1. Mary Beth Danielson
    July 10, 2023 @ 9:31 am

    Thank you for writing this post about estrangement. It was a strong part of the story of my husband and I relating to some of our family members, also. Not easy to explain. Not easy to internalize. But when we make choices to build a safe family for ourselves and our kids, sometimes leaving what’s toxic means finding the way to move towards love and sanity.


  2. cindytheseeker
    July 10, 2023 @ 10:10 am

    This is a very hard topic to talk about…. thank you for sharing this. If my father hadn’t died when I was only 21, I’m pretty sure it would have gone this way with us as well.


  3. Claudia
    July 10, 2023 @ 10:24 am

    Beautifully written


    • Donna
      July 21, 2023 @ 4:39 pm

      I estranged myself from three of my kids. It was unhealthy to allow them to steal and lie to me. One i havent seen in over 30 years another in over 25 and one in 8 years. All stole money, did drugs and always wanted more. Estrangement made them into weak men but men non the less. It made my life a calmer place. Family is not always forever and that can and is for me a great thing.


  4. Deborah Elizabeth Hovestad
    July 10, 2023 @ 11:32 am

    Families are so hard, especially when mental illness is added to the mix. I know I’ve hurt my own children with my depression but I have worked to fix that. I don’t see my son because of addictions and mental illness, but I do raise his son. Thank you so much for sharing this. I hope your mom can die in peace with dignity. It’s what we all want really.


  5. Kathie Davies
    July 10, 2023 @ 1:52 pm

    Carrie, with your Mom’s peace, I hope you find your’s. Just know the truth. You did so your best. God Bless.


  6. Jana Frerichs
    July 10, 2023 @ 2:03 pm

    I literally had my hand over my mouth the entire time I read this. You have put my own relationship and past with my mother into words here. It’s so incredible hard to explain to others who have not have lived it. I grow so tired of the shame by people who don’t understand. It makes me sad that you lived this as well, but I find solace that there are others who do understand.


    • Syreeta Scott
      July 21, 2023 @ 8:24 am

      Ditto 😢


  7. Sharon W Seng
    July 10, 2023 @ 5:44 pm

    I’ve lost most of my family thanks to my alcoholic sister, only 6 months after my last parent passed. My sister and I are estranged and I know how you feel. Every time we talked she blamed me for her life, and always made me cry. Its been since 1996.


  8. Lisa Bove
    July 10, 2023 @ 8:24 pm

    A beautiful piece.


  9. Catherine
    July 10, 2023 @ 11:11 pm

    This post hit very close to home for me. My father was a very difficult, complex and intense person to live, deal, and talk with on a day to day basis. As a child, i have memories of him pulling our pants and underwear down even in front of friends and family to spank us over and over and over and over again just because we resisted to a demand or refuse to do something he or my mom asked (as most kids will do many times right?!?) but for him just insisting on us doing the said thing or sending us to our room was not appropriate for saying a simple repeted no it needed an overly strong and violent spanking that we had his hand stamped on our butt cheeks for days. Or that period where he decided that pulling my hair was a good “punishment” for making a spelling mistake while he was making me repeat my spelling words for my homeworks and study for my 2 or 3 grade in PRIMARY SCHOOL!!! This man was terrorizing me so freaking bad that at 9 one day i told my mom that i wanted to go in foster care cause i felt unsafe at home. she laugh a bit but still brought me to my school principal. i repeated myself and then the men asked my mom why i told that and she invalidated everything i said. she always let him do everything he wanted. never opposed to anything. my sister had it a bit easier than mensince she was a bit more social so she was home a lot less then i was but home was a living nightmare. when they finaly got divorced i was like that is my chance to go so i started acting up a bit (nothing violent or anything but just teen crisis behavior) and in like 2-3 weeks she came pick me up at school and tell me that i had 2 option so either therapy or a special group home for “trouble teen” that is held by a foundation and it is volountary and everyone as to pay x amount per day to cover a small amount of the cost but the rest is cover by donation of companies and everything. after that i did not want to go back home so i manage to end up i a real child service group home where all the comment was like that i was so well behave, that i listen so well, i had such perfect grade and everything so much that they did not understand why i ended up there. i still spender the year give by the court there and after that got back home bu it lasted a month and i call the social worker to be placed back in care. so she did. and that time it lasted an other year in a new city. and they tried again the next summer to put me back home fail again after 2 month so they then placed me till majority (finaly!!!!) wich is 18 in Quebec. and my relation with my mom got worst after that because of her 2 boyfriends she had over time that never loved either me or my sister but to my mom we are the problem. anyways… now i only talk to her for absolute necessities and even there she find a way to many time put me down and demenished me. and for my dad when they divorce i was almost 14 and he died i was 28 he was 52. in 14 years if i have seen 6-7 times including on his death bed the day before he died and the day he died after he was dead it is like the max i have seen him in those 14 years. he have seen me once in those 14 years for my bday and it was because my sister was living with him briefly and begged him to invite me. all the other times where either chance encounter or because people asked for it or 2 where because he was about to die and he wanted to either talk about pre death stuff or meet the family one last time. so yeah being estranged is kind of my life for the past 21 year and im only 35 so i feel your mixed emotion because i still have song or stuff that remind me of him but at the same time there is so much trauma


  10. Samantha
    July 11, 2023 @ 10:01 am

    Beautiful, however I wonder what your mother would have written had she had the opportunity. My daughter has chosen to walk away from her entire family, it has been 4 gut wrenching years. I have tried everything to reconnect, the worst is the alienation from our grand daughter. She was my first child, I waited so patiently for this beautiful child, Apple of my eye, now it’s all lies and vitriol. I’m left wondering and aching as to how this could have happened and why it can’t be resolved with civility, decency and understanding. I will never know or understand. One day, I will be your mom, under that white sheet, patiently waiting my turn to ask my maker”what the hell happened?”


    • CBons
      July 14, 2023 @ 6:34 am

      I am the Mother, too… one daughter- my dream come true. We were so close. My whole world was her. One day, four years ago, I made a decision she disagreed with. She has never spoken to me since. I have tried every channel. Phone, social media, email, mail. She cuts off every avenue and will not communicate with me. She will tell anyone who will listen that I am toxic. It’s a cop out. I am a Mom who loves her daughter with every fiber of my being and always will…unconditionally.


      • Tonya Pennington
        July 14, 2023 @ 11:50 am

        Me too, I’m the one who was taking her to counseling! She used to tell me I was her best friend! Working on 9 years…she just got married. I was not invited.


        • Her Mom
          July 16, 2023 @ 10:48 pm

          I’m so very sorry for your pain.


  11. JC
    July 11, 2023 @ 1:33 pm

    What ever happened to forgiveness?
    We are called by our Lord to honor our Mother and Father. This Commandment does not say ‘like or agree’ with your Mother and Father. Rather, we are commanded to honor them. Outside of extreme forms of abuse, estrangement is not the answer and certainly not something to be proud of. “Forgive them, for they know not what they do.”


    • NL
      July 23, 2023 @ 2:39 am

      I agree completely with everyrhing that you said..
      My dad passed over a year ago and i miss him every day and wish he were here with us. My kids adored him. I was able to forgive him years ago because i knew he did the best he could. He loved us, and HE DID THE BEST HE COULD. My sister, however, cut him off years ago…for a very VERY stupid reason (he crossed her “boundaries” by asking about our mom…she told him if you ask about mom, im leaving and never talking to you again…and that’s exactly what she did).

      He died always wishing to see her again, talk to her, ANYTHING…he tried and tried and tried… and she never responded. I love my sister but that was beyond cruel. My heart breaks for him.

      The mom in this blog? My goodness…2 jobs, 3 very small kids, no husband, AND night school? The jobs and school would have been difficult enough without kids. The kids alone without jobs and school would have been hard. Sounds like mom had depression and was plain overwhelmed and lost it on her kids from time to time but was also a loving and a good mom otherwise.

      As an adult with a child of her own…i wish the author had realized that mom did the best she could. None of us are perfect parents!!! And author should have forgiven her mother and should have done so.
      Honored her. Called her once a month. Invited her for a holiday meal or grandson’s bday.

      This is sad and i think we would do well as a society to not be ao absorbed in me me me and relearn to honor our parents. Not to throw around the words “toxic” or “narcissist” or “boundaries” for every little thing.

      I am sorry for your loss, and I am also sorry that your mom missed out on a relationship with you and her grandson.

      *again, I agree…the above doesn’t apply in casea of sexual abuse, or extreme abuse.


      • Joanna
        August 5, 2023 @ 10:41 am

        You have hit it spot on! Excluding extreme abuse, we do our best and then held accountable for the rest of our lives for every perceived slight. This generation will someday see what they have done with their Me, Me, Me, attitude when their children hold them accountable for every slight. It will be too late, but a lesson learned.


  12. Cc
    July 12, 2023 @ 8:05 am

    Forgiveness is a tool, that is a gift to yourself.
    Do not hold onto anger. It’s like acid inside your body and will only destroy you from the inside out.


    • Amy McGuire
      July 21, 2023 @ 9:15 pm

      My daughter has given me the silent treatment for over 3 years. I have 2 children with a Narcissist who cheated, lied and manipulated me and my children. We have been divorced for almost 20 years. My daughter instantly forgave her father and his affair partner. And my daughter is friends with his affair partner still today (even though she isn’t with my ex, because my daughter gets her employment through her) I am held to a different standard. If I don’t jump when she wants something, the silent treatment is used. Even though your post is beautifully written, there is always another side to the coin. I hope you and your poor mother finds peace.


  13. Keri
    July 12, 2023 @ 9:29 am

    Carrie. ♥️ Thank you for sharing so intimate with us. You’re words about your Mother were beautifully expressed although I my heart hurt as I read them.


  14. Kathy Mervine
    July 13, 2023 @ 4:15 am

    This is such a beautiful post, Carrie. So many of us know what you are feeling now. Hopefully you will find some comfort in some good memories.


  15. Sheryl Drzewicki
    July 13, 2023 @ 6:05 pm

    Thank you for sharing.
    My sister ,my only sister and I were Estranged for over 20 years .I tried everything to understand the Why, she was my big sister and I thought she would be the one to guide me through life .
    My mom died at the age of 47 of brain cancer so she was supposed to be my rock .
    But these large bottle of Scotch were the only thing that mattered in her life,more than her husband ,children and family. It was so strange that people tried to make me fix it when they had no idea the turmoil I was dealing with.
    I tried so hard over the years to find a way to get her back into my life. She passed away in September of 2022 .There was a funeral , I felt so conflicted going , my nephews welcomed me with opened arms ,they told me that she died of alcohol induced dementia .So up until the very end that dam bottle was the most important thing in her life.
    My Statement below ,

    “Don’t judge someone else a story on the chapter you walked in on “


  16. Gabriela C
    July 21, 2023 @ 2:53 am

    Thinking out loud: it seems to me these days that millennials easily and unfaily judge their parents using today’s proliferation of mental health acess and standards of well-being, coupled with the technological advancements of information at our fingertips, when there was non available 30 years ago.


    • NL
      July 23, 2023 @ 2:46 am

      YES. You articulated this exactly as I was thinking.

      And of course a therapist just validates whatever they say.

      It’s so awful and a real shame.


  17. Autumn
    July 21, 2023 @ 9:52 am

    This hits me so close to home! Especially the part about having to choose living my life or living hers. She made me choose between everyone and her. I had to stop speaking to her when the toxicity became physical illness for me. Severe depression and anxiety mixed with her warped world view were my constant normal. I struggled so long and one day I just stopped talking to her. I felt amazing and free. I felt like I could make my life amazing. That is when it occurred to me that she had stopped speaking to me first when I refused to give her more money. That is when I realized she only ever really talked to me or was sweet and pleasant when she needed something. Even as a child, I was meant to be useful…and if I wasn’t, I was left on my own to play for hours. It was hard and painful to cut that cord, but in the end I am healthier and happier without her in my life. I wish parents whose adult children can’t speak to them would understand that their own self reflection and improvement could have possibly prevented estrangement. Yes, I say “can’t ” instead of “won’t ” because most of us adult children would if we could, but we just can’t talk to them. Our lives depend on it.


  18. Emily Trice
    July 22, 2023 @ 11:40 pm

    This is an important topic. There are many examples in these threads and in the essay that describe abuse. Abuse leaves trauma and physical and mental impacts that are held in the mind and body until they are processed and healed from. If the person that traumatized or abused does not work to repent, change and seek transformation (seek treatment, healing, and mental healthcare), being near them will only retraumatize and bring further harm.

    Some people are unwilling or unable to be in healthy relationship. Of course have compassion and forgive that person. But that does not mean you put yourself or others in harms way by continuing to allow abusive people to abuse you. While forgiveness is the precursor to restoration, forgiveness and reconciliation/restoration are not the same thing.

    On the other side of the equation, plenty of people who are living in shame, addiction or mental illness cut their families off. My heart breaks for parents with unhealthy adult children who have cut off loving parents/family. But again, some people are unwilling or unable to be in healthy relationship. Sadly, there will be no satisfying explanations on this side of heaven.

    For so many years I was the judgmental Christian who rolled their eyes at family estrangements and people who could not get a long with their family. Then a brother lied, stole and manipulated me. I almost lost my sanity because I wanted so badly to believe him. I love my brother, but he is dangerous and our codependent relationship almost took me down.

    The best I can commit right now is to love and not judge those who are experiencing an estrangement. I want to be the kind of person who knows there are two sides to every story and who tries to listen, love well, and help people find safety so they can try to find perspective and healing.

    People are complex and often emotions and trauma change our view of people. Most people don’t know the pain they have inflicted on their parent or child. Some people simply can’t or won’t change. The natural consequence to an unwillingness to own or change abusive behavior is loss of relationship.

    My mother once told me, everyone is an example. Some people are an example of how to be and some people are an example of how not to be. Both are instructive and both can bless others. I am so sorry to hear about a mother’s abusive and chaotic behavior that hurt her children. But, I have gratitude that through that experience, people can and do learn a “new way.” May this “new way” bless many generations to come!


  19. Mark
    August 5, 2023 @ 9:03 pm

    Thank you. I’ve read this three times today and thought about it all day. You put, beautifully in words, what so many are feeling.


  20. ScholarlyScribes with P O NKOANA
    November 26, 2023 @ 1:22 pm

    The comments are rather heartbreaking, to some extent, we have ‘the same’ struggles and experiences.

    Blood is not thicker than your mental health.


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