Meeting with son and wife

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by MidwestMom, Jul 23, 2011.

  1. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    I got closure and the possibility of a very stilted relationship (meetings far apart only in restaurants or church). He won't visit me or my house because the house is messy (he's a neat freak, I'm not). He was angry because I'd written him letters, some nice, some not so nice (I should not have. My excuse is I was desperate to see him again, then hurt when he didn't respond). He archived every letter I have written whether nice or, as he calls them, "nasygrams" on his computer. He has five years worth of sporadic letters from me on his computer. Why keep them? (My other son's wife said "To remind him to hang onto his anger.")

    My estranged son's wife is "afraid" of me, which makes everyone else laugh. I never threatened either of them or anyone. He must have told her some doozy lies about me. One he told her was that he had to pay all our bills and come up a budget for me. His wife blurted that out. I was too shocked to say anything. I just stared. S. paid NO bills. I WAS divorced and maybe I asked to borrow $50 from his paycheck a few times (he worked part-time), but that would have been the extent of it. I wanted to have S. exaggerate about that, but couldn't find the words. His wife looked at me hatefully and said, "A child should not have to pay the bills of the parent!"

    S. actually had it pretty good. He lived in a big (if not fancy) house in a great school district and got a good education. He had free use of my car. It was a fancy car, but I never said he couldn't drive it. But boo hoo, he had to pay his own insurance. That came to about $30 a month added to our normal bill without him. Wow! The torture to him!

    When my hub heard what he'd said he told me about not coming to our house or how he paid our bills,he told him (in words I can't print) that I could see S. if I wanted to, but he wouldn't. I know I'm rambling, but I"m still in shock.

    Anyhow, if I want to see S, he has given me a list of rules, such as how often I can call, where I can see him, how I can't tell ANYONE EVEN ONE THING about him (I already broke this rule because I had to tell somebody), and a whole list of other whoppers. Also, don't count on him for any money (duh) and he wants nothing to do legally with anyone in the family (I'm sure he's thinking of Sonic with his autism).

    I built up S. to be a legend in my mind; a perfect young man that I hurt. I did hurt him, but he probably hurt me just as much.

    I now realize that S. does not think of us as his family. Here is an example: This entire five year estrangement started because I used to stay with S. when I went in to Illinois because he had the room. One day he told me I can't stay there anymore and it really hurt my feelings. He said it stressed him out and he wouldn't do it anymore. Ex hub, who still has a relationship with S. (I have to wonder how good it really is) told me just last week that S's wife's parents are now moving in with them, at least six months a year. WTH? I thought it was stressful. I guess it's just stressful for ME to stay one night, but fine for them to stay six. Know what I mean??

    The meeting made me realize that I did some things that were very wrong (some telling-you-off letters). I learned that S. kind of thought the whole meeting between us was amusing. He wore a sort of smirk (if that makes sense). When the mediator asked him what he missed the most during the last five years (we have been estraned that long), he said he hadn't missed anything and that he just thought about me if I sent a letter, which he would archive but not answer. So guess what I learned that gave me closure?

    S. does not consider any of us his family. I think this is a common feeling in older adopted children. It's hard when you don't get that early bond. S. clearly feels that is doing me a favor by allowing me to see him at all, even under extreme and rather humiliating conditions (I didn't bother to post the worst). He obviously told his wife, who doesn't really know me, things that have scared her of me. I wonder if his wife thinks I adopted S. to be my slave (I'm dead serious). All I know is, S's memory of his childhood may be very real to him, but it's not reality.

    S. is not a little boy. He is 34. He is very judgmental. He does not cut ANYONE any slack. He is very smart. He is very successful (long ago he told me he was already a millionaire, and I believe it). He is very loathe to forgive. In the ending prayer, which he made up, he said (I am paraphrasing) "God give me the very difficult task of forgiveness. Help me forgive."

    I do not want anyone here to think S. is horrible. He is a wonderful husband and I'm sure a great father. He is charming and sweet and I'm sure everyone loves him. And he had some VERY legitimate gripes. I feel like an idiot for writing letters. I should have known better than to commit my deepest thoughts to paper, but he wouldn't talk to me at all for five years. However, I never should have sent him "nasty grams." He will never get a nice or nasty letter from me again. I don't care if I ever talk to him again.

    We left it at him calling me, because there were too many rules if I called him, including that I had to leave a definite message with the express reason why I wanted him to call me back. Failure to explain what I am calling about will mean he won't return my call.

    I do not think he will ever call me. If he does, I will take it in stride and be nice, but he will have to make any moves to see me again and I don't think he really wants that. Nor does he want to see anyone in the family, except for his father. And I'll bet his father kisses posterior to see him and has a bunch of rules too. AND he cut his father off for three years too (and his father wrote NO letters...not sure why he did that).

    I have four children, not five. This one has made it clear he is not my child. I am just going to count my blessings because I have four loving children, two pretty nice in-law kids, a sweet grandchild and a wonderful husband. I am not playing "how can I make S. like me" anymore, but I'm glad the meeting happened because now I know...and there is closure. Plus I had a chance to ask for forgiveness and to own up to my own wrongs, which were definitely there. I don't have the urge to see him anymore. But I needed to see that for myself.

    Sorry for the long, boring rant, which I'm sure is not that coherent, but I just got back from Illinois. On the BRIGHT side, had a great time at Six Flags on Friday (the day after) with Pastry Chef, her SO, Sonic and Jumper. Some people have nobody, but I have so much...I"m not going to complain :)
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2011
  2. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I am speechless.
    I cannot imagine how heartbreaking that is.
    But as you said, there is really no point in continuing the relationship. He not only wants to hold onto his anger, he wants to maintain total control.
    It was nice of you to say he's probably a nice father, etc. but frankly, I cannot imagine that he cuts his kids any more slack than he cuts you. What a shame.
    I'm glad Six Flags was worth it.
    Many, many, many hugs. My heart breaks for you. All you can do is move on. Think of us here on the board as your family.
  3. Mattsmom277

    Mattsmom277 Active Member

    MWM, I'm sorry this meeting went this way yet I'm glad you had that closure to this you needed. I don't think badly of your son but I do think he's got his own issues and perhaps more than a little feeling of wishing he'd had "different" parents (wealthy, highly educated, high achievers, Know what I mean??). I know this hurts you and I know that you probably very much will never really understand, but now you have answers as to what he's thinking and where he's at. I don't think you need beat yourself up for "forgiveness of self" re: "nastygrams". Pain fuels emotions, and although he didn't respect your emotions or method of expressing them, you did it from a place of rightful hurt and anguish and pain.

    You are loved and have a wonderful and supportive family. This was not a result of some horrible tragic childhood you forced upon him, this is not a reflection of you as a woman, person, mother. Love him in your heart and move past this at the rate you are able. That he grew to be so successful in so many ways is a testament to the foundation you gave him in life and for that, you have proven that you gave him a great start to life.

    Gentle hugs heading your way.
  4. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    It was heartbreaking BEFORE I met them, although I had adjusted to not having him in my life.

    It is no longer heartbreaking. I realize that we don't have much to say to each other anymore and that this chapter has closed and been resolved. He obviously has more anger/issues that he exhibits, at least toward me. I have no desire to keep this relationship going anymore. And that's a good thing. I'm in a bit of a pensive mood, but am not depressed. I'm just glad I didn't adopt any other older kids. I don't believe those kids normally attach the way they should to their families.

    I'm done.

    As for being a good father and husband, his wife is perfect for him. She grew up in China and her culture is different, even now. I'm am sure he is GREAT with his little boy. I am NOT sure he will be great with him if his son decides that he has a mind of his own. If he is a dutiful son who follows their way of thinking, he will remain a good father. But..they are very rigid.

    I am positive that S. wishes he'd had a rich, highly educated family...his version of a family. No divorce (he is very religious and to him divorce is a sin). I think perhaps his overly controlling ways as well his unusual neatness may be part of feeling helpless when he was younger and living in an orphanage for six years. I have no idea. I'm not going to press any further.
  5. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Well-Known Member


    You are a wonderful mother who loves your children greatly. I think S is manifesting attachment problems and it isn't your fault. {{{Hugs}}}
  6. keista

    keista New Member

    I'm glad you ultimately found what you were looking for - peace. Go and live in it and enjoy the family that surrounds you.
  7. svengandhi

    svengandhi Well-Known Member

    As a child who deliberately estranged herself from her biological parents, I appreicated reading your point of view. If you were MY mom, we would not be estranged.

    However, I have one piece of legal advice for you. Please make a will and cut this person out. Just state that "for reasons known to myself and my son, X, I have chosen not to make any provision for him in my will." You NEED a will, first to protect Sonic and second, to prevent this person you adopted from claiming part of your estate if you die intestate.

    Honestly, I would NEVER talk to him ever again. If you're Jewish, sit shiva and say Kaddish.
  8. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    MWM, I think you're very wise to just leave it the way it is and don't look back. He obviously has a lot of problems and issues that you will not be able to overcome, no matter what you do. Coming from a different culture, then surviving in an orphanage for all that time, not knowing what was going to happen to him, and never being a member of a real family until he came to you, I guess it could happen. It almost seems like he only agreed to this meeting as an opportunity to hurt you! Please don't beat yourself up about any "mistakes" you might have made. You know, we ALL make mistakes as parents - some of them really big ones, we ALL have things that we would do differently if we got do-overs. All parents make mistakes. Kids don't come with instruction manuals. But most parent/child relationships manage to remain loving and caring in spite of them. I really think you were dealing with something insurmountable here. I'm sure you were wonderful parents to him. You took him in to your home and made him your own child, you loved him and cared for him and provided for him and you gave him all those opportunities that he used to become the successful man that he is today. And he is not ONE BIT grateful for anything you have done for him and that is NOT your fault!

    I don't know what kind of 'church' this might be but that's not what I consider to be religious! Most churches teach that we should be loving and forgiving and humble and compassionate and to "Honor thy father and mother ...". I don't think he does any of those things! And as far as being a good husband and father, like someone else said, as controlling and rigid as he is, that will be only as long as they do exactly what he says and live exactly as he dictates, and if they don't - look out! I actually feel very sorry for his children because they're going to have it rough.

    I'm sorry this was so hurtful for you but at least now you have your answers and you have that closure you needed. Sending many, many hugs. It's not your fault, hon. It never was.
  9. MuM_of_OCD_kiddo

    MuM_of_OCD_kiddo New Member

    Am I the only one who sees extreme thought/ritual Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) here?

    All the rules about when, where, how to call/ conditions of visits etc; the being extremely ridgid and judgemental; the neatnick-ness; not wanting people in the home or an intolerance for visitors [can cause a major meltdown and with the cleaning type tends to generate major domestic upheaval and prolonged bouts of cleaning - not kidding either]; a domestic[ated], obedient, submissive wife that will not make waves and sowith not trigger an Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) meltdown; an extremely obedient and low key child that has learned to keep a low profile for the same reasons - all that put together just screams of extreme thought and ritualistic Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) to me. My guess is he chose a wife from a traditional chinese family, because of the submissiveness of many of the women in this culture.

    I'm not to confuse or make you rethink your decision [peace to you!], but he probably actually feels that he is unbending for you, by giving you all the rules to follow so you can stay in contact or visit. When my son started on his Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) journey, all I had ever known about it was what I had seen on TV - mainly "Sleeping with the enemy", LOL. There are entire Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) dimensions that are pure thought, obsession and ritual based - that have nothing to do with the mainstream hand washing, endless showering or house cleaning - and he sure sounds like a prime candidate for multiple combinations of this. Add to this his anger, sense of entitlement, and other issues - I can see why he is very difficult to deal with.

    You are doing the right thing in my opinion - he is an adult [and financially successful at that] and he makes his own bed to lay in. I am glad that you are able to detach and move on, and focus on what is rewarding rather than unasked for punishment. You go girl! Yay for you! Hugs!
  10. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Hugs, MWM. Glad you were able to get closure.
  11. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    I'm relieved you finally found closure with S. The whole estrangement has been painful, to say the least. You needed to do this to put it in it's proper perspective.

    But the whole we didn't get him young enough thing? Nope. I don't buy it. I've seen far too many many kids bond with adults at far older ages than he was when you took him into your home. You think of S as being a easy child. I see S as being a full blown difficult child, he has just learned to keep it behind a mask, and in all honesty that makes it far more dangerous. In this post alone, I see a strong need to control everything about his environment, even his own version of reality. He may appear to be loving and affectionate and ect but you don't know what goes on behind closed doors with him as an adult. I have a strong feeling it may be a very different picture. He has some characteristics / behaviors that remind me of my mother, and that's not so good. I actually feel for his wife and child, as well as any more he has. Their lives will not be easy being dictating totally by S, and I imagine living up to his standards they may find nearly impossible.

    Most likely due to his life prior to when you adopted him and genetics, he has no capacity to love or feel genuine feelings for another person. He doesn't even understand the concept. So instead, he controls and manipulates. Even saw that in his prayer when he asked for "strength to forgive". phht Gimme a break. That was all for his wife and the mediator, had nothing to do with reality and both you and he knew it.

    This is S's issue, not yours. I'm glad you can see that now and let it go. I'm sorry that this couldn't have ended the way you would've liked.

    I strongly recommend you take svengandhi's advice and make sure a will is drawn up in such a way that he doesn't get a thing and can't fight it legally. mother in law did this with katie the moment she walked out on the family. Her will was air tight.

  12. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    He doesn't have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). My other son, Sports Fan, has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). It was debilitating for him for a while as he had to count everyone's word. But Sports Fan has a heart and would not do this to his family.

    When asked, S. said he agreed to the meeting out of "curiosity." There is no interest from him in a relationship.

    Whoever asked if I was Jewish, actually I'm not, BUT that is my background and sitting shiva, at least in my head, is not a bad coping mechanism. Yes, he is thankfully alive and well (I would NEVER wish him anything but good health, a long life and happiness), but he is worth mourning in MY world. I never really did that or there would have been no letters for him to hang onto (for whatever purpose he is doing that). I am going to look up the ritual and start doing that so that I can emotionally detach. I am also going to read a book on grieving, however I feel as if I've gone through a lot of the steps already. I just have not reached "acceptance" 100%. But I'm 80% there.

    I feel more clearheaded and enlightened about this situation than I have felt in a long time. I have no doubt that S's angst and anger and feelings of betrayal are very real. But I can not live up to his expectations. One "rule" is that I never discuss anything about him with anyone else in the family. He and his wife accused me of gossip. Here is an example of what they considered gossip:

    When K. (his wife) planned t he wedding, S. and K. decided not to allow any children at the reception, not even Jumper and Sonic (his siblings who adored him). But when we were at the actual reception, there were SEVERAL little kids, probably no older than five, and they were all Chinese (K's side of the family). When questioned about it by my other daughter in law, they never answered. To this day, I have no idea why Sonic and Jumper had been excluded because of the "no kids" rule, but then kids were there. My other daughter in law got angry and called S. up to yell at him about that. I didn't want her to do it, but I couldn't stop her. K. and S. are angry at ME over that phone call. They said I had to have told her about their "no kid" rule and that this was "gossip." Huh? This is what actually happened:

    Sports Fan and his wife wanted to know what the younger kids were wearing to the reception (or something similar...they had a question about the younger kids and the reception). I told her that there were no kids allowed. My daughter-in-law was shocked and asked, "Not even THEM?" No, not even them. In fact, nobody from OUR side of the family was even in the wedding party, but that's another story. Back to the "no kid" thang. Well, when Sports Fan and his wife went to the reception, they saw little Chinese children there. Naturally, they put 2 plus 2 together and figured out that there was a "no k id" exception, but that Sonic and Jumper were not on the exception list. Being the brother and sister of the groom, they found it odd and were angry about it and protective of their younger siblings. Now talking about any of the wedding rules at all to anybody in the family was considered "gossip" to S. and K. Here's one more example of "gossip."

    My ex recently let it slip that S. owned a particular type of company that manufactures XXXX. I told S. at our meeting that I thought it was great that he was in the XXXX business. He said, with a smile, but he meant it, "Oh, now I have to scold Dad. He wasn't supposed to tell you that." I said, "Why?" He said, "He's not supposed to tell anyone anything about me. Don't worry. YOU aren't in trouble. HE is." He said it good-naturedly, but...

    What rot! Sorry, but I am incapable of being that secretive with my family. What if I slip up and it's not on purpose? Ex was trying to help me by telling me a little about S's life, and now the poor man is going to get a wagging finger under his nose for sharing this "gossip" with me.

    Sadly, I have mostly seen heartache from older child adoption. I only know of one time where it has seemed to work. An adoption therapist believes he (and most older adopted kids) have attachment disorders of various degrees. I'm sure there are exceptions. He is not the least...perhaps he is angry at his birthmother and taking it out on me. One can only guess. I"m sure he would laugh and say that it's not true...that it was MY behavior. Perhaps it is, but...

    Who can have a relationship with anyone this way?
  13. Mattsmom277

    Mattsmom277 Active Member

    I think it is highly dysfunctional and very abnormal and unhealthy behavior.
  14. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    I know this is crazy, but, although I had to have this closure, I am rather sad because I had extra money to go to the Chicago reunion on the Conduct Disorders board. Now I doubt I can make it.

    I would rather see all of you in person than have sat and listened to this. But if I hadn't, I'd still be pining away for something that doesn't exist.
  15. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member

    Glad you were able to get closure.
  16. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    MWM, I like svenghandi's advice about the will. While I'm sorry you've had to endure so much pain, heartache, uncertaintly, rejection, etc., it's VERY good that you went to meet him. I think it's the one critical step you needed to be able to truly close the book on this unfortunate chapter and move on. You are right -- you are blessed with a wonderful family that loves you, and as much as you tried to make this person a part of that family, he just can't cut it. I'm glad you are able to see that and are working on the remaining 20% of your process. It's not easy, but it's important for the sake of the rest of your life.

  17. 1905

    1905 Well-Known Member

    I am glad that you found closure and peace. It sounds like a horribly painful way for him to live, carrying so much animosity in his heart. What others think of us is not our business (I think that's a famous saying).
  18. keista

    keista New Member

    I was going to refrain from posting my opinion, but felt compelled after that 'gossip' post.

    It is a non traditional Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). The man feels the need to control EVERYTHING, especially as it relates to him. It does make sense for him to have developed like this since for a large chunk of his life he was in an orphanage and had NO control over ANYTHING.

    Sadly he defies my own personal theory of adult children. In their 20's, kids tend to blame all their personal problems on everything their parents did wrong. Moving into their 30's they move past that and see that while it was always right or good, their parents did their best, and to the best of their abilities.

    I wonder if he's even thought of where he'd be if he had never left the orphanage? Could he still have become successful? Possibly, not necessarily. Could different parents have made him more successful? Possibly, but again not necessarily.

    Continue your mourning process. (by the way mourning is something we do for ANY loss, not just loss of a life. Many of us too often forget that) I'm glad you are able to be closing up this difficult chapter in your life.
  19. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    I'm glad you found closure and can move forward with peace.

    said with a smile, sent chills up my spine. Literally. Wow. Total control freak...the scary kind.
  20. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Thanks for all the great feedback. It's helping a lot.

    I am starting to feel empowered. There is nothing left to do but move on.

    Closure is a good thing. And sometimes you can try and try and try and can't succeed in making somebody like you.

    I feel freer.