Dear Parents of Estranged Adult Children,
This open letter is in response to the many e-mails that I receive asking for my help and my insight into estrangement. Most often the person writing to me has read my P.E.A.C.E. Parents of Estranged Adult Children Everywhere article located on my website Bernadette A. Moyer at www.bernadetteamoyer.com
Just this week I received two heartfelt e-mails from parents in pain that are dealing with the aftermath from their adult children and their estrangement. Most often the estrangement includes taking the grandbabies and grandchildren with them.
Where I am not an expert I have experienced estrangement on both sides. My mother didn’t speak to me for 23 years. My crime I conveyed a message I received from a child who stated that my mother’s husband was sexually abusing them. I believed the child, my mother and all family members did not.
As a teenager my child would walk out of my life. Our estrangement is now 15 years in the making. She would write her college essay about me calling me many wonderful things, a month later when I said “no” I went from “awesome” and “amazing” to an “abuser.” I have numerous letters in her own handwriting stating how wonderful a mother I once was to her.
You can’t make this stuff up …
What I say to all that contact me, first and foremost I am so sorry. There is no greater pain than to have a child that you raised and loved and adored turn on you and/or walk out of your life for good. I immediately encourage them to try everything humanly possible to work it out. I sincerely believe that it is not in the best interest of the adult child nor the parent to be estranged. I don’t believe that it is normal or natural for either side.
Only after every attempt has been made to have a mutually respectful relationship, you must stop and save yourself and respect their decision. Many times the number one complaint shared with me is that parents are accused of “stalking” these adult children. I immediately have to laugh for two reasons 1) my child still accuses me of this even though I have not seen or heard from her and I have respected her decision. I make no efforts to contact. 2) a normal loving parent loves their child and wonders about them and how they are doing.
I did everything humanly possible to reach out to my child. There was and is nothing on the face of this earth that will “fix” what issues she has with me. I have come to believe that she believes her own “story” which is a far cry from what happened and how I lived it and remember it.
As a teenager children do not have fully formed brains. It is a fact and yet at 18 they are legally allowed to make adult decisions. Where most teenagers go through a period of hating their parents, it is the immature ones that stay stuck in that hatred. Obviously for whatever reasons it serves them well. They must be getting something out of it or they wouldn’t do it. It might be for people to feel sorry for them or to help them and often is about manipulating people to do things for them.
Once you have accepted that there is no other way, you must save yourself! There is life after the grief, after the heartache and after the disappointment. It isn’t easy and it doesn’t happen overnight. It took more than a decade for me to declare “enough!”
I am so much better off without the drama and being the target of hatred. Finally after more than I can share here the bonds once held are no longer in existence. It is now me the parent that is finished. I have written my obituary and I have made my final requests upon my death very well known and well documented.
When it is over it is over! If you can repair or restore your relationship with your adult child, you should put all efforts into doing so and if it can’t be repaired or restored you have to let go of it.
Letting go with love and giving her back to God who gave her to me in the first place, is my final act of love. Once again I gave her what she wanted and she won. But in the final analysis I finally learned to save myself and to create a very full rewarding life without her. There is life after children. There have been numerous recent studies and articles that show having kids is not all that it is anticipated to be and often does NOT create a more meaningful, rewarding or peaceful life.
You can find me on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer and look for Support Group for Parents of Estranged Adult Children on Facebook too.
The number one take away is that you are not alone! Many others are experiencing the same loss and heartache of estrangement. Find a support group, or a support person, it helps.
God’s Peace and Prayers,