Living with a Broken Heart: Are You Estranged from Your Child?

Posted October 11, 2012 by

Photo of tina-wakefield

“You can live with a broken heart, and you can die with one, but it’s terrible to have to do both.”

–Quote from an estranged parent

I’ve witnessed and have been affected by a parent-child relationship dissolving within my own family. There have also been many stories shared with our 1-on-1 Coaching Team by parents going through either complete estrangement from a child, or dealing with a child who is distancing themselves from the family.  If you’re in this situation now, whether or not you were aware of or suspected problems in the relationship, when cut off you were probably faced with a tremendous amount of pain, shame, and guilt.  Unfortunately, like many other parenting scenarios, parents are often under fierce scrutiny and are the target of judgment by the general public when this happens.  Let’s be honest, some people might assume that parental estrangement has happened as a result of neglect or abuse by the parent.  There is no denying that this accounts for some of these situations, but I know from my own experiences that it doesn’t cover all of them.

Why would an adult child sever ties with his or her parents? There are different events and situations that can create conflict in families, some subtle and some more obvious, that serve as a strong undercurrent in the family dynamic—reasons like  substance abuse, divorce, disagreements about boyfriends/girlfriends/spouses, and personality differences are all common struggles in the parent-child relationship. There are many different events and situations that can trigger this devastating decision.  Even though it may seem unfathomable, an adult child has clear reasons in their mind why they may choose to discontinue communication with a parent.  Whatever the cause may be, it’s normal to feel a deep sense of loss and to evaluate all the possible reasons where you could have gone wrong.  The excruciating part for many parents is the not knowing; they are often left completely in the dark as to why their child has chosen to end the relationship.  Ultimately, the child may feel that the relationship carries more hardship than benefit.

It’s important to recognize that each member of the family will have a very different perspective on what’s it’s like to be part of that family.  James Lehman talks a lot about how certain parenting styles work with some kids and not others; what makes parenting so tricky is that you may have the perspective that you acted out of love and respect, but the way your child experienced it may be a very different reality. Simply said, even though you can do something with good intentions, it may not be seen that way by the person on the receiving end of the action.

Parents are left to their own devices to figure out how to cope with and accept a child’s decision to break off the relationship, because it’s not easy to openly discuss the fact that you have no contact with your child.  One of the most significant issues you may be confronted with is the powerlessness and feeling of permanency concerning your child’s decision.  Parents in this position struggle with whether or not to keep trying to reach out, and if so, what to say — or how long to try.

Here are three steps I would recommend you take:

1. Be consistent in your message. There are many questions that surface for parents who are trying to figure out what comes next.  It takes courage to keep trying to reach out to a child when there doesn’t seem to be any opening to mend the relationship.  Pain and anger are powerful emotions and it takes a lot of persistence and hard work to repair and rebuild relationships that are steeped in these emotions.  Sending a consistent message that you wish to heal the relationship can convey a strong sense of commitment to moving forward. Depending on the situation, you might email or leave a voice mail message every so often and say, “I love you and I’m always here for you. I want to talk when you’re ready.” Another option that may feel less invasive for the adult child is to receive an “amends letter” from the parent—this is something that you can ask for help with from a therapist or support group.

2. Be prepared to own your mistakes. On your end, I think it’s important to be prepared to listen and make an effort to not only understand what your child has experienced, but to own instances where you may have been in the wrong.  You may not be able to identify with everything your child decides to share, but try to find something that you can agree with that does reflect something that you see in yourself.  There are two sides involved in the relationship bringing their own resistance to change. You may struggle with hearing how you have disappointed or hurt your grown child, while your child may get overly invested in hanging onto the anger they have because it feels good to keep blaming someone when you feel wronged by them.

3. Get support for you.  I want to urge any parent who may be going through this right now to get support for themselves—seeking out counseling or a grief therapy group can be a great avenue for a parent to work through the devastation of being cut off. The first step toward healing is recognizing how troubling and painful it is when a child walks out of your life.  Through talking with others, you’ll find people who are in the same shoes, find ways to cope and even enjoy your life — and you might even arrive at a point of genuine hope that there’s a possibility of reconnection with your adult child.

About

As a 1-on-1 Coach, Tina Wakefield coached parents on techniques from the Total Transformation, as well as Empowering Parents' other programs, for over 8 years. Tina is also a mother and stepmother.

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  1. abbegirl Report

    Anyone know of any blogs for parents of adult children? I thought that’s what this was for, but it looks like it has changed to something else. It’s now about parents of teenagers/younger children.  I need advice and understanding from people going through the same thing as me, parents with adult/older children. I’m not trying to be mean, but that’s what brought me to this site originally.

    Reply
    • Guest Commentator Report

      abbegirl I have said this before on this thread, there is a site on http://www.dailystrength.org .. two places where parents of estranged kids, adult kids, go for advice & support.  One is PEACE – Parents of Estranged Adult Children Everywhere, and the other one is PWWA – Parents Who Walked Away.  Can find either just by googling them.  I have been on both for 3+ years and this small but valuable site too.  All three have been excellent.  Good luck.

      Reply
        • June Betty Report

          So good to hear of these sites. I have just had my 48 year old son cut off ties with me suddenly. He is married for the fourth time to a very strong woman. He is a functioning alcoholic. Two years ago I built an addition to my home. I am 75 years old still working full time. I shared with them everything I had and built the addition to their liking. Did this happily as he never owned a home before and the plan was that I would help them purchase it and that the little apt I added would be my retirement home. She is a very moody person and one could not know if she would speak to you or not. She declared that this would be an alcohol free home -she is a nurse- to help him with his addiction problems. Did not happen and now she drinks with him. Sold them the house in January. I bought a little house for an investment and tax write off and she announced that this is where I should live. Last month I came home from work and she had locks changed. All my clothes and my dogs were inside. The next day my friends rented a truck and moved me to little house. No neither will respond to calls or texts. Except that he suddenly sent me one text that he loved me. Told I could sue but would never do that. Just completely shocked and sick. Evidently she got what she wanted and he participated. Always a close relationship with him. Lost his dad 20 years ago. I have always helped him and my grandchildren. What do I do now and how can I live with this?

          Reply
          • rwolfenden Report

            June Betty 
            I’m so sorry to hear about what has happened with your son,
            and I’m glad that you are here reaching out for support.  As you can see
            from the other comments here, you are not alone in your experiences. 
            Something that we emphasize to parents in your position is that it can be
            helpful to focus on where you have control, which is over yourself and your own
            actions.  Making sure that you are getting the support you need, and are
            taking care of yourself, is going to be very beneficial to you as you continue
            to move forward.  You can contact the http://www.211.org/ at 1-800-273-6222 for information about local resources in your
            community, such as counselors and support groups.  There are also some
            online supports noted here in the comments that other parents have found
            useful.  I recognize how difficult this must be for you right now, and I
            wish you all the best.  Take care.

            Reply
    • tctiptop Report

      I have precisely this same situation. I am only now waking up to this phenomenon taking place with my adult children, 40 and 25. I am so glad to learn that I am not alone in realizing the empty nest was abrupt, and quite harsh. I was not allowed to experience it slower than the speed of light. This is why I sought out support as well. I am to blame for it all. They had a rotten family life, lived in poverty and were raised by an uneducated single mom. What could be worse? Not finding this site, for one thing! Thank you everyone!

      Reply
    • ehanson Report

      abbegirl  I would be happy to talk to you as my problem is with an adult daughter but sadly I have no answers.

      Reply
    • Empowering Parents Coach drowden Report

      abbegirl 
      Thank you for writing in. Empowering Parents strives to
      create a community where parents of any aged children can feel supported, as we
      believe it is never too late to become a more empowered parent. We have
      articles that focus on http://www.empoweringparents.com/category-Younger-Children.php, http://www.empoweringparents.com/category-Adolescent-And-Teen-Behavior.php,
      as well as http://www.empoweringparents.com/category-Adult-Children.php. If you are looking for supports specifically focused on parental
      estrangement, you can find some resources listed in previous comments. You may
      have to scroll back through more than a few comments as this is a common
      challenge parents face. It could also be helpful to contact the http://www.211.org/ at 1-800-273-6222 to find out if
      there are any support groups for estranged parents in your community. Good luck
      to you in your search. Take care.

      Reply
  2. Single Mom Report

    I’m a single mother . My son is 15 and we’ve been fighting for over a year now. I work third shift and its difficult for me to be completely present. He doesn’t help around the house and anytime I ask him to do anything it turns into an argument. He disagrees with me on everything and we don’t communicate. He never wants to tell me anything because I’ve always wanted to fix his problems not just listen like he wants me to. I had him young and I don’t feel like I ever formed that bond with him like other mothers have. I feel horrible about my feelings, Words I say when we fight and the consent promise to change that I don’t live up to. He feels unloved and I don’t know how to change. I love him so much in my heart but it’s hard to express that when the daily pressures, failing grades, and consent disagreements take over our life. I’m 10 months sober but feel like my old selfish self is still in control. He is spending the rest of the summer with my parents and he has told me that he is completely done. He doesn’t want to see me. I’m working on myself praying for a real change this time while praying that he will forgive me. I’m afraid that he won’t come around.

    Reply
    • smserwin Report

      @Single Mom Congratulations on 10 months of sobriety! You should be very proud. I was in a similar situation with my eldest daughter, and I can tell you that there IS hope for you and your son. It has taken about 3 years for she and I to get back to somewhat normal (who is ever completely normal, right? ha). One of the things I’ve learned from this whole experience is that actions speak louder than words. I know it sounds simple, but instead of telling your son you’ve changed (or will change), take a deep breath and relax and be the mom you know you can be. Even though my daughter continued to say and do some hurtful things, I had to remind myself that I was the adult, and she was the child. I also admitted that I was/is a highly emotional person who was prone to mouthing off, so I learned to counteract that by saying “Behave” and “Hold your tongue”out loud to MYSELF before I would see or talk to her. I, too, said some things that I wish I could take back; and at some point I vowed that I would never intentionally say anything ugly ever again to her — and I haven’t.  Remember, too, that he is a teenager. From a psychological perspective, he isn’t anywhere close to being fully developed, right? So, it’s wise to not expect him to respond to you like an adult. For example, the words “I forgive you” will most likely not come out of his mouth for some time, maybe even years; but that doesn’t mean his heart won’t soften toward you or that he’ll say to himself, “She really is trying.”  I hope that makes sense. Keep your chin up, keep praying, and use this time that he’s away to recharge. If you’re attending AA meetings, keep going. If not, then GO!  🙂 Take care.

      Reply
  3. Maria Report

    IT DOES HURT, MY WILL BE 20 IN OCTOBER AFTER HE GRADUATED AND STARTED driving he totally changed like I’m no longer he’s mom.  It hurts

    Reply
  4. mastik8 Report

    My parents were spare-the-rod, I’m-your-parent-not-your-friend types. I’m sure they loved me but….now that I’m grown up and have kids I cannot think of a more distancing approach to parenting. In order to estrange from someone there has to be something to estrange from and my parents never allowed that to develop. A call once or twice a year, rarely a card. You can’t miss something you never had – it was only when I discovered site like these that I realized what was wrong.

    Reply
    • maren stone Report

      mastik8 Do have your parents contact with the grandchildren at all?
      Good for you, you could learn from their mistakes. I recently watched a show on TV. A drug addict, who was abandoned by her father and he came back to her after twenty years, was desperate to be loved by the father who abandoned her when she was a small child. Love and care mean nothing, I assume. Would my daughter respect me if I had abandoned or neglected her?

      http://www.empoweringparents.com/Your-Child-is-not-Your-Friend.php

      Reply
  5. TammyK Report

    After months of knowing I needed double lung and double pulmonary artery transplants, today I find out at age of 41 suffering from a trampoline accident, I also need a new heart.
    Beginning, I am a child abuse survivor, I thought I had been a survivor since being a teenager, but recently I was forced to open my eyes and realize that All these years, even after two college kids and a set of 14 year old triplets and a diviorce 2 years ago, when the college boys cur off all ties to me due to my addictions and affairs that I realize now I was using as crutches to forget and blame. The triplets live with their father 3 hours away while I am traveling seeking advanced treatment for the transplants. I have apologized almost daily, I have admitted and owned each of my mistakes, sought forgiveness from God and them. However, some strong force is not letting them run back to my open arms. Im in counseling and will stay there. Today after finding out about my heart, my life rushed before my eyes, I seen them from the day of burping them to the day they waljed out of my life. Today as I am faced with medical decisons, Im trying to resort to begging because there’s no reason to go on and use precious organs if the new heart they put inside of me will just end up broken again! From a parent with every thing to lose I ask for ur advice! Thank you in advance!

    Reply
    • Empowering Parents Coach drowden Report

      @TammyK
      I am so sorry to hear you are facing these hardships. I can
      only imagine how heartbreaking it is to be separated from your children at such
      a difficult time. As you can see from the number of comments, you are not alone
      in your distress. Sometimes a child does make the choice to cut off all contact
      with his/her parent and a parent is left wondering what can be done to heal the
      rift. There is no magic way of re-establishing your relationship with your
      children since no one can make another person do something s/he doesn’t want to
      do. From what you have written, it sounds like you have been reaching out to
      your children. This is something you can continue to do as it may be useful for
      them to know that you are still available to them. You can’t control the
      outcome, however, and they may continue to choose not to have any contact with
      you. For that reason, it is going to be beneficial to find ways of taking care
      of yourself when you start to feel despair over your situation. There may be a
      support group in your area that focuses on estranged parents. You could contact
      the http://www.211.org/ at 1-800-273-6222
      for information on that.  There are also a few online support networks as
      well that other parents have found to be very helpful as there are other
      parents who can understand exactly what you are going through. At this point,
      focusing on taking care of yourself and doing what you need to do is probably
      going to be the most important. Hang in there. I can hear how hard all of this
      is for you.  Be sure to check back and let us know how things are going.
      Take care.

      Reply
  6. Ggirl79 Report

    Our daughter will not speak to us.  We have made mistakes and I have attempted to apologize for anything she found offensive or misunderstood.  We supported her getting married, paid for 90 percent of the wedding.  The next month they moved into our home, rent free, after living with his family paying 500 per month.  We decided to relocate and her father offered her to live in our home until she finished college.  I have to admit I was against this, but he wanted it so they lived in the home.  She redecorated IE: painted with paint we already purchased.  When we were going to move they told us they didn’t have any money to change the utilities into their name. So for the next 3 years we paid the electric bill and covered any issues with the house.  In 2012 her spouse went to the UK to make a movie.  It was for experience and he would be gone for 3 months.  Within the first week she was calling everyday.  We flew her to see family across country, she was sending homes for sale and wanted to move to where we lived.  In August 2012 she asked why the house wasn’t up for sale, stating she was positive about the move we put it up for sale.  It sold in less than a month.  We closed and drove all their belonging across country.  We paid for everything.  The reason I keep saying this is she keeps saying we didn’t Support her and her decisions.  We have done everything in our power to help her, no matter how ridiculously obnoxious they have been.  Well the were living with us for less than a month.  He told me off, again! And stated I would never see her again and the only way I could ever speak to her was by phone.  He changed their numbers, blocked our phone numbers.  We have spoken a few times, it seems when things are good she ignores us.  Whenever there is distress, she calls for comfort and support.  I haven’t had a mothers day call or card in years.  She refused to take a call from her father when a family friend passed.  She had the receptionist tell us “sorry for your loss”  she’s busy.  I am distressed and depressed. We have lost most of our family and friends over a short time.  (illness, car accidents).  How do I reconnect with our daughter.  Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

    Reply
    • Empowering Parents Coach drowden Report

      Ggirl79
      I am sorry you are having to deal with such a difficult
      issue. As you can see from the number of comments on this article, you’re not
      alone in your distress. It can be tough to recognize that, as an adult, your
      daughter can make the choice to limit her interactions with you. There really
      isn’t anything you can do to change her mind per se. This doesn’t mean you
      can’t do anything however. It may be helpful to continue reaching out to your
      daughter, by phone, e-mails, social media, what have you. She may make the
      choice not to respond but you are still doing what you can to keep the lines of
      communication open. It can also be helpful to recognize that your daughter’s
      choice to cut ties probably isn’t related to anything you have or haven’t done.
      It’s more about her and where she’s at right now, as Debbie Pincus explains in
      her article http://www.empoweringparents.com/estranged-adult-child.php#ixzz3c2EQpj1T. I realize that may offer little
      comfort to you in the present circumstance. It may be helpful to find ways you
      can take care of yourself. Self care is an often overlooked part of being an
      effective parent. Meeting friends for coffee or doing an activity you enjoy are
      some things you can do. You might also consider more structured support in the
      form of a support group for estranged parents or a counselor. Many people find
      it helpful to have someone they can talk to about the heartache they are
      facing. Other members of the Empowering Parents community have suggested online
      groups. You can find reference to those groups in previous comments. I hope you
      and your family are able to move past this tough situation. I hope you will
      continue to check in to let us knowhow
      things are going. You’re in our thoughts.

      Reply
  7. forgottenmother Report

    I feel the same about things, I wonder if my daughter ever does come back, can I accept her?  After all the hurt she has purposely inflicted, I am not sure I can just smile and say it’s ok now.  I will try, but I’m human and can only stand so much hurt.

    Reply
  8. Empowering Parents Coach drowden Report

    @Pebbles5163
    I can understand your heartache. I can only imagine how
    distressing it must be for someone you have loved and nurtured to turn her back
    on you as an adult. It sounds like it has certainly taken quite a toll on you,
    mentally and emotionally. It is concerning that you have times when you’re not
    sure whether or not you wish to carry on with your life. We all have times when
    life becomes difficult, unbearable even. When a situation becomes so unbearable
    that a person is unsure of her ability to go on, it may be an indication that
    outside help could be of benefit. Many people in similar circumstances find
    having someone they can talk to quite valuable, especially someone who is also
    able to help develop ways of working through the hurt and turmoil. I encourage
    you to look into community resources, such as support groups, counseling
    services, and other types of assistance. The 221 Helpline would be able to give
    you information on local supports. You can reach the Helpline 24 hours a day by
    calling 1-800-273-6222 or by visiting http://www.211.org/.
    I hope you will consider reaching out to others in your community for any needed
    support through such a trying time. Be sure to check back and let us know how
    things are going. Take care.

    Reply
  9. Pebbles5163 Report

    To Jilteddad,
    I am so sorry you are going thru the same thing I am. I am sure this was conspired as well. I keep re-reading what you wrote and it at least makes me smile. Because I know at some point it will backfire…..Then the question remains..She took the pleasure of her wedding, first grandbaby on the way, I was thrown aside like an old shoe she did not want or need. How will I react when the time does come. All the hurt and sadness she has put me through, for absolutely no reason. Will I accept her?

    Thank you again..

    Reply
  10. JShriver Report

    Thank you hhanson9999.  I can only imagine how confusing that must have been for everyone involved.  It is great to hear the family was so supportive, too often we hear of them not being accepting.  And that is really all you can do is support him now.  I am sure he is going through a lot trying to find himself and how to live as the person he wants to be. I can’t imagine it is an easy transition and it may be hard to accept support if there is a lot of negativity coming from elsewhere for him.  Time is sometimes all that is needed.  Let him go and find himself and hopefully he can find that he can be himself and become happy again which will hopefully bring him back home to the people that have always loved him.

    Reply
  11. JShriver Report

    It is amazing how much a heart can endure, how many times it can break and keep on beating.  I am in constant awe of the strength in our hearts.  I, too, look at baby clothes at the store as I have a nephew I do not have the pleasure of getting to know at this point in time.  I also feel for my two girls as they have an aunt that does not want to know them and a grandmother that they will no longer get the chance to know.  They deserve that extended family but, it is not to be.  I don’t know what it is that makes people’s feelings towards others and to the world as a whole change so drastically like that.  But I do believe sometimes we have to let go to hope for someone to come back around, sometimes they just need the separation for whatever reason and letting go is the only way we can let them do what they need in order to come back to us.  If and until they do come around, it is important to realize that family is not just blood.  We must embrace the people that want to be there with us.

    Reply
  12. Pebbles5163 Report

    JShriver,
    Thank you so much for those words of wisdom. My heart is so broken by this, but I know I must go on.  Every time I go to the store, I wind up looking at Girl baby clothes because I just found out she is having a girl. My first grandchild. My health has taken a great effect on this, but I am trying.  I just can not even believe she is my daughter anymore. Completely opposite of what I raised. She is totally heartless to only me. I will try to cope with the best I can, but I have never felt such hurt in my whole life….Thank you

    Reply
    • Laurenc686 Report

      Pebbles5163,
      sometimes adult children still don’t comprehend parenthood until AFTER they have their 1st child, which then they realize my child deserves grandparents.

      Reply
  13. JShriver Report

    Hi forgottenmother –

    I am sure there are those who have, I did not mean to sound as if none do.  My heart was breaking reading a lot of the posts because of how poorly parents were talking about their children and it hit a bit of a nerve with me.  I know my mom did say things about me, her best friend who I grew up with would not even speak to me at her funeral. 
    Kids are easily persuaded by their parents.  I know that from my parents divorce as well.  My dad tried to brainwash me.  He got to my sister but I was able to pull her back in.  We ended up losing all contact with him and I know my mom said things about him to make sure we definitely hated him as well, though most he did do for himself. 
    I can’t imagine how hard it must be for you going through all of that.  Kids need to feel they can trust someone and they don’t understand they are being used to get back at you – it’s hard for them to see it that way.  All I could say is show them how much you love them any chance you do get and hope that eventually they’ll be able to come around and see the truth.

    Reply
  14. forgottenmother Report

    Hi JShriver unfortunately many of us have tried repeatedly to contact children who refuse to have anything to do with us.  In my case I have called the house she lives in with her dad and she screamed at me to stop calling and leaving messages.  I write her emails that she has never responded to. I sent a gift over with a relative for Christmas and she refused to take it or look at it.  I have been totaly blocked from her life.  Her father was a bully to me and very verbally and emotionally abusive to me.  I had the strength to leave.  Now my children have been used as pawns in his quest to hurt me, and my daughter has bought into his stories whole heartedly.  I have not seen her in almost 2 years and she is only 15. I fear that there will be no reconciliation, as she has been brainwashed completely against me.  My ex is doing the same to my son who is only 11 and I can see how hurt and torn he is that he hears such awful things and he is confused.  How can the mother who seems to love him be such a terrible person who doesn’t care and only cares about partying and drinking and picking up strange men (?)  I have lost faith in praying for the only thing I ever wanted from my kids and that is love.

    Reply
  15. JShriver Report

    It is painful to read through these.  It is painful in a different way for me then most.  I am the daughter in the relationship.  My mother and I are estranged.  I have been searching for blogs and forums for the child in these situations and they are few and far between.  Maybe I am the rare breed that I feel I am the one that was hurt in the relationship so I don’t understand a lot of these things now. 
    My sudden need for these forums stems from the fact that my mother has recently passed.  All I wanted was reconciliation with her.  I tried many times.  I was always told I owed her this or that.  My sister is who told me the news.  My sister and I are estranged as well.  She still won’t talk to me.  I had hoped this tragedy would bring us closer together, at least.  No such luck. 
    I have never been able to figure out how a mother could not care about her child any longer, but I am seeing that it is possible through these forums.  I’ve seen many parents say they have given up because of how their adult children are acting.  I wonder now how my mom saw me.  I was coming to these forums to know their were people like me out there, but instead I’m feeling like well, I’m in quite a bit of disbelief.
    I have my own kids now.  They’re not quite to the point where they could estrange themselves from me, but I could not imagine them doing anything that would keep me from them, that would keep from trying to have a relationship from them.  It is beyond my imagination.
    After dealing with my mother’s loss and our estrangement and my sister’s inability to talk to me still and reading all these posts from parents, I wrote my story.  I wrote a book that I think needs to be shared with the world, with people who are estranged from their families.  For parents to maybe see it from the child’s point of view, for children to know that they’re not alone.  It is just an e-book on Amazon right now, but I would really like to share my whole story. 
    For all the parents out there, maybe it is time to talk to your kids and tell them your point of view and hear their point of view so you can try to come to an understanding and reconcile before there is no opportunity left to do so.  Living knowing something was left out there, unsaid, is not easy.

    Reply
    • KellysMom0818 Report

      JShriver  Dear JS,

      This is my first post.  I read here often but never write anything.  All the stories sound the same to me, broken hearts everywhere.  I just wanted to tell you that you sound like a wonderful person and I, as a mom, would be so proud to have you for a daughter.  I’m sure if your mom could speak to you one more time she would tell you that herself.  Sometimes we get so incredibly hurt in life, we shut down.  Shut others out, push them away.  Of course, I speak from experience.  One day I pushed so hard, she just didn’t come back.  I was so traumatized by her move, over 9 hours away (closer to her Dad), that everything felt so personal.  I’ve since sought out a lot of help, but by the time I realized it was my perspective that was wrong, it was too late.  My grandson was born in May.  I’ve only seen a few pictures.  He looks as sweet as his Mommy.  I had the best daughter in the world.  Single mom, we were so close and always had so much fun together.  There was no abuse, no name calling, no yelling and screaming, no substance abuse.  I didn’t even date.  I was just so happy being a mom.  Then one day, POOF.  It was like someone just knocked the stuffing out of me.  I went into the deepest, darkest grief/depression and I couldn’t get out of it.  This also angered my daughter (I just found out) because she feels very burdened that she’s an only child, I don’t have a partner, etc., so the GUILT she feels, that I put on her, has made her harbor a lot of resentment.  Sometimes I think, you’re kidding right?  You hate me because I love you?  Because I miss you?  Well, ok…….  There is rarely a day, a single day that goes by when I am not completely gutted with tears.  I am trying really hard to heal and move on.  I’ve apologized from my heart and soul.  I meditate, pray, volunteer with animal places.  I don’t call or write, but if she writes to me I keep it very positive and stay only on the subject(s) she wrote about.  She told me I make everything about me, so I’m careful not to talk about me.  It feels like someone died.  It feels like being a mom was just a dream…and I woke up.  The pain rips through my veins, it’s indescribable and I now isolate myself because being around other people just makes me cry and my family is basically on my daughter’s side (I’m not asking anyone to take sides, they just are).  So I am very quiet in my grief.  It’s so sad that a wonderful daughter like you only wanted your mom’s love and approval and I only want my daughter’s love and approval.  I think people are too quick to cut other’s out of their lives.  In the big picture, the reasons all seem ridiculous.  Family is everything and I think sometimes being right is more important than healing the relationship.  Sorry to ramble so much.  I really just wanted to tell you that I think you’re a wonderful daughter and I’m sure your mom loved you very much but for some reason, just wasn’t able to show it to you.

      Reply
      • JShriver Report

        KellysMom0818 JShriver 

        Thank you KellysMom, I appreciate those words very much.  I don’t understand anything, it seems.  I was struggling when my mom passed because that meant there was no more time.  I came looking for groups like this, but the opposite and these are what I came across.  I read these and just couldn’t understand.  I just wanted my mom.  Growing up, it was just her, my sister and me.  Just the three girls.  As I grew up, somehow my mom and I grew apart and my sister and her grew closer together and it seemed I was just taking up extra space.  When I got old enough, I finally decided I had to go.  I was the one that tried reaching out a handful of times after that just to be pushed aside again.  My sister still won’t talk to me.  She took over everything before I even got home when my mom passed and wouldn’t let me in on anything, have a say in any of the decisions, not even let me know what was going on unless I asked.  I was asking all the time for her to tell me what she wanted/needed me to do.  And all of a sudden, last week she texts me just to yell at me for not helping with anything and how she can’t believe she had to do it all on her own and I owe her and this and that.  I asked her what I owed her, what she needed from me one last time and she wouldn’t even respond to that.  I don’t know what I did.  I guess I’ll never figure it out now.  It is time to fully just put that part of my life behind me and look forward now.  Thank you again for the kind words.  I hope you and your daughter are able to find a common ground and reconcile soon.  Family is too important to let go so easily.

        Reply
    • Misanthrope Report

      Wow, so hard to convey everything in a “post.” I’m dealing with both scenarios, being I had no relationship with my mother after she threw me out 5 months after my father died. She never made an attempt at reconciliation, and I saw her essentially against my will when visiting my sister. Now that sisterly relationship is destroyed, due to the same mental illness that plagued my mother-plagues my sisters. My daughter is 23, recently married, and had a daughter 6 months ago. We have had a strong relationship for the most part, until her father comes into the picture. When she was 17, she wanted to move out and in with him, I really had no choice. She relayed many things about mine and his current relationship that was completely wrong. She was brainwashed, either by him or his new wife. After 6months of my pleading and asking for contact, she came back into my life. I told her I was in great pain and distress while she chose to ignore me, and I never got a straight answer about the situation. To be honest, I was just so relieved to have her back in my life, I didn’t press it. I have a fractured family, both parents are dead, and all my sisters are mentally ill, so I’ve had to cut them out of my life. My daughter is my only family. Just recently, after the death of her grandma, and the resurfacing of an absent father (3 years), she stopped talking to me. I have no explanation. He was battling and overcame prostate cancer, and the only reason they are now talking is due to her grandma. She wanted her son and granddaughter to have a relationship, I doubt she wanted it at the expense of hers and mine. Her father was no saint, abusive to her at times as well as his step son. She relayed things about him that upset her, and yet the “mistakes” I apparently have made are unforgivable(I know I made some), and he’s welcomed in, no questions asked. Recently I had a very emotional and mentally draining experience with the last sister I attempted to keep a relationship with, and my daughter is aware, and has chosen to cut me off. She and I both suffer from depression, and she disclosed to me she was having some problems after the baby. I have offered my support, and everything I possibly can. I moved away from her (350 miles) a little over a year ago, and then she found out she was pregnant. It was very difficult to be far away at that time. She was reconnecting with her father, and I supported this because she was so upset for so long having had no relationship. To me, it seems as if she has always placed her father on an unrealistic pedestal, forgiving.allowing, and wanting his approval. I was the primary parent, ensuring all those mundane and necessary things got done for my daughter. I paid for a car for her with my tax return, I allowed her and her then boyfriend (now husband) to live with me for a tiny bit of rent, helped them(paidfor) move numerous times, the list goes on. But I was cut out of the delivery of my granddaughter, since I was so far. I’m only useful when her father isn’t in the picture, and since I’ve always been strong (so it seems), I’m treated like a robot, to be utilized and done away with at the end of its usefulness. I cannot put into words how hurtful this is, how much I want to cry nearly every day because I don’t get any answers. I want and deserve the opportunity to discuss with her why she feels this is the correct choice. This is why I never wanted to be a parent. I haven’t given up on her, I never would, she could break my heart a thousand times and I would still look for that gleam of hope I would see her and my granddaughter.I just want the opportunity…

      Reply
    • CharleneLetendre Report

      JShriver  I so understand what you are talking about. I too am estranged from my mother and sister’s. have been struggling with ‘Should I try contact them again’ or ‘Am I ready to contact them again’??  I am married and have been for going on 35 years in July, we have 5 daughter’s and 11 grand children. It seems that my relationship with my mother changed after my younger sister started having kids, that is when I noticed it. My mother didn’t treat my kids right from the time they were quite young. Some of the things my kids told me in their early adult years sounded to me like abuse. I carry a lot of guilt about letting my kids go visit her for over nights and that when they were young considering what they told me was happening on those visits. My kids are all grown up now but they do not visit their Grandmother (my mom) and for the longest time I tried to forget and forgive and I was still visiting my mother even though the kids weren’t, and it just didn’t feel right. I stopped my relationship with my mother and sister last Fall, and my kids actually seem happier, as sad as it sounds, and I do miss mom and my sister, but I feel happier too because I don’t see or hear hurtful things from my sister on social media anymore, I have blocked her, and I will stick up for my kids now. I heard from my Grand son, who does go visit my mom, that mom has taken down one of my daughter’s pictures because she’s mad at my daughter. Mom is blaming my daughter because I have nothing to do with mom anymore. It isn’t my daughter’s fault. My mom doesn’t miss a heart beat saying hurtful things to my kids whenever she has the chance, and my daughter told me what she said and that was the last straw. That was the last time one of my kids visited her. Mom takes no responsibility at all for her behaviour or actions. I am convinced that mom never loved my kids and as a matter of fact, she told me one time years ago when she was mad at my husband and I, that she will only care for the kids and not my husband and I. To me she lied because she never did love my kids and if she doesn’t love my husband and I then that is something she will have to live with. Thank you for listening!! I do feel your pain very much.

      Reply
    • hhanson9999 Report

      JShriver  I am so sorry for your loss and your loss of closure.  All of us here have different types and levels of losses.  Mine is very different in that my daughter is now my son. He is transgender.  He was my only daughter – I now have 4 sons.  Although that in itself is a lot to deal with….but he has disconnected from our family completely.  He is only 18. He is depressed (as you can imagine) and lost.  My heart is broken….but not because of the transition – nobody should feel trapped inside themselves.  We are a supportive family – he is a very lucky kid….EVERYONE in his family, circle of friends, work – EVERYONE has accepted his transition.  All should be perfect, right? but it’s not.  Far from it.  He hates us…..and we don’t know why.  With every supportive word we provide him….it pushes him farther away.  I’m so scared for him.  I have lived in desperation for 2 years now.  But one thing that I am slowly coming to terms with, is that I can’t control anything or anyone but myself.  No matter how much I try to show him or tell him that he is loved and accepted….until HE is ready to allow those feelings into his heart…..I can’t do anything.  As a mother, I could NEVER imagine letting my child go…..EVER….I refuse to give up on him – but in order to cope and be there for my other 3 sons and my husband….I had to learn to let go.  It’s so hard.  But I will tell you this…….I ALWAYS wonder what he is thinking and feeling…..so I’m sure that many people would read your book to get a different perspective.  I often thought of writing my own story…..there are MANY chapters to this beautiful life that is mine.  I am just praying that the final chapter is a happy one – one that includes  my son coming home to me and hugs me the way she used to.  Blessings to you and your family.

      Reply
    • Empowering Parents Coach drowden Report

      JShriver We are so sorry for your loss. We appreciate you reaching out to Empowering Parents and sharing your story. We wish you the best of luck moving forward.

      Reply
  16. Paul Report

    I have a fifteen year old son. For the past two years I’ve had little to no contact with him. He’s had to endure living in a home where there has been a lot substance abuse, and domestic violence. I’ve seen him over the years slowly emotionally shut down. The mother has alienated me out of his life. I’ve tried so hard to show him I love him and he absolutely hates me. He blames me for a lot of things like forcing him into truancy court (which I did).  I’m so perplexed and heart broken over it. I just text him about once a week now just letting him know he’s on my mind and that I miss and love him. He’s said some very horrible things to me. I’m not really sure where to turn at this moment. The courts have never been on my side and have had a revolving door of domestic investigators to enforce visitation which has not really happened. I feel I’ve been a horrible parent but I just don’t see how.

    Reply
    • Laurenc686 Report

      Don’t give up. Ive been in his shoes and resentment is normal and one day his awareness will be different than his current way of thinking. Truancy court is his own fault and you only made him face his consequences. He needs a strong hand at reality bc substance abusers don’t face their responsibilities. Tell him he’s allowed to feel how he feels but that doesn’t make you not his father and you love him more than he wants to realize at the moment and that’s fine if that’s what he needs to get through this time. Tell him you’re sorry things are the way they are and you can only be responsible for your part not his mother’s part. Just let him know you are his rock.

      Reply
    • The Prodigal Lawyer Report

      @Paul  Continue to show your son unconditional love and make every effort to not condemn yourself for what appears to be failure. Children need structure and correction and he will appreciate you later for trying to protect him from hi immaturity.  I pray that you turn your heart to God and He will reveal a perfect plan.  Your child is still a very young man and capable of making great change in his life once he is open to healthier influences.  He may be rejecting you because he is rejecting himself. Pray for him and for healing of his mother. Don’t participate in the blame game.  Placing blame will never solve problems. Pray that your son begin to see himself as valuable.  In order to do that, he has to learn to forgive his parents and to see you both as two people who did the best you knew how.  He’ll get there quicker when he learns from you how to forgive and how to love others even when they hurt.  Whatever you do – don’t give up! It is your job to parent. The Courts can’t give you what God can – Peace and a good future with your son. If you have hope -You have everything you need.  Pray and believe that God wants only good for your family and He will show you how to do the rest. Blessings for the journey!

      Reply
    • JulieHorton Report

      @Paul Im sorry  for your pain Paul. Thats a tough age 15. I started losing my son at that age to pot, booze and who knows what else. And the Court has never been on the non custodial parents side. At this point in his life you just have to keep letting him know that you are there for him if and when he ever needs you. Eventually he will come around (mine did) dont you feel like his mother has poisioned his mind with horrible things to destroy your relationship? I wish parenting came with a step by step manual. I just had to accept the fact that I will not be able to have a relationship with my yyoungest or his children. Its not  my fault and thats how its going to be and oneday his children will hate him for this.

      Reply
      • The Prodigal Lawyer Report

        JulieHorton  Pray that your children and grandchildren will be united with you instead of thinking that they will hate.  I know it must be hard to think otherwise given your situation but you have tremendous power in your words, thoughts and actions! Never give up on your family and only think the best of them, even when they disappoint. You are awesome to encourage another!  Be Blessed!

        Reply
  17. Pebbles5163 Report

    I am a divorced mom of 4. My oldest and at the time closest daughter shut me out of her life suddenly with no reasoning. I have went over and over if I had done anything wrong and come up with no answers. The only thing that i can think of is she made a deal with the devil.(her father)..Her father left when she was very young. He is a very strict father with no emotions. He estranged his mother and has never looked back. He was re-married to Connie and his children always came second and Connie was the most important thing in the world to him. He was at times, mentally abusive and minor abuse was given to my children. He was high in the Police Department, so I had no control. He was married for 15 years and then suddenly divorced his wife and wanted a relationship with his kids who are now adults. My oldest accepted him with open arms and stopped contact with me completely. She got married and did not want me there, however I went to see her get married and when she came down the aisle with her dad and his NEW girlfriend, I felt like someone stabbed me. She did not even acknowledge I was there. I left shortly after the ceremony. She hugged her dads girlfriend and her new mother in law and did not give me the time of day. I could not believe it. I did NOTHING to deserve this.  I still texted her every once in a while to let her know I was thinking of her, but only got responded by a “leave me alone”.  2 months ago I found out she was pregnant with my first grandchild. I tried to communicate with her apologizing for whatever i did, still nothing.  We were very close. She entered me in all best mother of the year contests etc…I am heartbroken and have no one to talk to about it. My health is diminishing and i do not know what to do. She still has minimal communication with her siblings and includes them in most activities. I need guidance because I feel like I am losing it. I gave her the best of everything and was never harsh or mean at any time. I just do not understand…

    Reply
    • JulieHorton Report

      Pebbles5163 im sorry for your pain. It helps to talk about it even though none of us truly have any answers however we all share the same pain. Some days like Mothers Day was real bad for me. Lastyear he brought me flowers and a card that made me cry. I think this new girlfriend is really calling the shots and now theres a baby she really has him over a barrel. I really didnt like any of his girlfriends because none of them would clean or do laundry. My son works comes home to a freaking mess. They used to live in our rental so i know what it looked like. Im sure theybthoughtni was a mean landlord but i wnted my property free from bugs. They wouldnt take the trash out. I am ocd about some things and thats 1 of them. It stunk so bad in there, i went in cleaned their house, laundry, took out the trash and as you know i overstepped my boundaries. i will not apologize.

      Reply
      • MichelleLDickerson Report

        JulieHorton I understand your feelings about wanting things to be clean and not smelly – and also your frustration with your son’s girlfriend.  I believe I’m dealing with a similar problem (only it’s my son’s wife).  Everything was fine until he married her. He’s not communicated with me at all in almost 2.5 years and my heart has been beyond broken.  What I’m not able to understand is your unwillingness to apologize – especially if you realize that you ‘overstepped your boundaries.’  I want an opportunity to apologize to my son and would give my right arm and leg to have that chance.  I don’t know of anything I did, but I do want to be able to talk with him and find out what he believes I did – and to find a way to make it right.  They live in another state nearly 5 hours away, so it’s not like I can just drive over to their house.  I am so sorry that you’re dealing with this too – but I encourage you to initiate a conversation with your son and find out what he believes the problem is – and to work together to resolve it, if you are able.  If I were you and knew that I had overstepped my boundaries I would apologize the first opportunity I had.
        For everyone here: I’ve been much quieter here recently because I’m working hard at not dwelling on what is wrong, but seeking God and His mercy and trusting Him to handle this situation.  I believe that this is one of those things that only He can fix – and I do now believe that He’s working in my son to bring him back to me.  It may not be the timing that I would prefer but in God’s timing.  He knows me better than anyone else and knows what’s best for me.  My job is to trust Him with it – and do what is in front of me to do.

        I wish you, @JulieHorton, and everyone else here peace in all of this in addition to a speedy resolution.  God Bless us, every one.

        Reply
    • Empowering Parents Coach drowden Report

      Pebbles5163
      You’re not alone in your anguish. As you can see from the large
      number of comments on this blog, more than a few parents are struggling with
      situations very similar to your own. Unfortunately, your daughter doesn’t have
      to have any form of interaction with you if she doesn’t choose to. I know this
      can be painful to hear. Taking care of yourself is going to be a necessary
      aspect of moving forward. Many parents dealing with estrangement find support
      groups to be helpful, either in person or online. Other self help activities,
      such as taking time out of your day to talk with a close friend or to do an
      activity you enjoy, can also be beneficial. You may find the recent article by
      Debbie Pincus http://www.empoweringparents.com/estranged-adult-child.php#ixzz3ZxVrw65n helpful for deciding what your
      next steps will be. I am sorry you are having to face such distress and hope
      you will be able to find a way to cope with your daughter’s choices. Take care.

      Reply
  18. Chickneychick Report

    Can anyone explain why someone would not only become estranged from their parents but also their sibling as well.  I have two daughters who refuse to speak to me or their sister or brother.

    I can perhaps understand that people blame their parents for real and /or imagined slights but I do not understand why they would cut off their little sister also.

    Anyone have any reasoning behind this?

    Reply
    • lovebug Report

      Chickneychick My son has done the same thing.  His 14-year-old brother thought he hung the moon!  His grandparents, sister, aunt & cousin live two hours from him (we moved from there, Phx to Missouri in 2013) and he won’t go to see them. It will be a year this month that we got the text stating he request we no longer contact him; that it is complicated but certain. No abuse, no divorce, loving and supportive parents who have a wonderful marriage.  He often would tell us, ” I couldn’t ask for better parents.”  Last May he broke off his two-year engagement and moved out (they were together 5 years), a month later he sent us that text.  He now considers us to “t0xic”.  I frequently text him “I love you and miss you.” with no response. Though this pain is unbearable, we realize we have to continue living our lives and raising his brother.  What it comes down to is the fact that you cannot rationalize the irrational, which is where he is at right now.

      My hope is for reconciliation for all of us and healing of our broken hearts.

      Reply
    • Empowering Parents Coach drowden Report

      Chickneychick
      I am sorry you and your children are having to face your
      daughters’ separations from the family. Know that you are not alone in your
      distress. Many parents in your situation question what could have happened to
      cause their child to cease all contact and communication. It can be tough to
      know what the motivation is behind another person’s choices. Truthfully, only
      your daughters would be able to answer the question as to why they have chosen
      to distance themselves from you and other family members. Living with an absent
      child can be difficult to do. You may find Debbie Pincus’ article (on estranged
      children hyperlink) helpful to read. In it she offers some suggestions for ways
      parents can take care of themselves when their child ceases communication. Good
      luck to you and your family moving forward. Be sure to check back and let us
      know how things are going. Take care.

      Reply
  19. CharleneLetendre Report

    I have a 33 year old daughter who I haven’t seen or spoke too since Christmas. I don’t like her boyfriend and I feel that I have good reason not too, she knows what my reasons are and she is very mad at me. This boyfriend of hers does not like my daughter’s 14 year old son, this guy has had many relationships, has been fired from good jobs for bad reasons, has no respect for women, and it goes on and on. I happen to also work with her boyfriends mother, a 69 year old lady, who also has no respect for me and who has made my work experience absolutely horrible. This woman never talks to me about my daughter ever, and she doesn’t do anything to try make things better for us. I always hear that this woman, my daughter, and the boyfriend always go out to eat in restaurants and they never invite me. My daughter’s 2 kids don’t even live with my daughter anymore, both kids are living with their dad (2 different dads). My daughter, her boyfriend and his family live in a little town about 35 mins out of our city. Her boyfriend has a tiny house and has 2 grown daughter’s whom my daughter now says are ‘her’ daughters. I am thinking what about her own kids? She has a 14 year old son and a 10 year old daughter here in the city. I am seeing a mental health counsellor for Depression and I do talk to my counsellor about all this and I am trying to take small steps to try to build a relationship with my daughter but it is so hard when I think of her kids. I get so angry at her. I don’t know if it is the boyfriend who is telling my daughter that I am not important or if it’s my daughter, or the both of them. I am not a meddling mom, this is the first time I got such bad vibes from one of her boyfriends, and one question I keep asking myself is how can she put a man ahead of her own children? They only knew each other 2 months and she moved in with him. I sent her a message but it was ignored.

    Reply
  20. BrokenheartedInOregeon Report

    My estrangement from my 17 year old is completely my fault. I had a substance abuse problem and I lost my temper and got physical with her during an argument. I lost custody two years ago. I have been clean ever since. But she is in foster care and wants nothing to do with me. i have been sending letters and cards but she is so hurt and bitter that she wants to cut me out of her life. When she doesn’t respond I just stop writing and sending cards. I feel like giving up. She feels like I have abandoned her. I don’t know what to do. It’s like there is a hole in my heart. This deep ache from a piece of me that is missing.  I am in college now and have healed the relationship I have with my oldest daughter (19). It’s a start, but i wish I could figure out what I need to do to get forgiveness from my younger daughter. I suppose i just keep trying and keep praying.

    Reply
  21. at a loss in Michigan Report

    My situation is  not related to a young child. My daughter is in her 50s  and she has forbidden me to be at her house…This has been ongoing for about ten years.  I am resigned to the fact that she  has her reasons.. I do not recognize the fact that i have done something unforgivable to her.

    Reply
  22. abbegirl Report

    I posted a generic reply to those of you who has replied to my post. I’m sorry, but this is just too fresh for me. The tears make it difficult to type, so for now I will just say thank you all! It’s a sad thing to have in common with someone, but that’s where our understanding comes in to play. I will be back, but in the meantime, God Bless and take care!

    Reply
  23. abbegirl Report

    My story is too long to get into, but I am a mother of 2 adult children, but they have thrown me away! My son got angry at me after I buried my father and hasn’t spoken to me since. (7 years) My daughter keeps finding fault in every thing I say or do, and has more or less made me realize that she wants nothing to do with me. I am trying to go on, but I find myself in tears at the drop of a hat. My heart is broken into pieces, and my worse fear is coming true, “I will die alone” My parents are both deceased, my sister has recently passed, my son is no longer in my life, and now my daughter has pushed me away. I have tried to get close to her, but she is always too busy. I have tried talking with her about it, but she gets defensive and tells me I am imagining, or that I am the one who has a problem. I am always at fault! She has said some very hurtful things to me over the past few years, and not once has she ever apologized, not once has she ever apologized for anything. I have told her that if I have done anything I am sorry, if I was not a good enough mom I am sorry, if I have ever done anything to hurt her I am sorry. Of course I am not perfect, but I have thought and thought about this and I was a good mom. Does anyone have any insight or experience with the same kind of problem? I am broken, and I don’t know how to put myself back together.

    Reply
    • Jaffy61 Report

      abbegirl  Your statement that you are broken resounded in my head like a gong…I have said that to myself over and over again these last 2 months since my eldest daughter went no contact with no explanation and no trigger that I can figure out. I have spent every day for 2 months, morning til night, running the multiple and seemingly very pleasant contacts I had had with her for the proceeding months, trying to figure out what I could have done or said that brought this on. When I realized I had done or said nothing that could have brought this on, my mind was forced to wander back, back, back, trying to look through every one of her 24 years to figure out why the daughter I so love has just walked away and shut the door in my face. Since she has broken off every other form of contact available, I have tried emailing her, tried to discover why, blanket apologizing for whatever I could have done to cause her to do this, but I get no response.

      I understand every second of your pain, feel every tear that falls, and mine fall with yours. This is an unimaginable pain that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.

      Reply
      • abbegirl Report

        Jaffy61 abbegirl I’m so sorry you are feeling this pain, it is the worse pain I have ever encountered. I have mourned losing many loved ones, and that pain is unbearable, but in that loss we are able to say a final good-bye; and after time it gets somewhat easier. There is no finality in this kind of loss, there are no final good-byes when our children are still living. But we still grieve this loss day after day, and we hope day after day and we try to find answers day after day. And it hasn’t gotten easier with time.

        I have written my daughter a letter, and apologized for anything I may or may not have done as her mother. I put everything out there, with the last word being that the rest is up to her whether she chooses to have me in her life or not. But that as her mother I will always love her. I am still waiting for a reply, or some sign of acceptance on her part. I will give her some time. I don’t expect miracles, but I am not losing hope, not just yet. But I am 67, and I hope an answer comes soon. 

        “We never know how strong we are until being strong is the only choice we have left”  This is so true!

        God Bless you Jaffy61, and God Bless all the moms going through this! Stay strong, and don’t lose hope!

        Reply
        • Jaffy61 Report

          abbegirl Jaffy61  I agree. I have lost many people I loved dearly, and thought I knew the meaning of pain, but I didn’t. I think you are right about why this hurts so much, there is no closure. I think the hoping every day I get a response, and the disappointment every night when I haven’t are worse than if I knew I would never talk to her again, knew it for sure.             

          I wrote my daughter an email last week also, saying the same things. I told her I know I must have done something to bring this on, but I wasn’t asking for an explanation, just forgiveness for whatever I did to hurt her. I told her I will love her until the end of time, and no amount of time passing, no distance between us, nothing she can ever do will change how much I love her. I had quit checking my text messages, quit looking for a missed call, but now I find myself looking for an answer to the email. But I am forcing myself to not check my email every hour like I want to, forcing myself to try to be patient.

          I know that somehow I have to find a way to make even a tiny step toward the light, somehow there has to be a way to reach some kind of peace with myself and this pain. But at the moment the dark tunnel I am in seems so very long.

          Reply
          • JulieHorton Report

            Jaffy61 abbegirl Im not aloud to contact my 26 year old son as he went to Court with lies and got a PPO against me. I did everything for this child. Bailed him out of jail, paid his tickets, bought him cars, drove him to work when he lost his license. Now they had a baby 3 months ago, i never could see it, was not mentioned as a grandparent in the newspaper, and I was so angry I burned every picture of him, everything he ever made me in school that i saved 26 years. My heart is still broken. So now Im starting over at 51 and tell people I only have 1 son now the other one died lastyear with part of me as well.  I will get over it as soon as they move away or  i move away. I read the Bible now it eases my pain some. Im learning I wasnt deserving at all of this and he burnt the bridge. My relationship with him will never be repaired. Ever!

            Reply
            • Jaffy61 Report

              JulieHorton Jaffy61 abbegirl  I am so sorry your son has turned his back on you this way. It is just horrifically shocking how many people I have seen that their children have done this to them, many of them like us, with no explanation. There are days when my anger at her for simply shutting me out without an explanation and with no recourse to discuss it with her almost outweighs the pain, but the pain always wins in the end. At the end of the day I am simply left with a sadness that threatens to steal any other joy I have from my life.

              I am fortunate that her two younger sisters still want to be part of my life. I cannot spend physical time with my middle child because she moved to another country last year to marry, but I speak with her almost daily on facebook, and I am happy knowing she is happy with her life there. My youngest still lives close by and I get to see her as often as any mother should expect to see their 19 yr old daughter, hehe. In this time of heartbreak over their older sisters actions, my other two children have helped keep my anguish from overcoming me, and have let me know I am still loved, I am still worth being loved, I can still love, and do so unconditionally.

              But the pain of my firstborn shutting me out is a pain that is with me all day, every day, it never eases, it never goes away. At times I am able to push it further to the back of my mind, but it is ever present. And no matter what she has done, no matter why she has done it, I still love my daughter with every ounce of my being, and simply want the chance to try to rebuild a relationship with her. I cannot imagine, even now, after the pain I have been through, that there will come a time I will not be willing to try.

            • JulieHorton Report

              Jaffy61 JulieHorton abbegirl this is my baby that did this to me. Thats why its so hard for me. I raised him myself his dad wasnt ready to be a father and so i was both for many years, well Since he turne 16 he wanted to be in his life and I felt betrayed then because my son forgot all the times his father never showed up for his weekend visitation. Part of me was happy because he needed his dad in his life. My son dropped out if school at 16, pot, booze girls, he stole from me, took a bat to my bedroom door while I was at work. It was a battle for awhile and no courts would help me as i wrote letters to all the judges. Now fast forward they put a PPO against me and i never touched them or threatened them. Thats how messed up the system is. Im just bitter about everything, i quit my job and im going to lose everything because I just dont care anymore. Nothing seems important to me. I just lay around and cry.

            • Empowering Parents Coach drowden Report

              JulieHorton Jaffy61 abbegirl
              I am sorry to hear your son’s estrangement is having such a
              negative impact on you and your life. You are in a really tough situation. As
              upsetting as your son’s choices are, you’re not really going to be able to
              motivate him to make different choices. You can take steps, however, to take
              care of yourself. It sounds like you are having a difficult time coming to
              terms with the current circumstances. I get that. It can be very distressing
              when someone you love and care chooses not to have any interaction with you. I
              would encourage you to find out what types of local supports are available in
              your area. As distressing as your situation is, you don’t have to go it alone.
              Having someone who is able to talk with you about the pain your are suffering,
              and who can also offer you some guidance around steps you may be able to take
              to move past that pain, could be beneficial. The 211 Helpline would be able to
              offer you information on support groups and counselors in your area. You can
              reach the Helpline 24 hours a day by calling 1-800-273-6222. You can also find
              them online at http://www.211.org/. There are also many
              online communities for estranged parents. Quite a few of the parents who have
              commented on this blog have found support through those communities. You need
              only look down through the previous comments to find some suggestions on where
              you can start.I hope you will continue to check in to let the Empowering
              Parents community know how things are going for you.

    • brokenhearted grandma Report

      abbegirl  My story is very similar-My oldest daughter (45) hasn’t spoken to me since my Dad died.  She had asked me at one time if my Mom could give her any inheritance now that she my receive when she passed and I told her that I would not ask for that.  My middle daughter (42) and I have an “ok” relationship-she is super busy and lives in another state but we love each other and enjoy seeing each other when we get together.  My youngest (32) has just recently cut me out of her life and my grandchildren’s lives because her boyfriend is controlling and has isolated her to just his friends/family.  He is a mooch that rarely works and is very cold and unloving to my granddaughter that is 13 and not his child.  They have a child together that is almost one and he is loving to his child.  My daughter resents the close relationship I have with my granddaughter as we were together almost daily and are extremely close-they live just a few blocks away  The fall out came when my granddaughter told her Mom she was miserable at home and wanted to live with me.  Her Mom cut me out of their lives stating “when/if I feel like speaking to you I will let you know.”  My heart aches and I don’t have anything to tell you that will make it easier for you.  But I am trying to right down my feelings, reaching out to friends, and just trying to get through the days without breaking out in tears.  I am sure that you were a good mom but sometimes that just doesn’t count in the kids eyes.  I will be praying for you!

      Reply
      • abbegirl Report

        brokenhearted grandma abbegirl  I have read your reply and I am so very grateful to have others that can relate! It’s very sad to see that there are so many of us out there! It’s overwhelming and so unbelievable to me! I can’t add any more right now as this is so fresh, all I do is cry. I am sorry for your heartache!  
        Read more: http://www.empoweringparents.com/blog/communication/estranged-from-adult-child-parent-child-estrangement/#ixzz3VcgSxKiH

        Reply
    • maren stone Report

      abbegirl

      Hi there, I’m in the same situation with my daughter. She hates
      me, she told me that frequently. My first reaction was of course to
      blame myself for everything. She made me believe that I’m a bad
      person and a bad mother. I apologized for everything although deep
      inside I felt this is not the right thing to do.

      She had nearly everything, a father who worked long hours to send
      his only child to the best preschool and schools. She has a mother
      whose priority was her daughter, 24/7. I put even my dying dog below
      her needs.
      Long story short, I had a LOT of time to think about the
      situation. I’m not a bad person and especially not a bad mother. Your
      and my children do not want to be grateful, do not want to support
      us, we are the used human beings, who get older and need help and
      support. We’ve became the pain in the a… Just like a used, old car. Situations like yours are
      especially difficult because mothers think that a child and mother
      relationship is sacred, nothing or nobody can ruin this “sanctum”.
      This is a break up, you should handle this just like other break
      ups in life. You invested a lot of energy and love and your whole
      life in something that doesn’t work for you. You lost nearly
      everything, you may feel, but this is not true. What would you do
      when a husband or a friend would do this to you? You have a broken
      heart. Do the same, get over it. Start a new life. I’m sure you can
      look back and tell yourself I did everything for my children and for
      a proper relationship with my children. There is a chance you can
      find friends to go through the rest of your life. Good Luck to you.

      Reply
      • Jilteddad Report

        maren stone abbegirl  I tend to agree with this sentiment.  I’m the father of an 18 yr. old daughter who has completely bought in to her mother’s (my ex) brainwashing about me.  It’s true the mother and I didn’t treat each other very nicely towards the end (no physical abuse), but my daughter has taken everything her mother has said about me, and has elected to overlook my treatment to her, which has been nothing but loving, parental and at worst maybe a little unexciting at times.  It’s even irritating that so many of us are here looking for consolation while they are leading the lives they want to lead.

        Reply
      • abbegirl Report

        maren stone abbegirl  I have read your reply and I am so very grateful to have others that can relate! It’s very sad to see that there are so many of us out there! It’s overwhelming and so unbelievable to me! I can’t add any more right now as this is so fresh, all I do is cry. I am sorry for your heartache!  
        Read more: http://www.empoweringparents.com/blog/communication/estranged-from-adult-child-parent-child-estrangement/#ixzz3VcgSxKiH

        Reply
    • MichelleLDickerson Report

      abbegirl I have been having the exact same experience – except I only have one son (32)  who has refused any contact with me for 2 years.  The only thing he said was that I “had ruined his childhood” which, as far as I or anyone else I know, knows – is not true.  I was a good Mom too, and he was adored and cherished.  I guess if I did anything wrong it was spoil him.  This all originally started when he got married about 10 years ago.  Things have never been the same or even close.  I’m also being kept from my 2 wonderful grand daughters.  I wish I had an answer for you.  I feel the same way and also feel like I will now die alone – I have no other family to speak of and have been divorced for almost 7 years.  There’s also a lot more to my story – but it sounds like ours is quite similar.  I do try to stay in contact with him by mail.  It’s the only way I have – I don’t even have his phone number any more.  Reaching out to him/them and letting him know that I still love him and always will and I’m here for him is the only thing I know to do.  I also try to move on and live my life but it’s very, very difficult.  I know that God is keeping me around for a reason and I really try to just give the whole thing to him but it doesn’t seem to affect my pain.  God bless you – Hang in there.

      Reply
      • abbegirl Report

        MichelleLDickerson abbegirl I have read your reply and I am so very grateful to have others that can relate! It’s very sad to see that there are so many of us out there! It’s overwhelming and so unbelievable to me! I can’t add any more right now as this is so fresh, all I do is cry. I am sorry for your heartache!

        Reply
  24. rwolfenden Report

    brokenhearted grandma 
    I can tell how much you are
    hurting right now as a result of your daughter’s actions, and I appreciate your
    reaching out to us for support.  It’s normal to feel all of the emotions
    you are describing, as it sounds like much has changed in a matter of
    weeks.  This is something which many others have experienced, as you can
    see from some of the other comments here. The tough part is that since your
    daughter is an adult, she is entitled to make her own decisions (as long as they are legal and non-abusive) regarding her
    employment, her relationships and her style of parenting, even those choices
    which you might not agree with or find to be in her or your granddaughter’s
    best interest.  Since you cannot “make” your daughter respond in any way
    you choose, it’s usually more effective at this point to focus on taking care
    of yourself.  Self-care is an extremely important, albeit often ignored,
    part of developing an effective response to your child’s actions.  For
    example, you might call a supportive friend or family member, journal or take a
    walk to help you work through some of these strong emotions you are currently
    experiencing.  If your daughter is willing, it could be useful to meet
    with a neutral third-party, such as a family counselor or a mediator, once things
    calm down in order to talk through a workable solution moving forward. 
    Even if your daughter is unwilling to go, it can still be helpful to be able to
    talk with someone in person about the situation you are in.  For
    assistance locating available resources in your community, try contacting the http://www.211.org/ at
    1-800-273-6222.  I realize that this is a situation which no grandparent
    imagines being in, and I want to thank you for writing in.  I wish you all
    the best as you continue to move forward.  Take care.

    Reply
  25. The Prodigal Lawyer Report

    I want to encourage all of you out there who are hurting from the estrangement they feel from their own children (or parents).  I am 50 and was once estranged from my parents for decades.  I can share all the gruesome details but I no longer play the victim.  I am grateful that the Lord revealed to me, although it took decades, that my parents did the best they knew how –  That they were ill equipped to parent in a mature and healthy way.  Once I had the revelation that I had a duty to honor my parents – without exception, my desire to love them has increased with each day. God is healing our hurts and putting our family back in order.  My parents divorced when I was three and I did not know my father or his family until my 20s.  My mother has battled with many “issues” that prevented her from being a nurturing parent.  Now that I see clearly – I realize that both my parents lacked effective parenting skills from their parents.  I now see it as a continuous REPEATING cycle.  I will pray for all who have shared their hearts on this board and I want to encourage you to BELEIVE that your family will be healed and whole so that you begin acting in a way that will support that belief.  Don’t continue to wear the “victim” coat.  Instead,  walk in your power and authority to claim the promises that you will be an honored parent.  My revelation came from reading the Bible and finally understanding that as a child I am to honor my parents.  And if I am to honor them, I can’t continue to blame theme for their mistakes, neglect, wrong choices, self-centeredness – and whatever other excuses I gave for having a hardened heart against them.  My prayer for you is that you get help to heal and that you make a decision that YOU WIN!  That you will have a loving and caring relationship with your children (or parents) and the Lord will teach you how to do just that.  I also pray that you examine your relationship with your own parents.  Is it possible that your child learned from you how to disassociate?  That was my “AHA”…..I have three daughters and was concerned about what our relationship would be like once they were adults and then the Lord spoke to me gently and lovingly….and said – “they will be just like you and they will love you just like you have taught them through the way you show love to your parents and your brother (who had been in prison….another story)”  WOW! RIGHT BETWEEN THE EYES!….Anyway, don’t believe what others tell you about it being hopeless and that your kids don’t deserve your effort.  And more importantly, don’t you ever believe that your kids won’t honor you.   I am living proof that with God all things are possible. My relationship with my family is growing and becoming more secure (not perfect).  I grieve the loss of all the years we spent apart and I spent being ashamed.  But every day we lost was worth it if my family’s example will encourage you to not waste any more time.  You can never tell your child/parent that you love them enough.  You can never show your child/parent that you love them too much.  I pray that when you make the effort, you are doing so for their benefit and not for your own.  That your effort is to help them heal and be whole – and not for what you want to gain.  Help them to get to a place where they learn to honor you.  Get there as fast you can.  Blessings!

    Reply
    • smserwin Report

      The Prodigal Lawyer Absolutely — thank you so much for the powerful words.  They are so very true, and I have had a similar experience over the past few months, although from a different path. While enjoying the restored relationship with my formerly-estranged 20-year-old daughter, two months ago I started attending Al-Anon meetings to help me cope with my alcoholic husband. I received  a powerful revelation through those meetings that my mother, the daughter of a severe alcoholic and with whom I am somewhat estranged, was deeply affected even in her own childhood — and her emotional damage trickled into our relationship throughout my childhood. Like you, I finally learned to give her a “pass,” and accept that she did the best she possibly could. What’s more, I resolved to break the cycle and work very hard to make sure that I won’t carry on those traits in my relationships with my daughters. I feel very blessed that God has touched me in this way.  I know that all of us have different situations and that some relationships are more damaged than others. What we all have in common, though, are big hearts and a deep love for our children. I say that with conviction because if we didn’t care, we never would have found this online forum. 🙂  Much love to all of you ~

      Reply
      • The Prodigal Lawyer Report

        smserwin The Prodigal Lawyer  You are so wise.  It looks like God is equipping you to break the stronghold.  I am cheering for you!

        Reply
    • MichelleLDickerson Report

      The Prodigal Lawyer  WOW – thank you SO much for posting this!  Sometimes it can be extremely difficult to remain hopeful, but I think I’m doing much better at it now than I was earlier in the process.  Your story is beyond inspiring to me!  God Bless You!

      Reply
      • The Prodigal Lawyer Report

        MichelleLDickerson The Prodigal Lawyer  Thank you for the response and God Bless You!  Your vulnerability and testimony changes lives.  Have faith that God will deliver your family and He will!  I have seen it happen for those who will believe and then act on their belief.  Speak words of encouragement, positivity, favor,  acceptance, and hope over your family.  Also, ask for forgiveness, even if you think you have done nothing wrong.  Ask if there is anything you can do to earn their trust and bring them security in your relationship as you start over.  I did this with both my mother and brother and I was amazed at how immediately they said that they forgave me (because my abandonment I had hurt them too) gave me grace, the walls came down, and we began to turn toward each other instead of away from each other (as had been the case for decades).  To be clear, I had not hurt them the way they had hurt me, I had not behaved the way they had behaved (which was socially unacceptable, even criminal).  What I had done was much much worse.  I refused to love them.  I judged them, turned my back, and began building a wall to protect myself from ever being hurt by them again. I gave up on them as lost causes.  I even had other family members who knew of our circumstances agree with “my side of the story” hand me bricks and mortar to help me build a bigger, stronger, taller wall.  But God was merciful.  All these years I had felt sadness (depression).  Never understanding it was because of my longing for closeness with my family and my shame.  I looked for every opportunity to serve, help and FIX other people (I was looking for acceptance)……but gave no time or attention to working out my own issues.  My heart was so hardened that I did not even know how much I needed my own family. I was blind.  But now I see.  I see that other people can’t really point you back to work on your issues because most times they are deep in their own hurt. They are blind too or many times they do not want to risk their relationship with you to tell you the truth.  Let’s face it.  How many truly functional families do you know?  We are a society that seems to be giving up on commitment and having very little faith that our brothers and sisters can make a change for the positive.  So here it is:  The truth is we are to honor our mothers and fathers and we are to love our brothers and sisters.  No exceptions. And we are to train our children to do the same or they will have a difficult life. Unfortunately, we are overly distracted by the pursuit of stuff, careers, fame, and fortune. Technology has broadened and numbed our society to covet everything we see others have and do. We don’t have many honorable thought leaders- today’s visionaries get noticed by putting out a sex tape.??!!  Wisdom is not coming from Mom and Dad, but from reality TV shows – and the sad fact is most times Mom and Dad are not demonstrating wisdom because of their own brokenness and busyness.  So where do you start?  For me, I started reading the bible, listening to Joyce Meyer, TD Jakes, Joseph Prince, and John Hagee (hardcore preachers).  I learned to give myself and others grace instead of judging everything they do as a sign that they mean to harm me or have the power to hurt me. Mostly, I have faith that my family will be healed and whole and we will share the truth we learned with others.  We’re not there completely – but I am walking in faith and would love to have company on the journey.  You can find me on facebook if you would like to connect.  I am cheering for your victory!

        Reply
        • MichelleLDickerson Report

          The Prodigal Lawyer MichelleLDickerson  Thank you again for all your thoughts and words.  I do have hope and know deep down that God is faithful.  I’ve had no contact at all with my son (who is almost 33, BTW) for nearly 2.5 years except for sending him and his family cards and gifts for birthdays, Christmas, etc.  I no longer have a phone number for him – unless I tried calling him at work which I think would only tick him off.  I’ve not seen him or my 2 grand daughters or spoken with them since Christmas, 2 years ago.  You talk about being estranged for ‘decades’ and then going back to your
          parents, but this thought actually terrifies me.  I’ll be 62 this year
          and feel like the notion of being without him for ‘decades’ is simply more than I
          can bear. Since I don’t really even know what’s wrong, I’ve debated and debated about sending him a letter requesting a chance to meet (so maybe I could at least find out the truth?).  I finally actually wrote the letter last week but haven’t mailed it for a couple of reasons.  One is that I’m not even sure he would get it.  Since I believe that his wife is largely behind all of this, I fear that she would toss it or otherwise hide it from him.  Secondly is that I’m afraid of his response.  My gut feeling is that he would ignore it like they do every other piece of communication I send – BUT the real fear is that he might say something like “I never want to see you again” or “Don’t ever contact me again” – which I believe would dissolve the hope I have for any reconciliation and might literally be what it would take to  kill me.  I honestly don’t believe that I could withstand that.  What has happened so far has nearly done me in until about 6 months ago when I met someone that led me back to my faith.  My therapist seems to think I should send it and send it by return receipt, or something like that.  She believes that I need to do it to move forward – but if I were to receive either of the responses I mentioned above, I’d certainly not be able to ‘move forward’ as I’ve already mentioned. So, I’m still debating within myself and hoping that I can get the same peace about mailing it as I got about writing it after such a long time of writing it over and over in my mind.  That was a relief, at least.  Thank you again – I really do appreciate it. Also, I was able to find you on Facebook and ‘liked’ your page.  God bless you.

          Reply
  26. Momma A Report

    For those of you out there I just want to say stay hopeful. Our situation has not changed that much but I have changed. I am still hopeful but I am guarding my heart.  Most recently, I visited our son in jail.  Something I did not ever think I would be able to do.  It was a nice visit. Talked about our family and how everyone has grown.  What we are all up to and how we have been doing.It really gave me a chance to express my love and gave me closure. I was so excited for when he got out thinking that we would be able to work on our relationship with him. He had nothing as he had lost everything in a house fire before he went to jail. So once he got out I bought him some clothes shoes etc and left them for him at his Grandmothers house.He had been making good choices and I wanted him to feel good about himself.( Looking for a job doing his community service etc) I got a text on fb thanking me for the gifts. I was so excited that he actually thanked me for the gifts.  However, I have not heard from him since.  He hasn’t asked to see me or for me to come visit him. In my mind that is all I could think of.  But what I am learning is that I or we are not all he is thinking about.  The relationship or the lack of relationship he has with us is just not a priority in his life right now.  I can’t change that.  I have done everything I can do to show our love and to make an effort to have some sort of relationship with him.  He just doesn’t care. To be honest I do not think he even thinks about it.  Not at least how often I / we think about it.  His Grandmother has confided in me that he has been staying out all hours and not coming home at night.  She thinks he is back to his old tricks again and it is breaking her heart that she can not do anything to steer him in the right direction on the fear that he will not speak to her anymore as he has done to us.  So there it is.. Our update.. Out of all of this I am still hopeful.. Two years ago I was a crying hot mess.  Today I am hopeful.  I have learned that we can not change him.  We can not make him love us or want to be part of our family.  He has to make a conscious choice to be a part of our family.. Not to just collect gifts and money but to really be a part of our lives and care about us.  We will always stay hopeful that he will come around.  Until then we wait and learn to live life without him in it. If anyone has any suggestions I am open to them.  Thanks for listening/ reading.

    Reply
    • JulieHorton Report

      Momma A God bless you. Im a crying hot mess. Yesterday was Mothers Day and I spent it in bed crying And beating myself up. Its not fair. None of this is and time slips away..im glad i found this site its therapeutic.

      Reply
      • Momma A Report

        JulieHorton Momma A  Glad my update was helpful.  Yes, this site is very helpful and reminds us that there are others out there that are going through similar situations. Some days are good and others not so much.  We are all here to support and help each other as we go through this. Keep praying and give it to God. Big hugs!!

        Reply
    • Betty Report

      Momma A  sometimes it is ok to just show up!.. I mean go visit him when you can, he may not be able to ” call and say yea, I would like to see you”  You may have to be the healthy person in the relationship. Keeping the connection going because he is not able to.. his drug habit or other problems  are getting in the way.. maybe he is not able to reach out. When a person is broken, they isolate.. just something to think about.. no expectations on him.. just touch base..

      Reply
      • MichelleLDickerson Report

        @Betty Momma A Yes.  I would be thrilled beyond words if I could see – or even speak with my son.  We’ve not talked in nearly 2 years now and I’ve not seen him in 2.5 years.  Still trying to cope – hanging in there and working to just give it all to God, every day.  I don’t know what else to do.

        Reply
        • Momma A Report

          MichelleLDickerson Momma A Hang in there Michelle.  Give it all to God. I never thought we would see ours and we did.  Anything can happen and things change. Just keep hoping.  Praying for you and all of us on here.

          Reply
    • hhanson9999 Report

      Momma A  thank you – although my child is now home – we are still quite separate in how we view the relationship. One of the things that you said has struck a cord with me.
      ” In my mind that is all I could think of.  But what I am learning is that I or we are not all he is thinking about.  The relationship or the lack of relationship he has with us is just not a priority in his life right now”

      I needed that reminder today.
      thanks – wishing you well
      Heather
      Read more: http://www.empoweringparents.com/blog/communication/estranged-from-adult-child-parent-child-estrangement/#ixzz3TSIaYzr1

      Reply
      • Momma A Report

        hhanson9999
         I am so thrilled that your child is home now!!!  That is great!! I wish you so much peace and happiness.  Glad I was able to share today and help you!

        Reply
  27. missmykids Report

    I just found out that my son, who is in the Army, is being deployed Monday.  I had to text his girlfriend-who told me that he has orders.  I texted my son and told him I love him with all of my heart and will be praying for him.  It has been two days with no response.  With him leaving on these terms and being in special forces scares me to death.  Tough to think that he is going without feeling good about our relationship.  Feeling that proverbial lump in my throat.

    Reply
    • smserwin Report

      missmykids I’m so sorry for your pain. Despite everything that has happened, you still must be very proud of his service to our country. I just said a prayer for him, and for you. Perhaps his time overseas will give him a different perspective on the importance of family. You are his mom — his ONLY mom — and it’s impossible for him to forget that. <HUGS>

      Reply
    • MichelleLDickerson Report

      missmykids I know, my son is in the military, too.  It’s so hard.  Hang in there and take care of YOU.  Somewhere deep down inside he knows that you love him.  God bless you.

      Reply
  28. Brokeheartedmom Report

    It’s true what so many people are saying in these posts… From the depression, the nightmares. The PTSD as a result. She a child leaves the home and basically runs away to the other house and then completely disconnect it’s brutal. In my case, my daughter, the. 15 1/2 and a sophomore in huh school, threw fits. She as constantly under pressure from either her father or her step mother to try to resolve my ex’s and my custody issue after he tried to force the arrangement back to an absurd back and forth every few day situation that we did when they we’re young. She felt it was her place to involve herself and try to negotiate custody between us. Her father fed her our court papers and lawyer emails and exchanges to fuel her. She would say incredibly hurtful things. She would scream and yell and I had it. My son and I we’re being bullied by her and her moods and it was horrible. She is much like her father now and refuses to see me or talk to me. It’s been 3 years. Missed holidays. Missed birthdays. Homecoming. Family events. So many milestones and sundress of unanswered texts. Handwritten cards. Flowers,on her birthday. Her favorite Homemade cookies shuttled through her brother at Christmas. I get nothing. Not one response. Ever. Her father is completely in the dark about how much he is responsible for this as well. He is a bad father. He is a bad person and it’s abusive that he not get her help. She just turned 18 in January. I get an email from my ex and his wife telling me she up has been accepted to 3 school and I need to check out the tuition. Are you effn kidding me?! I hear nothing from either of them about anything having to do with her. NOTHING and when asked they say just concern yourself with our son. Three years and this is the first news I get. I haven’t slept well in days. My son -16 now- refuses to talk about anything. He has for a long time so I stopped trying. I made sure he knows how much I love him and I encouraged him to love his sister and that he does not ever need to chose sides. Be a good brother. Be a good son. Be there for her but know you are a different person and you will never and should never have to choose. I said to stay out of it as best he can because she’s making poor decisions. He doesn’t have to let anyone bully him into doing what he feels differently in his heart. I honestly think he gets it as he has continued to go back and forth between the houses.
    There are only a few things that can pull me out of this swirling depression which hits me every morning and that is being able to look back and see I haven’t wavered in letting her know the door is open when she’s ready. Letting her clueless father know she is an at risk teen who needs help learning how to communicate and not resort to tantrums or running away. Knowing that what she did WAS runaway. That she will have to live with the consequences of her actions. She will have to live with the guiltily cutting off her cousin who felt she was like a sister. Cutting off her grandparents and aunts and uncles. Cutting off her summers at the shore and family vacations and baking with mom and so many many things that she can only have from me. She is too young to understand that life is long and time passes and people just need to move on. After 2 years of her empty bedroom I gutted it and made it a room for my son and his friends. We both had to move on. I did it myself and felt incredible pain realizing she isn’t coming back but I had to go through that phase of grieving. You need to both keep trying and you also need to suck it up and move on. Keep in mind, so much damage has been done that if she showed up on my doorstep my first instinct would be to drop to my knees and hug her and be so thankful. But she would not be welcome at this point back in my house to live. She is a different person and we would need to go to therapy. I don’t trust her. After hundreds of unanswered but read texts to her, she says nothing. She does nothing. She lives 4 miles away from me and chooses every single day to do nothing. That’s what kills me. Worst, is her father who shared the same tears with me when she was born doesn’t have the sense of being a father to do anything or guide her or even get a sense of the magnitude of my pain because his current wife is happy to have my daughter to herself after she lost a daughter the same age to cancer years ago. It’s brutal. So yes, PTSD flared up when I get a random email asking me for tuition. Depression that instill have to live in this area and not get a fresh start someplace else where I don’t have to scan the parking lot for their cars. Thankful I have my son who somehow is getting that I actually do have love for her, that I do love him, and that I am a good mom. He is the only reason I am still here.
    Kids…. They twist your best intentions into something so opposite. The ex spouse interprets your every move to see, touch, hold your child again as manipulative on your part. It’s abusive.
    I am reading a book about “Parental Alienation Syndrome”. I have had to photocopy some pages as I begin to assemble my spring meeting notebook of my statement of good as I am going to call it with an attorney to stop my ex from contacting me. That I not be forced to pay for her college education as she has disconnected for over 3 years while I have paid for her child support to her two income father and step mother, and so that I have something to give to my son when he goes to school.
    The book was under $15 and I got it from Amazon. It’s called “abandoned parents, the devils dilemma: causes and consequences of adult children abandoning their parents.”
    Chin up people. Be the better person. Be the better parent. Life is long and hopefully, one day, when your kids come full circle, they will swallow that lump in their adult throat and say to you, I am so sorry for the pain I caused. Hopefully, you both will be able to look back, if not them, then you, and see your text and paper trail of love, open heart and that’s all that they will have to throw in your face. Who knows…. the alternative is an emotional abyss. Set your boundaries

    Reply
    • forgottenmother Report

      Brokeheartedmom  I have the same issue here, My daughter who is 15 hasn’t spoken to me in almost two years, refuses to have anything to do with me.  My 11 year old son comes to me every other week so I still have something.  Unfortunately here in Canada I will have to fork over money for tuition, as the one thing my ex is trying to do is to ruin me financially (as well as emotionally) he wants me to pay monthly and when it is university time and never see them.  That would be his greatest revenge on me for leaving an abusive bully.

      Reply
    • Jilteddad Report

      Brokeheartedmom   Wow . . . your story is IDENTICAL to mine, only its my exwife doing what your ex-husband did.  Can you imagine if those 2 got together?!  Don’t you DARE consider paying any tuition.  They conspired 3 yrs ago that you ‘”weren’t necessary”, which works 2 ways.  I go between sadness and resentment over her choice, and find vapors of joy where I can see it will backfire, i.e. tuition, etc.

      Reply
  29. kasiens63 Report

    I can relate to missmygirl.  the pain is so unbearable.  There is no comparison to any pain when you lose a child to any degree.  She was my everything for 15 years.

    Reply
    • missmygirl Report

      kasiens63 
      Be grateful she wants to see you on weekends – I don’t mean to sound crass but the slightest thought of only seeing my girl on weekends at one time devastated me. Now I’m lucky if she responds to my texts or answers my calls.

      On March 16th, it will be one year since she’s walked through my front door.
      She, too, was my everything since the very second she was born. I had primary placement since she was eighteen months old (when her dad and I began divorce proceedings). We lived in the same house since she was two years old. It kills me not having her here.
      I miss kissing her goodbye before work in the morning, I miss hearing her open the front door after school, I miss making her supper, hearing about her day; I miss helping her with homework, hearing her play the piano and saying prayers at bedtime. I could go on.

      I have yet to run out of tears. I even miss constantly reminding her to hang up her towels.
      I recently read a book called, “I’m Not Mad, I Just Hate You” – it’s about surviving mother/daughter conflict during the teenage years. I highly recommend it for anyone going through turmoil with their teenage daughter. It has helped me go from feeling devastated to slightly okay (which is truly a huge leap).

      She didn’t even come for Thanksgiving or Christmas. And really, I’d give just about anything just to walk past her room and see her sleeping in her bed.
      Things used to feel so safe.
      My story is too long to encapsulate right now, but please know, I feel your pain. I’ve been living it and it’s awful. There have been nights where my heart has hurt so badly that I was surprised to wake up only to discover that it was still beating. I can’t believe I still have a pulse on some days. 
      The good news and the bad news is that your heart will not stop beating. What you think should kill you, will not. Hang in there.

      Read more: http://www.empoweringparents.com/blog/communicatio

      Reply
  30. kasiens63 Report

    she wants to see me on the weekends and live there.  I just can’t do that.  the worst part is I have raised her by myself no family especially not him. He moved to CA 10 years now.  She called me yesterday and wants to come home. I still am the primary and could go and rescue her but I struggle with this.  She texted me this morning telling me her Dad is making her feel sorry for him. I don’t know what to do anymore. I’ve been depressed for so long now and diagnosed with PTSD.

    Reply
    • MichelleLDickerson Report

      kasiens63 I’m sorry – but if my son was willing to see me on weekends, I would be beyond ecstatic.  I say take this gesture – whatever it is – and enjoy your daughter.  I can relate to all of the other things you mention – but sounds like you’re making progress with her.  I say see her whenever you can and be grateful for that.

      Reply
  31. kasiens63 Report

    I have been looking for a support group for 3 months now.  My daughter of 15 years went to live with her Father late Oct. 14.  I was being undermined by him and his family for a long time and didn’t see it coming. Now she called me yesterday after months of my crying, sleepless night because all I dream about it her

    Reply
    • Brokeheartedmom Report

      Welcome her back with open arms. If he had her for 3 months and already fell apart and is unable to communicate with her as an adult get her back home. He is ill equipped right now and maybe when she is older and not dependent on either of you she will have the freedom to make up her own mind and not have living arrangements be black and white with dramatic life altering stress. My mom used to say, to my relief – Nothing is in concrete. You can always always come home and start over.
      Sounds to me like she tried. You tried. He tried. So, get her back. Fix her. She will.be gone again in a few years…. You can have the freedom to have a personal life again and no regret of your time spent now. It’s a sacrifice to be a good parent and it’s great under appreciated.
      Let her know the boundaries and terms of her returning. Have her see a therapist.
      Recommend summer visits with dad instead.
      Document everything.
      Be kind. Open and warm. She will remember that more than what you’re probably really feeling on the inside like, you gave got to be F kidding me?!
      Don’t find fault or blame or you will have a useless fight on your hands. Let actions speak louder than words. Your daughter is choosing you. I would spike a damn football if that were me right now!
      Just get her back and love her. It sounds like everyone involved learned a lesson and that’s how life works.
      Good luck to you and your girl.

      Reply
  32. j.russell21 Report

    I thought I was alone, it looks like I’m not. I left my husband 20 years ago, he was an abusive, controlling bully. I had no life except for my 2 boys. At first we stayed close, just a few miles from their dad, the saw him every other weekend. I never told them about the abuse (emotional not physical) I tried to keep their relationship with him good. I met someone else, my nowhusband, we moved 100 miles away after the threats became too much. I thought my boys had a good life, they still saw their dad and we made sure they neve wanted for anything. When my youngest was 16 he went back to stay with his dad, but we still kept in touch and visited him. Now he’s 25 and a father to my 9 month old grandson, who I love with all my heart, out of the blue, 2 weeks before Christmas he decided to cut me out of his life. The reason? Punishment for taking him away from his dad 20 years ago. He won’t listen to reason and won’t allow me to explain why we had to leave. I’m heartbroken, life isn’t worth living. Why has he done this? How do I go on?

    Reply
  33. missmygirl Report

    Brokeheartedmom   I am going through this right now. My girl will be fifteen next month. I know your pain. It’s horrible. I feel like I don’t matter to her at all. I love her and miss her so much. She’s my girl. I would give anything just to get a text message from her right now.

    Reply
  34. missmygirl Report

    I am grateful to have found this site. My heart has never felt so shattered. At times it feels unbearable. It’s been almost one year since my teenage daughter left to live with her father.
    The friction began when I said ‘no’ to Facebook and began limiting internet access when she was thirteen (she will be fifteen next month). Her dad and step-mom have always been way less strict when it came to technology and social media which created conflict among all of us.
    My daughter left abruptly almost a year ago stating that I abused her emotionally and physically throughout her life. I have never been abusive – if we argued I always came to her within minutes to make things right and I’ve never had even the slightest inclination to lay a hand on her. I hugged and kissed her a thousand times each night before bed. Most likely I was annoying that way.

    It’s been an exhausting roller coaster ride (too much to explain in this message).I have seen her only four times since she left.

    As of right now, she will not return my phone calls or reply to my texts. It’s killing me. There is a continual lump in my throat. I feel like I don’t matter to her al all. Not even a little.

    Reply
    • Ms Mandy May Report

      missmygirl You found the right place.  You’ll be okay, and she will be okay.  It is hard, and terrible, and not fair.  A lot of us have been where you are, sorry to say, and there is nothing to do but surrender and share with people who understand.
      As for you and your daughter, could you two maybe do counseling?  Would she agree to work through some of the things you mention she accused you of?  It is so hard to have that all between you and unresolved….but believe me, you matter MORE than a little to her.  You are her Mom.  Forever. Hang in there!

      Reply
    • forgottenmother Report

      missmygirl Hi there, I am in the same situation. my daughter is 15 and I haven’t seen or spoken to her in a year and a half.  Her father told her all kinds of awful things about me when I moved out and showed her all the court papers and put a spin on everything making it look like I am crazy and dangerous.  He told her she wasn’t safe at my house because of all the guys that I have there all the time (there is nobody) and all the drugs that I do (I don’t do drugs at all) However she continues to not respond to my emails.  She changed her cell number too. 
      I am struggling with this daily, all my friends say she will come around but it’s been so long, and she shows no sign of changing her mind.  Her father has filled her head with hate, I feel she is lost forever and I grieve like she died.

      Reply
      • MichelleLDickerson Report

        forgottenmother missmygirl My ex (my son’s dad) did the same thing after we divorced.  He did everything he could to turn my son against me.  It didn’t work though, as my son was growing up.  He knew the truth about me and we were always close.  I have to wonder now if maybe those long-ago words and ideas from his dad have come back to haunt him and maybe that’s part of the reason he has abandoned me. (I was told for a long time by his dad that he had also been abandoned, but I found out last year that he’d been lying to me about it and really was in contact).  So, since my son won’t tell me what is really wrong all I can do is speculate about it.  Is it those words of his dad from when he was little or is his wife behind it?  Either way the result is the same.  I agree with you wholeheartedly that this is much like they have died – only we don’t have the actual ‘burial.’  The grief and pain wash over me nearly every day and I feel like I will die – and wanted to for a very long time.  God bless you always.

        Reply
    • missmykids Report

      missmygirl As her Mom, you were concerned about her welfare on the internet.  It is easy to be a parent who ‘gives’ their child everything, including things that the other parent does not agree with.  Your ex needs to make decisions WITH you, not decisions AGAINST you.  It is unfortunate if this is not the case.  I was faced with the same situation.  My children (when they were 14 and 16) were allowed internet.  Then, I found out my 14 year old was on a chat room. I spoke to my daughter, and she did not see the ‘big’ concern.  It was not a big deal “Mom” .   I talked with her father (we were still together at the time) and he agreed no internet for her.)   Months later, I realized that he had set her up on internet, without discussing it with me.  I say SHAME on them for disrespecting the right of a parent.  It does alienate the child (ren) involved, from the restrictive parent.  I respect you for being a good Mother, instead of the parent keeping their child out of harms way.   Bravo to those who protect their children.

      Reply
  35. missmykids Report

    Throughout my life, I have never heard of so many parents being estranged by their children.  It has me wondering if our social media life style has something to do with this.  It is as if our kids do not have the emotional connection with those who are close to them. Do you suppose that the ‘sims’ lifestyle has affected them in some way?  They text, email and facebook.  I imagine that it would be more difficult to walk away if they were not involved with social media!

    Reply
      • missmykids Report

        SadMama missmykids Very good read!  I have always considered my kids to be in that category.  I happen to agree that my children were given every tool by me, in order to overcome circumstances, so they would not have to ‘deal’ with issues that I did as a child.  My kids were the center of my life.  Now, that I have a solid career going, I happen to think that they believeI put them on the back burner.  Very helpful article.  Thank you so much for sharing.

        Reply
    • MichelleLDickerson Report

      missmykids I wonder, too.  I do know that in my reading I have learned that it appears to be rampant – nearly epidemic – in this particular generation of adult kids (my son is 32).  I also wonder about the effects of divorce on these folks (my son’s dad and I divorced when he was not quite 3 so he doesn’t even remember us living together as a family), though I don’t have any figures on just how many of the children are from divorced homes.  There are so many things to ‘wonder and speculate’ about but it doesn’t change what is happening and the many, many hearts that are being broken.  I keep saying to myself “If I only knew what was really wrong or what is truly at the bottom of this” – but I’m not sure that would honestly help.  I think I just want it to be ‘fixed’ and over with.  I look at the years I have ahead of me and wonder if I have it in me to live those years without a relationship with my son – my heart.

      Reply
      • missmykids Report

        MichelleLDickerson missmykids I have found it helpful to do something unusual for my husband and myself.  We took an archery class-it was fun and gave me something to focus on.  (not too expensive either)  I do understand what you are saying Michelle.  I have the same thoughts.  I loved being a Mom and always thought that I would be able to be a hands on grandma.  Now, I wonder if I know WHEN I AM a grandma!  This is not an easy thing to deal with.  There is no easy solution.  You might check out the link below the sadmama posted.  Very helpful info.  (although I am not in agreement with everything!)

        Reply
  36. missmykids Report

    I have always been a devoted Mom, in an attempt to better my own experience with my own mom.  Being raised in a narcissistic environment, from my Mom to my sisters, I vowed to always be there for my children, when they needed me.

    My children are grown adults-and generally speaking, have had a very healthy, stable home life. 

    I am a professional Mom, however, when my kids were young, I was a stay at home Mom.  (Scout leader, volunteer at school, active with their sports, dance etc)

    When my kids reached adulthood, I believed that they were on a good path, and I knew after years of having an alcoholic husband,  it was time to get a divorce from their father.

    After 22 years of marriage, my ex husband and I mutually agreed to
    divorce.  The moment we agreed we both decided to have a family meeting,
    and let our kids know. My son was 19 and my daughter was 17 at that time.  (Son now 25 and daughter now 23)  My ex opened
    the dialogue with an outlandish accusation-which was not true. 
    Afterwards, my son approached me and mentioned to me that he KNEW his
    father was telling lies, and that he was sorry-he also knew that I was
    devoted as a Mom and stood by me. 

    During the rough economy, we proceeded with the divorce, still living
    under the same roof, until it was final.  My goal was to try and remain
    civilized even though I knew he was trying to bash me.

    I had plans of moving to a new place, and my daughter wanted to live with me.  While looking for a home, she was non committal to ‘look’ at any of them, with the exception of the last day.  She loved the house I am now living in.  She was excited to pick out her room and made plans to move here with me.  I moved in and she told me that she wanted to ‘stay’ at our old home, until it sold.  Later, she mentioned that I lived too far, and that she wanted to live closer to her college.  She met me for lunch, we went shopping and had an amazing time.  I bought her things for her new place, including groceries, towels etc. She hugged me when she left, and that was the last I have seen of her.
    I got remarried and she did not attend the wedding.  My son, on the other hand, had moved north, an hour away.  During that time, he complained about not making enough money etc.  I offered to hire him on with the company I work at.  He agreed. 
    He walked me down the aisle, took care of my calls when my husband and I went on our honeymoon and really ‘enjoyed’ the company of my new husband.  My son then moved in with us, which allowed him to save for college. One day, I was talking to a customer, and he informed me that ‘one of my drivers was joining the army.  He went on to tell me it was the younger driver (i have several) and my heart sank.  He also said that the driver had not told his mom yet-I knew that it was my son.  Later that evening, I asked my son, and he said he was thinking about it.  Eventually, my son did join the Army and is still enlisted.  

    Through out this time, I was attempting to meet with my daughter, and talk.  Her response became increasingly hateful to me.  Texting me that I was a ‘dark’ woman and needed help and that everyone was afraid to mention it to me, because they were too afraid that I would get mad.  This was out of the blue, and I could not understand where this was coming from, accept that her dad was possibly tainting her.  (I had raised my two stepchildren as my own, and hoped to remain close to them too.)  On the very same day, both my daughter and step daughter removed me as ‘Mom’ on facebook and then blocked me a few days later.  I thought I was in High School again!! 

    When my son graduated from boot camp, he asked me not to attend the graduation ceremony, he wanted me to attend the ‘Airborne’ graduation-which would be much more exciting.  I told him that we would possibly be able to attend both, but really looked forward to visiting with him.  As it turned out, his dad, my stepson and another relative all drove there and happened to book the same hotel as my husband and I.  My son clearly chose to spend the majority of time with his dad.  We were treated very poorly, trying to navigate in a strange town-with an agreement that we would all have lunch at a place and they would follow us.  By the time we put the restaurant in the navigation, they had left in his dads car.  No communication at all.  My husband told me he was tired of playing these games and was not going to participate anymore.  We went back to our ‘new’ hotel, which we had moved to.  My son called later on and we met for awhile.  He was leaving out the next morning and we spent little time with him.  When he came home for leave, (Christmas) he spent very little time with us.  For the next year, he called from time to time, and began a new relationship with a special lady.  (the one he said-we were so happy for them!)  The following year, he wanted to visit for Thanksgiving.  He wanted to stay here with us, and his fiance.  I let him use my car, and he was very appreciative.  He told me that he was not getting Christmas off-and his fiance had to work too.  I felt bad for both especially since my son was being deployed in January (right now)  One week after our visit, my son starting ‘picking fights’  Crazy stuff.  I let so much go.  The final straw was that he accused my husband of taking a knife of his.  (my son had given it to him before he joined the military.)  My son never asked him direct, he kept asking me.  I told him he needed to talk to my husband about it.  He chose not to.  So after two days, my husband said “when you leave, you need to take all of your stuff with you-we have kept stuff here and we don’t want to be accused of taking your things”   At that point, he proceeded to pack up, throwing away everything I had ever given him, and left.   He did not say good bye.  He gave me my car keys and left.  

    As for my daughter, every time I attempt to write to her, she responds with anger, and hate.  Tells me I ruin her day when I write to her!  

    At first, I tried to rationalize what happened.  I happen to think their father was able to find a crack and started his outrageous lies and I think they bought into it.  I have also noticed my son started to embellish things towards the end.  He is a Medic and we heard three different versions of how they injured a lamb during class, to train the Medics.  This happened on several occasions.

    Reply
  37. Kathrynalone Report

    I was a single mom of two boys and a girl. My oldest son and I were very close his entire life.  He met a girl in 5th grade and they went all through school and college together.  She was part of our family since the fifth grade.  They got engaged four years ago and then married last year.  Since the engagement my son started to not want much to do with me.  They would come home from med school and only stay at her house and not see me.  After a while I would ask why they never stayed with me.  All he said was that his girlfriend wanted to stay with her family.  Today I see him 12 hours a year and talk to him even less.  I was in a very serious accident and in intensive care for two weeks.  He never called or came to see me and he was only an hour away.  The months following the accident he never once came to see me or help me.  I live alone and can hardly do anything as I lost my right arm.  I finally confronted him last night with a text and asked him again why he makes no effort to see me.  His response was that “He has to protect himself from me” I cause him so much stress and anger.  I was divorced when he was 9 and it hit him hard.  The divorce was my fault but we still remained so close through the years.  I am devestated and can’t even imagine going on.  Nothing in life has prepared me this and I absolutely have no support system.  His siblings don’t want to get involved so I can’t rely on them.  I am sick and heartbroken. He says to not call him and I will never know what happened.  I really need advise on how to even get up and go to work

    Reply
    • Empowering Parents Coach drowden Report

      Kathrynalone
      I can only imagine what you are going through. It must be so
      distressing to have a child you have raised and nurtured seemingly turn his
      back on you and your relationship.  I am sorry you are having to face such
      a difficult situation and, while it may feel as if you are alone, I can assure
      you there are others who are facing similar circumstances. It may be helpful to
      seek out resources in your local area, such as parental support groups,
      individual counselors, or other support services. Finding someone you can talk
      to, who may also be able to relate to your experience, could be beneficial to
      you through this difficult time. The 211 Helpline, a nationwide health and
      human services referral service, would be able to give you information on
      resources in your community. You can reach the Helpline 24 hours a day by
      calling 1-800-273-6222. You can also visit them online at http://www.211.org/. I appreciate you
      sharing your story with our Empowering Parents community and hope you will
      continue to check back to let us know how things are going. Take care.

      Reply
    • MichelleLDickerson Report

      Kathrynalone Hi Kathryn – I am so very sorry to hear about the situation with your son.  This is so very difficult for us Moms!  I wish that I could tell you about a magic pill or something that would help, but I don’t know of anything.  I, too, have had difficulty managing from day to day – sometimes from moment to moment – so I know what you mean and I also have a very, very thin support system.  The thing that has helped me more than anything I think was to learn to try to manage my thought processes (notice I said manage and not control).  Whenever I start to go ‘down that road’ of thinking about my son and grand daughters and all of the sadness and ‘what ifs’ – if I can stop myself  from going too far and remind myself of what I know is the truth about my past relationship with my son (I think of things I know that I did right and remember something specific about it) – then I can say to myself “You know that whatever this is, it’s not about you.  You were a good Mom.  You loved him and did everything you could for him.  You did your very best.”  This helps a lot, usually.   It has helped relieve me of all of the ‘stinking thinking’ that I’d gotten into, too – which I’m sure made me not very good to be around.   I’ve also rejuvenated my faith.  I had a real crisis of faith after this all started and wasn’t able to read my Bible or talk to God, but I have re-established communication with Him.  I know that this helps me – to have a connection with something/someone bigger than I am – or my problems.  Also I try to stay as busy as I can.  I started doing volunteer work and it helps a lot.  I just knew that I really needed to get out of my own head and out of my own way or I really would die.  God has kept me here on earth and I had to come to the realization that He must have a good reason – even if I can’t see what it is right away.  Finally, I continue to reach out to my son and his family. I don’t really know how to call him, so I always just send cards and gifts whenever there is an occasion.  Occasionally I send him a short message saying something simple like “I just wanted you to know that I was thinking of you.  I love you and I always will.”  I figure he has my email address blocked but I don’t know this for sure, so I keep trying.  So far he has not told me to stop – and I’m not sure if I could even if he did.  My Mom always taught me to try to do the ‘right thing’ even if the other person does not and I continue to hear her saying those words.  Try to take care of yourself.  You are in my thoughts and prayers.  God bless you.

      Reply
      • MichelleLDickerson Report

        Kathrynalone I wanted to ‘adjust’ something that I said in my post.  I think I said that working to manage my thoughts has relieved me of all of my ‘stinking thinking’ – and that is not entirely accurate.  While it has helped change and remove much of that kind of thinking it has not completely obliterated it.  I wish it would and maybe with time, it will.  I’m also not always able to stop myself in my thought process but I’m doing it more and more with practice,  I think.  Everything about all of this is beyond difficult and I have found it to be so.  It’s just not always quite as hard any more or all the time like it once was.  I still have fleeting moments of ‘wouldn’t everything just be easier if I were dead?’ but they are much, much less frequent than they were at one time. I often think I should stop watching TV because I see lots of things there that trigger pity parties and negative thought processes.  I wanted to add this because I didn’t want it to sound like I have this knocked because I don’t – not by any stretch.  Hang in there – you are not alone.

        Reply
  38. Empowering Parents Coach drowden Report

    ItCanOnlyGetBetter
    I can hear how painful your daughter’s lack of communication is
    for you. You are right that it is normal for interactions between parent and
    child to lessen when a child becomes an adult. After all, they are now adults
    with their own lives to live. It sounds like your daughter may be feeling
    caught between you and your husband. While it’s understandable you would want
    your daughter to comprehend why you made the decision you did, the truth of the
    matter is, the issues you and your husband have are really between you two.
    Involving your children in your disputes is really not going to be of benefit
    for anyone involved. As an adult, your daughter is able to choose with whom she
    wants to interact or spend time. It can be beneficial to develop ways of taking
    care of yourself when you start to feel distress over her choices. Your
    counselor can help you develop a plan for this. You might also consider looking
    into a support group for estranged parents in your community, or perhaps on
    line. Many of the other parents who have commented on this article have found
    these groups to be quite helpful. As for your other daughter wanting to move in
    with you, you don’t have to allow it if you believe it is going to cause you
    distress. If you do decide this is something you wish to do, you may find it
    helpful to develop a living agreement with her before she moves in. We have
    several articles that address living agreements and adult children living at
    home. A couple you may find helpful are http://www.empoweringparents.com/parenting-your-ad… & http://www.empoweringparents.com/parenting-living-…. We appreciate you writing in and sharing your story. Good luck
    to you as you move through this very challenging transition. Take care.

    Reply
  39. Report

    MichelleLDickerson hello Michelle..I am in the same position but it is my daughter.We too had a wonderful relationship up until she got married..Three years after that things were starting to change. I have reached out many many times and after 16 months of silence I have had a response from her. I have suggested that we meet up but her response was very cold towards me, but there is hope within it.All this goes back 7 years now, when my one and only comment to him was “you are a bully”..and it was the truth.  I have certainly been punished and blamed ever since with the silent treatment and stopped from seeing my beautiful granddaughters all this time. there is hope now I feel, and i always send her loving thoughts as I believe that love will prevail. I have grovelled, wept, apologised time and time again, but she is demanding that i prove to her that i have changed..I was accused of being mentally unstable etc etc..so nasty and untrue..I am desperate to see my granddaughters, but I accept that i cannot change how they think of me. What hurts, like you, is that his family are now well and truly enjoying everything with them that i have been excluded from.  I have to trust that it will work out and come to terms with accepting that but it is so difficult. I send you my love and pray that yours too will be resolved.  If it feels right then do ask to meet up, after all what have you got to lose..If you dont, you will never know. take care.

    Reply
    • MichelleLDickerson Report

      @sueloth MichelleLDickerson Hi Sue – I’m so sorry to hear about your estrangement from your daughter.  This is so hard!  I can’t remember anything from my son’s childhood – except for loving, cherishing and adoring him, and spoiling him beyond recognition – certainly nothing that would qualify as ‘ruining his childhood.’  I do wish he would talk with me about it.  I believe my fear about contacting him again is a little of 2 different things.  One is that I’m afraid that he would never see the letter if his wife intercepted and disposed of it – and I would never know.  The second is that he wouldn’t ignore it (like he does everything else) and instead might call or write and say something like “Don’t contact me ever again.  I never want to see you or hear from you ever again.”  If he did that I believe it would remove whatever hope I now have for a reconciliation and simply kill me.  I don’t think I could bear a response like that.  Thank you so much for your precious note.  I send you love and pray that you can get your relationship with your daughter resolved, too.  God bless you, friend.

      Reply
  40. rwolfenden Report

    Nixmom 
    Thank you for writing in, and reaching out to us for support
    during this troubling time.  I can hear how much pain you are experiencing
    right now as a result of your son’s actions and lack of communication.  It
    sounds like you have sacrificed a lot for your son and have prioritized his happiness
    throughout his life, and he has responded by leaving your home and ignoring
    you.  It is completely understandable that you would feel hurt by
    this. I strongly encourage you to reach out for support during this
    time; death is not the answer.  There is help available to you, and you do
    not have to go through this alone.  The http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ is one such resource.  You can call them at 1-800-273-8255,
    24/7, and be connected to trained crisis counselors.  There is also a chat
    option, along with other resources, on their website if that feels more
    comfortable to you.  They can help you to develop a plan to stay safe and
    to take care of yourself, even though you are in a lot of pain right now. 
    I recognize how difficult and painful this situation is for you right now, and
    I hope that you will write back and keep us updated on how things are going for
    you as you continue to move forward.  I wish you all the best; take care.

    Reply
  41. Painfulandalone Report

    I’m so glad I found this site!!! I have read some of the stories and it all sounds so familiar! Both of my boys have excluded me from their life! It’s like a death! I didn’t realize that step-parents and the other parent could be so evil and manipulative! My kids that at one time were momma boys have completely disowned me and look at the step mom as their mother! If I say anything, I’m the bad person and low life that is unworthy to be a part of their life! Not to mention my oldest son wife! The step mom and of course the daughter in law is best friends. I never gotten to be a grandmother to my grandson nor doesn’t even know me and I live 15 mins from him. I’ve cried so many tears and the pain is so deep! I can’t win this battle and I fear my kids will never know the truth and how much I love them.

    Reply
    • Guest Commentator Report

      Painfulandalone from a Guest that reads this but rarely comments .. just want to add to the discussion, that estrangements are horrible, but many times they play out different with male children.  Something happens when other women come into the lives of a boy whether he is 19, 29, or 39 .. he moves toward the new wife, girlfriend, her family, etc.  Dynamics can be very hurtful.  When you say you never realized how evil this all can be .. omg .. no kidding …. a lot of us here so use another site on Daily Strength and the Lehman site knows we recommend it.  There are a few estrangement groups on it .. PEACE which is Parents of Estranged Adult Children Everywhere and PWWA which is Parents Who Walked Away.  Both are chockful of other women going through all stages of estrangement, some that started last week up to some that are going on 50 years.

      Fifty years .. who would believe it??  I cannot even fathom being 75 and not seeing my kids for the last 50 years, but there are moms on the sites that are there.

      Anyway, just put DailyStrengthPEACE or Daily StrengthParentsWhoWalkedAway into your search and they will come up.  You will find between this site and those one or two, you will find tremendous support for yourself.

      All the best and please try to feel better.  Selfish kids, very narrow minded, and the list goes on, as we here all know.

      Reply
    • MichelleLDickerson Report

      Painfulandalone You’re exactly right – it really does almost feel as if your child has died, only we are unable to really, fully grieve because they haven’t actually died.  While I am certain it would be/feel worse if my son truly died, this feels beyond horrible.  My son won’t even tell me what I supposedly did wrong so I end up wondering about that all the time.  I would love a chance to just talk with him to see if I might be able to learn what it was – but he’s not even spoken to me in almost 2 years.  So heartbreaking!

      Reply
    • maren stone Report

      Painfulandalone You’re right, this is like a death. You have to handle it like a death. Grieve! After a while you’ll see that you can win the battle. The children know that you love them but htey don’t care. Not yet. Maybe one day. 
      With all due respect, some of the estranged children are very selfish

      Everybody hold on!!!!

      Reply
      • Guest Commentator Report

        maren stone Painfulandalone … in my opinion, almost all of the estranged children are very selfish.  very very very selfish.

        Reply
      • SadMama Report

        maren stone Painfulandalone I also had an estranged son for about a year.  I went through this grieving period and it was really tough.  I gave him space and a few weeks ago, he came back to me.  We talked a long time and he said he needed a year to himself to figure out life…. he wasn’t really thinking of me but he needed that time to himself.  He now wants to go back to college and I am going to help him.  Some friends are saying that this is why he is coming back to me.  I don’t really care.  I always planned to help him pay for school and want to support him through this.  I just want you all to know that there is hope and sometimes our children have their reasons to do what they are doing and I think most of the time, they don’t realize how heartbroken we are or they can’t imagine.  I know my son didn’t have any idea until one day when I called him hysterically crying and he just happened to answer the phone.  He usually never did.  He didn’t realize how much he was hurting me.  He has made a little effort since that time and then coming to this decision about college is great.  Just have hope and don’t give up on them.

        Reply
          • SadMama Report

            maren stone SadMama Painfulandalone Thank you.  I wouldn’t say things are back to normal but I feel we are on a good path.  I was in your shoes a year ago so don’t give up hope.  I felt the same way if you read my earlier posts.  This group really helped me feel like it wasn’t just me.

            Reply
    • hhanson9999 Report

      Painfulandalone  You aren’t alone. You will find a lot of support here.  Some of the members will be able to provide you with even more sites that can help you through this pain.  I’m so sorry that you are hurting and that your grandchildren haven’t had the opportunity to know you.  If there is ONE thing that I have learned from this site – it’s that you have to take care of yourself. It’s so hard when there isn’t a reason for the distance or when you aren’t given the opportunity to redeem yourself.  Please look after yourself and good luck.

      Reply
  42. Empowering Parents Coach drowden Report

    Momma A
    Emotions can easily cloud anyone’s judgment, especially when the
    situation concerns your child or another loved one. From what you have written,
    it sounds like you are concerned that stepping in would result in things going
    back to you taking on a rescuing role. One thing I think is important to keep
    in mind is his life is the way it is because of the choices he has made, not
    because of anything you did or didn’t do. Also, when a parent steps in and saves an adult child from natural
    consequences, it reinforces those roles for both parties, the parent and the
    adult child. The next time he finds himself in a difficult situation, he still
    won’t have the skills to figure the problem out for himself and you will be
    even more likely to step in and solve the problem for him. This is true whether
    or not he realizes it is you who is helping him because someone will
    still be rescuing him. It can be hard to see your child suffer, regardless of
    how old he is and regardless of whether you are the bio parent or the
    stepparent. Finding a way to take care of yourself when you start to feel
    anxious or distressed is probably going to be a more beneficial step to take. I
    can hear how well you have done over the past year or so at managing your
    emotions and coming to terms with the situation as it now stands. I would
    continue to implement whatever self care techniques you have been utilizing to
    help you deal with this difficult issue. If you feel you may need extra support
    at this time, you may find local resources who can be of assistance, such as a
    parent support group or counselor. The 211 Helpline, a nationwide health and
    human services referral service, can give you information on supports in your
    community. You can reach the Helpline 24 hours a day by calling 1-800-273-6222
    or by logging onto 211.org. I know this is a very difficult time for you and
    your family. Good luck to you all moving forward. I hope you will continue to
    check in and let us know how things are going. Take care.

    Reply
    • Momma A Report

      DeniseR_ParentalSupport Momma A Thank you so much for your reply. It makes so much sense. Helps to re read my post and then your comment once I have settled down and not quite so emotional. I will be sure to check back and update frequently.!!  Thank you!!!

      Reply
  43. Tina Wakefield, Parental Support Advisor Report

    To “Very sad”:I’m sorry to hear that you’re dealing with such deep disappoint and sadness at being excluded from such an important milestone in your son’s life. You’re right that it can be unimaginable to envision having a distant relationship with a child, especially when you experienced a special connection to that child for a long time. The hardest part can be not knowing what your son’s motivation is for distancing himself in the relationship. It sounds like there are many significant events happening for your son as he ventures into adulthood, a serious relationship and graduation–I can hear how much you want to be part of that experience. It’s takes a lot of courage to extend well wishes and love when you are hurt and you’ve managed to do that. Even though you weren’t there, it sounds like you’ve done a lot in your life to help him reach that point. In addition, don’t hesitate to seek out support by spending time with friends or family, or perhaps even seeing a therapist. I trust that you’ll find ways to cope with this and take care of yourself. Thank you for sharing your experience here on Empowering Parents.

    Reply
  44. very sad Report

    I really do not know where to start. I am a mother of two. My son is now 26. He and I have always had a magnificent relationship. In fact, many of his friends admired our relationship. My son could always come to me with any thing. I was there to offer advise. My children’s father walked out on them when hes was three and my daughter 8 months, I struggled as a single mom, but always had food and clothes and plenty of love for them both. Up until four years ago when my son met a girl, he has distanced himself from his side of the family. Although, they are always visiting her side and they are included in everything. As a single mom, my life long dream was watching my son graduate from college. I never in my wildest dreams would have thought, when the day came he would not invite me or his sister. Well it did. I found out on face book that he graduated. My heart is in shreds. I do not know his girlfriend as she has never taken the time to know us. I am lost for words and have a hard time just making it through the day…….My world has always revolved my children. I simply do not understand. He has only come over once in one year. He just keeps getting further and further away. I tell him all the time I love him and only want the best for him. I am told he has distance himself from many of his friends. He is a very bright man, just completely his bachelors. I am absolutely speechless….

    Reply
  45. Tina Wakefield Report

    Joshua’s Mom:
    What you are describing here is a very common struggle in many families. When an adult child chooses a partner in marriage the task of integrating both families can be excruciating. It can be difficult to try and figure out what to do with the strong emotions that arise for all members involved. First, I want to give you a lot of credit for recognizing that you may have overstepped a line and apologized for that–this is not an easy thing to do! Secondly, even though the relationship is far from what you want it to be, it sounds like your son is still willing to have some communication which means there is room to keep in touch. The great divide that you sense is there and I’m sure that feels overwhelming and scary; it will take time to build a bridge over the divide and to work through this. I agree with you that being in a situation like this is heartbreaking and it carries a lot of sadness and confusion. Do your best right now to take care of yourself and get some support from friends, family, or a counselor to deal with all the emotions that this will bring up for you. I hope that your son will afford you an opportunity to continue the conversation in the near future; I can hear how much you want to make the situation right and how important it is to you to be closer to your son.

    Reply
  46. Tina Wakefield Report

    Jane51909: I can only imagine how incredibly difficult it has been to be estranged from your son and to not have seen your grandson on his birthday. Any parent in your position would get to a point where they no longer wanted to be blamed or verbally abused. It is so important to set limits with your son so that he knows you won’t tolerate being treated that way—nobody deserves to be treated that way. It sounds like there was a pretty significant conflict that left everyone feeling like they had had enough. It is so difficult to know what kind of impact reaching out will have but it really comes down to if you feel up to reaching out or not. Remember that you can take time to decide what you think is best for you right now. I wish you well and I appreciate you sharing your story.

    Reply
  47. Joshua's Mom Report

    I have only spoken to my adult son 2 or 3 times in the last 9 months. I was openly hostile regarding his fiance and her family (whom I truly believe were and are manipulative individuals.)I apologized almost immediately and there has been no contact of any kind except for a very awkward Mother’s Day visit this year and a couple of texts. I tried to get him to sit and talk with me, alone, several times before his recent wedding to no avail. It breaks my heart and I don’t really know what to do anymore. The longer it goes on, the more anger and resentment I feel toward him and the original factor, her and her family. I have gotten some closure since the wedding ( that I did not attend) but it has caused a severe divide in my family as a whole. Lost.

    Reply
  48. Jane51909 Report

    I have been estranged from my adult son for the past 10 mos. It has been on and off since before he married 3 yrs ago…The estrangement has come about when the the final straw of his rage and name calling.I have taken responsibility for my mistakes and more blame and verbal abuse than I can stand! Also I believe he got advice from an attorney regarding an email he sent to me around our grandson’s birthday..Of course we were not invited…so I am wondering if I should at this point to attemept any further communication with them or let it go until they decide to come around? Thank you, Jane

    Reply
  49. DEPCR Report

    What about when the parents of the adult child have decided to estrange themselves from the child and their family? Dealing with this with my husband and his family. As adults we can cope, it’s our kids that ask why their grandparents won’t spend tome with them that makes it difficult. If my own parents weren’t both deceased it would be different also. They openly favor their other grand kids. My 6yo has begun to notice which is one of the main reasons we moved our family 4 hours away. I could give countless examples how they’ve chosen to estrange themselves and how asking them about it changes nothing.

    Reply

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