Thomas Markle, father of the Royal Wedding bride, is not the only dad who wasn’t at his child’s wedding, and not the saddest one. At least he was invited. Each year, thousands of fathers won’t attend their child’s wedding—and not because they lack the desire, but because their grown children don’t want anything to do with them.
In checking my site stats today I noticed that more than one visitor regularly visits my 2013 post about Sheri McGregor's rejectedparents.net site. So I went to visit it for a bit to see what she has been writing about lately.
I found her August 29 post on "Looking for the Good" which I really really like! I recommend it!
After reading Sheri's post, I realize that I am having a day in which I have looked for the good and have committed a random act of kindness (RAOK). And have plans to do another RAOK. It's a nice feeling to do those things.
BTW, Sheri is the author of Done With the Crying: Help and Healing for Mothers of Estranged Adult Children.
I found this today. Haven't watched it yet. I hope some find it helpful.
To read the rest of Mark Sichel's post on resentement on his blog, click the tiny link below the paragraph:
Poisoned Mind, Poisoned Body
Take a look again at that quote: "Living with resentment is like taking poison and expecting the other guy to get sick." This makes vivid one of the most crippling aspects of resentment—one you may be experiencing right now. If you're thinking about ways to get even and prove to another person that you're right and they're wrong, you need to remember that the person who is the focus of your animosity may be feeling just fine, enjoying life, and perhaps not at all troubled by any of the interactions that are renting space in your brain. Ultimately, resentment hurts you far more than the person toward whom you bear a grudge.
by Rachel Grumman Bender, May 5, 2021
Whether you’re estranged from a parent or child, have lost a child or parent, or are coping with infertility, holidays such as Mother’s Day and Father’s Day can bring up a range of complicated emotions. Not everyone wants reminders of those holidays constantly showing up in their inbox either. So several brands have taken the initiative by offering customers the option of opting out of Mother’s Day and Father’s Day emails.
by Sheri McGregor, June 17, 2016
As Father’s Day rolls around again, many of you fathers of estranged adult children are holding hurt inside. For fathers of estranged adult children, Father’s Day can be a time of embarrassment and pain—yet those feelings aren’t necessarily discussed, or acknowledged. Many fathers keep themselves busy and don’t share their pain. Some ask, “What’s the use of talking about something you can’t fix?” Others, as I’ve learned in my research, want to stay strong for their partner.
Over the course of a lifetime what we do on Christmas inevitably changes. This article addresses the changes that occurred in the author's family.
By Mary Schmich of the Chicago Tribune.
I found a recent article by Joshua Coleman that summarizes many of the causes of family estrangements, recent research on the subject, and reasons for the difficulty in finding resolution. I have read Coleman's writings before. I don't recall reading some of the points he raises in this article in his past writings. But then I don't follow all that is going on with him regularly. I think this is an excellent article well worth reading. I recommend it.
Today I received an email regarding a new television program put on by Kinetic Content in early August 2019. They are seeking fathers and adult sons to be on the program who have had a rift in their relationship. The information about the program and whom they are looking for is as follows:
"Kinetic Content is producing a new television program centered on healing broken relationships between fathers and their adult sons.
The show is a bit of an experimental program, and seeks to help close the rifts between fathers and sons by embracing a multilayered approach to communication.
Both participants will make eye contact for five full minutes before either is allowed to speak. This will be a safe environment where both participants are treated with complete respect.
No participant is forced to speak and they can leave at any point afterwards. It is our hope that this chance to connect, without words at first, fosters an environment where true discussion and connection can be fostered.
There will be no surprises or "gotcha" moments. Both father and son must agree for either to participate.
Participants will be paid, and while we are looking specifically at people in the LA area, all are welcome to apply.
Out of town candidates will have their travel and expenses covered.
We are filming in early August in Los Angeles!
We are filming in early August in Los Angeles!
If you are interested or know someone who may be, please share/fill out our application through this link:
October 27, 2017 article: "Estrangement Doesn't Just Happen to "Bad" Moms — It Happened to Me Too" on Goodhousekeeping.com by Sheri McGregor, author of Done with the Crying.
Sheri has a website on the subject of family estrangement: RejectedParents.net and a Facebook Page on estrangement.
The description of her Facebook Page, "Help and Healing for Parents of Estranged Adult Children":
"Support and information resource. Parents of estranged adult children may feel isolated and embarrassed, yet there are many of us. Let's help each other."
Not having addressed the emotions surrounding Mother’s day and estrangement for years here on this blog, I found myself thinking about the subject and about what to say. Or whether to write a post at all or just let the day go by post-free as I’d been doing.
I am sitting myself down here to think while I type to see what occurs to me on this day, one of the more painful days to have to get through for mothers who have been estranged. A day which also can be painful for many who are estranged from a mother with whom they had had a loving affectionate relationship prior to estrangement. What to say?
My estrangement is now 23 years long. I don’t expect it to end. While I did suffer deep grief in the first 6 to 10 years as well as other strong feelings about the loss of a relationship with a person whom I had adored, eventually I developed a thicker skin and detachment set in. Consequently, I am sure that I am in a different place emotionally than most of the visitors to my website and blog. Most who come here are likely in that place of pain and devastation over losing someone they love to estrangement and would like to find some solution that would take their relationship back to the loving relationship they once had. Or thought that they had.
I wish I could offer that solution. I wish that I had found it myself. What I’ve found is that there are many reasons for estrangement. Sometimes the reasons have more to do with the person who has decided to estrange themselves and very little to do with the person who they estranged. I concluded that it can be futile for the person who has been estranged to resolve the estrangement. That the only person who can resolve it is the person who decided to do the estranging. The person who has been estranged has a few options: One is to keep banging their head on the door of estrangement by making attempts to end it. Another is not to do that but to bury their feelings and risk becoming clinically depressed. Another is to accept the estranger’s decision and to go on with their life, living it as well as they possibly can.
Recently a friend mentioned a book that she had read and loved. I haven’t read the book but the title caught my attention: “The Knife of Never Letting Go”. The title says so much. If you never let go of an issue or a person or a thing and the situation is unresolvable, then you are at risk of being damaged by the determination to hold on.
The friend who mentioned this book has experienced a loss that was one of the most drastic that can be imagined. She has had a very hard time emotionally in the years since that loss occurred. I don’t think she will ever “get over it”. But she seems to be doing a bit better as time goes on. She obsesses about it less. She is capable of feeling happy and of going on with her life. The knife of never letting go seems to be cutting her less.
From what I can see online about the book with that title, I don’t think that the title has anything to do with family estrangements but I don’t really know. It is a fiction book that is written for the age range of teens. I didn’t mention the book so that anyone would go out and buy it. It sounds quite good. I love the title. It would be a good title for a book on estrangement or other losses but the title has been taken!
Getting back to the subject of today, Mother’s Day, and what might I offer as a suggestion for getting through the day and other days of similar significance (birthdays, other family oriented holidays). Speaking for myself and acknowledging that I am at a different place in terms of emotions than most visitors to my site, on days like this I choose doing something that I REALLY want to do. See a movie I’ve been meaning to see. Eat some food that I like a lot that I haven’t had for a while. Wear comfortable clothing. Or wear something that just makes me happy regardless of comfort. Take a nap if needed. Read a book I’ve been meaning to read. In a choice between whether to do work or not, choose not to work at least some of the day if not all. (I tend to choose work too often.) Be good to myself. Be good to others as well as yourself. Meaning be polite, kind, civil, honest and genuine. If possible, let go of that knife for the day. If not possible, grip it less tightly and not by the blade’s edge.
Wishing you a most peaceful and Happy Day!
New research challenges the deeply held notion
that family relationships can’t be dissolved and
suggests that estrangement is not all that uncommon.
Article by Catherine St. Louis, Dec. 20, 2017
Estranged Stories, ebook version. by Elizabeth Vagnoni, Mary Cay Reed. Available for Amazon Kindle Fire®, Apple iPad®, Android devices, and Mac or PC computers. Currently (as of Dec. 17, 2017) priced at $15.99.
Estranged Stories Understanding. Support. Peace. Hope” by Elizabeth Vagnoni, Mary Cay Reed. Blurb 2017. ISBN-10: 0615937683, ISBN-13: 978-0615937687. This is the print version which currently is priced at $44.74 on Amazon.
From the online listings of the book on Amazon and on Blurb:
"In Estranged Stories, Elizabeth Boykin Vagnoni and Mary Cay Reed have woven together a compassionate description of the succession of emotions many parents experience when they become estranged from their adult children. Using a variety of stories from EstrangedStories.com, parents talk about the common thoughts and feelings they experience when faced with estrangement. They talk about suggestions for confronting feelings, how to respond to others, finding hope, and coping with the inability to have a relationship with Grandchildren. While these stories come from a few, they represent the feelings of more than 5,000 who have joined estrangedstories and responses from over 3,000 who have completed our survey. Sometimes just understanding that you are not alone and many others share the same "stories", is helpful when trying to understand this emotionally crippling situation."
Family Estrangement: A Matter of Perspective by Kylie Agllias. ISBN-13: 978-1472458612 ISBN-10: 1472458613
We Don't Talk Anymore: Healing after Parents and Their Adult Children Become Estranged by Kathy McCoy. October 2017. ISBN-10: 1492651133 ISBN-13: 978-1492651130.
Estrangement of Parents by Their Adult Children by Sharon Waters. April 2017. ISBN-10: 0692882154 ISBN-13: 978-0692882153.
Closed group on Facebook: "For all who have suffered the loss of a child to the pain of estrangement."
Click on either of the images below to go to this support group on Facebook. Anyone can ask to join or be added or invited by a member.
The following are links to Facebook pages where family estrangement is a topic of discussion, advice or information. The pages that were found are specifically about estrangements of parents from their children. These are all of the Facebook Pages that I found on the subject.
- Reflections on Life
- Support Page for Parents of Estranged Adult Children
- Estranged from Adult Children for Parents
- Deserted Parents
- Parents Abandoned by Their Adult Children
- Alienated Grandparents
- Grandparent Alienation is Not Natural
- Coping with Estrangement from Adult Children
- Reconciliation or Estrangement
- Help & Healing for Parents of Estranged Adult Children
- Estranged Adult Children
- Estranged Family Coaching & Counseling
- Alienated & Estranged Parents (a closed group)
- Parents of Estranged or Alienated Children Group (a closed group)
- Healing the Pain of Estrangement for Parents & Grandparents (a closed group)
- Estrangement (Community Group)
- Lita Ford's Parental Alienation Awareness
- Parental Alienation Worldwide Support Group
- Parent Alienation (Save the Kids!) (a closed group)
- Alienation: Beating the Drum for Change (a closed group)
- Parental Alienation Global Support (Community Group)
- Parental Alienation is Child Abuse
- Parental Alienation Warriors Unite
The following four links are the result of an internet search using keywords: "Mother's Day" and "Estrangement". The links are to articles recently posted and to articles that didn't have those annoying popups that appear all too often these days.
- Mother’s Day Cards I Could Use As An Estranged Daughter by Katie Naum, writer, blogger, memoirist. May 9, 2015, on Huffington Post.
Note: To get a different perspective on Katie Naum's “Cards”, try the following changes and then read them again while imagining that they were written by a mother. I have numbered Naum’s “Cards” from 1 to 11.
In #1 change the wording to:
“Thank You For Living In My Womb and Being Born. (inside) That Part Went Pretty Well From My Perspective.”
Read #s 2 through 9 unchanged but as if written by a mother.
In #10 substitute the word “Mother” in the place of “Daughter”.
In #11 substitute the word “Daughter” in the place of “Mother”.
My request to look at the “Cards” as though written by a mother instead of a daughter is to bring a different perspective to what was written. I am not making a judgement. I am asking the question: If a mother had written those “Cards”, what would that say about the Mother? If the answer is different from what it says to you about the daughter who wrote them, why would that be so?
- Mother’s Day trials: How to deal with being cut off by your child by Sheri McGregor, Life Coach, May 8, 2015, on Quartz
- Mother’s Day for the Motherless by Melissa Charles, wife, mom, humour blogger, May 8, 2015, on Huffington Post.
- What my mom and I never had by Rob Cottrell (writing under his wife, Susan’s, name), May 9, 2015, on Patheos
A common experience that is talked about in a lot of groups where family estrangement is discussed is the one of being labeled with a pathological condition by the person from whom you are estranged. With their only qualifications being that they are related to you and that they knew you once upon a time, they diagnose you as being something that is generally thought to be pretty horrible. While there are people who do deserve those labels, there are a whole lot of people who do not.
I am not going to argue with anyone about the fact that there are people who are not objective about their relatives and who don't know what they are talking about when they malign them. It happens far too often. When the person maligned does not deserve what is being said about them, this behavior is abusive.
I found a very good discussion on this experience that I am linking to here:
How to deal with exaggerated claims by EC (thread begun on March 20, 2015)
It is rare to see an account of the experience of Parental Alienation Syndrome given from the perspective of the child. This link is to an online memoir by the child, now grown up, and writing about her experience. Her descriptions of events as she remembers them are riveting.
A mother and grandmother who posts on her own blog about family estrangement and the loss of relationships with her son and grandchildren wrote to me this week. She sent me a link to her blog for inclusion here.
I took a look and like her writing so much that I am happy to provide a link to her blog here: Family Estrangements: When grandparents are denied access to their grandchildren and have added it to the Links Page on my Estrangements.com site too.
I found a website, rejectedparents.net, that was created in 2013 to offer support and information to parents who have been rejected by their adult children. It includes a discussion group for estranged parents.
Here's the link:
Parents of Estranged Adult Children: Help and Healing
When Adult Children are Estranged: Support and Information
If you’re new to being estranged and to online discussions of the condition, you might not have experienced the word Narcissistic (with a capital N in the context of Narcissistic Personality Disorder) occurring frequently in discussions of family estrangement. If you are a longtime survivor of family estrangements, it would be hard to imagine that you have not encountered those two conditions, Narcissism and Estrangement, being mentioned as related to each other. Parents are labeled as having (or being) NPD. Kids are labeled as having (or being) NPD. It seems some days that just about anyone who gets up in the morning and thinks or says anything positive or negative about themselves must have NPD according to someone who has estranged them or is estranged by them.
Parents and adult kids in online discussion groups report being accused of pathological narcissism. Parents and adult kids regularly diagnose their respective adult kids and parents as having NPD. There are groups set up just to discuss the narcissism of parents. Oddly, since it seems that the condition of pathological narcissism would not be restricted only to those who see themselves as offspring but could be suffered by anyone, parent or adult child, there are no groups set up by and for parents specifically to discuss their experience of having offspring who are pathologically narcissistic. The reasons for that are open to speculation.
Anyway, what brings me to my blog this morning is an article that I read online about NPD by Slate staff writer Katy Waldman that I thought was worth adding a link here. She mentions a number of points that have occurred to me over the years of reading about the personality disorder of NPD and she includes links to other references on the subject too. Considering this subject is one that comes up so very frequently in relation to the condition of family estrangement, I thought it was a very appropriate and worthwhile link to share here.
I've been thinking a lot lately about the baggage that people carry and how people interpret who and what other people are. The series of posts I wrote about Being Wrong were motivated by my desire to get through to those who believe they are right no matter what, no matter if there is evidence that they may not be as right as they think they are. I've addressed this issue of baggage in years past and have made a permanent page link, to one post (written in May 2007) titled "On Baggage" in the left side bar.
I think that we all carry baggage but I think that when we are aware of our own baggage and our own limitations and history, we might become less likely to be so sure that we are right all of the time. If we are wrong less of the time, I can't help but think that would be a good thing. However, I am aware of my own limitations in getting this point across to strangers. So I have to accept that -- my limitations.
I have seen that there are some who have not figured out what I was trying to communicate with my posts on Being Wrong. I was trying to write on the topic without being more specific as to who or what inspired me to write as what I wanted to communicate was meant for many, not for a specific person or persons, even if the topic was motivated by the actions of a small number of people. I did not want them to feel singled out. And they are not the only ones who do the kinds of things they have done. I accept that I may not get through to anyone who believes that they are always right and that they always do the right thing even while they are being abusive.
As a result of what I have been seeing and thinking about lately, I offer the following links to the wisdom of others. I am posting the links and my reasons for offering each link.
1. I offer this link to the Shrinking Woman video because the poet addresses the issues of how women so often feel as though they must be smaller and smaller and smaller, both physically and in terms of behavior, rather than be large and make waves or complain or argue or do anything that men do. When men talk about what concerns them and make waves and stand up for themselves and share their experiences, they are seen as strong and brave. Women who do the same things are typically criticized, insulted, demeaned and called names. They are treated this way not only by men but also by women, especially by women.
2. I offer this link to a post on a blog that belongs to Danielle LaPorte because I have been told that it would be better for me to delete my blog. That I would be a happier healthier person if I deleted my blog. The reason why I have this blog is because I thought it would be appreciated by others who were experiencing estrangement to know that they were not alone in this experience. I shared my experience, not because I enjoy talking about being estranged and need to put myself out there, but because I believe that there are others like me and that they may feel alone in having this experience. When I started the website and blog there weren't the number of places online where there was information about family estrangement and there were no blogs where anyone was talking about the experience.
Yes, I could take the blog down. I have been tempted to do that but I have not given in to the temptation. I still think that the information here including my sharing of my own experience could be of help to someone. It costs me little to let it stay up. I do let my living my life take priority these days and rarely have anything to add.
3. I offer this link, Karma - Insults, which is from the blog, Quotes About Living from Doe Zantamata's "Happiness in your life" book series. I offer this link because of the baggage that causes others to do things like offer their amateur diagnoses of the people from whom they are estranged. Not everyone does this. Some people do have the opinions of mental health professionals as to what is wrong with their relative. For example, my mother really was mentally ill. She saw psychiatrists for almost sixty years and was in and out of psych wards.
4. I offer this link, Karma - Allowing change, from the same series because I believe that Zantamata offers a great truth in that quote.
5. I offer this link, Karma - Expectations, also from the Zantamata Quotes About Living, because it gives an explanation why some people find it so hard to trust that someone else doesn't have some evil agenda for why they do anything nice. Not all estranged parents and not all estranged children are people with personality disorders.
Many estranged parents and many estranged adult children are pretty much nice normal people who would be kicked out of any therapist's office in short order because they don't have anything sufficiently wrong with them for the therapist to help to resolve. And many of those who wouldn't be kicked out of a therapist's office don't have a whole lot seriously wrong with them either.
If someone can't believe that someone is a nice person no matter how nice they are, then it says more about the person who wants to believe bad things than it does about the person who is being maligned. It might not say bad things about the person who is believing untrue things but it does say something about them.
Someone can be a good person and still believe untruths. This is what inspired me to write about Being Wrong. Because I believe that many good people believe bad things about other good people who don't deserve being so maligned. After all, it is said that you have to demonize someone before you can hate them. It's a lot harder to dislike and hate someone who really is a nice enough person. So, to estrange them successfully, it helps to demonize, demonize, demonize!!
I recognize that I likely have not made much headway in making that point about baggage. I hope that somewhere out there my point is clear to someone. Or if not now, some day perhaps.
I am reading estrangement into the action taken on old photographs.
They say a photograph is worth 1,000 words.
The photo above is a carte de visite (cdv) from the early 1870's. The mother's face was scratched out in the negative prior to the image being printed. It would have been scratched out by the photographer himself. Perhaps she was his wife whose face he never wanted to see again. The photo becomes an iconic image of estrangement.
I imagine that she was once loved and that the person who had loved her must have been the same person who scratched her face out of the negative before printing what may have been the only image of their child. (Why else would someone print an image that they had damaged in tis way?)
Here's another one, a tintype from the 1860's to 1870's. Like the cdv, the mother's face was scratched out by the person who made the tintype.
I doubt that they were able to forget the person with as much success as they removed their faces from the photographs.
When does recovery occur? When do you get over a serious loss?
Some things you never "get over" but you can heal. It is possible for life to go on. You know you're getting better when you make better choices. As described in the poem below.
The poem is from There's a Hole in My Sidewalk: The Romance of Self-Discovery by Portia Nelson.
Autobiography in 5 Short Chapters
by Portia Nelson
I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk
I fall in.
I am lost ... I am helpless.
It isn't my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don't see it.
I fall in again.
I can't believe I am in the same place.
But, it isn't my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in ... it's a habit ... but,
my eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.
I walk down another street.