Author Topic: Time To Walk Away From Hurtful Adult Children  (Read 6245 times)

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nina mary

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Time To Walk Away From Hurtful Adult Children
« on: December 30, 2011, 07:32:18 AM »
Hello

I hope I'm starting off in the right section of the forum as a new poster. I apologise if not. Firstly, I am so grateful to find this forum not because I specifically need help, I think I've finally worked out the problems and how I need to deal with them but I thought it might help others to share my story.

I have just walked away, with love, from my two much loved adult children on the grounds that if I were married to them, I would be advised to leave and find shelter because of their ongoing utter cruelty and hurtful behaviour if I don't do what they want.

First though, It helps if I relate to my own start in life as I'm sure there is a connection. My mum had me when she was 18 and as a result she married my father for which she blamed me for all the time I lived at home. She went on to have 6 children in all and none of them speak to me because they learned not to from my mother. Despite her unhappy life with my father, she had 5 more children, 4 girls & 2 boys. She favoured the boys resulting in a 25 year gap of not speaking to the girls apart from myself. I kept going back but eventually gave up after my mother made her feelings clear. In a row when I was 16, she told me she'd never loved me and never wanted me. She never said anything to counter these words so I believed her. I left home at 16 and made my own way in the world being very successful on most levels except in relationships with family members & men owing to a lack of trust because my father was so violent towards my mother.

I married and had 2 children who were my world. I know I was a very good mum and possibly that was where I made mistakes. I vowed never to be like my own mother and I became everything and all things to my children. I never saw past the rose tinted glasses when they tried to blackmail me into agreeing to things and I never realised how dependant I'd become on them for love and being the family I'd never had. I was Superwoman personified. I ran a business around them, managed a beautiful home, cooked nutritious and lovely food, even qualified in nutrition so I could learn to feed them well. I knitted, sewed, cooked, cleaned & baked. They never had a childminder, I was always their mum, always there, always solving problems and dramas. Christmasses were wonderful as were birthdays and days out. I was strict and they weren't spoilt with money or material things. However, we lived a cossetted middle class life so they enjoyed all the trappings never ever knowing what it was like to go without anything, unlike my own childhood.

They are now 30 and 27 and I would describe them as the most callous, cruel, unhelpful, bullying, blackmailing tyrants I ever come across. My father was the same and I half wonder if their behaviour is gene related. I know it's not though. Sadly, I know that they have learned to treat me in the same way as my mother and family have always done. How could they not? They simply copied the same pattern of behaviour because that's how they saw my family treat me so they thought it normal.

When my son met his now wife 7 years ago, he changed noticably. He attracted a girl that was greedy with 'I have to have everything now' attitude. When they asked me for money to finance a brand new car and I refused because neither of them were working, they didn't speak to me for 2 years. They eventually came back and it wasn't long before they asked for help again with money to buy a house. After much discussion, I helped and they bought a brand new house. The money was offered on the understanding that I would not be able to contribute to the big wedding also planned by the girl. This was agreed and accepted by my son but as the wedding approached, we were snubbed by the girl and her family. I was blocked from seeing any part of the wedding and only saw a photo 6 months later when surprise, surprise,I received a call from my son telling me they were having a baby! He hadn't wanted children so soon, he wanted to get some of the huge debt they'd got into paid off but I understand the girl, now the wife, wanted a baby sooner. I think my son was scared and wanted the protection of being able to ask for help again if he ran out of money.
I congratulated them but could see a pattern emerging so I asked if we could discuss what happened over the wedding as I didn't understand why we had been completely left out although I suspect it was because I'd made no financial contribution having helped them buy their house instead. I was denied any such discussion. Instead I was told I was the problem, that I needed to move on and just get over myself. They had forgiven me so that should be enough (gee thanks).

My son and exceptionally greedy DIL got the shock of their lives when I unfriended them from Facebook in October this year, just one month after they had their first child. I explained that until there was some kind of explanation, they were not going to use their newborn baby to pull me back on board so removing them from my FB was self preservation mostly. At some point I knew that if there was yet another request for money and I refused, I would be cut out of my grandchild's life. I already know the pain and respect myself too much to live in hope of the girl changing and my son not defending her. They have now been terribly offended suggesting I am a dreadful kind of mother. Yet only months earlier, I recieved an email from the DIL telling me what a wonderful person my son is. If I was a bad mother, he couldn't be so wonderful could he?? I have been told many times what a decent guy he is to everyone else so at least I can be grateful for this. Before he met his wife, he was a lovely, caring, courteous person. I know I have done the right thing walking away because he is no longer the person he was so I know they would crucify me if I fell in love with the baby. I know they only invited me back into their lives for financial support.

My daughter is also very manipulative, unkind and plays games of telling me she never wants to see or speak to me again because she blames me every time her life becomes difficult. This is usually because she makes it so but she tries to make me responsible and gets very angry when I refuse to take responsibility for her mistakes. She will then ignore all my contact enjoying the hurt she's causing especially at key times such as Christmas, birthdays and I don't even think about Mothers Day. I never receive cards from either of them. Then after a few months she'll suddenly send an email letting me know of her latest drama and how it's all my fault.

I returned from living in Australia 2 years ago, back to England where I briefly had some contact with my youngest brother. He told me there had been the most amazing event where my entire family had suddenly all got back together for my neices wedding. I saw them all sat around a table togther in photos. When I asked why I hadn't been invited, my brother told me it was because mum hadn't wanted me there.
It hurts to think your mum might not have loved you but only thinking it gives you some hope that you were wrong. Seeing concrete evidence that it's true is a killer to deal with. However, at least it explains where perhaps I have become needy and that my children have exploited my insecurity and need to be loved plus they've also copied a learned conditioning played out in a family situation almost in pack fashion.

This Christmas I met my deepest demons and had a revealing time. I did not receive a card from my children or any family members. However, I am blessed with beautiful friends and a husband who make me feel whole. I also have a wonderful business in which I use a lot of creative skill for which I am richly rewarded.
I never felt special or loved but I do a job where I make all women feel beautiful, special and accepting of themselves because I know how important this is.

It's in this direction I am now going to focus my efforts. By doing this and removing myself from my two children's lives, I can at least begin to stop hurting, heal the pain, move into a position of strength and deepen my own self respect so I can never allow myself to be so badly treated again. It takes huge courage and bravery as at least the pain has been a constant companion but it's not the way to live or be happy. As I said earlier, if I was married to a partner dishing out the same mental cruelty, I'd be advised to leave.

I hope sharing my story will help others. Love yourself, forgive yourself, forgive those that have hurt you but don't go back to the pain if you want to be happy. Change yourself and if that means leaving, then that's what you have to do. My children are welcome to stay in touch with me but they won't. They will hold grudges, throw tantrums and try and make me suffer. It's time for me to walk away.

much love Nna x



orphanedmominmn

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Re: Time To Walk Away From Hurtful Adult Children
« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2011, 07:45:49 AM »
So much of this sounds so like my story! I very much admire your strength. Hugs, Nina! I know others are going to come and give you real and usable pointers, etc., but I just wanted you to know that I think you're an amazing woman!

And I'm sorry that you've had to endure this.


Offline Doe

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Re: Time To Walk Away From Hurtful Adult Children
« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2011, 07:46:19 AM »
Bravo, Nina Mary!

Offline Ruth

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Re: Time To Walk Away From Hurtful Adult Children
« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2011, 08:05:50 AM »
What a profound post!  Thank you for your courage and character.  I feel it is important for us to speak up and share our stories, it gives other courage and hopefully clarification to better their own lives.  I am so very sorry, dear soul, for all those slings and arrows that were your lot in your childhood, but it seems they put you on top as the winner in this situation.  You may be the only branch on that family tree who grew true empathy and wisdom.  I hold the position that in many ways our a/c do in fact inherit contrary traits from the family line, and I got a lot of healing in this respect after reading Josh Coleman's WHEN PARENTS HURT.   It helped me get disconnected from blaming myself for my ds rejection and callous treatment of me.  I had constructed an impressive glass house of faults and failures on my part that created all the suffering, and since have learned to only keep the things I'm truly responsible for, have owned those failures and reached out to make amends the best I can, and will continue to do so, but at the end of the day my 30 plus year old ds must decide if he wants to sow these oats  of strife into his own life and live with the consequences, but indeed there are consequences to living a callous, manipulative and hard hearted life, I think especially in shutting out the one who gave your birth and nursed your helpless infant self through sickness and health.  Thanks again and welcome.

nina mary

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Re: Time To Walk Away From Hurtful Adult Children
« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2011, 08:20:31 AM »
Thankyou ladies. I am so pleased if sharing my story helps. It's easy to become so buried in the pain that it's hard to see the blessings but I know I am very blessed. Purely by escaping my family, I went on to achieve a lot of career & personal ambitions that were probably only possible to reach for once I'd left so much negativity behind me.
It wasn't hard to leave my birth family although my mother made it impossible to stay. Choosing to walk away from your children is very difficult, I have cried so many tears.
But, it's a simple choice. If you don't walk away and preserve yourself, you can't be the change you want to see in your own life. So far, my children haven't ever had to live without me, I've always been in the background ready to help. Obviously, my presence in their lives has always been taken for granted and therefore not valued. When I didn't even receive a Christmas card this year, I felt all those years of scrimping and saving so they could wake up to presents under the tree, meant nothing. This is when I decided that if the sentiment, goodwill, forgiveness & family life that they had always had could be treated in such a demeaning, dismissive way, things need to change. I need to change.

After a while, I expect my children will make contact. By then hopefully, I will be a different, more grown up person who can still feel love as a mother should, but not feel that life is empty by not having them around. I can only hope so anyway.

Offline Ruth

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Re: Time To Walk Away From Hurtful Adult Children
« Reply #5 on: December 30, 2011, 08:29:30 AM »
Well, now its time for dessert!  (Maybe even clotted cream fudge!!!)   Remember the wise women are always here if you hit a pothole and/or need a shoulder.  I've bumped along in my recovery and don't think I would have gotten there without all the kind, giving ladies on our site.   

Offline firelight

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Re: Time To Walk Away From Hurtful Adult Children
« Reply #6 on: December 30, 2011, 10:14:54 AM »
We're so glad to have you Nina Mary!  This is a wonderful site for exactly what you just did....sharing your awful hurts (many of us here have experienced similar feelings and situations), and also you're offering to help others in your pain which will help not only others, but yourself. 

We love our AC so much and after a lifetime of giving and sacrificing and protecting them, this sort of situation comes as a shock to us.  You sound like you're on the right track though and you get a hug and a pat on the back from me.  Stay strong, nina.

Many of us here are learning to move forward from momhood and it's painful to put it mildly but good for us to be able to preserve ourself as individuals.  You might find that not being a doormat will eventually change your AC's behavior toward you.  I am finding this to be true with my own DD and SIL (especially my SIL!) slow but sure.   Letting go also lessens the stress on me.  I have to admit some days are better than others so when I have a bad day, sometimes I have to go back and read and take my own advice (along with some other support/advice from other WW here on this site)!

Keep posting !   You have found friends here.

Firelight

"When you allow life to flow... without struggle... your Soul is restored."   ~z2z~

Offline Elise

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Re: Time To Walk Away From Hurtful Adult Children
« Reply #7 on: December 30, 2011, 11:17:18 AM »
Nina Mary - I only started to feel better once I accepted I had to change myself. Doing that has been challenging, yet much easier than hitting that wall again and again. While it has not netted any real improvement in my relatiionship with my abusive DS, it has helped me feel steadier and more certain I am not adding to the dysfunction. For me it is meaning letting go of the hope for change, and only reaffirming my expectation of respect only as the base minimal requirement for me to stay connected at all to him now. Letting go of the expectation there was anything left of the first 30 years of healthy family functionling took me a long time. Now I just try focus on what is in front of me, instead of referring in my mind and heart to 'how it was'.  It is different now and that is all I know. You can and will do what you need to do.  We know in our hearts we would do it all again for them, just that it is a good thing we do not know what is ahead in life while we are doing it. Don't know I could have done it had I known. I for one am very glad to put paid to this year. 2012 is going to be more about me and what I can still have in the lsyt 1/3 of my life, even if I can't do cartwheels anymore.

Offline Ruth

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Re: Time To Walk Away From Hurtful Adult Children
« Reply #8 on: December 30, 2011, 01:34:40 PM »
Hello

I have just walked away, with love, from my two much loved adult children on the grounds that if I were married to them, I would be advised to leave and find shelter because of their ongoing utter cruelty and hurtful behaviour if I don't do what they want.



I am back on this thread because I am having a nasty day today.  This quote is a great perspective and I hope I can get a grip on it.  I don't know what's wrong with me right now, as I'm not usually plunged into anger and have sailed along through my ordeal pretty smoothly the past few weeks, even Christmas was not tumultuous and I thought I was making great headway in getting detached from ds.

But it is again complicated.  This morning brought an ill wind.  My holidays aren't over, as my dm's birthday is Jan 1 and this is second in family hoopla only to Christmas.  My dm lives in another state, its a difficult journey, and dd and I made the decision a few weeks ago to go for her b/d rather than Christmas.  And we had explained to dm that we would be there the day before her b/d, respectfully.  No problems there,  dm was pleased as could be, and all went along smoothly until today.  Part of the reason we made that decision was that there's one branch of the family tree that causes both of us a lot of angst, and we decided we'd let them have the main day with dm and we'd take the other day instead, giving an excuse if needed that travel plans didn't work out.  It also helped to keep my fail dm from being overwhelmed with too many people and noise at one time.  also, so nobody got hurt feelings, etc.  But today y-sister writes that she contacted this branch and changed their plans (to our day) so we'd all be there together, yeah isn't that just great?  I am very very angry about this, and dd also, that ys interfered in this way and did not respect our decision, without even asking us if this would be a good thing. 

On top of this, ds would have probably been there, and this is supposition as he has not answered any of my emails, not even as the last resort a phone message I left explaining that I was concerned about his tuition-job loss-financial aid running out and wanted to communicate with him about how I can help him get through to graduation.  No answer whatsoever.  It would be a definite signal to a sane person to just walk away, that I know, but in my ds's twisted up mind, nothing is simple or reasonable.  He is an expert manipulator in creating confusion and shifting all blame off himself.

......I am now furious.  I now am rethinking as to whether or not I should make any overtures whatsoever to assist him with this issue, or just let him sink or swim.  I am angry with my y sister for interfering with our plans that are difficult enough as it is.  I am angry that I have to now not go at all, because whatever we do it can be misconstrued.  Oh Bother!  It always keeps coming back to this craziness, my second guessing myself and trying to do the right thing, but when someone will not communicate with you, well its just the most insidious thing there as, I believe.  It is a hateful, dastardly, loathsome act of cowardly arrogance!  My dd just says for me to do whatever I need to do to feel ok with myself, this is not black or white.  I want to have some self respect.  I don't want to choose between self respect, a generous spirit, and enabling a selfish brat to keep perpetrating meaness.  I don't see any way out of this, and I don't see how I can know what the right thing is to do or not do.

nina mary

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Re: Time To Walk Away From Hurtful Adult Children
« Reply #9 on: December 30, 2011, 01:51:50 PM »
This is what I have learned. I've learned to listen to my inner voice and the questions it asks me. When I hear the question in my mind 'How do you feel right now', I hear a tiny voice reply with 'I feel wrong', I am wrong'. I then know I am responding to the harsh words of my bitter mother. I acknowledge the feeling and it goes away because the adult in me tells me that I can't be made to blame or be made to feel wrong anymore because I am remembering the feelings as a child. Children are not to blame. As an adult I know this.
When my children yell at me, 'you're the problem, you must be be, you can't be normal because your whole family have disowned you'. They are repeating the words of my mother who hated me for being born subjecting her to a life of misery with my father.
How can my children be right, when I know I am not to blame because it's not my fault that my mother became pregnant?
This level approach and this forgiveness of myself as a child is what has made me strong.
I know that if I can stop beating myself up for everything I have taken the blame for so far, I can start to learn about my role in the family dynamics and why they happen as they do. Most of it has to do with the expectation we place on ourselves. We can't alter what our adult children decide for themselves.

Offline Ruth

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Re: Time To Walk Away From Hurtful Adult Children
« Reply #10 on: December 30, 2011, 02:00:05 PM »
Nina I don't know if you wrote this last post in response to my post, but I do thank you.  Yours is a really unique experience and perspective and I think it has opened up another link in this chain of dysfunction I'm struggling with, as I think it will for a lot of others.  Bless your heart, I am so sorry for the way this turned out for you.  In spite of that I believe the best is yet to come for you.  I am now listening to the voice, and asking what do I hear, this is an important question, as far as my ds is concerned especially.  He has been so abusive to me all of his life, that his voice in my head dictates so very much of who I think I am and what kind of person I think I am.  I have a lot to think about.  thank you

Offline Doe

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Re: Time To Walk Away From Hurtful Adult Children
« Reply #11 on: December 30, 2011, 02:01:18 PM »
Ruth-

You did make the overture to help him and he gave you his 'answer'.  Check that off your list.  You don't have to do any more.  If he comes with a last minute emergency, it's his emergency, not yours.  He can work for a while and figure out his own graduation.

Can you get into your car and go out in the country and scream and yell?  I think it would be appropriate for the situation.  Or go beat the pillows or something? 

And re:  your mom.  Like you said, all those people will probably overwhelm her so waiting to visit her later would be better for her, don't you think?

Offline Doe

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Re: Time To Walk Away From Hurtful Adult Children
« Reply #12 on: December 30, 2011, 02:02:01 PM »
oh and remember - deep breath in... deep breath out...

Offline Ruth

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Re: Time To Walk Away From Hurtful Adult Children
« Reply #13 on: December 30, 2011, 02:30:29 PM »
Thank you doe, I understand what you're saying.

lisafox41

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Re: Time To Walk Away From Hurtful Adult Children
« Reply #14 on: December 30, 2011, 02:39:33 PM »
After all the drama with my AD this past year, I decided I would still buy Christmas gifts for her and my GC. It felt like the right thing to do.
She made no effort to call me or see me this holiday season. Her brother took all of my gifts over to them. No thank yous even.
So, like you Ruth, we know we did what felt right to us. They let us know their thoughts on the matter, so as Doe says, now we are done.

 

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