Estranged from my adult son
Hi there Dishe.
I'm so sorry for the excruciating emotional pain this must be causing for you.
I am also estranged from family and do know that there is that unbelievably notoriously iron clad inbuilt part of human beings that will always gravitate toward hungering for family, whether it's comforting, destructive, easy or impossible. And when the lean is toward the latter, it is a very painful situation to live with.
For me (and others I've known in similar situations) one of the first ideas to work on has been examining the things there is an urge to do, and comparing it to the reality of whether it would be constructive, and also helpful toward a goal (and whether that goal is fair and good for everyone involved too.)
It's such a huge, huge and painful thing to look directly at, but a lot of times a situation can be made worse by following urges without considering why they're there and whether succeeding with whatever the urge pushes to do would even be as useful as we might think.
I've had to radically accept that at this point, my estrangement from family has happened, and, in terms of my planning for the future with my day to day actions, isn't changing. Sometimes the difficulty of living with a difficult truth is the back and forth denial of it; could this be different? Maybe if I could change it if I just... xyz.
If I think about other situations that can't be changed, like the loss of a child to death, a permanent disability someone has acquired etc, and treat my situation like that, the grieving process and learning to live with radically accepting the situation and trying to live from with in it, though still painful, at least makes a lot more sense and is able to go through gradual stages of moving on.
Consider the loss of a child through death - you might never stop missing the child, and it's not like that pain would go away. But there can be a process through which you can learn to live within the new paradigm, of living with and through that pain, and gradually finding other life focuses to lean into and give your life meaning in other ways.
In short, the first wrestle is finding acceptance of your situation. And, if some part of you is still hoping to change it, I have found that the more you accept what is, the closer you might actually be to finding an approach that can be grounded in wisdom rather than emotional reactiveness.
Let me say again how I recognise the validity of the emotional pain you must be feeling (missing family). ❤️
It might be more common than you actually think, but can be a very difficult issue for people to speak about because the conflict that caused the estrangement in the first place can be so controversial that people might be afraid to make themselves vulnerable to criticism about their point of view in the situation, or to be seen as meddling in opinions about someone else's situation.
I definitely feel your pain and really hope that you can find constructive support - that is, support that helps you live your life and to cope with the loss, not just people who, while well meaning, might add fuel to the fire of the controversy. I like what yggdrasil said too, giving space to the situation generates reflection and shows respect which in the end, may or may not get what you want, but gives it a much better chance than letting your frustration lead headfirst into an already tense situation.
Dishe I just want to say that I am thinking of you.
I know that just because you post a question and a couple of people post a thoughtful response, it doesn't mean things are solved for you, and you still have to go on living with the difficulty of your situation.
I hesitate to make promises about being around because my own situation can cause me to appear and disappear from these forums (and other situations) suddenly, without notice, sometimes for long periods and very much outside of my control, (and often right after a period where it seems my presence is starting to feel reliable) which can be very frustrating when I am invested in something, and, as well as being annoyed that I can't continue to engage with something I care about, makes we worry that people might take it personally, which makes it difficult for me to know how involved to get with people in the first place.
I'm not meaning to turn the conversation to this topic, just rather to find balance in expressing to you that if you would like to continue to check in with how you're feeling in your situation and getting on in the day to day, I would be interested to share what I can of that journey with you. The balance comes in saying that I just can't know if I can be around to do so, but, whilst I can't speak for anyone else, think and hope that there is generally hopefully someone else around who cares too and can be a sounding board for what you're going through.
I wonder if anyone else (or you yourself) might have some thoughts about things that it helps them to focus on or do that bring their lives meaning or help serve as a distraction from situations that are outside of their control that they have to live with.
Or maybe there are things going on for you already that it might help you to discuss here in order to help you plan to put your focus there? Are there any hobbies, groups or endeavours that you are involved with that bring you some amount of enjoyment or sense of self and life meaning, outside of your son, that you can put your energy into when you are missing him?
Hi Dishes I am so sorry you are having relationship issues with your son. I have some understanding of how you feel. It is a difficult thing to go through but being a parent is so hard. None of us are the perfect parent. As much as the media would like to portray mother's as these perfect beings we are human. Your son has for whatever reason instilled a boundary and as much as it hurts it is important to respect that boundary. Given time and space he may reach out to you. It will be a difficult thing to do and use this time to take care of you, live your life and get support for how you are feeling. Relationships Australia might be of some support to you. Also if your son should reach out, listen to him without judgement or getting defensive, if he is being respectful. I sincerely hope that things do improve for you and your son.
I totally understand. Like you my son met someone and before we knew it married her. Since then she has set about isolating our son from all of our family. She has threatened me with intervention orders, the last one was because my husband sent our son a birthday card! We have been in pain like this for almost four years and we have suffered both physically and mentally. His wife is toxic but as a Vietnamese young woman all of the balls are in her court. It’s amazing that she can call up the police and attempt to put an intervention order on me when we know she is the abuser and neither my husband or I have ever laid a finger on any of our children. I am so very sorry.I feel your pain