Should I let My Adult Children Go?

sadmamaApril 26, 2008

In the 1980's I abused drugs. I have four children. 3 daughters (27,24, and 22). My only son passed away in 2000 @ the age of 16 due to a doctors mistake.

I have been clean for twenty years now.

My mother taught my children to blame their behavior on me.

I moved from New York City to California, because my 25 year old disrespected me so badly I was afraid I was going to catch my first felony.

My 27 year old came here to Cali to visit me.I haven't seen her in 3 years because when ever we get together it turns out horrible. She reached out to me by email. She has become a Jahovah's witness. She appeared to have grown up and changed due to her new religion. I thought for sure a visit from her would bring us together in away I have only dreamed of. She got upset over a piece of cheese(literally) and proceed to call me everything but the child of GOD.

What was most disturbing was how she reverted to calling me a drug addict and a no good mother.

How long do I have to be tortured for my past mistakes.

They only throw up my past when I tell them what they need to hear, or when I remind them I am their mother and not their friend, or it there significant others has pissed them off.

When they torture me in this way it is 1985 all over again. All of the work I have done to better my life and theirs goes out the window and I become a no good crack mom all over again.

I am thinking of ex-ing them out of my life for good. I dont need fare weather children. As long as I am doing and saying what they want I am mom of the century. When I assert my boundries I am a crack-head all over again.

What is the opinion of otheres belonging to this forum?

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Problems with adult children where there is conflict especially with the mother does, I think, rest on several factors - their unwillingness to see the parent as a human being rather than the 'mom' all the media presents; many of these kids need a scapegoat to blame for their own mistakes in life (At an age of over 30 I remember blaming my mum for not correcting a crooked tooth I had - a friend's son blames her for his small stature - my mum couldn't have done anything about my teeth wartime Britain etc., but I know I hurt her. I blames her for my asthma because she smoked - now I realise that she had been brought up to smkoe that when she was young smoking was 'good'.
I wasn't the perfect Mum myself - I was studying when my kids were growing up - I was at home but busy with 'other things' - now I wish I had been more with them.
When my eldest daughter was 20 and the middle daughter 17
my husband was working in Greece - I left these kids in the house over Christmas and took the youngest 10 with me - just for 2/3 weeks.
Because of illnesses and a dreadful event associated with my husband's work we didn't back back until May of the year - -5 months all told.
My middle daughter came out and stayed with us and had a wonderful time BUT now she tells everyone she was abandoned!
and uses this as an excuse to leave her 16 year old son on his own here in the UK while she makes a a new life with a new husband and child in Turkey. This boy needs his mother - she wouldn't listen - eventually she had to be told face to face over the last Christmas when she was here on holiday - it was aweful - she took him,(put him in a flat on his won somewhere!) his clothes, the little boy and everything - told everyone she'd finished with us
and that's that - I hadn't known she had so much venom in her.Anyway we are in very thready communication - but we are in communication
and I will keep channels open without expecting anything else.
These kids have to grow up take responsibility for themselves - many kids come from much worse backgrounds than ours and manage to become their own people.
We have all made mistakes as parents and I wish I could start all over again BUT that's the way life is for all of us.
I know wonderful mums who should have perfect kids - but that doesn't work either
Good luck and Best wishes

    Bookmark   April 27, 2008 at 7:07AM
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Dysfunctional family will drag your spirit through the mud and bury it if you give them that power. If I had a gangrene appendage that caused me grief and pain, I'd cut it off. You can be fair whether too. When they get on your nerve, create some space and distance. You can love them but you are nobodys doormat/whooping boy just because you made bad choices in the past.
They would get the axe if it were me.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2008 at 10:13PM
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I decided to break with my sons, but it happened over several years so it was not a shock like it is for most of you. I love my sons as much as any mother can and I was a good mother to them, but now I don't know the men they have become. For my own health and peace of mind I moved and I got an unlisted number. My life is peaceful and don't even think about them except when I come into the parents forum or see a neighbor's son checking on his mom.. I have no pictures or keepsakes of them. They can call my sister and she will know if I need to talk to them.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2008 at 11:21PM
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I don't think I would EVER cut my children out of my life.
If your drug-taking happened when they were toddlers, they may have unmet dependency needs that cloud their feelings and thinking.
Still; one cannot undo the past.
I think I would just tell them that, while I was sorry about the past, I cannot change it, and they need to respect me as their mother.
If they abuse you verbally, remain calm and leave and tell them you are not going to be talked to in that manner.
Maybe they are afraid you'll revert to drugs?
Show them that you have self-respect now, and perhaps their own respect will follow.

Good luck

    Bookmark   May 23, 2008 at 11:59PM
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sirens, I hope you never have to go through what I have been through with my younger son. I never hear from him unless he wants money and if I don't give it to him he screams, yells and cusses me out. No way am I going to put up with that.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2008 at 6:24PM
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Stargazzer, your son - is he on drugs?

Why is he demanding money?

    Bookmark   May 24, 2008 at 11:03PM
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No he is not on drugs. His wife spends the pay check then they can't pay their bills, so he expects me to pay them. I loaned him money for to many years, but my husband loaned his kids money so I kept loaning my son money. He is almost 50 years old and it's time he grew up. He has never been sick or out of work to make it necessary to borrow, they just mis manage their money. My husband had 3 kids, I had two and out of that 5, my husband's oldest son, grew up and stopped borrowing. My oldest doesn't worry me with his problems. The other three have borrowed off and on until they were almost 50 years old. my husband got dementia and his daughter tried to take advantage of that and borrow more money. I put our money in my name and him as beneficiary and the loans stopped.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2008 at 3:47PM
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STargazer--I know if someone else posted your story, you'd see right off that lending the kids money is part of the problem. You're helping them continue to be irresponsible because they know that they can. Because whenever they get themselves in trouble, "Mom" will bail them out.

And just for the record, no one spends money like that unless there's some sort of addiction. Either your son or DIL is doing drugs, or gambling, or a shopping addict or spending money on some other addiction they cannot control. Let me further add that you need to put your food down, and close the check book once and for all. Why? Because I've seen this before. A daughter who was always short of money because her husband wouldn't give her enough to pay the bills and feed her family. (He made 6 figures a year, and ALWAYS gave her plenty to support the family--but she had a couple of serious addictions, and was moving their money all around to confuse things, and make it look as if he wasn't paying the bills). Anyway, fast forward a few years. Her mother has Alzheimers, and this piece of work STEALS over a quarter of a million $$$ that had been set aside for MIL's end care. The thief, unfortunately, is my SIL. We're out of pocket $20,000 (and counting) in legal fees, forensic accountant fees, court fees, etc.

Since we've been in this position, I've heard the same store replayed over and over--with minor details. And it almost ALWAYS STARTS with a child moaning to a parent who then bails them out. It's your choice. Do you truly want to help your child? Let them learn consequences--which will in turn teach responsibility if it's not already too late. Do you want to be their victim in later years? Keep tossing money down that bottomless pit.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2008 at 7:40PM
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they are not using drugs, she just spends, loans money to her friends and siblings, buys iquanas, goats, etc.. I loaned money longer than I should simply because my husband did. Why should I let him spend it all on his kids. I explained in the above post I did stop it when they stopped paying it back and my husband was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. We are owed $4,000. and will never get it. I did put my foot down when one wanted us to sign for a $300,000 surety bond. another wanted 10,000 to buy a farm, it went on an on. My husband would almost cry when he had to tell them no. Our oldest grand daughter called and wanted $500 to pay her electric bill and I told him no. We are not starting this with 13 grandkids. Later I called the other grand mother and asked her if they loaned her the money, she said husband did. I told her my husband was so upset he almost cried. She said tell him not to worry. They got a $1500. tax refund and spent it on wheels and a stereo knowing they owed the elec bill. Then he got a little angry at them. LOL

    Bookmark   May 31, 2008 at 8:23PM
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stargazzer: Here is how your DH can find peace about not loaning his full grown, adult children money. Ask him which ones HE BELIEVES will be there to help either of you financially if you find yourselves unable to pay for your "FUTURE" living expenses if you are unable to support yourselves one day???? You two had better start saving your money for that day, because I do not imagine "any" of those borrowers will turn a new leaf and help you or your DH financially. And then what will you two do?????????????? I imagine takers are always takers. I don't imagine many turn into givers.

You said some of these adult kids are now almost 50???

    Bookmark   June 1, 2008 at 8:01AM
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My husband passed away last year and I stopped the loans when 2 of the 3 borrowers stop paying it back. Our loss over 30 years was only $4,000 total. My husband would have stopped the loans a lot early if I had put my foot down, but I had no right to do that, he was the one earning it and they were mostly his kids.

I knew from day one, "none" would be there for me, but I thought his kids would physically help me with their dad. I never asked them until just before I had to place him in a home and they told me they couldn't help and they really couldn't since they all worked. As far as the money goes, if they had stopped paying it back the loans would have stopped just as they finally did. My situation was a little different than most step mothers have as I found out by reading in the step children forum. compare to the step children there mine were pussy cats due to the fact my husband would never tolerate disrespecting me. Money/loans was our problem.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2008 at 3:53PM
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Going back to Sadmama--perhaps you need to start a different way of relating to your children. They're adults, and aren't likely to want to hear what you think they "need to hear".

Maybe trying to be friends with them would be more productive than assuming a parental role, which, according to their take on the situation, you abandoned during your troubles.

Have you apologized to them for your actions when you were addicted? If you were in a 12 step program, making amends is a important step.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2008 at 12:34PM
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Some readers/posters need to learn to reinvent themselves.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2008 at 5:31PM
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wake, what do you mean by that?

    Bookmark   June 14, 2008 at 6:40PM
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I have been wondering the same thing. My kids have taken up telling lies about me. I have a daughter who contacts everybody in the family but me. I think I might have to let my whole family go, just for my peace of mind.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2008 at 7:44PM
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I am going through a similar problem, or should I say - having to make a decision like yours.

My daughter is very judgemental...however it seems I am the one that is continuously judged. We had a serious disagreement about money, and now she is 'estranged' from me.

Hoping against hope that she'll come to her senses, I was in denial that this could be happening. But it was, there was little to no contact.

You may think it was my fault, but I assure you it wasn't. If I didn't have a loving, giving and faithful husband who sees the situation like I do, I may have thought I'd go crazy.

In fact, being ill and having to endure her behavior, did bring me to the point of almost going crazy. My husband and I have been in counseling because of the behavior of her.

In closing, we are going to move. There are many reasons why. One is for financial reasons, medical bills have been high. The other is the climate, we'll be going from the cold N.E. to the S.E. The deciding factor was because it was the only way to 'let her go'.

I may be ill physically, but to preserve my remaining emotional health and psychological well-being, I must do this. My doctor, my husband and I all agree, the problems we're having with her will drive me into the ground if I stay here.

So yes, there comes a point when you "Should let your adult children go". It comes when you learn, through repeated incidents on their part, that you will suffer mentally or physically if you do not.

My heart literally breaks, you must know in part how I feel. So much love was put into raising her, but I do not admire what she has become as an adult child.

It's in God's hands; I'll miss the woman I thought she was (and may well be), but the current situation threatens to destroy me.

God bless, I do understand.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2008 at 4:45PM
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I've said on other forum topics that I would do just about anything to have my estranged adult son back in my life, but after reading this I am no longer sure. I do think a lot of posters are more concerned about beign right than having a relationship, but it seems on this topic there is nothing a parent may be able to do if a child is not willing to try or doesn't or care about the parent. Is there just simply something wrong with this generation of adult children? Why are they so vengeful, disrespectful, selfish, cruel? Neither my husband nor I would have ever treated our parents so badly and they weren't half as good of parents as we were. I just don't get it!

    Bookmark   June 29, 2008 at 12:00AM
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To me, it was never a matter of "being right" or wrong. It was just total confusion over why my daughter had estranged herself. After 5 years of no contact, she finally approached me again. She's totally changed and much more mature. We are close now and better than ever. Whoever was "right" or "wrong" is inconsequential now. All that matters is that we love each other.

As for money, I have a policy NEVER to lend them money. If I feel they need help I GIFT them the money. That way, I never have to be concerned with any payback. However, if their need was a result of irresponsible money management, I would not give them a cent.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2008 at 12:41AM
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I am also estranged from my son, it is coming on the one year mark next month. It has been tolerable this past year because I have been making it month by month, I never thought we would hit a year, but here we are. I guess I have to get ready to accept this may last years, like some of the other moms have had to do. If anyone would have told me that someday my son would not speak to me, I would have said they were crazy. I don't know what makes adult children treat their parents like this. I was not thrilled with my childhood either, but I would never have thought of leaving my parents home and telling them I never want to see or hear from them again. It's been a terrible year I and feel like I have aged 10 years. If it wasn't for my friends, husband, our other children and my faith I don't know how I would have made it. I will never quit praying for him, heaven knows if he is praying for himself right now. I know the DIL has a lot of say in how he "remembers" his childhood, but when you get right down to it, he is the one who is treating us this way. I have tried to keep the door open, he calls and talks to his little sisters and I have told him several times that I was sorry for anything I did to hurt him. It's up to him now, I hope someday he will want a mother and father in his life again. I would think it would be sad to not have a mother and a father to visit or talk to. The funny thing about this is that the DIL had a distant mother and an absent father, yet she is always tring to get her mother to love and pay attention to her. I was a stay at home and a loving mom, and my son doesn't want to have anything to do with me, I don't get it either!!

    Bookmark   June 29, 2008 at 12:44AM
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I realize this thread was run in 2008 but it came up when I was searching for parent abuse .................Thank you it's really helped me.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2012 at 10:09PM
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For Pamb100... isn't it a curious thing the power a sons wife may have? When they want to like you, they will...but when their honeymoon is over with hubby...his mom becomes mud...and they sling it off...i have watched this...i know it really good parents...

I hope by 2013, you have mended some fences...but the DIL sounds like if she cannot have a mom, no one else will...i have had women tell me that they resented their MIL because their own moms were deceased...

We all say..that we raise children to be independent, but we do not get any parental reward when a son feels it is easier to stay away from his family to keep his angry wife happy...and then we think...was it worth it..the whole journey...for me, it was not

I have a lifetime of photos that I need to give my son, because I have no use in looking so far back...i have no idea why i have so many pictures...forget would be a painful thing to do...the sad thing is that my son is teaching his sons to do the same thing to them....and i feel sad about that...i don't wish that on my DIL...

She will not always have a busy life...circumstances will turn...and they will have wives...women in their youth, cannot fathom what retirement and losing family to illness will make their older years...

I have had cruel words filtered my way, indifference, neglectfulness and many hurts that may revisit son just seems to be helpless...what do sons really do when their wife declares she does not his family...maybe like isn't the word...but she does not want to give us any time...should they divorce? see...turning loose to the hope of the all american family may be the best thing you could do..

Feel lucky though...your spouse supports you in seeing the reality, mine has hidden his head in the sand...and it is devastating....

    Bookmark   December 11, 2013 at 7:06PM
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