Hey Mama! How you doing today? I’m so glad you’re here!
Has your parenting journey been more challenging than you had anticipated? Have your kids emotional and other issues stretched you thin enough to snap?
I wish you were here so I could give you a hug! The first thing I would tell you is that you are not alone. Even some seemingly perfect families carry unspeakable pain. Kids can make choices that shock and grieve us. What do you do when you have devoted yourself to mothering and your older children have left you bewildered or, worse yet, estranged?
I can relate. I am a mom to 4 kids (3 adopted and 1 biological) and we have walked through a lot, from learning disabilities to mental illness to marital stress that nearly broke us. While mothering has been the source of tremendous joy, it has also challenged me emotionally, spiritually and intellectually.
Part of my story is that my oldest child is estranged from us. We also don’t see our grandson.
Even as I think these words, they choke in my throat. This is not how I envisioned a relationship with my adult daughter.
Even the word – estranged – is foreign to me. After investing my life into mothering, this child has chosen to turn away from the family.
This was not easy to admit. After all, I’m the one who has written books about parenting.
And I have been humbled.
As I’ve read about this phenomenon and talked to other parents, I am not alone. Many adult children choose this response.
Parenting expert Debbie Pincus offers these soothing words: “Cutting off is a way people manage anxiety when they don’t know a better way. The love and caring is there; the ability to solve differences is not. You did not cause your child to turn away. That was her decision.”
She made lots of mistakes. We made lots of mistakes in dealing with them.
She came home and left home many times.
And so today, I miss her terribly. She was a light in my life. It feels like part of my heart is missing. I pray for her constantly.
In her mind, the distance has lessened the conflict. Now she doesn’t have to deal with us. In reality, it has caused far more damage for everyone.
And so, I pray. I reach out to her as I can even when I am rudely rebuffed. And I try to move on with my life – moving with a limp that constantly reminds me of how much I miss her and what a hole she has left in my life.
And I wait with hope until the Lord redeems this pain for His glory.
Our unfulfilled expectations of mothering can leave us distressed, depressed and disillusioned. You don’t have to feel this way. Once you’ve processed your experiences and learned what you need to learn, you can rediscover a place of peace and purpose.
Will you join me as I unpack my own journey? Sign up for our email list and I’ll send you a list of resources for parents in pain. I’d also like to ask if you will consider doing a survey to share your story for a book I am working on.
Mama, when we share our stories and our pain, we lessen the grip it has on us. We can help others to heal.
Other articles that might bless you:
Opening a Vein: Talking about family trouble
Anywhere But Home: The motto of the wayward child
5 things NOT to say to a mom in pain
I can so much relate to your story. This a very 1st for me to ever answer anyone on this matter. I read then move on to other reading materials. Never have I answered one. Our family is going to through the biggest hurdle or struggle as fas as I can ever remember. Very difficult, painful, heartbreaking, stressful and frustrating. Our oldest son still leaves with us but battling severe mental depression and anxiety. He refuses to take medication as he says it gives him headaches. I have been praying for him to see a psychiatrist, which I have already cancelled twice and now he says he does not want to to go. He is more estranged and withdrawn from all of us. He tweets (he does not know we read) in the last 2 hours for every 15 minutes he wants to kill his self and that he is worthless. Last night, my husband asked him what is troubling him and he says he feels uncomfortable being here and that we would hurt in physical. He is scared of the both of us. We love him very much but those are just words that go through one ear and out the other. He listens more to his friends. At this point, I don’t know what else to do as to not trigger terrible things that might make things worst for him. I just kept praying and praying. I tell God I have nothing but my tearful and heartbreaking prayers. I have nothing but prayers.
I understand. Keep praying. May God give you strength.
Grace and peace,