- Family and Parenting
Family Estrangement--It Happens More Than You Know
I have been debating over the past week whether or not to write this hub, and after a sleepless night I decided to forge ahead.
You will notice that this hub has no photos or pictures as it is a somber situation. Family estrangement happens to all families-rich, poor, happy, sad. good or bad. It happens to nice families with good kids. It happens to families where there was once a loving relationship and respect. It happened to me.
If you would have told me many years ago that this estrangement would happen in my family, I would have laughed in your face, as I thought I had a wonderful relationship with my kids that would go on forever.
I have often told friends as we talk about when our kids were young that I had it way too easy bringing them up. We had disagreements of course, but we talked about them and worked them out. I also apologized to my boys when I felt I went too far about a matter or was not fair. I didn't believe in criticism and always knew that would harm their self-esteem. I was not a perfect mother--not by any means. I made many mistakes, showed impatience and even yelled a few times.
My kids always treated me with respect and love, and we got through difficult situations as all families do.Of course I got my feelings hurt during their lives and more than once. kids are kids and they can be very thoughtless and hurtful. I was a stay-at-home mom and greeted my kids everyday when they came home from school.
We were lucky to provide the kids with a comfortable childhood where they had everything they needed and a good deal of what they wanted. We went on fun trips and went out to dinner often; and included them in most of what we did. We bicycled and skiied and had a lot of fun as they were growing up.
Their teenage years brought a divorce in our family, and that is never good. However, their father and I stayed together as parents and got together once a month to discuss the kids. Their father called often and we were always cordial to each other. He was very fair in the divorce and I even got a refund from my divorce attorney. The kids lived with me until each one turned 17 and then moved in with their dad. I was comfortable with this arrangement as they needed a strong male influence.
Both children were good students and took off for college.and began planning different career paths. Both of them had a strong work ethic and worked through high school to help pay for their cars. Neither one of my boys has ever asked me for money. We continued to have a good relationship through their marriages and kids.
Both of my kids seem to be happily married and are loving parents. They both are successful in their business pursuits and provide well for their respective families. They live far from us and that makes it difficult in itself to maintain a relationship. But through the years there were many family get togethers.
An Interesting thought--we don't stop communicating with our kids if they say or do hurtful things to us, but that case does not always work in reverse--as I learned.
First of all I do not want to reveal any private information. My kids have a different last name, however those reading this hub and have been part of my life will know who they are. This situation just happened with one of my kids. Our relationship was special for many reasons and he was always appreciative of my role in his life. There is absolutely no hidden agenda here or anything serious that provoked what happened.
Up until three years ago everything was fine in our relationship, and I was especially close to my daughter in law; and even though we saw each other infrequently we remained connected. Then it happened--I said a few things that were not received well. I did not criticize, get mean or do anything intentionally--.just a few casual remarks. No one was upset at the time and the rest of our time together was wonderful. In fact anger was expressed and I apologized for being thoughtless. Apparently feelings changed during the following months away and that was the end of the relationship. I know readers here think there was some hidden things that I am not revealing, but it was just that simple.
Dealing with Estrangement
After trying to apologize and create some dialogue through emails, eventually things came to a halt. I cannot call on the phone and I cannot see them to resolve this situation as they live in a foreign country. Emotionally it has played havoc with my well being. Most of the time I keep busy and have a wonderful life, so I don't dwell on this. Some mornings I wake up and almost find it hard to breathe. I do get some professional help a few times a year when I feel overwhelmed with pain and disbelief. This is the first time I have shared this situation and I wanted to be careful not to reveal any personal information in any way.
Family Estrangement is More Common than You Think
There is a website someone told me about and it is called "Estrangement". I went on the site to see what it was all about. I was amazed to find about 4000 subscribers. I read some of the stories and found many similar to mine. I don't go on the site anymore as it is way too painful to read these stories, and relating to others is not helpful for me. This estrangement happens to good families and I only wish I had some solutions for this ugly situation not to happen. I think if my child was close by I could force the issue into discussion, and perhaps have some sort of relationship again. I do worry that I will never see my child or grandchild again. Writing this little saga was very cathartic for me, but I also wanted to create an awareness that this does go on in families. Families have problems and issues throughout the years, but generally work them out for the sake of the family unit. I have sometimes felt that those who have not parented well get more attention and love from their kids. Thanks for letting me share my family estrangement with all of you.