Estrangers and Estrangees NEEDED!

sarahsmomMay 31, 2008

I am reposting as a separate thread as I really need your help! If you feel strongly about the things you type, please consider the meaning you can bring to this horribly hurtful issue!

Dear Group...

I have been a member for some time. I don't post often, but read your posts daily looking for comfort and answers. I am estranged from my two sons (24 & 26) .. it is all a very silly story as to how this situation occurred.. seems like such a "trumped up" charge in the scheme of life, but none the less.. it has happened. It happened under the guidance of my future DIL and my oldest son, they whisked away my younger son and now they all live happily ever after. After much soul searching, reading Mark Sichel's books, Josh Coleman's books and several others, i have not found answers, but I have found many many parents in the same position. Parents who have done the best they could for their children.. this has included.. great schools, love and support, attending games, always being there for their children, scrimping and sacrificing, yet somehow their children turn around at some point and say..

"I am done with you"... I, like others, am still scratching my head and trying to figure out what happened. I would love to have a conversation and would be more than willing to do my part to figure out what might be needed to go forward, but unfortunately, they are not interested. I have offered to agree to disagree more than once.

In light of all, i would like to help others who might be headed down the same path. I have decided that I would like to do a documentary on this issue. I feel that there needs to be a social conversation on the topic of estrangement. Are there things that we are doing as parents that are contributing to a child's ability to think it right to cut us off ? I realize that there are many times that estrangement is necessary for the mental health of all. I know that many of you have posted that it was a decision that you have to make as your family is toxic. I understand... however, I am interested in exploring the 2 sides of the story when real physical and traditional definitions of emotional abuse do not exist.

I have been in touch with Mark Sichel and Joshua Coleman.. they have agreed to help.. as has Nancy Richards. I want to

be completely fair to all sides, I just feel that estrangement is happening more and more and so many people on all sides are in such pain.. there must be a way to create conversation. Our families are the places that we learn the way we deal with society.. what will our society become if we just cut our families off and have no social conscience about making sure that the people closest to us are safe.

I am writing this to you to ask if any of you are willing to participate on camera. If so.. please send me a note.. I am interested in all sides of the story, whether you are an adult child who has had to cut himself or herself off from your family, or whether you are a parent whose child has cut you off.. please let me know if you would like to tell your story on camera. I am hopeful for people in the NY,CT, NJ area first.. but anyone else.. please feel free to contact me as well.

If you have any questions, please let me know! I look forward to hearing from you...



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As you pursue this documentary on estrangement, take a look at the CNN 60 minutes (on line) show they did on Millenials, which is what they are calling this generation.

I wonder for some of you if this is part of the problem. I do not know how to link it to my post, so if any of you who are computer savvy will do it for me, it would be helpful.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2008 at 7:00AM
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The link to the GW thread is below.

We had a discussion of this at work this week. Two co-workers have spouses who are involved in working with these "kids" and they have reported that the sense of entitlement these young upstarts have is appalling. They want to come in and run the company from Day One, they very easily say "No" when either asked or told to do something they don't want to do, they take 2 and 3 hours lunches, come in late, leave early and spend most of the day on the internet or phone with their friends. (In this case, technology is good in that their internet activity is tracked by their companies. Apparently, one kid was fired after being confronted with all the e-mails sent to friends and phone records of personal calls made on work time. Apparently this "woman" [and I use the term lightly] didn't want to use her cell phone minutes so she used the company phone to call friends.)

Now back to the topic at hand....I didn't mean to hijack the thread, Sarahsmom.

Here is a link that might be useful: Millennials

    Bookmark   June 1, 2008 at 7:56AM
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I think the notion of "entitlement" is a huge part of the problem. When you think about it entitlement starts very early. We give our children cell phones when they are as young as 6.. for safety, but.. then our 3rd grader is dying to have an ipod, but we really can't afford it but want him/her to be happy.. we sacrifice and buy it.. how does that child have any sense of what it took to earn that ipod. Every child has the "right" sneakers... even my child has those ridiculously expensive UGGS...
It's really hard to teach values when there is a lot of pressure to conform in some way...

But back to the thread! Please consider participating!
I need you ALL.. different points of view are welcome!

Thank you so much..

    Bookmark   June 1, 2008 at 8:28AM
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I can't risk being in any sort of public documentary for a number of reasons, but I'd like to comment on this entitlement issue.

One of my sons began drinking over-the-counter cough medicine to get high off the DXM in it. Two bottles causes the user to hallucinate. I know -- it sounds and is disgusting, but this is what he does.

His sperm donor is a convicted sex offender (this guy's got his own Web page on the Texas Department of Public Safety) who has a predilection for children. He's a child predator.

The day my ex got off parole, he began calling this son of mine who I had already been having major problems with. To make a long story short, despite my pleas for help to Children's Protective Services, restraining orders, police, etc., I could not prevent this animal from continuing to contact my son and eventually my son wound up living with him since right before his 18th birthday. My ex somehow got him on Social Security disability (of course, my ex is also on it -- who knows how; he's a master liar and manipulator).

Now this son of mine stays with his sperm donor, still gets high, and it's all paid for gratis the U.S. Social Security department.

Talk about entitlement!

I haven't spoken to him since August 2006. I go to his My Space page every day just to see if he's uploaded new pictures or made any comments. This boy is so messed up, but I still love him. Crazy, huh? I know I can no longer have a relationship with him because he is dangerous to me. On one occasion right before he left my home (which was also his home, in my mind, before all of this), he stabbed himself in the thigh, dialed 911, and told the police I had done it.

Several times, I'd been awakened with him standing over me, demanding me to wake up. He'd cut on himself (several week-long visits to the psyche ward because of those incidents), yell out "Look what I did!"

Well, the list goes on and on. I do not know what in hell else I could have done what with scrambling to make a living for us, trying to get help for him, and the psychopath sperm donor calling him all the time on the phone and telling him what all to do to "get away from" me, like I was holding him hostage. All I wanted was to get him through school and try to help him get a good start toward an independent life.

I go back and forth, up and down, inside and outside questioning, questioning, questioning, what I did wrong, did I do wrong, how could he do this to himself, and always why, why, why?

This has nearly driven me insane, but I must keep on. I have one more child to raise (thankfully not the product of the psychopath), so giving up is not an option. But God in heaven, it is hard to do.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2008 at 10:59AM
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Childno6--entitlement is not restricted to the young.

I have an exhusband who will be 60 in July who sounds just like your son. He's an alcoholic who couldn't keep a job. He would tell the owners of companies how stupidly they were running their company and be surprised and indignant when they fired him. He was fired for sleeping on the job. He once cursed out a 7-11 owner because they didn't have a newspaper for him one morning; didn't they know he always got one, and how come they didn't save one for him like they should have (and no, he was lying, he seldom read anything, he maybe got one twice). He thought rental managers should 'give him a break' and not charge rent if he was hard up. He told a judge he shouldn't have to pay child support and didn't, running up his arrearages to $80,000 when she finally put him in jail. He also felt entitled to be exempt from taxes because basically life was unfair to him. He owes Uncle Sam $50,000 and State of Michigan $13,000. He's indignant that they garnish his check to pay it back, and indignant that I garnish him for CS.

He too is on disability. His disability is drinking, but that's not covered on SSDI, so he convinced them he was bipolar. He also gets VA disability because he convinced them he had PTSS even though he was never in battle, in fact the 3 years he spent in the army was the best he lived up to that time in his life. His 'disability' is costing taxpayers almost $6000 a month.

He too once stabbed himself. He was drunk and his girlfriend called 911 to get him out of her house. He picked up a knife and slashed his throat. On the 911 tapes I got through the FOIA there was blood everywhere. He then got into his car and drove to an ATM and then checked into a hospital. The police didn't find him and he just self healed although he has a scar.

The list of his self proclaimed entitlements would take pages, and that would just be the ones I know of. He's gotten worse in the last 14 years, and I have had very little to do with him in the last decade.

Spoiled, self important, selfish people span EVERY age and EVERY generation.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2008 at 11:56AM
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Has the world always been this unjust or is our time particularly awful? At the risk of dragging in a religious connotation, the Bible (Mark 13:12) does talk about "Now the brother shall betray the brother to death, and the father the son; and children shall rise up against their parents, and shall cause them to be put to death."

Makes me wonder....

    Bookmark   June 1, 2008 at 3:13PM
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Life has always been unfair. My neighbor neglected her kids, screamed and yelled at them constantly and they grew up fine. I was a good mother, my sis said I was the best mother she has known, but nothing worked with my oldest. I have explained in other threads about loaning the youngest son money, but knowing him he would never have stopped asking no matter how many times I said no.

I think most things are about the same as they have ever been, things like crime, cancer, etc., but seems to me after the hippy era we have had a serious problem with our children, no matter how good the parents are. The children know that we can't spank them, they know schools can't discipline them, they know we will not turn them over to the courts. If they skip school, go out with their friends, they know they be denied their favorite possessions or grounded, but they don't care. they think fun they had was worth it.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2008 at 3:41PM
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Stargazer, you said, "The children know that we can't spank them, they know schools can't discipline them..." And I have to report that Children's Protective Services will allow them to live with a convicted pedophile without a peep.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2008 at 4:19PM
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Childno6 - OMG! That is just terrible - my heart goes out to you!

Is there any way you could report your ex for defrauding the government?
Or are you afraid of him....this is complicated. I realize you don't
want to get your son in trouble, either, but have you thought about
contacting the gov. agency to report that he really doesn't need disability?

I don't understand how people like this get it; I hear others who are
legitimately disabled say that it is very difficult to get approved and
they don't quote anything like 6K a month! Good grief.

Well, look at it this way: he's still terribly young. He probably wanted
his father, needed a male role model and all that. As time goes on, he
will find out just what he is living with.....he has probably told himself,
all these years, that you were keeping him away from his dad. Now he wants
time with him....but sooner or later, your son is going to HAVE TO FACE what
his father really is.

He will need you then.

My heart goes out to you. Wish I could help you in some way.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2008 at 4:31PM
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I've tried. I called Social Security, but they don't seem to want to rock the boat. The lady there told me, "Well, he has to have been shown to be disabled by a doctor, which he apparently has been, in order to receive SSI." Despite what I told her about my ex being the master manipulator, con artist, and outright liar that he is, it made absolutely no difference. I am just seen as the disgruntled ex-wife trying to get her ex in trouble. If only they knew the truth.... I can truly envision my ex actually paying off some doctor down in the little po-dunk town they live in to do this. He is infamous for doing such things. Or his live-in woman, who has family and friends in the area for the last 10 generations may have had someone do this.

Anyway, yeah, I'm angry, upset, depressed, and everything else you might expect. But I work every day on regaining my emotional strength. I just get so tired sometimes.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2008 at 4:44PM
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Well, you could always report the doctor to the medical board of that state...
But this sort of thing does go on; I had a girl tell me that she got disability so she wouldn't have to work - got a doctor to sign papers saying that she suffered severe "separation anxiety," and had panic attacks when she left her kids in daycare to go to a job!
She went the whole nine yard to be convincing....went to the ER faking panic attacks and everything.
She said she "knew how to work the system!"

    Bookmark   June 1, 2008 at 5:06PM
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My son already knows what his father is. He once told me after being with him, then begging me to come get him (which I did), this: "Dad [I almost gagged at his use of that pronoun] is one of the smartest people I've ever known -- and also one of the most f****d up and sickest!" The tragedy is that he chooses to follow in this animal's foot steps knowing full well what his sperm donor is.

Regarding reporting the doctor: I don't know who the doctor is (privacy issues) and even if I did, it would be speculation on my part. I can't prove anything.

My thing is that this estrangement -- one of many in my family -- is something I wish I could erase from my mind, just flush it down the toilet. I so want to be peaceful (if not happy), successful (this stuff really affects my ability to function in my work), and to move forward in my life.

If anyone has any suggestions other than therapy, which I can't afford and believe me, there are no resources for free where I am, you have my full attention. I am currently trying EFT (emotional freedom therapy) on my own, and it does help, but I am wondering if anybody has any other suggestions.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2008 at 5:34PM
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Childno6...have you tried meditation ? This might introduce a calming influence on you. Might bring you peace....

    Bookmark   June 1, 2008 at 7:59PM
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Childno6...there are 2 things that I, personally, would do at this point.
You say your son already knows he is trash and yet, stays with him.
I would do this:

#1. I don't know your spiritual beliefs, but I'm a I would have to just turn this over to God.

#2. Even so, there's the old saying "the Lord helps those who helps themselves." I think young boys and men these days are so DESPERATE for a male role model, that they will settle for ANYTHING....I would try to meditate on, or figure out, how to provide an alternative male role model for your son.
I'm not sure how you would do this.

I would just meditate on it.

Sometimes if you are just aware of a thing needing to be done, the answer will come to you.

I hope you find some way to get peace.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2008 at 10:32PM
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Popi and Sirens, thank you for the meditation idea. That sounds like a viable adjunct to my EFT. Does anyone have any favorite Web sites to point me to? Book recommendations?

I do turn things over to God. At least I try. I know I'm not very good at that. But sometimes it is the only way I can get to sleep some nights. I am a past 12-stepper, so I try to "Let go and let God." I went to an Al-Anon meeting, but all I could do was cry throughout the whole meeting. It was all women, and they must've thought I was ready for the loony bin. I may be. But like someone told me a long time ago, "You can't afford to have a nervous breakdown!"

It's too late for the male role model thing. This son is now 19 years old and has been living with the pedophile since August 2006 -- which is also the last time I heard from him. I am in such a state that even if he did call me and wanted to come back home, I could not allow it because of his dangerous behaviors. I not only have myself to think about, but a nine-year-old's safety, too.

I get periodic phone calls from the pedophile's home number (shows up on my Caller ID). I don't answer them, so I don't know whether it is the pedophile or my son. The pedophile used to leave long rambling messages full of his crap on how I'd messed up our son, vicious and juvenile jabs on my appearance (from what our son had told him), etc. Now I don't even listen to his messages. I can't change my phone because 1) my clients contact me at this number and 2) I've changed it before and the ex just gets it again. (I watched a TV program on how your private information is bought and sold so easily these days over the Internet.)

This estrangement thing is a grieving process. The only thing is that unlike grieving over someone who dies, this goes on and on because the person you're grieving is still alive. It is like a kind of torture.

I will stop with my drama. Sorry for all this. I guess I needed to talk so badly to someone, anyone.... If anyone, though, can send me to a good site for meditation, I'd appreciate it. Otherwise, I'll just Google the term and visit them hit or miss 'til I find one that looks good to me.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2008 at 10:20AM
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It may not be too late for a male role model - that's probably why he is clinging to his father.
And your son sounds very immature, so he may have the psyche of a 13-year-old.

I wouldn't dismiss the idea, if I were you.

I hope you can find help from somewhere, you must be going through hell.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2008 at 10:35AM
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childno6...with my meditation...I can expand on what I do, if you want to email me. I think further expansion, on this thread, would go off topic.

Otherwise...a site I recommend is below.

Its a budhist site, but relates to all of us.

Here is a link that might be useful: beginner meditation.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2008 at 7:03PM
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I agree meditation may be helpful for you.
I also agree with your statement that this torture is perhaps worse than a death. I have lost a child to an accident, and now one, along with my grandchildren to estrangement. The lack of closure is brutal. You are not being too dramatic when phrasing your feelings, but rather, in my opinion, you speak gently of such anguish. Neither, in my opinion, are you over reacting by crying your way through a meeting. Sometimes we fear our feelings because it seems like a well we might fall in and never get out. But you know, from your own recovery experience, that is just not the case. There is safety in your grieving, self nuturing in your heart, and perhaps even a degree of freedom.
Blessings to you, and congratulations on your recovery.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2008 at 9:07PM
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religious institutions of any kind offer some form of free counseling. It is either type of groups or somehting you can talk to a religous leader. I would even assume that you can go to a relgious insitution of a different faith and get help. I don't think you have to be religious to go talk to them. I would try that. Just give them a call.

Also since your son is addicted to drugs (medication) you can get help in Al-Anon. It is not alchohol addiction, but similar. AlAnon is known to be extremelly helpful. Go to their website and look up meetings in your area. It is free and is very helpful.

My heart goes to you.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2008 at 9:43PM
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just noticed that you already tried AlAnon. sorry. I did not notice that post.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2008 at 9:47PM
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Somehow.. this doesn't have anything to do with the thread I started..

I know there are many people with lots to say.. I really wish they would contact me..

    Bookmark   June 2, 2008 at 10:27PM
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Sarah's Mom:
I have also noticed that this thread has gone off the topic it started with.

I think that there is somewhat of a shame involved with being estranged that would prevent some or most of the estrangees from going on camera, showing their faces and opening their souls. I would liken it to going on Oprah or Dr. Phil and having everyone see my face and then judge me and the situation.

I personally would not want my acquaintances and neighbors to know of this situation. I often avoid speaking with people I have not seen for a long time who know my son as they will ask how he is and how often we get together, etc. It is both sad and embarassing. To have anyone who happened to see the film know of the hurt, the pain and the loss of our son for no good reason would be too painful to bear. To repeat the hurtful things he said to me, to discuss the disrepect and utter lack of feeling for the parents who raised and nurtured him would be too much to bear.

My mother often tells me to keep this matter private, as it is something that people who are not true friends might sympathize with to my face but laugh at me behind my back. She alwawys says that the troubles of others are often reason for untrue friends to rejoice- and I think she is right! It is indeed not a pretty situation for anyone.

My husband will not speak about the situation at all. I speak with my close friends, but do not tell people outside my inner circle of this personal hurt.

I speak for myself, but feel that many might feel the same. Perhaps this is the reason that there has been no direct response. The Internet and this board provides a private forum to tell our stories without our names, faces, identities being revealed.

I think your idea is great and I wish you well- but I think the reluctance might be explained by my post.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2008 at 10:53PM
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Yes, the thread is wandering off topic. That is unfortunate. I assumed people that were interested in participating had contacted you privately.

For me, I am not a camera person, no how - no way - not ever. But that has nothing to do with estrangement. As for the estrangement issue I think it would be a very difficult one to summarize in a short story for a documentary. In my case, it is such a complex issue, with so many different feelings and events attached to it, I would be hard pressed to express it in volumes of writing, let alone a short segment on a documentary.
I am not ashamed like Lostmoma states, but I do believe it is impossible for most people to comprehend the dynamics that lead to this, unless of course, they have walked a mile. This belief keeps me from sharing my story with most.

I am interested in what you have in mind however, and I would watch your program when it is done. What are your ideas in preparing this documentary that would allow it to cover such a broad topic in short segments? I would think it might be difficult to summarize for most people, without it sounding absurdly ridiculous and over reactive.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2008 at 6:50AM
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Lostmama - I share your feelings. My mother would also have said what your mother says. That generation definitely kept everything private. Our generation is a little bit more open but I look at my friends who have children who "want" to spend time with their parents, married and unmarried, and while they sympathize with me, I know they do talk about my "situation" when I am not around. I find myself envious of their perfect worlds. At least we have come a bit farther and can talk with others who are suffering on the web.

I do have one friend whos DIL is very "stand-offish" - doesn't want compliments, hugs, nothing. And really didn't want to spend time with husband's family. But - the difference - her son would stop over at his parents' home or come to the lake with - or withOUT her - he didn't care, and eventually she started coming with him. It has taken them 5 years to get to this point. She still isn't very personal but at least my friend gets to enjoy her son and grandson, as well as trying to get close with DIL.

So, lostmama, I agree with you. I could not be on camera and have my friends, coworkers, and god forbid, my DIL's family, see my pain.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2008 at 8:15AM
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Dear lostmama and penny4thought...

Lostmama.. the very things you said are the reason that I want to do this.. the fact that you feel shame..
This issue is like rape was before it was discussed.. if you said you were raped.. everyone looked at you like "what did you do to cause that?" This issue rips at the fabric of our families. Where is the outrage that this is happening more and more often as evidenced by these boards, for in most cases, no real reason. Sure, no parent is perfect, but if you listen to many of these stories, the punishment certainly doesn't fit the crime. When did we become a "move on" society? When did we start to include our family members with things that are old and outdated?
Things that have no value...

penny4thought.. IMO..I don't know that all the details of the dynamics of each situation are as important as the fact that the crimes are small and punishment is over the top. I really want to explore the effects on families and how this transcends just a mother and her son/daughter or father and son/daughter. There is lasting damage that reaches so far into families and why.. whether you discuss it or not.. it is always there. In my own case, my son and FDIL chose not to invite me and my husband and my mother to their wedding, but sent invites to everyone else on our list. In that simple act.. they involved about 80 people that didn't need to be that involved.. now they are touched forever. They hurt so many people by that simple thoughtless act.

Again.. where is the outrage.. I read these threads and there are people with attitudes about this.. there are people even here that are judging one another.. I don't think this is the discussion.. The issue is why is this happening, and why aren't we as a society willing to stand up to these children and say.. where are your values?

I realize this is only one perspective.. I realize that there are many issues that are not that simple.. there are situations that abuse, alcohol and drugs, and all kinds of emotional manipulations are brought into play.. I can't cover every issue in one film.. but I can help to at the very least start some kind of conversation about the phenomena.

thanks for all of your help!

I don't want anyone to sound absurd, ridiculous or over reactive. I want people who are interested in exploring "what went wrong" .. and is there something we can do to change this.. is it today's parenting? is it genetic? is it a generation? I am not making any judgments.. the people I am looking for are scratching their heads and haven't a clue what caused this.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2008 at 9:59AM
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I've had some private correspondence with Sarahsmom and I have to admit that I am conflicted over the issue of publicizing estrangements.

On the one hand, I think it's something that needs to be acknowledged and discussed in a very public forum and on the other than, I am fearful that if I were to participate and should my daughter get wind of my participation, it would ruin any chance of having any kind of a relationship with her or my grandchildren in the future.

The subject needs to be brought to the fore but in my particular case, and I'm certain that of many others, doing so might cause us to disclose personal circumstances that might be libelous. That's the dilemma I face with this issue. If I'm brutally honest I would state what I believe is at the core of my estrangement and for which I could be sued for defamation of character. I don't believe for a nano second that I am wrong in my judgment of why my daughter is estranged, but I don't care to have to worry about legal action.

And, if I did not explain what I see as the cause of my estrangement thoroughly, it's just a case of "he said, she said."

Is with worth the potential harm to my grandchildren? I don't know for certain.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2008 at 6:58PM
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Hi NJtea...

No I think that if you have any reservations, it's not worth it.. I know there are people that have contacted me that are very willing to participate, but they don't live in the area.. in order for me to get funding I need to put together a "trailer' and in order to do that I need to find some people close enough for me to drive to.

IMHO...I don't think that in the long run there will be harm to grandchildren.. anymore so than the question mark that exists in terms of a relationship anyway. Remember.. I am not trying to exploit anyone.. I have the exact same situation myself.. I don't know if I will ever meet or know my grandchildren, but personally I don't think that my doing this harms them anymore than what their parents are doing to them if they prevent them from knowing me.

I can't keep covering this up... I have so many people calling saying.. oh when's the wedding.. oh please tell your son hello.. what I am supposed to say.. I sometimes say i will, but i am tired.. now i have been saying.. i would love to but i was not invited..

    Bookmark   June 3, 2008 at 7:19PM
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Sarahsmom - I applaud you for speaking the truth - I did the same thing; when people asked about the wedding I openly told them how it evolved and how we were treated.

I am now trying to work through the bitterness I feel and the rejection. I think of it as dropping a beautiful vase and it breaks. While the pieces broke in a way they can be glued back and it will look "almost" like new, it will never be the same. That is what I am feeling about my estranged son and it is so hard to try to like my DIL who started the games of alienating my son from his entire family.

Good luck and keep us posted.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2008 at 8:09AM
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At least you know there was a wedding.

I googled my son's name and asw he applied for a marriage license. When I sent him an email offering to pay for the pre nup, he said it was a small wedding to "save money." We were never invited. I do not even know if he is married.

Every day is a hurtful journey. I also feel like my relationship with my son will never be the same. Despite all the forgiving a person can do, there can never be totally forgetting. My heart is broken by his actions and I feel like I did something wrong to deserve this treatment- yet I know I was a good mother. It is very hard- in my case also, the gf/ wife was the one who worked on alienating my son. It is a sad situation indeed!

    Bookmark   June 4, 2008 at 1:40PM
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Sarahsmom, my suggestion to you is to offer to film these people from behind (interviewer's face shown, perhaps) so that they can remain anonymous. I've seen this done in some documentaries.

The people should not be anonymous to you as the filmmaker, but if they wish to remain so on camera to viewers, that should be their right.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2008 at 3:15PM
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My 2 cents- I think it's a great idea to do the film if you're able and it seems you have the tech support and/or help with funds to do it. Also, that it's best to give the option to keep identity private when desired.

I share and agree with your viewpoint that it is similar to other taboo subjects and that it needs to be brought out into the open. By doing so, it helps to dispell myths and fears and also to educate and empower.

In addition, there should be more books, articles... as well as on the net. INDIVIDUALS could make their own videos to put on U-TUBE etc. as able.

Yes, I wholeheartedly agree that this is a great idea and it's very much needed. It would be effective on a huge scale that hopefully would keep growing.

Thanks and good luck!

    Bookmark   June 4, 2008 at 5:05PM
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Sarahsmom, I agree with what was said below:
>>>Posted by goodhome631 (My Page) on Wed, Jun 4, 08 at 15:15:Sarahsmom, my suggestion to you is to offer to film these people from behind so that they can remain anonymous.

You may want to see if you could send out scripted questions, then people could tape themselves answering the questions and send them back to you. I would be willing to discuss my prior estrangement with my father (due to step-mother issues) that was resolved after four years, and my current estrangement with my mother. But I would not want to be interviewed with my face on camera, not just about this, but about anything. Maybe you could send out masks, simple, blank masks, with the tapes.

I'm so sorry you are having difficulties. Being estranged is the hardest thing to go through. I'm perplexed about how to fix it, and each situation is so different. Like someone said above, there are so many complications and little things it would be nearly impossible to explain how exactly it occured. I do know one thing, it's really hard to understand unless you can see what the person is going through. I tried to explain to my aunts (dad's sisters) how I felt about my dad and stepmom years ago and they said I was just jealous of her and she was so nice. Now that they have been on the receiving end of her poison they're coming to me and telling me how they feel about her. I've come beyond that by now, realized my dad is going to continue protecting her/defending her and chose to have a relationship with him despite really thinking she's toxic because I love my dad - so I listen to them and remind them how they didn't validate me at all or acknowledge my feelings when it was happening to me. The rejection from everyone when I was 18 and getting the brunt of it was really damaging and hard to forget. But, I can see how they could misunderstand, it's hard to see exactly how a person can hurt another person if you're not right there, watching the subtleties.

If there's some way I could participate without showing my face, I'd be willing. Best of luck for you. I think this is a really big issue that no one talks about.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2008 at 7:22PM
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Thank you all so much for your ongoing support and suggestions. Having had experience in film and storytelling, we will not capture an audience and we will not really tell our story if the film is shot anonymously. What is compelling is seeing people.. knowing someone.. identifying with someone. You can't have a prayer of putting yourself in someone's shoes that you can't see...

Fortunately, I have a few brave souls that are willing to speak on camera.. as I have said before, I don't know that all the details of the dynamics of each situation are as important as the fact that the crimes are small and punishment is over the top. I really want to explore the effects on families and how this transcends just a mother and her son/daughter or father and son/daughter. There is lasting damage that reaches so far into families and why.. whether you discuss it or not.. it is always there. In my own case, my son and FDIL chose not to invite me and my husband and my mother to their wedding, but sent invites to everyone else on our list. In that simple act.. they involved about 80 people that didn't need to be that involved.. now they are touched forever. They hurt so many people by that simple thoughtless act.

Thanks again for everyone's support!

    Bookmark   August 6, 2008 at 9:43AM
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i love your idea, but am also not thrilled about telling my story. isn't it funny that what was once a source of great pride and joy (our relationship with our children) is now a source of shame? the finger is always pointed at the parent, what did they do wrong?

something i've been noticing on these boards is the number of moms that started experiencing problems when a gf/dil showed up. this is also my situation. i used to be his #1 fan, and now i'm #1 problem.

but, my point is, maybe now that women have more financial power, they have less need to be accomodating to their in-laws? maybe these 'types' of competitive women have always been there, but never had the same power that women have now? they don't need 'grandma' to help with the kids, they just hire someone. they also offer a higher standard of living for their partner and make him more willing/likely to accomodate her.

it's just a thought - any comments?

    Bookmark   August 12, 2008 at 2:33AM
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You sure hit the nail on the head with my situation. I can relate to the comment about going from his #1 fan, to the #1 problem.
When our son got older, (20's) he started saying he wanted a wife that would work. I think he was worried about how he would afford a house, cars, kids, on just his salary. When he started dating our now dil she was working and making good money, she even bought their house on her salary alone, almost 200,000. She really wears the pants in the family. She takes his check and she pays the bills. What she says, goes!! And he better listen. As for kids, her own mother was divorced (4 times) and she spent her time at babysitters, so I'm sure that will be where my grandkids will stay.
I would think that he would be getting tired of it, but it doesn't seem like it yet.
I feel like I wasted 20 some years of my life caring for and giving him everything I thought would make him a loving and caring person and believing that we would enjoy a loving extended family in our later years. It's heartbreaking to see what he has become.
I feel badly for each and everyone of us posting here. Who would have thought.....

    Bookmark   August 12, 2008 at 8:15PM
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i know this is somewhat off topic. but have any of you been on other posts about estrangement and found some very antagonizing discussions? why are people here if they don't want to be nice?

i'm new to this and not finding it helpful. there are specific posters, amsunshine and bloobird and someone else... very accusatory.

i'm just wondering. i've decided to stay away from there. it's like dealing with crazy family or something.


    Bookmark   August 13, 2008 at 7:07PM
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The answer to your question is yes. The kinds of responses that you are talking about tend to be a problem but only if you let them get to you. They thrive on attention. Ignoring them is the best strategy.


Here is a link that might be useful: Estrangements: The Website

    Bookmark   August 13, 2008 at 8:40PM
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I agree, it would be so much easier of we could understand the "why"....I like you, had a wonderful relationship with my children. In fact, my home was the "kool aid" house for ever-even when my children came home from college. Only to be completely disowned and the only reason I receive is irrational at the best; so I know it just can't be the real problem. It's been almost two years, and I've been "not invited" to my oldest son's wedding and my daughter's graduation where she received her PhD. By the way; I didn't get to watch but Dr. Phil had a program about the mother who was not invited to the wedding.
On camera; I would be happy to appear on camera for this cause. I don't live in the areas you mentioned but should you decide to expand, feel free to contact me.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2008 at 1:55AM
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I'm not sure if anyone agrees with the speculation that this estrangement issue is "a sign of the times"... as I have not lived in other eras, I am inclined to believe that it is much like the Bible verse childno6 quoted from Mark13:12 about "children rising up against their parents"... I thought my situation with estrangement was unique until I discovered this site! My heart goes out to you, childno6, and others... I sincerely don't believe that it is anything we as parents did or didn't do as much as it is about each seceding generation of children becoming more and more self-centered and without regard for others or their feelings,etc. It truly is heart-breaking when a mother (or father) lives in fear of their own child.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2008 at 6:15PM
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Boy Kaysnd and Straycat...
oh my.. this is the thing.. our stories are so so much the same.. I was not invited to my oldest sons wedding and we were not invited to the younger sons college graduation even tho his STEP father just wrote a check for $50K of his debt.. that was most of the inheritance he received from his father's estate.. not one word of thanks.. in fact, not one word. The only reason my husband paid was because he was a co-signer on the loan and he had given his "word" that he would take care of this for my son.. what an amazing human.. if my son's were half the man he is they wouldn't be doing this.
Yes, both of my sons are involved with my oldest son's wife's family. Her father has both of my children employed by him, his daughter and his son work for him as well. He had made tons of money in the last few years and I guess its very seductive for both of them. They certainly do not need us anymore for anything. I agree with jstgvup and your views about this generation.. I guess my thoughts are that we should be shouting out loud that this can and is happening and if our parenting/society is leading everyone in this direction.. we need to do something about it.. it isn't right.. we aren't animals.. raise your "kid" then he/she leaves and that's it. What is it that is causing these children to be more and more self-centered and have no regard for others, etc.. and btw .. it seems they sometimes have regard for others if they are their friends, but certainly not their family.. we are at the very bottom of the barrel...

    Bookmark   September 1, 2008 at 5:28PM
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Hi all,
I've been thinking(AS ALWAYS...) about this "dealing with the pain...and I've had an idea I want to bounce off of you all.
I've been thinking about seeing someone who hypotizes people (in a helpful way of course) in order get this pain in the center of my chest to go away.
My husband doesn't think it would work because the memories are so deep seated, as is the pain.
You know the really sad part is that since I became a mother the only thing that has ever mattered is that my children love me...
I realized something else the other day...having had a heart problem (that can cause sudden death)(it is hopefully fixed.). I've always worried about my children and their pain if something should happen to me.
This is the trully good part of this; now I know I don't have to worry they are fine without me, and guess they always would have been.
I'm already gone to them and they are happy, and content.
Know what; I feel like? An animal who gave birth, took care of her babies and then they all left. Maybe this is as good as it gets...
they are all doing great, so someone must have done a good job.
You know I see everyday parents who have really, physically ,mentally, and emotionally hurt their children and guess what? They love them, their children love them and want to be with them. WOW-just is so hard to believe isn't it?
I wonder if Dr. Phil would like to talk to all of us on a show-
"Getting Rid of Mother"...or something like that? Wonder what our "children" would think of having their lack of feelings for their mother aired on national tv?
WOW-one step for Estranged Mothers!
I'd love it.
Well, everyone-I guess I needed to vent-thanks for letting me get some of this pain out.
Take care everyone-apparently this unconditional love we have is not replishing itself in our children. We are rare jewels!

    Bookmark   September 4, 2008 at 1:22AM
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straycat wandering,

I have been to a hypnotist as a last resort (multiple counselors, therapists, psychiatrists, psychologists, etc)---you get the point---I even went through a battery of psychological testing to see if there was something wrong with me---as I just couldn't figure out how our kind loving son could just throw us out of his life like the trash when we were such good parents. We have had no contact in almost three years except for several nasty phone calls, and emails from GF(possibly finance or wife by now). BTW psychological tests showed I was depressed due to the situation with my son--no other psychological problems.

Son and GF both have excellent education and make lots of money. They waited until our son was financially independent before disowning us. They still have contact with her father. We paid for our son's college expenses yet girlfriend is probably 200,000 in student loan debt--she is a pharmacist, he a computer engineer.

Anyway what I discovered is that everyone of them (counselors, etc) in the end told me I just needed to get over it----stop focusing on the negative and move on with my life. I spend thousands on various types of counseling---you name it, I probably tried it.

I don't think these professionals realize this new trend---I even read in Dr. Coleman's book that adultchild/parent estrangement has reached epidemic proportions. Dr. Coleman as I understand still had communication with his estranged daughter and is now reunited---so I think he has given up interest in the topic-----There is just simply little information out their and something these counseling professionals don't know how to handle,especially when the child refuses any communication.

I am sure someday--probably too late for us---this problem will happen to more and more of these professionals and then they will begin to understand how "getting over it and moving on with your life is hard after spending 20+ years being there for your child and then with no warning they never want to see you again for no logical reason.

Hypnotism may help you, but just wanted to share my experience before you spent the money.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2008 at 4:50PM
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