"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!

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

  1. Naranon saved my life.
    By working the 12 step program for ME, my daughter is being healed–all on her own.
    If your child or loved one is involved in drugs–I urge you to seek a local chapter of Naranon, at the very least you will find support and strength. At the very best you will emerge a new person.
    It worked for me.

  2. I have 3 young adult kids and my relation ship with my kids has always been taxed do to my divorce from there mom when they where young. But my daughter who I was some what the closest to through the years is out right horrible to me and her mother and brothers. If you read Proverbs 30 verse 11 it fits her to a T. She sent me a horrid email the other day after I told her to read the periodical son do to her being very angry about me giving her brothers each New PlayStation. Regardless of the fact of me giving here thousands of dollars worth of stuff from a $2300 flat screen TV to all kinds of stuff and paying for her first apartment to boot. She told me she dose not care about me or her son who is almost 2 or any one ell’s for that matter she is going to be focused on her self and what makes her happy no one ells matters. I don’t understand what can make some one this way. She kept me from being at my grandsons birth she kept me from his first birthday she told me she would let me see my grandson for his first Halloween in his costume but then never showed up or would answer her phone. She has over and over agene told me she was going to come by but never shows up and never apologizes about any thing she dose and she gets mad if I say any thing and will bash me to no end. I live with a totally broken heart and now she loves to use my grandson against me any she can and even my x-wife her mother. So what am I doing wrong all I do is give and love and get knifed over and over agene??

  3. I too have my troubles, my adult married daughter is upset with me because, Christmas Day she gave her daughter a gift from her dead grandfather, my X , well I felt hurt, because, you see he was a drug user since I was eight months pregnant with her, and in the 20 years of marriage, I gave him many chances, but it only got worse, he was dealing, so I divorced him, my mistake, I tried to tell he was kind and loving, but he wasn’t, all those years he put me through hell, my daughter seem to think that I am the bad person here, she has told some outlandish stories about me, and now she and my granddaughter have texting e like crazy, and say I need to fix this, and I need to apologize, shame on me for getting hurt, that it’s not all about me, my prayers are with all of you, God knows are hearts, keep praying, His prayers do miracles, In God’s ❤️

  4. I have 1 daughter who is 37 married with the most beautiful and loving 5 yr old little girl.
    My daughter has spent her life before my crul and heartless with me, while my mother was alive there was nothing she would not believe at face value from my daughter, my mother enabled this behavior yet she never saw that my daughter was manipulating her mother into thinking that her cruelty with me was justified. My mom has passed but the cruelty endured
    My granddaughter and I are very close because we are very similar we both wear our hearts on our sleeve. My daughter has now become blinded and Obsessed with keeping my granddaughter on a strict track me schedule she has also filed for divorce behind me son in laws back. She is claiming mental abuse which is not true, my son in law is a good husband!
    My daughter went to a therapist and has them believe that he is abusive but she is the abuser both to him and myself.
    My daughter is narcissistic, selfish and cold hearted. My husband and I purchased a townhouse when she was expecting and paid in full, it under her name, mine and my husband but she has my poor son in law sleeping on the couch and she told my granddaughter that there would be no more family holidays anymore because daddy had to go!
    I think my son in law is a great father and I feel he should have coustody but I’m afraid to get involved because of her!!!! Help! What should I do?

  5. I think most of us can relate that our family gave us a sense of purpose, responsibility and shared destiny. When you find yourself discarded- your purpose in life is questioned, the responsibility that you believed you owed your child and their responsibility to you is somehow gone. Your destiny is forever altered.

    What to do, what to do? So many layers of grief and confusion to navigate. At this point in estrangement I have started to fight back. My worst enemy is myself. I have felt worthless.

    I am trying to train my mind. When I feel worthless, unloved and discarded I push those thoughts out of my mind. When I remember the good times that are no longer there I remember that there are good times in the here and now. Not the destiny I envisioned, but I will never be younger, healthier or my vibrant tomorrow than I am today. Neither will my husband, my other relatives, friends or my dogs. So now is the time to appreciate them. And yes- I am confronted with the fact that they are not good enough. Because I want more. I want my old life back. And that is never coming back. So I need to want different, appreciate different and find joy in today. I need to make today good enough. It’s hard. It’s training your mind to do something it never dreamed possible- to live a life in which your child or children do not care for you but to still live your life as if you have something- anything to offer this world.

    So for me- a year and a half into this I am fighting back against self pity. But like I said it is very hard for me as it is for you. I wish you all peace.

  6. To praying,
    I’m so sorry for you going through this also. I also took my daughters out of our will but grandchildren are to young to put as the beneficiaries. I put our bonus son ( stepson) as the beneficiary to our will. I feel that we been taken advantage by my daughter. It hurts very much.

  7. You don’t know what love is until you have children. I’ve decided that being a parent is a thankless job. My 36 year old daughter uses her children to try and hurt us and I don’t know why. One day she’s going to realize she’s not just hurting us she’s hurting her own children. My daughter doesn’t realize that those little children are asking themselves what they did wrong why doesn’t grandma and grandpa want to see us. It’s going to come full circle the pain she had caused my husband and I is the very pain she’s going to feel her self. It’s going on 7 years now that we haven’t seen the grandchildren. What she all so doesn’t realize is what she is teaching her children, grudges, anger, hatred, and more. Life goes on with or with out you. You have to make the best of a bad situation. I love my daughter and my grandchildren but time will tell, I pray that she doesn’t wait for it to be too late.

  8. January 25, 2018 at 8:02 pm
    I have been estranged with my 42 year old daughter for over 17 years and she has 2 children that I haven’t meant them. She resents me because my oldest son had a stoke at the age of 8 years old. He was in the hospital for a month. I was working full time and going through divorce was not easy. So my older daughter hates me because she says I cared about my son that had the stoke more. That is not farther from the truth but yes I did worry about him. Her father never took responsibility of her when her brother and his son was in hospital. I would get early to do exercises every morning with him and then I went to work. I got married again and had 2 children and I had another boy and then I had a baby girl. Which my ex husband did not want to have a girl, so he really didn’t have much to do with her. I stayed married to him for over 24 years. She always told me that she was going to have her half sister to be matron of honor. I didn’t have a problem but I believe my first daughter did, so I was excluded out of wedding. I have 4 siblings that I don’t talk to because they treat me like crap. All my siblings were invited to the wedding but I wasn’t. I believe it was my older daughter would not the matron of honor if I was going to be there. Two years ago my daughter got engaged which she never told me. She married on July 2016, then she had a baby boy this past August. My daughter in law told me that she had a baby boy. So I texted her congratulate her on the birth of her son. Then ask if she wanted the toy chest and rocking chair that she had as a child, she said yes. She said do you want to see a picture and I no because I’m not going to be in his life that it hurts too much. She said we want you in his life. That was a short live relationship because she sent me a picture of baby. She lives in different state than I do and she came up for Thanksgiving and she stayed at my sister house (by the way she lives 6 miles away). She told me she was going to her father’s house. That was one of First lies and then I knew she was Facebook but she told no. That I would slide on that one but I didn’t want to be lied anymore to me. Her husband told me that it wasn’t her fault. She had to choose between aunts/uncle/ dad/ sister and me. So I was the deleted from wedding list. I will miss my new grandson but I can’t take the lying and no respect for me. I would like someone comment if I was wrong or not.

  9. I can identify with much of what I read.
    Here is a letter I wrote to myself to help me accept and cope with the reality of our situation. I frequently re-read to encourage myself. Perhaps some others might find it helpful.

    Advice to my broken heart

    She has made her choice.
    She is grown now. She is no longer the child you remember and she will never be again.
    You have apologized and attempted to repair the relationship. You have honestly admitted mistakes and humbly asked for forgiveness. You have let her know that you love her and you want a better relationship. You have done all you can.
    Now you must grieve the loss of what could have been. Grieve the loss of the relationship with her as you imagined it would be. Maybe some day she will come around to value you and your opinions, maybe someday she will show genuine love and concern for you, but she may never. You can not change her! You can only change you. Protect your fragile heart. Continue to be open to relationship, but be aware that it is on their terms and not yours. Be ready, willing and able to set healthy boundaries. Do not push contact. Maybe limited contact is best for everyone. It certainly gives them less ammunition to use against you. Do not send unsolicited gifts. Do not be manipulated into thinking you are responsible for providing for them financially. They are capable adults. Stop questioning yourself and wondering what you did wrong and how you could have avoided this pain. You were a good Mom. You did love her and care for her and put her needs above your own. DO not offer any unsolicited advice at all. Try your best not to worry if her needs are being met, if she’s happy, healthy and the person she wants to be. She will share with you if she wants to and she does not want you to ask her questions about those things. She takes them as implying you think she and her husband are not capable of meeting needs on their own.Just do not ask! Do not expect them to want to spend time with you or share their lives with you. It is a sad, painful reality. BUT that is the reality so accept what is. Get busy living your own life.
    DO pray
    DO continue to love from afar and wish the very best for them
    DO praise them in genuine ways whenever you can – they seem to need that
    DO make an effort to find things that you can specifically mention that you like about them
    Do try to engage them in conversations about genuine topics of interest that you both may share
    DO check in occasionally, if possible, and be honest and cheerful in your communication remembering your happiness does not depend on them
    DO encourage them when you see them trying to reach their own goals (Do not tell them what those goals should be according to you.)
    DO focus on all the positive relationships in your life. You have so much to be thankful for and so many good things to be involved in and focused on.
    DO set healthy boundaries. She has said her peace. You have apologized. Now move on and focus on positives. No more preservating about how bad of a Mom you supposedly were.
    DO realize that you will survive no matter what she decides for the future. If she decides to end relationship yes you will be devastated and sad – it will hurt like hell and a part of you will never be the same BUT that doesn’t mean you won’t recover. You can handle whatever happens. God will help you and so will your supportive, loving family.
    DO be kind and gentle with yourself. This is very challenging and many others will never really understand how very painful it is. Do whatever you can to take care of yourself. You will be OK!

  10. I posted on the 15th. So far no contact with my son. I have been diagnosed with PTSD. I am going to take this time for myself. Iam going to a therapist to help me. I am going to live my life. It hurts like hell but you know what? We have a life to live. I know I stopped seeing my own mom also.I remember how she always played the victim. She was always angry. she was always cleaning and too tired.When I grew older I wanted to live my life. I dreaded calling and talking to her because every single conversation ended in an argument. begging me what she did wrong. there was no happy times to build upon. fast forward she has dementia. I cant ever repair the lost time however I get along with her better now than I ever did before. She doesn’t guilt me about not visiting often because she cant remember!. there is a lesson in this. Now i think about seeing her more than i ever did because i can enjoy the time I am with her without all the guilt she used to lay on my shoulders. but sadness also because i know she wont remember a thing i say. I wonder if she didn’t lose her memory but lost the guilt trip behavior if i would have had a closer relationship with her? This is what i dam well intend to do. I intend to fill my life with people who do want to be around me. I will not wallow in this grief. it does nothing to heal your soul. I will let go of this anger and allow my son to make his decisions . And if he does contact me i will be happy and not try to convey how much he hurt me all the time or point out all the things i did for him, after all you give to your children without expecting anything in return so you should not be angry. If you gave too much then stop doing that, you earned your money and once they are grown they have to earn their own money. My son is only 17 now . still too young but I am going to give him his space to live his life . When my dad was his age he was already in the army. think about that everyone. we baby our children. we expect the movie ending. when i was a kid my dad didnt call me every two seconds demanding that he see me. he let me live my life. We dont have to be attached at the hip. you raise them and then you let them go. I know in my heart the more i cling to him the more i become depressed and bitter then who would want to be around me? nobody! it pushes them further away! dont always be home when they call. (even if you are..wink wink) get a hobby, cultivate friends. last week i went out for the first time in so many years i forgot how fun that could be! I came home then realized i didnt think about my son at all that day! Imagine calling your parents and they never have anything interesting to talk about or they nag you? you want to keep in touch with that person. How about they nag you about all your mistakes? If you are still close to your parents ask yourself do they do things that you do to your kids? such as nag interfere or for me what the biggest turn off was the GUILT TRIP! if your kids went down the wrong path in life give them advice if they ask but not like you would your child like you would an adult. after all thats what they are. you have to let them fall so they can learn to pick themselves back up. you cannot take care of them and at the same time expect them to be responsible adults. this is just all that has come into my head today. i hope this helps someone out there. it came from the heart and i know someone needed to hear this today

  11. I am in a situation where I am letting go of my daughter who is 26 yrs , married for a year who was always self-centred and cold. I am supposedly an undiagnosed ADD patient and clinically depressed for over 20 yrs now. I am divorced and have always been a single parent throughout though I was only separated then.

    I always wanted to give what I missed in my life and the best to my daughter. I have undergone something next to hell till date for her. But note the point she was always the same while I didn’t have the nerve to recognise it.

    My only suggestion to all affected parents is just to realise we are someway responsible for their attitude and behaviour. It is our mistake to go beyond our capabilities and putting ourselves back to bring up the children. We have missed the opportunities to either detect the selfish attitude earlier or were in denial about many things. It is never too late to live our lives. The best thing is to let go and find other avenues to give and take love and move on.

  12. I really appreciate everyone who has contributed to this blog. I have two children, my daughter is 21 and my son is 18. My husband and I separated 3.5 years ago. He had an affair and many financial issues he hid from me that were discovered after I filed for divorce. We were married 21 years at the time of separation. My children are two very different people. I always had a good relationship with both of my kids. They were rarely disrespectful and we did everything together. The four of us worked but the two of us (my husband and I) didn’t. My daughter has gradually become more distant in our relationship. I work at a university that allows both of my children to go to school for free. I also returned to school 2 years ago to earn my degree for free. At this point my daughter wants very little to do with me and I don’t understand why. My son and I are close and have a good relationship. I am very hurt by my daughter’s behavior. I will not allow her to be disrespectful towards me. I know she must be hurting and I want to understand her feelings but she will not open up to me. If things are not done her way she becomes demanding and disrespectful. I left my marriage because for years I felt if I behaved a certain way everything would be fine. I got tired of that and I stood up for myself. I am at fault for not doing that all along. After all my family and I went through with the breakdown of my marriage I will not go back on the decision to stand up for myself. I will not let her disrespect me. The pain from her cutting ties with me is very heavy. I don’t know what to do to turn things around. I feel her dad is helping with widening the gap between my daughter and I. I pray for guidance in this situation. Thank you to everyone who shares their stories. I am so sorry for your pain. It is so sad to see all this unnecessary pain where there could be so many great memories made instead. I wish you all understanding.

  13. Oh my heart!
    So many broken hearted Mommys. I feel betrayed by mu baby daughter ,as she was the sweetest kindest, most tender hearted lil thing ever and was always torn because she NEVER wanted to ever hurt her Daddy or myself. ….but even though I had main custody their primary years, their dad did everything in his power to alienate me, the sweet caring Momma who fought for my life and theirs to put them on this earth. Yet he would take them every Christmas and didn’t even celebrate himself, just went to his moms. Even though they had two older siblings his family took evil measures over the court system. YES it happens and still happens at 18&21….though im still hanging on to hope.
    I feel your pain all of you! One day I do believe they finally grow up…..and realize the truth.

  14. Hello
    My youngest girl and I were always close but about two years she started going to bed without saying goodnight or not eating with us.
    She was married this past June to real good man. He even asked my for her hand. But now she has turned her back on us. Me more than my wife. I’ve latterly begged her to have lunch with me, she refused.
    We hear nothing of her new life, but his family is the center of her life. She won’t return calls, texts go unanswered. She won’t have lunch with me but she’ll get up at 5 am to go work out with her new mother in law. Everyone says she’ll be back but I won’t be here for her. I can’t take emotional pain and she has given me so much and hurt me so bad the only way I can deal with it id to be done with her. Any pictures of her are gone, graduation gifts in the trash, the new suit I bought for her wedding in the fire pit.
    I can’t take that kind of pain so she’s gone. I’ll never call, text or speak with her again. its sad and it hurts but only for me. She is off living her dream and me, I spend my life trying to forget her.
    Goodbye Sara, I loved you so.

  15. Hello everyone, this group gave me insight into that the pain I began working through a little over three years ago was not unique to me AND that discovery was one of those discoveries that has helped me in my never ending search for tools that have helped me to heal and find the next step forward. I’ve shared my thoughts with you during the raw and early stages of pain and hurt and now I’d like to share my thoughts with you as time has passed as I am hoping in sharing I may help someone else if even just one of you may benefit. Maybe my personal revelations are unique to me and benefit no one BUT myself for I don’t have the answers just what has felt right for me and maybe one among you can relate and this may just be that kind of support you may need to keep on keeping on.

    Please know in this experience I’ve gone through a long period of countless sleepless nights, feelings of panic and have been to several therapists in an effort to get help working through my emotions. For me finding the right therapist has not come easy and I yet to find one. We all have a budget and I have a very restricted one so for me doing my own “homework” has been essential. The hours of reading I have done are countless and in doing so stumbled on information that led me into other discoveries and then onto more discoveries and along this path began a string of “connecting” the dots which was allowed me some well needed self discovery and also lessons to help guide me. I may never really have the wisdom to understand my daughter’s choices and equally important the manner in which it all played out to be known but self discovery goes hand in hand with healing and through the pain came a lot of discoveries. At least I think so. I discovered that perhaps much of the extreme depth of the pain I have felt so suffocated by and was killing so much of my spirit was for me because of the way my mind had been developed since childhood. I came across some videos by Richard Grannon about narcissism. I realized that my mother and grandmother who both raised me were narcissist and feel both were covert narcissist. From the time I was a child I was “fixing” things in people’s lives and no matter how much was fixed there was always something else. I was made to feel guilty about a lot and that has continued a lifetime. BUT in the discovery of what I’ve learned from his talks I began to realize for myself that “I” was not insane for feeling things had been abnormal and have learned how to place a comfortable distance between the mother I love so much AND learned how not to give her the fuel that she uses to taint things as she does. All of this is an entire world of learning that I’ve begun and will not get into BUT wanted to share should that be helpful to you.

    Finding “answers” are the greatest tools in healing and doing so in a positive way. Learning how to try to reprogram how I process hurt is challenging but I am hoping the education I can find will help me down that path so doors open and not shut.

    Being quite frank and honest with everyone I do have those way in the back thoughts of being angry at my daughter that she felt she had to lie and then push a devoted family to the side to have a life with the man she fell in love with and eventually married BUT for me allowing those thoughts to spoil my bigger need to always be a part of my daughter’s life keeps those thoughts more at bay than embraced. It’s enough to feel that I know that there is right and there is wrong and she can be angry forever that I didn’t pretend to be pleased and angry that I still had my own personal moral compass. I worked very hard to allow the mother who loves her daughter to somehow continue to show that face and not the face of bitterness and anger. I have come to recognize that my daughter took a lot for granted and I’m learning a disciplined practice of conservative “giving” …. I’m not rich by no means but those little things I did that for me were sacrifices for things for myself, had gone to be something for less revered than I thought they had been. So now I try to practice giving in appropriateness. Hard right now learning there’s a baby on the way…I’ve broken that practice : ) but I’m not perfect, but it has served to allow me to be who I am at my roots and it has felt good not to hold back.

    I don’t know what the future holds I don’t know if there will be more that will set things back but for now I am happy to say that there is slow progress and steady progress. I know that she has her perspective about things and I have my own. I decided in the beginning that in order for my pain to be worth the hell I’ve been through that it had to go towards what felt right for me and that has always added up to that I did not want to shut any door of mine on her and despite how right I know she has always felt she has been now at 29 and wrong she has probably felt I had been… I see that she too continues to had decided to keep the door ajar for me. Which I am deeply grateful that she has.

    More than anything all my faith that God would guide me and help me has been my crutch and to HIM I am humbled and to HIM I am so thankful. The blow early on was so horrific and the words that I said to him were disgraceful and I’m so sorry for that. Never feel alone my friends for he does hear and he does listen and love us all. I’ve learned that too. I could not have survived without his love.

    Being a parent is not an easy roll in life and being a son or daughter is not as well. I think stepping back taking a deep breath and learning new approaches is invaluable at least for me it all is proving to be. I think there are ways of making selfish behavior being recognized without it becoming a perpetual divide.

    I wish you all good things and I wish you all peace with your personal quests.

  16. Hey everyone, listen up. Our kids are brats, plain and simple. Who knows why they are the way they are? I’m a great mom, and I am not second guessing myself as a parent anymore. Don’t. We are not responsible for their personality, they are. Does it hurt? Damn straight, but this is on them, not us.

  17. Dear Broken,
    I am so sorry to hear about your situation with your daughter. I too am going to a similar situation with my own daughter. She has made her fiancé the center of her life. I can’t tell her anything anymore and everything I do or say is misinterpreted. She can’t even make a decision any more without including him. He’s a nice guy, just not the brightest guy. I too am distancing myself from my daughter. Best advice I can offer is to focus on you and your wife now. Your daughter is an adult and there will be a few lessons that she has to learn. She will be back and when she does be available to listen if you so choose, but DO NOT LET HER ISSUES DISRUPT YOUR PEACE!!!

  18. Judy, your post touched my heart. I see wisdom in every paragraph. I too have been thankful my son has left the door ajar for me. I shut his phone off last week. I warned him i would, even though I felt that would mean no more contact. i cried in doing so, hyterically at times. I realized if nothing else i must teach him that actions have reactions and consequence. I will not allow him to use me. I realized i wouldnt let a stranger treat me so disrespectfully so why would I let my son? He text me a few days later his new number. No words of anger nothing. So he does want me in his life. if only just a tiny small bit. there is love for me. He is young and must grow. There has been abuse by his father and he has blamed me for it. i have accepted partial blame but the majority of that blame lands on his father and his step mother who he ironically lives with. Hisstep mother only not his dad. They are divorced she has custody of the half brothers to my son. I know he wants to be there to protect his half brothers from his father because he doesnt trust his step mother to do so. I kniow in my heart we will be in each others lives. to what degree i do not know. I just keep telling myself I must invest in my own life as he must invest in his own. We do not own our children we as parents must educate them the best we can so they can live there lives and we dont have the right to exspect them not to live there life. If we keep growing as adults we will not feel the need to be validated by our children. Know that God loves you and this is your life to live with or wothout your children by your side. Every life has meaning. make your life a good one that provides strength and hope for those who need it. I would urge many of you who are in this situation to seek out a counselor with PTSD training. We all have suffered a trauma. the work being done in this field is very helpful to people in our situation. It works with ART and EREM it is doing wonders fr me that years of talk therapy has not. the other nice thing is it is not forever. 16 weeks for this therapy. dont give up get help. the right help can do a world of difference!

  19. My mother acted like a jilted lover every time I had a boyfriend and the focus of my attention was diverted away from tending to her emotional need to be the center of attention, my emotional health be damned. Daughters are worthless and useless if they have the audacity to seek a life outside their mothers was the message I received. My mother died many years ago and I still deeply regret NOT cutting ties with her when I was younger, I would have had a better life.

  20. After a year of the praying, it’s much better for me. Nothing has changed except my son is expecting a baby I expect I won’t have much contact with. I’m okay with that and have kindly expressed my wish to be included, but the difference is my expectations are in check, and I have none. I also am not opening up my checkbook to try to buy affection. I declined buying Tiffany diamond earrings for my son’s wife at Christmas and suffered a little for that, but I weathered it all. I saw my son’s daughter once last year and we live two miles from one another. My daughter’s child I see everyday and am extremely involved as a grandparent should be. I’m always hopeful things will change with my son’s family, but there is not the desperation I had.

    Recently my daughter talked of relocation and while I was extremely sad I would not be seeing my granddaughter everyday, I expressed my support for her decisions. She decided the support she has from me as a single parent is not worth relocating far away from me. I can’t leave my business to join her or I would.

    I’m very grateful to God for seeing me through the wretched despair I had last year. The former in laws are as divisive as ever, but I’ve been healed from caring so much what they do. And I have accepted my son’s decision to spend his time with them. Ironically, after all my suffering, my son told me things are not so happy in that situation, but I felt nothing other than sadness for my son to be disappointed in discovering for himself the truth I endured. My former husband is not involved with our children and grandchildren and that is another long story filled with girlfriends and his new wife he no longer lives with.

  21. Betsy sums it up very well. Our children have grown up with a sense of entitlement and are spoiled brats. My son wanted me to sell my house so that he could afford to buy his own. He also would rather buy his fiancé (now wife) an engagement ring than pay off his loan to me. So I told him that I was calling his loan off and he was thrilled, until I told him that I had written him out of the will in trade and that he could go work and buy his own house. Was he happy? Absolutely not. But people!!! Our golden years are not meant to support our kids, be their free babysitters, or let them physically or emotionally abuse us. They need to be independent and we need to live our lives only for ourselves. And to be happy. These people are miserable and try to drag us down to their levels. How they got there is beyond me, but I’m not doing it. Life is too short and I will do whatever it takes to be happy, and if they can’t be happy for me, then oh well. They don’t want us telling them how to live their lives so what gives them the right to tell us how to live ours, and how to spend our money (on them). Sadly, it seems that gone are the days where our children respect their parents.

  22. Dear ColdTruth- I’m sorry you had to go through that crap while you were dating, and your mom was alive. It sounds like your mom had some psychological issues she neglected to receive help for. You know, we all look back on life and wish we could do things differently..but the good news is, life is a learning experience. You’re going to take your lesson and change so that history doesn’t repeat itself…so that your children wont feel the hurt that you felt, and still do feel. Please forgive your mom, not for her sake, but for your own. Let it go..what she did was HER fault, not yours. It will free you. I know youre going to be a wonderful, FORGIVING mother. All the best to you! <3

  23. Dear brothers & sisters, I was there. I thought my relationship with my son was over. I was a total basket case. I practically begged him to come back into my life. I’m embarrassed how I acted. It was then that I joined this group.
    But I prayed, read scripture, sought counseling & went on a low dose anxiety med. I started taking care of MYSELF. I learned I am the only 1 responsible for helping myself. And that I have issues as well. My counselor pointed out areas I need to work on & that may have contributed to the chaos that went on between me & my son. He also taught me how to cope when my son hurts me.
    That said, my son came back into my life. God changed his heart. And He’s working on me too. It’s a work in progress but we both at least we both have the same goal – to remain in each other’s lives and love each other.
    And because I worked on myself I no longer see a day when he can cause me to be so distraught. He doesn’t have the power to do that anymore. This time I would let him go.
    I continue to go to counseling I continue my meds I continue my faith. Because that works for me. It works for me. And I pray that my son & I stay on track. His hugs are the best.
    I posted all this because I wanted to give hope to the rest of you parents who have lost hope. Who have lost their minds. Who have lost themselves. You can’t fix your adult kids, you can only fix yourselves.
    You extend the olive branch from time to time of course and leave the door open. Le god do the rest.

  24. Betsey and Minnie,
    I just reread your posts, after I wrote about my heartbreak my daughter slapped me with in her horrible letter yesterday.
    You are right. We parents who did right by our kids, bent over backwards to give them everything and more- they are unhappy, selfish and uncaring as well as deeply unhappy, of their own making. I had a very hard life and I never once blamed my mother for it.
    I will do my best to heal my broken heart. I lived through the death of my son, my brother, my mother, my infant I miscarried and I can live through her estrangement from me. She is 31 Year old who does not date, does not want children, refuses to share ANY of her life with us. I tried and tried to be a good mom. I am done. It is up to her, now. Thank you for your affirmation, Betsey and Minnie.

  25. Hi Betsey thank you for the comment and the kind words. You’re right, history isn’t going to repeat itself, because I never wanted or had my own children. The way I was raised so severely damaged me that I find intimate relationships intolerably distressing and repulsive. My mother did seek help for her problems, to her credit. Unfortunately, it had little effect on her psychologically incestuous behavior. I have forgiven her for my own sake but the damage is done and is mostly irreversible.

  26. There is hope.
    My son & I reconciled.
    I prayed, got counseling, went on a script & prayed some more.
    We are a work in progress but thats ok.
    Keep the faith folks.

  27. I divorced my husband after 21 years of marriage. He was a diagnosed sociopath and I lived a perpetual hell while raising 2 kids, doing my absolute best to instill in them morals, values and a conscience. My daughter is bi-polar and has broken my heart so many times, I finally decided to cut contact. Now, my 19 year old son is acting out. He lives with me for free. He recently left home because he said I asked to often for him to take the garbage out or to run to the store if we need things. He cussed ne out, called me names and started calling my fiance telling him lies about me. We are stunned by it. I asked him what he was trying to accomplish? To make me look like a terrible mother to justify his bad behavior or to convince people he’s not a bad person for acting so over the top over something so minor? I was laid off 9 months ago and my fiance has been helping me supplement until I find a job. According to my son now, because I haven’t been able to find work and now my unemployment ran out, i dont deserve respect, but my fiance does. I’m baffled and absolutely heart broken by this.

  28. Dear brothers & sisters, I am crying in silence now because my heart is broken too. I raised my daughter and son alone because my husband was robbed and killed when they were 12 and 9 years old. It was really hard time because socialism collapsed in my country and we citizens were on food vouchers. I was working so hard and raised them without knowing what poverty is it. Even though I sent my daughter to foreign college for 4 years which turned to 6 years, I was wearing same shoe for many years to cover all her expenses, including her rented apartment as she did not like campus and she did not earn a cent. Now she is 38 and divorced has 3 kids and blaming me for being a bad mother. If things are not done her way she becomes demanding and disrespectful. She says i did not kiss or did not call her “my daughter” but only called by her name. Of course I did kiss her and did call her my daughter but I was working so hard and I came home always late, so tired and exhausted and I admit it was rare. Daughter hates me because she says I cared about my son more which is nonsense. I lived my life for them and It feels like she stabbed to my back. Thank God my son never blamed me. He is supportive. Unless I would jump out of my balcony.

    After reading all comments posted in here, I made a decision to exclude her from my will and live my life finally. I Pray God to build a bridge between us but I will always keep healthy distance for not being too close to get hurt again.

  29. Well it’s now been two years sence my kids have been manipulated enough to kick me out if their lives. It’s been the most difficult pain I’ve ever been through. I’ll never understand how or why my ex wife thrives so much on destroying my whole life by using my kids against me and telling awful lies about me. My daughter’s are now 15 and 16 and they have no desire to even speak to me let alone see me. I’ve put myself in counseling just to learn to get past the hurt that constantly rips my soul apart. I know I’ll never see them again, and I know I’ll never get over it, but I have to find a way to move on and to try and ive my life. I love my kids more then anything, but I know it’s over but my pain and scars are forever! Shame on anyone that does this to the other parent. It’s horribly hurtful. …. God bless…

  30. Wow, oh your stories have really helped me. I feel I was alone. I stayed married for 23 years because I did not want my kids to have divorced parents. Problem is my verbally and emotionally husband taught my kids very well how to disrespect me. I finally did get a divorce, put myself through school paid off my ex-husband‘s bills, I had a house built so my kids had somewhere to come home to. I paid for my daughter‘s wedding while her father got to walk her down the aisle.
    I have no relationship with my kids, seldom see my daughters kids and never talk to my son and daughter-in-law and their kids. I had to break it off with my son because he would cuss me out in front of his kids and wife and I didn’t even know what the topic was. I really think he’s toxic to be around.
    When I was a young mother my kids were my life and I did my best. Their father was an alcoholic and pothead and I tried very hard to keep the kids in counseling, have them go to the best schools, keep them in sports and music and do their homework all the while their dad would verbally abuse me and put the kids done. I’ve gone to much counseling and built a healthy life and fun life for myself. But my kids say I am selfish and self-centered because I have become self-sufficient and happy. Although they don’t know how many nights I cry Because the one thing I want is a relationship with them and my grandkids. At least I’m not the kind of mother that I have to ask them for financial support or lean on them emotionally. I don’t know where to go from here

  31. You cant choose your parents but you cant choose your kids either. I came upon this because of a guest at our dinner party.
    She severed ties with her parents because they didnt go to all her games and moved to much for her fathers job. I could not believe she said that and i was curious about how many more entitled,spoiled and ungratefull people have broken their parents heart.

    I was raised in orphange and foster homes. I was abused starved and at 11 forced into prostitution. I did run and ask for help but it was turned around on me and i was a liar and i should be gratefull.
    I ran when i was 18 to the USA. Got a visa due to the child trafficking and i worked,went to school met a amazing husband to be. We have 2 kids 26 and 29 we have amazing relantionshipsv with them and their spouses and our 1 grandchild so far.

    I never had a i love you,a birthday,toys,christmas a hug untill my husband. I only knew fear and rejection. Nobody was on my side and i never could or will be able to call my mom or dad. I never had the privilge of a bedtime story or knowing that i was loved. I would trade 5 years of my life for 1 day of having parents and to utter the words mom,dad.

    Bad people exsist in this world those people have parents. It is not your fault,if no abuse was present you have nothing to apologize for. Im so sorry this is hurting all of you so much but try and live your life,spend some of your hardearned money on you not on ingrates. My heart goes out to all of you. Stay strong and please no more blaming yourself. You are all in my prayers.

  32. I lost custody of my eldest daughter about 30 years ago due only to the fact that my ex-in-laws were very rich & had the judge “in their pocket”. Now that she’s an adult, she moved herself, husband, & my grandchildren a 17 hour drive away (near my ex who was abusive to me and to her). They wonder why I can’t “get over it”. My heart of a mother was & is broken…all because of money and a corrupt family relations judge in Fairfield County, Ohio. After 10 years in court his final ruling for them was “because they are retired and can spend more time with her”. The ex-in-laws did have 30 years to brainwash her. At least she knows I love her…with my fractured heart.

  33. Although I am well educated and prepared for a career, I chose to stay home and be a full time mom…all I wanted was a happy family. I know I was a good Mom. I know it. I never in a million years would have ever dreamed my son, now 31, would totally reject me and my family following my ex-husbands divorcing me. History has totally been re-written. I am actually lucky in that my daughter is still very close (35). I grieve every day, but I choose to not let it define me. I know I have done everything in my power to stop this, but I can only control myself. Faith.

  34. Dear Larry, may 11,
    I know how badly your heart is ripped to pieces and I can only say that your daughters are still at a very emotional and turbulent time in life, works in progress. Their emotions and ways of thinking about you and everything else today will change rapidly as they continue to develop. What they think and feel today may be totally different as they grow. As much as it hurts, if you can be there for them and not give up yet, time may prove to be on your side. As they mature, so will their opinions about you. They will really on their own thoughts and not be so influenced by others when making judgements about others. Hang in there.

  35. I don’t even know how I got to this place in my life. My parents were not very nice. Life was hard, so I did everything opposite of what they did. I have 2 married sons. One lives in another state and I have no problems with him or his wife. My son who lives near by is married to a woman who suffers from mental illness. Her father has it, her brother has it and her mom has OCD and the entire family is helpless. They have been married for 15 years now. The chaos never ends. One battle after another and you really don’t see it coming. It certainly did contribute to me getting divorced because I was always the subject of her objections. I could never do anything right. My son told me she was intimidated by the closeness of our family and so she strived to divide. They had twins almost 9 months ago. She didn’t want to be pregnant, he wanted a baby. She hated everything about all of it. The babies came early, but were healthy. I gave her a beautiful baby shower, not good enough though. I stayed overnight for 3 months so that they could sleep until I got sick from taking so much Alieve for my severe back condition. At that point there was a nanny in place that worked until 4 and I arrived at 4. I stayed until the babies were fed, bathed and put down for the night. My DIL never took care of these babies. Post Pardum? who knows. If she had it, it started years before the pregnancy. The nanny yelled at me several times telling me that me and my ex didn’t belong there. we wern’t the parents. I told my son and dil but they said just ignore her. Then the nanny told me that my dil was tired of people telling her what to do. I didn’t understand because I never told her what to do. I did tell my son only and he shared it with his wife. Well, that was the end of it for me. The dil stopped working, kept the nanny and kicked me to the curb like trash. I haven’t seen the babies in over 21/2 months. I always told my ex that I knew this day would come and it did. My son called my a liar and I asked him why, when I was so happy helping, would I ever make up such a story? You see, when she got angry at me she wouldn’t let me hold the babies. She was mean and I was just in shock I guess. I have learned that no good deed goes unpunished. I raised my sons and I have never lied to them and they know that. It almost feels like a death. I am seeking counseling and under my doctor’s care. I now know what a real broken heart is.

  36. I have the same sadness in my life as many others here. I have 3 grown children. I was a stay at home mom for many years, never missed a game, play, concert, or any activity. The family attended church on Sundays and youth group on Wednesday nights. We paid for all of our kids to attend college and for lovely weddings for the 2 that are married. We devoted our lives to raising kind, responsible, educated, God-loving children.
    Out of the 3, I only have a close relationship with one child–my middle. My oldest is 40, single, and distant with everyone. The youngest, my daughter, was so close to me growing up. We had the most wonderful relationship. She has grown distant over the past 7 years, especially since she married. When she wants a favor, she’ll call, but almost never otherwise. It is very painful to me. My health has declined over the past few years, and never a call to see how I am. It really hurts that my child doesn’t really care. My older boy definitely has some mental health, personality issues, so I have come to accept my nearly non-existent relationship with him. (After YEARS of heartbreak). Having my daughter going down the same route is hurting even more. I do try to have my own life–but sometimes I can’t help the way I feel. It just hurts. I feel like telling them how I feel, but I know my son will only push further away and my daughter will act resentful. My husband tries to ignore the whole thing, somehow believing that that will make me feel better. Nope.
    Well, there it is. I am grateful that my middle son cares deeply for us. He does not understand his sibling either.
    Just needed to say it and get on with it, I guess.
    Thanks for listening.

  37. My DIL and son treat my husband and I like garbage. My DIL has not said hello to me in 10 years, doesn’t thank me for gifts. I don’t care about that. I care that I have a 5 year old granddaughter who truly loves us and it makes my DIL angry that she loves us. My son defends his wife and constantly fights with me over my granddaughter. My DIL mother has the baby 3 times a weeks with sleepovers. I see the baby 1 a month. My heart is broken, my son is a weak man and enables her to do this to us. Should I walk away? I am also enabling him by allowing him to treat us this way, I am ashamed of myself for allowing this to continue.

  38. Broken and Betsey,

    You have made me feel 100% better today. I have three girls and the two oldest blame me for divorce, etc. I told them two days ago that I never want to see them again. They are toxic. By the way, I had three forms of cancer and neither one of them called or came near me during that time. I am in remission and doing quite well. I do not plan to live the remainder of my life feeling guilty, babysitting around the clock and dealing with garbage. I cannot do it any longer. Your posts were extremely helpful to me.


  39. Thank you for the kind words you wrote on May 11, 2018 Ann…it really touched my heart that someone outside this terrible nightmare who is not going through this is so thoughtful because we are all going through the most unimaginable event ever! It’s like our children whom I would die for and might because of this, have suddenly died, only it is worse to know that they are not dead, but choosing to not speak to us. For us it was a complete and total shock that he gave up his entire life over ….?? we’re not even sure the reason. My once caring, loving, sensible compassionate mother-loving, family-loving son is gone… it’s like aliens took his soul. Sounds dramatic but true. I feel like my life is over. Yet I have so much more to give in this life. I’m sorry you went through what you did, you didn’t deserve that. I’ll be your mom…lol. Perhaps you should write an open letter to all of these “adult” children who are killing their parents slowly. I am on a Yahoo group abandonedparents for this very thing and there are a lot of grieving parents who would looooong to hear what you have just said. Thank you…

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