I haven’t seen my children - daughter, 27, son, 26, in five years.
My marriage had ended badly. My kids sided with their mother and cut off all ties with me, my family and long-time family friends.
I’ve reached out several times, received nothing in return.
The "well was being poisoned" long before the marriage ended.
I endured 25 years of my then-wife’s emotional, mental and physical abuse and infantile behaviour, but my kids didn’t see this side of her.
I remained in the marriage because of them, not wanting to jeopardize their future.
Their mother refused marriage counselling, or seeing her doctor or a personal therapist.
I sought professional help and the advice was always the same:
My wife must get help or I must leave the marriage.
She refused, but I couldn't break up my family back then.
My kids and family were the centre of my universe. I was a hands-on dad, very involved throughout their upbringing; always there for them, with school, and extra-circular activities.
Yet my kids didn't attend my mother's funeral last year. They did, however, accept an inheritance from her estate.
I’m concerned about their financial future as both are in jobs with no pensions and few benefits. They’re my sole beneficiaries. But I’m not prepared to reward them for being cruel or insolent.
I’ve been seeing a psychiatrist and support group to help deal with this, but it’s still painful when all you can do is wait, hope and pray. I miss my children.
My latest attempts (and they haven't been frequent) to contact them via emails or texts resulted in them notifying security at their jobs and threatening to go to the police if I contacted them again.
My lawyer has advised to desist for fear of having trouble with the law. Your advice?
Heartbroken and Childless
Stick with your psychiatrist and support group.
I’ve published your story because it reflects the many post-divorce parents who write me of being cut-off by their adult children.
In each case, readers and I naturally only get one side. So, it’s impossible for me to respond (as you may’ve wished) that everything you’ve done is exemplary, or that your ex did everything wrong, and your children have been turned by her.
What’s clear, though, is that getting professional help to get on with your life, is crucial.
Focus on interests and activities that help you enjoy a healthy, positive, lifestyle involved with other family, old friends, and making new ones.
Your children are young adults, with major experiences ahead of them. They may see things differently over time, they may not.
Sometimes children of divorce can’t deal with the pain of separation from a parent – especially one who’d been very involved with them – until they seek their own professional help.
They know where you are and how to reach you.
My brother, his wife and their son, 22, are all anti-social.
They don't invite anyone over to their lovely home. My brother blames his wife and son.
But he’s always projected his problems on others.
I feel it must change. But he won’t accept there’s a better way to live.
Try to be an example for his wife and son through gentle means: Invite them to your place for a casual dinner (family only), send flowers for an occasion, drop in for coffee and bring a pie.
Go slow and steady in creating small get-togethers. It’s worth a try.
My sister and I are complete opposites. She's 40, I'm 45, still living with our loving and providing parents.
We never get along, both seek counselling. She's an extrovert, bubbly, active, popular, party animal and shopaholic, with expensive taste, yet stingy.
I’m an introvert, quiet, home-body, responsible, hard-working, ambitious, generous.
I'm sick and tired of her constantly criticizing me.
My parents say that we’re adults so just deal with it. What should I do now?
You have wise parents but perhaps they’re too loving, as it seems they haven’t encouraged their daughters’ independence from them.
Unless they physically need your presence in their home, or living alone is impossible for you two, you could consider living apart, each on your own.
Being opposites isn’t unusual or even a problem unless you’re constantly butting heads.
Her constant criticism indicates she’s as tired of the situation as you are.
Time to think about a change.
Tip of the day:
Post-divorce emotional pain can be as hard on the parent who’s rejected as on the children who turn away.