Be careful when you keep pushing a loved one away – you never know when they might stop caring that you stopped caring!
Anyone who has followed my blog knows of the estrangement between me and my 25-year-old son. It’s a long story that I won’t go into here but it started when he was 19 and under major influence of others, and he pushed me away for no valid reason. There was no abuse, no negligence, nothing like that – just the lies of others who wished to harm me. Those first few years were excruciating, devastating. I kept thinking through everything over and over again trying to figure out what had happened. There was nothing I could come up with, nothing beyond typical parent/teenager issues.
For years, he was silent – complete estrangement – even though I kept trying to reach out to him. And then he started doing something even worse, even more cruel then total estrangement – he’d dangle a tiny carrot in front of me only to snatch it back and disappear again. So I got to go through that pain over and over and over again. After a few years of this, my feelings and emotions started to change. There was a subconscious self-preservation going on inside me I believe. The emotionally toll was too much, and I was suicidal at one point. But I pulled myself up from the blackened trenches and had to let it go.
I thought my son’s wedding last year would be a turning point. A day I so greatly feared turned out so well, as I faced my fears and strength and courage poured through me. My son was nice to me, I think he had to be in my presence – I don’t think he can face all the lies in my presence. I was hopeful after but also apprehensive, as I had learned to know better than to blindly fall back into his tow. And sure enough, I haven’t really heard from him since. And I’m not that upset, not anymore. A person who loved so dearly can only take so much pain, so much torture, before that love turns into something different. Many will not understand it but I know those parents who have had their adult children estrange without cause know exactly what I mean.
And now, after it is clear once again that he is making no effort what so ever to repair our relationship, I have nothing left in me to give. For seven years I have tried, only to be dragged through the mud, nailed to a cross, and left to suffer on my own. Against all odds, I got myself down from that cross, and although I retain the scars, no one will ever do that to me again, not even my own son.
And so, on his birthday a couple days ago, I did not try to contact him. I have told him time and again that I will always be here for him, but that doesn’t mean I have to allow him to continue hurting me. I don’t feel guilt about this – it took me a long time to realize that he is the one who needs to find himself, and hopefully someday he will find me in the process. I will always be here, hoping and waiting, but for now I just have to accept that the loving son I once had no longer exists; he is a stranger to me now and I have to move on from that.
Please, please be careful who you push away, and why, and for how long. The day may come when they stop caring that you stopped caring.