When Your Adult Child Becomes Abusive

miserable

If your adult child or children were anyone else on this planet, would you allow them the leeway that you are giving to your abusive child or children?

Tough question to answer, isn’t it?  Part of that is because we have that “bond” with our child or children as a parent that supersedes any other relationship that we can have or have had in our lives.  Love is blind as they say so, we often blindfold ourselves to the three dimensional view of our child or children.  We can see glimpses of their flaws and faults but, that’s as much as our guilt will allow us to see.  It’s nearly impossible for us to be as fully objective about our own child or children as we may be able to be with other people.

The word “guilt” was used for good reason. As parents, not only does the love we have for them become overwhelming and blinding but, we tend to tie our own self-worth into our child or children.  The moment we dive deeply into being critical of our own flesh and blood that we brought into this world or even adopted from someone else’s womb, we tie ourselves to that child or children in a way that we cannot tie ourselves to anyone else on this planet.  A put-down of our child even from our own minds and whether we gave birth to them or not, is oftentimes, felt as a put-down upon ourselves as both parents as well as who we are in general as people.  If our child or children are not doing well in life or is somehow “flawed”, we can unconsciously or even consciously, figure that it’s our faults.  We can leap to the conclusion that somehow, we have failed as parents and therefore we are also flawed as people in one way or another.

Not everyone will completely blame themselves for their child’s failures in Life.  Some parents will be able to see that our children have made choices in friends or groups that they’ve chosen to hang around and blame them instead of ourselves.  However, somewhere, deep down inside of us, there’s still a feeling of somehow being imperfect as a parent because our child or children have made those choices whether we’ve discouraged it or outright forbidden it or not. On some level or another, we feel “guilt” in one capacity or another and can tear ourselves to shreds as both parents as well as people.

This then leads us back to the question of whether or not we would allow any other human being to treat us the way that we allow our adult children to treat us.

First of all, were someone else to be treating us with any level ranging from disrespect to outright abuse, we’d likely toss those people from our lives to some extent or another, for some time frame or another or, more likely, until there was at least a sincere apology from that person.  If it was a long-termed thing, we’d likely walk away and not look back.   With family, it’s not quite that easy.  We can even find ourselves being victims as adults to poor treatment from our own parents and siblings out of a feeling of obligation and duty.  However, having said that, we can also come to a point where we begin to distance ourselves either somewhat or totally from them and their abusive or manipulative ways.  Friends or others in our lives are even more likely to be walked away from under these circumstances.  Our children are not quite as easy to distance ourselves from because of the above and for other reasons.

There is likely few people that we put more of ourselves into than we do with our child or children.  Even as adults, we are still invested in many ways in our children’s lives and well-being.  After all, isn’t that our job?  At least, that’s what we may reason with ourselves but, the answer to that is a resounding “no” once our children become adults and, we don’t need to continue to allow them to use, abuse or treat us poorly once they have become adults.  Our “jobs” are done.  We gave birth to them, loved them, raised them, gave them what we could reasonably give them and we supported them in more than a roof over their heads.  There are exceptions of course in the parenting world to this but, we’re talking about the average parent here, not those who were abusive to their own children or neglectful in any way.

There are a few things to take into consideration in how parents can deal with their adult-abusive or even estranged child (a topic that not many sites will deal with).

Your influence over your adult child was watered down many years ago.

We all like to think that we still have some sort of power or control over our children’s lives once they are adults.  For some, this is true but, for the most part, our influences over our child, all of our teachings, morals and values that we feel we’ve instilled into them, was long ago watered down by the influences of many other people in our children’s lives as they grow.  We are no longer their sole source of influence.  Peers, bosses, teachers and society in general, also including technology as well as entertainment venues, have taken over the largest portion of what affects them or doesn’t affect them once they are adults and have been doing so for many years before this point.  Oftentimes, those sources are the biggest reasons for their actions, decisions or choices at this stage of their lives versus us, as parents.  We therefore, cannot continue to place blame upon ourselves for everything that our children decide to do or not do.  Those choices were influenced by many other sources and we are the least likely sources at this point in our children’s choices or lack of them so, we can halt the self-deprecating right there for their poor choices or in taking the blame for the way they treat us now.

Having given your child too much attention or in short, spoiling them.

A lot of parents from the 1980’s onwards are likely guilty of having given their child everything they could possibly give them including monetary things as well as attention, devotion, praise and love.  Parents of children from the 80’s onwards were also victims to a new way of thinking about parenting. Society was at a point where the theory was to reward children for almost everything that they did, including potty training.  They got stars, praise and even rewards or trophies for simply participating no matter how well they did or whether they did anything or not.  They simply had to show up more than half of the time in order to get a reward of some type or another.  Even education was play based and grades were given out according to effort, not necessarily, achievement.

This was a time frame in which parents were also encouraged to praise our children to the hilt for even small endeavours in the home and, it was done by most.  Support, praise, rewards and more of the same.  No matter what children did or didn’t do in those times, they were rewarded for one thing or another.  Not only did that lead us to believe that our children could do no wrong but, it led them to feeling “entitled” to getting rewarded in one way or another no matter what they did or didn’t do.  It was that entitlement that turned a fairly good chunk of those children into little narcissists who believed that the sun rose and set on them no matter what they did or didn’t do.  That wasn’t just parental influence but, also that of society in general.  Even were children to be disciplined at home, they were rewarded for even poor attitudes and skills outside of the home. Parents couldn’t override an entire system and if they tried, the parents became “The Hated Ones” because the rest of society and its systems were telling these children that they were “entitled”.   We did them no favours as human beings because it made it tougher for these kids to grow up into a tough, dog-eat-dog world where they weren’t able to cope well because everything had been handed to them up until this point.  That wasn’t necessarily parent’s faults but rather societal experimentation that failed these children and turned them into narcissistic tending little monsters who eventually, would grow up into adults who felt entitled and angry when they didn’t get what they wanted anymore from Life or their parents.

The “experts” are still saying that parents should tell their children they are loved no matter how badly they’ve treated us or, even if they have walked away on us and are now estranged from us.

Not to put down the so-called “experts” but, how many parents have tried with their children, always telling them that they are loved, only to find themselves being either doormats or punching bags for their children?

Answer:  Lots!

Sadly, many parents of children from the ’80s onwards are now finding their either fully adult or nearly adult children, treating them like yesterday’s garbage and being tossed to the side while they’re still telling their child, “I love you” and continuing to do so no matter how badly they are treated by their children.

Far be it from me to tell parents to not tell their children that they are loved and wanted.  Every parent needs to let their children know that much but, when that child not only disrespects that parent but, treats them poorly, it’s time to give up on the loving words and time to get real with their adult children by letting them know that while they are still loved, their attitudes and abusive, using actions will not be tolerated.  Enough already with sending them messages of “I love you” and leaving it there while rolling with the punches.  These are no longer 10 year old children who can’t understand the meanings of their actions fully.  These are fully grown adults who must learn that for every action, there’s an equal or greater reaction.  That doesn’t mean withdrawing love for them however, it does mean that these adults don’t get to treat their parents poorly and still get the benefits that they would if they were treating their parents with respect and love too.  Poor actions get poor reactions.  Withdrawal of love for them is never a solution but, rewarding them by permitting poor treatment is not the answer.  They need a wake-up call for their sakes as well as the parent’s own well-being.

If you wouldn’t let others treat you this way and would walk away from them, why are you letting your child do this to you?  

As has been said throughout this piece in differing ways, rewarding poor behaviour is akin to a form of abuse from parents.  We are not doing them any good by rewarding our children for their poor treatment of us or by putting up with it and giving them more and more of ourselves.  Life doesn’t work that way so, why should we?

When a child is rewarded for poor behaviour, attitudes, actions, choices or decisions, it re-inforces that behaviour within them.  No, they won’t like being said “no” to nor, will they love the idea that they’re not getting their own way or what they want if we do start to stand up to them as adults and let them know that it’s not ok to treat us in a poor manner.  However, continuing to give them what they want, expect or feel entitled to getting, is only bolstering the idea that poor behaviour, temper tantrums, threats of withdrawal from our lives and whatever else they can throw at us to manipulate us into giving them what they want is simply training them to continue treating us as parents, wrongly, poorly and with disregard as well as disrespect.

Let me say something perfectly clear here.

Giving more of yourself and handing everything to someone who is treating us badly, let alone our children, is a recipe for becoming a “doormat” for others.  In short, we are laying ourselves down on the ground and letting people walk on and wipe their feet on us.  That’s not right.  We are people too and it doesn’t matter who they are to us.  

Sadly, sometimes, we have to let them go and hope that they will eventually come back otherwise, we risk our lives becoming infected with toxicity.  

There’s no bigger health threat than having someone we love, treat us like dirt beneath their feet and making us feel like we don’t matter in this life.  That goes for our adult children.  We all need to feel wanted, loved, respected and treated fairly and well.  We deserve that from others especially, the very children that we lovingly raised to the adult level and oftentimes, sacrificed more than a good night’s sleep for.  Many parents can tell stories of having given up great careers, being able to travel or do things that they, themselves wanted to do for themselves that would have made them happy, in order to give everything to their child or children, leaving themselves unhappy, unfulfilled and only to be treated in an abusive, uncaring manner or worse, have that child or children walk out of their lives, without contact, care or concern for their parent(s) and their well-being.

More to the point, those children have become what one can consider a “toxin” to the parent, making them feel as though they’ve wasted those years of their lives on someone who cannot or more to the point, return that love, care or respect to their parents.  Not only that but, it wears on the parent’s psychological well-being and soon after, their physical health.  It’s a vicious cycle especially, when the parent continues to feel as though they simply need to do more, try harder, give more or plead with that child to keep their love or the adult child in their lives.  It’s akin to a dog or cat, chasing their own tails.  It’s a fruitless exercise in not only futility but in a form of an illness of one sort or another.  It won’t change your child and sometimes, the only way to make one person’s lives healthier, is for the parent to either distance themselves, limit their time or exposure to that child’s ill behaviour and treatment or, to completely walk away if the child doesn’t do it for themselves.

Yes, that all sounds counter-intuitive to what we feel or have been taught to think of as “proper parenting” but, this all leads back to the original question….

If this were anyone else in your life, would you continue to let that person abuse or mistreat you?

If your answer is “yes” then you, yourself need to find some counselling because you’re not valuing yourself as a person and instead, are valuing others above yourself.

If you answered “no” to this question then, why are you allowing and encouraging your adult child to continue to do it to you?

From my little corner of life, while this is a longer piece than I usually write, it’s an under said topic that needs addressing more and more fully.  We’ve turned out a couple of generations of children now, both adult and children who need to learn that you aren’t rewarded for treating others poorly.  There are consequences to their behaviours and reactions to their actions of equal or greater proportion.

Be well and let me know what you are dealing with in the comments, please.

Best wishes from one parent to another or to adult children who might be reading this and recognizing what may be happening in their own relationships with their parents.

Comment!

 

 

 

54 thoughts on “When Your Adult Child Becomes Abusive

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  1. Thank you again. I am getting the help I need. I do not want to self medicate and have been able to steer clear of that trap. In that way I am fortunate. I was not abused as a child by my parents. I was a bully and then I became the victim of bullying so I have seen both sides.
    I will look on you tube and learn and grow from this. I have to. I promised I would survive and live on. I have to make the best of this time I have on this earth for me.
    The oxygen mask is on. It slips sometimes and I manage or someone who loves me helps to put it back on.

    Thank again. For taking this time to answer me. It means so much.
    Big hug to you

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  2. I also know that they are very hurt by the actions of both parents. That their lives have been turned upside down and they are not coping well. I don’t know how to help them. I don’t know if I can given my current state and how long it will take me to get better. I am sorry I have failed them. I wish I had more compassion for them I wish I could be strong for them. All I want is for them to be happy, healthy and have good lives. I don’t want them to be afraid that I will hurt myself again. It’s not fair to them. They need stability . They need to feel safe. I was hoping they would feel safe and loved we me. That’s the hard part. To know that they are better off right now without me.
    This too shall pass

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They need you to be stable, stronger and healthy but, NEVER mistake the fact that they need YOU! You are their mother. You gave birth to them and you raised them to the best of your ability. Never forget that but, DO allow yourself to be stronger as a person, inside and out, firstly. You can’t help anyone else without your own oxygen mask on first. And, you DO love those children or you wouldn’t be here, trying! :). XO XO XO

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  3. Thank you for your kind words and guidance. You are right in that I have self worth and self esteem issues. I also have lived with mental illness most of my life. My therapist also advised that there be counseling before we can be together again. My son does not want counseling. He doesn’t want to tell anyone about our personal problems. He also believes he is right. My daughter is very messed up on so many levels. She is willing to do counseling but does not see the purpose of doing so.

    They love their father and see him as solid and supportive and someone who will defend them no matter what. In their eyes I am at fault. I wrote them both letters long ago apologizing for what I had done. They never responded.

    There was a time when their grandmother was crying because she was accused by my son for losing the guitar his father gave him. It was my sons responsibility not hers to take care of his things. They became two very vicious children accusing their grandmother of trying to make them feel guilty and how selfish she was for crying in front of them. I was shocked and disgusted by their reaction. These were my kids and they had no compassion only vengeance. The guitar was found, the grandmother had put it in a safe place and forgo where it was. She cried and begged my son for his forgiveness. My son was so smug and arrogant in that moment. I couldn’t believe it. Not from the grandmother or from my son.

    I also saw that they were treating me the same way. When they caught/heard me crying, I would constantly say I was sorry. Sorry for what happened, sorry that they were going through this, sorry that I was crying. Sorry that I was making them feel bad. I would go into my closet to cry so they wouldn’t hear me as I was also admonished by the grandmother, aunt and exhusband saying I shouldn’t cry in front of them because I was hurting/scaring them.

    My children started to say they did not feel safe with me and that I was a child because of my emotional state. They would say this to their father and he would write and tell I was hurting them and he was going to take them away from me. He also accused me of being a bad parent and being selfish and so much more. My children knew this because he told them and they would use it against me whenever I tried to defend myself. I always felt I had to defend myself. I have a video of my exhusband saying to my daughter “your mother is sick, she knows it and you know it”. This is what my children are told. Not that their behavior is wrong but that their mother is the problem. My sister tried to defend me once with my daughter. Her father came back and accused my family of bullying my daughter.

    I cannot show them the way when the other side condones and encourages their behaviour and fosters the hatred. 4 to 1 are not good odds, add my children , and it’s 6:1 which is even harder. My children have no other influences and they are being told their behavior is justified. There is not much hope left.

    I have told my daughter that we need to go counselling before we have any further interactions because of recent events. She has basically commanded me to do this quickly so she can see the pets.. Not me, the animals. Its very difficult to continue when you are the object of their aggression. I just want the pain to stop. I want my kids to love me but all they have is anger and distain. I cannot look at them knowing how they see me.

    I am learning to love myself. I am learning to accept my life and that I cannot control what people do, or say or think. One day it won’t hurt anymore. You may not be a professional but you have echoed much of what my counselers have said. I am open and honest. Perhaps to much.

    The door is not closed. They have to decide if it’s worth going through. Any other way will be forced and seen as their sacrifice.

    This too shall pass and life will work itself out. I wish others will speak up and tell me how their stories have ended up and how they overcame their challenges. Please share.
    MJ

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    1. First of all, let me send you a HUGE HUG again. One can never get too many hugs…even if they don’t solve the problem. They do help. :).

      It’s sounding as though you are in a place where 1) you need time to put yourself together first, 2) your children have been influenced by too many chiefs and not enough workers, 3) your children are hurt, angry and acting out, 4) you can’t change other people (as you’ve so wisely noted) but, you can change yourself 5) they are young, impressionable and 6) it’s sounding as though they have a lot of hate, hurt, resentment etc. towards EVERYONE, not just you!

      First of all, they are still young enough that they are able to be swayed by so much and so many people that it’s still a time in their lives where they haven’t quite got the ability to figure it all out for themselves so, they remain “angry” at whoever is an easy target (so to speak). Your son, being in college, means that he has access to a lot of information that may be going against what you are trying to accomplish. Your daughter is a teenager who is trying to find herself but, with no real solid grounding on which to walk, she’s acting out with anger and resentment towards anyone and everyone, including her father and grandparents and especially, you (who she’s been told by several people, isn’t worthy of being listened to in many ways…which is WRONG!!!)

      Her wanting to see her “pets” and for you to “hurry up” (with your therapist) is likely a “cloaked version/excuse” to be around you, whether you recognize it as such or not. She may not even recognize it and be using the pets as an “excuse” but, she knows what her father has done. She’s good and angry at that whether she admits it or not. Equally, I’m sure/certain that your ex’s parents interference and protecting nature of their son, isn’t sitting well with your daughter on some level or another. Again, she may not even recognize why or that fact in reality.

      Let me let you in on something here that may sound shocking or you may already have heard this. We are ALL “mentally ill” in one way or another.

      Yes, you heard that right. Even your therapist is mentally un-healthy to some extent or another.

      No human being on this planet is “perfect” nor is anyone without issues of some kind and especially, in the mental health arena.

      Hard to believe, isn’t it? But, it’s true!

      The only thing that stands between someone who is considered “normal” and someone who is considered “mentally unhealthy” is the degree to which it affects their lives. (Please ask your counselor/therapist about this concept who may or may not admit to it lest they have to look into themselves further. Make no mistake…even therapists need therapy. 🙂 )

      I fully advocate going for therapy for anyone and everyone who feels that their lives are being affected by a mental health issue. I go for myself so that I understand why things have gone the way that they’ve gone as well as to heal my Generalized Anxiety Disorder so as not to “self-medicate” as my family did with alcohol. I NEVER want to go down that route. Suffice it to say that I never did. I got help in time and I’m trying to do the same with the “grief” of the estrangement. This is all to say that you are doing the right thing by going for help no matter WHAT your reasonings may be. I have a feeling that you were also abused or neglected and went into a marriage that did the same thing to you.

      By the way, there are MANY blogs in WordPress that have a theme on these sorts of topics. Perhaps, you simply need to do a search? More than anything, you need to get yourself well first and foremost (meaning stronger). No doubt, you’ve been through trauma and now, grief. It takes time.

      In the meanwhile, I make NO money for anything on the net but, I am on YouTube even if I am taking a vacation from writing blog pieces. I do speak of estrangement there in many videos and will continue to do so. Please feel free to see me there, comment here or there or write to me @ ponderinglifetoo@gmail.com I will ALWAYS answer you! I will be your friend and listen. Promise you that much.

      HUGS…keep your chin up! Love and Light, XO XO XO

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  4. Living the illusion:

    I have two children. Adonis 19 and a daughter 16. The last year and a half has been difficult. My husband was caught by my daughter having sex with a”family friend” in the kitchen. His parents lived in my home and hen this all went down they stayed while he was out. I had no one from my own family because I was astranged from them 7 years before because I defended him and his parents. It did not go well They were not impartial and they defended their son and stayed in my home to protect my children from me. I fell apart and I wanted my husband back. I tried to hurt myself. I started to see who they are rally were but it was too late then. I was not a good mother. I was the problem. My children were told by my exhusband, his sister and his parents his family that I was unstable and abusive. I was supposed to be over it and to be strong for my kids. I was crying and making them feel bad and that how I was falling apartwas far worse then what their father did in our home. The parents were in our home for 15 years. I called them mom and dad. Both my exhusband and his sister treated their parents very poorly. They would yell and swear and disparage them in front of my children. I would say that wasn’t right and was often dismissed. My children started to do the same thing to them. Again I would tell them no and was dismissed. They never stood up for themselves and often rewarded my children’s bad behaviour. I couldn’t understand the lack of caring or suppor that was their from my children. I became a lepper in my own home. The more I stepped away from that life and started standing up for myself the more vicious things became. The more I tried to get their support the more my children put me down. When I finally got my own home I thought things would calm down. I was also back with my family which was not what my exhusband wanted. The more I stood up for myself, the more I kept in control the meaner and more abusive my children became. When I did get angry or did not give my children what they wanted or thought they deserved I was not only abused by them but also by their father via email. Everything came to a head in August. My son told me to F-off because I did not agree with him thinking he was my equal. He had been rude and condescending and controlling but he had never done that. I told him to get out of my house and when he learned respect then maybe he could come back. Three days later my daughter who had already been abusive verbally and physically in the past went after me because I demanded that she come out of a club which she had asked be to come get her from 20 minutes before. Not only was she physically abusive but her and her friend who I was trying to get home safely was also abusive calling me a Fkng Btch and a kidnapper. She is also with her dad now. The relationship was not good or healthy for any of us. I had to stop the cycle. It was the hardest thing I had to do. I was always afraid of losing them and they would use that as a way to threaten me. My son is away at university. I do not hear from him. He got his school money and not even a thank you. My daughter still tries to communicate via text but it’s because she wants something. It’s hard to face what my place was in my family. I was the pay check. I was the door mat and I didn’t even know it, I am not perfect and their were times when I put down their dad. They always defended him but had no problem throwing me under the bus. My children’s things are gone. I packed them up and put them outside where my daughter called me and my sister the C word.
    People say keep the door open that my children are messed up and have been raised to believe thar treating people like this is okay. I never put down his parents or their father in our marriage. I did leave my family and I blamed my family for not allowing my exhusand in their home that day 7 years ago. My children saw the same disrespect from me. I am responsible for my kids and for a part of who they are. . I never once in my life thought I would see such cruelty and selfishness. People say they are just kids and are very entitled and that is the way it is. It may be but I believe everyone knows right from wrong. Every one knows what the difference is between cruelty and kindness.

    It’s a lot to learn and accept in 1.5 years. Do I love my kids. I don’t know. Do I want them in my life? Not like this. They have been shaped. They continue to behave this way and expect to be rewarded. I have opened the door only to see that they want to walk on me again. I know it’s only been 3 months. When do you walk away? When do you close your heart and move on knowing they are no good for you. And you deserve so much better.

    My therapist has said my life was an illusion and I have really lost nothing. I wish it would feel that way. We have done our children a great injustice. They will be running this world one day. God help us all.
    MJ

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    1. First of all, let me give you a HUGE HUG! I think that is always needed, wanted and helps. Know that you’re NOT alone in all of this even if it feels as though you are. There are many of us who are hurting, confused, upset, angry and so much more. I am so very sorry that you’ve had to endure all of those feelings and much more. It’s never easy and it’s something that no one wants to have to deal with.

      Of course, I am not a therapist so, I will not go against what she/he has had to say or why. There must be reasons why he/she felt the need to tell you that your life was an illusion and I won’t go against that notion. They are the one treating the issues, not me.

      It’s sounding to me like not only were you given reason to be confused about your own life and your ex-husband but, your children were also confused and entitled in many ways because everyone else seemed to have taken sides in a sense. You with your parents, you with your ex, you with your children, your ex with his parents, his parents with their son…and the list goes on and on here. The bottom line though is that you are a human being with feelings and you made mistakes like every other human on this planet. None of us are “perfect”, un-flawed nor, unscathed by something or someone.

      May I suggest that you put your own oxygen mask on first? I know that sounds like it’s being selfish but, it’s really not. You cannot help anyone else without you being ok first and foremost. It seems that you’re doing this and attempting to try to help others who are refusing to be helped. Perhaps, they are “oxygen deprived” (for lack of a better way to put this into words) and cannot think straight right now???

      I have a friend who has been through something extremely similar to what you’ve been through…ex husband, his parents, her parents, children etc.. She is having a LOT of issues in trying to settle all of this as well as she tries to find new places to live and be. She doesn’t know her place in this world yet (as most of us really don’t know) and her children blame her for a lot of the problems that they’ve got at this stage of their lives. They are much older than your children by the way. The bottom line is that there is an “elephant” in the room so to speak and none of them are speaking about it. They are in effect, “acting out”…ALL of them, including the ex-husband.

      Right now, (though it’s just a lay person’s opinion and nothing more), I wouldn’t necessarily oust your children from your life totally. I might keep them at arm’s length while I put my own O2 mask on but, I’d keep that little bit of a tie with them so that there’s room for an open discussion at some future point.

      You obviously remember how you were with your parents over their dislike for your ex and they turned out to be correct, right? You’ve seen this now and you’re back speaking to them. It took time, didn’t it? It took you having your blinders removed by your ex and surprisingly, your daughter, as to who he really is and was about. (I have a sneaking suspicion/hunch that perhaps, he was instrumental in how you conducted yourself and your life with your parents and may be more mentally un-healthy than once thought…though I can be wrong on that one as I don’t really know and wasn’t there). It’s likely that you didn’t know who you were and were following begrudgingly (on a subconscious basis) along with your ex’s wishes???

      However, now, you are finding yourself…maybe, slowly but, you’re working your way towards bettering yourself and your life. BRAVA to you!!!!

      Yes, your children’s attitudes are horrendous and I totally agree, abusive towards you. I will say though that I’d love to slap that friend of your daughter’s out! LOL 😉 Would I shut the door on them this quickly, given all that has happened? NO! Not at the moment and there’s a reason that I’m saying that.

      While I don’t know all of the details and wasn’t there to live it all, firstly your children are teenagers which can be difficult in and of itself even with a better scenario. Most parents will attest to this fact. Secondly, you’re JUST getting yourself sorted out within yourself. Give yourself not only a pat on the back for doing so but, also allow yourself some much needed time while you keep a thread of communication going if you can, with your children. They will come in a bit when you feel stronger as a person and within your life as I’m sure your therapist will also advise you on??? Thirdly, I don’t believe that your children are being “nasty” just to be “nasty” so to speak. I believe that they are angry within themselves and don’t know how to cope or deal with any of this. In other words, they are yes…”entitled” (or acting like they are) but, they are likely also “acting out” as they are confused and angry at both you and your ex. They also need to chill out and find some counselling as well, I’m sure. Lastly but, not the end of my thoughts by any means, comes the idea that perhaps, just perhaps, it’s not your children that you don’t “love” but rather, yourself??? And, of course, you don’t like their actions, words, attitudes etc.. Who would? I wouldn’t want them around with that type of abuse either! I couldn’t “love” that in them either.

      BUT…and this is a HUGE BUT…you still have HOPE! Yes, you are NOT without it at this point in time. I know that sounds paradoxycal to what you’ve shared here but, the bottom line is that you are simply finding the puzzle pieces, putting them together and still have the chance to help your own children to understand. None of us ever want to lose our children no matter how badly they are behaving or acting out. Perhaps, it’s a matter of a bit of time for you to lay down some boundaries for yourself with everyone else and FOR yourself first? Then, perhaps, you will be in a much better place and headspace with which to approach both of your children and talk to them about your pasts??? Maybe, they need to hear that you’re ok first and have the reigns this time so that they have something or someone to grab onto who is solid? You don’t need to be “perfect” as no one is, but you need to be able to be firm about who you are and what you’ve figured out about yourself and both yours and their lives??? Maybe, you will need to sit them both down and admit that you know that you made mistakes with your choices, are getting help and expect that you will be better in time??? I believe that admitting that we have had issues is the first step in a process. No..it’s not going to be magically all ok in one sit-down with them. It’s ingrained in both of them but, hearing you “validate” that you were “screwed up” (by whatever it was and has been) and that you know that you made mistakes within yourself and your choices as well as with them, may be what will break that ice so to speak??? (Please pass this by your therapist first though!) You MAY even want to offer up “family counselling” for yourself and your 2 children??? In other words, you are showing them that you are TRYING to make yourself and things with them right. It’s going to take time. All of this didn’t happen overnight and it’s not going to go away overnight either. At the least, you know where you’re heading. That’s a good thing! You’ve taken steps towards heading forwards, not backwards or standing still in the quicksand. However, there also has to be boundaries that YOU lay down for them. No more of your daughter telling you to F-off or your son, only asking for what he wants. Those boundaries can come AFTER you’ve been able to get on more solid ground with them and firstly, within yourself though.

      This is a LONG response but, suffice it to say that I think that there are a lot of people who can learn from you and what you’re doing and have accomplished. You, by sharing your story with others, are HELPING others and YOURSELF, believe it or not. 🙂 BRAVA! My applause!!!
      I know that you’re worn-out, tired, fed up and frustrated with so much and so many but, look to the fact that you’re taking steps towards a much healthier future! 🙂 It’s going to be a bumpy road with pot-holes but, it can be gotten through. Do NOT give up on yourself, your children or HOPE! Hang onto those things and keep on walking! Keep talking if you wish to. It only takes one to keep on talking to open up others. I have SO many emails or comments that are asked not to be published (and I honour those requests as I know what it feels like). Maybe, seeing YOUR comment…they will think twice. Dialogue is GOOD! It’s healthy and it’s also cathartic as one therapist has told me.

      HUGE HUGS and THANKS!!! XO XO XO

      Like

  5. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
    We are going through this with several of our 7 daughters. Apparently everything that they ever say or do that goes wrong is our fault.
    I am done.
    But it hurts like hell. Especially for their little sister who is 10 and has Down Syndrome. She adores her sisters and her niece and nephew. How do you walk away when she will be negatively affected. Possibly for life. Because who will care about her when we are gone?

    Like

  6. Thank you for writing this article! I’m a Mom of 2 adult sons who “lost” my youngest son (age 20 at the time) when he was arrested on Mothers Day for assaulting me & damaging my home ($5000 damage) because I wouldn’t give him bus fare (he blew his pay check). He never showed violence before this but was verbally rude & often disrespectful to his Father & I. We provided both of our sons with a loving & good childhood but my youngest son took a very different path than my eldest son. All of us (my husband, eldest son & I) grieve losing him & he blames us for things that never happened. I’ve had some health issues that I know are linked to my extreme grief & sorrow but I’ve had to accept over the past 17 months that he absolutely cannot be allowed back into our home & lives until he shows remorse & changes his ways & shows an interest in rebuilding our trust & relationship. My husband is not there yet & wants to keep the door open so he doesn’t lose him but he’s already lost to us. I guess we are all at different stages of our grief. I totally agree with you that no matter what we must create healthy boundaries no matter if it is a stranger or loved one as everyone deserves respect.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Heartbroken Mom….I am hugging you as I’m reading your comment. It’s extremely hard to know where those boundaries lay, isn’t it? However, damage to your home over a bus ticket/fare is not acceptable from anyone, least of all, someone who has been given all that you and your husband could have given to him. I really despise the ability for them to “re-write their pasts” and add in things that never happened. My own Adult Estranged Daughter has a boyfriend-common-law husband (don’t know what to call him) who helps her re-write her past as well and it really hurts to hear it all. Drugs are something that help that along for both of them.

      It’s sounding as though your youngest son had a “melt-down” but, I’m sure that it wasn’t the first time that he’s done it. Either there are mental health issues (caused or not by drugs, alcohol or peers) or he’s being coerced or not by someone else. Forums filled with adult children who have gone completely offside, tell a story about how they have created their own issues and blame everyone else around them for it. Parents are the first to take that flack.

      I agree totally with you that there has to be an apology or some sort of remorse shown to you and your husband. Keeping the door open (as your husband wishes to do) is what all of the so-called experts want parents to do but, the reality is, until/unless these kids actually WANT to be forgiven and show it to us, the door should be a barrier, not open to him. When/if he ever shows some form of remorse, regret or apology, then you can consider that door open again to him….with CAUTION at first until he proves himself to you all. He’s broken a trust and once that is gone, it’s not easy to regain it. He did this to himself even if it was coerced or brought on by substances or others. It’s bullying and frankly, should your son be anyone other than your son, would you ever be willing to allow him back into your life? If not…why let your son come back…without remorse? I agree with you totally but, your husband needs to get to that place in his heart. I have a hard time with it all with my own, only child as well but, I know that I cannot put myself second to a “bully” anymore either. My health is suffering as well because of this but, I know that it cannot go on as it has. A line has to be drawn in the sand somewhere. My husband is further along than I am in this process but, suffice it to say that you are correct. We all have our own time frames and grieving processes to go through.

      If you’re interested, I have a few other pieces (free of course) to watch on this subject on YouTube as well. “Louellen Pondering Life”.

      HUGS, HUGS and more HUGS from one grieving parent to another. XO XO XO

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I appreciate your article so much. It resonates with me loud and clear, I get it, but no one else I have found understands.

    I’d like to tell you my story and would like to hear your thoughts on a few questions.

    I’m going to be paraphrasing a lot here or we would have a novel…..bare with me. I have to give you the cliffs notes.

    I have a 22 year old daughter. (One of 6 kids). I married her father, my still current husband, when she was 5 and my Son was 2. We went through a very bitter and expensive custody battle with their biological mother. She was unfit, unattached, and emotionally abusive. By the time my daughter was 13, a miracle judge finally said enough and I adopted both children. They have always been my kids, just the same as my living and deceased biological children. They are all equal to me.

    Her and I had a wonderful, balanced relationship. I’m not a perfect parent. I made mistakes. However, I was of an old school mindset of all our kids (ranging from 30 to 16) that they had to earn privlages, loved and cared for, open dialogue, ect….with a bit of liberal parenting sprinkled in…a good mix.

    Then she turned 18. Still close and respectful, until two months later, she met a grown man who is 19 years older. (But acts like a punk child)
    We did not want her to date this man and could not understand. Her attitude began to change quickly and soon he became extremely verbally abusive to my husband and I….and she let him do it!!! Respect was always a big thing in our parenting. It became so toxic to us and our two younger kids that we gave her a choice. Respect her family or move out. She chose the guy. It made no sense. In a matter of 8 months, the daughter I knew was unrecognizeable.

    She has been abusive in her choices and her actions. She would disappear and not call, I would always have to make the contact. Eventually we came to sort of an agreement that she would be a part of our family with respect, but that there would be no talk of her “boyfriend”. It was easier for all of us at first. She still continued to disappear off and on and I always had to be the one to contact her. Every few months things blow up because she is a shell of the person we raised. We don’t know much. She has been picking her body and face and is always sick since she moved in with him. We have very little conversation other than her schooling and her plant obsession. She never dress up or puts on makeup, she never posts photos with the bf. (Because she is always mistaken as his daughter. She is 4’11”, looks 12 now and has the body of a 12 year old. And worse..he has said to us in the beginning that he likes younger girls..yes he said that)
    Our family has been torn apart by her choices and actions. I have felt for the last 4 years….where did I go wrong. Why? What is she getting out of this other than tearing our family up, watching my health further decline, and the money he has to make her feel like a grown up? There is no talking to her. She recently told me that everything and everyone is temporary because everyone dies. I asked her if my love for her was temporary or my love for my two children that died was temporary…she just threw it back..”everything is temporary and she cant understand our position or feelings because she isnt a parent….what the Hell? Also, she said it’s not fair to not give him another chance…(he had more than he deserved)and only because neither myself nor husband wanted to go jail.

    Recently, I have felt like it is so toxic that I can not and do not want to see her anymore. I love her, but I am virtually mourning her death. I feel betrayed beyond words. I’m done. I made myself a door mat because I was afraid for her being with this abusive man. I have always had a certain amount of boundaries, but I have chased her down….that has been my downfall. My health is terrible, I have seizures, my body is giving out on me and my heart is shattered. I dont know how not to feel hurt other than lessening it by shutting the door completely until she wakes up and treats us with respect and quite frankly is done with this disgusting man. (And she knows she can come home or be a part of my life…but not until she makes better choices and isnt toxic.)

    The biggest hurdle I now face is that my husband doesn’t want to close this door. He is afraid that she will never come back and he wants to maintain this surface level relationship… Be dammed how she treats us. He has always coddled her over the children. The only solution I have come up with is that she comes to visit and I lock myself in my room until she leaves and try to resume normal life.

    Have you any advice or questions? I am completely alone in all this….

    Apologies for grammar and possibly not enough info. My health has taken even my ability to write as well as I used to.

    Thank you for your time and insight.

    Shellie

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Shellie:

      First of all, I am so very, very sorry that you are part of a group that no parent ever wanted to become part of. I am equally so very sorry that you’re going through not only all of this but, your health issues. Please join the club on that as well. (I am there as well).

      First of all, it’s sounding as though your daughter has made some unwise choices in her life with this MAN and I do mean that he’s a grown up. Both of them are not mentally healthy but, let’s say that your daughter’s crossing of your boundaries is extremely tell-tale of someone who has no personal boundaries within herself or her own life to have been behaving as she is. It’s also telling me that this Man she is with, has laid down some pretty hefty lines of how to live and she’s following it all.

      Given the fact that she’s doing some rather harmful things to herself, it’s a sign or set of symptoms that on some level or another, she knows that her life, him and her choices are not correct. She obviously needs some mental health counselling of some type. A lot of estranged adult children need it. My own daughter, included.

      Next, I’ll insert something here that I’ve tried and it didn’t work for me. These adult children have a great sense of what is faked and what is real. Should you “EVER” try to pretend to tolerate this man she’s with in your life, she’d know that you were play-acting. Good for you in telling her that he’s not welcome. BRAVA! You set a boundary for her and NO…she doesn’t like it. Surprise. She had to make yet another choice. (Hey…when can we have it all? None of us can. She’s no different.). The fact that she chose him instead is simply indicative of someone who truly does have a map to “wrong paths” in life. However, that said, she made the ill choice to be with him. Thankfully, she is young enough that she may change her mind as she figures out who she is and who HE is! She will. That will especially be true of when she’s ready to go party and he’s ready for bed and a tv! LOL. That’s not to say that it will take that long though. It’s only to say that she made a choice and there are consequences to every choice all of us as humans make in one way or another. Nothing and no one is going to avoid them. She has consequences to deal with now and, she’s obviously feeling them with her own “self-harming”.

      As for you and your health. Oh dearest Shellie…you have to also make your own choices. She has made hers (for the time being). You have to look after YOU first and foremost. You cannot keep battling your health issues while taking flack from her and her choices. It serves NO purpose to make the situation better for either of you. You do NOT need more punishment. She had a choice to make and she made hers. Now YOU must also make a choice towards taking care of self. Please make that choice.

      I know this hurts and it’s especially true of your husband’s choice to “keep the door open” for her. I do get that idea as I did it myself. My daughter’s door has been left open for over 9 years now and she’s not walked back through it. I’ve shut it now. She can “knock” so to speak if she ever wants back in. BUT…there are rules, boundaries and it would only be extremely temporary *IF* she were to start abusing us (her father and I as we’re also still married) again. HE IS NOT WELCOME IN OUR HOME ANYMORE and she knows it now.

      Your husband has also become a victim to not only your daughter’s choices but, also this Man’s choices as well. Coddled or not, your daughter knows that she has the upper hand in a way and she’s clinging onto that while continuing to make poor choices. Most children would see the fact that their parents are now distanced because of the relationship and she’s certainly showing signs of being unhealthy and unhappy, herself. However, she’s sounding much like my daughter who feels that they should have their cake and be able to eat it too. Your husband, (likely unknowingly through fear) is aiding that type of mindset as well as the relationship your daughter has. In other words, he’s giving her a “safety net” should she fall.

      If you don’t mind me saying this (it will sound cold and cruel but, I don’t mean it in this way of course), your husband has also made some choices in so far as knowing that this is bothering you, your health and your mental and emotional status but, his guilt (yes, I do believe he has guilt) is causing him to choose your daughter over you and your health right now (in a sense). While I don’t know the full story, I get the gist and I can say that it’s likely guilt, fear and other’s well-meaning intentions in giving him advice. The current belief is to “always leave the door open with LOVE”. It doesn’t work. I know. I’ve done it at the advice of 3 therapists, countless net “therapists” as well as well-meaning friends who don’t get it either. All that it gives these kids (adult or not) is more power to bully us into accepting their demands and a safety net there to give them courage to continue on in this fashion. Abuse of parents is NEVER right!

      So, now that I’m writing War & Peace here LOL ;)…what are my suggestions?

      Well, first of all, I think that you owe it to yourself to look after yourself. Nevermind what your husband chooses to do. They are HIS choices. You have a right to yours and yes, I know it HURTS to have to make your own choices but, it’s necessary. You do not need the extra stress that she is placing upon you.

      Secondly, may I suggest that you and your husband, sit down and have a chat with one another about how to handle this (I’m sure that you’ve already done this and it’s become heated to say the least)? I would suggest that *IF* your husband wants to meet with your daughter (I know she’s a step daughter but, is your daughter to you fully), he can do so on his own, with her alone (if he agrees to this) and in a neutral place or setting like a restaurant, coffee shop or shopping mall…anything other than your home where you deserve to feel peace. Why should your daughter’s choices mean that you have to lock yourself away in a room like a caged animal? By doing this, you’ve not only giving your husband the right to his own choices with your daughter but, you’re also keeping your own. I think that your daughter has forfeited her “rights” towards being in your home or her home through her choice. This just instills that knowledge in her by keeping her out of it as long as she has this mindset of abuse and choice. Of course, it might be different were she to be able to come and see you without incident but, clearly, she’s not capable of it. Again, another choice that she’s making and honestly…your husband is making for YOU. YOU have a right to make choices now too. Your choice is that she not be able to abuse you or bully you any longer in your own home. Your husband still has his choices and your daughter (if she chooses to do so) has her choice to see her father…just NOT in your home where she can abuse you. Let your husband get a good taste of what she’s like on his own. She can only abuse him then.

      I hope that this helps some? If not, please feel free to write again. I’m here as are hundreds of others who don’t wish to speak up but, read my pieces every time I put one up. You are NOT alone in this! Trust me!

      HUGS and take care of yourself while you keep thinking or talking or both! XO XO XO

      Like

  8. Oh my word! I could cry reading this!!

    I’ve had years and years of being told I’m a narcissistic toxic parent by a daughter who has so convincingly acted her way into self-inflicted illness and who is now married to someone who dotes on her 24/7. He treats her like a little pillow princess. She’s managed to live almost her entire life on state benefits and always seems to acquire some injury or other to make sure it stays that way.

    If I challenge her behaviour or tell her she’s hurting me with it, or try to reason with her, she accuses me of playing the victim. She’d spend years estranged then return for around 6 months only to leave when she decided I did something else that displeased her. One time she returned saying she was going to start a family and needed my support. My reply was that I’d love to be a grandma but it would be her baby and she should look after it. She cut me off shortly after saying she’d found out that she had poly cystic ovaries and couldn’t conceive and pointing out more of my sins.

    This is how life has been for me and I really came to believe I am a bad mother. This article has shown me I’ve been way too soft and I should, as they say, grow a pair! I’m not alone. You don’t know what a relief this is to me.

    Thank you and may God bless you greatly.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are more than welcome, Sandra. I am so very sorry though that you have to endure this as well. It’s something no parent wants to deal with, isn’t it? I wrote about it because I figured that other parents are facing this same dilemma and there’s not much about it on the net that’s open for parents to see that others (though circumstances may differ) are dealing with this hurt, pain, grief and trying to get on with their lives.

      One parent actually said to me, “aren’t you afraid that your daughter will read this and be madder?”

      I had to laugh. All that I could think about was, how much “madder” can someone get than years of nothing, no contact and knowing nothing about them because of it?!

      Kind of like closing the barn doors after all of the animals have escaped. It’s too late to worry about anything worse happening from her.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Thank you so much for this post. I really needed to read this and be reminded that I don’t deserve to be treated like a doormat. I’ve only ever done the best I knew how to do as a parent. While I’m not perfect, I’ve never done anything to deserve the way I am treated. xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Isvincent3…I am so sorry that you’re also a member of a club that no parent ever wants to be part of. It’s so hard to fathom, isn’t it? That’s especially true when our child, themselves, doesn’t see or can’t explain the why behind it all, isn’t it?

      Thank you so much for letting me know that my pieces are helping in some way or another.

      Best of wishes and please, if you think of it, keep us all updated. Believe it or not, there are a lot of parents out there who are hesitant to have their comments published as they wish not to have that disclosed to possibly “Googling Children”.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I also needed to read this. I am sorry for any good not perfect parent who has to go through this and finds it hard to let go. I can no longer take the toxic way my son treats me . I am dying slowly inside. I know letting go is what I have to do for my mental health. I am consumed with the question why. Why is this happening to me. Why? I have become that doormat. I’m afraid if I let go then I will never see him again. So I tell myself a negative relationship is better than no relationship. Now I am heartbroken but the reality is that he doesn’t care. He told me this many times. I should start believing him. His actions don’t lie.
      This article was like reading about my everyday life! Thank you. Thank you. I do not want to feel guilty for letting go because he is my son. No mother should be treated the way he treats me. I have some work to do!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Rosemarie….thank you so much for your comment and taking the time to share your thoughts with everyone else who is going through this as well. There’s more of us out here than we ever thought possible. Parents just often don’t like to talk about it because we all tend to believe that it’s something we did wrong even when we know that we didn’t do anything to cause it in them. Or, parents are simply embarrassed by the idea that everyone else has their child/children around and we don’t. I thought to myself that it’s an under-discussed topic and needs to be out there, hoping others like you would share their thoughts. I think a lot are afraid to “rock the boat” so to speak by telling their stories and prying children’s eyes might recognize themselves in the comments. I get so many emails and messages that ask me NOT to publish their comments because of that reason. I always think, “what have you got to lose? These kids are doing this TO us. They don’t get to call every shot!” But, alas, I agree that they want it kept private and keep it that way. I applaud you for sharing.

        Isn’t it amazing how 2 little words can cause so much havoc in our lives?
        “NO” and “WHY” are the 2 words. It’s the “why” that most people are stuck on but, it’s because we didn’t say “NO” often enough to them while they were growing up in a lot of cases. We just were doormats for them.

        I cannot take away that pain as much as I wish that I could. I still suffer from it but, I’m getting better with each week/month that goes by. I am learning that it IS her choice and as much as I grieve (yes, it’s a mini-death grieving), I can’t change HER. She has to do that and I am doubtful now that she will. She’s pulled back even further. I have no idea if she’s alive or what. She dumped all former friends and family. It’s like she disappeared underground. One thing I know though is that I wouldn’t want the person that she is or has become as part of my life anymore. That’s hard for a parent to come to realize but, she is NOT the person I raised. I don’t like this person that she’s become and frankly…it’s a blessing that I don’ have to cater to whomever she is now. Count your blessings as well in that aspect…though I know it will still be painful. When we put that much care and love into someone and they do this sort of thing to us especially, a child, the question of “why” arises and all of the pain of not knowing the answer, doesn’t it?

        By the way, please know that YOU did nothing to warrant this I’m sure. The ones who have abused or neglected their child never ask “why”. They know why and they don’t come seeking articles like the ones I’ve written. The “Narcissistic Parents” these little brats come to call their parents unwarranted, don’t bother. They’ve already looked upon themselves as perfect and blame their child/children. YOU on the other hand, have read and are in pain. That’s telling me that you, like all of us and even our estranged adult children, are not perfect BUT, we don’t deserve this treatment and yes, we ask “why” a lot.

        Just know that YOU are a human being too and don’t deserve the treatment that your son has dealt out to you. You deserve to treat yourself with respect. Count it as putting up a boundary and he doesn’t like it. It’s him, not you.

        HUGS…from one mom dealing with this to another. XO

        Like

  10. Thank you so much for all you have wrote about. Also all of the other parent’s out there that shared their life stories. I found this so helpful with what I am going through with my own adult children and my 1 adult grandchild. Brings me to tears.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Cindy for bearing your troubles to let us all know that no one of us is alone. I feel that it’s important for us all to know as there’s so little help out there for this type of situation, isn’t there. Top that off with the fact that not many therapists are able to help and there aren’t groups for this type of thing (or many of them throughout the world) as well as parents feeling embarrassed to admit openly that they are in this blasted, heart wrenching, self-blaming situation. It can all feel like we’re “bad parents/grandparents” somehow can’t it? Yet, it’s usually NOT us. It’s them and influences outside of us as parents/grandparents. The net is ripe with crap from these “entitled” kids who have support and spun it into their estrangement/abuse or both, being all about what they “have” to do. It’s not right. It shouldn’t be happening at all.

      I know all too well that it’s of little solace to know that you’re not alone in this situation but, honestly…you’re not alone.

      HUGS…from one mom to another XO XO XO

      Like

  11. Hi K….I’m cutting and pasting your response here as well as responding. 🙂
    “I stumbled on your blog post tonight as I am struggling with an adult daughter who is gaslighting and scapegoating me. She lies and has a DUI, and makes me think I am crazy but she desperately needs counseling. The latest antic was to accuse her father of abuse – which we know never happened – and then she recanted and tried to say, “I didn’t say that.” But she refuses to talk to me about it, won’t answer calls, won’t talk…..but flips it on me by saying I won’t listen. This is extremely hurtful as all I want to do IS listen. We have begged her to see a counselor. She makes no sense….wants “space” but we never speak to her. I cry everyday – she is so toxic – I don’t even know what I did to deserve this. I have told her over and over, be honest and be respectful but she cannot do it so we are at a point of letting her go. This is like a death in our family – my husband and I are grieving.” (K said)
    First of all…I am SO very sorry to hear of your story. I know the pain that goes with this type of action from our adult children. The question of “why?” becomes even more important but, we learn that we may never know the answers, right?
    First of all, it does sound as though your daughter needs counselling (as does mine and likely every adult child who does this to their parents). However, we know that we cannot make someone who isn’t ready, go for help and take it, right?
    At this point, it may be that you may have to leave her alone for a bit and give her that “space” she seems to want so badly. Mine has said the same phrase and I don’t get it in all honesty. I’m sure that were you and I and our husbands to say that type of thing to our parents, they’d have given us “space” alright. They’d have told us that we needn’t return, let alone chasing after us!
    May I say that I think part of the reason (like the biggest part) of why your daughter is saying that you “won’t listen” is because SHE doesn’t know what either of you have done and she knows that it’s her own mistakes and misguidance that she’s doing this type of thing. I’m quite certain that she knows that she’s at fault here, not you and not your husband. I equally have a feeling that most estranged adult children act out towards their parents instead of self as an attempt to make anyone but them, liable for their actions or lack of them. In other words, I have a feeling that they know full well on one level or another that it’s them who are wrong. That’s why they can never elaborate on exactly what it is that we’ve done “wrong”. Mine cannot verbalize it or write it out either in spite of my begging for an itemized reasoning. She can give none. I have a feeling that your daughter is the same. It’s quite obvious that she is in trouble within herself and may be self-medicating to some extent or another. She is likely miserable within herself but, she’s not going down without taking you and her father with her.
    It is akin to a death. I feel the same way. However, I think sometimes, it’s like the old saying from the 70’s. Set it free…if it comes back, it was yours, if it doesn’t, it never was. I have also had to set mine free as well since she’s done everything in her power to make us do so. It hurts and my sincerest condolences go out to you and your husband.
    That said, NEVER give up on holding onto a bit of hope…even if it’s only a thread by now. Let go of the “toxicity” UNTIL she realizes that she’s ruining herself and her own life.
    I wish you nothing but the very best and am thanking you for your comment. We need to stand together as “lost parents” and know that we’re not alone in this type of thing.
    HUGS!!!!

    Like

  12. Hi K….I’m cutting and pasting your response here as well as responding. 🙂

    “I stumbled on your blog post tonight as I am struggling with an adult daughter who is gaslighting and scapegoating me. She lies and has a DUI, and makes me think I am crazy but she desperately needs counseling. The latest antic was to accuse her father of abuse – which we know never happened – and then she recanted and tried to say, “I didn’t say that.” But she refuses to talk to me about it, won’t answer calls, won’t talk…..but flips it on me by saying I won’t listen. This is extremely hurtful as all I want to do IS listen. We have begged her to see a counselor. She makes no sense….wants “space” but we never speak to her. I cry everyday – she is so toxic – I don’t even know what I did to deserve this. I have told her over and over, be honest and be respectful but she cannot do it so we are at a point of letting her go. This is like a death in our family – my husband and I are grieving.” (K said)

    First of all…I am SO very sorry to hear of your story. I know the pain that goes with this type of action from our adult children. The question of “why?” becomes even more important but, we learn that we may never know the answers, right?

    First of all, it does sound as though your daughter needs counselling (as does mine and likely every adult child who does this to their parents). However, we know that we cannot make someone who isn’t ready, go for help and take it, right?

    At this point, it may be that you may have to leave her alone for a bit and give her that “space” she seems to want so badly. Mine has said the same phrase and I don’t get it in all honesty. I’m sure that were you and I and our husbands to say that type of thing to our parents, they’d have given us “space” alright. They’d have told us that we needn’t return, let alone chasing after us!

    May I say that I think part of the reason (like the biggest part) of why your daughter is saying that you “won’t listen” is because SHE doesn’t know what either of you have done and she knows that it’s her own mistakes and misguidance that she’s doing this type of thing. I’m quite certain that she knows that she’s at fault here, not you and not your husband. I equally have a feeling that most estranged adult children act out towards their parents instead of self as an attempt to make anyone but them, liable for their actions or lack of them. In other words, I have a feeling that they know full well on one level or another that it’s them who are wrong. That’s why they can never elaborate on exactly what it is that we’ve done “wrong”. Mine cannot verbalize it or write it out either in spite of my begging for an itemized reasoning. She can give none. I have a feeling that your daughter is the same. It’s quite obvious that she is in trouble within herself and may be self-medicating to some extent or another. She is likely miserable within herself but, she’s not going down without taking you and her father with her.

    It is akin to a death. I feel the same way. However, I think sometimes, it’s like the old saying from the 70’s. Set it free…if it comes back, it was yours, if it doesn’t, it never was. I have also had to set mine free as well since she’s done everything in her power to make us do so. It hurts and my sincerest condolences go out to you and your husband.

    That said, NEVER give up on holding onto a bit of hope…even if it’s only a thread by now. Let go of the “toxicity” UNTIL she realizes that she’s ruining herself and her own life.

    I wish you nothing but the very best and am thanking you for your comment. We need to stand together as “lost parents” and know that we’re not alone in this type of thing.

    HUGS!!!!

    Like

  13. You have offered the most sage advice I have found. My two daughters estrangement is the result of their malignant-narcissist father’s 15 year campaign to completely undermine my role as their mother. He made them hate me and punish me as much as I would allow. I met a wonderful man and married; they tried to punish my new husband as well and it is at this point we both said nothing we do is ever going to be met with deciency on their part. I got so sick of the research I did suggesting that it was our responsibility to “be the better person.” Amazing considering no matter how good we were to them, they were ugly back. Why would any reasonable person suggest to keep going back for more? It has been said that the definition of insanity pis to keep doing the same thing and expect different results. Why would these “professionals” suggest that being nicer, better, more understanding is better? That is exactly the WRONG advice and what caused the problem in the first place. The answer is to say “Hell, NO! You aren’t going to treat me or anyone else I love live like this – and mean it!” There are few people to offer this advice. Your article is the best I’ve read and provides advice that will actually begin to fix the problem instead of enabling it. It is hard, but my life without my adult children is now better than it was with them in it thanks to my generation making them feel special with every trophy and a treat for every poop in the toilet. I was in a no win situation from the moment I said “I do” to a narcissist who knows no limits to winning, including posioning his children’s minds about their awful mother who has reasonable expectations of decent behavior on their part.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you ever so much for commenting and sharing your story, Jennifer. I’m sure that this is going to help a realm of others as well. We are not alone in this horrible state.

      I am so sorry that your ex has done this with your daughters. It’s much like giving them not only a “license” to treat you poorly but, pushing them towards doing this to you. In short, he’s “brainwashed” them into the way that they see and treat you. It’s not right.

      I, too, have tired of these “expert’s” advice. I sought out counselling for myself in order to deal with this issue, within myself. I sent letters of love, made calls, left messages, tried to get a conversation going, giving, giving and more giving until I nearly decked the next therapist (I’ve seen 3 of them now for many sessions) for saying, “send more love…let her know that you love her”. Uhhh…yeah….like she didn’t know that much already? She knew. And if she didn’t, I said it dozens of times since this estrangement. That’s when I woke up and realized that this text book stuff was pure crap and I didn’t need to put up with this. It’s like giving a dog a treat for crapping on the carpet. (Pardon that explanation and terminology). It’s at that moment when I started to think otherwise and see it for what it really is.

      No doubt, there ARE some parents out there who need to atone for their poor parenting skills however, for the most part, the type of parenting that I’m talking about are people like you and I and others who comment (some don’t want their stories published so I don’t). They are not the abusers or the negligent. More often than not, there’s an “ex” in the picture with a grudge who are using the little darlings as “pawns” to get back at their ex spouses as you are dealing with. It’s sad that a parent would think so small. It seems that your ex is doing so though.

      Even were he NOT to be filling their heads with garbage, un-truths or whatever he’s doing, the point is that they are no longer 4 years old and can discern for themselves what is right and what is wrong. They know that treating others this way is not right. That is especially true of parents like you who have given them everything you could give to them and most importantly, love. Sadly, your daughters will have to pay the price tag bill as time goes along. If they continue to allow themselves to be fooled and tricked by either your ex or even their own concoctions within their own fantasy worlds, not remembering who you are to them and reality, they are the ones who are wrong. You cannot dismiss that point or allow them to go on treating you with such disregard.

      Of course, keeping a door open for them *IF* they are willing to admit that they were wrong by treating you this way or, at the least, try hard to make amends, even if not said by them, I know that you’d be open to it as long as they were treating you well. I know that I would and my door is still open to fair treatment by my estranged, abusive, adult child. However, I will say that it’s closed now to abuse and poor treatment from her. There’d have to be a big change in her less than stellar attitude before that door would let her back in again. Even an attempt would give her an entry point as long as it was done with the same love that I’ve given to her throughout her life.

      My heart goes out to you and I am glad that something I’ve said has helped you feel better in some way or another.

      HUGS…from one abused mom to another.
      XO XO XO

      Like

  14. I’m so very grateful for this article. I too am in a terrible situation with my adult son. My husband and I have sacrificed our sanity and all of our money to help him for years. We now find we can’t pay our bills and my husband made him leave the house today. He has nowhere to go and will be homeless and it is tearing me apart. I feel like a spouse who has been emotionally abused for years, except it’s my own son I’ve allowed to manipulate me for so, so long. Thank you to all the comments as well. Please pray for this situation and to keep me strong to do what I know needs to be done. God Bless you all.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Shauna….of course! You have my prayers and know that you are not alone in your situation though each of us have variables to our stories.

      At a certain point, we all know, even as parents…especially, as parents….that our children need to grow up. It’s not easy for us as parents to want our adult children to leave our homes however, when they are taking advantage of us, it’s possibly the most LOVING thing that we can do in the hopes that they will straighten out.

      In your case, from the sounds of how your adult son has treated both of you, as well as having taken so very much from both of you, it’s simply time that he get a nudge. Making him leave your home is probably the only way that he’s going to straighten himself out. We hope as parents that he will but, when they back us into corners such as your son has done to you and your husband, he also has to know that “The Gravy Train” has made its last stop and cannot go any further. In essence, that’s what has happened here. That’s the only thing that you and your husband have done by kicking him out. You’ve simply said, “enough is enough” and followed through with it all.

      Oddly enough, kids (though they are adult in age) like this, often don’t end up on the streets. Believe it or not, he’s likely got friends who he can “crash with” for the time being. The one thing that he will NOT be getting from them is what you and your husband have been giving to him all along.

      I know that it’s heart breaking to think of your child being put out of your home. That couldn’t have been an easy choice by any means of the word but, in all honesty, it’s likely the ONLY thing that you both could have done to have saved HIM.

      Only one of 2 things are likely to happen now. Either he’ll get his act in gear and support himself or, he’ll be away for a day or two (if that long) and be back at your door, vowing to be “different”, begging to get back. That is where your strength is going to have to come in. If, in fact, he does come back to your door (give him time to be angry and throw temper tantrums as he likely will do), you’re going to have to let him know that he cannot come back and continue on as he was doing. You’ll all be living in a cardboard box, on the street if he continues on like this…or…in a psych ward. You don’t owe that to him and he doesn’t get the choice of manipulating everyone else. If he manages to do so with his friends, it will likely be short termed before they too, recognize that fact. Remember though…he knows who he can get away with it with and who he can’t.

      Be strong. Stand your ground. Remember…this may be EXACTLY what needed to be done for ALL of your sakes, especially…his. Your peace of mind and life matter every bit as much as he does. At a certain point, your job as “Mom” was done. Now it’s up to him to put himself and his life together. If he vows to change and you see the changes in him and he’s attempting to make a difference, then you and your husband can sit down and talk it out as to whether you want to let him back again. Until then…I agree with your choice fully for many different reasons.

      Prayers for strength being said. Stand firm, Mom. You’re doing the best that you can and more than not, the “right thing”.

      HUGE HUGS…from one mom to another.
      XO XO XO

      Like

  15. Seeking comfort around my current turmoil in coming to terms with the reality that I need to “let go” of an adult child whose abusive and toxic behaviour has broken me, I cannot believe the blessing of coming across this article.

    I am struggling daily with the challenge of knowing what I need to do and believing it is the right thing to do. Although I do have support from my doctor, phsycologist, husband and family, I still struggle.

    So to read and know that there are others like me is a comfort I find hard to explain. Thank you for the article and for the open and brave comments alike.

    Rhonda

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are most welcome Rhonda. As I have been finding out, we are not alone in this type of behaviour from our adult children. Do what is right for you. Your child has had their turn and honestly, if they want the comforts that you provide, they need to step up to the plate and change how they treat you. Since that is not happening…time to teach them a lesson and change how you have to live. It’s not right that you live, walking on thin ice. You brought your child into this world and gave them everything you could…not the other way around. Time that they learned that much and realized how good that they had it.

      HUGS and much love from one mom to another. XO XO XO

      Like

      1. I don’t have a grandchild that I know of, Wits End Mum and I hope that I don’t. I don’t know what others are doing but, I sure hope that they answer your question. Others must be in the same boat.
        HUGS from one mom to another.

        Like

  16. Your article is a godsend! So are the comments. Thank you to everyone who is contributing to the dialogue. I believe there’s more family estrangement than people are willing to admit. I believe we need to talk about it openly and I’m willing to do so with anyone who makes their own well-being the top priority. No wallowing for me because I also believe the most important outcome is feeling good about myself, even if reconciliation with my children never happens.

    I have 3 children, all over 40. A complicated back-story tipped us into estrangement about 7 years ago. I hear from one of them every year or so, when somebody wants something; but hearing bits of news about their lives only serves to remind me I’m not part of it. The negative emotional price of these encounters is extremely high.

    My search for understanding – on-line and through counselling – leads mostly to trite advice like “always love them” and “keep trying”. The usual subtext: it’s my responsibility for whatever went wrong, it’s my responsibility to fix it, and if it’s not fixed that means I’m still doing something wrong. Your article’s reference to them not being 10-year-olds who can’t appreciate their own behaviour resonates strongly with me.

    Recovery from being pushed out of my children’s lives is an ongoing process. As I became stronger, liked myself more and, importantly, stopped doubting myself, my idea of what reconciliation might look like started changing. A few years ago, I stopped wondering whether I could muster the emotional trust needed for reconciliation; and started questioning whether I even want to reconcile. One thing for sure – in the absence of being the victim of serious crime at the hands of my children, I found zero support for this line of thinking!

    I wasn’t prepared for such hard-line non-support. It was mostly emotional blackmail based on “you’re a mother” and “they’re your children”. As I struggled with that, I lost sight of the most important lessons I had already learned. A random contact from one of my kids spiraled me into a health downturn. Details don’t matter. There was no medical issue. It was all about the anxiety. Here are some thoughts that helped me get back on track.

    – I dismiss the notion that any outcome other than reconciliation is failure.
    – The absolute best outcome is feeling good about myself, regardless of whether reconciliation ever happens.
    – When it comes to feeling good about myself, the only person with the real power to make-it-happen is me.

    Thanks again for the article and the comments. I look forward to more! As I said above, you can count me in for any dialogue about estrangement and the imperative for parents to take care of themselves first.

    Best regards to all.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Personalsnapshots, I have to thank you as well for such an insightful comment. It goes to teach everyone going through this (it’s far more common than what we might believe) that we don’t need to put up with this type of treatment from beings that we not only brought into this world but, gave up so much of ourselves to care for and raise.

      I have often wondered what I would feel like if our child/children were to be any other person(s) than our children? Would we accept the treatment that we’ve been handed by these “entitled monsters” (as I like to call them)? The answer for me, personally, would be a resounding “NO!” So, why would I keep putting up with it because my own child is treating me in this fashion?

      At my age now, I have had health issues as well because of this type of scenario as you have stated (anxiety, depression etc. created) and I don’t wish to continue on with this type of thing for myself. I cannot change my child’s mind (she’s an only child) but, I can change how I deal with it.

      To date, 3 therapists/counsellors later, all of them have said the same as you’ve recounted, “keep the lines of communication open.” Well, I have done as you’ve done, only to be totally ignored until or unless the next “need” for something has arisen.

      I figure that if I’m good enough to come to when something is needed/wanted, why not at all other times as well? If I’m not wanted other than the games to get what’s wanted/needed then, I’m not wanted nor, will I give anything anymore. That’s over and done with.

      I still have days when I’m down, anxious or whatever but, I try to keep myself busy and love myself even more. I figure that I’ve put in my time, done my job as a mother and now…well…it’s time for me to be what I need/want me to be.

      From the ages of your children, I’d say that we’re within the same age group roughly. Isn’t it time that we started to say to ourselves, “life is for us to live now” and really live it? I think that’s accomplishing something of tremendous importance…even if it wasn’t how we envisioned things to go in our lives.

      Blessings to you. Love and Light and many thanks.

      There will be more to come. Of that, I can assure you.

      Be well!

      Like

  17. What a balm to the heart and soul of any parent that’s had to make this agonizing decision….I wish peace and healing to you all and I cannot express how grateful I am to know that I am not alone in this…thank you so very much

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re most welcome Amber. It’s not a club that we ever want to be part of, is it? But, here we are and I felt that other parents should know that they are not alone. This is very under-talked about but, common with a lot of generations. I’m glad that something I’ve said has allowed you to feel as though you have others in that boat with you. HUGS

      Like

    1. No you are not alone, Tracy. I hope more comments will help others too. it does feel horribly lonely, doesn’t it? But, we are a group of parents who don’t deserve what our children have dished out to us.
      HUGS to you!!!!!!!!!

      Like

  18. Thank you for helping me sever the ties. It has been 5 years of hell and questioning everything in my life. 4 daughters, the oldest 3 I have no contact with the youngest is the spokesman for the group. Last month I received a text stating if I did not obey the rules they have set in place for me I could be physically hurt. That pretty much did it but your article helped me deal with some underlying guilt. These girls are the perfect example of your article, given everything possible, told repeatedly how loved they were, never punished or made to do chores. Boy did I screw things up.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Janet for sharing this.

      First of all, I am so very, very sorry for the pain that your 3 daughters have put you though. It is sounding as though they are huddling together to make their “demands” of you in an extremely abusive fashion. I’m wondering if they realize that a threat such as physical hurt, is a criminal offence? It’s sad to say the least that they have come to this point of threatening you in all ways.

      Secondly, it’s sounding as though they are well “organized”….kind of like kidnappers, holding you for ransom. It’s not only unfair but, it’s completely wrong of them to be doing on a lot of different fronts. Threatening in a text message is a “coward’s” way to deal with things and yet, that’s what they did. I hope that you kept that text message?

      I’m glad that something that I’ve said has helped. It’s taken me a lot of hurt, pain and now…anger (as well as a lot of self-searching, internet and book research) for me to come to these points with my own adult abusive child.

      Don’t get me wrong. It’s not as though I don’t have my “days” but, it’s more that they are filled with anger more than hurt now. In other words, “how DARE she treat me that way? If she were anyone else, I wouldn’t have let this get to this point or, for them to have this kind of power over me.” I am slowly taking back MY power now. It sounds as though not only are you doing the same thing but, your JUSTIFIED in doing so! NO ONE has the right to treat others this way. This is “Gang Mentality” and it’s not right. Good for you if you are standing up for yourself now. Love yourself. You’ve done your very best and while you are paying a price now, it’s THEM who will eventually have to pay the price down the road in one way or another somehow.

      Stick to your inner strength and realize that you are WORTHY of MUCH BETTER than this no matter what! We are all just humans who are doing the best that we can. They have the issues. You don’t. You screwed nothing up by letting them grow up as kids. It was part of that generation’s teachings that we, as parents followed. Have some pity on yourself and take it easy on YOU. Love you as you are.

      HUGS…from one parent to another.
      XO XO XO

      Like

  19. My situation with my adult children is too complicated and long to go into here, but know that this situation is far more prevalent than one might realize . .. certainly was surprised to find I wasn’t alone in this several years ago. It definitely needs more discussion , I think.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Janis, first of all, I wish to extend my sympathies towards your problem. It’s both hurtful and angering, isn’t it? I vacillate between hurt and anger (at the situation). We raise these kids with everything we can pour into doing so and to quote another mom, “this is the thanks that we get?”

      Secondly, I do want to agree with you that this does need to be talked about. It IS far more prevalent than we know but, we feel so alone with it and frankly, it seems that each case is individual so there’s no “one size fits all remedy”. It does need to be talked about more. (Thus my sharing my own story and experiences.)

      Lastly, but not least, I wish to thank you for taking not only the time to read my piece but, to spend your energy to comment. Thank you.

      Be Well and please, let’s open up some dialogue on the topic. Perhaps, if we get it started, others will join in.

      Hugs and best wishes!

      Like

  20. I don’t even have the words to express how grateful I am to you and these words!!! I needed to hear this for a very long time. You have given me the tools I need to get my self respect back. Thank thank you from the bottom of my heart. Val Kopko.
    P.s do you know where I can go online to find more tools like this?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Val, my heart goes out to you for what you are going through as well as the very likely loss of self-esteem that has been taken from you by your child/children. I truly hope that you are able to return to some sort of semblance of self-love instead of self-beating. You are not alone though. There are many of us out here who are struggling with the same issues.

      I have googled my fingers off to find something to help me as well online. There are a few pieces that are semi-decent but, most are written by professionals who give out the advice to simply tell your children that you love them and they leave it there. They don’t tell us how to regain self-esteem nor, how to put limits on how much damage we are willing to allow our adult child/children to afflict upon us. This is especially true of those who have become estranged.

      There are some books out there but, I have not bought them. The reason being, they are filled with some sloppy advice that most of us should not be listening to. We need concrete steps to take. While no two children can be lumped into one basket and everyone’s circumstances will be different in some or many ways, the bottom line seems to rest upon the idea that we, as parents who have given up so much for our children, are being slapped around, metaphorically speaking or perhaps in reality. We need more than, “take a bubble bath” and “listen to music” type solutions…or, at least, I do. I have a need to understand what happened, why and how I tick so that I can deal with these issues in a healthy way, not more fluff solutions.

      A few sites will allow parents to write their stories out and everyone will give condolences, which do help but, beyond that, there is no guidance and once everyone has vented out their stories of pain, suffering, frustration and wanting to know what to do about it all, there is no one to answer those questions or even hint at answers. Perhaps, I simply haven’t found the correct ones? What you’re reading here in my piece is my own research, along with some psychology courses behind me that don’t qualify me as a psychologist but, pain makes one learn more quickly, doesn’t it?

      I hope to write a few new pieces with more. I simply didn’t feel that anyone was truly interested. I will write them soon though and I’m thinking on putting this into book form…not because of money but, because I think parents who have been mistreated need more than “tell them you love them” or “take a walk” answers.

      Know that my heart goes out to you and please, feel free to discuss this with me. Perhaps, it only takes a couple of us to get the ball rolling and others will join in. The stats on this piece are showing me that readers are searching for info like this but are too afraid to comment. You were not only brave enough to do so but, I thank you for starting the ball rolling by doing so. Kudos to you! You’ve taken a step in the right direction towards taking back YOUR power.

      Hugs, Love and Light

      Like

  21. Thank you so
    Much for discussing a topic that isn’t addressed often. One thing you did not mention is the shame and guilt that is reaped upon the parent who walks away by others who have a seemingly perfect family life. Walking away from an adult child also changes the family dynamic and adds strain to the other child or children and can affect the parent’s relationship with them if they don’t agree with the decision. Their opinion of the parent can change if they always believed that the parent’s love should be unconditional. Most people dont understand the conundrum that this causes and that the decision wasn’t made lightly. More discussions like this could be a tremendous help for people suffering with this situation.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Edith, thank you ever so much for your comment and thoughts on this topic. You’re 100% right about everything that you’ve said.

      It hurts badly and causes so much dismay, disruption and horrid feelings in everyone concerned. Parents are people too and it’s not ever taken lightly when we walk away from our children or they walk away from us. You’re equally correct in saying that it affects every other child we have as well in one way or another, for one reason or another. It’s so tremendously hard on everyone and the guilt, self-bashing, self-questioning can make it 100 times worse.

      Oddly enough, with this being Mother’s Day (I have no other children so, it’s not Mother’s Day for me at all), I was going to write another piece as it’s been over a year and a half since my daughter exited my life (and, my husband’s and all of her friends and family’s lives). Edith, here is the piece.

      https://mylittlecorneroflife.wordpress.com/2017/05/14/how-to-deal-with-an-estranged-child/

      I really think we need to go into this topic a bit more because I know that we’re not the only ones who are in this horrid predicament.

      I do hope that more estranged parents will write comments on this. It helps to know that we’re not alone in this even if knowing that much doesn’t solve it.

      Thank you Edith! I very much appreciate the time that you’ve taken to write out your feelings and thoughts to share. Please feel free to share more. Perhaps, if we can discuss this topic, others will join in?

      HUGS, Love and hoping you’re somehow finding ways to have a happy day and many more. XO

      Like

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