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Topic : Empty Nest Blues

Number of Replies: 135
New Messages This Week: 0
Last Reply On:
Created on : Tuesday, August 15, 2006, 11:19:51 am
Author : DrPhilBoard1
The last of the kids have all left home, how do you handle your feelings of letting go of growing kids? Share advice and support with others dealing with empty nest blues.

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November 15, 2006, 1:31 pm CST

Empty Nest Blues

Quote From: pearlygirl

My youngest has left for the AirForce and I just got back from graduation.  It has been the toughest eights weeks I have gone through.  But you have to realize that they are growing and have to spread their wings as we did.  No, it's not going to be easy, I sat and cried for days and sometimes when his favorite song comes on I sit and cry.  I know he is happy where he is and he is enjoying his new life and finding where he belongs.  So now it is time to take care of you and find what you want to do with your life. 

I have been a single mother for the past thirteen years and it is difficult like you say, this is all you know is taking care of all their needs, now it is time to find out what you need.  I have gotten more involved with church and getting ready to teach a class and working on the christmas choir project and that keeps me busy plus the fact work is really busy and I work alot of long hours.  DON'T GET ME WRONG IT IS NOT EASY,  I am reading Robins book right now and she gives good advice on how to handle the empty nest so your child and you can work on accepting it as it get's closer to the time.  Good Luck, remember God won't give you anymore than you can handle. God BLess

Hold on tight but with an open hand.

 
November 16, 2006, 3:43 am CST

Thanks

Quote From: angiesmad

Hold on tight but with an open hand.

Thanks for taking the time to reply to my question .I want to say again thanks for the advice . I know deep down its the wrong thing for me to do is give up my life here without my son and move to be with him but as you say it hurts not having them with you and at the time of hurting so much runs through my mind...Again thanks alot Prettykit
 
November 26, 2006, 10:32 pm CST

Need advice

My son and I have been very close his whole life. His father was never there for either of us, so I was the one to take him to scouts, games and so forth. I divorced his father and married a great guy and we have been together for 9 years now and my son thinks of him as his father.

My son was never one to date much or have alot of friends in school so his experience with women is limited.

After he got out of high school, he met some people who he started hangin with and was then quite outgoing and was enjoying life, but still didn't have a girlfriend and was quite upset about that.

Then......He met this girl who was 18 at the time, he was 23, and has completely taken over his life. She was thrust into our lives because my son and her stayed out too late one night and her parents ended up kicking her out of the house. So we took her in. She moved out in a couple of months, and then my son started staying with her and eventually moved in with her a few months later. It was really hard for me since we were so close....or so I thought. She lies to him and we've caught her in lies so many times and my son just doesn't see it.

 He quit seeing his friends, quit going to karaoke, and quit coming to our house only unless she was with him. They just got married recently and she has him doing the dishes, cleaning the house, laundry and whatever else she can think of while she sits on the couch. She also has no problem belittling him, telling him off and putting him down in front of the family, even on holidays.

The other day, my husband and I went to their house around 11:30 a.m. and I guess they were taking a nap but my son got up and so we stayed and were talking to him. Then his wife came into the room and very rudely told us she wished we had of called because she wasn't even dressed. She started cleaning up the house and acted like we weren't even there. Finally we left and came home. When we got home a message was on the phone from my son to call him. I did and he told me that we should of called and I told him that I didn't realize family had to call to come see them because that is the way it's always been. I also told him that it's ok if she comes to our house without calling, but we can't. 

I know after we left their house the other day, she railed into him and told him he'd better call us and tell us to call first from now on.

What's happened now, is my son and I aren't talking and I don't even feel it matters to him if we are in his life or not.

I know he has his own life now, and I don't really get involved in it too much unless we are asked. We've gone into debt for them, we've moved them from place to place, and we just feel we are being used.

My question is, were we wrong in not calling? Should this be such a big deal? Should i be the one to call my son? Or should I just wait and see if he even comes around or just wants us out of his life?

Anyone who has gone thru this, any advice would be appreciated.

 
November 30, 2006, 9:37 am CST

Old story - grandbaby trouble

I'll start at the beginning by saying that I've got the reputation of being the controlling, butting in, unreasonable, demanding, needy mother-in-law. What I've done to deserve it, I don't really know. I've read a few of the other message boards and am appalled at the MIL stories. What I'm looking for is just advice on how to get along. I've tried everything – or almost everything. My husband is suffering too and I can't stand to watch it.

 

My daugther-in-law doesn't like me. I've known it for years. She says that's not true, but her behavior says otherwise. My son has a fiercely independent streak, has since childhood. His upbringing wasn't too difficult, no big problems from the parent's point of view. No drugs or alcohol – excellent grades. But he did strongly resent any place where his parents had to "control" him by being parents – such as curfews. That was the biggest bone of contention during his teenage years. But boy was it a big one. If I remember correctly, it was 10 p.m. on school nights and midnight on weekends. Midnight, by the way, was in violation of town law. The town had an 11 p.m. curfew law, so at midnight I was literally risking telling it to the judge. Even though he's 28, it seems that he's never gotten over it. So, he's the ring leader in my reputation.

 

The big trouble started when our grandson was born. He's 8 1/2 months old now. I can't win. I'm dealing with a first time mother who's naturally protective and defensive. Since I'm not her mother, I don't get the trust that her mother gets. I understand that. I was once in her spot. But gee. I can't say anything that isn't misconstrued.

 

Example: While she was pregnant, they bought a house. My son proudly showed me his new home. We walked to the backyard, which is beautiful, and I said, If you plant a tree over here, it would shade the swingset. I went on to tell about a particularly pretty tree we had at an old house. That was the end of the conversation. I've had skin cancer, and I've been told that my type was the direct result of exposure as a child, so I am particularly conscious of this issue. Guilty as charged. I'm forever offering people sunscreen. My son went straight in the house and told the DIL that I think they need a tree. Two months later when her mother visited (she lives out of town), her mother brought it up by saying, I hear you want a tree in the yard. What kind are they supposed to get?

 

Example 2: This was the only time I've ever spoken harshly to her and it looks like it will haunt me forever. I had the chance to babysit for about 2 hours – only because I asked. The baby was 3 months old. Within a few minutes of the DIL's arrival at home, I sat on the couch with the baby on my lap. He was facing me and we were "communicating". He kept staring at my hair so I tipped my head down and let him touch the top of my head. Her voice went up and with urgency in her voice she said, Don't let him do that. Tell him no. We're teaching him not to pull hair. I snapped back. I said, You think that's bad, just wait 'til I give him a wooden spoon and let him bang on my pots and pans. I also told the baby (as if a 3 month old can understand) that he could come to my house and do whatever he wanted. I was angry. I was hurt. I felt totally controlled. The result has been fighting over it repeatedly. I usually bring it up. I've been told that that was something she felt "very strongly" about. That I was disrespectful to her in her own home. I can't be trusted to follow her rules. What if it was a health issue. My son's advise - I should just promise to do everything I'm told. Good grief. Can this be blown any more out of proportion. This isn't a huge health related principal to fight over. It's a 3 month old who touched my head.

 

They took a week long vacation. Went on a cruise recently and imported her mother to babysit. The DIL said her mother got to babysit because she never gets to see him, and besides, she deserves it because her mother helps and makes the effort. Despite the fact that her mother lives so far away, money is no issue for her family, so there's never ending airplane tickets. There's been multiple trips and she's probably been with the baby at least 10 weeks of his little life. We've seen him about 2 hours a week on some weeks. We call it supervised visitation. They will let us visit, but we feel so nervous and uncomfortable we hardly enjoy it. My husband was so heartbroken that we weren't asked to babysit for vacation, he sobbed like a baby. He couldn't make it through the day at work without breaking down.

 

We had a family meeting last week. We were totally honest about our feelings. We said that we haven't been able to properly fall in love with the child. We feel sad and guilty. That were jealous of her family. That's hard to admit but true. Why deny it. Her mother gets a week at a crack of unbridled family love. We get a couple hours of chewing our nails to the quick. I said that we needed an emotionally safe environment. Their house isn't it. The result was that we could come pick him up on a Saturday and keep him for the day.

 

That's something but hardly a long term solution. Any ideas? I've offered my husband to keep my distance. Let him visit alone. But he's says it's no better when I'm not there.

 

One more example: The day the baby came home from the hospital, we stayed in the family room while she and her mother went to the living room to nurse the baby. After 2 hours listening to her and her mom in the next room chatting, we left. DIL has since said, we didn't have to leave – as if SHE was offended. After 2 hours, I thought the message was pretty clear.

 

I had an idea a couple of days ago. I set my son up with a profile on my Netflix account and asked him to pick out some movies. I'm looking for a way to fill the silence when we visit. I don't talk much any more when I'm there. My son has neither answered, nor ordered any movies.

 

Help us. Is it time for us to just fade into the woodwork? That may be the wisest thing to do. I don't see it as feasible to fight them in to treating us better. And we're tired of feeling like we're just tolerated.  He is their baby and I'm not the type to do the grandparents rights battle.

 
November 30, 2006, 10:20 am CST

You too?

Quote From: mpowrddeb

My son and I have been very close his whole life. His father was never there for either of us, so I was the one to take him to scouts, games and so forth. I divorced his father and married a great guy and we have been together for 9 years now and my son thinks of him as his father.

My son was never one to date much or have alot of friends in school so his experience with women is limited.

After he got out of high school, he met some people who he started hangin with and was then quite outgoing and was enjoying life, but still didn't have a girlfriend and was quite upset about that.

Then......He met this girl who was 18 at the time, he was 23, and has completely taken over his life. She was thrust into our lives because my son and her stayed out too late one night and her parents ended up kicking her out of the house. So we took her in. She moved out in a couple of months, and then my son started staying with her and eventually moved in with her a few months later. It was really hard for me since we were so close....or so I thought. She lies to him and we've caught her in lies so many times and my son just doesn't see it.

 He quit seeing his friends, quit going to karaoke, and quit coming to our house only unless she was with him. They just got married recently and she has him doing the dishes, cleaning the house, laundry and whatever else she can think of while she sits on the couch. She also has no problem belittling him, telling him off and putting him down in front of the family, even on holidays.

The other day, my husband and I went to their house around 11:30 a.m. and I guess they were taking a nap but my son got up and so we stayed and were talking to him. Then his wife came into the room and very rudely told us she wished we had of called because she wasn't even dressed. She started cleaning up the house and acted like we weren't even there. Finally we left and came home. When we got home a message was on the phone from my son to call him. I did and he told me that we should of called and I told him that I didn't realize family had to call to come see them because that is the way it's always been. I also told him that it's ok if she comes to our house without calling, but we can't. 

I know after we left their house the other day, she railed into him and told him he'd better call us and tell us to call first from now on.

What's happened now, is my son and I aren't talking and I don't even feel it matters to him if we are in his life or not.

I know he has his own life now, and I don't really get involved in it too much unless we are asked. We've gone into debt for them, we've moved them from place to place, and we just feel we are being used.

My question is, were we wrong in not calling? Should this be such a big deal? Should i be the one to call my son? Or should I just wait and see if he even comes around or just wants us out of his life?

Anyone who has gone thru this, any advice would be appreciated.

I can't believe there's a second person in the world who can so closely tell my story verbatim.  There's a few variations - but it eerily close.  Although she wasn't his first girlfriend.

 

The biggest difference, after about 2 months of living with us, I asked her to leave for multiple reasons.  Some of them were:  1.  I didn't feel comfortable attending their honeymoon.  2.  They needed to grow up, get their own place, and pay their own bills and see that there was more to an adult relationship than love.  3.  What I was watching was an obviously unhealthy relationship that I called mutually dependent.  I felt that I was propping up the relationship by doing the housework, etc, and taking all the pressure off of them that they should be growing through.  I was no longer a bystander and observer in the success or failure of their relationship.  I had become a factor and I didn't like it.

 

I didn't see her as wife material.  I was honest with him about what I thought.  I wanted him to do whatever he was going to do with his eyes wide open.  However, he's a grown up and it's his decision.  I suggested, multiple times, that he marry her.

 

After she left here, she went home to her parents - about 200 miles away.  They tried to keep it together, but after about 4 months they broke up.  He's since quit his job and followed her to the next city where he's unemployed and sleeping on a friend's floor.  He blames me for the break up.  Now, he's decided it's time for him to grow up and thinks the best way to do that is by pitching an air mattress with his kindergarten friend.

 

That was 2 weeks ago and we've communicated very little.  I don't know if they're back together again or not.  Right now, I don't want to know.  It was me that asked for a 90 day cooling off period.  We too feel used.  Maybe because we were.  It seems to me like we need time for our emotions to settle out before it gets worse.

 

Yours was an excellent letter for me to read.  I've wondered what would have happened if I'd bucked up and let her stay.  Now I know.  Pretty much what I guessed.  That wouldn't have turned out well either.

 

As a person who's a complete failure, are you sure you want advice from me?  If so, here it is.  The girls are a symptom, not the disease.  Our sons still need our help.  They're not complete people if they're willing to behave in such a desperate manner for an 18 year old girl.  I can't help mine right now.  He's 200 miles away.  Yours is still there.  Call him.  Apologize.  Tell him you'll call first before you visit.  Be prepared for the day you call and they say it's not convenient.  Treat them like grown ups and let the chips fall where they may.  Only your son can choose his own fate.  But in the end, if he needs you, he knows where to find you.  I hope mine is off on a learning experience.  I hope yours is too.

 

If you want to talk more, myemail73@gmail.com

 

 

 
November 30, 2006, 8:46 pm CST

He's your son, but he's her husband

Quote From: mpowrddeb

My son and I have been very close his whole life. His father was never there for either of us, so I was the one to take him to scouts, games and so forth. I divorced his father and married a great guy and we have been together for 9 years now and my son thinks of him as his father.

My son was never one to date much or have alot of friends in school so his experience with women is limited.

After he got out of high school, he met some people who he started hangin with and was then quite outgoing and was enjoying life, but still didn't have a girlfriend and was quite upset about that.

Then......He met this girl who was 18 at the time, he was 23, and has completely taken over his life. She was thrust into our lives because my son and her stayed out too late one night and her parents ended up kicking her out of the house. So we took her in. She moved out in a couple of months, and then my son started staying with her and eventually moved in with her a few months later. It was really hard for me since we were so close....or so I thought. She lies to him and we've caught her in lies so many times and my son just doesn't see it.

 He quit seeing his friends, quit going to karaoke, and quit coming to our house only unless she was with him. They just got married recently and she has him doing the dishes, cleaning the house, laundry and whatever else she can think of while she sits on the couch. She also has no problem belittling him, telling him off and putting him down in front of the family, even on holidays.

The other day, my husband and I went to their house around 11:30 a.m. and I guess they were taking a nap but my son got up and so we stayed and were talking to him. Then his wife came into the room and very rudely told us she wished we had of called because she wasn't even dressed. She started cleaning up the house and acted like we weren't even there. Finally we left and came home. When we got home a message was on the phone from my son to call him. I did and he told me that we should of called and I told him that I didn't realize family had to call to come see them because that is the way it's always been. I also told him that it's ok if she comes to our house without calling, but we can't. 

I know after we left their house the other day, she railed into him and told him he'd better call us and tell us to call first from now on.

What's happened now, is my son and I aren't talking and I don't even feel it matters to him if we are in his life or not.

I know he has his own life now, and I don't really get involved in it too much unless we are asked. We've gone into debt for them, we've moved them from place to place, and we just feel we are being used.

My question is, were we wrong in not calling? Should this be such a big deal? Should i be the one to call my son? Or should I just wait and see if he even comes around or just wants us out of his life?

Anyone who has gone thru this, any advice would be appreciated.

One of the hardest things a mother has to do is let her child go.  If you want to stay in your son's life, you have to let him make his own mistakes - as painful as it is for you.  Otherwise what you're implying is that he's not adult enough to make choices about his life.  Don't forget that you too made a mistake in a life partner, and look what a wonderful child it  produced.  Try to be there when the kids need you, but otherwise, bite your tongue! 

 

You're lucky to have your child so close to you, so, if you have to call, by all means call!  It's not that big of a request. 

 

 
December 3, 2006, 6:26 am CST

Job Advice and Hope

Quote From: mygirl1234

I have been a single parent for 19 years.  My parents assisted greatly in helping me when circumstances arose ex: babysetting, spending time with my child and my Dad being a male role model since my daughter's Dad does not involve himself  in any significant way.  My father passed away four years ago.  At the time I was an elementary teacher of 15 years and just received my masters.  I suffered depression off and on before but took med. and was under a doctor's care. When my father became ill, my family fell apart. My mother went into denial and wasn't taking care of Dad with his cancer treatments or herself either.My only sister, a nurse, lived an hour away and was not helping, my teenager stopped trying in school and I missed numerous days from work , I was risking my  job but loved my father and knew it was the best thing and only  thing to do. He wasmy close friend and respected and loved. I had to help out.  I took two family leaves.  To make a long story short. The family grew further apart. My Dad passed away and I tried to commit suicide as I felt  totally discouraged and deserted, it seemed that no one cared about me and my life was to crazy to stand.  My principal tried to fire me for missing days.  My insurance co. intervened and I aggreed to leave on my own, since it was obvious that they wanted me to go. They paid the remainder of my contract and agreed to only say in references that absences were due to family illinesses. IHAVE BEEN TURNED DOWN FOR TEACHING JOBS DUE TO THEIR REPORT. They have given me such a bad reference, I have not been able to get another teaching job since.  I never had a bad end of the year report and worked hard, loved the kids, and feel totally out of place now.  I want my life and career back so bad but can not get around the bad reference.  I also lost my grandmother and aunt the same school year as my father and my daughter ended up in the hospital with nausea and throwing up....,most likely nerves, never diagnosed.  She got behind in school and ended up getting her GED rather than finishing H. School.  It is like the last few years have been such a nightmare, so scary and I don't know where to start fixing this mess.I have always been a high achiever and worked my way through school for three degrees.  I am not lazy or unmotivated. I SURE DO FEEL REJECTED AND LIKE A FAILIRE.  Please help me SEE THE NEXT STEP. I FEEL SO BACKED IN A CORNER AND FOR ONCE IN MY life I DONT KNOW THE NEXT STEP. ANY HELP WOULD BE APPRECIATED. 
Your post really touched my heart.  I went through a similar situation in that I had health problems that caused depression and my marriage ended because my husband didn't want to deal with it at all.  I have a M.Ed. in Adult Ed that I struggled to get following counseling and the divorce--and finally did when I was 47 yrs old. Then, I had a car accident 2 yrs ago and a brain injury that has totally disabled me from working even part time.  I have to rest alot and have ongoing problems.  Anyway!  As far as your job, you might want to try going to a interview workshop--many state employment services offer these for free if you are unemployed, also some community colleges have these at very low cost.  You might be inadvertently sabotaging your interviews.  I taught  many of these in Washington state.  You also sound like you might benefit from grief counseling.  I lost my brother in law, father, and mother within a 2 year period and it does help.  In the interim, volunteer at your local school as a homework helper and consider starting your own tutoring business for kids that have problems in school.  Good luck to you dear.  I'll pray for you.
 
December 5, 2006, 5:04 pm CST

Empty Nest Blues

Quote From: mygirl1234

I have been a single parent for 19 years.  My parents assisted greatly in helping me when circumstances arose ex: babysetting, spending time with my child and my Dad being a male role model since my daughter's Dad does not involve himself  in any significant way.  My father passed away four years ago.  At the time I was an elementary teacher of 15 years and just received my masters.  I suffered depression off and on before but took med. and was under a doctor's care. When my father became ill, my family fell apart. My mother went into denial and wasn't taking care of Dad with his cancer treatments or herself either.My only sister, a nurse, lived an hour away and was not helping, my teenager stopped trying in school and I missed numerous days from work , I was risking my  job but loved my father and knew it was the best thing and only  thing to do. He wasmy close friend and respected and loved. I had to help out.  I took two family leaves.  To make a long story short. The family grew further apart. My Dad passed away and I tried to commit suicide as I felt  totally discouraged and deserted, it seemed that no one cared about me and my life was to crazy to stand.  My principal tried to fire me for missing days.  My insurance co. intervened and I aggreed to leave on my own, since it was obvious that they wanted me to go. They paid the remainder of my contract and agreed to only say in references that absences were due to family illinesses. IHAVE BEEN TURNED DOWN FOR TEACHING JOBS DUE TO THEIR REPORT. They have given me such a bad reference, I have not been able to get another teaching job since.  I never had a bad end of the year report and worked hard, loved the kids, and feel totally out of place now.  I want my life and career back so bad but can not get around the bad reference.  I also lost my grandmother and aunt the same school year as my father and my daughter ended up in the hospital with nausea and throwing up....,most likely nerves, never diagnosed.  She got behind in school and ended up getting her GED rather than finishing H. School.  It is like the last few years have been such a nightmare, so scary and I don't know where to start fixing this mess.I have always been a high achiever and worked my way through school for three degrees.  I am not lazy or unmotivated. I SURE DO FEEL REJECTED AND LIKE A FAILIRE.  Please help me SEE THE NEXT STEP. I FEEL SO BACKED IN A CORNER AND FOR ONCE IN MY life I DONT KNOW THE NEXT STEP. ANY HELP WOULD BE APPRECIATED. 
hi there :-),,, i am brenda jo,, from michigan,,, it looks as though youve been thru a lot !!   my first husband hung himself,, i still havent told our son,, but he is 26 now,, i think he knows,,, secrets just dont work,,, just tell the kids the truth,,, ,, the truth is ALWAYS better,,,,
 
December 5, 2006, 5:10 pm CST

Empty Nest Blues

am worried and proud at the same time,, verry confusing,, my son who's father died,, that sounds odd,,, but he did,,, he passed,,, and jeff has always had a "time" with this, i know,,,, i remarried,, and jeff and sam,, the new dad ,, got along just fine,, but then again,, sam is only here jan 18 th thru march 25,,,, and for a month in the summer,,,,, i am "rambling" i think,, but i feel the URGENCY to speak,,,,, i almost passed a couple of times,, dont know why i am still here?????,,,,,there must be a reason,,,
 
December 10, 2006, 1:28 pm CST

Thankyou

Quote From: angiesmad

Hold on tight but with an open hand.

Thankyou for your response,

I am interested as to what book you are talking about that Robin has wrote.

I really would like to get my hands on it. My daughter is coming home for Christmas and I am so excited to see her, but I am not looking forward to her going back, I really want her to stay close to home. I am going to cherish every moment with her coming home.

I dont know what to do with my life now, I do work full time but I have such a big hole in my heart and I feel so lonely, I love my husband dearly as he is a good provider and sometimes loving, but I feel very alone and depressed, I feel as though I have failed so much in my life and I dont know why I go on, my kids keep me alive, I just dont know what to do or where to turn in my life. I dont feel needed anymore by anyone. I am sorry, but this is the only place to express my pain.

 
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