5 Reasons Why Adult Children Estrange From Their Parents

Updated on February 13, 2018
Kim Bryan profile image

I lived in an unhealthy family for more than 40 years, but I didn't make the choice to "break up" with my parents overnight.

Why Would Someone Estrange From Their Parents?

For most people, it's unimaginable for a grown man or woman to choose to stop all contact with their parents. The people who provided food, clothes, and shelter, attended dance recitals, volunteered at school, or cheered from the bleachers during every Friday night's football game don't deserve to be abandoned in their old age just because they made some parenting mistakes, right?

Wrong.

According to Monica Ross, LPC, "If either party feels as though they cannot be respectful, loving, and supportive towards the other, then yes, it's time to move on and find those with whom one can. This is true for family members, friends, coworkers, and really anyone one would surround oneself with."

Dysfunction, especially when combined with abuse, does not end once a child reaches adulthood or because the abuser begins to get old. By then, the abusive parent is well-versed in the tactics needed to make their children do what they want, and these behaviors are likely to continue right up until the parents' death, unless someone—usually the abused—makes it stop.

I am one of those people who recognized slowly what was happening to me. I didn't make the choice to "break up" with my parents overnight, and I'm not happy I have no relationship with them. I'm sad my family is broken. I wish it was different, but it isn't.

If my parents had been willing to really listen to what their adult child had to say, to respect and consider it, the outcome would have been entirely different. Yet as I've learned in my journey to understand and heal, I am not alone. Thread after thread of internet discussions are filled with the stories of people who've made multiple attempts to repair unhealthy relations and have eventually disowned or gone no-contact with the people who raised them.

Alternatively, forums for the parents of estranged children are frequented by those who claim their son or daughter never explained their reasons for walking away. If you are estranged from your adult child, chances are they have told you why—you just chose to ignore it. And it's likely that it was one of these five reasons:

5 Reasons People End Their Relationship With Their Parent

Why Do People Stop Talking to Their Parents?

1. The Parent Disrespects the Adult Child's Spouse

Like me, many consider their parents' behavior normal until they marry. Looking at your parents from your significant other's perspective can be eye-opening.

Not having grown up under your parents' manipulations, as a new daughter- or son-in-law, your spouse may be unwilling to participate in the dysfunction that feels so natural to you. The parent who has always controlled you also expects to control your spouse, and when this fails to happen, it often results in contention, smear campaigns, and petty complaints designed to either force the new son- or daughter-in-law into compliance or get rid of them entirely via divorce.

Parents must respect their adult children and their spouses, regardless of whether they like them or not, even if you have differing expectations about family roles. You do not get to choose whom your children love. Respecting your son/daughter-in-law does not mean condoning or agreeing. Whether you want to admit it or not, you are not—nor can you ever be—the most important person in your adult child's life at all times. He cares about other people just as much as he cares about you. The sooner you understand that, the better off you'll be.

2. The Parent Refuses to Apologize

The refusal to apologize is a red flag for narcissistic personality disorder: It allows someone to justify their hurtful actions and words and blurs reality. Time and again, their children will try to make them understand a different perspective, but they continue to fail to see their own culpability. They gaslight their children into believing they are at fault and force them to apologize in order to mend the family.

To paraphrase the late Albert Einstein, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. This applies to the relationship you might have with your parents. You've been running for years and yet you're still in exactly the same place as you were as a child. You might realize you have to get off the hamster wheel.

When we hurt people, we ought to apologize without justifying. Just a simple "I'm sorry, please forgive me" is enough. As Dr. Phil once said, "'But' means forget everything I just said."

I confronted my mother.... She gaslighted me, meaning she told me my perceptions were incorrect.... My mother sneered, 'You have a very vivid imagination.'

— Misty Kiwak Jacobs, A Word Please.org

3. Overbearing and Undermining Grandparenting

A disordered parent sees their child as an extension of themselves, not as an individual, and grandchildren are but one more step on the ladder of "me."

  • Did you insist on participating in naming your grandchildren? Not okay.
  • Have you ever said, "It's okay, Grandma will let you do it" when the parents said no? Undermining is not okay.
  • Did you ever demand to have your grandchildren for certain events or visits? Ask, don't demand. If you're told no, respect it.
  • Stop giving the grandchildren sugar when their parents ask you not to. How you did it then wasn't the way they did it before and certainly not the way they do it now.
  • If you still think Mother's Day or Father's Day is all about you, you've got another think coming.
  • You're not smarter than the pediatrician.
  • Sparing the rod does not always spoil the child.
  • No, it's not okay to encourage your grandchild to love you more than his/her parents.
  • Stop trying to buy your grandchild's love with gifts.
  • You're not entitled to "alone time" with your grandchildren and your insistence on such is creepy.
  • Quit taunting your grandchildren with scary stories and insulting "jokes." You're being a bully.
  • And last but not least, for the love of all that is good, quit buying the grandchildren pets without the parents' permission!

The older generation must learn the difference between parenting and grandparenting. Your days of making all the decisions are over. In this new chapter of your life, your role is to give unconditional love and guidance, but it is a privilege, not a right. A grandchild is not your prodigy, nor are they your property. Be thankful for the time you are given rather than resentful over what you think you deserve.

If you want to make sure you don't repeat your toxic parents' mistakes, read 8 Signs of Bad Parenting That Every Parent Should Know.

Parents will always hold their children in their closest circle of relationships. But those children grow up to have children of their own who fill their parents' closest circle, and the oldest generation gets bumped to the outer edges. If this happens, the older generation loses a primary relationship, so you might say that the parent's loss is greater.

4. The Parent Plays Favorites Among Siblings

In early childhood, siblings in disordered families are assigned roles as either a scapegoat or a golden child. A golden child seldom suffers consequences for misbehavior and is often praised and applauded, while the scapegoat shoulders the blame for the family's dysfunction and suffers the brunt of the consequences.

Although the role one plays may be fluid, those who are mostly scapegoats are often the first (and sometimes only) ones to see and name the dysfunction—and this seldom goes very well. Eventually, the scapegoat realizes they are alone, even among family. Some will continue to try, but many will just walk way. Cutting off toxic parents is often the only way to make sure the cycle doesn't continue.

Get therapy if you have been accused of paying favorites. Even if you don't believe it's true, talk to a therapist. Seriously, therapy.

5. Ignored Boundaries

Last but not least is the refusal of the older generation to respect the boundaries of the child/parent relationship. Because disordered minds struggle to understand boundaries, I believe this reason is better explained with examples.

  • Prying into your child's finances and/or offering unsolicited financial advice is overstepping.
  • Insisting on being present for the birth of a grandchild is wrong. Nobody but the mother-to-be and her birthing staff have the right to be in the room.
  • Giving undergarments and sex toys as gifts is inappropriate. Doing this is crossing more boundaries than I have time to list.
  • Stop insisting on spending all holidays with your adult child and behaving badly if it doesn't happen. You're an adult, for goodness sake, quit acting like a child.
  • Quit demanding "alone time" with your adult child away from their significant other. Sure it's nice, but as I mentioned with grandchildren, your insistence on such is downright creepy and concerning.
  • Discussing your marital troubles with your adult child is wrong and crosses so many hill-to-die-on boundaries. Tell it to your best friend, or may I recommend a therapist? Whatever you do, don't discuss it with your child.
  • Criticizing clothing choices, hairstyles, companions, careers, religion or lack thereof, parenting styles, and the like is crossing boundaries. It is an utter and complete disrespect for your children's right to choose what is best for themselves.

A majority of boundary crossing is rooted in a parents' inability to believe in their children. Ask yourself, "Why would my child make a bad choice? Did I not teach him the tools needed to make good decisions?" If your immediate response to is to think, "I did teach them to make good decisions but they've made so many bad ones in the past," your inability to accept your role in their repeated bad decisions is having severely adverse effects on your relationship.

At some point, the older generation must trust they have raised their children to make good decisions and respect those decisions. If you can't do this, you need to work out why with a therapist. In the meantime, keep your opinions to yourself and stop trying to "save them" or "fix" things. You're only making it worse, I promise.

They had been maligning me my whole life. . . not in a way of telling people I was a horrible person but making it seem as if I was a poor, befuddled soul, a hapless idiot, borderline mentally disturbed, a pathetic loser. None of this was true. It never was. Once I got away, my life got so much better. Oh, so much.

— Anonymous, r/raisedbynarcissists, Reddit.com

Statistics About Family Estrangements

A British report called "Hidden Voices: Family Estrangement in Adulthood," which describes a survey of over 800 people who self-identified as having estranged from all or part of their family of origin, offers some relevant data:

Who is more likely to break ties: males or females? How does gender affect closeness?

It's more common to be estranged from a mother than a father or both parents. Conversely, it's more common for daughters to estrange than sons.

However, when males estrange, it seems to be more final or longer-lasting: the average estrangement from fathers lasts 7.9 years (compared to an average of 5.5 years for mothers), and estrangements from sons average 5.2 years (with 3.8 years for daughters).

Who tends to estrange permanently: males or females?

29% of respondees described a final break with a mother, and 37% reported a final break with a daughter. Conversely, 36% described a final break with a father, and 41% with sons. So sons and fathers are more likely to experience permanent closure than daughters and mothers.

What about intermittent estrangements?

We have some insight into on-again-off-again estrangements, where family members cycle in and out of closeness over the years. 21% said their had been five or more of these cycles with mothers, where 16% experienced them with fathers. So it's more likely for mothers to experience intermittent estrangements over the years.

Who is most likely to cut off contact: parents or children?

The younger generation is usually the one to break ties. Over half of people who "divorce" a parent say they were the ones who made the move.

Is there any chance the relationship will be mended?

  • According to the parents, yes: Most parents hold out hope that they will reconcile with their child.
  • But according to the younger generation, no: More than 70% of respondents said there was no chance they'd resume communication.
  • And according to experts like Sheri Heller, LCSW, a NYC psychotherapist and interfaith minister in private practice, "If PD abusers lack the capacity for insight and positive change, it is likely they will persist with predation, denying their perfidious motives, and evidencing an absence of sincere remorse. To re-engage with this degree of pathology puts the adult victim at risk for regressing into dysfunctional interpersonal patterns, succumbing to guilt and cognitive dissonance, getting mired in confused roles, and being flooded by abandonment panic. For many, this constitutes a deal-breaker which results in finality."

If you are having trouble cutting the ties or want to know the healthiest ways to do it, read When and How to Cut the Ties of Bad Family Relationships. On the other hand, if you're looking for ways to deal with your parents rather than disowning them, read 5 Strategies for Dealing With Difficult Parents.

Will You Ever Find Out Why Your Son or Daughter Abandoned the Relationship?

The British study found an interesting generational discrepancy when it came to the communication of the reasons for the estrangement. When asked if they "concretely" told their parents why the relationship ended, over 67% said they had. This contrasts dramatically with the parents' response, where over 60% claimed they were never told why. In other words, many abandoned parents who are rejected by a child don't consciously know the reason, even though they were explicitly told. So they either forgot or didn't listen. In fact, they don't even remember the conversation.

This disparity only emphasizes the breakdown in communication in these families and suggests that the older generation might not be listening or has a hard time hearing what their children are saying, which is probably at the core of the problem.

Is That the End?

In closing, I want to say I am very well aware those listed aren't the only reasons for estrangement, nor will my advice apply in all situations. I haven't mentioned trauma, abuse, divorce, or substance abuse. I haven't talked about undiagnosed mental health issues or those who simply refuse to take their meds. That said, people don't just walk away from families that are healthy. All families have their issues, but functional families talk about them, try to understand one another's perspectives, apologize for any hurt they've caused or wrong they've done, and truly move forward, beyond all that suppressed anger and resentment.

The exact opposite is true of unhealthy, disordered families. I know. I lived in one for more than 40 years. Sadly, I didn't realize it until the abuse was heaped upon my husband and children as well, but when it became obvious, I demanded that it stop. I tried discussing the matter, only to find myself enmeshed in bitter verbal arguments. I tried using parables and comparisons, pointing out other family dysfunctions and relating them to our own, but that failed, too. I tried many ways to rectify the situation, but every time, I was met with anger and resistance.

Contrary to what they think, I didn't estrange from them to punish them, I did so to protect myself and my children. I realized I had become just like them and I made a conscious choice to change myself and to bring to an end the generations of dysfunction in my family tree.

Sadly, our story doesn't end with a happily-ever-after, but I know I made the right decision, and I know I'm not alone. Every day I read stories, online support group threads, estranged child forums, and talk with people around the globe who feel they had no other choice but to walk away. Not a single one of us is happy about it. Relieved it's over, yes, but certainly not happy with how or why.

I'm also privy to the perspectives of rejected parents. One commonly stated complaint among parents who have no contact with their children is that their child's behavior toward them reminds them of how they were treated by their own parents when they were young. If this is you, I want you to ask yourself, "If my parent was that way and my child is that way, isn't it possible I am, too?"

Some will read this and take it to heart. They'll reconsider the things they've said and done because they want to repair their broken relationship with their child and are willing to do whatever is necessary to do so. Unfortunately, however, many readers will be inclined to argue and resort to writing long comments complaining about their child to a bunch of internet strangers.

I can't change everyone. I couldn't even change my own parents. Hopefully, however, I'll get someone's attention and set in motion positive change for another dysfunctional family out there.

Questions & Answers

© 2017 Kim Bryan

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    • Kim Bryan profile image
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      Kim Bryan 12 hours ago

      The proper authorities have been contacted in regards to the current drama and all information has been provided. Until further notice, all comments will be censored before being posted. I'm sorry it's come to this.

    • Kim Bryan profile image
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      Kim Bryan 31 hours ago

      @Linda, I'm sorry you got lost in the shuffle.

      Thank you for respecting your son's wishes. I know it's not what you want to do but obviously something he feels he needs to do. Time is what is a healer in this situations.

      Apology is great but if the behaviors off-putting to him continue, the words are hollow. I'm not saying that's the case, I'm simply trying to point out what could be the issue.

      I know folks get tired of me saying it but it is very important: see a therapist. Even if you aren't the problem, s/he can teach you fabulous coping strategies that those of us who grow up in dysfunctional homes tend to have none of.

      I sincerely hope your family finds resolution and peace in the future.

    • profile image

      HCN 47 hours ago

      This is a great article! I always knew my family had issues. I never really understood it all until well into my 30s. Growing up I was always popular, athletic, successful, got along with everyone & rarely caused problems or got into trouble. However, I would still find myself in highly chaotic over dramatic scenarios with my family that made me wish I could run away & hide for forever. I always just did my own thing, did what I was told & did my best to never upset the “ticking time bombs.”

      I was never physically abused but it was definitely emotional abuse. It’s always been difficult to explain bc it wasn’t always bad either. My parents were somewhat successful & they could be very generous & charming. They buy me all kinds of things & do nice things for me but I never realized all the unwritten contracts I was signing. In hind sight, I realized I was raised to be dependent & controlled. Even when I got old enough to leave, I never did. I felt trapped.

      I also have an older sister. In hind sight again, I realized she is the “golden child” & I am the “scapegoat.” She is an extension of my mother. She has always caused problems everywhere she’s gone, thrives off confrontation, thinks she’s better than everyone, has entitlement issues & has never been held accountable for anything & still always gets whatever she wants. She’s perfectly content being almost 40 & still being dependent on my parents. All my successes have nothing to do with my hard work or good decisions. Everything I am today is bc of all my parents have done for me & all to them I owe. I also get blamed for all the dysfunction.

      Things really started coming “to light” when I got married & far more worse after I had children. My mother definitely gets 5 out of 5 in the article & she continues to keep doubling down on playing the victim & demonizing my wife & I. She’s managed to triangulate very well & turn the whole small family we have against us. There’s really a select few toxic family members that are really good at manipulating the whole family & getting them to believe what they want even though the other family members know how they are. It’s the craziest thing.

      I guess after having children of my own, it really forced me to start calling out the dysfunction. I cannot allow my kids to be manipulated or learn certain behaviors are ok. After several years of our parenting being undermined, our boundaries being violated & a bunch of extreme lashing out, we’ve finally decided it wasn’t worth it. Saddest part is that I was only ever close to my dad. Our relationship has been used against me as leverage several times. Even though he has some control issues, he’s definitely way more normal. I believe he’s just easily manipulated, gets suckered into feeling sorry for his manipulators & gets sucked into all their negativity.

      Anyway, this is a great article. I really hope it helps others escape from toxic people. My family & I are much better now. Sometimes we’ll get texts or letters shaming us or we’ll hear about things being said about us but we know better.

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      Linda 2 days ago

      I have just happened upon your article...thank you. Our son has chosen to walk away from us. I don’t understand. Yes there was disfunction in both my husband’s child years as well as mine.

      Our son has seven children under the age of 13. His wife has never cared for us. We have told them our door is open to them any time they want to come visit. We have asked forgiveness for whatever has occurred. My husband and I cannot work toward change if we don’t know what we have done. To this point in time we have chosen to live & let live. Our love for our son & his family is what has helped us to make this choice.

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      Elly The Autistic 3 days ago

      To Sisyphus:

      I cannot speak on EMDR either. I'm Autistic and already have an 'elephants memory' of my developmental years etc. and the intense memories and reactions thinking of 'that time' invokes... There was no way for me to understand then what was 'wrong' even though I KNEW what I was SEEING and experiencing WAS 'wrong'...

      I wish I had more insight to offer...

      Peace be with You.

    • Kim Bryan profile image
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      Kim Bryan 4 days ago

      @Karen Baxter, I'm sad for me too. Also like you, I'm also more sad for my parents.

      Why? Because they couldn't put aside their own idealizations of how parent/adult child relationship is supposed to work and would rather have no relationship with their daughter and grandchildren than to reconsider those outdated ideas.

      We all lose in this. All. of. Us. That's why I wrote this article so that hopefully other estranged parents will take my words into consideration and not have the same ending as my own family.

      If that bothers you because you believe children should tolerate anything their parent does because "it's the right thing to do" or "the bible says honor thy father and thy mother," please seek help from a qualified therapist to better explain to you why such attitudes seldom end well.

    • Kim Bryan profile image
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      Kim Bryan 4 days ago

      @sisyphus, EMDR has been suggested but I've been perfectly clear with my therapist that I do not believe I am ready for it. I may never be ready for it, to be honest. And your comment makes me think I'm right in my desire to delay.

      The reason I chose to delay (or possibly not do it all) is because I feel strongly I'm making progress without it. I'm 1000% better (not perfect, just better) than I was even just a year ago and I feel that EMDR might actually take me backwards, at least right now.

      But I'm not everyone so take my opinions on it with a grain of salt. Please feel free to share any info you think might help others in deciding whether to go forward with EMDR or not. :)

    • Kim Bryan profile image
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      Kim Bryan 4 days ago

      @Linda, that's an issue between your sons. Period. I'm not sure what you're looking for me or anyone else to do or say. About the only thing I was suggest is family counseling, but the parties have to be willing or it will NOT be successful.

    • profile image

      Linda 4 days ago

      My son and his wife won't accept his brother s partner children and won't let my granddaughter come to play when there here help

    • profile image

      sisyphus123 4 days ago

      So I had an EMDR session last week to try to work through some of the pain and anger about my family situation.

      (EMDR is a therapy kind of like a guided meditation where you can revisit traumatic events and process them better.)

      EMDR has been effective for me in other situations.

      But with this, I couldn't find any peace.

      My therapist was trying to give me tools to face the situation... but no matter what we tried, being there made me feel trapped and powerless. There was nothing to make it better.

      Have any of you tried EMDR? Was there a strategy you can share that worked for you?

      Thanks!

    • profile image

      Elly The Autistic 4 days ago

      Dear Karen:

      For those of Us who support Kim and this site We feel 'sorry' for YOUR 'sad'... You are probably far from being happy... And by trashing Us here? You're not likely to be moving in that direction...

      Peace be with You.

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      Karen Baxter 4 days ago

      This is the saddest thing I’ve ever read. I feel sorry for you and sorrier for your parents.

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      mylongrecovery 10 days ago

      To Kim, Ellly and especially ScherryHall, and Paula.

      It's all good. Thanks guys.

      The problem is that in Narcissistic Family Systems we cannot express freely how we feel. There are secrets, ways of behaving, strict unwritten rules.

      This is not good for people. It isn't good to be treated like you are a useful object from the time you are little.

      So, it is okay to disagree on here. It's okay with me and actually really positive that anybody would take exception to what I said. I want people to be people. Not objects who have to make each other happy.

      I do have some radical ideas about narcissism itself. I have read it is not incurable and believe that. But there is a caveat. That person has to be fully willing to change. It does happen.

      However, the devastation people experience at the hands of a powerful narcissist is bad because it sets them up for further abuse, and judgement from outsiders who will not understand their trauma.

      Women who hare abused by a significant other are dehumanized. That's really important to understand because the person you work with or meet casually might be heartbroken over their own loss of identity.

      I could go on and on. But I want to say it's okay to be upset. This is not a no emotion zone.

      I hope that helps and encourages others.

    • profile image

      Elly The Autistic 11 days ago

      To ScherryHall:

      You sound very angry. Did you have a question you wanted to ask? As Kim mentioned in her latest comment and I have said in previous comments as well, WE are trying to build a place where all are free to express their views...

      That said, IF all you want to do is spew venom, there are 'estranged parents' sites, boards and 'discussion' groups (there's not much 'discussion' there in my opinion) that you may find more to your liking.

    • Paula Harding profile image

      Paula Harding 11 days ago

      Mylongrecovery

      Thank you so much for your kind words. Your right in everything you've said. I can be my worse enemy with self criticism. I need to start today turning off the guilt and start seeing the good I know that is within me .

      Thank you!

    • Kim Bryan profile image
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      Kim Bryan 11 days ago

      I believe @mylongrecovery 's original comment was misunderstood by a few.

      MLR, I interpreted your comment as someone who understand our plight, has actually lived through it as well, and has found a point of peace for yourself which happens to allow you to keep your mother in your life.

      I can't speak for everyone who comments here but for me, my goal is to help ACoNs (adult children of narcissists) understand they have never been alone, they are not crazy, that it's okay to walk away from abusive situations, and most importantly, find peace.

      What's peaceful for one may not be for another but that's okay. You do you and I'll do me but as ACoNs, we should support one another. Period.

      Don't let differing opinions run you off. Sometimes our interpretations are different but most of us are always open for discussion. :)

    • profile image

      ScherryHall 11 days ago

      We all seek answers! Raised my grandchildren over 20 years. Parents seek Glory, grandchildren resent them and feel deprived of choosing their happiness. Parents are unappreciative takers who are anry at Grandparents because children have questions or share opinions. Of course all done is turned against grandparents who only filled empty shoes as needed. Parents now resent and are jealous of loving bond between Grandparents and God. Now want to take granskids and ostersize the relationship.

    • profile image

      mylongrecovery 11 days ago

      Thank you so much. I came back here thinking I would peek to see what happened.

      I am so thankful for your response. I learned something important from you.

      Yes the "universal prescriptions for second chances". I accept that. Everything you said about people having to make their own decisions is true.

      People come her for help and insight. I was thinking about my own conclusions.

      Take care. And thanks.

    • profile image

      sisyphus123 11 days ago

      Hey mylongrecovery,

      I liked what you wrote, while I see where the others are coming from, I didn't interpret it that way. I'm sorry for what you went through and I hope that you can find support here. It's helped me a lot to know that I'm not alone.

      Everyone here is dealing with a lot of hurt, and often people dimiss our experiences or pass judgement, so it's hard to let go of the need to defend yourself. Especially since parents estranged from their adult children come on here to troll us, telling us we're selfish and immature, that none of the abuse we endured matters. Super nice people.

      Anyway, take care and good luck!

    • profile image

      NarcFree 11 days ago

      Mylongrecovery,

      Yes, you can put five people in the room, and they each will be in a different part of the healing process. The important part is to respect where everybody is, and respect their personal choices. And that includes choices to give, or not give, second, third, fourth and hundredth chances. You decide if You want to give another chance, and let the other 4 people in the room decide for themselves, if they want to give their abusers more chances.

      I'm very far past the point of no return with my abusers. Nothing I read can change my mind (about No Contact). I do have this secret desire that someone had told me about npd literature 20 years ago. I would have started healing much earlier in life. And that's why I get upset when someone posts universal "prescriptions" for second chances. There's a victim out there, who's currently "on the fence" about going No Contact, reading this, and being pushed back into the dangerous hands of their abusers, set up for more emotional anguish.

      You used the words genuine attempt to change, but there's nothing genuine about a person with NPD. Everything they do and say is a calculated ploy, scheme, manipulation. If a person is capable of genuine change, they didn't have NPD to begin with. Genuine narcissist is an oxymoron, and that's what led me to think that perhaps you don't understand this disorder. And perhaps can't tell if they deserve second chances.

      I don't doubt or dispute that you were harmed by your family, that was not the intention of my post. The intention was to push back on the notion that these "people" deserve second chances, or that they are even capable of genuine attempts to change.

      I wish you best in your healing.

    • profile image

      mylongrecovery 11 days ago

      I think this will be my last time on this article. My intention is not to hurt or upset anyone.

      If you knew my story you would learn I was very badly harmed by my family and I can guarantee you it took decades to get to this point in my life. I have worked very hard to try and see things from their side when it was almost impossible to do it. Maybe I sounded pushy. That was not my intent.

      I respect you were upset by what I said. Sharing your thoughts is something I can use to make myself more sensitive.

      But this was kind of hard for me too. I have learned to just leave situations that aren't good for me.

      I will take what you said and think about how I can give my ideas more carefully because I would like to write articles. And this can help me if I reflect on what you said.

      Bye and God bless you.

    • profile image

      mylongrecovery 11 days ago

      Thank you for commenting on what I was trying to say.

      "Yes, SOME people use the word narcissist to describe anyone they don't like. The word gets misused sometimes by some people who don't even know what NPD is. That does not mean that ALL the rest of us are wrong when calling a narc, a narc.". That was very well put. Thank you.

      I upset you. How can I make it better?

      This is my first post on Hub Pages. Maybe it was too general. If a person writes on here, it may seem they are talking right to you. But I wasn't. I was trying to express things I have learned.

      You got the impression I don't get what narcissistic abuse is about. I didn't tell my story. I know what rage is after narcissistic abuse. I spent almost twenty years in therapy. And I am still trying not to let it eat me alive on a daily basis. I have tried to forgive so I can move on. My intent is not to degrade your experiences.

      We all adopt beliefs. I have had to adopt some beliefs that allow me to be in the now and not back when I was being abused.

      I'm sorry you took it personally that I was talking right to you.

      You could take five people who come here because of narcissistic abuse, put them in a room for an afternoon to share their experiences, and they would all be in a different place in their healing.

    • profile image

      NarcFree 11 days ago

      mylongrecovery,

      Yes, SOME people use the word narcissist to describe anyone they don't like. The word gets misused sometimes by some people who don't even know what NPD is. That does not mean that ALL the rest of us are wrong when calling a narc, a narc.

      What we read on the internet is not only "the most toxic form of narcissism", it is also reality that some of us have been unfortunate enough to live through. Who are you to tell me that my experiences couldn't have been bad enough, or not as bad as what "you" read on the internet? If yours weren't, lucky you, and good for you. You are not familiar with every single case and can't decide who deserves a second chance and who doesn't.

      You go on to describe behaviors that, in your opinion, would warrant a second chance. Well go read about narcissism. All those behaviors you name, by definition, are behaviors a narcissist is incapable of. So yeah, a narc doesn't get a second chance, even according to your own list of conditions.

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      Elly The Autistic 11 days ago

      To mylongrecovery:

      What are you talking about when you say, “In a happy family there is nurturing. We know mothers nurture their children. This is where the family learns kindness toward each other. If not a parent, then a grand parent or other person.” Not all mothers ‘nurture’ their children so please do not say that and in my world there was no one else to nurture Me, my ‘Mom’ made sure of that, so again, please don’t make assumptions. I learned ‘nurturing’ from how I didn’t want to be treated, not from how I WAS treated.

      Then you say, “People don't have the love they needed in childhood, so they try to extract it from each other. The oddball child doesn't play that game. And not playing the game is pretty hard scrabble at times.” However, according to you, ‘Mother’s nurture their children,’ so how would the child have not been loved if to be ‘nurtured’ IS to be loved? Also, please explain what you mean by trying to ‘extract love’ from each other? I don’t understand your meaning.

      As for how I label my ‘Mom’, you said, “I think we label people as narcissists a little too freely because what we have read on the Internet really depicts the most toxic form of narcissism. So we apply that standard to people who hurt us.” I don’t label her ‘that’ because she hurt Me. That’s what she IS. You are making a LOT of assumptions.

      As for whether or not an ‘estranged parent’ deserves a second chance, if they’ve changed, is not up to you. You said, “If you are here, you have probably been hurt a lot.” Yes. This is true and sometimes the hurt We have been through is so bad that a ‘second chance’ is no longer an option.

      Think of it like this, if a child is the engine of a car and you abuse the child/engine not changing the oil or filling the tank with fuel etc. and you seize up the engine? You can abandon the child/vehicle on the side of the road unable to ‘run’ -- coming back later with gasoline and motor oil STILL isn’t going to get the engine running. Sometimes, the damage done is PERMANENT.

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      mylongrecovery 11 days ago

      @paula harding

      I feel so much for you because I understand what it means to need your mother to be functional toward you.

      You said:

      "Every day I have gulit, everyday I feel like I'm the one with issues, and everyday I grow to resent her more."

      To be honest, it doesn't sound like you are the one with issues. And there are ways to turn off that guilt.

      Maybe you feel you have let yourself down.

      I was told one time that we can carry a "committee" around inside our heads. That is like a group of judgmental people seated in a balcony above you saying how you are failing. No matter what you do, they send a message you will probably fail. It's not a mental illness or delusion. In fact, it is self criticism.

      My committee had my mom and siblings. Perhaps even strangers I feared could see my flaws because I used to think I was such an obvious mess to everyone around me. And there were people who I figured were smarter than me because I used to think I was stupid.

      They kept a real tight reign on my decision making.

      The tapes played whenever I had to take risks. With therapy I slowly diffused the committee. They are just shadows of critical people from my past. It's been years since I faced that.

      As I went along in my recovery I realized the power of that fear of failure just chattering away.

      The people from my past who had really and truly criticized me lost their power over my life.

      They didn't give me a second thought after they felt the pure pleasure of leveling their judgments. Then why should I carry them around in my subconscious?

      Try to be kind to yourself. Do one kind thing a day for yourself that you would do for someone you care about. It seems to me you need to take better care of yourself while you take care of your mom.

      I hope that helps.

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      mylongrecovery 11 days ago

      .

      One of my favorite quotes by Leo Tolstoy is, "All happy families are happy in the same way. All unhappy families are unhappy in different ways."

      In a happy family there is nurturing. We know mothers nurture their children. This is where the family learns kindness toward each other. If not a parent, then a grand parent or other person.

      It's the same healthy dynamic in all happy families.

      Without that, a family unit will devolve into needy behaviors.

      Needy primary caregivers make for non nurturing family systems.

      People don't have the love they needed in childhood, so they try to extract it from each other. The oddball child doesn't play that game. And not playing the game is pretty hard scrabble at times.

      I think we label people as narcissists a little too freely because what we have read on the Internet really depicts the most toxic form of narcissism. So so we apply that standard to people who hurt us.

      If you are here, you have probably been hurt a lot.

      What really makes a difference is a person's willingness to change once they realize their old tool box was full of terrible things.

      If a person makes a genuine attempt to change and demonstrates it over time, it is likely they have worked really hard at it. And with a therapist is the best sign.

      I think those people deserve a second chance. Recovery is hard work.

      I had a mother who never changed. I stayed close to her despite her abusive behaviors. I had good reason to let her go, but I had to know why she was the way she was. And over many decades I figured it out.

      So for me, I have no unfinished business because that would have been my own personal unfinished business. So I pursued it.

      But I don't begrudge others who feel they must leave either.

    • Paula Harding profile image

      Paula Harding 12 days ago

      I'm so thankful I've found this page. I have a passive aggressive mother who's overbearin, doesn't know boundaries and I've been leaving each day feeling alone and hiding my real feelings....because to others I look like the bad child. Know one doesn't understand what I go through and how I feel. So I live a life of hiding my feelings, making others think I have this wonderful parent that I wish I really did have and then I find myself to the point of hate, and that is so hard for me to say because it's not normal. I've been to the point of begging God to please let me have a relationship with my mother, but you can't with her. She's ruined 2 marriages for me, she tries to turn my children against me, she tells her "church family" I'm mean to her and tells lies on me. Then she plays this guilt trip on me that I treat her with no respect and it's my duty to obey my parents. I've been trying to get away from this women for years, but I was stupid and got myself in a bind that I'm stuck. My father couldn't take her passive aggressiveness any longer and finally left her after 42 years of marriage. My mother wasn't working and lived on his income, so thinking at that time of doing the right things I bought my father out so my mother could keep the house they built together. So why don't you just sell it? It's not that easy, her name is on the deed, and when I finally talked her into putting it up forsale, she would sabotage the sale. Every day I have gulit, everyday I feel like I'm the one with issues, and everyday I grow to resent her more

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      Moopy70 12 days ago

      Thank you for this. I've been struggling with this for years. I finally had it out with my mom last year. She is 100% narcissistic and it's always everyone else's fault. She has never been a "mother" to me, other than feeding me, driving me to school and throwing me bday parties when I was a kid. She was emotionally and physically abusive when I was a kid. Fast forward about 35 years and she is never happy for any milestones in my life, or accomplishments. Long story short, she was never a loving mother yet always expected everyone else to bow down to her. She cares more about herself and her reputation than her child and grandchild. She's always favored my brother, and even though he screwed her financially years ago, he is still her favorite, and I'm the bad child. She never came to see me after several surgeries and even a horrible disease that causes paralysis. She said she "had an appointment" and couldn't make it. I was always there for her when she needed me. I don't talk to her now, but she keeps creeping in. She wants to come to my son's middle school graduation, but none of us want her there. She's just a horribly negative force that makes us all miserable. She called twice but left no message, and then emailed my son directly (putting him in a bad position). She is so passive aggressive and not once has said, I love you, you're my daughter, let's start over. Never. Only wants me to bow down to her. I'm struggling with her continually trying to passive aggressively inch back into my life, I really want her gone. But, I'm not THAT cold-hearted... if something bad happened to her, I'd be there. Not sure she'd be there for me, but that's who I am. Not sure how to handle this, but she causes me SO much anxiety and sleepless nights. Really tough, as a mom myself, I do not understand how a mother can treat their child the way she treats me.

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      This one dude 13 days ago

      I am fortunate. I was dumped by my dad and brother, and we they decided they wanted to bury the hatchet, I ignored them. My dad died and I realized I was so happy that never had to suffer that dumped feeling again and now that he is dead, here is noway he can break my heart. When I decided to be ok with being dumped, it actually made me feel good and it's so much easier than maintaining a difficult relationship. If I had known how good it would feel to have that stress gone forever, I would have dumped my dad and brother way before they did it to me.

      It doesn't have to be an angry thing, just ignore them, don't go to family gatherings where they will be present and enjoy your new freedom. Don't eish ill on them, just pretend they don't exist. Its very easy with practice and for a regret filled person like I tend to be, I have had zero regrets that I hadn'had a single word. etween me and my dad before he died for 15 years. I did go to his funeral and consoled his wife and his children from a different marriage and it was a good experience. He had already died to me long ago and now I was happy on the knowledge that he would never try to repair the burnt bridges and risk another heart breaking dump and bring up all sorts of awkwardness.

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      scapegoatartist 13 days ago

      My situation started when I got married almost 10 years ago.

      As you mentioned, I started to notice things that I never noticed before getting married. More and more of the behavior concerning my immediate family was giving me stress and anxiety.

      I was naive at the beginning of this discovery. I wrote a long email to one of my parents, explaining what my issues were. I assumed that parent would read it and be willing to work with me on resolving the issues. Instead I got a long email back which basically denied and/or deflected everything I wrote.

      A few months later I went NC. My parent tried to get my spouse on their side, so to speak. When it didn't work, my parent started telling people that my spouse was controlling me and wouldn't let me talk to my immediate family.

      I lost my entire extended family because what was supposed to be a private situation, was turned into a public situation through real life conversations and social media. The extended family was told I wanted nothing to do with them. This resulted in some of them getting very nasty towards me, which caught me by surprise.

      I've been NC for a few years now. I truly feel that I saved my sanity by going NC. I've learned a lot about personality disorders and I've been able to improve some of my own behavior as well (behavior which I think was influenced by some of what I saw growing up).

      But it can also be lonely when I hear other families reminiscing together. My memories of childhood and family are starting to fade because there is nobody to share them with anymore.

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      diranu99 13 days ago

      I find it interesting that it seems like people have more problems with mothers than fathers. I have a narc father and my mother is just a victim/prisioner.

      My brother and his wife have already distanced themselves from my father and have very little contact with him other than dealing with a family business.

      My husband and I walked out of my parents lives a month ago after my father went off on my extremely passive husband. My father now does not allow my mother to have any contact with me unless it is an email going to him, which I refuse to do. He told me not to call or text her. I do still text pics of my grandson to her as I will not allow him to control me in that fashion.

      She is in a position physical, financially and emotionally that she must declare her loyalty to him or he will make her life a living hell. I feel horrible that she is in that position, but yet it is a position that she has nurtured for over 60 years.

      At the same time, I feel like she has thrown me under the proverbial bus by agreeing with him that she doesn't want contact with me. (After secretly sending her a mother's day card through a cousin, she did sneak a phone call to me and I know that she is only agreeing with him to save her own a**.) She is so frail physically that I try hard to understand her position. I love and miss her dearly. This has truly broken my heart, and I know that she feels the same.

      My husband and I have been down this road a couple of times before with my father and have always gone back into that lion's den begging his forgiveness. My father uses his money very effectively to control people and it had been quite a motive for us to remain in the toxic relationship.

      This time it is quite different and we know that we will not go back to such a relationship. Breaking away from the money, and probably my inheritance was very hard!!

      But, at the end of the day, it does feel really good to go to bed with some dignity and respect of our own.

      After researching the info on the net, I realize that my father will never see what he is doing to his family and his behavior is only getting worse.

      I am extremely thankful for websites like this that have aided in helping my understanding of the mental issues that we all are dealing with.

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      NarcFree 2 weeks ago

      T,

      Everything you said, I've already heard. From my "mother". She's irrational, out of control, raging beast. YOU don't know what anybody's children will do to them one day. You have no power whatsoever in others' relationships. You're just "saying stuff" to make yourself feel better for the moment. Who's immature now?

      And, you will never have control over other people's regrets. Let it go. Focus on regrets within you.

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      Starlight444 2 weeks ago

      @sisyphus123

      I'm really sorry that you're having to go through this right now. I know how terrible it is. Both my parents were abusive and I've not been in contact with my family for many years. I didn't send a letter or no-contact letter to my parents as it was too dangerous, but I did send a letter to my grandmother. Unfortunately, she really didn't care and nothing changed.

      If you are going to write a letter there are some things you'll need to take into consideration. Writing a letter to an abusive parent is not the same as writing a letter to a non-abusive difficult parent. Their reaction will be different and sending a letter can often do more harm than good.

      1. Is it safe? Could the letter trigger the abuse or cause it to escalate? Will other family members turn on you? How will you deal with this? Be prepared for the fact that the abuser and enablers may engage in a smear campaign against you.

      2. What do you hope to achieve? If you are hoping the abuser will care or change they probably won't. If you've already told the abuser what they've done but they won't accept it or take responsibility, then sending the letter won't change anything.

      3. Stay calm. Don't use any derogatory or abusive language. The abuser will portray you as the abuser and themselves as the victim.

      4. Try to keep the letter as short as possible. Focus on facts not feelings. Don't just say 'I feel hurt by what you've done', describe what they did to hurt you. The abusive parent probably isn't going to care about your feelings (my mother would laugh at my suffering), and if you focus on feelings may well insult and mock you, describing you as a special little snowflake, weak, pathetic, a spoilt brat, a whiny little bitch e.t.c. Be prepared for no reply or an abusive reply, e.g. verbal abuse, lying, minimizing, gaslighting, shifting responsibility for the abuse.

      5. Don’t minimize the abuse or take any responsibility for the abuse in order to soften the blow and not upset the abusive parent. The parent is an adult not a child and should be expected to take full responsibility for their actions.

      6. Don't put any information in the letter that can be used against you to control, manipulate and humiliate. Keep in mind that the letter may be shown to other people.

      7. How will the abusive parent interpret terms such as 'I love you' or 'I still care about you'? Some abusive parents see such terms as evidence of the victims guilt. If the parent was truly at fault or abusive, then their victim wouldn't love them. If this is the case with your parent, don't use such terms. It will negate everything else you've written.

      8. Wait a few days or longer after writing the letter before you send it. You may change your mind.

    • Kim Bryan profile image
      Author

      Kim Bryan 2 weeks ago

      @Narc Free, @Elly ... yes, we (not just me, it took all of us) have built ourselves a great little community here. Like survivors in war torn countries, we have climbed our way out of the rubble of our lives and are working every day to overcome the trauma and rebuild ourselves into healthy functioning people. And through it all, we never forget where we came from and are always open to embracing the presence of another broken soul and do what we can to help them out of the darkness as well.

      Thank you, all of you! You are blessings in my life and I'm glad we've found one another. :)

      And Elly, yes, her resume matched to her written words is troubling. However, if you'll dig a little deeper, you'll find the reasons why she landed here and then you'll really find yourself amazed. I won't share her story here because it's not my place, but it is out there.

      @sisyphus, some write letters have written letters and send them; sadly it seldom goes well. It only provides ammunition to an already disordered mind and physical "evidence" they tend to share with relatives and others in an effort to destroy your reputation.

      I'm not saying you shouldn't, just think very long and hard before doing so and understand what could happen.

      That's why alternatively many write letters but then tuck or throw them away as a form of a therapy. I've got an entire notebook full of letters I would love to send but I know it would just be more fodder for my mother to say I was crazy.

      Whatever you decide, we will support you. We get that emotional turmoil in your mind and a need to do something. We've all been there. For more on this topic, I strongly suggest visiting outofthefog.net

      And last but least, @T, sigh. When a disordered parent's child has walked away, taking the last of the power an abusive parent has with them, this is so frequently the line they toss out. My own did. "Your kids will do this too."

      I can't say they won't; especially my oldest two seeing as how their childhood was spent with a manipulative, controlling, naysaying, disorder-minded mother. But, you see, that's where they were headed anyway and I can't say that I blame them. So instead I decided to work on myself and hope that I could change fate. It seems to be working so far and I'm only getting better, not worse. The difference between me then and now, however, is I don't fear it. See, us (and I say us, because I was you at one time) always do fear it because subconsciously we know we're assholes (let's just call it what it is, okay?). Consciously, we justify our behaviors and deny any such thing could happen but really, we know better. But as someone who has crossed that border into a healthy mindset, I understand it is a possibility because actions have consequences (even if we change, consequences can come many, many years later) but I do not fear it. I would still rather work on bettering myself and becoming the mother I should be and have a chance of redeeming the relationship I have with them than sitting on my thumbs, tossing out threats at internet strangers because I'm angry.

      So what are you doing to change what I assume already is a reality for you?

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      sisyphus123 2 weeks ago

      Hey guys,

      What are your thoughts on sending a letter to your parents?

      I wrote so many drafts to send to my father after the final blow up. But I didn't send them- because I don't think anything I say will ever matter.

      And that broke my heart. As long as I don't send a last ditch letter, I can have a little hope that if I just said the right thing in the right way, they'd take some responsibility and try to have a relationship with me.

      I also don't want to send the letter because I don't want to give them any more power over me.

      I thought about writing a letter to my extended family, to make my case, tell my truth... but I don't want to make things awkward for them.

      Then there's my mother, who is actually more abusive than my father, but better at hiding it. It's easy to explain why I don't want a relationship with my father, but other people can't understand my situation with my mother...

      Anyway, thanks for all the advice and understanding. It's a big help.

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      2 weeks ago

      Hope your children do the same to you. As an older adult I see your view as nothing short of immature and selfish. Someday YOU will be the only one with regret

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      Elly The Autistic 2 weeks ago

      To Kim:

      Isn’t it nice to know if you take some time off and that us ‘kids’ can hold down the fort? LOL. Thank you for the compliment.

      I looked up Ms. Wright and I was horrified to learn that one of her ‘specialties’ is dealing with Asperger’s Syndrome! If I didn’t have mind issues BEFORE going to someone like HER I’m pretty sure I’d walk out with the same ‘issues’ and a few new ones as well! There are some great therapists out there and obviously some very scary ones. The fact that she hasn’t revised to current terminology regarding Autism is telling… WE Autistic’s don’t use that ‘name’ anymore. WE are ‘high-functioning’ Autistic’s. PERIOD. It’s a ‘rainbow spectrum’ disorder.

      As for Ms. Wright and throwing her name/title up as if it makes her an ‘authority’ on the subject material is rather frightening. It reeks of the whole, “Lucky for YOU a ‘real’ authority has ‘arrived’ to tell You how ‘wrong’ you ALL are.” Having initials etc. behind your name doesn’t make you a better, smarter or more socially aware human. Respect from Me is earned and letters behind a name doesn’t automatically ‘buy’ respect, besides, maybe I have some of my own…

      I agree with NarcFree. You really have built quite a little community here. I’d like to think that the ‘Usual Suspects’ (myself included) who regularly comment here are getting something that is sorely lacking elsewhere. On other forums I have watched/followed/read (yet never engaged in) were sadly toxic. Estranged parents, when offered advice from an ‘estranged child’, universally shouted down what was offered and everyone else ‘agreed’ and some of the ‘estranged children’ sites are almost as bad. Here at least, there seems to be open dialogue for both sides to share and hopefully learn something.

    • profile image

      NarcFree 2 weeks ago

      east of eden,

      The day I realized I will never be good enough for my "mother", I gave myself permission to stop trying. It's liberating.

    • profile image

      NarcFree 2 weeks ago

      Kim,

      We are building a virtual community on here :) the supportive kind that doesn't kick the victims while they're down.

      I'm really glad I found this discussion board, and I'm really grateful that you took the time to share your experiences, and were brave enough to display your personal struggles openly, for all of us to learn from.

    • profile image

      east of eden 2 weeks ago

      Thank you for this article. I realize now that it is time to quit trying. My mother's obvious, blatant (although she has tried to hide things) disregard for my feelings and total support in every way for my brother means I should quit. When I tried to tell her and open up communication i.e. what he did to me and my daughter she would hear none of it, even though true. Her advice was stay away from him. Pretty direct? I tend to be naive. He works for them and is supported in every way possible. This article I hope and pray will give me the strength to do just what she said, stay away.

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      sisyphus123 2 weeks ago

      @Life without Annette and @Narc Free

      Thank you so much for your thoughtful comments. It makes me feel less alone, even though the outlook seems difficult.

      @Sarah all I can say is what I wish my mother would say to me. I wish she would ask "What did I do to hurt you?" and then actually listen and take responsibility, tell me that she's sorry and willing to change. Maybe it's not too late for you and your son.

    • Kim Bryan profile image
      Author

      Kim Bryan 2 weeks ago

      @Narc Free, @Elly, @Life Without Annette, @Antonio ...

      I stepped away for a few days and you guys were champs in helping those seeking help, and a truth-speaker to those wishing to promote themselves in the comment section. THANK YOU!

      Now, @Jennifer Wright -

      First, I want to say I know why you found this article and I know why you left a comment to which you have not since responded. Nonetheless I'll allow your self-promoting comment to stand as I want to counter your points as others have.

      I'm surprised someone whose practice focuses on PTSD and trauma would discourage anyone who feels they've been abused, in any manner, and especially those of us who have been diagnosed with disorders, etc. as a result, to return to their abusers because to do so is immature or for the sake of grandchildren.

      You're not the only psychologist to comment here but you're the only one to imply we should dismiss our concerns and carry on. Why is that exactly? Did this hit a bit too close to home for you?

      Yes, estrangement is a cultural thing. I grieve for our Arabic and Asian counterparts because their culture is one where walking away from family can have dire consequences, legally and socially.

      To that I say, thank God I live in the western world. Change has to begin somewhere and it is starting right here, right now. Americans, Europeans, Canadians, Australians, New Zealanders, we are all ushering in a new era where birthing a child doesn't equate to owning a child; and if you can't follow the boundaries we set for ourselves, treat us with the respect you insist we treat you with, be it as a child or an adult, then you don't get to play with us when we're old enough to make our own choices.

      And I'm definitely not going to force my children into a situation that I wouldn't inject myself because I feel it is dangerous or detrimental to my well-being. What kind of parent would I be if I did that? Hint: an abusive one.

      I said it in my article and I'll say it again: how they did it yesterday is not how we do it today. Let me break that down a little clearer for you: just because your generation or the ones before took abuse and kept on trucking doesn't mean we have to. To have the mindset that things should always be the same is to hinder progress. If we continued to follow that rule, you wouldn't have a title, Ms. Wright because, as I'm sure you're aware, psychiatry was once considered a laughing matter.

      Lastly, pay attention. We estranged adult children ARE self-soothing; we're walking away from the source of our aggravation. You don't see us still harassing or bullying our parents. Nope, we don't demand anything but peace and the respect to live our lives as we see fit, and we do what must be done to get it. Isn't that self-soothing? Just because we're not doing it your way doesn't mean we aren't doing it.

      And to imply we're not mature adults is... well, I'll just recommend you read the comments here and see who is mature and who is not.

      Please, Ms. Wright, work out your personal issues and don't try to belittle us by tossing out your title in hopes of drumming up some new clients.

    • profile image

      Life without Annette 2 weeks ago

      @sisyphus123

      You ask several good questions:

      Q: How can you maintain your relationships with your extended family while maintaining estrangement from your parents?

      A: You may not be able to. Since your extended family is mostly made up of a bunch of older people who’ve known your parents longer than you, they are more likely to defer to your parents’ viewpoint. It is likely that estranged parents will tell a very self-serving explanation of events, perhaps embellished with half-truths or outright lies. In the end, they may not be able to deceive everyone about everything, but you may still end up being viewed as the unjust party, or at least, the unforgiving one. If anyone in your family stands up for you, or makes an effort to keep you included in their lives, terrific. But don’t hold your breath.

      Q: How do you cope with mourning the loss of your family, when they didn't die, but refused to stop hurting you?

      A: I can only speak to my experience, but it has been like being cut off from my entire childhood, as if it never existed. It is almost a surreal sense of disconnection.

      Since I never planned the estrangement in advance, I have no photos of my childhood, and only one picture each of my grandparents. My mother trashed documents that were previously held in her possession (birth certificate, diploma, medical records, etc.); anything of sentiment left in her house is lost to me. And since the estrangement has cost me my entire childhood family, childhood memories can be shared with my husband and children and friends, but not with the people who share the common recollections. It makes the act of reminiscing very lonely sometimes.

      As much as all of that hurts, the thought that I might expose my children to harm by exposing them to my mother is all I need to reassure myself there was no other choice. That I am happier and at peace with myself is important, too.

      Q: How do you forgive the loss and the pain?

      A: How do you forgive someone who neither wants your forgiveness nor is willing to acknowledge there is anything to forgive? I know I’ll forgive my mother when she’s dead, because then her sins and her willingness to hurt me will finally be in the past, once and for all.

      Estrangement is a long, ongoing process. There is no immediate gratification beyond stopping the infliction of fresh wounds. It’s like severing a gangrenous limb: losing a limb is horrid and painful, and you wish it was never diseased in the first place, but you sever it because it will otherwise destroy you.

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      NarcFree 2 weeks ago

      Sarah,

      Make a choice not to allow it to affect your current marriage and your relationship with your daughter. Compartmentalize. Easier said than done, but you don't want to lose what good you have in your life. Take the time to nurture the relationships you do have, and deal with the other issue separately.

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      NarcFree 2 weeks ago

      sisyphus123,

      I'm very sorry to read about the pain you are going through. I had a lot of the same feelings in the past, and still do, to some extent, today. It is painful to lose both parents on the same day, even more painful to know that you're going through this loss when they are both still alive.

      As time went by, I started understanding more and more that these people were never my parents, in the sense of nurturing or protecting, or teaching life skills. They are ruthless selfish Shirkers, who see parenthood as an entitlement, and not as a responsibility. It is a painful truth to accept, but living in denial is no way to live. For a few years, after the initial estrangement, many days I woke up feeling like the light is so painful that I wish I had stayed in darkness and never discovered the truth. But with time, I understand, and hope you will too, that the only chance I have at a normal life is away from my toxic family. Accept and believe, that you are as deserving as any other human being, and push back on those who try to tell you that you aren't.

      Yes, they train you to gaslight yourself, by replaying their sick (and untrue!) messages in your own head. Remove that "tape" and replace it with positive messages. It's a process that will take time, but the sooner you get started, the sooner you get there.

      Don't feel guilty that you don't Want to repair the relationship. The truth is, you Can't. You can't make them stop. You are just unwilling to continue to accept. They can choose to stop, you can't make them.

      And you are right not to trust them. If one or both of your parents are NPD, any information you share about yourself will be used for sabotage and smear campaign. You say you're afraid they are spreading rumors about you. I am sure that they are. And I am sure that they were BEFORE you estranged. And there's not a darn thing you can do about it. They won't stop and you can't make them. You can only remove yourself from the situation and start building a life from scratch and away from them. Other relatives are going to decide if they want to stay away from the drama, or find a way to keep contact with both sides. Only keep in touch with those who respect your decision. I never had a close relationship with anybody in my family, so really I only lost the illusion that I have family. I was expected to please all, when nobody even remembered to call me on my birthday. I'm sure my "mother" helped create this distance. When a narc chooses a scapegoat, they keep the scapegoat isolated. Any abuser wants their victim isolated. It is hard to control and abuse a person with a healthy network of social connections, or with access to information about what's normal and what's abuse.

      I don't think the anger or pain will ever go away. You just learn to live with it. It sucks, but it is still better than staying in the family and accepting the abuse. They say acceptance is the last stage of grieving, but it hasn't been so for me. I've accepted a long time ago that I never had and never will have supportive or accepting parents. However, the anger did not go away. I think that anger is what helps me stay away from them. It's a reminder how cruel they are and how unacceptable their behavior is. It's like remembering that if you touch a hot stove you'll get burned. You don't want to forget that because that's how you know not to do it again.

      How do you forgive? I don't. I didn't. I'm lectured sometimes about forgiveness, do it for me and not for them. But, my definition of forgiveness is, "it's OK, I understand". And it's not OK, and I Don't understand. Even more important, to me, forgiveness means I should accept them back in my life. Forgive and accept are dangerously close. And I will NEVER.

      Therefore I do not forgive. I try my best to Forget and move on. I'm sure you'll be offered advice to forgive, and I don't disagree, I simply share my perspective that's different from those who advocate forgiveness. Everybody is different, and you choose what feels right for you.

      The nightmares will go away. Give it some time. They will first become less frequent, and one day you'll realize you haven't had a nightmare in so long that they probably are gone for good. It took about 10 years of living away from parental home for my nightmares to stop, but I've always had them as a child, so it took a long time to go away. If yours just started during separation, then it probably won't take as long for them to go away. It's a big change to go through, and difficult to say the least, but you can do it! I am rooting for you.

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      Sarah 2 weeks ago

      My 18 year old has cut all communication with me. His dad (my ex husband) has encouraged this because of his hatred of me. I have not been told why he won't talk to me. I have texted and emailed with no responses. He graduates high school next week and I don't even know if I am welcome. It is breaking my heart and severely affecting my current marriage, and my relationship with my daughter, his younger sister. help...

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      sisyphus123 2 weeks ago

      I'm going through estrangement with both of my parents now. Although my relationships with them have been difficult for my entire adult life, this estrangement is a devastating loss.

      15 years I've dreamt of getting away from them. But now, that they'd rather lose me than apologize, or get help, or change at all... that they finally went too far, and I finally told them how I feel... and nothing changes.

      And I feel guilty, like it's my fault that I couldn't prevent their abuse. Somehow I brought it on myself. Re-examining every word, belief, choice... what could I have done better? It makes me question my own reality. They don't even need to be there to gaslight me now, they taught me to do it to myself.

      And I feel guilty that I don't want to repair our relationships. Nothing could make me trust them. I don't want to try because I can't bear to give them any more of myself.

      Yet, I can't shake this sadness, anger, fear... it's been 5 months, and I still have nightmares and panic attacks.

      It feels like they will always have a part of me.

      And I'm struggling especially to maintain relationships with my other family members. I don't want to put them in an uncomfortable position where they have to choose... but I wish they would stand up for me and support me more. I'm afraid that my parents are spreading rumors about me to my family.

      How can you maintain your relationships with your extended family while maintaining estrangement from your parents?

      How do you cope with mourning the loss of your family, when they didn't die, but refused to stop hurting you?

      How do you forgive the loss and the pain?

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      NarcFree 2 weeks ago

      gr8fulwoman,

      Why do you think that your daughter feels judgement even when none is there? That might be worth discussing with her. Try to get to the same page about what's judgement and what's not. When I told my "mother" that I was in a car accident and my car was totaled, her immediate and only response was "Next time look where you're going, I've been driving for thirty years and not a single accident, you got a car three years ago and already managed to total it". I call it judgement. She calls it teaching me not to be an idiot, no judgement. She never asked if anyone got a ticket, or what exactly happened.

      Rest assured, she did not help pay for my first car, nor did she put a penny towards my next car, nor insurance. Hell, my parents didn't even teach me how to drive. Every time I asked for a driving lesson, my father laughed in my face, said "I owe you nothing" and walked out of the room. Or, he stayed in the room and pretended he didn't hear me speak, just kept doing whatever he was doing, like I'm not even there.

      Her response to my car accident was not my point of no return as far as No Contact. But it was a point where I finally got out of denial, and accepted the truth that my "mommy" is a subtype of human that's missing a heart. No contact came much later. I allowed her to beat me down for quite a few more years after that comment.

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      NarcFree 2 weeks ago

      Life without Annette,

      Jennifer the PsyD purchased her psyd from an online "university" and failed to read the powerPoint that was emailed to her, on the subject of NPD and other destructive personality disorders. Why read / attend lectures if victim blaming is more fun, and so much EASIER.

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      NarcFree 2 weeks ago

      Elly,

      You are so articulate.

      We must be half sisters because I think we have the same mother. The misfortune of winning a million comment (how terrible that it's not 2 million lol) made me chuckle. Rings all kinds of bells!.. I'd like to add that the one million winning happened because mother (pure perfection)

      picked the correct ticket. And the misfortune of it not being two million...well that's the daughter's fault.

      Gr8fulwoman

      I hope this doesn't sound too cold, but I think some parents go into parenthood with false expectation. They think they are producing a "forever friend" and will never be alone again and/or will never be wrong again. Reality is, children grow up, and their parents stop being the center of the universe, even in a healthy family, and especially in a healthy family. It is a special bond between a mom and a daughter (in majority of cases, but not all), but the amount of time spent bonding diminishes when kids grow up.

      I also wonder why you ask random people how to change your relationship with your daughter for the better. I say ask your daughter. Nobody can tell you what your daughter needs/wants, and what she doesn't, better than the daughter herself. Maybe she's going through something that she's not yet comfortable sharing. Maybe nothing is going on. Who knows. Just respect that you two are both independent adults. If you had a friend who's not sharing everything with you, you'd probably just accept it, because you can't push someone to tell you things they don't feel comfortable telling you.

      Which brings me to my question, why is it so heartbreaking for you? You said you'd advise someone else in your situation to accept the relationship for what it is, but then you add it is heartbreaking. Why? Is it the unmet expectations? I hope you are not saying that your grown child is responsible for making you happy, or for making sure you are not lonely. I may be very wrong in this assumption, but that's what came to mind when I read your post. Tell your daughter you'd like to improve the relationship, and ask her if there's a way to make it better. AND STOP THERE. DO NOT ADD that it's heart breaking or that you don't want to be a burden. Sounds like guilt tripping. She may be at the distance she wants to be right now. Or she may be on the same page with you. You won't know until you go directly to the source :) keep in mind that no adult owes another adult a relationship. It is purely voluntary regardless of genes.

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      Life without Annette 2 weeks ago

      @Jennifer Wright, Psy.D.

      Thank God jackasses practicing the soft science of psychology don’t get a vote in matters of other people’s estrangements.

      My mother has always known exactly how to hurt and humiliate me. With children of my own, there was a whole new generation to imperil both physically and emotionally; to whom she could tell stories about me designed to humiliate me and undermine my authority, in front of whom she could demonstrate how to treat me with utter disdain and contempt, and unto which she could inflict all new acts of vindictiveness and manipulation.

      The nearly 20 years without her in my life have been, for the most part, a great relief. It was hard to accept that the things I wanted from her—love, concern, affection, compassion—were always going to be illusory. But I needed no family therapy to recognize she is an abusive, emotional vampire who is an unacceptable threat to the well-being of my children and to the joy and peace of my household.

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      Elly The Autistic 2 weeks ago

      To gr8fulwoman:

      A lot of what my ‘mom’ said and did before I fully stopped speaking to her was often implied or stated underhandedly in ways that gave her deniability. It was also the complete disconnect between how my ‘mom’ treated everyone else around her and how she treated Me.

      She never came out and said, “I hate you for ‘ruining my body’,” but she would complain about all the things that were physically wrong with her because she had children. Those were early memories of my ‘childhood’ – ‘YOU damaged ME.’

      Once I reached adulthood, she could never manage to speak to me like I was an adult. Does a 30 something year old woman really need her ‘mom’ telling her when she needs to trim her hair or what brand of laundry detergent is best or that instead of buying a Tassimo I should have bought a Keurig?

      My ‘mom’ would want me to share something like getting a new coffee maker, but then it would become all about my ‘poor choice’ and how she could have ‘helped’ Me get the ‘correct’ one OR she would ask question after question to make Me ‘justify’ my choice. The answer of, “I did my research and that was the machine I wanted,” wasn’t a ‘good enough’ answer. Who wants to have a ‘conversation’ that leads to either interrogation or unending reminders of my inability to do or make even the simplest choice? Would anyone treat their spouse or co-worker ‘that way’? Probably NOT so it’s not okay to talk to your ‘adult-child’ that way.

      Another thing that led me to Low Contact followed by No Contact was whether together or on the phone she was CONSTANTLY negative. I mean to the point of she could win $1 million and would complain that it wasn’t $2 million.

      Also, her constant negativity was exhausting. No one could fun or relax when she was around. In her mind there was always ‘something the matter’ that someone need to ‘fix’ for Her. Me just trying to be in a social environment was hard enough but to also be responsible for making the situation tolerable to Her was ‘more important’ then My feelings/needs – ALWAYS. I wanted Her to look after herself, be an adult and be a ‘parent’. I got none of those and got tired of banging my head into that ‘wall’.

      You said to me, “My question to you is, if a mother-daughter relationship is about two people, in a perfect world shouldn't both parties be happy with the way they deal with one another?” To that I say Yes. In any adult relationship both parties should be benefitting from the relationship. However, my Mom got the ‘benefit’ of having an ‘emotional punching bag’ (Me) and I got the ‘benefit’ of getting ‘punched’. She would argue she was getting what SHE wanted out of the ‘relationship’ but when I said, “No. I’m not getting my ‘needs’ met/I’m tired of getting ‘hit’,” the real conflict began. Please see my earlier comments on two-way street/equal relationships.

      Lastly you asked, “In your opinion IS there something that will improve the situation?” Yes. I know I used a lot of words earlier, but the ‘sum-up’ to ALL of what I said is, BE SOMEONE YOUR DAUGHTER WANTS TO TALK TO AND SPEND TIME WITH. In other words, if it’s raining poop outside -- walk into her house and instead of exclaiming, “OMG! I’m covered in poop! Save me! Clean me up!” smile and say, “Wow! It looks like a perfect day to fertilize the garden!” Be positive. Be upbeat! Be friendly! Have FUN! See the glass as over-flowing even IF everyone can ‘see’ it’s really just half-full. Be a SAIL not an ‘anchor’.

      I truly wish you the best of luck. The fact that you are asking questions (very GOOD questions – and by ‘good’ I mean the ones’ that make Me reflect) gives Me hope that you won’t be one of the fully estranged parents left asking ‘Why?’

      I’d also like to add that (from experience) if you respectfully ask a question here, most will respond politely and HONESTLY from our own perspective(s). So please, feel free to ask more. IF I have already ‘talked about’ an ‘issue’ in an earlier comment, I will state that as I did with both you and Ms. Wright and I encourage everyone who visits this site to do just that and not JUST with my comments.

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      gr8fulwoman 2 weeks ago

      Put the phone down on my daughter? I'm not sure what you're talking about Antonio, but thank you for trying to help. What are you referring to?

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      NarcFree 2 weeks ago

      Jennifer Wright, Psy.D.

      A "more plausible hypothesis"? According to who? Do you have a credible source you can cite? If you do, please cite it. And if you're expressing a personal opinion, please don't label it as a "more plausible hypothesis". Leave hypothesis testing to PhDs, because that's what they are trained (and qualified!) to do.

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      gr8fulwoman 2 weeks ago

      Elly thank you so much for your input, I so appreciate it. Correct, my daughter and I are not estranged, that is why I was reluctant to post here. My situation is different.

      About being a burden... I say that to all of you, but never to her.

      And that's very true what you say about my daughter and I having a relationship..just not the one I may want. My question to you is, if a mother-daughter relationship is about two people, in a perfect world shouldn't both parties be happy with the way they deal with one another?

      I'd like my daughter to share more of her daily life with me. It's strange to me that the main way I see what she is up to is through Facebook, "just like strangers do".

      Elly when you would share with your mom, was she criticizing you? I want to understand why you stopped sharing. I don't criticize but I do think my daughter feels judgment (even when none is there).

      In your opinion IS there something that will improve the situation?

      Antonio, I guess I would just tell someone in my situation to leave the adult child be who she is, be grateful that she is healthy and happy, and accept the relationship for what it is. What I would not be considering is how heartbreaking it is.

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      Elly The Autistic 2 weeks ago

      To gr8fulwoman:

      .

      I know your question was to Kim, but I’m willing to offer my perspective. On one hand I can sense your pain but on the other I’m also mildly concerned as to your wording/tone. You are clearly not estranged as you still have regular contact even IF you feel like she’s doing it out of obligation.

      From My experiences? That may very well be the case. Before my Sis went ‘Very Low Contact’ and I went ‘No Contact’ my Mom used to bemoan to Me about Sis acting that way AND how much it ‘hurt’ Her. “I know that she loves me and that she has a busy life. I don't want to be a burden. I guess I just want her to WANT to talk to me, want to share.” Again, I’m concerned. It sounds partly accepting, “I know she has a busy life,” and then the ‘guilt laying’ of NOT wanting to be a ‘burden’ on her.

      Then you mentioned, you just want her to ‘share’. Share what? For Me, before I went No Contact I did ‘share’ with my ‘mom’. I shared EVERYTHING because that was what I was ‘taught’ a ‘good child’ does. Until I realized all my ‘sharing’ was just ‘powder’ for Her cannon. The more ‘sharing’ I did, the more ‘powder’ she had to load into Her ‘cannon’. So I stopped sharing as much too. I learned she couldn’t use Me against ME, IF she didn’t have the ‘powder’.

      It sounds like you do have some relationship with your daughter but you sound more sad that it’s not the relationship YOU want. If you’re not happy with the relationship you have now, I can bet No Contact will be her next step. Why? Because what she is giving You isn’t ‘good enough’ to the point You are asking, “Should I just leave her alone?” That is an option, but don’t be surprised if that doesn’t improve the situation.

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      Elly The Autistic 2 weeks ago

      To Jennifer Wright, Psy.D.

      You said, “I feel this article is written from the viewpoint of someone who has still not emotionally separated from the parent; there is a ring of adolescent rebellion. Matured adults can self-soothe when their parents don't agree or break a boundary, they don't have to disengage, which is actually a form of not being individuated at all.” If you want to label those of Us who have gone No Contact as acting ‘adolescent’ that’s fine. As for ‘self-soothing’ I’ve been doing THAT all my life while trying to also keep my ‘Mom’ ‘happy’. Who ended up ‘happy’ living that way? NOBODY. I’m not nor ever WAS ‘responsible’ for her happiness and the expectation that I WAS is part of the reason I am No Contact with my ‘family’ now.

      For the first time in my life, since going No Contact from my ‘family’ I am my own PERSON. I am allowed to have my own thoughts. I can make my own decisions regarding my now growing family with my Husband without the constant negativity my ‘family’ spews. It’s my ‘Mom’ who lacked ‘individuality’ -- that’s why her constant OVER-involvement in my life, until I said ENOUGH. I could go on for paragraphs about how what Kim wrote relates to my situation.

      Then you said, “You would advocate cutting off grandparents for giving kids sugar or gifts? That's a sign of the parent expecting the grandparents to do the parenting, rather than the grandparenting.” I don’t understand this. Or maybe you are not seeing the ‘bigger picture’. If you leave your dog at a kennel or with friends/family you trust that they’ll feed the dog its proper food and not allow the animal to do things that the ‘animal parent’ doesn’t approve of. Yet, if you hand your CHILD to their grand-parent, now the grand-parent is ‘righter’ then the PARENT and can do whatever they want regarding the grand-child? So NO.

      I would argue that a ‘good’ grand-parent would be MORE willing to work with their adult child around the rules and ways the grand-children are being raised. It’s hard to tactfully explain to an acquaintance, “Please don’t kiss my son on the face. Infants can easily pick up preventable infections etc. if you do that.” If I made that request to a friend and they didn’t respect that? I would remove my child from their care. But if a grand-parent did that, I’m supposed to say, “Oh, THEY are the grand-parent, so it’s now okay.” No it IS NOT.

      Parenting is difficult enough for my Husband and I to navigate and the last thing we need/want is to constantly fight ‘battles’ with people who fundamentally do not see either of Us as capable ADULT humans and respect our decisions. If my husband and I set a rule for our son, we expect that to be honored as WE are the parents. You or our ‘parents’ might not ‘like’ or agree with our wishes, but the bottom line is, that doesn’t give them the privilege or ‘right’ to do as THEY ‘see fit’. If they act like that? They lose privileges. Actions have consequences. You are correct. I do sound VERY ‘immature’ *eye roll*

      As for your suggestion that our ‘reasons’ sound more like a call for ‘family therapy’ – Please go back and read one of my earlier comments that is EXACTLY on that point. I won’t repeat myself but again, the answer is, ‘No’ for the reasons I stated there.

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      Antonio50S 2 weeks ago

      To gr8

      Yes, that's what I was getting at, just wondering what opinions or advice you yourself would give in that "same" situation ?

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      gr8fulwoman 2 weeks ago

      Antonio, hi! I just want to be sure what you're asking. Are you asking,

      what my own opinion would be if it were not my own personal situation?

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      Antonio50S 2 weeks ago

      To gr8

      Hope you don't mind ?

      Just being curious, what "opinion" would you give in that situation ???

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      Jennifer Wright, Psy.D. 2 weeks ago

      I'm curious that in your characterization parents who report not understanding the reason are the ones who did not "listen" or "remember," when the more plausible hypothesis is that they did not realize the reason was given because generationally, it would have been absurd to cut off family for the grievances. Your column is very culturally specific, and it only reflects viewpoints of a western and younger generation, not that of where the parents would have come from, in regards to their understandings. You describe boundary crossings that are not boundary crossings, but perhaps concern and worry, especially in regards to concerns that are at the very core of life. I had a hard time (and I'm 52) relating to the vast majority of your "reasons" for cutting off parents; indeed, they sound like reasons for family therapy perhaps, most clearly talk and communication. But estrangement? That's beyond the pale. You would advocate cutting off grandparents for giving kids sugar or gifts? That's a sign of the parent expecting the grandparents to do the parenting, rather than the grandparenting. And it is certainly not reason for estrangement. I feel this article is written from the viewpoint of someone who has still not emotionally separated from the parent; there is a ring of adolescent rebellion. Matured adults can self-soothe when their parents don't agree or break a boundary, they don't have to disengage, which is actually a form of not being individuated at all.

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      gr8fulwoman 2 weeks ago

      I don't mean to hijack any of the current conversations but I did want to know from the author what her opinion is of an adult, married daughter who calls once per week and sounds as if she has only called out of obligation. She (35) and I have chatted about it and I have told her that it's okay if she doesn't want to call each and every week, that if she prefers we can text instead, but if I am talking I want her to do more than grunt. It really hurts my feelings. I know that she loves me and that she has a busy life. I don't want to be a burden. I guess I just want her to WANT to talk to me, want to share. Is there a way that I can deal with this other than having another conversation with her? I hung up the phone today and felt so sad about it. She is not a big sharer and I respect that. I am super careful about boundaries. I love her husband and want him to be her first priority. I don't think there are strings attached to our relationship. I'm just having a hard time wrapping my head around her not wanting to talk much to me. This has been going on four the last two years and it's not getting any better. I don't criticize her or critique her. My husband and I see her about once every six weeks, and she is devoted. Is there anything I can do other than just leave her alone?

    • Kim Bryan profile image
      Author

      Kim Bryan 3 weeks ago

      @Elly ... While the golden child's life may seem better when we're children (or at least it did for me), I fully understand now just how much damage was done to my brother and I by my mother. Understanding what I do now, I feel grateful (for lack of a better word) that I was the scapegoat because the golden child(ren) rarely ever realizes the truth about themselves and their childhood.

      And ditto on the "junk." I too didn't mean to offend anyone with statements as such but sadly, in situations like ours (especially in wealthy countries), the stuff isn't heirlooms but mass-produced pieces from Pottery Barn that our disordered parent(s) has placed an unreasonable value on and thus try to hold it over our heads like a bargaining chip.

      Truth is, if I had the means, I would decorate my whole house in nothing but heirlooms and antiques. I'm a history buff and would love if every piece of furniture or knickknack I owned had a story; but even if that's what my parents had and tried to bargain it for my complacency, it would still be a big fat no. My dignity and peace is not for sale.

    • Kim Bryan profile image
      Author

      Kim Bryan 3 weeks ago

      @Blaishob ... YOU are not a horrible being, at all. You made a mistake. We all do.

      There is a lesson to be learned, however, that I believe God wants you to learn: make time for the good people in our life because they will be gone someday and a chance at amends is gone.

      YOU have done nothing that isn’t unforgivable and I sincerely believe your stepfather knows the burden on your soul at having not made contact. From what you describe, he wouldn’t want you beating yourself up but to learn from it.

      But bottom line is this, you’re fine. You feel regret. Bad people don’t feel regret for more than a few seconds and 99% of the time it’s not regarding having hurt/wronged someone else. I know this firsthand.

      Forgive yourself. Find peace. Everything is going to be alright.

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      BlaisHub 3 weeks ago

      My Stepfather passed almost three years ago and now I'm realizing how great of a man he was. After he and my mom divorced in 2001, He told me he would not be the one to call myself or my brother. He left it up to us to make contact with him and if we would like to continue a relationship with him. I did visit with him a couple of times in 2007. However, I did not speak with him for over 10 years after. I let too much time slip. I found out he passed in the obits. No one in my family kept in touch with him. It was up to me and I failed the ultimate task as a good son. This is the worst thing I've done in my lifetime. I abandoned a very loving, giving and all around cool dude. How do I live with myself knowing what a ungrateful piece of work I've become.

    • Kim Bryan profile image
      Author

      Kim Bryan 3 weeks ago

      @Elly, expert? Not quite (haha) but I don’t think you missed anything.

      Knowing that you have Aspbergers and understanding how that adds an extra layer to fight through when dealing with family dysfunction, I am constantly amazed and awed at how well you and your husband manage your family issues. You’re doing everything a professional would advise you to do. That’s awesome!

      @Antonio, I’ll expand on our conversation...

      Parents who insult and belittle their children, while it is a transference of their own flaws, fail to realize they are also creating a self-fulfilling prophecy.

      For example, for as long as I can remember, if I tried to speak up, my mother told me I was bitter, angry, jealous, controlling, and spoiled.

      Now, 7 year-old me (one of the first recollections I have of the verbal abuse) was none of those things. But by the time I had heard it repeatedly at 20, guess what happened? I was ALL of those things with a few extra flaws to boot.

      I became those things for two reasons: one because I had been told all my life that’s what I was and two, because I had learned to mimic her behaviors.

      Now the irony of this is, my mother is HUGE on quoting biblical scripture about the power of our words and how we speak things into existence.

      So, essentially, since she believes in the Holy Bible, she cursed me. Plain and simple.

      My point is this. If parents repeatedly and unapologetically insult their children with crude labels, they are telling that child that is what they are.

      And in that case, parents don’t get to whine when their prophecy is fulfilled.

      At least not without heavy correcting from those of us see it for what it is and aren’t afraid to call them out on it.

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      LorrieB 3 weeks ago

      It goes both ways. Sometimes it is the parents' fault and sometimes it is genetic. In other words, the child inherits bad genes from one parent or a grandparent. In other words, it is nature and nurture that make the child what he/she will one day be. When you look inward and cannot find a sufficient reason for the estrangement, it just may be that you are not the one at fault.

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      Elly The Autistic 3 weeks ago

      To Kim:

      That was kind of my point on feeling such sadness that my Husband's 'parents' don't see and will never accept the beautiful Man they managed to create, despite themselves not BECAUSE of themselves.

      I actually grieve for His loss as much as my own. You said, "And that just makes me sad because a little bit of acknowledgement of truth could go a long way in healing." As I said earlier IF my husband's Mom had approached Me differently? My REPLY would have been different.

      Then of course My 'mom' swooped in and tried to play 'flying-monkey' for His 'mom'... *eye-roll* My Husband and I feel like we're the 'Grand-Central Station' of dysfunction.

      I consider You the expert... Did WE 'miss' a station? Or are We on the right track?

    • Kim Bryan profile image
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      Kim Bryan 3 weeks ago

      @Antonio, you know what I’ve come to understand? When a parent (and this includes me during my dark years) berates a child with insults, it’s actually a subconscious admission of their own faults.

      When my therapist made that statement to me, I at first denied it but with more thought, I realized he was right.

      As parents, if we label our children lazy, incompetent, stupid, etc., what we’re really saying is, “What did I do wrong?”

      Sadly, most will dismiss such a thought and justify it by listing all the horrible things their child has done.

      And that just makes me sad because a little bit of acknowledgement of truth could go a long way in healing.

    • Kim Bryan profile image
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      Kim Bryan 3 weeks ago

      @Elly, yep, I’m spoiled rotten. Rotten to the core, I say. lol

      @NarcFree, I LOVE that line! I’m going to jot that down in my journal of quotes that I refer to any time I feel my old ways trying to sneak back in.

      And a P.S. to @Mama26, I AM in therapy. Now I’ll wait for you to tell me how my therapist isn’t worth the money I pay him. But in response to that I’ll say: I’m the one with a good relationship with my husband and children, how about you?

    • profile image

      Antonio50S 3 weeks ago

      Mama2600kids

      Sorry, Got the numbers wrong there.

      That's right. ( "you don't need a degree to know if you were abused" )

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      NarcFree 3 weeks ago

      Mama26,

      I don't see any degrees next to your name either. What qualifications have you got that allow you to discredit anyone sharing personal experiences?

      With the tantrums you throw, I wouldn't want to listen to you even if you did have degrees.

      Please try to process this: having given birth is not a guarantee of lifetime of entitlement.

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      Elly The Autistic 3 weeks ago

      To Mama26kids:

      Opening with an insult – “To the arrogant author” -- well you might have added ‘and Friends’ because Kim has a few.

      You seem to cling to this, “I also say that only a jealous spouse would prevent their partner from spending time with their parent.” As I explained to You, that is NOT the ‘ONLY reason’. My husband was fully 3 years No Contact when I MET Him. How am I the ‘jealous spouse’ keeping my Husband from his ‘family’. Hint – I’m NOT. I’m not pushing Him towards them either. He’s a ‘big boy’ and can decide who He wants to spend time with without MY ‘help’.

      Where are you having a ‘temper tantrum’? Your whole comment sounds like one to Me. Your dismissive attitude – “I don't see any degrees next to your name, so I guess I'll assume that you are just an opinionated mommy blogger and that is why there is no validity to the stuff you spew.”

      Victim’s telling ‘their truth’ makes Us QUALIFIED. You don’t need a degree to know if you were abused. If you were abused and You know how it impacted You, that makes you qualified. To Me, You are the one lacking ‘qualifications’.

      You said, “Next you claim I just can't understand that and need therapy, but wait, maybe I"m really worried about my abused grandkids. Again, 2 more arrogant assumptions. I don't need therapy, though you surely do, I'm not worried about my grandkids and finally to get to your last point, I do NOT need to call social services on my children.” I’m confused here. Are your grand-children being abused? If they ARE – Call social Services!!! If they are not, why are you saying they are? Or is it that it’s ’okay’ the kids are being abused but You’re just mad because You aren’t getting your ‘shots’ in? Your attitude SCREAMS to Me at least, that You don’t know what real ‘abuse’ looks like – or maybe you DO and that’s why you don’t ‘need’ to call Social Services. You know there in no abuse and are just saying they ARE being ‘abused’ to further YOUR agenda. “I must ‘save’ my innocent grand-babies!”

      One of the many reasons that my Husband and I are No Contact (with BOTH of our genetic ‘families’) is because of our son. In many jurisdictions IF a ‘relationship’ is established between a grand-parent/grand-child and then the parents realize the error of that decision, the grand-parents can take you to court for visitation rights! It gets cold where We live. Trust Me – It will never get ‘that cold’ that We would EVER put our Son is ANY of His grand-parents arms. I cannot fathom the psychological damage a child would go through in that scenario. What We went through with these ‘people’ was bad enough.

      You started with calling the Author ‘arrogant’. You sound like the typical, “If I SAY ‘it’ – It is now ‘reality’,” so I can now ‘dismiss’ EVERYTHING she just said. You clung to one small part to discredit ignoring EVERYTHING else in the article. Calling everyone ‘spoilt’ and making yourself sound ‘saintly’ is another big ‘red flag’. Fine I’m spoilt, my Darling Husband is spoilt (sorry but…) Kim your spoilt, so now how about You wear a label – IMMATURE.

      You sound exactly like my Mom and Sis. You ‘hear’ something You don’t ‘like’ – Like ‘perhaps’ You are part of the ‘issue’ and then You lash out at EVERYONE nearby. Perhaps you could try sticking your fingers in your ears and repeating, “La la la la la la la – I can’t hear You!!!” and then holding your breathe for ‘effect’.

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      Antonio50S 3 weeks ago

      To Kim.

      I understand some of these parents have issues going on in there head's, what gets to me is when some of these fully grown adults stand over the kids calling them stupid or restarted, because the kid did not grasp what was said.

      It's the job of pairents and adults to communicate with there kids, and not be calling them stupid and so on, ( As if that's going to help the Kid learn better somehow ) parents and adults who do that to children are doing it with the intention of hurting the kids, and to feel better about themselves and there own issues going on in there lives.

      That's abuse.

    • Kim Bryan profile image
      Author

      Kim Bryan 3 weeks ago

      @Antonio, I find it amusing how many times they've tried to insult me by telling me I'm not a therapist. I never claim to be and even state that I'm just a survivor, not a therapist.

      But, you see, the problem is the disordered mind doesn't actually process the words it reads. Instead it's looking for validation.

      As I keep saying, I get it. I lived it. But just as something inside me always knew things weren't right, it happens to them too. They can either decide to ignore the inner pleas to seek help and change or just keep on living life as they are now and wonder why it feels as though the whole world is against them.

      I am thankful I was given a chance to experience life from this side of the borderline disordered mind. There are so many who would enjoy it too if they were just willing to sit down, shut up, and listen for a little while.

      But hey, you canonly lead a horse to water. If he doesn't drink, oh well he's the one who will dehydrate. ;)

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      Antonio50S 3 weeks ago

      To Mama26 P.S.

      Kim gave an answer to your questions, you did not like her response, therefore its you with the issues going here.

      Plus what is so wrong about wanting to write about your own experiences and expressing your own views ?

      You mentioned about not seeing a degree next to the authors name, you definitely got us on that one. ( Let me think, were can i go and get a degree which explains all the ins and outs of psychological abuse some parents put there kids through, and the manipulations they use ??? ) Wonder were some of these parents and families learned there own behaviours from ?

      If you want a one sided perspective on say the way some children treat their parents, then there's places to go for that, but this one is about how dysfunctional families along with abuse effects children in their adult lives.

      Just because you don't understand the kind's of abuse adult children are referring to, and how it effected them don't mean it's not real. Why would adult children go through all the trouble in relating there experiences on here if it were just petty issues between families.

      In fact, a lot of these trivial little things people like yourself consider trivial are really serious abuses going on. Standing over a child for example, asking them are you stupid or something, even calling them retarded and so on, because they did not understand a question, "is abuse". Them kind of behaviors don't just come from parents and families, it gose on in society and within schools as well, behaviors which people like yourself consider normal.

      Not all children learn in the same ways, some kids may struggle understanding or grasping what the parents or teacher is saying, or they may have a mental block going on somewhere, but if you have "patient parents", and the "right teachers" who understand these kinds of issues, these things would not go on, but instead they do the very opposite, and humiliate the children. ( And these are just the trivial little things we're talking about ) let alone pointing loaded weapons at children, even telling them to take there own lives, including kicking a little girl out the house saying you were never wanted, having her stand outside the front door while the mother's packing her things to leave the home.

      Anything that interferes with a childs mind which can effect them for year's to come, even life, is abuse.

      Instead you got parents coming on here more or less saying I want to be honoured, I want to honoured. Maybe you should be asking yourselves why you visited a site like this to begin with.

      Mama26, DeenaG, and the likes. ( To me ) you are all a little creepy.

    • Kim Bryan profile image
      Author

      Kim Bryan 3 weeks ago

      @Mama26

      Sigh. Please seek therapy. You're not angry at me, you'e angry because my message hits too close to home and thus, you're angry at yourself. I get it. I used to live with your mindset. Do yourself a favor, do the work to pull yourself out of it. This side of the "border" isn't always unicorns and rainbows, but there's a heck of a lot more here than in the darkness where you're living.

      I sincerely hope you find peace, love, and contentment someday.

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      Antonio50S 3 weeks ago

      To Mama26

      You asked the author a question ( how on earth is wanting to spend time alone with your adult child "creepy"? )

      ( And )

      ( I make sure my husband gets time alone with his mother. Why wouldn't you want that ( "quiet bonding time" )

      ( You must admit when you put it like that, it dose sound creepy ? )

      In any case, just ( wanting ) to spend time alone with your adult child is a problem in itself, let alone wanting it to be ( time alone ) as well. Them kind of demands don't work in family relationships.

      Putting it another way, if I was with a woman who made sure i get time alone with my mother, ( "quiet bonding time" ) as you put it. I would ditch her.

      It's like leaving one mother, to be told by another mother what to do.

      There's nothing wrong in going back to visit parents as adults, especially when there are good memories, adult children can talk about fond memories of there childhood if they wish ? But you don't go their to spend ( "quiet bonding time" ) thats what newborn babies and mother's do. ( Not adult children )

      Any relationship adult children have with there parents after leaving home, is willingly, without any compulsion.

      You may not be a jealous spouse, but that behavior is not normal either.

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      Mama26kids 3 weeks ago

      this is to the arrogant author-

      I asked what was creepy about wanting to spend time with your adult child and you say it's not creepy until it's demanded. Then you go on with your arrogance to say I've had some sort of tantrum for pointing out your uneducated claim.

      Where is the tantrum in stating that I let my husband spend time with his mother ALONE whether she asks for it or not, because it the right thing to do?

      I also say that only a jealous spouse would prevent their partner from spending time with their parent.

      Again, where is my tantrum?

      Sounds more like you are having the tantrum.

      I don't see any degrees next to your name, so I guess I'll assume that you are just an opinionated mommy blogger and that is why there is no validity to the stuff you spew.

      I also never said I asked for time alone with my adult children, nor did I say I was denied. Your arrogance jumping in again. I've added your quote below.

      You then go on to claim that I'm ridiculing my children's spouse and grilling the grandkids for info. I've never done any of those things.

      Next you claim I just can't understand that and need therapy, but wait, maybe I"m really worried about my abused grandkids. Again, 2 more arrogant assumptions. I don't need therapy, though you surely do, I'm not worried about my grandkids and finally to get to your last point, I do NOT need to call social services on my children.

      I hope no-one else gets sucked into this garbage article written by a whiny ungrateful child who apparently is jealous and doesn't want her husband to spend any time with his family alone because she feels threatened.

      What is creepy is modern kids caring so little for their parents and so little for their children that they will end the grandchild/grandparent relationship over petty differences. I'm glad my parents were of the generation of forgiveness because I know my grandparents weren't perfect, but they still were in my life so I have all of those memories. Modern kids get the memory of babysitters and drop of day cares. How special.

      Spoilt.

      You say- @Mama26, you musunderstood. Alone time between parent and adult child isn’t creepy until it’s demanded.

      When a parent is insistent that they be alone with their adult child or grandchildren and a tantrum ensues (like yours) when denied, chances are great said parent/grandparent has ulterior motives - even if they refuse to acknowledge as much. Often the adult child finds themselves or their spouse a topic of ridicule and manipulation while disordered grandparents interrogate their grandchildren about their parents, household finances, etc. and undermine their adult child’s parenting style. THOSE THINGS ARE NEVER OKAY!

      If you have trouble grasping why this behavior, when coupled with other symptoms, is one an adult child must take a stance against, I strongly suggest a therapist.

      P.S. Before it’s said, let me cover it. Yes, there are sometimes situations where the adult child or grandchildren are in danger. By trying to bully your way in, you’ll only make matters worse. If you sincerely fear for their safety, contact authorities. But remember, just because YOU don’t like someone or something, doesn’t make it wrong. And there is a huge price to pay if you’re wrong, so only use this if there is clear and present danger.

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      Antonio50S 3 weeks ago

      To NarcFree

      It's o.k. you are welcome.

      I noticed you said something about peoples comments, WoW thats a lot of bagage, and abandoning parents.

      If you don't mind me saying, if them are the things they notice about you, then they "don't deserve to be in your life"

      You know, when you look so hard for something, you maybe least likely to find what your looking for in another, but when we learn to love ourselves first and be happy and confidence in who you are, especially after a traumatic past, "you won't even have to look" ( just be yourself, and "the right person" will "find you" and love you for who you are regardless of any past )

      All the rest are just passing through. Take no notice, you're worth more than them lot, they just don't know it.

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      NarcFree 3 weeks ago

      Antonio,

      Thank you for the "apology". I never imagined it could feel good coming from a stranger, but it did! If nothing else, it's acknowledgement of sorts, that the pain is real, and that someone believes me/us. Thank you.

      I put the word in quotes because you had nothing to do with anything that happened and don't even know anybody involved.

      I think society evolved to a point where victims of domestic abuse are encouraged to leave/divorce IF the abuse is coming from a spouse/a partner of your choosing. However, if it's coming from a parent/a family you were born into, well you better suck it up or we will judge you collectively because WE cannot (and often don't want to) imagine a parent mistreating their own child. Parent knows best, and children don't know what's good for them, that's the assumption. Unfortunately, parenting ability and reproductive health are completely separate and independent systems in a human body. Saying that everyone who is a biological parent "knows best"... is like saying that everyone who has enough money to buy a race car is qualified to race it through a school zone. Because you know, if they're paying for it, it's theirs to do whatever they want with it, and they know best how to use it.

    • profile image

      Antonio50S 3 weeks ago

      To Elly

      I wish they could get to that apology as well, but saying sorry and making apologies seems to be "some" of the hardest words for so many in the world.

      Making an apology or saying sorry is really just an outward cymbal of any real genuine apology made, in fact, it's more than a one of apology, it involves the individual "really looking at themselves and there behaviors" & truly acknowledging the pain they caused others. Sorry & apologies are really for the "benefit of the victims", and not just to cover and smooth things over on a temporary basis.

      It's possible that parents who cause so much pain to there children actually love them, but because they don't know how to communicate or say sorry, it's much easier to ( inflict ) pain on the one's they love. "But" at the end of the day, ( That's not the problem of adult children ) they need to see examples of parents communicating and making apologies.

      Apologies means a lot to people, Especially to females and young ones of past memories of Abuse's. ( "Glad Kim picked up on the important of apologies" ) made me think about it more as well.

      Making apologies is also good because it shows the individual has done some serious self examination, self reflection & recognized how there own behaviors was effecting others.

      Apologies isn't just good for families or group's, it's also good for the "healing" of individuals & for whole nations alike.

      People love to hear apologies, but the real challenge is making them.

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      Elly The Autistic 3 weeks ago

      To NarcFree:

      I know my Husband would reverse the numbers but that would just be a lie. He really IS that gorgeous. Hot. Stunning. We really are ‘beauty and the beast’ and I’m NOT the ‘beauty’. However, that’s not what we love about each other so it’s not a big deal for us.

      Finding love after living our upbringings does have its challenges. For my Husband the issues were many. One, most women were looking at his job, bank account, status and His physicality. Generally He would start to get to know someone, they would start to see his insecurities and either started treating him/manipulating him the way his ‘mom’ did or thought he was ‘weak’. The other thing he had to deal with was how the woman in His life dealt with the first list. He was looking for someone who wanted HIM (the person) not his ‘stuff’ and someone who understood because of that ‘list’ that He gets a LOT of attention.

      I didn’t worry about any of that because I knew what I wanted in a relationship and I wasn’t willing to ‘settle’ for someone regardless of anything else. My husband picked up on my confidence and authenticity in that regard. He wasn’t willing to ‘settle’ either. So our conversation got deeper and I told Him about my ‘family’ and growing up as the scapegoat child. He was able to ‘relate’. So finally after swapping ‘war stories’ and a lot of laughter, He asked Me, “When We have kids are you going to ‘insist’ I start talking to my ‘family’ again for the kids’ sake?” Me – “When WE have kids? Aren’t We getting ahead of ourselves here?” Husband – “We’re gonna get married right?” Me – “Yes. I think I’d like that.”

      Do I get jealous when other women and even some men make passes at my Husband? Nope. Other woman did that in his past and it drove Him insane. He took that as they didn’t trust Him. I DO trust my Husband because I know He could be with whomever He wants but chooses to be with Me – ‘beast’, baggage and all.

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      Elly The Autistic 3 weeks ago

      To Antonio:

      The tears I cried when I read, “Such a shame some parents treat there children the way they do, because they don't know the kind of adults they will grow into.” I wish I could adequately convey the emotional reaction that caused me. Watching my Husband change diapers like a Pro without ever a word of complaint or Him playing guitar and singing to our son gives Me such great joy. His ‘family’ doesn’t even know Him anymore and it breaks my heart that they are not knowing this wonderful thing they ‘created’ even if by ‘not the best means’ -- abuse. If only THEY could get to the apologizing you spoke so eloquently of.

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      NarcFree 3 weeks ago

      Dan,

      Allowing your grown child deal with consequences of their own choices, and letting them clean up their own mess, is NOT estrangement. You can set boundaries, you can stop bailing them out of trouble, and that is not the same as going No Contact.

    • profile image

      NarcFree 3 weeks ago

      Elly,

      so funny you use the phrase Prisoner of War. I think of my childhood as Nazi camp or as a psychological torture chamber. And I escaped! Yay to us, breaking free.

      Hilarious how you "evaluate" yourself and husband's good looks. I'm sure if he were writing that post, he'd reverse the numbers :)

      Thank you for sharing your love story. It gives me hope. I'm trying to date and waiting to meet someone who'll give me credit for being strong. So far, the responses I get are along the lines of Wow, that's a lot of baggage, or, Wow you have no family values if you abandoned your elderly parents.

    • Kim Bryan profile image
      Author

      Kim Bryan 3 weeks ago

      @ElizabethCa ... did we have the same mother?

      Haha. But seriously, you’re spot on. I tried to provide reasons directly, only to be told I was bitter, jealous, angry, too sensitive, spoiled... the list could go on forever.

      Yes, I was those things. I had become those things through learned behavior and her placing those labels on me was really nothing more than subconsciously calling out her own behaviors.

      Unless she does some serious work on herself, I can’t go back. To try and tolerate her as she is, is to put my own healing at risk.

      Frankly, that’s just not something I’m willing to do. I’ve come too far.

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      NarcFree 3 weeks ago

      ElizabethCa,

      I agree 100%, and will add that they are so determined to invalidate you, they just won't acknowledge the reasons were ever given to them, even if they were. Maybe not on the actual day of walking away, but hundreds of times throughout lifetime of conflict. By the time you decide to walk away, you've accepted that you will never be heard, so why repeat yourself for the 101st time? 100 times was not enough for these people, I won't try the 101. I'll stop banging my head on the wall cuz the wall ain't moving anyway.

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      NarcFree 3 weeks ago

      CatieVee,

      Your father did not give you the strength to disallow his manipulation. He gave you the reason to find that strength within yourself. Big difference. Give yourself some credit.

      As for giving you life, how hard did he really work at that? He had sex and nature did the rest. Parenting happens after birth, not before.

      I agree with you that sometimes all it takes is being the bigger person. Just as true, sometimes being the bigger person only gets you more punches in the gut. At some point, instead of trying to be bigger, you try to protect your gut from those punches.

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      ElizabethCa 3 weeks ago

      CatieVee, the other thing I'd say is - parents who show they won't listen to reasons don't get long explanations of what's going on.

      With my mother, I know that the tiniest little suggestion that she's doing anything wrong is met with "I'm NOT doing that, I've NEVER done that, how dare you even accuse me of such a thing, you need to fix your attitude and stop being so sensitive and ungrateful." I know from how she approaches me that requests for reasons are actually fishing for a way to explain why my reasons are invalid.

      There's not much point in giving a long explanation to someone who isn't listening to a word you say anyway.

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      Elly The Autistic 3 weeks ago

      To Christopher:

      Never feel the need to justify your choices to anyone -- especially if those choices are moving You in a positive direction. No one has the right to ‘judge’ You for doing what is best for YOU.

      For my husband and I going No Contact was best for Us. We are constantly ‘judged’ for that decision. If someone is judging you negatively it means they don’t have your back. If someone doesn’t have your back? It probably means they are standing in Your WAY. My husband and I just push ‘those people’ aside and walk past them. Sometimes that’s not easy because We learned that some people we thought were friends turned out to be anything but and by the weight of numbers, most people in our community believe WE are the issue.

      People will believe what they WANT to believe. If someone thinks You are ‘trailer trash’ that speaks more about THEM then You. Coming from/having a nice dwelling doesn’t make one better/superior – it just means they have a bigger bank account. The same applies in reverse… My husband could be living in a card-board box under an over-pass and He would still be the most caring, kind and compassionate person you could ever meet. People who think money, status or living conditions define who You ‘are’ have the issues not You.

      Normally, I try to avoid name-calling because it tends to inflame the poor, clueless ‘estranged parents’ because they like to scream, “See! SEE!!! You called your Dad an idiot!!! YOU are JUST AS ‘abusive’!” For the record, that’s not how that works. The truth is a defense to that ‘perceived insult’. What ELSE could you call a ‘man’ who trades the family car for a motorcycle and then runs it through a dwelling – and in the winter no less? Genius is NOT on my short-list – actually, it didn’t MAKE ‘the list’.

      Stay strong.

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      CatieVee 3 weeks ago

      Surprisingly I find your posting is insightful and can be beneficial to those families experiencing estrangement. I do not agree that every child gives a reason for their departure from the family unit. The five reasons for estrangement appear to be spot on but are not always clearly stated to a parent.

      I like you did not receive closure from my Father and to think he would ever help me heal from the issues that I felt greatly deprived me of a close relationship with him. I do believe in total healing, however, and because of that, I could re-enter into a cordial relationship with him. This man was not perfect nor was I. He had life experiences that shaped him and choose not to fix them. He embraced parenthood from the way he was raised. I could have held onto that rift until he took his last breath. I chose not to do so because he gave me life, he gave me the experience I could better myself with and he gave me the strength not to allow his shortcomings manipulate me anymore. I loved and still do to this very day, my parents. I am fortunate I was not abused or subjected to substance abuse because that most certainly would have changed the outcome. I forgave what my Dad did to me on an emotional level and I did not forget the things he did either. I just chose to release accountability for his actions back to him and accepted accountability for my own actions. The bottom line for me to feel healthy emotionally and physically was to move forward in life. The feeling of not belonging or losing a family unit has its own set of setbacks as you clearly stated. Sometimes it just takes being the bigger person. We don't have to become a doormat, just as we need to be accepted as human being we also have to accept we share this planet with other human beings.

      ]

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      Elly The Autistic 4 weeks ago

      To Antonio:

      I’m glad you appreciated my ‘acceptance of differences’. I think am beginning to understand why you may have been unsure about me at first. I believe it is my ‘speak from my side’ perspective and manner of speaking. It sounds like I cannot understand or ‘get’ the other side. I absolutely DO. I just don’t speak on the other side because I’m not an ‘estranged parent of an adult child’. I’m an ‘estranged adult child’ who understands why I have made the choices I have made. Maybe my choices are ‘right’ maybe they are ‘wrong’ but they are my decisions and I stand by them.

      I absolutely believe that some adult children DO treat their parents atrociously – I understand that. From my front row seat in my ‘family’ I can tell you that my Sis (back when we all used to get together) DID treat my Mom like garbage and Me as well for that matter.

      The question becomes which came first? My Sister’s terrible behavior towards my Mom and I or her LEARNING that behavior from my Mom and then just repeating it? I would suggest that it’s the second option there. So because of the way my Sister was victimized she now behaves the same way… sadly.

      I also try very hard not to make pronouncing statements like some of the other commenter’s here especially when speaking for the other side. No, I don’t know the ‘pain’ that an ‘estranged parent’ feels, I’m not one so I’m not qualified to make a statement on that, but I do know what pain IS. Don’t all humans?

      By a ‘pronouncing statement’ I mean things like, (coming from an estranged parent) “Its only a jealous spouse that has issue with their adult partner having a close relationship with their parent.” Now, I refuted that statement/pronunciation by reminding that commenter THAT is NOT ‘the ONLY reason’ and I used a personal example. My husband was 3 years into No Contact when we met, so I had nothing to do with His decision/choice in that matter.

      I’ve been asked all the usual things and had all the standard accusations thrown at me. “Don’t you feel terrible that you are causing you ‘parents’ so much pain with your decision to go No Contact?” My reply to that is, “Yes. It does bother Me that my ‘actions’ are causing her ‘pain’. I’m more sorry that HER actions cause ME pain.”

      My Husband’s proposal was, “We’re gonna get married right?” and my reply was, “Yes. I think I’d like that.” He really is the most amazing person I’ve ever met and He says the same of Me. Also, I’m a ‘7’ with make-up and a good wardrobe while my husband rolls out of bed a ‘9’. I am a lucky woman.

      Peace be with You.

      P.S. I’m glad you are changing your mind about me, I do TRY to ‘make sense’. LOL

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      Elly The Autistic 4 weeks ago

      To Christopher:

      Welcome here. I’m sorry that you found this site for the reasons you did. However, You are not alone. I agree with Paula – Your Mom sounds like mine and Husband’s and that’s not a compliment to any of THEM I assure you.

      I agree with Paula 100%. My husband and I found each other and built our own family and true happiness – after one ‘date’. Find that special person and rebuild YOUR LIFE. It’s your LIFE and you DESERVE to live it – in peace!!!

      I am not going to say that THAT is ‘easy’ but it can be done. Husband and I are proof. It’s a process and the biggest first step in the process is the realization that SHE is the ‘issue’ and not YOU. With that knowledge you will probably have to ‘unlearn’ a LOT of things. Turning off the ‘negative narrative’ You grew up with in your head was one of the hardest parts for my husband and I personally. You are NOT what You have been ‘told/trained’ you are and somehow You must come to BELIEVE THAT. How you get there? I don’t have a magic answer for that – I wish I did because I’d gladly share it. My husband and I found our way to that BELIEF (We ARE NOT ‘bad’) very differently.

      Your statement of, “That same person is also the one who stood over me doing my homework (before jerking it away and doing it herself) posturing like she was about to beat me screaming what's wrong with you, your retarded, there's something wrong with your brain. That was just 1st grade.” My husband and I did the ‘sad laugh’ because we both felt like adding, “And it didn’t get ‘better’ from there…” I wish I could give you the great big hug you deserve for surviving ‘childhood’. For the record, what You had was not a ‘childhood’ it is more like ‘growing up’ in a Prisoner of War camp.

      Emotional abuse survivors like me often have C-PTSD. Please look into the topic as it may be helpful.

      Stay strong! Things can get better. Start believing in You.

      *hugs* Elly.

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      Christopher 4 weeks ago

      Paula.. Yes im an only child. Dad never paid child support and only showed up once or twice a year if that. Always blames everything on everybody else.

      He's just a complete idiot. They split up when I was 6 months old because he traded the family car for a motorcycle in the dead of winter and chased mom through the house on it when she got mad about it. When he starts calling or showing up regular I know he wants something, give him a few weeks and he'll start dropping hents then get mad that I don't go along with it.

      Last year it was him wanting to live with me in my camper but he never would come out and say it. He lived with his mother until they sold the house after she passed a couple years ago

      Yes I live in a camper and I'm not crazy lol. I felt the need to justify it because I know it sounds trailer park trashy. It's simply the fact that I already had land with everything but a house. So I put a camper on it while I build money to start my own business and get out of here. Over 65% of my check goes into my savings now.

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      Paula 4 weeks ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Christopher......I don't even know your mother and I dislike her!! Heaven help you. Just be yourself and understand the woman obviously has her head screwed on backward. Sounds like a maniac, actually. Are you an only child....or did she have more than one child to abuse?

      This sort of family craziness boggles my mind. I'm really so sorry for you and all adults who were so egregiously treated during childhood by their own parents.......BTW, where was your Dad as your mother was destroying your entire self-image?

      I'd like to say that I hope you have found a partner in life who makes you happy and feel loved and appreciated. Sometimes, this is the best situation for people to heal wounds from their past. Be strong and KNOW who you are. Let Mama scream herself silly.....and just keep smiling!

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      Christopher 4 weeks ago

      This was such an enlightening article now after mom just left my place yelling "You have a bad attitude, you should have more respect for your mother. I'm not going to live forever you know".

      I'm 37yo, and have tried the explain the situation and how I feel to a person who's mentality is "I'm your mother, it's my right to get on your nerves haha".

      It's just nice to see an article for a change that's not based on some idea that "family is family no matter what" because I'm the bad guy for not loving the person who fed me and kept a roof over my head. That same person is also the one who stood over me doing my homework (before jerking it away and doing it herself) posturing like she was about to beat me screaming what's wrong with you, your retarded, there's something wrong with your brain. That was just 1st grade.

      She stopped acting physically threatening when I was about 17-18. I don't remember what she was going off about (might have been because I was wanting to move out from grandmother's and abandon the whole family to avoid her) but I walked away so she ran up and literally kicked me in the butt and I turned around with a smile and told her "is that the best you got?". It's been mind games and guilt trips ever since then. That's just a few stories and I have so so many from my 37 years of hell. Everything from forcing me to drive home drunk on a motorcycle when I planed to stay the night there to calling and telling the cops that she hasn't herd from me in weeks because I didn't answer the phone that morning because she was trying to guilt trip me the night before and I lived to far away for her to just show up at the house

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      Elly The Autistic 4 weeks ago

      To Paula:

      I did not even touch on the topic of ‘denying THEM their grand-children because it is the WORST of the ‘excuses’ and the most insidious. I really DO look for the ‘least bad’ way to evaluate a situation first. I’m Autistic so in very short order I can consider ALL the ‘possible angles’… Now, I’m not perfect… but my ‘aim’ tends to be highly consistent.

      WE ARE ‘denying them’ their grandchildren. THEY denied US a CHILDHOOD. Which crime is worse? *sarcasm* It goes with the whole “Just think of what your children are missing by not having their ‘loving’ grandparents in their life!” Oh yes. Husband and I know what our children will be ‘missing’. Absolutely NOTHING. For Us it’s like -- “You screwed up ‘parenting’…so now WE are going to ‘magically believe’ You are gonna knock grand-parenting ‘out of the park’ because WE have SOOO much ‘proof’ of how you ‘love’.” It makes Husband and I go – WTF. No logic or critical thinking used for that ‘argument’ in my opinion.

      My mother-in-law’s messages to me showed me that there had been no reflection on their side. IF she had written and said, “Look. I ‘get’ where I went wrong with *son* and He is owed more then an apology. I don’t expect an invitation to the wedding but we would like You to know and hopefully convey to *son* that if you would be open to meeting, we would welcome that. Enjoy your special day.” I may have replied differently.

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      Elly The Autistic 4 weeks ago

      To NarcFree:

      I have ALWAYS said -- I do not CARE 'who' is going WHERE. So long as WE don't all end up in the same place. I 'get' what you MEAN where others' may not.

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      NarcFree 4 weeks ago

      DREW, your preaching is only going to work on humans highly susceptible to brainwashing. I highly doubt you'll find any on this page.

      Love is a feeling. Respect is a feeling. You cannot mandate a feeling, not with religion, not with law. You can try, but it won't work. The best shot anyone's got is to behave in a way that evokes those feelings in others, including your children.

      Demanding or fear mongering won't evoke love or respect. Abusive parents show cruelty and anger. And they demand love and respect in return. Good luck with that. Maybe make a robot next time, instead of a human child. Even a pet won't show you love if you keep it in constant fear.

      You can't scare me with hell because I lived through it in childhood. In fact, if my "mother" is going to heaven, then I want to go to hell. Anywhere she is not. Your preaching changes nothing. Go show your kids some love. You'll be surprised how that works so much better than Bible quotes.

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