Question: Dear Luise: My relationship with my twin boys continues to deterioate since 2009. They both graduated with master’s degrees and are now professionals and people constantly compliment me on what a good mother I was as I raised them as a single mother since the age of 6. Their father lives in another state so they would spend holidays & summers with him. He makes a very good living as a professional too and has 3 homes so the time they spent with him was always vacations. He was not involved in the day to day raising of them, so they think and say that they think he walks on water. They were in a magazine and interviewed with the article. When asked who was the person who has influenced you the most in life they both said their father. Their father ruined my life but I never trashed him but told them good things about him even though he was a serial cheater, a cocaine addict, and an alcoholic. The change in our relationship started in 2007 when I had to go to rehab for prescription pill addiction and the boys had an intervention and I said I would go to rehab. One in seven people in rehab the first time make it. I have made it so far and go to AA meetings andhave for the most part had a great recovery. They cannot forgive me and I keep telling them I can only prove that I’m well with time as I have apologized many times. In 2008 I lost my successful business as an interior designer, lost my home to foreclosure, and went through 300,000 dollars that I had used to keep my business afloat. We live in a place where the economy brought all designers and furniture stores came to a halt. They had always seen me as a sucessful person as I always bought nice houses and built my way up to a lovely home on the best golf course in town. I gave them every opportunity that I never had paying for lessons in everything from tennis, golf, karate, music. I also bought them each a jeep for high school. For years they told me I was the best mother ever and they were going to raise their kids the same way that I did. When I was put in the position of no income at 55 and losing my idenity as a sucessful business woman they started treating me disrespectfully and looked at me with disgust in their eyes. They are very self righteous and judge me on everything I do. They never say anything about their father and his addictions and the fact that he is separated from his third wife as he had an 8 year affair and finally got caught.They blamed his wife, not him, and said she was mean so that was why he cheated on her. Right now they are not speaking to me and I leave messages but no return calls. In 2009 I had to move to Arkansas and live with my mother but that did not work out. I drove back to Phoenix where our relationship took a nose dive. I couldn’t find a job, I had no money, and they did not want me staying with them as they had girlfriends who didn’t appove so I was living at the YMCA. I hit the bottom of the barrel going from a 650,000 dollar home to living at the Y. My feelings towards them has also changed, I don’t love them like I used to. Should I just step back and not call them (they always act too busy to talk and yawn on the phone). Should I just spend my time trying to move on with my own life until they come around as this has gone on for the last 3 years and I feel like a real failure as I don’t have anything anymore. I really did my best raising them and loved every moment of it so I’m very confused. Sorry this is so long but I think about this all the time and don’t know what to do. Thank you. L.
Answer: Dear L.: I removed some of the specifics in your post to hopefully give you more anonymity. It’s going to take more than a single answer for what you’re up against. Please come over to my women’s Web-forum, www.WiseWomenUnite.com for further clarity and support. That way you will have the benefit of the sharing nad careing of others, not just me. I created it for those of us that have serious issues with our adult children an extended families. Over the years, I have noticed that the details vary a great deal but the dynamics hardly vary at all. I’ve worked with many women who never had issues with addiction but whose grown children sanctified an exhusband and saw their mom as deliberately imperfect. The way out is to accept their choices, move past the blatant injustice and focus on rebuilding your own life. You were whole before you became a parent and you can be whole again. Blessings, Luise