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  • Maddie LaBerge

mother's day

Updated: May 24, 2023

Mother's Day is a time when many of us celebrate the love and nurturing that we have received from our mothers throughout our lives. It's a time to reflect on the sacrifices our mothers have made for us, and to show our appreciation for all that they do. But for those of us who were perhaps, not so lucky and

faced abuse or trauma in our childhoods, Mother's Day can be a difficult and complex emotional experience.

As someone who experienced abuse in childhood, I know firsthand the complex mix of emotions that can arise around Mother's Day. On the one hand, there is a longing for the love and support that we never received from our mother. We see the pictures of happy families on social media, and we feel a sense of loss and grief for what we never had. We might feel angry or resentful towards our mother for not being the nurturing and supportive figure that we needed.

On the other hand, there is often a reckoning with the deep sense of disappointment and hurt that comes with remembering the past. For many of us, our mother was a person who inflicted pain and suffering on us. They might have been neglectful or emotionally distant, or they might have been physically or verbally abusive. You may work several years to try and reconcile the complex love one has for their mother alongside the pain they caused, only to come up empty-handed.

These conflicting emotions, in short, can fuck you up. At times, they can be overwhelming and confusing, particularly for those of us who are still struggling with the effects of childhood trauma. For many adult children suffering from Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (CPTSD), the memories and feelings associated with Mother's Day can trigger a range of symptoms, including anxiety, depression, and dissociation.

Cue to me, taking a mental health trip over the weekend to disconnect and be in the present.

If you are an adult child struggling with these complex emotions around Mother's Day, it's important to know that you are not alone. Welcome to the club, it's great here because we're all insufferable people pleasers! Luckily, there are many resources and support systems available to help navigate these difficult feelings.

A broken iridescent mirror is shattered in a desert landscape contrasted by a setting sun.
Many adult children of abusive parents struggling with CPTSD often can feel shattered during a triggering time, like Mothers Day.

One of the most important things you can do is to seek out therapy with a mental health professional who specializes in trauma and abuse. A therapist can help you process your emotions and memories in a safe and supportive environment, and can provide you with tools and techniques for managing symptoms of CPTSD.

In addition to therapy, there are also a number of support groups and online communities that can provide a sense of solidarity and understanding for those who have experienced childhood trauma. Organizations like the National Association for Adult Survivors of Child Abuse (NAASCA) and the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline provide resources and support for those who have experienced abuse in their childhoods. If you're looking for a less formal community to vent or feel seen, I follow r/insaneparents, r/raisedbynarcissists and r/toxicparents.

It's also important to prioritize self-care and self-compassion during this time. Again, cue to me, taking a mental health trip over the weekend to disconnect and be in the present. This might mean taking some time to yourself to reflect and process your emotions, or it might mean engaging in activities that bring you joy and comfort. Whether it's taking a walk in nature, practicing yoga, or spending time with a trusted friend, it's important to prioritize your emotional well-being and do what feels nourishing and supportive for you.

Ultimately, it's important to remember that you are not alone in your struggles around Mother's Day. There are many adult children who have experienced abuse or trauma in their childhoods, and who are grappling with similar circumstances.

Healing from childhood trauma is a process and it can take time and effort to work through the complex emotions that arise around Mother's Day and other triggering events. But with the right support and resources, it is possible to find greater peace and healing.

If you are a friend or loved one of someone who has experienced childhood trauma, it's incredibly kind to approach Mother's Day and other holidays with sensitivity and compassion. Recognize that these can be difficult times for those who have experienced abuse or neglect, and offer your support and understanding without judgment or pressure.

Mother's Day can be a difficult and emotional time for adult children who have experienced abuse or trauma in their childhoods. But with the right support and resources, it is possible to navigate these complex emotions and find greater healing and resilience in our hearts and lives.


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