Frequently Asked Questions from Estranged Parents
How do I read the comments to the articles? How do I leave comments?
This is not a blog or a community, it's my personal website. I haven't set up comment sections because moderating them and screening out spam posts would be a tiresome, draining mess. If you have thoughts to share, feel free to share them on your own blog or forum.
What are your credentials?
And just for the record, the author of the linked site does not give her real name, and offers no professional experience, and is just offering her uneducated opinion.
What do I make of Issendai’s spewing, the great depths of knowledge accrued over vast numbers of unmentioned years with knowledge gained by study from also unmentioned institutions of higher learning?
Ah yes, that old classic, the ad hominem attack.
People who do give their real names and who have significant professional and personal experience in dealing with estrangement get torn to shreds if they say things that members of estranged parents' forums disagree with. (Dr. Joshua Coleman, anyone?) Meanwhile, authors with absolutely no credentials except unresolved estrangements (Sharon A. Wildey, Anne Killinger) are lionized if they say things the members like, which is rather like an alcoholic rejecting all books about alcoholism except those written by active alcoholics. Since the deciding factor isn't "What are these person's credentials?," it's "Do I like what this person says?" and members of estranged parents' forums are guaranteed not to like what I say, my answer is moot. I'll opt out of this question.
Can you help me with my own estrangement?
I'm sorry, but no. Whatever I have to say about the causes of estrangement is already on the website.
Two sources of help I recommend are Dr. Joshua Coleman and Tina Gilbertson. From the perspective of an adult child of disordered parents, their advice is challenging but spot on. (Except for Coleman's advice to keep trying to make contact no matter what. You'll go farther faster if you respect your child's request for no contact.) There's a thread on an estranged parents' forum about how their type of advice is too hard to take in the first few raw years of estrangement, but once the parent is past the initial rage and grief, it's easier to read and follow. There are also multiple instances of former members dropping by estranged parents' forums to say that advice similar to Coleman's and Gilbertson's made all the difference in resolving their estrangements. So you may not be ready for their advice; but when you are ready, many reconciled parents say it's a gold mine.
Are you estranged from your parents?
No, although I'm dealing with multigenerational abuse fueled by alcoholism.
Are you my estranged son/daughter/sister/brother/mother/former friend?
No. I'm not estranged from family, and my friends know about my website. If you don't already recognize me, then we've never met.
Are you doing this for the attention?
If I were, I would be doing a better job of promotion! I'm doing it to help my fellow children of abusive parents. Every time someone says one of my psychology pages helped them, I feel a mix of emotions I call sadproud—sad because someone is dealing with something awful, proud because something I wrote helped them deal with their something awful.
Or maybe it's sadgladproud? Because every so often, someone says that what I wrote changed their life, and I'm glad that another person is free. The things I write sometimes give people the tools to make their lives better. That's not something I expected back when I kicked off my blog in 2002 with a post about a broken toilet. So why do I do it? For the people who read what I wrote and then change their own lives for the better.
It does intrigue me that "they're doing it for the attention" crops up so much. Why do estranged adult children talk about their parents online? For the attention. Why do people write about estranged parents? For the attention. Why do estranged parents talk about their children online? For support.
It's a double standard.
We're the same, you and us. You talk about having to separate from your parents in exactly the same way we talk about having to separate from our own parents. You talk about suffering your parents' abuse in exactly the same way we talk about suffering our parents' abuse. You forgive one another for your estrangements from your own parents, but you condemn us for identical estrangements for identical reasons.
What's the difference? That your parents were abusive, but you aren't?
Would your parents have called themselves abusive?
That your parents' abuses actually happened, but your children are making up stories?
Would your parents have remembered their own incidents of abuse the same way you did? Would they have remembered them at all?
What's the difference?
I know it hurts. But so many of you were estranged from your parents. So many of us are estranged from our parents. So many of your parents wouldn't have considered themselves abusive. So many of our parents don't consider themselves abusive. Is the only real difference that now you're the estrangees and not the estrangers?
What's the difference?
Why is it good for adult children to seek support on forums, but bad for estranged parents to seek support on forums?
So, the problem is those who talk about the estrangement and seek advice from others in the same situation. If you just keep it to yourself, you are managing it just fine while your kids are bad mouthing you on adult children forums. Thank you for the helpful information.
If an adult daughter posted to a forum to say that she provoked her mother into a frenzy at her grandmother's deathbed, then grabbed her mother by the hair and dragged her out of the room, the members would be horrified.
If an adult daughter posted to say that her parents accused her of being an alcoholic and ended visits the moment she took a drink, but she wasn't an alcoholic and her parents were being controlling... the forum would urge her to entertain the possibility that she was an alcoholic.
If an adult daughter posted to say that both her son and her daughter accused a friend of the family of molesting them, but it wasn't possible because she was sure she was there the whole time and besides, what kind of pedophile molested both boys and girls? ...the forum would tear her a new one and give her a crash course in molestation, then tell her to put her kids into therapy immediately. They would suggest filing charges. And they wouldn't let up until they were convinced that the mother had taken steps to secure the children's safety.
That's not how estranged parents' forums responded when their members told the same stories.
It's not about whether it's good or bad for a particular group to seek support. It's about whether a particular group is drawn to forums with a forum culture that enables abuse, applauds abuse, tells abusers they admire their strength. That tells a woman who dragged her daughter out of the room by the hair that she's a role model. If estranged children's forums applauded members for the same kinds of things that estranged parents' forums applaud, you'd question their value, too.
Why don't you include quotes from forums for adult children of abusers?
There's a disconnect between the accounts of adult children of abusers and the accounts of members of estranged parents' forums. Outsiders read both and think, "The survivors had it rough, but these estranged parents are nothing like the parents the survivors describe." When adult children of abusers confront members of estranged parents' forums, the parents themselves say, "Don't lump me in with your parents! I was nothing like that." Using the words of adult children of abusers to show that the members are abusive just opens up the argument for another round of "We're not like that."
What this site does is show, in the unfiltered words of the members, that by the members' own accounts their behavior is abusive.
But we're not abusive.
I don't expect you to agree.
You posted enough of my story that my estranged child, who has made credible threats to my safety, could find my posts.
Hooooooly crap you're right. I'm so sorry. I've changed details to hide your identity.
The analyses on this page are my own opinions and should not be construed as medical advice or statements of absolute fact.