Just plain angry

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Elsieshaye, Dec 7, 2011.

  1. Elsieshaye

    Elsieshaye Member

    Nothing really new to report about my difficult child. (Background: found out a couple months ago he was using, after an awful year of him acting like a complete jackass. Kicked him out of the house shortly thereafter and cut off all money. He moved in with his father. Much drama ensued, aimed at me, and I ended up cutting off his phone, changing my own phone # and sending his emails to a black hole where I have to make a deliberate effort to get to read them.)

    But what I'm discovering is that I am just plain angry at him, and want him to go away and leave me alone for a good long while. Right now, several years seems about right. I don't even want to know whether he's cleaning himself up - I just am done. He sends the occasional very polite email asking me for stuff, most of which I've ignored. The most recent one is asking for a picture of his grandfather (my dad). I was getting ready to send it to him anyway, since it was up on his wall, along with a bunch of mail, but the minute he asked I lost all interest in doing so, and am holding on to everything until I am good and ready to send it. Maybe a week or two. Just so he doesn't think we're actually communicating. (I never said I wasn't childish.) I'm still having trouble with anxiety attacks, triggered by evidence a couple of weeks ago of a possible break-in.

    Has anyone else gone through this? I am just so hurt and angry by all the stupid, abusive, aggressive behavior and speech directed at me over the last year. If I'm honest, I'm actually angry about all the stupid and unnecessary aggression and abuse I've put up with from him his whole life, particularly since he was about 11 and had his first run in with the law (his first felony - I was so proud -puke-). I really just want a break from having him in my life. I know he'll get his **** together sometime, and I want to get to know him again after that, but I'm just not interested at all in participating in all the ups and downs until he gets there. I feel like I paid my dues in that regard and then some.

    Am I just a colossal *****, or is this something that other people go through?
  2. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    Oh we definitely get where you are coming from....husband and I are absolutely disgusted with our difficult child - husband even more so than I.

    We give, and give, and give - we present difficult child with a thousand opportunities, we bend over backwards time and again....and what do we hear? That we are lousy people. That we don't care enough about difficult child...that we don't do enough for her...and on and on and on...

    It DOES make a person angry. Dealing with this kind of stuff just pushes people beyond their limits...

    I'm so sorry you are dealing with so much anger right now...

    but I think you can forgive yourself for being human.

  3. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Even though they are family members, maybe even especially because they are family members, it is not ok for them to hurt us. I get mad at Q even with his "legitimate" reasons for hurting me at times. No one deserves that and your kid is safe, you are actually parenting him more and harder (In my no-experience-as-a-mom-in-this-area-opinion) by helping him to see how serious this really is. He may not get it, but you are continuing to show him true love and appropriate boundaries by doing what you are doing. I know this is not my area, but have grown to care for you so much.. I just want you to know, I think you are amazing. All of you who fight through this stuff, so very brave (I get it, you may think you didn't have a choice, but you did...you could have given up and even now you are not...you are picking the right things to do). You just go on loving him more by going through this for the ultimate good. Negative feelings are normal and even cutting off looking at the texts etc. would be ok. It is a decision to care for yourself and set an example, which is love for him too. Showing him that you love and value yourself, gives him a chance to learn these things. Just keep on and dont pick at the little decisions you make. They are all ok, he wont die without this stuff. He chose to put his life in this place, not you. You have no obligation to send anything more. If some point, you are in the mood, then fine. send it, otherwise, storage seems very fair.... not your problem. Hugs and care always, Dee
  4. Elsieshaye

    Elsieshaye Member

    Thank you both. I have to learn that it's ok to NOT do something he asks of me, and that the world won't end if I'm not perfectly responsive to every whim.
  5. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Anger is part of the grieving process. And you ARE grieving, don't forget that. You're grieving the loss of your son, the loss of the dream of who you hoped he'd turn out to be, the loss of the relationship you don't have. It's painful, and it makes you want to cry and scream and p***es you off all at the same time. You have to let yourself go through all those emotions, in order to get through it. It's ok to be angry. You deserve to be.

    Keep going to therapy, and keep moving forward and working on you. Figure out who you are as a person, separate from the person who is difficult child's mother. I find that to be a great challenge sometimes, after so many years spent immersed in my kids' lives, full of chaos and drama and crises. PTSD and all that. But it's worth the exploration, and it WILL get better.. you will feel better eventually.
  6. Elsieshaye

    Elsieshaye Member

    Thanks. Yes, you're right about the PTSD, and needing to figure out what my life looks like other than being someone's mom. I instituted a "no mentioning my son at all through the end of the year" rule with my boyfriend and the friends I hang out with most. Only broke it twice, versus the eleventy billion times I expected to when I made it. I try to limit talking about him to part of (not all of) therapy time and on this board, so that he doesn't end up taking over my whole life by proxy, even though he's not physically here.
  7. buddy

    buddy New Member

    love that !
  8. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    About a year ago I was carrying around such intense anger and bitterness about the whole difficult child thing. It was driving me crazy. I finally had to give that anger up, of course it helped because difficult child eventually left our house and we were able to have some peace. I decided I had to get rid of those angry feelings and it wasn't doing anyone any good. What was done was done, I couldn't go back and change that, and the bitterness was getting in the way of me having any good feelings towards difficult child.

    I know what you are going through but he is out of the house and it's time now to concentrate on you. Every day you hold onto the anger is a day wasted.

  9. Jai

    Jai New Member

    You are not alone. My daughter (16) has put me and my entire family through so much the past 3 years. She has been in and out of behaviorial health hospitals, a night in detention and 50+ police visits to our home, and of course child protective services as well..

    There is part of me that feels that I have let her down, that I failed her as a parent. There is a part of me that just wants her to go away for a very long time and come back a normal person...I don't if that is even possible anymore. She is currently out of our home (until the court can figure out where she needs to be) and I have to admit that my house has been peacefull if just for a moment.

    My daughter is a bipolar, ptsd, oppositional defiance disorder and poly substance abuse child. I try hard to understand why this is all happening to her, some of course has not been her fault, but the drug abuse, horrible behavior and general hatred she has for us (her family) is her doing and I can't seem to get her to grasp that, and take ownership of her bull****!

    I often break down, and cry (alone of course) I can't let anyone see how much this is hurting me. It just plain sucks! and I feel like I am alone in the situation.

    So "Just plain angry", you are not alone, there are I have to believe more of us out here and it helps to read their stories too. Stay strong and God Bless. Jai
  10. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    I think all the feelings we have towards our difficult children and what they have put us through are normal... those feelings of anger, grief, sadness, and hope are normal. I can say I have felt them all at different times. A few weeks ago I was really really angry at my difficult child and felt I was done.... then he took some right steps and I got hopeful and then disappointed and totally disgusted... and now he has taken some right steps again. I am a lot less hopeful this time around but still a little bit. I think what I often feel is overwhelming sadness that he has messed up his life so much... I think about what could have been, the path most kids take and I just feel sad for him. But then he does something really stupid, and self destructive and I get angry again. I think I would be a whole lot angrier if he lived at home....in fact when he was living at home I was angry a lot of the time.

    I was talking with a friend this morning about the "empty nest" syndrome. I will be sad when my daughter goes off to college because I will miss her so much. I do not feel that way about my son not being at home. That is sad to me but really it is such a relief to not have him here and to have peace in the house.

  11. mrsammler

    mrsammler Guest

    You describe my orientation to my nephew difficult child perfectly: former avuncular love curdled into cold & lasting contempt over the course of 15 months of constant verbal abuse, tantrums, rants, name-calling, manipulation, and occasional physical attacks, not to mention the drug use/selling, household theft from his mother and brother, destruction of household property, ceaseless lying, etc etc. I left in May '10 with a firm resolve never to see him, hear his voice, or be anywhere near him for the rest of my life, and I still feel that way today: good riddance to the vile pest. I hear he's still carrying on like this at 19 and I am SO glad I cleared out of that situation, never to return. Mother love, of course, is very durable and all that, and I understand that--but my uncle-love is GONE and, like you, when I recall of the !@#$ I & others endured from him, I just feel a cold anger and contempt for him. Which is why I almost never think about him anymore. This is what they do to you.
  12. Estherfromjerusalem

    Estherfromjerusalem Well-Known Member

    Well, I can't say my feelings are as strong as mrsammler, but my difficult child has been in Australia for almost 10 months now, and I feel guilty every time I think how peaceful our home has become without him around and how much we enjoy life without him. It's been 10 months, and I almost never miss him. When he phones or Skypes us, my heart sinks -- I still don't really want to talk to him very much. My other children certainly don't understand and I wouldn't even tell them I feel this way about difficult child (who is my youngest child). But he is 25 and I just don't feel in any way at all responsible any more for anything that he does. It's been ten whole months and I still feel damaged by him, but slowly but surely a sense of peace is gradually creeping in to my heart. We get phone calls from the bank and from the phone company -- he owes money left right and center. I am most definitely NOT going to pay out another penny for him. My gift to him when he left was to pay for his health insurance, including extreme sports such as bunjy etc., and I renew it every four months, but that is the full extent of my contributing to his life. He keeps on losing one job after another. He just lost such a good and well paying job because he simply didn't get up in the morning and was late for work for the second time. In Australia there's no mucking around -- if you don't keep to the rules, you are out!

    Anyway, he's on the other side of the world, and he is learning the hard way. Last thing I heard -- he's washing dishes in some cafe. I was thrilled to hear that -- it means that he is finally learning the lesson that when you haven't got a "decent" job and you need money, you do anything to earn it honestly. Actually, washing dishes is also a "decent" job when I think about it.

    Just sharing my feelings -- after all this time I still want to stay away from him.

    Love, Esther
  13. Elsieshaye

    Elsieshaye Member

    Thanks, Everyone. I definitely hear what some of you are saying about letting go of the anger. But, frankly, right now it feels protective. I don't walk around all day angry - in fact, most of the time, I don't think about difficult child. But, when I do think about him calling me or getting in touch with me and wanting something from me - after everything that's happened - my stomach clenches and I naturally make choices that maintain my safe distance. I need a whole bunch of time to recover from the last few years, and then I can probably make better decisions about what kind of relationship, if any, I want with him. I just never anticipated not ever wanting to see or speak to my own child again, Know what I mean?? I'm actively journaling and daydreaming about what the rest of my life is going to look like without him in it. Not necessarily because I don't believe he and I will never be in contact again, but because I am trying to train myself to focus on my own life and not be so over-involved in thinking about his. I see it as an anti-codependency exercise, more than anything else. It's also stuff like thinking about what I'll need when I'm elderly, and making sure that all of my plans involve taking care of myself and my own needs, regardless of who happens to be in my life at the time. Idunno, I'm rambling, but this whole thing affects so many different parts of my life it's going to take me some time to process. At least now I know the anger isn't abnormal, or evidence that I'm some kind of heartless narcissist, but a normal response to grief and pain, and that it's ok to think of everything that's been happening as traumatic (because it was).
  14. Star*

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


    I was asked an interesting question by my therapist when I felt the same way you do now about my son Dude. He said (and I quote) "If Dude were a person off the street, and not your son - a stranger per se; HOW long would you have put up with his bull?"

    I answered almost immediately - "NOT at all I would have blah blah blah blah blah..."

    Then the question was posed to me "Well why is it so acceptable to be abused by your family but not a stranger?"

    I answered - "Well because......he's....um......well he's......(long exhale) and really no good answer." which was the correct answer because.......THERE IS NO GOOD ANSWER ever to accepting abusive behavior.

    So then feeling like you do - once Dude was out of the house? I still kept in therapy and I went though feelings of "Yippe to sadness." Then it was brought to my attention that when I was abused by my x; it took me years and years to get to a point where I could have a conversation with someone and not relive the horror stories I could talk about, or sit and actually think of ways I wanted him to feel pain like I did, and later understanding, and much later forgiveness to myself for letting myself go through something like that, and eventually it got to a point where I had healed so much, and so well personally that I knew I would NEVER again fall for anything like that in my life - not from a mate, a child, a friend - no one. It was for me through therapy that I eventually felt safe again. Happy for sure, and self-assured about my choices and empowered.

    It also took me YEARS and years to figure out that no matter how much I wished it, or not matter how much I pushed my son in the right direction of help? THE HELP was there - he needed to reach out and help himself too. It took me YEARS to say the words "I AM A GOOD MOTHER." and mean it. It took me years to realize I'm smart, and a good person, and have things to offer the world - and it's okay to be angry - red hot angry - just how I reacted to my anger needed to be reigned in a bit and adjusted so I wouldn't look like a lunatic.

    In my whole life no one EVER told me "Star, it's okay to angry! - Go ahead be mad about that." Instead I heard - Well don't get so upset about it, or Try not to be angry it will go away, things like that. Stiffling comments we all are told and even tell our kids that are damaging - because IT IS okay to be angry. It's not okay to hit, and punch and kick, and scream, and slam doors on peoples faces, and things like that - but if you are mad about your son and what he did or didn't do? That's okay. I even get mad at my higher Power - and oddly enough? He already knows it - (imagine that) so when I say OMG (literally) I am so mad with you -I'm usually in for a good long thought about everything.

    I used to try and curb my anger by taking a baseball bat and walking in the woods and pounding the ground or hitting trees - (grass hates me trees fear me) but it accomplished nothing for years. I held stuff in for so long? When I exploded? Honey it was ten fourths of July - and it wasn't pretty. It's like a storage unit in my brain. THe bad stuff happens? I shove it in the unit and shut the door. More bad stuff happens? I shove it in a unit and shut the door....more stuff? Shove more, can't shut the door? Get a new unit - start over. I mean I did that for 38 years. Then when a little WOULD leak out? I'd literally be classified as nuts - (ever see a woman in the woods trying to stave off killing her kids by beating a tree with a ball bat?) Instead what I could have been doing was processing the information up front and stopping it in it's tracks. True I can't do a thing about the past - but I could stop renting more units....and in a sense I have. Now I deal with junk as it comes. As much for the past? I had severe PTSD anxiety and it took a lot of time in a therapists office and working out my feelings a little at a time and actually being honest and admitting I WASN"T JUST MAD.....I was #*(%$)@(*$_)@(+$ P)(%*)*($)*I hot!

    So when Dude left? part of me WAS sad and part of me was overjoyed at the fact that no one would be here to upset me - and I got to work on ME. Odd thing - while I'm working on me - I detached from HIM - and offered little advice other than words of detachment.....for him....because that's part of the healing process too. He didn't want my advice and when I gave it? He didn't use it. (A slap) so I stopped trying to FIX things and just started looking at him like a person I hardly KNEW - that used to live with me. Because any son that I raised would NOT have treated me like that guy did. So in a sense he WAS a stranger.....and my son? WEll I figured he was on a vacation somewhere and would show up one day, we'd talk.....he'd admit what a royal jerk he was (and he has) but it took three years....of hard living, lifes knocks, and a Mother that set an example of how she WILL NOT BE TREATED by standing on my feet like you are and saying "NOPE" love you but.......

    As far as the fear of needing the anger? Well I went through EMDR therapy too. One of the questions I had was "If I do this therapy will it make me like....soft hearted and so kind and sweet?" Because the only thing I had survived on and held onto for years was the fact that I acted like a cornered Tazmanian devil when antagonized - and it made me feel safe. I didn't want to "loose my edge" so to speak if say my X showed up and what my years of thinking was to do - was to walk away or if persued? Take action. I was afraid if I went through therapy and learned how to be ME again - I'd be so nice that I'd be abused again or killed if confronted by the ex. You don't loose....your edge. You gain - smarts on how NOT to get involved. And as far as being a warrior? Nothing changed. I'm still pretty tough for a chick, but NOW people that meet me KNOW how to treat me because of what boundaries I set.....ME setting them - NOT THEM dictating..ME. And I'm okay with sticking to them or telling people to buzz off. (albeit politely) - left the sailor mouth at ye old tavern.

    I don't know if my son will EVER know what he did to me....or if YOUR son will EVER realize what a collosal jerk he's been to you. Honestly I think if they did know? They'd die from guilt. So what I hoped for was a time apart, a slate wiped clean with memories still in tact, forgiveness to a point, and willingness to carry on a civil conversation and offer basic generic detachement type advice if asked.

    To me just the fact that you're even worried about the anger....tells me what an excellent Mom you are. I hadn't seen Dude in three years.....and I'm not sure it bothered me because it seemed there was always a crisis somewhere in his life - so staying away meant less BS for me, and happier days in which he got to work out his own solutions to his own self-created problems. (Growing pains)

    You're doing super - !!!!
    Just thought you needed to know you weren't rowing a boat with one oar in circles - You're getting somehwere!

  15. Elsieshaye

    Elsieshaye Member

    Many, many thanks, Star. It helps a lot to know that what I'm doing is pretty much what I need to be doing, and that just because I'm feeling something and just letting it be what it is doesn't automatically mean I'll get stuck there forever!
  16. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    A few weeks ago when my difficult child was here for court I was feeling very sad for him and the situation he got himself into...and it made me feel just sad and that sadness was rather immobilizing (for an evening anyway). Then I found out he blew us all off and didn't get on the plane he was supposed to and i got mad, really mad. Didn't express it to him but it was more internal.

    And I realized that mad is much better than sad, at least for me. I found that anger spurred me forward, made me think about how to enjoy MY life, how to not enable him, made me want to do for me rather than wallow in the quagmire that is him. It is healthy to be mad at times. It is a good thing for survival.

    Yes it can eat at you if you go forever without letting the anger go, but it doesn't sound to me like you are talking about that situation.

    So yes feel your anger and let it move you forward. That is a good thing.

  17. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    As women we grow up thinking that we are not allowed to be angry. We are supposed to be "good girls" and forgive, let it go, etc.... Boys can be angry, can be aggressive, but we are taught it isn't "ladylike" or okay. I think many of us have to learn how to be angry and how to deal with it because we didn't get those tools as kids. We do what Star did - we stuff it. We take the abuse, we don't get "upset" esp when being angry is the most rational response to a situation.

    It takes some work to learn to let yourself be angry and to learn to use that anger in a healthy, productive manner. there is a great book called The Dance of Anger that you might find intersting/helpful.

    It also helps to learn how to express your anger appropriately rather than to wait and blow up. I was a champion yeller, grew up in a family where yelling was common, even normal, but it wasn't okay for ME to get angry. I was told not to be "dramatic" or "hysterical" or not to "over-react" and that any time I expressed anger I was "over-reacting" or irrational. Even now my mother firmly believes that anger is the only emotion I feel and taht I have no happy or positive feelings/ memories. I have accepted that NO amount of telling her positive things/happy memories/not showing anger to her will change that. I find it baffling, but have come a long way toward accepting that it is her perception and not reality - and that I don't have to work to make her "see" that I am not angry. It has taken a LOT of work to get to that point.

    A BIG help for me was a book called "She's Gonna Blow: Real help for Moms Dealing with Anger" by Julie Ann Barnhill. It is a "christian" based book, but I have known a lot of women of toher faiths or no faith who found it helpful. Figuring out that it was okay to be angry and how to be angry with-o letting it rule my life or take over was important. It made me a better person, mom, daughter, etc....

    Anger can be a very good thing. Esp if it helps you move forward, grow, and stop tolerating abuse.
  18. Elsieshaye

    Elsieshaye Member

    Susiestar, I also grew up in a very volatile home, and was not allowed to have any emotions. (Even acting happy was frowned upon if it was "too happy," and I still have this hangup that if I relax even a little, and act happy or (god forbid!) giddy, that I am being inappropriate and whoever I'm with is going to punish me with rejection. Just went through that this weekend with-my boyfriend. I couldn't understand why I became so anxious after being so relaxed and chatty with him, until I realized that I expected to be punished for it. Sigh.) Being able to express anger has for a long time been so far out of my repertoire that I literally used to shut down and almost dissociate if in a situation where I was angry. I also don't want to end up turning into my father (physically abusive and out of control), so I've learned to under-react. (I've read the Dance of Anger, and I think re-reading it is a really good idea at this point - thank you for reminding me about it!) I'm pretty sure this is why I weigh as much as I do and have the chronic health issues I do.

    TL, yes, letting it help me in moving forward is what I've been trying to do. Working on me, and letting him deal with his own stuff himself. I was just taken aback at how that feels.
  19. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    It's so good that you recognize that you are holding on to intense anger. It's normal to be hurt. If you aren't doing so already, you might consider seeing a counselor to help you get through this.

    Also, it's FABULOUS that you are getting a break from all the chaos. ENJOY! Rediscover what you need and enjoy and go for it! Take all the time you need.

    I agree, you certainly do not have to respond to his every request. But, if he is being appropriate AND if it does not cause you any problems to be responsive, those might be good times to respond. It would provide positive reinforcement...encouraging him...gently letting him know that goodness is rewarded.

    This does NOT mean you want lots of "together time." In fact, it kinda sounds like this separateness is a good thing. But, now and again, IF he is being appropriate AND it wont put you out, it would probably be wise to respond (while still maintaining your distance) to appropriate requests so that he knows what genuine/honest/good give and take relationships look and feel like.
  20. AmericanGirl

    AmericanGirl Guest

    Thanks to all of you for your comments on this post. I feel exactly the same. I wish my difficult child would vanish. Just posted my tale on the teens substance abuse forum.

    Sad that this was the child I once adored. After months of enduring his verbal abuse, Im hardened to him. Kindof think all the times he criticized me for being in bed while undergoing chemo pushed me to that....sigh.

    Im likely tossing him out shortly. At least i will know i tired every reasonable thing.