Reporting in on the effect of letting go and believing for the best. IT HELPED :O)

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by scent of cedar, Sep 5, 2013.

  1. scent of cedar

    scent of cedar New Member

    Well, it's been the strangest summer.

    I wanted to report in about how it felt to go through the incredible ups and downs of the past month using the tools we'd all been discussing this Spring. USED CONSCIOUSLY, THE TECHNIQUES WORK. I used "consciously" because there was a time when I needed to feel badly. I needed to punish myself because I believed what had happened was a result of some failure on my part.

    Had I tried the techniques then, they would not have worked.

    So, this is how it went.


    This is pretty key. Taking a judgment position doesn't change what a thing is. What the thing seems to be changes over time and depending on perspective. We were able to see that concept pretty clearly through Recovering's post on judgment. ("Maybe yes, maybe no.") There were times, as we went through this crazy, up and down and up again summer, that husband or I would catch the other guy's eye, roll our eyes and mouth, "maybe yes, maybe no." It was a perfect tool for us, because it stopped the defining of a thing as bad (or good) before we could really get started defining reality and acting on the judgment position we had taken. Used consciously, this position kept us from the worst of the cascading negative emotions. (Or, positive emotions, with the attending crash when everything turned bad.)

    "Maybe yes, maybe no."

    Control does turn out to be a huge issue, in the judgment thing. Really tough. We learned (I think we have learned) to take our best shot and set it free. Outcomes matter less than that we have done the right things IN OUR OWN EYES. I remember someone here, years ago, saying something similar. She described it as "letting that pony run."


    Most especially, to believe for the best WORKS. When I had nothing to believe in, no hope that anything was going to change, that the summer would end with difficult child beat to death or disabled, it gave me a thin kind of comfort to believe it was all out of my hands. I found I could choose to believe in happiness, in good and beautiful things, while mourning for, and worrying about, difficult child. There were the craziest, most unpredictable ups and downs, this summer. In every case, I had that permission I had given myself to believe for the best to return to, to touch base with. Believing that way helped me let go enough to remember "Maybe yes, maybe no." As I learned to make no value judgment relative to whatever was happening, I found myself less emotionally embroiled in the outcome. It became possible to walk through what felt like the most disgusting failure and still feel worthy enough to truly take joy in the sunrise ~ which I made sure to consciously do.

    Part of not judging, of not assigning values, positive or negative, to events, is that we stopped judging ourselves harshly for having failed, with and for, this adult child.


    As many of you know, I have been working with the Joel Osteen materials. THEY HELP. Through them, I was able to envision what a positive life would look and feel like. Over time, I came to believe I was meant to be happy, too. This material made all the difference in the world for me. Listening to him, reading his books and tapes, is like seeing the best, most conscientious therapist ~ someone who wants you strong, and can show you how to get there.


    My grandchildren were safe. (Though that was soon to change, for one of them.) It is too easy to push the things that have been dealt with into the background. When we do that, all our mental energies are taken to deal with one bad thing, one failure, after another. It begins to feel hopeless. Reminding ourselves of the one or two things that have been dealt with successfully provides a budding place of strength, a place for us to stand up and get a different perspective.`

    Really, I think remembering and feeling gratitude for the one or two things that are right and good changes our internal perceptions of self. Whatever is going on with the difficult child, we begin to identify with the good. Such beliefs are a so-important counterpoint to the rage, depression, and hopelessness of a too-close involvement with a practicing adult difficult child.

    For other family members, I began to do what I could. From those simple, almost effortless actions, I began to feel like a responsible, functioning person, again.

    From doing something good.

    I think I began to reclaim myself, there.

    These were real, healthy actions to take, when everything not in our control was so chaotic and sickly. Doing a good thing became a little piece of higher ground. I could view myself and my family from a different, stronger, more decent perspective.

    That was so important.

    difficult child came not to identify family. She was no longer the key story. Though tragic, her story no longer defined us. We were those people who survived losing someone we loved, not those powerless people whose lives were messy and mistaken and shame filled. An important distinction.

  2. JKF

    JKF Well-Known Member

    Thank you for posting this Cedar. I really needed to read this today. I appreciate it more than you know!
  3. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I've been thinking about you Cedar, wondering how it's going in your world with your difficult child. I appreciate your update, thank you.

    Terrific post Cedar, you've put your own learning into a clear and concise communication which is so helpful for all of us. I'm so happy that you are utilizing the techniques you mentioned and that they are all working for you, great job. We really do have all the power to change don't we?

    As I was reading your post, I was thinking about my own experience last night with my difficult child and my granddaughter. It occurred to me that after trying so hard to change my response to the external reality that I have no control over, after so much struggle, as in most issues in life, one day the new behavior is just there, it is the new reality and now it's effortless.

    Last night I pick up the phone and it's my daughter, crying, a victim of some outside force she has nothing to do with.........she asks if she can come by and if I can write a check for her storage unit if she gives me the cash. (Bear in mind that 2 years ago I paid huge amounts of money to keep her current with her storage unit and once I stopped paying it had actually gone to the final point of auction.............and she has no checking account to pay for it) I simply said yes, no questions, no response other then that. She dropped by and I gave her the check made out to the storage unit, she handed me the cash. She looked terrible, I did not respond. I had nothing to say. If I had engaged in any way, the entire drama would unfold before me, her victim self would show up waiting for me to save her from herself. I did nothing. She left. I felt neutral. A tiny bump, but otherwise okay.

    It reminded me of something a teacher told me once, "engage with crazy people and you become crazy too." Since I have been surrounded by what could be called "crazy" people my entire life, I have been engaged A LOT!! .............But, now I'm not.........

    As I write that, I look up from my desk and there is the quote I see everyday, hanging from the desk lamp, "Inner peace begins the moment you choose not to allow another person or event to control your emotions." Wow. It is remarkable to me that we have within us the ability to do that. And, what freedom that brings.

    Moments after my daughter leaves, my granddaughter returns from the store, crying. She has just realized that with her paycheck, she cannot pay for all that she needs to pay for. I have been telling her for months that once she's a senior, now that she has a job, she has to pay for certain items and be responsible for herself in a more adult fashion. Being a teen, she gave it no thought until school started, she spent all of her money on clothes she desired but certainly didn't need......... and now has no money to pay for some important items. She was freaked. I have to admit, my first response was to give her some money, however, I didn't act on it, my mind immediately switched and within a moment, I said, "okay, get your pay stubs and let's make a budget." We sat down and I showed her how to budget her money and how she could pay for everything she needed with a few changes in her thinking. We wrote it all down and within minutes she was smiling and empowered and actually said, "I can do this, AND, I can save money too."

    Somewhere in the last couple of years of difficult child hell, I retired my enabling status .............and last night without much thought, or trying, or struggle to shift my thinking, I dodged a couple of bullets and remained in my peaceful state. My difficult child is still "out there" doing exactly what she always does, but I am not connected in to the drama. I saw my granddaughter become empowered by knowledge she can use to make better choices, rather then me saving her from them. It was a unique moment for me, both of those events coming to me within a short time, almost like a test.............will she succumb to the old behavior............or has she learned how to respond differently............

    Your post about non judgment, focusing on what's working, gratitude and believing we deserve joy are all such important components to finding peace in the world of difficult child's, you said it all beautifully. I would be interested in hearing how you are feeling with your new found liberation. Are you having more fun? Are you and husband resuming your grown-up joyful moments?

    I was saying to my SO last night that with difficult child no longer taking up so much space in my head, my disconnect from her chaotic life has brought me a whole new vitality and along with that a sense of my own capacity for joy.............. which has grown considerably in direct proportion to my ability to recognize how much I am not able to control.
  4. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I honestly dont think I can ever get there. Part of it has to be my own issues because I just cant even foresee a future where I am happy. Maybe that is because I cant remember a time I have ever been. The only time I am happy is fleeting because its with my oldest granddaughter.

    I do worry about difficult child but I also realize there isnt a darned thing I can do to change him or he would be perfect today because I have been trying for the last 27 years. Most of the time now I am mildly glad for him when things are going well and when he does something stupid I just am resigned and feel a bit disappointed.
  5. everywoman

    everywoman Active Member

    Barbara, I have been in that spot for a long, long time. Welcome to peace. And it really is peace. My mantra has been for years: I didn't cause it; I can't control it; I can't change it. It is difficult enough to control myself; I exhausted myself trying to control my ex and the children. When I let go, really and truly let go, walked away from an unhappy marriage, walked away from years of enabling my ex and the children--especially difficult child---amazing things happened to and for me.
  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    It's amazing how great it is when you realize you can live a rich, fun, exciting life even if your child is a screw-up. Enjoy it!!!!

    I recite the Serenity Prayer every time I start to slip. It's magic.
  7. scent of cedar

    scent of cedar New Member

    Janet, you can. I had been so attached to that feeling that these outcomes were my doing. At some level, I punished myself for the pain my kids were in by denying myself joy. Not happiness, but joy. There is a difference. Happiness is a thing of the moment. Joy has to do with loving ourselves. If you could consciously choose to allow little instants of pure, private joy ~ relief, acceptance, presence right in the moment you are in and then, choosing to let it go, choosing to let the normal, day to day things be real for you, again, I think that could be a beginning. It isn't about the future. It isn't about the past. It isn't about anything, at all. Just the feel of warm water in the shower, or the pleasure of the way the sun looks, shining through the leaves. Nothing permanent, nothing more portentous or meaningful than a small, private smile.

    Just an instant out of time.

    Once you can learn to let yourself accept that little, tiny instant of joy, you have made for yourself a fortress. Because that tiny instant isn't attached to or dependent on anything or anyone else, no one can take it away or change it.

    It's like a beautiful secret, to remember that one, little instant when it was just you, being present, being so aware of yourself being alive.

    All the noisy messiness of life comes right back, demanding time and emotional investment and planning and hoping. But no matter what, if you give yourself permission ~ even if the permission is just a question about whether it could be true that there could be a private instant of pure joy created from nothing at all ~ that is a beginning of thinking about things differently.

    Nothing changes, but everything changes.

    It's like carrying a little fortress inside you that you can enter and come away stronger any time you choose. There is so little we can really do about anything. There are going to be disappointments, we are going to regret ten thousand things...but knowing we can experience those little instants of centering, those little snippets of relief, can help us so much.

    It's so hard to stand up, to know what to do, to think how to handle things we never dreamed would happen. We just don't get it that everyone, every single person in the world, feels that same uncertainty, that same disappointment with our performance or its outcome. It takes more courage than we have, sometimes. We need a source of strength, a place to let down and just be for a second. We will never find it out there. We only find that instant inside ourselves. We are the only ones who can give ourselves permission to feel it. Once we do feel it? No one can take that knowledge of safe sanctuary away from us, ever again.

    At least, that is what I think I know, this morning.

    How we talk to ourselves is paramount. You know I have been working with the Joel Osteen materials. Strangely enough, I just did this quote on a reply to JKF. Since I found the quote, back in March, I have had it posted on my fridge, to remind me that this is how I want to think. I was not thinking this way, prior to reading the Osteen materials. It made a difference, for me. Here is the quote:

    I DECLARE I will speak only positive words of faith and victory over myself, my family, and my future. I will not use my words to describe the situation. I will use my words to change my situation. I will call in favor, good breaks, healing and restoration. I will not talk to God about how big my problems are. I will talk to my problems about how big my God is. This is my declaration.

    Joel Osteen
    I Declare

    You are a bright, kind, funny woman, Janet. You have been so kind to me, so willing to share your challenges and pain so that I could understand my daughter and myself more clearly. That takes courage, to be willing to risk vulnerability to help someone else.

    I'm just sayin'.

  8. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Cedar, a beautiful response to Janet and to JKF too. Your personal pain has forged a loving, gentle, wise and compassionate heart.
  9. scent of cedar

    scent of cedar New Member

    Ah, Recovering ~ whether I am posting here or not, I am thinking about all of you, too. Thank you so much. It is good not to be too alone with the things we all have to think our ways through.


    About the effortlessness of this new reality.... It does feel effortless, in that once we took the action (as you did, in choosing to address the problem without judgment or expectation), it was over, for us. No second guessing about whether what we had decided to do was right or wrong, because we had let go of the outcome. When I thought about how we handed it afterwards, it was just a fact. I am still pretty new to this. Part of me is wondering where the drama went. Ha! Good for me. I am aware of having decided, somewhere in here, not to second guess myself or difficult child.

    Literally, she can do whatever she wants. It has nothing to do with me ~ not really. This must be what it feels like not to be enmeshed. The resentment I feel now has more to do with the time husband and I have given over. But that's over, too. I would do it, again. It was the right thing for that time.


    You asked whether husband and I were back to enjoying. Not yet. We are still in that place where everything goes really silent, and you start putting things back together. (It's been just an unbelievable few weeks. "Maybe yes. Maybe no." :O)

    I am so proud and happy for you Recovering, about your granddaughter and the teaching and the learning. That's major. I am going to remember that in interacting with our grandchildren, too. And with both my kids, too.

    I like the part about stopping, and about switching from normal mode to something better. I will remember to do that. husband and I were talking about something similar, during the thick of everything. That we have a responsibility to ourselves to say to ourselves, "Let me think about this."

    No more reacting from blind panic.

    I like your comment about difficult child no longer taking up so much head room. This is true. It feels strange to us, not to be worrying about whether we have heard from difficult child, about whether difficult child did what she said she was going to do, about whether we had been taken, again. We did what felt right to us and let it go.

    Vitality and strength; curiosity and intent. We haven't lived our own lives for so many years. Good thing we drank all those Manhattans, way back when. Whatever is coming for us next, it will probably be fun!


    P.S. I agree that events seem to have been structured, tailor made, toward this outcome. It must always have been so. We have changed. Still, the speed and intensity of the events, of the tests, seems too perfectly structured to have happened by chance.

    That is a good thing to know, too.

    And everything changes, again.

    My goodness.

  10. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    "Part of me is wondering where the drama went. Ha! Good for me. I am aware of having decided, somewhere in here, not to second guess myself or difficult child.

    Literally, she can do whatever she wants. It has nothing to do with me ~ not really. This must be what it feels like not to be enmeshed. The resentment I feel now has more to do with the time husband and I have given over.

    I like the part about stopping, and about switching from normal mode to something better. I will remember to do that. husband and I were talking about something similar, during the thick of everything. That we have a responsibility to ourselves to say to ourselves, "Let me think about this."

    No more reacting from blind panic.

    We haven't lived our own lives for so many years. Good thing we drank all those Manhattans, way back when. Whatever is coming for us next, it will probably be fun!

    I agree that events seem to have been structured, tailor made, toward this outcome. It must always have been so. We have changed. Still, the speed and intensity of the events, of the tests, seems too perfectly structured to have happened by chance.

    That is a good thing to know, too.

    And everything changes, again.

    My goodness."


    Oh Barbara, I laughed hearing you say you wondered where the drama went. I know that feeling exactly! There were a few times where I actually said to SO, "I've lived in so much drama created by others around me for so long, this feels almost BORING." However, that was fleeting since this is SO much better......... calm, soft, easy and kind of giggly sometimes. At our age, to have forfeited so much of our lives to our kids (in my case, my parents and siblings too) it's almost like being given this amazing second chance to have a happy youth. I loved reading about you and husband singing and dancing to Johnny Cash outside on a balmy summer evening.............that's exactly what we should be doing now............not ruminating about our adult children and what they are up to. It's clearly time to "live our own lives" now.

    In my parent group the therapist often told us to STOP when our difficult child's were about to pull us into their chaos.............stop and say, "I'll get back to you......." give ourselves a moment to reflect and respond differently.........or a day, whatever it took...........that was a totally new thought to me, I thought I was supposed to be there for my child, no matter after I did that a few times and the sky didn't fall, I was amazed at the space that created in my life, just that one point. Yikes. I'm so happy you are doing that too. ("no more reacting with blind panic")

    I completely agree that events have been hurtling towards this outcome in a mystical fashion.................I do believe in the power of intention and once that intention is set, circumstances show up to offer the roadblocks to the desired outcome..........the lessons.........if we can work through that, we can find that peace you and I were looking for..................that joy...............I also believe that if we humans can unhook ourselves from our attachments, we can certainly make a big dent in our suffering........................

    As you said, "and everything changes............again."

    It brings to mind that line from All about Eve where Margo Channing says, "Fasten your seat-belts, it's going to be a bumpy night." We've lived that bumpy night.........geez,'s good to be on level ground once again, isn't it?
  11. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Barbara and Cedar, I have been struggling with that line between helping and enabling. I thought I was doing well with drawing a line between the two but realized I fell right back into enabling yesterday and saw the result.

    My difficult child is doing relatively well at the moment. She is still living in Florida, working full time making $400 a week, and living in a sober house where we match what she pays for the rent. She likes her job because it is a company that was started by two men in recovery so they hire and are very supportive of others in recovery.

    So what is the problem you might ask . . . she is still dependent on us financially and we don't see a way out. She has trouble living on her income and could certainly not pay the entire cost of the sober house herself. She also claims that it is very expensive to live in south Florida and that the cheapest housing she can find even with a roommate would cost $600 a month so for now she is stuck in the halfway house.

    The newest wrinkle is car insurance. She was covered by a Georgia policy and it just expired. She waited until the last moment to start looking for new insurance in Florida only to find out that Florida insurance is the 10th highest in the nation.

    She called and left a message and was terribly upset that the cheapest she could find was $300 down and $240 a month. I immediately sprung into action and went online to see if I could find cheaper insurance. I did find one for $500 down and $153 a month and called and told her that. Of course, she doesn't have $500 to put down and claims she can't afford $153 a month.

    difficult child then started on wanting to come home and go back to school. She pointed out that insurance would be cheaper as well as in-state tuition. I told her that living with us is not an option so unless she had money saved up to live on until she could find a job it wouldn't work. She then told me that she was mentally ill and would never be able to be totally self-sufficient.

    I wondered where that came from because she was doing well and we hadn't heard that from her in a while. Then I realized my mistake. As soon as she had called upset about the insurance I jumped into action to solve her problem and by doing that was giving her the message that she needed help and couldn't take care of herself and she bought right into it.

    So I texted her today that I had made a mistake in trying to solve her problem and that she needed to spend today at the library using their computers to get quotes for an insurance policy that she could afford. Part of the reason it is so expensive is two tickets that she got and now she has to face the consequences.

    It is hard to step back and let them potentially fall. In my difficult child's case, she will probably just end up driving without insurance.

  12. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    In Florida you are legally required to have a minimum insurance coverage. It does not include collision repairs etc. but easy child/difficult child pays $143 + a month. If I recall he had to pay one or two months in advance. He does not have any points or history of accidents. (That must be Divine Intervention considering his sa history.) He owes $5000 on the car and for some reason they have not questioned his limited coverage. It worries me BUT I am trying very hard to detach as much as possible. Sigh. Hope she figures it out and, personally, I am really hoping she stays a State away from you and husband. DDD
  13. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Kathy, I believe you stepping back and changing course is often as good as it gets. Sheesh, this is hard! I did (and do) that all the time................... I look at it like I'm sailing a ship and I have to constantly adjust because of winds, unexpected currents, storms, whatever, I am simply adjusting the sails for the difficult child seas ahead. Done.

    Once my daughter lost her home, as you all know, I leaped into action taking care of everything. But, little by little I did less and less until I am down to doing virtually nothing now.

    Yeah it is hard to step back and allow them to fail.

    Is your daughter eligible for Social Security/Disability? That may be a way to have her have some income without your money. When I was involved with an org. which was part of NAMI, they told me that my difficult child was eligible for a lot, SS, housing, food stamps, education, smoking cessation, it was endless, I was shocked. I took her to apply, I practically did the paperwork for her, hung out in the clinic for 5 hours getting her "hooked up." After all of that, she never returned so all the resources were out the window. I worked harder then she did trying to get her life together. After a year of that and A LOT of money, I stopped helping her and she simply returned to the low level of life she lives at. All my help was literally for nothing. I can see that all clearly now, but when I was in it, I couldn't.

    I agree with DDD, I hope she stays a state away.
  14. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Wow, RE, I keep hearing about all of these services available in other states but there was nothing like there here in Georgia and since difficult child won't get a Florida license (even though her GA license expired two months ago), I don't think she qualifies for services there.

    I did check into SSI for her with a specialist that NAMI recommended and he said that difficult child made too much money to qualify (anything over $1000 a month disqualifies you). He also said her addiction issues would disqualify her even though she also has a mental health diagnosis because they can't tell whether it is the addiction issues or MH issues that keep her from being able to hold down a job and support herself. He also said she would get at best $800 a month and she is making $1600 a month right now so she is actually better off working.

    difficult child texted a little while ago to say that the best insurance quote she was able to get was $340 down and $188.00 a month. husband said that he thinks we should pay the down payment and help her with part of the monthly payment since she is working full time and paying her own bills with help from us on the sober house rent. He says it is worth it to keep her "a state away." I am torn because I feel like we are trapped in a never ending drain on our resources.

    Then again, if she is doing her best and staying sober and working, isn't she fulfilling "do to get?" Wasn't this our dream a year ago when we found out that she was using heroin?

    Another difficult child dilemma.

  15. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Kathy, that's too bad about no resources for your daughter in Georgia. I can see your reluctance to keep paying for your daughter's life. And, at the same time I can understand helping her as she helps herself for the time being. Are you working towards ultimately weaning her of the need for any financial assistance from you? That seems the likely goal. At some point you guys won't be around to continue, so she will have to learn how to live on her own merit, even if that means at a lower economic level then she was brought up with.

    For awhile I thought I would be caught in that "never ending drain on my resources" as well.........but it all came to a sort of natural point where it was just time to stop giving money. From my position as an outside observer, it sounds to me as if you are headed there as well.
  16. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    Rent and car insurance are very exp. in that area. I don't know if this is an ideal comparison, but when our son wanted the "cool" sneakers as a teen, we would offer to pay for half of them.(He was a easy child) It is something you could consider doing in this case (up to a point). Perhaps for the next six months, pay for half of her car insurance. She DOES need to learn how to scrimp and save. Ironically, my son is an excellent saver now and even to this day (although he earns a very good living) shops for groceries, etc. on a very strict budget. He is one of the most frugal people I know. He is a young teacher and bought a house and has already redecorated the bathroom, etc. All of this by learning how to be frugal. Our daughter is on SSD and although I am MOST grateful for it because it is what she needs, your daughter is in a better position, being able to work and make as much money as she is making. The next step is learning to be frugal and make ends meet.
    Re: believing for the best...
    I once saw this wonderful and interesting article (I might have posted it on this website) that the lack of gratefulness is at the root of most mental illnesses and all unhappiness.
    It kind of makes sense to me. And it kind of goes hand in hand with believing for the best. I think if we are grateful, it forces us to see things from the better side.

    Very nice thread! Have a good day!
    Lasted edited by : Sep 8, 2013
  17. scent of cedar

    scent of cedar New Member

    husband and I are beginning to understand that the true cost of difficult child kids is time. One way or another, the money thing works itself out. Time, we cannot recover. Hours spent crying or worrying or regretting are just...gone. Living life distracted by difficult child oddities and demands finds you, ten years down the line ~ or twenty ~ wondering where that time went and why you didn't accomplish the things you'd planned to. But...the time is gone. The memories are made, and they aren't good ones. Hours on the phone, hours crying, nights you don't sleep, times with friends when you were too distracted to be present...classes taken or therapy undergone to try to find answers, when there aren't any.

    Times when we were too ashamed to have or to be friends, because our reality was so different from the realities of our peers, whose children were doing well.

    Hours in our own lives together when, night after night, we were too distracted to be present for one another.

    I agree with your husband on this one. Keeping difficult child a state away is worth almost any amount of money, Kathy.

    Life passes so quickly. Parenting adult difficult child kids gets to be an exercise in acknowledging and proactively defending our quality of life from the sort of hovering blackmail threat our difficult child kids represent. There is always the threat they will move home. (With all the kids, if they have any ~ and who knows how many of the children will actually be leaving with the difficult child when she finally decides to go? Which is how I wound up homeschooling two of my grandchildren. Twice. "No legal guardianship, no registering for school." said the principal, handing me a phone number for homeschooling resources. husband and I had just taken early retirements, when that happened. That time, those years when we might have been traveling or simply, staying home in the hot tub with a bottle of champagne or a Manhattan, are gone.)

    That is what husband and I are trying to come to grips with, now. For the past twenty-five years, we have suffered and questioned ourselves. We have not been legitimately present in our own lives, because we believed we had gone wrong somewhere, and that our children were suffering for it.

    We tried so hard to figure out what it was.

    We've lived a snippet at a time, lived more in anticipation than in fact, because the reality of whatever the dream was would be destroyed by difficult child kids turned difficult child adults.

    And I'm talking some pretty nice dreams, here.


    But...we are taking a good look at that, now. We need to figure out how to lay legitimate claim to the happiness possible in the lives we have created. And it's tough to do that when we feel guilty that our adult, difficult child kids have nothing. (This is a funny way I heard one mom describe her difficult child son's situation in life: "He doesn't have a pot to p*** in or a window to throw it out of."



    And the grandchildren? Have been turned into pawns, the poor little buggers.

    For too many years, we have suffered BY CHOICE. We put our lives on the backburner because we were so certain our primary responsibility was to get the kids on their feet. That belief was buried so deep we never thought twice about what we were doing, what we were giving up. We are both in our sixties, now. And you know what? It's almost too late. I am so happy husband made us do the Manhattan thing, the Happy Hour thing....

    So, I'm doing a little bit of a rant here, Kathy. I know you don't have any grandchildren, yet. But maybe the lesson applies, even so. There comes a time when we parents need to reclaim the legitimacy of our own capacity for joy. Somehow, we need to learn to stop feeling sorry for our under-performing kids; we really do need to stop blaming ourselves for their continuing failure to thrive.

    Here is a true thing husband and I (well, mostly husband!) have been thinking, lately. Had we chosen to fritter around instead of working, had we chosen to live our lives differently (as our difficult child kids are doing), we wouldn't have anything, either. We parents need to learn to place responsibility for the kids' situations where it really belongs, once the child is say, 14. And that is...on the child. Whether the identified problem is drugs or mental instability or laziness or whatever it is, once they are out in the world on a regular basis, we cannot be there with them to help them make a better choice. But we did raise them to make better choices, or we would not all be here, trying to figure out where we went wrong.

    So, it begins to look like we have done our part, after all.


    I wanted to add this. Yesterday, on Book TV (Yes guys, I am a geek :O) Anyway, someone had researched chronically troubled families. The kinds of families where there are generations of people imprisoned or addicted or both. Here is the interesting thing: In the family the writer explored most thoroughly, there were three generations of extreme poverty, prostitution, addiction. The addict, prostitute mother shoplifted as a matter of course. She sold heroin, using her children to deliver it. She had her kids shoplift, and prostituted her own children for money. There were eight children. Six of them followed in the mother's footprints. becoming addicts and criminals. Two of the children, both males, never became involved in drugs, never shoplifted, never were arrested. They grew up, got jobs, and lived their lives. Now, if a child becomes a difficult child because of something the parent has done...what happened to these two young men? I've been thinking about that program quite a bit, since I saw it, yesterday. If you want to see it, put Book TV into your search engine. Their programs are taped and can be viewed, for free, online.
  18. scent of cedar

    scent of cedar New Member

    This is going to sound rude. I know we are supposed to be positive and encouraging. But your difficult child just told you Kathy, what her lifeplan is. One way or another, I think she is determined to live at home, with you and husband.

    Wherever you live, wherever you go, whatever you do.

    I've been wondering whether that whole "let's make mom and dad responsible, let's get back at them by destroying what we can ~ peace, financial status, reputation, self-concept" thing is a bona fide difficult child pattern, too. I know that sounds unkind. Nonetheless, I think that stuff might turn out to be part of difficult child operations all their lives. For that reason, I think it would be healthier for everyone in your family if you could address and change difficult child's intentions, now.

    Some recent research indicates that any drug use in susceptible individuals can mimic, or result in, mental illness. "Spice" use can mean permanent illness in susceptible individuals. What I took from that, and from the fact that so many people who use illicit drugs are being diagnosed with incapacitating mental illnesses, is that if these individuals stop using any mind altering substances, their mental health issues may be manageable with therapy to help them relearn how to think about, and react to, their emotional states.

    I had posted a TED talk by a woman, a diagnosed schizophrenic, who was able to find her way out of that hellish reality and into sanity through stopping all medication, legal or illicit, and learning to incorporate the voices as repressed aspects of self.

    I will try to find that piece Kathy, and repost it for you.

  19. scent of cedar

    scent of cedar New Member

  20. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    SOC...I agree about much, if not all, of what you just wrote. The time you can never get back.

    And perhaps helping a difficult child with a certain amount of money is a small price to pay to keep them in another state!

    husband and I are will soon be on a similar path. He will retire in 4 years and we plan on moving 4 hours away and husband does NOT want difficult child to move anywhere near us. No doubt I will be posting about this down (or is it up?) the road.
    Lasted edited by : Sep 8, 2013