mothers estranged from their adult children

ms500November 14, 2008

I'm a 50 yr. old divorced/remarried working woman. Used to be married to a millionaire for 20 yrs. My oldest dtr is 32 and from a prev. relationship, adopted by my ex-millionaire husband.

When she was 7, we had 4 more kids 3 sons and dtr (within 4yrs). After 20 yrs, we divorced. I re-married 3 yrs later--my new husband and I are very happy together.

My ex, who had been a run-around and absentee during most of the marriage while I stayed at home with children that all had life-threatening illnesses (why I remained so long, plus a pre-nup) lost his father, his only 2 bros and his mother in nursing home (brain dead) within 2 yrs of our divorce.

I too, like some of you have written spent much of my divorce settlement on my children, cars, car insurance, surgeries for them, wedding gifts, baby gifts, showers, and many of these things my children told me "I owed them." I hadn't worked during my marriage, and my settlement was held up in a piece of real estate that wouldn't sell, so doing all this cost me second mortgages and penalties and losses I will never recoup. They have no idea, nor do they care... I was an absolute fool. (That song abt the "things we do for love" is accurate here!)

The kids all "feel sorry" for HIM, because of HIS losses, and because NOW he wishes he hadn't treated me the way he did and things could "go back." My eldest dtr has all holiday events at her house- even tho I have tried to have them at mine (a "competition" that isn't worth fighting anymore). She invites my husband and myself, and my ex. (this is fair enuf, to leave it to us -as to who will attend). However, since my ex sits there looking forlorn and depressed, or trying to play footsie w/me under the table, we no longer attend HER events.

My other 4 children are "too full" to come down the street to my house after their sister's event. So my husband and I sit at home each holiday, and he holds ME while I cry.

I asked my dtr to alternate the meals w/ me, or to consider alt. "her Dad" / "my husband and I" (annually or something) - to no avail.

I also asked my ex if he would "bow-out" of going to my oldest dtr's house alt. yrs. since he also invites them to a very elite dinner at his multi- millionaire's sister-in-law's home for yet another dinner event (bonus meal). (So, he's getting in on 2 meals, and my husband and I are still the "odd-ones out). but, that, too, was to no avail, as he is too much of a control freak to do that...

Seems my oldest daughter has made her choice since Ex's name tops the list on her email invitations for each dinner, my other children "want" to be at "her" house. It helps too that she does have a very entertaining husband (funny) and my kids have never really "gotten to know- or wanted to know" my husband. Their BIL is more "their age" too, so it' just "easier for them." "No effort." But, I wonder how they would feel, if "I" were to treat their "new spouse" or BF or GF in this manner?? If turn-about was fair-play- wonder how they would feel? But then, you can put "old heads on young bodies." (Even tho, you would think at their ages they could at least attempt to understand some of this!?)

One of my sons asked me why I won't go to her house for dinner since it was his version of "neutral territory." Maybe for HIM it is. But for me it isn't! My EX tries to play footsie with me under the table, or pouts because he has no one new in his life, (thus, it is more comfortable for the kids to be around him- and the continued pity- when really- his true colors are showing to every woman he has dated!) or Ex makes fun of me like he used to when we were married in front of our kids, and so my husband and I eat as fast as possible-and dash out the door (just as Ex intended!)

I don't like feeling like poor pitiful me -so I force myself to go on. I have dinner with my husband's kids, whom I love - and they love me. But- my heart is in shreds! I tried so very hard to teach my children values!

My youngest son is 20 now, and I am afraid I won't survive this devastation. He actually asked me what color my natural hair color was last time I saw him. I nearly sunk to the floor that he didn't "know me" any better. (I get my blonde hair hi-lited). I feel like I was just some surrogate for these kids, even my oldest, who isn't even HIS biological dtr.

Now I suffer from degenerative disc disease because I had the last 4 kids annually and recall many a day when I carried one inside my tummy and 2 on each hip and one in a front pack carrier during teething, fevers and flu (and I weighed 130 lbs 5'3"). I have turned my body inside out giving birth to them and have had several corrective surgeries afterwards. When I had these- my EX would drop me off, go play a game of golf, and hire a nanny for the kids and tap his fingers with impatience if my release was delayed...

I read other entries here, and can totally relate that there is no amount of therapy that can help. I have been in it for 20 years, take anti-depressants, have a job that requires my "caring for others" which should and does give me fulfillment. But, there is NOTHING on God's green earth that will EVER replace my CHILDREN!

I tried to take my life a couple of years ago, probably alienating them even further because they must think they can't count on me...

There is not a day that goes by that the pain doesn't eat at me. I tried to be the very best mother I could, I held them, loved them and told them everyday how proud of them I was. Altho, I do admit their father didn't help teach them to respect me, and obviously I played my part in being a door-mat because I stayed for the kids-sake- or so I thought, and now I wish I hadn't.

Will time heal this? Hmmm, well, my eldest is 32, my youngest is 20, it's not looking good... (Btw, I, too am an adult-child of divorce, and notice there is much literature on THAT subject- far less on this one!)


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ms500 - I hate to hear you are having such a hard time. I too am divorced - my ex wanted to devote 24-7 to building his own business and didn't want the responsibilities of a family to hold him down. This after almost 17 years of living our life around that business which included losing almost everything, including our home. It always came first and so I shouldn't have been surprised when he said he wanted out. I look back now and realize what a doormat I had become and now that my oldest son had tossed me aside, I don't know why I am surprised. He learned from his dad to put everything above family and if family gets in the way just walk away. I asked my counselor why, what I did - provide a loving and supportive home, be the nurturer and the disciplinarian, and not leave, did not influence him as much as what his dad did. His answer was - my son knows where his rock is when he needed someone. He knew who he could rely and he has no reason to believe you will not always be there. On the other hand - he doesn't have that with his dad and therefore will not push him or take him for granted because he doesn't trust him as much.

I still remember people telling me that the payoff for raising kids came when they were older and understand what it is to be a parent. So yes I feel cheated in more ways than one. My ex who wanted more than his family is the one that gets to enjoy his family. What is fair about that.

Yet I believe that in time you reap what you sow. I know what I have sown and what I am experienceing now is not my reward. I believe the same for you. For some reason they seem to be in denial of the neglect and abuse you took on their behalf because of their dad. Have faith and hope that in time you will be rewarded for your effort.

I can say "that" even though I have never even met my only grandchild - because I believe someone greater than me is in control.

Good luck and best wishes.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2008 at 8:43PM
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Wow. This is the first hopeful thing I've ever heard... And from someone living it. I can't tell you how much it means to me to share with like-minded /hearted people. People that really "get" what you are going through. When you said you reap what you sow, - well, I am really going to try to hold onto that thought. Because if it has any validity at all- there has GOT to be SOME bit of HOPE! I put a WHOLE lot of LOVING CARE into those KIDS- and REAPING some itty bit of something back from them in the future would be sheer HEAVEN!

Thank you sooo much again, for your kind words.


    Bookmark   November 15, 2008 at 1:36AM
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