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How to Divorce Your Adult Children and Restore Your Sanity

By Kim Halsey September 07, 2022 Family

I am known for exposing the “elephant in the living room.” Those things everybody knows but nobody is talking about. Not every mother-daughter relationship reads like a Hallmark card, and our culture makes that a shameful secret to bear.

Dr. Christiane Northrup suggested that the bonding hormones that flood a mother’s blood stream at childbirth stay with women for about 28 years.

It is no accident, then, that the first round of truly adult separation (not teenage rebellion) begins to rear its head somewhere around 30 for women and the menopause years for their mothers. For the first time, the veil begins to lift and we see each other for the women we have become.

When It Comes to Your Adult Children, What is Normal?

Some estimate that 96% of American Families are dysfunctional in some way – making it the norm. But “normal” is not necessarily healthy, and it certainly falls short of the abundant life we’ve been promised.

Women are held responsible for the relational health of the world – at work, at home, family health and wellbeing, the sexuality, the promiscuity, the cause, the cure and the results. When a true perpetrator arises in a family, the mother protects ala Mama Bear. If she doesn’t die trying, she can later become a target.

Mom is apparently the one who knew (or should have known) what was happening at every moment of every day to their children – physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. After all, moms have eyes in the backs of their heads and are equipped with the unusual ability to read minds, right?

See also: Letting Go And The Art Of Parenting Adult Children

What Is Healthy When It Comes to Adult Children?

M. Scott Peck wrote, “Mental health is an ongoing process of dedication to reality at all costs.” The pinch point for grandmothers is that any loss of relationship with our adult children means strained relations – if not severed ties – with the grandchildren who now light up our lives.

I am a mother of three and grandmother to 11. I stayed with their father for more than 20 years believing that somehow I could make him feel loved enough to change.

Over time, each of my children has drawn close to me for healing, and pulled away for the same reason. I am, after all, the one they hold responsible for the shifting emotional sand in their psyche.

Ten years ago, I remarried a man whose children were also grown. We imagined that would alleviate the adjustments of step-families. In some ways, not having children in the home made it easier to forge our identity as a married couple.

Although we shared values, we didn’t share history with each others’ children. We each brought our traditions and expectations to bear. When I recently chose to divorce this man who had played “grandpa” to my children’s children, old wounds surfaced.

Had I known that to leave him meant I would lose my only local family, I probably would have stayed for the sake of the grandchildren. It’s that old programming baby boomer women still struggle with.

If something isn’t working, you try harder. Marital problems? Pray more, love more, give more, be patient, and wait it out. Suck it up, stuff it down, be quiet and don’t make waves.

What Is Real?

I have identified four distinct stages in the journey to wholeness.


Our lives become (or continue to be) a carefully constructed illusion based on how it looks, what people will think, and what we imagine will get us the love and security we so desperately crave.

This is why grandmothers continue to “make peace at all costs” rather than saying what they see, need and want. Some have called it the disease to please.


Pretending that everything is okay when in our hearts we know that is not true can only go so far. We go along to get along. We smile in public and cry in private. We live a lie, and it eats at our souls every day.

Women think if we ignore it, maybe it will go away or time will heal all wounds. The thing is, time doesn’t heal buried pain. It has to be unearthed and acknowledged before it will pass away. Pain that gets buried alive poisons the rest of our lives.


Divorce is a harsh word when applied to our mother-child relationships, isn’t it? But it happens whether we acknowledge it or not. Divorce occurs when all communication has broken down and attempts at reconciliation fail.

It is the most painful dark night of the soul. With divorce comes all the drama of severed relationships, he-said she-said finger pointing, and drama triangles where people talk about each other, but never directly to one another so healing could occur. We might as well lawyer up and some do. It’s called Grandparent Rights.

See also: The Detachment Wall: How To Let Go Of Your Adult Children


Last is the place of acceptance. There is no anger, no angst, no more bargaining. It is where we accept what life is handing out right now and the fighting is done.

You have decided what you do and do not want, what you will and will not stand for, and are making decisions to move forward with or without the resolution you may have hoped for. You are free to stay or go because you have become dedicated to reality at all costs.

What’s Next for You and Your Adult Children?

Do I wish I had capacity back then to do some things differently? Definitely. Do I regret what I allowed my children to endure because of the choices I made? Mm-hmm.

Is there anything I can do now to go back and change it? Not a damn thing. Does it serve anyone for me to live in remorse and regret? Nope. Not now, not ever. Never.

Nobody had a perfect childhood – at least nobody in my generational gene pool. We all did the best we could with what we had to work with at the time. That is as true today as it was generations ago.

The biggest healer for women in daughter divorces is to break the shame by breaking the silence. Let’s talk about what’s real and how to help live dreams without drama in our later years.

This article has generated several important conversations. Many mothers/grandmothers are going through similar realities each with their unique set of situations. Talking and being vulnerable with one another is part of the healing process – as we can tell by reading your chats. Knowing that you are not alone helps in accepting the outcome of your distanced relationship with your adult children. 

Many have mentioned that therapy has helped them through this difficult time in their lives. Online therapy sessions are now readily available and affordable. Websites like Better Help, Talk Space, and Online Therapy have therapists and mental health professionals available to listen and guide you.

Let’s Have a Conversation:

Where do you find yourself in the process of letting your adult children go? Where are you on the journey to finding yourself in your sixties? Please share your thoughts below!

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This article resonates for me – from both the personal perspective and the social implications mentioned. Society holds devalued attitudes about women that are deeply embedded into our collective unconsciousness. I call it the double “F’d” Oreo – being sandwiched between working out crap with my mother while also working out crap with my kids and feeling bad about myself in both situations.

I love my family with every fiber of my being. My kids were the axis of my universe – for 25 years. I’m grateful they’re in my life – even if their behavior and choices make me feel like a pathetic looser or a horrible mother; at least some of the time. They behave as if they’d been raised by thugs or idiots or wolves. It’s as if they go out of their way to fail bc they don’t want to give us the satisfaction of enjoying their success. Meanwhile, my dad was never satisfied by anything I ever did and my mom was always jealous of any opportunity I found.

Honestly, I think my own kids would have fared better had someone else been their mom. I think parenting/motherhood is oversold, over-glamorized and simply not the best choice for everyone. I don’t even know if I made a choice about becoming a parent. I do know I had a belief I’d be less than a whole woman if I didn’t get married and have kids.

At 60, I just don’t know if any of it was ever the right choice for me or if I ended up doing more harm than good – despite every effort to parent them better than I had been parented. One child confronted me as the source of their dysfunction, and yet leans on me as though I’m their only friend. The other child pretends to tolerate me, ignores me – remains cut off and removed from me, most of the time.

I was never a perfect parent, suffered with depression & anxiety related to PTSD. And I also knew enough to be as transparent as possible with them, admitted I didn’t always do things right – gave them tools and resources to get help, if they needed it. I defined my disassociations as my problem – tried to lift them up and help them identify their own needs even when I couldn’t meet my own. Their failure to thrive in adulthood, their refusal to utilize their talents to help them fully function in the world feels like a slap in the face. I’m stuck feeling angry at myself, disappointed by God and untrusting of the universe I find myself living in.

I’m exhausted being less than what others expect. I wish I had the courage to run away – to disappear without another word, and start over – make a new life as though everything in the previous 59 years never happened.


I encourage you to not run away but plan to move somewhere new. You did all you could. Take care of yourself, feel your feelings, say the serenity prayer as much as possible and live your life now.


I did that, changed my name too in case they want to spy on me online. I dont want them to know where I live or if I’m alive or dead. I’m so done. It feels freeing.


I feel like running away most days. I am tired of feeling broken, hurt, used, disappointed. I wish I could change everything about the past 32 years. If I only knew what I know now.


I need help bad . Im 63 in two days im am being bullied by my 30 yr old son scared of him bad . Hiw xan i escape

Sandra Munsters

Call adult protective services.


You deserve a new start. Don’t allow your son to intimate you. Have camera’s installed. Change locks on your doors. He is manipulating you. Set strong boundaries. If you need to move to a different state do it! Block his number on your phone. Get support to help you stay strong. Once you divorce him out of your life you will feel the cloud lift.
You have done your job as a parent. Some men never grow up. If we enable our adult children and do for them what they can do for themselves- we dont give them the chance to mature.
Personally I’m tired of feeling guilty that I need to keep rescuing my 32 year old son. I’m DONE- Detach with love.
You deserve to smile. Keep your chin up. Be strong. You have support!


My best friend just had to evict their adult son who was abusing her and husband. The police had resources for elder abuse and social services sometimes does too. So sorry you are going through this.

N o e l

I feel the same way that I want to run away as well I have a older daughter 50 and I see what you going to or what you saying it’s true you want to divorce your daughter and be left alone because they become hurts in your life and they disrespect you and curse you off for no reason long because they want to have their way but it ends here this is a new year and I’m tired really tired


Omg so glad I found this channel i need desperately to divorce my daughter im 60 shes 33 we are well past due im so tired of the disrespect she just moved back in my grandson is 6 she has anger issues and no job
Im so tired and want to move on with my life


My Daughter is 38 and has a two year old. She is Divorcing her wonderful husband so because of the economy has to live with me. We fight and she treats me like dirt most of the time. I haven’t stopped crying in 6 months.


You are not alone and I feel your pain.


I have been thinking of doing this too.


I think it’s sad how we try as women and the majority of the advise I read about adult children being ungrateful or disrespectful to their mom is how the mom needs to bend over backwards and “listen” to their children or assess their issues. How about some children just grow up to be a&@ holes and we should disassociate ourselves until the child can get a grip because their an adult? My daughter is 30 and we used to have a good relationship and now that she has a new husband and has scene how his mother waits on him hand and foot…she doesn’t ask for my opinion or engage in meaningful conversations with me and basically has cold shoulder me but yet as a mom I’m suppose to take it on the cheek and ask “what else can I do for you 30 year old daughter 🫣”


I think your daughter already knows how you feel about her husband and waiting on him hand and foot that’s why she gives you the cold shoulder it because she is embarrassed. Only know that through my experience in marrying someone my mother disapproved of. She was right, but I had to learn the hard way. Please don’t let the cold shoulder get to you. My mother salvaged our relationship by not rescuing me but being available when I needed her and she knew I would need her eventually. Let me add even though our relationship wasn’t warm because of the tension it was respectful. I would never disrespect her even when we argued there wasn’t any verbal abuse either way.
After I had enough and divorced the man she didn’t like for me, our relationship blossomed and so did we!


How old are your kids Kathleen? My daughter is very passive aggressive and takes jabs when we do talk (subtle) and has made my mom her rock and basically makes me out to be a jerk when I busted my butt raising her and comforting her. So you cut yourself off from your adult children and feel free? I can understand but yet as moms I feel we have to put up with feeing hurt or less then. I like your idea better


I love this idea


That is as exact as any comparison I’ve found to my own experience. I have felt so alone. It is crazy painful. Thank you for opening up to us. Love to you!


Hi Pam. I feel very alone as well. Things started downhill after hubby died 8 yrs ago. I was still working PTime but with COVID 2020 shut downs, I chose to retire. 38 yrs in my profession. Don’t mind retirement too much at 77. But now, with a ungood hip/ knee, son & wife tell me ‘someday you will need a Medicaid nursing home so you should give US your assets so govt doesn’t take your house/ property’ Huh!! NO WAY!!
Needless to say there are problems now. We live close by each other. I LOVE my house & wooded property & nature. Not moving. Hubby and I put in OUR $$$ and efforts building our house!
I would like some help sometimes but DIL says NO ‘unless we own it’. I don’t trust them anymore. Yup. I feel alone but HAVE attorney support and some friends and am trying to stay active and purposeful. I work out daily but the joints limit me more than a year ago. No more surgery. Had 5 already.

Monica Sommers

He is partially correct in placing your assets in your childrens names. Call an Elder Law attorney. He will explain how this is done and the reason it will brr we benefit you .


Double f-d Oreo – I love that!
—Kim (author of this little piece)


Although my son is not 18 yet, he is only 16. But this year, he started treating me very mean. He is junior year in high school taking few college courses that is the trouble begin.. He was having hard time with the course. He is having hard time passing the college math class, I was just trying to help him maybe just showing him how to do a certain problem, he will call me micromanage him. annoying mom, constantly playing with my emotion. i just trying to help but i feel the math maybe too hard for him so he does not want to the homework. i was just trying to show him some problems so he will have the motivation to do the homework. i just so sad.


Hi. I couldn’t have said it better myself. My son is 40 who I only see on holidays. We were extremely close until he was 10 when I met an abusive controlling psycho of a man. Of course all this didn’t come out in the beginning. I loved him to death & got trapped in the “he’ll change. I got pregnant that was totally unexpected but it being his 70 year old parents 1st grandchild, his 1st child at age 40, I really thought it would be different. I suffered from depression, anxiety & PTSD. I was a mess & terrified everyday. When my baby girl was 2, I knew I had to go, get away. Making a book of a story shorter, my husband didn’t see us much for about 2 years. Backing up, he was physically & verbally abusive to my son & he lived in fear. I couldn’t interfere or it would’ve been harder on him. I’d always worked but decided when my daughter was born I’d stay home with her. That being said gave my now husband full control. He was extremely verbally abusive to me & I too lived in fear. My daughter went to her grandparents after school where my now ex husband resided & the abuse continued but I didn’t feel I had much of a choice. I’d keep them away but ended up returning. Anyway, my daughter now 30 is staying with me & my boyfriend as she’s saving money for a house & has pretty much reminded me everyday what a pathetic human being and I ruined there lives among thousands of other horrible things. I love my kids more than life itself & honestly did the best I could at the time. My daughter is just as abusive as her father. I really want to end my relationship with my kids especially my daughter but how does a mother do that. But if I don’t, she’ll eventually kill me (mentally). I still suffer from depression, I’m in pain 24/7, I’m not a happy person at all. I watch hallmark all the time wishing I had that kind of relationship with my kids, but that will never happen. My daughter is causing issues btwn my boyfriend of 4 years cuz she’s just a horrible person to be around. He’s been so good to her but she talks mean about him all the time. Stupid stuff. She came home from work one day, stayed in the car for over an hour. He went outside to check on her & she texted me that she was mad because she was fine & he’s just being nosy. It caused an argument for days & still gets brought up. This is his house, he’s letting her live here for free, gave her money to put a down payment on a car, security deposit for an apt, whatever she needs he’s there & she has the nerve to complain to me about him. I’m 61 and miserable, stressed out & sometimes just want to crawl in a hole & die. Sorry this was so long


I could have written your post, word for word. I’m a 52 yr old mother of 3 adult children – who have managed to keep me with my jaw on the floor, dumbfounded, devastated and broken for the last 25 years. I am so very done and inches away from getting in my car and never looking back. I’ve no clue who these manipulative, ungrateful, nasty, mean young adults are anymore and don’t want anything to do with them. I more than understand what you are going through and am very sorry you’re feeling the same way as I am. Such an icky feeling…. I wish you the very best. I hope things can turn around for you!!! As for me, I’m ready to runaway from colorado!!! Leave em all here to do their thing and go find me….wherever I may be


Amen! I am so with you and just heartbroken. They were my best friends for so long and now, bc I have an opinion that ‘they think is mean’, they have cut off all ties and are just being abusive in every way possible, other than physically. And now I’m being told by my youngest of the adult abusers that ‘I lacked unconditional love, I am/was judgmental and was in general a bad mom that now causes them anxiety and stress. They are now even intentionally being hurtful by not saying happy birthday, happy anniversary etc. This causes my first: massive hurt then massive anger and just want to return the same treatment. It’s enlightening to read these posts and know that I am not alone.

Last edited 25 days ago by Beth
Kim Halsey Brassor

I read a statistic that 40% of women over 60 are experiencing this alienation. It took ok me a solid 5 years to move through the denial, anger, bargaining and depression before I could fully accept the loss and move on to build a joyful life for myself again. This pain runs deep. Breathe and heal. And give yourselves a break – they certainly won’t!


Thanks for sharing Beth. I could have written your post. Currently in tears because I am trying to push my 38 year old verbally abusive son out of the nest (yet again) so he has decided that when he goes, this time I will never see him again.


I can’t tell you how much your life resonates with mine. Its so hard at the moment. My mind plays over everything I have done for my 2 daughters and trying to understand why they seem to disregard me so. I am 60 but feel as if I am done; tired and want to run away whilst on the surface to others look as if I should be happy. What next? Jane

Kim Halsey

What next? I play a “what if” game in my mind. What if I didn’t have this person or problem in my life? What would I be doing differently? Where would I spend my energy? My time? My money? Where would I invest my love? Then do the things that bring you joy. One day at a time, the fear, shock and pain will dissipate and a beautiful, drama free life can be born. Try it!

Last edited 1 month ago by Kim Halsey

I’m planning my departure. I’m leaving this unbearable abuse. If I don’t, the stress is going to kill me.


OMG…this is my story as well. Eventhough I feel bad for you but simultaneously I am cheering you on for quantifying your observations and feelings so clearly. This gives me hope. Last week 2 days before my child who is my precious one told me I am an less than a mother to them. Broke my heart. I finally decided to divorce myself from from her. Other daughter retains distance and doesn’t want me to have any relationship with her children. I am a emotionally battered woman who endured abuse from my husband. Im 68 today. Been married for 46 years. Hung on to the marriage because I didn’t want my daughters to grow up on a broken home. God will see me through I think. Not sure

Radika jordan

I feel for you. I am also going through the same. I pray you find peace and I cheer you on.


Your story moved me to tears. I am in the same boat. Three adult sons who exclude us. I’m moving on. I can’t do any more. This is my life and I can live it well with a loving husband and without them. They broke my heart when they were teenagers and I have never trusted them again. Good luck to you. Moving might be just the ticket. I feel happier and more confident after making the decision to move on without them in my life. This is their problem and no longer mine.

Claire Robin

For us, my husband and I, it’s so similar to grieving the death of our son. He died of a Fentanyl overdose in 2018. We went through grief and came out three years later sort of intact. Now our daughter, she’s 33, well, I think she hates us. We see her 3-4 times a year, usually to give her birthday/Christmas gifts. Or when she needs her winter tires put on her car. She stores stuff at our place. And she gaslights us and is verbally abusive. So…we’ve gone through the grieving process with her too. I simply can’t see her anymore, as it’s just too disruptive. So, if my husband dies before I do, I’m simply going to cancel his phone, which is her only contact with us, and that will be that. I never would have thought your child could end up becoming a complete stranger. But this is what she is now: someone I used to know (like the song).


Wow! I found my group. I’m so sorry this sucks so bad. My life has no meaning anymore. I quit. I am suicidal and it’s gotten so out of control. After reading comment after comment, I have come to the conclusion this is normal for moms my age. I was broken by my abusive mother who used my children to continue to abuse me and she gave their father permission and a bad example to follow. She sided with their lying, sick, pedo, father (who paid off my oldest daughter) whose father died of cancer when she was 3. Now my daughter’s have used me for years using emotional abuse to extract guilt money from me and then tell me I’m using $$ to buy my grandchildren’s love when I send birthday and Christmas gifts. My amazing son now treats me like crap just to make my DIL secure and happy. Heaven forbid I should ever expect my children to be as protective and loyal to me as I was to them their entire childhood. My oldest, the one that was abused by my younger children’s father, will throw me under the bus if she gets something out of it. And a month later call and gaslight me on how it was all her younger sister’s fault because she is so toxic. I FEEL LIKE A FAILURE! Now all three have hanged up against me and I’m the toxic one for not meeting their emotions and financial expectations. I have been accused of gaslighting and making excuses. I am so tired of the projections from abusers, and this is way worse than loosing a spouse. I am physically Ill. I am recovering from a TBI and I feel so confused at how my life got so out of control. I accept that I’m not perfect. I am the weakest, imperfect, person I know. I just don’t have any more fight left. I can’t fight battles I am fighting alone. I died on the hill I chose. I am looking forward to rebirth, and rebuilding my life! Hang in there! YOU ARE NOT ALONE!!!!


And I thought I was alone. I feel exactly like this! My 4 kids and their spouses and grands were close until about 3 years ago. Now I never see them. We moved across country to help one daughter and I have her on a security camera berating me for 22 minutes. She then said I was telling her children to lie, I didn’t. She was actually having them lie all the time. She then called her dad and I and said we could no longer see the kids???? We haven’t seen them in over a year. I don’t think I can ever forgive her. The oldest daughter used the opportunity to use her children. They attack my son and his wife constantly. The youngest daughter steers clear of everyone but believes her sisters. We were the family that got together all the time. I don’t understand how they can do this.


Thank you, thank you, thank you for your honesty and vulnerability. I’m in a nearly identical situation and hearing you are also experiencing this made me feel less E


My issue is my grown 43 year old son won’t get a life. I’ve thrown him out into the street and he ended up in a homeless shelter. He will not let me have a life. He stalks my building and I just wish he would die. Not really just go away and leave me alone. I have let him live in a home of mine that’s empty that I own that I was working on for a future rental. And he starts screaming about how it’s not up to his standards. He’s walking around in. Designer clothing and with the latest Tom Ford sunglasses and I phones yet loses his shit when I ask him for a little money for staying at the house. It’s not for rent but electric, water and cable. These bills are in my name. I just hate him.


God bless you. I hope he is no longer in your property. You deserve, love , kindness, and respect. I’m getting ready to divorce my 32 year old son. I’ve done so much for him, but he is cruel to me. Drug addict, manipulates and, gaslighting is common. We don’t deserve to be treated cruelly especially from family member’s. The sooner we are done with the unacceptable behavior, the sooner we will smile again. You can’t put a price on happiness. Stay away from toxic people! They don’t deserve to be in our orbit!
5 Signs of Emotional Abuse
They are Hyper-Critical or Judgmental Towards You. …They Ignore Boundaries or Invade Your Privacy. …They are Possessive and/or Controlling. …They are Manipulative. …They Often Dismiss You and Your Feelings.

Last edited 1 month ago by Lynn

For the last 6 months my youngest son, wife and 3 beautiful baby boys have been living with my husband and I. My son lost his teaching job because he wouldn’t have the jab. My DIL was close to having the third baby and when she had a caesarian I took 2 weeks off plus there were 2 weeks school holiday as well. I washed and folded for 7 people and helped look after the children and mum. This continued on up until a few weeks ago it’s been 6 months so far. I was exhausted with work on top and my house was becoming a dump most days. In the beginning we were helped by my son around the house but recently that has gone by the board. A couple of times I made comments, one was that we were all going camping and the day before we were to leave and needed to pack they decided to go for coffee and it was left to my husband and I and we also unpacked too, there’s a lot of stuff for 7 people. He accused me of having to walk around on egg shells and that I was going to kick them out which was not true. He bullied me and even had a go at the fact that I dressed too well, nothing was good about me. A couple of weeks ago the baby was christened.I nursed him put him to sleep at night often and changed his nappies, when the christening came my DIL mother always has a part in dressing the baby during the service and I became upset that I hadn’t been asked to be a part of it as well. Then the other grandmother beamed and said I can’t wait for them to move in with me, I was heart broken that none of this had been discussed properly with us.Now my husband has bandied with them and I have been told I am not allowed to speak, I have been blamed for all sorts of things and I have no place or say in my home. They use all my stuff and I live in my room away from them. They have also interfered in our marriage. I can’t tell you how much I’ve done for them and this is what happens.


Hi, do not say much. If I understand correctly they will be going to the other grandmas house to live. that’s great news! Let them go and stay positive throughout. When they finally leave you will have your sanity back. Continue to stay positive and I’m hoping over time you and your son will become closer again once they leave. Let’s see how the other grandma does. Everyone needs their own space especially you. You need to have peace for whatever years you have left in this planet. You Deserve it!! Don’t say much to your husband as well. As long as they are leaving. however if they are not leaving than maybe you go and stay with a relative or friend for a few weeks. Good luck💕Linda in NY heading toFlorida.


Finally i can release my pain and speak! I am 76 years old, had my daughter at age 18. it was not intentional but what was done was done. Being a young mother, my world revovled around my daughter, who is now 57. I did marry and my child had the best life, horse riding, skiing, more love than you could imagine.. My family loved her as well. Fast forward to age 21, (i can’t share what she did to upset me bc i would be labled) but to me it was big time. i was so upset and dissappointed i didn’t talk to her for a few years. then she had childr en and my sister in law chose to leave pics around, so i bent and sent a letter. i made the effort and help her over the years, financially. so we come to 2022, she now has g. kids which makes me a great grand mother. the 18 year old boy lives with my daughter and i always thought he was a nice young man until first hand i got many texts with him disrespecting me over and over. I did not take it and struck back. it’s been 2 mos and haven’t heard one apology from either my daughter or from the boy. i’m very very dissappointed, disgusted, sad and angry all at the same time. i am at the end of my life and feel i have been so good to this family and i get kicked in the teeth. i’m not really sure i want to be a part of them anymore. i have good nieces who would never disrespect me. i want to know how do i really move forward bc i can’t go backwards knowing that she and he don’t think they have done anything wrong. my daughter is sticking up for him and making him think he is right. she also has chosen to lead a low class life (sorry) and i’m tired of pretending i’m ok. any thoughts on all this thank you


Unfortunately, I can relate to this and I want to tell you. You did the best you could and your best was good enough. You can now release yourself from blame and not hold yourself accountable for the decisions of your adult kids. There were people who have come from worse families that have turned out better so their life is not your fault. Spend the rest of your life and years living for you and enjoy what you have left without the pain. I’m sorry for what you are going through.

Kim Halsey

Thank you for your words of understanding and encouragement. We could all benefit from peer support.


I so can relate. I feel for each and every one of you. My situation is a little different. I divorced my husband after 28 years. My 3 girls were grown. He was an alcoholic, not abusive, but embarrassing, and I got tired of it. I remarried, divorced, now I’m living with by BF. (I’m 67).
Jumping to the point…two of my girls live in OK, one in TX (the middle one, just turned 40). She recently had a baby and I decided I should go live in TX to be near her. She did not plan for this child, wasn’t married, had a career. So she ended up getting married. But he’s very busy with his career and I was really a help when I was there.
I moved there the 1st time with my fiance (different man), we bought a house….lived there about 4 months. My old BF came back into my life (the one I’m with now) and I left my fiance at that time, and moved to NC. Well, later out of guilt, I moved back to TX to help with my daughter. That only lasted a few months, then I missed Bob (my current BF). I moved back to NC. My daughter has never forgiven me for moving. Her feelings are we aren’t married, he’s retired, if he really loved me he would move to TX with me. He has told me from the get go, he will not move to TX, just didn’t like it. (I don’t blame him…it’s hot, dusty and windy). Well, she rarely speaks to me. When she does she throws up in my face how I chose him over my daughter and my granddaughter. Also, my other 2 girls live in OK (closer to TX) and have kids as well. She makes me feel horrible, like a failure.
On another note, I have CLL. I’m to start treatment here in NC and someone has to get me there and take me home…4x the 1st month, and then monthly from then on. Can she do that? She is so very busy…they have horses, etc. I would feel like I’m such a burden. But would the fact I’m there and able to help outweigh that burden?
I’m sorry this is so jumbled. I don’t know how else to explain my situation.

I do miss being close to my kids, my grandkids, but honestly, they exhaust me. My daughter and her BF argue – well she does – she’s argumentative. He’s soft spoken, quiet. And when I watch my granddaughter, it takes a lot out of me. I know if I was there I would be watching her a lot.

But am I being selfish?



Thank you for allowing me to not feel guilty following a family reunion, How tragic it all ended with jealousy between 2 against 1 with their spouses weighing in on it all. I feel responsible and yet a sense of detachment. The beginnings of my divorce as stated in your video. There has always been this sense of being under the microscope, not meeting their ideal grandmother vision, what I do is not enough or correct or find fault with me because of this disillusionment. It is most uncomfortable and not healthy for anyone. While I don’t want them out of my life entirely, I think you are spot on in saying they need to mature somewhat to understand what is important or that I matter or more importantly that anything and everything I have done is from a good, loving place. Have I made mistake? You bet! But to be punished for the rest of my life, I don’t think so. I say to myself, I loved you first. It seems, for a host of reasons, they chose to forget that small fact. It is interesting how they chose to spin my involvement and how it relates to their grandchildren as I show favoritism to one family, and the list grows from there. I was astutely aware of their feelings and tried to play it cool with the grandchildren who live 5 minutes away.The reality is that it doesn’t matter what I do, it is never enough nor appropriate.


I am glad you found this article helpful. Sometimes it takes a breakdown to experience a breakthrough!


It’s now navigating the breakthrough. A part of me doesn’t want to call them and another part does. I need to be patient and hope that they learn to accept me for who I am, what I’ve been for them all these years and to become comfortable allowing this grandmother, mother and in-law to have the relationships I want with each of them. It’s been exhausting to try and please only to come up short yet again. I did send them each the same letter telling them I love them. I acknowledged their professional successes. I stayed I no longer wanted to be in the middle of their relationships with each other. That sounded better than saying drama. So now I wait.

I so appreciate your explanations as to stages in life, adjustments along the way and the pain and joy of parenting. Thank you!

Kim Halsey

You are so very welcome! Loved your letter and your limits.


I’m pleased to find another grandmother like me, who, despite great efforts, is found by the adult child to have not done grandma and motherhood Correctly nor adequately. Her father had huge un-disclosed debt when we married, and he was always dissatisfied with me and expected me to delete the debt while he did what he wanted. I’m recalling this recently and realizing this is part of my daughter’s DNA and childhood and current environment with him. So perhaps not her fault. But I am done trying. Maybe later can find strength to re-engAge. We are in therapy but people stay pretty much who they are. I’m just done worrying about it!

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The Author

Kim Halsey is a human resource professional and executive coach who provides education, inspiration and encouragement to people with life damaging habits, and those who love them. She is 60-something, re-singled and shining a light for other women to live their dreams without drama. Visit https://www.kimhalsey.com for more.

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