Mothers’ Day when your adult child is estranged

Getting through Mothers’ Day when an adult child is estranged: Six thoughts to help

by Sheri McGregor, M.A.

getting throgh Mothers' Day when an adult child is estrangedMedia bombards us with images of smiling families, their arms brimming with bunches of blooming bouquets. We see gifts of jewelry, homemade cards, and children bringing trays of food to a mother who sleeps blissfully in. All the while, sweet, sentimental music accompanies the love fest.

For mothers whose adult children are estranged, the memories these images bring up can be especially cruel. As April turns to May, we’re likely dreading the day. Do we go to our place of worship as usual knowing we’ll be handed a rose that reminds us no flowers will arrive back at home? Among the pews of intact families, a sermon to honor us can make us feel especially alone. Do we leave the house at all that day? Every store has a special display, and every restaurant a Mother’s Day special or brunch.

Getting through Mother’s Day when an adult child is estranged is no easy feat.

Some of us feel sad and hurt and lonely. Others tremble with a hope for contact we don’t quite admit, because we fear we’ll be disappointed.

Some moms dread the text or email we figure is coming. “Happy Mother’s Day,” or even “I love you,” thumbed into a tiny Smartphone screen or typed into an email doesn’t match the roar of silence the rest of the year. And then, instead of joy on our special day, we find ourselves angry and full of anguish.

Even for moms whose other children remain close, the day holds a sense of loss for the one who is missing. But not wanting to spoil the festivities, we likely hold those feelings in.

Getting through Mother’s Day when an adult child is estranged takes a little planning. Here are six ideas to help mothers of estranged adult children get through the holiday.

Scoff at schemas. Mother’s Day, like most other holidays, brings up all sorts of “schemas,” a term for the storylines and imagery accompanying events that are part of our culture. But let’s face it. How many Mother’s Days were ideal? Did you ever get to sleep in? When the kids made you breakfast, did you clean up the kitchen? Did you ever receive a crock pot when you’d have preferred a pedicure or massage? I know his little heart was in the right place, but once, one of my young sons brought a handmade card from school – – thanking me for cooking and cleaning! Although I have truly had some wonderful Mother’s Days, some haven’t been all that memorable. If you can identify, maybe it helps to scoff at the schemas, lower expectations, and admit that Mother’s Day has rarely lived up to the marketed version.

Plan ahead. If you’re dreading the holiday, take some time to really consider what’s bothering you and make some early decisions. Take control of the day. If the dreaded text will make you angry, turn off the phone (You can look at it later or the following day.) If you will be sad and don’t feel up to seeing others, reconsider your obligations. You could opt out of celebrations entirely, skip church, or do something out of the ordinary that starts a new tradition.

Make it about other mothers. The fastest way to get our minds off ourselves is to think about helping other people. One mom told me she volunteers at a local old folks’ home on Mother’s Day. Whom can you help? Is there a woman in your life who has been like a mother to you? What can you do to make her day (or even the week ahead) special? By giving to others, we help ourselves. In the book,Why Good Things Happen to Good People: How to Live a Longer, Healthier, Happier Life by the Simple Act of Giving, authors Stephen Post and Jill Neimark ย draw on scientific studies showing how ten ways of giving contribute to mental and physical health. This beats sitting around thinking about how sad you are.

Plant something. Where I live, spring weather is in full swing by Mother’s Day. Consider finding something that will bloom year-to-year around this time. A bright splash of color that attracts butterflies can connect you to the cycle of living and the perpetual rotation of the seasons. Growing a plant that offers food provides rich reward. For my Master’s Degree in Human Behavior, I conducted research for my final project about gardening’s effects on health and happiness. Tending to plants connects us to something bigger than ourselves, relieves stress, and cultivates feelings of joy. Even if you’ve never gardened before, you can succeed. Radishes are easy to grow in a container, require little care, and can be harvested in around 30 days. Hint: try an unusual variety. French breakfast radishes are my personal favorite.

getting through Mother's Day when an adult child is estrangedDote on pets. That’s my baby in the picture. When I went out of town for a few days, someone very close to me pet-sat. She texted the photo-shopped pic, saying my doggie missed me so much that she got a Mom tattoo. If you have a cherished pet or two, hug them close. Pets really do bring us joy beyond measure, and offer unconditional love. Studies show that pets we love attenuate loneliness, improve our well-being, and our health.

Say what you need. For some, getting through Mother’s Day when an adult child is estranged requires speaking out. One mom said her husband always makes a big deal. He means well, believing he’s helping her on what he knows is a very sad day for her. But she’d prefer he didn’t say a thing. If this is you, let your needs be known. Tell your spouse and other family and friends what you do or don’t want. For some moms, it’s a day to stay in with regular television off. DVDs or Netflix bypass the reminders. You may have other wishes. Go ahead and state your needs. If you’re alone, do what you want. After all, it’s your day.

For more ideas for getting through Mother’s Day when an adult child is estranged, read this article from December, 2013, Holidays: How to manage them.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on my ideas. Also, what are your Mother’s Day plans? How about helping other moms looking for ways to get through the day. Please share your ideas. Leave your comments below. Let’s help and support each other.

Related articles:

Father’s Day when an adult child is estranged

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69 thoughts on “Mothers’ Day when your adult child is estranged

  1. Mandy

    Great article, Sheri!!

    All my life, I have felt sad (even before it affected me directly) at the hype made around Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, because let’s face it, there will always be parents for whom this day will be an extremely painful one. A bit like the way Christmas is hyped up in nations where impoverished are living alongside the rich — there will always be the ones for whom such times are very hard, because they cannot enter into the spirit of things due to lack of money.

    Likewise (getting back to your newsletter), for parents where the phone remains ominously silent even while the media is portraying all these other families living the dream is horrendously hard.

    As Mother’s Day approaches, I have been tensing myself — and have even thought of changing my phone number so that I would not know that my son had not text or contacted me on Mother’s Day. However, I can’t do that as I have a daughter who will be trying to make contact, and many business associates who need to get me on that number.

    So, as the day approaches, your article comes in very handy. Perhaps it is about desensitising ourselves … I also love your suggestion about pets. My six furry children make every day Mother’s Day for me in terms of the fuss they make of me 24/7.

    Thanks for your newsletter!

    Reply
    1. HR

      So sad 2 read these storys am sure my middle daughter now 36yrs suffers middle child syndrum as she doesnt speak 2 me nore her 2 sisters its heartbreaking .i always send her xmas & birday catd but none in return ๐Ÿ™ as long as she keeps well my door will always b
      open like my heart will
      Love 2 all Helen

    2. Rose

      I have also thought about changing my number or just blocking theirs. It’s a terrible catch22. I feel crazy! Wanting them and yet not. Loving them and in a way, hating them. So relieved that you said that. It helps to know I’m not alone.

    3. DeAnna

      Gotta love the furbabies. I’ve got one going thru the ‘terrible twos’ and she is absolutely the best remedy. My two adult daughters have not spoken to me since I left their father over 7 years ago. No good-byes or explanations as to why I was the ‘bad’ one. At almost 21 and 16, I knew their father had a tremendous hold on them, but today, they are college graduates 28 and 24. I’ve moved away – a few friends still in that area who knew us and some of the story share how much my daughters got from me. I take a small bit of comfort knowing I was instrumental in their outward success (hard to know what hides behind the eyes – I hid LOTS for many years). So very many tell me ‘they will come around’ – it doesn’t really help. Sheri's book and above suggestions have given me a new perspective. My wonderful husband of 6 years brought Zola into our lives at 4 weeks of age - I could not find any more unconditional love than I have from her . . . and her 'daddy'.

  2. aliveandwellaliveandwell

    This will be Mother’s Day number 6 where I have NO contact with my only daughter/only child. I don’t expect any contact because it hasn’t happened for so many years. This is the SAME CHILD who made sure I had a GLORIOUS Mother’s Days for 25 years! (I am no longer married to her Dad, and I suspect this is PART of the problem/distance.) I DO plan to attend church because I am Catholic, and REVERE the Blessed Mother. All I need to do is look into the beautiful eyes of her lovely statue, and think “if you could survive the HORRIFIC loss of your son, I can survive this VOID I have with my only child.” Mother Mary gives me strength! Fortunately I have a loving husband, and lots of pets, and THEY will help me fill my day. My only request: that I do NOT have to fix dinner on Mother’s Day. My husband is more than happy to take me out, but NO, THANK YOU. When I see the happy faces of other loving mothers/daughters/sons/, IT FEELS LIKE SALT is being poured into my wounded heart. My husband is going to take me to dinner sometime next week, AFTER Mother’s Day, and for that I am truly thankful. All of the holidays are hard, but for me? Mother’s Day is the most painful, by far.

    I am new to the group, and I am so thankful to have found you all! Thank you, Sheri, for including me here. . . it’s a place of refuge for me, and for the FIRST time, I no longer feel “alone” with my pain and grief. Sending blessings to all~

    Reply
    1. Rosie

      I feel your pain. I attended a Mothers Day lunch for fifty catered for by my oldest son. My daughter phoned early this morning with good wishes . It truly was a lovely day but on my return home there was no message or call from my middle child. It is such a raw inconsolable pain.

    2. Motmatela

      I also feel everyone’s pain. It’s been a day of roller coaster emotions.
      I haven’t left my home today despite my husband’s urging. I didn’t want to see other mothers enjoying their children’s company. It was bad enough seeing my neighbours being visited by their children with flowers and gifts in hand. I did hear from my daughter that’s been living out of the country since last December even though I told her I didn’t wish to acknowledge this occasion. While I was glad to hear from her I ended up in tears once again on Mother’s Day that I didn’t hear from my son. I still have the cards he bought me before he met the lady he is with now and the memories of lovely Mother’s Days. I wish my daughter would understand it would be better if this could be like any other day. I really do not wish to observe it. She said well you can feel that way about my son but I’m not letting you ignore this day. She is not a mother so it’s hard to explain to her the horrible pain I’m in.

    3. Lynda

      Motmatela, I know the pain you feel. I have a son and a daughter who are estranged for reasons I have not figured out yet. However, I would like to say that the person I feel the most sadness for is your daughter. Please don’t take away her right to celebrate you as her mother because of your son. Stop and think that she is most likely in pain too. You are saying to her, that because of your son, you don’t wish to be acknowledged as her mother on mother’s day either. Her feelings don’t matter? Please don’t take your daughter’s loyalty for granted. Allow her to show you the love she has for you on this day and be thankful she wishes to celebrate that love with you.

    4. vadams

      I often find myself asking Mother Mary to please pray for me. She too, birthed a child, fed him, potty trained him, endured losing him in the temple, then on the cross…witnessing first hand the torment he experienced. I often remind ,yield that parental love is the only love designed by God to lead to separation so that they can lead their own lives. And yet, he calls our children and us, to Honor Thy Mother and Father, and the void that is left when our children do not follow this is painful. In my darkest moments, I try to offer my day up for my son (his wife is a challenge and at the root of our estrangement) and the challenges he experiences. Thank heavens for your husband, he sounds like a good man.

    5. Mary

      My daughter and I was very close until I became very sick had a lot of sugeries 1 time hospital sent me home only weighing 59Lbs my kids came into my room told me they were happy I was home they were afraid to talk to their dad ( very bad temper) I told them I still may not make it encoughed them to talk to their dad and also told their dad NOT knowing her would use this to turn my daugter against me! Thouht I was doing a good thing all it did was bit me in the butt!!! He told me he was tired of me being sick and wanted a Divorce, my daughter was 17 at the time Old enough to remember what type of mother I was but my Ex and his Parents told her some Terribe things about me. WHY do people get so mean and Stupid. I would never hurt a child, especially my own!!!

    6. Kacy

      I hope you have connected with your daughter. Am going through a similar issue, I pray my daughter turns around and realizes I was the best Mother I could be and we can have a relationship again.

    7. DeAnna

      I absolutely understand your pain. Hug your furbabies – mine (2 dogs, 2 cats and a couple outdoor egg-laying chickens ๐Ÿ™‚ help fill the sadness in my heart). About 3 years ago, I had the opportunity to ‘adopt’ a young girl as my ‘grandgirl’ (granddaughter). I substitute teach and work at my public library. Her mother does home healthcare. We met on several different situations – I had her daughter in a preK library program about 4 years ago – then the mother helped care for my brother through hospice before he passed. While her mother helped my own mother recover after surgery on her hand (my mother suffers from alzheimers – and my dad needed more help) I became closer to both and jokingly talked about needing a ‘granddaughter’ – thus the relationship blossomed. We’ve gone back to school shopping in the fall, baked cookies over Christmas break and enjoy increasingly often sleepovers. I may never know if either of my daughters become a mother, but I have discovered the joy of being a grandma. Their forsaking me is not going to stop me from continuing to give the kind of love and encouragement I know I have to give. What saddens me most these days is knowing that someday, they will experience devastating regret.

  3. Shari

    For me, the month of May is the most difficult month of the year to get through because of Mother’s Day and my birthday. I just wish that May could be eliminated altogether, although I love to spoil my own beloved Mom rotten on Mother’s Day; however, she lives on the other side of the country from me.

    Mother’s Day and my birthday are both very lonely holidays as I have no family where I live. One estranged daughter lives 4 hours away and could make it if she wanted to. Even a phone call would make me feel so much better! The other ED lives out of state. I haven’t heard from either of them in years.

    While married to their dad, he made sure to never celebrate Mother’s Day or teach our daughters to honor me on that day as he always said that I wasn’t his mother. I always made sure that I taught our daughters to honor him on Father’s Day, and they still have a relationship with him. While married to him, he did everything he could to teach them to disrespect me, and his family contributed as well – and it intensified after the divorce.

    I had full custody of my children as their father was considered an unfit parent by the state that we lived in. While the children were growing up, I had a wonderful relationship with them. But once they were out of the home, he was able to work on them. It didn’t help that he was extremely rich and I had become dirt poor after spending all of the money I had to raise them.

    So now, May has become a very lonely month. I try not to think about all of the wonderful times that I had with them during their childhoods and not dwell on it, but May is the one month that always reminds me that all that I did for them meant nothing to them now that they have grown up.

    I’ll always love them, feel that I’ve forgiven them as I don’t feel a bit of anger towards them for doing this to me, yet feel a hurt so strong that I believe it’s worse than if they had actually died. No matter what I do, I can’t get over it. Rejection is the worse thing anyone can do to someone because it tells them that they aren’t worthy of someone’s time, attention, and love. As parents, we have given our ALL to our children, so being treated like this is the reason why we are in such deep shock and grief.

    There are grief counselors for people who have loved ones who have died, but are their grief counselors who are especially trained to deal with parents of estranged children? I think that’s a completely different type of grief because we have no one to grieve with us, no memorial service or headstone to take flowers to, people judge us or just plain don’t understand, and we feel guilty about something that has happened to us that we simply don’t understand.

    Reply
    1. Maria

      Your life could be mine, word for word. My two estranged children were daughter’s as well. They also followed the money, that their father defrauded from me. I have been told by my counsellor that no matter how much they try to forget the love and nurturing that I poured into them, to protect them from their father’s behaviour, it will always be in there somewhere. I really hope so, for the sake of their children.

    2. Emptynester

      Shari…. your story is the exact same as mine. my 2 estranged Sons are angry with me because they think I took money from their dad which is impossible Child Support Enforcement in my state enforce child support to the degree it couldbut they and their father believe I am a bad person for one thing to feed them and keep a roof over our head and I allowed child support enforcement to help to the degree they could since their father moved all over to avoid child supportwith 4 children yes I had money problemsand today I could sure use the $1,400 that I spent sending one of them on a school trip to Washington DC Etc

  4. Sportsmom

    You explaind your feelings and reasoning so perfectly. You were in the same situation as I was, and now we are both in the same situation.

    Reply
  5. Ellery

    I’m new to this site and just seeing this post. It does strike a cord.

    I have two estranged adult daughters, with whom I’ve had no contact for seven years. They estranged at the time of my son’s death.

    My eldest daughter, as an adult, always subtly punished me on Mother’s Day. My carefully selected “amusing” (sentiment free) card arrived without fail a week late and included details of how she, her husband, and children had celebrated “Mom” (her mother-in-law), This meant I had two hurtful days–the actual day when I didn’t hear from her and the day I received her in-your-face card. The last Mother’s Day before our estrangement occurred she sent a little, shriveled-up dead plant, which perfectly portrayed our relationship. My younger daughter went through half-hearted motions, but now that I think about it, only because she needed me.

    Now, I’m alone on Mother’s Day since my husband died. He and I used to go out to eat, but that was a sad experience, because the waiters always extended Mother’s Day greetings. Now, I skip church (a tortuous experience), sleep in, and then go to Barnes & Noble and select my own gift. Last year, during the week before Mother’s Day, I also treated myself to a massage.

    When my son called last Mother’s Day, I wasn’t home. He left a voice message that he’d call later, and he did–six months later.

    I have finally written my children off. Even so, Mother’s Day remains the hardest day of the year.

    Reply
  6. Anonymous

    With tears streaming down my cheeks, I’m thinking, What can I possibly say to these precious mothers whose hearts are breaking?
    I truly thought my tears were gone. I had moved on…but I realize now, even though I say in my mind, I’m okay and I’ve chosen to move on, my heart still says it’s in anguish. Will it ever stop hurting? I’ve tried to explain to others, even though I’ve never had a heart attack, I would imagine this is what it feels like…my heart is being squeezed so hard that I can barely breathe. Then the tears fall….and fall.
    I read recently that those who cry, and talk about it, will heal, those who keep it in, will not.
    I’m glad The Lord led me to this site, because I know I need to talk, and to cry. I’ve tried so hard to hold myself together, perhaps if I have a good cry with those who totally understand, I can be out amongst others, and smile and laugh and enjoy my life! ๐Ÿ™‚
    Mother’s Day is also the most difficult for me…even though every Holiday seems to bring sadness to my heart. Perhaps it’s because I’m already so sad?…Is there really a single day that something doesn’t cause me to think of my beautiful daughter and how much I miss her, how much I miss ~us.
    I was in labor with my first child on Mother’s Day of 1985. She was born on Monday. So Mother’s Day has always been very special to me.
    My precious Mama is still living…I love her soooo! I was out shopping the other day and Mother’s Day cards are already out. I couldn’t decide which one to buy for her, so I bought 3! I will start sending them to her soon. Even though my heart is aching, I will still celebrate Mother’s Day.
    The last time I spoke with my daughter, she said that this wasn’t about me! I try to understand that, to grasp her meaning. If it’s not about me….then it’s about her…I suppose she’s doing what she feels she needs to do in life. I do not understand why or how she could feel this way. I just know there’s nothing I can do or say to change things. She simply does not want me in her life. So I do have to accept it. I told her I would leave her alone. That’s so hard. Because I still want to send her messages…I love you..I miss you, I need you. But I won’t.
    Instead, I cry out to The Lord…Help me Jesus! Fill this hole in my heart! Your Word says, The Joy of The Lord is my strength!
    I know that many reject Him, and He loves far more than we could ever fathom.
    He loves us so much He layed down his life on a cruel rugged cross. He was beaten and spit upon by those He loved and died for.
    Yes, He suffered far greater than I could ever know.
    I find comfort in knowing that He knows how I feel, and He loves me with an everlasting love, and He will never leave me or forsake me!
    I pray that each of us will remember to look to Him for the help we need to get through each day…each moment! That our sorrow will become less and less.
    That we will be able to go forward, turning our misery into ministry! We can comfort those who need to be comforted! The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 1
    3 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. 4 He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. 5 For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ. 6 Even when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your comfort and salvation! For when we ourselves are comforted, we will certainly comfort you. Then you can patiently endure the same things we suffer. 7 We are confident that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in the comfort God gives us.
    Amen!
    From my heart to yours~
    May God bless you and keep you.

    Reply
  7. Janice

    This will be the third Mother’s Day without my only child. He just turned 18 and I haven’t seen him in 3 years. I find all holidays difficult, but Mother’s Day is especially so. My son will be graduating from high school this month and off to university in August. I feel so left out and so sad. I think of him every day and wish him the best of everything, but I will forever miss the boy that I gave birth to.

    Reply
    1. Anonymous

      Awww Janice. My heart breaks for you, I do see my son every couple of months (horrid daughter in-law) …But haven’t seen my grandson for four years..And that breaks my heart! My son says nothing, but i know that his wife has total control…
      God bless you Janice Karma will avail…xxxx

  8. Ann

    I haven’t seen my 24 year old daughter on Mother’s Day since she was 11. Mother’s Day has always been difficult for her, as she was adopted at birth in an open adoption. I’d like to say that her Father and I (well, at least I) were sensitive to those issues, keeping contact open with her birthmother, and so on, but even so I understand that she naturally would’ve had mixed feelings on Mother’s Day, that’s only normal for a child of adoption.
    However, since my ex-husband left me for another woman, he also has decided that to hurt even more, he needed to alienate my only child from me. She now says that she hates me, and the only time I hear from her is when she calls demanding money. When I refuse, she calls me vulgar and hateful names and repeats the lies her father has said about me.
    For the last two Mothers Days, she has posted a loving photograph on Facebook of she and her father in close embrace, and thanking him for being both a Mother and Father to her. I was shut out of her life completely, given no access to her or anything about her, she was even hospitalized in her teens after an accident and I wasn’t told. She is so cold to me; she repeats the phrases of her Father like some kind of robot, I really don’t even know who this child is.
    I am sorry for the long post, but I feel like the sweet girl I love has been possessed or something. I dread the upcoming so-called holiday. Anything positive that would come from her is fake; and I dread reading what I will see on Facebook that morning, it will just be too painful.
    Thank you for the spiritual references above: I will print them and keep them with me for re-reading. They will bring me solace and comfort.

    Reply
    1. Hallie

      Hello Ann. When I was reading your heartbreaking story of you and your daughter , I felt like I was reading my own sad story involving my only child a daughter who is 19. Her father has taught her to hate me and I did not see the scope of it until I finally filed for divorce when she was 17 and planned the divorce to be final at the time she would be turning 18. She has hurt me beyond belief. So much I would like to share with you and hear more of your story. It has only been a few months since your post. Although all of the stories I have read on this topic are sad, yours rang close to home. I hope you will respond and we can communicate by chat or someway you feel comfortable. Regards, Halie

  9. Candy

    Hi all,
    Just read Sheri’s article and it is great! Mother’s Day and my birthday usually fall on the same day. I used to get two cards from my son and even some from my granddaughter. But sadly that was a long three years ago. I read all the replies and honestly I can feel everyone’s sad feelings and pain. Please know that this site makes me feel like a human being again, not some horrible person my son thinks. Let’s all hang in there. Please don’t think I am being frivolous in nature, I am working as hard as I can to keep my chin up and my eyes dry. Thank you all for writing. You help me so much.

    Reply
  10. RR

    2I am SO glad to have found this site. MY BIRTHDAY WAS TODAY AND NEXT WEEK IS MOTHERS DAY. MY DAUGHTER AND HER TWO BEAUTIFUL DAUGHTERS MADE MY DAY TODAY.MY YOUNGEST SON TEXTED. I FEEL HE IS MY SON BECAUSE HIS DAD AND I MARRIED AND GOT CUSTODY OF HIM A FEW YRS LATER WHEN HE WAS 12 AND WANTED A REAL HOME.HOWEVER HES NEWLY MARRIED, HAS A STEPSON HIMSELF AND A WIFE 8 YRS YOUNGER THAN HIM AND IS GOING THROUGH SO MUCH MATURING LIFE’S TEACHING HIM. BUT MY YOUNGEST AGE 32 MY DAUGHTERS YOUNGER BROTHER THE TWO I BROUGHT INTO THIS WORLD HE AGAIN IGNORED ME.HES IN A STATE FAR AWAY NEVER MARRIED, HAD A LONG TIME GIRLFRIEND WHO’S ANOTHER WHOLE STORY & I THINK HE FINALLY BROKE UP WITH.

    OUR SEPARATION STARTED 14+YRS AGO WHEN HE FINISHED HIGH SCHOOL DIDN’T DO WELL IN COLLEGE HERE AND RAN OFF TO THE NW. HE CAME BACK AFTER A COUPLE YRS AFTER JOINING A STARTING OUT ROCK N ROLL BAND AND WHO KNOWS WHERE HE SLEPT ETC! I TRULY HAD TO GIVE HIM TO GOD THEN. HE CAME BACK A SHORT TIME THEN SAID HE NEEDED TO LEARN SOME RESPONSIBILITY AND JOINED THE ARMED FORCES.;HE WAS IN IT 8 YRS AND I OF COURSE UNDERSTOOD HIM BEING FAR AWAY SERVING OUR COUNTRY.HE AND MY DAUGHTER BOTH SAW AN OPERATION CAUSE ME PERM.NERVE DAMAGE THAT ENDED MY TEACHING CAREER AFTER 20 YRS DOING IT.FINISHING DEGREES WHILE WORKING ,HAVING KIDS TOO. BUT BECAUSE OF ONE DAY I HAD TO RETIRE AGE 42. THOSE MESH ADS ARE VERY TRUE! EXCEPT VERY FEW GET BIG $! ONLY FEW LUCKY ENOUGH OUT OF 100,000 IN U.S. DISTRICT COURT TO GET A JURY TRIAL.OTHERS ARE PRAYING FOR ENOUGH AFTER PAYING LEGAL TO PAY ENORMOUS MED BILLS LIKE ME.SO THAT SON LEFT A HEALTHY MOM HE WOULD SAY WAS THE STRONGEST WOMAN HE KNEW.HE HASN’T SEEN THE YRS,.EFFECTS & MANY SURGERIES AGE ME DECADES OLDER THAN I AM.BUT HE & MY DAUGHTER SAW MY HUSBAND AND I BE LEGAL GUARDIANS FOR BOTH MY PARENTS THEIR LAST 5&6 YRS.MY DAD HAD ALZHEIMER’S & LIVED W/US. BUT IT ALLOWED ME TO SEE THE MAN I ALWAYS KNEW WAS DEEP INSIDE.MY SON ATTENDED BOTH FUNERALS IN UNIFORM, MY PROUDEST MEMORIES.

    WHEN HE CAME BACK FROM A 1 YR DUTY IN THE MIDDLE EAST & WAS VISITING FRIENDS IN THE NW 2 DAYS BACK IN THE U.S. HE GOT A CALL FROM A FUNERAL HOME 2 HRS AWAY WHO SAID HIS REAL DAD HAD A MASSIVE HEART ATTACK AGE 54, DIED FROM CONTINUED YRS OF DRINKING & SMOKING.HE NEVER SAW OUR SON OR DAUGHTER AGAIN FOR 18 YRS TO AVOID 1 CHILD SUPPORT PAYMENT.MY SON LEARNED NO ONE IN HIS DADS FAMILY OF 4 BROTHERS 5 SISTERS WOULD CLAIM HIS BODY. SO MY SON DROVE THE 2 HRS, SAW HIS DAD AGAIN! THIS TIME A 29 YR OLD MAN NOT THE 11 YR OLD BOY HE LEFT TO NEVER TRY TO SEE AGAIN BECAUSE OF HIS ALCOHOLISM. BUT THIS TIME HE WAS DEAD ON A MORGUE TABLE.

    I WORRIED AS DID MY DAUGHTER OF THE EFFECT ON HIM.NOT GOOD AS HE FOUND OUT EACH STORY OF HOW HE WENT THROUGH HIS WHOLE FAMILY TILL NOT ONE WOULD CLAIM HIS BODY! SATAN WAS BUSY TO HAVE IT HAPPEN 2 HRS AWAY 2 DAYS AFTER HE RETURNED HOME FROM OVERSEAS.JUST AS AN 11 YR OLD MAD AT THE WORLD BOY WHO TOOK OUT HIS ANGER ON THE PARENT WHO NEVER LEFT, ME! HE HAS DONE IT AGAIN! HE HAS GONE TO COUNSELING.FINISHED SCHOOL THE VA SENT HIM TO AS HE ONLY STAYED 1 MORE YR IN THE MILITARY. I HOPE SOMEDAY MY OLD SON COMES BACK.I WAS ONCE AGAIN MAD MY 1ST HUSBAND OF 17 YRS AGAIN HURT HIM & MY DAUGHTER.BUT MY DAUGHTER DIDN’T PAY A DIME SHE THOUGHT OF HIM DEAD 18 YRS EARLIER IS HOW SHE DEALT WITH IT.FAR AS I KNOW MY SON STILL HAS HIS “DADS” ASHES!

    MY 2ND HUSBAND NOW I’VE BEEN MARRIED TO 20 YRS TRULY HAS BEEN A DAD TO ALL 3.HE WALKED MY DAUGHTER DOWN THE AISLE TO BE MARRIED,ATTENDED HER HIGH SCHOOL & COLLEGE GRADUATION & WAS THERE TO WELCOME HER & HER HUSBANDS TWO DAUGHTERS WHO ARE 100% HIS GRANDDAUGHTERS NO EXES AND OS! HE IS GRANDPA! MY DAUGHTER THOUGH 14 WHEN I DIVORCED HER DAD AFTER 17 YRS OF AN OFTEN ABUSIVE MARRIAGE I HID MANY FACTS FROM THEM BOTH. SHE ACCEPTED MY HUSBAND MUCH BETTER THAN MY SON, THOUGH WE DID MORE FOR HIM THAN THE OTHER 2 TOGETHER .AFTER MY SON AGE 11 SAID HE WANTED TO KILL ME! MY HUSBAND AND I KNEW WE NEEDED FAMILY COUNSELING BAD, BACK INTO CHURCH AS A FAMILY ETC. NO SUCH THING AS BRADY BUNCH! ONCE AGAIN i AM THE SCAPEGOAT BUT I AM DETERMINED TO NOT LET HIM VERBALLY ABUSE ME ANYMORE AND MAKE MY HEALTH WORSE.

    EASIER SAID THAN DONE.I DIDN’T OVERPROTECT MY KIDS AND DIDN’T NEGLECT THEM, I SAW CONSEQUENCES OF BOTH TEACHING!$ COUNSELORS, PSHYCHS ALWAYS ASK “HOW DID YOUR MOM & DAD TREAT YOU?” NEVER “HOW ARE YOU TREATING THEM AS ADULTS?” IF THEY ARE SICK ARE YOU THERE FOR THEM ETC? SOMETHING OUR SOCIETY ONCE REVERENCED. BUT PARTLY OUR FAULT OF WANTING TO GIVE OUR KIDS WHAT WE NEVER HAD! WHICH BACKFIRED NOT REALIZING WHAT WE WORKED FOR, WAITED FOR HELPED US BECOME THE PEOPLE WE WERE! TO LEAVE THE WORLD GIVERS AND NOT TAKERS IS A TRUE PARENTS GOAL! MY 1ST HUSBAND REMAINED A TAKER TILL HE RAN OUT OF GIVERS!

    WHY MY SON DOES NOT TALK TO ME NOW? HE DECIDED TO SEE A COUNSELOR. SAID THE COUNSELOR WOULD CALL ME BECAUSE HE IS ADHD LIKE ME! AND WANTED TO KNOW SOME HISTORY.I TOLD HER ALL! HIS DAD DYING,GIRLFRIEND PROBLEMS ETC.HE WENT HOME, CALLED ME BACK, CUSSED ME OUT SAYING I COULD NOT TELL THE VA ANYTHING! .I SAID “SON THEIR DR.S HAVE SAME CODE AS ANYONE! IF YOU DON’T TELL THE TRUTH YOU CANNOT GET WELL! MY HUSBAND NOW DIDN’T HEAR THAT LAST CONV.RIGHT AFTER ANOTHER SURGERY THEN LASR SUMMER WHEN HE STOPPED BY A FEW MIN.AT LAST OF VACATION BEFORE CATCHING PLANE! HE THINKS I AM BEING DRAMATIC. SHOULD LET ALL GO.BUT I’M TIRED OF BEING SICK PERM. AND SCAPEGOAT!I NEED TO PUT UP BORDERS UNLESS GOD SHOWS ME OTHERWISE! HE DIDN’T REHASH DR.STUFF UNTIL ALONE WITH ME LAST SUMMER.i HAD ANOTHER SURGERY 2 WEEKS AGO.MY HUSBAND CALLED HIM, I ASKED HIM NOT TO!

    I APPRECIATE MY DAUGHTER REMEMBERING MOMS DAY AND ASK THE LADY TO NOT SHUT HER DAUGHTER SHE TALKS TO OUT OF HER RIGHT TO HONOR HER! WHICH WILL BE PASSED DOWN TO HER KIDS! THEY DESERVE TO HONOR GRANDMA ALSO MOTHERS DAY. I GUESS MY SOM BEING CLEAR ACROSS COUNTRY BOTHERS ME EVEN MORE BECAUSE OF THOUGHT WHAT IF WITH MY HEALTH IF SOMETHING HAPPENS TO ME OR HIM? BUT I HAVE TO DO AS 1ST TIME HE LEFT WHEN A LADY SAID WHY DON’T YOU STEP BACK? LET GOD DO HIS PLANS FOR HIM? YOU DON’T WANT TO BE REASON GOD COULD NOT DO, BE IN HIS WAY! I LIKE WHAT I’VE READ.THERE ARE GOOD BOOKS NOW ON THIS SUBJECT USED TO BE NONE! ONE CALLED “PUTTING UP BOUNDARIES WITH ADULT CHILDREN” NOT LETTING THEM AFFECT US EVERY DAY AS MOTHERS DAY ETC.

    YES MANY MOMS IN A NURSING HOME WOILD LOVE A VISIT.AFTER 1 YR THE AMOUNT OF VISITORS DROPS SO MUCH MANY NOT ANY.I TOOK SMALL $1.00 STORE ITEMS TO THERE WHERE MANY APPRECIATED SO MUCH + WORKERS.AS WELL AS ADULT DAY CARE MY DAD WENT TO HE LEARNED TO LOVE HE HAD NO VISITORS OR BUILDING TO CARE FOR HIM 24/7 JUST US WHO HE THANKED EACH DAY.OR ANIMALS I RESCUED MANY GOT ME THROUGH LAST 6 MO. BED BOUND BEFORE SURGERY.THEY WERE GLAD I WAS THERE MY PERSONAL PARADE EACH DAY AS I HEARD SOMEONE SAY EACH DAY. AUNCONDITIONAL LOVE! ALL OURS RESCUED DUMPED ON US.APPRECIATE US REALIZE IT! SMARTER MANY PEOPLE!GOD BLESS YOU ALL MOMS DAY ALL OTHERS BE NICE TO YOURSELF.THOSE CLOSE TO YOU.RR

    Reply
  11. rebecca

    My Birthday(60th) is on May 11th and with Mothers Day on May 10th, its like a double whammy! Neither one of my daughters have contacted me in over three years except by text to notify me that if I attempt to contact them or their husbands or my sweet grand children they will press charges of harassment. So, I have chose to move on with my life, of course there are sad times, but few and far between. I will be 60 and sexy! And mothers day is just another day for me so much like all the other holidays. I have good friends and that means so much. Laughter is the best medicine and I take it daily. Best wishes to all the Mothers out there. Time heals all.

    Reply
  12. Shelly

    This will be the first one. Estranged from my 24 year old son. His choice to live with a very mean ,ignorant girl with no respect . Tommow I will celebare the day with my husband. I will Look for positive! I am going to release one blue balloon and that will release one balloon and prayer that he will return.My thoughts and prayers to all Moms who read this!!!

    Reply
    1. ANGELA

      Shelly,
      I feel your pain. My son who is 19 decided to move out in January because he didn’t want to follow the house rules. He also dates an ignorant rude girl for past 18 months. My son and I were extremely close until he began dating her then our entire relationship fell part. He has not contacted me in 4 months not even today Mother’s Day. I unfortunately have been a single mom since 2009 so this hurts me beyond reason. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

  13. Ann

    My son has never acknowledged me on Mothers Day. My daughter has slowly cut off contact with me and I’m not too sure why, although she seems to have issues with my mothering. I “made” her learn ballet. I “made” her learn the flute etc . She seemed to be OK with these things at the time. She is now 40 and brings this stuff up. I got nagged and nagged when I couldn’t find the cafe we were supposed to meet at.
    She cut off her phone. I have minded both children so she could go to work. I’ve been there for her always.
    I just turned 70 and got a very begrudging text message.
    Today I’ve been ignored by both my children.
    Do we do too much for them?
    We love them and are punished anyway.
    It hurts to see my friends on Facebook posting their flowers, cards etc.
    Why not me? I’m so sad.

    Reply
    1. char

      Omg Ann, I wish I could answer your questions for you, but I have been struggling with the same questions myself for a long time! I’m sending you hugs, Lots of them,from one mom to another. I have to go wipe my eyes now ๐Ÿ™

    2. Jeanne

      It’s not you! It’s this way for so many. I have a large family & out of 6 children I have one that is very devoted. The others are “Not that into us” as parent’s or grandparents. I really think that so many of the reasons we got married & had children were just “Fairy Tales”. We had so much hope that if we were good & devoted that our children would love us unconditionally as we love them. Just not true!
      I have been married for 48 years & just now am realizing the real truth in all the things I believed when I was a young girl. Marriage has been great & tough. Too much togetherness is just that-too much. I now keep myself very busy with my own interests that I wasn’t selfish enough to do when I was younger. My husband is much easier to love when I do this.
      I love the advice about pets & flowers. I am the happiest when I go out into the world & meet new people that have things in common with me. Regrets from the past & Worry about the future is not where joy, peace & happiness are found. I have discovered recently . . . it’s when I enjoy each new day & live it to the fullest that I am the happiest. I don’t believe in Fairy Tales any more. Hope this helps-:)
      Warmly, Jeanne

  14. anonymous

    I’m the idiot who gives my son a car even though he’s not speaking to me for no reason except that he’s an adult who lives with his father and his father has always been better than me. I said to him two weeks ago when finally getting the car in his name, “I’m not even going to ask about mothers day”. He proceeded to tell me twice he would see me on mothers day (he doesn’t normally speak to me), of course I’ve heard nothing from him and I know I won’t hear anything today.

    I’m just going to focus on my other child. I really don’t need that kind of toxicity in my life. I don’t need to feel hurt and sad when I have a baby who needs love and affection today. He’s an adult. I’m done.

    Reply
  15. Donna Mama

    My Mother died on May 8, 2015 and my daughter has not spoken to me in over 3 years. I gave all I had in my heart and finances to make sure my daughter has morals and went to good schools and she is now very successful. I was not invited to the wedding 3 years ago. I had a disagreement with her boyfriend before he became her fiancรฉ and husband about Faith in God. He would not reconcile or allow her to reconcile with me. Her father held grudges for over 25 years was a terrible waste of time (better to forgive) (he was the adulterer and a violent abuser). Since he paid for the wedding and bought them a house and did not want me at the wedding, she did not want the potential conflict. I always apologized for my mistakes with my daughter and I did everything I could to teach her the love of Christ and to be kind and forgive and to be generous and responsible in this world. I failed somehow so badly to be rejected. It is my fault because I am alone. The cup never came today, Mother’s day, and it reminded me that I am no longer a Mother or my daughter does not want me as her Mother in any way. We have pain and rejection in this World; however, Jesus said that He came to give us life and give it more abundantly. We are not alone; I have a Savior and the Love of my Life that I will love and cherish for eternity and He will never leave me or forsake me, even until the end of time.

    Reply
  16. Anon

    The pain doesn’t end on Sunday; it continues on Monday at work, when everyone asks how your Mother’s Day was and expects at least a few details. I’ll write and rehearse the cheerful lie today that I must tell tomorrow . . .

    Of course, I’m used to it my now; the frequent inquiries by people at work asking how the children are, what are your sons doing now, etc. I’ve thought about moving away, getting another job, and then saying that I never had children; I may still do that. I wish people at work would just keep the conversation work-oriented.

    Reply
  17. Diana

    This year there was a new grandson, that I didn’t get to hold…probably never will. He is our eighth grandchild, but that doesn’t mean that he isn’t special.

    His father, one of four siblings…our middle son was married… neither we, his parents, or his two brother and sister were invited.

    Its been four years, this time…

    Had to go through the motions on Mothers’ Day. I didn’t want to go to lunch, which annoyed family members…oh well! No one seems to get it,….husband wonders why I cry…

    Reply
  18. Maria

    I raised my son as a single mother. We had a wonderful, close relationship until he was 31. He got married and our relationship carried on fo one more year. On my last birthday celebrated with him he took me for a day and half hiking which I love. He then said thi will be our tradition for your birthday. Then he became distant. During last year before estrangement I saw him 4 times. I later learned that he attended for 2 years sessions of psychotherapy. His wife was very interested in psychotherapy and wanted to study it. He attended psychotherapy earlier before she met my son. Why he attended psychotherapy? He happy, lucky, relaxed young man, had a dream job, wife, house, holidays 2x a year. Just before Christmas 5 years agoI received out of blue a 4 page A4 letter telling me how bad mother I was and how terrible childhood he had. There were many petty and untrue accusation. I physically sick reading this letter, it took me 2 days to read it. I have not seen my son since then. He said he would change telephone number if I contact him. Since then 2 grondsons were born, have not seen. My son is Catholic. I contacted the prist for reconciliation, who told me that my sons responsibility is for his family.
    I have no other family. My parents and my only brother passed away. I am heart broken. I don’t know how my loving son changed into heartless an cruel person. I consol myself with the thought that I had him for 31years. I am perhaps lucky that I never seen my grandchildren so I cannot be cruelly estranged from them too. The pain does not go away it is physical, I sob daily.

    Reply
    1. Grove Girl

      Maria,
      I, too, feel that psychotherapy has ruined by relationship with my daughter. In fact, I was the one that suggested my daughter go! No person makes it through life unscathed, and my daughter was a bit of an outcast during her teenage years. Pimply and weird, she was often the butt of other teenagers’ jokes. It devastated me and I often overlooked her abusive behavior towards me and hoped she would eventually grow out of all of it. Well, the psychotherapist convinced my daughter that everything wrong with her life was my fault.She claims that I was abusive. When I countered, she said “If I feel it was abuse, then its abuse!” Of course, none of us were perfect, but I was a pretty good mom and was always very supportive of her. Why is it that so many therapists make it easy for themselves and blame everything on the parent? So sad that the very people that are supposed to help a person with their relationships actually feel its okay to tear our families apart. “Its all your Mom’s fault, you need to distance yourself from her. Your time is up. $200 please. Send in the next sucker, I mean patient.”

  19. Annie

    Maybe there is something wrong with me. I have been to groups where my heart is broken seeing other parents in such pain whether it is relative to children they aren’t communicating with or grandchildren they are not permitted to cultivate a relationship. It fills me with ire. From that point on, I decided my time was better spent cultivating the passions and hobbies I had little time for raising her. The greatest love I have ever had for anyone is my daughter. She is all I have because I was a single mother. I feel my job is done and done to the best of my ability. My daughter is in her early thirties. My door is always open. Life is short. I will allow myself on Mother’s Day 5 minutes maybe less to dwell on this loss, but with the help of God, no more. Vita brevis my fellow mothers. Do for you what you would hope your daughter or son would do for you. I pray every day that she comes back on HER terms. I DO send her Happy Birthday emails and holiday “i miss you” but no gifts. I respect her decision to stay incognito but i refuse to reward it. May you all realize that short of abuse of any kind, this treatment b y children is not justifiable.

    Reply
    1. AnonK.

      Annie – I like what you said about not rewarding the behavior. I agree that unless abuse was involved that rejecting parents is not justifiable. We all make mistakes, every single parent out there. I don’t actually even know why my son won’t talk to me. He’s told my ex that I love him too much. He’s been hurting me horribly for a long time and it has gotten worse this year. This year he didn’t even text me on my birthday. That’s a new low, a new level of being sadistic. I’m going to stop all communication and gifts from my end and wait till he decides to reconnect. I have to believe that one day he will. Today is Mothers Day. No word or reply from him on Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, my birthday, or any reply from my text wishing him a happy birthday. No thank you for the Christmas gift I sent, zero. I just know that he’s planning to ignore me again today, making it a perfect grandslam for the year. My heart is broken. If it weren’t for my daughter, who I’m very very close to, I’m not sure I’d be here anymore.

  20. Grove Girl

    My first mother’s day without my ED. I was devastated to find out that my other daughter might not be here, something that I was counting on. After a good cry, I saw this article on how to get through it. I thought of my husband’s aunt that lives in an assisted living facility. I know her children won’t show up as they live far away. I thought about how she must feel to see other families picking up their moms and taking them out to celebrate, so I thought, why don’t I do the giving this year instead of wallowing in self-pity. She was so happy when I called her and told her of my plans to come get her and take her out. I feel so much better and am actually looking forward to Mother’s Day now. If you are feeling bad, there’s lots of lonely moms out there that you can honor that day. When you give to others, you are also giving to yourself. Your heart will love you for it!

    Reply
    1. ixora

      well done!! the foundation of every religious or spiritual system is a giving of self, and especially when it requires more effort than just rosy wishes. you are truly doing a good deed!

  21. Surreal

    I will wear the emotional mask as usual…it is easier for me to not share details, when asked, about the non existent relationship with my 38 year old son with my family and friends, because we were once so close…I keep my responses as vague as possible and cleverly change the subject…my husband, who is a real sweetheart and step father to my son for 18 years, cannot relate…he does not let anything get to him…I wish I could be that way….I can only speculate what caused our rift…I have survived so much more over the years…I occasionally have my 5 minute pity party (yes, I set my clock) in the stillness of the night…I rant , rave, cry, question, pray…whatever I need to do for those 5 minutes (hubby is hard of hearing or he would have me locked away)…when the alarm goes off, it’s over…I just cannot bring myself to let others know my pain….i do often share/talk with my brother, who is estranged from his daughter…maybe it is us, not them, who are the problem…this being said, it is what it is…I will survive through the grace of God…live another day, if it be His will…do for others…be thankful for all my blessings…for it is my belief, this too shall pass…maybe in this lifetime…

    Reply
  22. Lori

    My grown children have not talked to me for over 15 years. After a nasty divorce, my ex husband and his family talked bad about me for me causing this heartbreak. I divorced him not my kids but all the bad is focused on me. I tried to contact them everyday and whoever answered the phone would hear my voice to ask to speak with the kids would hang up on me. I’ve sent the letters, cards, emails, mssgs, and no response. Mothers day hurts the most, as well as their birthdays and Christmas. I feel very empty inside and try to hide my broken heart. It’s also hard to navigate when people ask fo you have children and of course a new addition to my broken a heart, a grandchild that I haven’t seen. There’s nothing I can do but pray and hope my children are ok. I do this everyday and have to talk myself to sleep every night by saying they are ok and for God to watch over them and to someday find it in their heart to forgive me.

    Reply
  23. Anonymous

    Last year she left a bouquet on the porch and ran. In July is when she shut down everything. We left a few gifts at her door at Xmas. I sent a card on her Birthday. She called my friend and said she hated me and wanted me to stay out of her life. I am so heartbroken. I never thought I would feel so alone. She is getting counseling, I am told her counselor said to not contact her parents. The last thing she told me was her family was dysfunctional and that is why she makes bad decisions. I have always been there when everything went bad for her, when she called I helped. She unfriended both her sister and me on FB.

    Reply
  24. Julie b.

    My two adult children haven’t contacted me for three years and it feels like I’m dying inside. I divorced many years ago and my second husband and I raised them. After we had another three children they both decided to live with their father. That hurt me so much but I accepted their decision. I then moved interstate but tried to keep our relationship alive. We paid so many times for them to fly here to visit us. Now they are both married with children and can’t make the effort to visit us. Mothers day is so hard but my other children try really hard to compensate for the saddness inside. We go bike riding together and play golf or tennis so being active let’s out some of my internal tension. I guess I’m lucky I have my three beautiful children but the pain never really goes away. My advice is to be active. Physical exercise is my Savior. I find Christmas mothers day and their birthdays the hardest.

    Reply
  25. Cathy L.

    Have been estranged from my oldest daughter for over 6 years now…very complicated. As AnonK said, if it wasn’t for my younger daughter I don’t think I would still be here today. I also agree with Annie…I no longer send birthday or Christmas gifts….just cards. When I did, I never received a thank you or any acknowledgement. We recently had some contact during a family event and she was pleasant. But lack of any further communication since confirms my belief that she just does not want me in her life. I hAve to accept this but it is hard. I feel numb and I don’t know if I am unable to cry or if I just won’t allow myself to cry.

    Reply
  26. Colleen

    I used to dwell, fixate and cry uncontrollably due to my oldest son’s absence from my life, I’ve learned (not easy) to appreciate all the people in my life who love me, who know I’m a good and honest person, I’ve learned that my son’s “perceptions”of me are his hang ups not mine, in reality, how can so many other people have love and respect for me, yet, I was continually seeking his “approval”??? I finally said no more, I’ll always love him but I have to give my best love to my other son, my husband and my step children.
    We carry so much blame, thinking we failed, I began thinking, his loso may end up being greater than mine.
    Best advice, love yourself!!

    Reply
  27. sean

    Thank you. Everything here is good. the book is even better tho! Thank you for all you do for us brokenhearted. I’m less broken every day.

    Reply
  28. Crazy Dog Lady

    This article, coupled with the one on preparing as best as possible for emotional triggers, was very helpful for me. Not only is Mother’s Day coming up soon, but my son’s birthday as well. I consider certain times of the year minefields for depression and weepiness–Christmas, Halloween, my birthday, and springtime. This year, I had a Christmas tree for the first time in years, although I knew looking at it might make me sad. The only way I was able to enjoy it and not get waylaid by the sadness was to stock up on my favorite foods, send myself some Christmas gifts, and tell my family I wasn’t going to call them. Some of them are complicit in the alienation of my child, and some are just insensitive. Unfortunately, Mother’s Day is a hard one to skip with my own mother, who typically makes thoughtless remarks about my son’s estrangement from me. Being angry or aloof about this makes me feel guilty, even though I know I am not treating her the way my son treats me and even though I know I parented my child much differently than my mother did me.

    Last year, since I knew I wouldn’t be receiving any Mother’s Day calls, let alone gifts, I sent myself some nice bath products, and I liked it so much I repeated it for Christmas. It doesn’t fill the void, but there’s nothing wrong with pampering yourself on a day that’s gut wrenching to your soul. I also spend extra time doting on my dogs, without whom I don’t think I’d be around today. I do find these landmine days are not the best for socializing. I try to stay home and minimize my contact with people, so I don’t have to combine what is already a hard time for me with inevitable questions about my son. Thoughts and prayers to all you moms going through the same thing.

    Reply
    1. rparentsrparents Post author

      Crazy Dog Lady, It’s great that you pamper yourself!! Good for you! When we get our own gifts…we get what we want!!

      Thank you for your comment.

      Sheri McGregor

  29. sharon

    Its been almost 5 months since my daughter last called me . I might get an unpersonal e mail from her on Mother’s day but at this point it will be only so she won’t feel guilt. I haven’t seen her in almost a year now and she has also taken away my two grandchildren. She has become a disrespectful brat who thinks if things don’t go here way then they are the wrong way. She has one sibling and she cut him out of her live a few years ago. She has a nephew and has no interest in seeing him and hasnt seen him but once and that is when he was crawling and he is now 3 years old. I asked her and her family over for my birthday which was in dec. I asked her in oct and she said she was going to be tired and that was two months prior to the party which I had hoped everyone would be here and we could exchange Christmas presents. Even asked if I could at least pick up my grandchildren and bring them home the next day and she said no. Last time she called , which was many months ago, she yelled and screamed at me and when I told her I was not going to argue she yelled and screamed more. I have come to the realization she has some sort of problem and I am no longer going to make her issues mine. I have gone through Christmas without her, now Easter and when Mothers day comes and goes I am done. I will continue saying prayers for her good health and for her to have a happy life but I will no longer be a part of it. I have been in turmoil over this too long and after mothers day I am going to let her go.

    Reply
  30. Annie

    Being estranged from both of my adult children makes life very difficult. Holidays are the worst. I decided to honor myself on Mother’s Day because I thought I was a good Mom. Not perfect by any means and I was young and without money but I loved my kids. They were good kids and I had always thought we were a happy family. When their father died it went downhill. I lost my life long champion a few years ago and then my kids and their kids too. So now I try to be good to myself and anyone around me who needs a little care and a hug. It works. It will always be an uphill road so it becomes a challenge in my life. The best advice I was ever given was this ” you can move backward or forward but you can’t do both at the same time” To all the mothers out there Happy Mothers Day and choose to go forward for your own health and peace of mind. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply
    1. Lynne

      Thank you Annie, I also love your advice. After 10 years of this estrangement I now have many more forward days than back days. I know one of the ways I try to combat the hard days is to concentrate on the word….Gratitude. I do have so much to be thankful for. Thanks again Annie and God bless you.

  31. Derfsangel

    Like so many of you, I feel the sharp pain and emptiness on a daily basis. Mother’s Day, Christmas, birthdays, etc… are especially difficult and so are the days leading up to them. I’ve found myself mourning for weeks at a time, incapable of getting my head wrapped around my son’s decision to ostricize his brother and I. I suspect there is mental illness at play, as I have always suspected since he was very young.

    I have tried to get him help numerous times through counselling, e.r. visits when he was suicidal, crisis intervention when he asked for me to help him. He has alienated me altogether, has written his brother out of his life as well and has painted us both with the same brush. I have sacrificed everything I had. I got him a car, paid his insurance and gas, paid for his college education, his phone, his speeding tickets. I overcompensated, and now I am made to feel like I was an awful mother. My ex-husband has a lot to do with this, sadly.

    The love of a mother never dies and I suspect that my grief will last a lifetime. Social media does NOT help… seeing pictures of families bonding and celebrating is a definite trigger. I am trying to plan my Mother’s Day doing something that I enjoy. My oldest son is working all weekend, so it is just the dogs and I.

    I send warm hugs to all of the alienated parents out there. Our journeys are some of the most difficult ones that are often misunderstood by people. At the very least, we have forums like these where we could articulate our pain and understand one another on a very heartfelt level. I am thankful for that. xox

    P.S. Happy Mother’s Day, moms!! xox

    Reply
  32. Lima

    Well,.. the first thing I did was text my son on Friday to wish him a wonderful weekend and to keep safe. We were once also so very close. I think it is those of us who have been so close who are the ones who become estranged. I cherish and remember that closeness we once had and try to hold onto that thought. Then I keep extremely busy. I hide from family and friends. I do not want most of them to know. Tomorrow I will turn off my cell phone and sign off of skype and facebook as a personal indication to him that I do not wish to struggle waiting for a message I will not receive. I will go eat at my favorite restaurant. I will stay out all day and not return home until late at night. I will likely have a good cry. I have a pit in my stomach as I type this. But there is nothing I can do…. I may even go to a movie. But in the end, it is just another day. It is better to be in this position than to have never had a child at all because at least we are alive. Remember what life was like before children? None of us want that.

    Reply
    1. DeAnna

      I can only say that I had NO idea there were so many mothers being rejected by children who we brought into the world and sacrificed for. I was not a perfect mother, but I did what I thought was in their best interest EVERY time. I stayed married to a man that I feel deceived me from the beginning and whose actions and disrespect were cause for the ever widening gap between us. And while he may have been beginning to change his ways - the disrespect for me he instilled in our daughters continued. By then I had no love left for him and had given up on demanding respect from the girls. I had planned to stay until both were out of school. Life happens, things change - the universe put me in the path of a man I had been in love with and lost more than 30 years before (I hadn't seen him in more than 15 years at this time). He was diagnosed w/stage 4 esophageal cancer and needed me - they didn't. My husband flew into a rage - conspired with my 20 year old daughter to have me arrested - told all my family and our friends I was psychotic and needed psychiatric treatment at an inpatient facility and attempted to have me locked up. I was then fired from my job - But after years of verbal and psychological abuse and facing a second chance with my first love - for whatever amount of time we may be given ? ? I had been a faithful wife, good mother, involved in their activities, pushing them to do their best, trying to teach them positive life skills, providing a good example. I was active in my community and church. Highly respected in my field of environmental education. I talked with my minister. I was torn between doing the right thing and ? ? ? What was the right thing? What I had been doing I thought was right, providing them a stable home, good example of fiscal responsibility, environmental awareness, importance of education, proper nutrition, - looking back, the loving parents part was missing ? I didn't love their father anymore, and I couldn't fake it anymore. I left. My oldest was a month shy of 21, my youngest in the middle of her Jr. year in HS. The older one has been seen a couple times shortly after my leaving and each time was incredibly vulgar, but its now been more than 7 years. Nothing from the younger one. Friends tell me they are doing well and I would be proud. They are activists for their own causes and hard working college graduates with promising careers. The older one may be planning to marry soon and the younger one is working toward her masters. I look to find the silver lining - and am SO fortunate that the long lost love recovered completely after month of grueling treatment. I'm living closer to my own mother who suffers from Alzheimer's and am able to help care for her. I've grown closer to my father who, while never estranged, we were just not close. It's been a double-edged sword. I find great pleasure from my furbabies. Unconditional love like nothing else. I work with our local library and substitute in the surrounding school districts. I am treated SO KINDLY by the students. I have adopted a granddaughter. She is adorable and loves spending time with me. We do the typical 'grandma' stuff - back to school shopping, out to lunch, sleep-overs, cookie baking. I am so blessed that her mother shares her. I cry less often. Sheri , thank you - your book provided some strength. And to all who have posted here and those who just read and cry - Happy Mother's Day. I also found comfort in knowing I am not alone.

  33. Meg

    Thank you for establishing this website and letting those of us who deal with estrangement from adult children know that we are not alone. Last Mother’s Day, I was devastated because my oldest son had stopped all contact with me, never telling me why. My younger son, his brother, was angry with me because I had set a boundary with him that I really felt I had to set. I have no regrets for this. He had verbally attacked me on several occasions; but this time his attack was about my religious beliefs and culture. When the older son, who lives a long distance from here, suddenly became distant, I figured that the younger one had slandered me in some way to him and that he (the older son) was smart enough to know not to go along with this. I gave him (the older son) his space, and simply sent a weekly text letting him know that I cared about him but also respected his silence. I assured him that I wanted to know what I had done to offend him, and why he was being so silent/unwilling to return phone calls. I also asked my daughter, his younger sister, if she knew what he was angry about. She indicated that he was also being distant from her. We knew that he and his wife had recently separated so we both decided to just give him the space that he apparently wanted.

    After about six months, my daughter suggested that I stop texting him. Apparently, he had responded negatively to the texts. He was communicating with her and with her son, his nephew, sporadically. At least we knew that he was okay. He has a responsible job in the justice field, one that involves a great deal of travel, so we worry when we don’t hear from him. She indicated that he had not told her why he was angry and distant from me, but only said that he felt ashamed and thought that I hated him. This confirmed my fear that the younger son, his brother, had slandered me to him in some way, in retaliation for the boundary I set. The boundary had to do with my giving to the younger son. He is a young adult with a tremendous sense of entitlement, and both he and his wife use their children, my two granddaughters, to emotionally blackmail me into grovelling and doing whatever they tell me to do. If I don’t, I’m not allowed to see or talk with my granddaughters.

    The younger son, the one who had I had set the boundary with, became progressively more cold and disrespectful after the older one stopped calling or communicating with me. He played the innocent role, but I perceived an arrogance or smugness on his part, one that seemed to expect groveling on my part or an apology for setting the boundary I set. There is a big age difference between the two boys, and it is almost as if they have joined together in a type of male-sibling bonding against an imaginary enemy–me, the mother who did just about all the parenting.

    My ex-husband, the father of all three, was emotionally distant and absent from their lives throughout most of their growing-up years. He was in the home while our older son and daughter were growing up, but left when the younger son was just turning seven, rarely visiting him. He left when I established a boundary with him, one that I had to set to protect this youngest child from physical harm. My ex, the father of all three, had sustained a head injury when the older two children were 6 1/2 and 8 years old, and his judgment was extremely impaired. Over time, he also began to have rages and sexual disinhibition. This occurs with some types of head injuries. His acting-out behaviors were directed toward the younger son. I would have been violating the child protective services law if I had not set that boundary with my husband. I have no regrets, and would do the same thing in the same way today if I had to live that period of my life over again. I told him that he needed to see a psychiatrist and offered to help him find one. I also told him that the sexual behavior he demonstrated should never be repeated in front of our younger child again. The older two children were in college and not at home when this behavior occurred.

    Perhaps, I should have tried to get my husband to a neurologist instead of a psychiatrist, but either way, the behavior was highly inappropriate and had to stop. Instead of seeing either a psychiatrist or a neurologist, he chose to leave. I actually felt relieved, but worried about his visitation with the younger son, who was just turning seven. I protected this younger son from stigma, keeping quiet about what had occurred, but working to insure that my husband’s visitations with him were supervised. I took this younger son to a psychologist who told me that I had to be honest with this youngest child, letting him know about his father’s head injury and letting him know that his father was not okay. His safety and well-being depended on it. I never told the older two children about their father’s acting-out behaviors.
    They had only seen one of his rages, and had only witnessed him being physically aggressive toward me on two occasions, the last one when they were about 10 and 11 1/2. What they had witnessed, however, was their father’s lack of tolerance for anything but submission on my part. When I disagreed with him, no matter, how gently, he would shut me out with cold icy silences that would last for weeks. All three of my children tried this with me at various times in their own adolescence or young adult years. It hurt, but we always got through it. In other words, their father used exclusion and silence as a way of controlling me, and to prevent his rages from escalating, I caved in until I absolutely could not because tolerating his behavior was just too dangerous for the younger son.

    It’s about 10:45 a.m. on Mother’s Day. My daughter sent me two beautiful gifts. She lives out-of-state, but made sure that my Mother’s Day would at least be partially happy with both a flower basket and with a dish garden that will last for a long time. We have already greeted each other by text, and will talk by phone later, after she has her mother’s day with her son and husband. I’m guessing that I will hear nothing from my two sons, who are now male-bonded with their father and his second wife and her adult children and their family. It hurts to be excluded, but I’d rather be excluded, retaliated against, and hated by this younger son and his brother than live with myself knowing that I had not set that boundary I set. I think that setting the boundary not only protected my son, but also helped his father, my ex-husband, from getting too out-of-control. I’m guessing that he did eventually work with a psychiatrist or neurologist.

    My sons hate me, and it’s okay. I think that, for the youngest, it is easier for him to hate me and perceive me as someone who created parental alienation than it is for him to deal with the way his father treated and objectified him at such a young and vulnerable age. My daughter now knows at least part of the truth about what happened in the marriage that led to that very unexpected separation and divorce. She also went through a period of blaming me, but got over it while raising her own son and hearing me emphasize the importance of being able to co-parent effectively. I always emphasized to her that it takes two to communicate and co-parent effectively. One parent can’t do this alone. She played a big role in getting her younger brother back involved with his father when her younger brother was an older teen-ager. I know that she has some regrets about this but I don’t blame her.

    Everyone hates a parent who they believe caused “parental alienation.” Most never heard about another dynamic, one that researchers refer to as a “protective alliance” between one parent and a child who has been abused and/or neglected by the other parent. It is assumed that the parent involved in the protective alliance is a monster. Thank God that the psychologist I took my son to (licensed in both clinical and school psychology) understood the danger my son was in and had the courage to go against the standard-advice-of-the-day to help me do what I had to do to keep my son safe enough to grow up at least normal enough to earn a graduate degree, establish a good career, marry and raise children, etc. If he wants to treat me badly, imitating his father’s icy silences and exclusion-abuse, and manipulate his older brother into doing the same thing, so-be-it. If he wants to have a male-bonding with his brother and father around a common enemy (me), so-be-it. I know that both of these boys, now in their 40’s and 30’s are smart enough to eventually figure it out for themselves, if I can just allow them to have their day of hurting and blaming me for now, until they develop coping skills that are strong enough for them to overcome their denial of what really happened in their family. I hope that this happens while I’m still living so that I can hear them tell me how sorry they are, but I’ve already forgiven them. Being able to share my pain with other mothers who are going through exclusion-abuse has really helped. Thanks again for establishing this blog. To the other mothers, I just want to say, “Hang in there and don’t blame yourself for your children’s lack of respect and discounting/devaluing behaviors. It is an epidemic right now. None of us are alone in this.”

    Reply
  34. tina

    Thanks so much for writing this. It really helped after another disappointing day with one daughter. I try to tell myself it isn’t personal, and that 1 out of 2 who think Mother’s day is worth celebrating is better than none, but you’re right it hurts!
    Now when I ‘ve survived my birthday in 2 weeks, I’ll be good until Thanksgiving-lol.
    Love to all you other Mothers who dread this confounded ‘ special Day’, and are sick of impersonal FB messages!

    Reply
  35. Beth S.

    I received a text saying Happy Mother’s Day in the evening which I’m thinking it’s just out of guilt. The words mean nothing, this is from both of my kids they put forth no effort for myself for my husband but they have no problem taking everything that we have given them. It just feels so disheartening after everything that we have done for them the treatment that we get from them. It’s so sad we have worked so hard to give them everything we didn’t have and I think it actually hurt them. they are loyal to everyone else except for the hand that fed them, bathed them, was up late nights with him and much much more I don’t even want anything for Mother’s Day for my birthday I just want a little effort into appreciating me. I made it through Mother’s Day! I did not respond back to the text that meant nothing I’m not sure if I should or not because my mom always told me if you have nothing nice to say don’t say anything at all any advice if I should respond?

    Reply
  36. Linda

    Mother’s Day is kinda of rough at times..I’m thankful for my son he’s not estranged like my daughter is..first time in years she sent me a Mother’s Day card however felt like it was a card to any mother, as she signed it thinking of you on Mothers Day and signed her name. NO I love you mom, miss you etc..at the bottom of the card she writes I hope you will keep sharing..Sharing what? I sent her a text thanking her for the card from my grandkids and her card and asked her why she is distant..and told her I was not going to put up with the emotional abuse. It is what is I love my daughter but I’m not going to let her walk on me either..I love my grandkids and have never met the last 3 ..she can take trips all over the country but cant come see me?? Well the street runs 2 ways.. If she cant acknowledge me as her mother and treat me with respect. Ive made all kinds of effort in trying to stay in touch..I send Christmas etc ..calls text yes here n there she does text or call but cant ever say I love you mom..I carried her 9 months and delivered her did the best I could to raise her..her dad was never in her life she tried to reach out to him and it turned into a nightmare.. she made s comment on Facebook when my brothers wife died that she was like a seragat mother to her..ekk I stabbed me in the heart..twisting and turning..I wanted to scream..held in my emotions and cried day and night..what made it even worse my nephew made a comment for me to get over my self..and everyone cheered my daughter on..which that made things worse..I had never mistreated my daughter ..I worked 2 jobs trying to support her and my son..I can’t take blame for how her dad treated us like we were nothing and he wouldn’t pay his child support..I was going to take on a new job that paid better with benefits ..my brother and sister in-law said she could stay with them till I got hired on because the job was where they lived and she could start school so I let her go thinking I’d be hired within a few weeks..as what my brother said as he worked there..well weeks turned into 3.1/2 months..I couldn’t take it any longer waiting and my daughter missed me and she said come get her so I did..and she told me things that made my stomach turn..

    Reply
  37. Deborah

    So many of us seem to be experiencing an estranged child. Whatever the reason it is heartbreaking. It affects not just Mother’s Day but all special days. My son was verbally abusive to me the last time we spoke, I have more respect for myself than to accept his behavior. It is hard, but we go on with our faith, the support of our friends, spouse and other children(furbabies included). Maybe time will heal, hugs to all

    Reply
  38. Happyfeet

    Hi All,

    I have been dreading Mother’s day and the days leading to it and all other special days in the year. I never know when I will “fall apart” due to grief over the loss of my dreams. It has been 11 years since my oldest (of five) crushed me by telling me kindly that he had no room in his life for me. I was going through a bad divorce when he left home and had previously been grieving that loss for years as well.

    I have been purposely facing my “demons” lately because something has to give. I don’t want to leave a legacy of suicide – or depression. That could have rippling effects on people I care about.

    Sooo, it has been a roller coaster ride living in emotional “awareness”. Instead of running from the misery, I am facing it moment by moment, not to wallow in it, but to understand it, grow from it and learn TO LIVE with it. (Oh, that’s acceptance.)

    Things I have done in my personal therapy crash course:

    ~found this site and have read many of the articles and posts. An eye-opener to know I’m not alone and don’t need to live with shame.

    ~posted responses to share other grievers’ pain.

    ~I bought Sheri’s book and am ingesting it; sometimes little by little, sometimes voraciously.

    ~bought a book called The Mindful Way Through Depression. Freeing Yourself From Chronic Unhappiness.
    The meditation practices in this book helped immediately with the “crazy” looping of negative thoughts.

    ~surfing the internet for other gracious resources.

    ~found a Christian meditation/sleep youtube video source to rewire my ruminations. I use this at night to sleep better and it is working. Thank you God.

    ~being thoughtful, understanding and kind to myself, especially when the floodgates unexpectedly open and I feel as though I will never stop crying. I am working on not letting this scare me. I am working on letting it be part of my journey through life and spiritual growth.

    That last one brings me to my biggest revelation at the moment:

    My grief and suffering is not mental illness!! If I did not care about the injustice done to me, the injustices of the world, or the suffering of others – THAT WOULD BE MENTAL ILLNESS. Caring and loving deeply, desiring what is good and not evil, feeling great sadness when others suffer . . . THAT IS MENTAL HEALTH. Our society is upside down on this topic. It tells us we should cover up or escape from these SPIRITUAL EXPERIENCES KNOWN AS SUFFERING. Suffering creates empathy and love where there may have been none before. Our world would be an unimaginably horrible place without these.

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