how do you deal with the feelings of guilt?

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by 'nette, Apr 5, 2008.

  1. 'nette

    'nette "OMI"

    when your daughter calls from jail begging you to bail her out and you know it isn't in her best interest to do so.... & she tells you so many lies to manipulate you into it..... when your phone rings and rings and you know your bill is going to be you don't answer ever time.... when she tells you that everyone else is lying ( professional adults involved in the investigation & doctors ) ....when you try to be real with her and she just doesn't get it..... when you hear her cry but she's cried wolf so many times that you just don't "buy it" anymore... and when you go to bed at night the guilt kind of creeps up on you and you second guess everything you believe.....
  2. Star*

    Star* call 911


    (I love bee and flower) you are very talented. I like the way you use the entire frame to bring your art to life. You have a great gift.

    Laughing to myself - YEah???? HOW DO you do what you just asked how you do????? I think I answered my own question of that today with my 17 year old son. I told my DF that I didn't apparently learn by time, I learn at a different pace. My pace is incident pace. Meaning I have patience to a fault. I have a heart, I have a conscience and so I allow myself enough latitude with my son to continue to allow myself to be hurt over and over.

    I would think - by now that I could just flip that maternal switch and say "You know what kid? I'm tired of being treated like crud by you." But the truth is - I allow myself to continue to be treated like crud. Until I decide that I've been treated poorly, so many times, that it makes me look up and say NO MORE...I'm going to continue to get hurt.

    I've been learning what I call the fine art of detachment. I liken it to a mother bird in the summer picking that last fledgling out of the nest and dropping it to the ground. Fly or perish. I dont' care WHO you are - that's tough. My son is looking at 15 years in prison for a crime he did not commit, but telling him over and over you are known by the company you keep....never sunk in. And I have laid awake at night tossing and turning and trying to figure out and go over the scenario hoping I'm some sort of Agatha Christie savant that will come up with the answer or clue that saves him. And it made me crazy. Couldn't eat, sleep, work, think.

    Somewhere you have to find that event that makes you go "I have to start living my life and let my kids make their decisions and endure their consequences." with your life Nette - I think raising your daughters 2 kids is enough of helping her. I wonder with my own son - at times, what would he do IF I pulled my support back - would he sink, swim? I want the best for him - I really do. But the fine line is there between NOT helping and KNOWING that they are going to suffer because they have problems and ALLOWING them to suffer for their own choices.

    I wish I had a better answer for you. There is a list here called Suz list of detaching - in archives - print it out post it everywhere.....and don't fret about answering the phone calls from jail - they are priced RIDICULOUS anyway. THat is a scam - those people should be in jail!

    Hugs and wishing you peaceful nights (okay maybe every other night) lol

  3. mom_to_3

    mom_to_3 Active Member

    We each have to do it our own way. I have had my difficult child daughter call me from jail. And you are right, it is VERY expensive. This has happened to us a couple of times, and it was very upsetting for me and my husband. Not only to hear the fear, the plea's, the lie's etc. it just kills a parent to know your child is in jail! That's where the detaching that Star mentioned comes in. YOU have to remove the emotion from the situation. The times I did take the (expensive) phone calls from jail, I removed myself emotionally from the conversation. I first told my daughter that I couldn't stay on the phone long and that 15 min. was all I could afford. Not necessarily true, but I made an on the spot "executive decision" that our budget would only allow 15 mins. jail long distance. I was pleasant and listened. She has never followed our advice, nor was she looking for any. She basically wanted to talk and talk and talk and talk about how wronged she was. No amount of reasoning or arguing would have made a difference, so I chose to say a lot of....... oh, really, hmmmmmm, oh my goodness, I wish things were different, my,my,my! Things like that. I neither agreed with her nor did I disagree with her. THAT WORKS! At the end of the conversation, I could tell her I loved her, to take care and that I hope things work out for the good of everyone. That seemed to be helpful to her and kept me from projecting my feelings onto her and best of all, she thinks our relationship is sooooo much better now.

    That's pretty much how I deal with her now in everyday life. Everything is just on the surface, I for the most part, stay neutral and keep my emotions out of it. I do listen (to some big zingers a lot of times) and I act like it is all normal, interject a few hmmmmmmmmmmmmm's, oh my's and we're good to go.

    Now, I'll also say that I only took two jail phone calls. It just rubbed me the wrong way to have those calls from A JAIL come to MY home on a personal level. Our difficult child didn't call us that much when she wasn't in jail. We didn't teach her criminal behavior, we fought tooth and nail to direct her to non criminal ways. So, I decided enough! I called the "Jail phone system" and told them to block our number. We would not accept anymore phone calls from jail. Our difficult child hasn't been back in jail that I am aware of and we haven't had to worry about those phone calls. Try it, you might like it!
  4. 'nette

    'nette "OMI"

    wow....reading about others who have the same struggles as i such insight..... i agree with so many of your trying to teach that you are who you keep company with...i always said " if you lay with dogs get fleas " daughter thinks everyone she meets today is her BEST long lost friend in the world ....but she doesn't know that yesterday they killed their family ( exagerated....but you get the idea... ) also i have gotten to the point of taking emotion out of our conversations already because i have been through years of DRAMA to DIE for one day & then 6 months of no calls..... the calling all day from jail and not calling before that for 6 months until i called to tell her that her grandfather died...and she matter of factly informed me that she had a baby 2 days ago.... then no calls again until the night her 5 week old baby was hurt and she called from the hospital....
    i listen to her rantings about how she HAS to get out of jail to prove her innocence and she was being SUCH a good mother this time( who had a 20 person party that the police got called to the night before because of a stabbing and a backyard bonfire & a fight in the house that resulted in the baby's crib hitting the wall.....and a house so deplorable that DFCS took her rights to her child away the day after she took him to the hospital )
    i listen to her SWEAR that this boyfriend just couldn't hurt her baby! ( a "man" who just quit selling meth on the streets to be with her & raise her child as his own and wasn't working yet...and who came out of the foster care system after his parents both overdosed on heroin.... and who told her the DAY of the polygraph " oh yeah i forgot to mention i "may" have dropped him a couple of times"....& who AFTER being jailed told her in a letter that " i "may" have rolled over on top of him by accident when i fell asleep " ( AFTER the judge told them in court that the child had broken ribs and fractured limbs ) this was the reason he was denied bail... and the doctors say that none of these things caused the serious injuries to this child... someone snatched this baby out of his crib by his feet and shook him... it wrenches my stomach.... he is being charged with aggrivated battery to an infant & child abuse....
    HER charge is that she waited 14 hours after being advised by the emergency room nurse to bring him to the hospital immediately. she swears he was FINE ....BUT then why would she have called the emergency room??? & THEY feel the reason she didn't take him was for fear of the abuse being found they think she knows that the boyfriend did something and is protecting him....
    in the meantime.... i am hearing soooooo many versions of the story just from HER....and frankly i tend to believe the professionals like the investigators and the doctors and the lawyers....who she says are all lying about everything & out to "get her" and the boyfriend....
    my #1 advise to her is to drop the loser and think about what defending him means to her the judge AND to HER & her case....
    so there is the "rest of the story" and thanks to you guys for reading and makes me feel like maybe other GOOD people have these troubles too.... i praise the lord every day that i have my other daughter to kind of let me know that i wasn't the cause of all the older one's drama....lack of mothering...lack of judgement...lack of respect....etc. although if you didn't know ME...she would tell you some TALL tales of her childhood....
  5. 'nette

    'nette "OMI"

    thank you is in my artwork that i find some sanity....
  6. standswithcourage

    standswithcourage New Member

    Hey - I will try and make this short!!! My son is in jail now and has been for 4-l/2 months. The first go around he called and called, begged, pleaded, cried all the above and I was so guilt ridden I almost died. But then I talked to God and I found out it was the best place for him right now. He had not listened to any of our rules or advice and continued on the path of destruction. We eventually got cell phones when our bill was over $500. I couldnt just not answer the phone to me that was worse. Jail saved his life. It gave him tiime to think. Ihope it has given him time to think again. However we are going to bond him out and a man we know that is getting him into rehab is taking him straight to rehab. I know exactly what you are feeling. I never thought I would be in this position. He started at 15 and he is now 24. He has to pay the consequences for his actions because we tried to tell him. We have never bonded him out before so it is kinda scary to me but acatually it was my husbands idea and that has NEVER been. I would just look on where she is as a stepping stone for her and do not feel guilty you didnt do whatever she did to get in there.
  7. Star*

    Star* call 911


    The fact that you had one daughter not behave like the other - has nothing to do with your Mothering. You didn't raise one good one and one bad one. You raised TWO daughters very well and one made poor choices. That is not a reflection on you. I often wonder if I had two children and one was like Dude and the other was a easy child - how it would have made me wonder, but I have gone through some pretty intense counseling to know - I made decisions at the time I made them in the best interest of my child.

    The fact that he chooses to ignore me as a parent and ignore my teachings is on him. Don't ever say "I should have" instead say "I made the best choice I could at the time under certain circumstances - and had I known better I would have chosen better." Eliminate should out of your vocabulary when it comes to raising kids. It's lethal. Did you ever actually sit down and have a decision to make about your kids and KNEW a choice was the most rotten, bad one and chose it anyway? - probably not. You chose the good choice. Should - makes you sound like you knew better and picked the bad choice. See?

    You're a good Mom. You have a daughter with problems. We're all in the same boat or we couldn't be here. I'm glad we are here to support each other - the sanest thing that ever happened was the day I found this board and read and lurked and REALIZED - OMG there ARE other parents doing the same things and struggling like me. IT was such an epiphany.

    I'm glad you found us. You're not alone.
  8. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat


    Star's words are very wise.

    I was much like your difficult child at one time. Not the same circumstances, but the same line of thinking. My mom raised 3 kids, and wondered how she could have failed me. Wondered what she did wrong. She did nothing wrong. The best thing she did for me, when I was out of control, was take my daughter from me and tell me to hit the bricks.

    It took me awhile, but I got clean.

    That daughter is now 20 and doing well. I am now raising another daughter who is 7, and I am doing it right. My mom detached, and it was the hardest thing she ever did. I hated her for awhile, but now I love her dearly for it. My older daughter likely would have died if Mom had not intervened. She knew that she was taking a chance at losing me forever by kicking me out, but she also knew that by continuing to enable me, she was watching me die a slow death anyway.

    I am a success story. I hope that this gives you hope. I am so sorry for you hurting mommy (and grandma) heart.
  9. mom_to_3

    mom_to_3 Active Member

    I didn't know your story when I responded to you. I understand the relief your easy child children give you. It helps to feel like you at least did something right.

    Regarding your child in jail.................... (Now that I know her story) Why in the world are you feeling any guilt and why, why, why would you take her phone calls? You are raising her children for Pete's sake! I'm afraid you have it all wrong, she is the one that should be feeling guilt. How dare she endanger her children's lives and protect the animal that caused them serious injury?! Why would you even WANT to pay for a phone call to listen to her defend herself and this animal? She'll never get it, I don't think. But I do know that I would not participate in anyway with the abuse of these children.

    You can love your daughter no matter what. Of course you do, it's only natural. But love doesn't mean you have to sit there and listen and console and pretend to believe all the garbage she tells you concerning the serious injury to her children. Sometimes, we have to love our children from afar.

    When your daughter gets out of jail, I would befriend her in anyway possible for one important reason. I would do my best to convince her to get her tubes tied. I would volunteer to pay her co pays if she had insurance, or I would be seriously looking for a low cost way to get it done and pay for it yourself. At the very least, get her to get an I.U.D. and you pay for it.

    I hope I didn't offend, I hope you heard that your daughters actions are not a reflection of you or of your parenting. Her actions are not your responsibility nor should they be your shame.
  10. mom_in_training

    mom_in_training New Member

    Others have given some great insight with their experiences and I think along the same lines as mom_to_3
    "When your daughter gets out of jail, I would befriend her in anyway possible for one important reason. I would do my best to convince her to get her tubes tied. I would volunteer to pay her co pays if she had insurance, or I would be seriously looking for a low cost way to get it done and pay for it yourself. At the very least, get her to get an I.U.D. and you pay for it. I hope I didn't offend, I hope you heard that your daughters actions are not a reflection of you or of your parenting. Her actions are not your responsibility nor should they be your shame." Some people regardless do not have any business bringing an innocent baby into the world. It breaks my heart to hear about lil babies being the victims of abuse. It does not matter who did what, There is no excuse good enough for their outragious behaviour abusing an innocent lil baby. I personally would get tired of hearing the excuses that your difficult child puts out there and I would have no problem telling her so. I would just block the calls from any jail facility from calling my home. And as far as feeling guilty? Guilt is a feeling that one would have (Normal) if they did something wrong. You have done nothing wrong! She needs to stop with the excuses and take responsibility for her bad choices. She was the one that put herself where she is today. It can play on the emotions of any Mom but that is where we as Moms have to learn to detach and take the emotions as others have said out of it. I am sorry that your difficult child has brought this into your life. Hope the baby is doing well. Poor thing.
  11. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    I would use the Serenity Prayer.
    My husband likes the expression "It is what it is."
    Do you see a therapist? I also rely on her when the difficult child questions and answers get so uncomfortable life starts looking grey.
  12. Star*

    Star* call 911

    What it is......
    What it was...
    What it SHALL be......

    IT is what it is......

  13. 'nette

    'nette "OMI"

    i told her tonight that i got a curtesy call about the phone bill from jail being 185.00 and that i just couldn't keep that up...being a single "mom" to her kids and she said " well i'll just stop calling then altogether!" rubbed me the wrong way and i told her that she could do that or she could call one time every other day and her comment was " so i take it you're gonna leave me in here".... it's just plain frustrating to even try to talk with her adult to adult... i told her that i wasn't going to take the blame for her being in jail... & that we could change the subject or i would need to hang up... i get off the phone with her and am just exaspirated....
  14. standswithcourage

    standswithcourage New Member

    That was a good comeback. You didnt put her there SHE did. No matter if she thinks it is unfair or not - she is there for some reason. Dont let her blaming get to you. difficult children are good at blaming and making us feel guilty for their choices.
  15. judi

    judi Active Member

    I so agree with Star. We have two sons, raised them the same way. Our oldest son is wonderfully responsible - hubby and I are so very proud of him. We love our youngest son too but he lives with a woman who is my age, has a child whom he doesn't see, doesn't want anything to do with us. So be it....he doesn't call us at all and doubt he ever will. Am unsure of where he even lives...

    However, there is detachment 101 that is the important thing to take from us: once they are adults, they are on their own. They make poor choices, they end up in jail. For me, it would only take the fact that my grandchild was hurt to make me cut the ties with her. (Sorry to be blunt, but my grandkids are so very special to me).
  16. Suz

    Suz (the future) MRS. GERE

    Hi 'nette. You've already received some great advice and I have nothing to add. I wanted to offer support and let you know that I hear ya.

    I've tried to PM you about your signature but you have your membership coded not to accept PMs (private messages) so I'm afraid I will have to ask you here to please remove the link to your website. Not only does it divulge all of your personal information (which negates your ability to post anonymously) but it could also be contrued as an ad and we don't post ads without the approval of the site owner. Thanks in advance for removing it.

  17. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    'Nette, I read your story and it breaks my heart. The little ones that you already have. The infant that has already been harmed by adults that are supposed to protect. The daughter too selfish and foolish to see what the world has to offer her. The mother/grandmother bearing all of this guilt because of her daughter's choices. As has been said, the blame does not lay on anything you ever did, ever will do or ever could have done. Your daughter chose her path. She can still choose the right path, that is up to her. However, so long as she refuses to accept responsibility, her path will be a very hard and rocky one. That's. her. choice.

    When my daughter was in Residential Treatment Center (RTC), I had one major rule -- I would happily talk to her however long she wanted so long as the conversation was not disrespecful or manipulative. The second it became either of those, I would hang up. It hurt. I missed my daughter's voice but it was necessary. She was where she was for good reason. Nothing was going to change that fact. Your daughter is where she is for even better reasons. If she tries to make you feel guilty, becomes rude and disrespectful, it is time for you to hang up. A good-bye or an I love you probably isn't even necessary (but you'll probably feel better for saying it), just a disconnecting of the phone. If it gets too expensive in either actual or emotional costs, tell your daughter to write -- it will give her something to do.

    For now, many hugs to you. You're doing a great thing in raising your grandchildren. When it gets to be too much, come here and we'll hold your hand.