Question: Dear Luise: My son has had no father in his life just me and his older sister. Two years ago he was married to a girl from England and at first I really thought he did good. Little by little he has brought up past experiences about my mother and not liking her and coming up with excuses that our family was not tightly knitted as his new wife’s was. Then they had a baby boy ho is now gonna be a year old. I drove down to see him and he was expecting to have me and his half-brother and step-dad stay for 4 days there. His house is very nice (which is his in laws while they are in England). I always spoke well of him and his wife never thinking a problems was there until 20 minutes after I got to his house after driving 10 hours. I asked him if he had a rocking chair so I could rock the baby and he lost it and went off thinking I was saying that my mom got him a second hand rocker that he had thrown away. He thought I was putting him down, when I wasn’t at all. I thought they had one. They have everything else for the baby. Well I said I was leaving after the accusations from him escalated and he handed me my suitcase. His brother and I left in shock and anger that he would do such a thing. Now I think back and notice how she comes from a well off family and was really mannerly to me, but as soon as I left she was taking me off her myspace and his own sister as well. He turned that whole night around and said things I did not say or do. He said he did not want to speak to me or my mom again. Of course he calls my father (they are divorced) and pals up to them which I have to hear about. I am so shocked at all this. it has been 3 weeks and still no word. I wonder what you could offer me as a clue to this…Is it this wife of his? Hmmm, there is alot of hints I see now that I didn’t notice before. Sincerely, G.
Answer: Dear G.: It seems to me that we fall into these traps because the situation is loaded and we don’t know it in advance. There’s usually nothing we can do when others are laying for us like that. Good for you for seeing hints along the way that may offer you more clarity.
It’s a guessing game regarding what set your son off but the situation was probably triggered to explode the minute you opened your mouth. He could have been unaware that’s what was going on with him but there is evidence to support the theory, whether conscious or unconscious.
He may have been dealing with some feelings of inferiority regarding the fact that his wife comes from a different background. If that’s the case, the next thing to surface was probably that you would embarrass him in some way, especially after he felt he had to get rid of that used rocking chair lovingly donated for baby-rocking by your mom, the baby’s great grandmother.
This is all about your son. None of it is about you. And for that reason, there is probably nothing you can do. You have conveniently been made the “bad guy” here. Your son, through his marriage, may be trying to see himself on a higher social and/or financial plain…because it would be too painful for him to think that wasn’t true. You could be a reminder of his “roots” and what’s real. Not that there’s anything wrong with his “roots” but he may be feeling (and even hearing) otherwise.
He’s young. He’s trying to make it in the adult world and he probably hasn’t gained the skills or maturity yet to look more closely at his emerging values. All you can do is wait. You can’t force his hand. He will move through this crisis, if and when he does, at his own speed. Arguing, using logic and/or getting others to agree with you will only make things worse. Love him with all your heart, from a distance. Blessings, Luise