Mother’s Day for estranged mothers: Tending your heartache

by Sheri McGregor, M.A.

mother's day for estranged parentsIt’s here again. Mother’s Day, arriving like a bunch of wilted flowers on a day you’d rather skip. You’re not up for it. Are any of us up for it? Us mothers whose children don’t want us?

I know, I know. You’re used to me coming up with something happy and bright. Some soothing words. A plan to get through the day and to transcend its sadness.

Well, I do. I have. I will.

But it’s okay to feel sad or angry or tired too. It’s okay to mourn the loss, to wish things were different, and admit you don’t like Mother’s Day.

Mother’s Day for estranged mothers: Tending the heartache

Mother’s Day for estranged mothers oftentimes comes with expectations. The day isn’t yours alone. For many of us there are other people—other sons and daughters, a spouse, other family members—who want us to be okay. They want to honor us on Mother’s Day. And some of us won’t feel good about ourselves if we don’t let them. If this is you, or even if you’re all alone for Mother’s Day, take the time to tend your heartache.

In acknowledging and tending to our hurt, we honor ourselves. That might then free us up to enjoy the way our loved ones want to honor us. Or to simply enjoy the day.

I’m not one to wallow. For many of us, wallowing isn’t practical. Follows is a list of ways to acknowledge the pain of estrangement on Mother’s Day in brief but meaningful ways—so you can then get on with your day. Use my suggestions as a jumping off point. You have good ideas and usually know what works best for you.

Use your words. Just identifying your feelings about the situation can help. Take five or ten minutes with pen and paper to identify how you feel. Don’t worry about thinking every thought through. Just write the words down. Recent studies indicate that just putting your feelings into words can help you feel better.

You might be surprised that after the most obvious words,
ones you didn’t realize come out. mother's day for estranged mothersAcknowledging those feelings might help you to deal with them. For instance, if you would underline “pressured” (as in the picture), you might then drill down. Okay, so I’m feeling pressured. Why? Because everyone else wants me to be okay. They want me to be happy, go to eat, enjoy the flowers they bring. They’re tired of everything being about the estrangement, etc. Then you can decide what to do with that feelings.

I’m using that example because it’s one I’ve felt. Identifying the feeling allowed me to then realize why, and decide whether to bow to that feeling. For me, I did want to be okay for everyone. I did want those who honored me to know I appreciated them. Drilling down like that helped me to put on a happy face. And you know what? It was okay. There have been studies about how our actions can lead to the feelings we’re trying to portray. Besides, the day passes as days do. The hoopla ends The next day begins.

Maybe identifying that you feel pressured leads to a decision that’s right for you. My solution won’t fit everyone. Maybe you tell everyone you’re not up to celebrating Mother’s Day just now, and that you’re going away for the weekend. One client with a son who is semi-estranged decided this solution was best for her. Making a decision and then acting on it can be such a positive thing.

Perhaps you enlist the help of others to come up with a new tradition for the day. Or you brainstorm some other way to deal. It’s about recognizing your feelings and taking action to let those feelings help you—not about repressing them.

Honor the missing. In another article I wrote about holidays and how to manage them, I spoke of setting out a carved wooden bird my estranged son once gave me. Maybe you do something similar. Or maybe you talk to other family members, and allow them to express their sadness or anger or frustration, too.

Many of us have mothers we miss on Mother’s Day. For estranged mothers, the love we feel for our own mother or motherly figures needn’t be overshadowed by a son or daughter’s rejection. Could you set out a photograph of your deceased mother and/or grandmother—or honor them in other ways?

Most holiday traditions involve special foods, many that are family recipes we cook and eat only on those special days. Mother’s Day seems an appropriate time to acknowledge family recipes. Maybe instead of going out, we could try to recreate a family recipe—and preserve it for future generations. Doing so is another way to honor the ones we miss.

How else might you honor those who are missed on Mother’s Day? For estranged mothers, it’s important to come up with a useful plan.

Treat yourself well. As mentioned above, you have to do what’s right for you. If that means you don’t celebrate Mother’s Day this year, that’s okay. Recognize what you need and honor yourself in that way.

Other ways to treat yourself well might involve getting a manicure, haircut, or a new outfit. If that helps you feel better, then by all means, do it.

One mother said she would be getting a massage. Sounds heavenly, doesn’t it? And with a massage, there is usually soft music—and not a lot of expectation for conversation. Good choice.

Maybe you get yourself a helpful gift. My book is a good choice!

Maybe you take a hike in nature, or sit by a pond and feed the ducks. Getting out in nature can be so calming.

More ideas on Mother’s Day for estranged mothers

  • Eat well (try a new food!).
  • Wear perfume.
  • Take a nap.
  • Sip a flavored coffee.
  • Get yourself a scented lotion—and use it.
  • Light candles.
  • Drink an expensive wine.
  • Use the day to plan a trip.
  • Drive to the country.
  • Walk a city block.
  • See a play.
  • Go to the movies.
  • Play a board game.
  • Go to the zoo.
  • Cuddle your dog.
  • Dote on a friend.
  • Buy a new rug.
  • Clean your mirrors—and smile at your reflection.
  • Try some aromatherapy in a new easy aromatherapy diffuser. Have you seen those?
  • Shop for yourself. Here’s Amazon’s Home Page so you don’t have to go out.
  • Sign up for a new TV channel.
  • Pull a few weeds, and imagine clearing out the garden of your life.
  • Listen to feel-good music.

What will you do to help yourself?

What will you do to acknowledge your feelings, tend your heartache, and treat yourself well for the holidays.

It helps to express your thoughts. Maybe your ideas can help others, so leave a comment here. It’s your turn now. What can you share?

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56 thoughts on “Mother’s Day for estranged mothers: Tending your heartache

  1. Patricia

    This will be my third Mother’s Day without my son D. He and his wife decided they could no longer have me be a part of their lives. As with so many other mothers, I really do not understand the reason. I am not a monster, an addict or a criminal. Because they live 5 hours away I only ever saw them 4 or 5 times a year. I have two grandsons aged 4 and 1. I have never seen the youngest boy and the 4 year old has certainly forgotten me by now. I have 3 other sons who love and respect me. I don’t want to offend them but without all my children with me I don’t want to celebrate Mother’s Day ever again. It is too painful.

    1. Jules

      By not celebrating you are denying the three children who love you much. Remember how you wanted a perfect day for your mother? They want that too! Enjoy and cherish the love you have!

    2. Claire

      I know exactly how you feel about your estranged son. I have two estranged children (with 5 grandchildren) due to my divorce 4 years ago and one son who did not take their stance in alignment against me. A friend gave me some advice to “Love the ones you’re with” and value them. Celebrate the good and honor those that love and respect you. Try to be thankful even in the storm of rejection. You cannot change your son as I cannot change my son or daughter, but I can change how I think about it. I pray for them and for a miracle of healing, however, until then, we all must live a life of hope and find happiness. Love and prayers for you and to all the moms who are facing Mother’s Day and the emotions it causes.

    3. Pen

      I am so sorry you are missing the joy and celebration of Mothers Day. I too am feeling this way. I am on my second Mothers day without my oldest son. Its too hard for me to put on my happy face when my heart is broken. Maybe next year. Both our Mothers are deceased so at least that is not a worry. Please know you are not alone. Its so difficult for me to understand there was no divorce…no substance abuse….no upheaval nothing that would have interfered with his up bringing. He was a kind and thoughtful young boy and man. Then suddenly when marriage, fatherhood and pursuit of a career overwhelmed him he began lashing out at his family. We’ve had little to no contact for over a year. I plan to celebrate a non mothers day with my other two children next week. I hope for you, me and all others find peace in our hearts one day.

    4. Terie

      Really related to your comment of not being a monster or criminal or addict and yes I dread this day because my two daughters want me to be happy. Daughter-in-law deals with infertility and ever since she was on Clomid and Metformin it changed them and it is very frustrating because I was always the I’m here for you Mom and out of the blue the day before my husbands birthday and one month after we paid for son’s second school, they sent us a letter telling us they no longer wanted a relationship with us. I try to put on a happy demeanor for my daughters because they try so hard on holidays but it just isn’t the same. Much love to all of us who are experiencing estrangement

    5. Michele

      I know exactly how you feel. Both if my children have rejected me. My oldest (daughter) turned on me then she got to my son and they now live together and will not tell me where. Seems people who use to be my friends would help but they all tell me they want to honor my kids decision and I need to move on. I’m devastated. My daughter has only spoke to me once in the past 5 years (to come to her brothers graduation) now she talked him into moving with her. I’m so sad for everyone here.
      I wish sometimes I never had children, as the pain is like death not having them around.

    6. rparents Post author

      I understand your feelings. Maybe your birthday or some other day can serve as a sort of day of honor for you. And you know…you might feel differently one day. I hope you will allow at least a tiny attitude of possiblity that you will feel better and may one day feel good about celebrating with your other three sons who love you.

      Sheri McGregor

  2. Peg

    I will be taking a day-long Mother’s Day nap until it is over. The 2 weeks prior are difficult enough to endure. It would be easier to forget if there were no commercials, ads or gracious sentiments about all the mothers who will be celebrated.

    1. Retteaof2

      Absolutely. I dread all those ads, magazine articles and movies celebrating mothers. I feel like such a failure. I am so happy when the day is over.

    2. DEB

      I hear you. I ache over every Mother’s Day wish or commercial.

      My only child, my daughter, has not spoken to me in 11 years, and I have no understanding as to why. I thought we were so close, only to find out that she hated me. When I asked her what I had ever done to her that would cause this, she told me “nothing.” She said, ”I just don’t love you, never have never will…”

      What I find so interesting is today, at work, three patients that I pulled up had the same birthday as my daughter. How weird is this?

  3. joyce

    This will be my first Mother’s Day without my daughter. I am still heartbroken but will try to make the best of it. My husband and I are going to make it about my mother-in-law. I will make her a nice meal and we will spend the day with her. She deserves it, she has done a lot for us.

  4. Grammy

    30 years of being estranged from my son and it still breaks my heart every Mothers Day. My daughter decided to cut me out of her life 2 years ago. I am a loving mother, no addictions or hang ups, no criminal record whatsoever. I am a retired Christian Counselor and ordained clergy. I have devoted my life to helping others, especially my children and grandchildren. None of this makes any sense in anyone’s family. It is a trend that adult children are following in their generation. They think it’s cool.

    1. Charlotte

      Yes I’m sorry you are going through this . End time prophecy being fulfilled Mothers Against daughters daughters against mothers son against fathers fathers against Sons. It’s happening everywhere. Our adversary has come against your family

    2. Cookie

      25 years without my daughter. Now my son has moved far away with his wife who resents us and I can feel him drifting away too. How I long to hang on to him and his three little children. If he follows his sister’s path I don’t think I can take it. How to hang onto him I just don’t know. If both children leave me, onlookers will all the more think it’s something I did. But it’s not. I was a good mother. I’m a broken mother.

    3. DEB

      I do believe there is something to what you are saying. I do not have the credentials that you do, but I was a loving mother and grandmother, no abuse, worked hard, gave my daughter all she ever needed and most of what she wanted, so don’t understand the reason behind why she cannot love me. But, I do know we are not alone. It is a trend that I have seen over and over. I have known people who I thought were the absolute epitome of great parenting rejected by a child. Not sure what is going on, but will say this is absolutely the most painful thing I have ever endured in my 61 years.

    4. cynthia a.

      Is that really a trend? 9 months ago my daughter would say she loved me many times a day. 8 months ago she moved in with some friends and is going through all her college money. She has told me not to contact her. I don’t get it–is it really a trend?

  5. Denise

    Its honestly just another day to me. I have never really been a holiday person and now that I no longer have a kid, I don’t even have to fake it anymore. Yay. Silver lineing

  6. Elie A.

    I too have an estranged daughter who was brain washed by my ex husband. She has put me out of her life for the last eight years. I was a very dedicated and a loving mother. I have tried to contact her by calling her ( she blocks my phone number), by e-mails ( she never responds). My psychiatrist and therapist called and emailed her ( she ignores). Recently I tried to see her, I stopped by her college. She wasn’t happy to see me at all. I had to beg her to give me a few minutes to talk to her. She said she doesn’t want to see me and if I stayed longer she would call the cops. I am in A LOT of pain. Only God knows how much I miss her and think about her. Mothers days are painful for me. I’m suffering from depression as a result. Some day she’ll have her own family. I don’t know how she’d feel about her own kids. She’s 25 now. She and her father kicked me out when she was 18. She’s my only child- i don’t like mothers day. Just taking one hour at a time.

    1. Jeanne

      We have the exact same story. My daughter is 25 and I have a son that’s 22. They live with their dad and have taken his side. Mother’s Day sucks but my boyfriend has 2 kids the same age so I’m going to spend the day with them. I have found a new family. But our kids will have an ah ha moment when the have their own kids. I hope I’m alive to see it as I have stage 4 breast cancer so we will see.

    2. TR

      Having only one child myself I understand how painful it is. Each one of us have different reasons for being rejected but the pain is the same. I am not telling my story because it will not make sense to anybody else. Just hang in there

  7. Ellen

    I love the idea of honoring my mother, who passed 47 yrs ago this month, and my two grandmothers. I will put their photos on my dining room table where I can see them. They were wonderful women. I don’t need my ED to feel good about myself.

  8. Betsy

    Yes…thank to all for being there. I see bits of my story in each comment. The one common thread is that we don’t know why this has happened. That for me is the hardest. This will be my second MD without my son acknowledging me. He calls once in a while now. I don’t contact him anymore. Seems the more distant I became the easier it was for me to deal with the emotion of the loss. I am completely intimidated by him and will never trust him to not hurt me ever again. He almost destroyed me. A year ago I was a mess. He is my only child. I was a single mom and we were so close and loving. His friends were envious of our close relationship. It’s no more. I don’t know why.
    But it’s okay now. I’m stronger now and am so grateful for this site and the feedback from all of you. Thank you all…God bless and celebrate you!

  9. Denise

    I am estranged from my grown son. He harbors many resentments; a couple are justified but most of them are not. Being a single parent, I loved my son and did my best. Although his father was never in his life, he recently moved closer to him and has exiled me. I love my grandchildren, but do not know them – as they have always lived out of town. So many parents estranged from their adult children; I never knew. Your website gives us a way to vent without judgment. This will be my first Mother’s Day without acknowledgement, but my son must meet me half-way and refuses to take any responsibility. I do pray for us and I pray the Lord will soften both of our hearts. It’s easy to get hardened, but my faith tells me that my first love should be HIM…..

  10. Julie

    I am taking part in a fundraiser at our church for a pro-life ministry. We will be honoring mothers and thanking them for life by offering pretty plants and roses to their family members for a donation. It really helps take the sadness away by thinking of making others happy. Ours is a strange estrangement – we have connection with our son but his wife and daughters are strangers to us. It makes us that much more thankful and appreciative of our other children and grandchildren. God is seeing me through this with the help of a therapist. We may never have a resolution on this side of heaven but I I am doing my work to repair the breech.

  11. Jan T

    These are everything I have taught myself to do and I am trying to share with other estranged mothers! Thank you for sharing. For me it is the worst day of the year and I dread it.

  12. Brenda

    I’m estranged from my grown daughter. It has been 5 years and it does not get any easier. Holidays are very painful for me. It is even harder with my grandson. I go and pick him up for visits. My daughter will not come to the door. I love him so much but I think he feels stuck in the middle. It is so hard for kids to see their grandma and mother not speaking. I tell him I love his mom and him so much and that I wish things could be better. What do our children get from being so hurtful? Also what are their actions teaching their children about how to treat family. My mom has passed away but she was my best friend. I could never imagine turning my back on her and treating her like a stranger. I wish I could find a group in my area to talk with others in my same situation I think that would help.

  13. Sue

    Happy Day Today—You are making a strong and healthy response to a painful process -wow.! Addressing the pain of loss full -on, making your way through it — it is simple but NOT EASY. It took me years of work on this process — by paying attention, learning self-care skills, realizing how strong you have become, these and other strategies have worked for me. You have found things that work for you — congrats!

    I like to recall that none of these sad feelings will kill any of us — what has happened has happened. Acceptance takes time, lots of time. And often, there are significant OTHER reasons than YOU or ME for daughters and sons to move away from Mum. They include cultural pressures ( it can be quite cool in some circles to ditch the old lady) dysfunction in relating to others within individuals themselves, inability to “grow up”, all kinds of issues, you can come up with your own… each of us with some distance can see WE are not the only planet in a adult child’s universe and there are lots of reasons people do what they do. Much good luck. It is good to hear you are no longer feeling like a victim! Take yourself out for lunch — invite a friend and celebrate. Cheers… Sue

  14. Lynn

    This will be my second Mothers Day without my son, daughter in law and granddaughters. I never knew there are so many of us out there with estranged children. It’s heartbreaking, what I struggle with the most is not being able to see my granddaughters. My son and daughter in law cut me and my daughters out of their lives over a year ago after a misunderstanding and hurtful things texted on both sides. It all seems so senseless and I feel the punishment didn’t fit the crime. I’m so thankful for finding Sheri’s book and blog to let me know I’m not alone in this. I will be spending the weekend with my mom and sister and one of my daughters, niece and family. I am choosing to focus on the family members who love me and the joy that brings. I cannot change what has happened in the past but I can choose to be happy and not let this hurt and pain take that away.

    1. Asha

      My heart goes to you all.
      I was estranged from my adult son for 3 years. He came toy home one day and announced the he was getting married. He knows I cannot travel very far at all. So that was that – I would not be able to see my son get married. I brought him and his sister up myself and now I felt so betrayed. I asked him on the same day if I could see my grand daughter soon. He shook his head and said no.
      I collapsed a few hours later. Luckily my daughter was there and she looked after me.
      The next 3 years were a living hell. I went off the rails. I could not cope.
      Anyhow at the end of those 3 years I calmly sat down and thought rationally about it all.
      I had brought him with so much love and sensitivity. He had been a very sensitive child.
      I phoned him up and we talked and the more I spoke with him I could see that he has Aspergers syndrome.
      He does care about me – read up about this. I am not saying that anyones child on this website has aspergers – but it is worth considering.
      I am now begining to recover a bit. I knew that there must be something wrong with him. We have lots of contact no mainly by phone.
      I dont see my grandchild still but that is the fault of his wife not him. He has a disability.
      Its taking me a while to form our relationship in another way. It calls for a great amount of understanding on my part and on my daugjters part.
      At least I have him back and it explains every thing.

  15. Gigi

    Every holiday something comes over me; a depression with intense memories of the past. I will never understand it at all. It’s surreal; like a dream. As a single mother it was so hard raising 3 children, 2 with disabilities by myself. I tried so hard but was not perfect. It’s 4 yrs and 3 mos since my oldest took off with a boy who lured her away. My ex, who was not part of their upbringing, added to the drama. The blame was put on me, as with everything else. We were so close for 25 long years until things got crazy. Some of it I blame on genetics because I was not like this and no matter what my mother did or said to me, I was true to her until the end when she died of breast cancer. I am grateful I have 2 loving sons and a dog who love me to no end. But, many of us have at least one who hurts us so bad that no matter how much love we get, there is such a big void in us from our loss that we have a hard time coping and moving on. Life is full of triggers that set off the memories. We may never talk or see one another again, as it runs in the other side of her family, not my side, and I have to learn to deal with this reality. I often wish I could wipe out that part of my brain that remembers all the good things from the past because that is what makes me sad. After all those years, how can one just turn you off like a light switch? How can they live with themselves? The new generation out there is the “me” generation that prioritizes themselves, takes risks, and has no family bonds. It’s sad because they are going nowhere fast. I hope all the mothers out there enjoy the day, regardless of it being Mother’s Day as it has become more of a ‘commercialism’ day.

    1. Barb

      Hello Gigi, I fully understand how you and all the other estranged mothers feel. As you so rightly said, these young people are going no where fast – and this is so pathetic. I am estranged from my two adult sons and this Mother’s Day was my 2nd year wifh no acknowledgement.
      I have gone through the “wring cycle” of life just tring to cope. However I must admit that I am on the mend. I have come to the realization that this gdneration is a ME one, and it’s all about themselves. I no longer feel like the victim as I made the decision nog to take any more abuse. It seems like the more I distanced myself, the easier it is to heal tbe pain. Having said so, there is not a day that goes by that I don’t think of my sons and pray fof them asking God to heal them and open their hearts. I also hope and pray for reconciliation, however, it has to be in GOD’s timing. In the meantime, I will be patient and keep trusting in some form of Divine intervention.
      I do not expect anything so I was not disappointed.

    2. JEAN

      Gigi, I know how it is when memories are all you have, and those memories make me the saddest. The things you cling to bringing the mostbpain because you realize there will be no more memories to be made in the present to join them Estranged since May 2015. Two years to the month she moved away and severed all ties with me. It hasn’t gotten better.

  16. barbara

    i am having a hard time registering. i don’t know what a valid website is. please help. thanks. And happy mother’s day to you.

  17. Jacqueline

    I am dreading Mothers Day this year as its the first one since my daughter left. Plus she has gotten to my other young teenage daughter so she hates me as well. The one thing that is keeping me going is hearing my youngest daughter say Mom I made you something at school for Mothers Day, and just the other day at youth group she made me a card as well. That makes everything just a little more bearable. Im sure my other 2 sons will wish me mothers day, but thats probably about it. I love them all so much, and miss my 17 year old daughter so so much. I will always love her despite the fact that she chose to leave rather then respecting us, and because of it, my family shuns me and refuses to talk to me at all, blaming me for everything that has happened. I pray in time that things will get better, or that at least I will learn to live with this estrangement a bit better. Happy Mothers Day to all of us, because we all deserve it…xoxoxo

  18. Gwen

    It’s been almost two years since my daughter has walked out of my life……again. This is the longest we have been estranged and from what she last said, in an email to me, I don’t think I’ll ever hear from her again. She’s in her late 30s with her own family and I’m sure the grandkids wonder why there are very long periods of time before they see me again. Her dad walked out on us when she was 11 and we divorced. Once she got grown and on her own, she has harbored ill feelings toward me. I never understood why all the hate and bitterness and resentment she showed me. Her dad stayed out of her life until just a few years ago. They “made nice” with each other and once he came back into her life, she has treated me even worse. The past few times she hasn’t cared if we ever made up with each other or not. Each time I would run back to her and beg her to please not shut me out of her life. She continues to do so and now the silence is lasting longer and longer. I think she blames me for the divorce although can’t be sure why she has turned her back on me. Her dad also now has a lot of money and I do not and I think she’s easily swayed by all that. I can only offer her love and apparently that’s not what she wants. She has children and I do not get to speak to them at all or see them. They are in another state. MD is very painful for me and I’d just like to forget it but its hard to when you see it in your face every where you go. I don’t think I would ever be able to trust her to not hurt me again. I think it’s her way of punishing me for the divorce. I just don’t think I want to “beg” her again to come back into my life. I’ve always been the one to break the silence and then she’s never happy to hear from me so I know she wouldn’t be this time either so I’m pretty sure I’m not gonna make any contact with her since that is what she asked of me.

  19. RobinW

    Let’s face it, “Hallmark Holidays” are horrible for anyone of us who are not part of the “happy family” fakery. TV shows and Hallmark/Jewlery/Flowers/ whatever commercials are the very worst and it takes some concentration to convince ourselves that these are all actors playing nice “happy” parts some writer wrote and that no matter what the problem in the family episode, it can all be fixed with a hug and a smile in less than 60 minutes. BS!

    This year will be my very first “fake holidas” without any of my daughters here to celebrate THE day with me. The older one is in Houston with a baby due the end of the month, the younger one who lived here the longest, just moved 3000 miles away and has a terrific new job and great husband and they’re planning on starting their family as well. Both of these daughters and I were in Houston last weekend for the baby shower.. had our own Mother’s Day party 2 weeks early.

    The ED didn’t come to the party, Not because of me, her 5 year old boy was having a small health problem with allergies… or at least that’s what she told her sisters. On one hand I was a bit disappointed since it might have given us an opportunity to talk, on the other hand I was relieved because the weekend was about my first baby having her first baby and I really didn’t want the problem with the ED being a distraction.

    Still, we’ve not spoken since last mother’s day. The last communication of any kind was in December 2016 and it was pretty vicious, so I’m not expecting any Mother’s Day from her, or anything else…her choice and her loss.

    Tomorrow is just another Sunday.

    1. Claire

      I know just how you are feeling. Thank God you have two that treat you with respect and honor. I have one that does and two that do not due to their feelings toward me after my divorce from their father. Mother's Day is the worst because it makes you realize how your child really feels about you even though you spent your entire life trying to be the best mother you could be for him or her. I read Sheri's book which is a great help to me and I also am reading "Everything Happens for a Reason" which really gives me insight as to why things happen to us. I pray for you and for all of us to get through Mother's Day until the next holiday. I will spend my day with my youngest son and new grand baby. I am so thankful for them.

    2. Diane

      I agree completely with the “Hallmark Holiday” overload. I have been estranged from my son and daughter for six years – this time. Once before I was estranged from my daughter for eight years and was not at her wedding. I did not meet her two daughters until they were five and two. This time around my son has been extremely volatile in Emails and on the phone, saying things no one should say to their mother or any other human being for that matter. Our children can certainly rip our hearts out with no empathy for the pain they cause.

  20. MaggieMiss

    I’m just heartbroken- I don’t know how I will get thru the day. Every day there is a hole in my stomach but I dread tomorrow.

    1. Claire

      I will be praying for you, Maggie. Life is too short to dread a day, but we know the reasons too well. Try to spend time with those you love and those who honor you. I hope you find joy in doing something special just for you. I have planted special flowers to brighten my life and my home. Love to all of you who are hurting this Mother’s Day.

    2. Barb

      Maggie, my heart goes out to you, and rest assured, I will keep you in prayer. I know exactly what you and the rest of estranged Moms are experiencing. I can tell you one thing and that the pain will diminish as time progresses. Start paying attention to yourself and loving yourself and life more. Take time out for doing the small things which bring you joy. From my perspective, the more I kept my distance, the more the pain diminished. Remember, TIME and LOVE are two great healers. I also found that spending time in prayer each day was so therapeutic and cathergic. Best wishes to you.

  21. lysa

    Children are a gift from God. We can only do our best then set them free. If they choose to come back, it was meant to be. If they choose not then realize your job raising them was done so well that they are free to fly and not look back. Though we may mourn, God smiles upon us for a job well done!!

    1. RobinW

      That is so true, Lysa! Even though my ED and I don’t communicate, I do get the news from her sisters and I’m so VERY proud of her as an accomplished adult, so even though we don’t have a relationship, and for whatever the reason she chose not to be in our lives, she’s a college professor with 2 great kids and if that’s the best I did as her mom, then that wasn’t so bad!

  22. Anna

    After raising my son alone for 13 years, with his wealthy dad, my ex, mainly out of the picture, my son left me 7 years ago. He emailed that I am “not acceptable” and “it is not in his best interests to see me or talk to me”………no phone calls, never has planned to see me at all. Emailed once and told me I “failed as a parent and wasn’t the parent I should have been”……..also told me he “tries to avoid me”………

    I taught 1st and 2nd grade for 11 years and have worked with special ed students for 5 years. I have the highest level of respect from staff, parents, other students, etc. I left an abusive marriage where there was a restraining order against my ex. He was having an affair with a much younger employee. He stayed with her instead of coming to the hospital when our son couldn’t breathe and had pneumonia.

    My son is gifted and now with dad’s money is traveling the world. I do not have those assets. I always feel I am not good enough, not rich enough, not young enough, etc. and that I failed although when I look back at our life together, I was an amazing single mom. Boxes are stacked in the garage that I do not open: his photos, awards, school work, etc. I live in the same town as my ex and the young wife, and when I see them I fall apart, as “she” has been his mother since age 14. He will be 21 this summer and it’s another birthday I won’t be able to spend with him. I lived 4 miles from his dad when he went to live there and attend high school. I never received school photos, report cards, invites to parent conferences, ceremonies. I was treated as if I was dead. And I was dead. Dead from pain and rejection. My ex is an evil man and sent me an email telling me “I’m going to tell ……. not to read your emails. You’re bad news and you need to go away. You’re so resentful. You live in a fantasy world.”

    What can you do? Even 7 years of therapy has not healed my pain or made any holiday any easier. Mother’s Day is the worst. I’ve cried all day, even after working in the yard for an hour and power walking 3 miles in the rain.

    I’m new to this site and I’ve read some of the posts. At least I am not alone.

  23. Al Lone

    What my 31 year old daughter has done to me has left me broken, on medication, and the torture is consuming and disrupting my life. I am 57 years old and I was married to my husband for 30 years and had two kids with that man.

    In 2012 I came home to find my 50 year old healthy husband dead in bed. I tried to breathe life back into him but he had been dead for hours. My older son lived in another state and had his own busy life. My daughter lived a few miles from me and had one child, my first grandson, who was almost two years old at the time.

    Shockingly, just a week after my husband had his heart attack my daughter suddenly disowned me. She refused to take my phone calls, she changed her number and blocked me from social media and eventually she moved from her apartment. I was abandoned and struggling in a fog to hurry and find an apartment and pack and it was horrible dealing with my loss alone.

    My daughter would not speak to me and the pain of not seeing my grandson was like being kicked in the heart. I called the suicide hotline many times. He died and left me with no assets and a house that was being foreclosed.

    I saw a psychiatrist twice a week for months and my doctor put me on antidepressants. Nothing is helping because it has been five years and I still cry and find it hard to function. Sadly I wouldn’t know my first grandchild if he was standing in front of me.

    Her intentional infliction of mental stress on me did not end there. She stopped paying on her student loans that I cosigned for her so in order not to ruin my credit I have been making the payments for the last four years and still owe thousands. I can’t even claim it on my taxes because she will not release me from her student loans and I have no way of talking to her or writing her.

    By accident I found out she got married a few years ago and I never had a clue. I feel like I have no control over her destroying me and keeping me from seeing my grandson. By having to pay her loan I struggle with paying my bills. I dread mother’s day and will try to sleep the day away.

  24. Liza

    Wow, reading all these comments — seems like every single one is a mom. Where are the dads? Or do they manfully deal with loss by just moving on? Both my ex and I deal with our daughter who slips further and further away emotionally. It’s her loser boyfriend who has influenced her, I think, to become increasingly hostile and distant towards us in the past 3 – 4 years. I hate to think what the future holds. Together, she and this unemployed man/child have 2 kids — she supports them all on a low-wage job. We are still minimally part of their lives — when they need something. I feel ashamed that I raised someone to be so rude and unappreciative — not to mention uncaring and unfeeling and selfish. It’s like she doesn’t care who she hurts. This is something I’ve heard in other comments too. Right now my cat is licking me for attention so I guess I’m not a total monster. A friend, who knows how heart broken I am over my daughter’s estrangement — sent me 2 dozen roses for Mother’s Day and really — that just totally made my day. I’ll take love where I can get it I guess. My own mom died when I was 18 and I’ve missed her so much the past 40 years — that she would HAVE a mom who loves her — and just throw that away? I don’t understand it. Like many here have said, I’m not an alcoholic, not on drugs, don’t cycle through men, don’t have anger issues… but I am depressed and am poor. But I never dumped that on her — never borrowed money, never skipped holidays though I bought gifts that were thoughtful but not expensive. I don’t understand it — except that I’m pretty sure it’s the boyfriend who hates everyone — not just her family. We shouldn’t take it personally though she’s my daughter and I miss her. It’s like this mean person has taken her place. She doesn’t even care that she is hurting me. The other day, as I was walking away, she said “I love you”. I felt like giving her the finger in reply. She can SAY “I love you” but what the F*** does that mean when she is cruel to me? I didn’t give her the finger — I mumbled I love you. I don’t trust her with my heart anymore.

  25. Scarlett C.

    I am reading all these comments and my heart is breaking for all of you. My daughter has always seemed to have anger and rage towards me and i do my best to be a good mom but it never seemed to be enough. I feel like such a failure. I have a younger daughter who loves me though and she tries to make MD special every year. I have found that writing letters to the ED helps, even though I won’t send them, she doesn’t want to hear from me. I pray that there is a special place in heaven for us parents who have done our best to raise our children and made many sacrifices only to be rejected once they found success. My ED said things to me that have given me nightmares! Literally, and I honestly don’t know what I did to deserve to be spoken to like that. I wish the pain would at least let up some but it never does. I feel as if I will never stop hurting until I die. I pray for her but I don’t think she would be happy about that if she knew. I adopted 2 sweet kitties from the wild, I have had them for about 4 years now. They are my babies and their love for me is unconditional. That helps. It doesn’t replace my ED but it eases the pain. I pray for everyone here to find peace.

  26. Iwasamom

    I patted myself on the back for making it through this MD without the same level of suffering as I have experianced the past eleven years.

    I came home from the hospital with two of my three babies on Mother’s Day. So its always been a rough day.

    This year I honored my love for my children as a single parent; Not because I was their room mom, or coached their sports, or was their scout leader, or made their countless slumber parties as fun as I could, or forfit a career for two thankless jobs around their school & activities, etc….

    Rather because everything I did for them came from a place of love and wanting them to feel loved.

    Long story short, though I considered this MD a bit of an emotional victory I woke up this morning crying, feeling the grief full steam.

    Awe but God is full of grace and i found this site!
    Thank You for sharing all of your comments. As I read through all of them I realized I am not alone & boy do i understand and feel each of your pain.
    And WOW-We have raised a generation that appears to be heartlessly cruel.
    I am done making excuses for their unexcusable behavior & I am DONE DONE DONE being a victim.
    I was never a criminal or addict as they were led to believe…I was too busy being a Mom, and I love & appreciate the kind of Mom I was.

    The hardest hurdle Ive had to overcome was letting go of being a Mom First & trying to find & embrace a new identity…

    I’ve been carrying this all for so long, I feel blessed to find all of you.
    This week i will get the book.
    Divorce Sucks, but not as bad as having your children allienated from you.

  27. Lynne

    Hi ..yet another sad Mother’s Day. Did not hear from them. Did not really think I would. I did do so much better this year though. No more tears. I went where I wanted, ate what I wanted, and pleased myself. This was my best Mother’s Day in 10 years. This website, that I recently found, has helped me tremendously. Thank you Sheri. I do pray for my estranged grown children daily and always will. I have come to a place of reality. As they is what it is. As sad as my heart feels, and I know there will always be sad days, I really am better off not to have them in my life. I could not put up with unloving and disrespectful behavior from them. I know who I am NOW and it took much hard work to get here. I know I was a good and loving Mom. This has taken me 10 years to reach this place. I pray for all of us that we will have peace. Love to you all. Lynne

  28. purplepenguin

    This Mother’s Day, my younger daughter gave me a card early and called. My estranged daughter did call for about a 3 minute phone call. That was it. Even my husband, away on a business trip, didn’t get me anything or try to help.
    I did volunteer to work that night, and had to work very late into the night/early morning. It was a good distraction, but I did cry, both on the way to work and on the way home.
    Sometimes I think I am just throwing a pity party all the time. But, I realize my feelings are MY feelings, and I have a right to them.

  29. Gene

    This question doesn’t have much to do with Mother’s day but I think I’ll ask it here anyway. Is anyone else dealing/coping with the feelings of your child(ren) that are NOT estranged? Our elder son (we’ll call him “X”) and daughter-in-law that have stood by us want nothing to do with our younger son that has elected to cut his entire family out of his life. (Parents, grandparents, cousins…everyone.) We cannot speak of our estranged son without “X” becoming withdrawn from the conversation. It’s so awkward that we make a conscious effort not to bring up estranged son when “X” is visiting. “X” can’t figure out why we still have feelings for our estranged son. When estranged son and his wife had a second child this past January (whom we have not seen and only found out about through the grapevine) “X” greeted the news with indifference. I am somewhat reminded of the Biblical story of the prodigal son with “X” assuming the attitude of the elder son. While I am hopeful someday of a reconciliation between our estranged son and us, his parents, I fear that any relationship between the brothers is beyond salvage. Any advice from someone who has been there?

  30. Beggie

    I thought this happens only to mean or interfering mothers. How wrong I was. A new partner walked into her life and I was out. I invested 46 years of love to be treated uncaring and disrespected.
    But tomorrow is another day and I will still love myself.

  31. rparents Post author

    pixiehair1967, I’d like to know what flowers those were!
    I love your ideas here. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

    Sheri McGregor

  32. sherru

    I have 3 adult chidren. I became a,widow just a day after my 30th birthday. All 3 were under the age of 4 1/2 yrs. Old when he died. I never remarried and raised all 3 on my own. My little one decided to exclude me from her life 6 yrs. Ago. She was married and told me a,week later that I am mental, crazy and disturbed. I am in counselling. I try to contact her with no luck. The other 2 like me I think.


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