A reader sent me the following plea for help. My response might not have been what she expected.
I am struggling with issues dealing with my mom and son. My son moved out when he was a teen, he didn’t want to follow the rules at home and was physically abusive to me. He went to live with my mom…he has never been able to do anything wrong in her eyes….she has expected me to be financially responsible but not have a say in anything. His behavior has not changed in the 6 years since he has moved…if I am not helping him, I am a (insert any derogatory expletive here) you name it…he swears at me and tells me I am a horrible parent. My mother and I constantly argue over this, and it has gotten worse. She has him lie to me, evens swears at me in front of him….she totally enables him and deems me the bad parent stating that I abandoned him. I am at a loss here. I am in my 40’s, I don’t drink or do drugs yet I am treated as a horrible person for wanting what is best for my son. I am heartbroken that she really feels like I have treated him poorly and that he thinks I am horrible….I hope you can help me somehow…..I only have my 2 girls.
My heart aches for you. However, while the feelings and emotions of your mother and son are important and valid to them … they do NOT constitute your feelings and emotions … and it is critical for you to differentiate the two….and NOT belittle or deny your reality….which is quite different from theirs. Dysfunctional people (and relationships) need to hang on to dysfunctional responses and habits. You must break that habit. You must STOP.
No matter what your son or mother says/does … you are in control of your thoughts and responses. And the fact is, if you are setting HEALTHY boundaries you will not be in agreement with them. Period. Deal with this. Is it important for you to be in agreement with them? Or, to do what is right? Ask God to give you the strength and wisdom you need to be the person He wants you to be.
You have two girls … cherish and love them and show them what love and forgiveness (and not enabling) looks like.
Stand strong and believe in yourself and in what God is doing in your life.
Stop beating yourself up. Get off the gerbil wheel of insanity and find SANITY in this situation.