• Wed, May 7 - 6:00 pm ET

13 Things No Estranged Child Needs To Hear On Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is a weird day for me. I’ve been estranged from my mother for over three years now, with no contact, something I don’t regret for 364 days out of the year. But every year on Mother’s Day?

It’s a weird mixture of sadness, anger and guilt. I am sad for the way our relationship disintegrated, angry at her for the reasons that it did, and guilty because I wonder how I would feel if I had no contact with my daughter a few decades from now. What takes the guilt from bad to worse is the number of people who have “helpful advice” on Mother’s Day, in the hopes that they can help me fix something that’s irreparable.

Estrangement isn’t easy for everyone to understand, which is why I believe that people have good intentions when they offer their far-from-groundbreaking nuggets of bumper sticker wisdom. On behalf of people estranged from their moms on Mother’s Day, I’ve compiled this list of things you should never say to an adult estranged child when Sunday rolls around.

1.  Why don’t you just call her? I’m sure she loves/misses you!

shh-man

Ooh, a psychic! Thanks for weighing in.

2. Couldn’t you just give her this ONE day?

daniel-radcliffe-shut-up

No. Working up the courage to go no contact isn’t easy, and it can take years. Even one conversation can destroy the progress someone makes.

3. What did she do that was so bad?

stop-talking

None of your business. Also, saying this implies that someone needs permission to end a toxic relationship.

4. Well, whatever it is, it can’t be as bad as you remember.

shut-your-mouth

Again, how do you know? If anything, people romanticize the past. Chances are, it’s worse than that person remembers, not better.

5. Maybe you were just a difficult child? Have you ever thought of that?

skylar-shut-up

Yes. Every single day of every single year. Most estranged adult children will blame themselves for everything, especially being a “bad child”.

6. I’m sure she only wanted what was best for you.

snape-harry-potter-silence

Well thanks, that makes everything better. In reality, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

7. The Bible says to honor your mother and father.

dr-house-dont-care

Wow! Let me convert really fast so that this makes sense.

8. But she seems like such a nice lady!

real-housewife-shut-up

Really? Tell me more.

9. Some people don’t even have mothers!/You’ll regret this when she’s gone.

hepburn-shh

Again, you have absolutely no idea if this is true. I know that I don’t regret cutting contact. In fact, I regret not doing it sooner.

10. Surely you must have SOME good memories, though!

gilmore-girls-stop-talking

Yes. But a trip to the ice cream parlor or a day at the park doesn’t supersede all of the bad stuff.

11. How would you feel if YOUR kid cut you off?

fergie-shut-up

Horrible. Which is why I work really hard to never give her a reason to.

12. Don’t you miss her even a little?

american-hustle-jennifer-lawrence-shut-up

No. I miss her a lot.

13. No one is perfect, not even mothers!

leo-dicaprio-shut-your-mouth

This is the worst of all. I have never, ever met an estranged adult child who cut off contact with someone that was “less than perfect”. Most of them would have settled for flawed, because it beats the hell out of abusive, addicted, and pathological. Many of us are parents ourselves now and realize that there is absolutely no way to achieve perfection. To imply that we are in a snit because our parents didn’t buy us the right things or say the right words is deeply insulting.  The fact is, many people forgive their parents over and over again, only to watch the cycle repeat. It isn’t until their quality of life is completely nonexistent that they finally excise themselves completely.

(Image: Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock)

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  • bkem

    I clicked into this from something else – could not read it because of the annoying videos. You might have something worthwhile to say on this topic and others, but you might want to remember that readers are trying to read without distraction.

  • Chelsea

    Yes I’ve gotten some of these comments about my father… And really I just want people to shut the hell up. Your relationship issues are between you and your mother/father/whoever. My annoying cousin (who hasn’t gotten the memo that she’s in her mid thirties and should be a bit more mature) told me that my father was a way better father to her than her’s way so I should just get over it. Well sometimes them not being around is better than them lying and choosing drugs over you. Just saying! Thanks for posting this it really spoke to a lot of issues that come along with estrangement.

  • Lita

    I escaped my abusive, cold, greedy, manipulative, selfish, cruel, shrew of a mother and I’ve never looked back. My life has been so much better since getting her out of my life. She had me because she wanted to keep my father on the hook, both emotionally and financially. I was her meal ticket, and that’s all I was. I got alot of abuse and constant criticism from her, but never once a hug or a kind word. She actually stole several thousand dollars from me on top of everything else.

    I get real tired of questioning my decision to cut contact with her. People are so quick to judge and defend abusers. Why? Maybe they just can’t understand what it’s like to have a parent like that? Or maybe they are abusers themselves?

  • anonymous

    I appreciate this more than I can put into words. It is pinned under my favorites. I have re-read it at least a dozen times since you posted it. Mother’s Day is hard. June is hard for me as well – both my parents have birthdays and its Father’s Day. I am thankful that my contact is in months that are next to each other, instead of spread out over the year. Its hard to go no contact – but I, too, regret not doing it sooner. I did not talk to them all last year except May/June via email and decided to call over the holidays. Sometimes I still think I am recovering from that phone call. It took so much courage. I had changed so much in a year. And everything was still the same with them. I have several friends who have lost one or both of their parents. My good friend, who has lost both parents, has met my parents – my mother in particular – and completely understands. She doesn’t know fully why, but she respects my decision. I am thankful for that. Sending some peace your way.