How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask Dr. Ed Wilfong Your Own Question

Dr. Ed Wilfong
Dr. Ed Wilfong, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1528
Experience:  Twenty-five years treating all ages; Specialities: psychopharmacology & diagnosis, MMPI-2, testing.
Type Your Mental Health Question Here...
Dr. Ed Wilfong is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

My name is Joan and am a victim of Parental Alienation Syndrome.

This answer was rated:

My name is XXXXX XXXXX am a victim of Parental Alienation Syndrome. My children's father alienated my children during the marriage and custody suits. My daughters have exhibited outrageous behavior at me for years. 10 years has passed and my youngest daughter is 37 and just recently is acknowledging to me she has a biological mother and is trying to offer me a place in her life. She claims she knows she didn't love me right. This is an understatment. She has left me out of her own wedding, baby showers, birthdays, me getting to know my own grandchildren and holidays. I haven't had a Christmas with her in 20 years. She even put her own husband on the phone about 7 years ago to tell me that she, her sister and her father were all one big happy family now and I could get lost and told me if I didn't get mental help, I wasn't going to be taken care of my old age. How do I respond to her invitation? I love her but there still hasn't been an apology and she needs to be accountable.
It took a lot for you to break off contact. It is hard to know why she is now being more open to you. I suspect nothing good, maybe just to help her get over her own guilt. I don't see what exactly the invitation is, but it doesn't matter. I cannot a reason that would to your benefit to re-establish contact. I would be very suspicious. VERY. A parent love doesn't die, but sometimes once they have rejected you and you have adjusted, there is really nothing other than pain that that will be the outcome. I suspect she is manipulating you for something, but 20 years of pain and rejection doesn't change overnight and old wounds will be cut wide open. Protect yourself.
Dr. Ed Wilfong and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

I'm in pain either way.I have not adjusted and there is no piece in my soul of not having them in my life.I feel I have to choose the worst of 2 evils.Her father is losing it mentally. I heard through a friend.he is crazy half the time, because he doesnt know where is. Maybe her fear is being left with no bilogical parent. She doesn't really care for her stepmother from what I gather.She told me she would accept me as I am and she wanted her kids to know me, and that it wasn't just about guilt if something happened to me.She also said she has had to give mercy and compassion to the ones she wanted to keep close.I wasn't on that list. I have been villainized.Part of me wants to contact her, let her know I love her and let her know how angry I am.I would like to be at piece with this if something were to happen to me.I would want my brats to know I loved them no matter what. I feel compelled to respond and let her know something.This is the first step she has ever taken with me and does the reason really matter?

Yes the reason does matter, or should. I know you are in pain either way. Is it coincidental that her father is losing it and now she wants contact. So what puts you suddenly back on the "mercy and compassion" list.

I tend to say what I think, and I just see so many red flags that you will up the the worst of the evils, and my job is to look after your best interest. I don't mean to sound unsympathetic.

If you feel like you need to respond, call and talk to her. Let her know you love her and have been hurt for 20 years. Just be cautious. You just can't open you heart to someone that has trampled on it for so many years. I suspect talking to her may actually help you get a better perspective.

I just hope you will cautious and take it all slowly. Obviously it is up to you to take the risks you feel are best. all I can do is give you my perspective
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

Dear Dr. Wilfong,


I have recently been in contact with my daughter through emails. She has all these flowery words of love for me but she says she has moved on from her past and that she doesn't want to dig up her corpse as she says I wouln't really want her to do that. I told her she has not explained her outrageous conduct in excluding me from her life for over 20 years and all the pain and suffering that she and her sister have caused me. She says she has forgiven and moved on and wants to create new memories of me in her life and that it is her dream of laughter and smiles. No where in her email was one sincere apology or explanation for any of her behavior. She says it's all in her past and her door is open and has always been open and that I have always been on her mercy and compassion list which is the furtherest thing than the truth. Her email was like a Hallmark Card. What can I say to her that makes my point? I feel that I deserve an apology. I told her in my first email that I could not move forward until I get one. I haven't moved on and am angry that she thinks she can treat me the way she has and I'm suppose to just move on like she has. She doesn't want to be accountable for any of her actions. I would like to send one last email to her that makes my point that the disrespect can't be forgiven by me unless she apologies and acknowledges how deeply she has hurt me. What can I say to her?

Hi Joan:
It seems very clear that she has no intention of apologizing. Pretty much all you can do is tell her you cannot move on unless she apologizes. She will likely not do it or send you another "Hallmark Card". You can say or do anything, but you cannot control how she responds. There are no "special techniques" to make someone hear you other than being direct, there is not much you can do. Creating "new memories" doesn't replace the old ones for you or for her. That whole notion sounds irrational. and she is apparently still denying how she treated you.

It seems to me you need to tell her what you are telling me. You have been very hurt over many years by her choices to exclude you. In order for you to be able to make "new memories" the old ones need to be put to rest. For you, that needs an apology from her"

When she replies, you will have to decide to "take it or leave her" as she is.

Good luck.

Dr. Ed Wilfong and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Dr. Wilfong,


I need your help. I wrote back to you about my two daughters and you said there were Red Flags and your advice was me to not pursue it. Against your advice, I gave my two daughters another chance. Everything was going pretty good until my youngest daughter had pictures of my mother that abused me and my sister, lying on her coffee table. I picked up the picture of my sister which represented a time that I totally disconnected from my mother. She had told me when she came to California that she was not obligated to see me. I was hurt and told her I was sorry that she felt that way and if I can't see her alive, I will not see her dead. She refused to make any plans with me when she came to visit her other family members. I have never talked to her again. She runs me down to my daughters. On the back of a picture that represented that disconnection, my mother wrote, your mother was mean to us because she wouldn't let us see you. I was furious. The picture as dated but it took me back to remember that dead body.

Mother's Day eve, I took my daughters out for pizza. When we were driving home, they were telling each other they were going to be pushing each other around in their rockers. When I heard that remark, it took me to the loss of my brothers and my sister because of all the horrible things my mother has told them about me. I commented that that would be something I would never experience thanks to my mother.


My two daughters blew a cork. My oldest one told me to pull the car over so she could get out. They were both at me like a pack of coyotes. I was to celebrate my very first Mother's Day in over 20 years. Needless to say, I went in my youngest daughter's house and packed my things and left (without drama). I cried all the way home.

They both talk to each other and roll their eyes if I say or do anything wrong.

I told them both I was sorry I was far from a perfect mother and they used me bringing up to my mother to vent on me like two crazy women.


I told my youngest daughter she excommunicated me from her wedding amongst other painful things she has said and done. She has justified it and told me she had to draw her boundaries. The amazing thing is her father sold her own new car right out from under her. I travel 32 hours straight to help her get her car back from him. I lost my job in order to help her. He is at the wedding and I am excommunicated because I didn't mind her boundaries.


They both go on and on about what I have done to them and they don't want to hear one thing about my loss because I have done so many things to them. Their perceptions of me are bizarre. My youngest one told me that I was jealous of that she has a relationship with her sister and her dad. I told her I was jealous because they have a relationship with her and I don't. They get the mercy and compassion and I get the abuse.


The both conspire with each other and compare notes. I either walk the like and don't ever talk about my mother again, or they are going to abuse me. That is my choice.

The fact is, it really isn't that important for me to talk about my mother, but every once in awhile without realizing it, something triggers me and I might say something. I get the worst disrespect you have ever seen and ever heard from them. I am not to suffer the loss of a family. I should always be just focused on them. I should tap dance to their dictates. My oldes is 42 and the youngest is 38. They act like teenagers and treat me like I am their girlfriend.


I have told them I opened the door to give them a chance. Now the pain and suffering has now begun for me. The forgiveness and mercy have turned into hatred and venom. My youngest one told me she doesn't care about my pain because I hurt her. Well, truth is I caused her pain but never intentionally. This has been payback and is still payback. I have warned her not to push me as I will walk out again because of the pain. I'm right there right now.


I fell in the entry way and there was a gate. Her dog had new born puppies. My youngest daughter seemed angry that I fell and only asked me finally if I was ok after she checked the puppies. I brought it up to her. She admitted that she was more concerned because one of the puppies was sick. She did admit she should have been more compassionate but she told me it was my fault because I caused her to be shut down.


I am shutting the door on both of them. I can't take the abuse and the dictates of their whims. I would like you to tell me something to them in my final email.


Please help me.


Joan Bennett (boo hoo, it didn't work, it's to dam painful to be treated like this)


Hi Joan:
I am so sorry you were hurt yet again. Many people have to give it one more try for their own peace of mind. It is called "learning the hard way" for a reason. It does sound horrible and I am sure it was.

Regarding an email, my first reaction is this is something you need to struggle with and come to own ideas in order to achieve what you need for closure. Then I realized is ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS, and not emailing them, or telling them anything speaks volumes. Emailing keeps you enmeshed with them. My opinion is write NOTHING. Period. Ever. Go have a life for yourself. Any re-enmeshment of contact may sound like a way to conclude it, but it does the opposite. It opens the door to more hurt. Focus on moving on, not trying to find a way to continue to get satisfactory closure. Won't happen.

Best wishes to you,
Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Dr. Wilfong,


I need some validation that they are expecting me to behave in away that I can't make any promises. And am I wrong that they are putting parameters on me. I can't talk about their father (they continually bring him up and his horrible wife). I can't ever talk about my mother and I am not to talk to the youngest one about my oldest one. The crazy thing is I have never talked about my oldest daughter in a detrogatory manner but the youngest one has about the oldest ones relationship with her husband.


To be a good mother, do I need to comply with their requests. I need to know that I am ok to feel offended. I had a bad mother myself and don't want to screw up like my mother did on me.



It's tough to be a good mother when you don't have good kids (adults). A good mother would put up with none of this BS. IT doesn't set a good example. The kids are who they are. That is over and done with. Joan, you are nothing more than a punching bad, so get out of the gym. The validation you need has to come from within, know that the best thing you can do is take care of yourself. Being a part of the insanity in any form is no good. Communicating that you won't be a part, is a lie, as communication makes you a part or it.
Dr. Ed Wilfong and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you

Related Mental Health Questions