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Are you estranged from a family member?

Are you estranged from a family member? Have you attempted to reconcile? Share your story and read what others have to say. Join the discussion by posting a reply below.

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Newbie

Here is my story. I was married for 17 years, had 2 beautiful daughters and my husband had an affair with a co-worker who he ended up marrying. He died of stage 4 lung cancer at age 60, she inherited a million dollars and has taken my daughters and families to Italy, France, Costa Rica just to name a few. They have bonded with her over the years and I feel they are now closer to her than me. I moved to Southern California 20 years ago when my oldest was going to college here and my younger one too. I fell in love with living here. My daughters moved back to the Bay Area due to husbands and jobs. The step mother lives close to them. The girls and I have had differences in how I treated the divorce from their father and have resentments toward me. That was 27 years ago and we now have been estranged completely for 2 months. That woman will be in my life the rest of my life. She had a relationship with my husband and now my children and grandchildren. Has anyone else had the same experience?

 

Heart of gold

Social Butterfly

@SallieC963223  I first want to welcome you to the online community.  Next, tell you how sorry I am that you have gone through this estrangement with your daughters. My post on this thread from 2/11/21, and the posts on 3/2/21 from Rosemary and myself, may help.  Continue to find ways to keep communication channels open. Wishing you the very best.

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My story is very quite odd my daughter is a family psychiatrist deals with family counseling when I was taking care of my father and she had not yet got her doctorate it was a very bad time very stressful for me I don't know what happened they I have two daughters they will not talk to me many people have gone up to them and ask them why and I've even asked my own counselor if he had any idea of how I could reach them or what I should do I would call them monthly to let them know that I was thinking of them my door and hardware always open I would not bring up the test my daughter got married did not invite me I was there of course hiding in the woods they got married outside I hear absolutely nothing from them somebody said to me that one of my daughters said I was abusive her husband said I was abusive and if that was the case it was never physical of course I was very strict because my ex-husband was not strict and I was worried about my girls my ex husband talked badly about me on a regular basis where I did not talk badly about him it's been 3 years since my father died I have tried everything I know of to reach them I do keep an eye out on the internet and I keep making sure that they are okay as best as I can I am at a loss my daughter is a family therapist but yet she can't come to me or allow me to come to her and we don't even have to talk about the past I really believe that I will never see them again and I'm wondering if anybody has any advice I've tried everything they even called the police and said that their mother loves them too much I don't know what else to do anything would help

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Periodic Contributor

I'm so sorry. It's so difficult, and it's ridiculous that a psychiatrist can take it to this extreme. Then again, many therapists of all kinds have all sorts of problems, which may have led them to go into that field anyway. I would read "Done With the Crying," which is a great book on estrangement, and I'm reading that now. I'm also reading articles on estrangement, which you can find on the internet. I don't like the ones by Joshua Coleman or that have him mentioned in it...he often blames the parents. Look for ones by Sheri McGregor or from other authors. Those who tell you that you can reconcile may be giving you false hope. I lost all hope for my daughter, even though it's only been 5 months, but she's being egged on by her brother, who is very convincing, and my daughter has a mean streak in her which is showing big time now. My divorce from their father started this parental alienation, which is very real, and that may be what happened in your case. If your ex badmouthed you, then you might be a victim of parental alienation syndrome. Take care of yourself first so you can be strong for you. Sometimes reaching out to our kids after awhile is wasted effort. I sent my daughter a heartfelt written letter, then a birthday card, and then a postcard, and heard nothing. She doesn't even care if we sell her things...I told her to let me know what she wanted to do with them. I understand how you feel. It's awful and it hurts, but we have to live our lives and not waste time being sad, because what they did was cruel. Hugs to you! You're not alone. There are many Facebook groups for estrangement, and they are helping me. 

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Bronze Conversationalist

@Bobbye59   If I might make a suggestion?   Posts are VERY hard to read when people don't use punctuation, or capital letters in their sentences.  It's hard to understand when they don't make a point of letting the reader know when a sentence ends and a new one begins.

You may want to go back and edit your comment so it is easier to understand?  Thanks!

 

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Recognized Social Butterfly


@RosemaryF433825 wrote:

@Bobbye59   If I might make a suggestion?   Posts are VERY hard to read when people don't use punctuation, or capital letters in their sentences.  It's hard to understand when they don't make a point of letting the reader know when a sentence ends and a new one begins.

You may want to go back and edit your comment so it is easier to understand?  Thanks!


Or, too verbose.

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Periodic Contributor

Let's try to be kind. Kindness is important here. 

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Bronze Conversationalist

Who are you making your comment to? I just received notice of your comment. These posts were written like 9 months ago?  And I don't even post is this forum anymore...

 

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It's a problem that my wife and I have endured with each of our family members for over 14 years now. We are the only ones who stepped up to provide caregiving to our elderly parents while every sibling in each family walked away and went on with their lives. The past 8 years have been during our retirement, which really hasn't been easy since they are all off enjoying theirs. It's been hard but we've come to see that it happens in many other families. My wife and I have always believed in honoring our parents for all that they provided for us. You just can't walk away when they are elderly and in need. It's a shame that other family members seem to forget that. We've lost 2 of our parents in the past 3 years and our estranged family members really don't know how much they were missed by them. It's selfishness at it's worse. My wife and I have no regrets and many happy memories.

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My father was estranged from his siblings long before I was born and I never met a relative on his side of the family. 

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Periodic Contributor

Where to begin. My kid has not spoken to us in 3 years. Ever since she started College she has been a different person.

 

Whats funny is that it all began when she went to College. She met this spoiled little **bleep** who bragged right in our faces and said we should pay for her college and how if he wanted to he could be a student for life. Well the last straw was when our daughter said she wanted to movie into back room, we cleared it.  The next day, she comes with guy and they attempted to sneak in and get her stuff that she stored in the back and leave.

 

I suffer ADHD and it was on 11. She is Atypical. Asked her why she was sneaking around like a apt renter trying to sneak out on paying the rent. Were did she learn to treat us so. And she had no answer and this is were ADHD takes over you tongue and I was feeling so hurt that I think I told her that she should get on to her new "curse followed racial epithet" family, yes it it was badly wrong but spilled milk. At least they broke up.

 

Yet now we are persona non Grata and more then that she goes around telling people how terrible it was.  Excuse Her mother is a badger. She had to take our daughter to UCLA for a very serious issue. Come back in xxx time they told her. Her mother was in the door to see the Doctor in minutes. We were always ready rattle cages to protect her no matter what and she is out maligning, a deeply loving and caring woman her. A better wife and mother I could not have asked for.

 

We dont mind sending her money now and then as we couldn't afford it. Soon we believe will be able to help her a lot more. We dont want to close the door, we want to help her because she has done well on her own and I would be proud to assist her. Im so damned proud and so dam anguished at the same time.

 

In the meantime we have to a peaceful neighborhood and I have mastered a type Zen that keeps my ADHD in check. I dont know what to do. No address, no  email. We go thru my sister in law.

Stop sending money? Foreword a letter to her?

 

 

 

Periodic Contributor

I would definitely stop sending money. That means she's using you. That can't be helping your sense of self-worth. I'd stop that immediately. Check out the private groups for estrangement on Facebook. They help me. 

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Anonymous
Not applicable

Hi @SilveWolf have you tried family counseling? Personally I had to step away from Florida where my family is. It has been hard as I miss my only child EVERY DAY. But living in Virginia has helped our relationship because it FORCED me to LET HER BE HER 🙂 Here my suggestions.

  1. Keep busy.
  2. Work on yourself.
  3. Spend time with your wife, tomorrow is not promised.
  4. Did she ask for your financial support? If no, stop. If yes, be very careful as chances are you are going to need it on down the road as you guys grow old.
  5. Is she your only child?
  6. Do you have a furbaby? My Jeremiah was my best friend. We would cuddle, hang out and take walks. I miss him very much but GRATEFUL for the time we had 🤗
  7. We ALL face rejection in life, even on this board. But as long as we LEARN how to PROTECT our INSIDES, we bounce back and try something else. At age 63, after retiiring last year July, I made a PROMISE to myself to do the following (a) not chase after anyone. Not everyone is mean't to be in your life. (b) let my daughter be her best and ALLOW her to want me in her life. We as parents need to get BUSY in OUR LIVES, being someone CARING AND FUN. It took many years of tears, anger and hurt, but we finally have a very SPECIAL BOND. One of RESPECT.

Hang in there!!!

Social Butterfly

The fact that so many have responded to this question, is a testament that, sadly, family estrangement is very common.  There is some comfort in knowing that we are not alone. I struggled for many years after one of my daughters stopped talking to me after my divorce from their father.  The interesting thing is that he was the one having a relationship with a married co-worker, and my daughter has a relationship with him!  You can beat yourself up wondering "what you did wrong," but sometimes there is just no answer, and you have to find a way to have peace with that.  Counseling helps, and a good relationship with my other family members.

Bronze Conversationalist

@Rhymesometimes   There is no reason to "beat yourself up wondering what you did wrong."   You are not responsible for the decisions that others make as adults.  They are.

Social Butterfly

Rosemary,  You are absolutely right!  We hope ( as parents ) we have instilled strong values and a good moral compass in our children. But,  once they are adults, they are responsible for their choices and behavior. Oh yes, and the "natural consequences" that come from that , good or bad. Christine

Contributor

I am estranged from my identical twin. She becomes angry at me and gives me the silent treatment almost every time I see her. When I would try to talk about it that would anger her more. I became very anxious around her and was constantly apologizing. After decades I told her I couldn't live with that kind of relationship anymore. She became very angry and said I need to learn to get over things and let things go back to the way they were. I said I couldn't do that and I was done. She reached out a lot but never offered to work on the relationship and I was too afraid things would just be as before to respond. I answered her call on our birthday last year. We spoke a couple of the times but I was very anxious. She has stopped calling and perhaps my speaking to her made her guilt go away, or maybe she is angry again. In any case, I still don't feel I can go back to our old pattern and she hasn't ever indicated any willingness to work on things so although it makes me sad it's probably for the best. It's hard not to think that as far as she's concerned I'm just not worth the effort.

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Bronze Conversationalist

I was sorry to read about your estrangement from your sister.  As difficult as it was, (and I know from experience), I feel there comes a time when you need to walk away from a potentially destructive relationship.. even if it involves someone very close to you.  

It sounds to me like your sister is feeling something negative about herself, and trying to deflect it off on you. And you neither deserve nor warrant being treated that way.

It is HER problem, not yours.  Considering the fact that when you try and talk to her about it it only causes her to become more angry, I feel it is an indication that she doesn't want to face her own problem (jealousy? lack of self esteem? etc.)

As for worth the effort?  YOU are; she can't bring herself to feel SHE is.

Again, I'm very, very sorry.  I hope you will surround yourself with positive people and bring joy to your life.   : )

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My two daughters stopped talking to me about 15 years ago after I divorced their mother.  I have tried to contact them over the years but to no avail.  I am not sure why they stopped talking to me and am guessing it's over the divorce?  Now they have had children. I don't even know their names. Not sure what to do. Has anyone experienced this happening to them?

Periodic Contributor

This is very common after divorce. I'm a family lawyer and an estranged mother, so I know this first- and second-hand. I would try the private support groups on Facebook. I'm in a bunch of them and they help me. My son pushed me away after my divorce, and I had custody of him for 18 years! Now we're completely estranged because he was abusive, but my ex filled his head with garbage about me, and that's called parental alienation syndrome. He is in his 30s and he still can't think for himself! It's awful, but it's very real. It's become an epidemic -- estrangement, but one big reason is divorce. Another reason is mental health issues in the adult kids, and still other reasons are: lack of maturity to work things out with you, self-centeredness, and not "needing" us as much as they used to. Whatever the reason, you can work on this, and I'd suggest trying to get into the support groups, the private ones, and talk about things there. People are really helpful, and everyone is going through something similar. Most people are extremely kind in those groups. Take care of yourself!

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Bronze Conversationalist

I don't have children, so I haven't had this experience.  However...

Have you ever tried writing them a letter and letting them know how you feel?  Are they aware of why you divorced their Mother?  Perhaps they have the wrong idea of why it actually happened.  

Remind them how much you love and think about them too.  Sending you my best for a good outcome!

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Went to the hospital when my son Peter's wife gave birth to their first baby, and then went and picked up my youngest son to meet the new addition. While we were there he heard my daughter-in-law, the new mother, ask her sister who had come from out of state for the birth to bring her some clanazapam. Not wanting to upset anything in that situation, he and I opted to ignore it for the moment--but I was VERY CONCERNED, for several reasons. One, she should ask the dr. if she felt the need for something, let along a prescription med.; two, the hospital should know what she has ingested; three, she was about to start nursing a newborn baby; and another concern was that her visiting sister didn't even have to ask what it was nor where to find it for her. I eventually mentioned my concern to a friend of my daughter-in-law--and got EXPLODED on! She inappropriately went off on me in public in front of my 2 grandkids and stormed off, and I have since been cut out of any contact/communication, not even a Christmas card.

Periodic Contributor

Don't let other blame you for this! I understand how some people here feel, but not everyone did something WRONG!! Maybe you did nothing wrong. I understand you did this out of concern. I said something to my daughter out of concern and she turned that around to make it look as if I said something way off base. That's on them! You had a concern, and you were justified in your concern, especially if she was nursing. Maybe she reacted to your telling her friend, and it would have been better to discuss it with her directly. Well, we're not perfect. We make mistakes. In my case, maybe I should have explained why I said what I did, and that it was out of concern, but that wasn't what caused the estrangement in my case. It has been building up this past year, so she estranged in late summer, and she would've estranged sooner or later anyway. Don't put too much blame on yourself!!! The adult children will blame you for everything, so don't add to it. Be kind to yourself. We're not perfect parents. There's no such thing. Our kids are so self-centered and full of themselves that they think we're disposable. We're not, but they act like we are and treat us as if we are. Again, as I suggested elsewhere, try the private support groups on Facebook. They're helping me. Another thing is to read the book "Done with the Crying" by Sheri McGregor. It's helping me too. 

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Periodic Contributor

Estrangement is so hard, but we all have to admit our own part in it. Mine cut me off when I lost weight (2 struggle with their weight but also dont really try to lose any).

In this, I can kind of see why she would be upset. I know we all get concerned etc. but it is their lives and just as we made mistakes and learned so must they. Good and bad..

Someone once said this to me and it made sense...take the fact that its your child out of the situation and instead, pretend as if it was your neighbor or coworker etc.  Would you have acted the same way? or would you have just thought to yourself,  "gee that's too bad or I hope it doesn't get worse etc." and go on with your life.

Or how would you fee if they in turn said something to you about being a nosy, busybody, and told you that you should mind your own business etc. 

Same thing, it might be true but that would be disrespectful and you probably wouldn't like that.

Its hard, we all just want the best for our kids, but we also have to let them be adults and make their own mistakes too. I hope that you are able to apologize and make things work out for your grandkids sake. Hugs.

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It's been 12 years since I've spoken with my sister, shortly after I had my son. ( yes- my sons father abandoned us ) My sister and I were always so close , as she was my best friend. It's just the three of us . My older sister, me and my young brother who has detached himself from all of us for a number of reasons

My sister has allowed her judge mental husband and our father to control things and they both contaminated my relationship with everyone in the family including my mother. My mother never took sides as she tried keeping in touch with me after I had my son. .

There was a time my young son and I needed a place to live and had to stay with my parents . Both my sister and husband loathed me for that and judged me by making sure my father made it so uncomfortable for us to stay there -it became both my sister her husband and father's job to make sure we were unhappy living there -  my mother never stood up for us , so we moved. I had to remove myself from them as it was too emotionally toxic and got so much more support from the church . Several years went by and I tried reaching out only to find out my niece ended up having four children and had to move in with my sister and her husband (who's actually my nieces stepdad) they were all so unhappy with what they had to now be responsible for especially at their age... 4 young kids and their daughter now lhad to move back in with my sister... she and her husband were not thrilled... I guess what goes around comes around. I decided to reach out to my sister thru text and she actually responded. My son was also invited to spend thanksgiving with them in 2017 and to see the kids whom he knows ( which I was never invited but I thought it would make my son happy as I was just as uncomfortable ) unfortunately my sisters husband behaved very badly towards my son and my son called me to come and get him , which I did. My sister refused to discuss what happened and ignored my messages. Some time went by and I decided to let it go and tried reaching out and she text back saying hello . I suggested to her for us to take our 77 year old mother out for her birthday and she never responded. My dog of 14 years passed away and she heard about it and sent a lovely text. I asked if she could just call me as I felt so sad and she never responded- that was a month ago. I'll keep on trying but it can be very exhausting:/

Contributor

My children were victims of parental alienation many years ago.  They were ordered into court mandated counseling during the divorce proceedings and I began to understand that their father had waged a long term campaign against me.  I worked a lot because he didn't so he had plenty of time to work on them.  He was also physically abusive and threatening to them but they still chose to live with him.  Over time they came to live with me periodically and I have many good memories but it didn't last.  Children who have been alienated suffer greatly because they lose all sense of security and do not trust anyone.  They do not trust the alienated parent because of all they've been told and because they have not felt protected by that parent.  They do not trust the alienator because they are smart enough to look around and see that something is wrong in the family.  In my children's case, they had no support system except their father.  He had driven off his own family very early and he had quickly driven mine away as well. As my children got older it was clear that they had trouble forming relationships with friends, mates, and coworkers.  Their lives had many disappointments but any effort I made to help was met with resistance and finally 'I never want to see you again.'  My youngest child took his life several years ago.  I realized for my own good health it was time to move on and make the best life I could.  I no longer know my surviving son and he doesn't know me.  We are both old now and I know I shouldn't trust him.  He took such satisfaction in his cruelty to me that it is better to leave the door closed.  I'm not angry.  I am sorry that my children not only lost their mother, they lost their extended family.  On their special days no family members, including their father, came to share with them.  No one remembers their names.    

Social Butterfly

I am so sorry for the losses in your life.  By being so courageous and sharing your story, you have given me  insight into the dynamic  of parental alienation and estrangement .  It has helped me see what may have very well taken place within my own family. Thank you for your wisdom.  It is very likely you have helped others too.  

Contributor

Daughter and son won't speak to me since their mother asked for/received a divorce; that was 10 years ago! Several attempts to reach out to them resulted a cold shoulder.  No abuse of any kind except working 60 hours per week to support their "have everything" stay at home lives until their mid 20's. I have forgiven and moved on, apparently they have too.

Honored Social Butterfly

Just want to say that everyone's stories are so sad, each in their own way. It is difficult to open up about family estrangement. In our own way, I think we are helping each other heal. There are some wounds that cannot be bound no matter how hard we try. 🙏

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