A heartbroken mother opened up about the pain of being estranged from her adults sons after revealing that they never visit her, leaving her wondering whether she should stop trying altogether.
The 69-year-old gran, who still works full time, revealed she is always the one who makes the effort, even travelling more than 600 miles across the country to visit her eldest son who she said never returns the favour.
“Asked my eldest son whether I could come to visit for a weekend (we live 600 miles apart and I am the one who always does the travelling). This was his reply: ‘That’s probably ok, but I’ll need to check with (wife) and I’m at work at the moment’,” she wrote on Gransnet.
“End of message. No further contact. No confirmation. Has happened like this many times over. Shall I just not bother any more? Feeling a bit sensitive as younger son was going to come to visit this week, but has pulled out. I am always sending home baking, gifts, and visiting.”
Sadly the anonymous woman is not alone in her suffering, and a recent study, published in Psychology Today, found that 7 per cent of adult children said they were detached from their mother, and 27 per cent were detached from their father.
The reasons adult children cite for this detachment can vary, from a past family dispute to hurt over a divorce, right through to the perception that their parent is overbearing or that they are uncomfortable with the role their parent plays in a grandchild’s life.
But a very common theme – whatever the reason – is a lack of communication and understanding over why the child has estranged themselves. While they may insist they’ve explained their reasons to their parents, the parents themselves may not understand or even claim they’ve never been told.
Read more: When children abandon their parents.
That confusion is painfully apparent in a British study, named Hidden Voices: Family Estrangement in Adulthood, which found that 67 per cent of adult children who were estranged from their parent or parents claimed they had “concretely” told their parents their reasons. However, more than 60 per cent of parents said they were never told why.
Elizabeth Vagnoni runs internet forum and website Estranged Stories, inviting people from across the world to share their stories and seek advice on how to mend broken relationships.
She has previously spoken out about her two adult sons estranging themselves from her, and struggling to understand their reasons, even when they tried to explain them to her. As a result, she began researching estrangement extensively. “The truth is, saying you love them and miss them is not enough” Vagnoni says. “There is much more to say, but you need a conversation — you need actual interaction, not just silence.”
Many Starts at 60 readers have also reported feeling the same way, revealing that they have become estranged from, or fallen out of touch with, their adult children.
Blogger Kim Spears said: “I don’t want to live in my children’s pockets, I just want to stay in touch. So today being my son’s birthday has saddened me but it has also made me hope that in the not too distant future, he will call, or text or email. The fact that my youngest is doing that now and visiting has given me hope.
“I love my sons. It was love at first sight for me and I have never stopped. I hope all of you out there that have problems with your children never give up on them. I hope you learn to not let it ruin your life, and I hope that before we leave this world our children know how much we care and we know how much they care for us.”