Parents Or Enemies

Still trying to be empathic with my nearly 19-year-old son about his lack of willingness to shower, brush teeth, and irradicate his room-stink-oozing-out-into-the-hallway living condition.  In the pre-dawn hours even before the dogs are awake, he and I have a quiet heart-to-heart.

He tells me he has always thought of his bio parents and me as the enemy.  He tells me he only trusts his sister, my older daughter (who happened to be mean to him, frightened him, threatened him most of his first ten years.)

In the moment of his honest expression, I am deeply saddened and stymied as to how to help him make the leap from trauma reactive child to responsible-for-his-own-life adult. I suggest it is truly coming the time he lives somewhere without a mother figure.  He says he doesn’t want to leave me.  He says he does see the problem, though: “I am always badgering you to get your attention and I never do what you want me to do for myself.”

These talks are painful.  I love him, and he sees me as the enemy. Me.  He thinks the person who loves, listens, works, shops, cooks, cleans, gives, transports, finances, and considers him every day of his life is his enemy.

Outside, his ride to school honks. We hug good-bye.  He says, “I love you, Mom,” as he rushes toward the front door.

I call after him, I love you, too. honey.  Have a good day.  We exchange this sentiment today as every day.  We will do it again tomorrow.  Life goes on.  I will look for the next phase of his transition into adulthood outside our home. That is hard for me.  He is my baby. He is not ready to leave home, and he will never be ready.  I must push him out of the nest. How do bird mothers do it? With all of my heart, I believe his transition into adulthood depends on it. I hope I have the heart.

I was finally able to do it for my attachment challenged daughter, his sister, and she is standing on her own, caring for her daughter, and creating a home right next door to her biological father.  There is something right about this outcome.

Faith is my Tonto.  I watched black and white reruns because I am not quite that old.  For those of you who have no idea what I am talking about, this sentence is for you:  Faith is my sidekick.

Love Matters,

Ce Eshelman, LMFT

The Attach Place provides a monthly, no fee Adoptive Parent Support Group in Sacramento, every 2nd Wednesday of each month.  Next group is December 9th at a NEW time–5:30 pm. Join us.  Child care provided.

The Attach Place offers an 8-hr. Trust-based Parenting Course every other month.  Our next course dates are December 5th and 12th, 2015. Sign-up online at

The Attach Place supports The Wounded Warrior Project by providing free neurofeedback to veterans.  Feel free to send a soldier our way for an assessment and 20 session course of treatment.

Feel free to send this link to friends or family members who you would like to receive Daily YOU Time: Wisdom for Adoptive Parents.

The truth about our children’s experience has to be safely held by parents.  There will be no healing without this.


  1. We have followed your blog for sometime and have been so blessed by it when being parents of attachment challenged kids has been trying. Thanks again.

  2. We have followed your blog for sometime and have been so blessed by it when being parents of attachment challenged kids has been trying. Thanks again.

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