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What is your way of coping with trauma and grief of losing someone (in my case a child, a family member, ex in-laws) you cared and loved very about, yet you didn't lose them to death? They are alive, they just alienated you for whatever reason. The Parental alienation group I get on every once in a while, abounds with Christian commenters claiming that their prayers and faith brought their alienated kids back and they have relationships now, giving glory to Jesus, when really and truly it's a lot of hald work trying to communicate gently, tenderly, and succintly, also walking on egg shells, eating crow, and waiting for the right time for that member to change their mind. It hurts to read and think, well, that's not very helpful to me. I am glad it's brought you joy and solace. I am so lonely here in this small town, work, work, work, 2 hours commute during the week, and come home to an empty house. Being totally alone after 20 years of marriage is so hard for someone who is affectionate and raised a family full of action at all times! I still don't know how to fully relax! I try to listen to atheist comedians to lighten up the mood, podcasts, audio books, etc It helps me get out of the funk remporarity, but then in hits me again. I do yoga, I walk, I workout. THerapy here is not an option as the therapist are not trained in PAS. But the loneliness is so F deep! Thanks for any other tips!

By ForeignNata5
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When I lost my youngest son, I felt like my world had ended...but I knew from my post-divorce counseling that grief is a process and that if you wade through it long enough you eventually find your way through. Christians like say that God never puts something in front of us that we can't deal with, in my view we as humans are almost always capable of rising the occasion. I say almost, because some don't make it, but the vast majority of us do. You just have keep taking that next breath...some folks say take it one day at a time for me a day was too long..I took it one breath at a time, even when breathing was so terribly difficult. I told my other sons the same thing and promised that if they just kept breathing it would get easier until eventually over time you realize that the sky is still blue, the grass is still green, and overall the world is a pretty neat place to be in


I've been there. My daughter and I were always close and after a big blowout created a rift between us, she quit talking to me for years. I didn't give up, but I honored her wishes to not contact her.

It lasted over two years before I got an email asking for financial help. In the email she stated that she would understand if I refused, but either way she'd be open to re-establishing a rapport.

In the time we were estranged, I encouraged muy family to maintain contact with her, be supportive, and not judge her. When we started talking, we didn't rehash the past, blame each other, or hold grudges. We are as close as ever now, and that dispute is five years behind us.

If the situation had involved anyone other than one of my children, I wouldn't have attempted reconciliation.

JimG Level 8 Nov 22, 2018

I empathize with your situation because I am in a very similar position. I have a son and a daughter that I have not seen or spoken with for five years. When I left the cult that is Jehovahs Witnesses I lost my family, my home and life as I knew it. I didn't think that I would survive but I am still here. I had PTSD as a result of what happened. I was encouraged to look at The Four Agreements by Miguel Ruiz and over time it got better. Of course I miss my children and I always will. I didn't close the door and it is always open if they ever wish to contact me. I didn't have to become a cold hearted person or anything like that to deal with the situation. I have always loved my children and I always will. I know what you are feeling, all the different emotions that are ever present. Look after yourself and it will get better. I thought that it never could but it has.

Thank you! I a sorry you are hurting too. I am learning to live for myself. Whoever doesn't want me in their lives, oh well, it's their loss. I am moving forward. Some days are better than others. But the better ones are far more frequent than before!


I don't know if this will help , but I found community and emotional support through what I call "strategically volunteering". I make sure that I not only greet each person that I can , but I also saw as many kind things to others whether it be "drive safely", "have a wonderful day", "peace and joy",etc... Some of the people I volunteer with are religious and some are not , but I simply busy myself with helping someone else if they start to talk about religion or just say something like "what you give to the world is what you receive." I even volunteer at a food bank at a church and have never had an argument or debate about religion . It's important for me to reach out to these people because they in turn shower me with the same kindness I give to them. Fo example, I brought just some bread and cheese and shared it and a nice lady made some peanut butter fudge. Now we have a tradition of sharing something with one another when we meet only twice a month. I think once you find some organizations to volunteer in and you try to go out of your way to be kind to others then you will get a lot of love back. Sorry about your family, I hope that eventually they will come around. Just keep telling them that you love them and remind them that they are hurting you and remind them of all of the kind and unselfish things that you have done to nurture them.


I live alone and enjoy it. it's less stressful. some mj to deal with depression. eat well and sleep well.


What a sad situation. I don't remember how lonely I was, I just remember that I was in pain. I worked in a small-town in KS that required each to be divorced parent to go to a group about behaving well as too not alienate the child from the other parent. It basically taught that people that they you can call the other parent a dirty dog all that they want, but not in front of the children. it really confuses and hurts children when they are alienated from a parent. It is not considered abuse, but I consider it very bad parenting. All the therapist would have to do is read about it. PAS is debated but considered somewhat valid. A good therapist could help you deal with grieving your old life. I had to go see a therapist when my daughter grew up and went away. There was nothing wrong with me, Just coping attempts did not help and I needed to talk about it to a supportive person, and I did not want to burden my friends too much more. I would make sure that my therapist was a good match for me. Some therapists do well with atheist clients some do not. I was not helpful for me when the suggestion was to join a church. You don't know me well, but I talk to people on the message page as friends and fellow humans. I go through some things too that are burdensome.


I tried 3 therapists, awful. Not trained in grief and trauma at all. I've tried to tell them about it, showed them links for CE, but they just glazed over. Found one finally but tough schedule to get in. working on my own self a lot as well. Coming to grips with the situation and learning to move on...My ex left a year before the divorce, so we never spoke badly in front of the kids. The alienation has been subtle and has been going on for years. Now looking back I can see how it was happening. Covert narcs do it. My ex is one of them. Unfortunately, I didn't know these terms until just recently and things started to piece together. PA is actually psychological child abuse. I came from a different country, without a support system, someone to stand up for me too. So, it was easy to get me to play his tune... Now my children are playing his tune without realizing it, like I did. But guess what? I can't say anything about their dad. I just have to let them suffer the consequences, when I know what they could end up being. Because if I say something negative about their dad... Well, you know. I can't save my kids. Someone else would have to... It hurt to watch them live with such skewed world views and not be able to show them another POV, not that they would listen anyway...Time and maturity, school of hard knocks. As much as I'd like to save my girls the pain I went through, I can't. They won't listen even if I was able to speak freely ...


My older brother whom I was very close to (13 months) died 10 years ago last month from alcohol. I still haven't forgiven him or gotten over it.

@celticagent Please understand that I am not criticizing or judging you - I simply don't understand your perspective. I was very close to my brother - we endured and survived a ton of abuse by our caretakers and we remained close through it all. He passed away in July of 2017 at 51. It was the most painful experience of my life, but I never once felt or thought that he failed me. He often called me when he was drunk and while I tried to steer him in a different direction - I was simply grateful for the call. Why have you been unable to forgive your brother and why haven't you gotten over his passing? I think of my brother from time to time but it doesn't consume me - what is consuming you?

@SLBushway not sure I understand your question? Nothing is consuming me. I never forgave him for dying before me. He was brilliant, funny, kind, thoughtful. His death was a shock to all.

@celticagent When you can't let go of something e.g., "I still haven't forgiven him or gotten over it." I'd define that as something that is consuming you - it's only when we let go that it no longer does.

I am so sorry to hear that! My condolences...


You and I sound very similar. I'm divorced after 18 years, my son is grown and lives elsewhere, my parents are both gone. I took a job in a small town and in a state where I knew no one. What helps me is to focus on pursuing areas in my life I've never had time for until now. I've always been very creative, and if I were 18 again I would major in art, art history, or graphic design. In my personal time, I work on creative projects that give me a lot of fulfillment and comfort. I've even done some DIY projects around the house thanks to You Tube. I also have pets which are good companions.

Have you thought about volunteering? You could check with the local Rotary group and see if there are some local non-profit organizations that you could volunteer with. That is if your community isn't too small.

How far are you from some larger communities? I live close enough to larger communities that have Meet Up groups that I could drive to one if I really wanted and needed to be with a group of people.

For me, this site has been really great, a nice community of people. There are chat rooms you could join if you want more live communication.

linxminx Level 7 Nov 7, 2018

Thank you very much for your comment. I would love to have some free time to just enjoy being creative again. I am on skillshare and Udemy, Great Course, etc. I am always listening, learning something. I have to keep my mind occupied lately to keep myself from ruminating. I live about 35 mins to the closest city with a Meetup. I used to do meetups and even met a Significant other, a fellow atheist via the meetup, shortly after the divorce.We were in a relationship for 1 1/2 years. I am wondering now if that was something that my ex was so pissed about, when my children relayed to him everything over the phone every day they spoke (he worked and is still overseas). I know when my girls found out they really disliked him. My ex is a conservative Christian. I used to volunteer quite a bit, but the drive to the city became cost prohibitive when I couldn't find steady employment. I used to hike, play board games, go to dinners, etc. All that ended when things happened with my fam. I couldn't face people, was confused, ashamed, embarrassed... Then I found a PT job online that took all my mornings and evenings teaching online from home. Another PT job, online from home. Then I found a FT job, driving an hour each way. So, I work a lot now, every am, when every volunteering event and hiking event happens, and every weekend pm, and most weekends when board games are played too. No wonder, right? No, my town is way too small for any volunteering, I'd have to drive and that would mean let go of some of my PT jobs, which bring me the income I need to build up after the painful divorce. I am keeping my chin up though! smile001.gif

I tried to message you privately, but you don't have that option ;(


I've had a bad year with the loss of a very special pet, a loss of my ancestral home ( pending), and my fiance leaving. I think they all feel pretty much the same. Like a death. That's the hardest for skeptics and atheists. We don't have a happy place to put death. Or I don't yet. All I know how to do is try to keep moving forward, trying not to repeat mistakes, and helping others ... everyone, in their grief.

Thank you so very much! I appreciate the help. Moving forward is what I plan on doing every morning I get out of bed!


first, please accept my condolences; it is sometimes harder to lose someone this way than to death. second of all, drop that group. it won't help and it will drive you nuts.

i have no advice about reunification. it may not be possible. children go their own way and you may never know their motivations. so the thing to do is lessen the pain. that's rough, but time can do that. focus on the good times. stay available if you feel that you want to, but don't expect anything. you still have a life; fill it with things that make it worthwhile. don't feel guilty if you have moments of happiness.


genessa Level 8 Nov 6, 2018

Thank you! Doing just that. It took some time to come to the realization as my girls and I were close. Time heals. I did let them know that the door is open. If I can help, I will, but I am also guarded as I cannot trust them like I used to. It's tough. I thought about dropping the group and I think I am getting close to letting go. I just see the posts on my wall, I don't actually have time to scroll. But the admin posts the best advice and it shows on my wall. It encourages me, but a lot of the commenters keep thanking God and encourage folks to pray for their kids. It's hard for me to read that, esp knowing that my kids love an imaginary friend but hate an earthly human being who gave me birth. The lack of empathy that Parental alienation brings is mind numbing! My oldest daughter told me that it makes her very sad to know that she won't be seeing me in Heaven...and begged me to reconsider and come back to Jesus... the pain was excruciating to hear my child speak those words because I felt in Hell on earth!

@ForeignNata she's not by any chance in a cult, is she? because the first thing a cult does is separate its flock from their families and friends, telling them said families and friends are untrustworthy outsiders.


@genessa I believe the girls are influenced by their father. It is a cult. They don't attend churches, they home fellowship. MY youngest daughter was put on the stand as well, along with the other 2, and she said she doesn't want to live with me because "my mother is an atheist now and she didn't want to bring me to church". 2 of my daughters live with my ex now, one goes to a private Christian school, the other one works there. My oldest sent me a message a few days ago telling me that all her 2nd graders are praying for me. I asked her why. She said for my faith and for me to have peace in my heart. Uhm, ok. I thanked her and told her to not burden the 2nd graders with me... I am familiar with the de converting thing, I know it's difficult, and it's not something possible in my situation. Her uncle is the ring leader, has my ex wrapped around his finger, had our marriage controlled, so, nope, the hopes of them making it out of the cultish mentality are very slim...

@ForeignNata i suspected as much from what she said about heaven. i am SO sorry. i hope someone, somehow, is able to get to them and show them what's happening to them. it may be too late for the relationship but it might open their eyes.



I went through this with an estrangement from my son for 2 years. It’s quite a story and even though he is no longer estranged, the relationship is somewhat strained and not what I had hoped for. Being a member of multiple support groups for estranged parents on FB definitely helped. Therapy helped. Maybe Talkspace would help you? I think making a plan to move forward is helpful.

Elusia8 Level 6 Nov 6, 2018

Thank you for your comment! So glad to hear that your son is back! Yes, I think if we do get reunited it cannot be the same. I can never share my true self with them again. They knew so many details of my life that they spoke in public, humiliating me, that I will forever be guarded with them. What is Talkspace?

@ForeignNata talkspace is an online therapy option
Here’s a link: [talkspace.com]

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