“If you see something, say something” should not only apply to physical threats.
If you know an adult child who has estranged from good, loving, non-abusive parents and especially if they are using their children as pawns and weapons keeping them from grandparents whom the children loved and had a bond with, and you say nothing to them, then you are complicit in their abuse of their parents and their children.
By saying nothing to them, you are condoning their behavior.
Several decades ago society was still blaming the victims of domestic abuse and rape.
Today’s silent epidemic is adult children estranging from non-abusive, good, caring parents by the millions all around the world. They use words like “toxic”, “narcissistic”, “mentally unstable”, “negative”, etc to diagnose their parents and excuse their own inexcusable behavior. They presume to be able to make diagnosis that only professionals have the right to make. When asked for examples of their parents behavior that is so terrible they either lie or side-step the question with vague references to things that made them feel bad.
The trend of “going no-contact” is just a catch phrase for giving someone the silent treatment. The silent treatment is a power play which basically says, “you’re not important enough to me for me to resolve any conflict or work at this relationship.”
Psychology Today has reiterated in numerous articles that “going no-contact” with a family member or spouse is only appropriate as a last resort when there is either severe abuse or all efforts to resolve any conflicts have been exhausted.
Yet of the millions of estranged adult children, it is rare to hear of any having asked their parent to work with a therapist or family counselor to improve the relationship.
The greatest tragedy is not even the millions of grieving parents who after having devoted their lives to raising their children now face old age alone. No, the real tragedy is the children of these estranged adult children who not only must grieve in silence for the severed relationships with grandparents they loved, but who are learning by their parents example that parents are disposable.
These grandchildren are not learning conflict resolution. They are not learning how to value people and use things. Instead the opposite is being demonstrated, to use people and value things.
So if you think it’s none of your business to say something, the reality is that this epidemic is so widespread and rapidly growing that it will affect society globally. That means that sooner or later it will impact your life directly. Of the over 20,000 members in FB support groups for estranged parents, the majority never ever thought it could happen to them with a child they loved and sacrificed for and with whom they had believed they were close to. So do not think for a moment that it can’t happen to you or affect your life.
There are over 40 support groups on Facebook alone for parents suffering from their adult children’s estrangement, with over 20,000 members. This is just Facebook. There are also websites which organize in-person support group meetings, there are yahoo groups, msn groups, church groups, and many more affected parents who still suffer alone thinking they are the only ones going through this.
Are you afraid if you say something that you will lose a friend? Consider the value of a relationship in which speaking the truth in love would cause the person to reject you. Yes, you might lose this friend. After all if they cut their loving parents out of their lives they probably would do the same to you if you disagree with them. But I ask you, if you think they are a friend worth keeping, then why not give them the benefit of the doubt that they can still hear your opinion and concerns without trashing your friendship?
So how do you broach the subject? How about,
“You know I care about you…and I am concerned that you may regret being estranged from your parents. Maybe if you tried talking to them or if you all met with a family counselor you might be able to reconcile. At least think about it.”
In our FB group Parents Grieving For Living Children we have added over 800 members within the past year. This is despite our only approving about 1 out of every 5-7 requests. The epidemic is not slowing, it’s not leveling off, it’s snowballing. Keeping silent about seeing someone you know inflicting this pain on their parents and often upon their own children is no different than keeping silent about bullying or physical abuse.
If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.
If you see something, say something.