Question: Dear Luise: Please help me. My son in law wanted money to pay down his mortgage and because I didn’t give it, my daughter does not talk to me and my grand children only call once in a while. I’m sick. I can’t eat or sleep. My mind is so confused. I don’t know what to do. I need my children in my life. Please help me. My son in law is so spiteful. He told my daughter to tell me I’m not invited for Christmas or other holidays. I was by myself. I have two other children and they don’t care, either, about having a happy family. Everyone is bitter over money. N.
Answer: Dear N.: This is one of those horrible situations where you can’t change those around you; all you can do is change your reaction to all of this.
Your heart is broken. You are alone. You can’t eat or sleep and you weep. You are right and they are wrong. That’s a normal reaction but you can’t stay there.
Beyond that, it’s up to you. Adult children take whatever paths they do. If you had come up with the money to pay down the mortgage, there undoubtedly would have been more demands to follow. It’s a kind of blackmail. Pay up…or you’re out.
All I can see ahead for you is to move through your feelings and create a life without any of them. Look for peace elsewhere. I know that sounds impossible but the fact is that it isn’t a happy family and you deserve better. Please don’t get stuck in your expectations. They can take you down.
There are other things to do, places to meet new friends…like churches and senior centers. There is volunteer work to do with abandoned children and disabled people to visit in hospitals. That’s the only way I have found for myself when I need to move around and/or through disappointment and grief. I have to step out of myself.
Look at what’s going on in the world out there that is beyond your world. In Haiti, for instance, how many of those people would give anything to have your life, complete with your troubles, as theirs is ending in injury and starvation due to no fault of their own. I don’t know if such thoughts can help you regain your balance. They sometimes help me, but not always.
It helps me remember that my life is worth something and so am I. Life is a gift and it’s precious. To remember that helps me past self-pity and resistance when they stop me in my tracks. And they have, many times. I have to take myself in hand and be my own best friend.
The truth is, your life isn’t over unless you say it is. How things used to be is over…but there’s a difference. You *want* your children in your life. You don’t *need* them. What you need is respect and support and it isn’t going to come from them. It takes a lot of focus and energy to create it elsewhere, but it can be done. You are worth it. Blessings, Luise