I been holding something in for a long time; maybe some of you will even be able to relate to this. Lately, it’s been weighing heavily on my mind. Every time someone inquires about my family and how things are going, I feel like I am not able to be 100% truthful. I’ve decided that it was time to come clean with you all, so that you know what my truth is;  truth is freeing. If you have been reading my blog for a while or even if you are a new reader, you’ll know that I openly discuss and …

I been holding something in for a long time; maybe some of you will even be able to relate to this. Lately, it’s been weighing heavily on my mind. Every time someone inquires about my family and how things are going, I feel like I am not able to be 100% truthful. I’ve decided that it was time to come clean with you all, so that you know what my truth is;  truth is freeing.

If you have been reading my blog for a while or even if you are a new reader, you’ll know that I openly discuss and face mental health issues and the stigma associated with mental health crisis head on. This situation is even more personal and in many ways as stigma laden as the subject that I have been writing about for several years now, which is why I have kept it quiet until now 

Ok, here I go….

I am a childless mother.

For the past 6 months, and honestly on and off over the past several years, my children have made the choice to sever their relationship with me.

My older son, who I have shared little about on the blog, has completely shut me out of his life. During this time, he graduated from college, started at a new school to pursue his Bachelors degree and let Christmas come and go without a word. My younger son will respond to a text now and again, and did stop by for a visit Christmas morning but also made it very clear that he does not feel he can have a relationship with me right now.

Whoa! Right? What kind of mother loses their relationship with not one but both of her children? This kind of mother…. The kind that loves unconditionally, that refuses to enable unhealthy behavior, that chooses to be a parent over being a friend, and that believes in accountability and facing consequences. These are among the very reasons why my children are choosing not to have a relationship with me right now. 

In the case of my older child, I was given an ultimatum; “do this thing that I am demanding (which wasn’t my responsibility or obligation) or you will be dead to me”. This, of course, wasn’t the first time that I was faced with bullying behavior, a learned behavior that is often a “go to” last ditch effort to get their way. This last time though, I needed to make a choice, for me. Knowing that if I were to relent and do as I was demanded, it would only keep the door open for more of the same type of behavior. I left my marriage years ago because I chose not to be bullied any longer (though the bullying continued for years and I relented for years because I thought I was protecting my children – but that is for a future blog post). While my children learned it to be an effective way to get what they wanted, it was no longer going to be the way they would get what they wanted from me. Heartbreak.

My younger son, not surprisingly, cannot forgive me at this point for choosing to seek care for him when he was in the deepest depths of his crisis. He is unable to see that his choices were directly related to the decisions that were made for his treatment and he is unable to forgive me for the “hell” that those choices put him through.  To make matters worse, his father made a unilateral decision to pull him out of treatment, against the recommendation of the attending doctors and treatment team which further vilified my attempts to get him the support and treatment that he needed. Heartbreak.

I cannot begin to put into words the depth of pain and grief that I have been feeling and working through over these past several months. There are days where I truly feel like I am mourning a death and at times find myself on my knees at the edge of the pit of hell and not sure how to find my way back.

But, I am healing. It will take me some time to piece my heart back together and while it’s not completely healed, the healing has begun.

I am sharing this now because just as the stigma and shame around mental illness keeps many people quiet, I believe so does the stigma around being a “Childless Parent”. I am sharing because this is my truth and it’s part of my story. I also hope to create a space where parents who are hurting, confused, or angry because of similar circumstances can find a safe, non-judgmental place to feel understood.

Thank you for listening to my truth. I will be sharing more information over the next several blog posts. One thing that’s for certain is that life is truly an adventure and many times we really do find ourselves Far From Paradise.

24 Responses to Tell the Truth

  1. My heart breaks for you. There are so many times that I am not ‘truthful’ about what happens within the family because I just can’t deal with anybody else’s pain/interpretation/judgement – I have enough of my own. One day at a time. Some days one step, one breath at a time. You’re in my thoughts.

    • Thank you Robin. I am grateful for your feedback. The fear of judgement has been a big reason why I have kept silent. Shame and guilt are powerful emotions. I wish you well on your journey and believe it’s all one step, one breath at a time. Peace to you.

  2. I understand.

    I am not in this situation, but I really understand. You are suffering now, but you are also being a good example to them. Even if they won’t admit it now, they will be so proud of you one day, once they will be parents, if not before that..

    • Nikky, Thank you! My friend, you have also been through heartbreak and I know you really understand. Thank you for your kind and wise words. I hope that things are settled for you. Sending you much peace.

  3. I have no advice, but I wanted to reach out and let you know my heart is with you and you display amazing strength, self-care and integrity. I hope the future holds reconciliation.

    • Charity C – thank you! I am grateful for your kind words. Such a challenging road but I do believe that the future is bright however this particular part of it plays itself out. Much peace to you!

  4. April 30, 2014 at 7:44 pm Cheryl responds:

    I
    First let first me say you are truly one of the most loving wonderful souls I have ever had the honor to know and I love you dearly. If I had a magic wand that could make it right I would do so in a heartbeat.
    I find it so hard to understand why good parents suffer such hurtful unjust treatment from the very children they brought into this world. So many parents have heard the words “i hate you’, ” i wish you were dead”, I wish you weren’t my Mother/Father”. Hearing them is so very painful. As children try to get their way they are often so very heartless and selfish in the pursuit of what is often trivial desires. But when they go to the lengths of deserting a parent as your sons have it is beyond my comprehension. As you know my husband shares this painful place with you as 2 of his 3 children have alienated him from their lives. Nothing I can say or do and no amount of love from his stepchildren can make up for or take away his personal heartbreak. Our only hope is that as they grow into adults and as they perhaps become parents themselves they will begin to comprehend the iinjury they inflicted and they will turn it around and make it right.
    Thank you for having the courage to share your story and intimate feelings with us all. Your words and honest expressions of feeling are surely a pillow of comfort to catch the tears of so many others who put on a happy face and suffer in silence.
    May you be immensly blessed in your journey and may your heartache be lifted. Love you!

  5. You are a kind beautiful and loving human being. I can not relate precisely to what you are going through – but I can tell you that once upon a time I was a pretty wretched human being. In the course of my drug and alcohol addictions I put my entire family and especially my mother through a whole lot. Including not speaking to her for long periods and having no concern at all for her well being.
    Today I am sober (and have been for a while) I have a great relationship with my mother. I can never make right what I put her through – but I can tell you that there is always hope.

    And for the record, I think it is acceptable to not be 100% truthful with people who ask casually how things are.
    I have a girlfriend who talks about different types of friends in terms of how and where you would visit with them in your house (i.e., sidewalk friends, porch friends, living room friends, kitchen friends, bedroom friends). Knowing what type of friend you are dealing with makes it easier to determine how much is appropriate to share with them.

    • Teejay
      Thank you! You are equally kind beautiful and loving and I’m grateful to have you as a friend. Your perspective really helps. I know the truth (with my head) of who I am and need to slowly work on my heart truly understanding it and accepting the bigger picture. I’ve done some writing over the past several months that has helped (some of it will end up on the blog for sure) It’s a process. I love what your friend says about different types of friends and where you’d visit in the house. Very profound and a great visual! Thank you so much xo

  6. May 3, 2014 at 10:10 am Louisa responds:

    Hi I understand more than anyone what you are going through. I am facing your same pain and situation.I am also fighting cancer. Have been fighting for my life now for 2 months.Having several near death experiences.I am the only one that takes care of my 22 year old son plagued with mental illness for 2 years. He hates me.Thinks I’m the worst mother.Daughter 19 treats me like a worthless stray dog.No one acknowledges me. However I will stand by you.We will get through this together. I have a 6 year daughter.Alone with me and husband and daughter couldn’t be bothered how she is.Im here for you.As I’m bedridden.My mind is getting stronger.Jesus has kept me Strong

    • May 3, 2014 at 10:24 am Louisa responds:

      As you feel grieve stricken by the knowledge of your own child being so cold and unfeeling toward you. May bring you down.Take yourself to a time when the children and yourself were in awe of each other.A happy time.Let that happy time be your focus.Not what the present time is.For it brings more pain. You are too special to allow that to take away from the already amazing Wonderful Caring Unselfish Mother you have always been.And still remains.Continue to love them.I understand how deep the pain is.I am dealing with it.I could die today and they would not care. I will keep you in my prayers. You are not alone. I am with you in this. My heart goes out to you.

      • Louisa My heart goes out to you too! I send you blessings for peace in your body and your soul. Your kind words and willingness to share your story is so powerful. If you are open to sharing, I’d be interested in your story in more detail. What was the turning point for you and your children’s relationship? Feel free to email me at farfromparadiseblog@gmail.com if you are feel up for sharing. May God continue to bless you on your path

        • May 3, 2014 at 12:06 pm Louisa responds:

          Thank you for your support.I would say the turning point in my children’s relationship.Began when I found out I had cancer 2 years ago.I was the supermom.Always available to do as instructed.Watching my husband abuse me physically and emotionally.Instead of standing by me.They decided abandoning me was better.The moment of low points of my illness, they would choose to tell me how much of a terrible mother I was.My son constantly told me he hated me.My daughter would leave for dead.Not even a drink of water.In her room not bothered about her little sister son was attacked suffered brain trauma.Now suffers mental illness.Only I can take care of him.However tells me he hates me constantly.They constantly tell me how they don’t wish to live with me or the little sister.They bully me to the extent of unbearable despair and grief.They even go as far as accusing me of pretending to be ill.They take everything out of me.Even to the point of hospitalisation.Were I will not even be visited. I have been Praying for My Strength to be fortified by Prayer.My family is in the dark to my pain.However God will help me overcome this Awful nightmare.Let with nothing to eat or drink.Left like a dog to die.I write to you from my sickbed. Alone with no care. I shall overcome. My promise to inform my family.Never keep silent as I have.Tell your family members.We have each other now.

  7. It is very difficult to be a parent than a friend. I’ve tried for so long to be unconditionally loving, and a teacher of responsibility and respect rather than the enabling friend. My daughter has one of those already and it doesn’t work. My approach has not always been welcomed and also has included several periods of no communication. But time has always brought us back together and I can see (some of the time) that there has been growth because of my not bending to her whims (reads mood swings and demands). If there is anything you need you know how to get a hold of us, and you know I love coffee!!!!!

  8. May 8, 2014 at 12:23 pm nikkiinheart responds:

    Amy, I am so sorry for what you are going through. I am late in responding because I somehow missed this blog and in reading your newest blog, I realized I had missed something.

    I watched my late husband go through grief due to the total lack of caring from 3 of his 4 children, and it was heartbreaking. But just know that, as a parent, you did everything you felt was the right thing for your boys coming from only a place of love. As a single parent of three for many years, I made my share of poor decisions and mistakes, but at the time I did what I thought was the best for them, and it was with heartfelt love.

    Grief and healing are probably one of the most difficult processes to go through and having just come through that within the last couple of years myself through the loss of my husband, And grief and loss are grief and loss regardless of the situation. I totally understand your heartbreak. Some things never seem to quite make sense, but we learn acceptance and can find a level of peace in time.

    Be kind to yourself. Be gentle with yourself. And above all, be accepting of yourself. There is no shame or guilt for you to carry. Your boys are making their decisions based on their issues, not yours. Our children rarely grow up to fulfill the dreams we have for them the day they are born and we hold them in our arms. But their paths and choices are theirs to make, and at some point they will be given the opportunity to accept full responsibility for those choices.

    There are no words that will lesson the heartache you feel, but know that you are in my prayers and I will continue to send you love and light.

  9. I received something today in my email, something that made me directly think of you. Hope it helps. Much love <3

    http://www.secondfirsts.com/2014/05/the-real-mothers-of-mothers-day/

  10. Wow, this post strikes a chord with me. I am an adult child of parents who on the surface had the same attitude that you do, an I appreciate them for it. What complicates things is that I’m disabled and mentally ill and they refused to see this, expecting me to function at a far higher level than I could. They kicked me out of the house fo rnot going to university and instead pursuing treatment. That’s what your “you’ll be dead to em” made me think of. My parents threatened institutionalization a couple times, yet pretty much broke off contact when I was hospitalized in a mental health crisis, because they said it was my choice. I struggle with your seeing yur younger son’s mentally ill behavior as a choice. I don’t know the situation as this is my first visit to your blog, and I support you for seeking care, but this wording somewhat concerns me. (Visiting from #NaturallyYours and will be sure to come back.)

    • Astrid, Thank you so much for your feedback. I truly appreciate the perspective that you have shared. To clarify my intention, I do not feel that my son’s mental health is his choice. There were ways that he chose to handle his circumstances (for example refusing medication, therapy, etc.) that forced decisions to be made that he did not like. He is angry and feels victimized by decisions that had to be made, to keep him safe. I was there every step of the way with my son during his crisis and am still here with an open heart when he is ready to have a relationship again. I hope that you will come back and read more of this blog when you have a chance.

  11. Sometimes when a child cuts off ties with a parent or vice versa, the person who does the “cutting” can’t delineate truth from his/her own reality. I hope that you are able to have a relationship with both of your sons in the future and that healing occurs for everyone involved to make that happen.

    • Thank you Crystal, I agree and I have only love in my heart for both my boys. I also believe that one day we will have a relationship again. I continue to let them know through whatever means I can, that I am here for them when they are ready. So much healing comes out of these situations, I have experienced a great deal of it for sure! Appreciate your comments!

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