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Has anyone been reunited with an estranged child

(51 Posts)
Jennyluck Sat 02-May-20 22:04:15

With everyone on lockdown at the moment, I was just wondering if anyone had been reunited with their estranged son or daughter ??? This could be a perfect opportunity to get in touch.
Unfortunately it’s not the case for me. My son fell out with me 3 years ago over his wedding. He’d say my jealousy caused it, I’d say it was him being inconsiderate that caused it.

Anyway, my husband is 76, coping with dementia, I’m only 64 but having to isolate for 12 weeks.
So I did wonder if my son might think, we’re not getting any younger and maybe this is the time to get in touch.
But no, it seems not.
I know it works both ways, but when we fell out, I was heartbroken. I just couldn’t go through all that again, if he rejected me a 2nd time.
So it has to come from him.

notanan2 Thu 07-May-20 02:57:36

they have no obligation to treat you the same. your relationship with them stands alone. People will spend the most time with the people they find easiest company.

Jennyluck Fri 08-May-20 14:04:54

Thanks for all your interesting comments.
Jealousy is a terrible thing, it’s destructive. But can be hard to control.
I wasn’t forever complaining and moaning to my son. It was a one off. We haven’t fallen out since he was about 18, he’s nearly 40 now. We’re not a family who are forever arguing and falling out.
But reading everyone’s comments, it’s actually stopped me wondering if he’ll every get in touch.
I know he won’t. He’s moved on, happy with his new family.
He will always think it was my fault. The last time I saw him he was so nasty to me, I don’t think anyone in my life has ever spoken to me the way he did. It was pure poison.
Fortunately for me I have a lovely family (only small), and a lot of very supportive friends.

Hithere Fri 08-May-20 14:59:27

Why did you fall out when he was 18?

It suggests you have had past conflict in the past.

notanan2 Fri 08-May-20 15:18:18

Its okau to feel envy. Its not okay to act on it, which you did.

When you act on envy you place the blame for your own irrational reactions on outside forces and others.

Just because you werent as a family having full blown rows doesnt mean that there werent problems, or that your son hadnt tried to address them with you in more subtle ways before eventually feeling that the only way to be heard was to go in strong

Sparkling Fri 08-May-20 20:34:12

I had nothing much to do so was rereading some of the posts and know I have commented on this one. One sentence leaps out as the posters reason for losing her son, he was inconsiderate whilst he would say you were jealous. That is just what it was. I do think he did his best that wasn’t good enough for you and you wanted to come first so were prepared to lose him rather than share him. It is a great pity life is too short.

Jennyluck Sat 09-May-20 08:27:05

We fell out when he was 18 because he resented having to pay for his keep. It wasn’t much. But I think when my children start work, they should contribute. I’d have to keep asking him for it. In the end we had a row and he told me I did nothing for the money, as if I was a servant. He stopped speaking to me. And moved out. He got into a load of debt and moved back home. This happened time and time again, we always helped him and welcomed him back. He had a serious accident when he was about 20, he didn’t live with us then, but had to move back so I could look after him. We had to move all is stuff back in. And of course he was in loads of debt, which I sorted out.
I do regret what happened, if I could go back I would and say nothing.
My advice to anyone else in A similar situation would be to say nothing, keep your emotions to your self.

TerryM Sat 09-May-20 08:48:47

OP . As a mother to a child who has a stack more to do with his inlaws I can possible understand your feelings of annoyance. However .....perhaps it is time to contact and apologise (yep you don't think you were wrong I realise that ) however to never see him again ? To never know how he is going ? However if you have already done that with no response perhaps it is time to realise it won't be you that can reconcile
I was an estranged only child. However mine was due to dementia . Father eventually put his foot down and mother just greeted me warmly and that was the end of it. I was devastated when my mother cut contact. The following years weren't great due to her dementia and dad's death however I am so glad I was there for her. Also when she was she....we laughed and giggled a lot

dogsmother Sat 09-May-20 09:01:27

My view is our children are only with us until they are ready to move on,
However we treat them is how we are going to be treated in turn. We have to be so very mindful of this as parents of youngsters as it’s only when they get to become adults and move along that we see we truly do reap what we sow.
They watch how we behave with them and they see how we treat and respect other people around us.

PetitFromage Sat 09-May-20 13:25:58

Yes, I have recently reconciled with my semi-estranged daughter, although she is still not in contact with her sisters.

It is a difficult path to travel. She ceased contact entirely for six months, although she did send birthday cards etc. She moved house without giving us her address, got married without telling us for over a year, and gave birth to DGD1, but didn't tell us for 14 months.

The pain runs very deep and I feel all of that anger and hurt and, yes, jealousy, as she shared all of these things with her in-laws and not with us (although I am genuinely pleased that her in-laws have been supportive). However, I am trying very hard to be positive and, as my husband has recently been diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer, this puts things in perspective.

I know that I have to move forward, the past cannot be changed, and what is the alternative? My daughter is genuinely making a big effort, frequent calls, messages, pictures of DGDs, enquiring after DH. home made cards etc. She can do no more, I know that. Sometimes, it is so hard not to say to her - don't you realise the pain you have caused, and the damage you have done - but what good will it do? As others have said, it will make her uncomfortable and therefore there will be less chance of further improvement in the relationship. She will be defensive and lash out. So I try to switch off and detach, sit on my hands, don't message when I am angry, and note that if I convey positive messages, I receive positive messages back. And that makes me happier - it is a gradual process, but it is better than anger. Baby steps and all that...

Our estrangement was also caused by a third party, her then boyfriend, now her DH/my SIL, whom I believed to be controlling. I intervened when I thought he was bullying her. It was a big mistake, but I am not sure that I could have made a different decision, even with the benefit of hindsight. In the end, whatever the hurt and the pride and especially the fear, you have to let love win through. Life is too short to do anything else. Sometimes - often - you need to take the risk.

@Jenny - I would advise you to please take that risk, although the results may not be instant. Plant a seed, and it may grow into something big and strong and magnificent. Don't give up. Children are hard-wired to love their parents, but families can be very difficult, and sometimes you need to step back a little and have patience but, above all, unconditional love. Good luck!

Pantglas2 Sat 09-May-20 13:30:39

Well said Petitfromage x

PetitFromage Sat 09-May-20 13:39:07

Thank you Pantglas. You have been a total inspiration to me.

In my darkest hours, I clung to those words you said to me all of those months ago - along the lines of 'the joy of the present overcoming the misery of the past'. Also, that it wouldn't happen immediately, but that I needed to give it time.

Thank you, my friend, I can't begin to tell you how much you have helped me. I hope you are well and still going from strength to strength with your daughter flowers

Pantglas2 Sat 09-May-20 14:11:09

How kind Petitfromage x I’ve always been happy to share my experience of estrangement and reconciliation in the hope that it helps at least one person along the same road.

I don’t pretend to have all the answers as each instance is different because we’re all different and what works for me or you may not work for another.

I’m enjoying becoming closer to my DD and family (especially now) and rarely think back to the bad old days as there’s no point - it can’t be changed.

Best wishes for you and your family flowers

PetitFromage Sun 10-May-20 05:21:09

Thank you Pantglas. I am so happy that things have worked out for you. flowers

HolyHannah Sun 10-May-20 07:02:46

My view is our children are only with us until they are ready to move on, However we treat them is how we are going to be treated in turn. We have to be so very mindful of this as parents of youngsters as it’s only when they get to become adults and move along that we see we truly do reap what we sow. They watch how we behave with them and they see how we treat and respect other people around us.

dogsmother -- Every abused child that has been driven to No Contact, that I know, would agree with that.

HolyHannah Sun 10-May-20 08:01:27

I’m enjoying becoming closer to my DD and family (especially now) and rarely think back to the bad old days as there’s no point - it can’t be changed.

Pantglas2 -- I love that statement. You are correct, the "bad old days" can't be changed. Regardless of what 'side' of estrangement any of us are on that is a 100% truth.

How people handle that truth/reality is where the conflict/dysfunction often kicks back in. It was my pain and injury from abuse that made me estrange. I accepted long ago my 'life situation' and I don't blame my mom for her questionable parenting skills, however, I do blame the cycle of abuse and those that choose to not break it.

My thought process is -- "I walked away because I have never been heard and any pain I have experienced to have been seen/acknowledged. And if that realization isn't painful enough? Less pain for me equals having no one I can call 'family' because I am healthier now and can see what a real/healthy family should look like/be. And I wasn't getting that at 'home' or with you."

My 'mom' would say and cling to, "You 'walking away' hurt Me so much! Until you apologize for the hurt you caused Me, I don't even want to hear about how You 'think' You were 'hurt' by Me especially if You are going to 'bring up' "stuff" from 25 or more years ago..."

What most EAC believe is that there was abuse/family dysfunction occurring. After someone has gone NC because of their perceived abuse and living with that since childhood, the last thing anyone in that position would want to hear is, "I've been suffering for 2/5/7 etc. years since you abandoned/hurt me." The 'kid' is going to counter with, "I've been suffering and hurt a lot longer then THAT."

And IF anyone thinks that's not how that story/truth plays out and the denial kicks in? A very honest EP talked about their estrangement and how their EAC tried to fix/help the estrangement...

Urmstongran Sun 10-May-20 09:00:29

I think you need to give your head a wobble Jennyluck. Jealousy is a corrosive emotion. Stop comparing and complaining. Why do people treat loving relationships as a competition?

Be kind in nature and generous in spirit and try to be happy when your families are loved by people other than yourself. Surely that’s wonderful for them? If you are a nice person they’ll want to see you, even if it’s not often. In the meantime, get on with your own life with a positive attitude.

I am also wondering - is your husband the father of your son? It puts a different perspective on things if he isn’t.

Jennyluck Sun 10-May-20 11:29:42

Urmstongran, my husband is his father, unfortunately at the time of our fall out , he was diagnosed with dementia, we could all see he wasn’t right, not his normal social self. My son thought he was being awkward with his in laws. In my sons defence, he doesn’t know about his dad’s dementia. My husband didn’t want him to know. I had all this going on at the same time.
I have moved on with my life, I support my husband in his confused world. It’s hard, but my other 2 children are such a help. And now , joys of joys we have a grandson .

Jennyluck Sun 10-May-20 12:01:47

Thank you all for your comments. I’ve only had time to get so involved with you all, because I’m in lockdown.its good to hear other people’s experiences. I know then it’s not just me.
If things with my husband had been normal, he would have stepped in and try to sort it out. Only realised later that he didn’t want to go to the wedding because he just couldn’t cope with it. It was aboard , I’d booked it all, so all that had to be cancelled. The day of the wedding was really upsetting. We were at a meeting for dementia patients. Learning how to cope with it. We are only a small family, just me and my husband and our 3 children. No extended family. We’re both only children.

Jennyluck Sun 10-May-20 12:05:57

Oh, husband was diagnosed after the fall out,

Tangerine Sun 10-May-20 13:02:37

I suppose, if you want to put out feelers towards your son, you could tell him about his father's dementia. Would it change his view?

I accept your husband may have said, when first diagnosed, not to tell your son but situations change.

We are all upset by different things. A different birthday gift would not bother me.

Hithere Sun 10-May-20 13:09:36

Many dementia patients are diagnosed after displaying symptoms for a long time, sometimes years.

This may have to do with how this dementia was dealt with before it was diagnosed, as OP says that the change of behaviour of the father was obvious

Did you suddently cancel your attendance to your son's wedding?
Did your son know why you didn't attend?
It must have upset your son a lot.

Jennyluck Tue 12-May-20 17:04:51

Hithere - my son told me he didn’t want me at his wedding, we were all set to go. Holiday book where the wedding was being held. Bought my dress, so had my daughter. I’d been saving money, so I could give them a decent amount of money.
But if he didn’t want me there, I couldn’t go.
I’m not petty over one gift. It was just the final straw.

Hithere Tue 12-May-20 20:27:25

Why didn't he want you at the wedding?

Smileless2012 Wed 13-May-20 09:52:58

That must have been heart breaking Jennyluck.

I wonder if the 18 year old version of your son, who fell out with you because you understandably and reasonably wanted him to make some contribution to his living expenses, is still a part of your son to a certain degree.

Maybe he still has some growing up to do, to recognise that everyone makes mistakes and errors of judgement and that without the willingness to communicate any issues can never be resolved.

Jennyluck Wed 13-May-20 18:12:25

He didn’t want me at the wedding because of our falling out. He said I was trying to spoil his wedding. I wasn’t, I just wanted to be part of it.
Smileless2012, think you’re right, his teenage self was a nightmare. His first serious partner asked him why he was so off with us, what had we done??? And he admitted we hadn’t done anything. He told me this himself. We’ve done so much for him through his adult life, he’s got into one mess after another. Both him and his husband have got well paid jobs, so he doesn’t need us anymore . Sad but true ??