About "Down the Rabbit Hole"
What is the purpose of this site?
To document attitudes and behavioral patterns common on estranged parents' forums, and to analyze the information in light of psychological theories and estranged adult children's experiences.
Who is this site written for?
Adult children of abusers, and outsiders who are new to the parental estrangement movement. It's not written to help members of estranged parents' forums.
I wrote it for adult children of abusers because many of them find it validating to know that others see the same things they see. Person after person has said, "My mother could have written the letter that mother wrote." "That's exactly what my father would say." "That sounds just like the letters my grandparents wrote to my parents." This site tells abusers' children what the forums are like without making them spend hours reading there, triggering themselves.
And I wrote it for outsiders because people who have just started researching the estranged parents' movement take the estranged parents they speak with at face value. Many of them come from healthy families and don't know how to spot red flags. This site lays out what some of the red flags are and shows the underlying patterns. Hopefully it will result in a few less articles about "the epidemic of parents who are cut off by their children for no reason."
Why didn't you write it for members of estranged parents' forums?
The forums promote a culture of denying blame, interpreting criticism as abuse, ignoring adult children's requests for no contact, reinforcing parents' authority over grown children, and supporting fellow members regardless of their actions. Members encourage one another to stalk their children and offer help to unsuccessful members. When members confess to abusive behavior, the other members help them rationalize it away. Healthy parents don't stay in that environment.
More importantly, people don't stay in that environment unless they need unquestioning support. The forum culture is designed for people who are too fragile for criticism. And if someone is so fragile that the only message they can absorb is "You're a good person, you were a great parent, and you did nothing wrong," then no site in the world with a contrary message is going to be able to help them.
Why don't you include more about the experiences of 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.
How did you research this site?
In mid-2011 I started reading estranged parents' and grandparents' forums. For a year or two I was an avid daily reader of several forums, and since then I've popped in every month or two to see what's going on. I also did a great deal of reading in the forums' archives to get a sense of the most active members' stories and how the forums' shaping of estrangement changed or didn't change over time.
All the forums I read were open to the public and were easily found through Google.
Did you ever belong to an estranged parents' forum?
Only as a lurker, to make it easier to pull up the list of forums. I never posted. I have posted on mixed sites that welcome both parents and children.
Did you get the permission of the members to copy their quotes?
No. All quotations are publicly available (or were at the time of first publication) and are used under the Fair Use Doctrine. Fair use permits the use of excerpts even when a site has a Terms of Service forbidding reproduction.
Identifying information was removed from excerpts, and I provided no further information that would enable readers to identify a member or her family. I took care to ensure that removing quotes from context and eliding portions of the text did not alter the meaning of the quotes.
This site is hateful and you should be ashamed of yourself.
Right back atcha, hon.
The analyses on this page are my own opinions and should not be construed as medical advice or statements of absolute fact.