When your child wants to have their own life and abandons you 219



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After two hours sleep, I turned on the computer – sometimes known as my lifeline – to find an article in SAS that related to the cause of my sleeplessness. Coincidence? I don’t know, but I do know that my lack of sleep was due to the fact that for the first time in my life last night, I felt old and completely alone.  

April 25th was an emotional day for me. Anzac Day had affected me like that since the first time I realised what Anzac Day was, so this was no surprise. Then it was announced the Bali Nine had been given their 72 hours notice. I am a staunch believer that 10 years in that hell hole was enough and if they needed to be executed it should have been done way back when they were first sentenced. I see this as inhumane.

The clincher came however when I received a message from my youngest child. I had posted on Facebook about the bad treatment I had received from an employment agency after I had applied for a job through them. My son’s girlfriend had landed a similar job at same business, but through a different agency. This was something I didn’t know until a few days ago. It really had nothing to do with me or what I had posted. However, my son decided to have a few words to say to me because I was “having a go” at his girlfriend. The post is still up and no-one can see where I did that as it didn’t happen. 

It was my son’s idea to come to live here, closer to him. He thought I would be happier, would love this location and it would enable me to see him more. He made it clear he would be there for me. This has not happened. After leaving my friends and my job behind, the job I was supposed to start here fell through and my son and his friends were so very supportive. I was told that’s what they were here for. I was not worried about who would take care of my little dog if I finally got in to have my hip surgery, or who would give me a hand while I was recuperating. My son mowed my lawns at his insistence and visited with his flat mate regularly for dinner. Then it stopped! My son had a new girlfriend.

After a few weeks, I met her. She seemed nice, was quiet, but obviously doted on my son. I liked her and the fact that she had a small child was a bonus for me, as I don’t see my grandchildren. I looked forward to spending time with them. I didn’t ask much. I was grateful that my son mowed the lawns as I couldn’t and for any little things he did for me, but that stopped, his visiting stopped, his contacting me stopped. He lives two blocks away. I visited a couple of times but he never answered the door. 

Then when he sent me this accusing message last night, I decided enough was enough. I told him how ridiculous that was and then asked him why he had changed? This was the child I had been closer to all his life, than I had been to anyone, including two other children. He told me he was sick of it, sick of feeling bad because I have problems. Apart from the fact I don’t have a job, I only have a couple of health problems, which he knows about, but can only help in a minimal way, which by the way, I hadn’t asked for help. Any help he had ever given me was his idea. He tore strips off me. Apparently he wanted me to leave him alone so he could lead his own life. This was from someone who spent a total of maybe one hour a month with me and that was usually mowing the grass.

I suddenly realised…I am getting older, I don’t have a superannuation amount I can rely on, I am terrified of being put into a nursing home and terrified of being forgotten. I won’t even have anyone to take care of my dog when and if I have my operation. Most of all, I realised that my loving son had changed right under my nose. He was so cold in his messages, so uncaring and so selfish. I felt and feel abandoned. Did I abandon him when he needed me growing up? Did I stop helping him when he grew into a young man and needed help on various occasions? It is bad enough that the ageing population seem to have a use by date in this country where the government is concerned, but for your own children to think that There are 10080 minutes in a week. Is it wrong to want 30 of those spent with your child? Is 30 minutes stopping your child from having their own life? What has become of the child I reared to be honest, respectful and loving? He has disappeared.

Fran Spears

Born in 1953. Came to Hobart from the north west coast of Tassie to be closer to my son as I have mild chronic bronchitis. Mild and chronic in same sentence – even that makes me laugh. Have just completed and passed my diploma in Public Relations. Love to write and have lead a reasonably interesting life. My motto: "Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn!"

  1. How very sad for you I can’t imagine how you feel when you give so much and to be treated like this I hope that you have success in your job hunting and your son realises how he has hurt you .

  2. Stop the pity party right now!

    Get some of your own supports in place!

    Network and get out and socialise!

    There are very good services available to enable you to do that!

    Take control of your own destiny!

    Leave Son to it for a bit – hes in a new relationship and probably wants time to get on with it!

    No matter how you argue it you do not have the right to burden him with your old age!

    Move away if you have to – but for goodness sake get on and make some decisions that are you centred and positive to your aging graciously!

    The thing you most fear will come to pass if you dont work your way out of your rut now!!

    Life isnt always fair – but to relinquish your relationship with your son based on petty squabbles is just not worth it!!

    Troubles always pass – but severed relationships dont always heal!!

    27 REPLY
    • very harsh to someone you don’t even know, how easy to sit back and be armchair critic of someone who lives thousand miles away from you

    • Well said Neil. Too many people think negatively. There’s so much out there keep busy and look for systems out there to help in the future. We must control our own destiny.
      I’m 65 still work and we are busy busy all the time.

    • There is just no way that i want my son to feel burdened by my old age!
      I just hope my memories are such they will keep me in good stead when in my rocking chair!
      I think Son will be more inclined to step up when he does not feel pressured by a petulant elderly parent!

      Not harsh – speaking from the experience of working with the elderly on a daily basis!

      Oh ….and its…NELL

    • So what!!
      Get a life and move forward – life is harsh – and we have to deal with it in our own way – not lay it at the feet of our offspring!
      Its called grow some balls and make some plans!

      I am the least nasty person – as many who know me can attest – i am very practical and can relate from personal experience to what the author of this narrative has experienced or is experiencing!

    • Agree with you Nell, I believe your children owe you absolutely nothing. You brought them into this world, guided them loved them. Is their right to live their lives. I did not have a family for them to be responisble to me in my aged years. Your advice is sound and correct.

    • If you are and were that harsh with your kids and friends I wonder how happy you really are. I care full time for my 93 year old mum who has one dred in life and that’s a nursing home. I will care for her as long as I can, but makes me think that it is a big responsibility for loved ones to take on and I hope to make my own plans for my future. We both live independently in a Granny unit in my daughters home. But old age does bring with it a lot of challenges for family and I choose to care for my mum but I won’t expect that of my kids. I think that lady was just voicing her fears and you were harsh Nell.

    • I agree with u Nell in a practical and realistic way because we have to deal with what is happening . however this Society we live in is not doing any favours to our children by not teaching them their responsibilities to their ageing parents . this should be taught by all from parents , aunties , uncles and the community that the elderly must be cared for first by their children so that they realize that they are not a burden to them but a wonderful growing experience especially to the young.
      Children however should have resources provided by the community to help them through this process .

    • There is always one! and Nell you are it today!
      Your advice is unacceptable, to a person who is hurting and you have no idea how much.None of us really do.
      I find it extraordinary one can say such personal comments on a person you have not met.You should restrict such comments to people you know my dear, you do more damage than good.This is coming from a Professional!

    • I agree with everything you say, Nell. And Lesley Clayton, you say that you will take care of your mother but it is not always possible, especially if she had dementia so you can’t generalise. There is so much out there for older people to do if you get out of your comfort zone.

    • You have to have. Money to get out and do things
      I quilt garden read do lots but even that takes from a pension I’m quite happy but don’t believe getting out there is for everyone!!!

    • Nell I agree with you, some call it tough love! Some need straight talk from a person who has been there & doing it.
      But maybe also some personal counseling could help her find herself & what her dependency on her son is about & be able to set herself free from that. Just being able to talk with a counsellor constructively may give her a sense of support, also look at the resources available to help her.

    • Lesley – i am extremely happy and have a very good relationship with my Son who does not reside in NZ.
      I have successfully raised a family and come from a good background.
      Great you care for your mum – i have cared for many elderly both related and not related!
      That has nothing to do with the dilemma the author of this narrative finds herself in!

      Being judgemental and personal about other posters to this forum does not assist – in fact it shows the inability to effectively and impartially discuss such an emotive topic!

      Afterall this is a public forum and when a person posts to this type of forum they can expect a wide variety of responses!

      Nothing nasty or demeaning about my input thus far …you are however entitled to your opinion preferably without prejudice to the other posters!!

    • Nell I found your words very harsh .. do u know this lady personally???? and yes u were nasty also there is no need to be saying everything u have ….

    • Neil as I was reading the post I felt that the writer was not telling the whole story. She has obviously put too much pressure on her ‘favourite ‘ child. BTW that doesn’t sit well with me. To give up yr friends, your job and your home to move near yr child is foolish and a little creepy. Neil yr quite right to suggest that she get out join some clubs, make friends, keep looking for a job and yes move if you have to. Why not try to get closer to her not so favourite children? I think the subtext does suggest that she expected her son to be much more than he is prepared to be.

    • What a shame an opinion has turned into a squabble … I’m inclined to agree with Nell about getting on with life for a couple of reasons … reason number 1 …very personal… I’m unmarried, no kids and not a lot of super tho I do own my own home, because I made both professional and relationship decisions on the basis of family commitments (to grandparents as it happens), totally my choice and I have few regrets but I would NEVER encourage anyone to make the same choices. Reason number 2 … which will incite the keyboard warriors I’m sure… those who are unhappy with their adult children’s conduct need to have strong words with the person who brought them up.

    • I must’ve read a different post. The one I read saw THE SON make the decision to sever the relationship!
      This resonated with me as my own is telling his friends that he has disowned me!
      I brought my own children up to be fully independent adults so when 2 moved out & wrre independent I saw it as a success. The 3rd decided, through circumstances not of their making, to live with me & though I respected his privacy I was ok with that!
      Met an interest online, told me of concerns. My advice was to do what seemed right. Not to make decisions on what I might or might not need. Moved closer to interest & I made them welcome but didn’t interfere or try to influence anyone. They were after all adults. Now I am being told of disparaging remarks & have been blocked on all social forums.
      I am a fully independent adult & have never relied on any of my children. I do however enjoy contact as granted.
      Do I resent the current situation? Only in that there has now been a chasm created between family & new interest. That we sre not permitted to be a sounding board if so desired! I have told all his friends to let it go & not treat him any differently. That they should stay impartial & not make ANY judgements. They are telling me that their friend is unrecognisable!
      I am only saying that it is not always the upbringing, but often the later influences that can create problems!
      I hope the original post will see the writer find some solution.
      I will not give advice, nor pass judgement, but will offer unconditional support!
      I know how she feels, due to my own current circumxtances!

    • I don,t think Nell,s words are harsh, Fran is asking for advice and we are all giving it from our own experiences. Fran if you start by volunteering at different places, meeting other people will help you, believe me my Super was very ,very small. Take a deep breath, back away from your son for a while and concentrate on yourself.

    • I think it is very hard when a dear child you have nurtured and brought up as well as you could through thick and thin rejects you for reasons known only to themselves. Heart breaking really! My son and I just seem to have a total personality clash and he finds me intolerably annoying and tells me so whenever we meet!

    • Nell Smith-Hughes … Wat can I say U are one nasty lady … And if I was aloud, I’d say bitch ….

    • Wether son is in a new relation ship and needs time to get used to it or not is not the point….the point is this so called son and man has very rudely selfishly and abruptly cut his mother out of his life with no justification..she is entitled to feel stunned hurt and alone…until she gets used to the situation

  3. My sister is terrified now she’s 60… but not because of kids just not enough super and doesn’t own a house. Imagine many are in this situation and am concerned for them all. My sis always has a home with us but we don’t live in the same pkace. Don’t know what the answer is! !!!

  4. I think you have to put the hurt of your son aside and try to create a full life without him. He will probably come and go in your life. His girlfriend is obviously influencing him. Try to be happy in your own company too, taking up a craft or similar to fill the hours you are alone. The fear of the future is very real when you are short of money and have moved from those you love. Is it an option to move back to your original district? If not, try to stop yourself dwelling on thoughts of your son and fill your life with other people.

    3 REPLY
    • You are hurting right now but I agree with others you need your own life & interests to feel fulfilled. What of your other children? Search the Internet for ideas, maybe some counselling to boost your confidence for other relationships and work prospects? I would leave them be – the message sounds clear – be prepared later to forgive if he returns, but busy yourself. Meditation can help with emotions. You are not old and may live another 30 or so years so take care!

    • Why do you necessarily think the girlfriend is influencing him…more likely the girlfriend is being used as an excuse to cut the percieved apron strings.

  5. I feel for you, I truly do….but what’s the answer? Who knows? People can give you advice but ultimately only you can work it out.
    8 years ago my marriage disintegrated leaving me without a house, little money and responsible for my disabled son. I returned to Queensland from Tasmania as my 2 daughters are here, not that I get to see them more than a few times a year. I now rent a house. I can no longer work as I have damaged my back. I have been waiting for an appointment to see someone about it for almost 3 years.
    But life is good. I met someone wonderful a few years ago. He has even less than me…but we are happy. I never believed I would be or could be happy again.
    So stay positive.

    3 REPLY

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