On this day, the anniversary of 9/11, I think of all the people who lost a family member. And then I think of how crazy it is for people who have estranged themselves from their families. And then I think, “Those people would give anything to have their loved one back – but here I am, alive and well, and my son doesn’t want me.” One of the worst pains in life is having your child toss you aside and walk away from you. It’s even worse when there was no worthy reason for it. It’s hard to explain or describe to someone who hasn’t been through it. Those of us who have get a lot of, “Well, you must have done something wrong? A child doesn’t just walk away from a parent.” But I am here to tell you that sometimes they do. Everyone is always so quick to blame the parent but they don’t realize that sometimes the children are to blame.
There is a generation of teens and 20-something-year-olds out there that has such a sense of entitlement. In all the reading and researching I have done on estrangement, so many young adults have walked away because mommie, daddie or both didn’t give them enough attention, or gave a sibling more money than them, or didn’t buy enough for them, and I even read one story about a young adult who walked away because her mother talked to much about her own health and the daughter was tired of hearing it. Are these really the reasons children are estranging from their parents? These are so trivial, so – normal! Every family goes through those things. I walked away from my mother because of emotional abuse and because she protected/protects my abusers over me. Those are valid reasons to walk away!
As far as my son, we are partially reconciled but he still has never told me the truth about why he walked away and he still never reaches out to me; it’s always me doing the reaching. That’s what’s making his wedding coming up in a few weeks so difficult for me emotionally. He won’t give me details and I have no clue what to expect.
Estrangement bites away at you, piece by piece, ripping away parts of who you are. You rethink and replay everything you have ever said or done, trying to figure it all out, the whys and hows. But all you end up with is speculation instead of anything tangible. You never find any answers, only more questions. Your self-esteem plummets. Your word becomes dark and a sadness unlike anything else consumes you. You wonder what your did wrong. I know everything I have said and done in regards to my son and nothing was deserving of estrangement. So far, my son has taken 6 years of my life away from me. Those years were filled with such confusion and sadness, anger and frustration. I was angry with my son! Severely angry – I admit it! I felt and still feel all kinds of things, although now it is more acceptance and a soft sadness. I can never get those years without my son back (from age 19-24), lost mother-son life experiences, can’t go back to being the person I was – the person I liked better than the guarded person I am now.
It’s the worst type of mind game our children play with us, and it gives them the power instead of us, the parents. It’s a role-reversal in many ways. I started healing a little when I stopped giving him that power so freely, when I finally stopped begging for explanation and contact. I had to learn to have respect for myself! Before the wedding was coming, I stopped messaging my son. I didn’t walk away; I just gave him the space he seemed to want. Gave him the space to decide if he ever wants to come back into my life. It was one of the hardest things I ever had to do! We will see how the wedding goes and what comes in the months or years to follow. Honestly, I don’t expect it to be much different – I think he will remain distant, never call and instead continue to just send the occasional “Happy Holiday” instant message. He has some growing up to do and some realizations to make. If he would just stop listening to the lies of outside influences and just take some time to look back, to remember our life together, you would think he would see the truth. But I know my son is stubborn and bull-headed, so that day may not come for a long time and it may never come at all. I have actually finally accepted that. I will always be here for him but until that time, I have to live my life and I deserve to live that life.
To those experiencing estrangement, my heart and understanding is with you! And to those who haven’t, please never assume it was the parents’ fault and please be careful with your words. Parents going through estrangement from a child are going through a pain you could never imagine and I would never wish it on anyone.