25 Estranged Parents Reveal Why Their Progeny Chose No-Contact With Them

Published 2 weeks ago

We read enough and more stories online to know that many parents and their children are in a no-contact situation. While it is hard to imagine what could have driven both parties to embrace such a dire action, the reality is that many people are undergoing this particularly unique experience. 

Recently, moms and dads opened up about what caused such an estrangement within their families. Scroll below to read some of the most raw and honest reasons folks shared on the thread. 

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#1 Father to the daughter that cut off contact with her mother, my wife, here.

Image source: warrant2k, Kindel Media / Pexels

Mother is (still) a narcissist, emotionally and mentally abused the kids until they moved out one by one. Mother also a functioning alcoholic.

The daughter (moved to a different state) cut off all contact with her mother, vowed to never let her see the grandchildren. Mother spent months raging, trying weak apologies, saying things like, “I’m sorry you’re upset.” and “You need to grow past what happened.” and (to me) “She is stuck in the past.”

Daughter and I are very close, I facetime with the grandbabies regularly, and visit on holidays.

Edit to add: thanks everyone for your insight and stories. I feel every one. To answer some questions:

Why am I still married?

My youngest daughter has one more year of college that I’m paying for, then that will be it. I make significantly more money than the wife, and pay for everything. However, my state is a 50/50 state for divorce, and I need that money to get my girl through college. Up for grabs is my military pension, 401k, IRA, house, and savings. I’m certainly not rich by any means. Cheaper to keep her for now.

Why didn’t I leave way back then?

She wasn’t a psycho all the time. The good times were great, amazing. I hoped that if I could just keep those going it’s all work out. I was stupidly optimistic. I also came from a broken family, my parents divorced when I was young and I hated that. In my mind “divorce was bad” and I didn’t want to inflict that on my kids. Now that I can look back I realize I should have left much earlier.

Too often it was like walking on eggshells in the house. She may snap on something, or get drunk then come out raging and gaslighting. I was always on edge. That was my norm. Being in the military has taught me to toughen up and do job. So that’s what I did at home.

But toughening up meant keeping my emotions to myself. Burying them away, putting on a strong face. We’d argue and fight, she’d cry and yell. I could never get her to change.

People that are in abusive relationships get into a certain mindset. You ever hear a cabinet slam too hard? Ever have clothes folded at you? Hear dishes put on the sink a little too loud? You’re suddenly on high alert, on the lookout for anything coming your way. Waiting for the steps down the hall and your door fly open. It’s a terrible way to live.

I should have made many different decisions, been stronger, gotten help earlier. Maybe being always in survival mode doesn’t let you think about those things. I regret many things and will always carry that with me.

But now I look to the future and the happy times I’ll have with my kids grandkids. I want to be the papa and grampa I never had.

Thanks for reading this far, I’d love to give you all a big dad hug. Because you are worth it, and you deserve it. Take care. ♥️.

#2 My mom loves the non apologies. “I’m sorry you’re upset.” “I’m sorry if I hurt you.” “I think we all need to learn to forgive.” Who knows what she says to my dad, who knows how to apologize, but, when the cards are down, is never *actually* apologetic. It’s exhausting.

Image source: twowaysplit, Brett Sayles / Pexels

#3 Father of three adult daughters here. I’ll give the situation as it exists now then try to explain how/why it got there.

Image source: BearSef, CDC / Unsplash

— Oldest had completely cut me out of her life. We were always distant, even when she was younger, but it got much worse as she got into her 20s. We didn’t speak for years. She is now 33 and we occasionally message when she initiates the convo. The coldest has thawed some but it is still delicate.

— Middle girl is my carbon copy and we had a good relationship when she was younger. When she hit late-teens we drifted apart. Now she is 28 with four kids, only the oldest of which I’ve ever met. Not allowed to see the others. We rarely if ever message each other.

— Youngest daughter treated me like I walked on water. Did so until just a couple of years ago. Recently (just a week or so ago) she informed me she no longer wants any contact with me.

As for the how/why part, I was raised in a single parent home. My mother did her best to provide for our needs but she was cold and distant. No hugs. Any event in school I was automatically blamed before she had any details. If it was proven I was innocent, she would brush off her previous accusation by claiming she was sure I probably did something anyway. Lots more I can add here. Some of it too sensitive to share even in an anonymous board.

I hated the way she was and vowed I would do things differently when/if I had children. Well, I had children. While I did attempt to change my behaviors from what I’d experienced, I slowly added my own ingredients to this soup.

Essentially, I ran our home as a military installation. My girls were quickly and harshly disciplined for even the most minor of offenses. While there were occasional spankings when they were little, the discipline evolved into very binary (go / no go) rules. For instance, you are expected to get this minimum score on a test at school or you can’t go to your friend’s house on the weekend. You didn’t make that grade, you were not going. If you cried and begged and pleaded, you were still not going but now I would restrict / remove some other thing you wanted for not accepting your fate. And so on.

When they did things that were good, I would more or less dismiss this as me not rewarding them for what they should have done anyway.

Basically, they couldn’t win.

I believed at the time that I was building strong girls into strong women. It feels as though I’ve done the exact opposite.

On the rare occasions I do hear from them, and the subject of the past comes up (this is very rare) I get the “I don’t hate you but I don’t want you in my life.” speech. It’s deserved but that doesn’t lessen the sting.

My hope for the future is, as they grow older, time passing will allow them to be more comfortable around me. As they are all adults now, my desire to control them as I did when they were kids is gone. I simply want an adult-child/parent relationship. I guess I haven’t earned that right, but I still hope for it one day.

This comment is late in this post’s life so it probably doesn’t really get seen; nevertheless, it has been cathartic to type it out.

#4 My mother and I didn’t talk for a few years. When I went away to college she said, “If you get on that plane, don’t bother coming back home.” I fell in love while in college and got engaged and he abused me. I never told my mom because I didn’t think she cared. It was my brother that came to another state to check on me. I finally did come back home but things were never the same.

Image source: ImACrawley, Jason Toevs / Pexels

#5 My father recently died with 2/5ths of his kids talking to him.  Both of those two had considered cutting contact.

I had a few emails exchanges with him before he died to discuss why he had never met my daughter.  He made excuses for what he could and denied the rest. He couldn’t live with his actions, I think.

Anyway, he told everyone that all his kids were just mentally ill and it wasn’t his fault.  I think he honestly believed it.

Then he ended up stealing 5/6ths of the money my mom had left to us kids (with him as trustee) and gave it to his second wife.  Guy was a f*****g prince.

Image source: Uglypants_Stupidface

#6 Not me but I was on a Facebook group a few weeks back where this older woman in her 60s claimed to be estranged from her kids, and she didn’t know why. She assumed that the kids were hard to deal with and she did her best but no matter what they were always out to get her or feel that she was being aggressive.

Image source: GeronimoJak, RF._.studio / Pexels

When someone made a comment or suggestion saying that the way she phrases things may contribute to it based on how she spoke, this woman flipped out on the person who commented. When I followed saying if that’s how she speaks to them, then I can see why they may feel that way, she flipped out on me saying I don’t know her story and that she was the nicest person she ever knew.

Some people just genuinely don’t have the mental capacity to learn how to grow.


#7 My daughter hasn’t spoken to much in the last 2 years. She’ll come to family (her grandparents aunts/uncles/cousins), but only replies to anything I say with one or two word answers.

Image source: G1optimusprime, Kelly / Pexels

I wish I could say I don’t know why. But I do. Her mom said she feels I put her second after her mom and divorced. I keep trying to rebuild that bridge. Hopefully in time.

The take away is this. It doesn’t matter how you perceive things, it’s how your child does. Don’t ever let them doubt how you feel about them.

#8 I had a daughter that my parents kept making plans to come see, but then cancelling the day before each time. The last time, when my daughter was already packed to go see grandma and grandpa, and we had been hyping it to her for weeks, they called and cancelled the trip with no excuse and then I later found out they went to a baseball game with their friends instead.

I was used to this kind of abandonment and would laugh it off in the past, but as I held my 6 year old daughter while she cried her eyes out, I vowed she’d never know that kind of unreliability in her life.

That was the last time I spoke to them. My wife wrote them a letter a few years ago, but they never wrote back. My daughter is 14 now and I am toying with the idea of allowing her to meet them since she’s more mature, but they’d probably just cancel again. .

Image source: vand3lay1ndustries

#9 I am one of those Moms who always felt that providing for my kids, taking them on vacations, buying them what they needed was enough, didn’t realize love and nurturing were essential ingredients. Now my daughter is 28 and cannot hold a job, emotionally insecure, depressed and blaming me for her failures. She made me realize ( and therapy helped ) that how my actions, behavior might make a child feel they are not valued or loved. I am remorseful and regretting all my actions but unfortunately cannot undo the damage caused.

Image source: Crankyolelady_1967, Karolina Kaboompics / Pexels

#10 A lot of kids commenting here. I’m a dad who’s estranged from my adult daughter. It’s been complicated. Her mom is a narcissist and bipolar. She left me with the kids when they were becoming teens after some massive weight loss. Went to chase a man. Unfortunately my daughter didn’t fall far from her mother’s tree. Tried everything with her, but she acted out, ran away from home, almost tore apart my 2nd marriage, etc. It was a nightmare. Constant lashing out, constant quitting school, constant burning through jobs, constant stealing from the house. As an adult she stole 5000 from me, and only really reaches out when she needs rescuing from her bad decisions. I developed PTSD from all my time dealing with her poor decisions and it lead to my heavy drinking and some health problems. She blames me for all her bad decisions and it’s horrible. Last time she reached out to me was father’s day with a wall of text calling me a deadbeat.

For context, I have an older adult son living with me and going to college, and I adopted my 2nd wife’s daughter. We all have a pretty solid relationship. It just sucks I can’t have one with my older daughter, it literally was killing me.

Image source: redbirdrising

#11 My kids still speak to me, but not much. I’m better than I was, but I was a c**p parent. Poverty was part of it. Hooking up with the wrong men, just to have a little more income, or not to pay for child care. Bed chemical decisions. I got myself cleaned up, got out of debt, got rid of the guy who was harassing my boy, and acting like the girl (our kid together ) could do no wrong. My parents were atrocious, and I really thought I was much better. Actually, I was much better, but I wasn’t enough better. It was hard for me to show love because I never experienced it myself. There were times i didn’t hear from my boy for years, and honestly, I know I deserved that. I wrote him a long letter, apologized for my faults, and honestly have tried to be better. We have a much better relationship now, and while we are not super close, we have something, and I’m grateful.

Image source: basketma12, Keira Burton / Pexels

#12 My mother literally couldn’t tell you. I don’t mean she doesn’t know, I’ve told her, but she’s clinically delusional-an actual narcissist. Straight up rewriting memories AS THEY HAPPEN to the point she thinks we’re plotting against her when we agree and she doesn’t. She claims my partner is why. She told my family I was on d***s. Ironic, since she’s on just about everything and can’t see our youngest brother without supervision anymore. I don’t know what she did for that, but due to my own childhood…I can guess and it’s not good.

Image source: ConfectionaryRats, Valeriia Miller / Unsplash

#13 My mom and I stopped talking for a 14 year stretch. When my son was very little, we were on vacation with my mother. My wife and I had a small disagreement about his breakfast and afterwards, my mother pulled me aside and said I should take my son with me to a hotel for a few days to teach my wife a lesson.

I disagreed, telling her that I didn’t feel that I should be taking marital advice from a woman who had been divorced 3 times.

She didn’t take it as well as you might think. /s

We finally started taking again when my grandmother passed away and have been fine ever since.

Image source: angryshark

#14 My parents are too old for Reddit. I estranged from them because they never, ever wanted me.

Image source: Substantial_Lake_980, Pixabay / Pexels

My mother didn’t want kids but in that day, that wasn’t an option. They had my sister first and sort of “used up” their love on her. When I came along five years later, they didn’t have anything left. I didn’t find out until 35 that it wasn’t anything I did: my mother just really didn’t want kids. By then, though, I’d internalized close to four decades of being unwanted. I am terrified of being abandoned and have had rafts of therapy. My parents were never abusive. We had food on the table and clothes on our backs. I had My Little Ponies and She-Ra figures. I also attempted s*****e for the first time when I was eleven years old. I started drinking when I was 15. My parents did not notice. They told me I was “the independent one” so I didn’t need their love. We also were not a demonstrative family. My family did not hug or kiss or touch in any way. I think I have hugged my parents maybe ten times or so. Both parents are quite smart and there was always a kind of… judgement? about people who couldn’t use their words and had to use their bodies instead. Like only poor or stupid people hug their kids. I could go through a list of what they did for my sister versus me, but f**k it. I would be accused of hyperbole, or of making things up whole cloth. We were only nominally raised in the same household; her life had a very, very, very different trajectory. Suffice it to say that it wasn’t just the love that my sister used up – time, money, effort, ideas, conversation – I got none of those things. If it matters, I don’t blame Sister – we still talk. It wasn’t her fault.

#15 My daughter doesn’t talk to me as much anymore. She moved out when she was 22. I had psychosis episodes for 5 yrs all of a sudden (no history of mental illness like that, just your old run of the mill anxiety and depression) and after her having severe mental issues dealing with the aftermath of a tragedy, I got the mental issues and I had to be hospitalized for s*****e attempts. It traumatized her.

Image source: Hey__Jude_, cottonbro studio / Pexels

I understand why she pulled away, even if it was for something I couldn’t help, and I don’t blame her. My last attempt was in Nov, so I hope with time we will be able to be close again. I text her every few days to tell her that I love her, and she responds in kind. We text about life a few times every few months, but we used to be best friends before the tragedy that upended her life and then mine. It altered the course of our lives.

#16 May I?

Image source: brotogeris1, Vitaliy Rigalovsky / Unsplash

“I grew up an orphan during the Great Depression, and there was no way in hell that my kids would have an easier life than me. I would do everything in my power to recreate my joyless, deprivation-filled childhood for them, so that they would know first hand what I went through. I would offer no emotional or financial support, because I had none. I would crush any interests they had, and sabotage their every action with the ferocity of Genghis Khan. I would do things to them that in today’s world would be on the news. I would put on a cheerful and friendly face to the outside world, and immediately revert to my evil self at home. I never tired of raging and shrieking. I would be completely shameless at all times. I thought nothing of living a life of deceit, yet paint myself as a devout religious person. I lived a life of agonizing pain, never had a moment of love, laughter, peace, or safety, never knew where my next meal was coming from, so was it really so awful that I continued that tradition with my own kids?”

I skipped her funeral.

#17 My daughter and I were estranged for 18 months. It.was.hell.

It was also all my fault. I had crossed a boundary and god bless her, she called me on it and told me to go f**k myself.

I was incensed! How dare she!

Well she dare because she was right. And I had to go introspective and work on me. She reached out 18 months later and we have been in touch now and have a SOLID relationship.

It is a communicative relationship. Understanding and just being compassionate to each other.

Image source: bibliosapiophile

#18 I have no idea why i stopped talking to my parents.

Image source: RustBeltPGH, RDNE Stock project / Pexels

It wasn’t an incident. It was a slow moving snowball.
But the main thing is how f*****g unprepared I was for life. I’m in my 40s now, and still trying to figure out basic things. Google is my parent at this point. I can’t remember the last time I asked either of my parents for advice/help.

#19 100% my fault, or to be fair 95%. While breaking up with my high school girlfriend, after realizing there was something wrong with her and us, of course, she got pregnant. The breakup was precipitated by her sleeping around, so there was a real question of whether my daughter would be mine. She was.

Image source: Notfromiowa45, Nicola Barts / Pexels

I moved back to my podunk hometown, and tried to be a good father. Ex-girlfriend, was looking for a boyfriend/husband, I was not willing to do this. She quickly got pregnant two more times, moving up the economic ladder with every pregnancy. The last guy to get her pregnant owned the country club, so her financial needs were met, but she really didn’t have a man in her life yet. Through the multitude of boyfriends and lovers, I tried to be a father to my daughter, but I was constantly shut out. When I looked at going to court to have court-ordered visitation, I was told by my ex-girlfriend that I would be accused of abuse if I did so. This was not an idle threat.

So I left, and did not do nearly enough to keep in contact with my daughter. She did not like me because of my absence, and because of constantly hearing from her mother, what a piece of s**t I was. Again, I chose to leave. I was an adult she was a child, but I was fairly immature and did not see any way out. 25 years later I’m still not sure what I could’ve done differently.

I email my daughter every month or two and she emails me back every year or so. This failure is the great regret of my life.

#20 Answering on behalf of my grandparents:

They know why. My grandmother sent a letter to my brother telling him that they don’t accept his gay lifestyle despite being proud of him for other things. My grandfather signed it.

That side of the family blew up as they refused to apologize because they didn’t see it as wrong; simply an expression of their faith.

The relationship between my grandmother and me/my dad/my brother is ruined. The relationship with my grandfather is much more complicated than it should be. He signed the letter, but there’s some weird emotional abuse there that’s hard to explain – he feels he owes his life to my grandmother because of circumstances when they got married, so he goes along with whatever she says, no matter how he feels in private.

Anyway, they’re fully aware of why they’re estranged. They just see *well it’s an expression of our faith* as an apology and a sincere mea culpa, and no one else in my family does.

Image source: saudiaramcoshill

#21 Sometimes children outgrow their parents whose development is halted.

Image source: RefrigeratorSalt9797, Kampus Production / Pexels

#22 I want to add what drove me away, as a kid.

I was never protected. They protected their church and its members from me— from my truth-telling. They never protected me from them.

They didn’t let me feel my feelings. I had to bury every hurt, every fear, all my sad feelings. They left me to deal with what was happening to me all by myself. I was the loneliest kid in the world in a family of 8.

They didn’t heed warnings or get us adequate help when s**t came to light. They broadcast their own hurt, and made it known our hurt was a burden, so we didn’t dare add to it, and again, suffered by ourselves.

When chickens came home to roost and my emotional and physical health went to hell, they judged the s**t out of me.

When I started to leave my agoraphobic cocoon and live life again, and got f*****g assaulted by a predator, when I called them crying about it, they blamed me.

When I left the church that contributed to the life time of abuse, they ostracized me. My dad verbally berated me and called me vile names on the direction of my mother. My mom spread so much s**t that ALWAYS made its way back to me. (Moms, do not do this to your children.)

When I started trauma therapy, they called me crazy. They went on a PR campaign within the family smearing me. (Wonder why??)

I have been betrayed so many times by my parents, and I am covered in visible and invisible scars because of it. They treat me like I’m an embarrassment, like they wish they could change everything about me.

They’re the ones who drew the line in the sand. They made it impossible to be in a full relationship with them and still love and honor myself. .

Image source: ThenIGotHigh81

#23 I started having babies when i was 18, and i was trying to raise children when id never had a good role model for how it’s done properly. I had untreated she’d misdiagnosed mental illnesses. I was a s**t parent. Their childhood was full of trauma and I was at the helm. I thought I was going pretty good, given the circumstances of our lives but I wasn’t at all. I was a baby with a sick brain and no support system trying to raise babies.

I believe I did my best but unfortunately sometimes our best simply isn’t good enough. I’ve recently been properly diagnosed with borderline personality disorder and yeah, growing up with a bpd mother is a horrific fate for a child.

I don’t know how to make amends with my kids, but I know that best course of action is to respect their autonomy and respect their wishes to not interact with me. I just love them from far away now. And I can absolutely say they are the most amazing, kind, compassionate, and beautiful people I’ve ever seen. I’m so proud of all of them.

Image source: Wrong-Half

#24 In my case, the catalyst was January 6th. We had a family group chat and we were exchanging information about what we were watching with our own eyes. My oldest son started chiming in saying it wasn’t that bad and the news was overblowing things. Up to that point I had no idea how far gone down the conservative hole he had gone. Of course he waited until after I moved him into a new apartment in the middle of July, cosigned for the apartment and paid the security deposit before he decided to cut contact.

Image source: horseloverfat42, Michael Burrows / Pexels

He has gone no contact with the entire family with the exception of a conservative BIL, which we get along with fine. I thought we had shown all of our children how to get along with others even if their opinion differs. I guess that lesson didn’t sink in.

#25 I was an a*****e, s****y parent and an alcoholic. He stood over me during an argument when he was 18 (he was 6’4 and I am 5’6) and scared the s**t out of me, so I kicked him out. That was 14 years ago and he hasn’t spoken to me since. I have not been able to apologise, to show him how much I have changed for the better, nor how different I am with his younger brothers (also adults now, teenagers at the time). I miss him every single day, however, it’s his choice and I have to live with that. Thankfully his brothers and I have a wonderful relationship, it took a lot of hard work, and tears, but I am so grateful they are a huge part of my life, along with two grandchildren now.

Image source: Exciting_Raspberry79, Nik Shuliahin ?? / Unsplash

Shanilou Perera

Shanilou has always loved reading and learning about the world we live in. While she enjoys fictional books and stories just as much, since childhood she was especially fascinated by encyclopaedias and strangely enough, self-help books. As a kid, she spent most of her time consuming as much knowledge as she could get her hands on and could always be found at the library. Now, she still enjoys finding out about all the amazing things that surround us in our day-to-day lives and is blessed to be able to write about them to share with the whole world as a profession.

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children, estranged, estranged parents, kids, no-contact, parenting
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