Estranged mothers and adult children

woman sadIt’s Mother’s Day this Sunday in Australia. A day when many families come together to rejoice in the loving bond between mothers and children. A day to celebrate the blood, sweat and tears that ooze out of mothers while raising children. But for some families, it’s a day of heartbreak. There will be no bunches of flowers or boxes of chocolates. Adult children and parents can become estranged to each other. That’s tough.

Those that choose to break the relationship with their parent or child, often see it as a move of self-preservation. For some reason, the family dynamics have gone awry and the person, unable to stand the emotional turmoil, chooses to leave. A broken attachment can feel calmer and safer than a strained or damaged attachment.  But often intense sadness remains, along with a yearning for their family to be different than it is.

Those that are left behind are often profoundly sad and bewildered by what happened.  They may have struggled for years to remain connected, often hurt and rejected multiple times until the attachment is completely severed. Left with achingly empty arms, they long to hug the absent child or parent.

Counselling can, sometimes, heal the rift.  If all parties are committed to the process, families are facilitated to set workable boundaries and develop respectful, safe and nurturing relationships. Counselling can also help with rebuilding a meaningful life, even though the estrangement remains.

For those estranged from the families they long to love, Sunday will be a day of mourning.  To lose the love of a parent or a child is a loss like no other.  It can feel like a death.

If you are estranged from your family make Mother’s Day one of self-care and nurturing, focus on those who are present in your life and perhaps you could gently whisper a wish of love, goodwill, and hope into the wind.

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15 thoughts on “Estranged mothers and adult children

  1. findingmypsych 12/05/2018 / 12:21 pm

    A great post. Thank you for this. Difficult to feel enthusiastic for everyone around me when I simply have not had that type of relationship with my own family.

    • Anne 12/05/2018 / 2:22 pm

      Yes very difficult. And the unrealistic myth of the perfect family is what we all compare our lives to.

  2. sammie54 12/05/2018 / 2:44 pm

    this is so true,

  3. Anonymous 12/05/2018 / 4:54 pm

    Great post. If only reality tv was like this. Actually real and compassionate.

    • Anne 12/05/2018 / 5:19 pm

      Thank you.

  4. MPC 14/05/2018 / 6:27 am

    This is a very thought provoking item. It makes me appreciate what I have and wish I could help others who are not so fortunate. It made me understand a little better just how complex people are and how complex everyone’s lives can get.

    • Anne 14/05/2018 / 8:31 am

      Yes, I have friends, who I have watched be good parents over many years, lose contacts with their children. Breaks my heart.

  5. The Single Zone 15/05/2018 / 12:07 pm

    Its very disturbing when those types of relationship deteriorate, i agree some are so bad it just can’t be fixed.

    • Anne 15/05/2018 / 5:34 pm

      Yes it is disturbing, and profoundly sad.

      • Anonymous 15/05/2018 / 8:54 pm

        For real

  6. myralarsen 25/05/2018 / 1:06 am

    My sister had to deal with a broken relationship with her son for several years. She kept trying, little by little, to communicate with him without any obvious success. Then one day, he made contact with her. He has kept it up. She still doesn’t know what caused the rift in the first place. Maybe he just had to “grow up” and get past his issues. At any rate, she is so happy they have a happy and good relationship now.
    The bottom line is, don’t give up and brush that person aside. Keep trying with out pushing. The person who has withdrawn from the relationship needs to know he/she will be welcome “home”, one day.

    • Anne 25/05/2018 / 4:50 pm

      Absolutely, and many return home, but sadly some dont.

  7. Gail 26/05/2018 / 1:51 pm

    I’ve seen several broken relationships with adult children and parents. It is a very complicated and upsetting situation. Heartbreaking

    • Anne 26/05/2018 / 4:54 pm

      Yes heartbreaking beyond words.

  8. Erik Steele 03/02/2021 / 11:11 pm

    Sometimes the adult children have had enough of the covert abuse that happens behind closed doors but is hidden behind a thin veneer of respectability, and certainly don’t want their children to endure it from the “loving grandparents” either.

    Sometimes having no contact is the healthiest option against manipulative abusers who don’t respect healthy boundaries.

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