Edited from an article by Debbie Pincus, MS LMHC
We ask ourselves what did I do? What could I have done differently? Is there something wrong with me? her? Sometimes we do know the reason because of serious past problems. It is hard on everyone: you, your partner, the rest of the family, and of course the estranged adult child themselves. They still want a relationship with their parent, no matter what. But often, as parents, we are in the dark about what really happened. Sometimes we have an idea but are not sure. What we want to do of course is to blame it on everything else – not us … money issues, personality conflicts, divorce or difficult family dynamics. At the end of the day, we usually do blame it on ourselves and try to fix it.
Shutting a person out is a response to anxiety. Cutting off is a way people manage anxiety when they don’t know a better way. The love and caring is there; the ability to solve differences is not.