I Feel I Have Lost My Son

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

I feel I have lost my son. It is all about the daughter in law’s side of the family. They go there for all major holidays, they go on trips with them. We are never invited to join them and most of the time my son doesn’t tell us – we find out by other means. When I did find out the in law’s were going on the honeymoon & I mentioned it, he got angry with me. I know it’s not going to change, I want to know how I can learn to live without feeling that my heart has been ripped out.

A: This is so, so painful. Of course you are heartbroken. I’m sure this is confusing and hurtful and even angry-making. You didn’t raise your son to lose him this way. If you and your husband are reasonable and generally decent people, there is no reason for your son to cut you out of his life like this.

Have you had a talk with your son? I don’t mean an angry confrontation. i mean an honest talk where you tell your son how much you love him and how much you want to have a friendly and loving relationship with him and his wife. Yes, it will be difficult, especially if he gets defensive. Ask him to bear with you and to hear you out. Stay away from blaming. Be open to hearing what kind of pressures may be on him. Emphaisize that you want things to be better and ask what you can do to make progress toward that goal.

There is room in young people’s lives to have good relationships with both sides of a family. There is even the possibility of making friends with the “out-laws.” It takes being open-minded and open-hearted. See if your son and daughter-in-law would agree to having a get-together now and then where you invite her parents to join you. You may not be able to be as close to the young couple as the other parents but, with some effort, the situation could improve.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 7 Oct 2012

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2012). I Feel I Have Lost My Son. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 26, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2012/10/07/i-feel-i-have-lost-my-son/