A big step for difficult child and me

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by recoveringenabler, Apr 25, 2014.

  1. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    My daughter borrowed my car on Wednesday for the day. The agreement we had was she would bring it back by 6. At 7:15 she called and said, she was in the middle of an overwhelming situation with her ex roommate trying to get her belongings out of his home. She said she would be home with the car by 9. She didn't return. I woke up at 3 AM to go to the bathroom and neither she nor the car were home. I was angry at the broken agreement so I couldn't go back to sleep. I called and texted her, no response. At 8, from my office, I called again and she answered, not apologetic, rambling on about the latest drama where the police had to be called, the roommate's taking her stuff to a storage unit........on it went...........I stopped her saying, "I don't want to know any more, if my car is not home in 20 minutes, I am calling the police and reporting it stolen."

    SO called me 20 minutes later and she and the car were at my house. He told her that she had burned the last bridge with me. He was angry. She spent a few hours moving stuff around from car to car to garage and then left. I got home from work and she was gone. She returned to give my SO a key and her car wouldn't start. She came in to apologize to me and said to me, "you have every right to be angry Mom, I messed up, I was so overwhelmed with everything, I just didn't think." I was in a calm place and asked, "what are you going to do now?" She said, "I don't know, but I will figure it out." I said, if that car breaks down on the road, the police will impound it because it's such a piece of junk at this point.........she said, "I won't let that happen Mom, I will handle it." I watched her stand on the back fender of her car sort of jumping on it, which she told me, helps it start...............I saw something on her face that I had not really witnessed before, it was a look of exhilaration, of fun, of adventure..........she was enjoying this!

    I said to SO, "I would have lent her my car every day to fulfill her obligations and she could have stayed here, but she messed up and created a situation of high stress and drama and is relishing it." She is "out there" now in a broken down car with a guy friend who just got out of jail and she is "handling it." She is definitely living on that razors edge!

    During the car not starting part, SO, my granddaughter and I were in the house.........my granddaughter said in a very strong and decisive voice, "don't help her anymore, don't do anything, let her handle it Grammy, you've done enough." My SO said the same thing and told me now it was time to let go completely and let her go into her own life. He said, "we're all done now."

    The two of them were sort of like barriers, 2 people I love standing between me and the source of so much pain in my life...........and both of them saying, it's over now, let her go. It felt important and even in the midst of it, it felt as if this is where we had all been headed for a long time..........this was that critical mass point where it all comes together and changes.

    Remember in the thick of the worst of it, as I was crying in the car after running all over the county while she was in jail about 2 years ago, my SO said, "it's like you and she are in a boat with holes in the bottom and while you frantically and desperately try to fill up the holes, she is making new ones." That was such a great visual for me, it shifted things because I knew then, it was the truth.

    Yesterday, I got to see that truth play itself out. She is in a manic state, or some high stress disorder state, or whatever, it really doesn't matter because she won't seek help to change it, she likes it, she likes living on the edge, the drama, the intensity, the about to fall off the cliff kind of high anxiety.

    Acknowledging that truth helped me to let go even more. She is exactly where she wants to be. What I want or believe or need or think is normal or okay or healthy is irrelevant, this is the life she wants to have. As she drove off, I just let go. I could feel it happen. Whatever happens to her is what happens, there is nothing for me to to, nothing for me to even think about. Wherever she lands, I will address any interactions with her at that time, for now, we are all okay.

    She is free now. Free of my interventions, judgements, trying to fix her life, trying to make her life into something she doesn't want...........she is exactly where she intends to be...........and that knowledge, that truth changed something for me. She is not a victim of her life, she is not a poor soul who landed in this unfortunate place, she is exactly where she wants to be. Poof. Final enabling switch turned off.

    It's raining today, thunder storms, hasn't rained in weeks........she is out there with a missing back window in her car and a skylight which doesn't close..........and instead of seeing that as "oh my God, she is wet, she is cold, she is hungry, she is ________", today, I see it as my daughter is having her next adventure, God Bless her, she is where she wants to be. And, so am I.

    That slight perceptual shift, that little change of how I see it, changes everything. I know this sounds really strange, but I feel really, really good. It feels as if all of us are in our rightful place in the Universe and there is NOTHING I need to do............
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    Last edited: Apr 26, 2014
  2. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    The truth about our daughters is that they do not value the things we do, Recovering. Both our daughters had everything we ever wanted for them, once upon a time, but it wasn't enough. We keep trying to help them get back there because we never did understand that what they needed to feel happy, to feel alive, had nothing to do with anything we can even recognize. They love to run along that growing edge Brene Brown talks about ~ but they are far, far out there, where the edge turns razor thin, and cuts deep.

    Not so long ago, I came to understand that most of what I really felt for my daughter had somehow turned into judgment, into an unspoken condemnation that had something to do with my failure to protect and with her repeated failure to be, and to have, and to cherish, what I wanted for her.

    It was so messed up, Recovering.

    And I realized I could keep on like that forever, or...I could love her and let her go.

    And when that really happened for me, Recovering? When I really, finally, all at once forgave my child for who she was, forgave myself for all the things I beat myself up with because she was who she was?

    There was such joy there, Recovering.

    It's a bittersweet kind of feeling.

  3. Wow, what a difference two years of all of your hard work has made on the process and outcome this time your daughter was incarcerated.
    You must feel so relieved and accomplished. You, SO and GD all did the best you could for your difficult child once she was released but without compromising your beliefs. Bravo!
    Enjoy those feelings of happiness! You certainly deserve to feel that way.
  4. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    We'll, the story continues. I got a call at 9:30 that she was picked up by the local police for trespassing and "under the influence." The police said to come to the station to get the 3 cats and her car.....................SO and I just returned from bringing her car back here and he is now at the local shelter bringing the cats. She may have had other plans for those cats, but we made that choice for the cats. I know the owners of the shelter and they are wonderful folks who never euthanize the animals, they are very, very well cared for. In fact, SO and I have both volunteered there.

    I can't help wondering if this was her plan all along, to go back to that place where there is no stress. The police said she was crying and laughing and dancing. Gee.

    In truth, for me, this is the best outcome. Like many of us here, when our difficult child's are contained in a fairly safe environment, it works out better for us.

    As was the case 3 days ago, I have no emotional response to any of this, I just went and got her car, brought it home, covered it with a tarp, talked to the cops, dealt with a part of it that I was willing to do. That has oddly become much easier now and I can quickly determine what I am willing to do without resentment.

    With new charges I believe she will have to serve her full old sentence and then go to court to determine what these new charges will be. She will now likely be in jail for quite some time, which truthfully, is the best place for her now. She will lose all of the things she has been desperately trying to hold on to, three storage units, 3 cats and the old life. Hopefully, when she gets out eventually, she will have realized what a relief that is.

    I am pretty good. Again, it feels as if it all is going exactly as it should. We are all where we are supposed to be. It's an odd thing, but I'm really glad the last 6 days happened. SO, my granddaughter and I slid into home base together, all with the same sense of completion and the knowledge that for me, the unhealthy dynamic with my daughter is finished. My commitment to be okay regardless of what anyone else is doing and maintaining my inner peace along the way has been realized under ghastly circumstances.

    It's true, you can even be okay in a war zone.

    Tomorrow is my granddaughter's senior prom. She looks gorgeous in her dress and her excitement is catching.

    Life has so many ups and downs and it's a good thing to remain as close to the center as possible............... where peace is found.
  5. Childofmine

    Childofmine trying to do this thing one day at a time Staff Member

    Yes. This is exactly how it is until we finally are able to stop.

    SO says difficult child lives on the jagged edge. That is what he likes. That is where he wants to be. You can hear in his voice the rush, the high, the jolt he gets when he's trying to get out of something. He's flying high. He's pushing and pulling and manipulating and directing and I think he absolutely loves it. He is in his prime when that is happening. And if this is how he really wants to live, boring old everyday life, getting up, going to work, patting the dog, cooking supper and washing clothes will never cut it for him. This is a story of facing reality, RE, and it helps me to read what you wrote. I am going to read it again and again---from a few days ago until today. The up and the down and the happiness you felt seeing her and the acceptance you are able to achieve right now.

    What a gift. I want to completely set difficult child free. I want him to be free of me. And me of him.

    Release her to the Universe. That is what you have done, RE.

    This is acceptance. Forgiveness for them and for ourselves.

    Every time, RE, once I get over the shock and the grief, this is where I land. I decided last week to stop resisting the facts. He is in jail. Relax into this time. He is somewhere. He is not "out there." This is a respite for me, and I am going to claim it. There is time enough, later, for something different. Right now is all we have.

    Your difficult child is somewhere now RE. I know you had hoped for something different. But she has done what she has chosen to do. There can be no mistaking that. In our society, there are rules and if they are broken, there are consequences. Maybe our difficult children are just not meant for this world today. I don't know.

    I am so thankful for you and for your example RE. What a six-day ride you have been on, and I am so glad I have been privileged to view it from here. Thank you. Blessings and peace to you today. I hope you can enjoy this minute, this evening, and relax into it, RE.
  6. SeekingStrength

    SeekingStrength Well-Known Member


    What jumped out of me, reading what has recently transpired with your difficult child, is that she is all over the place and it made my feelings jump around because of the erratic behavior. My heart sped up and it's not even my difficult child. (I obviously have a ways to go) But, YOU were calm.

    Part of me thought, Oh no, here it comes. RE is gonna melt; this is too much.

    You did not melt; you did not freak/panic. Your acceptance shines through with your reactions. You give me hope. Like yourself and everybody else reading your posts, I wanted this to go a different direction...for your daughter to take healthy steps. But, working toward our acceptance makes a lot more sense...because expecting our difficult children to begin taking those healthy steps is a dream, a hope, maybe a miracle. But, we CAN change ourselves. And, you are living, breathing proof...you are walking the walk and not just talking the talk.

    Thank you for putting this all down for all of us. I am sorry that you have had all this happening, but I am happy for you --that you are doing so well.
  7. I agree with you that this seems to be her plan all along. That in jail she found her own sense of peace and belonging and some sort of order to her life...a place where she is forced into that sense of order and does not have the freedom to make the same bad choices she seems compelled to make on the outside. As twisted as this may seem to some, I think that this may be a healthy sign for your difficult child, sort of a protection mechanism for her. A way for her to find order. Lots of folks join the military for the same reason. I hope that she gets what she needs while there.

    You made the best decision for the cats. All of this turmoil is not good for them. At least the police department didn't send them to a municipal shelter as is often the case when pet owners are arrested. That would have been an additional hassle for you. It is good that they let you pick them up directly.

    Even from reading the first sentence of your latest post, I knew you would be okay. You are different now. You are not going to melt over this kind of stuff ever again. I can just sense it.

    For me with my difficult child mother, I just desensitized over the years. The crazy, illegal, outlandish, disruptive, nasty, aggressive behaviors on her part started to get less and less reaction from me. I remember detaching from it all feeling so good. Eighteen years ago was the last time I saw my mother face to face and there were police involved in our situation as well. I just thought to myself, "This is the last time." And it was.
    My sisters never desensitized nor detached. Sadly, they continue to be negatively affected by her.

    I am right there with you trying to remain centered.

    Enjoy the beauty and excitement of your granddaughter's prom!
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  8. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    OMGoodlord, I can't even think of M being 41 and still up to this type of shenanigans! I hope that it doesn't come to that. I suppose that for your difficult child it is too much to even hope that time in jail will do anything to change her. She's made her life choices a long time ago. My kids were nearly grown and gone by the time I was that age. I can't imagine burdening my parents or anyone else like that, and I was truly a lost child myself.

    I don't know that I would have brought the car home. If it's truly a menace, I would have left it illegally parked on the street somewhere if I had done anything with it at all. It's too bad that the police didn't seize it. It's probably not worth their time. Sigh...
  9. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member

    I wondered even as I read this painful, too familiar story, if she didn't keep your car because part of her is more comfortable in that relationship with YOU...the one where she upsets and disappoints you, the one where you are angry, the one where she flouts your restrictions...that is its own excitement, its own razors edge, its own thrill, like the other ones you recognize and describe. She never intended to bring it back on time. She likes her relationship with you to have drama.... THAT IS HOW SHE LIKES IT.
    So she made it that way.
    Interesting people, our difficult child's.
    God bless you tonight, Recovering. I hope you get some rest and some peace surrounded by those who love you in ways that feel good to you.

  10. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Thanks everyone, I appreciate everyone's understanding........we all have such similar stories, don't we?

    Well, SO and I left early in the day to go to another town for a reflexology appointment I've had for a month, couldn't have been better timing, a superlative way to relax and get nurtured. We took a beautiful drive through the hills on a dramatic day of dark and windy storms and then brilliant sun. I couldn't help making an analogy with that kind of weather and life.

    We got home to two messages from the jail. Then 2 phone calls from a friend of my daughters whose phone is reachable by the jail because he lives in the same town so apparently she is able to call him. He called to be the middle guy between her and I. I told him to tell her I have the car but the cats went to the shelter. He said, "boy she is going to be upset about the cats." I said, "well, then she can get out and deal with it because I'm not." I chatted with him for awhile, he said to call if I needed anything.

    The phone just rang with a recorded message telling me I could call or go online to pay for some phone system for my daughter to call me. I did that once the last time, it cost $30, it was $8 to process the account, $4 for the first hookup, $3 for each additional hook up, so I ended up talking to her a few minutes, it was a complete rip off. I am not doing it. There is no reason for me to pay to hear her upset about her cats and her story about her arrest. I am weary of it.

    So, instead, SO went out to get ice cream and we're watching the Giants play Cleveland.

    Her life is not bleeding into mine anymore. It feels very, very good.

    ECHO, you are probably right about the drama between she and I. I hadn't thought about that, but that seems right.

    Tomorrow will be all about the prom, makeup, pictures, proud grandparents standing around looking like moonstruck aliens in a sea of decked out teenagers headed out to the ball. I'm really looking forward to it.

    And, Sunday we're driving to San Francisco to walk around Chrissy Field underneath the Golden Gate and then walk across the Golden Gate, that's my kind of exhilaration................:joyous:
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  11. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    Wish I could give you more than 1 medal. You're amazing. Hope the prom is wonderful.
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  12. Sounds wonderful. I love the view of the bay from there.

    It sounds like you have found so much strength. Strength I am envious of. You took care of the situation without stopping your life to deal with yet another situation that you can't control.

    So true. We can't change them but we do have control over ourselves
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2014
  13. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    I am so proud of you!
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  14. pasajes4

    pasajes4 Well-Known Member

    My son describes being in the "free" as being fractured into pieces and trying to hold them altogether. When he is in a place where freedom is limited, the pieces are all in place. Decisions are made for him and he is free to just be.
  15. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    RE, good for you! I am working on getting to that place of detachment. I agree that my difficult child thrives on living on the edge and wants a relationship filled with drama with me. As I step back, I can see that she is ramping up that relationship with my husband.

    My difficult child also does better when in a structured environment. Once again we are hearing how well she is doing in IOP and the halfway house. It is when she is on her own that things fall apart.

  16. Childofmine

    Childofmine trying to do this thing one day at a time Staff Member

    No more paid phone calls from jail. Evidently in our system they get one or two "free" calls through the recorded system out of ----yes, Shreveport, LA---poor Shreveport, they don't even know how their proud name is being defiled....

    Who wants to PAY to hear their BS? Not.

    I love this image. I was also thinking about we moms, how we consciously or subconsciously feel the threads binding us to our children. Or even we feel like we are connected at the physical level (i.e., bleeding).

    But we're not. This ties back to Cedar's superimposition of the precious toddler face on the pictures of her difficult child, and all of us, how we thought this for so long.

    That is not what is. That is what was. It is not reality.

    Yes! It's the simple pleasures that we love so much. I so wish our difficult children found solace and joy in those kinds of pleasures. Maybe they are just not wired that way. Evidently they are not. We all say so much of the same things about our difficult children. There is a definite pattern here.

    You took care of yourself. Yourself in the midst of the ups and downs. That is what I am watching and seeing and learning from. You were fully present, yet not enmeshed in the drama---further, you stood in your own center of peace and calm while you watched and were present. Wow.

    Pas, interesting that your son actually said this. What insight into himself. I wonder what my son would say. I think that is exactly how he seems to be, like your son is. SO says addicts do so much better when the box is small. They try to keep the box small so they can control events. When the box gets bigger, whoops, all control is lost. difficult child can't seem to successfully navigate job, place to live, arrangements, food, relationships----all of the responsibilities and rights of adulthood. When the box starts getting larger, and it's up to him to make more decisions and shoulder more of the responsibilities, he breaks the law and/or he's on the street again. It's getting very simple. Predictable. Still very sad. Still reality.

    Yep. just like Pas said. Just like RE's difficult child. So.....if this is the case....then what? Doing what they keep on doing without some sort of break from it---rehab, jail, recovery program, therapy, medication---whatever the intervention method is----is not going to be sustainable.

    In my quest to somehow have a way to navigate this (I know, what about just being open to accepting what is happening today? Like Chodron says...), this is the pattern and it is predictable.

    This is helping me work on my acceptance. Thanks to all for your comments and thoughts. Thanks especially to you RE. Please keep on telling this story.
  17. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I woke up this morning feeling peaceful and happy.

    Thank you all for your kind words, it means a lot.

    I was noticing yesterday this physical sense of sort of an unraveling of what I would call a knot in my solar plexus area. I read once that fear hides in that area........that it's where we "swallow" a lot of feelings...........that makes sense to me. I can breathe more deeply in to that area now. My whole system feels as if it is calming down. We talk often here about the kind of PTSD that parents of difficult child's feel, waiting for that other shoe to drop. That other shoe can drop at any time. I am not willing to have that be how my life is going to be. That eats up a lot of energy and time.............I've already put that time in, I don't want to do it anymore.

    That's all about fear, fear of the future, fear of what I can't control. Worry. I've lived in the land of worry for a long, long time. I'm done with worry. Our difficult child's bring up all our parental fears and after awhile those fears just run our lives............I've worked diligently on letting that go, as COM talks about, I have my arsenal of "tools" to keep me not only afloat in this sea of gfgness, but thriving. I use them all the time too.

    I can't help thinking about that adage, "the truth will set you free." As parents we often perceive our difficult child's in ways that are not, in my opinion, real or true. The comment about superimposing toddler images on our grown children really had an impact on me. Although that is not something I do, I have had other false perceptions of my daughter which have kept me stuck. We want to see our kids in a certain light and even in the face of enormous evidence to the contrary, we persist in seeing what we want to see. Whatever the reason and I know there are many, it is simply not the truth.

    That is the FOG I talk about. We fly into it when we're faced with either seeing the truth or keeping our well structured false image of our kids intact. Not to judge us for that, I think it is a self protective defense mechanism which allows us to continue believing our kids are who we want them to be. It's a part of our own healing. It's very hard to peak out of that fog, we really just don't want to see what is right in front of us.

    I've chosen to see my daughter in a certain way because the actual truth is pretty hard to take. The last 6 days, for whatever reason, perhaps I was simply ready to see it, but I saw my daughter for the person she is. Not with my cloak of "pretty" wrapped around her, not with my judgements of her life, not with anything but my eyes looking at her and my heart recognizing the truth. It's hard to do. Maybe it's the hardest thing I've ever done.............I won't label her or describe a profile or judge her...........she is who she is, it's just that now, I can see that too. For whatever reason, my inability to recognize her is over. This didn't happen overnight, this has been a process that has taken time and enormous support. Our ability and our need to NOT see the truth of who our kids are is enormous.

    That truth has not only freed me, but it has taken a lot of my fear away, my worry. When she drove out of my driveway, I realized she would soon be picked up by the police because that is who she is. That is what she's chosen. She is free to make her choices without my input. I am over here in my life without any control at all and I knew that. I am over here. She is over there. That separation, the recognition of who she is without my perceptions of her clouding my view, my deep realization that I have no control over her life at all...............took a bunch of fear out of me............

    In my acceptance of who she is, I am liberated. I think it has had a lot to do with my own acceptance of myself, letting go of my own guilt and mother expectations I placed on myself, the shoulds that society and I put on how all powerful mothering is........my own inadequacies, my own perfectionism, my own profound false conviction that I could fix this.........step by step I've freed myself, inch by inch until I could see my own self clearly, give myself a break, have compassion for ME, love ME, accept ME and then turn around and begin to see the truth of what was right in front of me.

    I've quietly slipped into a new worry free zone. I feel humbled and grateful. This is big stuff we do here. I feel like I want to wrap all of us up in a bubble of comfort because we deserve that...............every one of us...........
  18. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I am amazed at your granddaughter really. She has such amazing strength!

    The best part is you all realize this is NOT personal. Because it is not. It is selfish maybe, but not personal against anyone.

    I say go forth with the peace of knowing your child is happy. It might not be what would make us happy, but it is what she wants.

    Did you watch Black Box this week??? I think you should try to catch it sometime.
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