Parents of Estranged Children: Help and Healing

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by SomewhereOutThere, Apr 24, 2015.

  1. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

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  2. SeekingStrength

    SeekingStrength Well-Known Member

    it is a good article. Thanks for sharing this.

    I am currently reading Praying for Your Adult Children by Omartian, after seeing it recommended on this forum. Early in the book, something she wrote hit me smack (hard) between the eyes. My difficult child has been extremely hateful in emails, texts and, most recently, in an online forum discussing an accident my brother was in. Much more hateful than what we read on this forum. He has tried every avenue imaginable to humiliate his parents.

    It has been too, too easy for husband and me to vilify difficult child. Forgiving our son has to happen before husband and I can expect true peace and answers to our prayers. Ouch.

    husband and I are working on this. Not as easy as one would think.
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  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I read on one site for adult children who had cut out their parents a bunch of indignant adult children who had read a site for estranged parents. They were very cruel and ridiculed them and asked, "Gee, I wonder why we are not in contact with you." I wanted to chime in that some adult kids are no contact because they were angry that their parents set boundaries regarding this drug abuse, their asking for money, and their not paying their bail, but I didn't. These young adults made my blood run cold. I have no idea why they were no contact with their parents, but they sure didn't seem to have any caring at all in their hearts.

    I do think we have to do better than that. We are older. We have lived longer. We can gently detach from unacceptable behavior without acting like we hate our adult children, and we don't. I know some parents act like criminals too and are abusive, but I don't think all of them are and I do think we all need to learn that everybody makes mistakes. I have to remember this myself when I talk about my own mother who did abuse me. Heck, she wasn't all bad. She was bad to ME, but she was pretty kind to my siblings. What good does it do to hate? I don't like the emotion. It is counterproductive and bad energy on our souls.

    THanks for the good reminder, Tanya. It's easy to get caught up in bad feelings when you've been hurt. I guess some of us, like me, have to try harder. I am going to read the book you read. As religious as Goneboy is...he does need our prayers. One can never send enough prayers, even if you don't ever see that person again.
  4. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Great article, thanks so much for sharing SWOT.

    I think this part is so important and validates the power of this forum.

    "Fearing judgment, you may be embarrassed to share your painful truth. And you may be right to hold back with people at work, or certain friends you feel won’t understand or will judge you. It’s helpful to reach out to a trusted, empathetic friend or two, but whether you can or can’t confide in others, don’t deny your feelings exist. Accept your emotions as normal in the situation."

    I read that book many years ago, it's great. That's all I can offer my son is my prayers and there is real healing in praying for someone.
  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I agree with you. I have the weekend off and could use a good book. Should be a very relaxing weekend :)
  6. Childofmine

    Childofmine trying to do this thing one day at a time Staff Member

    This morning there is an article in the paper about forgiveness. It is a basic article, but included important reminders:

    **Forgiveness doesn't mean forgetting.
    **Forgiveness doesn't mean going back again and again for more bad treatment.
    **Forgiveness is for us, not for them.
    **Not forgiving dooms us to a life of misery and resentment and ugliness.
    **Forgiveness may mean staying further away so the same thing doesn't keep happening over and over again.
    **Forgiveness is something we can do all by ourselves, completely without the involvement of the person we are working to forgive.

    I forgave my dad long ago for his terrible temper and I have worked to let go of all of the hurt his temper caused me. Today, he still has that temper. I love my dad, but I keep a good safe distance. I have learned more about his triggers. I get up and walk out of the room today without comment if he starts up in my presence. My dad is a flawed human being, just like I am. I see that today and I am very grateful.

    Great post.
  7. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I'm am still not sure what "forgiving" means. I never will understand as to me it requires remorse on the part of the person you have forgiven.

    But I do know that if you spend most of your life worried about the past and wrongs done to you, whatever they are, you will never find peace, harmony or serenity. Most of the time, I can place the past and the flawed people who were toxic to me into a little box I imagined up with my therapist. It is a paper box that goes in a closet in a basement far from myself and I place old memories there and tie them up with a ribbon. That is my idea of moving on. Usually I can. Once in a while something comes up and they get out of the closet and I am my worst enemy then until I catch them again and put them back in the box. I have had to do that recently and I have.

    Some people who are flawed I can look away from. I mean, everyone I've ever met is flawed in some way. My father has a hot temper too, but I have put my foot down on him yelling at me and we are closer now and it does not happen as often and I always remove myself when it does. Others will stay in the box.

    Until we live in the beauty of NOW we can not find contentment. If we learn our own triggers and prepare for them, we are better able to forgive the people who are doing what upsets us or we have an easier time tying that box shut or forgiving and moving on. It also helps if we stop questioning "why did this happen?" We really will never know. I gave up the "why" of anything this week and it has added to my feeling of peace and freedom.
    Tanya, this part is so important. It doesn't matter if anybody else validates your reality. It was and is what it was and is to you. We need to let go of the need for others to see things our way, even if it hurts us that they could have overlooked. I have radically accepted that my reality is mine alone, but my reality is very real to me.

    I have shared too much in the past. Our precious memories are often held against us in the hands of the wrong people.

    I talk to you people here, because you understand and I know you, but don't know you (if you get what I mean). And I confide to my mental health professionals. That's enough.
  8. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    I think forgiveness has more than one side. For me I made the choice to forgive my bio-father for the abuse he inflicted upon me and also to forgive my son for the hell and chaos he put me through. Forgiving those who have hurt me allows me to move on, to let go of the hurt and anger, to not allow the other person to hold my emotions hostage, however, it does not mean I forget what they have done. Forgiving someone does not mean you automatically trust them again, trust is something that has to be earned back and in order for that to happen the other person would have to start by asking for forgiveness followed by actions that show they are truly sorry.

    What you said sounds like forgiveness to me, especially the part about things coming out of the box sometimes and having to put them away again. That's the part about not forgetting. When I see a news report about a child molester it can stir up all those old emotions of anger and hurt but I am pretty quick to recognize it and let it go, to re-forgive, to put it back in the box.
    I really like what COM posted:
    I've been there!! I too am very careful who I share with. I've had people gossip behind my back after sharing some personal information. Live and learn.