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When Your Adult Child Turns Out Wrong, or Does Something Terrible

Folks, this is a really difficult post for me to make. I've been tossing the option back and forth for awhile now, debating with myself as to whether or not I should bring this up. It's a family issue that I am learning to live with, but it's also a quiet, pervasive grief that I feel if I give it over to a circle of people who care, like the one I've found here at Paganspace, I will find healing that might not come to me otherwise, at least not for a much longer time.
There is subject matter in this story that may spark debate, but please, for the sake of everyone, do try to keep the heat out of it. No mudslinging, please, and no questioning of parenting tactics of the sort that will cause possible damage to already hurting and unhappy souls. If I find that this discussion is causing that kind of issue, with all due love and respect to all contributors, it will be closed.
Now, for my story:
I gave birth in my youth to three sons. R. was born when I was not quite 18, D. was born when I was 20, and J. was born when I was 23. I raised them mostly by myself, with the help of my mother, who was present for all three births, and was in our lives until about five years ago.
A pertinent side note: I "found" the Craft/Paganism the fall of the year that D. was born, just a couple of months after his August birth, and have been actively Pagan ever since, mostly flying solo, going into and out of all kinds of situations, going from having to keep my books and things in a closet while living with their father's Christian parents, to being active in large covens and going to circles and festivals of all kinds, culminating in our attendance at Starwood five summers ago. This is to say that while I didn't do a lot with them Paganwise when they were small, like some families do, I have mostly raised them to think for themselves, and have had them along to a few events as they got older, and never for one minute hidden it from them.
We had a tough go, not much to talk about in the way of stability. We were dirt poor for most of that time, and have even been homeless together for brief periods. But I cared, and I loved them, and fought for them, and protected them; I tried, and I was there for them at every turn, and thought I was doing my best.
Through all this, my sons and I had (I thought) remained very close. We talked to each other about everything, and there was this fierce 'us-against-the-world' sort of bond there that sustained us though all kinds of hardship. I remained optimistic, and never gave up hope that the Universe was playing out exactly as it was supposed to, and that my sons were, despite everything, growing up to be decent enough people, even the good and honorable men that would make not only a mama proud, but make for eventual happy wives and grandchildren. That's all I really wanted and would have been more than satisfied with.
The Universe apparently has other plans.
Without giving up names or less-than-palatable details, I will tell you that my sons, who are now ages 24, 21 and a half, and 18 and a half, and I are all estranged from one another. We are not on speaking terms and have no interaction at this time. Two of them have turned out to be pathological liars who have betrayed me, called me names, and forsaken everything they were taught, and one of them may have taken indecent liberties with an underaged girl, and forsaken the family's help to return to an abusive relationship.
Traditional therapy is not an option. Family interaction is not possible. I have lost them. I do not know that there are any answers, nor that there is anything I can "do", per se. I am not sitting in the dark with the shades drawn wallowing in guilt and grief, for that serves nothing and no one; I still have a good life, I like myself pretty well, I have options and things to do, a stable home, a good future, friends, a wonderful partner-for-life and another child (his) to help raise.
I did my best and I know I did. But they're still and will always be my children, and this is a dark shadow on my soul. I guess what I am mostly looking for here is someone to talk to, and by opening this topic, perhaps offering that same fellowship and understanding to other Pagan parents out there who may, for their own circumstances and reasons, be at this sort of a loss.

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Thank you very much, Charm, that means a lot, and yes it does help. {{{*Goddess Bless You*}}}
Try not to hold anything aginst them ..They are still young , It is hard with some of the things they do at times ..But try to keep an open door and let them know they may come and talk with you if they need you .. By the time they are in their 30's they should of learned some of lifes lessons and hope they will change and see how they still need mother to ask advise from .. I am trying to keep my last child Who turned 18 in Sept .. in his last few weeks of school ..To get him to graduate.. He just got arested and spent a night in jail for pot .. My other 2 are in their 30's and it has gotten better with them .. I wish you luck.... Put a binding spell on them to do no harm to anyone else or their selfs ... And may you be Blessed with strength to get you threw this and find peace .. Am sending you healing energy right now .. I know the pain in your heart for i also have it ..
dear Alice, thank you SO much for sharing; I cannot tell you how much that means to me.. Goddess bless you, too.
I'm not going to say that i know how this feel.. but do know what it is like to watch some one who has had all of the necessary love and encouragement that it takes to make a great person, grow into anything but, and I have see some one who came from abuse and mistreatment and all of the things it takes to make a monster, grow into one of the most caring an loving people whom i have ever know.
It doesn't make sense, but it just goes to show that even if you did every thing right, if you made absolutely no mistakes in raising your children that doesn't guarantee that they will carry your lessons through life. The decision is ultimately theirs to make, the mistakes are theirs, it is entirely up to them what path they chose to take.

In my own family, my brother and I were both raised by my mother alone. we were treated the same and exposed equally to the same influences... in fact i was abused by someone out side of the home where my bother was not so he should have had an advantage.
Yet I moved out went to college, started my career, and started a family. and my brother started abusing drugs, mugged some people and went to jail.

the diffrence is in the choices we made, and has little to nothing to do with anything our mother did.
That shadow is the guilt you feel for not being able to provide for them the way you wanted to and for feeling in some part responsible for their outcome. As parents we want the best for our children and even though we do all that we can we feel that it isn't enough. I went through some similar things after leaving my son's father. For awhile we basically lived out of a car and between friends houses. I am thankful that he was so young and probably doesn't remember alot of it. We've moved around alot but are now pretty much stable. He is also alot younger than your children, soon to be ten. My mom and I had a very rocky relationship for a long time. Partly my fault and partly hers but now she is my best friend. My brothers and I have put my mom through alot and I deeply regret it and I'm sure eventually they will to. All you can do is be there for them as best you can, don't let them push their faults on you. They are grown now and need to take the responsibility for their own actions. They will come around, it may take them awhile and it may take them hitting rock bottom but sooner or later they will realize just how much they need you in their lives and how much you want them in yours. I'm going to light a candle for you and your sons and I hope that you find some strength and comfort here.
Many blessings,
Misty
I here Ya, I have one who is 19 and in college and one who is 15. I have had to just let go of the 19 yr old, so far she is keeping a close set of friends but also hangs with the homeless and druggies downtown. She is very Petite and smart but not too street smart, I keep expecting a call that they found her in a ditch. But she is an adult and all I can do is be there for her. All you can do is be honest with your feelings and be there when the come around. Good luck to you.
Thank You So Very Much to all of my Paganspace sisters who have responded to this post both on the forum and in private; your beautiful fellowship is more than I could have ever hoped for, and far far better than any ol' therapy session that I'd have to pay money that I don't have for. Goddess bless each and every one of you, and all those you hold dear to you, and let there be everything you want and need in your lives, now and always. Namaste, Blessed Be, and Never Thirst.

~*My Girls*~
GO TO FEEDINGTHEDESIRE.COM
FEEDINGTHEDESIRE.COM
I think for some people it's a part of growing up. They need to distance themselves in order to find out who they are. I did that with my mom, but came back to her in my mid 20's. We started talking at least weekly, and now I provide hospice care for her. I think that as long as they know that you are a phone call away, when they find themselves, they'll find you. Stay strong!!
*Hugs!!!!* You did the best you could as you say, and as with most kids and teens, they have a brain and can think for themselves... as to whether that is right or wrong, that is up to them. You/I/We cant control them all the time and make them make the right decisions, or even be good people. Things will turn out the way they should, and maybe there are lessons for all involved, right? If you ever need to talk, let me know, I dont mind sharing my #. Blessings to you and your children sister. xoxo
I know how you feel...I have been going through something with my eldest daughter for the last few years...All I can do, is keep the hope that she will eventually come around...Sometimes, we just gotta let go...I will keep you in my prayers...Bright Blessings
i am terribly sorry to hear what you are going through, but if you say you did nothing wrong i just have to believe there is a purpose. sometimes things fall apart so the right things can fall into place. sorry if that sounds corny but my experience has proven that phrase so true. for example, i remained in an abusive relationship for nearly 3 years because like most abused women, i was pretty much brain washed into believing i couldnt survive without him. the very day i finally moved out happened to be the only opportunity i had to meet the love of my life and father of my 1 year old son. had i left that monster a day sooner, i would have never met the amazing man i am honored and blessed to call my boyfriend. and on top of that i think it took something truely bad for me to be able to appreciate something truely good. the kind of person i was before i met the monster was someone who probably would have taken this great man for granted. everything happens for a reason. keep your chin up :) brightest blessings!
We're just now preparing to have my oldest son come 'home' from being incarcerated for the past 3 years. I will say, he's managed to turn things around enough to where he was parolled out his first time up - and the first to do so. It's a very long sad and sorted story. It's broken my heart into a million pieces a million times. I will say, we were the same - very close, he told me things boys don't share with their mothers. Yet, for all he told me - I never knew there was so much he didn't tell me, that I didn't see...
I wonder what will happen once he's out. I've run the scenarios around through my mind - the dream of the complete turn around, a time for healing as a family, growing again, being close again. He'll be staying with my mother - we joke (because now he calls me every night for a half hour, because he wants to hear what I have to say...funny how that works - before he was locked up, I couldn't hold him down for a half hour a week!) about all the work she's going to have for him...what chores I know she hates she'll gladly pass to him, and in the back of my mind - I wonder if I have to worry about her for his being there.
The thing is, I do know there are things even a Mother can't kiss and make it better. I know our children will do things that can't be passed off with a swat on the hand or hiney with a stern "Don't do it again" kind of mentality.
Sometimes, all we can do is wait and see. In the mean time, stay focused on your path. Look forward to the future. No matter what, there's always room in a Mother's heart for her children. They're there now, it's just a matter of when they're ready to open thier eyes and see the beauty of it.
Sorry, I'm rambling. My mind and heart is twisted up as well. I really do understand. So much is easier said than done and understood.
Guess that's what I've been meaning, I hurt for you too. But I'll still smile today, and hope you do too.

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