"My son feels he had a terrible childhood. Where is the disconnect between us?"
Over the past few years, I have come to believe that I have been undergoing an awakening. There have been multiple physical symptoms--starting at the base of my spine up through my crown. I had no frame of reference for what was happening with me--I assume I had any number of dreaded diseases. I am in the medical field so I was so very tuned in to the physical, diagnostic side of managing the body. Had multiple, complex testing and exams which, thank God, were all negative. The symptoms persisted, especially the sometimes extreme burning on the scalp and in the 3rd eye area.
To make a long story short, checking out body symptoms on the Internet lead me to spiritual sites which at first made absolutely no sense to me. I was not consciously seeking "the spiritual". Most of the symptoms have subsided. At times, I continue to have energy rushes up and down my legs and spine (especially with acupuncture for fibro). And, I still have crown symptoms when I hear or read something spiritual--understand it to be "the truth". I have had visions throughout the years--precognition, psychic visions of the sudden deaths; seeing orbs, "ghosts" and various forms of energy; visions of ancient text, etc, etc.
As most people, I have had my share of challenges. But, I have always felt as though the difficult times were when I have grown the most. I am usually very decisive and strong. And, I have made peace with issues and with people (like an ex) and understand that they are all part of my spiritual contract. I have remarried (24 years--he's incredible), have 4 kids and 8 grandkids. However, there is an ongoing issue with my son. There is just too much detail to go into here. It has to do with his feelings about his childhood. He was very ill as a child and even though I was married to his dad, I essentially was the only parent for a number of reasons (he is an alcoholic, infidelity and so on....) When I remarried, my son was 11 and was not happy about it and told me so. He said that "everything was fine".
I had a 3 year old and 2 step-children but, my son continued to be the center of the family. He negatively acted out in every self-destructive way he could. We went to family counseling and he had multiple counselors. The home was in a turmoil when he was around regardless of what we did. I didn't sleep many nights. I went through menopause in my 30s. I was scared to death for him and told him so. I talked and pleaded, cried and I'm ashamed to admit, sometimes hit him out of total frustration and fear. I'd tell him I was so sorry later and hence, a horrible pattern arose.
He eventually pulled himself together in many ways. He and his stepdad are on good terms. He went to college for criminology, is a cop and married. He is no longer frail but big and strong. He has a beautiful child. He is also separated from his wife (her whole world revolves around him--surprise?). It is an ugly battle. I was my daughter-in-law's surrogate mother for years. She had written her mother out of her life for a # of reasons and wouldn't allow her to see her grandchild until just recently (her mother left her family when she was a child and has always been a very negative force in her life). I always had and still do have a lot of warm feelngs for my daughter-in-law but had to hold her at bay many times because she tried to pull me into their problems. She has now reunited with her mom who loves to be in the thick of things. Her sister has called and screamed at me and at my son. Her mother sent me a scathing email about all the stuff she says my son has done (some true) and tells me to "STAY OUT OF THEIR BUSINESS LIKE I DO". I didn't respond at all. She continues to call and scream at my son.
I have not spoken to any of them about anything--except my son. Our family does not "do dramatics" and I think all of this crap is ridiculous. I'm so worried about the effect this negatively emotionally-charged family has on my grandson. We have tried to be supportive of my son (financially also). My son is an incredible father--my daughter-in-law never, ever disputed this before her mom came back into the picture. Now, she does everything she can to keep his son away from him. I admit, my son now is dating and that just made things so much worse.
I had left my son a message that I would like to discuss some of the things on his mother-in-law's email because they concerned me--like his drinking. I felt comfortable with this because he has approached me many times about this before, discussing treatment, etc. Stupidly, I said that if this or some of the things were true, perhaps he should take a break away from his child for a while. The world exploded. He told me that I had ruined his childhood, that I would never, ever be the parent he is. His childhood was hell. That I was crazy. That he suffered abuse at my hands. That I was and had never been supportive of him and that he never wants to see me again.
My daughter is presently living with him for a while. She tries as hard as she can to be neutral. But, she did say that his wife said a number of times that his childhood was pure hell and she felt sorry for him. My daughter, true to form said, "I wonder where I was? I had a great childhood." I knew he always has said something similar to this to a number of people because they will say to me how he lived through hell. And, it is always suggested that I'm the one who did it. This is always the reason my son has done or not done certain things in his life. I feel as though I have spent my life apologizing to him even though my husband and rest of the family said that he made his bed, etc. I guess that he hasn't forgiven me. I know that this is probably the worse time in his life--his son is his whole life and she is playing games with him. I know this is part of why he blew up at me. I just don't know what I can do. I tried calling him but he hangs up on me so I haven't tried again.
My daughter tells me to "let him get over himself". This is all tied into the alcoholic personality. I am so very sure that I have a blown 1-2 chakras. Although, my heart is breaking too. However, I have a huge capacity for love and am very comfortable with giving and receiving it. What do you see? Where is the disconnect between me and my son? I don't want to keep going round and round re his childhood and I truely believe it is his to fix now. However, what can I do help both of us on our way??? Really tired of revisiting this issue and I don't think he can move on until this is addressed. Have done the tough love thing a number of times. His counselors have always been sympathetic to his "poor" childhood. Thoughts?? Thanks!!
Hi. I know how hard it can be as a mother to feel disconnected from one's child and to possibly wonder if you are truly responsible for creating the difficulties you see him undergoing. It is the huge challenge for any parent to be able to love fully but from, finally, an unconditionally loving, but DETACHED place.
All that you can do in your life is to take responsibility for your own stuff. Obviously, to have married an alcoholic man who had issues of infidelity and who was an absentee father, as you mentioned, meant that you chose someone to match deep issues of your own that were similar. Having an alcoholic father and these other difficult and charged issues such as you mention in the home were, I'm sure, emotionally very difficult for your son. However, you were where you were at at the time, and both of you had something to learn by creating living through and in that energy. The choice always is, what do we do with our experiences and our challenges.
Right now your son is re-creating all of the emotional charge and anger and craziness and disconnect that he experienced as a child. These are huge issues - core, life lesson issues, and the only way he can transform his life is to take responsibility for it. No one can change anything when we put it out "there", outside of us. It is only by making it ours and claiming it that we can change it. He is still living from being a victim, and he has the right to chose to do that.
At some point hopefully, he may wake up and realize that this doesn't get him what he wants for his life, but until then, all you can do is send him blessings and love. BUT - your job is to clear up whatever is also creating chaos and disconnect in YOUR life. There is an issue here that has to do with your ancestral lineage - it is all about fear, and the issue of feeling DISCARDED - or thrown away. That is how your son is feeling, and it is also being passed on to his son who will in all likelihood feel that way also if he can't see his father.
So, there is a need to clear this up for your ancestral lineage so that the "burden of the ancestors" - carrying this issue, can be healed and put to rest. The more you allow yourself to be present with it, the deeper will be the healing for you. In it, you will tune into this energy of feeling discarded. You are feeling it in your relationship with your son. You felt it when your first husband was not faithful, etc., and I am sure that there is a pattern of it that if you look for it, you will see it in your life.
Also do a prayer to release this energy in you. Ask whoever you pray to, to come and clear this from your being, and make sure that you ask and state your intention to be filled instead with self love and self worth, with peace, with an eternal connection to your true self, etc. Also ask your guidance or angelic beings, or whoever it is whom you go to for this, that they help you with the next step.
The next step is a visualization where you travel within your body into your 3rd chakra. When you are there, allow yourself to look down the umbilical cord that connects you to your ancestral family - so you see an umbilical cord going out from your navel, like a tube, and you look down it. You will see a place where there is perhaps a constricted area or place, or some sense of something being blocked or not quite right. Go to that place, and allow it to open up to you - it may appear as a room or some place where your ancestral family is gathered - it is where they are stuck in this issue. Go there, and let them know that it is time to get unstuck and release this issue, and to do so they need to follow you out of the umbilical cord and into the light - NOT into your body, but into the light of understanding and consciousness. You are leading them out and showing them the way out. This is a good way to clear up issues where there is ancestral interference and issues that have been passed down in the family line and DNA and that is keeping you all stuck. By doing this, you will also be helping your son, as this work will touch him also.
Remember however, that the only way to clear up issues in your external life is to clear them up from within you. Then with others, all you can do is trust their process - trust their journey - trust that they are bringing to themselves whatever it is that they need in order to grow and gain soul lessons, even if it looks so painful to you. Love them, bless them, honor their choices, honor their journey, let them experience whatever it is they need to experience - whatever they are creating - and do your own inner healing. That's the winning combo. If you are not clear, then nothing you offer another will be useful anyway. We can only aid another if we are asked to do so in some way, by them, and that usually happens only when we have done our own healing.
There is some degree of denial going on for you about facing your own issues. When people have denial, they want to fix others - but this is a distraction - and also a projection. Whatever you see "out there" and whatever you think is someone else's issues you are being troubled by, if you look within instead, you will see the same or some very similar issue inside yourself. Projecting your own stuff onto others, which most people do until they learn how to take responsibility for it and appropriately heal it, can never fix anything. Your job is to honestly face yourself and to see and heal your own issues. I can't stress this enough for you. Until you do, you are living less consciously and in victim energy. This doesn't make you or anyone who has issues and then faces their issues a "bad" person. If there is a knot in a shoelace, for instance, one unties it. It doesn't make the shoelace bad. It just got tangled up, and things do get tangled up and banged and bruised and misunderstood on this physical plane as we journey along. So, we deal with it, lovingly and gently with ourselves. If you can have this kind of compassion for yourself, you will have it for your son, and for others, in a clear way, not a fix it or burned out way.
I think that it would be a very, very healing thing for you to do for yourself and your relationship with your son - a very deeply healing thing for him as well - to tell him that you really see and understand how difficult it must have been for him growing up in the home with so many traumatic and unclear issues going on....you can even ask him to tell you more - let him get it out and really be there just to hear his experience without taking it on or going into that you did something wrong. Hear as much as you can from a non judgmental but simply compassionate place. Here is someone telling their story, and needing to tell it and be heard and be understood. Since it is so close to you, at some point you may get caught up in it, or triggered, and your own stuff may come up - if it does, you let him know that and that you'd like to hear more, but right now you realize that it has brought up stuff for you that you need to go heal and process and work on. But if you can listen without getting hooked into it, then do so, so he can vent it - and he will keep on venting it or trying to until he feels truly gotten, that you understand what it was like for him.
Mirroring techniques are excellent for this, if you have ever used them (see the book mentioned below). I invite you to do this with him, if you haven't done so already. He is needing and badly wanting this from you, that you understand this. He is needing to "get gotten" - for you especially to understand what it was like for him - perhaps then, once he feels you really understand his experience, he will feel heard and it won't be so stuck inside of him. Then perhaps he will be able to move on and find more ways to heal. But until we unload the pus from the wound, so to speak, it can't heal. Then the next step - for you both, for the lessons you each came in to get and the situations you set up for yourselves in order to get those lessons - is to take responsibility for what was created. That can be a lifelong journey for all of us.
Listening to him in this way doesn't mean that you did anything wrong - you are letting him know that what he went through is seen and understood - that you really get how it was for him. His experience and how he responded to what was going on in his life was up to him - but it's true for all of us that we need to share what happened for us, how it felt to us, and just have it understood. Have you ever shared with someone, and they responded by saying something like, "Wow. That must have been really hard for you!" and you feel such a relief that someone finally understood how it was for you? We all need that. The person responding this way isn't saying he or she did anything wrong to make you feel like that. No one can "make" another feel or interpret something in a certain way. They are just saying that they understand and "got" how hard that must have been for you in that situation. So, you are not apologizing - what you are doing that may be different for you is that when you share with him, you are taking responsibility for your own issues.
I finally told my grown up children that when they were growing up, I just didn't have it together at that time. I was caught in so many of my own inner difficulties and unresolved issues that I was basically not very functional. I told them that I felt lost and alone back then, how frightened and overwhelmed I was, how hard that was for me, and therefore how hard that made it for them, if they felt lost or alone or abandoned or angry also. I told them that I wished with all my heart that I could have done it better then because I love them so much, but that was simply where I was at at the time. I just didn't have the tools or understanding or maturity that I have now, to have done it differently, even though I wanted to be such a good mother. Those tools came with much, much looking at myself and working to heal myself - and I continue to do so, to become a clearer human being. I GAINED those tools by having to go through all of that tough stuff. It made a world of difference for all of us when I shared this with them - it put a lot of things in perspective for them that helped them understand some of their own issues, and I let them know how it must have been hard for them growing up when there was chaos and there wasn't much clarity, even though I deeply loved them. When a child sees a parent taking responsibility for his or her own stuff, healing it, being willing to face it, and loving herself and accepting her journey with compassion, that gives them the glimmer that they can do this as well.
You have a lot of inner work to do right now, so I don't want to overload you with too much else. However, at some point, when you are ready, I think it will be incredibly beneficial and helpful for your life and your relationships to read Marshall Rosenberg's book, Non-Violent Communication. It will teach you ways to relate that work beautifully for all concerned, for all relationships and interactions, and that help other people be mirrored, or gotten - to feel understood - and it will help you deal lovingly with yourself as well.