Need you all again....

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by ScentofCedar, Sep 26, 2010.

  1. ScentofCedar

    ScentofCedar New Member

    During my time on the Board, I learned how to see difficult child clearly, and I learned (thanks, guys) how to respond. Just lately, we refused to allow difficult child (now thirty five and with a family of his own) to move in with us. The hatred and nastiness that came roaring out of him has left me shaken and feeling vulnerable. So, that's my question. How is it possible to look at what has happened, to hear the accusations and name calling and to feel the contempt without succumbing to it? husband becomes angry and disgusted, and feels totally justified in having refused. I don't really feel angry. I too feel justified (having been through the moving home routine more than once). Mostly, I feel numb. I feel I must have done something wrong in raising this person, that I must somehow deserve these things, for him to spew out this kind of hatred.

    On an intellectual level, I understand that this is not so. I get it that drug use is drug use, and that its effects are long lasting. But in my heart, I feel shocked and numb and foolish.

    And ashamed.

    Seeing my friends with their sons cuts me to the quick.

    Has anyone dealt with these feelings successfully?

    How in the world did you do it?

  2. Estherfromjerusalem

    Estherfromjerusalem Well-Known Member

    Barbara, I'm so sorry that these feelings are what has brought you back to the board. I am absolutely sure that you do NOT deserve this in any way.

    Regarding your saying that you must have done something wrong: My theory is that we all do the best we can, the best we are able to do, capable of doing. And if we do our best, our personal best, that is the maximum that can be expected of us. Each one of us parents is different, and each one of our children is different, and each family has to cope with its own set of circumstances. None of us can do better than our best efforts.

    And I know that you have done your absolute most and best to cope with your son.

    When you say "I must have done something wrong in raising this son," I feel that I must say to you that every parent who raises a child has to make some mistakes. That is par for the course. No one can get everything right. That is part of the gamble in raising children. Once again, I must stress that if we try to do our best for and with our child, that is the maximum that any parent can expect from him/herself.

    I don't report any more about my own difficult child because he is still doing same old same old, and I too find it distressing to hear the hate he spews out sometimes. At other times he is quite pleasant. He veers from one extreme to another (not often the pleasant one). Sometimes I can't believe the way he speaks to us. But we live in hope. Luckily we don't have the drug problem to cope with, and I thank my lucky stars for that.

    Anyway, it is good to see you, although I am sorry about the circumstances that brought you back to us. I send you a warm hug.

    Love, Esther
  3. Fran

    Fran Former Site Owner

    Scent of Cedar, what could a mother possibly do to deserve that sort of behavior? Did you starve him? beat him? Deny him shoes and coat in the winter? Did you make him sleep in the basement? Did you force feed him spoiled food? Did you expose him to drugs, prostitution, criminal activities? What could one do wrong to create that behavior?
    The answer is NOTHING.
    His behavior is on him and has nothing to do with you.
    He isn't 15yrs old. You are simply the recipient of his vile mouth. Why he thinks it's ok to speak to his family this way is a different question. It speaks to his moral code of behavior, which seems lacking.
    You and husband were absolutely brilliant to not allow him to move in. Don't answer his phone calls until he changes his way of speaking to you. You don't speak to him like that and he can't do it to you.
    He should be ashamed but obviously he isn't.
    You did good.
  4. gottaloveem

    gottaloveem Active Member

    I know how you feel, No, I still haven't been able to deal with this successfully. Hopefully somebody has the magic answer.

    By the way, I am sorry you have a need to be here again. I do check in from time to time to see how it is going for everybody.

    I hope you had a nice long time of peace before your son started up with you again.

    Cherish your other children and their accomplishments, you obviously did many things right.
  5. gottaloveem

    gottaloveem Active Member

    Good timing on this post for me. Today I was in the yard working outside and saw my neighbor, mother to 4 children. One girl in high school then three younger boys. She was telling me how all the kids are in sports and involved and how important it is to keep them busy and with "good kids" cough, cough. All of a sudden I felt I did nothing right for Alex, I should've had him in all kinds of sports every season. (eventhough he always was involved with some sport, including one year of high school football) It made me feel that I failed him and I should have done more and that I wish I could do it all over again. I try to tell myself my younger son is doing well, but i cannot erase my regrets. No wonder I like to stay inside these days and keep my circle very close.

    I'm sorry your son is making you feel this way. Of course you did nothing wrong. Tell him how you feel, and if he cannot treat you with respect to stay away until he can. Tell him how it hurts you and makes you feel.

  6. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Barbara....So glad to see you again but sorry its because your son is back to acting up. You know in your heart its nothing you did. None of set out to make our kids this way.

    I was telling someone that one day when they were being a bit PPish to me. I told them, ya know, no one just sets out when they get a baby and decides to do everything wrong they can think of so the kid grows up to have problems. You dont sit around when they are toddlers eating bon bons thinking, oh, if I just feed him junk food, yell at him, beat him senseless, lock him in the closet, tie him in the crib, etc etc...maybe I can make a seriel killer.

    No, most parents get a baby and love it, pour their hearts and souls into it. They buy the best food they can, they take it to the doctors when needed, they dress them up as cute as can be. They cry when they first go to school. They do their very best for them. And sometimes, the very best just isnt enough. Kids have free will just like everyone else.
  7. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful


    Janet and the others are right.

    Let's put a different spin on it. I was abused terribly, I was a mega difficult child........yet as an adult I am neither a difficult child nor have I perpetuated my childhood experiences onto my kids. Why? Because I chose not to. Like Janet said, no matter how much time and effort parents pour into a child, as an adult they have their own freewill. They are their own person and make their own choices, good or bad.

    Glad you and husband stuck to your guns. I think you decided wisely.

  8. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    I believe not only do I understand how you feel, but have felt those feelings many many times...especially in the past. Even now, on occassion, these feelings pop up now and again and they hurt down to my core. I have developed tools and use my reasoning skills to push forward. It is a Godsend. quickly, but what Fran said is what I often have said. His behavior is 'on him.' He is over 21, nes pas?
    What could you have done to have caused this? And if there were great difficulties when he was much younger, surely you have apologized and have offered him counseling. It is up to him to chose to accept your apology and to take any help offered. There are many good things out in the world available to him, including a healthy relationship with his parents. Each of us have to accept adult responsibilities and he is no exception. Inappropriate behavior results in consequences. You can not shield him of this reality. Sure, it hurts. Your job, is to shield YOURSELF from the pain. Much of it will have to be by detaching...accepting the reality of the situation (but NOT living with it...putting up with abuse or inappropriate behavior). It is gooooood and right to set limits and boundaries.
    Hoping that there will be change at some point in the future. LIVING your life as best as you can, even with this unfortunate 'stuff' in the background. Sending you strength/good thoughts/peace. You CAN do this.

    p.s. If you continue to feel great discomfort, don't hesitate to see a therapist you may have seen in the past for a little while, enter into therapy (probably short term is enough) or perhaps find a group. This is not an easy thing at all. (hugs)
    Lasted edited by : Sep 27, 2010
  9. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    It's good to "see" you, Barbara, but I'm sorry you're having such a hard time. The others have given wise advice on this one. We've all struggled with the "what did I do wrong" and "if only I'd done [insert PP phrase here]." To answer your question on how do I deal with the feelings? When those old feelings pop up, I remind myself of the good things I've done. I remind myself of all the time, money and emotional energy I spent trying to help my kids once I recognized their issues. I remind myself of kids/parents who have it much worse than I do. I re-read my codependency literature. I come here. I talk to my therapist. It's sort of like, "recovery" work in Al-anon or similar programs. There is no "recovery" from being the parent of a difficult child, it's a lifelong process, you just keep working at dealing with it. After awhile, the vile words still hurt, but they don't penetrate the armor and do damage quite as easily as they used to. I think as time goes on and they happen less frequently, though, the occasional burst of vileness stings in a different way.

  10. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Welcome back. I've wondered how things were going. Overall it seems there has been an improvement but I think all of us have times when the sadness hits. I have not dealt with vileness but I, too, sometimes have difficulty running into old friends and hearing how successful their young adults have become. It's strange because I have a bunch of easy child's who are
    also successful so I'm not left without positive easy child/difficult child is still taking baby steps forward and it is painful when I am asked about him. As someone else said I think that time diminishes the raw edges of the pain. You've made giant steps forward and you will continue to make more. Hugs. DDD
  11. ScentofCedar

    ScentofCedar New Member

    I am reading your responses, and am so grateful you are here. What I have realized is that the conversation I had with my son was verbally abusive. It sounds foolish for me not to have known and labeled it that immediately. Now that I get it though, I am feeling stronger. I read through the material on the site I have listed at the bottom of my posts (how could I have forgotten that when it was right there?!?). Still an excellent site. Then, I googled "surviving verbal abuse". Here again, I found much valuable material.

    I can't tell you how much it means to have heard from each of you.

  12. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    Barbara, I'm chiming in late on this...

    It is lovely to see you, but I'm sorry about the circumstances that have brought you back. You are indeed right to label your son's conversation as verbal abuse. I think it's very difficult to realize it when it is our children doing the abusing.

    I have seen my difficult child do this to others (and have always come down very hard on him for it). And I've also been on the receiving end of it from my now-dead sister in law, who was addicted to alcohol and other drugs for a very long time. The verbal abuse usually came from her during her sober periods. Although she stopped drinking and taking drugs from time to time, she never went to therapy, worked a program, or otherwise tried to deal with the issues that led her to drink in the first place. Without any support system around her other than fellow-travellers who saw the world through the bottom of a bottle, she put the responsibility for her troubles on everyone else's shoulders and lashed out accordingly, often hard enough to crush your heart.

    Although your son has gotten clean, it seems as though he still has a lot of baggage to go through. Is he participating in AA, NA or another 12-step program?

    I'm glad you were able to find help in the coping and detachment resources in your sig line. I know I've found them to be so helpful, and I'm grateful to you for keeping them there as I've referred to them often.

    Sending hugs,
  13. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Good for you, Barbara! Yes, it is abusive. And you should not accept it. Especially at 35 years old! He has to learn somehow that he can not treat people this way and denying him a place to stay is a great start! You did good!
  14. Sunlight

    Sunlight Active Member

    Hello Barbara:
    I do not think you are numb because this still brings drama and concern to your home. I think you have hit a wall. Your son is trying to manipulate you with his anger. Perhaps in that past that has brought him the results he desires. so he is trynig once more to use that tactic. time for you to manipulate him back and show him that the old ways don't work anymore.

    truthfully he needs a flat answer with no emotion and no further discussion.

    "You are 35 yrs old...too old to live with your parents. One day we will not be alive, it is kinder of us to get you used to living on your own."

    I do not listen to any abuse or negativity. You can say calmly.. "I am going to hang up now, I know you are unhappy with our decision so I will let you go. We love you and wish you well, please call when you are feeling better about things."

    I would feel MORE ashamed if I let a 35 yr old son of mine boss me and belittle me into letting him live with me again. You should feel empowered that you said NO. too bad if he is angry. it is your job to help him grow up. you are doing him a huge favor.

    yes, seeing other families be successful can pinch. then again, they have not had to deal with what you have been thru! would they have been able to survive and still be standing like you are ?? ;)
    be proud of yourself, Barbara, you have had a heck of a kid to raise. You are being strong and making him be a grownup even when it hurts you to experience his nasty attitude. :high five:
  15. ScentofCedar

    ScentofCedar New Member

    *********** It is amazing how different the view is from another (healthier) perspective. I thank you. ************

    Thanks so much, to each and every one who responded to my call for help. I go forth with loins well girded and an attitude much improved! I will post the appropriate responses next to my phone (just like I used to have to do in the old days).

    As for the research I was doing regarding surviving the emotional toll taken by having been verbally abused, this is what I found:

    1) Start where you are NOW. Remember one thing that used to be a source of pride and personal nourishment. Bring that back into your daily routine.

    2) When you hear echoes of the words or phrases used by the abuser, label these things the voice of personal disgust (as we do internalize these things) and ask: Is this true? More often than not, we will find that there is nothing in the verbally abusive statement to create truth out of. That is part of why verbal abuse is so shocking. It seems to be a senselessly violent occurrence. WE MAKE SENSE OF IT WITH OUR OWN THOUGHTS.

    3) And finally, this most helpful action we can take: "Come to know the space between your thoughts where all is well. Let yourself bask in that lingering, full sensation. This will be your easiest and also most challenging mission."

    I did try to do this. And, between each racing, self condemnatory thought, I did find a space where there was quiet, and where all was well. The effects of allowing myself to linger there (instead of beating myself up because my own child said horrible things to me) was incredibly healing.

    Again, thank you to each of you. I think I am back on the right track, now.

    Last edited: Sep 28, 2010
  16. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    I want to pass your three things along to someone who is having a very difficult time with ending an abusive marriage, but I'm not clear that I understand what you mean by "the space between your thoughts where all is well". More specifically, between which thoughts? Between the irrational thoughts that validate the abuse? That's how I read it, but I'm not certain that my friend will understand it if I cut and paste your words, so I want to be sure that this is what you are saying so that I can clarify for her and offer her some words of solace.

  17. ScentofCedar

    ScentofCedar New Member

    Witz, how nice to see you! I just read your post. I had nothing of value to say, so I didn't respond. I loved it that you refused to feel either guilty or vulnerable. As you know, I generally feel my first twinges of guilt when the phone rings. :eek:)

    The space between our thoughts is that instant when we switch from one thought to another. It need have nothing to do with anything unpleasant. Whenever we are thinking of one thing and then, begin thinking of something else ~ even if it seems to us that the switch is instantaneous ~ there is a split second of space. If you look for it right now, you will find it there. Just an instant, but a space filled with what the writer had described as "that lingering, full sensation". When I wrote this information out, I thought I was just doing it for myself, and didn't note the name of the writer.

    I will try to find if for you, so your friend can access the source directly.

  18. ScentofCedar

    ScentofCedar New Member

  19. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    Thanks, Barbara. I hate to say that I felt a similar twinge of "I don't have a lot to add that can be of service" when I read your post as when you read mine. It just is what it is, I guess. Nothing to be done by us about their shenanigans... Harumph...
  20. ScentofCedar

    ScentofCedar New Member