Stories from Estranged Parents
The forums where estranged parents post are full of stories.
- A grandmother dislikes the formula her daughter-in-law is feeding her granddaughter. When her son and daughter-in-law reject her advice, she sends an email to the daughter-in-law's family, and when that gets no results, she calls CPS.
- A woman follows her estranged adult son around town for hours before cornering him at his job site and demanding to speak to him.
- A woman's daughter has been estranged for two years. The mother doesn't have any contact information for her except an address that will change shortly. She asks a forum for estranged parents for help, and the other members offer to track down her daughter and take photos for her.
- A man's son cut contact with him 14 years ago, and has evaded all his father's attempts to get his phone number, email, or home address. The father finally tracks down the son's home address and turns up on his doorstep to inform him that the estrangement has gone on long enough. When the son blasts his father with rage, the father is shocked and hurt, and concludes that his son is severely mentally ill.
These are not stories estranged children tell about their parents. They're stories estranged parents tell each other about their own lives.
- A woman asks the forum whether it would be a good idea to write to her estranged son's girlfriend and tell the girlfriend that she, the mother, loves the son too. Several forum members tell her yes, do it.
- A woman finds a personals ad from her estranged son's ex-wife—who has also broken off contact with her ex-husband's parents—and answers it. She suggests that instead of looking high and low for a good man to take care of her, she let the grandparents be the "good man" and take care of the grandchildren for the summer.
- A grandmother thinks her married daughter is having an affair. To make her stop, she lies to her daughter, telling her that she hired a private investigator to follow the daughter, and now she has photos of her daughter and her daughter's boyfriend together.
Estranged parents who visit forums for adult children of abusers complain that the adult children think everything is abuse. They're misled by therapists, by a culture of entitlement, by their own narcissistic personality disorder.
- A grandmother who is estranged from her son's family gathers a party of six other relatives and ambushes the daughter-in-law at her house when the son is at work. The daughter-in-law refuses to let them in, so they stay on the lawn, screaming at her, for hours.
- During an argument with her teenaged daughter, a woman locks herself in the bathroom and attempts suicide by trying to cut her hand off. Years later, she blames her now-estranged daughter for the incident.
There might be genuinely abusive parents out there, but none of them are members of this forum.
- A woman waits at her dying mother's bedside because she knows her estranged daughter will be coming to say her goodbyes to her grandmother. When the daughter arrives, the mother refuses to let her daughter say her goodbyes until her daughter hashes out the estrangement with her. The daughter decides to leave, and leans over to give her grandmother a kiss farewell. The mother grabs her daughter by the hair and drags her out of the room.
Just being in the forum is proof that the parents want to work things out.
- A couple sue for visitation rights to their two grandsons, one of whom they have never met. They lose. The day after the loss in court, they show up at their grandsons' school with presents, asking the staff whether they can see the boys.
Real abusers never want to work things out.
- A woman mails her estranged daughter a hand-drawn picture of the daughter standing over her mother's bloodied corpse, holding a knife.
Their children don't know what they're talking about.
These incidents were drawn from public forums for estranged parents and grandparents, public forums for the discussion of psychological and relationship difficulties, and pages where estranged parents and grandparents post their stories to raise awareness of estrangement. All but two of the incidents were related entirely by the parents or grandparents in question. Two of the incidents were related by the estranged children and confirmed by the parents.
These are not stories estranged children tell one another. These are stories estranged parents tell about themselves.
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The analyses on this page are my own opinions and should not be construed as medical advice or statements of absolute fact.