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Parents estranged from their adult children

white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion

I dedicated myself to be the best part time dad I could be, child support never waned, visits never avoided and maintained a basic level of required communication with their mother regardless of the abrasiveness she gave


At 12yo my eldest came to live with me. I was suspicious my ex was influencing my youngest and at 14yo "D" rang me "I dont want to see you anymore". 7 words I'll never forget. There was no argument, nothing to indicate a problem and no answer given as to a reason. So the months ticked over, gifts sent etc. At 16yo she had a back operation but refused me to visit the hospital. Her mother secretive. My ex had narcissistic tendencies, silence as a weapon was her cherished one, my daughter the same.


So in summary the years leading up to 3 years ago was a matter of getting a message every year or two on Facebook "Hi dad". Then what would follow is up to 2 weeks of words, expression of a new start, plans of meeting up, discussion on our lives... then? gone. She'd block me. She refused to use any other form of communication like phone, letter etc because (as I found out from her friend) - then I'd know where she lived and besides, by blocking me on FB she had control. So 3 years ago when she was 28yo  "Hi dad". I was to give it one last try. I told her we all have choices even her father. Her friend told me she believed I'd always let her back into my life as I was "soft". After 10 days- gone! blocked


I took 3 months to make a decision. Was I to remain vulnerable, hurt regularly or could move on?  I realised that I HAD to move on for my sanity and therefore the health and well being of my family. My eldest daughter has nothing to do with her nor her birth mother- why? because she experienced the same narcissistic treatment


One day I looked up my youngest FB page- she had unblocked me. I reached for the computer mouse and pressed "block". The hardest action I'd made ever, I knew I'd need to stick with my decision or indeed I'd be that "soft" dad 


If she comes knocking I'd talk.  I'd ask her why she threw me away, what she wanted to gain by visiting and what actions she has made to improve herself in terms of treating others with respect, I would not ask about her life, kids, partner 


Self preservation, like charity, begins at home. Thoughts?



3 Replies 3

Community Member

Hi TonyWK,


I think it has to be self preservation in the end because there is only so much a person can go through before they need to make that decision for themselves. To protect themselves even though they love the other person deeply and have always tried their best.


It sounds like you did everything you could and let yourself be vulnerable to the way your youngest daughter interacted with you. I expect that even when she did contact you, it would have probably been like walking on eggshells the whole time, just waiting for the next 'block'.


This may not even be something you want at this stage (or ever, only you can decide that) but maybe at some point she might realise the effect of her behaviour and come round to a more respectful and caring position.


I do agree that self preservation begins at home. All the best TonyWK.



Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree sadly..In some ways I have empathy for your daughter. When you are a young child, your mother is your god, you go to them for food, clothing, comfort, the list is endless. Sure we love our dads too but there’s something different when you come from someone. Your very existence and how you form relationships with people is learned by what you witness, how she relates to you, her husband, and other people. I always had the feeling that something was “off” with my mother, I didn’t like the way she made me feel. And my mother was pretty emotionally abusive and controlling. And it took me 25 years to really grasp what abuse even was, for me it was just my normal. Your daughter has simply followed what was shown, and mimicked the tactics wielded by your ex-wife. She may not even fully realize she’s doing it, or she may have a similar manipulative streak and have learnt that is the way you “negotiate” ie force your will on someone. The only way you can truly deal with people like that is to choose not to play, as you have done. I find the toughest part is the “wishing things would have been different” but then I remind myself to assess people as they are. And in that case, I tend to avoid the trap of throwing myself repeatedly into damaging situations and hoping for an alternate outcome. Another option may be to explain to her that you will not maintain a relationship with her while ever she uses tactics such as blocking, silent treatment etc. But if she wants to have a normal healthy relationship with clear communication then you are open to that. But she would need to do the necessary work before that takes place. 

Two very good empathetic replies, thankyou.


I'm coping well now. I suppose telling this story can give insight to others in similar situations  of how there can be a happy life beyond losing a child from estrangement. 


Hope is a belief that is underrated. Determination for a more stable life is within our grasp but demands time.


A organisation called DIDS, dads in distress, are very helpful.