Discussion Topic

When Is It Time To Sever Ties With Adult Children?

Posted on 05/04/11, 11:06 pm
I am very happy to have found this website but it is with a heavy heart that I happened upon it. I raised my children to the best of my ability and gave them all the love I had to give them. My parents lived next door throughout their childhood and gave them so much love and affection. Their father is an alcoholic who never got past his Peter Pan syndrome. We divorced when my youngest child was 10. Their father was not physically abusive but rather never involved with them. He abandoned them when we divorced. I have asked myself if enough pain has been endured to justify estranging myself from my two adult children. My children are 18 and 24. I am convinced after much family counseling with them that they are both sociopathic personalities. Since early childhood my son has been difficult and constantly in trouble with authority figures. He has always had an explosive temper along with all the other symptoms of a sociopathic personality. Needless to say counseling at an early age never helped. During the course of the past 10 years we have been through rehab for drug addiction numerous times to the point of me filing bankruptcy. He has been in jail several times and has no qualms whatsoever about committing a crime-he always can justify it in his mind. My daughter went as far as to poison a bottle of water when she was angry at me. Involving law enforcement, unending family counseling, nor all the other programs available have not helped. In the past they have both stolen from me without remorse. They lie, deceive, manipulate, curse scream rant and rave when it suits their mood. As children the counselors did not want to label them with a mental illness but rather suggested more counseling all to no avail. Five years ago I met a wonderful man who has stuck with me regardless of the torment and chaos these two children have put us both through. My son is so furious with me that I refuse to let him move back into the home. We tried that and for two years he refused to get a job, go back to school or do anything to help himself. The last straw was when I caught him selling drugs in my driveway. I put him out and have not let him move back in since. Now he is in school but still will not work and leads a nomadic lifestyle going wherever he can find a place to lay his head. When I went on vacation I made arraignments for my daughter to stay with family. I had to change all the locks and him and his sister still tried to break into the house and tore up the new locks. My son will show up and beat on the door until I let him in. "I need a shower, I haven't eaten in two days, can you let me have $5.00 for gas, etc.) My daughter graduates this month and says she is moving out immediately-Hallelujah!!!!!! They both blame me for everything they perceive wrong with their lives. For years I let them guilt me, make me cry and believe that all this was somehow my fault. Even the counselors made me feel that I did something wrong. The only relief I feel from this situation is when I prayed and spoke with my pastor. Poor guy has been listening to me for the past 10 years. I have prayed over my decision for months and have decided to sell my home and move at least four hours away and I am not going to give my children my new address. After all of this I feel that I deserve to take care of myself and have some peace in my life. Although these two do not give me anything to love a mothers love in her heart of hearts does not die. However, I can not let that love continue to bind me to the ties that will eventually destroy me. So I advise others to not let their family do this to them.
Showing 10 Replies
  • Reply #1 05/04/11  11:37pm
    Its a big step to finally take care of yourself, but it's one worth taking. When my daughter last left our home prior to the last estrangement she made a mountain of threats on her way out, many in front of the police even, because I can't be sure of what she is capable of, I took the precautions to protect myself/my home from the threats that she made that day, telling me that she knows "gang members in the ghetto" that will exact her revenge on me, revenge for what I dont know as my crime was simply to stop tolerating being called names in my own home lol....days after her departure-a monitored alarm system was put in, new locks, cameras, and lot of outdoor lighting. If moving were an option-I would have moved-not so much out of fear but out of just wanting her to not know where we live and not be able to inflict her constant drama on my life anymore, I just wanted to be free of it all.
    It really does take a toll on your emotional and physical health and if you dont take of you-no one else is going to. Don't be ashamed to do what you need to do to take care of you. Your kids are still young, they may still grow up some. I know you have likely heard that for years, I know I heard it about my daughter who was a problem since she was little-no conscience, no remorse and justified anything and everything she did and/or blamed someone else, shes 25 now and I believe that she has grown some over the last year or so. Maybe a year of being estranged was good for her. But the few little differences I see in her now give me cause to hope that maybe she really will grow up some more :) Some distance between you and your troubled adult kids may be a good thing for all of you right now and it may lead to improvement down the road.
  • Reply #2 05/04/11  11:49pm
    Hi Dec,

    Thanks for sharing your story with us, you will always have someone to listen here!

    You are a brave woman. While most of us don't have the same story, we are all about healing, strength, and taking care of ourselves first and foremost. You are doing this, bravo!

  • Reply #3 05/05/11  4:38am
    Welcome, Dec and glad too that you found us here on this site, though it is always in struggle/sadness that one does and I'm very sorry for your situation.

    My first response is in the title of your topic "when is it time to sever ties with adult children?". Seems to me, with all that you have shared, you've reached a point on your own in being ready to put yourself first and to do what is necessary for you to survive and feel like you have a life of your own again without the constant drama. And IMO, it is a very important step for you to relocate and keep your whereabouts anonymous. You DO, absolutely, deserve to take care of yourself and have some peace and it sounds to me that that your decision was not reached lightly, but through much effort/prayer and consideration.

    It grieves me alot to hear that even the counselor caused you to feel guilt over "doing something wrong".......following my being on this site for approx. 6 weeks and hearing the stories of so many loving parents who tried to do their best in the raising of their children, it is a shame that more persons in a position of counseling do not seem to understand the complexities of what we know to be true in our adult children.

    There's alot of wisdom here on the site and one gem that really spoke to me that I'd like to pass along to you is: YOU TRIED,........THEY FAILED. Your children are young yet and there is a chance that being out in the world will change their thinking........but also, maybe not......very hard to predict. But, regardless, I think it is wisdom on your part to make the move you speak of.

    I am aware, via TV, reading and such, that there are many, many children who had the MOST deplorable of situations as a child.......inner city gangs, drugs, drive by shootings, drug addicted mother, absent non-responsible father to name a few........who, despite these things grew up to be responsible educated contributing members of society.......even showing compassion toward train-wrecks of parents. I have a 38 yr. old adult child who still blames/accuses , is irresponsible and a host of other not so good things.......these were not a result of my choices, nor did she have a deplorable background as a young child.

    Hope you'll keep writing/sharing.......we here all "get it". While stories are uniquely different, I think we all share in the emotional roller coaster surrounding estrangement.

    Welcome again and hope you find comfort and strength by knowing you're not alone in this!
  • Reply #4 05/05/11  10:32am
    Wow hun..sounds like you have been in hell long enough!! You deserve a life too!!
    When is it time? When our hearts say enough and I think yours has. Set yourself free...its time for your kids to sink or swim. Its for your good as well as theirs. Hugs and understanding!!
  • Reply #5 05/05/11  1:27pm
    Welcome DecDramz to our group. You have been through the ringer!! Your strength is very obvious - and good for you for picking up and moving 4 hours away from this torment.

    When is it time to sever ties? When you've had it - when you realize it is not going to change - when you know they will destroy you if you continue to have contact. Your words are very encouraging and have given me courage to do what you have done and are doing.....cutting the ties. We come first at some point - and the earlier the better.
  • Reply #6 05/05/11  5:35pm
    Hello Dec.. Your story was a hard one to read you have lived in hell....You will know let your heart tell you when to break those ties..Moving away maybe your answer if both kids do have problems why should you be there to take it all..They have to find their own way....If he needs a shower their are friends or shelters, after these adult kids are grown we really owe them nothing....Its hard to let go but sometimes you just have too. Get on with your life...Good luckand keep writing many are here to listen....Hugs..
  • Reply #7 05/05/11  6:15pm
    Hello Dec..WOW, You have had to endure SO much! You seem to have already set the boundaries, now you just have to maintain them. Your children are a mess, and you deserve this break from their abuse. IMO you maintain your boundaries until they make some changes. You have done all and more...with no change from them. It is their turn now.

    Stay strong, welcome, and prayers and hugs to you...
  • Reply #8 05/05/11  6:32pm
    Hi, Dec -- I understand a lot of what you're going through. Both of my EC have put me through the same emotional roller coaster for years. My son has serious anger management issues and will remove me from his life without a qualm. This is the third year in a row he has thrown me away like a piece of trash... Right after my sister died, when I lost my job and just needed someone who cared, and now... I never knew exactly when it was going to happen next.

    In the past, I would try to be the first person to reconcile, but I realized this last time that he will never stop treating me like this if I do that again. My ED is the most self-centered, mean, uncaring person I have ever met... she is now living in a seedy hotel with my two beautiful grandchildren. I called her today just to talk to my GK's, and all she did was whine about how her probation officer was mean and hateful, that no one cares about her, that she couldn't pay the probation... this has been going on since she was 11 -- the gangs, drugs, mental issues, threats, mental abuse, stealing, lies, manipulation, not caring enough to do anything productive in her life -- she is now 29, and is fast losing the trust of anyone in our family. My parents no longer defend her... her dad will no longer bail her out of any financial scrapes, etc. And yet she still can't see why things are the way they are.

    Hang in there... we all know what you're going through and wish you strength, hope and happiness for your own life -- one that's free of guilt, pain and people who treat you like a doormat.
  • Reply #9 05/05/11  8:19pm
    Thanks so much for sharing your experiences, thoughts and kind words. I told my better half that we had more plagues than Pharaoh LOL. I started preparing the house for sale today so here's hoping. I can not imagine the hell that the people with grandchildren are going through and my heart goes out to you. It is an evil manipulative game where the grand kids are being used as pawns. This situation that we are all in is like being held as an emotional hostage. Today my daughter came in acting (I use that word literally) like an angel until she found out I was not going to co-sign a loan for $3000 for a car. She went from angel to demon in 3.0 seconds. I overheard her telling someone on the phone that I was a f****** B****-I smiled to myself and said that may be so but I'm one with $3000 to the good in my pocket lol. The counselors say children are a reflection of their upbringing that's bull I don't buy it. I think no matter the upbringing we are individually wired and that we can change somewhat but in the end as adults we are who we are. I have been very frustrated at times with various counselors who are too afraid of a label to treat the problem. You hear so much about toxic parents but very little about toxic children. I personally think maybe the psychologist need to go back to the drawing board on that one. On a positive note everyday that we can survive with our sanity intact at the end of the day is an ounce of strength we have to combat the next situation. I will feel like the weight of the world is gone when this house sells. Anyone looking to relocate to NC LOL?
  • Reply #10 05/05/11  8:52pm
    I think you are so right about the fact that we are individually wired and we are a product of that wiring. My Maltese Terriers used to have litters regularly. Those little guys were as different from each other as night is to day. There's no telling what is going to impact our kids and what is going to send them off in a direction we'd rather not see them going in.

    All we can do is our best. We don't have any other tools than the ones we have - so what else can we do? Nada. If they want better parents then they can go find them as far as I'm concerned. No one is perfect and our EC's will find that out.

    IMO - it all comes out in the wash at some point. We need to stay strong and let the drama fly right past us - it gets so old and it doesn't matter anyway in the long run. Stay strong - we can do this.


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