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Estrangement: Two Sides
April 9, 2013
4:31 pm
Beth
Guest

It is becoming clear that some children hold estrangement as a ransome to get their way, dangle our emotions from a string, just to pull it away without notice.  Shame on them and the recent generations who throw things away, discard them without concern.  We have become a disposable society.  

To bad I can't throw away the love and compassion I have for my estranged daughter.  apparently I am to blame for her drug use, lies, inmorality and physical abuse, just cause I am her mother.  She believes it is my fault even thou she was arrested, convicted and served time in juvenile detention and probation for simple assault when she hit me which cut my nose and gave me a black eye.  I love and forgive her anyway.  My generation has loyalty, respect, honor and love that finds ways to look past, forgive, move forward to repair.

I have been stripped of her concern, respect, loyalty and love, all because I am her mother and it is easier to blame than accept she made a mistake.  How sad it is that this subject even exists.  I hope anyone inflicted with this pain will find peace and contentment knowing, you do not walk alone.

April 9, 2013
3:03 pm
carolyn
Guest

Love does not need to be earned.  Love for your children and for your parents should be unconditional.  You do not always have to like what they do or how they behave, but loving them should be without question and conditions.

April 9, 2013
1:19 pm
Anon
Guest

Grace said
  I'm also sick of self obsessed adult offspring and their spoiled selfish children.  They don't know what love is, not because they haven't had it given to them, but because they've never been expected to earn it, they've taken it for granted.

 

Ah, so that's why my parents never loved me. It's because I was never good enough to earn it. Well gee, thanks for clearing that up for me.

December 29, 2012
7:05 am
Liz
Guest

Reading these posts has helped me quite a bit. I can see a pattern that Dr. Coleman mentions – for me it is very true.  I raised my children with a strong intention that they would not have to be responsible for me – I wanted their childhood to be about them, this was due to growing up in the 60's and 70's with a divorced parent that me and my siblings had to care for – I just couldn't handle the emotional roller coaster and did everything I could to provide a different experience for my kids. So I made other mistakes. And now I have one child who doesn't feel any responsibility or concern for my well being. So it would seem. 

 

But, anything that he is – I helped create. So, I plan to be patient and hope for the best. Begging is not my style and from what I have read here would not help and even makes things worse. I have said I am sorry if I hurt him or his new wife, but what I did was right in my heart. The rest is all about the past and things I can't change.

 

Liz

December 27, 2012
3:28 pm
momforlifeoftwo
Guest

I am one of the folks that actually gets to see both sides.  As a child, I  became estranged from my mother not because I actually wanted to, even though there was physical, emotional and verbal abuse on an every day basis, but because I wanted to have a relationship with my siblings who wouldn't talk to me because I still talked to our mother.  Naturally, this won out over the relationship with my mother which was never going to get "fixed".  However, I had still talked to her because of my own children and also because I was no longer hurt by anything she said and I was able to establish some boundries.  Once I became old enough she couldn't hurt me physically either.  I never did leave my own children alone with her but they did get to see me remove my own mother from my life.

 

They also got to see a divorce between myself and their father (I didn't want his emotional abuse and manipulation either).  He did try to alienate them from me through lies and I had to address a few things, but I never did the same to try to alienate him from them and tried my best to keep them from knowing what was going on with an extremely bitter divorce and endless efforts to get the financial support I was owed.  I am still sure their version of what happened is everything their father told them except a few lies where my extremely young children confronted me with and I had to address.  In the end I figured as adults they would realize the truth by themselves.  That may or may not happen, I don't know yet.

 

That being said I know I'm not blameless.  I'm sure I also contributed to the alienation of one of my own children.  Even though I know I was an infinitely better mother than my own, I did have outbursts in frustration where I yelled at them although I can only recall doing this once they were teens and yelled at me.  I also did not say "I love you" or hug them as much as they probably needed, as this was not natural for me never having this happen at all as a child.  I did try my best however.  My daughter has alienated her father (first), then her brother while she was still living with the both of us, then me about a year ago when she moved out on her own after an argument the details of which I suppose are not important.  Now she won't talk to me at all because she says I didn't take her back when all I did was suggest we needed to have a conversation first and she might want to also ask her father first since  she was not happy living with her brother and me. 

 

While I miss her terribly, I miss the relationship I wanted rather than the one we actually had.  There was an unsurmountable amount of tension from the time she turned 15 when she started hanging out with friends who influenced her to drink resulting in failed classes…etc.  There were incidents of partying and inappropriate photos that could be construed as child pornography posted to facebook because the participants were under age (including her).  I removed these immediately when I saw them and she accused me of invasion of privacy after which she blocked me from facebook.  There were also many fistfights with her brother at home over the shared computer and shared car and each thinks I favored the other (still).   Finally, once she went off to college I had some "breathing room" from the tension, but she flunked due to partying and came back home again after her freshman year (and did not tell me she was unable to go back).  Her biggest complaint is that I gave her financial support but not love.  I don't dispute that for her this may be true but I did give her love, it was probably not physically spoken or physically displayed enough for her needs.

 

Am I at fault?  Sure, at a minimum I'm partly at fault.  I know I gave in to demands she made as a teenager out of my own percieved guilt.  Other than the multiple books I read there was no easy way for me to gauge normal boundries and their father wanted to hinder rather than help.  I'm sure I indulged in the wrong ways and withheld in the wrong ways.  However, there were also a lot of influences beyond my scope of control and I am still extremely hurt and confused.  I thank god my son and I have a good relationship and I'm going to take steps to continue that and improve it.  I would love to do the same with my daughter but that's not possible if she won't talk to me other than to ask for financial help on occasion.

 

It's been a little over a year now since she left.  I will invite her to family functions and I don't hear back and she only talks to me when she wants something which is not very often.  I'm not sure if she listens to my messages or not.   She does blame me for everything going on in her life including tickets (says I didn't tell her when I did…etc).  Her mail is still coming to my address so I know she owes a lot of money for tickets and toll violations.  I am not going to rescue her as I have done before (yes, I know it was a mistake).   I know she sees this as a withdrawal of my support but I just want her to become an adult as she is 23. 

 

I do not know her address so have no way to get her her own mail and suggested she use her own address but she refuses.  She still uses my address for her license and registration and she will not come by to pick  up mail unless I leave it outside so she can get it without seeing me.  I am confused about what is best to do.   I don't want to be manipulated to do everything she wants but I also don't want to lose a daughter.  I understand that the latter option may be the best for both of us but it's still extremely difficult.

 

Thoughts?

December 27, 2012
10:48 am
LH
Guest

Grace said
They don't know what love is, not because they haven't had it given to them, but because they've never been expected to earn it, they've taken it for granted.

Weirdly, most parents love their children without requiring their children to earn it. Unconditional love--who knew?

December 27, 2012
9:34 am
Grace
Guest

Jenny I'm sick of blame too.  I'm also sick of self obsessed adult offspring and their spoiled selfish children.  They don't know what love is, not because they haven't had it given to them, but because they've never been expected to earn it, they've taken it for granted.

 

Time parents such as ourselves spoke up, honestly, about how we really feel and perhaps stopped trying to spare our children's feelings at the expense of our own.  Maybe adult children will get the message that we're not up for having our shins kicked well into our old age.  I for one am now kicking right back and not before time.

December 27, 2012
9:24 am
Grace
Guest

I really admire your post, you've said everything I wanted to say myself about the disgusting treatment of parents (apparently we're not human beings) by their adult offspring (I think perhaps that word should be brought back into fashion as it's a more appropriate description).

 

Too many parents in our position are AFRAID of our own children.  Afraid of speaking out HONESTLY, afraid of burning our bridges, afraid of losing the only children and grandchildren we'll ever have, for good.  And our children KNOW THAT.   But you know what?  I've had enough of that.  I really have. 

 

My children are 36 and 33 now.  Neither of them like me or want me in their lives.  The oldest has four children to three different women.  Yay!  How proud I am of that.  The youngest one tolerates me once a year at Christmas and that's only because he'd be on his own too if we didn't meet up then.  That's his duty done for the year.

 

My crime as far as I know is that I suffered a nervous breakdown trying to protect my sons and myself from their bully of a father over 20 years ago, and as a result I became weak and vulnerable in their eyes and that's when they took advantage too. 

 

At the age of 16 my oldest son announced "I'm the man of the house now." when my divorce came through.  And that's really what he expected to be.  He began bringing home friends, drinking, taking drugs which I really could have done without while I was trying to regain sanity and keep the roof over our heads.  My ex husband's advice to our sons has always been "Never get married, you'll never have a penny to call your own.  Just s*** em and leave em."  He never paid any maintenance after our divorce and he didn't care if I lived or died so long as his 'image' was intact.

 

He came across as the strong parent and I came across as the weak one, which I admit, I certainly was.  But when someone is constantly kicking you to the ground when no-one is looking, it's hard to get up and pretend all is well. 

 

I was who my sons came to when they needed money, or when their relationships failed and they needed a bolthole, free food, free lodgings, free everything – for absolutely nothing in return.  That's what Mum's are for isn't it?  Nurturing, caring, helping, loving, martyring themselves?

 

It seems to me that Mum's are here to be punished whether they've done wrong or not.  Because we're the easier of two targets and we just accept it.

 

My first grandchild was born and no-one told me.  Everyone else knew but me.  Eventually, my son brought him to meet me when he was two years old and I think I was supposed to turn into SuperGran in an instant and get my head around my son's casual, careless attitude towards women, contraception, pregnancy, fatherhood etc. 

 

I had no idea he'd even met anyone because he didn't share his life with me from the day I told him that no, he wasn't the man of the house now I'd divorced his father. 

 

I watched him go from one relationship to another with a string of unsuitable women, some of whom just wanted 'babies' and nothing more.  And I watched him on his ego trips with the patience of a saint, hoping he'd come to his senses.  If I spoke out I was told he was old enough to know what he was doing.

 

He disappeared from my life, but not from his father's or his younger brothers, for over a decade, during which time, he married twice and had 3 more children.  Each time a grandchild was born, the news was kept from me by the 3 of them.  If that's not designed to humiliate, hurt and harm, then I don't know what is.  If that's not ridiculous immaturity, I don't know what is.  And if that's not spitefulness, I don't know what is either.

 

And if that's not my ex husband using his own children and grandchildren to get back at me – I don't know what is.  But it certainly won't be the 'victory' he's hoping for. 

 

Two years ago whilst at work, I received a telephone call out of the blue from a man describing himself as 'The Prodigal Son'.   I didn't recognise his voice, that's how long it had been since I'd heard from him.  Yet obviously he knew I was alive and how to get hold of me.  So why now?  And obviously he knew I wouldn't reject his call.  He was my son and how well he knew how to use the Bible story to weaken my defences.  Same modus operandii as his father.  I forgot to tell him that I'm no longer religious.  But how well he knew how to press those emotional buttons.

 

I GENUINELY welcomed him and his wife and children back into my life with open arms.  I housed them all for over a month because they were homeless, I searched and found a rented house for them, I ferried my DIL everywhere in my old banger of a car which they openly laughed at.  I was very ill also at the time and still am, but I was overjoyed to have my son and his family back.

 

I gave my son several thousand pounds to start a business and get him back on his feet.  I was buying their food for months, glad to be of help in whatever way, anything to get them all some stability.  My DIL kept inviting me round while my son was away working, usually to mind the children or to clean up the house after some disaster or other that she 'didn't know how to cope with' and then suddenly my son asked me to 'give her some space', which puzzled me because it was she who was doing the inviting every day.

 

I didn't tell him that I'd recently mopped up gallons of water from his flooded kitchen while his wife sunbathed in the garden and his children paddled in it with electrical items plugged into socket extensions lying in the water, and they were inches away from death.

 

Nor did I tell him I'd been asked what kind of coffin I wanted when I die and nor did I tell him quite a few things that I knew he'd turn around and tell me I was either imagining or making up to cause trouble.   I chose to step back and say nothing for fear of losing my grandkids AGAIN.

 

So what was my DIL up to?  Well she was up to having a husband who was working away and bringing money home once a month, she was up to having a MIL to do her donkey work for her and she was up to having 'drinks' with one of her young neighbours who she then began getting to babysit instead of asking me.  She was up to cultivating USEFUL PEOPLE into her life.  And I stress they have to be USEFUL because they're dispensed with as soon as they see through her and are of no more use.

 

Once I'd served my purpose, given them the money they wanted, done the initial babysitting, posed for the family photos (image is very important to them) I was dispensed with in about half an hour.  How did that happen?

 

Well, after handing over £100 worth of food shopping to them for the umpteenth time, because they told me they were penniless, I discovered they had the money to buy a heap of alcohol for the weekend party they had planned for their 'guests' coming to stay.  I also discovered that while they apparently didn't have the money to pay their Council Tax which I paid for them, and their gas bill which I also paid for them, they DID have the money to pay the local pub for a room for a birthday party for their 7 year old son whom they dote on to the point of making me vomit.

 

Yep, appearances seem to be EVERYTHING to them. 

 

After discovering all that, I decided to wait with my DIL for my son and his business partner to come home from their day's work, because quite simply I smelled a rat and I was running out of money and patience to support their hedonistic lifestyle.

 

They arrived late and drunk and ready for an argument – with me – because I was still there and I'm an easy target.  No doubt they were annoyed I had the audacity to wait in THEIR house for them, TWO ADULT MEN, to come home from work.

 

But you see, I don't class them as grown up yet.  They might have had sex with numerous women, they might have children to numerous women, they might have travelled the world and had numerous encounters and experiences – but they're far from grown up, far from being adult, far from being responsible and far from being nice people - and I'm now far from being the stupid woman I've been for longer than I care to remember.

 

I asked my son if he'd driven his van in the drunken state he was in and he gave me a load of BS and said something about 'The Alpha Female here trying to rule my life …'

 

At which point I stood up and told him I'd be back in the morning when he was sober and if he had anything to say to me, 'The so called Alpha Woman' he could say it then and get it over with.

 

I returned the following morning and asked if he had anything to say.  He became aggressive, yelled that I was mentally unstable and that he didn't need his MOTHER in his life.  Believe me, he had never needed a Mother more!  And he still needs one.  Maybe his wife will stand in for me, but that's not the ideal scenario in a marriage.  But many wives seem to be prepared to become their husband's mothers, which is why so many DILSs want their MILs out of the way.  They'll learn it was the wrong thing to do one day.

 

You see I don't care how 'old' my son is, if he's drink driving and he has a wife and 4 children to care for, if he and his wife go out for a night out leaving me to babysit, then I don't expect to wake up in the morning to find the front door of the house has been wide open with the key in the lock all night while we were sleeping, or the patio doors wide open and all the lights on, the TV on.  You see I brought my children up better than that and I provided safety for them.

 

I realised that this is how my son and his wife operate.  They're fakes.  It's how they live.  Fake smiles, fake words, fake lives, fake friends, fake smiles, fake emotions, fake relationships.  It's how they get what they want from people before moving on to the next victim.  They charm, they impress, they cajole – and then they callously DUMP whoever they've befriended for whatever they've needed.  And they get a kick out of doing it.  To them it's being clever.  It's being ingenious. 

 

It's clever getting one over on your own Mother.  It's clever to laugh about it afterwards.  It's clever to feel no remorse.  It gives them street cred.  It gets them respect from their peers.  To me it's really sad and very, very boring and a total waste of my life.

 

I don't want any more feral grandchildren thank you.  I don't want any more shallow peace offerings.  I don't want to be emotionally blackmailed by having my grandsons dangled in front of me as an enticement to 'do as I'm told'.  I don't want any DILs asking me what kind of coffin I'd like.  I don't have any respectful relationship with my children because they don't feel they need to give it and I certainly can't respect them for their behaviour.  Their 'appearances' are faultless, but their fakeness sickens me to the stomach.

 

And since I made a few decisions about what I will and will not accept from my ex husband and my sons I have a great deal more respect for myself.

 

I gave them a good upbringing.  I gave them everything I had.  I worked hard to keep a roof over our heads and food in our bellies – and what's more I LOVED MY CHILDREN WITH EVERY FIBRE OF MY BODY.  And I now realise how STUPID that was.  I gave them far too much of myself.

 

But I don't any more.  And that's a lesson THEY'RE GOING TO HAVE TO LEARN.  It works both ways.  Love isn't an endless commodity for people to draw on and never give back to.  I'm not an 'unconditional love hippie'.  I'm all for expecting something back from my children – and what I expect is the respect I damned well deserve.

 

It's about time some of our young people woke up from their narcissistic pot or alcohol induced haze and realised that PARENTS ARE HUMAN.  We can love and we can have our patience stretched to the absolute limits.  We can apologise only so much for being human and we can also eventually hate despise and loathe just like everyone else when we're pushed way, way too far.  We're also prone to self preservation when the chips are down and we find it's our own kids actually wishing us dead long before we're ready to go.

 

And we can also tell our own TRUTH.  And that's mine.  I'm human.  Not a Goddess.  Not an Earth Mother.  Not a Martyr.  I'm human and if my sons can't get their heads around that – tough!

 

Whilst I'm in no doubt at all that there are abused adult children who have every right to cut off from their parents for their own health and safety, I'm also in no doubt that there are many, many adult children jumping on that bandwagon simply because they know their decent, caring parents will respond to their demands, jump through their hoops simply to get a glimpse of the grandchildren they've brought into the world.  They actually DON'T DESERVE THE DECENT, CARING PARENTS THEY HAD AND DUMPED.

 

I have a message for my sons – and that message is -

 

"You've messed around with my head and my heart one time too many -my emotions are fine now thanks.  I gave birth to you long ago, but you've changed so much in your 30 odd years of life, I don't know you any more.  You're not the type of adults I'd want as friends because you're not adult enough yet to deserve my friendship.

 

I don't enjoy drinking to excess or pretending I'm someone I'm not.  And I really hope you find the maturity one day to accept that there were things I couldn't share with you about my marital breakdown because you were too young to understand or accept them.

 

And I also hope you find the maturity one day to realise I've NEVER LIED to you and that if you really want to know the truth, it's here waiting for you.  But you'd better really want it.  Don't waste any more of my time telling me I'm mentally ill because I tell you something YOU DON'T WANT TO HEAR.  They're your father's words coming out of YOUR mouth and I've heard them all too often.

 

Just as life was cruel to you, it was also cruel to me and I didn't understand what was happening any more than you did.  Your father had the upper hand, he had his own agenda which he wasn't sharing with me, he was a liar, amongst other things and I couldn't explain to you what I couldn't explain to myself because he wouldn't explain some of his 'mysteries' to me.

 

But continue treating him as your idol and me as your enemy if you really can't face the truth because I'm now past caring.  I don't have the energy to care that much any more.  I don't have the energy to give you any more signals that you're screwing your lives up because you don't want to face the truth.

 

Be the real men you profess to be and go and challenge your FATHER'S BEHAVIOUR even if only in your own mind.  Go and challenge your FATHER'S LIES.  Go and ask him how he really feels about me and you.  For your own good, you need to face up and man up once and for all instead of kicking your mother's shins at every opportunity.  Because believe me, you'll find that now, I can and I will, kick you right back.  I'm done apologising for things that were NOT MY FAULT, and I'm done apologising for the fact that I'm still breathing and your father doesn't like it."

 

And I'm also done with caring whether I ever see you or my grandchildren again.  I'll live.

December 20, 2012
4:37 pm
Jenny
Guest

Carolyn,
What a beautiful post, and a beautiful heart. I was ready to be blasted by adult children on here, with blame. I know ALL of us here are hurting. You are right in saying that Love truly is the only way for any of us. As I was falling asleep this afternoon, needing to nap and deal with the underlying hurt and anger, I felt as I'd God were whispering that he'd give me sons who love me, appreciate me, and need me. I know He will. Not just for me, but for all of us here. This life isn't all there is…there's more waiting. Maybe our children will also get the parents they long for.

December 20, 2012
8:33 am
carolyn
Guest

Jenny, my heart goes out to you and I can feel your suffering.  I could have written your post as I am experiencing the same treatment and feelings only mine is with my daughter.  My estrangement with her has been off and on for the last 11 years this one lasting three years. I haven't been able to see or hear my grandchildren other than pictures at Christmas time which I am thankful for.  I have finally learned to just "let go" as I realize that no matter what I say or do is going to make a difference.  It is out of my control and while I am terribly hurt and miss them dearly I have learned that I need to forgive them and have compassion for them.  Obviously they are suffering with something in their lives that they are unable to find a way to make peace and continue to want to hold on to resentment and bitterness.  I may never understand what their real problem is.  It is so very sad that in a world where there is so much strife and tragedy that they are not able to put into perspective what really matters.  There is so much in this world that is out of our control but what is in our control is forgiveness, second chances and fresh starts.  The one thing that turns the world from a lonely place to a beautiful place…is love.  Love in any of its form.  Love gives us hope.  I pray for my children and for all of us estranged mothers and estranged children that we will all be able to find some peace in our hearts by forgiving and having unconditional love for ourselves and for  those is our lives.  A Blessed Christmas to all and a Joyous New Year!  

December 19, 2012
9:42 pm
Jenny
Guest

I am afraid to post, because I, as a parent, am sick of blame, yet, there are some very hurt and angry adult children on here, so emotions are raw. Every single time that I try to reconcile with my son, he repeats accusations that make no sense to me. He, and his wife, have taken comments or actions of mine and blown them so far out of proportion that I cannot believe an adult would even think to find offense. They have blamed me for causing them repeated drama, when I thought I was just coming to visit. How could I know that every time I left, they spent hours discussing my \"mistakes\". I\'ve been attacked, accused, cut off, and treated like a bad child, when in fact, I wouldn\'t treat a total stranger as rudely as they\'ve done me. I\'ve been told \"I don\'t listen\", when they don\'t listen. I cannot explain myself without being threatened of them cutting off all contact. I just want these adult children here to understand that listening goes both ways and hurting goes both ways. You do not have the right to slam parents then run, then go around telling everyone that they do not listen or that they keep blindly denying their role. My son has blindly denied his role in devastating me in ways I would never, ever do to him, yet all I ever here is what I\'ve done wrong. If I say, \"but you really hurt me\", I get cut off and told I\'m not HEARING him. The bottom line is that my child is my heart and angry or not, hurt or not, this business of total withdrawal is wrong and is every bit as hurtful, if not more so, than any word could ever be. Walking away says \"you aren\'t worth it…I am better than you, and if you can\'t be who I want you to be, then I\'ll show you\". That\'s cruel, childish, and immature. Thats abusive control and no better than when people would exile others over differences of opinion. It is inhumane.

My parents aren\'t perfect. My mother is an attention addict and my father drinks, but I accept them for who they are, tolerate our differences, and love them. When did adult children get to pass judgement on their parents and become somehow superior?

Bottom line…look who it hurts. Look who wants to make it right. It seems to be the parents, which means maybe they know a little bit more about love than this new generation of kids.

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