Author Topic: I'm In The Same Boat  (Read 7832 times)

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baker

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I'm In The Same Boat
« on: August 13, 2011, 04:56:14 PM »
I have a 33 year old son, whose has been married for 10 years, there are three grandchildren.   It is such a long story, when he was 19 he was in college, without him telling us, he moved into his girlfriends house, we thought he was still at the college, when we called after not hearing from him for about two weeks, we didnt know where he was.  so we launched a search, only to find out that evening that he had moved into his girlfriends house, and had declared his freedom from us... We tried to talk to him about leaving college but he got angry with us, and has stayed that way.  A year later, his girlfriend got pregnant and they got married, we paid for the whole deal,including a down payment on his house.   It has been a terrible and troublesome relationship, he would call us late at night, to rage at us, about all the things we never did for him.   It has been terrible,  four years ago, I had to move because of my work and he saw that as an abandonment and betrayal.  My daughters, who are both adults, and have children, didnt like the move but understood the situation, and have always been nothing but encouraging, helping us to co ordinate calendars so we could have an active part in the other 9 grandchildrens life.  My son, was never so kind,  he quit having anything to do with the rest of the family on christmas, thanksgiving, we never hear from him on mothers day, fathers day, or birthdays.   I have never forgotten him on those occassions sending him cards, $ or gifts.  I have never forgotten our grandchildrens birthdays, but have not been allowed to see them.   Recently, he broke all contact with us, sending us the cards and letters back, even the ones we send to the kids, and was angry when I went to my grandsons kindergarten graduation.  In another long ranting and raging phone conversation with his dad,  my son said I didnt have any right to come and see his children. 
My sons birthday was last week, and although I knew he probably would return the card, and not answer the phone, I tried to call him, he hung up on me three times before I quit.  I called my sister and was venting to her about my frustration and she called him, and asked him to come over to talk.  so he did.  she told him that family shouldnt be separated, and then my son told her, the reason he didnt want any contact with us is because we are judgemetal and angry.  but he would consdier letting us see the kids under certain conditions.  1 we would have to take them somewhere and buy them something, and 2, my sister would have to be present.  This is just crazy, and I know if I begin to get clsoe again, he is going to try to hurt us, but I dont know what to do... help... what do you suggest.



Offline JaneF

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Re: son problem
« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2011, 05:34:49 PM »
I'm sorry for your ugly situation. Sounds familiar to me!  Personally I would not buy into his blackmail about demanding you buy the children something if he allows you to see them. That sounds like a pouting, demanding temper fit by a little kid! Like if I don't get my way I'll hold my breath! If he does not want to accept your cards for holidays, I wouldn't send him one. I do think it is unfair for him to withold ones to the children though. But unfortunately you can't control what he does. All this anger because he says you are judgemental according to him? Sounds like an issue a reasonable adult would have brought up and then suggested a discussion huh? I hope you do get to see the grandchildren, and I hope the situation with your son improves. I have not posted for quite some time, so I am behind on all the recent news on here. Keep your chin up!!!

Offline luise.volta

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Re: son problem
« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2011, 06:24:41 PM »
Welcome - I am going to repost something here that I wrote today on another thread. I suggest you gather up your self-respect and end the conflict by stating that your door and heart are open should he even decide to alter his perceptions but that you will no longer condone the ones he holds.

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Just some thoughts: When someone describes a perfect childhood to me…I always add a measure of denial. Childhood is hard. Parenting is hard. Even those who grow up in ideal homes...sometimes find the world at large difficult, as a result. There are no easy answers. Childhood lasts for years and crises come and go. Life. People are responsible, kind, understanding...only when they are. There is no consistency in being human. For all of us, I think, out best can look different from one day to the next.
For me, there have been days when my best consisted of getting up.

I had two sons (one died at 52 from sleep apnea.) One as an adult chose to remember (embellish and misinterpret) every negative thing I ever said or did...and the other choose to remember (appreciate and learn from) every positive thing I ever said or did. That was about them, not me.

I worked for the Juvenal Courts system in Seattle. I saw horrible kids with wonderful parents and wonderful kids with horrible parents. There are endless factors involved in the whole. For me, it all comes down to "we did what we did."

Often we forgive for the simple reason that to be unforgiving is hard on us and we choose to let it go…but we can't trust again. Once our adult children turn on us and start bashing (and bashing can have many definitions)…trust can be a thing of the past. Forgiveness and trust are not the same thing.

Bottom line…they are adults and in charge of their own lives. They will learn what the learn by making choices and suffering from or reaping the benefits of the consequences. In the porcess, our expectations may be met or they may not. We are more than parents. We were whole before they were born and we can be whole again with or without their approval.
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama

Offline Pen

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Re: son problem
« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2011, 07:39:55 PM »
Baker, welcome. I too am sorry you are going through this but glad you found us. Many here are experiencing similar heartaches. You'll get lots of support and wisdom.

If you haven't already done so, please take a moment to read the Forum Agreement under Open Me First on the home page. Your post is fine, but we want everyone to know the forum policies.

JaneF, nice to hear from you again!
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb

Offline not like the movies

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Re: son problem
« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2011, 09:34:42 PM »
welcome Baker, sorry for the circumstances that bring you here. All too familiar circumstances I am afraid. None the less painful. There comes a time when we do something different because what we are doing does not work. My husband always tells me when you are up against a brick wall turn around. There are so many myths of motherhood and one is that we never are suppose to be hurt or fed up with bad behavior from adult children. Trust me it is only a myth. I love my daughter but really can't stand her behavior so I don't get involved in it. My boundaries are so much more defined. When she is ugly I withdraw and love from a distance. She comes around but rebounds off and on. I just carry on with my own life and she gets happy in the same pants she got mad in or she doesn't. It's up to her not me.
When you pick up a stick you get both ends!

baker

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Re: son problem
« Reply #5 on: August 14, 2011, 05:03:53 AM »
Thank you all for you replys and your support,  Over the last several years, I have gone from blaming myself for his bad behavior to ignoring the situation all together.  Both my daughters, who are wonderful, giving, sweet, generous, and loving women, are always telling me, "mom, we are not like that, you didnt raise us to hurt people." and they are right, but something deep inside of me, runs through the movies in my head, where I lost my temper, or I grounded him, or did something that was not loving, and caused his hatred toward me.   I know its not true, but I still think about it.    Over the last few years,  I have retreated behind my husband, by letting him deal with him, because he seems to be able to take it better than I and it hurts too much.  But I have discoveredt that he hurts as much if not more than I,  when I found him with tears in his eyes over another encounter, where my son told him, that his grandchildren dont know him, and dont want to know him.  Its all so crazy and full of hatred... 

In spite of all of htis we still want a relationship with my son, but we are afraid of him hurting us again.   luise, posted that trust and forgiveness are not the same thing, I needed to hear that, because,  I can forgive him, but I will never trust him with my feelings.   Sometimes love is conditional, like if you do this, then I will do that... that is the kind of love he has come to know, and the only people in his life that gives him unconditional love is his parents... the ones he blames for his lot in life, the ones he feels safe enough to hate.   It is so crazy and none of it makes sense.   I want to see my grandchildren, although, I know that I will not measure up to his expectations of what I should do or should not do.   It has become a reality to me lately, that my relationship hopes may not lie with him, but with the little people that he produced.   So,  since he didnt say how much I had to spend,  Bubbles are only a 1.00 and time with them priceless..    The reality is that I may only be able to see them for just a short time, but I keep the cards he sends back and I have begun to keep a journal so they will know I love them.
I am glad that I have found this site, becase I am lost as to what to do or who to talk to since this has gone on for years, some just say, cut him out, dont pay any attention, let him go..  but I had three children not two and I love him, inspite of his tantrems..

Offline Pooh

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Re: son problem
« Reply #6 on: August 14, 2011, 10:09:20 AM »
Welcome Baker.  You have to do what keeps your sanity.  If that means you "choose" to buy the GC something to follow the rules because you get to see them, then do it.  Just guard well that the demands do not become higher over time.  I find that people that make demands (my way or the highway) tend to up the ante as time goes on.  When they have that type of mindset, it seems to be the more-more-more attitude.   

I don't like to use the word cutoff (although there are ladies here that have had to do that to either children, parents, stepparents, whoever for good reason).  I prefer to use the words "long timeout".  When my kids were little, we had a "timeout" bench.  When they misbehaved, they had to sit there for X amount of time, depending on the child crime.  While they were there, I couldn't look at them.  If I did, they would give a sweet face or pouty look, trying to get me to give them parole.  I had to go about my business and had to not look their direction.  That's where my OS is now.  He's on an adult size "timeout" bench.  He can be granted parole and probation at any time, but it will be based on his actions, not mine.

I was very glad to read you are keeping your DH's feelings in mind too.  Men tend to seem stronger but have feelings as well.  Great job!  He deserves a big hug too!
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell

baker

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Re: son problem
« Reply #7 on: August 14, 2011, 10:50:45 AM »
My husband, thier father is an incredible man with deep and loving emotions. It absolutely tears him up.. and I really didnt realize this until about two months ago, which was our last conversation with my son.   He was a great dad, and my daughters turned out wonderful.   

I think my son wants me to be somebody I am not or somebody he has imagined I am.  He has told my sister that I am judgemental and preachy.  He told her that if I would quit my job and move back home and act like a real gramma, I could see him and the kids whenever I wanted too...  I am a professional and had to move because of my work.  I dont have the option of moving back, even if I wanted too.    It is so hard to deal with everything in my life right now, let alone a 33 year old , 2 year old, who does need a time out.    My gut is telling me to go slow and to realize that 'he may up the ante' which would be in his character, and be vigilant over my heart.    A part of me, is  saying that I didnt do anything wrong, and now just by abiding by his demands it is going to seem like and feel like I am admitting that I did.  He is going to claim his victory by thinking that he has brought me to my knees, that he has found my currency, to which he can place other demands upon me over time.  That has me worried too about following his demands so that I can see my grandkids. Long term this may come back and bite me big time. 

Offline luise.volta

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Re: son problem
« Reply #8 on: August 14, 2011, 10:59:25 AM »
I like the saying "What you think of me is none of my business." He will think whatever he does. Pass on ever seeing his respect…and rely on your own self-respect. Nurture it and see it as your truth. "What you think of yourself is definitely your business." Sending love..
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama

twinsmom

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Re: son problem
« Reply #9 on: August 14, 2011, 07:50:55 PM »
If it helps, I have two granddaughters that live within 30 minutes of me and I have been trying for four years to see them.  I have sent packages for every holiday, Easter, Halloween, etc. and never a thank you or acknowledgement.  I now send just cards and I have government bonds made out for all holidays.  I send the certificate that shows they have a bond and the amount; I keep the bonds and when the girls are old enough to understand I will turn all of their bonds over to them.  They will see by the date of the bonds that I thought of them on every holiday.  I never want my granddaughters to ever think they were not in my heart at all times. 

baker

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Re: son problem
« Reply #10 on: August 15, 2011, 05:07:33 AM »
Wow, that is a good idea,  I have never missed a birthday or a Christmas, but they probably dont know that.   Last Christmas, we actually went to his house to take gifts from us and his sisters for them and the grandkids,  they wouldnt come to the door, but did pick up the phone, as we called them as we stood in the driveway, they told us to put them in thier car it was unlocked.  Which we did,  we have never recieved any kind of acknowledgement for anything we have done or given them.  Thier memory is very short, and claim that "we have never done anything for them"   I had a therapist ask if my son was mentally ill?  He was never diagnosed with anything as a child except a learning disability.  I was told by one of his special ed teachers that he showed "some sociopathic tendencies"  which I never believed.  Now I think she may have been right.    Thanks for the idea,  hopefully as our grandkids grow older, they too will tire of a non relationship with us.  In the meantime, I guess we wait to what happens when they grow up, and pray they are not like thier parents.   

Offline Pooh

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Re: son problem
« Reply #11 on: August 15, 2011, 06:26:14 AM »
Don't ask me why this popped in my head while reading through your posts.  I guess it was the Christmas talking as it is my favorite holiday.  I just had another idea.  I'm going to start buying a personalized Christmas ornament for my GD every Christmas, with her name and date on it!  Or I will buy something that makes me think about her and write her name and date on bottom.  I will be able to have her with me at Christmas (via the ornaments on the tree), and when she grows up, if she chooses to look for me, I will be able to give her all those ornaments.  Hopefully it will show her that she was thought of every year and will give her a great start for her own Christmas tree!

We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell

baker

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Re: son problem
« Reply #12 on: August 15, 2011, 08:44:42 AM »
Oh my, what a cute idea, I think I am going to do the same thing, then when they grow up, they will know that every year, I thought of them.   Thanks for the ideas...:)  I am feeling better already...

Offline Pen

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Re: son problem
« Reply #13 on: August 15, 2011, 08:48:48 AM »
I must be having a hormonal day, 'cos this thread is making me tear up just like Pooh's post about her mom on another topic.  :'(   What great ideas, I'd love to be able to see the GC's faces when they finally get to see proof of their GP's love.
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb

Offline herbalescapes

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Re: son problem
« Reply #14 on: August 15, 2011, 01:13:30 PM »
I don't have a medical degree, but when you said your son calls late at night to rage at you, mental illness popped into my head.  There's no tactful way to suggest to someone that they might be mentally ill, so I don't know what you can do if you want to consider that possibility.  Maybe it could let you accept his behavior? 

I think the other posts have some good ideas about how to keep your gc in your life even if they aren't physically.  If the ideas here aren't to your liking per se, there are plenty of websites for gp's with geographically distant gc and ideas on how to stay close.  Adapt them to your situation.

Good luck.