Dear Parents of Estranged Adult Children,

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Dear Parents of Estranged Adult Children,

This open letter is in response to the many e-mails that I receive asking for my help and my insight into estrangement. Most often the person writing to me has read my P.E.A.C.E. Parents of Estranged Adult Children Everywhere article located on my website Bernadette A. Moyer at http://www.bernadetteamoyer.com

Just this week I received two heartfelt e-mails from parents in pain that are dealing with the aftermath from their adult children and their estrangement. Most often the estrangement includes taking the grandbabies and grandchildren with them.

Where I am not an expert I have experienced estrangement on both sides. My mother didn’t speak to me for 23 years. My crime I conveyed a message I received from a child who stated that my mother’s husband was sexually abusing them. I believed the child, my mother and all family members did not.

As a teenager my child would walk out of my life. Our estrangement is now 15 years in the making. She would write her college essay about me calling me many wonderful things, a month later when I said “no” I went from “awesome” and “amazing” to an “abuser.” I have numerous letters in her own handwriting stating how wonderful a mother I once was to her.

You can’t make this stuff up …

What I say to all that contact me, first and foremost I am so sorry. There is no greater pain than to have a child that you raised and loved and adored turn on you and/or walk out of your life for good. I immediately encourage them to try everything humanly possible to work it out. I sincerely believe that it is not in the best interest of the adult child nor the parent to be estranged. I don’t believe that it is normal or natural for either side.

Only after every attempt has been made to have a mutually respectful relationship, you must stop and save yourself and respect their decision. Many times the number one complaint shared with me is that parents are accused of “stalking” these adult children. I immediately have to laugh for two reasons 1) my child still accuses me of this even though I have not seen or heard from her and I have respected her decision. I make no efforts to contact. 2) a normal loving parent loves their child and wonders about them and how they are doing.

I did everything humanly possible to reach out to my child. There was and is nothing on the face of this earth that will “fix” what issues she has with me. I have come to believe that she believes her own “story” which is a far cry from what happened and how I lived it and remember it.

As a teenager children do not have fully formed brains. It is a fact and yet at 18 they are legally allowed to make adult decisions. Where most teenagers go through a period of hating their parents, it is the immature ones that stay stuck in that hatred. Obviously for whatever reasons it serves them well. They must be getting something out of it or they wouldn’t do it. It might be for people to feel sorry for them or to help them and often is about manipulating people to do things for them.

Once you have accepted that there is no other way, you must save yourself! There is life after the grief, after the heartache and after the disappointment. It isn’t easy and it doesn’t happen overnight. It took more than a decade for me to declare “enough!”

I am so much better off without the drama and being the target of hatred. Finally after more than I can share here the bonds once held are no longer in existence. It is now me the parent that is finished. I have written my obituary and I have made my final requests upon my death very well known and well documented.

When it is over it is over! If you can repair or restore your relationship with your adult child, you should put all efforts into doing so and if it can’t be repaired or restored you have to let go of it.

Letting go with love and giving her back to God who gave her to me in the first place, is my final act of love. Once again I gave her what she wanted and she won. But in the final analysis I finally learned to save myself and to create a very full rewarding life without her. There is life after children. There have been numerous recent studies and articles that show having kids is not all that it is anticipated to be and often does NOT create a more meaningful, rewarding or peaceful life.

You can find me on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer and look for Support Group for Parents of Estranged Adult Children on Facebook too.

The number one take away is that you are not alone! Many others are experiencing the same loss and heartache of estrangement. Find a support group, or a support person, it helps.

God’s Peace and Prayers,

Bernadette

The Excitement of Newness

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The Excitement of Newness
By Bernadette A Moyer

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There is something so exciting about trying something new, whether it is a new restaurant, a new vacation destination, a new recipe or a new class. There is that excitement of the unknown and the ability to try a new experience without any expectations.

It could be a new book or a new movie release just about anything that we are experiencing for the very first time offers us a new exciting experience without any previous point of reference. I am a junkie for trying new things! It doesn’t matter if it is a new hair conditioner or a new food item. I’ll try most anything at least once.

Over the weekend we tried the new BLK, Black water and I have to say “never again.” Not only didn’t it taste good to me but I literally felt like I was drinking really dirty black water!

Tonight my husband and I tried the newest Corner Bakery in our neighborhood, it is a chain and new to our area. Like most experiences we put a toe in the water and started with just a soft drink and a dessert. The place was nice, new, neat and clean. The menu had more than one item that piqued my interest and we will return for a breakfast, lunch or dinner meal at another time.

Recently I began taking a new business class at our local college here in Maryland, Loyola has a campus close to my home and I wanted a refresher business class to add to my resume. As an adult student you just want that “A” grade and it is important to do the very best you can, at my age you take every learning opportunity more seriously. You don’t have to be there, you are there because you alone made the decision to attend and you want to be there.

My husband like myself enjoys travelling to new locations, it could be a car ride or a plane flight away but we are always open minded and without a previous experience “there” we have no expectations which often makes for a guaranteed great time. We have also learned how to make everything old like new again. As frequent travelers to our resort home in Delaware we set out every single summer season to try a new restaurant. We also try parking on new to us streets, and taking in our beach place from a new and different angle. This helps to keep our trips fresh, new and allows us to discover and uncover new places.

Making time for new experiences and deliberately setting out on an unknown course allows us to broaden our horizons and makes for new learning experiences. Having a partner who enjoys trying new things as much as I do keeps our marriage fresh and alive. Where it may be easy to become a creature of habit, for me, not trying something new feels like a slow death and a boring life.

This week I have several “new” things lined up and I am both excited and curious and probably a tad bit nervous too! So here is to trying new things, setting out to experience a new experience and attending new places with opportunities to meet new and different people. Life is about change and growth and taking in as many new things as we can during our lifetime.

So … go somewhere new! Try a new food item! Make a new friend! Travel to a place you have never been before! Take a new class! Whatever it is … there is always excitement attached to newness …

Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer

Books by Bernadette A Moyer on Amazon and Barnes & Noble

Let it Go, Let it Go, Let it Go …

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Let it Go, Let it Go, Let it Go …

By Bernadette A. Moyer

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Bishop TD Jakes words of advice “Let it go” and Disney’s Frozen was about “let it go.”  How often do we hang on to things that people did and said to us? And we would be so much better served if we just “let it go?”

“When people walk away from you let them walk. Your destiny is never tied to anyone that left. People leave you because they are not joined to you. And if they are not joined to you, you can’t make them stay. Let them go. And it doesn’t mean that they are a bad person it just means that their part in the story is over. And you’ve got to know when people’s part in your story is over so you don’t keep trying to raise the dead. You’ve got to know when it is dead.” Bishop TD Jakes

Not everything or everyone is meant to be in our lives forever. How often do we hang on to that which no longer serves us? Let it go!

How much mental illness or our suffering points back to an inability to let go? Forgiveness is the ability to let it go, it is what we do for ourselves when we forgive.

“If you let go a little, you will have a little peace. If you let go a lot, you will have a lot of peace.” Ajahn Chah

Anger keeps us connected in negative ways, letting it go allows us to move forward with love and with grace. Brain scientists suggest that nearly 20% of us suffer “complicated grief” when we long for someone that we lost and we romanticize the memories of the relationship. Often when people die we make them God-like, all of a sudden they become perfect. We don’t speak ill of the dead.  Even if they were far from “angelic” they become angels to us. It is healthy for us to forget and forgive the bad stuff, it allows us to let go.

The secret is to know when it is time to let go. Hanging on to hurts or to anger or to any loss is often at the expense of wellness and growth. When we are stuck we are unable to move forward.

Remember the movie Up, iIt is a Disney film that came out in 2009 and told the story of a widower who couldn’t let go. He couldn’t let go of the past and the house that he previously shared with his wife. Basically he couldn’t “fly” and lift off without letting go. Once the main character could let go of the objects that weighed him down, he literally was able to fly and move on and ahead.

There was no much angst in my family and so much hurt and loss. For years I kept it alive by carrying it in my head and in my heart. After my mother died I was initially indignant as to how her lack of any desire for any reconciliation and how it affected me. But the truth is she was dead and gone from me for decades before her actual passing. It was an open wound until the finality of her death.

Recently I visited her grave which is littered with messages from her other children. Their grief and loss is so new to them. I am finally free and at peace. When we can finally “let it go” we have a full and open heart that has a greater ability to love and is peaceful.   I know because that is where I live now. It is a choice. I find it easier to let many more things go. So little is really worth hanging on to and what this has done for me is it allows me to be present in the moment and to live in the moment and literally one day at a time. My anxiety is far less and my joy is far greater.

The real gift is not in the holding on but rather in our ability to let it go …