Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by MidwestMom, Nov 17, 2007.
I decided the letter has been here long enough and I deleted it. Thanks to all.
I think you spoke from your heart. He's 30, he's a grown man. If he's as intelligent as you think or feel and wishes to have a relationship with you.....he should make the effort. If for some reason he decides to be estranged.....you should know you did the best you could. I tip my hat to you for raising all your kids
I have to be honest; this was very difficult for me to read. Your agony is raw and excruciating. I hope you can eventually come to terms with who Scott is and what his emotional limitations are. I am <u>so</u> sorry for your pain.
i think you did a good job with the letter
i agree with everyone you have done your best and you have to accept that as enough and let the other stuff fall as is may
easier said than done
I'm with Suz. Your pain must be horrible. I am so sorry that your mommy heart hurts like this.
How do I word this? Yes, you sounded needy, kind of beggy. There was so much emotion in the letter, how could you not. However, what is done is done. Maybe he needs to see how badly you are hurt.
You are in my prayers!
Thanks for the feedback. This was a sort of "I'll tell you like it is and then good-bye" letter. If he doesn't like it, or me, then I can move on knowing I tried to be as honest as possible. I'm really NOT as needy as I sound because of my other kids, but I don't care if he sees the hurt--it's there. If he chooses to ignore it, then it will be easier to just move on. I felt I had to give him a blunt letter, full of honesty, then see what happens. It's sort of my last hurrah. However, I do have misgivings. I really DON'T want a relationship in which he calls all the shots, but that's how it sounds. Oh, well.
Will cross that bridge if he ever calls, which I don't expect. However, again, this WILL make it easier for me to move on. And I'll feel like I did all I could.
I thought it explained that you just realized you had limitations to overcome with the testing that was done.
You didn't apologize as much as explained. He can take it for what you offered. A simple olive branch. I thought this was a deeply personal conversation from parent to child. It was not inappropriate and there is needinees. No denying that you need to understand and make an attempt to connect. I think it is totally understandable and acceptable.
I always try to put myself in their shoes and try to understand what they are thinking and why. It's not an easy thing to do since it requires unflinching courage to see myself through someone else's eyes.
We all try to change to accomodate our kids needs but in the end, you are who you are.
I hope he softens his heart enough to explain himself.
I also hope he softens enough to explain himself. I think your letter is needy only in that he has not given you the most basic consideration as to why he is so indifferent to you.
Your posts regarding Scott are so full of your pain. Having not heard from M for nearly four years, I know what you as a mom might feel. Having not spoken to my parents at various times for years on end, I can understand what he might feel. Neither of them are good feelings.
I hope that you will be able to talk to someone, a therapist or a friend or an adviser regarding how you can be at peace with your decision that the status of this relationship is in his hands.
I think if there would be anything in the letter that I would add - and it can be said at any time if ever given the opportunity - would be that whatever the relationship will be, it won't be this torturous thing that it is now. His wife should stop sending you notes if he doesn't want contact with you. They need to stop dangling this promise of a relationship in front of you. He should have the compassion to clarify with you your respective roles so that everyone can move forward.
Just remember if he continues to reject you and your family - it is a reflection of WHO HE IS - not who you are.
There is not a parent who walks this earth who hasn't made horrible mistakes with their kids. I made more than my share.
Our kids either love us warts and all - or they don't.
It may take your son becoming a parent - and realizing what a sacrificial job it is - before he comes to understand the heart of his own mother.
I'm sorry he's being so hurtful.
Thanks for the responses. I'm really not as sad as I sound here. I'm sad when I think about Scott, but I don't really have time to dwell on him that often. I like your advice, golden guru. They love us even if we're not perfect or they don't. Although I hate to say this about my own child, Scott is a very materialistic young man who puts a high value on material things. That could be part of it--in fact, I'm betting it is.
My own mother rejected me outright. I didn't speak to her for ten years, but that was because she was EXTREMELY abusive and didn't really want to talk to me anyways. She never met, or wanted to meet, my younger two kids and the last time she saw my twenty-three year old, she was six years old. She left me nothing when she passed. We had a complicated early relationship--she was very jealous that her mother favored me over her--plus a lot of other things. I sent her a similar letter to the one I sent Scott. It was not as needy, but, although I didn't know what I'd done to make her hate me so much, I apologized...lol. I don't know exactly what I apologized for, but I took all the blame in our bad relationship anyways...lol. I don't know why I do that. I knew it wasn't all my fault. In fact, I truly believe the things that she disliked me for were mostly in her head. But I threw myself at her mercy, and it didn't make any difference. She didn't accept my apology for whatever she perceived I did to her (my sibs don't get it either).
Scott is different. He's my son. I want to make sure I do all I can before we end up having the same relationship I had with my mother. I want to give him a doorway so he can talk to me if he chooses to do that--the doorway that my mother never gave me. If I have to take most of the blame, well, Scott is my son. I can deal with it. If he doesn't contact me, well, I have done all I can. I'll feel I tried. HOWEVER, if he does contact me, he will have to see me AWAY from his siblings. They are FURIOUS at him. My biological son thinks he is totally disrespectful. My daughter was very close to him and he completely blew her off in a very cold way, and she is so over letting him hurt her again. My autistic son was never that attached to him--he's close to my bio. son. My eleven year old is LIVID at him for dumping us and for refusing to come to her birthday party. And they all hate his wife. He knows this too as he has received some nasty phonecalls telling him some hard truths. However, he didn't get any from me.
Thank you all for being a sounding board. I feel better now that I did this. I expect nothing from it, but I do believe in Karma (I'm sure Scott thinks I'm a hopeless heathen for my beliefs). But I strongly believe that you get what you give in your lives, and, in my belief system, I did the right thing.
GG hit the nail on this head! This is it! Truly!
A story, and one in no way, reflecting your own parenthood, just a simile between your son and my sister.
My sister, age 37, recently went through 2 years of refusing to talk to our parents. She had a lot of reasons, some abuse from our father, her coming out as a lesbian, a painful divorce, and a jillion billion other reasons. I would talk to her about my resolution and therapy in regards to my dad's abuse, and how I had chosen to still have a relationship with him, but there was just no way she could fathom that. She thought I was the one that was bonkers.
in my opinion, I really believe she could not realize the extent to which forgiveness and unconditional love can be extended to family, without the presence of her own children.
Then my dad developed terminal brain cancer. She was by his bedside in a NY second. She was so grief stricken that he might die without her having resolution with him, it just about gave her an ulcer, but it also forced her true feelings to be revealed. Ones that may have been more obvious to her, had she had to endure some unconditional love in the past.
I guess my answer to your letter, is that you had to do whatever your heart told you, and follow wherever your heart lead you. Somewhere, deep inside Scott, is a boy who loves you........don't stop reaching out to him, ever. Someday, he will come around, and he will be glad you were the unrelenting force of love that he calls his Mom. For now, just receive peace from that.
MWM, real real big big hugs as you go through this...
I don't want to cause any upset on your part, but you asked for honest opinions and I will give mine. I decided to read this from the view of a grown child as if it were coming from my mother vs. as a parent to a difficult child (keep in mind I had a wonderful upbringing and I STILL choose to do my own thing. Mom and I have since come full circle and are best of friends now).
If I had read this letter, I would be appalled. My initial reaction is that you knew from day one that I was not meant to be with you, you didn't pick me, I was thrown on you and you resent me for it. Because of this, you really can't love me even though you say you do. I also read that "I was right and you DID make me the parent when you should have been and you just admitted it." I wouldn't care that you are admitting all these deficiencies now, it is not my problem, I was the kid, you were the adult.
Okay, now reading it from the perspective of another parent.... I am not sure I would have gone into too much details as to how you have always felt inferior to him. I think doing that undermines you and shows him that you feel weak and you know you are weak and that you have no value (which is obviously not true based on the other children you have raised). I would not have apologized for the gift thing. That is ridiculous! How can he possibly expect a gift after treating you and your family that way? He can't just treat you that way because you are family! In fact he should be saying to himself "I should NEVER treat them that way BECAUSE they are family" Not with the attitude that "well they are family, they will understand"
Okay that is my 2 cents.... Hang in there! You are stronger than you know. Don't just live day to day, just getting through. Make each day a moment and remember it. You still have other children that love and adore you! Give them that love and adoration back!
When my mom didn't speak to me (and I was very angry at her) a letter like this would have made me understand her better. Whether or not I did the right thing, I'm not sure. I really had nothing to lose...lol. And I feel I ended a painful chapter. He probably won't do anything about it. He's been extremely selfish and cold for the past two years and incredibly inflexible. We've had talks like this before--I just never put it in a letter. In the end, he cut the entire family off after he met K, found his version of Christianity, and went through a class called "Boundaries." I guess he felt we were infringing on his boundaries. I can't see how since he never saw anybody more than once a month, usually less than that. And nobody bombarded him with phonecalls or pleas for his time or money. I think like many older adopted kids (and I make the distinction because I adopted three younger ones) he just can't attach to parental figures. He is being similarly this way to his father. After reading your comments, more than ever I feel it's time to get into maybe some sort of grief counseling and let it go. Thank you!
As I have continued to think about your situation, I am struck by the fact that you differ in so many ways.
His 'faith' differs radically from yours.
You say that he is very materialistic. Your finances are more 'humble'.
He is Asian. You are not.
You are very family oriented. He obviously is not.
You desire close relationship/community. He obviously does not.
Under the best of circumstances these would be difficult hurdles to overcome in terms of relating to one another. Given his desire to practice "boundaries" - it is going to be really difficult to find common ground.
You have extended the olive branch so to speak. His Christian faith should compel him to honor his parents, and make peace at all costs.
It really is up to him at this point.
I do agree with you - it is time to grieve and let him go. You may need some professional help doing that.
God bless your mothers heart. May you find the peace you deserve.
I think it is never wrong to open a door our children may walk through one day.
In your grief over his loss though MWM, I see you making the situation make sense by blaming yourself for your son's actions.
So, the piece I would add to what the others have already said has to do with that.
I think you need to unravel the thinking that led you to believe you are responsible for the actions your son is taking.
I think that, somewhere in the winding pathways of his psyche, it is your pain that is both fueling and legitimizing your son's rejection ~ but I think that what your son is rejecting is not you, but himself as he was when you saved him.
I think that, once your son matures enough truly to accept himself, warts and all, and to be grateful for his life, however different it may have been than the way it might have been ~ I think he will come back then, and want to look into your eyes and find his truths there.
Perhaps Scott is less hardline and religious than vulnerable and shamed by his background BEFORE you and your family saved him.
And perhaps it is that vulnerability, that horrible wondering what might have happened to him had you not taken him in, that is fueling his rejection of you and all you stand for, now.
You may have nothing in the world to apologize for, to be unhappy about, to grieve over.
Your son has chosen this path to decipher the mystery of his own past, of how it was that he was rejected or orphaned, and of how it was that a miracle occurred and he was fortunate enough to be whisked away to the richest country on Earth with the stigma of misfortunate birth forever erased.
The way I see it, your task now is simply to wait, and to love your son.
If you can de-energize the emotional charge attending that sense of his having rejected YOU, you will be able to help your son understand himself when he comes to you again for the validation of self that only those who have known us through our times of vulnerability or shame can provide.
Your relationship with this son is more complex than most ~ but your child needs to do what he is doing now.
Your task is to love him, believe in him, and wait for him.
Sorry for sounding like a know it all again.
I didn't have the chance to read the letter before you deleted it, but I think whatever you said in it must have come from your heart, and that to me would be the most important thing. You said how you felt. No right or wrong in that.
I do believe there are people in the world who can truly shut off feelings and not feel remorse or guilt that they may have hurt others. I think your son is one of these people. He lives in the moment and perhaps looks forward only, not back. I doubt you will receive any recognition for your letter. If he has children I really don't see him changing. The kids would probably be ten years old before he even bothered to tell you about them. It seems to be his personality and I don't really think it mattered who raised him. Also he had a childhood of seeing YOUR relationship with your mother (or lack thereof) and he views it as okay to not have a relationship with you. I AM NOT criticizing how you dealt with your mother, I know nothing of your family dynamics other than what you have written, but just wanted to point out what he saw as a child, living with you and your strained relationship with your mother, may have given him license (in his mind) to deal with you in the same way. Not saying this is right, but just saying what I see.
I personally think the letter may have helped you get things out in the open, but it will have little effect on him. Sadly, he doesn't think about you or his former family. He is living for now....and that doesn't include you.
I am not trying to be mean, but I think you will never have much of him in your life again. As difficult as that is I think it would be more difficult to go on believing there was something you did or could have done to change your relationship with him...not happening in your lifetime....He is gone, let them go...
Thanks, all, especially to Barb. My son was always a deep thinker, but of few words. A couples times he puzzled me by saying untruths such as, "I know if Mom and Dad hadn't adopted me I'd be nothing in Hong Kong." He said this to his sister, whom he was once very close to, never to me. The thing is, he KNOWS that soooooooooooo many families were dying to adopt him (we're talking 800 families called about a cute picture and the words "very intelligent.") I do think there is some shame that he was six before he was adopted although he knows very well that adoption isn't accepted in Hong Kong, which is why it took so long for him to have a family. I disagree that he doesn't think about us at all. I think he does, and that he thinks about us with anger--that he thinks we did things to him that we didn't see. He says that his father, my ex, thinks of him as a "trophy son" for example.
I do think he is trying hard to build an identity. About twenty kids came to the United States from Hong Kong at the same time. We all kept in touch for many years. Only Scott and one other boy, who was also highly intelligent, did not act out in horrible ways. All the other kids were really difficult to the point where their parents were puzzled and wondered what they had done to deserve such awful treatment. Some were even Chinese couples. It didn't matter. These kids had all been adopted at age four and up and most were between six to fourteen. I would like to know how they all turned out. I know that the other boy who was doing so well did go to college, but that's all I know. I think Scott is going through that rebellious stage now. It may last forever. He is finding acceptance through his church and with his wife's family. I've met them and they are very nice and, as always, in awe of him. At his wedding, they came up to him to thank me for raising such a wonderful young man (oh, if they only knew...). I didn't raise him at all. He raised himself. He wouldn't let anybody raise him and, yes, he is charming, bright and has good manners and truly wins everyone over. He is exceptional. I think people would be shocked if they knew how he disregarded his family. I may add that although Scott didn't see me and my mother interacting, his father was very close to his own mother and they interacted all the time.
I don't know how this will end, but I really do need to move on and focus on the other kids. And that's what I'm going to do. Thanks again.
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