Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.
Reconnecting with adult daughter or son(79 Posts)
Reading the various posts, I can see that many sever contact with parents for different reasons, the parent might have intentionally hurt them or not given sufficient support for various reasons and hurt their child, however old he or she is. What I ask of you is what does a parent do, who loves and misses them do to make amends. If you tried to find out unsuccessfully before the estrangement and was met with hostility and a refusal to talk, it is very difficult to know what to do without seeming intrusive or an interfering pain. When they estrange themselves and get on with their lives, is is wrong to try to put it right, to make contact, if so how, or is that going to upset the son or daughter
and make things harder for them. Know there are a lot of bad parents out there, also a lot that not intentionally useless but must have got things wrong.
I'd like to reframe your question here. But using the probability that a child estranged themselves from a parent as a result of sustained abuse of some kind. Not a spat, not a disagreement.. however unintentional, sustained abuse.
So the question you are currently asking is really
" How can an abuser get back together with their victim, what sort of contact would work? Please step forward victims and tell me how you could be controlled"
If your child has estranged you, you should look long and hard at yourself, and if you can develop the self awareness to understand what you have done, enough to hear what you child has most likely told you over and over but you didn't hear, if you can do that...then you will know what to say.
My experience is that adults don't cut contact with a parent without very good reason; they are not a wilfull or tantrumming child. They are an adult who has made just one of many decisions about their life.
It's an 'unnatural' state; there are other family members to consider; we try and try and try to make things work with the parent; it can often take a very long time before cutting contact presents itself as a possibility; it's a hugely sad and heartbreaking position to find yourself in.
I've only met one other person in real life who has no contact with a parent. A very brief conversation, that revealed no specific details, illustrated a familiar scenario. Neither person had made the decision on a whim and I can't imagine any others would do either.
So I would say to any parent on the other end of this that they should respect another adults decision to live their life the way they choose. There will have been plenty of opportunities over the years to prevent the situation from getting that far; their adult offspring will have attemtped conversations about it; it will have been a decision fraught with sadness that this now seems the only way of managing the situation.
If the parent has ignored all efforts by another adult to prevent the breakdown of the relationship and the parent has ignored/rejected/ridiculed/abused/just failed to recognise or respect that effort, then I think the estranged parent has to just deal with it.
There will have been warning signs. Maybe not regarding the final incident, but maybe that was the straw that broke the camels back and, by that point, hostility and refusal to talk was a refection of "You know what? I'm done here".
Leave them alone.
Completely depends on the reason for the estrangement I think.
'Reconnecting' makes it sound as though it was an unconscious 'drifting'; a relationship that has become unintentionally distant through 'life getting in the way'.
An adult who has chosen not to have any contact with you does not wish to 'reconnect'. You haven't lost touch, you've been removed from their life.
The problem is that by forcing contact the parent would be continuing to ignore the wishes of the other adult.
I know many step families where the step child has NC because of the nasty nature of the step mum (this isn't a chance to bash step mum's, I've been one and it's hard), where a parent has flagged off their ex in front of their children, where words have been said in anger that can't be undone
What a judgemental paranoid statement. How to help an abuser get back in touch with their victim. So far off the mark, the parents concerned are caring people and have other children, happy and in close contact with their parents, who themselves are at a loss what to do. Forget I posted, I will not get an unbiased view.
Of course you won’t get an unbiased view. You asked for the views of people that are estranged!
Were the arguments beforehand? What have they actually said to you about it, even if you disagree with them?
If you genuinely don't know the reason then I guess you could start by asking what it is, apologizing and then committing to change?
But ime it's less 'don't know' and more 'don't agree with'.
And if you've merely dismissed what you've been told, likely repeatedly over many years, then the problem isn't about 'reconnecting'. The problem is that you feel it's appropriate to dismiss the reasons and refuse to agree that your child is deeply hurt by what's happened, and won't be returning to repeat the experience.
'There's none so deaf as those that will not hear' type of thing.
I'm sure you know which applies to your situation
Quelto, can you tell us something of the circumstances?
Of course this thread will attract some people who have cut off contact with their parents for understandable reasons, but it sounds as though the people you know are not in that position.
There are often arguments and rifts in families, but they are often healed. As a past poster said, so much depends on the circumstances.
A decision to go NC with a parent, is not a decision that would be taken lightly. Surely it should be down to the adult son/daughter to make contact?
Of course you won't get an unbiased view Quelto4. You will get posters' direct experiences and understanding. Those written here are very clearly articulated. What's the expression? None so blind who will not see. None so deaf who will not hear.
OP, a child by nature loves their parents, even when parents do wrong, it'd have to be something pretty bad to go no contact with a parent. If it's not you that this is about, how can you really know what has been going on behind closed doors.
My advice is to write a letter, send love and wish them well whatever they decide, then leave it at that.
I know one child who went NC with a parent when going through a tricky period in their life. I think there was underlying resentment/upset about the parents divorcing - and the mother carried the can for that (rightly or wrongly). Child entered a relationship and then married a very controlling person who had a deep animosity towards child's birth family. Contact with mother ceased.
The mother was in contact with the other children and let it be known that the door was always open. When the child resumed contact - after the break-up of child's marriage - there was not recrimination/heavy questioning.
It's not always the case that abuse (emotional/psychological/physical) at the bottom of a child going NC. I agree that it is often the case but it is not always the case.
To answer your question OP, I would think that the parent would need to apologise for whatever the parent has done / failed to do that has led to the estrangement.
The apology would need to be one-sided and the parent should not expect the child to be grateful.
If the child accepts the apology, the parent could then ask the child if a brand new parent/child relationship could be formed.
My father apologised to me almost 15 years ago.
We now have a distant, cool but no longer estranged relationship and we do not discuss anything that occurred prior to the new relationship. That was the only way that I could move forward from the past.
Maybe your reaction here is something to look at. Someone said something you dislike and you got very defensive and stormed off.
Perhaps you are not really ready to hear what your estranged child had to say.
Relationship and personalities are complicated. There may be a stable relationship with several family members but one feels the relationship doesn't work.
The only way to really mend it is be able to listen and absorb what is being said
Very balanced and sensible post from thecatfromJapan
I don't believe parents are always at fault: after all, these narcissistic parents who struggle with human relationships are somebody's child too and may well struggle with that relationship too.
We can't possibly know who is at fault here: the parent, the child, or both.
But there is only one path forward.
If you were at fault you need to be prepared to listen and apologise.
If you were not at fault you need to let it be known that your door is always open and there will be no recriminations. Unconditional love. But you also need to respect the adult child's decision and not force a reconnection: that is never going to end well. Just let it be known you are there.
In my situation it was not one situation but many over the years that drove me to no contact and yes both my parents willbe met with hostility from me. I won’t be rude but it will just be a no. I have given them chances after going nc but now I have children will they hell get a chance to damage them.
Maybe just maybe in your situation something has gone very wrong and everything before it was genuinely a happy and fine family. Most people I know that go nc with family will say it had gone on for years and for their mh they took a step back.
Well, OP, your last post implied that you were not the parent. Maybe you are and are attempting to depersonalise the thread a little, which is fair enough. Maybe you're not and are genuinely concerned about a friend.
What I would say to you is this.
If it is the former, I agree that your reaction to hearing a couple of things you didn't like, and feelings that were expressed very calmly, actually, indicates that you are someone who might not listen to something you do not want to hear. In which case, I suspect this is not the first time it has happened.
If the latter, then I would suggest that you stay out of other people's family affairs. You cannot possibly know what goes on behind closed doors.
I do know what my parent has told people about the reasons for me going NC (I know because one of them has challenged me on it and told me I was pathetic). I sound like a shallow snob. It couldn't be further from the truth. But the law prevents me from telling people the truth so, for now, in the eyes of my mother's friends, my Godparents, older adults I looked up to through my childhood, that is what I am.
My parent's version sounds very convincing and there are certainly enough basic 'facts' to 'support' it, but they are circumstantial and not the reason.
You absolutely cannot take other siblings being in touch with their parents as any kind of "evidence" for the parents
Here's two reasons for you:
- look up scapegoat child, not all children have the same experience of their children
- look up FOG, done adult children are more successful than others at breaking away
I'm estranged, or was - actually currently v v low contact - Xmas & birthday phone call.
I am one of 6 but I'll just comment on 3 just to limit outing.
- me, estranged
- sister 1, very close to them, gets on brilliantly, is astounded at how differently I have been treated and fully accepts that we didn't have the same childhood experience. She had lots of happy times with mother - but she's older and she remembers that I didn't have them (e.g. Mum spending hours baking with her). Was shocked at how mother spoke to me at one incident all of her own making. Key thing - mum's MH deteriorated between her birth and mine.
- sister 2, seemingly very close. Lives at home and is effectively a carer now. Parents' friend, neighbours, other family don't see the ugly side where she's sobbing on my sofa late at night about incidents 30 years ago where she was treated terribly but can't resolve them as parents will never admit to doing the wrong thing.
From the outside, you'd say "must be Ellis's fault cos the other 2 girls are close to their parents"
His look at your reactions for a start, your reply is a huge over reaction. If you want impersonal replies, pay for therapy. Don’t seek advice from those of us damaged enough to have gone through this with their own parents.
My brother's only in touch with my parents when he wants something. That's because he is in a drug addict and full-blown narcissist. The abuser is not always the parent.
My DM would say the rift in our relationship is all my fault, and no doubt moans to her friends how difficult I am.
My side of the story is that my elder brother, her favourites, abused me throughout my childhood, while she called me a liar and said I was making it up.
Fixing it would require her admitting she was wrong, apologising, and cutting contact with him. That is never going to happen.
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now »
Already registered? Log in with:
Please login first.