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Down the Rabbit Hole
The world of estranged parents' forums

This page doesn't apply to all estranged parents, only to estranged parents who are members of estranged parents' forums. Read why.

For several years now I've followed blogs about narcissists and other abusers, written by victims of abuse. They're powerful tools for recovery, and powerful testimonials to the impact of emotional abusers on other people's lives. What's been missing is the abusers' perspective on the abuse. The narcissists I see online don't write about their relationships with their children and close friends; they hardly write about their own partners, except as props in the narcissist's ongoing drama. I assumed that there was no way to get the abusers' side of the story, that abusers are smart enough to not incriminate themselves in their own blogs, and like hell would they get together with other abusers to discuss abuse.

I was wrong.

The keywords to find abusers' support communities are "estranged parents" and "grandparents' rights."

The Abuser's Side of the Story

The estranged parent communities are amazing. The members are people whose adult sons and daughters have cut off contact with their parents, and sometimes with their entire families. Although members of the estranged parent communities are largely unaware of the methods and vocabulary of the abuse-victim support network, they describe their sons and daughters ("estranged children," or ECs) going through all the steps of separation: the attempts to negotiate and set boundaries, the warnings, the process of going LC (limited contact), then NC (no contact), the escalating steps to enforce the no-contact rule, the hopeful attempts at reconciliation, the renegotiation, the setting of new boundaries, the return to NC. It's a view through a dark and crazily distorted glass. The parents and children had a wonderful relationship until something changed—the parents don't know what, but they suspect their child's new partner had something to do with it. And then their child dragged up a bunch of stuff from the distant past, most of which never happened, and blamed their parents for everything that went wrong in their own lives, and THEN they made a power play and cut their parents out of their lives to punish their parents. But their parents refuse to be controlled. They will reclaim their own lives, they will not knuckle under to their abusive, nasty, ungrateful children, and they will keep trying to contact their children to let them know they still love them.

Not all of the members of estranged parent communities are abusers. Quite a few people show up with stories of losing contact with their children because of drugs, mental illness, cult involvement, abusive sons- and daughters-in-law, or the influence of a vengeful ex. However, most of the people who know why their children are estranged filter away from the group quickly. I don't know where they go, but I suspect they find help in other groups—parents with drug-addicted children find groups about dealing with drug addicts, parents whose children are in the control of an abusive partner find groups about partner abuse. What's left are the people who have no idea why their children left them. And that, my friends, is a vast and waving red flag.

Grandparents' Rights Groups

Grandparents' rights groups are one step forward and one step back. One step forward, because the majority of the people who are interested in this cause are the people grandparents' rights were meant to help: grandparents who lost touch with their grandchildren through the parents' divorce, incarceration, or some other rupture in their children's families. However, it also brings out the people who think they have more rights over their grandchildren than the children's own parents do, the people who want to force a family reconciliation through the courts, the people who want to take custody of their grandchildren to punish their children. These people are not merely nasty pieces of work. These people are batshit.

Stories from estranged parents

Updated 7/29/2015

This page may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. It is being made available in an effort to advance the understanding of psychological issues. It is believed that this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law.

The analyses on this page are my own opinions and should not be construed as medical advice or statements of absolute fact.

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