Mother’s Day Message to Rejected Mothers

Mother’s Day is not a happy occasion for mothers whose children reject them. On this day your children should be honoring you and celebrating your contributions to their lives. Instead, their love for you has been disowned under the influence of an insecure or vindictive parent.

If you have come to terms with your children’s rejection, and moved on with your life, dwelling on the significance of this day may merely open old wounds. Some mothers, though, may want to consider the following suggestion.

If your children fail to contact you today, or treat you with disdain, and you have a thick skin, consider calling them to let them know (via voice mail if they do not take your calls) that on this day you celebrate your role as their mother, you accept that they can not, and you look forward to the day when they will be able to recover their identity as children of two parents.

For all rejected mothers, please do not allow the smears about you to affect your view of reality. It does not matter how forcefully or repeatedly your ex and your children put you down. This does not change the reality of who you are and how much your children have benefitted from your love and care.

My final Mother’s Day message is one of hope. As alienated children grow up, some (we don’t know what percent) begin thinking for themselves and reach out to a parent they have rejected. I do not believe in giving false hope to people. In the case of estranged parent-child relationships, though, there is reason for hope. To keep you going while you wait for your children to rediscover their bond to you, you may find it helpful to read about successfully restored relationships.

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17 Responses to Mother’s Day Message to Rejected Mothers

  1. [name withheld by admin] says:

    Thank you so much for this message. I had a really rough day yesterday. My 15 year old son spent the day with me, but his 17 year old brother cut off all communication with me 2 years ago. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of him, wonder how he is doing, and pray to God that someday he will be back in my life. We used to be so close before my divorce. Suddenly, almost overnight, he made the decision that he wanted nothing to do with me. He has blocked me from his email, cell phone, and facebook page. The day before he turned 16 he called me to let me know of his decision. The following day he received a new car from his father and step-mom for his birthday.

    I spent all of my savings and liquidated my retirement accounts to pay attorney fees, Parenting Coordinator fees, etc. My ex-husband makes $600,000 per year, and I am a nurse and make $55,000. I ran out of money to keep fighting for my and my son’s rights, and my ex-husband knew this would happen.

    We share custody of my 15 year old and he spends about 50/50 time at each home. I refuse to bring him into the middle of the situation by asking him about his brother. He knows that I am sad and that it is hard on me.

    How common is it for one child to be alienated and the other not to be? The same things are being said to both of them, but my older son is very sensitive and emotional. My 15 year old is very strong, independent and doesn’t believe all that is said to him.

    My Faith in God has gotten me though these almost 2 years. It still hurts just as bad today as it did then though, even though it is easier to talk about it openly in my support group and to close friends.

    Thanks again for your Mother’s Day message.

    [name withheld by admin]
    [location withheld by admin], Indiana

    • You are welcome. I am sorry for your loss and I hope that your 17-year-old soon finds his way back to you.

      We have no good statistics about the incidence in which some but not all siblings become unreasonably alienated from a parent. But I certainly have seen this in my consultations with courts and families. The reasons vary why one child succumbs to divorce poison while his brother resists. Some possibilities: 1) a parent puts more pressure on one child than the other to pledge allegiance by rejecting the other parent, 2) one child is at a stage of development that makes him more vulnerable to the angry parent’s influence, 3) one child displays more effort or more skill at critical thinking, 4) one child is less secure about the favored parent’s interest and love and feels the need to curry favor with that parent even at the expense of losing the other parent whose love has been more consistent and assured, 5) one child is more taken in by promises of gifts and freedom in exchange for rejecting the other parent, 6) one child has more difficulty understanding the nuances of the failure of a marriage and blames only one parent for the breakup, 7) one child has less tolerance for the anxiety that comes from failing to choose sides, 8- one child feels overly close to a parent, fears being dependent on that parent, and rejects the parent in an effort to create more psychological distance and independence, 9) one child has needed more discipline from a parent and the favored parent exploits the child’s resentment of the discipline by encouraging the child to reject the disciplinarian and promising the child more freedom, 10) any combination of the above or other reasons that did not make this list.

  2. Thank you for posting this. Mother’s Day was a nightmare! I was sure I’d sleep the day, content to not face the rest of the world, but life doesn’t always go according to plan. Instead, I spent the day thinking of Mother’s Day celebrations from the past and for a moment I was okay. Once the reality came creeping back it only served as a reminder that our particular battle was far from over.

    I have to hope. So many mothers that are without their children don’t know how to hold on. Hope has been eradicated from their language by the actions and the emotions they’re party to.

    For all of us who experienced Mother’s Day without being able to celebrate the love and joy that our children bring to us, without hugs and smiles, I’m praying that next year is better.

  3. [name withheld by admin] says:

    OMG…I am thankful to find this site. My custody battle just started in February and along with it started the alienation, although the alienating “parent” is not my ex, it is not the children’s father, but my own Mother, who for personal reasons I gave guardianship to in 2005. You can read a little about my story here: http://www.gofundme.com/48xqw . There is so much more to the story, but this is a little about what led to the guardianship. I have always had a very loving and close relationship with my children, that is until the custody case started. This whole mess started with me asking for more realistic visitation as my Mother has only allowed me visitation in her home. Since I no longer live in the same state and because of limited resources I was asking for visitation where I live, she replied with filing a suit for full custody in February and vowed to financially strap me with exhausting litigation. Since that time my children have become more and more alienated from me to the point of being extremely rude and disrespectful. Some saving grace was that at the last hearing the judge ordered them to spend their Spring Break here with me in Washington. We had a wonderful time, although difficult at times, they were able to relax and you could see the love in their eyes, they expressed it emotionally and towards the end of the trip verbally. I thought I had made progress but the very next day after being back in my Mother’s presence they were right back to hanging up on me, calling me names and even including their 8 year old brother in the alienation (I have full physical and legal custody of my youngest) by refusing to even acknowledge him during our Skypes, which we have been ordered to do nightly. Our Skypes lately consist of me calling, them answering and within a minute they hang up on me, but not before saying some pretty rude and rotten things to me. I refuse to give up, I still call them nightly knowing I will be hung up on and I send daily reports to my attorney. We have sent numerous letters to opposing counsel demanding the alienation stop. The children told me when they were here that my Mother lets them read every court document that is filed, which is in violation of several codes within the court. I am hoping that by keeping a good account of what is going on and making sure that the judge knows that I am committed to making sure my children get the proper counseling that the judge will see through the manipulation. Again, thank you for this site….it is now a new bookmark and I will be ordering a few of the DVD’s which I plan on watching with my children when I see them in two weeks for a court date. I realize they will be resistant to watching but if they pick up on even a little bit then I’ve made progress. My advice to anyone experiencing parental alienation is to NEVER give up, keep good records, insist on counseling and stay positive.

    Thank you.

    [name withheld by admin]

  4. Janta says:

    Last year at this time, my youngest daughter was “never” going to speak to me again. Following Dr Warshak’s advice, I managed to re-establish some contact with her. She visits me about once a week, and she is no longer hostile in her behaviour toward me. She still lives with her dad, but we have made so much progress that she sent me a “Happy Mother’s Day” message and met me for coffee. We spent a nice day together, and I wanted to let other parents know that persistence pays off. Take whatever small steps you can take even in the most hopeless situation, and keep at it. Hopefully you will receive that “Happy Mother’s Day” or “Happy Father’s Day” message, too, at some point.

  5. Carol says:

    Thank You Dr. Warshak,
    I read your book 1 1/2 years ago as I was searching for answers on the internet to what was happening with my teenage boys who moved to their dads and much to everyone’s amazement cut themselves off from me. The courts didn’t care that I was being refused visitation. I kept saying, it was like they were brainwashed. I was lost and sought the help of several counselors who were also at a loss to help me. I was giving up hope that anyone could help me make sure that I didn’t lose my children forever. Thanks to you, I began to text them short messages and learned not to expect a response. I took any exuse of a family party to see them and hugged them and told them how much I loved them ( at first they did not hug me back) . Now they really hug me and although I don’t see them on a regular basis, I remind myself that every positive encounter is a step in the right direction. They are now 16 and 18 and I have hope that I will not be cut out of their lives. They are starting to see the games that dad and stepmom play. I thank you for your answering my email at the time I was so lost! You gave me the answers I was looking for. Divorce poison is the most important book I ever read.

    • Thank you for taking the time to share your experience. I am glad my book and email helped you at a difficult time. I think your comment will help others in your situation hold on to hope and resist giving up.

  6. Katie says:

    Love your site, but I ask Wht about the very much involved StepMoms that are completely ignored & rejected by their Skids on Mothers Day? 50%+ or more of the time I pick them up,drop them off, cook them food, buy them clothes, help with homework, care for them when they are sick, and all of the other things a Mom does for her children. In other words I love & treat them exactly the same as my 2bio kids. I also understand they have an involved mother, and in no way would I ever try to replace her. I’m just a little upset that a Mothers Day I got nothing…no card, Happy mothers day, email…nothing(but every year on Fathers Day they make a card a acknowledge him as a Father Figure) BioMom and my relationship has been hostile in the past and now I ignore her accusation, bath mouthing, and bashing. I do NOT badmouth my skid’s BioMom and this year actually took my SD to go buy her mom a card & present for Mothers Day. For you to understand, you must know that my husband has shared physical custody w/his ex-wife and he also works A LOT! So the skids, our biokids, and I spend a lot of time without him, which has led to me being unfairly targeted by BioMom. I am always the one to blame, she lies to my skids, and seems like everything I do she critized, and try’s to compete…even though this isn’t a race or test of who is their better mother, She is their mother and I am their Stepmother. She basically relates to every aspect of the alienators in your book…I felt like I was reading my life while reading most of the stories in your book..except its not their father being alienated…it’s me, and since he has “chosen me over his kids” he gets badmouth & bashed to the kids and anyone else. Honestly it’s not just Mothers Day I felt rejected and hurt on, it’s a lot of other days and holidays. I just don’t know what to do anymore, I guess I am hoping you have advice or encouraging words for StepMoms that were rejected on mothers day because of the Alienating BioMom, and continue to be rejected many other days. I would really appreciate if you could add more insight and maybe cover more in depth the topic of “New Partner Alienation” thanks so much!

  7. Joy Henley says:

    Regardless of what happens or does not happen on Mother’s Day, a mother is still a mother everyday. She still shares that prenatal history, along with the experience of nurturing, laboring and loving her child. She will always be the mom!

  8. justme says:

    As a stepmom of 14 years, I can only say it is a pleasure to love the children, and the greatest heartbreak conceivable, watching an ex-wife bash my husband and myself. The most horrible was realizing a child was being manipulated, and knowing that at age 6, no child has any built-in protection of that. Particularly when it comes from a parent. I tell all parents now in the battle for custody – if your child matters to you, fight that battle against an alienator with everything in you. God will walk with you, no matter what the outcome appears to be. Thank Him for your child and His help in keeping a good relationship with your child. Oddly enough, I just got my answer. :) Giving thanks is faith and faith receives God’s promises.

    My utmost respect and admiration for the selfishness of those who take care of others’ children, and the pure love it takes to do so. You are walking in the way of the Godly. He is walking with you. May God’s presence surround you, may you be aware that you are loved, and that in time it will be known you are a good and faithful servant. May God’s love bless you and may the love you give to the child return to you from them and others a hundredfold!

  9. justme says:

    Sorry, that really should be the word SELFLESSNESS in the first sentence of the last paragraph. That’s really the whole of it. It’s about selflessness. No fear, God always rewards. Last week was my stepdaughter’s wedding. Painful, but I know He hears my cries, and He knows my heart. For all those hurting, take heart, God cares.

    • Janta says:

      Good on those who take comfort from religion. If that helps you through the heartbreak and gives you strength, go for it. I agree with justme that you have to keep fighting, and not lose hope. Because I am persevering, I am seeing slow, but tangible changes in my relationship with my daughters. Keep at it, and at the very least you know you are doing the right thing as a parent, and you are greatly increasing your chances of regaining a relationship.
      As an atheist, I have a firm belief that good people can do good things, and this belief is amply confirmed to me every day. Let good people help you get through this. I am so glad to have come across Dr Warshak, whose advice and materials have been immensely helpful. However, good people are everywhere, whether it is your friends supporting your happiness and wellbeing, whether it is a teacher or neighbour who treat you well in front of your alienated child, or whether it’s relatives, or parents of your child’s friends, who keep you informed about what is going on your child’s life, and who do everything they can to facilitate a reunion. So have faith in yourself as a parent and in the good people who are only too happy to support you, whether you have *a Faith* or not.

  10. amother says:

    I am writing this long after Mothers Day, but with no less feeling. My son is 38 years-old and married. I have one grandchild and one to be born, shortly. It has been the heartache of my life that my son has rejected me. I had sole custody of my son, who was 6 when I divorced his abusive father, which did not stop his father for suing me for custody, of and on, for 10 years, claiming I was an unfit parent. After an actual custody hearing, and no substantial changes, I finally let my 14 year-old son go and live with his father (no change in custody). I did everything out of love for my son, and I did everything I could think of or that was in my power to do to help him cope and keep his head on straight, during the divorce and post-divorce. He slowly but surely demonstrated that he had no regard for me as his mother, cut me out of his life and recently told me that he had intentionally done so. I was stunned. I have always had to deal with his need for enormous distance from me, which was already a heartache. Now, I am dealing with the reality of his almost total rejection — except for occasional contact with my grandson — trying to put distance between myself and my son, while remaining open. I spent years and years trying to cope with his rejection while hoping things would improve, doing what I could, trying different ways of dealing with my son, anything to make it better, always remaining open to the possibility — and hoping — that things might improve. Things only got worse and worse, until he recently told me that years ago, he cut me out of his life. I believe that (I allowed) this heartache to actually and ultimately make me sick — and I am now recovering, physically and spiritually, putting distance between myself and the situation as best I can.
    I would be interested in finding other places where this dynamic is addressed — a website about parents whose children who reject them. I have recently been told that it is not as uncommon as I thought.