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My Children Aren't Speaking..

Question:

I am 49 years old, married for 26 years, and have 2 children ages 18 and 23. I have been in treatment for depression for the past 7 years. I am on medications, and they help the depression, but I just have this empty feeling and feel like my life has been a failure; I don’t see the future getting any better. My children are not speaking to each other since my 18 year old son married a 22 year old woman, quit school, and moved out of state; he now has a child. My daughter was verbally abusive to his wife prior to them leaving. I miss him terribly and am greatly distressed that their relationship has been damaged by these events. Should I allow them to work this out by themselves? I am afraid the longer it goes on, the less likely it is that they will reconcile. What can I say or do that might help them get back to at least a speaking relationship? My daughter is getting married in one month and he won’t come to the wedding.

This Disclaimer applies to the Answer Below
  • ‘Anne’ is the pseudonym for the individual who writes this relationship advice column.
  • ‘Anne’ bases her responses on her personal experiences and not on professional training or study. She does not represent herself to be a psychologist, therapist, counselor or professional helper of any sort. Her responses are offered from the perspective of a friend or mentor only.
  • Anne intends her responses to provide general information to the readership of this website; answers should not be understood to be specific advice intended for any particular individual(s).
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  • Always consult with your psychotherapist, physician, or psychiatrist first before changing any aspect of your treatment regimen. Do not stop your medication or change the dose of your medication without first consulting with your physician.
Answer:

My first thought is that you are attributing your depression to your children not speaking. These are two separate issues and should be addressed accordingly. Your children have to want to resolve their differences. Have you talked to either of them about this situation? Are either of them responsive to settling this matter? How long has it been since they stopped talking? Perhaps they both need time to put things into perspective. It is not uncommon for family members to cut off communication following a disagreement. My best advice to you is to not get overly involved. I suggest that you do nothing more than talking to them.They may not be ready to resolve this matter. If you decide to intervene, you may come across as the bad guy. I’m betting that you wouldn’t want either of them upset with you. Perhaps you can act as their messenger…if they’re willing to talk about this situation, then you can relay information to each of them, so that they can better understand what it will take to make the other happy. A wedding is a great opportunity for a reunion. Make sure that your son realizes this opportunity. Try to talk to him, but you can not force him into it. Maybe he will finally realize his and her mistakes. Try dropping hints when you see him such as talk about the wedding (in great detail) in front of him. Sometimes people need an extra push. As for your depression…are you combining therapy with your medication? I know that it is hard not to blame yourself for this, but you have to know that this is not your fault. If you are seeking therapy, talk to them about it.them about it. If your children know how deeply this situation is affecting you, they may be more willing to settle matters. Best of luck, – Anne

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