15th September 2019 at 9:00 am #88018
Hello lovely ladies,
I haven’t written on this forum for quite a while, but thought you ladies might understand a bit where I’m coming from, whereas others might just see me as being silly!
A few of you might remember me and that I was in a (detail removed by moderator) year abusive marriage, where my eldest and I were the main targets.
Speaking just about my eldest for now (though I am close to both my boys), I have had to have his back for pretty much all his life. He went a bit off the rails when my ex left- drinking etc, and didn’t do as well in his GCSEs as he might have done, but passed enough to do A’levels and then left those..he was in a bad place for a good couple of years, depressed, self-hating, etc. He managed to turn it around and got accepted into university, and we’ve all been so excited getting him ready for it!
I dropped him off last week, and I didn’t expect to react like I did – not in front of him ( I managed to hide it ), but in the car on the way home I was crying uncontrollably! And since then, I have yo-yo’d between pride and excitement for him, and feelings of pure desolation and worry and feeling like a limb has been cut off- though I’d never let him know this!
I think part of it is normal empty nest, but it’s exacerbated because he’s struggled so much with his dad’s abuse, which continues to be aimed at him even to this day, mentally, if he ever has contact with him ( he doesn’t much!). I have supported my son through major depressive episodes, and we are so close. He is very affectionate towards me. Once he said that I was the only thing keeping him going.
He’s a popular boy and – after dropping out of studies and having rubbishy jobs- he’s now really focussed to do well on his course, keep his fitness levels up, enjoy the social side of uni – so why do I feel so worried? I think it’s because I can’t physically see that he’s ok, with my own eyes. I am terrified about what will happen if he begins to feel overwhelmed or depressed.
I don’t want to clip his wings by texting him all the time- I know he needs space to grow. So often I want to just call him up, but stop myself. Feeling wretched! xx
15th September 2019 at 9:18 am #88020
I agree that a lot seems like normal empty nest and normal parental feelings of worry. However please text him. Ring him. He’s an adult and you’re both close. Give him a ring or send him a text to put your mind at ease. I’m sure as a young man he will know that mums worry. Just be honest and tell him he’s still your son and you’re allowed to worry about him and you’re going to check in on him from time to time. I think abusive relationships can make us much more sensitive to things. We become extremely protective of our children, From what you’ve said he’s in for a wonderful time. Many people see University as the best days of their lives. He’s found something he wants to do, he’s sociable. It’s going to take a while for things to settle down, which it will. Keep an eye on his social media without becoming obsessed or friending him. Mostly, give it time for you all to adjust and be very proud of him and all your hard work that’s got him to where he is, despite the best efforts of his dad to hold him back x
15th September 2019 at 9:38 am #88022
Thank you, KIP. I will text him today. I need to know he’s ok and to maintain that connection.
I’ve been getting flashbacks of scenes throughout his life, and have been a bit worried about my mental health this week to be honest! I know I have a susceptibility to feeling triggered due to having had the PTSD.
When he was living here, I was actually a very laid back parent – but that’s because I could see that he was ok.
15th September 2019 at 10:58 am #88028
When they leave we feel quite powerless. I think that triggers feelings from being abused. My PTSD was worse with a sense of powerlessness. Take back control. Text him every Sunday and let him know you expect a reply (in a nice positive way). Or let him know it will be a phone call every second Sunday. Get a little control back. Perhaps dipping into some therapy might help. Or try doing something nice to distract yourself. I also gutted my sons room. Cleaned from top to bottom. Tidied and boxed. I do think given time, everything will settle into a new routine. No one likes change but change is actually a good thing. It’s how we grow x
15th September 2019 at 11:33 am #88029
Thank you, KIP.
After reading your comment, I did text him. He said he could tell I was worried but not to be. I said to him that mums always worry, though I know he’s very capable, and wished him good luck with his first lectures this week.
I feel a lot better for doing this. I think I was trying so hard not to ‘annoy’ him that I had taken it a bit far. After speaking to some other parents, it seems that then did in fact message a bit, especially when their offspring first left. You can’t just drop them overnight! I would have hated it if my mum had texted me all the time – but also felt abandoned if no one had texted me at all!
There is so much influence from past abuse, without us being fully aware of it. My ex never ‘allowed’ me to show my emotions, especially about the kids- because it wasn’t about him. I would be silenced, or punished. Since the divorce, I’ve tried to shield the kids from so much- maybe to the point of denying reality sometimes. My counsellor told mr that I keep disappearing off, buried underneath other people’s needs and priorities, becoming invisible. I feel better now, accepting that I am a mother who will, of course, worry! It’s what mums do! Also, change is, as you say, necessary but uncomfortable too. My son is a bright boy, and certainly deserves to do the amazing course he’s chosen to do! We are there to give our children roots, but also wings, as they say!
Thank you, KIP, for your wisdom, as always, and for helping me to see that it’s no good denying who I am 100% – it’s best to be truthful and real, whilst also ensuring you don’t behave in ways that distress your offspring x
15th September 2019 at 12:29 pm #88030
👏 yep, sometimes we can’t see the wood for the trees. It’s good to bounce our thoughts off others. Well done you. You can chill and enjoy your day now knowing he’s fine and also understanding. You’ve raised a good boy x
15th September 2019 at 12:31 pm #88031
Your relationship with you son is nothing like the one you had with your mother. There’s no comparison. Times have move on a long way x
16th September 2019 at 11:07 am #88063
Thanks, KIP! ❤️
16th September 2019 at 12:14 pm #88064FudgecakeParticipant
Firstly a big congrats to your son on getting his place at uni. I wish him all the very best. The feelings you’ve described about him going are perfectly normal ones to have. Mixed emotions- proud they’re spreading their wings ( that’s a job well done by you) but also the parental worry for your child at seeing them venture into the adult world with all its pitfalls but also all its joy and beauty. It sounds like you’re very close to him and you’ve been his lifelong defender. He knows you’ll always be there giving him that support when he needs it and sharing the future celebrations he has. Just like you’ve always been. He’s lucky to have such a good mum. Change is unsettling especially when DA has played its part, but you will settle and so will he, knowing that you’ll always be there backing him up. Watch him fly!
16th September 2019 at 1:49 pm #88067
Thank you so much, Fudge Cake! Your words are so comforting.
After a few difficult days, I am feeling a lot better about my son being away at university!
I’ve realised that my feelings were basically bound up with those of over-protectiveness towards him due to what he’s suffered at the hands of his dad ; but that the best way to make him safe is to encourage that learning and independence that will come from him living away at university.
And he’s doing such an exciting course, and will be treated with respect by his lecturers etc- the total opposite of how he’s talked down to and ridiculed by his dad. He deserves this.
Thank you again!
18th September 2019 at 1:08 am #88170White RoseParticipant
You are a normal mum, don’t beat yourself up about it. Big congratulations to him. You must be really proud of him.
Message him, tell him you love him and miss him and give him news from home, he may not always respond but it’s stuff he’ll want to hear, he just wont admit it x*x
18th September 2019 at 2:06 pm #88195HopeLifeJoyParticipant
Yes pls do text him whenever you feel like it, it doesn’t matter if it’s every day, he will miss you too but won’t have time to text as much but he will feel so loved and cared for 💕 I’m certain your txt will diminish with time as you both get used to your new lives. But for now feel free to be his daily warm cup of tea that wakes him up, soon he will male new friends and won’t need your texts as much.
You know, you can be so proud of yourself, the fact he is able to leave ‘the nest’ shows how confident he is and feels safe enough to follow his dreams. Also the fact that you are safe must be an immense relief for him too, thanks to your choices to keep yourselves safe he won’t have to worry about your safety. He will be carefree enough to enjoy his youth and concentrate on his studies.
Well done, treat yourself extra special darling, you’ve achieved a wonderful milestone 💕
20th September 2019 at 1:54 pm #88340
Thank you, White Rose,
You are right- he maybe needs the odd text without admitting it!
I did text him after my post, and he called me a few days later too, though partly because of practical issues. But that’s good: practical is what we want, as it shows that his emotional stuff is relatively stable!
Thank you, and I hope life is treating you well x
20th September 2019 at 1:58 pm #88341
Thank you, HopeLifeJoy,
Thank you for your thoughtful response. I think you mention something really important : that he feels safe to go and live, because he trusts that I am now safe. He was always very protective towards me, and I have always told him that I will be fine- I am independent minded and have great support.
I lived at home during university, partly as I felt responsible for my divorced mum. I didn’t want him to feel that, and the fact he’s gone and having a ball shows that I at least succeeded in that way!
Thank you so much again x
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