I was abandoned by my mother when I was 7 years old. My father raised my brother and me. I didn’t see my mom until I was 16, when she contacted me to say she was a new person and drug free. She remarried and has three stepsons (abandoned by their mother). I am now 31 and try to have a decent relationship with her. I have two children of my own, and she attended their births. When I took my daughter to visit, I noticed a lot of pictures of the step-grandkids but few from her real grandkids. I also spent an entire day of my three-day trip with her stepkids and their kids. I don’t know them, didn’t grow up with them and have no interest in forming a relationship. I was hurt, and it made me feel like an abandoned child all over again. I didn’t tell her it hurt, I just went on like everything was OK. Should I tell her how I feel or just continue on as I have been doing?
Neither. Have a conversation with your inner child instead. Your mother abandoned herself, honey, not you. That’s what an addiction is: self-abandonment. It’s understandable for a child to view a parent’s exit as abandonment. Children often blame themselves for an adult’s choices. All children engage in magical thinking, after all, believing themselves capable of being the sole reason why their parents’ relationships failed or succeeded. That’s why adults need to tell the truth.
Once a child believes she or he has been abandoned, that child equates insecurity with love. That’s why you view the stepsiblings as the fake family; it keeps you insecure about your mother’s affections for you. Unconsciously, you perpetually criticize her to elevate yourself. That’s why you entered her home and searched for reasons to feel insecure. In childhood, it was “I’m not loveable enough for her to stay,” and now it is “I’m not loveable enough to be in more photos or to have her full attention for the entire weekend.”
Now hear this: When your mother walked away, she was giving you the gift of her absence so you could grow up without the chaos, selfishness and lies that are central to an addict’s life. So it’s time to rethink your concepts of family and love. Yeah, it was awkward to spend time with stepfamily, but your mother was opening her world to you. What would happen if you accepted the invitation and just let yourself fit in?
I’ve been divorced 12 years and dateless for about five. There is a guy at work who is very attentive and flirtatious. He is married, unhappily. His wife lost her job last year and cannot find another. They have three kids, so he can’t leave. I am very attracted to him. So, is getting involved really a bad thing since he plans to leave her?
Adultery is the murder of a marriage. He may be pulling the trigger, but your hand is on the gun and your fingerprints are all over the crime scene. Not convinced? Try this: Retell his story from his wife’s point of view. That’s right. She loses her job, is struggling to find other employment and he’s trying to ditch her and three kids by having an affair with a woman who hasn’t had a date in five years. Sound like a great guy? I didn’t think so. Part of being an adult is practicing self-discipline. Just because he doesn’t know how to be an adult doesn’t mean you have to regress, too. And by the way, if he cheats on his wife, it’s likely he will cheat on you, too.