When Your Adult Child Stops Talking to You: 5 Things They Want You to Know

Updated on May 28, 2019
Jessica Beasley profile image

As a product of a dysfunctional family, I find fulfillment in sharing my personal heartache to help others going through difficult times.

My Story

Like most, I've gone through periods of time not speaking to a family member. Sometimes it's because there is a disagreement and space is needed. Sometimes it's simply because life has gotten in the way and time is hard to find. Other times, a relationship has had its season, and it's time to move on with no hard feelings. Unfortunately though, there is something more than a dispute or a one-time event that puts an indefinite pause on a relationship. What is that you ask? I am talking about a full-blown estrangement.

After many years of trying to have a non-toxic relationship with my father, I made the heartbreaking decision to cut him out of my life over a year ago. Anyone reading this who is a parent in this position, please know, I write this article from a place of love. I'm not a victim all alone, but my parent/father is a victim of it as well. There's healing and change that needs to take place on both sides.

1. We Didn't Make the Decision Lightly

It is painful, it is hard to understand, and it seems to have just happened overnight, but odds are that the decision was not made lightly. It was made after many years and lots of thinking, deciding, soul searching, and failed communication. We did not just wake up one day and say to ourselves “I want to torture my parents by never speaking to them again!”. Something pushed us to this unbearable but unavoidable reality. And guess what, it breaks our hearts too. But sometimes when relationships have gone on a certain way for so long, it can't be fixed with one or multiple conversations. Sometimes drastic measures need to be taken like this and only from there, can it maybe be fixed. Hang in there.

2. We Have Already Given You a "Second Chance"

...or third, fourth, and fifth chances. Odds are pretty good that we have talked and talked, but never felt like you listened because you are used to us being “children”. We have tried to tell you what is bothering us (and you have expressed your feelings too) and perhaps have been in denial that our issues are valid. Also, as family, we sometimes think that the bond is unbreakable, until we learn that it is not. For many of us, we care more about how we are treated than who shares our DNA, that is not enough. I understand too that as a parent, you have done all that you know to do, and it does not seem to work or get though our hard heads (and we have them, we can be stubborn). Give it time, give it space. Sometimes, it is just temporary.

3. We Also Have a Void That Cannot Be Filled

There are not too many things more painful for a parent than losing a child, either physically or emotionally. But you must also understand that we as adult children also have a void. We wouldn't have cut the parent out if we didn't genuinely feel a threat to our emotional well being. It is heartbreaking to us as well because no other human can fill your void in us either. However, we look at is at the lesser of two evils when things have gotten to a certain point. But parents, please don't be scared by this, just listen and, hopefully, we will listen to you too and there can be healing.

4. We Are Mourning Too

Your child has stopped talking to you and you are in mourning. Guess what? They are mourning too. That may provide comfort or make you feel worse, but know that it is the truth. The odds are good that, if we cut you out, we have been mourning a relationship with you long before you long before you knew there was a problem. It is no one's fault, miscommunication happens in almost any relationship at some point. But there is no joy in it for anyone, it was done out of extreme necessity and we wish it could be so different.

We Still Love You

Just because we chose to move our lives forward without communicating with you, does not mean that we hate you. It means that we love you so much, that we decided to just let you be despite what our ego wants. It means that we also love ourselves enough to not force something that will disrupt our lives moving forward with our spouses, children, our just ourselves. But what is good for us is also good for you. Live your best life without us as well.

Are You on Either End of This Situation?

If so, please share your experience below. I would love to hear your stories. When I was really struggling, I found great comfort in hearing other people's similar situations. It didn't fix my problem, but it made me feel like I wasn't the only one. Whether you are the parent or adult child, I hope comfort can be found.

Below I have included a link to another great article (written by Debra Roberts) for those struggling with this unfortunate issue.

One Tough Mother: Parental Alienation and Family Estrangement

You are not alone, stay strong! <3

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers

  • My daughter chose the man to marry within 3 months of meeting him. We helped make it as special as we could. Since getting married she has stopped talking to us. She rarely answers a call or text. I only try every other week or do to say hello and see how she is. My heart is broken because we were so close. Do I just leave my newlywed daughter alone completely?

    I’m so sorry to hear that you’re having this issue. I’m not a professional, just an adult child myself. Without knowing what she is going through or what her reasons are I can't say for sure. If it’s not an abusive situation she is in where she can't contact you without consequences, she is probably doing it on her own accord and may need space.

  • I am an adult survivor who has made friends with a couple in my apt. She is an MSW but retired now. We did clay work together and a week later she sent me a painted snake she had a made to make up for a misunderstanding. I threw up when I opened the package and feel violated by good friends. How can I address my difficulty with my friend without cutting off our relationship?

    I am so sorry you’re having issues with friends of yours. I know it is never easy. I am not a professional. I am just an adult child of parents who I have had an on/off relationship. Troubled relationships of any kinds are never easy.

© 2019 Jess B


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    • profile image


      7 weeks ago

      My first born son and I were close, he went through a long stage of addiction, I was there trying to help him . He eventually got the help he needed. My son met his now fiancé at his meetings, her and I got along for the most part. Now that they have gotten their own footing etc, My din is angry with me, I’m not allowed at his home, he doesn’t answer my phone calls he tells me I’m a toxic mom. My heart hurts I feel helpless

    • profile image

      Pam Bennington 

      3 months ago

      I have had the pleasure of having my 2 grandsons spend Friday night with me for 5 years now. We enjoy that time , I took a job and couldn't have them for 2 Fridays and then there was 2 Fridays it snow stormed and I didn't get them. Now my daughter and her husband won't let me talk to them on phone, won't let me go see them and won't let them come see me and I don't know why. The only way I can see my 8 year old grandson is at school lunch I go visit

      I miss them so much

    • profile image

      Samantha's Mom 

      4 months ago

      I am so grateful that you are explaining the perspective of the child. Thank you. I too have been guilty of the "Why me?" thinking as a mother of a daugther who has not spoken with me in now over four years. I am glad to read that you think she still loves me. This is what shakes me to my core. But, like you said, what she feels is more important right now. Thank you.

    • Jessica Beasley profile imageAUTHOR

      Jess B 

      12 months ago from United States

      Thank you so much for reaching out! Im happy to know you through the power of writing. We will help people a lot, I know people just like us, helped me when i was at my worst. It is a tough thing when we question our parents intentions, as we are taught to believe they are always pure and unconditional. Some of us know a different truth, but we’re in it together. I wish you continued healing!!

    • Deb Vesco Roberts profile image

      Debra Roberts 

      12 months ago from Ohio

      Thank you for doing this...maybe we can both be helpul resources for others enduring this unfortunate behavior from those who we love and who are supposed to love us unconditionally. It is a terrible feeling to not be respected and turned away from and most days I wonder if I was really even wanted as a child. I guess that is only a natural feeling. I'm inserting your link now.

    • Jessica Beasley profile imageAUTHOR

      Jess B 

      12 months ago from United States

      Hi Debra! :) You spoke about your issues with your mom so eloquently! There is such a pain when we as "children" have to do an estrangement. Knowing I wasn't alone was so crucial in my healing and I think it is great that we both share our stories with others going through the same thing, as it can be a very isolating, lonely feeling. I would love to create a link to your article in mine as well! They go hand in hand perfectly! So sorry for your situation, I truly understand, but I'm so grateful we can do good for others!

    • Deb Vesco Roberts profile image

      Debra Roberts 

      12 months ago from Ohio

      Yes, I am experiencing parental estrangement. I am sorry you are enduring this as there is no greater pain--aside from your own child cutting you off--because I had to cut off grandma and they don't see her abuse or how she has hurt me repeatedly. They see a lonely old widow and think I should just endure her wrath. I did it for decades and when my father passed and I was in the process of a divorce and remarriage, she unleashed on me and caused chaos at every turn. Here is my story: https://hubpages.com/family-relationships/One-Toug... I would like to create a backlink to your article within mine :)

    • Jessica Beasley profile imageAUTHOR

      Jess B 

      15 months ago from United States

      So beautifully said Elly! And so very true! As hard as this whole topic can be for so many reasons, it is wonderful when someone can truly understand. Thank you so much for reading my article. I wish you continued peace with your journey.

    • profile image

      Elly The Autistic 

      15 months ago

      An excellent article...

      The points you made about the Estranged Children hurting as well and that we have tried multiple times to 'explain' is particularly important to recognize. I have spent a lot of time researching this topic, due to my own estrangement from my 'family'.

      On Estranged Children's forums there is an underlying theme of sadness and loss that We cannot get our EP's to actually "listen" to Us and our concerns. We are constantly cite being trivialized, minimized, our concerns outright rejected and at worse called '"fabricated" (a polite way to say we are LIARS). As you said, We get looked at like We are still 'petulant children' and they are the only 'adult' in the situation and therefore are "right".

      EC forums are also full of Us saying that it isn't past behavior that has led to the estrangement or No Contact. It is the continued bad behavior on the part of the Estranged Parent.

      On the flip side, Estranged Parent forums are full of people displaying the very behaviors We as Estranged Children cite as the reasons for going No Contact and when they are confronted they behave in all the manners We describe -- they just don't see or recognize it.

      EP's believe their children (Us) are selfish, immature and need a "swift kick" to be brought 'back in line'. They think We are angry and hostile and No Contact is a way to punish them. They see any attempt at Us setting healthy boundaries as Us trying to "control and manipulate" THEM and their response is to dig in their heels. "How dare those kids of Ours tell US what to do!!!"

      You are right. I have mourned the relationship I never had with my 'family' but more importantly I mourn the fact that my 'parents' are still alive and until they can treat Me as an EQUAL human to them, I must maintain No Contact. Sadly, I don't believe them capable.

    • Jessica Beasley profile imageAUTHOR

      Jess B 

      15 months ago from United States

      Hi Amber! I am so glad it could bring you some comfort.

    • Frugal Housewife profile image

      Amber Joy 

      15 months ago from Canada

      Thank you! I needed this!


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