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Estranged Child - Should I set the record straight?
March 3, 2015
6:53 pm
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Mother of 1
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LH. Not a bad idea. Thanks for the suggestion. I may well do that.

I am honestly not sure that there was a whole lot really accomplished in those 4 terrible sessions conducted by the social worker back November and December 2013 and January and February 2014. And I'm not sure that much more was said than I have detailed here. 

My daughter's biggest complaint seemed to be that after her Dad and I separated when she was 12, I treated her too much like a confidant and not like a child. She's right but I can't change that now.

I was hoping she could tell me what I could do now and in the future to make our relationship better, but frankly, and obviously, the four counseling sessions made out relationship worse than it had ever been, leading to the ultimate estrangement. Plus the hit and run approach, coupled with the substance of the maxims my daughter payed down (ie you can't see your grandson or son in law if daughter is not there, and you can't give your grandson gifts) that the social worker certainly left me with a bitter taste in my mouth after each session. It obviously is not a good approach to end a counseling session with a bombshell, nor is it likely to foster improved relationship to allow one side to dictate all the rules. As I told the social worker (aka counselor) in the beginning of the third session, my prior experience with psychiatrists and marriage counselors was very good because they always set down found rules to avoid such bombshells and they operated under general maxims such as recognition that if one person "wins" and another "loses," then most likely the result would be everybody looses. Thus the best approach is a win-win strategy where everyone walks away from the table feeling that they were heard and that they gained something. Unfortunately, that was when the social worker decided to scream at me, and things went downhill from there. So before I even walked into the 4th session, I felt in my heart that we were heading for an estrangement, yet it still hit me like a ton of lead bricks. When I say it almost killed me, I'm not far from the truth. 

I do think I will print this out for my psychiatrist. Yet, the real issue underlying all is not what I say, or what I might tell him, because I am incapable of telling him why my daughter decided to become estranged.

So I go back to my reason for writing here. Daughter's and Sons: If you do decide to become estranged from your parents, please, please explain why. And if you can, put it in writing. Try to be diplomatic. Remember they are people too and have feelings too. But the kindest and most compassionate thing you can do is to explain why you are doing what you are doing. They may not agree, but at least it will give them a place to start if they really want to do what they can to correct any past errors, make reparations for past failings, and try to make amends. Because let's face it: Most parents love their children, and most kids love their parents, even if they have trouble making the parent child / child parent relationship work. 

Thanks LH, for making an effort. Please say a prayer for my daughter. She must be hurting too. 

Fondly

Mother of 1. 

March 3, 2015
7:29 am
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LH
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Mother of One,

You've been through a lot. I'm sorry you and your daughter have had so many difficulties.

Based on what you've said, it sounds to me like you're one of the many people who have difficulty absorbing negative information. Did you find that when your daughter or the counselor said something critical to you, it was a lot to take in, like the conversation became disjointed and things stopped making sense? And when you think back on it now, it's just snippets out of context?

It's not an uncommon problem, but it can cause issues in relationships when there's a complicated problem to work out. I can see flickers of it all through your description of the counseling sessions. When one person has a problem with another person, the other person needs to be able to assemble the complaints into a coherent pattern. Otherwise, they're just bombs out of nowhere, and the person can't make any sort of meaningful response. It's common for people to get defensive and shut down under what they perceive as an assault.

Afterward, they can't remember a lot of what was said, and the things they do remember don't have any context, so they make no sense. The person doesn't remember enough to have an "Aha!" moment between sessions (or arguments, or conversations). It means things can't move forward.

Have you considered printing out this entire conversation and giving it to your new psychiatrist to read? They might find it useful to see how you talk about the estrangement outside of sessions.

March 2, 2015
6:25 pm
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Mother of 1
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LH said

Mother of one said
At the third session, I complained to the counselor ( a social worker who unfortunately was young, inexperienced and over her head) that I did not think this kind of hit and run approach was helpful. At that point the counselor screamed at me to the point I actually feared she (the counselor) might hit me. I expected someone to come running in given that the counselor was screaming, having obviously lost control of herself.

LH asked:
That's terrifying. What did the counselor scream at you?

Mother of 1 said:     At the fourth counseling session, my daughter ended the session with the same kind of hit and run pproach I recieved at the prior sessions.

LH asked:
Before your daughter stopped giving you explanations and started the "hit and run" approach, did you find that when she gave you a list of examples, you could show her that most or all of her examples had innocent explanations and didn't add up to the pattern she said they showed?

LH, in response to your questions, the counselor screamed that she was in charge now and that she was going to direct how the sessions would be run. She then told me what a wonderful smart and thoughtful person my daughter was (and I agree) and then she began attacking me personally. It was truly scary to the degree that the counselor had me in fear of her, and I ended up crying. 

On on your second question. The hit and runs were without explanation. In the first instant, my daughter simply said that hens forth I could not see my son in law or my grandson without her being present. Our general practice up til that point was that my son in law would call me to have lunch with me during the work wee (we worked across the street from each other), or he would come to the house and spend the day, bringing my grandson to visit while my daughter was studying, or the kids would go to a friend's wedding for a weekend, and my husband and I would babysit for the weekend. She didn't give me any examples of any issues. It was just a flat out pronouncement. No room for negotiation, and no explanation. Just that that was the rule henceforth. 

The he second hit and run was explained as, "you gave my son so many shirts that I never got an opportunity to buy him one." And as "your gifts come with strings attached. She's right on the shirts. When I saw that she always seemed to dress him in the same faded yellow polo shirt, I bought him 5 polo shirts in various primary colors. I did it to make her life easier. Apparently it was not appreciated. But I have no understanding why that should mean I am never allowed to give him or her a gift again. 

Like I said, the only explanation other than that was that my gifts were with strings attached. I still have no idea what strings she. Was talking about. There were no strings (though an occasional "Thanks Mom" would have been nice.

And in the Final session, after I paid the counselor her $250, The counselor concluded with the final pronouncement, saying,  "did you hear you daughter. She said she never wants to see you again." To be honest I had not heard my daughter say that, and I was so shocked, I said "you can't be serious. you aren't doing this." Or words to that effect. It was like a shot in the night out of no where. I beg and to cry, got up and left. I was blindsided. 

So no, I could not explain away anything with innocent explanations because she did not explain. 

At at this point, I am frankly at a loss. Essentially by punishing me by breaking off contact, my daughter has taught me that my effort to resolve any concerns she might with me through counseling (under the assistance of a qualified counselor who doesn't scream at patients/clients) will not be rewarded, but will be punished by the ultimate penalty.  

I can only hope that when her life becomes less stressful, as I hope it might after she graduates from law school and passes the bar exam, maybe she will be ready to try again. 

 For now, I can only focus on myself (with the help of my new, very highly renowned psychiatrist), and figure out how to come to terms with this tremendous loss. I miss my daughter, my son in law and my grandson terribly. I hope we can reconcile when she is ready. 

In in the interim, I will continue to send my grandson a Christmas present, an Easter basket and a birthday present. (Sorry if my daughter doesn't want me to. My grandson did not ask me to abandon him or ignore him, and I don't intend to. I send special occasion gifts to my five step grandchildren, and my husband and I both agree we should do the same thing with my daughter's son.)

I will also continue to pray that my daughter will eventually get professional help from someone who really knows what they are doing so my daughter can figure out what it is that makes her so very mad at me. She's obviously angry. But I'm not sure even she knows why. 

And, LH, I can't address any "list of examples" or explain my actions with "innocent explanations" or even with admission of fault unless and until she can provide me with a list of grievances to address. 

The ball is in her court. I already wrote to her just a few days after she broke ties, and told her I take full responsibility for not being the mother she needed me to be, noting that I still don't know what I did to fail her, but acknowledging that every kid deserves the parent he or she needs. 

I will also to send occasional emails simply to tell her:  "I love you, I miss you and you should be proud of your considerable accomplishments." But I will try not to overwhelm her, and I will try to give her the space she apparently needs. 

 5

March 2, 2015
7:24 am
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LH
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Mother of one said
At the third session, I complained to the counselor ( a social worker who unfortunately was young, inexperienced and over her head) that I did not think this kind of hit and run approach was helpful. At that point the counselor screamed at me to the point I actually feared she (the counselor) might hit me. I expected someone to come running in given that the counselor was screaming, having obviously lost control of herself.

That's terrifying. What did the counselor scream at you?

At the fourth counseling session, my daughter ended the session with the same kind of hit and run pproach I recieved at the prior sessions.

Before your daughter stopped giving you explanations and started the "hit and run" approach, did you find that when she gave you a list of examples, you could show her that most or all of her examples had innocent explanations and didn't add up to the pattern she said they showed?

February 25, 2015
9:11 pm
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thanks for your feedback. Actually, my daughter and I engaged in 4 counseling sessions. At the first, she told me I could no longer see my grandson or son in law without her present. No explanation. At the next session, she told me I could no longer give my grandson gifts. She claimed the gifts came with strings attached, but never told me what strings were attached. In fact there were no strings. I tend to like to be very generous as giving gifts gives me pleasure. At the third session I asked her why, if my gifts came with strings attached she had asked for and accepted $500 a month from me to help pay for my grandson's day care, and why she had borrowed some very expensive jewelry from me and then asked to keep it. I gave both the monthly $500 payments for my grandson and the jewelry without questions or conditions. Again, I had it to give and ishe wanted it so it gave me pleasure, knowing and hoping it pleased her. At the third session, I complained to the counselor ( a social worker who unfortunately was young, inexperienced and over her head) that I did not think this kind of hit and run approach was helpful. At that point the counselor screamed at me to the point I actually feared she (the counselor) might hit me. I expected someone to come running in given that the counselor was screaming, having obviously lost control of herself. I didn't want to go back, but my daughter insisted. At the fourth counseling session, my daughter ended the session with the same kind of hit and run pproach I recieved at the prior sessions. Only this time, the bomb she dropped was that she never wanted to see me again. So if she told me, you are right, I did not hear why. yes she indicated that when she was a teen, I was too open with her, treating her more like a confidant than a daughter. She's right, I did, and it was wrong, but I don't think it amounted to abuse. I personally don't think this amounted to "abuse."

I still say, I believe kindness and compassion are the answers to estrangement. I try to be kind and compassionate to my daughters and others, and no one who knows me, including my daughter, has ever accused me of abuse. If she did, I would ask what in particular she considered abusive.

And I might add, that when she informed me she never wanted to see me again, I responded the way I always have, I took full responsibility. I wrote her and told her I was truly sorry that whatever I had done to lead to her decision I accept responsibility for not giving her what she needed. I noted that children are entitled to have the parent and the parenting they need, but that unfortunately some parents, myself included, do not always know what a kid needs. We try, but sometimes we fail to be the parent the particular kid needs.

Funny, my daughter's father in law told me that before the kids got married, he thought I must be an ogre. But that once they got married, and he got to know me, and saw how warm, loving and giving I was with my daughter, and my grandson, and his own so, and he realized I was not the person my daughter described. He told me he also saw another side of my daughter, and that she was pretty demanding and could go ballistic on people including both his son and even strangers, like the people who made a minor error on my grandson's birthday cupcakes.

Similarly, my son in law told me the same thing, that both my daughter's step dad and I were always there to help, always dependable and always giving. Maybe that was why she didn't want me to see my grandson or son in law without her present: it would allow them to see who I really am and that would not jive with the way she liked to portray me to those who don't know me.

So anyway, I countine to reach out. I now see a highly reputed psychiatrist (with lots of experience) to deal with the pain, and I pray that the stresses of my daughter's life will subside to the degree that she is able to try again at having a good relationship with me. I recognize she is going through tough times: working full time, going to law school nights, having a surprise pregnancy in her first year of night law school and then a young son when she had so many competing demands on her time.

One thing she did tell me is that she felt she could not live up to my expectations of her. (She has more than lived up to any expectations... I tried to nurture her brilliant mind, and give her every opportunity without placing demands on her.  Indeed, I didn't have to place demands on her. She excelled in school, was popular, pretty, and hard working. She graduated high school with 44 AP credit... In my book she was amazing and far brighter and more hard working than I could ever be.)

But as I told her, her expectations of herself are way higher than any expectations I ever set. She's been a perfectionist since she was 6 months old and got frustrated when she could not set the colored rings on the ring holder. I had to take that toy away until she was a little older, and I tried to tell her that she should laugh at failures and not get frustrated because that's how we all learn, trial and error.  

She felt I never appreciated her successes except as she says, so I could bathe myself in her reflected glory. She's mistaken. I'm amazed at her successes and how she has done so much and continues to succeed.

My mother, the daughter of immigrants, encouraged me. My mother had actually been physically abused by her mother, yet she never abused me or my brother.  I became a lawyer and reasonably successful in life due to the encouragement of my mother, and I felt it was my duty to give my daughter the same kind of encouragement I valued getting from my mother. I also felt it my duty to be kind and loving. And I never raised a hand, preferring instead the time out approach that was popular with parents of my generation. I read all the books on parenting, and I tried hard to be a good parent, because after facing Cancer in my early 30s, my daughter and her future were more important to me than my career or anything else. Maybe that wasn't what my daughter needed. Maybe she needed less focus on her.

As for me, I can only continue to try, knowing that I cannot accept my failure  as the parent she needed me to be as the climax to the story, and trying to show her I love her and will always be there for her when she is ready. In the interim, I try to be kind and compassionate to others who are willing to accept my love. I believe love begets love, kindness eventually begets kindness, and compassion eventually begets compassion. Right now I have nothing but compassion for my daughter as I know she must be hurting, though I don't know and don't understand why. Wish I did.

Again, thanks for the feedback. Hope you and your parents can work things out. I know estrangement comes from deep hurts, even if they were created without intent to hurt. 

February 25, 2015
3:32 pm
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Mother of 1 said
it would be compassionate and kind to let your parents know why you chose estrangement. My daughter chose estrangement, but gave me no reasons. I'm sure I wasnt a perfect parent: Who is? But like any parent who loves his or her child, I tried my best. Every child needs what he or she needs, and every child is different. But the bottom line is that leaving a parent without a clue as to what he or she could have done to result in estrangement is probably not the kindest or most compassionate thing thing a kid could do to a parent. Indeed it seems to me to be cruel. 

None of us are perfect. Kids aren't and parents aren't. But I honestly believe that we (kids and parents) should make an effort to be kind and compassionate to each other, and when we fail at that effort and hurt one another, we owe it to both ourselves and each other to at least try to explain why. Without that effort, there is not a whole lot of hope. And without hope, we harden our own hearts.

When parents and children have a kind and compassionate relationship, they don't become estranged. Adult children who don't give their parents a reason for the estrangement do so because they've learned that their parents' reaction to the news will not be kind and compassionate, and they don't want to set themselves up for another round of abuse.

Also, when you hear an estranged parent say their child never told them why they were estranged, a little gentle questioning often reveals that their child did tell them. They sent a letter (that the parent says was "full of lies"), or made a phone call (that the parent says was "nothing but abuse"), or sat them down for a talk (that the parent often describes as lies AND abuse). They just won't accept that those are their child's reasons. Even Dr. Coleman says his patients can dismiss or minimize their child's explanations, then say they haven't gotten a REAL explanation. Of the parents who claim their child didn't give them an explanation, I would estimate that nine out of ten did get an explanation and rejected it.

So telling estranged adult children to explain themselves to their parents before they estrange is doubly useless. First, it sets the child up to be abused again. And second, they almost certainly did explain themselves, so why try again?

February 24, 2015
5:52 pm
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it would be compassionate and kind to let your parents know why you chose estrangement. My daughter chose estrangement, but gave me no reasons. I'm sure I wasnt a perfect parent: Who is? But like any parent who loves his or her child, I tried my best. Every child needs what he or she needs, and every child is different. But the bottom line is that leaving a parent without a clue as to what he or she could have done to result in estrangement is probably not the kindest or most compassionate thing thing a kid could do to a parent. Indeed it seems to me to be cruel. 

None of us are perfect. Kids aren't and parents aren't. But I honestly believe that we (kids and parents) should make an effort to be kind and compassionate to each other, and when we fail at that effort and hurt one another, we owe it to both ourselves and each other to at least try to explain why. Without that effort, there is not a whole lot of hope. And without hope, we harden our own hearts.

December 26, 2014
9:54 am
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Our two sons were raised in the same house by both their parents. They were loved and we had a wonderful family together. Then came the girls. Then came the marriages then came the grand baby. This is where the turmoil began. It started out with the statement that I was "smothering" my son's wife.  I apologized and things went for crap from there. I admit fault for some of it but my God, the cold shoulder I get now is heartbreaking. Our son and wife have been to a couples retreat weekend. His wife went to a women's retreat and our son went to a men's retreat. After each subsequent weekend. we communicated less and most of the relationship became superficial. When we go to gatherings, our Grand baby shies away from me in favour of a friend of the other granny. He has been taught my name but that is about it. He has no idea how much we love him. I had examples of this estrangement in my life and we were determined it wasn't going to happen to us and now it has. My only hope is that we can maintain some sort of relationship with our son and his son.  

December 6, 2013
11:07 am
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Say said
...

Like many mothers of estranged moms, I come from the common type of marrying a verbally and emotionally abusive man who my kids witnessed being disrespectful towards me. My biggest mistake was allowing it and it took me yrs of studying Social Work and psychology to understand what I was in. I left the relationship after 25 yrs and remarried a wonderful man. This of course caused friction and finger pointing to me that I picked a man over them. Hello...adult children!

Estrangement though didn't just happen. I spoiled my children and closed a blind eye to bad behavior and didn't give the proper boundaries. I was fearful of reprimanding them based on their "feelings". My parenting skills were very low. When I learned better was undermined by their manipulative abusive and narcissistic father.

Now my daughters become verbally abusive towards me when I say no. NO is not in their vocabulary you understand. They have not learned it through my bad parenting skills.

...

I hope you find peace. No matter what the hurt is...WE have a right to live without emotional abuse- but it's hard.

  

This forum is under the category 'estranged from my parent - for adult children', so I'm answering from that perspective. 

Where do you think your kids learned their abuse from? You mention that you have a right to live with emotional abuse, but what about your kids? They're just emulating what they experienced as kids...can you truly fault them for that? 

I understand you're in pain, and if I had my way...let's just say your ex wouldn't be very happy.  Just consider that this may not have much to do with your not wanting to hurt your children's feelings as a parent, and everything to do with a pattern of abuse they witnessed and/or experienced. I get that you don't want to take shit from people anymore. Just consider that your kids probably went through hell as well, and they lacked the maturity to understand it and thus now believe some level of emotional abuse is normal. It isn't as if you can simply drop all the habits and ideals you picked up as a child...don't expect them to, either, and don't be shocked that they may harbor resentment toward you for it. 

It sounds like you've been in a rotten situation overall...just remember that your kids have suffered with you, and their attitudes and ideals have been shaped entirely by their childhood...

December 4, 2013
5:50 am
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Estrangement is a horrible feeling from a mom. I have just become estranged from my oldest daughter- following an estrangement from the youngest daughter a few months ago.

To understand is complex. I do have responsibility in it. I accept it. I have apologized like hell. But it doesn't stop the abusive hurtful words of filth that come out of their mouths.

Like many mothers of estranged moms, I come from the common type of marrying a verbally and emotionally abusive man who my kids witnessed being disrespectful towards me. My biggest mistake was allowing it and it took me yrs of studying Social Work and psychology to understand what I was in. I left the relationship after 25 yrs and remarried a wonderful man. This of course caused friction and finger pointing to me that I picked a man over them. Hello...adult children!

Estrangement though didn't just happen. I spoiled my children and closed a blind eye to bad behavior and didn't give the proper boundaries. I was fearful of reprimanding them based on their "feelings". My parenting skills were very low. When I learned better was undermined by their manipulative abusive and narcissistic father.

Now my daughters become verbally abusive towards me when I say no. NO is not in their vocabulary you understand. They have not learned it through my bad parenting skills.

So estrangement hurts...its a hole in the heart but its reality and the past cannot be changed. I accept it. I cannot allow abuse into my life though. Life is worth every second and I am positive to live it.

I forgive easy. I am a real sucker for them and forgive and love them...but I don't forget. I'm cautious.

Time will tell what happens. I never planned my life to be estranged. I know what I will allow and will not allow.

I hope you find peace. No matter what the hurt is...WE have a right to live without emotional abuse- but it's hard.

 

October 21, 2013
9:56 am
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I have been estranged from my mother for 5+ years. She has written one letter in those five years and mailed it to my home address, which disturbed me since I am unsure how she got my address. In her letter, she stated that she had no idea what she's done to me. So, after much thought on the matter I wrote her a letter in reply and told her what she has done to me in broad terms. It did not pick apart each instance of hurt, but I hope that it did set the record straight. I visited this forum after learning of the death of my grandfather yesterday. Like you, I am feeling terrible about his death but I  cannot attend his funeral. It is a very bad feeling. I am trying not to feel guilty because I know that I am very justified in the decision that I have made. The relationship feels so broken, that I am unsure if we can reconcile. It may haunt me for the rest of my life, but at least my children will not know her influence as I have. I hope you can figure out the best approach. Don't beat yourself up, whatever you do. We all deserve respect and love.

May 2, 2013
9:08 pm
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LH said

Anonymous Mom said
Oprah recently said on national TV about her family that "Forgiveness is letting go of the past that cannot be changed."  There is a lot of truth in that statement.  Forgiveness benefits the person doing the forgiving more than the perpetrator who may not even realize the pain they are causing... 

You do realize that forgiveness and reconciliation are two different things, don't you? Forgiveness is healthy, and everyone, parents and adult children alike, should consider forgiveness when they're ready. (Attempting to forgive too early because other people said you should is harmful. It's yet another instance of stuffing your real emotions and trying to make yourself feel what you "should" feel.) However, forgiveness doesn't mean forgetting, and it doesn't mean you have to reconcile with the person you're forgiving. If you forgive your ex-husband for what happened during your marriage, does that mean you have to go back to him?

So if you're lecturing us on forgiveness because you think it's good for us... please step away. We already know that. (We watch Oprah, too.) We've heard everything you've heard, and being told it one more time isn't going to enlighten us, it's only going to annoy us.

If you're lecturing us on forgiveness because you think your son or daughter would reconcile with you if they forgave you, please realize that forgiveness is not a magic bullet, and is not guaranteed to cure estrangement.

Well said, parents who are really working to resolve an estrangement would do well to consider your wise words.  

May 2, 2013
9:06 pm
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And yet another thread where estranged parents are allowed to run rampant in the area intended for the children of estranged parents.  THIS IS NOT  A SAFE OR SUPPORTIVE PLACE FOR ADULT CHILDREN DEALING WITH ESTRANGEMENT. 

May 2, 2013
7:40 am
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Throwaway Mom said
LH, I wish you wouldn't speak for all estranged children. 

If what I say isn't accurate, I'll retract it. However, that call is for other estranged adult children to make.

I know this is not the way my daughter feels.  She did not spend any time trying to maintain a relationship with me, hell it took her a year to finally tell me that she was mad at me and in the mean time being abusive and disrespectful toward me.  And I do feel she has taken the step away from me lightly, not letting me defend myself over 30 year old lies her father told her.

I have sympathy for you because I know how it feels, locked on the outside with no way to know what the other person is thinking and why. It can be hard to read someone, especially in an emotionally charged relationship. In fact, it can be hardest in a charged relationship.

It's easy to fall into thinking, "It seems to be this way, therefore it is this way." For example, a lot of estranged parents make the leap from "She seems not to think about me at all" to "She doesn't think about me at all," when anyone who's cut off their parents can tell you that they still think about their parents--sometimes even constantly, when the estrangement is new.

So it may seem to you that your daughter didn't try to maintain a relationship with you, but you also say she was angry with you for a year without telling you, during which time she continued to have a relationship with you. It sounds like she did indeed try, although her behavior was less than stellar during that time. She must have had a reason to not tell you she was angry (whether or not it reflected reality), and also a reason to keep trying to have a relationship. Blame her for her behavior during that year, but please recognize that she did put in the effort.

It may also seem to you that she walked away from you lightly, but what she was willing to show you was not the whole of her emotions. After all, if she didn't tell you for a year that she was angry with you, why would she tell you everything she thought and felt upon cutting off the relationship? Please recognize that your perceptions of your daughter, like your daughter's perceptions of you, are filtered through a distorted lens. Assuming that you know what your daughter thinks and feels based on these distortions can only damage whatever chance you have of reestablishing a relationship with her.

May 1, 2013
5:49 pm
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LH, I wish you wouldn't speak for all estranged children. 

" We who have withdrawn from our parents would love to be able to do the same. Most of us have spent years trying to maintain a relationship, at significant cost to ourselves. We didn't take the final step away from our parents lightly."

I know this is not the way my daughter feels.  She did not spend any time trying to maintain a relationship with me, hell it took her a year to finally tell me that she was mad at me and in the mean time being abusive and disrespectful toward me.  And I do feel she has taken the step away from me lightly, not letting me defend myself over 30 year old lies her father told her.  I'm sorry for the way your parents treated you but not all of the estranged children of parents here were even remotely abused.

May 1, 2013
8:29 am
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anonymousinMO said
My parents were very controlling, and I was often hurt by their words and choices.  They tended to be very critical, although in birthday cards, my Mom always told me that they were proud of me and pleased with the person I had become.  [snip]

It's wonderful that you were able to remain in contact with your parents and keep a loving relationship with them despite their flaws. We who have withdrawn from our parents would love to be able to do the same. Most of us have spent years trying to maintain a relationship, at significant cost to ourselves. We didn't take the final step away from our parents lightly.

So please don't second-guess us or give us yet another repetition of advice we've already heard a dozen times before. I know you mean well, but trying to persuade people to "be the bigger person" and return to an abusive situation is not a loving action. 

May 1, 2013
5:25 am
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My parents were very controlling, and I was often hurt by their words and choices.  They tended to be very critical, although in birthday cards, my Mom always told me that they were proud of me and pleased with the person I had become.  My mom was airlifted and we almost lost her after some major health issues.  I lived 40 miles away, but for 4 yrs, until her passing, I phoned her almost every day and went to clean her house 2-4 times a month, even though I had a toddler and twins who were 4 when she passed.  I saw my parents take care of their aging parents.  I moved back from Europe at the request of my 27 yr. old daughter to help her and her 9 yr. old and to provide a home for them as they were leaving an alcoholic/abusive situation.  When I arrived back w/the 3 younger siblings (leaving my spouse there for 9 more months), she had made other plans.  I explained very gently that I had some concerns, but should she wish to know what those concerns were, she should ask.  After all at 27, it was her life to live.  I am concerned that she is in a similar situation to what she left, but knew that it would not be beneficial to state that outright.  Because I was here by myself, I was in contact with her now ex-husband.  There was no other contact for me and the younger siblings here in MO after she blocked my ph. calls. 2 1/2 wks after we arrived back.  I saw her one time.  She sent a msg that talking to the ex was a problem, so out of respect, I expressed to him that I had to curtail those calls unless it was an emergency.  I have not spoken to him for 3 mo, but no word from my daughter.  Even though, I have suffered much verbal abuse from my parents and even my siblings for my different beliefs, I would never abandon any of them.  As a Christian that goes against everything, I believe.   I would ask all to reconsider if you have done this to your parents.  Estrangement is not the answer unless you or your family is truly in danger physically.  I am one who might be considered extremely sensitive. My husband says I cry at commercials, lol.  However, this same daughter has told me in the past, how strong I am.  I have different views than most of my family, but I am committed to them.  Other than the Lord, my family is my priority.  I am not sure why this is not so for many ppl in this day and age.  My parents are both gone and despite the controlling, I miss them terribly.  I would encourage children who are estranged from your parents to do as I did with mine (if possible) to be the bigger person.

 

April 9, 2013
1:31 pm
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Anon
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Sherry said
                 You only have one Mom in your life   Forgiveness may be a simple answer.     Mother and daughter in laws should keep healthy  distance and it is always easy to blame any one rather than you .  Hope you can give this some thought  LIFE IS SHORT   

You're right. Life is short. It's way too short to waste it being beaten and screamed at by insane people just because they're your biological parents.

December 5, 2012
9:32 am
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LH
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Anonymous Mom said
Oprah recently said on national TV about her family that "Forgiveness is letting go of the past that cannot be changed."  There is a lot of truth in that statement.  Forgiveness benefits the person doing the forgiving more than the perpetrator who may not even realize the pain they are causing... 

You do realize that forgiveness and reconciliation are two different things, don't you? Forgiveness is healthy, and everyone, parents and adult children alike, should consider forgiveness when they're ready. (Attempting to forgive too early because other people said you should is harmful. It's yet another instance of stuffing your real emotions and trying to make yourself feel what you "should" feel.) However, forgiveness doesn't mean forgetting, and it doesn't mean you have to reconcile with the person you're forgiving. If you forgive your ex-husband for what happened during your marriage, does that mean you have to go back to him?

So if you're lecturing us on forgiveness because you think it's good for us... please step away. We already know that. (We watch Oprah, too.) We've heard everything you've heard, and being told it one more time isn't going to enlighten us, it's only going to annoy us.

If you're lecturing us on forgiveness because you think your son or daughter would reconcile with you if they forgave you, please realize that forgiveness is not a magic bullet, and is not guaranteed to cure estrangement.

December 3, 2012
5:13 pm
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Anonymous Mom
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Oprah recently said on national TV about her family that "Forgiveness is letting go of the past that cannot be changed."  There is a lot of truth in that statement.  Forgiveness benefits the person doing the forgiving more than the perpetrator who may not even realize the pain they are causing.  You are releasing the burden and pain of all that extra baggage you are carrying around and getting rid of all that you have allowed them to control and define you.  In order to move forward and live a healthy emotional life we need to release the past that no longer serves us otherwise you just stay stuck at where you are.  Try it, you would be surprised at how much better you feel.  Do it for yourself, no one else.  Take care, peace. 

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