One of the most difficult journeys in life is the journey of grief that accompanies the loss of a loved one.
The stages of grief for survivors mirrors the stages faced by those who are dying. Grief is a cycle through which you will travel on your painful journey.
There is another kind of loss that is similar but also very different. Unlike the loss of a loved one through death, there are no flowers or words of comfort offered and no service to bring closure.
Mothers and fathers are almost always caught off guard when an adult child becomes estranged. Unlike cases of estrangement resulting from abuse, there is often no reason that can be seen for the estrangement.
The parents are often good and loving parents who are tossed aside emotionally by their child for real or perceived shortcomings.
The parents are left grieving a loss that is beyond comprehension and all understanding. The adult child may suddenly move out of the parent’s house or move far away without even saying good-bye.
The adult estranged child may suddenly stop returning phone calls and emails and stop visiting. When parents try to call or visit, they are stonewalled by their adult child.
Sometimes the estranged child will deny that there is a problem but a mother knows in her heart that there is something wrong.
It is a difficult and traumatic journey for parents and they often don’t feel comfortable sharing details with friends.
Even well-meaning friends don’t know what to say. Friends often assume that the parent must have done something to deserve the estrangement.
In some cases, the estranged adult child is a child of divorce who now blames the parent with whom they lived for the divorce. In other cases, the estrangement has nothing to do with the divorce.
Often the estranged child will even cut ties with some or all of their siblings and other relatives. These relatives are guilty of nothing more than being related to the parent.
Because there is no explanation or reasons given by the estranged child, the parent is left with only questions and no answers.
There are good days and bad days. Often past memories will suddenly flood the parent and will feel like daggers through the heart.
Parents’ stages of coping are much like stages of grief
- Complete bewilderment
- Deep and lasting sadness
- Search for a way to fix it
Issues parents must deal with
- What to do about birthdays and holidays
- Who to tell about the estrangement
- How to handle relationships with family members who are not estranged
- What to do about grandchildren they don’t know
- Whether or not to keep the estranged child in their will
- Whether or not to view Facebook and My Space pages
- Whether to keep trying to fix what’s broken or give up
Estranged Parents of Adult Children is an online support forum for parents trying to cope with the loss of relationship with their adult child.
In this forum, parents can find others who understand their pain, who don’t judge them, and with whom they can share the worst details.
If you are a parent whose adult child has chosen to remove you from the circle of their life, please know you are not alone. There are many others who know your pain. Visit the website www.estrangedparentsofadultchildren.com for more information.