I don't know if it is permitted to put an except of a column here if it is properly credited, but please remove it and accept my apologies if it is not. This was sydicated in the newspaper today by Universal Press Syndicate. I thought it could be helpful to see what Dear Abby thinks about a situation many may relate to.
We can't do that because of copywrite laws, S. But you can paraphrase it if you are willing. It is well worth passing on. Sending love...
Okay, here goes my try at summarizing -- (which is probably longer than the original, LOL.)
A mother of adult children writes in that she divorced her abusive husband years ago, but that she too had made mistakes. She can't change the past, but she regrets it. She and her ex have each since remarried other people. She has moved on, but feels he still hasn't. She's apologized to the children. She's asked their forgiveness. She writes that her problem is that some (not all) of her grown children continually throw her old mistakes in her face. They blame her for the divorce, and think their father was only her victim. They regularly get upset about the past and get very upset with her now because of it. She's always very nervous about saying the wrong thing that will set them off about the past. She has anxiety that their holding on to their anger at her, will lead to them keeping her grandchildren from her. She's been to therapy and was told the only person she has to happy with, is herself. Despite that, she writes to ask how she can get her children to accept that she's not bad, she's only a human with some faults, and to forgive her.
The advice columnist replies that the letter writer she got very good advice in therapy, to be content with herself. Abby reminds the writer that her children, too, are only imperfect people. If one of her childrens' faults is insisting on blaming one person for a marriage that took two to end, and not recognizing the abuser's role in the demise, there is simply nothing the letter writer or anyone else can do about their imperfections. Abby also advises her not to walk on eggshells anymore. Abby writes that the way to stop their throw-in-the-face behavior is not to tolerate it. It will continue only as long as the writer puts up with it. Abby encourages her to become devoted to her own life, and creating her own new fulfullment, without her grown children's approval.
Beautifully done. Thank you so much!
OMG this hits so close to home. I know I've made alot of mistakes. ( divorcing their abusive, cheating father after 17 yr.s, a 2 yr bout with addiction, etc.)After 4 yr.s of bending over backwards It seems though that any action I take will be wrong. . Alot of what my DD and DS accuse me of are down right lies and the rest I have tried to own up to, and ask forgiveness for so many times. They have totally written me off. I am trying very hard to quit being the caregiver for everyone else and start caring about me.
Welcome bdwell. Isn't it just great to read things on here and go "Oh wow...I'm so not alone." And then you keep reading and start realizing that we are humans. We make mistakes, we move on. It's your time bdwell to discover that about yourself and start living your life.
Hello bdwell and welcome :-*
There are a lot of single parents on this site with similar histories. I likewise am struck with remembered histories - how each person sees an event so totally different. the unfortunate part, I am beginning to think, is the role of judgement and blame. It is making me think when I find myself judging others.
Hang in there! As Pooh said, you are not alone.
This story mirrors my own. I have apologized to my ds on many occasions for the things he believes that I have done. But how do you say sorry for things that you feel in your heart were the best decisions or choices at the time. My ds is angry with me because he feels I kept him away from his father. He hated that he had to live with me. His father was a drug addict with a very unstable life. I never kept his father away from him. His father pick the drugs over his family. My ds father died a little over 2 years ago of a drug overdose. Maybe my ds believes that if I would have stayed with his father that this would have never happened. Maybe my ds believes that if he lived with his father that maybe he could of saved him.
I am starting to realize that I cannot keep apologizing to him until he decides to forgive me.
I wouldn't apologize for doing what you did. You did the right thing and I think any one of us here would have done the same thing. You have nothing to apologize for about his father. I have many times apologized to someone for something I did but it wasn't about what I did, but how they felt about it. Meaning my apology would be "I am sorry something I did made you feel bad or hurt you."
You need to stop apologizing to him. You have done it and now you are beating a dead horse. It is totally on him now. He can't blame his Father so he is using you as his scapegoat for all his anger. Everything is going to be your fault until he decides otherwise. The only thing you can do now is break the cycle. Set your boundaries of what you will and will not tolerate and stick to them.
One thought I have had is that our children know things about us that are nonverbal. For example, they know our body language instinctively. I am struck by assertions my dc make. They, in the past, have started a conversation by accusing me of not liking their father. It's true. I don't. But I don't say it or make any remarks about it. Well, I didn't in the past. The last time my odd said something about it, I stood up for myself. I told her that her relationship wtih her father was her business, adn I understood her need and desire for this. But I alos said that he behaved in ways that still affect my life today (molesting my son for one!), that I am still paying for his behavior. I do not like him, and I may never. I hate the things he did to my son and to our family. I told her that she is the one that always brings this subject up, and I'm tired of it - from now on I would speak exactly how I feel about him.she is 31 y.o. so not a child anymore.
Rightly or wrongly, that's what I did. It was about six months ago. It felt good to finally after 20 years to just say it. My dd and my relationship is improving now, and she has confided her struggles with 'the situation' with her father. I now think that perhaps she needed me to say what we all have been thinking. Maybe she has spent a long time in anger directed at me, when it was really her anger toward him.
Long story just to say that for years I believe my children were reading my nonverbal behavior, and I did not realize I was sending any messages at all. Maybe the way I held myself when they spoke to him on the phone; maybe a change in my face. Maybe the tone or inflection in my voice. I believe our children read us like books. Just as I can see the hidden in them .... most of the time.
Dear dear SJ, I love you posts and you always always inspire me when I'm struggling. You are really strong and what a great mentor you are. I think you hit it right on with what you said to dd, this is something like what I just posted about my dm, sometimes loved ones seem to want to stick something painful right in your face, and do it over and over, but in your case with a/c, it was long overdue that you took the offensive and said no more.
"loved ones seem to want to stick something painful in our face"
It was scary but a relief to finally find my voice - it took a willingness to suffer consequences I think. Pooh is great on this topic.
Thank you Ruth for your suport.
It's funny you told this story Jane. I did the same thing this weekend. I always made excuses for their Dad and took care of everything. After the divorce, I encouraged their relationship. I too have never come right out and said anything bad about their Dad but I am 100% positive that my attitude and facial expressions told them that I don't like him.
When my YS and I were talking this weekend, he brought up the fact that he had not spoken to his Dad in awhile. He said he had called his phone and his Dad never answered it. When he finally got in touch with him, his Dad was giving him this sob story on how it was his work phone and he had been told not to answer anyone else's calls on it that didn't have to do with work because he was going to be having surgery in a couple of months and his boss didn't want him to start any more cases, so don't answer it. My YS was telling me that his Dad had so many medical bills right now from his last surgery....blah blah blah...and my YS was feeling bad for him.
So I normally would have just listened and went on. I was getting more irritated the longer he went because I KNOW what he just did to me on my house and that it had nothing to do with medical bills. It was huge credit card bills. I knew this for a fact because I got the bills and the paperwork from the court. So I finally thought, oh no you don't. You are not going to take advantage of one of our children. So I broke down and told YS that he needed to be careful when dealing with his Dad. I explained what had happened and told him that his boss would not have told him not to answer the phone. He would have told him to take messages to pass along to another Detective if he didn't want him to take any more cases. I told him that the truth was probably he was avoiding bill collectors and lawyers. I also cautioned him that he was now an adult and needed to take what his Dad said with a grain of salt. That his Dad was always lying to people.
YS got quiet for a minute and then said, "You know. That makes more sense. PaPaw just told me he had a 'come to Jesus' meeting with Dad a couple of weeks ago. He said he told him it was time to grow up and start taking responsibility for what he was doing. I didn't know what that was about, but it would make more sense that he has gone to PaPaw for money."
I felt kind of bad about it later, but I think there comes a point where our AC need to know the truth. I told him I wasn't bad-mouthing his Father, but that I was no longer going to cover for him and he was old enough to make up his own mind. I've never done that and it did feel good to say it after 21 years too. So I can totally understand.
Quote from: sesamejane on October 05, 2011, 09:24:14 am
One thought I have had is that our children know things about us that are nonverbal. For example, they know our body language instinctively.
How true and I never thought about it. DS and DIL seem to have slightly different world views from me and DH. It's not a problem as far as we are concerned -we think we are inclusive people, but maybe sometimes our body language suggests that we feel alienated by what they are doing - maybe shrinking away from the newspaper lying on the table - which we would never
read in a month of Sundays, food being wasted, cavalier attitude to money etc. etc. etc.; little things mean so much. I believe in a 'fusion of horizons' meaning that there is somewhere that people of different views can and should meet, but so far I've not been that successful in applying it with DS and DIL. On so many levels we are strangers now and at least to MIL we may seem even weird.
I'm not sure now whether we should have criticised them for reading such junk immediately, start a healthy conversation on things they did that we didn't agree with. Maybe a good row would have cleared the air, but would it? All is revealed by body language now and that's speaks louder than words. Dear me! I have no problem being open with other people and we encouraged our boys to use constructive criticism and now we ourselves don't dare.
I love that, "fusion of horizons".
Isn't it kind of ironic if you think about it, that the lessons we taught our children growing up, we don't do these things ourselves now that they are adults? I taught mine to stand up for their beliefs, to not let anyone use them as a doormat, etc. Then we totally do the opposite when they treat us badly.
What's the saying? "Practice what you preach?"
When I was raising my kids, a woman that I respected with 8 kids told me once - "choose your battles. remember you are out to win the war." Of course meaning not to nit pick with the kids and stand ground for the important stuff. As they grew into adulthood, I suppose I had a difficult time knowing what battle was important enough to stand my ground.
they are adults now, and my role as "parent" has changed. I was thinking that "parenting is over now because they are adults. But my girls still call asking for advice when things get tough. So maybe the lesson is now "practice what you have preached with them," paraphraising Pooh in an attempt to get it straight in my mind...
I remember my Mother always telling me, "Don't ever start a fight. Always try to walk away, but if they swing first, finish it."
I guess it has taken me years to realize the entire meaning of that.
I wish I knew how to fight. This is a weakness I have, and it does not serve me well. This is an area I need a lot of work in. I tend to be silent, and then when I finally do speak up, there is so much water under the bridge, it seems quite ineffectual. Must learn to be more attentive, listen to instincts, and speak up if they "swing first." You also imply "finishing it," which seems to mean that if I am going to speak up, let it be with both guns. ???
I don't think of it as both guns....I think of "finish it" as be specific, set your boundaries, stick with it and not to let someone bully me into someone I am not.
Oh, I like that. So monitoring the perimeter...
Yes. I also know if I don't deal with something when it happens, I will stew...get more upset...get more stubborn, etc. I'm not saying argue or fuss, just deal with in how you are comfortable with (humor, walking off, etc.) and move on.
Oh Pooh :
I tend to be a stewer ......how I wish I was a dealer and a mover onner .....!
How about the term "self-advocating?" I was told I needed to do more of that.
Yes, self-advocating...letting go of the parenting thing during which you sacrifice for your children. Now it is time for self-advocating. I like that.
Self-advocating....much better word