Question: Dear Luise: I am truly heart broken. My 27 year-old son lies to me all the time and never shows up to visit or just calls to see how I’m doing. He started seeing a girl 4 years younger than himself and she quickly moved in and took over his whole life. I have MS and have had for years. He never helped. I had a heart attack in Sept. 07 and called him since he lives a block away at 3:00 a.m. for help. He called me hours later before he left for work to tell me off for waking him up and told me he could do nothing I should just call 911. I live one block away from him. My building is locked there is no intercom and I couldn’t make it down the stairs to open the door for anyone to get to me. I also have 3 cats and was afraid that one of them or more could have gotten out if ER’s could have gotten in. I felt kicked in the heart. It meant nothing to him. I asked him for some help with things I’m not supposed to do right now and he put me off by agreeing to do it, never showing up or calling to say he wasn’t coming. He can run for all of his friends, his girl friend and her family, but I am nothing to him. I live alone and rarely ask for anything and the only times he comes is when I have money for him. I feel beyond snubbed and no longer know what to do. This is so depressing to me. I tried to talk to him. He won’t answer me nor tell me what’s wrong. I have never been invited over for any reason and yet her family and friends are there all the time. I guess he hates me. I have to move on alone from here on in. If he should ever call me, I’m just not going to answer the phone. The only time he calls is when he wants money from me for a favor. I feel like I wasted my life raising him. I was not that bad of a mom to deserve any of this. There is no hope. How do I move on alone now? K.
Answer: Dear K.: You will find many posts to read on this subject, if you go to the right hand side of my Home Page and scroll down to “Parenting Development”. What you’re up against is more prevalent than most of us realize. And, yes, I am among the walking-wounded. Sometimes we can get stuck in expectations. Our kids expect us to help them when they are little. We expect them to help us when we are old. Most of us loved our part in that but the reverse isn’t always true.
We did our best. That is all we ever had to offer. We never claimed to be perfect. Your son has been exploiting you in coming over with his hand out. You are on the right track, to my way of thinking, to call a halt to all of that.
He has entered the adult world. When we do that we are not adults, we are starting out in the kindergarten of the School of Adult Behavior and most of us have a very long way to go. What your son does with that privilege, (that you provided by giving him life), is up to him. You have done your part and it’s time to let go. I once knew a wise woman, almost 80 years ago, who would mix up a cake and then, as she put it into the oven, she would say, “Well, I done the best I kin do…the Lord be with you in the oven.” And so it is with your son.
It isn’t wise to live where you can’t get emergency help. And please tell me that your safety is above the safety of your cats. I live in a retirement complex where there is an Assisted Care unit. The people there are enjoying life and each other and some of them even have pets. Why not move to some place more supportive and get on with the rest of your life? It’s not over. Parenting is over and you are free. Who knows who or what your son will become when he finally grows up. You both might be surprised. What would you be doing these days if you had never had kids? It’s time to start a new chapter that is about you and what you want and like. There are new friends to be made and new adventures to experience. Blessings, Luise