Grandparents Who Feel Shame and Social Isolation
By Dr. Joshua Coleman
Almost every day I get a call or email from a relieved parent saying, “I thought I was the only one dealing with this problem.” This is because very few parents want to talk about the fact that they no longer have any contact with their children or grandchildren because they correctly, or incorrectly fear that the other person will think or say something to the effect of, “Well, you must have done something pretty bad to cause your own child to turn away from you. I mean, kids don’t just turn away from their parents for no reason at all.”
But, because most parents don’t tell other people about their situation, they are robbed of the social support that is important to healing from any ongoing psychological challenge. And like most problems, issues that are left in the dark tend to grow stronger there because it reinforces our feeling that the reality is too shameful and painful for us or for anyone else to face. I have had many parents tell me that the simple act of knowing that there are a lot of other parents out there suffering in this way is healing to them because it makes them feel less flawed and alone.
There’s also quite a lot of research at this point saying that positive social contact is one of the best routes to feeling less anxious, depressed or preoccupied.
We’ll discuss this topic more/ If you need help coping with the pain of estrangement, join us:
Tuesday May 9th
HOW DO I COPE WITH THE PAIN?
Using New Research to Feel Better
530 PM Pacific, 630 PM Mountain, 730 PM Central, 830 PM Eastern
Free Study Guide Here
About the Author
Dr. Joshua Coleman is a psychologist in private practice in San Francisco and a Senior Fellow with the Council on Contemporary Families. He has been a frequent guest on the Today Show, NPR, The BBC, and numerous other outlets.