Question: Dear Luise: I am writing to you because I am in a lot of emotional pain. I have a 35 year- old son who hates me. I was married to his father for 9 long years. I was extremely abused by his father and got a divorce when my son was 5. I remarried a kind man who took on my 2 children and treated them like his own. Life with my son was miserable. He had behavioral problems and made all of our lives miserable. I took him to counselors and worked closely with schoolteachers. My son threw a tantrum each and every day. The family life was a nightmare and my son was totally miserable. When my son was 15, I sent him to live with his father. He was running with a bad crowd and taking drugs. As a result my son tells everyone that I abandoned him and he hates me. My ex husband couldn’t deal with my son and my son moved in with his grandparents. (My ex husband’s parents.) My ex husband was an only child. His parents spoiled my ex rotten. My son was given a brand new pick up truck. At age 30, he was given a paid for house. He is married now and lives in total clutter and filth. I used to clean his room for him as a child. I have tried letters, cards, and presents. I finally gave up. I deal with so much guilt. If I could go back I would have allowed him to make our lives hard and never sent him to live with his father. My guilt is like a cancer and it is so painful I have a hard time getting through the day. I tell myself if I can’t be with him in this life, I will be with him in heaven. I feel like a failure. I am widowed and I live alone so I have a lot of time to feel guilty. Thank you so much for listening. Have a wonderful day. Huge and Happy Smiles, L.
Answer: Dear L: We never have a crystal ball when we make a decision like that. Getting your son away from bad companions and drugs could have turned him around. That’s what you were trying to do, as well as restore some degree of sanity to your home for yourself, your second husband and your other child.
There were limits and consequences to your son’s behavior. He could have learned from that.
At 35, he is still having behavioral problems. You are not creating them and your trying to turn him around at 15 isn’t causing them…he is causing them.
I would suggest that you love him from a distance and know that he is doing what he is doing with his life for whatever reasons he may have. It is his path and he has deliberately followed it no matter what you did or didn’t do.
To yearn for your son is to yearn for someone in a pipe dream. To feel guilty is a choice as well. You gave him life; you deserve better but you may never get it. You also deserve better from yourself and you *do* have something to say about that. Let go and let yourself heal. Don’t let your son destroy his life and yours, too. You were a complete person before parenting and you still have the opportunity to reclaim that. Remember, you too, were given the gift of life to honor.
Please consider coming over to my web-Forum that is focused on issues with adult children. It is at: http://www.motherinlawsunite.com . You may find comfort there and be able to comfort others. Blessings, Luise