When Your Adult Child Stops Talking to You: 5 Things They Want You to Know
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.
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.
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© 2019 Jessica Beasley