Detachment at the speed of light

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Scent of Cedar *, Feb 23, 2014.

  1. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Something has changed in the way I see. All these months I have tried so hard to figure out how to detach. It worked. It seems to be happening for me now at the speed of light. I remember my own hopelessness regarding ever reaching a point where I was not vulnerable to my children. I am not there yet, but every single thing I thought was rock bottom solid is being reinterpreted.


    After difficult child daughter received her tax return, we weren't hearing so often from her. We decided that was a healthy thing, and tried to let go of that worried feeling. When I did get to talk to her, difficult child daughter was all about how she'd stopped taking her medications for three days and gone into a manic state. She made a big thing about how she'd been shoveling snow at 4 in the morning, and added that she was lucky there had been so much snow, or she might have been tempted to go to the casino. And in that manic state, she made sure to clarify, she might have spent all her money.

    We learned last night that difficult child's aunt has seen her at the casino, twice.

    We are not hearing from difficult child, and she does not pick up when we call.

    I remember MWM posting that having a mental illness does not excuse irresponsibility. I have been reading the post she did this morning about personality disorders combined with mental illness. Thank you, MWM, for posting about such things so clearly and knowledgeably. (Whatever hat you are wearing!)

    I am trying really hard to hold COM's idea of both the cloud and the silver lining in my mind. The bad that is visible, and the good that is unseen. This imagery is helping me very much to stay in a calm place emotionally.

    husband was angry this morning. It feels like everything is starting all over again. Bad dreams, and he had trouble sleeping, last night. I seem to be holding steady. A little broken place, where I had hoped this was all turning around.

    I am so thankful for this site, and for all of you.

    It is chilling to consider that difficult child daughter may be using her illness as an excuse ~ to understand that she is prepping us for when her money is gone; to understand she is going to blame her illness....

    Had it not been for MWM's postings on mental illness and responsibility, that strategy would have worked, seamlessly and probably, for the rest of our lives.

    I feel like a nasty, blaming, disgusting person, to think like this. I don't want to be that person who believes bad things were all the person was ever capable of, will ever be capable of.

    I realize this is the cornerstone of how I con myself into enabling.

    I don't want to be my mother.

    I don't want to be that person, to my children.

    I realize the truth is that, to my knowledge anyway, I could never be that person. Here is an exciting thing: With a thunderous crash the abuser's valance collapses.

    Back to difficult child daughter, then. I am working on just seeing what is, without judging anything about it.

    It is a fine line to walk.

    I understand that if I can do this, I will have addressed and removed the emotional charge from whatever poisonous brokenness is left of my mother's valance.

    I see that, see myself doing that.

    I remember the picture you posted, Recovering. The one where the eyes had to be cut open before they would open.

    Seeing without judging or blaming or anger makes the whole thing less threatening, less traumatic.

    It is what it is.

    Same set of facts, but how different an interpretation.

    Nothing to do with hope or pain or joy. Without judgment, the situation just is what it is.


    difficult child son called, said it had been a misdial. He asked whether difficult child daughter was here. husband told him she wasn't, that she had been living in a shelter for battered women since being released from the hospital. The whole conversation had this kind of unreal quality. At one point, husband told difficult child son he was done sending money. He told difficult child son he did not like the way he had been treating his mother. (Me.) It was a good and healthy thing. My poor husband. He had this kind of defensive, hangdog look about what he had said to difficult child son. I usually light into husband about how important a father's words are, about how he needs to let the kids know he believes in them and etc. (I know. I am groaning now. There was a time I believed we had to look for the best, encourage growth in a healthy direction and...zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.)

    husband was so happy when I told him he did great, that what he said needed to be said, and that I was done blaming him for coming up on the kids for the crummy things they do.


    Another huge step forward for me. And the funny thing is it was so easy to see it. I used to bend over backwards to talk positively to the kids. And get up on husband about how he talked to them.

    Shame on me. Better late than never, and I see it now.

    difficult child ended the conversation with something about calling tomorrow morning. The implication there being that husband had had too much to drink.

    husband did not catch that, but I did.


    That is an example of what I mean about detaching at the speed of light. All those hurtful things either difficult child has said about one or both of us make me so angry now.

    That is almost the strangest piece about everything that is happening, now. There was a time when not only did i not display anger, I truly did not feel it.

    I understood, I had compassion, I came up with solutions, but I did not get angry. I am so done with all that! And I have no guilt, and I feel no sorrow, and I am so disgusted with every lie, with every broken dream and promise.

    This morning, husband said that, with all we have, with as fortunate as we have been...we don't really have anything, because we don't have family the way we always believed we would. And while this is true, and it does feel pretty empty at the heart of things sometimes...this is a better place to be than trying so determinedly to save something we never really had, or to pretend that what we had was enough, when it never was. In fact, most of the holidays were just awful. And now that I really let myself think about it without judging and adjusting my emotional many of the rest of the days were pretty bad, too.

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  2. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I so completely understand the seesaw of emotions and perspective. None of us have "the answer" but our goals are honest and integrity laden. Sending hugs to you. DDD
  3. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member

    I love you for this, and I love husband is so amazingly brave to actually think and say what is true, the heart of our sadness.

    I think you are right about difficult child daughter...she is gearing up to blame her illness. It is what she knows..the cycle of failure, the excitment of the crash, the abdication of responsibility. She may not every get past that. You have been seeing past that...seeing that she chooses her fate...MWM's comments are so smart and dad was mentally ill but it wasn't his illness that did in all his relationships, it was how he handled it. That is a simple thought, and true. That is what your difficult child daughter is

    I am so glad you could support husband (for the first time, or a rare time I gather) in his direct address of difficult child son. That must have felt good for both of you. I certainly undermined my ex when it came to dealing with difficult child...but he was different, always so very very superficial, and continues so...and yet...there was a note of truth in some of what he said, and I have come closer to his point of view.

    This is real. This is the real you, the crushed Cedar, the abused Cedar, rising up like one of those healthy solid plants that unfold from the earth in the spring, not the little spindly ones that come up and may get crushed...the ones that seem to do their work underground in the dark and cold of winter, and then poke up a bit and then....STAND UP, sturdy and ready for what comes. I know from your other posts that you have had a lot to overcome in your own head and heart...and I've learned a lot in those parallels. I know, I too did not get angry. I had compassion and solutions (and explanations for those not as enlightened as I was, included ex). And then I got angry, and like you, disgusted by the lies, broken promises and broken dreams.

    Lets unfold together!!! stand up green and sturdy! You are doing it now.

    I feel heartbroken for your husband's comments about having nothing...all I can say, is you have each other...and you have grown so much that that is surely a richness. I hope he can turn his face away from your difficult children and find some days in the light, as you are sometimes able to do.

    I'm holding you both in my heart today.

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  4. Childofmine

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

    You are not that person. You are a person who is learning how to accept what is happening in front of your face. Accept it, and do nothing. That is what you are learning. To look truth in its face and still stand there, not flinching, even though the truth hurts especially when it's connected to your daughter, WHO YOU LOVE.

    And Cedar, you will be the FIRST person, the VERY FIRST person, to rejoice and run to her and give her a party if the day comes when she is telling the truth, and taking care of herself, and taking her medication, and doing the best she can---every day---with mistakes---to live a life worthy of herself and of you.

    THEY have taught us to work to get HERE. We would never have done this work without the horror of the disease(s), housed and thriving in the bodies, hearts and minds of our precious children pushing us to this place. We would still be the same people we were, fat and sassy, fixing and managing and controlling everybody all around us, and not needing a single thing for ourselves, because yes ma'am, I don't need a thing, I'm just fine.

    What hogwash that was. We didn't even know what we didn't know, back then.

    You have done the hard work of change, and Cedar, you still LOVE your daughter and you still want all good things for her, let them rain down on her, you wish and you hope and you pray.

    But not at your expense anymore. You are now letting her be the adult that she is, with all of the rights and responsibilities thereof.

    I am so glad you are seeing, experiencing and RECOGNIZING this momentus change in you. Why does it shock us and bewilder us and still hurt us? Because we LOVE. We will never completely get there because we love them. And that is a gift we all have that we love and are loved. It makes us so awfully vulnerable and that is the beautiful and terrible part. We can be smacked down in a New York minute!

    And see, Cedar, your relationship---your most primary one---is strengthening as you are leaving enabling behind and moving into the LIGHT---keep moving forward Cedar, and take us with you as you go so we can follow...
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  5. helpangel

    helpangel Active Member

    Disappointment when life doesn't turn out how we had envisioned it is perfectly normal. But realistically does anyone get the life they wanted? Did they change their idea of what they wanted as time went on?

    When I was 2yo told my mom "when I grow up gonna live in a giant push button house with a maid to push the buttons for me, 100 kitties & puppies and no kids"

    Had no plan to have or want of kids until saw my son on the ultra sound. In that one moment the old vision flew out the window and got replaced with one of him accepting his Nobel peace prize saying "I couldn't have done it without my mama" LOL.

    Time goes on and I've dropped that vision of the future, kind of gave up on trying to picture the future at all. Probably just as well my crystal ball is obviously broken hasn't gotten one right in 50 years!

    Doubt if I had seen the last 15 years coming I would have had courage to face them and for the most part wouldn't have done anything much differently then I did. And I know I would not be the person I am today without having gone thru what I did, surviving this far I give that credit to God & the internet with sites like this one and parents to help me think when confused, type instead of doing something I would regret...

    Sorry I'm getting yappy again and this is getting long... sorry to sound like a fortune cookie ... happiness isn't having what we want it's wanting what we have.

    Guess that explains why I had that inner peace thing going back at the holidays that I couldn't understand... I look at these 3 kids I never knew I wanted yet can't picture my life without them, same for the house full of kitties (ok kind of saw that coming) but I finally want what I have and quit wasting time wishing for something that isn't gonna happen... so I'm happy isn't that what it's all about?

    Thank you Cedar for allowing me to share this journey with you, maybe the internet is safest can picture real life turning into "Thelma & Louise" and that didn't end so well.

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  6. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Well, what happened here? Did our kids all get together and have a pow wow..........decide to show up in their true, real suit, no more facades, letting us parents know who they really are? Each of us stepping in to that next step, recognizing some new facet of that facade our difficult child's like us to make believe with them about.

    Cedar, yeah, if I were a betting woman, I would make that bet about your daughter gearing up for the next installment from you. It isn't personal though, I really believe that. She is simply playing her part in the script you two have danced to for how long now? Twenty, thirty years?

    Make a plan like COM does. Tell difficult child daughter you are happy she has her tax money to bring her through the next 6 months since you and husband do not intend to offer up any more of your money towards either of your kids. Time is up now. Childhood is over. Being a grown up has arrived.

    difficult child daughter is just doing what she's always done. Nothing different. Only that you saw behind the door to where the truth lies. Ok, nothing to do but set your boundaries now. She will have to adjust to the new you. So will difficult child son. It's kind of hard to go back to being blinded by their well rehearsed acts.

    Take all that money you would usually be giving to difficult child son and difficult child daughter and go to Europe, go to Paris, have a romantic adventure with your husband, go somewhere for just you and he.

    husband is defending you. You are seeing husband do his best under these creepy circumstances. You and husband have survived this difficult child concentration camp're free and husband can look ahead now and stop looking behind you at all the untrue perceptions you had about how you guys were to blame, you weren' two can join hands and walk into a future together leaving your kids in their own lives to figure it out for themselves, it's NOT your responsibility anymore. Your love for husband and his love for you has survived this. You and he are the family, the two of you. Move ahead with him Cedar, make that choice to go enjoy your lives now. You guys both deserve it in spades, the war is behind you now...........go in peace............together...........
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  7. DazedandConfused

    DazedandConfused Active Member

    Whew! How this jumped off the screen at me. I'm so sorry for you, your husband, me, and my husband and to all of those that these words resonate. I spoke with my mother the other day after having such a rough time with the difficult child son and to whom she is so close to. She was mortified, deeply saddened, and very angry (with him). The only words I can come up with anymore is, "Motherhood has pretty much been a disaster for me."

    I reflect on my parenting over the years. Did I make some mistakes? Oh yes, I most certainly did. Some were huge and if I could take them back I would in a heartbeat. Then, I think again, would it have really changed things THAT MUCH had I done things and acted different? Maybe, I hadn't decided to move back to my hometown? Maybe if I had been concerned less, or concerned more? I just don't know. It doesn't change what is NOW and what is now is a very sad place.

    I do take comfort in husband and I hope you do in yours. This is a tough time for mine. We are now dishing out a steaming hot plate of tough love to Son. It's been hard for husband, but I was straight up with him. You go back to your old behaviors with him, you do not support me. It was a hard spot for him to be in, but he's doing his best.

    Sending comforting hugs to you.
  8. tryagain

    tryagain Active Member

    Scent of Cedar, amen and amen! My difficult child who is bipolar follows the same pattern as your difficult child daughter does when she is plotting to get money.

    The shoveling snow/casino story resonated strongly with me, reminding me of last fall when my difficult child pretended to have a waitress job and would call me with elaborate stories about the wonderful tips she was getting. (It was her fantasy.) This time, when she informed us in early February that she had gotten a fast food job, I told her to send photos of herself in her uniform. She knows that I am on to her cons now. The crazy thing is, this time she was telling the truth! The photos arrived of her replete with uniform. So there's the proverbial "rub"-the one out of 10 times that they're actually telling the truth. And if we're not careful, our good and compassionate hearts will then be tempted to jump right back in and pursue the never-never land of normalcy that is all smoke and mirrors with a difficult child.

    Not long ago you sent me encouraging words about my difficult child, so I'm sending some to you. I totally believe you and husband are doing the right thing with your responses to her. I also think your husband is going through a grieving process due to the comments he made about how life has turned out. You're a great example for him, so don't give up. Give him time to grieve. I've said to my husband quite often that "no one has a perfect life". Recoveringenabler has posted some awesome little posters of encouragement-read them.
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  9. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Dazed, I think you have been here with us long enough to remember what my mother said when she learned difficult child daughter had been placed in that initial dual-diagnostic. I will repeat it here for those who don't know, because it is relevant to your feelings regarding your own motherhood ~ and mine, too. There is a sense of failure there that is not, in fact, true. Recently, I have been able to see ~ not that I did not know these things that I know now, but that I refused to see what I knew. Recently, I have been able to see something so important to all of us.


    Given that this is true, and listening to the stories here on the site, it IS true that none of our difficult child adult kids was ever the perfect little angel we had convinced ourselves that, underneath it all, he or she was as a baby or young child...we have all been extraordinary mothers and fathers and marital partners. Even if we lost our marriages as a result, partially or totally, of the stressors of a difficult child child...we worked as hard at our relationships with our mates as we have to keep our difficult child children in a place from which they can still launch successfully.

    No, Dazed ~ it was never that your motherhood was a disaster. Your child (or children), genetically predetermined to be extremely challenging, are alive, are loved, are cherished beyond all hope or expectation because you are a wonderful mother. The kind of mother everyone idolizes and wishes they had. You are, we all are, the mother on Father Knows Best, on Happy Days, on Eight is Enough.

    Heh. Looks like I forgot to include the part about the nastiness my mom spoke when she learned about difficult child. Who cares, I think. My mom was never the mother I was.

    She never could hold a candle to me, not as a mother, and not in so many other areas, either.

    Your post was very valuable to me in my own process, Dazed.

    The appreciation is in the knowing someone else has been able to clarify their story through what we've shared here.

    Thank you, Dazed. I appreciate.

  10. DazedandConfused

    DazedandConfused Active Member

    Indeed. They were and always have been. I was so very determined that all the dysfunction was going stop with me. I, literally, was going to nurture it all away, nature be damned. I was doggedly going to take it on and have that loving and warm family I was denied myself. I was going to have two well-adjusted children that were going to grow up and produce more well-adjusted children and so on. I think we all know how that turned out.

    I'm on this roller-coaster and just don't know when this ride is going to end. Even with detachment the worry doesn't end.

    Thank you for your insightful response to me.
  11. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Dazed, there was a thread here once comparing notes on life events and on purpose. Believe it or not, our responses were identical to yours. That we would nurture a changed pattern; that we would usher in a new path for our families now, and in the future.

    This is something I shared with Recovering as we began what would turn out to be the process of changing our focus from our children to ourselves:

    "Once upon a time, in a faraway land where time and distance had lost all meaning, there were born to the peasantry a generation of female children whose task and whose talent it would be to unravel the tangled skeins of deceit, viciousness, and trickery that bound the hearts, the souls, and the bloodlines of those families into which each was born...."