Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together

A Mother’s Day Dilemma: How to Deal With a Mom Who Left

In this week’s lead up to Mother’s Day, an adult daughter asks…

Every Mother’s Day I have a hard time honoring my mom for this reason. She left our family to be with another man when I was 14. It still hurts when I think about what my family experienced as a result of her decision.  Consequently, I never know how to approach Mother’s Day. I think I am still angry with her for what she did. And my mom wants to have a relationship with me now.


 I would ask you to examine your heart. Have you really forgiven her for what she did? If there is any unforgiveness still in you, release it to the Lord. Forgiveness is a choice you make. It doesn’t condone what she did or minimize the impact on you. We forgive because Jesus forgave us when we didn’t deserve it. He asks that we do no less. Then, ask yourself if you are still judging her. Yes, her choice was sinful. But she must answer to God for what she did. Next, think about the impact her choice had on your life and decide if you want to confront her with this. Perhaps you need a conversation in which you tell her how her choice affected you. That said, do not have any expectations about her response to you. The point is to let her know what happened to you as a daughter. If she makes a move to ask for forgiveness, accept it. Then reconciliation may be possible. However, reconciliation takes the work of two people. Discuss a next step and decide if you are both willing to risk it. If not, at least you have moved through the forgiveness and can approach Mother’s Day with a forgiving heart. This will improve your life and own mothering. If your mother refuses to ask for forgiveness and denies the impact of her actions on you, then you will need to grieve the loss of an intimate relationship with your mom and trust God to fill in that gap.


For more help, order Dr. Linda Mintle’s book, I Love My Mother But..

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