How do you mend your broken heart

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by natalieoh, Jul 9, 2010.

  1. natalieoh

    natalieoh Guest

    Hi ladies, Boy I haven't been on this site in so long. I used to be on here a lot when my difficult child was younger. My husband and I have weathered many storms. This one, recently has broken our hearts.

    Our difficult child just resumed his use of drugs and alcohol. It so worsens his mood problems and causes him to do so much at risk behavior. We had to place him in a dual diagnosis unit. He is facing charges for stealing our jewelry which the police fortunately returned to us, facing charges for marijuana possession, breaking and entering our house, and tobacco possession. (He turns 18 in two weeks)

    My question is this. We have worked so hard to get him help which he has rejected for 10 years. We adopted him and were at his birth. We showed him love, support, fun, discipline, were involved with his school and on and on. And yet, here we are. So how do I go on without my child? He is our only one. I doubt he'll ever be back home again as we are too afraid to have him here. There is also no telling what the court will do when he eventually has his hearing. The ache inside is so painful. We have wonderful friends and family, are close to our Church, I'm on Lexapro and see a counselor, but I am grieving.

    I was on this forum for years and prayed and prayed that my son would not end up on drugs or in trouble with the law, but yet, it happens anyway. In spite of what we try to do as parents, it happens anyway.

    What have you all found that helps you to grieve your child's involvement in your life? Thanks everyone!

    natalie oh :whiteflag:
  2. emotionallybankrupt

    emotionallybankrupt New Member

    Can you somehow think back to who you were and what kinds of activities you enjoyed before you had children? I've been working hard on that myself this summer. Remembering and reclaiming some of those pieces of myself that I left behind.

    In other phases of my life, I attended several grief workshops after deaths in the family, as well as divorce recovery programs when I was going through that. As I've finally had some quiet time to begin processing all that has happened with difficult child, I've realized that pieces of both types of workshops have stuck with me and helped, along with oher more obvious resources, such as this forum. I really feel that what I have now is a strange combination of grieving a type of death (of hopes, dreams, etc.) as well as a divorce of sorts (in need of the detachment strategies, etc.). To to answer you question about what has been helping me, I feel that I've been pulling together pieces of every coping mechanism I've ever learned. Like you, I am on medication, and it helps.

    I've been reading a lot in Joan Anderson's books this summer, and she has a lot to say about re-discovering the "self" you've left behind over the years. I think most important is to be patient with yourself and realize there is no "correct" timetable or path to take.
  3. Bean

    Bean Member

    Big hugs to you, hon.

    There are other people here that can advise you on detachment and finding yourself, and a life beyond worrying about your difficult child. I'm a work in progress on that one. I could probably talk the talk, but I'm not entirely walking the walk.

    My daughter is almost 19. There's some normal grieving at this life stage, even with a easy child (going off to college, moving out, becoming and adult and exploring the world on their own, etc.), but it is even that much harder because you mourn the dreams of those little normal milestones, hoping and wishing for a little silver lining on those nasty, grey clouds. It's really hard. And I think it is OK to grieve.

    But it is also OK to move on, enjoy your church friends, enjoy hobbies, laugh at movies and find a healthy place for YOU, outside of where your child is. I know it's easier said than done, and I really do sympathize and can hear your pain.
  4. dashcat

    dashcat Member

    I truly understand your pain and bewilderment. I'm dealing with different "stuff" with my 19 year old daughter, but it's really the same stuff in that it is dangerous to her. She was adopted as an infant and given the kind of life that we all think - as young parents - is the recipe for success. But we can only do our jobs and recongize that there are many factors, beyond us, that steer our kids in the direction they ultimately end up following. It's hard to accept that they make choices counter to what we believe, counter to what we've taught them and in opposition of what we've spent their lives praying for. Still, we cannot control their choices, only our reactions to them,

    I was seeing a counselor (the same one daughter saw, so she knew us and our family dynamics very well) during a particularly rough patch with daughter. At one point I was lamenting "we've done all we can - sent her to a great private school (which she loved and still calls the best four years of her life), I was a stay at home mom, watched her carefully, involved @ her school .... " you know the drill. The T-doctor looked at me and calmly asked "Dash, where do you think she would be if you hadn't done those things?" she went on to say "you HAVE made a difference. Try and see that and to know that, despite all that has happened, she is still better off."

    And she was right. If my daughter had been held accountable for her behavior when all this started, who knows where she'd be?

    You've made a difference with your son and I predict that you'll continue to make a difference. The things you taught him are there. It's up to him to use them.

    Hang in there.
  5. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I agree with everyone else. I dont know if there is a set formula for getting through all this, in fact I am pretty sure there isnt.

    I dont even remember who I was pre-kids because I had my kids so young. I was only barely 19 when I had my first child. Still a baby myself. I didnt get to grow up and build relationships or find adult interests because I was too busy raising babies then kids. I poured myself into my family life. Suddenly I realized they all grew up and I was just a mom with adult kids. I guess it was good for me that almost as soon as my last kid hit adulthood he had a baby so I got to start

    I had a really bad relationship with my difficult child son for a few years but as he grows up things are changing for the better. He is growing up. I think time does make them better.
  6. natalieoh

    natalieoh Guest

    As always, and like was said years ago about this web site, it is a soft place to land. You and Moms like you so get what I go through, and I too get what you go through. I can't tell you how much I appreciate all of your support. You are most kind.

    You all said it so well, mourning your broken dreams, thinking of what could have been. And yes, our adopted kids could have lived a very, very hard life. Thank you dear women for your wisdom and strength. I hope to see you on here more often now!
  7. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    What keeps me going is a couple of things.... one what others have said about what would have happened to my son if he had ended up in a different family, different situation??? He is probably doing much better than he could have been.

    I keep hearing that the frontal lobe of the brain does not fully develop until they are 25 or so... since he is 18 he has a few years to go yet... so my hope is that over time he will develop more impulse control etc. before anything catastrophic happens.

    And I have met several adults who tell me what awful teens they were, had horrible relationships with their parents, and over time they came back and got close to mom and dad again.

    So it is not over till its over.

    But I am still heartbroken in the here and now and it is especially hard hearing all about other kids college plans etc....

    and like others have said, I just keep trying to live and enjoy my own life.
  8. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    Our adopted child is our difficult child. We've been through 20+ years of great sorrow. I am very familiar with your question. And likely very familiar with your pain. I have asked this question and/or something like it for years.
    Not sure mine is completely mended, but it is significantly better.
    I have learned to accept much of what the situation. Some say that our child would have been worse with-o our love and support and this is likely very true. It rarely provides comfort...but it sometimes helps a tad (and I'll take what I can). It is nice to know in a way, that we more than likely have helped her be the best that she could be. Naturally, I wish it were more. But she has innate difficulties that are beyond what I can teach her. Perhaps, in a certain kind of way, she has taught me many very difficult life lessons that I would have not learned with-o her presence. It has been harder than words can provide...and no doubt you feel the same way.
    What has helped us????? Learning to accept certain things. Learning to move foward (personally) in life even with- this difficulty. PRoviding our daughter with- help when we are able, but not doing anything that will hurt us and nurturing ourselves and giving ourselves much love and care. When they are little ones...yes, it is our repsonsibillity to give it all we can...but once they reach 18, that door starts to close. AT 21, it really is SHUT. It is THEIR responsibility to figure it all out. This is the PE forum...and its hard hard hard .... but we must move on. We must detach. We must give it to a Higher Power and hope for the best. Therapy helps...setting boundaries....healthy 'selfishness' and doing things that are self nurturing....all can do wonders for a broken heart. You have my good thoughts, hugs and prayers.
  9. Sometimes it seems with adopted children there are "organic" issues (mental illness, bio-family history of drug/alcohol abuse) that just can't be hugged away.

    We loved them through a ton of pain.

    We taught them better than they are currently choosing.

    Their lives are ABSOLUTELY better because we have loved them. We HAVE made a significant difference in their lives with our love!

    One day... ( if their brain truly has the mental capacity to think logically) after these ungrateful kids experience the "real world" they WILL realize how much we have loved them.

    I've placed mine in the hands of God.

    He is far better able to care for them as children and now legal adults than I have ever been...

    Those beautiful children have ALWAYS belonged to God.