What do we do when we have tried to love our adult children, and they continue to feel unloved by us? It’s painful.

You Don’t Love Me You Have Never Loved Me

When my son, Mitch, who is no longer speaking to me, complained that he didn’t feel loved, I was shocked. How could he even think that? I had sacrificed and given so much to show how much I loved him. I tried for years to make him feel loved. How had I failed to get that message across? I went to my therapist, and her answer helped me understand a possible answer.

Rocks Don’t Feel Love

She explained that you could pour water on a rock all day long, but it wouldn’t absorb it. My son’s heart can’t absorb my love because he hates himself so much. Often with addiction there is a tremendous amount of self loathing. His constant need to hurt me stems from his own self-hatred.  She reminded me that I only owned 50% of every relationship. He also owned 50% of our relationship. Because of his current state of resentment and anger, he wouldn’t be able to accept my love for him.

What Is A Parent To Do

I can spend the rest of my life pouring love into my son, but until he is healthy enough to receive it, he will continue to feel “unloved.” I cannot control how anyone receives my efforts to show them love. This insight has helped me “let go and let God.” It’s helped me stop feeling guilty when Mitch complains he doesn’t feel loved. I am secure from my recovery work in Al-Anon that I have loved them as well as I could.

It is not my child’s job to judge me as a parent. My therapist told me it wasn’t even my job to judge myself. “It is what it is.”

I continue to wait for the day when Mitch has a change of heart. Until then I am committed to having a happy life. I am complete person and am more than just Mitch’s mom. I give myself permission to love my love and Mitch permission to continue on his own spiritual journey. Until he is ready I will continue to love him from afar with the hope he will one day be able to absorb all the love I have for him.

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Madeline Schloop
Madeline is the widow of a man who died of alcoholism and the mother of 5 young adults whom she parents with the tools of Al-Anon. Her children continue to be affected by the disease of alcoholism. Her stories deal with life's daily trials and what has and hasn't worked.

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