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"Welcome to WiseWomenUnite.com -- When adult children marry and leave home, life can sometimes get more complex instead of simpler.  Being a mother-in-law or daughter-in-law can be tough.  How do we extend love and support to our mothers-in-law, adult children, daughters-in-law, sons-in-law, and grandchildren without interfering?  What do we do when there are communication problems?  How can we ask for help when we need it without being a burden?  And how do our family members feel about these issues?  We invite you to join our free forum, read some posts... and when you're ready...share your challenges and wisdom."

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Messages - Ruth

Adult Sons and/or Adult Daughters / Re: Feel left out
November 29, 2013, 03:05:29 pm
First of all, I want to say hello to you, Debbie, to Luise, and to all the women on the site.  This is one of the times of the year that the sites gets more active, as we who are parents of children who rejected us, try to manage our painful emotions and to help others do the same.  I am very thankful for the role this site played in helping me through that awful time, three years ago this Christmas day, when my DS told me to stay out of his life.  It was the hardest thing I ever had to go through.  I believe Firelight wrote about grieving being a lonely business, and it is indeed lonely.  I don't believe we are ever finished with our grieving over our adult children and the loss of the relationship we wanted so much, not entirely finished in this life.  Debbie, DH and I were discussing what you wrote about just the other day.  I think it is becoming more and more commonplace in our society that people seem to lack that natural curiosity about others' lives.  I find so few people in conversation ask me (and DH said the same) about my life, my interests or work or children.  I always find people interesting and also find myself doing the 'interviewing' process more often than not.  I don't think you're alone in this, and if you're in one of those clans who  lack that other-centered point of view, its the way they are and it may be necessary just to come to terms with it. 
Hello Bethe.  I think I get what you're saying.  Its almost like what parents feel when one of their children passes away, and they are afraid of changing the room and putting anything away, because they feel this is all they have left of their children and they think it somehow keeps them connected.  It becomes a stronghold in the thinking.  I believe I had the same situation as you describe.  When a person has suffered a great great deal of pain, they become acutely sensitized to the pain, and afraid of any movement at all, just the smallest movement causes intense fear.  It is fear of losing what one has, or had, because that feels intolerable to a tortured mind, if even what one had was undesirable and distressing, still there is that need to not let go.  Well, it is a toughie and all I can say is that it takes time.  don't worry about the apologizing here.  I think most people on this forum are also rescue pets.  When you've been hurt again and again you begin to have more nerve endings that are sensitive to pain I think, maybe all this sounds crazy and I'm floundering around.  The prescription is the same for all of us however.  We have to reclaim our lives and little by little find some people we can enjoy and trust and find some activities and interests that give us some joy aside from focusing on the bad relationship with have with our children and the many losses in our lives.  One person mentioned being a surrogate gm to some other children.  Life is full of opportunities to do this.  Try church preschools, day care centers, etc., who are just thrilled to have some one come in a read, hold, help feed, etc.  They will sweep you in.  There are other things such as GALs but that is stressful and maybe not the best thing right now, but keep trying and read and post here.  It really does help and you have to be patient with yourself as it took a long time to evolve into this place and the journey is equally long going back in the other direction.  best wishes.
Thanks everyone for your ideas.  I share in the 'pen pal nostalgia', actually forums are also a bit like that and maybe that was a draw for me.  We are people who are willing and able to write,  from my observations over the years.  And Still Learning, I am also happy just to get the communication, it isn't that the email bothers me per se, its the way they write.  They are blunt without the pleasantries that I think couch our messages in that cocoon of warmth and caring.  I'm sure they wouldn't even respond to a job lead in that way -  sending a note without any dear so and so:   'look at this resume and phone me for an interview'.   Well, if this were the biggest problem I had in my life I would be home free! 
It is so nice to be with you all again, Luise.  Thank you for asking.  I am well and don't have much updating to do except to say that I thankful to not be so preoccupied with the grown children.  As far as their behavior, nothing has changed very much but I do not devote very much of my thoughts to them as I used to.  And I think I just don't internalize it or keep their behavior connected to who I am any more.  I don't have to like it, but I don't have to allow it to demoralize me or take down the quality of my life.  It did take me a long time to get to the place that it isn't wearing me down so much, but I am thankful to get a little peace of mind these days, it was hard won. 
thanks Pooh   - for taking the time to ....write!  and yes I do think it is cultural and the norm to many people to write skeleton communications, but I don't think I'm ever going to be able to read it without having my insides jarred and feeling like the person is out of sorts with me for something.  I pad all my communications I guess, I'm always trying to trouble shoot and keep from being offensive and I don't have a strong self esteem, or self confidence, which lends itself to any kind of daring communication.  I suffer when I go out on a limb.  I suppose I'm a dinosaur.  Nevertheless, I think we've slipped a notch in human relations with this abbreviated form of writing and reading and speaking. 
Greetings everyone, I hope this is a good day for everyone here.  I don't come to the site as often as I used to but it will always still hold a special place in my life.  Maybe this is a good place and time for my rant, maybe not,  I don't know but I wonder if there are some of you who are as put out with this subject as I am.  I find it really, I mean really, hard to cope with these staccato forms of communication from my adult children and grandchildren.  I don't text, or use a cell phone, but I do email a lot and get messages left on my answering machine.  Almost across the board, there is no salutation or closure, just the blunt jist of the reason for the contact.  There is now and then the exception to this, when they are in a good mood maybe or just kicking back and want to talk, but almost all the time its just that jarring dozen words or so.  I don't understand this.  I can't imagine sending or leaving a message for anyone without taking a minute to say hello and how are you, be it the maytag repairman, the girl who checks out my groceries, or my closest friend, it would be unthinkable for me to leave a blunt unembellished message or request for something.  But my adult children have this modem of communication with me on a regular basis, even knowing the manner that I communicate and have always communicated with them, this is the way they send and leave messages for me.  My grandchildren do it also to some degree but not as badly. 

And also in closing, I recently read this quote in one of Luise's messages and I have thought about it for days:

Adult Children remember when we were there for them day and night...and rightly so because they wouldn't have survived otherwise. Their every move was something we accommodated to...setting ourselves aside. Unfortunately, that's not a template for a lifetime relationship and some of them resent that

sorry I'm sure I should have edited that in a different way and please feel free to rearrange it, but I thought this was one of the most profound things I've ever read on this forum as to the real reason, a valid explanation, of why...why many of us have adult children who just keep taking and taking and taking and seem to give so little back.  Thank you for giving me this food for thought.  It seems there are many adult children who don't see a cut off point between childhood and adulthood whereby they are no longer entitled to carte blanche demands on their parents life and resources. 
I am so sorry, C.  I, as I'm sure many others do on this site, have experienced that same sense of pain, loss, fear that you're feeling.  I think I'd rather go through years of a very taxing physical illness than to have to walk through this kind of particular pain that is the product of a broken down relationship between mother/child, it is just so awfully painful.  It sounds to me like you went many extra miles trying to 'be there' for E, and to clear away all the debris for E to get what E wanted, at great personal cost to yourself.  This is what mothers do, anyway, but I think you should do something beautiful in that room - paint it and spend some time at some nice flea markets or estate sales and get a few things you really love to decorate it up nicely.  Make it a feel good room and move on.  This was, in fact, only (to E) just another minor bump in the road that will be swept aside and forgotten in little time, people like E are survivors and don't loose a great deal of sleep over whether or not Mother had her feelings hurt, but you've absorbed most of the pain and loss of the episode, I think.  And you can probably take it to the bank that E will regroup and be back in the not so distant future when the next crisis erupts in his/her life.  So its even doubly important that you work more at changing 'you' into a person you like more who's not that weak and vulnerable.  I know its hard to do, and we are what we are, as I'm also very tender and vulnerable in spite of all the circumstances in my life that should have molded me otherwise, but it helps to write and read others' stories as you are doing here, and it helps to get yourself moving past painful emotions and memories by just thinking about things that are good and positive in your life, and all of us have positive things in our lives even if at times we have to look a little harder to find them, and its each of our responsibility to make things positive in our lives.  I wish you much much success, and believe that you will have better days ahead.
Hi Didi.  I don't get back here very much any more, but I saw your post today and wanted to send a message to you.  I understand how you feel.  I've had years of that same kind of drama off and on in my own 'less than perfect' parenting saga.  But I have come to the conclusion that people, especially the DC who intentionally or inadvertently drove many of us here to this site, are masters at illusion and f/b is a great venue for those flights of fancy.  One minor incident can be seized upon and embellished by your problem child to be anything he/she wants to create as a fact to the world, and inside his/her own head.  (A 'lovely evening with an ex spouse' can-and probably is- good for about five minutes in real time).  Its also a great chess game, spiteful in spirit, but false, just a mirage.  Don't allow these birds flying over your head to rob you of your peace, keep whatever you can.  You did the right thing and it cost you, as it usually does in this life.  You have to live with some painful consequences not of your own creating.  Don't compound the pain by buying into DD's charades, this is my advice to you coming from my own experience with this.  Probably also like me, you are very sensitive to the tiniest movement in any direction, waiting for the other shoe to fall, afraid of more pain and loss to hit you.  I think this is normal for us.  We are just about all of us wounded people or we wouldn't find any need to write to others in a place such as this.  You can feel better.  Keep your eyes going in another direction and keep your own chatter to yourself active when you get these times of misgivings and feelings of gloom.  Wishing you the best.
Please don't cry every day.  Nothing stays the same.  I believe firmly that as long as there's life, there's hope.  Please try and stop looking back, Sad, and also try and stop thinking that it will only get worse or remain as it is now.  I'm lately observing three generations in my own family, and the fact that none of us stay(ed)  the same.  We've had our ups and downs, many of us severe ones that looked like it would be best to just throw in the towel.  But in spite of that we've all managed to keep reconnecting and rising above the problems most of the time.  Pull your spirits up, and at least encourage yourself that DS is plowing ahead in spite of his issues, and doing what he has to do to get himself back in school.  It may be that he'll straighten out during that time.  You'll begin to see glimpses of who he was in time.  but it may also be that in time you'll  like and admire the person he might become more than the person he was, when he's all grown up.  I think of you often and understand and share what you feel as a mother. 
That is wonderful news!  Congratulations and give yourself permission to enjoy this new blessing and addition to the family!  It takes a long time, but eventually if we're lucky we get to the place that we just make peace with the way things are, and put the long lenses on our cameras.  When I look back at my first post(s) I can hardly believe it.  I was in such a bad place.  Things never changed a whole lot with my DS, but it just seemed to fade more into the backdrop of my life.  I got a better life and have a different and more healthy focus now.  It takes time and I know if I can do it, anyone can.  I'm still here with and for you, Sad, and for anyone else on the website who needs an old veteran's shoulder to cry on although I don't come here very often any more.  I'm grateful for all the people who helped me here.  But I am darned grateful most of all that my life isn't sucked up in worry and sadness over my DS.  I've left that in bigger hands and do what I can do and don't worry about what I can't. 
I've thought of you so many times.  I am at least thankful to hear you still holding your own.  You can be very thankful that you and DH are on the same page and able to be a comfort and support to one another.  You will be in my thoughts and prayers.
your dealings with your son sound a lot like mine, sadmom.   Its a very hard thing.  My DS is also early 30's.  I've never been able to establish any kind of a loving, stable relationship with him, and this goes all the way back to when he was a small kid, he just never really cared.  He doesn't want to completely sever our ties however, he shows up sporadically by email in my life, always on his own terms, now and then.  There are no holidays with me to speak of.  I've beaten my head against a brick wall for many years, and it has hurt very badly.  Like you, I tried every tactic under the sun:  stay close, distance myself, give, don't give, you name it, nothing just never seemed to make any difference.  In short, he just doesn't particularly care.  I managed better this Thanksgiving than I ever have as far back as I can remember.  Iguess I've just hurt so badly, for so long, that my emotions have just somewhat shut down.  You can't just keep hurting forever.  There's a survival mechanism built somewhere inside us that calls it quits at some point, and you still love your child as always, but you learn to put your emotional energy in other places, as keys Girl so beautifully described.  This process can start small, and gradually grow until you find yourself growing an actual life of your own.  I started out recently wanting to read to the blind, that worked a little but not as I had hoped.  I kept visiting nursing homes.  Now I do semi regularly baking and take afternoon tea and cakes to a few residents, and this has worked out splendidly.  They just love getting something right out of the oven, then I read to the ones who want to hear.  I also take special blankets, cd's etc., just whatever opportunity opens itself up.  This has helped me heal from the loss of my DS.  You'll find your own ideas, and once you turn that corner it gets a little better.  The hardest thing for me was giving myself permission to stop caring so much and keeping my heart wrapped around him.  Some how, I think, subconsciously, I feared that if I let go it would mean that it would never happen, and I guess I thought keeping myself tied to him had some kind of magical power to make my hopes happen.  But it has no power whatsoever, it is just needless suffering.  My Christmas perspective has now slipped down very low, to it being just another day, a special religious day for me, but I don't see any magic in that day or any need to try and make it bigger than life.  I give the devotion I used to shower on my DS now to my Dh, and to my DGS's who come to see me regularly and make a consistent effort by their own initiative to stay closely linked to me.  I feel my love is better invested with them.  We have great fun together, playing chess and bikes and books and jokes, and also some serious conversations that I hope will make some impact on their future lives.  I know I am very fortunate in this, because many grandma's here are even shut out of their grandchildren's lives, God bless them, it makes me so sad.
I am sorry to read such a painful account of what 'should've'  been happy and prosperous years, dear Carolinagirl.   I can share what you are feeling, having also a very long story myself of years and years of unanswered questions and disappointments with my DS.  We mothers living out a tragic situation such as this are sort of like frogs in boiling pots of water - we become acclimated to some extent to the pain and sense of loss and it even becomes a part of who we are, for me it has been a long journey.  I am not 'there' yet but at least I have learned to not take my DS's coldness and detachment as a personal attack any more, I have had to come to terms with the fact that this is who he is, and the kind of personality he has.  It doesn't mean I've given up hope that things may change in the future, but I have learned to live with it, and to enjoy and cultivate other important relationships.  That's a far stretch from where I was three years ago.  I truly hope you can find more peace. 
It seems to me your life has been a wonderful gift.  Allow it to unfold on a one day at a time basis.  Take joy in doing the housekeeping, sing while you work Precious One and give out of that great heart of yours love and laughter to your family, whenever you have the opportunity.  They have eyes, they can see, and they have memories and must in their most private occasions be speechless when they think of all you have come through, able and willing to live your life without bitterness and sarcasm, and blame.  It will take your family a long time to catch up with you, so you must be patient and willing to wait.  Thank you for sharing this profound story.
I find the older I get, the more I have my foot in my mouth.  And memory, well don't even go there.  I know I tell my DC and GC the same stories over and over, the gc are too kind and sweet to tell me or even roll their eyes, but DS reminded me as I have stated here recently.  Nowadays, I am committed to just saying, so I made a mistake, people do make mistakes.  My gosh, if you made some kind of 'senior moment comment' about the mashed potatoes, did the world come to an end?  Don't go and feel the need to defend yourself.  That is small stuff in a big way.