Mother’s Day for moms with estranged adult children: Facts to distract

Mother's Day for moms with estranged adult childrenMother’s Day for moms with estranged adult children:
A few facts to distract you

By Sheri McGregor, M.A.

Mother’s Day for moms with estranged adult children can be tough. For many years now, I’ve written heartfelt holiday messages to help. This year’s posting is a slight departure, meant to occupy and distract—yet practical.

Distraction can be a healthy coping tool. Research shows that using distractions such as puzzles, music, films, reading, sports, and other hobbies can temporarily halt unhelpful thinking patterns, ease anxious nerves, help to relieve even chronic physical pain, and calm the symptoms of depression and PTSD1.

For more direct thoughts about Mother’s Day for moms with estranged adult children and how to cope, refer to my past articles. I’ve listed some of them under “Related Reading” at the end. That said, here are a few “Mom facts” to occupy your mind. Links to articles here at the site and elsewhere offer further reading on these disparate subjects loosely related to motherhood and moms.

#1—Mom: The same in every language (almost)

Some things are said the same in every language. Like us saying “mmm” when we eat yummy food. Also, what we call Mom is almost always the same.

Common thought among linguists is that the enunciation of “mom” or “mama” matches up the mouth’s motion when an infant suckles. The “mmm-mmm” sounds are classified as “labial.” These sorts of sounds are made by pressing the lips together, and infants are thought to naturally do this because the lips are rich with nerve endings. Perhaps that’s why, with a few variations, “mom” sounds the same in so many languages. For example, the French say maman. Spanish versions include mamá, mama, ma, and mami. In Italy, Iceland, Latvia, and Sweden “mamma” is spelled with a double m. For a distraction, consider your heritage and find the appropriate term. (While most languages use these sounds/names, not all do…I wonder why?)

Try making the “mmm” sound right now. You’ll have to press your lips together.  Who knows? Maybe the action will trigger a wave of physical responses that link to anything good we might have ever associated with making the sound.

Labial sounds paired with another vocal category, “wide vowel sounds,” help infants begin to form words. They press their lips together with the “mmm” sound, and when they open their mouth abruptly, wide vowel sounds naturally occur. Can I get an oooh and an ahh?

We’ll stick with “ah” for now, which makes “mama” or “mom” an easy first word, associated with a mother’s protection, sustenance, and care. Think about it. Mmm+ah+mmm+ah. Depending on when you close and open your mouth, you get mom, mama, or a string of babble. Since the “mmm” sound is so naturally made with the motion of suckling, it’s no wonder babies say “mama” first.

Later, as we become more sophisticated in speech, the ”mmm” sound is used as an encourager during conversation. We typically say “mmm,” or the variation, “mmm-hmmm,” to indicate we understand what someone is telling us. The sound encourages the other person to continue. Next time someone’s talking, purposefully offer this encouragement, and even think about the sweet baby you once knew, encouraging your love and care with labial and wide vowel sounds. Maybe everything has changed, but those sweet moments were real—and can still be savored.

Of course, Mother’s Day, for moms with estranged adult children, might be a triggering and sometimes painful time to reflect upon a child’s growing up years. But savoring good memories fosters older people’s resilience2, something I talk more fully about in my books. Right now, I challenge you to pause and remember a happy time. Choose a single moment, an event, or a day. Travel back in your mind, remember the smiles, the joy, the surroundings … and feel the goodness you experienced on that day. Life is a journey. Enjoy the pleasant stops and the memories … repeatedly.

Now, let’s switch gears and move on to another distracting mom fact.

#2—Your flesh and blood?

No, not exactly. Cells die off and exchange for new ones throughout life, so estranged adult children become their own “flesh and blood.” Well, except for some cells that migrate during pregnancy and persist, a phenomenon known as microchimerism. Research shows that mothers can carry their offsprings’ DNA well into old age. If your estranged adult child is on your mind, that might, in fact, literally be true.

While some research seems to indicate that the presence of these cells could be problematic, other studies show that they offer protective health qualities. Look up “microchimerism” for a plethora of articles as well as speculation, unanswered questions, and some facts. Or, because it’s Mother’s Day, read this one by an M.D. with a positive spin.

#3—Are you like an octopus?

As a young mother of five children, I used to wish for eight arms. I imagined how many hugs I could give (and receive) while simultaneously finishing all my work. A silly dream, of course, but one I used to say aloud. One of my daughters even drew a picture of me as an octopus!

Mother's day for moms of estranged adult childrenAs it turns out, an octopus mom’s life isn’t much about hugs and getting things done. In fact, these fascinating creatures become so single-minded in their parenting that they will neglect themselves for their young. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

Recently, researchers discovered this self-sacrifice relates to the optic gland, located between their eyes. It’s said to be something like the human pituitary gland, releasing various hormones at different stages of life. When scientists removed the gland, mother octopuses carried on as if they’d never laid eggs. They left them to fate.

While I can’t imagine having let go of my precious children when they were young, their adult lives become their own. Remembering this fact can help any mom. This may be especially true on Mother’s Day for moms with estranged adult children.

Next time you find yourself sacrificing your own precious life moments for negative thinking, wishes about what could be, and worries over adult children’s choices, think of those octopus mothers with the optic gland removed and imagine you’re free. Get those legs (arms!) pumping and take a deep dive into the colorful reefs of your own life possibilities. If you have any trouble, consider the question: Are you an octo-mom? I wrote an article to help.

#4—Wowza wrap-up

I hope you found this article a helpful distraction. Here’s a final thought: The word “mom,” turned upside down, spells “wow.” That’s what I think of all the moms who write to me and encourage each other at this site. Wow! Just wow. You are amazing women.

What do you have to say? Leave a comment. List a few thoughts about how the helpful distractions you choose. Or offer what thoughts came to mind about what was included here. How can your thoughts help on Mother’s Day, for moms with estranged adult children? I know you’ll wow me.

Related reading

Mother’s Day 2021: Cancelled!

When adult kids cut parents off: Don’t get [sun]burned by Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day radio interview with Sheri McGregor

Mothers of estranged adult children: Mother’s Day 2018

Mother’s Day for estranged mothers: Tending to your heartache

Mother’s Day: Triggering pain for mothers of estranged adults

‘Twas the night before Mother’s Day for mothers of estranged adult children

Mothering Sunday for UK Moms

Getting through Mother’s Day when your adult child is estranged: Six thoughts to help

References

  1. Dolcos F, Iordan AD, Kragel J, et al. Neural correlates of opposing effects of emotional distraction on working memory and episodic memory: an event-related FMRI investigation.Front Psychol. 2013;4:293. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00293
  2. Smith, J.L. & Hollinger-Smith, L. (2015). Savoring, resilience, and psychological well-being in older adults. Aging & Mental Health, 19(3). doi:10.1080/13607863.2014.986647

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73 thoughts on “Mother’s Day for moms with estranged adult children: Facts to distract

  1. Kelsey

    I have an adoptive daughter – now 21 – that had extreme reactive attachment disorder and was born addicted. It felt next to impossible to get her to adulthood and I basically gave up my whole life trying to help her (not a martyr here; it was my choice.) She was very codependent with me; at the same time often very abusive. However, I was fortunate enough to be able to send her to an attachment specialist for a year when she was 15 and when she came back, we seemed to do better. Recently, she told me that I was the best mom she could hope for and she could not have gotten a better mom. (She has said this before.)

    Two months ago she moved out and immediately cut all ties with me. I am a therapist; I know this likely has little to do with me. But the pain is still so great. I tried very hard to give her a better life and while I don’t think she “owes” me anything for having adopted her and provided for her for 18 years (she didn’t ask for any of it), I would appreciate being treated as a fellow human being. I understand she is not even capable of that but again, my love for her is great and she is my only child.

    Reply
    1. Tovah

      Hi Kelsey,
      Our daughters are adopted as well and joined our family with RAD which we knew little about. What we did hear about it prior to Forever Day scared us and we tried to put it out of our minds. We naively planned to love them so much that they would heal. That did not happen. The worst pain I’ve ever known was to love a child so deeply even before she is in your arms and to not be loved back, not the way you expect but a half-full way, because they simply don’t know how to love.
      When they became teens this lacking really presented itself. Without the love and regard for us they rebelled, not the usual rebellion but essentially an estrangement while still residing with us. Without the love it was easy to throw us away when we were no longer the indulgent parents of little girls but parents of teens with rules about dating and phones and having … expectations (but normal ones).
      I recently read that children with RAD (among other disorders) deal more in transactions than love and regard and when the transactions are no longer in their favor you are as good as dead to them.
      We did experience that. Whatever privilege we granted them was never enough and there was no flinching on their part at waging warfare with no intention to concede anything.
      The coming of COVID caused them to talk to friends and beg to be allowed to move in with them. They characterized our household and family as something to be rescued from. This was crushing, an unforgivable lie. We were assailed with this issue daily and, feeling like we were suffering from PTSD, finally capitulated. (We are in our 60s and felt like we were going to out and out die from stress.)
      They are both out of our house and out of our family at 17 and 18, the youngest with child support sent to her “foster” family every month. And, yes, no contact.
      What you ended your post with resonated with me the most, having a love for your child and yet knowing they are not capable of receiving that love or returning it.
      The hurt of all hurts.

  2. Lisa R.

    Well, this just beats all. I was stressing over Mother’s Day and my dear husband stepped up and called my daughter (not his) directly to see exactly what has been going on and why she also considers me to “toxic” amongst other things. He asked her specifically what I did that caused her to feel so strongly about separating herself from me. Her response was that sometimes I “yelled at her.” Mind you, according to her own description of her 18 years with me (before she left for college) she did say that it wasn’t a lot and that I did a tremendous amount for her otherwise. My husband patiently pointed out that parents do sometimes raise their voices to their children, often out of frustration or some other human characteristic. My ED even recognized that I apologized for it after the fact but that wasn’t good enough. Hence, I am therefore too “toxic” for her. The myriad good that I did for her apparently pales in the light of common parent/child interactions. Guess I’ll just have to be perfect in my next life.

    Reply
    1. Tovah

      Lisa,
      My DH and I have had a similar response which, in light of the severe action taken on our ED’s part, seems grossly unwarranted. With some adult children today it’s as if the threshold for conflict (and I mean ANY conflict) has been lowered to levels that no family can withstand. We talk about the punishments and consequences we received as kids and teens, knowing how easy we were on our kids, and just shake our heads. Never would we have even considered the occasional yelling, unpleasant conversations, groundings, and other run-of-the-mill butting of heads in our household to be worthy of outright banishment of our family!
      Without getting into details, my sibs and I had to go before the Grand Jury to testify against our father when he got in hot water. There was also alcoholism and infidelity to cope with, a teen pregnancy, brief period of stark poverty and an assortment of other real life circumstances we had to live with. We survived it all and stuck together despite everything. No one declared our family “toxic.” Everyone handles life’s pitfalls differently but to abandon your immediate family because of ordinary conflict and the many mistakes that are human is something we of our generation aren’t wired to understand. I knew my parents loved me and I still love them, warts and all.

  3. Carrie-Ann

    Reply To: Patty/May 9, 2022 at 5:59 pm

    Dearest Patty: You say,
    “I must write to tell you that I will be unsubscribing from your emails. For good reason. My daughter and son, have begun to slowly come back. It’s not the same as it was before our blow-ups. Much different now. They are not only more loving toward me, but also toward each other. I had the best Mother’s Day yesterday than I’ve had in a decade!”

    *Key Statements:
    “I must write to tell you that I will be unsubscribing from your emails. For good reason.”
    “I had the best Mother’s Day yesterday than I’ve had in a decade!”

    Patty, I am happy that you had a happy Mother’s Day…I truly do not want to rain on your parade, Just a little thought, You just might keep your subscription for this site’s emails…To use or not use…Just saying…

    May All Be Blessed In Body, Mind, & Spirit…

    Reply
  4. Leenda

    Hello everyone. I hope today is better for you than two days ago. Long story, I’ll share more in time, my youngest didn’t text me on Mother’s Day. It’s not about the acknowledgment, it’s about the message she was sending. It’s been coming. I wasn’t shocked. Hurt. But not shocked. Monday I felt like I had a a bad hangover. Just toxic with so many negative feelings. Where did I go wrong. What do I apologize for? Do I reach out? And say what? And when? Then I stumbled upon this life saving site. Some things that you warriors have written are literally word for word what I would write. I feel
    So much better that I’m not alone. I’ve ordered both books. I know that her not texting me on Mother’s Day was a warning shot fired. There’s much more to come. Now is time for me to prepare

    Reply
    1. camille

      WoW , wow, wow. You have just described the state of affairs in my life. I will get these books but reading this blog and reading you all has brought so much peace. When I started asking myself what should I apologize for is when I actually started to realize how toxic this sitiation was. Yes, toxic to use the word du jour for this younger generation. I have also found a lot of comfort from going back to budhist literature and trying to accept, trying not to judge, but to take life as it is. I am lucky to have a passion for golf which keeps my mind and body occupied.

  5. 02Btranquil

    I would like to share with all of you something I learned more about, having to do with distracting yourself on Mothers Day.
    First of all, like everyone on this forum, our daughter has estranged herself from my husband and myself. It has been over 4 years since we’ve seen her or heard her voice. She is our only child. My husband sent a short email to her about 2 years ago, saying he loved her and missed her and thought about her all the time. She wrote back a horrible response, saying what she thought about all the time was that my husband had said (supposedly to a complete stranger) that he wasn’t affectionate towards her because he worried someone would think he was a pedophile. We have no idea how she came up with such a horrid accusation and we both know it is completely untrue. It was such a bizarre (and completely fabricated) recollection that we actually are concerned she may be mentally ill. And then, when I let that thought enter my head, I feel guilty, like I’m just grabbing at anything, trying to find an answer to this heartbreaking separation.
    It has been very hard these past months to distract myself from this hole in my heart. We missed celebrating her 35th birthday, a family wedding, my birthday, and most recently, yesterday – Mothers Day. And next up is Fathers Day.
    I am an artist, and work mainly with pen and ink. As I was roaming the internet (trying to distract myself) I came upon examples of an art form I had heard about before, but decided I wanted to know more. This art form is the ancient Japanese art of KINTSUGI. It involves taking a piece of broken pottery and putting it back together – repairing it – with gold porcelain, filling the cracks and holes, making something new and once again beautiful from the broken piece.
    The more I thought about this I felt it would be an interesting way for me to do one of my drawings. I drew a heart and then embellished it with patterns. Then I drew random cracks and fissures on the heart, with a larger hole near the center. I then used a gold pen to fill in the cracks and the hole, and it turned out to be quite a perfect metaphor for how I feel and what I must try to do to help myself overcome this never-ending sadness. I don’t mean to say one drawing made all things bright and shiny again, but it’s the metaphor – the repairing cracks, fissures and holes in something that used to be whole with gold, turning it once again into something whole and still beautiful. As I filled in the cracks I imagined the gold I was using were the things that were still good in my life : the constant love of my husband, precious relationships with my dear friends, spending time creating…really the gold is kind of made up of “counting my blessings”.
    It was a very positive exercise for me, but I know I have to keep working on it. I hope I can repair my broken heart by putting it back together with the gold of happy moments I do have. I hope the metaphor of The Art of Kintsugi resonates with some of you and helps you when you need to use Sheri’s suggestion of distraction. Hoping there will one day be a peace for all of our hearts.

    Reply
  6. Patty

    Dear Sheri,
    I must write to tell you that I will be unsubscribing from your emails. For good reason. My daughter and son, have begun to slowly come back. It’s not the same as it was before our blow-ups. Much different now. They are not only more loving toward me, but also toward each other. I had the best Mother’s Day yesterday than I’ve had in a decade!

    I don’t know how I rode out the storm. It wasn’t without pain, but knowing there was nothing I could do to change them, made it bearable. I said a prayer yesterday for all mothers who lost their children, especially those who will never return to them.

    Thanks for your support. You provide an insight which lets one feel like she isn’t going through this on her own.

    God Bless!
    Pat

    Reply
  7. Lynn

    Mother’s Day was rough. I saw a HuffPost on Facebook that talked about a mother/daughter estrangement and mentioned how the author (mom) even turned to this site for guidance like I have. I identified with this mom because she thought she gave her kid too much. I thought “Great, this is finally getting attention on Mother’s Day” until I read the comments. Loads of daughters saying the mom is delusional to think they didn’t cause this, even referencing the people who post here and how crazy we are, we’re narcissists, toxic, “no daughter would do this to a good mom”. I then spiraled down into a depressed state, questioning myself. You see, it was 2 years ago on Mother’s Day that I received a lovely Mother’s Day card from my daughter informing me that I will be a grandma soon and a great one! When I opened the card, I texted her congratulations, knowing I would call her when we could both talk. This was apparently not the response she wanted and I received a scathing text back that I was a horrible mother, our relationship was toxic and she wanted nothing to do with me. She was volatile for years, I was spoken to like dirt by the daughter I gave too much too. So I thought it was hormones, a phase. Etc. No, she cut me off. I tried numerous ways of reaching out but she wanted no part of it and wouldn’t let me be involved with the pregnancy or my first grandchild. It has been devastating. After reading Sheri’s book and articles. I finally progressed past crying, shame and hurt to anger about her treatment of me. But now, last week I hear that she is pregnant again and didn’t even let me know. Then Mother’s Day, the ultimate slap in the face when your children are supposed to show their gratitude. I have no answers but it is disturbing to think that we think we gave our all and they think we’re toxic and deserve this extreme treatment. My heart goes out to everyone here. Your stories encourage me.

    Reply
    1. Chauntelle

      I feel yr pain. I’ve seen my 1st grand daughter twice for 15 minutes each. She was born 1/20/22. I have a feeling she will grow up without a grandma. I blame all of the posts and articles written about divorcing yr parents. It was heavy for a few yrs. And it seems it was convincing enough to a majority of the millennial population that it’s become a new norm. Which is painstaking bc we will NVR have the life that has always been normal until now.

    2. Cheryl

      I have also heard that I am “toxic” and she will never let me do to her son, my first and only grandchild, what “I did to her”.
      If she means loving her, making sure she grew up correctly and with everything she needed, well educated and supported, than I guess I messed up. Sure, raising her and her brother as a single mom was difficult and by far perfect, but I know I did my very best. I miss her, and wish I knew my 2 1/2 yr old grandson, but I focus on my life and talk frequently with my son. And pray.

    3. Judy

      I too went from one extreme to the next. No explanation either – just an argument about a text and then nothing. I can see grandkids apparently (no explanation, just they are allowed to come when invited) but I have ZERO knowledge of why I have been cut off. My Mom’s sixth sense knew right away she would not call me. Mother’s Day came and went, I sent a brief note to express my love to her and the hopes that we can talk so I can understand what is going on. Nothing. My sixth sense has never been wrong. Now all I have is this profound grief coupled with anxiety. How do we manage holidays? Will we ever be able to do something as a family again? The person I raised – the daughter I know – would never be this cruel to anyone – and yet here we are. I’m not done crying yet…..

    4. Kathy

      All these accusations/stories of parent(s)/mom and or dad being toxic are carbon copies! This estrangement of the adult children is near pandemic proportions.

      My ED blames me/the mom of being a covert narcissist AFTER SHE opened my personal phone, read a text to a sister prayer warrior. She said I broke her trust and she wondered what all sort of things I had said during her life. I had expressed concern how her controlling husband and ED were dragging their three children across the country in an RV under the disguise of RV schooling. The RV quarters were so cramped the larger children they fell out of their RV beds. And the youngest was ill because he was forced to sleep in a pack and play. This wasteful pursuit lasted 6 months. She sent a hurtful text a year to date after the RV adventure ended, saying the farther away she is from me/mom, the safer she feels. All I can do is pray a hedge of protection for her and the three grandchildren. ED is so trauma bonded to this man who is 20 years older than herself. I have had concern for her and the children’s safety because she had shared early in her marriage her husband had threatened suicide if she left him.

  8. Evelyn B

    I just found this website and can empathize with everyone. I am estranged from my 41 year old daughter. Yesterday, my mother wished me Happy Mother’s day with a “sorry, I know that (daughter) won’t be calling you”.
    I was a single mother from the beginning. It was hard, but we made it. Things started getting bad when she was married and her husband ran off leaving her with three young children; one with special needs. She began drinking and drugging until the authorities put the children under my care. I had them with me for approximately 9 months and then their father (daughter’s husband) came back and took over custody. I live on the east coast and he moved them to the west coast. I was extremely angry with my daughter for causing this to happen. We did not speak for about 5 years. Out of the blue, she contacted me to let me know that she was clean and sober. She began working as an asst. store manager full-time and made an effort to reconnect with her children. We had a great 6 years. Then she met a new guy. He drank to excess and did drugs. I am not sure if she started up again because she stopped contacting me. I found out after the fact that he was emotionally and physically abusing her. I have tried reaching out to let her know that although I may not care about who she is with, but I love her and am concerned. I have heard nothing for over a year. I sometimes worry that I showed too much “tough love” and that’s why she doesn’t want to contact me. A lot of the people who know me don’t understand why I don’t cry or get emotional when I speak about her — I have built a huge wall around my heart because I do not want to be hurt again.

    Reply
    1. A. N.

      Evelyn B,
      Keep building that wall, and if you’re lucky, you’ll find yourself in a safe place where they cannot hurt you again.
      My wall is very high, too high now for anyone to scale!
      I don’t have to worry about them anymore.

      Peace at last.

  9. MaryRose J.

    Sheri,
    Your books are so helpful. My situation is somewhat different. I was the one who walked away. I could have a relationship with my daughter if I became her personal maid and punching bag. She is only interested in what I can do for her with little to no appreciation. She is convinced that we never did anything for her and did everything for her brother. She even informed me that spending time with me is a burden since it is not all about her. I now spend my time and money doing what brings me joy. Learning to respect one’s self is priceless.

    Reply
    1. Lynne

      Hello MaryRose,

      I too walked away from my daughter. I couldn’t take her insults and her anger. She was in my house, looked down her nose at me and said, Your Irritating but mean while visiting in our house eating our food and helping herself to what ever she wanted. My granddaughter’s were selling chocolates for a school fund raising. I asked her about something in an email and finally after years had it. She replied at the end of an email to her mother, Cordially, J.S.? Who replies to a family email that way? I spent $500.00 for her birthday and she used that as another excuse. I finally had to stop her from her toxic behaviour. If it’s not me, it is her husband. I am finding out it’s not always her husband either. She stated she is seeing a therapist but she isn’t using any tools to help. She has tried to cut me off of our granddaughters but the son in law calls weekly so we can video chat with them. But I have never seen so much anger. She feels she has a right to control my life and she must be in charge of every move I make., I finally had enough, told her to get off of my back. Last visit. Then after the email, I finally said, I can’t have a relationship with you. I think she is still angry that I finally stood up to her. But it’s been since last October. Was told to stuff her Christmas present. I still sent it. I noticed she didn’t send it back. I did also sent her a Mother’s Day card. No reaction but that is what she is like. She will cut you off at the knees until she needs you for something. And she claims my step daughter’s laugh and use me. I f eel so used by my own daughter.

  10. Lynn

    I am hoping and praying that all of us moms made it through another Mother’s’ Day and are now
    feeling relief. Even though I did receive a small
    text greeting from ED, it was a hard day. This year
    I didn’t cry. Instead, I prayed for my own mother who is 95 and in a memory care facility. I also went and had a little visit with her even though she no longer recognizes me. My darling husband and three
    other children share their love with me. I am
    trying to put boundaries around how much time
    I spend thinking about ED and spend more
    time giving gratitude for my blessings.

    Reply
  11. Gidget

    I am in the same shoes. Almost 3 years from my ES. I love him more than words can say! This post made me feel so much better knowing there is hope and how many of us are here encouraging one and other! Thank you for sharing on such a personally hard subject. You are brave, loving, and kind! Thanks for helping us feel hopeful!

    Gidget, US TX

    Reply
  12. Bernice M.

    I am reading the comments from the estranged children first thing on Mother’s Day. I came across it by accident, and it changed my entire outlook for the day. My only son died recently, and my daughters became estranged. I was dreading Mothers Day. The pain of not seeing our children can be overwhelming, but now I realize I’m not alone.
    Thank you, to each & everyone of you for opening your hearts & sharing what has been hidden in the closet. And regardless of our childrens decisions, we became Mom’s the second they were born, and will be till our last breath, even at a distance. Sending love, long gentle hugs, & universal healing energy. ❤️‍
    Bernice

    Reply
    1. Toni D.

      Bernice:
      I am sorry for the death of your son and your daughter’s choices. Sheri’s books and website have helped me with perspective. We can be thankful that we were good parents and that their choices do not have to ruin our lives. After almost 15 years, I still struggle at times with negative thoughts. But they do not last as long because I use the tools in Sheri’s books to get my thoughts back on track.
      Hugs to you,
      Toni

    2. Judy

      I wish there was a like button here 😉
      This is a club I never wanted to belong to. Glad there are kind people here though like you whose words can uplift and comfort.

  13. Carrie-Ann

    Good Morning Beautiful Sheri & Each Beloved One In This Healing On-Line Community…You Are In My Heart…In my mind, I see us all together having a Wonder-Full Mothers’ Day Brunch Sharing Present Moments…Enjoying Each Other’s Company…May Today Be Peaceful…I Am With You In Spirit…

    In Deep Gratitude,
    Carrie-Ann

    Reply
  14. Mary L.

    Thank you, again for a timely message on this very difficult day. Thank you, ladies too who have shared your pain. I, to have been rejected by an adult son, who was difficult to raise (too many things to mention)and has turned into a person we don’t even recognize filled with such hatred and anger towards us. He lives in Florida, we live in Minnesota-we won’t get a chance to really get to know our 2 grandkids as he had forbidden them any contact with us. He is now divorced from his wife of 17 years-she gave up without a fight and has found someone else. What a mess.

    Reply
  15. Gene

    Happy Mother’s day to all ladies reading this post. Today marks the 6th mother’s day without hearing from our estranged son. He was a good kid and was family oriented, friendly, kind and responsible. That changed rapidly after he married and he became increasingly withdrawn. His spouse had us all fooled at first but once she got that ring on her finger she changed and her behavior became controlling and manipulative in the extreme. She became the de-facto leader in their marriage who then decided that they should go “no contact” with his extended family. (We still don’t know why although we were made aware from the start that she considered herself to be intellectually superior. She also prided herself on not showing any emotion whatsoever and she looked down on people who did.) We have no phone numbers, emails, and as they have recently moved, even a home address for them. At this writing we have no idea where they are. What kind of a man ignores his mother and grandmothers not only on mother’s day but every day of the year? I am so disappointed in him.

    Reply
    1. Chasity M.

      I too am dealing with almost the SAME ISSUES! My dil played me very well and uses anything she can to keep him away from me and his daddy as well as his 25 year olds bubba that cannot walk talk not see that he was extremely close too! Today marks my very first Mother’s Day with out my mother who suddenly passed away
      Last October! He and his wife came to the funeral services and we all went and ate together maintained contact for a week and then just all a sudden nothing since! So now I have three beautiful grands one may remember us and the middle child is my twin with the exception he’s a boy and the last baby was the girl the only girl in our family as I am a boy mom! So my hearts with you all and today I am so emotionally broken thanks for the amazing group

    2. Patricia P.

      I have the exact situation but with my only daughter. She had her second child in February and we aren’t allowed to meet him. So heart wrenching.

    3. JanPhyllis

      I know the feeling 100%!!!
      My son, husband and I were a tight knit, close, happy family unit! Yup!
      To make a long story short SHE entered our lives!!! I saw it coming slowly, cunningly, behind my back her control of my son!!!
      It doesn’t mater why anymore, they blame me, it’s ok!! But
      It took her 14 years to accomplish the estrangement! I am 73 yrs old! I will never see my son before I die and that’s ok!
      I have with this site and Sheri’s books learned acceptance of my situation!
      This has been the best Mothers Day I gave myself!! They were not here! The finality of knowing I will never see either of them again has given me a sort of peace!! I plan around me and my wants and wishes now! Yes there are minutes but no
      Chaos or thugs, or abuse, horrible abuse or etc!!!!
      You all have given me this serenity if I did not have you and my faith in the Lord and our Holy Mother I would be eating more!!!!! Good Luck and Thank you to all!!!

  16. Jennifer

    I feel so alone here in Australia on Mother’s Day.It is late night now and I have Covid.I also haven’t had a text or anything from my ES.Six years of this.But this year is the saddest.

    Reply
    1. Lisa R.

      Dearest Jennifer and All,

      You are not alone! Although geography separates us we are bonded and together in experience, love, and support. Take good care, everyone. Give yourselves a hug today and every day.

      Lisa R. (From Arizona in the U.S.)

    2. Barbara G.

      Just know you are not alone !!!!
      You will have days again where you can feel joy
      You are loved

  17. Sunnyside2019

    Happy Mothers Day to everyone!! I am thinking of my own mother this day and trying to remember if I sent her a Mothers Day card every year she was alive. I do remember sending her Mothers day cards sometimes, but am not sure if I did it every year after I married and had my own children. She would never say anything to me if I did forget to send her a Mothers Day card but I am sorry if I hurt her feelings forgetting to. My parents lived 4 hours away from me and I didn’t get up to see them much. They raised eight children and did a good job of it. My middle daughter hasn’t seen or spoken to me in 7 years now. Like many of you, I don’t know what I did to deserve this treatment. I do hope everyone here finds peace in all of this pain and knows that this is not normal behavior when a grown child deserts his parent/parents. Have a peaceful good day.

    Reply
  18. Debbie

    Thank you Sheri, for all the news letters you send during year. Mother’s Day is the hardest of all days to face. It has been 10 years now since I have see two of my three children. I have become stronger thru each year, and, I don’t get my hopes up anymore. I am finally realizing that it isn’t going to change. It really does damage your relationship that you had with your child. I pray all the time, with hopes of change. I am amazed at what a epidemic this has become in society. I want everyone to know you are far from alone. It gives me comfort to know thru you and, your readers, that I am not alone. Thank you for all your help, and Happy Mother’s Day to all my fellow rejected Mom’s.and to you Sheri. We are good and Loving Moms!

    Reply
  19. Jane

    I can’t understand how our 54 year old son can disown us two years ago. He got mad at another brother & now mad at us for helping him with his emotional problems, which he has completely turned his life to the good & walking with God. I have prayed every day for our son. He isn’t a forgiving person & holds on to grudges for years if someone makes him mad. He convinced his sons, 21 & 17 to not associate with us. This is wearing me down. We provided him with all he needed thru college. I am so hurt. I have sent cards on all of their occasios . I believe I will stop trying.

    Reply
  20. Mariw

    I would like to respond to Annie’s post about trying to remember a time when my daughter brought me joy. She is 31 now and there were some happy and joyous times before she turned 11 however after that she has bullied us, verbally abused us and shunned us regularly. About 4 years ago she shut of out of her life for almost 9 months but came back, no discussions or apologies. She had met a wonderful young man, got engaged and had hoped to marry last summer however this was put on hold due to covid. Things were going relatively well, we helped them purchase their first home, they came bi weekly for dinner and came to all family functions. (something she rarely did before). My husband even commented that it appeared she had finally “grown up”. Well we couldn’t have been more wrong. She had a baby four months ago and two days after the birth sent me a series of incredibly hurtful text messages telling me that since she became pregnant she has been reflecting on her childhood and what horrible parents we have been. I felt the rug pull out from under me and went into shock. I will admit that although things had been better, there was always the elephant in the room however I realize now that she had been insincere the whole time. When I look back at my text messages to her prior to the birth they were very short and abrupt. I believe she had been planning this for months. I haven’t been in touch since then and am speaking to a therapist, so I can get years of surprised emotions off my chest. It literally feels like a weight has been put on it. The counsellor is walking me through the grieving process. Anyhow sorry for the long text. Like the rest of you a I am dreading tomorrow wondering if she will or will not contact me. I’m not sure what I want. Thank you to everyone for your thoughtful correspondence, I don’t feel so alone. Let’s try and have a decent day tomorrow regardless of what transpires.

    Reply
    1. Wendy F.

      Mariw, my daughter is 19 and we’ve been estranged for about 14 months. I gave up reaching out two months ago. I found it interesting you said she was ok until about 11. Things took a bad turn for our relationship around the same time. However, she was a very difficult child always. Today, on Mother’s Day, I feel exhausted and depleted. I think back and there were years where my daughter would go out of her way to ‘forget’ me on this day just to hurt me. I’ve been abused by her for so long now and when I come to think of it, it was so unhealthy for so many years that it’s hard for me to recall good memories. I’ve read Sheri’s book and today I decided to read the last two chapters. Time to move on and get some closure. If not, it will kill me.

      Sending support your way, obviously we are not alone from reading all the comments.

    2. A. N.

      Be careful what you wish for!
      Do you really want to return to the insults, the rudeness, and the disrespect?
      I don’t.
      I haven’t seen my kids in a couple of years now and it’s just fine with me! I haven’t told anyone this – it sounds “bad” – but I don’t care if we ever reconcile. I just don’t care and I’m so glad. They can never hurt me again, never disrespect me again.
      They can kiss my ass! Ha!

  21. HasToStop

    To all,
    7.5 years into estrangement from my only child. Mother’s Day has always been hard as her birthday is today. She turned 50 and while I am sad that I couldn’t celebrate a special day with her, I have worked hard to separate emotional feelings from intellectual ones. My ED has a personality disorder. She walked away from us when the money stopped flowing. And in a very damaging way that doesn’t need rehashing.
    For this 50th birthday it was harder to hold fast. I miss being a Mom but intellectually know she could care less about my feelings. In the end I found my way back to what has become a place that settles my mind. We were lucky to have her in our life for 43 years. And she was absolutely lucky to have us. She has become a memory. A weight I feel some days ( (Mother’s Day ) but hardly notice most days. Oh, I think about her every day. But not with heaviness.
    This year was also diffucult because 3 weeks ago her Dad ( my high school sweetheart and partner/husband of 55 years ) had a near fatal heart attack. And he has not recovered from cardiogenic shock. He is very adamant our daughter not be notified of anything, including the possibility he may not survive this ordeal. He feels she forfeited that when she turned away from us. And his decision will be honored. We don’t owe her anything.
    We all have our burdens to carry. I hope all yours are not a heavy weight. As my brother in law says: HAVE A DAY

    Reply
  22. Nan

    Thank you Sherri,
    I am still reaching out periodically to my son. I reach out not expecting an answer but it soothes my heart to know I have tried.
    Thank you for continuing to reach out and write about estrangement. I hear it now and see it more than I once did. Maybe I’m more aware, or maybe we are all just talking about it more.

    Tomorrow let’s all celebrate women everywhere!!

    Nan

    Reply
  23. Amanda

    To be honest, yesterday I had a meltdown about Sunday. I am resilient, however, and bounced back today feeling peaceful. I think about all the things I don’t miss, walking on eggshells, unfair treatment, etc. I keep busy with hobbies. I just gifted myself a lap harp which is easy to play and music is healing. Watching funny movies make me laugh and laughter is good for the soul. I think about how lucky I am because I am not directly being unappreciated, not wondering what happened to the gifts I gave my grandchildren that I hadn’t seen them with. I also think about the huge gap in the values, lifestyle, morals etc., it’s like I can hardly believe I gave birth to this child. Deep in my heart I have knowledge that although at some point we may speak briefly a couple of times due to family events I.e. deaths etc., we will never have a relationship. It’s unfortunate but I do feel my child can cut off emotions and compartmentalize them so she can live with her choice.

    Reply
  24. Sybil

    Thinking of Naomi Judd and her suicide, it’s crossed my mind to think about it myself. It’s been 7 years since I’ve seen my 2 daughters. I do have a son who loves me though, without him I wouldn’t be here.

    Reply
  25. Catherine M.

    Hugs to all of you. I relate to all. I am so glad I found Sheri. I don’t know if I contributed to my estrangements with two of my children. The estrangements are episodic. I was very young when I had my first child. I know I wasn’t emotionally mature when my first two were born. I loved them and was a caring mother to the best of what I knew at the time. I am a widow. Sometimes I envy those who still have their spouse to share this with. I agree with Sheri, to take care of myself and make a happy life. I am trying to do that but this weekend is hard. Thanks for all the support.

    Reply
    1. Barbara G.

      Ya it is hard no doubt ; especially since society puts so much pressure on being honored as a Mother and respected and on and on it goes ……
      It is just not reality for many of us !!
      I am in the habit of having a retreat Sunday ( no electronics for 30 hrs) every second Sunday of the month and I wasn’t sad at all that it fell on Mother’s Day this year
      I so enjoyed not seeing all the happy Mother’s Day text from friends ……
      not sitting on needles as to if my AS would call / text or not ….. he did both but to be honest that doesn’t necessarily make me feel more at peace …..
      Ours is a weird estrangement he calls or texts on major holidays but totally doesn’t let me be part of his life …..
      I used to “ force visit “ him staying in a hotel because he always found reasons why I couldn’t stay at his place
      I don’t do that anymore ; so its been 3 years since I last saw him ; I don’t really feel at ease talking with him anymore ; very one sided conversations ; the estrangement is growing from my side too over time I must say …
      I have learned to just let it be without becoming bitter
      I choose to remain open but at the same time guarding my sanity and well being
      Peaceful Mother’s Day to all you beautiful ladies

  26. sandy

    2children both loved beyond words…daughter left years ago, we raised her son who has now left without a word because she will not allow .She has harmed me physically as well as mentally,I will always have the scares from when she attack me ,,these cannot compare to the ‘inside’ scares.Son who threw us away for many years is now living with us as he is mentally not well.I face daily remembering his actions when I would beg him to get in touch.He was a Pastor in a Mega mega church now we have total responsibility of him, marriage gone and his kids never in touch.I have lost 6 g. children I will never know or will they know How much I wanted to be in their lives.Husband and I both 80 and know time is limited on this earth.
    Mothers Day is beyond painful ,,,2 close dear friends died ,one taking her own life.
    I am alive by the grace of God no other reason.I read this book years ago, time to find and read again.
    thanks

    Reply
  27. Jeanne

    Hello,
    Like a birth-day,each day is new as we’ve not been here before. Estrangement doesn’t have to mean we’re no longer mothers. That will cease when we do. Reflection, owning our own life and working on acceptance lends itself to inner moments of simple peace. Strength to all of us who work hard to find this while estranged.

    Reply
  28. Terri

    “Wow! Just wow” What you wrote, Sheri, at the end of your article is the last words I texted to my daughter a few weeks ago when she informed me by text that we both have different ideas of what it is to be a mother. We were always close until the past few years when she became incommuncative except in texts that were about her family and never even asked how I was. I said I wanted my daughters to call me instead of text, after trying for years to figure out why they distanced themselves. So I sent the final “Wow, just wow!” text to her and gave up. I got tired of getting down on myself for not being whatever she thought I should be. I was a loving mother who was devoted to my daughters, and they grew up healthy and educated to have good lives. Then I get tossed aside. Wow! Just wow! I have liberated myself from putting myself down, realizing they may not like me but I’m a good person, loved by many friends if not by my children.

    Reply
    1. Nan

      I would give anything for even a text from my son; or my granddaughters. In fact, if I were choosing a type of communication for right now I would choose texts. There are no uneasy silences, there is time to review what you are saying rather than have something come flying out of my mouth that would offend someone. And with texts I can save them or not.

      Please be kind to yourself, and think kind thoughts about your daughter and her family. How long has it been since you’ve seen her? Are there grandchildren you are missing?

      Bless you this Mother’s Day.

  29. Sue E.

    This is so sad for us all. I am a widow going thru radiation, broke my foot, and almost certain I won’t hear from my daughter or grown grandchildren who are married, and I was so close to them all their life . I’ve tried everything to reach out. No response from the grands and I can only suspect that a time where I lose my home ( illegally, still in lawsuit , 16 years!) needed a place to live for a short while, daughter triggered me, said no I had made wrong choices ( not true) when it came to buying a house ) and I said something back that was misinterpreted about Choices that I had at 18. I thought the conversation was! Between her and I , no, my son in law taped me ! I believe he shared that with my grandkids , I’ve been totally shunned 4 1/2 years . Never have I been able to speak to them again. Heart is shattered . I’ve always been there for all . Nothing I can do even though I r tried everything , so now I’m completely alone, from my only family . My dear friends have been there in cards and kindness. All I do is pray hoping for a change and a true forgiveness of heart . The book Sheri has written done with crying is so helpful. Thank you . I just keep praying for change , and yes Mother’s Day for us is a hard one. Distraction is a great answer … love those who really care about you… reach out to other moms even if you aren’t being cared for. You’ll get thru this. And pray …

    Reply
  30. Debbie H.

    I will cry in bed all day. My daughter has six children and I only have met only three. My heart is already am sick to think of tomorrow. I have no support except this is support and the book. I feel worthless and I don’t know what I did but she won’t talk. Praying for everyone grieving the loss of our estranged children. Thank you for listening and caring.

    Reply
    1. Marie C

      I’m so sorry for the struggle you are facing Debbie. I haven’t heard from my oldest son in 4-1/2 years. It breaks my heart as I have never had the chance to meet my two grandchildren. I understand what you are going through. But a little of your daughter lives in you and you can chose to still love her and your grandchildren. You can choose love towards them or you can choose to let their abandonment wear you down. I choose everyday to love them and know my heart isn’t bitter. You’re not a worthless person, you gave to your daughter the best you had and that’s worth something. You are still a beautiful person, just different from what you imagined the first day you held her. Life has not been what I had hoped and dreamed for, but it’s still a good life. Happy Mother’s Day

    2. Nan

      I’m so sorry for you! Praying for resolution for you. Please be kind to yourself.

  31. Claire H.

    Thank you again Sheri for such helpful suggestions. My biggest thought processes for a day where our children are supposed to acknowledge and send love to their moms is that I am stupid, I was a fool, and I am embarrassed that both of my children have dumped me. How could I be so stupid? That is what I am working on to overcome. And secondly, I rationalize that Mother’s Day is a man-made “holiday” that is simply an illusion of our minds. This helps me get through the day. I have it planned out, and I’m going to do my very best to remain focused on other things…and it will pass, and on Monday, the day after Mother’s Day, I will be relieved that it is gone for another year.

    Reply
  32. Annie

    Lizzie, thinking of you this weekend. Celebrate your 3 other sons who continue to lovingly be there for you. Know that you are not alone with these difficult feelings.

    Reply
  33. Diane M.

    Here’s a quote I saved that goes along with what Sheri wrote in her Mother’s Day message: “Each person deserves a day away in which no problems are confronted, no solutions searched for.” I loved Sheri’s message about taking Mother’s Day as a day off of thinking about things that make us angry or sad. My friend called Mother’s Day just another Hallmark holiday. So many mushy TV commercials and shows about these so-call “perfect” parents, kids and grandkids. That’s not reality in any home. We need to rename Mother’s Day to a Day of Celebrating Women. No matter if we are recently estranged or have been for years, that hope and hurt and sneak up on all of us. We can put this on a shelf on Mother’s Day and celebrate the wonderful women we have become! Time to celebrate us! Have a good weekend and enjoy it in your own special way. I love reading all your posts. You are FABULOUS! And a big THANK YOU to Sheri for always writing just the perfect thoughts for us!

    Reply
    1. rparents Post author

      Diane,

      I’m so grateful the newsletter message resonated. Thank you for acknowledging me! And yes, we deserve a day away! Heck, two, three, even 365 days!!
      🙂
      ❤️
      Sheri McGregor

    2. Nan

      I’m so sorry for you! Praying for resolution for you. Please be kind to yourself.

    3. Nan

      Diane,
      Thank you for your input! I shall rejoice all women in my life who have contributed to me becoming who I am today! I pray we all find rest and relaxation from the stress and sadness that being estranged has brought us.
      I feel better for reading your post, thank you!

      Nan

  34. Lisa R.

    Dearest Lizzie, Tovah, and All,

    There is nothing that I can add to your shared experiences and wisdom as it seems that we are all going through the same thing. I simply want to extend a hug to all of you as we struggle through this difficult weekend. (Remember that much of the pressure comes from commercialism.) May our individual distractions and engagements help us to weather this weekend storm and move into the future. For me, my escape is music making (piano and French horn.) Sometimes I have to force myself yo get started but it always pays off in the end. It’s a “just do it” approach to mental and emotional health.

    Wishing you love and peace,
    Lisa R.

    Reply
  35. Tovah

    Distractions are essential in life! Without them our frazzled brains can get into an endless loop of “monkey mind” which is one of the worst experiences.
    I’ve realized lately the many ways that my childhood was different from that of our children. I had several mostly older relatives around me, grandparents and their siblings (my grandpa had nine brothers and one sister!), aunts and uncles, cousins, etc. By the time ours came along there was only one grandparent, someone very young at heart and not at all soft and fleshy, with mothballs in the closet and a feed sack apron that smelled of brownies as mine did.
    Also different was the fact that there were no smartphones. We needed our elders for lots of stuff, including survival! Now, instead of asking your mother, for example, how to treat poison ivy, you just Google the question and there it says, “calamine lotion.”
    Who needs a mother anymore???
    This is no exaggeration. And it extends to every subject under the sun.
    Our kids have early-onset estrangement. They are not yet 20 but already have no need for parents, thanks to the existence of a virtual family of thousands in the form of followers, likes, and thumbs ups. Talk about distractions! In that flashy, emoji strewn place, which I call their “I gotchu!” world, everyone and everything they do is amazing, awesome, nothing less than superheroes. Why would you want a mother or father who nags, imposes curfews and doesn’t always offer you double high fives just because you showed up at the breakfast table. Add to this the new definition of “abuse,” which now could be claimed just because you didn’t get the newest iPhone with unlimited data and 24-hour access, and you have a perfectly good reason to reject parents.
    Teens always tended to shut out their parents but these days it is a full and complete off-the-cliff-with-you thing. Before she rejected us, our youngest daughter was able to spend almost two months living completely independently while still in our home thanks to her “I gotchu!” team and her smartphone which, if it was taken away was immediately replaced by them!
    There is no winning that battle and they will walk through fire to win.
    It wasn’t long before she made arrangements to leave our home and move in with one of them. Because we had been aged out, canceled, or otherwise deemed nonessential, we let her go two months before her 17th birthday. Her big sister by two years had done the same thing a year and a half earlier. Both of them have a virtual universe in which to thrive and when they left, gained a household with guardians but, hey dude, NO PARENTS!
    I’ve read a lot here in a brief amount of time. We relate to everyone and have only the deepest compassion for you all. We see ourselves in the many sad portrayals that describe estrangements of much older adult children. Considering that unfortunate status and reality of ours, thank you Sheri, for the distractions! Your book is on order and it can’t come fast enough!

    Reply
    1. Annie

      Thank you, Tovah. This is so helpful and the whole cellphone, texting buddy system was something I’d never really considered. My daughter (32) and I have an “on again, off again” relationship. Right now, it’s off-again. It’s hitting me hard this year because this week is also the anniversary of my mother’s death 3 years ago. Have done a lot of soul searching this week. Tried to remember times when my daughter (only child) filled me with joy-or even a peaceful, easy feeling. My conclusion was that we had this during her first 18 months of life. The rest of it has been one, long tantrum coupled with verbal abuse with moments of calm. I’ll always love this person because she is my daughter but am finally recognizing that I don’t really like her. Walking on eggshells for fear of setting her off at any given moment is no way to carry on a loving relationship.

    2. rparents Post author

      Dear Annie,

      I still miss my mom…

      Also, yo I coming to some realizations—it can be so painful to see things clearly. It also brings growth.

      Hugs,
      Sheri McGregor

    3. Shelley L.

      I was feeling gloomy the day before Mother’s Day and I was so happy to hear from Sheri. Her words bring comfort and make me look at things in a different way. I feel bad for all the mothers and fathers who have a strange children mine haven’t talk to me in a year & four months. I cried for over a year that I hadn’t seen my children and like everybody went through my Rolodex of what I did wrong in my mind. But now I’m stronger thanks to the books I’ve read from Sheri and listen to all of you that are in the same boat as me. Be strong!

    4. Diane h

      Thank you for writing, it’s the morning of mothers day here in New Zealand and I laughed at the rawness and energy of your perceptive take re iPhone, technology and all that bull. I think it’s so true and has also been a big part of my experience. Thank you for sharing!

  36. Lizzie

    I just found this site and I honestly feel like it saved my life – at least for today. I feel like I’m in hell, like there is a knee on my neck and no one will help me. My beautiful son and I were close, truly until his now wife came along. I thought we were good, but literally the minute they walked back down the aisle he became someone I don’t even recognize. It’s as if he would prefer I was dead. I’m going to listen to your book starting right now. I have 3 other grown sons that I have to continue to show up for. Thank you.
    Lizzie

    Reply
    1. Toni D.

      Lizzie,
      I am so sorry you are going through this like so many of us moms. Sheri’s books are so helpful and I highly recommend them. Please take care of yourself. Sending hugs to you and all of us hugs this weekend.
      Sincerely, Toni

    2. Rhonda M.

      I once had a beautiful boy that I taught to be kind and loving. He married his high school sweetheart and I learned all moms are not equal. Little by little I watched my son pulled away from his family and molded into theirs. First Mother’s Day he has not recognized that I exist. It’s like he wants to punish me and I do not know why. It took me nine years to become pregnant with him and he was so loved, he was a loving son til he married.
      I thank God for my beautiful daughter and her kind heart. What the future holds I do not know but I have to believe that sons who abandon their mothers will never find peace in their life and the little girls who encourage the behavior are selfish and will never change.

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