Mom depressed over family rejection
Dear Annie: A few years ago, my son “Bill” and his family moved to a new state. They left me behind with no family or friends because they chose my ex over me (because I’m disabled and they needed someone to help with the kids while they were at work). It broke my heart, to the point that I didn’t care whether I lived or died.
I prayed to God to help me, and thanks to Him, I ended up finding an apartment that I could afford in my son’s new town. I was so excited that I’d be close to my grandbabies and my son. I got a Realtor, a moving company and a plane ticket.
Things started going badly as soon as I got there. My son and his wife didn’t bring my grandbabies to the airport, and all we did was ride past their house. When I asked about going to see his new house, he told me that I was being overbearing and I’d go to his house when he invited me. I started to question why I’d even moved.
I have a bunch of furniture I ordered online that is still sitting unassembled in boxes. Bill lives less than five minutes away but always has a reason for why he can’t help me around the house — e.g., his long hours at work, his three children and his housework. My ex-husband also lives with them, and my daughter-in-law has told me that he does the laundry. To me, that is the most time-consuming chore. I don’t see how housework could fill all your days off if laundry is already done for you!
I just want my apartment to look the way that I envisioned it. I live on disability and can’t really afford to pay people to come help. My son and his wife have no problem coming over and borrowing money from me. (I took out a $5,000 loan for them in my name.) I’m feeling alone and depressed. Should I give up on their helping me and including me in family events? — Brokenhearted Mom
Dear Brokenhearted: All the outside help in the world won’t help you if you don’t first learn to help yourself. Achieving more personal independence will allow you to have a healthier relationship with your family. It will also empower you to have a healthier relationship with yourself.
Try getting involved with a local church or community activity to make some friends. Don’t give your son any more loans. Instead, save that money for you. As soon as you can afford it, hire a handyman for one day (ask a neighbor for a recommendation) to come assemble the furniture that’s still sitting in boxes. It will be well worth the money for you to have the peace and rest that come with a happy nest.
Finally, you mentioned at one point not caring about whether you lived or died. Please, if you’re ever in such a dark place again, reach out to a counselor, a religious adviser or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800-273-8255). Do not give up. There is a light at the end of the tunnel; in fact, there’s light all around it. You just can’t see it yet.
Dear Annie is written by Annie Lane, a young, married mother of two. Send questions for Annie Lane to firstname.lastname@example.org.