"Children Who Break Your Heart": A Reader Asks for Your Advice

At the Legacy Project, we’ve asked over 1200 of the oldest and wisest Americans for their advice about how to solve life’s problems. In this post we ask: How do you deal with children who break your heart? For advice on this topic and much more, see the bestselling book 30 Lessons for Living: Tried and True Advice from the Wisest Americans.

In an earlier post, one of the Legacy Project elders shared her mixed feelings about having children. Loraine,89 , talked about accepting both the joy and the pain children can bring. She stated: “If you don’t have children now, when you have them you will have these moments.  When you look at them and your heart – it’s like your heart takes all the pain and all the love for them that you have.”

We just received a comment on that post from one of our readers, who would like your advice:

What about when your children are disappointments? I would like to hear how parents handle situations when their most loved children are cause for a broken heart? Comments please!

We asked some experts for their advice, which you can find here.

Can you help? Does anyone have advice for overcoming the heartbreak children can sometimes cause? Please share your comments!

592 thoughts on “"Children Who Break Your Heart": A Reader Asks for Your Advice

  1. I think I am losing my children. I just want to say that here, amongst those who have similar pain. My heart is broken into tiny pieces.

  2. My God, I have just read through just about everyone’s situation. Let me say my heart breaks for all. Yes I’m in a situation as well. My daughter’s attitude towards me changed two days before her wedding. Like Sybil, I have no clue who she is. I went through a year of pain trying to reconnect me and the family. She has 2, 6 year old nephews and grandparents that are getting up there in age as well as her grandfather who had cancer and now is in remission. She cares nothing about them. That hurts more than me having any relationship with her. We were a very close family. I gave her everything plus love. Was not good enough, she blames everyone and anything she can she does no wrong. She has been that way her whole life. But when her Boyfriend came into her life, he took the worst and created a monster. She just had a baby of course i didn’t see him. I have sent gifts and received a thank you from the baby and Pics. Just sent an Easter gift no response anymore. So my heart goes out to everyone, your not alone. Almost reached out, but stopped myself. Really do not need to be rejected again and again. If she wants me she knows where I am. If not Que Sara. Lets get stronger together. Good luck everyone.

  3. I needed so much not to feel alone in my sorrow and, it has helped me to understand that my kids are now adults and can do or say what they want. on top of my kids not respecting me a haven a mother that was always abusive to me and told many lies that caused my kids and family members to disrespect me. she stole my inheritence from my dad to me ! i felt like i was punched in the stomach but just let it go.i ha ve to let all of it go like it or not i cant change anyone. and if they want to be mean and ungrateful thats fine but, i will no longer be a door mat. its hard to love when youre constantly being stabbed in your back. only the good god knows what ive done and i know he understands me even if no one else does

  4. The sensation of a broken heart can only be described as the sensation of being jabbed in the chest and feeling winded whilst at the same time having that empty feeling which I relate to as the feeling in your stomach after giving birth it’s just empty like something is missing yet it hurts because of the jab that is the only way I can describe a broken heart my son has broken my heart unintentionally and continues to do so every single day my son is 13 1/2 years old when he was 11 his father abducted him and Disappeared for two months no one could or was willing to help me including the police and my son’s school within those two months I suffered a mental breakdown I have permanent damage to my eyes from crying so much my ex was awarded custody of my child despite his allegations of me being a prostitute and a child abuser never being proved he denied me access to my son for nearly two years within this time he filled my son’s head with malicious lies about me arranged visitation for my son and I without letting me know so in my son’s eyes I stood him up every week and never called him that would be because I have no telephone number for them no address no way of contacting them 6 months ago now that my son was settled in the new council home and in his new school and in life in general I was finally committed to see my son every other weekend it took 6 months for my son to voluntarily hug me he does not tell me he loves me like he used to he does not cuddle up on the sofa and watch our favourite programmes I am not his mummy anymore I am mum the one who let him down and embarrassed him god knows what venom his father filled him with but it has damaged my phone in the last month my son and I have magically become mummy and baby again he calls me everyday and voluntarily tells me he loves me however this weekend I am back to being the worst live embarrassment who constantly lets him down purely because he decided he wants to go go kart racing and I cannot afford it as I am not working due to mental health issues his father refused to help me out so I could take our son out my son will not talk to me he went to visit my mother and is refusing to come back to me until Sunday when his father will pick him up he cannot be bothered with me and cannot trust me ever again because I’ve let him down I have begged everyone I know to lend me some money to take him on this day out but it just hasn’t happened unfortunately that’s how life goes and he must experience these times so he can appreciate the good times however as I said I am a loser and a failure because I don’t have enough money to take him even though we went a month ago.for the two of us it cost £8 I know that these cruel words are his father’s but parental alienation is destroying me sometimes I’m able to brush it off today I can’t I am utterly destroyed my son knows it’s killing me as he is very mature and clued up for his age having seen the pain I suffered at the hands of his dad yet he persists until I’m begging him to stop. When I was in hospital he was the most caring and loving little boy on the phone to me and was desperate to see me as he hasn’t seen me in over a year he knows exactly how much it hurts and the damage those words can do yet he says the most heartbreaking things to me I can’t hate him obviously and I can’t blame him fully he doesn’t know how else to treat me after seeing his dad annihilate me emotionally throughout his whole life as much as he knows he’s hurting me I don’t think he knows the tricks tent how can I love the boy who tears me apart? Am I sadistic no way I am a mother who loves her baby unconditionally and will suffer this torture just to be able to be close enough if anything just to smell his hair.I can’t speak past the lump in my throat or see through the tears in my eyes. The pain in my chest never ceases my son has broken my heart god bless all of you ladies

  5. If I got anything from reading all your comments it’s realizing I’m not alone. Yes, it is very hurtful I lose sleep over it. My 3 adult children have said things to me that I can never forget and maybe neve forgive. My oldest daughter has not been in touch with me for at least 5 years, she has 2 daughters I’ve never met. My oldest son has also said such mean, hurtful things to me and I no longer see my 2 grandsons. My 3rd daughter is the worst, she is mentally unstable and blames me for her life. None of them have any kind of relationship with their dad either. I would never dream of living with any of them, they’d make my liife a living hell. The hardest part for me is forgetting and detachng, I guess it takes time. And like someone else commented – I think I’m starting to not love them anymore. I’m bitter in the way that I was a good mom to them, and feel I wasted the best years of my life! So, I have a good man, a sweet liittle dog who’s our “baby” and am tryiing to just move on and be happy in my life. My kids would be happy if they knew how much they hurt me. I do believe they are going to get it back when theiir own kids get older. Karma, even tho I never did this to my mom. I think the hardest thing is t detach from it but I guess it takes time, and lots of strength. Be strong moms! and I wish all of you the very best.

  6. I’ve read over all the coments. One of you had a home built for her daughter and her family and had a suite built for herself, then got treated badly, told to leave during her granddaughters birthday party??? If the house is in your name, I’d kick them out! sell it and buy yourself a little place of your own. I’d never live with any of my kids – they would treat me just as bad as they do now, probably worse. And someone mentioned inheritance? NO my husband and I are going to make sure there’s nothing for any of them. I think about what I’d do with our belongings, any suggestions? I mean things like furniture, household things (we have a lot of nice things.) I’ve even thought of burning photo albums. Yes, I’m angry, bitter but am getting a lot better at detaching. Mother’s day is hard, I’m always glad when that day is over, even tho we go out and do something special on that day, and Father”s day too.

  7. I have a situation and know no other way to find peace within, other than posting.
    Our grown daughter and her husband, and precious baby, lived with us. My daughter was an issue because she always talked disrespectfully when it came to me taking care of the baby while she worked. Never a thank you, or a helping hand from her. I did it ALL. To help her, and become I loved that baby with bit of my soul. They were not clean people and had dogs who ruined our house, and cats, and the entire house smelled. She blames us for kicking them out and their baby, to the streets. After giving us rent we didn’t need. And letting us live with them when we first moved out here to our new state that they were already at. We ended up buying our own house and they asked to live with us. My husband gave them a year. It’s well over that, and after a lot of issues having them here, it was he final straw. I was tired of the verbal abuse from her, doing everything for the baby, which she misinterpreted into that I never wanted to take care of her, which is VERY untrue, and the horrible filth that the animals left and they did nothing about it.
    Since then, sh stopped talking to us, and they finally got a place and moved out. At first, we were able to see the baby as they came weekly for more of their belongings. Then that stopped. It is killing us, especially me. My husband said to leave it alone and don’t call or text at all. Well I didn’t listen. I would ask now and then to her husband how is everyone. No,reply other than they will come get more stuff. But they haven’t in two weeks. So I made a very bad mistake of messaging my daughter. She is still very angry and blames us and calls me a bad parent for not apologizing for throwing them out and raising her with no love or respect. I am not going to apologize for doing that, but did say I was sorry that she felt that way. I want to,do family counseling but she said it won’t work because all I do is point the finger at her. And I’m losing my grandchild who lived with us since birth, and I would take her to my work every day where there is child care. The absolute joy of my life! I may never get that back because I made the mistake of trying to reach out and fix things. My husband repeatedly told me to stay silent but I messed up. Now he is mad. I’ve prayed so much and am so miserable. I’ve thought of just apologizing just to see the baby again but I don’t think that’s a good fix. My mother and myself never got along as well, but I never kept my kids from her like this, or said horrible things. I know I was not a perfect mother, but this is not right. My mother was emotionally abusive to me, as was her mother. I’m in great fear that maybe I was to my daughter but did not realize it. I’ve racked my brain trying to think back, and all I could come up with is that we gave her too much and that’s why she takes advantage. I would think if I was that terrible of a mom, then they would not have ever asked us to come live with them, ask to live with us, or even be near the baby? But it all changed one day. She got up and handed me the baby straight out of the crib, droopy diaper and all. She was getting ready for work, wi only thirty minutes to get ready to leave. I asked if she could please change her diaper? She got quiet and then got mad and took her from me. Like I insulted her. She then called her spouse up at work and twisted everything. I stood up and defended myself, and in turn, making it look like I was insane. I was not about to be talked about wrongly in my own house. That was the last straw and an end to what had been brewing since day one. Husband told them they had a month to move out. She stopped talking to us but I was still able to take the baby to work with me and spend time with her. just as they found a place, I had overheard that she did not want her daughter around her insane parents anymore. This isn’t right. She has now turned her husband against us, when throughout all of this, he was on our side and understood why we asked them to leave. We were good. But once they moved, he got silent. So today I try and reach out and messed up things once again, and she now says since I won’t own up to my mistakes then we won’t be seeing them for a very long time’ after asking why we never check to see how they are doing, only the baby? We never apologize all we do is ask to see the baby like nothing ever happened. I really don’t know what to do but in my heart this is not right , and felt like I had to reach out in my heart. Once again I failed.
    I need help. This haunts me every day and night.

  8. After going through therapy to deal with the loss of the relationship as we knew it with our daughter, we have learned a lot. I spoke about my family tree and how my daughter exhibited many of the same traits as her relatives. I have learned that many ‘Cluster B’ personality traits are inherited. In fact a recent research study shows narcissism shows a 77% heredity rate. We were looking to blame our parenting on creating the lack of empathy in our daughter and were more then willing to take the all the blame. But the bad parenting just wasn’t and isn’t there. Right now we have very limited contact with our daughter and we are trying to mirror what appropriate caring looks like without being manipulated. In all honesty I miss our previous relationship even though it was all about us tending to her needs. Ignorance was blind on our parts but we are past that point now. I just encourage everyone who is going through this to take time to mourn. If you can’t mourn and are in an extreme state of anxiety then trauma therapy does help. It helped us quickly get past the trauma so we could move on to mourning the relationship loss. I truly wish things were different but I cannot change our daughter, and I believe she cannot change herself. She was born with brain that cannot feel empathy. But still, we will do and say the appropriate things and pray that by some miracle she can someday care about other people. Last piece of advice is to stay off of their social media sites. It seems that those who lack empathy love to demonstrate to the world how perfect their lives are and that is very painful to those of us who have been discarded.

  9. Hubby and I are going through the same as millions of parents. Spent a year and a half “helping” son and daughter in law get back on their feet. Paid for housing, food, all living expenses, paid off loans, loaned money hey were to pay back. Now that they are both working full time and have money DIL ,who refused to make a payment when she got paid, announces that on sons payday they will pay “some” not the amount supposed to because they want new phones and this that and the other. She is/was a shopaholic who does not clean cook or do any chores at all.. She said it in a way to let me know that we would NOT be doing their financial planning (was the agreement when they moved in as she is clearly bad with money and controls all marital sums of money, has bankruptcy, foreclosures, seizures etc), and that they were going to use their money to “maybe” move out soon as an opportunity arose “maybe” and were not going to pay a cent on past loans, notes etc. Well there is no “maybe” any longer. We told them they ARE moving out, pronto!!!! Sick of thier lazyuncaring attitude towards the people helping them. Hate to say it but my son is not the person he once was, kind, caring, helpful far beyond what was needed, and DIL is simply poison to this family and always has been. Unfortunately, our adult children grew up during what they call “the age of entitlement”. Schools, psychologists, parenting books all pounded this “specialness” into them. Growing up thinking they are “special” more than any other, far more intelligent than any other and deserve far more than any other simply because they are alive and thus whatever they want they are entitled to have, whether it is someone else’s or theirs.They believed that when they are growing up they go to school, they get out of school, they will get a job doing what they absolutely love (and of course managers and coworkers kowtow to their every need and are besties!) with less than a 40 hour work week with of course their ideal hours ( customers, bosses, clients will happily bend to their time constraints because we know their mental health playtime is important, yes I was told this by a 30 something coworker wanting me to fill in repeatedly for her because she knew I understood how important her mental health playtime was needed for her to function well at work….LOL) and this job they love pays enough within a short period of time to buy a house car, boat etc etc and of course this will happen because employers will see how special they are and no one else would do the job better. This, of course, didn’t happen because they missed the element of ” you have to work hard to get” and are now disillusioned, they think the world is stupid and they have the highest rate of unhappiness and depression of all ages. Those of us that are older grew up with the notion that getting a job with benefits was great, no notion of having a job we “loved” as a norm and that to buy a house, or boat, have a family etc meant work your rear end off, many times working a lot of overtime or asecond job. We also didn’t grow up believing job jumping was a good idea. Get a full time job with benefits that paid decently and we were in heaven. Now, we have books about that “Entitlement Syndrome”. Reading books on it enlightened me so I do not take it personally when my grown up kids(plus spouses) let “stupid” fall out of their mouth constantly or let “stupid” make decisions or form actions. Personally, I am calling it “age of narcissists” as that is what seems to have been created. Their calling cards are emotional manipulation, lying, belittling, blaming everyone else and not taking responsibility for anything. The attitude and beleif is basically this
    “everyone does what they want, that is all we are doing as well”. They do not consider others they effect, take into consideration others feelings and lack all empathy for others, yet have a hard time dealing when every whim they have is not given to them within minutes. It is like dealing with 3-year-olds in adult bodies. They want to get pregnant and have the tax payers pay the medical and more while raising the kids, want free day care because oh dear they have to work and think it unfair since they have kids, it is ridiculous. Listening to adult children (and spouses) calling everyone dumber than dumb while living at home with parents because they lost home to foreclosure, lost jobs (own fault) etc etc etc AND expect parents to foot their whole bill is just laughable! and yet millions of us older parents are “hosting ” them in our homes.
    Family chores – they won’t do those, apparently, they are above that yet expect everything on a silver platter! It is very hard not to take is personally when we raised them well with morals, caring for others and values and they come home to recoup after apparently not learning adult lessons and then poison our home and expect we owe them what the world did not deliver…..Happiness… without struggle, work etc. I love my kids but enough is enough. Time to put the spoiled adult brat and spouse out into the world where they can, by choice fall flat on their face over and over until they wake up or get their brain back and then hopefully, we may have the adult child/parent relationship we hope for.

  10. referring to Lin. I am in the same place and nothing helps. It is with me every day and i lose sleep too. My three older sons have turned their backs on me i torture myself all the time. I devoted my life to them and it all went wrong when their father left me (and them not telling them and not keeping in touch with them). The older i am getting the worse i feel. i wish i had answers but i cannot make them love me. Therefore i have taken all this guilt on board. they are united in their hate for me. They cannot have any compassion to enjoy what they are doing.

  11. My children used to believe me at the time when they were 6 and 9 living at their dad’s. Depression got worse with another emotionally and physically abusive relationship and didn’t have contact with them for 7 years. I’m no longer with him and a stronger person now. But now they’re 13 and 15 and don’t call me mom anymore, want to see me, or say I love or I miss you back. My ex has manipulated and brain washed my babies. When I called my son and tried to connect with him, he said he doesn’t know me and next time try not to lie to dad. I tell him I didn’t and asked what you’re talking about and he said, “dad knows more about it.” I cried please why are you saying this and nothing. I thought my daughter still loved me since she’s a few years older and still remembers me. I was wrong. She didn’t answer the phone saying hi mom, didn’t say I miss or I love you back. I told her I’m going to see her for my visitation and she said its up to her dad. And my boy said he’s still thinking about it seeing me. I guess my ex never sat down and explained that my parenting time is coming up. My ex knew about it because we had court two weeks before and it was scheduled that day.

  12. Becoming a parent is easy, trying you’d hardest to give your kids love, affection, financial support and guiding them to be the best adults possible is not something that turns out as every parent hopes it will….. Sometimes….. No matter how and what we do have nothing to do with how our children turn out. When they are little, they get effected by their environment when they adult however is up to them to take responsibility for their actions and grow up or keep blaming others for how their life turned out! I have an adult daughter whom I gave my life, sweat, money, love and everything I could do to make her life great to….. It seems no matter what I do, how hard I try is never enough and she will use every type of manipulative method to keep taking! She got married, had two children, could Care less about if we needed to see our grand kids or not until her marriage failed and she needed help! She moved in with us, she expects my husband and I to be her maids her cleaning personnel, her babysitters, name it! I love my grandchildren but…. Im not in shape to raise another set of children and neither do I want to at this point other thanks helping out when I can and if a choose to. I’m at a point where I find myself witrawing from my relationship with my daughter as sad as it makes me to admit but I’m drained as a parent in every possible way!

  13. I feel so empty and the pain is unbearable. My 12 year old chose to go live with her mom. Since, my daughter told me she chose her mom’s house over mine. I feel I don’t love my daughter anymore. I used to worry about her being hungry but not anymore. I used to want to hug her and hold her in my arms but not anymore. In fact I’m always trying to find ways to get away from her when she is here. I think I even hate her somewhat. I would feel ok walking away and never seeing her again.

  14. My adult sons haven’t spoken to me in 15 years (and, consequently, I wasn’t able to see my grandsons grow up — the oldest is grandchild is 25-26 now, and the youngest if 18). It hurt for the first couple of years — and then I moved on. (I found this place here while I was searching for something else on Google.) I was fortunate in that I was in counseling at the time and had been in counseling for quite some time when my sons quit speaking to me. My psychologist had been aware of our family dynamics for a few years at that point. Of course, she only knew my side of the stories — I understand that. Still, I made this offer to both my sons: they would choose any counselor they wanted, they could see the counselor first and without me — I wouldn’t come until the counselor wanted me to do so — and I’d pay for everything. Made that offer a number of times. They both refused. And when I became afraid that one or both of them might physically hurt me, I left and never went back. That was after having given them both a lot of money, letting them humiliate me in front of the rest of the families (mine and my DIL’s). The, like I said, I moved on. And I have few regrets. I’ve had a good life without them.

    Motherhood/fatherhood was NEVER the totality of who we were and are. We will always be parents — but that’s not all we are. It never was.

    You might want to know that this is not something that is happening only in The US. It is happening in Great Britain — Oxford University is doing a study of this (parents estranged from their adult children). Also, in 2013, China passed a law that stated that adult children MUST visit their parents once a month and provide for the parents’ basic needs. The adult children’s response was: How are they (Chinese government/law enforcers) going to enforce the law? How sad. And I’m afraid they are right.

    I started researching this about 5-6 years ago, when I realized — somehow — I don’t know exactly how — that my peers (I am 68) were lying about their good relationships with their adult children and grandchildren. Not wanting to confront my peers and embarrass them needlessly, I started doing research over the Internet. Because, for SO many years, I had thought I was the only one who was estranged from their adult children and grandchildren. Not a snowball’s chance in the hot place. Just knowing that family estrangement is widespread, not just in The US, but in Great Britain and China (where elders used to be deeply respected) — this all made me feel a lot better.

    As for the woman who is terminally ill and whose husband has numerous health issues — my heart goes out to you. But I can make only a very practical suggestion: If you don’t get a medical power of attorney in place NOW, designating someone who you trust, those children of yours are going to be calling the shots for both you and your husband in your final months. Do you want adult children, who obviously don’t care about you, being in charge of your health?

    I do wish everyone the best.

  15. To make a long story semi-short. Our daughter attempted to overdose 2 1/2 years ago at the age of 14 after being bullied. She has been in and out of hospitals. In November 2015 we were able to get her placed in a therapeutic residential center and she was diagnosed with BPD borderline personality disorder.. She would do great, then not, in a cycle. after of 1-1/2 years of being there she would still follow her same patterns of self harm. She is now in a state psychiatric hospital for a few weeks. They are thinking it may be bipolar. But we are starting from square one again. The “issues” that we overcame as a family at the residential are now again her issues. New doctors new people new staff and they don’t have her patterns down yet. It feels like it is going to be a never ending cycle. I hope not but that’s how we feel. I received an email from one of the mothers of the residential with an attachment and I believe many people would benefit from reading. Here is the link.

    https://www.google.com/amp/gretchenschmelzer.com/parents-corner/2015/6/23/the-letter-your-teenager-cant-write-you%3Fformat%3Damp

    It won’t make it easier but it will give you a different perspective and maybe even some hope.

  16. I haven’t seen my son for more than a year now & the feeling of abandonment is seeping through me. I can never be more proud of myself through my only child. He is 24 straight edge, beat me by a whole lot when I was his age. In absolute certainty I know that my son gathered all his wits & driving force from the upbringing I instill in him. I allowed him to drive a car by the age of 12. I am the wings that gives him the audacity to fly so high. I told him not to allow anyone to tell him what to do including me.He is a pro in hairsplit decisions making. I trained him doing this as early as two years old. I allowed him to managed money at the age of 6. When he was two years old he picks the clothes that he likes ,the toys that he wants, food to eat places to go, books to read, games to play, time to sleep, friends to have & whether he would go to school or not. When we eat in restaurants I made it a point whoever is serving us must go down to their knees & ask him what would he like not what I like for him. These are the things that I thought was missing when I was a kid that I promised myself when I become a mother I want my child to have. The freedom of being a child. Be listened to. Respected & honor their wishes. When he begun to drive I told him not to allow anyone to smoke inside his car including me. Boy this one backfire on me. My son have little jobs that I made up for him so he could learn early the lingo of working. By the age of 15 he has a job supporting himself .He never ask a dime from me. As the lessons that I feed in him manifests I noticed that he actually becomes like me. The emptiness I have today is an assurance that my son is doing just fine. My role is over & in as much as I wanted to be needed I am happy for the job I have done. He does not need me anymore an assurance that he is going to be just fine. I was 28 yrs. old when I have my son. I put my career on the back burner so I can focus raising him. I don’t want him to come home from school in an empty house. Having fun is our priority not cleaning the house, or chores. he has no chores. I am a pathologist & I could care less what the house looks like. When I see prestine houses with children I see parents indoctrinating children corporal rules & corporal punishments.
    Our children is indeed a reflection of ourselves. Make no mistake in judging them of not needing us is equals to not loving us. Let them fly. Let them know that you are there to catch them if ever they fall. Teach them to make their own decisions & not worry if it is a wrong decisions. Perfect decisions comes from making a lot of wrong decisions.Making a wrong decisions is better than not making a decisions at all. Cheer up Mom & Dad. Self assured children don’t ask anything. They are confident enough to make it on their own. This confidence could have been given to them by you without you knowing it.

  17. How sad for everyone. You go to the sites that deal with the parent end of the estrangement and everyone says they don’t know what happened, you go to the sites that deal with the child end of estrangement and everyone is ready to pull out their hair because they say their parents refuse or are unable to accept the reasons why. Seems kids really are a roll of the dice.

  18. I was born in the 1950s and parents then did not fuss over, or entertain, their children. My generation (now in our 60s) have probably done far more for our children and, as a consequence, they seem to take far longer to “grow up” these days. We were adults in our early 20s but now they don’t seem to reach adulthood sometimes till their 40s or even later. Also in time past, older generations helped look after grandchildren. Now many grandparents are working and don’t have time so, without any help, raising children on your own is a huge struggle. Basically, young adults today expect far too much from their parents and don’t realise how hard they have worked in bringing them up. It’s a selfish society on the whole. As parents we blame ourselves for everything and perhaps by doing too much we have produced spoiled children. Or maybe it was always like this? I’ve learned to let them do what they like and don’t criticise or heaven help you. I suspect for many of you here, things may well improve with your children as time goes on once they suddenly realise you won’t be here forever and think about how they have behaved.

  19. I am absolutely heart broken. A week ago if someone had told me that ine of my children was going to disown me, I wouldn’t have believed them. In fact when I typed into google disowned by your children, I didn’t expect to get any results but here I am. Reading your sad posts I feel your pain but it has calmed me a little to know I am not alone. My middle child is 21 this year and she moved put of home 18 months ago. Just over 6 months ago she moved across the country for a very successful sporting career. It is a long and sad story but the outcome is pretty much the same, she has cut me out of her life. After all the time and money apparently I am the ungrateful one. Despite her never having done a thing for me …I am ungrateful. ..I just find that so hard to get my head around. I honestly do not know how I am going to cope but I guess I will. If I could just stop crying that would be a start. One lady posted about counsellors not helping. I am a psychologist and a counsellor and I am at a total loss. The nearest thing I can liken it to is bereavement. I hope you all find peace of mind and I hope I can too. So sad.

  20. To Frances Robinson

    I have also moved on. My boys, like yours, don’t want to fix this. I tried. Right now I don’t want them in my life unless they change completely. We did too much for them, for sure. But I am happy and will enjoy my life. We spend holidays with friends. It was interesting at Christmas, because my only friends who had a rotten Christmas were the two who had family in town.

    You are absolutely right that many others are in the same boat. I have a number of friends who have no contact with their children either. We just go on.

  21. To Lin

    I’m also trying to figure out what to do with my belongings. I have taken the children out of my will and will give the money to charity. Unfortunately, my husband disagrees and will still leave his money to the kids! So we have separate wills now and I hope I outlive him because I don’t want these kids to have one penny from us.
    I will probably leave some of my things to friends. The rest I may have someone sell and give the money to charity. I don’t know. I did get rid of some photos and albums. I don’t want to see them. I even cropped one son and DIL out of their wedding picture.
    I agree that Mother’s Day is awful and I’m always glad when it’s over. I’m grateful to have my faith and my Church friends . Detaching takes time and I still have some anger and bitterness, but it’s much better. I will say that the stress level in my life is way down and I love that part of it. So there is a plus side!

  22. I wrote yesterday but don’t see that it went thru so I am attempting to do so again as I feel we are a family in sorrow and as a family with this heartbreaking connection I owe my lessons learned in it and dealing with it. First I want to say to each and everyone that I am beyond sorry to hear that we all share so much heartbreak because believe me I live it and know it well. We have become a family to one another and I’d like to ask that in our family we share and “grow” from this “up” and “forward” and not stuck and sunken. For “me” I believe that is essential in reaching every goal towards healing and rebuilding relationships with our adult children. You are not alone day to day always remember that and I too am grateful to have stumbled on this group as the networking of communications has been there when the darkness felt like it would swallow me.
    I will not go into my own story of the divide between my daughter and myself but I will say that it took me into the depths of such despair that I thought I would die from the agony that surrounded my heart and mind each and every day AND being surprised that I hadn’t died that I would somehow go insane and then I would be really in big trouble on so many levels. I tried everything (still do) counseling AND finding a connection with someone truly with the energy and interest and skills and insight is not and has not been easy, I even did ear accupuncture for stress and anxiety (which did work a great deal…huge help), I read a lot (found you guys two years ago) and I WORK so VERY HARD at finding positive ways to “refresh” my mind. It is my personal feeling that drowing in the sorrow gets me no where and surely doesn’t send the messages I wish to exist. My daughter made choices that counselors and priests have agreed would be monumental for any parent to understand. Perspective plays a huge role in things and so I have come to accept that my daughter has her perspective and I have mine. Although, while seeing things thru her perspective she has made choices regardless of feelings and good common sense AND part of MY work is to understand and heal from her’s as well as working thru my own.
    We all must find the way that helps propell us forward strong and wisely and for me it has been a continued pattern of baby steps. I decided two years ago to find a way to treat myself “good” I am one of those who has lived putting myself last (probably an element in the issues that developed, I admit) so I decided to incorporate “road trips” once to twice a year, somewhere within 2-3 hrs from my home. I rent a cottage (bed and breakfast) and take my grand dog along with me, I LOVE that little doggie so much. Together we enjoy our walks and talking to people, chilling in a cottage with so many lovely things is all eye candy that fills my heart. I am discovering “me” and it is strange to find myself enjoying that. Feeding the soul and spirit expands us I think in many ways and can make us wiser and richer and for me this all must reflect onto others and when it comes to my daughter… I don’t want to be a mother who may be there to say I told you so one day (perhaps the choices she made will snuff out the fears and consequences I had for her and that would be a wonderful thing) but I want to be a mother that isn’t so arrested by sorrow that all of who and what I am gets lost. So I feed my heart and I feed my spirit and I work at chipping away at the negative feelings that come along with it all. Please find your “stepping stones” forward, it is hard and nearly impossible to imagine BUT it can be done. I read an article a year or so ago that said to find 5 things that are postive that you have learned from a bad experience you are going thru. I laughed at that but I remembered it and did begin finding I could make a list of 5 things and even MORE.
    I care about each of you and I include you all in my prayers and I know this is important to hear because I know from our vairious sharings it matters to me so much when I hear encourgement by others etc.
    I am hear to ask you to Hang In There… find a way to shine appropriately and find a way to keep your love “soft” and not hardened. I love my daughter despite how she has made me feel about her love towards me. I believe she loves me but to know that she loves me “because I am her mother” an obligated way of loving and not because she loves me for the friendship we once had and the bond we once shared is such great heartbreak. I never felt my legacy would be like this. I thought my daughter would have a mother she would remember like the mother I worked so hard to be remembered. Supportive, strong, loving and “there” …I am here my precious Kris, I am. If only she knew the work I am putting into this divide. If only she knew. Hugs to each and everyone.

  23. So sorry about your daughter and grand baby. I worship my grandkids I get that your pain I feels almost like a death. Your husband was right to let it go. When they are angry it always makes it worse. I went to bed for weeks after the last blow out. Then one day I got up and decided I was going to start having fun in my life and believe it or not I decided all that babying I was doing with the kids, I was going to lavish on my husband!!! Crazy idea!! Lovely dinners, homemade bread, card games in the evening. Then before I go to sleep I pray for peace to come again. They will need us again sooner or later.

  24. Hugs to all of you Moms that have and continue to suffer with being shut out of your adult childs life. I have had no contact with my Son 22 that’s in the Military and he will be married a year . Problems started when he went away for boot camp and his girlfriend then now his wife distanced herself from me and by the end of boot camp and graduation all hell broke loose and my son started to pull back from me. Many things happened while I was married to his Stepfather. He dealt with my husbands hidden alcohol problems and then he started making poor choices and then when it became serious he went to my husband not me for help. I rarely argued with my Son, we were close, and when he started hiding things from me I didn’t understand why he’s going to his stepfather that was drunk and telling him not to tell me anything. My own husband of 11 years of marriage was telling my son to do things behind my back. Well it turned out my son needed me to go to the courts to resolve his problem with the law, in which I knew nothing about. Because my husband was drunk.When he left for his schooling with the military things were ok still. We were communicating and by the wedding they wanted no help, and his wife was rude to me and said she wants no relationship with me I’m toxic. I had not gone down to their apartment to let them settle in as newlyweds. Apparently that made it appear I didn’t care. My Son sent me a text with lots of information catching up on his life and after that nothing. He told me they were moving sent me pictures of the house but no address. After 5 quick texts of pictures or quick what’s up it’s been awhile I still haven’t heard from him or received his new address. He has gone totally to her family and her Mom is now his Mom. His wife posted on Facebook i will never see my grandchildren. I am devastated that this is happening to me and to all of you and so many others. I have another son that is very upset that his brother has stopped contact and I hope that I can still have the relationship with my oldest son 25 and his wife to be for as long as I live. I’m in therapy biweekly , i am divorcing my husband because of the hurt he has caused and the kicker is that my son thinks the world of his stepfather because he’s been sober 16 months. No matter what I’ve gone through he doesn’t see me the same way. I believe his wife is pregnant, im sure i won’t be invited to the shower. I pray something changes in the near future. I’d hate to never see my son again before I die. I feel like I’m in hell everyday. Peace for all of you.

  25. Hey guys, what the heck. My kid was nearly perfect to the outside eyes. She was a great kid but no way perfect. I have been with her thru thick and thin. Helped her with everything. We talked every single day. Great relationship. She is graduating from a four year university at 19 years old, wants to be a doctor. Fast forward, she goes to school in texas meets this guy that has quit school, quit basketball, quit his adult dog cause he wanted a puppy, and the way I see it basically has no future. The best part, after I told her in, in black and white (also their colors) the list of loserville, she has changed her phone number and completely ignores me now. She will need me. She always does and when that time comes I don’t know what I will do!

  26. Its just not fair the children dont experience this pain the same way moms & dads do. I grieve for our lost relationship daily. My son goes on and lives his life. Im supposed to be happy about that because isnt that what i raised him to do – be independent and live a good life? I see his happy pics on facebook and i realize he is over our failed relationship – so why cant i get over it? Time will heal any other relationship thats left you heartbroken – except a parental/child one. I dont know how to move on from this. I feel i need medicine to cope. I dont understand why God gave me a son who hates me.

  27. How do you keep a desire to live on once you’ve lost your 36 year old daughter that I helped in so many ways. I reported her to Child Protective Services for the treatment my 15 year old grandson, was receiving. She then put him in a psychiatric children’s hospital he was discharged with ADHD diagnosis which was already known she just wasn’t treating him any longer. Then she put him in State Custody which he was in for 8 months. I feel she made up lies on him to divert the Children Services and her ex of the other 2 children. In other words she sacrificed my 15 year old grandson. My husband and I became foster parents going through all the training and preparing our home and opening our lives up to be accepted as foster parents so when he got out of the facilities he would not go to a foster home with strangers and so he would be with family that truly loved him. He said at one point he felt like he had a dollar sign on him he felt his dad wanted to be able to not have to pay child support and his mother wanted him for child support (the dad was $25,000 behind in support). After he was released from the adolescent psychiatric hospital, with the only a diagnosis ADHD and PTSD he was placed in our home as a foster child for 1 month. The dad beat my daughter for nine years which my grandson lived in. So after a month the State Child Services places him with his dad who helped cause the PTSD. Then several months later the dad went to civil court for custody of my 10 year old grandson. He had the 15 year old purge himself and lie to the Judge. I have pics that would prove the lies. So now I worry how these boys will turn out at 10 and 15 I won’t get to hope to see them til they are 18 years old. The father will not let me see them. And my daughter has a 3 year old girl (I kept from birth to 1 yr 6 months) and had a second daughter 5 months old (only seen her 2 times) by this husband (who I know verbally put the boys through hell and not sure of what else). I babysat my 2 grandsons since birth and also the 3 year old granddaughter. My daughter has always put me down used me. I kept the grandchildren dressed and all school supplies purchased by me. I never asked for anything in return never even pointed out the financial and physical things I did for her and the grandchildren because it was done in love All the help I gave her took from things trips money for retirement I could have had. But my life was all about them. And now I’m left with NO living relatives that I can receive comfort from. She’s turned my younger sisters against me as well. I do have my older sister but she lives so far away. On top of all this my wonderful mother passed last July from breast cancer. My husband, her stepfather since she was 6 years old,’tells me to just not let it get to me I can’t do that my heart has nothing left to live for.

  28. In my situation my son is an only child and unfortunately we became best friends as he was growing up and now that he’s an adult married with children he has absolutely no time for me and no matter how much I try to get close to him I honestly feel like he hates me and for the life of me I wish I could understand why we were so close and now we are so distant even to the point where he keeps my granddaughters away for me and I’m so heartbroken I don’t know what to do or where to turn I pray and I pray that somehow someway God will give me an answer but until then all I do is cry thank you for reading this and allowing me to pour my heart out.

  29. I thought it was me, the bad cruel Mother who always swooped in and saved my daughter when she cried, was in pain and need. She is now going on 33, I rescued her for the millionth time last January from an abusive boyfriend. A whole year, yes she helped me too Im disabled, have issues walking, lifting etc many surgeries. Drove her everwhere as she has no liscense. Has had another boyfriend 2 since. Most recent she is pregnant for first time, I took her everywhere. Each Dr, lab test, visits ect.. Im causing her such stress she said she just moved out… Why back with the abusive boyfriend. Why am I the piece of shit now. She blames me for everything. My first grandchild, my only child daughter I just want to die and she could care less. Her father died 4 yrs ago Im all she has. I have just let her be, when I try to text she reads it wrong always I’m a monster. What do I do? My family in NJ she was my world and did help much, mostly company I did everything else. Anyone have an answer?

  30. MY 31 YR OLD DAUGHTER HAS CUT ME OUT OF HER LIFE OVER AND OVER THE PAST 10 YRS, ONCE FOR 5 YRS. SHE IS INDEPENDANT AND VERY SUCCESSFUL. SHES GETTING MARRIED NEXT MONTH AND I HAVE SPENT THOUSANDS OF $$ AND HELPED HER WITH EVERYTHING. SHE CALLED ME THIS MORNING TO TELL ME THAT I WILL BE SEATED BEFORE HER DAD’S GF (SHE DOESNT SEE THEM MUCH) THEN HER FIANCEE’S PARENTS WILL WALK HIM DOWN THE AISLE. THEN SHE WILL WALK WITH HER DAD. I WAS SHOCKED AND HURT AND CANNOT BELIEVE THIS! THE MOTHER-OF-THE BRIDE IS ALWAYS SEATED LAST. SHE DOESNT CARE..THIS IS HER DAY, AND APPARENTLY SHE CAN HURT ME IF SHE WANTS. OH..AND SHE TOLD ME THAT HER GRANDMOTHER (MY MOM, WHO IS 85) CAN SIT WHEVER..WITH THE REST OF THE GUESTS!! MY MOM IS THE SWEETEST WOMAN EVER, AND LOVES MY DAUGHTER, BUT IS DEEPLY HURT AND CANNOT UNDERSTAND WHY MY DAUGHTER DOING THIS. MY MOM HAS DECIDED NOT TO ATTEND, AND FRANKLY…I DONT WANT TO EITHER. ='(

  31. I still feel like I am slowly dying inside ,she and that guy she is dating are so cruel and they love hurting me .I already feel like I will never be happy again and that I will never see my daughter again.I still cry myself to sleep . My health has never been this bad.
    I actually feel pain in my heart from the loss and continous pain.

  32. There is no pain as acute as that of estranged adult children. It is like a form of death that never ends. Death is final, this is not.
    I was an empathetic, sensitive and supportive parent. I gave my children all of the love and attention I never got. We all see therapists, and that’s how we communicate now. The therapists agree that I was a good mother. My children are very successful, productive adults thanks to my efforts. However, I do not hear from them.
    I went through a divorce after a long marriage. I believe that divorcing parents are often rejected by their adult children. Somehow the divorce turned the tables on me, the one parent who cared for and about them. They are silent and so I am left to ruminate about what I did wrong and why they have no empathy or gratitute for all of those years of service to them.

  33. My oldest son who is 33yrs doesn’ t like me. He lives in the same town but has no contact with me. The estrangement between us had gone on for the past few years. Last year his little brother, my son who is 20 yrs now, attempted suicide. My oldest son told me at the time that he blamed me. Even though he was never involved in his brother’s life. Didn’t even take the time to go see him in the hospital. I knew my oldest and I had been struggling to have a relationship for a few years up to that point, but after that happened and he told me that …I am finding it so difficult to forgive or forget. We don’t talk, text anything. I love him, but he had no car in the world for his mother or siblings.. at least for me. He has discarded me and no matter how hard I try to suppress my sadness, anger, loss….it boils up and is overwhelming at times. I don’t know how to deal with this loss. My kids were my life and I never thought this would happen….
    Discarded and forgotten……Kim

  34. I’m so sorry that all of you are feeling tortured by your adult children, but you still have control of the situation. You have every right to tell them to contact you when they feel like treating you like the person they should be respecting. The generation referred to as the Millenials, ages 22-37, have grown up in the technology age where us as parents gave them, unknowingly, a way out of being involved in the family unit by giving them computers, tablets, and worst of all, cell phones. Our kids didn’t have to work for them, thus they grew up feeling like they were entitled to them. Millenials have a real entitlement issue, they don’t feel like their inheritance is a gift, it’s an obligation from their parents. It appears from all of the postings that in their opinion, their parents have to earn their love by giving and giving and giving. If a mother is not treated with due respect at her daughter’s wedding only to feel like a commoner shoved to the back, then the mother shouldn’t be contributing financially to the wedding. Millenials don’t like to be stood up to. How can I say all of this? I have a 29 year old son who treats me like his whipping dog. When he was overseas in the military and under a lot of stress, I was the one he called in the middle of the night to scream at and drop the “f” bombs every other word. He never called his girlfriend because he didn’t want her to know that side of him, he said he could do it with me because our love was unconditional. Glad he thought so, I wrote him out of the will and blocked his calls. He had a wreck a couple of months ago and couldn’t call me, so he called my fiance who had to tell me about the wreck. Wanted me to come rescue him. I didn’t, I had to work. So he has had to learn that he cannot mistreat his own mother, I would rather do without him than deal with him and his dark side. Someday he will grow up, but until then, his girlfriend can deal with him! Best revenge is living well, and I’m living very well.

  35. I just read a beautiful blog by a woman that goes to a cottage twice a year and talks to people and walks her dog and is spending time getting to know herself. It was beautiful. I wish her the best in her life. I wish I knew her.
    Having my adult child hate me cannot be the end of my world!! I do not deserve to be treated in such a disrespectful way.
    I have made a lot of mistakes and so has she.
    Are we all crazy?? Giving all we have and then letting them stomp on our hearts and destroy the last years we have on this earth??
    There has to be more to life then our children.
    I don’t know, the cottage sounds good.
    Maybe work
    Volunteer work in a kindergarten if you are missing grandchildren
    Meals on wheels
    Church
    Gym
    Clubs
    Friends
    Making plans so you will be alright in your last few years. Get set up to make sure you are going to be alright without your children. We should do that anyway. Why burden them anyway.
    I too have felt like I was going to die after she came after me. Life cannot end like this I have to make it better without her.

  36. I can’t believe I stumbled on this or am attempting a comment .
    I’m having such a hard time , my 24 year old daughter has a 3 year old and I worry everyday , can’t sleep.. lately I know she’s dropping my granddaughter off a lot at friends houses , even my abusive ex’s house, then wont respond to me when I try to call her out.. she has a bad past, lied to the entire family about who my grandaughters real dad was for over a year, now its coming out that it might be this pimp literal pimp that was just released from prison .. I think she plans to b with him again.. my heart hurts , I try not to blow her up but I know something is going on.. how do I sit back and let her b a parent and adult when I know these bad decisions.. I’m so sad for my granddaughter..

  37. I too am experiencing similar issues with our adult son. His indifference is something that has both me and his father baffled. We have gone far beyond what we should have done for him. Although his behavior makes us sad, I have reached the conclusion that we didn’t successfully pass on our faith to him. He doesn’t understand the concept of honoring thy mother and father. We will continue to pray for him but we can no longer fix him. We will leave that up to God. Our hearts break because of the broken relationship, which is more devastating because he’s our only child, but choices are long lasting and life changing. Maybe one day he will realize the pain he has caused and seek reconciliation. If not, life goes on. I would admonish the parents who are suffering similar situations to live life above guilt. Most of us on this site are here because we care about our children. That’s reason enough to let go of any guilt about what we did or did not give them. It’s simply a joy to know that we are not alone.

  38. From one parent to another,
    We are not perfect, but our kids already know this. They try and manipulate all the things we have ever told them or ever done for them. When my 21 year old comes home from college she does nothing, but find something to complain about loudly.!! At 21, I feel she needs to get her own place and perhaps just visit us when she feels like company. Children expect way too much well past their eighteenth birthday.

  39. Our daughter won’t talk to us and its all over how she thinks we feel. My husband’s business and our personal home were lost in a bankruptcy in 1992. Our lawyer said our daughter who was 18 at the time could have the business customers we had in her name. Which we did and she was in agreement. My husband and I smoked at that time I have since stopped. Our daughter went to Univ of Pennsylvania The Wharton school for 4 years during that time she met her first Husband who she married when she left school. He continued to get his law degree at pen. When they were first going together she complained to him all the time when she came to visit about the smoke. I did not smoke in the house we rented from a church and ran the business from when ever she came to visit I asked the girls in the office to go outside and smoke which they did. My husband still smoked in the far end of the house where the smoke only stayed in his room. This still was not to her liking. She then stayed with her grandmother when she came home to visit. When she moved back to Baltimore and got an apartment around the corner from us. We were still pretty close, We came to learn that when she complained to her Boyfriend then husband lawyer she should sell the business is what she said he told her. She said she told him she wouldn’t do that to her parents. That marriage ended in divorce. She received $7000 from him and said she didn’t want anything else. She still lived and worked in Washington DC until she lost her job there and moved back to Baltimore. I asked our son to move in with her in a two bed room apartment to make sure she was ok, at that time she was told she had bi polar disorder. They lived there and she met a musician of renasance music, they dated and got married. They then moved into a house that only our son could get a house because of the bad credit of our daughter and her husband he already had a in a very bad part of town.
    Our son had a few thousand dollars he put toward the payment of the house our daughter had about 1500.00 that she put toward the house, her husband put nothing toward the settlement. My husband and I loaned they the balance of the money to purchase the house. The house was only 35,000.00 It had been a drug house and reposed and sold by the bank.
    All three of them paid back the loan to my husband and me.
    Our son paid for a new furnace and paid the water bill and gutters and guards the rest of the utilities BGE alarm and phone were paid by my daughter and her husband.
    My daughter and her husband said when the house would be sold they would split the sale 3 ways. My husband and I did not agree on that as they were a couple married which made them one and our son was one. My husband and I talked about it when they would listen that they should each get back what they paid my husband on the loan which was $10000.00 each and the profit after our son got back the big expenses laid out and split the balance of the house in half.
    Our daughter and son-in-law had a child while they lived in the house, since have divorced and our daughter is now re-married.
    Before she was married to her third husband she moved into his home with her son and made a home for them there.

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