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Avatar universal

My son and daughter-in-law hate me

It's been two years. I've left them alone. I only called once to ask how they were and ended the conversation before it could turn to me for fear I'd start crying. See, if I start crying, he accuses me of drama, so I can't TALK to him about anything except how well THEY are doing in their new jobs and in their new location. I question my motives. Do I want them to acknowledge how horribly they've treated me? Yeah, sure, but that's not a good reason to try and reconnect. I am deeply hurt to be sure. Maybe I should forget I bred, bore, and raised this man and saw to his every need and to his education and supported him in ALL things. He had a computer when I wouldn't spare the money to buy one for myself; when he needed a car and I couldn't buy one for him, I gave him MY car and I bumped around in an antique pickup truck. I am so hurt that I don't know how to live these last years out ... I can't seem to forget and move on hard as I try. I busy myself, and I do have some friends, but I'm an inner mess one heartbeat at a time away from tears. Can anyone offer advice? How do I live like this?
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Avatar universal
I see that you are battling mental illness.  Are you managing that well?
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Avatar universal
"How do I live like this?"......................

Well, you have done the first step; you have acknowledged the problem; that there is a problem.

Secondly, you need to come to the realization that you can't change someone, HOWEVER, you can change how you respond to them. You can't make them want to acknowledge they did anything wrong and perhaps they don't feel they are doing or have done anything wrong.  Definitely don't reconnect expecting that to happen.  You have to come to peace that you may never receive a "sorry" or an apology.  

Thirdly, good mother sacrifice things for their children, but there shouldn't be conditions attached to the fact you "bred, bore and raised" him and/or that you've sacrificed this and that for him and now he "owes" you.  You would hope a child would show appreciation for the sacrifices and all, but he isn't indebted to you.  You shouldn't be making him feels he owes you or doing emotional blackmail.

Fourthly, have you ever sought therapy?  What was the relationship like before all this distance between you two?  
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Avatar universal
Thank you for your response. Of course I've sought therapy. I'm 68 and bi-polar. Nobody in that demographic has avoided therapy. I'm happy to have had over the years a few really good therapists. I'm looking for one of those now.

I never said my son "owes" me. (You put that word in quotation marks. Who are you quoting?)  I don't consider it a debt ... it's much greater than a debt. It's a moral obligation. My father cared for and about his mother. I think he did that out of a sense of duty, and I see nothing wrong with that. I think he was pleased that he could. Similarly, I took care of my father when he was dying, and I'm glad for it because I did the right thing, and I don't have to look back at my Dad's last days with regret. A friend shared with me the specifics of her mother's death ... she was there, and she is glad for it. I don't think there's a parent alive who doesn't feel used up and spent in a world of sorrow when their child abandons them in their 60s and 70s. Trivializing that, and the amazing amount of sacrificing a single mother does is wrong and cruel.

My guess is that you are defending the adult child here for some personal reason, and in so doing you're defending the tendency in modern young people to abandon their elderly. The adult community I live in is full of abandoned elderly people. People who don't see much of their families ... don't hear from anyone for months at a time, and our culture has embraced this crazy idea that there is no need for a child to honor his mother and father after all. All the cultures that did so were wrong and misguided. The Bible? Forget that! You owe your parents nothing, so throw them out with your Christmas trash. Perfectly modern ... perfectly okay. Really, Londres70? Really? I foresee piles of regret in the future of a person who's turned their back on their elderly parent, and I see comfort and closure in the people who were loving and faithful in their parents' last years, months, and days.
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Avatar universal
I really think you've missed the point I was trying to make.

We do for our children because they are our children...........nothing more and nothing less.

I am sure there is a story behind this unfortunate situation with two sides.

If you are dialoguing with your son in this manner then I would say that is a problem.

I recommend you find a therapist soon and address your issues properly.

All the best.
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
Yes, we do for our children because they are our children, and we do for our parents because they are our parents. It's hard to explain to someone with your mindset that this is a two-sided human transaction and has always been so. You can argue with me if you wish, but I'm afraid what you're saying is indefensible.
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13167 tn?1327194124
Lizzyfish,  since you have posted that you have bipolar disorder,  I suspect there's a lot to this story that would explain your son distancing himself.

On the other hand,  there are kids who are inexplicably cruel to their parents.

AND,  there are kids who inherit mental illness from their parents,  so the combination of a son who is bipolar and a mother who is bipolar is pretty much unworkable.

If your son was asked why he's estranged from you,  what would he say?  (I'm not asking what is truth,  or your perspective, but for you to truly think about what he would say his opinion was,  from his perspective).  And there's your answer about why you don't have a relationship with him.
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Avatar universal
There is no question about why. There's nothing mysterious about my son's estrangement from me. I'm not going into the specifics here, but elder abuse and abandonment is a real problem and denial isn't the answer. I'm not suggesting that the existing laws concerning filial responsibility should be enforced, but I think their spirit ought to be considered as should the statistics as the baby boomer generation grows old. There is a human transaction, call it a circle of life, that includes the elderly in it whether sons and daughters want to embrace them or not . So there's a half of a bargain that people with parents in my generation don't want to deal with. It's unity in denial. I'm not saying you, RockRose, have done any such thing. I'm just trying to permeate the wall of denial people have about elder abuse and abandonment.
Helpful - 0
13167 tn?1327194124
Elder abuse and abandonment does happen,  like child abuse and abandonment,  and spousal abuse and abandonment happens.

Since none of us here know you and you aren't willing to discuss details,  I think the big picture here and the message is that you can only control your own self and you can't control others.

If you think you've done nothing wrong whatsoever,  and it is no fault of your own whatsoever that you are now estranged from your son,  there's nothing at all you can do.

If you DO find that you made mistakes that you regret,  and may have apologies to make,  there is hope that this might get mended.

Best wishes.
Helpful - 0
13167 tn?1327194124
Another thought - filial responsibility laws are financial in nature,  and don't have anything to do with a warm relationship.

The spirit of the filial laws is the government is tired of supporting indigent elderly if there's money in the family to do it instead of the state.    Same idea as going after biological dads and forcing them to pay child support for single moms in poverty so the state doesn't have that burden,  but child support laws also don't mandate a warm personal relationship.  

You don't say whether you're indigent,  but if you are,  you might consider looking into that.  Otherwise those laws won't apply.
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
I have made my amends two years ago. My letter to my daughter-in-law who swore I had offended her, but would not say how, was 100% apology and 0% blame. My side of that street is clean. Additionally, I haven't tried to speak to them of any of these issues in two years.

I live in subsidized housing paid for by the State of California.

In 2012 my daughter-in-law's dog (Newfoundland) (just playfully) knocked me down and crippled me. Two surgeries have failed to fix it.

Son and daughter-in-law make high six figures.

Are there any other DETAILS needed?

I should let them know that they have a very supportive community here should they ever need it.
Helpful - 0
13167 tn?1327194124
Lizzy,  I'm sorry I've come off as unsupportive,  but you've been very thin  on details.

I wish you the best.    I understand you are frustrated,  but I haven't been the cause of your difficulties.  Just trying to help you sort through them with very little information.

You're kind of swinging a scythe around at anyone who is trying to listen to your story and help you sort things out.  
Helpful - 0
3605625 tn?1385017548
Lizzytish, i feel for you, i really do. I kind of know where you are coming from, my son is only nearly 12, and i already feel he has abandoned me, 3 weeks ago he left me to go live with his father, and the attitude, everything seems to have changed already. I too question how children can just have total disregard to the parents who have given birth to them, raised and cared for them, and bore all financial responsibilities for them. It is beyond me, but like i say, my son is only 12, and i see how he is too young to comprehend this, but i can only imagine how it must feel for you having an adult son treat you like this. Sometimes, we'll never know the answer, and as heartbreaking and gut-wrenching as it is, we have to accept it and let it go. Does your son and his wife have children? Sometimes it takes until they are parents themselves to totally get this kind of situation. I know its hard, but just let them be, maybe one day when they are ready they will talk to you, but in the mean time, just do what you would normally do as a mum, call for birthdays and christmas, send cards or gifts, don't question anything, just let them know you remember them and you care. I am dealing with a young son who seems to want me to just get off his back and let him live happily with his father, which i totally support now, but he has just had a knife pulled out on him at his new school, and of course i was shocked and horrified, and have been ringing him out of concern to see if he is ok,(and never once did i say to come back home) but i am met with a tough little boy who says he is fine and happy and for me to stop worrying about him. Well i'm sorry, but mothers never stop caring, and even if he is distant and agitated on the phone to me, i always let him know i love him and miss him and he can call me at any time. Most of the time he doesn't.
I have a step father who has 2 adult sons who haven't spoken to him for 15 years, he has asked them a few times to talk about it and find out whats going on, but no one is willing to talk. There's nothing he can do about it, he has to wait until they are ready, and when they do, i know he will be there with open arms. It's so sad, it really is, but it does happen, and i wish you all the best lizzytish, just remember you are not alone.
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Avatar universal
Such a nice post. I'm so sorry for your pain. I know it only too well. The hardest part, I think, is the memory of the love and closeness we all once shared. Now, my daughter has methadone and my son has a life that his wife doesn't want me to be part of. I have taken your advice so far and have stayed silent. I left two messages of "hi, how are you," and had one brief conversation with him as i mentioned above, but that's been it for two years. I sent cards and gifts the first year, and gave that up the second year, but I think I'll reprise that practice. That's good advice. Thanks for it.
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Avatar universal
No, they don't have children. My daughter-in-law is in poor health. She's over 40 and obese. My daughter has a daughter, but she lost custody due to her drug addiction. My granddaughter and her step-mom are flying in to visit me  tomorrow afternoon. I meet their flight at around noon.
Helpful - 0
3605625 tn?1385017548
I hope you have a wonderful time with your grand daughter, just keep positive and try and focus on all the good in your life.....I know it's hard, my god, I have had days where the knife has been buried so deep within me I fear I may never get it out, but it's true, staying positive really helps you get through it. Every bit of drama I have had go on in my life has made me just that little bit stronger, and I swear, there's been ALOT! Actually, when no think back now over it all, I can't believe I'm still here and standing, but I am. I'm not quite up to date on what it means to be bi polar, but having a clear, strong positive headspace certainly helps in these trying times. Maybe channel your focus and positivity on your grand daughter, since your children obviously don't want to be on the receiving end of it, and think how wonderful and what a blessing it is to have her in your life. And like you have commented before, talking to others about it and gaining advice is wonderful, I am very glad for the support network around me that offer wonderful advice in my tough situations, I hope you have the same :)
Helpful - 0
317787 tn?1473358451
Hi there Lizzy, I wanted to say that I know how you feel.  My son moved away 10 years ago.  I rarely hear from him.  10 months ago he told me that he was no longer my son.  It has been awful, just awful.
I decided that I would continue to tell him that I love him in any way that I could.  I figure he must be going through some things himself and just can't take the time to talk to me.  It hurts a lot.  I try to busy myself with other things so that I don't think about it all the time.

Thirdtimemum, I do think that all children go through a rebellious stage.  My first started at 12, my second I was lucky enough to have him for 15 years before all of a sudden he no longer wanted me around.
They do come back, for the most part.  Could he be jealous of the new baby? or your relationship with your partner?
Just wondering as I have seen this dynamic in others where the son is pretty much the man of the family until someone else comes along.  Then they feel displaced.  Just a thought, I am not saying this happened in your case.  I hope you can find some comfort that you raised him to the age he is and that he loves you very much.  Others are right that this is the honey moon period with his Dad and as time goes on he may see that living with you was better,  Telling his sister to enjoy her home may have been a sign that he is jealous that she gets to go home.
Again, just thinking outloud

Take care, both of you
Dee
Helpful - 0
317787 tn?1473358451
Lizzie, I hope you have a wonderful visit with your grandchild.  There is nothing wrong with a child seeing tears of joy.  She knows she is loved..that is all that matters :)
Helpful - 0
317787 tn?1473358451
Thinking about your situation, is it possible that your son feels bad that you were hurt?...doesn't know how to handle or articulate that?
The wife may be feeling guilty and defensive at the same time.  In that case they are misunderstanding you?
Just a thought, people are funny and complicated.

There is a forum on grief and loss if you might be interested.  Or you could look at the top of this page under Communities and see if there are any additional forums where you might be able to give or receive comfort, advice

Good luck
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Avatar universal
I don't know about that ... whether he feels bad about the accident with their dog or not. She's dismissive. She feels that since she wasn't there with my son and me when I was injured, she bears no responsibility. And before people start jumping on me, this was not part of a discussion regarding her taking responsibility for the injury, this she offered of her own volition. I have NEVER said that it was her fault or tried to guilt either of them about my leg.

And I hate that I have to be concerned that somebody's going to jump me out here and create more pain and angst for me.

But, yeah, I think there is a distinct possibility that my daughter-in-law is feeling guilty and defensive. She is not in touch with her feelings at all in my experience with her. She's is a very complex person, but that complexity doesn't translate into self-criticism or self-examination. Their relationship is certainly a closed system, but that doesn't mean the quality and depth of communication is there. BTW, I don't think it is there.
PS I will check out the grief and loss community.
PPS Dee, thanks for the compassion, and my granddaughter WILL see tears of joy, there's no way around that, and her mom's been alerted to how very fragile I am, so we won't discuss my "troubles" in front of my granddaughter. We may crack a bottle of Merlot after my 9 year old's bedtime and have a good cry, but I'm always afraid that the tears won't abate once surrendered to.
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973741 tn?1342342773
COMMUNITY LEADER
It is important to remember that this is a public forum.  People help in their own ways and sometimes it is what someone wants to hear and sometimes it is not.  If someone is so vulnerable that a simple post that was written by a stranger taking the time to help in their own way with good intentions can cause them great pain because of whatever else is going on in their life, it might not be a good setting for them.  

I'm glad to help when I can but it is a bit like walking on egg shells when someone may have such a bad reaction to things or take it so personally.  

I hope you have a wonderful time with your granddaughter.  That is very special that she is coming to visit you and I' sure it is bittersweet as well as you'd like to spend more time with her.  May all go well.  peace
Helpful - 0
317787 tn?1473358451
Hey there! I hope you are enjoying your granddaughters visit and can come back to tell us.
It is very special that they are coming to visit and I am happy for you
Dee
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Avatar universal
I just look at intent. I ask myself, "what is this person's goal in "taking the time" to answer a post from a stranger who's in pain. Some people feel a perverse need to pile on. I don't understand it, but I have experienced people both here and in other walks of life who, at depth, have no interest whatsoever in others and are seeking some selfish catharsis. You may or may not agree that this is true, but I think it's observably true. I will post hereafter in the grief and loss community where EVERYBODY is ridiculously fragile. Hey, and thank you for sharing.
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973741 tn?1342342773
COMMUNITY LEADER
We aren't in someone else's head so it is impossible to know intent.  I believe everyone here was trying to help.  Good luck to you
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Avatar universal
Good luck to you too, specialmom. I'd be delighted to end this dialogue now if you please.
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