The Real Reasons People Disowned Someone In Their Family

Abandoned teddy bear
Volodymyr Hryshchenko/Unsplash

No one said raising a child was simple.

Every family is influenced by varying factors determining whether it is a healthy environment for raising a family.

While many young couples pine for the picture-perfect future involving a house surrounded by a white picket fence and a loving family unit, the reality of achieving that ideal notion is not always attained.


Curious to hear about broken families and the situations leading to them, Redditor thenotoriouswtf asked:

"Parents who have disowned or genuinely stopped loving your child - what happened?"

Why I Disowned My Dad

"I disowned my father. I don't believe that it nearly as difficult a decision as disowning a child, but it was tough."

"I grew up in an upper middle class perfect nuclear family. My parents were high school sweethearts. My dad was an operator at an oil refinery, my mom was an accountant turned stay at home mom. I am a middle child- I have a 3 year older brother and a 3 year younger brother."

"When my older brother was about 10, my dad's drinking got out of hand and be became extremely physically abusive. A few years later, my mom divorced him after 23 years of marriage because she was afraid for our lives."

"My dad went off the deep end. Started doing drugs, stealing, etc. Was involved in a few hit-and-runs. My older brother, who had received the brunt of the physical abuse, was manipulated into a relationship with my dad for a few years. To a lesser extent, so was I. He seemed to take an interest in us for the first time since we were little, but in hindsight it was just more manipulation and gaslighting."

"Wont go into all of the details, but my brothers and I eventually got wind of just what kind of sketchy stuff he was involved in. My little brother and I, who both had aspirations to get into law enforcement, cut him out of our lives completely. My older brother took a while longer- he was a kid who always just wanted his dad to love him and so he was wearing blinders. He did eventually see the light, and cut my dad out as well."

"A few years ago, my dad was living with his mom. My grandma had been manipulated by him for years, and they had a symbiotic co- dependent relationship... she was a prescription addict and he was an 'everything' addict. My grandma had a reverse mortgage on her home. She was diagnosed with lung cancer and given 6 months to live, and moved into a nursing home. My dad kept squatting at her house, despite the bank coming to (rightfully) claim the home. Cops got involved, and he was arrested."

"My grandma slipped and fell 2 days after moving to the nursing home. She developed a brain bleed and died a few days later."

"My dad had a seizure his first night in jail and was brought to the hospital, where it was determined he had a burst brain aneurysm. The doctors theorized that the aneurysm was the result of his drug use, and when he was scuffling with the cops during the arrest, his increased blood pressure and/or jarring caused it to burst."

"He's now in a nursing home, and functioning at about a 6 year old's level. He has some inkling that he's f'ked up royally and it is all his fault but he really doesn't understand the specifics. He can kind of communicate, and hold conversations but they're bizarre and wander all over and a lot of very strange words make their way in."

"I visit him a few times per year. I only do it because the person he became with addiction is dead. I believe that karma caught up to him, and he's earned his hell. I truly would not shed a tear if he dropped dead tomorrow- he's been dead to me for a decade. I do have some compassion for a sad, confused 58 year old man who is alone in a depressing nursing home with no visitors. He knows he has kids, and a wife (he doesn't understand they're divorced) and sometimes he even knows he has grandkids he has never been allowed to meet. So he doesn't understand why nobody visits him. I've started occasional visits not because I have any interest in having a relationship with him, but because unfortunately the doctors saved him when his aneurysm burst and we're left with a person who is paying for crimes he doesn't know he committed, in a world he doesn't understand."

"He sometimes cries when he asks to see pictures of 'that little boy' (my nephew- his grandson) and I have to explain, yet again, why he isn't allowed to meet him. He asks me questions about 'that cop'- my little brother, whose name he can't remember. He looks so proud when I tell him that his son is rising through the ranks and just became a K9 officer. It's like a shard of the dad he was 25 years ago has surfaced, and everything in between only exists as a convoluted fever dream. It tears my heart open as a human to see his suffering, but in a really twisted, sick way gives me satisfaction that his actions caught up to him, which makes me hate myself even more than I already did."

"But that's how I disowned my dad, then kind of developed a minimal relationship with the ghost of his former humanity than now occupies his body. My heart goes out to people who have had to disown a child. I was extremely fortunate to have an incredible mom and extended family to support my brothers and me, yet I am still damaged from my time with him. Having to choose between compassion and love for a flawed person and your own or your other loved-ones' physical and mental wellbeing rips something open inside of you and leaves you permanently scarred."

– Banger357

The Spiteful Older Sister

"I'm not a parent, I've never disowned a child. My parents disowned my oldest sister. I'm the youngest of three girls. My oldest sister had a horrible relationship with my father, blames me for getting in the way of their relationship. She had her first baby (to spite him) when she was 16 years old. My father refused to give her money because she met a deadbeat, and got pregnant again, the again, and again. She constantly put herself and deadbeat before kids. Dad would send money to girls for Christmas and birthdays and never heard a thing, he finally gave up... She's 30, has six daughters, and lives in a mobile home in North Carolina."

"We hadn't seen or heard from my sister until June of this year. My oldest niece contacted me asking to come to Florida (where I live) for the summer to get her and her sisters out of the trailer. I agree, contact sister, and she agrees, I set up plane tickets and organize the rooms they'll stay in. When they got here, they were completely disheveled. Clothes visibly dirty, smelled foul, so covered in lice that my white towels stained gray from removing them. My niece informed me that they had been without water and electricity for 6 months. They live in a 2 bedroom mobile home, there are holes in the roof, bugs and rats everywhere. As a family, we decide the girls aren't going back to North Carolina."

"We tell my sister to come to my parents house in Florida to get her life together and get back on her feet. She refused because deadbeat is not invited. Ironically, she found out that deadbeat is cheating on her. She confronts him and he kicks her out of sh*t hole trailer. Deadbeat said 'I would rather be homeless than live with you'. Sister now works for the dollar store and doesn't pull her weight with kids. At least the girls are safe now..."

"Edit: IMy parents had disowned my oldest sister when she moved to North Carolina with deadbeat for six years until my niece reached out to me through Facebook. I had never even met my two youngest nieces until this event. I regret turning my back on my sister. I really hate her and what she put her babies through, but if we stayed in her life for those six years we maybe could have prevented this."

– Lettucelove185

The Oldest Sister

"My parents disowned my oldest sister. She always struggled growing up more than us (she became a teen mom with a bad older dude, partied a lot, etc), but my parents helped her a lot. They do okay for themselves, but had a no-co-signing rule for all six of my siblings and I. Still, they co-signed for her house so she could get a head start."

"She didn’t pay the mortgage for almost 3 years before my mom got served in front of all the other nurses at her work."

"My parents worked tirelessly to try to work out deals where my sister and her family kept the house and got some leniency, but to no avail, because my sister never showed up for court dates. During this time, she paid $12k for IVF and got pregnant with her fifth kid."

"When my mom demanded some of the money back, she accused my dad and my brother of beating her sons when my parents took them to Disney World (he didn’t) and said she’d file a police report if he asked for money again. They kept asking, cause it wasn’t true."

"She awkwardly joined us for Christmas, and punched my brother in the face during the meal for 'humiliating' her oldest son by asking him if he wanted to work at my brother’s company for good pay. Her oldest son is in and out of jail, and my brother was trying to help him after his release, but her son said he didn’t want a job and got mad. She then called the cops and told them the same brother had illegal guns in his truck, and they came on Christmas night and searched his truck (no guns found!)"

"Needless to say, she is not welcome anywhere near any of us and my mom still cries about it, but refuses to talk to her again."

– badjuju824

Protecting Grandma

"My mother and her sister were both adopted into a great family."

"Recently, my Grandfather fell ill and we were told to prepare to say goodbye. So the family gathered. My Grandmother has had a hard time with her memory since she had a brain hemorrhage, but she welcomed my aunt into her home during this tough time."

"Whilst my Grandfather was in his final week, my aunt Wendy took my Grandmother's atm card and proceeded to spend well over a thousand dollars on herself and get herself a motel room. She also attempted to steal their car. When my uncles found out, she basically disappeared into the wind."

"After my Grandfather passed and his funeral was all sorted. My Grandmother went to an attorney to write Wendy out of any inheritance she would get from their estate when she passes. She didnt press any formal charges, because the whole process would have been lengthy and more painful for her. She didn't need the extra stress."

"I'm pretty sure one of my uncles also threatened Wendy to make sure she stayed away from my Grandmother from now on too."

– icedlottie

In these heartbreaking examples, you may be left wondering, "where did it all go wrong?" "Could the parents have foreseen the drama to come and prevented distress?"

It just goes to show you can never be prepared for terrible circumstances leading to estrangement.

In order for families to protect their sanity, finances, and even their lives, cutting their losses by disowning a problematic member of the family–in spite of the fact they brought them into the world–is sometimes the only option.

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