Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by recoveringenabler, Feb 22, 2015.

  1. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I've shared this always gives me pause......a beautiful truth I believe.
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  2. nlj

    nlj Well-Known Member

    Is that the same as 'Love is Blind' RE?
    Do you think it has a similar meaning?
  3. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Interesting question Lucy.
    Well, I would say no, I don't think it's the same. I guess the "love is blind" is referring to how we fall in love and don't see the faults or "unique" qualities of our beloved because our eyes are clouded over by that love (or lust!) But, I think the lack of judgment means that you see the other with ALL their qualities and accept them without judging, as they are. I think "love is blind" is easy. While loving without judgment is not so easy, it has so much to do with acceptance and letting go of expectations and shoulds and needing someone to be a certain way. I think that is unconditional love. Loving without conditions is the goal I's what I aspire to. Well, I practice, every single day.
  4. 2much2recover

    2much2recover Well-Known Member

    I so agree. And for those of you still entangled with your Difficult Child it hard to see, in the future when you are well enough (detached) you will see that you are capable of loving someone with no expectation that they live the way you think they "should". You will always love your child. Always. Giving in through detachment is a way to your own personal freedom but it absolutely is about loving without boundaries - allowing the other (Difficult Child) person to live, even in ways that we would not wish for them to. Loving them when they fail, but not feeling they are so helpless (judgement) that they can not live without you rescuing them. It is a long, lonely path, each person has to walk to get to the point of loving someone without judgment.
  5. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    Well...I'm just going to put this out there. To be honest, I am not sure whether I don't understand this quote or don't agree with it. Is it implying that I love LESS or don't love the way I SHOULD because I haven't achieved some serene state of perfect acceptance?

    I also feel that judgment is not necessarily a bad thing, particularly with what we see around here. Judgment doesn't mean contempt or condemnation, it doesn't mean prejudgment...but I think some honesty in calling a duck a duck is not only a good thing but a matter of survival for most of us.

    Maybe I am just misinterpreting what is meant by the word "judgment." Or maybe I'm just not "well enough" yet. I feel like I'm certainly doing the best I can...but something about it has me feeling...inadequate.
  6. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Albatross, I know what you mean. I'm kind of split on it too.

    But I'm wondering if maybe it's no about whether or not WE have some judgment involved (I believe we need to), but whether or not our LOVE is tied to the judgment. We can't love somebody "because", or "because they do not" or "because they are not"... We love. Period. We may make a judgment call about behavior, or whatever else - but we love anyway.
  7. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I understand what you are saying Albatross and I think Insane is correct. I think it's pretty hard to grasp sometimes, it sure has been for me too. I think we judge if we are being treated badly or not being respected or in any way harmed by another's behavior,we need to recognize that and set up boundaries and say no. However, at least from my understanding of it, we still accept them as people, as being able to choose their path, their way, following their own destiny. Which may mean that we remove ourselves from it. Like with some of our troubled kids, or a relationship with a spouse which is abusive or simply not working for us. We say no to the behavior, but yes to the persons ability or right to live the way they want.

    I think there is a distinction between making a judgement about someones behavior that in some way is a negative for us and therefore making a boundary around that behavior.........and accepting their right to be that person without putting our judgements about them as a person on the table. It's the behavior that is judged as negative, not the person.

    For instance, for me, with my daughter, I am not willing to allow her to treat me with anything but respect, I had to identify what I needed to feel good, to feel loved and respected and make those the criteria for our relationship. However, her lifestyle choices and the way she runs her life, is not something I want to judge her for. Judging her means I have a certain way I believe she should live, other than the way she is living. I would like her to be safe, housed, have a job, etc. but those are MY values and beliefs, not hers. She gets to live the way she wants. My stopping the judgements felt right for me and ended up freeing me of the thoughts that it should be different than it is. I stopped "arguing with reality" and accepted her the way she showed up. Interestingly, peace of mind was more available too.

    That was hard for me. I presumed that my way was the "right" way. Out of that presumption was where the judgements were born. Judgment presumes there is a right way and a wrong way and we all live within those parameters and make choices accordingly. I began asking myself a lot of questions about that presumption. It took me awhile to wade through that because the whole idea of judgements carries a lot of weighty assumptions which I had to untangle for myself.

    For me, loving unconditionally is a high state of loving which seems hard to obtain, but for me, it is worth the attempt. I also think that it begins with stopping the self judgments, the relentless mind activity which is keeping us (me) in line with a fair amount of harshness. I was just reading the other night about compassion and how it is difficult to have compassion for another when you have no compassion for yourself. I don't know if that is true or not, but it sure has gotten a lot easier for me to have compassion for others as I have learned to have more compassion for myself. Perhaps that is what prompted me to look a little further into judgement once I stopped the self judgments and started learning compassion for myself.

    Albatross, I don't think there are any "shoulds" involved here, only you can determine your definition of love and of judgment. And, please don't make comparisons and then feel inadequate, we're all in our own lives struggling with how to love our troubled kids and doing the best we can. Which reminds me of this statement I've heard a number of times over the years....."let go of judgments, let go of comparisons and let go of the outcome." Every one of those is a challenge. For me, I aspire to live that way, knowing that I am a work in progress, I falter and I practice and I keep attempting to learn how to love better, love more, love with acceptance, wisdom, compassion and kindness.......and I often fail......but I keep trying. I think we are all trying, and here we're trying under pretty extraordinary circumstances.

    I believe this path we're on here on this forum forces us to address some heady and profoundly difficult issues others are not "blessed" with. In order to love our troubled kids, we are almost forced into acceptance, into learning a different way to love them, in spite of behaviors many of us find incomprehensible or even reprehensible.......and how do we navigate that territory? How do we love these people we birthed or cared for while they live lives we can't even understand? For me, what made the biggest difference for both myself and my daughter, was me letting go of judgments and learning to accept her. It's taken me a long time to understand that, but it feels so much better now.
  8. Childofmine

    Childofmine trying to do this thing one day at a time Staff Member

    And for me, I really like this view: Love is the absence of expectations.

    That has been my hard road to walk---letting go of what I expected my kids (both my kids---difficult child and easy child) to be and do and accomplish. Particularly accomplish.

    I had it all figured out. (hahahahahahaha....). difficult child turned it all completely upside down.

    I really needed to learn that lesson, and I was given a monumental way to help me do it.
  9. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    Yes, maybe it is the absence of expectations, or the absence of condemnation...Maybe I am just hung up on this idea of judgment.

    In reading other posts on other threads, I have realized that the sticking point for me is the difference between love and doing stuff for the person to express that love.

    When I love someone, I do stuff for them. If they ask, I do it without question. That has always been true.

    But that's where it all gets warped when we are in "difficult child" territory.

    To me, loving someone means you accept them and their behavior without question. That I understand. I can give that to both my Perfect Child and my Difficult Child. I can accept their behavior. I mean, really, what choice do I have?

    But when they ask for help, to me loving them means that you take what they ask at face value, and you take it on faith that they love you back as much as you love them. You give what they ask without question, because you know they are not going to abuse that. Of course they wouldn't. There is a sacred bond, a bond sealed in love, between a parent and his or her child.

    I pity the poor fool, including me, who does this again and again with most of the offspring we have here.

    Forgive me if that is judging, but some of our children are downright predatory and most of the others are either temporarily or permanently unable to see that their version of "help" depletes us and leaves us feeling used and abused. And if they see it, they don't care. They are just trying to get through the next 5 minutes of their lives and they don't care who they hurt to do it.

    It is easy to love them from a distance, to wish them well. It is another thing to love them when they are saying they need food, they need a lawyer, they need, they need, and Mom won't you please help me?

    And we give it. And we end up feeling like crap.

    So where is the serenity in that?

    The absence of expectations, the absence of condemnation...those I understand.

    But the absence of judgment? I am still not so sure.
  10. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I see what you mean. Well, for me, I had to stop the giving. I felt a lot of resentment. The resentment made me angry and the anger spurred judgements. When I stopped the giving, the giving that was not appropriate for me, my resentment stopped, then my anger stopped, then my judgement stopped. This is just for me now, I don't know how others experience this, but my judgement kept me angry because I was expecting something other than what was. And then I was disappointed, then angry, then judging, it was a cycle of craziness for me.

    One of the things that the therapists used to say to us when I first entered that codependency program was that we enter the program feeling very angry, very resentful, exhausted and CRAZY. Pulled in all directions. It took me a long time to pick through it all and find my own way through. I needed a lot of help to do it, my own mind, left to its own devices could not sort it kept springing back to my usual way of dealing. Each step of the way, I had to be told over and over that I had choices, that it may look different than I always believed it to look, that there were other ways of seeing it.........gee, just as I am saying that I am remembering just how difficult it was to learn a different way to respond, a different way to perceive the same situation.

    Perhaps you and I define the word differently, I don't know. All I know is that when I don't judge I feel better, so that's enough for me to muddle through......
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  11. runawaybunny

    runawaybunny Administrator Staff Member

    This is just what works for me...

    I do my best to be detached but respectful of my loved ones that have made poor decisions in the past.

    Every situation and every family is different. I remember who has tried to exploit me in the past. I do not hold grudges or hold any ill will. Past behavior does not always predict future behavior, but I do remember and take past behavior into consideration when making decisions. I hope for the best but try to be realistic about where everyone is in their life journey.
  12. Childofmine

    Childofmine trying to do this thing one day at a time Staff Member

    Oh, I think we have a choice Alb. The acceptance/lack of acceptance is inside us. Of course, their behavior is going to happen anyway, and you and I both know that. But the difference is whether or not we are actively resisting their behavior on and on and on. For me, I have (somewhat) relaxed into realizing that it is what it is, and things are as they are. It might get better and it might get worse. Right now, I am cautiously optimistic, but I am keeping my distance and continuing to work on my own head, because that is where I get into trouble.

    Well, I was one of those poor fools for a long, long time. What did I know about this disease? He was my son. That trumped all. Over and over again, I did the same things, and got the same result. I was banging my head against a solid brick wall but you couldn't tell me differently. I kept thinking the next thing, the next help, the next day, would be the change I wanted to see. I was going to fix it or die trying.


    Until I was completely nuts with it. My life was out of control and I ran right back to AlAnon when I started realizing. This time in Al-Anon I was ready to work the program. The first time I was in Al-Anon for about 18 months I grasped some of it, but I was so over my husband and his stuff that I believe I was just looking for a way out of the marriage and the courage to do it. (wow, I have never written that before.) Anyway...

    I think the no judgment, the no expectations, the acceptance has to do with my state of mind. Not what he is or isn't doing.

    Of course, the things my son did as part of his disease were wrong. He hurt himself, he hurt society, he hurt his family and friends. Many of the things were against the law and/or immoral. Many were just stupid. This disease is an awesome thing. As is all primary mental illness. What still gets me, is just the thought that denial itself is part of the disease. The disease is so cunning, so canny, that it grabbed onto denial and drew that into the mix so that the person who is so sick doesn't even believe they are sick, when the vast wasteland of evidence is so clear to anybody else who looks at it. Crazy!!!!

    So when it comes to judgment, it is clear the behavior was wrong.

    Yep, as you said, some of our children are downright predatory. My son's addiction had him looking into my eyes, crying and sobbing, telling me I would never steal from you, Mom, what kind of person do you think I am? I can't believe you would accuse me of this...blah blah blah. And all the while my stuff was in the trunk of his car. That is unbelievable to me. As I've said, my exhusband had to walk in on the evidence before he would deal with it---the sports cards all over the upstairs bedrooms and my son's computer open to the website with the pricing. He was stealing his dad's cards and selling them, but my ex-husband kept on allowing him to live there and have "beer, whatever..." in his room, because "one alcoholic helps another." Nuts.

    We are nuts too.

    So....back to the discussion. Where is my peace? That is what I am seeking every single day now. Peace lies in the land of no judgment, no expectations, acceptance. The umbilical cord is no longer connected between my son and me. I cut it. Just a few years ago. It was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life, as he cried and sobbed and begged and lied and stole and used.

    I had to admit I could not save him from himself. That was so hard for me. I had to admit he might never have a good life, he might be in prison for years and he might die. But how was I going to protect him from all of this? I would have to literally be him to do it, and I started learning I was not him and he was not me. That sounds fundamental, but I had to start there.

    My peace comes when I can say this: you are who you decide to be. You will do what you decide to do. I love you. I wish the very best in life for you. Let me hug you and lay eyes on you and wish you well. And then let you go again, to the world, to the universe, to my Higher Power (and yours). You are 25 years old and it's your life.

    That's where my peace comes from---learning to actually live into those words. Some days are much harder to do than others, but the string of days where this is possible is longer and longer. Thank goodness for the tools of help and change. Without them, I'd be still doing the same things over and over again.

    Alb, warm hugs to you today. I think this thread is a good one.
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  13. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Nicely said COM.

    For me the scrutiny I put forth in my own life which presented me with my judgements and my expectations as well as my propensity to live in the past and/or the future, made a big difference not only with my daughter, but with all my relationships and in life in general. Being able to "see" another through the haze of my expectations and judgements of who they are and what I desire them to do and be, was a real eye opener. I think often reality is not what many of us are actually experiencing, we're experiencing what we want to see and/or we're denying what we see.

    For me as a mother, I had a certain way I believed my daughter 'should' be, 'should' live, should 'act' and how she should treat me. The only actual power I had was in how she treated me. The rest is all hers. Letting go of my desires to have it be different than it is and letting go of my fears of what I think will happen were monumentally difficult, it was like stopping a runaway train. I had built up an illusion fostered by denial and "shoulds" and I was unhappy in it. It was a continual fight with reality, I want it to look like this and it doesn't, I want to feel this and I don't, I want someone else to change and they aren't, I don't like this reality, I want another, fertile ground for suffering, actively fighting what is.

    Giving up that fight, realizing the truth of the situation, or the truth of the person, whatever that is, is liberating, the relentless fighting of reality ceases to be and for me, that is when peace began.
  14. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    Yes, this I understand.
    This makes sense too. Maybe sometimes once we remove "doing stuff for them" from the relationship, it distills everything out until only the love remains.
    Yes, absolutely. To me, love doesn't mean forgetting what has happened but also doesn't mean excluding future possibilities. People can and do change, every day.
    Thank you, COM. That was lovely.

    Thanks for the thought-provoking discussion!
  15. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    Forgot to say, me too. Still am, but better than in the past. A work in progress. Hopefully not still doing the same things again and again well into my "child's" senior years.
  16. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    When I saw this it made me think of this thread.
  17. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I'm late to this party, but I separate judgment and love as two separate emotions. I also separate acceptance from judgment. I can easily accept that a person is not that nice or treating others well because it is a logical fact.I am incapable of not seeing a logical fact if it is right before my eyes and undeniable.

    I can love somebody and not do for them if it hurts them. I would not give a loved one a vial of poison. I felt like I was doing that when I enabled my son and daughter. I felt I was impeding them from growing up and changing.

    Do I judge? I can't help it. To me, you are nice to people. You are put on earth to learn how to love others and to do good things for other people. So if somebody is selfish or mean, yes, I judge, even if I love the person. But since judge and love are different to me, I can still love the person.

    Hope this makes sense. Good discussion here.

    Recovering, your post was amazing. Just amazing.