Today I am going to write about something that isn’t expressed very often. It is felt by many but unfortunately won’t be understood by many others. Estrangement is a terrible, complex and complicated thing. As a parent of an adult child who estranged from me, I have felt a pain that you can’t imagine if you have never been through it. In fact, I have a friend who, at 7 months pregnant, was in a horrific car crash that almost took her life. She survived but unfortunately, her unborn child did not. I can’t imagine her pain. In a surprising response, knowing my situation, she told me that she could never imagine my pain, that having a child who just doesn’t want you, knowing your child is out there somewhere and you can’t reach them, can’t touch them, she didn’t know if she could live with that kind of pain. We both lost children, in different ways, yet we both felt pain and empathized with each other. The loss of a child, no matter how, is heart-wrenching.
Adult children who estrange, in a sense, are making there own bed the longer they continue. And again, I am not talking about those estrange due to abuse and other like situations. I am talking about the ones who have somewhat frivolous reasons and those who have been influenced by the cruel intentions of others. As a parent, a mother, I will always love my child, of that there is no doubt. But this is the truth of which I am writing – I have found, have learned, have been taught (by my son and his actions), that if you are hurt enough, cut deep enough, and are pushed away far enough, you start to lose something. I haven’t stopped loving my son, that will always be there, but something inside me is gone. It’s as if the pain left a hole inside me so deep that my body, my subconscious, built walls around it and won’t let anything else in – or out. I have lost the ability to outwardly give that love to my son. There is now a wall of self-preservation. I was hurt so badly that to be hurt again, to even risk it, is impossible. It is a loss that I will never recover from, at least not back to the person, to the mother, I was before.
My door is always open to my son! I’m just not sure who I will be when, if, he knocks. Just because I am a parent does not mean I am not human. I feel pain, I feel insecurity, and PTSD has destroyed me in many ways. I have spoken with many parents of estrangement and they fall mostly on 2 sides: those who wait and wait to their own detriment, and those who finally decide they can’t wait anymore and they must somehow get on with their own lives. I can’t hold either against any of them!
Why is it that parents are expected to be responsible yet adult children are not? Why are parents expected to love unconditionally and their adult children not? Aren’t we all human beings? Shouldn’t we all be held to the same standards? All held accountable for our words and actions? Why am I a terrible person if I decide to let go and find my life again after years of unexplained pain, unnecessary loss, yet my son can walk away without a word, stab me in the heart, and he isn’t terrible at all?
I know I may encounter strong backlash to this post. But I am speaking out for all those who know this pain. I am speaking a truth that too many are facing every day. How can anyone expect us to be pushed away for years on end and yet still be able to be there as we once were? When my son pushed me, he took away a part of me, one that can’t be pieced together again, at least not in the same way it was. If my son ever comes back, I will be here with open arms and I will love him. But I won’t ever be able to trust again, not fully. I will always be on guard, be suspicious, be skeptical. After all, what’s to stop him from doing it again?
There is a point where we have been pushed too far and we have to stop waiting, stop attempting to reach out after consistently being ignored, stop drowning in the pain and move forward with our lives. We deserve a happy, fulfilling life just as much as our children. We just know a type of pain that hopefully our children never have to know.