I am not speaking to my son...again. It was my decision. It was not rash or impulsive or done in anger. I arrived at this decision because the relationship between us is just so unhappy...for both of us. He sees me as a means to an end...well, that is how he treats me, I am not sure how he really thinks or feels about me.
I have done a lot of work in the last few months. And the result of that work is that I no longer am willing to put up with disrespectful behavior or poor treatment, even when those behaviors come from someone I love as much as him.
I used to believe that I didn’t have a choice. He is my son and so therefore I must endure. But I have come to a new way of thinking...and that thought process is that every time I allow him to treat me the way he does, I do a little more damage to each of us. And the prospect of either of us ever having a good relationship with the other.
I have no idea how he feels or what he thinks. Truly. But I do know how he treats me. He lies to me, he treats me as if I am stupid, he gaslights me, he only really calls or texts me when he wants something. I am not sure how I ended up here on the receiving end of such treatment, I can only assume that it is because I have allowed it, put up with it and refused to set hard boundaries around it. That has to be it. And he also treats everyone like this in some fashion. His dad is held in higher esteem than me, but he too, is often treated similarly.
I used to take it personally. And I guess, if I am honest, I still do. It feels so unfair. It feels wrong and incongruent with the parent I have been and continue to try to be. I somehow have gotten this bad rap with him. I am accused of all kinds of things, some of them have basis in reality, most of them do not. I have become the unwitting recipient and archetype of his disdain.
I am his MOTHER. And that carries a lot of baggage. I am not sure from where I sit today that it will ever be a loving, caring and supportive relationship. Seems like such a stretch from where we are now.
So I have arrived at the very hard decision to suspend contact. Our recent conversations unproductive and abusive. He acts like he hates me more and I hang up every time feeling destroyed. And I have persevered because I felt like that is what good mothers do. We endure. But I have come to a new way of thinking. Perhaps, maybe, he persists in treating me like shit because I let him. I remain forever willing to accept his abuse, forgive it and attempt to move forward. But his narrative is the only one that matters. He will always write my part in a light least favorable to me. And so long as I go along with it, that is not likely to change.
It is a hard thing to stop talking to your child. Hard to live each day without the contact. But I have, at least for now, arrived at the place where I see that I cannot change him. He believes me to be the problem and so long as that is his narrative, I am screwed.
Truth is that we are both the problem. And until he is willing and able to see his part, it matters little about my part because in this joint relationship, one person doing all the heavy lifting only results in an uneven distribution of emotion, and healing.
So I cut off the contact, even though it hurts me every day. It hurts me less to not talk to him than it does to talk to him.
I don’t know if you have ever had to do this with your child. Stop communicating and allowed the distance, the emotional distance to stretch out in front of you like an unfurling flag. Flinging all the love and fear and hurt into space and time that feels endless. It sucks. If you have had to do it, then you know. And if you haven’t ever had to do it, then I hope you thank your lucky stars every single minute of every single day. It is a pain that is intermittently acute, and also a constant and unrelenting ache.
You cannot love someone out of their misperception. You cannot love someone out of their delusion. You cannot love someone so much that they will change or alter their course. You can only do those things for yourself. And sometimes the hardest thing a mother can do is to allow your child to do what they are going to do, while you decide to give up your ringside seat to their self destruction.
I am not sure what I did right and what I did wrong. I just know that right now, everything I do is colored and discolored by his framing of me. And I cannot escape it, change it or alter it. So I have made the painful, heart rendering decision to cut contact.
It fucking sucks.
It doesn’t stop the thoughts and feelings. It doesn’t stop the worrying and the concern. It doesn’t stop any of the mothering really. It just, for now anyway, stops the abuse. I don’t have to hear his lies or the disdain. I don’t have to endure being told how awful I am. Or to the contrary endure the flattery and ingratiating words meant to bend me to his will and demands. For now, while I persist in worry and doubt and fear, I do not have to do it with the abuse. And at least for the moment, as not great as that feels, it feels better than continuing the way that we were.
I like to think there are decisions that are good and feel good and I suppose there are. But now, in this relationship with my son, there is just this. Me deciding that I cannot go on with him like this anymore. And making this decision with the knowledge that my current actions might hurt more than they help. I don’t control the future. This may be the thing that I do that causes the break to be permanent. Or at least long lasting. I don’t know. And that causes me so much fear that I almost pick up the phone and change my mind all day, every day.
But there is this growing seed of self respect that will not allow me to do that which I have always done. I no longer feel like the title of mother, signs me up for the abuse, the anger, the blame, the constant and seemingly never ending script where I am the bad guy.
I have not been perfect. But I have showed up for him every single day of his life and I have done all hard things all because I thought in the moment that those things were best for him. I have worked with his father to make as many loving, supportive decisions as we can for him. All in an effort to save him from himself. And so far, while it could be worse, it isn’t great.
I do not like where I am. But I accept that I am here. I accept that life is like this right now. I am being asked to let go again even when it feels like I have been asked to let go way too many times and way too much. I am being asked to do it again, more, better and more completely.
It hurts. I don’t like it. And I am not sure what I am doing is the right thing.
I just know that I cannot go on taking the abuse. I just can’t. I cannot engage with him and hold a good opinion of either of us. So I withdraw to sift through my emotions, feelings and fear to see if there might be another course available to us. Fuck if it doesn’t suck. And I feel stymied and lost. Again, still.
I have to rely upon faith here. That he has his own Higher Power and it is not me. No, decidedly and poignantly, NOT ME! So I get out of the way and allow for life, his and mine, to move forward in a direction that I do not know, that I do not see and I fear. Because I do not know what else to do.
Sometimes mothering is really just about having faith in nothing. There are no quippy quotes that make you feel better and the faith that you have falters more than it supports. Sometimes mothering requires you to just be adrift and lost and full of uncertainty...and to move on through each perilous day as best you can. Sometimes mothering is just trudging fonward (fucking onward) without much of anything except hope. Hope that perhaps maybe one day it might be different. And praying that perhaps today might be the day that it all turns around and this painful place in your heart, soul and mind begins to heal.