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Initial post: Sep 12, 2006 5:36:33 AM PDT
How do you understand how your own parents can not love you or want anything to do with you?

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 27, 2006 4:14:40 AM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Sep 27, 2006 4:16:04 AM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 27, 2006 4:16:22 AM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Sep 27, 2006 4:16:42 AM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 14, 2007 9:00:53 AM PST
Gwen Demian says:
I wish I had an answer for you. I myself am going through a family rift. My parents and brothers have not spoken to me in three years. From the first time the words were spoken by my mother three years ago that she didn't want to have anything more to do with me to day, it is not an easy thing to deal with.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 14, 2007 9:01:18 AM PST
Gwen Demian says:
I wish I had an answer for you. I myself am going through a family rift. My parents and brothers have not spoken to me in three years. From the first time the words were spoken by my mother three years ago that she didn't want to have anything more to do with me to day, it is not an easy thing to deal with.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 14, 2007 9:02:25 AM PST
Gwen Demian says:
I wish I had an answer for you. I myself am going through a family rift. My parents and brothers have not spoken to me in three years. From the first time the words were spoken by my mother three years ago that she didn't want to have anything more to do with me to day, it is not an easy thing to deal with.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 22, 2007 8:12:05 AM PDT
First understand that not everyone was cut out to be parent. Perhaps your parent was disappointed with the parenting experience. Perhaps she thought that having a child would "cure" the problems she had in her own life- and they didn't'. This is not your fault. Try to accept your parent as a flawed individual who wasn't good at the parenting job. Then try not to repeat her mistakes (by failing to bond with your own children). That's probably the best that anyone can do . . .

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 11, 2007 8:14:03 AM PDT
maria says:
Even though I should be used to my situation by now ( it's been 10 years), my actions and thoughts prove otherwise. This is not something you get used to. But I have to believe you can find peace somehow. I just haven't figured that out. I am haunted by the past, as my husband tells me. It does help me to talk about it, and I can do that now. But I think I have isolated myself from all of my other family and friends. I fear loosing my husband and daughter over my depression.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 5, 2008 8:06:12 AM PST
Deb Sofia says:
My mother began her formal rejection about 13 years ago. That was the last time I saw her. But my life experiences indicate that she rejected me from the beginning. Very careful though never to let on to anyone that she was a bad mother. My father died 37 years ago. After tons and tons of therapy, reading books, talking with friends, the problem was that my father loved me. And she was jealous. Her favorite phrase was "You shouldn't feel that way" My sisters followed her, also breaking off their relationship with me, saying I was to get down on my hands and knees and beg her forgiveness. When she died over a year ago, I was not mentioned as a surviving daughter in the obituary, nor addressed at the funeral. Only one cousin kept me informed. Without him, I dont think I would know to this day that she died. It does not ever leave me. Ever. Friends say, 'oh you have such a good life and your daughters love you and you did not treat them the way you were treated." True words. That however does not heal my pain. I have no history. Only the present. Every day nature inspires me. I hide my depression for the very reasons you mentioned. People can not understand this dynamic. And then, there is always the idea that maybe it is our own fault. Recommendation: keep moving through the day and try to learn something new, visit someplace new, and love your family.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 5, 2008 8:57:54 AM PST
maria says:
Hi Deborah,
I just wanted to say that I feel your hurt. There isn't a whole lot of understanding out there for our situation. This has turned my world upside down. I would love to find a support group-are you close to the NY area?

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 15, 2008 12:16:55 PM PDT
reader says:
Is anyone still on this thread? My mother disowned me just recently and I have not been able to find a good online support group.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 26, 2008 12:00:01 PM PDT
D. Henson says:
i havent been on it since my last post. seems that this is such an unusual scenario, i have also not found any other blog, site that covers this. if you want we could send email to each other, or we could continue here. have you posted before? this type of betrayal is very very difficult. so sorry that you have to experience it. i've decided that the only action that i am capable of is to continue loving my daughters and husband and friends and tell myself that none of them will ever reject or abandon or disown anyone. they have heard this story and realize how painful existence becomes. it simply is not our job here on this planet to hurt others.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 26, 2008 6:48:50 AM PDT
I was estranged from my entire family of origin for 14 years. I can honestly say that the pain of estrangement is profoundly deep and isolating.

I found that support from others going through the same experience was invaluable. There are online support groups. A good place to start is Mark Sichel's group at:

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 15, 2008 11:05:56 AM PDT
Carolyn says:
My mother began her rejection of me since I was a child (schoolage). She competed with me
for Dad's love and ultimately won. She was a cold unfeeling person that gave no affection or
love my whole childhood. My father's affections were laced with emotional incest and power games that hurt me over and over again. I have six other siblings who turned against me to save themselves. When my mother was angry at me for whatever, she had
my dad beat me till I was covered with bruises often. I think my Dad might of had some feeling for me once, but I think he really is a narcisstic, psychopath. My teenage years were troubled with
drugs, alcohol and cutting out of school. Basically disappearing. Till one day I met my husband at 16 who seemed to have a future and a family and they were nice to me. Then my parents decided to
move to CT from LI, NY and told me I couldn't go with them. So at 21 I had no where to go. I had a job, but didn't make enough to support my self so me and my boyfriend (now husband) decided to get married.
He joined the Airforce and we lived together in England. My parents continued to ignore me and never came to visit me or call. They called me every six months to see if I was alive. I think they were hoping I was a mess and needed them. I didn't need rejection anymore.
My marriage has been bumpy at times, but we always seem to work it out. At 27 I decided to go into counseling/group thereapy and spent 7 years there. When I ended therapy I was functioning healthier then ever.. I worked at a good job, bought a house,then at 36 I decided to have a baby.
I've loved being a parent and never do the horrible things my parents did to me to my son. My parents never loved me and still don't. Today I am writing to you to say life gets better if you live it. But the pain they did to me still hurts till this day. And now and then I cry on my knees because they hate me so much and I don't really don't know why except for being a kid, wrapped up in an abusive, sick family that I had to fight to survive in. Regarding the pain I manage it, it does not control my life. I just pretend they are dead. Because they really are. My only regret is they didn't love me. They missed out on a wonderful daughter that had so much to give them. I hope my story helps you. You deserve so much. Parent yourself and love yourself and find others that can too.
Give to you a life worth living.

Posted on Feb 28, 2009 11:38:41 AM PST
[Deleted by the author on Feb 28, 2009 11:40:11 AM PST]

Posted on May 12, 2010 10:50:36 PM PDT
butterfly says:
For many years my family held family reunions without me. I was the family "scapegoat." Everything bad was put on me so the rest of the family members could feel good about themselves. I am now 69 years old and have moved to another state and created a "new family" for myself. I do have an older sister who stays in contact with me and understands the situation. Fortunately, I am a psychologist, so I have adapted to this situation by rejecting all of them except my older sister. My mother died last year and I was disinherited in her will. I felt nothing but relief when she finally died. She spent her whole life manipulating others to believe her lies. My brother and sisters decided to believe her. As part of rejecting my family, I came to the conclusion that if these people were not blood related to me, I would have never chosen to be around them. Reminding myself of this, helped me alot.

In reply to an earlier post on May 29, 2011 2:51:16 PM PDT
AP says:
Thank you for your post. I'm dealing with being disowned right now. I'm 30, and my parent disowned me 3 years ago. My mother, father, and baby brother no longer speak to me, return my calls or emails. They act as though I dont exist anymore. They stopped talking to me because I married a black man, and I am white. My family on my mothers side still talks to me and accepts me, but my father's side of the family are extreme racists. I have a middle brother who speaks to me, but he feels torn all the time. He says that he's happy for me, but that he still loves our parents. Ultimately, he usually chooses them over me. He just recently got married, so I dont know how that will all play out in really getting to know his new wife.
I feel like my family couldn't care less if I'm dead or alive...they act like I never existed in their lives at all. I live in Birmingham, Alabama and when the huge tornado came through a month ago, my aunt was the only one who called to check on me. I texted my mother later to let her know I was okay, but she never called me back or texted me. My aunt recently told me they moved to another state...I dont even know where they live now.
This is just really hard and its tearing me apart. I was so close to my family...the only girl of three children to them. I dont know what to do to make these feelings of hurt, anger, saddness, betrayal...go away. Any advice? Thanks so much...

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 28, 2011 3:02:13 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 28, 2011 3:05:45 PM PDT
lina says:
Hi, you were spot on when you said that if your family members were not related to you, one would never have chosen to be around them. they say you can choose your friends but not your family ! Like you, for years my family held family reunions, wedding receptions, christmases, birthdays celebrations without me. Anything embarassing or negative was blamed on me so as to not tarnish the family's image and reputation. I always felt my mum's hatred of me in everything I accomplished or do, the way I look or dress. She is even jealous of the the affection my husband lavish on me ! Anyway, my family disowned me when I refused to give in to mum's demands and manipulations. I stood up to her, refused to be manipulated by her, and challenged her authourity. Consequently,she pitted my siblings against me and I am disowned ! I found out that my dad died on facebook ! No one has the decency to inform me about dad's funeral. Till this day I still do not know why mum hates me and disowned me. It is not an easy thing to deal with but life goes on.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 3, 2011 2:01:25 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Nov 3, 2011 2:45:01 PM PDT
NewsView says:
I suspect I know the answer as to why some people are ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN that they have good cause to take the extreme and emotionally punitive action of estrangement against their own blood.

One caveat: The following assumes that the estrangement in question didn't begin with you (the estranged one) lying, cheating, stealing, committing crimes, enabling an addiction or going off your meds (in the event of serious mental illness):

Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD).

My admittedly layperson take on the above is this:

In the narcissist's mind there is no "you" because YOU don't have similar thoughts, feelings or reactions. They don't owe you the benefit of the doubt. If you should be hurt it is only because you first chose to hurt THEM. In the narcissist's mind, keeping score is a BIG DEAL.

Because the world revolves around the narcissist anything you do --- even if your behavior is not emotionally, physically or financially abusive --- is an incursion on the holy trinity of "me, myself and I". Every narcissist is looking for a scapegoat and every narcissistic head of family will designate a "black sheep". The challenge for the CHILD designated as a black sheep or scapegoat of the family is not to live down to the narcissist's expectations, which is to say make stupid choices, say stupid things (that they can use for ammo) or to in any way fulfill the narcissist's self-fulfilling prophecy. If and when your sense of hurt, frustration or injustice triggers you to respond inappropriately to a narcissist --- to confront them, say, in a big blow up --- they will use it as a means to manipulate other family member's perceptions to reflect their own. Manipulation is a necessary component to narcissism because otherwise their illness would be apparent to everyone around them. The narcissist cannot tolerate differences of opinion; he/she must surround him/herself with yes-men, kiss-ups, enablers and people who will not share their spotlight.

With ever-present deference to EGO even the smallest interactions or unintended infractions can take on the perception of a slight in the narcissist's mind. Say for instance you show up late for the narcissist's birthday party. A friend's disappointment in this situation would stem from the desire to see and spend time with you --- because the party wasn't complete without you. A narcissist's disappointment may show itself in the form of an objection to your "excuse", the claim "you aren't taking responsibility" and this behavior has crossed a "boundary". In a rational person's mind the response might go more like: "I am disappointed in you at the moment but it will blow over and life will go on." In the narcissists mind NO disappointment is worth forgiving and forgetting!

Contrast this relational dynamic with depression or low self-esteem, which is what self-help authors and psychologists tend to propose as the culprit of estranged or broken relationships. If you have the type of estrangement that began with a true HURT your chance of mending fences is much, much improved because the hurt suggests that that party still cares about what you think. But in the narcissists mind the core issue is about RESPECT: "March to my drum or else!"

A person who distances themselves from you because they are hurt fears intimacy, vulnerability and criticism. If and when they feel safe they will mend fences. By contrast, the narcissist becomes totally estranged out of indifference. In such cases, the perpetrator may not even bother to overtly announce their estrangement. They just walk away. They may not have a real justification and they may not even attempt to offer one.

Consider the statement: "The opposite of love is hate". Except that's not necessarily true: Love and hate have in common PASSION. These states of mind and being are "engaged" for good or for ill with others. Therefore, the opposite of love is not hate but INDIFFERENCE. Now you see the problem that the narcissist has: He/she can't cross the relational divide any more than someone can manufacture romantic love. The capacity to love is either there or it's not. They cannot be convinced that their behavior is outrageous because they are simply being true to their nature.

The narcissistic personality disorder is one that is marked by an inability to relate to others. Whereas the sociopath undermines others out of hate, the narcissist undermines relationships through his/her selfishness. There is only one valid set of feelings, opinions and perceptions politically, professionally or personally: Their own. Narcissism may very well be a neurological disorder, perhaps a milder version of Asperger's Syndrome.

Some self-help books postulate that a weak self-esteem underlies family estrangement but in fact I disagree. It is an act of CONTROL to decide who will or will not be in your life. It is an act of narcissism not to forgive. The person with low self-esteem may initiate a broken relationship due to anger but continue the estrangement out of shame or worries of rejection. They fear that the break in the relationship has gone on too long to repair, and if you knew the guilt they feel you would understand that they have hurt themselves just as much as they hurt you by their actions. The person with a narcissistic personality, on the other hand, worries about dominance. He/she does not regret the choices that give them a sense of calling the shots. When you approach the narcissist to mend fences it's still about "who's right" and "who's wrong".

Perhaps we can learn to forgive when we realize that narcissistic people are not rational. They don't need our pity because they are not "depressed", either. They are sick. And it is the very nature of this peculiar sickness to blame every perception of annoyance or frustration on others, and to not "let go" of the grievance because to mend that relationship would be to share (yield control). Above all, the narcissist is not humble. You can know them by the fact that they're never going to come forward and apologize. They won't make the first move. And you won't catch them bragging about being the "bigger person" to ignore or forgive others' flaws.

Narcissism is much like color blindness. The emotional and interpersonal landscape is always black & white.

In my view, this is a useful discussion because it helps to know who we can approach --- that person who is just too embarrassed or ashamed after all these years to make the first move toward reconciliation --- as opposed to the person who is distancing him- or herself from anyone and everything that might make his/her illness impossible to ignore. For what it's worth, it may be easier to forgive someone who is sick. Narcissistic personality disorder certainly qualifies as a sickness, IMHO.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 25, 2012 10:41:08 AM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Mar 25, 2012 10:41:38 AM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 30, 2012 2:46:12 PM PDT
butterfly says:
As long as you keep thinking about them, they are manipulating you. They are pressuring you to change. They insist that they are right and you are wrong. Looking to the past or what has happened is the definition of depression. You will feel better when you focus on the present/today or the future, not on the past.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 30, 2012 2:50:44 PM PDT
butterfly says:
The scapegoat in the family is usually the strongest, independant member that is not destroyed or crushed by the weight of the families bad traits being placed on them. Be glad that you are the strongest and healthiest member of your family.

In reply to an earlier post on May 1, 2012 4:39:47 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on May 1, 2012 4:40:19 PM PDT]

Posted on May 8, 2012 3:32:02 PM PDT
My mother and sister disowned me 5 years ago this month because I dared to question my mother and had the confidence to contact my father who I had not seen for 22 years. When they divorced she manipulated the situation so we didn't have contact with him, and lied to us about what had happened so we grew up believing he didn't want to see us. I hurt deeply every day because of how she has abandoned me. But it is nothing new. As a teenager I wasn't allowed to have my own emotions and my feelings were too strong for her. She couldn't cope with the fact that I tried to express my hurt rather that I should be a quiet, good little girl and not be so attention seeking. I now have 2 beautiful daughters who are freethinking, emotional, expressive and thank goodness free from the anxieties of being around my controlling mother. I would love to email people in a similar situation for support and understanding. People just say 'can't you talk to her and sort it out, apologise and it will be ok.' people just don't get it!!!

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 9, 2012 5:27:21 PM PDT
Nini says:
NewsView : Thank you for your post. This is exactly what I am faced with in my life. I have been rejected by my daughter and have come to realize that she has NPD. It is a devastating situation, because everything that I have tried so far has failed and I have decided to move on and not expect her to ever acknowledge me. To this situation, her reaction has been that I am to blame, since I did not answer her last email, and did not want to interact any longer with somebody who was accusing me of the very things she does, which are to be manipulative, to not take ownership for things that hurt me, and for being self-centered. I have been devastated by the finality of it, and have been in much emotional pain. My first granddaughter had her first birthday yesterday. This all came with the cost of not seeing her, not being in her life, since I did not and could not allow her demands (basically to accept her accusations and discuss the above said "problems" that I have). There has never been any instance where I have not been willing to discuss our differences, but she decided that I am the problem and that I need to obey her rules, or respect the boundaries that she has established.

I am now facing the danger of being estranged from my son, who is 4 years younger than her, and who she manipulated all her life, rejecting him and calling him crazy to his face, because she has decided that he is valuable to her and therefore in the "in" group. I have never really qualified and have always felt that I embarrassed her, since her teenage years, because I don't play the game of pleasing others and say it like it is. As she has grown up and become a more sophisticated person, her narcissism has also become more evident, but as you know, people with this disorder are very, very good at manipulating every situation to their benefit and of twisting every single thing that you might say or do, to their benefit. The reason I know this, is because her father is an extremely charming, conniving narcissistic, and I have dealt with this type of person for at least 36 years.

Admitting that she has NPD has been very difficult, but I also realize that there is no other avenue for me to explore, and I am entitled to being happy and to learn that no matter what I do, she will always want to put me down. My choice has been to not maintain any contact. Of course, if she were to realize and have a change of heart, and come to me, I would welcome her back, but I feel that she will not. I only see this happening if she would be capable of guilt and of remorse. I cannot go to her, as she will continue to mistreat me and the abusive relationship would certainly continue.

I hope this discussion helps other people who are suffering this same rejection and that are looking for some reinforcement that they are not crazy, and not to blame in situations like this. I have been going to therapy for this fractured relationship for over 4 years. I will never lose hope and stop praying for a resolution to this problem, but I have chosen to continue living and remembering that I am capable of making good, solid relationships with people who value who I am and what I have to offer. I have not yet read the book, but had to reply to your post, as you are dead on. Thank you again.
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Participants:  22
Total posts:  28
Initial post:  Sep 12, 2006
Latest post:  Oct 28, 2013

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Healing From Family Rifts : Ten Steps to Finding Peace After Being Cut Off From a Family Member
Healing From Family Rifts : Ten Steps to Finding Peace After Being Cut Off From a Family Member by Mark Sichel (Paperback - February 1, 2004)
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