Question: Dear Luise: I have two children, a boy and girl. My son hasn’t spoken to me in almost 20 years and I don’t know why. I tried to write, call, email everything you can think of but he wants nothing to do with me. He’s 37 now, with a family of his own and I guess I am dead to him and his family.(they live on the east coast and I am in California). My daughter is 42 and has always been extremely verbally and sometimes physically abusive to me. I won’t go into to much detail about her behavior because it’s really bad. I have a grandson (her’s who is 9). I know he loves me, but she always tells him how much she hates me and how crazy I am. She has always been verbally abusive and cruel to me, but I always went back to call or email her, because I love my grandson and I secretly pray she will change some day. But as she just said in an email “she never loved me and it’s been over for years and years”. Why do I cry so much? Why do I hope they will change? I gave them so much love when they were small. At 14 my daughter’s behavior of cutting on herself and anorexia made me realize as a single mother I couldn’t handle it, so I put her in a very expensive hospital for troubled teens. She was never the same and when she came out she was ten times worse. Couldn’t control her. My husband would only let her live with him and his new wife if I had my 9 year old son at the time, go back too. I thought it was temporary, but he got a lawyer and complete custody. My kids hated me since then. Actually, in 1995 their father got brain cancer and within a year he was dead. If he were alive, I know they would never have treated me this way. And I always thought if things didn’t happen the way they did, they would never have had that last year of his life with them. But since then, I haven’t talked to my son, and my daughter never even told me she was pregnant, until her child was 9 months and even then she wouldn’t let me see him. It’s brutal to live this way. I am almost 65, alone, living in a rented bedroom because it’s almost impossible to get a job at my age here in Los Angeles. If you have heard this story before, please if you could give me some kind of wisdom or thoughts, it would help tremendously today. I can’t seem to stop crying again. Thanks, J.
Answer: Dear J. You can either let go of the history you have with your adult children and get that you are worth saving or this is going to eat you up. You can’t change any of it. All you can change is yourself. If you want to stop crying, and I agree that you have good reason to, you can focus on finding a way to be useful. Go to church, volunteer in the nursery, whatever. It’s about getting out of your self and back into life. No one can do it for you but the effort can bring you peace and fulfillment. Your life isn’t over and your value as an individual is still very real. Blessings, Luise