In the newspaper advice column Annie’s Mailbox by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, there has recently been a series of letters from the parents of adult children who have cut them out of their lives. The parents complain that they have absolutely no idea why and do not understand what made this happen, and they seem to indicate that they had been just model parents or, at worst, guilty of some very minor parental transgressions.
Lately, a couple of other letter writers opined that just perhaps the parental behavior was a lot more problematic than these folks would have the world believe. For the most part, whenever I delve into the family dynamics of those patients who either cut off parents or who have been cut off like this, that is almost always the case.
In reading the letters from the parents who just cannot seem to figure out why their children have cut them off, a question arises. Are they really that clueless? Are they, as people are wont to say “in denial?” – whatever that means? To me, “denial” of reality is just – how should I put this? – lying.