How I sorted myself out and developed a relationship with my son
This March was my ninth year in therapy. That’s a lot, isn’t it? I’m in shock myself. Previously, when I watched movies, there were going to a psychoanalyst three times a week, and lying on the couch talking about their dreams. The idea of this process was superficial, and to be honest, there was no desire to go deeper. And that was fine. Until the accident. On the highway. My son had just turned one year old, and my first husband and I were flying on the wings of freedom to who knows where, leaving my son for the first time overnight at his grandmothers. Bam. Right in front of us, in a cloud of dust, one car crashes into another. Noise, noise, blood. I find out later that there was a baby in there. He’s dead.
And that was it. I stopped sleeping. I stopped living. Any mayonnaise commercial on TV that showed a happy, ironed-out family brought tears to my eyes. I lasted three weeks like a fog. “It didn’t go away on its own. I realized I needed help.
Finding a specialist
I was referred to a man who deals with such cases. There were no couches; there was a conference room where I could choose any chair and any place in the space. After 40 minutes I heard my laugh and didn’t recognize it. I had forgotten what it sounded like. At the end of the hour, I got up and went home to sleep soundly. It shocked me. One hour and I could live like I did before the incident. I got curious. So I went again.
How did the therapy go
I went once a week, sometimes interrupted for six months or more, especially at first. I was frightened when themes came out of the depths that I was not ready to tackle. I now know that I am a master of the sport of avoidance.
I’ve changed several therapists over the years. The first one passed away from illness, I had to find a replacement. For me the main criterion for a specialist to be mine is that I can cry in front of him. I found my therapist, with whom I still work today, because of my son. I had a problem: I was living with an abuser after divorcing my husband, and was upset that my 4 year old son wouldn’t accept him. Yup.
She was recommended to me as a great child psychologist. It surprised me that no one would correct a child. I thought you bring him in as a broken toy, and take him back as a ready made comfortable boy. Turns out the first thing you do is work with the parent. So we started. And at the end of the first meeting, tears came out of me. She asked something of me, managing to grope me, the very thing that truly disturbed me. And I plucked up the courage (at that time, even simple questions were sometimes difficult for me) and asked her about working with adult clients. And then I was off.
She taught me to see myself, to hear my desires. God, how hard it is to write these phrases now, because they have been so blurred by so many social media courses. But just imagine a man who goes where his parents want him to go. Who doesn’t know what he wants. Who thinks his son is a disappointment and a shame. Who builds relationships with men based on parental phrases: “He doesn’t hit, he doesn’t drink, and so do you…., all the good ones were taken long ago, don’t think twice about it.” I was like a leaky robot, jerking around with rusty parts. You know how I see myself now? I’m a young, lean rider, my outfit is my life’s knowledge and skills. Beneath me is a fast horse which is rushing at full speed in the desired and desired direction. Which picture do you like better? I like the second one.
I sold the restaurant business I inherited from my father, which I never loved.
I allowed myself to love my son (think about it, you can forbid yourself for fear of losing him forever) and our relationship began to play with unknown colors.
I forgave my father for leaving our family when I was 8. And I forgave him for dying so young. I also forgave myself for being angry with him.
I’ve mended my relationship with my mother. I ran away from home at 19 when I had the chance, it was impossible to communicate. Now we have a family meeting once a month in a cafe, to talk quietly. And I like what she says (by the way, she is now in her 65 also goes to a therapist).
I married for the second time to an amazing man, whom my childhood attitudes and my mother’s fears might have prevented me from seeing.
I overcame the first crisis, which happened in the 4th year of married life. If it wasn’t for the psychologist, I would have been divorced, I swear. No, she is not a magic pill that solves everything for you and tells you what to do. She’s your mirror that makes you see things from a different angle, and sometimes it’s overwhelming. And it changes everything inside you.
Psychotherapy… What would happen if I didn’t do psychotherapy? I wouldn’t be me. I wouldn’t have been able to recognize those facets of myself that were hiding behind fear, insecurity, and anger. But they were the ones that helped me understand that talking to myself like a sex rag, humiliating and commanding, does not lead to lasting and enjoyable results. That coming home from work and crying every night to relieve frantic tension is not the norm.
Now that I am a seasoned fighter, I have self-help mechanisms. And as a rule I come to another counseling session to “report back” on the work I’ve done within myself. And every time I am surprised at how much more is coming out of me. I do not come for the result. I like the process. I want to continue living this way: with harmony in my soul, with the feeling that everything is good, and even if everything sucks, then I have me, and that means I will get out anyway.
To make a long story short: I’m happy now. And I wish happiness to everyone who reads this article. And it doesn’t matter which way you eventually come to it.
Readers tell stories about psychotherapy. Stories of how seeing a therapist changed lives.
How do I fix my relationship with my adult son?
The problem of conflict between children and parents has been around for centuries. Thousands of scientific works, literary works, films, works by artists and idle musings have been devoted to the acute topic.
Despite the fact that a lot of time has been devoted to this issue, it is not definitively closed. The accumulated baggage of knowledge, has not yet allowed to get rid of conflicts and misunderstandings in the relationship between parents and children.
Moreover, the impression is that the problem has grown and become more urgent. There is a legitimate explanation for this. The main cause of misunderstanding and conflict is the scourge of modern society: selfishness.
Selfishness in relationships is usually a mutual phenomenon, but in this article we will talk about the causes of parental selfishness, how to fix already damaged relationships and keep them normal.
Sons. How much is in that word for every parent. Fathers pin great hopes on their sons, expecting them to fulfill what they themselves have not been able to fulfill. Mothers selflessly, selflessly love their children and wish them the best. But as you know, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
The main reason for the problems in the relationship with her adult son
In the life of every parent there comes a moment when he has to realize that his son has grown up and no longer needs you as much as he did before. He has become an adult, and therefore must “play the role” of an adult. Your son’s body and psyche are signaling in every possible way that he needs to be responsible, independent, have his own opinion, principles, the right to assert his interests, personal time and space. For him, as a man, these are vital values and a condition for survival.
And so imagine that you continue to hold him “by the umbilical cord” and encroach on what is so important to him. What kind of reaction would you get? How does a person behave when values essential to his survival are encroached upon?
There are two possible reactions.
The first option. The boy folds his arms across his chest and submits to his parents’ will. It would seem that it’s good for the parents, and the child remains under their care and control. But this option is fraught with serious problems of social adaptation in the future. It will be difficult for your son to adjust to the adult world, start a family, build productive friendships and work relationships. In this case, he will remain a child in all contexts of life, with all the ensuing consequences. Second option. Protest and struggle. You become the opponent of your son. There will be no winners in this rivalry.
You will have to, for the reason that he is your child, you love him, and you want what is best for him. And the best thing would be to let him go, let him be independent and let him get his own bumps in the road. It’s a natural process, almost all parents go through it, and those who don’t, are doomed to survive the above options.
No one is suggesting that you remove yourself and become an uninvolved spectator in your son’s life. You remain the closest and dearest person to your child, but for the common good you need to adhere to the rule of adult communication.
Basic rules for a good relationship with your adult son
Stop giving advice when it is not asked for. By giving advice, you acknowledge and point out to the person his inexperience, incompetence and inability to make his own decisions. Independent decision-making implies further responsibility for it. So in giving advice, you make two mistakes.
First – you admit your son’s incompetence, and you deprive him of the right to have his own experience. It’s unlikely to excite any adult.
Second – you take responsibility for the result of the decision made on yourself. If the result will be negative, you risk getting a generous portion of reproaches and claims.
So advise only when you are asked. If a parent’s heart is ripped to shreds and loving eyes fill with tears watching his son “step on a rake,” the only thing you can afford to ask is, “Do you need my help?”
experiences and emotions, will not destroy trust and understanding. Communicating in this style will also teach your son to convey his thoughts and experiences to you correctly and tactfully. I-messages are a quality substitute for even constructive criticism.
Put yourself in his place.
Remember what was important to you, your values, anxieties and desires. This approach will help prevent conflicts or allow you to approach them thoughtfully and without unnecessary emotion.
Don’t push. Newton’s third law of Newton states that the force of action is equal to the force of counteraction. So next time, before you put pressure on your son, remember that this law of physics also works in interpersonal relationships. The stronger the pressure, the stronger the resistance.
Instead of pushing for what you need, try to convince your son that he needs it too. Communicate your needs through the self-message. This is a painless way to get what you want.
Counsel and ask for help. Asking your son for advice and help is a good way to build a relationship with your adult son. These appeals will give your son a sense of his value and importance to you.
Acknowledge your mistakes. In any conflict, each of the parties believes that they are right, but if you look into it, both parties are guilty. Left unanswered, any aggressive outburst is extinguished. Therefore, if there was a conflict, then you were either the aggressor, or responded in the same way.
Think about what mistakes you made in your communication with your son, admit them to yourself, and then talk to your son and apologize for those mistakes. Tell him that all the mistakes you made are due to your parental love and concern for him. Give him a promise that from now on you will be restrained in your emotions, start to respect him as a person and treat him as an adult.
In order to normalize the relationship, parents first need to understand that the boy has grown up, and that the parent-child relationship needs to change to an adult-adult one.