"Children Who Break Your Heart": A Reader Asks for Your Advice

At the Legacy Project, we’ve asked over 1200 of the oldest and wisest Americans for their advice about how to solve life’s problems. In this post we ask: How do you deal with children who break your heart? For advice on this topic and much more, see the bestselling book 30 Lessons for Living: Tried and True Advice from the Wisest Americans.

In an earlier post, one of the Legacy Project elders shared her mixed feelings about having children. Loraine,89 , talked about accepting both the joy and the pain children can bring. She stated: “If you don’t have children now, when you have them you will have these moments.  When you look at them and your heart – it’s like your heart takes all the pain and all the love for them that you have.”

We just received a comment on that post from one of our readers, who would like your advice:

What about when your children are disappointments? I would like to hear how parents handle situations when their most loved children are cause for a broken heart? Comments please!

We asked some experts for their advice, which you can find here.

Can you help? Does anyone have advice for overcoming the heartbreak children can sometimes cause? Please share your comments!

555 thoughts on “"Children Who Break Your Heart": A Reader Asks for Your Advice

  1. I think I am losing my children. I just want to say that here, amongst those who have similar pain. My heart is broken into tiny pieces.

  2. My God, I have just read through just about everyone’s situation. Let me say my heart breaks for all. Yes I’m in a situation as well. My daughter’s attitude towards me changed two days before her wedding. Like Sybil, I have no clue who she is. I went through a year of pain trying to reconnect me and the family. She has 2, 6 year old nephews and grandparents that are getting up there in age as well as her grandfather who had cancer and now is in remission. She cares nothing about them. That hurts more than me having any relationship with her. We were a very close family. I gave her everything plus love. Was not good enough, she blames everyone and anything she can she does no wrong. She has been that way her whole life. But when her Boyfriend came into her life, he took the worst and created a monster. She just had a baby of course i didn’t see him. I have sent gifts and received a thank you from the baby and Pics. Just sent an Easter gift no response anymore. So my heart goes out to everyone, your not alone. Almost reached out, but stopped myself. Really do not need to be rejected again and again. If she wants me she knows where I am. If not Que Sara. Lets get stronger together. Good luck everyone.

  3. I needed so much not to feel alone in my sorrow and, it has helped me to understand that my kids are now adults and can do or say what they want. on top of my kids not respecting me a haven a mother that was always abusive to me and told many lies that caused my kids and family members to disrespect me. she stole my inheritence from my dad to me ! i felt like i was punched in the stomach but just let it go.i ha ve to let all of it go like it or not i cant change anyone. and if they want to be mean and ungrateful thats fine but, i will no longer be a door mat. its hard to love when youre constantly being stabbed in your back. only the good god knows what ive done and i know he understands me even if no one else does

  4. The sensation of a broken heart can only be described as the sensation of being jabbed in the chest and feeling winded whilst at the same time having that empty feeling which I relate to as the feeling in your stomach after giving birth it’s just empty like something is missing yet it hurts because of the jab that is the only way I can describe a broken heart my son has broken my heart unintentionally and continues to do so every single day my son is 13 1/2 years old when he was 11 his father abducted him and Disappeared for two months no one could or was willing to help me including the police and my son’s school within those two months I suffered a mental breakdown I have permanent damage to my eyes from crying so much my ex was awarded custody of my child despite his allegations of me being a prostitute and a child abuser never being proved he denied me access to my son for nearly two years within this time he filled my son’s head with malicious lies about me arranged visitation for my son and I without letting me know so in my son’s eyes I stood him up every week and never called him that would be because I have no telephone number for them no address no way of contacting them 6 months ago now that my son was settled in the new council home and in his new school and in life in general I was finally committed to see my son every other weekend it took 6 months for my son to voluntarily hug me he does not tell me he loves me like he used to he does not cuddle up on the sofa and watch our favourite programmes I am not his mummy anymore I am mum the one who let him down and embarrassed him god knows what venom his father filled him with but it has damaged my phone in the last month my son and I have magically become mummy and baby again he calls me everyday and voluntarily tells me he loves me however this weekend I am back to being the worst live embarrassment who constantly lets him down purely because he decided he wants to go go kart racing and I cannot afford it as I am not working due to mental health issues his father refused to help me out so I could take our son out my son will not talk to me he went to visit my mother and is refusing to come back to me until Sunday when his father will pick him up he cannot be bothered with me and cannot trust me ever again because I’ve let him down I have begged everyone I know to lend me some money to take him on this day out but it just hasn’t happened unfortunately that’s how life goes and he must experience these times so he can appreciate the good times however as I said I am a loser and a failure because I don’t have enough money to take him even though we went a month ago.for the two of us it cost £8 I know that these cruel words are his father’s but parental alienation is destroying me sometimes I’m able to brush it off today I can’t I am utterly destroyed my son knows it’s killing me as he is very mature and clued up for his age having seen the pain I suffered at the hands of his dad yet he persists until I’m begging him to stop. When I was in hospital he was the most caring and loving little boy on the phone to me and was desperate to see me as he hasn’t seen me in over a year he knows exactly how much it hurts and the damage those words can do yet he says the most heartbreaking things to me I can’t hate him obviously and I can’t blame him fully he doesn’t know how else to treat me after seeing his dad annihilate me emotionally throughout his whole life as much as he knows he’s hurting me I don’t think he knows the tricks tent how can I love the boy who tears me apart? Am I sadistic no way I am a mother who loves her baby unconditionally and will suffer this torture just to be able to be close enough if anything just to smell his hair.I can’t speak past the lump in my throat or see through the tears in my eyes. The pain in my chest never ceases my son has broken my heart god bless all of you ladies

  5. If I got anything from reading all your comments it’s realizing I’m not alone. Yes, it is very hurtful I lose sleep over it. My 3 adult children have said things to me that I can never forget and maybe neve forgive. My oldest daughter has not been in touch with me for at least 5 years, she has 2 daughters I’ve never met. My oldest son has also said such mean, hurtful things to me and I no longer see my 2 grandsons. My 3rd daughter is the worst, she is mentally unstable and blames me for her life. None of them have any kind of relationship with their dad either. I would never dream of living with any of them, they’d make my liife a living hell. The hardest part for me is forgetting and detachng, I guess it takes time. And like someone else commented – I think I’m starting to not love them anymore. I’m bitter in the way that I was a good mom to them, and feel I wasted the best years of my life! So, I have a good man, a sweet liittle dog who’s our “baby” and am tryiing to just move on and be happy in my life. My kids would be happy if they knew how much they hurt me. I do believe they are going to get it back when theiir own kids get older. Karma, even tho I never did this to my mom. I think the hardest thing is t detach from it but I guess it takes time, and lots of strength. Be strong moms! and I wish all of you the very best.

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