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Parent – child relationship, as ye sow so shall ye reap


It recently came to my knowledge that my 23-year-old son whacked his father, well punched him in the face. I heard directly through him as he phoned me a couple of days later and filled me in on the whole situation, his thoughts and feelings tumbling out over a phone line stretching 1700 miles. It’s at times like this that I want to be there for him, hug him, hold him in my arms and tell him he is lovely, he is a good lad and try to make him feel better. I think in previous posts I have been quite clear that my ex is not an easy man to live with and thanks to some difficult experiences with him I am glad he is no longer part of my life BUT I have always appreciated the fact that however he and I may differ, our children love both parents equally and I have accepted this and supported them throughout.

I am lucky as I get the phone call when they are troubled, I am kept in the loop whereas they both say every time, ‘Mum I can’t tell dad as he’ll go mad. You know what he’s like!’ Yes sadly I do and you are never going to change him I think to myself.

When my boy called me and told me his news I resisted the urge to say ‘Well done, lad! He’s had it coming to him for years.’ No, I sensibly listened and together we talked through the situation; it was late at night and they were both in the hotel wine bar, dad had been drinking with friends and when he caught sight of his son he started to make jibes about him to his friends, all for the sake of a couple of laughs. My boy has put up with this all his life and I’ve watched from the sidelines as he has constantly tried and tried and tried to prove himself to his father always being knocked back down and ridiculed in front of other people. He told me he walked away at first, turning his back on the cruel laughter and started to make his way home but the cold mountain air heightened his feelings of frustration, his anger and the understanding that his father would NEVER  be satisfied with whatever he tried to do. He turned on his heels knowing already what lay in store and retracing his steps back to his father he did the unthinkable and punched him in the face. Of course, this is Italy and in Italy (well my Italy) there is always drama, a full-scale argument exploded much to the grand entertainment of the late night drinkers. ‘I wish you would die’ emerged from both sides, a lot of other horrible things were said and then they were separated, my boy went home and was shut out of the family hotel.

My daughter has since told me that Dad has already admitted he instigated the whole episode but refuses to budge, leaving his son to stir over his thoughts and feelings on his own.

What a mess! Could I have stopped it getting this far? I don’t think so, I remember when my boy was 8, and after an argument with his father he decided to leave home. He packed his rucksack and left. I only found out later and when I shared my worries to his father his reply was ‘I don’t want him home, let him stay out there if he wants.’

‘He’s 8 years old!!!’

‘I don’t care, he’s not coming back to MY house.’

I lost the little respect that was left, there and then and I knew that I would choose my son over him, this was one step too far. I called on my friends, and we separated off to various kids’ haunts across the village, the mountain and the woods. It was like looking for a needle in a haystack and as the light started to fail I got more and more agitated. Then I heard commotion at the other end of the road and saw my boy being accompanied by one of my friends towards the house.

Oh the relief! As I ran towards him, his father came out of our hotel and started screaming at him in the street, to clear off, he wasn’t wanted. I took the boy and stood between him and his father as the mad man tried to get at him around me and over me. He threatened me too, angry at being defied by me. I knew my time was numbered only I didn’t care, so long as I had my boy safe and sound with me.

I took him indoors and fed him as all good mammas do. We washed him and dressed him and we talked. ‘Dad doesn’t love me as much as he loves my sister.’ I knew in my heart this was true but I couldn’t say that. I argued with him and told him his father was just stressed from the hard season. We unpacked his rucksack that he ‘ran away’ with. It still tickles me to remember his chosen luggage, his Playstation and the games, his Chelsea shirt and his Ninja Turtle wallet – empty. ‘What about pants? Weren’t you going to change your underwear?’

My boy is not a bad boy, he told me he’s not proud of what he has done but he wouldn’t have changed it and if he should be cut out of his inheritance as his dad is threatening, he said he doesn’t care. He’s a good lad my boy and I appreciate the courage he had to find to do that. I hope he has finally rid himself of the fear of his father that he’s lived with for years.

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23 Comments leave one →
  1. sally permalink
    14/01/2011 2:59 pm

    what a very brave boy…the old saying ‘ you reap what you sow’ comes to mind…well done Tommy

  2. 14/01/2011 3:44 pm

    god how heartbreaking Mari, he sounds a very difficult man and your poor son. I hate bullying and it sounds like your poor son has put up with this for years. Good on him
    to throw him a punch, quite right too

    • 17/01/2011 1:37 pm

      Thanks Alice, yes it is terribly hard to have to stand back and watch this from afar. Years back I tired to intervene, I tried to make my ex see the error of his ways but he’s one of those people who never has a good look at himself to see if he’s wrong or not so I never stood a chance. Thanks for commenting,. let’s hope my boy can get on with his life now

  3. 14/01/2011 4:00 pm

    I agree with you that he had it coming and while I know you can’t say that to your son, he was very brave to stand up to his Dad after years of mistreatment. My eldest is 8, if my husband treated him like your ex did your 8 year old I would leave too! Jen

    • 17/01/2011 1:37 pm

      I did hang on in there for a good few years after that episode but it was only a matter of time, I wish he could have been a ‘normal’ dad 😦

  4. Chrissy permalink
    14/01/2011 4:01 pm

    Must have take a lot of guts to confront someone that has bullied him. Well done Tom.

    • 17/01/2011 1:38 pm

      I don’t think it was pre meditated, but yes, good on him for having done it. It was about time and hopeully his dad might just might start to wonder about himself, if not he coyuld read this and gain a wonderful insight of himself!

  5. 14/01/2011 10:11 pm

    Tommy now 23 goodness gracious!! How difficult it must be to have ones mum and dad on different planets But whatever age children are just that – always a child in a mother’s eyes Wait until you are in your early nineties and Tom is in his late sixties your concern will be the same as today. As for the inheritance no worries, aren’t we going to win the Lotto one day ?

    • 17/01/2011 1:40 pm

      I told him not to worry about the inheritance – that’s his dad’s usual threat and we’re all sick of hearing about it these days. He uses it to control his children into doing as he wishes, poor man. Tommy has enough guts to get on in life on his own, that I am sure of

  6. 15/01/2011 12:28 am

    Your son is lucky to have you to support him and to encourage him to make his own brave decisions. It sounds a complicated thing with your husband’s attitudes being tied up in the local culture, but there’s no excuse for his terrible behaviour and you’re so right, he’s now reaping what he’s sown. If he can’t show his own children love and respect, he shouldn’t be surprised if he doesn’t get any back. You’re a very brave woman to have left him and given your kids the chance to build their self-esteem.

    • 17/01/2011 1:42 pm

      Sadly his father had a dreadful relationship with his own father and they had fisticuffs too. That is part of the trouble of having a family business, namely a hotel to run, the parents put too much effort into the healthy running of the business and the children are sadly the ones who grow up with a lack of communication and understanding. At least that was the case in our lives

  7. 15/01/2011 7:40 am

    This is just terrible – what an awful situation – my heart goes out to him – and to you – but it is so so good that he knows he can always come to you and always count on you

    • 17/01/2011 1:43 pm

      Absolutely and all these horrible experiences toughen him up and hopefully guide him to making better decisions. He has mentioned a trip to Down Under and maybe this would be the perfect opportunity to fulfill that ambition. Nice to see you ahve a new blog, I’ll pop over asap and have a nose 🙂

  8. 15/01/2011 1:53 pm

    Mari, I would too take a stand right next to you in this matter and support my son with everything I had. Your X sounds like my X, but I know my children love him, so I take a step back but I also know one of these days, something like this will happen..

    I’ve just noticed that you have a category called Straight from the heart, whereas I have a category called “heart-talk”…

    Have a great week, Mari!

    • 17/01/2011 1:48 pm

      Hello there, good to see you as always, sadly there are a lot of men out there who believe the harsh shoulder is the correct way to bring up children and teach them about love and family, I disagree totally and hope that myson will act differently the day he has a woman and family

  9. 15/01/2011 10:03 pm

    That’s an awful situation! At least your son is standing up to his dad – he just sounds like a bully.

    Do you not have any say in your son’s inheritance. if you don’t mind my asking?

    • 17/01/2011 1:51 pm

      No, we were divorced and a financial settlement paid out. I have nothing over there and the hotel business is in the name of his father and brother, it will pass down the family and his dad likes to remind him of this threatening him whehn he sees fit in order to keep him in check

  10. 17/01/2011 8:39 pm

    How incredibly hard, for you and your son. It is difficult to stand on the sidelines – especially when your boy was just 8. Now he’s grown I guess they will work out their own ways of their relationship, but so hard to watch. Big hugs. x

    • 20/01/2011 4:22 pm

      Luckily there are 1700 miles that separate me from his father these days and form what I hear the lad has picked himself up, dusted himself down, got a job in a different place and is continuing with his life and dreams WITHOUT his dad – what a relief that is! Thanks for coming by

  11. 18/01/2011 10:06 am

    I once told someone that all the goodness in horrid people (sorry your ex sounds horrid, but I know it still hurts for you to hear that after all you did love him once) goes into their children. Your son sounds like a very good man and no doubt takes after you in almost every way.

    • 20/01/2011 4:30 pm

      Actually Pippa it’s been a long time now that I no longer love him. It’s been a long time now that I actually Thank my lucky stars that we are no longer together and I have a wonderful life now. I think that idea of yours is a beautiful one and yes, my son is a lovely man. Thank you for sharing that with me

  12. 21/01/2011 1:25 pm

    That’s so sad. You should be proud that your son feels comfortable confiding in you. What a horrible situation to be in. X

    • 21/01/2011 2:52 pm

      I am so pleased that we have a relationship where we can share and talk. It is so important for me to have that connection and for him to have someone he can confide in. Thanks for your thoughts x

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