If I’m no longer a mother, then what am I?

by Sheri McGregor, M.A.

It’s a question I hear often after an adult child’s estrangement. Among the more than 9,000 mothers who have answered my survey for parents of estranged adult children, or reached out in site comments or in emails, hundreds ask the same or a similar question.

Even the busiest mothers go out of their way for their adult children. Sometimes, mothers even say their lives revolved around them, as if they’ve been on-call.

For some, the question has layers of complexity that make the situation even more heartbreaking. Like when grandchildren are involved, which makes the loss even more cruel and sad.

Grandmothers picture the sweet, innocent faces of the grandchildren their estranged son or daughter has ripped away, and worry what awful picture is being painted about them. That they’re crazy? Or worse, that they don’t care? Those women may ask, if I’m no longer the devoted grandmother, always there and ready to help, then who am I?

read the full answer to this question and many more on this website:- http://www.rejectedparents.net/category/answers-to-common-questions/

Adult Children Explain Their Reasons for Estranging from Parents

This article reports on a qualitative study of adult children who were estranged from at least one parent. Twenty-six Australian participants reported a total of 40 estrangements. Of these, 23 estrangements were initiated by the participant and 16 were maintained by the participant after being initiated by the parent or occurring after a mutual lessening of contact. Participants reported three core reasons for estrangement: (i) abuse, (ii) poor parenting, and (iii) betrayal. However, estrangement was predominantly situated in long-term perceived or actual disconnection from the parent and family of origin. Most participants had engaged in cycles of estrangement and reunification, using distance to assess the relationship and attend to their own personal development and growth across time. Estrangement was generally triggered by a relatively minor incident or a more serious act of betrayal considered to have been enacted by the parent.


Love Yourself

“You’re Dead To Me,” Why Estrangement Hurts So Much

During the early stages of researching family estrangement I received a phone call from a woman named Cathy*. She didn’t want to be a part of my research. She needed to tell me something. I didn’t realise how important or memorable it would be until I interviewed more and more people and the same theme emerged. She told me that she was a mother of two children – both were lost to her. One had died from cancer in his teens and the other had estranged in her early 20s. I will never forget her words: “The pain of your child dying is incredible, but losing a child to estrangement is unbearable– it hurts so, so much more”.  Taken from

Understanding the pain
Post published by Kylie Agllias Ph.D. on Oct 03, 2014 in Family Conflict


support group

Understanding the 5 Most Common Causes of Estrangement

We’ll kick off a new webinar series this Tuesday MARCH 10TH at 530PM PDT, 830 EST (2015) with a FREE WEBINAR: WHAT COULD MY ESTRANGED CHILD POSSIBLY BE THINKING? Understanding the 5 Most Common Causes of Estrangement.

Understanding the 5 Most Common Causes of Estrangement – See more at: http://www.drjoshuacoleman.com/2013/09/new-webinar-series-for-estranged-parents/#sthash.GQPQ1vMi.dpuf

support group


parent-child estrangements

parent-child estrangements: Whose life is it, anyway?

Ultimatums to adult children can backfire
When parents and newly adult children disagree about life choices, experts advise parents to shift to a "consulting" role to maintain the relationship, since other choices (like issuing ultimatums) can result in estrangement. (Illustration by Donna Grethen)
When parents and newly adult children disagree about life choices, experts advise parents to shift to a “consulting” role to maintain the relationship, since other choices (like issuing ultimatums) can result in estrangement. (Illustration by Donna Grethen) more >
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By Lois M. Collins – Deseret News – Saturday, February 7, 2015

Life in Dick and Liz Diamond’s home followed a pretty straightforward trajectory until recently.

Their oldest, a daughter, went to college, then got married. The middle child, a son, went to college after completing a Christian mission. They assumed their younger son, Alex, would do the same, wondering only which would come first, college or mission.

It turns out Alex, 19, had his own ideas about the path he’d follow as an adult.

One night while he was still in high school, after mentally rehearsing it often because he really hates conflict, the youngest Diamond told his stunned parents he would not go on a church mission and he isn’t sure about God.

“You try to not be living through your children and you try to let them make their choices, but this was something that sort of blindsided us,” Liz Diamond said.

They are in good company.

It is not uncommon for older children, from teens through fully grown adults, to abandon at least portions of their parents’ planned trajectory. Mothers and fathers snuggle their babies and picture how those babies’ lives will unfold. But contrary to parental wishes, those offspring may grow into people who change faiths or drop God. They may bypass marriage or live with partners who haven’t won parental approval. They may drink, do drugs, drop out of school, have no babies or have them too soon.

Numbers are hard to come by, but based on surveys in Great Britain, Australia and the United States, it’s believed about one-fifth of families have disagreements serious enough to result in estrangement, though not always parent-child.

A survey of 2,082 adults by a Great Britain group called Stand Alone found 8 percent had cut off contact with a family member, while 19 percent said they or another family member had done so. Similar numbers were reported in Australia and it’s believed that might be true in the United States, as well. In each case, an undercount was suspected.

The future of an older child-parent relationship often rests on how parents handle such conflict, experts say. It is, perhaps, the most tricky segment of the entire parent-child journey.

“Typically, older kids care somewhat about what you think, but they care more about what they think,” said Joshua Coleman, a San Francisco psychologist and co-chairman of the Council on Contemporary Families. “If you pose them with an ultimatum that they can’t have a close relationship with you unless they make their lives conform to what your ideals are at the expense of their own ideals, you’re probably not going to have a relationship with them.”

Child-focused life

Mr. Coleman, 60, starts a conversation about parent-child conflict with a brief history lesson.

Families have only been egalitarian for about 50 years, with children moving from “seen but not heard” to “the axis on which the family revolves,” at least in the upper and middle class.

Working-class folks more often emphasize behaviors like respect for elders, while leaving the children to experience childhood, he said. That group is less apt to hover over children, a habit popularly referred to as “hothouse” or “helicopter” parenting.


Lost years can never be made up

The saddest thing for you is that if you have children, no matter their ages and or how close you may be at this time, by virtue of the fact that you have chosen this, you have now modeled behavior for your own children. They are very likely to dismiss you from their lives the same way they have witnessed you do it to your mother and/or father. Believe it. Case studies support this.