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Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Estranged Mothers

A vivacious 36-year-old divorced mother of three is estranged from her eldest son who is 18 (yes, she was 18 when she had him). She stems from a middle class background: her own family was lower middle class, as was her husband's, but due to his career as a physician they moved well through middle class into upper middle class over the course of their 18 year marriage.

Her estrangement from her son is not violent or ugly. It simply is. They have little to talk about. When they do talk, there is little agreement about anything. She feels he is cold, dismissive, and rejecting of her. When she speaks of him, her mouth works itself into an almost petulant arrangement, something I have not seen in her when she speaks of other, also very difficult matters. This tells me that part of the problem is that it is the child in her that is still reacting to her own child (the son), rather than her adult part reacting to him. This is potentially a major part of the problem. I don't know what the son feels, as I have only heard her side of the story.

What I do know is this: if she wants to re-establish a relationship with him, she will have to be the driving force behind the attempt. She will need to take the bull by the horns and let him know how important he is to her. She will need to let him know that their relationship - hers with him - is paramount and weighs in more heavily than any hurt or disagreement that may exist between the two - at least from her point of view. She will need to wear down his defenses (probably erected when he was still a little boy and she was not yet emotionally and psychologically able to be an adult mother for him), in order that he see through the hurt he probably feels to the parent that truly does love and care for him.

But as I say: this is probably only going to happen if she intends it. If she takes the responsibility for making it happen. And especially if she can overcome the child in herself that still reacts to him as though he had been an adult all along rather than her child. Overcoming that child in herself implies - among other things - moving into consciousness.

I very much hope she will realize that love comes before all else. Before being right and before being hurt. It is the road back to her son.

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