I feel like im losing my son

hi everyone I havent been here for over a month due to a serious flare up of rheumatoid arthritis. Today is the first day I can really type. I am very glad to see other posts in military family group. My son is 20 and he early enlisted in the army at 17. He was in the future soldiers program. All he ever wanted to be was a soldier, ever since he was able to talk. His dad, who died in 2003 of agent orange and ptsd related illnesses, was in the army airborne in nam in 1968-69. All I ever wanted for my sons, I have an older one who is 23, was not to go into the military or be firemen. Of course Lucas did. He had a rough time when he was 13 and his brother was 17 because I had a near fatal accident and our lives were completely changed in an instant. I earned 2/3 of our income and I was the backbone of the family. When he needed me most I wasnt there for him. My older boy who has aspergers, as I do, was the only one in my family who had compassion . My husband I guess thougt I was slacking. I had a crazy md who put me on a slew of meds that I had a very bad reaction to. So for three years my kids had a mom who was bed ridden and severely depressed. My youngest took the lead from my husband and became angry at me. I was misdiagnosed and it took 4 1/2 yrs to find a dr who found out my back was broken. Im sorry this is so long, but to understand my pain you need to see the reason. I have been abused by my parents, betrayed by friends I trusted, my husband had zero compassion during the worst of my post accident times, and my ex the kids dad who was still my best friend even after divorce died in 2003. My older son Thomas is my rock, my salvation. Therapy has helped with my husband. He is not a bad man, we have been in therapy together and I have accepted that he just was overwhelmed. Physicaly he is immensely strong but emotionaly he is totally dependent on me.
My son acted like he couldnt wait to get away from home. He hated that we were poor after the accident. We lost our home. I didnt care, I hated it and the town. We now rent from a farmer and live in the sticks, I adore it. and I like renting. My son recently finished his first deployment in afghanistan. When he came home last year he was very angry, he acted like all he wanted to do was hang out with his friends and get drunk. I have severe ptsd from a variety of stuff, and i see it now in him. Now he is approaching christmas leave{ he is home posted in Italy} and he hasnt even told me when he is coming. he doesnt write me unless I write first. I feel like he hates me. The one thing I insisted in while in therapy with my husband was that he set things right with Lucas, and tell him that I was not to blame for how things went.
Please tell me what you think, should I just leave it and consider him lost to me, should I not write him but wait for him? Or does he need my support whether he knows it or not? Thank God I have my older boy he is an absolute angel. I adore him, he is so supportive. Any advice would be deeply appreciated.I do deeply love lucas despite the situation between us
dr

Hi there dark raven

I have seen some of your previous posts, its good to have you back.

you have certainly been through the mill.

My own feeling is that I would not write howwver i know in similiar situations with my mohter i have given her similiar advice. it was impossible for her to follow she just could not stay incommunicardo with any of her children, it killed her.(not literally).

unfortunately your son is playing the blame game. its easier to blame you than adjust to a harder finiancial position. He is pissing his life away with booze and burying his feelings.

I wonder if he feels his older brother, wiht aspergers gets most of the attention.?

unfortunatley he sounds like he has a lot of growing up to do. Then again no matter how much you dislike it getting pissed with your mates at that age is very normal. so i'm kind of swinging back and forth between you and your sons viewpoint and its quite hard to get a feel of whats really going down. so it this comes across as one line infavour of you, then the ohter your son, its because i'm jumping back and forth in my mind.

You have been in therapy andhave made an adjustment to your husbands outlook. you have accepted he was overwhelmed.

your son has to start work on his own issues not blaming you but you cannot force him to do so. if you push this with him it will be seen as very intrusive, which is certainly the worst thing you can be to a teen child, and hes not that farout from his teens.

although you see your sons lack ofresponiveness to your letters as a bad thing. perhaps its not.

I think its normal. when i was at uni many of the guys were very apathetic (at least publicly) about writing to thier mothers. I did write but i dont count, i'm gay as a daisy, the dymanics are different.

when guys go to college they write to their mother less than their sisters, and I'm sure he would not like to say to the other guys, sorry cant play basket ball now as i'm writing to my mother.

If it really does make it easier for you and you can do it,stop maybe for a while. Then again if he is inclined to blame you as we've seen, he could just usse this against you.

I am so sorry this is such confused councel. You are in a bind.

you dont say for whom your older son had compassion, i am assuming you mean for yourself. if this is the case your other boy would have felt his nose pushed out even more. I am not saying you are wrong, but your son is only human, and he would be resentful if his brothers compassion was "bias" (fromo his persppetive).

that not withstanding he sounds like he still has issues.

howver he does not have your wisdom or life experience.

I dont really feel i can say do this/ do that.. you are already doing the best you know how.
I think if you do anythign its all about cultivating love/positive attitude and always playing for actions that leave the door open but are also not to onerous for you.

The dalai lama has some great meditations to help in this and practising mindfulness is also a good disipline.you can learn this from completley secular soucres such as "the power of now" by eckhard tohl.

If you are christian, you may not want any of this buddist stuff. Do you feel a minister of religin could help?

He is probalby going to blame you for sometime to come. this will be hard to accept and I think you are in for the long haul.

On a more upbeat note, I think he loves youvery much. he always replies to your letters even if he doesnt iniate dialogue. sometimes men are not good at the small talk.

I hope this hasnt been too confusing for you.

NB

welcome back! i remember your other posts too. i thought your son said he was interested in therapy, do you know if he will do that?

i am glad to hear that you and your husband are doing better and working well through therapy. keep going.

as for what to do, my suggestion would be to let your son know you support him and write letters. maybe keep the letters general, just letting him know you are thinking about him and that you love him.

for the other stuff, have you ever had a sit down with your son about what went on and why he has resentment towards you? maybe you could talk to him first and then your husband. I think with that you have to give it time. trust me, i know what its like to blame and feel resentment towards a parent, and with time it does get better just don't give up.

hon

speaking as a parent i know its hard when our chick seems to be rejecting us but he has to start his journey to adult hood somewhere and he cant be expected to remember good old mum and dad in the background, if its appropriate chat to him about how u feel but if not keep the communications open i send my boy in the army silly postcards rather than a letter its seems more appropriate and not such a mumsie thing to do

and yes they do turn up out of the blue without a thought where they will sleep/eat or even if u are in or have spent all day waiting for them

try and remember when u were that age and how many crusades u carried out without knowing the whole picture how your views changed as u got older and had more experience to base the previous things on

to him life is black and white but soon it will have those grey shades that make people change views on things

just keep hanging in there it will get better

as always loving thoughts and positive vibes
D :)

Hi all- first thank you for your responses and ideas. There is a lot there that I agree with. I have stopped all letter writing to him, except for a brief note to say merry christmas, and I apologized for some things I had said in an earlier post due to hurt and anger. I only apologized for what I felt was inappropriate, mean stuff, which is so not me, and he knows that well.
My son has not written, spoken, visited or made any attempt to get in touch with me or his brother or for that matter my husband, who was his so good buddy during the years that I was out of commission due to my injury.
I have tried to get him to come down and see me for the day, and sit down and see if we could work this out. I didnt really want to do it, but my older son really wanted to try. No response.
I am extremely angry and hurt by his actions. He called his buddy's parents when he returned to Italy from Afghanistan. He only called me when he couldnt find the account number on his bank. He couldnt get money out.His friend who is also in the army. is a good kid, but was very messed up in high school. One night in their senior year I prevented him from commiting suicide, and got him into treatment. I also convinced him to stop drinking. It has helped.He texted me merry christmas and always answers my fb messages. I dont mention my son to him. His mom is ok but she is bipolar and an alcoholic. She put him through some rough times. However his parents have money and while we were depending on food banks before I got my disablity, my son was going over there all the time cause she cooks a lot, and he is addicted to nice things.
I am hurt but right now anger is the main emotion. He is very materialistic, and he is a phony and a coward. If he had any guts he would face me at least once and deal with this. The only compassion he ever showed was towards these incredibly messed up girls he always dated. He acted like sir galahad towards them and got treated like dirt in return. I minded my own business, and he always ended up coming to me for advice. I tried to be very objective though I told him the truth. I cant tell you how many times he came and told me I was always right about stuff, I would tell him no, I just have more experience than you.
He also ditched my foster son, who lives in Canada. He was supposed to be up there now visiting him for a week. He never even contacted him. Last time he was here on leave a year ago he told me he knew he needed therapy, but he thinks he cant go in for it or it will ruin his life in the army. Actually just the opposite is true, they are scared to pieces about suicide, so they are not penalizing anyone for therapy.
My older son actually became very independent pretty young, despite his aspergers. I think I divided my time and attention pretty well, except of course for the time I was out of it due to the accident. I think his age-13 at the time is part of the problem. He turned into a monster when puberty hit.
My son , my husband and I have a good life here now. For now it is almost like a death in the family, I have removed his pictures and all signs of him. I havent written him again and wont except maybe for a quick e mail on his birthday.
I just feel like despite my best efforts, I have one terrific son and one who is a **** right now. Maybe he will change, I think in his heart he knows how wrong he is.
You can only do your best.
thanks so much for your help.
dr

darkraven

How long has it now been that you last had contact with your son? I hope and believe in time as more time passes he will think more about the situation..maybe it will take some time but it may be what he needs.
Im sure he does know deep in his heart he is wrong. I think distancing from him will only allow him time to think.
You are doing your best and your constant efforts before shows him you do care.
Just do what you feel is right to you. I hope in time he will see things differently.

AG

My mom is going through something similar with my brothers one a soldier, one a civilian. I know how much it hurts to have your children treat you so badly, especially when you have worked. so. hard. for them because I can see it in my mom, but as a child I think it is important that you still write to your son and give him your support even if the pain means you can't do it as often. You sound like a really really caring mom, like mine, and no matter what he thinks you are important to him. I hope he comes around soon and learns to let go and forgive.

For starters, I am not a doctor of any kind and I make no assertions to know the entire story. I only know from what I read above and in rendering my opinion you may well think I am an A-Hole.

I think you are being a little hard on your son and yourself. I think you are making a lot of assumptions in the absence of substantive communication with your son and that equals mind reading. I can tell you of the many flaws that I continue to work on , mind reading is definitely one of the more screwed up ones.

I was a Professional Soldier and attained the enlisted rank of Staff Sergeant before I was medically retired for wounds due to combat. My Son is a Professional Soldier, my brother was a soldier ( he is alive but wounded also) and my daughter is married to a Professional Soldier.

Between the men in my family who are soldiers we have a total of seven and a half years of overseas deployments to one combat zone or another. Barring all the upbringing and childhood stuff, I would say that for the situation your son is/was in, his behavior is actually not all that abnormal.

Try not to blame your self or him and you might actually begin to respect what HE is going through. Civilians who have only seen war through the filter of a camera lens can never begin to understand what warriors of any generation go through, and whatever way your son is coping with knowledge no man or woman should ever know is up to him and probably has very little to do with you or the way he feels about you.

I have read that people can get PTSD from a car accident or a natural disaster. Imagine what kind of PTSD one might acquire from three car accidents a day for 365 days in a row.

Many parents and family members have misunderstood environmental leave from the combat zone as the family vacation, it is not. Environmental leave from the combat zone is for the soldier to get a break from the unimaginable, just long enough to realize they have to go back to it. My last three days before my first environmental leave I couldn't wait to get home. By the second day at home I couldnt wait to go back to the war zone.

Your son has been rewired and some of the assumptions you are making may not even apply anymore.

Lastly I couldnt believe you called him a coward, any one who will raise their hand and say "I will" in a time of war is no coward in my book. Although I can tell you, I am proof that a **** does well in a combat zone. It makes it a little easier to watch your friends die or to kill another human being if you are a ****, I am just saying.

Good luck, it wont be easy, but I would recommend respecting him and treating him like a man who has earned the right to make his own decisions, even the decision to not call or write you. It might make you feel a little better about him if you could respect his choices he has earned while protecting your right to make yours.

BTW I didnt write or call my Ma, very much either. It really hurt too much to think of the comfort and safety of home while I was trying to stay alive everyday. Oh and for me, "Mothers Love" was the last freaking thing I wanted to feel on the battle field, it might have reminded me that the guy I was smoking had a mommy too.

Respectfully
Staff Sergeant (RET) David Marklein

Dave- thanks for sharing your story and showing another point of view. i don't think many people can understand a situation unless they have been through it, so it helps to hear your point of view and what you thought when you were deployed. On a separate note, thank you for serving our country and protecting us.

Darkraven - how are you doing? I hope things are going well on your end.

I've been going through something similar with my daughter, just turned 22, and the youngest of my 2 children. I survived many developmental brain impacts (major) that I shouldn't have survived, most by my 6th birthday, some things I was born with, like Asperger Syndrome (and comorbids), and a rare connective tissue disease from my mother's side, unbeknownst to any of us until recently, though it has been wreaking havoc on me all my life. They decided not to tell anyone that I nearly died from sucking coal smoke and ash for most of the first two years of life, living right next door to coal-burning power plant smokestacks in "chemical valley" WVA (since I survived and recovered after we moved, it was deemed unimportant), or just how badly I was injured from a major tbi after a 3-story fall onto solid concrete a week after my fifth birthday--in bed with head pressures for almost a year. My parents decided to move once I could sit up and never tell what happened because I wasn't obviously deformed, and high IQ. With no rehab or understanding of what was wrong, I had a tough time trying to survive, but I toughed it out, relied on intelligence to cover gaps but it was always tough. Took me 22 years, but I fought my way through undergrad and law school, and 9 years in a corporate "hired gun" job that had its benefits.

But the medical problems and the DD problems have continued to pile up, having surgery after surgery trying to keep me put back together, bizarre conditions that I should not have had, seemingly unrelated and inexplicable, and surgeries failed in similarly mysterious ways. When I couldn't tough it out any longer and had to get answers, and couldn't work any longer, I rolled up my sleeves and fought through to get real objective answers to build the puzzle.

It took me over 2 years to get at the truth, as well as getting my hands on over 2000 pages of medical records that told the story, if anyone had looked, but they didn't, until I insisted.....a LOT. Then they did more tests, and uncovered the reality that they weren't looking for, and in fact, few had eyes to know what it was.

During this time, my daughter, who I raised without help, loved and cared for and supported through everything, and who would come to me to talk about anything, suddenly shut me out, and has been horrible to me for almost a year. I have struggled with this issue, what's the right thing to do (I've always been a mother to her, not a doormat). It was the "toughing it out" that was the most damaging, but I didn't know that. I've tried the "talk to me; please help me understand your feelings"--dismissed me with a "You are not allowed to mention anything about yourself, and I don't want to be around you if you're going to be like that =sick"--and "if you really wanted to, you can just try harder and not to be disabled" (I now have 24-hour in-home medical care now--hands, legs, multi-systems are permanently damaged, it's bed or wheelchair now--kinda hard to hide). The last 3 years I was able to work, I worked from home in bed, my mind was still sharp for the most important stuff, and I tried to cover gaps, with medical leaves almost every year that lasted weeks to months at a time (some were 6 months). Tried to keep them from seeing the decline, but then I had to come in with a reorg, and that was the end of it.

I have thought that when I am less angry with her, I will make/send cards to her to keep the door open....wishing her well, but it's really not me to not be authentic, and it would feel fake if I only said that, like I was acquiescing to wrong and disrespectful behavior, and letting her dictate all the terms. I'm kind of stuck there, because I am willing to forgive and accept her when she is willing to behave respectfully, and if she feels a need to negotiate some parameters or boundaries, fine, but if they are not accepting of me, the consequences should be, I think, that I may love her no matter what, but I will not pretend to be someone I am not, or do something that doesn't seem right to me, without any explanation or discussion. If she wants me to support her feelings and needs, I'm willing to listen, try to understand, and I also expect her to do the same, in terms of what I realistically can do, what is healthy and acceptable for me--negotiate, but be direct and honest about it. I've always been that way with her, but somehow me becoming very sick when I've always been the backbone somehow just put a bulls eye back on my back, which I only allow to happen when I choose.

I don't intend to change this paradigm now, unless she gives me good reason, and if she's not even speaking to me (unless she wants me to buy her something or do something), she hasn't sold me, and that was always our deal. Being 22 versus 12 doesn't change that. If that means she has nothing to do with me, I guess that is her choice, but somehow I just know she will say someday that I abandoned her. It's just that when I am having really tough pain, etc. days, it's hard to remember who I've always been and hold onto that. It's exhausting now, and I need that energy to get through the transition I'm in, which is really tough (LOTS of change, disruption, ignorant apathetic blind "bucket people" (my word for NTs) who can really be draining but necessary to navigate for the moment. It will be a while before they have gotten the infrastructures in place that will take care of things I can't do any longer, and allow me to put energy into moving forward within the package that I've got to live in. They've told me that anyone that isn't totally accepting of me, even if they don't understand, needs to be sidelined to keep from draining me. It's tough when it's your child, especially since I tried to give her a life better than I had, without a role model or mirror neurons, .

Best of luck to you, and maybe we can compare notes, because I don't have a rulebook for this, not really. Heck, I don't even think in language; I just know lots of languages, linguistic structures, grammar, etc. I only figure things out by adding up the pieces and doing the "math". I understand visually, and translation is burdensome, and I don't speak "socially intuitive" well at all. I try, but it's all math, rules, structure, just happen to have a super CPU on a busted motherboard..ahh well.