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How can I make things better ? I'm at a total loss.

Community Member

Hi all,
New member of the forums here and to be honest, this is a big step for me.

I am an estranged father of two children who are now 26 and 20 years old. I left the family home in 2006 not knowing this would mean I would essentially also be divorcing my children. There was no domestic violence. I would never raise a hand to anyone let alone a woman.

At the time, my children were 13 and 7. After a protracted legal battle where my ex was asking for sole custody, the judge decided that, in light of my son's age, he could see me "in accordance with his wishes"; he decided that would be never. Naturally he was never encouraged to maintain a relationship with me. My daughter, was ordered to spend every second Saturday with me. Based on the angst it would cause her, overnights were ruled out by the judge. She complied with these orders and despite being civil with me during these visits, the relationship was always strained. When I picked her up, she sat in the back seat always. She never called me dad. There was never any hugging or signs of affection. Not so much as a card for Father's day, birthdays or Christmas. As her 18th birthday approached, I enquired what would happen when the orders no longer applied. She informed me that she would no longer be seeing me. I had lost her as well.
It has been 2.5 years since I've seen my daughter and 13 years since I've seen my son. I doubt I will ever see either of them again and the pain is more than I can bear. I don't know where they live and, honestly, would not feel right reaching out to two people who despise me so much.
People often tell me things will improve. But how ? When ? I can't see it.

I'm re-married with two adult stepdaughters but I miss my children. I want them to love me and include me in their lives. I doubt, if I died, they'd even come to the funeral. Sometimes I sit and just wonder what I did to deserve the cycle of pain that I have endured and will probably continue to endure until the day when it all just comes to an end.

I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy. I'll take any advice I can get.

2 Replies 2

white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi, welcome

So sad, the situation is indeed unbearable. Without going into much detail my youngest now 27yo is estranged from me by brainwashing. However in the end earlier this year it is I that severed the relationship based on narcissistic tendencies she picked up from her mother.

My eldest daughter 30 I’m close to,she doesn’t see her mother nor sister as she finds them toxic.

The pain you have isn’t repairable, this leaves us with making the most of life which just doesn’t fill the void.

The thing we parents need to consider is that our children often have more of the other parent in them than us. Add to that some or lots of negative comments about you and they don’t want to see you.

My only suggestion with contact is birthday cards. They are gentle reminders you are still around. “Wishing you a happy birthday” is enough, anymore and they can feel you are pushy. If the card is intercepted, you’ve still tried.

My youngest disowned me at 14. But in and out of my life was even more hurtful, she’d contact, we have a great few weeks then gone! Eventually I realised it was a game so decided I’m not playing it. But I have decided if she was to knock on my door I’d talk to her but not open my heart. That would be for my benefit. I’ve learned it’s ok to be selfish.

In your case do what is easiest, put yourself first, accept that even if you had contact it doesn’t mean it would be good contact. Also, it is their loss.

They say “you can’t pick your family” well yes you can,the friend that cares for you, the step daughters that accept you, the wife that worries for you are family.

The old saying also is relevant “no good of punishing yourself over things you cannot control”. People you can’t control especially if they are influenced or your personalities don’t mesh.

Rising above it all takes mental strength. The grief will come and go.Xmas doesn’t help.

Please google these and read the first post

Beyondblue topic losing a child

beyondblue topic festering issues or moving on

beyondblue topic rejection it’s hard to swallow

beyondblue topic only the strongest survive make it YOU

beyondblue topic 30 minutes can change your life

beyondblue topic inner peace,the glory of being you

Beyondblue topic focus and never ever give up

I wish you a good 2020. It will be with some new plans, distractions, keeping busy.

Repost anytime



Community Champion
Community Champion


elcome to the forum.

Tony has given you helpful suggestion and share his lived experience.

I can feel you pain and sadness through your words.

Before you were divorced were children close to you?

Do your children have a stepdad?

A distant relative divorced after a long marriage and one of his adult children cut off contact for years . He missed his first grandchild's first few years then one day he made contact with his child.

It took another a year and slowly they now have a relationship.

I know that is different to your situation .

I agree with Tony you need to look after yourself. It is very sad when children cut their parents out of their lives.