Personal Growth

Suzanne Says

By Suzanne E. Harrill

Hello Suzanne,

I read a couple of your articles on your web site and it describes my grown son. He did have a trauma in childhood when my husband left, a couple months before his 11th birthday.  He was always very emotional as a child. When his Dad left, it was a shock to all of us in the family, but he seemed to suffer the most. He was seeing a psychiatrist and went away for 2 weeks for severe depression.  Then, in high school he started going down hill when he dropped a very nice girl he was dating for a girl on drugs. Soon he moved out of our home and moved in with her and got a job to support her.  When he broke up with for good, maybe 2 years later, he seemed so happy. But, then he got into another relationship, verbally abusive. Here he was trying to please again and spending so much money. This lasted 5 years a least. He finally left her, only to have about 2 months on his own. He met someone and moved in with her after only 2 months of dating. Again, after at least 3 years this was a disaster and he just could not see the things his whole family could see.  How can a mother help if he does not admit he needs help and says things like, he is not like that anymore.

The woman he is with now, is 23 years older than he is; after dating about 6 months he spent so much money on her at Christmas. He works so hard and I worry he will end up with nothing.  I don't want him to feel like a looser and I'm at a loss for words when I know he is going over and cooking dinner for her a couple nights a week and God only knows what else he does for her.

I know this is all out of my control and he has been out of my control for a long, long time. Is there anything I can do or say or just stand by until he admits he needs help? 

Also, when he gets involved with someone he is very distant with the rest of the family and you hardly hear or see him.

Thank you,



Hi Kerri:

I feel your pain over your son, and the loss of having a genuine relationship with him. I assume the articles you read on my website were about codependence? If not, I recommend that you can read them now.

(Part I) What Is Codependence and How Does It Affect My Life?
(Part 2) What Is Codependence and How Does It Affect My Life?

 Gathering information is very helpful to gain clarity and find the path you need to take. You have answered your own question, in that his life is out of your control.

The base case is to work on healing yourself and raising your awareness level. Reading, contemplation, meditation, therapy, and taking workshops and classes will take you into a deeper process of knowing yourself. The only person you can really help is yourself.

There are things you can do, however, to prepare the way for a future relationship with you son, when he is ready. It may not look like you currently have in mind where you can give him advise and expect him to change. Loving unconditionally is required and is a very tall order for most of us to practice; it includes practicing forgiveness, if necessary, daily. No particular action is called for on your part, only to hold your son in your thoughts and prayers. Remember when you pray for another you are also praying for yourself and that it is not in your knowing exactly what is right for the other personís growth and development. Rather than pray for results you determine are right for him, pray for him to grow from his experiences and seek help for issues he deems are a problem. And do the same for yourself.

It is important to acknowledge that you are grieving the loss of a adult to adult relationship with your son and that he currently is not a part of your life and family gatherings. You go through the same stages of grief, as a person who experiences a death. It is normal to want to control him, change him, to get angry, or get depressed. Eventually, acceptance of the situation is reached.

You may benefit from reading my article, It's Never Too Late To Have A Good Relationship with your Grown Children (Ex-spouses, Parents. You can prepare the way and open the door for a future relationship, but must acknowledge the truth of the present moment. Acknowledge that as long as you are in emotional pain, working on your own healing is in order.

Finally, until your son walks through your "open door," remember to enjoy what is working in your life. Nurture your relationships with your other children and grandchildren if you have them. Spend time developing your interests and talents and cultivating friendships with others. Get involved with a group that meets your interests. As you let go and release your son to live his own life and concentrate on your own, you can find inner peace, no matter the outcomes.







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