Tell The Truth

I have been holding something in for a long time; maybe some of you will even be able to relate to this. Lately, it’s been weighing heavily on my mind. Every time someone inquires about my family and how things are going, I feel like I am not able to be 100% truthful. I’ve decided that it was time to come clean with you all, so that you know what my truth is; truth is freeing.

If you have been reading my blog for a while or even if you are a new reader, you’ll know that I openly discuss and face mental health issues and the stigma associated with a mental health crisis head on. This situation is even more personal and in many ways as stigma laden as the subject that I have been writing about for several years now, which is why I have kept it quiet until now.

Ok, here I go….

I am a childless mother.

For the past 6 months, and honestly on and off over the past several years, my children have made the choice to sever their relationship with me.

My older son, who I have shared little about on the blog, has completely shut me out of his life. During this time, he graduated from college, started at a new school to pursue his Bachelors degree and let Christmas come and go without a word. My younger son will respond to a text now and again, and did stop by for a visit Christmas morning but also made it very clear that he does not feel he can have a relationship with me right now.

Whoa! Right? What kind of mother loses their relationship with not one but both of her children? This kind of mother… The kind that loves unconditionally, that refuses to enable unhealthy behavior, that chooses to be a parent over being a friend, and that believes in accountability and facing consequences. These are among the very reasons why my children are choosing not to have a relationship with me right now.

In the case of my older child, I was given an ultimatum; “do this thing that I am demanding (which wasn’t my responsibility or obligation) or you will be dead to me”. This, of course, wasn’t the first time that I was faced with bullying behavior, a learned behavior that is often a “go to” last -ditch effort to get their way. This last time though, I needed to make a choice for me. Knowing that if I were to relent and do as my son demanded, it would only keep the door open for more of the same type of behavior. I left my marriage years ago because I chose not to be bullied any longer (though the bullying continued for years and I relented for years because I thought I was protecting my children – but that is for a future blog post). While my children learned it to be an effective way to get what they wanted, it was no longer going to be the way they would get what they wanted from me. Heartbreak.

My younger son, not surprisingly, cannot forgive me at this point for choosing to seek care for him when he was in the deepest depths of his crisis. He is unable to see that his choices were directly related to the decisions that were made for his treatment. He is unable to forgive me for the “hell” that those choices put him through.  To make matters worse, his father made a unilateral decision to pull him out of treatment, against the recommendation of the attending doctors and treatment team which further vilified my attempts to get him the support and treatment that he needed. Heartbreak.

I cannot begin to put into words the depth of pain and grief that I have been feeling and working through over these past several months. There are days where I truly feel like I am mourning a death and at times find myself on my knees at the edge of the pit of hell and not sure how to find my way back.

But, I am healing. It will take me some time to piece my heart back together and while it’s not completely healed, the healing has begun.

I am sharing this now because just as the stigma and shame around mental illness keeps many people quiet, I believe so does the stigma around being a “Childless Parent”. I am sharing because this is my truth and it’s part of my story. I also hope to create a space where parents who are hurting, confused, or angry because of similar circumstances can find a safe, non-judgmental place to feel understood.


About the Author | Amy White

Amy White is International Best Selling Author, Intuitive Coach and Mental Health Advocate. Amy writes the blog Far From Paradise, sharing the lessons, challenges, insights and heartache, as well as her own personal healing journey, following her son’s mental health crisis.

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8 comments to "Tell The Truth"

  • Thank you so very much for sharing my truth! I am grateful and thankful!

    For those who want to read more about my story, you can view it on my blog

  • […] Heartbreaking, powerful and honest, this beautifully written submission by Amy White describes her struggle to have a healthy relationship with …read more       […]

  • Colleen

    Thank you so much for your bravery in posting your story. My ex-husband was a bully and my adult son with Aspergers will sometimes try to get his way through bullying and manipulation. It’s so hard to build boundaries and not cave in but l am learning. Thanks again and blessings to you.

  • Rebecca

    THANK YOU THANK YOU Amy for sharing your heartbreak. I unfortunately can relate. I was married for 21 years , my entire adult life and 4 years ago it came crashing down. I have three grown children and my youngest daughter has put me through the ringer. Thank you for putting a name to it, and expressing my feelings exactly. My ex husband is from a very hurtful passive aggressive family, this was not clear to me until he started a relationship with a “girl” 20 years younger than him (mind you she’s only 5 years older than our oldest daughter). All of this was brought to light through therapy, I was basically lead to believe everything was my or my families fault for 20+ years. They basically turned their backs to me, accepted this girl into the picture …because they want him to be happy..(cough, cough) they now have a 1 1/2 year old daughter and are engaged. He broke his word to my daughter on giving her money towards her wedding two months before(the amount he determined) so she was able to reschedule and pay on their own, he broke his word on paying for a car he bought from my daughter to give to our son for his birthday, and he allowed our youngest daughter to accumulate student loans above $25k while flunking out of two colleges.
    Fast forward…I am living in a new city, a full time college student, working part-time 20 hours and volunteering through my church. I have picked up the pieces and continue everyday. Most days I am past what my ex husband and what his family put me through…except when my youngest daughter says or uses the same words to me that she’s heard her father say. I know eventually she will come around, I pray before it’s to late for either of us. She has been taught I am the enemy, she knows she’s lost and confused but doesn’t want to get help. Her sister and brother see it and I am hopeful through their influence she will come to see the truth of the situation and seek help. I have never not wanted my children to not have a relationship with their father, but he underhandedly continues to try and destroy the relationship they have with me. It is so painful to watch them get set up, lied to, lead astray as I was time and time again. My oldest daughter sees it and is learning to set boundaries, my son knows it’s there – most of the time ignores it- but I worry for the woman he marries- he thinks if he says something to his father it’s like he’s trying to change him instead of protect himself…of course words from his fathers mouth.
    As you mentioned, it is like a death, there’s nothing I can do or say. Being in school and working full time leaves little room to see my children and grandson since we are 2 1/2 hours away. Time and time again my youngest daughter has broken plans, backed out or just plain forgot- when I arrange a chance to get my children together and the times we do get together over the last 3 years have been far and few between. I know time and prayer are the answers – I continue to have a good support system – very few trusted who are close to me and understand the situation- I learned that lesson real quick.
    I wish you peace in your day and pray that your children find their way back to you soon – I understand your pain, you are not alone.

  • Michelle

    Thank you for sharing what is obviously a darkness drawn in by the actions of others. We so often believe we have to do what societies have demeaned normal or right when it couldn’t be farther from the truth. My prayers and love surround you as you go through this but what a blessing you are for so many who can’t find the words because they aren’t ready to really look. thank you again

  • Grateful I stumbled across this post. My relationship with my only child is also estranged and the pattern of modeling is not affecting the way my 3 grown grandchildren treat me as well.
    The anger in all of them for not compromising the truth is tangible and manifests in long absences of connection.
    I have no spouse and no active family. However I have created a incredibly precious life out of the abyss of pain. I come from generations of tragedy and I am grateful I have the work I have with individuals and families who take active steps to change generational pattens. On the up side I am a mother to many who turn toward me and want the wisdom I share . Creating this life has taken time but it’s worth it. If I had been too close to my child my gaze would be there and not towards building a full rich life for me. While there are moments I pause and weep for what we once had or could have I stand fully present in my incredible life and let that go more quickly than I ever could have imagined when our separation began when I got clean and sober. Having suffered with active addiction until 33 years ago I intend my legacy to them all near or far is that one can experience terrible loss be engulfed in insanity and incredible heartaches for half their life and break through with intention and a dream. Hang in I say keep your heart open and free from bitterness and create an incredible life after all it’s the only one we get. Thank you for your honesty!

  • Thank you Amy for sharing your truth…. it is heartbreaking but just know that it is your love for them that brought about this, continue to love them and love them more and it will all be okay soon enough for love heals everything, it might take time but stick to your conviction but love them enough. I do wish you all the best.

  • Amy,
    Thank you so much for sharing your story. You are a true inspiration for all of us and your story of courage I know has touched many lives.
    Sending you light and love,
    Martha Tassinari