Quesion: Dear Luise: I have a son who 17, close to 18. His dad and I divorced when he was 2. I was 19 yrs old then. I was not on welfare and was able to work to get by. I got my GED and started going to college and lived off of part time work and student loans. His dad wasn’t really in his life but I let his grandparents be in his life, even though they were always disrespectful to me but they loved my son. Since I had no family I wanted my son to have his. When my son was 12 we lived in a bad area because it was all I could afford. I felt I had to go full force into my classes so I could be done so we could do better so Iasked his grandparents if they could take him for a little while. My son’s father was living with them as well. It was hard because he was 4 states away but I called every day, sent him packages and we visitedtwice a year. During that time, his dad finally take part in his son’s life. As my son grew into a teen he became disrespectful to me and at the 2 yr mark he didn’t want to come back home as planned. I didn’t make him return. BAD IDEA. When he was 16, his dad got a girlfriend who had a daughter. They started calling themselves a “family” and overnight I was out of the picture. My son told me that I was a stranger and no longer his mother. His dad won’t answer my requests to tell me how he is doing. I took good care of him and told him daily I loved him, gave him lots of attention and never choose a man over him. I don’t know what to do, I’m so devastated. I’ve been a mom for more than half my life. I know I should never have let him go, that was my mistake. What do I do? He has said and done things the last few months to be intentionally cruel using knowledge of issues I’ve had with my father to hurt me. I let him know that no matter what he says, I’m his mom and I love him and I didn’t care if it had been 10 yrs, I was still be here for him. It is consuming my every thought. What do I do? Please give me advice. J.
Answer: Dear J.: No one can keep you from being consumed by your situation except you. It is not only not helping any one, it is hurting you. Set boundaries and stop his abuse of you. That’s what it is.
I want to share something similar with you that happened between my eldest son and me. He was often unhappy with me and critical and he didn’t get along with his dad. His grandparents visited from out of state one summer and asked him to come home with them for the school year. His grandmother was a teacher. He was excited about it and off they went. From all of the reports that came back it was a good year for him. And…he never forgave me in later years for “rejecting him and sending him away!”
He choose to rewrite history and found someone to blame (me) for everything that ever went wrong in his life from that point on. That was about him, not me. It took a long time for me to get that and to stop feeling guilty and beating myself up. Eventually, I healed. He never did. He was never willing to let go of being the victim and being right about being wronged.
You did your best…so did I. We weren’t perfect because human beings can’t be. You can’t change anything. He may change his mind later on but if he does it won’t be because of anything you said or did. You deserve so much better. Give it to yourself. You were a whole (if young) person before you became a parent and you can be whole again.
If you would like the support of a loving community of women where many are estranged from their adult children and/or dealing with issues with extended families, please come over to my Web-forum at www.WiseWomenUnite.com Blessings, Luise