Estrangement from adult child

chloemichelleJuly 25, 2006

I am, and have been, estranged from my adult child for a while now. Ultimately it was her decision to cut off ties to me and my husband. I tried for a while to talk it out with her but she refused to talk with us. We have two other children, and one still occasionally talks with the child that is estranged.

When people ask how many children we have, I don't know what the answer should be. I am embarrassed by the estrangement but am not necessarily looking to change it anymore. The estranged child has done some horrible acts, involving falsifying police reports against her Dad, and telling serious lies in the community about us.

So when co-workers ask, I usually say 2 but that does make me sad. If I say 3 then I usually feel obligated to explain that we have no contact with the oldest which is why there is no pictures in my office of her, which I believe reflects poorly on me. Though I think that is unfair because they have no idea what we have been through with this child. It is too painful to have pictures up there and look at them.

Then I think it is possible that two parents who tried very hard, and I believe have not abused their children could end up with a child that hates them so much? Maybe it was something in the way we parented that wasn't good for her? Though our other two children don't believe we have ever been abusive to them and they seem like very well adjusted people. They are productive in society, both are happy and in loving stable relationships. Maybe she has some sort of mental illness? My Grandmother had many mental problems. I just don't know.

My husband does occasionally run into her in town, though I have never run into her and they make small talk but nothing ever further, which he is okay with. I don't think he is looking to renew any type of relation with her either. I am not sure what that says about us as parents.

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Chloemichelle, you should say you have three children. To say otherwise denies the love you have for all your children, in spite of all the difficulties.

Many families have troubles among themselves, and if someone asks, you can just say that you are not in touch with your daughter much now. People will understand.

This saddens you, I know, so cherish the relationships you have with your husband and other children. Who knows, someday your daughter may come back to you. This happened to my sister.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2006 at 4:20PM
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We have the same situation -- my brother hasn't spoken to my parents in years.

I see no reason, however, to not be truthful in saying you've got three kids.

And if pressed for details, you can just demur: "The eldest lives out of state." Or "...doesn't contact us all that much" or whatever bland version of the truth you want.

Should a newsbox press further, you can retreat altogether: "I'm not comfortable talking about him" or "Isn't the weather nice today? Let's go for a walk!"

    Bookmark   August 4, 2006 at 12:26PM
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We all handle estrangement differently but I feel strongly that you should always say you have three children because you do have three children. Not acknowledging her is not going to make your estrangement issue go away.

Believe it or not estrangemnt between parents and adult children is more common than ever it seems. I have five adult children and my eldest decided she did not want me in her life a year and a half ago. She estranged herself from me, her father, one sister and one brother. She did however keep a close relationship with two of her sisters.

It is the most difficult thing for us to figure out their reasoning for doing this. I do believe with patience, however, you can reunite with this daughter. It will take a lot of work, mainly forgiveness for how she has lied and wronged you. When I became estranged I looked for others who were in the same situation as my friends were uncomfortable talking to me about it. Since I did not know anyone with adult children not speaking to them, I created a website. We have members from all over the US now. There are many helpful articles and it is a great support group for parents who are estranged from their adult children. No one can understand the pain it causes, unless they have been there.

Contact me if you are interested in the website and I will give you the URL.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2006 at 1:14PM
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I feel sorry for you...but have to admit that the fact that you would lie about having or not even acknowledge that you have one of your children makes me wonder.

Many families have relatives they don't keep in touch with and don't get along with. But, to totally deny these relatives existance is odd, IMHO.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2006 at 1:40PM
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lulusue, could you please give me the website for the support group "parents of estranged children" Thanks so much, Marlene

    Bookmark   September 19, 2006 at 2:36AM
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I would like the link as well, can you post it on here?


    Bookmark   September 21, 2006 at 8:16PM
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I hope that I will be able to get the link to "parents to estranged children" because I need all the help and support I can get. My son got married 3 years ago, and I have tried to be very un-intrusive and mind my own business. However, my son shared a few things with me, and I did give him some advice. It was nothing about my DIL personally. My daughter-in-law found out about it, and came to my home and told me she wants me out of her life. I am heartbroken. I even told her that I am deeply sorry and would never meddle again, but it appears that she is through with me. It is unbelievable. I am a senior citizen, am divorced and my son tells me now, that we have to let at least a year go by for things to blow over. I guess I will be spending Thanksgiving and Christmas alone? This has become my worst nightmare. What can one do after one apologizes? Any advice?

    Bookmark   September 25, 2006 at 12:55AM
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marlene grow

There are thousands of children in orphanages, or childrens homes, as they call them now days who would love to have you spend Christmas and Thanksgiving with them. They have no one except the staff who are paid to stay with them. Why not give your time to someone who appreciates it?

I too am estranged from both my children. I understand about telling someone that you only have two children or whatever the case may be. I often feel it would be easier to just say I don't have any but that doesn't change the fact that I gave up my career and spent 18 years taking care of them, caring for them when they were sick, trying to teach them right from wrong.

I am trying to take the advice that I have so often given others. 'You can't make your children be who you want them to be. You can't make them love you. So if you want love, appreciation and gratitude go volunteer your time at a childrens home.'

Those children know what hard times are really all about and they really appreciate what ever you do for them.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2006 at 12:37PM
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What great advice gurley and I appreciate the words of encouragement. Some people judge so harshly, I wish they could only understand that this is not what I wanted, and not what I would have chosen but the reality is I have no choice, she has all the power to see me or not.

Marlene, maybe volunteering during those holidays might be helpful. My heart truly goes out to you, I have two other children with whom I am very close and it does help ease the pain of not being in the oldest childs life. It must be even harder to not have other family members to help fill the void.

I know that the AARP has a forum on their website which addresses just this topic, I am not eligable to be a member so I cannot peruse the site but I have been told about it. Other than that site, I don't know of any others. This is a painfully under support situation.

I have heard that my oldest child is going to have a baby. That is some hard news for me.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2006 at 9:28PM
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I sure appreciate all the feedback, kindness and empathy that I am feeling. The suggestion was excellent about volunteering with children. It is uncanny that anyone should suggest this, because this is one of the bones of contention my DIL had with me. Her older sister has cerebral palsy, and lives in a group home since the parents died several years ago. When my son and DIL married, I thought, wow, what an opportunity to help. So I discussed this with my DIL and the fact that I wanted to be involved seemed to be OK with her. So I visited this disabled sister, took her out for lunch, for hair-cuts, bought her clothing, took her home with me at times for week-ends. For my sons wedding I bought her entire outfit, and left no stone unturned believing that I was this "fairy godmother" that my DIL appreciated. This disabled sister would call me "mother', I would call her several times a week, and I thought things were going well. For holidays I would pick her up and since I am an RN I would be the one doing her care like bathing, meds, etc. The day came when this sister went back to the group home and said, "I don't have to do this or that, because when ____takes me, she does everything for me". Well, need I say more. The group home became upset with her and reported this to my DIL. My DIL got very angry at me, told me that if her sister loses her place in the group home it is all my fault, and now all contact has been severed there too. She told the group home that for one full year this disabled sister is not allowed to come to her home. I am just appalled. I weep for this disabled sister who may not even know why I stopped calling or visiting. How can such a severe punishment take place? I do not even think at this point I have the strength to get involved with anything/anybody anymore. It seems that everything I do backfires - big time. How can such an act of kindness turn into such a big mess. I am devastated, on so many fronts, I do not know what to do.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2006 at 8:05PM
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marlene, I know it sounds terrible to you to be kept from this child, but maybe, you just did TOO much. People that live in group homes have to be able to get along with the others and share time and space. They all have to follow the same guidelines follow the same routines. If one of them gets a lot more attention than the others, it makes this sort of group living very hard for everyone else. You mentioned giving her baths and medications. Don't you see that this would set her apart and keep her from the regular and routine care that the others get? This is not an easy thing to handle in an institutional type setting.

Don't take it personally. The disabled sister may be having behavior problems in the group home that you are not aware of. Your good intentions may have made her much harder to handle.

No matter how you feel about it. The chance that her behavior could cause her to lose her place in the home is something that your DIL cannot risk.

Perhaps you could voluteer to help out at the home with ALL the patients. That would be much better for everyone than just concentrating on one. I am sure there are others that need help with bathing, etc.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2006 at 9:58AM
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I am new to this group forum. I have been estranged from my oldest daughter for two years now. She has broken all ties to my side of the family. It all began with my parents 50th wedding anniversary when she wanted to bring her "friend" whom she had an affair with and was still not yet divorced from her husband. My parents were upset with the idea since we were still reeling from the whole idea of the affair and divorce. So we asked if she could wait till things settled down since this was really about my parents and not about her introducing him to the family and that we would meet with him later. This totally upset her and she just cut her ties with us. I have tried to extend a hand to her to resolve this separation but she has refused my offers. What makes this even more difficult is that her father and I are divorced and he has always wanted my children to hate me so he has encouraged her not to resolve this issue. The only way we get to see my granddaughters is through my ex-son-in-law which I am grateful for and my other daughter. My other daughter who I still have contact with is caught in the middle between her dad, sister, and I when it comes to family gatherings. Anyone have suggested on how I can get through the fact we no longer will be a family?

    Bookmark   September 30, 2006 at 1:35PM
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Agnes, thanks for your response, and I am sorry for not clarifying what I previously had written. When I visited the disabled sister in the group home, I would visit for maybe an hour and leave. I never got involved in any of her care like bathing and meds. That was done by the staff. I only did this when I picked her up for holidays and we would go to my DIL, and then because of the distance we would stay over night, and I would help her into the bathtub which she is unable to do by herself b/c of her CP, check on her frequently, give her meds. I would have welcomed my DIL doing this, but she always acted very OK with me doing it. Being an RN myself, I realize how important it is for the disabled to do as much for themselves as possible, and at times this disabled sister would ask me to do certain things, and I would tell her that she needs to do that herself, and I would be doing her a disservice if I would do it for her. There are only five clients living in this group home, and the rest of them all have parents and go home for week-ends alot more than this disabled sister. The rest also get more visitors and attend more functions than this disabled sister. So I never thought that I was overindulging her. However, my DIL blew even this situation totally out of proportion, like so many other things. I am a type of person where something just has to be vaguely mentioned to me, and I "get it". In other words, a word to the wise is sufficient. The fact that my DIL has severed all ties to me and her sister speaks volumes and there are no words tht can describe how cruel this decision is. It is in God's Hands. There is nothing more I can do.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2006 at 10:41PM
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Oh, My, I am sorry that I misunderstood. This sounds as if there may be a problem that she doesn't care to face and this is an easy way out. It's a pity. Maybe things will change with time.

We'll never know what goes on in the minds of those that turn their backs on the families. Sometimes I think that it's a matter of taking a wrong turn and not having what it takes to admit they made a mistake. Backing up and starting over is a very difficult thing to do. Some people just can't handle it. They seem to take the easy way out and stay estranged instead of trying to correct the situation.

Then the worse some point they decide that maybe "going back home" is the thing to do. Unfortunatly, by that time, they have become strangers, an unknown quantity. Restoring a good relationship is a tough road to travel.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2006 at 9:34AM
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agnuspuffin, I agree about the concept of taking a wrong turn and not being able to go back. I have heard via second party some of the beef's my child has against the family and as there may be some truth to the beef, they always seem to be blown out of proportion as to like justify why she no longer talks to us. I think she has to do that to defend her wrong turn, even to her own self.

It is so hard to be estranged. I think it is the judgement of others that make it seem even worse. I miss my daughter, or the concept of who I thought my daughter was. The relationship I thought we had. I dislike the judgement of others that ASSUME I must be a bad parent for my child to turn her back on our family. Or those that judge me even harsher for finally admitting that I don't think mending this rift is in our best interest, even though it still hurts like crazy.

I feel like I am in constant mourning and I feel very misunderstood when it comes to feelings about my daughter. I never thought it would end up this way and for a number of years I offered to go to family therapy, I bend over back wards to try and meet her needs, I have endured the lies she has told about our family to our community with my head held high but to no avail. I really don't believe that she will ever be able to come back to us, she will not allow herself, but if she did ever step on my doorstep again, I am not sure it is healthy for us to let her back in.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2006 at 2:21PM
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Take a deep breath and look at what you just said. You said..."I dislike the judgement of others that ASSUME I must be a bad parent for my child to turn her back on our family"

Aren't you assuming that others don't understand the situation? Hindsight might cause you to think that if you had done A instead of B or C, things might have turned out differently, but that's an assumption too.

Don't assume. It always clouds the problem with probabilites. It might surprise you that instead of thinking you a bad parent, they might understand completly what you went through.

Yes, your daughter is re-enforcing her decisions by seeing only her side. She may or may not remember any of the good things. Don't beat your head against the wall. But count her as one of your children. She's just out doing her own thing.

Back the olden days, children left home and went West or sailed to other countries and were never heard from again. It wasn't the parent's fault. There was just no way to comunicate. The same thing is true today. Sometimes there is just no magic way to erase the time and miles between the child and the family.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2006 at 4:14PM
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Hi all. I am new to this website as well. I googled 'estranged from adult children' looking for some support. I have recently become estranged from my 22 year old son. My only child. He has very serious problems and it is best for the time being. But, it still hurts ... very bad. What I am looking for is some comfort and support from others in the same situation. Is there a website somewhere? Please help. Thank you.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2006 at 6:40PM
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Agnes, you seem to understand my situation pretty good, and are right on target with many things you said. Right now, my pain is still very raw, and I don't expect it to get better any time soon. I mean, these are MY CHILDREN, MY CHILDREN!!! How can this happen, not only with me, but with anyone. These are our children that we would give our lives for. Granted there may be rifts, dysfunction, old baggage, but when all is said and done, we are still family. Whatever it takes, whatever, the misunderstandings need to be overcome and forgiven and because we are family, we need to try one more time. But my situation looks very dismal. One can only write so much on a message board but right now it can only get worse. Never in a million years did I ever think this could happen. I have always said, all the things I would worry about never happened, and things that never ever entered my mind, such as my situation at present, has happened. I was sooo unprepared for this.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2006 at 8:33PM
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"Family" is another concept that is not always there. The desire and need to be an individual is very strong in some people. The Family has to be able to accept individuality in it's members or it can't work.

It's that urge to be an individual outside of family ties which is often much stronger than the desire to be part of a group. Not everyone wants to be part of a group or have the responsibilities and obligations that go along with being part of A Family. That's when the trouble starts. The parent tries to fit the child into the Concept of what a son or daughter should be, and the Child goes in the other direction. If the conflict becomes too strong, there's a break that can't be healed. Personalities clash. Just as brothers and sisters don't always like each other, so it is with parent and child.

The parent that feels that a child is an extension of themselves or the Family can sometimes be vastly disappointed. The need to be an individual is very strong. If they can't be accepted as an individual with different desires and needs, they will fight back in ways that make the situation worse.

On a personal note. My mother had a "concept" of what a daughter should be. It was as unrealistic as a fairy tale. I started to balk at an early age. She was quite stubborn, but so was I. There was no way that I was going to grow up to be the "nice, loving, obedient" daughter that she craved. The mother/daughter relationship was a disaster!

    Bookmark   October 4, 2006 at 9:18AM
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Many of you have asked about my website. Rather than post the URL here, you may contact me at and I will give you the information you need. We do not post publicly, in fact, you will be given a password to access some of the areas. We are a small group and do not seek out members but fill the need for those who hear about us and wish to join. You will find a lot of mothers in this group who are facing the same problems you are and sharing is the best type of support there is.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2006 at 9:41PM
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My daughter has been gone for 13 years. I could have written all the same things you have written, it sounds just like my story. Even now I cannot talk about her without crying. I've phoned her, traveled around the world to try to see her, and written again and again. She refuses all my efforts. So very painful.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2006 at 8:36AM
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This message is for "lulusue"
How come your website is for mothers facing the same problems? Don't dads have the same problems? Or are we supposed to be immune to feelings of rejection and helplessness? I thought that this site was non-partisan, non-sexist, but I guess the problems that I have with my teenage delinquent should be mine alone and I should not seek advice nor support from other (single) parents.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2006 at 6:10PM
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For: gw:seeker-returns

I'm sorry if I inferred that the site was only for mothers. That is not the case. Dads are welcome too. In fact, we have two fathers who are members. It is however geared to parents who are estranged from "adult" children which is somewhat different than being estranged from "teenagers." The problems you are having with your son now are probably not too different from the ones we experienced when our adult children were teenagers. Believe it or not, some of these troublesome teenagers do surprise us and turn out to be trouble free adults. Hopefully, down the road, you won't have a need for a site dealing with 'estrangement from adult children.'

I believe there are probably many groups for single parents with teenage children. In the meantime, I am sure all of us here will be happy to give you some suggestions that may help you deal as a single father with a teenage son......certainly not an easy chore.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2006 at 10:59PM
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Great idea that website/url esp. the private part ... I am very impressed. Keep going with it. chloemichelle, never deny your children, please say 3. Most people will not ask about details anyway and just don't be in a hurry to offer them.

I know estrangement is difficult, I am in a period of estrangement with a sibling right now. Don't know how long it will last, it may be a lifelong thing.
Very difficult situation.

Good luck all.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2006 at 10:48AM
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chloemichelle I feel exactly like you. I have three children as well with my only daughter estranged for almost nine years. My heart is broken and will not heal until she returns. I can realize how when you meet people that you only say you have two children as I do the same. Its all too painful to explain and its so private I only select a few close people who know me well to share with. Its human nature to judge a person without knowing them when in these situations there is so much leading up to the estrangement that I dont have the time or energy to keep talking about it. I feel so alone and for years must have thought I can't be alone, there must be others going through the same ordeal. All I have is my memories of her of how she was and HOPE. I will have hope forever. She has no contact with any of her family or friends from that time in her life. I would like to keep in touch with you as I feel I have found someone who really understands this. My friends and family are supportive but they can't feel my pain.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2006 at 5:29PM
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I hate to see the look on my mom's face whenever my sister is mentioned. My mother is so bitter that she forgets she actually has 7 grandchildren, not 5. That is sad, very sad.

They have never got along, since my sis was born. My mom is very domineering and sis tries too hard to please her and gets hurt too easily. My sis is truly better off not being around. Unfortunatly, that means we other siblings have no relationship with her. My mom has practically disowned us when we have attempted to contact her. I know that is mean but true.

Sis has a great life from what I know. She is in a church and has a "mom" that takes care of her. Only problem is that when middle sis tried to contact her recently, sis said she would only meet at the church. It is her only safe place. Middle sis tried to just meet her for coffee but she refused. She said it was church or nothing. A while ago they were conversing with email but one day she just stopped replying.

I have tried to converse with her but she will go and do something stupid that messes things up. Then she gets all upset when you call her on it. Years ago when middle sis' dh died, she came for the funeral. They were speaking at that time. She was instructed to not come to the house because mom and others would be there. Middle sis would come to her. She could not resist. She showed up and everyone was so uncomfortable. It was horrible. Then she got all upset when we tried to tell her she broke the promise to stay away from the house. This is the kind of stuff she does. She is a grown woman and cannot follow a simple rule to respect a widows wishes. Then she gets all upset and turns it around that widow was being mean. Crazy, I know. It takes all our strength to keep this sister from herself.

I never deny my sister being my sister. When folks ask, I just tell them that she has issues and is better off living her own life. I am often tempted to send her a Christmas card or a birthday card. Just to let her know she is loved and that I wish her the best. She may return it or keep it. The choice is hers. But I will never deny her existence. I only wish my mom could be so brave.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2006 at 10:11AM
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Good to read your post and know that I am not the only one with one normal child and one child that no matter what just can't seem to get her life together.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2006 at 1:22AM
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I've read this thread and I find it very diheartening to see so many blame the child that decided to disengage from their family, like for sure they were problem children. I'm not saying that all these parents were bad. There are bad eggs and good ones, both children and parents. And some adult children get involved in drugs and things like that, and they fall away from their families for that reason.
But those of us who are just regular people sometimes find in necessary to disengage from our families too, and to universally decide that we're all dysfunctional problem-children is very discouraging.
You need to realize how much thought and pain goes into making the decision to cut yourself off from a parent. It's not just that parent that you can no longer associate with. All of your family- aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings, grandparents- are no longer yours. Holidays are very lonely, especially if you had large family get-togethers. Getting used to things just being you, your spouse and your children all the time. For ten years now, every Thanksging and Christmas at my house have been just another day, but with a big dinner and/or presents. I watch everybody at work get all excited, making plans for their sisters/brothers/aunts/uncles/etc. to come down and visit, or planning their trips to see family. Do you know how that feels, when you have nobody? No normal person would choose this life without a reason.
Like I said though, I'm not saying that all the parents are to blame. Sometimes the adult child is doing something with their life that they know their families won't approve of, so they disengage from that family so they don't have to answer for their actions.

    Bookmark   December 25, 2006 at 2:08PM
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I am an adult child, with adult children of my own, who is estranged from my mother and siblings. My father died in a nursing home after suffering neglect and mistreatment by my mother during his years of Alzheimer's. My mother rarely visited him, going only when one of her children insisted on taking her there. My mother has a history of lying about her behavior and about others, and can be very convincing. I have no doubt that my father never knew that she was both verbally and physically abusive as she was quick to cover up and threatened worse pain should I tell. Not only did she tell me when I was a child that my birth was a mistake, she told me a few years ago that if abortion had been legal in those days she would have had one and regrets that wasn't an option.

What did I do to deserve my mother's outbursts? I rarely misbehaved; was an honors student; didn't smoke, drink or do drugs; volunteered at church; did 10 - 12 hours/wk. of household chores; took care of her post-surgery; and basically tried to win her affection for years - decades, in fact. My older siblings saw far fewer outbursts and never experienced the physical abuse, so they don't believe it happened. Even though they now know that she has lied about all of her children, making outrageous charges, they think this behavior should be overlooked. She cries crocodile tears and makes up stories to play on their sympathy, and they buy it every time. She has laughed about manipulating the eldest and mocks him for falling for her lies. They in turn berate me for not calling and writing to her often enough, and even expect me to fly over to take her shopping or clean and decorate her apartment.

For years I maintained a relationship, first to please and then to attempt to protect and care for my father. I also had the dream that my mother would love her grandchildren enough to get over her animosity toward me. To try to set a positive example for my children, I continued to send cards & flowers for birthdays and holidays. She lied and said that I have never contacted her since my father died. She enjoys crying to people about her heartless child who has abandoned her even though she has been the most self-sacrificing mother on earth.

Like the poster above, it's toughest during the holidays. I'd love for my kids to have a close relationship with their grandparents, aunts and uncles, but that's not our reality. This is the last year for me to attempt to establish any sort of positive connection. My grown kids have decided that it's really her loss and they no longer waste time wishing she was a loving grandma.
She is welcome to tell people that she has one less child than is actually true, since that's been her wish for 50 years.

    Bookmark   December 25, 2006 at 5:37PM
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After spending another sleepless night because of a son that abandoned his family over 12 years ago, I've read many of the messages posted by both parents and children. When all of our saga began, my husband and I believed it was because our son had become involved with a young woman that was extremely manipulative and possessed very low self-esteem. Whereas this is true, counselors have helped us understand that our son chose to abandon us. He chose a mate that has merely exasperated the problem. Had Chris desired to maintain a relationship with us, he would never have permitted such actions toward us. Nonetheless, it's a tremendous emotional pain to know we have 2 young granddaughters we are forbidden to see. I've telephoned, attempted to make personal visits, sent cards and letters not only to let our son and his family know of our deep love for them, but also to plead with him to let us know what we've done to cause this abandonment. After all these yrs. it as much of a mystery as when it began. The only thing we've ever heard (through the grapevine) was that Chris just didn't like us as parents. My husband and I are both professionals, but I never worked full time until our children entered middle school. My desire was to be a full time mother to them. Our son, now an attorney has shared with our only other child, a daughter, that he resented the fact we were not a family of great financial means. We had a comfortable life, but not one whereby we could grant our children all their desires. As a parent, I wish that children whom chose to abandon their families would give the parents some rationale for their actions; even if only brief. I don't expet Chris to share all his thoughts and feelings with us. All these years later, my husband and I remain as confused and perplexed as when this all began in 1994. Each holiday is a tremendous time of sadness for us. There are never phone calls, cards or even e-mails acknowledging special events. I have never once missed sending gifts and cards to our son and his family for every special event in their lives. We continue to hope and pray that someday, before my husband and I die that we might be able to have some kind of relationship with our son and his family. Until then, the sorrow continues.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2006 at 4:37AM
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Jane Woods, I'm incredibly sorry for your loss. It sounds as if you did your best as a parent. Money is such a flimsy excuse and the shows shallowness of an individual who chooses to dwell on it. Does he keep the gifts you send and still not communicate? All I can say is that he will someday regret his decision. I'm sorry.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2006 at 9:21AM
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Jane Woods, sorry for your pain..

But I wonder do you think the estrangement becomes easier the longer it goes on ? People get caught up in their lives and can become so self interested that they are not capable of including another emotional attatchment in their life.

It is a terrible situation to live with, for a parent. I always thought that once you had your own children, you developed more of an appreciation for you own parents and the "job" that they did in rearing a family.

I guess this is not always true.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2006 at 6:45PM
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I have read all the postings on this thread, I cannot believe all the pain that some people have. It makes me so sad. As a parent of 2 daughters I just cannot imagine one of them never speaking to me again. I am sure it would kill me.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2006 at 5:43PM
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I believe I have a unique perspective on this issue. My daughter has recently married a wonderful man who is estranged from his family. It has been very painful to watch him go through this heart wrenching decision to cut his family from his life and at the same time my heart goes out to his family. It's an extremely complicated issue. He was severely emotionally abused during his childhood and got help from counselors when he went off to college and was finally far enough away to get some perspective and seek help. He tried to help his mother see that she also could get help but his parents told him he was ridiculous and that they didn't need help. His mother has harrassed him with phone calls, emails, etc. I have heard the messages she has left on the answering machine and she truly is cruel and crazy...even in her attempts to be kinder, she comes off as manipulative. My daughter, my husband and I often try to be positive about some of things this woman says that seem to show her gentler side, but then my son-in-law will remind us of all the times he also felt that way and forgave his mother and opened the lines of communication again and immediately regretted it. He has grown wise to that trick. On the other hand, is it a trick? I think these people honestly love and miss their son and do not want to give up trying to contact him. They don't seem to realize that they have hurt him so badly over the years that it's too little too late. He feels done with them and he feels that it's okay because of all the chances he gave them in the past.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2007 at 10:54AM
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I am the other side of the coin,after a period of three years,my mother and I have begun mending fences.She apologized to me, I was in shock for 2 days.
My mother is a shallow person,that's who she is, I accept it.The initial split was after she wote me a nasty letter which started with "and you call yourself a mother.........and ended with don't contact us again."
This was all to do with my daughter who from the age of 12 ran away,did drugs lived rough ect.My husband (her stepdad since the age of 2)and I tried so many things to help her so many agencies and crisis centres,we exhusted every possible avenue,including living with my mother (which didn't work).We finally HAD to use toughlove as our home had become a very upset frightning place with smashed windows,doors walls and physical violence,on her part.
This involved us saying this is the rules (AT TWELVE):No drugs No alcohol No smoking No "Partying"with boys and a reasonable curfew-In return we provide you with food,shelter,clothing.The love is free and there are no strings.Your choice, she chose to live on the streets.
My mother told me I didn't love dd enough, I thought she was wrong I loved her so much I couldn't stand by and allow her to behave this way .
So in the space of 1 month I lost my daughter, my mother and in a twist my husband .Amy had come back she had nowhere to go, she said she would follow the rules.Dh couldn't take it one more time he had a breakdown and we seperated for 7 months.Of course Amy was back to her ways after 2 weeks and had again run away.
This all happened three years ago.Last year Amy became amother at 15,there's a surprise.Things have evened out I stopped grieving for what might have been and accepted that my child had left home,she lives independently with bf.Dh and I are back on track and now my mother,slowly but surely I am forgiving her for not being there when I needed her most.Perhaps I have just given it the benifit of time.It's a start.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2007 at 10:23PM
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I agree with addictedtoroses, it's not always the adult child who is the perpetrator of family disengagement. My mother and father split when I was 6. She then remarried a man who physically abused myself and my sister, and participated herself, and allowed him to do it. She has verbally abused me all my life and they kicked me out of home at age 16.

Although I've never had anything more than a superficial relationship with my mother we have nonetheless had one, and although she bluntly refuses to admit with other family members she ever abused us, I've never raised the past with her, prefering a diplomatic approach. Despite this she has continued to abuse me and criticise even in front of me to other people.

All this came to a head 12 months ago when, after not visiting us for 6 years (we moved to another state and returned to visit her twice) she came for Xmas. At a family barbecue she chose my wife's cousin who was anchored to the chair breastfeeding (my wife no longer listens to her rants about me) to run me down, tell her I had to be sent to a psychiatrist at age two and how bad of an adult I'd turned out to be. My wife's cousin was shocked and reluctantly told my wife, and it got back to my mother through family members.

My mother wrote me a letter saying she had never done this, and that my wife's cousin was a liar. I returned a letter telling my mother that unfortunatley I couldn't believe her as she had been abusing me all my life, even to my face, gave her examples and told her the only way forward for our relationship was for her to acknowledge she'd been abusing me, apologise (not grovel) and make a commitment to treating me with respect and not abusing me.

I thought that was reasonable however she replied and said she was not contacting myself or my wife ever again. I was numb for weeks. A month later she wrote a follow up letter, once again citing my faults as a child and adult and telling me she would contact us but only on her terms. The damage had however been done and although the door is open from my end, I haven't contacted her despite her sending presents to our newborn son. I haven't shut her out or disallowed her seeing her new grandson however I remain of the fact that the only way to reconcile is if she mends our relationship and commits to respecting me. She has distanced my grandparents (her parents whom I had a very close relationship with since birth) from me since the incident and I feel I've had to draw a line in the sand and say, enough is enough, and I would not like to give her the opportunity to abuse me to my son.

Since then my mother recently wrote me another vitriolic letter and there seems like the constructive advice I gave her on how we can work towards a harmonious future is never going to be heeded.

It's all very sad but adult children must empower themselves, I certainly know I made the decision long ago that I wasn't going to be a perpetual victim like my mother has been all her life. I have been happily married for 12 years, got a university education, work in a professional role and have the same friends I had 20 years ago and that's what matters - creating my own happiness. Life is too short for parents who are abusive and self-centred.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2007 at 9:06PM
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Gonzo, that was really powerful! Good for you for becoming empowered enough to stand up for yourself and your life. Everyone (children and adults alike), need to be wonderful that you have finally learned to request the respect you need and deserve!
This is exactly the situation that my young son-in-law is trying to avoid in his future by cutting ties with his mother now. How sad that it has come to that for him but how wonderful that he has the strength to put a stop to the abuse.
As a mother-in-law, I want to ask; does your wife have a good relationship with her parents? If she does, I hope they appreciate what you are all about, what you have been through and most of all I hope you are getting the love and respect from them that you should be getting from your own parents. When we are told that it is important to be on good terms with family...that family is important, that advise from elders is valuable and of course we often hear that old adage, "Call your Mother"...I think it is true...but it doesn't have to be your "birth" mother. I think a mother is a person that emotionally supports you, seeks to understand you, loves you whether or not you are perfect and generally works as hard as you do for your greater good and happiness. Mothers don't have to be perfect, but if you're not getting any of this on a really consistant basis, it might be time to find other people to fill that role in your life. It sounds like you have a good marraige and good friends and that's a great place to be. It seems that families get into cycles of abuse and I'm sure that your awesome self awareness will prevent you from carrying the legacy of your mother's abuse into your relationship with your own children.
I echo your statement that "life is too short for parents that are abusive and self-centered."
Just a comment about the concept of forgiveness...It's great to get to a point where we can let go and forgive family members or friends who have hurt us. But what does that really mean? In my life, it means that you stop seeking to retaliate or you stop feeling angry and hurt when you think of the past....BUT, forgiveness does not mean you drop your boundaries and let the person back into your life. It is okay to heal and let go of hurt or anger without inviting the person back in to possibly do it again. As my son-in-law says, "I hope my mother and step-father seek help and have a happy life...but I'm done. There are so many wonderful people in the world and I'll not waste my time trying to make sense out of people that are capable of being so mean."

    Bookmark   February 12, 2007 at 5:49PM
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Thanks appleandoak for your encouragement and words of advice - much appreciated. My wife does have a functional relationship with her parents, which is good considering I have no contact with either of my own. I wasn't too popular with them initially - they are strict Catholics and my wife is the only girl, and the eldest - and I was the young man who came along and married her. But these days we have a good relationship, and they have seen my mother criticise me in front of them, a long time ago, and at the time were shocked and mentioned it to my (then) fiancee.

They're fairly simple people and put it all down to "incompatibility", which in a way I guess is true. Mean people and someone like myself who has a kind heart are necessarily compatible. They think it's all rather sad, which is also on the money.

Even though it's been 14 months since my mother wrote those horrific words - "I won't be having contact with you again" - I'm still struggling to get over, which is I guess why I've sought out such a forum. It's nice, well not nice, but reassuring, to know other people like your son in law are working through the same issues. I think part of my struggle is that I've since had my first born son, and although it's drawn me so much closer to my sister/brother-in-law, parents in law, and close friends, it's a wonderful period in my life that my mother insists on trying to make a bad experience for me.

Of course I won't allow that to happen, and although it's very difficult to say "no, you're not going to see myself or my family, including your new grandson, until you pledge your respect to me", it's the only healthy option I have.

You speak about forgiveness and make some good points. I'm not sure I can say whether or not I've forgiven her - I certainly know my response is not one of punishment, however. It's the healthy decision for myself and my family. The word I've got in lights in my head is "indifference" - if I can work towards being indifferent towards my mother and her actions they won't hurt me anymore. I'm certainly getting there and although a day doesn't pass where this scenario doesn't occupy my mind, I am an inherently strong person and will eventually get to where I want to be emotionally (with respect to my mother, that is) as a result.

Has your son in law had a similar background with his parents? Good on him for making a stand as well...

    Bookmark   February 13, 2007 at 11:22PM
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Hi Gonzo, Yes...I believe that you and my son-in-law would probably find some common ground in your backgrounds. His Mom has been really cruel and emotionally abusive. She used to purposely embarrass him in front of friends..many times in front of my daughter and my daughter was horrified and so sad for him that his mother would treat him so badly. When the kids got engaged, his mother started calling first it seemed she wanted to be involved in planning the wedding. I had been warned that she could be difficult but I was delighted that all seemed normal and happy...but slowly her and her husband's true colors emerged. She would tell all kinds of stories about her son's girlfriends in highschool and all kinds of other pointless and anger filled rants. My son-in-law is a wonderful person: Bright, kind, well educated. He is the first person in his family to earn a college degree and he did it with absolutely no financial or emotional support from family. (A complaint his mother had was claiming that her son thought he was smarter than her and she could "take him down a peg because he's no better than the family he came from.") Eventually she started bad-mouthing my daughter for being in love with her rotten kid and decided that his desire to put firm boundaries with his family was due to my daughter's bad influence...YIKES! Well, that was the straw to break the camels back for him and that's when he cut ties. She left some hellacious answering machine messages on his phone and many nasty letters were sent. There were times that I really felt sorry for her because she seemed to have no idea that he wouldn't put up with her twisted abuse forever and ever. I think that's a classic mistake with abusive parents of adults...she wasn't dealing with a child anymore...a child that has no choice but to stay with Mom no matter how hurtful she is. She is very angry with him for growing up and demanding the respect that he deserves.
My daughter and my husband and I tried for sometime to help him make peace with his mother, we tried hard to find good points and to help him put boundaries on the relationship that would make continued communication with her possible...but she made it impossible for him by always escalating her own accusations and anger and constant manipulation by trying to make him feel guilty...she pushed him away. It's interesting that you mention "indifference" because that's how I would describe where he's at. He has said repeatedly that the relationship he had with both his parents was very one-sided. They never really got to know him and they've never really met the person who he actually is. As he says, there wasn't much of a real relationship to sever. It was mostly a matter of putting a stop to harrassment.
Anyway...I jumped on this forum when I found this website after looking for information about gardening...funny how one can stumble on something that is helpful when looking for something else! It has bothered my husband and I that our daughter will never know the joy of having a nice family relationship with her in-laws. We have also worried over the role we play in our son-in-laws life...we're not just in-laws to him...we're his family in a larger sense. He is only 25 and still finding his way in the world and still in need of parental support. was interesting to find this forum where this issue is being discussed from all angles. It has been helpful to hear other people's stories and especially yours because it sounds familiar. You are right, it is helpful to hear that this sad thing happens in other families and none of us are alone in our experiences or dealing with something all that unique. I have a friend who is a counselor who told me to pick up a copy of the book, "Divorcing Your Parents" for my son-in-law. It seems that ending a bad and toxic relationship is not just limited to bad marraiges. I did not buy the book...but the title tells me that this is something that many people have struggled with. You and my son-in-law are definitely not alone in trying to figure out how to put boundaries on an abusive relationship.
Good luck with your quest to let go and feel that good feeling of being care free and indifferent to things that are firmly in your past. Remember that each day you wake up a new person and are totally able to make the choice that you do not have to be haunted and preoccupied by things or people that make you feel bad. You get to choose to feel good!

    Bookmark   February 14, 2007 at 12:59AM
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Appleandoak....your SIL is so fortunate to have you as his parents in law.

What a sad situation.

How do mothers get it so wrong, I wonder, was the mother treated badly by her parents, perhaps.

All the best to your SIL.


    Bookmark   February 14, 2007 at 1:59AM
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Popi, you partially hit the nail on the head when you wrote:

"How do mothers get it so wrong, I wonder, was the mother treated badly by her parents, perhaps."

The part of that sentence that I totally disagree with is "how do mothers get it so wrong" as most mothers are doing
the best that they know how in raising children.

As my mother, with whom I never got along, (she was never there for me, I could not tell her anything, everything that went wrong in my life, from the smallest thing to a bad marriage was my fault) lay on her death bed, I learned from her sister exactly what kind of a childhood she had and suddenly all her poor mothering became clear - she had no one available to her and I realized that she was trying to get from me what she had lacked as a child.

Forgiveness came immediately because I realized that she was doing the best she could with what she had.

We ALL bring to the experience of raising children the baggage that was brought to us a children and in most cases we don't even realize that we are bringing baggage to parenthood.

Almost every mother I know who is estranged from a child had a less than good relationship with her mother and tried, in raising her own children, to correct what she felt her mother's errors were. These mothers often say that they had a much better relationship with their daughters than that experienced with their mothers.

I thought I had done a good job of raising a daughter with good self-esteem; apparently I did not because she is now married to an emotionally abusive man and cannot seem to see her way clear to get out of the marriage. She has rejected me for having the gall to tell her that her husband is abusive. Even though she spent much of the last 5 years of our relationship calling me in tears and having panic attacks, he's not abusive and I am a horrible mother for even thinking that.

Unfortunately, today it has apparently become "fashionable" to reject one's parents when one decides that they were not raised the way they thought they should have been.

I truly believe that even those whose mothers allowed their daughters to be abused by others, either emotionally or physically/sexually, and did nothing about it have a history that did not allow them to do anything about the abuse. I'm not saying that is right, but I am saying that one has to look far into the past before one can understand current events.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2007 at 10:04AM
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Hi appleandoak. Your sil's experiences are very similar to mine. Hurrah for the internet - it's not easy finding people with the same experience! Like your sil I was and still am the only person in my extended family to even make it to university, yet alone finish a degree. I also had no financial or emotional support before or during that time, and was berated heavily by members of my family for the achievement.

I totally agree with you when you say the problem with abusive parents is that they fail to accept they aren't dealing with a child anymore. It eats away at my mother that she can no longer punish us or has no control over us, or can't ram her knee into my back at dinner time because it wasn't as straight as she had demanded.

The other point I can relate to in your message is your sil's parents not knowing the person who he really is. It's exactly the same with my parents. My mother has her head stuck so far up her backside and is so narcisstic and hung-up on her distorted perception that I'm a chip off the old block of my "evil" father that she has never got to know who I am. My sister tells her that constantly: "He's nothing like Dad, Mum, nothing like him at all..." but she can't get past it. It's sad for her because I'm a natural giver (love making lavish meals for friends, in-laws, for example) and would give anything to shower her with love, but she is too focused on creating family conflict and immersed in being 'the victim'. That's her loss, however.

Njtea you make some interesting points, and I particularly agree that we bring baggage to parenthood that we wouldn't even realize. I agree it is important to understand what made your abusive parents the way they are - it helps to put their behaviour into perspective. My mother is the eldest of three girls, and in the late 1940s in a part of the world where having children before marriage was very much frowned upon, my grandparents conceived (my mother) upon meeting and hastily arranged marriage, then took the quite drastic measure of taking their marriage certificate 250 kilometres down the road to a place they knew would change the date (back a year of course). It's well known that my mother was always treated a little differently, and the two younger girls have grown up with lots of confidence, they have strong relationships with their children, and are different to my mother who lacks confidence and is destructive. It's a hush-hush topic in our family, but it doesn't take the mind of Einstein to work out that my grandparents subconsciously treated my mother differently as a result - there was a correlation. Her adult behaviour is testament to this.

Reading over your message Njtea I doubt very much that it's "fashionable" these days to reject ones destructive parents when one decides that they were not raised the way that they thought they should have been. That said, I don't think it would be a bad thing if it did become fashionable - especially if the destructive parent continues to abuse their child into their adult life (if the parent is going to continue to be irresponsible by behaving in a destructive manner, someone has to put a stop to the cycle of hurt and damage). I think many abused adult children trap themselves in unhealthy relationships with their abusive parents and allow them to suffocate them into a life of misery, refusing to ever question or challenge the unacceptable and often unlawful way in which they were raised.

Personally, my mother has rejected me on three occasions - firstly by placing me in a mental institution at age 14 because she and her husband were abusing me (the psychiatrist who put me in was later charged with insurance fraud for placing teens in the institution whose parents had sufficient insurance to finance this), secondly by allowing her husband to kick me out of home at age 16 because I began retaliating to being used as a punching bag, and thirdly, 14 months ago by telling me she was severing contact with myself and my wife after she visited me for the first time in six years and abuse me to my wife's cousin behind my back - a move I'd equate to someone going up to someone and smacking them over the head with a lump of wood and then suing the victim because they didn't get enough satisfaction the first time. So even though my mother has now reversed her decision, I'm taking control of the situation and no longer giving her an outlet for her destructiveness. My first option is to discuss the issues with her and come to a resolution and both be happy, but unfortunately my mother thrives on conflict and wants it to continue. So the second best option I've had to take is to remove her misery and destructiveness from my life and live a happy one without her, but leaving the door open to a relationship if she's ever one day strong enough to admit her abusive ways and pledge to discontinue them.

I don't accept that because of the treatment my mother had as a child as a result of my grandparents conception before marriage dillemma gives my mother any right to abuse myself and my sister, allow another man into our family to abuse us and for her to continue to abuse me into adulthood. We must all be accountable for our behaviour regardless of our past and while I know I will not be a perfect parent and will make mistakes, I will fall out of a plane without a parachute before I stand by and watch my children be abused, or abuse them myself. Parents who do so have a lot to answer for.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2007 at 8:00PM
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Bravo again Gonzo!
I am sad to hear about what you've had to put up with and I agree whole-heartedly in your decision to put a stop to it!
And as far as rejecting parents being "fashionable" these days; it occurs to me that if there is a rise in these incidents, it may be due to our increasing knowledge about self awareness and empowerment. My father (a man entrenched in the "older generation") put up with constant verbal abuse from his Mother and did so until the day she died because he thought that it was wrong to ever question ones Mother. She always talked to him like he was a child and it made my father seem weak and sad to me as I got older and could understand the dynamics in his relationship with his Mother and also with my Mother, his wife. We know now: You don't have to live that way!
As far as any historic significance about how adult children have traditionally dealt with parents there is alot of evidence on the side of it being natural for one to leave ones parents and sometimes this means breaking ties. As parents, this idea that we must have a close relationship with our adult children is not true of all cultures at all times. I often think about all the hundreds of thousands of people who left there families behind to make a new life in the USA or Australia. Many never saw their Mothers ever again and this didn't stop them from leaving to embrace their futures. So, even when a relationship isn't troubled, it's okay to grow up and leave Mom. We may feel that it is a sad fact of becoming a parent to know that our children will eventually grow up and go into the world and ask us to let them go...but that's the way it has to be!
I know that there is a vast difference between the normal process of growing up, leaving ones childhood behind and the sad process of wrenching oneself from an abusive relationship that is leftover from an abusive childhood. I'm just mentioning this stuff about people entering their adult lives to illustrate that adult children of abusive families are not doing anything wrong when they declare the need to live their lives in an attitude of independence and self respect. To do so, they must often cut ties with parents who refuse to accept their child's adult status.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2007 at 11:21AM
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I just found this forum by putting the right words into the search engine. Chloemichelle our story is much like yours, our hearts are broken and I'd like to enter into the forum. We are the parents of two adult children. A year ago our 26 year old son (married and WAS a teacher)got into trouble, lost his career, etc. His wife is staying with him, and we have a semi-sort of relationship with them. Our 33 year daughter is on her 2nd marriage, and had her first child in fall 2005. In May last year (the day before Mother's Day) she informed us and my counselor that her dad had not been the best dad when she was growing up, and that I was a witch! So, in light of that they made the decision to not be around us anymore and they also barred us from seeing our first grandchild. We are heartbroken, especially me. I spoke with my counselor several times about this, and asked if there was a support group for this type of thing. The answer was no, but he'd work on it. I don't think he's going to do that. So, I'm glad I found this place to share. Myself I was raised also in a "christian" home where my father was emotionally not there, and my mother was a yeller. JUST like the home our kids grew up in sorry to say. But the difference is, I was able to forgive, and move on, our daughter is stuck. In fact, my counselor said, she's playing the victim, and often it gets worse with time. Help, this makes me crazy, and I feel bad and guilty keeping it all alive for my husband. Replies appreciated.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2007 at 6:42PM
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"In May last year (the day before Mother's Day) she informed us and my counselor that her dad had not been the best dad when she was growing up, and that I was a witch! So, in light of that they made the decision to not be around us anymore and they also barred us from seeing our first grandchild."

This is exactly what I meant when I said it is becoming "fashionable" - perhaps a better choice of words would have been "epidemic". (Many, many therapists have now begun to realize that this is truly an epidemic.) It's become epidemic because of our disposable society - young adults, in their late 20's and 30's, have grown up learning that when there is no use for something anymore, it is thrown out. Therefore, when they feel they no longer need a relationship with their parents, the parents, too, are disposed of.

An extremely sad part of this dynamic is that so many young people deliberately use their children as weapons in their war with their parents.

Do you think you are the only people to be brought up in less than ideal situations? You're not, so get over yourselves. Severing ties with parents is not as a result of "self-awareness" and "empowerment", it comes from selfishness and a feeling of entitlement.

Here is excellent advice from a posters in another forum:

"Stop giving your ..... the power to affect you. Disarm her. You don't have to eliminate her from your life, just put it into perspective." That is true EMPOWERMENT.

"Change your "hate" into feeling sorry for your .....

Hate will just make you miserable. "

We cannot change others; we can only change ourselves.

Here is a statement from another poster that I think gets to the root of all conflict:

"Fear is the path of the dark side. Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering."

What is that you who have broken ties with your parent fear? When you address those fears, then you will be well on the way to mending your relationships.

To Wayoutwest__53, you are not alone in this, but this epidemic is a silent epidemic. Parents are afraid to talk about it because they feel they are the only people in the world to whom this has happened. You are not alone.

As you make more and more contact with other parents in the same position and listen to the stories of their estrangements, you will soon see patterns beginning to emerge:

There are children who have cut ties with their parents because they don't like the way they were raised;

There are children who have cut ties because they are married to extremely controlling spouses, both husbands and wives, who want to drive a wedge between families. This is probably the most difficult conflict with which to deal because the spouse being abused needs to develop the strength to leave the marriage.

Then there are the selfish cowards who apparently take a great deal of delight in hurting their parents just because they can.

Two more things for ALL who posted to this thread to remember:

The apple doesn't fall far from the tree


We tend to marry someone who is like the parent with whom we got along least well when we were children.

Therefore, face your fears, turn inward and take a deep look inside yourself. Unless you do, you will create suffering for not only yourself, but your parents and your offspring.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2007 at 9:02AM
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HI this is a wonderful thread. I too am estranged from my oldest daughter which means I don't get to see my 3 gbs. She has choosen her husband (who is abusive) over her family. She did run home in Nov. when he hit her but went right back. I know I could contact her but am afraid since her husband doesn't like us that if things are going good for her right now "I" will cause a fight. So I too cry and cry have sleepless nights as many of you and just pray that one day this will all be resolved. I have 3 other kids I have to worry about and raise...and have to learn that she has made her choice...and this is what she wants. She does know she and the babies are always welcome in our home if she ever wants a new life...we will help in anyway we can....I pray that one day that day will come. I will contiune to come here and read and post this is truly a good thread...stacy

    Bookmark   February 19, 2007 at 10:38AM
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I would never advocate people totally cutting off ties from their family, unless it was and is currently an extremely abusive situation. And I can't believe there are therapists that would recommend this.
Although I am a firm advocate of "time outs" with family. It prevents you from saying things that you should not. And gives them time to think about how they act. It has worked numerous times in our families because they tend to take us for granted. and I just will not put up with being disrespected. At work or by family members anymore. Having grown up as a "doormat" personality, I am so over that.
And lots of people grow up with less than perfect parents, as mature adults, you need to get past that. The fact that your childhood was unhappy is never going to change. But your acceptance of that fact affects your future. You need to get past that. You also must let the people whom you find fault with know what is the matter if they are to change their behavior. Maybe they don't even know they are doing it.
Remember parents were told to do things much differently years ago. It was a different time and place. And so many adult children forget that.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2007 at 10:46AM
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Klimkn, if you took my statement "Many, many therapists have now begun to realize that this is truly an epidemic" to mean that therapists are recommending that children estrange themselves from their families, I want to assure you that is not what I meant. What I meant was that more and more parents, mostly mothers, are seeing therapists because they have been cut off from their children and that those therapists are now beginning to consider this to be epidemic.

Every therapist that I know realizes that these situations are harmful all around and most offer to attempt to mediate. Unfortunately, the children don't realize how important it is to not let these issues go unresolved and therefore, reject mediation.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2007 at 5:44PM
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Hi everybody,
I just read through all of these posts and shared them with my husband. It's amazing to us that this is happening to so many other people like ourselves. Your stories break my heart all over again, because YOU ALL GET IT, you understand our pain, because you too live it! I am very interested in participating with the chat that goes on Thursday evenings. How do I do that? What time is it? and where do I go to on the site? God bless you all, our lives will NEVER be the same, I pray that someday they are all better as a result of this valley. Nancy

    Bookmark   February 19, 2007 at 7:30PM
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Me again. I'm wondering how have you dealt OR how do you deal with the guilt feelings of having messed up your childen's only childhood? I really struggle with that. Yeah, I realize they've made their own choices as adults, BUT when they were children we were in charge of their happiness, and in my case, I messed that up, just like my mom messed mine up. I was able to forgive and move on, and we became very close before she died. But I keep thinking, oh my I messed up their only childhood, and it hurts. My counselor tells me "You need to let go of that." but it's hard to do that. Thanks, Nancy

    Bookmark   February 20, 2007 at 7:32AM
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Wayoutwest_53: Try this:

" ...."

    Bookmark   February 20, 2007 at 10:19AM
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Once again, let's not forget that it's not only adult children who cut ties with their parents. It does happen both ways, although it's a drawing a very long bow to say, in either case, it's "endemic" - which implies it is regularly found within a population. On the contrary, I think it's still a quite a rare phenomenon.

I think it's important to realise that there's no right or wrong way on this topic - different circumstances call for different ways of handling these unique situations. I personally have not and will not sever all ties with my mother - I prefer the option of leaving the door slightly ajar by giving her the option of constructively talking through the issues between us with a view to reaching an agreed, healthy solution for both parties. But other adult children - or parents of adult children - have their own situations and I don't believe it's appropriate to make assertions or judgments on how they handle them, whether or not that means severing ties.

Njtea, you're right, we do live in disposable society, which is perhaps one of the reasons why my mother chose the option of severing ties with me (hey, she has two other adult children to keep a relationship, albeit strained, with - I only have one mother). Why not get rid of me if I don't continue to put up with the abuse she dishes out well into my adulthood? But this is a rather simplistic view to a very complex issue. Put it this way, if we were the type to continually abuse my wife, physically and then verbally, relentlessly, whenever I saw her, treated her with no respect whatsoever and scorned her to all and sundry - it would be a reasonable outcome that eventually, after several attempts to rectify the situation, she would make moves towards a divorce. In other words, we are entitled as self-respecting individuals to live life without abusive people whether or not they are your spouse, mother, friend or boss. We don't have to. Hooray for the fact that the very traditional mindset that we HAVE to have a relationship with our parents, or for that matter our adult children, regardless of how they treat us, is on the wane. It is a "selfish" attitude because by doing so the person on the receiving end is looking after themself and removing the playing field for the perpetrator to play their destructive games on.

"Then there are the selfish cowards who apparently take a great deal of delight in hurting their parents just because they can." This is a true assertion, but only tells half the story. Adding the words "...or their adult children..." after the word "parents" would tell the full story.

The assertion "the apple doesn't fall far from the tree" is another that rings true. Which is why I dug a slope and allowed my apple to roll away into a safe distance from the tree from which it fell from.

Let's keep a little balance in this thread. It's quite naive to go around thinking it only happens to parents.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2007 at 9:05PM
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I'm sorry if you misunderstood what I said in my last post. I definitely know it's not only the parents that are suffering. In fact, as you can see in my last post, I am suffering with the guilt of knowing that I ruined my children's only childhood by being so mean and hateful. And the sad part is to this day, I don't know why I was like that. I'm not that person anymore. I don't understand it, and now I suffer knowing that I'm different and I have love to give to my adult children, BUT now they don't want anything to do with me or us. How does one get this point across to the adult child if they won't talk to me? That's where I'm at now...I hope that explains that I accept full and complete responsibility (right or wrong) for the way our children grew up, but what good does that do me now? It appears no good at all. N

    Bookmark   February 21, 2007 at 9:34AM
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wayoutwest...I think that you keep evolving into a different and better person through "good" counseling, reading, books on tapes, and finding a way to do good and serve others, in the community. To work at truly shedding the destructive parts that you once were, and keeping a gratitude journal so that your spirit looks for the good in life. It may be a long time until your children have worked through their own pain and issues, and are mentally/emotionally at a place where they can be in your life without something causing them to spiral backwards into the pain. They need to do the work to become healthy and overcome the past too. That takes awhile. The changes you make are important, and it does you good, not to be the person you used to be that was mean and hateful. It must be awful to live that way, and see the world that way.

It will take time before they can trust that your changes are real, and that who you were is not hiding, ready to pounce.

Keep doing the work to become a lovely person, and truly change. Perhaps you could also give thought to a "make-over" on the outside too, as a way of truly shedding the old you, and showing everyone you know that you are finding your way to the person you want to now be. Just a thought. There may be many painful memories tied to the old you, that just seeing you triggers the painful stuff for them. But perhaps if you have a fresh new look, that others will begin to believe that you really have changed inside as well.

Use this time not obsessing on them, but on working on your growth, and serving others that will bring laughter, and good things back into your heart. That will lighten your spirit, and make your life worthwhile, so that you do not look back on these years with regret too. Make them beautiful. One day, they may find their way back to you, and find someone worth loving who is safe, and has become the parent they still need. Imagine the phone call that grown child will make to the siblings, when they discover that the changes in you are real, and that the parent who stands before them now, is the one they always needed. Someone who is kind, and encouraging, and their biggest fan. Someone who asks nothing of them, and offers love without strings, or expectations. And has the ability to let them take this in, and heal. If you see them, do not be overbearing, but gentle, and at peace. Let them feel their way as they feel comfortable, back to you. Without expectations of debts owed. Just a safe, and gentle love, that does not threaten them,but simply loves them in a way that is not threatening, or too much to deal with.

I wish you happier days ahead, and hope this helps somehow.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2007 at 9:10PM
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Thank you bnicebkind! What a great way to look at this mess. I appreciate your kind words and thoughts! Your "name" suits you well. I'm going to take your suggestion...Nancy

    Bookmark   February 23, 2007 at 7:55AM
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You are welcome! I hope it helps as you take the path of personal growth. It is an awesome journey to discover who you really are, and grow into the person you want to be, one step at a time, one day at a time. As you grow spiritually, and as you seek wisdom, joy, and peace in your life. Find a way to serve others, because it will make you feel so good about yourself, and hopefully, those you serve in some way will fill the empty places, and bring laughter and joy back into your spirit. Forgive yourself, and forgive others, as they too find their way.

The gratitude journal will help you begin to look at the world differently, and your heart will begin to look for the good in people, and in life. Just begin a journal, and each day, look for things that you are thankful for and begin to write about it.

Make this your year. A year of growth. A year of learning and understanding as you gain wisdom. Rent movies that make you laugh. Find a new friend or two. Play music that makes your heart soar! Learn to do something you have always wanted to learn.

And when people in your past peek cautiously your way, surprise them with the changes in you! When you talk about others, look for positive things to say about them! Those who knew you back when, may test you, to see if the old you is lurking somewhere in there, but surprise them with the happy, kind, gracious, and positive person you are growing into! Look for ways to help others...they will love you for it, and remember to take care of you! Be kind to yourself, but most of all, have the kind of character that takes responsibility for your mistakes, but truly forgive yourself. It is over. Today is a new day, and that is all we have to make lovely. Plant your favorite flowers, that will make you smile. On a hard day, switch gears and call a friend for lunch at a special place you love, or take a long walk and remember that in life there will be wonderful days, and hard days, so that you appreciate the good ones!

    Bookmark   February 23, 2007 at 9:23AM
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Hi, I just found these posts and I cried. I have 3 kids who have done this to me. Last week this was to much to take and I o.d. on meds. The pain is overwhelming. I have given them everything and I have been there, given up my job to raise them, to love them to care for them, to spend my last penny on them to take care their needs and wants. I have nothing more to give and now they make me feel useless, unwanted. They don't need me no more, that's what they say. They know more, they have more money, a better job, they look down on me, they make fun of me because all I know is about raising kids, school and birthday parties, they laugh at me or they call their friends for help if they don't get what they want, they use bad language. I'm still in alot of pain but I have received alot of good advise from this forum here. Thank you for all these wonderful people here.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2007 at 11:41PM
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Karola, Your view on this is reversed. By on your meds tells everyone that it is the end of "you", when in fact, it is now the "NEW BEGINNING OF YOU". You spent the last 20+ years taking care of everyone else. You have reached that time where it is now time to NUTURE "you". To look at who you have become, and begin to create a life that feels right for you, one day at a time, one step at a time. This is a time when you will see people enroll in some classes at a local college, or take on a job. To begin to take baby steps to change their lives into the life they want. There are books out about how to reinvent yourself at is "Thinking about tomorrow" by Susan Crandell, but I think that seems more directed towards people that have chosen the career path in life, and discover that for them...they are miserable in the career they had chosen, and radically give up very successful careers for a simple, but fulfilling life, that feels real.
Think about learning something new, and thinking about what you would love to do, if you could. Are you creative? Do you love to cook, paint, etc.? Are you a people person, who enjoys being around people, or do you prefer quieter environments? Are you healthy? Physical activity can help alieviate depression, and discouragement. Get healthy. You will begin to feel so much better about yourself! Perhaps you can get together with another woman or two, and learn something new every week, or go for a walk, or as spring comes, ride bikes. Find women who make you laugh, and women you trust who you can share your disappointments with. You can also volunteer somewhere, so that you can start rebuilding a resume'. But get excited about the possibilities! If you are great with kids, volunteer at a school. The kids are joyful and will love you! One step at a time, one day at a time! You can also earn money tutoring kids in math or reading. The tutors who drive to a kids house, can earn between $30-$50 and hour, and the name is quickly passed around between friends, so you could start earning money, if you want to only work a few hours a day, but need some cash. Some people like that sort of thing, and others will find it tries every bit of patience they have. Depends on you. if you are an outdoor person, look at jobs where you can be in the fresh air. Start making lists and writing and thinking and planning a path. And remember, if at first you don't succeed, try, try again. it is a path of finding your way, one step at a time. As in all of life, there will be good days, and hard days, and good days that delight you! Google: Poem "Don't You Quit" and tape it to your bathroom mirror. I wish you happy days ahead!

    Bookmark   March 7, 2007 at 10:21AM
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Yes, too many people (women mostly) live for and through their kids and when they grow up, they feel useless. Also named: empty nest syndrome. Enjoy the new phase of your life and start to do the things you always wanted to do that you did put off because of the kids. Paint, bicycle, get a job, volunteer. You need to get your self esteem back up and don't listen to those who put you down.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2007 at 10:31AM
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Our 33 year old daughter has accused us of abuse from childhood in a long, very detailed letter after a 9 month period of not talking to us over a trivial and unrelated issue. There is no truth in these allegations and she has never inferred this in the past, so we are stunned and amazed. We had to be strict with her as she was headstrong; but were not abusive. Strangely, some of the things she has said have been simple to disprove.

She is the only child of our 39 year marriage and lives alone in London and has only ever had a couple of steady boyfriends although she is pretty and very good socially. She does not have her problems to seek however, as her health is not good- she has suffered mainly gynaecological problems and then got ME (chronic fatigue syndrome) 5 years ago followed by diagnosis of a benign pituitary tumour (prolactinoma) a year later. She has been on drugs to shrink this since then. She bravely fought back from the ME and is now back at work after being off for 3 years. This period away from her employment was a blow to her as she is highly qualified and very career minded and ambitious. From her mid-twenties onwards her friends have been settling down and having kids. Also, her two younger cousins whom she was brought up close to are doing very well in their careers and settling down in their relationships as well.

My wife and I moved from our Scottish home area to southern Europe 3 years ago having always offered her much more practical support than she accepted as she is a very independent type and in fact was never a warm loving daughter. Since leaving home to go to college at 18 we have supported her financially through study years, got her started on the property ladder and contributed to her living and treatment costs while off work. She really only was able to stop being part funded by us in early Â06 since 1991.

The situation now is that she has ignored all our contacts with her. We have consulted specialists who say that her prolactinoma medication can cause delusions, so our correspondence with her has been mainly to point this out and offer help. Alternatively, she might be so angry with the way her life has turned out that she is striking out at the only people whose love is unconditional and trying to waste their lives too- incidentally, the fearful letter arrived a few days before Christmas. She has written to my wifeÂs sister and her husband, ie, the cousins parents, and told them we were abusers and thankfully they donÂt believe her but maintain friendly contact with her.

Where then do we go from here? Our fear is that this disturbance, which it is, either as delusions or anger, will get worse and start to affect other areas of her life and her livelihood. Since this happened to us we are amazed to find out from just the people we know, how many parents suffer estrangement. It is interesting to read other peopleÂs coping strategies on this forum.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2007 at 12:24PM
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Reeling, good luck. It must be difficult to handle a situation like that. Sometimes things are just out of your control. And as a parent who has done so much for your child, it must be hard to deal with her rebuffs. Hopefully time will change things for you.
I do know, from dealing with a friend that had severe mental illness that it is hard to reach out to them to help them, when they are like that. Hopefully your daughter is not experiencing some mental illness (like you describe). The best you can do is to just be there for her.
Maybe you can get in touch with a support group somewhere near where you live for coping suggestions.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2007 at 12:37PM
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My husband and I raised two daughters in a Christian home the best we could with the example of Christ's love, forgiveness, etc. We have been happily married for 25 years. I remember my husband saying to me when our youngest daughter was small that 'she would be the one to break my heart'. Sure enough, a few minutes after she turned 18, she left home to move in with her boyfriend's family (can you imagine a family taking in another child with the three boys they had already???). A year before she turned 18, our child started lying continually on her whereabouts and had never gotten in trouble at school until her senior year when she pulled others into a made-up scheme. We kept her summer earnings (which we gave back to her when summer was over), groundings, etc and nothing worked. We tried to start with a clean slate after every punishment and bought her an used car, phone but she didn't appreciate that either (she didn't take the car or phone when she moved out). Her big sister who she was close to tried to talk to her about honesty and being trustworthy and she wouldn't listen. She was going to be headstrong and stubborn and do her own thing anyway, which meant living a lifestyle that she knows is not pleasing to God.

My husband and I vowed not to blame each other for this - naturally we are all heartbroken as she has nothing to do with us and when she sees us she does not speak. We went to her graduation without being invited and she made sure we couldn't make contact with her. Of course we didn't hear from her on Mothers Day, Fathers Day, birthdays and holidays which really hurts. If it hadn't been for our Christian friends praying for us, we couldn't have made it as well as we have. Thankfully our oldest daughter still cares about us.

The family who took our daughter in did not make any contact with us but took our daughter's point of view as being correct (she is quite the drama queen). Heaven forbid this would happen to them. The boyfriend is very controlling so maybe if she wanted to now she can't get out of the relationship? I just don't have any answers and it may be years before I do.

Meanwhile, my husband, our oldest daughter and I are going on with life - we have taken trips together and go to events, etc. When a child turns 18, you have no control over them. She is the basic prodigal child from the parable in the Bible. I'm afraid she will have to hit bottom before she comes back (my husband says we'll hear from her when she needs something) and I don't want to think how far down that will be. All I can do is pray for her safety and trust that the Lord will put people in her life that can steer her in the right direction.

The not speaking to has extended to my daughter's aunts, brother in laws and grandparents. It's like we never existed. If she does wake up one of these days, she will be living with regret.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2007 at 3:30PM
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Sometimes people do this kind of thing because they have mental illness and you have no control over it. And sometimes mental illness manifests itself in the late teen years. People just attribute it to hormones, but it could be something like a borderline personality disorder. (SIL has it.) Do a google search for borderline personality disorder and you will find lots of stuff. I am guessing more people have it than are diagnosed.

Good luck. I hope I never have to deal with this stuff with my kids who are still little.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2007 at 10:51AM
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Thanks klimkm for your concern and interest. Its comforting to know other people care. Where we live in Southern Europe support groups are unheard of and the expats we know out here who have something like the same problem just seem to get on with it and cope as best they can. We feel too raw at the moment to discuss our problems in detail with our friends.
We have been through all the disorders on the web and no single one seems to fit her fully although there are similarities in various ones. We see also that even within single disorders every case is different, so she would have to get therapy to find out more about what if anything is wrong with her. We dont suppose there is any prospect of her doing that however.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2007 at 3:47PM
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Reeeling I have been thinking of you too, what a tough situation for you to be in. Amazing how these things can turn our worlds upside down, and all we want to do is find answers.

All the best to you, hope you find solutions.


    Bookmark   March 16, 2007 at 1:32AM
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Our daughter has been treated in the past for attention deficit, anxiety issues from the 5th until the 11th grade. At that time, she decided to stop taking her Celexa which I thought was helping her. This is a child who in the past had the sweetest, sunniest disposition.

Ironically I am being treated by the same psychiatrist and I asked him if she could be bipolar. He said he didn't think so and even has commented to me that of all of the teenagers he has treated, she was one that he would have never believed would have done this. She was always smiling and willing to share her thoughts with him, unlike many of the patients he treats in her age group. (Even the night she left she wrote a very sweet letter telling us she loved us.)

When she decided the fall of her senior year that she was going to move out, we met as a family with a Christian counselor. The doctor said yes, she was determined to move out and do what she wanted to but didn't think it would last three months. Now it has been 13 months and she is now 19.

I agree with the comments above that there must be a mental issue but how can you get a 19 year old to seek help when she won't even speak to you? And the boyfriend isolates her from her loved ones and his family is now her family?

    Bookmark   March 16, 2007 at 2:17PM
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Hurtneverleaves, I believe that you are right when you say that it's the controlling boyfriend who is a big part of your estrangement. Many of us whose estranged children are married or in relationships find that the spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend is totally controlling and is actively working to isolate our children from us. Your daughter can leave the relationship, but that won't happen until she is ready for it to happen - and that won't come unless or until, as you pointed out, she "hits bottom".

Reeling, you make a very good point when you say that it could be that your daughter is angry about what life has dealt her and she is taking that anger out on you.

In my family's case, we believe that our daughter/sister/niece is too frightened to be angry with her husband, so she has turned to those she feels she is safe with to express that anger. Although none of us have spoken to her in over two years, I truly believe that she knows we will always love her and will be here for her when she is ready to resolve the marital issues.

Reeling and Hurtneverends, you might want to look at posts on this thread from Lulusue.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2007 at 8:45AM
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Thank you for your kind words Popi and also Dirtboysdad. We have told our daughter innumerable times that we love her dearly and also in trying to contact her recently told her she was a much loved daughter so hope someday this anger or whatever it is will disappear and shell resume contact and hope your situation resolves itself too. Meanwhile we have taken your advice and read Lulusues posts.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2007 at 3:46PM
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I discovered this site by accident this morning and I am overwhelmed that there are so many people in my predictament. I thought my son was the only one who walked away from his family and not look back. We have blamed the then girlfriend and now wife for changing him but I guess in the end, we have to hold him accountable for his actions, as well. He married her 1 year ago and we were not wanted at the wedding although technically we received an invitation. Lots of disparaging e-mails and lots of hurtful things said and done. I feel like I'm grieving and can't think of anything else. I have 3 other children but something is missing. He only keeps in touch with his one brother and chooses not to bother with his sisters or grandparents. Numerous cards have been sent to remind him that we still love him but no word comes back. They didn't want us at their wedding, did everything in their power to let us know that and yet when I sent him a Christmas card, he wrote a letter back asking me where was I on his wedding day. They feel they did nothing wrong and have nothing to apologize for and yet I have apologized for everything and/or anything I might have done to offend them. I really need help in trying to minimize this sadness that plaques me and the rest of our family. I've offered professional mediation, clergy intervention and everyone including me in the family has made an attempt at reconcillation. I wish I had an answer and solution to this horrible situation.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2007 at 7:42PM
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Yes, celtic maddie, join the club, so to speak. Looking back, neither my wife or I would have considered it an option to estrange our parents unless for something exceptionally bad. We would have sorted the problem out with discussoins, arguents, etc, or even not sorted it out, but would not have been able to live with the cruelty of estranging them. So what's in the minds of our children for deciding on that route, we cannot fathom. Having said that, we didn't even get to the stage of discussion with our daughter before she cut us off.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2007 at 7:04AM
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Celtic_maddie, perhaps a bit of advice: don't grovel, don't keep writing, apologizing and asking for reconciliation. Your son is not going to respond in the manner in which you want him to and all you are doing is keeping the estrangement at the forefront of your mind.

However, send one last note to him telling him that you will no longer have any contact with him, but that you will always love him and will be available any time he needs you.

In effect, cut him off the way he cut you off - take his power over you away from him and take your control back.

This was the advice given to me by a friend who is a social worker and a great believer in "tough love." She also told me that should my daughter (who told us to never call her again) ever call us, whoever answered the phone was to say to her "I'm sorry but I can't talk to you" and hang up the phone. I don't think I could go quite that far, but it's an interesting scenario to contemplate.

However, writing that one last note to our daughter was quite liberating, at least for me.

I agree with your assessment that it is probably the wife who is at the bottom of your estrangement.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2007 at 7:26AM
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The relief in knowing that it's not me alone that is going through this kind of agony is overwhelming. The advice from reeling was so true. My husband and I have said so many times along this road that he should have said to this girl when she first started to carry on that you don't have to love my parents, you don't even have to like my parents but you do have to respect them. We wanted so much for him to stand up to her and demand respect for us. When they did speak to us, she always brought up the remark "Where did I get this sense of entitlement?" After hearing this numerous times, I finally exploded one day and said to the both of them; to her first, that my sense of entitlement came from making him the catch that she so desperately wanted and was determined to get and to him, I said that my sense of entitlement came from working 3 jobs to put him through a private high school and 4 years of college with no debt owed to anyone. After that explosion, I got up from my seat and walk out of the restaurant where they had commanded a meeting with us. I can't understand why this girl's mother didn't step in and tell her to quit her nonsense and get along with her future husband's family. However, the background to our story is that the girl's mother and father were married for 26 years and he came home and announced a girlfriend. I should have known then that I was in trouble because her mother was very attractive and one would wonder why he would look elsewhere when he had such an attractive wife and thus there were personality glitches in both of them, mother and daughter. Anyway, she held it against my husband and I that we were still married and resented what happened to her mother. So when they finally married, you normally have 4 families represented at a wedding; 2 from the bride's side and 2 from the groom's this wedding there was 1 family because the father wasn't wanted either. We would have never behaved in this manner towards either our parents or our in-laws for that matter. I appreciate the input from everyone. Thank you.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2007 at 7:36PM
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There's to many replies to this thread for me to read them all, but would like to add, I am estranged from both my sons. They are both almost 50. I closed the bank/purse on my youngest and the other is a homeless alcoholic who does not want to upset me with his lifestyle. I have accepted it, nothing I can do about it. We are leaving our money to a college scholarship fund and have made peace with it. I moved to a patio home, 95% are seniors, 60% or more are widows or divorced. The only time I miss my sons is when I see the widows move in and their sons hovering around offering to install this or that. I sure do miss my babies and the small boys they were, but I don't know the men they are today.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2007 at 10:24PM
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Reading all this just breaks my heart, what has happened to our children of today. I would never have even though of treating my parents in such a manner.

I have 2 daughters, one is loving the other has moved away and keeps his distance from me, only talk to her when I call or e-mail her. And I don't know why. It must be some kind of mental illness I think.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2007 at 8:06AM
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Hello everybody,
The first time I looked at this website was February 16. So much has happened since then. I wrote my initial post that day, and have viewed the site religiously since then. My heart is just broken for everyone who has posted on here. I have some encouraging news for you though. I see a psychologist "as needed" and the last time I saw him, I told him that I thought there needs to be a support group for this type of pain and suffering. He agreed and told me to put an ad in the local newspapers (free ad)and address people to contact the clinic if interested. I did, and we have 5 people signed up so far. We are looking at starting in April. We will have a certified counselor to lead the group, and there is no cost. This will be in Poulsbo, Wa. If any of you reading this are in this area feel free to write me at and I'll fill you in on the details. My heart goes out to everyone that is hurting, we all know how each other feels, and what you are going through. I have compassion and sadness for our children too, they must be very angry or shutdown inside of themselves. God be with all of us, both sides, kids and parents.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2007 at 7:04PM
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In most cases, I don't think it is anything the parents have done. I think we are born who and what we are. I have two sons, one is just like my Dad and the youngest is just like his Dad. Years back there were 6 babies born to one mom, they were on TV several times as they grew. Once a specialist did a study of their genes and described each child's personality. He described them perfectly. It was eerie, the parents were really shocked. Of course it helps the child to live in a good environment with guidance, but it won't change the child.

I wish it was different between my boys and me, but I don't feel any pain over it. You have to move on.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2007 at 10:16PM
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Trust me, if I could move on that easily I'd be on the fast track, I don't want to be miserable anymore. I want to be able to laugh with my husband again, and mean it, instead of feeling guilty for laughing. My counselor has helped a lot, prayer helps a lot, but the pain is still there. I miss my children, and I want to be a part of their lives, I don't think there is anything wrong with that. I am grieving losing them and having a really tough time with it.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2007 at 11:44PM
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There is nothing wrong with grieving for your kids, it is like a death or a multiple death. My neighbor is in the same boat as you are. It's destroying her, she is sad all the time. My mother told me something years ago about redirecting your thinking. She told me to think about the good things in my relationship with my husband, don't dwell on the things that upset me. She was right, I can redirect and think about something else. Now he is in a care home, doesn't even know how to feed himself. I had three vascular problems in my brain and two doctors told me I had to control my stress or I would die, so I am redirecting again. I am 70 and in good health and in control of myself and my thoughts. And I am happy.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2007 at 6:39PM
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I want that so much! I try to think about other things, but my mind keeps coming back to the pain. It's killing me, and in a way, I wish it would. I don't want to live with this suffering anymore. Thanks for writing back, and I'm very sorry to hear about your husband, very sorry. And, I'm sorry to hear about your medical problems as well. You have given me hope. Thank you

    Bookmark   March 25, 2007 at 9:27PM
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thank you for replying to my comments. I have had such a rough year with my husband but am ok now. SRS is handling the division of assets, they said I could buy a new car, so bought a Nissan Murano this week and I didn't get all the paper worked signed, so I am off to get that done and will shop a little in a near by town.

BTW, at this point in my is MY life and no one's life is worth more than mine, not my husband nor my kids. I am going to live my life the best I can until it's over. It's my sons loss/problem, not mine. I am going to the rain forest or Belize as soon as I can arrange it. And will go to the Amazon Rain Forest next spring with our local Zoo.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2007 at 10:07AM
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I woke up this morning feeling depressed about my own situation and decided to do something proactive about it. I search and found this site and after reading the postings feel much better. I too have a son, 24 soon to be 25 who has disrepected, hurt, abused and used going on 7 years now. Just over the weekend we had another "episode" with him involving my other son who is 21. We have forgiven our 24 year old son numerous times & have run to his rescue each time he has hurt himself by street fighting, falling into camp fires while drunk, speaking to a judge to let him out on work release. It goes on and on. Late last year he wanted to work things out with us and start fresh again. This time he had another person or persons in tow... A 24 year old girl who has never been married who has 2 children, each from different fathers. Our son told us that this girl was now pregnant with his child. We sensed trouble however held our heads up and gave this girl and our son the benefit of the doubt. During her pregnancy we tried to form a relationship with her children. We purchased Christmas, Easter and birthday gifts for them and treated them as our own. We have never been grandparent before so this area was new to us. We assisted our son and his girlfriend financially by loaning money to them to pay their rent after the received eviction notices. We gave them gas money to come and visit us, paid their utilities and loaned more money so they could get into low income housing. Our biological granddaughter was born in July of 2006 and we were so thrilled to have a grandchild. Of course we continued to show attention to my son's girlfriends children however the girlfriend quicly "changed" and became very selfish with our new grandbaby. We were not allowed to take her, stipulations were placed on us that if we didn't take her kids then we could not take our own. We explained we only wanted to bond with our granddaughter one night and from there we would take the others. This has been the beginning of a 6 month fight and estrangement from our son and our granddaughter. Our son has called us several times drunk, complaining about his girlfriend and tells us he is lonely and misses his family. Recently we tried to talk to him of course he was not sober and he became very hostile and vulgar. He called me a b... and my husband and 21 year old son were astonished as he has never talked to me that way before. We have since walked away from the situation feeling like there is nothing that can be done. We are heart broken because now there is our grandchild at stake. We worry about her safety and never thought that it would come to this. We realize we have done everything possible to help our son and he has chosen his lifestyle. I did receive some very disrespectful e-mails from the girlfriend over the weekend however I held firm and told her I did not want to be contacted. My son plans to marry this girl this summer and it sickens me. I too have those moments where I wonder if I had done AB or C would the outcome have been different? I am a well respected individual within our community and I have feelings of shame over this situation. What would my professional peers think of me if they knew my son called me a b... or a part of the female anatomy? My god what has our world come to? We sent this son to private school, spent many hours coaching him in baseball and encouraged his dreams to be a graphic artist. Now he is living in low-income housing, receiving food stamps, medicaid and lives with a girl who has 3 children from 3 different fathers. Honestly with this girls history we have had thoughts wondering if the baby is our own grandchild. I do well most of the time, just today it hit me hard. I am thanful for finding this group and wish all of you well.

Thank you

    Bookmark   March 27, 2007 at 2:01PM
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From the sounds of all these posts - so many of them involve substance abuse. And / or mental illness or a borderline personality disorder of some kind.
How horrible. Maybe going to AA or alanon meetings can help you understand and give you an approach idea. And keepyourheadup - sounds like your son needs to get sober - I hope that happens.
Just continue to send cards on birthdays and such. Take the high road - you will never be wrong. And don't get into battles with the spouses - no matter how wrong they are - you will always lose.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2007 at 4:58PM
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With all due respect, each person has to deal with this in whatever way is best for them. Some need to continue to send cards and others need to move on with their lives, some can do both. I respect all paths and have no judgement has to which one is the correct path, we are all different beings.

I think estrangments come in two types, those who are deeply hurt by the estrangment and wish to mend it anyway possible and those who are deeply hurt by the estrangment who wish to never reconcile and in my book neither is wrong, and neither hurts more or less than the other.

Just because I no longer wish to reconcile with my child, doesnt mean it hurts less, I still mourn for the child I lost, but my child deciding to do harmful things to me and my family will no longer be tolerated. I sincerely wish her the best in life, wish she becomes all that she wants to become but I no longer want to share the good or the bad with her. But I am still being deprived of a daugther that I birthed and that is so hurtful, whether it be by choice or necessity.

I thought I would never be this mother. Never walk away from one of my own children. Unconditional love. My daughter has shown me many things about myself I did not know, I have to learn to accept those things even if they werent' a part of the original belief system I build about myself. That can be a tough pill to swallow.

I did my best, that much I know. And I do still love her but from a very big distance because her actions are toxic to me and my family. I don't believe the hurt she has caused will ever be mended, I don't believe the hurt she feels will ever be dealt with.

This was not the design merely the horrible reality. I feel for all the parents in the same situation as I. I belive that there are cases of good parents/bad kids, bad parents/good kids, as well as good parents/good kids, bad parents/bad kids. All you can do is your best, call it a day, and realize that the outcome may not have had too much to due with your capability as a parent. We all tried, hard. No one wanted this and most of all none of us anticipated it yet we all still have to deal with it.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2007 at 8:21PM
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Dear chloemichelle - Your last posting really hits the nail on the head. I too never thought I would be this mother. My son's actions are toxic and I need to cut ties before his actions affect the rest of my children. I have 2 teenage daughters and they have seen and experienced far too much anger, hostility and abusive behavior from my son. He is the oldest and my hope was that he would turn his life around and be a role model for his siblings. I rest easy knowing both my husband and I did all we can for him. The hard part will be in a few months when he realizes he is wrong (again) but this time he just has done too much damage. I admire your strength and hope we could all move forward. Our son has his own life, he is 24 and has an 8 month old daughter. This is hard as she is the first grandchild for us. What will she think of us? I worry about her and will never have that precious relationship. I know my son needs to enter into sobriety and maybe someday he will. Thanks again:)

    Bookmark   March 28, 2007 at 1:13AM
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I have been searching for this subject matter for a long time and am glad to know I'm not alone. With a 31 yr. old son in prison and his 33 yr. old brother recently estranged from me, my emotions are off the charts. I should be used to this (if I had time to write my history, the younger in and out of juvenile hall, 4 rehabs, and the climactic drama resulting in a 12 yr. sentence for assault 5 years ago.) I'm now struggling with how to deal with the 4 grandchildren, 3 from the eldest, and the other with my ex-daughter-in-law who's in the Na
vy and has been to Iraq. She allows me to have contact with the 10 yr. old grandson, but we are not close now in many ways.

Married at 18 a week out of high school back in 1972, I cried through the wedding and honeymoon knowing I'd made a huge mistake. My marriage lasted 8 years. My boys were 4 and 6 when we divorced. Then the ex literally came one day and stole the children from me not a year later. I was not allowed to see them for a year and then later saw them off and on, when my ex and his new wife started having problems with them. They'd be kicked out for this and that, the blame on me. During the teen years both sons were incorrigible, and I had to have the youngest arrested more times than I can count. I was a struggling single mom, my parents living in the same town, unsupportive, and my dad cut me off from his life when I wouldn't throw my sons out for all the trouble. My eldest was never arrested, just always "went along".

And even so, I loved those boys, I nearly lost my job as a legal secretary because I had to go to parent days at the rehab clinic. But I was tough, I thought we'd get through all the dramas. When the boys would spend the summer with their father he'd talk them into staying with him and literally brainwashed them against me. This happened all the time and I would drive home after having a weekend with them with thoughts of suicide, crying uncontrollably.

Then they grew up, if you can call it that. Trouble began with the youngest getting my future ex-DIL pregnant so they married. I loved that little grandchild though and doted on him. They had their troubles and my new husband and I bailed them out financially and moved them near us three times. The other son secretly married and then expected me to love his wife, which I could never in a million years (she set her car on fire for insurance $$) and was generally not a nice person. They started having kids and problems, and at least she had her parents nearby who were unconditional. We gave my son 4 vehicles at different times, thousands of dollars, furniture. I flew down whenever he was in an accident (my sons apparently are prone to them), and kept groceries on the table and cooked, cleaned, painted rooms, whatever (did too much, I know).

Presently, the incarcerated son writes to me and is educating himself, although he has been in isolation for 5 years. I visit him once or twice a year as he is 10 hours away. He got involved in a white supremist movement for a time, and I don't think he's involved now. I'm as liberal as they come so I estranged myself for about a year from him as I was quite furious with him. Then, he wrote and apologized. What I do now is send him books, some that he wants, but mostly those I think will help him in some small way. I do not plan on helping him when he gets out because he is in for a violent crime, and, frankly, I am afraid of him even though I think he is healing. But I never have trusted him, so there you go.

The eldest has turned out to be just like his dad, always blaming me for everything that happened 23 years ago. He is currently upset because I seem to always help his brother and don't do enough for him.

I give up. I don't even "like" these sons. I'm with "jonesy" on this - I don't even "know" these boys. I think what Kahlil Gibran says is significant in that our children are not our children, they are the arrows that spew forth from us (or something like that).

And I like what someone said about how families would move to parts unknown and never be heard from again. In fact, that is what my husband and I are doing. We're getting the heck out of Dodge and moving far, far away so we can live our lives. Even though I live in Oregon, and my estranged son is in Nevada, I still need to be farther away.

Thank you so much all of you. I really needed to hear your perfect descriptions, your suggestions, and your coping methods. I have blamed myself for so long, and I know it doesn't help. I know also that I did the best I could with what little time I had with my sons. I still don't know what to do with the grandkids, but from the times I've been with them, I really don't want much to do with them. May sound terrible, but I just don't have the energy to deal with more and more dramas. I feel so guilty and selfish, however, and I know that doesn't help. Is it wrong to not like your own children? The more I know about them the less I want to be around, even with the grandkids. I just foresee problems. Sorry for this lengthy dissertation.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2007 at 3:20AM
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I can understand what you are saying. I feel the same way about my children, I really don't know who they are anymore, very sad. They were such nice little children then they grew up to be strangers.

I really envy families that are close and do things together, I wonder what their secret is. Maybe just luck,I don't know.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2007 at 8:55AM
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I was just about to post what klimkam said: Substance abuse has taken over so many, many young people. My son was a big problem as a teen and young adult, drinking, pills, wrecking cars, had 1,2,3 DUI's, etc. I did everything I could, I hope, to help him, yet I still have the guilts about many things I should have taken care of at the time, and didn't. Well, he turned 45 in March, and is a wonderful man. He has a wife, job, is very smart and has practically rebuilt the house they live in. I received a letter from him a couple of years ago, in which he thanked me for everything I did, for sticking by him, loaning him money, just in general being there when things were rough. We sent him through two rehabs and neither seemed to work, but after a while he seemed to come to and realize what was happening with his life. I credit his wife, who takes no S..., for helping him a great deal. He lives in another state, but we speak on the phone every weekend.
I tell you this because, if you guys can make it through the next few years and let these children really mature, I think things will be better. .

    Bookmark   April 1, 2007 at 11:57AM
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I know it can be difficult esp. in the early years. There can be a fine line between helping and enabling. Which can only make it worse and is terrifically difficult for a parent to see I am sure.

Although I have never experienced this I do come from a family where there was substance abuse and I have seen this happen.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2007 at 10:50AM
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As I read this thread, my first reaction is sadness that you are suffering so over the break in the relationship with your adult children. I imagine that they are self centered, and that something is so lacking in them, that they do not value the "gift" of family who have nurtured them and cared for them. And I hurt for you.

And then I read the thread on the step parent forum "My mother-in-law verbally attacked me" and another thread about the incredible "meanness" of some mother-in-law's...
and I remember that it is easy to "judge" without really hearing "both" sides of a story. Some adult children find it necessary to cut off a relationship, because their mental and/or emotional health depends on it. They find that this person creates such needless pain in their life, and it gets to a point where the other person is just so toxic to them, and consumes them...and they cut the relationship off.

Yes, I realize that there are many adult children who do this sort of thing, simply because they are so self centered, and shallow. But there are many others, that if we heard their side of the story, would tell you of the pain this person brings into their spirit, with constant put downs, gossip, hurtful words, bad attitudes, body language etc., that creates such pain. People can and do inflict all of this, often not having to say it out loud. Eyes rolling, comments under their breath, etc. that shouts their disapproval without them actually saying it out loud. And it can become so toxic to anothers self esteem, that they pull away, to protect themselves.

Many of you on here may be wonderful people, who never deserved this kind of pain. But I imagine there are others who are reaping what they have sewn. That they have treated someone in a way that has created hurt. And the other chose to live their life free of the conflict and pain that was being inflicted on them.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2007 at 7:57PM
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I want to add that for those of you who are suffering the pain and sorrow of estrangement from adult children, and have been treated unfairly, because you did not do anything to warrant such treatment, I am so sorry that something like this has happened, and I want to encourage you not to lose hope, and my hope for you is that you will find your way back to one another.

Perhaps it will be like the story of The prodical son. Let them know that when they are ready, they are welcome and loved. For some people, they must find their way in life and they go about it the hard way. But if you let them know that when they are ready, they are welcome back, it seems to me that at some point, they will find their way back. Does that make sense?

And for those who have behaved in a way that has created such a rift, IMO, it takes a real shift in thinking and behaving, in a way that is fully accountable for your behavior, and sincerely apologetic for your behavior...without excuses, and without blame. There are some great books on tape on true forgiveness. To ask for forgiveness, the apology cannot be phrased in a way that makes excuses for the bad behavior (blame) or insincere apologies (for example...I am sorry if you misunderstood what I was trying to not an apology). It is having the guts to actually own up to bad behavior, and actually ask to be forgiven...and not continuing the bad behavior again. To decide that you will treat these people in your life with kindness, respect, and encouragement. To smile at them, and to be good to them.

If you are reaping what you have sewn, it can be turned around. But it may take time for those you have hurt to believe that the changes in you are sincere, because they have been hurt. And they may be afraid that if they invite you back into their life, and hearts, that once they let their guard down, that they will be hurt again. You must show them that the apology and changes are sincere. You may find yourself disappointed in the time it takes for them to welcome you back with open arms. Healing can take time. It may be over time that they begin to see that the changes are real and sincere.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2007 at 10:53PM
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Cutting off relationships seldom, if ever, results in anything postive for either side.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2007 at 10:12AM
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To bnicebkind - I absolutely agree with you. We are all prodigal children in the eyes of God - He lets us do what we want and is always ready to forgive if we ask. That is our example to follow as parents. The Lord knows when we are sincere in asking Him for forgiveness. We don't want to be hurt again if our daughter comes back but believe that we will know if she is truly sorry for her actions. The door is always open and she knows that we love her, even if we don't understand why she has acted as she has. She has to reach the point that she wants to turn her life around - and it make take years.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2007 at 12:06PM
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Flipping through radio stations and the words "Parenting Prodigals" caught my attention. So I listen for a bit. A man by the name of Phil Waldrep has written a book and has a book on tape out if you are the parent (or know someone) who is "Parenting Prodigals" He actually had some good advice on how to handle this. Evidently he has six important points if you are in this situation. I would probably get the tape or CD since I don't know if I would ever get around to reading the book.

Thought I would pass this on to anyone who might find it helpful.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2007 at 2:24PM
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I'm new to this site and stumbled across it after googling 'estranged from adult children'. The fact that it's a gardening site is a bonus as I love to potter around in the yard.

Reading your stories has been very insightful and opens your eyes to how many people out there are cut-off from family.

I'd like to offer my perspective as the person being held soley responsible for 'breaking up the family'. You see, I'm the dreaded daughter-in-law. We've been estranged from my husband's family, which includes his parents, his sister (only sibling), her husband and two children, for over four years. Sadly, we have lost my husband's extended family, too, as they have allied themselves with my in-laws without bothering to hear our story. We don't pursue a relationship because if they can't be bothered to make their own judgements they're not worth knowing.

To give you some background, my husband was born when his mother was only 19 and unmarried. She left her son with her mother until he was 3. She met and married step-father-in-law then she reclaimed her son from her parents. My husband's grandmother had recently died and he barely knew this woman (his mother) and didn't know her new husband at all. Sister-in-law was born when my husband was 5. Throughout their childhood and extending into adulthood the siblings were treated completely differently - my husband is considered a foolish, naughty, problem-child and the sister-in-law is the golden child who had no boundaries and can do or say nothing wrong.

I met my inlaws when I was about 15 as they were friends of my parents.

Throughout the early years of our relationship I witnessed the inequity in how my husband and his sister were treated by the in-laws. How the sister-in-law could make the most offensive, inappropriate remarks and that the others would overlook it and if my husband said anything about it they would rally around sister-in-law and then all three would all jump on him like a ton of bricks. I guess he was used to the dynamics as he seemed unaffected but I was very uncomfortable with it and it upset me to see them treat the man I loved this way. Being a coward and the eternal peacekeeper I didn't say a word but kept a very low profile so that I wouldn't be a target of their venom. I was not used to this behaviour at all as my parents treated all three of their children exactly the same. It worked well as I don't think they noticed me at all.

Then we had children and everything began to go pear-shaped. We both had daughters, six months apart. Though we'd planned our pregnancy for about two years, sister-in-law became pregnant with her new boyfriend very suddenly and delivered before us. Sister-in-law questioned whether we decided to have a child because she was and became very spiteful about our stealing her thunder. (She became pregant two weeks after her husband's brother and his wife delivered their first child.)

It was not until our child was born that the inequality in his family became obvious to my husband. His sister, and to a lesser extent, his parents began to treat our daughter as they'd treated him - like she's worth less. Of course, she was six months younger than her cousin but they treated her like she was intellectually and developmentally challenged because she couldn't do the things her cousin could do. It was ridiculous and we'd carefully remind them that she was actually younger and quite normal for her age.

My mother-in-law had always been civil to me in years past but things changed when sister-in-law became pregnant. It was as though I'd outlived my usefullness as her daughter was now providing her with a grandchild. Out of the blue, she began ringing my husband and making outrageous accusations about things I had allegedly done. None of it was true and it hurt me to the core but what hurt me more was my husband didn't defend me. He said 'oh, you know what she's like' and just dismissed my pain. Rather than confront them, I began to quietly withdraw from the relationship with my in-laws. I'd suggest my husband take our daughter to see her grandparents without me and I'd catch up on some housework or some sleep. I just couldn't face them, nor the inevitable arguments with my husband about their treatment of him and our daughter. He just refused to see it.

Finally, the defining moment arrived when I made the decision to cut-off totally. My sister-in-law made some sexually offensive remarks about our then-4-year-old daughter. I didn't make a scene at the time as I was outnumbered but i told my husband when we got home that I was done, and I told him why. He hadn't heard the remarks sister-in-law made but was outraged when I told him. He confronted the sister-in-law who went sobbing to mommy. Mother-in-law went absolutely beserk and pretty much told my husband that he's no longer a member of the family. My husband said 'fine' and cut them off too.

Two years after the cut-off my father died quite suddenly. The in-laws attended the funeral where sister-in-law got very drunk at the wake which followed the service and became very disrespectful and spiteful towards us. As Dad's funeral was neither the time nor the place my husband confronted his sister (by phone) a week later about how she had behaved. She dismissed him with a 'get over it' and he let her have it. Not five minutes after the phone call ended, mother-in-law rang to say that husband is no longer a member of the family and that she didn't know why I was so upset because 'you couldn't stand your father when he was alive'. I was utterly devasted as I loved my father dearly. Since the funeral the extended family, who are nice, reasonable people, have withdrawn from us and we're totally out of their lives.

I guess the gist of this post is to point out that sometimes it's neither the parent nor the estranged child that is to blame. Favouritism, spitefulness, sibling rivalry, attention-seeking and jealousies often play a big part in estrangements.

My sister-in-law exploited her position as the favoured child and now she and her children have the undivided attention of her parents. Not only that but she has divided her husband's family too. He no longer has anything more than a casual acquaintance with his brother, sister-in-law and children. Sadly, my parents-in-law refuse to see that there's a pattern here and that their daughter is the common link.

It really saddens me to see my husband hurting and to see my children without the joy of an extended family. We are willing to forgive and re-establish a relationship with my parents-in-law despite how they've treated us but we know what their ultimatum would be. They'd insist we have a relationship with sister-in-law and her family. An all or nothing reconcilliation and we just can't do that as we need to protect our children.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2007 at 10:12AM
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Good move cutting off your SIL and their family. Your first responsibility is to your own family, DH and your children. And that means that you cannot be around what I call "toxic" individuals.

There is just some behaviors that cannot be tolerated. By doing so you are "enabling" those individuals to continue their bad behavior. They do not learn any consequences. This is very common in people with subtance abuse and with folks that are in relationships with substance abusers.

I think it is harder on those folks that choose to cut themselves off than it is for the offending parties. As they really don't care what anyone thinks - obvious otherwise they wouldn't act intolerably.

Start making your own traditions that do not include an extended familiy. Your children will thank you for a relatively peaceful upbringing with no drama!

Good luck!

    Bookmark   April 20, 2007 at 11:22AM
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I too, am part of this sad group. Three and 1/2 years ago, after countless acts of disobedience,cutting school and breaking the law, my 4th child and only daughter came home from breaking curfew at 1 in the morning, the 3rd time that week, and I did not open the door. She was 17. She went to a friend's home and lived there 8 months. She quit high school,had complete freedom, and divorced me from that day forward. She has stayed in contact with her father, as he has continued to help her out financially. I know in my heart she was loved and well taken care of as a child and those memories I will always cherish. Why she was unable to accept any rules and respect any authority as she grew older, I may never know. I can not seem to be able to forgive her for all the hurt she has caused and I can not seem to be able to forgive myself for not being able to open that door that fateful night. I know if I had opened the door, then the next night would be a repeat and the night after that and the night after that and so on.......but I will always feel that as her mother, I should have been able to keep the door open, literally as well as figuratively. I guess, I will die with the knowledge that a better person than myself should have been her mother because that night was my "line in the sand" moment. I could not endure one more cruel verbal attack, one more disobedient episode. I had tried everything to reach this child, to no avail. I was so glad that I had my 3 boys first, because I know I was a good Mom...just maybe not the best Mom for her. I blame drugs for a huge part of her personality change, but even with all the help we tried to get for her, nothing worked. Looking back, I can see how she rarely needed me and rarely showed me affection. She has never given any insight into why..and to this day, I am the one that grieves. Her divorcing me has changed the inner core of who I am. My relationship with my own Mom is a very close one, so I have no understanding of who this daughter of mine really is. I know by reading the other posts, that this is not an uncommon occurance in families but estrangements are so debilatating and the pain that they create is, at times, much too much to bear. I know my daughter is still young. But even though she is only 20, she has what she wanted, obtained at the cost of our family. She has a life without a mother. What a loss for both of us.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2007 at 4:10PM
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My prayers are with you, sherheart. Sounds like you did everything you could. My 19 year old daughter doesn't want anything to do with me either - and I don't understand because she knows I love her. I won't tolerate the lying or deceit, though, when she doesn't have to, and I don't blame you for not tolerating her disrespectful behavior. I know Mother's Day was very tough - it was for me too. I am glad it is over. We just have to hold on to hope that things will turn around one of these days.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2007 at 1:17PM
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Thank you for your kind words, hurtneverleaves. Yes, Mother's Day was once again very sad. I heard from both sons that live far away and my 3rd son came home for a wonderful visit, so yesterday I tried not to dwell on what I have lost but instead felt blessed by what I do still have. My hope for my daughter to become a kind, loving and honest person with self-respect, erodes a little more every day, week, month, year that goes by with her silence. I wonder if she will ever comprehend the damage her self-centeredness has wrought.......... I pray every day for her as well as for myself.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2007 at 4:11PM
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I have made peace with my being estranged from my 2 sons. I can't fix it, I wish we didn't have this problem, but I refuse to let it destroy my life. I also refuse to leave them money when I die. The only time I even think about the situation is when I see my neighbor's sons come over to do some garden work for her. I think about what I am missing, but I get over it in a hurry. I don't know what happen to my sweet little boys, very sad.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2007 at 8:20PM
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bnicebkind are confusing me with mummydoink. Mummydoink wrote about needing to cut off the relationship with her SIL. Thankfully, my SIL has many wonderful qualities, and is a blessing!

    Bookmark   May 15, 2007 at 3:56PM
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Thank you, sherheart, for your May 10 post. We had to refuse to let my daughter come home last night, and I do hate myself today, more than she hates me. If she lives through it, I'm sure it will be better for her than the violent/cursing/dependent cycle she was putting us through here. But it's going to be difficult to occupy myself today--not that I didn't already have enough to do--because my heart is broken in more than one way. I want her to have somewhere to stay & I want to fix it for her. Not being able to is really, really tough. By the way, if I was the "better person" that you were describing, I put up with the behavior & tried to get help for her for 7 years--same result as your daughter--20 & only knows me when she thinks she can bully me into her current thinking pattern.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2007 at 9:00AM
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Dear mendingheart, I am so very sorry. I read your post and felt once again, the same, deep to the soul ache that never really goes away. How can a daughter ...any daughter....cause such pain to the parents that loved and cared for her every minute since she was born? I ask this and many other unaswerable questions daily, hoping to find some kind of answer and remedy. Please know that time dulls the pain somewhat........but that hole in your heart is going to be an intricate part of who you are. I truly am so sorry. I hope the saying is correct about adversity making one stronger. We need all the strength we can get.....and hope.....and faith.......... and the belief that when we kept the door locked, it was all we had left to try and reach them. I pray that one day, the love behind that decision, is what will be recognized.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2007 at 11:01PM
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Oh my gosh, I'm so grateful I found this forum. My daughter is 24 and has a 2 year old son. My husband and I have severed our ties with her several times, however this time it's for good. She has stolen from us, robbed us and now she is living with a violent man who is putting our grandson at risk. So, we have given our ex son in law our support and financial assistance and praying he will get custody of our grandson.

I thought that my husband and I were the only people going through this.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2007 at 12:16PM
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I started a blog and you are all welcome to post your issues too.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2007 at 7:16PM
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I hope this group doesn't go away, as I feel it is vitally necessary. I am the mother of four adult children, ages from 44 down to 32. Each of them has problems; maybe caused by me because I wasn't the best of parents when they were young but I have more than tried to make up for that. In any case, they all treat me with disrespect and so I moved far from them but will always have a heavy heart because of it. I think dialogue here is good and hope there is more of it.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2007 at 6:44PM
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Jane, I too agree, that with this painful reality, hearing others thoughts and feelings, aid so much in the day to day living through estrangement. By being able to know we are not the only parent out there that feels abandoned and unneeded, the pain is a tad bit lessened. I am an "answer" person. I want answers and reasons why things happen. My estrangement from my only daughter has given me none of the understanding that I need in order to heal. I guess by reading these posts, I catch glimmers of the why and why nots in other parents estrangements and I am able to commiserate with their heartache. It is true, that misery loves company but I think sharing our grief, also allows us to heal. Thank you for opening back up this discussion. I want to get to the forgiveness part and stop feeling long does it take? I would have thought after 3 years and 7 months, I would sure be out of this " still feeling abandoned and bitter " stage. I think I am stuck.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2007 at 9:08AM
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I find all of your posts very sad yet so helpful in that they allow me to see that my husband and I are not the only forgotten ones.
Our only child- a 24 year old son has turned his backs on us completely. We deidcated our lives to him, did everything we could for him and now he will not even call or email us. I find myself staring at his myspace page and crying because it is the only way I have any connections with him.
I guess it had been coming for a while. He left home 6 years ago to go to school 1000 miles from home. Despite being an only child who had everything done for him, he moved away and never looked back. He got his BS then his MBA with a stint in Asia doing an internship with the mutlinational corp that he now works for as a financial analyst. The job is also 1000 miles away.
I guess I should have realized that he no longer had any use for us when after we rented a car to go to his MBA ceremony and help him move from his apt. on campus to the apt. near his new job. As soon as we had lugged his belongings to the new place, he told us that it was time for us to leave. Two days early. During the 5 days we were there he locked himelf in his room, refused to be seen with us and we felt really hurt.
He had met the love of his life- a trailer trash low class gold digger GED diploma homely and very ungrategul girl who moved in with him within days of meeting him.
When I commented in a phone call that it was odd that she did not work and that he had to support her 19 year old self she overheard the call and got furious. She accused us of being prejudice becasue she was low class and poor.
My husband and I are both college educated professionals, as were my parents. We are very comfortable financailly and feel that our son should at least try to find someone somewhat comparable in education, financial position and ambition.
When we went out at his request to look for a house as she had to live in a house as an apt. was not good enough for her- my husband and I were accused of all sorts of things ranging rom insulting Miss Prim by telling her about low cost spay and neuter programs and discount stores where she could get really good things for the apt. reasonably. As my husabnd and I enjoy a bargain and shop at these sorts of store, even having shopped there during the visit in question, we did not feel that our comments were insulting. We were trying to give her some ideas as to how make money go farther. My son was furious that I insulted her and threatened to assault me if I said another word. We left and drove the 1000 miles home in tears. He did not speak to us for 3 months.
When my husband was seriously ill last fall and in the hospital with surgery and complications there was no offer to come out. Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years also no visits. The reason was that I insulted Miss prim and that therefore they could never come out to our house. In the meantime, Miss Prim was checking our houses and investment properties out on the internet and started to e mail me with questions as to value, whether my son was inheriting these. etc. Mu son had the nerve to call me and ask how much my mother's estate was wroth, whether he could see the trust documents and when he might expect some money. Mom gave him $12K a year every year for estate reasons- last Christmas there was no such gift as he deserved nothing! He did not even send my elderly mom a Christmas card, call her to see how she was or exhibit any concern. Easter ditto. He spent all the holidays in Miss Prim's trailer park trailer with her grandparents who took over custody of her when her mother failed to take care of her.
We tried to be civil by going to their house warming party as they did buy a house in April. The girls' biological father- as she was illegitimate asked us to come out for coffee with him. He told us that the girl was no good, ripping our son off, spending his entire paycheck plus draining his stock portfolio while telling him she was in love with another man. Our son bought her a 10000 ring as an engagement present. She does not work, watches soaps and sleeps all day. She is as ugly as the day is long- he is now paying for extensive dental work for her as she has buck and rotten teeth. He has to go to work, come home, cook, clean, clean up the dog and cat poops and then listen to what she wants to do in terms of vacations and gifts for herself and her family. She expects our son to buy things for her two unmarried sisters who have illegitimate kids as well as her biological mother who is 39 and dating a 16 year old. The real mother has 4 kids with 4 different fathers.

We raised our son to be a moral, decent person. he had a Catholic school education and has degrees from prestigious schools. He has a very good job and if he sticks with it is on his way.

He came to visit us uninvited 2 months ago. The girl had to go to NYC as she had never been there. Her hobbies are travel, shopping and dining out with my son's credit card. She uses his charge card like it is free money. They stayed at our home and did not say thanks or anything. We offered to take them out to dinner and sightseeing and were told that they had their own plans and that they did not want to have anything to do with us.

My elderly mother who bankrolled my son's entire education and who is a multi millionaire has been wonderful to my son. He never took the time to thank her or even send her a Christmas or birthday card. Mom had words with him when she saw him fighting with the love of his life in front of our house on his NY visit. Mom told him that he is making a huge mistake, showed him a page from Yahoo Personals where the lovely fiance is advertising to meet men despite being engaged to my son. He told my mother that he does not need her or her money and that she needs to butt out. He stormed out of her house.

My son told the lovely fiance everything when he came from mom's house and they left in a huff refusing to stay at our home or speak to us. My husband drove them back to the airport to stay at a hotel. My hsuband has tried to make contact to no avail. He will not speak to us.

My mother who was to leave my son 50% of her estate went to her lawyer last week and changed her will. He is getting NOTHING.

I gave up a good career, spent all of the past 24 years nuturing and loving this man as did my husband only to be totally abandoned. We woinder what we did wrong and why we are getting such rotten treatment.

To top it off, my son made fun of my part time job in front of the fiance making me look like a fool for working.

I am simply sick about the whole thing. I wake up each day asking what I did wrong. My husband is about to go on antidepressants. I take them and they do not good.

We plan to write the son out of our will. He deserves NOTHING. He is an ungrateful, disrepectful and horrible individual. His attitude toward the pledge he made to his alma mater that he never fulfilled is typical- I asked him whether he planned to make good on the pledge and he laughed and said, "Screw them, changed my mind- oh well- they have enough money."

In the meatime, he has drained over $19K from his stock portfolio which is odd in that he makes a very good salary that should afford him over $2000 a month in excess income after bills. Lovely Miss Ugly is making a fool out of him and we are bearing the brunt. We are totally ignored, abandoned and forgotten. It is almost too much to bear.

I do not know what to do really. I feel like I watsed 24 years of my life. I gave up a lucrative career to be a stay at home mom so that he would have every opportunity. My husband and I gave him every opportunity and chance in life. He would not be where he is without us and yet he seems to hate us. I do not know whether it will get better with time. I feel that my father who was wonderful to my son must be turning in his grave to see what has evolved. None of my friends can believe that this has happened as everyone always commented what a lovely close relationship my son and I had. I feel guilty but for what? I find your posts helpful in that I see I am not alone. Thanks for listening.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2007 at 7:38PM
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Dear lostmama, I think the hardest part of parenting, is the letting go part. Whatever your son and my daughter decide to do with their lives, is THEIR decision, THEIR consequence and reflects only on THEM. This is what being an adult is all about. Whatever we did for them as children, is now over. We can pray for them and hope for them but they are adults and we must let them live their own lives, just as we have. Your dissapointment in his life decisions is creating the division between you and your son. I know how hard being silent is when we see a train wreck coming but being silent is what you must be, if you want him to include you in his life. He will figure out on his own that his fiancee is using pointing this out to him is driving THEM closer and you furthur apart. By staying neutral, you are providing him the opportunity to confide in you and ask for advice. None of us like being told we have made a mistake. The learning part kicks in, when we take the consequences of that mistake and turn it to our advantage. Your son is young. Please know that while you really dislike this love of his, it has no bearing on his love for you. He wants your approval or he would never have brought her to your home. While giving him your approval is stretching it.....letting him know that his parents want only his happiness, whatever that may be, might possibly be what keeps the door open in your relationship. He is a grown man now and can choose whomever he wants in his life. If you want to show your disapproval by retaliating financially, that too is your choice. But be sure that it is not a manipulative tool, because by using money to show your anger, you might be doing irreparable damage. He is your only child and I know how heartsick you are because you want better for him but we can not live our childrens lives. Sometimes, we have to let them fall and just quietly be there for the after. Good luck.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2007 at 9:27AM
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Some of these posts are just heartbreaking. I have a question, do any of you wish that you never had these children that are now breaking your heart. It certainly make life easier, these miserable kids sure are not adding to your old age in anyway.

I envy families that have loving children and get long.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2007 at 6:39AM
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You know, enjoyingspring, it is a funny thing. When I despair about my daughter, I remember her when she was young and I smile. She was a delight as a youngster and after 3 boys, made our life so special. With her big blue eyes and her strawberry ringlets, she was quick and curious and so loving. I choose to remember THOSE times....before she turned 14 and slowly began destroying her life. I would give anything to know how this happened and how I could have stopped her from her hurting herself and erase her pain, but I would never wish that I did not have her. She was a joy and that is what I try so hard to remember.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2007 at 8:34AM
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Good post sherheart!

My kids are young - 6 and 10 - I hope they don't disappoint me or ever turn away from me completely. I do know families in which this has happened. And even one in which the child got involved with bad people and ended up getting shot and never getting to growing up at all.

Hopefully by our moral influence and the fact that we stress a religious upbringing, it will have some impact into what they end up like as adults. Although peer influence, substance abuse, and mental illness have more than a little to do with all these situations it seems.

Sometimes (it seems from these posts) you just have to support and not judge.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2007 at 5:17PM
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I didn't read all 100+ responses, but boy do I know how hard it is when an adult child won't communicate with her parents. I am speaking of my own 29 year old daughter, plus she has our only 2 beautiful grandchildren that we haven't seen in a month. That may not seem like a long time, but we always had the girls stay with us several times a week and our oldest granddaughter lived with us (along with our daughter) during her toddler years.

Long story short, our daughter had lived with an abusive boyfriend who had been paroled from prison. He went back to prison for theft and 4th degree sexual assault (against one of her close girlfriends). He went back to prison for 2 years, but she refused to believe her friend or anyone else and stayed in touch with him. He was recently released from prison with an ankle bracelet, and because I wouldn't babysit for her one night when she wanted to stay with him overnight, she no longer talks to me or let's us see the girls.

It is so hard being estranged from a child and grandchildren that were so much part of your life - but please make sure you acknowledge that child when people ask. It is not your fault the child won't speak to you, and let's all pray that they will some day understand their parents' love.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2007 at 3:39PM
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No, I never wish that I didn't have my daughter. She was a challenge growing up (physical disabilities, numerous hospitalizations, and we were so close that we often read each other's minds!). I also have a son that feels his sister is being very unrealistic, but she also struggles with her disabilities and self esteem. We catered to her every whim and challenge while she was growing up because of her hard times with teasing. The hurt comes from her not letting us see our granddaughters who she knows we love dearly and she likes to punish us for her problems. I can deal with the estrangement from her, but not my granddaughters. That breaks my heart.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2007 at 4:14PM
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I am sorry for your loss, blizlady. You sound very kind. For a person to hold another person ransom over not getting their way, is childish and hurtful. Your daughter has control issues, sounds like to me. She wants to control YOU . Stay firm or this will only be the beginning of many grandchildren ransoms. People are not pawns. Even small, young ones. Hopefully, your daughter will come to this realization very soon......for everyones sake.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2007 at 8:37AM
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I just finished reading most of the posts here, and I just couldn't believe there are so many people in the same situation that I find myself in.
I wish I had known 2 years ago when this all started in my life. I just wanted to say that there are a lot of reasons for the estrangement from my daughter. I was a teen mom and wife and tried my best, but I found myself in a situation with an abusive situation that only got more abusive through an ugly divorce. Then I had my own parents who were naturally over attached to my daughter.. because I was a teen parent. The interference didn't help.
I made so many mistakes,and have apologized to my daughter. But now we keep moving in and out of a relationship. I always seem to do something wrong, or I hear about her conversations with my ex and stepdaughter about me. Funny thing is ... is that I spent so much effort and money protecting her.. and dealing with the fear of an ex who would show up at her school and pick up hitchhikers with her in the car.. that I was a basketcase through most of her childhood. I wish I could go back and do it over... but I can't. I wish my parents would stop taking my place... sometimes I feel if they would stop... she would have to acknowledge me...
Anyways, I have been moving from angry to depressed for 2 years...and just can't seem to get past this. Yesterday my granddaughter from another daughter had her second birthday party. My oldest showed up and refused to even acknowledge my presence. She walked up to my father and kissed him.. said Hi to someone next to me.. and walked away. Then my step-daughter showed up and I just became so uncomfortable .. that I told my son-in-law.. and said I was going to sneak out and make a quick exit.
Unfortunately, my mother and father and daughter are upset with me now. I guess I am just done with being a doormat... but I still cant seem to get past this. The whole thing makes me just want to move away and start all over. I know this is running.. but staying and dealing with it for 2 years hasn't seemed to help. Thanks for letting me vent.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2007 at 12:23PM
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Mrsmaybe, thank you for sharing. This is what this site is for.........comfort, maybe, and a place to feel less alone. Estrangement is definitely not for weenies! so take heart and vent anytime!!

    Bookmark   July 30, 2007 at 6:05PM
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From sherheart,

"For a person to hold another person ransom over not getting their way, is childish and hurtful. Your daughter has control issues, sounds like to me. She wants to control YOU."

One wonders how long it will take before our children realize that the people being harmed the most when they use grandchildren as pawns in their games, are the GRANDCHILDREN themselves. Those grandchildren remember us; one wonders what they are being told about our disappearance from their lives or if they are too young to remember, they will find out that we exist (or did exist) and our children will pay the piper.

Bizlady, I know what you are going through. My 4 grandchildren live only about 6 miles away and I've not seen them in close to two years. They, too, used to spend many days and hours with me; I miss them dreadfully.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2007 at 8:53AM
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I feel so sorry for you all. If you do know your grandchildren's address, don't forget to send them birthday cards regardless of your relationship with their parents. It may help, you and them.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2007 at 11:29AM
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Cards and gifts are a great way to stay in touch - but only if the parent(s) allow the children to have them. I know that my daughter throws away the things I send to my grandkids without them even seeing the cards/gifts. I know several other grandparents whose attempts at communication suffer the same fate.

The "upside" of her behavior however is that it must be very hard work psychologically and emotionally to keep watching the mailbox around birthday/holiday time to make certain that none of the children see any mail addressed to them from me.

However, I keep copies of each communication I send them and someday they will receive those copies and will know that I always tried.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2007 at 12:57PM
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I have read many of the messages here and feel compelled to write one of my own. I have been estranged from my mother for the past decade. Events around my father's dying and death 7 years ago deepened the chasm between us immeasurably.

I could detail the events leading up to what seems an impassable abyss but what would be the point? Yes, horrible things happened in the past and those things make me reluctant to put myself in proximity to her again lest I be hurt once more. Still, I have always wanted my mother and a tiny effort on her part would go a long way with me.

If she answered more than a couple of the two dozen letters I have written to her over the past 7 years, I might feel some hope for some future between us. If she had called on 9/11 to see if I was home and OK (I live in Boston and travel by air a great deal). If she would budge from her 'my way or the highway' stance on where and how we go from here. If she would just act like she loves me a little, tiny bit by showing some concern or kindness.

The onus is on me. I know my mother will not make a first effort. She never has. I know she will never apologize. She thinks she doesn't owe her offspring apologies. But how much effort does it take to answer a letter? Surely she must realize that not responding is akin to saying 'get away from me and stay away.' That is my take away.

I was taught to keep secrets about the dysfunction within my family. I was taught that I was to blame. I was in my 30's before I could buck those lessons. I do not volunteer information about the chasms within my family now but I don't dodge questions either. I talk about it. I do not feel ashamed. This is something I have had to overcome to become the person I am.

We all want to be valued and appreciated for who and what we truly are, especially by family. I am no different.

My thinking about my mother is guided by what I feel I can do at any given time that is just within my comfort zone. I am guided by the thought of 'what if she died tomorrow? Would I be comfortable with my actions towards her?' I rather doubt this approach has dawned on her but it should. No one is owed a tomorrow. Things happen.

I wish you all peace and healing.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2007 at 1:51PM
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My husband & I were estranged from our adult child for 3 yrs. The last 5 yrs, she's been back in our life. Things are happening again, and she's becoming more and more distant. Is the private site I've seen some posts about still open? I emailed kaykays but didn't get a response. I'd feel better talking in private for fear someone will recognize me.Thanks.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2007 at 9:21PM
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sniffleso7, I too emailed kaykays. I did receive one response regarding her wanting to know where I heard about her site. When I emailed back explaining that it was this forum and I would love to see her site, I didn't hear back from her. Hopefully she will check this forum and get back to us.

Thanks sadie2 for your story and perspective of a daughter trying to communicate with parents, but to no avail. I can see it's not always the daughter or son shunning the parents - it is also the other way around.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2007 at 10:07PM
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Thanks for responding, blizlady. I just feel I can't post freely on here. I feel for all of you...been there, done that, and feel it's beginning to happen again. I have grandkids that were kept away from us then and probably will be again. Our daughter use to be the sweetest girl, we wonder what has happened. We feel a lot of it has come from her husband..but why doesn't she stand up to him? It's almost like she's brainwashed. I've read the posts in here..and they all hit home. Makes me sad.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2007 at 11:40PM
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Sniffles07, yes it is your daughter's husband that's probably behind all this. That's what it has been in our family. Husband controlling and emotionally abusing; daughter has not yet seemed to develop the emotional strength to leave.

Sniffles07 and bizlady, please feel free to e-mail me about the the private website.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2007 at 7:09AM
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njtea..I sent you an email. If you don't get it, let me know please.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2007 at 11:25PM
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Yes, we have a SIL that intercepted her kids cards from their grandparents too... only it is so she could take the checks out of them before the kids saw them. The ex-in-law grandparents finally got wise and started sending the cards to my MIL (the other gramma) to give directly to the kids, rather than mail them directly to the SILs house.

I think just sending a card would make me feel good at least, and maybe make it will force the person intercepting at least think about things. And they won't have the ammo of "she doesn't even send the kids birthday cards"... and such nonsensical justification.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2007 at 12:58PM
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"I think just sending a card would make me feel good at least, and maybe make it will force the person intercepting at least think about things. And they won't have the ammo of "she doesn't even send the kids birthday cards"... and such nonsensical justification."

My feelings and thoughts exactly, klimkm.

I got your e-mail, sniffles, and replied.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2007 at 2:12PM
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My daughter was a sweet girl that everyone liked. She was thoughtful, and never gave us trouble. Then she married an older man. Everything revolves around this man and his family. In our opinion, he doesn't treat her that well. He's not physically abusive or anything, but he's self centered and can justify anything he does. Neither of them drink or do drugs. They have 3 children. The first time they started avoiding us, they both told lies about us around town. Things like..we didn't love one of the grandkids, etc. Stupid stuff like that. We tried and tried to talk to our daughter at this time but if we called, he'd say she didn't want to talk to us and hang up or if we went to their house, he'd come to the door and start arguing. They wouldn't let us see the grandkids yet told people we didn't ask. We asked numerous times. Finally after 2-3 yrs, we were allowed to see the kids and we started being a family again. Last fall, he got mad at us again...I won't mention why here for fear someone may read this..and recognize us. We aren't allowed at their house now. We asked our daughter to go talk to us to get our side of the story but she said 'there's no need'. Our daughter and the grandkids have continued to visit us, although in the last month, we've had no contact with them. So we feel that her and the grandkids probably will not be seeing us again. One thing that really bothers me, anything he says about us, my daughter believes, like she never knew us! I don't get it!

    Bookmark   August 4, 2007 at 10:29AM
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PS: Once my sil told my son that my daughter & I were too close. Right after this is the first time they cut off contact. Once when I mentioned to my daughter that we use to be so close, she told me that was the 'perception'!

    Bookmark   August 4, 2007 at 11:05AM
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After months of searching for online support (in order to maintain my sanity), I feel so blessed to have found this forum. Sherheart, your May 10 post could have been written by me. Your story deeply touched me, and for the first time, I havent felt so alone with the troubles that were having with our youngest of three daughters.

My soon-to-be 20 year old is living her life completely contrary to what she was taught. Her Dad and I are no longer "rescuing" her, and we fear for what her "bottom" (as we call it) will ultimately turn out to be. She continues to dig herself deeper into moral, financial and legal problems. She comes in and out of our life at whim; she has gone as long as 8 weeks without any contact.

I feel that I live a double-life. Because of my position at work, I do not discuss our problems with our daughter with co-workers. Somehow, after nights of endless worry, I find the strength to maintain my positive attitude and get through the day. Truth be known, Im probably not fooling anyone. I know that a spark is gone from my life maybe they see it, too?

I was so excited to read in earlier email strings that there was an online support group available (kaykays5), but, disheartened later on to read that there is no response to inquiries. Does anyone know of a different online support group that has been helpful?

I would not wish this heartache on anyone. I hope that I can learn through others experiences and give back to some what I have learned along the way. Sherheart, thank you again for sharing your story it has touched me deeply.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2007 at 11:49PM
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Try It's a private site, but you can read the public pages. You wouldn't find much in the private area that's not here; the only thing the private part of the site does is to keep out those "children" who might want to join in the discussion and attempt to justify their actions.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2007 at 7:23AM
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Dirtboysdad - thank you VERY much! I just glanced at the website and it looks very interesting - just what I have been looking for...! I will definitely take a closer look after work today. Thank you, again!

    Bookmark   August 6, 2007 at 7:42AM
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Blondiestin, how horrible that you feel the same pain over your daughter that I do. I am so very sorry. I know exactly what you mean, when you say " she is digging herself deeper in moral, legal and financial problems." Your daughter is also the same age as mine. 2o years old is old enough to do why can't they? Why won't they? I refuse to give my daughter any more excuses. She was not abused as a child. She had 2 loving parents and 3 brothers and a dog. She played soccer and basketball and took piano lessons. She had chores, an allowance and her own car at 16 years old. She was loved. In other words, she had a normal life. But, she chose another way to live. Other people to influence her. No rules to follow and no mother being her voice of conscience. She walked away without a backward glance. Oh, she still calls her Dad when she needs money for DUI, or she cannot pay her rent that month. [I could have let her destroy my marriage because I do not agree with how her Dad still needs to play the part of rescuer......but I decided to never interfere in his relationship with his only is THEIR relationship.] I still grieve but the grieving times are coming less and less frequently. She does not need me in her life and if I am truly, brutally honest nor do I need her in my life as the person she has become. Isn't that an awful thing to say? I wish I could go back and discover what in the world happened to her to make her become who she is today.....God should have given her a different Mom....I wasn't the one that she needed nor the one that had much influence on her, I guess. Sadie2, thank you for sharing your side of the mother-daughter estrangement. I have read it over several times and I think you are very wise. Hearing both sides is invaluable. Thank you.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2007 at 10:19AM
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Sherheart: I feel your pain and can empathize with what you are saying. My son is an only child- he had everything. We were here for him every day. I remember helping him with things right thru grad school. I was always here as was my husband. My husband and I never had 1/2 the benefits or love growing up that he did. There was no abuse here either- just a loving mother father and cat. We were here every night for dinner, took him everywhere we went and sacrificed so that he would get the best education possible. As soon as he graduated he became a man of the world and we got a good kick in the rear. He hates us. We are not needed anymore. Now, he listens to people out for everything they can get from him and to heck with his father and I. We are both sick over it. I cannot walk through my neiughborhood without thinking of the hours we spent as a family walking, doing family acitivies. When I see kids playing baseball it takes me back to the hours my husband spent as a coach and I as team mother for a variety of teams. It makes me sad that everything can be forgotten. And my mother who paid for his entire education, bought him a new car, bought him anything he needed has also gotten a kick in the rear. I cannot understand it. He cannot even pick up the phone to call or send an e mail. He set his myspace page to private- guess we cannot even read that anymore. He does not need us anymore. He has turned into a selfish uncaring rotten person. I am ashamed that he is my son which is a terrible thing to say. He has a great education, career, potential. Yet he has the gratitude, respect and scruples of a common bum. I am very sick over it, I wake up at night wondering what the heck I did wrong. I never expected to be neglected, rejected, banished and ignored by my adult child. I sometimes wish I never had him. I think about the great career I gave up to give him my full time and attention. Worst of all, I often wish that he would cease to exist so that there would be closure. All terrible things to think and say, but the hurt is too much to bear. I often see grandparents with their grandkids and think that this will never ne me. I would love to have a grandchild to love and adore. It will never happen. I am on the banished list. It is just sad that this is so prevalent. I do not know what happened to these kids. It is so sad.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2007 at 8:43PM
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Lost Mama,
I can relate to the terrible thoughts. My daughter isn't an only child, but her and I were so close. She acts like she doesn't know who we are (she's so eager to believe the lies her husband spews about us). I wonder sometimes who this girl belongs to. My daughter had a good childhood growing up. My son thinks she's brainwashed. My daughter would rather have her in laws that her own parents and sibling. We put our daughter through college also, a chance her father and I never had. Then when I got a big advancement in my career (which was on hold while I raised my family) she wasn't even glad for me. Makes me depressed, sad, and at times so angry I scare myself.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2007 at 10:23PM
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I know exactly what you are saying. My son used to call here and just ask for my husband by his first name without even acknowledging me. When he sent me an e mail he signed his entire name, professional designation and employment title and corporate address... Like I was some client of his.
He used to call here and be on speaker phone at home and say hurtful things to me like that I was a drunk and got loaded in public a lot (I do not drink at all) or that I do nasty things like cleaning the apts. I manage if I cannot get the cleaning service before a showing- hahaha! like honest work is a crime. The joke was on me so that this little lady gf could be amused. Big joke on me.
I also think my son may be brainwashed by the trailer park trash he has become enamored with. They are the lowest of the low people- and for some reason he thinks they are the greatest. They are looking to milk him dry of all his money- and doing a great job- he is their new meal ticket. He has to support the whole bunch of them vicariously as the gf. has his credit card and takes her 2 unmarried baby mama sisters shopping on my son. It is disgusting. And he cannot even spend a dime to call me or my husband or my mother who really care about him.

Sometimes when he called I wondered if he had been drinking- but he claims he gave that up when he graduated. He claimed to be happy. I wonder if the gf. drugged him or something. The mood swings were so extreme. I also wonder if he may be mentally ill.

I think of the fact that he got a full education thru grad school without a penny of loans. My husband an I had to work thru school topay the tuition. He never had to do this. He came out debt free with a nice nest egg courtesy of my parents. And he hates us all now.

I often think God will punish me for thinking that I wish he would vanish- but it is how I feel because I cannot see my husabnd and I living as we are. It is so sad. The holidays are the worse. We have no other family and it is just unbearable. I do not know what I am going to do. I often feel like dying myself as I never expected that my own son would be so cruel.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2007 at 10:34PM
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dear lostmama, Your feelings right now are raw and extremely painful. That is why you you think such despairing thoughts.....but as time passes, I promise these feelings, while never going away, will lessen in intensity. You have only one life to call your own. Today might be your last. Please do not let your son continue to re-hurt you. When you start to think of your loss, switch gears and think of your many blessings. I have found that after doing this for awhile, it becomes easier to not fall victim to all the negativity. Of course, I have not had my daughter in my life for 3 years and 8 months, so I have had plenty of time to practice this. I do not want to spend my last days on earth in emotional pain. I am trying so hard to move forward, and come to the realization that I can not make my child a better person. She has to do that herself. Your son and my daughter might very well do an about face one day....they might come to the realization that they did indeed have a loving family and they will simply say " I am so sorry." I think THAT hope keeps a small light at the end of the tunnel for me and on my really bad grieving days, I cling to that. Our children are no longer children. Whatever they decide to do with their lives is totally up to them. We did the best we could. Now, we need to let them go and focus on US. I have repeatedly said this verse from the BOOK of JOHN for all this time and it has helped me. It has become my mantra of sorts. Jesus spoke this to his apostles right before he was arrested and crucified. "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Have faith in God. Have faith in me." I choose to let go and let God take over. It is the only thing I can do. Lostmama, you matter. I matter. We have to let go, for us. For our well-being. Your anger and your hurt is only hurting YOU. Not your son. I believe if we can forgive our adult children, this dissapointment over who they have become, will certainly ease. I keep trying to forgive. Some days, I think I have it down.........the trick is to live in THIS day and not the past. I wish you peace.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2007 at 9:17AM
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I posted a couple times last night but they aren't here. I'm relatively new at this so if they show up in the middle somewhere..overlook me. Haha
Lostmama, we also put our daughter through college (a chance that her father and I never had). Then when I got a big advancement in my career, which I had put on hold to raise my family, she wasn't glad for me. When she is here, and the sil is not, she acts like her old self. When he is here, she acts hateful and snippy. It's like she wants to impress him? I really dread the next few years.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2007 at 7:41PM
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Thank you for the inspirational Bible verse in your last post, Sherheart. What a timely reminder. I've memorized the Serenity Prayer and find myself saying it several times throughout the day...that tends to give me comfort, as well. I am currently reading an online (& free!) book, "Letting Go of Our Adult Children". Although I haven't read too much of the book, I am already finding tremendous comfort in the author's experience and advise. If anyone would like the link to the book, let me know and I'll be happy to share it.

Lostmama, my heart goes out to you. So many of our situations are completely baffling - I guess that's the reason why it's so difficult to bring closure. I'm hoping in time I can learn to let go of my daughter, with love. Maybe this is the true test of unconditional love? To love them...even though they have broken our hearts beyond measure...

    Bookmark   August 7, 2007 at 10:50PM
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You are so's completely baffling. I hope that all of us can mend the rifts and have happy, healthy families again. Until then, maybe we can find some happiness and acceptance. I feel like I'm grieving...and I'm sure a lot of you feel that way too. I can't go on this way the rest of my life I hope.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2007 at 11:12PM
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Just my 2 cents. I am a parent but want to share something as a child here.

When I was in my 20s my parents and a grandmother(whom I love and they are great people) terribly interfered in my marriage every way possible. Especially my father, but my mother stood by him. In their opinion they were just trying to help. I was young as was my ex and we were not strong enough to withstand. Out of fear to upset my parents I followed whatever they told me while hurting my husband. Well needless to say we got divorced after 5 years of marriage.

My parents did the same thing to my brother (worse), starting with my father not being present at their wedding. The reason was that they considered him to be too young to marry and marriage would hinder his carrier and his bride was not good enough. Imagine my brother's embarassment of parents not coming to his wedding. But my brother was strong though and always stood by his wife. They are still happily married for 19 years.

During my single life every boyfriend I had my parents would make negative comments about them (mainly my dad, also my grandmother). In fact I have a nice boyfriend now and am petrified that they will create some unberabale situation with him too.

I most certainly am not estranged from my parents, we are close and I always knew that they did not do it to hurt anyone. But both me and my brother at times feel that we want to be far far away and maybe never talk to them and just keep them away from our lives. It is not going to happen of course, but at times we remember things and can't help not to feel this way.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2007 at 1:02AM
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Always good advice for the parents not to try and go against their son or daughter's fiancee or husband/wife. They will lose and then they are estranged from the son/daughter and possibly grandkids.
Unless there is abuse involved, just bite your tongue. You don't have to live with the spouse - your son or daughter does.
My MIL hated me when I started dating her son as well - for some imaginary reason. Although DH knew she was unreasonable, as she had a history of being that way.
Now sugar couldn't melt in her mouth - we have been married for 20+ years.
And adults should not feel like they have to get their parents approval for things - and shame on parents for playing that head-game with their kids.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2007 at 11:32AM
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My mil was mean to me also. I did more for her than her 2 daughters, but it didn't make a difference. I am happy to say I never treated her bad or withheld my grandkids. I've always treated my sil well also, but I still think he doesn't treat my daughter right, and he has a lot to do with the estrangment.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2007 at 8:29PM
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i have three adult children. i was estranged from the oldest one for two years, but then we made up. now the other two are out-of-touch. this seems to happen around their saturn returns. my personality style is much different from that of all of my children. we have much different values. of course i see my values as being superior, but are they, really? :)

i am trying right now to find a way to appreciate our differences and be in relationship with them without compromising myself. it is not easy, even philosophically.

recently one of my children cussed me out - she has not sincerely apologized, and i feel her distance.

in my family i am seen as the bad guy, the partypooper, really - the one who is no fun. my adult children like to party and i am not into that.

it is very painful to feel not loved, respected or understood by one's own children, it makes me question everything. i do not understand the dynamic of families at all at this point.

my relationship with my children is not reciprocal - it is either me kissing their butts or nothing . . . they don't come to me to try to work things out. i feel sad about that and there is nothing i can do about it, so it also hurts to be so powerless.

they hold all of the cards as i am the one who wants the relationship, they don't, to varying degrees, depending upon which "kid' we are talking about.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2007 at 12:23PM
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Seek, My daughter also told me off a few months ago. Since then we've had a 'strained' relationship with no contact the last month. I don't understand why she told me off. 99% of what she said had no truth in it. She told me she felt like she didn't have a mom to talk to. That really hurt because I've always been here for my kids. I gave up a lot in my life to raise them in a good and stable family. And I was glad to do it! I had asked my daughter several times over the last months to call me some Sat. when she was free and we'd go have lunch, etc. She never did. She continued to call me once a week or so, but we never got together. Why does she yell she feels she doesn't have a mother? I've always been available. I've came to the conclusion the last couple of week, that it's HER who doesn't want the mother, so why does she put it on me? My daughter also doesn't come to me to try to work things out. Is it pride? Stubborness? Her husband? ( I know he has a lot to do with it)But I don't feel it's all 'him'. Why don't I go to her to try to work things out? I know from past experience that all it will be is her telling me off again. Then everything gets worse and we are even more estranged. Seek, I feel you, hang in there.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2007 at 12:52PM
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thanks for the understanding, sniff - i don't have any answers for myself so i am trying to take a more spiritual approach - work with this problem on a different level - from the mundane level, i could blame my daughters for all kinds of things, but that is just going to continue the dynamic that is so troubling to me. i find it hard to forgive when there have been no apologies and maybe no understanding that what they have done/said to me was wrong or hurtful - but again, i don't know what else to do.

i know that i had a rocky relationship with my mother - she wanted something from me i couldn't give - i am sure my daughters feel the same in some ways. i think i have been far more available for relationship than my mother was - but in the end, maybe it is just that mother/daughter friction that the daughters just can't handle. it seems more important to be free of that than to have a difficult relationship with your mom.

the daughter who cussed me out and i have not gotten along for a long time, but we have been civil. i noticed i had heavy judgement against her and very hard feelings towards her. i thought she was doing just about everything wrong. i am sure anyone would want to be free of that judgment. it doesn't matter in one sense if i am right.

i was so angry with her and hurt by her - now i feel abandoned by her. i am going to have to let go in some way because it is up to her to process her stuff and to approach me, or not.

i have emailed her and she responds, but very tersely. i send her funny youtubes and she does say "cute." so i guess the way into her heart is to just forward good news, not problems or any advice (i have a huge problem not giving advice which i have been working on for years).

    Bookmark   August 9, 2007 at 2:34PM
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Seek, I admire how you have changed your tactics. I can relate to harboring the bad feelings, thinking they don't realize how they've hurt us, etc. My daughter and sil pulled this same crap 5 yrs ago, and it lasted 3 yrs. The whole time I thought...I wish I could tell her this, or that, she said this to me..and I'd be angry for days. Even when she came back, I'd think of those things in the back of my mind, although I never brought them up. Even this time, I think 'how could she say that?' You've given me something to mull over. Thanks

    Bookmark   August 9, 2007 at 11:44PM
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The posts I have read here are incredibly thoughtful and articulate. But the posting frequency is not great. I wonder why.

Anyway, I have made strides in letting go of the extreme pain I felt, initially, when my daughter lashed out at me. I realize that part of what she is lashing out at doesn't even exist - it actually has no relationship to me - I don't feel seen or appreciated, and in fact, I am not. So by the same token, I don't have to take it personally when she lashes out at me and says horrible things to me (that I would never dream of saying to another human being).

One thing people sometimes say, is: They love you but they don't like you. I don't understand that and I don't agree with it. I think love is a verb. If you love someone, you treat them lovingly. I have been told this is very idealistic, but I don't understand love any other way.

Someone told me that my daughter probably does love me deep down, but that she can't access that part of herself - fear of vulnerability and all of that. That sounds reasonable, but the only good it does me is helping my self esteem just a little bit.

I am not telling lies anymore that I have the perfect family. I just told someone today who asked about my kids that I struggle in my relationship to my youngest two and that we are going through a difficult time at the moment. That way you don't have to lie and you also don't have to go into the gory details.

I guess I will wait to see if this thread is completely dead. Maybe everyone made up and lived happily ever after.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2007 at 1:35PM
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Regarding infrequency of posting, I think it's because those who need support and to vent come here, participate for a while and then leave because it becomes a lot of "same old, same old." That's not to say that new participants issues are not valid because they certainly are. Rather it's because eventually we realize that all the stories are the same and it is just too depressing to read any longer.

I'm sure some estrangements end successfully; I've been told it takes 2 to 3 years to begin to repair a relationship. However, I don't think that relationship can ever become what it was before. Further, I know of very few repairs when there is a significant other calling the shots. He/she is calling the shots for a purpose - to separate the spouse from the family of origin - and unless there's a divorce, that doesn't change.

Seek, I do believe you can love someone but not like what they are doing. We don't like our child's behavior but we still do love them.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2007 at 2:27PM
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Good news for a change, the grandkids will be here next weekend. I predicted wrong when I thought they'd be withheld for us, like happened in the past. Haven't seen them for close to 6 weeks.
I had some words of wisdom from my son last night. Bless him, he's a loving son-26 yrs old. He told me he felt my daughter lashes out at me because 1. She was/is closest to me, & 2. She thinks I'll never turn my back on her, & 3. I don't lash back at her. (Like he or his father would)
Also, he feels the sil dumps on me, even though I have nothing at all to do with the last rift, because I am the weakest link. Do I need to be stronger??
Fuzzy, I agree with you that after an estrangement things are never how they were before. Even after everything was fine, I never felt the same about my daughter. I love her, and would do anything for her, but I didn't look at her the same.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2007 at 5:11PM
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I, too, am the mother of an estranged adult daughter. I am writing a book presently, to help parents who are in this heartwrenching situation, to once again be able to get on with their lives and move forward. If you would like to help me (and others), and have the time to share your story (of course I will change all identifying factors), please drop a line to me at and I will send you a few questions to which you can respond. Thank you!


    Bookmark   December 10, 2007 at 11:48AM
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My husband and I are in the midst of my second daughter's second ousting of us from her life and the life of her family. My children came from my first marriage, an abusive and frightening one, which I fled after 4 long and scary years. I was a single parent for almost 15 years before I met and married my current husband. When this daughter was around 10 she started acting out a bit - I homeschooled her for a semester, signed her up for a charter school which she decided she didn't like and flunked out of after I stayed up after working nights to take her to school and then got up early to get her and bring her home...she stayed in school, probably because she didn't see any choice, until a year after we moved here from the other state we were living in. When she turned 13, she became increasing rebellious. One night she left after I went to work at 11 and didn't get home till almost 4. She went to visit my sister a few hours from us and took off again. I had to go get her early because my sister couldn't handle her. I was hoping that moving here would help her and give her a new start as well as giving her a positive male role model; their dad never did visit or see them once the divorce was final.
We came here to live with my second husband, who lived here when we met. Shortly after we settled in here she started seeing the boy on the property that adjoins ours. His parents had a much different way of life than ours. I'm not trying to be critical, but they never gave their kids chores; they didn't make them go to school; they ate lots and lots of fast, fatty food; they didn't go to church; they are very backwoods country people and not at all what I am used to. A few months later, the first big thing here happened when she told the principal at the high school that I was physically abusing her. As a licensed RN, she put my livelihood on the line with that accusation and once we got to DFS she decided that it wasn't really all that bad and the case was dropped. I grounded her for 6 weeks - she was 17 and I was about out of my mind with what to do with this demon who had been a sweet child, full of laughter and joy. I guess she began even then sneaking clothes over to her boyfriend's house while I was at work, taking a thing or two at a time. Her older sister moved home to finish school and was so excited about getting her diploma after dropping out at 17 - it looked as if they would both graduate the same time. 3 days before my daughter's restriction was due to be over she came home one day, loaded up her backpack, came out of her room, said "I can't live here any more," and walked out the door. I was crushed. Demolished. Devastated. I had no clue. Looking back I'm sure there were signs, but she had made plans to go to culinary school after graduation and I was so naive.... so, in spite of me asking the family next to us not to take her in but to send her home, they took her in and let her live there, good Christians that they claimed to be, letting my 17 year old daughter share a bedroom and a bed with her 17 year old boyfriend. Mom insisted that the kids weren't having sex in her house. I'm not stupid. I know what they were doing. When she left, she stopped talking to me. 4 years later, they got married and didn't tell us. When she had their first baby I only knew because other people told me. All this was going on right next to us. I saw her from the window from time to time. For a while they moved, and then came back. One day, out of the blue, she showed up with her husband and child, and we welcomed her into our home like nothing had happened. She took me places and was all friendly and cuddly and cozy and happy. After a few weeks, the strain was pretty much way in the back corner and things were good again. However, the family habits of slovenliness still prevailed. The parents moved out of one of the trailers leaving my daughter and her family in the other. The second one is absolutely full of black mold, dirt, dust, vermin, and who knows what. The trailer they were living in had over a year's worth of trash in bags in the pantry off the kitchen. It was awful. Finally they got the garbage out after numerous hints from me about the smell. They took it out the back door and put it in a ditch in the yard that runs between the trailers. I could still smell it up here on the hill on windy days and warm ones. The babies ate cold food most of the time, or fast food, in the boxes, eating with their fingers out of a bowl on a table in the living room that they ran to and from during the day. Her daughter was sensitive to parts of disposables and she told me once that the longer she left the baby in the diapers the better the rash got so sometimes she'd leave her in the diaper for 12 to 14 hours. I was alarmed. I was disgusted. I called planning and zoning about the garbage because when I mentioned it she said well hey, it's out of our house; I called DFS out of concern for the children who were still sleeping in the room with Mom and Dad so if they woke up they could wander the little trailer bedroom and not get into trouble. Two days later I got a call saying she hoped I enoyed the visit with my grandkids because I would never see them again. It's been two years now and another baby and she has been true to her word. She has twisted things and accuses me of being a two faced liar, accuses us of calling because of the 14 cars on the property, all unlicensed....not a word about the garbage stinking up the neighborhood in her weblog...and she accused me of trying to take her kids away. They wouldn't let the kids stay here, but they could stay with her husband's mom even though she swore she couldn't stand them and that her father in law had openly gawked at her and made comments about her body. Her husband praises her for cutting off contact with us. All this time, mind you, I can see their house from my windows. I see it every day. I hear my grandchildren several times a week and if they see me and mention my name, she takes them inside and away from me. It's killing me living here. I am now at the point, with hubby being laid off, of looking to sell this house and moving away. If we sold it for what it is worth, we could pay off the loan and move into a senior citizen's community - probably mobile homes - and get a used home for just a little more than what we would profit from this place, if not pay for the whole thing. My other two children have excellent relationships with me. My son wants to pound his sister for what she has said about me and what she has done to me psychologically. I love her, and I would forgive her in a heartbeat, but if she ever got her head out of her backside, I'm not sure I could so easily trust her again. I just don't get it. I did the best I could. My son was in trouble with the law and was a runaway for about 4 years, and he grew up and came around and we have an awesome relationship. My oldest daughter and I are as close as a mother and daughter can be. We're almost like twins. It's crazy. And it's making me crazy.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2009 at 7:24PM
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I feel for all those that are in pain caused by their children. I am writing about my eldest child, whom I had to fight tooth and nail to keep because I was nearly 16 when I gave birth to him. Against everyone's wishes and demands, I decided to not abort or give him up for adoption. I loved this child more than I could have ever imagined and I did "thought" I great job providing him with lots of love and attention. I confess I might have given him too many material things but he had to earn these things.

He has grown up to be very selfish, self-centered and is very mean-spirited towards me in spite of all the wrong-doings he has done to me and his step-father. His step-father is still in contact with him but I have severed all ties because I cannot bare being hurt by him any further.

Even though some will think I am wrong for doing this but from now on, I will now tell anyone who asks me how many children I have, I will say that I only have one child. This is my coping mechanism, so this is what I am doing. I do not feel bad about doing this, nor do I feel bad about removing all traces of him from my home. He stated straight out that he will never apologize for what he has done, so I he can stay to himself. I am very ill, permanently disabled and I cannot let him abuse my valuable resources by having to nurture hurt feelings and broken hearts...Precious resources that I need in order to live each day. I am done with him. I am now the parent of one child.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2009 at 2:47AM
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I've recently accepted that my adult daughter suffers from depression and perhaps is mentally ill. She suffers from social anxiety, doesn't work, even though my husband has offered to hire her. She has made horrible accusations about my husband, I know they are not true. She has stormed out of our home and left suicide notes about how she will kill herself if she stays with us. But her attempts to leave us on good terms have failed because she is trying to go live with people who won't charge her for anything. I live in the shadow of a suicidal daughter who at this moment refuses to speak to me, and i don't know if it would be worse if i told her to pack up and get out of my home and worry about what she will do next, or if i should call an ambulance and have her taken in for evaluation. She has completely cut me off from conversations of any kind. i need help and advice, as i don't want her to hurt herself.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2011 at 9:03PM
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I can totally relate to your pain and fear. Coming from a mother who is in a similar situation, I wish that I could tell you what to do. I know that I really needed someone to tell me - no one would/could.

My adult daughter went from very successful to completely distraught in less than 6 months. She used to tell me everything and now I cant get a word out of her. I too think that she is depressed and empty if that makes sense.

She decided a week after her 18th birthday to move out, lied to her boyfriends mother and said that I threw her out. The boyfriends mother came to see me about a month and a half later to tell me that she is not prepared to be on her own but she could no longer live there. Duh!

After being so painfully betrayed, I did allow her to come home. The rules were: Go to school everyday, clean your room and take care of your pets. None of which were followed. After 5 weeks of the same conversation, I finally told her that she is an adult and that when living arrangements dont work out.. adults make other arrangments.

I have to admit that I thought it would be a wake up call but instead on the 6th week, I asked her to make other arrangements at the first of the month. (the 18th) She was gone the 19th & 20th so I texted to see if she was alive or if I needed to file a missing persons report.

She replied that she was fine and making other arrangements and set a time to get her things. Even as she was moving out I couldn't get the one answer that I wanted - why were we here? Why had her life changed so dramatically in such a short time? Why had she suddenly cut me out - for no reason that I am aware of. My answer - because this is the way it has to be.

I cant fully tell you how frightened I was and still am for her. What I can tell you is that in her first departure (no notice - just a note and no contact) I learned that I cannot be held hostage by my childs will to live her life as she pleases. Our family shouldnt be in a constant source of turmoil because of her action/in-action. I learned that I have given her everything she needs to be successful, she just needs to listen within and hear it again.

As she took her belongings that I night, I told her that I loved her more than anything else in this world and that if God should take one of us away before I saw her again that I wanted her to know that. And I let her go.

I dont regret it. I let her leave on good terms, at least in my persective. The lies she will tell are hers to own - I know the truth. Sometimes the hardest thing we do as mothers is let them go. Maybe you need to let her go and trust that you have given her all she really needs.

And then, get antidepressants and dogs... lol They are so much better behaved than children! And they never think that they want to be anything but "their mother". Don't worry - she will come around. Just find a way to be there with love. If it's too painful for now... then limit contact as a means of self preservation. As a way to define who you are without the single label of parent, which I am sure you are feeling in spades at the moment!

If you ever need to talk, feel free to email. I noticed that many of the posts are really old but wanted to reach out to let you know that someone heard you and to try to give you some hope. Things I know would have helped me.


    Bookmark   April 6, 2011 at 11:26PM
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march of 2010 both my children moved out within a week of each other.It was a total and complete surprise to my husband of 11 years and I. My son was 20 years old and my daughter was 18 years old and at the end of her senior year of High School. From the time my children were small our house was always "the kool aid" house, this continued until the day they moved out. I was informed that they would not come back and to throw their stuff away. I could not stay in that house my life was devestated, I moved and my house foreclosed it didnt matter.July 7th 2010 I was informed they did not want anything to do with me, This is now July of 2011.I dont know what to do, or even how to continue my life plans of family, grandchildren and a happy life.why is this being done? they will not give an answer.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2011 at 11:41PM
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I am so sorry for everyone's pain..and yes, I too am a member of this sad club.
My son's father and I divorced when he was only 1 because of escalating emotional abuse, topped off when I learned of his infidelity. Counseling later told me he was a sociopath. I thought it meant he was a liar...but nothing more. I later remarried, and my son was the only child in the house. We provided him many opportunities, education etc. About was really obvious that he started being manipulative, telling small lies, and not responding emotionally to anything other than his own needs. After he turned 19...he moved closer to his biological father, and started drinking, drugs and having less and less contact with us unless he needed money. We never received cards, invitations and we were told not to exchange gifts because we had everything we needed, and he didn't like what we bought. Our birthdays came and went, and he wouldnt even call ...the last birthday card I received from him was when he met us at a nice resturant 6 years ago with his wife. My husband bought everyone dinner to celebrate my birthday. They showed up late, and handed me a piece of white paper that was folded. The wife had used a ball point and drew a picture on the front..inside was Happy Birthday! At Christmas we decided to send them a lovely large chocolate basket. They didn't even acknowledge it. When I son said "Oh, was that from you?" apology, no thanks. My son called this spring wanting to borrow money to go to another state for the funeral of a friends brother! I told him I didn't have the money to lend. In April he contacted me and said "we can end this moritorium on gift giving if you buy me a pair of angelfish I want for $125.00. But he said...I called too late, and they had been sold. For his birthday in June we sent him a birthday card. The day before his birthday..he emailed us saying that since we ONLY sent a card (for his 29th birthday), he feels we are SUPPOSED TO BE THE PARENTS, and we have failed he would no longer have an emotional responsibility towards us....dont write, dont call, I wont respond. And he hasnt...
I too dedicated my life to my family...and I have seen a counselor, talked to everyone who knew us to see if they have any idea why he would do this...and everyone says he is either a sociopath like his biological father, or the drugs and a narcassistic personality are at fault. They away, and do not let him vicitimize you. How a Mother does that...I think is impossible. All I know now is that no matter how hard I pray, or keep busy, or volenteer my soon as my mind is quiet, my screams of my broken heart have me in a panic. I know it sounds dramatic...but other Mom's out there will know just how loud the pain is. God have mercy on us all.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2011 at 7:26AM
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Hint - if your daughter "made horrible accusations about my husband" but you "know they are not true" - maybe, just Maybe, you're wrong. And they are true. And it's why she's depressed and suicidal. Maybe he abused her, and you are in denial about it. Just go look at Cosby's wife, or Sandusky's wife - denial is a powerful force.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2015 at 1:46PM
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I have been estranged from my three children. Just recently my younger daughter told me that when I leave my husband is when I will get everyone back. They have made false accusations about my husband treating them badly and now have laid this ultamatem at my feet. This is from the daughter who moved in with us, pregnant WITH her boyfriend and their dog. She lived with me until my grandaughter was a year old and now is rarely letting me spend time with her. I am beside myself with emotional pain, frustration and disappointment.

    Bookmark   last Tuesday at 7:33AM
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