Estranged … Now what?
By Bernadette A Moyer
Knowing what I know now and after my own experience and hearing from thousands of mothers and fathers who are estranged from their adult children, I would do things differently!
I should not have wasted my time, my heart and my tears over someone who was already so far gone from me. Today I would say that yes you will be hurt and yes you might be shocked but what you really need to do is get over it and get over it as quickly as possible.
It is okay to love the child that you had and to reflect fondly on them but it is also necessary to let them go in peace and in love. When it is over, it is over. Some situations will allow for a reboot and another chance, some never will.
Today I believe that adult kids that estrange enjoy the satisfaction they receive in knowing how much they hurt their parents and their families. It is all about control. It is all about being selfish and all about them. It is the choice that they alone have made.
And the stories they will tell is that they were the victims. Think about it? A nice son or a nice daughter wouldn’t cut mom and dad out of their life. They will need to justify their actions and that means making mom and dad out to be the bad guys. And the more they can paint themselves as a victim, the more they can manipulate others and command support for their cause and position.
Don’t play along and don’t play their games. Find things to do that will occupy your time and utilize your talents. Go to a therapist or go to the gym but keep moving. Life is all about forward movement. You can think, hope and pray that they return, but whatever you do, do not compromise the quality of your own life in the process. Remember if they do return you will have grown and changed and taken better care of yourself. And if they never return you will be healthier, stronger and better able to manage and enjoy your life.
Because if you compromise your life away you will eventually regret it and you won’t get those lost years back. Our response should be one that says I hold myself up in the highest. I will not allow you or any other to destroy me or my joy. My life with you or without you, matters. I am important and I deserve to be happy.
Back then so much of my life wasn’t even mine. Maybe that was a huge part of the problem? I had given so much of myself away in being a wife and a mother, a career woman and a friend. The last person who received my time and attention was me.
Learn to retreat in healthy ways. It is okay to be alone with yourself. It is okay to grieve and to process. It is okay to feel the loss and the pain. But don’t stay there and don’t get stuck there. Being a victim is never attractive no matter how it comes about. Fight for yourself. You are worth the very best!
There will always be up and down days. Some days you will have stronger and better coping skills. Some days will be tough. It takes time. It takes time to acknowledge this, to accept this and then to learn how to live with it. In our disbelief and in our shock we tend to want to fight it. Very little is resolved in hanging on to that which has already left us.
Where it may seem so unnatural and so unkind, remember it is happening in record numbers and in families around the world. You are not alone. This month marks 18 years since the trauma of estrangement entered my life like an uninvited guest. I have been through all the stages from denial, anger, hurts and trying everything and anything and to finally arriving at pure total acceptance. My life is so great right now and I don’t think I could be happier or be surrounded by more love. I am so lucky to have survived it.
I thank everyone that reached out to me and shared their stories and supported me through all my writings. I would not have made it through without the love and support of so many people.
My best advice is to try and build an even better life. All those things that you wanted to do but never took the time to do; make the time and do them. Life goes on. Life is lived by looking forward and not from behind. You are worth so much more than to have the child or children that you gave your life for and invested so heavily in, discard you.
Remember it isn’t about you. It is all about them and their choices …
In God’s peace and love … Bernadette
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