One of the devastating side effects of being unfairly alienated from our adult child and grandchildren is being on the receiving end of disrespect, abuse, and cruelty. We are often maligned and accused of crimes we never committed. 

Many years ago, I was put in the position of having to sign a contract. My son and daughter-in-law insisted that I sign an agreement that stated rules of visitation. I was told that I would be allowed to spend every third Christmas with them and that if I didn’t sign this contract I’d never see my grandkids again. It was unreasonable and extraordinary in its unfairness and disrespect. After many tortured days of wondering what to do, I signed it, against my better judgement. The only reason I signed it was to be able to see my grandchildren. 

Looking back, I realize that by signing this ludicrous contract, I was dishonoring and hurting myself. It was the beginning of walking on eggshells and the demise of my self-esteem.

As the years flew by, I had to learn how to honor and respect myself again. For so long, I felt betrayed, sad, angry, hurt and blamed myself for so many things. Now, when I step back and analyze the events that led to this estrangement, I see clearly what I did to myself. The worst thing I did was to disrespect my own heart and mind which damaged my spirit tremendously.

I have made a commitment that I will never again accept abuse, disrespect or denigration from anyone. No exceptions. With this commitment comes a caveat: It may be necessary, in some cases, to let go of relationships and friendships that are disrespectful toward you. Sad, but, in the long run, it’s the healthiest choice.

Having said that, it’s always best to do everything possible to preserve relationships. Most people behave, at times, in hurtful or annoying ways. In order to have healthy relationships, we must let things go at times and forgive – always forgive.

It’s a harrowing ride, this journey of estrangement and alienation. It’s a trip I was forced to take and it’s no fun at all.