Controlling: Releasing Your Son Without Letting Go (Interview With Pam Poindexter)

Prefer to read the episode transcript? See below.


Dr. Leslie: So, hello everyone. And welcome to the Dr. Leslie Inspires show. And today I am here with our guests, Miss Pam. And so, I'm going to let her introduce herself a little bit more, but I'm going to start us off in prayer. Father God, in the name of Jesus we thank you so much for this opportunity to come before you one more time. We pray Lord that you would just take over and give us the words to speak. The on-time word that you would have for a mother who is listening to this podcast. Give us an on-time word to say, let us hear your still small voice as we are listening so that we will know what to say to help set another mother free from the bondage of control from the bondage of lack of control from the bondage of just love or whatever it is. So, we just pray, Lord, and we just thank you in the mighty name of Jesus we pray. Amen. So, Ms. Pam, Ms. Pam, welcome to our podcast today. Thank you so much. How are you today? 

Ms. Pam: I'm blessed and highly favored. 


Dr. Leslie: Wonderful, yes you are. And so, I know you're there in Ohio with all the cold and the snow that's coming. So, we just pray that you stay warm, you and your loved ones stay warm and just do what you need to do. And so, we thank you as you are inside today taking the time out to come and speak with us. So, Miss Pam, she is an educator. She is a devoted mom; she is a school board member. She's very active in the community and just the overall good-hearted person. 


We've actually become friends since we became acquainted with her reading my book and she was part of the 30-day pandemic for moms. And so, through that, I've learned about her. I've learned about her genuine heart, her heart for her children. And so, just like many of you she too has had, and it's still overcoming struggles with being just a loving mom and giving her heart and wanting the best for her sons and overall, for her children. So, Ms. Pam, if you could just say a few words first, just tell us a little bit more about yourself and how we became acquainted.

Ms. Pam: Yes, as Dr. Leslie stated, I am a 15-year school board member in the city of Maple Heights. And I am also a seven year now teacher because I changed my direction. I thought I wanted to go into business, but then God just put a calling on my heart, that I needed to be in the classroom and teach kids. How I met Leslie, her mom and my mom go to the same church and they are bosom buddies. And my mom attended a book signing that you had Leslie here in Cleveland. And she came back and she said, Pam you have to read this book. Because she knew some of the struggles, I was going through with bosom my middle son. And I ordered the book and I sat down and I started reading it, I think I read the book in probably about a couple of hours. But through the process, I cried through it because I could see that she was touching areas that I needed to change.


This is still so very hard for me. Because thinking back where I was, when I sat down and read the book and where I am now in my relationships with my sons, it's almost like a 360. Some areas I still struggle trying to control. And they are quick now to say I don't want you to do anything. And I'll share with you later on in the conversation, just recently two days ago, Cameron said that to me and what we were discussing. So ever since then Leslie and I have been connected when I'm struggling, I know I can reach out to her and get support and get some direction. So, I'm still finding my way as many moms will continue to try to find their way through this process because it's not an overnight thing.


Dr. Leslie: Exactly. You just said it, it's like. It is a process and it is not overnight. And I think that's one of the things that if I could say to any of the mothers don't think that this is a once and done type thing. You have to first be committed to the process as Ms. Pam is. And for her, I know you, we would talk about this later, but for your sons to have said, you're doing too much or whatever it was you had to somewhere in there, give them permission to do that to you. That's the only way they will feel comfortable. You gave them permission to say, hey, and you receive it. I think that's one of the beauties that I feel is one of the best things in terms of working with you, you are very open to receiving, you were able to admit that there was a problem. And then when you came to grips, especially after reading the book that maybe I need to look at myself, you know what I mean? Cause that's the first thing is looking at yourself. We can look at our sons all day long, but Ms. Pam, you were open to looking at yourself and making the change. So, I applaud you for that.


Ms. Pam: Thank you. Thank you. Because I want to be a better me. Because after going through a divorce, I was open because I wanted to know, what do I need to change about me? Not that I'm saying that everything was my fault or anything like that, but I wanted to be prepared to go through my life knowing and loving me. Because I have forgotten how to love me. And to just go through life and not look for who did this to me and what did I do to them and just loving on me. I needed to learn how to do that again. 

Dr. Leslie: Yeah. And we talk about that in the book. There's a place in there. Because it's very common. That's why it's in the book because it's very common for women to put so much into their children. No matter what age, you find a lot of women who think, Oh, well they're 18 now I'm done. Oh no, your job is just beginning almost.

Ms. Pam: Just beginning.


Dr. Leslie: And then we just constantly continue to look forward to the end of that feeling or toward the end of our sons growing up. But Ms. Pam, with you saying you want it to have a better you, that's what you have to do after a divorce, after your kids grow up, while they're growing up, it's a continuous process of creating a better you. So, I commend you for that. I love talking to you, you are just so real with things that are going on. So, as we remember the last time that we talk and we had your sons on the call with us and part of that very emotional interview was your sons talking. And after you have given them a questionnaire to fill out about you. And then your daughter, I think you asked her, or she actually filled out one too. But nevertheless, they actually had the same responses.

Ms. Pam: Absolutely. That just floored me. So, you know, I've always gone through my life and I try to tell my kids that if you keep getting the same response from everybody and it's exactly the same, they're not related and nobody knows anybody, then you need to look at yourself. So that was turned around on me because I gave them all the three same questions and none of them had spoken to each other about it. And when I read them, they were exactly the same. And the biggest thing that stood out was that I never say no and I always try to fix everything for them. And that's true because I didn't feel like I should say no to my kids. And whatever issues or whatever problems they were having, I can just go into fixing mode. I'm going to take care of this for you, put you back on the right track, let me figure this out. And they didn't want that all the time. They wanted to try to figure it out for themselves.


Dr. Leslie: Where do you think that type of action or behavior comes from? Where does that stem from?


Ms. Pam: I think a lot of it came from seeing my dad. He had 11 brothers and sisters and he was the oldest boy and his family, his mom, and a couple of his sisters struggled with an illness, muscular dystrophy. So, he was always in charge of putting them to bed, getting them up in the mornings, taking us to school. So, I constantly saw him fixing and taking care of stuff all the time. So, I think that I took that as that's what you're supposed to do for the people you love and the people you're around. You're supposed to take care of everything regardless of what the cost is. So, I think that's where I got a lot of that from. And also, from my grandmother, my mom's mom, I was around her a lot and she was very, very independent. She took care of her kids, my mom, and her sisters by herself. So, I just had a lot of strong people around me, but not just looking at what they did, but not really understanding why they did it. 

Dr. Leslie: We usually look at those things later in life after we've made some mistakes. So, do you think that impacted you in your marriage as well?


Ms. Pam: Yes, I do. Because of the fact that I don't think I allowed him to be the man of my home because I, when I saw something getting ready to happen, that I didn't think that should happen that way, I would step in and take care of it. So, then that gave him permission to choose like, kind of setback. Okay, well, you going to handle it, so you do it. I remember me and him having an argument a lot of the times saying I need you to stop treating me, you're not my mother. So, I guess he felt that I had put him in the box of the kids, looking at him like that. And to be honest and truthfully, that's how I felt. I felt like I was raising a grown man because of some of the decisions that he would make that affected our household. So that was always a struggle for me, but I didn't know how to sit back, and just whatever happened, happened, he had to deal with it. I never wanted him to fail or disrupt our home. So, I would try to fix it.


Dr. Leslie: And you know, what you just said was probably the story of 90% of the women that Dr. Leslie Inspires encounters, 90% of the women that we work with have that challenge. And so, it actually spills down into the relationship with our sons. And so, we have to really work at becoming less independent because we're taught, like you said, you were taught indirectly. Nobody really sat you down and said, Ms. Pam this is what you're supposed to do. You learn a lot of that behavior from watching your father from watching your grandmother. And so, it's always, it's the same way with our children, with our sons. It's not what you say is what you do. And so, we end up finding ways with spouses or significant others or trying to tone it down.


And we have to relearn how to be a woman. You have to relearn how to be a woman because as black women, in particular, we are very strong. And that is really going to be in my other book, where there was a letter, when you talk about Willie Lynch and all of those things that happened to the woman, as she had to watch her husband during slave times, as she had to watch him experience a lot of abuse. Because of that, she sheltered her children. And she tried to teach her children her way so that they would not end up like her. But it was for the love of her husband and for the love of her children. And so, we are trying to really relearn how to be a woman, I don't want to say that “S” word submissive, but how to be submissive, how to love, how to receive love, because I can imagine with you doing so much, you had trouble receiving love the way that you knew how to give, which is your form of protection for your spouse, for your children. But at the same time, women like that, women like us women, like the women that we work with, they know how to give, but they have a hard time receiving.


Ms. Pam:  I have a hard time receiving it. Yes, I do. I do. I mean, just to the simple fact where, trying to date now, and my level of - I can't put it into words, just to go out and have a meal with someone. And a guy saying don't touch that door. You know what I mean? Just simple stuff like that, I'm so used to grabbing the door and just walking through it. But knowing how to just like, whoa, stand back. And I've had that happen to me several times because I'm just so used to just walking through a door.


Dr. Leslie: You're used to making it happen. Not depending. Some of that that we have to think about is really castrating. I talk about that a lot, castrating the man. Part of what Dr. Leslie Inspires aims to do is, we want to create men. And part of that is we can't actually go and create a man, but do you realize if you don't touch that door, he feels more like a man and he wants to open more doors for you. He wants to do so much more for you because you are allowing him. That is part of his manhood. And so, some people learn that young, it becomes a type of expectation that women have when it's done to them as girls. But even as we grow, I mean, we just change. The world is so different now, it's even acceptable if he doesn't open the door, have we dumbed it down a little bit? Is it okay or do we raise the level of expectation and say, are you going to hold the door open for me?

Ms. Pam: I caught my daughter doing that one time. Because I told her, I said, he needed to come to the door and he needs to open the door for you when you get in the car. And I caught her one day, just standing there. And I'm like, okay. So, she is listening, but her mama needs to use her own words too.


Dr. Leslie: But the thing is you are aware. And you know, many times we can teach it but we are still our own best student. You're an educator, so you know what it's like, we can teach all day long. One of the other things too, in one of our prior conversations, you talked about someone else on the call, it was a different conversation and you were talking about what they were saying. They were giving up on their children and some things had happened and you were really quiet that whole call. But when this person said something about giving up on their child, you chimed in and said, don't do that. And you said it with such force and you said, do not give up on your child. Because when I was a certain age, this happened between me and my mother. And I wonder where I would be if my mother gave up on me. Can you talk about that a little bit?


Ms. Pam: Yeah. I was probably around 20. I had come back from Ohio state from college, I was down there partying. And started working and I had come home that day tired. And I walked in and she seemed to be like jumping on me for no apparent reason. And like, you need to wash these dishes, that's the way she kind of came. And before I know it, I said something back and she was up in my face. And next thing I know we were tussling on the kitchen floor. It's just like, I totally blacked out. And it took my dad to come in and kind of separate us. And so, the next day I had an interview with the post office. So, I get up that morning, I go to the interview, come back. My mom had everything in my room sitting out on the front porch. It was the summertime. She had packed up everything. She ain't leave nothing up in that room. Nothing that belonged to me. So, I couldn't believe she did it. She's like, you can't stay here anymore. You can't stay here. So, I packed up Wednesday with my girlfriends’ friend, and I don't think I spoke to my mother for about five to six months. But when we did talk, she told me how much she loved me, why she did it. And that wasn't because I was not going to disrespect her in her home. And this was her house, this was her place. And from that day forward, I mean, it hasn't been rosy. It has been learning each other since then. But my mom, she supports me. She has helped me with a lot of things I've gone through in my life. But I just think that could have been the last time I ever spoke with my mother. And during that time, that six months she called around, check-in trying to get in touch with me, but me being pigheaded, I wouldn't talk to her or whatever. But I never had the feeling ever that she gave up on me during that event, during that issue. And she's always supported me. And when the person said that on the call, it just like went through my soul because we can't, even though they're not doing what we expect them to do, we still can't give up on them, but we got to find out how we can support them and be there for them in any situation. Just don't give up.

Dr. Leslie: When you say don't give up, what is the stopping point? What is the stopping point of not giving up and what do you consider to not give up? So, like your mom, you knew that she didn't give up because somebody might've said, Oh, your mom called today asking about you. So, you kind of knew that, okay she still loves me, at least she's checking. You're not hearing anything and seeing her party and somewhere and forgot all about you. Still had clues that she was concerned. What is the stopping point and how does a woman manage her stopping point? And what does that look like? Maybe to you or what would that look like to you? Or how would you tell somebody who's just had it? What does it look like to just pause, stop and not stop?

Ms. Pam: I say for one, just to stay prayerful, just ask God to guide your decisions and guide your heart. Because it's so easy to build up a wall, but it's hard tearing it down. So at least keeping that communication open even if they don't want it, just continually, but not invading their space, giving them that space, that room. Because eventually, it's all going to work itself out to me. And just like with my son Cameron I've learned to give him his space. I don't expect him to call me every week. I don't expect him to call and say, hey mom, how are you doing? Don't have the expectation. That's one thing because it's your expectation. But your expectation may not coincide with what theirs is.

So, I know when Cameron calls me, he is going to be asking me something crazy. But I know when he does call is because he actually wants me to do something or help him make a decision. It's been a rough road because normally like I said earlier, the conversation we had the other day Cameron has had several jobs in 2020. I would say five to six different jobs. And he recently lost a job that I thought was going to really take him places. And we were having a conversation and I asked him, I said, what's your goal? You know, where do you want to be? I say, you can't go through life without a goal. And he said, my goal is to open up a studio where I do videos or whatever for people, their websites, blah, blah, blah.

I said, well, how do you expect to accomplish that goal when you keep changing jobs? "Well, I'm not going to work for nobody that don't treat me right. And don't talk to me, right. Blah, blah, blah. I want to have my own". I said, well, you have had five jobs and you're barely making it. So how are you going to save, when you're barely making it, you got to work for somebody. And I said, well, what do you want to do? He's like, ma I don't want any help from you. I'll find a job. I always have a job, which he does. I don't know how he gets jobs, but he gets his job. I said, Cameron, you only have about one more year to be on my insurance and you're done. You need to figure it out. You got to put time in somewhere, but he is like, I don't want your help. I can figure it out myself, but I wanted to at least put something in his mind that your time is running out. To achieve your goal, you're going to have to save some money. You going to have to work for somebody to make some money.

Dr. Leslie: You know, and the thing is, just like your daughter, even though it may not seem like they're listening. They are listening to every word you say. So, the best thing that we can do as mothers, something that I've learned is to talk in the calmest way because they are listening and whatever it is you want to say, it's in his head, my mama said. And remember everything that you said in the past. So, I think based off of what you said, you have come a very long way from the beginning. And it you've just made a decision. You know what I mean? And that still keeps your son in your grace, it keeps you all's relationship moving. 


Ms. Pam: When he tried to take it to another level, like raising his voice. I'm like, Cameron, let's just have a conversation. I'm just giving you what I think. You don't have to take it and then I find him coming back down. Or when I know that he's not going to come back down, I just be quiet. Just cut it off. Cause okay, you are not receiving what I'm saying and I'm not going to push it on you, just leave it alone.

Dr. Leslie: Right. And that's very different from the mother who you going to hear what I got to say? But we keep talking and guess what, I imagine that's the same behavior that happened in the marriage because our sons a lot of them grow up at that same level of intelligence, that same attitude that they have towards their mother. And that's the same attitude that they start to have towards their wife. And so, some of the things you may not hear in the beginning, because that's the very thing that draws them to you, those mother-like characteristics, but it's also the same thing later on down the road. Ooh, she acting like my mother.


Ms. Pam: Yep, yep.


Dr. Leslie: And that will start getting on their nerves. So, we want to create better men. If we become better women, we become better wives using these tools, equipping ourselves, taking care of ourselves not taking care of everybody else first. Thinking about the repercussions of what do we want this relationship with our son to look like, it's in our hands. You know, we create it, the Bible says we can build them up or we can tear them down. And so, our goal is to start to use our words and build them up.


I think I have covered everything that I wanted to. I want to give you a round of applause for such growth from the beginning, because your interview was so heartfelt and it was so real. And I think a lot of women can take that interview. It's actually in one of our courses, which I'll have to put that out there, but he fact that you were just willing, you had an open heart to receive, I need to figure out what's going on with me. And it sounds like you're continuing to do that, which is why you're still having continuous growth, self-Growth


Ms. Pam: Yeah, I had to because it was going to be me or them. And I ain't ready to check out yet.


Dr. Leslie: Okay. What do you mean by that?


Ms. Pam: I just ain't ready to check out, because I mean all of the stress and all of that trying to do for them and them seeming unappreciative of what I was doing. It was killing me. I would find myself in depression. Like, what am I doing? Why don't my kids love me? Why don't they listen to me? So, I was just in a spiral of blame, just accepting all the blame for everything that was going wrong. And I was killing myself.

Dr. Leslie: Pam, you are speaking to so many mothers right now. So many women who are going through the same exact thing, who are feeling the exact same way that you just expressed. And in some ways a lot of mothers are hiding. They're hiding from themselves and they're hiding from the situation in disbelief that with their college education, with all the degrees behind their name. They as hard as I work, all of these plaques on my wall, having trouble with my children, not me. So, it's a form of embarrassment for a lot of women and a lot of women hide and keep it to themselves. So that alone is going to free up a lot of women. And I just thank you so much for sharing.

Ms. Pam: My last thought to them is just to be real with yourself, admit the problem. And like you said, in your book, step one admits the problem. So that's the first step, admit that it is, don't sugarcoat it. Don't try to make it be flashy and it's this perfect and all of that, nothing's perfect. Nothing in life.

Dr. Leslie: And that just drew me to another question. Did you go through a period where you refused to admit that to yourself that there was a problem?


Ms. Pam: Yeah, absolutely. Because I felt like I knew everything, everything I was telling my kids were things that I experienced, but it didn't mean that they were going to experience that the same way. So, it's like, if you don't want to listen to all right, bye. But sometimes everything that I did tell them, it may not have happened that way, and they found their own way to solve the problem. And even with my ex-husband, everything didn't have to be my way.

Dr. Leslie: Okay. Well, we are going to end on that note. We're talking to Ms. Pam, educator extraordinary, devoted mother extraordinary, school board member extraordinary. And I do want to say that Ms. Pam, she was very instrumental in bringing Dr. Leslie Inspires to Maple Heights to speak during their Parent Funfest and we had a ball. I just want to thank you once again for sharing that experience with us Ms. Pam. So, I guess I should say influential as well. It was very clear that when she believes in something, she tries to make it happen so I can see how all of that energy can tie into your children, can tie into your work, can tie into everything that you do. You're just professional and you're serious about what you do and you're serious about the things and the people that you love. 


Ms. Pam: Absolutely. 


Dr. Leslie: Are we just thank you so much, Ms. Pam.


Ms. Pam: Thank you, Dr. Leslie. I enjoyed it.


Dr. Leslie: So, let me close us out in prayer really quick. Father God, in the name of Jesus, we thank you for Ms. Pam oh God. Thank you for giving her the heart to want to come and share her experiences with other mothers. We just thank you oh God, we pray that you would continue to cover her. Have the Holy spirit to speak to her in that still small voice, give her wisdom, knowledge and understanding that she needs to do what you would have her to do for her children and as she meets the right Mr. Right as he's coming her way. And even with her mother and father, her family members. So, we thank you, Lord. We cover her and we just give you all the praise honor and glory in Jesus mighty name we pray, amen. Thank you so much, 

Ms. Pam. 


Ms. Pam: You're welcome. 



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