Mother’s Day Comes ‘Round Again

Mother’s Day Comes ‘Round Again

Mother’s Day. Not exactly my favorite holiday. I spend most of the time wondering if I’ll hear from my son – will he text, call even? Most years now, I receive a nod in the form of a brief text, which is fine, but a bit underwhelming.

I recently had a session with a wonderful therapist. After telling her more of my ‘story’ from the past, she helped me understand something profoundly important for my recovery: I was a better mother than I have given myself credit for. I was a kind, sensitive, supportive mother. I loved my child with my whole heart and soul.

For many, many years, I have tortured myself with guilt. When the estrangement started, I felt even more guilt. My son was forming a very different picture of his childhood under the relentless, negative spin that his wife put on it. She has her rules about how motherhood, fatherhood, marriage and raising children should look, and I didn’t fit that construct.

The recent revelation, again with the insights and perspective of my therapist, is that I was a good mother. I wasn’t Betty Crocker, by any stretch, but I was authentic and never faltered in my love and concern for my son. He inherited my vibrant spirit, my ability to take risks, my artistic soul. But, although he once enjoyed my humor and identified with my free spiritedness, he now condemns both.

I’ve said this before, but the point is this: I am done criticizing myself and feeling overcome with guilt. My therapist pointed out that, despite overwhelming obstacles, I fought “heroically” for my son – for his safety, well-being and to be able to mother him and love him. I have been treated unfairly, but I will no longer treat myself unfairly. I’ve done all I can, even putting myself in the de-humanizing position of begging for scraps of love from him when this estrangement and alienation began.

My son’s perceptions have become sadly warped. He no longer communicates with me. I can’t change his mind, so I must change my own mind. A blind person can’t be expected to see the sky or a deaf person to hear music; it is equally unrealistic to expect someone who is invested in believing lies to embrace the truth.

I understand more deeply what the reality of my experience as a mother was. I’m also getting in touch with a deep anger that I haven’t allowed myself to feel – anger at the injustices that I’ve endured and anger at the current circumstances of alienation. I think this anger is a good thing – it’s a healthy response to the irrational, cruel and unjust way I have been treated.

So, Happy Mother’s Day to every mother who did the best she could for her children and never wavered in her love for them. Appreciate yourself today and remember that you were and are still a good mother.

32 thoughts on “Mother’s Day Comes ‘Round Again”

  • Thank you for sharing your feelings. I can’t tell you how true this is for me. Indeed it is high time we give ourselves this well earned credit. Time to accept what the DIL has done. I t will never be the same. We shouldn’t grovel for the live we deserve. Forgiveness and acceptance. These are two things I need to get closer to. I wish you pe@ce.

  • Omg Nancy!!! You so, so touch my heart with your beautiful sharing! As I’m sitting here weeping…after doing nothing all day but trying not to think about my granddaughter…I am grateful that at least I have you … Someone a little further down the road than I am …to hold onto! I haven’t written before because I feel so much shame about this…I rarely say a word because it seems people don’t understand it and think I should be able to fix it. And everything is Mothers Day. Everywhere I go… All I ever wanted was a family… I did everything for my mom just for the possibility of a scrap of love…then tried to give my daughters and my granddaughter what I never got. I just don’t understand how this could have happened. Anyway….I just want to echo what others have already written about what a blessing you are! Thank you for making me feel so not alone!

    • Beth, I feel the same way as you. I was an only child and was not treated very well by my adopted parents,especially my mother who was very mentally abusive toward me. I couldn’t wait to get married and have a family of my own. I had a very abusive husband and stayed in the marriage way too long for 24 years before I couldn’t take any more and after that my ex disowned his own children. He came back into their lives after almost 16 years and they now think he is a hero because he is giving them money. I have not seen my 2 adult sons for over 5 years and although they don’t have any children I still can’t figure it out why they won’t bother with me and they won’t give me any reason either. As if that wasn’t bad enough my daughter who has borderline personality and has two small children 8 and 5 decided a little over a year ago that I wasn’t going to see her kids any longer. I know this was because they were neglecting the children and I knew what was going on and she also knew the children would talk. I never told her what they told me but I guess she figured they were confiding in me. I will be going to court in July because my daughter won’t even let me send a card or gift to my grandkids as she said any contact I would try to have with any of them they would view as harassment. She and her husband wouldn’t even agree to let me see them once a month. There is no doubt that they are using the children as pawns iagainst me. Some days I feel so bad and depressed that I don’t even want to go on.
      Of course, with Mother’s Day coming up it is that much more painful. Sometimes I feel like it’s a bad dream but unfortunately it’s not.

      • Chatty queen: your story is so sad, as are almost everyones’ who are estranged and alienated. The fact that your daughter is borderline is a very difficult personality disorder to deal with. Borderlines are never wrong and have their own reality, as you know, and unless you adhere to their fabrications and odd perspectives, you’re on their s–t list. Also, they are terrified of being abandoned but push others away. I feel for you – I believe my DIL is borderline – I can think of no other explanation for her horrid behavior.
        Hang in there and keep me posted, especially about your court date. I wish you luck and grace.

    • Hello, Beth. Thanks so much for writing and I’m grateful that my writing is helping you on some level. There are no easy answers to estrangement, and when I write, I’m searching for something to hold on to -not an easy task, as I’m sure you know. Your story is sad, but somehow, my sense is that you’re not a sad person. You sound vibrant and very much alive! We all want to love and be loved, and when our families withhold love it’s very painful. I keep going back to learning to love yourself, and everything stems from that. You’re not alone and I’m here anytime you want to vent 😉

  • Haha – I thought I was missing something also! Thank-you, Angela – and, yes, I’ll be writing until I have no more to say, which might be quite awhile 😉

    • Sorry to confuse you! No problem – I thought I was missing something. I appreciate your great, powerful writings and hopefully you will continue to post them. Thanks again.

  • Do you have a support group regarding parental and/or grandparent alienation on World Justice or what is your cause?

  • “It is equally unrealistic to expect someone who is invested in believing lies to embrace the truth.” This is so true. It sounds like you were the best mother that you could be, given your circumstances, something that you son (and his wife) probably won’t understand because he does not know your circumstances.

  • Hello, Heidi – thanks for writing. I’m so sorry that you have a daughter-in-law who is unkind and suspicious of everything you do, (I had the same experience with my DIL – a nightmare!). I understand vacillating between grief and healing – it’s enough to make anyone crazy! But, I see no other way and at least you’re not stuck in only grief and pain. Also, thank-you for telling me that my writing has helped you – that means a lot to me.
    Keep me posted and sending blessings to you.

  • Your story and experience so closely mirrors mine… Sometimes your entries feel like I wrote them, or at least like there is actually someone who understands exactly the agony, shame, and guilt I feel. I, too, was a good loving mother, supportive and available, with a good relationship with my children. My grands loved me and they were the light of my soul. But one person didn’t love me. And for her, my every breath was both irritating and suspect, surely I had an ulterior motive for every single thing I did. Everything I bought, offered, said, must be an attempt at manipulation, right? So, although my son takes credit and responsibility for every cruel act of estrangement and silence, he somehow doesn’t see the change in himself from this constant influence and attitude. It is so foreign to me, to only see the bad in someone, that for me it took a long time to realize what was happening to me. And now I waiver every day between grief, pain, and sorrow, and healing, hope, and regaining my self esteem and strength. You have helped me with that. If you ever doubt the great benefit your entries hold, never doubt it again. You are a lifesaver.

    • I agree that Nancy really gives me hope and an uplifted spirit despite all of the pain and hardship I have been dealing with since am not seeing my adult children and my two precious little grandchildren. I know it is with a heavy heart that she writes but be assured that every one of us is benefiting from her powerful words and feelings. Thanks once again Nancy for sharing your sentiments with us.

      • You’re so welcome, Heidi and Chattyqueen. And thank you for your kind words. I’m so glad that the pain I’ve endured hasn’t been wasted and that others may find some comfort here. We parents and grandparents who have been so hurt drag heavy hearts with us throughout our days, but we can learn to live a good life anyway, if we work at it.

  • Nancy, I am right there with you, other than you get a text and I get nothing from my 3 estranged children, who I was always there for and still am, despite the fact that they literally kicked me to the curb.

    • Shame on your estranged children. You deserve respect and love – so respect and love yourself this Mother’s Day, and remind yourself that you did your best and you were and are a good mother! The heck with them right now – take good care of yourself.

      • I am saddened and in tears reading these heartbreaking stories how our children literally abandon us and turn away. I raised 3 wonderful sons. I worked, made every sport they played, they had hot meals, clean clothes, and a mother who loved them more than life itself. My 2 younger sons, age 25 and 34 are still very close to me, but my 37 year old married son literally acts like I don’t exist. We were always close. My sons having an absent father since age 3, always had me. I worked hard to provide and my time and life dedicated to them. I was also close to my sons wife, very close, and all it took was for her to get mad at me over something and WHAMO, the destruction began. It’s been almost 5 years now, and I was the sole sittermfor their 2 boys, my grandsons. We formed a tight bond from birth, and now I barely get any time with them, ages 6 and 8 now. I’ve prayed about it till I turn blue,move tried to turn it over to God, because it is to much for me. I am diagnosed with insomnia…….the reason I can not sleep? This terrible nightmare I am living and all the hurt involved. My heart aches. Of course I could write a book about this, and might do that, but all mlm I want is my son and grandsons back in my life. When I go by to visit, I am not offered coffee, a drink or made to feel welcome there at all. My grandchildren act afraid to show me any love. They are completely opposite around my son and his wife. When they are alone with me, few and far between, they are loving to me, cuddly and truly show their love and happiness in being with me. This tells me, that they are hearing or over hearing things about me? Not sure. I am a mother who never did drugs, never drank. Never had men in my house or even dated after divorcing until my kids were raised, and that came years later. I’m a good person, and I was the best mother possible, being a single mother was tough at times, but my kids didnt go without much. They always came first . My son who is turning his back on me is a police officer, now a sargeant, and for the love of God, I cant understand how he can treat me this way. As my son and a policeman. I am beside myself. My youngest son has 2 small boys 2 and 4. I am welcome day or night and welcomed right in. He and his gal are good to me and treat me with respect and love. This son is one who it doesn’t matter if I see him twice a week or twice a day, our goodbye always ends with “love ya mom”. Tears of joy for me. My middle son 34, always reminds me too that he loves me. These 2 boys know it’s my daughter in law tearing us all apart. My entire family knows this. But how do I even talk to my son when I cant get him alone. Oh dear God I pray for the day my son opens his eyes and his heart and realizes I’ve done nothing wrong , and realizes where the trouble is starting from. HELP….HELP, PLEASE HELP. Mothers, what do I do? I am 60 now. Just survived lung cancer but health isn’t the same, I blame stress, depression and anxiety of living this hell with this toxic DIL one lot of my issues. My insomnia for sure. I lay down to sleep and my mind turns on and the sadness and heartbreak take over and tears just roll. My heart goes out to every parent out there who is going through this. Oh and my oldest son doesn’t speak to his 2 younger brothers. My DIL calls them poison. My 34 has schizophrenia and did the drug thing following that diagnosis, I got him into a lockdown rehab with the help of the court and he remained clean and sober for 2.5 years. He is back on marijuana and drinks a lot. My youngest son got into an arguement with my eldest son and so it’s been years sincemtheyve spoken. My sons want to reunitemwith their older brother but he refuses. A lot of this is due to the wife not wanting them around. Shame on her. She claims to be a Christian. God, help her please. So it’s been 3 years since I have got to have a family dinner, family holidays together with all my children and grandchildren. My grandchildren do not even know their cousins. Omg, to actually write this sickens me. .God please help my family, my adult sons, and show me how to bring us back together, or can i even do that? The DIL makes it very hard. The influence she has over my son is terrible sad. Ok folks, here’s just a small part of my heart ache. And my heart breaks for all of you experiencing the same. I am open to ANY ADVICE to help or fix this situation. Prayers to all you/us. Xoxo

        • Dear Crying Mom,
          I uderstand your pain. I’ve been there, but I’d like to share what I’ve learned and wish I’d learned alot sooner.
          It would take hours if not days to discuss parent-child relationships. You’re asking about grief, pain, anxiety, and the frustration of not being able to fix your situation. I’ve learned (the hard way -after making myself very sick) that this is an issue of attachment. If you feel obsessed about your son’s life, or the behavior of your daughter-in-law, you’re overly attached. And if they are behaving in ways that either hurt you or result in grief and despair, you’ve lost any healthy boundaries you might have once had. Having said that, you do need to go through a grieving process, but after that, you must understand that your attachment is harming you and by sacrificing your own life at the altar of your son and daughter-in-law, you’re only harming yourself.
          Let.Go. Let go of false hope, let go of dreaming up solutions or manipulating events. Heal yourself. Your son has made it clear that he doesn’t want a relationship with you at this time, so take him at his word. No means no. Stop rejecting reality and take joy in the relationships you have with your other sons and grandkids (lots of grandparents don’t have other children). Be grateful for what you have and let go of the other stuff that only hurts you. Be strong, be courageous enough to reject abuse and cruelty and set healthy boundaries for yourself. Have you read my book? I think it would help you heal, as there is much more to read than I can provide here.
          Reclaim your life!

          • I will purchase your book. Is Banished. The book you are referring to? I’m heart broken, and yes, I need to get through this grieving process. Thank you for your advice and input. It hurts but it makes sense. 💔💔

          • I know it hurts – I understand. Reality is our friend if we accept it.
            Yes, the title of my book is “Banished – A Grandmother Alone, Surviving Alienation and Estrangement.”
            Wishing you healing and blessings.

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