My Son Seems to be a Shell of His Former Self after Separation from His Wife

The Japan News

Dear Troubleshooter:

I’m a female part-time worker in my 50s. I’m seeking your advice regarding my son, who is in his 20s.

He is married and has a child, but I suddenly learned from my son’s wife that they separated due to his violence, infidelity and excessive spending.

My son now lives with me. He was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and has taken a leave of absence from work to see a doctor, but he seems to be a shell of his former self.

My son’s wife constantly sends me long messages on my Line app day and night about her resentment and living expenses, in addition to outrageous demands to cover expenses for my grandchild’s future overseas study and private college education.

When I talked to a lawyer about the issue, they recommended that I should not blindly accept her one-sided arguments and cut off contact with her. However, I have been unable to follow this advice because I feel that my son is at fault.

The living expenses are currently being paid to my son’s wife out of his salary, but it is quite expensive. Their financial issues are serious, but the most painful thing is that I feel as though my son, who used to be calm and cheerful, does not have the strength to live.

Was I wrong in how I raised him? What should I do?

W, Ishikawa Prefecture

Dear Ms. W:

There is no need for you to bear the brunt of your son and his wife’s problems.

It is not reasonable for the wife to continually send you messages day and night about her concerns and demands about her living expenses. Moreover, it is absurd that some of her demands include the cost of your grandchild’s future overseas study and private college education.

As the lawyer said, the first thing you should do is cut off contact with your son’s wife. If that is difficult for you, why don’t you ask the lawyer to represent you? They can inform her that you are not to be contacted directly.

I think the most important thing is to create a calm environment where your son can focus on his therapy. To do so, you will need to step away from this issue for the time being. As your son is currently spending a large amount of his salary paying for her living expenses, leave the other issues to be figured out after he recovers.

Even though it seems as if your son might be at fault, he probably has a lot to say on the matter. You should support him and carefully listen to what he has to say.

As you said, your son used to be calm and cheerful before his marriage. Please do not think that you were wrong in how you raised him.

Yoko Sanuki, lawyer