Question: Dear Luise: My son, pride & joy, only child, and I had a closely bonded relationship until he met his now wife in 2008. My son is age 26.Since my husband passed, 7/4/09, the now wife, with her mother, began a subtle and also overt campaign to drive a wedge between my son and me.They accomplished the mission and equally my son is responsible for his behavior and choices. I have 26 years experience as a Behavioral Analyst and also as a Law Enforcement Officer. Last August 2010, my son, over a minor disagreement, & a petty, trifling moment, imposed “conditions w/sanctions” on me, including but not limited to: no contact with him, directly or indirectly, until 3/5/11, his wedding date. I complied. I had advised him, I would take care of the groom’s requirement as proper etiquette. In a nutshell, the situation has smacked rock bottom on 2/28, he banned – “I don’t want you at my wedding,” me from his wedding & all related festivities and informed me, that if I showed up, I would be arrested, which, at best, security could have denied me access but w/o legal cause to arrest me. Total rejection of me. My son harbors rage and hatred towards me. I recently tendered an Olive Branch post wedding. His response was he wants absolutely NO contact with me.He has distorted reality, skewed facts, and flat out fabricated claims about my behavior. Yes, I’ve been lied on & to before but never to this level. He is filled with resentment and anger against me and is a cruel, disrespectful bully. Due to the level of emotional impact his actions, I cannot get a perspective on my own son as we were very close and had frequent weekly contact. Now, nothing What he does is “flip-the-script,” in that, every negative behavior, act he labels to me in reality it is his behavior and emotional abuse.” He and Psych 101 have self diagnosed that I’m bipolar, and I’m sure psychotherapy must be soon follow. My son’s behavior is intentionally hurtful, coercive, cruel, bullying, disrespectful beyond the pale. PLEASE GIVE ME YOUR TAKE ON HIS BEHAVIOR AND WHAT, IF ANY THING, CAN HEAL, RECONCILE, AND RESTORE OUR RELATIONSHIP. Thank you kindly. I await your reply. D.
Answer: Dear D.: Nothing. Nothing can be done. Your son is out in the adult world learning the lessons that are part of that experience. He is making poor choices and that is his right. Consequences go with them regarding his basic character but he is unaware of that at present. Blame is a handy tool and one he is trying out. So are dishonestly, cruelty, rationalization and denial. You can’t restore or heal your relationship. He has trashed it.
This situation (with minor variations) has been brought to me so many times that I have established a forum around it. Please come over to: wwww.Wise WomenUnite.com You will find support there from countless women who are facing the same thing. You can’t heal your relationship but you can save yourself. There are times when the relationship also heals itself. They are rare and are the result of letting go completely on the mother’s part and eventual maturity on the part of the estranged adult child. Blessings, Luise