Does anyone else do this? How do I stop?!?

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by MyHeartHisLife, Sep 5, 2014.

  1. MyHeartHisLife

    MyHeartHisLife New Member

    My difficult child has been out of the house since late January. Part of the time in rehab/sober home and the rest of the time homeless. While he's homeless I pretty much check the jail website and read the local news daily.

    A few weeks ago a coworker was late and when she came in she said "Sorry I'm late, a homeless guy jumped off a bridge and they had everything blocked off, it was a mess." I almost passed out. I hadn't told anyone at work he was on the street again. I was convinced it had to be him because the night before I asked him(in a nice way) to stop posting crap on Facebook that's clearly about drugs for all the family to see. He got mad. So the rest of the day I kept checking the local news for updates on the identity. He finally text me.

    Now that he doesn't have a phone I have no way to "check" on him. So now I'm checking jail and news more and more. I hate it! I need to stop! Anyone else do this? I'm on a roller coaster, one minute I'm fine thinking what happens happens, the next I'm letting the worry and fear creep in and ruin my day.
  2. pasajes4

    pasajes4 Well-Known Member

    Yes. I think that a lot of people on this site have spent time obsessing about our difficult children. It is a hard habit to break and it only compounds our distress over our grown kids choices. Find a NAMI group in your area. Go to ALANON meetings. Find books on codependence. The most important thing you can do is treat yourself with kindness. His choices have nothing to do with you.
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  3. Childofmine

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

    When you are in crisis, and you don't yet have a daily practice of using your toolbox, it is really hard to stop the obsessive thinking and acting.

    But, there is no time like the present to start using your toolbox.

    Today, just do one thing different. Sit down and write a gratitude list of five things you are grateful for today. That is an instant blood pressure reducer.

    Tomorrow, get the schedule of Al-Anon meetings in your area, and try to go to one.

    The next day, Buy Co-Dependent No More or drag it back out and read two chapters in it.

    This is a one day at a time thing. One inch at a time, often.

    While you are taking new steps, you will still be obsessing. It's impossible to just stop, especially in a crisis. The fear runs deep.

    So, also, every day, perform some kindnesses for yourself. Take a nap, take a walk, go to lunch with a friend. Whatever you can think of that is good for YOU, do it. One thing every day.

    Over time, the good stuff will start to take over, and the bad stuff will decline. If you will do this---this is a proven formula for changing the way we think, our attitudes, our perceptions, and ultimately our actions. It likely will not change our feelings. We have to learn how to feel our feelings, realize that feelings aren't facts, and not act on them.

    It's going to be okay. You are here on this board and you know that you want to change the way you have responded to difficult child in the past.

    Knowing this, and wanting to change, is huge. Warm hugs. We are here for you. Progress, not perfection.
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  4. JKF

    JKF Well-Known Member

    Yes - I'm guilty of doing this although not nearly as much as I used to. My 20 year old son has been homeless off and on for almost 2 years now. For a while I would obsessively check his Facebook page (by obsessively I mean at least 100 times a day) but that was literally driving me insane and ruining my life. It was hard to force myself to stop and it took time and hard work and even now I'm not perfect. But now I'll only check it maybe once or twice every few days if I don't hear from him.

    I'm sorry you're dealing with this. It's so draining and I understand exactly how you feel. Listen to the advice pasajes and COM gave in the above posts. They are both very wise and know what works! Big hugs to you!

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  5. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    That must have been awful.

    It makes me feel a little dizzy just to read about it.

    Must be post-traumatic stress reaction.

    I swear, my mouth went dry.

    It helped me to see the intricate connections and interactions happening all around me. To walk into the yard and really examine one of those countless tiny flowers that grow like weeds along the side of the road.

    Intricately and perfectly made.

    Every one of those weedy little flowers no one even sees, they're so common, so insignificant...intricately and perfectly made.

    I thought about all the generations, all the moms, all the pain and loss and love and joy.

    And somehow through all that, I was able to concede that, however desperately I needed the things that were happening to my children to change...maybe there really was a pattern here.

    Maybe there really is a purpose I cannot see.

    They say that at the touch of Eternity, we will understand.

    And so all those things made me strong enough to stand up.

    I think I do not smile or laugh as much as I did, once.

    But I am deeply attuned to gratitude now, and to an awareness of joy.

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  6. TearyEyed

    TearyEyed Member

    Yes! I do the same thing. My son is homeless but currently in jail. When he is on the street I do through just what you have described. It is paralyzing. You have gotten good advice from the others here. Just wanted you to know you are not alone. All of us moms here have/are going through the same fears and anxieties. Hang in there! Keep reading and posting. It helps SO MUCH!!

    Hugs and prayers,
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  7. nlj

    nlj Well-Known Member

    I think we all do this.
    My son has a cell phone but it's very rarely charged or switched on.
    I do try not to worry when I haven't been able to get in touch with him for a few weeks. I know from experience that he's always fine, just hasn't given me a second thought.
    I can really empathise with your horror at your co-worker coming in with that shocking news. I do scan the news for any stories about my son's community.
    But I think we must know that, if anything had happened to our sons, then we would be found somehow and told.
    It's too simplistic to say "don't worry" though, we can't help ourselves can we?
    I also don't think this is necessarily just about difficult children. I think this can be just a general parent thing. I worried sick when my oldest girl when away to university, when my younger son passed his driving test, when my youngest went away on an extended school trip, when my middle girl went camping to France with her boyfriend.
    I don't really worry about my son any more that I have worried about the others at different stages. It's just that the other four are easier to get hold of and easier to check up on (which isn't always a good thing - especially having access to the shocking FB page of my younger son's exploits when he was away at university!).
  8. MyHeartHisLife

    MyHeartHisLife New Member

    I am so glad I came here and started posting! I did do something for myself, on Saturday I got a Goffin cockatoo rescue. Talk about distraction! He/She has been great so far but I'm trying not to spoil the love sponge!

    difficult child called from a grocery store last night (the phone has a 2 minute limit, I guess because we have a lot of homeless here) He said he made $50 pulling weeds out of a parking lot, was going to use the $ for clothes because his are dirty. Then he said he and his new girlfriend (I know her, she's another troubled soul) were working on getting camping gear and winter clothes. Just before I blurted out "Ill help you get some stuff" he said "Welp, I gotta go, my two minutes are up"

    Sometimes I get confused whether I should help him be homeless or not. I certainly don't want him to freeze to death but on the flip side, you give him a inch he takes a mile. Our city does have a lot of homeless and a lot of resources.

    Thank you to each of you for your comments and suggestions. Although I hate that you guys have been through the same type of things, it is so nice to talk with people who understand! I hope to one day be the one making someone else feel the way I do now.
  9. pasajes4

    pasajes4 Well-Known Member

    He needs to provide for himself and his girlfriend. He needs to do his for his self esteem. The 2 minute limit is a blessing.
    It is enough time to let you know he is still breathing but not enough to suck you in.
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  10. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    I love that you rescued a bird!

    Good for you, and what a great way to begin healing.

    What is his/her name?

    What did difficult child think about that?

    My daughter lived on the streets last winter. She says now that one of the worst things about it is that they have to keep moving. There was a community of sorts among those on the street. Coffee was available through a church during the day, and free dinner at night.

    We would buy her things like socks, cleansing wipes, breath mints and toothpaste, alcohol gel for washing hands without water. From Saver's or Goodwill, sleeping bags.

    There were places for them to get free clothing.

    Peanut M&Ms.

    You did the right thing in not fixing things for your son.

    Maybe helping the woman Is where he will find his self respect? It seems so strange to us, but they form such tight relationships on the street.

    Our daughter refused to come in unless we would take the homeless man she was living with, too.

    Eventually, he was picked up for attempted vehicular homicide (of our daughter).

    And she came home.

    How are you, today?

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  11. HeadlightsMom

    HeadlightsMom Well-Known Member

    MHHL -- That's AWESOME about you doing something for YOU and getting the bird! What fun!

    Yes, we all worry at times. Even when we reach the stage that we don't want to see them, but we do want to know they're alive. How could one not wonder? I hit that "wondering" frame of mind sometimes (like today!). I did resist the urge to check on him. I just assume he's AWOL as others have been asking us. We know nothing. It does help to just stop checking. Or, in my case, I may check his Facebook page every couple of weeks or so. If I see volumes of harmless posts (his fetish is tennis shoes), I just shrug it off and move on. If I see awful things (hate, drugs, weapons, etc), I get off PRONTO. I used to pursue it (once even identifying which hotel they were at manufacturing meth........cannot believe what people post on FB these days....and they TAG each other....lest anyone should question who they are. Not many axons and dendrites firing there!). Anyway, when I saw stuff that makes me feel AWFUL seeing it, I just can't look at it any more. I was tempted today, but I didn't look. Just seemed the healthier choice.

    I care that he's alive. But I also care that I'M alive -- and happy and healthy. :) We all deserve to pursue health and happiness!

    So...... here's the big question...... What did you name your bird? :D Does he talk? (the bird, not the difficult child! LOL!) I think that's very wise and fun that you got the bird!

    Forgive my joking if it's insensitive. For me, laughter changes my whole body chemistry for the better. If it doesn't do that for you (or at this moment), pardon the bad timing. My heart is with you, MHHL!

    PS -- Homeless and cold? We will buy our difficult child a warm winter coat. But the deal is that we get it at Goodwill as we know it may not last long. If difficult child agrees to Goodwill, he gets a warm used coat. If not? He can figure out how to get a coat on his own. So far, he's always agreed. I'm willing to put out $20 for a winter coat.
  12. MyHeartHisLife

    MyHeartHisLife New Member

    He called me again today when I was driving home from work. The first thing he said after "Hi mom" was "Boy, life is rough in the streets." And I replied "I'm sure it is but you chose this right?" He agreed. I can't figure out if he is sincerely calling me because he knows I worry about him or if he's hoping ill break down one time and give in to something. He can be very manipulative. We talked the usual 2 minutes and then he said he had to go so they(the girl and him) could go fly signs.

    About the FB thing, I used to do the same but now that he had his iPhone "stolen" he can't post on's been a nice break for me!

    Getting the bird has been good for me. My mind is occupied with her, making her food, toys and all the stuff that comes with having a bird. She's been great but maybe we are still in the honeymoon period?! She does talk pretty well. "Good bird" "Hello Pumpkin" "Pumpkin Pumpkin" and "Uh-oh. She says several things we can't make out yet. Oh and her name is Pumpkin if you didn't figure that out haha. We didn't name her, kinda hard to change that now. She talks up a storm in front of my husband and I but as soon as the easy child's come in she clams up!

    I'm not offended by the laughter at all! I welcome it. Ok I give...what's MHHL?? Actually as I just typed that I figured it out lol....duh! :D
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  13. HeadlightsMom

    HeadlightsMom Well-Known Member

    MHHL (yup, you got it!) -- Guessing your gut feeling about why your difficult child made that statement is most likely correct. One never knows what to "buy". I heard someone in this forum call that "gaslighting". Love that term! Was unfamiliar with it until a couple of weeks ago (when I joined this forum), now I'm tossin' it around like bags of popcorn at a ballgame.....every which way it applies (oh so many ways)!

    Very cool about Pumpkin! Really. I'm a big fan of animals (pretty much all of 'em), so I can see the appeal. Sounds like quite the chatty, social bird......except when easy child's enter the room! LOL!

    Glad to hear you like laughter, too. Maaaaaan, I'm tellin' ya, sometimes laughter is the gift that keeps on giving -- a sustaining life force all its own! I flipped on some Gabriel Iglesias tonight and he definitely recharges my batteries! I'm thinkin' maybe some Robin Williams tomorrow? :D

    Welcome to the group, MHHL...........and Pumpkin!