“how blameless we all are! None of us intended any of this!”
THAT is the truth! Not one of us did anything that caused estrangement. Any difficulties or issues they had should have been resolved by talking to us, not used as a lame excuse to cut us off completely.
— a parent in an estranged parents’ forum
This tidy string of cliches summarizes, in exactly 50 words, why it’s so hard for members of estranged parents’ forums to grasp why they’re estranged.
how blameless we all are!
Members of estranged parents’ forums are allergic to blame. Not a little sniffly, scratchy-throat allergy, but a full on call-911, grab-an-epipen death allergy.
On a mixed forum, I once witnessed an amazing argument in which a member argued that because the child is the one who makes the decision to cut off, the child is to blame for the estrangement. She complained that when children talked about being estranged from their parents, “There’s plenty of he/she did this so it’s their fault I decided,” and said, “I understand explaining why someone cut someone off- I don’t understand why someone blames another for deciding to cut someone off-”
Another member asked, “Why is it so important to you that the person who is behaving badly is not blamed for the ending of the relationship?”
Her answer was some of the weirdest hair-splitting I’ve seen:
“They are responsible “for their part” in the termination of the relationship- But the decision to end it is not because it isn’t their decision to make- Their decision was to treat you horribly, unfortunately- Fortunately,you chose to cut them out of your life, which isn’t something they would have decided to do on their own-”
What came out of the discussion was that the member wanted estranged adult children to say, “It was my decision to cut my parents off,” and end the sentence there. Not a word about anything their parents did that prompted their decision. It was that important to the member that estranged parents not be associated with any possible blame.
At the time, I thought she was an isolated case. But no, when I knew to look for it, it popped up everywhere. One of the phrases members use to console themselves is, “We didn’t choose this, so we didn’t cause this.”
None of us intended any of this!
And you’re responsible only for what you intend to do. Intent is magical.
Not one of us did anything that caused estrangement.
Nothing but the worst abuse justifies estrangement, and none of us could have been that abusive because our membership in this forum certifies that we’re loving, caring parents. Therefore, we couldn’t have done anything bad enough to justify the estrangement.
Any difficulties or issues they had should have been resolved by talking to us
…because they never tried to talk to us. At least, not in a way we liked. And all the conversations we had that we liked were resolved to our satisfaction, so we don’t see what the problem is.
not used as a lame excuse to cut us off completely.
There are no reasons, only excuses, which by definition are feeble, wrong, and lying.
The combined logic creates an impenetrable wall. It’s like the Fortress of Solitude in here, guys. Only the worst abuse justifies estrangement, and joining this community proves that you’re not an abuser. Not only does any lesser behavior not count as real abuse, it also counts only if the person intended it to hurt you, and then you have to talk it out with them in a way they’re willing to accept, and you have to do it without casting blame, because blame is horrible and toxic and you should be ashamed of yourself for thinking of blaming somebody. Especially somebody in this group, which is composed solely of parents who are certified non-abusive.