Question: Dear Luise: I have two sons. The oldest is 42 years old. We used to be fairly close. He is married and has three children-all of whom I adore and they adore me. My son has a successful career. Problem is that he treats me like dirt. I can’t seem to do anything right and nothing I say is of any consequence. Other people have seen it and commented on his disrespect and apparent disgust with me. My younger son is two years younger and treats me the total opposite. He has two sons and again: I adore them and they adore me. But I just cannot figure out why my oldest son treats me with such disdain. Same story as most: I loved my boys more than life itself. I played with them, was patient with them and didthe best I knew how to raise them right. The funny thing is, my older son remembers things so differently from the way my younger son and I remember them. Unfortunately, perception is everything. I can’t change someones perceived memories even if they aren’t the way it really happened. It is very hurtful and I would just stay away but I can’t bear not to be a part of my grandkids lives. He hasn’t asked me to stay away but he can’t belittle me if I’m not around. My communication with him revolves mostly around the kids. My fear is that his three kids -my adorable grandkids-will start treating me with the same disdain their Dad does. Don’t people like that realize that they look like jerks to anyone witnessing their behavior? I love both my sons but I hurt for my oldest because at some time in the future he is going to have a life full of regret for the way he treated the one person that loved him anyway and he will probably lay awake at night when he is my age regretting every minute of it. That’s from experience although I never treated my dad nor mom that way. There were just things I regretted not doing for them (and my grandparents) before it ess too late. Seems like our first jobs in Heaven will be apologizing to dear loved ones. Any suggestiins or advice on how to tiptoe through this part of my life? I’m praying it won’t last forever but I’m 62 and have realized I don’t want to lose a minute of the years I have left and I don’t want to miss any of my grandkids life. Any advice or wise words would be appreciated. I read: “We are all just one short adjustment from making our lives work”. Wish I could figure out what that adjustment is in re: my oldest son. K.
Answer: Dear K.: I had a very similar situation. My eldest saw me as evil incarnate and I was blamed for every problem and failure in his life. My second son saw me as the mom who walks on water. Neither is true.
All I can say is that they get to choose their perceptions and they may never regret them. They are adults and it’s their prerogative to mature as they see fit. The choice of whether or not to take abuse is up to the abused.
Please come over to my Web-forum at www.WiseWomenUnite.com It is a community where we can care and share and heal. Blessings, Luise