Gransnet forums


Pattern of being estranged

(47 Posts)
1wend Tue 12-Oct-21 12:08:49


The wisdom and compassion of those who wrote in response to Bluefox made me join gransnet in hope of insight and support for my estrangement/s.
I am broken hearted about the estrangement of my adult son.
Being alienated is a pattern and I don’t know why. My daddy died when I was four years old. My brother and I competed for our mothers attention. Similar to bluefox’s situation my brother was the favourite. Our stepfather favoured my brother too. We didn’t have Any other relatives.
When I was in my 20’s our stepfather was dying from cancer and became demented but all his vindictive actions were toward me - such as removing every photo of me from every photo album and cutting them up in hundreds of pieces. He also wanted me out of the will. My brother took over the family business and was supposed to pay my mother rent, he didn’t, so I supported my mother. When mum died 15 years ago my brother contested her will even though he was to be given 65%, he felt he was entitled to all of mum’s assets.
I let the executor deal with it.
My partner and I were together happily for five years before deciding we would try to conceive. After discussing employment and lifestyle changes and telling my mum and and his parents. We stopped trying after 12 months and that’s when I became pregnant. He was not supportive and after our son was born he did not want to change his lifestyle. I discovered two years later he was developing a relationship with a friend of mine. He left me for her and they are married and still together. My son and I were very close until he was 12, he saw his dad every second weekend. Then he wanted to spend more time with his dad, so it became 50/50. I felt that his dad’s family were alienating me but I didn’t know how to counteract that, I just continued to be the best mom I could be. Gradually my son withdrew communication with me - I assumed healthy young adult independence even though I grieved for our closeness. At 23, he moved out of my home and into an apartment. 18 months later I was introduced to his partner. She is wonderful and I am so happy they are together. From her I learnt that I was the last person in the family to meet her and that his dad’s mother had told her I was “a piece of work” I was gobsmacked. When I tried to discuss with my son what perception his dad’s family had about me, my son became very defensive and told me “that’s my family you’re talking about”
We have had many discussions over the past five years about seeing a counselor to improve our relationship. He has never found the time. I email jokes or snippets of information I think he’d find interesting. I text once a week asking how they are, and don’t receive any response. Last month I wanted to confirm their apartment number address to send his partner flowers for her birthday. A week later my son gave me a New address- they have moved next door to his dad. I am bereft. I don’t understand why he didn’t want to tell me or why he and partner have moved. What can I do to have a better relationship with my son? Am I wanting too much because he is the only family I have? My only company is my loving and loyal dog - now 16 years old, I have become very depressed and withdrawn from everyone as again I don’t know how to manage good relationships, and fear being hurt further. Any advice gratefully received. What is wrong with me? Thank you.

1wend Tue 12-Oct-21 12:13:03

I added this to Brokenheated post. VioletSky suggested I begin new thread, and Smileless2012 added helpful suggestions.
Hoping others may have had similar issues and have been able to resolve them better than I. Grateful for Any suggestions. I am isolated and do not have any family. Friends are sympathetic but cannot relate. Thanks.

Namsnanny Tue 12-Oct-21 12:30:47

I want to give you such a big hug.❤
Sometimes I wonder if the act of estrangement is 'genetic' as so many of us find ourselves in this situation repeatedly?
Of course it isnt, but how to explain the reoccurance?
It seems to me you have been as kind and open as you can to your son and his partner.
I'm sorry I dont have any constructive answers as yet.
I just wish you well flowers

Namsnanny Tue 12-Oct-21 12:34:37

BTW you are not wanting too much
To be included in a loved ones life isnt a lot to ask.
To be rejected by them is an awful burden.

Granniesunite Tue 12-Oct-21 12:49:09

I have a daughter in in the same position as yourself …Divorced from a bully and still being verbally abused and undermined by him but my grandchild believes all he says and has distanced herself from her mum and the whole family..It’s devastating and very difficult to deal with.

A good physiologist, one who is highly recommended is a good start if financies allow, if not get your GP to get you help.You need to see what’s really behind this estrangement and taught strategies to deal with it. My daughter did this and it’s helped her immensely and I believe save her from a much worse fate.

The support thread on this forum is priceless and the support and advice from smilelessand the other kind ladies was a real help to me in the early days… grandchild is very much loved and missed every day and I yearn for a hug from her so much it hurts and I wouldn’t have coped without this virtual support.

The good news is with the right help and support you will see things a bit clearer and will make a better life for yourself.Hard to believe that at present I know but please do get help for yourself and in time you will see a change in yourself.

Bluefox Tue 12-Oct-21 12:53:38

Iwend, I’m not much good at coping with it myself. I just want to send you a hug. ??

Socksandsocks01 Tue 12-Oct-21 13:20:14

1wend. It's not your fault. It's nothing you have done or haven't done. There was a book I got immediately after my eldest son cut me out of his life It's called Done with Crying. It's great. I have 2 sons brought them up the same but rivalry and jealous always there. I too wonder why. We all do. And we have all different parenting skills and beliefs. And still we are all estranged from our kids and grandchildren. Proof It's not us being bad parents.

3nanny6 Tue 12-Oct-21 13:21:02

Iwend sending you a hug, you have had so many hardships to deal with and that was a blow to lose your father at 4 years old.

It is a shame that your brother became the favourite and because he knew that then that is why he became so greedy over the Will I do hope you at least got the share your were left and he did not take everything.

Having your husband eventually leave you also added to your problems but that was not your fault because he sounds like a person only thinking of himself so you were best away from him.
What really must hurt is the estrangement from your son although he has given you an address so that is something at least you know where he lives. The fact he has moved next door to his dad is not the best of news as his dad still probably wants to be smug and show how close they are.

You have said that you e-mail your son and text once a week but he does not respond which is rude of him although sometimes the young ones are busy and have things to do and do not see it as important to keep up too regular contact.
Also he has not found time to arrange an appointment with a
counsellor which you have been hoping for so it seems he is not as concerned about your relationship as you are.
I have had many problems with my daughter and now have not spoken to her for awhile and her eldest sister has moved to live with her and she just stopped talking to me so I do know what it feels like.
What I suggest is contact your son once more and ask about the counselling or even ask him to meet you for a coffee somewhere. Once you do that do not persist in asking him
again also maybe just e-mail him once a fortnight and then leave it up to him to contact you. I know it is the hardest thing to do but I began not bothering with my daughter/s and if I am not wanted in their lives then that is that I still have my life to live and make sure I find things to keep me busy and even dare I say happy.
You do not want too much and having adult children care for us can be wonderful but their is a sad reality that grown up children move on with their lives and sometimes just leave us behind without a second thought.
I am sure you will get plenty of other advice on here.

Hithere Tue 12-Oct-21 13:35:13

Sorry you are in this situation.

It is not unusual for ex-partners to paint in a bad light the other partner.

It is also not unusual for the children of the marriage to take sides with one of the parents.

Were you given exact examples why "you were a piece of work"?
It is hard to give more feedback w/o details

This could not be your case: I can say that as an estranged AC, my parents did raise me in a very dysfunctional manner because of the way they were raised themselves and they are blind to it, claim they are so much better than their parents and I was lucky to have them.

Smileless2012 Tue 12-Oct-21 13:44:10

I wonder why some AC's takes sides when their parents have divorced.

I never did. Perhaps that's because my parents had the sense not to bad mouth the one I wasn't with when I was with them.

My dad was better at that than my mum, that said I suppose if anyone was at fault, it was him and not my mum.

So sad when children regardless of their ages are used to get revenge on someone else.

Just reminding you of what I put in my response to you earlier 1wend there's nothing wrong with you.

VioletSky Tue 12-Oct-21 17:41:58

Hi again 1wend

I can't remembermy original comment but will try again.

You have had a really awful time of it and you really need to start taking care of yourself now.

I really wouldn't recommend mentioning the other side of his family to your son at all unless he asks you questions. You should let who you are stand instead of defending against them.

I think you should get that counselling for yourself, to help understand how a bad childhood can lead to choosing the wrong sort of partner or difficult relationships with our own children. I have done this myself and parenting courses, child care courses and it has helped me immeasurably to move away from what I learned in childhood.

1wend Wed 13-Oct-21 13:26:15

Wow I’m so grateful for your support and empathy.
Heartfelt Thank you to: Smileless2012, VioletSky, Namsnanny, Granniesunite, Bluefox, Socksandsocks01, 3nanny6, and Hithere.
I’d like to respond to each of you - is there some way to reply under a post? I lose track if can’t see what is written. blush. I’m sad so many of us have this heartache without explanation, and crave the hugs we had before. It’s easy for me to blame my ex and his partner- my ex friend, but I’m sure I’ve played some part in this, I wish I knew what, I am completely baffled by my ex MILaw’s comment. Yes, I will get counseling for myself. ‘Hithere’ is there anything your parent/s could say for you to chat/met with them?

VioletSky Wed 13-Oct-21 13:30:26

1wend just to let you know these threads are visited by estranged parents and adult children of abusive parents as estrangement means different things to different people on gransnet.

I'm estranged from my abusive mother

Hithere Wed 13-Oct-21 13:37:37


Yes, they could think what my reasons for estranging are and see what they can do to change that.

They would have to apologize for body shaming me, killing my self esteem, trying to make me dependent on them as if I want able to live in this world without them, not accepting me as I am instead of turning me into the person they wanted me to be, stop commenting on my appearance, clothing, haircut, stop their "recommendations" how I can improve, etc.

They would have to say and show me they would respect my decisions without discussions, even if they do not agree with them

It is not going to happen.

Allsorts Wed 13-Oct-21 15:18:50

Iwend, I am sorry you find yourself in this situation. Although it’s a common scenario, it is heartbreaking when you’re the one estranged, it really is a living bereavement as has been mentioned before. It is not your fault, the child gets used by the estranged parent, negative comments drip fed into a young mind. He will never be aware of how much hurt he causes you and I do wish I had words of wisdom to solve the problem but I haven’t. Why divorced partners can’t put the children first I don’t know, it’s much happier for the child to have both parents unified in their upbringing regardless of the reason for their split.
Is it possible you could arrange a meeting with your son, not to apportion blame, just to get things on track. Or write a letter saying you miss him and would love to be part of his life. It might work.
If I start to think I am never going to see my d again, which I might not, I get very panicky and scared, but I have tried everything, there is nothing I can do in my case, you might reconsider one day and I really hope you do,h((

Smileless2012 Wed 13-Oct-21 17:12:11

None of us are perfect 1wend we all make mistakes as parents and our children will make mistakes with their own children. We can only hope that our GC will be more understanding of their parents, so they don't find themselves estranged too.

Of course abuse is a totally different dynamic, and although our actual experience of estrangement is different to that of an AC who estranged abusive parents, its meaning is the same ie no longer being in a relationship with someone you once had a relationship with.

I'm so sorry Allsorts that you're still experiencing those feelings of fear and panic when you think you may never see your D again.

It takes time to adjust just like any bereavement takes time to work through. Even AC can be used as weapons by those who are hell bent on seeking revenge and/or punishment, just like younger children.

1wend Thu 14-Oct-21 13:20:21

Thanks ‘Hithere’ I’m sad that it seems your parents were insensitive to your responses - were they put down as kids? Did they think ‘teasing’ you was fun for you? My stepfather was always putting me down and calling me stupid- when I confronted him about it, he was surprised- he told me his stepdad did that to him and that’s what motivated him to prove him wrong!! I told him it wasn’t working for me. He never praised me before or after that discussion but the rubbishing eased off. Perhaps your parents don’t accept the hurt they’ve caused or maybe unaware. If you can find a space without anger to write and tell them I hope you receive the apology and respect you deserve.

1wend Thu 14-Oct-21 13:33:44

Hi Allsorts, like Smileless 2012, I am sorry you’re experiencing a lot of anxiety in this ‘living bereavement’ as you aptly named it. I wonder if writing down all the things you’d like to tell her if you were seeing her may ease your tension? Or if you wrote her a letter each week/ month as though she was in Africa. Whether you send the letters or not. Maybe one day you’ll get to give or send them to her? I’m going to write an email that I’ll send once a month to my son, just so I feel connected to him and even if he doesn’t reply, he’ll know I’m thinking of him and open to communication.

1wend Thu 14-Oct-21 13:45:45

Hi Smileless2012 (I’m curious about your name) thanks again for responding. Yes, thank goodness No One Is perfect ?.
I tried to be a great parent- all I knew was to give my son what I never received! Lots of time together with full attention, fun activities and experiences, teaching life skills, tried not to smother him, but I’m sure I did many things that annoyed him and I was oblivious. Single parenting is tiring and I was also working and caring for my mum, so I know from age 10 on for a few years I wasn’t present emotionally or mindfully. I also struggled a bit with his teenage rebellion as he would just go to his dad’s if he didn’t like my asking him to ie clean his room! shock Yes maybe if/when he has children he will get another perspective grin

VioletSky Thu 14-Oct-21 14:17:52

I hope you will try counselling 1wend the answers to these things are often inside ourselves whether we need to be accountable for our mistakes and imperfections or understand what it is about ourselves that allows others to treat us badly and how to put an end to it.. Or both

Hithere Thu 14-Oct-21 14:22:57

Nah, I tried 20+ times to address it with them for decades - they still claim amnesia and they do not know what they have done, "they just want what is best for me" and "they were the best parents they could be"

My only regret is not to cut them off sooner.

Dollygloss Thu 14-Oct-21 15:33:04

One thing I have learned from years of abuse from an ex husband is that you have to teach people to respect you, including your own children. You can be your usual friendly self but at the first sign of anything that makes you feel uncomfortable you have to call it out while its still a minor issue. I bet your son's father is no walk over, or his mother either. Perhaps some therapy to start you off, on line is an easy choice now. In the meantime pull back from your son. Being needy is going to make matters worse. Try and build more of a life for yourself with friends and interests. If you like yourself more you then the rest will follow.

Smileless2012 Thu 14-Oct-21 19:18:19

When I joined GN more than 8 years ago 1wend, it was the single estrangement thread started by a mum estranged by her son and GC. I chose the name because I was smiling less.

Well actually for the first couple of years I didn't smile at all. It's been suggested over the years that I change it to Smilesmore, and the friends I've made here usually refer to me as Smiles.

I was going to change it but GN has served me well most of the time under this name, so I decided to keep it.

All parents do things that do and have annoyed their children, can any child honestly say otherwise? You love your son and that's the most important thing. So much so that you wouldn't dream of poisoning his mine against his father.

I hope that one day he'll see what his father has done. So easy for him to be the 'good' parent when he wasn't facing the day to day problems and struggles that being a full time parent brings.

A good post Dollyglosssmile. I see contributions to this forum from parents who are afraid to stand up for themselves for fear of being estranged and losing their AC and GC, and despite their best efforts, get estranged anyway.

We want them in our lives, of course we do but we also need to think of our own well being too.

DerbyshireLass Thu 14-Oct-21 22:29:13

One thing I've learned from reading all these threads and various podcasts and blogs on the subject of estrangement is the importance of setting boundaries.

I let my DIL get away with murder purely to keep the peace. It got me nowhere. The more leeway I gave her the more she took advantage of me. I see now I made a rod for my own back.

When she threatened emotional blackmail I drew a line in the sand. I called her bluff and threw the ball back in her court. I did not initiate contact, I left her to stew for 8 weeks. She caved in first.

Now she's all sweetness and light......for now. ?. I'm under no illusions though, she will be back up to her old tricks sooner or Later but this time I'm prepared. The second she tries anything I will simply disengage again.

I've learned that's the best way to handle her. Not to even try to reason with her. She's incapable of seeing reason or anyone else's viewpoint. I found "passive resistance" works best with her. No arguments, no discussion, no engagement - just walk away, keep my distance and quietly get on with my own life.

I haven given neither her nor my son any indication how ill I had been as a result of their behaviour towards me. I showed no anger or resentment, in fact I just pretended I hadn't noticed their absence from my life, that I was happy and busy with my own affairs.

I now play my cards very close to my chest, I tell them nothing about what I have been doing, who I have seen, where I have been, what my plans are. I shall continue in this vein from now on, just keeping things light, bright and breezy.

The minute things start going Pear shaped or they start any nonsense I will make my excuses and cut the visit short. No drama I shall just make a dignified exit, and retreat back into my own peaceful world.

Iwend. I agree with the advice you have been given. It's time to put yourself first now. Don't be a martyr or a doormat. We know what happens to doormats, they get walked on. It's hard I know, but sometimes we just have to stop the people pleasing and stand up for ourselves.

I learned that you simply have to stand up to bullying and abusive behaviour. Let them know it's unacceptable and you will not tolerate it. And then just walk away. And don't back down.

One thing is for sure, if you are travelling through life as a solo, you have to care of yourself and think about your own health and well being. We solos don't have the luxury of a partner to have our back, we have to take all the flak.

You know what "they" say.....Put your own oxygen mask on first.

Smileless2012 Fri 15-Oct-21 10:01:24

You've demonstrated great courage IMO DerbyshireLass. You knew that if you refused to let their behaviour continue you could face estrangement, and for 8 long and agonising weeks, thought that was the case.

You stood your ground and as you say, "she caved in first". Now, you have no illusions and are able to see your son and GC once more, but have no idea how long this will last.

Fast approaching 9 years now, although it does get easier, it's never going to be easy. We'll never stop loving our ES and or having those moments when we wonder what our GC are like, and what our lives would have been like if we could have been GP's.

It's hard, but I can't begin to imagine how hard this situation is for you. "Put your own oxygen mask on first", absolutely.

We cannot control how others behave, we can only control our own behaviour and how we choose to react to the behaviour of others. You refused to play their game and took back control.

Good for youflowers.