I feel such a failure. Can we please talk?

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Estherfromjerusalem, Feb 24, 2009.

  1. Estherfromjerusalem

    Estherfromjerusalem Well-Known Member

    First of all, I apologise if I have upset anybody. That is definitely NOT my intention.

    Second -- one of my faults (and I have very very many) is that I don't know how to be funny, or satirical, or super-duper clever. I just say things the way they are, in black and white. That's how I am, and you probably by know have all got to know me. I am truly a very serious person, maybe I take life too seriously.

    I want to tell you all just why I find the attitude towards someone whom you find annoying very upsetting. I am going to relate this to myself and to a problem that I have, so that you understand "where I am coming from."

    I am a smoker. I need my head examined to still be a smoker. I have two stents in my heart, I have had two carotid operations since they got clogged up -- the left one five years ago, the right one one year ago. I stopped smoking for 3 months last year, and then gradually started again. Before, I was smoking 3 packs a day -- today I am smoking maybe 10 cigarettes a day. Last week I tried again to stop smoking -- that lasted for 2 days. I am a complete and utter failure.

    Now, anyone -- no, everyone -- will tell me to stop smoking. I don't need to be told. I know I should. No, I know I MUST. And yet -- it is too big for me, I just can't. My life isn't easy, and smoking is my sneaky pleasure. I'm not a chocolate freak, I don't buy clothes, don't have my hair or nails or eyebrows done, don't go to concerts, theater, films, hardly ever even watch TV, I am too busy working (self-employed, mainly at home but also a bit outside the home). I truly envy people who have the strength of character to just throw the cigarettes away. I am addicted, yes.

    So (and now we come to Stands's thread) -- how on earth can I be judgmental of someone who posts about trying, and trying, and trying to do what she knows she ought to be doing in order to help her son, and yet being so torn that she just can't bring herself to do it. I feel her pain, and I feel her conflict. In any case, anyone who comes here to the board is reaching out for support, for comfort, for an injection of strength to carry on, to do what has to be done. I feel that in a way it is parallel to my smoking -- she truly wants to do what is right, but it is excruciatingly difficult if not impossible for her, yet she is trying again, and again, and again. I feel that she doesn't need to be "commanded" to do this or that. She needs compassion, and understanding, and acceptance, and love, and support.

    Lots of the people who write here are very annoying. So what? We are all people in pain. We all have difficult children. Life with a difficult child is so damaging. We are all damaged and hurting, some coping with it better, some less well.

    I said this on the other thread, but I am throwing out this question and I truly would like to know how others think about it: Why answer Stands and then get annoyed when she doesn't do what you say? If you know it is going to annoy you, then just read the thread and go on to the next one, and don't write, don't get involved. We all have enough aggravation to cope with, we don't need extra aggravation by being annoyed with someone else's pain.

    OK, I have opened the discussion, and I would appreciate input. I truly want to know what people think. Let's talk about it please.

    Suz, although this is a general topic, since the original posting and discussion is taking place in Parents Emeritus I have posted this here because I thought it belonged here. I hope that's OK.

    Love, Esther
  2. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    Esther, I love you, and I haven't posted in months. I really felt compelled to reply because I can see how upset you are.

    The very simple answer to your query (not question) in my mind is that you have never asked us for advice on how to quit smoking, and in the 6 years I have been here this is the first time I was aware that you smoked.

    Your smoking (or not) and Stands' situation don't really resemble each other as they apply to this place.

    And, fwiw, in Stands' situation, I agree that people should not reply. Sometimes, I think, when people reply angrily, they aren't replying to her, but to the pity she has gotten out of others. I'm not angry at her at all. I don't think she can help herself. But it does seem that people should stop telling her she does a great job when in all actuality all she has done is post asking for prayers or support. By all means she should get prayers and support. But kudos should be for progress.

    It took a lot for me to post this, and I would only do it for you, old friend.
  3. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Esther...I hear you totally. I understand what you are saying completely and for the most part I try to do what you suggest. (read a post and dont respond if I get annoyed) Sometimes that is hard to do if I am having a hard day myself. I will admit sometimes I can be crabby too. There are some people on here that irritate me because it is the SSDD syndrome. Heck...I am sure that I am that person to other people and they can (and have) posted negatively to me at times. Yes, shocking huh?...lol. I have learned over the years to keep a few things private if I dont want negative feedback.

    Am I wrong, maybe. I dont want to hurt anyone but sometimes I guess I can answer the way I would if I was talking to someone face to face.
  4. Estherfromjerusalem

    Estherfromjerusalem Well-Known Member

    Well, Witz, I am very honored that you wrote, and thank you for your input. Yes, I can see the difference in that I haven't asked for help with the smoking.

    Janet, thank you for replying, and for making me feel that I am not alone with feeling that way about the postings and the posters.

    What is the SSDD syndrome?

    I must go to bed now -- it is 3.07 in the morning!!! (that is Israel time). I have to go out to work tomorrow and won't be back until lunchtime, and then I will reply properly.

    Good night in the meantime,

    Love, Esther
  5. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Esther you make a very valid point. And I get it too. It's never my intention to hurt someone with a response I make. And most of the time I think I do a pretty good job censoring myself. I've deleted alot of responses simply because I felt they were too harsh or would be taken the wrong way.

    I know I'm not perfect with my responses though. And I do click out of many posts simply because they touch a nerve and I know it's better that I don't respond at all. But I do try.

    I've had many a poster come down hard on me. I'd like to think it was always with the best of intentions. I think usually it was, and I always took it that way whether or not I agreed with them. And I can think of a few times when blunt responses have opened my eyes to something I couldn't/didn't want to see.

    Sometimes I go for long stretches of not responding to Stands. Not because I'm mad at her......but because I don't know what to say that hasn't already been said repeatly. This last post I felt compelled to respond because it appeared her difficult child was once again manipulating her into doing something she really didn't want to do that she'd kick herself for later. It's awfully hard to truly realize the hold addiction has over a person, that it will cause them to do things you know for certain they'd never do off the drugs. That drug is the center of their universe. Not really quite like smoking...per se. Same idea I suppose, just not on the same level.

  6. everywoman

    everywoman Active Member

    I have started this post and then deleted what I have written and rewritten it a dozen times already.

    I think that Stands is in such a sad, dark place. She knows the truth, but because of her own pain, her own fear, her own lack of a sense of self, she can not do what she needs to do. And I do feel sorry for her. I feel sorry for her entire family. I even feel sorry for her difficult child.

    I know the courage it takes to look your child in the face and tell him to get out of your life. I know what it's like to think if I try just this one more thing, maybe it will change everything. I know what it's like to look at a small, minuscule gain and have hope that things will change. And it gets you down when it doesn't. And when the people you love the most are stomping on your heart, and when you are beating yourself up, you don't need a group that you vent to, feel safe with, knocking you down.

    I live with two addicts. Both are in different places in their recovery. I could/should turn my back on both of them. But I also see in them the pain that their addiction causes them. And maybe that what Stand's sees in her son. She doesn't see the manipulation, the lies, the constant badgering as what they are---she stills sees the pain in her son's eyes.

    It took me a long, long time to get to the point I am at in my life. And I wouldn't put my son out on the streets because anyone on this board told me to. I wouldn't leave my husband if this board thought I should. I would do it because it would be the right thing for me to do. I have put my son out of my house. He is back home now and doing much better. I have looked in to a divorce, but after 22 years I don't think that's the road I want to travel. But I am far along enough in my own recovery that I can handle that you might not agree with my choices. And I am a big enough girl that I know their may be consequences for my choice. Stands is not there yet. She's still cooking. And maybe she should be there by your standards. But remember, we each move to a new place when we are tired enough of being in the old one. Stands hasn't hit bottom yet. Like many codependents she may never reach the point where she is ready to make a different choice. But belittling her, chiding her like a child, make her feel inferior isn't going to get her there any faster.

    When I think of responding to any of Stands post I think back on the list of answers we made years ago to our kids when they called wanting us to fix things:
    1. I'm sorry to hear that. What are you going to do?
    2. Well, that sounds awful. So sorry that you are disappointed.
    3. You have to face the consequences of the choices you make in life.

    Esther, I hear what you are saying. I, too, am a smoker. And if one more person tells me that cigarettes can kill you, I am going to scream! It's not like I don't know.
    You don't have to tell me. And we don't have to tell Stands that she is going to have to live with the consequences of enabling her difficult child. She is living with them everyday.
  7. Here! Here!

    Each one of us has our own pile of baloney that we have to climb over to get to the other side. I know that I have slipped in that pile many times. The fact is that accolades are due to each and every one of us who keep on climbing in spite of the fact that we're covered in it.
    Lasted edited by : Feb 25, 2009
  8. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    SSDD - Same Sh-tuff, Different Day

    Well, I have a differing opinion.

    First of all if this is a chastising contest on who should act like what, I don't find "lots of people" on this board annoying. There are a few and I generally stay away from them. The vast majority are people that I may have nothing else in common with other than we are dealing with challenging children and a bond of sorts forms.

    If someone asks for an honest opinion, they are going to get one. Her first question in her first post was "Am I thinking correctly?" I could lie or pooh pooh it and tip toe around it, but that's not me and, frankly, I can't stand that kind of behavior. If *I* ask a question, I want an honest answer. I don't want to have to go sifting for it.

    She then asked for honest opinions. I gave it. Not based on a single thread, but based on all of the threads she has started. From her being angry at a 15 year old kid when her son was charged with something akin to "contributing to the delinquency of a minor", to her calling the kids parents and telling them she didn't blame them instead of apologizing for her son's behavior and to her treating her 25 year old adult son like he is 10 to her adult son's friends stealing his (at that time) 17 year old brother's game system that her 17 year old saved up to buy and really not expecting him to make restitution because he needs the money on his account at jail or he needs to buy drugs - whatever the reason was, I can't remember.

    I didn't pretty it up with my responses. I didn't go into long explanations because it doesn't get read or it doesn't get through. History has shown that. Short and direct was the way to go. I didn't say anything online that I wouldn't have said in person. And I don't regret a word of it because it was honest.

    If we didn't care or were so heartless and cruel, we wouldn't respond at all.
  9. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    We post the way we do because we care. At least I do. I know too much about addiction--wish I didn't. But I can't softpeddle my answer because then I feel like I've just enabled her, and I really do try to help. I don't have to answer, but my daughter DID quit, so I like to pass along that she did it and what worked.
    I also don't find a lot of people annoying. I like almost everyone--the straight shooters, the diplomats, the softhearted souls, everyone. As for smoking, my hub smokes and I can't make him quit. He wants to, but it's very hard for him. Just because he smokes doesn't mean I should enable somebody else in dealing with their adult child (in my opinion). I see them as two different issues. Also, when somebody asks for an opinion, do they really want a lie or to be ignored? That isn't what I get from Stands. I think she's asking us to tell her what we really think. And maybe one day she will catch on and be able to do it.
    I have had A LOT of harsh posts toward me and I appreciate everyone who bothers to respond to me, even if it's not what I want to hear. Maybe we are all having a difference of personalities. Don't really know, not here to hurt anyone...don't think any of us are.
  10. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    Hey Esther........

    (i quote) Lots of the people who write here are very annoying.

    Are you talking to me? Are you talking to ME? Are YOU talking to me? ARE you talking to me? Are YOU talking to ME? Are you TALKING to me? Are you talking TO me?
    How about me? How ABOUT me? How about ME?
    Is it ME? Is IT me? IS it ME? IS IT ME??
    It was me WASNT it? It WAS ME.....wasn't it?

    ME ME ME ME ME...........

    Enough about me..............:tongue:

    Cause if you were going for a personal compliment with that annoying statment? :laugh: Ya missed it by a mile kiddo. :peaceful:ROFL....

    OF COURSE WE CAN TALK - cause I'm just soooo sure I'm not annoying - not THE annoying one....NOT THE ANNOYING - ARE YOU LISTENING TO ME? I"M BEING DOG GONE ANNOYING. lol

    IT's a process to leave an abusive relationship whether it's a husband, a wife, a boss, a friend- or a child. Finding out what is best for our families in crisis takes time. After years of counseling and wanting (shalom) peace in my life? I have it. It didn't come easy and I had to work very hard not to go back to the abuse. IN any abusive relationship the hardest thing to do is stay gone. It's harder because at least with the abuse we have some remote idea of the cycle or what is predictable in a sense. IN a day without that abuse? IT's empty, foreign and it takes time to learn and rethink how to put GOOD things in place of bad things and how to let go of chaos for peace.

    After 11 years looking back at what I was living in and what I put my son through for staying? EEEeeeeeeeeew yeah - moving on - not a very comfortable place to be - knowing that everyone around me tried to give advice for the best and I chose to ignore it and did more harm than good? I had to have therapy for the GUILT after i was done with the therapy for abuse - (no kidding)

    So with regards to Susans post. I can't and wont speak to anyone elses thoughts or advice. There are times when I have come here and learned so very much from someone or gotten some advice that I had not considered before. If I felt someone was harsh? I accepted the criticism and if I got questionable advice - I just considered all my options and moved forward from there with what I felt was best for my situation.

    In Susans case? I'm not sure where she is in that process. I'm sure by the responses there are several schools of thought. This is a soft place to land, for everyone. We're all different, have different backgrounds, so we'll offer different advice in different tones. I still think about what Fran posted a number of times - and I feel it's a good time to say it again - Take what you can & leave the rest. Doesn't mean your a pacifist OR a hot head. Just means when you say HELP what do I do? - you're not always going to get what you think you should get - my best friends are honest with me. Brutally on occasion - but nonetheless - honest.

    Somedays? That's a necessity. I'd rather speak what I felt than lie to someone. But keeping in mind - if I have nothing nice to say I can say nothing at all.

    (slaps head) 10 cigarettes & 2 stints? Okay - I have my rock already for your grave. It's a lovely little striated piece of granite from Arizona. (or are you going to QUIT smoking so I can KEEP my rock?) :tongue:

    Yeah just time for a board hug......eesch - I hate when we yell.

  11. Suz

    Suz (the future) MRS. GERE

    Esther, I suggested that you start a new thread in this forum to discuss this topic. I have no problem with it.

    I have to be honest, though. I was incensed that neither you nor Barbara have posted much, if any, support in this forum for months and months, yet you both felt perfectly comfortable coming in and sanctimoniously attacking those who do. Your behavior seemed no better than how you were accusing the others of behaving.

    Fran used to refer to us members as a "prickly" group. And we are. We've lived the life for years. The PE parent tells it like it is. We might not say it in the most graceful manner but I can promise you that whatever we are saying is not mean-spirited.

    I have said over and over these past 10 years that just because someone tells you that you are doing something wrong doesn't mean they aren't supporting you. If you only want people to tell you that you are right...look in a mirror and talk to yourself. :)

  12. Ropefree

    Ropefree Banned

    EsterfromJ: Great topic. one persons annoying is another persons just trying to get it out. And what seems very basic and easy to one person with their location, resources, and know how may be a daunting if not impossible task for another person.
    Some people are triggered by bias and others are just utterly unaware of how it is for others.

    Some people just do not read what is written as it is meant to be read. we all have our own voice and sometimes the written word or the writer is not in the realm of anothers understanding.

    About the smoking...have you tried the gum, losenges or patch? The smoke is the worst danger, and the time spent not smokiing lets the lungs and the oxegen have the best condition...plus when the smell returns it is a reinforsement not to smoke.
    It is hard, they say it is the hardest to quit of all. I hope that you can find an inner resolve that wanting to may plague you but not doing it will make you feel so strong.

    Many people have very narrow ideas about how other people live. I am disabled and I have had plenty of oppertunity to feel the rancour that many feel about that. It is really really insane that some people honestly believe that they "know" about another person when they do not. A person who is not disablied imagines that a person who is disabled will "find a way" to live as if they are normal, or functionally
    adebt 'like' normal. How often I am talked to as if I am an imbicile when I am saying what is true and help I do need, not want. I did not want to be disabled. I do not like being disabled. I do not feel "lucky" to have my limitations of activities, income, work, disireablilty,or the pain,frustrations, and unremitting poverty. What I am glade for, though, is the world veiw that changed for me when I was no longer able to work and discovered that there are so many people who are neglected,shunned,made into mockery and what the well do not know and would do well to try try try to understand is that people are people no matter what condition they are in.
    Children and adults with conduct disorders are with us and deserve the meathods and means to live their best lives, too.
    and however annoying or down right abrasive some people will adress their issues the only only way to learn how to communicate in a manner that will help is to have examples. This forum allows that to happen amoung strangers. How wonderful is that?
    WE have our child(ren) and our lives where maybe we feel isolated with a set of problems no one we know is having trouble with and here we have loads of support and kind (sometimes unkind) ideas to move us along.
    I know when push came to shove in my world I found what I needed to put on my big girl pants and go all bonzi on my boy. I got alot of ideas and alot of permission from this place.
  13. rejectedmom

    rejectedmom New Member

    Ester, I just went back and read through the thread you refer to. While some of the posts do seem harsh I do believe that they were all made with the best of intentions.

    I remember getting some comments that were very hard to comprehend when I was dealing with my son's drug use and his judicial problems. It was all so alien to me and all I wanted to do was to save him. His types of problems were a first for my family. Some responses I got to this "save him" attitude were similar to those given to Stands. Initially I was much afrounted but when I really read the posts I realized that those hard comments were exactly what I needed to hear. THEY HELPED ME. So while I do try not to be overly harsh, I do often just tell it like I see it. I do this because I remember and give thanks for the hard line that my board sisters took. They made me realize I had to detach and let my son reap his consequences in order to get the chaos out of my life and save myself. Stands has been at this for a long time and I think we all wish she were further along the road to a peacful home than she is. For that reason I believe that some members have decided it is time to take out the "big guns" and make alot of noise so that maybe she will hear the message she so desperately needs to hear. -RM
  14. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    Ester...I thought your post was really lovely and its one that I will think about for awhile.

    I think what bothered many here about the other thread was two-fold. One was that she was exhibiting some of the same behaviors as her son. The other was that there were little, if any, signs of improvement...even though she was asking for help. By improvement, I'm not talking about the way her son thinks/acts...I'm talking about her own attitude and behaviors.

    Re: the smoking, etc.
    I can't help but think about the times in my life I have given advice when no advice was asked for. It's pretentious...and can be unkind.

    Over the years, I have had some issues with tone of some of the responses at this site and feel even more strongly about it here at PE. I see no problem with honesty (and in fact encourage it), but I do see a problem with sarcasm, unkindness, anger, etc. I think that is not called for and if a person finds themselves angry, it is probably best to either keep it very short and factual or not post a reply at all.
  15. janebrain

    janebrain New Member

    I don't find anyone here annoying, some I relate to better than others, but I think everyone here has something worthwhile to say. Often I get the best advice when I am reading responses to someone else's post so even if Stands isn't seeming to make progress the responses to her posts are helpful to me to help me keep my boundaries in place with my own difficult child.

    Also, sometimes tough love is the best love. My difficult child had a therapist who was pretty useless but one thing she did tell me that I have often thought about was that I had to "step up to the plate." I was on the phone with her crying and saying how I couldn't handle my difficult child and she gave me no sympathy--told me I had no choice, I had to step up to the plate. I hated her at that moment but it was what I needed to hear and helped me get through those teenage years.

  16. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    in my opinion it is almost impossible for somebody who hasn't fought the demons of substance abuse (much less with one's beloved child) to really "get" why we are being tough. I understand why some may be shocked--I would have been shocked myself until I had to deal with it first hand, and saw the futility of cushioning my daughter while she was on her way to killing herself. Perhaps we do seem tough to those who have been blessed NOT to have to deal with this gut-wrenching issue. It is hard to really believe that the best thing one can do for a child is to let him hit rock bottom. So it may seem very cruel to somebody on the outside looking in. Yet it is the only thing that works--not only do you possibly help your child see that his life is going nowhere--you save yourself and your other family members. But, yeah, I see where those who have not been in our shoes would think we are being callous. In fact, in my opinion it is more callous to just give hugs and say "Oh, I understand. It's ok." Why? Because it doesn't help and may keep the parent stuck in her old ways of enabling. This advice we give is not just from us--any good addiction counseler or group would say the same thing, possibly in tougher words than we do. I'm afraid that if Stands gets too much sympathy, she may keep on enabling her son--therefore, I use tough language. Just a thought...
  17. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    What a brilliant analogy. Honestly I had never thought about the cigarette addiction behavior and the behavior/reaction to other addictions. As one who still struggles after ten years without my much loved cigarettes, I'll never criticize nicotene lust. on the other hand, seeing the two habits side by side was eye-opening for me.

    Here's a group HUG! DDD
  18. Estherfromjerusalem

    Estherfromjerusalem Well-Known Member

    OK, I didn't respond immediately because I wanted to think about it all, and I have read and re-read the replies, and thought a bit more.

    It is true that the fact that I have no experience with a child with substance abuse means that that is a situation that I do not understand. I do not understand it at all, and I am grateful to the powers-that-be for that lack of understanding.

    I think I am quite a coward -- I don't go in for confrontations, and I quite honestly don't post much about my difficult child because I have always just tried to live through the bad times in order to get to better times. But I can't take the arguments and the tension. Maybe it's because I am a lot older now (I had him when I was 41). I am 63, and my nerves must be shot or something.

    I also don't like confrontations here on the board, and I don't really know why I started all this. Something just snapped, and I felt I HAD to write. I apologise if I haven't been putting in input, Suz. You are right. But I knew I didn't have anything positive or practical to offer, since it is a situation with which I am not familiar. Yet I DID read it, because it is interesting and there is something about Stands that touches my heart, I don't know why, but there is. And it is also true, as several people have said, that through reading other posts, even those that don't concern me directly, I learn a lot.

    Part of being a large group means that the variety of people is huge, and the way to get on well together is to respect one another. I felt that some of the replies to Stands's post were going too far away from that, and that it was becoming sort of a "free for all" where whoever felt like it, could just vent their spleen. It was just going too far in a bad direction. That's how I saw it.

    I do, however, think that if the moderators feel that each and every member has the right to reply to Stands as they see fit and as they feel, then I too have the right to react to those replies and to express how I feel about them.

    Having said that, I think I shall once again fade into not being over-active here. I have been a member for at least 10 years here, if not more, and I feel very attached and couldn't imagine my life without coming every day to see what's going on and how everyone is.

    And now (if only I knew how to do that teeny-weeny writing that Abbey and Star know how to do), I shall go back to my corner -- and smoke a cigarette there!!!

    Love, Esther
  19. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Esther....there are just gonna be times we all disagree on this board. Its like in a family where arguments erupt. Someone gets the last chicken leg at dinner. Fights ensue. Doesnt mean we are gonna scalp anyone...just gonna skirmish for a bit.

    As I have vividly seen in real life....this board and everyone on it is here for each other when life hits the fan. I couldnt ask for a better group of friends if I had met each person in real life. I truly believe I am alive today because of the support I received here. So if we argue a bit, fight a bit...I truly think it is done with good intentions. Families do argue sometimes...lol.
  20. rejectedmom

    rejectedmom New Member

    Ester please do not refrain from posting. Your input is valuable to us. -RM