March 23, 2023 at 8:55 am #416616
It’s been a hellish 2 years. And I think I am finally getting a grip.
Following the high school graduation of my first grandchild, a battle began between my grown daughter and me that has totally devastated me. As with all family squabbles, it’s quite long and convoluted. I will do my best to describe it as briefly as possible.
My daughter decided to ‘unload’ on me about every single mistake I made not only as a mother, but as a grandmother as well. She lives 4 hours away from me, and brought up how I even hurt her four children by not being there for every school program, activity, etc. I never claimed to be candidate for “Mother of the Year”. I simply loved my kids, made sure that I was there for them when they were growing up, did the best I could to provide for them, all as a single mother. I worked full-time, and earned my degrees, through all of that.
This past Christmas was the last straw. Unbeknownst to me (and their step-father) my two children changed the tradition of meeting at my son’s home on Christmas Eve for dinner and gift exchange to the 23rd, because my daughter and her family were going on a cruise with her in-laws. I was informed by text from my son on the 22nd about the change with a comment “We hope you can join us”. Due to an ice storm followed by inches of snow, my husband and I chose not to make the 45 minute drive to my son’s home (the drive would no doubt have been at least a 90 minute drive due to the weather) and spent the holiday alone at home.
That is what began my latest downward spiral. I was diagnosed with Complex PTSD in 2009 after decades of therapy (actually since I was 18) due to an abusive childhood, and marriage to my children’s father. My troubled past has never been a secret to my children, as they knew of my ongoing therapy and struggles.
I guess what I am looking for is support as I keep moving forward. I ignored phonecalls and texts from both of my children on my birthday, and that is my plan for Mother’s Day as well. As the years have gone on, their attention to my birthday and Mother’s Day has dwindled to maybe a phonecall or a text if that. My husband and I have planned a getaway for this upcoming Christmas, and will be unavailable for my children’s event on Christmas.
My friends are in total support of me and my struggles. My closest friends are women I have known since junior high, so they probably know me better than anyone on this planet. They are shocked with how my children have treated me.
Thank youMarch 23, 2023 at 12:46 pm #416626
Healthy boundaries are important, establishing them difficult, especially as it comes to family. So easy to trigger the “ghosts” of the past and doing so reacting to the past instead of the present moment and the relationship we really desire to have with those we love. We all have a tendency to focus on the worst memories and overlooking the more positive ones.
The task of removing the past from being in the present requires creating a safe space for honest communication. Here the art of detachment, meditation and contemplation can help, even then its not easy. The best advice on preparing to enter into such dialog I’ve come across was a book by Kerry Patterson – Crucial Conversations Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High.
That said there are times when Love requires that relationships end. (relationships never end even if people decide not to meet up again so the word ‘end’ may not be the correct word).
I intentionally use the words the “Love requires”, meaning that the decision to end a relationship is for the good and growth of all involved and and genuine concern of all involved. In Crucial Conversations before dialog begins all parties involved must first ‘master thier stories’. I believe the same is required in determining if ones actions are coming from a place of love or from a the intention to punish and be right.
It seems most of the stories we tell ourselves, as they involve troubled relationships, tend to fall into two categories – victim and villain stories – which more likely then not trigger the ghosts and end dialog/relationship. I mention it only to suggest that if were telling victim and villain stories were probably not acting from a place of love but to punish, ourselves and others. And being right, we love to be right, nothing better then being righteously right. (no saying your doing that, that very much is a trap of which I am well versed.)
I’ll be candid even knowing the above I’ve failed more times then succeeding in healing troubled relationships and that for the good (growth) of all involved have had a relationships end or limited. Surprisingly it has been in the pain of a ending relationships that I have learned and grown to do and be better. That growth sometimes lead to reconciliation but not always. That is the way of Life.
I wasn’t sure what you meant when you asked for support and I hope I have not crossed a line. I am not suggesting you are not right in feeling what your feeling or that your decision to limit contact isn’t for the best for all involved. My hope for you is that by accessing to your inner truth and stillness you find peace with your decisions. In your stillness you will know.March 23, 2023 at 1:08 pm #416628
I began a response to this citing examples and pleadings similar to the sorts of discussions I have had with both of my children, and I find myself once again feeling like a small child pleading to be heard in a room of chattering adults. I realize that reveals more of my self image than I care to, but there it is.
I simply don’t think that anyone of my age should have to feel or be made to feel like they are less worthy of respect and consideration due any other adult human being. I did the best that I could with what I had and knew at the time, and I raised my children and accepted responsibility for their existence, Period. For that, I believe that I am entitled to a fair amount of respect and consideration, and I am tired of being given anything less than that.March 23, 2023 at 2:05 pm #416629
I’ll be honest to saying I’m not sure how to respond. I hear you, your pain and frustration of not being heard or seen by your family as you need and as a parent that has done thier best deserve.
I don’t wish to be cruel, and I am not saying your wrong to feel entitled or desire for respect and consideration. I’m saying, with regards to emotional mastery, the idea of entitlement and desire, (this is a tiny buddha site), is creating much of the suffering that your experiencing. In that regard your decision to limit interactions may be the most loving for all involved. Yet I suspect that that decision is also a source of suffering. It really depends on which suffering you accept and the best path to get you were you want to be as you move through it. I’m hoping you move though it vice getting stuck in it.
I don’t feel that what you need is justification for your feelings or experience which can only harden hearts. I’m hoping you find ways to move though the suffering, feel what your feeling instead of getting stuck.
I have to apologize I don’t usually engage in relationship posts and will now bow out.
I wish you peace.March 23, 2023 at 2:14 pm #416630
Thank you, and I don’t mean to bite the hand that is trying to ‘feed’ me. Honestly.
I have made the decision to walk away, and it’s been done out of self respect. I decided that the suffering I was enduring before was more than I care to take, and the suffering I am in the midst of right now is the result of that decision. I am mourning the loss of a relationship that I had hoped to have with them.March 23, 2023 at 2:54 pm #416631
I wasn’t offended. I tend to ‘step in it’ with relationship topics 🙂
The way you expressed yourself in the last post was very elegantMarch 23, 2023 at 3:16 pm #416636RobertaParticipant
I have been in a similar position to you basically being a single parent on & off and having to work 2 & 3 jobs often low paid because I did not want to work for a betting company (ethical decision) but it meant that I had to work longer hours and consequently my children saw less of me. When my youngest about 19 we became estranged after 18 months I wrote to him basically saying that I have apologized enough for my past decisions and trying to second guess what to do and now it is up to him to tell me what kind of mother he wants me to be. Some time later he did let me back into his life.
We now have an adult relationship where it is ok to say no to suggestions and it is also ok to ask for help.
We both I think have both grown up a lot in this last decade and even when either of us have been disappointed something that the other has done we do not store it up with resentment and add it to the past hurts this means our hearts always stay open to each other.
So I hope that your on going therapy helps with your present situation and that in the future you will become reconciled with your familyMarch 24, 2023 at 12:24 pm #416652
Did your son explain why he didn’t inform you of the date change for your Christmas Eve tradition until the day before the event? If not, why do you think you weren’t informed earlier?
BMarch 24, 2023 at 6:05 pm #416655
Roberta – This is totally my decision to disconnect. No fanfare, no drama, just done. I am tired of chasing my children around ‘begging’ to be a part of their lives. I have asked repeatedly for them to keep us informed of their activities so that we can plan and prepare to attend. My son and his family is about 45 minutes away, and my daughter and family is 4 hours away. Both have waited until the last minute to notify us, or not bothered at all. I am tired of chasing them around trying to have a relationship with them. It is a matter of self-respect and self esteem.
Brandy – He texted me saying that because of the cruise, they were changing the date. I knew nothing about the cruise, and nothing was said about it at Thanksgiving. All of the communication was by text.March 24, 2023 at 10:36 pm #416656
I asked the question because I find it inconsiderate of your son to not inform you about the change in plans until the day before the event, unless of course he himself wasn’t aware of your daughter’s cruise trip until then.
You shouldn’t have to chase your adult children around “begging” to have a relationship with them, so I understand your choice to walk away. As a mother of three adult children myself I know how difficult raising kids is and I’ve made my share of parenting mistakes, for sure. There are no perfect parents. There’s no doubt in my mind that you love your kids and did the best you could in raising them, but if you are interested in repairing your relationships with them then listen closely to what they have to say about their childhood wounds and consider giving them both a heartfelt apology for any hurt your parenting may have caused them, even if you don’t see things as they do. It’s a hard thing to do but they’ll respect you for it, and it just may soften their hearts some.
BMarch 25, 2023 at 6:52 am #416659
I have apologized. And I have given up. That is why I have walked away.March 25, 2023 at 1:09 pm #416661RobertaParticipant
There is a Buddhist set of phrases that go
May all beings be happy and never be separated from that happiness
May all beings be free from suffering and the source of suffering
May all beings abide in equanimity without being close to some out of attachment or distant from others out of hatred.
I wish this for you and your family.March 26, 2023 at 10:01 am #416772
If their actions demonstrate an unwillingness to forgive you following your sincere, heartfelt apology, then what else can you do but walk away? You certainly cannot chase them around begging for a relationship.
BMarch 26, 2023 at 10:48 am #416774
I have realized that is exactly what I have been doing for a very long time! I have felt manipulated. But on ‘bad’ days, I second guess myself.
Thank you!March 26, 2023 at 10:48 am #416775