I have divorced my children. It wasn't a long thought out decision. It was very spur of the moment but as soon as I made it, I knew it was the right thing to do. Now that it's been exactly a week, I'm not sure if what I'm feeling is sadness or regret. Maybe it's both.
I immersed myself in raising them. I tried every single day to let them know they were loved, that family comes first and home is where you are safe. My ex and I were always too poor to spoil them and they learned they had to work for what they wanted. They also learned how to have fun and be creative. I'll be the first to say I weren't the perfect parent, but I never stopped trying. Be honest. Be compassionate. Be responsible. Pay things forward.
I remember the New Year's Eve when they got together without me for the first time. Sure, I felt left out but I was also happy for them. Happy that, even though they were grown, they were staying close to each other. I was happy they all still gathered at my place for holidays and such. After a while, their children came, too.
Time has a way of passing and things have a way of changing though. All too soon Christmas Eve moved to one son's house and Thanksgiving to my other son's house. I remember the first Thanksgiving at my son's house when he made a point of telling me they weren't doing things like I had done all those years. I accepted that with only a little *ouch*. They were making their own traditions.
I met Mike a few years later. He and I got along so well and our relationship became more serious. In fact, the only thing we argued about was the subject of my kids. He thought they were taking advantage of me and I'd argue back that family comes first. I continually insisted they be included in as much as possible. In fact, I resented that he was trying to keep me away from them and eventually silently blamed him when they stopped dropping by as often. I thought it was because his family hadn't been close so he didn't understand. I know better now.
Five years after Mike and I met, we married and moved across the state, leaving my kids behind. I felt like I'd lost everything. Like a part of my heart had been ripped away. My daughter would visit a few times a year, my sons maybe once a year. We drove over for holidays.
I started my first blog in 1996 and it was then that I began censoring what I said for fear of what my kids would think or say. I remember one daughter-in-law commenting she didn't like me calling my ex *Butthead* and asked me to stop. I did. Another trend started around that time and continued as I moved to Facebook. They never said a word unless it was negative or a criticism. I started to work for their approval.. which didn't come. I'm not sure why I thought I needed it.
Then the thing with Mike happened. My second son had never been as close to me as he was to his dad and it was then that our limited communication stopped. My oldest son was a bit aloof and was in favor of me finding a place of my own over here instead of coming back. My daughter was the most supportive and helpful. It was she and her wife who drove Mike to self-surrender in Pennsylvania, who helped me unpack and stayed a few extra days to make sure I was going to be ok. Not too long after that even she started drifting away.
I needed all of them them more than ever. I was so afraid and so new at this being on my own thing. My calls and/or texts went unanswered most of the time. I made excuses for them. They had their own lives to live and were busy. Blah, blah, blah.
I couldn't understand why they were being like that. Don't we all know of grown children who still help their parents? A son who will come over to fix things or mow the lawn? A daughter who will come to maybe help plant a garden or try a new recipe? The image of my children doing that for me was completely shattered.
There's the distance thing, of course. A two and half drive to three hour drive. I would have liked to think I'm worth the effort once in a while, though. My oldest son and his wife haven't been over here in five years, but they go to Florida twice a year. They've even driven this way several times for sporting events but didn't stop in. I've actually begged that son and my daughter to come help me a few times since Mike's been gone.
So, last Sunday, one of those last straw things happened. I knew I couldn't handle how they made me feel any longer. I *divorced* them by blocking them on Facebook and from my phone. They know my email and they know where I live. I doubt I will hear from them either of those ways.
At the beginning I said I didn't know if what I am feeling is sadness or regret. It's both. Not because of what I've done, though. It's because they probably don't care. Maybe haven't even noticed..
I was just recently diagnosed with PTSD, anxiety, depression, dissociative disorder...and I'm sure there's more. While looking for answers or help or something, anything for PTSD I found a link to your blog from 2006. Having a childhood of abuse, a few abusive relationships and a couple of abusive marriages, one that was particularly abusive, I see so much of myself in your posts. Reading this post reminds me so much of my own children and has actually help me put into perspective the things that I have been feeling as a result of their decision to distance themselves from me...feelings that until I read your post were there but I had not been able to put words to them.
Thank you for being willing to open yourself up this way. Some of it is painful for me to read, but it also helps.
I am a survivor as well. I have a 20 year old son who I feel like in the near future will distance himself from me. I have completely quit associating with my biological mother and her husband as of recent(they were the abusers). This is tough. I am alone in a new state trying to work through this. Your blog is courageous and most inspiring. I wish you all the best with the situation regarding your children. I trust you will continue to find peace within your beautiful self. Thanks for sharing.
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