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A small piece of the past revisited

It's been a long time since I wrote a post that talked about estrangement. It is almost a year since the dialogue begun on May 12, 2008 that I had with my estranged daughter in the comment section of a post on here. One point of contention for her was whether I would mention certain things or not in my blog. I would not agree to what she wanted from me but I knew it was a sensitive point so in my own heart and mind I had decided not to write about those issues unless I had a good reason to do so. Since May of 2008 I have not mentioned those issues here.

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Family Estrangement inspired by online philosopher

I found a startling news article online today about family estrangements that were influenced and/or inspired by the writings and podcasts of a man, Stefan Molyneux, who considers himself to be a philosopher. He has been blamed for a number of family estrangements initiated by followers of his writings and podcasts. He makes some money from subscriptions to his podcasts, from sales of his books, and from donations. His wife is reported to be expecting their first child. One wonders how that will work out in the long run, whether he will continue to vilify parents or what he might do once he becomes a parent himself.
This is the first that I had heard of him. Apparently there is a lot of information on the internet about him.
I looked around on the web and put together a collection of links on Molyneux:

  1. "How a cyberphilosopher convinced followers to cut off family" by Tu Thanh Ha, Dec. 12, 2008 in the globeandmail.com
  2. Comments in response to "How a cyberphilosopher convinced followers to cut off family"
  3. Family and Friends of FDR-ers on Liberating Minds
  4. FDR Liberated: A continuing analysis of the FreeDomainRadio Community
  5. Liberating Minds Forum Discussion of FreeDomainRadio on the LiberatingMinds website.
  6. FreeDomainRadio, Stefan Molyneux's site
  7. FreeDomain: The Logic of Personal and Political Freedom - The FreeDomain blog
  8. 'Website Led Teen to Quit Family' by Robin Powell, Sky News Online, Dec. 29, 2008
  9. "A fearful mother reveals: the internet cult that stole my son" Dec. 12, 2008 by Kate Hilpern, The Daily Mail

Update Dec. 31: Stefan Molyneux and his wife are the happy parents of a baby girl with whom they are besotted. This stands in stark contrast to the grief of parents whose children have "deFOOed". DeFOO is a term meaning that they have left their familys of origin (their FOO). FOO and deFOO are terms used frequently in discussions on the Freedomainradio website.

Molyneux has uploaded 297 YouTube videos as of today's date. His latest video has had 211 views in the five hours since it was posted. His YouTube name is stefbot. On his Freedomainradio site it appears that he has over 1,000 podcasts. The numbers for the podcasts go over 1,000. I haven't checked to see if that means that there really are over 1,000 podcasts.

More links about FreeDomainRadio and Molyneux:

  1. Like a moth to a flame, Nov. 18, 2008
  2. I have been signed out from Free Domain Radio, Nov. 17, 2008
  3. FDR at Sky News - video and print coverage, Dec. 30, 2008
  4. My brief experience with Stefan (in four parts), Dec. 28, 2008 (The experience of someone who calls himself Dash. Scroll down in the page to where Part 1 begins.)

Q&A on Writing and Coping with Estrangement & the Holidays

A reader asked me a question recently. She asked if I had any tips for dealing with the holidays. Another reader asked if I had stopped writing on my blog. I've been thinking about the answers to both of these questions.

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Father's Day and Estrangement: a keyword search on June 1 '08

  1. Monday, June 18, 2007: She She on Father's Day Quote from She She: "There are no black hats. There are no white hats. There is only gray, and it’s the most beautiful of colors."
  2. Tuesday, May 6, 2008: Word Count II: Dear Monty Quote: "At this time, I am thinking of just sending a Father's Day card with my name on it. That is all I can bear right now."
  3. Tuesday, May 20, 2008: Passiam's Lodge: Control is an Illlusion. Quote: " If you read my Tweet, it talks about my mother wanting to bring my estranged and financially-challenged biological father . . . "
  4. Wednesday, May 14, 2008 McCall's Manic Merry-Go-Round: Mother's Day Schmothers Day Quote: "Next celebration to consider -- well other than some conspicuous birthdays -- is Father's Day, which is when I give John his props for dealing with all, and resolving most, of the "Daddy Issues" I carry around."
  5. Monday, May 12, 2008 Crossing Channels: The Commodification of Feelings. Quote: "This epidemic has been caused by a consumer culture that preys on the minds of gullible individuals and turns them into consumers hungry for love."
  6. Wednesday, May 7, 2008: Dating Trials and Tribulations: Un-official dating holiday. Quote: "Why is it that the week before Mother's Day or Father's Day considered to be a dating "National Holiday", comparable to the Fourth of July, Thanksgiving or Christmas???"

New Jersey Support Group: PARENTS of ESTRANGED CHILDREN

I found an announcement online regarding a new support group. The announcement reads as follows:

A NEW JERSEY no-fee “PARENTS of ESTRANGED CHILDREN” community Support Group will begin meeting at the STARTING POINT in Westmont, New Jersey (Camden County).

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Interviewees needed for a video project.

Recently I became acquainted with a woman who planning to do a video project on family estrangement. She has experience in film projects and  knows what is involved in creating such a project. She also has personal experience with family estrangement. I agree with her that family estrangement is a subject that is deserving of attention. In support of her project I am including a message from her to the visitors to my blog. This message is from her to you.

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Support Groups: Part III: Creating your own online group.

If you can't find a support group that meets your needs and in which you feel safe, you can create an online discussion group. You can create such a group with the tools provided online by a number of companies that provide online services. Companies such as Yahoo!, Typepad, Google (Blogger), Wordpress and others.

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Support Groups: Part II (Online Support Groups)

Some online discussion groups have been offered on sites set up by the authors of books on the subject. Some online groups are public and anyone can read and write on the site. Others require people to become members using an email address or user name and a password but letting almost anyone join. Occasionally such groups may block a person who violates the moderator's rules of conduct but it is easy for someone to make up another user name, get another email address, and join again.

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Support Groups for those coping with a family estrangement. Part I

A mother in pain over not having had any contact with her recently estranged son joined an online support group. She talked about her feelings and how grateful she was to find the group and how rare it is for a grown child to estrange themselves from their parents. I tried to say that I thought that the situation wasn't rare but she would have none of that. She insisted that it was rare. As I thought about it more, I realized that she is right. Relatively speaking, it is rare. Not unheard of certainly but if you ask one hundred parents with grown kids if this has happened to them, you will find few, if any, who will say yes. Not that I have tried this. I haven't.

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Morning Meditation in Panera Bread

Panerasouffle_2I took myself out to Panera Bread this morning for a soufflé. I like their charming little soufflés with the browned top and the creamy inside, hot and a bit richer than what I should eat but oh so delicious! I needed a treat. Their coffee is passable but too acidic for my taste. I drank it anyway. Must have coffee!

When I left the house this morning, the first thing I heard was the beautiful full throated song of a bird. It was a gorgeous day. The sun was shining. The grass and the leaves were a brilliant green. I felt happy to be alive and out in the air, away from my computer and far away from someone who doesn't like me.

The interaction last week with my daughter was exhausting. Who knows what, if anything, was accomplished for her by the experience. That is a rhetorical question and I don't need an answer. For me, I feel as though I have a crystal clear idea of her viewpoints on me. Which isn't the same thing as saying that I have the same viewpoints. I am a different person and we have different viewpoints. I have agreed that those are her viewpoints and have said that I will not try to talk her out of them. Nor will I attempt to continue to discuss those things with her on my blog.

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Morning Meditation in Panera Bread

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Moving on. Detaching. Letting go. Damn the Torpedos!

"Damn the torpedos! Full speed ahead!"

I like to choose the right words when I am writing. If the words are not the right ones, then the message that I want to communicate isn't clear or is inaccurate. In my previous post I said that I would write next about "moving on." As I thought about the words "moving on" and as I began attempting to write this post, I realized that I know more about detaching than I do about moving on. In fact as a parent I don't want to "move on."

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Moving on. Detaching. Letting go. Damn the Torpedos!

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Q&A: Tips for handling Mother's Day while being estranged?

This morning I received an email from a woman who is a mother and who has been estranged by her grown children several times over 15 years. After describing the basics of the estrangement she said, "I need to move on with my life - any tips - and any help for handling Mothers Day?"

Tips for handling Mother's Day!? Her question inspired today's post.

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Q&A: Tips for handling Mother's Day while being estranged?

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Dr. Joshua Coleman on NBC's Today Show, Friday, Dec. 21, 2007

Dr. Joshua Coleman, family therapist and author of When Parents Hurt will be appearing on NBC's Today Show on Friday, December 21, 2007 in the 8 o'clock hour.

Followup note: I watched the segment (video link here). Call me a curmudgeon if you must but I was disappointed that the Today Show didn't give this topic more time. It seemed like one minute. Maybe it was two minutes. They showed the text of a few emails from parents who are in pain over estrangement. They had a brief segment of Coleman being interviewed. He was asked to give three tips for parents. He suggested, "Take responsibility. Stay in the game. Get support." And then, of course, there is his book. Which is an excellent book which would be the most helpful for those who are in situations where they have a conflict which has not yet reached the point of estrangement. The most positive thing that might come ouf of the Today Show is that parents may buy his book. MSNBC has this on their website now about Coleman and family estrangement.

I had been looking forward to the Today Show's coverage of this topic so was very disappointed that, in my viewpoint, the coverage was only crumbs of information. Not a full meal. Not even an appetizer! But maybe I am not seeing it the right way. I am seeing the cup as 80% empty when I could look at it as 20% full. One fifth of a cup is better than an empty cup! So perhaps I need to see the Today Show coverage as a needed acknowledgment of the painful losses that so many experience through estrangement. And I need to thank the Today Show for their two minutes of coverage of family estrangement. After all, time is valuable. And they have so many other things to discuss. Hmmmmmm. Like Christmas presents or something.

So much power is in the media and then they don't use it. They spend more time on cooking recipes than on important issues that affect people's everyday lives.

Grrrrrrrrrr!
Ginny (who likes food as much as anyone but wishes that the media would present food for THOUGHT sometimes and not just food for the stomach.)


Reconciliation: An opportunity to be surprised and impressed.

In recent months several friends and acquaintances have been reporting either reconciliations or communications from relatives that may lead to a full reconciliation. I have been delighted for them. Some have reconciled even though they had been assaulted physically by the relative who estranged them. Some had experienced verbal abuse. In each case they were delighted to hear from their returning relatives.

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Reconciliation: An opportunity to be surprised and impressed.

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When do we stop talking and get on with our lives?

My mother had estranged herself from me from 1978 to 1981. My estrangement from my daughter began in 1995. The current estrangement from my mother began in 2002 at my initiative. I created the website, Estrangements.com, in 2001.  I've been reading, writing, thinking, researching, and talking about family estrangement since 1995.

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When do we stop talking and get on with our lives?

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Texas organization: Healing Estranged Relationships (H.E.R.)

This link is to an organization in Texas that offers support groups to those who are estranged. It sounds as though the groups meet in Texas only so far but that their long term goals may be to branch out to other locations.
H.E.R. Group

Their email address on their site which wasn't working earlier has been fixed and is now working.


When Parents Hurt by Joshua Coleman & related links

I heard of this book for the first time yesterday and visited the sites at the links above. This sounds like a compassionate book that would be of interest to many parents who have lost their relationships with their children.

A reader mentioned "When Parents Hurt" to me yesterday and sent me a link. I thank her very much for letting me know about it. I hadn't heard of it before. It was published in July 2007.

Ginny


Estrangers & Estrangees: Two sides of the Fence Called Estrangement

The Problem with Discussing Estrangement Online.

People who have a family estrangement tend to have experienced one of two kinds of situations: they have decided to become estranged from someone or they have become estranged due to someone else's decision. The first group I call Estrangers. The second Estrangees.

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Estrangers & Estrangees: Two sides of the Fence Called Estrangement

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The Pitfalls of Online Communication

This is a link to a New York Times article on the pitfalls of online communication through email. (There is some chance you might have to register with the NY Times to read it. But if you do, registration is free and the NY Times has a lot of cool stuff to read!)

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The Pitfalls of Online Communication

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On Baggage

I receive email occasionally. Most emails come from mothers who have been estranged by their adult kids. Much less often, maybe twice a year, I get an email from someone who has estranged their mother or both parents. (I rarely get emails from men who are fathers or sons. I may have received two emails from men in six years.) Invariably the reaction to my website and blog is different for mothers who have been estranged by their kids from the reaction of adult kids who have estranged their parents. (I can't recall EVER getting an email from a parent who has estranged themselves from their kids.) I've written on the baggage we all carry previously. I made a series of posts about baggage which can be found in the Creative Expressions category (see link in side bar).

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On Baggage

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