5 Reasons Why Adult Children Estrange From Their Parents

Updated on February 13, 2018
Kim Bryan profile image

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

Why Would Someone Estrange From Their Parents?

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

Wrong.

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

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

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

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

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

5 Reasons People End Their Relationship With Their Parent

Why Do People Stop Talking to Their Parents?

1. The Parent Disrespects the Adult Child's Spouse

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

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

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

2. The Parent Refuses to Apologize

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

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

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

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

— Misty Kiwak Jacobs, A Word Please.org

3. Overbearing and Undermining Grandparenting

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

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

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

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

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

4. The Parent Plays Favorites Among Siblings

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

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

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

5. Ignored Boundaries

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

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

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

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

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

— Anonymous, r/raisedbynarcissists, Reddit.com

Statistics About Family Estrangements

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

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

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

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

Who tends to estrange permanently: males or females?

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

What about intermittent estrangements?

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

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

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

Is there any chance the relationship will be mended?

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

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

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

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

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

Is That the End?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Questions & Answers

  • Why are you putting all the blame on the parents? Do you honestly believe children are responsible for none of it? Children are ungrateful, cruel, inconsiderate too. People like you are sending the wrong message to society. It’s not always the parent's fault.

    Once again I have an estranged parent tossing out accusations and innuendo when she or he clearly hasn't taken the time to read what I wrote.

    If you had, you would know that I have adult children. Our relationship was extremely strained and heading toward full-on estrangement. However, instead of blaming them, I took an inward look at myself.

    Whether you want to hear it or not, children are created. Who we become is a reflection of how we were raised. While there are some exceptions to this rule, there are not as many as people would like to think.

    Please stop being so angry at your child and seek out the services of a family therapist in your area. I'll admit it wasn't easy taking a long, hard look at myself but it was worth it.

    I'll leave you with this caveat: I sought help, and every day my relationship with my adult children is growing stronger because it's healthy and being nurtured. My parents, however, continue to hold on to your attitude and I no longer have any contact with them, and the contact my adult children have with them is decreasing every day. Whose shoes had you rather be in?

  • Adult children can be cruel and heartless. To keep your children away from your parents when they are asking to spend time with them is heartless. I believe that they are entitled to spend time and bond with them unless they are child molesters. What are you worried about? That they will love them more than you? That’s just you being selfish and self centered! Sad to read this and think that this is what may be shaping our future.

    It's so sad to read your question/comment and think that adults old enough to be grandparents feel entitled to their adult children and grandchildren. Just as with everything else in life, you must earn the right to be in their life. I can say this because I have lived it. I strongly suggest finding a therapist and discussing your intricate family issues with him/her and work toward changing your attitude and behaviors so that you can be a part of your children and grandchildren's lives. Doing so was the best thing I have ever done in my life. The relationship I have with my adult children is better than ever. My parents, alternatively, maintain your attitude and having no contact with their daughter or grandchildren. Question is: which do you prefer? And are you willing to do the work to get it?

  • I have two daughters that cannot forget the past and these are things that have happened over 10 years ago. What should I do?

    Nobody likes hearing they’ve made mistakes. It’s a difficult pill to swallow. But trying to wash it down with whataboutisms never works.

    I’ve been in your daughters’ shoes and I’ve been in yours as well. Somebody has to be the one put down their pointing fingers, listen, and then try to make changes and amends if the issues are ever to be resolved.

    The question I present to you is this: if you’re unwilling to do it, why are you expecting your daughters to do so?

  • How can I improve my relationship with my children when they don't accept my apologies?

    You are at the threshold to healing! I’m so happy for you!

    Having been in your shoes, I found the best guidance came from a therapist who focuses on family. I told him everything. I was brutally honest about myself, my childhood, my parenting style, etc. He has helped me see things from a different perspective and also guided me through changes. It’s been tough at times but absolutely worth it.

    One of the first things recommended to me was the book Understanding the Borderline Mother by Christine Lawson. This book will help you understand how you became the person you are and how to break free of the hold so that you can have a better relationship with your children.

  • I am a mother of a child who doesn’t speak to her father. In the beginning, I’ve tried to talk to her even though I don’t get along with her father. However, she just ends up getting mad at me, and now my other two children feel it’s my responsibility to get them to talk again I need to know is it really my responsibility to get them to talk again?

    Well, to be frank, that depends on why she refuses to speak to her father and any possible role you played in it. Because I’m not (and shouldn’t be as I’m not a therapist, only a veteran of both sides of this family dysfunction), I would recommend retaining the services of a family therapist and discuss the issue with him/her. Be willing to talk openly, see yourself and her father from her point of view and take heed of any advice you are given. I can’t tell you it will be easy, but I speak from experience when I say it can be a positive life-changer.

© 2017 Kim Bryan

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    • profile image

      Elly The Autistic 

      33 hours ago

      Hello All:

      I want to make an observation on point #2 as well as the long-running theme here of EP's always being 'right'...

      From an EP site "It all came to a head when my husband said something in jest to our son in law. Everyone else laughed except for them. My husband wouldn’t apologize because he was joking and voiced that but no they insisted on one. We dug in our heels. We were then like the the other set of grandparents, cut off, destroyed . Our daughters viciousness towards us were epic, she almost destroyed me and my husband."

      It reminds me of perrya a coupe of months ago, "well in my case, my younger son got married to a woman who I clashed with in cordial ways, but a comment of mine, which was not bad in my eyes, was taken the totally wrong way and offended my son, which simply festured so much it became a contentious issue over years. we have not spoke in over 10 years now! Totally ridiculous IMO and even after I apologized (not really knowing why) nothing has changed."

      In both cases the EC made it clear there was an "issue" (hence the demand for an apology) and the EP's refuses to both admit they were wrong and issue a meaningful apology.

      So clearly they are not ALL "clueless" -- I found two that very clearly demonstrate EXACTLY what Kim was describing.

      These people do read sites like this, so they have been exposed to the concept of Us wanting an apology, but they prefer to "dig in their heels..."

      My husband and I have been adopted into a very large, generous and functional family and one evening someone told a 'joke' aimed at Us and everyone laughed but Us. Knowing Us and the background, the 'joke teller' immediately said, "I didn't think about how that might sound to you two..." At which point my husband and I burst out half laughing/half crying...

      No family is perfect, but being a good family is not that difficult... Unless someone wants it to be.

    • profile image

      JacquiePE 

      9 days ago

      Wow! I've read a lot on this subject. This is the first I've read that is really well thought out, emotionally mature, integral, responsible and good. Spot On. Thanks so much!

    • profile image

      Life without Annette 

      3 weeks ago

      Just an addendum to the previously posted site. She’s also got a facebook page.

      https://www.facebook.com/ParentalAlienationSolutio...

      (I guess I’m having a very unproductive day today.)

    • profile image

      Life without Annette 

      3 weeks ago

      To write this post, I confess I occasionally watch the Dr. Phil show; it’s a guilty indulgence. Anyway, I was intrigued by this one show (S:12, E:39), and googled it to see if there was any follow-up. The mother claimed parental alienation, the ex-husband and the one adult child willing to go on the show tell a very different story.

      I offer this link as an insight to this woman’s behavior. It is her own website.

      http://www.palienation.org/an-update-since-the-dr-...

      It’s just a fascinating read.

    • profile image

      Elly The Autistic 

      3 weeks ago

      To NarcFree:

      You said, "I get these random memories at random times, of various dysfunctional events from my childhood, and they just piss me off. I wish that I could confront about this and that, even though I know that it's totally useless, to confront a narc. I just don't know what to do with all this anger." -- This is 100% Me. I just found this quote from a Narc and broke it down.

      "The horrible things said behind my back, were never said to my face. On our last visit, there were moments when he had trouble maintaining eye contact. He cannot say those things to my face because they are not true. I recall him “breaking” instead of lying to me. My son was a young man with great integrity. Obviously something within the last 5 years did not coincide with his integrity."

      I know when I first realized I was a victim, I DID start to "speak out" about 'mom' "behind her back" which IS/equals I started telling MY truth/reality. To her MY REALITY would equal "horrible things". Mostly because what she did and how she treated me/us (I have a sister) was HORRIBLE.

      Next, "there were moments when he had trouble maintaining eye contact..." I am Autistic... When I am multi-tasking? Eye contact is a distant idea versus trying to pay attention... Add stress from abuse? In that case I would be totally 'fight or flight'...

      "He cannot say those things to my face because they are not true." -- Oh IF WE COULD... WE would ALL rejoice in shoving REALITY down our abusers throats with WORDS... HE cannot say 'those things' to your face because IF he starts telling? He'll sound like the 'raving loon' you think he is... Besides, finishing our small list of 'petty reasons'/"horrible things" would never be allowed. After the first perceived insult 'mom' is going to go off like Old Faithful.

      "I recall him “breaking” instead of lying to me. My son was a young man with great integrity." I assume by this point 'mom' has been told she is abusive and is shocked by the idea that an abuse victim might "break" when confronted by their ABUSER. By the second line of that I would say the 'integrity' he used to have was taking the abuse without protest.

      "Obviously something within the last 5 years did not coincide with his integrity." Yes, "something" happened. Like the rest of Us, he finally realized how horrid you are and now is trying to swim to the surface. What these monsters don't "get" is that if they keep holding our feet, to save our lives We WILL cut a foot off. And the "foot" is THEM.

      Hell YES. I am angry too. I find solace in fantasy video games -- Slaying dragons relieves stress.

      Peace to All.

    • profile image

      NarcFree 

      4 weeks ago

      Eww gross. Is that what they nowadays refer to as enmeshment?

      I got my hands on the entire documentary series about Queen Victoria and her children, but I can't decide if I want to watch it as a learning experience, or avoid it due to fear of getting overwhelmed with all kinds of flashbacks.

      I get these random memories at random times, of various dysfunctional events from my childhood, and they just piss me off. I wish that I could confront about this and that, even though I know that it's totally useless, to confront a narc. I just don't know what to do with all this anger.

    • profile image

      Starlight444 

      4 weeks ago

      NarcFree,

      Gloomy, but fascinating. Queen Victoria treated her children appallingly.

      Some followers might also be interested in reading about the dysfunctional and borderline incestuous relationship between Queen Victoria's grandson, Kaiser Wilhelm II, and his mother, Vicky.

      https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/ka...

    • profile image

      NarcFree 

      4 weeks ago

      https://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-20782442

      If anyone has interest in reading this piece, I have 2 observations:

      1. It says Victoria's desire to control her children was almost pathological. I see the need to remove the word "almost" from that statement.

      2. At the end, when noting that Victoria's son turned out to be quite a successful monarch after her death, the conclusion is that "Perhaps Queen Victoria was not such a bad mother after all". Ugh. Perpetuating abusive parent's attitude that if a child succeeds, the parent owns this success. No credit goes to the son, all to his mother. As if she contributes to his success from the grave. She didn't even contribute when she was alive.

      Too gloomy? :)

    • profile image

      Elly The Autistic 

      4 weeks ago

      Hello Rae!

      The eternal "why"... If someone could figure THAT out, they would be set for life.

      I don't know if I mourned losing the 'family' I never had. I do mourn for the life I was supposed to have and the happiness I was denied for so long by abusers.

      Breaking free from the insanity/'family' with the help of good therapy and an amazing man (my husband and fellow No Contact scapegoat of his family) has allowed me to get my legs under myself and become the me I was supposed to be.

      I have some theories as to the "why' but in the end I am realizing the "why" doesn't really matter because it's like asking yourself a question that only someone else can answer. From my 'mom's attitude toward me it seems she hated me from conception forward and since she can't blame me for THAT...

      Having children myself I do not understand that mentality. It has also eliminated any possibility of reconciliation. I have nothing in common with my 'family' but shared DNA and that isn't enough.

    • profile image

      Rae 

      4 weeks ago

      Hi everyone, I am two years into no contact with my entire nuclear family. It has been quite a shock to realize after all my years of hope and patience to realize that they don't love me and never really did. My reputation is in ruin from the many years of false information spread about me but it is the lack of love and compassion and kindness that shocks me the most. It took me nearly 50 years to walk away. I am not happy about it but I mourned the death of a family I never had. I always knew my mother wasn't right and when I tried to get my father to help me he called me a liar. I knew at a small age that I was on my own. But somewhere along the way you want to belong so badly you bury the truth. Years of depression and not really knowing why got explained to me from a very good shrink. That woman saved my life. Denial can be a powerful tool for survival. I wasted my entire life on abusers. My siblings are awful to me. I have never done anything to them. Except stand up to them and then it was a family mobbing. When they all went to Hawaii for my sisters wedding and I wasn't invited and never knew why that was the end of the family for me. I cannot force them to want me around but it tortures me wondering why me. I mean I know why clinically but when you consider yourself a smart and kind, compassionate person it cuts to the core to come from pure narcissists. All I can tell you in the way of advice is that the scapegoat is the one that got away! The one who gets to live. Because the others get killed and eaten. Live large and believe in yourself because the bast part of your life is just beginning.

    • profile image

      Starlight444 

      4 weeks ago

      NarcFree,

      It's the same with speech. Learning to be silent, but then being accused of muttering things under your breath or talking back when you haven't said anything at all.

    • profile image

      Audrey 

      5 weeks ago

      I no longer speak to my father due to his horrible behaviour. I don’t remember any happy memories with him as a child and when I became older, I finally felt able to say no, enough is enough! He was never around for me or my brother when we were kids, as a teenager, I remember hearing him yelling at my mother (while they were still together) saying “you’re daughter is a lazy f**k and needs to get a summer job”. Few year later, he left my mother....by email. I wrote an email to him asking why and his repose was that his parents separated when he was my age, so I should be fine. I spent the next month taking care of my mother and I was only 17. He tried to shower me with money to buy my love back but that didn’t work. I did one dinner with him and his side of the family (only because my mother told me to try and be nice). Told them I was moving to another country as I got into the uni there for my masters degree....I got nothing but negative comments. A few years ago, I found out the my father was married...didn’t even have the decency to let me know...I found out through Facebook, from a stranger. That was the last straw. I sent him a message saying that I had enough and that if he wasn’t willing to treat me like a daughter, I would not treat him like a father. Blocked him from all social platforms. The only time of year I hear from him is his annual email for my bday (always a few days late btw) but he just writes about himself in them and never even asks how I am....I just don’t respond anymore and delete the email. Life has been so much better without him in my life and the older I have become, the easier it has been to ignore him.

    • profile image

      NarcFree 

      5 weeks ago

      Starlight444,

      These parents are sadistic in their efforts to provoke negative emotions in their kids. At the same time, kids are expected to not show any emotions at all. It's like growing up in a bipolar universe of contradictions and confusion. It's like having someone cut you, and then punish you for bleeding.

      You learn not to show any facial expressions, and the narc can still go bat$t crazy on you, insisting that you did have a facial expression. Just because the narc feels like screaming at the moment. You could be punished for perceived emotions, not just real emotions. I remember being punished for emotions my momster insisted I had. Doesn't matter that she just made them up. She's the one with all he power, so she gets to tell me how I feel, and then to punish me for how she says I feel.

      And then you go out into the "real world" decades later, and people don't understand why it's so hard for you to figure out and express your own feelings...

    • profile image

      sisyphus123 

      5 weeks ago

      Also, my friend -no really, it's not me, it's an actual friend- wrote this article sharing her experience with a NarcMom. I think there's a lot folks here can sympathize with:

      http://www.belongcon.com/2019/01/10/when-i-was-sev...

      I'm curious, who else had this feeling from a young age that something was wrong with them? This feeling like they can all tell that I'm bad, and I know it's true.

      Anyway, best wishes to you all.

    • profile image

      sisyphus123 

      5 weeks ago

      Happy 2019 Estrangement Fam :)

      It was my no-contact-aversary, and I thought it would be really painful. But it was fine, I'm fine, and time is starting to heal.

      I had a lot of anxiety leading up to the holidays because I was expecting to be contacted by them, or some "family", (similar to my bday, when NarcD sent me an email essentially demanding that I talk to him on his terms without any recognition of his behavior or apology.) BUT, no contact, nothing. Radio silence. Which was disappointing in its own way, like now that they know they can't control me, I'm dead to them. But, I never really existed to them as my own person anyway, so good riddens to bad rubbish.

      I finally went to my GP about my insomnia, and she prescribed me medication that really helps me sleep. I've never had 3 consecutive weeks of decent sleep before, and I feel like I took an itchy wool sweater off of my brain, if that makes sense... I'm still having nightmares that wake me up most nights, but other than that I can sleep for the first time I can remember, and it's making a huge difference.

      I'm also starting to "come out" more to people when they ask me about my family. What are you experiences with "outness" as an estranged adult child/ survivor?

      It's a strange thing for me so far. People are Always so shocked, and also overly curious. Even my doctor- there's this law&order SVU vibe to it, which seems gross to me. I don't want it to define me, but it is part of me.

      Anyway, hang in there, and good luck!

    • profile image

      Starlight444 

      5 weeks ago

      NarcFree,

      That's a very good point. In order to survive abuse, I had to learn not to cry, show facial expression, or any sign of vulnerability or 'weakness'. My mother enjoyed hurting me and making me cry far too much. If I did cry, she'd smirk, laugh and ridicule me, ramping up the abuse even more. These parents thrive on the distress and pain they cause their own children.

    • profile image

      NarcFree 

      5 weeks ago

      Starlight444 ,

      I'm even more skeptical about this "gift". I bet the plan was to wait till the daughter is old enough to google herself and to read the results. Then mommy dearest gets to watch (and enjoy) the immediate reaction to what the daughter just found on the internet, and then mommy gets to enjoy writing about the reaction. Double whammy for the child, narc supply for the "mother".

    • profile image

      Starlight444 

      5 weeks ago

      I'm not convinced that the daughter didn't already know about the blog before she was given the laptop. This was definitely a gift with major strings attached and a way for mommie dearest to justify what she'd done. Overly generous mother/spoilt ungrateful brat. How many times have we seen this on EP forums?

    • profile image

      Elly The Autistic 

      5 weeks ago

      I think this statement says it all for me... "When I had pictured our first serious conversation about how the Internet is forever, I always thought we’d be talking about content posted by her, not me."

      This is my life story and from every child of a Narc 'mom' EVER -- "As soon as my kid does something? (like post on the internet) It'll be a "disaster" that I will have to 'explain' to her how 'wrong' she is." There is no thought in her statement that shows any possibility that SHE might EVER post anything questionable herself or that her daughter might be able to post appropriately.

      Anything MOM posted is completely justifiable, right, okay etc... But it is a CERTAINTY that daughter will 'screw up' by how SHE posts on-line.

      Double standards and denial turned into an art-form.

      And sadly, most of the time, 'mom' wraps it all in a "pretty bow" that everyone 'buys'... At least this time? The net is having none of it.

      P.S. Even if you are not a fan of the show, this is a MUST WATCH episode...

      https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1635876/?ref_=ttep_ep...

    • Kim Bryan profile imageAUTHOR

      Kim Bryan 

      5 weeks ago

      @Starlight444, omg, that is horrible! She's violating everybody's trust. I sincerely hope those comments make her understand none of that is okay. Ever. Violate your own privacy, fine; violate others, there are serious consequences to pay. May not happen today or next week or even in this decade, but there will be consequences; divorce, estrangement from a child who has grown to an adult, loss of friendships...just to name a few.

    • Kim Bryan profile imageAUTHOR

      Kim Bryan 

      5 weeks ago

      @NarcFree, we had the same thought! The author doesn't realize while many of us estranged children are not believed by others because our parents put on quite the show to others, this young lady will be able to Google her mother's name and then show it to the naysayer as proof.

      Still doesn't do away with the hurt caused by realizing you can't trust your own mother or the teasing and such she will take from peers, which is why my heart breaks for her. It's all just so very, very sad.

    • profile image

      Starlight444 

      5 weeks ago

      More info on reddit (3 days ago) - r/narcsinthewild, "Mommy Blogger: My daughter asked me to stop writing about her. Here’s why I don't care what she thinks."

      This blogger posted personal info about her husband, and participants in a group therapy session.

    • profile image

      Starlight444 

      5 weeks ago

      What we need to do is post the text of this article on an estranged parent forum and then compare the comments.

    • profile image

      NarcFree 

      5 weeks ago

      When this daughter is old enough to go No Contact, she will be writing comments on here :) And the mother will be blogging about an ungrateful cruel daughter who doesn't call her elderly wonderful self-sacrificing mother.

    • profile image

      NarcFree 

      5 weeks ago

      OmG! I just read the comments on that article. Those comments restored my faith in humanity. And I see what you're saying about click ad revenue - I couldn't stop reading them. I've only seen 2 supporting the mother, out of 600.

      In a weird way, I'm envious of this daughter, because in the future, when she informs people in her life that she's estranged from her mother, she won't have to explain why. All she'll have to do is provide a link to an article! I wish my DNA contributor exposed herself like this, so I didn't have to explain myself as much.

      I'm also wondering - does this child have a father! He needs to grow a pair and protect his daughter from the monster that HE impregnated. He's either as sick as the mother, or a spineless enabler, if he doesn't do anything about this.

    • profile image

      Elly The Autistic 

      5 weeks ago

      The article makes me feel like if my husband and I had grown up in the internet era we would be having this conversation with our 'mom'...

      What was 'wrong' with the story was EVERYTHING. It was easier to look for what was right... Which was very little. Even where things were right-ish I could still see the pit-falls.

      As one of the comments stated, yes, 'mom' did offer to give kid 'veto power' etc but what happens if kid says, "No" to EVERYTHING? You can bet if it was our 'mom', eventually and as always, she'd go ahead and do whatever she wanted to do!

      Before I went low/no contact I e-mailed my 'mom' and told her that talking on the phone was too much for me and to please just communicate by e-mail. Her response to my e-mail was to PHONE ME and demand I explain verbally, why I had trouble verbally communicating....

      It's absolutely mind blowing and yes, I wondered at the motive for publication as well and I'm hoping it was to show that there are other people, just like my 'mom', out there.

    • profile image

      Starlight444 

      5 weeks ago

      Re: article.

      Completely agree with NarcFree.

      The mother sets the scene from the start, trying to control how we view her. The generous mother who "gifted" a laptop, cares enough to put parental controls in place, and the laptop being bought as a "tool for schoolwork". Why the need for unnecessary details? Most parents would just say that they bought their child a laptop for Christmas without further explanation.

      The mother has a need for praise and adoration. She doesn't just say that her daughter loves the laptop, but goes OTT. Note the use of dramatic language. - "This is the most epic Christmas ever" (not convinced the daughter said that. Doesn't sound natural), and "to soak in her gratitude and unalloyed joy." You can guarantee she'll be using that gift to try and manipulate her daughter for the rest of her life.

      "When I had pictured our first serious conversation about how the Internet is forever, I always thought we’d be talking about content posted by her, not me." - Projecting own behaviour onto daughter.

      "I read through some of my old pieces, and none of them seemed embarrassing to me, though she might not agree." - You see this on estranged parent forums all the time. The EP refuses to accept that something is a major issue simply because they feel it isn't an issue. The adult child disagrees and the estrangement continues.

      "I wrote about the experience from the perspective of a mother trying to help her daughter through a rough patch." - Me, me, me. Look at me. It's all about me!

      "Prefer the hard work of charting the middle course to giving up altogether." - Self-sacrificing mummy martyr BS. This woman is beyond selfish.

      "Amputating parts of my experience feels as abusive to our relationship as writing about her without any consideration for her feelings and privacy." - More overdramatic BS and feelings aren't facts. The mother isn't being abused, and she's shown absolutely no consideration for her daughter's feelings and privacy at all. Not letting mommie dearest invade her daughter's privacy and post her personal info online = mommie dearest being abused by daughter.

      Self-entitlement, gaslighting, repeatedly minimizes and excuses her own behaviour, boundary stomping, treating her daughter as an object she can use to meet her needs, no empathy and completely lacking in insight. This one's a right piece of work.

    • Kim Bryan profile imageAUTHOR

      Kim Bryan 

      5 weeks ago

      @NarcFree, I was like you; in shock that WaPo would publish this and then I came to the conclusion that they knew this would be a highly debated topic and did it for the clicks to gain advertising revenue.

      First and foremost, however, I want people to see just how brazen and uncaring some mothers can be when it comes to their children's thoughts and feelings, caring none about the long-term effects this will have on their children.

      It was said in the comments but I'll say it here because it needs to be shouted from the rooftops: this author has pretty much guaranteed her daughter will not talk to her about anything, ANYTHING, such as important life struggles where it is very important for parental guidance, out of fear it will wind up on a blog or a wildly popular national newspaper.

      Bottom line, that mother is the very definition of a narcissistic or borderline mother. I hope those comments have jerked her awake to the very real consequences that could be in her future and motivates her to make the changes necessary to fix a mother/daughter relationship headed for the skids.

    • Kim Bryan profile imageAUTHOR

      Kim Bryan 

      5 weeks ago

      @Life Without Annette ... There's a reason there are so few comments posted anymore. Unfortunately, after the debacle in mid-18 (I'm hoping you remember the one referring to) made me decide to make comments visible after approval only. At that time too, I noticed a large drop in estranged adult children commenting and I'm sure that's out of fear of retaliation by these extremely angry parents.

      From time to time, when a parent who is experiencing estrangement is looking for help and their comment is well-written and sincere, I'll approve the comment.

      As for those comments from estranged children, I always allow them through provided they do not list any identifying information or aren't filled with racist, homophobic, threatening violence, or the sorts. I know sometimes the comment made seem "petty," but I try to remember we all had different experiences and we all express our hurt and frustration in different ways, thus the approval. I think we should all support one another, even if sometimes that means pointing out what is or is not important to focus on in healing.

      As for the no identifying info on, well, I can't make a call on that one. I was hoping by approving the comment, she might return and at that time a determination of "friend or foe" could be made.

      I'm always open to suggestions, so please always feel free to share. :)

    • profile image

      Life without Annette 

      6 weeks ago

      Okay, Kim, I’ll elaborate.

      Activity on this article has trickled down to a slow drip. Then, within a 1-2 day period, there’s 3 new posts, one which is a tentative greeting with no personal info, another with relatively minor complaints, and one that sounds so mean-spirited that my first thought was it was made up by an estranged parent of an adult child to try to undermine the validity of their own child’s estrangement decision.

      Maybe folks are just getting around to expressing their frustrations after the holidays. Or maybe there’s just another sour parent trying to make a manipulative stand. The suspect posts stand in contrast to the genuinely pain-soaked, wounded narratives from adult children who are trying to come to terms with lifelong pain using estrangement...not in an act of spiteful contempt, but purely as a defensive last resort.

    • profile image

      NarcFree 

      6 weeks ago

      At first, I was shocked that WaPo would even provide space for an article like this! On second thought, maybe it's a blessing in disguise? A way to expose self absorbed females who unfortunately reproduced? A way to make the general public aware that such "mothers" even exist?

      A lot of people are in denial about selfish mothers, and would invalidate children's experience even if children chose to share. This article is evidence that not all mothers are created equal, not all mothers do what's best for the child, and not all mothers do the best they can. Some choose to do what they want without regard for how it affects the child.

      I would have loved to be a fly on the wall when the decision was being made about publishing this. Did WaPo publishers think that they were doing a personal favor for the author by allowing her to publish this? Or did they knowingly allow her to shoot herself in the foot, and to expose her selfishness? I would love to know WaPo's motivation in allowing this to go to print.

    • profile image

      NarcFree 

      6 weeks ago

      Kim,

      This article has Narc Mom written all over it. Violating boundaries, violating privacy, putting herself first, AND playing martyr all at once. Repulsive.

    • Kim Bryan profile imageAUTHOR

      Kim Bryan 

      6 weeks ago

      I'd just like to leave this here...

      https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/2019/01/0...

      The 600+ comments (as of this posting) are an important read for those who.... well, I'd be interested in others' feedback so I'll keep my opinions to myself for now.

    • Kim Bryan profile imageAUTHOR

      Kim Bryan 

      6 weeks ago

      Life Without Annette...carry to expand? My curiosity is piqued. :)

    • profile image

      Life without Annette 

      6 weeks ago

      My B.S. alarm is ringing.

    • profile image

      Helen 

      6 weeks ago

      New member

    • profile image

      amymiller99 

      6 weeks ago

      also a lot of my parents bullying and comments come from me not giving them what they want? which is a control issue i think?

      By my age my parents were married and had me.

      I am an only child in a small family, ive over and over expressed that i do not ever want children, im not an affectionate or motherly person, to be completely honest, if i were to have a child, i would end up harming it though my own inability to give a single "care" about a child. Im a very career driven person, i just want to put 100% into my success and nothing else. i dont see why on earth i should have a child i wouldnt care about, ruin its life and ruin my own life, simply to make someone else happy?

      surely birthing a human life is NOT up to my parents to decide?

    • profile image

      amymiller99 

      6 weeks ago

      my reason for wanting to cut parents off is not on here.

      They are my biggest bullies, they make me feel hideous.

      Any time i see my parents, i get comments like "youre too fat" so i lose weight "youre too skinny" so i gain some, "your tattoos make you gross your skin is ugly" like this is ME. I know im pretty but any time i see them i get made to feel like the most disgusting creature alive.

      To the point that 5 times in a row of seeing them over a year they bullied me, so i started fearing seeing them as to not get bullied, to the point i thought WHY should i see them anymore then? why should i feel miserable about the thought of seeing them? so i didnt see them. ever.

    • profile image

      Weiso 

      6 weeks ago

      What about idiot parents, not up to snuff with the times kind of idiots?

      Somewhere between short term memory loss and overly chatty they brake the rules of small talk with complete strangers. Yup that's my parents, half the time I don't need to make up excuses even in front complete strangers. A conversation would start with the stranger asking about my old man, I would say something like wait till you meet his personality then let me know. Then I would be told "They are you parents just give them a chance." logic you say? Here it comes 3...2...1 they sink their own expectations, stranger looks at me cockeyed and me standing there secretly muttering yup I know I told you so.

      My mom is a completely whole other story she understands next to nothing about the world she lives in the truest sense of the word idiot rolls off. The kind of mother that never thinks before speaking, can't make decsions at all unless you literally lay down the specfics. She is always irritated and was abusive at one point in my life, sometimes can't even remember or misremembers her own children. I even remember when I was kid asking her when my birthday was, she didn't even know the day her own son was born.

      Well I'm a man myself now, no point crying over spilled milk of things that could have been. My only regret in life is not having moved out sooner in life, it would have been easier on everyone. Its like like dealing with elderly kids when it comes to my parents, its a hornets nest.

    • profile image

      Starlight444 

      2 months ago

      Hi Sisyphus,

      Yes, I experience both flashbacks and emotional flashbacks, and you seem to be experiencing the latter. When it happens it can sometimes feel like you're going crazy, but you're not! Emotional flashbacks occur as a result of long-term abuse and trauma, and you are now experiencing the fallout. The good news is that it gets better over time, and you'll find that things like flashbacks and nightmares happen less and less.

      My commonest flashback is hearing my mother calling to me from another room in my house. She's angry and ordering me to go into the kitchen, and I know she wants me to go into the kitchen so that she can hurt me. When this happens it's incredibly disturbing and so much more than a simple memory. I can clearly hear my mother's voice, feel her presence and this overwhelming sense of fear and dread. It's like being stuck in a nightmare, but the difference is that I'm awake.

      In regards to emotional flashbacks, this is part of Complex-PTSD, a form of PTSD that's often left undiagnosed or misdiagnosed (I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression). When you experience emotional flashbacks, you start to feel what you felt as a helpless child stuck in an abusive situation that you couldn't escape and had no control over. There's often a trigger for these emotional flashbacks, but not always, and these feelings can be so strong and overpowering that it really can hit you for six.

      Pete Walker has provided information on how to manage flashbacks (links to flashback management are on the left). I've found it really useful: http://www.pete-walker.com/index.htm

      I'm not normally big on YouTube videos about abuse, but I do follow 'Narcissism Survivor'. Tom or 'Narcissism Survivor' is a gentleman in the US who survived horrendous abuse, including sexual abuse. His videos are calming and informative, and he sometimes talks about flashbacks and C-PTSD: https://www.youtube.com/user/NarcissimSurvivor/vid...

    • profile image

      sisyphus123 

      2 months ago

      Hey Estrangement Fam,

      Do any of you guys get flashbacks? If so, would you share what they feel like?

      I've been doing really well lately, like really well- and then...

      I had an experience a couple days ago where a colleague's behavior was similar to my father's -particularly from the "blow out" moment. At first I just felt frustrated with the obnoxious behavior, but the anxiety and other feelings didn't dissipate, but got stronger until it was unmanageable. I felt like I was being strangled. Like the floor fell out under me and the walls caved in and all the shame and pain flooded in. I got under the covers and wept and passed out. Couldn't do my usual activities.

      Spent a day just trying to feel normal.

      Still feel sick- nauseous- and emotionally empty. Like nothing is real other than the little girl back in that house who's Always afraid.

      Any ideas? Suggestions?

      Thanks- and good luck.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 

      2 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Darla....I'm not sure I can understand what on earth is stopping you from contacting your son. Do you know where he lives? Have any contact info for reaching him?

      My sincerest advice is to go for it Mom.....now, today, this minute. This is your child, your flesh & blood. Don't be anxious. Act with the love of a mother and just do it. Peace, Paula

    • profile image

      Darla1 

      2 months ago

      I have not talked to my son since 2012 and he is 23 now. I am very heartbroken. I guess he favored his father because he had more to offer him when he was younger. After he moved in with him I really didn't see him too much. We argued in the past and now he doesn't want to talk to me anymore. I would be totally willing to apologize but I don't know if I'll ever see him again. I know he has his own life, but just a phone call would be nice. I was thinking about writing him a letter as a last resort. I just wish that I could have some kind of communication with him. Any sugestions?

    • profile image

      synthonaplinth 

      2 months ago

      Wow, so much truth in a lot of these comments. My relationship with my father has been strained for about the past thirty years. There was only one way to do things: HIS. My mother was an enabler who would call and make excuses for his behavior which further continued the cycle of abuse. She passed away a couple of years ago and there has been no one to make excuses for his behavior, now. I want a relationship with my father more than anything, but the problem is that it could never be healthy because he is not self-aware. Every time he says he wants to make amends he never follows through. My attempts to schedule things to do with him over the past thirty years have been agreed to at first, but have later been explained away by saying 'I've been busy', or 'I forgot'. You can only have your hand slapped away so many times before you get tired of the pain. Sorry if this post is a bit rambling.

    • profile image

      Life without Annette 

      2 months ago

      Sarah, I’d suggest you look unflinchingly within. People don’t run from relationships that bring them joy. Also, your comments about your son and his wife smack more of jealousy than estrangement. Don’t get mired in seeking explanations from your children about where your relationship went off the rails. I suggest dedicating yourself to being very deliberately cheerful, gracious, uncritical—and offering opinions only when solicited—to see if that improves relations over the next year or so. In the meantime, seek new friendships and activities to occupy your time, and don’t try to get all your social/emotional needs met by your children.

    • profile image

      Sarah 

      2 months ago

      Okay. But my children experienced nothing but support, love and encouragement from me. Everything was great until they met their spouses. The male spouse in the example of my daughter was 10 years older, he resented the closeness my daughter and I had and set about to ridicule her and demean me in her eyes. She was 23 when they met and he was 33.

      My son married into an incredibly close family and his wife insisted on living within 5 minutes of her parents. They interact constantly, vacation 3 or 4 times a year together and his wife is TOTALLY dependent on her mother & father.

      How did I eff up so much that I am excluded from my children's lives based on the partners they chose? I am so confused by this. And very, very sad.

      Seems I am excluded on both ends.

    • profile image

      NarcFree 

      2 months ago

      perrya,

      Why don't you stay out of your son's marriage. He chose that woman for himself, not for you, so you have no business clashing with her.

      When you make comments, they don't just have to look good in your eyes, they have to be OK with your audience, you have to consider how the listeners will feel after hearing your comments. If you think that your eyes are the only eyes that matter, there's your answer why you haven't spoken in years. If you accept that you need to be considerate, then you will "really know why" the apology was necessary. And then you'll be able to make an apology that sounds sincere. When you call your son's reaction ridiculous, you're saying that your opinion trumps his opinion, and he has to see things your way. Well the truth is, he doesn't. Your power over him may have been strong when he was a child, but now he doesn't have to accept this sort of putdowns from you.

      Abusive parents typically describe their conflicts with children in a very generic manner, providing only high level information, generalizing "it was not that bad", "we clashed" , "it was just one comment". Children of abusive parents, on the other hand, provide vivid details what exactly was said and done, and recall conversations word for word. Hmm I wonder who's covering up for themselves.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 

      2 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      WOW!! Life w/o Annette.....You quite clearly saw within Perry's pathetic comment, his literal complacency & failure to man-up. Talk about being a one-sided, self-indulgent & "clueless" parent! His own words prove how completely inconsiderate he's been!

      He admits that a comment he made which "offended his son" "WAS NOT THAT BAD IN MY EYES!!!" He needn't say much more to confirm that IN HIS MIND, everything is all about HIM.

      He then has the nerve to admit he watched the issue fester & grow contentious over the years, resulting in 10 years of an estrangement from his flesh & blood.

      Kudos to his son for being a dedicated husband and standing up for his wife, against an inconsiderate, unconcerned narcissist father. Perry doesn't explain the offensive comment because he knows damned-well we would see it as fully unacceptable. We can only imagine how weak & insincere his apology must have been for his son and DIL to have rejected it.

      Perhaps Perry has more than one son and couldn't care less about losing one to the benefit of his wretched ego. Too bad, so sad for Perry.

      You got it right, Annette!

    • profile image

      Life without Annette 

      2 months ago

      Oh, perrya, thanks for boiling down parental hostility against adult children with such black-and-white clarity. You clashed, “in cordial ways,” and then you made a comment which “was taken the totally wrong way and offended my son, which simply festured [sic] so much it became a contentious issue over years. [W]e have not spoke[n] in over 10 years now!“

      Perry, you demonstrate a total lack of self awareness. You have thrown away ten years with your son, your daughter-in-law, and any grandchildren they have produced. Your behavior is pathetic.

      As a middle-aged woman whose has been estranged from my narcissistic, abusive, emotional vampire of a mother for nearly 20 years, I have made my peace with the reality that she is now an octogenarian in declining health, and I will leave her to fend for herself in her remaining years. If you don’t clue into what a miserable turd of a parent you have been, you too will find yourself old, alone, without a loved one to act on your behalf as you navigate geriatric care, nursing homes, and the eventuality of dying...not to mention the joy and love you will have robbed yourself of when you realize that you poisoned the well of love that you may have had with your progeny.

      Now go take pleasure in your certainty about how ridiculous your son and daughter-in-law are. You’re right. They’re wrong. Comfort yourself with your moral certainty as you slide into your cold, lonely, twilight years...unloved, unrevered, unmissed.

      Buh-bye.

    • perrya profile image

      perrya 

      2 months ago

      well in my case, my younger son got married to a woman who I clashed with in cordial ways, but a comment of mine, which was not bad in my eyes, was taken the totally wrong way and offended my son, which simply festured so much it became a contentious issue over years. we have not spoke in over 10 years now! Totally ridiculous IMO and even after I apologized (not really knowing why) nothing has changed.

    • profile image

      Starlight444 

      2 months ago

      Many of you will be able to identify with this article - "We Can't Keep Treating Anxiety From Complex Trauma the Same Way We Treat Generalized Anxiety."

      "A traumatized person must be living in a situation which is 100 percent safe before they can even begin to process the tsunami of anger, grief and despair that has been locked inside of them, causing their hypervigilance and other anxious symptoms. That usually means no one who abused them or enabled abuse in the past can be allowed to take up space in their life. It also means eliminating any other people who mirror the same abusive or enabling patterns."

      https://themighty.com/2018/06/anxiety-from-complex...

    • profile image

      NarcFree 

      2 months ago

      Mila,

      Your son is not blind. He sees the situation differently than you, that's not the same as blind. If there is going to be any hope of reconciliation, there will have to be genuine attempts to understand the other side and a perspective you may not like or approve of. You don't have to agree with his version of events, but you have to try and understand where his views and feelings came from. Declaring him blind is not going to encourage contact or improve relationships. Genuine attempt to understand might help.

      Why did you support him financially? Was there an expectation of future compliance with your wishes, in exchange for money? If so, was he aware of this expectation? Or did you sign him up for a loan with "Terms and conditions" that he wouldn't have agreed to, if you had made him aware of them? Sometimes people provide for their adult children with unspoken expectations, and I think it's unfair. Even a loan shark makes it very clear exactly what you will owe, BEFORE you take the money. Letting your son know what you expect in exchange for financial support, after he had already spent the money, is not cool. It's manipulative and underhanded. I don't know if that's what you did, but wanted to mention this possibility.

      Why do you say your financial support meant nothing to him? Maybe it did. Maybe it meant a lot. You jump to extreme conclusions because he's not behaving the way you want. Maybe he resents the fact that he's expected to do things that he was not aware he was signing up for, when he took your money.

      You sound like a well meaning person who is just lost as to how to proceed, unaware what's healthy. I can relate to that, because I can recall numerous occasions when I did or said things that were embarrassing, unreasonable, or plain rude, and looking back I'm regretful of that behavior. However, I was unaware what a "normal" person would do, I was simply mimicking the behaviors I've learned growing up in a toxic family. I had no idea how to handle conflict, or discuss boundaries. It took years and years to learn the difference between my impulse reactions versus what a "healthier" person would say or do in similar circumstances. I think there's hope :) You have to learn alternatives to the unhealthy way of relating. It takes time, but it can be done. Having the will to do it, is a major hurdle, and you're well on your way.

      Just one final comment, the most troubling part of your comment, to me, is that BOTH parents are no contact. I hope you guys did not gang up on him. How did he have a falling out with both of you at once? If he's not getting along with one of the parents, he should still be able to have a relationship with the other parent. If someone is taking sides to try to force a resolution, that is unhealthy in my opinion, and a sign of a dysfunctional family.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 

      2 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Kim & all....It's amazing this article is still active and comments continue to stream in. It appears the most important lesson this brings is that the existence of this particular issue (family estrangement) is most definitely a rampant one.

      Many of the disclosures I have read within this thread, have literally both broken my heart and blown my mind. I find some of the saddest situations so difficult to read. For me this has been one of those experiences that make me wish in the fantasy of having a magic wand. I so sincerely wish there was some magical one-size-fits-all solution to eradicate this family destruction.

      However, what I have also been able to glean in part, is that the vast majority of individuals who have gone through this and continue to grapple with this monster, seem to have come to terms with the worst of it. At least, I would hope so.

      The second paragraph of "Andy's" comment (below) is profound and powerful. I hope it has had a beneficial affect on many of you, as you stop and truly focus on his words.

      With a brand new year around the corner, I want to wish everyone comfort, peace of mind and better tomorrows. Hold firm to your convictions and know that all things become ultimately what they must......Have a wonderful holiday season, Paula

    • profile image

      Elly The Autistic 

      2 months ago

      To Mila Lewis:

      You said, "I do not know what to do because my son is blind to what is happening. He does not want to talk to neither me or my husband." This is a troubling statement. You call his behavior 'blind' and when I hear that it makes me feel you are invalidating his feelings. Is he 'blind', or in his mind does he have a reason for not wanting to talk to you?

      "I am so sad because he is spending his youth years hating me and my husband. We supported him financially all those 3.5 years when he did not have a job but apparently this does not mean anything for him." This is seriously troubling for me. You are assuming you know what your son is thinking! And then you add the we gave Him *insert* and are attempting a 'guilt trip' by assuming it didn't mean anything to him and that he hates you. How do you KNOW what your son is feeling and thinking?

      My 'mom' was a master always telling me what I was thinking and feeling and she stunk at it. It's one of the bigger reasons I went No Contact.

      You may very well be being scaegoated in your family but it sounds to me you are attempting to do the same to your son.

    • profile image

      Mila Lewis 

      2 months ago

      Hi,

      I think my sister is narcissist since she was the golden child in my original family. I assume she is a narcissist from her behavior, like she wants everybody to listen to her and do whatever she says, she also make her kids believes that she is always right. That is what her daughter told me years ago that her mother is always right and she does everything her mother tells her. Now her daughter has her own family and 2 kids. My son fall in the trap of his ant because she needs somebody to take care of my old father. It is very complicated. I do not know what to do because my son is blind to what is happening. He does not want to talk to neither me or my husband. The good things is now he is separated from my sister because he went to work in a different country than my sister. However my son is going to spend Christmas with his grand mother and most likely will see my sister. I am so sad because he is spending his youth years hating me and my husband. We supported him financially all those 3.5 years when he did not have a job but apparently this does not mean anything for him. Yes, I am scapegoating even further from my sister. In the past I was scapegoated by my father and now is her. I do finally realized that when I find out about narcissism and red everything about that on google. I do not know what to do further. I am very strong now.

      Will keep reading articles of abusive relationship and keep trying to figure out how to solve my problems.

      Thank you for your support. It means so much to me.

    • profile image

      sisyphus123 

      3 months ago

      Hi Mila,

      Like Elly, it's hard to understand what's going on in your family, all I can tell you is what I wish my family would do for me:

      listen to what they've done to hurt me, acknowledge it, and do the work to be better.

      if your son isn't talking to you, there's a reason. Ask, and be prepared to difficult listening, and to make changes.

    • profile image

      Elly The Autistic 

      3 months ago

      To Mila Lewis:

      It sounds like there is a lot going on in your family. Without much more detailed information I would only be making guesses.

      It could be you are being further scapegoated...

      It could also be something else.

      All I can suggest is to look inward and see if there was a time your son tried to communicate with you either verbally or in a message, e-mail etc. and tried to express any feelings/issues he was having with you. If there is nothing like that (and you have to be really HONEST with yourself) then it could be text-book Narc alienation in which case? Unless He 'sees the light' there is nothing You can say or do that is likely to change the situation.

    • profile image

      Mila Lewis 

      3 months ago

      Hi everybody,

      I am estranged from my son for 5 years. He does not want to talk or see me. It is sad. I grew up in narcissist family and I was a scapegoat. My father recently pass away. And 10 years ago my sister who was the golden child stole from my family( me and my husband) and I disconnected with her. About that time my relationship with my son deteriorated. My parents were in my sister side and they do not wanted to talk about that she stole from me but wanted me to reconcile with her. My father was narcissist and twisted things the way he wanted. I did not realized that he was narcissist until 3 weeks ago. But my whole life I knew he was not correct when it comes to me for certain things but he did so much for people outside of the family and some people liked him. When I was small I was physically and emotionally abused and I still remember that very vividly. There is so much going on. Like my son talk to my sister and they have good relationship. I do not know what to do to have him talking to me. He is very quiet and introvert and does not have many friends. I apologized to him many times but nothings helps. If you have any idea what to do please write to me. I love him very dearly.

      thank you!

    • profile image

      sisyphus123 

      3 months ago

      Right on, Andy.

    • profile image

      Andy 

      3 months ago

      It's eye-opening to watch these estranged parents rage about having to take any blame. I spent years trying to make my parents happy, trying to change, trying to make the relationship work. And yet I am certain they 100% blame me for the estrangement. I have never been interested in who was to 'blame'. I just eventually realized that I couldn't fix it.

      If walking away from my family, my 'support structure', brings me peace and relief... that support structure was broken in the first place. Your family should not exist to cause you pain and drag you down, especially if they are all healthy and capable adults.

    • profile image

      Elly The Autistic 

      3 months ago

      To Sisyphus:

      You said, "I'm struggling with cutting the last ties. On the one hand, I want to make a difintive statement, that this is what they did, so this is why they will not be in my life. On the other hand, I don't believe that they have any ability to hear me or to take responsibility. It doesn't matter what I say, it's just for my own closure. In which case, it feels spiteful to make this statement that will hurt them but change nothing.

      I want to stop thinking about it and move on, but I feel like I need them to understand, I need to be heard. But to what end?"

      I have been doing a lot of thinking and reflecting on that. I went from very low contact to No Contact very abruptly after I married. I used the excuse of being 'busy' for a while and finally simply blocked or changed their access points to me. Messages did get through with the usual 'why' being asked and my husband and I decided that a simple reply was all that was required.

      He had tried the talk and explain approach when He went No Contact with his family. It didn't work. There is no explaining. The reason is, if your parents and other 'family' have never been validating of you, any explanation is going to be viewed from their warped perspective of You. So you could give 1 or 100 'reasons' and to them it will be 'meaningless gibberish' or viewed as 'abuse'.

      I simply sent an e-mail that said, "I could give you 100 or 1000 reasons I want no further contact with you. The fact that you can't think of even ONE is on my list."

      I have learned that estranged parents/abusers will NOT 'hear' Us. It is their mentality and thought process. Period. They are 'right and justified and We are 'wrong' -- ALWAYS.

      I hope this helps.

    • profile image

      sisyphus123 

      3 months ago

      Hey Kim and ElizabethCa and everybody,

      Holidays are really hard. People always ask if you're going home, and then want to know why not, and keep pushing... and you don't want to talk about it, so you tell a little lie, and that hurts too. There's so little awareness about estrangement, so people can be accidentally really insensitive.

      I'm doing OK, I got through a big "estrangement moment" this month- there was a wedding in my family, and I didn't go, to protect myself from my father and to protect the rest of my family from the conflict. It was hard that no one made it a priority to include me. It was sad, but in the end wasn't so hard.

      I'm hopefully getting some closure. Getting a few important things sent from "home" and then their power over me will be almost completely gone.

      I'm struggling with cutting the last ties. On the one hand, I want to make a difintive statement, that this is what they did, so this is why they will not be in my life. On the other hand, I don't believe that they have any ability to hear me or to take responsibility. It doesn't matter what I say, it's just for my own closure. In which case, it feels spiteful to make this statement that will hurt them but change nothing.

      I want to stop thinking about it and move on, but I feel like I need them to understand, I need to be heard. But to what end?

      Do you have experience/advice?

      Thanks!

    • profile image

      ElizabethCa 

      3 months ago

      May be down but I'm still reading and watching. The holidays are always hard because everyone tends to talk about family this and that.

    • Kim Bryan profile imageAUTHOR

      Kim Bryan 

      3 months ago

      Hi Sisyphus, it's still up and available. Comments are fewer and far between because the "disruption" we had a few months ago.

      That said, how've you been? I hope all is well for you these days. :)

    • profile image

      sisyphus123 

      3 months ago

      Hi Kim- Is this comment thread down? I'd be sad to lose this place.

    • profile image

      NarcFree 

      5 months ago

      Life without Annette,

      I didn't count any bones. I disagreed with every single point you made but one.

      I read a story, and I see a selfish and irresponsible mother, now grandmother, who acts entitled to a relationship with her kids/grandkids. You read the same story, and you see excuses for mother"s behavior, and you have lots of blame/corrections for the now adult daughter.

      I don't see what you see, call it bones or whatever you wish.

      In all your numbered responses, you emphasize how the Daughter could have acted more responsibly, more maturely, and more wisely. You fail to see how the Mother could have been more responsible, more wise, and more mature.

      Would you agree that wisdom is a function of life experiences/lessons that comes with age?

      Why do you expect the daughter to be more mature than the mother?

      You are placing responsibility on someone who has 20 years less of life experience, not to mention abandonment issues. Yeah, she called her mom during a marital argument, and people with healthy boundaries don't do that. A mother, as the wiser one, could have pointed that out, instead of saying "oh, come over and stay the night at my house". A daughter who did not receive proper parental guidance during her formative years, will look to her mother for guidance later in life, given the mother is available. It is not uncommon. It takes time to understand that you have to "raise yourself" if your parents were absent, physically or emotionally. You expect someone to magically wake up one day and be fully mature because they are now biologically 18. Don't forget that most people mature by 18 because they have 18 years of more or less decent parenting. People who don't receive parenting, don't mature by the same biological age.

      Funny how you see accepting a gift with strings attached as an attempt to control. But you don't see that offering a gift with strings attached is controlling. Yes, I agree, don't accept the gift if you don't like the terms. But how old were each of them at the time that "transaction" happened? And which one of them, you think, had a clearer understanding of what exactly was going on? A 20 year old that didn't have a mother (and guidance) growing up, or a 40 year old who walked out on her child and is now back and wants the wedding "mother's way"?

      I agree, grandparents don't owe babysitting services. But PARENTS do owe parenting services. This particular mother shirked her parenting responsibility. I encourage you to go back to your own post from 6 weeks ago, addressed to Leigh. See how your example about a beating alcoholic husband who suddenly "transforms", applies in this case as well? Do you not see that a mother walking out on her own daughter causes deep wound and a lot of pain for the daughter? Daughter is not going to "get over it" in one day. And there's effort required from the mother. If the mother doesn't wish to make up for abandonment, well she is not entitled to visitations with her grandkids, or with her daughter. Maybe it's traumatic for the daughter to see her shirker of a mother every time. Maybe the daughter has some other reasons for estrangement. In any case, it is not an "overreaction".

      You make the argument that a flawed mother is entitled to now be a flawed grandmother, and the daughter should know better than to expect a transformation. I say, kick her to the curb -- if transformation is not on the horizon. Why keep people in your life who cause you nothing but pain, and act entitled to a relationship with you? THAT'S indentured servitude.

      Yes, I agree, "Good parenting means preparing children for self-sufficiency and independence". And this particular mother failed, because she Walked Out on her child. Child has pain and issues to deal with as a result. This mother doesn't get to be absent or nearly absent for 18 years, and at 18 suddenly show up, and say "here I am, where's my grown up daughter, let's have an adult equal relationship now". Neglected and abused children are delayed in their emotional and social development. And if mom wants an equal adult relationship, mom needs to grow up herself, and own her mess.

      What you are suggesting with your indentured servitude comment, is equivalent of a cheating spouse who got caught, said "Sorry", and now expects everything to be back to normal overnight, because the word Sorry has been uttered. No. If you do deep damage, it takes more than words to fix the damage. And no, mother doesn't have to do endless favors and forever, but she does have to try really hard, by going above and beyond what average grandparents would do. I think it's reasonable. It doesn't have to be babysitting. It could be other things that grandparents "don't have to do", but she wants to do.

      I think if she felt genuine remorse for abandoning her daughter in childhood, she would WANT to do those things, to right a wrong. And if she doesn't want to... nobody can make her. But, nobody owes her a relationship, so she can't cry crocodile tears if her daughter chooses estrangement now.

      Legally, NO adult owes another adult a relationship. A PARENT owes a child for 18 years, legally. Stop shaming children of deadbeats into "salvaging" relationships that didn't form in the first place.

    • profile image

      Life without Annette 

      5 months ago

      NarcFree, you had many bones to pick. I respond below:

      1. “@Hillcity took money from mom for wedding? No. Mom used money to exert control, and throw a wedding for the mother, instead of it being for the newlyweds. That's what controlling people do with gifts - there are strings attached.”

      You’re playing semantics. If someone is offering money with strings attached, and you don’t like the strings, don’t take the money. You can’t control other people. You can and should turn down offers that come with unacceptable terms.

      2. “A mom inviting her daughter to ‘come stay with mom’ after said daughter had a fight with a spouse... Bad call.”

      Calling mom when having a fight with one’s husband is rarely a good idea. It makes the mother privy to matters that should remain between husband and wife, and it becomes a trap where the mother may be blamed for meddling just as likely as blamed for not being sympathetic enough.

      3. “Calling a deaf person deaf is not disparagement...”

      Describing someone with a series of three consecutive adjectives, “...my step dad (who is an almost deaf, racist, drunk)...”, would indicate that “almost deaf” is part of the criticism which is immediately followed by “racist” and “drunk.” If my interpretation of “almost deaf” as a criticism is mistaken, then great, it’s a non-issue.

      4. [hillcity’s mom] “could show that she had matured and is able to handle twins for 3 days.”

      Grandparents do not owe babysitting service for their grandchildren. It’s lovely if they want to, but many older people get very stressed trying to keep up with little ones. Besides, what miracle would have transformed hillcity’s mom from a very flawed mother into a responsible and competent caregiver as a grandmother?

      5. “...in this particular case, mom has some catching up to do, and making up. Seeing how she shirked her responsibilities when the child was still a child.”

      Good parenting means preparing children for self-sufficiency and independence. Parents are not responsible for fixing their adult children’s problems. It’s nice if parents can help, but what would hillcity do if her mom was dead? We all need to stand on our own eventually.

      Hillcity will or won’t opt for estrangement, regardless of what any outsiders say. But hillcity chose to comment here, so it’s a safe bet that she is seeking affirmation, support, or insight. Estrangement is a painful journey; I previously compared it to severing a gangrenous limb...it’s a last resort. Hillcity describes a relationship with a mother who has some real issues, but there are steps hillcity can take that would minimize her mother’s controlling behavior, while still salvaging the relationship. If estrangement is the inevitable destination, then looking for money, babysitting services, or even just mom’s sympathetic ear...all come to a grinding halt anyway. You seem to think that the mom owes various forms of support to make up for the past, to pay off the debt of bad parenting for the rest of her life. That’s not parenthood, that’s not even love...it’s indentured servitude.

    • profile image

      NarcFree 

      5 months ago

      Life without Annette,

      @Hillcity took money from mom for wedding? No. Mom used money to exert control, and throw a wedding for the mother, instead of it being for the newlyweds. That's what controlling people do with gifts - there are strings attached.

      A mom inviting her daughter to "come stay with mom" after said daughter had a fight with a spouse... Bad call. Bad suggestion. Inviting and exacerbating problems into daughter's marriage.

      Calling a deaf person deaf is not disparagement, it is a relevant fact in this case, because he may or may not have heard correctly what was said by a child.

      A grandma who just wants to visit her grandkids and then go home, considering she wasn't even a primary caregiver for her own child, well... she did not bond with her own daughter, and is just as disinterested now in bonding with her grandkids. A mother who did not want to be her child's primary caregiver, could show that she had matured and is able to handle twins for 3 days. And could show remorse for not being a good mother, by becoming an excellent grandma. This was her chance to redeem herself.

      You think @hillcity seems to want a lot from her mom? Well welcome to parenting. Children need a lot, I hope it's not breaking news. While I understand that, by adulthood, most people don't "want" that much from their moms, in this particular case, mom has some catching up to do, and making up. Seeing how she shirked her responsibilities when the child was still a child.

      The only point I agree on, is leaving kids for an unsupervised visit with a drunk racist in the house.

    • profile image

      Life without Annette 

      5 months ago

      @hillcity

      You took money from your mom for your wedding. She took you in to live with her when you were in financial distress. You shared your marital problems with her, and blame her when she didn’t give you the advice you wanted to hear. And you fault her for not being able to manage an extended visit with your 4-year-olds. Your mom wasn’t even the primary caregiver to YOU, but you thought she could handle twin preschoolers?

      I can’t judge your personal pain, but the examples you’ve given of your mother’s behavior make estrangement seem like an overreaction.

      You have a lot of control you can assert before estrangement. Don’t take money (or other significant material support) from your mom ever again. Don’t share your marital problems with her; you already know you need to work those problems out with your husband, so leave her out of it. Don’t put her in a position of having to be a caregiver to your children; she may be one of those grandmas who likes to visit her grandkids, and then go home.

      Also, when you needlessly disparage your stepdad for being nearly deaf, you look petty and unreasonably critical, but what really calls your own judgment into question is when you are willing to leave your kids for a prolonged, unsupervised visit with your mom and her alcoholic, racist husband.

      You seem to want a lot from your mom, and invite her help, then get critical when she doesn’t respond the way you want. Am I missing something?

    • profile image

      NarcFree 

      5 months ago

      hillcityhoney,

      This is how you know who the abuser is, and who the abused are. The abuser does not wish to "relive the past" and demands that the other party "stop living in the past".

      The victims have wounds that need healing, and the abusers won't provide any kind of validation or acknowledgement, because they are not prepared to say Sorry, OR change. They just prefer that all be forgotten.

    • profile image

      hillcityhoney 

      5 months ago

      I started reading this article to confirm that I’m not going crazy. The five reason listed above seem to fit almost everything that’s happened in the last three to six years for me to realize that I cannot continue to have this relationship with my mother.

      A little history: my parents had me at 18, married for 8 years. I don’t remember any of it. Mom had an affair with now step dad, got pregnant by now step dad and she moved away to live with my grandparents, then step dad (4 hours from me). I cannot remember any of this.

      We did the usual divorced parents dance . Swapping us every other weekend. Living with my mom only in the summer and she got every holiday. I lived with my grandmother otherwise.

      This all seemed normal. I thought it was wonderful that my mom would make a ball game of mine once a week during basketball season. She made it to special events and was always available by phone.

      In high school she started to display some controlling tendencies. Demanding that I break up with boyfriends she didn’t like and threatening to drive up there with me to her house if I didn’t comply. I can totally understand this behavior if they weren’t quality guys.

      The first instance of her throwing a fit when I went against her wishes was in my choice of college and changes from my original choice to a new school further from her and starting a program that she didn’t approve of.

      We remained close through my college years and I met my husband when I was 21. She loved him initially. She is very saddened by culture and through the course of planning a wedding, we began to butt heads on things I thought were stupid traditions vs. the things that my husband and I valued for our wedding. I called off the wedding two months before the date due to fears of repeating my parents mistakes, but ultimately came back around to marrying. It was a little short notice, but I was willing to be flexible on some things to make the wedding happen. But because of the southern tradition, she was unwilling to compromise and told us when and where to have the ceremony or she would not be paying for it. In hindsight I know I should’ve chosen to pay for what we could and have a very simple ceremony because that would’ve been more reflective of me and my husband anyway, but I caved. Silly things like wearing chacos during the ceremony because we are outdoorsy and love them, but she said it was “tacky”.

      Our first few years of marriage we spent every major holiday with my mom, leaving my in laws and my dad with left overs. When my husband and I would get in fights she would offer to have me come stay with her instead of listening and encouraging us as newlyweds to work it out.

      Then I got pregnant. And of course I told her first. Over that nine months a lot of stuff happened. My husband was let go from his job at church decided to become a firefighter. So he went to fire Academy for six weeks while I finished my physical therapy degree. None of this was planned though, and the financial strain ultimately made us file bankruptcy. I did my last clinical rotation while living at her house, and my husband was willing to look for a job in that area (my moms) when I was offered a job at the clinic. My heart was set on living where we currently live however and my mom became very angry the thought of us being closer to my husband’s family than her, mostly because of our kids getting to see my husbands family more. But ultimately we would be living an hour from where I grew up and she was the one that chose to move away from that area first place. As a soon to be mom I realized how much I would want her here and how she would be inaccessible because of choices she made when I was eight. There were definitely comments about how she would be the first person to get to see the boys and get to be in the delivery room. And it just didn’t feel right I still made everyone else wait until she got there to see the boys.

      She invited herself to our house for their first Christmas.

      When I told her that next year we will be staying home by ourselves for Christmas her response was, “ Christmas is my holiday.”

      But the nail in the coffin this relationship happened 1.5 years ago. I let the boys go stay the weekend at her lake house, they were supposed to stay for three nights, but I got a call after 1 night saying “ The boys are going to be ready to come home we had some discipline issues.” My kids were 4 at the time

      And one had told my step dad (who is an almost deaf, racist, drunk) that they didn’t have to listen to him and that I had told them that.

      I do two things when I send my kids with family member or friend. I ask them who is in charge... and can they be disciplined by them.

      Respect was demanded by my stepdad and mom all the time growing up and I obliged even though it was undeserved at times. I Was in church four times a week and devoting myself to basketball at all other times. Never got in trouble. My only curfew was to “be home at a reasonable hour“. I was by every definition a good kid. There is no way I would ever teach my child to be disrespectful to another person in that way.

      And 4 year olds lie. You Don’t have to teach them to, they just do.

      But my mom believed him or believe my stepdad when that happened.

      It broke me. She didn’t try to call to see what was said, or even to tell me when it happened, instead she just called the next day and sent them away.

      Our relationship has been turmoil every since. She even told me that we’ve always treated her like the third rate grandparent.

      It tried counseling with her, she didn’t want to “relive the past” and told me that I need to stop living in the past. She went to counseling with me once and said her rehearsed script she has said for years. She claimed she never left me. And when she didn’t like what I had to talk about she shut down and stopped talking to me for months at a time until she would randomly message me about a antique show we should go to.

      This whole thing has made me question my sanity. Ive tried to explain to her and reconcile to her in every way I know how, besides just giving her the shallow relationship that she wants without ever addressing issues from the past. I have two brothers and neither of them seem to have this issue with her, so it makes me feel like I’m the one that did something wrong.

    • profile image

      Starlight444 

      5 months ago

      This is taken from a PDF (Respect Phoneline) detailing some, but not all, of what an abusive male partner is expected to do to prove that he's changing. Compare this to what society often expects an abusive parent.

      - He acknowledges and accepts responsibility for what he's done, fully acknowledges that he used abuse to control you and that it was wrong.

      - He doesn't blame you, other people, his stress, his job, or any other outside circumstances for his behaviour.

      - He no longer denies his behaviour, makes light of it, or makes excuses for it.

      - He admits lies, he admits what he's done and is no longer making up stories to make himself look better.

      - He understands that recovery from abusiveness takes a long time and he'll have to work at it for a long, long time.

      - He understand the effects of his behaviour.

      - He understands what his behaviour has cost you.

      - He is sorry for what he's done, and is working hard to overcome the damage he's done and is actively making up for it by giving you back what is rightfully yours - money, rights, freedoms, choices, etc.

      - He understands that it will take his victims a long time to recover from what he's done to them.

      - He respects you. He is proving to you that he understands that you're a human being with rights and is no longer trying to take them away from you - no more double standards.

      - He understands that you're an equal human being, and he's not superior to you.

      - He respects your opinions, even the ones he disagrees with.

      - He accepts your right to be angry with him for what he's done.

      - He respects your right to independence and your right to freedom.

      - He changes his behaviour. He does not pressure you, intimidate or threaten you. You can speak and act freely without him retaliating. If he tries to control you, you can point it out to him and he'll stop.

      - He's stopped drinking.

      - He takes responsibility for what he does and how it affects you and the children He no longer treats you like a servant.

      HOW TO TELL HE'S NOT CHANGING.

      - He continues to be violent in any way. Threats that he will take the children away or get custody of them himself, or threats to kill himself.

      - He badmouths you to the children / others.

      - He says "I can't change unless you do". This means that he's trying to get you to agree to give up your rights and freedoms in exchange for him not abusing you.

      - He tries to get sympathy from you, family members, and friends.

      - He is still lying to you, the children, your family or other people about what he's done. He won't acknowledge that it was wrong.

      - He doesn't seem sorry that he did it, he only seems sorry that he has suffered some consequences for it.

      - He refuses to let the subject of his abuse come up or gets angry when it does.

      - He still tries to deny it, minimize it, excuse it, or justify it.

      - He plays victim. He says "How could you do this to me.?". He still whines and blames you for all the problems.

      - He tries to buy you back with romantic gifts, dinners, flowers.

      HOW TO TELL IF YOUR ABUSIVE PARTNER IS CHANGING.

      - He does get help and then tries to convince you that he's cured and you need to take him back now. He might suddenly claim to have found God.

      - He cries and begs, particularly in a public situation so that you are embarrassed and appear to be "cold hearted''.

      - He does things to try to sabotage your efforts to make it on your own.

      - He harasses or stalks you. If you ask him for space or time, he refuses to allow you to have any and continues to make contact in any way he can. Harassment by phone calls, threats, legal frustrations, showing up at work, hanging around family.

      - He still demands constant attention, won't allow you to take care of your own needs.

      - He still picks at you and criticizes you.

      - He still refuses to acknowledge that you have rights.

      - He doesn't recognize the damage he's done. He gets angry with you over the consequences you've suffered over his abuse.

      - He's mad or seems confused as to why you fear him, don't trust him, are hurt, and angry.

      - He tries to get out of the consequences by trying to convince you that something's wrong with you.

      - He's mad that you left, instead of recognizing your right to have done so. He still acts like you owe him.

      - He's impatient or critical with you for not forgiving him immediately, for not being satisfied with the changes he may have already made, especially if he hasn't made the changes you requested, or hasn't changed but claims he has. He's only concerned with how hard the situation is for him, and no one else.

      - He feels sorry for himself. He doesn't show appropriate concern for how you and the children feel about what he's done.

      - Abusive men often say I'm sorry then get mad if you don't immediately forget what they did, he thinks his sorry resolves the matter and it should be dropped and you should just move forward.

    • profile image

      NarcFree 

      5 months ago

      Elly,

      I think people who talk about guilt, are referring to themselves. They feel guilt, because their abusive parents' "sermons" are still deeply ingrained in adult child's world view. Parental brainwashing worked so well, that even after recognizing abuse, adult children still feel "not allowed" to stand up for themselves, still feel they have no right to "disobey" a parent, still feel they owe total submission.

      When, and if, these grown children accept an "alternative" viewpoint, that there is no such thing as sperm- or vagina-based slavery in a civilized society, they'll be rid of guilt.

      Grown ups from normal families maintain life long relationships with their parents because of a bond that was developed throughout childhood. And because they've built a relationship of mutual respect. Abusive parents don't bother to provide a positive bonding experience, instead they dominate and violate. Then, when it's time to reap what they sow (i.e estrangement) , all hell breaks loose, because parents are unprepared for such a U-turn in a child's attitude, and they will point fingers at, and blame, anybody but themselves. And they will make up future fake scenarios, like "your children will do this to you". It's like, why are you threatening me with something you have no control over? Even if my children end up doing that to me, it sure as hell won't be because You said so. When these parents lose control over your life, they'll try to fake control. Will never ever give up lol.

    • profile image

      NarcFree 

      5 months ago

      Sisyphus,

      Your "mommy" sounds like a deeply disturbed individual with serious control issues. It's terrible and disgusting - what she did, but not surprising, because well, what kind of person marries and stays with a white supremacist? Only a chick with her own set of issues. Some of us get really "lucky" with the parent lottery, don't we. Shun them. You will not get any shun shaming from me! LoL.

    • profile image

      sisyphus123 

      5 months ago

      ElizabethCa,

      I really relate to your point about abusers seeing boundaries as an attack.

      When I was still living at home, asking for privacy would lead to intense, sometimes violent, outbursts from my mother. I was never allowed a lock on my door, and asking her to knock was an affront.

      In a particularly bad instance, I wanted to be alone and close my door. She came and tried to force her way in- I was pushing against the door, begging to be left alone, and she was violently forcing her way in.

      Anytime I've set a boundary with her, she has used physical or psychological force to violate that boundary.

      Her behavior wasn't the direct cause of my family estrangement, that was my white supremacist NarcD rage outburst and threats.

      My father similarly was never able to respect my boundary that I didn't want to hear about his racist conspiracy theories. He'd keep forcing that cr@p on me, I'd disagree, and he'd lose his mind.

      The funny thing is, it was only when I finally had financial independence thad the option to walk away. I don't think it ever occured to them that there would be consequences for their actions.

      Also- writing about these instances of boundaries being violated- they are so reminiscent of sexual assault, which was a big part of my life as a younger woman. It seems to me that my mother trained me from childhood to know the response to expect if I say "No" is "How dare you! I have power over you and I'm going to do whatever I want with you, and I'll bring my wrath on you for setting a boundary"

      Some of the boundaries she refused to respect were things like touching my butt and breasts, even once forcing me to pose for nude photos.

    • profile image

      Elly The Autistic 

      5 months ago

      To NarcFree:

      You said, “It is arrogant and presumptuous of you to tell me what I will feel when my parents die. Do you think that you know my emotions better than I know my emotions?“ is exactly what I was alluding to at the end of my last comment… There’s no excruciating pain going on in my life. How does a complete stranger know that there IS and whether or not my Husband and I WILL feel guilt when they (our ‘parents’) die?

      Husband and I HAD to laugh at your statement of, “Stop demanding respect because you had sex and got pregnant.“ As a scapegoat, I realize I didn’t even get that ‘right’.

      To Elizabeth:

      I think your point on boundaries was spot on. “Abusers see boundaries as an attack - the perspective I've seen from my mother is literally flipped. My having boundaries is an attack on her, and her goal is to make me stop that nonsense.”

      I think it goes further then that. Everything is an ‘attack’ on them. The distortion reaches every level of their thinking. I pulled this quote off of one of my fave sites, “Now we are violent ( because the day of the estrangement as my es was in my face, I reached up and slapped him before going in the house) and my oldest son will not allow my husband to see his grandson or attend grandparents day at his school. The baby shower for my next grandbaby is the weekend. Waiting for the call telling me not to attend and not sure if I even want to go. Now that is the issue. Mind you my ES at the time he did all this was 27. But that is all anyone focuses on…..You hit ES. Always what we “did” to him. Not one person in my family stood up for us…NOT ONE PERSON!!!!” These ‘loving parents’ were CLEARLY the ‘victim’ because no one took their ‘side’, even when, THEY were clearly in the WRONG. It’s INSANITY.

      One of the replies included, “As far as the slap goes, I think he deserved it. He was lying to your face! I remember my own mother slapping me in the face when I deserved it. I am so thankful I grew up in a time when parents were able to discipline their children and when you were considered a bad parent if you didn’t. My, how things have changed!” Again, these are parents claiming THEY are not abusive. HE DESERVED IT. What could THEY do to deserve to be hit? NOTHING. If WE ever hit them? That would be grounds for homicide. They can hit US with impunity – but not accepting it or fighting back is an ‘attack’ on THEM. It’s INSANITY.

    • profile image

      Starlight444 

      5 months ago

      ElizabethCa,

      My mother was verbally abusive, and over the years it continued to get worse. That said, she was still more than capable of controlling herself in front of other people when it was of benefit to her. If I picked up the phone she'd abuse me, if I didn't she'd leave abusive messages, and in the end, things had deteriorated to such an extent that when I spoke to my mother I was repeatedly told to "Shut up!" or "Just f**k off!". At the same time, if I wouldn't speak to my mother, refusing to put up with the abuse, I was told by my family that I was hurting and controlling my mother and "restricting what she was permitted to say".

      Boundaries don't work with abusers. They don't respect their victims so there's no way in hell they're going to respect their boundaries. As far as they're concerned, you're there to obey, meet their needs, take the abuse and keep your mouth shut. If you don't obey, drop everything and come running, or allow them to continue abusing you, you'll soon be accused of abusing, controlling or SHUNNING them. My mother is so far gone that she has a complete inability to see beyond her own wants and needs. When you won't obey or allow her to hurt you (including physically), this causes her to feel a frustration, loss of control, anger and rage that she perceives as being controlled and abused. Her wants and needs must ALWAYS come first, no matter the situation. A compromise or being told no is something she'll NEVER accept. When you're dealing with this kind of parent, no-contact is often the safest option.

    • profile image

      ElizabethCa 

      5 months ago

      Here's a thought I have come to:

      Boundaries do not and cannot work unless the option of terminating the relationship is on the table. The way boundaries are enforced is by saying, I will no be in your company if you mistreat me. But if the other person knows that you won't leave no matter what, they don't ultimately have any reason to change. Why should they, when no matter what you'll come back next time? Maybe next time they can wear you down.

      Normal people respect boundaries because they don't want to hurt you. Abusers see boundaries as an attack - the perspective I've seen from my mother is literally flipped. My having boundaries is an attack on her, and her goal is to make me stop that nonsense. I can walk away 10, 20, 30 times, but all it will do is make her be more underhanded in trying to get around my boundaries.

    • profile image

      NarcFree 

      5 months ago

      Joy,

      You sound like every abuser's dream enabler. You work hard to convince victims of abuse that accepting the abuse is the best option they've got. It's not.

      You call walking away a new form of family dysfunction. OK, I can see how one could look at it that way, but this form of dysfunction is the lesser of all evils available to me as a survivor. If you choose to stay and tolerate the abuse, that's up to you. It is not up to you to dictate what all other children of abusive parents should do in self defense. Some choose to go no contact, because that's what helps them heal.

      It is arrogant and presumptuous of you to tell me what I will feel when my parents die. Do you think that you know my emotions better than I know my emotions? You have not walked a mile in my shoes. I have nothing to feel guilty about. I actually had and still have legal basis to put my mother in prison. She should be grateful that all I did is walk away. If I were as spiteful as she is, I would be using the court system right now to make her live out the rest of her days in the big house.

      It is also arrogant and presumptuous of you to think that you know the future. How do you know what other people's children will do? Do you have any evidence, empirical data to back up your claim? You're using unsubstantiated "future threats", to again convince abuse survivors to go back to abuse and take some more of it. It is parental responsibility to protect a child. And if the harm comes from a grandparent, that responsibility is still there all the same. I would never allow a child within earshot of either of my parents.

      You want me to revive whatever relationship is possible? The only relationship possible with an entitled narcissistic parent is that of slavery. No thanks.

      You think shunning is cruel? It is self defense. This has been stated so many times by multiple survivors, but you insist on your own interpretation. You think no contact is lack of maturity? Show me an abusive parent who decides to mature and accept that their child does not equal their property. And I will show you a relationship worth salvaging because the parties have matured.

      And for the last time, respect is earned. Perhaps the maturity you preach could help you see that. Stop demanding respect because you had sex and got pregnant.

    • profile image

      Elly The Autistic 

      5 months ago

      To Joy:

      To call you ‘terribly misinformed’ is kind, clearly you know something about abusive situations BUT – from my perspective it seems like you are in some weird, misguided denial.

      “Your children will follow your example, despite all efforts to the contrary.” Where is it written that IF you go No Contact with your parent(s) that the same thing WILL happen with You and your children? This is part true-ISH IF, even after going No Contact, you continue the cycle of abuse in your family. As I said, IF the cycle continues!

      My husband and I became parents later in life… and due to my age and other issues our children were born via surrogates. I was TERRIFIED that because I didn’t physically carry our children and have my husband share that experience with me, that we both might have ‘issues’ with bonding with our firstborn.

      My Husband and I were baffled at the ease with which WE bonded with Our Son and even more to each other by having him. So as parent’s, looking at Our true miracles (thank you science) We ‘understand’ Our ‘parents’ less then ever.

      BOTH of our ‘moms’ made parenthood seem like some ultimate ‘torture’ to THEM (all the while telling Us that we are ‘loved’ and were PLANNED pregnancies) – as a side-note – both my Husband and I agree that being told, “You should have been aborted,” would have made the cruelty of Our ‘childhoods’ far more ‘understandable’. We got told we WERE ‘wanted’ and then got treated any way BUT.

      “Do not be the gatekeeper of your children's relationship with their grandmother unless she is a danger to their life and limb. Show her honor and respect while setting your boundaries.” Really? It is ‘nice’ that you are okay with the notion that so long as the ‘grand-parent’ isn’t a PHYSICAL threat to the minor child that everything should be ‘OK’ right? Wrong. FULL STOP. WRONG. And pardon me for a moment, I am going to make this about ME… What about the effects to My (or my Husband’s) mental health being subjected to my/our Abuser(s)/’mom’s’ relentless negativity and hostility? You just took Us right back to, the only important feelings are those of the ‘poor estranged parent’, all other parties and their NEEDS are a secondary consideration.

      Here’s how My world is… We have a boy and twin girls and THEY are the center of our world. My husband and I put each others’ needs FIRST and the strength that gives Us allows us to make our children the center of our world. Happy parents produce happy children. We have our own life and priorities and trying to make our ‘mom’s’ HAPPY isn’t on the list at this point. I spent over 30+ YEARS trying to do that with no success, but Us having children is going to magically transform her/them into some new kind, compassionate, non-judgmental, positive thinking person? Besides, We (my Husband and I) have been adopted into a very loving and strong family. We gained brother’s, sister’s various in-laws, nieces and nephews, cousins and parental figures that have taken Us under their wings and made us feel like a part of a real family. Why would we deprive our kids of time with their real family (the one We have built) to subject them to people who really only want to use them as props to show the world what ‘wonderful’ parents and grand-parents they are?

      “There is nothing more cruel than shunning. May it never happen to you that your children shun you. In addition to the excrutiating pain there will be guilt without resolution once your parents die.” No Contact is not shunning – THAT has been well explained at this point. There’s no excruciating pain going on in my life (other then sleep deprivation), in fact, minus the chaos of 3 infants, I’m happier then I’ve ever been. As for the ‘guilt’ when my/our ‘parents’ die – What do We have to feel guilty about? That question I would like an answer to.

    • Kim Bryan profile imageAUTHOR

      Kim Bryan 

      5 months ago

      @Leah, I’m not seeing any previous comments from you. Please feel free to post again. :)

    • profile image

      Leah R 

      5 months ago

      Hi, I posted a comment yesterday, which I saw on the message board. Was notified that there are 2 new messages. I got back on to read and see that my message is no longer here. Or at least I don't see it. . DidI write something inappropriate? Thank you.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 

      5 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Joy.....You are so terribly misinformed and I intended to reply to your comment. I see Kim did a perfect job at this. Read, absorb, understand and believe what Kim has so eloquently explained to you. She is100% correct.

    • Kim Bryan profile imageAUTHOR

      Kim Bryan 

      5 months ago

      Joy,

      Thank you for contribution. While I understand what your intent is, I must disagree.

      Let me first say I am too a daughter and mother of dysfunction; that is, my parents were emotionally immature, my mother’s behaviors are symptomatic of Borderline Personality Disorder, and I was a carbon copy of my mother to my own children.

      Fortunately, something changed me. My personality flipped like a light switch. Suddenly I was able to see the truth of the family dysfunction. What I had seen could not be unseen.

      I saw that the dysfunction of my maternal family had been going on at least four generations. Each generation had gotten better at hiding the dysfunction but it still existed. How did this happen? Because each generation before me believed as you; that to remove themselves from the toxicity was unforgivable and would have adverse effects on their life.

      What I saw was people doing the same thing over and over and still miserable. So after making more than 40 years of effort to have a relationship with my parents, most especially my mother, I decided I had to try something different: I walked away.

      Is it the right choice? So far, I’d give you a resounding yes! Ten years from now? I honestly can’t say. Maybe my children will cut contact with me. I pray not but I certainly realize it’s possible; especially with the oldest two who really suffered at the hands of a emotionally and mentally broken mother. However, being aware of the consequences is part of what keeps my old self in check.

      You see, I understand my children owe me nothing. They don’t owe me their time. They don’t owe me their forgiveness. They don’t owe me anything at all. As their mother, however, I owe them love and respect.

      For example, you honed I’m on Grandma giving sweets. Understand these five things herein are SYMPTOMS, not the problem. The problem is Grandma doesn’t respect the parents wishes for the child not to have sugar. That is disrespect. Grandma raised her own as she saw fit, now she must pass the torch. If she won’t, she has disrespected her adult child. She can’t demand respect when she herself can not give it.

      Most of us here have forgiven our parents. We understand how they became who they are. Nonetheless, we must forgive from afar because they are dangerous to us; be it physically or mentally. Until they can accept the truth about themselves and do the work to correct it, it is what is best. It’s not shunning them, it’s protecting ourselves. And protecting our children from people we know to be toxic. You wouldn’t allow your child to visit the home of a classmate you believed to be toxic, why should it be any different because that place is Grandma’s?

      Let me restate this because I want it to be clear: We are not shunning our parents, we are protecting ourselves from being abused with fists, open hands, manipulation, cruel words, constant criticism, favoritism, theft of identity, and a host of things and actions that are too great to mention here. We are shielding ourselves and the children we brought into this dysfunction from the very toxicity that hurt us over and over.

      No, estrangement doesn’t happen because Grandma gave the grandkids sweets, it comes because for years Grandma has had no respect for her child and said child was only able to find his voice to say no when s/he became a parent themselves.

      So no, it isn’t the adult child’s place to overlook such utter disrespect because of “what if’s.” Why does the adult child suddenly have to be the more mature one because Grandma and Grandpa have one foot in the grave? How does being old prohibit one from self-reflection?

      And that comes back to my point: my children owe me nothing. Nothing. At. All. I owe them.

      Because I understood I owe them, I now work to earn their love and respect. I know first hand how it ends when you think you’re owed it because you gave life.

      As I said, so far it’s been amazing and beautiful. I can’t guarantee it’ll always be like this but I’m not willing to live on “what if’s.” I know what would be if I did it your way. At least this way I have genuine hope and faith.

    • profile image

      Joy 

      5 months ago

      Sadly, by cutting off your parents you are taking a different route to family dysfunction. Your children will follow your example, despite all efforts to the contrary. Seek to mature, to accept your parents and the past, to reframe it, to choose to do good, especially vis a vis them. Option A, a happy childhood for you does not exist. Option B, to make the best out of the hurtful childhood and to rescue and revive what relationship is possible will require maturity, mercy and forgiveness. It is the best investment because our own children learn most from our own example. As the daughter and mother of dysfunction I am speaking. Set boundaries but do not cut off. Keep communication lines open. There is nothing more cruel than shunning. May it never happen to you that your children shun you. In addition to the excrutiating pain there will be guilt without resolution once your parents die. Do it not for your own sake, but for the wisdom of the example you set before your children. So what if Grandma gives sweets. Really? In comparison to having a relationship with their grandmother? Do not be the gatekeeper of your children's relationship with their grandmother unless she is a danger to their life and limb. Show her honor and respect while setting your boundaries.

    • profile image

      Starlight444 

      5 months ago

      Hi Elly,

      Yes, I remember Mr. Bill and his 'reasonable' terms and conditions. You have to be very careful about what these parents mean by reasonable. Their 'reasonable' requests can include some seriously messed up and controlling BS.

      "It really sounds to me like Dawn (mom) took it upon herself to write the letter and the fall-out was predictable."

      I agree, which is why it doesn't make sense. I think this sometimes happens when the parent views the child as an extension of themselves and not an individual in their own right, but this point of view is based on my own personal experience. The parent makes a decision based on what they feel is best for them and then decides that's best for the child/adult child, even when it's not. These decisions and actions are based on feeling not fact, how the parent feels about the situation, not reality and what the child/adult child wants/needs or what's in their best interests.

      "No Contact = Abuse."

      Self-entitlement and an inability to see beyond themselves and their own wants - "I own you, you will obey me, I get to abuse you when I want, and only what I want matters. If you hurt my feelings by not giving me what I want or letting me do what I want, then you are abusing me."

      "Then, to deal with errant adult children, there needs to be a law prohibiting certain types of behaviour towards parents WITHOUT JUST CAUSE."

      Adult children viewed as property or young disobedient children that must be brought into line. Some recent and insightful posts by Leigh and ElizabethCa tie in with this.

      "One ‘parent’ did have a moment of some clarity, “Would we begin having children sign contracts at birth that they are indebted to respect and care forever for the ones responsible for their existence? Not sure where this is going … thoughts I am having …” It was certainly a thought I was having! And I’m sure the answer is, “Yes!” for many of them."

      It wouldn't surprise me as they often view their children as things to meet their needs rather than real people. You're expected to be a child, parent, friend etc as the mood takes them. Technicalities or legalities don't matter.

      "Wow right? How does a Victim ‘prove’ years or even DECADES of systematic abuse? THEY have all the ‘happy’ family photos -- forced on US to prove how ‘happy’ our ‘family’ IS."

      This kind of thing scares the crap out of me, and reminds me of Issendai's blog post, "Happy face, happy heart", showing 'happy' photos of children before they were murdered by their families. It makes me wonder how many of those perfect families on social media are hiding something darker.

    • profile image

      Elly The Autistic 

      5 months ago

      Some Estranged Parents feel so strongly that No Contact IS ‘abuse’ that some of them believe that Estranged Children (Victims) should have to go to a ‘court’ to PROVE that their No Contact is ‘justifiable’… With comments that followed like (I have ‘xxxx’ out user names):

      “’xxxxxx’, you’re too funny. I can just see the court scene in my mind, all the injustice collecting EC, meddling in-laws, evil sisters etc.’ xxxxxx’, if someone is a no show don’t they lose the case? l think that most would show up to grandstand, what a golden opportunity for narcissists – and then would lie under oath, true to form. There may even be a couple of brawls and people arrested and cited for contempt of court. Good luck to the judge.” Yes… This is EXACTLY what Us abuse victims’ want *sarcasm*. By going No Contact we WANT more drama and conflict and we definitely WANT to go to a ‘court’ and PROVE how ‘right’ we are. *shaking head*

      “Then, to deal with errant adult children, there needs to be a law prohibiting certain types of behaviour towards parents WITHOUT JUST CAUSE. The burden of proof would need to be on the adult child to prove that his/her decision to abandon a parent was justifiable.” Wow right? How does a Victim ‘prove’ years or even DECADES of systematic abuse? THEY have all the ‘happy’ family photos -- forced on US to prove how ‘happy’ our ‘family’ IS. My ‘mom’ kept ‘baby books’ and school achievement folders and stuffed them with our ‘report cards’ and such. And then We (my sister and I) had the ‘fun’ of filling this all out with our ‘loving mom’...

      Every year We got asked a series of questions… “What do you want to be when you ‘grow up’?” was the one I dreaded the most. From first grade on We got an annual ‘interrogation’ to fill Our prized school books… It didn’t matter what answer I gave it was always ‘wrong’. If I said one thing one year and it was mocked, I’d try something different the next year only to be mocked again because I didn’t ‘stick’ with my previous years’ answer (like a 6 year old knows their life plans and NEVER change their minds *eye roll*) OR there was another reason that my new choice was also ‘wrong’. I now know the only ‘correct’ answer was, “I want to grow up to be YOU ‘mom’.” When neither my sister or I provided ‘that answer’? She was devastated. And reversely my Husband says His message was, “You should NEVER love anyone more then Me. EVER. For ANY ‘reason’. I’m your MOM.”

      Their defense would be, “An ‘unloving parent’ would NEVER spend so much time focusing on their child/ren and their achievements to make a book or album about ‘them’ and look at all these ‘loving’ family photos we have!” To this day I hate having my picture taken. Picture taking for me as a child was, in my mind, just documenting my misery and putting a bow on it. It reeked of, “See how happy we are?” (with our forced smiles and pretty clothes).

      One ‘parent’ did have a moment of some clarity, “Would we begin having children sign contracts at birth that they are indebted to respect and care forever for the ones responsible for their existence? Not sure where this is going … thoughts I am having …” It was certainly a thought I was having! And I’m sure the answer is, “Yes!” for many of them. That said, since they want a ‘court’ to prove that estrangement is ‘justified’ and have it be a law, they should also remember that under REAL laws, minor children cannot LEGALLY sign contracts!

      “I feel very strongly that a rap over the knuckles of some sort is needed in cases where parents are abandoned for selfish reasons, or because of a disagreement over issues the adult child lacks the courage to unpack and deal with. Where there’s no abuse during childhood involved, estrangement is a cop out in my humble view.” Here we go again! Even IF there is no abuse in childhood -- an adult child is not obligated to have a relationship with ANYONE. Adults with free will, in an equal society, are free to make any lawful choices they want. However, there’s the ‘issue’ – in an EQUAL society. Adult children to THEM are not equals, We are forever their ‘lessers’ so the rules We must follow don’t apply to THEM.

    • profile image

      Elly The Autistic 

      5 months ago

      To Starlight:

      In your response to Dawn you said, “You can't obtain a restraining order based on a "gentle" letter.” This reminds me of Mr. Bill and his alleged ‘loving letter’ and the reasonable ‘terms and conditions’ his son and his wife would have to follow if they met to try to reconcile. Notice Mr. Bill never responded to multiple requests for that “loving” letter or those “reasonable” ‘terms and conditions’.

      Assuming Dawn’s situation WAS caused by that ONE letter, it must have been a DOOZY to get any reasonable judge to issue a legal order based on it alone.

      My big question also was why would the daughter ask her ‘mom’ to write to HER Husband? If my Husband needed to move for work and I didn’t want Him to go or follow Him later or whatever, I would talk to Him about IT. Why would I need/want a ‘third party’ to communicate this to MY Husband? It really sounds to me like Dawn (mom) took it upon herself to write the letter and the fall-out was predictable.

      You also said, “Cutting off contact or obtaining a restraining order to protect yourself from another person's behaviour isn't abuse. You are not the victim.” Is 100% correct. I am constantly baffled at Estranged Parents claiming that No Contact = Abuse. If you are not in someone’s physical presence they can’t hit you. If emotional abuse is cited, how can you be abused if there is NO communication? So if No Contact IS abuse the only way it could be abusive is because in their minds someone denying them anything they believe they deserve IS ‘abuse’.

    • profile image

      Starlight444 

      5 months ago

      Dawn,

      You sent a letter to your son-in-law over concerns about him being an absent father, then you contradict yourself by saying that he moved away for work, but your daughter and grandchild followed. This means he isn't an absent father. Your father was an absent father, and just because your son-in-law moved away for work doesn't automatically mean he's absent. Your son-in-law is not your father, and he moved away from you, not his wife and child. They may not have moved at exactly the same time, but they moved to be with him all the same.

      "Seven years ago I wrote to my son-in-law at my daughter's request."

      Why did your daughter request that you send the letter when she was planning to move away with her husband? That doesn't make sense. Is there something that you've missed out?

      "I made arrangements to visit them both once she'd moved to be with him in an attempt to apologize again and reconnect. She took out a restraining order against me and I was forced to leave without even a phone call."

      Restraining orders are not handed out for no reason at all. There's going to be abuse, harassment or stalking involved. Your daughter and son-in-law did not cut off all contact over a simple letter. Your behaviour would have been so problematic that they managed to obtain an order.

      "Parents aren't always the abusive ones. Sometimes it is the children."

      Cutting off contact or obtaining a restraining order to protect yourself from another person's behaviour isn't abuse. You are not the victim.

      "Instead she accused me of things I never said or did..."

      Was your daughter contacting you to give you a chance to make things right? Did she want you to admit to what you'd done? Once again, you want us to believe that everything that happened was as a result of the letter you sent to your son-in-law, but it would have been something more than that. You can't obtain a restraining order based on a "gentle" letter.

    • profile image

      Life without Annette 

      5 months ago

      “I have nobody just my 2 children I literally mean I have nobody...”

      Delores, whatever you are suffering personally, your bigger problem is that you are blessed with two children yet you are so self-focused you walk around bellyaching that you “literally” have nobody. What an awful thing to say. I pity your kids.

      Call your doctor immediately, ask for a reference for a therapist in your area, make an appointment immediately, and learn how to heal your hurts without devaluing your children as nothing and no one. The only thing worse than having horrible parents is being a horrible parent. Stop. It’s not all about you.

    • profile image

      sisyphus123 

      5 months ago

      How do you guys cope with losing relationships with your extended family? For me, it feels like losing my connection to my past- myself. Like a tree with no roots, how can it stand?

      None of them have been there for me- I'm so disappointed in them, and I don't think I can forgive them.

      It's making me really depressed. It makes me wonder what I could've done to be so awful that my entire family would abandon me to enable a jerk like my NPDad.

    • profile image

      Starlight444 

      5 months ago

      Hi Sisyphus,

      "I kinda wish my family would hound and manipulate me, at least then I'd know they cared."

      I understand what you mean, but even though it can seem like caring, it isn't. My family just knew that when my mother was abusing me, life was easier for them. If I wasn't around, she'd look for another victim.

      You say that your family is ignoring the estrangement. This means that they are REFUSING to deal with the abusive situation, and you still need to be careful. Your narcissistic father contacted you, which means he wants you for something and that something could be anything. At some point in the future, your family might start manipulating you to give him what he wants.

      "But when I told her that I wouldn't come because my father's abusive behavior made me feel unsafe to be around him, she never even asked what had happened, or considered uninviting him."

      Your cousin does NOT want to know what happened or care. She's choosing to take the easy path and enable. If she uninvites your father, things will probably kick off.

      "Still doesn't seem to care why, or care that she'll be HOSTING A WHITE SUPREMACIST at her wedding."

      That's an impressive level of denial. Brings a whole new meaning to "elephant in the room".

    • profile image

      Delores Dickson 

      5 months ago

      Hello good morning to everyone on this forum I suffer from abandonment from my parents as a child I can relate to each and every one of you, However I am seeking the help of anyone who can refer Me to any group counsellings or 1 on 1 someone to help me through this journey I have nobody just my 2 children I literally mean I have nobody...

    • profile image

      sisyphus123 

      5 months ago

      Hi Starlight,

      Your absolutely right with the spider analogy.

      My father did terrible things, and is now "offering" to talk without "blame and vilification" to "resolve OUR conflicts"

      It's like someone punches you in the face, and then when you're upset says "let's talk about it without blaming anyone... who punched who... you're upset, I'm upset that you're upset, we're all upset...so really who's to blame? It's OUR problem to figure out."

      The rest of my family is essentially ignoring the estrangement. Which is a relief in a way, but also makes me feel like they don't even care if they never see me again.

      My cousin's wedding is coming up, and I won't be there because my Ndad will be, and I won't distract from her wedding with this BS. But when I told her that I wouldn't come because my father's abusive behavior made me feel unsafe to be around him, she never even asked what had happened, or considered uninviting him. 6 months later she sends me another message to confirm that I won't be coming so she can finish her RSVP list. Still doesn't seem to care why, or care that she'll be hosting a white supremacist at her wedding.

      I kinda wish my family would hound and manipulate me, at least then I'd know they cared.

    • profile image

      Starlight444 

      5 months ago

      Hi Sisyphus,

      That email sounds like a trap. "'Will you walk into my parlour?' said the Spider to the Fly."

      Cutting off contact with a family member is a huge decision to make, and the fallout can be devastating. I cut off contact with my family one-by-one (I don't regret it), and my mother was the first. I then tried to have a relationship with other family members, but they had to accept that I no longer wanted to have contact with my mother. They wouldn't.

      Be prepared for the fact that your father, family or friends may well use every tactic under the sun to get you to resume contact. Here's a few I experienced:

      1. Family members telling me that there was a family gathering (my mother would be present), and they'd assume that I was attending unless I spoke to my mother and told her otherwise. They wouldn't accept an answer from me, I always had to speak to her. When I didn't attend or speak to my mother, they'd get angry at me for upsetting her, because she'd assumed I was attending. This tactic creates a situation where you have to have contact or look like the bad guy.

      2. Pretending that family members were ill or in hospital, and that I had to contact my mother ASAP. The messages were always vague with very little detail. Huge red flag!

      3. My mother not taking her blood pressure medication to make herself ill to try and get me to resume contact. Family lying and pretending my mother was ill or accusing me of making my mother ill. She was upset, depressed, drinking more (alcoholic), not herself, not eating etc.

      4. My father repeatedly lying to me, pretending that my mother was sorry, had changed or that she wasn't quite as bad.

      5. Abusive tantrums from my mother and sometimes other family members. Constant abusive and manipulative phone calls.

      6. Some family members constantly demanding an explanation as to why I cut off contact with my mother, but no explanation was good enough. Explaining yourself is pointless. You just end up going round in circles.

      7. Family members or friends asking me to visit, saying my mother wouldn't be there (she'd be there). If I was talking on the phone to them, they would suddenly hand the phone over to my mother.

      8. Family offering me money, or saying they had something to give me or something that belonged to me, but I had to visit them to get it (messages vague).

      I'll stop now, or I'll be going on forever. It's a tough decision to make, but sometimes no contact is the the only way to protect yourself and those you care about. If boundaries/boundaries plus consequences don't work, there's nothing else you can do.

    • profile image

      sisyphus123 

      5 months ago

      My NPD racist father sent me an email on my recent birthday. It's been 8 months since we spoke- which was the proverbial "blow out" with him screaming abuse at me and threatening to kick be out of the house in the middle of the night when I'd come home from abroad for Xmas.

      While the email didn't contain anything resembling an apology, it did have this nugget, which would be almost funny if it weren't so pathetic.

      "Let me suggest that you and I resume neutral conversation, leaving aside blame and vilification. Even though it may feel strained, it would help establish an unthreatening atmosphere in which we can explore and resolve our conflicts."

      I don't think there's anything he can do that would make me forgive him- he's simply a terrible person. He's selfish, mean and arrogant and I don't want him in my life.

      And if that means losing my whole extended family, so be it- they haven't supported me at all through this. They just enable his NPD, bullying and racism.

      It's hurts- so much- but I'm starting to feel ready to just let it all go.

      Thoughts?

    • profile image

      Leigh 

      5 months ago

      @ElizabethCa: I love this insight. It is so true, and it took me a while to learn it. Thank you for sharing it...

      —-The parents often tell themselves it's

      about the past - something that is fixed

      and can't be changed. That neatly avoids

      the problem of having to change their

      present behavior. The point of contrition

      isn't to change the past, it's to show you

      understand what you did wrong and won't

      do it again. But the estranged parent often

      interprets it as simply wanting to castigate

      them over what can't be changed.”—-

      Even a parent who apologizes can still be abusive and unhealthy to be around...it is about whether they can/want to change their destructive ways for the sake of their children.

    • profile image

      Starlight444 

      6 months ago

      Hi Elizabeth,

      "We've been talking about the parent attempting to extend their control into the lives of adult children indefinitely. Issendai's blog talks about it well: the estranged parent views the adult child as perpetually a child that should obey their betters."

      Definitely, and my own mother still uses the same tactics to try and control me as she did when I was a child. I haven't been in contact with my family for more than 10 years, but earlier this year, an incident occurred that triggered my mother's abusive behaviour which led to her abusing and threatening me for several months. She started leaving abusive messages, and one thing that she kept saying was that she was going to turn up at my house, hammer down the door, and have me dragged out of the house to make me do what she wanted me to do. This is something she used to do to me as a child. She'd hammer on my bedroom door, and if she managed to gain entry, would drag me out of my room, and continue dragging me around the house. This time it was the same threat, just a different door. I can sometimes hear the confusion in my mother's voice when she makes these threats, not understanding why they don't work anymore and why I don't respond. She truly believes that if she keeps abusing and threatening me she'll get me to do what she wants, because that's what worked when I was a child. To her I'm still a child (or object/slave/property) that must obey, the irony being I was parentified and expected to sacrifice my own childhood in order to keep my mother happy and manage her behaviour.

      What concerns me is that not all, but some of these psychotherapists etc, seem to have no more insight than my mother.

    • profile image

      ElizabethCa 

      6 months ago

      Starlight444, there's a fundamental disconnect I've noticed between how the parent views things in such a discussion, and how the children do. You'll notice every adult child talking here, we haven't just been talking about our childhood. We've been talking about the parent attempting to extend their control into the lives of adult children indefinitely. Issendai's blog talks about it well: the estranged parent views the adult child as perpetually a child that should obey their betters. Boundaries are a way for the child to attempt to upset the proper order and exert authority over their parents.

      The parents often tell themselves it's about the past - something that is fixed and can't be changed. That neatly avoids the problem of having to change their present behavior. The point of contrition isn't to change the past, it's to show you understand what you did wrong and won't do it again. But the estranged parent often interprets it as simply wanting to castigate them over what can't be changed.

    • profile image

      Starlight444 

      6 months ago

      Taken from "Why Your Estranged Child Doesn’t Want to Reconcile", by psychotherapist, Tina Gilbertson.

      "Any behavior of yours (estranged parent) they’ve (adult child) ever complained about is potentially something they view not as a circumstance-based behavior, but as a personality trait. Meaning they don’t think it can change. Which is why they may not be eager to reconcile."

      More "professional", assumption-based, minimizing and infantilizing drivel where the perception of the adult child is simply wrong. Thankfully, most commenting on the article disagree with Tina Gilbertson's point of view, but one commenter who appears to support the article believes that victims of child/adult child abuse who talk about their experiences are "whiny" and should "Grow a pair and move on". Another person of the same ilk writes, "Drama queen much? Grow up and move on, honey", in response to a comment about abuse. If these are the type of people that this article appeals to, then what does that say about the article and the person who wrote it?

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