When Your Adult Child Breaks Your Heart

Coping with mental illness, substance abuse, and the problems that tear families apart

Coping With Guilt and Avoiding Manipulation

Guilt is common for moms and dads of even healthy children. When a child is ill, the guilt can reach overwhelming magnitude. In order to be your healthiest self, it is important to get a handle on useless feelings of guilt that are hindering your wellness and possibly opening you up to manipulation. Read More

Adult child feels abandoned.

My 30 year old daughter told me she feels abandoned by me. I have been in alanon for the majority of her life, she and her siblings have drinking problems and I started in alanon when their father's drinking got out of control. My children and I have never seen eye to eye on this subject. They all think I am overly sensitive to everyone's drinking. This said, when my daughter had a baby, she decided she needed me but I had moved to another state. I have been devorced from her father for ten years, fell in love and moved. Then her father died and she has just completely went into attack mode. She has been pretty mean and blames me for all of her life's struggles. I was a stay home mom and she has to work full time. Her husband is in school and his grandma watches my grandson. So yes I did move. Yes her life would be much easier if I watched her son while she is working. Although I work too. And yes I am sensitive to the alcoholism in my family. I have some history to accurately judge it's affects. She is grown, made grownup decisions and has consequences to deal with because of those decisions. Why do I wish I could just move back and make life easier for her, knowing that my own happiness will suffer? All I have learned in alanon can't help me with this regret, guilt and sorrow. Can you?

Hi Joyce, I too feel a

Hi Joyce,
I too feel a tremendous amount of guilt for some of the parenting choices my husband and I made. We both had struggles of our own when our daughter was young and it did affect her. Our home was stressful and tense at times and we didn't handle some situations very well at all.
She is 24 now and engaged to a very nice young man and in school and doing well. All looks great on paper, but she is also in therapy and on anti-depressants and has very few friends (she always struggled to make friends). I get glimpses of the loneliness and struggle she has and it just breaks my heart.
I guess that the answer is to take the advice offered in the article, try to be happy yourself and offer your daughter your own positive attitude and healthy support.
I gave up years of my own happiness to try and help my daughter and it didn't make things any better, now that I look back. Guess I've answered my own question, haven't I?
Guilt is a terrible thing, isn't it?
All the best! D

Hi Joyce, I too feel a

Hi Joyce,
I too feel a tremendous amount of guilt for some of the parenting choices my husband and I made. We both had struggles of our own when our daughter was young and it did affect her. Our home was stressful and tense at times and we didn't handle some situations very well at all.
She is 24 now and engaged to a very nice young man and in school and doing well. All looks great on paper, but she is also in therapy and on anti-depressants and has very few friends (she always struggled to make friends). I get glimpses of the loneliness and struggle she has and it just breaks my heart.
I guess that the answer is to take the advice offered in the article, try to be happy yourself and offer your daughter your own positive attitude and healthy support.
I gave up years of my own happiness to try and help my daughter and it didn't make things any better, now that I look back. Guess I've answered my own question, haven't I?
Guilt is a terrible thing, isn't it?
All the best! D

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Joel Young, M.D., who teaches psychiatry at Wayne State University, is the Medical Director of the Rochester Center for Behavioral Medicine, near Detroit.

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