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Norman M.
Norman M., Principal psychotherapist in private practice. Newspaper contributor, over 2000 satisfied clients on JA
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 2536
Experience:  ADHP(NC), DEHP(NC), ECP, UKCP Registered.
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I just turned 50. Ive been separated/divorced for 9 years

Customer Question

I just turned 50. I've been separated/divorced for 9 years and have 2 sons who each just had a birthday and are now 16 and 12. Their mom is remarried yet we get along well. They live 50 miles from me. For the greater part of the last 2 years, my 16 y/o son (Chris), goes through mood swings with most everyone -- a bit less w/ his mom. Unfortunately, I became physically dependent on Rx medications and eventually, on my own, went to a detox/rehab. My ex-wife HATES "addicts" b/c she believes her mom was an addict and b/c of that, her mom didn't spend enough time with her, although she was never neglected. One weekend when Chris was with me, I sat him down and told him about my past. He seemed mature for his age then, although he was 11 or 12. He gave me a hug afterward and said he loved me no matter what. I was tired of my ex threatening to tell Chris about my past, so I told him first. The man my ex married (her current husband), is a good guy. He has 2 girls he shares custody with. The girls are just about 1 1/2 years younger than each of my sons. Chris acts very distant from most family often staying in his room on the phone or computer. He has been randomly checked by drugs by his mom - the results were negative. (She trusts nobody and believes anyone who is or was an addict, should die). I'm lucky if he conversed w/me more than once a month in the past 8-12 months. He's openly verbally abusive with ALL family members even saying the "F" word openly around family and grandparents. His mom ACCEPTS this and defends her actions saying "If that is the worst he does, that's ok" and says she will pick & chose her battles. My younger son tells me (I do NOT ask) that his mom puts me down quite a bit in front of the boys. She puts me down to my face with the boys hearing this. About a month ago, I drove to pick the boys up on a Friday night. We didn't leave their house until past midnight b/c Chris wanted to "hang with his girlfriend" (in his room) until 11:45 pm! Like an IDIOT, I allowed this because he told me if I don't see him that weekend, that he will NOT promise me any other weekend. (No court order is in effect). By midnight, it was raining, cold, and I was very tired. I should have asked to stay over instead of making the 50 mile return trip. We were literally 47 of the 50 miles back when I was stopped by the police who claimed I didn't stay in my lane. (This was close to 1 am). Both boys were asleep in the car and I had the radio off so not to bother them and the windows all the way up b/c of the weather. I was fighting off sleep but stayed awake. When I went to the glove box to get the car registration, etc., I has a bottle of Rx medication that was visible. The officer asked to see it. It was a legal medication for 3 "herniated" disks in my neck. As soon as he seen that, THAT is when he said I was swerving out of my lane. Despite driving 100 miles that night without a problem, I was taken in a police car (first time in my 50-years) to get a blood test at a local hospital and driven back home. But by then, the boys' grandfather who lives nearby me, picked them up screaming "Your father is a no good junkie" in front of both of my sons who were at MY mom's house.
Now, Chris REFUSES to talk to me at all. His mother says "good for him." Thank God my younger son still talks to me and tells me he loves me. (I did NOT take any of that medication that night, but it still showed in the blood test thus I am charged with a DUI.
What should I do to let me son here MY side of the story. he mother won't talk to me and thinks I was driving intoxicated. She even knew what medication my doctor prescribed for me for the past 1.5 years. I have a small family. Just my 74 y/o mom and my two sons. I can't imagine life without them (NO, I'm NO suicidal!) I should have not allowed Chris to dictate the time of when I picked them up. But since I didn't see them in a month, WANTED to spend some time with them; they're all I have. What do you think I should do to get Chris to at least listen to me?? He ignores all e-mails, calls, etc. We used to be SO close. I'm in tears writing this. I'll see a therapist, but PLEASE give me some good feedback. I'm afraid I lost my son for good and God knows what my ex will poison my younger son's mind with as time goes by and he gets older. I'm gratful for what I DO have and my health; many have it worse.
Thank you so much.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Rafael M.T.Therapist replied 2 years ago.

Rafael Morales Toia :

Hello, I am Rafael. Thanks for asking your question - I'm here to support you.

Expert:  Norman M. replied 2 years ago.
I'm really sorry to hear what you are going through. There are a couple of issues here. Firstly make sure you consult a GOOD lawyer about the probable outcome of your DUI. That is essential. My understanding of the situation is that there is usually a good chance of a successful defense in cases like yours

As far a Chris is concerned, he is going to need lots of time and space before he will be able to come to terms with what has happened. I suggest that you write to him - good old-fashioned pen and paper, not email, again explaining your situation, much as you have done on here. Don't push, and don't beg. Stick to the facts and tell him how much you miss him. Make no mistake, though, this may take along time.

Keep talking to your friends too - don't allow yourself to bottle things up. If you feel the need to see a therapist as well, that can be very helpful.

Really all you can do at this moment is to keep contact ongoing and open.

Best wishes with this,

NormanM
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thanks Rafael.

So far, so good.

The one item I was hoping you would address is the mother. She's no 16 y/o child going through adolescence! She's in her late 30's. While my degree is in Pharmacology, I've taken six post graduate courses in Behavioral Health and Human Services including Grief Counseling, Crisis Intervention, etc., etc. So one thing I know is one cannot force anyone to change. Any idea how to deal with her?
Finally, two of my friends said I should let Chris know that I didn't appreciate his ultimatum of "wait for me till midnight or you may not see me for a while." That, in part, HE was a part of this mess by his lack of respect. I could see if he had some dinner date or was out at a movie, but for me to just wait from 9pm till midnight while he was doing God knows what in his room in the house while his little brother and I sat patiently waiting, was just plain wrong. I realize I'm the parent and I shouldn't have condoned this. But the craving to see my son after all that time (about 6 weeks or so) was hurting me so much that I just tried to be NICE and allow his his space with her (even though he sees her every day). So, would you include that (my TRUE feelings) or write how much I love him and how sorry I am?? Wouldn't that validate how evil he feels I am?

Thanks so much! (And I PRAY you're right about the DUI situation I'm in with a prescribed drug that I used as directed, usually has a good chance of defense.) This is by FAR the worst year of my life and we're only 3+ months in!!
Expert:  Norman M. replied 2 years ago.
I agree insofar as you should not have condoned his insistence - but that is hindsight, and a mistake not to be repeated in the future. However, to make an issue of it now would, I believe, be counter-productive. It would resolve nothing, frankly.

Apart from that, your true feelings, yes. If you want to say you are sorry because what happened has distanced you from each other, that's fine, but other than that, you have nothing to apologize for!

Insofar as the mother is concerned, the best approach really is a calm, controlled and adult one, making sure that she knows that you understand what she has been doing, and again making sure that putting you down makes her look bad to the kids, and is very damaging to their relationship with you.

As you say, you cannot force change, you can only encourage it. It may help if you make sure you always show exemplary behavior in their presence - that will help to cast doubt on her negative remarks about you. Actions DO speak louder than words!
Norman M., Principal psychotherapist in private practice. Newspaper contributor, over 2000 satisfied clients on JA
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 2536
Experience: ADHP(NC), DEHP(NC), ECP, UKCP Registered.
Norman M. and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Rafael M.T.Therapist replied 2 years ago.

I can see expert NormanD, assisted you with this situation but since you got back to me just wanted to say that I agree with Mr. Norman D.

I do think there is not much you could do about his mother, but to be cautious and consistent taking good care of yourself, avoiding destructive confrontations with her, using the understanding you have gotten about her and her ways and issues from the past, and focusing on how to promote closeness and improvement in your relationship with Chris.

You have already done what was in your hands to clarify things with your son, now just need to wait and be more patient and supportive with yourself, learning from past mistakes so for them not to happen again. Please be very cautious about the way you show your love and support for your son. You said he was already meeting his girlfriend on a regular basis abut haven’t seen you for a while, so there was no real reason for you to allow or support such situation. It shows there is codependency undermining your affection so the relationship between you, and for sure he is not learning how to be sensitive nor caring about your feelings and needs, neither about your relationship.

This can and should change and you are the one who needs to make adjustments in order to promote his grow as a more mature and caring man.

I am hopeful you would grow and become wiser and stronger from this painful experience.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
THIS IS NOT AN ASK THE EXPERT QUESTION. IT IS ABOUT CONFUSION OVER TWO INDIVIDUALS WHO ANSWERED MY ONE QUESTION AND APPARENTLY BOTH WANT PAYMENT. I PAID THE FIRST PERSON WHO ANSWERED -- NORMAN.

I'm confused....Norman was the person who answered first. It said Rafael "opted-out." I already paid Norman the fee plus a small tip. Your reply came in a few moments ago which was several hours after I received Norman's reply.
Would someone please explain why two experts answered and both are requesting payment?

I'll be back online later this afternoon or evening.

Thank you.

Mr. M. Keyes
Expert:  Rafael M.T.Therapist replied 2 years ago.

Sorry, I am not requesting payment for my feedback, just wanted to respond since you addressed me in your response. Just wanted to add feedback to what other expert already provided. Thank you for your understanding and sorry for any confusion on this regard.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thank you, Sir!
Expert:  Rafael M.T.Therapist replied 2 years ago.
You're very welcome.

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