replied 8 years ago.
Hi again, Donna, and thanks for all your details.
I'm glad that when Bob calls Brooke and Sierra, they're receptive and he's able to maintain a relationship with them, despite the trouble he and Mike are having right now.
I think from what you've said, that this change in Mike's attitude towards his father, stems from several past events. Since this behavior started after he sent you a letter he intended for his mother, seeking your advice re: it's contents, he didn't receive the kind of answer he thought he might, perhaps hoping that YOU might possibly denigrate his mother and take 'his' side. You did the absolute correct thing, in not putting down his mother. He might have felt 'betrayed' by this, and I think he also felt embarrassed, after saying the angry things he did, to his mother, in that letter, and then, confiding it's contents to you. Because he was feeling particularly vulnerable at that time, and couldn't confront his mother immediately, regarding how he feels about her lifestyle, etc., which obviously upsets him, when he brought up his interpretation of Bob's failings as a father, again, and you didn't take his (Mike's) side, it simply enraged him, and added fuel to the fire.
He's forgetting that his mother made it impossible for him to be involved in his father's life, and vice-versa, due to her moving him 400 miles away. I don't know what the custody agreement was, there, but usually both parents have to agree to the move, if it's out of state, and one parent will not see the child that frequently. Maybe he harbors resentment that his father DIDN'T fight to have him stay where he was living, so he could have relationship with him during those formative years.
I think Mike feels that lots of things are falling down around him, right now, like, having a bi-polar wife (no simple task!), a mother who chose a gay lifestyle after being married to men, twice, and missing those years with his father. If Mike was with Bob during the ages of 12 and 17, I'm sure they spent quality time, but Mike's thinking is too clouded by all his other problems to realize or 'remember' the positive aspects of their relationship.
If Bob and you have been encouraging Mike to go back to school for years, I think now might be a good time to offer him some 'assistance' (financially, if you're able) to actually take action on that. First, if he didn't finish High School, he'll need to get a GED, which he can do online or even at his local Community School, where it's free of charge or a costs a nominal registration fee. Even online/distance learning courses, offer financial assistance. Once he gets his GED, he can pursue a two year degree or a four year one, at either a Community College, or a University, respectively. Again, he can accomplish this while still working at what he's doing now, by enrolling in either a local college, or for online courses.
I think, if Bob (and you) encourage him with concrete ideas to follow up on, or even do the research yourself, and send it to him in email, re: how to go about finishing his H.S. education, and then continuing on with college, plus offering something reasonable in the way of financial help, if this is a concern for Mike, he will be more receptive to your ideas, if they're not just 'talk'. I believe, if Mike feels more confident in himself, it will facilitate his relationship with his father, and with you.
It's important that you and Bob continue to maintain a good relationship with Brooke and Sienna, and a weekly phone call, plus emails and periodic exchange of photos, would be a good idea. I agree with you that Bob should call them more often, since their parents have obviously instructed them not to call, or let's say, their parents don't encourage them to call.
I hope you're able to try some of my suggestions, and things improve between Mike and his dad, and also you and Mike. Thank you for your patience; I realize it took a while for me to get this answer to you, but I wanted to include several important suggestions, which needed to be well thought out.
Please let me know if you have any additional concerns, and I'll be happy to help.
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