More musings from the 'slow lane.'

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by recoveringenabler, Apr 23, 2015.

  1. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Well, I am continuing to move ahead in my quest to trade the 'troubled child drama' for serenity, peace and acceptance.

    My daughter, as you may recall, has landed in a long term couch surfing gig where she appears to be safe and happy. I stepped back further awhile back. I was just thinking this morning that I told her during that time that I thought it was time for her to start taking care of ME instead of what our history had dictated. Just saying that changed something for me, the recognition that she is 42 and I am 65 and at this point in a typical mother/daughter connection, that shift would have begun to happen already. She is in no position to take care of anyone now, but I think what happened for me was that I placed myself in that equation, perhaps for the first time........instead of my always considering her first, I am now considering ME first. At this stage, I think that is the healthy response, the release of parental responsibility onto an adult child and the taking back one's own life as that responsibility for another is removed.

    I've been promoting taking the focus off of our troubled kids and placing it on ourselves for a long time and I feel as if I have now done that effectively. It certainly feels different! More importantly, it feels right and healthy and allows she and I, as adults, to deal with our own lives in whatever fashion we desire. It feels like freedom. She is over there and I am over here and there is love going back and forth but we are separate entities with no authority over each other. That took me a long time to really get, but it sure feels much better now!

    About 3 weeks ago my granddaughter let me know that although she is very grateful for all I've done for her, she wants me to let go and allow her to fly on her own wings. It was a very clear statement. I agreed. That conversation felt important for both of us. After that she visited us and we went down last weekend to visit was obvious how much she has grown up in the last 8 months........she is fiercely independent and is making good choices for her future. She is 19 years old, so I have no more control over her and it feels right, and again, healthy, to let go. She is moving on with her life and the truth is I am not a part of this part of her life........we are deeply connected, but she is calling the shots now, not me and that is a big change. I've been incrementally letting go of her for awhile. She plans on staying in her college town next year and has rented a house with 7 other kids. It's not looking like she will be returning to live with us.

    The other day I was going through my appointment book and realized that I have nothing to do other than my own fun meetings with teachers, pediatricians, lawyers, tutors, no buying prom dresses or uniforms, no visits in jail, or impound lots, no driving and picking up teenagers, no check writing and "lending" of funds, no therapist and counselor appointments, no more calls with unending dramas, no involvements with toxic people of any sort. How I spend my time is my own choice and I have plenty of time to do what I want to do. Wow.

    I am only working 3 days/15 hours a week so I have 4 days in a row at home. Due to some recent changes at the office, a lot of responsibility has been taken off of my plate leaving me with a lighter schedule and a more manageable work load..........which like everything else in my life, had been much too heavy.

    My husband and I discussed different options for traveling and have decided on Ireland in the late summer or early Fall. We're excited! We're continuing to do upgrades on our new home, a new patio is going in this month and I've gotten my garden going with LOTS of flowers and some veggies too. I'm happy in our new place and with summer coming, there'll be more time spent at the pool!

    I could not have imagined 3 1/2 years ago that my life could have changed as much as it has. It was hard, it was grueling at times, but learning to detach from the choices and lives of others, letting go of control, learning to set boundaries, staying in the present moment and most importantly accepting what is and not arguing with reality.......stopped the suffering, the unending struggle that over-giving, enabling, codependency, or whatever label you want to put on that level of control we believe we have over another, does to us. It's a hard journey, one of the most challenging we humans have to go through.......allowing those we love to be on their own with their own choices.......not for the faint of heart, that's for sure. Yet, it is doable, we can get to the other side of that suffering and find our own lives of joy........I am proof of that.

    So, if you aren't seeing me around here as much........well, look for me playing out there in the Universe, free to take flight and fly as high or as long as I prayers and warmest of wishes are always with every one of you.........just sending them from a different vantage point now........;)
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    Last edited: Apr 23, 2015
  2. Origami

    Origami Active Member

    This is so good to hear! Glad things are going well for you! :likeit:
  3. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    RE, it is so wonderful to read this post. It is such a good place to be, the freedom of letting go and moving on with your own life.

    I am so happy for you and excited as well. I too love to travel and Ireland is on my bucket list. How much fun you will have planning that adventure.

  4. in a daze

    in a daze Well-Known Member

    So happy for you Recovering! You are an inspiration to us all on how to detach and live life to the fullest, which i still struggle with. Good for you!
  5. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Wow, just Wow.
  6. SeekingStrength

    SeekingStrength Well-Known Member


    You posted some powerful words above, but selfish me hopes you do not disappear from the forum. Eighteen months ago, or so, you posted something to me that lifted my heart and I will never forget it. "Come join me where in the land where difficult child's cannot affect us. Be free. Love life." You and your significant other were enjoying a trip and loving life and it was such an inspiration. Your words gave me hope for an existence beyond pain and despair.

    Okay, those were not the exact words, but that was the basic message. It made all the difference in my outlook and my husband's when I shared what you wrote. I have often thought of that post. That day I was not ready to join you, but a short time later, I was.

    You are a gem on this board. You make a huge difference with your experiences and reactions.

    So happy for the freedom you have found. husband and I are also there, but I was hoping for a few days away with you. : )
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  7. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I am happy for you, but will also miss your inspiring posts!!

    Wow, have fun in Ireland!

    And I find it rather empowering to let go of my daughter, who is now close to 19. I find I sometimes have to bite my tongue when I want to say, "Well, it would be better..." but I do! She makes her own decisions and is living her own life and that's healthy. Our girls are doing well...and so are we!

    RE, I am so grateful for all you have done here. Any time you post, I will be reading it. Now live it up!!! :)
  8. SeekingStrength

    SeekingStrength Well-Known Member

    This made me smile. Earlier this week, I sat by a lady why was flying half way across the country to see her son, daughter in law and grandchild. During our snippets of conversation, mostly about getting along with adult kids, one comment by her : Sometimes I bite my lip until it bleeds. We both laughed, knowing it to be very wise behavior.
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  9. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member


    I am happy for you.

    All readers and forum members...listen closely. Recovering's joy in life is not due to changes in her daughter..her daughter hasn't been cured, or fixed, or miraculously solved. Recovering changed herself....the hardest work of all. She changed the nature of her mommyness, the nature of her relationship with herself, the nature of her relationship with her family. She let go of what she couldn't control. So simple, and yet so hard.

    Recovering, I am so glad you have found joy again.

    Your friend,

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  10. Childofmine

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

    Oh RE what a wonderful post. Thank you.

    I love how you put this. I think actually feeling the physical separateness of ourselves from our blessed precious adult children is a very important step. For so long, I couldn't see where I stopped and he started. We were like one. He was my own son, I would say inside my head and heart over and over again. How can I refuse? That thinking and not seeing kept me stuck for a long, long time. Years went by. Nothing worked. Little by little I started to separate and I actually feel that physical and emotional separateness, that true letting go today. It's not about love. Both of my sons are on their own and I am over here, and they are over there. I am still a continuous work in progress, and you have so often shown me the next step, RE. Thank you.

    It is possible. That's the thing. Even seeing that it's possible, we love them so much and want so much for them, it takes so long to see that we can stop suffering. Not a cold hard-hearted thing, but a slow moving away from being responsible for someone else's choices. It is a growing thing. It doesn't happen all at once. It happens over time as our minds and hearts and spirits see a new way ahead. We do have choices. We can change. And then, one day, we WANT to change, and then we start to change.

    I see our own journeys as exactly like theirs. We are all so stubbornly tied to our old ways of doing things, even

    It has to come from each one of us...when we are ready. It's in God's Time, not our time, and it happens when it happens, and it won't happen one minute before it should.

    We have to be so very sick and tired. RE, thank you for all you do with your powerful presence and witness and gentle and kind ways.

    Do what you need to do, every day now, what is best for you, RE. And I hope that means stopping in here when you want to and when you can.

    Big warm hugs, dear person.
  11. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    RE, my experience was similar to SS's.

    When I would post about my son doing this and my son doing that, your response was frequently to ask how I was doing. It was subtle, but just asking how I was doing made me realize that it MATTERED how I was doing. It made me see that I am worth 51%, as COM would say. And that led to a huge shift in my thinking. So...truly...thank you for asking how I was doing!

    Much fun and adventure to you in your future travels!
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  12. nlj

    nlj Well-Known Member

    I'm also at a different vantage point RE and life is much happier.

    Nothing has changed with my son, but I have reached out and found other mothers with activist/anarchist sons and we have been sharing our feelings of sadness, confusion, worry and pride.

    I will be in Ireland at the end of August as always. Try to get to the south west coast if you can. It's known as the Wild Atlantic Way and it is well-named. Maybe we'll cross paths unknowing.

    Lucy x
  13. HeadlightsMom

    HeadlightsMom Well-Known Member

    RE -- You rock! Loved your post and love the imagery of you soaring!
  14. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Thank you all for your lovely and supportive comments.

    It's kind of an odd feeling to not be here as's been a place of such warmth and safety, of deep connections and profound growth for heart is here yet my spirit is soaring to parts unknown, letting go of the parts of life that held so much pain and struggle for's interesting how one grows accustomed to even heartbreak........

    Like many of us here, I've been mired in the landscape, or perhaps the quicksand, of someone else's choices, which I allowed to impact my life and rob me of many, many moments. Waking up to that, realizing the amount of time, energy, care, money and force I utilized over a long period of time, is monumental.......and devastating.

    I am actively choosing not to do that anymore.

    Once I realized I had that choice, to choose how I would respond, how I would react..... that I had that power, life took on a whole new meaning. As ECHO said, my daughter has not changed her lifestyle, her behaviors, her choices.......she has only changed towards me. I am the one who changed inside out. And the changing of me, changed everything in my life. It is remarkable how much energy it takes to try to control what you cannot control. It is remarkable how much energy it takes to hold on to what you should let go. Its remarkable how much energy it takes to think you know what is best for another human being. It's remarkable how much energy it takes to stay in the past or fly into the future and NOT live in this moment. It is remarkable how much energy it takes to be right,to be perfect, to hold tightly onto a self perception which is essentially killing enabling, rescuing, codependency, or being a martyr....... I've walked in all those shoes and stepping out of them was no easy task! But once I did, man, I couldn't stop running........not away from, but towards........towards myself.

    Without expending all of that useless energy on things I have no power to change, I now have that energy for me, for what makes me happy and brings joy.........

    I do see this as a spiritual path........the path of learning to surrender, to let go, to allow life on it's terms, not ours, to learn trust in a power beyond our understanding which has a design for each soul. For me that trust brought me to a place of non judgment for my daughter, to accept her where she is. Acceptance of what is......... Acceptance, the key to peace.
  15. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Interesting questions Copa, thanks for asking.

    Well, I've gone through a letting go process about my role here. I was holding on like we humans who are into control often do......another role of mine to let go of, RE the moderator! So, I'm allowing myself to make small changes.......I asked for moderators and luckily for me and for all of us, Childofmine, Tanya and CrazyinVa were willing....that allowed me some space to make choices.......I CAN be here but I don't HAVE to be, there are others taking very good care of things. So my big sense of responsibility was taken care of. I felt weird about it at first, it's been such a big part of my life for a long time........but now I pop in and respond and pop back out.

    I've noticed that other members whose kids smoothed out left the forum and I've also listened to others who needed to move on because it brought them to places they felt they had moved past and they didn't want to revisit that place again.......but sometimes they pop in periodically. I can understand how that happens. And, it may happen to me. I feel pretty neutral about it today, but I can also imagine a time when my life may just take on different types of adventures which may take me away. And, truthfully, I can also imagine me hanging out sort of offering a hand out of that quicksand on occasion..........because let's face it, I may not be enabling anymore, but I really do still have that "helper" instinct!

    Thank you Copa. Others helped me to see that there was life after 'troubled kid land'.........they held that light for me.......right now it feels right to keep holding that you do we all do.