What Makes Some People Take the Road of Estrangement?

The pain behind the silence…

Rosa Diaz-Casal
Published in
2 min readFeb 28, 2024


Photo by Engin Akyurt: https://www.pexels.com/photo/woman-standing-in-front-of-brown-wood-plank-1458826/

An adult child cuts all ties from their parents — choosing to disconnect from what they believe is an unmanageable relationship.

This is Estrangement, and it’s becoming progressively common in the last few years.

It is painful and only talked about behind closed doors.

This occurs partly because, in recent decades, there are more readily available resources that allow the adult child to recognize the unhealthy patterns of their family and make a choice to separate.

The parents that are confronted with losing the relationship with their child grieve and are continuously looking for ways to reconcile.

This harsh condition is a complicated and grueling matter that many cannot make sense of. It hurts all the involved parties.

In some cases, the parents and adult children must remain estranged in order to preserve their well-being. This is due to the fact that some estranged family members struggle with addiction, mental illness, abuse and other toxic behaviors.

There are some parents and adult children that remain emotionally and physically distanced from years. There are great divides in perspective between the estranged and their parents.

When parents move into the area of acceptance and acknowledge their role in the estrangement, they grow in empathy, and are able to move forward toward reconciliation.

Some adult children pull away due to personality traits such as self-centeredness, narcissism, and immaturity. A parent may be unsupportive and unaccepting of the adult child’s feelings and the adult child may choose to estrange.

A widespread issue nowadays is personality differences. Many adult children don’t feel accepted in their sexuality, gender identity, and/or religious ideals and separate from the relationship with their parents.

A parent who is mentally ill may not notice how their behavior affects their relationship with the adult child.

There may also be forces outside the family, such as an unpleasant relationship between the divorced parent and the child. The child may choose not to be part of a new family dynamic.

Another reason may include impact from third party, like a controlling or abusive spouse. These may result in estrangement to keep the peace within the parent’s marriage.

With therapy and mental health becoming more mainstream now, adult children are becoming keen on how their environment contributed to their lives. They can now choose whether or not to stay in a relationship that doesn’t benefit them.

Estrangement is a sad issue and one with a complicated nature. Parents who hope to reconcile must be open to therapy and willing to step away from their perspective on the estrangement, understand that the adult child’s perspective can be very different yet valid, and develop empathy with the adult child.