Has anyone moved to distance themselves from adult children?

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by tishthedish, Jan 25, 2016.

  1. tishthedish

    tishthedish Active Member

    Hell's a poppin'. Eldest bipolar son is living in halfway house and now says he doesn't have Tourette syndrome (diagnosed at 9). He says that he has Reyes Syndrome from my husband giving him an aspirin when he was a child and from him drinking Pepto Bismol as a child. Not true. He says he remembers talking about it with his pediatrician, who retired when son was 4. We haven't seen him since November and haven't spoken to him in over a month. We did call his place and asked if he was ok, but told the intake clerk not to tell him of our call.

    The situation with my younger son and special needs grandson I've addressed in another recent post. My husband and I are exhausted. Even after we put in the year we promised to take care of our grandson, it seems like we won't ever be done. How does young dad who lost license and car get child to and from daycare? He doesn't get home from work until 6 p.m. Where can GS therapies take place.

    There is no break or room for our lives to unfold. We looked at an actuarial chart. At our age, with good health, we can expect to live another 24 years. I have 2 chronic conditions and my hubby has worked in the trades all his life (and still is) and is so very tired.

    So there's the question. Will it take us geographically relocating to get away from this destructive cycle?
    We were had decent boundaries in place and are accepting the reality that our elder son is not going to get better if he continues to not take medications. Our younger son is trying, but given past history and his recent judgement lapses that the lassez-faire attitude is right underneath the surface ready to come out.
    Our GS is too aggressive for us to handle. My hubby bears the brunt.

    I just want to get out of Dodge. It is sounding better and better to my husband as well. Is it practical? Does it work? Has anyone ever done it? I worry about moving away from extended family and friends. Maybe we are so enmeshed given our current custody situation with our GS that we're not thinking straight. Maybe this is the time to do it as we still have our health and sanity and damn the torpedoes, we deserve some space and private time. Would love to hear some wisdom on this.
  2. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Tish, you stepped in during an emergency. You have given one year. It is never going to be an easy thing to return full responsibility for grand's care to your son, but for his sake and yours, it is time to do that. With adequate preparation time and Social Services involvement son will be able to take over grandson's care.

    It would be best to set a date for that now.

    There was a time I wanted to stay for the sake of the kids and grands. D H insisted that for their sake, we needed to leave. How are our adult children ever to develop confidence in their own parenting abilities, or in their ability to create and maintain a home, when we are taking responsibility?

    My D H was correct, I think. The kids are still having the strangest kinds of problems. The difference is that the kids are recognizing their parts in creating the problems because we are not there to blame. Now, the kids blame us for other things. But they are taking responsibility for the parts of their lives for which we are no longer taking responsibility.

    That is the most compelling reason for you and D H to go on with your lives as initially planned. You have helped. Now it is time to give responsibility for their lives back to the kids.


    D H and I did relocate. We live near the area where we raised the kids during the summer, and very far from there during the winter months.

    Moving away where no one knew anything about our children changed us, Tish. Over the first weeks and months, we began seeing one another as individuals instead of as Mom and Dad or Grandma and Grandpa. For us, this decreased the pain attending those titles for us. We began dressing differently. We became interested in different hobbies. We met fascinating people.

    Our lives changed.

    Who we believe ourselves to be changed.

    We became less responsible. We stopped putting on that old double harness and as they have learned to rely on themselves, and to that very degree, our children have benefited.

    It was the right thing to do. Not the perfect thing, and not the problem-free thing.

    But it was the right thing, for all of us.

    There were still so many challenges with the kids ~ you all know that. I post about them, here. There are challenges with my Family of Origin. There are all kinds of challenges...but we are somehow made stronger by driving away, by creating what we will and learning who that makes us. And really, choosing who that makes us ~ choosing who we will be.

    Who are we, without our people?

    Very much better people, ourselves, as it turns out.


    Healthier and stronger and more rested, you will be able to provide respite, or to provide a place for son to come to relax with his people. Getting away from it, getting to a place where no one knows and where we are not continually reminded of the sad things is so good for us, Tish. When we are not there, when we are not part of the day to day of it, then we can support our adult children in the way we are meant to ~ as people who have been through difficult times, and who have done the right thing, and who have come through it, too.

    We can give our children confidence and hope when we are far away in a way that we cannot, when problems overwhelm us and we all are just too close in.

    I hope you think about relocating.

    This is how we did it: D H did not want to live in another country. So, we vacationed in each of the states we were considering. Then, we rented for one year in the part of the state we believed was the one. Then, we bought property there.

    Small steps.

    When we arrived in the state we had chosen for that first year Tish, we brought nothing with us. Not a sheet, no silverware, no bed ~ nothing. We have all those things now. It was an adventure (boy, was it!) to pull our new lives out of nothing at all. We have the funniest stories about traveling with a dog and a cat and a goldfish. We have stayed in the worst dives you could imagine, slept outside in our car and been rained on, lived in some of the most beautiful places ever. We have learned one another, and have learned to rely on one another, in the most incredible ways.

    I say go for it.

    Explore with an Atlas and then, online. Where do you dream of living? Explore the possible ways you could make that happen. There are so many ways to make things happen, Tish. Instead of exploring options for creating our dreams come true, we automatically tell ourselves that would never be possible for us. And so, for us, nothing changes.

    If you only have a few days off, then get your Atlas out and go that far this time. There will be so many changes in your lives, just from having driven away together. Boundaries between yourselves and your children and your people will seem stronger, just because you have driven away, together.

    Very important to do that, Tish. To drive away, together. All the better if you don't know exactly where.

    Then, plan a longer getaway, farther away.

    Then, dream a different kind of dream for your future. Everything you believe you know about yourselves and one another will have changed because you drove away together those first few times.

    More than anything we are imprisoned by the way we think.

    You will not be deserting your grand. You have given a full year. Now it is time to return his care to his parents. Social Services will be there to help. When you come home on vacation, you will see grandson. During the time you are away, you can send him things in the mail and call him on the phone.

    We can love our people from close up or from far away.

    There will be times you will miss them, fiercely. There will be times you will be amazed at the lives you have created without your children. There will be times you will marvel at who you and your D H will have become to one another.

    It isn't that we leave our children, Tish. It is that we go on with our lives, as we should do, for their sakes and our own.

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  3. okie girl

    okie girl Active Member

    Cedar...this is some really good advise. My husband wants to relocate to the coast. I always say.."I can't leave my family and just pack up and go" but maybe I could.
    Thanks for sharing.
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  4. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    I don't know how far away "the coast" is for you. It sounds to me like you have more family there than just your challenging child, and it's harder to "leave" the other relationships. Would you still be close enough to easily come back to visit? (i.e. a few hours drive instead of a couple of days or a flight?)
  5. okie girl

    okie girl Active Member

    My husband likes Corpus Christi. It is about 670 miles.....so we could drive it in a day. I'm not getting any younger and I am open to this when he retires
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  6. DoneDad

    DoneDad Active Member

    Wow, does this ever sound like a good idea.
  7. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    While it may be difficult to be away from your other family, you have to do what is going to be best for you and your husbands mental and physical health.

    With today's technology it's very easy to Skype with family. You can also come back for visits.
  8. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    Cedar, that was an awesome response. I'm going to pack my bags now, then stop and get a goldfish.
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  9. SeekingStrength

    SeekingStrength Well-Known Member

    What an incredibly encouraging post. I plan to read it several times. Thank you.
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  10. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Corpus Christie was one of the places we explored. It is beautiful, there. And Padre Island, and Port Isabella.

    We had a wonderful time there, and came so close to choosing Padre Island! You can research everything over the internet through the real estate agencies there. That is how we did it. On the day we arrived, we had two or three condos to choose from. We picked one, and stayed a month. Padre Island is a summer getaway for Texans. So, during the Winter months when people from the North need a getaway, the rates on Padre Island are low.


    Even to think it, just to know there will come a time when we are on our own again helps us find another source of strength to work through what seems overwhelming, today.

    It is like developing another facet of self for you and D H. Remember when you first fell in love, and the time spent with him was a separate and beautiful thing, and when there was nowhere you would rather be than wherever you were with him? That is how it gets to be again, when we drive away together. It's the strangest thing. We get so used to being competent where our children and families are concerned. I think that is part of it. We are supposed to have the answers so somehow, we come up with them and get responsible for everything. When we go away together? And we don't even know whether we are going to make the next bathroom in time or where we are going to sleep or even, if we are going to make it at all because there might be an accident, we draw together again, just the man and the woman and the animals we are traveling with.

    And the dog gets all hyperactive because every time we stop he smells new dogs everywhere and the cat poos in her carrier and the goldfish requires artificial respiration so thank heaven we thought to bring straws for just that purpose and the motel was a bedbug-infested dive so we slept in the car at a rest stop and the best coffee, ever, is that first cup you buy on the road with the sun coming up. And you realize that after all that, according to the map, you've only gone four inches. (I read that somewhere.)


    I hope you do it.

    Road adventures are the best kind.


    For anyone thinking about a road adventure? We time our travel to the Golden Corrals along our route for dinner. One of the problems with being in unfamiliar territory is knowing how to judge where to eat dinner. Buffet is good for us because there are salads and good variety and nice bathrooms. And boy, does that matter when we are traveling and on the road overnight. Go online to whatever buffet you like. They should have a place where you can learn the locations through the states where you will travel. Pick the ones in the state you will be going through around dinner time. Copy that page and keep it in your Atlas. Phone numbers will be there for the buffet if you need explicit directions when you are driving through.

    Now you know.
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2016
  11. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Also, Golden Corral has breakfast on the weekend mornings.

    That is a stellar thing, when we have been driving and driving and sleeping in rest areas.

    Part of the fun of it is going to the restaurant all strung out from the road and messy. It's like, we hardly recognize ourselves! And the people around us will have strange accents and different customs and look at us with sidelong glances.

  12. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    I've had their banana bread French toast - OMG!!! so yummy.
  13. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Cedar, where are these beautiful posts coming from?

    I agree with every single word.

    I did something like this and need to do it again.

    Because I did something so wonderful for myself, the way I looked at my whole life and whole self changed. To myself I became somebody with a wonderful life (when before I had had a sad, lonely and hard life). To myself, *who cares about anybody else, I became a fantastically interesting person. By this one risk. This one gift to myself.

    I say do it. I say pick a life, a place that tickles you pink. Like Montana or Vermont or Oregon or New Orleans or Alaska Or Colorado or the seacoast of Maine or Hawaii (actually we want to go to New Jersey, but that is another story.) Or Puerto Rico. Not a state, but close. Or the Mississippi Gulf.

    Yea, Tish. *If you do not want to drive, Amtrak offers specials.

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    Last edited: Jan 29, 2016
  14. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Doesn't have to be a geographical location either... pick a place like... a cute doll-house to live in, or on a farm, or start a market garden or...
  15. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Yes. It is really picking a life.

    Like a Barbie Doll. They come in lifestyles. Imagine the concept. That is maybe what Cedar meant by saying she and D H changed, became new versions of themselves. By carefully choosing an environment.

    I had always been goal driven. Seen myself only in terms of a future that never really existed. By accident I found myself in the tropics, where almost everything is in the moment.I became a person who lived in the present. I loved it.

  16. Hopeful97

    Hopeful97 Active Member

    Cedar, thanks for your post. It has given me things to think about and a great idea about relocating on small income. Hubs and I talk about relocation now and then I am anxious to discuss idea with him.


  17. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I am a politics junkie. On TV. So everything the last few weeks has been Iowa. Because the Iowa caucus is tomorrow.

    So I have been hearing that Iowa is progressive, particularly Eastern Iowa. (I have never been remotely near Iowa except once at the Chicago International Airport for a stopover.)

    Well, I am a progressive. So all of a sudden, Iowa got way more interesting. I googled: most beautiful towns in Iowa. And I found too small cities on the river, LeClaire and one other one. (Mind you I have never been there.) I looked at pictures. They are beautiful. Absolutely stunning. Full of art galleries, and historic downtowns with cafes. All kinds of recreational opportunities. Not far from both Chicago and Madison and Milwaukee.

    Now, you may live in Iowa and know how absolutely horrible are these places.

    But to me they looked like paradise. And others seem to agree. These places were rated very highly as places to live. With cheap housing.

    I am saying this to make a point. This is doable. We can just pick ourselves up and go do a life makeover. There is nothing at all stopping us. Except us. Every state in the union I think has inexpensive places to live that are highly desirable.

    I live in California where the cost of living, in general, is high. But there are many communities here that are gorgeous and stunning, with all kinds of recreational opportunities. Even on the ocean. That are not expensive. I almost forgot to add that.

    I say, go for it. At least start the conversation.

    We have been planning for two years to go cross country. And at the same time we keep digging in here, with more and more responsibilities. Still I do not let go of the idea.

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    Last edited: Feb 1, 2016
  18. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Albatross, I cannot stop smiling. You need a doggy and kitty cat, too.

    Can you see this road trip movie? Who will play Cedar? And her D H? For you, Cedar, in this role, I vote for Doris Day, as she was in Pillow Talk. Who will play D H? Oh. Rod Taylor. Do you remember him? I think that is his name. Very, very handsome.

    I think I took my silly pills. Forgive me.

  19. Hopeful97

    Hopeful97 Active Member


    Thank you for all the info. It is definitely part of the conversation.