Opposite themes in two new “mother-son” books brings awareness to trend

book for parents of estranged adult childrenby Sheri McGregor, M.A.

Occasionally, you find yourself rubbing shoulders with someone unexpected. It happened to me when my new book to help parents of estranged adult children came out the first week of May. To my surprise, CNN’s Anderson Cooper was right next to me. Well, technically, it wasn’t me rubbing shoulders. It was my book at Amazon.com.

On computer screens around the world, there is Cooper’s new release. He sits with his mother on the cover of their memoir that explores enduring love between a son and his mom. Ironically, next to this there’s my book that shows a family tree with a bird flying away.  My my new self-help release tells of mother and son estrangement.

Starting the week before Mother’s Day, both my book to help rejected parents move forward after a broken bond, and Anderson Cooper’s memoir of parent-child connection with his mother, Gloria Vanderbilt, have been featured as Amazon’s “hot new releases” in the parent & adult child category. A version of his book is still at number one. My paperback has fluctuated from #2 to 20. Often, regardless of its numbered place, it has been featured in the right-hand column, snuggled up next to his.

Has Anderson Cooper seen my book with its heartfelt reviews beside his with its more than 700 glowing comments? Despite the 600+ quantity difference, our reviews’ star level is about the same—but I digress.

As a writer with the touchy subject of parent-adult child estrangement that’s still a bit taboo, I’ve imagined my pretty book cover catching Cooper’s eye. He’d tilt his gray head inquisitively. What’s this? He’d click my book, and then he’d realize our shared “hot new release” and “mother-son” subject matter don’t make our books alike. He might be curious. Is it true there’s a trend of adult children who walk away from loving families?

People are often surprised to learn that approximately 25,000 parents come to my website to give and receive support each month. He might be astonished that more than 9,000 parents of estranged adults answered my survey for the book, Done With The Crying: Help and Healing for Mothers of Estranged Adult Children. And then he’d be hooked. He would go to the phone. He would call me for his show.

Each time I get to this part of my fantasy, I stop. He isn’t likely to call.

If Anderson Cooper does click over to my book, I imagine he’ll be struck by the contrast. Although he’d find similarities too. Both include tough social situations and pain as well as deep-felt love, but their overarching themes couldn’t be any more different. His memoir is based on strengthening the parent-child bond. My book is the bond’s unraveling.

Like many people do, he might start to speculate about the thousands of parents who, because they fear what’s often automatic judgment, keep private their personal despair. Instead of rubbing shoulders in social situations, those parents often hide away in shame. I know, because as the parent of an estranged adult child, I was once felt embarrassed, too.

help for mothers of estranged adult childrenAs our books sat together, juxtaposed, Anderson Cooper likely wasn’t the only person who clicked on my cover, intrigued. By shelving my book for parents of estranged adult children next to a “hot new release” of such gargantuan popularity, Amazon shed light on parent-adult child estrangement, a shameful social issue that’s growing, and that one reviewer of my book said must “come out.” This serendipitous meeting brings awareness, and perhaps leads suffering parents to the restorative messages in my book. They can be done with the crying. There is help and healing ahead.


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5 thoughts on “Opposite themes in two new “mother-son” books brings awareness to trend

  1. Marylu

    Dear Sheri,

    I think it’s really awesome your self-help book ‘Done With The Crying: Help and Healing for Mothers of Estranged Adult Children’ was juxtaposed next to Mr. Cooper’s memoir. Indeed, both books are exquisite with the irony of opposite themes of “mother-son” relationship. Sometimes serendipity can truly make a surprising difference in unexpected ways – such as raising and spreading public awareness – on closeted, shameful social issues – that needed to “come out”.

    I believe, as Native Americans believe, that the greatest gift is the gift of learning, and that gift is not complete until it is passed on. Your published book ’Done With The Crying: Help and Healing for Mothers of Estranged Adult Children’ and your dedicated website is a gift that keeps on giving for all those parents who may have suffered in silence for many years, and for all those parents who recently faced the shock, shame and pain of being rejected, abandoned or estranged by their adult child/children. It’s comforting to know – we are not alone – and here we have a warm, welcoming community – a learning sanctuary filled with kind and caring support and help. I truly appreciate the wealth of information, the valuable tools and roadmaps to navigate through this unchartered territory of “estrangement”. Each individual mom or dad, at their own pace, be it through baby steps or giants leaps, can find healing and peace. With love and compassion, resilience and perseverance, one by one, we hope and pray for a better future, look into the horizon and find the courage and strength to confidently move onward with our lives.

    My daughter is a famous person with celebrity friends. While she has received fame and many accolades, the much sought-after fortune has not yet followed. Before she became famous, my husband and I sacrificed a lot to provide her with a constant source of financial support so that she could pursue her dreams. Then 6 month ago, she suddenly disowned and abandoned. In the process, she manipulated our beloved son, her only brother, to follow her lead. My daughter’s impressive work has been featured by highly-respected, mass-media outlets throughout the world. She has countless followers around the globe with her multiple websites and social media accounts. There have been numerous occasions when her work was serendipitously juxtaposed, side-by-side with unrelated feature stories, or glamorous pictures of her celebrity friends elegantly posing and smiling on the red carpet at high-profile celebrity events. In fact, we personally know one of her celebrity friends, as she, her sister and parents lived next door to us for over a decade. Her parents are good, decent human beings, who frequently became targets of their daughter’s outrageous temper. This celebrity, after 15 months of marriage, is now in the midst of a highly-public divorce from an extremely famous actor whose mother recently passed away. The famous actor was reported to be very close with his mother, having a very strong “mother-son” relationship, and even a tattoo of his mother’s name on his body. On the other hand, we have witnessed first-hand, for over a decade, his soon-to-be-ex-wife did not have a close relationship with her own mother during her teenage years, treating her with explosive outburst and total disrespect.

    For some famous celebrities it may have been easy to publicly declare their distain or estrangement from a mother or father, while others have been far more discreet and private about their painful, strained parental relationship. And perhaps, for the many fans that idolize and closely follow famous celebrities – as public role models that walked away from their mother or father, it may signal or send a social message that it’s totally cool, acceptable, or even socially fashionable to end a relationship with mom and/or dad – even when mom and dad were not monsters; were not evil or controlling, but were in fact, loving, caring and supportive and did not deserve the cruelty of abandonment.

    As you so eloquently mentioned in one of your recent post:
    “Estrangement does affect people of all stripes, colors, income level, celebrity status. . . . Sometimes, celebrity can bring attention to something in a way that little-old-regular-mom-me can’t.”

    Once Again, Thank You So Much Sheri for All That You Do!

    You – Sheri – Are Our “Little-Old-Regular-Mom—-CELEBRITY” 

    1. rparents Post author

      Wow, MaryLu… You make a good point about the examples of people that serve as role models in our society. There do seem to be many celebrities who are estranged from their parents. I’m sorry about your daughter. Your pride in her abilities, and pride that you helped her achieve what she has, comes through in your post–as does your integrity. Whether or not she recognizes the good you did does not take away from its value.

      Thank you for your kindness about the site here and my book. I feel a little like I’ve got my own cheerleading squad in you!
      Sheri McGregor

    2. Marylu

      Thank You Sheri for your kind words and feedback – I do believe you have many, many cheerleaders 🙂

      Our handsome son, although not famous like our daughter, is equally accomplished through a stellar military career. He has honorably served our country all over the world, and is a war hero with many service medals. He survived a very dangerous deployment involving the enemy combatants and engaged in rescue missions, some were even reported on the news. As any parents would be, we are extremely proud of him, and were anxiously awaiting his safe return back to the U.S.

      Then, right here in our home town, he nearly died in a terrible accident due to a reckless driver. Just weeks before the tragedy, he brought home his new beautiful, model-looking fiancée. It took numerous lengthy stays at the trauma center along with major reconstructive surgeries to just to fix the many broken bones. His road to recovery will be long, but I know he has the will to survive and his love of God to overcome this challenge. Everyone was so supportive and kind in helping us with his needs and medical care, including our daughter and her partner who flew in immediately. Everyone helped – except for our son’s fiancée who, according to her mother, had never in her life experienced any trauma, any sacrifice, or hardships.

      We loved and embraced our son’s fiancée with open hearts, minds and warm hugs, even bought her pretty gifts. However, after a while, she seemed to simply not care much about our son’s medical condition, and we caught her in numerous lies, including lies about her whereabouts, and fabricating events. While our son was severely injured, she had to “upstage” his dire situation. Within a few days after the accident, she confided – stating she had cancer. In shock, I comforted her and told she needed to seek immediate treatment and I would be there to support her. Needless to say, I was very concerned for both my son and my future daughter-in-law. So I went to the doctor with her – hugging her, comforting her, holding her hand – then as it turned out it was definitely not cancer, but a rather common “Sexually Transmitted Disease”.

      Later we discovered, while the rest of us were at the trauma center, there were apparently innocent explanations for our son’s fiancée’s numerous mysterious absences. Turns out she was busy getting bikini waxes, manicures, pedicures, going shopping for fancy clothes, booking vacations for her and her girlfriend and last, but not least, she was treating herself to an expensive plastic surgery – breast implants to enhance her already perfect figure. Meanwhile, our son was suffering in severe pain. Our son’s fiancée was quickly making friends and creating a bond with our daughter and her partner.

      Then one day out of the blue, I got a very ugly text message from the fiancée’s mother; basically letting me have it and that I needed to “love and worship” her daughter because, according to her, she was an “Angel” from GOD. Completely dumb-founded, I wondered why would her mother do this, sending me a nasty message and later blow up my phone with hateful words, when we had been nothing but kind and generous to her daughter? It took no time at all to realize our son’s beautiful fiancée was resentful and jealous of me – for whatever reasons I don’t know, perhaps so she can manipulate and alienate our beloved son and have him all to herself. We observed how insecure and immature our son’s fiancé really is. She had been maliciously spreading lies behind our back to her own mother, spreading lies behind our back to poison our own daughter and her partner, and spreading lies behind our back to poison our own son who was severely physically wounded and emotionally vulnerable.

      In the end, all it took was one toxic catalyst – our son’s new fiancée – to start a chain of events that ultimately led to the unraveling and destruction of 30 years of a loving parent-children relationship. My son asked us to “apologize” to his fiancée — and I thought – “That’s generous!” after all the lies she has spread and the cunning manipulation! She’s the one that needs to apologize to us!

      Our family unit is in complete ruins, and I seriously doubt we will get invited to their upcoming wedding. Besides, my husband and I are not exactly in the mood to be the freaks at a wedding side-show, seeing people point their fingers and whisper nasty rumors behind our backs. Our son’s fiancée is the love-child and trophy off-spring of her parent’s second marriages. Her father held a public position in their home town for many years. They are local celebrities, and their daughter is their “Angel” from God – so how could I possibly go against that? On the other hand, my husband and I are just ordinary people who accomplished a lot considering we started with nothing and were rooted in very humble beginnings.

      In conclusion, I am reminded of a proverb: “A son is a son till he takes him a wife, a daughter is a daughter all of her life.” Well, that maybe true for some….but for us…after being abandoned by our daughter whose is now great friends with our son’s fiancée, and by our son, the only thing there is left to do is to start a new life. No matter what happens, we will always love our children and we are very proud to have raised two beautiful, very successful adults – social butterflies who are loved, adored and admired by the many. In our hearts and minds, we will always wish them well and to have an amazing, fulfilling, wonderful life. Love – after all – is truly the only thing matters 🙂

  2. Miriam

    I just found your website, took your survey and read the above article. I am glad I found you and just wanted to comment. Last month, HBO aired a documentary about the life of Gloria Vanderbilt. I was surprised to learn that Anderson was one of her sons. I watched the documentary, never having the clue previously, of what a sad life Gloria Vanderbilt had. Her own mother was estranged from her, her father, who loved her died at an early age in her life and she was raised by a nanny and a loving grandmother who did not show physical affection. Married multiple times, I believe she had three sons, as I recall from different husbands. At any rate, Anderson is the closest to her. And one of the three sons has nothing to do with any of the family, including Gloria. As it is said, truth really is stranger than fiction, and I was amazed that at hearing all the hurt and disappointment and etc, that Gloria has endured, she is amazingly upbeat and forgiving and resilient and full of hope. After seeing all life has thrown at her, I take a cue from Gloria’s documentary and realize that no good thing will come to my own life if I am bound by anger, unforgiveness, negativity or even regret. My life has been far from perfect, but I would not want anyone else’s. My goal is to be free, have joy, be at peace and still be able to love my life and others, without regret–no matter what comes my way, because that is truly living…..

    1. rparents Post author

      Bravo, Miriam. I feel very much the same, and hope that always comes through in my postings here at RejectedParents.NET as well as in my book to help other parents, too! ~~ Sheri McGregor

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