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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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These messages.. are all just so.. forthright and wise and utterly amazing, and have served to mitigate the pain I feel in my own situation so much.. I have already said this in a previous post on this thread, but I just have to say again this morning, how very grateful I am to have such a loving and wonderful group of people whom I've never laid eyes on in my sphere, how priceless you all are, and how rarely has the Internet seemed so valuable as now. Divinity bless you all with satisfaction and bright joy, and everything you have ever wanted or needed in each of your lives, and Paganspace, semper vive.
Im sorry to hear you are having to deal with all this ,you do say you have a partner now and his child to raise,glad you feel the future will be good at least thats one good thing.Im a mother myself with an adopted son 37,and a girl 24,and a son 21.they have all had problems in their times and its not easy to get through .self harming ,suicides etc .I think they will change your boys ,as they grow older towards you ,maybe they wont get on with one another as my husband is one of five boys and they dont keep in touch with one another.Lying is very hard thing to deal with as you end up not knowing when things are true ,only a gut feeling that wont go away .I feel things will change for you later on just concentrate on your partner and his child for now .love and light ......Blessings~~~~
Don't put guilt on yourself. Everyone has their own path to follow, unfortunetely, we can't always understand it. Be patient, be kind to yourself, be there for them when they fall and need your advice or just your shoulder. I know myself I went through a phase around the same age as your kids, I didn't have alot to do with family, I got lost, but I also found my way back again.
Blessings to you,
Lisa
Dear i have been in your shoes very much the same actually but without my mother by my side. I learned in counseling that we do our best and we do good and it is not the fault of our attempts to try to do the right things. I have one who does not even talk to me and I had sacrificed nearly everything to make sure the kids had what they needed and loved them each as the person they were. But he buys $125 jeans and lives as someone he is not. One is in prison after I spent over ten years trying to get him out of the world of drugs. He had to be put in his place and I took a court order of protection on him last August to protect myself from his drug induced actions. And I have one who is compassionate, kind and not going to take anymore stuff from his brothers. I pray for you to have new strength and the way be given to you through the powers of those greater than we and that you be given peace in your life. I know that you are hurting and the pain may seem slow to go away. Do go to You Tube and type in spiritual meditations and try the many that are offered to help heal your broken heart and your soul as if has also been wounded as well as your body. Blessing rush to you dear one. May the gods and goddesses send comfort to you. You can email me anytime as I know what you are feeling.
I have to agree with the majority of the responses that I have read here, it is simply not something that you did wrong in raising your boys. And I also agree that in time they may come around and become the boys you knew when they were younger. For myself, I know that I was hell on wheels for my mother to deal with, and from time to time I broke her heart, but I also learned from my mistakes, mostly, and I now go to her for advise.
On the other side of the coin, I became a mother very young as well, 17, and I am scared for my oldest. She is 11 now and has started lying and sneaking out, ditching classes in school... she is living with her father at the moment, but when she was with me there were a few points where we were in a bad way moneywise, and like you twice we were homeless. All I can do is continue to be there for her and do what I can to teach her right and wrong and how to listen to her heart about what to do.
Stay strong and remember to trust in Them.
Merna
This may not mean much as I'm a little known for being crabby, but here goes.

As a child my mother had to give up custody to my grandparents and I absolutely resented that. Yeah mom was dirt poor, we had an outhouse and no hot running water in the rural midwest, but I was a happy kid and I knew my mom loved me. Long story short, I moved in with my grandparents who treated me with respect, honesty, and care and I hated them.

As a teenager I stole from them, lied to them, and became estranged from my younger sister who moved in with our dad several states away. I was a horrible teen and young man for many years. It took me hitting rock bottom and dealing with my own demons before I came back and asked forgiveness from my grandparents and Mom. They had little reason to trust me at this point, but effort and time has renewed our bonds and we're very happy now as a family.

My point being here is that in my experience it takes time.

Little you can do as a parent can make your children treat you the way they should when it's their own misconceptions and feelings that make them hate. I know it's hard but let them fall. Then there will probably come a time when they want nothing else but their mother's love. Please be there to give it to them.

This was how it turned out for me. My sister and my mother are still estranged but I hope one day they will find common ground.

Many blessings to you and I truly pray that this gets better.
Thank you very much for a view from the other side of the fence, Goose. That was immeasurably valuable and I appreciate your candor. Blessings to you.
What an incredible story. I am very grateful to you for sharing, and your ability to tell it here for all to see. I was never neglected nor abused, nor did I allow these ills to touch the lives of my children (there was once a time when this waste of skin that I had allowed to live with us beat the ass of my youngest son who was like 3 at the time. I threatened to his face to cut his throat in his sleep if he ever laid another finger on my child. He was arrested for something and removed from our lives a short time later. Funny about that, eh?). The worst thing about my mother, whom I loved very much, was that she was very co-dependant and didn't like herself very much, something I could never help her with and finally had to walk away from, a grief that I will take to my own grave.
Thank you very much, Riverstone. Goddess Bless You.
When one of my girls was 13, she was emotionally seduced by a 37yr old man. He convinced he that she was in Love with him. We moved (he lived next door)reported him to the police and found out he had been arrested for having sex with an 11 yr old girl. The day before he was to go to court he blew his brains out.

This was a very difficult time for us. My daughter looked at us with such hate and acted out in rebellion. I told her at the time and it still apply's. I would rather have you safe and alive hating me than dead and in a grave.

She is 20 now, lives with her boyfriend and considers me her best friend. She still deals with guilt about his death (she blames herself and the fact that she was going to be compelled to discuss their relationship in court). Every year in august (his birthday) she calls and asks for directions to the cemetary. While it kills me that she is going, I know that she NEEDS to go, and tell him about her hurt and anger.

We can never know what will set them off. One of my best friends HATES his mother and has cut off all communication with her. When he relays stories of her failures, I cant see them as failures. She was a single mom trying to protect and raise a kid and did the best she could. I just dont understand his less than compassionate outlook.

You have done your best, take comfort from that. Your boys need to find their place in this world, and will figure out that mom is the best thing since sliced bread.

I think parenting to adult children is harder than when they were small.

Hang in there and I am going to go light a candle for you.
*Thank You So Much*, shadowdancer. I have no words..

I think parenting to adult children is harder than when they were small.
Yea verily. And to think that we thought that when they got older, they'd get more self-sufficient and easier to take care of..
Your welcome. When they are young we can tell them what to do, when they get older they have to make their own decisions, good and bad. We just have to be there to help them when they need us.

Your candle is burning.
Ach Lady Two Crows ya sure have a tough situation. I'm no sure I can offer up much advice, having raised girls but kids are kids. Though you've no said it I get the feeling that the boy's father was not of much use and mayhaps yer own family created some of the dischord. When our kids reach that magic number "18" the world seems to come full circle. It's a frenzied kind of time with them wanting to be on their own and us hoping they can make it on their own. Attitude's abound that's for sure. We hope that by the time they are of this age they can step out into this world as a productive member of society and we have a tendancy to want to do what we can to help them...but they do no want our help. They want independence and by golly that's what they are going to get...along with all the responsibilities that come with it.

Ya seem to be missing some pages in the years following yer becoming pagan...as if that might be the start of some of the problem...or at least the lies and false accusations? If they were good kids up and to a point, then one would be needin' to take a close look at what was going on in their lives when this change came about. I'm no sure you've lost them, but I am sure that there's a solid door holding back communications. Mayhaps you'd like to send me a note on the ps email? Other than that, based on what you've said lass, yer options are limited to you learning to deal with this situation without it pulling ya apart. Sort of, you need to get some help, even if they don't for at some point, I feel certain, they will come back to you. I'm so sorry for yer anguish my Lady for we love our children so much...and they usually have no idea of our love 'til they have children of their own. Hugs...Gwen

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