Sorting Out Estrangement

I’ve almost completed writing about the history of my life.  For this last part – oh, where do I start?  It will take a couple posts. My son’s wedding is coming up and I’m not sure what will happen. For 5 years, my son and I were estranged, from his ages of 19 – 23 years old. He was in the military that whole time which made trying to reconcile very difficult. Over those years, I sent him several Facebook messages (the only way I had to contact him) asking him to please tell me what the issue was, why was he angry with me, but he never responded.  I don’t get this – this refusal to communicate or make any effort to resolve a problem with a parent.  I tried with my mom – yes, the outcome was negative, but at least I tried.

A bit if back-story. When my son was shipping out for boot camp, he had already been pushing me away (see post: “Estrangement From My Son”). The day he left, I rushed to the recruiter’s office to see him off. My previous post explains in detail what happened, but my son hugged me and then basically shoved me away and told me to leave. I was devestated! Then, I found out he was calling and sending letters to his father/step-mother and his girlfriend, but I hadn’t heard anything from him. I got a short letter from him about 4 weeks in saying how busy he had been and that is why he couldn’t call or write to me. Well, that would have worked if I didn’t already know that he had time to contact everyone else but me.  It was the first of many lies I would catch him in.

One morning, he finally text me to see if it was a good time to call me (I had written him a letter to see if he even wanted me at his graduation since he was essentially ignoring me). I told him we were in the car but would be home in 5 minutes.  I was so happy to hear from him!  We got home – the call never came. I kept checking the phone to make sure it was working. – nothing.  I was so hurt that I didn’t message him or anything. It just seemed like one more slap in the face.  My husband discovered later that the ringer on our phone had been turned off.  OMG – this isn’t happening!  Why in the world would my son, who text me to begin with, not text me back when I didn’t answer the phone?  To me, with everything else that had happened, it meant he didn’t really want to talk to me. He never tried again after that and I never heard anything more from him.

My husband and I discussed whether I should go to the graduation ceremony or not. Just two months before, I never in a million years would have missed it but so much had happened since. All I could remember was him pushing me away and would he do the same at his graduation?  With what my family and my son had done to me, I was an emotional wreck.  My husband thought that if I went, it could break me. With the feeling that my son didn’t want me there, and in what was probably the biggest mistake of my life, I decided not to go.  I wasn’t sure I would survive it if my son turned me away again! It’s the one thing, the only thing, I can say was a bad decision on my part.  It’s just that everyone had abandoned me, tore me down so low, and if my son were to turn me away again – I felt like I might not survive it.

I did write him a letter letting him know I would not be there and kind of why.  I was starting a new job at the time and I blamed it on that a bit. That wasn’t the most pressing reason of course, but it’s what I leaned on because I was afraid to expose myself to him emotionally and I was afraid of confrontation –  I was a lot weaker back then. Needless to say, I didn’t hear back from my son for years. He would come home to visit and not tell me, visiting with my family rather than me. He didn’t respond to my messages or let me know where he was. I found out he was stationed overseas by someone else’s post on Facebook.  This was true – it was real – I had lost my son.

I wondered if my not going to his graduation was the cause but the truth is, he started pushing me away a year before he left.  I honestly, with my whole heart, thought he didn’t want me as his graduation. Is that reason enough to estrange from your mother, especially after how close we had been for most of his life?  It didn’t seem real!  The pain I went through during those years was indescribable. There simply are no words to convey the type of pain that comes with having your own child walk away from you – not knowing why is even worse.  All I could do was go through everything in my head, over and over and over again.  What did I do or not do?  What did I say or not say?  What did I miss?  I thought we had a close relationship – I don’t recall anything worthy of estrangement.  Did my sister’s have a hand in this?  I believe they did.  If they didn’t cause it, they certainly perpetuated it – that I know for sure.

After a couple years of pain and constant reflection, I received a Facebook message from my son.  I stared at it in almost disbelief.  Basically, it stated that he had been “talking” to some people, trying to work out his issues and that he thought he should open up communication with me.  That was it, but that was A LOT!  I wrote him back saying that I was ready to hear whatever he had to say, without judgement, that I loved him, always had and always will. I even apologized for not attending his graduation, explaining the situation and letting him know that I knew it was a mistake. So imagine the crash I experienced when yet again, he didn’t write back.  I wouldn’t hear from him again for another year. Somewhere through all that, I shut down my emotions completely.  I stopped messaging my son – I needed to let him go.  If he couldn’t even talk to me or give me a reason, there was nothing left I could do. I had to try to move on without him.  He would occasionally send a simple “Happy Mother’s Day”  or “Happy Birthday” – each time giving me hope only to have him rip it away again with continued silence after each. It was an endless roller coaster of pain – then acceptance – then pain – then acceptance.  What he was doing to me – how cruel can a person be?

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11 thoughts on “Sorting Out Estrangement

  1. I’m going through similar, yet different issues. It’s somewhat eye opening to see the other side of things (myself as the child in the estrangement). Every situation is different. Still, reading this opened my eyes slightly. I haven’t had a chance to check out most of your blog, but I definitely will. Ummm, thanks for sharing I guess. 🙂

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      1. I’m really glad this post has opened up a conversation, especially between both the estranged as well as the estrangers. Honestly, I think in many cases, as it is in mine, both sides made mistakes. I think both sides have to realize and admit that, before any true reconciliation can take place. Sometimes I wonder if it all comes down to a lack of or break in communication. I have been trying to work towards a healthy relationship with my son – I have never in our conversations blamed him or in any way negated his feelings. We are very early on in reconciliation and have a long way to go, but we can’t go very far when he isn’t being honest and when he says things and then never follows through – it has to work both ways. If you read more older posts on my blog, you will learn all the things that led up to our estrangement. After my father died, I knew all too well how short life can be and that we need to value certain relationships before it is too late. I hope, someday, my son and I can do that.

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  2. This trend seems to run in families of abuse. I would say your emotional and mental health could have been used against you by your family. Putting stuff into his head that he believed. I’m so sorry. Maybe you could Facebook him the link to this blog and then let it go until next time. There will be more times I’m sure. I’m sorry you going through this

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    1. His wedding is coming up and I don’t want to rock the boat before then. He knows a lot of the truth but it is skewed in his mind I think. Someday I may try to let him see everything, but even that could have consequences. It’s hard to be 100% honest with him when it pertains to his father and his aunts. They are his still his family and I don’t want to “diss” his family to him. It’s a difficult situation.

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      1. I know it is very difficult. I respect u for not doing what his aunts and dad did. Which was diss u. One day hopefully his eyes wil open and see. Xx

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