Discussion Topic

Why Parents Walk Away

Posted on 02/23/12, 11:29 pm

Last night I wanted to see how many references there were to parents who walk away from their adult children so I googled it on my computer. I also googled Divorcing Adult Children, Abusive Adult Children, Leaving Adult Children. I found nothing about what we are doing here. I found articles about hurting parents, parents trying to reconcile with their ECs, parents as victims, but nothing about parents taking control of their lives and their futures. There was only one E book that talked about walking away from adult kids, but they had severe mental illnesses or had chosen “alternative” lifestyles like homelessness.

So it would seem that parents who walk away are neither being recognized or represented in our society - it is a little known or possibly unaccepted phenomenon that needs to be addressed. There are already almost 80 of us on a forum that was started a mere 4 months ago. I imagine there are quite a few more - hiding in their warrens - waiting for some to tell them that it is indeed okay to leave behind their indifferent and/or abusive offspring. Perhaps I should start writing that book lol!

I think that there may be a need for clarification - there are people here who have kids with real problems - mental illness, drug abuse, alcoholism. These are illnesses that can trigger some severe dysfunction and which must be treated medically in order to help them in their recovery. Being mentally ill or under the influence can affect behavior and make people hostile and unbalanced. It is no wonder that many of these children may try to estrange themselves from their parents and others who love them. And there is no question that some parents who – after finding themselves at the end of a long hard task of trying to help their children back to a normal life – have given up.

In our own family, if our ECs had been sick, then we would do all we could to try to help them see someone or go somewhere to get help. In fact, our youngest daughter had drug and alcohol problems and she died from liver failure because of it.

But there are also parents - like my husband and myself - who also had seemingly normal children. These parents gave everything they possibly could to help their children and make their lives easier - but to no avail - there were always problems looming nearby - ready to darken what they thought to be a happy family landscape. Be it low self esteem - a scheming DIL or SIL who dictated the estrangement - which I still cannot personally fathom, trumped up charges of being too strict with grandkids – or the both serious and petty actions on both sides which just cannot be overcome. You name it, I've heard it both on these forums and in our own family situation.

These ECs I am talking about, the entitled, over fed, over shopped, disrespectful, uncaring, unloving, duplicitous, never satisfied, money hungry, greedy consumers that they are, NEVER seem to change. And so, it had been up to us to say ENOUGH. And to walk away from them so we may live out the rest of our lives in relative peace and sanity.

With our own kids – my husband and I could practically close our eyes and throw a dart into a board littered with our "offenses" - My husband got kicked out of a 12 year marriage by his ex so he actually had the nerve to divorce her- oooooooh. My husband wanted to have love in his life and a life of his own so when we met, lived together and got married - aaaaaaah big problems. As the children "grew up" - and I use that term loosely, we gave them everything but yet it seemed we could never quite give them what they needed - since they never told us what that was, It was like trying to hit a moving target. And as they grew - and after they were grown, they – and by proxy, their psychopathic MOMMY (his ex) proceeded to try and control every breath we took - and when we objected, we were punished - excluded and yet occasionally forgiven and rewarded with a crumb or two . We were totally immersed in a push-pull world that followed no logic and made no sense. It was like a form of drug addiction – no matter what they did, we just came back wanting more. We just couldn’t kick it –no matter how hard we tried.

So I guess you could say we got what we deserved. Addicts need their fixes and fixes will cost you. It cost us almost 40 years of our lives - Years of: I love you - I hate you, I want you - Get away from me. I need you, Don't contact me. Do for me - I don't need you – Come here, Go away…..again and again and again!

So when did we say ENOUGH ALREADY! These were now grown people - 49 and 51 - middle aged - headed over the hill actually. My husband is 75 - I am 60 - Can someone tell me what we were supposed to do with this mess? Enable it? Support it? For how long? For FOREVER??? SERIOUSLY??? I would rather have had hot needles stuck into my eyes!

I think that we all needed to decide what we wanted our lives to look like - what we wanted our lives to be. If we found ourselves holding out for that someday when our children will finally see the light – but it made us feel demeaned and hurt and sick to do so, then we had to decide to let it go. After all, weren’t we (and they) all getting a little too old to be dealing with this crap?

Perhaps it’s been better to spend this time deciding how we want to spend the precious remainder of our time. Although we could have tried to hold out for hope and reconciliation, we might have been waiting well beyond the Second Coming. After almost 40 years, I am here to tell you that unless they had undergone a massive personality change (think lobotomy here), it wouldn't have done a speck of good.

I think we needed to save our time, energy, love and money for those who love us and walk away from those who would hurt us. The definition of insanity is to repeat the same action yet expect a different outcome – Since most of us here had Been there and Done that, we simply chose to save ourselves instead. I think that was indeed, an excellent decision!
Showing 1 - 10 of 39 Replies
  • Reply #1 02/24/12  3:22am
    Am begining to understand Top...
    I saw this today and posted it on my FB page.

    ''Sometimes when you give up on someone....it's not because you don't care anymore, but because you realize they don't .''

    Painful but true.

    it's 4 years in April for me since 2EOs walked away and 2 months since I walked away from the third one who did what you said ...
    'I want you - Get away from me. I need you, Don't contact me. Do for me - I don't need you – Come here, Go away…..again and again and again! ''

    I'm glad you're still on this forum with your wise words Top...*hug*
  • Reply #2 02/24/12  9:10am
    Top - Amen! You need to start writing that book!
  • Reply #3 02/24/12  9:30am
    Very sad that there isn't more information on parents walking away....it's badly needed.
    For me, it was the only solution possible to stop the insanity in my life.
    Funny, I started writing a book about estrangment....got a whole two sentences written and had to quit as I've had so many computer problems lately. Last night I decided to have my computer man build me a computer...I'm feeling relieved about that :)
    I think the world really needs to hear about how to deal with this silent epidemic....becuz b*tch slapping adult children is against the law and brings us down to their level of stupidity.
    Thanks Dr. Topiary for all your insight and bringing this to light so we can move forward with our lives.
    Perhaps a magazine would be a good idea, so parents every where could share their experiences and expose the EO?
  • Reply #4 02/24/12  12:59pm
    When I first decided to look online for information on our situation - but all I found was thousands of sites telling me how my husband & I were the ones at fault and that we were the ones who needed to apologize and change. Well - that infuriated me! Excuse me? Apologize ? For what ?
    For ES 'borrowing' money from us that he swore to either work off &/or pay back and doing neither ?
    For ES forging my husband's signature as a co-signer on a purchase or to get himself a credit card in his father's name?
    For making unreasonable and ludicrous demands that are more in line with those of a small child rather than the adult he was supposed to be?
    For forgetting everything we taught him about self-responsibility?
    How about for having the nerve to have 2 more children (one when he was 11 and the other when he was almost 15)? AFTER ES was all grown-up he became jealous of his siblings & accused us of treating them better than him ?
    For providing clothes, toys, etc for our younger children who were still at home & in school and not for a grown man in his mid-20's?
    Or should we apologize because when ES was growing up we made sure that he knew he was loved and treated as such?
    YEESH!

    It took me a long time to find PEACE - and that only happened after I got really angry one day after a nosy-no-nothing buttinski told me I needed to grovel and apologize to ES no matter what and I came home and typed 'asshole adult children' into a google search and found PEACE. It truly seemed a miracle to find a group of people who understood & did not automatically blame the parents for an adult child acting like a selfish jackass. I lurked at PEACE for over a year just reading before I ever joined DS. Being at PEACE helped bring to center all the conflict between the feelings of guilt & my logical mind and I was able to look at the situation more clearly. And I realized that the problem was simply that of undeserved parental guilt. Well, that guilt is now long gone - ES did all this and DH & I are not to blame.

    ES walked because we would not let him control us and we let him do it rather than chase after him. His decision and ours. We could have bent to his will but we chose not to because that would have made for a miserable life that we do not want. And that is our right - we have a right to choose happiness over misery. We made the right decision for us and for the rest of our family. ES will not be allowed to come back. He made his bed and he is the one who will suffer the long-term consequences.

    Like Top & her husband - DH & I only want to enjoy what is left of our lives. And we know that cannot happen if ES is involved in our lives. We have two adult children who love and respect us & refuse to have anything to do with thier narcissistic brother. And we are all able to live quite happily without ES in any of our lives.
  • Reply #5 02/24/12  1:53pm
    All I can say is AMEN to that Night!
  • Reply #6 02/24/12  2:40pm
    @Crystal - cool, I posted that very same saying on the PEACE estrangement website after reading it on Facebook. See, sometimes we do get more than heartbreak from visiting Facebook!

    I find it to be very true...we all tried but saw the lack of interest and trying on the part of our e-kids. Left with no choice, we did the only sane thing possible.

    Great post Topiary, speaking to all of us on this site.

    Mystic
  • Reply #7 02/24/12  2:57pm
    A book needs to be written for ABUSED PARENTS There are parents dealing with depression, PSTD, trauma, chronic illness, low-self esteem and guilt brought on by AC that were indulged and idolized as children. They suffer in silence because they loved too much and can't believe a child can be so insensitive and indifferent to the parent(s) that sheltered them, gave them too much and desired for their children a better life than they had. A life without scars brought on by the hardness of living in the cold cruel world. We blame ourselves, divorce, the other parent or other factors. Never the idolized ones.

    I have often considered writing a book consisting of just quotes from parents all over the world. I would ask "What are some of the worst things your AC has ever said to you?", "Have you ever felt your AC enjoyed hurting you?", "Has your AC lied about you and mis-represented their childhood to achieve desired goals?" etc.

    I think it would be a huge success and healing.
  • Reply #8 02/24/12  5:28pm
    Erika ~ I was thinking more along the lines of a quartily magazine with stories from parents that would expose the EO shananigans. It's about time we told the world OUR side and how to dump their asses!
    It would give the good parents a voice and awareness of what is happening as well as building an army that breaks the silence.
  • Reply #9 02/24/12  5:38pm
    An army that breaks the silence - I LOVE that! What a brilliant description of who we are - btw - we are growing in leaps and bounds on this site - the word is out guys - Warriors Rule!
  • Reply #10 02/24/12  5:46pm
    I would put up Xena (princess warrior), but she is on my other computer.....hope to have it built and back early next week. However, we are ALL brave warriors regardless of our avatars..lol!!!!
    Enough is enough....we are stronger than the Verizon Network..."can you hear me now"?

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A group for parents of estranged adult children who are tired of waiting for them to grow up/get real. Comprised of strong, wise survivors, this group is made up of parent who either have walked away or are considering walking away from the disrespectful actions of their abusive adult children. Straight talk, tough stances and the free exchange of ideas/opinions can be found here. Everyone is Welcome!