Is your NParent blaming you for the broken relationship? Are they accusing you of constructing a 'wall'?
Yeah, mine do that too. So I decided to illustrate the issue at hand with a 'letter' and two images:
Here's a wall, built brick by brick:
Here's the wall between us - the bricks are individually labelled (with words said to me or about me over the years. These are some of the more memorable hurled insults and jabs, de-identified):
It takes two after all, doesn't it, NParent? It's not all your fault!
We built the walls, but you provided the bricks.
And every other adult you speak to regarding your awful 'estranged child' will suspect as much. Just wanted you to know that the next time you go fishing for sympathy - you'll look pathetic to them; you'll garner pity for your own dysfunctional ways. Because every good parent knows where the bricks come from. They'll nod and "tsk tsk" supportively, all the while putting a neat little 'red flag' next to your name in their mind: "Warning: Abuser".
The truth, NParent, is that all children love their parents (so do ACoNs, ironically, if you haven't completely killed it for them). No child raised in a kind and loving environment would build such a 'wall'. If you don't believe me, ask a psychologist. If you did nothing wrong, if you're every bit as good as any other parent, what's to fear?
You know you did wrong. We know. Everyone knows. Some people just humour you to be polite, or perhaps they are manipulating you to get what they need out of you (ah, irony).
So here's the wall. Thanks for the bricks.
Want to start deconstructing 'the wall'? Want to knock it down joyfully and reunite the way that they did in Berlin?
That's surprisingly easy to do! Ask about a brick, any brick, in particular. Ask for a 'big one', a load-bearing brick. Get your estranged child to, again, repeat for you what is written on the brick.
Now apologise for it. Humble yourself. Get on your knees and beg. We're talking Ebenezer Scrooge on Christmas morning, or the Grinch when he realises he couldn't steal Christmas - your total rebirth as a loving, kind and humble human being. You can't fake it - it's got to be genuine. Apologise for that brick. Make amends for that brick. It might take years, but you're a new man or woman now! You're Alastair Sim in a nightshirt frightening the maid because she thinks you've gone mad! You're the Grinch with the heart that grew three sizes that day!
Then, ask for another brick. Apologise, make amends (if you can), and keep going. Brick by brick you can deconstruct that wall. Your estranged child will even start deconstructing from their side, once you've made an appreciable dent and proven that your new heart wasn't a sham to trick them into speaking with you!
And then - reconciliation! How sweet the sound!
Why do I get the feeling you stopped reading at "apologise"?
NParent, if you can man-up (or woman-up) and have the intestinal fortitude necessary to do the right thing, you will have earned your adult child back in your life. And you will likely live happily ever after.
You just have to do the right thing. Can you? (A very sad little part of my brain says, "No. They can't.").
To my fellow dear ACoNs - feel free to fill in your own brick wall. I kept mine anonymous (leaving out telling nicknames, omitting certain details) so that I could share it online. You could do the same, or let it all out, all of it, and save the image and make it your desktop background, never to be posted on the net. If you're really worried about security (i.e. the parents could hack your hard-drive), print it out and fill it in with pen instead.
Taking away the power of their words feels good. Admitting responsibility also feels good - yes, I built 'the wall' of low/no-contact. But it's because of the bricks they slung at me and continue to sling at me - it's a defensive barrier to keep me safe. Most parents don't sling bricks, ergo, no brick wall between them and their children.
To fill in your own brick wall, click on the blank wall image, then right click, "Save file as...". I used Paint (standard Microsoft Windows software) to fill in my wall (click on the "A" symbol for a text box, position appropriately, then select font and size for your text. Type, then click outside of the text box to 'fix' your text in place. There's an 'undo' arrow at the top left of the screen if needed. Save as you go). If you don't have specialized image software, you could also open it in Powerpoint and save the final version as an image rather than a slideshow - this is a more forgiving option than Paint as it allows editing after fixing the text in place (Paint doesn't).
Feel free to submit your brick walls for inclusion in a future project on The ACoN Society - The Great Wall of ACoN. Make sure you haven't left any identifiers written on the wall for trolls to find, assuming as always that they're spending hours and hours obsessively hunting their prey. (Which they are - see Upsi's blog for some particularly warty and belligerent troll posts!).