Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Descent Into Maddness

I had a thought, Dear Reader, that has culminated into this rather long, but very telling post. I have taken the time to put together a timeline, so to speak, of the comments made on Michael's (aka Mike's) post on the Dr. Coleman forum. I have taken clips from every comment that I think best illustrate the point that each commenter was trying to make. I find it very interesting how many of the estranged parents started out by commenting with some sort of feigned empathy for Michael, and later some of them changed their tune completely. Most, though not all, of the posters played a tricky game of manipulation, and they managed to suck a lot of people in to it. Where the topic of the original thread started with the idea that most parents won't take responsibility for their estrangements, it turned into a debate about how disrespectful estranged adult children are, and how undeserving the parents are of such treatment. I see a lot of denial on the part of these parents. I see a lot of manipulation and lies and trickery. I see little empathy or ability to accept responsibility.

Their words are both cunning and foolish. To have manipulated the conversation the way they did, I would consider them brilliant. To have proven that they are not willing to accept responsibility I would consider them morons.

They have proven Michael right. See for yourself, Dear Reader:

Many parents will never admit they are responsible for the estrangement and so they place the blame on their children. (Michael)

YOU are not your parents and you can overcome their horrible legacy by seeking help for yourself...I would believe that most of us who post on this board were good parents or at the very least tried their best. (Susan Caroline)

I have admitted my mistakes (dumb moves some of them) but I was not abusive...Despite the fact that I have tried to talk to my duaghter she is (and her father as well) manipulative (Smokeysmom57)

It is awful but not all parents are like that,due to my childhood I vowed never to hurt my child like I was hurt and I stuck to that promise I loved her unconditionally and was always there to tell her I believe in her. (Jen)

Mike, I so sorry to hear your story. No one should treat another human being, much less their child, the way you've been treated. (Raejen)

This site isn't for you or your parents. It's for good, conscientious parents who have raised their children well and been physically and emotionally abused by their children. I am not going to type the whole story, but I had worse parents than yours and I don't blame myself for their actions, but I do take responsibility for my own behavior and choices. You're 35 and still blaming your actions on your parents. Stop blaming others for your bad choices and behavior. I'm disappointed in this forum for even including your immature, irresponsible post, the ramblings of a self-pitying, self-absorbed, inebriated adult. (Stephni)

...at least the other people that posted have admitted to making some mistakes…on the other hand…you, like most abusive parents, are narcissistic and take no blame (TC)

I agree 100 percent with what you said….those who strike out usually see themselves in that behavior...(Jen)

Stephani, thanks for making my point when I stated that some parents on this forum aren't being honest and are responsible and deserving the estrangement. My parents claim they are hurt and don't deserve the separation...I've been reading the posts on this forum for a very long time and decided to contribute because some of the people on this forum struck me as being dishonest, just as my parents are—and just as you may be too. (Michael)

Your parents are who they are; your past is your past and unfortunately those are things you cannot change, but you can change your future. (Susan Caroline)

Michael, I feel like giving you a big hug. I am very sorry that you have had to endure the childhood you describe and cringe at the thought of an innocent child being hurt...My parenting style was the same for both of my sons. However, my oldest son's father was very abusive both physically and mentally and I fought like #### to get the courts to do something...My oldest son was given every opportunity to express his talents...Each year, I made him his Halloween costumes from scratch, threw him theme birthday parties, worked around his school schedule so I was there for him in the afternoons to do homework and take him to activities. We didn't have a lot of money, but we had a happy family life and my son was finally safe and blossoming. He went through tumultuous teenage years. I thought his rebellion and sullen character was due to hormones and his conflicted feelings about his father...I am, in my most honest assessment of myself, a good, kind, empathetic and caring person. I have a wonderful relationship with my younger son. (RJ)

...no one's truth is the whole absolute truth, and no one is perfect. (grieving/writer/mom)

Saying your sorry and actually acknowledging the mistakes and giving the examples can help children heal. I do think that a lot of parents will say I am sorry, but they will never say I am sorry for doing this to you. I know that hurt you now and thinking back I would have done this or this and its all my fault. (TC)

My addiction is not a monetary liability—the only cost being is how it is affecting the quality of my life. I've been an addict for 20 years...I almost forgot to say thank you to TC, RJ and everyone else that has welcomed me to the forum. RJ, it's always comforting to hear people share their experiences of child abuse.(Michael)

Michael, You sound so intelligent and insightful...(RJ)

I looked at this topic because I feel I am responsible for the estrangement from my one daughter and the semi-estrangement from my three other children...We had four children and although I tried to be a good mother, I fell very short of the mark...Divorced for many years now, I have never, never found one parent like me who says they could have been to blame for their estrangement. (Jane)

Of course all estranged parents feel that we did or may have done something to bring about an estrangement...But if you said the wrong thing unwittingly, or even didn't know that you said or did the wrong thing then maybe you are not wholly at fault...It has taken me over 3 1/2 yrs. to come to terms with this estrangement. I had to really let her go. She has not spoken or written one word to me since the email she wrote encompassing 6-7 pages of my faults, past, present and future. It nearly ripped my heart out. I never answered it, but sent her cards telling her I love her...She is aided by a counselor who didn't, or couldn't find out the other side of what she did to her siblings and other family besides me...I am not perfect...Parents can't be blamed for the total estrangement. (Fran)

Many of us, including myself, in this forum did a great job of parenting. I wonder how our estranged children don't feel this huge sense of loss that we feel...I know it will be hard for him to live with the guilt of what he has chosen.(RJ)

I don't think I will ever know what I did to them to have them both "abandon" me, but that IS what happenned to me, so I assume I brought it on my self. (Viv Hartman)

As parents, most of us try to do the best we know how...Heaven forbid they may have to go out of their way. I don't think this behavior is selfish, I think they lose respect. (Theah)

I,too, feel that there is lack of respect today...I also agree with you that our children today do not want to have anything to do with us unless we can be of some help to them. (Carolyn)

Self-inflicted blame, worry and devaluation is completely damaging and affects all aspects of my life...We can still live by the Ten Commandments, we need to stay ever strong in our beliefs and our commitments to our husbands, other children, siblings, and friends. (RJ)

So settle in, give yourself a pat on the back, and know that there is nothing else to do but heal with time. (Theah)

I really don't know what I did to my daughter to cause her to be estranged from me and the whole family. But I do know what I DIDN'T do. I didn't abuse her in any way, shape, form or fashion...I sincerely believe she has mental issues that she is not attending to. (Raejen)

I hate this young women she has become and I miss the daughter I knew. I know I was wrong slapping her and yelling at her. I was at my wits end! I do feel somewhat very responsible and I wish that I handled everything a little bit better. Suggestions? (Sandra Rutledge)

I can't imagine a parent who wouldn't be searching their heart for what went wrong when they are deprived of the company of their loved one...So, you tell me. Am I being a bad mother. Too proud to admit mistakes? No! I just want to work on whatever went wrong. But she refuses. (Anon)

i take a lot of blame for the estrangement that i had with my ED, which lasted 8 months, and so i can spot a fellow "blame-taker."...i believe [anon] that you have tried everything and nothing works, and i believe you that you are at a loss...stop taking the blame. stop making advances. stop dwelling on your errors...look at her errors for a change...one of her errors: it is horrible to reject a parent, any parent in the world, except for the punitive and violent and abusive ones...but a parent like you who tries her best but is sometimes overly critical, or overly permissive, or overly intrusive, or overly protective – give me a break, for heaven's sake. give yourself a break...she is going to be very sorry some day for treating you like this. (grieving/writer/mom)

No matter what you do it doesn't seem to work. (Carolyn)

Although he doesn't admit it, I'm fairly certain that his estrangement stems from the fact that I placed him in a board school for troubled teens when he was 16 years old...I can only surmise that he's doing it to either get me back or to somehow numb the pain that he had (or has) of feeling that I was actually throwing him away – trying to get rid of him...I may have been wrong, who knows. (Audienceofone)

Sure I made my mistakes and wasn't perfect mainly because of a bad marriage but I sought help and stayed because of my children and because I did not have the support of family to make it on my own...I have spent all my time continuing to be there for my girls (within reason) only for them to no longer want me in their life blaming me for everything that has gone wrong in their life. That's the thanks you get for giving yourself to them...If I'm guilty of anything it is being too good to them...As long as you keep giving into their whims they are going to do whatever they want...it seems children today do not care about anyone but themselves. All they care about is what they will inherit...(Carolyn)

Maybe we were to lenient, too strict, gave too much attention, not enough attention, blah blah blah. It's no use, yesterday is gone. We can't change the past. We did what we did with what we knew at that time. Nobody's perfect, including myself, but I know one thing— I don't deserve this!! If I were to be honest, I have to say these girls of mine have been mean spirited, disrespectful, nasty and hateful towards me and many others for about 20 yrs now...THEY are responsible for this estrangement, not ME. (Disappointed Mom)

As far as I'm concerned it's about time they grow up and act like adults and take responsibility for their issues...I am not sure but there are times I wonder if they know we are right but are too proud to admit it so instead they "punish" us and "blame" us so they can make us be the bad guy. Like I said they need to "look in the mirror" and grow up and take responsibility. (Carolyn)

I too, had a very abusive husband who always treated me with little to no respect. My girls are now 40 and 44 and I think after witnessing the dynamics between the bully and the bullied, they've decided that being a bully is better than being bullied. So they've taken over where their father had left off after I divorced him...I'm sick of feeling hurt, victimized, tormented, and tortured. Know what? Plenty of people seem to like me and think I'm a very nice person. kind, giving, caring, even funny at times...In the end, it is what it is. If they don't want me in their lives, why should I feel so bad about it...Do I want them back? (not sure anymore) It's always an uncertainty when they're in my lives what's going to set them off on another round of "let's beat mommy to the ground (emotionally)"...Leopards do not change their spots, as much as I wish it wasn't that way, I'm afraid that is the way it is. (Disappointed Mom)

I too, live to follow His choices for me and know He is doing what He thinks is best for all concerned. (Disappointed Mom)

Parents are not perfect, but we do (yes I am a parent too) have to take responsibility for our shortcomings, our flaws, our mistakes, and anything that may put our children in danger...Respect needs to be earned, not automatically given. And children do not owe their parents anything. I give everything and more to my children and expect nothing in return. Why? Because they are my children and that is enough for me.(LSV)

WOW, LSV seems very judgemental. I wouldn't want to be looking for any empathy, understanding, or compassion from you. "judge not, lest ye be judged." (Disappointed Mom)

I am judged everyday by my children as I should be. Their eyes are on me everyday. (LSV)

Disappointed Mom, I feel really bad for your children. (Jonsi)

Although you may have been counseled to think that "divorcing" your parents is shiek, fulfilling, and therapeutic, I truly doubt that it will bring long term satisfaction for anyone...Much of your verbiage sounds like direct quotes and jargon from outdated Freudian based philosophy that holds parents as the sole source of one's life problems...However, inspite of their failures and flaws, it is likely that they did some good things even though you cannot see them, and you do owe them common courtesy...help them or encourage them to learn more about what it is that you want. Some attempt to offer the empathy and respect you demand for yourself, and trying to see things from your parents' perspective rather than only looking from yours would be a true mark of independence and adulthood. (A Parent, Child &)

To LSV, you have to open your mind up...How can you forgive those who have hurt you if you can't even forgive yourself. (Fran)

to jonsi, the word "seems" indicates an opinion, which I have a right to have...Have you got a complaint with the bible? (Disappointed Mom)

love is not a panacea; love is work, often hard work, so "moving forward in love" is not as easy as you might think. (LSV)

LSV, Jonsi and Upsi: I have to comment here that I think you guys are out-of-line here on this forum. (Cindi)

Everyone also deserves to be treated with courtesy and respect. I'm not sure when the rules changed to suggest that children are entitled to respect by virtue of their existence, but parents must earn it. (A Parent, Child &)

No one has to respect anyone. Jeffrey Dahmer, Hitler, et are extremes that do not deserve our respect. (Winterskiprincess)

There seems to be a common ideology here in this forum that estrangement necessitates disrespect or poor treatment. This is not so. As human beings, we all reserve the right to end any relationship we see fit because oftentimes, that is the healthiest choice we can make. (Jonsi)

It concerns me when parents or children prioritize their respect based on superficial or materialistic expectations. Even more so when in their private lives, they never lived up to these expectations themselves. (Winterskiprincess)

Jonsi and Winterskiprincess, think it is time that, like upsi, you consider Cindi's advice and take your dialogue back to your own blog or forum. (A Parent, Child &)

But having respect is a choice and a right – no one has to respect anyone if they feel that person is not deserving of it. (Jonsi)

...it may be true that your purpose and the purpose of other estranged adult children who are posting here is to reduce the pain of the parents on this forum by providing an alternative perspective. If that's the case, I would rather the tone be more one of support and empathy than education. (Dr. Joshua Coleman)

I have always felt this was the forum for people to help each other heal, not to further distress one another. (Raejen)

It also takes an open mind to be able to put aside the reasons you do not understand or feel never happened, but your EC thinks they did...sometimes you have to apologize for something you did not do...The more I defended the untruths coming from her, the bigger the distance between us. (Fran)

"Support" does not mean agreeing with everything. (Winterskiprincess)

I am supportive and empathetic towards anyone on either side that is going through this. However, I am not going to agree (even outside of estrangement) that ANYONE is entitled to respect...Since you replied as if myself and others were being disrespectful or impolite or even saying something outlandish (I have a hard time thinking it outlandish to say not everyone is worthy of respect due to their behavior, and this is not directed at parents of the estranged) for having an alternate point of view or by simply stating differences where in fact respect may have not been earned, you are implying that by simply having a different opinion (which is different than supporting others different opinion) we have in some way been impolite or unsupportive. (Winterskiprincess)

[Estrangement] is not a happy thing to feel the need to do. Probably some of you will send a really hostile response to this, but I hope perhaps that some parents here will hear what I am saying and may be able to use it to repair their relationships. Sometimes though, it goes beyond the point of wanting the relationship anymore to hostility, anger and control. Then IMO, nothing is going to repair the relationship. (Winterskiprincess)

I noticed some parents on this board don't like the fact that adult children of estranged parents have been posting here. Why is that? (Michael)

1 comment:

  1. Call me gobsmacked. Narcissism much? Mike's post proved itself absolutely true. Some parents will never accept responsibility for the estrangement of their children. Sad.