Money and Estranged Adult Children
I have posted on the site recently under the subject Any Help Appreciated asking for thoughts, ideas, suggestions about the estrangement with our only child, adult son who has not spoken to us for approximately 3 years. After some feed back and realization that our son's GF is very controlling and he seems to have no backbone, I started to do some real soul searching as it was pointed out to me by one kind person (sirens) that it seemed that our son and his girlfriend were bitter about money, they felt entitled to more and made judgements about wanting more without knowing the full truth of our situation.
After our sons estrangement, I quite work as I was quite sad and depressed and found it difficult to concentrate. I made very good money and this cut our family income down to less than half, putting a financial stain on us that we never experienced before. We are by no means homeless, but are in a situation that has given us pause to look at our finances more closely especially our retirement and savings.
We saved and had always promised ourselves that we planned to pay for our only son's undergraduate degree if he chose to go to college and to buy him a new car at graduation to give him a good start in life. One that neither my husband nor I were given and wished we were.
I always thought since this had been our plan for years, that we did this solely out of love without expectation. I believed this up until today and wanted to share with you my new thoughts/feelings. I believe I/we may have convinced ourselves of this and know that was our original intention before the estrangement.
I just finished reading Susan Orman's book: Women and Money. By the way this book is downloadable for free on the Oprah.com website unitl tomorrow afternoon, so take advantage, it you wish.
Anyway, Ms Orman listed 8 qualities of a wealthy women and one of the qualities was generosity. Her definition was was something to the effect of giving to the right person at the right time. She also said the gift should benefit both of you. She said you give to say thank you and out of pure love and not to get something back.
Althougt at the time this was my/our intention, I have to admit, I am sure I did expect our son to still be our son and not estranged from us after he finished his college.
I did at leaast expect him to be greatful. I know our intention was not to burden him, but now I realize I do have a certain resentment about having helped him his entire life, going above and beyond, nd all we get is a slap in the face and no loyality or kindness... just silence or cruelty and accusations form his GF.
I am not saying this to be criticized, but to dig deep in my heart and be honest. Most parent don't have estrangements, but for those of us who do, maybe there is a little bit of resentment that we do infact have when you give and give for our entire life only to have them hate you in the end. It hurts when they appear to not care if you are dead or alive. Even if they do care, you are we are not aware of it as we can not read their minds and do not know how they feel if they are estranged.
I do admit I am somewhat jealous that my son's monthly income is approximately $200,000 at age 25, right out of the college we paid for, when my husband and I bring in about half this amount after many years of experience.
I have to admit that as I took care of my father before he died and help our my 84 year old grandmother, it does sting that my son is not around to help. I had surgery 2 weeks ago and I cound't even tell him, I had to have my best friend take me and it really hurt to see other appreciative son's taking care of their mothers.
Don't get me wrong we am very happy and prond of our son's accomlishments, and fully intended to give him the best unconditionally...emotionally, financially,etc.
It does seem he kept in contact and was kind until he was financially independent. Was this is his plan?, I doubt it. Would pay for his college again known the current facts, I am not sure. As much as I/we love him, I realize through Suzy Orman's book, it is better to let your children take out loans as they have many more years to pay them off whereas we are older and should be putting this money into our retirements---a different train of thought from many generations ago when companies acutally offered decent retirements not 401's alone. In addition Social Security is not wat is was.
I just wanted to be honest and see if any of you after some sincere soul searching may feel the same way and it may contribute to the sadness/grief/anger you feel from the estrangement.
I, of course, would not let someone I love stave or go homeless, but now realize that at the time we were giving to him so generously, both in our actions and financially, I did think would have some type of relationship with him. I thought I was doing it out of unconditional love, but wonder if I had the chance to do it over(pay for all his undergraduate plus living expenses and buy the new car),I am not sure if I would have I had known he would never speak to me/his family and past friends again.
It sounds selfish, but it is a reality and I want to fess up to it as doing this soul searching may help me or someone else look at themselves and see if deep down feel the same..
I have read many blogs on this site and there does seen to be much resentment about money. Children who care about our or our parents inheritance, but not about the people.
I will never cut my son from our will as he is our only son and ultimately, we want him to know of our true generosity even if that means his GF/possible wife will benefit.
Our son's love means more to us than any money in the world, but feeling like you were kicked in the teeth has made me rethink a few things and money, unfortunitely is one of them. I will now have to start work again and resave and prepare for retirement. A very difficult thing to do as depressed as I am. I am working at forgiving and hope this realization is a start.
Hope this thought helps someone. Thanks for listening