Why Can’t I Forgive My Mother for Abandoning Her Family?

My mom left me and my family when I was 16. She didn't return until I was close to 19. I love her to death because she was my mom and dad as a child when my dad took off on us, and I feel like she is trying her hardest, but even today I can't forgive her. I love her, but I have so much anger toward her and hurt from her. I've seen counselors for the past 10 years now and have been on all types of meds. None have helped. I just want to get rid of this extra weight and hurt. I have no idea where to begin. Thanks for all your help. —Unforgiven
Dear Unforgiven,

It sounds like you have tried to get help in so many ways, yet nothing has worked for you. That must be incredibly frustrating. There is no question that being left by a parent is painful. You are entitled to feel anger and hurt, though I hear you say that you don’t want to feel that way anymore, that you want to let it go. If you want to let it go, you will need to find a way to forgive your mother. When we forgive, we actually release ourselves, not the other person. Your mother is still responsible for the choices she made. Forgiveness does not mean that you are OK with her choices or that you condone them. You can’t change the facts of her choices, but you do have an opportunity to change what those choices mean to you.

There is no quick fix for these kinds of feelings, and the strategies that work will vary from person to person. Some people respond well to mindfulness work, whereas some people find cognitive behavioral approaches (REBT in particular) most impactful. I can offer you a couple of strategies to try, though in my experience, working through these strategies with the help of a professional is most effective.

The strategies I can suggest involve reframing how you tell your stories. Right now, you tell your story about how your mom left you when you were 16. My hunch is that each time you tell it, you may re-experience some of the emotions of loss, anger, confusion, or grief that you felt at the time. This can reinforce those feelings of hurt and keep them activated. The first step to making a shift is to start telling the story from the third person rather than first. Become a neutral observer watching the events. Instead of saying, “My mom left me …” you narrate the story, saying, “The mother left her daughter and the family …” By approaching your story this way, you start to get some emotional distance from the events and they aren’t quite as triggering. You may notice details that you didn’t pay attention to before. This is the first step.

When you are ready, you can try telling the story from the points of view of others—other people in your family, and eventually your mother. Consider what they were thinking and feeling, how they made the choices they made, how they saw events. By taking on the perspective of others, it can sometimes shift how we feel about a set of events. Again, I’d recommend that you do this with the support of a therapist who can help guide you through this process.

Another approach I’d like to mention is re-parenting work. Again, I strongly recommend doing this with therapeutic support. The main goal of re-parenting is to go back to the time when you felt abandoned, hurt, and let down, and to allow yourself to feel deeply while also becoming the loving parent to yourself you wish you’d had. Allowing yourself to fully experience and feel the pain of your abandonment is the key to healing here. You learn to offer yourself the unconditional love and support you wanted from your mom. You learn to nurture yourself and heal those deep, painful wounds which can ultimately allow you to release the anger you’ve been holding on to. This approach can be intense, and it is important to find a professional you trust to help guide you through the process.

Best of luck,

Erika Myers, MS, MEd, LPC, NCC is a licensed psychotherapist and former educator specializing in working with families in transition (often due to separation or divorce) as well as individuals seeking support with relationship issues, parenting, depression, anxiety, grief/loss/bereavement, and managing major life changes. Although her theoretical orientation is eclectic, she most frequently uses a person-centered, strengths-based approach and cognitive behavioral therapy in her practice.
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  • Pamela Harper, RN, CHT

    August 30th, 2013 at 3:02 PM

    Letting go of anger frees up the energy to bring in more love in the moment. I use hypnotherapy in my practice to assist in the process and create new, positive neuropathways. We attract what we think about. You are love.

  • brody

    September 1st, 2013 at 5:17 AM

    The one thing that jumps out at me is the age where this happened. She left when you were 16, the age when many young women need their moms the most, and she left you without one, and in your eyes, for no very good reason. Of course you were angry then and her coming back is not going to just make all of that anger go away. I agree that working through that anger is the only thing that is eventually going to bring you through to the other side of that hurt but I think that this is probably going to take a lot of time in therapy on your own as well as doing sessions with her too. Maybe there is never going to be an answer that will satisfy you that will answer for you why she did what she did but you need to get some kind of closure otherwise there will never be any kind of real healing to this relationship for you.

  • Eva

    September 3rd, 2013 at 3:52 AM

    Isn’t it funny how there are people who waltz in and out of our lives and even though they hurt us terribly when they left they think that it is this huge blessing to us when they return and that we just should accept that and move on? Obviously these are people who have faced very little in the way of complex emotions in their lives, or if they have they have run from them and have chosen to bury their feelings. Either way this is a hard situation for you because I know that this is your mom and you want to be able to move forward but life doesn’t always make things quite so easy for us. I guess if you really want her in your life then the two of you are going to have to seek out therapy together. I just think that this is probably too difficult of a situation to try to work thru on your own.

  • Beverely Mason, LPC, PC

    November 4th, 2013 at 8:17 PM

    Sweetie, just consider this: she didn’t leave “you”, she just left. I don’t know why, and perhaps you don’t either. Just make sure that you don’t “abandon” yourself! I met my father when I was 21 yrs. old. I felt sorry for him because he missed his only daughter’s life. He didn’t get to be there for my life’s really good times: for my graduations or my wedding or the birth of my children. “Be there” for yourself. You will never be able to change what another person does. Forgiveness is something you do for YOURSELF, so you never again waste your precious energy or another second of your precious life on something you cannot change. Love yourself, support yourself, encourage yourself and always praise yourself for the wonderful things you do. Find a caring therapist who can help you let it go. You life will be so much better when you let it go. I applaud you for looking for help.

  • Morgan

    May 25th, 2014 at 8:43 PM

    My mom also abandoned me… Not all together but she thinks she can come and go whenever she pleases. My little siblings (9 and 7) are constantly crushed by her broken promises. Plus, she recently had another child who is living with her. It sucks. A lot. But all I can tell you is to suck it up. If your mom is anything like mine, if you confront her, she’ll play the victim and manipulate you into thinking you’re guilty, not her. You honestly need to just say fuck it, this is all I get and move on. Enjoy the time you have with her and always assume she will let you down so you’re not disappointed. Also, try to look into therapy. It helps. Good luck… And sorry.

  • lucinda c

    August 20th, 2014 at 5:55 PM

    I know what you guys are going through my mom left me when I was 6 and I didn’t see her.until one day she came down to visit her mom.that’s my grandmom I alway through my grandmom was my mother until she told me to go say hi to my mother I run and cry telling my grandma that she wasn’t my mom.I hug my grandma and told her that she was my mom then I got about her until my brother past away I was21 if I would have only would have know that my life was going to be like hers I would have forgive her for not be there for us know I understand way she couldn’t be there.she try but when your on drugs.it heard. you see I was on drugs and know I’ve been clean for 23year I didnt lose my kids I gave them to my ant and at the time I thought I was doing something better for them.I was homeless at the time and I did want to lose my kids so when my mom die I forgive her if you cant forgive you’ll never be happy know I have my kids back.and I have 4 of my kids that forgive me you dont how happy they made me I still have5 more that haven’t forgive me but I pray one day all of my kids can forgive me.know I have two of my kid are going through with I want through so for you to go on with your life you can forgive but you dont forget it a big person to forgive youll be so happy.

  • Anna

    September 4th, 2014 at 1:22 PM

    I look at the 16 y/o who appears to be unforgiven by her mom’s departure and then the comments. I can give a few from both sides. As a young girl, when my mom & dad separated, my dad gave me so much love, I never truly missed my mom, never developed hatred towards her or blame her even when my dad died & some wicked mentally lady took me w/o consent. My dad developed my self-worth, always told me my mom loved me, but had problems so great she needed to spare me. When I turned 16 I was married against my will to a man, and raped me and I had a child. The relationship was so toxic because I never wanted to be with him or loved him. It seemed his intention was to beat me into submission. I left him, and the child when after 11 years. I tried to maintain a relationship with the child, but it meant fighting and once I was even arrested trying to defend myself. It was either his death, my death or prison for one of us. So I stayed away. When I did attempt to reconnect with my child, who I did love and showed love from the day of birth, the child was bitter and angry and expressed hatred for me. I cannot change my choices, had I killed the father, I would be in prison and still hated, had he killed me, the truth would be a secret.

    Finally, I re-connected with my mother. I had no feelings of hatred toward her because I felt that the people who I was left with were responsible for any pain I experienced. What’s wrong with letting children know that some parents cannot cope, but those parents love them and may return one day.

    My dad would often ask me to look into the mirror – and ask myself “what do you see” – I would tell him what I saw – and he would reinforce, that the first love is self-love, (not in vain), but appreciate who you are. Understand, that most of what people do is not about you, but about them.

    Society makes too big an issue of blaming moms for a child’s well-being. Dads, uncles, Aunts and grands are just a responsible for teaching young children about self-love.

    I wonder if a parent stays in a toxic relationships and kills the husband, or father of a child – then that too would be reason to blame the mom for their own failures.

  • Alicia

    September 26th, 2014 at 8:12 AM

    I am 29, I just had my birthday 3 days ago, September 23rd, my mom abandoned my sister and I when we were only 3 and 7. I never had her, mom, at all, and she did a lot of stuff, she threw food at us, she shoved my face in cat excretment, missed my siters wedding, missed the birth of her grandkids, and all this, I have serious forgving issues and iam struggling to graduate college, it hurts to just type this. I honestly don’t evennyt from her bs, and honestly my aunt is no better, shes supposedly taking care of her, well, better my aunt than me, but honestly I blame her for a lot of things,i blame her for my disorders, and I really wish i didn’t have heras mom I really wish I had someone who actually cared, I never had my mom at all, did

  • Sumaina

    October 2nd, 2014 at 12:10 PM

    I am 25..My mother leave me when I was 2…she never came back.she is happy with her husband and kid. I wish I have a mom whom I can shre all my sad and happiness:(. I never used or say to anyone mom:( I want her..I always saw people having their mother all the time…that time I never hate her.. Still I want her to come back and hold me

  • broken

    December 3rd, 2014 at 3:22 AM

    So me and my ex were together for 5 years..for the first 2 years from 2009 to 2010 we were long distant. she had broken up with me 2 times within this long disrance and the first time was for her ex that she was with for like 4 years or something and things were probably rocky with them or something. i didnt have strong feelings for her then so i didnt bother texting or calling her but she started begging back a few weeks later i took her back. 2nd time she left me was for some new guy that lasted for 2 weeks or so cuz i started talking to this girl that was super hot but she broke down and left her new guy and was begging for me. i told her only if she moved here to be with me would i want to be with her. and she ended up moving here left her parents house from 6 hours away. she probably felt that was the only way for her to keep me since she saw i was capable of getting another girl just as hot if not hotter. My gut feeling told me something wasnt right with her shed claim to be such a goody goody girl only slept with 2 guys before me and they were long term boyfriends and she was very smart in school so she made me believe she was such a good girl to be with and thats kind of what made me fall hard for her. we did visit each other like only 10 times altogether in those 2 years and we would alternate her coming here 5 times and me coming there. I didnt really think she was going to go through with moving since she flaked out on me the first time she was supposed to until she told me she was on her way. She moves in with me in my parents house and for the first year or so i was really not trusting her much because of her ex and the other guy and what not so at times when id stay up watching tv and she was sleeping i would look through her phone and laptop just to try to find anything and i found something on her laptop like saved texts between her and her girlfriend and my ex texted her something like look at that guy sitting across from us he is so hot or something and we were together at this tim and when i saw that i freaked out and woke her up right away and argued for days about it but she sweet talked her way out of that one as well.its like i was just looking for anything to bust her on. During this time i started drinking alcohol very heavily and i was obsessed with trying to bust her all the time. Its like i loved her so much and still couldnt see her doing those things to me so at times the thoughts would just pop up in my head and drive me crazy and alcohol made me not think about it so i was drinking everyday. We still had great moments together and at times were like best friends and we did everything together but i still drank. we were so in love or so i thought. We did everything together shared secrets all kinds of stuff. We would visit her parents when we could and she visited them one time alone and after we broke up in 2013 thats when i heard a rumor that she slept with her ex when she went to visit her folks in the summer of 2011 for about a week. never knew about it when we were together i would have broken it off ended the relationship but in the mean time idk anything thats going on and she came back from visiting them like nothing happened and i had no idea. Wed have our little fights here and there but never did i assume she would cheat or anything like that she presented herself as such an innocent girl in front of me and always knew exactly what to say to me i pretty much just started thinking that she was too good of a girl to ever do anything wrong to me even though she had left me twice in the past for her ex and another new guy. She eventually started arguing with me about me drinking. After 2 years of living with my folks she ends up getting pregnant and gives birth to my son on august 29 2012. Right after he was born we moved into an apartment together but i was still drinking heavily and now she really started yelling at me for it and starting arguments out of nowhere. This led me to hiding it from her by staying up in the living room never going to bed with her because id be passed out drunk on the couch. somehow she met and started to hang out with a few girls that i knew and these girls were not the best of girls and were known to cheat on guys go out drink and all kinds of stuff. She started to go out with them every weekend but for some reason it didnt bother me i looked at it as a way for me to get drunk without getting yelled at. So the day came and we got into a huge argument about me drinking and i ended up telling her i didnt want to be with her anymore and all this stuff and i tried taking my boy with me but she threatened calling the police on me so i ended storming out of the apartment and going back to my parents house. We didnt talk at all for the next two weeks and then i come to find out she was hanging out with this guy used to go to school with that im sure her friends introduced her to and. I was really kind of heartbroken she would tell me they were just friends,and i felt worthless at the time and felt like it was all my fault. Then one of our mutual friends texts me and asks me if my ex texted me the other night because she was with her and they were hanging out and my ex was drunk. She said that she definitely saw the first two letters of who she was texting and that it was a dirty text of her saying i want you deep inside me right now. And it came to me instantly because her exes first two letters of his name are the same as mine. i was so broken and i dont even know how to even explain how i felt. I stormed over there and she actually admitted to texting him and she never admitted to anything before. I pretty much left right away i was so pissed off. I really loved her and wanted to spend my life with her and everything was so hard to accept the whole time i was thinking that this was just a little break for us and id end up going back especially when we had a baby together. I texted her saying i want to come back home and she replied saying shes taking our kid and moving back home to her parents. I rushed over there and i was so emotionally damaged at this point i was begging her for our sons sake not to leave on my knees crying and begging her and she promised me that she will come back after i seek help and treatment and get sober and that she wouldnt find or be with anyone else and then eventually left taking my son with. Few weeks later i get a letter in the mail from the court saying shes putting a restraining on me. I didnt know what to think. we went to court and she got the restraining order and custody of our child and i only got visitation and through someone else and only if she says that its okay. It was the worst feeling i ever had in my life. I ended up getting sober and have been ever since we broke up. During the restrainjng order she would text me but barely like once a month if that and i had my mom text her for me since i couldnt talk to he and she would tell ny ex thT im in treatment and doing great and texted her even when i was all done and sober for about half a year she refused to come back. About 3 months after she moved from here she found a new guy that she was with. They weren’t even together for a month and she was telling him the stuff she used to tell me like i love you more than anything and how she wanted to spend the rest of her life with him. She would say that they are together but they are not datin g for close to 1.5 years she was with this guy and not dating him i find that really weird. And as soon as he found someone else he left her but she ended up getting a new boyfriend within the same month and that’s her current boyfriend and they have been together for about 2 months and apparently shes already telling him i love you more than anything and all that. We have been broken up since march of 2013 about a year and ten months or so and ive only seen my son twice since then and she knows im sober now and in this time ive been asking her to be with me and then id give up hope and then id start doing it again and when im not texting her she would send me a text saying how much she missed me and all this other stuff having a dream that i died and how she doesnt know what she would do without me so i try talking to her only to get led on and played with. Its like shes playing these games with me on purpose and thats just how its been and Everything just hurt because while she was with these guys she would send me a text random texts makes me question everything we ever had and i feel like she never actually cared and loved me at all.

  • The GoodTherapy.org Team

    December 3rd, 2014 at 10:20 AM

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  • Colleen

    March 24th, 2015 at 8:30 PM

    After my parents divorced, my mother married a man whom we had never met prior to the announcement of their engagement. She soon moved away with this man. I was 16 and understandably, did not want to leave my school and friends to go live with my mother and this stranger. She eventually returned after the marriage failed. A few years later, after I graduated from college, she left again-this time to an entirely different state. She has two adult children here, three grandchildren and a sister. She rarely visits, even though she is retired and quite well off. When she does, she stays with me at my home where I live alone, and constantly criticizes me and the way I live. From my home to my animals, my job and my relationship with my father. It is nearly intolerable and when she leaves, I experience great pain for extended periods of time. It has been two months since her last visit and I’m still furious with her and have only spoken with her twice. She realizes that she upset me, yet hasn’t apologized or made much of an effort to get in touch with me. I have been in therapy in and off for the past 15 years, and I am still unable to forgive her…because she continues to hurt me through her words and actions. Sadly, I am considering ending the relationship because the pain and anger she causes, without apology not remorse is more than I can bare at this point in my life. I’m now 41 and I’m frankly exhausted.

  • Sam

    June 12th, 2015 at 3:12 AM

    Hi Colleen, I understand your pain. I am 44. My mother abandoned me and my brother when we were young and didn’t see me for almost 20 years. It has been very difficult to reconnect because of her inability to accept responsibility for her behaviour and the hurt she caused. I’m not sure why we give them the opportunity to hurt us again. They don’t deserve it. If your mother loved you, she would be loving. Why does she have the right to criticise you and your life when she made the worst life decision by leaving you? It is ok to say you can’t hurt me anymore and I don’t want you in my life. Perhaps we don’t do that because we know how much it hurts. I hope you are able to make a decision that will help you to heal. Sam

  • I need help

    July 6th, 2015 at 1:30 AM

    My mum left her 3 kids but took the dog 27 years ago. I’m still full of anger and hate. I just want a mum. Its hitting me like a brick at the moment as I’m getting married in a few weeks and I’m spending more and more time with her and it is more painful than ever because she is just such a complete a** and like Sam’s mum will not accept responsibility for her behaviour. I self harm, I suffer with depression and I have a real tough time connecting with any one female. Can all this be due to my mum leaving me? My brothers have managed to move on and they are close to my mum, why can’t I? Its good to know that I’m not alone and this posting just might save my life right now. I’ve tried to get help but they just throw tablets at me. I just don’t know where to go It hurts so much

  • GoodTherapy Admin

    July 6th, 2015 at 10:55 AM

    Thank you for your comment, I need help. We wanted to provide links to some resources that may be relevant to you here. We have more information about self harm at https://www.goodtherapy.org/therapy-for-self-harm.html and additional information about what to do in a crisis at https://www.goodtherapy.org/in-crisis.html

    Warm regards,
    The GoodTherapy.org Team

  • Justme

    January 14th, 2016 at 5:20 PM

    I’m so sorry this happened to you all. How can this happen .. It happened to my family too.. I hope you are ok .. It has made me feel unimportant and broken as an adult .. I would never leave my husband or kids.. I wish everyone here well, you are not alone ..

  • Joelle

    January 21st, 2016 at 3:40 AM

    My mother left me when I was 2 including 4 other children with my father who was very ruff I don’t hate my mother and I love her because it’s life and she is my mother, she gave birth to me , but I forgave her regardless of what the situation was , why? Because it helps me , it helps me understand that we can’t help who we love and no matter what we want or do we cant Change that person. Holding anger and resnentment will only lead us to fail and fall

  • Sara

    January 24th, 2016 at 5:39 AM

    This. My mother left me when I was 1. I am 41. I notice I have had a rough time in life because I never let it go or always wondered how a mother (being a mother of 3) could leave children that rely so much upon them. She’s sick in some way. You can’t change people. You also can’t let it affect the rest of your life. She’s 67 now and still only calls to ask to borrow money or if she needs something for her, not to talk to her grandkids.

  • Diane

    June 19th, 2016 at 1:59 PM

    Joelle, if the comment you posted is the truth and really heartfelt, huge curls to you!! I hope u are sincere and you have achieved this level of forgiveness which takes a lifetime for most people and that is with the help and guidance of a skilled therapist? You seem to imply u accomplished this level of forgiveness and understanding on your own? If u did u are truly an amazing human being and I would love to know how u achieved? The skeptical part of me doubts seriously what u are saying is true? Being abandoned is a hurt like no other and shapes your view of the world and the people u attract into your life. Children who were abandoned most often are attracted to or better stated attract the same unreliable people into their lives. Most often, physically, emotionally and psychologically abusive? Both of my parents while physically still in my life and the lives of my siblings, they were emotionally unavailable ? Leaving us or me as the oldest to fend for ourselves. I do not claim to know if physical abandonment is more harmful than emotional or psychological , but I know the scars I carry run deep and I have yet at 63 found a way of dealing with it. I have tried therapy,brother many years and just when I think I have forgiven them, they do or say something about our childhood and how much they sacrificed for us that once again brings up my anger, now that they are older, it seems they try to rewrite history and convince me and my siblings they were wonderful parents. I guess I’m a bad person for not allowing them to get away with this as we are all facing their mortality but I just cannot buy into their version of history? So, I guess my point is, I’m still angry and I cannot let them off the hook and allow them to die thinking they were great parents!! I guess I’m just a forever lost soul?

  • hardex

    May 8th, 2016 at 3:03 AM

    Every mother’s day is always a bad day for me that get me a deep thinking about my mum and how I live my zigzag life without knowing my mum since I was a kid,
    My mum left me alone 3 months after given birth to me and she couldn’t come back up to now that I gonna be 26 years old on 27th of May this month, I try all my possible best to search for her when I was 21 years when I observed the life am leaving is not pretty straight without having a mum by my side but I couldn’t find her with all my possible best and anytime I do ask my dad bout my mum he wouldn’t answer me with a good talk and these get confuse of what’s going on bout my mum maybe she’s alive or not cause I hope if she’s alive she would have find and get me.
    Okay friends these are all am going through bout my mum if you got any advice for me.

  • Katie

    July 29th, 2016 at 4:40 PM

    I’m 19 years old, and my mum left me, my dad and my younger brother and sister May 8th 2015. In October 2014, I came home from a night out to find my dad sobbing and covered in scratches that had cut his skin. My parents had been out with my brother to his football team’s awards evening and my mother had gotten so drunk that when they got home, she had thrown up all over the kitchen floor. My dad tried picking her up off of the floor to get her to the bathroom, but my mother is a violent drunk, and started to shout abuse at him and claw at him. I hated her from then on, as I wish I had never had to watch the kindest, most loving and strongest person in my life cry. All was well until two weeks before she left, when she kicked my dad out of the flat. My dad was working nights still, so when my mum left to go to her job, we let my dad in so he could sleep on the sofa during the day. My A Level exams began mid-may, so this all went on whilst I way trying to get the grades I needed to go to university. My dad told me that night back in October that ages ago she had cheated on him and he took her back for our sake and that he loved her very much. Because she had previously cheated, dad was convinced that she had met someone else, and that was why she kicked him out. On May 8th, my dad took her phone, and as my mum tried to snatch it back from him, she fell over and hit her head on a flexible, plastic wardrobe door. My dad apologized and began to leave, but she followed him through the flat whilst also grabbing the home phone, tugging at him and his top and pulling him back. My sister intervened and pushed her off of him, then he left. I was in the bedroom when I heard my brothers and sister screaming at my mum. She had called the police and accused my dad of abuse. I screamed at her that she was a liar, all while I cried. I took my little brother and we left the flat, hearing her follow us out we sped up, only when we got outside, we turned around and she got in her car and drove off. Following this, my dad came back, got arrested for questioning, me and my brother and sister were taken to my aunts- sick with worry, and my dad wasn’t released from the station until 2 am (when my mums brother picked him up). I missed the general election- the first one I could have voted in, because I wasn’t near where I live. My mother not only accused my dad of beating her for the entire course of their 18 year marriage, but also of sexual abuse. How could you be so cold as to accuse a man of that? Just to get out of a marriage? Turns out she was cheating, sp her web of lies was only to hurt my dad even more. Luckily, after me having to make a statement at the police station during my a level exams, and then my 15 year old sister being put through the same ordeal and being mentally tortured by that, the police dropped the charges on my dad. I feel like my mother died the day she got my dad arrested. I’ve sent her cruel text messages since last May- namely every time she f**** up. Like when I found out she was buying my sister cigarettes to see her, and when she wouldn’t tell me why she did what she did, and after months of watching my dad crying over his life. I had tone the strong one and look after everyone else, while I had no one to look after me. It still haunts me, and I have no motivation. All I do is eat, sleep and work. I made some friends at work- but they’re only work colleagues. I stopped going out with my friends after she left, I broke up with my boyfriend, and I stopped living altogether. I have no social life, but I got into university and I start in October. I just worry that I’ll have nothing in common with everyone else, and I’ll carry on being a social recluse. I don’t know what to do with my life- I just want to move on from her.

  • Ghazaal

    October 25th, 2016 at 11:17 AM

    My mom aboundand me too. My story is too close to this story. I am ful of anger and sadness. Erika’s answer seems to be useful for me too. I hope i could free myself from these hurtful feelings.
    Thanks Erika
    Thank you goodtherapy

  • veronica

    July 20th, 2018 at 8:51 AM

    Im having a hard time my mother has been in an out of my life for years she thinks that im just suppose to forgive an forget it but i cant do that. There were many of nights i layed in bed crying an sometimes i would cry on my grandmothers shoulder but thats my grandmothers child an she gets madd that i dont forgive her for the things she has done to me. i just to no opinions on what u would do. im 16 now an she still trys to come back into my life but i have so much hurt an hatetred in my heart i cant forgive her. It seems like it doesnt even bother my mother. My father has never been there for me he wasnt even there when i was born an he still doesnt try to come see me. I have been threw so much an i still am going threw stuff an i just dont think i can handle it much longer. What would yall do

  • The GoodTherapy.org Team

    July 20th, 2018 at 9:03 AM

    Hi, Veronica. Thank you for sharing your comment. If you would like to consult with a mental health professional, please feel free to return to our homepage, http://www.goodtherapy.org/, and enter your zip code into the search field to find therapists in your area. If you’re looking for a counselor that practices a specific type of therapy, or who deals with specific concerns, you can make an advanced search by clicking here: http://www.goodtherapy.org/advanced-search.html

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  • Christina

    November 7th, 2019 at 3:45 PM

    My mother also left me when I was a year old and my sister was a new born. My Grandparents raised us till young adult under condition that we should never find out about our mom. Our mom told her parents she is no longer have a desire to be a mom and she was going to throw both of us in the ocean. Furthermore, our mother told her grandparents that our parents have died in the fire, to make a story short. My grandma decided to tell me on my 18th birthday that my mother is alive and well, and that I need to take care of my mom when she gets old. I was hurt and confused but honor my grandma’s wishes. My mother was struggled financially for few years, after she got married she lives a wonderful life no shortage of any kind. Needless to said, my mother never came back for me and my sister. I am now 54 years old and my mother is 75 years old suffered brain auneurysm ruptured and survived because of my care. I am now taking care of her instead of my half siblings whose my mother loved them to death. My sister is still bitter from abandonment issues and did not want to have anything to do with our mother. I am on the other hand, I loved my mother in a different way, I’ve learned to let go of anger and embraced love instead. I just feel that I can’t control what happened in the past nor the future, so I just take one day at a time to enjoy the present.

  • Vanessa G

    June 20th, 2023 at 1:47 PM

    I think you’ve gotten stuck on Forgiveness Therapy, which has become so ervasobe that it borders upon toxic. You do NOT have tonforgove in order to heal! You’re angrybst your mother – and you have every right to be! Don’t listen to the “forgiver fornds” who insist you “must” give that up , because Anger is an important stage of any healing process, and you deserve time to work through yours. Instead, you’recbeing told you don’t have a right to those feelings and must forget about them. You don’t have to forgive your mother if you don’t want to. What you can do instead is accept that this happened, you can’t change her as a person and how you live now is up to you.

    I suspect mom now wants back in your life and expects forgiveness and redemption because she gave birth to you. Thst’s wrong on her part.You don’t say if she was or is abusive. If she is, you’ve every right to delete her from your life

    The ONLY requirement here is that YOU heal. This may include saying “mom, I haven’t worked thru the hurt you caused and can’t have a relationship with you until I do” or going No Contact. It’s up to you, but expect others to not understand. If a spouse abandons or abuses, society encourages No Contact, but change soouse to parent and justvwait for the But-But-Buts to start! “But it’s your MOTHER” they wail. Say “she shoukd’ve remembered that” and refuse to continue.

    I recommend counseling for your anger and pain, but ultimately this will mean accepting it happened, you can’t change it, it was NOT your faultx and decide if it’s worth it to see her or not. You do NOT have to forgive HER. Forgive yourself for being angry and hurt – which you’re entitled to be – and look toward making life good for yourself from now on.

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