parent opinion

'My husband and I spend the holidays with his parents. We never want to see them again.'

Warning: This post contains graphic depictions.

Lately, I've noticed an influx of posts on Mamamia written by parents who are estranged from their children, though they never really seem to explain the reason why. 

Recently, one was written that could have been written by my own mother-in-law. I know it wasn't, but I also wasn't the only one who thought that. 

The one thing so many of these posts have in common are 'missing reasons'. 

Read more: 'I'm estranged from my son and grandchildren. I blame my daughter-in-law.'

This is true of so many abusive parents: They're estranged from their children, they don't know why, it's awful and they're the victims, and they can't really point to anything that makes sense about the situation.

Are there parents who have been unfairly estranged for many reasons? Yes. 

While I cannot speak for the author of this post, I can speak for The Missing Reasons that so often accompany these posts.

My father and mother-in-law could both write a post similar to this. I know for a fact that they've exclaimed to anyone who will listen that they "don't understand". They're the victims. Their son has been brainwashed by a woman with a magic devil vagina (don't you love how many of us come with them?), and the poor boy will just never know real love unless he divorces me, marries a woman they want him to, and has children, even though he doesn't want them, like they want him to.

They'd say how I judged them because I told them that it wasn't true that schools had stopped singing the national anthem. I pointed out that, as a teacher, I'm very aware of the school's curriculum, and that singing the national anthem is most definitely an annoying part of my day, and yes, I wish it'd go away because I'm sick of singing it, but it isn't. 


Despite using racial slurs often, they'd just say they were "morally judged" and I made them "feel uncomfortable". I know, because it's the exact words they sent my husband to defend their behaviour.

Watch: Some signs that you were raised by a narcissistic parent. Post continues after video.

Video via YouTube/Psych2Go.

While they're telling you they're the victims, they'd omit that they were verbally and physically abusive. They'd deny that they'd snapped the necks of my husband and his sister's pets if they'd misbehaved, in front of them. They would deny the beatings that haunt both siblings. They'd tell you their son cut them out, but they wouldn't tell you that their son didn't cut them out, that they disowned him.

You see, just before everything went very badly, we spent our last Christmas with them, in their state. My husband only had three days off, because he'd recently changed jobs, so he didn't have any leave. He only had the Christmas leave days everyone was granted. I also recently had a severe accident and was suffering from a severe brain and back injury at the time.


His parents didn't want to fly to Queensland, forcing us to travel interstate to them, meaning we'd lose a day each side to travel – we'd spend Christmas Day with them, and that would essentially be it. 

On Christmas Day, despite knowing my allergies, my husband's father poured a giant bottle of alcohol on some of the only food I could eat, gleefully telling me that he'd only gone out for my sister-in-law's partner, and he wasn't going out again. If I couldn't find anything to eat, that was on me.

When we got to gift-giving, his father would leave the room every time I received a present, with his wife having to calm him down, which was ridiculous as one of my presents was a gift for my partner. When his mum handed it to me, she said, "I know you don't really like science-fiction and fantasy" (this is untrue; I love both and always have) "but my son does." I didn't know what to say to that. Pointing out that she probably should've gifted it to him if she thought I wouldn't like it, but he would, seemed kind of rude, even if it was true, so I left it.

When we left on Boxing Day, his mum said not once, but twice, that I could leave, and my husband could stay, even though he was the reason we couldn't stay longer, not me. She made a point of saying that "no one really wanted me here anyway". 

When we arrived home, my husband was furious with their treatment of me. He was angry about the continuous jabs, that they'd ignored my other allergies except for gluten, which his sister also shared, and I suspect was one of the reasons why they didn't mess with that. He was angry with the mistreatment and abuse my family and I had received for that entire year, we'd tried addressing it in every way we could, but something had to give.


He called them up and said that we weren't going to be visiting anymore if they didn't apologise and start changing their behaviour. That it was clear that their constant harassment of children was a problem, even if they were denying it was because normal people don't message their daughter-in-law's parents asking if their daughter is defective and telling them that if they don't force their daughter to bear grandchildren, they'll disown their son, and it will be my parents' fault. 

His dad went ballistic. He issued an ultimatum: Either my husband divorced me, or they'd disown him.

My husband chose me. 

The fallout was insane. It lasted years. In many ways, it's still ongoing.

But that's the point: They wouldn't tell you this story. They'd tell you my husband called them up, angry with the mistreatment of his wife. They'd say he was unhappy I didn't get better presents, or that I didn't have enough food, which was so unfair, they'd made sure they had plenty. Their daughter was able to eat, after all! And then, for absolutely no reason, he cut them out.

There's always a difference between these stories. If you ask my in-laws, their story often changes, and sometimes they don't always know, but mostly it's me. There's always a villain in these stories, one that finds them "lacking". They've always been punished, and they never know why. They can't pinpoint one reason as to why, or if they do, it's as if there should be more information there, as if something's not quite right, as if something's … missing.


And maybe you're thinking: "But sometimes that happens." And you're right. But also:

Have you ever been cut out of someone's life? Unexpectedly? Been ghosted? Maybe a friend suddenly stopped talking to you, and you don't really know why? Maybe an ex-lover left you; whether it was date three or thirty, you were left wondering what happened? 

Didn't you scratch your brain, wondering what you could've possibly done wrong, especially if it was someone you cared for or something that hit you hard? Maybe you searched all you could, but your mind likely lingered. 

Don't you think it's strange that none of these posts have any reasons at all? That their families are all entirely victims? There's no mental illness, drugs, or "I made a few mistakes, but I thought I did alright", anything that might give some sort of explanation? Don't you think if you lost your children, genuinely for no reason, you'd ponder over every single mistake you ever made, wondering if that could possibly be it, offering it for the insight you claimed you were so desperate for?

Because I do. 

My husband's reasons are limitless: He was abused. He was beaten and screamed at. He watched pets die in front of him. He hid in closets sometimes. His wife was verbally attacked repeatedly by his parents because she didn't want to have children, a decision he agreed with, because he also doesn't want children. His wife's family was verbally abused, harassed and attacked because they refused to coerce their daughter into having children he didn't want. He was disowned by his parents who elected to inform him by telling my parents to tell him, because humiliation is one of their favourite punishments – it always has been. That they refused to say sorry while quoting Bible verses about "real love". He felt unable to speak to certain friends because they either experienced harassment from his parents or any conversations he had were relayed verbatim to him by his father, who took great delight in sharing anything anyone had ever said, sending long emails saying that they obviously trusted him. It twisted my husband's ability to trust people for a while, and he shut down, becoming severely depressed.


For every reason my in-laws wouldn't give, my husband would have example after example. For every reason that seemed reasonable, my husband would have a different story, one that would dramatically change your opinion.

Parents who are abusive always have "missing reasons". They have stories that don't quite make sense.

Start looking for them.

And while you're at it, stop encouraging children who have estranged themselves from their parents to reconcile. Often, they have plenty of reasons; you're just pretending that blood is thicker than water when in reality, the blood of one's chosen coven is thicker than the water of an abusive womb. 

Feature image: Getty. 

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