December 12, 2019, 10:35:30 am

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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 - Stilllearning

31
Hi C and I am glad you found us!! I am so sorry that you are faced with such an untenable situation.  I felt about the same way about my DS.  I went to the hospital with chest pains and was admitted from the ER and my DS could not even come by to give my DH a ride home.  Both my DH and I were livid and we certainly let my DS know.  Things did not change for us until I finally realized that I did not even enjoy my DS's presence because he felt like visiting us was an imposition and my DIL was texting every 5 minutes about when he was coming home.  She even went so far as to set a frying pan on fire on the stove and then call him to come rushing home.  It was ridiculous!  Anyway like I said one day I stopped and asked myself why I was struggling so hard to be around someone who made me so uncomfortable and mad.  I realized that my life was better (yes, better!) and happier if I did not include him or expect him to participate.

The next thing I figured out was that some holidays (Mother's Day, Christmas and such) were going to be difficult to manage without noticing my DS's absence so I started planning things.  There was one Thanksgiving when my DH and I decided not to have the big feast on Thursday because the weather was so wonderful.  We went canoeing on Thursday and I cooked on Friday when it was raining.  It was really liberating to realize that I could just shift the celebration around, Christmas did not have to be on December 25th.  So I started making plans for important days and letting my DS know what they were.  I stopped expecting him to show up (I knew he did not want to be there anyway) but I would tell him he could come if he wanted.

It was the most amazing thing.  Once I stopped pulling on him he stopped pulling away.  It was like I had been part of the problem by constantly demanding he change things.  I only had control over myself so the only way I could change the situation was for me to change the way I looked at things.  I started reciting my three mantras:

1) No news is good news
2) For things to change first I must change
3) What you focus on expands

I started practicing changing my focus.  When I thought about my situation with my DS I would tell myself number 1 and then work on changing my focus from that horrible situation to something that I enjoyed (like planning a camping trip).  My relationship with my DH was the first to improve.  He was so tired of trying to fix the impossible situation with my DS and so tired of watching me hurt without any way of making it better.  I never realized how unfair I was being to my DH until after it was over.

After a few months of loving detachment my DS realized what he was missing and has slowly moved into a better relationship with my DH and myself.  We are now seeing my DS and grands every Saturday (for the summer) and everyone enjoys it.  My DIL gets the day off from being a Mom, my DS gets help watching the children and I get the hugs and squeals that make my heart smile and brighten my life.

I know that I was fortunate with my eventual outcome but honestly when I pulled away it was out of desperation.  Things had to change, one way or the other.  I could not go on in the same way.  Period.  Quite frankly if it had turned out that I was estranged from my DS I think I would have been OK.  I just could not put up with being treated that way any longer and with the help from the wonderful women here I found my way of stopping the abuse.  After all no one can hurt my feelings  if I don't let them, right?

Anyway C, I feel for you and I hope you find a way to recover your former self from this horrible situation!  Hugs!
32
Hi Strongdeb and welcome!  When I first started I used a user name that included my real name.  I have since changed it so that on the off chance that someone in my life reads my posts I can have some deniability.  You might consider this thought too.

I have tried more that once to answer your post, reread it and become dissatisfied with the answer and deleted it.  If you read my previous posts you can get my story and some of my thoughts. I have written about it so much that to me it sounds stale (hence the reread and delete problem).  Anyway a short recap would go like this.... When my DS closed the lines of communication I was desperate.  I constantly called him and texted him (and of course email) trying to figure out how I could 'fix' the situation.  I cried buckets and got to the point where I could not talk about anything else and basically turned into the person you avoid at parties because you know how they will trap you and keep talking and talking about things that you  don't want to talk about.   I don't know how my DH stood it!  He knew I couldn't 'fix' it.  He knew my future DIL was a nutcase (since diagnosed).  He just wanted his wife back.  Heck, I wanted the old me back too!! 

Then I found this website.  The people here said things like "you deserve to enjoy your life" and "your parenting days are over"  and "focus on the good things you have".  They were absolutely right.  If you have the time read my old posts for the full story and if you don't find the time please know that we are all very sympathetic with your current plight.  Drop by anytime and vent more or let us know what worked for you.  You deserve to enjoy your life, I promise!

Hugs!
33
Welcome O!  I spent way too long in your position.  My DIL's father even accused me of calling his daughter names (which I never did) and not only unfriended me but made it so that I could not see anything he posted.  They were over at my DS's house all the time and I never got invited.  The unfairness of it all invaded my life and took over every waking moment.  I tormented myself and everyone close to me trying to figure out what I could do to change it.  I turned into the wet rag at the party, you know, the one everyone tries to avoid because I sounded like a broken record.  Everyone knew I was right but what could they do about it?  And listening to me just brought them down, hence the wet rag thingy.  This went on for a couple of years.....like I said way way way too long!

Anyway my life was miserable and my misery was infecting the lives of everyone I loved.  And then one day I had an "aha" moment.  I suddenly realized that I did not enjoy my DS's company anymore (because I was always walking on eggshells) so why was I fighting so hard to be around him?  I was fighting to be around the DS I remembered, not the person he had become since he married.  So I stopped.  I stopped calling, texting, pleading and inviting.  Then they got pregnant and although I stopped by the hospital, I went the second day.  I wanted to avoid her family, who came in in droves the first day.  I really think it hurt my DS's feelings but I always thought that the wife deserves to have her family there more than the husband on the first day, after all she gives birth and he just watches in awe, right?  Anyway their oldest child is 5 now and my DS and I are finally getting to know each other as adults.  I like the man he has become and I try to tell him often.  I don't see my DIL often.  My DS brings the two grands over and spends the day and my DIL gets the day off from children.  Seems to work out for everyone.  But I digress, sorry!

How did I manage to stop texting and calling, right?  I still wanted to be around the wonderful person who moved out of my house and it was a painful realization that he no longer existed and he had been replaced by a person who honestly did not long for my company.  I had to respect his wishes even though it went against every fiber of my mothering nature.  I knew he had messed up and that he would most likely need me someday but he had to figure that part of the equation out for himself and my involvement just made it more difficult for him to face the facts.  So I adopted a few sayings and whenever I thought about his situation I would remind myself of them. 

1) No news is good news
2) Not my circus, not my monkeys
3) What you focus on expands


The third one is really crucial!  I had been focusing my entire life on how unfair my situation was and the more I focused on it the more the unfairness took over my life.  I looked around and found things in my life that I enjoyed and people in my life that I loved and I started focusing on them.  At first it took a lot of practice.  I wandered back to what I now call the abyss (because it sucked all the happiness out of my life) many times a day.  Then I would repeat one of the first two sayings and refocus my thoughts on more pleasant things like planning a camping trip or going for a walk or hugging my DH.  With practice I became able to avoid the abyss most of the time and my life became infinitely more happy.  I am not saying that I don't have my moments of guilt and regret but I no longer allow them to take over my life.  I am getting old and I deserve to enjoy my golden years.  I did the best I could raising my children and now they get to take over their own lives and learn their own lessons.  Their poor choices point out their lessons to be learned, not my mistakes in rearing.  I feel bad that my DS is now unhappy in his marriage and I would have liked to help him avoid that situation but....not my circus, not my monkeys.  What can I say?

Anyway OhGal, the point is that the fat lady isn't singing and your job is to enjoy your life.  We all wish you the best!  Hugs.
34
Hi R!  I think we all know about those visits to what I now call "the abyss" because once I let my mind take me there it sucks me right in and steals everything good from my life by filling me full of self pity.  Of course I deserve better, of course I did everything I could for my DS, of course he should want to bring his children by to see me, of course he should remember me on Mother's Day and other special days but he didn't.  For years I spent my time in the abyss, talked to everyone about how horribly my DS/DIL were treating me and everyone agreed.  Everyone felt sorry for me.  Eventually everyone wanted to avoid me because it was all I could talk about and think about and it made me into a wet rag (you know, a party killer).  I couldn't blame them, heck I wanted to avoid me too! 

Then one day from the bottom of the abyss I decided that I deserve better.  I worked hard to get to where I am and I deserve to be happy so I looked around and found the things in my life that make me happy.  I found my DH. I found my other DS.  I found my sister.  I found my hobbies (camping, canoeing, hiking, and recently I tried zip lining!).  I started enjoying my life and every time my mind wandered toward the abyss I would force it away by thinking of something I enjoyed.  I adopted sayings like "No news is good news" and "Not my circus, not my  monkeys" and I said them to myself every time I thought about my DS's situation.  It took a long time, but eventually I got strong enough to stay away from the abyss and eventually my DS figured out what I knew about my DIL.  He had his own lessons to learn and he honestly could not learn them with me interfering because he blamed everything that happened on my interference.  Once I was out of the picture he had to blame the proper person and since I wasn't there........well, you get the idea. 

There does come a point in our children's lives when they have to take responsibility for themselves but they have blamed us for every thing bad that has happened to them.  The only way we can get them to accept the blame is to step out of the picture.  We are Moms, stepping out of the picture is very difficult for us.  It is the last big lesson that we have to teach our children, like pushing them out of the nest.  Some of us are lucky enough to have them come back, some of us are not.  Our job now is to be happy.  We finished parenting now we can live our lives for ourselves.

Good Luck!!!
35
Welcome P!  Since you haven't posted the rest of your story for a couple of days I thought that I would just jump in and share a thought or two.  When my sons got to a certain age (mid to late teenager) they started to pull away.  Of course I knew that eventually they would pull away but they still had so much to learn!  My eldest (the one who eventually drove me to this site) moved out of the house, got involved with a woman who was so obviously wrong for him it was unbelievable and proceeded to marry her.  I tried to point out his mistake but that just drove him farther from me.  The more I tried to fix things the worse things got.  My first posts here probably sound very much like yours.  I was sure that I was loosing my son forever and I was heartbroken and desperate.  It was all I ever thought about and all I ever talked about. Thinking back on it I am amazed that my DH stayed with me because I was no fun at all.  He did get to the point where he would not talk to me about it.  Men feel a need to fix things and there was no way to fix this.  Anyway I think you get the idea.

I tried so hard to hold on to my DS.  I talked with him and tried to reason with him but every time we talked he told my now DIL everything we said and she got more and more hurt and more and more determined to win (like we were fighting for control of my DS, go figure).  Anyway nothing improved until I just gave up.  One day I sat down and asked myself why I was trying so hard to be with my DS when I no longer enjoyed his company.  Being around him made me uncomfortable and sad.  I wanted to be around the son I remembered, not the person he had turned into.  So I stopped.  I stopped calling him.  I stopped texting him.  I stopped trying to get him to remember me on Mother's day or my birthday.  It was not easy but I knew I had to.

So how did I stop?  I started thinking about myself.  I started using all of my efforts to make me and my DH happy.  I started saying to myself whenever I thought about my DS "No news is good news".  I started planning fun things for my DH and I to do on special days when I knew I would be hurt by my DS's lack of attention (Christmas, Mother's Day, etc.).  The more I focus on making myself happy (which all mothers stop doing when they have children) the better my life has gotten.  It took a lot of work to turn my thoughts away from what I now call "the abyss" and for years I would occasionally slip into that quagmire of self pity and woe.  Yes I deserved better, yes I was mistreated, yes I had done a good job of raising my DS, yes my dreams of a close family were gone but more than that I deserve to have these later years of my life be happy.  Enter the "no news is good news" slogan.  I also used the "not my circus, not my monkeys" saying when I heard things from family members about what my DS/DIL were doing.  It took years but now my DS is visiting me often and I am getting to know the man he has become.  I am proud of him and I now enjoy his company again. 

So for you I offer this saying to think about:
"What you focus on expands" so focus your attention on the good things you have.

You did a great job raising your sons in very difficult conditions.  You did the very best that you could.  Now it is time for you to enjoy your life.

Hugs from all of us!!

 
36
My sister has always said that if my Mom was invited to a lavish banquet and there was a rotten apple in the corner marked "guilt" my Mom would put that on her plate and eat it.  My Mom is gone now but I do believe that my sister is right and that the trait she described is just the way good mothers are.  If our children are angry we are sure that we messed up somewhere and caused that anger.  If they react poorly in social situations we are always sure we could have done something sometime differently that would have changed that particular trait.  We should have given them a car or we shouldn't have given them a car, made them pay rent or not made them pay rent, kicked them out of the house or not kicked them out of the house.  The truth about the matter is that there is no such thing as a perfect parent, and honestly there is no such thing as a perfect child.  Every adult who leaves the hospital with their first newborn believes (incorrectly) that they can "do it right" and if they are like me they find out pretty quickly just how difficult parenting is.

I got tired of eating that moldy apple.  I did the very best I could when I raised my children.  They are doing well, not in jail, and they seem happy with their lives.  Now they have their own lessons to learn.  One of those lessons for my DS/DIL was that they are responsible for raising their own children.  I am a grandmother.  I do not discipline very much.  I give in.  Parents have to toe that line of discipline and if they don't hold their own they will pay their own prices.  One of my grands is quite a handful.  She gets her personality mostly from my DIL and I am finding that difficult to deal with so, by and large, I am declining all baby sitting 'privileges'.  Yes, I sometimes feel guilty but I remind myself that I deserve to enjoy these golden years and it is my option to add only the things that make my 'golden years' better.  Now I see the grands when my DS brings them over which happens fairly frequently.  He helps me look after the grands and he and I get some time together as a bonus.  I am really enjoying these visits and this new phase of my life. 

You deserve to enjoy your life!  You worked hard, did your best and now it is time to let your DD/SIL figure out what raising children is all about.  It is often about giving up the 'date nights' and birthday parties that only include certain ages.  Why are they leaving their children out?  Once my children were born they were included in every celebration that our family had, period.  There were a few times when we got a babysitter, but honestly not many.  I asked my Dad to help when the children were sick but by the time I got around to having children my parents were too old to keep my children for long.  I made it, and so will your DD.  Volunteering for one night was, in my opinion, very generous.

Good luck!!
37
Welcome,L. 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 for you. We are a monitored Website.  Also, you might want to pick a screen name that is less personal so others who come here will not know who you are.

Wow!  I really have no personal experience to give you because I have never offered to keep my grands five days a week.  I work at a daycare five days a week so that I won't miss my grands so much.  I tell people that it is like being paid to be a grandma and it is!  Maybe you could find a job like mine?  At least they appreciate me and if I am sick the daycare covers for me.  Oh, and I can get a vacation!  Sounds to me like you could use a vacation.  Have you had one of those recently?  After all they say "absence make the heart grow fonder"

Anyway the one thing that we have advocated over and over is that once our children are grown our parenting job is done.  Now I can start spending my life doing things I enjoy.  Planning trips and volunteering or working at the day care.  I am retired but I found myself depressed if I stayed at home because my DH was still working and there was no human interaction all day long.  Now I work for a few hours every morning (it is only part time) and take off when I want to (mostly).  My life improved so much when I started focusing on making myself happy instead of worrying about what I could do to make my relationship with my DS/DIL better.  Actually the relationship with my DS improved also. 

Good luck!!
38
My point was (and is) that my life did not change until I stopped trying to figure things out and started living for myself.  My DS had to figure out what mattered to him  and I was just fortunate to find out that I was on the good side of that equation.  I did have to be prepared to be on the losing side before I took that plunge.  Perhaps you are not quite ready for that change.

It was quite refreshing to find myself on the sidelines......

Not my circus, not my monkeys....
39
Hi Frustrated.  I am so sorry that you are faced with such an untenable situation.  I felt about the same way about my DS.  I went to the hospital with chest pains and was admitted from the ER and my DS could not even come by to give my DH a ride home.  Both my DH and I were livid and we certainly let my DS know.  Things did not change for us until I finally realized that I did not even enjoy my DS's presence because he felt like visiting us was an imposition and my DIL was texting every 5 minutes about when he was coming home.  She even went so far as to set a frying pan on fire on the stove and then call him to come rushing home.  It was ridiculous!  Anyway like I said one day I stopped and asked myself why I was struggling so hard to be around someone who made me so uncomfortable and mad.  I realized that my life was better (yes, better!) and happier if I did not include him or expect him to participate. 

The next thing I figured out was that some holidays (Mother's Day, Christmas and such) were going to be difficult to manage without noticing my DS's absence so I started planning things.  There was one Thanksgiving when my DH and I decided not to have the big feast on Thursday because the weather was so wonderful.  We went canoeing on Thursday and I cooked on Friday when it was raining.  It was really liberating to realize that I could just shift the celebration around, Christmas did not have to be on December 25th.  So I started making plans for important days and letting my DS know what they were.  I stopped expecting him to show up (I knew he did not want to be there anyway) but I would tell him he could come if he wanted.

It was the most amazing thing.  Once I stopped pulling on him he stopped pulling away.  It was like I had been part of the problem by constantly demanding he change things.  I only had control over myself so the only way I could change the situation was for me to change the way I looked at things.  I started reciting my three mantras:

1) No news is good news
2) For things to change first I must change
3) What you focus on expands

I started practicing changing my focus.  When I thought about my situation with my DS I would tell myself number 1 and then work on changing my focus from that horrible situation to something that I enjoyed (like planning a camping trip).  My relationship with my DH was the first to improve.  He was so tired of trying to fix the impossible situation with my DS and so tired of watching me hurt without any way of making it better.  I never realized how unfair I was being to my DH until after it was over.

After a few months of loving detachment my DS realized what he was missing and has slowly moved into a better relationship with my DH and myself.  We are now seeing my DS and grands every Saturday (for the summer) and everyone enjoys it.  My DIL gets the day off from being a Mom, my DS gets help watching the children and I get the hugs and squeals that make my heart smile and brighten my life. 

I know that I was fortunate with my eventual outcome but honestly when I pulled away it was out of desperation.  Things had to change, one way or the other.  I could not go on in the same way.  Period.  Quite frankly if it had turned out that I was estranged from my DS I think I would have been OK.  I just could not put up with being treated that way any longer and with the help from the wonderful women here I found my way of stopping the abuse.  After all no one can hurt my feelings  if I don't let them, right?

Anyway Frustrated, I feel for you and I hope you find a way to recover your former self from this horrible situation!  Hugs!
40
Woohoo Bookworm!!  Sounds like you have really turned a corner.  Keep up the good work and by all means post if you need to feel the support of our wonderful community but remember that we are all boosted by your success stories!  You have made my day!
41
Bookworm I am so glad that some of what I said made sense to you!  There have been times when I sat where you do now and cried because it felt so good to know someone else understood how I felt.  That is what this site is about!  Now if I could share some sayings that I have used to help me continue to improve.......

1) For things to change first I must change
2) No news is good news
3) What you focus on expands

It has been a long journey for me and I still sometimes travel to the edge of what I now call "The Abyss".  The longer I work on it the easier it is for me to turn away from that quagmire of self pity.  Life is good and way too short for me to waste it worrying about things I cannot change.  Good Luck!!
42
Welcome Bookworm!  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 for you. We are a monitored Website.

When I "closed the purse strings" I found that my relationship with my DS changed.  Once I affirmed that he could do it on his own and did not need for me to buy all that stuff he felt like the adult he was and not like my DS when he was around me.  I now have an adult to adult relationship that I would not have if I had continues to step in and buy things because I was implying that he could not manage on his own without even knowing.  I had a need for him to need me and I was feeding that need by buying things I knew he needed.  Sounds strange but it was true.

When I started living for me, doing things I enjoy, planning trips for special days (Mother's Day/ Birthday)and sharing my plans with my DS things changed too.  I think my DS felt relieved that he was no longer responsible for making me happy.  I was (and am) happy anyway.  Funny thing is that happy people attract happy people and since that change in me I find more happy people around me.  Life overall has improved in ways I did not even imagine and it all started with deciding that I had done my parenting job and now it is time for me to enjoy my life regardless of whether my DS/DIL were a part of it or not.

Good luck!  More later, right now I am running late for work!
43
I don't know but it sounds like you might be able to find a book club that you would enjoy.  Try asking at the library or with your friends.  If you start not being there all the time then maybe your DS will appreciate the times when you are there. 

Oh and those days when you feel so low are what I call "the abyss".  It used to suck me in and the longer I let it guide my thoughts the worse I felt.  When I felt myself slipping over the edge I would have to force ably pull my thoughts to a topic that brought me joy.  I spent a lot of time planning camping trips and making lists of things to take camping but maybe you could spend some time on something you love.  It does not have to be expensive, just enjoyable and it needs to take some thought to do.  Bird watching?  Supporting your favorite political candidate?  Protesting some wrong in your area?  Helping at the homeless shelter?  Volunteering at the hospital?  Something that gives you a purpose beyond your adult son and shifts your attention from your troubles. I took up photography and it really paired well with the camping and gave me some pictures that I can look back on.  Anyhow I think you probably get the idea.  You spent your life raising a wonderful child and now that energy you put into parenting is available to you and you can choose to use it to make your own life more fulfilling, more joyful and more challenging and in the process you will be teaching your DS that there is life after parenting.  Now the only way we can teach is by example.  I am 61 and I went zip lining for the first time this spring.  If I can do it so can you!!

Good luck!
44
All of us (except Luise) started exactly where you are and some of us return regularly because we remember how good it feels to find this site.  I am so glad that we have helped you!  Over time focusing on yourself will become easier.  Women tend to put their all into parenting and trying to stop focusing on our children actually takes some practice.  At first I had to force myself to stop thinking about the subjects that would draw me down the spiral into what I now call "the abyss" .  Now when the thoughts pop up it is simple to label them as 'not my problem' or 'no news is good news' or whatever label takes them from the forefront of my thoughts and places them on a back burner (or out of mind completely!).  The good news is that once you start changing the focus of your thoughts to the good things, more good things happen.  Congratulations on starting your journey to the good life (or at least the better life).

We welcome everyone to come often and reply to posts from other people.  Everyone finds meaning in different things and I am sure you will be able to help someone with your insights.  Just posting makes you think about things and can shift your views over time lending a new perspective to your words.  If you read my posts over time you will see what I mean.

Good luck!!

PS.....I edited your post to remove your signature.  We prefer that everyone here stay unrecognizable to people who may pass through.  Luise is the only person who uses her true name.
45
I had issues when my eldest gained his freedom.  I had no problems letting him move out of the house but once he got out he started making all kinds of (in my opinion) bad decisions.  He quit school and used his "school money" for supporting himself and his now wife.  He quit his job (which paid very well for one without a college degree) because his then girlfriend talked him into calling in sick often enough for his boss to tell him to go home and decide if he wanted the job or not.  He got engaged, he married and then they got pregnant.  The whole time I was going 'wait a minute!!' but I was completely ignored. 

He quit calling and he quit noticing special days like my birthday and Mother's day.  He quit visiting.  The more he pulled away the harder I tried to convince him not to.  I tried everything, even going to counseling with my now DIL where I was told that I had "separation issues" and my DIL was totally supported and heard (while I was forced to be silent).  The entire ordeal was incredibly one sided and unfair.  Although my needs were small they were obviously not going to be met.

It was around that time when I found this website.  I will never forget the relief I felt knowing that there were others out there who knew how I felt.  It was the wise women here who told me that my son was an adult and my parenting phase was over.  He had his own lessons to learn and his own mistakes to make.  Now my job was to enjoy my life.  You can read my past posts to see how I went about that but the one thing for me that sticks out about your posts is that you are not enjoying anything.  You have spent your life making his life as good as you possible, don't you think it is time for you to concentrate on you?  I do!

Please read our archives, they are loaded with suggestions on how to change your focus from him to yourself.  You deserve the best and we all want it for you!  Good luck!