5 Reasons Why Adult Children Estrange From Their Parents

Updated on January 18, 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.

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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.

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 adult child 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 adult children who recognized what was happening to me. 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.

I didn't make the choice to "break up" with my parents overnight, and '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 discussion forums are filled with the stories of people who've made multiple attempts to repair unhealthy relations and have eventually 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 the reason—you just chose to ignore it. And it's likely that it was one of these top five reasons:

The Top 5 Reasons Adult Children End a Relationship With Their Parents

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 who 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

Refusing to apologize often goes hand-in-hand with disrespecting the in-laws but sadly, it's a top excuse even standing alone.

I've learned the refusal to apologize is a red flag for narcissistic personality disorder. While few are actual narcissists, having just this trait alone is indicative of an extremely unhealthy mind. It allows one to justify their actions and words and blurs their reality. Time and again, their children will try to make them understand a different perspective but over and over they fail. Many times these children are gaslighted into believing they are at fault and apologize 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. Too many adult children realize this applies to the relationship they have with their parents and realize they have to get off the hamster wheel. They've been running on it for years and yet they're still at the exact spot they were as a child.

Parents of adult children must understand things you do or say, regardless of how you think someone should feel, hurt people and when we hurt people, we apologize without justifying. Just a simple "I'm sorry, please forgive me" is enough. Don't justify. 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 individuals, and grandchildren are but one more extension on the ladder of "me."

Have you ever insisted on participating in naming your grandchildren? Not okay. Have you ever said, "It's okay, Grandma will let you do it" when the parents have said no? Undermining, not okay. Have you ever demanded to have your grandchildren for certain events or visits? You wouldn't do that with anyone else's children; ask, don't demand. If you're told no, respect it.

Also... Stop giving the grandchildren sugar when the parents have a ban. How you did it then wasn't the way they did it before and certainly not the way they do it now. 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 buying your grandchild's love by competing with his parents when it comes to 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." And last but not least, for the love of all that is good, quit buying the grandchildren pets without the parents permission!

Parents of adult children must learn the difference between parenting and grandparenting. Your days of making a child's decisions, unless they are in your sole care, are over. In this new chapter in your life, you are to be only a source of unconditional love and life guide to your grandchildren 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 can't, again I suggest therapy.

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

Early in their childhood, siblings in disordered families are placed in roles of either the scapegoat or golden child. The golden child, or children, will suffer few consequences for misbehavior and is often spoken about favorably by the parents; where the scapegoated children will shoulder the blame for the family's dysfunction and suffer the brunt of the consequences.

Although the roles one plays can be fluid, those who were mostly scapegoats are often the first, and sometimes only ones, to see the disorder of their families and speaking up about it is to challenge the status quo and seldom does this go very well. The true loyalties of the golden child becomes obvious when s/he denies or underplays certain events. Eventually the scapegoat realizes they are alone even among family. Some will continue to try, many will just walk way.

Parents of adult children must get therapy if they have been accused of this. Even if you don't think you do it, talk to a therapist. Seriously, therapy.

5. Ignored Boundaries

Last but not least of the main reasons adult children choose to "break up" with their parents, is the refusal of the parents to respect the boundaries of the adult child/parent relationship. Because disordered minds struggled to understand boundaries, I believe this reason is better explained with examples.

  • Asking about 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.
  • Purchasing undergarments and sex toys 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 when they don't. You're an adult, for goodness sake, quit acting like a child.
  • Quit demanding "alone time" with your adult child after they have a significant other. Sure, it's nice but as I mentioned with grandchildren, your insistence on such is downright creepy and quite 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 likes is crossing boundaries. It is an utter and complete disrespect for their right to choose what they believe is best for themselves.

A majority of boundary crossing is rooted in a parents' inability to believe their child will make the choice they, the parent, believe is in their best interest. If such is your case, ask yourself, "If I was such a great parent, why would my child make a bad choice? Did I not teach him the tools needed to make good decisions?"

If you're 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," I beg you to seek therapy. You're inability to accept your role in their repeated bad decisions is having severely adverse effects on your relationship.

Parents of adult children must trust they have raised their child to make good decisions and respect said 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 you.

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 and clearly away, my life got so much better. Oh, so much.

— Anonymous, r/raisedbynarcissists, Reddit.com

Statistics for Family Estrangements

A British report called "Hidden Voices: Family Estrangement in Adulthood," which describes a survey of over 800 of people who self-identified as having estranged from part or all of their family, offers some relevant statistics and 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 experience estrangement, 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 estrange from a parent say they were the ones who made the move.

Is there any chance the relationship will be mended?

According to the younger generation, no: More than 70% of respondents said there was no chance they'd resume communications.

According to the parents, yes: Most parents hold out hope that they will reconcile with their child.

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. That said, adult children don't just walk away from families that are healthy. It's not to say those families never have their issues, but they talk about them, try to understand one another's perspective, apologize for any hurt they've caused or wrong they've done, and truly move forward, free of any suppressed anger or resentment.

The exact opposite of unhealthy, disordered families. I know. I lived in one for more than 40 years. Contrary to what they believe, 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 happily ever after but I know I made the right decision. I know I'm not alone. Every day I read the stories and/or talk with people around the globe who felt they had no other choice but to walk away. Not a single one of us are happy about it. Relieved it's over, yes but certainly not happy with how or why.

Just as I read the stories of estranged children, I'm often privy to those of the rejected parents. One commonly stated complaint among parents who have no contact with their children is that their child's behavior toward them reminds him/her of how they were treated by his/her parents when they were themselves a child. For those parents. I want you to ask yourself, "If my parent was that way and my child is that way, isn't it just as possible I do sometimes as well?"

Those with a healthy mindset will read this and take it to heart, reconsidering the things they've said and done because they want to repair their relationship with their child and are willing to do whatever is necessary to do so. Unfortunately however, most will read this and be inclined to debate it and resort to writing paragraphs long comments about how horrendous his or her child is 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 sit in motion positive change for another dysfunctional family out there.

© 2017 Kim Bryan

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      Shane Brown 2 hours ago

      I must admit, I have read this article and a lot of it rings true, and I am on the brink of walking away from my parents - as a 40 yr old married man who was always the scapegoat and physically and mentally abused by one parent as a child. I have tried to play happy families with them and have tried to maintain a relationship to mainly keep contact with the other parent, who I now realise is just as guilty due to their inactions. The scapegoating is still happening to be fair and I have come to the conclusion that enough is enough and I just need to walk away and concentrate my energies on my wife and soon to be born child who I do not want to risk exposure to poisonous grandparents.

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      Antonio 2 hours ago

      To Dianne.

      Kim already said she is not happy that she has no relationship with her parents, and also said she tried everything possible to get along with them.

      I really do believe in all this honour thy farther and mother, so on, but the truth is, some parents think they are right on everything, just because they are the parent, and are unwilling to acknowledge that the kids have views as well. Not taking any sides, but did read what ( will ) was saying about his parents, and the comment ( bill757 ) made about parents not exasperating there kids, taken from the N/T, which must therefore mean some parents can make it difficult for there kids, either knowingly or unknowingly.

    • Dianne Ryan profile image

      Dianne Ryan 3 hours ago

      Antonio she's not bang on. You need to re read her comments. She is an entitled, spoilt brat with no empathy or love in her heart or her body. She is already abusing her children by not letting them see her parents. What if the children would like to see their grandparents? She's taking away their rights and a very important part of a child's development. We have a generation of parents who did TOO much for their kids and a generation of spoilt entitled, egotistical kids with no respect for their parents, grandparents, or even their own kids.

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      Antonio 3 hours ago

      Just reading Dianne Ryan comment.

      Personally, I think Kim Bryan is bang on, meaning she knowns what she's talking about. I don't think she's bitter at all. It may be the way we read thing's. A lot of times when we read something over again, we notice things we missed the first time when reading it.

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      Antonio 4 hours ago

      To Mr bill757

      Not sure if religion has anything to do with it, and no offense, but there's a lot of estranged children as well within organized religions, because they seem to tell a similar story to some of these other estranged children, of how they feel there parents control every thought of there's. Regarding the last days reference, that's been going on since around 1870, know your history, not the history your organisation gives you, while omitting other important details.

      Either way, there are a lot of happy atheist families who would not give religion the time or day, and there are a lot of miserable people in organized religions because they feel trapped in a dead system. Which is kinda going against the idea of the truth setting you free.

    • Dianne Ryan profile image

      Dianne Ryan 4 hours ago

      I just don't think your views are balanced or fair Kim Bryan. Instead of speaking from wisdom towards compassion and forgiveness, you speak from negativity and bitterness. This is not going to help any of your readers. I suggest that the problem with estrangement is more to do with kids these days being spoilt and feeling entitled and lacking respect for anyone and everything. Yes, us parents made mistakes; we did TOO much for our kids and they ended up being spoilt brats! Just remember, your distaste towards your parents, author, will rub off on your own kids and they will also grow up being bitter and having no respect for their parents later on in life.

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      No Clue Dad 5 hours ago

      Thank you MrBill757 for taking the time out of your day to respond. I am quite aware there are so many parents like us out there, estranged from our adult children. I know many are quite angry, and I often hear estranged parents says the adult child is "dead to me" in reference to the estranged parent's angry feelings.

      I tend not to put too much stock in religious explanations for things generally. For many years I have heard "end of days" scenarios presented as a potential explanation for all that seems wrong in our lives. We're still here, and as best as I can tell, there is no end in sight. Sure, it might all end in the next 5 minutes, but it seems a safe bet that I will continue to languish in this unresolved state for the foreseeable future.

      I note that the author of this article has been diagnosed with a severe personality disorder---Borderline Personality Disorder. I know a fair amount about BPD. It explains a lot of her particular perspective.

      I look for empathy and compassion in others as a sign about that person. In your case, you reached out to me with empathy and compassion. I sincerely appreciate that.

      I note that so many estranged adult children that have taken the time to post here do not reveal any empathy or compassion. I wold suggest the author of the article likewise does not exhibit any sign in her article of her empathy or compassion for her parents. She does for herself and for other adult children like herself.

      There are 2 sides to every story. Unfortunately, we do not know the writer's parents' side of the story. We are just supposed to believe the public shaming she has shared, that her parents were awful, and they are getting what they deserve. Adult children that are likewise estranged from their parents summarily jump on this bandwagon, without knowing the parents' side, and presumptively join in on the author's condemnation of all estranged parents. We all deserve what we have gotten, according to them.

      And perhaps they are right. Perhaps I should know why I am estranged and apologize. I don't (and if I did I would gladly apologize!), but maybe it is "all my fault". Maybe the adult kids are all "blameless" and it is all the parents' fault, in all situations--a one size fits all explanation for a myriad of estranged family situations worldwide.

      Or not. Maybe it does take 2 to tango. Maybe "blame" is more complex. Maybe we all have a role in conflict and contribute to its ongoing presence in our lives. Maybe in some situations it is the adult child who has, for whatever reason, developed a pathology that triggers the estrangement, and there is not anything more "seriously" wrong than quirks of people's personalities. I suppose we can all be suffocating at times...

      I don't have any answers, so I will just resume banging my head against the wall...

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      MrBill757 6 hours ago

      To No Clue Dad

      My wife and I.......same thing. I realize you said you’re not religious but there’s plenty of history in the Bible that ought to help you realize that parents like us are not alone. David’s son Absalom murdered one of his brothers and even went after his father and kill him too. The Bible is full of accounts of family dysfunction. While parents are told not to exasperate their children, children are to honor their parents. There’s little to go on with regard to bad parental raising of children, but David is a great example of how family dysfunction can occur. It’s not so much an issue of the parents doing “terrible” things that result in their children estranging themselves from their parents but rather an issue of what the parents DIDN’T do. David, in this example, wanted Absalom’s love so much he never corrected him, even when Absalom murdered one of his brothers. Eli, a high priest, was completely indifferent to his sons. His kids were said to be “scoundrels” in 1Sam 12. Completely out of control. God would end up having both his son killed. When their dad, Eli found out his sons were dead, Eli fell backward from his seat, broke his neck, and died the same day! Then there’s the Patriarch Jacob who played favorites. The unfavored sons end up selling their brother Joseph into slavery. At one time they plotted to kill him. They then lie to their father telling him Joseph was dead. Was Jacob so mean to warrant being treated the way he was by his kids? Finally there’s the prodigal son who demands his inheritance while his dad is still alive. His dad foolishly lets the kid take his money. Did his dad wrestle with the why his kid runs off with all his money and will have nothing to do with him while his self indulgent son entertains himself for years? Probably so. But he lets his kid wind up living with the pigs when his money dries up. He doesn’t run after him. Eventually the son realizes how self indulgent he was and what a jerk he had been and comes running back to his dad. His dad embraces him and throws a banquet for him!! So we see how there’s plenty of blame to spread around both parent and child but it’s the children in every case who are self absorbed with what they want in life and could care less about their parents. I think the common denominator among the parents is having a divided heart - making success or relationships into idols. We find it difficult to sleep at night at times, knowing that others have relationships with their kids and we don’t. But I believe that God works through the troubles we have not only to pull us closer to him, but to make us the person we would not have been if we hadn’t gone through the troubles we’ve had... stronger, more trusting of Him and more forgiving toward others. Here’s one more bit of solace for parents with estranged adult children. I believe we are living in what the Bible calls “the last days.” The only problem is we don’t know how long those days will last. But God’s word says this about the difficulty estranged parents have today. “In the last days, there will be difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful.....”. Read 2Tim 3:1-5 for the rest. It gets worse. Mt 10 and Mt 13 both say children will even “rise against parents and have them put to death.” In Luke 12 we find out that in the last days, families will be divided, “father against son, son against father, mother against daughter, daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law. So know that there’s all kinds of families going through what we’re going through, but know that God is in control and eventually He will put an end to all our misery when the brokenness of this world will come to a screeching halt with Jesus returning on the Last Day to make right everything wrong in this world we live in. Hope that theses examples from Scripture gives you and others a peace that passes all understanding. It serves as a reminder for me as well!!

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      Me 14 hours ago

      DRyan...I got that same vibe from her and thought it was just me. Wait for the article when her kids ditch her. Lol

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      D. Ryan 15 hours ago

      You sound like a real bitch. Your parents are better off without you. You say it's a 'privilege' for your parents to see your kids. What about the other way round. It's a privilege for your kids to see their grandparents too. You sound like a spoilt brat who needs to grow up. Shame on you for treating your parents this way.

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      No Clue Dad 18 hours ago

      I am an estranged father of 2 adult children. I have been estranged from both for several years. I read this article with great interest, and with even greater interest, I read the comments from other estranged parents, and estranged adult children.

      I especially appreciate reading comments from adult children that have chosen to estrange themselves from their parents. It fascinates me to learn and understand the perspective of adult children that have made the choice to go "no contact" with their parents, and to learn how the experience has been for them.

      I was not a perfect father. I made mistakes. Not on purpose, of course. I was actually trying to be a good parent, even as I failed miserably in my efforts to do so.

      I can say this about myself as a dad: I was a highly involved father, even prior to their birth, as I helped getting our home ready for their arrival. I was emotionally and physically present for virtually every important event in their lives from their birth to birthdays, graduations, school performances, sports events, theater productions, etc, etc. I was not some absentee dad. I was there, active, proud, taking pictures or video, or just sometimes watching quietly.

      I loved my babies. I still totally love my two grown children that have estranged themselves from me. I miss them and I often feel empty without their emotional presence in my life. Despite the hurt that has been inflicted upon me, I still love my kids.

      I actually tried to be a good dad. I wanted to be a good dad! I wanted for my kids to have as good or better an upbringing as I had when I was a kid. That was the goal anyway.

      I never hit my kids. I've never believed in corporal punishment, and it wasn't necessary. I certainly never inappropriately touched my kids or engaged in any depraved or dysfunctional conduct. I don't drink or do drugs. I was fortunate to have a good job in a high paying profession, allowing me to generously provide for my family. We were able to live in a nice home, in a nice neighborhood, and attend nice schools. My kids never complained to me about any of this stuff.

      I did not engage in any extra marital affairs. So there is nothing to report there. There is no issue between my adult kids and me over some affair, because it never happened and never came up.

      I am not religious. I consider myself highly tolerant about all things--sexual orientation, race, religion, politics, etc. I know relationships can get bumpy over certain sensitive subjects--not for me. There is no beef with my kids on these sorts of topics.

      I adhere to certain healthy life style choices, so diet and exercise are super important to me, and I definitely tried to be a good example to my kids regarding the importance of fitness and health. I am sure I could be faulted by my adult children for encouraging a healthy life style.

      I recognize that as I went about trying to be a good dad, I erred here and there, mishandling this or that situation. Nothing major. Nothing like what I have read or heard about from other adult children or even some parents. But I made mistakes. I have an ego. I did not get it all right. I did not get it all wrong either.

      I suppose I would have hoped that I did enough things right that it would speak up for whatever I did wrong. That my many good deeds would outweigh whatever bad deeds I am perceived to have committed. But that is not the outcome.

      The fact that I have 2 adult children that have chosen to estrange themselves from me suggests I was an utter failure as a parent. I understand and accept that I failed, even as I am utterly mystified as to what I did that was so awful that my children have estranged themselves from me. Apparently I suck so badly as a parent that I do not even deserve any sort of explanation.

      It has been a very painful experience for me, being estranged. I am tormented by the pain of rejection to the degree that it has impaired the quality of the rest of my life. I do not enjoy life the way I used to. It fluctuates, and I do have days where I am fine, and then I will go through a period where I struggle as I get caught up thinking about it to excess.

      For the past several years, most of my private time is usually dominated by thoughts of my predicament. Every day. I have devoted endless hours ruminating on the impossible question of "why?" I think the not knowing and being seen as not entitled to an explanation is, for me, the worst part of estrangement.

      For some reason, I would like to understand "why". Every day for the last several years, since this started, I have asked myself "why"? I retrace conversations, searching for clues. I suppose I have theories as to why, and my theories may even be accurate, but unless and until I am given an explanation for the estrangement, it is just endless speculation on my part, in search of the elusive explanation of "why".

      I was thinking, in reading the main article here, that maybe this could be my daughter some day, writing about her experience with me and how she feels about me. Maybe this is how she sees me. That would be quite something, to see me written up in a public fashion as some awful human, the way this parent apparently was. And reading the article, it all sounds so very accurate, and one senses the parent really was awful. So I could see my daughter one day writing up something like this, describing me as some kind of monster parent who is so awful that he does not deserve a relationship. After all, I must assume that is her reality. It's horrifying to think that I could be written up this way by my daughter, and that a rational case could be made lots of commentators that I "deserved it" because I was such an awful dad. It would be painful to read and experience, and it would feel so very unfair, but it would also at least answer the question!

      We all experience reality different. What could be seen by one as "good" can be seen by another as "bad". And human consequences for mistakes are decided subjectively and are not always seen as fair by one and all. Some of us do cry over spilled milk, make mountains out of molehills, and sweat the small stuff. Fair or not.

      I sure never saw any of this coming. I envisioned a close, warm adult relationship with my kids when they grew up. I had heard of "estrangement". But it was not in my family. It seemed like something that happened to other people. I was blindsided by all this.

      What I don't get about all of this, and this includes the article and so many of the comments, is all the negative energy. So much negative energy. I get that every person does not see himself or herself as the "originator" of the negative energy, but rather as someone who is reacting to it. The people that have chosen to estrange are responding to negative energy labeled as "abuse". The parents who are estranged from their children feel they are victims of this negative energy from their kids that is called "no contact".

      I suppose all us parents should wish that our children grow up to be happy, emotionally healthy successful adults, not just surviving in this world, but thriving. And if our estranged adult children are thriving, are happy, healthy and enjoying their lives so much more without us in them, well, we just need to suck that up and feel happy for them, and get on with our own lives, knowing our parenting roles have concluded.

      But if those estranged adult children are not happy (and with all the negative energy I read expressed, and the lack of positive minded, loving thoughts expressed), I am not so sure our parenting roles are yet concluded, though I haven't the foggiest idea what, if anything at all, is next.

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      Will 20 hours ago

      Forgiving itself isn't possible ,because we are not at all angry or upset due to their acts instead we can't BEAR IT ANYMORE.

      My own parents always want me to behave the way they want me to. They don't like most of my clothes and asks me "change it or don't ever come out with me".

      They don't discuss the matters happening in the house, they will talk among themselves and just order it to me. That's it.

      They only time I ever got the chance to talk like a man inside my house was when we all sat down together to decide which college I should join but sadly that to ended in their way because of the power distribution tilted in their favour.

      All this has become a huge depression for me.

      Many here suggests to talk to parents, the problem is its incredibly impractical.

      They just never accept their mistakes, in turn they will justify it with my negatives.

      Accepted, I was wrong many times, but it cannot be a reason for destroying my autonomy.

      Even talking to them has become a problem itself not only they refused to accept their wrongdoing, the whole situation ends in a probably " nuclear blasts ".

      Worst they even use what they learned during the rant against me later to further justify their position and I finally end up apologizing to them but still nothing has changed and I am still depressed.

      There are many more problems that I won't discuss here but I have decided that If this continues I will leave my state and move somewhere else.

      Parents think that they are right every time and its their right to take decision for their kids, but they gets shocked when kids show they too are capable of making a hard decision. So you all come to reality and address your kids problems.

      As I said above I can't forget my parents and I still love them, I am still not angry with them and hence forgiving is also not possible. But again I can't bear their behavior too.

      So parents stop blaming kids for all the problems.

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      Lisa 21 hours ago

      I would love for someone to explain exactly what a healthy family, perfect parents or good childhood means. These are vague descriptions at best. Whose interpretations are we using. My childhood had ups and downs, arguments with my parents, fun times and some pretty seriously sad times. At what point are you deciding that your parents failed you? I raised 3 children, 2 daughters and a son. My son and daughter in law are estranged from the entire family. I did not raise him any different than my daughters. I did not interfere even when I could see they were headed in the wrong direction. I respected they were adults. Yes everyone's situation is different but the examples given in the 5 reasons are pitiful!! Abuse is one thing, getting mad over sugar being given to a grandchild is a ridiculous reason for estrangement. When you chose to cut ties with your family, you have taken away your child's ties also. What gave you the right. I may not have liked my father but he was never kept from my kids. He could see them whenever he wanted and when they got older they made their own decisions about him.

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      Antonio 3 days ago

      Regarding estrangements between parents and kids, Just like to say, ( never ) underestimate the power of forgiving. Forgiving may not change the kids or parent, but it changes us as individuals, letting go of unwanted baggages on a regular basis is a great form of therapy.

      When we realise the power is within us to do the changing, we won't be asking the other what credentials do they have, life's experiences are the credentials, people that's gone through them experiences are in a better position to give advice, which really are tools for us to apply in our own lives.

      I don't get paid for coming out with any of this, but knowing it may help someone with any emotional suffering they may be going through is worth it, but it won't make the world a better place to keep blaming, it just takes away the power from within us, who really has the power to change.

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      Antonio 3 days ago

      Nobody can judge another persons experience, or how they themselves were effected by there parents, but in the end, we are still left with ourselves to deal with.

      The reasons behind why children enstrange there parents are to many, and more of a personal experience rather than addressing each one. Even with counciling or therapy, only we can fix ourselves.

      In one sense we can be angry with our parents for giving us this problem, be it real or not, Or we can be thankful we are not robots. The challenge for each of us is picking up the pieces, like a jigsaw puzzle, putting it all together again, which takes time due to being human with all thses mix up feelings, emotions, and past hurts we may have gone through. I don't think it's always the parents faults, though in some cases they may be.

      There are parents out there that would argue that they did everything right for there kids in every way, yet there's still a reason why the kids blame there parents for how they feel, or because of the choices they make.

      Society and the world around us with all the different views and influences can also confuse adult children, and even the parents themselves.

      Some of these bad parents may be victims themselves, because of the way they were raised, and each generation blaming the one before them.

      Though I don't live in the states, I was reading this quote from ( Wayne Dyer ) an American Self Help Author. Quote ( All blame is a waste of time ) it goes into some detail but it's worth looking up.

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      John 3 days ago

      Although I can empathize with the author's personal experiences, and acknowledge that there are situations where poor or abusive parenting can lead to adult children estranging themselves from their parents, I feel this article fails to acknowledge the many reasons beyond parenting choices that can equally, and perhaps more likely, be the reasons that a child may estrange themselves. Addiction, mental health issues, controlling and abusive relationships between the child and his or her partner, and sometimes just plain old fashioned immaturity are just a few examples of why parents sometime don't hear from their children.

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      Antonio 3 days ago

      Just responding to some comments and views on estrangements.

      Though everyone's experience is different, "Muhammed Ali" was right in saying, the man who thinks the same at 50 as he did at 20 has waisted 30 years of his life.

      Life really is one big lesson in humility, some of the things we are so sure about, can end up being wrong as the years go by, but that also takes humility to acknowledge.

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      Antonio 3 days ago

      Regarding John's reply.

      Being successful means differenct things to different people, and measured in different ways.

      Best way to screw your kids up is to give them everything they want. Going without can be good for you as well.

      For the 30 years or so, media and news have been telling people look after number one, even if its at the cost of others.

      People that are perfect, are because they are nothing deep down. Going through trials and difficulties, and coming throgh the other end is what really makes you.

      Teaching your kids to be successful don't aways work and don't aways make sense either. Some of the most successful people in history have had difficulties with families, and were still unhappy.

      Not saying you don't make your own way in life, especially if certain parents are stopping you from moving on, and in fact, to really find yourself, you may need your own space or you will never truly be yourself. But no matter what we may think, life is a privilege. Plus some people may have succeeded better without there parents, but to never truly be at peace with them in your own heart, and accept them for what they are, then that's a failure on our part. Not taking any sides. Just saying.

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      John 3 days ago

      I'm one of the adult children that you describe here. As you can see ,all the parents who disagree with you and point the blame to the children are abusive. There are probably a lot of adult children who read this article but were afraid to reply.

      I think the idea of 'good enough' parents applies here. Yes, parents are only human and can make mistakes but they should raise their children good enough to be successful.

      Thanks for the great article :)

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      DB 3 days ago

      Wondering what your credentials are...

      It is unfair to assume that estrangement is 'healthy' for anyone else because of reasons you've expressed that were present in your life.

      What if your child had significant problems growing up which have continued to mid-forties? What if that adult not only has consistently berated you, the parent, disrespected you, and generally used and abused you, but also that adult has consistently had poor relationships with the sibling (also estranged from the sibling), the dad, in-laws, relatives and friends , and somehow has determined that you are responsible for all of that? Well, I can verify that the only reasons that my husband and I did not estrange ourselves are that we still love our child (who we always believed would grow up, not think that the world revolves around him/her, and learn that we are not the enemy but instead caring, supportive, and sincerely desiring mutual respect) and, of course, our grandchildren, who are the innocent victims of a parent gone 'rogue'. Our generation showed our love and respect for not only our friends, but also our family/extended family members. It's not realistic or fair to expect that anyone could always be 'happy/satisfied' and not disappointed with family members/friends. It's important to understand that they are probably disgusted/disappointed/unhappy with you at times and that with the exception of physical abuse, tolerance and acceptance of your differences are necessary in any relationship. Who among us is perfect anyway???

      I think there are many people in my children's generation who are so self-centered, self-righteous, and critical that they are incapable of recognizing the problems they have are emanating from them.

      Frankly, what goes around comes around. They are setting an example for their children who one day can easily say, "You did it, and now it's my turn!!!" They will learn from you and your actions.

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      Lisa 3 days ago

      You are a sad individual. I have a daughter, I did not cross these boundaries you write about and she has driven me out of her life. It was her choice to not go to college, it is her choice to live in her BF's basement. she was the "golden child". she was encouraged to go to a counselor with me and her siblings. She was not abused. If in any way you encourage people to cut those out of their lives and hurt them without as much as counseling from A REAL PROFESSIONAL you are sadly mistaken about what a healthy person is and what their expectations should be. I hope your life is ten times more miserable than those you encourage to estrange their families instead of seeking a true healing process.

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      Antonio 5 days ago

      It really is sad that a lot of children are brought up in unhealthy families. But also feel sorry for a lot of them parents who gave there very best, just for some children to dismiss that, and only focus on what the parents did not do, as opposed to what they did.

      Some children have had traumatic experiences, but some of these parents who gave there very best go through a similar traumatic experience themselves because there children make them feel like they failed them.

      Excuse the expression, but there's a big difference between weakness & wickedness. Meaning that a parent can fail a child, not because they are bad or wicked parents, but because they have certain weaknesses or limitations about them, and it's really unfair of grown up children to never realise the falibilities of there parents.

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      Antonio 5 days ago

      Always loved the idea of unconditional love towards our children, but some parents themselves are not fit to be parents either.

      The Greek word "Agape" is the highest form of love you can have, it not only loves people unconditionally, it looks for reasons to love them as well. Agape dose not love because they are worthy, Agape makes them worthy despite faults, appearances, how they smell etc, Agape is also therapeutic in nature.

      Sometimes we may think we have moved on from bad childhood experiences, but the words we use can show otherwise.

      People that practice Agape love are generally more happy, and free in themselves, but that dose not mean that you don't have physical limitations in showing unconditional love to our children, and children need to understand that as well.

      Everybody's views are valid if we understand we're they are coming from, but with genuine Agape love, we don't need to understand everything. This applies to both parents and kids.

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      Ant 5 days ago

      Just like to say regarding "viveca northmans" comments though a bit over the top, she is basically right in what she's saying. But so is "kim bryan" right as well.

      Unless the kids have very very very good reasons for cutting contact with there parents, then they should be grateful to have the privilege of life, which there parents are responsible for, and good parents will know the boundaries not to over step.

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      Ant 5 days ago

      Despite parents faults and shortcomings, life is a privilege for the kids as well. They need to understand that parents are not infallible, and go with what is says about honouring you farther and mother, so your days will be long.

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      Life without Annette 5 days ago

      Viveca Northman, your post was so over-the-top, it left me laughing:

      • "Too bad we can't shove them back into our ovaries..."

      • "You gave them the youngest and best years of your life..."

      • "Good riddance..."

      Wow, that's a lot of bile you're choking on. Were you drunk when you wrote that?

      I suppose any mother who resents motherhood as you seem to is destined to fail. For me, my years raising my children are the best years of my life, because of my children, not in spite of them.

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      ohomah 5 days ago

      @Kim - thank you. Articles like this are immensely helpful for the thousands (millions?) of adults who share similar experiences. Family estrangement and the long history of hurtful behavior that invariably precipitates the estrangement are incredibly painful. The stigma associated with family estrangement exacerbates that pain and it most often leaves the estrangers and estrangees feeling alone and without support - as can be seen in the hundreds of comments left on this article. Thanks for sharing and making the rest of us feel less alone. And bravo to you for your courage and candor. Few people would be willing to discuss such a difficult topic in an open forum without the shield of anonymity.

      @Paula – yes to everything you said.

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      ohomah 5 days ago

      @Viveca – my heart breaks for you and for the child you once were. While your views (and those of the dozens of other angry parents commenting here) are clearly very different than those of the hundreds of adult children posting here, you are not all that different from the “whiny, pathetic, ungrateful” children you complain about. The real difference between you and them is that they understand they were raised without empathy or unconditional love (and they most likely have had therapy - lots of it!). It is not too late, no matter how old you are, to get help. It’s not too late to gain clarity, to understand who you are (and how you came to be you). It’s not too late to learn how to accept and love yourself unconditionally. It’s not too late to learn you can take responsibility for your mistakes and at the same time forgive yourself for those mistakes. It’s not too late to learn empathy and to change your relationship with your adult children. I’m rooting for you.

    • Kim Bryan profile image
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      Kim Bryan 5 days ago

      @Viveca

      Wow. Just wow.

      But thanks for the reminder of how conversations went with my mother and why I will never return.

      Please seek help.

      @Paula, thank you again for being a voice of reason.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 6 days ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Viveca, Well hello there Miss long-winded preacher. There have been a "few" comments from licensed professionals & again NOW. At least one professional and that would be ME, thank you.

      Some of your language is fairly harsh & comes from severe anger issues....."shoving children back into our ovaries because they shouldn't have existed?" Is that an example of that "high emotional intelligence" you mentioned? LOL you're hilarious. Nice mouth, Mom.

      Read carefully: There is no way for anyone to know precisely what occurred and did not occur in someone's life, simply reading a brief portion of it in an article or worse, a short comment. No one, not you nor any of those who commented here (including myself) has a right to judge, scold or use insulting terms toward an individual who is expressing their recollections of a childhood. We know none of the parties involved. We certainly have no knowledge of the kind of people their parents were (or were not) nor the chaos/abuse that went on in their daily family life.

      What everyone can and should take away from this well-presented article is that ALL families are different in their own ways, for whatever reasons apply to them. Abuse and maltreatment has varying degrees as well as lengths of time the abuse continues. Without serious involvement in a particular situation, no one can make severe diagnosis of a family in crisis.

      If an individual believes they have tried their utmost to solve a rift or a split in the family dynamics, yet still finds far too much stress & disappointment, to the point they must walk away for the health & welfare of their existence, this is a personal & vital decision to make.

      I will absolutely differ with your final thoughtless comment....My children Are, always have been and always will be the "be all & end all" to me....as well as their spouses and children. My family is my life. I love it.

      Take a break from your spouting and think a bit more before shooting off your insults. You are no better, brighter nor more "human" than all the others here. More importantly, you have no right to judge others in the harsh, ignorant manner you've chosen.....speaking of "ugly reflections." Hope you're happy with that "Me" you see.

    • Viveca Northman profile image

      Viveca Northman 6 days ago

      You know who needs therapy? These whiny, pathetic and ungrateful "adult" children. None of the comments I read appear to be from "adult" children who are employed as licensed mental health professionals. If anything, their comments come across as rambling run-on sentences indicative of their perturbed mental states. I have news for you..nothing in this life is unconditional. Be thankful that you even exist. My own parents were not perfect by a long shot and my childhood years were fraught with all kinds of drama because of them. So what? I chose to rise above their behaviors because I saw them for the human beings that they were..their own childhood struggles..I took them off the pedestals so that I could still relate to them and love them, warts and all. You know what that takes? It takes incredibly-high emotional intelligence, which many of these estranged "adult" children lack. Not much can be done to change an individual's psychological make-up, be they the parent or the child. I raised four daughters and became estranged from the eldest when she became abusive with her children and I had to step in with Social Services. At that point, she became even more abusive towards me and then proceeded to cut me out of her life and keep the children from me. It's been 2 years and despite her efforts, the children have made their way back to me. For my part, I am thankful to have her out of my life. If I wanted to, I could choose to sit around all day feeling badly about the estrangement, but instead I focus on how wonderful it feels to be rid of that burden..the "living up to expectations" goes both ways and I don't feel the need to live up to hers any more than she lives up to mine. Do yourselves a favor Parents: don't waste the few good years you may have left on a dead end. By all means, stay away from them and out of their lives and consider yourself lucky. Our parents did the best they could or knew how and so did we. If that's not good enough, then good riddance..that should be true of anyone/anything that does not add joy to your life. If your "adult" estranged child thinks you failed them, then so be it..give it to them..tell them they are absolutely right and then turn around and walk away from them. Leave them to their spouses and their own children and be grateful that they will no longer drain your energy and life from you. Give them what they want, so that you can have peace of mind. You already gave them the youngest and best years of your life..no more. Too bad we can't shove them back up into our ovaries because some of them should have never existed. You want to be honest and frank with your parents? Go ahead, but that also goes both ways. Don't dish it out if you can't take it. If you are going to grind your parents' faces into some mirror of guilt and shame because you have low self-esteem, then be prepared to deal with your own ugly reflection..and go to therapy like every other American does and shut up. If Karma is being dealt to your parents in some way, then you better be ready for the boomerang to come back around for you. Any child of mine that thinks he/she is going to shove me into some dark, little corner of shame and blame, better think again. Before any title of parent, wife, etc., comes ME. Contrary to some popular belief, children are not the be-all and end-all of life. We actually existed before you came around. Imagine that.

    • Kim Bryan profile image
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      Kim Bryan 6 days ago

      @respect101, I will not continue to argue but you are wrong. Yes, Granville vs Troxel is but one case but it is THE case. Again, states that allow grandparents rights have a strict criteria to be met before awarding such.

      I would think as a child advocate you would understand this.

      Visitation and custody is based on best interest of the child in family court. Just from what I was able to surmise from Gloria's post (and we are working from the same limited information from a comment) the best interest of the child is not being subjected to an abusive person.

      But go on; continue to argue, it's what folks like you do best.

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      Respect101 6 days ago

      Kim, I do not know what state you are from but my state has very strong grandparent rights. All states vary. Granville vs Troxel is only one case that is being used at this time. I see grandparents rights upheld everyday as I am a child advocate. Anyone can look up Granville vs Troxel, but making selfish wishes hold in court due to this one lone case is difficult to say the least. The judge can see right through parents like Gloria, which by the way where did her post go.

    • Kim Bryan profile image
      Author

      Kim Bryan 6 days ago

      In regards to Respect101's comment, I would like to note the following:

      A handful of US states offer limited grandparents' rights if strict criteria is met.

      The US Supreme Court decision in Granville vs Troxel makes it very clear grandparents do not have any inherent rights to their grandchildren.

      Anyone who finds themselves being sued for grandparents' rights should not reach any agreement in mediation but make the court decide based on the merits of the case. And seek the services of a competent, qualified attorney.

      DO NOT LET THEM ITIMIDATE YOU!

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      Clockwork898@yahoo.com 6 days ago

      To all the parents on here just stop this is one of Are problems with you you want to attack back instead of just listening you talk about how we have no respect for are parents my mother never respected me ive wondered my life if she really loved me she let me get abused by my brothers father she’s called the police on me she’s lied about me I’m not perfect either I’m more than willing to admit when I’m wrong I’ve done some really fucked up shit but she has lied to me my whole life you can’t tell someone your going to help them and then not do it’s bullshit and this pattern never stops it just keeps going and going it is about protection I was always the problem I’m to the point now where if someone is toxic in my eyes it’s not worth it it’s not even worth trying it’s a hopeless situation and I’m not willing to take the blame anymore for her issues I’m working through mine and I have several believe me I’m trying to be an adult my mother lets my brother drive her car take her ATM card will loan him money co-sign for him but won’t for me that’s so fucked up your supposed to be a mother and it isn’t tit for tat that’s a really good way of putting it it’s extremly hurtful and I’m NOT playing the VICTIM I’m done with that role now I am trying to lead my own life and she didn’t want to be there for the bad she certainly isn’t going to be there for the good

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      Respect101 6 days ago

      Gloria, you are a vindictive spoiled brat just like the writer of this blog. You say your children want to see their grandparents but they will get over it. You are a selfish, self centered, disrespectful, manipulating brat that does not deserve children until you can grow up and think of others, namely your children, more than yourself. Your children one day will model their attitude toward you after the attitude you have toward your parents as they are now feeling the abuse of them and their feelings by your depriving them of the grandparents they know and love. They are learning to treat you the same way they observe you treating your parents and with your horrible attitude of "I'm going to punish them" by using my children as pawns to hurt them! Do you not see what you are doing to your children. Obviously not and obviously you don't care. You do not deserve to have children until you can grow up. Geez... No wonder your parents have so much to complain about. It's parents like you that in my state the courts remove the children from and give custody to the loving sharing parent or grandparent in this case. You are the abuser here... please get parenting counseling before you totally lose your children, as it will be either now in the court system (grandparent's rights) or later when they grow up and act just like you.

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      Grammy 6 days ago

      I wouldn't say that your children will abandon you one day but the possibility does exist. Particularly because you are so strong minded, and your children may think differently than you do.

      If you found in the position of being rejected by your child what would you do? How do you think it would feel? And do you think that the answers that you've given estranged parents are answers that would help you?

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      @MrBill757 7 days ago

      I read several of your comments, and offer some observations. You want to be included in your son's Christmas celebration, even though they obviously prefer to spend Christmas with your daughter-in-law's family. But they acquiesce. You and your wife stop for coffee on Christmas morning, and you don't understand why, with young children waiting to open presents, your son and his wife are a little put off by your delay?

      You habitually complain every time you're in a restaurant, to the point of making your son and his wife uncomfortable. If I were them, I'd definitely make that Christmas the first and last one where you spend it together. Perhaps you can make peace with being their guests for other holidays, like President's Day or Columbus Day. In other words, let your husband and his family shape their own family traditions, and be content to be a part of their lives at other times of the year.

      You heap all sorts of contempt on your daughter for her growing involvement with her Mormon friend. You complain because you "only" get to see her 3 times/year for 3-4 days per visit. With you being someone who thinks that adult children are thin-skinned if they don't want to listen to unsolicited criticisms, and thinks that fighting out your differences is the nobler path in family dynamics, it's no wonder your daughter makes herself scarce when you come out there. And, as a Christian who believes in the inerrant Word of God, while I share your concerns over Mormonism, I caution you that your approach with your daughter seems to be the best way to push her into the arms of the Latter Day Saints, who at this point in her life, probably look a lot more loving and faithful than you do.

      You are no less overbearing in your political views. I, too, am a Trump supporter, a proud deplorable, a second amendment defender, a homeschooling mom, and wife to a veteran. But I try to be a cheerful political warrior, not a grump who dismisses a person's worldview in its entirety on the basis of their politics, or who presumes all sorts of things about someone's political views on the basis of their opinion on family dynamics. Your need to label people as "liberal" or "snowflake" is a great way to dry up the conversation, not to provide "food for thought."

      In the same way, as a representative of Jesus here on earth, we are obliged to follow His ways. Jesus came to teach, to lead by example, and to be the propitiation for the world's sins. The Holy Spirit calls us; it is His place to draw us to a saving relationship with Jesus. Nobody ever guided someone to salvation by disapproval and criticism. Your job was to teach your children about God and His ways when they were growing up. If you did so faithfully, you've planted the necessary seeds; God's Word never returns void. Your concerns for your children and grandchildren would be much better expressed in intercessory prayer than face-to-face confrontations with them.

      You are obviously passionate about your family and the world around you. I hope you seek the Lord's guidance on how to bear much good fruit, lest He prune you as a fruitless branch from the vine.

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      Clockwork898@gmail.com 7 days ago

      I have been abused before and my mother always try’s to downplay what I’ve been through we just don’t get along and she has a really bad habit of lying will never apologize and everything is everyone else’s fault but hers and she does everything for my brother I’m another story I can’t do it anymore she is never gonna change and it’s like 2 bulls going at it she is just so ridiculous I want nothing to do with her anymore

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      Penny 7 days ago

      How about a mother who was mother and father to two daughters and worked two jobs to raise them with no help from anyone? One daughter loves and respects me. The other one stole from me, got me in debt (I am 73, and she is 47) and I can't buy my meds and very few groceries. I am very sick and could die anyday, but she won't talk to me, and won't let me see my grandchildren. Don't you dare blame me.

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      AP 7 days ago

      Thank you for writing this article. So much of it describes my family experience to a T. I've read many books and seen several therapists. I've soul searched for decades while feeling tremendous guilt and shame for my own feelings. My brother is definitely the golden child and both he and my mother gaslight me. Especially my mother. Sorry is not in her vocabulary and she's done some pretty terrible things. I won't go into all the details, but I just want to say that after a quick browsing of the responses you have received, there are a lot of angry people out there, many are parents, who sound like they are in denial. Calling you a selfish brat is mean and I don't get it. I think you wrote this to help others. I ask your readers to ask themselves,"Why do I feel so angry reading this?" We generally get angry in these situations because the truth is scary and it hurts. And, if you're denying what you've done, doesn't that prove Kim's point?

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      Life without Annette 7 days ago

      I felt compelled to address a few likely fallacies:

      1. "Estrangement between parents and their adult children is an epidemic." In an era where everybody is just a phone call, text, or email away, the expectation for communication and access is excessive. Not so long ago, a young adult might move away, and their parents might only get a letter or two every few years. Nobody was howling about how that meant their children "abandoned" them. Would that such levels of communication be acceptable these days.

      2. "My child is ungrateful for years of providing food, clothing, and a roof over their head." How much gratitude does your child owe you for the fact that you didn't opt to leave them naked, starving, and living in a shed out back? Gratitude is not the same thing as indentured servitude; real gratitude does not come tethered to any obligation other than to say, "Thank you."

      3. "My child refuses to tell me why they have cut off contact." I suspect many or most of their children told them many times, in many ways, why their relationship had become untenable. Which leads to the next fallacy,

      4. "Nobody's perfect." It's a catch-all excuse to try to whitewash years or decades of wrongdoing. It seeks grace, with a total unwillingness to acknowledge specifics. Why have a criminal justice system if we can just shrug our shoulders and say "nobody's perfect." Just because statutes of limitation on things like abuse, neglect, or molestation have expired doesn't mean you're in the clear with your victims. And just because inflicting humiliations, coldness, insobriety, complete lack of encouragement, and other assorted unkindnesses on children do not, by themselves, rise to the level of a crime, collectively they can be just as hurtful as the abuses which do rise to the level of crimes.

      5. "Your own kids will abandon you some day." It's a truly insane statement. It's like saying if you press charges against the thief who broke into your house and terrorized you, some day you'll be a terrorizing thief, and the homeowner will press charges against you. So there!

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      Rochelle M 7 days ago

      The author is a thankless and selfish BRAT who believes a blog provides an avenue to rant their one sided family experience and totally ignores the reality of their parent. Always the mother. Unfortunately your own children will continue this pathological thinking.

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      sheldon SLIDO 8 days ago

      THE AUTHOR SHOULDN'T BE GIVING ANY ADVICE TO ANYONE. EVERY FAMILY MINUS ONLY A FEW SHOULD BE UNITED AS A FAMILY. LIVING IN THE PAST AND LIVING IN BLAME IS PRETTY IMMATURE.

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      Life without Annette 8 days ago

      My relationship with my mother ended more than 15 years ago. I can't really determine who "broke up" with whom, but ultimately, it was me who decided to maintain the continued estrangement. It was Mom who initially walked away, in response to my confronting her, which happened after I became a mom. It filled me with genuine fear to see her hold my baby. Memories of the neglect, cover-ups, and manipulations that filled my childhood could no longer be compartmentalized. I saw her as a direct risk to my children, and to the overall well-being of my family.

      When I finally confronted her, her response was to angrily stomp off, tearfully wailing about what an ungrateful daughter she has. A tearful lament about my being an ungrateful child was a common refrain from my childhood, usually triggering a disciplinary response from my father for "making your mother cry." The hurt my father inflicted ended when he died, though the scars remain and sometimes ache.

      Estrangement has been painful. I will always love her, but it will always be an unrequited love.

      What I want most is a breakthrough moment with my mother, for her to feel genuine remorse for the hurt she inflicted, for the damage she allowed others to inflict. I want her heart to break with the realization of how much she really loves me, deep down. I want her to hurt because I hurt, and I want her to try to soothe my hurts away with love. But I want what I cannot have. I want a love from her that she doesn't have for me. I often need to remind myself that though I was never anyone's "beloved daughter," I am not unloveable. I have the love of my husband, my children, some dear friends, and my Savior, without whom I suspect I would be a lot more broken than I am.

      Though my father and my mother should forsake me, yet the Lord will gather me up.

      —Psalm 27:10

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      Ck 8 days ago

      You know i am so all about respecting my adult kids..however..its obvious the author of this article somewhere along the line graduated from the collegw of quackery which hails the all encompassing excuse::: BLAME YOUR PARENTS FOR EVERYTHING. this author needs to read The Holy Bible and realize her mistakes are her own fault. Grown up or child? Which is it? If your grown up you should have some sort of integrity and stop blaming your parents for your irresponsible choices!!!

    • profile image

      Citywater 9 days ago

      Hi everyone,

      Just wanting to thank Mom for her comments and expressing her opinion. I understand your point of view, but will agree to disagree. I am a parent and I speak to my kids all the time.... I am NOTHING like my mother.

      My kids were not abused, mistreated, threatened, etc. They were also not given anything of substantial means without having “some skin in the game." I never imposed any restrictions, never ignored, never had any strings attached. Of course, I made mistakes and I regularly informed them that I was no kid expert and I am unsure about certain things, but I want to try to do my best at that current time.

      I asked questions all the time about how they were feeling.... I immediately recognized changes in my daughter (she’s really sensitive), and inquired what she needed to feel better. She constantly talks to me; it has always been like that. Sometimes I need some time to digest everything she said.

      My son does not talk as much, but he ask me daily about my work and lets me know how his classes are going. Again, I am far from perfect, and I made every effort to give my kids something different than I received. I instilled into them that parents "should love unconditionally” and should not impose restrictions; however, we are human and sometimes humans make mistakes. I also informed them to do their best own their own and to make good choices, before seeking help from their parents. I also let them know if there ever was/is a problem with what I say, do, my actions, please feel free to let me know. It is not them, it is me and I will not know about the problem if no one tells me.

      Although, I can tell by their facial expressions and body language if they do not care for something I said. In those cases, I add this is my opinion and mines alone. Everyone is welcomed to have their own opinion and we can all agree to disagree.

      It’s like when you get into a leadership position, or you have your own business, you ask yourself what type of leader I want to be. We had good bosses and we have had bad bosses, you take what you learn from both. The Bad boss teaches you what not to do, and the good boss teaches you what you probably do in certain scenarios. We are not all destined to be our parents, people are capable to picking and choosing which qualities, they want to emulate.

      So, let's agree to disagree on this topic. What works for you, probably will not work for me. And yes, Family Stone was a great movie made in the last 20 years or so… I was just shocked to see that over fifty years ago parents were experiencing this very similar issue. However, I do not think they made it public knowledge as many parents do today.

      To the author, Kim... your comments were very timely. Much respect for owning your S#@$. That had to be one of the most difficult things you had to do as an adult/ parent. I am very impressed and want to say thank you.

      Thank you for the article, thank you for the discussion, and thank you for recognizing something in yourself that needed to be changed, and actually doing the work to change it.

      Your children had to be very shocked for you to acknowledge your shortfalls; yet, they were happy you did so on your own.

      As always in closing….

      Respectfully,

      CW

    • Kim Bryan profile image
      Author

      Kim Bryan 9 days ago

      Am I the only one who notices how common a theme money is among parents whose children are estranged?

      And @Mom, get over yourself. Loving a child is unconditional. I have expectations for my children, especially the minors living in my home, but it's not so I get something in return. It's not tit for tat. Please stop being a keyboard warrior whose only making things worse for your son (you seriously don't think your son or DIL won't recognize this should they happen upon it?). Please, I beg you, seek therapy.

      Oh, and just for the record, I'm not a young woman. I have grown children as well as younger ones. My older children were raised by a mother just like I describe here because I became my mother. The difference between her (and many of you here) and I, I woke up to what I had become and I changed it. I owned my narcissism, went to therapy, made apologies to all those I had wronged, most especially my children, and am always consider any words or actions before they are executed.

      And all I can say is it was hell to go through having to face the truth about myself and own the horrible things I did in my past but I would do it a thousand times over to be this mother to my children. It was worth it all.

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      Mom 9 days ago

      To Citywide: 1st I want to say that there is quite a difference for loving unconditionally and giving unconditionally from the day you are born till the day we or you die and beyond. It is the greatest love a person can ever have. Giving can come with conditions as there comes a time that the child should not be asking the parent or receiving from them without stipulations or payback. This world is not free. It is harsh. Sometimes children ask for things the parents cannot afford and their comes a time that even if they can they shouldn't pay for something or give something that the adult child should be working to provide for themselves. Get out of the nest gracefully and thankfully without blaming your parents for what you didn't have. Thank them for what you did have.

      I appreciate your comments Citywide concerning my son's independence but you took them entirely out of context and moved them to I was robbing my son of his manhood. I will expound on that. My grandson (my son's son) has a syndrome that the beginning medical costs were so extremely high that it took all of his money he could scrape together including everything he had inherited from his grandmother (his father's mother) and everything he had managed to save to pay the initial medical bills. Thankfully a doctor pointed them to a fast track solution to get my grandson on infant medicaid which he will need the rest of his life. I did not want my granddaughter to be moved from pillar to post and into indigent housing due the their circumstances and neither did he as they lived too close to areas of crime and... lets just say it was awful in the areas they could afford. So I, without strings attached, purchased a property in a safe neighborhood. He chose the house, I got a very very good deal, he is paying the payment. It would have rented for almost 2 time that amount but just the payment was sufficient for me and to help them get on their feet. They are still in the house. I have made no requirement, no stipulations etc. My granddaughter is in a safe area to play and good schools. A stable environment. But, I didn't do that until I was asked for help. He added a beautiful deck on the back with a portion of the money I gave him to get one of his businesses going (he does the same business as I do) like a responsible person he wanted to pay the rest back to me. The money was $4000, the deck material costs $1200 in supplies but valued at $10,000 min., so I said no I believe that is payback enough. I raised a very responsible son. When he wanted to get another business going my heart said, go there, give him the money to get it started and go sell as many projects as I could to get it going. But my head said that if he had nothing in it he or any child would not make it work. If you have nothing in a project and it's all given to you then it's just too easy to walk away. Now that would have weighed on him the rest of his life and jerked his manhood right out from under him which I did not want to do. He is paying the credit cards off, not me. You see, I didn't know he was using the cards until I checked my credit report and saw they were over $32K and almost at their max. The cc company said they have to be frozen to stop from going over. Soon hopefully I will get my name off the cards and he can have them but my credit is effected until that happens. He is working more than ever before, at his wife's dismay, but I'm sure she is happy to have the money to spend. My son and I text all of the time without his wife's knowledge. We would not have gotten to this point as we were very close and discussed everything. He has tried to tell his wife I have not controlled him. She, on the other hand, stated that her parents had a hard time taking control back from her over her younger siblings. She thought she was showing me she was mature when actually she was exposing an extremely controlling personality. And as I said, she is just like her mother who separated her husband from his family as well. It was learned!!

      For you adult children that have watched all of the sitcoms since the 80's that put down parents and mother-in-laws and make it an "in thing" to not have anything to do with your mother of father. For all adult children that were taught in school beginning around 1990 your rights against others and then against your parents my Lord grow up. You are going to be parents one day too. When your children do not get to see their grandparents because of your selfish self centered ways what do you think your actions will be teaching your children. When you feel the pain of not getting to see your children because of some conjured up self pitty party they please remember what you are doing to your parents now. Call them, say you are sorry if you can and do your part in communicating. Learn to stand up to controling personalities in a healthy way without being controlling by not speaking. Yes, I said controlling by not speaking as that is a control action not a preservation action. If your offered a car to leave a person (which chances are your parents can see that person is not good for you, watch the movie The Family Stone) just say no thanks and leave it at that. You're allowed to make your own mistakes. It's hard for parents to see their children fall, but you'll find that out when your children grow up. So take the high road and learn to get along together, division is never good for either side... not even you.

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      Millie 11 days ago

      I'm at a terrifying point in my estrangement from my parents.

      Even though multiple psychologists affirm that me and my siblings were abused, it's as though part of me keeps trying to split off and tell the other part that 'it was my fault' or 'it was all in my head'. This part of me is consumed with guilt and sense of having betrayed my parents.

      The other part of me, (which I hope is the sane one) knows that I was abused. Yet, memory of my youth is vanishing, like there's a black hole sucking it all up, so even my saner side feels shaky on details.

      The internal conflict is destroying me.

      A few people in my life know the whole story and support me 100%. But this uncertain part of myself and a sense of loyalty to my parents keeps me from talking about my past to almost everyone. Many who merely know I'm not in touch with my parents often seem to judge me harshly for my choice, contributing to my uncertainty.

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      NL 12 days ago

      Another reason is just because that was the way it always was.

      My father was a busy man, and he let my family be aware of that. He was out all the time, either at work or socializing with his friends. The only real family time we had was when he carted my siblings, myself and mom across the country to see my grandparents, aunts and uncles, ie his parents and his siblings.

      Sure it was okay to see relatives every year.. travel sickness can be overcome if you are exposed to it long enough. But it started to feel that when it came to family, his family was his mom dad and siblings. Family didn't seem to include us, with him as my dad and mom as his wife. My mom, his wife and us, his children were some weird attachment to him.

      Then there were monetary problem. Unfortunately my dad was one of those people who lived pay check to pay check. If you wanted something, a bill paid, money the car, you had to get to him before the pay check was spent. It was only because my mom worked, saved, and student loans, that we, the kids managed to get into college.

      The problems only started when he retired. By then myself and my siblings were adults. Suddenly he wasn't going out anymore. Then he started to call us. Multiple calls a day about nothing. He would not stop. Given how few calls we had, initially we though it was something important. medical emergency. But no, it wasn't. It increasingly felt that we where there to entertain him. Not like we were adults and had lives of our own. A career. If we were children we might have liked the sudden attention. But this is 3 decades to late.

      The worse bit, he was spending his pension money on my cousins. He wasn't saving for his old age. He was not spending money on his children, but one my cousins. And on occasion when he was short, he would ask us for money to pay a bill or two. We said yes the first few times then when we found out how generous he was with the cousins, we put the foot down.

      We try not to talk to him nowadays. He spends his time with my grandmother (his mom) now and throwing money at the cousins. Way more than he can afford. He likes playing the role of the rich an generous uncle. He like the attention my cousins give him.

      I just dread the day when he gets sick and needs money for hospital bills. Talks to stop him were as successful as my moms talks to him to get a budget. My cousins sure won't be helping him because they are spending all the free money they are getting, causing friction between us and our cousins. Now my siblings are building a wall to make sure he does not get at their finances. I feel something for him, not sure what, but then again I too should build that wall.

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      Yvonne 12 days ago

      Wow. I’m sorry for what you have been through but how dare you presume that it’s all the parents’ fault for not listening or respecting boundaries etc.

      In my situation my DIL turned my son away from his family and he was naive enough to let her. We were very close before this woman and her chrstianity took our son. I have been broken hearted for three years, in therapy, suicidal, and have gone through all the stages of grief. I would welcome the chance to sit down and clear things up. I have tried to do so and everything is okay for a little bit and then back to no contact. You are sadly missing a whole other side to your argument.

    • profile image

      Citywater 12 days ago

      Good morning and thank you for sharing. I am not an expert and do not have all the answers, but did seek out counseling years ago. Ergo the forgiveness, not forgetting what transpired though. I know a number of people estranged from the parents, and even though the actual reasons differ, the premise is the same. Parents your love is not always unconditional - there are strings attached - if you finish this sentence ... then I will finish the sentence.... that is not unconditional - that is a bribe.

      “ If you study Pre Med, I will pay for college… If you stop seeing that guy, I will purchase you a car…

      Yes parents, those are bribes for controlling behavior. Pay for college anyway if that is what you wish to do- purchase the car anyway if that is what you wish to do –

      Unconditionally – no strings attached.

      It's great that you were there financial and physically for your child, but what happened to his independence to become a man? If you are always running to save, how does one learn to be on their own and manage on their own? I have read great books, went to counseling, and the conclusion is we all need to do what is best for us- for our lives, for our survival , for our own success.

      When does a son turn into an independent man? Or when does a daughter turn into an independent woman? Even if that means they have to let you go to achieve this????

      If one will not tolerate lies, deceit, gas lighting, abuse (physical and mental), stealing, and manipulation, gossiping, sabotaging, from a spouse/ friend/ or co-worker- then why is this acceptable treatment from a parent? Really, why? Blood relation... no it is unacceptable behavior, period no matter who you are.

      Different strokes for different folks.

      Quick story,

      I know six people who are estranged from their families; we are a little mini family. Of those six people, one reconnected with his mother a couple of years ago. She made some mistakes in his childhood and lied to cover up things... he found out much later in life and stop communicating with her for a number of years. He never yelled or screamed at her, he never called her names - just no contact (that’s respectful) she knew without him telling her why... no explanation required.

      Each and week like clockwork, on a Sunday afternoon she called and left long voicemails, sometimes two. She was having a one sided conversation on voicemail for years. No response. Each holiday, birthday, she called, sent cards, etc. No response for years. A couple of years ago, his mother called while we were watching a football game and I asked him how long was he going to keep this up... he said he did not know. A few months later, she called on Sunday afternoon and he picked up the phone....

      How do I know all of this? Because I was there, I saw it all unfold - my spouse and his mother reconnected after years of him not responding to her calls, letters, invitations. When he picked up the phone she kept speaking as if there was nothing wrong and it was a normal conversation. And guess what happened this past Sunday? His mother called as she normally does and she is going to visit next week...

      Just keep calm, be the parent and wait it out....the kids have to work it out for themselves , unless there was something traumatic going on.

      You cannot make adults do what they do not want to do. Sure, you can bribe them, but is that what you really want? A unhappy, sulking, adult who wishes to be anywhere else?

      Keep your money, provide what parents are supposed to provide. If it is important to you, keep at it... I saw it with my own eyes.

      A really great movie - it is an old classic black and white movie about the difficulties between parents, adult children, and money is called:

      House of Strangers (1949) an oldie, but goodie. We estranged kids watched it several months ago and dissected the problems with the kids and the parents.... This was 1949.... Hopefully, this message is encouraging to parents and kids.

      Respectfully,

      CW

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      Mom 12 days ago

      Dear confused, citywide and others, I am an estranged mom. I lived with my son's physically, verbially and mentally abusive alcoholic dad for the 1st 9yrs of his life. To avoid comitting suicide as I was degraded so to the point I had no self confidence , but I knew for my son's sake I should go. If I couldn't do that for myself I had to do it for him. We had an extremely good happy life while he was growing up. Yes I spent lots of hours working as a real estate agent but I spent as many hours taking him on vacations, buying boats and wave runners and having a wonderful time during every hour he was not in school or doing home work. I not only took him to every ball game I stayed and watched and cheered him on during every game and every practice. I did and said everything I knew of to help him build his confidence up that was being destroyed by his dad. When he got older I took his friend with us as I was the cool parent and the one that all of the other parents trusted to take care of their kids safely as well. He respected me and loved me and everyone knew that as I did him as well. I never told him what he should do but guided him to make the right decisions for himself. I supported every decision he made and he knew that. He always sought approval of his dad... why? Because he could not get his dad's approval as he was always putting everything he did down and just used him for his servant. I bought a house for him so he would not have to live with his dad any more as his dad said as long as he goes to school (college) he would have to live with his dad. So in a nutshell, his dad ridiculed I rescued. He married the girl, she ridiculed him, got him to not finish school, wouldn't allow him to play sports or pursue his work, but wanted all that money could buy... Speeding forward, she persuaded him to move 1000 miles away to be near her family. He couldn't find work and lived with her family while I silently supported them. I purchased a house for them to live in as by then they had 2 children (one is a special needs child) and still she would not allow him to work the hours he needed to to support the family. I supplied credit cards etc. for them to live on, her not knowing they actually came from me. All along I never asked about their finances or dredged into their business. My son would have to leave the house to call me as his wife wouldn't allow him to call me. When they moved into the new house his wife soon manipulated my son into cutting all ties with me and told me all of the twisted things she and her mother thought badly of me about. They were all twisted and exaggerated contorted crazy feelings which my son also told me him mother-in-law was like. Remember I lived 1000 miles away. I saw my son and grandchildren a few days every 3-6 months. Did I mention that I married again because my son wanted me to. Well that didn't work out as he ended up having several issues, addicted to gambling, other women and occasionally men (yes I said other men) and a con artist. These things I have not told my son as I do not want to destroy my son's image of him and lets face it it is embarrassing. Also, I was not allowed to tell my son face to face what happened because of his wife would not allow me to see my grandchildren, and those things you don't tell over the phone or in a letter. I was told by my son I should have worked any differences out before I married him... as if I knew these things. So who is the controller in that situation. This was not due to what I had done, it was a repeat of what her mother did to her husband family. It is learned by my daughter in law and repeated. Her mother is Mexican and feels no one that is not Mexican looks down on her so she rejects them. I'm saying all of that to say this. What are you protecting your children from? The love and attention they can only receive from a grand parent. Are you jelous of that and want to control that. How sick. My granddaughter was always so happy to have me visit. Now she has lost a grandmother that she knows loves her, always sends Christmas & birthday presents, and she talks to me about all of the fun we have missed. She plans to come to me as soon as she gets her drivers license and knows it is her mom that has caused this and her dad that has allowed it. Children repeat. Are you ready to see the same repeated against you. Are you agreeable that this attitude carries on and on generation to generation snowballing a greater lack of communication and ability to work things out. The communication is broken by you, the disrespect begins with you not of you. You have to start with the man in the mirror my dear children. Children are taught how to treat their parents by the way they see their parents treat their grandparents. If you want your mom or parents to get counseling they you need to get counseling too. Parents respect respectful children. My son respects me but cannot see me because he is straped into a controlling marriage that is riddled with dysfunction. Not communicating with your parents, which means hearing them out as well, is fed by your dysfunction too. Go get help for yourself and your feeling just might change. Learn how to defend yourself in a different way (fighting above the belt is healthy)! Talking is healthy! Your parents love you so to get respect you must learn respect for yourself then it won't matter so much if someone else doesn't agree with what your choices are, you will be able to love them anyway. Parents love unconditionally. I hope one day adult children can learn to do that too.

      One more thing, just wanted you to know as all here have such a harsh amount against their parents I want you to know where I came from. I am an adult survivor of an abortion attempt. Both of my parents were in on the plan for my mom to take meds that would cause mom to miscarry. How do I know? I was told as a teenager in a fit of anger against me that I was too stubborn to abort and I am too stubborn now. I was pushed aside and ridiculed for wanting attention and love. I got the counseling I needed. I now feel good about myself and do not take on the feelings of others about me or their desires or wishes for my life. I let them have their opinion and I have mine. My mom turned 90 the other day. I call her a minimum of once a day and take care of her when I can. I get rediculed or disagreed with almost every time too. It rolls off like water off a ducks back. Forgiveness is a powerful thing. Self respect is powerful and can be awesome without being controlling. Remember I got the counseling... when she didn't!

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      Confused 13 days ago

      First of all I would like to say that i don’t think my mother is a bad person, I know she loved me and still does and I appreciate everything she did for me. I’m the only child and growing up I saw my mom loving her work so much to the extent that she had severe depression when she was let go, which affected me as I didn’t want to see her like this and nothing was worth going into this. Firstly I don’t know if the following was control or fear, she would never allow me to sleep over my friends house, I respected that until I got to college and I had to take her attitude when i insisted on sleeping outside the house, I wanted to study mass comm she refused I still didn’t argue much as i wanted to please her, sleeping outside was still an issue then, I started working when I was 19 I’m 35 now so I took care of my self and the past 10 years been taking care of my parents too, however when I opened the subject of moving out it was dramatic, so I took it step my step until I made it a fact that she needs to deal with, the problem with mom that I’m facing is that she didn’t make it easy for me to live my life as I wanted, when I Opened up about my sexuality she freaked out and told me I have to see a doctor I was worried for her and diverted the subject and told her she miss understood as it seemed she was going to get a heart attack, recently she’s been constantly complaining about how my father not ambitious that’s after 40 years of marriage, he is an amazing person who loves her unconditionally and she doesn’t see that she only sees materialistic stuff, financially back home She earns good amount of money if she lived there she’ll be more than great, she still refuses to go back home and still didn’t have a problem with me paying for her current house knowing that I owe more than 100 grand to the banks, i still handled her constant negativity and complaints and tried to help and advice her but nothing got through I’m at a point where I’m giving up and i can’t handle it, I asked her to see a phsyciatrist she refuses, she even refuses to make friends people she can talk to, I’m feeling that I’m mentally drawning I wanted to please her and make her happy but nothing seems to work and i know for sure I can’t live with my mom again else I will loose my mind and collapse, I want to be honest with her but afraid it will hurt her even more as she is again going through another depression and this time it’s because of the fact that she might leave the city she stayed in for years. My mom once told me when I get married she wants to live in the same building I just feel that her attachment to me was not healthy especially for her

    • Kim Bryan profile image
      Author

      Kim Bryan 13 days ago

      Hear, hear, citywater! Money was used to buy my tolerance and forgiveness for years; if an inheritance was my concern, I would have continued. What I wanted was love, acceptance, and respect for who I am. Truth is, I'll probably long for that from them the rest of my life but I've accepted it's never going to be; an inheritance would just be another, albeit final, payoff. No thanks, I'm good.

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      Citywater 13 days ago

      I am only one person and can speak to my experience. I expect nothing and want nothing. Why would I? If your child wants nothing to do with you, how do you feel obligated to leave them something? That's an odd one there. If I want nothing to do with you in life, why would I give two shakes about your death? I have made it this far on my own....

      Again, my point of view, not correct or incorrect.

      Logically speaking, I do not understand why parents feel that money or the promise of money will have kids running back and breaking down their door. If your child has clearly made it own their own without a dime from parents, that is a moot point- inheritance for what?....

      I am not for sale -you cannot buy me, my time, my attention, my respect, etc. I am sure plenty of other estranged kids would agree....

      Not me, not here, not ever....

      Respectfully,

      CW

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      brownp 13 days ago

      So if your view is correct. Your view on our obligation to leave inheritance to children that have ignored us as elders?

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      Citywater 13 days ago

      Dear Truthful 1,

      I just read your comment and I felt the need to respond. Wanting to be a kid and having a childhood is not selfish. Kids should be kids and adults should be adults. I am truly sorry that you and other parents have kids who have left and not given you a real explanation as to why.

      But honestly, do you really need an explanation? You are the parent you know in your heart what happened, and if you are the great parent that you thought you were, then you should know your child. You should know when to give your child sometime, when to reach out even if they do not respond. You are the parent, so set the tone. Every week, every birth date, every holiday, YOU the parent reach out. Send notes, tell them what is going on, you miss them, etc. If you are the parent who wants a relationship then you do the work. Sometimes there are outside influences; however, if you were so close and happy in the first place, then no one could influence them to walk away.

      As soon as they start comparing themselves or your family to others, they are telling you something. When they are trying to tell you something listens. When their behavior starts to change address it immediately….

      Again, I am surprised and sad to read that those of us who as young people could not deal with the destructive, toxic, abusive, and sometime downright mean behavior from our parents left as soon as we had a chance.

      We are not criminals; we are not murdering, stealing, etc. We are upright citizens and some of us had to figure things out on our own without any “parent" or adults’ assistance or support. I was told if I left for college not to return - so during the “summer" and when classes were out I was homeless. Yes, I stayed in shelters - studied, worked, etc. I am not bitter, angry or even sad about it anymore. It happened, and I dealt with it in the best way that I could.

      When I needed a parent, no one was there. I no longer need a parent. I have several advanced degrees, a couple of properties, land, a decent professional career and of course student loans. Yet, some of the folks in this section want the adult children to feel awful about the path we chose. Why? Why must I feel bad for wanting to save myself from a miserable, abusive, self -centered , self -serving, person?

      I guess I should had stayed and had 6/7 kids and gotten on welfare and live in public housing like her.... perhaps then I would have been a good kid. Come on people... nothing is absolute. Some kids need independence from parents and other kids need to flee from their parents to save themselves. Let them be. If you truly care and want a relationship keep the lines of communication open. Let them know its open anytime day or night they wish to connect.

      People make mistakes, no one is perfect. We all know this, but don't think that the kid owes you anything- their choice- their life. You chose to have kids, and you chose how you wished to raise them, so now let them choose how to live their life. A good / great parent knows when to step in, knowing when to let go, and knowing when to sit back and wait for them to figure things out for themselves.

      If my mother ever reached out to apologize and acknowledge her bad choices and behavior, perhaps I would be inclined to help her. I have forgiven her, but I do not trust her. However, she is in the mindset of a lot of parents- you owe me… I owe you for what, for a difficult life…. I did not ask to be born and certainly not to you… I owe you nothing.

      Gone are the days where one must “honor thy parent" because they are the parent. I simply do not believe in that. Honor and respect is earned, not given. You must earn your kids respect, not demand it and that is not selfish, that is life. You respect colleagues, co-workers, friends, boss, etc, why not your kids? Try that without any anger or judgement.

      Good luck estranged parents and remain positive.

      Estranged kids, I stand with you, support you, and pray for you.

      CW

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      Snowshoe 13 days ago

      This article really resonates. I think you hit the nail when you said to pay attention to how our kids act toward us and consider of its how we were treated as a child. I'm really taking some time to look in the mirror. Thanks for the helpful insight!

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      Anonymous 2 weeks ago

      Lol the fact still remains that everyone wants to love and have a good relationship with their parents. And if your child or children do everything to avoid you, you're probably a very abusive or toxic person x

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      truthful1 2 weeks ago

      It is simply amazing that you are able to generalize the reasons for estrangement and parental abandonment. Could it ever be mental illness, narcissism, selfishness or outside influences on the estranged child? What about those who have never been given a reason for estrangement? What about the child that suddenly disappears at age 18 with no reasons for cutting off contact? The child that was so close to you, suddenly gone with no explanation and now that same child spreads lies about you to everyone you know. What about situations like that? You certainly seem to have all of the answers. I certainly hope you do not experience the pain that you and countless others have levied upon their parents. It is shameful that you are encouraging others to do the same and a huge waste of your writing resources.

      In reading a lot of the comments--nearly every single estranged child that has commented here, sounds like a selfish piece of work who cut off contact when they didn't get their way. And for the one who supposedly came back to care for the dying father while the mother slept all day-do you think your mother was exhausted from caring for your dad all that time while you nursed your resentments from afar? Grow up people!

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      Klynn28 2 weeks ago

      Sounds as if the writer was sheltered.

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      Not Done Yet 2 weeks ago

      I read the article and many comments but didn't feel like commenting until I read the "I tried so hard". This response hit home. I believe there is no black and white answer to this issue. Every situation is unique because every person is unique. My youngest son hasn't had a relationship with me since I left his dad in early 1999. I endured a difficult relationship with his dad for many of the 29 years we were together. Needless to say, the home environment wasn't ideal. A lot of fighting, competition, silence, etc. I can say that I really tried to make a good home and tried to get help for myself and family but no one wanted to participate. My ex-husband was a good father in that he did things with our three boys, mostly sports. He was not a very good communicator and was verbally and emotionally abusive to me and his boys. I was depressed at times and found comfort from friends and family. When I left to be with someone else it was devastating to the boys...I understood this even though they were all adults. I was patient and and my two older boys finally came to see that it was for the best. My youngest probably had the most difficult time having been the last to leave home. His older brothers, he claims, tormented him. This is probably true since that's what brothers/siblings do. I hated seeing this in our home but felt helpless to change that culture having no support from my ex. I accept my role in this and have apologized to my son. I have tried to reach out over the years while also trying to respect his request to let him decide to reach out to me. It's been over 18 years. He was 21 at the time and is turning 40 this year. He is married with three children. He has a relationship with his dad and with my older sister but has cut his brothers out of his life a few years ago. The last time we saw him was a year and a half ago when he attended his nephew's Bar Mitzvah with his wife and two of his children. He looked away when he saw me and his brothers. We're not sure why he attended. I have been sad, hurt and confused but I truly understand that he has chosen this path and I need to accept this. I know he is bothered by the lack of a relationship with him mom because he tells my sister. We are both hurting. I have tried to reach out to him by occasional text but never hear back. I was encouraged six months ago when I got a response from his wife after texting her a happy birthday message. She thanked me and even sent pictures of the kids. My son did text me a birth picture of his new daughter last Sept. Every time I get my hopes up I get let down. I'm listening to my sister now and letting him have his space. I always pray that he will get some help so he can deal with the pain he has had in his life. I know I can't fix him. I have found great help in a book written by Sheri McGregor, MA "Done With the Crying" Help and Healing for Mothers of Estranged Adult Children. I have also been writing letters to my grandchildren on my computer. Whenever I have something to share with them I just write and let them know with words and pictures. My hope is that I might have a relationship with them one day and I want them to know they have always been in my thoughts and heart. I am blessed to have wonderful relationships with my two other son's and their families. We all suffer and hurt as a result of their brother's estrangement but our lives are full. Thanks for letting me share this long story and I hope it offers some help.

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      Rinky 2 weeks ago

      Really shocked by the (unintentional) cruelty of this article and its incredibly narrow perspective on parenting. It's all so judgemental!

      It will be interesting to see this modern generation of perfect adult children as they parent the future generation.

      Watch this space...

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      Citywater 2 weeks ago

      Hi, I am an adult child that voluntarily estranged from family, and I agree with most of the information listed. The article is speaking in general and not pointing blame. The problem is as children we rely so much on our parents for guidance, advice, love, attention, honesty, preparing you for the world, etc and then they don't come through for a number of reasons...

      In my own case, my mother was selfish and self serving, she only wanted me as her in home nanny and cook. She partied, lied, drugs, chased men, etc... she "accidentally" burnt me ( 3rd degree burns), and refused to apologize saying I was too young to recall, so what is the big deal. She was a teen parent and has never once brought up the subject of my father , and I never asked. While still in her teens she got pregnant again.... Needless to say, she was to busy living her life to be bothered with all of these kids she had. She was distraught and angry when I wanted to leave for college and she refused to sign my forms for me to attend, saying I could not leave her with the kids. Those are her kids, she chose to have them. I was helping with homework, giving allowance, making sure what little money we had went to food, and bills.... it was too much for me and I felt alone, scared, and completely unprepared for life. Fortunately, I attend some great schools with wealthy kids and saw something different. I wanted that and did not know how to get there. For my sanity and to better my life, I left and never looked back.

      Ten years ago, she showed up to my job asking for $1,000.... I ran into one of her friends a few weeks earlier and she must have told her where I worked. I politely told her no, not to make a scene and not to return to my job. A month later I quit my job and found another one.... she

      never listened to me and would have kept coming back. I am 45 years old now and do not regret any of my actions.

      Parents, we are not blaming you, but you are very much complicit in these decisions. Did you listen to the verbal or non-verbal cues? Or, do you over talk the kids and belittle them? Do you for no reason at all ask is there anything on their mind? Do you apologize for all the things you have done that you know your kids felt slighted over? Did you take the time and let them know that no one is perfect, you know mistakes were made, but you really did your best... Did the kids really see you doing your best? Was there one child that you went out of your way to protect and love, while leaving the others to sit idly by and watch? Did you have different rules for different children? Did you block the child from learning, growing, contacting friends/ family? Did you provide them the necessary love, time, encouragement, and affection? These are questions that run through your kids mind when they are comparing themselves to their peers and their childhood/ families...

      Well, sometimes parents just don't get it and kids don't want to waste anymore time on them... The love and bond was never there to begin with, so no love is lost... sad, but true. Best of luck out there!

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      RS2018 2 weeks ago

      This article hits so many points. These situations are never black and white. It's very true. But the way they are black and white is the inherent and underlying abuse. With my parents, it's either 100% access to your every day and every thought, or they act like I am dead. They go cold if I raise a concern, or would like a behavior to change, like showing up in the drive way, or only treating me and my fiancé well enough until the next "test of loyalty" like a holiday, or dropping everything to meet them for dinner in 10 minutes. After carefully wording a few texts to her about how we can't meet them for dinner tonight, as we already had a pot of chili going, but that would would love to meet them the next day, she showed up anyway. Our "date night at home" was us sitting on the floor, eating our chili, my parents on the couch clicking though our TV stations when we'd rented a Red Box, and they stated over 3 hours. Oh, and of course, we still had to meet them for dinner the next night, since "that's what [I] said yesterday." That was our entire weekend. Completely taken over by my parents. Mind you, my fiancé quit her job, got a new job, moved in with me, 3 hours from her family. Still not enough.

      What sucks is that I don't want to not speak to my parents. I love them a LOT. More than they will likely ever realize. But it can be absolutely maddening.

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      Parent 2 weeks ago

      Yeah, well, my son abandoned me about six years ago - he's now a sophomore in college. Last year he told me he was gay; I told him that it didn't matter to me at all. But nothing changed - I'm a chronic-pain patient, and have been terribly injured for almost ten years - maybe that's the reason - I don't know. All I know is that I've tried EVERYTHING. Talking with him, not talking with him, seeing a therapist, letting him live his own life, trying to become involved with his life, etc. etc. Now, I've pulled away, and he's pretty much permanently gone to me - I grieve his loss like I would a dead child. There is NOTHING I can do, and I *know* I haven't done anything wrong except take pain medication (and yes, a few drinks a night) for my pain. So what - anyone else would do it, too. Sometimes, the child - no matter *how* "successful" he is (and my son is unbelievably successful) is a selfish, unworthy person who only cares about himself.

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      Hadega 2 weeks ago

      I'm appalled at this article. Nothing is ever one sided.

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      Ben 2 weeks ago

      I am appalled by the number of offended parents here complaining about this article.

      My parents abused me emotionally and educationally. Their boundary crossing and sibling favoritism was extreme. It was quite serious. I never had drug or alcohol problems. Never got in trouble with the law. Not once! I was a clean-cut kid and young adult.

      I finally cut them off at age 27. At age 44, I came back when I found out my father was dying of cancer. I took care for him in his final year of life, while my mother slept all day and did nothing. After he died, I painted and otherwise help get the house ready to sell. Then, just weeks after he died, she threw me out of the house on Christmas Eve because, as she said, "Your brother wants to come home for Christmas, and this is not your holiday anyway."

      I never saw her again - and not by my own choice.

      My registered sex offender brother is now her favorite child. He can do no wrong. They live together. He is listed as co-owner on all her bank accounts and investments. The emotional abuse continues.

      It never stops, does it?

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      Katie 2 weeks ago

      I have to admit, I'm angry that this article completely ignored the fact that many adult children are swayed to cut themselves off from their childhood family by their spouses. This is exactly what happened to my older brother. Things were very tense between his wife and our family when they were dating, and during the wedding, even though we all tried until we were blue in the face to form a positive connection with her. As soon as she became pregnant, she told my parents that our family was going to have nothing to do with them from then on. We haven't seen my brother in 5 years. My other older brother and I are well established adults who have college degrees, jobs, and live on our own (as does the eldest brother in question). We have always had a good relationship with our parents. They are warm, loving people who have always supported us. As the youngest, I saw a lot of what went on in the house when I still lived at home, and I am well aware of the fact that they did nothing to cause my brother's wife to hate our family. This article seems to imply that there's always SOMETHING the parents did to cause the estrangement of their adult children. Well, as a 25-year-old adult who saw this happen in my own family, I'm here to tell you that there is certainly NOT always a reason.

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      Jason 2 weeks ago

      This article misses a lot.

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      Katrina 2 weeks ago

      What is wrong with wanting to spend occasional time with your son or daughter without their girl/boyfriend? Much like they wouldn't appreciate mom going out on a date with them...parents like to have some one on one time with their children. There are 365 days in a regular year...can't some time be found for a person who once was an important part of your life? Why can't we add people to our life without discarding those who stood by us through some of the most difficult times? I have not asked my son for anything other than respect for me as his parent, and to find some time to just chat about what is happening in our lives. Is that really so much to ask?

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      Jeffrey C 2 weeks ago

      Sure your parents made mistakes. They will continue to make mistakes too. That's what humans do. Reach out to them. Make peace with them.

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      Jeffrey C 2 weeks ago

      I don't know. Maybe I wasn't the best father in the world but I did try my best. My 20 year old son told me a few months ago that I am not his father anymore.

      His grades started slipping when he was a junior in high school, so I bought a nice car for him, and told him that if he brings home a report card with no "C"s on it, the car would be his to drive. His report card was pretty lousy though, so I didn't give him the car. There was no punishment for the report card. But I didn't give him the car as a reward because he hadn't earned it. And by the way, his test and quiz scores were real good. But he lost a lot of points because he refused to do homework. He was faling out of school as senior, so I lowered the standards, and told him that I would give him the car if he graduated from high school. He barely managed to do that, so I gave the car. Now, 2 years later, he says that I only gave him the car to manipulate him. I saw it as trying to create an incentive for him to do better in school.

      The last time we spoke he also said "what kind of parent locks his kid in his room for missing one homework assignment?" But I never ever locked him in his room. The door didn't even have a lock on it until he demanded one at the age of 15, and even then, the lock was on the inside of the door. When he was much younger there were times when I sent him to his room for misbehavior, and I mean big time misbehavior. But it had nothing to do with missing only one homework assignment. And he was never, ever locked in; not even once. I pointed out to him that his door didn't even have a lock on it. That's when he hung up on me.

      This past summer, he stole $700 from his grandmother, and stole almost as much from his twin brother. He actually got his hands on their bank statements, and did some kind of transfer through facebook. I didn't even know that any such thing was possible. His name appeared on their bank statements as the recipient. He denied it nonetheless, and was very angry with me for, as he said, accusing him of stealing. Am I supposed to just sit by and do nothing while he steals from his grandmother and his brother?

      Is it wrong for a parent to offer a car as incentive for good grades?

      The only thing that this author knows about estrangement is what occurred in her particular situation. And even then, she only knows it from her perspective. I don't pretend to understand the causes of all estrangements as she does. According to this author, estrangement is almost always the fault of the parents. How does the author know this to be true? The author presents no evidence to support that argument. For that reason, this article is of no use to anyone.

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      Kat 2 weeks ago

      My guess is that all those commenting here, criticising the piece and running down the author are themselves failed parents.

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      bap151 2 weeks ago

      Thank You!

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      SimonSimmons 3 weeks ago

      Hmmm....verbal and mental abuse is every bit as bad as physical. Being told that you will amount to nothing, will be fat and lazy like some uncle, will never keep a job, compared to other siblings etc etc is damaging and will last a lifetime. Anyone who does not understand this needs to stop and think.

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      Louise 3 weeks ago

      This is for the parents

      Take responsibility for your actions. You are supposed to be the authority figures here. You have the most life experience. If a child and parent get into a heated argument, who should be more able to deal with the situation in an adult and mature manner? You need to stop playing the VICTIM and start playing the lead. You must stand up and be the hero of this journey. It is now well past time that you take a good look in the mirror and say: “Enough is enough. I will not continue to support what is not working for me!” I am amazed how many parents think there pride or being right is more important then having a relationship with there children or even grandchildren. In the end it's your loss. I think everyone can benefit from counselling and no one should be ashamed of it self reflection is a positive thing.

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      alfred wallace 3 weeks ago

      Just read this article, and despite the author's pleas, right here, we have estranged disordered parents who are drawn to read an article titled, top reasons why adult children are estranged from their parents', and then immediately take to the comments section to screech and vent about how it was NEVER their fault they have such lousy kids. Pulease, people. I had an amazing childhood and amazing parents, which is why I would take a bullet for them. If your child has walked away, it is time to look into the mirror. Kim, sorry about your situation - but the best thing in life is to walk away from toxicity. Family relationships are a privilege, and it doesn't have to be restricted to blood relatives. Ditch those that suck, and surround yourself with those that you love you.

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      Cheryl 3 weeks ago

      I think this article is biased, insensitive and entitled. Perhaps you need therapy.

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      Mary Hollingsworth 3 weeks ago

      None of those reasons listed are reasons to stop having contact with a parent. G00d, responsible, reasons to avoid contact with a parent are things like physical and sexual abuse. You don't ever have to have unlimited contact with a parent if it's a little too difficult , but the list of reasons here are all immature. Adult children also have room to grow and stretch and learn to be more accommodate and loving.

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      LeeTHub 3 weeks ago

      Certainly an opinion piece based on your own wounding. The idea that the parents are ALWAYS at fault is absurd and irresponsible pop psychology. Children have their own wills and their choices through life can distort their perceptions, attitudes, and conduct - apart from parental failure. The blame-shifting and projection that you are doing is not very healthy for you and will simply cause you to repeat the same errors or worse with your children.

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      Mary 3 weeks ago

      Are you serious???!!! These reasons are so petty. Good luck having relationships with anyone. You are better off alone.

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      Maramawit alemayehu 3 weeks ago

      I am about to lose my mind i tried to forgive her for leaving me at my aunt and coming to visit me maybe once a year or maybe in 2years once or that she never told me my dad's name for 17years I can't and also my dad I meat home after 17 years I asked him why he didn't come or called to say hi he said he was busy I tried so much to forgive them I just can't because it hurts so much

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      Marie 3 weeks ago

      This site was informative and enlightening. My son recently admitted that he was definitely keeping me at arm's distance. I long suspected even though he came over for all the holidays he was going through the motions. At last I asked him point blank in private and he said yes. He told me our personalities clashed and that he liked himself more when he was away from me. He also said he didn't think things could change because that's the way I am. I listened patiently and attentively even though my heart was breaking. It is very hard to hear that to make your son happy you must stay away.

      After our talk he did come over for Christmas. But, he doesn't seem ready to meet with me yet to repair our relationship. Every once in awhile I can't escape the pain and just break down and sob. My mother was mentally I'll and my one wish was to have a healthy and happy family so this I'd doubly painful. I just hope that one day he will be able to look back at this time and open his heart to me. I hope he felt understood and listen to when he gave me the gift of his honesty. I will try to reach out to him but I will also need 2 respect the boundaries that he will set.

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      MCV our monthly donation so now so now so now 3 weeks ago

      I just recently found out that my son is staying away because he has difficulty with our relationship. I had long suspected it but I was reassured by many that he was a boy and the boys are not as close to their families after they are in a committed relationship. Still, I felt a kind of distance that didn't feel like it could be explained. So one day I just decided to ask him. And that's when I found out that his distance was intentional and that he was surprised that I hadn't guess sooner. He told me many things most hurtful but I listened respectfully because he's my son and I love him. I knew he had to pour out his pain and whether or not I felt totally responsible for all of it I did feel responsible for whatever part he thought have to do with me. When I thanked him for for sharing with me and I told him that I hoped that we could repair I relationship in the future. He said that I didn't think that could happen because of the way I am and that I probably couldn't change. He also said that when he was away from me he felt happier and that he liked himself better. So now I feel in order to be a good mother I need to give him his space and be happy with whatever time he spends with us. It is hard to know that you are responsible for inflicting so much pain on your children and to accept the fact that in order to show you love you need to stay away. This is not to say that I am not trying to reach out. But, I know that when I reach out and he doesn't respond I need to accept that. I will continue to try 2 make things better between us but it will be on terms that are acceptable 2 him. All children are different and some are closer to their parents and others. I understand that. I will try to accept whatever relationship we have and be happy with it. My only wish is that one day he will be able to find love in his heart for me

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      Jessica 3 weeks ago

      Five Reasons why Parents Estrange their Adult Children.

      1. They are rude and disrespectful. They cuss at their parents and call them names.

      2. They only call them when they want something, usually money.

      3. They use the grandchildren a weapon, for example, withholding visiting rights to get what they want.

      4. They humiliate their parents in front of others.

      5. They are ungrateful. They never say thank you when their parents help them out of a bad situation. They act like it's their job. News flash: It isn't.

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      RH 3 weeks ago

      Thank you!

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      Aching Heart 3 weeks ago

      My youngest adult child is estranged from me. I've attempted to try to talk things out. This last time I was issued a no-tresspass order. Christmas has just passed. It was horrible. How do I move forward from this? I am not totally at fault. My ex is real good at playing both ends of the middle. And this AC is very good at manipulation. Which always puts me on the bad end. I would love nothing more than to reconcile with my adult child, but I just don't see it happening anytime soon. How do I move forward from this? It seems the more I try, the more heels are dug in. At this point in time, it's a no-win situation. I don't want to be held captive in this anymore. I will be receptive if and/or when my child comes around. But in the meantime, please help.

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      SM 3 weeks ago

      Thank you for this article. It hit home. I left my mother and 3 older siblings. I felt I was taken advantage of. While my 3 siblings lived their life, I took care of our mom. I took mom to the doctors, shopping and dinner almost every week. Then days or weeks find that my mom said something mean or bad about me. I always questioned myself. I always wondered what I did. This was an endless cycle. It got to the point I could not ignore it anymore and pretend everything was OK. My siblings did the same. They were nice to my face and talked shit about me behind my back. I knew what was said because my mom told me. We told on each other what we said about each other. It was awful. As a family, this was the norm. This is how we communicated. I couldnt live like this anymore. I had to walk away.

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      Kp 3 weeks ago

      I have a 19 year old daughter who cut me off at 18. I was the only disciplinarian in her life while her dad got to play the good cop. At 16, almost 17, I discovered she had substance abuse problems and depression. Here is my straight A, seemingly perfect child with MAJOR issues. She did every drug out there, was under the influence and drove, and stole from me. I went through her phone (the one I paid for) and found pics of her doing drugs in my car (the one I paid for). I saw conversations with her friends talking about hooking up with drug dealers, I saw convos with her friends wishing for my death. I found all of this so hurtful. I got her therapy and got her medicated..and I grounded her. I took away her driving privileges, took away her phone..and just grounded her.

      At the age of 18, I had a few rules living in my house. No drugs (and I drug tested monthly). Help pick up the living room which was the one and only chore. Third rule was no being out till 2 am every night as I had a newborn preemie, another teen, and a toddler. Well, she broke all of the rules. Pot, meth, cocaine, drinking, Molly, mushrooms. The drug abuse is what hurt the most, but according to her she did nothing wrong.

      My daughter decided to cut me out of her life because I was a parent and I had rules. To this day, she doesn't think she did anything wrong. She has not been around for her younger siblings last 2 birthdays. Her 2 year old sister doesn't recognize her. Her 4 year old brother has autism. She says she doesn't care. It's been a year since she has seen her siblings. I reach out to her every now and then and ask her if she wants to talk to try to resolve our differences. She has made it abundantly clear if I dropped dead, she would be OK with that. She is my child and I love her. But, given the fact she seems to have hated me all of her childhood (she critisized everything I did..my job as a nurse, my house, my car, my vacations..nothing was ever good enough), I am certain she is gone for good. To be honest, I don't think I or her siblings deserve this. I've asked her to at least try to have a relationship with her siblings if she would rather not have a relationship with me.

      I have wracked my brain..as a parent, I feel I did what I should have. I got her help, I had consequences for her actions. Problem is, she just wants to do whatever she wants regardless of who she hurts along the way. It's not always the parent's fault an estrangement happens. Sometimes, it's the adult child's. But as a mom, I still love my child and I cry almost on a daily basis over her. If she were to ask for help, I would gladly help her.

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      GB 3 weeks ago

      What might be normal dialogue among colleagues, is now labelled abusive or intrusive when conducted between parents and adult children struggling to create their own identity.

      And it seems socially acceptable for adult children to relegate their parents to only a small fraction of the conversation at hand.

      It is a complicated web we weave.

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      texascowgirl283 3 weeks ago

      You cannot respect an adult child when they are not doing anything respectable.

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      ohomah 3 weeks ago

      “Those with a healthy mindset will read this and take it to heart, reconsidering the things they've said and done because they want to repair their relationship with their child and are willing to do whatever is necessary to do so. Unfortunately however, most will read this and be inclined to debate it and resort to writing paragraphs long comments about how horrendous his or her child is to a bunch of internet strangers.”

      This is an open-hearted, open-minded, thoughtful and empathetic exposition of some of the basic reasons family members suffer estrangement. Every story of estrangement is different and obviously each story will be viewed differently from the perspective of the estranger or the estranged, but the one almost universal reality in all stories of estrangement is that there is some level of dysfunction in that family. And in dysfunctional families, there are rarely any healthy mindsets. The healthiest person in the dysfunctional family is the one who recognizes the family is dysfunctional. That person is most often the one who enters therapy where she/he gains clarity and a healthy mindset and hopefully learns to heal. She/he is also most often the one who spends years trying to get the other members of the family to see the dysfunction and address it – which, of course, in a dysfunctional family is difficult, if not impossible. Therefore, ironically, that person is most often the one that everyone else in the dysfunctional family views as “unhealthy.”

      Estrangement is heartbreaking, whether you are the one being estranged or you are the one who, after years of trying to repair a dysfunctional relationship, made the difficult choice to cut off a toxic loved one. I have empathy for people on both sides. If you are a parent of an adult child and found this post because you are suffering an estrangement - whether you are the estranged or the estranger - and you have not sought professional help to understand your own issues, chances are you are the/a cause of dysfunction in your family. It doesn’t mean that you are a bad person, or that you deserve the estrangement. But assuming your goal is a loving relationship with your adult child, it does mean you need to look inward to identify your own issues and behaviors that have contributed to the dysfunction in your family, take responsibility for those issues and behaviors and address them. In most cases, this requires professional help.

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      Cheryl 3 weeks ago

      I completely understand as I have done the same. The toxic relationships were no longer worth it. It took years to come to the decision and it may never be easy. I choose being whole over living in dysfunction.

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      Sheeka 3 weeks ago

      This article was written by someone who seems to be bitter and disillusioned. I wonder if THEY are really the problem in the family.

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      MN 3 weeks ago

      My adult son accused me of all the mistakes he made, such as broking off with his girlfriend, losing all his friends, etc.. Personally, I only talk to his girlfriend 5-10 min when she came by. When his friends came by, I cooked their favorite dish. I always remind my son to appreciate, care, and loyalty to everyone he knows. I'm praying daily asking God to let my son see his sins, get rid of selfish in him, and be more positive toward everyone. Amen.

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      Ambika 3 weeks ago

      I have spoiled my relation with my husband bcos I wanted to take care of my parents now I am 48yrs old,even now my mother scolds kw insults me and whenever she gets an opportunity she taunts me with my broken relationship. My father from my childhood I never saw him happy,he used to talk only if anything needed,now too he is same. I am fed up of these relationship and want to go away and live peacefully. I lived and tolerated everything for my daughter now she is grown up and her priorities are different, feel neglected and lonely now.