Post Mother's Day thoughts.............

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by recoveringenabler, May 12, 2013.

  1. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I was just reading Scent of Cedar's response to in In daze about after all our efforts with our difficult child's at some point we need to reclaim our own lives was what today was about for me.

    I awoke this morning with that all too familiar sense of 'something' that nameless feeling which creeps into my consciousness and desperately wants to overpower my good feelings, my joy, my sense of well being.............the thoughts of 'where is my daughter? is she okay? Have her choices led her to harm?'..........the endless possibilities of gloom and doom which befall my difficult child every single day.

    I made plans with SO to drive to the coast for the day. I felt a little sad, but I've learned to put those aside for the most part since they surface would be so easy to allow them to just envelop me, but I refuse to do it, I refuse to allow another's choices to dictate my moods, my health, my joy, my peace...........but oh what a vigil it is sometimes. Today of all days, that vigil took a lot of strength and power to push those thoughts from my brain............

    We talked a little about her, the recent Facebook entries which are inappropriate..........her inability to see or love her own daughter, or me. A recent article we read which described Narcissistic Personality Disorder and how the profile fit my difficult child..........after that conversation came to an end, I made a conscious choice not to think about her anymore today, that was enough time spent brooding over someone and somethings I have no power to change.........

    I started focusing on the beauty around me, the Redwood forest, the wildflowers on the ocean path we hiked along, the fog rolling in over the water.............and as is my experience most days, I can combat the powerlessness, or sadness, or disappointment by placing my focus in the present moment. Right here in this moment, it's all okay, no shoe has dropped out of the sky to ruin my day..........not today...........maybe it will never drop again ..........and it is becoming less and less of a good way to spend my time anyway, worrying about something which may never happen. And, if it rains shoes.......well, it's not like I don't know how to deal with challenges.........

    It's kind of like a muscle I am developing, one which had become atrophied, the one which powers my own life.....not the life of my daughter. That muscle has gotten stronger this last year and a half, I can use it to switch over to a different focus a lot easier now.............and appreciate the rich landscape of laughter, love, promise, balance and peace. So many years spent parenting so many Witz said, 'my parenting (difficult child) has come to an end."

    My granddaughter gave me an orchid today with a note which said, "thank you for always being there when I needed you most." That's where my focus needs to be. And on SO. On our retirement plans. On our travel plans. On our daily adventures and laughter. On what we're having for dinner............all the places I have not only power to choose but the power to choose to be happy.........misery is certainly optional.

    Today is the last Mother's Day which I will spend feeling weird. From now on, Mother's day will mean focusing on what it is that makes me happy and brings me mother and my daughter made their choices, I am making mine.........I choose life...........I choose joy.............I choose peace.............What do you choose?
  2. ThreeShadows

    ThreeShadows Quid me anxia?

    Beautifully said, RA, thank you. Nature is a great healer.
  3. Beautifully said RE. I love the gift from your granddaughter. Very sweet.

    I did my best to focus on happiness, peace and joy yesterday as well. It helped that it was a busy day but at the end of it we enjoyed a nice dinner with my parents and my sisters family as well.

    Your trip down the coast sounded beautiful.
  4. scent of cedar

    scent of cedar New Member

    I've been thinking along these lines lately too, Recovering. What I've been able to figure out about those feelings is that, just as the mother of a normal, productive child thinks about her child so many times each day and takes joy in it...we think about our so darn dysfunctional children and get that heavy, foggy weather and-there's something-awful-just-around-the-corner feeling.

    Love is love. We don't stop loving them, they don't stop being part of who we are, just because we say so.

    It's like we're living in one of those old horror movies where there are no surprises and everyone overacts. Like The Phantom of the Opera, maybe. I never did like that movie. But I really liked your imagery as a way for us to get a handle on those feelings, Recovering. I wonder if it will be possible to "pick another theme song, change the channel, watch a different show" and so, reset our emotional realities?

    I got a big charge out of the "Jaws" quotes on the quote posting. I wonder whether, if we consciously tried to change the emotional weather from The Phantom of the Opera mode to the clear, startling blue (and beautifully creepy music! :O) of the "Jaws" mode.... I wonder whether I can do that?

    There is even a little humor in it, when you think of it that way. You know, that creepy da dum, da dum ~ and then, the heart-racing rest of it, when you know Jaws is coming for the boat?


    Of course, we all have to be sure to identify with the Roy Scheider character. Isn't he the only survivor? Or did Richard Dreyfus survive, too.

    And here is an interesting analogy: The old fisherman, so knowledgeable. so confident and strong ~ like we were, before our difficult children came along and did us in ~ is eaten by the shark. (!)


    And here's the thing about the Richard Dreyfus character: An authority figure on the subject at hand, whose knowledge, technology, focused interest and limitless funds meant nothing, in the face of the difficult child shark. I was arrogant like that, before daughter made her difficult child debut. (Daughter first explored these issues as an adolescent. I hadn't found the site yet then, so not only do you all not know about that, but it wouldn't have mattered, because I firmly understood that everything that had gone wrong was my fault. No mere therapist could change my mind, though many tried. It took the power of the site to shake me free of that one.)

    And we all know what happens in the Jaws sequel(s). The shark gets these magically destructive powers, tormenting the islanders and eventually, the (Disney) world.

    Sort of like our intentions for our families have been devastated and destroyed by our difficult children. However happy I pretend to be, some days I just cannot shake that Phantom of the Opera feeling.

    Alright, then. I get to be Roy Schreider. The clear eyed straight shooter who calls a shark a shark and says the beach must be closed.

    Did anyone see him in All That Jazz? My favorite movie.

    If I can do it, thinking this way might really help me, Recovering. It's been very hard for both of us, since we got home.

    Know what I'm going to do? I'm going to go on YouTube and see whether I can find that Jaws music. And I'm going to print out pictures of the three main characters and post them here by the phone, just like I did with those soldiers, that time.

    Maybe this is the way to live strong, Recovering. You know what they say. Perception is key. :O)

  5. scent of cedar

    scent of cedar New Member

  6. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    Very good post Recovering. Lovely gift you received from your granddaughter. How old is she? Did she get help with that (from your difficult child??????) That means something too.

    OUr daughter continues to have problems. But, she is usually respectful to husband and myself. For Mother's Day, she texted me a card and sent me a lovely note. Called later. We were out of town for much of the day. Didn't indicate she wanted to come over, but that was fine. I think husband and I are tired of trying to help her buy a card or present. She is too old for that and we are too tired. Sometimes she takes the time to print one out on the computer if she is near one AND it is convenient for her. She is not going to go out of her way. So be it. REALLY. I don't sweat the small stuff one bit. I'm ok and even grateful that she remembered the day and there was no turmoil. No drama, drama or turmoil is good. Very good.

    Blessings and hugs.
  7. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Thank you everyone for your kind words.

    Good clip Barbara and yes I did see All that Jazz, good movie.

    'We are clearly going to need a bigger boat'. Perhaps in this case it means we will need a bigger heart, or a bigger spirit, one which can hold all the remarkable paradoxes of life........... without going crazy................In living through this strange movie I am in with my difficult child, I see that it requires that I expand my opinions and beliefs about parenting and love to include much, much more then I ever dreamed possible.............I have to throw overboard any previously held notions of what it means to be a parent, what it means to love a child...........I have to add letting go, acceptance, detachment, more compassion and empathy then I thought I could muster and then equal that all out with taking care of myself, putting myself first. Every day I hover on the balance point, sometimes I lean a little to the right, sometimes to the left, but the more I can hold the line, stay in the balance point, the better I feel all around.

    Nomad, I'm glad there was no drama for you yesterday. My granddaughter just turned 17 and her mother did not help her, they rarely speak, she executed it on her own.

    I went to bed last night not having heard a peep from my difficult child. I had no real feelings about it since it is nothing new. When I went outside to get the morning paper, there were 2 dozen roses, just beautiful, sitting outside the door,with a note from my daughter. She emailed me twice, put up notices on Facebook and left me a text message. Yikes. Seems the more I step back, the more she moves a little forward. I don't know what to make of any of that, but I am just sticking with what a nice surprise it was to receive gestures of care from my difficult child. It is what it is. I really had a very good day yesterday. No shoes dropping...........a very good thing........
  8. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    You have a wonderful granddaughter Recovering!!!

    And, I have to admit, the Jaws quote (s) and clip was funny when you put in the context of a difficult child! OMG!
  9. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Barbara, I just watched your clip again with all of your symbolism in mind and it was indeed quite funny.............shark as difficult child, no authorities or learned, educated or experienced people made a hill of beans of difference...............what is needed is someone who can see the truth and "close the beaches." Yes, well done. I like the quote too, "we're gonna need a bigger boat" ...............we're gonna need the freakin' Titanic..........

    And, yes, Richard Dreyfus survived, remember at the very end he surfaces?
  10. nerfherder

    nerfherder Active Member



    Sometimes we *can* transcend objective reality, change the subjective and thereby change the objective. :) I bet it works for you. :)
  11. Dixies_fire

    Dixies_fire Member

    I wish that I could get some of that going recovering.... Someone's choices and actions dictating how I feel is apart of my daily life and I get angry for my days spiraling out of control and my feelings controlling my relationships the joy I experience and the love that I feel.

    I'm so glad that you shared this.
    I am so glad that you are taking care of you!
    And how blessed you are to have a grand daughter who acknowledges your positive role in her life!
  12. scent of cedar

    scent of cedar New Member

    Yes, Recovering! I was just thinking that, yesterday. I was thinking of adding new things to my conscious life , of making my world bigger to dilute the pain of what has happened to difficult child, and to every one of us who love her. Your imagery of needing a bigger heart, a bigger spirit, one which can enfold all the strangeness, all the pain, all the wonderful, horrifying, unexpected things without listing too far to either side ~ that is a perfect image of how I need to do this, of how I CAN do this, of how to think about all of this without giving in to those spooky, Phantom of the Opera feelings.

    Truly, choosing love, choosing acceptance, is about giving up control, is about cheering them on while remaining detached, is about letting go of shame ~ just letting it go. It's about creating a sure and steady safe harbor in our hearts where our difficult child sons and daughters can find rest and take comfort, knowing we are keeping watch, knowing we love them.

    A way to go, for me; a path to follow, something to hope for. An apt description of wisdom, isn't it?

    Or am I in denial, again. It's impossible for me to tell the difference!



    I love that she brought you roses. I love that you thought you were surviving Mother's Day when in fact, your daughter was loving and loving and loving you through it.

    My daughter called me on Mother's Day, too. :O)

  13. scent of cedar

    scent of cedar New Member




  14. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    One of the positive things that I have been able to observe and practice throughout this situation with my difficult child is something Buddhism teaches.........I am not a Buddhist, however the philosophy makes so much sense to me. The ability to live each day without attachments is such a fascinating concept. The reason behind that is that in this particular context, the way it's seen is that the main cause of suffering is what we are attached to, ideas, beliefs, our wealth, our position, what we think is right or wrong, our judgments, our kids.................not to have to let go of all of that, but to let go of our NEED for all of that...............and that life is about impermanence, nothing remains, everything changes.

    My attempts at letting go of judgments and learning to live in compassion is challenging, but it does bring a real sense of openness and flexibility. And, 'the middle way'....... balance, not flying from one end to the other but maintaining that sort of neutrality ..............and always, always practicing kindness. I practice this way of living every day...........observing my attachments and noticing when/if they bring suffering..............I try to maintain balance and to practice loving kindness. None of this is necessarily simple or easy, but it feels worth it to me and it's all helped me to not only cope with what has happened with my difficult child, but to hold all of it in a different way so I am not continually suffering. Giving up being "right" has helped a lot.

    This has all helped me to be calm and not assume a righteous attitude, but to realize all I can do is extend love and accept what is...............meditation, being in nature, forgiveness, prayer.......all make peace possible a good percentage of time. As you said, Barbara, "perception is key." And, you can shift perception and look at the same exact thing in a different way. That quote, "change the way you look at things and the things you look at change," is really so true.

    We all have our different ways of 'getting through the night' ...........sometimes in all this darkness we can find a lantern and that lantern can not only light our way and change the present dark situation, but change one's whole life............all that I've learned because of my daughter has brought me an odd array of gifts along the way and in many very important ways, changed my life. Certainly has brought me LOTS of pain, but it has also sharpened traits in me and brought to the light strengths and capacities I didn't know I possessed. Like much in life, it's that rich blend of pain and joy which adds up to who we become...............

    I think all of us here, with our broken hearts and deep disappointments expand our lives in very dramatic ways which aren't always noticed given the pain we endure.............but one day we wake up and notice, gee, I had no idea I had that kind of courage, that strength, that power, that compassion, that assertiveness, that warmth, that forgiveness, that kindness, that tenacity, that stubbornness, that empathy, that depth of caring, that nurturing, that anger, that sorrow, that grace, that ability to love and accept, .......................
  15. scent of cedar

    scent of cedar New Member

    I know that I suffer for difficult child's recognition of the loss of who she was, for her confusion over where she finds herself, now. I suffer for her bewilderment, for her pain in realizing what was lost while she was "gone". But I also know there is a kind of relief for her, in not having to maintain a front that no longer meant anything to her ~ that may never have meant anything real to her. I think those feelings are the ones I am going to have to make my heart big enough to rest easy with. Like any mom, it hurts me to see my child's pain, her confusion, her courage in trying to pick it all up again.

    I also suffer for my own, petty reasons. I want successful children. I want my children to reflect well on me, so I can sort of "one up" all the other moms. I like to bemoan my fate when I don't receive flowers or cards or visits or fancy things from my children. Concrete evidence of having parented successfully, so I can show off to myself about that. I harbor a sense of shame, in family gatherings. There, I feel...I think that is where I feel most like a failure, feel most that my poor difficult child is a failure. My sister. My mother. My sister's children.

    How petty I am.

    Really, my life hasn't changed. My daughter is suffering in a way I cannot begin to understand. And I am whining about what I've missed, what I needed, what I deserve.

    The secret truth is that these things, these petty, foolish, meaningless things, are fueling my "depression". I am not the victim, here. If there is a victim, it is difficult child. But...on some level, difficult child did choose this path. So perhaps, there is no victim. I see my own cowardice, my own pettiness, in the extremity of my reaction. Good Lord. I think I might even have been riding pretty high on having "lost everything that mattered".


    How shaming.

    Oh, there was a time, when all this was new, when those feelings were sharp and real and true. I was confused, then. I fought desperately to make things "right". I did feel everything I thought I knew liquefy and slip through my fingers. But now, it's gone. It is what it is. And I am still whistling in the dark, pretending it didn't happen, pretending I have anything to say about it, at all.

    Well, shoot.

    Here is another quote: "It occurred to her suddenly that she wasn't very good at bitterness or regret, that she didn't have the stamina for them, and if she were to recover her dignity, she had better shape up fast." Anne Rice

    "...but to hold all of it in a different way, so I am not continually suffering." ~ Recovering Enabler


    "Listen. Make a way for yourself inside yourself. Stop looking in that other way of looking." ~ Rumi

  16. Tiredof33

    Tiredof33 Active Member

    My difficult child has acknowledged Mother's Day, my birthday, Christmas so very few times I don't miss it. My mother would be very upset if I (we) missed any of those days so I foucs on her. We are all (sisters and nieces) going to dinner and a movie next Saturday to celebrate and my mother received A LOT on Sunday.

    I'm so happy for all of you that our difficult child's took the time to remember a special day. Now that my difficult child knows without a doubt that I will give zero money I may never hear from him, he is that spiteful and always has been. The brief year(s) he was off drugs was amazing. I hold that close to my heart. Sadly, the NC has been so peaceful and 'letting go and letting God' gets easier each day.

    As RE mentioned, the sadness creeps in, but overall I can accept and forgive myself, also him, and each day I pray for us. I also don't share with my family, only hubby and difficult child's sister, and those only occasionally. Joining the Red Hat Society has been so much fun and a big distraction from difficult child. I never give up hope that one day he will call clean and sober, but I don't sit by the phone waiting - and never hold my breath lol!!!
  17. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Barbara, there are so many emotions to have to wade through when our children of any age don't follow the normal trajectory of their peers or our expectations of them. I think all of those feelings you have had are absolutely normal parental stuff that most parents don't ever have to address because it doesn't come up for them, so they don't have to deal with their own expectations of their children or how for many of us, our worth is bound up in their achievements or their successes..........our successful, healthy kids validate who we are. So, if your kid is successful and healthy, you really never have to look at the parts of parenting that may have tied you in in UNHEALTHY ways to your kids, making them in odd ways responsible for your sense of well being. I think that's pretty weighty on kids, whether we are aware of it or not.

    Around here all of that goes overboard quickly as we come to realize that we are not in control of their behavior, whether is is failure or success. It's nice to take bows when our kids succeed, but it's really the same as taking the hits when they fail. The only difference is that WE know we can't do that. Other parents of successful, healthy kids may never know that.

    You aren't a coward, or petty, nor are you whining about things that are unimportant. It seems to me to be a process for us to understand the negative connections we're formed with our offspring, if we have any of those, the ones which not only harm them, but harm us too.

    Shaming is an inside job, I believe it's born out of our desire to cover up the parts of ourselves that we perceive as less then. So, if you have wrapped all of your good feelings and worth and value around being a good parent and how your kids turn out defines you, then your children not doing well would be a really big issue for you as well as for them. That's the reason I have sought professional help throughout all of this, I have my part in it, I can correct that, but I need to know what it is to heal it and then I know where all the healthy boundaries lie.

    I think all of your feelings are's tough to distinguish ourselves from our children, where do they leave off and we begin. But for us here on this site, that distinction is mandatory, in order to create healthy boundaries, in order to confront the issues successfully, in order to detach and accept, we need to know that.

    Our children's choices really don't have much to do with us once they are adults. We are separate entities. Comparing your difficult child to others is an exercise in suffering. She is struggling, if you take all the comparisons and the judgments out, she is simply who she is right now.

    Don't be so hard on yourself as you travel along this road, it's a really difficult path to be insults all of our parental beliefs and throws them to the wind............we have to invent new ways to think and feel so we can adapt and change so we can find peace. It is so positive that you can see these facets of yourself that are no longer working, I had to look at all of that too.........if you can see it, you can change it. It's when the stuff is out of our awareness that it wrecks havoc in our lives.

    Your daughter is a separate person, her choices are fueled by drugs and mental can't control didn't create can't fix's not your fault...............and it's not a reflection of you, or a result of your parenting you learn to put all of that aside, you can look at her and really see who she is, separate from you and your expectations, fears, angers, disappointments, comparisons, all of it..........I'm still working through all of that too, it is really challenging............but little by little I am able to just look and see the truth, however harrowing, however poignant, and let go of the way I think it should all be and allow it to be what it is. Sigh. We definitely need a bigger boat...........
  18. scent of cedar

    scent of cedar New Member

    Thanks, Recovering.