Question: Dear Luise: My problem with my son is hurting me at night when I get home from work. I can’t seem to let it go because I keep trying to think of ways to make things work out. I tried so hard to raise him to be a good man. I sent him to tutors, as he needed extra help (he has ADHD). He chose a girl who is 23 and is already on disability (but doesn’t seem to really have a reason to be on it except that she says she always thinks she will get fired if she gets a job). At any rate my son lives with her next door to me. Both of them have found ways to ignore me and that’s what hurts the most. I don’t do that to them and had even asked the landlord to accept them as renters. My son does not work at all in spite of my trying to teach him to have a good work ethic in life. His girlfriend undermines the way I wanted to raise him by taking things that aren’t really paid for that others constantly shower on her. This is not what I hoped him would learn in life. Also he drinks with 3 of his friends to excess and is nasty to me when he talks to me on the phone when he is with his drinking friends. I let him know that I didn’t appreciate his girlfriend telling him what to say in the background for my telephone call (which was another plea for my son to get away from me and be with her). So is the answer to this dilemma just to let go and let them think I’m a mean person even though I know they’re wrong? Because I feel a need to prove I am OK and that I’m not a bad person. Somehow that doesn’t seem possible even though I think I am a nice person. Can you help? Thank you very much for reading this. I can’t seem to get any peace of mind. C.
Answer: Dear C.: It sounds like you would like things to be different than they are. That’s normal but it’s not very productive. It’s true that your adult son and his girlfriend aren’t living their lives the way you would wish but there comes a time when all of us, as parents, need to get that we did our best and let go of how it turned out. We had hopes and dreams for our kids and did everything within our power to give them the best shot at life that we could. If and when they make choices that are unwise and produce negative results, we need to see who is responsible for that. We did our job…the rest of life is up to them.
The sooner you can get that their logic is faulty and their opinions, especially about you, are unreliable, the sooner you can rebuild your own life without them right snack in the middle of it. Please don’t go for the “I’m a bad person” label. Pat yourself on the back for every sacrifice you made and for every loving action you took on his behalf.
Peace is in another direction. Think long and hard about what you are interested in. Where do you want to go and what do you want to do? There is life beyond parenting. Blessings, Luise