Mother’s Day: A Shadowed Celebration for Targets of Parental Alienation

Mother’s Day, a day Hallmark intended for warm embraces and flowery sentiments, can be a brutal reminder of what’s lost for a targeted parent of parental alienation.

When a child is abducted and alienated by the other parent, or by another caregiver such as a grandmother,  aunt or uncle, every Mother’s Day is a fresh wound.

The societal pressure to downplay the pain of family kidnappings causes a complex disenfranchised grief for the targeted parent, and any pressure to participate in performative merriment adds just another layer of hurt.

Targeted mothers are expected to pretend everything is fine while battling a maelstrom of emotions – grief, anger, and a desperate longing for their child.

Keep that on mind, be patient and gentle if you know a person is a targeted parent and you interact with them. Don’t avoid the topic of the day with them, or act like you can’t be normal around them, but don’t over emphasize the day either. Offer your friendship through kind gestures and let them know you’re there for them if they need anything.

Here are some ways this day can be particularly difficult:

Social media bombardment: Images of happy families celebrating only amplify the targeted parent’s isolation.

Cards and messages: Seeing others shower their mothers with love can be a stark reminder of the absent child and the silence that deafeningly rings.

Family gatherings: While others celebrate mothers, the targeted parent grieves the absence of their child and the fractured family dynamic.

If you are a targeted parent struggling this Mother’s Day, here are some ways to cope:

Acknowledge your feelings: Don’t bottle up your emotions. Allow yourself to grieve and express your pain in a healthy way.

Connect with supportive people: Surround yourself with loved ones who understand your situation and offer compassion.

Do something kind for yourself: Take a relaxing bath, read a good book, or indulge in a favorite activity.

Maintain hope: Never lose sight of the love you have for your child.


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I am the targeted parent of obsessed alienation by my mother, against my two adult children. I began my advocacy, fighting for reform of the child welfare system, but changed my focus once I realized the alienation had irreparably damaged the once close relationship I had with my children. I am currently living out my days, writing and spending time with my husband and three dogs, always grieving silently for the loss of many years I could have had with my children.

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