Hard, hard day today

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Childofmine, Feb 9, 2014.

  1. Childofmine

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

    Wow it has been such a hard day today. I see that I get some more clarity and take another step or two forward---fortunately that phase is lasting longer and longer, and then I have some hours or a day of sadness.

    I feel my nerves on edge and a heightened awareness as I know my son can knock on my door soon---don't know when, but perhaps even next week if they reduce the 60 days by 30%, which is common here. They release people from jail at 12:01 a.m. and they have to be off the property within 10 minutes. My house is about 2 miles from the jail so even though I have asked him via letter not to come here, he still might.

    A couple of times after he has been released from jail, he knocks on my door at 2 a.m. I am asleep, startled, vulnerable, confused and all of a sudden, here he is again. Wanting in. I don't like being in that situation at all. I hate it. It is already so unfair, the advantage he has over me---it seems criminal that I have to wait for that to happen again, not knowing when or if.

    So I have gotten prepared. I have put a list of shelters and halfway houses in an envelope with a $10 bill so he can make phone calls. I have two backpacks with two pairs of jeans, some long-sleeved shirts, tennis shoes, a jacket and a heavy coat, gloves, some socks and underwear and toiletries, beside the front door. His papers and files. His laptop with the broken cord.

    if he comes, I will answer the door, give him these things and ask him to leave. I toyed with the idea of letting him finish out the night in the back seat of my car. Wouldn't I do that for just about anybody in this kind of trouble? But when daylight comes, what then? Then I still have to deal with it all. So no, there is nothing for him here, now.

    These preparations are those of a mother, I see that. Maybe if I can do THIS, then I can DO THAT, which I must do and which I am afraid I cannot do.

    So you see, finally, it IS starting to be about me. As I write this and I read it back to myself, it is surreal that I would even be here, today, right now, in this place, with my own son. I could lie down and cry for days, but I have already done that. Again and again.

    I have cried today. I have felt all of the sadness again. I am so tired and also, I am so sad. I went to an Al-Anon meeting this morning and I said it all out loud to them. There were so many nods around the room, and compassionate mothers who have felt and feel these things themselves, came up to me after the meeting. There are other mothers, there, who talk about their sons and daughters who live, still using, but functional, holding down jobs and houses and children and spouses. This is not my son. My son can't follow any rules anywhere it appears, or if he does, he can only do it for a month or two before he is kicked out, asked to leave. He can't make it in this world on really any level except jail, it seems. After a while, there is no one who will put up with this. And rightly so. Even his mother and father.

    Then I went to church, and the sermon was about light in a dark world. It made me cry, too, with the hope and beauty and sadness of the words.

    I got prepared tonight, early, so I can lie down and sleep and maybe tomorrow, move on from all of this again. I just want peace. I just want to get to a place where it doesn't hurt so much and isn't so sad. I know I will again because I have before. In fact, since January 2, when he went to jail, I have been in a pretty good place. It is the idea of this starting all over again that slays me.

    And I think that says something. I am ready for this and yet I am not ready. Is this really all I have to offer my own son? I can get weak and nostalgic about this, but I know that doesn't do me any good or him any good. I have to get strong.
  2. Walkinmyshoes

    Walkinmyshoes New Member

    I have not posted before Childofmine but I regularly read the words of brave mothers like yourself for strength and encouragement. I connect with your preparations, putting together a backpack with things your son may need, going to church and becoming both saddened and inspired about the idea of being the light in a dark world. I don't even know if I am responding correctly but I want you to know that I am listening and relating to your pain. You are not alone on this sad day, many of us are right there with you. Feeling your pain and weariness doesn't make you weak, it is part of the journey toward radical acceptance. It takes strength and love to set boundaries and know that you deserve safety and peace.
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  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    COM, hon, I am so sad for your pain. But let me try to explain my way of looking at this as an outsider who once thought her daughter would end up either in jail or dead. And, yes, I did think that.

    Your son CAN make it in the world, if he wants to. I have a son with autism and he is making it in the world. At times he needs his caseworker and somebody to help him find a job, but the help is out there. If indeed your son is so disabled as to be unable to fit in, there is help. The first step is getting declared disabled and on social security and then the help comes to him. This is a hard thing to tell you because it will hurt, but it does ease our own guilt a little. Your son CAN make it in the world. My daughter, when she used drugs, and your son, right now, chooses not to follow the rules. He can. He won't. That is different than can't. I don't know if he is disabled or not. If he isn't disabled, and he needs to apply for it a nd they will pay for testing, then he can understand the words people tell him about what to do. And he is capable of doing them. But he just refuses. If he has a disability, he can succeed with supports, but he has to make the decision to be cooperative. He CAN be cooperative. It is his decision not to be right now. Doesn't mean he will be this way forever. My son has trouble making friends, being on the autism spectrum. But he has made some friends at work and is doing life pretty well. If he can do it, so can your son. If he needs supports, so what?

    You and I can not live forever. It is the way of life that our children outlive us. They need to be able to be self-sufficient before that happens. That is part of our job as parents...to make hard decisions that force them to stand alone, without our help. Now there are some parents who are 80 and are still financially supporting and some are being abused by 50 to 60 year old "children." I find it sad that anyone is willing to give up their entire life to care for somebody else rather than embracing their own life and enjoying it. Elder abuse is becoming common. Maybe it always was. These are children abusing their elderly parents. I'm sure these kids didn't get that way overnight. They probably abused them and intimidated them at our ages and their parents put up with it because they didn't feel strong enough to say "enough!"

    It is early morning and I am rambling. I hope you have a peaceful day. Do look into the concept of radical acceptable. Google it up and read about it. I think it's a coping skill that helps anyone who is willing to learn to use it.

    Hugs for your hurting heart. Post later. Let us know if you are doing better today.
  4. Childofmine

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

    Thank you Walk and MWM. Both of your posts help me. I know you KNOW, all of it.

    My son is not disabled, MWM. Of course, I have laid awake many, many nights retracing the past and going over and over small minute details to try to see something I have never seen before. Yes, my son may have mild depression, he may have ADHD (never diagnosed, never thought he did before), who knows. Something that equates to "never felt comfortable in his own skin."

    But beyond that, I don't see it.

    I see a person who said multiple times, when he was younger, before all of his horror: I don't want to grow up.

    As I've said here before, I thought that was strange, but I shook it off as childish prattle. His behavior was mild but annoying in middle and h.s.---no arrests, kept curfew, worked, passed his classes (not hard to do), played soccer four years. No girlfriend, didn't go to prom, didn't go to the h.s. football games. I didn't understand that because I loved all of that in h.s. but he is introverted, so I've been told, and I'm not, so there was that explanation.

    He basically did what he was supposed to do, with a LOT of prodding. I thought he was just immature and lazy and would grow out of it.

    All of THIS rose up (at least as far as I knew) about 4 years ago. He is now 24.5 yo. And it has been a very steep downward decline.

    I think he probably hid a LOT of things from me/us over the years, even before all of this, but hey, we were believing trusting parents. We didn't know what we didn't know.

    He is making these choices. He and he alone.

    I will look up radical acceptance.

    I am going to have a good day today as I have much to do. All of the things are by the front door. I am prepared.

    Thank you all for walking with me on this journey.
  5. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    I am here too, Child.

    If turning your son away was an easy thing, you would have done it any of the hundreds of other times you found yourself wishing things could be different. You did not decide to follow this course for the sake of convenience. You chose this path for the sake of survival ~ yours, and your son's.

    Something has to change, or nothing will change.

    When the time comes, you will be prepared, and you will behave with grace and courage. It isn't going to be pleasant. This is not a pleasant situation, and nothing you do is going to feel right.

    We are here, we have been where you are, and we will be here for you as you go through this very hard thing.

    Holding you in my thoughts this morning, Child of Mine. I am so sorry this is happening, to you and to your son.

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  6. SeekingStrength

    SeekingStrength Well-Known Member

    Hugs COM,

    Sounds like a good plan you have as far as making preparations for your son when he is released. I, too, am Googling "radical acceptance" on advice that I read just before bed last night.

    Isn't it wonderful to continually read our adult difficult children CAN make it? We know that, deep down, but it sure starts looking like they can't after so long not. It seems like husband and I have sunk to new lows when jail sounds OK because gfg32 would be safe and warm and have a bed to sleep in....but that is the way we have felt more than once.

    I hope you have a wonderful day. You have made preparations for your difficult child and they show nothing but love, while still maintaining a very important boundary for both of you. You are going to Al Anon, attended church yesterday...sounds like you are doing good things to keep some peace. I will be thinking about you.
  7. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    COM, I am here too. Holding you in the circle of our care............sad days are unfortunately a part of this process...........grieving the losses as they emerge for us to see..........I'm sorry, we all know how you feel.

    Packing his backpack, going to church, going to a meeting are all positive,healthy choices you made for YOU. Good for you.

    Each step of the way you move closer to peace of mind.........each choice you make in the direction of detachment/acceptance brings you closer to surrendering to what is and letting go which brings you that serenity you want. You're doing a wonderful job..............and there is a good amount of sadness.

    One time when we were leaving on vacation and I didn't know exactly where my daughter was, hadn't heard from her, she hadn't responded to my calls...........I left town...........it was very hard to do, but all those wise warriors here on the CD forum strongly suggested I go. As we were leaving, I put $75 in cash in an envelope on the back deck, sort of a safety net for my daughter. That act allowed me to go with a certain amount of peace. For the two weeks we were away, I gently nudged thoughts of her out of my mind and actually had quite a good time. About 10 days in, she emailed me that she was cold and had slept in her car...............I told her about the $ and she retrieved it and spent the night in a motel, had a hot shower, felt good. All she needed was that $, she thanked me and went back to wherever she was. That never happened again although I have often left money out there for her if I am out of town. Those mother choices give us some solace and they help us to cope. We all have our ways of surviving the unthinkable. Now my daughter is, at least for today, living in a nice home with a friend of hers who vowed to help her get on her feet. For today, she is safe. As we all know, that could change in an instant..............or not.............But, I just can't take that ride on her roller coaster anymore.

    You have all the necessary tools, you have a wonderful, positive, realistic attitude which is bolstered by your spiritual beliefs.........hang in there COM, we're right here with you. Sending you caring wishes and gentle hugs...............
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  8. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member

    Seeking, Child, Tara Brach's book Radical Acceptance is as good a place as any to start reading about it... Also Pema Chodron's "When Things Fall Apart". I hope they give you some tools towards a new way of being, a better way of suffering. Cause suffering will always be there...it is how we live with it that matters. Thich Nhat Hahn says if we learn to suffer well, we suffer less. I have found that to be true, in my own imperfect attempts at embracing these paths.

    Child, my heart broke for you when I read your post last night. I couldn't even respond to it...I had to sleep on it, and read it again today. I know those days so well...we all know them so well. They are SOOOO disheartening...it feels like all your work, all your progress, gets flushed away. The world of horror, of fear, and sorrow and loss that our difficult child's have engaged us in opens wide and endless in front of us, behind us, all around us. I know those days, those weeks, those months. I am so sorry you were feeling that yestarday.

    When I feel well and strong I know this to be true, and when I feel like I am drowning, because that is what those days feel like, it is hard to truly embrace but I repeat it to myself anyway...the sadness can come. It doesn't have to stay. The sorrow, yearning, loss can all come. They don't have to stay. I will take good care of them while they are here...see them, honor them. They will move on in their own good time, usually a little faster if I let them in.

    You've said the same to me, Child, in different ways. I am here, holding your hand, seeing the wounded world we have been dealt. We can invite it in for a while. It will leave again.

    Holding you close in my heart today,

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  9. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Hon, I understand your fear. When my son was a young adult the courts sentenced him to house arrest but it had to be in MY house because that had been his place of residence before he got sentenced. Oh boy was I mad!

    I have one small idea that might help you not get taken in and yelled at by your son in the middle of the night. Try to find out exactly when he will get released and then put his bags out on the porch along with the envelope. If he bangs on the door, pretend you are not there. In fact I might even send him a letter telling him you are going out of town for a few days. I would also say something about a neighbor watching the house and the police making ride by's.
  10. lovemysons

    lovemysons Well-Known Member

    Another here that is holding you close in my heart.

    Saying a prayer that you will have the strength to do what is necessary when it might be necessary.

    Stay strong,
  11. helpangel

    helpangel Active Member

    COM I'm so sorry for this pain, I truly hope when I am facing this situation I can deal with it with the same courage and dignity that you have. Prayers for you from Michigan

  12. BackintheSaddle

    BackintheSaddle Active Member

    Hello COM, I'm so sorry for your day today...I can very much relate to crying everywhere I turn, including church, and not being able to find my footing some days...I did want to suggest 2 potential ways of coping (other than the good ideas here)....you can take that stuff you want to give him, put them in a pillow case, and drop them off at the jail-- write his name with a sharpie on the outside of the case...they'll search it and give it to him and in the case, put a note so you can tell him that you wanted him to have it to help him get started in his life and that he can't return home at this point so to not show up at your door...and then, have you considered being gone somewhere? can you stay at a friend's or family member's house for a few nights? I'm certain you can have the jail call you when they know his release date (if you had a restraining order, most states require that they notify you-- but that sounds like a major step right now that I know I couldn't do and suspect it's too overwhelming for you too right now)...go somewhere or have someone stay with you so you don't feel as stressed being in your own home...I suspect part of your crying and having a bad day is the anxiety of knowing the 'big day' is coming-- how will he act? how will you respond? can you be strong enough to face up to him and tell him to leave (these are the things I'd be worrying about anyway!)-- and if you remove yourself from having to be 'present' for it, that should immediately make you feel better...is there somewhere you can go to get away but still do what you need to do for yourself?-- or maybe it's as simple as having your husband answer the door and you remaining in the bedroom...there are lots of ways like that where you can distance yourself from seeing him and having to be the one to explicitly tell him 'leave' which is really hard to do...

    I'm so very sorry for you and hope you're finding some peace-- and precious sleep-- tonight.
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  13. Childofmine

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

    Thank you to all of the dear people posting to me on this thread. It is truly a comfort and a warmth that I feel.

    So today. Today was much better for me than yesterday. I got everything ready and it's all by the front door. So I was able to turn my attention to work and my grad class today, thankfully, because I had a lot to do.

    And then the mail came. You know that great letter I wrote, labored over and mailed over a week ago. It came back, stamped that inmates can no longer receive letters, just postcards.

    It's almost funny! (not) I had actually relaxed a bit today, believing that I had clearly told him my boundary and then I had prepared in the event he does not respect it.

    Only to find out he never received the letter telling him not to come here. (ironic smile).

    The best-laid plans...all to remind me that I can't control this. I can't plan and project and prepare enough to cover all of the bases. Why would I try? I never have been able to do it before now.

    So now, my mind starts spinning with methods to get the message to him...in time. I am going to call the lieutenant in the sheriff's department who I've talked with multiple times and see if he can help me get a message to him or find out when he is getting out or take his things there with a letter for them to keep for him. Something so I can head off the standoff at OK Corral (my front porch) that I feel is coming.

    I also like some of the ideas posted here about leaving my house---and I am willing to do that, but not sure when to leave or for how long.

    Maybe I can find out more tomorrow. The whole situation is insane, that I am erecting these walls, these barriers, and pulling up the drawbridge so he can't hurt me anymore. I'm still going to hurt, even with the drawbridge up.

    Radical acceptance. Accepting the pain, fear and despair I am feeling. Accepting that I can't control or head off what will happen, what should happen. Accepting that I will live through it and I can do that which I need to do, which is so, so, so hard to do. And bringing compassion to myself from myself through it all.

    My son is who he is and who he has decided to be. And until he decides differently, I have made my decision.

  14. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    This is an extraordinary concept.

  15. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    OH. NO.

    These are the kinds of insane things that seem to happen around difficult child kids. Who could anticipate a change in jail policy?

    What are you going to do?