My adult son wishes he could feel his emotions and show them.
Today I received an email from my 35 year old son. He feels badly that it's so hard for him to show his emotions. He writes that "he wants to let his guard down but thinks his ego gets in the way."
I wish I could help him because we have a good relationship built on mutual trust and respect. We're supportive of each other. He wrote in his email that he feels sad because he wants to be closer to me but doesn't know how.
We enjoy much of the same things: Going to the fair together each summer, shopping at the local Farmer's Market, sharing favorite pictures, sending text messages just to say "Hi, how are you? Hope you're having a great day" and writing postcards to one another when one of us goes on vacation, and attending plays and movies. We also talk about our feelings and memories....both happy and sad. We're open and honest with each other.
Yet, he expresses that he's happy because he has "wonderful memories of times of sharing with you, Mom. You are so good at showing love and care, and saying the right things at the right times. I'm sorry it's hard for me to show how I feel because you deserve it so very, very much. Some of my problem stems from this radical ideology that is the most impossible thing to let go of! You know, the one where the kid doesn't feel like he met his parent's expectations and I wish getting rid of this feeling was easy, like taking off a jacket. Some of the difficulty I'm having is not wanting to cry. But I'm sick of not feeling emotion because that's not really me. I don't want to NOT be me."
As his mother, I'm wondering what I did wrong to make him feel this way and can I ever undo it to make it right? I'm hopeful that someone reading this will respond, giving me insight into the positive steps I can take to bring peace to my son's heart. He was a very dear boy, loved by his father and me and everyone who knew him. He had an outgoing personality and was enthusiastic and cheerful. He was sensitive and his feelings were easily hurt but when he was happy - and that was nearly all of the time - he was the happiest boy in the world!
I was a stay-at-home mother, attentive and nurturing, and my son and I had a strong bond from the beginning. His father and I have been married for 42 years. There was no alcohol in our home. But our son began using drugs and alcohol when he was 16 and his schoolwork was suffering. I tried helping him but nothing worked. It was like a living nightmare. But I never stopped loving him. He finally turned his life around.
Knowing he's struggling emotionally makes me feel like it's my fault. I made mistakes raising him and I've told him I am sorry and I've asked for his forgiveness. And he's forgiven me. But I realize, forgiving isn't forgetting. I went through therapy and it was extremely helpful. Several years ago my son went through intensive therapy and confided to his Dad and me that he learned so much and it was a valuable experience....and worth the time and effort.
Thank you for your time in reading this. I very much appreciate your caring about the emotional pain I'm feeling. God bless you.