Sometimes It’s as if My Son has Died

Question: Dear Luise: I never realized that there were mothers like myself with sons that hate them. My son lives in another state and has made it very obvious that he hates me. I raised him alone…and yes, I made lots of mistakes. I always tried to do what was best for him. I can remember every night coming home from work and we would spend hours sometimes on homework. I always loved him very much and would die for him in a minute. But somewhere along the line I did something VERY WRONG. EVERYTHING SEEMED FINE UNTIL HIS JUNIOR YEAR IN COLLEGE.  I have written to him, and he has replied that there is nothing about me that he likes. It hurts very much and now that he has two sons of his own my only relationship with them is through gifts I send in the mail. His wife has been very kind to send photos of the kids, but has stated that she doesn’t want to get in the middle. I can understand that.  He is my only son and sometimes it’s as if he has died. I miss him so, and I don’t even know him as an adult. Any advice? D.

Answer: Dear D. Your son is an adult and he gets to make choices…right or wrong. What can you do but honor them, accept the pictures and send gifts?
Your only other choice is to close the door completely.

When you get a chance, go to the “Parenting Development” category on my site and read the links under the heading “My Son Hates Me.” They are amazing. You will find my story there, as well.

Some children on the threshold of adulthood fixate on their discovery that their parents aren’t the all-knowing/all-powerful beings they appeared to be during early childhood. Since kids are usually not in touch with their own imperfection and fallibility at that time…it is hard for some to be forgiving. For others…it seems impossible. Adult children can carry this whole thing to the extreme of rewriting history, making the offending parent(s) responsible for all of their kid’s mistakes and failures…forever. How handy! I call it the ” It’s my mother’s/father’s fault I’m like this” syndrome. They stop growing up and settle for a cop-out, never learning to step up to the plate and move past it.

You are left with the fall-out. You are left with the heartbreak of being misunderstood and unloved. When you see that this is true, you can either be a victim for the rest of your life or you can rebuild your life and find fulfillment beyond parenting. Not an easy task…but it’s possible and can be rewarding. I had to face the same “tiger.” I chose to move beyond being right to being happy. The bottom line is that others don’t make us happy, we do. Blessings, Luise

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