We live in a society where not speaking to your parents is Taboo.
In exchange for life, food, shelter, education and their brand of love people are taught to love their parents unconditionally. When a person decides not to have a relationship with their parent they are scrutinized. If you explain why you have gone “no contact” with your parent, you are met with comments of guilt, reminders of religious principals, and looks of disapproval. Making the decision to stop speaking with a parent is a painful one. It’s not an easy decision to make, but many make it because not speaking with a toxic parent is less painful and healthier than speaking with them.
You may be that mother – or father – wondering why your adult son – or daughter – does not make the traditional Sunday call, or has chosen not to allow you to see their children. Parenting is a challenging journey and in some cases you may have continued toxic patterns passed down to you from your parents. These patterns are not easily detected especially when you are actively engaging with parenting. It does not mean the effects aren’t lasting and your adult children may be working through them. Here are a few reasons why your adult children may not be speaking with you.
YOU ABUSED THEM: The term “abused” has changed over the years. What you considered basic discipline possibly handed down to you by your parents, has been proven to be abusive and leaves mental and emotional damage. In 1965 children did not wear seat belts, and smoking while pregnant was acceptable. We have evolved and we now know these are very damaging behaviors. Likewise, we are currently learning the phycological affects of mental and physical abuse has on the brain development of a child into adulthood.
Your adult child probably understands that you parented from a place of not knowing. (When you know better you do better). What your adult child needs from you is for you to acknowledge that you hurt them and perhaps you can both work on recovery together.
YOU DISMISS THEIR PAIN: Your adult child may have tried to share their pain with you but you waived it away, multiple times, with a phrases like “I did the best I could!” or “You had a much better life than I did!” You are not honoring your adult child’s journey. Their own life and how your decisions may have affected them.
As a parent it is painful to accept that you may have unknowingly passed down negative behaviors to your children. It’s hard to admit that you were not the “perfect parent.” Ignoring, waiving away and denying their pain is not helping your relationship.
YOU HAVE MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES OR ADDICTIONS: In either case, your adult child has had to deal with the fallout of your illness or addiction. Everything from traumatic events to verbal abuse, your adult child remembers these traumas as they get older. If you are not sober or aren’t treating your mental health issues your adult child has decided that they must have boundaries so you don’t do them(or their children) anymore harm.
If you are sober then dealing with the fallout of your addiction is difficult but very necessary in order for you to have a relationship based on mutual respect.
YOU STAND IN JUDGEMENT: Your adult child has created their own life and you don’t accept them for who they are. You don’t honor their individual journey. You judge them so harshly, they have decided their life is better without you in it.
SOLUTION: Go to therapy, discuss your family dynamics with a licensed therapist and they may help you identify personal issues that may help you navigate your relationship with your adult children. It takes time, listening to your children as they share their pain is very difficult. You may have loved them but you may not have loved them the way they need or needed to be loved by you. That is not an accusation, it’s a fact that they may want and need you to acknowledge.