My Only Adult Child Is Estranged But Doesn’t Owe Me Anything

AUDIO VERSION: (Transcript below for those who prefer to read though it may differ ever so slightly from the audio version.  If viewing from the Home Page, please click on the title or “read more” and then on the audio player to start it).

distraught parents

PLEASE NOTE:  This piece does NOT include or infer any FINANCIAL transactions that you may have loaned your adult child.  They are responsible to you for RE-PAYING that loan and therefore, they DO owe you something in that sense.  If, on the other hand, you have GIFTED them funds, they do NOT owe you.  It was considered a GIFT where there is no agreement between you and them to repay you back those funds.  These circumstances are also NOT included in this piece.  Thank you.




About 37 1/2 years ago, I made a decision to attempt to become pregnant.  I wanted to be a mom.  It didn’t prove to be an easy feat.  While some people can get pregnant with one try or lack of trying, it took me over a year and a half of earnestly trying to get pregnant. This was some 35 plus years ago now when pregnancy tests required waiting some 9 days past a menstrual cycle’s due date which was never consistent with me and, one had to become a lab technician with a test tube, powders, a holder, mirror, mixing, measuring and waiting for over an hour or two to see a possible “ring” form by looking in the mirror below the holder of the test tube.  There was no peeing on a stick and waiting for a moment or a couple of moments to see a plus or minus sign or whatever format different manufacturers have come up with.  In other words, one didn’t know whether they were pregnant, quickly, easily or without a lot of hassle in those days and it was costly to do the home test.  Running to a doctor’s office for a blood test that often took a couple of days to get a result from wasn’t an option beyond the first couple of times either.  That was also not only expensive as well but, also time-consuming with time off of work for a doctor’s appointment to say the least.

I was in labour for some 37 hours as well.  It wasn’t an easy labour and delivery.  I didn’t even receive an epidural which was that shot in the back that numbed the pain from the waist down, in spite of having signed papers that told them that I was amicable to one when I was “dilated” enough to have one given.  I didn’t know that I had to beg for one but, that was told to me afterwards and sadly once I had gone through a long, exhausting and painful labour and delivery.  I never could get pregnant again, quite to my upset and dismay and through a long time of trying before feeling too old, it being too risky and giving it all up.  Of course, I’d hoped for another child and more specifically a boy but, would have been overjoyed as well had I been able to have another healthy girl.  I didn’t care really.

Sadly for her, her father and I, bringing home a colicky baby wasn’t an easy task either.  Nights were often spent, walking the floors, rocking, holding and trying to comfort a screaming baby who couldn’t be soothed.  It even entailed a stay in a children’s hospital because some quack of a pediatrician had given me a narcotic that I was unaware was one, to give her to ease the pain.  Though I had followed the directions to the letter, this barbiturate had built up in her system to the point where I couldn’t wake her to even feed her.  I spend the next couple of days, head on a back rest, by her crib’s side in the hospital’s baby ward, listening to a monitor for her breathing and heart rate until she was ready to come home, bleeding still heavily from her birth and iron deficient. I bled for 10 weeks in spite of being anemic.  In less than 2 weeks, I had gone below my pre-pregnancy weight by 20 lbs from worry, upset and no time to eat.  It was a miracle to get a proper meal, shower or even a 10 minute nap.  I also was suffering, I know now, from Post Partum Blues or Depression as they’ve termed it which I thought was simply being overwhelmed, tired and in the middle of a messy split up between my parents and with in-law issues as well.  What did I know?  I was in my 20’s and there was no Googling anything back then.

Eventually and mercifully, the colic eventually left and I had what the newest pediatrician labelled as a “normal baby”.  That was a true blessing to simply have a baby to cater to who was a night-hawk but, one that at least began to sleep for 4 hours at a time.

Over the years, we scrimped, saved and would give her everything her little heart desired which often meant that we’d go without Winter boots or coats in order to give her what she wanted and needed and extras.  She had 2 birthday parties every year which entailed one with other children and one with family,  often 2 in one day.  Christmases saw the living room filled with gifts and other things that she even mentioned having seen on television.  It often took her close to an hour to open them all. She’d later get gifts from family as well.  In other words, she was overloaded and we did without, paying bills for months post events, stretching a dollar as far as we could so that we’d be out of debt on those gifts and her parties.

Our daughter was so treasured that we often couldn’t say the word “no” to her either even when we couldn’t hold our heads up any longer.  I worked an evening and weekend shift and later at home as a bookkeeper, training to be one in order to be here for her while her father worked full-time day shifts as a teacher.  I even did Home Daycare for a period of time between training and jobs so that she wouldn’t develop “Only Child Syndrome” and learned how to share and interact with other children.  When I had stopped Home Daycare, I opened the doors to every child within the neighbourhood being at our home from early morning until late at night, often walking other children home to keep them safe.  Every child that had a problem, issue or anything else that they didn’t feel that they could talk to their parents about, came to us and we never turned any of them away.  Our daughter was always surrounded by other children even during times when no other parents allowed other kids into their homes lest their museum style homes became “dirtied” by these kids.  I never had anything good in terms of furniture or even decor.

The years went on and there’s so much more to add in here but, let it suffice to say that our daughter lacked nor wanted for nothing and in no way.  About the only time she got said “no” to was when she wanted to do something totally unsafe for her age and even then, it was only after checking things out to ensure we were making the right decisions by saying “no” to her as that was difficult and often resulted in horrible temper tantrums from her.

Did I mention that we even bought her a car?  She paid us back, without interest, very slowly over the years but, we did that much for her as well.

Enter 4 moronic boyfriends into both her’s and our lives.  All 4 of them had issues.  Not simple issues either but serious issues.  One was totally misguided, cheap, lazy and spent 10 to 14 hours or more in our home, laying on a couch, watching tv and eating here as well as ordering in food at 1 and 2 a.m. on a work night for us.  Our daughter was depressed from spending her entire life besides going to University for her degree, on a couch, eating, vegging, watching tv and gaining over 25 lbs on a tiny frame size.  Once she dumped him some 2 1/2 years later, she lost the weight, went back to being herself, back to dumped former friends (and they welcomed her back into their lives) and she seemed like the daughter we knew again, happy and well-adjusted.  We continued to support her in every way while she worked her 4 years through university.

Then, came Boyfriends 2 and 3.  They came as a packaged set.  They were friends and when one would fall, the other would be there to take up the slack but, both were issue riddled in so many ways that it’s impossible to list it all here.  The one she ended up sticking with, was extremely debt riddled due to a bad gambling habit, a drunk, living at home still with his mother and sister and her child.  Our daughter had also taken up drinking and sitting in sport’s bars, watching while he lost more and more money.  She’d often either not come home or came home drunker than a skunk where I’d have to hold her hair up, staying up most of the night with her.  When I found out that he was cheating on her with not one but a few different women at the same time, I begged her to let him go.  It wasn’t until her former best friend finally introduced at least one of the other women to our daughter that she dumped his sorry rear as well.  Back to herself.  No more drinking, sport’s bars or even clubbing as she had been doing in order to keep up with this guy.

By now, she had been working and we’d bought her a car so that she could get back and forth to work.  Enter the current jerk-off, drug infested, manipulative, controlling moron into her life.  Once again, she took on his habits, his thinking, his lifestyle and finally moved in with him where he controlled practically everything, including her mind.  She had dropped pretty much all of her former friends and finally, us while getting high on drugs with him.  There were nothing but cheap seat concerts, movies and video games that she got herself into along with the drugs.  She wasn’t herself and became violent with us, going to hit me with a chair and then her fist.  Thankfully, I have fast reflexes and stopped her.

It wasn’t until this creep got into her head about us because he was ostracized from his own family’s functions due to his belligerent behaviour and now, hers as well (not her at all) that he figured out that we had to go too and he worked it so that she pushed us aside.  That’s a story for another entry but, suffice it to say that we haven’t seen nor, heard from her in over 2 years now.  She’s been living with him for going in nearly 9 years now and this isn’t the first time that she’s done this to us.  This is actually the 3rd but, it’s the longest and possibly, unless she dumps him, the last we’ll see or hear of or from her.  We hold no cards or pull anymore as we did with the other 3 idiots because she couldn’t live with them as they all still lived with their parents.

This leads me to my original point.  

In spite of all of the above and a lot more that I couldn’t write in here lest the entry be an hour-long, our daughter owes us nothing.

You may be wondering how I could say that.  It took me awhile to get the gist of the idea as well but, it’s the truth.

  • Our daughter didn’t ask to be born.  That was our choice, decision and consequence of our wishes.  What we did for her, while not needing to be done, was from our own free will.  Lots of her friends while growing up, had less than stellar home lives but, we chose to give our daughter everything we could give her in order for her to have a good start in life and hopefully, good memories of her childhood.  Again, those were our choices, not hers.
  • While parents hope and pray for their children to love them and be around during their aging years, that’s all that we could possibly do is to HOPE that she’d be around.  She didn’t owe it to us to be here but, that fact hadn’t stopped us from that desire.
  • All that we gave her went without a lot in order to give to her, was our decisions.  She didn’t have to have all of that.  We decided to give it to her in spite of what we had to endure in order to do so.  That wasn’t her choice.  That was ours.
  • It’s our choices not to give her responsibilities beyond herself, her grades and her social life.  We spoiled her in every conceivable way.  That’s on us, not her.
  • The praise we heaped upon her were again, our choice and while hindsight is 20/20 and we see that we made a huge mistake in giving her so much praise, support and everything else, she doesn’t owe us anything for it no matter how it is looked upon.  We gave and she took.  We trained her that way.

It doesn’t matter how we turn this upside down, inside out or otherwise, our daughter is not indebted to us for anything we’ve done for her or given to her.  Those were our choices.  She owes us nothing but, likewise, we owe HER nothing either.  We’ve given until we could give her no more and that included taking abusive actions, words and insults by issue-riddled jerks.

We can see the mistakes she’s making in her choices now as a fully grown adult.  It’s quite obvious to even her now dumped former friends that she’s gone down a bad path.  However, that is her choice and we can no longer save her from it. Trust me, I’ve tried to get her to see what she’s doing to not only us but, herself and her own life.  She’s pushed us away and refuses to see it.  That’s on her and those will eventually be her consequences to have to deal with but, while she doesn’t owe it to us to make a different set of choices in spite of what we see happening, we also can honestly say that we have tried and we don’t owe her anything further either.

Yes, this is all extremely sad to have to live with.  One would think that by doing everything in our power to do for someone else, would net us something good, it doesn’t nor, does it mean that we’d be assured of a good outcome.  We did what we did and she’s doing what she’s doing now.  It doesn’t mean that we owe her in any way because we brought her into this world but, likewise, it doesn’t mean that she owes us anything either.

From my little corner of life to yours, be wary of what you give your child or children.  Don’t expect anything in return for having done it all.  While it’s my hope that you’re having an easier time of things than we did, it’s important to remember that no matter what you do with your child or children, once they become adults, they don’t owe you a thing.  Don’t expect a return of love, devotion and attention from them as it was your choice to bring them into the world. Once you get that through your mind fully, it may help to either curb your giving or it might help you to separate yourself as a parent from an adult estranged child in some oddball way.

Of course, it’s my hope that you never have to face what we are facing with our only child but, it may happen.  No one has that crystal ball and we certainly didn’t expect this type of treatment by our only child.  Let’s hope that you never have to face it either.

That said,

Be Well, Love and Light

Have a great day or evening.






Published by ponderinglifetoo

I'm a wife, mother, artist, photographer and bookkeeper. I love writing out my thoughts in journals but, am finding my way to sharing these with others now.

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