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When I started this blog six years ago, I posted anonymously. I was afraid to share my story and real name of my somewhat-famous father: George Michael of The Sports Machine. People who read this blog in its early days re-affirmed that I am not the only one suffering from... Continue reading
Posted Apr 8, 2016 at Disowned Child
I had two fathers: the famous sportscaster, George Michael, and the single dad who fought for custody of me and my siblings when I was eleven. He won sole custody in 1976, despite being a bachelor and rock 'n roll disc jockey in New York. The other father is the... Continue reading
Posted Jun 16, 2014 at Disowned Child
Happy Birthday Dad. You would have been 75. I feel your presence constantly, but more so around your birthday. Is it because you died before your time and before we had made peace? There have been some uncanny coincidences in the last few weeks. A mention in USA Today, a... Continue reading
Posted Mar 24, 2014 at Disowned Child
My mother fell apart after she and my dad separated, so I took care of my little sister. Nobody told me to do this, or exactly how. It was just something I did because she was my sister, and I loved her. I was eight and she was three. Children,... Continue reading
Posted Jan 13, 2014 at Disowned Child
Hi, Britney, I’m sorry you too are going through this painful situation. Advice is difficult as so much depends on each person’s dynamics and what you hope to achieve. I find it difficult to deal with any one who issues an ultimatum when it comes to relationships, and choosing a husband. I mean, what does she want you to do – divorce and have the kids miss out on a father? Have you suggested to your mother that you try to meet with an objective mediator – whether a counselor or a priest? My father did not want to do this, so it’s unlikely but I still think it’s important to know that you did what you could to resolve. I do highly recommend the books I listed on my site. There are stories to learn from and techniques to try. Stay strong. Cindi
Toggle Commented Jun 19, 2013 on Living with Being Disowned at Disowned Child
Here are some books that have helped me understand why I was disowned, why it was not my fault, how to cope, and specific strategies for healing and reconciling: Healing From a Family Rift by Mark Sichel. He's a therapist who was disowned. It was in this book that I... Continue reading
Posted Feb 4, 2013 at Disowned Child
Dear Mtn Mama, thank you so much for taking the time to post a comment. I am sorry that you too are going through this. It means a lot to me that my story has helped you. You are one of the reasons I feel compelled to try to share my experiences. Being disowned is isolating. It's very cruel for any parent to do. Five years may seem like an eternity but it's not that long. Your parents may love you, as I believe my own father did, but in their own way. That kind of love is not necessarily positive or selfless and certainly not unconditional. Something may change that your parents get to a place where they can get over whatever annoyance they have. But then they have to also get over the shame for how they have treated a daughter, and there are few people big enough to do that. So people get stuck. And so much will depend on who they surround themself with. As you know, there was not a happy ending for me, and in part, it's because of who my father surrounded himself with. But I can also tell you that my grandfather, Pop, who had disowned his oldest daugther for getting pregnant, made peace with her when he was dying. He had to forgive himself first and it took some support from another daughter and his wife. So don't give up hope entirely, just don't kid yourself. As for your fear that you might be capable of the same thing - I get it. I have the same fear because cycles are so hard to break. But the fact that you are trying to understand it and staring the dysfunction down says you will do what is best for your children. Good luck and God bless, Cindi
Printed in our church bulletin from Christmas Eve, 2009, is a quote from the poet Henry Van Dyke from The Other Wise Man: “If you truly believe that love is the strongest thing in the world--stronger than hate … then you can keep Christmas.” I didn’t see the bulletin until... Continue reading
Posted Dec 21, 2012 at Disowned Child
Is there any valid reason to disown a child? I can’t think of one, not even murder. As a mother, I have brought my children into the world, and I feel responsible for them, forever. This is not to say that I am responsible for their actions or decisions, but... Continue reading
Posted Dec 5, 2012 at Disowned Child
I thought of my father this morning, as I do most mornings. Today was different, though, because I was nervous about a keynote I was doing on cool technology. Every good presentation starts with an attention grabber, a hook to make a connection with the audience. So I had planned... Continue reading
Posted Nov 15, 2012 at Disowned Child
I hate movies like The Bucket List, Last Song, or Peace Love and Misunderstanding that promise a happy ending to being disowned. In real life, there is no reconciliation, most of the time anyway. Actually, I’ve only seen the Bucket List, long before my father died, when I was still... Continue reading
Posted Aug 31, 2012 at Disowned Child
Rani, I am so sorry to hear that you too are struggling with being disowned. It is such a long, painful journey, and you are right that no child should ever be disowned. You say that your father says you have to “live with the consequences.” True, we all have to live with the consequences of decisions we make and actions we take. But it is a normal part of growing up to make mistakes and to learn from them. It is also true that a parent will not always agree with their child’s decisions. But once you are an adult, you are responsible and it is your decision. It is a huge disrespect for your father not to accept your choice of husband, in my opinion, equivalent to him having a temper tantrum. Unless your husband is an abuser or criminal, I would hope that if he loves you and is a good partner, that should be enough for any parent to accept your choice. I know there are some religions and cultures that say you have to marry within the race, religion, class, and so on. So don’t know if that is your father’s complaint or not. The bigger question is if you can ever reconcile. There are many stories of reconciliation. Mine is not one of them. My father’s choice, not mine. The happy endings seem to be the ones where the parent has a life crisis that makes them realize how stupid and cruel it was to disown the child. In addition, someone encourages the parent to make peace. This happened to my aunt (who was disowned at 18 for getting pregnant). When my grandfather was dying, my other aunt pleaded / lobbied / shouted at my grandfather to reconcile. His new wife also supported this reconciliation. So they made peace shortly before he died, after 30 years of her being disowned. With my own father, my step mother did not want me in my father’s life, so even if he wanted to reconcile before he died, my step mother would not have allowed it. So I guess I want you to have hope, but a realistic hope. Can your brothers help in making peace? Can you enlist the help of a priest, counselor, or close friend of your father’s? If not, then you need to work on accepting the situation, understanding your family’s dynamics, and healing from the pain. It will be a lifelong journey.
Toggle Commented Aug 2, 2012 on Living with Being Disowned at Disowned Child
Dear MMay, Gosh, I know what you mean by a hole in your heart. I have several but my sister and father have left the biggest holes. There is no easy answer to your dilemma, sadly. If your father is the type of person who forces you to choose, then it is your decision to face those consequences. I suspect that what your father is doing to you is what my father did to my sister. She lived in fear of being disowned, and then that can hurt so much that it became easier for her to hate me, which at least it sounds you don’t have that added confusion. So what your father is doing is wrong and unfair to both you and your sisters. Here, I can only tell you that you have to fall back on your values in life, what is your view of what is right and wrong, and whom you want to be judged by. Without a strong faith, I think it will be very hard to disagree with your father, even though you are an adult. Would your father ever agree to family counseling? Mine wouldn’t, but I do believe that if you can have an honest conversation and get him to realize that your desire to have a relationship with your brothers does not mean you can’t also have a close relationship with him. While my story did not allow for this dynamic, I do want to offer you some hope. I am the second generation to be disowned. My aunt always maintained a relationship with her disowned older sister. It took decades, but my grandfather eventually reconciled with the daughter he disowned, largely because of my aunt’s resolve. Good luck, Cindi
It’s my birthday today. 47. Birthdays are always the hardest day of the year to be disowned. It’s the day I am most likely to have a pity party. It also used to be the day I would most likely Google my father’s name to see how he was. Why... Continue reading
Posted Jan 23, 2012 at Disowned Child
I sometimes wonder if being rich and famous goes hand-in-hand with disowning and estrangement. Do we just know about these stories because they are in the public eye or does it happen more often because ego—either the parent’s or the child’s-- becomes more important than unconditional love? Here are just... Continue reading
Posted Dec 13, 2011 at Disowned Child
I was watching Grey’s Anatomy last night, when Callie said her mother almost disowned her for being gay. Disowned. People like to use the word loosely, but for me, it’s a term I don’t use lightly. It’s a condition I wish on no one. Gay or not. Murderer or not.... Continue reading
Posted Nov 18, 2011 at Disowned Child
My father died Christmas Eve 2009. He was cremated. I do not know where his ashes are. My step mother would not want me to know. My Dad was raised a Catholic and once read the Sunday sermons at mass, but he was not a practicing Catholic at the end... Continue reading
Posted Jan 24, 2011 at Disowned Child
Christmas is the hardest time to be disowned. It’s when I miss my father the most. I often think about our best Christmas as a family back in 1979. My father had just lost his job, and yet it was a rich, happy time. My aunt and cousin took the... Continue reading
Posted Dec 10, 2010 at Disowned Child
When I think of someone who has been disowned, I picture a drug addict, a murderer, or a prostitute. Someone who has been disowned must have done something awful to deserve to be cut off by their family. I do not picture a successful career woman, with an MBA, happily... Continue reading
Posted Dec 7, 2010 at Disowned Child
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Oct 15, 2010