We are a broken, very dysfunctional family. For 21 years, my three children grew up together with my alcoholic, psychologically abusive, and latent homosexual husband who gave minimal material support to us—until we separated later.
He gave his financial perks from a government owned and controlled corporation (GOCC) board seat to his executive assistant, a fraternity brod who was himself married with kids. He even provided the guy with a new house! This he did, but he refused to help me repair the old house my parents gave me, where I was raising our kids. During his alcoholic rages, he’d go berserk and destroy anything he saw in the house.
My husband could not be compelled to get help, but our troubled son was seen by a child psychiatrist and diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder. Like his father, he did crazy things as a teen, like collect his urine in Coke bottles though he had his own CR, kill cats and slash his sisters’ toys. As a married man, he demanded support from my meager savings. We finally became estranged because of his jealousy over my informally adopted baby boy, whom he tormented while they lived with me.
My eldest daughter’s issue with me is a death by a thousand little cuts. She lives abroad and continually berates me for not helping her out, as my mother did me. That, despite making a bundle in a year—the equivalent of my benefits after working for 35 years. She accuses me of not doing anything worthwhile, and begrudges me having a maid at home.
She has never sent me a balikbayan box though I’ve been very thoughtful to her. When I visit her abroad, I pay my own way, buy her groceries and do her housework. Very unkindly she sneers that what I do, she could easily pay for.
I am disheartened at how awful these two children are. The consolations are my youngest daughter and my adopted son who have so far remained loving. Our situation is so shameful.
You’re not alone or unique in this familial heartache. It happens to the best of blood relations.
So, how to solve a problem like yours?
What about just loving them without question or reason—letting their addled minds know that you’re all in this together, through thick and thin, come hell or high water?
It is a tough chore—difficult to sustain, maintain, and consider—but what can you do? You cannot return them from whence they came. You cannot obliterate them from your life and pretend they’re just a bad dream. And not until you go first, there they will be, like it or not—like a pesky mole on your face you cannot ignore, hide or remove!
Why not just keep quiet through all these? Speak only when spoken to. Look only when told. Act only when asked. Take the path of least resistance, with the least participation, the least involvement.
Just be a mother in their consciousness, whether needed or not. Be as unobtrusive as possible. Remain invisible to them, until they begin to notice you’ve not been heard of in a while. Give them the pleasure of missing you and wanting to connect with you on their own volition. On their own terms.
Did you know the best way to tame a wild horse is to ignore it? Once you disappear from either his line of sight or even his peripheral vision, that’s the time he begins to look for you, and amazingly, will even follow wherever you go! Such is the irony of life. He just has to discover, on his own, you are not the threat he suspected you to be.
You’ll never have peace if you keep on harboring the heartaches wrought by your kids. Take heed from a line in Desiderata that ‘‘…whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.”
Your children are probably not bad per se. You just cannot communicate with each other clear enough. And obviously, are hardly on the same page.