Author Topic: divorce and adult children unaccepting  (Read 1673 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline lokin4answer

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 12
    • View Profile
divorce and adult children unaccepting
« on: April 29, 2014, 04:52:49 AM »
Has anyone dealt with this and how did you cope?
I am in the midst of a divorce from my husband of over 36 years.  I have 2 DD and 1 DS, all in their 30's.  Both DD's are married and have 2 little boys and one on the way.  My DS has a live in girlfriend.  All live within a mile of our farm.  I have been the glue that held our family together, with little help from my x.  I have loved and done for my children unconditionally for their whole life.  I lived upstairs of my x's parents for the first 16 years of our marriage and shared a bathroom, while we worked and built the farm to where it is today, a" Dairy of Distinction".  A very difficult situation, but I survived it.  I have been unhappy for years, asking my x that we needed to work on our marriage, only to have him say he didn't do anything wrong, and he wasn't interested in pursuing counseling.   So, I gave up.  The pressures of my husbands uninterest in me,  the farm, my FT job, my kids and their spouses and the death of my father took me to the edge and I knew I needed to make a change for my own sanity.  I discovered life is short and decided that only me could make me happy. 
So one year ago, I told my family I was leaving, moving into my mothers home (10 miles away) to take care of her as she has Alzheimer's. My mom stayed in her home for the first three months I lived with her until she was placed in an assisted living facility.  That in itself was extremely stressful in a whole new way.  Since she has gone, I have continued to live in her house, and am now in the process of buying it. 
My children have pretty much ignored me for the past year.  I have, on occasion, seen my darling little GC, and they love me totally, but it has been very sporadic.  I must say things that irritate my DD's because when I think we have turned a corner, I won't hear from them for a couple months.  I have tried to show only love, through texts and cards and an occasional letter.  Last summer both my daughters came to my home and screamed at me, calling me terrible names and asked me how I could do this to their father.  They never once asked me about me and why motivated my move.   I have since started dating a wonderful, caring man, and that has really put a road block between us, but I just turned 60 and know that I need to grasp happiness now.  He lives 500 miles away, and we are planning on living between both homes.
My birthday was Sunday and I was not acknowledged at all...it hurts....Can you please tell me if there is anything I can do to at least see my GC.....I never expected them to turn on me like this.
I could tell you all sorts of stories and examples, but basically it boils down to lots of hurt, confusion and trying to cope.  I am currently seeing a wonderful counselor, and she tells me to just hang in their....
S. W.

Offline Pooh

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5442
    • View Profile
Re: divorce and adult children unaccepting
« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2014, 06:26:36 AM »
Welcome lokin4answer.  When you get a moment, please read the posts under "Open Me First".  Nothing wrong with your post, we ask all new members to read them and become familiar with how we run around here.

First, that took a lot of courage to leave a long marriage and bravo to you for wanting to be happy.  As far as your adult children, unfortunately you are at their mercy when it comes to the GC.  We don't get to have any say-so when it comes to seeing them and we just have to accept that the parents get to make that choice.  I hope that after some time and space maybe they will come around.

I think our kids see us as invincible and that we can fix everything.  They don't understand that there are things even we can't fix when the other party isn't working towards it as well.  It also seems that the Mom's end up taking the blame no matter what the situation.  My personal philosophy is it is because the majority of Moms do everything they can to not let the kids see what is wrong.  I know I shielded mine from how their Father was because I didn't want them to have to see the problems.  In doing so, it created an environment that when things finally went south, they had no clue what had been going on for years, so it must be me.  Also it was fueled by their Father not taking responsibility for the divorce and laying it all at my feet.  One believed him, one didn't.  The one that didn't and has cut himself out of my life chose to believe his Father's lies.  I can't do anything about it.  He is an adult and gets to decide for himself, even if it's wrong.  I don't have to like it, but it is what it is.

Concentrate on your new life and everything good about it.  There is nothing selfish about making yourself happy and I wish I had learned that years ago.
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell

Offline luise.volta

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8869
  • Luise Volta
    • View Profile
    • Wise Women Unite
Re: divorce and adult children unaccepting
« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2014, 08:23:16 AM »
Welcome, L.- I have a good idea how hard you worked. My last job, I was in my 50s, was as an Independent Dairy Herd Tester. I'm now in my late 80s and still remember how hard those farmers worked...24/7.

My experience with my DSs father was similar. I stayed 18 years. I have no idea how you stayed for 36. ODS son hated me for leaving. YDS totally understood why I left. Many years later, I came to realize that was more about them than me.

I agree with Pooh that you are on the right track whether that is respected by your Adult Children or not. They often grow up seeing moms as a built-in convenience with an invisible personality beyond the context of being useful and at times a bother. We can hope for their loyalty and understanding but if we expect it, we can be in deep trouble. As adults, they make their own choices and learn their own lessons...our work is done. If we are shut out and/or dishonored, we have choices, too. You saw that and you acted in your own best interest.

I say good for you. Many of us married young, way before we even knew who we were, much less how to pick a partner who knew who he was. Sometime that works and a couple grows up together and sometimes they grow into strangers. I married again at 62 and had the best 24 years of my life with my guy. My sons were fine with it but his adult children objected. What he told them was that his loyalty was to me and if that worked for them, as he'd hoped, that was great, if not...that was their choice.

Have fun with your new love. You deserve it!
 
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama

Offline Lillycache

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 638
    • View Profile
Re: divorce and adult children unaccepting
« Reply #3 on: April 29, 2014, 11:43:14 AM »
Adult children can be very judgemental and unforgiving...  especially when it comes to their parents.   They don't want to see anything upset the status quo and have very very strict rules about  "parental conduct"..   Particularly their mother's.   Dad seems to be able to get more of a pass.

Although... I'm wondering if girls are not a bit more difficult.   My husband experienced it first hand when he and I met and decided to marry.  His daughters wouldn't hear of it and never accepted seeing their dad with anyone else.  Of course it was a bit different as their mom had passed away and their dad was a widower.   They just couldn't accept it and in their mind, he was supposed to stay alone.... or he really didn't love their mom.   Silly... for sure, as I also was widowed..  My step daughter was the same way about it.  I have not heard from her either since I decided to remarry.   It kind of made me chuckle when she told me exactly how SHE would react and behave if SHE was widowed..... yeah.. right.   

Offline Pooh

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5442
    • View Profile
Re: divorce and adult children unaccepting
« Reply #4 on: April 29, 2014, 12:22:36 PM »
We've had our share of grief from DH's daughter as well Lilly.  She couldn't handle that I didn't allow her to be disrespectful and break curfew at our house when good ole' Mom's philosophy was "Oh she's just trying to spread her wings!"  No rules at her Mom's, rules at our house, so I became the demon in her eyes.
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell

Offline lokin4answer

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 12
    • View Profile
Re: divorce and adult children unaccepting
« Reply #5 on: April 29, 2014, 05:52:30 PM »
First off, thank you all for such insightful words, and the hope that you have already provided to me.  I remember when I told my X I was leaving, and that I had hoped that my relationship with our children would stay the same, he said, "Well, you want your cake and eat it too."  I thought for a minute and replied that of course I did.  Funny, how many times I have thought about that and how naive I was.

I do miss the times I spent with my DS and DD's though.  It was nothing to jump in the car with one of them and run to town for groceries, just to keep each other company.  My DS is a very antisocial person within the family, but when he is out and about with his friends, he is the life of the party.  I have always wondered how that happened.  I guess years of resentment towards his fathers lack of attention finally has come to the surface.  BUT, as much as I tried, I couldn't change that relationship.  I simply burned out from life.  I am a much calmer, take it as it comes person now since moving away.  I use to be a machine, a hired man, as I was told by a close friend, not a wife.  Yikes...it took this long to figure it all out.  I hope through all of this, that there is a greater plan for not only me, but for my family, that lessons are learned, and life isn't taken for granted.

Again, thank you, my dear web friends.
S. W.

Offline freespirit

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 233
    • View Profile
Re: divorce and adult children unaccepting
« Reply #6 on: May 02, 2014, 06:46:13 AM »
Just want to add that I too admire you for taking control and doing what's best for you. It takes alot of courage. I know, since I've been at that threshhold many times,  but  have always chickened out. The thing is, my sons  often  knew  of my marriage problems. So if  it had or should come to a split, I don't think they would be that surprised. Of course they would try to talk me out of it. My goodness, it's so impractical, as to how they should deal with holidays and such. Whatever... this life is about YOU. You won't have an easy time caring for your mother either. So all the better that you have found  a new man, who can add some  balance. Concentrate on just the two of you. I think that may be the answer to your well being.
The greatest thing in the world is to know how to belong to oneself.
            -- Michel de Montaigne

Offline lokin4answer

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 12
    • View Profile
Re: divorce and adult children unaccepting
« Reply #7 on: May 02, 2014, 07:42:14 PM »
 :'( So today my SIL, who has been the only one who has treated me with any kind of respect this last year, called to see if I needed any help getting my lawn mower ready for the season.  We talked about things in general, when I finally broached the subject of why my DD's are still refusing to have any type of relationship with me.  My SIL opened up and told me that my X is using our kids as his sounding board, basically crying poor me, how can this be happening, what am I going to do and on and on.  I am sure my DD's feel terrible for their father, but also resent having to worry and take care of him.  My SIL called him on it a couple weeks ago, and an argument ensued, and now my SIL is on the outs with the rest of the family, as he basically told his FIL to grab himself by the seat of the pants, and get on with life, that it has been over a year now, and there has to be closure.
 
I hate to think that I am the cause of such animosity in my family and have debated hundreds of times as to throwing in the towel, and going back, for the sake of my children....but....they are in their 30's, with their own families and my going back might make them happy, but I am afraid I would be so resentful, and again, I would be doing what everyone else expected of me, and forgoing my own happiness.  I won't do it.   Yet there are times I feel so weighted down by guilt and remorse that I let them down. 

Divorce is hard enough, and something I had never thought I would cross paths with, but life has a way of throwing curve balls, but I never thought my DD's and DS would turn away from me and resent me so.  I keep thinking I should write them each a letter, but I haven't come up with the right words to say.  I just want them to know that I love them, am sorry they are hurting, and would like them back in my life...but I doubt they are ready to hear any of those words.  Until their father accepts our situation, and stops leaning on them for support, nothing is going to change.  Everyone on the outside thought we were such a tight family, but I always thought my family was a train wreck waiting to happen, and I am afraid it's coming, and I have no control over it. 

I also want to thank you all again for responding and helping me out here...This site has proven to be the most beneficial find yet for me.  It has given me such insight. 

Thank you

S. W.

Offline luise.volta

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8869
  • Luise Volta
    • View Profile
    • Wise Women Unite
Re: divorce and adult children unaccepting
« Reply #8 on: May 02, 2014, 08:20:56 PM »
My take is that he is trying to blackmail you through your daughters. I don't see you as the one to blame. I see you as a survivor. Your DDs are making choices that they are responsible for. You deserve better than to cave in to their demands and write yourself off. I hope you decide to honor yourself. My experience is that once I give control to others...it doesn't solve anything and it never ends. Compliance has not brought peace for me. Self-respect has. Hugs!
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama

Offline Pooh

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5442
    • View Profile
Re: divorce and adult children unaccepting
« Reply #9 on: May 05, 2014, 07:23:20 AM »
I totally agree with Luise.  Don't allow yourself to be pulled down into that drama.   He is responsible for it and your DD's are responsible for buying into it.  Hold your head up.
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell

Offline herbalescapes

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 334
    • View Profile
Re: divorce and adult children unaccepting
« Reply #10 on: May 06, 2014, 10:25:33 AM »
I want to apologize ahead of time because I know my wording is going to turn out clumsy and probably make you feel defensive when I don't mean to.  As long as you can look yourself in the mirror and know you've done your best and the divorce is the best thing, you shouldn't feel guilty about your decision. 

I think we often underestimate how traumatic a divorce can be for the adult children of that marriage.  Not that you have to consider AC in the same way that you do minor children when contemplating a divorce, but it helps to put yourself in their shoes so you don't end up with a full-scale family schism.  You say you've been unhappy for years.  Were your kids aware of this?  Probably not.  While this divorce is a long time coming for you, it's a shock out of the blue to them.  Since there's no abuse, infidelity or other obvious cause behind the divorce, it can seem to your kids that you're doing this on a whim.  They don't know how unhappy you've been.  They don't know how hard you've tried.  They don't know how unwilling your husband has been  to make things work.  To an outsider, you are the obvious "bad guy" in this divorce.  Not fair, but very typically human.  It doesn't help that your husband is playing the "poor little me" victim role.  Let's face it, in life it's easier to pick a side than try to remain neutral.  The path of least resistance for your kids is to be sympathetic with dad and blame mom.  Again, not fair, but very human. 

I'd say try to be patient with your kids.  Understand that this isn't just a small blip on the radar for them.  They have to work through their own anger, disappointment and grief on this issue.  If you can give them time to come to terms with the situation, you may grow into a closer relationship down the line. 

Good luck.  While it would be nice if our AC could be more empathetic and sympathetic with us, to an extent we'll never be real people to them.  We have to remember that we are people and not sacrifice our personal integrity to cater to unreasonable expectations. 

Offline luise.volta

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8869
  • Luise Volta
    • View Profile
    • Wise Women Unite
Re: divorce and adult children unaccepting
« Reply #11 on: May 06, 2014, 02:32:29 PM »
H - I've never seen it put quite that way...'We'll never be real people to our children.' I find a lot of clarity in that. We knew-all and were-all when they were little...and they came first no matter what. I doubt that our personal comfort and/or happiness was ever much of a concern unless something happened to us that inconvenienced them.

However, some get over it. I'm not sure if it has much to do with us when that happens. My youngest son (our Webmaster) is my friend and my equal, while we are still mother/son at the same time. And yes, there was a divorce. For instance, when I stopped driving two years ago at age 85, he and his wife moved to Washington from Hawaii to be nearer at hand, should I need them. I didn't even know they were thinking about it until after they had rented a condo here and leased their home on Kauai. That kind of loyalty and respect never surfaced with my eldest son. He acted as though he saw me as some kind of inferior servant. It was clear that I never met his idealized image of parental perfection, therefore I didn't deserve his respect or loyalty. Same home, same parents.
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama

Offline Pooh

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5442
    • View Profile
Re: divorce and adult children unaccepting
« Reply #12 on: May 07, 2014, 06:50:47 AM »
Same here Luise.  Yes, a divorce but YS was understanding and remains supportive and loyal.  OS decided he didn't need me or my side any longer.  Same raising, same parents, different personalities.  They always had different personalities, even as children. 

I do think that much of the difference in how they reacted was based on their Father.  This is not a blame game, but a fact.  Their Dad always made a huge difference in them as children.  OS was the one that excelled easily in sports, school, etc.  Was always receiving awards, winning sports tournaments and everything came easily to him.  YS wasn't born with natural talent and had to work for everything.  He struggled in school in the early years and worked 10 times as hard as older brother.  Father was a lazy person in general, so stuck with the oldest more because he didn't have to "help" him but could sit back and go, "That's my boy!"  YS was with me more, learning, working hard and struggling.  Dad didn't want to have to put time and effort into anything, so let him be and sang OS's praises.  YS ended up in the later High School years, trumping his brother on many things because he worked so hard and when his Dad, all of a sudden, was saying "That's my boy!" and trying to hang with him, YS had no interest.  It wasn't until a couple of years ago he told me that he always recognized that OS was his Dad's favorite and that he didn't do much with him.

So it makes sense in my head on why OS went towards his Dad after the divorce and why YS went towards me.  OS has his Dad's personality, YS has mine. 
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell