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Trying to come to terms and understand
February 8, 2019
2:53 am
Awaiting Moderation

November 26, 2018
8:42 am

I'd be really grateful for comments on my situation.

My son is 35, he is my only child. He was loved so much, a lovely boy and loving. His father and I had a difficult marriage. My son experienced constant tension because his father was abusive, physically and mentally, to me. I was constantly stressed and whilst giving much love to my son I also lost my temper with him too quickly. So he didn't have consistent responses from me. I have been divorced from his father for eighteen years and with hindsight, realise that he lacks any moral compass. He is superficially charming but has psychopathic traits, I was told this by our family doctor. He was not physically abusive to our son.

The divorce was difficult: my husband refused to answer legal letters and it took four years to get away, cutting across our son's teenage years. During that time my son went off the rails and I hoped he would settle after the divorce. The divorce years must have been hell for my him.

His behaviour in the following years was inconsistent, some good some bad. I foolishly married on the rebound, a few years after the divorce. My second husband's family were very disturbed, he had two younger children and I stupidly thought I could mend the family, be a good stepmother and my son would have the siblings he craved and a stable home life. Of course this didn't happen and the marriage was disastrous although my son bonded with his step siblings. My son had two fairly long term relationships during this time and I got on well with both of his girlfriends. He was very much in love with the second one but would not commit to her when she asked him to when he was in his mid twenties. This was about the time when I divorced my second husband in a whirl of emotional dysfunction. My son remained and remains close to his step siblings.

I depended on my son too much during the second divorce, it was unfair on him. He began to move away and became involved in an industry which is borderline legal, seemingly lacking in morality and completely money-led. He thrived for a while and then became redundant. I moved to a different town, he moved overseas and contact was very limited and infrequent. He was living the high life and I understand that he wanted to put the misery years behind him in a haze of money and what it could buy although he spent as he earned.

After redundancy he experienced hard times and more or less cut me out of his life although he seemed to hero worship his father and maintained contact with him. During this time he met a girl whom he had previously worked with doing much travelling which she paid for. I think she was obsessed with my son and I later discovered that her family are extraordinarily dysfunctional and she has mental problems and estrangement issues with her mother and sister.

I should also say that my birth family were dysfunctional. Father died when I was a toddler, mother resented me and my older siblings bullied me. I grew up with a limited sense of self worth. Retrospectively I now understand why I married two abusive men. I was a high achiever, I'm now in my sixties, but always doubted myself.

Back to my son; six months after meeting his girl he had to leave her home country due to visa problems, they could not continue to travel due to lack of funds. She became pregnant just before he left her country although he said he did not love her. They moved to another country where my grandchild was born. I made a brief visit which did not go well, I take equal responsibility for this. I was also concerned at the way they were living but did not mention this.

Two years passed with hardly any contact. I had not had birthday, Christmas etc greetings for several years by then although my son maintained contact with his father. My son needed to visit his home country for a wedding and asked if he could stay with me. The wedding was difficult for him and he had a big row with his father who also attended, my son's behaviour to me while staying with me was rude and uncaring.

The following year, when my grandchild was three, were hard financial times for my son and they moved back into his partner's family house with her extended family, this several thousand miles from his home country. The following several months were very difficult and he asked to return to stay with me to investigate the possibility of moving his family to his home country. I welcomed this and all was good for a few weeks although he was very stressed and concerned about his child among his partner's family. He told me that she didn't know how to be a mother and if they came home, would I teach her, would I help, would I help with childcare. I said yes of course but aware that it would not be easy and his partner's feelings would be tender. Meanwhile, her dysfunctional family behaviour was getting worse, a schizophrenic sister, a mother who abused prescription drugs, an uncle who had been jailed for a sexual offence. Things got worse when he discovered that his partner is bulimic and had hidden it from him. Then she told him that she was pregnant again. All the ups and downs, the emotional stresses for him were great. He told me that does not love her but she does seem to have a hold upon him and he adores his children.

We had an argument when I asked him to go to the grocery store for me and he refused. This escalated and I own my part in it. On the other hand, he had been living with me at no cost, all provided, for four months. He walked out of the house, having secretly packed his bag, and returned to his partner who sent me a message crowing about this. I have always been pleasant and supportive to her.

I have sent him three emails, adult, non reproachful and owning my own part in his dysfunctional childhood and the last row. I have received no acknowledgement. His second child was  born twenty months ago but I heard nothing about the birth.

Meanwhile they were still experiencing financial difficulties and emotional difficulties within her family. My former best friend, who is childless and wealthy had asked me, in previous years if she could share my son. As if he were a commodity. I didn't see this and said "of course". After my son's final departure from my home, twenty months ago she stepped in and subsidised them in the long term, she may still be doing this. My son broke all contact with me, defriending me on facebook, his partner established a strong relationship with my former friend (who had told me that I needed her as she was my only conduit to my son). 

They have since moved to another country. I have no idea how they are. I feel bereft. Sometimes angry, mostly guilty. The big Why? There is an emptiness in me, such sadness, such a sense of failure and shame.

I ask myself if this is all my fault. I ask myself if my son has inherited some of his father's genetic strands of lack of morality, lack of conscience. I know I contributed to the pain he experienced as a child and young adult.

How does one cope with this? Is it possible to recover. My heart aches for my son and grandchildren. Any comments would be gratefully received. Thank you for reading this long post.

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