GHOSTING of Survivor Parents
The “ghosting” of massive numbers of survivor parents is taking place now. The survivor-parents who I am focusing on are the largest group of unacknowledged people in America. They are hidden in our country and are in various stages of suffering and grieving in regard to their adult children. I am one of them and categorize myself as a Sibling Abuse Survivor-parent. I deeply love this country and want to share why we have massive “risk factors” for both “ghosting” and mental illness in our present turbulent world.
My story begins with my knowing that it is -7 degrees outside my apartment and it is Christmas Eve. I live in Springfield, Missouri. I am not familiar with snow. I am thousands of miles from my home state of California. I am estranged not only from my adult child but also from my family of origin and grandchildren. I miss my precious son every day. I have never held either of my two grandchildren. Sibling Abuse impacted my adulthood and parenting. Many survivors won’t talk about this. It is time. I feel a deep sense of responsibility and must speak.
“After” the holiday season is when I want this to be read. This Christmas Eve night feels like a gift; I am opening it as I write. I want these words to be of service to not only therapists but also Sibling Abuse parent survivors and their children. I like other survivors am alone and have no contact with my adult child. I want these words to reach partners, sisters, brothers, and cousins.
There are over 40 million adult Sibling Abuse Survivors in the United States.
It is also estimated that we have 13 million children. Combined we are 53 million citizens who inhabit the United States.
The loss of an adult child for a survivor is equivalent to a
parent experiencing the death of a young child.
Right now, many survivors are self-critical of their parenting mistakes. They will have many regrets.
Many will commit suicide tonight.
A survivor has died today from fentanyl.
The mental health crisis in America is linked to the skyrocketing increase of ghosting by adult children of Sibling Abuse Survivor-parents. The “ghosting” by our children has been hidden from public scrutiny or concern. Society doesn’t want to discuss this situation because it doesn’t want to look inside the interior of the American family. The family is supposed to be a place of connection and promote a sense of belonging. It is very difficult for these parents to talk about the ghosting and severe cut-offs by our adult children. For the most part, we are looked upon as the sole culprit for why we were abandoned by our children. Many of our families through shunning and cut-offs have also ghosted us. We are at great risk and are the core, in my opinion, of our mental health crisis.
Gratitude is in my heart for having been a client of EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing). I consider myself to be a spared survivor. I know that many of us never have therapy or the right therapy. My life was transformed. I had more focus and stopped shaking. I went on the receive my master’s from the University of Oregon. As I approached the age of fifty, I was finally diagnosed with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). With my own research, I realized that I had Complex PTSD. I believe that the majority of us have this mental classification. We are often told that we have depression or anxiety.
Ghosting and the Present Mental Health Crisis
The American family is under attack and Survivors of Sibling Abuse are very vulnerable. We have family structures that are dysfunctional. For the vast majority of us we weren’t prepared to be parents or a human being. Massive numbers of survivor families have come apart or have disappeared. This is a great tragedy because our families are inter-connected with “all” American families.
Eighty percent of all adults have a sibling.
3 out of 5 adults claim that their Sibling was abusive.
Presently, vast numbers of Sibling Abuse Survivor parents are isolated and wonder if they will ever see their adult child again. They live in shame and want no one to know that they are shunned by their family and/or adult child. Many survivors are crying uncontrollably, numbing out with drugs, or wanting to sleep all day. This Christmas Eve will be very hard. The isolation will be unbearable. Many will appeal to the angels tonight and beg that their adult child will not forget them.
As a consultant and life coach, I found myself working with increasing numbers of Sibling Abuse survivor-parents who are estranged from their adult children and in many cases, their own family as well. They have been a great souce of validation that I am not alone. Many of my clients didn’t know their grandchildren. The work felt more like a ministry and a high purpose. Through the years, as I experienced my own grief of being estranged from my adult child, I have been a witness to their grief and their questions:
“Will my son be there for me if I get sick? Should he be called?”
“If my son doesn’t want to have anything to do with me, how do I live with the pain that I might never see him again?”
In my adulthood, I was on a collision course of destruction
All of my therapists weren’t trained in Sibling Abuse and never inquired about my relationship with my abusive sister. I went through decades where therapists were oblivious to the real reason why I was in their office. They often stated that I had been molested by my Father or that my Mother was emotionally abusive.
As therapists poked around in my head for many years and year after year,
I lost my hope of being normal.
A “ghosting” of my adulthood is the best way to describe what happened. I navigated life on both anti-depressants and tranquilizers. I could barely keep my eyes open as I drove to a therapy session. I spent many years in the “wrong” therapy and with the “wrong” therapists. I was misdiagnosed eight times. Repeatedly, I was told that I was bipolar, borderline, or had chronic depression. I became more determined to reclaim my soul. For the majority of these years, I had no recall or memory about what was done to me at 10. I finally remembered at thirty-eight and at that time, I was the mother of a ten-year-old. I am a survivor of extreme torture. On more than five occasions, my older sister tried to kill me. Her weapon was my own pillow. When she hadn’t completed the dead of killing me, I lived with threats that some day she would succeed. I lived eighteen years with her in a bedroom. My baby sisters were my only witnesses and they were very afraid of my older sister. Parental supervision was almost nonexistent.
The emotional abuse that I sustained contributed to me have a poor sense of identity and low confidence. In my present life, I know I am affected by what was done to me in childhood. The secret of what was done to me is hidden in my family. Unfortunately, it has gone into the next generation. I am characterized to my grandchildren as a misfit. My sister’s ability to control my life did not stop in childhood. She played a big role in having me be the family scapegoat. This is a role that I wouldn’t wish on anyone. It is the most high-octave punishment because it discounts the rights of the human being. Many times, I wasn’t allowed to share my opinions and was not asked to be at important family gatherings.
Sibling Abuse and the Ghosting of Survivors
Sibling Abuse refers to a high level of abuse that isn’t normal sibling rivalry or competition between siblings. In our present world, there are no concerted efforts to expose or alleviate it. The brain processes the event of Sibling Abuse as both a shock and a betrayal. The scarring is embedded in the “beginning” central nervous system of the human being. Recovery from Sibling Abuse is very difficult because, at a young age of neurological development, the brain grabbed onto negative beliefs and believed them with. Research validates that Sibling Abuse impacts adulthood with tragic outcomes. https://www.unh.edu/unhtoday/2013/10/sibling-aggression-and-mental-health
Sibling Abuse is very scarring to the beginning human mind.
Sibling Abuse shortcircuits both the central nervous and endocrine systems. The human brain is resistant to unlearning the aggression. The abuse impacts the ability to relax, trust, or form healthy human relationships. It is a shock to the human being because in the majority of situations the victim shared the “same” DNA with the perpetrator or lived in the same household with a step sibling(s), adopted, foster, etc. The sense of betrayal is massive and so are the feelings of being trapped in the same house with the abuser.
The same guidelines for assessing battered women can also be utilized to determine this type of abuse. In Sibling Abuse dynamic, there is a “predator” and a “victim.” The victim-child is not a willing participant. The abuse is emotional, physical, and sexual. A correct diagnosis for us is often not correct. Complex PTSD is a longstanding injury to the brain. Our correct mental challenge should not be limited to have PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).
Ghosting of Survivors-Parents and Our Nation’s Future
Mental Health and the upsurge of attacks on the American family are connected. We are now at a time when estrangement is massively started by adult children who want to break up with their parents.https://www.newsweek.com/parenting-family-mom-dad-children-estrangement-cut-off-1739384 Massive numbers of survivors are involved. As a nation, we must focus on estrangement and survivors of Sibling Abuse. This strategy will be cost-effective and increase productivity in working with the needs of mental health clients. Our country can’t survive without the family structure. There will be nothing to give to the next generation.
Therapeutic assessments need to be created that reveal
“both” Sibling Abuse and the “ghosting” by adult children.
Our hope is the establishment of family interventions, as well as preventions.Upgrades in training for therapists and social workers can be instituted in all of our country’s colleges. Survivors of Sibling Abuse need to be “tagged” for top priority for receiving EMDR. Survivors must be honored because without them this country would never have been built. EMDR therapy sessions can be donated or given at a low cost or no cost. Our mental health as a nation requires a galvanized effort that must take place all over our country.
If you are an estranged Sibling Abuse survivor- parent and if I knew your name, I would say it. You are in the center of my heart. Know that more blogs are coming. You have my word on it. I pledge this.
If you or someone you know is in emotional distress or considering suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
Nancy Kilgore is a survivor of Sibling abuse. She is a consultant who does referrals on EMDR; she is also a Coach on Sibling Abuse. Nancy received her B.A. and teaching credentials from Sacramento State University and her master’s from the University of Oregon.
Nancy is the author of The Sourcebook for Working with Battered Women, Every Eighteen Seconds, and Sibling Abuse: True Story of the Impact to Childhood & Adulthood. Nancy is the author of The Sourcebook for Working with Battered Women, Every Eighteen Seconds, and Sibling Abuse: True Story of the Impact to Childhood & Adulthood. Nancy has been a national trainer for the United States Department of Justice, rape and domestic violence coalitions, and an adjunct professor for universities, and has written for Counselor Magazine and has appeared on radio and television.