Author Topic: Afraid...  (Read 1531 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Ruth

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 605
    • View Profile
Afraid...
« on: May 22, 2012, 09:33:42 AM »
Today, again, even my waking thoughts center around DS, and I start the day with the familiar knot in the pit of the stomach that has become so commonplace to me that I think I don't remember how it feels to live a single day in peace and contentment.  I've thought a lot about what Margaret said recently, about us 'running like scared field mice' and many of us make the comments about 'walking on eggshells' re. our a/c and g/c.  I want to deal with this issue, and get input from others who feel this has also taken a great toll on their lives.

Did our own parents/grandparents live with this burden of fear and intimidation?  Did they expect or require meaningful relationship with their offspring???  Did (or do, for those of us with living parents) they even regularly seek out or seem to need significant communication from us??   Every correspondence that I initiate to DS is prefaced with serious editing, and even serious misgivings (am I writing too often?  should I phone?  should I not phone?)  - 'does that sound confrontational?  is that too personal?  is it too long?... and so on'.  No other relationship in my life merits such extensive scrutiny or mental anguish.  And even after all this investment of thought and consideration, responses are not forthcoming or fruitful, except in the rare case.  I have worn my life out with analysis, research, attention to details, and futile attempts to build a relationship with DS.  It seems to be fueled by fear, unrealistic expectation, and my own unwillingness to accept this person as he is, and to accept his desire to not allow me to be any significant part of his life.  I seem to cease to exist without the love and/or approval of my children.  What a wretched state!  Has it really come to this?

I've read all our heartbreaking stories here for more than a year.  I really wonder what has brought us to this place, and to this perspective?  What has set us apart from generations before us, who just didn't seem to see parenting as a perpetual thing as we do in this generation, which I now fear is seeping over into grand-parenting.  I have been noticing this for some time now, and beginning to ask questions - why?  ...Skyping ..and scrapbooking ...and videos and ..momentos, and on and on, I'm not criticizing these things, but I'm just asking questions as to is it really hitting the target?  Is there really going to be a payoff?   I know that for those of us who are looking only at the big picture, the value of the contribution itself into the lives of the children, the payoff is there.  But I fear that for a lot of us (myself included, who has had the luxury of a very close relationship to g/c), we may be setting ourselves up for the same cycle that has played out with our a/c, maybe...  Are we going to again be disappointed when we aren't considered relevant any more, or as important as we wanted to be, or needed to be to our g/c, and is it going to be another house of cards?  And why has this taken such stellar importance in our lives as mothers and grandmothers?

Sorry this was long, please please don't anyone feel I'm being critical or judgmental, God forbid I think you all know me better, but its just my thoughts on something that is my own personal struggle and I would like to get input from others who may find it relevant.
thank you!

Offline luise.volta

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8842
  • Luise Volta
    • View Profile
    • Wise Women Unite
Re: BE AFRAID...BE VERY VERY AFRAID
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2012, 09:53:47 AM »
My take is that we do one day at a time to the best of our ability. There are no "whys" and we are never going to make sense of the senseless. We say the Serenity Prayer or something similar and we try to build a life that is beyond anguish. Sending love...
"Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes it's a quiet voice at the end of the day saying, I'll try again tomorrow." -- Mary Ann Radmacher

Offline Elise

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 192
    • View Profile
Re: BE AFRAID...BE VERY VERY AFRAID
« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2012, 10:26:43 AM »
Ruth - The only thing which makes sense to me is to continue to enlarge my family of the spirit. I think it is a loss of sense of purpose I feel most keenly in this time of my life - coming to terms with my new reality absent the family sense I anticipated continuing. It seems such a solitary journey. Maybe that is part of the lesson of this time of life - a coming to some terms with the solitary nature of life period in the final analysis. Evening is different than high noon and those at high noon do not have much interest in evening I think sometimes. Add to that the materialism focus, and the incredible busyness of life today. Is it any wonder we are looking at this from the point of asking ourselves what it has all been about as we walk in the late afternoon or evening of our lives and correctly do the work of this time of life, reflecting and contemplating as we do. We just don't like the answers do we? Maybe it has always been thus, have you ever noticed the quiet of the elderly? And their watchfulness? I feel it starting in me.


Offline Ruth

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 605
    • View Profile
Re: BE AFRAID...BE VERY VERY AFRAID
« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2012, 10:41:28 AM »
Ruth - The only thing which makes sense to me is to continue to enlarge my family of the spirit. I think it is a loss of sense of purpose I feel most keenly in this time of my life - coming to terms with my new reality absent the family sense I anticipated continuing. It seems such a solitary journey. Maybe that is part of the lesson of this time of life - a coming to some terms with the solitary nature of life period in the final analysis. Evening is different than high noon and those at high noon do not have much interest in evening I think sometimes. Add to that the materialism focus, and the incredible busyness of life today. Is it any wonder we are looking at this from the point of asking ourselves what it has all been about as we walk in the late afternoon or evening of our lives and correctly do the work of this time of life, reflecting and contemplating as we do. We just don't like the answers do we? Maybe it has always been thus, have you ever noticed the quiet of the elderly? And their watchfulness? I feel it starting in me.

I wish I'd had the eloquence to have condensed my thoughts in such a profound way.  What an excellent analogy.  I also see the change in my own eyes, its the same look that years ago I would also observe in elderly people, and misinterpret it as some type of laziness, but now I know it is more acceptance of powerlessness, and a vigilance.  My dh used to say that my eyes were like a deer in the headlights, he doesn't say that anymore.  I don't know if its just me, but its a darned difficult period in life. 

Offline Pen

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4398
    • View Profile
Re: BE AFRAID...BE VERY VERY AFRAID
« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2012, 11:07:55 AM »
My expectations came from observing my GPs interacting w/my Ps as adult friends. I assumed when I became a MIL I'd have the same sort of relationship. In between visits (GPs lived a few hours away) there was voluminous letter-writing back & forth w/occasional phone calls. We knew when lambing started on the ranch, they knew when us kids had lost a tooth or learned to ride a bike. During actual visits the conversation flowed from politics to books to old times to jokes and silliness. I loved listening in, participating in discussions & enjoying the warmth of my family.

I never imagined the strained, one-sided, awkward get-togethers we've had w/DS & DIL.
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb

Offline Ruth

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 605
    • View Profile
Re: BE AFRAID...BE VERY VERY AFRAID
« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2012, 11:27:42 AM »
good thoughts, Pen, this speaks to me of confident adults, enjoying each other with mutual respect, while children (i.e. g/c) having a proper perspective in all their lives ( the parents as well as the g/p), not necessarily the center of the universe, but much esteemed.  I love the story also about the lambing.  This sounds to me like a healthy family extended relationship.  It seems a very distant cousin to my own family doings, nobody seems afraid or intimidated, or devalued.  I do covet that, in a good way.  thank you.

Offline Ruth

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 605
    • View Profile
Re: BE AFRAID...BE VERY VERY AFRAID
« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2012, 11:36:04 AM »
Pen, just a brief addendum, it occurred to me after reading your post....letter writing and the brief phone call..okay.   remembering years past, before computer, cell phone, facebook, unlimited long distance, relatives wrote letters and posted them, and occasionally made a 'long distance' phone call.  I wonder, if this has blurred lines and caused some feelings of ambivalence between extended families.  I say this because, when ds first went into military (about 14 yrs ago) I had no computer and long distance service, I wrote letters and posted them and waited (ahem) for a reply.  Now we shoot our thoughts instantly across cyberspace.  Now they (we) know there is no excuse for lack of communicating.  Maybe our a/c don't want, want, resent, demand (and so on) our communication.  Could this be creating anxiety and confusion in our family relationships?  well, it was darned simpler when I wrote letters and put a stamp on them.  I knew I was powerless to do anything else, and I slept better.

Offline Doe

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1278
    • View Profile
Re: Afraid...
« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2012, 12:14:01 PM »
Ruth-
When I was raising the kids, for most of the time I felt like I was winging it.  I think the payoff was that we all got through it!  Now, they are grown and winging it themselves. 
 :D :D
« Last Edit: May 22, 2012, 12:38:15 PM by luise.volta »

Offline luise.volta

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8842
  • Luise Volta
    • View Profile
    • Wise Women Unite
Re: Afraid...
« Reply #8 on: May 22, 2012, 12:41:06 PM »
i softened the title a little.
"Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes it's a quiet voice at the end of the day saying, I'll try again tomorrow." -- Mary Ann Radmacher

Offline justanoldgrandma

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 180
    • View Profile
Re: Afraid...
« Reply #9 on: May 23, 2012, 12:45:52 PM »
My gps and parents didn't coddle, worship, indulge us as we do our kids/gkds today. We were taken care of, knew we were loved, but by today's standards, probably would be considered neglected!  We had fewer activities; some they attended if farm/other obligations didn't interfere.....(farm work really kept them centered on work, not in playing w the kids so much; of course, "town" parents were busy, too.)

My mother teared up when I married out of sentiment, but my leaving home wasn't really mourned....they missed me but it wasn't a tragedy...natural.

IOW, it was easier to let go of us and when i had the babies, my ps weren't at the hospital and didn't come to visit or help right away; our kids weren't as coddled as gkids are today, either; my mother heard about their activities through my weekly letters, not through emails, etc.....there was no conflict as there is today over holidays and who saw the gkids.... 

Parents/gps were just more independent and able to let go (well, mine were!)  We spoiled our sons more, but there was no gp conflict; so this having gc and missing them and knowing we aren't seeing them as much as the other gps is new to me; wish it were the olden days; need to find my own life again as my parents did.


Offline elsieshaye

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 629
    • View Profile
Re: Afraid...
« Reply #10 on: May 23, 2012, 02:04:47 PM »
I've been handling the walking on eggshells feeling with my own son by letting him set the pace (even if that means I don't hear from him), and focusing on other things like taking classes and my other relationships.  I miss him, but when I find myself overthinking and bending myself into a pretzel I take it as a sign that I should just sit for a while and not act.  If I start to second-guess and list all the consequences of initiating contact vs not initiating contact, I drive myself crazy.  In 20 years, he may tell me I did it all wrong, but then again he's telling me that now, and I can't control his reaction to things, so I might as well act to suit myself and build a good life for myself.   Doesn't mean I don't miss him and wonder if things are ever going to get easier.  I just know for me, forcing action that I don't feel 100% certain of causes me a lot more discomfort than not acting, if that makes sense.

I didn't have grandparents, and my other relatives lived on another continent and we rarely saw them.  So I don't really have context for what that would have been like for my parents.  My own parents were enmeshed with me and each other to a really unhealthy degree, so they viewed my growing up and leaving home as the deepest of betrayals.  I have made an effort to untangle as much of my own baggage as possible so that my son doesn't have to deal with it, which is part of what informs my decision to let him go until he decides otherwise.
This too shall pass.  All is well.

Offline constantmargaret

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 178
    • View Profile
Re: Afraid...
« Reply #11 on: May 23, 2012, 05:11:24 PM »
Ruth, what are you afraid of?

What is this fear that drives your pursuit of your son?