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Relationship with adult children have suffered since divorce over 20 years ago

Started by Hurtingmother, August 29, 2016, 07:38:37 pm

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I'll start off by saying, our lives were turned upside down with the infidelity of my ex-husband and the ultimate divorce that followed several years later.  I came from a broken home, my ex came from a broken home so we handled our situation a little differently.  No courts involved.  My children lived with me in the marital home, my ex moved out to live with his mother and new girlfriend.  I allowed him to see them anytime he wanted.  I met someone several years later, and the problems began.  I always wanted us to be able to co-parent and remain respectful to each other, but my ex husband had other ideas.  He tried to reconcile with me, (wasn't gonna happen)...crushed his ego...which then turned him into a nightmare.  He was terrible to me...he was abusive in front of our children, and then, the plan to try to ruin my relationship with my children began.  I married the person I met...he soon followed by marrying the girlfriend.  The relationship lasted about 2 1/2 years. He divorced her, met a woman about 15 years his junior who he was engaged to for over 10 years.  I never had a problem with her.  She was good to my children. There were problems with my new husband and my children in the beginning...he was very immature, no children of his own, and could be very verbally abusive to me and my children at times.  We separated after a year because I was not going to allow him to mistreat my children or myself.  He went to counceling, and has spent the last 17 years trying to repair the damage he did to the relationship with my children in the first year of our marriage.  My son ended up leaving and going to live with his father as a teenager, my daughter stayed with me.  To make a very long story short, my son is a new father, married and living in another country.  My daughter is living in a nearby city working very hard on her education and career.  We were very close in the beginning, but due to false statements made by my ex, our relationship has suffered.  I was there when my grandchild was born, but had to spend a very uncomfortable week with my son's dad and new wife.  I was totally ignored, and felt very disrespected.  My children's view of this is, its not my problem.  I don't care if he hates you, or if you hate him.  My children have always treated him differently than they did me.  He's very hard nosed, he holds grudges until death, very unforgiving, and has written his entire family off, including his mother.  He's a very cold person.  My adult children do not know what's going on in my life because they very rarely call.  I do not get to see either of them very often.  I know they do not defend me when their dad speaks badly of me, and that hurts.  I did everything I knew to do to preserve their relationship with their father, and he's done the exact opposite. I just don't feel like my children care that much about me.  I love them so much, and it hurts so bad.  My adult children treat their father totally different than they do me and I do not understand.  I'm not allowed to speak about my feelings regarding the situation with either of my adult children.  If I try, I'm immediately stopped.  They do not want to hear it.  I'm so afraid my ex will try to ruin my relationship with my grandchild just like he did with my children.  I really do not know what I'm suppose to do because whatever I will be wrong...I'm just so tired of trying to make them care as much about me, as I do them.  It's exhausting and so hurtful when our relationship seems so unimportant to them. 


Welcome, H. We ask all new members to go to our HomePage and under Open Me First, to read the posts placed there for you. Please pay special attention to the Forum Agreement to be sure WWU is a fit. We're a monitored Website.

I think the hardest thing for me to learn when everything went south with my eldest son after he left home and married, was that i couldn't change how he felt and acted, nor his father, whom I had divorced. They had their own take on everything and it never made any sense to me. My husband had been a cold-hearted and critical father and I'd stuck up for me son. Yet when he married and had a son of his own, I couldn't be around the child because I had 'bad vibes'! What I want to tell you in the hopes that it will encourage you, is that my grandson grew up and became a father and now his daughter, my great granddaughter, is 23 years old. I am 89. She lives is a different state and he lives in a different country but at Christmas time they both came to see me. We had a wonderful time!

You can't do anything to change another person. All you can change is yourself. I learned, once I got past focusing on the hurt and injustice, to hold my head high and to have a life. It has been happy one, full of great friends. Hugs!
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama

Green Thumb

Dear HM,
I think our adult children do not want to hear their other parent badmouthing their former spouse. I think AC naturally shy away from this, even if we are saying "the truth" or "our feelings." At least, this is what I have found in my own life. Therefore, I advise not to talk to your AC about how bad your ex-spouse was or is and how you are or were being mistreated. Whatever time you have with your AC, make it all about them, not about yourself. Children want to love both parents and receive love from both parents. The stronger personality parent, or the manipulative parent, often ends up dividing the kids from their other parent. And I believe that the one parent who was most cold or detached while the kids were growing up seems to turn into the one the AC most desire to please after the divorce. Why does this happen? For one, life is never fair. I also believe it is because our AC desperately desire the love they never had growing up so will do anything, everything, in some situations to maintain contact with the "bad parent" in order to gain some of that love NOW. And sometimes it is because the strong parent doesn't need the AC so much but the weak parent does. The opposite happens, too, the weaker parent, or more emotionally needy parent, drives them away. It depends on how much manipulation is going on and how mature the AC are. I understand your frustration, my ex has manipulated my AC into not being close to me. One has to let go and make one's own life be the happy life. Make peace with the grief and move forward in life. I am not sure we can really change the situation until our AC are willing and we are willing to look at our part, our own behavior and stressors, etc. We may be victims but we don't have to make our lives about being a victim, we can rise up and be happy. Like Luise said, we can only change our own selves and attitudes, we can't change other people. And I do find things go better for a while with my own AC and then back to almost no contact. Guess I don't pursue them as vigorously as their father or their in-laws. Best wishes to you.