A Parent’s Heartache: Author Offers Hope for Healing in the “Silent Epidemic” of Child-Parent Estrangement
FAITH NEWS SERVICE – According to experts in the field of family psychology, estrangement between parents and their adult children is more common than ever. In fact, 27 percent of families are estranged, and 40 percent have experienced in their family.*
While heartbreaking, this statistic might bring a bit of comfort to parents like Michelle, who lived through the ordeal of abandonment by her daughter.
In her new memoir, Losing Her, Finding Me, Rohlf lays bare the story of how she lost not only her daughter, and all contact with her grandchildren, but her sense of self. When her daughter Naomi left, Rohlf found herself stripped of her identity as a person—that’s how enmeshed her life was with Naomi’s.
Faced with what felt like no good options, she turned to God. This became a turning point for her own journey of healing, not only from her recent losses, but from the damages of her childhood, which she hadn’t realized still impacted her. The cumulative effect of early unhealed wounds had seeped into her first marriage, her divorce, and her parenting. Unless she faced these traumas, any attempt to mend the current rift in her family would remain fruitless.
In an interview with Today’s Savannah Guthrie, psychologist Joshua Coleman calls the phenomenon of child-parent estrangement a “silent epidemic,” because people are too embarrassed to discuss it.** But for those going through it, this silence only adds to their sense of culpability and isolation.
“So many parents who are going through this don’t want to talk about it,” Coleman said. “They feel ashamed. They feel humiliated. And the kids as well. They don’t want to talk about it either.”
For Michelle Rohlf and those like her, talking about it is the only path toward healing. And for other parents who have difficult adult children, her book has a message of hope. While they might feel like they are alone in this journey of rejection, they are not.
“Your life isn’t over because your child walked away,” Rohlf says. “And the first step toward healing is to work on yourself. Find your own life apart from your child because you are valuable, and this world needs you.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Michelle Rohlf has spent a lifetime focusing on relationships and encouraging others to cultivate their own healthy relationships. She speaks at retreats, women’s meetings, and Bible Studies. She has a passion for mentoring and discipleship, whether it be one on one or in small groups. Married to a wonderful, supportive man since 1995, Michelle resides in Phoenix, Arizona. She has two daughters, two grandsons, and two small, fluffy dogs. Losing Her, Finding Me is her first book.
For review copies and media interviews, contact: Email address: email@example.com
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