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If You Love Me? Let me go!

Updated on April 7, 2014

Growing Up Can Be A Lonely Road


You Are Not Alone

"If you would have your son to walk honorably through the world, you must not attempt to clear the stones from his path, but teach him to walk firmly over them - not insist upon leading him by the hand, but let him learn to go alone." - ANNE BRONTE, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall

If you are a parent this story will not shock or surprise you. In fact, you may have been there at some point in your parenting life, able to relate, if not with the outcome, with the gut wrenching turmoil of love...spurned and unrecognized by one you love most. If you haven't been there perhaps there will come a time when you will be faced with a decision, standing and staring at the crossroads, desperately hoping for clarity to emerge. Wisdom, as it relates to being a parent, comes often at a substantial cost to the human psyche. In the end, there is always hope, there is always faith, there is always love. As we have all been told, the greatest of these is love. Sometimes that is difficult to see when you are in the midst of growing up, no matter what age you are.

When I first met my step-son he had just been expelled from a prominent military school. I didn't know what the circumstances were at the time and to this day we have never discussed the details. At that time it wasn't my place to investigate. I felt my only task was to be supportive of his mother who ultimately became my wife. Both of them had a rough go of living in the few years preceding our meeting and it wasn't for me to make it worse. Besides, I never had any children, so what did I know about parenting?

The sadness in this story is that it isn't all that uncommon. All you need do is pick up a newspaper, or turn on the TV, or open up the laptop, turn it on and watch the streaming of this scenario over and over and over again. Maybe, it's what is occurring in your neighbors home right now or perhaps right there in your own back yard. I hope not, but if it is, maybe you can glean something from this hub that will comfort you or guide you or reveal a new alternative that you hadn't thought of or experienced before that just might help change the outcome.

I have changed the names to protect the identity of those involved because it actually is of no value to know who...just what... transpired. As I mentioned the first time I met Stuart he was 20 and about to be expelled from a prominent military school. He was an extremely bright guy with decent grades and tremendous leadership capabilities. I don't know why, but something inside of him snapped and he lost all interest in his own well being, at least that's what it appeared like to me. At that time Stuart was composed but never present. He became, in my humble opinion, distant, introverted, belligerent and down right verbally abusive to his mother. At this point my protective instincts took over and I began to assert myself as I had not done before.This action took care of the situation temporarily, but there would be more to come.

When drugs and alcohol were introduced into the mix, along with an attitude of indifference towards his own life, not to mention all those around him, growing up was becoming a hardship, if not a near impossibility. To say that it was difficult would be an understatement and picking him up out the gutters while in drunken stupors was getting old. When the heroin was introduced we had had enough. It may have already been too late, but we had to do something. If we didn't take action soon we were going to lose him and that would have been more than we could stand. Part of the reluctance to take more drastic measures earlier was because of the fear that Sally had of losing her son the same way she lost her suicide. Sally was doing all a mother would do to hold on to her son's life and she was going to do it no matter what it took. Looking on as a family outsider was not something I cherished and silently standing by was not my way of being. For now though, this type of support was necessary.

The Pain Body Exists

History Repeats

In his book entitled "A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose" Eckhart Tolle describes this notion of a voice inside our heads that "has a life of its own." Tolle says, "Most people are at the mercy of that voice; they are possessed by thought, by the mind. And since the mind is conditioned by the past you are then forced to re-enact the past again and again. The Eastern term for this is Karma."

The pain I experienced in watching this scenario between my wife and her son unfold was a replay of the scenes I had lived as a young man. It reminded me that my selfish, immature and rebellious actions back then put such a stress on my mothers life. Experiencing my attempts at killing myself intentionally or unintentionally through my destructive thinking and lifestyle hurt her terribly, I now know. Seeing my step son do the same things to himself and his mother was an incredible hardship to view and a perfect example of the pain body. Even if the scenarios were different here, I was reliving the pain of years ago. And frankly, is sucked!

What I wanted back then was for my mother to let me go, to let me experience the right of passage that seemingly no longer exists today for a young man. Surely, my mother wanted to protect me from harm as my wife wanted to protect her son. But that protection sometimes comes with a very, very heavy price.

In the days of old when the male right of passage existed, there was an element of life threatening danger. I'm not suggesting that we repeat these life threatening events to grow up in today's world but there is an elemental premise that we must, at some point, allow our sons to make their own judgments. If not, they may be doomed to repeat the scenarios that teach them that judgment over and over again until they do learn. That way of learning too, comes with its price and often it is more life threatening than letting them go.

Letting You Go

Know When to Release Them

As I stated before, I was never a parent before, I have no children of my own and I am not an empath, like Sally, so I cannot feel what she feels. But I am a man and I was a son and I did have issues growing up, (still do according to Sally) so I believe I can see this situation through a similar set of eyes.

So, here we are 10 years later, having contributed to keeping Stuart alive this far. Did we really help him though? That depends on your perspective. He is still alive. He still has a chance to grow. He till has learning to do. He still has issues. He is also still very, very loved! Very loved.At this point I would contend that we are experiencing what every parent experiences when its time to let go.

We think we are losing something, our son. We aren't losing a son. He never really belonged to us anyway. We may have been the stewards of a young man, but if we never let him go through his battles, internal and external, his time of right of passage will never come. We don't know what the outcome will be. That isn't up to us. What is up to us, what our choice is and always will be, is to love him and provide a safe place to heal. In order to do that we must let him go so he can see and know himself, not just his shadow...he must know himself! it is the safest place he will ever know, whether his mother or father or family is here or not.

Go Stuart, be free...with our blessings, be free! And there is healing in that for you and for us!


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    • Born2care2001 profile imageAUTHOR

      Rev Bruce S Noll HMN 

      6 years ago from Asheville NC

      Hi La Thing,

      Thank you for reading my hub and for leaving me this opportunity to say, nothing replaces unconditional love, nor is sometimes harder to express. It is comforting though if we can somehow manage to stay in the present moment, even if sometimes they aren't so good.

      All we can do is love them! Just love them!

      Peace be with you!

      @ Pamela Kinnaird W

      It was very kind of you to leave your comments and helpful information for me and perhaps others who may be experiencing similar issues.

      The commercial phrase says, "Life comes at you fast." It sure does; but I can say there is always a sense of grace that comes with it if we look for it and trust that no matter what the outcome is, that grace is still there, if we'll on seek to find it!

      I'm grateful to you for your thoughts!

      Peace be with you!


      Thank you for your comment! Hey the great part of having your eyes opened is, at least, you can see what is hurtling at you at the speed of light!

      May peace be with you and thanks again,


      I happy things worked out for you and your daughter. It has been my experience that adoptive parents have so much to offer their children, giving them a greater sense of who they are, and under very demanding life circumstances.

      Thank you for loving her and for your kind well wishes.

      It will all work out for the best!


      My heart goes out to you and to your brother. Being a sibling in this scenario is almost more difficult because of the extra pressure of not repeating it and by losing some of the attention you may have gotten otherwise.

      One thing I know about you already is you have a huge heart, filled with all of the goodness of living. You could have survived no other way!

      Thank you for the comment and peace be with you!


      I don't know what your relationship was with your father, but if it was anything like mine, I wish today that my Dad had walked me through this "right of passage" and not my mom.

      But now you can take responsibility for the opportunity not to duplicate it!

      Peace be with you and thank you for reading and commenting on my hub!

    • TENKAY profile image


      6 years ago from Philippines

      'The right of passage', so this was what I was fighting for when I was 20+ years old. I remembered our 'drama', my mother and I, I said "mama, this is my life, not yours, If I follow your advice and be successful, where's the joy in it... if I do my own thing and fail, then I'll learn from my mistakes".

      Congratulations for finding the courage to let go. He is just like a bird who wants to fly and be free.

      Thank you.

    • emilybee profile image


      6 years ago

      Very great hub and as you mentioned, sadly so common now a days. My older brother dealt and still is dealing with many of these issues. While growing up I saw all the pain he caused my parents and decided to not put them through the same stuff, so I chose to not go down that path myself. It's tough though. Thanks for sharing your story. Very well written.

    • xstatic profile image

      Jim Higgins 

      6 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

      Am a parent of a child (now an adult) I adopted when she was two days old. She, fortuately, is doing very well despite a number of challenges she faced growing up. Letting go, though, as you say, is a challenge every parent faces.

      Excellent Hub! I hope your son continues to grow within himself and prosper.

    • leros003 profile image


      6 years ago from Orlando, FL

      I read through this and loved every minute of it. It is definitely an eye opener for my years down the road as a parent.

    • Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

      Pamela Kinnaird W 

      6 years ago from Maui and Arizona

      Sometimes a young person, especially in their teens to 30's, who contemplate or try to commit suicide is suffering from one form or another of schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is a condition, as you might have heard, that doctors have a thousand explanations as to what causes it, but there is no concrete proof yet as to what really does cause it. (Simply lack of iodine in the body is one prevalent theory.) But a person suffering from hearing demonic voices in their head telling them to kill themselves -- hides this because they feel so isolated and know they are different. They feel so alone and scared.

      I read an amazing book in Arizona years ago called The Day the Voices Stopped. I cannot remember the author's name, but he suffered for 40 years with these voices and was in and out of mental institutions. He did his best to stay out of them because of the horrible things going on there to patients under medication. He finally found a doctor who believed Resperadol (spelling?) was the right way to treat him. It took awhile to tweak the dosage, but he was finally free. He went on to try to really help others through the national organization for mental health. He died fairly young.

      I'm just sharing this information in case anyone might find it helpful with someone they know, but I don't pretend to know whether it is anything that might pertain to your situation. May God bless you in your strivings to help and love this young man.

      Beautifully written hub. Voting up and sharing this.

    • LaThing profile image


      6 years ago from From a World Within, USA

      Very touching! Although, my children are still young, I do worry about these things. I believe all parents do...... And I can't even think about that time when we will have to let go..... Voting up.

    • Born2care2001 profile imageAUTHOR

      Rev Bruce S Noll HMN 

      6 years ago from Asheville NC




      I am so, so grateful for your comments. It is, after all, all too common in today's society. I think expressing it also crystallizes it in a way, though it is a hard lesson all the same. The positive side is, no matter the outcome, for those who believe that it all comes to good in the grander scheme, we benefit.

      There is a quote that says, "There are no mistakes, only lessons." - Cherie Carter Scott

      There is more to follow and again, I am so grateful for your time. What a wonderful community we have here.

      Thank you,


    • greatparenting profile image


      6 years ago from philadelphia, pa and corolla, nc

      Very poignant hub that expresses what I'm sure so many parents struggle with. You may not have been Stuart's bio-Dad but it's clear you love him and his mom. You and your wife will get through this together and hopefully your son will someday look back and see the gift you gave him when you let him go to seek his own truth.

    • KellyPittman profile image

      Kelly Pittman 

      6 years ago from Walker, LA

      Great Hub. Very well written and really hit home. Even if a person is not yet a parent, we are all someone's child.

    • tammyswallow profile image


      6 years ago from North Carolina

      This is a great hub. I am living this today with my middle son. It has caused me more pain that anything else in my life. It is hard to let your child go and learn through his own mistakes. All I can do is love him and not enable him. Very, very touching.

    • Born2care2001 profile imageAUTHOR

      Rev Bruce S Noll HMN 

      6 years ago from Asheville NC

      Thank You Vinaya!

      I am grateful you chose to read this hub and also for your willingness to share it with others, especially your friends.

      We can learn something from everyone who comes into our lives if we will be open to the message they bring. Thank you for your open heart!


    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 

      6 years ago from Nepal

      Though not a parent, I enjoyed reading this article and wish to share with my friends who have children.

    • Born2care2001 profile imageAUTHOR

      Rev Bruce S Noll HMN 

      6 years ago from Asheville NC

      Hi Bill and thank you! I knew you would understand and appreciate. Like I've said before, you set the mark pretty high and I enjoy the encouragement from one who knows about choices!

      Your friend,



      Welcome to my little part of this fabulous community. I greatly appreciate your time and thank you for extending a meaningful comment on my hub. You are so right! It is bittersweet and I'm happy that your dad made the decision he did. Good for him and great for you!

      Thanks again,


    • Minnetonka Twin profile image

      Linda Rogers 

      6 years ago from Minnesota

      It is very bittersweet to 'let go' especially when we fear the person will hurt themselves but it is all you can do. He will do what he will do no matter what and letting go more will make him more conscious of his acts. I feel for your wife and yourself as you've watched him make poor choices but he is the only one that can help himself. We had my dad put in treatment a few times and it never worked because he wasn't ready. He finally went to treatment the last time on his own and stayed sober for the rest of his life because he wanted it. Love hurts, that's for sure.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Hey my friend, you just hit a homerun! This, in my opinion, is your best work so far. You are growing as a writer, finding your voice and allowing your story to be released without restraint, like Stuart. Tough choices, ones I had to make thirty years ago....but necessary. Bravo on an excellent hub.


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