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My 32-year old son has cut me out of his life.

He has decided his struggles are due to poor choices and examples I made that affected his life and current situation.

The specifics of my son’s censure are uncertain, as he refuses to discuss them with me or even talk to me. Although I value good communication in my personal relationships, ours had somehow deteriorated. A distance had crept in leaving a coldness I didn’t understand. What was once a loving and spiritually uplifting connection became a dark chasm of emptiness.

I especially miss my sweet four-year-old granddaughter, a beautiful soul I had spent nearly every weekend with for the first 3.5 years of her life. We had become very close and I loved her dearly but I had started to become resentful of the expectation to care for her every weekend. I struggled with the inner warring conflict of helping my family or breaking free to care for my own growing needs.

I love my children and grandchildren very much. They are each so beautiful and precious to me. I always want to be there for them, and help when and where I can, but I was sacrificing myself in ways that were suffocating my freedom of spirit, and taking more than I had to give.

From a young age I knew there was a Divine presence in my life, one that had loved me up on several occasions when life had become unbearable. This love spoke to something deep within the well of who I truly was inside, and I sought its presence whenever things became rough. Rough didn’t even cut it now. The same knife used to sever our relationship was now attempting to exact its vengeance on my heart. Without this loving presence in my life it could have been a heartbreak of epic proportion. This time, the love so often felt before, had now graced me with courage!

Weary with the long worn pressures of raising a large family, and the break-up of my marriage, I longed for a change from the never-ending cycle that was robbing me of my already scattered energy. I had begun to feel like an unappreciated indentured servant, and yearned to be released from the bonds that held me captive.

I had allowed myself to fall into an expected role set by society and supported by its citizens. So had my son. I couldn’t seem to break free of the mental and emotional perceptions I too had adopted, and was now within it’s restricting grasp.

With encouragement from my daughter, and the budding desire for freedom, I began to loosen the chains that were weighing me down, and actuated some necessary changes. It started with reducing the hours I cared for my granddaughter to every other weekend. Then when my job required me to work weekends too, I was unable to do even that but still helped out during the week when I was needed.

What brought the relationship issues to a head was when my son demanded my help with a court case he was entangled in, and insisted I help him immediately. “That’s what parents are for,” he said. “Maybe for once you can do something for me as a parent,” were some of his remarks. Other remarks alluded to how selfish I was, and that I only cared about myself.

Imagine my surprise, as I felt I’d always been there for him, often helping out when I really needed to help myself instead. Apparently I had fallen short in his eyes. It was the final straw for me, and in my sense of freedom, after years of falling victim to his bullying tendency, I spoke up to his disrespect.

Though I had often caved to his manipulations in the past to keep the peace, the dynamic had become intolerable and I could no longer allow it. I had grown out of those worn-out victim clothes, and had donned a new frock of self-respect and power. This was forged by years of inner restraint and hard-won courage. Feeling like a warrior in full battle regalia, I pulled out my sword to defend myself. My inner power surged and resounded in a battle cry.

I denied his request and suggested he look in the mirror at his own selfishness and take responsibility for his creations, grow up, and clean up his own messes. I directed him to what he was seeking to handle on his own, and ended what had quickly blown up into a downward spiral of negativity. My victory held a very dear price as he commenced to tell me I was dead to him, and I was no longer allowed to contact him, his wife or see his child.

Now, I can be passive at times, especially where my oldest is concerned. This conflict had been brewing for several years with no relief. Not wanting to rock the boat of our tenuous relationship, I’d always kept silent, hoping that one day, we would move past the barriers and make our peace. But after years with no resolution I realized things were only getting worse between us. Nothing I did or said would garner the love I desired, or make up for whatever he felt was wrong between us. Until he was open enough to stop placing blame, and take personal responsibility for his life and choices and discuss his feelings, we would never be able to move beyond it.

It was in this realization that I found the necessary courage to stand up for myself, and see the pattern of abuse we were both caught within. The unhealthy expectations that had entrapped us were revealed, and the lens of understanding had become clearer. I was finally ready to make the changes necessary for establishing new boundaries, even if he wasn’t. He would fight his battle when he was ready to. Loving my son despite his feelings towards me was not the problem, I would always be there for him if and when he wanted to talk and work things out. Not loving myself was the problem.

Since our last altercation I have stood my ground, and have allowed him his space. Several times I have wanted to break the silence and force a discussion, but then I would not be honoring his choice, whether I condoned it or not. Freedom of choice is something I have come to appreciate and value in all my relationships.

I know it will take time, but anything of worth does, including the hard-won lessons of love. In the end I trust that I have made the right decision. We will either reach an accord, and forgiveness and understanding will mend the chasm between us, or we will continue to go our separate ways.

The days of walking on eggshells with my son are over. I no longer have to tiptoe around him wondering when the next emotionally charged attack will occur, or if I have his love and respect. A new sense of self-love has emerged, allowing a greater balance in my life, releasing the perceived illusion I thought was love.

Being a parent and grandparent is one of the greatest gifts I have ever experienced. With increased self-honesty and self-love I can be just as great a gift in return.