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Letting go of your children

Hello all, I post this question seeking understanding. In short, I have a ex wife. For close to 15 years I was alienated from my three children. All efforts to contact were at least 9 out of 10 rimes unsuccessful.

Now the kids are young adults. I have now (partly because they are adults and mom can't block as easily now) I've reconnected only to find two of them have not idea the real reason. The years of seperation and lies from mom have embedded so deep/ done so much damage that I can't with any mindfulness or love begin to repair. Their hatred towards me has left me little choice but to once again "hide" away to limit the damage it's causing me from resurfacing anger, resentment towards their mother who was the unfaithful one.

Live now in Canada, they live in Texas. I have a toll free number for them to call me. ( two of them never do, one rarely) all texts, emails are never answered.

So now I feel I must simply back away and allow them to grow and hopefully mature enough till they become curious for answers. (If they ever do). So I feel I must let go and just stop trying. Still tears me up. Still boils from time to time with hatred.

As a practicing Buddhist, I meditate and have made progress in my awakening. Part of that is finding peace in my decision to let them go. It's isn't easy but I feel some insight and encourage from this Sangha may help.

Thank you
Buddha Dude

dantepwKundoJeffrey

Comments

  • WalkerWalker Veteran
    edited November 2015

    You're definitely not alone in what you're going through @Buddha-Dude My brother's three adult girls seem to want very little to do with him since his divorce. He wasn't invited to the two elder girls' weddings. I think the youngest is the closest to him, but it's still very limited contact. His ex was a very manipulative woman, so I suspect their hesitance in pursuing a closer relationship has a lot to do with pressure from her. All he can do is let them know that he loves them, and that he's always happy to see them and help them. The ball is in their court.

    Things may change, the wisest among us can't see the future. You're doing what you can from the sound of it. Let them know you love them, and you're always ready to welcome them to talk or visit. Hold the fond memories that you do have in your heart. In the end they have to make their own choices.

    P.S. You've reached out here on newbuddhist, which is good. Have you considered talking to a therapist or joining a support group in person?

    silverShoshin
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator

    It's so very hard to know that our kids are really just other people. Sometimes we get along famously with them, and sometimes they are like strangers. Most people as they go through life experience things and start to question things that bring them full circle. You cannot force the answers on them, and talking badly about their mom (even if it's true) is likely to only push them farther away. My heart goes out to you. Offer yourself to them and maybe a reminder that there are always 2 sides to every story.

    My kids are mostly still young, 7, 13 and 18. My 18 year old is in college but we get along fairly well. But when I was about 15, my parents split up over infidelity as well. I was very angry at my father (his unfaithfulness) for a long time. I rarely returned calls and once I was old enough I chose to spend little time with him. I am now 40, and we are very close. When I had kids, my view and appreciation for my parents changed. I learned a lot about my father via my oldest son (they are very similar) and that lead the path to healing and forgiveness. I am close to both of my parents, and they are actually quite friendly to each other now, too. They have even chatted and apologized for their wrongs (they are 59 and 63) to each other and talked a little about their past and what happened.

    You never know the surprising turns life takes. Live your life. Don't focus on the anger towards their mother. Remind them every so often that you are there. I truly hope things turn around for you, and for them, too. But if they do come asking, be kind in your honesty about the past,and remember that time and experience and memory change over time. Things we thought were true turn out to maybe not quite be the way we thought. Best wishes to you. Having kids has been at once the greatest joy, the greatest frustration and the greatest sorrow. In the end, we always have to let them go whether that means physically or otherwise.

    lobsterVastmindEliz
  • genkakugenkaku Northampton, Mass. U.S.A. Veteran

    It may not be much help, but Mark Twain once said, "When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.”

    If you have extended yourself as far as you can and get little or no response, the only recourse is for them to re-discover you. Not easy, obviously, but I can't think of anything else.

    Best wishes.

  • @Buddha-Dude said:
    Hello all, I post this question seeking understanding. In short, I have a ex wife. For close to 15 years I was alienated from my three children. All efforts to contact were at least 9 out of 10 rimes unsuccessful.

    Now the kids are young adults. I have now (partly because they are adults and mom can't block as easily now) I've reconnected only to find two of them have not idea the real reason. The years of seperation and lies from mom have embedded so deep/ done so much damage that I can't with any mindfulness or love begin to repair. Their hatred towards me has left me little choice but to once again "hide" away to limit the damage it's causing me from resurfacing anger, resentment towards their mother who was the unfaithful one.

    Live now in Canada, they live in Texas. I have a toll free number for them to call me. ( two of them never do, one rarely) all texts, emails are never answered.

    So now I feel I must simply back away and allow them to grow and hopefully mature enough till they become curious for answers. (If they ever do). So I feel I must let go and just stop trying. Still tears me up. Still boils from time to time with hatred.

    As a practicing Buddhist, I meditate and have made progress in my awakening. Part of that is finding peace in my decision to let them go. It's isn't easy but I feel some insight and encourage from this Sangha may help.

    Thank you
    Buddha Dude

    The 'real reason', your perception of 'damage' in terms of damage to your interests, resurfacing anger, resentment and blame are natural if you're protecting your interests or in the interests of natural fairness even but in my opinion they are manifestation of one's identity and adherence to the fleeting constituents of this identity.
    If one considers that another in any relationship has harmed , cheated , lied, been unfair, inequitable, unjust, unkind...etc then this conclusion is from an assessment of personal requirements in support of a personal identity.
    One may be 'right', the arguments may be concrete but it leads to hate, revenge, resentment, ill-will, unskilful action.
    In a sense, revenge is a very intimate act - it is touching someone else's life as they have touched yours - for them to feel what you feel... but where does it lead? Inevitably to more anger, hatred, revenge, resentment.

    If it assists, in my opinion it is not necessary for you to let your children go and stop trying and nor is progress to awakening finding peace with such a decision.
    Rather, one may find an alternative resolution in letting go of the identity constructs that demand natural / obvious fairness by adherence to the fleeting constituents of this identity - this is peace and from such a peaceful state, one may look again at what it means to 'try' and what is being 'tried for' - more avenues shall present themselves.
    As an example, it's like trying to climb a steep slope carrying a bunch of ill shaped, heavy items - the climb would be much more manageable without such burdens.

    The scenario you refer to is much more complex than your post can relay as the OP only has your side and your interests and therefore in order to resolve the issues, either all of your requirements must be met or it is left unresolved - how to meet all of everyone's requirements? I'm not sure this is possible so perhaps one is best served in seeking to understand one's own requirements and whether these may be realigned or re-examined to be one less issue to resolve and also to allow space to turn this service to others.

    I hope you, your ex-wife and your children find peace and are healed - best of luck to you all.

    David
  • VastmindVastmind Memphis, TN Veteran
    edited November 2015

    @zero. ...... Come again? In other words.......???

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    @Vastmind instead of 'letting go' of his children, (I believe) Zero's advice is to seek an alternative resolution which, while it may not entail 'letting go', may be best defined as accepting what is, as it unfolds, and dealing with the unfolding as appropriate.

  • Thanks @Federica for summing up so eloquently - just that.

    WalkerVastmind
  • VastmindVastmind Memphis, TN Veteran

    Gotcha. Letting go of expectations and control often leads to acceptance ;)

    Thanks for the breakdown of verbage....hahaha...you guys know how I am....haha

    Zero
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    @Zero said:
    Thanks Federica for summing up so eloquently - just that.

    It was extremely brief and succinct and perhaps glossed over the salient and most pertinent points, so I'm glad it was not presumptuous of me to attempt the response. :)

    @Vastmind you are who you are. No bad thing, is that. ;)

    VastmindZeroDavid
  • This process has been dragging me through three $$$ court battles. Lawyers. And her putting the kids in the middle. Each time I plead that all the facts were incorrect and that she was bending the truth. Eventually after my oldest son emancipated from me and my daughter proclaimed publicly that she was changing her name to her mothers maiden name, then I walked away, gave up. The youngest boy stands on the fence because of the pressures from siblings and 2nd step-dad. ( yes she's on her third marriage)!!

    So accept what is. I have. I will never have a normal divorced family life. Where parents cooperate. Where kids see there's two sides. Instead they're devided and alienated.

    Of course I accept it. It sure doesn't make it easy. Most haven't sat up at night in tears. Most haven't wondered if it's their fault. Some aren't even married. But all in all the answers, the suggestions and the love have been extremely helpful.

    I will maintain my correct course.
    "“The one who doesn’t see his transgression as a transgression, and the one who doesn’t rightfully pardon another who has confessed his transgression. These two are fools.” -AN 2.21

    (Excerpt From: Bhikkhu, Ṭhānissaro. “Ten Perfections: A Study Guide.” Metta Forest Monastery, 2013-11-20. iBooks.
    This material may be protected by copyright.)

    I asked them to hear me. I asked to hear my side. I made no transgression, but I asked if I had could they see it and look beyond it. They did not. They are fools. Buddha taught to pick your friendships (including family) wisely. If they hinder your path....let them go.

  • By the way. For added context, this has been going on since 1999!!!

  • VastmindVastmind Memphis, TN Veteran
    edited November 2015

    Well...Damn..that is alot...just do what you think is right on your end.....May you be well.

    silver
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran
    edited November 2015


    @Buddha-Dude you are doing all that' you can do under the present circumstances :)

    WalkersilverKundolobster
  • As Shoshin's picture shows, all you can do is keep the door open and be available.
    Sad as it is, it is up to your children to step through the door.
    Prayers for your peace. May your heart mend and may the dawn's light abate the dearness you are in.

    Peace to you

    ShoshinBunks
  • @Buddha-Dude said:
    By the way. For added context, this has been going on since 1999!!!

    Some things are not meant to be.

    If you want a little peace, let go a little. If you want total peace, let go totally.

  • @Buddha-Dude Glad to hear that you found the Path. One of the goal of the practice is to be your own teacher. And with your situation- it sets the condition for practice. There is one Zen teacher who told us that, its not just in sitting and walking we practice. Our entire everyday life, no matter how good or bad it is. - that is the practice. I am sure you have all the confidence needed to be your own master.

    I can't help but to remember the story of the Buddha when he told his students. Forget everything what I taught you. Trust your experience- and be your own teacher.

    May we all have confidence to stand in our own feet, independent and not be moved by emotions and events the life brings.

    Goodluck to your practice.

  • KundoKundo Sydney, Australia Veteran

    Much metta to you @Buddha-Dude _ /\ _

    lobster
  • ...update... Well. Tonight. Of all nights I received a call from one son and after 30-40 minutes my OTHER son gets on the phone. I was up front. Honest and said the shit has to stop. If they want to shoot a bent arrow then I'm not interested. If it's straight then okay. Told them the doors open. Oddly... When I mentioned my daughter to my oldest son he said "I'm not going there" and told me to stop asking. Oh well.

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