Question: Deal Luise: My eldest son has decided I am evil. It started in high school and now he’s twenty-three and has convinced his wife that I was a horrible mother. He doesn’t want me anywhere around when their first child is born because I have “bad vibes”. They are going to have a home delivery and he has asked my younger son, age 16, to come over and “give them a hand” after the mid-wife leaves. I’m a nurse and my younger son hasn’t a clue what to do. (Incidentally, he thinks I’m the greatest…so go figure!) I feel totally overwhelmed by the whole mess. What can I do? Linda E.
Answer: Dear Linda: What a tough situation. Certainly you can’t go where you’re not welcome. I would try very hard to keep your younger son from going and I would also face the fact that he may disobey you if he has divided loyalties.
These are old, well-developed dynamics. Your elder son is an adult but he makes his choices based on remembered, and often distorted, reactions to childhood reality and fantasy. It sounds like he hasn’t begun to sort them out yet.
You can’t make this call. Talk with your younger son about your concerns regarding the need for someone trained in newborn care to be the supportive presence. Try not to undermine your elder son in the process.
If your younger son insists on going or slips away and does just that without your knowing, try to understand that he has been put in a very difficult position. He probably isn’t able to take on and talk down his older brother, due to the age difference. He also may see him as much wiser than this situation seems to reflect.
Please know that the final verdict isn’t in yet. Often as a young adult matures, the “offensive” parent becomes less of a target and more of a friend. It may take a lot of patience on your part to wait it out, however.
Face the fact that he’s got some proof that you weren’t a perfect parent. None of us were but he doesn’t know that yet. You’re also not evil. I’d bet the farm on it. Not even close.
It’s going to come as a shock to him when he finds out that he can’t be the perfect parent himself. As he comes up against his own fallibility, he may be more willing to allow you the privilege of being human. It’s not guaranteed…some people get too attached to their “somebody done me wrong song” but it’s a possibility. Blessings, Luise