Why Adult Child Estrangement Is Learned, Taught Or A Punishment

I really don’t like to categorize everyone because people are different. Circumstances are different but, in the case of an adult estranging from their parents, short of true abuse (physical, mental or emotional) there are few reasons for anyone to find the need to distance themselves from someone else.

Yes, I know that it’s considered “the parent’s faults” for an adult offspring to do such an act but, the tides are turning. The so-called “experts” are now realizing more and more now that there’s not always a situation whereby the adult who has estranged can call their parents “narcissistic”, “toxic” or the like and, necessarily be correct by any stretch of the imagination.

One of the things that a lot of psychologist, psychiatrists and psychoanalysist are discovering is that what was once considered the standard in terms of believing the adult who sits in their offices, spewing out their own forms of “the truth” may in fact, be more manifestations of that adult’s own imaginations than anything based in fact or reality. This is especially true when the adult offspring has gone it alone by going in by themselves with no other thing for the therapist to judge that adult by. In other words, they are hearing only one side of the story, so to speak.

It’s not yet common place to find a therapist who will understand this point. In truth, a lot of therapists are totally ill equipped to discuss such a topic, let alone treat it. Yet, the internet and other so-called “experts” will write books and sell them to the estranged adult and base it upon the older, outdated thinking towards these parents. Others will earnestly offer up the old tried and worn out platitudes of “send messages of love”, “keep contact open”, “apologize with a blanket statement/set of statements to your adult” and the old standard phrasing of, “leave the door open to them”. In other words, it’s all about you as a parent and how you caused your adult to estrange themselves. Often, most of these tactics has little to no effect when there truly was no “abuse” by that parent.

Adult Who Estrange Themselves Have Been Convinced To Do So A Great Deal Of The Time

It’s not so much what the parent has done or not done as it is that an adult who has chosen to estrange themselves when not a case of true abuse, has either convinced themselves or been convinced that estrangement is the only way to be “healthy” or deal with the situation. After all, they are or have read that it’s all a huge form of a parent or parents, seeking out control over their adult(s) offspring.

Adults aren’t usually any the worse for what has happened in their lives by their parents or siblings or former friends than anyone else on this planet if true abuse is not part of the equation. It’s simply that they have been talked into believing that their situations warrant such an action. Moreover, they eventually come to believe that any action, word, facial expression or other form of parental decisions, is “toxic” or “abusive”.

Take the example of one estranged adult who has stated something as morose as, “my mother says I’m all that she’s got and she loves me. I need to estrange myself. What a burden she’s placed upon me.”

What immediately leaps to mind is the idea that this estranged adult has first and foremost, been convinced that he/she should have no form of responsibility towards the parent at all, it should be the other way around and secondly, but likely more importantly, they’ve gotten the idea that being a “child” or offspring to a parent is slang for the idea that their parents have given them a “burden” by being an offspring.

“I didn’t ask to be born,” says another. “I need my space! Why can’t I get it?”

While none of us know what type of agreements we may have had if there is a life before this one and after it, stating that someone didn’t ask to be born doesn’t automatically equate to the idea that a parent, by virtue of the fact that they had children, have to forever be beholden and owing to that adult. If that were the case, all of us on this planet could scream the same thing and expect that parents and the world somehow owe us in one or many ways.

A Parent Does Their Time

For the most part, by the time an adult who has estranged themselves quite unceremoniously and without a lot of explanation for that matter, most parents have more than done their duties as parents. In other words, walking the floor at night, holding a screaming child, going through thousands of dollars for that adult to reach adulthood, caregiving, babysitting, feeding, changing and right up to their estrangement where the parent(s) have done everything that they could or knew how to do, that “pay for it, you owe me because I am alive” type attitude has not only worn quite thin on a parent(s) but, it’s more likely that the parent (if not truly abusive or needing that child as a workhorse) has indeed, more than had at least 18 years of making it up to that child for them being alive. They do have lives, are alive and therefore, the parent owes that child nothing for them being born.

A Parent’s Influence And Control Has Been Watered Down

At a certain point in an offspring’s lives, they branch out with friends, school, Society, The Net, girlfriends/boyfriends, husbands/wives and parental influences have usually been watered down greatly at this point. Enough time has passed with others to buffer the situation in order for parents to state that they have little to no real influence over their adults and haven’t had for quite some time.

The above doesn’t mean that a relationship wasn’t close between parent and child nor, does it mean that it was. It simply means that the adult has also had the influence of a large number of factors at this point in their lives and therefore, the parent(s) cannot be the sole blame for that adult’s choices or lack of them in their lives.

Some will inevitably say that they were tortured by their parents and, it was their trauma or influence that caused that adult to be the way that they are. They will actually get to the point where they will slap labels upon their parent(s) foreheads which will, in their minds, justify their walking away on the parent(s). I do have a question for those adults though. Where were your own decisions, choices etc., if your parents were that controlling? At a certain age, you were considered an adult in the eyes of the law and could therefore, have stopped taking or moved out or any number of things. Why now has this become such an issue?

Either those same adults or others will say, “I was so convinced by my parent(s) that I was the black sheep that I couldn’t make a choice. I believed them.”

Yeah, really? You waited until you were in your 20’s or beyond before finally coming to this conclusion? Many of you were off at a college/university or living with roommates, girlfriends, boyfriends or some such idea at that point in time. You figured it out once you had your education, or got a job, had a car that your parent(s) paid for? You didn’t realize it until you’d had that education or that girlfriend/boyfriend? Never leaving the house with friends, going to school during the days or being on the net never tipped you off before this?

“There’s A Stigma Attached To Estrangement” No One Wants To Estrange

True that there is a stigma by Society and others in this world towards estrangement. It pretty much always goes towards the parent(s) being “bad parents”. That “stigma” is currently, heavily slanted towards a parent or parents. It’s rarely assumed that the child has created the issue in the first place. Society tends to believe the adult over the parent(s). Why is that?

Back in the 1970’s onwards, Society started to decide to give children “rights” and change up how it dealt with these kids. Rewards vs punishments, the “You Can’t Touch Me” movement came into play and was taught to them, technology advanced so that books are almost obsolete but, a lot of garbage also existed and still does as people try to peddle their wares, millions or even billions of dollars got spent on revamping attitudes of teachers, parents and Society in general. Not that everything was a bad thing but, it’s akin to Political Correctness having gone far too far. It has gotten to a point where a lot of adults learned quickly that they say “jump” and the world asks, “how high” and does it.

An Adult Estranges Themselves As A Punishment Or Justification And Often Uses Their Own Offspring As Pawns

Make no mistake about it. A lot of these adults have no good reason for the estrangement action or choice or decision. Unless there was true abuse or neglect, the adult who estranges has created or allowed another to manufacture a reason for them to estrange as if out of thin air. It may be as simple as an adult being angry because the parent doesn’t agree with everything that they think or do or approve of their choice in friends, spouses, girlfriends or boyfriends. Whatever the reason, a good portion of these estranged adults are using estrangement, consciously or unconsciously as a “punishment” for their parent(s), siblings, former friends or whatever they need to do in order to be right or correct.

The question is, “does the punishment fit the alleged crime”?

The answer to that one is usually a resounding “no” if there is no true abuse or neglect that can be found.

Sadly, even offspring’s children or, grandchildren can be kept from parent(s) for similar reasons. Those grandchildren are growing up with 2 lessons which may or may not come into play down the road.

1) Grandchildren are missing out on having grandparents no matter how demonized they have become to those children’s parents.

2) These estranged adults who keep their grandchildren from grandparents are teaching their own children how to treat them.

3) If a grandchild were to ever figure out that they were kept unnecessarily from their grandparents, they will call that parent(s), our estranged adults, “abusive” towards them. What goes around, comes around.

Girlfriends, Boyfriends, Spouses, Friends Etc., Can Be Messed Up Themselves But Still Have Influence Over Our Estranged Adults

All of the above mentioned people have far more influence than we know and may even be mentally unhealthy or a substance abuser themselves but, still have influence over our estranged adults. Pathetically, some well meaning but, minsinformed professionals can do more damage than good as well. More to the point, the net and technology have a huge effect upon the minds of our adults who have estranged themselves.

When a boyfriend, girlfriend, spouse etc., has a say over what they want to see, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are somehow mentally healthy. More often than not, they have their own issues and oftentimes, they want control over your estranged adult either towards their own parent(s) and family or, towards having your estranged adult to themselves. Their own mental health or relationship with your estranged adult may be more ill than you know or likely will know.

This is where a lot of parents will notice that a once loving relationship with their adult offspring goes sour quickly. A lot of parents, myself included, will notice that while things seemed fine with an adult child, it hits the skids when someone else comes into play, leaving us to wonder why and what we did wrong. Chances are, we did nothing to cause it but, that significant other or friend will find something and work hard at convincing your adult that you are the Devil Incarnate, a Liar or anything else that they can throw into the mix.

Often, it can take decades before an estranged adult will wake up to the idea that it never was the parent(s) who had the issue but, their significant other did.

There is plenty more to cover but, suffice it to say that this is enough for now. There will be coming entries in this blog that will cover it and no doubt, I will have to yet again, ask that estranged adults refrain from sending me comments which will only see my trashcan in my comment’s section. I don’t need to hear everyone’s tales of woe. Ok? Ok!

On that note, 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.

3 thoughts on “Why Adult Child Estrangement Is Learned, Taught Or A Punishment

  1. Thank you for sharing your story, and your pain. It has been over three years for us, our middle adult child cut us out of her life. She also cut ties with her younger sister and nephew. I have come to understand that we did not cause this, she made a choice as an adult. I still miss her, I still wake up in the night wondering why she did this, but all the worry seriously affected my heart. I have had surgery to try to correct the arrhythmia. Throughout this estrangement I’ve come to realize that there are two adult children, a husband and a grandson who love me, there is still much to live for. Each day is one more step towards healing a mother’s broken heart. Your perspective is spot on. Our daughter married a man who calls his own mother a narcissist, who fights with his parents, disrespects them, and who drinks to excess. They borrowed $45K from us to buy their first home. How they could behave so cruelly towards us is beyond my understanding. I struggle to let go of the estrangement, but I have come to accept that this is the way forward. Thank you again for sharing your story. I wish you and your followers peace and joy in their lives.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You bring up very good points, and they all ring true for me. My goodness! Even the look on the face of the young woman in the graphic you used looks remarkably like the look we often got from my daughter!

    One thing that troubles me personally is that I had to distance myself and children from my parents because they truly were and are abusive. I felt a strong need to protect my children from them.

    But now my children have chosen to estrange themselves from me.

    I never told my children how horrific my growing up was, nor gave them full details of how my parents continued to be abusive. Perhaps that was an error on my part, but until I was able to get into therapy myself, I was always in survival mode.

    So now that my children have chosen this path, is it my fault because my efforts to impart a sense of family to them were lacking? I know you’re not saying that, yet it is a question I frequently ask myself.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. MsPony65, it’s so sad to hear your story. You’ve had a great deal of issues, no doubt. There are times when I question why I didn’t walk from my own 2 parents. Questions never cease, do they? (There goes one now!)

      There is some scientific evidence or at the least, a “hypothesis” that estrangement tends to run in families through genetics. How true that will turn out to be, is anyone’s guess at this point in time. There’s not enough evidence to prove it one way or another at this moment in time.

      I will say that perhaps, it’s simply coincidental that your children (knowing nothing of your own past) have chosen to estrange from you. Perhaps, it would have been that they would have done this anyway, given the numbers of adult offspring who are doing this to parents nowadays. It’s almost a trend to do so. Anything that doesn’t suit them or they don’t like, they’ll walk out.

      Having said that much, it’s also a generational thing as well where a lot of adults were brought up to believe that the sun rose just for them and set just for them. My bet is that you’ve been a great parent to these children and, sadly, they’ve taken it all for granted. They possibly came to learn that what they wanted/needed, you were there for them and, likely gave them a wonderful life. When things didn’t go their way, they “rebelled”.

      Should you have told them about your past? Likely not. The reason that I’m saying this is because it probably would have given them even MORE ammo against you. In other words, they would have figured out your weak spots and played upon them even more than they did. Secondly, the fact that you estranged from your parents for them, means that they would have thrown it back in your face (excuses of course) that “you estranged so, we are estranging from you. You taught us how to do it,” type of response.

      It is NOT your “fault” that you (even if you didn’t or weren’t able to) give them a “sense of family. There are all sorts of people out in this world who are alcoholics, drug addicts, severely depressed etc. and cannot give their children anything that you’ve given your children and yet…they STILL have their children around them and with them. How does one explain that fact? Were you to not have done the “right thing” for your children, there was a 50-50 chance of them choosing to estrange themselves given today’s atmosphere, Society and so much more…including friends, work, boyfriends/girlfriends etc..

      Pat yourself on the back for doing the best you could have done and quit questioning your parenting. This was more than likely going to happen no matter what you did or didn’t do for them.

      HUGE HUGS to you! XO XO XO


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