How Can I Mend Fences with my Son

Question: Dear Luise: I really don’t know where to begin. In 2005, after 16years of marriage I decided that I no longer wanted to be with the father of my two children. I was always honest and took responsibility for the break up. There was no third party but my ex husband has managed to turn my son against me. My “ex” kept calling me vile names and now my son has started to do so. He also won’t see me. This has been going on for almost 18 months and I just don’t know how to cope with it. My “ex” has found someone else and moved in with them, so I feel he has replaced me. However, he continues to be angry and hurt about my wanting to split and blames me for everything. How do I approach my son, who ignores me and calls me names, I have tried to see him after school but he just runs away. I’m at my wits end. Your advice would be gratefully received. D.

Answer: Dear D. I did the same thing long, long ago and have regretted it ever since. However, I think I would probably do it again, if faced with the same circumstances.

What was right for you and for me wasn’t right for our spouses and kids. And we chose ourselves over them. Men and boys often don’t weep and whine…they curse and disconnect when forced to face the deep hurt of being abandoned.

It is hard to get that the role of “Mom” for most of us is one of being pretty much invisible. By that I mean, mothers serve. They are not supposed to want what they don’t have and leaving to get it is never condoned. I remember being shocked when my sons made it very clear to me that how I felt was not a priority of theirs. It was obvious to both of them that I was in their lives as a built-in convenience. They loved me for it but I was not to mess with the system, ever.

I don’t think you can do anything about the way your son is acting-out and the way his Dad is probably supporting that. You can’t be with and talk to someone who refuses to see you. The best you can offer is to be there if and when he wants to approach you. If he knows where you are and how to reach you, that is probably all you can contribute…willingness.

How long you will be cast as the enemy is anybody’s guess. My eldest son, who was only six months from going away to college when I left, never forgave me. His Dad didn’t, either. (They have both since passed on.) My younger son, who was only ten when I left, worked his way through it long ago and considers me his oldest and best friend. (There is a picture of us together in my bio on this website.)

Time is your primary ally. Give it time and focus on your new life. Don’t let what has happened rob you of what lies ahead. You paid too high a price for your freedom. Blessings, Luise

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