Saying goodbye to difficult child today

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by D Needza Break, Aug 24, 2014.

  1. D Needza Break

    D Needza Break New Member

    So today is the day. difficult child is 2 hours from me right now. I recently told her she was no longer welcome in my home. I will bring her things to her in a few hours & say goodbye and come back home.

    My emotions are all over the place. I'm angry that we are in this situation at all. Angry at her poor decisions. Angry that all the work and effort and energy spent on "helping" her over the years wasn't enough. Angry at the lies and lack of respect and...I guess in a certain sense not returning my love. Maybe I feel a little rejected.

    And then I'm deep to the core sad. Like I am mourning a loss. Like I am saying goodbye to her forever. Like I'm throwing my baby into the universe and she will be all alone. That's what it feels like anyway.

    No one really gets it here. Hubby is empathetic, sympathetic & supportive, but new-ish to my life & has no clue what we really went through all these years. I'm new to this area and haven't made many friends yet. This isn't exactly easy to explain to others.

    It's been very comforting reading others posts knowing that I am not "alone". It's going to be a very hard day for me. I guess I just needed to get this out. Thanks for listening.
  2. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    As I have let my kids go, they have both found and learned to rely on their own strength, their own resources, instead of mine.

    They finally became adults, Needz.

    It was scary and sad and I felt the same way then that you feel, now.

    I don't know why every single milestone with a difficult child child needs to be so hard. I have seen families where love and happiness abound, where children go off to college, graduate, see their parents frequently.

    I know that happens.

    I have seen it with my own eyes.

    I feel a strange compilation of shame at what must surely be my own failure as a parent, pain and confusion over how those happy times could have come to this, and anger/love/anger/love RELIEF as I watch them drive away.

    All I know is that nothing about raising a difficult child child is simple. Many of the loving, self-affirming rewards of parenting normal children never happen for parents of difficult child kids.

    And yet.

    There is a certain wild courage, a certain freedom in the way they see the world and themselves in it.

    When we let them go, they develop strengths and talents and wings that would have gone forever undiscovered if we had not finally forced the (now adult) child's independence.

    You are doing the right thing, Needz. You have tried the other ways, the usual ways of parenting, and they haven't helped.

    difficult child kids need to be parented differently.

    Love her, believe she will find her way, tell her you expect to hear from her often, and let her go.

    It helps me to pray for my children (and myself).

    It helps me to light a white candle for them. I envision its light reaching them somehow, lighting their path and showing them the way home.

    At Christmas?

    We put those little electric candles In every window.


    It gets to be about surviving the pain and overcoming the sense of loss and wrongness, Needz.

    You are doing the right thing for your daughter.

    It is a hard, hurtful thing to parent a difficult child child.

    We need to learn to love ourselves through all of it.

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  3. D Needza Break

    D Needza Break New Member

    Thank you Cedar. It helps. A lot. It is slightly ironic that I have friends that are driving their kids to college and experiencing great joy and here I am sending difficult child off into the world. That shame is part of the reason I don't say much to people where I live. I don't think I could handle someone saying " could you do that?!". It would crush me.

    I like the idea of the candles. I may light one when I get back home tonight. I am not liking today at all.

    Thanks again...
  4. pasajes4

    pasajes4 Well-Known Member

    Yesterday, I drove 6 + hours round trip to see my son in a juvenile prison. He will turn 18 on Wednesday. Yesterday, My best friend drove 10 hours round trip to drop her 18 year old daughter off at college. Yesterday, We both cried when we left our children......for very different reasons.

    I so get the sadness, anger, frustration, and wanting to keep it to ourselves. It just plain hurts. Some days will be better than others. No matter how hard we work on detachment, somewhere in the very core of us, there is still a piece out of place. I don't think we would still be coming here if that was not true.
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  5. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    It may help to remember that nothing is forever till we stop breathing. Things change. Not always to the direction we would like, but they do change. And as it is said around my neck of woods, life carries us. Things has tendency to find their way to get into an order. Not the order we have planned, but in the order nonetheless.

    Your daughter is in the place she is right now. Most likely she will be in different place five or ten years from now. Better or worse, difficult to say, but different. So will your relationship.

    Light a candle, say a prayer, write her a letter where you say everything you want to say to her every week (and don't send them) keep the connection with her up at least in your head if it helps even if you can't connect to her in real. I'm mostly in good terms with my son right now, he is even welcome to live at home temporarily (though it is much easier when he is not here, he just left couple weeks ago after staying here few months) and we do keep touch regularly, even when he was not talking to us for a month or two last winter after suicide attempt and not liking me 'making such a big thing out of it' (I dared to suggest him he should talk to his psychiatrist or therapist about it) he did make me a regular call, just didn't talk. Still at times I need to keep up my side of connection to him without actually connecting him. I do write to him into my diary. I take care of his apple tree (one that we put into our garden in his christening day) , I put things aside for him (he may get them or not some day), I keep his drawings and favourite toys from childhood, I make sure his inheritance from my grandparents stays intact and is wisely invested and so on. One day he may be happy about some of it, or maybe not, but for most I do it for me. He does what he does, but he can not take away my right to do things I want to do for my child for also him. I take it my job and also my right to preserve things for him even though he is not inclined to appreciate it now due to both his age and him being a difficult child. He gets to decide what kind of son he is, but he doesn't get to dictate what kind of mother I am.

    Just because you have to ask her leave doesn't mean you will not continue to be her mother. Your mothering would change anyway because she is now adult, and because her issues it may change to different kind of mothering than what you anticipated or what has happened to your friends, but it is just different, not gone. And as I said, things are likely to change to different kind of different again. Till that breathe. My difficult child's sport psychiatric keeps saying for my son that at the toughest moments only must is to breathe with some regularity, everything else is optional. I try to keep that in mind at the darkest moments too.
  6. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    We can so empathize with you Needza, that pain in your heart is deep and it hurts. Detaching from my daughter, my only child, like yours, was the most difficult thing I've ever done, ever. The pain is raw and sharp.

    Get support for yourself. Do kind and nourishing things for YOU. Begin the process of placing the focus on yourself now, your adult child is stepping in to her own destiny. What Pasa said about a piece out of place at the core of us is very true, well said.

    We can learn to move through it and move ahead. It is not easy, for me it required a lot of support, but it is possible to mend that hole in your heart and begin to thrive in your own life as opposed to simply surviving day by day as we wait for the other shoe to drop. Amazingly, we can even learn to navigate this treacherous landscape.

    You ARE mourning a loss, the loss of your dreams for your child, the way you imagined it would's tough to let those go. But we are on a different journey here and acceptance of that journey is what makes it easier to bear. Once we start to let go of what we thought it was going to be and accept what is, the burden becomes lighter and we feel better.

    Most others don't "get it" we are often alone and isolated from any real understanding, because you have to walk in these shoes to know the devastation of it...........and most parents don't know.

    I'm so sorry for your pain. I know how you feel. Most of us here in PE do. Be very kind to yourself today and in the coming days. It is very important to meet YOUR needs now. difficult child's take up a lot of air in the room and we get used to that, you have to now take up that air yourself, your parenting as you knew it is over and now begins a new chapter in your life.

    Wishing you peace as you walk through this........sending you comforting thoughts.........
  7. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    I love this.

  8. D Needza Break

    D Needza Break New Member

    I love that part also, that Cedar pointed out. I still get to decide what kind of mother I am. I just got back. Cried all the way. I guess I have to look at this as a chance for me to work on that piece that's out of order now. I know in the coming days it will get a bit better. but right now it just hurts. I hope so very deeply she gets onto a better path. Time will tell. What a rotten day this was. Thank you so very much for your kind words. It does help me quite a bit.
  9. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    Sending you big hugs. I so understand the pain you feel, seeing other people taking their kids to college and knowing those kids are doing so well. My own nephew and my husband's nephew, only a year older than my own son, are in college and doing so well. My cousin's oldest just started college and is just such a perfect kid. I mean that. The girl is obscenely perfect. And while mine is still at home the ONLY reason he is still at home is if we put him out there is nowhere else for him to go, no money, no job, no car. I truly don't know how he'd survive. But we're almost there.

    Take heart that she is young (a year older than mine) and I'm constantly being told by various parents that their kids straightened up and their relationships got much better with a little more age. It could happen. :praying:
  10. Nomad

    Nomad Well-Known Member

    I so agree with Lil and the other posters. And I totally relate to what you are saying. I recall when our difficult child left the house at age 19, I was conflicted...even very sad. I knew she had to leave or I might get sicker (I have autoimmune health problems). The stress was doing a number on me. Yet, I didn't really think she was equipped to make it on her own and of course, she wasn't and basically isn't. In our case, she is on disability and that helps a bit. Since she has left, a lot of really crazy things have happened, yet, somehow she has survived. I think it's been 6.5 years or something. Geez. In those years, she has learned a teeeeeny tiny bit. So very little. At this rate, she will be 90 before she acts like a 21 year old...and she is closer to 30 than that. When she left the house, my friend's kids were going to college. I had started a book club and wouldn't ya know it, I was EXCLUDED from discussions about the children. It was seriously weird. Everyone would take turns bragging about their kids and I would just be passed over. I guess in a way they were being nice to me, but it still hurt, nevertheless. Well, even though my daughter has only matured a very very little, she has still managed to survive and she has matured a teeny bit, which is the right direction. AND, I can say she does hesitate to be rude/disrespectful to us. (It still happens though, but much less often). So....yes, I would say in that arena, she has grown. in my humble opinion, we had no choice to get her out of the house and I'm sure you didn't either. Did, any of us? Honestly, it is the only way they will grow, the only hope that they will learn any gratitude for anything and the only way for US to regain our health and happiness. And, I have heard of plenty of stories that is when the parents let go, that many difficult children change for the better. On a smaller scale...our son who was not truly a difficult child, but had some issues for a short while did mature when he was forced to rely on himself. The more we released him to sink or swim, the more he grew and he is a major, mega, award winning easy child today! He blossomed more than I ever could imagine. Our daughter is mentally ill and things are different for her and we have learned to cope with teeeeny tiny improvements. It is what it is. Save yourself! In due time, you will feel better.
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2014