A new path for difficult child and I......

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by recoveringenabler, Nov 19, 2014.

  1. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Well, today was one of those days where you know something serious has changed.........and even though you may have worked on it for months, years or even decades, when the change actually occurs, you are blown away...........

    My daughter texted me at my office today to ask me if I would mind picking her up and driving her to the bank and then to her job. It's no big deal, it's about a 15 minute drive, so I said, "sure." I said, "I have an appointment so you'll have to be ready to go, I can't hang out waiting for you." I then called and made my appointment 1/2 hour later (learned behavior from years of waiting since her perception of time and mine are two very distinctly different things, so I took care of ME)

    I get to the house where she is staying. It's raining. There is an 8 foot fence around the property. She and a guy are on the other side of the fence and I hear her say, "Mom, is the padlock on the outside fence locked?" I see the lock, on the outside of the fence and sure enough it is locked. She is then hoisted up and jumps over this high fence. I am 4 feet away in my car watching this. She runs over in the rain and asks me to pop the trunk. The guy on the inside begins throwing bags to her over the fence. I thought to myself, "how weird is this, an almost 42 year old woman hopping a fence, where the lock is on the OUTSIDE! And someone I can't see is throwing her stuff over the fence." I started to laugh out loud.

    I didn't ask about why the lock was on the outside. (more learned behavior)

    She gets all her stuff in my car and we take off. We go to her bank and then I have to stop at my bank. I run in and leave her in the car and say, "I'll be right out." I am in the bank for maybe 3 minutes. I come out, the doors to my car are unlocked, my purse, her purse and everything she carries with her is in my unlocked car, but she is not in it. She is nowhere to be seen. I am standing next to the drivers side door looking for her in the rain. I thought, "did the police pick her up on that warrant and whisk her away in 3 minutes with no fanfare, just...........gone? Is she hiding behind the bank smoking a cigarette." She's gone. I am perplexed. After a good 5 minutes, I got back in the car and was deciding if I should stay or leave, she comes running across the street. She jumps in the car and says, "I got a sandwich, I haven't eaten since yesterday." Again, I just smiled.

    She tells me she doesn't know where she is sleeping tonight, she didn't get her food stamps due to some form she didn't fill out, her boss is garnishing her wages because she borrowed money from him, so she is working but not getting paid...........on and on. Instead of getting worried, feeling like I had to do something, enabling, judging, lecturing, crying, feeling resentment, or any of the many, many reactions I have had and could have now, I listened to her, really listened and said nothing. Then when she began eating her sandwich in the car, I began telling her about ME and what I am doing. She listened. She commented. She was encouraging and supportive.

    I drove her to work. She unpacked her stuff. I asked if she was coming for Thanksgiving. She said, yes. She came over to the car and hugged me, really tight.......and very softly, with a lot of feeling, she said. "I love you Mom, thanks for everything." I said, "I love you too.

    She has no idea where she is going to sleep tonight. She doesn't have money for food. She didn't ask me for anything. There was no drama. She seemed okay with all of it. She seemed to know how to do it. She seemed okay with her life. And.............. so was I.

    I watched her go in. I smiled. She's living the life she has chosen. And, she's making it. Maybe minute to minute, maybe not the way I would do it, but she is making it.

    I drove away and started thinking about dinner. No residual negative feelings. In fact, I simply left her physically and emotionally. Half way to my appointment, I realized how the interaction had gone. By the time I got home and saw my husband, I had begun to recognize how much has changed in the last 3 years.......how today marked some kind of subtle breakthrough onto an entirely new landscape......I think the landscape is acceptance.......and presence, here in the moment....... When I told husband about it, I was filled with love for my daughter, for her ability to live the life she does............and I felt peaceful and joyful and so grateful that we've moved through so much......... so very......very much..........to get here. It was a very good day.
     
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  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    RE, that is wild, crazy and great. She loves you. That is huge. That is pure validation that she is doing what she wants to do, not because of anything YOU did, but because of her own inner path. Sometimes that love is the solace we need to sustain us.It means that we did do things right.

    I am sort of where you are at. Even after my son bashes me and hangs up on him before I can hang up on him, which is a tactic he sometimes uses and at one time would have had me stewing for hours, I can just shrug and go on. It's a real evolution though. It took me a long time to realize that it is about him, not me.

    Their behavior and choices are about themselves, not us, save if we'd beaten them or starved them or abused them. Even then, not all abused children turn out the way ours did.

    Remember that nice concern my son expressed for me during the cancer scare? It sure disappeared fast...lol. Today we found out somebody cashed a check that was sent to me (see Watercooler) and I was waiting for the police to call me back. 37 called. He had just seen the psychologist who was in charge of his son's case during his custody fight with his ex. The man terrifies him because of his power over his life. He started out without saying "hello" just jumping in about what had happened and how stressed he was, trying to figure out what it meant, and I tried to tell him the police were going to call because of the check, but he didn't let me. Finally the police did call and I had to get off. He was talking and wouldn't stop so I tried to talk over him and tell him. I guess all he heard was "I have to go" because he swore at me and told me I was a b**** not to listen to her son when he was...that was all I heard before I switched calls.

    And when it was all over, I sat at the dinner table to talk to my husband. I didn't even bring up 37. We were talking about the bizarre story about my forged check and that was that.

    In a way, it's sad. But mostly it is very peaceful.

    I am glad you have found happiness and a way to both love your daughter and detach from her choices. I may get to where you're at one day. I know I am still not quite there.

    Kudos to you and your wonderful day. I may be crazy, but I get it!!! ;)
     
  3. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    I have this concept in my head of accepting difficult child for who he is, sort of like I have a concept of black holes or time travel. I can ponder it but certainly am not at the level of understanding it or doing it.

    You are doing it! Thanks for sharing what it looks like, to go through an interaction that would normally tear our insides out, but instead you can just love them completely, and then just...put it down.
     
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  4. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    What a wonderful story, RE .. feels odd to call it "wonderful" but I think you know what I mean. And, I get it. There's a certain peace that comes with accepting the reality of our children's lives, as "unusual" as they can be. No one else really gets that.
     
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  5. nlj

    nlj Well-Known Member

    It's peaceful isn't it RE? This sort of 'not-caring but still caring' thing that we do. Some days I have to convince myself that I'm still there, in the chilled-out detached place with the straight jacket that prevents me jumping in my car and driving off to rescue him. Some nights I lie awake and think of him cold, wet and smelly, and I have to get up and read some threads on this site before I can go back to bed with any hope of oblivion. Acceptance is so much better than that other strangling state of mind that shouts "help help" in your ear at all hours of the day and night though. My son was supposed to come and stay last week but it didn't happen. It was my birthday yesterday and I got a text from an unknown phone asking me to phone him back. He sounded down, very cold, fallen out with everyone at the squat, lonely, expecting to be evicted soon. I said "you chose this life, it must be hard especially at this time of year, why have you fallen out with everyone? what options do you have?" That was the wrong thing to say. I knew it was wrong as I was saying it. I should have said "That sounds tough but I'm sure you'll figure it all out". He says he hasn't got any options. I gave a mental shrug. He wanted me to accept his lifestyle and I've accepted it. I can't change him, I can't rescue him, I can just love him and hope he continues to survive and doesn't go further downhill. Like you say RE, they're resourceful and strong to be able to live the lives they've chosen. I just wish that all this resoucefulness and strength was put to better use. But we love them and accept them and that's a big improvement on the alternatives.
     
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  6. nlj

    nlj Well-Known Member

    It is a bit like that Alb :).

    My son's life in the farm squat is a bit like a universe far far away. May the force be with them.
     
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    Last edited: Nov 20, 2014
  7. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member

    Recovering,

    that is quite an amazing story. I love that you can step back and see your role in this, how you have changed, how you can love your daughter without all the agitation and angst that goes with loving or even knowing difficult child's for most of us, or all of us at some time.

    Your story is like a beacon, something to look to for direction and guidance.

    I have to say, I could feel my own chest tightening as I read along with the details...there are SEVERAL points where I would have freaked out! Which serves as a reminder to me that there is work still to do...like meditation, like running, this is a practice. I have been committed to those two things for a long long time, and I can see the progress...I can commit to loving and detaching from difficult child in the same, practicing, progressing way.

    I did have to laugh at Alb's comment about accepting our difficult child's being like black holes and time travel! Add computers and the world wide web in that mix for me, and I'm totally there.

    Meanwhile I am meeting my difficult child at the Dunkin Donuts across from my office later today...I will try try try to emulate you, Recovering. I think your post may have moved me another step along the way of doing this with grace.

    Echo
     
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  8. PennyFromTheBlock

    PennyFromTheBlock Active Member

    Love the story- one day, I pray, I'll be in that place.
     
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  9. Tarahas3

    Tarahas3 wife and Momma

    Thanks for sharing your story. After several years of dealing with my son and his many issues, my Husband and I are working toward a day when we will be like that. In a few weeks its my son's birthday so I asked my husband what he wanted to get him. He said "for the first time on 18 years I haven't even thought about it." So he's a little closer to moving on with our life than I am...

    What do you buy for a 19 year old homeless drug addict?
     
  10. nlj

    nlj Well-Known Member

    Socks, socks and more socks. That's all my son ever wants/needs.
     
  11. Tarahas3

    Tarahas3 wife and Momma

    Thanks Lucy! My sweet husband bought him an electric blanket last week lol I asked him where would he plug said blanket. He said "I don't know but he has it if he's ever near a plug" bless him..
     
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  12. hopeandjoy66

    hopeandjoy66 Member

    Albatross said:
    I have this concept in my head of accepting difficult child for who he is, sort of like I have a concept of black holes or time travel. I can ponder it but certainly am not at the level of understanding it or doing it.

    I just read this type of quote this morning.

    Trying to understand the behavior of some is like trying to smell the colour 9.

    Isn't this true of our difficult child's. You just have to stop smelling, I guess.
     
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  13. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I don't think we have to understand it. I doubt we ever will.

    It's the acceptance that makes life so much better. The "he is who he is" that helps me. I used to drive myself crazy with "Why?" Now I don't even bother. I'll never know why. But I do know who he is and I accept it. To not do so would lead me to total craziness. Peacefulness is so much better. My inner angst would not help him. I'm pretty sure he doesn't feel he has anything wrong with him anyway.
     
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