If you are feeling wronged, rejected, abandoned or lost because your grown kids don't talk with you, there's a better way to think about it.
KIDS! Even when they are in their forties, they can still behave like KIDS, thoughtless, self-focused kids! Are they:
- Holding grudges?
- Living in the past?
- Unable to accept who you are now, or even, unwilling to find out?
- Withholding grandkids from you?
- Talking trash about you with their siblings?
Oh, yes, it happens, and it doesn't feel good. They seem focused on finding someone to blame for their malcontent, their poor choices, or less than stellar results. And, it's all your fault!
So, are you going to feel bad for long? I hope not. Here are some important considerations although they might be a bit hard to hear:
- Who are these people you call your kids?
- What values, vision, beliefs and purpose are they demonstrating by their words and behavior?
- Are these people you want to have controlling your feelings?
- Are they really people whom you respect, trust, enjoy, or could rely on?
- Can you respect or trust them when they behave the way they currently are?
- Do you even like them as people?
- If you met them at a party, would you ask them to your home?
Working with my clients, I meet so many people who are feeling badly because their kids don't talk with them or to them. Yes, it's a loss because that's just not the way the world is supposed to be, right? Well, it IS the way your world is, and I'm inviting you to have a big re-think.
IMPORTANT NOTE: There is a general idea in the mainstream thinking that we are supposed to like, accept and want to spend time with people to whom we are related just because we are related to them. If that is acceptable to you, you likely do not need to read further. I am not suggesting you jettison errant folks from you life forever just because they are currently not interested in you. Compassion rules, in my books. My invitation to you is to continue reading so that you reduce any pain, suffering or grief you are currently experiencing by thinking in a different way.
PEOPLE WHO TREAT YOU DISRESPECTFULLY ARE TELLING YOU WHO THEY ARE, NOT WHO YOU ARE!
Sure, if you abused them badly, abandoned them, or chose alcohol or drugs instead of them as they grew up, the offspring might have a few chips on their shoulders. If apologies are needed, offer them freely. But, if you didn't treat them badly, they are simply behaving in ways that show you who they now are.
Many folks come to me for relationship advice. I know one person whose son doesn't speak to her and refuses to allow her to see or communicate with her two grandchildren. For a while, she grieved. She wanted to be heard, seen, and understood by her son. The son, in turn, simply wanted to dump on his mother. It was her fault he was anxious because of something he perceived happened when he was three. It was her fault that he was withdrawing the children from her life, along with himself and his wife. It was all her fault.
As we worked together, my client came to look at the situation differently. Instead of feeling she needed to earn back his affection, she looked at the question: "What kind of a person speaks to his mother this way?" Further, she asked, "What kind of a person removes his children from the love and attention of a grandparent, and what is he afraid of?" These were helpful questions to consider because now the relationship was viewed from a more realistic, mutual view. Coupled with the questions she entertained about whether or not she could ever trust or respect her son again, she came to a much more balanced view of their relationship at this time in their lives.
I invite you to think about this: Whether it is kids, family or colleagues who have let go of you, focus on whether you actually choose them as people you want in your life after you have viewed their actions.
Are you actually allowing these folks to upset you unduly? Yes, for the first while, it feels bad. You may feel hurt, upset and wronged. You may clutch their words to yourself and beat yourself up mercilessly.
OR, you may feel the pain, think it through and realize that, no matter whether they are family or not, you want to surround yourself with folks who respect you, trust you, and treat you well. Over time, you may find that those who left you return. Overjoyed though you may be, their desire to return is only the beginning. Your relationship needs new boundaries. Difficult as it also may be, it is imperative that you create a new relationship, not succumb to someone else's idea of who you should be and how you should behave!
In a perfect world, we would all just get along. In this imperfect world, each day presents you with growth opportunities, some welcome, some not. Your kids deciding not to speak to you is an invitation to self-reflection. Instead of feeling trod upon, move on. Step out. Be your authentic self, not who someone else thinks you should be...even if you gave birth to them!
© Rhoberta Shaler, PhD, The Relationship Help Doctor
If you're suffering in any relationship, I'm happy to help. Need a little relationship advice? Ask a question in the comment section of the blog or visit www.forrelationshiphelp.com/ask-a-question Those services are free.
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