anymore. Bad things happen to good people. It’s just how it is. I look for fun and joy every day and I will always love my girl.
I have a daughter in law that has not even tried to have any sort of relationship with me. I have tried but realized she just doesn’t care or want one. I used to hear from my son who is in the army on Sundays. Don’t hear from him at all anymore and have not seen him in over a year. This article is geared more towards the parents’ creating problems. All people parents and adult children need to take responsibility for their actions. Stop playing the blame game.
I’m tired of my adult daughter she didn’t have the decency to call me when my mom died to say what ever but came to see my mother without telling me it hurts
I personally feel that the adult children feel entitled. Also many therapist promote this garbage. Not just with parents but anybody they are involved with. Whatever happened to respect and kindness? That is a foreign concept to these adult children. I am not talking about sexual or physical abuse. But because there are different personalities in any family. You need to respect the differences but now days your therapist promotes separation and abandonment. What happened to adult children taking responsibility for themselves. Caring on about something my mother or father said to me when I was 10 years old. Come on now. Do they have to love their own lives of course.
I think the cruelest thing they do is taking away the grandchildren. They are not only getting even with their parents but hurting their child.
It does not make for a bright future regarding Family Life.
How about Focus on the Family.
Doesn’t that give therapists inspiration to succeed moreso.
A hate group? Don’t expect anyone to want anything to do with you after legal adulthood if you listen to those people.
-my now estranged father loved focus on the family more than he loved his queer child
Yep. There’s no hate like “Christian love”. I can’t wait for all these Boomer homophobes to just die off, hopefully very lonely and full of regret
Yeah I REALLY wouldn’t suggest looking to focus on the family (or any other recognized gate group) for any kind of guidance for builind and maintaining positive familial relationships.
My father never learned that lesson. He even put me through covert conversion therapy to try to make me fit in with his fantasy of what family should/must look like. It was supposedly for “depression” but mostly ignored anything real (like abuse, including sexual, lack of autonomy, constant conflict, and shaming for things like being queer and autistic). The counselor was some Christian taught nonsense that mostly promoted trying to force suffering teens to just force themselves to fit into a narrow set of acceptable roles and without any kind of respect for the need to escape toxicity z abuse, and bigotry directed at your very sense of self and also your mom’s whole side of the family.
Leaving me feeling more depressed, even suicidal, after every visit. But can’t stop otherwise “not even trying to get better” etc. Making it more and more hopeless until i eventually left, cur contact, and went to REAL therapy actually focused on childhood trauma and recovery.
Now he’s on his 6th divorce and is estranged from all 8 kids (including his two bio kids).
I’ve been estranged from my parent who abandoned me as a child. The parent hurt my children in the same manner that they hurt me. I won’t allow it again, nor am I getting even with my parent. I have to protect my children and myself from further harm, abuse, and neglect. I assure you I’m not entitled. I had to survive my upbringing due to my parent’s decisions to abandon their kids. And you know what, if you say crappy things to your kid, guess what – it has an impact. Listening, acknowledging, and validating a child on an emotional level helps to repair the relationship. Dismissing what they’ve experienced is destructive.
Yes! Some adult children endured horrible upbringings. My mother was an alcoholic and my father was abusive. They are both deceased, but they left me wanting nothing to do with family life. I am childless by choice. For those who are so critical of their daughters-in-law, you might try to find out what her family life was like. She might have valid reasons for needing distance, which have nothing to do with you.
The therapists treat those who seek the help. If its the adult child seeking help the therapist will treat per that persons perspective. If it is the parent that seeks help the therapist will treat per her perspective. Respect and kindness is a two way street. Issues occur when one or the other refuse to take responsibility for their actions/words or lack there of. Or refuse to see or admit the hurt they caused the other. Nothing can be fixed if one party won’t even acknowledge the hurt of the other. I AM ENTITLED….entitled to feel hurt ..those are MY feelings and if I tell you I am hurt repeatedly and you dismiss it why do you think I should remain in your life?And why should my child have to endure the hurt that I have had to deal with before walking out of your life? This particular instance has nothing to do with drugs/alcohol abuse or any diagnosed mental illness. Adult children don’t walk out of their parents lives for no reason at all. Parents need to wake up and acknowledge their part in the pain they caused their child for them to walk away. I also think its pretty easy for a MIL to blame the DIL for issues they have with their sons. The DIL is the sacraficial lamb brought to slaughter again bc they are unwilling to acknowledge the hurt that they caused their son and its easier for them to place blame on someone else than to admit out loud the pain they caused to their son that caused him to shut them out. Not allowing them to see the grandchild is not about “getting even” it’s about no longer allowing them to continue the hurt that their not willing to acknowledge and if they are willing to hurt their child in that way without recognizing it they would do the same to the grandchild. I personally as a parent refused to allow that to happen.
You are wrong about adult children walking out of their parents lives for no reason! Our son walked out of our lives because he made up reasons that were invalid after his divorce.
We bent over backwards to be compassionate and accepting even of his new girlfriend but just not on his unreasonable terms ie, bringing the new girlfriend to a family birthday gathering for our other DIL only 3 months after her separation for us to meet her for the first time. I told him that night was about his SIL and offered to meet gf another time but was cut off completely.
We try to reach out to our son and we tell him how much he is loved and missed. We would be willing to go to counseling or listen to any problem he has with us but he will not respond.
There was a time that I thought the same as you. I hope you don’t have to learn I’m right the same way I have because it’s crushing!
I have been alienated by both my daughters several times over the last 10 years. My oldest daughter got in some trouble as a teen, after her father and I divorced. My youngest daughter was molested by a live in boyfriend when she was 9/10.
My oldest daughter was locked up in a state prison for kids, then sent to a girls rehabilitation, lockdown facility when she was 14. Came home when she was 16 and then pregnant within 4 months. My youngest and I have always been close, she’s the one who usually shut off communication the longest, but eventually we reconcile. She tells me she takes things to far and doesn’t know how to stop. She iis an alcoholic, in an abusive marriage and has 2 daughters. Ihavent seen or spoken to my oldest gdaughter since 2018. I’ve sent gifts, I don’t know if she likes them, or even gets them. Her mom says she does. I do not talk to my youngest when she calls me and has been drinking. She rehashed things that we’ve gone to counseling about, and s/b resolved. My oldest daughter, when in state care, was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder and oppositional defiance, directed at me. I’m the only person that went to the monthly meetings with staff. Her Dad lived less than 200 miles away, visited 1 time in 2 years..she has never alienated him.
I’ve been close to my grandchildren all along. In fact many years I’ve been the designated, “other” adult in gchildrens lives.
I have always been close to my oldest grand child, he’s tmrw. Now he and his brother aren’t speaking to me.
I’ve seen my beloved granddaughter once since the end of 2019. When I did get to see her in 2021, she was in bed. She pulled the covers over her head and said” I don’t know who you are.” I took off my jacket and said, “yes u do Lorelai, it’s Grandma Robbyn and I have missed you so much.” She looked at me and said, ” grandma Robbyn? I didn’t know how to find you. I did not know where u were.” I hugged her, then we talked about what Santa brought her for Christmas.
I wanted to weep when I saw that sadness in her eyes…this is just one story that involves entire families and my 5 grandchildren. I’ve babysat for free for years because I live being with my grand kids. My heart is broken. My parents didn’t alienate us, or us them. Sure, we had disagreements, we had times where we let things cool down, a week or 2, at most a month. We’d talk about whatever it was and move on. I was an abused child, along with my 8 siblings. I’ve had to put things in perspective. My kids had relationships with my folks, I never stopped that bc I know my parents loved my kids and wanted the best for them. I at times would yell, get angry, tackle and hold down my oldest daughter…she stole from me, she was mean to her sis and was daddy’s favorite. He confided in her as a really young girl about his and my arguments, your mom’s hurting our family,I just want to keep us all together, she won’t believe I wasn’t gambling/drinking/doing drugs. THATS THE REASON I DIVORCED HIM…brainwashing my daughter. I could write a book and probably should. The truth is hard for us all. I have my own demons in this. I can not say why it’s this way exactly. My heart is broken. I can say tho, that shunning, alienating grandparents, or anyone , just bc you don’t want to tell the truth or you have rewritten past to others, is wrong. My oldest told me many times that she doest feel empty for others. It was difficult for me to believe that my beautiful, intelligent daughter was like that. She 7sed to tell me no one around needed to have those feelings bc I had enough empathy for everyone. I see it now tho, really clearly.
Adult children in there 30’s and 40’s had DHS on their speed dial. 1st computers in the classrooms…they in some ways are smarter than those of us 60 years and older. Experience can bring knowledge, sometimes just not the outcome we’d like to have.
I understand your perspective on that Caroline, but sometimes it’s the only option left. I’m estranged from my adopted family because of the sheer disrespect I received even though I did everything they wanted. I told them numerous times to stop breaking into my apartment and to call me when they want to come over. There would be times I come home to it trashed for simply not having it clean to their specifications. It would be something as small as a dish in the sink.
Bad association spoils useful habits.
Our first associate is our parents. If they make mistakes, own them. It gains respect. But a cover up may make the child view their parents as a person they can rely on in somethings but not all.
Our personalities develop as a child. Were open books. A parent that destroys a child’s confidence at a early age one purpose or by mistake still needs to fess up and own it. If they dont, they are STILL VEIWED AS SOMEONE THAT CAN BE RELIED ON IN SOMETHINGS but not all. The habit of the parent has not changed.
It’s not just what was said at the age of 10, it’s the owning it and willingness to take a child’s feelings into consideration over there own that produces that gold standard were all looking for. How important is a child to there parent?
If a parent is willing to bend over backwards and say sorry and really work on the relationship, the association has changed and it’s now on the child to reciprocate. If the child doesnt fess up to his or her own mess they may have made…..we know where the problem lays.
But it all starts with the parents. They began the relationship as a adult guidance counselor and example setter.
Some kids just go with the parent that they thinks makes more money because they tell I make more and there a idiot
My son has been estranged from me since 2004 I thought this was not possible but it happened. I have learned to live with it. But have tried to fix it. to no avail. I will always be open for reconciliation and won’t be complete until it’s done.
You aren’t “fixing it”, you are harassing your child to absolve you, who has made it clear does not want to hear from you any more. If your son cut off contact with you nearly 20 years ago and you’ve made attempts “to no avail” then you are simply abusing your child by continuing to try and contact them. Their silence is your answer. Let them get on with their life and live in peace.
You actually sound like my cousin! You are cruel if you aren’t permitting your children to have a relationship with their grandparents. That’s abuse!
Agree with Holly !
My daughter came around when she needed money from me or her Grammy I gave her my last 30.00 10years ago and left
No, it isn’t cruel let alone “abuse” by any stretch to not have a relationship with you, incel. It is abuse to harass people and treat your sense of entitlement as some kind of a fact that people owe you those thinga. Get over yourself already.
Not every child has grandparents that are alive. Not all have grandparents that are healthy. And not all have grandparents that are in their lives/the lives of their parents. That’s reality.
A family model and dynamic that doesn’t magically fit your narrow universal ideals of what a family “should” look like is not abuse. It is not unhealthy or less valid by default.
You so sound like those people yelling about how children “deserve a mother and father ” and yell about gay marriage and adoption being “child abuse”
It’s nonsense fit throwing, pure and simple. Not anything I want my children exposed to.
You sound like a nut case! Really! You don’t know me! Any, have not witnessed the close, loving relationship I had with my grandchildren!
Where do you come in to tell me my opinions regarding marriage, gay marriage, adoption? Honey, you are way off base? Talk about a judgmental person!
I’m a healthy grandparent who can run around with grandchildren. Have fun with them. And, they actually have a great grandfather. Like I said, you have no clue!!!!
Perhaps you’re the “incel”!
Sasha is trying to come across as some expert and authority on adult children,
parents and grandparents. She doesn’t know squat. Her intelligence level is shown by her knowledge or lack thereof of using the word “incel”. She has no idea of its meaning since it wasn’t used properly.
It is the most cruelest and painful to prevent the grandchildren to have relationship with.💔💔💔
And usually done on purpose, to create additional pain.
Michele – agree. My daughter and son in law wrote that they want nothing to do with me or my husband and we will not be allowed to see our grand daughters. Reeling from the pain, in therapy, reading books on estrangement, journaling and so much self reflection. I wrote a heartfelt letter to my daughter apologizing for anything and everything I had ever done to hurt her – the letter was self deprecatory and quite pathetic, in hindsight.
My daughter and I were best friends – I think this was very threatening to my son in law. I was present and silly and engaging with my daughters in law and I now know that this too was threatening to my son in law.
I don’t know anymore.
All of this was just so unimaginable
No one who apologizes sincerely to another person thinks of themselves as “pathetic”. And, mothers and daughters aren’t supposed to be “best friends”. None of that is healthy or normal. You are telling on yourself as an abusive parent who doesn’t care why your daughter has cut you off, you only moan about it being “unimaginable”. I’ve only read your response here and I can easily imagine why.
A daughter and son-in-law don’t prevent a grandparent from seeing them “for no reason”. That is your delusion so you don’t have to confront your own issues. But narcissists don’t change, won’t accept responsibility or ever consider they might be wrong. Instead they watch their children walk away and throw childish stones at them as they do. I would feel sorry for these parents, except they show their children zero sympathy or attempts at understanding. Instead, they embrace their new role as “victim parent”. Now that IS pathetic.
Amen, Robin. The lord says you reap what you sow. These narcissistic parents are reaping exactly what they have sown all along and now want to blame it on their adult offapring, in laws, mental health counselors, the government, social media – anything and everything to avoid responsibility in the life they find themselves in now. You are so right. It is crystal clear these toxic parents are having a conniption and are STILL the abusers they have always been to this very day. Its so hilariously pathetic to see all these narc parents basically dry snitch on themselves here on this comment section. Smh
“Its so hilariously pathetic to see all these narc parents basically dry snitch on themselves here on this comment section.”
They do so everywhere estranged parents/grandparents rally lol
Sasha you need Help speak for yourself- yes some adult children have good reasons for estranging but some were excellent parents there adult children lived them had good relationships with the the grandparents had good relationships with there grandchildren and for absolutely no reason changed as if overnight, it’s hurtful, confusing and damaging to everyone involved but esp to the grands and it is abuse so speak for yourself and maybe you need to pray for yourself better yet you need to be commit and good luck when it all comes full circle to you!!!!!
You are wrong. Every situation is different. Compared to my daughter’s upbringing of her children? I am Mother Theresa. Many adult children are hiding bad choices from their parents. (her father is deceased) I can read my daughter like a book, since she was young. She is up to no good and is using me as her scapegoat to her fairly new husband. As in, “Oh, I am so depressed, I think my mother verbally abused me? (she is depressed because her lover cut her off, she is like a jilted lover) She tells her concerned husband, “I think my mom pushed me to have an abortion at 18 years old (not), I am a sinner, she says to him, (he is a devout Christian) Of course, no other human being knew of her abortion except the clinic, her and myself. She started her crap, not even my own husband)” Right. She is having an affair with another married man in their circle. Everyone’s story is different. My estrangement has lasted only 4 months, my daughters decision. Where I used to talk to my daughter and 3 grandchildren on a daily basis. Zero – out. Grandchildren are my loves at 8, 6 and 4 years old.
Signed, Loose lips sink ships.
Hey kids pick and choose good or bad parents it’s f
You are wrong Robin! Mothers and daughters are supposed to be best friends! That is a healthy, normal adult relationship.
They absolutely are not. Maybe read the book “I’m glad my mom died” to get maybe some perspective on why that mindset is so damaging to the daughter in particular
Sasha you’re wrong! My mother and I were the best of friends! Wow! You must treat your mother so rotten. That’s why you’re constantly criticizing all these parents and grandparents. You must have been something trying to raise you into a mature adult.
If you read such a book, perhaps your wishing your mother dies?! How cruel!
Have you ever heard of The Golden Rule?
I was best friends with my mom and she died in February I helped her through stuff when my dad got sick who was a Doctor i miss my best friend my mom who I can’t talk to anymore
Robin hey…calm down lots of these people are narcissistic and want to argue about everything go to the mirror and sit
Never healthy or good to view your child as your “best friend”.
When you become a mature adult, parents and grandparents absolutely become best friends. “That’s a healthy relationship as one matures”!
Not half as cruel as forcing a child to have a relationship with a known child abuser “because family”
-was heavily encouraged to sit on grandpa’s lap for story times and regular visits cause super important irreplaceable relationship. Only to learn every adult involved knew he had sexually abused at least one cousin of mine
Or protection them from selfish self centered entitled adults that refuse to acknowledge their own issue or flaws, let alone the long term damage causes by childhood abuse. Or other events that can occur when people lack fundamental autonomy and have their lives controlled by another who might easily forget about the whole thing after a while. Since it does not effect those with the power half as much as the child, regardless of how much they claim it hurts the parent more, it just must not matter?
No thanks. Protecting my kids from adults like that.
I agree with you Caroline. The grandchildren suffer not getting to know and have a wonderful relationship with their grandparents. Grandchildren should not be used as pawns. Any good parent would realize their children need grandparents who show unconditional love. Life is short!
Literally the only people using grandchildren as pawns are the narcissists who think they’re entitled to a relationship with people they don’t even know because they like the concept. Then go around trying to pull guilt trips and other manipulation tactics to try to force/coerced unwanted contact with people they probably abused and their children to potentially further abuse.
Get the hell over yourself and your sense of entitlement
Sasha, you really are a nut case! You best look up the definition of a narcissist. You constantly on here making such cruel comments!
Once again, have you ever heard of The Golden Rule?
I’m going to ask…how many children do you have? What expert parenting book are you getting you ideas from?
And, how do you treat your parents and grandparents?
Get over yourself, start being respectful!
Sasha not every person is your parent or like your parent yet you assume they are obviously you’ve had a hard life but to assume everyone’s the same is shallow
holly I agree with your posts. It appears there are too many comments from people who have not experienced the situation. It hurts deeply when it happens to you. I believe it comes from lack of respect for your parents and the building of anger and hate from a married adult child with their spouse, too. I have watched it build with my son in law and daughter for probably a year and a half. These are the entitled, superior thinking adult children we raised. I let my daughter “be” who she wants to be. I picked up her pieces so many times I cannot count. She is selfish, and unkind to me and appreciates nothing. She will be back when she is on her butt, again. I am angry right now. I do not deserve her actions, again. New husband new values, etc. Meanwhile, I do not get to see my grandchildren. I have disagreed with her and he husband’s parenting style and have kept my mouth shut. They married 4 years ago and have a 4 year old ADD, mean little 4 year old boy. The 8 year old boy and 6 year old girl are close to angels and were raised with her and me in their lives. They use corporal punishment on the their 4 year old boy. They literally spank him hard so much, I do not know how he can sit on his butt. They know how I feel about corporal punishment as I never spanked my children nor was I spanked, as old as I am. It is not necessary (And I live in the south) They do not put their kids in activities like sports because as parents they do not have time to spend time together if they do. My kids, including this one daughter of mine spent years in every single activity and sports imaginable. She still plays one sport professionally and she is 33 years old. Why not teach her children the world of sports or other activities. I am so angry at her. I will have to get past this stage of grief to go on. Seriously. I have 2 sons who do not like the situation and disagree because there is no evidence of me abusing any of my children in any way, of many ways. My daughter’s daughter is already giving her heck, good luck, you do reap what you sow. L
I agree with everyone on how ungrateful these children are. I am 71 years old and have been cut off from my son since 2010. He wants nothing to do with me at all.
He told me to my face that I no longer had a son and walked away for good.
For many years I told people I didn’t know why, but I lied. I knew, because for all his life he would throw it in my face, how he was being molested by my husband and how I wouldn’t do anything to help him. He told me the first day it ever started, when he was 8 years old.
He had the nerve to call me out on how I used to tell him that I’d give him up for adoption and put him in an orphanage if he didn’t clean his room, wash dishes or do other chores.
He had the nerve to tell me that this was cruel and his therapist is to blame. The therapist and mental health people are influencing him. They told him that I and my husband abused him and that his life growing up was not normal or healthy.
So he chose his therapists and doctors over his own mother and stepfather.
He never stopped telling and begging for help a child. I just didn’t care to help him and I must admit I did get off on the power and control of it all. The power, knowing I could do something to stop it. I even got a rise from instigating the beatings that went along with it.
I didn’t see why making a big deal out of things was going to risk me losing my home and financial status. Plus my husband said that kids like and provoke these kinds of things.
I felt powerful in telling him that he caused this to happen and that he provoked it. My husband would tell him he is a bad kid and causes bad things to happen to him.
For many years I was able to successfully hide this penchant for pain, other people’s pain, but my son ripped that mask off so brutally when he became a fully grown adult that I wanted to kill him for it.
I cannot feel good unless someone close to me is feeling bad, especially my son. Just something about inducing and/or augmenting his pain gives me a rise and a high. I honestly think I have an addiction to other people’s pain. But I cannot bear for anyone to know this, especially my own son.
All my life I work so hard to hide this from the world. People see me as gentle, kind and very generous. When my son tells people what he went through, some people have a hard time believing that in contrast with what I’ve chosen to show the world.
If people really knew the truth, they would hate me and spit in my face. I’d be behind bars for sure and even then in the prison, I’d be a target for the worst kind of abuse. And I would deserve it. But I cannot let this be known, the rage in me wants him dead.
I had a whole plan set up and I was going to get my husband to shoot him, based on the stand your ground/Castle Doctrine law. We planned to go to probate and say that my son was a danger to us and that he is crazy. He was transgender and it was easy in the south to paint him as a crazy and dangerous person.
He embarrassed us when he decided to transition. People all over town talked about us like a dog, saying we failed as parents. Some even said that the molestation caused him to be transgender in our church. We were marked and our church members would keep us at arm’s distance.
This is another reason I hated him and wanted him gone. I had taken out a life insurance on him and decided on a plan. He would be worth more to me dead than alive, plus I’d finally get peace and not have to worry about future consequences of going to prison for what my husband and I did to him. I know it isn’t fair, but that is how it is.
We had his friend in on it and were trying to get him to come back to our home, so I could get my husband to shoot him and we would say it was self defense.
But he must have known somehow, because he never came back and left the state entirely.
That was 13 years ago, and now that my husband has died, I’m all alone. I don’t have any friends, my only friend I had just died of cancer and she was about 8 years younger than I am.
So I do feel uncertain about my future.
Who will take care of me? There is no one to check up on me and I feel afraid an old lady all alone in this house every night. All I have is my little dog.
A whole global pandemic of COVID came and went and my son did not once bother to contact me. It’s as if he doesn’t care what happens to me and couldn’t care less if I’m alive or dead.
I watched my peers draw close to their sons and daughers and grandchildren during the pandemic and holidays, Thanksgiving, Christmas, everyone had their family but me. Some of them invited me to be with their family and told me “you are our family now” , but it’s just not the same thing.
I’m always an outsider trying to be part of a family that I’m not. I have no one else and I drove away the only child I ever had. He is living his life in LA with his own family and has completely moved on.
I sense nothing but pure indifference from him, even though he has cut me off for over a decade now.
I just cannot escape the harsh reality that I have been cut off for good by my only offspring. I came into this world not wanted, having been adopted at 6 years old. I have gone through abuse as a child with adoptive parents and ghosted both of them many years ago.
Did not attend my mother’s funeral, nor my father’s funeral. And the cycle continues. I have not done better, and have actually done worse than my parents.
My own parents didnt want me and my own son didn’t want me. This is the legacy I am taking to my grave.
Despite that, I still try to hoover and troll my son until my dying day, because I just cannot accept the harsh reality. I’m so sad and filled with regret and paranoia, because in the state that I live, there is no statute of limitations and despite my husband being dead, I could still be held accountable for things…for crimes of child abuse.
I’m so old and sickly now and he just needs to forgive and forget and help me. I called him last year to try to get him back in his good graces, but he paid me nothing but dust. Can’t he just get over it?
What an ungrateful, selfish and entitled being have I brought into this world? Dear God, why me??
I worked a job all my life for 30 years I worked every day, 40, 50, 60 hours a week. I never called in sick and always shoed up to work. I dont deserve this!!!
I swear if I get one more chance, I’ll finish what I started and finish him off for good.
I agree. Sometimes it is solely the adult offspring who decides to ignore a loving parent. Because of their own mental health or problems that have nothing to do with the parent. Sometimes the parent is at fault, sometimes the parent has done everything possible to be a loving parent, and yet the adult child develops negstively, for whatever reason, and blames the parent. They are now adults, with their own minds and make their own decisions, sometimes v bad decisions. And sometimes they have been groomed and brainwashed by the other revengeful parent, or someone else, for whatever reason, influences them.
Adult children, especially if narcissistic parents, codependent dynamics, self centered parents, addicted parents, or otherwise unhealthy dynamics absolutely do need to learn that they need to value their own feelings above that of others. Especially demanding parents that are unlikely to give reciprocity in that way.
And that’s a common dynamic a lot of young adults (especially oldest daughters) have to learn for a healthy life and adulthood.
Also because parents are the ones ~20+ years older. The ones who made the rules, set the standards, and a lot of times acted abusively, neglectfully, hyper controlling, unsupportive, or otherwise setting they’re children up for failure. They’re the ones who had the autonomy, and thus the sole responsibility for the earl foundations of the parental relationship.
Largely unintentionally, but it compounds a lot harder when it’s ignored, excused away, dismissed, or even expressing feelings associated with it is met with backlash, defensiveness, or even punishment (including guilt trips).
Children don’t get mental health or even addiction issues out of nowhere. It’s pretty much always a split between genetics and the environment they grew up in/spend too much time in. The kids are not the reason they were never taught how to socialize, stand up for themselves, resolve conflict, set appropriate boundaries, or any number of practical or social life skills they’re parents should have taught them.
And when those children realize how severe their issues are, how much hard work they’ll need to spend years or even decades to really heal from it and become truly healthy, how unapologetic or even victim blamey their parents get about it, when they are attacked by their own parents for having the difficulties, mental ilnesses, set backs, etc those same parents imposed on them. The strong emotions can start and could result in either lashing out or engaging in avoidance, at least until their emotions are sorted out and they figure out if it can be a healthy relationship in adulthood despite the childhood.
Once they see their parents never really cared about them as actual individual people but about how well they can fullfil their idealized “child role”. Once they start having healthier relationships and no longer find comfort in the emotional landmine their family of origin provides. Once they see how nastily or disrespectfullh they treat the estrangement.
It becomes pretty clear the need to leave entirely
Especially as it relates to generational trauma and the divide between people that want to heal and fix it and do better and those who want to cling to it because “well that’s how I was raised and i turned out fine”. Those who prioritize ending the cycle definitely wouldn’t want their own children exposed to a toxic environment and complete dismissiveness to the impact on the child and the adult replicating their own toxic childhood experiences. and often their children and how those grandparents act or may act towards them are the main inspiration for cutting contact.
For parents it’s a lot harder to justify. You chose to have kids and then didn’t like what you got? The health, the gender, the support needs level, the struggles, the interests, the sexuality, neurology? Then you really shouldn’t have been a parent. And rather than blaming the child you chose to have for being who they are, for how difficult you findbeing a parent, for them having the needs they have, and making choices they think are best for their own lives,
you really should reflect on your own failures and stop trying to childishly yell “but what about her, she started it. No fair I’m always getting blamed.”
That was a one-sided pile of garbage. Huff and puff, dear Lord! No reality there at all!
Your attitude towards a perfect stranger is “garbage.”
I can only imagine how badly you treated your child to make them want to leave you.
I can’t imagine why your children chose to live their best life without you
Disrespectful garbage seems you would have learned something from your past experience you are rude
I can see why you would blame your parents you have issues
What a well written reply. I have been surprised by the comments that I’ve read thus far. Yours has been the only one that makes me believe that you have an understanding or experience about why children sometimes choose to alienate/break with family members. I’ve witnessed this in my family and had much rather that the person protect their mental health. While it has been painful to be estranged from them, I have to respect their reasoning.
Counseling could be a good idea to either with an estrangement and perhaps lead to a path to reconciliation. If either of my children decided to cut me out of their lives, I’d definitely be doing what I could to try to reconcile, including figuring out my possible contribution to the situation; there’s a reason someone chooses to do this. It may be a mental health issue on their part but maybe it’s something hurtful/damaging that can be resolved.
I wish everyone who is estranged the best. Life is short.
If you spent too much time listening to your peers, then blame the environment.
Oh bla bla bla! Parents love their children and do the best they can. We are wired that way! There are very few parents that really are willfully bad and they will have to answer for that. My belief is that children are responsible for honoring their mother and father. There is no qualifier – like you should only honor your parent if they were good according to your judgement. Parents have been “messing up” their kids since the beginning of time! Sure, I had to put some distance between my mother and I for a few years in my adult life. Yes, I felt like my kids lost out from not having grandparents around for a few year. Even so, I felt it was my responsibility to figure out a way to honor them and treat them with kindness and respect because – duh, they were my parents! I’m here to say that you can do it, and you children can do it! It may take a year, it may take decades. Parents – you did a good job! Yes, be willing to admit your mistakes – and to your children too – if you want. But, know that you loved them and raised them the best you could. And you know who loves them even more than you do? – God. He’s in their hands wether you have a relationship with them or not. (at lest this is what I believe)
I don’t trust anyone whose OWN children don’t like them. Most smart people don’t, either.
Well, that is just sad… all I did was try to protect my granddaughter whom my daughter was beating her. May the lord show you the way.
No, it’s not sad. No one knows you better than your children.
So if they believe you’re so problematic that a relationship is impossible, why should anyone else assume one will work with you?
Two sides to every story, sometimes it’s the child’s issue.
Sorry but how on earth would you know?
How do you decide IF it’s one child who estranges himself and the other remains close? Maybe you need to rethink your all or nothing decision.
That’s just dumb there are always two sides to a story how smart are you when you only listen to one side
Wow thats pretty judgemental, hope you never have to experience estrangement
If a parent closes their ears to their kids, God closes His ears to the parents (proverbs 21:13 / james 2:13).
If a parent says bla bla bla to their child or their feelings, James 2:13 will sum up the parents life until they do listen.
It’s not a game.
Just because you tried to get to work on time doesnt mean you shouldn’t worry about getting fired. Not having that conversation as to why you were late to work doesnt have to happen if your not worried about keeping the job. Same with our kids.
My 2 cents
If “oh bla bla bla” is how you respond to your child’s emotional needs, then you have your answer why you don’t hear from them any more.
Your religion is your business. But you have no right to impose it on me your (ADULT) children, or society at large. Assuming you are from the US or any other country that is not theocratic.
If Christian values, beliefs, and commandments work for you good on you. I never liked them personally. I prefer satanism. More obligation to not abuse children or violate others rights,and less to maintain respect and relationships with those who abuse you (parents, romantic partners, religious leaders etc)
If you can’t respect that other people have rights to not follow your religion, that’s for sure a you problem for why people don’t like being around you.
A huge reason i left the Christian cult was because of it’s pro abuser culture. An environment that encourages violent parenting and fbis myth that just because it’s parenta they mean well, try their best and are entitled to treat their kids however they want (especially after csa, breaking bones, etc). That Shane, bully, and otherwise further traumatize the victims to maintain hierarchy and their sense of control.
No. Thanks. Not at all. Not interested in your religious excus
Carol, Carol, Carol. I think I see what the problem is here. You spent too much time listening to your pastor and not enough time listening to your kids. Not everyone respects the Bible. To me it’s a vile collection of horror stories with an antiquated and barbaric ethic.
Who is this person? I suspect Sasha is an immature person in his/her 30s, who has wandered into this chat and wants to rage at older people. Fess up, Sasha. Who are you?
You need to be in a site for traumatized adult children Some parents did nothing wrong at all so admit that and stop acting like your experience is the only truth!!!!! And
Omg yes I agree. Why is it always the adult child’s feelings that matter more than the parent who has loved and provided them a healthy childhood. I am seeing more it is the immature adult children not valuing important things in life like family due to social media and other factors. Why else would this be more common now except for social media and the decline in actually talking face to face and resolving conflict. It’s easier for these young adults to block and not deal with anything.
I agree, social media plays a large part in this garbage. For most of us, all the basic needs we provided including the unconditional love is now somehow toxic behavior. God help us.
No, it was my mother in this case who did not deal with anything. “My way or the highway”.
I think there is an element of truth to all that is said. However, I grew up in a horrible environment as a child. A severely alcoholic mom and virtually no father in my life. I never had children. However, my sister followed the path of my mom when her children were young. I was there for all of them equally. Since two of the four have become adults, two turned on me. Those two out of the four are very similar in personality. Neither accept any responsibility for their actions and one in particular blames everything in his life for his shortcomings. He has poor me syndrome. I learned based on my upbringing being horrible, I had a choice as an adult. I could remain a victim and stay stuck or find a path forward realizing I was responsible for my actions. I do think as a society we have gotten lax. I never disowned my mom. I learned you can hate the behavior and still love the person. Today, we have kids murdering one another and their parents. More now than ever. Respect seems to be a thing of the past. Kids are detached from their emotions more now than ever. Violent video games desenize. Interactions are through a screen. Emoji’s in place of emotions. Bullying is on the rise etc. Is there familial responsibility to some of this, yes. To solely blame parents is not fare. Society as a hole is to blame as well. Society that encourages estrangement rather then striving to help find a path forward. Brainwashing and teaching kids it is ok to disrespect parents. Society’s demands requiring both parents to work just to stay ahead. This promotes less time at home with kids. Everyone has a part is my point. We can blame one another or look at the situation as a whole. There is enough blame to go around. Kids need not be left off the hook for personal responsibility as adults because of a crappy childhood. I do believe in boundaries. Realistic ones.
Lisa, right on! I bet all these negative so called adults are on social media. You’re completely correct how they react.
Thank you. I agree
Because in most cases, it is the parents fault. And your response is proof positive why (lack of accountability and instant combative blame game tactics).
Children tend to love their parents unconditionally, no matter how dysfunctional. So when a child chooses to cut contact, it’s usually for a good reason. Whether that parent wants to come to terms with that or not.
Totally agree. I tried to gain my mother’s approval while in my whole life she never said she loved me while my sister could do no wrong. As I got counseling (because I married a narcissist) I realized my mother was probably narcissist. She and Dad beat me and made me the black sheep. It allowed them to blame me as the dysfunction. Figuring it out now. She passed and I took care of her in her dementia but now am finally healing. Limited contact with siblings and father. No one protected me. There was not any love to make the family safe. Everyone suffered in different ways. Mom and Dad were not accountable because they were in denial and wanted it that way. She used to threaten me with therapy but never took me. She didn’t want anyone to hear me.
My mom told me at my daughter’s wedding that she always hated me because “I was my dad’s favorite”. Her problem, now I understand why I was treated so bad. Therapist said do I really need her in my life, my response was no. So no more, I haven’t seen her in over 8 years.
So sorry you had to go through that. I relate so much to being the scapegoat child.
Here again, LACK OF REALITY! Are you out there counting all of these cases, may I ask? Where do you get your “in most cases” statistics?
Unless you are tarnishing the character of your child by implying they are psychotic, why else would someone choose to end a relationship with you?
No child would cut contact with someone who they otherwise have a good relationship with for no reason at all. Only a truly mentally disturbed person would do that.
So are you willing to defame your kids to save your own reputation? Your hostile response tells me yes you would.
How would you explain a son who goes from vacationing with the family (expenses paid by parents) all birthdays and holidays celebrated together, and even offering his Dad a part of his liver to going no contact after he leaves his wife?
I had plenty of reason to cut my mother out of my life but chose to create healthy distance without completely cutting her out. And when things were too stressful, I asked for counseling.
It’s too easy to blame the parents when you don’t know the entire story. We infested our lives into our children and grandchildren and are left with no explanation or chance of reconciliation after the most productive years of our lives.
This is exactly how my daughters counselor has guided her. She even said if I need you I’ll call otherwise I’m to busy to deal with you. And was told not to bother sending gifts for Christmas if they needed to watch for them cuz they don’t have time.
I feel professional s who teach the your more important scenarios are tearing down family systems. Just like they take Christianity out of families too.
My daughter and I have been estranged for 4 years. Howrver, she never forget my birthday or Christmas presents sent to me. I spoiled her and tried to get her everything she needed. I take responsibility for drinking more than Ii should have. I was devestated! It took 2 years to stop crying. My grandaughter, her daughter now 14, texts me. I uusually initiate them. I love her with my whole heart. I love my daughter too but I have had to accept that I might not see her again.
I respect you for taking responsibility for excess drinking. My alcoholic mother never admitted she drank. I hope you and your daughter can repair your relationship. I see hope for that.
None of us are perfect parents and our kids are not perfect parents either. When we know better we do better.
Some times the estranged adult child has Borderline Personality Disorder and nothing you can say will change their thinking!!!
When you have s parent that has been constantly berating and telling you your siblings are the better son and daughter and even smacking you around – WHAT ELSE CAN U DO??!
My second born (a son) estranged himself from me two years’ ago, without a single explanation. I truly have absolutely no idea why he has cut ties with me and why he has retained ties with everyone else in the family. I don’t believe anyone knows why he has pulled away from me, nor do I want to involve any other family members in this situation. It remains a mystery to me. — My son moved out of state, and I have not seen my grandson (his little boy) for over two years. I am quite sure that by now, my little grandson doesn’t know me and has forgotten who I am. — That said, I choose to go forward in peace, allowing my son the distance he has chosen to have from me, while also having my own integrity and not allowing myself to chase or beg him for contact with me or an answer as to why he has chosen this path. — Even if my son were to approach me and want me in his life, again, I will never again be able to trust him with my heart.
Trust is the ability to trust yourself. Please be grateful and accept what is. Have no expectations, just honor what is. Be grateful for having a son- those memories are priceless! Dr. Laura Schlesinger said “congratulations- you have done your job. Now it’s his turn to grow into a man. They don’t need a mommy. They need to connect with their father to grow. Establish their careers and family. They have a woman who is their number one priority! It’s a new chapter for us. Be grateful for everything.
I’m in the same situation. It hurts me so much.
I’m sorry.. but “Unknown” Is way off base with their comments. What an ungrateful son! How selfish and self-centered…not to mention cruel.. can a son get!
How can a woman who has been completely abandoned by her son.. taking her grandson away too.. be grateful?
That is NOT the normal sequence of how are lives are supposed to be once we’ve raised our children!
If her son owes his mother nothing more..he owes her an explanation!
Unknown, I loved the above comment.
You will be surprised what a mother’s heart will do. Pray for him to connect with you again and you will welcome him back into your heart with no reservations.
Agree with all of you. I am moving toward acceptance of estrangement with my daughter and daughter in law but will always be open should they change their minds. Thankfully still in touch with my son and grandchildren. They don’t see how they make it difficult on the kids. Yes becoming very common and breaks up the family. So sad people cannot accept each other with flaws. I have several friends who have no idea what they have done to deserve this harsh treatment.
I am having a similar problem with my daughter, though she is not married nor has children. I am nearly 70 and live alone having been divorced from her father for 30years, he re married and has another daughter of 18.
It is heartbreaking as I genuinely have no idea why it has happened, but like you if she does decide to suddenly re connect with me, I don’t know if I would be able too. I haven’t seen her for 3 years, her choice, then last year she rang at Christmas but by new year didn’t even wish me a happy new year and has not responded to my letters cards etc. She is alive as my son is in contact with her!
She told him it was better for her mental health to have no contact with me and didn’t wish to cause me hurt!
He has no idea why she has done this either.
The fact that you don’t want to continue being a mother if reconciliation was on the table just to punish her tells me she made the right decision in regards to cutting contact with you.
That’s an extremely childish mentality for a 70 yr old woman.
Just live the rest of your years out (however many you have left) with bitterness and anger. Let your daughter be happy for once.
Oh wow Erica that is harsh and a very rude thing to say to Wendy who is hurting deeply. Where is your evidence for saying this? Once trust is broken in a relationship some people feel that that can’t ever be mended. Surely everyone has the right to express how they feel in their personal relationships going forward.
She didn’t say she didn’t want to after 3 years, just that she didn’t know if she could. If you’ve been there, you know exactly what she’s talking about. There’s a good chance it’ll happen again over a few years, and the mom will be going through this all over again. It almost killed some of us the first time – and with NO explanation whatsoever. Why should she want to set herself up for repeat behavior from her grown child? Healing doesn’t mean you let yourself be continuously hoovered back in by the alienator.
I have to say that I just don’t believe this. Maybe in a few cases the parent has no idea what has gone wrong, but mostly I think they just want to save face so they pretend that they don’t know. I don’t know whether my parents admit it to the coworkers and such, but they know exactly why we have no relationship at all. They were given multiple opportunities – in writing – to check their behavior and they just refused, and instead wrote me back to criticize me. They were rejected for being brazenly homophobic towards me. And when they were told in no uncertain terms that I wasn’t going to put up with their homophobic attitudes, they wrote me a long letter filled with Scriptures (which I had also told them to respect that I am an atheist by refraining from preaching at me) that was filled with vitriol against gay people and blamed me for making the “choice” to be gay. They absolutely know why I have nothing to do with them, but I suspect that they also try to play the victim, at least at their church with their friends.
I’m on your side here (I tend to think that 90% of the time or MORE, the fault for estrangement lies with the parents more than the adult child).
But I have to say that I disagree with you about this. I am an adult child who has gone no contact on my parents. And I have to say that I am not open to reconciliation either. I don’t care if they come to my home and serenade me with appeals for forgiveness and promise to make it all right. There are some bridges that can’t be unburnt. That’s not a reflection on me, and it doesn’t say anything about what kind of a person I am. It just speaks to the depth of what they did wrong. There’s no way for them to fix their screwup.
You did your parents a favor. Who wants a child with this much unresolved anger
Man, you have a lot of hate in your heart and cruelly. What goes around, come around…good luck to ya
Right on! Judi
That’s the worst part… not knowing why this happened..
Unless of course, the estranged adult child does explicitly tell you at least a few of the reasons.. In which case it’s how the disrespect, entitlement, narcassism is the worst and how it’s all made up lies and you’re being victimized by all these things that you for sure know aren’t actually a big deal. Etc..
Or at least, that’s what I see from the estranged parents that don’t complain about not knowing and how “immature” it is to “not even say” (though statistically, they probably did say many times. Or at least there’s conflicts obvious enough to guess)
I respect your choice. It would personally make me crazy not to know what his reason was.
Example: My husband and I learned (after a period of estrangement) that my husband’s children (they were adopted) were told by their mother, “Your father always said he could never love an adopted child as much as a biological child.” Well, he and I had a biological
child together, and these young adult kids fed into what their mother had told them!!! What if we hadn’t asked, “Hey, what the heck is going on here???”
You don’t have to “chase or beg” to write a letter and say, “I am trying not to be crushed
by our separation, and I am asking you to, “Please, please tell me what happened or what I did or said that brought this about. If it is possible to remedy this, please let us try.”
I can see why. You don’t even try to ask or figure anything out. You have non interest in him or his well being beyond how well he plays the role you expect of him and allow you to do the same (likely seeing him and his child as little more than just the vague concept of the role in which they occupy defined entirely by their relationship with you).
You’ve expressed zero concern about possible alienation, mental illness, social stresses, or even his perspective on what it was like growing up and how good or safe you or any of his family of origin really is for his child.
It’s not the kind of relationship I’d try to maintain either, even if i didn’t think there were all that many major issues when i first created thinking/feeling distance. Especially if you’ve communicated these sentiments directly to him before, or indirectly via complaining to other family members or other mutuals about it.
Because she already knows the reason why her son doesn’t want to have a relationship.
But they feign ignorance to fulfill that “helpless victim” role. They act clueless to portray their child as the villain in the story.
Only a psychotic person would end a perfectly good relationship for no reason. So unless their child has been diagnosed with a psychological disorder, I’m not buying it.
Your child has their own life, their own needs, and their own feelings. You aren’t actually entitled to anything. Let alone a relationship you fail to properly maintain (not just in frequency of contact but also quality. How negative, judgemental, self centered, or invalidating parents are is a top reason why adult children pull away and eventually cut contact)
If they feel you don’t really care about them or their feelings, that you blame them for your own shortcomings and all the issues they have with you/your parenting, or that you have a persistently negative impact on them and their family, disrespect or invalidate them, might be a physical or psychological danger to their children… Why should anyone ever expect them to maintain that relationship?
Your son left and eventually rekindled relationships with everyone except you. But it’s a *him* problem? While you go on and on about how conditional your love actually is and how your heart no longer has a space for him? Implying that for the crime of living his own life and hurting your feelings in the process that he has to try to “earn” the right to any future relationship because of course you’re just inherently a victim of any situation that makes you unhappy or breaks from the perfect little image you think everyone’s life and family should look like?
I think you don’t ask why because you already know why. Most narcissistic parents do to some degree or another.
My heart hurts for you. It’s been 7 years for me. I was close to my granddaughter who was 6 the last time I saw her She’s 13 now. They’ve also had another child that I’ve no relationship with. He is 6 .. I wet through a long mourning period and still have moments where I completely breakdown but you learn to go on,,,yes, you have a hole in your heart but you go on
This is my problem also. Hardly any contact with my daughter (age 38) since I dropped her off freshman year at college. That was 20 years ago! I have absolutely no idea why she wants nothing to do with me. She was the middle child between 2 rather needy ones, so I made sure to give her extra attention, go on trips with her alone, etc. Tired of crying myself to sleep… so I am learning to let go. Hurtful, frustrating, sad….
Interesting topic. I’d like to see a discussion of when the parent decides to cut ties. Still a taboo.
I have a son and daughter. Myself, my son and friends of both of theirs have had to cut ties with her. She doesn’t like anyone in her family or her husband’s and has treated us all unkind and ripped families apart. She has destroyed the relationship with her husband and his family. It took years but I couldn’t take it anymore. . I so wanted a daughter and when I’m around my friends and they talk about the things they do with theirs , it greatly saddens me. I use to blame myself but no longer do because I’ve seen what she has done with others. My life is less stressful. But still sad at times. Could never be the same though. I text occasionally and she will answer but that’s it.
That’s usually called disowning. It usually happens due to teen pregnancy or being some shade of queer or another. (My grandma was disowned for teen pregnancy and I’ve got the generational trauma to prove it)
Still other cases are more like child abandonment (not those who initially chose to not be a parent and sign over rights. More like my best friends mom who randomly left to go be with another guy in another state. For a few years it was mostly like any other divorced situation. Until the stepdad sexually abused her and the mom chose to maintain her relationship with him instead of her daughter).
It’s pretty taboo because there are very few justifiable reasons for a parent to abandon their child entirely. Even when extended family adopts a child due to mental illness or poverty making that family member a more suitable primary caregiver, even when the parents are perfectly safe to and want to visit.
Our messed up adoption system for example basically demands zero contact regardless of circumstance. Even those who seek out open adoption can easily be betrayed because there is no real protection against the adoptive parents moving and deciding to close it up and randomly deny contact.
And then there’s issues where a toxic codependent family system demands that someone step out of it and it happens to be the parent sometimes.
But overall not a lot of good reasons
I’m curious Sasha – how many kids do you have?
It’s obvious Sasha has zero children as she has no idea what being a parent feels like and consequently has no right to be criticising people who have been parents long enough to be grandparents.
I am a parent and an adult daughter who has had to cut off my own mother.
My son is a success despite me being his mother. As much as it pains me to admit it.
My son has cut me off going on 8 years and I do not blame him.
I am filled with regret, wishing I could turn back time, but none of will change things.
While there are a number of factors that have contributed to this outcome in my life, at the end of the day I realize that it was and is my choices that have brought me here.
When people ask me about my son, I am honest and tell them he cut me off and because of good reason.
I take full responsibility and while I would like to have another chance, I do not bother him and respect his wishes for nor further contact.
It is a life lesson I will take to my grave. The everyday shame and humiliation I feel, when people ask about my son and when they tell me about their sons and daughters is unbearable.
It is a never ending torture that I am powerless to change. Some moments I feel ok and then another wave of shame and sorrow. How it looks to other people to be the one parent that had been cut off by their adult son.
Society looks down on people who have been cut off by their offspring. I look at my friends and wonder what do they have that I dont to where their kids choose to stay in their lives.
It makes me go back and forth between self loathing, to envy and resentment, to feeling superior to feeling inferior to anger and rage and back to self loathing to start the cycle all over again. I am trapped in this viscious inner cycle of hell and turmoil with no way out.
Tbis is karma.
Have you tried any form of therapy? Long term emotional cycling can be pretty bad and might require some CBT or the like
I have every right to my own opinions , especially regarding abuse and trauma. as is everyone with any experience on it. Also for those educated on these things.
Neither my gender nor my relationship to child rearing are relevant or worth making assumptions about. (Though i am non binary and helping raise 3 kids).
Find new material to try to dismiss people holding you accountable.
Interesting article. I didn’t realize this was a “thing”. My adult son, just did this to me (his Mom). Still trying to figure out how to navigate this.
I didn’t realize it was a thing either until it happened to us. We were gobsmacked. So very painful
Not sure how people didn’t know it was a “thing”. I grew up with partners who constantly told me that once i turn 18 i don’t have to talk to them ever again if i don’t want. They’d use it to dismiss my feelings as a child and imply I’d simply get over it as an adult. My mom cut contact with her mom for 5 years (then her mom got a terminal illness and she still hasn’t stopped whining about how hard that loss was on her for the past 20 years).
So i assume they thought it wasn’t something people are serious about and actually commit to (even when the same illness pops up on her and I’m unwilling to follow the toxic family patterns).
But they definitely knew it was an option. And they knew at least a few adults with 0 contact with the family of origin (including my best friends dad. He married interracially and is pretty socialistic. His family is racist and classist).
Yet they also act confused when I don’t want any contact with people who deny and downplay my trauma, demand respect without giving any or earning it etc.
I don’t see that you’ve worked thru your trauma….evidenced by your negative attitude
Yes, I agree! This seems to be a trend. I worry about the grandchildren that are suddenly taken away from their grandparents with no explanation and no chance for their grandparents to explain that they were not lying when they told them that they would always be there for them. This is not what they wanted but what their parents wanted. So very sad and so very immature. This generation is just too intitled and selfish to think about what they are doing to their children and their parents. With that being said….maybe it is high time for them to make it on their own. Their choice now maybe they can see what they really had once it is gone!
You are demanding a relationship with your child despite being extremely difficult and unlikeable just because. But you don’t see that as entitlement?
Why are some of you willing to put your experience out there for other people’s hurtful opinions about your unique pain? You cannot know our circumstance as I do not know yours.
I have been in counseling, my daughter is in counseling but she has not mentioned reconciliation. I love her profoundly, I really did the best I could but in her eyes I injured her. I apologized for the pain my parenting caused her, I pray for her well-being and I live my own life the best I can
Great reply, kudos to you for getting therapy
You’re missing the point about what Cherie wrote!