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Interesting article for both sides

posted by: sarahsmom on 12.02.2008 at 01:56 pm in Parents Forum

You might have seen this before .. but in doing research for this documentary, I came across this article that was from the NY Times in 1990!!!

Very interesting perspective from both sides...
also at the end I have posted a link to another interesting very relevant article that talks about family and its importance especially with current economic situation..

March 1, 1990
Parent & Child
By LAWRENCE KUTNER

LEAD: ''I HAVEN'T spoken to my parents in eight years,'' said Nancy S., who is 31 years old and lives with her husband and daughter in a suburb of Minneapolis.

''I HAVEN'T spoken to my parents in eight years,'' said Nancy S., who is 31 years old and lives with her husband and daughter in a suburb of Minneapolis.

''I was very close to them when I was growing up, but they just can't accept me as an adult,'' said Nancy, who asked that her full name not be used.

Nancy's unwillingness to be identified reflects the expectations that people have for parent-child relationships in adulthood. People who might speak freely and without embarrassment about their divorces, for example, worry what others will think of them if they say they are estranged from their parents or from their adult children.

It seems unnatural for a relationship that is expected to be lifelong to turn sour. It is often viewed as a failure by the people it happens to, and they wonder if they are the ones who have failed. Nancy frequently says that she is ''a good person,'' as if her relationship with her parents called that into question.

Mary W., also of suburban Minneapolis, and her husband have been estranged from his 20-year-old son for three and a half years. ''Other parents don't understand it at all,'' said Mary, who also asked that she not be fully identified. Although her stepson reluctantly agreed to accompany Mary and his father to a family therapy session, he refused to speak and sometimes threw tantrums, she said.

''Outsiders blame us,'' Mary said. ''Even other people in our family blame us. The psychologist we've seen for the past five years says that our son needs time to grow out of this. I honestly don't think that will happen.''

Dr. Bonnie J. Kin, a clinical psychologist, said that ''estrangements are much more common than most people realize.''

''I've seen a lot of people who've been estranged from their parents for more than five years,'' said Dr. Kin, who is also an associate professor of psychology at California State College in Dominguez Hills, a suburb of Los Angeles. ''They wonder if there's something wrong with them because they don't have that close attachment. A lot of people just don't talk about it.''

There are many reasons for severing the relationship, including physical or emotional abuse, an upsetting divorce or marriage, or a difference over fundamental values or religion. Nancy's family reflects the reason that researchers say is most common.

''This comes up when families try to shift their relationship from adult-child to adult-adult,'' said Dr. Jill S. Grigsby, an associate professor of sociology at Pomona College in Claremont, Calif., who studies relations between young adults and their parents in several cultures.

For some families, the clashes that parents and their children have when they share a house as adults disappear when they live independently. For others, the old roles and perceptions are more firmly fixed and do not change.

Nancy said she felt the first tremors of a family breakup about a decade ago when she announced her wedding plans. Her parents had trouble accepting her adult roles as wife and mother.

''They don't like my husband, and they still spend time with my old boyfriend,'' she said. ''It's difficult for them not to think of me as a kid. When I got married, it was as if they'd lost their baby.''

Both she and her husband get along well with his parents, as does their 8-year-old daughter. ''She's never really known my parents,'' Nancy said. ''She doesn't ask about them.'' The barrier between grandchildren and grandparents that comes with such estrangements worries some psychologists. They say parents should pay close attention to the messages they are sending their own children.

''Grandchildren learn how to treat their parents by the ways in which they see their parents treat the grandparents,'' said Dr. Matti Gershenfeld, an adjunct professor of psychoeducational processes at Temple University in Philadelphia. She also teaches workshops on being an adult child and being the parent of an adult.

''If you're estranged from your parents, the odds are your children will become estranged from you once they become adults,'' Dr. Gershenfeld said. ''That's the model they're learning.''

Nancy has resigned herself to limiting her communication with her parents to little more than an annual Christmas card.

''It's become easier as time has passed,'' she said. ''Life's too short to be sad or angry all the time.''

The Ties That Keep On Binding

PSYCHOTHERAPISTS readily admit that not all estrangements between adult children and their parents can or should be patched up. But many effects of severing the relationship are not always obvious.

The relationship will continue in some form, even after the rift.

''You can only be physically estranged from your parents; you can't feel psychologically free from them,'' said Dr. Eleanor Mallach Bromberg, an associate professor in the school of social work at Hunter College in Manhattan.

''We battle with them in our minds even after they're dead,'' Dr. Bromberg said. ''That's the paradox for these people. They spend so much of their time avoiding things that remind them of their parents that they become even more involved psychologically with their parents.''

The split may have an effect on grandchildren.

Children who have no relationship with either set of grandparents not only may have more difficulties in later relationships with their parents, but may also lack self-esteem.

Dr. M. Duncan Stanton, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Rochester, cited a study of adolescents and drug abuse. ''Those most at risk often had little sense of their family history,'' he said. ''Even who their grandparents were.''

If you do decide to rebuild the relationship, recognize that it will probably take a few tries.

''Issues of pride are often involved,'' Dr. Stanton said. ''Relatively minor or petty issues may have gotten out of control.'' He recommended asking other family members for support in making the changes. ''The more people who are involved, the better it's going to be,'' he said.

Respect each other as adults.

This is especially important if adult children feel they are being treated like teen-agers. One man felt that the last straw was when his mother came to his home and rearranged the things in his refrigerator, said Dr. Matti Gershenfeld, a psychologist at Temple University and the president of the Couples Learning Center in Jenkintown, Pa., outside Philadelphia.

''I told the mother to treat her son as if he were her next-door neighbor's son,'' Dr. Gershenfeld said. ''After all, you wouldn't go into that person's house and rearrange the refrigerator.''

Link to other article:

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1316/is_n4_v24/ai_12129677/pg_4

NOTES:

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clipped on: 12.22.2008 at 08:53 pm    last updated on: 12.22.2008 at 08:53 pm

RE: Adults estranged from parents (Follow-Up #30)

posted by: kathy813 on 07.06.2008 at 03:17 pm in Single Life Forum

I am estranged from my Father, Mother and only Brother. It involved divorce and alot of untruths. I am 57 and want to live out the rest of my life in peace. My Dad is in a nursing home now and throws things at me if I go see him. My Mom lies about major things all the time so I can't have a relationship with her and my brother cheats and steals. I have a good relationship with my daughter and son but that is the only family I have that will speak to me. My Mom saw to it that no one else will. Only people who have been through this can understand why you have to cut off relationships and I hesitate before I tell anyone. My Mom called our pastor at church and said I had threatened to kill her. I had not even spoken to her in over 2 years! That is why I can not even have a phone conversation with her. I am glad I am away from this abuse.

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clipped on: 12.07.2008 at 07:49 pm    last updated on: 12.07.2008 at 07:49 pm

RE: Adults estranged from parents (Follow-Up #29)

posted by: kaynsd on 06.30.2008 at 12:12 pm in Single Life Forum

I am on both sides of the fence. At times I have been estranged from my parents, sometimes siblings and now my son.

It's just the result of life growing up with severe dysfunction. Healthy life and relationship skills are few if any for all involved. Usually there is a significant family member that has been the cause. My father is a narcissist and my mother is emotionally detached. We all (4 children) grew up alone in too many ways.

I thought like someone above, that I was doing well as a parent, that i had 'diluted' the damage, but discovered that I was wrong. To my great sadness my son shares the traits of his grandfather.

I always thought that even if you make mistakes in a relationship, if you can keep the dialogue open, can be willing to accept responsibility that everything can be repaired. I finally know now that I am wrong. There are some personality types that cannot take any responsibility for their actions. Can never say they are sorry. Can never accept an apology either.

These are just genetic personality traits, like red hair, or being musically inclined, or any other positive and negative talents.

I think the people who land on these blogs are the ones who are reeling from the selfish and mean acts of their family members who are 'messed up' to say the least.

The hardest thing is that we are so misunderstood by the more normal (& i say this loosely) families. I'm guessing they just don't have red hair in their genetic code :) if you know what i mean. They are finding out more and more every day about the brain and how it responds to various situations. Some brains just don't work the same, some have no empathy. Without empathy, how can we relate healthily to each other.

So, it's very nice just to read these notes, to see others with the same types of situations.

I tell my friends that I think the reason that I can't find anyone out there with my sort of estrangement issues, is because they're generally deeply messed up, drugs or something. So they're not traveling in my circle.. I somehow landed with the 'healthy' people. Which - all in all - isn't that the best we can hope for with the family we were given?

NOTES:

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clipped on: 12.07.2008 at 07:47 pm    last updated on: 12.07.2008 at 07:48 pm

RE: Adults estranged from parents (Follow-Up #28)

posted by: sayhellonow on 06.18.2008 at 12:52 pm in Single Life Forum

I'm reminded of a song, "In the Living Years" that was so relavent when my father was alive. I tried to tell him how much he had hurt me, as the song says, while we were "in the living years." But we never settled anything between us. He died never having accepted me for who I am, but I was able to forgive him and move on. My mother is now facing the end of her life. She is partially paralyzed but her mind is relatively clear. She spends most of her time in one chair, just sitting. She thinks all day and is filled with much regret. Even though I had a very difficult and painful upbringing, I have been able to let most of it go, and can feel a lot of empathy for my mother. Forgiveness heals the souls of both people and allows the injured to rise above the pain! Here is part of the song that meant so much to me when my father was dying:

Every generation
Blames the one before
And all of their frustrations
Come beating on your door

I know that I'm a prisoner
To all my father held so dear
I know that I'm a hostage
To all his hopes and fears
I just wish I could have told him
In the living years

Crumpled bits of paper
Filled with imperfect thought
Stilted conversations
I'm afraid that's all we've got

You say you just don't see it
He says it's perfect sense
You just can't get agreement
In this present tense
We all talk a different language
Talking in defence

Say it loud, say it clear
You can listen as well as you hear
It's too late when we die
To admit we don't see eye to eye

So we open up a quarrel
Between the present and the past
We only sacrifice the future
It's the bitterness that lasts

So don't yield to the fortunes
You sometimes see as fate
It may have a new perspective
On a different day
And if you don't give up,
And don't give in
You may just be OK

NOTES:

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clipped on: 12.07.2008 at 07:47 pm    last updated on: 12.07.2008 at 07:48 pm