12-20-2019 02:15 PM - last edited on 12-23-2019 11:43 AM by Jess1-RO
I’m a 56-year-old mother of two adult sons. I’m also proud to say that they come from the same father, to whom I have been married for 34 years. I am not sure if this is the right place for me to be, because my kids are well out of their teens, but I don’t know where else to go.
1. Our children are 31 and almost 33 (they were born - biological males, i.e. sons - in consecutive years, 19 months apart). The younger adult makes me laugh (when he’s not making me pull my hair out) at a lot of the things he says and does. The elder child has given me nothing to laugh about for a decade; that child only ever makes me cry - mainly unintentionally, but not always.
2. Parenting kids is always stressful but, when my children were younger, I could keep my stress about them under control because we had a bond that, at the time, I thought was reciprocal and unbreakable. Back in the good old days I got creative as a way of managing all kinds of undesirable feelings, but life has gotten in the way and I am a shell of the person I once was. So, basically, I have no coping skills other than to become either homicidally angry or suicidally depressed. I’ve used everything in my bag of tricks and it’s now empty.
3. I found my way here, today, because I don’t know where else to turn. My parents are deceased, my in-laws are not people who have ever made me feel comfortable, or welcome... I just happen to have married their son and popped out their only grandchildren, who they have doted on. My distress is caused by my gender-fluid, elder child. But it’s not his identity that is upsetting to me; I love them with all my heart and soul, regardless of identity, providing that they are a good person. They moved across the country at the beginning of 2011, and left being a tall, handsome, sweet, gentle young man. They met a woman.
At that time, “he” was concerned about being shallow because this woman was “overweight” (his tactful way of saying “obese”) and that she had mental health issues. These were things that I put into perspective for him because, A.) I was obese for a long time (couldn’t shift the baby-weight) and, B.) I had developed mental ill-health due to workplace bullying and associated cruel and unusual treatment. As long as he loved her for who she was, because they had a lot in common, and was ready and able to commit to him, I was happy that he had found love.
However, it wasn’t long before alarm bells were going off in my head. This woman did not want to have one iota to do with her (then) boyfriend’s parents, sibling, family or friends. It didn’t take long before the only time we could talk to our child was when she had left him at home, on his own and, even then, if she rang while he was talking to us, he would have to hang up on us and give her his full attention. Okay, that happens when you’re in a new relationship, and it’s to be expected. But here we are, at the tail end of 2019, and nothing has changed.
I have been the nastiest to my elder child than anyone else in the world, last year. It wasn’t something I planned, nor wanted to do. I cannot excuse my behaviour, only provide some kind of explanation as to why it happened, and that is because the person who used to be my son was taken over by a narcissist and she turned him into her “flying monkey”. Over the six years previous to that, he had been extremely cold and mean to me; he may as well not have been my own flesh and blood for the things he said to me, proving his loyalty to his woman.
Again, if my child’s gender identity choice has been arrived at on their own, I would have no concern at all. However, I do not believe that this is a choice of his own. It is my belief that this is the last step in a plan to totally dehumanise “my son” in a bid for ultimate control. As it is, he has “chores” to do, every day, has had the lion’s share of the work to do (in and out of the home), has treated his partner like royalty, and is getting physically and mentally ill from being over-burdened for so long without respite.
The worst thing of all is that I really don’t know what the hell is going on in their lives because I have been shut out of it. I can only assume what is going on because I know how narcissists work... I used to take a lot of them to prison, for a living. I have no way of telling if my child’s identity crisis is their own or one thrust upon them by a controlling spouse. My gut keeps telling me that the “wife” (although she’s always been the one who wears the metaphorical pants in the household) likes to sleep around so, in order to have theesomes with her “husband” and not have my child angry at her for being unfaithful, I can’t help but feel that she has manipulated him into questioning his very being... which he (and I do mean HE) is doing.
Once upon a time, my son could talk to me about anything. Now, he hardly talks to me at all and, when he does (and I’m not trying to be insulting or offensive to anyone with my choice of pronouns, I am referring to the person I gave birth to and raised for 24 years before he disappeared and started treating me like something he scraped off the bottom of his shoe) it’s never for very long and it’s always about very superficial topics.
The upshot is that I am terrified for my adult-child’s safety, physical, mental and spiritual (not religious) in the truest sense of those words.
It’s taken me up until earlier this year to truly back off and leave my elder child to their own devices; let’s face it, it’s been made clear that none of the family are welcome to be a part of the happy couple’s lives, but their in-laws are highly (and favourably) featured in the couple’s lives, despite living a third of a world away.
I am so very deeply hurt. How can I try to adapt to my child’s decision if they are a virtual stranger to everyone they left behind? How can a mother, in all good conscience, not want to be at least a small part in her adult children’s lives?
4. I’m sorry to say that I have no hints or tips for parents with kids entering their teen years. It seems that I thought I had done all the right things. As teenagers, our kids weren’t out roaming the streets at all hours, they weren’t in trouble with the law. They may not have been the best students, but they sure aren’t stupid. And, at that time, money was tight so we couldn’t lavish our kids with gifts and holidays, but they sure knew that they were loved, lived in a stable and peaceful home, which is - in my opinion - more important than being showered with lots of material items.
I have no idea if anyone reading this will have any hints and tips for me on how best to deal with my very ugly situation, but all I can do is put it out there and hope the answer comes to me, one way or another.
5. I don’t think the question about the weekends is relevant to me, in the present day, as our kids left home quite some time ago.
I sincerely apologise for my lengthy introduction and, should you have managed to make it to this point, I congratulate you, and applaud you, for your show of support. I truly don’t know what to do. My daughter-in-law seems to be almost finished separating MY SON from his family, but she hasn’t completely extinguished the embers of my baby’s true self.
I ask you to send as much positive energy our way so that open and honest communication can begin and that the truth of EVERYTHING can come out. I have no doubt that once everyone has come completely clean about our issues (including me) we will be able to work things out... for better or for worse, so we can all move on with our lives and try to all find our own joy, whatever that may be. All I know is that I can’t keep living like this for much longer.
❤️❤️❤️ xxxoooxxx ❤️❤️❤️
12-21-2019 03:01 PM - edited 12-21-2019 03:07 PM
I'm so sorry to hear about what you're going through. Reading your post actually made me feel a little sad. We put so much time & effort into our children, and I can't even imagine having to "lose" one of them like you have.
You mentioned completely "backing off" which seems like the right thing to do. Even though its hard, sometimes you have to just let people go, and just hope that they come back. I think its particularly good to let go if the interactions with your eldest child have become mostly negative, because such interactions definitely wont help the situation. It might be an idea to sort of separate from the situation for a year or two, and reconnect with them in a positive way when you're a bit more "detached" from the situation.
I think if you want to maximize the chances of your child returning or opening up to you again, then it's important to communicate with them in a leveled and caring way, and remind them how important they are to you, how much you care for them, and support them even if you disagree with their decisions. The reason I say this is because if you engage positively, then it maximizes the chances of your child coming back to you (talking again etc.). And if his wife is the narcissistic person that you say she is, then if your child ever finds the courage to reach out or break away from their wife, then it is likely you'll be the person they contact. It also means that if your child's wife is speaking badly about you and trying to turn your child against you, that your child may be able to recognize that she is incorrect, and not fall into her trap. By the way this is not to make you feel bad about your recent "nasty" behaviour - at the end of the day we are only human, we get hurt, and sometimes our emotions get the better of us and we act in ways we regret. That's okay. At this point, I guess it is also important for me to say that your mental health is important, and if engaging with your child is having a negative impact on you, then it is okay for you to distance yourself. You shouldn't have to engage with them in a way that is uncomfortable to you.
So to reiterate - I think it's good that you are giving your child some space. If they do contact you before you contact them, then it might be a good idea to tell them how much you miss them and care for them. If you don't hear from them, then maybe you can reach out in a few years if you want to reconnect. All you can do it try. And of course, all of this is up to you. I am just offering some suggestions, but in no way are telling you what you should or shouldn't do. At the end of the day, you know the situation best, and you know what works for you best.
Also, regarding your child's decision to become gender fluid, and your concern over it not being being their own decision - I guess it's hard to say for sure why they decided this, and it's probably best to avoid guessing. Their wife may have pressured your child into it, but it's also completely possible that it is 100% a decision of their own. I'm not sure whether you've expressed this concern to your child (about it not being their decision), but if you do make contact in the future, it's probably best to avoid saying this, as I can't see it positively influencing your relationship.
I guess all of the above is just my opinion based on what you've told me so far. It might be an idea to seek professional support, as what you're going through is definitely not easy. It sounds like you really care about your son and have given him your all, and as a parent, that's all you can really do. Try and be easy on yourself over the holidays, take some time out for yourself, and do some things you enjoy.
Also - just a side note. I noticed you said that you sometimes feel homicidally angry or suicidally depressed? i need to ask whether you truly mean this or if it's simply a figure of speech?
Lastly, given the length of your initial post, I have moved it to the "concerned about my teen" section of our forums, and it is now it's own thread. This should increase the amount of support you receive.
Again, please look after yourself. And thank you so much for sharing - it was very courageous of you to speak so openly and honestly with all of us on the forums.
12-23-2019 11:34 AM - edited 12-23-2019 11:44 AM
Hi @mrcrazylady ,
Just wanted to check in to see if you have had the opportunity to read the response from @TOM-RO?
There were a few things you mentioned in your post we want to check in with you about, the last question in Tom's post specifically.
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