Mary the mother was in her 50s. Her son was 27 years old and her daughter was around 20 years old. Her husband’s business was not bad. It could have been a lovely family. However, her son became addicted to gambling 3 years ago. To help son repay debts, the couple gave up their $200-300k savings. Son alleged to correct his mistake while kept on gambling. Loan collectors’ frequent annoying calls scared the mother to death. The father decided to move away and ended relationship with son. Too much fear from loan collectors and guilt from abandoning son, mother was ill and father sent her into psychiatric hospital.
“Doctor said it was depression. The tears fell like rainfall. I was worried that we used up all the money, and sad that husband abandoned son. My daughter also complained her brother. Various tragedies played in my head constantly.” The clinical psychologist Mary saw in hospital guided her to get in touch with her fears. “The clinical psychologist asked me what the worst scenario would be. I thought for a second and believed that even when the whole family lost everything and lived in a sub-divided flat, I could still make it.” It helped Mary cope with her fear.
No longer trapped in fear, Mary settled herself and made wise decisions to help others. She followed husband in moving home and left son to solve problems independently.
It is not easy for families to do what Mary did. Families often held a lot of worries and the choice of being “ruthless” comes at a big cost. “What if son was disturbed and threatened by loan collectors? What if he lost his job? Would he blame me?” “If I don’t repay for my husband, would I lose my marriage and everything?”
Mary overcome the worries in years of time and efforts. Son did not show new debts and rebuilt his life. Mary found “giving up her son” the most tough decision she had ever made. “I still maintained contact with him but I dared not give my new address to him. How cruel and ruthless I am!” said Mary with guilt.
I replied, “son needed this deep love from you the most in order to be independent.” Mary broke into tears and expressed that this was her wish for long. A week later, I received a call from Mary’s son. I believed Mary’s wish could still come true.