Question: Dear Luise: I am a 60 year old divorced mother of one son who I lived for and spent my life nurturing, he says he had the best childhood in the world. However as an adult, he is just awful towards me. I have been having terrible financial problems for the last 8 years, and was actually homeless for a few months. I am finally in a small home with a good job again and heard from my son today. We have a very sensitive relationship. When I got divorced in his late teen years we had to stick together financially to make it. We literally were on the street and since then have had ups and downs financialy. I did something I shouldn’t have a few years back and put my utilities in his name and then later lost my job and couldn’t pay them. He was 27 at the time. Now it is 4 years later and the bill is on his credit report, I honestly put it on the back burner because I am just NOW able to pay my rent and make a car payment and buy food and that is god’s truth. I thought he knew about the bill as it has been so many years but today he called irate, said he just found out about it and said he is filing a police report, pressing charges for fraud and putting me in jail for 3 years and he never wants to see me or hear from me again and he is changing his name and identity and I will never find him. I am just beside myself. I told him I was very sorry, I would pay the bill over a few months time and I called the utility company immediately and told them what happened. They said just to pay it, they can’t now put the bill in my name. I have given my son everything I have, put him through college, bought him a brand new car, gave him a good childhood, but now that he is 30, he says I am the worst person in the world. I just can’t deal with this. He also called everyone we know and all our extended family members and told them an exaggerated version of the incident and says I got him fired for having this on his credit report. M.
Answer: Dear M.: We can’t do anything about the logic and decisions of our adult children. We did our best under the circumstances we had to face and our job is done. The one thing we didn’t have to give is perfection. As adults, they make their own choices and learn from the consequences or they don’t. All of that is about them, no us…just like all of our expectations are about us, not them.
In my own life, my eldest son, as an ‘adult’, found me to be totally worthless while my youngest sees me as the best mom on the planet. (He is my Webmaster here.) Neither is true, of course…I gave it the best I knew how and I’m fallible. What is true is that I was whole before I became a parent and I have been able to find wholeness again after parenting. I’m 86 years old and for me, judging myself only on the years I was raising my sons and how that turned out would be to discount the other 66 years. I deserve better and so do you. Look at what you have accomplished!
It’s not easy. Most of us have a lot to learn about self respect and to note how closely the abuse directed at us by others can resemble self-righteousness. My point is that I was worth fighting for and so are you. Because this issue is the most often discussed here, I have established a Web-forum where discarded moms can help each other heal. Please join us, if you’re interested; www.WiseWomenUnite.com . Blessings, Luise