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  1. If you won't be seeing/contacting one (or more) of your AC (adult children) and/or GC (grandchildren) during the holidays, how do you cope? Ignore the holiday/act as if it's "just another day?" Celebrate alone (light those candles or put up that tree)? Get together w/ friends or other family? Travel somewhere you've always wanted to go? Volunteer? Or??
  2. Reading both here and around the Internet, I've noticed a few lines in the sand between some ac/cil and some parents/PIL regarding difficult relations or estrangement between them. One of them regards the role, if any, of the DIL (or SIL) in the tensions/estrangement between the parent and their DS (or DD). Often, for example, posters here and elsewhere will caution an unhappy/estranged mom/MIL/GM not to  put much/any blame for such a problem on their DIL (or SIL, etc.), but rather to focus on repairing their relationship w/ DS (or DD). However, on some boards, especially, estranged parent/EGP boards, I see the opposite. Often members there will advise a newcomer that a "3rd party" is very likely behind their issues w/ their AC (some of them say this is "always" the case.)  - and that this 3rd party is the CIL. (Some suggest blaming the CIL's mom/parents, as well.). In fact, they generally caution the new member not to put too much blame on their AC, but rather to take as a given that their CIL (or their CIL's mom) is causing the problem. Why the sharp difference, do you think? And could it be that both views are a little bit right and a little bit wrong?
  3. If you're CO (cut off) from a family member/IL (or family members/ILs), are their moments when you find yourself missing them? Or, conversely, remembering the unhappy experiences that led up to the estrangement? Are there certain places, songs, videos, dates, etc. that trigger these (good or bad) memories?
  4. Recently, on and EP/EGP board, I read an interesting complaint by a GM (grandmother) who felt she was on the verge of being CO (cut off) by her DS and DIL. Among other things, she lamented the fact that the "other GM"/the MGM (maternal grandmother) refused to stand up for her. She felt this was b/c the MGM was benefiting from her (the PGM's/poster's) strained relationship and would benefit even more if she became fully estranged. Her argument was that the more she was distanced, the more time MGM would get w/ the GC and the more chance she would have to be the "#! GM." She believed - and several other EGPs agreed with her - that the GPs on one side of the family often favor and even encourage the estrangement of those on the other. Thoughts?
  5. Are you estranged from your AC (adult children) and/or CIL (children-in-law)? Or do you have a strained relationship w/ them? Conversely, are you estranged or do you have a strained relationship w/ your parents/PILs (parents-in-law)? Either way, how does that impact the GP/GC relationship, if at all?
  6. In the event that parents and GPs become CO (cut off0,  some parents won't even send the EGPs any pics of their GC and block them from seeing any on FB (Facebook), etc. Some EGPs. apparently, yearn for "just a photo or 2," but others find it more painful to see a picture of their GC than not. What's the deal w/ photos and estrangement?
  7. Another issue I came across on other sites, while this community was shut down, was that of what I think of as "fear of reconciliation." We've talked here before about how, say, parents and their AC might reconcile and how difficult it might be in some circumstances. But what struck me as I was reading EP threads, elsewhere was the fact that some COd GPs voiced uncertainty as to whether or not they would be willing to reconcile if their AC held out an olive branch. Not even, in some cases, if there were GC involved. Many of them said they would "never trust" their AC not to cut them off again and were afraid of possibly going through the same painful experience once more. It seemed to be especially true of those who had been CO for a long time (say, 2 years or more), had, more or less, adjusted to the situation and were reluctant to have to adjust all over again. In one or two such threads,  there were posters who said they were shut out again, after having been reconciled for a year or two, etc. And others, besides being sympathetic, also indicated they feared the same could happen to them, if they reconnected w/ their loved ones.   How about you? If you're/have ever been CO from someone, whether you were the COer or the COee, would you be/were you eager or hesitant to reconcile? Or even if you've, happily, never been in this situation, how do you think you would feel?  
  8. Do you send Christmas (or Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and/or New Year's) greetings to otherwise estranged AC (adult children) and their families - or CO (cut off) parents/PILs - via card or FB (facebook), etc? Or "just" the GC (grandchildren)? Why or why not? Or perhaps your estranged relatives/ILs send greetings to you at this time of year, despite the CO? If so, why do you think that is? And how do you respond?
  9. With a number of holidays coming up in the next couple of months - Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa - I'm wondering this... If, unfortunately, you have a strained relationship w/ your adults son/daughter and family, do you see or hear from/contact them on any of these holidays? Or are you totally estranged even then? Same questions if you have a strained relationship w/ your parents/PILs or any other family members/ILs.
  10. I was reading, recently, about a SM (stepmom) whose SS and family are estranged from her and her DH. She says that b/c of ESS, her SD is now becoming estranged from them, too. For example, SD now excludes them from bday parties for her kids, etc. where ESS and his family will be present. Also, she says, b/c of this, her own DD is also excluded from many events and now, in anger, DD has unfriended SD and ESS on FB, etc. So the way she sees it, the issues w/ ESS are tearing their extended/blended family apart. Now I'm wondering, if you're CO from a family member/IL, has it impacted other family/IL relationships? And if so, how? Or if you know some others who are estranged, how does it seem to have affected other relationships in their family, if at all?
  11. If you're in a TO (time out) or CO (cutoff) situation w/ any relative(s)/ILs, are you thinking of trying to reach out to them this year? Or, if you are seriously missing them, will you try to fill the void w/ by spending more time w/ other relatives and friends and/or activities of other kinds? Also, if you are an estranged GP, are you considering/continuing a court case in the hopes of gaining visitation w/ your GC?  And, in any event, are you seeking/do you plan to seek counseling/therapy to help you cope? 
  12. If you're a GP estranged from your AC (adult child) and family, do they reach out to you on major holidays such as, Easter or Passover? If so, what's your response, if any? Or do you try to contact them,  in any way, at these times? And if so, how do they react, if at all?   Or if you're a "younger" parent and you and yours are estranged from your kids GPs/your parents or PILs - same questions, turned the other way.   Please feel free to reply, also, if you are estranged from any other relative or IL or if you simply have an opinion on the topic...
  13. Validation

    I had an interesting conversation with a relative today that has left me with a variety of emotions.   The relative (with spouse present) asked me if there had been any change in status regarding the ongoing estrangement between DH and his parents and I told them "No".  They asked if I'd ever thought about getting involved and I explained how I used to try to sort out miscommunications between both sides but I found the finger pointing back and forth between DH and his parents to be too stressful for me and it made finding a solution impossible so I gave up.   The relative revealed to me that they had a conversation with my ILs at my wedding reception wherein they were talking about the things they did for enjoyment and the ILs revealed that they did not have a lot of friends or people they did things with because MIL's mouth get's her into trouble.  The spouse of the relative giving me this information was present during our conversation and spoke up saying they also recalled that conversation with ILs during my reception.  Eureka!   While it's no surprise that my MIL has a verbal diarrhea problem (my DH and I have laughed about it frequently and DH's friends are aware of his mother's problem), I had no idea that members of my FOO were aware of it.  Well, to be honest, I suspected members of my FOO avoided my ILs because of it, but I didn't know they had confirmation from the horse's mouth.   Now, I'm wishing I had been a fly on the wall during this conversation.  I wonder if I would have been more cautious of allowing my ILs so much time in my house and around my kids. Lots of emotions I'm feeling after getting this information.  Mostly confusion for me.  I can't understand how ILs were so willing to admit this to people they hardly know, but can't seem to admit it to us and do something about it.   Has anyone else ever had something like this happen?  How did you handle it?
  14. While the community was shut down, I spent some time reading more on other sites and forums. Some of them were for estranged parents/GPs. In one thread that caught my attention, the EPs/GPs were talking about the "constant reminders" that pop up to invade their headspace and make them think about their estranged loved ones, etc. A song, a restaurant, a date on the calendar (maybe an AC's or GC's bday, etc.) Apparently, any number of factors can set off painful memories. So now I'm wondering, whether you' have COd someone or had someone CO you - does anything ever trigger vivid memories of that person? How about if you're merely in a TO w/ that person?
  15. Gifting Estranged Grandchildren

    Sometimes, posters here advise an EP (estranged parent) against sending cards and/or gifts to their EAC's  b/c they likely won't be given to the kids and will just further irritate the parents. Also, some parents explain that they lengthen the duration of a TO every time they/their kids receive a card/gift.   But recently, on another site, I saw where some EPs were agreeing w/ each other that it's good to send cards/gifts, whether to the AC or GC, in an effort to "keep the door open." Also, to show the GC their GPs were still thinking about them - that is, if the parents were to give the cards/gifts to the GC. In case not, some of the EPs/EGPs said they buy 2 of every card and save the duplicate to show their GC someday if GC ever decide to seek them out later on.   One GM also said that on bday and Christmas cards to the GC, she and her DH always write, "We'd like to take you to pick out a gift." That way, she reasoned, her GC would know they didn't just stop sending gifts. Even if the parents didn't show them the card, she explained, the GC would see these comments, eventually, if they ever saw the duplicates.   Thoughts?
  16. If you - or you and your spouse/SO - are w/o your AC (adult child/ren) and GC (grandchild/ren) today (or other loved ones), due to estrangement - sending you warm wishes and (((hugs)))! Same if you expect to be w/o them on Christmas, Hanukkah or whichever of the December holidays you celebrate. I hope you have other family members or friends w/ which to share these special occasions. Or that you can travel or find yourself enjoying the time just relaxing at home w/ a good book, good TV, etc. Or that you find solace in working or volunteering.   ... Peace...
  17. What do you think are the best ways to reverse a TO (time out) between GPs and parents (or any other adult relatives/ILs)? The worst? What has worked for you, if anything, if you were ever in this situation? And/or what has just increased/prolonged the problem? As Janelle said in the GAS thread, what are the "do not pass go points," if any? Also, can a full-blown CO (cutoff) ever be undone? Or, quoting Janelle, "What can a person do (if anything) besides shut up and color forever?"
  18. After opening the GAS thread, I began to read more on the estranged parents' websites. One factor that caught my attention was that a few parents said their AC seem to put out feelers (my expression) from time to time. For example, all of a sudden, after months of radio silence, they'll get a text wishing them a "Happy Birthday" or whatever. Or, though generally blocked from their AC's FB pics, etc., suddenly, a photo of their AC or GC will come across their Newsfeed (not sent by someone else). Usually, such parents seemed to be torn between thinking that their AC might be holding out an olive branch (my words, again) or just "teasing"/"trying to hurt" them (words I saw used by said parents).   What also struck me was that in every instance, the parents decided not to try to reach out and see if they got a further response or if their AC wanted to try to heal the rift. After months/years of, apparently, yearning for contact w/ their AC and GC, they decided to ignore the possible olive branch. Not sure if this is due to anger, uncertainty, or just the fact that they've adjusted to things as they are and don't want to try again (maybe just to get hurt).    What do you think? Is it possible that the AC in these cases are reaching out? Or would they do it more directly and obviously if they really were interested? And should the parents take a chance on responding to these possible feelers? What would you do?
  19. GP.com recently reprinted the article, "Why Some Grown Kids Cut Off Their Parents": http://www.grandparents.com/family-and-relationships/family-matters/estranged-children   As you'll see I had some trouble posting a response, but part of it came through - several times, lol! - and my full reply is on the 2nd page! Hopefully, GP.com will fix this.   Meanwhile, if you read/have read the article, you'll see that, contrary to the explanations usually given on these boards, the writer suggests that many AC, today, CO their parents, b/c of narcissism (ok, we've heard that here, sometimes). And that this narcissism is due to the fact that we boomers focused too much on building our kids' self esteem when they were growing up. But I'm wondering, could it be that, instead, many of us have raised strong individuals less willing to take some of the offenses that we might have taken years ago? Is it, perhaps, that we need to approach our AC differently than some - many (?) - of our parents approached us? Or is self esteem not even a factor?   Thoughts?
  20. I've had a bit more time recently to visit this site and catch up.  My problems seem small compared to many on this panel, but I'd like to share a personal burden in the hope that someone may have advice or suggestions on how to deal with a painful 3-year estrangement initiated by my oldest son.   Like all families, we've experienced difficult times.  One of the most painful was divorce while my oldest son was in college.  Moving forward, I remarried and eventually, our lives settled into comfortable relationships for all concerned.  2nd and 3rd sons married and had children and we had four grandchildren within a matter of a couple of years, we enjoyed a lot of family time and established family traditions that included all sons, DILs and GKs.  Often the 4 GKs would spend a weekend and our bond was/is deep.  ODS finally agreed to have a child with DIL (who desperately wanted a child), which brought our GK count to 5.  We were often accused of favoring the older grandchildren because we did so much with them, but our DYG was too young to go where her much older cousins could go.  When we asked if she could stay over with her cousins, we were refused because there were too many kids.  When we asked to keep only her, she was always staying with DIL's parents or they had plans.  Very occasionally we were asked to take care of her if DIL's parents were not available.  Our time together was precious.....still is.   We retired early - my husband was 58 (I'm a few years older).  His occupation was dangerous.....several friends were severely injured on the job.  We didn't require an elaborate life-style but wanted to be in a mild climate with a cost of living we could afford.  We decided to move to a location where we'd vacationed for years - about 450 miles from our families.  We told our kids of our decision more than a year before retirement and putting our house up for sale.  Two of our sons strongly objected and said they'd never visit us.  ODS was upset that his daughter (3-yrs old at the time)  wouldn't get to experience the traditions her cousins had enjoyed.  I told him it wasn't our decision that determined when he and DIL decided to become parents, but we were ready to retire.   We promised we'd return for each birthday and all of the holidays.  By then, each grandchild (even our youngest) was heavily involved in sports, dance, piano lessons...we practically had to make an appointment to see them!  Still not happy, but resigned to our decision, we enjoyed frequent visits and sometime stayed two or three nights with ODS, DIL and DGD.  They asked us to stay as often as possible because our DGD enjoyed our time together so much.    3 years ago, DH and I decided it would be important to make a change to our will.  Our ODS had been our personal representative/executor because he has an accounting degree, and because....he's the oldest son.  Since he continued to insist he'd never come to visit us, under the advice of our attorney we learned it would be essential to name another PR and decided that since our YDS was the only son familiar with our home and area, we'd name him as the new PR.  I called ODS to explain our decision and his response was "That's it....I don't want anything to do with you or see you ever again".  I actually thought he was joking.  We'd always been very close.  I made it clear that nothing in the will was changed, but we had to have someone willing to come to our state to take care of our affairs should something happen to both DH and myself simultaneously.  The PR would receive no compensation, and it is actually a PIB (there's a new acronym...."pain in the butt") to be a PR,,,,I knew, since I was the PR for my mom.  DS repeated that he wanted nothing to do with me, but he'd never prevent us from seeing our DGD.  Shock...absolute shock.  That was almost 3 years ago and he hasn't willingly spoken to me since.  The first few months I called, e-mailed, wrote letters.  Cried a lot.  Now I send a card for his birthday each year with a brief note to say I love him and if he ever needs me, I'll be there.  Last Christmas, while returning our DGD home, I went downstairs where he was playing video games and just stood in front of him.  I said, "I love you".  He said, "I love you, Mom".  I asked for a hug and he gave me a warm loving hug.  Since then...nothing.  In hindsight, I think I should have discussed the change in our will beforehand, but I really didn't think it would matter.  Obviously that was just the proverbial "straw", but he is not willing to work through whatever caused this break.   Where do I go from here?    
  21. Help Talking to Our Son

        Merry Christmas !  While it's sad that I'm on this site Christmas morning, the up side is I'm so glad I found this Community!!   Our son is caught between his ex-wife and his current wife, both of whom have childhood issues with men, and the insatiable need to punish him, & us, at every opportunity.  It's a constant drama of lying, manipulation, web weaving and walking on eggs.   It really doesn’t matter what we do, don’t do, say or don’t say, it’s wrong.   Our son has now turned against us and we are not allowed in his life or our grandchildren's lives. Our son hasn’t come out and said we aren’t allowed in his life;  his posts on FB, texts, and e-mails skirt around the issue, but we  know we aren’t welcome.   The times we have been allowed to visit this year have been very demeaning.  We were relegated to sitting in the car and not allowed to go in their house until our son got home.  We were invited to only one family occasion, and no one spoke to us. We were not invited to any other family occasions, and were told "we didn't do anything".  Of course, when we lie, we have to cover all our tracks. They didn't and we found out.  Which may have been on purpose.   Have we made mistakes? Of course, we have-we’re human.  Have they made mistakes. Ditto-but they say "No".   There are 3 sides to this story.  Ours. Theirs. And somewhere in between, The Truth.    We have repeatedly asked to have the opportunity to sit down and try to work through this problem, but that hasn't happened.  Our DIL has a Masters in Psychology, so we are surprised that she doesn't want to communicate. However, I suppose DNA trumps a Master’s Degree.    She is following a pattern in her family:  If someone makes them mad or sad, they just wipe that person out of their lives for decades.  She did say to our son, “I don’t know how long it will be before I speak to your parents again.”   Our ex-daughter-in-law is in a new relationship, but she just continues to "dig in" about our son any chance she gets.  She just can't let go of her revenge.   I need closure …or maybe I just need to have the last word…I don’t know.  I want to write a letter to my son acknowledging all the things he’s said about us,  and let him know that we understand our presence makes his life stressful and we won’t put him in the middle by asking to be a part of his life, or our new grandsons/step granddaughter’s lives anymore.  But, I also want to let him know that we love him and our hearts and our home is always open to him and his family.  Experience tells me as I stated above:  No matter what we say, it will be wrong.  Should I write or should I just let this go & hope someday it will all work out.  Any suggestions are appreciated.  Thank you!!