reconnecting with estranged adult 'children'

seekAugust 11, 2007

strange that you can only have 150 replies, but whatever.

i am starting this new thread to plant seeds of hope in those who feel hopeless.

my oldest daughter did not speak to me for two years - but we have a pretty good relationship now and i don't feel any animosity towards her for doing that - that is what she needed to do for her growth. it just about killed me, but "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger.'

now i am more aware of boundaries - i wasn't too good at that before and more aware of what triggered her. in essence, i am a little bit more thoughtful with her and more willing to give her space - she needs a lot. and more willing to try to work things out and not try to be "the boss" (which is what i was doing before).

now, with my younger two kids -

i think they need to grow up still (even though they are in their thirties) and experience life without mom - i didn't want it that way, but i am not going to be their emotional punching bags. i am not going to be devastated by their abusive behavior.

if they don't want me in their life, i am not going to force my way in (you can tell i am still angry and that's just how it is).

i will be open to reconnecting with them - will have to see what transpires. holidays and birthdays should be interesting!

to the person who said that people don't log on here because it is too depressing - why is it so depressing? why not take control of your own happiness - if your kids don't like you, are not speaking to you, do not respect you, i understand that hurts - feel the hurt but don't allow them to have power over your happiness. that's crap!

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I, myself, log on here to vent so to speak, because I do get depressed and angry and also to listen and maybe help. Because when I am depressed and/or angry, I think it helps to get it off your chest. I guess everyone thinks differently about these forums. My daughter cut off contact with us for 3 yrs, and has been back for 5 yrs. Even now, when I think of those 3 yrs, I get angry. I never mention to her however. Now more problems, but at least I'm still seeing the grandkids. I'm close to them. Keep posting if it helps you. I know it helps me, even if I'm just talking to myself. haha

    Bookmark   August 11, 2007 at 10:04PM
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well, every situtation is different. i think it has to do a lot with the personalities and sincerity of the parties. my older daughter reall did do some growth and reflection and has apologized for causing me pain. our relationship now is more balanced.

my younger two are more angry and acting out and asserting their indepdence. i am somewhat opinionated, so they have a lot to rebel against, even though my youngest was spoiled just rotten. she was very nasty to me and has not sincerely apologized and is not seeking me out.

i am tired of trying to convince people i am worth treating right - if they don't want to treat me right, i will at least treat myself right. i am not going to be their doormat - poor mom - no, i don't deserve to be treated so shabbily and i am not going to keep their behavior a secret - as if it is my fault. it is not.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2007 at 10:35PM
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Seek, I am the poster who said that these kinds of threads can get to be too very depressing and that's why people don't continue to come back.

I find them so but I have made a change in myself: I don't dwell on my estrangement, I make time to do things that I want to do and I'm having a good time.

My daughter has apparently made a decision to stay in her marriage with a man who seems to have had a same-sex extra marital affair and who was trying to isolate her from her bio family. He succeeded and now it's her probelm.

I miss my grandchildren dreadfully, but I can't do anything about it. My solace comes in knowing that I saw them during their best years, their infant-toddler years when grandparents they love are like Gods to them.

They shared with me comments about their other grandmother, of whom they were almost afraid, (she seems to be a lot like their father); they also shared with me things that were going on in their home which told me that all was not roses there. (That's info I never shared with anyone before.) That indicates that they felt very safe with me.

Actually, their half sibs also had shared info with me about their family life many years ago. That knocked the socks off me at the time and, hindsight being 20/20, I guess should have warned me that worse was to come.

I advised my daughter that her husband was abusing her, which she denied. At that point, it was "only" emotional abuse which I'm sure she did not see and that she thought I was talking about physical abuse. At that point, I was told that she never wanted to see me again and that I would never see her children again.

It was awful at first, as you all know. Then I began to realize that 1. dwelling on this was not doing me any good and 2. if I continued to dwell on it, they (my dtr. and her husband) won. I was not going to let them get the best of me.

I don't hide the issue - if someone asks me how my grandchildren are I tell them right out that I have not seen them in several years as I am estranged from my daughter.

I continue to send the children cards although I know they don't get them. I have also taken certain steps to assure that when they turn 18, they are reminded that I was once a part of their lives. I hope I am still alive then, but if I am not, my attorney has been directed to see that they get the information.

If that has an adverse impact on their relationship with their parents, oh well. Their parents should have thought about that a long time ago.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2007 at 9:44AM
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I have a daughter that rarely keeps in touch and I don't know why. I have tried to ask but she just ignores the question.

Do these children who want to distance themselves from family have a mental problem???? I just can't figure it out. I could understand if I abused my daughter as a child but maybe the problem was I gave her too much attention and spoiled her.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2007 at 10:50AM
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i wonder if you are saying that you are leaving the grandchildren money when you die, but not their parents.

i am really struggling with trying to figure out what to do about inheritance stuff - it is really difficult to think of leaving all of my kids equal shares when they treat me shabbily, however, leaving them unequal shares will cause hurt and could cause sibling problems. i don't know what to do.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2007 at 12:12PM
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I, for one, have cut my daughter out of my will. Her children get her share. As she refuses to talk to several people in the family, including siblings, it should may not have any impact on their relationship.

Should things change, I will re-evaluate the situation.

The way I look at it is that there are consequences for bad behavior and being denied an inheritance is one of them.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2007 at 12:27PM
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When my daughter distanced herself last time, my husband and I changed our will. We haven't changed it back yet, and am glad we haven't. We left her nothing, it is left to her children with our son in charge until they are old enough to handle it. If things ever get better, we will rethink.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2007 at 2:19PM
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it is a strange thing that children who get cut out of wills usually have the perspective that it is somehow unfair (that's what you read about, anyway).

i am very conflicted about this. i don't know if an inheritance is a reward or a family legacy.

i don't know if there is a way to control what the money is used for (say a family home, only - but then they could always refinance and waste the money or lose the home).

    Bookmark   August 12, 2007 at 3:46PM
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Seek: "i am tired of trying to convince people i am worth treating right - if they don't want to treat me right, i will at least treat myself right. i am not going to be their doormat"

That is a great attitude!! You go! You raised them, now it is time for yourself. They can figure out their own messes now. And when they have kids, they will understand.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2007 at 10:09AM
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"They can figure out their own messes now. And when they have kids, they will understand."

Unfortunately, by the time they learn this lesson, any grandparents could be gone and the grandchildren will have lost out on that wonderful relationship.

I recall saying to my daugther something to the effect of: "I hope that you never see any of your children hurting the way you are hurting (she, of course, denied she was hurting). If you do, you will understand a bit better......"

    Bookmark   August 13, 2007 at 10:21AM
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Yes, that is very sad. I am so glad I had great relationships with my grandparents. Sometimes Mom and Dad are very very busy and you can always depend on the grandparents to give you attention!

My one gram especially, I miss her (and her pork roast and dumplings - yum!).

    Bookmark   August 13, 2007 at 1:11PM
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I had a personal conversation with another poster this a.m. and a great suggestion was made:

Please all, write to the mods and ask if they will start a forum for Adult Children issues. Ask if they would move this thread and the thread on estrangements over there.

This is an important subject and thoughts and suggestions will be lost if the discussion remains a part of the Parents forum.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2007 at 1:45PM
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Is anyone still around?
Was to have the grandkids this weekend. Daughter said boys were out of town...and she would ask the granddaughter if she wants to come up tomorrow. Granddaughter just turned 5. Of course she always wants to come up. Is it just a way to avoid telling us we can't see the kids anymore? Or will we get to have her tomorrow? I'm praying for the latter.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2007 at 10:18PM
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My adult daughter no longer calls, or visits even on holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc, and you can forget even a birthday or mother's/father's day call). When she does speak to us, she lets it slip that she's visited her boyfriend's parents instead.
We can't understand her indifference and it's very painful. We have done nothing to deserve this. DH tries to call and leaves messages for her every week or so, I've given up altogether. DH actually kept the phone next to him all day this past Father's day waiting for a call, it was too sad. I'd love to talk with other parents who have experienced similar things.
I finally put away all of the pictures that we had out as it hurt too much to look at them. The walls are a bit bare, but that's okay 'cause we've got to move on.
We'll thanks for listening.....

    Bookmark   August 18, 2007 at 12:28PM
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Daughter didn't return a call this morning so husband went down there. Was told we couldn't see the kids because sil is mad. Ended with daughter and my husband getting into an arguement. My son went by there and daughter's sis in law came out and threatened my son, telling him she would call the police if he didn't leave. He wasn't doing anything but trying to talk to his sis. I think the whole family is a cult. Son tried to call her cell later, and her brother in law answered. Can not even talk to her! I don't know what's wrong with her. Love to garden, I'll be glad to talk to you on here or if you want to email me privately.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2007 at 2:26PM
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It is like I live two lives. One I keep deeply hidden, the one where i miss my daughter so much and dwell on the "what happened" and "what if's". Sometimes I feel dying inside over this. I am torn, I miss her but I don't ever want her back in my life, too much has gone on to retread that ground. I miss what I got 'jipped' out of by ending up with this child. "What did I do that I got the child who does this? What sin did I commit?" That is what I think about sometimes in the deeply private life, which sees light probably 15% if the time, it is my 'dark days'. In my every day life, I am almost greatful, no more drugs, episodes, drama, threats, stealing, no more disrespect. She walked away from me and has never looked back, I didn't kick her out or ever tell her to go away. I feel solace with knowing that. I tried to call and find out what was going on for a while then I just stopped. I wish she were a different type of child. Is that wrong for me to say?

I think some people do grow and learn, especially after they have kids of their own. And some just don't. I have to face the fact that the possibility exists that she will never regret what she has done to this family, how she has treated anyone, or that she will never even own up to her part of the actions.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2007 at 7:00PM
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dear chloemichelle, I can so relate to all of your feelings and find great comfort that you've expressed them here as they echo my own.
I try to console myself with the thought that one day my daughter will wake up and realize what she's turned her back on and want her parents back in her life. But until that day happens I'm not willing to put up with the disrespect and so the lack of communication suits me just fine right now, but oh how it stings....especially with the holidays just around the corner. Geez I really liked her better when she was five years old.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2007 at 7:17PM
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I can relate to the feelings of what did I do wrong?
I often wonder if God is listening to me. I do think at some point our kids will wake up and be sorry. I just hope we are here to see it.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2007 at 10:22PM
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If we, as mothers, are so expendable and obviously had little influence on our offspring, what was the purpose then?????? To teach us that in this life, we truly have no power or control? Can anyone ever really get over being thrown away??? I did not want to control my daughter, just to love her and be loved and respected back. Doesn't sound so terribly dificult, now does it? Obviously, it was. So here I am......

    Bookmark   August 19, 2007 at 8:25AM
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The first time my daughter became estranged, I seriouly doubted my worth as a mother. Where did I fail? She was a loving daughter, but was always a follower. She married a very controlling man. His whole family is that way. Now her father, brother, and I sit here without a daughter & sister. She doesn't even act like the same girl. I'm at the point I almost don't want her back. That's something I never thought I'd say. I loved and protected my kids, they have been my pride and joy. Wish I could have known then what I know now..maybe I could have prevented it.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2007 at 11:03AM
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It's good to hear from others in this situation.
I was driving myself crazy with self-incriminations wondering what I did to deserve this.
I know I need to put a period to this and move on, but as sherheart says what was to point of it all? So many good years watching her grow up for what?
My husband (her father) is so bewildered by it all, and it's hard to see the big guy walking around with his heart on his sleeve hurting....

    Bookmark   August 19, 2007 at 12:30PM
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Some of you may recall that I posted about being held hostage by guilt. Well, I communicated with my son and I told him he had to get a job, any job, at least as a temporary measure and that he and his GF and his dad and I needed to talk to see how we could resolve this mess and get him on the track to financial independence. It didn't go over well at all!
I logged on to MySpace and read his latest blog and I was stunned at the vile things he said about his dad and me. The language was obscene! It was filled with uncontrolled rage!
I sent him an email letting him know I read it and was extremely unhappy about the things he had written about us. I let him know I would no longer initiate contact with him but if he wished to apologize by email, I would accept the apology. If he chose not to apologize, then "see ya!"
Surprise !!! No apology and it's been about 10 days, I think.
His GF is in denial and says she has faith that things will work out and if she could earn more money, she certainly would pay rent. Meanwhile (by email) she says she's grateful that I'm allowing them to live there rent free. However, she's so busy working and with other commitments she simply cannot find time to sit down and talk right now and isn't sure when she'll have time in the future.
She says he may have a job possibility where it's on the job training with the potential for a nice salary and they should be able to pay rent ($500).
I let her know that while that's nice, I think it would be best if they found another place to live so that they could be independent and not feel they were being controlled by me.
So as it stands right now I'm left wondering how I could have been so stupid as to raise such an ungrateful child. Our daughter is so different. She's younger and has always been willing to work hard and as a result is extemely successful in her profession.
Others have mentioned changing their wills. I'm about ready to do this. I know he's counting on a very nice sum when we die. I'm tempted to leave him $500 a month for 3 years so he'll know he wasn't forgotten, that he was simply being "rewarded" for being such a good son.
I am so hurt over this.
Meanwhile, we haven't seen the baby in several weeks and don't know when we will. My birthday is in 2 weeks and I don't think he'll acknowledge it and I'm at the point where I don't care. I'd just as soon he not ask to join us for dinner because, of course, we'll have to pick up the tab for them if they come and the conversation will be strained.
I'm glad I found this forum. It's good to know I'm not alone. Thanks for listening.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2007 at 11:04PM
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Fiddledee, I can relate to the part where you are at the point that you don't care. I know it hurts, but sometimes you have to do that. I'm the same way...this is the second time this has happened and with the grandkids being withheld. Although it hurts to think they will probably be grown before I see them again, and it hurts to think our daughter has so little regard for her father, brother, and me...I'm almost at peace with not seeing her again. I know she's broken my heart, enough is enough. Hard for me to believe that this girl is a professonial and a regular church goer. Hang in there.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2007 at 7:44PM
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i looked for your earlier post and couldn't find it. i'm not real clear on this rent thing. are they in the same house that you are, or is this a rent house that you're allowing them to use?

    Bookmark   August 20, 2007 at 8:34PM
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Here's the original post

"Held hostage by guilt - long"

I have an adult child that I have babied all of his life. When he made excuses for himself I didn't hold him accountable. And now it's come back in full force.
He's 34 yrs old and has accomplished nothing in his life other than graduating from college. He's held minimum wage jobs for a short time and then has quit because he wasn't being appreciated. He's been supported by us through times between jobs and sometimes it's been a long time. Even while working he hasn't been asked to pay rent for the condo we own that we're letting him live in. He is spoiled rotten and does not appreciate any sacrifices we've made for him.
He did recently complete studies for a specialty field in which there is a hiring freeze and other than this he has no skills or talents.
Other than entry jobs that are going to recent high school grads or menial labor jobs, he's not getting hired or asked to come in for interviews. He's babysitting the kids to save the childcare costs, but that's not bringing in $$. The GF works from 10:30 - 8:30 PM. I've suggested delivering the morning paper which would mean he's out from about 5:00-7:30 AM and he could bring in about $600-$700 a month. Nope, he's tired from caring for the baby at night, might fall asleep and have an accident. At this point I really don't care if that happens! He's depressed and doesn't know how to fix things. Hey, I'm depressed, too. I'm not surprised he's depressed; he's made a mess of his life and it will take major effort on his part to start fixing things. We've suggested learning a trade like plumbing, electrical or using his degree to teach. Nope! Those aren't things he wants to do so he does nothing.
We have created a monster here and it's out of control. He has a child, a GF and her 6 yr old daughter living with him. The GF is working but can't pay all of the bills so I'm supplementing the difference between income and expenses.
I can't and don't want to do this anymore. There are things I'd like to do but am postponing because I'm spending the money on him and the others.
How can I ask them to move out when they can't even afford to live where they are without paying rent? But I need to. I have a grandchild I'm worried about. Can I live with myself if they're without a roof over their heads?
I'm not sleeping nights. I know what I have to do yet I can't do it.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2007 at 7:52AM
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I know you will worry, but maybe you should tell him he has 6 weeks to get a job and move. Tell him after 6 weeks you will no longer contribute. Stick to it! I know you will worry and feel some guilt but if you don't take a stand, it will never change. I watched this on a Dr Phil show once, and it worked. Just an idea for you.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2007 at 9:25AM
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I used to get depressed and angry for a few days after a child I have not heard from a year or two, calls and asks for money, we have 5 together. This has gone on for all of their adult lives. When I moved 2 years ago, I didn't tell my sons, couldn't have found them if I had wanted to. So I got an unlisted number and I have peace at last, no more days of anger and depression. There was one attempt to reach me, one of my sons called my mom. She would have forgotten they were not suppose to have my phone number, but I lucked out because was sister was there. When she called and told me my youngest wanted to come for a visit, I said, "he just wants money". She said, "oh, I never turn my back on my boys, I always listen to what they say". I again said, "he just wants money". She called him back and told him he could come to visit and stay at Grandma's house. This time she was on the receiving end of his anger.

And I have cut all 5 of our children out of my will. My husband died in April and I won't go into how his 3 children treated him the last 5 years of his life. I think of an inheritance as a gift to the children, but I also think it needs to be earned. I think they need to show us respect, morally support us when one of us is ill and the case of his father, help a little with his care. What I have left when I die will set up a scholarship/memorial in my husband's name at a college in his home town.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2007 at 2:16PM
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Jonesy, I am so sorry that your relationship with your children is non-existent. I know you have suffered and my heart breaks for you. Our children's selfishness truly is mind boggling. I think eventually we parents learn to live our lives in sad peace...but peace none the less, in spite of our estrangements...and derive this peace from knowing we did the best we possibly could. Our adult children made a conscious choice how they wish to live their lives.....I wonder if one day when it is too late, will they be sorry and regretful they did not need us when we were here??? These are unanswerable questions, I suppose........

    Bookmark   August 23, 2007 at 5:06PM
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Oh please, sherheart don't waste a minute of sympathy on me, it's my boy's loss. I thank God for my ability to adjust to any problem. I have a wonderful life in spite of my kids. I spent all of my adult life doing what a wife and mother is suppose to do and now I am free of all responsibilities. I have a couple of signs hanging in my kitchen, they pretty well describe this part of my life.

#1 I know how to cook, I just don't.
#2 It's all about me.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2007 at 7:01PM
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Jonesy is right Sherheart. She's overcome it all and has a wonderful life - when's your next trip, Jonesy? We should all follow her example.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2007 at 7:19PM
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At what point does our children decide they don't need us?
What did we do so wrong to make them justify their actions for banishing us?
When did they decide that their spouse knows everything and is always right, even to banish us?
Do they ever miss us?
Do they wish for reconcillation but are too proud, stubborn, etc?
Do they ever care how we may feel?
Do they care that they are depriving their children of grandparents?

    Bookmark   August 25, 2007 at 11:50AM
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Will we ever get the truth out of them? Do THEY even know the truth?

I have been in this situation a long time. And in the beginning there were a few conversation between her father and her and she basically never told the truth about anything even things as silly as how she was going to get somewhere, or whether had seen her siblings, all they way up to 'why the distance?'.

Seriously the estrangement has been going on so long that I cope and deal with the situation by feeling that the child I loved and cared for committed suicide, left no note and I will never understand why...why she did it, why it had to be so drastic. Just like the loved ones of those who actually commit suicide, sometimes they never know why or what kind of pain the suicidal party was in and the party may have never communicated their pain either.

The person I loved is gone someone else has taken over their body. I have since moved far away from where we raised her, we did not try to contact her to tell her we moved, honestly, I don't even know if she is even living around their any more either. She has absolutely no contact with any family members anymore. So like a family where a child has taken their own life, I will not run into her anywhere on the streets either.

I guess the only difference is one day she might look me up and try to find me, other families who fell victim to an actual suicide do not have that reality. But if she did, we would not welcome her into our lives, too much has gone on. I will never view her as the child I loved and cared for, ever again, that bond/tie is gone. I am just trying to move on like any other mother who has lost a child, whether it be physically or emotionally.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2007 at 3:15PM
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njtea, Thank you for replying....I have a bus trip to San Antonio in Dec and a Panama Canal Cruise in Jan. When I come back from the cruise, I will call a travel agent and have her check on a couple of weeks on the Island of Molokai. The island only has 8,000 residents, about 6 restaurants. My nephew stayed there and they highly recommended it. Their hut was on the ocean front, but it was rocky and they could not swim there. They rented a car and found a 3 miles stretch of beach without a soul on it. there are bicycles for rent, hiking trails, excorted if you want that, flights to the other islands for $39. It's advertised the only place you will find the "old Hawaii". And I have to go back to the Amazon Rain Forest at least one more time. As you see I have plans

    Bookmark   August 25, 2007 at 7:54PM
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I was disappointed to read the posts from parents who are cutting their estranged kids out of their wills. If the issue is drug abuse, consider appointing a non-family trustee. To cut them out of your will is rather extreme and will no doubt cause them great pain. Is this revenge? Wouldn't you prefer to leave a legacy of kindness?

I have been estranged from my mother for years now. Before my father died 7+ years ago, my mother told me he had pointedly asked her to make sure daughter 'got her share.' I don't know why she told me this. To be sure, her behavior toward me in the intervening period has suggested that she has no desire to heal the rifts between us. I have made efforts. She has not and indeed, has ignored my overtures. From my perspective, the door remains open.

What I can tell you with assurance is that my brother will spend his inheritance fighting me in court if I am written out of that will. She will not pervert my father's memory that way if I have to frigging sell my house to fund the battle. I am more level-headed about other issues but this one, I cannot abide.

If you want to assure that your kids absolutely hate each other for the rest of their lives, cut one out of the will or give one power over the other. You will assure significant heartache for another generation to come.

My two cents. Please, try to find some kindness for this last act. To predicate an inheritenace on having the type of relationship you believe is correct is rather manipulative.

1 Like    Bookmark   August 26, 2007 at 12:04AM
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After reading some of these very sad storys, I was wondering if some of you could turn the clock back "would you have children again", is it worth the pain you are going through.

Just wondering.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2007 at 7:38AM
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Our daughter has been cut out of our will as there is no way in you-know-what that her husband, the instigator of this whole mess, will ever profit from our demise.

Rather, their children have been left their mother's share and it will not go to them until they are 30, effectively eliminating the possibility that their father will force them to use it for college when they are younger.
Actually we have two wills: the most recent one and the previous edition. Should our daughter choose to leave this man and divorce him, then our current wills will be torn up. (She knows we are here for her and ready to give her shelter and some support initially should she choose to leave him, but as long as she stays with him, she is out of the will.)

The heartache is already going to continue from one generation to the next because our children are teaching their children that it's o.k. to just cut people out of your life if they do something you don't like. Leaving them without an inheritance is only a small part of the issue.

jbkidd, I most certainly would do it over again. Both of our children have given us their fair share of distress, but I would not have missed either of them. It was not until our daughter married a man who is controlling and abusive that she slipped away from her entire family.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2007 at 8:56AM
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We have cut our daughter out of our will. Why should we reward our daughter for her mean, hateful, and heartbreaking behavior? I agree with you, dirtboysdad, I don't want my son in law, who has caused all this heartbreak and doesn't treat my daughter that well, to benefit in any way either. Our grandchildren (her children) will get her part, and it will be kept in trust by a trusted friend until they are old enough to handle it. As far as keep as her and her brother hating each other the rest of their lives, she has already pushed him out of her life. She made that choice. My son is mad as hell that she did this to all of us. We do love her! But we can't change her, and I will not reward her for her bad behavior. IF things change, the Will will be changed. I don't feel bad about cutting her out at all. She made her choice. Frankly, I don't feel I have to leave my kids anything, I don't owe them a cent, but do so out of love.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2007 at 10:41AM
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"The heartache is already going to continue from one generation to the next because our children are teaching their children that it's o.k. to just cut people out of your life if they do something you don't like."

But that is what YOU are teaching by cutting them off....

    Bookmark   August 26, 2007 at 11:15AM
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Sadie, I feel for you if your door is open and your mom will not make amends. I know it from the other stand point, my daughter is the one who wants the estrangment. Either way I know the heartbreak.
Jbkidd, I would have my kids again. I would do things differently though, like run my son in law off the first time he showed up to take my daughter out!

    Bookmark   August 26, 2007 at 11:27AM
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Kindness is what I have given people all of my life. It doesn't work with some people, especially people who want something from you. I had a trust set up for my sons with enough money to buy each a home. It would have to be a cheap home, because I don't have enough to buy them a new one. My sons are experienced in construction work, one a framer and one was once a finishing sub contractor and they could turn the cheap houses into nice homes. The trust company would own the homes and see that the insurance and taxes were paid. My sons could not sell or get a loan on the houses and if one brother died the house would be sold and the funds go into the trust as interest income for the other brother. Then I found out that no trust company would accept the trust. They only deal in mult- millon dollar trusts. There are no relatives to take care of this. I tried to help my son's, but I can't. They will get nothing from me AND that is THEIR fault not mine. I will not throw our hard earned money away. I want SOMEONE to benefit from it. If one of my sons was a responsible adult, who cared for me as a son should, he would inherit it. If the other son (50 yrs old) was an irresponsible person who wasted his money, yelled at us for not bailing him out of financial trouble every 6 months, I would leave that son a minimum amount of money such as $5,000. and add a clause that said if he contests the will he gets nothing. In most cases wills can't be broken unless you can prove that there was undue influence used on a elderly, feeble minded person.

Sadie, what caused the orig rift between you and your mom? No one has to keep a death bed promise. I would keep the promise if it concerned physical things like cremation versus burial, etc.. But when a child treats me the way my son has treated me and my husband doesn't stand up for me, I would never reward him by leaving him money.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2007 at 2:01PM
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I believe someone asked if we would have children again, my answer is a very loud NO and it's not just because of my experience. I live in a community of seniors, mostly women and widowed. It is very rare to find someone who has not had problem with their kids, not teen age problems, children approaching their 50's. I asked one of my friends who has 5 children, how many of those kids make you smile when you see them at the front door. She said two out of the five. One of the others shoved her into a wall when she wouldn't give them money, She raised one of her grand children and now there are 4 more at risk and she doesn't want to take on kids at 70 years old.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2007 at 2:20PM
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"But that is what YOU are teaching by cutting them off...."

No, Luann, we did not cut her off, her brother did not cut her off, her aunts and uncles did not cut her off - she cut US off.

Unfortunately, she chose her abusive husband over the rest of her family; so darling daughter, you made your bed, now you will lie in it.

By remaining with this man, she is not only teaching her children that it's apparently o.k. to allow yourself to be abused, but she is setting them up to end up in abusive relationships themselves.

Bad behavior will not be rewarded.

Our leaving her out of our will is, as I said before, only a small drop in the bucket - a drop that will make little if any impact on the cycle of estrangement and abuse. If anything, it will tell our grandchildren that we do not hold them responsible.

Hopefully, we will live long enough to be able to see our grandchildren reach adulthood at which point we will be able to contact them without any interference on their parents part. We will tell them that we have always loved them, we will show them the pictures we have of them when they were infants and toddlers and came to visit Grannie and Papa. We will tell them that we sent them cards on every birthday, holiday, etc., even though we are fairly certain that they are not seeing those cards. We will give them the money we are putting aside for them, over and above our wills, in place of holiday/birthday gifts. They may then make the decision for themselves as to whether or not they want a relatioship with us. If the choose not to, they will still get the money set aside for them, because we know that it was their parents who taught them that family can just be disposed of.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2007 at 3:51PM
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Amen dirtboysdad

    Bookmark   August 26, 2007 at 4:48PM
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This thread is a heart breaker, I have so much I want to say, but can't find words to say anything.

chloemichelle, I have often said, I love and miss my babies, I don't know the men they have become.

I hope no one here believes for a minute that the estrangement is your fault. I never once told my kids to go and stay away.

I don't remember who said something about what to do with their money since their kids are not getting it. Find a small town college and leave them the remainder of the estate after you are gone. Tell them you want to fund a scholarship for young people who want a college education, the ones that can't get a scholarship because their grades aren't high enough. If you love animals like a lot of people do, leave the money to a humane society that rescues animals instead of putting them down.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2007 at 7:43PM
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I also miss the little boy that loved me, and hugged me and seemingly appreciated what I did for him. I always loved this time of year, shopping for school clothes and supplies, walking him to the bus, being a class mother, being there when he came back from school with stories about his day. I was there every single day for him. I waited for him without fail. I helped him with his homework, supported him in any way I could. What I would give to relive one of those days.

Actually, I have been in a depression with hearing friends talk about seeing their kids off to college. Mine went away 6 years ago this week and really never came back home. Going to school nearly 1000 miles from home was part of the problem. Seems everything back here in the east was discarded for things of the midwest.

I wish every day that he never went to that dang school and never got the job he got out there. Now with a good job, a house and his gf who hates us all, there is no hope.
Being an only child married to an only child with an only child makes it worse. The holidays are unbearable. We have no family and it is so depressing. I envy all of my friends with families and kids who care. My husband and I usually do something odd on holidays- like paint or wallpaper just to keep busy. Odd but true.

My dad passed away 11 days before Christmas and we never had a family dinner in the dining room for many years- until 6 years ago when our son came home for Thanksgiving. It was such a wonderful time. We loved seeming him after missing him so long especially in that 9/11 happened 2 weeks after he left for college. I truly dread Thanksgiving and Christmas because my mother, husband and I will be all alone with nothing to look forward to.

I do not think that it will ever be like it was, too many things have passed.
My mother who had planned to leave my son 1/2 of her
substantial estate has changed the plan so that I get everything. The money means nothing. I would give it all up to have a son who loved me.

My husband and I plan to leave our substantial assets to several charities- those that help animals. Our cats have become our family now and we love them dearly. They really do appreciate the food and care and time we spend with them. They show us love and affection that we will never get from our son.
I change from thinking I should have never given up my career to have a child. I had great prospects for success and was on the fast track. I gave my life up for him and now I cannot get a call to see if I am alive. I have no idea what I did to deserve this- nor what my husband did. We were always there. We are just on the do not call list now.
The memories of the good times are the worst- because I wish I knew then what I could have done to prevent what has happened. It is killing us both one day at a time.

This board helps me realize that we are not alone. I will pray for each and every one of you and ask the same in return. Maybe one day things will change.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2007 at 8:19PM
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Lostmama, I am sorry to see you are going through this heartbreak. I posted that I lived by the Golden Rule, I should have added at this point in my life I also l think of the Serenity Prayer. I have it hanging in the living room. My Mom also helped by telling me not to dwell on my problems, which I was doing, she said to think about the good things in my life. There are lots of good things other than family. I have good friends for the first time since I was in high school, we giggle and laugh over teenagers. It's been years since I laughed like that. My friends kept me up beat when my husband was in the care home. I travel and that gives me a reason to get up in the morning. I go to the Zoo and The Botanical Gardens, I am 70 years old and bought a bicycle and a guitar and signed up for lessons. Everyone needs a reason to get up in the morning, these positive things have taken place of the negative.

Two doctor's told me, that if I didn't get rid of my stress (my husband and Alzheimer's) I would die. That is when I decided that my life is just as important as my husband and my sons.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2007 at 9:55PM
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There were several questions as to why my mother and I are estranged. It was a process. She would not talk with me about our issues. She thought we should 'just move on.' Weeks became months, months became years. What had been a problem became an abyss.

My father became ill. She kept information from me. She allowed her relatives to emotionally abuse me. She ultimately made it impossible for me to see my dying father. He and I said goodbye one day knowing we would never see each other again, each knowing it was because of her. When he died, I flew 1,500 miles and no one met me at the airport. I rented a car and drove to a funeral home I had never been to in a small town I had never been to. I saw my father's body by myself. I drove an hour, again without directions, to my mother's home where she refused to roll down her car window to speak with me. It gets worse. You get the idea.

My mother would tell you a much different story than mine. She would tell you of an ungrateful child who refuses to have contact with her. This despite the two dozen letters I have written, most of which have gone unanswered. She would wring her hands and tell you I treat her as if she is a bum although when I last called, she screamed at me to such an extent that I could no understand her.

My view is that we are all acountable for our own behavior. I try to do my best and therefore, I send her notes periodically telling her I love her. She is the only mother I will ever have and my love for her is unconditional. However, anything more definitely has conditions that include my feeling physically and emotionally safe at least not threatened.

I am sorry some of you feel you must make such a negative statement with your estates by leaving a child out of your will. What a horrible thing. What a lasting, reverberating message of anger. I wonder, how would you have felt if your parents had done that to you?

In my own will, I have left my estate to 3 causes that are important to me. Things that belonged to my family will stay in my family. If they care to have something from my home, they may choose one thing.

BTW, setting up a trust is not a difficult thing. Just consult and attorney. As for kids whose partners are abusive, if that is really the issue, why not consult an attorney with your concerns? I feel sure there are ways to address your concerns of funding an abusive sil without cutting off a daughter who probably needs that 'I hate you' final message like she needs a hole is the head.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2007 at 12:58AM
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I am an estranged adult child even though my parents and I talk occasionally and they visit me once a year - here's why.

It seems there is ONLY obligation on their part to have a relationship. They can't remember that my daughter has been going to college for a number of years now and is a junior. At our last family gathering (last weekend) my mother did not recognize my son and actually started to introduce him to a guest as her nephew.

I'm appalled, hurt and embarrassed. I am at a loss as to how to deal with them at the moment. We have never been close - my mother didn't raise me. I was raised instead by my father's parents who are now dead. I feel alone and saddened by my parents cluelessness when they are around and can't decide whether having a relationship with them is worth all the heartache.

I have had several conversations with them on this topic. All of which seem to have been met with a willingness to make changes on their part. But their promises to clean up are short lived and easily forgotten, it seems, once we're out of their sight. Out of sight, out of mind. They don't often call on their own and I feel that my children and I are not very important to them.

I have NEVER asked them for money and don't expect to inherit anything from them should they have anything left at the end of their lives.

My point to all you parents is this: You don't have to put up with poor or abusive behavior by your children or any body else - nobody should have to do that. I think it's okay to tell your child what behavior's you find shabby or abusive. But I think a child should always feel the unconditional love of his/her parents no matter what they are going through in their own adult lives throughout their lives until you, as parents, gone.

I felt unconditionally loved by my grandparents until they were gone. I miss them terribly.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2007 at 4:50AM
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lostmama.......I can understand how you are feeling. You really do look back and wonder "what has happened to this loving child I cared and nurtured", for some reason when they get to a certain age they turn into someone else, I really wish I could understand WHY.

I too keep wondering, was it worth it to give up a career to raise children who in the end could care less what you gave up for them.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2007 at 7:13AM
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"She allowed her relatives to emotionally abuse me."

Sadie, do not blame that on your mother. If her relatives were "abusing" you, it was your responsibility to address the issue.

Zenosmom, you are a very wise woman.

"My point to all you parents is this: You don't have to put up with poor or abusive behavior by your children or any body else - nobody should have to do that. I think it's okay to tell your child what behavior's you find shabby or abusive. But I think a child should always feel the unconditional love of his/her parents no matter what they are going through in their own adult lives throughout their lives until you, as parents, gone.

I felt unconditionally loved by my grandparents until they were gone. I miss them terribly."

No, Sadie, leaving a child out of a will is not a statement of anger. It is a statement that says, as Zenosmom stated, I will not put up with your treatment of me. You chose to not speak to me for the last years of my life and you will not be rewarded for making that choice. Money does NOT equate to love.

I, as many others on this board, am here for my child at any time with a heart full of love.

I received nothing from my parents. They taught me to make my own way in life and they left their money to causes they supported, plus a small amount to a disabled relative. That was fine with me.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2007 at 7:52AM
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It is indeed a shame that my our son will be written out of my mother's will as well as ours. The issue is not being vindictive but sending a message that you reap what you sow and that you cannot treat people with disrespect and be rewarded.
My parents generously bankrolled my son's entire private school education including 5 years of college- one year of undergrad and a grad degree. He also got a check for living expenses, books and when he wanted to go to Europe to study during high school.
When in his final year of school his grandmother asked him to help her put some blinds up in her house, he refused. I tried to get him to reconsdier and he said she could go screw or something to that effect. I was appalled. He did not have anything important to do- simply was being a jerk. I was totally hurt by his lack of respect.
He has not called, written or had any contact with this 82 year old woman and seems to think she does not exist except when he asked how much she was worth and when he got his 1/2 that was the plan up until this all happened.

When my husband was in the hospital 2 weeks last fall very seriously ill, he did not come out to see him. Made 1-2 phone calls, never a card or offer to fly out despite the fact that he can take his sweetie to Chicago on weekends to Chicago and wherever her heart desires. A drive home is within a weekend's doing as he did it during college. I told him that his father would love to see him and I sure could have used the moral support sitting in the hospital- but no offer to come out was made.

He could come out here for a weekend in May of this year, stay here, expect his father to haul him around at all hours 6 am at the airport, 2 am at the train station but when we offered to take him and the gf into NYC he said "we dont want to go anywhere with YOU- we have our own plans." When my mother called him over to her house and expressed some disgust with his behavior and attitude, he and the gf left in a huff as we had "insulted them."

The $500 engagement present we gave them never was acknowldeged- no thank you, no card, no nothing. The $4000 I gave him for his CPA class and testing never was acknowledged and now that he supposedly has taken all 4 sections, I hear not a word as to whether he passed or not.

He never said thanks for allowing us to stay here, never said thanks for the rides and in fact made jokes about my part times job and how I have a stupid job- when his gf does not even work either in or out of the house. The gf put nail polish on my bathroom walls, threw tampons in the toilet and put nail polish on my towels. Never a word of thanks for letting them stay. That was their last time here. They can return to her parent's trailer park as their behavior matches that type of abode.

You reap what you sow- he needs to learn that lesson and as he will not speak or listen to us the only means is thru a mightly important now 7 figure and ultimately 8 figure lesson. We will leave our money to animal rescue groups and perhaps veteran organizations.

What I raised is not what came he has evolved into. I am ashamed to think he is my son. I will not reward such rude behavior. He has discarded us- why should we lewave him a cent?

I treated my son with respect and love thru out his life. I never abused him- which is more than I can say for my mother who at times was abusive, nasty and downright rotten. My mother is one of those people who people love to hate. I am the opposite, I am extremely well liked, friendly and respecftul to everyone. Yet, despite my mother's behavior, I respect her a mother and love her despite her ways.

I would NEVER do what he has done to us. When he threatened to push me down the stairs when I said something that did not sit right with him because I questioned why the gf did nothing all day around the apt and why she was downright rude to my husband and I when we visited, the seed was set.

It is indeed hard to have to feel this way. I do not know where we went wrong. Something happened along the way for sure.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2007 at 9:01AM
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If you don't love me, you're not spending my money. The child that loves us will get to spend it.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2007 at 9:29AM
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When you are a child it is your parents responsibility to protect you - this means they should protect you from abusive relatives, abusive church members, abusive parents & step-parents, etc.

When you are an adult it is your responsibility to not allow yourself to be abused. This takes some doing, though. It took me years and I still need to consciously examine my behavior and reactions to NOT allow abuse to happen to me. Often, an abused person does not initially realize he or she is being abused. As women, we are often taught to turn the other cheek, make "small" sacrifices, be the caregiver even when our own needs are not being met. We make these concessions of ourselves and compromise ourselves away until, sometimes, there is NOTHING LEFT and we don't even recognize who we are as people!

It is difficult to realize and accept that the people you love, cherish and nurtured (be they parents or children) are not all you expected they would be. They actually turn out to be downright AWFUL no matter what you have done, no matter what you continue to do, no matter what you say and no matter what agreements you forge! Disappointment, I think, is the worst emotion to feel because there's nothing you can do about another perosns choices or behavior. Sounds like many of us on this thread are experiencing such disappointing behavior from those we want to love.

I thank all of you on this thread for baring your souls and helping me, maybe, find a way to deal with my thoughtless parents. I re-realize there is NOTHING I can do about THEIR behavior and that I can only makes choices about what I am doing in my own life and what situations I put myself into. Fortunately, my parents live in another state so I don't have to deal with them on a daily basis - this will alleviate some of the stress and hurt. I can limit the amount of time we are exposed to each other when family gatherings/situations arise. I don't have to invite family members to my home if they make me feel uncomfortable - I am not obligated to feel uncomfortable in my own home! I can continue to gently remind my parents what makes me and my children happy. I think this is all I can do for now, but it's a start and it makes me feel like I have some control over my life again and how I feel today.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2007 at 12:18PM
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One more thing - regarding money/inheritance issues. I am not expecting to inherit anything from my parents and have taught my children that the money they have and enjoy during their lifetimes needs to be earned by them. I don't think anyone NEEDS to feel that they are obligated to leave anything to their children. Children, in this country anyway, grow up to be adults that have a myriad of opportunities and choices to either "make it or break it" for themselves.

Kudos to Lostmama for leaving her fortune to animal rescue groups and veterans - two groups that do not have the same choices/opportunities most people have and two groups that depend on the kindness of others for love and support.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2007 at 12:32PM
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It's a very sad thing when children and in some cases, parents, pull this crap. I couldn't ever imagine turning my back on my child, adult or not. But here I am, seriously thinking that if she showed up, I'd love to slam the door in her face. It's just because I'm so hurt that I'm mad. She doesn't know that when I found out I was pregnant with her, it changed my life. I came from a bad background and I was determined my children would NOT grow up that way and they didn't. AND I never treated my parents badly or withheld the grandkids. We were a regular middle classed family and our kids went everywhere with us. I loved and protected them as did their father. Then when something like this happens, it blows you out of the water. I know we didn't do everything perfectly, but they were loved. She will find out some day that she didn't do everything perfectly either.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2007 at 1:16PM
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It's one thing, and very sad, when a child becomes estranged from his or her parents and, as a result, any children that child has no longer see the grandparents.

It is, however, a whole other kettle of fish when the grandchildren are intentionally used as weapons: if you don't do such-and-such (to make me "happy"), then you will not see your grandchildren/nieces again.

That is sick and abusive parenting, no "ifs", "ands" or "buts" about it.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2007 at 1:39PM
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"I am sorry some of you feel you must make such a negative statement with your estates by leaving a child out of your will. What a horrible thing. What a lasting, reverberating message of anger. I wonder, how would you have felt if your parents had done that to you?"

"In my own will, I have left my estate to 3 causes that are important to me. Things that belonged to my family will stay in my family. If they care to have something from my home, they may choose one thing. "

Sadi. I must be having a bad day today, because your two statements above seem to contradict each other.   
We are wrong in not leaving our children money, but you say you are leaving yours to 3 causes, not your family???? I have given my family things to our children and did so many years ago. Their baby things, photos, etc.. I have no family heirlooms. The part about my parents doing the same thing to me, IF I had treated them badly I would have understood. For crying out loud.....A child calls his parents only for money, then yells and swear at them, using the F word because we won't pay their bills. If they didn't go shoping on pay day and spend their money, they could pay their own bills instead of our savings.
    Bookmark   August 27, 2007 at 4:16PM
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I forgot to mention the trusts, It is easy to set up a trust, but finding someone that will handle a small account like mine is the problem. Every trust has to have a trustee, if you don't have a younger relative that will take on the job, you have to hire a company and you to have enough money in the account for them to make it worth their time. I did get a refund for the money I paid to the lawyer that set up the trust for me.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2007 at 4:25PM
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Sounds like zenosmom and I are coming from a similar place. We all have a right to feel safe. That is a reasonable expectation of relatives.

I think we all have a right to set limits. However, things happen that can make it tough to be self-protective. In my case, that was my father's dying. I literally had to change my e-mail address because of one of my aunts abusive e-mails. Then there was the scapegoating. If you are the object of a scapegoating, you're just hosed. There is no real defense except removing yourself. My mother was the ringleader there.

I seem to have touched a real nerve with my stand on my parents' will. I believe I am as deserving as my brother. If my parents chose to leave their money to charity, that would be one thing but to leave it all to one child and not the other, there is no kindness in that. It's just revenge.

Someone wrote that their estranged child doesn't deserve it because they do not visit. Do you really want to equate visits to love? I think that must be a generational thing. My mother thinks writing a check is loving too.

Warren Buffet is leaving his fortune to charity. Everyone in his line knows it and expects nothing. I admire his approach. It is above board, no surprises and he is doing it out of a positive belief. I do not have children and have decided to leave my estate to charity as well. My family knows of it and it is done out of a positive belief. I have also made provisions for my estranged realtives to have family items and indeed, if my mother needs financial help at the time of my death, there is a provision for that as well. I can't imagine that will be the case but I thought about it and covered that base.

I'm trying to make decisions I can be proud of. Although I cannot control or be accountable for the actions of others, I can control and be accountable for my own. I really try to take a higher road in most things.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2007 at 4:50PM
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thank you Sadie, I didn't know you didn't have children. My children don't visit and that's ok, but then to call when they want money is another thing. I must say my oldest son doesn't bother me with his problems, I respect him for that consideration.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2007 at 6:14PM
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'Someone wrote that their estranged child doesn't deserve it because they do not visit. Do you really want to equate visits to love?'
I don't equate visits with love. However, when a child doesn't visit, call, write, withholds grandkids because her emotionally abusive, immature, self centered husband is mad over nothing, tells lies on her parents to justify her behavior, prefers inlaws to her biological family, and hates her brother, I'll be damned if they are getting any inheritance from me. I don't owe her a damn thing! Her kids will be provided for, they do love us. Please don't try to make the rest of us look 'petty' because we will not leave the estranged child anything. If things change, she will be cut in..if not...she's out. Why should she be treated with the same respect as her brother, when she shows us NO respect at all?!?!?!?!

    Bookmark   August 27, 2007 at 6:44PM
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She doesn't want to be a member of the family so why should she get treated like one in the event of our deaths??

    Bookmark   August 27, 2007 at 6:53PM
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Sniffles, I read your follow up posts and I must say, I can see my mother saying things like that about me. My perspective is so totally different but in the absence of common ground, there is no way to work anything out.

I think it's easy to be blinded by rage. There is almost always two sides to the story, if not three or four. Reality is that adult children are adults. Relationships become a matter of choice rather than necessity and that changes the parent/child dynamic. In my mother's case, she persists in thinking it's her way or the highway.

"I don't owe her a damn thing!" True but one would hope you do not wish to hurt your child even if you feel hurt by her. You yourself admit this is motivated by anger.

"Her kids will be provided for, they do love us." What was that about not equating money with love?

"Please don't try to make the rest of us look 'petty' because we will not leave the estranged child anything." You said it, not me.

Maybe your daughter doesn't talk to you because she afraid of your rage.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2007 at 7:49PM
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Guess I believe in old adage "honor thy mother and father" from the 10 Commandments.
Kids should respect their parents. Sorry if I sound old fashion but my son refusing to speak to us and when he did calling his father by his first name and if I answered the phone refusing to acknowledge that he knew who was answering are downright unacceptable. Not being in contact with his 82 year old grandmother who did everything she could for him also is something that hurts me very much. His disrespecting my mother is disrespecting me in that I taught him to respect his elders. My mother did nothing to him. He is simply a rotten person.
When he needed advice, help wiuth school papers, money and a multitude of other things, he sure knew where we were. Now, that he is a big man with all the letters after his name we are dirt. How the hell does he think he got where he is today??? We sacrified and made sure he got everything he needed to succeed. Now, he cannot even say hello or drop dead.
We could all drop dead tomorrow and he would never know- or care for that matter.
It breaks my heart and makes me so sad that a child I carried could trun out like this.
That is why money in this case of inheritance is not a tool or a spite move- but an imporant lesson- if you treat people or employers or whatever like dirt you will get yours in the end.
He will get his. I plan to leave him $2.49 in my will to be sure it cannot be contested. The rest goes to charity.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2007 at 8:33PM
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Sadie, you are way off base. I'm not leaving my daughter anything in the will because she chose not to be a part of the family. Can't help it if it hurts her, but I'm not rewarding her bad behavior. I do love my daughter, but it was her choice. Believe me, my daughter is not scared of me. You have no idea. Anyway, I've said all I'm saying on the subject of wills.
'There is almost always two sides to the story, if not three or four'
Wonder what your mother's side is, hmmmm.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2007 at 8:48PM
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I believe this was started as a vehicle for those of us PARENTS who have estranged CHILDREN not vice versa. I respect there are two sides to the story and maybe the children of estrangements need to start their own thread for support but this was from the parents perspective. Those who have not been in an estrangement have no right to judge. Those who are the on the other side of the estrangement cannot possibly see the 'parental side' and vice versa. I understand some of you cannot see 'turning your back on your child', equating love and money, anger/vengence, and have decided to try to use our words against us, that is unfortunate. Please let us have a place to confide and comfort one another without being judged especially when you have no vantage point into what this situation is like from the parents point of view. I am not trying to start a fight, just begging for our space to remain a place of support for the parents dealing with this estrangement from our perspective. Be grateful that you don't understand us and our decisions, that means you have never been put into the EXTREME situations that have led us down this path. It has been a hard road, no one needs to make it any harder.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2007 at 8:49PM
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You think I have never been put into extreme situations? You are so, so, soooooooo wrong.

Estrangement is estrangement. It all hurts. I'm sorry you think the answer is to get rid of me in this forum.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2007 at 10:01PM
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My attorney said I don't have to leave my sons anything. The most important thing to keep a will from being thrown out is to make it when you are well and strong. when you become weak or have memory loss, then make a will there is a chance it can be broken. But it has to be proven that undue influence was used on someone who was in a weakened condition. A will can be contested but most are thrown out when the judges gets to the case. My sons won't even know when I die. We don't know how to find either one. I think my youngest son can be found by calling the local sheriff where he lives, but that won't happen. I prepaid my cremation a couple of weeks ago and told them not to put it in the obits.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2007 at 10:32PM
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wow sadie2, you definitely seem like a charmer. Not hostile at all.

Estrangement is not estrangements, each side of the fence has a different perspective, it does all hurt, but differently, one not worse than the other...different. I merely suggested that you might feel more comfortable in a support group based on your perspective, and we might feel more comfortable without your righteous opinions, this was a thread based on the parental point of view... not that we don't like to share it with those morally superior children of estrangment though. Please feel free to join in, judge, harass, and misinterprete all you would like, we can take it, I am sure it sounds real familiar to most of us.

How such a kind, un-vengful, caring daughter like yourself end up in such a situation? Your mother must be just as bad as the rest of us in here. Fighting your brother for what his Mother has determined she wants to do with her money...even if you have to 'sell your house', wow, not vengeful at all. Tell me will you take the 'high road' to your new digs?

Isn't it tough to sell such a righteous foundation when it's built on quick sand?

    Bookmark   August 27, 2007 at 11:41PM
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I just want to clarify, I don't believe all children of estrangements are judgemental, ignorant, wrong, or not welcome. Zenosmom brings insight, and is a respectful poster. I appreciate her perspective as it does not appear to be trying to wedge a divide amongst the group, more like she is joining those of us who are broken hearted and trying join in helping all of us heal. I really just dont need the judgement, I have had too much, I think we all have. We are our own worst critics, I don't need anyone else to join the bandwagon.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2007 at 1:12AM
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It would appear that Sadie2, who has no children, is unable therefore to understand where we are coming from in this discussion.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2007 at 7:27AM
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I try not to rock the boat, because I have been really dumped on for my opinion, so I am careful about my replies. That said I am going to jump in with both feet. I took Sadie's comments just like dirtboysdad did. That is why I asked Sadie about the rift. We may as well accept it, we are always going to be blamed for our children's problems by most of society. The ones who don't blame us are the ones that have been there done that.

I am very glad I found this thread, even though I don't feel the pain some of you do, even though I have gone on to a happy life, it shows me that I am not alone in this. I may reach the point that I have to stop reading, because it brings up so many memories some of which are happy ones, some I would like to get off my mind. It's kind of like being addictive to something that is not good for you. LOL

    Bookmark   August 28, 2007 at 10:05AM
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One more word about the inheritance issue:

My will leaves my daughter out as long as she is married to her current husband - it specifically states that. My attorney suggested that I write her a letter telling her why I chose to do this, which I have done. She will receive letter upon the reading of the will - if she even chooses to attend.

My son-in-law will not get to use even one penny of my money.

Actually, I hope to spend it all!

    Bookmark   August 28, 2007 at 10:58AM
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Njtea, sounds like a good plan. I hope you do spend it all on yourself.

Sniffles, you are absolutely correct that my mother's version would be quite different than my own, as I have stated several times in this thread. I would not pretend to be blameless in this.

That said, I can also tell you I have written more than two dozen letters over the past 7+ years and perhaps 4 have been answered. One of the letters that went unanswered was about the fact I was not in one of the planes that were flown into the world trade center but that colleagues of mine were. Another letter than went unanswered told my mother that I have a clotting disorder. I told her for her own medical history but was disappointed that she did not express some concern. I wrote a letter last week to tell her I am thinking of her, love her and wish her well.

Yes, there are two sides. I do the best I can with a very painful situation. Sorry I seem to have ruffled so many feathers here.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2007 at 3:21PM
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Sadie brought up a good point.
My son has wrecked my life. My husband and I are so depressed and distraught that I do not know how long we will go on. We are both obsessed with what we did wrong, how this happened and what we can do to change it.

I am now stuck working with the attorney and financial planner in changing the irrevocable trust to exclude the cherished son. It will be a LOT of work in terms of getting my mother examinaed, reinsured, etc. There is $3 million at dstake- at present he gets 1/2 and I get 1/2. Under the new plan he would be cut down to $375K which is too much but the best we can do.

Today, my mother suggested I write my son a letter and tell him how his father and I feel. what he has done to us with his disrespect and rudeness.

What do the rest of you think of this?? Would the letter simply be a source of a joke between he and the trailer trash he lives with or might it serve some purpose.

She also suggests I mention my plans in terms of the will and estate planning given his lack of concern for either of us.

Any thoughts??

    Bookmark   August 28, 2007 at 4:00PM
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I've been reading these posts with some personal interest in these problems.

Lostmama, if it were me, I would write the letter and make sure that I didn't whine, plea, chastise, accuse or defend in the points I chose to make.

I would just tell it like it is. I'd tell him that it took years to get to the place where you can accept the situation for what it is. I'd tell him that in spite of his perception you did what you thought was best for him as he grew up. I'd say that you're sorry you're not the kind of parents he would have wanted, but you were the best that you knew how to be.

I would tell him that you are tired of being abused and you will no longer tolerate hateful, ungrateful behavior from him.

In closing, I would tell him that if ever re-evalutes his behavior towards his parents and decides that perhaps he was "misguided" and would care to set things right..that you'd be willing to listen. If he doesn't care to do so, then he needs to know that although you love him because he's your son, you do not like him as a person. And you choose not to associate with persons you do not like.

I would sign it, "Love, Mom & Dad".

I would not mention money, will, or inheritance. Let him find out for himself.

You've said the best you could cut his share down to was about $330K. Can you arrange for it to be doled out yearly over a 10-15 year period instead of a lump sum?

It won't matter if he and GF get a chuckle out of the letter. It will be a relief TO YOU that you have put in a tangible form, without tonal inflections, your position and your future plans. It's like putting your problems in a box and shipping them away.

Just my thoughts on the situation.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2007 at 4:28PM
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I think I'm about to be run out of here on a rail although it is about the only place on the web I've found that addresses estrangement at all. Every situation is different but I can invision a letter I would love to get from my mother.

She would tell me she loves me and misses me. Maybe she doesn't understand all my issues but she's willing to talk and agreeable to having a third party help with that conversation. Implicit in that notion is that we both have something for which to attone. Even though we both should know that we each have blaim in this, if she mentioned misdeeds, she would concentrate on her own behavior rather than criticising mine. She would accept responsibility for some of her own behavior and tell me she wants to make ammends--ammends rather than an apology because ammends suggests a dedication to changing the behavior. She would tell me she wants to move beyond what was to what could be.

As much as has occurred in this relationship, I have no desire to rehash it all. I just want to address the big stuff. I have safety issues so one of my big bug-a-boos is knowing that we're all on the same page that physical violence is always wrong. I don't need to revisit the beatings, just that violence is unacceptable now. Really, although it's easy to point to physical violence as something that was wrong, it was the emotional violence that was far more painful, far more insidious. Working that out would be one of the reasons a third party would be helpful.

I don't think I will ever get this letter. Really, I'd settle for a small part of it--just an effort and feeling I'd at least not be threatened.

In my own experience, I would not write a letter to my mother telling her the rotten things she's done to me and expect an answer. What she did is relevant in that it makes me realistically wary but starting from that vantage point would probably alienate her further. Too, I would really like to have a future with her so that is what I think about.

Perhaps this will be helpful. Trying to communicate is a good thing and takes courage. Unfortunately, it's tough to do well in estrangement. Maybe have a level-headed friend read any letter you write? I've done that at times when I was tempted to blast and really did not want to.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2007 at 4:30PM
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No one is going to run you out on a rail, Sadie. I, for one, think it's great that you can now see how you might have angered some of us and are willing to admit it.

Sadie, you are so correct when you say that the damage from the emotional abuse is so much worse than the physical abuse.

As you wrote earlier about sending letters to your mother and never getting a response, I could so identify with that.

I am willing to bet that probably each of us here as written more than one letter to our child apologizing for whatever it is we did that has made them so angry.

I've offered the third party negotiator idea. No response. All I get is silence.

Unfortunately, I've also written a couple of letters blasting - but I believe they were written in a desperate attempt to get her to face up to her situation. I realize now those attempts were futile; that won't happen until she is ready for it to happen. I can also see that it might not happen for a long time, until certain other things occur, or that it might not happen ever.

One thing that helped me was to write a "last" letter to my daughter telling her that I love her, I am always here for her but that she needed to know that neither she nor her husband could not hurt me any longer; I would not allow them to do that.

Of course, it wasn't a "last" letter because a few weeks ago I found a wonderful card that said so well many of the things that I found hard to put into words about the state of our relationship and I sent that to her.

Nothing; not a word from her in response to anything I've written. Sometimes I can find myself envying those who at least have some communication with their estranged child, no matter how strained that communication is. To be met with total unresponsiveness is mind boggling.

My heart aches for my daughter because I believe she is between a rock and a hard place and I think she feels trapped with no way out.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2007 at 6:03PM
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The first time this happened with my daughter, I sent her cards every holiday, with notes that we loved her, etc. A good friend of mine, tried to intervene by sending my daughter a letter, to try to get her to rethink things. Her response was to send a letter to my friend stating everything that was wrong with my husband and me. This time around, I'm not sending cards. I'm not begging, humoring, cajoling, etc. I'm trying a different approach. Probably won't work but for my own 'peace', I'm not going to bother. I do pray for her EVERY day. We love her and want things to work out, but I'm not holding my breath.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2007 at 10:29PM
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Sniffles, I think you are right in your decision. If you keep after them it only reinforces how they feel and the decision they made. My husband's daughter started divorce proceedings against her husband and he came crying to us. He said he calls her every day to tell her he loves her and to apologize for whatever he did. I told him not to call her. The only chance he had of getting her back was leave her alone and see if she misses him. All he is doing is reminding her of why she is leaving him. When he finally went to a marriage counselor, he was told exactly what I told him.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2007 at 7:14PM
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Jonesy, I think it's the right thing to do also. My hope is she will get tired of just having 'his' family and start to miss us. I know she's been aggravated in the past at his sister, etc. I feel that will happen again at some point and she might really miss us. Also if we're not pursuing her, maybe she won't be so sure we're always here if she needs us. It would make me stop and think..hopefully it will her too.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2007 at 7:30PM
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Jonesy and Sniffles, kind of like playing "hard to get" when we were teenagers and just beginning to date. The more you chase the faster they will run.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2007 at 7:13AM
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LOL, sounds right,

sniffles, if you keep a distance I think that will be good for you, you will learn not to dwell on it.

I had a fun day and didn't have time to think of anything negative. I went to Lindsborg, Ks and took some pictures. While eating my lunch, in The Ole Stuga, a photographer came in and put his camera in a couple's face and took their picture and the couple ignored him which puzzled me. I realized pretty quick it had to be Jim Richardson, one of the most well known photographers in this country and others. He retired to Lindsborg a couple of years ago. He was born in Belleville, Kansas and has been very successful. I am going to look for one of his books.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2007 at 9:22PM
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I have a neighbor who has 5 kids and only two will talk to her and of the two only one's kids will talk to their grandmother. I told her she needs to distance herself from them. Her reply was that she never sees them so she is. I told her the two who talk you feed you information about the others. You need to tell them not to to discuss the others with you, it upsets you. I understand why the kids are mad at her, there is family history and if I were one of her daughter's I wouldn't speak to her either. somethings are just not forgive able.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2007 at 9:20PM
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Just got back from the estate lawyer with my mother. My son is officially out of the majority of her will. The irrevocable part is under consideration as to whether it is worth selling the old policy to buy a new one to put in a new trust. My son at present stanbds to inherit 1/2 of a $3 million policy. Getting the old poliocy out of the trust and sold and then buying a new policy seems awfully daunting to my mother.
How things have changed over the past 2 years. All the hopes, dreams and aspirations we all had for him are now turned to disgust. The lawyer is totally baffled by the change in pesonality and behavior- seems we all have been totalled discarded like old trash. He has not called since the start of June and apparently has no concern for any of us. It is very painful as we still love him so much.

When I walk thru malls and see people with little kids, it often reminds me of him being little and how nice he was. He was taught to respect people and now seems to have forgotten it all. I am always tempted to tell one of the parents to enjoy the little kid time, as you never know what the adult time will bring.

My husband and I will do an estate plan in the next month. We are planning a trip to Las Vegas over Christmas as sitting home is simply not possible. Our big dilemma is who to leave the money to- so we have to research charities and decide which ones are worthy of our support.

I truly am sad that it has come to this. My husband now says that we are back to where we were 30 years ago when we first married. We simply have to continue the life we had before he was born 24 years ago. It is not easy but we are trying

    Bookmark   September 7, 2007 at 2:24PM
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I was reading an email from a poster who has a estranged child and she told me we need to learn not to let the estrangement rule our life and to go on with our life. (This was not the exact words but to that effect)
The first time my daughter became estranged, I did just that. I let it rule my life. I couldn't sleep, I thought about it constantly, I felt sad, mad, grief stricken, depressed, guilty. I quit my job because I felt I couldn't function. My husband's health went downhill.
This time around I feel we're handling it much better. We keep busy and don't 'dwell' on it. We do think and talk about it, but it's not ruling our lives. I have a different job now and that helps. We love our daughter and pray for a reunion, but unless or until that happens, we're going to be happy as we can be. I guess I'm thinking about this today because tomorrow is Grandparent's Day, and I miss my grandkids. I haven't seen them since June and feel it will be quite awhile before I get to. Happy Grandparent's Day to those of you that have grandchildren. Just had to vent. Have a good weekend.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2007 at 1:31PM
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Good for you sniffles.

I used to tease my husband when Grandparents Day came around by saying things like, "Since it's Grandparents Day, I had better clean the house for when the grandchildren come over" knowing none would show up. I never built my life around our married children and grand children. I spent most of my time with my husband and I think that is why I don't have a major grief problem with the separation.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2007 at 9:49PM
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Board has been awfully quiet. Guess everyone is out living their lives putting the rotten kids behind. Hope everyone is doing well. Peace

    Bookmark   September 15, 2007 at 7:40PM
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I'm still here and I keep rereading all of the posts from those of us that are rowing the same boat.

My birthday came and went and my son did not acknowledge the day. I didn't expect he would, but deep down I hoped he would at least send an email card.

His father called him 2 days ago in an attempt to open the lines of communication since his anger is mainly directed at me. Our son admitted he is very angry with me and cannot speak with me. He says I'm "money hungry" because all I ever talk about is how much money it's costing me yearly to help him out. Well, yeah!!

It is costing me big bucks when you consider I don't charge rent and still have property taxes,insurance and repairs & maintainence to pay for. And that's not counting the extra money I give them so they can buy grocereies and pay for utilities. Of course, the subject of money comes up every now and then. Why wouldn't it?

And now I'm struggling with the temptation to be as mean and awful as he claims I am. I must admit I want to hurt him as badly as he has hurt me. It isn't very nice of me to feel this way, but I'm starting to get past the point where he's hurt me and now I want him to see how it feels.

Am I the only one who is feeling this way? It's certainly not maternal to want to see your child suffer, but I'm not feeling much like his mother these days.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2007 at 11:05PM
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No, you're not the only one to feel this way. I said in an earlier post, (might have been on the other string) that if my daughter came to the door, I'd love to slam the door in her face. I wouldn't of course. I love her too much. But the hurt builds up. Then you have all sorts of negative thoughts. I think we just get so frustrated that we just want to express it, and let them know how MUCH it hurts. If your son opened up communication with you, I have no doubt you would welcome him.
I'm having trouble sleeping the last week. I get in bed very tired, and just as I am about to doze off, I start thinking about her and my grandkids. Then I'm wide awake for an hour thinking.......very frustrating!
Hang in there.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2007 at 11:27PM
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I often think of what I would do if my son called or wrote me. He has been angry with me for over a year since I "insulted" his girlfriend by implying that a 19 year old should not expect my son to support her while she sits home all day playing on the computer in his house. That was such an insult! She has his credit card, is charging it up until he has to sell stocks to pay the bills while she sits looking for other men on the personals. It makes me sick!

Anyway- he is supposed get married next June and I know in my heart that I cannot attend even if he invited us. My husband is livid over his disrespect and lack of gratitude. It is incomprehensible to us how someone who was loved and nurtured and raised in a 2 parent home with every opportunity possible could turn out like this. It is so hurtful. And the fact that he is our only child makes it even worse. My husband is just so upset that girl he is engaged to would have his name- as it will disgrace our name given her background and attributes. Thank God he lives 1000 miles away.

The days do not get any better around here. I walk around with a pervasive sadness and preoccupation thinking of what I did wrong. I cannot figure it out and no one that knows of how he was raised can figure it out either.

Everytime I am on my computer and his IM logo comes on I want to scream! Just happened as I was typing! I sometimes want to just turn off the computer and run.

The last 3 times I visited him, he chased me home the first time, telling me he saw enough of us, the second time, he threatened to push me down the stairs for being insulting to his love. The third time, when I saw the dog poop all over his new house that his fiance swore she had spent 2 weeks cleaning before our visit, I became physically ill.

I wish there were support groups near my home but there are not. I checked it out and one is about 50 miles from here which is too far for me to drive on a consistent basis. Given the large number of affected parents, I wish there were groups to help us vent.

This is the worst nightmare a parent could go through. It is like slow torture without any rhyme or reason.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2007 at 8:59PM
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Well, Just when the message board got quiet---I found this site.

I too have an adult daughter who has decided to ignore me. The worst part is---I'm not really sure why. She has a demanding job & husband---but I can't understand why she doesn't have time to call or write. I call and get an answering machine---I leave messages and get no return call. I've sent e-mails---nothing.

I hope someone out there is listening----I've read some of the other messages & I am right there with you all.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2007 at 12:33AM
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Well, out of the blue, my daughter shows up like nothing's happened, looking for food saying 'I'm hungry'!! Well, of course, I dish her up some dinner and keep my thoughts to myself and just let her eat and talk about her day. Things progressed well and she left. This has been going on for two weeks now and I can't figure out why. She's treating us with respect and answering our questions without biting our heads off. She even seems glad to see us!??!!??
I don't know how long this will last. I'm going to feel like such a chump when it's over and we're back to the alienation routine, but I'm loving it for now. I guess I'm a sucker....
I have my suspicions that all is not well in Shangra-la, but I don't want to ask her outright. I figure I'll just provide a landing pad for her and let nature take it's course. I'm just very glad that I didn't speak my thoughts earlier and burn my bridges with her so that the path is open - believe me that was not easy to do! Of course I have my secret daydreams that Mr Right will walk into her like and sweep her off her feet and she'll forget all about 'duh' boy (our nickname for her significant other).......

    Bookmark   September 18, 2007 at 12:12PM
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Hello All ! I tried to post before, I don't know if it went through ? I have an adult daughter who has avoided me now for about five years or so.I really haven't clue as to why... other than she reunited with her estranged father about that time. She is 40 now and hadn't seen or heard from him since she was 2. She will be getting married Oct.20 and DAD is walking her down the is a slap in the face,as I struggled to raise her alone(she has severe learning disabilities, is absolutely beautiful, a retired Elite model in NYC and now an international photographer).I'm hurting by her callousness,his audacity (and his family's), and feel very much alone all the time.
I received a wedding invitation in the mail, as if I were an acquaintance. I was informed, my daughter had bought a dress for me, becuse her huge NYC wedding HAS to be perfect so she callls all the shots, and all must "match." She is, and has been very irrational, and difficult to communicate with. However, we had no problem in the past(even with her problems) and were very close.I am not sure if I can muster up the courage to attend this big wedding. Right after the wedding she and her new husband (I met him only once)will be going to live in Japan.
He works on Wall Street, and has an important assignment in Japan, for god knows how long ??She is my only child. I have no other family. I just feel so deserted and abandoned,as I was as a child by a sick mother.
Thank you all for being there, the sense of identificion is vey helpful to me.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2007 at 1:11PM
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Love2garden22, I had to laugh at your name for the BF. Many of us in the same situation apparently have "special" names for the significant other; mine is not printable. I think you're right that all is not well in Shangra-La.

I think I'd pass out if my daughter showed up at the door. I dream about it but fear it will be a long, long time before it happens, if it ever does.

Beanutfuddled, there also seem to be a lot of mothers in your same position, me among them. We are the ones who supported, either financially or emotionally or both, our children with disabilities and then they dump us and run to the parent who was less involved in their lives or with whom they got along less well when they were younger. My daughter is apparently now fast friends with her father with whom she did not get along at all while growing up. He was totally disinvolved with her life. Even now, he professes to know nothing about what his grandchildren are doing in their lives, just as he knew nothing about what was going on in his children's lives, even though he lived in the same house with them. 'Tis a mystery.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2007 at 5:55PM
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I say put your differences aside and go to the wedding. If you are hoping to be closer to your daughter---this is the only way to make it happen. If you chose not to go to the wedding----then YOU are closing the door on your daughter.

I can identify with your situation----I have little extended family myself. I know it may be uncomfortable---but in the end you will be glad you made the effort.

You know future brides can be hard to deal with---think of it this way----now you don't have to worry about what to select to wear for the wedding.

By the way---when is the wedding?

    Bookmark   September 18, 2007 at 8:45PM
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Catbear...we're listening. We are all in the same boat in one form or another, and with different stories. It's amazing to me that this topic (estranged adult children) has went on and on. The other string filled up after 150 posts then this one was started to carry on. It's amazing and sad! It's a good place to vent, share, and maybe help. When I first found this, I didn't want to post publicly, but now I'm glad I did. I feel it's helped me. :)

    Bookmark   September 18, 2007 at 11:16PM
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I have a friend who is doing the same thing to her mother....not answering calls, not returning calls, etc. With me, her best friend, she acts like everything is great. Her mother tells me a different story, although I can't tell my friend her mother confided in me. But I do however, continually encourage my friend to spend time with her mom. I use my troubles with my daughter as the reason to bring it up. My friend's mother is 70. So far, my friend is still treating her mom the same way, but acting to me like they have a great relationship..go figure.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2007 at 11:25PM
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"Reflections of a Mother"

I gave you life, but cannot live it for you.
I can teach you things, but I cannot make you learn.
I can give you directions, but I cannot be there to lead you.
I can allow you freedom, but I cannot account for it.
I can take you to church, but I cannot make you believe.
I can teach you right from wrong, but I cannot always decide for you.
I can buy you beautiful clothes, but I cannot make you beautiful inside.
I can offer you advice, but I cannot accept it for you.
I can give you love, but I cannot force it upon you.
I can teach you to share, but I cannot make you unselfish.
I can teach you respect, but I cannot force you to show honor.
I can advise you about friends, but cannot choose them for you.
I can advise you about sex, but I cannot keep you pure.
I can tell you the facts of life, but I can't build your reputation.
I can tell you about drink, but I can't say "no" for you.
I can warn you about drugs but I can't prevent you from using them.
I can tell you about lofty goals, but I can't achieve them for you.
I can teach you about kindness, but I can't force you to be gracious
I can warn you about sins, but I cannot make you moral
I can love you as a child, but I cannot place you in God's family.
I can pray for you, but I cannot make you walk with God.
I can teach you about Jesus, but I cannot make Jesus your Lord.
I can tell you how to live, but I cannot give you eternal life.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2007 at 2:33AM
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Thank you orangetree, that was beautiful. I would love for my estranged 20 year old to read it, so I am going to copy it in the hope that one day, she will care enough to read it. Thanks.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2007 at 9:21AM
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Unsolicited advice:
Go to the wedding. It requires much less energy to love than it does to hate - you'll be happier. Ask your son if he's happy - if he is, then let it be.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2007 at 12:43PM
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I tried to post yesterday but i see it is not posted. So, I'm just testing with this post, to see if it goes through.
I don't know what I am doing wrong !
Wish me luck,

    Bookmark   September 20, 2007 at 12:48PM
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I got through ! I just wanted to say ...i AM GOING TO THE WEDDING...i HAD PLANNED ON IT.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2007 at 7:23PM
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I get busy at work and then I don't have time to think about my daughter not returning my phone call or e-mail.

I left her a message on Sunday --- she never called. About 10 days ago I had sent her an e-mail----she has never responded to it.

I have decided not to try to contact her anymore.----My heart is truly broken----and like I have heard others on this site say---this isn't the kind of thing that I can talk to others about----

They wouldn't understand--or they would think I had done something to cause this---and that is the bewildering part----I haven't done ANYTHING to cause this ---

Whoever is reading this--thanks for listening--

Beanotfuddled, Hang in there---Maybe this wedding will actually bring you & your daughter together.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2007 at 8:44PM
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Sorry beanotfuddled, I got you confused with Lostmomma -

The stories started to run together -
Glad you're going to the wedding.

I've decided that depression IS worse in the morning - nothing going on yet to distract yourself -

I've also learned that depression often comes when we feel there are no options - remember that there are always options, that things don't always have to be the way we prescribe them to be in order for us to be happy -

I wish only for the gap to be bridged with you and your daughter. Also, remember that depression is treatable, most importantly is to find a way to express what you are going through. This board is a good step but you may need more -

Take care

    Bookmark   September 21, 2007 at 3:46PM
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Thank you all for responing,once again.Today is Saturday, and things get worse for me over the weekends. No mystery there, I guess. Emotionally, I just feel down and unable to find enthusiasm in anything.It is a tortuous time. With the wedding coming up, I have a few relatives from Canada, staying with me then. YUK! Now I have to muster up the energy to both clean and "put on a happy face." To me, this seems, close to impossible ! They don't know about my daughter and I, even tho I have told them. I think they think this is just a silly "mother-daughter" thing, like all parents go through..grrrr!
In other words, I can't talk to them. More isolation in the midst of others. I have tried to get them to stay at my dauhghter's place (nearby ) as it will be empty until she moves her stuff out on Oct.31st.I don't think they get how down I am, and how difficult it wil be to see her leave for a long while. They are all excited, esp. because they are simple folk, as it were, and don't know from big city weddings and receptions.To them, this is a chance to tour NYC, have free room and board, and be part of an elegant wedding. They put my daughter and I up, years ago, when one cousin got married in B.C. This is why I feel awkward telling them to find a hotel or go to my daughter's. I have emailed my cousin, explaining how my daughter's place would be far more comfortable, and strategic to NYC. My guess is they will stay there, as my cousin said she has been in touch with my daughter about this. But I can tell, that my cousin is a bit put out and is being a tad snippy to me. Oh well, you can't please everyone ! It's not like I'm telling her not to come.Believe me, one day of having to watch me cry and sob will send her packing anyway...I call that family the "psuedo-optimist club,'or, more realistically, the Canadian Den of Denial. What they want to see , they do,and they simply eliminate whatever else there is.I am trying to protect myself from this kind of silliness, and possible fur flying party. I absolutely, definitely cannot take anyone around me who is self-serving, narcississtic, and insensitive...again !
I wish, like some of you, I had other children. I think that would have softened this blow....hmm.just speculation.
From my reading of many of your posts, I get that alot of you are asking the same questions as me. Like ...WHY ?, and what did I do wrong? Some of you have effectively dealt with these hard questions, I sure wish I was there ! I know I didn't "do" anything, but darn it, I still feel worthless, guilty, enraged, confused. How does one "let go" of their own child? It's not like letting go of a balloon in Central Park, for God's sake ! I guess, I don't understand the concept of this kind of "letting go."
I find this board a great far as my other needs I have a therapist and a support group, I'm not sure if I mentioned that before ?
I am a therapist, and therefore have a tendency to get right to the core of my feelings and to express them openly. I hope my style is not offensive to anyone here, I am just being me.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2007 at 2:23PM
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Hello Bea
I also feel worse on weekends because when I am not working as a marketing consultant I have time to reflect upon the situation. I also tend to drive or walk or bike around my neighborhood and things remind me of the "good old days." As I drive by the old nursery school my son attended, I think of that vulnerable, sweet and affectionate little boy who adored me. He could not wait to tell me what happened at school. When I see a school bus, I think of how I was there each and every day when he got off the bus to greet him, help him with his homework and make sure all was well. When I drive by the local high school, I think of how I agonized over sending him to a private high school to assure him the best possible education. As I see kids in soccer and baseball uniforms, I think of the hours I spent as a team mom while my husband was the coach of his teams. It hurts so much because I cannot believe that someone who was loved and cherished and given every possible opportunity in the world would chose to turn his backs on us. I sometimes have to pull over when I am driving to cry and then get going again as it baffles me to no end and also hurts so badly. As I type this I am crying as I cannot understand what happened along the way.

I guess I am unlike you and not as good a person as I refuse to attend the June 2008 wedding, nor will my husband. I will not put on a happy face and pretend that I am happy that my son who has an advanced degree and a professioanl job is marrying a trailer park no moral girl who never even went to high school. We are not even sure she has a GED. She refuses to get a job, does no household duties and is seeking other men on the internet while my son is at work. All the while she is wearing a $10000 nearly 2 carat ring. I will not and cannot give my approval or blessing to such a union. My husband and I taught our son to be hard working, respectible and decent. His choice of fiance is none of the above. She is a gold digging lower class unattractive person who is taking my son for a total fool. As she uses his charge card to support her 2 unmarried sister's illegitimate children, my son is working 12 hours a day to pay the bills and sell the stocks he inherited from my father to support her trailer park family. I cannot sanction nor condone any of these things. He has chosen to cut off everyone who speaks the truth- which believe it or not he knows in his heart is reality. For some reason, he has chosen to accept this situation and abandon everything and everybody who will not embrace the situation. It baffles me to no end. I cannot explain it nor will I ever accept his current choices. He is ruining his life, throwing away valuable opportunities for career advancement in the guise of caring for this unworthy young woman. Our only crime was expressing dismay at the situation in hopes of having him realize that this is a terrible mistake.

I feel community reading the messages on this board in that I see that I am not alone. I try to talk to my husband, but he is so devastated by this situation that he has retreated into himself. As my husband and I are only children and this son is our only child, not having a family to reach out to makes it esepcially difficult. Holidays are such misery that I only wish they could simply disappear from the calendar. Sitting alone without any family is a terrible thing when so many others have family to share the holidays with.

I pray that my son will come around and also pray that everyone on this board has some resolution to the problems with their children.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2007 at 3:15PM
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I know this sounds corny but "I feel your pain." The way you write really tells me the emotional state you are in is just plain agony...I am so sorry.All we can do here , or anywhere for that matter, is reach out, support, and most of all...CARE... about one another, when and if we can. Right now, I wish I were sitting right next to you, I would hug you and hold steady, a box of nice soft tissues.
Normally my WASP self, is not a hugger. But there is something in what you write, or the way you write, to me anyway, that is asking for caring and warmth, understanding.
Holidays. What holidays? I have erased them and pretend those days are just days off from work, days.My daughter is marrying someone I have only met and spoken with once.
He could be the new Jack the Ripper, for all I know ! Then again, he could be a nice person who deeply loves my daughter. I wish I knew, it would help to feel included enough to have gotten to know him.His parents, way in Wisconsin (I am in NJ) have met my daughter on several occaisions mostly holidays.I don't know them at all either, although I have tried to reach out, and got a perfunctory, stereotyped response.I don't even think they know my full name, and I don't get that it matters to them.
This is not the view of weddings and families I have ever I am treading lightly.
This will be a big bash, an expensive St. Patrick's Cathedral in NYC then a reception at the NEW York Yacht Club for 450 daughter's fiance is paying for everything...he is 37 !!!
I have gone over this in my mind for quite awhile. But I have decided to go for my self. If I get too uncomfortable, I will promptly leave.
My love to you,

    Bookmark   September 22, 2007 at 4:12PM
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Weekends are hard on me also, for the same reason. I have time to think. When I'm working, I'm busy with the day to day. Even though I have cleaned house for most of the day, it's on my mind. I wonder what my grandkids are thinking. We are extremely close to them. Are they wondering if we don't care about them? Are they wondering if we don't want to them to come over? Breaks my heart.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2007 at 4:33PM
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I also live in New Jersey- my son lives in the midwest.

Your future son in law must be really wealthy to afford a reception of that size at the NY Yacht Club.

At least if you decide to leave early, you will have a quick ride back to NJ.

Our last 3 trips to the midwest- 12 hours long were punctuated by tears, feelings of despair and gloom. That is why we cannot go there anymore. We both become physically and mentally ill seeing how our son is being manipulated, how the fiance as well as her family have turned his mind in such a manner that is disturbing. It is astonishing that someone can turn his back on his own parents because they "insulted" this virtuous (????) fiance.

Our son planned to return to school to get his Phd using the inheritance money my father left him as a means of supplementing his income during his studies. When he got his MBA last year, he was voted the most likely to return to school in 5 years either as a student or instructor. He has spoken about this for the past 8 years. His dream was to teach on the college level as he has talents in those areas. As the rate he is going he will be broke in about 2 years and his dreams will all be gone. And so will the gold digging fiance who has so much as told my son to his face that she loves her old boyfriend more than she will ever love him. Go figure. Throwing away a dream for nothing at all.

I often wonder if he is mentally ill or if he had an emotional breakdown as his behavior is so strange. As he will not speak to us, we cannot even make the suggestion to him.

I wish you well- thanks for the cyber hugs!

    Bookmark   September 22, 2007 at 7:48PM
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'I often wonder if he is mentally ill or if he had an emotional breakdown as his behavior is so strange.'
I've often wondered that about my daughter. Right before this happened the first time, she was passing out. The dr told her it was from stress. Not long after that is when she became estranged from us for 3 yrs. I have often wondered what kind of stress she was under to cause her to pass out. Of course, never got the answer.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2007 at 11:17PM
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Another Jersey girl, here, too!

All, I've started a thread in the Suggestions? forum of the GardenWeb portion of this site, asking for a forum on estrangements. As we've seen threads get cut off after 150 posts and I think this thread has 112 posts.

If you would follow the link to my request and add your voice to it, that would be great!

    Bookmark   September 23, 2007 at 7:59AM
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You ask how a son could turn his back on you after your reaction to his girlfriend -

I have to say that there was one person who ripped into my husband one time, and I have totally cut her off. It was not her place, and I was so shocked that she had the balls to say such things. I can't imagine a sitution where I personally would ever be insulting to someone else's choice of love -

Now if it were my child, and I estimated that my child was being treated poorly, I would most likely want to sit down and ask that child many questions. I did so with my sister when she got engaged at 18 - (now still happily married after 10 years) - but I would want to be careful to couch my questions in love, so that if and when the relationship ended that child could feel safe to convalesce in my arms -

I just worry that if your son's relationship with his girlfriend doesn't last, you will still have lost him -

It sounds as if you have cut him off as much as you say he has cut you off - his making this choice for love is the qualifier for your acceptance of him in your life. He experiences that your love is conditional - it is what it is. I would just hope for you to see that you have more options, that your son can be a big part of your life if you choose that.

Have you asked him what it is about her that he loves? If you were to discover those things, it might make things easier for you, if you wanted that.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2007 at 2:46PM
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My son started to cut off us long before the girfriend came into the picture. At his graduation in May 2006, he ignored us totally, refused to go out to dinner with us, locked himself in his room in his apt. and acted very oddly. We were totally bewildered. He sure wanted us to help him move all his belongings in the rent a truck. My poor husband and I nearly broke our backs lugging the furniture out and in. Then after we moved all his belongings his new apt., he told us to leave even though we had planned to stay 2 days longer to celebrate his accomplishment. I had rented a car and thought we could all hang out in the college town. He had planned to come back home after graduation before he started work and said he had no desire to come to our house. He had just met the girl at this point in time so that we had never said a word about her as we had never met her. I in fact expressed the idea that I was happy he had met someone.

My husband has been extremely supportive of him, loving and NEVER said a bad word about the girlfriend. When they came here this May, my husband drove them around to the train station, picked them up at the airport at 6 am, took them to the airport when we "insulted" them and they wanted to leave. Never a thanks or word of gratitude. We asked if we could take them into NYC and were told that they had did not want to do anything with "US" as if we had poison ivy.

When my husband was sick and nearly died last November our son made no effort or offer to come out here to add support.
I sat in the surgery waiting room all alone and so afraid, everyone had family with them. My son never thought of flying or driving out despite being able to do so in May when the gf. wanted to see NYC. Same thing for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter. He never made an offer. He could have come alone to see my husband but chose to sit in a trailer park instead.

My mother paid totally for his college and grad school- HS before that. He never had the courtesy or honor to even say thanks or even send her a Christmas or birthday card. Yet, he had the nerve to call me and ask how much he would get and when. He asked if her house could be left to him so he could get the extra cash. But, while she is alive, he cannot even pick up the phone and say hello Grandmother.

We found a letter on the floor in his old room when he was here in May. I do not know if he purposely left it on the floor so we would read it or what- it was his feelings about all the bad things we did when was growing up. He objected to my husband being a concerned father who asked him to check in when he was driving late at night and how I was a pain in his neck with always asking him about his studies and how he was angry at me for letting him drink beer in the house when he was in high school. I did that to avoid him trying to use a fake ID and getting busted driving drunk or something. Then the letter went into the cruel things the girl did to him and how he knows she does not love him as much as her other boyfriends. He KNOWS she is not in love with him- and yet he has turned us off in her favor.

Yes, I come across as angry and mad. I think he owes me, my husband and my mother a sincere apology for the rude, cruel and terrible behavior he has exhibited.

Yes, I guess I have cut him off. And I will never accept this girl who treated both my husband and I like dirt on every occasion we saw her. She put tampons in my toilet, nail polish on my bathroom wall, ruined one of my towels and never even thanked us for letting her stay here. I will not accept her. She invited her old boyfriend to their engagement dinner and was on Yahoo personals advertising for a middle eastern man 5 months into my son buying her a $10000 diamond ring. I caught her in several lies as I talked to people at the engagement party. She is nothing but a lying little gold digger. And there is no way we are wrong. He own real father spoke to us fgor over 2 hours after the party and told us that he feels sorry for our son as she does NOT love him, told the father she did not- but that she was interested in his money- she found his bank statement and love blossomed. It is only a matter of time before the cash is gone and so is she. She will not work, does not clean their house, uses his charge card to buy things for her whole family and all the while is seeking other men.

I guess the truth is if she is his choice, he is out of my life forever.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2007 at 3:48PM
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I'm so glad I found a board with this topic. Sorry this is lengthy but pray someone will care to read and advise. Thank you.

Had 3 small children w/ my ex-husband in the 80's when he abandoned us for his drugs and that lifestyle. (I gave him the "choice" to leave or get sober after he beat me and threatened to kill the kids by setting fire to house while we sleep) I nearly became homeless, with no family to help. Actually had no utilities after he left. It was clear he'd work under-table and not provide any support for us. Even while married, though he had great paying job, he was always gone and never provided ANYTHING except rent. (I babysat and sewed childrens clothes etc. for food and utilities and when desperate went to food bank)

Immediately after he left us, I went into the police academy in our major city. Then- 4 months into the 9 month program (quasi-military academy) my ex kidnapped my 2 sons (ages 5 and 10) and left me with only my 7 y/o daughter. For 4 yrs. I worked so hard to take care of her, while also paying atty's and PI's to find and get my son's back. During that 4 yr. time, my daughter was sexually abused by a man I dated and trusted. I set up a recorded conversation and had him arrested and put my daughter in therapy.

I was lucky enough to have contact with my boys by phone about 4 x's per year, but only with help of PI's constantly seeking out where their father had moved them to next. When I spoke with them, they were always crying. They were living in absolute poverty and left home alone with no food, clothing or supervision while father was out living it up, going out to eat, doing drugs, parties and prostitutes. He was also beating them multiple times per week. I would always try to mother them long-distance, praying for them, buying food and clothes and toys and sending them. But every time I found them again, their dad moved them again.

Finally, in mid-'90's, I got them back to live with me. They were ages 9 & 14 and had PTSD (really, reallly bad) b/c the abuse had become so severe the last 2 yrs., it is "unspeakable". Also, I found that much of what I'd sent them, they never got due to constant moving and their dad intercepting the mail and not giving it to them or telling I'd sent it. The whole time they were w/him, he drilled into their heads that I had "abandonded" them and didn't love them or care.

Once with me, I worked very hard to provide the much needed help and support they needed to get over the experiences. They arrived with no suit case and the clothes they had were so old and small they couldn't button their high-water pants and shirts so filthy and tight. They both had head and body lice and they were so thin they were only 45% their expected body weight. They couldn't sleep, they cried all the time, they fought (physically) between themselve's and their sister. The oldest tried to sexually molest his sister one day, the youngest was lighting fires in the house and chased his brother with scissors. They were both 3+ yrs. behind in school.

The youngest (whom this message/question concerns) was labled as mentally retarded. I knew he wasn't. I gave all of them much love and sacrafice. I had to work and take care of them all with no family to help. I never dated. I put all of my own wants and even needs aside. Much of it was spent in counseling and several hrs. a day after school helping them get caught up. Both of them accelerated 2+ grade equivalents per yr. Soon, they were well behaved and loving young men. The youngest was loved by all his teachers and tested at GENIUS IQ that 4th yr. since he'd overcome so much and was able to think straight. Both graduated HS. The youngest, early and with many honors. He also had a "CISCO" certification etc.

My daughter faired well also and became a pharmacy assistant, working to become pharmacist.

In his Junior yr. of HS, his father had just gotten out of a 3 yr prison term (drug trafficking related) and called wanting to talk to the boys. The oldest talked for a short minute, but youngest refused. He went into the Navy soon after graduation. He is now, at age 21 a Nuclear Engineer still in Navy. We've remained in contact by phone and 2x's he came to visit me.

Several yrs. ago my daughter got into a (VERY) physically and emotionally abusive relationship. She ran to my home numerous times in beginning but kept going back to him. Finally, last yr., she contacted me and said she would never speak w/me again b/c her boyfriend won't allow it. I had taught her all those yrs. that you do not have to and should not ever tolerate abuse. But she still chose this.
She has kept in touch with her younger brother since she stopped speaking to me though.

Since she stopped speaking with me, my youngest has become much more distant also. When we do speak, he has nit-picked my parenting and personal choices and even belittling me for the fact that I have been very ill/disabled over the last 4 yrs. (It's auto-immune disorders etc. which my doctors say is caused by extreme prolonged physical and emotional stress. I've required 12 surgeries and am home-bound in severe pain)

A few times, when I was well enough to travel, I asked if I might be able to come and visit him. He said "No, I dont' think so, I'm working to much and can't take a vacation..." He also began making vague comments to the effect that I was lacking in partenting skill and was "nobody" (HIS WORDS) He criticized me for being "So thin and pale now" etc.

Last month, he informed me that HE HAS CONTACTED HIS FATHER BY PHONE AND INVITED HIM TO COME VISIT HIM FOR A WEEK. I was utterly shocked and didn't know how to respond exactly. I asked him what his reasons were and he said b/c his aunt (my ex-sister in law) told him his father is no longer on drugs and has changed his life around. I just advised him to "Be very careful. I don't wan't to see you hurt."

His father was there for a week. My son called me after he left. Said what a great time they had together and is planning to go visit him and his aunt soon. Then he said, "But, Mom, he does NOT want to have any contact with YOU at all! He hates you BECAUSE OF ALL THAT YOU'VE DONE TO HIM" (WHAT?!) I said, "What I have done to HIM?! What are you talking about?" He ten said, "Never mind, I shouldn't have brought it up". I said, "No, I'd like to know what it si he thinks I ever did to HIM". He then said, "A lot of things, but I don't want to talk about it."

I had been asking for pics of him (of my son) for nearly ayear and never got any even though he has a camera and takes pics all the time and posts them on DeviantArt. Never of himself thoug, just scenery. Then he advised me that if I wanted to see it, he has a pic OF HIS ESTRANGED ABUSIVE FATHER on his web page. I looked at it and it is entitled "MY DAD". Like he's so proud of his father, almost as if he never did any of those things and they and this wonderful relationship all along. Is my pic on there? No. He also gave his father many pics of himself.



    Bookmark   September 25, 2007 at 10:09PM
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GloryGirl, I can't offer much help but I can tell you two things:

For some reason, many of us who were in abusive relationships and who have daughters find those daughters end up in similar relationships. It has happened to me.

Also, in many, many cases of divorce a "child" who estranges him/herself from the parent who raised him/her, will form an alliance with the "weaker" of the two parents. That, too, has happened to me.

Why does this happen? I don't know and if anybody does have any input, I'd sure love to hear it.

None of this is any help to you, but as you know from reading this thread, you are not alone.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2007 at 7:28AM
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Good reply njtea. I have another take on it.

I honestly believe that many of the children written about on this forum are mentally unstable and in need of therapy.

Glorygirl's son seems to have some love for a man who did nothing for him. This seems to be a form of self hatred in that he is aligning himself with someone who is not worthy of his love and turning his back on the mother who raised and loved him. He wants to be trated badly.

In my son's case, he has turned his back on us in favor of a girl who treats him like trash, looks for other men on the net while engaged and who told people that she has no real love for him. I think it is a mental illness involving self hatred. These kids have such poor self esteem that they gravitate towards people who will treat them like dirt to support their feeling that they are indeed worthless. It happens with people who marry abusive people. They have asuch a bad opinion of themselves that they look for means of reinforcing their perceived worthlessness. In the process, they have to abandon those who love them because they do not feel worthy of love. When they get abused and mistreated, it makes them feel that their perception that they are useless is correct.

I feel for you GloryGirl. We are all in the same boat with slight tweaks in each situation. It hurts and we all feel you and our pain. I wish you well.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2007 at 2:10PM
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I agree, Lostmama, that many of these children do have some form of emotional or psychological problem that needs help.

In my case, my daughter has ADD. She had therapy when she was a young teen, but her self-esteem is still very low. Her husband found her an easy target and she felt she was needed. She'd been in a couple of abusive relationships before she got married, but this guy is smooth and as someone in another forum someplace on this site said about some abusive men, his abuse was initially very subtle and then began to escalate and became more overt.

It's upsetting as I tried so hard to build her up as she was growing up. I was brought up being told that nothing I ever did was right and I wanted so very much to raise my kids with some level of self-esteem. But it's hard to do when you allow yourself to remain in an abusive relationship and put the ADD on top of that - I didn't stand much of a chance of raising her with any amount of self-esteem.

The psychologist I consulted after the final break told me that if even half of what I'd told him about my daughter, our relationship and her family life was correct, she was in big trouble and needed therapy, as she was either depressed and/or suffered from deep anxiety. Unfortunately, I don't think she's had much, if any.

We just have to keep hoping that time will open their eyes and they will extricate themselves from these relationships because NOTHING we say will make any impact on them.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2007 at 6:52PM
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I think if family "leave" you something, you just got lucky, as it is nowhere "written" in the stars that they must. My parents had nothing to give me or my siblings so it seems rather silly that others feel their parents are obligated to shower them with their leftovers from years of hard work and savings. Just my opinion.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2007 at 9:59PM
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I also feel there is something mentally or emotionally wrong. My daughter has always been tender hearted and cried easily, yet she is very hard hearted towards me, her father, and her brother. Doesn't make sense. She had a good childhood, was not abused, had every opportunity. Does not make sense. I know she has low self esteem and seems very co dependent on her husband. Her hubby is a tyrant and is ALWAYS right. I know he yells a lot but is not physically abusive.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2007 at 10:51PM
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Thank you njtea, lostmama and sniffles07 for your input and support.

njtea, in your next post you seem to blame it on yourself. I want you to know I grew up in a (very) "dysfunctional" family and there was abuse of many forms. From what what little you've shared already, I can tell that you were a much better mother to your daughter than I ever knew or hoped for. Don't let that man, or anyone indicate to you that it was in any way your fault. We all make our own decisions. I could've (and "should've" based on theory) messed my kids up horribly for life. I could've neglected and abused them or whatever. But I didn't. Neither did you! Sounds to me like things "just weren't perfect" or there was some problems which is usual.

I think that (in general, though there are exceptions) we all can and do make our own decisions regardless of our childhood experiences. Oftentimes, it is the abuse and/or hardships people experience in childhood that causes us to rise up and be so much better people and parents than our own ever were. We learn from their mistakes.

On the other hand, it can go the opposite; Kids who were raised in a healthy environment just simply choose to go out and live like the proverbial "Prodigal" in the pig-pen while we suffer and put off our live's b/c of the grief while waiting for them to turn back from their ways.

We are the Prodigals' grieving mothers. (I'm sure there are fathers as well) As Chloemichelle said-"The person I loved is gone someone else has taken over their body". I can so much related to that. Even beyond that... I re-live and cherish the memories of being pregnant whith them, cuddling, playing, first day of school etc. etc. And now it's like, "What happened?!". For me, it's been so sudden, unexpected and traumatic that I feel sometimes like it's almost PTSD.

I feel a need to mention I have *NO* psychiatric diagnosis. I went to several professionals to check b/c I never felt like this in my life and it worried me. Also nothing like that in my family history. But, as I'm sure some of you know- This truly can be so heart-wrenching it feels as if you're "losing it". The Psych's told me that it "Is a normal grieving response to an abnormal and shocking situation".

lostmama, I wish I had the kind of insight you do with the psych stuff. There could be some truth to that self-hatred theory but it's been hard for me to see that as the behaviors SEEM diabolical. I mean here's this kid that's such a high-achiever and he flaunts his talents, intelligence and annual income. I'd never thought he might have LOW self-esteem and especially self-HATRED. But what you say does make sense. I realize that he may also be using these gifts and acheivements to boast, not out of pride (as I am of him) but perhaps to cover up for or redeem his low self-esteem/self-hatred underneath.

God Bless you all.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2007 at 8:01PM
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I feel so sad for all of you with grown children problems. My heart goes out to you. I too have issues mainly with a daughter-in-law and her mother but I know that I have to bite the bullet and make it all work because my son will be the one to suffer if I don't. As a typical mother-in-law, I believe my daughter-in-law is to blame for alot but I also know my son is not perfect either. As mad as I get at my two grown sons at times, I realize that I have to be the strong one and bite my tongue because I am their mother and therefore I have to set a good example. Here is my sad story; I physically hit my daughter-in-law a month ago after her mother physically assaulted me. I was so stunned at her mother(with whom I have always been cordial with)I had a delayed reaction and took it out on my daughter-in-law because she automatically took her mother's side without hearing what her mother had done to me and to my son. I have never struck another human being in my life but this is what I was driven to. But I also did it because I was tired of 15 years of emotional abuse from my daughter-in-law and let's face it, from my son as well. Now I am seeing a therapist. I think all in our family have issues but I'm the only seeing the shrink to help control my anger but also help me learn to accept the woman that my son obviously loves very much. I have apologized to her several times but she doesn't accept it and won't talk to me. Strangely enough, she sent me a birthday present today signed, Love(all the family names). She thinks her mother did nothing wrong and I can't battle that. What started it all was that I caught her mother "dissing" my son in front of his kids and they were crying. I pulled her aside and quietly asked her not to that. She grabbed my arm and twisted it leaving a bruise. This is what initiated the rest of the fight. Now my son says he is not mad at anyone and he won't talk about it at all. He told me he loved me but I haven't heard from him since so who knows. The grandkids are upset like everyone else and I feel the holidays are ruined. But the holidays were ruined before this debacle. Spoiled kids, too many presents, too many people all talking at the same time and no one listening to anyone else. Too much family. Who needs it? Of course I will miss it when the time comes and I may not be there but why do I even care? If my son wants me there, I'll probably be there even with the "other" in-laws!

I guess my message here is no matter how much it takes and how much pain, we as parents have to go the extra mile. I will do that because of my love for my son. Believe me it won't be easy and I will have to swallow my pride.

Is it George Carlin's joke about children? 15 minutes of pleasure for 50 years of pain!

I hope that all of us with hurting hearts will feel some sense of hope that things will get better. It is always darkest before the dawn. We have to help ourselves though too. My love to all of you.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2007 at 5:44PM
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Happy Birthday Kalliebear
I wish you lots of love and joy in the next year of your life. I hope that your problems are reolved. As for holidays- mine will be lonely but my husband and I plan a trip to Las Vegas that will cover Christmas. Thanksgiving- who knows what we will do.
It is true that mothers should try and go the extra mile- but it is very hard when you do not even get met one inch into the mile.
Have a good day!

    Bookmark   October 2, 2007 at 7:26PM
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Kallie, the first time I was estranged from my daughter, I went to counselling. I was so depressed it wasn't funny. My daughter told me once that she went 1 time but the counsellor told her there wasn't anything wrong with her so she didn't need to come back. I don't believe a reputable counsellor would say that. How could they know what issues she has from 1 visit?
On the bright grandkids got to call me this weekend. They talked and talked. I told them all I loved them and to remember they were ALWAYS welcome. What brought this call on? Is it because my daughter is just hearing silence from us? Is this making her think that maybe we've given up on her? Hard to say...any ideas?

    Bookmark   October 2, 2007 at 9:43PM
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My son and granddaughter did call last night to wish me happy birthday. I was so happy I cried. My daughter-in-law didn't get on the phone so I don't think she is ready to forgive and forget and I'm not so sure I am either. My son is such a quiet person I never know what he is thinking. I probably won't hear from him now until the holidays. Then I'll start thinking again about how mad I got at his wife and feel guilty. I think therapy would help them but if I have learned one thing, it is that you can't force anyone else to change. You have to change yourself. I also think that if we have raised our children in a somewhat stable environment with love, that they will return to that mode of stability eventually. When I read about people whose kids have turned nasty in their teen years and 20's after being nice loving children I can relate. My boys were like that but for the most part they have become caring loving adults, working hard and getting on with their lives. It took them a while and it has taken alot of patience on my part. I think daughters are more conditioned to show their emotions.

If I am ever able to repair the relationship with my daughter-in-law we are going to have to change the way we do things in the family. I want to show my love to the grandchildren but they are growing up and it is really up to their parents to raise them, not me. My husband and I have ours lives to live too. I think we need to distance ourselves a little bit more. Let's face it, little children are fun to be around(then they grow up,ugh!).It's their parents who are the pain in the you know what! In the end, we need to do what is good for us. I can't live the rest of my life with these feelings of depression and sadness so maybe the shrink will help to some degree but I am also aware that I have to help myself.

I'm really not qualified to comment on your own situation (and I haven't seen all your notes)but I think your daughter is upset by everything, loves you and wants her childen to be cherished by you. I think this is what my daughter-in-law wants too. We will get there somehow.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2007 at 9:32AM
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I had to look for an old bank statement tonight and came across an envelope full of my son's baby pictures, school papers up to his college application.
The drawer even contained photos of his dorm room when we dropped him off to be able to look at it as he was so far away. I loved him so much and still do.

I found all sorts of award letters and certifications that I had saved as I was so proud of him. I alwways did everything I could to encourage him and make sure that his life was easier than mine was. My parents never gave me 1/10 of the praise, help and encouragement I gave him on a daily basis. I was involved and interested every step of the way. He was my life for the past 24 years. And now he cannot even talk to me.

I know in my heart that I was a good mother and that I did everything I could for him. Why does he hate us so much???

I am having such a hard time dealing with this- it has turned into a constant thought.

I had a dream last night that he was badly burned in Afghastan of all places- he is not in the military and certainly would not be over there. I woke up all upset amd I think I am losing my mind.

Sorry for being so negative. This is the worst thing that has ever happened to me. I have lost my son and I do not know what to do. I cannot even think of what I did to make him hate me so much as to not even call or let us know how he is.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2007 at 8:30PM
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Sniffles, I think distancing yourself is the best thing you could have done. Look at the other side of the coin. I saw a lot of my grandchildren, not as a baby sitter but as "the grandma with the toy box". LOL One or two of them came almost every week end to spend the night. When they were sick they came to stay with us instead of being home alone. We were very close, but when they became adults, We didn't see them anymore unless they happened to be visiting their parents when we were. When their grandfather was in the hospital very ill, they didn't visit. The last 4 years of his life we didn't see them at all. I don't waste anytime worrying about it or calling them. I just go on with my life

    Bookmark   October 3, 2007 at 11:35PM
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I always felt that if I lost a child by death I would have to have another one so that I could love that child in place of the one I lost. I think we need to have that person to love especially if we have been a mother. Many of the Columbine parents adopted children after their childen were brutally murdered. Your child hasn't died but you probably feel like that is what happened. Could you somehow give that love to another person, child or maybe even a pet and move on?

I like to think that we can lead by example. If you move on and accept what has happened perhaps your son will see that and return at some point. Don't live the rest of your life in abject misery. There is someone who needs the love you probably have to give and you know the saying "Tis far better to give then receive". I sometimes doubt the wisdom of that but down deep I know it's true and I'm not a religious person.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2007 at 1:00PM
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I have 3 cats and am feeding and about to adopt a 4th. My cats give me love and affection that surpasses that of my son. I also have started to go and feed a feral cat community. I also know of and often visit 2 children who lost their mother to liver disease 4 years ago. I bring them things, talk with them and try to make their lives a little better. They seem to love me more than my son. Funny, these 2 kids know my son and know how I raised him. They are both so amazed by how this turned out. The girl, who is 16 wants to contact my son via e mail to tell him how he has broken everyone's heart. The boy who is 11 simply cannot understand it as he actually admired and emulated my son when he lived here. Your advice is good- and I will continue my work with my cat and kid adoptees.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2007 at 4:06PM
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What a fascinating thread. I am a woman who has been disinherited by my father. I have been married for 21 years, have a 12 and 14 year old. My mother died 10 years ago. My father was always self-centered, my mother catered to him. He did not always treat her very well, even as he took the meals she doled out and let her do all the housework. My sisters and I were raised to believe that no matter how parents behave, you have to respect and love them. Like it says in the Bible. I did that for a really long time. Our entire family made excuses for Dad's inability to be anywhere on time, keep promises, his utter insensitivity, his cruelty, for his failure to take part in family-oriented activities.

I hosted many Thanksgivings, had holiday parties, and when he was here at my home, pampered him with delicious meals and attention. My children were taught to always welcome grampa warmly, sat on his lap, kissed and hugged him. He was treated as a V.I.P, which is what he expects. But he never helped with my kids (I always had to have paid babysitters) or offered to carry a single dish to the sink. I could be really sick -- this actually happened -- and he would still show up and want to know what there was to eat. The one ocassion I really needed help -- my best friend of 21 years Dad died and I had no one to watch the kids so I could go the funeral -- Dad said he couldn't help me out. He just had other 'stuff' to do that day.

Once he took up with dating, he brought women to my house for dinner. He viewed it as a cheap date! He would show up to see my kids for 15 - 20 minute visits, leaving them feeling somewhat abandoned when he left. The visits were always scheduled on 'off' hours like after school, to never inconvenience the women in his life or interfere with his dating life. Never mind that after school hours were the worst for me. He'd come, bring a toy, then split, leaving me to sooth the upset children.

Eventually, I started questioning this so-called relationship. With the help of a great counselor I saw how messed up things were. I started realizing I had to set some boundaries. Hoping to establish something better, I stood up for myself once. JUST ONCE! And that's all it took to set him off. He told me that if I didn't march to his tune, he was cutting me off. He said he'd given me money in the past (this was money left to him by my Mom basically) and tallied up all the material things he'd given us (a used car that needed $4k worth of repairs, a clothes dryer he had sitting in a storage unit) He called me names no child should ever be called and blamed me for every one of our family's problems. I was deeply wounded. Several weeks later, he sent me a check and said it was a token of his esteem. I was shocked. How could I accept a penny from him after he'd crucified me and said I owed him love and respect because of gifts he'd given? I felt he was trying to buy me back.

I feel awful about this, but the things he called me and said to me can not be erased in my mind. I know there is no future for us as father and daughter. When he told me he would never speak to me or see me again, and that as far as he was concerned I was dead, he effectively killed us. Oh, you want to know why? Because I cancelled a lunch date at a TGI Friday because he didn't confirm that he was going to meet me there until the day before, and by then I'd made other plans. In the past, I'd have totally rearranged my schedule to please him.

It is terribly sad. I don't see why the children should suffer, so I organized a trip to a museum for them. It was extremely uncomfortable. I cannot look the man in the face. Dad has remarried now. People think of him as a really nice guy. He has friends. He goes out and does things. When he tells his friends -- if he reveals it -- that we are estranged, I bet they all wonder how such a great guy can have such a crummy daughter.

I wish things were different. Turning the cheek this time would mean that once again, he'd not have any accountability for his behavior. And we'd be back to the old pattern or me doing everything and him waiting for everything to be done for him. In his presence, I am basically an object. Fortunately, I have been helped alot by a wonderful counselor, but I grieve every day. Not just for this present breach but for the years I spent trying to be a perfect daughter in the hopes that it would turn him into a perfect father.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2007 at 4:27AM
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Judithm, I pray that some day he will see the wasted time he could have been spending with his daughter and grandkids, and change before it is too late. I see that every day, but the story is the other way around. My daughter doesn't want us, and her tryanical husband will not allow us to see the grandkids, even though it's hurting the kids. We've been good parents, not perfect. Sounds like you have been a good daughter, maybe too good. Best of luck.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2007 at 2:38PM
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Judithm, I'm so sorry that your father has the way he is and as I read your story I felt sorry for your mother also. What a horrible life she must have led with this man. Unfortunately, it sounds as if he might never come to his senses. It's an all too familiar story: a man leads one life at home and puts on another face to the community

    Bookmark   October 13, 2007 at 3:39PM
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Life is too short for head games - I will not put up with it from any one including relatives. Your father just sounds like he was spoiled his whole life, by probably first, his mom and then yours.

NOT by you, thank goodness... the madness has to stop somewhere and you must draw the line at what is acceptable to YOU and your family. Good luck!

    Bookmark   October 15, 2007 at 10:14AM
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I am sorry not to write more about my own circumstance of being estranged today. But being estranged by my now 41 year old daughter for 12 years is an experience that I have spent a tremendous amount of time and emotional energy on. It has been painful but the pain is not as bad as in the first years.

One thing that I did to cope after six years was to set up an informational website on the topic and then later a blog. I get an occasional question from visitors looking for a discussion group on this topic. I have directed them to other places in the past but there are few and they have limitations, such as the limitation here of 150 comments. So I've offered to set one or more private groups up for online discussion if there are enough people who ask me to do that.

So I just wanted to let you know of that option. Also, if anyone here sets up a discussion group on estrangement and would like it to be linked on my site or blog, please let me know. I'd be happy to do that.


    Bookmark   October 18, 2007 at 2:27PM
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I've been estranged from my 18 yr old daughter for 16 months. We were never apart. After Divorce she tried to control & abuse me (like dada) she went to jail for 4 days (not a great place for an honor student.) Then, she wanted daddy well since then they have played me for stuff she wants, I've sent at least 50 emails no repsonse to any, now I hear she is terrified of me? Please advise, I'm ready
to let go, but cant seem to. She's very young.


    Bookmark   October 28, 2007 at 8:09PM
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Please click on your "clip this post" for the post you wrote on August 26th. I tried to write to you but I see that I did not post it correctly. I am "new" to this site. I will check back to see if you were able to read my post. Thanks!

    Bookmark   November 6, 2007 at 1:01AM
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My brother stopped speaking to our parents five years ago. As his older sister by four years (I am 60), I am technically an outsider regarding their estrangement, but an insider in that I understand both sides of the issue. What I have to say is not a criticism of either the parents or the adult child. As they say, "Just the facts, maam."

My Parents Side

My parents did their best at raising us. They loved us as much as they were able to, but their love was and is always conditional. My mother is a narcissist who only talks about herself and cannot empathize with how someone else is feelings. She is critical and extremely selfish. When my brother and sister-in-law were in the early stages of their relationship (theyve been married 35 years now), my mother disliked my sister-in-law and let me brother know it. My sister-in-law is a very wonderful person.

My father was rarely home. Although he was extremely disappointed when I, a girl, was born, he finally got his son. My brother could never please my father. My father called him "stupid" and "dumb" from the time he was a small child. He rarely went to my brothers Little League games, but when he did, he told my brother that he would never be any good at anything.

Yet, when my brother became a drug addict for 20 years, my parents paid $15,000 for special rehabilitation. They paid for the down-payment on their first house. We had a family business, and my brother enjoyed vacations, a car and car insurance, medical insurance, and much more at no cost to him. When my sister-in-law got leukemia and had to go to a special hospital out of town (she survived the transplant 13 years ago and is healthy now), my parents paid for an apartment so my brother could be near her, and when she got out of the hospital, she had to stay in the apartment for two more months to be near the medical facility
As I said earlier, they did their best.

My Brothers Side

My brother did his best at being a good son. He was respectful and honored our parents until he became serious with his future wife. He never got into serious trouble but was rather spoiled in the sense that very little was expected of him regarding household chores or mowing the lawn. He worked in the family business after his marriage, but after seven years of internalized anger, he, his wife, and two small daughters left for Alaska without telling anyone. Somehow, he and my parents made some sort of peace and my parents visited in Alaska a few times. Finally, my brother and his family returned home, and went to work, again, at the family business. But my parents behavior never changed in that whatever they did for him (his drug problem, for instance), they always threw it back in his face whenever they felt he wasnt fulfilling their expectations. Finally, five years ago, a situation occurred that severed their relationship completely.

How I See It

My parents nor my brother are people who will take responsibility for their own actions; therefore, my parents completely blame my brother for the estrangement, and my brother completely blames my parents. My parents are old-fashioned and believe that they have done nothing to deserve this. My brother feels that they have never understood him and more importantly, that they dont love him.

Ive read many parents remarks on this site asking, "What did I do wrong?" If you really want to know, you can find out. It is very, very difficult to listen to criticism without becoming defensive, but unless you do, nothing will change. You can actually tell your child that you want to know exactly how she or he feels and that you will not become overtly defensive or angry. You must promise to JUST LISTEN and take responsibility for what is true. Even though we parents never mean to hurt our children, we do, and that is when, after the child has unloaded years of anger, we say, sincerely, from the bottom of our hearts, "Im so sorry Ive hurt you."

Adult children need to understand that, regardless of how much you were hurt, your parents DID do their best. You need to realize that your parents were once children, young adults, and new parents who are only people and not gods. You must take responsibility for your own actions simply because you ARE adults and continuing to blame your parents does not allow for healthy psychological growth. You must also JUST LISTEN to how your parents are feeling without becoming overtly defensive or angry. After your parents have unloaded years of their own anger and hurt, you say, sincerely, from the bottom of your heart, "Im so sorry Ive hurt you."

The problem is that pride and fear stop parents and children to reconcile through self-honesty. After all, if both parties blame each other, whos going to go first? "Well," says one mother, "Ill show her. I took her out of my will." Hey," says her son, "if my mother thinks Im going to kiss her ass, forget it."

So the poison of anger and hurt runs through our minds and bodies day after day, year after year. Dont lay on your death bed regretting that you never tried. Its too late then.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2007 at 2:50AM
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Pinapina, yours was a wonderful post and so true. There are many of us parents who have accepted responsibility for our role in the estrangement and realized how our children were hurt by our actions, but to no avail as our children cannot see that they have done any wrong and have nothing for which to apologize.

Your sentence: "You must take responsibility for your own actions simply because you ARE adults and continuing to blame your parents does not allow for healthy psychological growth." I believe this wholeheartedly. So many of our children are deluding themselves, however, by believing that they are going to lead wonderful lives now that their parents are out of it. Little do they know that NOT resolving family issues will impact them AND their children until the end of their lives.

There is one website where the moderator advises that if parents apologize profusely for their mistakes and and forgive their children for the estrangement, all will be fine. The moderator, a professional, does not seem to realize that reconciliation is a two-way street.

Unfortunately, it often takes the wisdom of age to see that apologies and forgiveness are due from both sides and often, by the time our children have achieved that wisdom, it is too late and they and their offspring have lost so much.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2007 at 7:42AM
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Unless you have ever been in the's hard to understand what goes on and the gambit of emotions involved. Parents apologizing and taking the blame for everything doesn't fix things. Maybe in a rare case, and then it's probably an underlying current, all through the relationship. It's not always all the parent's fault. The adult children play a big part. Unfortunately, a lot of the time, the spouse or gf/bf of the adult child play a big part in it. Diryboysdad, you are right...a lot of the time the adult child realizes too late.....

    Bookmark   December 13, 2007 at 10:00PM
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pinapina, When I was a kid and my parents fought, I thought I knew what they could do so that everything would be okay and they'd get along. Of course, they never did what I thought that they should do and they never did get along and finally they divorced. And my ideas on what would fix things wouldn't have worked. The problems were more serious. And they weren't good at being married. They wouldn't have been good at being married to anyone. It wasn't their "fault" and it wasn't my fault. It wasn't anyone's fault.

pinapina, I am sorry that your brother and parents are estranged. It's a painful condition to be near and to know both sides. Your approach reminds me of mine when I was much younger. The temptation is to say, "If only you . . ." and finish with suggestions for civilized behavior on everyone's part.

You mention that your mother is a narcissist. I am assuming you mean that she is more narcissistic than the average. Right there that means that there is a thousand pound gorilla in the room that is difficult to ignore and hard to make go away with some nice apologies given by all concerned. Not that this is all her fault. She may be a relatively well behaved narcissist.

For some of us as parents or as grown children there are other thousand pound gorillas that do not go away no matter whether others in the room have apologized, would apologize, or would be happy to reconcile without any apology. Thousand pound gorillas like alcoholism, drug addiction, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, NPD, BPD, and on and on.

All of the reconciliations that have occurred that I know of have happened when the person who estranged him or herself had a change of heart and decided to end the estrangement on their own, generally out of the blue with little or no warning to anyone. They just end it and reconciliation occurs.

It's funny but when a woman is in a relationship with an abusive husband and stays, she is called a battered wife. Or if not battered but emotionally abused, people still know that she is doing something bad for herself. When a parent is in a relationship where they are being abused by their child and then they are out of the relationship, people see that kind of situation as so different from that of a woman or husband abused by their spouse. After an abusive marriage, people wouldn't see that getting back together would make sense unless the people had changed and there would be no more abuse. In an abusive relationship between blood related relatives, why would it be any different?

Yes, we miss the people that we love. But would it make sense to apologize to someone who is abusive and to end the estrangement if abuse were to continue? It wouldn't matter which role someone had in a relationship, whether parent or grown child. If someone is being abused by another person, then it makes sense for them to be apart until the abuser has changed and can stop being abusive. Or can take part in a relationship in a healthy manner rather than an unhealthy one. Sometimes a separation is necessary while someone takes some time to grow up.

And sometimes the gorilla in the room is SO big that there is nothing anyone can do. Like my parents who never could get along. And it's not anyone's fault and it can't be resolved. And it is sad.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2007 at 10:45PM
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So glad I found this sight. I'm not the only one going thru this! Divorce after 22 years. I left(4 yrs ago) a verbally and emotionally abusive husband who was on meth. My kids 18 and 21 still have little to do with me. They blame me for hurting there "dad" by leaving. He portrays himself the "pitiful" victim. They eventually chose to live with him because of the freedom and money that teenagers want. I (the disciplinarian) couldn't compete. I raised them while he was a work-a-holic. Now he's not working and needs them to comfort him. While I took the high road, he has brainwashed them. I can't believe this is happening. Any advice out there?

    Bookmark   December 18, 2007 at 4:12PM
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linnie, Elements of your story sound familiar. My ex didn't use meth but he did see himself as a victim when I left. That was 23 years ago.

As for advice, first I want to congratulate you for taking the high road. That can be hard to do. I thought I took the high road but looking back, I realize that I'd have done better to say a lot less to my daughter, even though I thought I was commiserating with her, about her father. I did take the high road in trying to be fair and in keeping my promises. But I was angry at him. I did lose my temper at him in a letter. He hasn't talked to me since I sent that letter. Which would be fine with me but that made it impossible to be a united front as parents, even if no longer married to each other.

I consider that estrangement between my ex and I as a contributing factor in the later estrangement from my daughter. Then later she estranged herself from her father and her stepmother.

She has a mental health condition that may be involved in all this too. But it would have been better if I had expressed less of my anger about my ex to my daughter and if I had restrained myself from losing my temper at him. (Even though I still feel a sense of satisfaction at telling him what I thought of him!)

So my advice is to lose your temper only in front of trusted friends with whom you can vent. What is happening is unfair but if you continue to stick to the high road, your determination may pay off. Your kids may have a change of heart and decide to see you as the fair person that you are.


    Bookmark   December 18, 2007 at 10:18PM
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I am recently estranged from my 26 year old son. It happened last summer after what was supposed to be a wonderful family trip to Hawaii. We invited my oldest son and his wife to come along with us, all expenses paid. We had been fortunate to have free air travel due to mileage. To make a long story short, are daughter in law has never liked us. Almost as soon as I met her I told my husband that she was very comfortable with us (i.e. lack of respect!) As soon as they were engaged I started hearing about things I had done that 'hurt her badly," from my son. This went on up to the wedding, with me continually apologizing and making amends for crimes I didn't commit. My husband told my son at the wedding that we really wanted his wife to call us Mom and Dad now, not by our first names which she had been given permission to address us by (reluctantly.) Since we had so much turmoil in the 1 1/2 that they were engaged, we thought it best to stay out of their lives as much as possible so that perhaps she would feel more secure and comfortable with us. We wanted them to know we weren't going to be interfering. We stuck by our guns, but continually were insulted by the way she conducts herself with us at get togethers. She acts bored, doesn't join in on the conversation, and is generally awful to be around. My son never seemed to notice her behavior, or if he did he ignored it out of his feelings for her. I should say also that my son had very little experience with dating, and no other serious relationship before he met this girl. I should also say that I believe she mislead him as to what her values were so that she would measure up to what he wanted, just so that he would marry her. A year before our trip to Hawaii we decided to invite them with us and our youngest son. I made it clear to my son that I didn't want to know an answer from him so that if they didn't want to go we wouldn't assume it was she who decided it. I also made it clear straight away that we wanted this to be a family vacation, i.e. do things together most of the time. My son had no problem with that, yet as the time drew nearer I kept getting odd phone calls questioning how much time I meant by most. From the minute they showed up at our door at 7am the morning of the trip I knew it was not going to be good. Most people on their way for 10 days expenses paid to Hawaii would be so excited and in a good mood, right? Not my DIL, she looked like she'd rather be doing anything else. She didn't talk to us in the car, on the plane, etc. Thankfully my husband and I sat together and the three of them sat together. My two sons conversed most of the trip, but my DIL did her own thing and tried to sleep. Hawaii was a nightmare. From the start of getting there they were off on their own. We'd have dinner together and she wouldn't join in and acted bored to tears. When we did spend time together she and my son would be off by themselves, while the three of us walked alone. Finally near the end of the trip it came to a boiling point. My husband took my sons out for a beer and confronted my son about his wife's behavior. My son admitted he had noticed her being quiet. Apparently my son came back and talked to his wife about it since by the next morning she had locked him out of the condo bedroom. My son was beside himself, so my husband managed to get his wife out of their bedroom and outside to talk. My husband is very good at calming emotional situations as he does this quite often in his job. Though he talked to her, she just claimed that she has the type of personality where she'd rather listen. Of course this didn't jive with a few experiences we had in Hawaii where we joined up with friends of my son and DIL that happened to be there. When we were with their friends she was the life of the party, talking, laughing and carrying on. Still my husband talked with her, explained how we were feeling, lsitened to her side and came back to the condo with her announcing to us all that she didn't mean anything by her behavior, that she is just introspective! We spent the last day in Maui with all of us together, but her behavior was just a bit better then it had been. Since my son and I had had words also over the tension, I'd say it was still tense when we got back home even though we had basically made up. The rest of the summer was discussing, arguing, and hearing what we are sure was an out and out lie for her behavior on our trip. She didn't tell my son about this until she was confronted, and my son wouldn't tell me anything other than they had got bad news while in Hawaii. Finally after me pressing him for the bad news by stating we were worried (which we were,) he told me that his wife had thought she had a miscarriage. I asked if she was late, if they were trying, why did she think she had a miscarriage? He told me no to all my questions, and stated she thought she saw something. If she had been pregnant and had lost the baby at two weeks there certainly wouldn't be any evidence she could see. Still, we couldn't accuse her of lying to our son. Also, even though she had a cell phone that would allow her to call the states for a local rate, it never occured to her to call her dr., her mom, or talk to me. She was 'too embarassed' to talk to me because she is so afraid of having a miscarriage because allegedly her mother had several. To think my son fell for this line is absolutely amazing, but then it was ingenuis since most men wouldn't have a clue. It wasn't until she was home that she found out from 'someone' that she didn't miscarry. This was according to my son. Now if that someone had been a dr., I'm sure she would have stated dr., not someone. After her escapade in Hawaii we told our son she could no longer address us by our first names, that we wanted her to call us Mr. & Mrs. as before due to her obvious lack of respect for us. We didn't state the respect part to our son as the reason though. She refused to do so, causing so much anguish for our son. Mind you my son has been seeing a therapist since they got married, and is on medication. His wife however doesn't go to therapy or take meds that we know of. After a tumultuous fall, it reached the breaking point one night when he called with a list of 'issues' he had with us. This is a son who we used to have a wonderful relationship with, and all of a sudden we had wronged him. After a raging arguement at their condo where my son wouldn't let us in his apartment to discuss things, threatened to call the police, and finally had me reacting emotionally by calling my DIL a b*@ch. This was followed by my son calling me a F'ing b*@ch. I was crushed. The next few days were hell, and by day three I emailed my DIL and apologized for my emotional outburst. I put a return receipton the email and copied my son in so that I would know they both saw my apology. She never opened it. My son finally opened it 3 or 4 days after I sent it, but not reply, nothing. I was so angry that even after my apology that he didn't react that I wrote a three page letter listing all the things that had gone on in the past 3.5 years and also a few jabs. It was an email which is all to easy to write and send off before you have time to let everything you said sink in. I'll never send an angry email again, from now on it gets saved as a draft and given some time to think about. Still, even though my email was very blunt, my husband and younger son said I was right in what I had said. I probably could have left out a few remarks that were very sarcastic though, and I'm sure that even though what I said was true that it still hurt my son. Since that time I have only text messaged my son to let him know that I love him and that he is always welcome back. He did return my text with a very short 'thanks' and that he loved me to. He's never called. We didn't see them for Thanksgiving, and only saw them a week after turkey day because my sister in law had a party for her daughter who turned 30. They came and did come in and greet my husband and I, but I know it was a charade since the whole family was basically watching. They never talked to us again that night. My husband wouldn't even stand up to hug my son, though he did embrace him somewhat. My husband also acted as if he didn't see my son's wife to avoid greeting her at all. I did however give a hug to both my son and his wife. Later we all went bowling and were on two different teams. It is a big family so we had about 10 peoples on each team. We never spoke during that time, but when we left I did say goodbye to his wife and hugged my son and told him I loved him. He has never said he is sorry to me for his outburst, and it hurts me so much. I realize now that my son was never the person I thought he was. My younger son has helped me see how selfish he always was, and that though my DIL may be evil, she just helps feed his already immature personality that doesn't seem to be able to be natural. It's as if the two of them are play acting. Everyone thinks they are so special with all the kind things they do for the family, yet who are they the least kind too, us! Their relationship is a facade. They both drink too much, and are both very much 'me' people. They don't speak about important things, and though at one time my son seemed to think family was of the greatest importance, he now seems to not care at all. I don't know if he even loves us or not. I am devastated, and every day seems like I have more weird stress and anxiety symptoms to deal with. I could never have imagined this happening in a million years. We did nothing but bend over backwards for 3 years to please his girlfriend and wife. We wanted to like her because she was so important to him. We would have done almost anything to make things work, but Hawaii was the final straw. If we didn't have my younger son with us I doubt anyone would really believe us that it could have been that bad. Without us ever saying a word to my younger son, the first night when we went out to dinner and my son and his wife split off from us we got a mouthful from the younger brother. Our son came outside by us and told angrily told us that he had never met anyone like his brother's wife. He told us she was ungrateful, and he couldn't understand how she just couldn't pretend to like us. I think I might be insane if it weren't for the fact that a 23 year old see's through her, even if my 26 year old can't. I just don't know how I'm going to survive this. I jsut want to move on and leave him behind. No child who treats his parent's this way deserves to be in their lives. Every day I say I'm moving on, but it is like slow motion and all sorts of things trigger angry emotional feelings. It is so surreal.

I know I went overboard writing this message, so please forgive me. I'll take any support, advice that anyone can give. I don't know how i"m going to live out the rest of my days without him, yet I don't want him if he is going to be this cold to us.


    Bookmark   December 20, 2007 at 4:03AM
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Anniebel, your son is married to a controller and until he decides he's had enough of her, there is, unfortunately, nothing you can do. Look up "injustice collectors" and Sichel on the web - what you read won't make things better but it might help you to understand a bit.

Take it from a pro, the more you criticize the DIL, the more your son will defend her. Just be glad you don't have grandchildren.

Even at 26 your son is still young - it's said males now don't reach full maturity until they are 30 - just give him time. Text him once in a while and tell him you love him and are available for him. When he finds the strength to overcome this woman, he will return to the fold.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2007 at 4:56PM
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Thanks njtea, I looked so forward to hearing from someone. I pretty much guessed it about her control issues going back to when they were dating and engaged. Before he married I finally reached a point where I was asking him why he was doubting my intentions so much. I told him that he knows me, and that I'm not the type of person his girl was trying to portray me and my husband as being.

The sad thing about grand kids is, is that I think they'll be planning to start a family next fall. I feel that when that happens she'll have him for good. I don't have much if any faith he'll come back to us.

I will look up what you suggested. I can use anything that helps me understand more then I do right now. I've read many books on narcism, emotional black mail, controlling people, etc. In Hawaii when I was desperate for some answers, I got on my internet that I luckily have on my phone, and did a search for personality problems. In place of problems, it came up with personality disorders. There are many disorders so I started reading through them. When I came to the NPD (narcistic personality disorder) I nearly died. It matches her so well I couldn't believe it. All the way down to how she behaves so bored and dis-interested when she is out with us.

I made the mistake when emotions were high of asking my son if he could keep something in confidence between he and I. When he said yes, I took him at his word and told him to look into the NPD and see if anything about it hits home with someone close to him. It wasn't until some time after that that I learned my son has never kept anything from his wife that we've said. He doesn't believe in keeping a secret even if it means his wife won't like us should he tell her. As far as I was concerned this was and is a medical problem that she and he needs to understand. However, all he saw it as was me trying to say she has a mental problem. It was definitely a terrible move on my part. I told him only out of desperation, but I should have known better.

I have heard as you have that kids in general are not reaching what is considered adulthood until the age of 30. Many kids in their mid to upper twenties are still rebelling!

I don't know. This generation is so different with their thought process. I think we have given far too much to them and expected far too little in return.

I'll let you know what I think of the items to look up.


    Bookmark   December 21, 2007 at 4:56AM
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Anniebal, if you've read about emotional blackmailers and controllers, then you already know what a search for "injustice collectors" will find for you.

My SIL is a controller and while I think my daughter, to whom I've not spoken in over two years, knows it, she has not yet developed the wherewithal to leave him - and it's because of the kids, whom I've also not seen in over two years. His controlling personality didn't really show itself until after she had her first child and then he "sprung the trap."

    Bookmark   December 21, 2007 at 7:29AM
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Anniebal, Before the estrangement from my daughter began twelve years ago, she was the touchiest when it came to anything that I said about her husband. Things that were said with the most positive of intentions, that were not meant to be critical, were taken as though I had said them with the worst of intentions and as though I disliked him. The mildest things were taken as horrible. You'd think that he was so fragile that he was made out of wet tissue paper from the way that she reacted.

For example, they came to visit us once. (The one and only visit by both of them to see us.) Before they left, I insisted on giving them $50 because they had no money on them for their drive home 350 miles. My giving them money was later brought up to me as a bad thing. As though I was implying that they were irresponsible.

During that visit, my SIL came down with a cold. He was miserable and coughing, sneezing, complaining and carrying on. He insisted on us all going everywhere together. He would not go to bed and get some rest. At a later date, after the visit, I suggested to my daughter that he might have gotten some rest rather than try to stay with us at all times. She took that as meaning that I didn't appreciate him at all and that I disliked him.

Other things were brought up to me later. I had said during the argument that brought everything to a head that if I visited them, that I couldn't eat certain foods because I have high cholesterol. My SIL took that as meaning that I EXPECTED him to cook for me. Hardly! Prior to that happening, he had approached cooking as something he particularly liked to do and that if we didn't allow him to cook for us, he would be hurt. But he liked to cook foods that were rich. So my mention that I couldn't eat some things was taken as a further insult to him and also a demand on my part. Which it was not.

After the estrangement began and when I heard from my daughter two years ago, she accused me of ignoring his having had surgery when he was in the hospital in 1996. This despite the fact that she had NOT TOLD ME ABOUT HIS SURGERy in 1996 and that at that time she was refusing to talk to me. So I'm expected to know things from 350 miles away that no one told me about? And if I don't know these things, I am demonized?

It becomes a "can't win" situation. There is nothing in some cases that you can do or say that is right in their eyes. Nothing!

If you do manage to have a relationship with anyone who is like this, I think you have to become expert at walking on eggshells and being a phony and biting your tongue until it bleeds. It certainly can't be an honest and real relationship.

I think in this kind of situation, if someone recognizes it for what it is before an estrangement begins and wants to remain on speaking terms, you have to bite your tongue and stay silent and pay no attention to the things that you don't like. Or be cut off.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2007 at 10:01AM
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What you say is so much like what we have experienced I feel like you had stolen my story! Our first real dispute came just after he got engaged. I had asked my son if they were sending out a Christmas card, and he said no. Though they weren't living together since her parent's wouldn't approve, they were together in his condo quite often. My son told me that they were not sending a card that he knew of. I asked if it would be ok for me to send a cute picture along with my card of the two of them that was taken by the mom of my now DIL who just happened to be downtown the day he was proposing to her. My son was all for this and said of course it would be alright. I then asked him one more time if that would be a problem and he said no, that they had talked and they weren't sending anything out. So, when I had my picture card made up for us, I had their picture made into a 4 x 6 card also but put the inscription on it stating something like their first names, the day & year they were engaged, & either Happy holidays or Merry Christmas. I'm not even sure I stated the last part, it was just so my family and friends would know he was engaged and have a picture of the girl he had chosen. I stuck it in behind my card in the envelope. I was shocked shortly after I had sent out the cards when my son called me to ask why I sent a card out for them? I or course defended myself stating that it was just a picture basically announcing their engagement to my friends and that it wasn't meant to be a card for them. My son continued to tell me that it was 'technically' a card (which I couldn't argue) and that they wanted to send a 'holiday' card but now couldn't! I reminded him of how he told me he wasn't going to send a card, but he stated they had changed their minds. I asked him if he was sending cards to my list, and he said yes! As if he was going to send to my list, other then a few relatives on each side. I told him he could still send his holiday cards. I was so offended that I told him I had to get off the phone. My husband tried talking to him telling him that he (my son) knew his mom better then that and that when I do things it is only from my heart not interfering or meddling. I think I did tell him that I was sorry he felt the way he did. Later he called me to attempt to talk. I had to call my DIL and apologize only to hear her condescending remark of "just don't let it happen again!" Who did she think she was talking to?!!

When I started seeing a therapist this last summer, she told me that no matter what I do (or we do) that they will find fault and that there will always be an issue. Truer words were never spoken. Everything I say is turned around to mean something else just as you described. The similarity is too much to believe, but of course I do believe you.

That is why after we had made up with my son a few months ago agreeing to let them have anything they want to be happy, and he returned it by calling a short time after with a list of 'issues' that my husband and I had caused in his life, that we finally said enough is enough. We have extended one olive branch after the other only to have it thrown back in our faces. There is no pleasing them or their wharped thinking. I did look up the guy Sichel and the 'injustice collectors,' and realize that they will just keep expecting people to live up to what they perceive to be high ethics and moral high ground until they are alone and bitter.

This is also why my husband and I have decided no more. They are getting nothing more then a card from us this year, which they have yet to reciprocate. No gifts, no phone calls. The most I will do is as njtea suggested, a text message letting him know I love him every so often. We are not apologzing again. They can either accept us for who we are, or we will not be part of their lives including any grand kids. At this point I don't even have a desire to be part of any grand kids lives since god only knows what they will convince them of thinking.

I ordered Sichel's book just to hopefully help me through this depressing, stressful event in my life that I could never have forseen happening.

Thanks for any and all the advice the members of this site are giving me. It helps so much to know I'm not alone, that perhaps we weren't awful parents, and that it is them not me.


    Bookmark   December 21, 2007 at 12:59PM
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annibal, I don't know if you knew about the segment on the Today Show on NBC this morning. I was disappointed that they didn't go into the subject in more depth but then it's good that it is mentioned at all. Here's a link to the Today Show page that references today's show and the video link.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2007 at 1:42PM
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Thanks for sending the link imaginny. You know I read his book and I have to say that I thought he had unrealistic advice for parent's. One of the things he states is that one should never criticize your kids, never offer advice either. Now this sounds great and even correct, however it just isn't realistic. I didn't go around criticizing my kids, I tried to be a very positive parent. But I know there were moments when I may have said they they could have done something differently, and I don't know how one gets around that. That may be a mild form of criticism, but it is still criticism. I'm not sure how what type of criticism he meant, and I don't believe he elbaborated. As far as not giving advice, WOW that's a biggie! Isn't it natural to say "why don't you try it this way, it works for me." That is offering advice, but it's not telling them what to do, they still have the choice obviously. Another thing this guy plays down is that kids don't need to respect today's parents as did older generations. I'm sorry, I don't agree with that at all. If there is anything that is lacking today it is this feeling that our kids have of us being their peers. I like to be addressed as Mrs., and being told thank you and your welcome. Today's generation is all about themselves, and if we don't live up to their expectations then we don't see them. What happened to kids reaching an age where they realize that as parents we are not perfect, but that they love us anyway? This astounds me since I grew up with a mother who became mentally ill when I was age 8, and my husbands parents were both alcoholics until we were nearly on our 2nd child. Neither one of us ever stopped loving our parents, or seeing them. We may have been more select about what time of day we visited my husbands parents due to their drinking, but we still saw them regularly. Was I supposed to grow up and be angry that my mother wasn't there for me? Doesn't that sound like what today's kids would feel justified saying?


    Bookmark   December 21, 2007 at 5:36PM
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Is there anyone still active in this forum? I feel like I found home, but everyone moved away!

    Bookmark   June 17, 2011 at 12:39AM
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    Bookmark   June 20, 2011 at 2:03AM
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