Episode 32: How to Cope When There’s No Progress

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It’s discouraging for parents when estrangement from an adult child continues for weeks, months or years without any apparent progress. When your heart-felt letter is returned unopened, you ask yourself, “Now what do I do?” Taking action is the preferred response to painful silence. But it’s not necessarily a productive one. In this episode, Tina …

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Episode 31: Why Don’t Other Relatives Help?

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It’s bad enough to be estranged from your adult child, but when other relatives stand by and watch without attempting to help, you feel twice burned. Once by the rejection, and again by the abandonment of passive family members. Why do people who supposedly care about you continue to communicate with an estranged adult child …

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BONUS: Contacting Your Estranged Adult Child During the COVID-19 Outbreak

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This past week, one of our Reconnection Club members posted a very timely question in our General Discussion forum: To Reach Out Or Not? (you must be logged in to view). The member was concerned because if she does reach out, she’s violating her adult child’s request for reduced contact. But if she doesn’t, will …

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Episode 30: What to Expect After Reconciliation

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Ah, reconciliation. At last, you’ve attained the brass ring. Your adult child, previously estranged, is now back in touch. Everything’s great again. Or is it? Parents are largely unprepared for the fact that reconciliation is a process, not an event. Once you’re back in regular contact, there’s often a new set of challenges to face… …

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Episode 29: If Your Child Asks You to Get Therapy

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“You should get therapy.” Has your adult child said those words to you? Have they made therapy a condition of continuing the relationship? Being told to seek therapy is no one’s idea of a compliment. But for parents of estranged adult children, it may be the start of a fantastic voyage into their own inner …

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Episode 28: On-Again Off-Again Estrangement

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Many parents of estranged adult children feel like they’re in a revolving door with their child. One moment they’re in contact, the next they’ve gone radio silent again. Researchers call this periodic or cyclical estrangement, and it’s a dangerous pattern. Just like author Harriet Brown (author of Shadow Daughter), adult children can decide one day …

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Episode 27: Estrangement Hurts, But Not on Purpose

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There’s no question that estrangement from an adult child is painful for rejected parents. But many parents suffer even more than necessary, because they believe their child is willingly hurting them. Nobody wants to think of their child as heartless, cruel, mentally ill, easily brainwashed, or any of the other qualities often attributed to people …

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Episode 25: Estrangement… A Phase of Development?

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Although estrangement from family isn’t normal for young adults, a normal phase of development can contribute to your child’s need for distance. In this episode, Tina briefly explains individuation and differentiation, and why these natural processes sometimes require distance from family. More importantly, she talks about specific steps you can take if you suspect your …

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Episode 24: Yes, There Is Such a Thing as a Hopeless Case

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“What if my child never speaks to me again?” This is the worst fear for many a parent who’s estranged from their adult child(ren). Few cases of parent-adult child estrangement are truly hopeless. But there are three situations that just might have you making your peace with never reconciling. In this episode, Tina discusses three …

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Episode 23: Three Elements of a Good Apology

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If you’re having trouble in any relationship… Especially if you’re the parent of an estranged adult child… You can’t afford NOT to be good at apologies. We know that people who estrange themselves from family don’t do it to be hurtful. They do it because they feel hurt in those relationships. They’re protecting themselves. That’s …

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Episode 22: Stages of Estrangement

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Not every parent estranged from their adult child (or children) is in exactly the same place, emotionally or spiritually, during the estrangement. From observation, Tina hypothesizes that parents go through five predictable stages. And just like the stages of grief observed by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, not everyone goes through all of them, and the stages don’t …

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Episode 21: Adopted and Estranged

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What’s the difference between estrangement from your biological child vs. an adopted child, particularly when that child is of a different race, or comes from a different country? Eli Harwood of the PASS Center in Denver, Colorado answers that question for us on today’s episode. This episode will be of interest to both adoptive and …

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Episode 20: What Your Child’s Silence Really Means

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When adult children cut off contact with their parents, their silence can be excruciating. But that’s largely because of the way that silence gets interpreted. Here are some particularly painful interpretations of silence: “I hate you.” “You’re not worth a reply.” “You mean nothing to me.” “I’m never going to talk to you again.” No …

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Episode 19: Is Your Child Blaming You for Her Problems?

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Rejected parents sometimes say things like, “My child has made a lot of bad choices. She’s miserable, and according to her, it’s all my fault.” In other words, the adult child is choosing to blame her parent or parents for her problems. Treating them like garbage because she feels bad about herself. Turning parents into …

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Episode 18: How to Recover When Texting Goes Badly

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Even estranged adult children will sometimes get into text exchanges with their parents. Especially if your child is young, he or she may need to engage in logistical conversations with you about things like phone bills, car insurance, or college tuition. Which is to say that not every estranged adult child is completely radio silent …

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Episode 17: Walking on Eggshells After Reconciliation

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At last, your child is back in touch! And while it feels wonderful to be close again, you don’t want to say or do the wrong thing. You instinctively know what the research has shown, which is that estrangements can and do happen over and over again within the same parent-child relationship. And every time …

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Episode 16: Sharing Important News with Your Estranged Adult Child

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One of the most common questions we get inside the Reconnection Club is whether and when to initiate contact with an estranged adult child about important news. At some point, if you’re estranged long enough, something will come up that will make you wonder, “Is it okay to contact my child about this?” It might …

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Episode 15: Do You Need an Estrangement Specialist for Therapy?

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As the rejected parent of an estranged adult child, you might seek out an estrangement specialist for therapy. You want someone with a certain amount of compassion for what you’re going through – which would probably be someone who’s been there. Right? Apart from your podcast host, Tina Gilbertson, most professionals who specialize in estrangement …

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Episode 14: Is Your Child’s Behavior Out of Character?

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You know your child so well. Or at least, you used to. When it comes to behavior from your adult child that surprises you, what seems “out of character” may actually be an adult child expressing an essential part of who she is. How you respond to out-of-character behavior will probably have some impact on …

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