For those whose adult children are estranged....
Dear friends and fellow parents.
I'm glad to find your letters here. This situation is so new to me. Abandoned by my dear daughter, 26 years old, just a few months ago, I'm in pain and need your comfort, and finding that other parents experienced this is a comfort. Thank you for all the letters you gave here.
I absolutely have not got the answers, and never thought that this situation was developing.
I divorced her father when she was 10 years old. I belived it went well. We put a lot of effort in the project, that she should not feel she lacked anything. Today my aunt tells me that there might have been too much over-compensation. Today I see that my daughter was spoiled.
She did her schoolwork, but nothing more than just managed. Much more interested in clothes, friends shopping, parties. When I was young in the 70'ies, we did nothing but schoolwork, and of course we youngsters worked to earn our own money too. My daughter, she did not work to earn her own money, we let her join camps for horseback riding with her friends. No housework. No lawnmoving.
I can see now how I let my daughter down.
As I look back now, I see the real warnings began 8 years ago, shortly after I married my second husband. My daughter insulted me and abused me verbally when she came to visit me in my own home. I kept my mouth shut in theese situations, so sure that this had to be something she would see her self, that she had to mature and stop such behavior.
I'm so sorry to say, during theese years I stopped looking forward to see her. My self-esteem as her mother decreased during those years, I got a nasty feeling that I did not deserve a loving daughter.
So finally, summer 2007 it seemed to be better, we spent a lovely evening together. I was happy and finally looking forward to the future. Very very happy when she invited me to stay in her home for Christmas 2007. But it all went wrong again, she abused me verbally, really hurt me. I irritated her so extremely by being gratefull, I think. About 10 days after Christmas she send a letter. Never contact me again.
Now 3 months later, still I'm not really able to believe this has happened. Garbaged her mother.
Never let youngsters get away with any kind of bad behavior so that they feel ashamed of themselves.
I think that is a lesson for me. I should have never let her get away with it, not even the first attempt when she was 20. Now I see why 'Setting Boundaries' is a serious issue in the books about estranged adult children.
I really meant well, because she turned 18, I remember I thought 'She is an adult now, she is a young woman now, and must be respected as such'
Here in my country in Europe where I live, nobody talks about this grand failure that a parent is garbaged by an adult child. None of the books I buy in english from the USA are translated. It is a silent sign how shamefull we feel about it. We cannot speak about it.
My question to night is the following worry:
I read about the mending of estrangement, and I see that the first issue is to honestly and whole heartedly wish to be connected again with the child who estranges herself. But in my heart I feel too much anger I think. I believe that I cannot just receive her in my open arms if she suddenly should stand on my doorstep. Is this normal? Did any of you experience such an odd feeling of 'too early to take her back'? Will time help? Maybe I too need time with out her?
Dear friend, who read this long letter from a brokenhearted mother, I thank you for your attention.
Maybe I should mention that estrangement is running in my family and in the extended, so many examples that it is the tradition.
Please email me if you like, I would be happy to have a correspondance, I am lonely in this situation. I cannot find a support group here, we do not even have a word for 'estrangement' in the language.
Also in times of pain it can be very good to chat about other subjects so please feel free to tell about your country, the scenery at the place you live and people and life etc etc. I will answer all emails.
My word for survival is Mothers-Forever-No-Matter-What
Love from Carin