Last night, I had a dream of a little bird landing on my shoulder. There was a lot of commotion going on around me yet this little bird cuddled close to my neck for security. I was able to reach up and pet this bird reassuring him/her they were safe from harm. And as I was walking in my dream, this little bird moved with me as I progressed through my dream.
According to Dream Astro Meanings (https://dreamastromeanings.com/dream-about-birds-landing-on-you-interpretation-and-meaning/):
Birds are a sign of happiness and a bird landing on you is a sign of good luck. Birds are considered God’s messengers or signs of angels’ presence in our life, and that is why dreams of birds landing on you could have a very big significance because they are often related to your emotions. In some cases, these dreams could be a true message from our guardian angels giving us an encouragement that all will be well in our lives.
My interpretation of this dream was one of well-being after having written and scheduled the post to publish about my estranged daughter. It was a huge weight off of my shoulders to be able to be honest about what was happening in my life yet I’m tempted to delete that post before it publishes thus perpetuating the illusion that all is well with my family. It is very difficult for me to say anything negative about my children when I’ve spent a lifetime, doing whatever was in my power, in helping them succeed in whatever they pursued in their lives.
But the fact remains that my daughter walked away from her family of origin and never looked back. Empowering Parents.com (https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/estranged-from-your-adult-child-5-things-you-can-do/ ) writes:
If you are estranged from your adult child, if your child has cut you out of his or her life-whether for a long or short time- it is a gut-wrenching experience. When your child cuts you out of her life, it provokes deep feelings of shame, guilt, bewilderment, and hurt, all of which can easily turn to anger. On top of that, it can also arouse people’s worst suspicions (surely, the Smiths must be terrible parents for their daughter to cut them off like that!) and leave you feeling judged even by friends and family.
And when you are in the dark, the easiest thing to blame is yourself–to believe that you failed as a parent.
But here’s the reality: it was not your choice to sever the relationship. Although you may have contributed to the tensions between you, you are not responsible for your child’s choice to cut you off.
Empowering parents.com continues to explain why some children behave this way. They attribute some children behaving this way due to the “fight-or-flight” response when under stress. That some children are more prone to “flight” than others as an immature way in dealing with stressful situations. They offer five tips in how to cope when a child decides to become estranged from his or her parents.
- Whether seeking professional help or joining a support group, enlisting the help of friends and family who love and care about you can help deal with the heart-break of “losing” a child.
Don’t Cut Off in Response”
- Continue to send birthday and holiday messages as well as occasional brief notes or emails. “Send your warmth, love and compassion–as you get on with your life.”
Don’t Feed the Anger”
- “Step back and try to understand what led to this estrangement? Now if the door opens, you will be in a much better position to reconcile.”
Listen to Your Child Without Defending Yourself”
- Listen to her perceptions of what wrongs took place. “… Look for grains of truth.” Try to empathize with her pain rather than get caught up in the hurt and anger.
Focus on Yourself, Not Your Child”
- Put your efforts into changing yourself, not your child. Let go of your resentments regarding the estrangement. Understand his need to flee–and forgive him.
The bottom line… “You did not make your child to turn away. That was her decision. It may have been a poor one, but it was the best she could do at the time.”
“Your pain is real. Be mindful and compassionate of it, but don’t allow it to define or overwhelm you. Put the focus on what you have control of: your own life.” (https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/estranged-from-your-adult-child-5-things-you-can-do/)
The first step I’ve taken in understanding our family’s situation is to quit hiding the fact of what has happened to us. I can’t pretend I’m not deeply hurt by my daughter’s actions and decisions. I’m angry that when I started having health problems, and surgeries that were supposed to help with those health problems, my daughter abandoned me when I needed her support the most. It is beyond my imagination that I would EVER abandon either of my children in times of stress and problems. I can remember, in detail, how I’ve stopped my life to help both of my children when they have had problems in their lives. It would never occur to me to turn away from anyone in my family citing how MY LIFE was more important than theirs. The loyalty to my family is, in fact, so strong that to have it not reciprocated, well, that is beyond my comprehension!
The second step I’ve taken in understanding what has happened in my family is “hope”. Hope that someday my daughter will realize that there is no one who will love her more than her mother. And while we may have had a difference in opinions, over the years, her health and well-being were always my uppermost concerns.
But it is true what Sharon Waters says in her book “Estrangement of Parents by Their Adult Children”:
“The adult children describe a vindictive, hateful, parent who has harmed the child during the child’s upbringing. The bewildered parent’s view is that while they admit to imperfections and mistakes, there was love and caring at the core of their intentions and they profess love and caring for years into the estrangement. Gaslighting by the adult child undermines the parent’s credibility, shames and confuses the parent, and only after extended time, breaks down the love for and will to reunite with the adult child.”
And it is with that sentiment that I move forwards in my life. I’m now able to admit our family is not “perfect”. I’ve gotten professional help to vent the anger I feel at this intimate betrayal. And I’m focusing on what I actually do have control of in my life… the things that bring me joy: my animals that I care deeply about; my photography that allows me to express my creativity; and my health problems that I’m tackling, one at a time, that I have no choice other than to accept as a new part of my life. But most of all, I’m ridding myself of that fractured, fragmented life where on the outside I behave one way to all I meet but on the inside I feel torn, heart-broken, and lost. At least now I’m being honest!