Question: Dear Luise: You know when you have a bad stock and it gives no good returns? That’s exactly the way I feel having 2 married sons. Stocks with no returns. It is so hard that sometimes I don’t know what to do. There are times when I can see straight and times when I can’t. It’s like a dark cloud covers me. My friends all talk like their families are perfect. Are they? Are they all perfect or are my expectations out of whack? How could I have had two sons marry these people? They are the most controlling, manipulative women on the planet. One of them would not let him come to his 20-year High School Reunion because she didn’t want him around a girl he loved once. This is what he said: “WE decided not to go because it wasn’t family friendly and we wouldn’t be able to take the kids”. (He doesn’t decide anything.) I don’t think he can take a bath without her permission. I cannot bear the sight of this woman. I just can’t. It’s none of my business; I know it isn’t but how he can stand her is beyond me. I keep thinking about what caused these boys to marry these control freaks? It’s got to be me. Am I that controlling? (I still have sense enough to know that you don’t know me in person so you can’t answer that) I hope and pray that I can forget my dreams. Do you think most other families are perfect? Do you think other families are there for each other? Is mine and the few who write here the odd families out? D.
Answer: Dear D. No, most families aren’t perfect. In fact, none of them are because perfection is an illusion. Anyone who chooses to see it that way is probably in pretty serious denial or being deliberately unkind.
The other side of the coin is that the sooner you can find other interests, the better. I know it sounds impossible but you need to accept that your sons have made a mess of things and then reclaim your life. There isn’t any logic to it and there isn’t any way that I know of to change it.
A friend of mine just reclaimed her life by becoming a foster parent. It wouldn’t be my solution but it was hers. The little, 10 month-old child they took in is totally disabled from neglect and my friend is so busy that she doesn’t have the time or the energy to react to what her married kids are doing…(which is a lot of really weird stuff.) Letting yourself continue to be beaten up by circumstances that are beyond your control is psychically and psychologically damaging but only you can stop it…not the situation, your focus and reaction.
You can’t say it isn’t happening and you can’t say it makes sense…but you can say it’s theirs, not yours and move on. Blessings, Luise