For those whose adult children are estranged....

bnicebkindAugust 28, 2007

For those whose adult children are estranged, are you able to identify when you began to get a glimpse that something was wrong, and what you would do differently today if you got a "do over" in parenting? If you were writing a book about estrangement from adult children, to teach the parents coming up behind you with younger kids, can you help us to understand what you can, and in essence, what you believe you did right, and what you would do differently if you had it to do over again? There have been so many parents responding to the previous posts, that perhaps a pattern will emerge that we can all learn from. For example, was too much done for the child, that they somehow now only care about themselves? Were some parents too busy with their careers and life that the bond did not form? Did you not hold them accountable for their behavior, and let too much slide, or did you punish too often, or too harshly?

There is no blame here. There are way too many complicated facets to all close relationships that play into all of this, so it is simply what you are able to identify when things started to change.

If you are able to stand outside of the picture looking in, what would your adult child say as to why they behave this way, and why they are choosing to live estranged from their family? What would be their side in all of this?

Were drugs or a relationship with someone you do not think is healthy for them at the bottom of all of this? Were you trying to control them somehow? Did you draw a line in the sand, and if so, do you regret it now? Would you do it again and why?

The point of this is so that you are able to stand back, and look at this, and perhaps teach those coming up behind you with younger kids.

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My experience with my children made me think it was entirely genes. My oldest son was/is just like my Dad. He didn't want to work or full fill any obligation a productive individual does in society. I saw the first signs of this between the 9 th and 10th grade. My youngest son is just like his Dad, my first husband. He was a hard worker, but needed a strong women to guide and direct him and to take care of the money. My son didn't marry a women like that. he would have been a totally different man if he had. He was/is a weak man. It took a few years of being married to his wife to undo what he learned at home.

My Sis told me a few years back, "I don't know what happened to your sweet little boys, You were the best Mom I have ever known."

    Bookmark   August 28, 2007 at 9:37AM
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I wanted to add, I don't like the "what would you do over if you could". It's like what did you do wrong. It's back to blaming the parents. I really believe they are born the person they grow up to be. I know a bad environment can damage a child beyond repair and when this happens the results are always blamed on that environment. I don't think it would have made much difference if the environment would have been perfect. They wouldn't have been damaged by a bad home, but I feel the outcome would have been the same.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2007 at 9:46AM
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"Were drugs or a relationship with someone you do not think is healthy for them at the bottom of all of this? Were you trying to control them somehow? Did you draw a line in the sand, and if so, do you regret it now? Would you do it again and why?"
I believe that for most, if not all, of us, the stories started long before we had children. Did they begin when we were children? Probably.

In my case, it was a mother who was extremely needy and unable to give unconditional love and who taught me that if anything went wrong with anything, it was my fault.

I married a man who had a history of both physically and emotionally abusing his brother  something I did not know until AFTER we were married. His mother was emotionally abusive of him, i.e., he was diagnosed with a learning disability but his mother would not take him to get the help he needed because as she allegedly said to someone: "What would my friends think?"

He was abusive both physically and emotionally of me and our son; our daughter, he "just" emotionally abused. Having been taught, as mentioned above, that if any problems were my "fault", I initially thought I deserved to be treated poorly and did not make any move to change things.

We divorced after 30+ years of marriage.

Our daughter had emotional and learning problems and was diagnosed with ADD in her early teens. Her father also was diagnosed with ADD.

Rather than getting hooked on drugs or alcohol as many kids with ADD do, our daughter got into an abusive, controlling relationship when she was a teenager, but I thought she had learned from that as she told me one time: "IÂll never let anyone treat me like that again."

Several years later she married a man eight years old than she is who began as a subtle controller and then turned into what I would call an "active" emotional abuser.

Some unpleasant things happened which resulted in my being banned from their household when her husband was present, yet I was still able to see my grandchildren.

Then I began to see signs that my daughter was very unhappy in her marriage and I saw her going through the same things that I went through during my marriage. I said some very blunt things to her, things she did not want to hear (nor would I have wanted to hear them at her age). Her husband used this occasion to further isolate my daughter from me as well as several other members of her biological family. I no longer see my grandchildren.

Would I do it again? Yes, I most certainly would. I donÂt see how a mother can stand by and watch her daughter suffering and keep her mouth shut. My daughter knows deep in her heart that I am here for her at anytime that she needs me. She, however, must hit bottom before she will make a move to rectify her situation; I cannot do that for her.

Hindsight being 20/20, if I had it to do over again, I probably would have divorced long before I did, but then again, I wonder if it would have made any difference in my daughterÂs life today. Somehow, sadly, I donÂt think so.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2007 at 10:49AM
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I am trying to understand this issue, too. I am not in the midst of an entrangement from my parents and my children are too young. So I cannot relate, but I keep reading all the posts trying to "walk in your shoes."

I have a good relationship with my parents, despite a long distance. But within my extended family there are parent/adult child relationships that are either estranged or at least very strained. I have my opinions on who I think is to blame in those cases. But even then, when it's people I've known all my life, I find out I'm wrong about things sometimes. So I've been thinking of them when I read all the posts, trying to get insight into how the parents and the children feel.

So I have the same question bnice is asking. These thing don't happen overnight. At Thanksgiving everyone is happy but at Christmas no one is speaking, I don't imagine that's how it happens. It must be gradual. Even if you don't see it while it's happening, when you look back there must be incidents when you say "that was the first clue" and "that pushed it close to the edge" before it actually went over the edge. Times that, when reflecting, might have been a turning point. When, if different choices had been made by both parties, things would have turned out differently.

I agree that chilren are born with certain inherent traits. But I also believe they learn what they live. DH is, I think, a couple steps away from being estranged from his parents. He talks to them out of obligation b/c I nag him. We see them twice a year, when they drive from Ohio to Florida for the winter and then back again in spring. We're exactly halfway on their trip, and right along the way. We're the hotel, bed and breakfast. I wonder if we lived out of the way if they'd ever be at our house. The arrive late Sat. afternoon, have dinner with us, and hit the road again at 5am Sunday. Even when our kids have had sports games later than Sunday, they do not stay and watch. We make a trip to see them once every 18 months or so and stay 3 days. Longer than that and feelings get hurt. There have been times I took our kids to visit them without DH. They ask to see the kids, but are mad that we don't go there more often. I think they are resentful that we spend more time with my parents, but my parents come here to see us.

Do doubt this hurts his mother. But, if she wanted to see us there is nothing that stops her from staying here longer or coming more often. Growing up, DH saw his own grandparents 5-6 times total. His parents moved away on purpose, to avoid them. He lives what he learned. When his older sister married someone his parents didn't like, they disowned her, wrote her out their will and didn't speak to her for 3 years (until the marriage ended). There was no abuse, he was just of a nationality the parents didn't like. Which meant DH didn't see his sister during that time either. He lives what he learned from watching that. (His sister is much older, so DH was a child at home during those years.) I can tell when DH has talked to his parents. I don't know what exactly they say to him, but it makes him depressed. That is the truth. If comes home from work completely down and negative, I'll ask "Did you talk to your parents today?" and the answer is always "Yes."

I don't like seeing any of them hurting. My inlaws are still the people who raised my husband and my children's grandparents. I have known them since I was 15. I know they want a loving relationship with their son and our children. But I can see they are doing things that keep that from happening. They are judgemental and critical of DH, make him feel like he can do nothing right, like their neighbor's kids turned out better. Whatever good news DH has, they find the down side. I tell him to call them, I make the plans when we go visit. I try very hard to make a nice family meal for the 2 nights a year they are here. But it's really hard to keep encouraging DH to do something that causes him so much stress. On one hand, it would be a relief to him to not talk to them again. But it would be a loss and the loss would just bring another kind of stress.

I think with the people we care about we have to take the good with bad. We also have to forgive them for not being perfect, for making mistakes. I wish there was more acceptance in the world, on the part of parents and children. I hope none of the parents or children who are estranged give up hope for healing.

What do parents of grown children want from their childen as far as communication? Maybe I am disappointing parents and inlaws without knowing it. What constitutes enough time, respect, communication? If money is one of the top causes for divorce, do you think it's also one of the top causes for parent/child estrangement?

I mean all of this with all due respect. I am not blaming parents or children, because 1) I assume it is not that simple and 2) I don't even know you. I just am so saddened by the loss what should be such a positive relationship for everyone. It is sad to see this stress passed on to the next generation.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2007 at 12:46PM
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Jonesy, I do not believe that there is a parent out there (even those who have good relationships with their children) who, "if they are honest", does not say that they made mistakes along the way. We all do. It does not matter how many parenting books one reads, or how hard we try to get it right, we are still human beings, and have good days, and not so good days. Sometimes we are irritable, or tired, etc. or we have one child with a temperment that tries every ounce of patience one can tolerate. And yet, on the good days, we get it right!

My post in no way wants to place any blame on anyone, because I too, assume it is never that simple, as relationships can be sooo complicated and there are so many facets and we are all only human after all. We go into the role of parenting with no instruction manual, and what worked beautifully with some children, fails miserably with others. For those of you who have watched the Nanny 911 show, it is clear that parenting is the most challenging role, and is not for the faint of heart!

I was hoping that as those who are going through estrangment, that as you each share your stories, that perhaps a pattern will emerge that will help these same parents understand themselves, why this has happened, but those parents with younger kids coming up behind you, to perhaps begin to understand as well, if a pattern begins to emerge.

I also want to encourage each of you and hope that your prodigal son or daughter returns one day, and becomes such a blessing in your life.

They must be hurting too. I wish you all better days ahead.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2007 at 9:22PM
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When my daughter was growing up, she was always the follower of her female friendships. She also didn't stand up for herself well. I use to talk to her about these issues occasionally. Now looking back, I wish I had tried to do more about it. I see now, she has low self esteem, although she is a professional and has went far in her career at an early age. When she and her husband starting dating, I wish I had ran him off. I see now, he fooled me. I thought he was great. I see now he's a manipulator and very self centered. He likes to yell and I can see with my daughter's insecurities how he got control. My husband blames himself because he was a workaholic and feels maybe he should have spent more time with her. She has always known she was loved by both of us, but he feels maybe she needed more dad and daughter time.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2007 at 10:40PM
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I am not saying I didn't make a mistake. But the point of this thread and the other one is about estranged children, not just child rearing. As far as child rearing goes, I would have gotten a job and put my kids in a parochial school where they could have had smaller classes with one on one help. Maybe they would have graduated, but it would not have changed who they became.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2007 at 7:05PM
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Sorry, remembered something, wish you could edit posts here. One time after my son got out on his own and had a problem, he told me, "its your fault I turned out the way I did". A year or two later he apologized and said, "I'm sorry I said that my life was your fault. I could not have asked for a better Mom."

    Bookmark   August 29, 2007 at 7:09PM
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Jonesy, I have heard it said that sometimes the worst parents somehow turn out great kids, and that sometimes really great parents...well sometimes those kids make a series of poor choices and disappoint. It is sometimes parents who do everything right, and no one really understands why their kids who had a good life, go wrong somehow. I wish you healing, and peace.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2007 at 11:13PM
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I have a SIL who is estranged from her parents. They did spoil her while she was growing up according to my husband.

BUT - I truly suspect that the heart of her problem lies within mental illness - specifically borderline personality disorder. Google it.

She is also an anorexic. And a spendaholic.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2007 at 1:44PM
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This line by another post:

In my case, it was a mother who was extremely needy and unable to give unconditional love and who taught me that if anything went wrong with anything, it was my fault.

Sums up my mother too.
And these words from my father (who supported her habit of neediness) to me, after my son was diagnosed with Cancer:

"You know, your mother is very very upset".

In that single moment, I knew that they could not be unconditional with their love EVER; that during my sons treatment I would need to make sure I sent her enough updates, and thanked her for every gesture of good will including prayers. You can never say thank you enough, ever ever ever. I am and always will be ungrateful in their eyes.

Needless to say, our relationship fell after that. Until I was an adult and truly needed unconditional love, we had made it. I feel sad about it - but I also know it's not my fault and I think she has a problem. Sadly my father and sibling have been even more punshing.

Advice if I could give it to a parent would be too encourage all of your children to continue relationships as siblings despite any quarrels they may have with you. That's another selfish act of my parents - I had NO quarrel with my brother but alas they are a package - quarrel with my mother and the entire family cuts you off.

God blessed me with great in-laws and friends who have become the family mine could not be.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2007 at 9:28PM
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My husband and I were very dedicated and conscientious parents who loved our two sons with all of our hearts. My oldest, who is now almost 28, has a form of bipolar disorder, and has been very hard to handle since he was a toddler. My younger boy, is 26 now, and was always a joy to have around until age 15, when it seems he chose the peer group over family, and alcohol became the way to fit in his social group in high school. My youngest still has not come back to our family and shown any interest in being with us, and only really calls us when he needs something. He is self supporting, but has been hurtful when I try to bring up issues. He uses the "F" word liberally, and never seems to take responsibility for things that have happened in his life that were problems. Despite a "gifted" I.Q., he never graduated from college, and says tests make him "anxious". Perhaps if he didn't drink and smoke grass, he could do very well in school, as he did when he was younger.

Basically, I think genetics does play a huge role in the way my boys have developed. I did not know total family history, but do now, at least on my side. I have 5 cousins who are alcoholics, one seriously bipolar cousin, who unfortunately drank herself to death at age 51, my mother probably would be diagnosed with this today if she were alive. My husband is an adopted child, and we do not know his genetic background, so it is difficult to assess on that score. But, just knowing my family, I would have to say there are some real chemical imbalances at work here. Trouble is, I cannot convince either of my boys to get help, and have offerred any and all medical/psychological help, as well as career counseling for my younger son who is currently not working. He lives off of savings from his last job.

The disappointment is very painful, especially now when all my friends have such wonderful relationships with their kids, and both my husband and I had very good relationships with our parents, and my father in law lives with us, so we have set an example of respect. I hate the holidays now, because it all seems so artificial with the gift giving etc... They each have a birthday, and i think I will just send a card this year. Probably if I have to say one thing I did wrong as a mom is that I gave them too much materially. I think they are very entitled and never really knew what it was like to work for what they wanted. Big mistake there on my part. But, oh, I miss those little boys!

    Bookmark   September 5, 2007 at 9:25PM
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Recently, I read a book called, "When Parents Hurt", and the author, Dr. Joshua Coleman (psychologist), has a forum on the web. Just thought some of you might be interested. It seems that this is a more widespread problem than one would think, because most people don't talk about it to friends who would never understand the heartbreak. Also, there is another good book entitled "When Grown Children Disappoint Us" (or something like that). The author is Arlene Harder.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2007 at 1:02PM
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I am new to this site and would like to share my story. My son who has been involved with drugs and got arrested for stealing a car was placed on parole for three years in 2005. When my son was a senior in high school we began to see a difference in him. He elected to join the Marines but was discharged due to a knee injury. Shortly after returning home from the Marines we realized our son was on meth. He "disappeared" from home and was arrested for grand theft auto in 2005. Since his arrest he has been in our home and has caused havoc. We tried to make him abide by his parole conditions but he felt we were trying to control him. Time and time again he was arrested for violating his parole..either by being under the influence or by not showing up for appointments with his parole agent. On Oct 4, 2006 he was released once again and came home and seemed to be on the right track. On Nov 1 2006 he "disappeared" once again. We looked everywhere for him. Searched high and low contacted all old friends to no avail. I forgot to mention that he is our only child. Months passed and no word. I finally saw one of his friends and they told me he was in prison. I called the prison and they informed me that he was released within a month. I was confused because I knew he had missed several months of his parole meetings and knew that missing them meant several if not a years worth of months in the prison system. Please note that while we had been looking for our son we had contacted his parole agent only to be told that he had retired, called the county jail only to be told our son was not there. This time I called the parole office and asked to speak to the supervisor and asked him where my son was. He told me that my son was released from prison after a month due to the fact that his file had been lost. He also stated that my son has and still is living in a city which is 8 miles from where we his parents live and he also gave me the address. He seemed confused and bewildered to the fact that I had not heard or seen my son in almost a year. Upon getting this information I loaded up all of my sons belongings including the saved Christmas gifts and headed out to locate him. I did and when I arrived he at first refused to come out of the house he is living in. I yelled that I would not leave until he came out. He did and I dumped all of his belongings out onto the ground from my car. I did not yell at him, curse him, or put him down. I simply stated to him " You have made it clear to your father and I that you want nothing to do with us". He started to say "That is not true" I told him to stop. I then told him " If you want to have a relationship with us the door will always be open" "In fact you can come to dinner this Sunday" He tried to run over and hug me and because of my anger I told him "You have had a year to come and hug me and you want to all of a sudden hug me?" I pushed him away. In all honesty all I wanted to do was grab him and hug him with all my might. I was stupid to push him away but I was hurt. He could have called in any one of those months and just said I am ok but he didn't. My husband, his father and I waited to see if if he would contact us but he hasn't so I guess we have our answer. My heart is broken and I want so badly to contact him but I won't. We have always gone to him and asked him to come back. Its up to him now. I will let God take over now.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2007 at 7:59PM
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This is in response to kimmiegirl... I am on the internet today, looking for answers and trying to find support for what we are going through with our son, and when I came across your posting, I was nearly in tears. Your story is sooo similar to mine. I know so well what you are feeling. I will tell you my story now. Our son was such a good boy - so loving and good and funny - he was a son that we were so proud of. He never gave us any trouble whatsoever. Then he turned 16. He became defiant. He started hanging with a crowd that I didn't know about. I knew he was drinking, but I didn't know about the drugs for a long time. Alot of it was denial on my part, which I can recognize now. He barely, and I mean BARELY graduated from high school. When we found out he was probably not going to have enough credits to graduate, I put him in night classes to help him get what he needed. I sat at a school 4 nights a week from 4-9 pm waiting for him, because if I didn't stay there he would leave and pretend he had gone to those classes. I thought our troubles were over when he graduated. But within a year of graduating, he and his girlfriend became the parents of our little granddaughter. I thought, "Now he will have to become responsible, because he is a father." But it didn't happen. By this time, I had become aware of his problems with drugs. The relationship between him and his girlfriend did not work out, and even though he claimed to love his little girl, he really wasn't interested in being a father either. He moved home one weekend while we were gone on a college visit with our daughter, and that is when everything really began to spiral. I believe at this time that he began using meth. He no longer took care of himself, he became very thin, and no longer had an interest in anything to do with our family. He could not hold down a job. One weekend, while we were gone, he had a party in our home and completely trashed our house. My husband changed the combination on the garage door, and he was officially kicked out. It killed me. I saw him periodically walking around town, and he eventually did come home to talk to me or to take a shower or to get a few bucks and then I realized I was just enabling him. He also "disappeared" and we didn't see him or hear from him for the next 7 months. He came bck to us in the dead of winter, with only the clothes on his back, and a garbage bag with his clothes in it. Our hearts just sank. We talked and cried and laughed and talked and cried for about 7 hours... and then we let him back in. We thought he had hit bottom. Things went well for awhile, and then "he got comfortable". Once again he couldn't hold down a job, he started to not take care of himself, the lying and stealing began again, and I found drugs in the house. I talked to him about it and kept the drug thing between us, once again thinking that he would change if he knew I knew. We had told him that all we required of him was to work, pay his bills, and support his daughter, but unfortnately that was too much to ask, because on July 14, 2006, he left, and we have never heard from him or seen him again. Other people have, so we know he is alive. But this time, he CHOSE to leave, and he is CHOOSING to stay away. My husband has been so hurt by all this, that he says he is no longer his son, and that he can never come home. I know that he loves him, but he has been hurt so deeply that this is how he deals with that hurt. I am like you, by heart is broken. There is nothing more I want to do that to go door to door and find him and bring him home and tell him how much I love him.... but on the other hand, the hell that he has put this family through can not go on, or be revisited. It is a loss almost as great as death for me. If I let myself, I could easily go into a deep depression...which somedays I do. But I have also tried to keep in mind the positive things in my life. I have a wonderful daughter who just got married this summer to a great guy; I have a younger son, who is loving and responsible; I have a relationship with my son's ex-girlfriend, who has become like a daughter to me, and then of course, my beautiful granddaughter, who is most precious to us. The positive things keep it all in perspective, and that is what gets me through. I dearly love my oldest son, who is now 25... but now I am like you, I have to leave it to God now. There is nothing more I can do for him. It helps to read these postings and to know we are not alone. Thank you for writing.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2007 at 5:10PM
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My experience is commmon, I believe... I divorce a cold, calculating heartless woman. My daughter was 18 at the time. She was very emotionally weak and my overbearing ex-wife brain washed her. I have not heard from my daughter in six years. I never knew what the word "hate" meant. Now I know. I hate my ex-wife. The estrangement of my adult daughter, so deliberately executed by my vicious ex-wife, has left me with two major changes to make... 1) I must allow my feelings of hate toward my ex-wife to subside. That is tough! I actually have prayed for her to die. Very unhealthy I know... but it is a hate so great, that I have to actually work at ridding myself of it. And... 2) let go of my feelings for my now adult daughter, who too has turned into a vicious and unfeeling person. A person who would not even contact her grandparent (my mother) when she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

I do believe also, that there is something genetic going on as my ex's family is riddled with familial estrangement and filled with people who show no emotion or sensativity to one another.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2007 at 11:18AM
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I have two children and this is what I found:

They will either learn from you, by your mistakes or teachings


They will not. One may learn, the other may think they can do your life over, make your mistakes etc and have a better outcome, basically trying to prove you wrong.

Which means the latter wasted the life that was given to them.

For these type of Adult Children you may very well be wasting your time to sooth any estrangement. When they fail, as you knew they would, it will be your fault.

Why is so easy to learn from other peoples mistakes whether it's a friend, foe, neighbor or teacher unless it's your parent?

    Bookmark   October 6, 2007 at 3:57PM
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Staggerl, I find your perception of estrangement somewhat harsh. Unfortunately, I think it takes some life experience for those who estrange themselves from their families to realize that, except in the most extreme situations, such estrangements work against everyone involved. Unfortunately, we cannot teach them that - our children need to learn for themselves; some will learn and some will not, much to their detriment.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2007 at 6:50PM
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To bnicebkind, I think I understand why you would ask the question what those of us who are estranged from our adult kids would do over. It would be great if there was some answer, some warning signal, some tip that would prevent this from happening.

I have been estranged for 12 years by my daughter who is now 41. I learned in 2005 that she has bipolar disorder. I don't know how much, if at all, that her disorder contributed to her estranging herself. I am sure that she believes it has nothing to do with her decision or her continuing to be estranged.

I had no clue at all from her childhood years that she would develop bipolar disorder. I never saw her in either a mania or a depression. Nor did I have a clue that she would estrange herself when we had a disagreement in 1995. This is something that you don't see coming a lot of times.

One day you think that your relationship with your kid is fine. So you say something that you are aware might be a little irritating to them but it is something that bothers you and then the next thing you know, they have cut you off for the rest of their life and you're in shock and grief. So what might someone do? Never say anything that irritates their kids? I saw a term on a book review on Amazon. It was "Stepford Parents". That's descriptive! If we all could be Stepford Parents, perhaps adult kids wouldn't estrange us.

However, please understand that I realize that there are all kinds of reasons for estrangement. Some are easy to understand. My mother suffers from mental illness, Borderline Personality Disorder and we are estranged due to her not being able to control her desire to abuse me verbally. What might she have done to prevent estrangement? She doesn't really have a choice as she is mentally ill and she can't control it. This is something that has been a lifelong problem for both of us as she has been this way throughout my life.

I have cousins who have bipolar disorder too. My mother's mother was also mentally ill and had been institutionalized for a time although no one in my family knows what her diagnosis was. This was a long time ago when she was alive. So something genetic is undoubtedly going on in my family. This is something none of us can do anything about.

I didn't see any of this coming with my daughter. If it hadn't been my question that irritated her in 1995, I am sure that I would have said something else that irritated her later.


    Bookmark   October 18, 2007 at 2:51PM
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bnicebkind, I thought of one piece of advice that might be helpful in preventing or forestalling an estrangement between any two people. That advice is not to have any kind of discussion where feelings might run high by email. When you aren't face to face with someone, or can't hear their voice, it is easy for miscommunications to happen. People fill in the blanks with their own, often negative, ideas of what was meant.

With my and my daughter in 1995, I had thought that, since it seemed difficult to talk about some things in person, that email was a reasonable alternative. I think that was a mistake. However, perhaps there were things I didn't know and estrangement would have happened anyway. I'll never know. But I wouldn't suggest email as a way of communicating and discussing anything that is touchy. Once someone has gotten angry and you aren't there in person where they can see your face, it is so easy for them to stay mad and refuse to listen to you. Writing online has its limits and drawbacks.


    Bookmark   October 18, 2007 at 4:53PM
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Along the lines of Ginny's post about speaking in person with others, I wonder if refusing to meet with someone from whom one has estranged themselves is in some way a practice used because the person who did the estranging knows that if she/he were to meet the parent/sibling/child in person defenses would begin to break down and thus start the reconciliation process.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2007 at 9:36AM
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It's not always about fights, I don't fight with my kids or my sister. My sister gets mad and writes me a letter saying she doesn't want to see me ever again. The first time that happened, I mailed her, she sent it back, the third time I sent a postcard with a dove on in. No one can pass up a postcard. Well, she called me and talked about the misunderstanding cause by another sister. That was the first problem, now there is another and I am not playing peace maker this time. I took care of my husband for 5 years with Alzheimer's, when she found out I had put him in a home she started transferring mom's care onto me, saying she needed a break. Mom lives alone and my sis buys her groceries and sees her twice a week. In my opinion she wants mom put in a care home and she can't do it. She wants me to be the bad guy.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2007 at 5:19PM
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njtea, I agree with you about the reason why some who estrange themselves refuse to see someone in person or to talk with them on the phone. I think that's a distinct possibility.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2007 at 7:20PM
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My situation is probably very different than many, but as a 40 year old woman I just plain do not like my mother as a person. It wasn't 'mistakes' persay, but her basic personality. She's not nice at all. She never bonded with her 5 children growing up. We didn't do anything together but the bare basics of life. I grew up seeing my friends do lots of fun things with their parents. I can't remember one time of doing something fun with my mom. I do remember her just being a nasty, negative mom. She doesn't try with her kids to this day. She doesn't make any effort with her grandkids (everyone lives in one town and I'm about 20 minutes from that town). But she also does expect everyone to act like a happy family and come flocking to her house on holidays. I really doubt this would apply to anyone here. I assume folks that would take the time to come to this forum are really interested in their kids. I can tell you one thing she does that may apply to some. She talks about how great my ex was and says negative things about my current DH. Ex was a bum and current DH is a mother's dream come true. No one talks trash about my DH. If I were to choose between DH and mom, DH wins without a second thought. So, making nice with your kid's spouse would be helpful.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2007 at 9:44AM
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After not going on myspace for several weeks, I went on last night and looked my son and his girlfriend. I had become very upset looking at the 2 of them and reading the things she wrote about planning their wedding. She is in it to take him for everything he is worth and then give him the boot- this is our perception as well as that of her own family members who contacted us to warn us of as they like my son a lot and feel sorry for what she is doing. She is Heather Mills on a smaller scale- out to take everything she can get and then skip out.
When I saw my son's page- there was a very strange and sad saying that said something like don't tell anything to anybody or you will miss talking to everybody. I took this to mean that there he had some regrets about saying something to either us when he left here in a storm in May after we "insulted" his girlfriend or referring to saying something that insulted her that made her leave. She gets insulted at the drop of a word so that is nothing new. Never met anyone so sensitive about everything! Especially when it relates to her cleaning a house, getting a job or not surfing the net seeking other men while engaged to my son.
Well, looked it up and those are lyrics to a teen heartbreak type of son. My son is a punk rock fan.
So, I then looked at the girlfriend's page and her location is listed as the town where her parents live rather than my son's location where she was living. Her parents live about 300 miles from my son.
They both changed their profiles on the same day within hours of each other. I am starting to think they may have broken up.
I love my son immensely and love to be in touch with him but after all the hurt and hard feelings and rotten things he said to me, I am wondering if I shouldf wait and see what happens. The change of profile took place about 2 weeks ago- so that if she in fact did move out- it would be rather new.
Any advice as to what I should do?? Should I reach out and see what is happening if he responds or should I simply sit and wait and see?

    Bookmark   October 20, 2007 at 3:23PM
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"So, making nice with your kid's spouse would be helpful."

Only if the spouse is "making nice" with your kid.

And always remember that the apple never falls from the tree.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2007 at 5:07PM
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Njtea & Imaginny,
I agree with you totally about kids not wanting to talk face to face. My own daughter would not meet me to talk for 3 yrs. Everything was on the phone. Her husband was in the background 'giving her power'. I felt he didn't want her to meet with me also, just for that reason, she might break down and make up. Presently we are going through the same scenerio, only this time, I do not try to call her to reach her. I can only hope that she gets tired of only being around his family & maybe she will start to miss hers.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2007 at 10:35AM
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Just last week I was talking to a woman in her early 50's who had estranged herself from her mother shortly after she was married as her mother expressed unhappiness with the man she had chosen to marry. This woman told me that she knew her mother-in-law was a very unpleasant person, but felt that her husband didn't have any of his mother's traits.

Time passed and as the husband grew older, he, too, began to exhibit the same behaviors as his mother. Finally, the woman divorced her husband.

Unfortunately, in the meantime, the woman's mother had died and she has been going through intense therapy trying to forgive herself for the estrangement and to try to understand why she reacted towards her mother as she did.

So those of you who wholeheartedly support your spouses against your mothers might want to take a long look at both your spouse and yourself because you will each keep developing family traits as you grow older, whether you want to admit it or not.

I know from experience. I was told, but not by a family member, not to marry the man I was engaged to because he had too many psychological problems. "Oh, no, not him, he's a wonderful, kind person and besides there is nothing we can't handle together."

Time, unfortunately, will be your teacher.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2007 at 1:29PM
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My sil's siblings fight and fuss constantly. I thought he was different. He sure put on a good show while dating my daughter and said he was totally against the things his siblings had done to each other. Yet here we are, he is doing the exact same things. Unfortuately too late, we learned that his mother and father both were estranged from some of their family members in the past. So it does seem the traits carry on and on, until maybe some day, someone might break the pattern. I feel for my grandkids, because they don't have a chance. What goes around, comes around. Maybe some day my daughter will experience it with her own kids, I feel for her when she does. She may realize how it hurts. That's one of my biggest fears, she may realize 'too late' after her father and I are gone. What wasted time!

    Bookmark   October 21, 2007 at 3:08PM
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To lostmama,

That's an interesting question as to what to do based on your guess of what has occurred between him and his gf.

I am thinking that with holidays coming up soon that, if it were me, I'd send a friendly note or a card. I wouldn't mention looking at the online profiles. I wouldn't make any reference to how he's acted. My main goal would be to reestablish contact.

If and when you do hear from him, I wouldn't say anything about the gf. I'd let him do the talking and I would commiserate. Similarly to what I might do with a friend who was going through a divorce. I would say nothing bad or good about the gf. (because they could get back together and anything negative said by you could be used as ammunition against you.) I'd be comforting and would listen. And would invite him for dinner and/or go out to lunch if you are within driving distance.

People make mistakes. Your son may be doing some growing up. I would make it a priority to have a relationship with him again because you as a mother suffer pain from not having him in your life. So if an estrangement continues, you will be the one suffering the most pain. This is assuming that he is capable of being in a relationship with you that is civil and that he is not abusive towards you.

I hope that it isn't too long before you hear from him. I would hope that his involvement with the gf is one of those learning experiences that he needed to go through before he makes better decisions.


    Bookmark   October 21, 2007 at 5:57PM
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cuddlepoo, Some parents are a challenge. I agree with you that it is a major mistake by any parent to talk down their kid's choice of partner. Or to talk down their kids' choices period.

I can recall after I left my daughter's father that my mother criticized me for leaving him. She tried to tell me what a mistake I had made. This was despite the fact that leaving him was one of the hardest things I ever had to do and one of the best things I ever did for myself. But at the time my mother refused to try to understand. That lack of understanding was painful.

About a mother not being enough fun when kids are growing up, I can relate to that but in a different way. I am a person who works too much and who finds it hard to play sometimes. I guess you could put me on a psychiatrist's couch to figure out why. Or I could try to figure out why in this post but there's not enough space! :-)

I like to play but making myself take the time to play is difficult. So when my daughter was a kid, I was conscious of this issue. I chose someone as a babysitter who was very very playful. So that she would have opportunities to play that I wasn't able to give.

Of course maybe your mother wasn't able even to think of the need for her kids to play. If so, that is very sad for all of you.

I would hope that your mother would never do something as foolish as to try to make you choose between her and your dh who sounds like a great guy!


    Bookmark   October 21, 2007 at 6:13PM
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My husband sent an e mail to our son asking how he was doing.

The reply came back the same day- good omen?? It read that the girlfriend had moved out to live with her parnets 2 1/2 hours away to "go to school" and that the wedding plans were off.

He then said that they are "still together" which we assume means that he travels "down under" on the weekends to visit her as she lives about 2 1/2 hours south of his home. She took the 2 pedigree dogs he bought her and left him the 2cats she brought when she moved in with him.

He spoke about his job and what he was doing there.

Unfortunately, my husband deleted the e mail so that I did not get to read it.

I assume that his reply is a positive and that they are not living together also a positive.

With the holidays coming up I would like to invite HIM to come here to visit. He has not been home for a family visit for some time- well actually since March of 2006. The times we have seen him- she was always there and there was little actual family time.

We have no intention of lecturing or saying anything about her at all.

I do not want him alone for the holidays and also prefer that he not sit in the trailer that she lives in with her dysfunctional family, 7 dogs, 2 babies and 8 for a week like he did last year.

Any advice on hoiw to ease into contact with him or she I wait until he contacts us?

    Bookmark   October 27, 2007 at 1:00PM
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to lostmama, I think that whatever you decide to do, I'd "keep it simple" and "take it one day at a time".
If you do invite him to come for a visit, I wouldn't make a point that you would prefer that he come alone. I'd just invite him and leave out a mention of guests and leave it open whether he brings it up or not. Or, if the possibility that he'd bring her is too awful, then maybe not invite him and hope that he brings up a visit on his own and comes unescorted.
I agree with your assumption that hearing from him is a positive. A BIG positive! As is the fact that she moved out.
Good luck!

    Bookmark   October 28, 2007 at 8:37AM
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Well my husband invited him. No response. I think that will be it for awhile in terms of contact. He obviously does not want anything to do with us. So be it. There is nothing we can do. We tried. He refused to respond. So, that is it. I certainly will not beg him to contact us. It is sad indeed that things turned out like this.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2007 at 8:49PM
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Lostmama, How did your husband invite him? I mean was it on the phone or by email? If by email..he might respond yet...maybe he's thinking.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2007 at 10:59PM
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Invitation was by e mail.
He does not seem to want to call here and my husband sent the email inviting him.
We are planning to go on vacation if he is not coming for Christmas so we do have to know reasonably soon.
Guess we will have to give it a few more days!

    Bookmark   November 2, 2007 at 8:11AM
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lostmama, It may be that your son takes you for granted and assumes that whenever he gets around to it that you'll be there for him because you love him. While you are waiting anxiously for a reply, he's busy with his life.

Since your husband had received that one reply to an email, I don't think your son has cut you totally out of his life. However, he's not too concerned about putting any effort into a relationship with you.

When people do that, whether they are our kids or are our friends or someone else we care about, then we need to do what is best for us. Things like going ahead and making plans for the holidays, things like making reservations to go on vacation. If he calls later and says he wants to come, as hard as it may be to do, then you say something like, "Oh gosh! We've made other plans since we didn't know you were coming! I'm sorry but we won't be here. We'll be in Bermuda. But we'd love to see you another time. I'm so glad you called. I am looking forward to seeing you! I love you. I hope all is well."

Don't assume the worst. But I'd assume that he is busy with other things and that it makes sense for you to do whatever you need to do to take good care of yourself and your husband and to have a good time regardless of what your son is doing. There will be other holidays and times to get together.

I am including a link to a discussion blog that might interest you. Other parents there are discussing estrangements and the blog's owner sometimes gives advice.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2007 at 11:01AM
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Good news- I think????

My son sent me 2 dozen roses for my birthday.

I sent him an instant message thanking him. He was cordial and we chatted for about 20 minutes on line. Told him I had to leave to go out to dinner. He said fine.

When I returned home, he came back on line, asked how I was doing and how dinner was.

Turns out he and the fiance are no longer. He is dating other people. Not great success but he is trying.

I have not contacted him for 4 days he has not contacted me either.

What is the next move here??? I di dnot mention the girl at all.

he just spokeof her in the past tense. I feel like I am walking on egg shells.

Advice please.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2007 at 4:03PM
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To lostmama,

That is WONDERFUL news! Yea! I am so happy for you!

You're doing great! When some more time goes by, if you don't hear from him, you could give him a call or drop him a note saying hi. When you talked, did you ask if he had plans for the holidays?


    Bookmark   November 7, 2007 at 8:51PM
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Lostmama...I'm so happy for you!! Just hang in there and don't push it. That's what I'm doing..I have good news myself. My daughter and the grandkids have started showing up at my home. They have been here twice in the last week and asked me out for lunch last Saturday. Why the change? I don't know. We haven't talked about the estrangement but she is acting better than she has for the last year. I'm just thankful!

    Bookmark   November 8, 2007 at 10:38PM
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Thanks for the good words Ginny and Sniffles

Congrats Sniffles on the great news.

I am taking things a day at a time. Things are still no back to him calling us and asking our advice. We attribute it to embarassment on his part over the fiasco with the girl and fear of us saying "we told you so." Of course, we will not say anything like that.

The holidays are still up in the air. I sent him an im today and he wrote that he was busy and that he would talk to me tonight on im. Who knows. I am not pushing things.

Good luck to you all

    Bookmark   November 10, 2007 at 7:34PM
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Lostmama, did he follow up with the IM?

    Bookmark   November 16, 2007 at 6:18PM
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I am new to this post and since I am looking on the internet at 4 in the morning, I can't hide that I am hurting. The coming holidays are going to be hard. Again. We have been married for 38 years. Our only son is married with 2 children (6 and 8) and live 6 hours away. It might as well be another country. Our DIL comes from a large family (5 children) and although her parents are divorced, our DIL organizes group vacations with her entire family excluding us. Our son has a demanding career but somehow has time to participate in his in-laws lives whereas his father and I are left out in the cold. We have tried to pretend it doesnt hurt us, that we understand her family is more fun to be with, but our hearts break a little more every day. I am dreading the holidays, I feel responsible for my husband's hurt because I wasn't able to 'bond' with DIL. I'd like to suggest family counseling with son and DIL, but their lives are so filled (jam packed with kids'activities and her family activities) there is literally no time for us. We miss our son soo much but all we get are excuses when we communicate our wishes for them to come visit and on the rare occassions that we visit, conversations are stilted and our son seems to critize everything we say and do. Communicating with him was once so easy, everyone says they saw us as a close knit family of 3 and envied us. Now our friends and family feel sorry for us as we spend each holiday and weekend alone.
I regret that we did not have more children. I was 19 when I gave birth to our son, and 2 years later, I thought I was pregnant again and very happy about it. But instead of being pregnant, I had many health problems that eventually were resolved, by then, 4 years had passed and we decided we were lucky to have the one we passed on having more children. We were going to adopt but extended family was against that and it was expensive, with lots of restrictions so we passed on that. We set about to be involved nurturing parents but am sure we made mistakes along the way. We ensured plenty of interaction with cousins and such, and our son grew up to be popular, well liked by teachers and peers. He was a nice person. We paid his way to college, not wanting him to start life in debt, we paid his way fully. We gave financial and emotional assistance whenever it was needed. The first few years of his married life seemed like our dreams were coming true. He'd found his loving life parent, started a career out of state , started a family. Second child followed two years after their first and that is when things began to break down. At first, we were understanding, certainly with 2 children it was harder for them to travel to see us, so we went to visit them. Certainly, with 2 children, there was little money left for birthday gifts and such for us, we understood and often slipped them extra money when we could.
Things just started to change, DIL became more involved with her family, and we accepted that her siblings were something our son had always missed having. Now, their youngest is 6 years old and we are like strangers. We are never included in family activites, her divorced father is the one invited for the children's grandparents days at school, they went to Disney World with their divorced grandmother and cousins, but aren't allowed to go camping with us. The few visits we do share with our DIL and son and family are strained, polite and conversatons are few. My husband doesn't want to go to their house anymore because he feels uncomfortable.
I cry alot now, and feel this deep down ache that just won't go away. I feel we are becoming bitter and not the loving understanding parents we once were. I miss my son.I miss my grandchildren and I miss having 'my little family'. Our son is successful, his wife and he are very close, they are excellent parents, have a very active social life centered around their children's activites, he has a good career in clinical research, she is a teaching assistant for autistic children. Recently I found out that our son's best friend has experienced the same 'cut out of their life' feeling-the best friend was like our second son, he married our DIL's sority sister he met at their wedding, although a little rough around the edges, our son's best friend adores our son and now tells us that for the past 2 years he and his family have been pushed out of our son's life. Anyone have any suggestions how to heal this family?
Also, for those considering having an only child, I would advise against it, I think having siblings increases the chances of keeping families together longer.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2007 at 4:51AM
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sadregrets, how I feel for you. I feel I am going to be in the same situation again. I started a topic yesterday called "Demanding Adult Daughter" because I was so upset.

Let me share some things with you. It may not make you feel better but at least you know you are not alone.

Our daughter is an only child also. My late husband and myself were always there for her. She married a man who comes from a disfunctional family. He has gotten some very strange ideas from them. His mother and father do not believe in holidays or celebrating them. The grandchildren have never received one card or gift from them for birthdays, Halloween, Christmas, etc. I, on the other hand, make a big deal about them. I have never once gotten as much as a thank you. Who do you think they are flying in for Christmas and putting up? His parents. My daughter lives long distance from me. I have not even been given an invitation. And how are they supposed to do this if as I said in my other post, they have no place to live?

I have not heard from her for a week and know she is giving me the silent treatment because I will not spring for the downpayment. Just don't trust the whole situation.

One other time, she did not talk to me and my late husband. That was when she and the two babies came to live with us. She was having serious marital problems and we were concerned about her and the children's welfare. We flew her and the babies out here. We came to find out that all she wanted was a vacation from her marriage. She left with her husband and babies the middle of the night without telling us. We had co-signed on an apartment for her, given her some money and gotten her a new job. This, after asking her a million times, if this is what she wanted. I was even going to be the caretaker for the babies during the day. Imagine how we felt after this, especially when the silent treatment began.

I don't know how to advise you. I can only share what has been said to me by my closest friends. You have been a wonderful mother. There is nothing to question or feel guilty about. We can't let this eat away at us. It is time to think about us which is pretty hard because I tended to revolve my life around my daughter and her family. Would it help if you and your husband treated yourself to a holiday away somewhere, you know, make some new traditions? I know how hurt you feel.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2007 at 8:32AM
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Charro, thank you so much for sharing and understanding. I can tell you understand the hours I have spent going over and over everything I ever did or said. Wishing that I could turn the clock back to when our son was a teen, those were wonderful years for us and filled with endless happy memories of when we were a close knit family. When my son was on his homecoming court in his senior year, we were so proud. We are still proud of the fine citizen we raised, but oh so lonely at not being a part of his married life. I am trying so hard not to become bitter but it so hard to listen to our friends and my sisters chat about time spent with their grandchildren and grown children. That's a fine idea about my husband and I making our own holiday plans, I want to do that, yet I find myself sitting by the phone, hoping we might get a holiday invitation to their home (which I know won't happen because they are once again spending the holidays with her family) but I keep hoping that they will decide at the last minute to include us. My husband agrees with you and wants to plan a trip for Christmas holiday.
I pray that your daughter realizes before it's too late what a wonderful supportive loving mother she has.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2007 at 4:36PM
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My only child son who sent me roses on my birthday 2 weeks ago has started to imstant message us without us doing so.

He speaks in very general terms. Strange that he has a cell phone and never calls here. He never tells us why he and the girl do not live together anymore. We do not ask.

I asked him point black if he is coming home for Christmas- TG is just too short a time for a nearly 1000 mile one way drive.

His response to my question was a joke of sorts- funny faces on the im screen and all- he said, "are you giving me a big present or something?"

I then told him that his father and I were planning a trip to Las Vegas if he was not coming home although we preferred to see him. He said he would go to Vegas with us and blow his $4000 year end bonus.

He then changed the subject all together. Have no idea what is happening. He is heading to Australia in March on a business trip- then to Asia and Europe after that for a project he is working on. He is only 24 going to be 25 in a few weeks yet I also long for the old days when he was responsive and fun to be with.

Funny that so many estrangees on this board have only kids. I am an only as is my husband and is my son. My husband and I always were close to our parents. My son could care less.

Thanksgiving will be sad- think he is going to see the old girlfriend although I am not sure he gave me the name of a city not who he was going to see for Thanksgiving- and he has several friends in that city. I am afraid to ask- imagine that afraid to ask my son a simple question. This sure is a bad situation!

Good luck to all

    Bookmark   November 19, 2007 at 10:18PM
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Good day to everyone. I somehow found this site and have been reviewing different postings and still find myself... out there. I have had years of counseling in the past because of a long drawn out divorce with the kids' father and other related obstacles that I have had, and slowly trying to overcome. Please let me share and maybe you have something to add. I am not looking for the solution; but a way to get from this point to the next. Yes, it has been a long stressed out situation and continues to linger in my heart like a knife wound, deeper and deeper.
I was married to a prof. athlete, and over the years we eventually divorced because of the constant infidelities. His team won the World Series and he not only developed instant notoriety but also an enlarged ego to go with it. All very unfortunate because he basically was a very nice guy when the kids were small.

We have three children who have grown into adults that have been a big part of the power play their f
has played in the past. Unfortunately, he has issues about control, the kids and I. I guess it stems from his background. (we were married 10 years and I lived in different states because of his profession, then we divorced and I settled in my home town in CA. I was a single parent for 10 years and then decided to remarry.
(during that time we stayed close to our Catholic church and the kids went to Catholic school and we tried to function like our friends and neighbors, - you know what I mean...we tried to be normal.

Anyway, I chose to remarry nine yrs. ago, and as soon as I got married their f was starting in on the youngest - (who was still living with me in my home) - to go and live w/ him on the East Coast. He succeeded and over the course of eight years I have only seen her twice for a total of five or six hrs. She is now 22, in college, and lives with her f. He has given her brand new vehicles, and she has had alot of freedom in the past; she did not have to attend Catholic school like she did in the past w/me. She has been given many, many freedoms that she should not have had at such a young age.

My oldest daughter has told publicly to other family members that she is gay and she also lives on the east coast. (I live in CA) She left the same year that the youngest left; but she moved to NYC. Her f helped her get a place to live and also with a job.
I have not spoken to her for eight years. I realize the dynamics of the monetary hold their f has had on these girls in the past. There is a whole lot of drama that has gone on with him that the girls have had to witness. Drama - lots of drama.
My point in writing is that I am still married to a very good Catholic man who I am able to share with about all these on-going obstacles of sadness. There is obviously alot that I could write; but the bottom line is that I would like to have a relationship with my kids again. I raised my kids while their f played ball and had his many relationships with many different women. He married the last one (the last fling was it for me) and is still married w/ 3 more of their children including my youngest daughter who is attending college. She also has a steady boyfriend. Since we divorced their f has had an affair with my oldest daughter's best-friend's mother (who was his attorney). And who knows who else he has manipulated. So when I mean drama that is what it is - alot of unnecessary drama that all of my kids have witnessed. It goes on and on.

Out of the few times I have gone back there - my present husband and I went to my daughters high school graduation.
And coming from CA, I was expecting at least a proper seat - but instead had to watch a screen in the gym because of lack of space in the main auditorium. (small high school) Other family members were sitting in family seating.
After the graduation, my husband and I were followed around (within four feet) by a big goon (body guard)that my husband must have hired to humiliate me and my husband.

When I remarried he said that he would make my life miserable. And he has. This is some kind of machismo thing...or whatever. (that was a big reason why we are divorced by the way)

Initially, when she first moved there I tried to visit her that first year, with the intention of staying in their town for four days.
The first night I was there I had dinner with her and that is when she told me that her f and his family were going upstate and they were leaving the next morning. She said she was trying to tell him that she did not want to go, and she wanted to stay with me at the hotel. Anyway, I was very upset about this and thought well I would try and talk to him. I called him and he would not answer. I then drove my rental car to his residence and rang the door bell and he told me over the intercom - that the police were on their way...they came and of course I went back to my hotel. This is just an example of what I have had to deal with this lasting saga of events. (yes, he knew that I was coming to visit her for a few days)

I am very sad and just want to have a relationship with both of my girls.
Holidays are very, very hard and I am sorry that there are so many parents that are treated in such cold manner.
On TV we all watch and hear about parents that do these disgraceful acts to their children and you ask yourself as you try and close your eyes to sleep at night. Why my Lord do I have to go through this ? You know that I tried to be a good MOM to your family. Why...and then we finally fall asleep and wake up to a new day...(and it is still there) the why and sadness of it all.
Thank you for letting me write a little about my problem.

I pray for all of us...and our families.
thank you

    Bookmark   November 20, 2007 at 5:06PM
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lostmama, Your son appears to be trying to make light of his distancing himself from you. He apparently has a very busy life and is not making room for you in it. I can relate to how painful this is for you.

I don't think that there is anything you can do to change him. He would need to change himself and right now he seems to be so busy with his life, his travels, his friends, that he doesn't feel motivated to make any change.

The only thing that makes sense to me is for you and your husband to go and do things that you enjoy doing. I hope that you go out and choose some things that you've never done and that would be fun to do, interesting adventures, new projects. Are there things that you have put off for years? Is there some skill that you've always wanted to learn? Is there a group that you would like to join?

Or, if you need to fill that part of your life where you nurtured someone, can you think of a nonprofit organization where your contribution of time and energy would be appreciated? I do a lot of volunteer work and that is a lot like mothering someone. And the people often thank me!

I hope you go and do some things that bring you joy in the long run. It might be hard in the short run to change your approach from always having thought of your son first. But eventually you will find yourself enjoying yourself.

You can hope that your son figures out how much you deserve to be appreciated. But there is no way of knowing if he will EVER figure that out.

Life is short! Enjoy yourself!

Wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving!

    Bookmark   November 22, 2007 at 9:58AM
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teresa, I wish I knew of a solution for you and all of us who are estranged by our adult children. Like you I have a bitter ex who is my daughter's father. She has estranged herself from him now too.

There is always hope that one day those we love who have estranged themselves will have a change of heart. However, it is up to them to do that. All of the reconciliations that I have heard of have occurred when the person who estranged themselves decided to end the estrangement. I don't know of any way to get someone to end an estrangement who is determined to estrange themselves. You could let them know that the door is always open but other than that, I don't know what to do.

I wish I had some advice that I could say worked.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2007 at 10:11AM
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I have been reading the posts from parents whose adult children are estranged and wanted to give my opinion, I am an adult child who is considering estrangement from my mother and thought the process Im going through might help those who do not understand why their children have ended the relationship, it might help me too!

My mother abandoned me and my siblings when we were children to have the independant life she felt she was owed. She has a new life and husband and has not acted in our best interests whenever she has made a decision since.
I know that she went through a lot of pain after leaving us and it is the most unnatural thing for a mother to do, so I do not want to make it sound like I dont have any sympathy for the situation she must have been in.

Recently she has put me in a position where I feel the only thing I can do is to break the contact I have with her. This isnt a light hearted arguement, its something that I have to do to stand by my principles of what is right and wrong, Im not making any rash decisions.

I am also not the typical estranged child that you have all been describing. I have not suffered any abuse, I am not involved in a manipulative relationship and I do not take drugs or alcohol. I am very hurt and know there has come a point where it is more constructive to have nothing to do with her.

I am acting in the best interest of me and my siblings, I dont think she is in a position to ask that I act in her best interest. I am however concerned that when I have children of my own that I will need to have a very good explanantion for not being in contact with their maternal grandmother.

I would really appreciate it if someone could offer thier opinion if they are a mother in a similar position as mine.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2007 at 6:10AM
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organic dolly, I doubt that anyone who fits the description that you gave as "a mother in a similar position as mine" visits a thread such as this one. Apparently your mother is comfortable with her decisions or feels that they were justified. I don't think that anyone who made decisions like that would be visiting a thread titled "For those whose adult children are estranged" or would search for such a group.

I did hear of a book that was published recently that was written by a woman who had left her husband and children after one of her children died. The book got varying reviews on Amazon. Some people did not agree with her decisions and did not understand why she did what she did. I can't recall the title of the book. If you do a search on Amazon, you might find it.

You didn't mention the reason why you are considering estranging your mother. I certainly would not be one to give advice to anyone, one way or the other, about a decision like that. I am estranged from my mother. You mention that your decision involves issues of right and wrong. Issues such as that are important ones. I can't assist with giving advice but I can ask questions that might help you sort out what avenue to take. These aren't questions that I am asking you to answer here on this thread (unless you particularly want to). These are questions that you might ask yourself. Or perhaps you have already asked and answered them for yourself.

My questions for you are:
Are there alternatives to the decision of estranging yourself?
Are there other options?
Is there any worth in remaining in a relationship?
What was the contract that you agreed to and why did you agree to it? Is there worth in keeping your word?
Are other people involved in this situation? What do they think?
Are you able to have your principles and also remain in the relationshp?
Are you able to be assertive and to set boundaries?
Can someone help to mediate the argument?

Wishing you the best in coming to a decision,

    Bookmark   November 23, 2007 at 11:12AM
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organic dolly, I thought of more questions for you to ask as you come to a decision.

How much of your mother's past behavior influences you in coming to this decision? (Have you been able to forgive her?)

Is your mother imposing her values on you in this current argument?

Are you imposing your values on her?

Can you have a relationship with someone with whom you disagree as to values?

Can you have a relationship with your mother that is limited? So that you both have less reason to be irritated with each other?

How much is your thought of estranging yourself due to the present and how much to the past?

I know, speaking for myself, that my mother's inability to behave reasonably in the present has more to do with my decision to estrange myself than the past does. I can forgive the past. I don't want to experience the kind of behavior that existed in the past now. So I have estranged myself because I deserve to live life now without being abused emotionally.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2007 at 1:14PM
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Organic Dolly, I've learned there are a couple of kinds of estrangement:

Those in which the relationship between the individuals involved is strained and contact very infrequent and

Those who have estranged themselves from another or others and refuse to have any contact with them at all.

If you are considering distancing yourself from your mother, I would urge you to not cut off all contact with her. I truly believe that, except where there has been physical or sexual abuse, cutting yourself off all together ultimately will hurt you more than your mother.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2007 at 2:58PM
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Njtea makes a great point.
In my case, my I have not spoken meaning verbally to my son since the end of May.
In November he sent me flowers for my birthday and we had several instant message conversations.
No phone call or visit for Thanksgiving. No answer as to whether he will come home for Christmas. Invitation extended- funny answers given in reply about whether I had a large gift to give him.
I am bewildered and perplexed. What can I do to make this relationship get back on track?
I have not mentioned the girlfriend who no longer lives with him but who he visits on holidays. He has made negative comments about the women in the state where he lives and said he will be leaving that area once his 2 years at his company are up. He implies he will move to a new state once the realty market improves. As he has international travel coming up the 2 year mark will pass while he is abroad on business trips so that is not written in stone.
I am afraid to ask too much in fear of having him discontinue the conversation.
He seldom im's my husband.
We are both really up in the air.
We would love to see him. We are going on with our lives and seldom talk about him. We have taken in a new cat to make or lives more interesting.
I guess we should be pleased with any contact we have. What else can we do?

    Bookmark   November 26, 2007 at 7:56AM
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I added a number of pets to my life after the estrangement began. I also added a nonprofit to my life. I do a lot of volunteer work.

There is an excellent book that wsa published recently that I am reading. It is quite good and I recommend it. I promise that I am not tryiing to sell the author's book. I don't know him. It's just a good book. The title is When Parents Hurt. The author is Joshua Coleman.

I've read a lot of books on parents and adult children and estrangement. I would rate this one very highly.

It is good that you hear something from your son.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2007 at 9:58AM
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When we are feeling aweful, unhappy, sad, depressed, we can often gain a boost, by doing something for someone else. This is especially effective when we find ourselves in situations were there appears to be no solution, where we are "stuck".

Imaginny is doing the right thing, when she says she does volunteer work.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2007 at 4:13PM
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imaginny, thanks for writing back to me. I have been laying low this past week; deep into my work and trying to stay busy. Today I got back on and read the last write-ins since the 20th, and all are very helpful to me. I think you are right, and I have never quite realized until you put it that way; your comment - the ones who are doing the estranging have made the decision to do that. And you also mentioned that of all the reconciliations you know about - the one estranged was the one to do the reconciling..

I will never understand the situation as far as why my girls resist me, but obviously they have their reasons. I never had a father of my own so I understand how they want their f in their lives.(that was the main reason why I did not fight the situation when my youngest wanted to live w/ her f at the age of 14)
But I guess it does cost them. I believe there is always a pay-back in what you do. And there must be some kind of one for them. Some day I hope there personal scale will feel very teetered to one side. (if that makes any sense)
I looked at my first write-in on the 20th and I am sorry it was so winded. I needed to get it out. I appreciate you reading it.

You are a great comfort and I will look up the web-site.

thanks everybody...for I am new to this...

    Bookmark   November 28, 2007 at 1:24PM
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I also have a question. I have always sent b-day cards, gifts, holiday cards, short e-mails, for the last 8 years to my two estranged daughters. My oldest is totally estranged from me and lives in NYC. My youngest is estranged from me because she still lives with her father and I don't really think she is allowed to see me. She calls once in a while but I have only seen her twice in the last 8 yrs. So they are both estranged and far away from me.

I really have a hard time trying to send anything - anymore. Sometimes I think what is the use. And other times I wonder if they have actually received them in the past. I am not looking for direction, but would like to know what others do when your adult child has estranged you from them for a long period.
Do you continue with all the giving or do you STOP.
It gets kind of foggy at times. I wake up and put on my invisible hat that says in my brain "my girls do not care for me"
The mind can play on this in a bad way and that is why work is usually a good thing.

Anyway ~ does anybody have any input about my question.

thanks to all...

    Bookmark   November 28, 2007 at 2:13PM
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teresa, What I did about cards and presents changed as the estrangement went on. In the first years of the estrangement I did send a card occasionally. I didn't send presents because the first argument that we had that triggered the whole thing was about presents. Prior to that argument I had been the exuberant gift giver. I had given with my heart and soul. That's what it felt like but I don't think she saw it that way. Then we had this argument over me wanting her to remember my birthday with a bit more thought. Silly me! I should never have said anything.

But anyway, to answer your question, for a while I sent a card occasionally. I sent a book that had been compiled by relatives in another country that had our family tree going back to the fifteenth century. I was given two books by the relatives. One for me and one for her. I am not sure but from what she said years later, she may have thrown it out unopened. If she did throw it out, that was a shame. There is no replacing it other than with my copy and I am not giving her mine.

A few years ago I sent flowers. My understanding is that they were thrown out.

I stopped sending cards because it made me so sick at heart to hear nothing back. I went through such emotional pain over it that I decided it wasn't worth it to keep doing it.

However, Joshua Coleman, the author of When Parents Hurt, suggests continuing to send cards to let them know that the door is open.

My daughter is particularly nasty to me and has told me that she does not love me and doesn't want me in her life. She has been absolutely disgusting to me. So between her attitude and how upset I feel over getting no positive response from her, I don't send anything.

I did put an online greeting to her for Thanksgiving although I am not sure if she understood it was for her. She is my most frequent visitor to my Estrangements blog, which she visits generally more than once a day, and I offered a greeting to my most frequent visitor. I have her blocked from commenting on my blog (due to her animosity) so I wasn't expecting a response.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2007 at 8:58AM
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When we were estranged from our daughter for several years , (it lasted 3 yrs), I continued to send her cards from every holiday, birthday, etc. No response. This last time, I sent nothing. It lasted 4 months. Did it make her think? I have no idea. I'm not sure what made her run back..if she just thought about it, someone said something that made her think, or if the fact she heard complete silence from us this time helped. I do think when I was sending cards, she thought she had the upper hand. That we were still here when and if she decided to let us back in her life. Maybe by not sending them..she wasn't so sure?
She has been back the last 2 months and acting better than she has in a year. Not sure why the big change..but I'm thankful. Hope it doesn't happen again but I can't help waiting for the other shoe to drop. I still read these posts because I can relate, hope to help, and wishing you luck!

    Bookmark   December 1, 2007 at 12:27PM
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Amendment: I said my daughter has been back for a couple's actually been 1 month.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2007 at 12:33PM
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Thanks for your responses - imaginny & sniffles.
I am so glad I found this blog - I don't know anyone personally that has been going through what I have been going through. ( and all internal ) I thought that I would look at the calendar today and start filling it in with things to be busy with. Plenty of stuff to do this month.
Trying to have the attitude that the holiday is not about me and my feelings. But something much, much greater.
So with that inspired attitude I hope to develop a peaceful holiday. I will continue to look at different postings and stay connected. This is a life-line !

This kind of sadness is very internal - and has to be protected or depression can overcome. Been there.
Thanks again and Sniffles I hope you get to enjoy your grand-kids !


    Bookmark   December 1, 2007 at 2:14PM
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Sniffles, I vacillate between sending cards, leaving VM, e-mails and totally ignoring special occasions. Sometimes I wonder if cards, etc. are seen as groveling and ignoring could/would be interpreted as "I've moved on."

I guess I see it as when we were kids and "pursuing" a boyfriend: the more we "chased", the faster and further he ran; whereas if we stopped chasing, the more likely he was to catch us.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2007 at 8:42AM
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Njtea...I think you're right. I sent cards before because I wanted her to know the door was always open. Now I wonder if it not only made her think she had the upper hand but also may have given her a sense of comfort that we'd never turn our back on HER. I'm not sure what made her come running back this time. But she heard absolutely nothing from us.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2007 at 10:38AM
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Well...I am definitely going to give it a good try !

No cards, or any other kind of communication. It will feel very uncomfortable to not send my kids a Christmas gift.
But I mentioned before, I never get a response back anyway.(my oldest daughter has moved and I don't have her new address) The response I think would be appropriate is "hello Mom I am doing good, and I was so glad to hear from you,"...that simple. I think my kids are on the selfish side. And it is all about them and what they are doing in the city. (NYC) ( I live a different lifestyle as they do; and I think they take for granted that I will always be here - waiting )
---of course I really don't know what to think anymore - it has been 8 long years. Also, I can see how they would think subconciously; "Yeah, Mom will always be there for me, back at home." I am just trying to get better and become stronger, because it has really wore me down.
My ex-h has a huge hold on my two daughters and time will tell.

And I am really getting kind of tired of the whole deal. And yes, I do want to move on.

I think you are right on the mark - Sniffles & Njtea. Thanks.


    Bookmark   December 5, 2007 at 1:16PM
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Need some advice here

Seems the topic is underway here-

My son's birthday is this week. Actually in 2 days.

He sent me 2 dozen roses for my birthday. Then we did some im'ing

Then heard nothing at all.....

But last week he called here at 11 PM and spoke to my husband. Seems he needed to know when a quearterly IRS payment was due. It was due 9-15-07 BUT as he told us in no uncertain terms to butt out of his life we did and did not remind him. We simply did what he asked us to do- butt out. He has a penalty to pay now. As he is an accountant he should know these things- but oh well common sense left him a while ago!

Have not heard a word since then.

I wanted to be nice and send him a birthday card- last year I sent him $50. I was going to send him $100 this year.

Now I am having second thoughts.

When I asked if he would visit for the holidays- he does live over 750 miles away I got a snotty answer asking if I have a large present to give him. He thinks nothing of driving 500 miles every weekend to see the girlfriend or friends from college- yet refuses to mention coming here. I suspect he will ignore us once again this year and spend it with his girlfriend in the family trailer. They are no longer planning a wedding but still together. He did not even call on TG or Xmas last year- despite my husband being seriously ill and recovering from major surgery.

Anyway- any advice would be appreciated. I am in a qunadry about this- I do not want to be scrooge but I also fo not want to appear to have forgiven and forgotten all the hurtful things. I am trying to take the high road but am not sure if I am about to fall into an abyss.

Any advice apprecaited. Thanks

    Bookmark   December 11, 2007 at 6:33PM
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Since he sent you roses on your birthday...if it was me..I'd send him a card but I wouldn't put $100. in it. Maybe $50.. I not even sure I'd send him $50. since you haven't heard from him. Might make him think. You have to use your own judgement know him better than me.
Good luck and let me know what happens.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2007 at 10:16PM
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Regarding Christmas, have you and your DH considered taking a trip this year? I believe that grown children believe mom and dad will always be there waiting for them. This past summer, I should have gone home to see my parents. But I put it off, going back and forth on going or not in my mind. I love my mom and dad. No problems there. I was startled when they told me they were going on a trip. I then said I was considering a visit. They told me when they were leaving and when they were returning. In other words, they were not canceling their trip because I "might" come. I was a bit surprised. I guess it taught me something. I am now kicking myself for not going to see them over the summer. I now realize that their life is not holding in the balance for whether I choose to visit or not. They have a life too.

So next summer, I will make plans in advance to see them during my break.

I honestly do not know if this is a good or bad idea in your situation, because things are so fragile. If you leave does he end up at her place for Christmas? Would he be there anyway? If you stay, would he come home and healing occur in your relationship? Would it help for him to come home, and connect not only with you, but old friendships as well, that will produce memories of happier times and the people he came from. If he comes, encourage that he get together will the friends he used to know. They will be so glad to see him, and remind him of where he came from, and the larger group of people who care about him.

However, is there a possibility that if he came home, he would bring this girl that upset you so much?

Regarding his birthday, I am not sure if you should use money as reward/punishment. Only $50.00 if you are on the outs, but $100 if he is a good son, and doing what we want. It may lead to more hard feelings. Things are fragile right now, and because of that, they can read meaning into something where there was none. And it can lead to hurt feelings, and anger/rage, etc. Because of the past problems, and you are both very, very cautiously reaching out, something could easily be misread, and the relationship could become easily fractured again, so tread carefully right now.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2007 at 9:14AM
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We were planning a ttrip to Vegas for Christmas but then when he sent me the flowers we put making the plans on hold thinking things were back to normal.

That is when he started to waiver and joke around asking if we had some big gift for him. He also joked about meeting us in Las Vegas and blowing his year end bonus. But that went no where.

Long story short we did not reserve, the availability of flights that are ok shrunk, the prices rose and we said, ah so maybe next year.

A female friend of his from HS encouraged me to ask him to come home. She bet he would. As she lives in NYC and we live nearby, she was anxious to have him come into the city and hang with some old HS friends. She was so sure he would come out.

As for him bringing the gf- we seriously doubt that as she refused to come back into our house when they were here in May after my mother "insulted" her by asking my son what the heck he was thinking as the gf. was so unlike what he could get.

We would not allow the gf to stay in our house as she made mischief last time with toilet clogging materials as well as nail polish on our bathroom walls. I refuse to be subjected to her behavior and my husband is in agreement. She was raised in a very poor environment and I feel for her- but she is not going to wreck my house with her poor manners.

So, he may be spending the holiday in a trailer with the 7 adults, 8 dogs and 2 screaming babies. What a choice. He has a beautiful new house of his own (after she left he had to throw out all the pet stained wall to wall) or could stay in our very comfortable 3000 square foot home with peace, quiet, his childhood pets and his loving family.

What a choice! No brainer to me- but to him it is a dilemma.

I am betting it is Trailer Park heaven again. This year though, we will NOT send any gifts to the trailer for him and her. Last year, we mailed a box with gifts. I bought the gf several nice gifts. He told me she actually wore two of the items. Never a thank you, never an acknowledgement. No manners, no morals, no gift for her.

I did send him a card with a $50 check today.

Let's all keep your fingers crossed. Being a parent gets harder by the minute!

    Bookmark   December 12, 2007 at 8:55PM
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Perhaps you can ask his friends to call him and try and see if he will come home to spend time with them. There is something about returning home to the friends and family and shared history that feels good. Since the relationship is so fragile in your family right now, and he is angry at his family for their complete rejection of his girlfriend, then if he comes home, do not try and monopolize his time when he is there. The healing may come through his friends right now. The shared memories of high school and all that, might help in reminding him of who he is. In fact, if he comes home, you might tell some of the friends to gather together as many of his friends as possible, just to laugh and be together. Stand back, and do not try and control anything. Perhaps healing will come through a larger group than just your immediate family. Many parents try to (bite their tongue) and not bad talk the girlfriend/boyfriend as they fear it will push them closer together. And yet it must be so hard if you feel your child is making some really bad choices.

And last, if he does choose to spend Christmas with her, call around and head to a lovely B&B within driving distance, and make lovely memories with your husband. And don't spoil it with talks about the problems with your son. Try and just make some lovely happy new memories that belong to just you and your darling husband. Laugh. Take a carriage ride or something. Go to some charming, tiny restaurants or visit galleries. Pamper your husband with the attention once lavished on your son. Find your smile and laughter again.

Many young people in that age group go through some relationships that leave parents breathless. Hang in there!

    Bookmark   December 13, 2007 at 9:27AM
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Merry Christmas to all!

We received a card in the mail with gift certificates in them. The card talked about family being so special yet the message of the card is not reflected by actions. This is the second Christmas we have had to celebrate without our only child coming to visit. We have extended invitations only to be rebuffed. It is very sad indeed. I sit here and wonder why someone would chose to deliberately chose to ignore his parents. It is very hurtful.

Anyway- I hope all are enjoying their day.

May the new year bring better times and new memories.

    Bookmark   December 25, 2007 at 3:03PM
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It's not just kids and parents, it's family. I've had a rough few days because my older sister is in our city and staying with mom. Going over there is a nightmare and for some reason I keep going. My sisters and I never fought until my older sister was divorced, it changed the dynamics of our whole family. It changed her so much she damages the entire family. I fight with her, Mom has fought with her and so has my other Sis. The last time I was over there, I was having the best day that I have had since my husband died and 15 minutes with her destroyed it all and she thinks it's all my fault and it was partly my fault. I had had enough! I called the next morning and apologized and she said, "Thanks I appreciate that" and she kept on and on until we were at it again. The divorce pushed her over the edge. She thinks she can cure us all with her Shakely Products and gets mad because we don't spend big bucks on her products. She says Daddy is in Hell and she's afraid she will be in heaven without any of her family. One thing I have going for me is the ability to get over it and get on with my life. It takes a couple of days, but I will get over it. BTW I had Christmas dinner with two of my neighbors who also have family problems. We had a nice peaceful meal and spent a couple of hours of tension free chatter. Wonderful!

    Bookmark   December 25, 2007 at 6:37PM
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Sorry to hear of your situation Jonesy.

Our son called and ruined our day. He was at the girlfriend's trailer calling from outside as the gf does not like us. He talked about having a great time. Also about heading 200 miles withthe girlfriend in a few days to see friends from college. No mention or offer of coming to see us. Guess we do not deserve to be visited.

I hung up the phone and cried. I often wonder where the heck I went wrong and how I raised such an uncaring creep. My husband asys neither of us did anything wrong and that he is simply a rotten selfish person.

My son did not call his 83 year old grandmother who paid for his entire education. She did not even get a card. He did inquire about his inheritance when he met the gf. last year. I wonder if I should let him know the will is changed and he is written out- he is expecting a 7 figure inheritance which he will no longer be getting.

I want to return the gift card he sent me. I do not want his gift card,or his phoney family being important card. I do not want anything to do with him. It hurts me to think this way but he has hurt us so much with his selfishness and uncaring attitude. I simply want to write him out of my life. I cannot deal with the pain of thinking about him.

I also would like to write him a letter with the returned gift telling him exactly how I feel. I am just so hurt and need to getit off my chest as it is something I cannot suppress any longer.

Basically I want to say that the phoney family being important Christmas card hurt our feelings becuase it was a phoney fake card about family being so special. Hypocrisy really annoys both of us. I would also say please do not send me any gifts, cards, letters or be in contact as your contacts only hurt me more than please me.

I was doing alright until the phone call. Seems everyone is more important than us.

Do you think I am being too sensitive? I have not told him how I feel but think he should know- I feel I have nothing to lose by being honest as I have nothing to begin with. He seems to think sending me flowers on my birthday, a gift card at Xmas and ignoring us all year is acceptable. We do not.

    Bookmark   December 25, 2007 at 7:36PM
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I don't think you have anything to lose by being honest.

It might not be the right thing to do, but I'd probably return the gift cards and the card with a note saying something to the effect of:

"Actions speak louder than words and your actions read like a bad novel.
Love, Mom and Dad. "

    Bookmark   December 25, 2007 at 10:01PM
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Lostmama, Your posts today made me hurt for you. I immediately said a prayer for you. I think monablair is right, you need to send it back and tell him what you think. You have nothing to lose. You don't have him now anyway. Either he'll stop contacting you the few times a year or he'll think and make an attempt to mend things. I don't believe any person could be so happy and having such a good time if he has to step out to use the phone to call his parents because his gf doesn't like you. What is she going to do? Throw a big fit? If she does, how could be he be so happy to be controlled or manipulated by that? Go for it! How much worse could it get? Hugs to you!

    Bookmark   December 25, 2007 at 11:53PM
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I wouldn't throw his gift back in his face. If you do, it may be the last one you ever get. He did also send you roses for your birthday. That was really nice.

Could you send him a card thanking him for his gift but saying that you are disappointed that he has made no effort to visit you for the last two years and that you think his grandmother would appreciate a call from him?

Perhaps you could say that you are planning to do some travelling this year but would very much like to see him so could you put something on the calendar now so that you will know what you are doing? Could you offer to go and travel to visit him? Maybe you could say that you are going to book your Christmas plans for next year now and ask if he is interesting in joining in with you? You could ask if he would like to meet you in Vegas and if so, you will make your plans around that. Or the same thing for staying at home.
If he comes back with a similar response to this time, push it. Say; "no big presents I'm afraid, but we are looking forward to seeing you so let us know what will work for you so that we can make firm plans."

Do you think one of the resons he no longer speaks to your mother is because of what she said about his girlfriend? Or had he been ignoring her before that too?

    Bookmark   December 26, 2007 at 11:24AM
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Actually he did visit in May of this year with the gf who proceeded to borrow my nail polish, paint her toes while sitting on the toilet and make red streaks down the tile walls. She did not make an effort to clean the mess she made at all. She also placed tampons in the toilet. Thankfully she did not flush. When they were here,we offered to take them sightseeing and were told by my son "We don't want to go anywhere with YOU!!!! we have our own plans." ie. we just came to sleep in your house, be driven back and forth to the train and airport, paint up your walls and ignore you.

When my husband picked them up at the train station after they obviously had a fight, they were in frontof my house arguing. My mother, who lives across the street and who they had not made any effort to see invited my son over. She had not seen him for over a year. He never thanked her for paying for his education, buying him a $25000 car or footing the bills for his trips and clothes. He walked out with an MBA with over $500000 in assets thanks to her and my late father. Never a word of thanks. He never sent her a Christmas or birthday card, never called her or made any effort to bein touch despite her old age and poor health. She asked him what the heck he was thinking that he was not raised that way, etc. and she told him that she was disappointed in his actions and choices in life. Yes, she did say disparaging things about the girlfriend- but would you not be ticked off if a few weeks after meeting a girl your only grandson calls me with the girl on the speakerphone and asks how much grandma's house is worth, if it is being to left to himand when he can expect the money. When I toldhim the house was in the etstae but not left to him he asked the will to be changed so that he could reap the value of the house as "he needed the money." I was appalled.
So, the answer to the question is that he was disrecpectful to my mother long before this conversation. As my dad was a noted divorce lawyer, my parents often spoke of reasons for divorce and gold digging women interested in marriage for a quick divorce and alimony were a top reason. He gave his girlfriend a $10000 ring in January 2007 and as of May 2007 she was continuously on the Internet seeking a middle eastern man for a relationship. She was seeking a man while he was at work supporting her. Proof was printed up and shown to him by my mother. That got him annoyed and he left in a huff as she "insulted" him.

So, that is what happened when he came here.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2007 at 2:29PM
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Everyone has a different story on here, different things that caused the estrangment. We all feel the same hurt. I can identify with a lot of feelings that are expressed on this site.
We were estranged from our daughter twice. Once for 3 yrs, and last time for 4 months. The first time I sent cards, letters, calls. Nothing budged her. The 2nd time, I said forget it! She heard silence. The estrangement only lasted 4 months. Was it because she wasn't so sure we'd be here? I have no idea. She must have had a realization because she acts fine. She acts like the same sweet girl we raised. She was up with the grandkids on Christmas, sil didn't come. He's still mad. Guess he can stay mad. We never say anything negative about him. She will tell us things that goes on in his life from time to time. We act interested, concerned, etc.
Lostmama, only you know how your son will/could respond. If you decide to tell him how you feel, you run the risk he may not contact you ever again. To me, it was worth the chance. To you, it may not be. The question is: Are you strong enough to handle it if he cuts ties for good? I don't know you or your husband's age, but it doesn't matter. Any of us can die at any time. So can our children. If he cuts ties, and something happens to him..can you handle that? Just something to think about.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2007 at 9:04PM
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Chances are that your son will continue to act the way that he has been acting no matter what you do. It sounds like that is the way that he is. From everything you've said about him, I don't think that there is anything that would cause him to change. Probably because that's the way that he is. Not because there is some magic solution that would make him be different. I'm sorry that you are in such pain.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2007 at 9:49PM
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I have to agree with you. No matter what we do, our son will be an ungrateful and self centered creep.
He sent me an instant message 3 days after Christmas to inform me that he was "in the hopsital." Of course, I was concerned and wrote back. Turns out he took his gf to Chicago for 3 days after Christmas and she had a gall bladder attack. He had to take her to the hospital. He wanted to know what he should do, as I knew all about this since his father was deathly sick in the hopsital for 2 weeks around Thanksgiving of 2006 with the same ailment. He never thought to call or come home then, but he wanted me to give him advice. I was totally teed off and had to do all I could to tell him off. I told him to consult with the Dr and that I was busy so that I could not talk to him.

This week, he called in the morning to ask income tax advice. Funny that someone with an MBA in accounting who is a financial analyst for a major company calls his father for such advice. He called and rather than saying Hi, Mom or whatever he said in a very business like voice, "Hello is Bob (his father's first name) there." I said yes, my husband came on the phone and told we were busy leaving for breakfast- as we were. He never had the courtesy to even say hi to me. My husband's tomne of voice was rather rude and abrupt as he could hear the greeting and knew that I was annoyed. Although he is book smart, well educated with a fine position, he has the social skills and common sense of a used paper towel.

I am totally disgusted with this son of mine. I am shamed to have such a rotten spoiled and inconsiderate kid. I have resolved myself to thinking that I will put him out of my life. I really do want to hear from him anymore. I do not know who he is or why he is calling us- well only when he needed something. I cannot offer sympathy to his bimbo girlfriend nor condone his inconsiderate behavior toward us.

I never sent him a Christamas gift this year. Why should I?? It would be a hypocrisy to act as if all were right when it is not. I also decided not to write him any letters or tell him that he is out of my mother's will. He has no interest in her so why should I bother to tell him the feeling is mutual.

I am trying to move on with my life. The new cat I rescured is the love of our lives. We have filled our home with creatures who totally are grateful for the love we provide.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2008 at 1:16PM
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I am sorry to hear about your son and the way he treats you. I am on the other side of the coin (DIL who is estranged from DH's choice..though if you read my other posts we hope it will change someday)...but I can definately sympathize with you. I cannot imagine calling only to speak to my dad and call him by his first name..bizzare indeed. You are making the right decision to move on. Hopefully someday he will wake up and realize how hurtful he is being.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2008 at 1:39PM
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Below is a link to what I found to be an extremely informative article on controlling spouses. It seems to describe quite accurately both my SIL (the controller) and my estranged daughter.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2008 at 1:58PM
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Njtea, Thanks for that link. I can see my daughter in the role of partner. She is insecure, co dependant, & likes her husband to feel sorry for her. Her husband is very self indulgent, manipulative, has an adoring mother and sister, always right, everything is about him, will lie but claims to NEVER lie, and is down right Holy. (haha)
Lostmama, Hang in there. You have to take care of yourself and if that means cutting ties with son, go for it. Maybe it'll wake him up when he doesn't receive the responses & behaviors he expects. Not sending him a present was a first good step. I hope it helps. If it doesn't, at least you are moving on and not getting bogged down in this situation forever. Good luck.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2008 at 2:10PM
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I posted this on the other 'estrangement' site but I can see from these posts that it really belongs here/

I can really feel your hurt - it hurts so much - a pain like reverse childbirth - when your child extranges himself/or in my case herself - see above.
I though I was going to get over it better than I am doing - I wasn't a perfect parent - my husband worked away a lot of the time and I had to do a lot of rearing on my own - I've been over this with my kids - - all now in their 40s seeon to be 50s - thought they knew from their own experience that it is a HARD job - we all forgave and hugged and loved - at least I thought we did but for my middle girl - what is so painful is that we were never told why she suddenly estranged herself - we'd been looking after her son and her daughter on and off for years while she was with her new husband who didn't like the children. - She had also come to stay to get away from him. But they upped and l;eft for his home country in the Med. in August - all her financial assets pensions etc went with him - the boy of 16 stayed with us. He was very unhappy about his Mum leaving - when she came back at Christmas to see him she knew that he was unhappy and that he needed her - perhaps she felt backed into a corner but there were no ultimatums - just that he eally needed her - his grades in school were very poor and he'd taken to lay in bed all day.
Although we havent seen her or the children since Boxing day we now know that she has been living close to us and that the boy is now settled somewhere in (we hope) appropriate accommodation - no-one will communicate with us - infor from other 2 daughters - that means that we should be able to have some closure - if the boy is OK - BUT we are both in our 70s not very good health and to realise that your own daughter will not care whether you are alive or dead is very very hard.
Still trying to get over it - every possible channel of communication is filled with our love for her and the children regardless - BUT it HURTS. The break was so sudden and explained.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2008 at 10:31AM
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My daughter is turning 18 on Valentines day. We became estranged last June, 2007. She became heavily involved in cocaine and marijuana. It was recommended by her school drug counselor that I admit her into rehab, I asked her father ( my ex) to basically babysit her until an opening for rehab came up, he agreed to help, ( background info) My ex had not worked in 9 months when this happened,( he was fired from a management position at Federal Express for discrimination) I have always been a stay at home mom, but had recently started to work. and since he wasnt working that is why I asked him to babysit her. He was $10,000.00 in child support arrears before he lost his job. Anyway, she moved in with him for a week, An opening came up in rehab he took her to meet with the rehab center and they both lied about her drug use and then refused to send her back home or to rehab, I have sole custody but the police said being that she was 17 they would not go and get her because she would probably just run away, she wont come home because she is afriad I will put her in rehab. I have 2 other children one in college and the other is 10. I know that I am a good mother and I have always put all of my children first. Well within 2 weeks of my daughter living with her Dad , he filed for child support from me, when I answered all court documents he quickly stopped all proceddings. I guess his lawyer knew he had no chance. But now 8 months later, she is still living with him, I have limited contact with her by cell phone, she refuses to come see me until she is 18, but what makes me the sickest to my stomach is not knowing if she is still doing drugs. The reason she wanted to stay with her Dad, he is very lenient, he even let her go out of state for a week with her boyfriend who does drugs and is 21 years old. What kind of father sends his 17 year old daughter on a trip with a man, alone with no chaperones. My hands are tied, I feel like there is nothing for me to do, yet I constantly worry about my baby girl, thinking the worst and praying for the best. Always wondering if she will come back to me or if I have lost her forever.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2008 at 11:14AM
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I feel for you as it is a horrible feeling not knowing how your child, who you loved and nurtured is doing. Worst of all is the feeling of wondering what went wrong for this to happen.
Your daughter is young- perhaps she is in that rebellious phase soon- many do outgrow it. I remember myself being into a really rebellious phase- it did pass. LOL

Please hang in there and have faith. Your daughter may turn around and return to speaking to you.

I hold that wish in my heart for all of us who have children who have gone astray. I pray that they will return before it is too late for everyone's sake.

Good luck and hang in there!

    Bookmark   February 13, 2008 at 7:24PM
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This Garden Web Support Group is the only one of it's kind in existence and I appreciate it so much. Also there are very few valid/good web sites or articles addressing the topic. You really have to take time to search. I found a few that might be of interest. Most of them have other links within them, so look.

I have NOT included those very dummied down and biased ones out there that put all blame on parents/that claim only abused children estrange their parents. There is plenty of legitimate abuse going around in families since the beginning of time. They should know who they are. But if any of us have to sit and WONDER or "strain to remember" if we abused our kids, then we DID NOT! If we know we did not, or if there was some isolated incident that you finally remebered, don't accept the articles that bash you. (Again, not included here) No parent is perfect. No person is perfect. 'Nough said.

Parent-Adult Child Conflict (More within/scroll down and click 'More Articles')-

Oddly enough, this is part of a family law site, but is very good article with links-

Mitt Knocks Rudy for being estranged from his children-

Something on AARP site-

Oprah msg. boards, how divorce affects adult children. I included this b/c it's real-life facts and opinions. Not a general "bias"-;jsessionid=ac11067f30d85f3e67337c7043d7a55ea57857086ea5.e3qNbNuOaNmPe34Tch0Mc38Kc3z0?start=30&tstart=0

Support for Change (mentioned earlier in our threads and the whhole site is great I think)-

Article and links, "Strangers at the Table" Scroll down-

Interesting, if idealistic, article. States, "Memories must be made and children prefer to remember the good times, not the bad." (Not mine)-

Wish I had more time tonight, to keep looking.

Take care you all!

Interesting site by a woman who is survivor of true child abuse and states, ""Heal and Forgive: Forgiveness in the Face of Abuse," co-author of "101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life, Volume 2," and author of the upcoming "Heal and Forgive II: The Journey From Abuse and Estrangement to Reconciliation." Have not read it all myself but thought it noteworthy-

    Bookmark   February 18, 2008 at 9:35PM
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I jusr cant express how strengthening this forum has been to me - thank you everyone
My daughter turned up 2 weeks ago with flowers for my birthday - she was returning to Turkey that evening.
My husband opened the door and I went rushing down - she didn't want to come in but I couldn't stop hugging and kissing her. she returned my embraces and I could see how upset she was . She has since sent me a couple of brief emails.
She has found her son (17) a flat - about 1 mile away - he still wont get in touch. I think this is a dodgy thing to do - = he is very young still and shouldn't be on his own - but we keep an eye on from afar - we're not supposed to know where he is - but we found out by accident.
Turkey as you will now is moving from a mainly secular nation into an Islamic nation and apart from this concern I feel sorry for my daughter - she has been manipulated by a subtle and evil man for years - he has everything now - and I worry about what he might do in the future - we can only wait and hope and get on with our lives.
Anyway she contacted - and I wish the same 'positive' experience for all here and everyone who waits for that communication with a lost loved one.
The past few months have taken their toll healthwise etc., but I'm trying to put things as right as I can.
Much love

    Bookmark   March 2, 2008 at 11:35AM
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My son will be 26 this year. I haven't spoken to him in almost 2 years. The last time we spoke he wonted money and I wouldn't give him any. The reason is (just to name a few) I purchased a place for him. He picked it out but was to lazy to get some things fixed so the water could be hooked up so that fell through. My daughter worked (at the age of 17)and went to school full time. I found a really great deal that I purchased for her upon her graduation day. My son had gotten a girl pregnant and when the baby was born ask me if he could move in her place just untill he got a job (another one after he quit the first 2). I turned the lights and water on (in my name) and only ask that he pay the bill when they came. Never did. Never mowed the yard (my husband and I did this). The girlfriend didn't do a thing. My parents and I had to take turns feeding the baby and I washed all the baby clothes plus babysitted him every week-end (Frid-Sun) plus evenings every day (my husband, me and my parents all had full time jobs). The baby started having bruises on his wrist, I confronted them (only she was at home when this occured this time) and told them I would have no problem reporting them to the authorities. One week after this ,after 12 pm,I went in their place, the baby was crying on one end of the house and she was still in bed on the other end (the baby could not sleep in or near their room because he kept them awake (well duh!!!). I took him home with me (which thank God we lived with-in walking distance) to give him a bath (he was soaked in urine) when I noticed his butt was coverd with bruises. I took him (4 months old) to the hospital immediately and they took it from there. Needless to say my husband and I have adopted this bundle of joy and have had him in our custody every since. The oldest son of mine has been given 3 vehicles, paid attorneys (twice) once for DUI the other for child endangerment (no I didnt pay for the lawyers, my parents did. Now he and his new girlfriend (which he has 2 kids by so they can receive help from the goverment) are being evicted (this has happend to many times to remember) and need a place to live. I told him as far as I'm concerned this well has ran dry. He ask my parents to ask me if they could live here! Neither one works or he only holds a job for a few months at a time. Now my parents are going to let them live with them and they are retired. How can I get it through their head to stop bailing his butt out when I refuse. I've told them as long as he knows theres some one who will get him out of the fix he is in he will never grow up or start taking responsability for his actions!!

    Bookmark   March 2, 2008 at 3:11PM
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Darlene, You are exactly right..your parents need to stop enabling him. He's an adult and he needs to learn to take care of his family.
Hang in there.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2008 at 4:19PM
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Think I figured it all out.
My son is 25, well educated and has a great job. Lives the good life. Great house, fantastic job, luxury car, no bills, significant amounts of investments, a great future.
Thinks he knows it all and does not need us.
Treats us like we do not exist.
We are responsible for the nurturing and caring and guidance that got him to where he is. Yet he thinks we are useless.
He is selfish, self centered and thinks he is invincible.
Why call his parents- what can they offer? We are disposible nuisances. Oops, forgot he called last month to comaplin about all the taxes he will be owing due to the large bonus and stock options he got at his job. Poor baby. I feel so bad for him! (sarcasm)
I think our problem results from doing too much, allowing him to get to a point where he is self sufficient and thinks he does not need us.
Many people have other problems, kids who are needy and in need of help constantly calling, asking for financial and other assistance. I hear shows on tv about adult kids coming back home to live and driving their parents crazy. I only wish that was my case.
I would love to be driven crazy with the loud music, bad singing and requests for assistance with school work.
Those people who get to see their kids are darn lucky!
It has been 9 months since I saw my son. Think of him every day.
Doubt he thinks of us.
We are simply the forgotten people.
Sad indeed and very hurtful.
Our only child has abandoned us.
And there is nothing we can do.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2008 at 4:05PM
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I'm at a loss right now and need help. My son is 23 and has a job and an apartment. I divorced from his dad when my son was 6. His dad was a very angry person, prone to fits of temper which sometimes involved breaking things in the house.

To make a long story short,my son seems to have a combination of needing me more than is healthy for his own growth, and continuously getting angry over basically everything I do and say. He's not a bad person, he can be loving and appreciative, but right now he hasn't spoken to me for a week, and I don't even know exactly what set him off this time. It may actually be moot, because it seems to be more a 'process' of him getting mad, than the actual content of what makes him so mad at any point in time. It's usually that my reaction to something isn't what he wants. For example, when he loses his temper and yells at me, I often just leave the house because I guess I get flashbacks of his dad's temper, to the point that I really hate angry outbursts. I have a bad anxiety disorder, and though I've tried therapy, meds, etc., I haven't had a lot of success, though I believe I've had some. Anyway, I could use some advice as to how to break this silence from him, or if I should even attempt it. On the one hand, it's better for his individual growth and independence to not be calling me all the time, as he's prone to do. But I hate this estranged feeling; it's breaking my heart. I don't want to just keep repeating the patterns of cowering in the face of his all-too-frequent anger and criticism, but I don't think I can take this silent treatment much longer. Any advise on what is the healthiest and most productive thing for everybody that I can do? My gut feeling is that he could use some therapy as well to try to work out how to deal with anger better. I'd thought about calling to apologize for my part in this 'conflict,' or whatever it is, but something tells me that will just perpetuate things. I'm also afraid to call him, which of course is pretty illustrative of how I keep this problem going as well. Thank you very much for reading this.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2008 at 11:44AM
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First of all I am concerned about you and whether you are being abused by your son. Or could you be suffering from PTSD? (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) Thus the flashbacks? Or could both things be happening?

I think that your gut is telling you something when you feel afraid to call your son. I don't know the specific answer that is right for you but I do know that listening to what your gut is telling you can be an important clue.

One week can feel like forever but in the long run one week is a short period of time. But I've been there too waiting for the response of someone I loved and waiting can be agonizing.

From what you've said, I don't think that you've done anything that requires an apology. If your son has frightened you into leaving your own house while he is angry, it seems to me that apologizing to him would not be the appropriate response. If it were me in your shoes, I would want an apology from him. He must be aware of what you experienced in the past and also about your anxiety disorder. If he is ignoring those two facts, then he isn't being considerate.

I don't think that an action on your part is necessary currently. Behaving "normally" is an option. Another option is to make yourself do some things that take your mind off of the phone that doesn't ring and let your son contact you on his own time. It doesn't appear from what you've said that he has estranged himself from you.

If you believe, as it sounds as though you do, that your son is having a problem around expressing anger appropriately, then, at some future time when you are in a safe place with other people around who care about you, you could discuss his outbursts with him. I don't have any way of knowing whether his expressions of anger are out of the bounds of reasonable behavior. Does he go into rages? What does he do when he is angry? Does he scream at you? Could it be that he has a condition that is causing him to feel extremely irritable? Is there anyone else who is close to him who is concerned about him too and would be willing to be present if you decided to talk to him about his behavior?

The first thing to do is to do what is best for YOU in this situation. I know that the first reaction is to react as a parent who will try to fix things. But he is an adult now and it is going to be up to him to recognize his behavior and to do what it takes to fix himself if he can recognize it. I think that it's great that he has an apartment and a job and is taking care of himself most of the time. If he can't restrain his anger while in your house, it might be better to socialize with him elsewhere such as in restaurants or at the homes of friends until he can get a handle on how he behaves.

I am sorry that I can't give you a specific course of action to take other than to take good care of yourself and, in this situation, to put yourself first. I say the Serenity Prayer a lot and find it helpful.


    Bookmark   March 13, 2008 at 2:44PM
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Thank you very much, Ginny. Yes, it's mostly that he goes into loud yelling fits at the slightest provocation, often at things that I'm genuinely puzzled as to how they could have made him mad. He's thrown things in the past, but not at me, so while I'm not being literally abused by him, I guess I've allowed myself to feel under siege. Even when he's not angry, I think I'm at a certain level of wondering when the next outburst might come. I don't mean to paint him as a monster. He can be extremely caring and thoughtful, but this anger is reminiscent of the way his dad behaved often when we were married, which is what I meant by flashbacks. Just sort of deja vu, you know.

I think your advice is very good, and probably the route that I need to take, to simply get on with things and stop obsessing about him. Making him the center of everything, as I know I've done, has certainly helped contribute to the current situation, combined with a tendency I have to be a doormat in the interests of 'keeping the peace,' such as it is. Although it feels very hard, and I keep wondering if I've done something really wrong, I will try to take your advice and just let time pass. Somebody mentioned to me the phrase 'hostile dependency,' in terms of what might be going on with him, and maybe that's the case. Sort of like he keeps pulling back towards dependency and adolescent behavior, alternating with hostility towards me, because he naturally doesn't want to feel dependent or insecure, maybe? Again, I thank you so much for taking the time to give such thoughtful advice. Take care.


    Bookmark   March 13, 2008 at 4:03PM
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Maria, I am thinking that you and your son may have felt like a team of two for a long time if you didn't remarry since he was six and perhaps he is your only child. Also, sometimes when we have experienced abuse and sort of "gotten used to it", we take things for granted and minimize what loved ones do when they are out of line.

I think that yelling fits are an inappropriate way for anyone to express anger at someone. I don't think that your son is a monster and I can understand your concern about how he may be seen. But even nice people do things sometimes that are inappropriate and then generally it is a good idea to let them know that what they are doing is unacceptable behavior. If someone does something that scares us, then it would be good to have someone else around for support when we let them know what is unacceptable. Chances are that he behaves this way with others in his life too and someone else may have already let him know that expressing anger through yelling is not acceptable. You don't have to accept his doing this in your presence either. And you need to feel safe.

Did you stay in touch with your ex? Do you have any idea how he managed in life after the divorce? Was he ever diagnosed with anything and treated? Do you think that your ex continues to behave the way that he did years ago? Is your son in a relationship with him? It's interesting how many things about our personalities can be affected through our genes as well as through our environment and our upbringing.


    Bookmark   March 14, 2008 at 11:39AM
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Ginny, I posted this in the wrong place, so my apologies if it shows up twice.

I have been with my current husband for about 16 years, and he's been very supportive. He and my son have had a good relationship, and I am grateful for that.
My ex-husband did re-marry, and my son estranged himself from them when he was 16. Long story, but in short, both my ex and his wife are very angry people, prone to enjoying conflicts, having arguments with people in parking lots, stores, etc., and though I tried to urge my son not to cut off all contact with them, he firmly decided he didn't want to talk to his dad again. That seemed a bit extreme to me, and for a while I tried to coax him to at least call his dad, or send a card, but he wasn't having any part of it. So I guess my fear is that there will be a repeat of that with me. And every day that goes by I get more frightened that this will happen. So my fear is obviously contributing to this ongoing problem. My husband said that your advice was very good. We had discussed him calling my son in a non-angry manner, but we've gotten stuck as to what exactly he should say that would help move things forward, rather than just be a 'band-aid.'

Thank you again for taking the time to talk with me about this. I really appreciate it.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2008 at 1:08PM
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Maria, Gardenweb has been having some issues apparently this week. If a post doesn't take, if you use the back button on your browser, you can usually find it again and copy and paste it to a separate text file on your computer and then try again to post it later if you find that it didn't post. I see that there are two duplicate posts in two spots. I'll respond to your post here for now.

That is a scary situation since he has a history of estranging his father. If he will still speak to your husband, then maybe your husband could let him take the lead in a conversation and see where it goes. Just take it one step at a time. Did they do anything together that would provide an opening for a meeting?


    Bookmark   March 14, 2008 at 1:21PM
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Yes, we've been thinking that having my husband call him might be an idea, and a bit more neutral than me trying, especially given my tendency to self-doubt. They both are sports fans. Maybe my husband could call him about a game or something like that. That's a very good idea, Ginny. Thank you.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2008 at 3:13PM
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Wishing you good luck with your son. Please come back and let us know how things go.


    Bookmark   March 14, 2008 at 8:00PM
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I googled the name of his fiance who I thought had moved out of his house several months ago. He told me she was back with her parents but they were still together.

Lo and behold they applied for a marriage license about 3 weeks ago. Licenses are good for 2 months.

he has not said a word.

The girl is a train reck about to happen. Her own father told us that she was out for my son's money. After buying her a $10 K engagmenet ring she was on a dating website with her photo posted looking for other men. She does not work, pretends she goes to schoo, does not cook, clean or even do laundry. My son works all day comes home and she expects him to do everything and then take her out to dinner as she does not like to cook.

My son is worth quite a lot of cash. The girls' father told my husband and I that she founda bank statement and now wants to hook onto him. She never went to HS and wqe are not even sure she has a GED. She has no personality and is always offended by soemthing which means my son spends his life apologizing. She is below average in looks and comes from a very lower class dysfunctional background whereas our family is upper middle class.

I was so upset seeing the marriage license thing that I thought I woul dhave a heart attack.

My son has been rude, disrepectful and aloof to all of us for some time.

As we hjave no contact now, I feel I have nothing to lose by writing him a lette telling him how he has hurt us so much and not mentioning her. Only the things that his being in a reltaionshop with her have caused. As he perceives we do not like her, he shuins us. We can never accept this girl and never will.

There is an estate worth 7 figures at stake and he is an only child. Her father told us that the girl is hooking onto him to get a hold of our money when we are gone. the father told us in so many words that she told him that she has no love for our son. She had foreign boyfriends who were the love of her life who were deported for being of middle eastern descent- she told our son TO HIS FACE that hs is her 3rd choice. And he is marrying her????

What is your advice- should I write my letter and speak my peace or stay quiet??? I think he is mentally ill or on drugs to get into this situation. She has 2 unmarried sisters with babies with illegals who my son is starting to have to buy everything for as they live in a trailer and have no money, This make me sick

Any advice please.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2008 at 7:45PM
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Well, for a start I'd let the gf know your 7-figure estate is going to charity and not to son. See how long she sticks around then.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2008 at 1:24AM
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I like Colleen's idea. I hadn't thought of that.

I don't think there is anything that you can do to make your son have more sense. He's going to have to make his own mistakes. The best you can do is protect yourself and your estate. If you write a letter, it won't make him a better person or make him more sensible. I wouldn't expect that the letter will make any difference.

I know it's painful to watch someone be so foolish.


    Bookmark   March 17, 2008 at 9:25AM
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Wow. Your story is crazy. Obviously your son has been duped by this girl. Honestly in my opinion I would say that you take him out of your will entirely immediately and designate someone else to be in charge of the estate..someone you trust. Then you could leave the money to other family members and/or charity. You could then let your son know of these changes and why. If he tells this lunatic girlfriend/fiance about it and she bails then it will be obvious to you and to him that she was only in it for money. After that your son would have to regain your trust for him to benefit from the estate at that point.

Money brings out nasty things in people..

    Bookmark   March 17, 2008 at 3:25PM
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I don't know if this counts but I am an adult estranged from my father. I don't hate him nor am mad at him or blame him for mistakes I made. He left when I was 15 and started a new family and pretty much forgot he had other kids. I went to a function when I was 22 that he invited me to and a coworker of his came up and asked who I was, I said, "I am Robert's daughter". The man said I was mistaken that Robert only had the 2 little ones. My wedding he left early because he had things to do. He's been in and out of the hospital yet we don't find out until afterwards. My sister still gets angry and upset over his lack of communication but what is the point? When I see him I am glad to visit with him. But to be honest he knows nothing about me other than what my favorite color was when I was 5.
I imagine he thinks he was a good dad and did nothing so wrong that his daughter pretty much never thinks twice about him other than what I hear through the family grapevine....
I guess my point is, not all estranged children have an axe to grind nor do they blame their parent for anything. I tried to keep in touch but after years of trying, you just need to move on and stop banging your head against a wall. Just my 2 cents...

    Bookmark   March 18, 2008 at 1:22PM
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After learning from googling his name that he had applied for a marriage license I got really annoyed with my son.
He never was going to tell us he is marrying. We are not invited.

Sat and stewed and then wrote a letter.

The letter was about pre nups. It was factualy, included lawyer quotes on wht they are needed.

Sent to the letter in a fit as I was so upset.

Never expected a reply. Within minutes of when he would have received it, our cells began to ring off the hook. I never even knew my son had my cell # but lo and behold when my husband did not pick up, mine started ringing. As we were out to dinner, neither of us answered.

Really got his attention as the letter stated that large inheritance my mother was about to leave him was not longer in the cards as she had changed her will. I also said that our estate plan will exclude him if he does not take action to protect himself from possible divorce.

Anyway- he is indeed planning a wedding. Never planned to tell us as we dislike his fiance for being poor and low class. He is making a pre nup- so is she. As he is our only child it truly hurts to be excluded like this.

He denied being rude or nasty to us, said he dislikes our not liking her. My husband blew his top when he deined that he has been ungrateful and rotten since he graduated with his professional degree and got his great job 2 years ago.

Finally, he came around a little and admitted he may have been a "little wrong." He even said he feels bad at how he has been acting.

I started to yell in the background as I was so ticked that he does not even see the full extent of what he has done to us. He never calls my soon to be 83 year old mother who paid for his entire college and grad school education. He has us up his rear!

So, the call first ended.

After months of no calls- the seocnd one came in the next day- he called my husband yesterday to chat about his upcoming business trips to Australia and Asia. After months of not hearing frm him, my husband is happy he is calling again as he feels it means there is a dialogue.

I am thinking of writing a second letter. The topic of this one would be a recitation of all the things he has done to us in the past 2 years that have broken our hearts.

It would end by once again stating that unless he acts like an only son should that is out of our will and that we are giving him a second chance if he wants it.

My husband says this is a mistake as it will shut the door. My best friend agrees that a secodn letter might be a but much. My mother who is really heart broken as well as another friend think I should give it to him all barrels and let the chips fall where they may.

The lette which is quite long sits here all written. It disputes his claim that our dilike for the girl is based on her being poor and low class which he easily admits. We dislike her becasue she is lazy, has no job, has no HS diploma but pretends to be getting a degree on line, uses his credit cared to bankroll her life as well as that of her family and in fact has no real love for him as she was on the internet seeking other men 5 months into their engagement wearing a $10K ring.

My husband and I were born poor, got educated and worked hard for all our money so we have nothing against poor people.

So, advice please- would you send the second letter and possibly close the dialogue here or let him have the second letter and see if it makes him think.

I am convinced that he is indeed still interested in the money he could inherit, as the pre nup letter included the news that the inheritance he has been expecting when my mother passes- which is in the 7 figures is no longer in the cards. I think he does want to be included in the estate so that perhaps it will get him to think.

I am hopeful he will share the letter with the fiance whose own father told us is interested in him ONLY for his money and nothing else.

Thanks and Happy Easter

    Bookmark   March 22, 2008 at 8:17PM
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Geez, where is everyone??

I got a book from the library called., 'Walking on Eggshells" that deals with adult child/parent relationships.

The basic premise is that beweetn 25 and 30 kids want to be free, still love us but want their space.

The book further states that if you offer ANY ADVICE whatsoever you will be commiting a great mistake and risk alientaing your child.

Have any of you read this book?? If so, what do think of the premise that any advice is a no-no.

It seems to me that if I have to censor everything I say to my son that I might as well not talk. Things I have in the past tried to impart as good knowledge about life, ways to save money, ways to avoid problems with the IRS, etc. have been taken as meddling advice and created friction.

What are your thoughts?

    Bookmark   April 13, 2008 at 6:24PM
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Hi Lostmama,
I think some of the advice we get from the 'experts' is not always correct. For some adult children, maybe that's the problem and what they want, ie: don't offer advice. For others, the problem is a controlling spouse.
My adult son was here today to get advice from me (YES his mother!) on problems with his girlfriend. I am very careful what I say. I've never had a problem with him, unlike my daughter, but I'm gun shy so to speak. I did not speak for or against her. I definitely see where he's coming from. I really like the girlfriend so hope they can work it out. But how can kids raised in the same family, and treated the same, loved the same, etc. be so different?

    Bookmark   April 13, 2008 at 8:07PM
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Lostmama, I've not read that book but I did read another one (sorry I can't remember the title) that said if you feel you have to walk on eggshells around another person, that person is acting as a manipulator/abuser. If you can't be honest with another person you don't have a genuine relationship with that person.

I agree with Sniffles - the advice from "experts" is not always the right advice.

Unfortunately, when I spoke out about issues I saw (and almost anyone else, except her father, saw) in my daughter's marriage, she couldn't hear it and that caused the final break. (From other events, too long to go into here, she already knew I had extreme reservations about her husband.) I've been told that she did this because she, too, knew things were not good but she could not deal with it; it was "safer" for her to get angry with me than with her husband. Hopefully, time will change that.

I would do it again, however. I could not live with myself if I'd not said something to her. Now she knows that I know and she also knows that I am here for her whenever she is ready - if that time ever comes.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2008 at 8:41PM
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I also do not feel that I could live with my saying something when the his girlfriend although engaged to my son was advertising on personal sites for other men. This went on for 5 months into the engagment which led me to question whether she was sincere in her love for my son. She was making a fool out of my son and it was inexcusable. He apparently knew all about it and was afraid to say something to her. So, he decided just as other kids have to get angry with me and not the offending party.

I guess that I am too honest of a person not to speak my mind. I raised my son like that- if there is something morally wrong, untrue or whatever I will speak up about it. I felt that the book Walking on Eggshells was telling parents to hold their tongues no matter what in the name of peace when trainwrecks were about to take place.

Actually, the rift began long before this final one- as I said things that were perceived as insulting to the girlfriend- they were things I would say to any young person who I hoped to give some good ideas to- one of them was informing her of the Walgreens Rebate program where she could get to try new products for free with the monthly rebate club. I have been doing rebates for years with great success- she took this as an insult that I was implying she was too poor to try things that were not free. I started the conversation by giving her some of the items that I had gotten FOR HER that month and showing her the rebate ctalog and encouraging her to take a look at it. Geez, give me a break.

I often relive my words in my head- I honestly do not think I was being harmful or mean- they did so now I am not invited to the wedding- they will not even tell us when it is-
well that is good, means I do not have to buy a dress, be subjected to having to listen to things about the girl I wish I did not know and also not subjected to learning about her real mother shacking up with my son's college buddies like she did after the engagement party. Actually, I am glad I am not invited as it means I will not have to decline as I am too honest of a person to be a witness- I might just want to raise my hand, show the picture of the girl advertising for other men while engaged to my son and saying that there are real doubts as to her intentions. Now that would for sure crack some eggshells!

Have a good day

    Bookmark   April 14, 2008 at 10:48AM
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Dear friends and fellow parents.

I'm glad to find your letters here. This situation is so new to me. Abandoned by my dear daughter, 26 years old, just a few months ago, I'm in pain and need your comfort, and finding that other parents experienced this is a comfort. Thank you for all the letters you gave here.

I absolutely have not got the answers, and never thought that this situation was developing.

I divorced her father when she was 10 years old. I belived it went well. We put a lot of effort in the project, that she should not feel she lacked anything. Today my aunt tells me that there might have been too much over-compensation. Today I see that my daughter was spoiled.

She did her schoolwork, but nothing more than just managed. Much more interested in clothes, friends shopping, parties. When I was young in the 70'ies, we did nothing but schoolwork, and of course we youngsters worked to earn our own money too. My daughter, she did not work to earn her own money, we let her join camps for horseback riding with her friends. No housework. No lawnmoving.

I can see now how I let my daughter down.

As I look back now, I see the real warnings began 8 years ago, shortly after I married my second husband. My daughter insulted me and abused me verbally when she came to visit me in my own home. I kept my mouth shut in theese situations, so sure that this had to be something she would see her self, that she had to mature and stop such behavior.

I'm so sorry to say, during theese years I stopped looking forward to see her. My self-esteem as her mother decreased during those years, I got a nasty feeling that I did not deserve a loving daughter.

So finally, summer 2007 it seemed to be better, we spent a lovely evening together. I was happy and finally looking forward to the future. Very very happy when she invited me to stay in her home for Christmas 2007. But it all went wrong again, she abused me verbally, really hurt me. I irritated her so extremely by being gratefull, I think. About 10 days after Christmas she send a letter. Never contact me again.

Now 3 months later, still I'm not really able to believe this has happened. Garbaged her mother.

Never let youngsters get away with any kind of bad behavior so that they feel ashamed of themselves.

I think that is a lesson for me. I should have never let her get away with it, not even the first attempt when she was 20. Now I see why 'Setting Boundaries' is a serious issue in the books about estranged adult children.

I really meant well, because she turned 18, I remember I thought 'She is an adult now, she is a young woman now, and must be respected as such'

Here in my country in Europe where I live, nobody talks about this grand failure that a parent is garbaged by an adult child. None of the books I buy in english from the USA are translated. It is a silent sign how shamefull we feel about it. We cannot speak about it.

My question to night is the following worry:

I read about the mending of estrangement, and I see that the first issue is to honestly and whole heartedly wish to be connected again with the child who estranges herself. But in my heart I feel too much anger I think. I believe that I cannot just receive her in my open arms if she suddenly should stand on my doorstep. Is this normal? Did any of you experience such an odd feeling of 'too early to take her back'? Will time help? Maybe I too need time with out her?

Dear friend, who read this long letter from a brokenhearted mother, I thank you for your attention.

Maybe I should mention that estrangement is running in my family and in the extended, so many examples that it is the tradition.

Please email me if you like, I would be happy to have a correspondance, I am lonely in this situation. I cannot find a support group here, we do not even have a word for 'estrangement' in the language.

Also in times of pain it can be very good to chat about other subjects so please feel free to tell about your country, the scenery at the place you live and people and life etc etc. I will answer all emails.

My word for survival is Mothers-Forever-No-Matter-What
Love from Carin

    Bookmark   April 17, 2008 at 5:42PM
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Please allow me to enter my email address here as I do not find a support group in Europe:

    Bookmark   April 17, 2008 at 6:24PM
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Carin, I have felt lots of anger too. I think in a careful reading of the posts in Gardenweb that you will notice that many mothers feel deep anger about being rejected by the person whom they loved so much, the person whom they thought they would have in their life always, the person whom was entrusted to them from birth. The unfairness of it is infuriating. The unexpectedness of it. The behavior of the one whom we love is infuriating.

All kinds of feelings come up when an estrangement happens. I don't think it is unusual to wonder if you would be able to take her back into your life if she showed up on your doorstep. I do think that most or all of us would melt if our kids asked us to forgive them and wanted to reconcile.

I noticed that you began a new thread here on Gardenweb which is certainly okay. But it might work better for you if you tried participating in one of the longer threads on this subject as there are now five threads on estrangement. It would be easier for everyone if the discussion was narrowed down to one or two threads. Five threads make the discussion somewhat confusing. I think that each person would get more responses if everyone was in the same thread.

I'm glad that you are here.

Hugs to you!

    Bookmark   April 18, 2008 at 4:34PM
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Ooops! I thought I was responding to Carin on the thread that she had started but I see that I have responded on one of the longer threads. I have had a "senior moment" apparently!


    Bookmark   April 18, 2008 at 4:38PM
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Carin, you might consider visiting the Coleman blog as there are at least a couple of people participating there from the UK.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2008 at 7:10AM
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I agree - there are too many threads and very hard to keep up. I suggest someone with more computer savvy than me start a new one and alert everyone on these threads where to go. That would be so helpful.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2008 at 1:45PM
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I too think there are too many threads but I hope that no one starts another one until all of the existing ones are full or scroll down out of sight.


    Bookmark   April 21, 2008 at 4:40PM
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It would be even better if someone at iVillage would be kind enough and smart enough to realize that the topic needs its own forum.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2008 at 6:52PM
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Lost mama...we have posted responses for you on the new thread under the same title that began on Thursday April 17.

Read a response to you by FORMS. Wise words indeed.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2008 at 9:37AM
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How do I access the new thread with the responses to my post??


    Bookmark   April 24, 2008 at 7:53PM
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Before I begin and ask for insight, I have to say something to all those parents beating themselves up. Don't. I was a social worker (now retired). I dealt with adults but kids came into the picture. There were some sad cases of abuse, and those kids clung to their parents and would run away from foster homes. The were "devoted," a poor choice of a word. But the children were so desperate for signs of love they would stay and stay and cling and cling.

I have identical twins. One turned out well, married a good man. The other fell into the hands of a family where the mother and son are sociopaths. It's been 11 years and 2 children. She divorced the husband 6 months ago as he dumped her at her mother-in-law's. She is having trouble separating from the mother-in-law, the woman still has control. Her sister has been instrumental in helping her move out there. She is now about 3 hours away and living in a rental house her sister owns. We also gave her sister $3,000 to help the other daughter to get on her feet, but this other daughter thinks it is her sister's money.

I have planned to just show up at the rental house and let the chips fall. My husband wants to give her a heads-up so she can choose whether to see us or not. If she doesn't show up, that's his answer. But it won't be mine. I told him as long as we are alive we will keep hoping she'll change her mind.

We did draw the line in the sand about her boyfriend. Even her sister tried to talk to her. But the mother of the boy talked her into moving in with them. She was a senior in high school but 18 years old. She promptly got pregnant. Even if we had not drawn the line, I believe he would have still brainwashed her. He is a (diagnosed by a professional) sociopath.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2008 at 9:58AM
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i just signed up tonight and have read through all the posts. i also am estranged from my adult son. that will be posted at a later time. since reading all of lostmama's posts, i kinda feel like i can see what the problem is and has been. i apologize if i hurt your feelings, lostmama, but i feel like i need to share with you what i have heard you say.

first of all, i think the root of the entire problem is money and always has been. you keep telling how much money everyone has and how much you and your dear mother have spent on your son. you did very well by him. i think he knows that. but, i think he is tired of hearing about it. i think he must really love this young lady from the trailer park. maybe she is not what you would have chosen for him, but he spends holidays with her and her family. he must enjoy their company. i think the biggy was when she felt unwelcome at your home. i think that your mother said some very hurtful things to her. i think you hurt her feelings by making her feel low classed by telling her about free stuff. maybe you did not intend to do this, but you did. you have also told your son on many occasions about things she has done that you feel are wrong. you think she is only after his money. you think she is lazy. you think she might not have even graduated from high school. etc. etc.

your son does not want to hear this. it pushes him away from you. he knows she is not welcome in your home. if she comes with him, the tension in the room would not be pleasant. so, he does not come.

you have had your feelings hurt so much. i am sad for you. but, i feel if you ever want to have your son back, and have a relationship with your grandchildren someday, you need to make ammends with this young lady. she needs to hear an apology from you and from your mother. a very sincere apology!!! if she accepts it, then, from here on you must not say things that would put her down and make her feel low classed. you must only say sincere positive things. keep visits light. have fun. do not try to boss your son and run his life. do not try to boss and run your soon to be daughter-in-law's life. make her feel special and welcomed into your family. give her the benefit of the doubt. be kind. be thoughtful. treat her as you would want to be treated if the positions were reversed.

yes, you might think i am sooooooooooo wrong and continue to battle. but, as dr. phil always says, "how is that working for you?" also, he says, "would you rather be right or be happy?" this situation needs a champion. it needs someone to be the bigger person and make things right. trust me, if you will do this, you will have your family back, plus you will not only have a son, but also a daughter. please give this a try!!!! a lot is at stake here!!! life is too short to bicker about money and wills and estates and who said what to whom. i wish you luck!!

    Bookmark   May 14, 2008 at 1:07AM
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patty221 - Our son reunited with old GF who had dumped him 6 years prior, were engaged in 3 months, took $10,000 out of his savings and bought the townhouse "she and her step mother" picked out and told him to pay for, she demanded money from us and when I said we would discuss that with our son, she told me we did not need to talk to him because he agreed with everything she said. She told us we had to pay for the groom's dinner at the place SHE picked and then when my husband gave my son a check for it, he tore it up, mailed it back to us and told us we could not attend the groom's dinner, kicked our other son out of the wedding party. At the wedding we sat with our little immediate family and she had 180 guests. We left wedding early because guests were in town who had booked airline tickets but now could not come to wedding. 3 weeks later them came to our house, told us they never wanted us at the wedding but were mad because we left early, DIL began swearing, I told her to stop, they got up, walked to the door and she turned around and shouted at my husband and me "F_ _ _ You". A friend had a similar experience but gave in to every demand her DIL made up to and including the wedding and is still estranged from her son. What would you have done in this situation?

    Bookmark   May 14, 2008 at 8:34AM
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garden: There must be more to this story for your son to actually tear up the check for the grooms dinner, and ask you not to attend.

On the other hand, you may very well have reason to be concerned.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2008 at 8:48AM
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dear garden 60,

i am reading between the lines here and feel that there is more to the story than what you have told me. how did you know that your son took $10,000 from HIS savings and bought the townhouse that SHE and her MOTHER picked out and told him to pay for? was it the GF or the GF'S mother that demanded money from you? where did this take place? what exactly did she say? did she threaten you?

why would your son tear up the check for the groom's dinner and mail it back in pieces and kick your other son out of the wedding party? something had to have happened to make him so angry.

you cannot fix what you do not acknowledge. i want you to go through the entire time from when the GF entered back into your son's life and recall step by step what has transpired. i want to know who said what and when from the beginning.

by any chance did you dislike the GF from when they dated 6 years ago? why did they break up back then? was your son devastated? did he blame you for any of it?

2 wrongs do not make a right. in order to fix a problem, you need to know what has caused the problem. i suspect that you have had a part in this sad situation. tell the entire story and be truthful. if you cannot do this, then i am afraid i cannot help you.

maybe the girlfriend and her mother are truly horrible people. if that is the case, i would say just cut your losses and move on. i would not want to subject myself to their demands. i would not want to feel like i was being blackmailed by them. i would hear them saying "if you do not do this, then, you will not see your son or grandchildren." i would choose not to see my son or grandchildren.

please get back to me.

however, until i know the entire story, i cannot make a

    Bookmark   May 14, 2008 at 8:59AM
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May 15 ran into high school girlfriend who dumped him in HS because he asked her to go to church with him and she told him she has no time for anything like that in her life; had no contact for almost 6 years.
June - started dating again; Aug engaged
Oct I told them they were moving too fast; wanted them to be together but slow down; dont rush into living together; my son was raised in Christian home; I reminded him he always said he would never do something like this, but his decision will have to be between him and God. Nevertheless, he withdrew all his savings ($11,000) to buy a town home and put her name on the deed; he told me Jenny and her step-mom picked it out and told him that since he had no credit (always paid cash) and she had a $40,000 debt, she needed him to buy it and put her name on it, even though he would qualify as a first-time buyer alone. His money was the down payment; her name is first on the deed.
Christmas Eve he showed up late for church; she refuses to go to church; she was at our house waiting for us when church was over; he told me he just couldnt leave her parents house to be on time, even though a week earlier he approached me to say he wanted to go to church as a family and what time did it start. The evening was a little tense but I think we all got through it with conversation, music and hugs.
Christmas Day Jon came alone to our home
January - Her family called a meeting to see how much money they could get out of us and telling us they were inviting 120 and we could invite 60 but step mom told us we should each give them $6,000. I said if werent allowed to invite the same number of guests that we would pay for our 60 and she could pay for her 120 and we would each help out in other areas like flowers, cake, wine on tables, liquor, etc.
Feb/April they joined us at various restaurants for birthday lunches but it was obvious Jenny didnt want to be there
Mothers Day Jon busy with her family; slipped down to the house and left a couple tulips and a card; we were at the lake; he left a message on our phone at 9 PM saying what a wonderful day he had had and hoped mine was wonderful too
June 5 Jenny calls with an agenda 1) are you going to pay for the grooms dinner or not because it will be where I want it, 2) I am sick of your family traditions, like having your sister and husband as host and hostess at the reception, and 3) my parents will give us what they can for the wedding but they are still raising 2 teenagers at home and since you dont have any kids at home anymore you can afford to give us more money
I responded: Jenny, your dad makes more than Jack and I together.
Jenny: So now you are picking on my dad?
I responded: Jenny, take a breath. You have it wrong. Your mother is very lucky to be able to stay at home and I applaud your dad for how far he has come in his company; I only wish I could have stayed home too and I know Jack wishes he had more education.
Conversation ended.
Fathers Day completely ignored
June 11 Jack dropped off a check to pay for the grooms dinner and told Jon the phone was on speaker and everyone heard the conversation between Jenny and mom
June 12 Jon sent all of us an email saying Adam was no longer his best man, we were not invited to rehearsal or grooms dinner but would be invited to wedding; he tore up check and returned it addressed to "me". (email attached)
Wedding day Jenny never spoke to Jack or I; I gave her a hug and told her she looked beautiful; no response. When dancing with Jon, I told him how much his whole family loves him and how important family is; his response to me was "no, the only thing that is important is happiness". He gave me a kiss and a long hug. After that dance, the 14 of us invited left.
* * * * *

Sept. 17 Jon and Jenny showed up at the door. Jack answered and said Jenny looked really mad. He called me down. I came downstairs, smiled and said what a nice surprise.

  1. Jon is mad at me because the reason John (niece's husband) didn't come to his bachelor party was because I told John that Adam was no longer Jon's best man. (I said I didn't even know John was invited; Jack and Adam weren't.)
  2. Jenny brought up my comment last fall about them living together, which I have apologized for countless times but she won't let it go.
  3. Jon was mad about the wedding. No one seemed to want to be there and it was my fault because I told my sister and her kids about his email not wanting Adam in the wedding, and being excluded from the rehearsal/groom's dinner (how was that a secret they wouldn't find out about?) He didn't like that I told him the family wasn't happy with him throwing Adam out of the wedding at the last minute. And the fact that I didn't say good-bye when I left (he is right there, I should have said good bye.)
  4. Jack told them he didn't feel very welcome at their wedding. Jon looked at his dad and said "you weren't". I told Jon how could we look happy when we were not allowed to invite our family and friends and neighbors. He never responded.
  5. Jenny brought up that I should have been calling them more often. I reminded her that her mother told me not to; Jenny said I shouldn't have taken her literally. (How would I know that?)
  6. I reminded her of that nasty phone call she made to me in June demanding 3 things. She tried to deny it and I reminded her others heard it; she said I should have taken the phone in the other room so they didn't hear her; I told her she shouldn't have made demands she didn't want someone else to hear.
  7. Jack said what's with not wanting tradition because their wedding sure was traditional. They said it was not. Jack said "having a dollar dance is 'traditional' in my book." Jon was mad that none of us except Tanya danced the dollar dance.
  8. Jenny said in the pictures I didn't look happy except when I was around Sophia.
  9. Jenny went into religion and what is the big deal about sprinkling some water on your head..... and then she looked at me and said "I can't believe no one has told you off before. You should have been told off a long time ago." She went on about why do I have to set times, like at Christmas dinner will be at 2 or whatever.
  10. Jenny started yelling and swearing. I told her to stop it; I had had enough and this had to stop. She and Jon got up and left. Jenny turned back and shouted "f _ _ _ you!"
    Jack and I just looked at each other in awe.
    * * * * *
    We invited them to Thanksgiving and Christmas. They never responded nor did they come.

I extended the olive branch in one more email that read: You wondered why Dad and I didn't stay longer at your wedding reception/dance? You said we were not part of anything.
It ripped my heart out - telling us we could not participate in the rehearsal, the groom's dinner (ripping up Dad's check) or invite any of our friends and family to our son's wedding. I couldn't even have a bridal shower for you, -- you can't invite people to a shower if they aren't invited to the wedding.
We have all felt the pain of the events and misunderstandings over the last year. As we approach a new year, can we put the "trying to hurt" behind us? We all need to "give and accept" apologies. Let me be the first by saying "I apologize". And let me start loving you as my son's wife and my daughter-in-law.
Talked to minister who married them at the library. He suggested I send Jon a letter at his office which I did on 1/14/08. "Jon, I miss you. Can we have lunch? Love always, Mom"
Jan. 22 I called Jon, left a voicemail saying "Jon, this is mom. I hope you got my card. I dont want to hurt you anymore and I dont think you want to hurt me either. Just know that our door is always open to you and I will always love you."
I got this email from him 2 hours later:
Ok, time for some explanation. After our last meeting in September, I spent the next 3 weeks in the hospital for Chrons Disease. The stress that I received throughout all of this and the stress that I experience every time I get a message from you or a note, or an email sends me right back to pain. So, no more notes, no more emails, no more cards, no phone calls. Ill contact you when I feel that I am up for that again. But until that happens, please dont send birthday cards or cards for holidays. I cant afford another visit to the hospital or to take more time off work.


    Bookmark   May 14, 2008 at 9:43AM
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garden60's thinking looks right on Patty2211. I cannot imagine anyone saying no cards, emails, notes, phone calls?!

Garden, bless you and I hope his hell (and by proxy, yours!) gets better soon. His life has to be a disaster on a daily basis with someone with a severe personality disorder (if what you've written is true and I don't doubt it is!) causes that much distress to her husband. I pity they guy; he deserves better. I am sorry he's blaming you.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2008 at 10:18AM
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garden60, i just wrote you a VERY LONG note, but it was rejected i think because i called the dil the b word. anyway, i do not know how to retrieve it to make the correction so it will go through, and i do not have time to totally rewrite the note. what i said in a nutshell is that i think your son has made a big mistake in marrying this person. i would let it all go and not make any contact with him in voice, note, email, gift, card, etc. i would certainly not have anything to do with the dil. after reading your 2nd note, i have decided that this has not been your fault. it is hers. she needs to grow up and learn some manners!! i am sorry your son married her. i wonder what he sees in her? does she have a mother in the picture or just a step-mother? take care and move on with the rest of your family. not having you all in jon's life will give him pause for thought. trust me. he will turn around. just DO NOT have ANY contact with him!!! keep the note where he requested that.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2008 at 10:51AM
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patty2211 - thank you. I am so glad I kept a journal as things happened because it is easy to forget and I wanted to also remind myself of my mistakes - one being thinking an aethist would understand Christianity and the fairy-tale belief my son has that within 10 years he will bring her to Christ. But honetly, I do pray that if they stay together, I hope his prayers are answered. How nice that would be.

His b'day was last month, MD came and went, my husband's b'day came and went and he never acknowledged any of them. Needless to say, no one in the family acknowledged his either.

As far as the crohn's disease, I know he has it because his clinic called my personal work number asking for him and I was told he put his # as primary and my work # as secondary and there was no mention of his being married or a wife's #. I found that odd. I got another call just last week again and then she said "oh, that's right, I am supposed to call his number first and not yours. Hummmmm

Thanks again - I'm curious on how long your son has been estranged.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2008 at 11:02AM
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Perhaps because of this forum, and perhaps because of the step parent forum and all of the anger/bitterness towards bio mom's and for some, their step children, I am concerned about all the strife in families today, that make it so easy for many to simply close the door and not look back. My mom was thinking about this years ago back when the TV sitcom "Friends" was popular. This TV program seemed to make the characters in "Friends" into a family unit, and barely mentioned actual "family" and when they did, they showed the "Friends" cast not caring much for any family. The relationships (if mentioned at all) were very flawed, and "always" cast the family member in a really bad light.

Maybe there has often been strife within family/relatives, or maybe it is becoming much worse in today's society, but this forum is making me wonder if it is getting much worse, and in such a disposable society, people are quick to toss aside what doesn't make them "happy".

I am also concerned with the upbringing and values of some of these young women today. And the lack of wisdom/backbone in some of these young men in their life mate. These young women seem able to overlook great flaws in their own moms, but will not overlook/forgive the slightest offense in a MIL.

I am saying this, and yet a part of me understands that in some families, a MIL or family situation can become so painful and toxic, that distance is a means of emotional survival.

My hope is for healing within families. Be careful friends, with these relationships within your families. Because once broken, they can be so very, very hard to repair. Be gentle, and kind, and respectful of each other. Treat others as you would hope to be treated.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2008 at 12:49PM
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bnicebkind, what you said about "Friends" really hit home with me. I wasn't a big Friends fan, but I did see some episodes of it. You are so right about their friends being their family. This is exactly how my son & dil treat their friends! It is as if nothing else is important, their friends are indeed their family. What I'd like to ask him is where will your friends be when you need money, support,
love, etc. Friends are wonderful, and no one should be without them, but the ones that can really be counted on are family members.

I do think that our current society has played into the mindsets of these young people a great deal.Entitlement plays a big role.


    Bookmark   May 14, 2008 at 2:39PM
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Here is some expert advice that may be helpful to parents:

Your child is not speaking to you most likely because you have done something to hurt them deeply. Do not assume you know what it is. You must talk to them....more importantly LISTEN to them. Do not tell them their feelings are wrong or get defensive. You have not walked in their shoes. I think you will be surprised by their honesty.

Then comes the hard part.....apologize. This is a three step process:

1. I am so sorry I hurt you
2. I was wrong
3. How can I make it right?

Most kids are estranged because their parents put themselves before their children and are too stubborn to apologize. Children are God's greatest gift.
Do not let them drift away. Get in their face and LISTEN.
There is no better way to show your love than by listening and believing in them.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2008 at 11:49PM
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Connie2008 - I did all that, in fact, my DIL's step mom told me that I have a big heart, I didn't have to apologize any longer, my DIL hears me, she just isn't "listening". My son was just mad because we wouldn't hand over a fistful of money for his wedding, a wedding that included 120 guests from her side and we were told we could invite up to 60, but we would split the bill equally. They didn't want any opinions/advice from us, only money. They told us that. Consequently, no money!

    Bookmark   May 20, 2008 at 8:44AM
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Are you making the money gift contingent on you getting your fair share of invites? Respectfully, it sounds like you are trying to buy control of their wedding. If you can afford to help, why not do so. If you cannot afford it, then explain that. This is a special time in their lives. Let them plan it. Be supportive of their decisions. You are the parent, take the high road. Does it really matter who has more invites? This is such a special time. Put their interests first.

You may think they are estranged because of this but I suspect there is more. It sounds like you have not done the due diligence in LISTENing to why. Have you been critical of them with other things? Or supportive?

I suggest you go to them ....your son specifically, and ask
if you can meet with him. Tell him your relationship is very important to you and you just want to listen and understand.
Don't respond defensively.....probe to better understand. Ask lots of why questions and get him to speak honestly.
Tell him you cannot mend things unless you understand.
Don't respond at that moment. Take it home and digest it.
Ask more questions later. Listen again. Restate his issues to get validation. Don't make any assumptions.
I cannot overemphasize the importance of this step.

So many parents mistake estrangement for kids "just wanting money". This is rarely the case. They want to feel special. Make them feel special. You may be feeling upset about losing your son to his new wife. That is completely understandable. Take that into account and proceed carefully.

The rules are different for parents. Many times they need to take the lead and give more. You will feel so much better if you do.

95% of family breakdowns are from a failure to communicate. out for DIL's stepmom. Sounds like she may not have her DIL's best interest at heart. I recommend not talking about your DIL with her unless it is only positive and supportive. A relationship with you son is far more important than a relationship with her.

Just trying to help. If you can be strong and work through this in a loving manner, it will all seem trite when you hold that grandbaby in your arms.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2008 at 10:38AM
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Been there - done that already. All the steps you said, we have already taken.

When they asked to meet with my husband and I, we felt like we had walked into a hornet's nest. My DIL's step mom started out saying, and I quote: "I think we should each give the kids $6,000 for the wedding and I/we will be inviting 120 guests." I said okay, we have about that many also. She responded with "oh, no, you can't invite that many." I said, okay, how many can we invite? Her resonse was "You can invite 'up to' 60 people." My response was, well, if you are inviting 120 and you are allowing us only 60, then I guess I will pay for my guests and you can pay for yours. That sounds fair to me.

There was NO WAY I was going to pay half by her rules. The kids said nothing in this meeting. We offered to also pay for things like the cake, liquor, wine on the tables. But because we wouldn't just give them $6,000 that night, it went down hill from there. My son was so mad at my husband and I for not just writing the check.

Then my DIL called to tell me where "she" was going to have the groom's dinner. I told her usually the groom's parents do that. She said she would pick the place, and invite who she wanted but that my husband and I were to pay for it. We did compromise and give in to the retaurant of her choice; my husband dropped off a very generous check to cover the cost, but they returned the check to us because my husband told them they could no longer target me with their nastiness and my DIL's last phone call to me with her demands was heard by others and they were appauled.

My DIL told me and my son at the beginning that she had never seen a mother and son as close as we were. Both my son and I reiterated to her over and over that my boys were raised that when they get married, their wives become first and foremost and mom steps in the background. My DIL HATES her bio mom so maybe that is why she also hates the relationship my son and I once had.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2008 at 11:29AM
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connie2008 - P.S. I always understood the parents of the bride were always more involved than the parents of the groom, that the parents of the groom's only real responsiblity was to pick a place for and pay for the groom's dinner. That is why the groom's parents don't usually give the kids as much money for the wedding as the bride's, because the groom's parents are not wanted in the planning, etc. by the bride and her mother. Usually with my friends who have had children marry, the parents of the groom will give a flat amount, say $3,000, plus pay for the groom's dinner. This family wanted to split "all" the costs down the middle but only the bride and her mother would have all the fun. They would call me and say, "We are going to look at invitations, would you like to come?" and I would respond "sure"; they they would call me the next day and say they cancelled and would get back to me about a new date and time, but never would. This happened with 3 separate things for the wedding. Treated with such disrespect, do you honestly believe we should have just split the bill 50/50?

    Bookmark   May 20, 2008 at 2:32PM
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I find it very strange that others who have never been in this situation feel they can give advice to those who are going through it.

Connie, have you suffered an estrangement from a child? If you have, you would know that in so many, many cases you cannot "get in their face" because they don't want anything to do with you. You can't talk to someone who refuses any communication at all.

I also take issue with your statement that "Most kids are estranged because their parents put themselves before their children..." I personally don't know of even one instance where that has been the case.

The primary reasons for estrangement seem to be that the "child" has formed a relationship with a controller who is cutting the child off from his/her family, the child has some form of personality disorder or the child has a chip on their shoulder and a bug up their a** about some imagined wrong done to them by their parents. There are some offspring who truly do have significant and valid reasons for cutting off their family but they seem to be few and far between.

The therapist I saw acknowledged to me that he finds cases of estrangement to be intractable until the child finally decides to end the impasse and that all the apologizing for whatever it was that the child thought went wrong and "listening" in the world doesn't do squat. The estrangement will end only if and when the estranger wants it to end - and even if that should happen, the relationship will never again be the same.

I was fortunate to find a therapist who admitted that he didn't know what to tell me to do - other than to just get on with my life, stop focusing on the estrangement, keep communicating on a regular but infrequent basis, i.e., holidays and birthdays, even though you get no response.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2008 at 6:03PM
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NJtea makes good points.
How can you find out what is bothering someone when they refuse to contact you?
In the case of my son- it has been nearly one year since I saw him in person. At the end of the last meeting- he told me to stay out of life.
When we were invited to his engagement party, the gf. and he asked us what we wanted to see in her hometown then proceeded to leave us in the hotel without a word being spoken. We spoke about 20 words if that- they simply did not care to be bothered with us.
When we got to their house they locked themselves in their room and left us alone.

My son seems to have some personality disorder- he is convinced that despite being a fine handsome young man with an advanced degree, a fantastic job and a bright future that all he can get is this gf.
She uses put downs and sarcastic comments to make him feel that he is unworthy of anyone else while she seeks other men on the net. Her own father told us that she belittled our son on a daily basis while she blantantly was contacting her former boyfriends, looking for men on the net and showing no real love. The father says that she is downright abusive yet my son continues to lap it up, apologize on a daily basis for offending her and begging for forgiveness.

We were not bad parents by any stretch. I devoted my life to my son right until he left for college- and even then was always there to help with any problems he contacted me about. My father was a hands on dad who did everything for him. His grandparents were fantastic to my son. They cherished him and lavished him with everything he ever wanted. For this, he refuses to so much as call my mother- his only living grandparent.

Our problem is a chip on the shoulder compounded by low self esteem and a controlling manipoulative and lying woman who has my son under her control- almost as if he was abducted by a cult. He seems to be under her spell. She knows that we know that she has told many lies- we have caught her in them. She also knows that we see through her real motives. She is intimidated by my husband and I and I think she has made a concerted effort to alienate us from our son to prevent us from trying to persuade him to leave her. That is the long and short of it.

Apologizing, begging and pandering are not my thing. I asked him to come here for Christmas and I got a snotty comment about whether I had a large gift for him. What a joker!

We were left alone as if we did not have any kids.

What gets me is that for Mothers Day and my birthday as well as Christmas he sends flowers or gift cards. I cannot figure it out. Why bother when we are not in the picture the rest of the year. Are we estranged or not??? He says stay out of his life yet he does these things. I am truly confused.

I have taken to trying to not dwell on this situation. There is nothing I can do. I have a glass of wine every night to relax, and then try to forget about the times we were a family. When I happen upon something of his from the past, a photo ot a letter he sent, I often get depressed but I try to snap out of it. There is nothing I can do.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2008 at 7:54PM
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Garden60, I hear what you are saying. I do not understand why you are paying anything for this wedding. I do not understand why they would treat you that way to begin with.
Are there more incidents prior to this that have created some hostility or resentment with the DIL and son? This is what you need to find out. It doesn't make sense. I think that by nature kids want a good relationship with their parents. I think parents own the resposibility to find out why they do not and I think the process to find out why is where the breakdown occurs.

So tell said you did all the steps. Tell me what your son said was the reason he wants nothing to do with you? If he said because you did not pay the $6000 than ask him to expound on that. Is it the actual money or the way I said it? Does it have anything to do with what you may perceive I think about your wife? Does it have anything to do with conversations/actions in the past? Lower his defenses by telling him how important your relationship with him is and that if she (DIL) is special to him than she is special to you.

Those are my thoughts....If he will not meet you, keep trying and trying. Make sure he understands that you just want to listen. Tell that last time you talked you did not completely understand.

Hurt is one of the hardest feelings to express by children. Most often, it is masked by anger because that is easier to communicate than hurt. People have a hard time communicating hurt.

I am not saying this is the case....only a possibility.....he may feel like you do not like his choice in wife and that is hurtful, particularly if you have other children with spouses that you do like. He may sense you are disappointed with him or critical of his choice and that is hurtful.

I think children just want their parents to be proud of them....throughout their lives.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2008 at 9:00AM
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connie2008 - I kept a log as things happened. Here you go - let me know what you think.

May 15 ran into high school girlfriend who dumped him in HS because he asked her to go to church with him; she told him she has no time for anything like that in her life; had no contact for almost 6 years.
Aug engaged
Oct I told them they were moving too fast; wanted them to be together but slow down; dont rush into living together; my son was raised in Christian home; I reminded him he always said he would never do something like this, but his decision will have to be between him and God. Nevertheless, he withdrew all his savings ($11,000) to buy a town home and put her name on the deed; he told me Jenny and her step-mom picked it out and told him that since he had no credit (always paid cash) and she had a $40,000 debt, she needed him to buy it and put her name on it, even though he would qualify as a first-time buyer alone. His money was the down payment; her name is first on the deed.
Christmas Eve he showed up late for church and consequently had to sit in the back alone as the church was full; she refuses to go to church; she was at our house waiting for us when church was over; he told me he just couldnt leave her parents house to be on time, even though a week earlier he approached me to say he wanted to go to church as a family and what time did it start. The evening was a little tense but I think we all got through it with conversation, music and hugs.
Christmas Day Jon came alone to our home
January - Her family called a meeting to see how much money they could get out of us and telling us they were inviting 120 and we could invite up to 60 but step mom told us we should each give them $6,000. I said if werent allowed to invite the same number of guests that we would pay for our 60 and she could pay for her 120 and we would each help out in other areas like flowers, cake, wine on tables, liquor, etc.
Feb/April they joined us at various restaurants for birthday lunches but it was obvious Jenny didnt want to be there
Mothers Day Jon busy with her family; slipped down to the house and left a couple tulips and a card; we were at the lake; he left a message on our phone at 9 PM saying what a wonderful day he had had (with her family)and hoped mine was wonderful too
June 5 Jenny calls with an agenda 1) are you going to pay for the grooms dinner or not because it will be where I want it, 2) I am sick of your family traditions, like having your sister and husband as host and hostess at the reception, and 3) my parents will give us what they can for the wedding but they are still raising 2 teenagers at home and since you dont have any kids at home anymore you can afford to give us more money
I responded: Jenny, your dad makes more than Jack and I together.
Jenny: So now you are picking on my dad?
I responded: Jenny, take a breath. You have it wrong. Your step mom is very lucky to be able to stay at home and I applaud your dad for how far he has come in his company; I only wish I could have stayed home too and I know Jack wishes he had more education.
Conversation ended.
Fathers Day completely ignored
June 11 My husband dropped off a check at their house to pay for the grooms dinner and told my son the phone was on speaker and everyone heard the conversation between Jenny and mom
June 12 Jon sent all of us an email saying Adam was no longer his best man, we were not invited to rehearsal or grooms dinner but would be invited to wedding; he tore up check and returned it addressed to "me". Now her nasty notes and phone calls to me were out in the open and she couldn't be the darling to the world any longer
Wedding day Jenny never spoke to my husband or me; I gave her a hug and told her she looked beautiful; no response. When dancing with my son, I told him how much his whole family loves him and how important family is; his response to me was "no, the only thing that is important is happiness". He gave me a kiss and a long hug. After that dance, the 14 of us(me, husband, other son, sister and her children) invited left.
* * * * *

Sept. 17 Jon and Jenny showed up at the door. My husband answered and said Jenny looked really mad. He called me down. I came downstairs, smiled and said what a nice surprise.

  1. Jon is mad at me because the reason John (niece's husband) didn't come to his bachelor party was because I told John that Adam was no longer Jon's best man. (I said I didn't even know John was invited; Jack and Adam weren't.)
  2. Jenny brought up my comment last fall about them living together, which I have apologized for countless times but she won't let it go.
  3. Jon was mad about the wedding. No one seemed to want to be there and it was my fault because I told my sister and her kids about his email not wanting Adam in the wedding, and being excluded from the rehearsal/groom's dinner (how was that a secret they wouldn't find out about?) He didn't like that I told him the family wasn't happy with him throwing Adam out of the wedding at the last minute. And the fact that I didn't say good-bye when I left (he is right there, I should have said good bye.)
  4. Jack told them he didn't feel very welcome at their wedding. Jon looked at his dad and said "you weren't". I told Jon how could we look happy when we were not allowed to invite our family and friends and neighbors. He never responded.
  5. Jenny brought up that I should have been calling them more often. I reminded her that her step mom told me not to; Jenny said I shouldn't have taken her literally. (How would I know that?)
  6. I reminded her of that nasty phone call she made to me in June demanding 3 things. She tried to deny it and I reminded her others heard it; she said I should have taken the phone in the other room so they didn't hear her; I told her she shouldn't have made demands she didn't want someone else to hear.
  7. My husband said what's with not wanting tradition because your wedding sure was traditional. They said it was not. Jack said "having a dollar dance is 'traditional' in my book." Jon was mad that none of us danced the dollar dance.
  8. Jenny said in the pictures I didn't look happy except when I was around my niece's baby.
  9. Jenny went into religion and what is the big deal about sprinkling some water on your head..... and then she looked at me and said "I can't believe no one has told you off before. You should have been told off a long time ago." She went on about why do I have to set times, like at Christmas dinner will be at 2 or whatever.
  10. Jenny started yelling and swearing. I told her to stop it; I had had enough and this had to stop. She and Jon got up and left. Jenny turned back and shouted "f _ _ _ you!"
    Jack and I just looked at each other in awe.
    * * * * *
    We invited them to Thanksgiving and Christmas. They never responded nor did they come.

I extended the olive branch in one more email that read: You wondered why Dad and I didn't stay longer at your wedding reception/dance? You said we were not part of anything. It ripped my heart out - telling us we could not participate in the rehearsal, the groom's dinner (ripping up Dad's check) or invite any of our friends and family to our son's wedding. I couldn't even have a bridal shower for you, -- you can't invite people to a shower if they aren't invited to the wedding. We have all felt the pain of the events and misunderstandings over the last year. As we approach a new year, can we put the "trying to hurt" behind us? We all need to "give and accept" apologies. Let me be the first by saying "I apologize". And let me start loving you as my son's wife and my daughter-in-law.

Talked to minister who married them at the library. He suggested I send Jon a letter at his office which I did on 1/14/08. "Jon, I miss you. Can we have lunch? Love always, Mom"
Jan. 22 I called Jon, left a voicemail saying "Jon, this is mom. I hope you got my card. I dont want to hurt you anymore and I dont think you want to hurt me either. Just know that our door is always open to you and I will always love you."
I got this email from him 2 hours later:
Ok, time for some explanation. After our last meeting in September, I spent the next 3 weeks in the hospital for Chrons Disease. The stress that I received throughout all of this and the stress that I experience every time I get a message from you or a note, or an email sends me right back to pain. So, no more notes, no more emails, no more cards, no phone calls. Ill contact you when I feel that I am up for that again. But until that happens, please dont send birthday cards or cards for holidays. I cant afford another visit to the hospital or to take more time off work.


Friends of my DIL's dad and step mom said she was always a drama queen putting people against each other. She told me early on that she never knew a son and mother as close as we were and I know her aim was to separate my son from his family. So - how would you have handled, this connie2008?

    Bookmark   May 21, 2008 at 10:48AM
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lostmama: As I read your last post, two books popped into my mind. The first is "Choking on the silver spoon" by Ph.D Gary W. Buffone and the second is: "Two much of a good thing" by Dan Kindlon. Although your son is raised and is now an adult, perhaps there is still something within the pages of the books that will offer you insight into what is going on with your son and his thinking.

Regarding your confusion about why your son will not speak to you the rest of the year, but sends flowers and cards on holidays, this one is very easy to understand. He continues to send flowers and a card because it allows him to keep the door open a crack, and requires or asks very little of him. The alternative would be that he does nothing, and ignores your birthday, or Mother's Day etc. (which makes a very, very firm statement) and slams the door firmly shut between you and is very hard to recover from. It appears that he is not prepared to shut the door entirely. For whatever reason. My guess would be that regardless of what he is going through, you are still his only "mom". His only family, and he is not prepared to fully lose his family. And then there is the matter of the wills. Whether this has any part in his motivation to keeping that door open, who knows. Only you know the truth of the relationship between you. Are you able to simply "listen" to what he has to say without defending your side, or inputting your views, but simply to "listen" and "hear" his side of the estrangement? Are you able to "truly hear him" without comment, on why he is angry?

The only experience I have had even close to this, was my own anger at a person who refused to be accountable for anything. Very manipulative behavior, and when I tried to discuss the pain and anger this behavior was causing, absolutely would not own up to anything, even though the behavior was so blatant. I now consider it an actual character flaw when someone is incapable of taking responsibility and being accountable for their own behavior. Their refusal to "own it, and sincerely apologize for their behavior" without excuse, blame, or apologies that are worded in a way to still act like they were not entirely responsible. For example " I am sorry if you feel that I did ______________ . Not a sincere apology.

Anyway, yes the estrangement may be over this manipulative, controlling girl. Or it may go back to something in his relationship with you that you refuse to acknowledge or learn from. Were you too controlling?

I will apologize in advance if I am way off base. I certainly could be. But you could talk all day long at therapists, or on line, and never get to the heart of the problem, unless you are willing to actually consider if there is a possibility that you may have some part in this. And you may not. But you need to simply be open to the possibility.

If I were in your shoes, I may simply send him an e-mail and ask him some open ended questions, and ask your son to be brutally honest as he see's it. The questions would look something like this if they were mine.

Dear __________, I want to give you the opportunity to simply say what is on your heart and mind. I will simply listen, and absorb what you need me to hear. I will not respond, because I want to ponder how you feel, and really, really "hear" what you have to say. Do not worry about hurting my feelings, I am listening so that I might learn about myself, and understand. I would like you to e-mail or write to me so that nothing is lost or missed, that you need me to hear and understand. I will not respond (for awhile anyway) as I want to ponder, and meditate
on your perspective, and the truths I may need to learn on this journey through life. What is your side to all of this?

I may ask open ended questions, such as: Where have I disappointed you? Have I hurt you? Does something about me bother you? how do you feel when or after we have talked

Do not defend, rebut, excuse, transfer blame, etc. simply listen and allow your son the gift of being 'heard'. once you have his response, ponder and meditate on 'his' truth, regarding you and his perspective. sit with a therapist and
go over his words. find if there is truth in his words that
you can absorb and learn from on this journey through life.
Friends tell us what we want to hear. but it can be the hard stuff that brings about growth and healing if we have the courage to hear it and grow from it.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2008 at 11:19AM
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Lost mama: my post sounds a bit disjointed as my computer stopped functioning for awhile, in the middle of the post, and it would only accept 1 letter every 10 seconds, so you can imagine how long it took to finish the above post and how frustrating it was to actually type.

I want to sincerely express that I am not blaming you on the estrangement with your son. There are such complexities within relationships, and what appears as truth to one person, may be completely misunderstood. They may only have a part of the whole picture, and may misunderstand so much because of the bits and pieces they understand. But I wrote what I wrote because of people I know who are completely blind to their part, or they share something about a problem with someone they know, completely leaving out their part in the problems, or turning it in such a way that they come off looking good, and the other person looking bad.

I heard something on the radio a few weeks ago. "Never is the mind more brilliant and creative, than when it is justifying itself or its own faults or actions, or wrong doings".

Again, I am in no way insinuating that you are doing such a thing, or that anyone on this forum is doing so, and yet, for some, I am sure that this must be true.

But healing can only begin to take place if we possess the courage/guts/character, to actually consider whether we have a part in the estrangement, and are willing to simply "hear" and "consider" someone else's "side" to the whole situation, without defense, excuse, blame, etc. Just to simply listen, hear, and ponder.

Again, I am not writing these words because of anything I have read, but simply because of people I know. They will talk about something that happened with a friendship, and they will tell the story in such a way that makes the other person fully at blame. They never own up to anything. Or if they do, it is fully justified, and their part minimized to make them look good. And at this point in my life, I consider people who do this lacking character. They do not have the courage to "own" their own stuff. Or they will minimize their part, and toss out the insincere apology listed above.

And so I am simply putting this out there, to be considered.
I do not mean to offend anyone, but unless you have the courage to actually consider whether or not you have a part in the situation, how can there ever be healing?

    Bookmark   May 21, 2008 at 12:20PM
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Connie2008, just read your post. I would guess you are a mid twenty something, newly married? How can you judge from the post your responding from Garden60 that she was trying to get 'control of their wedding?'

IF people are going to give the same amount of money, then dividing the list is what is fair, and I don't care what the selfish bride or groom would rather have. As far as I'm concerned, no matter who is paying what, the lists should be divided appropriated.

Because it's a 'special time in their lives' everyone else should be sacrificed? Wow, the entitlement generation speaks loud and clear once again. Is there anything your generation didn't get that they wanted? Afterall, you guys deserve it!

How are you drawing a conclusion that Garden60 wasn't supportive? Reading her post one would get just the opposite opinion. Yet, you choose to believe that Garden60, the mother or mil must be the one at fault. Is there no end to this amazing sense of self that the majority of your generation display on a routine basis. It is ALL about you, and no one else. It's your feelings that count, it's your wedding, who care's about money, why should anyone else be able to invite someone, the music will be all for my generation and screw the other ages! It's mind boggling the amount of ME thinking displayed here.

YES, it's always the parent's who must beg their children for forgiveness! We only raised them from birth, gave them a proper home, and upbringing, yet they still demand more. Their appetites are insatiable. When your Gen Me's don't get what you want, then you estrange yourselves from the people who raised you. Afterall, why do you need them in your life anyway?!! I'm sure friends can fill in the space your family once encompassed!

I hope your not giving anyone else you know any advice? You could be the reason behind many future estrangements. By the way, are you even married? What experience do you have in this area that makes you the expert you attempt to come across as?

What we need in this world is kids who feel that there are more important things in life but themselevs!

    Bookmark   May 21, 2008 at 11:51PM
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Anniebal - on behalf of all mothers/parents living this nightmare, you words are so accurate. Thank you.

Connie2008 - I hope you give me the respect to read the journal posted as I am anxious to hear your comments after reading it. Are you a mother in her 50's or a young lady in her 20's or 30's?

    Bookmark   May 22, 2008 at 8:18AM
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This morning I took some time to do a search on Generation Me and came across an article in the NY Times from January and found this quote in the comments section:

"On the other hand, because we live in an interconnected world, we know where we're needed, and where our obligations lie. Are we obliged to take care of our upper-middle-class families? No. We're responsible for taking care of our friends and collaborators, who are going through the same difficulties that we are...."

I could not help but thing of the references to the Friends television show -in this thread or another -

another comment from the article:

"It's simple: the Boomers, the first narcissistic generation, created a new generation that makes them look like a bunch of amateurs. You reap what you sow. Pretty fundamental."

The first of the comments began with: "The apple doesn't fall far from the tree." I've always believed that and keep coming back to that when I read from daughters or DIL's how awful their mothers or their MIL's are.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2008 at 9:19AM
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I will be age 51 in June. I read all your detail and want to read it again when I get a little more time. This has been such a busy week for me but I promise I will reply soon.


Your reply was excellent. Hats off to you. I think you really nailed it.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2008 at 10:47AM
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Connie and Bnicebkind, you both make very good points when you suggest listening to the other side. All parties to an estrangement contributed to such and all parties need to listen.

However, where I think you are both missing the boat is that you are assuming that we are dealing with rational, mature adults and for the most part, we are not.

We are dealing with children who feel trapped in abusive relationships and are frightened; we are dealing with children who have significant emotional/psychological issues; we are dealing with children who don't understand themselves. It takes a great deal of maturity to be able to express one's feelings and hurts and our "kids" just don't have that; they have no understanding of the "why" of their situation. When and if they begin to understand themselves, then that is the first step to reconciliation.

This is why my therapist says that estrangements are so intractable.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2008 at 11:42AM
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There are 2 sides to every story to be sure. I certainly think that I may have said some things that my son and or his gf. found offensive. I am used to being honest, frank and very down to earth. I shop at thrift stores, yard sales and get a kick out of getting designer clothing for a fractional of the cost.

When my son told me about the gf's grandparents who raised her, he told me that they are garage and yard sale fanatics and that I would love them as we had so much in common. Based on this, I assumed that the gf. also would find these things appealing. I made comments to the gf about my the great things I get at garage and thrift sales- and apparently the gf. found this insulting as she thought I was implying she needed to do the same. In fact, I can go to any store and pay full price as money is not a concern in our household. My friends all know that I am a thrift store/yard sale person and they often marvel at the great things I have bought for a fraction of the cost. Perhaps my words were misunderstood or misconstrued. I was actually trying to bond with the gilr who took my words as insulting.

I wish I could have the chance to explain myself and perhaps make amends but as I said in previous posts, despite sending me flowers and gift cards, my son does not speak to me.

Njtea makes a good point- the children involved are adults who are acting like children. In my son's case, he was inexperienced in terms of dating and women, too busy with school to be bothered and therefore was vulnerable to the grasp of this girl.

My son is being led around the nose by the girl. Despite him having a graduate degree and an executive position the gf. wrote his engagemant party speech and made him memorize it- as if he were incapable of expressing himself. My son footed the entire bill for the party which cost quite a lot, yet the girl did not think he was wise enough to know what to say to the guests. This speaks mountains about the control she has over him!

I sincerely believe in my son's case- there is a great deal of fear of dating, being rejected and let down. So, the very first girl who answered his posting on a dating site was selected as "the one." He is afraid of living alone, being alone, being rejected so he is willing to alientate himself from his family, old friends and world in order to cling to this girl who does not him to have anything to do with his past. I see this as very sad.

Anytime he has called here- she was listening. Anything we tell him gets told to her as if she was the ultimate judge of comments thoughts and suggestions.

She has created a situation in which she has cut him off from us and there is nothing we can do.

Someone wrote about the Generation Me concept. Our son has cut off everyone who has done good for him in the past- whether it be his hs teacher/mentor, the university he pledged money to before he graduated, his hs friends who all are very nice people with his intentions in mind as well as the only 3 living relatives he has. He seems to use and dispose of people. The strange thing is that the gf/wife he is with is a big time user- her own father told us that she uses people for all they are worth and then discards them. What goes around comes around??? In this case, I think it will come around- when is the question.

Until our son understands what he is doing, why he is doing it and realizes that he has turned his back on everything and everybody who were there fore him, there is nothing we can do- which is exactly what Njtea has stated.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2008 at 1:36PM
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I have read your chronology of events with your son and DIL a couple of times. Sounds like there is a lot of hurt on both sides. Your DIL actions were very rude and disrespectful.....which leads me to the question WHY?

I commend the fact that you reached out to them several times but I do not think you ever got an explanation as to WHY they are treating you this way. You captured all the WHATs but not the WHYS.

In your email to your son you told him how hurt you were for the way you were treated but never did you find out WHY he treated you this way....Why is he so hurt or angered? This is the piece that is missing. This is the part that requires you to listen. I like the example bkindbnice suggested:

"Dear __________, I want to give you the opportunity to simply say what is on your heart and mind. I will simply listen, and absorb what you need me to hear. I will not respond, because I want to ponder how you feel, and really, really "hear" what you have to say. Do not worry about hurting my feelings, I am listening so that I might learn about myself, and understand. I would like you to e-mail or write to me so that nothing is lost or missed, that you need me to hear and understand. I will not respond (for awhile anyway) as I want to ponder, and meditate
on your perspective, and the truths I may need to learn on this journey through life. What is your side to all of this?"

You have to commit to not respond by talking about your hurt least not yet. It takes a lot of work to understand what another hurt person feels. You have not walked in his shoes. Let him express the pain he is feeling.
Is it possible that all of this has to do with the fact that he wants you to support his decision about his wife choice?

After you have listened, validated, listened again, validated again, you can begin your apology. Your apology cannot be an email that says "let me be the first to say I am sorry". Sorry for what? An apology should be specific.
I am sorry, I was wrong for xxxxxxxxx, how can I make it right?

I really believe he is estranged because he is deeply hurt and cannot handle the stress. You raised him. Do you think he enjoys hurting his mother? Do you really think he would fall in love with a woman that is just evil? You know your son better than anyone.

One last point, every generation is labeled spoiled, unappreciative, no family values, etc. Back when I was a kid, parents said that about our generation. I disagree that these kids are estranged because they were given too much or too catered to. I think they really need to feel special and supported.....not criticized.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2008 at 12:09AM
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lostmama, your situation is so close to mine! In fact, yours, garden60 and mine are all close, having sons who were swept up by deceitful, and manipulative girls. My son also told his girl/wife everything we ever said! He never expressed a lick of sense in this department. Your so right with your assessment that you think you son needs to run things by her, like she has the final say in what is good or right. I feel my son has done the same thing. How weak is he that he lets someone else make a decision as important as not seeing his family, for him?

Connie 20008, PLEEEZZZZ spare me your dramatics! There has never, to my knowledge, been as many books written about any particular generation being as spoiled and ungrateful as yours is! Believe me, yours won't be the follow up to the Greatest Generation by a long shot. In fact, you guys are so selfish that if our country was in peril, I doubt very much many of you would sacifice to fight for freedom. Heck, we can barely get you off the reality shows on tv and live your own life!

Everything is about who has what now, and what brand they's sick. Oh, I only shop at "forever, 21, abercrombie and fitch, american eagle..blah, blah, blah!

You know ours was the first generation to really take to the streets and protest over our governments continued war efforts in Nam. See, you guys don't have to worry because there is a prez in power who won't instill the draft again. Our prez knows darn well that if he did open a draft, that this countries young people might wake up to the real realities around them.

Instead, you guys will keep heavily drinking, live in your own closed little worlds of friends who would dump you in a second flat. Just dont' forget who gave you everything to get where you are today. I started babysitting at age 13 just so I could have money to buy things I needed. I didn't rely on my parents, because they couldn't afford to get me a car, or pay for my gas & ins.

Just as lostmama loves thrift stores, garage sales and such, so do I! I love to tell my friends and family about teh great items I find for literally under $2-$5!! It is so much fun being able to buy a bunch of new and great used items for practically nothing. I'd much rather be doing this then buying cheap clothes made by slave labor in China!

Morals and ethics, does your generation have any? Yes, some kids do, but they are today a minority.


    Bookmark   May 23, 2008 at 2:17AM
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Connie2008 - thank you for your response. WHY is he estranged? I can answer that. After all the demands made by her (my son never asked us for anything and I wondered why he had her or allowed her to make all the demands for money) - I said to him a few months before the wedding: "If your dad and I had just written you a check for $6,000 that night back when her step-mom suggested we each give that even though we could only invite a few people, and then your dad and I stayed away and never saw you until the day of the wedding, is that what you wanted?" And his response was "Yes". Well, I'm sorry, but that doesn't cut it with me. My children have never asked me for anything so why did he think I would cower down to her demands?

My son and I had several lunches and a dinner or two and I listened and listened. He basically wanted me to do whatever she demanded so as not to rock the applecart.

Was part of my anger about his wife-choice? Definitely. No one in the family liked her when the dated and when she dumped him, we all thought it for the best. Everyone encouraged him to date other people, if for no other reason than to help him see whether it was her he wanted or not. He didn't date anyone for 6 years, waiting for her return.

My son was very popular in HS and kept all his friends through college, adding even more. She was not able to keep friends and so when it came to planning the wedding party, because all she had was her half-sister who is very young and an older woman she met at college, my son was not able to include his friends in the wedding party because she didn't have enough female friends to balance it out. What does that tell you about her?

She shuns religion and thinks "anyone who would walk through church doors thinks they are holier than thou so I have no time for them" - she was never baptized, confirmed or ever went to church so how does she know?

I tried, believe-you-me, I tried to like her and accept her, but her rush to get him was a big red flag that my family and friends all noticed and said "wow - aren't you concerned?"

She told him it was his family or her - he chose.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2008 at 8:47AM
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How soon we forget what they used to say about our generation.....The Boomers. At the time, we were characterized as rebellious, disrespectful, anti-war, anti-country, no moral values. How can you forget the 60's and even the 70's?

Sounds like you are looking for an excuse....because you were such a terrific mom. You just loved your son too much, right....gave him too much. That's what most parents want to think.

I still go back to my belief that it is a communications problem. Spending more time listening to what is in the heart of your child and less time reading books/TV shows to justify your situation.

I rarely see money at the core of these problems unless a parent has favored one child more by giving more to one than another. But even then, underneath that is really hurt.

As Simon Cowell says....."Just an opinion"

A defensive response to this only validates what I am saying. You may be too angered to actually listen to this. If your are that angered that you cannot even listen openly to a blogger, how do you ever expect to be able to listen to your son. Step back, take sometime to heal and get a new perspective. Time brings clarity to these matters.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2008 at 8:59AM
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Well, in my sister's case, she has mental health issues, but was a bright young lady. She was overweight since childhood, but she was an absolutely beautiful girl. She went through a stage where she thought she was a lesbian. She liked to say that she wanted to bring a girl to Thanksgiving dinner as her date and upset our folks. I told her I figured they would get over it eventually. They loved her very much. Maybe too much.

She met a guy on Yahoo personals and they had German ancestry in common. Turns out he's into White Supremacy, but we didn't know that at the time. They married within the first year of dating. He moved into her apartment and it didn't take long to find out that he was emotionally abusive. He blames it on his diabetes, but he even tried to start a fight with my husband at dad's funeral.

My sister was unhappy in her marriage and we learned quickly that mom and dad were NOT allowed to give her and hubby anything. I didn't know anything was wrong until mom wanted to go visit them at their house one night. They weren't home and mom started crying and saying that she wished she hadn't married this guy. It was then that I found out about his white supremacist tendencies and the way he was controlling of my sister. Of course, she has gone back and forth over this saying it's not him, it's her that's the problem, but the night our dad died guess who was with her at the hospital. Dear old mom in law, the enforcer. This woman-the boy's mother-is the one, I'm really sure of it, who is most behind the estrangement. She tried telling my aunt and grandma that our dad molested us and that we were "stair-step" children. We were in fact 7 and 11 years apart in age and our dad NEVER molested us, ever! Of course, madam wolf didn't bother to ask my oldest sister and myself. She raises a child who thinks hitler is someone to look up to and takes a giant crap on our family. I have found out that there often is an older woman in the family that is behind the estrangement of the spouses parents and family.

Well, my sister says that I'm a n**ger now and she hasn't let us see their daughter. We suspect she is pregnant again, but they won't let mom see that child either-even though the big bad dad is dead as a doornail. My dad is pushing up daisies. How would you feel if you were accused of molesting your own children and denied seeing your grandchildren? It is the most bull crap thing I have ever seen. I'm sure they are feeding her the whole, their toxic people, line and I'm sure it feeds her narcissism to believe it.

God will have to deal with it. I miss my dad so much. This is NOT the way things were supposed to be and her actions have affected ALL of us. Of course, she doesn't even think about any of that. It's all her up in there.

Our mother is very broken. I pray for her because only God can help the hole in her heart. That chicken sister of mine couldn't even go in and see dad's lifeless body laying on the gurney the night he died, but I remember his eyes. I was with mom and we went in right after they pronounced him dead. I remember his beautiful blue eyes had faded to a green as deep as the ocean because the life had fled from them. He choose not to get that open heart surgery. I guess he didn't think dying could hurt any less than being accused of being a child molester and a sob supreme by the woman who raised a model SS career man.

It's not all about any one person. What you do affects everyone and we are ALL responsible for each other. I loved and protected my sister to the best of my abilities. Our dad did yell a lot and he was an ignorant man. He didn't know how to raise children because he came from an alcoholic dad-but our did was NOT an alcoholic nor was he a child abuser. My children remember their grandparents and I would never, ever have refused my parents or my husbands' parents from getting to know their grandchildren. Never.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2011 at 10:17PM
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I've been reading these posts and thank you everyone as it is somewhat therapeutic. I have three teens: 19, 17. 15. The oldest and youngest seem to be fine but my second one who is a senior this year has turned over a new leaf. He wants to leave us and live with his dad. I was a single mom for 4 years and she was one that seemed to have adjusted well with the changes. Suddenly this year (7 yrs later), all hell broke lose. We barely speak and I am feeling heartbroken and uncertain with our future relationship. We are all in shock as we uncover what he has been up to. His siblings are at a lost.

To answer the original question, the symptoms were there:
1. Because my kid appeared on paper to be doing relatively well; top 3% of senior class, top scores on SAT, I gave him more freedom senior year.
2. I was not as watchful with these new friends he's hanging out with that definitely added to the mix. These were older kids--college age, living at home.
3. A secret "friend/advisor" in college
4. Though he was busy, I had suspected he might be bored as he was asking to do other activities out of the blue. Wish I had not dismissed it

What I would do differently:
As a working professional, I often took calls while I drove the kids and lost opportunities talking with them. Once they are 16 and driving, it's a lot harder.

Would have definitely yelled less and handled things at the right time rather than when I'm upset, stressed with work or steaming. I had a lot of those "geez why did I just say or do that."

Camping or going out into the woods with no technology access before they hit 16. This tradition might have helped with communication.

There's a tendency to let them shorten senior year schedule or drop out of their big activities (like sports, band or orchestra). Or take a new class that might love to take. If possible, encourage them to stay in a way that makes it their decision because of the social friends they've made. Idle times, idle minds, leads to trouble

Social/Emotional Outlets Junior/Senior Years: There are scientific fact that teenagers brain are a bit out of whack. The emotional side takes over. I would look to engage them in high risk safe activities starting age 16 that is new and something they would love to do: rockclimbing, skydiving or something that will touch that emotional center or adrenaline high. Girlfriends/Boyfriends will only lead to trouble.

I was fortunate that we caught up with his mishaps and we are close to graduation. I am now worried at how he will be in college as he seems to have learned the art of manipulation through emotional punishment. He has estranged as for the moment emotionally and I now wonder how long it will last. .

    Bookmark   March 20, 2011 at 7:55PM
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