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Complex Family and it's depressing!

Community Member

I have 3 children eldest married 2 children, youngest in a stable relationship with 1 child, middle one single gay self opinionated with mental health issues stemming from childhood issues that I did not deal with and which has caused him to be having therapy for the past 25 years. The son doesn't get on with father or youngest sibling but has always managed a relationship with eldest sibling. I've spent years being in the middle of bickering, arguing, verbally fighting between people. Luckily given they live in different states it doesn't occur often, although Christmas when they all love to come home, and for grandchildren it's the only way to spend christmas. So it's a time for me that I love (being a christmas tragic) but it is one fraught with worry, tension, anxiety attacks for me and I don't believe believe people doing enough to monitor their behaviour.

I've spoken to people individually but of course it's always the other persons problem.

This year because of Covid no one could spend christmas at home but middle child visited and stayed with eldest sibling. All well until middle grandson, just entering his teens and a typical teenager - lazy, untidy prefers to do his own thing, although no problems when it all suits him was disciplined several times by father for not removing himself from electronics and help his mother.

Middle son thought punishment banned from electronics and send to room didn't fit the crime, tried to step in didn't go down well and then contacted me to say what had happened and he felt that he had witnessed other similar things that had happened and he didn't feel it was fair as this was what had happened to him and he didn't want to see his nephew go through 25 yrs of therapy.

I told him, I had seen the grandsons behaviour which at times was not good and he needed something more than continuinally being spoken to as that didn't worth. Also said son was a good father and that it was not middle son's responsibility and he should not get in the middle.

Now I am sitting worrying about what is going on and whether brothers are now arguing, and the only one the middle son can interact with may prefer he not visit if he is going to comment on his parenting.

But middle son wants and needs a family and can't see that he is pushing people away Meanwhile I sit and worry myself silly over it because I do know that some of middle sons issues have been caused by our bad choices.

Love my children but sometimes wish they would go away

1 Reply 1

Community Champion
Community Champion

Dear JO6~
You are a person full of love, and that leads you to try to get your sons and daughter to get along, and the same for their children. Love and concern must run in your family, I remember last year when you were concerned at your son's excessive worry over you.

I did see one most hopeful sign, you said:
they don't talk for a while and then get back in contact

Given the wide range of personalities -and sexual orientation - I think both the disagreements and letting these fade over time is healthy and a tribute to your balanced attitude when rearing your offspring and bringing them up in an atmosphere of love.

There is no way you can be peacekeeper for such a dynamic and physically scattered family. The best you can hope for is they will, as adults, work matters out in satisfactory manners, maybe looking to you for advice on occasions.

Their decisions will not be perfect, and you may disagree with some of them, but as long as they come back to talk to each other and there is no deep-rooted hate then you and your husband have done your job well

My partner and I too sometimes wish our family would go away and Christmas a bi-annual event.

5 years ago you were worried with a son's depression and attitude to life and thought it was down to you. OK how do you know any other action might have ended up worse? I'm sure it was not a case of cruelty or neglect, just not having the "secret parents manual" that tells you the perfect solution for every problem.

I was trying to say there have been times when I think if I had acted differently my offspring would have been better equipped in later life, or had more idea how to handle matters and their family life. This may in fact be true, but they were the best I could think of at the time, and were discussed with my wife who also felt the same.

For an offspring to be worried about yourself is both great, and can also be a great burden. Trying to get an offspring to have a balanced view can be hard, if I might say so this is something you need for yourself.

Having lived for your family for so long it is going to be hard to separate part of your life away and do things for you -and you husband too I guess. What sorts of things will grasp your interest and give you an outlet with enjoyment and satisfaction. It can be anything from study to ball-room dancing. The important thing is to foster your own life.

What do you think?