human interaction, orphan problems, personal

10 Things Estranged Adult Children Are Tired of Hearing

June 23, 2015

orphan survival guide - social media - 10 things estranged adult children are tired of hearing

Following a particularly awkward Father’s Day on social media which culminated in lots of Glee feels and multiple people blocked on Facebook, a lot of acquaintances learned about my relationship with my biological family.

The short version is: we have no relationship.

The longer version will be detailed in a series next week about how to run away from home.

There are a lot of misconceptions about estranged adult children, which means that the second you tell someone you have no contact with your parents, you need to be prepared for awkward questions and nagging–especially from other parents. Other parents are The Worst. They get crazy-defensive because your existence reminds them that they ultimately have no control or power over their own children, and that is terrifying to them.

For the most part, though, you get a lot of uncomfortable silences and pitying glances, because suddenly your Issues are so much more than someone initially assumed. You might even become Inspiration Porn. Then there are the people who think that you’re exaggerating or selfish–or blame you for the estrangement–because family is family

And don’t even think about mentioning it on your dating profile or on a date, because then you’re branded with Daddy Issues.

It’s an uncomfortable and stigma-ridden conversation, and even if you try to turn it into a joke (my family’s sooo crazy!) people will inevitably treat you differently for it. So here are the top 10 things estranged adult children are sick and tired of hearing, courtesy of Burt Hummel, your TV replacement dad:

1. But why?

burt_weird

If I never had to explain my childhood to a judgmental stranger ever again, it would still be too soon. Sometimes I prefer to say my parents are dead so I can avoid this conversation, because even if I do give a reason, it’s usually not good enough because:

2. Maybe you were just a difficult child.

burt_meh

Yeah, or maybe I was just too smart to be manipulated and gaslighted anymore.

3. Okay, so they weren’t perfect. But they can’t be that bad.

burt_honest

Of course, stranger who has never met my family or interacted with me as a child, you would know exactly what qualifies parents as bad enough.

Sit down, let me serve you a hot dish of TMI for the next hour…

4. How would you feel if your child did that to you?

burt_down

I don’t plan on making the same mistakes my parents did–namely, I’m not having children–but if I had a child that wanted out of my life, I’d think long and hard about why 

Estrangement doesn’t happen overnight, or over a single interaction. It’s a process, with plenty of opportunities for fixing the problem before it escalates to full no-contact.

If my child decides to live a life without me in it, that’s their choice.

5. It’s been so long. Don’t you miss them? Won’t you regret this later?

burt_notouch

Why would I regret creating a life and family for myself rather than being tied down to one I don’t want and that never wanted me?

6. But they’re your family.

burt_opinion

Being a parent is a choice, and so is being someone’s child. A child is not property. They do not owe you anything.

Family should not be about obligation.

7. Think about their feelings.

burt_sowhat

During a fight, my biological father told me I was almost aborted. Sooo, I’m basically giving him what he always wanted, right?

8. What will you do when they die?

burt_alot

Probably the same things I’m doing now.

Estranged Adult Child Bonus: I won’t be responsible for my parents’ debt and poor life choices.

9. My parents are crazy too! I wish I could just cut them off!

burt_awesome

You can cut off contact with them at any point, if you want. 

If you haven’t already, then they can’t be that bad, amirite?

10. I’m sorry.

burt_struggle

Once I’ve made it clear this wasn’t an arbitrary, spur-of-the-moment decision to spite my parents, people go from defensive to pitying.

But I’m not sorry. And I don’t want random strangers to be sorry either.

This experience has made my life more difficult, sure, but staying in contact with my parents would have made it worse. I’m a better, stronger person now than I was ten years ago. There are things in my life that are hard, but overall it’s pretty awesome, and I’m capable of making good decisions for myself. That never would have happened if I lived with the specter of my childhood clouding every facet of my life.

Being parent-free is the right thing for me.

burt_seeit

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18 Comments

  • Reply nun yo March 4, 2016 at 2:57 PM

    The thing I usually hear is that I am going to regret it. Well, maybe but I can assure anybody that I would regret the pain, insult, cruelty, and gaslighting of having a relationship far more. In fact, what I really regret is that I did not run away from home as a child rather than live with the character assassination and neglect that I did as it severely damaged my beliefs about myself for many years into adulthood. But a child blames themselves for being unlovable so how could I see what my parent was doing to me? But as an adult, when I saw it, I did the healthy thing and removed myself from the abuse. So to ask me if I won’t regret saving myself from that is pretty ridiculous.

    • Reply anonymous March 6, 2016 at 12:48 PM

      isn’t it insane when you just look back into how much hesitation you had at making the decision, how difficult it was to look into a future where leaving is good, FINALLY taking up the courage to do it… then looking back and thinking: “Why the hell did I hesitate, this was clearly the right choice”

      you know, that transition… once you finally just get to the other side of it, you’re like: “wow, that was NOT healthy. THIS is healthy”

      I hope I’m making sense

  • Reply anonymous March 6, 2016 at 12:42 PM

    This is crazy, I thought I was the only one estranged from my parents.
    I thought I was gonna like spend the rest of my live alone and misunderstood. This is brilliant.
    How stupid of me…

    this really hits home

  • Reply Glad I'm not alone April 1, 2016 at 1:21 PM

    I am estranged from my father, too. My mother is dead. Unfortunately, I have also distanced myself from all the rest of our family and friends in order to maintain the distance from my father. It is hard enough, without other people’s judgements. It is hard to let others get close, because that means eventually they find out about the situation, and then start casting judgements and trying to convince me I’m wrong and I have to justify myself all over again, when it’s not their business, and it is re-traumatizing to have to discuss personal matters with them and be on trial, on top of the ordinary stress/guilt/confusion I can feel sometimes, and which I know I will always have. I hope this doesn’t turn me into a hermit. I have noticed it tends to be people of the generation older than me that do this. By my own choice and desire, I am a devout Christian, so I also navigate how to honor my father rather than dishonor him, and what that means in the context of estrangement. Right now, I think that estrangement is the only thing that might force him (eventually, if ever) to view himself differently, seek therapy, find God, and change into a person with whom I can have a safe relationship without feeling like every meeting is a battle, without having to always be suspicious of stealth attacks. Without him poisoning my marriage, my new shot at happiness, and any possible children I might have, with his manipulation, his out-of-control behavior, and his disturbing perversity. The toxic, negative thoughts and feelings he has about me exist whether I am in contact with him or not, that much I already know from experience. I found a really interesting personal website about this if you ever want to check it out – I’ve been reading it all morning and it has helped: http://www.issendai.com/psychology/estrangement/

  • Reply luvtheheaven June 21, 2016 at 7:48 AM

    Just wrote a new blog post about some of these feels. https://luvtheheaven.wordpress.com/2016/06/20/gaslighting-love/ XD Already had written a lot: https://luvtheheaven.wordpress.com/2015/05/14/figuring-out-my-mother-was-an-abuser-part-1-of-3/ of other stuff about it too. I’m lucky enough to still want one of my parents in my life, so that means people don’t judge me in quite the same way as if I’d cut out both of them, but I respect, especially after reading tons of stuff on the Out of the Fog Forum and the Raised by Narcissists subreddit, that many people have had it even worse than me and have super valid reasons for cutting both of their parents out of their lives. 😛 This post made me really happy to read, because as a Glee fan um, all these Burt gifs were 100% SPOT ON and hilariously perfect and just… yeah. Almost all of this I relate to, in one way or another.

    Also “Glad I’m not alone” commented with a link to issendai.com’s posts about estrangement and may I just say YES wow definitely read that. I highly recommend it.

  • Reply Anonymous July 7, 2016 at 1:35 AM

    Not all estrangements are a products of abuse or injury by ones parents. We did everything possible for our children, that was our mistake. Even after their marriage, we allowed them to live, as a couple, in a home we owned. They paid rent based on ability to pay. We covered all other expenses including utilities.
    Now She says we don’t support her. Well we did. Emotionally, financially, put a roof over their heads and furnished the home. We supported her marriage by giving them a wedding. When she her wedding dress arrived she cried and said she hated it, so we got her a custom gown. When she asked to move in after they were married, we welcomed the into our home. Later giving them the option to live there as a couple. They accepted and lived there for years.

    We supported her college education, flew her and her husband on vacations, and even supported his career.
    She asked for us to sell our home and relocate her 2700 miles away, we accommodated her wishes. Sold the home and relocated them, then said we forced her to do so.
    Recognizing our mistake was crucial in accepting her decision. Our mistake was enabling our children. It’s a sad and difficult process to accept that your child isn’t willing to engage unless they need something from you. Just as there are difficult, abusive parents, adult children can be so too. We don’t interfere with her life. We don’t speak ill of them. We also don’t want to be emotional dart boards either. We miss and love her, but know this is for the best.

    • Reply Cordelia August 12, 2016 at 3:54 PM

      Then this blog is not for you.

    • Reply unagargantacerrada August 26, 2016 at 7:56 AM

      So the mistake that you are “owning” is that it’s your childs’ fault. Hmmm. I see a certain pattern.

    • Reply kikified October 30, 2016 at 4:06 PM

      Uhm, this blog is probably not meant for you. It sounds like your daughter has some sort of disorder that probably should have been treated a long time ago- and spoiling her rotten probably didn’t help- like most people only dream of that kind of stuff.

      I never expected my parents to pay any of my college- I stumbled into a scholarship after much prayer (and a few thousand dollars debt for the college I’d already paid for). Then my mother emotionally manipulated me by telling me I’d be emotionally traumatizing my younger sisters and abandoning the family. Then she made me promise not to see if my credits would transfer and used Christianity against me like only a true crazy person would. My credits did not transfer, I lost my scholarship and fell into deep depression. Before we moved, I had offered to pay rent many times as I was making about $400 weekly and had my own room but my parents always refused because I spent so much money on my younger sisters and brothers. Once we moved and I was crying myself to sleep every night on a couch since we moved to a house with less bedrooms, my mom constantly harassed me for rent even though I was making less than $400 every two weeks and barely that. Then both my parents harassed and would say things like they liked me better before we moved and encourage my siblings to say these things to me. Then to boot, they would say that I could have stayed behind- they would have helped me– after they had already clearly expressed they would NOT. Then my mother told me I should just go back and get that scholarship again as if scholarships just WAIT around for people.

      Finally at my breaking point after several years of this and trying to move out only to be yelled and screamed at by mother for trying to abandon her (as if I were some husband and as if she didn’t have one!). I finally left became more depressed finally tried to connect with my parents and express some of the suicidal thoughts I’d been having (for years even prior to the move but they worsened severely after). Their response was that it had been such a distraction from work and what would I have done for them if I had caused them to lose their jobs. So I didn’t speak to them for almost two years. And not ONE time in those two years did either one of them even TRY to contact me, not once. I really could have been dead and they wouldn’t have known. But I’m sure they always play the poor rejected parents at church, a place I will never go to again because of them. We only speak now because I reached out to them- I called them. Because I missed having a relationship with my siblings and, of course, once I cut my parents out, my siblings were no longer allowed to contact me.

      My father was in the military and we moved many times even half way through my senior year of high school and that was tough- but my mom had promised up and down it would be the last move, we would settle and I could finish college. And more promises and more promises, none ever kept. It’s like I’m not really a human to them, just some play thing for the family to help out like that’s my reason for being. And, you know, I was never upset about any of those other moves just when it affected my entire future and financial well-being. The worst part isn’t even that it happened. The worst part is my parents literally do not care. They’ve said as much so many times and instead of support when depressed just constantly putting me down. I’ve developed clinical depression, diagnosed from three different therapists and take meds for it. I’ve always had OCD and anxiety, something my mother never allowed me to get help for. I was finally able to get help for it.

      Now I just have some weird quasi relationship with my parents that triggers my depressive episodes every time I speak with them.

      Anyway, I say all this to say that clearly not every parent is at fault but neither is every estranged adult “child.” I mean my parents have only paid for one thing and that was a $5,000 used car they put on credit and later tried to blame me for being over $75,000 in credit card debt because they bought me a car (that I had to make monthly payments to them on, how twisted is that). Some of us actually have a GOOD reason not to be in contact much or at all with our parents. Honestly, I don’t know what you or your husband were thinking, it’s really like you two caved in to her every desire. I don’t know, I’d be interested to hear her side but she sounds really a little far out there sorry to say. There’s quite a few blogs/forums out there for “rejected parents”– there’s actually a LOT more of those than these type of blogs.

      Sorry for typos.

  • Reply Missy August 12, 2016 at 3:19 PM

    I’m doing this to my adult children. They’re horrible. So there’s two sides. And leaving my money to strangers. And won’t have to pay for their weddings, gifts, trips, etc… And I’m not sorry because I was a great mother and they’re toxic. And no I’m not responsible for their behavior antmore than they’re responsible for mine. That’s 100% them.

    • Reply Cordelia August 12, 2016 at 3:52 PM

      Then this blog is not for you.

  • Reply cindy holm September 27, 2016 at 3:44 PM

    My mother was and is severely mentally ill. She had a cruel mouth, she was physically abusive, she chose a man over me, had kids with him & I had to watch them get treated like special little snowflakes. She would say things to make me cry then mimic me and laugh. What kind of mother does these things? Also, she slept with my high school boyfriend. That was the straw that broke the camel’s back for me. Getting away from her 25 years ago was the best decision I have ever made. I do not want to see her face ever again.

  • Reply C September 27, 2016 at 5:35 PM

    My entire childhood was wasted on my mother’s foolishness and poor choices. I was saddled with an unwanted, abusive stepfather & unwanted half siblings. She made it painfully clear every day that I was the least important person in her life. I spent my childhood feeling bad about myself every single day. I can never get that time back and I hate her for it.

  • Reply TS January 12, 2017 at 10:31 AM

    Sometimes estrangement best. All my efforts to please her were met with distain.  I was never good enough for her.  She acted like I embarrassed her.  Her constant rejection was damaging to me ego.  I think she even felt a little bad about being mean to me, so she usually tried to keep me as separated as possible.  She wouldn’t tell me things, lied, and kept secrets, which made me feel like she thought I was an idiot as well as she was rejecting me.  But whenever she needed me, she’d put on an act and tell me I was the best just so I would do what she wanted me to do.  Our relationship was always all about her.  She would keep me around when it pleased her, and ignore or reject me when it suited her.    I’ve tried my best to have a relationship with her, but she won’t  speak to me about our issues.  It hurts, but I’m not up to more mental abuse.

  • Reply ......... March 7, 2017 at 9:53 AM

    I am thinking of breaking contact with my family, the only thing keeping me from doing to
    is that i still live with them and don’t have a stable income to move out.

    Any tips?

  • Reply Anonymous March 23, 2017 at 10:07 PM

    I wished that I never let my relationship with my parents go. Though they r both long deceased many years now. Looking back all our issues were meaningless when you realize your family is gone forever. Noone will ever know u or witness ur life like them ever again. I regret my impulsive choices and would give anything to speak to my parents and tell them about their beautiful grandchildren,my babies,who I named in honor of them. I never got a chance to make peace with them. Try not to burn ur bridges. I’ve been there, it’s ultimately not worth it. Regret is a heavy burden to bear.My mom would laugh at this,but she was right about many things. It’s taken me my whole life to say that. I wish I would have listened to them maybe my life wouldn’t have been so hard

    • Reply luvtheheaven March 24, 2017 at 7:06 AM

      Hey Anonymous. Did you even read #s 3, 5, 6, 8… Even 9? This is not the right post for that comment. Write your own blog post if you want to talk about your regrets of you can’t find a similar blog post to comment on but this one telling a person they’re gonna regret their choice is extremely tone-deaf, self centered, rude, and unnecessary. Just because you think your mom was right about many things doesn’t mean all moms are like yours was. Many parents are not worth having in your life. I can promise you we aren’t naming children after these abusive, horrible people. In fact, I’m more likely to be triggered by my mom’s first name and would prefer to never hear it again.

      • Reply Maja May 10, 2017 at 2:12 PM

        I keep reminding myself that having regrets in these matters where we are not at fault are only for people who have an exact knowledge of the alternative timeline where we aren’t estranged; ergo nobody. I have replayed everything in my mind several times to see whether I could have done something different so that my parents wouldn’t have broken into my home, changed the locks, kept my belongings hostage while I was away house-hunting to get away from the toxic family estate.

        Ultimately it was my parents’ choice to bring me and my younger brother into this world, not mine.

        If anyone should feel regret, it is most often the parents. They are much closer to assume the blame, because they made the active choice to bring a child into this world and the parents are always responsible and in charge of the entire life of the child until they are of legal age. As the years pass, it is easy to forget the immense pain that lead to the break. It is good, but it mustn’t ever betray us into thinking we should regret our choice.

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