Last night I wanted to see how many references there were to parents who walk away from their adult children so I googled it on my computer. I also googled Divorcing Adult Children, Abusive Adult Children, Leaving Adult Children. I found nothing about what we are doing here. I found articles about hurting parents, parents trying to reconcile with their ECs, parents as victims, but nothing about parents taking control of their lives and their futures. There was only one E book that talked about walking away from adult kids, but they had severe mental illnesses or had chosen “alternative” lifestyles like homelessness.
So it would seem that parents who walk away are neither being recognized or represented in our society – it is a little known or possibly unaccepted phenomenon that needs to be addressed. There are already almost 80 of us on a forum that was started a mere 4 months ago. I imagine there are quite a few more – hiding in their warrens – waiting for some to tell them that it is indeed okay to leave behind their indifferent and/or abusive offspring. Perhaps I should start writing that book lol!
I think that there may be a need for clarification – there are people here who have kids with real problems – mental illness, drug abuse, alcoholism. These are illnesses that can trigger some severe dysfunction and which must be treated medically in order to help them in their recovery. Being mentally ill or under the influence can affect behavior and make people hostile and unbalanced. It is no wonder that many of these children may try to estrange themselves from their parents and others who love them. And there is no question that some parents who – after finding themselves at the end of a long hard task of trying to help their children back to a normal life – have given up.
In our own family, if our ECs had been sick, then we would do all we could to try to help them see someone or go somewhere to get help. In fact, our youngest daughter had drug and alcohol problems and she died from liver failure because of it.
But there are also parents – like my husband and myself – who also had seemingly normal children. These parents gave everything they possibly could to help their children and make their lives easier – but to no avail – there were always problems looming nearby – ready to darken what they thought to be a happy family landscape. Be it low self esteem – a scheming DIL or SIL who dictated the estrangement – which I still cannot personally fathom, trumped up charges of being too strict with grandkids – or the both serious and petty actions on both sides which just cannot be overcome. You name it, I’ve heard it both on these forums and in our own family situation.
These ECs I am talking about, the entitled, over fed, over shopped, disrespectful, uncaring, unloving, duplicitous, never satisfied, money hungry, greedy consumers that they are, NEVER seem to change. And so, it had been up to us to say ENOUGH. And to walk away from them so we may live out the rest of our lives in relative peace and sanity.
With our own kids – my husband and I could practically close our eyes and throw a dart into a board littered with our “offenses” – My husband got kicked out of a 12 year marriage by his ex so he actually had the nerve to divorce her- oooooooh. My husband wanted to have love in his life and a life of his own so when we met, lived together and got married – aaaaaaah big problems. As the children “grew up” – and I use that term loosely, we gave them everything but yet it seemed we could never quite give them what they needed – since they never told us what that was, It was like trying to hit a moving target. And as they grew – and after they were grown, they – and by proxy, their psychopathic MOMMY (his ex) proceeded to try and control every breath we took – and when we objected, we were punished – excluded and yet occasionally forgiven and rewarded with a crumb or two . We were totally immersed in a push-pull world that followed no logic and made no sense. It was like a form of drug addiction – no matter what they did, we just came back wanting more. We just couldn’t kick it –no matter how hard we tried.
So I guess you could say we got what we deserved. Addicts need their fixes and fixes will cost you. It cost us almost 40 years of our lives – Years of: I love you – I hate you, I want you – Get away from me. I need you, Don’t contact me. Do for me – I don’t need you – Come here, Go away…..again and again and again!
So when did we say ENOUGH ALREADY! These were now grown people – 49 and 51 – middle aged – headed over the hill actually. My husband is 75 – I am 60 – Can someone tell me what we were supposed to do with this mess? Enable it? Support it? For how long? For FOREVER??? SERIOUSLY??? I would rather have had hot needles stuck into my eyes!
I think that we all needed to decide what we wanted our lives to look like – what we wanted our lives to be. If we found ourselves holding out for that someday when our children will finally see the light – but it made us feel demeaned and hurt and sick to do so, then we had to decide to let it go. After all, weren’t we (and they) all getting a little too old to be dealing with this crap?
Perhaps it’s been better to spend this time deciding how we want to spend the precious remainder of our time. Although we could have tried to hold out for hope and reconciliation, we might have been waiting well beyond the Second Coming. After almost 40 years, I am here to tell you that unless they had undergone a massive personality change (think lobotomy here), it wouldn’t have done a speck of good.
I think we needed to save our time, energy, love and money for those who love us and walk away from those who would hurt us. The definition of insanity is to repeat the same action yet expect a different outcome – Since most of us here had Been there and Done that, we simply chose to save ourselves instead. I think that was indeed, an excellent decision!