difficult child birthday coming up

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Echolette, Feb 5, 2014.

  1. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member

    On Sunday difficult child turns 20. His twin sister does too...she is off at college, an A student, popular, intense, prone to very close friendships and a lot of drinking..but she will have friends and a celebration, and I sent her a box with soil disks and seeds so she can grow cooking herbs on her windowsill, since she has started doing healthy cooking lately.

    Her brother...I haven't seen him since before he went to jail in early December. I paid his restitution, he promised to give me his bank card so "you can control the money, mom" (his idea), promised to go straight the the local resource center and get a case worker, start his medications, start seeing a psychiatrist (no reason he can't see any of the OTHER psychiatrists and case workers we have previously accessed and had approved for him, but ok, if he needs to own the process). Instead...he want straight to his favorite flophouse where he has been every since. I think. I don't know if he is still there becuase I have refused all his phone calls. He sometimes talks to my SO, who told him that I am not in a place to talk to difficult child right now.

    Something about that last betrayal felt final to me. I felt, and still feel, that I cannot bear to him talk, since what he says means nothing...he can say he is staying with friends but actually be sleeping on the street. He can say he overdosed and is in the emergency room when actually he is with friends. He of course can make promises and declare intent and have them mean nothing. I cannot stand to watch his lips move.

    For a while I felt OK with the distance. I was relieved to know that I would not talk with him. It felt good...like a break, like a vacation.

    Now I am drooping, tired of the strenght it takes to uphold that stance. He stopped calling a week or so ago. He knows how to reach me on facebook, and if he is really in the flop house he probably walks within a block of my house every day. So refusing to take his calls does not block his only access to me.
    I guess.... I just don't know where to go from here. I try to understand that there is nowhere for ME to go, the going is his to do right now (I was clear on that in my mind early on) and yet...I feel so sad, and weakened, and tired...it is hard to sit with this feeling and do nothing to fix it. I am done doig stuff to fix him....but the fixing me part is hard.

    His birthday...it just brings up sadness, and a little anger. His Christmas presents from my sibilings and from me are still at my mouse, untouched (he was in jail, and, as I said, I haven't seen him since). I actually probably don't need to think about it, since he likely won't reach out...or he will. And if he does I'll do whatever I do.

    Today is just a lost day.
  2. nlj

    nlj Well-Known Member

    How is his twin sister dealing with this? Do they have any contact? It is often said that the bond between twins is stronger than any other bond.
  3. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member

    we have contracted to a family of four, plus or minus their dad (my ex) and my SO. It is three kids and me. His twin has rage, fear, guilt, and sadness. She prefers to pretend he doesn't exist, and avoided seeing him while she was home over break. She is very angry at the impact he continues to have on me, and on her dad. She feels deep down that she is somehow responsible, that it is her fault that he is as he is. And she feels embarassed by him...she doesn't like him around her friends, or to be seen with him on the street. All that. She has felt that way for a long time. I think he broke her heart a while back, maybe sophomore year in high school...and she has not been able to free herself of any of the negative feelings.
    His younger brothers change in their stand. They have never had a happy relationship with him...he used to steal their stuff, and I would blame them for being careless. For a while we locked him in our foyer (so he could sleep where is was warm but not be able to get into the house...I know, how did we get to THAT place???) and they had to step over him on their way to school. Their dad used to tell them that difficult child ruined their lives...so I busied myself trying to teach the lesson taht no one can ruin your life, certainly not sad weak pathetic difficult child...now he just is sort of absent. One of them wanted to visit him during an acute psychiatric hospitalization last summer..the other did not (actually his twin visited him then...he tried a suicide gesture of cutting his throat, and she needed to feel reassured. That surprised me a little). No one had the faintest interest in visiting him in jail. They try on different hats in their relationship with him. Mostly I think they hope he'll die so we can all grieve and move on.
  4. nlj

    nlj Well-Known Member

    That's so tragic. My son used to use those exact words about his father "I hope he'll die so i can grieve and move on". We have five children, ranging in age from 30 to 10. The eldest is his only full sibling, but none of them really make that distinction, they're all just brothers and sisters. Their responses vary. His younger brother often seems amused by his behaviour and I find that oddly refreshing and helpful sometimes, although I can get cross that he seems to take things so lightly. His 2 younger sisters, particularly the youngest, worry a lot. I think the youngest probably worries away in her head about it all the most. My eldest daughter is pragmatic and says the same as most of the advice I have read on this site - that i can't do anything and I have to just let him get on with it and look after myself. That's often easier said than done, but it's been extremely helpful to find this site and I am trying hard to detach.
  5. Childofmine

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

    Of course you feel like this right now, Echo. Birthdays, Christmas, Thanksgiving, it brings to mind and heart what isn't. And it's so painful and I believe it always will be painful. But maybe not AS painful as the months and years roll on.

    You are such a true voice on this site. You are really doing so well in your detachment. I believe what you are feeling today is completely normal and part of the up and down and all around cycle of suffering, denial, pain, grief...detachment...joy, hope, love that we all feel.

    Just for today, be kinder to yourself. Give yourself some breaks. Do some nice, nurturing things just for you.

    Feel your feelings. As much and as long as you need to.

    Write things down that come to your mind and heart. Write them here or elsewhere.

    This day is going to pass and you are going to feel better. You are doing the hard, hard work of change, and it's tough sledding, I like to say.

    We are here for you. Many hugs and blessings to you on this day.

    And a happy birthday to your precious son and let's hope he is doing exactly as he chooses for himself today. And then we can let go again, maybe.
  6. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Childofmine gave you wonderful support Echo............I am so so sorry you feel so sad. My daughter's birthday has that impact on me too.

    I've had many "lost" days too. But, then the sun comes back up and a new day dawns and I rejoin life once again.

    I can't add much to what COM has said, just be so very kind to yourself, acknowledge the feelings and take a deep breath and do something nourishing for yourself.

    We're all here for you..............circling the wagons around you............we know how you feel..................and you're doing a wonderful job, ..............and sometimes it still hurts too............
  7. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Echo...I have been in that same place, lately. There are no birthdays to celebrate, here. For me (and maybe for you, too?) I think this is a place we get to in our own process. The birthday is a marker, a reminder, a true thing to hang the feelings on...but the feelings were the truth beneath whatever we told ourselves to cope with the horror of what is happening, all along.

    I think this might be what it feels like to come out of denial.

    You are letting yourself know the truth of the situation for today.

    This is the truth Echo, for today.

    This is not the truth for forever. Nothing is constant, nothing is forever. Even the bad things change.

    I am right there with you in spirit, Echolette. Another human, going through that process of admitting that it is just what it looks like. There is a shocky quality to this kind of seeing, isn't there.

    See me, pulling my wagon up beside Recovering's? And COM? And Lucy and oh, all of us, Echolette? We are here.

    Companions on the journey.

  8. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    "For this relief much thanks; 'tis bitter cold, and I am sick at heart."

    William Shakespeare

    "The flares of emotional pain faded to a dull, manageable ache, the surges of anger became soft waves of sorrow, and he was able to turn, for the first time, toward the loss, rather than away from it.

    And then finally, to move on, marked by loss, but not defined by it."

    The Prophet
    Michael Koryta

    "And right now
    I feel like I have fifty
    broken bones
    And when I'm still it hurts
    and when I move, it hurts even more.
    No matter what parts of me I move,
    all those broken bones grinding
    Worst of all
    anyone who tries to comfort me
    moves those bones
    hurts me worse."

    Jane Howard Samuels

    "Every day on the mat, and every day in the world, my wish is to develop compassion and peace. Healing the body, focusing the mind, and living a radiant life."

    Kate Potter
    Namaste Yoga

  9. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member

    Cedar, those are wonderful quotes. You remind me of my lovely sister (sorry, yes, the enabler!) who sends me wonderful quotes as well. 'Tis bitter cold, and I am sick at heart'. Child, all of you, you are right about the ups and downs. My sister reminds me that we don't progress in a linear manner, we are like Yeats' "widening gyre"..we spin around and around the center till it doesn't hold.

    I do feel all of you, you frontiers women with your courage and your clear eyes and your sorrows and your wagons...doing what you need to do, doing what needs to be done, circling your wagons for me today. Thank you (as my SO says...a very lot). It means the world to me to have this place, and to have you all here. Just the acknowledgment, the feeling of having been seen, especially for all of us enablers who made ourselves, our REAL needy selves, so invisible...it is so healing.

    Thank you all.
  10. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    "For this relief much thanks; 'tis bitter cold, and I am sick at heart."

    We all provide that relief for each other............Thank God......

    "And then finally, to move on, marked by loss, but not defined by it."

    And, isn't that where we are all going.............Thank God......

    I love your quotes too Cedar...........

    "the feeling of having been seen, especially for all of us enablers who made ourselves, our REAL needy selves, so invisible...it is so healing."

    Wow Echo, truer words could not have been spoken.............brilliant. We can see each other and in the seeing and being seen we are healing...............beautiful.............

    You guys are AWESOME. Really!
  11. Childofmine

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

    I love this. This says it exactly, and is the fruit of hard, hard work to claim a little piece of ground here.
  12. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Echolette, how are you, this morning?

    I see the soil and seeds you sent your daughter, just beginning to sprout, in the sun. The world is such a different place than they'd known, in the warm, dark soil.

    Painful. Too bright, in a way.

    But the seed life, warm and dark and enclosed, is very different from what they are destined to become.

  13. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member

    Cedar, thank you for checking in. I don't really feel well. I am full of anger, and perseverative thoughts that I can't let go. I cruise this site too often, looking for things to distract me. I feel a little insane myself (I believe that I have had life long dysthymia, sort of mild, more manageable bipolar disorder, and this may just be that).

    SO got a call at 3 AM this morning from an unknown number (difficult child doesn't have a phone, but it is amazing how many strangers will lend him theirs, so this is a common MO). SO didn't pick up. difficult child didn't try to call me. He did call his dad, also at 3 AM, just to say he misses him (that is classic...the wee hour wake up call. I used to think it was sweet...now I think it is selfish obnoxious and...oh, I don't know the word. Really? We both get up before 6 AM every day. How incredibly narcissistic to make calls at that hour)

    So there I go...blaming, angry, wounded, biting at my own leg in the trap. I am in the cycle of the gyre, spinning close now...and in the spinning I am disappointed and angry at myself that I am not stronger, not better, not frieking Buddha himself. SO I take it off to the land of self-hate too....and then I don't even know if it has anything to do with difficult child any more.
    It does. It doesn't.

    I often have the odd idea, the magical thinking that if I am just patient enough things will change...I have been so good! I eliminated expectations! I didn't over extend! I didn't fret and control....and I did it for weeks and weeks and weeks! Surely now I deserve for things to be as I wish? Surely he will walk to the door on a sunny day with a shave and a smile and a hug and a job? I want to weep even as I write.

    I was out running last week, and I saw in the distance a pair of runners approaching me....there is a program here called "Back on my Feet" which pairs runners with struggling homeless..(well they have to be living in city shelters to participate, so not perfectly homeless). And I thought it was difficult child, I though he had joined the program, I thought he was running tall and looking healthy....but of course it was not.

    I set myself up for setbacks.

    So thank you for checking in, and for letting me ramble. No, I don't feel strong for myself or for him or for my others today. Or yestarday. Maybe tomorrow.

    Thank you, Cedar.

  14. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I'm sorry you are having a bad day Echo, around here that is so common.............I wish it weren't so.

    Perhaps doing something completely different for yourself, something which is nourishing but also puts you out there in a different zone, a whole new place. Maybe taking that Zumba class today...........or calling a girlfriend and going shopping or out to lunch, or signing up for a cooking class, attending a lecture, baking a pie............something which requires you to be engaged in the process..........

    Thinking of you today and sending you big hugs and of course, as we do, circling the wagons around you, pulling up beside you as Cedar said and surrounding you with our care and our love..............
  15. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Surrounding you with our care, with our love....

    I know it isn't enough Echo, I get it. I get it. This is the other side of the bright hope, the other side of faith. I am so sorry for this pain, for this rage and confusion and...vision.

    You are seeing true things, Echo.

    If it were pretty, you never would have buried this sh*t in the first place.

    You know what? You will come through this with your love intact.

    And then?

    It begins to grow, Echo. A creation all its own.


  16. Childofmine

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

    You are going to be okay even if you aren't content and at peace today. Why? Because you already get it. The things you write reveal a depth of perception and truth that is already there.

    Our heads may be there.

    Then our hearts and our mouths and our actions have to catch up. And then it goes even further to the cellular level for moms I believe. And who is surprised at that? I am not.

    It is like a complete shedding of what we thought, what we believed, what we hoped for. All of it.

    It took us this long to walk into the forest. It is going to take just as long to walk out. (Please tell me that isn't true. Show me a shortcut.)

    There IS a shortcut. It is actually doing the hard hard hard work of change.

    You ARE doing it Echo. inch by inch, tear by tear, post by post...you are moving forward with the myriad of feelings and thoughts that come with it.

    You have said exactly what IT is. What you are feeling is IT. I so get and honor what you are feeling today.

    You are not alone. Thank you for writing and showing me the way.

    Blessings and prayers and hugs to you today.