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The Reconnection Club Podcast
13 minutes | 7 days ago
89. Humility vs. Humiliation
It’s not uncommon for parents rejected by adult children to feel humiliated by the experience of estrangement. And humiliation is a terrible feeling for anyone. So when you’re faced with the idea of approaching your estranged adult child(ren) with humility, you might think, ‘Why on earth would I sign up for that?’ And also, ‘I’ve still got my pride,’ and perhaps also, ‘I’m not giving up my dignity along with my child(ren).’ But humility is not the same as feeling humiliated. Humility empowers, rather than disempowering, those who adopt it as an attitude. In this thought-provoking episode, Tina breaks down the differences and offers a clear illustration of the power of humility. Members can discuss this episode in the General Discussion forum inside the Reconnection Club. Not a member yet? Learn more and join. Check out Tina’s book, Reconnecting with Your Estranged Adult Child.
10 minutes | 14 days ago
88. Should You Lend Money to an Estranged Adult Child?
The short answer is no, don’t lend money to an estranged adult child. If you can’t afford to *give* money to them (or if you choose not to), it may be better to avoid any financial involvement. If you can help it, don’t become your child’s creditor. As a creditor you’re on the hook to take action if your child defaults. This doesn’t bode well for a good outcome when there’s already tension in your relationship. What should you do in the event that you already loaned your adult child money? Now she’s estranged and not paying you back. In this practical episode, Tina discusses that dilemma, and offers a (necessarily imperfect) solution. If you normally ask what your child needs it for when you’re asked for money, consider whether your child is a criminal, addicted to drugs, or has terrible judgment. If none of these things are true, you might want to show less interest in the details of his spending. If you treat your child like the independent adult she is, she might spontaneously decide she wants to pay you back for an earlier loan. Or maybe not. The goal is to show respect for both yourself and your child in all your financial dealings. And to make sure your relationship is based on something more valuable than money.
9 minutes | 21 days ago
87. When You Don't Get a Response
Parents of estranged adult children often get no response to messages they send. With every lack of response, parents become more and more discouraged. They take their child’s silence as continued rejection, and they start to feel powerless. While it’s true that adult children often don’t respond if they don’t like the message, there are other reasons why they might not reply, even if the messages lands well. In this inspiring episode, Tina suggests that getting a response shouldn’t be considered the only measure of success. As long as they know their messages are helping to restore the relationship, parents can feel good about what they send. If you’re thinking of offering an apology, or if you’ve sent apologies in the past without apparent effect, make sure you know the elements of an effective apology. (Go to https://reconnectionclub.com/87 for a link to Lesson 1 of the Reconnection Club apology course.) That’s just one example of how parents can educate themselves to become confident in what they’re sending to their estranged adult children. Make sure everything you send during an estrangement is both heartfelt and on target.
13 minutes | a month ago
86. "My Adult Child Dumped Me For My Ex"
You might be surprised to know that if your adult child has abandoned you for your ex, you have plenty of company. Single mothers often enjoy an especially close relationship with their children when they’re young. No wonder these moms are shocked and hurt when one of their now-young-adults decides to explore a relationship with his dad – and decides to dump Mom in the process. What’s going on here? Why does an adult child have to reject the parent who raised him in order to get close to the parent who left? Tina makes several observations about this surprisingly common scenario. Not only is it not rare, it’s likely not permanent. Moms who experience this type of rejection will do well to remember that the foundations they built with their child(ren) won’t just disintegrate. It’s okay to turn your attention to personal healing while you await the next phase of your relationship, and your lives.
13 minutes | a month ago
85. Supportive, Yes. Doormat, No.
If you’ve been in the Reconnection Club environment long enough, you’re probably on board with the idea of taking your estranged adult child’s point of view. You want to be supportive, to validate his thoughts and feelings, while you work on repairing the relationship. But how do you do that in the face of poor behavior, without feeling like a doormat? In this week’s show, Tina looks at 3 scenarios where parents are vulnerable to feeling like doormats: - Your adult child only contacts you when she needs something, then disappears again. - Your child uses foul language when he speaks to you, but you don’t want to complain and risk losing contact. - You send invitations and wait for responses that never come, so you never know whether to set another place at the table. With these examples in mind, learn how to strike a balance between being supportive and being walked on.
11 minutes | a month ago
84. Is Your Estranged Adult Child Holding a Grudge?
If only your child would let go of this GRUDGE she’s carrying. If it weren’t for that, the two of you could be close again, the way you’re meant to be. But wait – Why is your child holding a grudge? And if she is, then what’s the remedy? If your child is holding a grudge, there’s absolutely nothing you can do but wait till he comes around. And hope it doesn’t take too long. In this episode, Tina brings good news: A grudge is probably not the reason your adult child is estranged right now. And if it’s not a grudge your child is insisting on holding, then as a parent, you have the power to change the picture. Tina lists three considerations for parents who feel their adult child is simply holding a grudge. Spoiler alert: It’s not that simple. And it’s definitely not that hopeless from a parent’s point of view. Members can discuss this episode in the General Discussion forum inside the Reconnection Club. Not a member yet? Learn more and join. Check out Tina’s book, Reconnecting with Your Estranged Adult Child
10 minutes | 2 months ago
83. Patience Is Not Passive
Many parents rejected by an adult child are committed to working toward a healthy, mutually satisfying relationship. But they recognize that even if they work very hard and do everything right, reconciliation can take more time than they’d like. Some estranged adult children simply need more time before they’re ready to try again. They may be too busy or too anxious right now to take the relationship off the back burner and re-engage. This leaves parents with nothing to do but wait. Or does it? For unwillingly estranged parents, waiting should not be a passive enterprise. If you’re waiting to hear from your child, don’t waste valuable time. You could be preparing right now for a better outcome in the future. In this episode, Tina explains why parents should spend their “waiting” time constructively and offers specific suggestions for things you can do. You’ll be lucky if you have the time to do the recommended homework before your child comes back. If you do, it will make all the difference in a successful reconciliation. Members can discuss this episode in the General Discussion forum inside the Reconnection Club. Not a member yet? Learn more and join. Check out Tina’s book, Reconnecting with Your Estranged Adult Child
6 minutes | 2 months ago
82. Playing Into an Estranged Adult Child's "Delusions"
What if your estranged adult child is expressing ideas that seem delusional? Should you play into those delusions? Or try to talk her out of them? You might worry that while going along with your child’s distorted thinking may soothe her somewhat, it isn’t good for her psychological health. You’re torn between preserving the relationship at any cost, and doing the right thing for your child. Fortunately, this isn’t a choice parents have to make. Through a story about a delusional patient in a psychiatric ward, Tina shows why parents should focus on the child and the relationship, not the delusion, for best results.
9 minutes | 2 months ago
81. "We Used to Be So Close"
You’d be surprised how many estranged adult children come from close families. It’s a myth that parents must have been toxic and abusive for adult children to seek estrangement. Sometimes the very closeness that characterizes a family is what underlies the adult child’s need for distance. But how can that be? Aren’t close families good for children? Yes, close families are wonderful environments for children to grow up in. But not every family is close in the right way for children to thrive. In this episode, Tina distinguishes between closeness and enmeshment. While closeness is healthy and feels good for everyone involved, enmeshment pumps the brakes on individuality and autonomy, especially in children. The closeness that parents enjoy in enmeshed families may be experienced by children as control or benign oppression. As always, Tina offers hope for parents to turn things around.
11 minutes | 2 months ago
80. "But My Child Had a Great Childhood!"
Understanding your adult child’s reasons for estrangement can be hard, especially when there’s no communication. But it can seem downright mystifying when you look back at your child’s youth. “He had so many great experiences!” you may exclaim, “We made sure he had good times and lots of opportunities.” You wonder how someone who was given so much could ever turn on his parents. It’s wonderful to have the satisfaction that you gave your child(ren) as much as you could. But parents do this naturally, not as a quid pro quo, and not purely out of generosity. Surely it helped you sleep at night if you knew your child was warm and safe and fed. It’s a sad awakening to realize that the childhood you were able to give her, didn’t guarantee your child’s happiness. But there may still be much you can joyfully give that can have a positive impact on both of you. In this episode, Tina outlines three assumptions parents make about good childhoods, and explains why the privileges and opportunities your child received are less relevant to the relationship than one might hope. The investments you made in your child(ren) were never guaranteed. But they were also less conscious than the ones you can make in that relationship today. Trade assumptions for good information, and anticipate better results. If you enjoy this podcast you'll also like Tina's book, Reconnecting With Your Estranged Adult Child.
12 minutes | 3 months ago
79. How Do Adult Children View Estrangement?
How can they do this? Is it really okay with them? Are they happy? Research suggests answers to these questions, and Tina shares the information in this informative episode.
9 minutes | 3 months ago
78. Why Indulge an Estranged Adult Child?
It's easy to resent feeling required to indulge the poor behavior of your estranged adult child. You feel like you're being mistreated, and yet you're supposed to jump through hoops for them? If you've ever felt this way when listening to this podcast or reading Tina's book (Reconnecting With Your Estranged Adult Child), this episode is for you.
12 minutes | 3 months ago
77. Responding to Foul Language
Estrangement from your adult child may or may not include verbal assaults from him or her, featuring foul language. If you’re faced with this kind of behavior, given the current estrangement, what’s the best way to respond? You don’t want to push your child further away. But does that mean you have to tolerate whatever language they may fling at you in a text? In this episode, Tina offers a 2-part response for parents. Her approach takes into account both your family’s communication history and the importance of healthy boundaries, even during estrangement. Don’t continue to put up with rude behavior. Know where your limits are, and calmly assert them. Do this with your child, your spouse or partner, other family members and friends. Setting boundaries, if you do it in the spirit of building better relationships, will not damage your bond with your adult children. Use the examples given in this episode to set your own boundaries around the disrespectful use of foul language. In the spirit of picking your battles, Tina also offers an opinion regarding your adult child’s use of “snarky tones” with you.
15 minutes | 3 months ago
76. Should You Express Your Feelings to Your Estranged Adult Child?
Do you let them know how their behavior is making you feel? Or not? Tell them just what it’s like not to get a reply, time after time? Or pretend you’re fine with it? When all you get from them on your birthday is a 2-word text at 11pm, should you say something? Knowing how and when to express your feelings about the estrangement to your adult child is not easy. What if expressing negative emotions just pushes him further away? There’s a clue in a simple rule of thumb for rejected parents. Before you do anything, ask yourself, “Will this serve my child?” You’re human. You deserve for someone to care when your feelings are hurt, and when you’re having a hard time. But it’s not clear that your adult child is the right person to fill that role, especially when she’s estranged. Tina offers some food for thought in this episode (use the player below to listen now) if you’re thinking of giving your estranged adult child a piece of your mind.
14 minutes | 4 months ago
75. What Caused Your Adult Child's Estrangement?
Estrangement doesn’t happen on a whim. If your adult child has cut ties with you at the moment, he has reasons that make sense to him, and that are probably long-standing. In order for the estrangement to end, those reasons usually need to be addressed and neutralized. Many parents rejected by their adult children are in such a hurry to end the estrangement that they don’t take sufficient time to investigate the “why” of what happened. They miss opportunities to understand and correct missteps that led to problems in the first place. Even if they search high and low for the cause of their children’s behavior, parents as a group tend to look in the wrong places for the causes of estrangement. In this informative episode, Tina helps parents slow down and focus their efforts where they’ll be most fruitful. If you can pinpoint the real cause(s) of your adult child’s desire for distance, you can start building a better experience for both of you in the future.
11 minutes | 4 months ago
74. Should Parents Present a United Front?
Your child has cut you off, but still speaks to your spouse. Or vice versa. Maybe your child is estranged from both of you, but both parents are not on the same page about how to respond. Should the two of you act as a team, taking a single stance together vis-à-vis your child? Usually the parent who wants a united front is the one who favors withholding attention, contact, or something else from the estranged adult child. The idea is, if your child won’t speak to your spouse, or to both of you, then the two of you won’t condone this behavior with contact or favors. There should be consequences, the thinking goes. But is that a good idea? It depends on whether the outcome you seek is to hold on to your principles, or to facilitate reconciliation. Your strategy may not be able to do both. In this helpful episode, Tina offers her thoughts on parents presenting a united front. She considers both partial estrangement (i.e., estrangement from one parent but not the other) and estrangement from both parents.
12 minutes | 4 months ago
73. The Mother-Daughter Relationship
Mothers and daughters have the potential for a very close, lifelong relationship. But not every mother-daughter pair enjoys a harmonious, supportive bond. You may have seen your friends get together with their grown daughters, and watched them with envy. Your daughter, in contrast, has become estranged. How did this happen, and why? If the mother-daughter bond is supposed to be so close, why do so many mothers and daughters become estranged? Mother-daughter relationship coach Rosjke Hasseldine has some important thoughts on that question, and she shares them in this episode. Listen to an excerpt from Tina’s interview with Rosjke, who is also the author of The Mother-Daughter Puzzle and The Silent Female Scream. In this excerpt you’ll hear Rosjke discussing the roots of conflict between mothers and daughters – what often goes wrong in this very special relationship, and why the problem extends beyond just you and your daughter.
8 minutes | 4 months ago
72. "Why Is It Always the Parent's Fault?"
"Why is it always the parent's fault?" is a question that often comes up when rejected parents are faced with suggestions to apologize, or to try to understand and validate an estranged adult child. It’s understandable. When all the advice coming your way is to act with humility, instead of someone who deserves to receive an apology yourself, it makes sense to assume you’re being blamed for the situation. But wait a minute. If what you’re interested in is relationship repair, then all of those activities must be viewed in a different light. A good apology, for example, may be the only way to gently take down the wall your child has put up. Seeking first to understand is a recognized habit of highly effective people. Validation doesn’t imply agreement. It’s just a way to move from the opposite side, to the same one. All of the tools successful parents are putting to use, might make it look like they’re taking the blame. But what they’re taking is responsibility for solving a problem that’s bothering them. Don’t mistake responsibility for blame. There’s no value anyway on staying focused on whose fault the estrangement is. It’s just a recipe for remaining estranged. Try to let go of the notions of fault, blame, and guilt surrounding estrangement. Recognize apologies, validation, and other tools as part of a solid relationship repair toolkit. If your goal is to repair and improve a troubled relationship, look for ways to be accountable – not ways you’re not at fault. If your goal is to prove that too much blame has been laid at your feet, you may be in the wrong place here. The Reconnection Club is for parents seeking reconnection through self-awareness and personal growth.
11 minutes | 4 months ago
71. Three Ways Rejected Parents Give Away Their Power
It’s common for rejected parents who are unwillingly estranged from an adult child to feel utterly powerless. And that's a horrible feeling in the face of a breach in an important relationship. But there are three specific assumptions parents make that leave them truly powerless. These insidious assumptions are: Your child’s estrangement is entirely about something that happened in the past, Someone else is controlling (or has brainwashed) your child, and Your child has a personality disorder that’s making him act this way. Each of these assumptions in the parent says, in effect, “This estrangement in entirely beyond my control.” Only when parents give up any hope of having a positive impact on their troubled relationship, are they truly powerless to heal estrangement from their adult children. The other episode mentioned on this show was Episode #62, Personality Disorders and Estrangement.
10 minutes | 5 months ago
70. How to Find Compassion for a Rude or Angry Adult Child
Most parents feel their estranged adult children’s pain. Part of their own anguish is the knowledge that their child isn’t happy. And there’s a saying: “You’re only as happy as your unhappiest child.” But when an adult child treats you with rudeness or anger, it’s easy to lose that compassion for them. Their behavior might trigger defensiveness or anger in you. And those will replace your softer feelings. Once your own feelings turn angry and defensive, your ability to repair your relationship is compromised. That’s why Tina shares some thoughts to help you get your compassion back. In this episode, Tina offers a few ways to look at your child and see a frustrated, angry, de-skilled individual who’s not operating at their best -- rather than a mean bully you want to run from. If you can find your way back to compassion for both your child and yourself, you can get back on the reconnection track.
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