What I find fascinating is how you state that most sympathy is for the estranged parents and "kids get most of the blame." Personally, I find the opposite. Most estranged parents are vilified and blamed. Because its not natural for children to hate their parents and estrange so the parents is to blame. Additionally, we have that old tired and wrong Freud stuff where the mother caused all the problems that a person might have. There is something parents are told, "You must have been a bad parent if your kids don't love you or have estranged." There are many really hateful forums from kids who believe their parents are such words as toxic narcissist. The forums that are for estranged parents often get a lot of hateful emails from estranged children justifying their own behavior and vilifying their parents. No matter what, it is very painful to have someone who is full of vitriol and cruelty in one's life and family. Its often very hard to get out of the blame they throw on us as the bad ones. I wish you all the best and much healing.
My family is in a similar situation as yours with my mother. She orchestrated the most heinous thing she could have done to us just because we stood up to her and said, “No.” We refused to do things her way and sat a boundary.
You’re right. There’s no explaining the pain to those who haven’t experienced it. Our society doesn’t discuss estrangement for the adult children and most won’t believe you’re not at fault if you do try to talk about it. We have little to no support. Kids get most of the blame.
As the new black sheep of a large extended family, I now feel like an orphan with Cinderella’s baggage. My husband is sincerely my Prince Charming who has witnessed my strict mother’s self-absorbed and jealous ways since I was 18 and he was 20. We are now middle aged and have one 18 yr. old son.
Long story short, mother dearest tried to force us to accept her new boyfriend at my grandma’s funeral. We hadn’t formally met. We had warned her several weeks in advance and several times that we weren’t ready for this because we were still grieving my Daddy’s death and thought she should be too. (She and my dad supposedly had an amazing, “marriage of all marriages” that lasted 49 years.) Shortly after Dad’s death, Mother made me promise if she ever thought about another man, “just kick her in the head”. So, anyone that knew her couldn’t believe she’d take up with a new guy at all, much less 18-20 months after her 49 yr. marriage suddenly, and unexpectedly ended with my Dad’s heart attack.
So, the morning of my maternal grandma’s funeral where I’m supposed to read the eulogy, Mother proclaims, “her family” decided the “new guy” should sit beside her where my Daddy would have been seated with the family. (Later I hear from her brother this was a lie.)
That was enough for me. I refused to come if I was going to have to be forced to see her parade this new man in front of me, her grandson, and my husband who were all still grieving her recently deceased husband of 49 years! Ranking her siblings above us with that comment was also the end for me. She basically said I wasn’t her family anymore.
It dawned on me too, that my Daddy’s three sisters knew my deceased Grandma and would bear witness to this little orchestrated drama. They were certainly still grieving their brother and feeling the need to still check up on their recently widowed sister-in-law. She wanted to use her own mother’s funeral to shock them and parade the new guy around to the public. Ironically, mother also claims to be a Christian.
We stood our ground and threatened to not show up if this “just friend” sat with her. They had only been dating a few weeks and were already saying, “Love ya!” in texts to each other. She was livid with us because she didn’t want to explain to family why we wouldn’t be there. So, she kept him from coming to the funeral, gave us the silent treatment all day, then kicked us out of her life the next day. We told her this was Grandma’s day. She should be grieving her mother instead of worrying about her new romance!
We haven’t spoken in 10 months now. She ran off on a cruise with the “just friend” a few weeks later. Then she used social media to try and rub photos of the cruise in our faces. She has bragged to her brother that she’s “teaching us a lesson”. There are so many of these insidious “lessons” I can recall now that I could certainly write a book.
Her latest drama is to try and make everyone think she’s back to grieving my Daddy’s death again. She’s posting on social media about how much she misses him, but asked my husband 10 months ago when am I going to be done grieving my Daddy!
All my life I remember this conditional love. I always heard “if you do what we expect and live by our rules, then we won’t have any problems. Usually that meant “don’t get yourself pregnant out of wedlock or thrown in jail” or you’re out of our lives, or so I thought. Now I know different. It meant let me disrespect you and your family as much as I want because I’m the parent and you don’t question me because you’ll always be the children and I’m entitled to treat you however I want. Funny one of her favorite sayings is, “Do unto others as you’d have them do to you.”
This is why we have chosen to have no contact. Now I see all the games she’s played with me my whole life and all the jealousy she had towards us. Any parents that make their really great, law-abiding, do almost anything for you kids an option, or competition in their life; don’t deserve to have the gift God gave them.
To help heal you may want to listen to Charles Stanley’s two part sermon on “Forgiveness”. I also read the books, Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents and Mothers who Betray their Daughters. Best of luck in learning to love yourself as much as your real parents should have.
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