My Son Doesn’t Speak To Me Anymore

Google+ Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr +


Remember this. There is no job security, be it a CEO, a President, or a parent. Yes, your parent credentials are constantly up for review. You can be fired without cause at any moment. There is no HR to appeal to. Appealing to your son or daughter goes unanswered. The silence is excruciating.

Estrangement is not in any parenting book. There are no signs to warn you about the slippery road ahead.

Unless a child’s estrangement happens to you, it may seem like some weird thing that happens to others, not to you. You may have heard of cases where grandparents, whose estranged child uses the grandchildren as a cudgel and won’t allow their parents to see their grandchildren. Some grandparents sue for visitation rights, a harrowing road of legal maneuvers, days in court, pleading with judges.

Everyone’s story of estrangement is unique but no less heart wrenching. Yes, some parents are drunks, addicts, batterers, crazy, money-sucking bastards who deserve what they get – to be estranged by their children – but just as many parents who are drunks, addicts, batterers, crazy, money-sucking bastards are still loved, watched over and cared for by their children. This is what makes estrangement so insidious…you don’t know if the ground you are walking on is a minefield or just a rocky path. You don’t know until after your fateful misstep.

My story is about a thousand oblivious cuts, little things that happened along the way in a parental relationship that became an irreparable wound that cannot be healed.

My younger son chose to click delete.

I consulted a therapist to see if she could ‘do anything’. I thought she might have some helpful insight but as I was talking to her, telling her my story, I realized I was doing everything I could to cope – read books, blogs, forums on estrangement – all offering useless tips about how to carry on with your life, about letting go, moving on, insisting “You can still be happy!”

One popular book, Done With The Crying: Help and Healing for Mothers of Estranged Adult Children, has an appealing title because who wants to cry their whole life? Sadly, it is just more of the same pathetic advice. I don’t blame the author who went through this nightmare herself, it’s just that there are no answers. What I really want to know was how to get my son back. I’d pay any amount of money or walk on glass if someone could help me. However, it’s a completely unrealistic expectation.

The human mind is capable of many things from believing liars to spinning the truth to accommodate one’s personal vision of the world. Who knows what my son was thinking or how he arrived at the decision to erase me from his life. I’m not a psychic.

There are groups on Facebook that allow parents of estranged children to rant, grieve and question what happened.

I log into the groups every so often so I can see that I’m not alone. The posts and comments are gut wrenching and sickening. The groups are mainly comprised of mothers, trying their best to support each other often with virtual hugs. Why am I reading this stuff? What am I doing to myself? Sometimes it feels like self-harm, a need to be punished for being a bad mother, a bad person.

Reading comments from desperate parents is heartbreaking and then I remember I am one of them. Their grievances are haunting. How could my children betray me? How did I raise someone to be so cruel? My son didn’t torture cats or stand over me with a knife while I was sleeping (that I know of.) There were no psychopathic traits, nothing to prepare me for abandonment and for being so viciously reviled. So vicious that it still cuts like a Samurai sword.

There are support groups for children who chose to estrange.

I try and get a handle on their mindset. Why did they choose to do that? Some you understand and some you don’t. Some adult children seem petty, narcissistic, entitled, while others made a decision to get away from controlling, manipulative, or toxic parents. I have no idea where I fit in this paradigm of rejection. Apologizing to the aggrieved for your missteps, practically begging for empathy, doesn’t even garner a response. Loving mothers make mistakes but it’s too late for apologies the silence seems to say. Everyone is miserable. The hostility is chilling.

Never-ending self-blame, going over every moment of life searching for clues, is a thankless pastime. Some things are unknowable. Relationships involve two people. I take full responsibility for my end, heck, I’ll take ALL the blame for lousy behavior, misreading situations, for not being an ideal mother.

The question is, is it better to have an ongoing contentious relationship rather than an estrangement?

Is there any benefit to maintain ties when the parties are at odds, to keep the home fires burning just in case there’s a break in the case? My brain is scrambled, feeling helplessly confused.


Read Next: Life As The Son Of An Alcoholic

About Author


  1. Thank you Judi, I’ve been looking for some sort of hope that I’m not alone in my feelings. My adult son, no longer speaks to me, he has held onto so many resentment that I never knew or suspected he would have against me. I raised my two sons on my own when their father left when they were 7 and 6. My youngest son doesn’t have any of the issues my eldest appears to have. Like you I’m bewildered as I’ve been a working Mum all my life, never relied on anyone or any government support. I’ve given my life to my children. I’ve been told that is the problem, I’ve been too good. This is why I’m bewildered as to why he despises me so much. I’ve asked him for forgiveness for anything I have said, didn’t say, did or didn’t do, I’ve really done my best, but it’s obvious my best doesn’t measure up. Just wanted to say that your post was the only post I’ve read that really captured how I’m feeling., I just wish there was a magic pill that could turn back time to see when it all started to go wrong. The struggle now is to try and find a way to find a purpose for the remainder of my life. Thank you and wishing you all the very best.

    • I feel your words entirely, Susan. I only have one child, and feeling the sense of loss around that I find myself searching for a reason to keep going. My son always was that reason. As a single mom also, I struggled quite a bit and made many many mistakes along the way. I can only hope that my son will one day soften around my imperfectness and decide to allow me back in at some point in the future, if and when it feels right for him. I want to be there for him to help process through any pain I caused him, but perhaps it’s a path he has to walk without me at this point in time. For now, I look to find meaning in a life that isn’t driven by my identity as a parent. Everything I did I did for him. Now to do what I do for me, I suppose. But every day my heart feels sad and life feels a bit empty. I miss my child. My heart goes out to you and all who know such a pain.

    • My son has admitted that he has not told me why he has stopped communicating with me. At least that. He said he appreciates that I have been patient in a letter after a year of silence. But, I have not been patient, I have been suffering. Serious grieving. Every day. Every night.l. Silence is a slap in the face. I have read every book and every article I could find. They do help me understand. But nothing cures the pain of missing my wonderful, sweet only son. Nothing.

  2. Sometimes I wake up in the morning and think, “Wow, I just had this terrible dream that my son had stopped talking with me”. That nightmare is real and it’s been 5 years since we spoke. The term “gut wrenching ” is the perfect description of how I feel when I see a young man on the street that resembles him. This article on estrangement gave me some comfort knowing that their are other mothers like me who have children that really love them. What went wrong with the relationship between my son and I?
    Part of me wants to keep trying , hoping that there will be a moment in time when he says, “I want to talk with my Mom”. Another part of me say, “Let it go and move on”.
    I appreciate this article and Susan’s comment. Thank you so much.

    • I too have estrangement from both of my children. I loved them both, gave th er m a good home in a good neighborhood with good family friends and neighbors. However, there was a divorce and it was poisonous with a exhusband who poisoned my children against me and his wife was right in the mix. Both sons got married. One has 3 daughters who are middle school and high school and I never see them. I am devastated and I too try and find meaning in my life aside from being a Mother but I just cant. My days are filled with thinking about them and deeply saddened that my grand girls have grown up without me. My whole body aches

  3. It has been 6 months since my teenage son decided he simply didn’t want to live with me or see me anymore. There were no fights, no real warning signs. He just decided he would rather live at his mother’s. He won’t respond to my call or texts. The worst part is when his 5 year old sister asks me when he is going to come home… it feels like a knife in my heart every time.

    • I have almost the exact same situation. No warning, no fall out, just decided he would rather be at his Mums house and went. He’s barely spoken to me since and is indifferent to anything I say. Heartbreaking.

  4. My daughter hasnt spoke to me for 8 years.
    if I try not to think about her i feel guilty, if i think about her I get so very sad, the sadness is total, devastating, there is no pain like it.
    Judie you said in another post that estrangement was a living death, thats exactly right, I feel like that, as with a death there is closure but none with estrangement.
    I dont kinow how she can be so cruel, she must know what pain she is putting me through.
    Like others I went through my times with her with a fine tooth comb, trying to find out what i done or said to get her to hate me so much, all i ever done was shout at her sometimes if she misbehaved and was cheeky, we shouldnt shout at children but is there a parent who hasnt shouted at their child, if so, they must be a bloody saint.
    I think all we can do is accept the situation and not let our childs cruelty towards us ruin our lives but how can ones’s flesh and blood be so sadistic, I just dont know!

  5. I first read this article on Medium, where a (much) longer version is available. W, your story touches my heart as I’m a mother whose daughter walked away, over eight years ago. I’m glad you found this piece by a mom who clearly wants her son back. I wonder whether your mom, too, feels like we do. My heart hurts with the knowledge that my daughter might have seen me as unapproachable or too strict or… whatever her gripe, for sure possessing numerous undesirable qualities. At this point, I’d like to sit together and for her to just tape my mouth shut and, face to face, tell me everything on her mind. Only when she is ready to hear my side would I open my mouth to speak. Talking to other mothers in estrangement “support” groups offers nothing useful when all I want is my daughter back.

  6. Sounds like you haven’t done enough that introspection on your actions that contributed to the son’s estrangement. Number one psychopathic tendency is to rationalize the your own wrongs as if you’re in the right. Growing resentment doesn’t just grow or become a thing for no reason. Manipulation, control, parental gaslighting, victimizing, emotional abuse (common in religious households). Children who experience these may not know how to address them but they know they are wrong based on how these actions make them feel. Can’t always blame the child when they’re a reflection of YOUR parenting.

  7. I like your snarkiness. I’m in the same situation as you with my 25 year old son. I’ve tried everything. The only thing that has really helped me is the audible book of loving what is by Byron Katie. It has helped me with my entire life how to accept situations and love things as they are.

    A wound that won’t heal… It’s still there and I think as long as I have hope of reconciliation it is never going to heal. It’s been a year without my son and I’ve come to terms with the fact that I will continue to hold out hope even if it keeps me in some level of pain.

    I’m not kidding about that book though. I was barely functioning most days until I got through it. There’s also a website where you can answer questions that help you see things differently. It’s all free on the website it’s called

Leave A Reply


Receive the latest articles and exclusive discounts straight to your mailbox!


Receive the latest articles and exclusive discounts straight to your mailbox.